Season 3 Episode 11
Original airdate: January 6, 1990
Investigating a planet applying for membership into the Federation, the crew of the Enterprise finds a group of inhabitants who used to be soldiers.
My Brief Review
Why, it’s Zefram Cochrane (James Cromwell), inventor of the warp engine! Oops, no, it’s Prime Minister Nayrok, of a planet whose inhabitants look exactly like humans. (I always find it interesting when Star Trek doesn’t even put weird nose ridges on alien species. Budget? Laziness? Some pseudo-explanation about a common ancestor seeding humanoid species all across the galaxy?)
Anyway… this is another great episode. The planet applying for Federation membership has a dark secret: in its earlier period of wars, it programmed some volunteers as super-soldiers without letting them know they’d never be themselves again. Instead, they’re forced to live on an off-world penal colony because they’re deemed too dangerous to rejoin mainstream society.
And the escapee certainly is dangerous… but only when threatened. That’s how he’s programmed. After he makes a daring and shrewd escape from the Enterprise (including breaking free of a transporter beam!), Picard and the away team confront the Prime Minister with the fact that he’ll have to make peace with his own veterans before his planet can be considered for membership in the Federation.
As some of the reviewers on IMDb noted, this episode is a pretty direct reference to the struggles of Vietnam War veterans and the lack of support they received from the government on their return.
Yeah… that whole breaking-free-of-a-transporter-beam thing. How’d he do that???
Several, but they’re too rando to really pay attention to. Did I mention that James Cromwell is in this episode?
Distance Rating: 6K
IMDb score: 7.5/10