(written from a Production point of view)
As alien dignitaries visit the ship, Picard's shuttle crashes on a desolate planet where he meets a woman who has been stranded there for seven years.
The crew of the USS Enterprise-D welcomes aboard two Iyaaran ambassadors, Loquel and Byleth, who are visiting the ship as part of a cultural exchange that will also send Captain Jean-Luc Picard to their homeworld, Iyar. Before Picard departs, he assigns Counselor Deanna Troi to act as Loquel's liaison and asks Commander William T. Riker to do the same for Byleth. However, upon their arrival, Byleth demands that Lieutenant Worf serve as his shipboard guide.
Soon afterward, Picard departs for Iyar with Voval, the gruff and uncommunicative Iyaaran shuttle pilot. Their awkward silence is disrupted by a sudden malfunction aboard their ship. Crashing on an unknown class M planet, Voval receives a concussion. Picard, seemingly unhurt, decides to seek help outside the shuttle when he detects a structure and some energy readings outside. While Picard walks around the surface, he falls to the ground trying to traverse the planet's stormy electrical discharges. As he lies unconscious, someone silently drags him away.
Picard awakens in the small, dimly-lit cabin of a crashed cargo freighter. He is approached by a solemn, attractive Human woman who informs him that Voval did not survive the crash. Picard learns that the woman's name is Anna and that she is the sole survivor of a Terellian cargo freighter crash that occurred seven years before. After Anna tells Picard that he has three broken ribs, he sends her to retrieve the shuttlecraft's comm panel in order to send a distress signal. Anna returns with a non-functional panel, which she accidentally destroyed when removing it with a phaser. Picard is then shocked when Anna pins him down, forcibly kisses him and tells him she loves him.
Meanwhile, on the Enterprise, Loquel has become fascinated by the existence of desserts, as his people only eat for sustenance. He is equally intrigued by children, as Iyaarans are born fully grown, particularly after seeing a young boy on the Enterprise named Eric. He and Troi partake in many desserts, much to Troi's eventual dismay.
At the same time, Worf is struggling to maintain his composure due to the abrasive, demanding personality of Byleth. Riker decides that the tension might be eased by a "friendly" game of poker, however the game is anything but "friendly" when Worf realizes that Byleth is stealing his chips. Upon the accusation, Byleth verbally and physically provokes Worf, who eventually loses control and, despite Riker's insistence that he calm down, attacks his guest. But instead of getting angry, Byleth is pleased. He expresses admiration for Worf's display of anger and politely excuses himself to document the experience, leaving everyone confused (except Loquel, who is still gleefully enjoying his dessert and offering some to Troi).
Back on the planet, Picard becomes enraged at Anna when he realizes that his ribs are not really broken, and the woman, who continues to beg for his love, is actually holding him captive. He angrily alerts Anna to his discovery, at which point she becomes distraught over failing to gain his affection and rushes out the door, breaking off her necklace and locking him inside the freighter. Picard finds a crowbar to try to force open the door when he hears someone on the other side, who turns out to be the very much alive Voval.
Voval explains that he only appeared to be dead because, when Iyaarans are injured, their metabolic rates slow down in order to promote healing. He and Picard set off in search of Anna, eventually separating. Picard finds Anna standing at the edge of a cliff, threatening to commit suicide if he does not tell her he loves her. When he notices that Anna is again wearing her necklace and that Voval has again disappeared, Picard senses that something strange is going on and tells Anna to go ahead and jump. Picard begins to note the many coincidences that has happened since the Iyaaran shuttle crashed on the planet, such as her wearing the necklace at the moment, Anna disappearing and Voval appearing right after her or Voval's insistence that they find her before she jumps. Sure enough, Picard has found her just before she did so.
At that moment, she transforms into Voval, who explains that he is not really a pilot, but an Iyaaran ambassador. He tells Picard that years before the Iyaarans discovered the freighter along with logs indicating how a Human woman was marooned on the planet, and seven years later fell in love with a man who had also crashed. Voval brought Picard to the same planet in order to study the emotion of love by using Picard as a subject. Similarly, Loquel and Byleth were sent to experience pleasure and antagonism, as described in the woman's logs, concepts unknown to the Iyaarans. Picard comments that Humans would not have taken such a direct approach in their research, and he informs the ambassador that he has technically committed a crime. Voval is confused, but Picard is more interested in escape than prosecution and, after Voval confirms his assumption that the shuttle is actually operational, they return to the Enterprise.
Upon their arrival, Byleth along with a sore Worf, recount to Riker their experience of eleven consecutive hours of Worf's antagonistic holodeck program, while Loquel offers Troi a sample of Iyaaran food, apologizing that it lacks the flavor as chocolate, but which Troi reassures him will come as a welcome relief after the constant barrage of desserts they have been eating over the past few days. Voval and Picard part on friendly terms with Picard acknowledging the desire to obtain knowledge, and commenting that it's refreshing to encounter a people who are prepared to take an experience to its furthest extreme.
Memorable quotes Edit
"Besides, you look good in a dress."
- - Riker, on Worf's dislike for dress-like uniforms
- - Picard, to Riker after observing the Iyaaran ambassadors
"Klingons do not procrastinate."
- - Worf
"I want this one."
- - Ambassador Byleth asking to be escorted by Worf
"Are you smarter than this one?"
- - Ambassador Byleth to Geordi La Forge concerning Worf
"I am going to kill him with my bare hands! I will take him by the throat and rip out his esophagus!"
- - Worf, referring to Byleth
"He has an obsession with food, especially chocolate."
"Then you must be in heaven."
"To be honest, he's testing even my limits."
- - Troi and Riker, referring to Loquel
"You see? You see? They are insane!"
- - Worf, referring to the ambassadors
"You are an insulting, pompous fool! And if you were not an ambassador, I would disembowel you right here!"
- - Worf, to Byleth
"Very good. Thank you, Lieutenant Worf. I think I understand now. That was a very effective demonstration."
- - Byleth, after Worf attacks him
"Tell me about your love... or I'll jump!"
"Go ahead. Why don't you do it? It's a... long way down. Must be two hundred meters, you'd die instantly if that's what you want but I don't think that it really is."
- - Anna threatens to jump to her death while Picard begins to put the pieces together
"Voval, what is going on?!"
- - Picard, when Anna transforms into Voval
"I have heard that in moments of diplomatic tension, it is often helpful to find elements of commonality."
"Ambassador Byleth is demanding, temperamental, and rude!"
"You share all of those qualities in abundance. Perhaps you should try to build on your similarities."
- - Data and Worf
Background information Edit
Story and script Edit
- The working title of the episode was "The Journey". (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)
- The story initially contained a subplot of Troi earning the rank of Commander. This was later used in "Thine Own Self". In an uncredited rewrite, Brannon Braga created the tests undertaken by the other Iyaarans. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- In a cut scene, Byleth awoke Worf at 0500 for a tour of the arboretum. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion) This scene was included as a deleted scene in the blu-ray release.
- Eric was named after a nephew of Brannon Braga. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Chocolate-covered raisins were originally bought for Loquel's poker-game snack, but this was changed at the last minute as it was found that Paul Eiding was allergic to chocolate. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- First UK airdate: 17 January 1996
- Director Cliff Bole was disappointed with the episode, citing constant rewrites as the cause. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- This is the first episode in which Worf, Troi, and Beverly Crusher are seen in their dress uniforms.
- This is one of only three TNG episodes to not feature the Enterprise-D bridge, the others being "Family" and "Dark Page".
- This is one of only five TNG episodes that doesn't have a stardate. The others are "Symbiosis", "First Contact", "Tapestry", and "Sub Rosa".
Video and DVD releases Edit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 77, 7 March 1994
- As part of the TNG Season 7 DVD collection
Links and references Edit
Also starring Edit
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf
- Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
Guest stars Edit
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- David Keith Anderson as Armstrong
- Arratia as Alfonse Pacelli
- Lena Banks as operations division ensign
- Michael Braveheart as Martinez
- Carl David Burks as Russell
- Cameron as Kellogg
- Tracee Lee Cocco as Jae
- Elliot Durant III as operations division ensign
- Gunnel Eriksson as science division officer
- Linda Harcharic as Sousa
- Kerry Hoyt as operations division ensign
- Gary Hunter as science division officer
- Lorine Mendell as Diana Giddings
- Keith Rayve as civilian
- Talbot as Ten Forward waitress
- John Tampoya as operations division ensign
- Christina Wegler Miles as command division ensign
- Unknown performers as
Stunt doubles Edit
- Chuck Borden as stunt double for Michael Harris
- Rusty McClennon as stunt double for Michael Dorn
- John Nowak as stunt double for Patrick Stewart
- David Keith Anderson - stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Carl David Burks - stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Michael Echols - stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Nora Leonhardt - stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Lorine Mendell - stand-in for Gates McFadden
- Richard Sarstedt - stand-in for Jonathan Frakes
- Dennis Tracy - stand-in for Patrick Stewart
astrophysics; Betazed; bio-enzymatic supplement; class M; coltayin root; concussion; Earth; esophagus; Federation; Insanity; Iyaaran; Iyar; Klingon Empire; Ktarian chocolate puff; microfusion flare; natal pod; papalla juice; peach cobbler; plasma storm; poker; post-cellular compounding; premier; rib; suicide; Tarvokian powder cake; Terellian; Terellian freighter; Terellian spice
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