Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 1 Episode 22


Aired Unknown Apr 18, 1988 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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out of 10
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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.
  • 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.
  • 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 onl

    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.
  • 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.

  • Interesting concept ruined by heavy-handed anti-drugs theme.

    The concept behind this story -- one society supporting itself economically by supplying an addictive substance to another -- is an intriguing one and could have led to a very interesting episode. Unfortunately, we got this one instead.

    The writers decided to hammer home an anti-drugs message, worst exemplified by an absolutely agonizing conversation between Tasha and Wesley. (Appropriately, the most agonizing characters during season 1.) Given some of the weird looks Data flashes during this sequence, you have to assume that Brent Spiner is as miserable as the viewer.

    Other annoying parts -- the lengthy opening sequence, with some scientific exploration that almost nobody watching this episode would care about; the over-the-top junkie emulation by the characters playing the Onarrans.

    Pluses: the conversation between Dr. Crusher and Picard near the end in the turbolift. It's a bunch of nonsense and probably contradicts at least five other discussions of the Prime Directive, but Patrick Stewart delivers it really well in some of his best acting from the first season.

    Also, the Brekkans -- particularly the woman -- convey exactly the right smarminess for their role.
  • A morality tale that starts off intriguingly but goes off the rails by descending into moralising/philosophising/virtues-of-the-prime-directive overdrive

    I must admit that I liked the first half or so of this episode: the situation between the Brekkans and Ornarans was intriguing and the concept is an undoubtedly an interesting one: what if one culture deliberately addicted another to a drug that only they could provide? Yup, the Brekkans were a fairly horrendous people who displayed villainy on a scale that even Khan Noonian Singh would quiver at.

    Where this episode let itself down was the conclusion. It went right downhill the moment Tasha began her infamous 'drugs are bad' speech to Wesley...which was simply cringe-worthy, reducing TNG to some Saturday morning kid's cartoon which always has to shoehorn in some well-meaning but inane moral of the week. It's a wonder they didn't tack on a scene of Picard sitting in his ready room at the end of the episode, addressing the audience: 'well, in this week's episode we explored the dangers of taking drugs. As we all know, drugs are bad...'

    The conclusion itself is a huge let-down, with Picard once again droning on about the Prime Directive like some kind of robot stuck in a loop ('the Prime Directive is a philosophy and a very correct one,' he tells poor Beverly who is stuck in a turbolift with him).

    'Symbiosis' could have been much better had the ending not been so horribly heavy-handed.
  • "Brought to you by S.T.A.D."

    While studying magnetic changes in the Delos system's sun, the crew receives a distress signal from a disabled freighter ship, carrying druggies and drug dealers. Picard doesn't want to get involved between them when it comes to the "medicine" because of the Prime Directive, but is it the right thing?

    So you wonder what S.T.A.D. means? It means Star Trek Against Drugs. Symiosis is one of those episodes that could have been good, showing parts of our society in a universal way, but instead makes one cringe. This really could have been an interesting episode and a good public service announcement, but that is the problem... They made it too obvious esspecially if you listen to the dialouge between Wesley and Tasha. Tasha's lines work for her because of her backround so that's something to believe. But the thing that ruined it was Wesley's questions. Everytime he asked "why" it sounded like it was straight out of a PSA, pretty much ruining the moment because it seemed too obvious. I really wish they could have done this episode better, I can see why Denise Crosby wanted to work for the last time on this episode instead of "Skin of Evil", but sadly it didn't work out and I wonder how she reacted to the results of editing esspecially on the scene with her and Wil Weaton. It was REALLY close to getting a 3 out of 5 but I just can't because I can't see myself watching this episode ever again, so I'll give it a 2, that's how much it deserves because they did try, but it didn't work out and it's a shame. I don't recommend this episode.

    I give this episode 2 out of 5 stars. (4.0 on
  • A lesser episode if not solely because I cannot remember a thing about it....

    Nothing much happens in "Symbiosis." The episode offers semi-interesting ideas of one race using a drug to control another and how the Prime Directive applies in how the Enterprise should act but the episode does not offer much else besides that. The cast might be more on top of their game in "Symbiosis" than they were for most of season one (but the same thing goes for other later episodes in season one as well) but the episode lacks memorable scenes and includes a very blunt and dumbed down lecture of a anti-drug statement. Yeah, I get it: do not do drugs – that is a good message - but the latest D.A.R.E mascot could have told us that, Star Trek should be reserved for themes of a more interesting and poignant nature.
  • Just say No!


    To drugs that is. Which is what this episode is about. The central plot is the rescue of four people from a disintigrating freighter. It is revealed that one group needs something they call medicine. Through the actions of Picard we begin to learn that it is infact a narcotic which is being used to enslave one race by the other. The addicts then pay off the debt by servitude as the other race graces a very comfortable existance free from toil.

    If youve not seen this episode before then the message against drug taking is as strong today as it was when it first aired. Of course, not everyone will want to appreciate it and its probably more aimed at the younger generation.

    Still, the story is ok, rather dull by other episode standards. Locations are strictly on the Enterprise so nothing to visually excite the viewer.

    Dialogue is fairly average serving only to promote the story.

    The appearance of the supporting cast is a plus, two of which feature in ST:TOS films. These include: Judson Scott (Khan's son) - Star Trek II Wrath of Khan, Merritt Butrick (Kirk's son) - Star Trek II WoK & Star Trek III: Search for Spock.

    The point of this episode is show the futility of drug addiction and the only real course of action to help those who cant be help. The ending is a little anti-climatic in that the addicts get their drugs but receive no help in repairing their own few remaining ships that are decommissioned, thus potentially stopping them from getting more supply of the drug - unless they repair them, themselves. More likely the population will have to go through really harsh withdrawal to discover they do not need what they are addicted to.

    A decent episode that wont have you on the edge of your seat.