FANDOM


Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
For information on the area of space, please see neutral zone.

After rescuing three ancient humans from cryogenic stasis, the Enterprise-D is ordered to the Romulan Neutral Zone on an important mission. (Season finale)

Summary Edit

TeaserEdit

Cryonics satellite

A far-traveled cryonics satellite

"First Officer's Log, Stardate 41986.0. We are awaiting the return of Captain Picard who was summoned to Starbase 718. Meanwhile, our sensors have been monitoring an ancient capsule floating in our vicinity, which appears to be from Earth."

Captain Jean-Luc Picard is attending an emergency conference on Starbase 718 while the USS Enterprise-D waits, it is observing an ancient space capsule, apparently from Earth. Data requests permission from Commander Riker to board the vehicle while waiting for the captain's return. Riker grants him permission but wants him back aboard the Enterprise-D before Picard returns.

Data and Worf beam aboard the capsule and examine the still-functioning old-style equipment. Worf is momentarily baffled by a door that must be manually opened. Upon entering the vessel's main chamber, the two discover a number of refrigeration pods. The seals on two of them have been broken, and the environment corrupted; these two contain decomposed Human remains. Three pods contain frozen Humans.

Act OneEdit

Ralph Offenhouse, frozen

Worf makes a discovery

When Data is ordered back to the Enterprise-D in preparation for Picard's return, he requests that the frozen people also be brought aboard, as the capsule is seriously damaged.

Upon Picard's return, he immediately orders helmsman Geordi La Forge to lay in a course that will take them into the Neutral Zone. He explains to the senior officers in the observation lounge that several outposts have been destroyed, and the Enterprise-D is being sent as the only Federation vessel to investigate, as it is the flagship. It is assumed that Romulans are behind the problems, but since the Federation has had no contact with them in a number of years since the Tomed Incident, the situation is very uncertain. Riker and Worf both advise the captain to be prepared to fight, but he is determined to wait and see what the situation truly is before deciding on a aggressive course of action.

Meanwhile, Doctor Crusher has thawed and revived the frozen Humans. All three had been cryogenically frozen in the late twentieth century on Earth. Dr. Crusher awakens the woman, who promptly faints at the sight of Worf. "Welcome to the 24th century", Picard remarks to her while she lies unconscious.

Act TwoEdit

Riker briefs defrosted humans

"What year is it?"

The Humans are Clare Raymond, Ralph Offenhouse, and L.Q. "Sonny" Clemonds. As the ship continues toward the Neutral Zone, Riker explains to them what has happened, and they attempt to make sense of their new situation. Offenhouse, in particular, is shocked to learn from Data that the current year is 2364. Offenhouse is very concerned about his financial investments and repeatedly demands to speak to the captain so he can get in touch with his attorney or bank on Earth.

Act ThreeEdit

In the ready room, Riker, Worf, Data and La Forge are all in belief that, if the Romulans are inviting confrontation to see how far the Federation has advanced, the Enterprise should be ready for combat. Picard does not like the option, but, suddenly, Offenhouse calls Picard, obviously having observed Riker use the room's comm panel. This forces Picard to visit the survivors, and Offenhouse seizes the opportunity for a face-to-face talk with the captain, demanding contact with his attorney. But the captain tells him that people are not consumed with owning possessions in this century and his attorney has been dead for four hundred years. Offenhouse believes his lawyer's firm is still operating and that he has a lot of money coming to him. He stands firm, stating that Humanity must still be as it once was: power-hungry and controlling. Picard retorts that Humans no longer seek such material things; they have grown out of their infancy.

Clare becomes very upset thinking about her sons and family, so Picard has Counselor Deanna Troi come down to talk to her. She shows her the computer library's recorded family tree for her. It turns out there are ten generations there.

Sonny goes to Dr. Crusher to find something to relax him, though he has no medical need. He is having trouble waiting around without "something to do." He asks if Data can come visit him, and he suggests throwing a party when he arrives. Data says he will suggest it to the captain. However, the Enterprise now reaches the neutral zone and Data leaves, but not before confirming the Romulans will not be coming to the party.

Act FourEdit

"Captain's Log, supplemental. We have arrived at the edge of the Neutral Zone where we will now have an opportunity to learn firsthand what happened to our distant outposts."
Offenhouse on bridge

"Get that man off of the bridge!"

When the Enterprise-D arrives at the edge of the Neutral Zone, they find that a number of outposts have been completely obliterated. There is no evidence of conventional weapons or attack, but Riker and Worf find this as clear evidence. Picard orders the ship to yellow alert, though Riker and Worf urge him to go to red alert and battle stations.

Meanwhile, Offenhouse notices the tension level on the ship has jumped up and decides that he must take matters into his own hands and heads out to look for the captain. He eventually finds a turbolift and reaches the bridge. He arrives while the bridge crew wait for a Romulan D'deridex-class vessel to appear. Picard has decided not to fire as it de-cloaks, but it remains cloaked. Riker sees Offenhouse and immediately orders him off the bridge, but just then the Romulan ship de-cloaks.

Act FiveEdit

D'deridex class faces Galaxy class

The Romulans' new ship

The Romulan ship responds to the Enterprise-D hailing them, and the Romulans reveal that their outposts have been destroyed in the same manner as the Federation's. Picard asks who is responsible, and the Romulans fall silent. Offenhouse interjects, "They haven't got a clue! They're hoping you know, but they're too arrogant to ask." Picard proposes an agreement of cooperation as both sides investigate the disappearance of the outposts, and the Romulans agree. Before heading back toward their own territory, Tebok states to Picard that Federation "expansion" will not be tolerated any more, that the Romulans "are back." Offenhouse is finally removed from the bridge.

Deanna Troi helps Clare locate one of her living descendants, and Picard makes arrangements for the three Humans to be returned to Earth on the USS Charleston at the nearest starbase. At warp 8, they can make it there in five days. Riker says that it is a shame they can't take the three with them; it's like a visit from the past. Picard tells him that would be a step backward, when they still have so much to do and to learn. The Enterprise-D continues onward.

Log entries Edit

Memorable quotes Edit

"Welcome to the 24th century."

- Picard, after the newly-revived Clare Raymond fainted at the sight of Worf


"What is that?"
"An android."
"You mean a robot?"
"Actually, there is a distinct difference between an android and a robot..."
"And...and him, the one I saw before with the... head?"
"She means Worf..."
"He's a Klingon – that takes a little more... explanation."

- Clemonds, Riker, Data, Raymond, and Dr. Crusher


"I wanna go to the, um ... the, um... Where would a captain be?"
"Captain Picard is on the main bridge."
"Well, then, take me to the main bridge!"

- Offenhouse and the computer


"The Yankee's right. Let's get the big boy in here!"

- Clemonds, when Offenhouse states he wishes to speak to Picard


"They are the most unusual Humans I have ever encountered."
"Well, from what I've seen of our guests, there's not much to redeem them. Makes one wonder how our species survived the 21st century."

- Data and Riker, discussing Clemonds, Raymond, and Offenhouse


"This is the worst run ship I have ever been on. You should take lessons from the QE2. Now that's an efficient operation."

- Ralph Offenhouse, to Picard


"A lot has changed in the past three hundred years. People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We've eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We've grown out of our infancy."

- Picard to Ralph Offenhouse


"Captain, these are Romulans. They are without honor. They killed my parents in an attack on Khitomer when they were supposed to be our allies. They believe that Humans and Klingons are a waste of skin!"

- Worf


"Silence your dog, captain!"

- Tebok, insulting Worf


"They haven't got a clue! They're hoping you know, but they're too arrogant to ask!"

- Offenhouse, deducing that the Romulans don't know who attacked their outposts


"Your presence is not wanted. Do you understand my meaning, captain? We... are back."

- Tebok


"The challenge, Mr. Offenhouse, is to improve yourself... to enrich yourself. Enjoy it."

- Picard, describing life on 24th century Earth


"Come back later, you and me can find us a couple of low-mileage pit woofies and help them build a memory."

- Sonny, to Data


"Our mission is to go forward, and it's just begun. [...] There's still much to do. There's still so much to learn."

- Picard, aptly ending the first season and promising that the adventures will continue...

Background information Edit

Production history Edit

Story and script Edit

Cast and characters Edit

Sets and props Edit

Drwho

Doctor Who actors displayed on a computer terminal

Production Edit

Music Edit

Continuity Edit

  • The premise of this episode shares some similarities with TOS: "Space Seed", as that outing also featured a starship called the Enterprise encountering an ancient, derelict spacecraft with cryogenically frozen Humans from 1990s Earth, and then reviving the occupants whose chambers had not failed. (Of course, these occupants prove to be much easier for the crew to deal with, relatively speaking, than Khan Noonien Singh was.)
  • This episode marks the first time a specific year is mentioned in relation to the setting of a Star Trek series, when Data cites the current year as 2364. This year served as the fixed reference around which subsequent timeline data was placed. Prior to this, Star Trek: The Next Generation had generally been placed in the early 24th century, per Data's line in "Encounter at Farpoint", where he established that he was from the "class of '78."
D'deridex class

Introduction of the D'deridex-class

  • This episode also marks the first appearance of the D'deridex-class warbird, which is seen numerous times throughout the series as well as in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager.
  • Like "The Naked Now"'s reference to the USSR earlier in the season, this episode contained a historical prediction which would be proved inaccurate within a few years. While the episode was being made, Sonny Clemonds' belief that his beloved Atlanta Braves are "probably still finding ways to lose" was an accurate reflection of their performance, because, by the time in the mid-1990s when the cryonics satellite would have been launched, the Braves were in the middle of a fifteen-year run in which they were consistently one of the premier teams in Major League Baseball. They even won the World Series in 1995 (defeating the Cleveland Indians, who had been similarly misrepresented in "The Big Goodbye", where the Dixon Hill vendor thought Data was "nuts" when he mentioned that the Indians would stop Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak – they were as bad as the Braves in 1988, but had been one of the better teams in the American League at the time the holonovel takes place). However, while the Braves won fourteen straight division titles between 1991 and 2005, 1995 was their only championship in that span, "finding ways to lose" in the other years.
  • This is the first episode in which the Borg are mentioned, although they are, at this point, only an unknown (and therefore unnamed) entity which has been destroying starbases.
  • After this episode, the attacks the Romulans complain about in "The Neutral Zone" dangled as an unresolved plot device for quite some time. Indeed, this is the only episode, in all of Star Trek, that references the Borg attacking the Romulans. In VOY: "Unity", Commander Chakotay of the starship USS Voyager encounters liberated Borg drones in the Delta Quadrant nearly a decade later. Among them was a former drone named Orum who identified himself as Romulan.
  • Worf mentions the Romulans having killed his parents during the attack on Khitomer "when they were supposed to be our allies." However, "Reunion" later established that Klingons and Romulans had been blood enemies for decades before that.
  • This is the last episode until Star Trek: Insurrection in which William Riker is depicted to be clean-shaven and the last episode where Geordi La Forge and Worf wear the command division uniforms. For Season 2 onward, Riker sports a beard and La Forge and Worf switch to the operations division uniforms, although in DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", Worf switches back to the command division uniform. La Forge is seen in a command division uniform only once more, in 2390 while commanding the USS Challenger in an alternate future in the Voyager season 5 episode "Timeless".
  • This is also the last episode until Season 3 to feature Dr. Beverly Crusher, as she leaves the Enterprise to become the head of Starfleet Medical throughout Season 2. For the entirety of that season, she is replaced (both in the ensemble of main characters and as the ship's chief medical officer) by Dr. Katherine Pulaski.
  • When Clare Raymond awakes (and promptly faints) in sickbay, Captain Picard says, "Welcome to the 24th century." He later says the same thing to the 22nd century time traveler Berlinghoff Rasmussen after he became trapped in 2368 in "A Matter of Time". Worf also says it to Captain K'Temoc of the IKS T'Ong in "The Emissary".

Reception Edit

  • James L. Conway remembered that this episode was considered one of the weaker first season shows, speculating, "If there hadn't been a strike, I think it would have been a better script." (The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 19)
  • Despite the glee fans felt over the return of the Romulans, there was concurrently a sense of unease at the time, over some uncharacteristic statements uttered by the principal characters, which they felt flew in the face of the spirit of Star Trek. These included,
Scene 2: "It's just a piece of space debris. If we weren't sitting here waiting for the captain, we wouldn't have even noticed it. Leave it be. Let nature take its course."
- Riker, contradicting the exploratory nature of the mission, especially from a period of time in Earth's history which had been established as somewhat mired.
Scene 23: "But, Data – they were already dead. I mean... what more could have happened to them? [....] They are alive now, so we have to treat them as living Human beings."
- Picard, contradicting himself, as apparently they were not dead, and expressing a willingness to have left them, without even trying to revive them, as well as showcasing bigotry in the closing remark.
While writer Maurice Hurley could have been faulted for this, this was only partly true, due to the fact that he was only recently hired, not having any experience whatsoever with science fiction in general nor Star Trek in particular. As indicated by James L. Conway's comments, most responsible was the writer's strike that intervened in the writing of the episode. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 67)

Video and DVD releases Edit

Natasha Yar's face is obscured by shadow on the video sleeve, reflecting her death in the previous volume.

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also starring Edit

Guest stars Edit

And

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stand-ins Edit

References Edit

1939; 2040; 2311; 2364; address; aquarium; Atlantic Ocean; Arloff IX; Atlanta Braves; bank; biobed; Birdseye, SS; Borg; brain; bridge; brown-out; cardiomyopathy; Charleston, USS; chord; circulatory system; Clemonds' ex-wives; cloaking device; Constellation-class; Constitution-class; construction work; couch; country fried potatoes; cryonics; cryonics satellite; D'deridex-class; desk; desktop monitor; door; earring; Earth; embolism; Emergency Manual Override station; emphysema; Enterprise history; Enterprise (CVN-65), USS; Enterprise, USS; Enterprise-A, USS; Enterprise-B, USS; Enterprise-C, USS; executive key; firm; fog; food service; Galaxy-class; Galaxy-class decks; genealogy; generation; guest quarters; guitar; Geneva; homemaker; homeostasis; hypospray; Indianapolis; Kansas City; Kansas City strip steak; Kazis binary system; Khitomer; Library Computer Access and Retrieval System; liver; low-mileage pit woofie; martini; mmHg; model; Mogh; money; musician; NCC-7100; number one; observation lounge; occupation (job); Offenhouse's lawyer; olive; painting; passenger liner; patient; progeny; QE2; Raymond, Donald; Raymond, Edward; Raymond family; Raymond, Thomas; Raymond, Tommy; ready room; replicator; respiratory system; Romulan; Romulan Neutral Zone; Romulan philosophy; Romulan Star Empire; Romulan uniform; rose; Science Station Delta-05; Science Station Delta-05 planet; sculpture; Sector 3-0; Sector 3-1; shrink; sickbay; sideman; skant; skeletal system; skull; star; Starbase 39-Sierra; Starbase 718; statue; table; Tarod IX; Tebok's Warbird; television; three-dimensional chess; Tomed Incident; tricorder; turbolift; type 1 phaser; United Federation of Planets; United States of America; unnamed plants; utility uniform; viewscreen; VISOR; vitamin; Vulcan; Wall Street Journal; warbird; window; Yankee

Library computer references Edit

External links Edit


Previous episode:
"Conspiracy"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 1
Next episode:
"The Child"

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.