ST:TNG Treadmill Review #15: Evolution

Season 3 Episode 1
Original airdate: September 23, 1989

Netflix Synopsis

The Enterprise is carrying an eminent scientist, Dr. Paul Stubbs, to the site of a binary star where they are expecting a massive stellar explosion.

IMDb Synopsis

Wesley’s latest science project escapes the lab, threatening the Enterprise and an eminent scientist’s life-long project.

My Brief Review

And we’re back! The production has clearly been infused with some fresh cash, the guild writers are back, as is Dr. Beverly Crusher, and the quality is back… at least in comparison to the season 2 finale.

Once again I’m sharing both the Netflix and IMDb synopses, since this seems to be one of those episodes where whoever wrote the Netflix summary only watched the cold open.

The main story here is some “nanites” (nano-robots) Wesley was experimenting with for a school project, that escape, learn to work together, self-replicate by… well… eating parts of the ship’s computer, and gain sentience. They communicate through Data, work out their conflict with Dr. Stubbs, and are given a planet (not shown) on which to continue their evolution.

This has the makings of a great Star Trek movie. Or a spinoff series. Unfortunately, it is way too much for a single standalone episode. Too many questions are left unanswered. Too many implications left unconsidered. And Dr. Stubbs is yet another über-genius asshole, whose hubris nearly destroys everything.

This episode kept my attention, but it left me unsatisfied.

Memorable Moment

Brent Spiner is at his acting best when he’s playing Data or, in this case, even more primitive robots. He’s a big ham any time he is given a more human role. But he’s great here in the scene where he gives voice to the nanites.

Crew Rando

Uh… let’s go with the helmsman who is quickly dismissed by Riker at the beginning of the episode, after Wesley arrives late for his shift having fallen asleep in the lab… which is how the nanites got out and infected the ship. Maybe they’d be better off leaving “Crewman #1” (as he’s credited) at the helm.

Distance Rating: 5K

IMDb score: 6.6/10