Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 2 Episode 7

Unnatural Selection

4
Aired Unknown Jan 30, 1989 on CBS
6.6
out of 10
User Rating
225 votes
11

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Stardate: 42494.8 A mysterious hyper-aging sickness kills the crew of a Federation cargo ship, and Dr. Pulaski must race against time to find a cure.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Illegal Research

    6.5
    So I was under the impression that Genetic Engineering was forbidden by Starfleet. Not just "please don't do it". More like, we will put you in prison FOREVER. And yet, no one seems shocked when they find out what's going on at the Darwin Colony.



    Deep Space Nine has several genetically engineered characters. All of them are either in prison or hiding from the law. On Enterprise, they make it very clear that genetic engineering is illegal. Sure, those shows all were written long after this episode. But at the very least, I'd expect the writers should have remembered Space Seed and Khan and made at least some reference to genetic engineering being illegal / morally questionable / frowned upon. At least some mention of a major historical issue in the Star Trek universe.



    It also seems odd that you'd name the colony after Darwin. Genetic Engineering seems a bit antithetical to his research.



    The Transporter hijinks at the end are absolutely ridiculous. If you can do what they did, there are a variety of unintended things you can do. Send Doctor McCoy through the Transporter using DNA from 40 years ago. Suddenly, he's young again. Somebody gets sick, just send them through using pre-illness DNA. Someone dies, send their body through using pre-death DNA. Picard gets stabbed in the heart by another Nausicaan, send him through using DNA from when he first joined Starfleet Academy. Now he's 20 and has no heart problems at all.



    It was still a good episode. Though because of my near-hatred for Pulaski, I couldn't give it a good score.moreless
  • A genetic mutation on an experimental colony spreads a rapid aging disease.

    6.0
    This is the first big Pulaski episode; it falls a bit flat. The episode is sort of a remake of the original Star Trek series episode "The Deadly Years", but without the same drama, because we haven't had enough time to become close enough to Pulaski to care if she dies. The episode plods along, with some interesting things here and some dull things there, but ultimately doesn't have too much to say other than to be wary of thinking you're smarter than you are. It certainly doesn't do any favors for Dr. Pulaski, who doesn't seem to be bonding with her fellow Enterprise crewmembers and seems more like an outsider here than ever. On the other hand, Colm Meaney's character, which until this point had been more or less an extra, gets a name (O'Brien), a job (Transporter Chief), and more of a defined personality.moreless
  • Filming this episode was the highlight of my life.

    10
    I know that "highlight" of my life might be a bit overstated but I grew up on Star Trek. My father was a United Airlines Pilot and I related to Capt. Kirk...He reminded me of my father. I got the opportunity to audition for Star Trek TNG and I was overwhelmed. I was selected to play the 12 year old "Genetically Perfect" Child when I was 22. I almost got my SAG card from this episode but the took away the only line that I had because I was telepathic. It really didn't make any sense that I would have any speaking parts. Working with the cast and crew on TNG was incredible. I was a bit part but I was treated as family. I was welcomed by consumate professionals and treated with respect. I will always have a soft spot for Paramount Studios, Star Trek and the whole crew. Of particular mention is Richard Arnold who was a very hard working individual who made sure that consistency was accounted for with a very complex show. For instance. There was a problem with episode order and Dr. Pulaski who NEVER took a transporter before used a transporter in an episode that was supposed to be before unnatural selection so they changed the order. Richard, if you ever read this...find me in Seattle. Nursegeorge@earthlink.netmoreless
  • Absolutely brilliant, and an exmaple of HOW to rewrite old stories. A re-write of the original series' "The Deadly Years", yes, yet ties up loose ends in ways the original story never had.moreless

    9.1
    Everyone knows this is a re-use of a original Trek script. So was "The Naked Now", but in the case of "Unnatural Selection", they get everything right:



    * Pulaski's humanity and background is fleshed out

    * The cause of the rapid aging was well thought out, especially the resolution to the doctor's infection.

    * The battle of wits between Pulaski and Picard, combined with snippets and scenes showing how each character complements the other, only shows how much better off this series was with Pulaski.

    * Pulaski knows how to take risks. (Compare to Dr Crusher in "Ethics" for a clear comparison; Pulaski wins, hands down, for ethical reasoning.)

    * The drama. Not soap opera, but drama. Especially given this episode having its roots from a TOS episode, one wouldn't know it, given the gravitas of the actors involved. Maybe the fact they re-used an old concept can be bothersome. I won't deny that. But I'd still say, give this one a chance. It's exciting, and may I say it's aged well. :)moreless
  • The plot is only so-so, and seems like a re-make of the original series episode 'The Deadly Years', but at least it goes some way to humanising Dr Pulaski

    5.0
    Diseases, diseases, diseases. There ain't nothing but diseases in TNG's first couple of seasons. By now it's already a huge cliche and this isn't in danger of being considered among TNG's more riveting instalments. It's all quite by-the-numbers and the disease itself (rapid aging) isnt all that interesting or original. Still, the episode goes some way to rehabilitating Pulaski, and making her a slightly more sympathetic character, without dulling her edge. At the very least, she's not being a total biatch to Data any more, which shows some progress.



    Alas, the episode is resolved with some magical transporter trickery and ultimately the plot amounts to very little. I also found it quite offensive the way Pulaski refers to the way that necessary 'sacrifices' must be made to science and that the crew of the Lantree were such sacrifices. I'm sure that will be very comforting to their families and loved ones. Not. Her remarks just seemed callous and muddled, perhaps an attempt to give the episode some kind of moral or philosophical depth that it just doesnt possess.



    Cool to read the review on here by the guy who played the telepathic boy! Awesome. He was darn cute as well!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

Patricia Smith

Patricia Smith

Dr. Sara Kingsley

Guest Star

J. Patrick McNamara

J. Patrick McNamara

Captain Tagget

Guest Star

Scott Trost

Scott Trost

Transporter Ensign

Guest Star

Colm Meaney

Colm Meaney

Miles O'Brien

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (2)

    • At the end of the episode when the crew on the bridge was standing paying their respects (including Wesley), Riker tells Wesley to enter a new course. You can hear the course being laid immediately following the order. It would have taken at least a few seconds to lay in the course as Wesley would have to sit back down at his console.

    • Trivia: This episode marks the first time the character played by Colm Meaney is addressed by his name and correct rank - Chief O'Brien. However, he is still shown wearing lieutenant's pips.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Picard: And Doctor, God knows I'm not one to discourage input, but I would appreciate it if you'd let me finish my sentences once in a while.

  • NOTES (0)

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

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