(written from a Production point of view)
Dr. Crusher violates Starfleet regulations and medical ethics when she investigates the death of a Ferengi scientist.
Guinan visits Dr. Crusher in her quarters, complaining of tennis elbow. Crusher tells her she had better see Dr. Selar instead and then breaks the news that she is no longer a doctor on the ship and will be facing a court martial soon.
A Ferengi scientist, Dr. Reyga, has created a metaphasic shielding technique, but his unorthodox methods have left most scientists in the field ignoring his work. Dr. Crusher decided to play "scientific diplomat" and invite other scientists in the field to come to the USS Enterprise-D and view a demonstration of the doctor's prototype. An Enterprise-D shuttle is to be fitted with Dr. Reyga's experimental shield and flown into a nearby star, Veytan. As they are all skeptical, they decide that someone other than the Ferengi should pilot the shuttle. The Takaran scientist Jo'Bril volunteers.
At the test flight, they all watch from the bridge as Jo'Bril enters the Veytan's corona. Everything seems to be going as planned until suddenly Jo'Bril becomes short of breath, and barely pilots the shuttle out of the star before dying. Everyone considers Reyga a failure, but he cannot accept that something went wrong. No one can find any trouble with the shuttlecraft. Also, Dr. Crusher cannot determine the cause of Jo'Bril's death. In fact, she cannot understand his physiology at all, especially why his cells seem to be decaying at such a slow rate. He also has no discrete organs and they are all distributed equally throughout his body, which should make him incredibly resistant to injury. However, he is judged dead. Reyga pleads with the other scientists to allow him a second test. Dr. Crusher refuses, but he seems determined to prove himself. A few hours later, he is found dead from a plasma discharge. It is judged a suicide by Worf, but Beverly is incredulous.
Dr. Crusher discusses how unusual this seems with Captain Picard. She is determined to perform an autopsy, but the captain informs her that it is out of the question, as the family insists the body not be desecrated before they can perform the Ferengi death ritual. Frustrated, Dr. Crusher decides to perform an investigation of her own. She confronts Christopher and T'Pan in their quarters, and Christopher becomes incensed. Eventually, he mentions that Kurak and Reyga had a fiery argument shortly before his death. Dr. Crusher then confronts the Klingon scientist, Kurak, much to her own peril, as the Klingon scientist throws her violently against the wall. As she determines Kurak also did not murder Reyga, she finds herself stumped. Knowing she will be disobeying a direct order, she performs an autopsy on Reyga, believing that it will answer her questions... and can find nothing. She informs Picard, who is extremely disappointed. Picard has no choice but to relieve her from duty and report her conduct to Starfleet Medical.
Guinan encourages Dr. Crusher to continue her investigation, as she has nothing left to lose. After a brief interlude with William T. Riker in a corridor, urging Beverly to not do anything foolish before her inquiry, she returns to sickbay and, with Nurse Ogawa's help, does an additional examination of Jo'Bril's body, discovering tetryon particles. It's not conclusive evidence, but it does indicate there may have been sabotage of the multiphasic shield.
She decides to take the Justman with Dr. Reyga's modifications into the star herself. Picard urges her to come back, but to no avail even as the temperature rises. The shield works. Crusher tells Picard that one of the three remaining scientists must be the murderer.
Then, communications suddenly drop. Inside the Justman, Jo'Bril emerges from his hiding place, and tells Dr. Crusher that his species are able to control their metabolic function to the point where they can simulate death. Crusher realizes he heard all her plans when he was in lying on a slab in the morgue. He admits that the metaphasic shield is a reality, and that he plans to simulate a warp core breach in the shuttle, wait until the Enterprise leaves (as its sensors cannot penetrate the star's coronasphere), and then take her and the shuttle back to his homeworld, where he will perfect the technique and sell it as his own for a weapon.
Crusher then engages him in hand-to-hand combat over a phaser. Dr. Crusher's defense skills prove far superior to Jo'Bril's, as she delivers a painful round-house kick, causing him to fall down. After Jo'Bril is down, Beverly grabs the phaser he was holding and shoots him, blowing a hole in Jo'Bril's torso, and to her shock this doesn't slow him down at all, only serving to annoy him. Crusher adjusts the setting of the phaser and shoots him again, this time, shooting to kill; as Jo'Bril is vaporized by her phaser fire. She immediately adjusts heading and heads back to the Enterprise.
On board the Enterprise they are beginning a search for shuttle debris when the Justman emerges from the star's corona and Dr. Crusher tells them she finally has the answers about Reyga's murder.
She returns to the ship, where she is reinstated to active duty (so presumably the formal inquiry has been cancelled). She goes to Ten Forward and replicates the latest design in tennis racket for Guinan after all the help she had given Crusher. She gives it to Guinan and tells her that she will never get tennis elbow again – but Guinan admits she has never played tennis.
"Well, you better go to sickbay. I think Dr. Selar's on duty."
"I don't want to see Dr. Selar, I always see you. I'm very particular about my doctors."
"Well, you better get a new one because I'm not a doctor on this ship anymore."
- - Crusher to Guinan after she comes to her quarters complaining of tennis elbow
"I can hear Admiral Brooks now telling me how I've disgraced Starfleet Medical. Then, a leisurely day and a half before the formal inquiry begins and my career ends."
"Beverly... my elbow."
- - Crusher on how her career is finished while Guinan asks to be looked at
"You know, I've never been to a formal inquiry."
"Well, I'll see if I can arrange one for you. All you have to do is disobey orders, violate medical ethics and cause an interstellar incident."
"Well, I guess that would do it."
- - Guinan and Crusher
"I saw... the sun!"
- - Dr. Jo'Bril, saying his "last" words
"I don't want you to get involved in this."
"Is that an order, doctor?"
"Too bad you're not my boss anymore."
- - Beverly Crusher and Alyssa Ogawa
"Thank you, doctor. This looks like a great racket but, uh... I don't play tennis. Never have."
- - Guinan, when Crusher gives her a racket guaranteed not to cause tennis elbow (last lines; also Guinan's last lines in the series)
Background information Edit
- First UK airdate: 6 December 1995
- This episode marks the final appearance of Guinan on the series, though she remains on the Enterprise-D. She plays an integral role in Star Trek Generations, and has a brief appearance in Star Trek Nemesis.
- The metaphasic shield technology would later be used by the Enterprise-D under the command of Dr. Crusher in "Descent, Part II" to combat the Borg. James Horan also guest starred in that episode, but as Lieutenant Barnaby, an Enterprise-D crewmember.
- In this episode it is stated that the Ferengi is to be buried after death. On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine a different death ritual for the Grand Nagus of the Ferengi is shown. Since the Deep Space 9 episode refers specifically to Ferengi "of his stature," it may be that burial applied to the Ferengi scientist in this episode because as a disgraced failure, there would be no (financial) interest in his remains.
- Stock footage from the fourth season episode "Final Mission" is used including Mary Kohnert as Ensign Tess Allenby.
Video and DVD releases Edit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 74, 22 November 1993
- As part of the TNG Season 6 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
- Patti Yasutake as Alyssa Ogawa
- Tricia O'Neil as Kurak
- Peter Slutsker as Reyga
- James Horan as Jo'Bril
- John S. Ragin as Christopher
- Joan Stuart Morris as T'Pan
Special guest star Edit
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- David Keith Anderson as Armstrong
- Arratia as Alfonse Pacelli
- Carl David Burks as Russell
- Tracee Lee Cocco as Jae
- R. Cox as Marquez
- Hal Donahue as command division lieutenant
- Goldie Ann Gareza as command division officer
- Christie Haydon as command division ensign
- Arvo Katajisto as Torigan
- Mary Kohnert as Tess Allenby
- Ron Large as command division officer
- Michael Moorehead as science division ensign
- Joyce Robinson as Gates
- Richard Sarstedt as command division ensign
- Unknown actor as operations division officer
Stunt doubles Edit
- 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
Altine Conference; autonomic functions scan; baryon; Board of inquiry; Brooks; Celsius; cortical stimulator; Earth; Ferengi; Ferengi death ritual; field emitter coil; formal inquiry; Galaxy-class; Justman; kelvin; medical tricorder; metaphasic shield; A Midsummer Night's Dream; Mintakan tapestry; morgue; painting; phased ionic pulse; plasma infuser; poison; polarity; Qo'noS; rad; science lab; science station; Selar; sextant; sickbay; Starbase 23; Starfleet Medical; subspace morphology; subspace theoretician; Takara; Takaran; tennis; tennis elbow; tennis racket; tetryon; tetryon radiation; type 6 shuttlecraft; Vaytan; Vulcan Science Academy
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