Saturday, April 27, 2019

Future Imperfect

TNG Season 4 Episode 8
Air Date: November 12th, 1990

On Cmdr. Riker's birthday, he goes on an away mission on Alpha Onias III that goes wrong. The away team encounters some kind of toxic gas that knocks them out. They get transported away before they die. When Cmdr. Riker wakes up, it is 16 years later. He is captain of the Enterprise. Doctor Crusher explains that while he was on the Alpha Onias III he picked up a parasite that when activated erases all memory up the point the parasite infects the body. In this case, Captain Riker loses 16 years.

Data is his first officer and he has a son, a teenager named Jean-Luc. Only things start seeming odd. He notices a picture of Jean-Luc and his mother. His mother is Minuet, a holodeck character from Season 1. He challenges the Romulans that were guests on the Enterprise and even Admiral Picard himself. Then he discovers that he is on a Romulan base and that they were simulating everything trying to get Federation secrets from him.

When they take him to his cell, he meets a boy that was also in Klingon custody. It is Jean-Luc. Riker still doesn't believe it and realizes Jean-Luc, now going by Ethan is the key. Turns out his people were attacked and he is the last surviving member. His mother hid him with simulation equipment to keep him entertained, only it eventually still gets boring. He was hoping that Riker would be a friend for him. Riker offers to take him to the Enterprise and he agrees.

In this episode we get a peek into a possible future of the Federation. Some things were very plausible and attention to detail was really good. The simulation software had to speculate how things would change. Things as subtle as the comm badge changing. Instead of being the Starfleet symbol with an oval behind it, the comm badge itself contains the person's rank. In the present, the rank is displayed by pips on the collar.


"I'm running a level 1 diagnostic." - Cmdr. La Forge
"For thirty hours? It would never take you more than four. You're incapable of that level of incompetence, Mr. La Forge!" - Captain Riker

"Captain, perhaps it would be best if we discussed this" - Admiral Picard
"Shut up!" - Captain Riker
"I beg your pardon?" - Admiral Picard
"I said, shut up. As in close your mouth and stop talking." - Captain Riker
"Will, I sense how upset you are. You're angry and impatient." - Troi
"Deanna, back off. Well, would anyone else like to speak up? Or shall we end this charade?" - Captain Riker
"As you wish, Commander Riker." - Tomalak

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