Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 1 Episode 17

When The Bough Breaks

Aired Unknown Feb 15, 1988 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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out of 10
246 votes
  • A Sterile Review...

    Another example of a good concept with an exceedingly poor execution. A lost planet of people hidden behind a cloak that made its inhabitants and life vulnerable to solar radiation was a bit of a stretch. The fact that they were ignorant to the effects of this radiation for hundreds of years, their natural resources gone, even as it was commented the fish all died hundreds of years before the show didn't alarm ANYONE on the planet? Really?

    The story was incredibly poor, how the Enterprise just happenstance to be led to this planet that only wanted to steal their children. Troi's empathy delivered a supreme understatement when she said "I sense that they want something, but they're afraid we might not part with it." I know their intents weren't devious, but the consideration of kidnapping, taking their own people should have given off more than such a vague impression. It recovered somewhat, allowing Wes and the other children to sort of grow on the audience, I enjoyed that they all had their own talents and screen time, it was just a flaw of bad writing and horribly underdeveloped ideas. Such as Data and Riker beaming over to the planet as they took Picard and Crusher, the scene surmised that the teleporter weakened their shields, but all throughout the episode they were trying to find ways of transporter to beam through small variations in their shield kind of fell out the window.
  • Kidnapped!....

    In one of the more ridiculous first season episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Enterprise bumps into a planet whose population cannot have children. This planet proceeds to kidnap a handful of the ship's children and threatens to launch the Enterprise so far away from home that it will be impossible to get back home if they do not comply. The story is not completely horrible on paper, but you can already see where this is going: Wesley saves the day again! Holy crap is this "Star Trek: The Wesley Crusher Chronicles"? No! Enough already! We get it, he is a smart kid - but the producers did not seem to get what we also get: he is irritating!

    But Wesley is hardly the worst part of the episode: the acting is atrocious. All the supporting cast makes you laugh - when children suddenly are transported off the planet in front of their parents, the parents make the dumbest facial expressions; when the people on the planet do not want to give up the children you are laughing at their facial expressions too; and so on and so forth. "When The Bough Breaks" is one of the worst Next Generation episodes from season one.
  • Urgh!!!!

    The only things of note in this episode were the subject matter and the performance of the kids. I found the episode pointless in the grand scheme of things. Nothing happened really, the all powerful beings get duped by Beverley handing over a medical scanner to Wesley - this after they managed to telenap/kidport the children in the first place!

    Dialogue was poor because of the poor scope of the plot and you wont feel anything throughout the 50mins.

    Even the ending was anticlimatic. Definitely one of the worst examples, even from a poor season 1.

    Best stay away from this one.
  • At the end of the day, this is forgettable (and plot hole-ridden) stuff

    Hmmm. 'When the Bough Breaks' certainly isn't the worst episode of TNG's first season, but that's hardly a glowing recommendation. There are a couple of interesting ideas thrown into the mix here, but it's undermined by a patchy, threadbare script and a generally lacklustre execution.

    In short, I wasn't particularly convinced by any of this - not by the Aldeans plight, or their plan to steal a mere six children in order to repopulate their planet (did they really think that one through??). The reactions of both the children and parents didn't ring true either. I didn't feel a single spark of emotion, only the occasional cack-handed attempts at manipulating the audience with the occasional 'cutesy' moment.

    Having said that, Trek has a bad reputation when it comes to episodes heavily featuring children. Mercifully the kids weren't too annoying, so I guess that's one thing the episode has going in its favour.
  • Not the weakest episode of the 1st season, but it's pretty bad. Sadly for Wil Wheaton, this is also one of Wesley's least annoying 1st season appearances.

    Again, an interesting concept was botched by the 1st season writers. The plot proceeds at a glacial pace and at no point are we actually worried, nor do we actually care, what happens to the Enterprise's children.

    This is one of the rare cases where Wesley Crusher's role as a hero actually makes sense -- instead of being some sort of misunderstood teenage superman, he's just the oldest of a bunch of scared kids.

    The music in the 1st season of Star Trek deserves plenty of derision, but it was especially annoying in this episode during the "cutesy" sequences.

    Some other random notes:

    1) Apparently in the future 8 year olds will be learning calculus

    2) The writers couldn't resist sticking in a "topical" reference to the Ozone Layer -- oh, the late 80s!

    3) Troi's line near the end, saying "We know they'll make good parents!" -- HUH? Were you watching the same episode I was?
  • The sterile people of Aldea kidnap several of the children from the Enterprise.

    This episode, centering on the ship's children, one of the noteworthy differences between the original Enterprise and this reincarnation, is a weak episode, but thankfully much better than "And the Children Shall Lead" from the original series. It and explores some interesting ideas and has a bittersweet, poignant quality to it, and the acting from the kids (including Wil Wheaton) isn't too bad. Unfortunately, the episode proceeds at a glacial pace, and the premise driving the plot is a bit silly when you try to think it through. This is one of those episodes to be watched once and then never again.
  • The “Enterprise” stumbles across a world thought to be only a fantasy. The world known as Aldea is hidden from outerspace using a cloaking device. Aldea is a world of dreams all wishes and desires can be fulfilled here.

    The “Enterprise” stumbles across a world thought to be only a fantasy. The world known as Aldea is hidden from outerspace using a cloaking device. Aldea is a world of dreams all wishes and desires can be fulfilled here. The Aldeans allowed for their world to be found by the “Enterprise. The Aldeans are interested in the children on the “Enterprise”. They goes as far as abducting the children. It seems the Aldeans can’t have children. Dr Krusher finds the cause. I do not want to ruin the plot. Watch this episode. I rate it a 8.4
  • Humanoids kidnap children from the Enterprise. The humanoid's have a shield that is causing genetic damage to their reproductive systems. There future is threatened so they make an unfair deal with Pickard. Crusher and Picard save the day.

    This episode was OK. It was interesting to see two people who would go on to play a significant role in the X-Files be a part of this episode: Jerry Hardin, who would play Deep Throat in seasons 1 through 3 of X-Files; and Kim Manners who would direct a good portion of the X-Files episodes.

    I'm not a big fan of tear-jerking save-the-children stories. The emotional music got a little annoying, too. Still, the episode held my interest for the while.

    Wil Wheaton gets a lot of screen time in this one. If you're a fan of him, this would be a good episode to watch.
  • Not the best, but an interesting story nontheless.

    The children of the enterprise are kidnapped by a race of people, because they can't have children of their own. It is an interesting premise, and the episode is pretty interesting as well. It is one of the first episodes in the series that lets you sympathize with the villian. Stories where you can sympathize with the villian are very good in my opinion. You almost feel sorry for what the kidnappers are going through. This episode also shows a softer side of the Captain, and developes his character regarding his fear of children. We also get to see him be a slight father figure in some scenes. It's cute, but corny. Overall a not bad episode, worth watching.
  • Nice, but in the end it will be forgotten.

    People who have their planet cloaked, unable to have kids, steal the children of the Enterprise to raise them and have them start a new generation for the future. With their great technology, they could throw off the Enterprise into deep space, so the crew must find a way to get back their children without being thrown off into deep space.

    I admit the plot seems interesting and all, but in the end it will be forgotten after you watch tons of really good episodes throughout the later seasons and this one will just not matter for you. It's good in it's own way but can't survive against other greats. So I won't recommend it.

    I give this episode 2 stars out of 5 (4.0 on