Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Encounter at Farpoint redirects here; for the novelization of this episode, please see Encounter at Farpoint (novel).

Captain Jean-Luc Picard leads the crew of the USS Enterprise-D on its maiden voyage, to examine a new planetary station for trade with the Federation. On the way, they encounter Q, an omnipotent extra-dimensional being, who challenges humanity as a barbaric, inferior species. Picard and his new crew must hold off Q's challenge and solve the puzzle of Farpoint station on Deneb IV, a base that is far more than it seems to be. (Series Premiere)

Summary Edit

Act One Edit

Jean Luc Picard 2364

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

"Captain's log, Stardate 41153.7. Our destination is Planet Deneb IV, beyond which lies the great unexplored mass of the galaxy. My orders are to examine Farpoint, a starbase built there by the inhabitants of that world. Meanwhile I'm becoming better acquainted with my new command – this Galaxy-class USS Enterprise. I'm still somewhat in awe of its size and complexity. As for my crew, we are short in several key positions, most notably a first officer, but I'm informed that a highly experienced man, one Commander William Riker, will be waiting to join the ship at our Deneb IV destination."

The year is 2364. Captain Jean-Luc Picard takes command of the new starship, the Galaxy-class USS Enterprise-D, the fifth Federation ship to bear the name Enterprise. The vessel is about to embark on its first mission to Deneb IV, beyond which lies the great unexplored mass of the galaxy. Picard, in his log, notes that he is impressed with the size and complexity of the ship as he walks through the Enterprise, surveying engineering, then finally enters the bridge, manned by tactical officer Lieutenant Natasha Yar, Lieutenant Worf, Counselor Deanna Troi and Lieutenant Commander Data. Picard continues with his log, in which he reports that the ship is en route to Farpoint Station and that the ship is short in several key positions, most notably a first officer, but Picard is informed that a very experienced officer, William T. Riker, will fill the position.

Picard looking out, 2364

Captain Picard looks out at the "great, unexplored mass of the galaxy."

Picard sits at his command chair and makes an off-hand comment on how Starfleet wants the crew of the Enterprise to "snoop" around Farpoint station, to which Data makes an inquiry into the definition of the word snoop. Picard wonders how Data, a complex android with encyclopedic knowledge does not know the meaning of a basic word like "snoop". Data responds that he possibly was not designed to emulate this type of Human behavior. Picard says that it means "to spy, to sneak." Data responds, "Ah, to seek covertly, to go stealthily, to slink, slither, creep, skulk, pussyfoot, gum..." "Yes" Picard interjects, to which Data finishes, "...shoe." Suddenly, Counselor Troi senses a powerful mind. The ship then goes to red alert, with the familiar alert sound blaring through the bridge.

Q forcefield

"It registers as solid, Captain."

Then, conn officer Lieutenant Torres reports that there is something strange on his detector circuit. A large field begins to appear in front of the Enterprise, which reads as solid. Picard calls for Yar to turn off "that damned noise!" and go to yellow alert. Picard orders helm to make the ship come to a full stop. Soon after controls read full stop, a white light shines on the bridge and a humanoid emerges, dressed from 16th century Europe. Picard asks the being to identify itself. The being notes that he is called "Q" and walks around the bridge, while Torres discreetly takes a small phaser out from the bottom of his console. Q, however senses this and freezes Torres before he can fire. Q, after showing his ability, warns the crew of the Enterprise to go back to Earth or they shall most certainly die.

Act TwoEdit

"Captain's Log, supplementary. The frozen form of Lieutenant Torres has been rushed to sickbay. The question now is the incredible power of the Q being. Do we dare oppose it?"
Q Marine Corps Captain

"There are no indications that humans will ever change."

Later, Q changes into many costumes of Earth's eras, including the late 20th century (1980s) in the guise of a United States Marine Corps captain: "Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. We must go back to your world and put an end to the commies. All it takes are a few good men." Picard tells Q that that kind of nonsense is centuries behind them. Q brings up that Picard cannot deny that Humans are a dangerous, savage child race, which Picard denies, saying that Humans have made rapid progress in only a few centuries.

Q then changes again, thinking Picard and his crew will be able to identify with the period that he next embodies, that of a soldier in the late 21st century, where Q notes that Humans learned to control their militaries through drugs. The other officers, not amused with Q's behavior, attempt to make him leave, but Q keeps on heaping disapproval on Humans, noting that when they finally reached deep space, they found enemies to fight out there as well, which Q says is "the same old story all over again." Picard says that Q is the same old story they have been seeing, self-righteous beings who prosecute and judge for things they can't understand nor tolerate. Q notes that "prosecute and judge" is an interesting concept. He then begins to leave, but notes that he will be back and will proceed the way Picard suggests.

Picard, who gets many suggestions from his senior staff, orders that no stations on the ship will make audio transmissions, only print-out, in an attempt to catch Q off guard, with Picard noting, "Let's see what this Galaxy-class starship can do." Picard orders Worf to head down to engineering and have them prepare for maximum acceleration. Picard also asks Data if it is possible to perform a saucer separation at a high warp velocity. Data notes that the separation is inadvisable at any warp speed, however, it is theoretically possible, but there can be no margin for error. Worf returns from engineering, with the report that the engine room is ready, and takes his position at the helm. Picard orders "Engage", the ship turns away from Q's force field and warps away.

Q forcefield pursuit

"Hostile is now beginning to overtake us, sir!"

The entire force field collapses into a ball and heads towards the Enterprise. The object is at high warp speed, at warp 9.6, and the Enterprise increases speed accordingly. However, the object is increasing speed. Data notes that the Enterprise may be able to match the object's 9.8 warp, but at extreme risk. However, the object reaches warp 9.9 while the Enterprise is only at warp 9.5. Picard, seeing no other alternative, calls out to the entire ship, "Now hear this, printout message, urgent, all stations, all decks, prepare for emergency saucer sep." The bridge officers are shocked at this new order. Picard orders Worf to command the saucer section, while Picard commands the battle section. Worf stands up from his conn station and tells Picard, "I am a Klingon, sir. For me to seek escape when my captain goes into battle...", to which Picard bluntly overrules him and reminds him that he is a Starfleet officer. Worf grudgingly agrees. Picard, along with Yar, Troi, and Data take the bridge's emergency turbolift to the battle bridge.

Act ThreeEdit

"Captain's Log, Stardate 41153.7. Preparing to detach saucer section so that families and the majority of the ship's company can seek relative safety while the vessel's stardrive containing the battle bridge and main armaments will turn back and confront the mystery that is threatening us."
USS Enterprise-D saucer separation

Saucer separation of the Enterprise-D

The Enterprise's corridors are filled with crewmembers and families leaving the stardrive section to the saucer section. Picard, Data, Yar and Troi enter the battle bridge, with Chief Miles O'Brien manning the conn. First, Picard orders that Yar fire photon torpedoes towards the object. Yar complies and the torpedoes are away. Shortly after, Picard orders that the countdown to saucer separation begin. Data counts down, and the ship separates while at warp. The stardrive section turns around and heads towards a confrontation with Q. The stardrive section arrives to see the torpedoes hit the object, however, it has no effect, the point being that the detonation of the torpedoes masked the getaway of the saucer section. Picard asks Troi to send out a message in all languages that they surrender.

Crew in Q court

"Careful, sir - this is not an illusion or a dream."

Then, the stardrive section is soon encompassed by a sphere-shaped force field and bright white light surrounds the battle bridge. Picard, Troi, Data and Yar are taken to a World War III-style courtroom, which Troi reveals that everything that is happening is real, even the soldiers with lethal weapons. The magistrate orders everyone in the courtroom to stand as the judge enters. The judge is revealed to be Q, who charges Humanity of being a grievously savage race, to which Yar is unable to control her anger and starts to berate Q, saying that she comes from a world where a similar "court" was commonplace, and that it took people like her Starfleet comrades to save her from such atrocities. Q then freezes Yar, the same way he did to Torres. Outraged, Picard demands that Q uphold his promise that "the prisoners would not be harmed" and thaw out Yar, which he does, much to the crowd's displeasure. Picard pleads not guilty to Q's charges. Q does not take kindly to this and has two soldiers aim their weapons at Data and Troi, ordering them to push the triggers if Picard says anything other than guilty.

Act FourEdit

Picard, forced into a tight spot, admits that there is indeed evidence to support the court's contention that Humans have been savage. Therefore, he asks Q to test the crew of the Enterprise to see if this is presently true of Humans. Q is fascinated by this idea and tells Picard that the Farpoint station will be an excellent site for this test. Picard, with his crew are transported back to the battle bridge, where O'Brien has been the entire time. O'Brien claims that he has heard that Farpoint is a rather dull place but Picard hears that it might be rather interesting.

"Personal Log, Commander William Riker, Stardate 41153.7. The USS Hood has dropped me off at Farpoint Station where I await the arrival of the new USS Enterprise to which I have been assigned as first officer. Meanwhile, I've been asked to visit the Farpoint administrator's office in the old city."
Riker and apples

"...I'll be damned."

On Deneb IV, Commander William T. Riker walks to Groppler Zorn's office. Riker has just been dropped off by the USS Hood for his new assignment. He talks with Zorn for a while, and Zorn asks him if he would like a piece of fruit off of his desk. Riker looks for an apple, but cannot find one. Then, a bowl of apples suddenly shows up on Zorn's desk, which Riker swears could not have been there two seconds ago. Zorn assures him that it has been there the whole time. Riker then leaves eating the apple, while Zorn, alone in his office, says "You have been told not to do that. It will arouse their suspicion, and if that happens, we will have to punish you. We will! I promise you!"

Meanwhile, at Farpoint Station, Riker meets up at Farpoint's mall with the beautiful Dr. Beverly Crusher and her son, Wesley, who is eagerly anticipating joining the Enterprise. Riker asks Dr. Crusher if there is something useful they can do while they wait for the ship to arrive. For example Riker tells Crusher about the apple incident at Zorn's office, which Dr. Crusher dismisses as Riker attempting to pull favor with the captain, as she is shopping. She sees a purple bolt and says that gold would look great on it, then five seconds later, a gold pattern appears on the fabric.

Crushers shopping at Farpoint Station

"Isn't it remarkable they happen to have exactly what you asked for?"

Dr. Crusher later apologizes to Riker and that she looks forward to meeting Picard, which Riker wonders if she knows the captain. Wesley solemnly tells Riker that when he was a child, Picard brought his father's body back to them. Dr. Crusher notes that it was a long time ago and ends the conversation. Riker tells Wesley that he'll see him on board.

Riker then meets up with blind Starfleet officer Lieutenant Geordi La Forge, who makes an official report that the Enterprise has arrived, but with the stardrive section only and that Captain Picard has requested his presence. Riker taps his combadge and is beamed up to the Enterprise.

Act FiveEdit

Riker directs reconnect

"They say you will be doing this... manually, sir?"

Once aboard, the commander is greeted by Lieutenant Yar, who escorts him to the battle bridge. Riker arrives and is not greeted warmly by Picard, who tells him to watch the video recording of Q, so he'll know what the ship is facing. Picard leaves the bridge for the ready room and asks Riker to enter once he is done watching the recording. Riker enters and Picard asks him to perform a manual docking of the stardrive section and the saucer section, a difficult task. The saucer section enters orbit of Deneb IV, ready for reconnection. Riker asks O'Brien to adjust the pitch angle, then assures, with the stardrive's velocity being zero, that its inertia should finish the job. Riker orders the lock up of the stardrive and saucer, and thus the Enterprise is successfully reconnected.

Welcome to Enterprise

"Welcome to the Enterprise, Commander Riker."

In the ship's conference lounge, Picard discusses with Riker during an incident on the planet Altair III, when he refused to let Captain Robert DeSoto of the USS Hood beam down to the planet, seeing that a captain's life could be in danger. Picard tests him by suggesting that Riker doesn't respect a captain's authority, which Riker denies, only to state that preserving a captain's life takes priority over obeying his orders. Picard asks him if he intends to back down from that policy. Riker confidently says "No, sir." Confident in Riker's loyalty, Picard proceeds to express his discomfort with the substantial number of families and particularly children aboard the Enterprise and orders Riker's assistance in ensuring Picard project the image of geniality expected of a starship Captain, to which Riker agrees. Then, Captain Picard formally welcomes Riker on board the Enterprise and shakes his hand.

Data and Leonard McCoy

Admiral McCoy tours the Enterprise-D with Data

Riker enters the bridge of the Enterprise for the first time, when he inquires to Lt. Worf as to the location of Lieutenant Commander Data. Worf reports that Data is on special assignment, escorting an admiral around the ship, who took a shuttle to the Enterprise to inspect the new vessel's medical layout. When asked why the admiral couldn't have just beamed over instead of taking a shuttle, Worf responds, "Well, I suppose he could, sir, but the admiral is a rather... remarkable man."

Admiral McCoy and Data

"You treat her like a lady... and she'll always bring you home."

In a corridor, Admiral Leonard McCoy, conducting an inspection, claims that Data wanted his atoms scattered all over space. However, Data claims that with his age, he should not have to bother with the time and trouble of a shuttlecraft. McCoy stops walking and asks Data "What about my age?" Data apologizes, if the subject of his age bothers McCoy. "Troubles me? What so damn troublesome about not having died?!", McCoy exclaims. The admiral then asks Data just how old he thinks he is. Data reports quickly that he is 137 years old, according to Starfleet records. McCoy wonders how he can remember that so exactly. Data replies that he remembers everything he is exposed to. McCoy sarcastically says that Data may not have pointed ears, but that he sounds like a Vulcan, only to claim that the actual fact that he is an android is "almost as bad," much to Data's puzzlement over his own perception of Vulcans as an advanced and respected race. McCoy replies, "They are, they are – and damn annoying at times." While continuing to walk down the corridor, McCoy tells Data to treat the Enterprise like a lady and that she will always bring him and the crew home.

Act SixEdit

Later, on the bridge, Q appears on the Enterprise's main viewscreen and tells Picard that his time is running out. Worf reacts by pointing a phaser at him, but Picard restrains him, pointing out that he would be shooting the viewscreen instead of Q himself. Picard states that they will proceed the same regardless of Q's involvement, stating that, "If we're going to be damned, let's be damned for what we really are."

"Personal Log, Stardate 41153.8. Of the 24 hours Q allotted us to prove ourselves 11 have now passed without incident and yet I cannot forget Q's prediction that we will face some critical test."

In Picard's ready room, Riker then tells the captain about objects appearing when thought of on the planet. Picard is a bit skeptical about Riker's observations and orders Counselor Troi to join him and Riker on an away mission, which results in an awkward reunion on the bridge between Troi and Riker, her Imzadi.

Pain and loneliness

"Pain. Loneliness. Terrible loneliness. Despair."

Picard meets Zorn, but Zorn immediately becomes fearful since there is a Betazoid at the meeting. Troi assures Zorn that she is only half-Betazoid and that she can only sense strong emotions in people. She then feels a strong flood of emotions coming from somewhere, namely pain and loneliness. Picard begins to leave, and tells Zorn that the Federation may not protect Farpoint anymore, to which Zorn says that the station may become vulnerable to species like the Ferengi, to which Picard replies, "Fine, let's hope they find you as tasty as they did their past associates."

Later, on the Enterprise-D, Riker finally meets Data in the ship's holodeck, where the android is in a forest program trying to whistle Pop Goes the Weasel. He requests Data's participation in the away mission, to which Data agrees. They then proceed to discuss Data's background and his studies at the Academy, with Data admitting that, while superior to humans in many ways, he would rather be human.

Act SevenEdit

Data and Riker in holodeck forest

Riker meets Data

As Riker and Data discuss the intricacies of the holodeck technology, Wesley enters the holodeck, excited about the potential of the technology, but accidentally falls into a pond, only to be rescued singlehandedly by Data. They exit as Picard is walking down a corridor, Riker stating that he is leading an away mission down to Deneb IV, and Wesley apologetically dripping water on the corridor carpet.

Riker then leads a team to explore more of Farpoint Station, with Yar, La Forge, Data and Troi. They go underground into tunnels, where Troi again senses great despair and pain.

Wesley asks his mother to let him see the bridge. Crusher hadn't met Picard since her husband died, and goes with Wesley to see him on the bridge. Taken aback, Picard lets Wesley in the bridge, though suddenly an unexpected ship appears.

Act Eight Edit

Zorn insists he does not know the ship or expect one. The ship scans the Enterprise and begins attacking the surface of Deneb IV, though only the Old Bandi City rather than the station. On the surface, the away team loses communication and exits the base into the city on hearing the attack.

The conspicuous targeted attack leads Picard to suggest that Zorn may have more information about the aliens than he is letting on and orders Riker to seize him (admittedly illegally) so that they may interrogate him further. After he confirms with Troi that attacking the ship will not violate the Prime Directive and orders phasers prepared, Q appears.

Act Nine Edit

Q says he expected force from Picard, when the motives of the ship should be clear. Picard orders the Enterprise in between the ship and the planet, but Worf says his control has been lost.

In the Bandi city, Riker and Data find Zorn, who is now willing to explain, however, he is transported out of his office while he screams in horror. Riker reports in to Picard about Zorn's abduction, speculating that Q might be responsible. Q mocks the crew for not knowing who abducted Zorn, but then Troi reports a feeling of satisfaction emanating from the alien vessel. Riker and Data return to the Enterprise. Q goads Picard into ordering an away team onto the vessel, which Picard resists, but Riker volunteers, independent of Q's mocking.

Act TenEdit

Old Bandi City streets

Attacked from orbit

Riker and the away team beam over to the entity and see that its corridors are exactly the same as the underground tunnels on Deneb IV. They find Zorn suspended in mid-air, being tortured. Riker and Data fire their phasers and free him. Suddenly, the ship pulses.

Picard attempts to beam the away team back from the entity, but is unsuccessful. Q returns, now wearing the uniform of a Starfleet captain, and informs him that the time of the test has expired. Picard begs Q to let him rescue his people, even to the point of promising to do whatever he says if he does so. At that exact moment, the away team is transported back to the Enterprise, and Q and Picard appear ready to honor that hastily made bargain. However, Troi points out that it was the entity, not Q, that returned the away team to the Enterprise.
Spaceborne entity unfurling

A spaceborne entity

Soon, the captain realizes the truth: the Bandi have captured an alien lifeform, a space-dwelling being, and have constructed Farpoint Station and its goods by feeding off its power; feeding it the energy it needs just enough to keep it alive so it can morph into any shape Farpoint wants. The ship in space is not actually a ship, but rather the alien life-form's mate. Picard assists the captured alien by using the Enterprise's phasers to deliver an energy beam to the entity allowing it to break free of its bonds, thus solving the mystery much to Q's dismay. Q then retreats, though he hints that it won't be the last time the crew sees him.

Jean-Luc Picard, early 2364

"Let's see what's out there. Engage."

"Captain's Log, Stardate 41174.2. The agreement for the rebuilding of Farpoint Station has been completed per my instructions."

With the Farpoint mission over, the crew settles in. Picard asks Riker if he has a problem. Riker replies that he wonders if all their missions will be like their first. Picard assures him that he doesn't think so – they should be much more interesting. Picard orders Lt. La Forge to set a course, "Let's see what's out there. Engage."

Log entries Edit

Memorable quotes Edit

"Would you agree, Mr. Data, that Starfleet's orders are difficult?"
"Difficult? Simply solve the mystery of Farpoint Station."
"Simple as that."

- Picard and Data, first spoken lines of the series (outside of the preceding captain's log entry)

"Farpoint Station. Even the name sounds mysterious."

- Troi

"Captain, I'm sensing a... a powerful mind!"

- Troi, sensing Q for the first time

"Shut off that damn noise! Go to yellow alert."

- Picard, after the red alert sounds for the first time

"Thou art notified that thy kind hath infiltrated the galaxy too far already. Thou art directed to return to thine own solar system immediately."
"That's quite a directive. Would you mind identifying what you are?"
"We call ourselves the Q. Or thou mayest call me that. It's all much the same thing. I present myself to thee as a fellow ship captain so that thou mayest understand me. Go back whence thou camest."

- Q and Picard

'Knowing Humans as thou dost, captain, wouldst thou be captured helpless by them?"

- Q

"Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must go back to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes is a few good men!"

- Q, in a 20th century United States military uniform

"He's frozen!"

- Troi, on Lieutenant Torres

"That nonsense is centuries behind us!"
"But you can't deny, captain, that you are still a dangerous, savage child race."
"Most certainly, I deny it. I agree we still were, when Humans wore costumes like that four hundred years ago."
"At which time you slaughtered millions in silly arguments about how to divide the resources of your little world. And four hundred years before that, you were murdering each other in quarrels over tribal god images. Since then, there has been no indication that Humans will ever change."

- Picard and Q

"But even when we wore costumes like that, we were still making rapid progress!"
"Oh yeah? You want to review your 'rapid progress?'"

- Picard and Q

"Sir, sickbay reports Lieutenant Torres' condition is better."
"Oh, concern for one's fellow comrade! How touching."

- Worf and Q

"And now a personal request, sir; permission to clean up the bridge!"
"Lieutenant Worf is right. As security chief, I can't just stand here and let – "
"Yes you can, Lieutenant Yar!"

- Worf, Yar, and Picard

"And later, on finally reaching deep space, Humans found enemies to fight out there, too. And to broaden those struggles, you again found allies for still more murdering! The same old story all over again!"
"No, the same old story is the one we're meeting now. Self-righteous lifeforms who are eager, not to learn but to prosecute, to judge anything they don't understand or can't tolerate." "What an interesting idea! Prosecute and judge! But suppose it turns out that we understand you Humans only too well."
"We have no fear what the true facts about us will reveal."
"Facts about you? Splendid, splendid, captain! You're a veritable fountain of ideas. There are preparations to make, but when we next meet, captain, we'll proceed exactly as you suggest."

- Q and Picard

"Let's see what this Galaxy-class starship can do!"

- Picard

"The prisoners will not be harmed... until they're found guilty."

- Q

"I grew up in a world that allowed things like this court! And it was people like these that saved me from it! This so-called court should get down on its knees to what Starfleet is! What it represents!"

- Yar

"I recognize this court as the one that agreed with that line from Shakespeare: 'Kill all the lawyers!' "
"Which was done."
"Leading to the rule: Guilty until proven innocent."
"Of course, bringing the innocent to trial would be unfair. You will now answer to the charge of being a grievously savage race!!"
"Grievously savage could mean anything. I will answer only specific charges."
"Are you certain you want a full disclosure of Human ugliness? So be it, fool."

- Picard and Q

"Criminal! You will read the charges to the court!"
(reads the charges silently) "I see no charges against us, Your Honor."

- Bailiff and Picard

"You have been told not to do that! Why can't you understand? It will arouse their suspicions, and if that happens, we will have to punish you! We will!! I promise you!!"

- Groppler Zorn

"Captain, the Ferengi would be very interested in a base like this!"
"Fine. Let's hope they find you as tasty as they did their past associates."

- Zorn and Picard

"Do you know anything about Farpoint Station, sir? Sounds like a fairly dull place."
"We've heard that we may find it rather interesting."

- Battle bridge conn and Jean-Luc Picard, after Q's trial

"He calls that a little adventure?"

- Riker, on Picard's description of the Enterprise-D's journey to Deneb IV

"Now hear this! Maximum, you're entitled to know, means we'll be pushing our engines well beyond safety limits. Our hope is to surprise whatever that is out there, to try and outrun it. Our only other option is to tuck tail between our legs and return to Earth as they demand."

- Picard

"Commander, signal the following in all languages and in all frequencies: we surrender."

- Picard

"What the hell? Children are not allowed on the bridge!"

- Picard, after seeing Wesley Crusher standing in a turbolift on the bridge

"You barbarian!"

- Deanna Troi, to Q after using his freezing power against Tasha Yar

"You will command the saucer section, lieutenant."
"I am a Klingon, sir. For me to seek escape when my captain goes into battle..."
"You are a Starfleet officer, lieutenant!"

- Picard and Worf

"A captain's rank means nothing to you."
"Rather the reverse, sir. But a captain's life means a great deal more to me."

- Picard and Riker

"A personal favor, I'd appreciate it if you could prevent me from making an ass of myself with children."
"I'm not a family man, Riker, and yet Starfleet has seen fit to give me a ship with children aboard."
"Yes, sir."
"And I'm... not comfortable with children. But since a captain is supposed to project an image of geniality, you're to see that's what I project."
"Yes, sir."

- Picard and Riker, discussing the former's discomfort with the ship's population of children

"Welcome to the Enterprise, Commander Riker."

- Picard, finally giving Riker a proper welcome

"Where will I find Commander Data?"
"Commander Data is on special assignment, sir - he is using our shuttlecraft to transfer an admiral over to the Hood."
"An admiral?"
"He's been aboard all day, sir, checking over medical layouts..."
"Why a shuttlecraft? Why wouldn't he just beam over?"
"I suppose he could, sir, but the admiral is a rather... remarkable man."

- Riker and Worf

"Something's happening, sir!"

- Worf

"Have you got some reason why you want my atoms scattered all over space, boy?!"

- McCoy, to Data

"I don't see no points on your ears, boy, but you sound like a Vulcan!"
"No, sir. I am an android."
"Hmph. Almost as bad."

- McCoy and Data

"Well this is a new ship. But she's got the right name. Now you remember that, you hear?"
"I will sir."
"You treat her like a lady. And she'll always bring you home."

- McCoy and Data

"If we're going to be damned, let's be damned for what we really are."

- Picard

"Do you consider yourself superior to Humans?"
"I am superior, sir, in many ways. But I would gladly give it up, to be Human."
"Nice to meet you, Pinocchio!"
(Data looks perplexed)
"A joke."
"Hmm. Intriguing.
"You're going to be an interesting companion, Mr. Data."

- Riker and Data

"Sir, maybe I should get something to wipe this water up."
"Good idea."

- Wesley and Picard

"Either leave or finish us!"
"Temper, temper mon capitaine, I'm merely trying to assist a pitiful species."

- Picard and Q

"I'll attend to my duty."
"To the bitter end?"
"I see nothing so bitter about that."

- Picard and Riker

"Perhaps you and I?"
"Tasha, you and the counselor. And Geordi, I want your eyes down there."

- Troi and Riker

"Would you object to your captain ordering a clearly illegal kidnapping?"

- Picard, trying to learn more about the spaceborne creature from Groppler Zorn

"Lucky guess. I see now that it was too simple a puzzle. Generosity has always been my... weakness."

- Q

"Send it to our starship when it arrives. Charge to Dr. Crusher."

- Beverly Crusher, speaking about a bolt of fabric

"Captain? Wonderful! A feeling of great joy and gratitude! Great joy and gratitude from both of them."

- Troi

"Some problem, Riker?"
"Just hoping this isn't the usual way our missions will go, sir."
"Oh no, Number One. I'm sure most will be much more interesting."

- Picard and Riker

"Let's see what's out there. Engage."

- Picard

Background information Edit

Production history Edit

Footnotes Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 This date is according to the revised preproduction schedule which was issued on 30 December 1986. [1]
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 This information is according to the tentative post-production schedule which was issued on 16 March 1987. [2]

Story and script Edit

Stewart, de Lancie and Allen

John de Lancie, Patrick Stewart, and Director Corey Allen filming a scene

  • In a press conference that announced a new Star Trek series on 10 October 1986, Paramount Television president Mel Harris declared that, in the fall of 1987, "a two-hour telefilm" would launch the upcoming series, which was already entitled Star Trek: The Next Generation. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 26 & 53)
  • D.C. Fontana was hired to write the script of this episode, as a two-hour initial installment, by early December 1986. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 6)
  • This first TNG episode technically wasn't a "pilot", as such, because the series had already been commissioned at the time of its making. (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 78) In fact, this was the first time a Star Trek pilot had been presold as a series. For the writers, the presold nature of the episode meant the pressure was on introducing the characters instead of trying to sell the show. However, the work of the writers was not any simpler as a result. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 24)
  • The series' first casting call, which was sent to talent agencies on 10 December 1986, predicted that the two-hour "TV movie" would start filming at the end of March 1986 but also noted there was no script yet available for the project. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 13)
  • The TNG creative staff began to focus their work on the details of this first episode after concentrating on the show's backstory. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 21)
  • The episode was being written when avid Star Trek fan Doug Drexler, who later worked extensively on the series himself, visited the TNG offices for the first time. During a chat with Edward K. Milkis and Robert Justman there, Drexler overheard a plot detail from this story. "While I was talking to Eddie and Bob, Roddenberry bursts into the room and says, 'I've got it! The captain stops the ship, turns around, and surrenders,'" Drexler recalled. "And Gene turns and looks at me and he sees a blank look on my face, and Bob says, 'Gene, you don't realize what you just did to this guy.'" (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 64)
  • D.C. Fontana's first story outline, bearing the working title "Meeting at Farpoint", had several different storylines and names. For instance, Groppler Zorn was named Elzever. The captain of the Enterprise-D, which had just completed a successful mission, was Julien Picard instead of Jean-Luc Picard, first officer was Kyle Summers, and security chief was Macha Hernandez instead of Tasha Yar. Summers was promoted to captain and was scheduled to take over command of the science vessel Starseeker at Farpoint Station. While in orbit of that facility, crew transfers included Lieutenant Commander William Ryker, Lieutenant Commander Data, Dr. Beverly Crusher and her fifteen-year-old daughter, Leslie. Ryker and Data shared a deep friendship. Following the transfer, an alien vessel appeared near the planet and sent a message that all personnel had to beam to the planet or all would die. The captain of the Starseeker was firing photon torpedoes at the vessel, resulting in the destruction of the Starseeker. At Picard's orders, the crew of the Enterprise-D beamed to the surface and made contact with their enemy, the Annoi, an ape-like species with a high technology. The Annoi enslaved both the crew and the inhabitants of Farpoint, and forced them to mine the mineral Balmin. An away team including Data, Ryker, Troi, and Hernandez got aboard the Annoi ship, and, with the help of Leslie Crusher's knowledge about the vessel's layout, Troi then learned that there was no engineering room aboard the ship – the "ship" was actually a lifeform. This lifeform had been enslaved by the Annoi and needed Balmin to survive. (Creating the Next Generation: The Conception and Creation of a Phenomenon, pp. 64-65)
  • At the first TNG meeting Rick Berman attended, the length of this then-forthcoming episode was the subject of heated debate between Gene Roddenberry and Paramount. Berman stated, "There was some contention, because the studio wanted a two-hour pilot and Roddenberry only wanted to do a one-hour pilot." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 48) As a compromise, the studio even attempted to persuade Roddenberry to agree to do a ninety-minute pilot instead. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 24)
  • Affected by the indecision over the episode's length was D.C. Fontana. Between submitting the two different drafts of the installment's story outline and receiving approval to proceed to the script stage, she found that the running length of the pilot began to be questioned. "It had been decided between Roddenberry and Justman that the outline I had was enough for ninety minutes and that I should develop that material. As I began writing the script, and throughout the writing of the first draft, the length of the script kept bobbing up and down from two hours to an hour and a half to one hour and back up again," Fontana explained. "I was told that this was due to the fact that the decision had not been made as to whether the premiere would have a 'history of Star Trek' section, a behind-the-scenes section, or an extended preview section in addition to the dramatic story. Or whether it would be all story." Fontana was asked, every few days, by Roddenberry's attorney, Leonard Maizlish – who had started to come to the studio daily – about whether she thought the script might be an hour, an hour and a half, or two hours. While Roddenberry and Maizlish kept changing their minds about the episode's duration, Fontana was attempting to develop the outline, a task that proved extraordinarily difficult, since she didn't know how long the episode was intended to be. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 66)
  • In the first draft script, the Annoi became the Annae (and later, the Bandi), the people who were living on Farpoint, and Leslie Crusher was renamed Wes Crusher. Data was described as looking eastern, and Dr. Crusher's assistant aboard the Enterprise-D was Dr. Asenzi. The story started aboard the starship Belvedere. Ryker first met Geordi La Forge and Ensign Sawyer Markham at Farpoint. The Enterprise-D started a twenty-year mission to explore the galaxy and had to protect Farpoint Station from an alien vessel. (Creating the Next Generation: The Conception and Creation of a Phenomenon, pp. 66-70)
  • Eventually, both Gene Roddenberry and Leonard Maizlish told D.C. Fontana to simply concentrate on writing a ninety-minute episode, even though Fontana's contract specified she would be given a bonus if she wrote a two-hour pilot. Heeding their instruction, she instead developed the installment to be ninety minutes long, missing out on her bonus. However, they finally decided that the episode would indeed be two hours in length, with Roddenberry choosing to write the extra material himself. "Gene said, 'Don't worry about expanding your story. I'll put a frame on it, Dorothy,'" relayed David Gerrold. Fontana herself recollected, "Although I was ready and willing to expand my story to encompass the additional half hour, I was told that Roddenberry would write what came to be called 'the prequel.'" Gerrold added, "When Gene said he would put the frame on it, Dorothy said, 'There goes my bonus.' Gene said, 'Don't worry, we'll take care of you.'" The situation reminded Fontana of an earlier scenario in which, while working together on Star Trek: The Animated Series, Roddenberry had caused her to lose out on money she was rightfully owed due to a promotion while he sneakily acquired those finances for his own salary. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 66-67)
  • Roddenberry's newly added framework introduced the character of Q. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 67) Originally, that character was instead meant to be introduced in a later entry of the forthcoming series. (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 77) Although all the other members of the writing team very gently tried to advise Roddenberry that the Q subplot wasn't very good (immediately recognizing Q as clearly a direct copy of Trelane from TOS: "The Squire of Gothos"), he was adamant about writing it into this episode. "He said, 'Trust me, the way I'll do it, the fans will love it,'" recounted Gerrold. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 67)
  • DeForest Kelley's cameo as an aged McCoy was another late addition to the script and was also devised by Gene Roddenberry. "It came about as a result of, I think, a meeting between him and De," remembered Producer Robert Justman. "I think it had been on Gene's mind." The scene was written after Roddenberry sought Kelley's permission for it to go ahead. [6] The cameo scene was thereafter kept secret, so much so that McCoy's name wasn't referenced in the script and isn't in the completed episode's dialogue either. (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 78) The final draft script described McCoy as 147 years old, rather than 137. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 24; [7])
  • As Justman also remembered, the ship separation sequence was yet another late addition which helped flesh out the script from ninety minutes to two hours. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 24)
  • In Roddenberry and Fontana's final draft script, the stardate was originally given as 42353.7. The other stardates were 42354.1, 42354.22, 42354.71, and 42372.5. [8]
  • The founding date of the New United Nations was given as 2016 in the shooting script, whereas the setting of Q's courtroom was given as 2049. These were changed to 2036 and 2079 respectively. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 24; [9])
  • In the script, the frozen lieutenant's name was Graham. It was changed to Torres in the filmed episode. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 24; [10])
Crosby frozen

Crosby "frozen" in court

  • Also, in the final draft script, Q froze both Tasha and Troi during the mock trial. Yet, in the episode, only Tasha gets frozen and eventually revived. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 24; [11])
  • The final draft script added Picard's line, "Lets see what's out there," too. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 24)
  • Because the pacing of many of the filmed scenes turned out to be insufficiently long, Gene Roddenberry, in order to reach the ninety-minute length, wrote additional scenes to "pad out" the episode. These newly added scenes included the conversation between Crusher and La Forge in sickbay. [12](X)

Cast and characters Edit

Marina Sirtis with Bandi

Marina Sirtis with five background actors during filming

Sets and props Edit

Filming Encounter at Farpoint

The background actors on set

  • During Doug Drexler's first visit to the TNG offices while this installment was being written, none of the sets had yet been built. They were under construction by the time David Livingston arrived to serve as the production manager for the pilot, for a few weeks in February 1987. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 64 & 70)
  • During preproduction, the color of the walls proved to be a point of contention. "I had to go in on a weekend to discuss the color of sets for painting," David Livingston recalled. "All the creative people and producers were standing around on a weekend discussing the color of a wall. It was crazy. It wasn't necessary. To me, it was silly." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 70)
  • This episode ultimately debuted many sets which had been redressed from the aborted Star Trek: Phase II project. Among them were the corridor sets, which had previously been seen as the corridors of the refitted Enterprise (NCC-1701) in the first feature film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture. For the film, only the portion of the corridor set beginning just past the sickbay doors and ending just past the Engineering set – approximately three-quarters of the eventual set – had been constructed, ending at a T-junction (itself a freestanding wall which went on to be seen throughout the new series) just past sickbay. The corridors were not extended to the configuration seen in later seasons until the start of the second season. The metallic wall was also placed outside the holodeck doors on many occasions when it was necessary to see the Enterprise-D from within the simulation (it can be differentiated from the Stage 8 corridor complex by different lighting and the fact of those corridors having three segments on the wall opposite the holodeck door, versus the standalone wall, which has four segments).
  • For the first season of the series, the metallic walls in the octagonal corridor outside the transporter room, as well as the three-segmented walls in the main corridors, were much more reflective than they came to be in later seasons. They had previously had this appearance in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and retained this appearance until the show's third season.
  • In this episode, the holodeck door is seen directly opposite the blind corridor leading to the transporter room, where an alcove containing a turbolift appears later in the series. In this instance, the producers took advantage of the large open space behind the corridor walls to build a partial in-studio set of the simulated Earth forest. This was one of only several instances where the actors could step directly from the starship sets and into a simulated holodeck environment. This small set can also be seen in "11001001", "The Big Goodbye", and "Elementary, Dear Data", among other episodes.
  • For most of its later appearances, when a crewmember activated a holoprogram and was seen entering or leaving the holodeck, the scene took place on a small section of the Enterprise-D corridor, specially erected outside a duplicate holodeck entrance. This had to be done because of space concerns – large sets, such as the simulated London from "Elementary, Dear Data", could not be placed behind the door in the Stage 8 corridor set, both because of limited space on the soundstage, as well as the more mundane problem of the turbolift placed behind the door just to the left of the holodeck entrance.
  • The bird sculptures seen in Q's courtroom appeared again in the final episode "All Good Things...". The sculptures can also be seen in Karnas' office in the first season episode "Too Short a Season" and in the bar on Qualor II in the fifth season episode "Unification II".
  • The diamond-shaped chrome shelf unit in the Farpoint Mall set evidently came from Kirk's apartment in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It can be later seen in Tasha Yar's quarters in "The Naked Now" and at the Café des Artistes in "We'll Always Have Paris". [15]
  • This is one of a few episodes where the vertical blinds in Doctor Crusher's office in sickbay are opened and several windows with a starfield behind them can be seen. In later episodes when the blinds are opened (like "Man of the People" and "The Quality of Life"), a corridor with several doors can be seen behind the window. The sickbay set also appeared in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, with Dr. Crusher's office playing the role of a medical lab; for that appearance, the blinds were open as well, offering another view of the corridor backing. In all cases, the corridor behind the blinds was realized by a re-use of a matte painting originally seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and later re-used for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, in both cases extending a practical corridor set farther than was physically possible. In the first film, this painting was positioned outside the doors to main engineering, and can be seen from within the engine room; in the second, it was positioned outside a turbolift door. In this episode of The Next Generation, it can be seen in the final moments of Data's conversation with Admiral McCoy, replacing a turbolift door at the end of the blind corridor outside the transporter room.
  • In this episode only, the central biobed in sickbay is seen without a cushioned covering, similar to how it appeared in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In later episodes, the transparent biobed surface is covered by a fabric cushion the size and shape of the biobed.
  • On close inspection, the drug dispensers that Q and his fellow soldiers from World War III wear as part of their uniforms are labeled "Army R2D3PO-D", a reference to the Star Wars 'droids R2-D2 and C-3PO. [16]
  • Sections of the set constructed for the Klingon Bird-of-Prey in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home were reused for Groppler Zorn's office. Specifically, the hallway outside of Zorn's office was a reused section of the Bird-of-Prey's hallway, and the three yellow lights behind Zorn's desk were reused from the Bird-of-Prey's transporter room.
  • One of the shelves from the Bandi marketplace at Farpoint Station appeared in the next episode, "The Naked Now", in Deanna Troi's quarters.

Production Edit

  • When the new series production staff met for the first time as a full group on 18 February 1987, specific production issues stemming from Fontana's pilot script were discussed by the team. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 7) As production manager for this episode in February 1987, David Livingston witnessed first-hand how the arrangements for the episode were developing. "I was in a trailer by myself," he explained. "The rest of the guys were in the writers' building, but they didn't have any space for the production. I was the only one in it for a couple of weeks while they were gearing up [....] They were doing some preproduction planning. They needed someone to come in and finalize the pilot as well as hire the crew. Shooting the pilot wasn't difficult [....] The only thing that stands out in my mind was the issue over the color of the walls. If that's the most profound thing I remember about a problem, then you can gather the pilot went over smoothly." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 70)
Filming the first trial scene

Corey Allen directing a scene in the courtroom

  • Director Corey Allen filmed scenes in a very fast pace. This resulted in many of them turning out to be too short, leading Gene Roddenberry to write the aforementioned additional scenes. [17](X)
  • All scenes involving Q were filmed during the last two weeks of the four-week production schedule, since John de Lancie was involved in a theatrical play, and could only be available from mid-June onwards. Gene Roddenberry and Robert Justman were both keen on having de Lancie play the part, and were willing to adjust the schedule in order to accommodate the actor.(citation needededit)
  • On the call sheets, McCoy was referred to simply as "Admiral", and no indication was given in any way that this was to be McCoy. This was done to keep his appearance a secret until the episode's premiere on television. [18] The McCoy scene was filmed on Tuesday 2 June 1987.
  • The production of this episode is featured in the TNG Season 1 DVD special feature "The Beginning".

Visual effects and editing Edit

  • Industrial Light & Magic did the special optical effects for this episode only, but was also credited for the rest of the series because footage was continuously reused. Noted Peter Lauritson, "The reality of the situation is that they did effects for the pilot, but even then they just did the raw material; our team composited them." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 12) Under ILM artists Pat Sweeney and David Carson, the team filmed the fire and explosion scenes with the "Old Bandi City" model on 16 July 1987. ("The Beginning", TNG Season 1 DVD special feature)
  • A deleted scene from this episode included footage of tentacles which reached out of a wall of the alien lifeform and grabbed for Troi and Riker. Deciding these special effects looked horrible, the producers removed the scene from the episode. [19](X)
  • Corey Allen's faster-than-usual scene pacing affected the editing of the episode. "As I had feared, the show was woefully short when we cut it together," explained Robert Justman. "In order to make the show two hours we had to skillfully edit it and cut it not as tight as we ordinarily would for pace." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 24)
  • This episode contains no teaser, beginning instead with the opening credit sequence. For the syndicated version of this episode, a teaser is formed out of the first several minutes of the episode proper, ending with Q's "warning" of death to Picard and crew, should they not "go back" to Earth.

Music Edit

  • The scene depicting the Enterprise-D's saucer separation is the first instance since TOS: "The Cage" where a series' entire title theme was included in an episode. In this case, although the arrangement of the theme matches that of TNG's first several seasons, the actual orchestration does not match any theme music actually audible in the title sequence (it can be distinguished by bells which can be heard at 0:19 and 0:52). This music was not made a part of the commercially available soundtrack that was later released for this episode, although it did feature as part of 2016's Star Trek: 50th Anniversary Collection, as an alternate take on the series' season 1 theme.
  • For this episode's score, Composer Dennis McCarthy made frequent use of the eight-note theme which had been previously used, by Alexander Courage, to represent the USS Enterprise. This was because he felt it important that audiences accept the Enterprise-D as the new starship Enterprise.(citation needededit)
  • The theme that is played when Q floats into the courtroom in his judge's chair was originally composed by Dennis McCarthy for "The Rescue", an episode of the 1984 series V. In that episode, it is played during the wedding of aliens Diana and Charles (played by Jane Badler and Duncan Regehr). The theme is heard again in the last episode of the series, "The Return", where it sounds shortly before a fake shuttle, used by the alien leader, is destroyed.

Credits sequences Edit

  • This episode is the only one with the credits scrolling up instead of the text fading, as was done in the other 177 episodes.
  • In its original airing, the main cast were credited only with their names and not alongside their character's credits as they were during the run of the series (as in "Starring Patrick Stewart" instead of "Starring Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard", etc.) This was done because, on its original airing, it was billed as a television movie. The syndicated version features the regular first season opening.
  • Unlike other episodes, this episode does not have the "Executive Producer Gene Roddenberry" credit at the end. However, in the edited two-part version, it does. In the original version, Roddenberry is credited as "Executive Producer" instead of "Created by" in the opening credits.

Reception Edit

  • Footage from this episode was originally unveiled in early August 1987. Mel Harris demonstrated the footage, via satellite, to the personnel of 170 television stations across the United States, which would initially air the new series. Harris did this as part of a large-scale promotional campaign to generate interest in the yet-unaired pilot and the subsequent series. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, p. 22)
  • D.C. Fontana's writing of this show delighted Paramount. "The studio was thrilled with her work on 'Encounter at Farpoint,'" noted David Gerrold. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 76)
  • Robert Justman pointed out that, due to the relatively "loose" editing of the episode, "at times that two hours drags a bit here and there." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 24) However, he did approve of DeForest Kelley's cameo, remarking, "It was just great; it really got to me, the way he did it [the scene]. It really got to me; it was a beautiful, beautiful scene." [20]
  • Michael Piller commented, "I think the Q thing did come out of a time requirement, but there isn't any question in my mind that the best thing in the show is that Q story. If it had been only that other story, it would have been a disappointment. The other thing that comes out of 'Farpoint' is a vision of Roddenberry's where we have Picard arguing for the future of mankind, representing the advocate of humanity to this Q who puts humanity on trial. That's an extraordinary, philosophically ambitious idea, and it really helps to define why Star Trek is what it is. Without that, it would have been spaceships and monsters and special effects." Piller also liked how the story structure of "Encounter at Farpoint" doesn't introduce Riker, Crusher, and La Forge until later in the episode. He was so fond of that aspect of the narrative that, when writing Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's pilot episode "Emissary", he chose to introduce Jadzia Dax and Julian Bashir later in that episode in a similar way. Piller commented, "One of the tricks I learned from watching 'Encounter at Farpoint' again was that they didn't introduce Riker and Geordi and Crusher until two or three acts in." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 19)
  • This episode was initially aired during a period in the history of Star Trek's fanbase when disagreement was rife as to how successful the new series would be. "I vividly recall the anticipation and discord leading up to the premiere of The Next Generation," noted Ain't It Cool News film and TV critic Glen C. Oliver. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 53)
  • In a review of this installment, Ed Bark of the Dallas Morning News, writing for the Knight-Ridder-Tribune service, commented that the episode "soared with the spirit of the original," representing a "fine redefining of a classic and a considerable breakthrough for non-network syndicated television." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 22)
  • A mission report for this episode, by Robert Greenberger, was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine (Vol. 1, pp. 52-57).
  • Upon first airing, this episode beat its prime-time network competition in Los Angeles, Dallas, Seattle, Miami, and Denver. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 22)
  • This episode was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1988.
  • The book Star Trek 101, by Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block, lists this episode as one of the "Ten Essential Episodes" from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Continuity Edit

  • This episode is the first mention of the Ferengi Alliance on Star Trek. It is hinted at being a non-benevolent enemy of the Federation, and the Ferengi were intended to be the new villains for the TNG crew, because peace had been made with the Klingons. This idea was eventually abandoned, however, after the Ferengi made their first appearance and were not taken seriously by the actors and later writers. (Quark's Story, DS9 Season 2 DVD special feature) [21]
  • Picard can be heard using the phrase "Now hear this" repeatedly in the first part of the episode, preceding his orders to the entire ship's company. This is a fairly standard military protocol that is audible again in "Yesterday's Enterprise" and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
  • During Picard and Riker's formal first meeting on board the Enterprise-D, Riker mentions that Picard previously served as a first officer himself. However, no mention of Picard serving in this position is ever made again, and it is indicated that Picard was awarded command of the USS Stargazer after that ship's previous captain was killed and its first officer was severely injured.
  • In this episode, Data states that he graduated from Starfleet Academy in the Class of "'78", which, given TNG's establishment in the 24th century, could be either "2278" (meaning Data would have been in Starfleet for twenty-three years at the beginning of the 24th century) or "2378". However, this contradicts the dating that has since been established for TNG – Data himself specifically states in "The Neutral Zone" that the Earth year at that time was 2364. In addition, other episodes established that Data was not built until 2336 and that he graduated from the Academy in 2345. Data's "Class of '78" comment has thus been deemed a continuity error and it can only be speculated as to what it could mean from an in-universe perspective.
  • Also, Data uses a verbal contraction in this episode ("I can't see as well as Geordi, sir..."), something which is established later in the series as being beyond his abilities.
  • This is the only time in TNG and subsequent series that an additional captain's log entry is referred to as "supplementary", rather than the usual "supplemental".
USS Enterprise-D Crew, Farpoint Mission

In the episode's last scene, the crew assembles to leave Deneb, with Yar and Troi wearing the skirt style uniform

  • The final scene of this episode is the only time Tasha Yar appears wearing the skirt style uniform.
  • This episode marks the last time that Counselor Troi is seen in a Starfleet uniform until TNG: "Chain of Command, Part I" with the exception of TNG: "Future Imperfect", although in the latter case, Troi – as well as the entire events of that episode – turn out to be an illusion.
  • This episode marks the first time that a saucer separation is ever depicted on screen. While the Enterprise-D separated three more times (at least on screen, specifically in the TNG episodes "The Arsenal of Freedom", "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II", and the film Star Trek Generations), "Encounter at Farpoint" is the only time the reconnection process is ever shown in Star Trek. The reason why it is so rare to see the Enterprise-D separate is that writers discovered it slowed the particular story down (almost to a crawl). (Star Trek Encyclopedia)
  • Apparently at some point during this mission, Geordi La Forge told Data a joke, which the humorless android did not "get" until years later, when he activated his emotion chip during the events of Star Trek Generations.
  • Picard describes the facsimile 2079 court created by Q as "one that agreed with that line from Shakespeare: 'Kill all the lawyers.'" This is a line from Shakespeare's play Henry VI, Part II.
  • When Riker, Data, and Wesley leave the holodeck, Wesley is soaked in water, which drips on the floor, and he tells Captain Picard he'll get something to clean it up. However, as later established, the water should not have been able to leave the holodeck. This is the first of several times when incidental matter like water or ice leaves the holodeck despite it being established this isn't possible, at least not beyond a few moments.

Apocrypha Edit

  • When Groppler Zorn threatens to give access to Farpoint Station to the Ferengi Alliance, Picard remarks that he hopes the Ferengi find Zorn as tasty as they did their past associates. The novel The Buried Age establishes that the Ferengi's early reputation as a dangerous race was merely propaganda established by Zek because the Ferengi, after hearing early reports about the Federation and their moneyless economy, decided that the Federation might well be insane if they truly did not seek profit. Zek also threw funding into a large military buildup in order to preserve their appearance as a dangerous race and in order to defend themselves against the Federation, should it prove necessary.
  • The novel Provenance of Shadows establishes that, immediately after telling Data, "You treat her like a lady and she'll always bring you home," McCoy thought to himself, "Except that wasn't so true for Jim, was it?" referring to Kirk's presumed death aboard the USS Enterprise-B.
  • Provenance of Shadows also establishes that McCoy's tour of the Enterprise was a birthday present arranged for him by his wife, Tonia Barrows.
  • The episode's novelization indicates that the manual docking performed by Riker and the battle bridge crew isn't a true manual docking, as there is still significant computer control involved. According to the novel, a real manual docking would have taken all day and half the night to accomplish. The novel also indicates that Riker had performed manual dockings as such, on the Hood and, before that, on the Lexington.
  • The novelization also indicates that Picard, if Riker had given any indication that he might actually back off from his position of not compromising Picard's safety, would have booted Riker immediately off the Enterprise and right back to the Hood but that he was very impressed with what Riker had to say.

Remastered version Edit

  • The remastered version of this episode greatly increased the quality of the shots, though one shot used in the composite "recap" sequence seems to have not been upgraded. The increase in quality incidentally corrected colors that had "smudged" together at the lower resolution. The most notable differences because of this are in shots of Farpoint Station and the Old Bandi City, where the "brown smudges" have become green trees and individual buildings, respectively. The windows on the Enterprise-D are also now clearly distinguishable from each other, and the planet has also benefited from the upgrade, as an atmosphere can now be seen between the planet and open space. Also, the location of the phaser energy beam was corrected to come from the phaser array instead of the captain's yacht. The shot also included a CGI version of the Enterprise-D, based on the original six foot model. The attacking spaceborne entity encountered by the Enterprise-D is also now clearly a shade of pink when compared to the blue one that was Farpoint Station.

Related merchandise Edit

Releases Edit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also starring Edit

Guest stars Edit

Special guest appearance by Edit

Leonard McCoy, 2364

Admiral of Starfleet Medical, "Bones" McCoy

Featuring Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stunt doubles Edit

Stand-ins Edit

References Edit

16th century; 20th century; 21st century; 2036; 2079; 2227; 2364; admiral; Altair III; android; apple; aquarium; army; Asian; avian; away team; baldric; banana; Bandi; barbarian; battle bridge; battle section; beard; bell; Betazoid; blindness; bridge; Calypso; captain; captain's chair; captain's log; captain's yacht; century; chair; chief medical officer (CMO); cigarette; combadge; command chair; command console; command division; commander; commie (Communism); communicator; conn station; Constellation-class; coral; couch; counselor; courtroom; Crusher, Jack; culture; Deneb IV; desk; DeSoto, Robert; detector circuit; docking latch; doctor; door; Earth; elevator; Emergency Manual Override station; emergency turbolift; empathy; EM spectrum; encyclopedia; energy beam; engineering; ensign; Enterprise (CVN-65), USS; Enterprise, USS; Enterprise-A, USS; Enterprise-B, USS; Enterprise-C, USS; Enterprise-D, USS; Enterprise dedication plaque; environment station; Excelsior-class; exobiology; exploratory surgery; fabric; Farpoint Station; feedback; Ferengi; Ferengi Alliance; fire; fish; flags and banners; force field grid; French language; fruit; galaxy; Galaxy-class; Galaxy-class decks; geothermal energy; gesture; Globe Illustrated Shakespeare: The Complete Works, The; grape; Groppler; gymnasium; headband; Henry VI, Part II; Henry VI, Part III; holodeck; hologram; holoprogram; Hood, USS; Human; Humanity; ice; impulse drive; imzadi; intercom; joke; judge; jury; Klingon; LCARS; lieutenant; lieutenant commander; lieutenant junior grade; lifeform; lion; lionfish; Livingston; machine gun; main engineering; mall; Mandarin bailiff; maneuvering jet; medical scanning device; medical tricorder; merchant; military decorations; Milky Way Galaxy; mission status; model; mountain; MSD; narcotic; NCC-7100; necklace; necktie; Neptune; neural input; New United Nations; observation lounge; Old Bandi City; operations division; ops station; PADD; painting; patriotism; perimeter alert; phaser; prejudice; photon torpedo; Pinocchio; planet; "Pop Goes the Weasel"; post-atomic horror; primary hull; primate; Prime Directive; probability mechanics; Propulsion Systems station; Q Continuum; Q; ready room; red line; saucer section; saucer separation; sciences division; sculpture; secondary hull; security chief; Shakespeare, William; shields; shopkeeper; sickbay; skant; snoop; soldier; Sol system; spaceborne entity; space station; species; spoon; SS 433; starbase; stardate; stardrive section; Starfleet; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Central Medical; Starfleet uniform; starship; starship operations; star system; startime; statue; strawberry; stun setting; sword; table; tactical station; team leader; tear; throne; Tom; torpedo launcher; transporter; transporter chief; transporter console; transporter room; trial; tribe; tricorder; tritanium; Triton; Troi, Ian Andrew; turbolift; type 1 phaser; type 2 phaser; umbrella; United Earth; United Federation of Planets; United States of America; unnamed plants; unnamed type 7 shuttle; USMC; viewport; viewscreen; VISOR; Vulcan; warp; warp core; window; woodland pattern; World War III; year; yellow alert

Other references Edit

USS Enterprise dedication plaque: Chief of Staff; Design Engineer; Federation Space Systems; Mars; Probert, Andrew G.; Roddenberry, Gene; Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards

Unreferenced materialEdit

duraglass; Graham

External links Edit

Previous episode:
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 1
Next episode:
"The Naked Now"

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