Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 4 Episode 21

The Drumhead

Aired Unknown Apr 29, 1991 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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out of 10
221 votes
  • Among the best episodes in TNG's run. A powerful idea, a brilliant script and superb acting.

    For the second time in season 4, TNG decided to push the envelope on exactly what our dear, perfect, utopian Federation was really like. In "The Wounded", a well-meaning and well-regarded captain carried out a vigilante campaign of justice with horrific results. In "The Drumhead", a Starfleet Admiral carries out an unfounded witch hunt aboard the Enterprise.

    This episode also mines a rich seam - Picard squaring off against his superiors. It would happen a few more times during the show's run - "Ensign Ro" and "The Pegasus" - with great results.

    The episode starts off with a nod to Worf's arc (which would be resolved within a few episodes). The offscreen appearance of the Romulans suggests another military thriller. But the episode, in a nice headache, takes a wild turn into deeper waters.

    We (and Picard) slowly realize what Admiral Satie is up to, with Worf as her willing pawn. The tale culminates in a superb climactic courtroom scene, and there is a wonderful, understated epilogue between Worf and Picard on the observation deck.

    If I had to pick two MVPs for the episode, it would be Jeri Taylor (the episode's writer) and Patrick Stewart, who gives a tour de force performance. Honorable mentions go to Jean Simmons (Admiral Satie), Michael Dorn and the guy who played Simon Tarses. The latter gives a heartfelt, convincing performance as the crewman whose career is forever ruined by Satie's zeal.