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Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 2 Episode 12

The Royale

Aired Unknown Mar 27, 1989 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
236 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Stardate: 42625.4 An away team is trapped in an alien environment based around a novel entitled 'The Hotel Royale.'

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  • Enterprise arrives at an unexplored planet and finds debris from an ancient earth ship in the planet's atmosphere. Riker, Data and Worf beam to the planet and find a hotel and casino. They enter the hotel and become trapped. Can they escape?moreless

    One of the best episodes of the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Great performances, and a very clever story line that keeps the viewer guessing up until the end makes "The Royale" very entertaining. The late Noble Willingham is terrific as Texas. I particulary enjoyed the part where the away team discovers the reason why The Royale exists and why it was created. Data's winning streak at the crap table is very entertaining as well. A fun and entertaining episode. A must see for sure.moreless
  • The Enterprise investigates the wreckage of a 21st century Earth spaceship orbiting a distant planet and the appearance of a casino with inhabitants based on a paperback novel.

    This is a filler episode with no historical significance that merely plugs a hole in a shortened season dealing with a writer's strike; but the joy is in the fact that it never tries to be anything more than that. The plot is cleverly written so that it makes sense that the story doesn't make any sense, if that makes any sense. Follow me? (Don't worry, I think I lost myself, too.) This is a light hearted episode that winks at the viewer and understands that it will never rank among the greatest Trek episodes; but the abstract sets and silly plot actually work for the premise, and the result is a somewhat unique installment, although it has similarities to the malfunctioning holodeck episodes.moreless
  • It never ceases to amaze me how generous many of my fellow reviewers on here are...

    This starts off a mildly intriguing episode - why is a piece of NASA debris found far out in space and why is an inhospitable alien planet home to an old Earth casino populated by cliched American gamblers?

    Alas, the mystery is solved far too soon and isn't really that interesting or original in retrospect. The rest of the episode is a fairly pointless, uninspired piece in which an old book 'Hotel Royale' has been recreated by aliens, complete with its 'superficial' characters.

    It's ironic how the episode is at pains to tell us how terrible the source material, the 'Hotel Royale' book is. But this whole episode is really little better, playing like a stock holodeck-malfunction episode with little insight, little wit and little point. There is a slight novelty factor at seeing our crew in a Vegas casino, but you'll quickly get over it. For a vastly more enjoyable casino romp, check out Deep Space Nine's 'Badda Bing, Badda Bang'. Give this one a miss.moreless
  • A comedy-oriented Star Trek episode....

    "The Royale" starts off as a TNG sci-fi mystery but ends up more of a lighthearted comedy piece. The episode does not really cash in either the mystery or comedy direction particularly strong but it is a fun time with the Enterprise crew.

    It all begins when the Enterprise finds NASA debris and a lone casino/hotel in a pocket of breathable air on an uninhabitable planet. Riker, Data, and Worf investigate, only to become trapped in the casino/hotel once they pass through the casino's antique revolving door. Once there, they unravel the casino/hotel's mystery as Data and Worf engage in some actually funny business.

    "The Royale" offers some unintentional laughs as well: such as Riker, Data, and Worf's supposedly being stuck in the hotel, when it is clear that the actors are simply walking through *full* revolving door rotations, and the 24th Century Picard remarking that "Fermat's last theorem" has been unproven for 800 years, when it was actually proven in 1995 (six years after this episode was aired).moreless
  • Royale Flush

    The Royale has always been one of my favourite episodes; not only of season two, but of the entire STTNG run itself. It is true that the story and the events that take place are not the most spectacular in comparison to the "top" moments of the show (eg. Borg) but nonetheless I found the story to be both intriguing and comic since my first viewing, and strengthened with each subsequent one.

    I've always found the idea of past Earth relics or people, rediscovered in the current 24th century setting to be extremely interesting and engaging; if done correctly. "The Neutral Zone" from season one of STTNG is a prime of example of the idea being done wrong, while "The 37's" from season two of ST:Voyager is a great example of it being done correctly. In The Royale the one remaining astronought is already deceased so the episode does not have to concern itself with mapping out how the person would react and interact with the places and people of a time so far different from the one he came from; an issue that is one of the hardest to map out correctly or convincingly. Instead we get a journal entry from the person that serves as both a bit of story explanation, as well as gets across enough of the basic person's feelings and thoughts to give the viewer a convincing idea of the percieved hopelessness of his situation and in turn what the away team is in store for if they do not solve their current dilemma.

    As is mentioned in the episode itself, the sub-story within the Hotel Royale, is a bit over the top and tacky. The viewer is far more interested in the imprisonment of the away team and their investigation and attempted solutions, than in the love affair between the bell boy and the gangster. The fact that the bell boy eats lead does little to peak the interest level up a notch either. Worf using his phaser on the various parts of the hotel in the hopes of creating an exit, Data's socially clusmy attempts at gathering intel from the hotel's inhabitants and Riker's questioning of the desk clerk are far more interesting. With Data we are also given the comic moment of him coming between the young clueless woman and the shark Texan gambler who is trying to shyster her out of her money.

    The ending and solution to the episode is nothing extradordinary in it's cleverness, but it is again something that has always stuck with me since I first saw it. It's great to see Data physically crush the dice to load them in their favour. Again, it is the overall the journey to the end of the episode and the various little things that make up that journey that make this episode an extremely enjoyable one. An endlessly revolving door to nowhere, the shell of an "ancient" NASA space vessel, the discovery of the crew of a voyage lost over 250 years ago, loading of the dice and others all make this a definte watch.moreless
Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Jonathan Frakes

Jonathan Frakes

Cmdr. William T. Riker

Brent Spiner

Brent Spiner

Lt. Cmdr. Data

Marina Sirtis

Marina Sirtis

Counsellor/Lt. Cmdr. Deanna Troi

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton

Lt. Cmdr. Geordi LaForge

Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn

Lt./Lt. Cmdr. Worf

Noble Willingham

Noble Willingham


Guest Star

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson

Assistant Manager

Guest Star

Jill Jacobson

Jill Jacobson


Guest Star

Colm Meaney

Colm Meaney

Miles O'Brien

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • As was common in early TNG episodes, Chief O'Brien is seen incorrectly wearing Lieutenant's pips.

    • The atmosphere on the planet seems to have a variety of temperature regions. They mention gaseous nitrogen and methane and liquid neon, which could not possibly be present together. Also, part of the surface is frozen methane, but there is a pocket of room temperature air just above it.

    • Geordi says the planet's surface is -291 degrees Celsius, but absolute zero, a state of zero thermal energy and the lowest possible temperature of anything, is -273 degrees Celsius.

    • If you look closely at the mission patch on the space suit, you will see that it is actually the Apollo 17 mission patch with the names Cernan, Evans, and Schmitt clearly visible.

  • QUOTES (5)

  • NOTES (1)

    • Picard states that Fermat's Last Theorem had gone unsolved for 800 years. In reality, it was solved in the 1990s by Princeton University Professor Andrew Wiles just a few years after this episode aired.


    • When Picard reads the opening line of the novel The Hotel Royale he says, "'It was a dark and stormy night'...not a promising beginning..."
      These words are the actual opening of the 1830 novel "Paul Clifford" by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, which is considered by some to be the worst novel ever written. The line is a cliche as the opening for a bad story, a situation that has been parodied many times in the comic strip Peanuts. Each year, the English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored a Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, in which contestants are asked to contribute the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels.

    • Picard: Curiouser and curiouser...
      Quoting from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The complete line is, "Curiouser and curiouser!" Cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English). "Now I'm opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!"