Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 2 Episode 18

Up The Long Ladder

Aired Unknown May 22, 1989 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (6)

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out of 10
216 votes
  • Yes, this is the notorious 'planet of the Irish stereotypes', a perfect companion piece of season seven's equally bad 'planet of the Scottish stereotypes'. In a word: bleh!

    In a few more words:

    This is a wildly uneven episode that seeks to balance humour with drama and romance...and it fails quite miserably, simply because the humour is too way forced, the drama is undermined by the hackneyed premise and poor execution and the 'romance' is just utterly pointless and quite inappropriate.

    I'm not going to say much about the planet of the Irish stereotypes, because I'm sure it's all been said before. But geez, whose idea was this? I could complain about this in detail, but I won't. Suffice to say, the stereotypes are not only cringe-worthy but indicate extremeley lazy, miscalculated writing. Danilo, the leader of the Bringloidi is just a characature pure and simple and the rest of them, including his daughter Brenna get annoying very quickly.

    And as for the Riker/Brenna romance? Shouldn't the Prime Directive's law of non-interference somehow apply to Starfleet officers deciding to have casual sex with people from other planets? Well, if it doesn't, it should! Sure, the Bringloidi are human, but I can still think of 100 reasons why it is inadvisable for Riker (or any other crew member) to allow their libidos to run unchecked. Shouldn't there be some kind of Starfleet protocol against such entangelements? Maybe I'm just annoyed because the Riker/Brenna romance felt so gratuitous, forced and unnecessary. Like so much else in this episode (such as Worf's illness at the start of the episode) it felt like padding.

    The episode gets a little more interesting when the crew encounter a sister colony comprised of clones and there are some interesting issues raised regarding the forced extraction of DNA from Riker and Pulaski. But any serious, insightful debate is quickly muted in favour of the ultra-simplistic conclusion of getting the two colonies to come together and interbreed. A clever, insightful, thought-provoking solution? Not in the slightest.

    This is one to avoid. At the time this episode was produced the show was evidently affected by a writer's strike. The writers obviously hadn't stopped writing by this point, but one thing was for sure: with this episode they'd clearly decided to stop writing anything decent.