Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode Guide - Season 6

In 1992, Star Trek: The Next Generation heading in to season 6 – while another show called Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was about to launch (so to speak) its initial episodes. This expansion of the ST universe resulted in a few changes for the flagship enterprise (sort of) for TNG.

Among these were definitely a more somber tone for the series in general, as well as more personal-type of storytelling, as opposed to the cosmic politics and ruling-class machinations of the Klingon civil war story arc.

Season six also plays as a bit of a “greatest hits” compilation at times. Returning to the Enterprise to take over an episode or two are Lt. Barclay, Q, Alexander Son of Worf, sentient hologram Moriarty and Klingon badass Gowron. Crossing over from Deep Space Nine is Dr. Bashir, and beaming in (literally) from the original Enterprise crew is Montgomery Scott.

1. Time's Arrow, Part II – The time-travel romp concludes in satisfying enough, though not particularly deep, fashion. The crew gets some funny bits as fish out of water in the 1890s and Lt. Commander Data saves the day while literally getting his head blown off. Minus points for Jerry Hardin’s Mark Twain, which descends into cartoonishness with a one-note, nearly shrill interpretation. ***

2. Realm of Fear – Lt. Reginald Barclay, the timidest dude ever to serve on a starship (how did this guy get through Starfleet Academy, anyway…?), is also afraid of transporters. While using one in routine fashion, he sees strange worm-like beings living in the transporter stream – or are they merely hallucinations…? ***

3. Man of the People – As a Lumerian ambassador and his posse are en route to a negotiation, said ambassador’s aged wife dies. He then gets with Troi, who begins acting wantonly and dangerously before beginning to age rapidly. **

4. Relics – Montgomery Scott of the Enterprise (repeat after me: No bloody A, B, C or D) is found within a repeating transporter signal near a crash site on a Dyson sphere. The Enterprise becomes trapped in the sphere, a ridiculous feat of engineering that houses an entire solar system in order to exploit all possible energy. Despite knowledge a century behind the times, Scotty finds his inner miracle worker once again … ***

5. Schisms – Wait a minute … an alien abduction story in a series set aboard a starship? Come on, now. *

6. True Q – Everyone’s favorite otherly-dimensional trickster is back on the Enterprise, this time revealing that a newly boarded intern is in actuality a member of the Q. And she’s hot for Wesley Crusher. This subplots may or may not be related. ***

7. Rascals – Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Ensign Ro Laren, Keiko O’Brien and Guinan are magically turned into children via a transporter accident (no, really) – and then the ship is taken by Ferengi pirates. Episodes of this sort within any TV series depend on the humor value of the cute kiddoes; there just ain’t much here. *

8. A Fistful of Datas – Some neat use of the Holodeck in this episode, plus much chance for Brent Spiner to flex the ol’ thespiary muscles for our amusement. Lt. Commander Worf, his son Alexander and Counselor Troi spend some quality time playing out a Western on the holodeck when LaForge and Data’as experiments go awry, causing the holodeck to – get this – malfunction. ****

9. The Quality of Life – Mining tools called Exocomps have become sentient, thereby inspiring Data to lead a quasi-worker’s revolution against mining interests who would exploit them. **

10. Chain of Command, Part I – This midseason 2-parter starts intriguing enough, with Picard sent on an undercover mission in Cardassian territory, but it’s the completely different concluding episode that everyone remembers. ****

11. Chain of Command, Part II – Regarded as a class, despite the extremely dark storyline and dependence mostly on a conversation between torturer and tortured reminiscent of the final act of George Orwell’s 1984. But maybe that’s what does it: Patrick Stewart and David Warner, old Royal Shakespeare Company comrades, are incredible, and the dialogue they’re given is amazing. Even when Warner’s Cardassian is explaining his culturally-relative normal belief in racism to his daughter, the viewer cannot take his/her eyes off. *****

12. Ship in a Bottle – The sentient Moriarty character again takes over the holodeck and finds a way to manipulate the Enterprise itself. A couple of neat twists, including the capping scenes, keep things interesting. ***

13. Aquiel – One of the primary rules of The Next Generation is this: LaForge Does Not Get Any. Apparently by season six, ol’ Geordi still hasn’t learned this fundamental fact and herein gets interested in the title character, who seemingly offs a traveling companion shortly after getting aboard. She’s exonerated but, when given an offer to join the Enterprise crew by LaForge, she turns him down. **

14. Face of the Enemy – Counselor Troi is given an undercover assignment aboard a Romulan vessel, but stealing the show from the go by Commander Toreth, who gets some fantastic dialogue vis-à-vis Romulan culture and what it’s like to serve the Empire. Probably the best Troi-centric episode. ****

15. Tapestry – Nearly an entire episode primarily devoted to banter between Picard and Q? Yes, please! In this episode, Q offers to help Picard correct foolish mistakes he made in the past, once again finding that any gift from Q is a double-edged sword at very best. *****

16. Birthright, Part I – Crossover episode! Well, sort of. While docked at Deep Space Nine, Dr. Bashir assists LaForge and Data in investigating a mysterious bit of hardware and Data’s “dreams.” In a parallel plot line, one Jaglom Shrek provides Worf with the location of a Romulan base where his father is held captive. ***

17. Birthright, Part II – Definitely one for Klingon fans. In the prison camp, Worf finds two generations’ worth of Klingons, including a younger generation which knows nothing of Klingon culture, traditions, bloodlust, etc. Worf teaches a bit but more importantly leads a peaceful (!) revolt against their Romulan taskmasters. ***

18. Starship Mine – An episode that’s equal parts funny and suspenseful. While attempting to escape a diplomatic meeting, Picard unwittingly stumbles upon a plot to plunder the Enterprise. Whether it’s Data developing a “small talk subroutine” or Picard outwitting the bad guys while racing against time as a deadly baryon sweep sub-atomically cleans the Enterprise, this is good stuff. ****

19. Lessons – Schmaltz reported dead ahead red alert, shields up! Picard falls for an attractive Lt. Commander who almost becomes a Red Shirt, but survives a dangerous away mission long enough to bid Picard adieu and leave the ship. Pretty pointless. *

20. The Chase – In a case of unofficial canon becoming official canon, several prominent Alpha Quadrant races, including the humans lead by an archaeology enthusiast Picard, learn something about their ancestry thanks to a stunning find. ***

21. Frame of Mind – Commander Riker’s dark head trip: Kinda like “Future Imperfect” but more mysterious and creepy. Riker cannot tell whether he’s in a play about a mental patient, *is* a mental patient and/or has awoken some 20 years in the future. ****

22. Suspicions – Dr. Crusher hosts a test demonstration of a new shield technology by a Ferengi scientist. When the first test pilot, Jo'Bril, dies due to a test flight, Dr. Crusher plays detective in hopes of clearing her friend’s name of accusations of murder. A pretty decent detective story with a clever twist or two. ***

23. Rightful Heir – At a Klingon holy site, Worf meets with a warrior resembling and claiming to be the legendary Kahless. ***

24. Second Chances – Season 6 of The Next Generation may definitely be considered the greatest season’s worth of transporter-malfunction episodes – until Voyager, when the damn things never seemed to work. In this one, a malfunction results in a duplicate Riker aboard the Enterprise, which certainly gets Troi thinking along interesting lines … *

25. Timescape – An away mission finds itself in an area of space in which time moves at varied rates in different areas. With time frozen from their perspective as an away team, Picard, Data and LaForge note what appears to be a Romulan ship firing a lethal blow at the Enterprise. A wacky time paradox sorta episode, even by ST:TNG standards. ****

26. Descent, Part I – After Stephen Hawking smokes Data, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein in a hand of holodeck poker, an away team is accosted by a guerilla army of Borg; Data, apparently feeling anger, kills one. Another attack happens in which a Borg individual manipulates Data’s emotions again. Ultimately, an away team of Picard, LaForge and Troi, in a quest for Data on an uninhabited planet, is captured by the Borg and their leader, Lore. ****