Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 3 Episode 5

The Bonding

Aired Unknown Oct 23, 1989 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

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out of 10
238 votes
  • Death and loss - such fun topics!


    This would be a rather forgettable episode of Trek if it weren't for something important that happened behind the scenes. The idea here is to show the effect these dangerous weekly adventures have on the children of the ship, who must deal with some of the consequences when something goes wrong. It's a great idea that's not executed very well and can be rather depressing. Part of the problem is that the episode focuses too much on the guest stars, as opposed to characters we know better and care more about. Still, Troi gets a meaty part, and Wesley has a couple nice moments that build off of his established history. The original story idea, however, might have been more interesting. Ron Moore proposed having the boy recreate his dead mother on the holodeck, and the crew dealing with that situation. (Gene Roddenberry felt 24th century children would have a better acceptance of death and vetoed that aspect.)

    For whatever reason, the powers-that-be in the Star Trek universe loved "The Bonding", and so the episode gets points for opening the door for Moore (a hardcore fan of the original series) to write more Star Trek – making this a landmark Trek installment for that reason alone.

  • A touching episode about becoming orphaned, though ultimately a relatively weak episode of season 3.

    I think the currently low rating for this episode is overly harsh. The story here -- about a boy who becomes orphaned for the second time -- is genuinely moving, to a large degree because the kid actor gives a very intense performance as the stoic Jeremy Aster. The episode isn't exactly riveting, but it's a testament to the show's best stretch (seasons 3, 4 & 6) that even when a lesser episode was presented, it was good enough to maintain the viewer's attention. Not a bad debut for writer Ronald Moore.

    You can really see the mature Worf developing in these early season 3 episodes. The character's depth, so apparent in the later seasons and especially in DS9, starts to emerge from the silly caricature of the first and second season. Also, this is probably the first episode to show the growing relationship between him and Troi.

    Also, not the kind of thing I normally notice -- but there were some really cool camera angles in "The Bonding". I especially like the scene with Worf and Troi, viewed through some sort of metal mesh, but there were others I can't remember.
  • An awayteam member returns to the Enterprise, dead on arrival, leaving behind a son with no other parent onboard. As the crew take their own actions to help the boy cope, a strange being from the orbiting planet attempts to take the orphaned boy away.

    I've since watched all three seasons of the original series, finally seeing what creator Gene Roddenberry wanted all of us to embrace in his depiction of humanity. The show was never about action, but rather a different look at humans and how they cope with different situations: What drives us to explore, what motivates us to put others before ourselves, what about the human condition can we learn from different experiences, etc. I feel this episode of The Next Generation is one of those few that re-captures the essence of what Roddenberry was attempting to convey.
    In this episode, we see some profound moments from several key castmembers, most notably Worf, and Wesley. Since Worf led the awayteam, he feels compelled to help the boy move past his mothers death, being an orphan himself. Wesley struggles with wanting to help the boy after his mother suggests that Wes talk with the orphan, relate to him. Wesley's experience with losing his own father takes prominence in this episode because, towards the end, we finally see that the young acting-Ensign never fully confronted that day in his life.
    What is compelling however, is watching Picard navigate his way through a deliberation with an alien that wants to give the boy's mother a way. With near Q-like powers, this being of energy can transform the look of a room into a house, and can change their form into whatever they want. In this case, it took the form of the boy's deceased mother in an effort to lure him down to the planet, apparently guilty that it felt indirectly responsible for the crewmembers death. Anyone who has not coped with death, or does not fully grasp why death is such a pivotal circumstance in life, should watch this episode. As Picard points out, it is a natural course of life, but also one in which it helps us to grow. Finding ways to channel our feelings, seeking others to help us through, and finally finding closure (in this case, Worf leading the boy through a Klingon ceremony to honor his mother's death) is tough, but has to be done to move on and live. This episode also signifies that, by avoiding the reality of the situation, no matter how much it hurts, can often be even more painful when reality does in fact present itself. Instead of putting off, perhaps it best to get through it, learn, and keep living. The only complaints I had regarding this episode was the abrupt ending, and the acting of the orphan. You can't ask for much when it comes to a kid, but most of the lines and acting were a little deadpan. Other than that, I feel that this episode summed up Trek's ideology rather nicely. It evokes the human spirit, asks those hard question to which we would rather avoid, and explores another facet of the human equation we are all so desperately trying to figure out.
  • Lt Worf while commanding a away team loses a crew member to a senseless explosion. May Marla Aster rest in peace. Jeremy Aster has lost his mother and now feels alone. It is hard to deal with death. Imagine how it feels through the heart of a 12 year old

    Lt Worf while commanding a away team loses a crew member to a senseless explosion. May Marla Aster rest in peace. Jeremy Aster has lost his mother and now feels alone. It is hard to deal with death. Imagine how it feels through the heart of a 12 year old boy. Who could he talk to?
    This whole episode has to do with dealing losing loved ones. Not to mention some crew members remembering Tasha Yar who also died a senseless death. Sometimes it better to talk about feelings, than hide them away. I rate this episode a 7.0.
  • After a boys mother dies during a mission an alien pretending to be his mother comes to the Enterprise, and wants to help him by taking him to the planet and live there.

    When I decided to see this episode today I wasn't sure how it would turn out, i had read a review and didn't know excactly what to expect.
    This episode features a nice story about a boy who's mother died during a mission. I could have done without the Worf interferance but you won't hear me complaining.
    If you only like action episodes I don't encourage you to go and wach this episode but if you go for story and a little drama I think you will enjoy yourself for the 44 minutes.
    Suficive to say there are much better TnG episodes but you won't bore yourself with this one.