Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 1 Episode 22


Aired Unknown Apr 18, 1988 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
224 votes

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Episode Summary


Stardate: Unknown

While examining the solar flares of the sun Delos, the Enterprise receives a distress signal from a freighter that is about to crash on a nearby planet. Moving into position as fast as possible, the Enterprise readies to beam up the seemingly inexperienced crew.

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  • Heavy Handed

    This episode of TNG plays on one planet manufacturing drugs for another planet. The drugs are addictive, and marketed as a cure for a plague. The plague? Addiction. The verdict? Stupid. Look elsewhere for your drama. Very disappointing. The saving grace is Tasha Yar saying goodbye at the end of the episode.
  • horrible

    the only good part is seeing Tasha Yar wave goodbye to all the fans when Picard and Crusher leave the cargo bay at the end of the episode. This episode was actually her last filmed episode even though she dies in the next episode. This stupid prime directive BS only plays when they (the writers) want it too, its completely unacceptable that Picard would let people suffer that way. Horrible episode.moreless
  • The Enterprise receives a distress signal from a freighter and discovers a plague may actually be a drug addiction.

    In a bit of an inside joke, Symbiosis stars two supporting actors from Star Trek II (who once again are on opposite sides of an issue here.) Fortunately, Judson Scott (uncredited as Khan's right hand man in Wrath of Khan) and the late Merritt Butrick (who played Kirk's son in the same film) are fabulous actors, because the script's dumbed-down preaching about drug abuse is cringe-worthy, but their acting elevates the writing anyway. The interesting thing about the episode is that it's more of a tobacco industry allegory than anything, and had the writers been more ambitious, they could have found greater material to mine regarding this issue of legal drug addiction. However, "Symbiosis" plays it safe and is the TNG equivalent of an After School special.moreless
  • While studying changes in the Delos system's sun, the U.S.S. Enterprise receives a distress signal from a disabled freighter ship with six passengers. The freighter ship burns up in the fourth planet's atmosphere. Unable to get a full transporter lock onlmoreless

    The U.S.S. Enterprise receives a distress signal from a disabled freighter ship with six passengers. The freighter ship burns up in the fourth planet's atmosphere. Unable to get a full transporter lock only four passengers are saved. Along with a interesting cargo. The cargo is a "cure" for a plague that affected the brekka and the Ornarans. As it turns out this "cure" is addictive due to it being a narcotic. The brekka who manufactured this "cure" know it is addictive. But fail to let Ornarans know in order to manipulate them. I rate this episode a 4.8.moreless
  • Very Special Episode, but not in a good way...

    It looks like TNG is looking for some after school special award. The concept was very good, I have to admit, but the execution left quite a bit to be desired.

    Incorperating themes of drug addiction and extortion, this episode would have done much better if not for the incredibly out of place preaching by Yar and Westley. Apart from that, the show plays out decently with a pretty clever ending sequence save this episode from being a complete sap fest.

    I wouldn\'t be surprised if Tasha had told Westley \"Winners don\'t use drugs\". D.A.R.E. would have definately been proud.

Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Brent Spiner

Brent Spiner

Lt. Cmdr. Data

Jonathan Frakes

Jonathan Frakes

Cmdr. William T. Riker

Gates McFadden

Gates McFadden

Dr. Beverly Crusher

Marina Sirtis

Marina Sirtis

Counsellor/Lt. Cmdr. Deanna Troi

Denise Crosby

Denise Crosby

Tasha Yar

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • When Picard speaks with the people from the addicted planet the signal is fuzzy, which is bad enough. However, when their leader ends communication, the Enterprise's view of the planet while it's in orbit is also fuzzy.

    • Yar is down in the cargo bay (waving - see Notes) when Crusher and Picard leave, and looks like she isn't going anywhere. However, when Crusher and Picard get to the bridge, Yar's already there.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Wesley: Data, I can understand how this would happen to the Ornarans. What I can't understand is why anyone would voluntarily become dependent on a chemical substance.
      Data: Drug addiction is a recurring theme in many cultures. However--neither being human nor having had any comparable experience, firsthand or otherwise--I am afraid I cannot give precisely the answer you seem to hope for.
      Tasha: I believe I can, Wesley. First of all, nobody ever wants to become dependent; that happens later.
      Wesley: Still, if people know it happens, why do they start?
      Tasha: Remember what I told you about life on my home planet? There was so much poverty and violence that, for some, the only escape was through drugs.
      Wesley: Escape? How does a chemical substance provide an escape?
      Tasha: It can't really. But it makes you think it is. It's difficult to explain, but drugs can make you feel...good. They put you on top of the world; you're happy, you feel in control of everything and everybody.
      Wesley: But what's the point, if you know it's artificial?
      Tasha: Because it doesn't feel artificial until the drug wears off. Then you feel just the opposite of what you did before: sad, powerless, hopeless, in pain...And the worst part is, the more often you take the drug, the more your body adapts to it--so that you need higher and higher doses to get back the good feeling. However, those larger doses also leave you feeling worse--and for longer--after it wears off. That's how you get trapped. Before you know it, you're not even taking the drug to feel good anymore; you're just taking it to keep from feeling bad. At that point, all you care about is getting your next dose. Nothing and nobody else matters.
      Wesley: I see how it works, Tasha, but I'm afraid I still don't understand it. Sorry.
      Tasha: Wesley, don't be. In fact, let's hope for your sake you never do.

    • Picard: Beverly, the Prime Directive is not just a set of rules; it is a philosophy, and a very correct one. History's proved, again and again, that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well-intentioned that interference may be, the results are disastrous.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Denise Crosby wanted out of her contract so they wrote "Skin Of Evil" to get rid of her character. Then she received word of this episode (what the storyline was going to be) and she asked if she could remain for this one episode. This explains why they flip-flopped these two episodes.

    • During the filming of this episode, Merrit Butrick had AIDS and this was one of his final acting jobs before he died.

    • Judson Scott previously played Joachim is Star Trek II - The Wrath Of Khan.

    • This episode, filmed after "Skin Of Evil," was Denise Crosby's last playing the "real" Lieutenant Yar. If you look closely near the end of the episode, you can see Denise Crosby waving to the camera as Captain Picard and Dr. Crusher leave the cargo bay. Crosby would later return to play Sela and alternate-reality versions of Yar in time-travel stories.

    • Merrit Butrick previously played Captain Kirk's son David in Star Trek II - The Wrath Of Khan and Star Trek III - The Search For Spock.