Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 3 Episode 4

Who Watches The Watchers

Aired Unknown Oct 16, 1989 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (6)

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out of 10
269 votes
  • Awesome episode showing the difficulty of maintain the prime directive

    *** Spoilers ahead ***

    One of my alltime favourite episodes. Well with Sam Wise in it, could it have been anything else?

    The basic premise of the plot centers around the Prime Directive and the harm interference can cause if it is not adhered to accidently or otherwise. It also draws upon a first contact situation between two races with vastly differing techological advances. This leads to a a clash of cultures between one that has recently rejected the notion of dieties and one that is advanced enough to view religion with skeptism.

    A scientific expedition, is observing a pre-warp civilisation from a clandestine base. From the off, we are drawn into the story as an explosion causes the camouflaging shield of the outpost to fail. Inevitably this draws a number of the natives towards the outpost to investigate the gleaming reflection the base causes against the bright sun.

    Then a sequence of predictable events where the natives witness the power of the Enterprise crew and their "magic" leads to a scene where Ray Wise's character is beamed onto the Enterprise to save his life, but sees the "all powerful" being The Picard before having his memory wiped.
    His daughter having seen the effects of 24th century technology returns to warn her village. Her father then returns and communicates his vision that he was saved by a God-like entity, thus generating the sort of hysteria one could expect from such a first contact.

    More potentially-catastrophic events occur throughout the episode which increase the stakes by leaps and bounds as one of the scientists is found by the natives and held to appease The Picard. Troi and Riker descend incognito to attempt a rescue and assess the damage that has been caused by the revelation of the scientific outpout.

    Once the situation is serious enough when Troi gets accosed and a proposal to sacrifice her is made, the village elder is brought onboard to attempt to show her that they are not gods. Picard predictably fails until one of the research party dies.

    This leads to a life threatening situation for Picard as he fails to convince even the most vehrmently fanatical of followers (Wise) that he is not one of their spirit gods.

    An execellent well paced episode, that provides an excellent distraction from the usual conflict/ resolution/ mystery solving episodes that make up the bulk of ST plot devices. Wise is great, but in truth all the supporting actors make this a very special episode. In my eyes a classic story.
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