"The Ensigns Of Command" is a pretty good episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation but it is not one of the great episodes of the third season or series as a whole. Picard and Data must play the diplomatic game on two fronts: Data must convince a group of people living on a planet in alien space that they must relocate and Picard must convince an alien race not to eradicate the group of people and allow the Federation time to relocate them. Both fronts prove to be difficult in their own ways but the major difference between the two fronts lie in how our stars handle them. While Picard is a veteran in the art of diplomacy, Data is not well equipped to handle personal negotiations at all and therefore must learn as he attempts to carry out his duty.
"The Ensigns Of Command" features some interesting parts for Picard and Data to play as individual characters and likewise features fine acting from Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner - and the episode is bookended by a two truly fascinating few-minute scenes with Picard helping Data along in understanding humanity and individualism - but the relocation story is not so interesting. Nothing about the story is particularly gripping or exciting and the audience can all-too-easily guess how it will all end. On top of that, the supporting guest actors who play the inhabitants who Data must convince to leave are all very, very bad in their roles. I would have preferred to have watched trained dogs and cats in the roles instead of actual actors, since they would have no doubt been more vibrant performers. Still, "The Ensigns Of Command" is one of the better TNG episodes - an enjoyable 45 minutes of Picard and Data doing their thing.
This episode features Data in the A story dealing with the difficulties of carrying out a critical but seemingly impossible away mission, while Captain Picard gets the B story back on the ship. It's actually the TNG version of "The Galileo Seven", the original series episode that does the same thing with Spock and Captain Kirk, and is similarly successful – although the intended romantic relationship falls flat on its face. Still, as far as filler episodes go, this one is rather nice.
The "Enterprise" receives a message from the Sheliak, who order the crew to remove all humans from the planet Tau Cygna V. According to a Federation treaty, the planet belongs to the Sheliak, who want to inhabit the planet. All humans have four days to va
The "Enterprise" receives a message from the Sheliak, who order the crew to remove all humans from the planet Tau Cygna V. According to a Federation treaty, the planet belongs to the Sheliak, who want to inhabit the planet. All humans have four days to vacate the planet. Data is the only person from the "Enterprise" able to beam down due to high radiation coming from the planet. Data gets kissed by a woman named ard\'rian on the planet. She supports Data and his pleas to vacate the planet. I have to rate this episode a android emotional 8.7.
'The Ensigns of Command' (don't quite get the relevance of that title?) is paint-by-numbers TNG. The plot must have seemed OK on paper and is executed in workmanlike fashion. However, it all comes undone simply because we never quite CARE about the fate of these colonists.
In fact, quite the contrary: they were portrayed in such a pig-headed, stupid and downright obnoxious way that I was almost rooting for the Sheliak to blast them to smithereens. The guest actors were wooden at best (and often intensely annoying) and as a result there's a shocking lack of emotional integrity at the heart of this episode. It falls flat, basically.
This episode is primarily about possible future aspects of space diplomacy. It entwines numerous threads into the main plot to fill it out and make for a very good/great epiosde.
The primariy strands of the plot and subplot fall into these threads: Picards delicate and difficult negotiations with a xenomorphic race called the Sheliak to provide more time to evacuate the sitation. Demonstrating how to pick the lock of an ball and change agreement and place it on the other party.
Data's continuing development and appreciation of human behaviour, specficially the art of command/leadership in persuading stubborn colonists to evacuate rather than fight.
The unwillingness of the colonists to surrender to governmental demands forced upon them and pander to an agreement made without their consent.
Overall, do not expect any combat, other than Data's demonstration in the main square of what the freedom fighters will be up against. The main stars of this episode are the story around Data and a potential love interest and Picard's struggle to get around a seemingly watertight diplomatic agreement. I found these strands to be rather interesting and hightlighted by some urgency provided by a decling countdown towards a diplomatic incident.
Better than the season premiere, but there have been better non-action oriented episodes in the previous two seasons.
The 3rd season earned its reputation not just through fan-favorite episodes like "Yesterday's Enterprise" and "The Best of Both Worlds" but also through "filler episodes" that were actually watchable.
This episode's semi-intertwined plots differ sharply in quality. The Data story had potential but really struggles due to the awfulness of the actors playing the colonists. Data's innocence is simply not enough to carry this story. Nevertheless, there is some nice drama in Data's "reverse psychology" speech to the colonists as well as his destruction of the water pump. I also enjoyed his tense conversation with an impatient Riker.
The B-plot -- Picard trying to buy time with the impending alien invasion force -- is in fact much more interesting, and could have been excellent as a stand-alone episode. This plot largely centers on Patrick Stewart, with a nice assist from Marina Sirtis. Troy was generally more interesting as a diplomat and advisor than as a shrink. Their discussion in the ready room, with Troi illustrating the challengings of intercultural communication, is a highlight of the episode.
However, it can't beat Picard's ultimatum to the Sheliak. It's so entertaining to see him saunter up to the Enterprise plaque and casually polish it with that cocky indifference. Hilarious.