Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode Guide - Season 7

As Star Trek: The Next Generation was set to wrap the entire series, season 7 is loaded with a sense of finality, final appearances, truly life-changing seasons and the like. As in season 6, the stories of seasons 7 feel smaller in scope and scale.

In general, season 7 is a bit uneven in quality as TNG itself feels to be running out of gas at the end of a “continuing mission.” A few highlights are dotted throughout and the series certainly goes out on a high, thanks to perhaps the season’s two strongest scripts with “Preemptive Strike” and “All Good Things.” Indeed, the latter is so often cited as fan favorite and/or TNG classic, the tendency of the four movies with this crew to essentially keep carrying on seems a little off…

1. Descent, Part II – The Borg on the planet are revealed to be part of a splinter group that was accidentally created when Hugh returned to the collective from the Enterprise. Lore has helped them to survive and wants Data to join his merry band, unwillingly if necessary: Lore has control over Data’s emotions. Demanding that Data torture Geordi and kill Picard proves to be a bit too much, and lots of Borgs fight each other hand-to-hand, thus hitting a new plateau of wussiness. Ultimately, Lore is deactivated and never to be seen again, whereas he might have been very (very!) useful in Star Trek: Nemesis. ***

2. Liaisons – Now here’s a one-liner of an episode for you: The Iyaarans are experiential learners, passively-aggressively observing emotional responses of alien species and role-playing to compile information. In this case, the guinea pigs are Worf, Troi and Picard. Compelling mysteries and occasional hijinks abound. ****

3. Interface – A grab bag of Star Trek tropes. Realizing they haven’t messed with Geordi’s VISOR in a while, he, Dr. Crusher and Data decide to do so. Though the idea to piggybacking technology is highly dangerous in this case, LaForge uses it anyway to communicate with his mother, who’s not what she seems -but rather a disembodied gaseous alien. **

4. Gambit, Part I – Picard fakes his own death in order to work undercover posing as a member of a mercenary band that had ransacked a Romulan archaeological site. Said mercenaries kill a Red Shirt, capture Riker, and it only gets wackier from there … ****

5. Gambit, Part II – Riker gets the inside dope on what the mercenaries sought when pillaging the site, revealing that they’ve been tasked with retrieving an ancient Vulcan weapon. Picard and Data soon have enough of these minor-league players and settle everyone’s hash. ***

6. Phantasms – Data has some incredibly trippy and mysterious dreams – suddenly, from out of nowhere, he stabs Counselor Troi. Suspenseful and bizarre; Patrick Stewart directed, so basically there’s nothing he can’t do. ****

7. Dark Page – Regardless of feelings about Lwaxana Troi, Star Trek Guide believes we can all agree that she should never be played for drama. Yet, this episode does exactly that and retros a whole lot of unbelievable extraneous garbage into both Trois’ backstories. *

8. Attached – Picard and Dr. Crusher are abducted while transporting and imprisoned on charges of suspected espionage. They’ve also been subjected to mutual telepathy and find that their thoughts are mostly of one another. (Sigh.) **

9. Force of Nature – A rather one-note parable for environmentalism: Apparently, warp drive is polluting spacetime. **

10. Inheritance – A woman introducing herself as Mrs. Julianna Soong boards the Enterprise. She acts as a mother figure to Data until the Enterprise folks realize – all together now – that she’s not all that she seems … ***

11. Parallels – Head trip for Worf: Upon returning to the Enterprise, he finds himself slowly moving through alternate realities, with Enterprise crewmates and the universe itself changing radically at random. ****

12. The Pegasus – Right, time for a Federation conspiracy episode! Riker’s loyalties are divided when Picard checks out the circumstances regarding the destruction of the Pegasus, as commanded by Riker’s former captain. And somehwere in here, Riker gets a chance to screw around on the holodeck and ruin the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. ***

13. Homeward – Worf’s human foster brother is introduced and then immediately completely forgotten about in “Homeward.” Federation anthropologist Nikolai Rozhenko seeks to save a village worth of Stone Age-level humanoids from the imminent destruction of their planet, which the Enterprise crew manage by leaving the people in the holodeck while transporting them to another planet. ***

14. Sub Rosa – Really? A ghost story in a science-fiction series? Come on… *

15. Lower Decks – The Red Shirts are at the forefront in this episode focusing on five Starfleet greenhorns (well, four Starfleet greenhorns and one waiter) looking to get promoted in the ranks. ***

16. Thine Own Self – Data loses his memory and unwittingly become part of a pre-industrial culture. In a subplot that’s well more interesting than it should be, Troi studies up on becoming a bridge officer (just in time to take the helm in Star Trek: Generations and help wreck the ship…) ****

17. Masks – Possession time! This time it’s Data, who’s taken over by an extinct civilization that can impringe its information in the android’s positronic net. ***

18. Eye of the Beholder – It’s a case of … MURDER again on the Enterprise as the investigation of a suicide onboard the ship leads to the discovery of a long-ago homicide. ***

19. Genesis – Look, any time the words “evolution” or “devolution” appear in the synopsis of a Star Trek episode, that’s essentially a big STAY AWAY label (we’re looking at you, Tom Paris and Threshold!); “Genesis” is no exception whatsoever, as the Enterprise crew turns into various animals and … o, it’s ridiculous. 0

20. Journey’s End – a.k.a. Wesley’s End. A surprisingly bitchy Wesley visits the Enterprise after leaving the Enterprise. The Traveler returns to assist him and the Enterprise crew, who are in charge of relocating denizens of a planet under attack by Cardassians. (It’s gotta be Chakotay’s people, right?) ***

21. Firstborn – Squeezing as much out of the Alexander character as possible, here’s an episode with Worf trying to make the boy more appreciative of his Klingon cultural heritage. **

22. Bloodlines – After a hasty viewing of Star Treks II and III, Cardassian baddie Daimon Bok seeks to exact revenge on Picard by killing the son he never knew he had. Not all is as it seems, etc. etc. **

23. Emergence – Very reminiscent of “Phatasms” in tone and style, “Emergence” is unfortunately made all the more insipid by involving a malfunctioning holodeck as primary to the plot. Said plot involves the Enterprise itself gaining sentience, creating an offspring and then immediately becoming non-sentient again. Silly, really. *

24. Preemptive Strike – Despite serious misgivings and hints of conflicting loyalty, Picard nevertheless sends Ensign Ro on a difficult assignment involving terrorists. Nicely dramatically plotted, incredibly well acted and meticulously directed. ****

25. All Good Things – Fantastic stuff that wraps seven seasons of ST:TNG beautifully with a story containing all the hallmarks of the show: A head trip, time paradoxes, Q and lots of screen time for Picard. As Picard’s consciousness shifts between three times (The Enterprise’s first mission, the present and several decades in the future), he must both convince three crews to help him stop a temporal paradox he may have created himself. By the time the Captain asserts, “Mister Data, you are a clever man – in any time period,” the pace is frenetic and fans are further on the seat’s edge since the “Best of Both Worlds” cliffhanger. The best conclusion to any Star Trek series by far. *****