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 T. 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

Story and script Edit

Stewart, de Lancie and Allen

De Lancie, Stewart and Corey Allen filming a scene.

Crosby frozen

Crosby "frozen" in court

Filming the first trial scene

Corey Allen directing a scene in the court room.

  • In Gene Roddenberry and D.C. 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. [1]
  • The founding date of the New United Nations is given as 2016 in the shooting script, whereas the setting of Q's courtroom is given as 2049. These were changed to 2036 and 2079 respectively.
  • On the call sheets, McCoy is referred to simply as "Admiral", and no indication is given in any way that this is to be McCoy. This was done to keep his appearance a secret until the episode's premiere on television. [2]
  • In the script, the frozen lieutenant's name was Graham. It was changed to Torres in the filmed episode.
  • Also, in the final draft script, Q freezes both Tasha and Troi during the mock trial. Yet, in the episode, only Tasha gets frozen and eventually revived.
  • D.C. Fontana's first story "Meeting at Farpoint" had several different storylines and names. The Enterprise-D had just completed a successful mission. Captain 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 up to take over his new command of the science vessel Starseeker at Farpoint Station. While in orbit of Farpoint Station, crew transfers include Lieutenant Commander William Ryker, Lieutenant Commander Data, Dr. Beverly Crusher and her fifteen year old daughter Leslie. Ryker and Data share 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 is 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 to their enemy, the Annoi, an ape-like species with a high technology. The Annoi slaved the crew and the inhabitants of Farpoint to mine the mineral Balmin. An away team including Data, Ryker, Troi and Hernandez get aboard the Annoi ship and with the help of Leslie Crusher's knowledge about the ship layout. Troi then learned that there is no engineering room aboard the ship – the ship is a lifeform. This lifeform was enslaved by the Annoi and needs Balmin to survive. (Creating the Next Generation: The Conception and Creation of a Phenomenon, p. 64-65)
  • In the first draft script, the Annoi became the Annae (and later the Bandi), the people who were living on Farpoint. The story starts with the starship Belvedere and Groppler Zorn was named Elzever. Leslie Crusher was changed into Wes Crusher and 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 Data was described looking eastern. Dr. Crusher's assistant aboard the Enterprise-D was Dr. Asenzi and the Enterprise-D had to protect Farpoint Station from an alien vessel. (Creating the Next Generation: The Conception and Creation of a Phenomenon, p. 66-70)

Production Edit

  • Industrial Light & Magic did the special effects only for this episode, but was also credited for the rest of the series because footage was continuously reused. 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)
  • Q was created as a second storyline when Paramount Pictures wanted a two hour pilot episode instead of a one hour pilot. ("The Beginning", TNG Season 1 DVD special feature)
  • A deleted scene includes footage of tentacles which reach out of a wall of the alien lifeform and grabbed for Troi and Riker. The producers decided these special effects looked horrible and removed the scene from the episode. [3](X)
  • The production of this episode was featured in the TNG Season 1 DVD special feature "The Beginning".
  • Director Corey Allen filmed scenes in a very fast pace, which resulted in many of them turning out to be too short. In order to reach the ninety-minute length, Roddenberry wrote additional scenes (such as the conversation between Crusher and La Forge in sickbay) to "pad out" the episode. [4](X)

Music Edit

  • Dennis McCarthy composed his own theme tune for the series, incorporating some of Alexander Courage's fanfare for Star Trek: The Original Series into the introduction. Gene Roddenberry did not like the result however, and decided to keep the introductory section of McCarthy's theme, but have Jerry Goldsmith's theme from Star Trek: The Motion Picture as the show's main theme tune.
  • The scene depicting the Enterprise-D's saucer separation is the first instance since TOS: "The Cage" where a series' entire title theme was heard within an episode. Also of note, although the arrangement of the theme matches that of the first several seasons, the actual orchestration does not match any theme music actually heard during the title sequence. It can be distinguished by bells which can be heard 0:19 and 0:52; neither the original theme from Star Trek: The Motion Picture nor the title theme from the new series ever featured bells that prominently. Interestingly, 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 this as the new starship Enterprise.
  • The theme that is played when Q floats into the courtroom in his judge's chair was originally composed by Dennis McCarthy for the V episode "The Rescue". In that episode, it is played during the wedding of the 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 is heard shortly before the fake shuttle of the alien leader is destroyed.

Reception Edit

Cast and characters Edit

USS Enterprise-D Crew, Farpoint Mission

The crew assembles to leave Deneb

Sets and props Edit

  • This episode 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. 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 would be seen throughout the new series) just past sickbay. The corridors would not be extended to the configuration seen in later seasons until the start of the second season. The metallic wall would also be 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 would retain 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 would later appear. 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 is one of only several instances where the actors could step directly from the starship sets and into a simulated holodeck environment. This small set could also be seen in "11001001", "The Big Goodbye", and in "Elementary, Dear Data", among others.
Marina Sirtis with Bandi

Marina Sirtis with five background actors during filming

  • For most of its later appearances, when a crewmember activated a holoprogram and was seen entering or leaving the holodeck, the scene would take 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 court room 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 comes 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". [6]
  • This is one of the 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 were opened, like "Man of the People" and "The Quality of Life", a corridor with several doors was seen behind the window. The sickbay set was also seen in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, with Dr. Crusher's office playing role of 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 could 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 was 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. [7]
  • 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.

Continuity Edit

Filming Encounter at Farpoint

The background actors on set

  • 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 appearance and were not taken seriously by the actors and later writers. (Quark's Story, DS9 Season 2 DVD special feature) [8]
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Picard is 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 would be heard 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 had 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 her previous captain was killed and her 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 23 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 had 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'.
  • The very final scene is the only time Tasha Yar can be seen 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" where 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 seen on screen. While the Enterprise-D separated three more times (at least on screen) (TNG: "The Arsenal of Freedom", "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II", and Star Trek Generations), "Encounter at Farpoint" is the only time the reconnection process was ever seen in Trek. The reason why it was so rare to see the Enterprise-D separate is because writers found out 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 " that agreed with that line from Shakespeare: 'Kill all the lawyers.'" This is a line from Shakespeare's play Henry VI, Part II.
  • 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.

Awards Edit

  • This episode was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1988.

Apocrypha Edit

  • When Groppler Zorn threatened to give access to Farpoint Station to the Ferengi Alliance, Picard remarked 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 when McCoy told Data "You treat her like a lady and she'll always bring you home," that after he said that, he 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, before on the Hood and before that, 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 right off the Enterprise and right back to the Hood but was very impressed with what Riker had to say.
  • 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.

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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