(written from a Production point of view)
The Enterprise investigates two survivors living on the only undamaged patch of land on a devastated planet.
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The USS Enterprise-D is en route to a Federation colony, Delta Rana IV, which sent a distress signal indicating they were under attack. When the Enterprise crew arrives, they find the entire planet completely devastated, save for a few acres of land and a house containing two elderly botanists, Kevin and Rishon Uxbridge originally from Earth. Still aboard the Enterprise, Counselor Troi senses something unusual about the two. However, she soon begins hearing music in her mind, replayed in an endless loop. The music blocks her empathic abilities and eventually begins driving her insane.
The two survivors claim to not know why they were spared and both refuse to be beamed up to the Enterprise when Riker offers them safety aboard. The Enterprise soon is attacked by a large warship, apparently the one responsible for the devastation. Data reveals that there is no record of the ship in the vehicle identification index. The ship flees after the Enterprise fires a warning phaser shot. After being unable to catch up with the unidentified ship, Captain Picard returns to the Delta Rana system. Upon returning, he visits the two survivors with Worf and offers them a portable replicator.
Meanwhile, Troi is still haunted by the music, which is becoming louder, soon rendering her hysterical and incapable of doing much more than tearfully beg Dr. Crusher to make it stop. She suggests moving her to sickbay, which Troi refuses. Dr. Crusher offers to induce delta-wave sleep, but Troi is convinced the music is real and that not even deep sleep will spare her from it.
Back on the planet, Picard describes his encounter with the unknown ship to the two survivors who, again, claim not to know why they were spared. Picard says that there must be something different about them from the other colonists, and insists on taking the survivors back to the ship. They again refuse. The Enterprise goes into red alert as the unidentified ship returns. Picard attempts to open a hailing frequency before being attacked again. This time, the attacks are stronger and cause much more damage than they had previously. As the Enterprise throws everything she's got at the attacking ship, the ship absorbs all energy from its weapons and is entirely undamaged. After taking severe damage and incurring casualties, the Enterprise escapes the ship's firing range.
Picard theorizes that Troi's music stems from Rishon and Kevin's unwillingness to leave. Back in the Delta Rana system, Picard expresses his belief that the unknown ship is no longer in the vicinity, and that it some how protects Kevin and Rishon, directly or indirectly. He then returns to the planet to talk to the survivors. The survivors appear to be celebrating and are startled by Picard and Worf's sudden appearance.
Kevin asks Picard and Worf to leave him and his wife alone. Picard tells him that after he leaves, he will never set foot in their home on Rana again for some reason. He explains to the survivors his recent encounters with the ship, however Kevin refuses to believe him, calling his stories methods of intimidation. Right before leaving, Picard sternly explains that the Enterprise will remain in orbit around Rana IV as long as the two are alive.
Upon beaming back to the Enterprise, the unidentified ship reappears, much to the evident dismay of Worf. Commander Riker and Worf begin preparations for a fight, but Picard calmly informs them that the Enterprise will take no action. The alien ship veers away from the Enterprise and targets the house of Kevin and Rishon. The house and plot of land are totally destroyed and the ship is then itself blown apart by a single photon torpedo from the Enterprise.
Picard calmly orders the ship to keep watch over the plot of land. The crew are astounded by this turn of events, and even more puzzled as to why they remain in orbit over a dead planet. After approximately three hours, Geordi La Forge notices a change in sensor readings and informs the captain that the house and land are back. Picard orders Kevin and Rishon to be beamed directly to the bridge and confronts them over what really happened on the planet. Speaking to Rishon, Picard notes that all of his senses tell him that she exists, but he has realized that she is not real. Rishon then vanishes, leaving only a sad Kevin. Picard tells him he knows he's not Human. Kevin then teleports to the turbolift; Picard orders the crew to keep clear and to track him, as he believes Kevin to be a creature of conscience that has some unfinished business aboard before returning to the surface.
Dr. Crusher visits Troi's quarters, startled to find Kevin at her bedside: he has removed the music from her mind. The music was his creation; her empathic powers were also threatening to reveal the truth. Picard enters and demands the truth about what happened to the planet. Kevin makes a startling confession: he is in fact a Douwd, an immortal being with vast powers. He met his Human wife many years before and decided to live as a Human with her. The alien raiders were the Husnock, who he knew as being of hideous intelligence, knowing only aggression and destruction. A devout pacifist he could have, but did not, destroy them. He used his powers to try to trick them instead, but it only made them more angry and cruel. Rishon joined the colonists in fighting what Kevin knew to be a hopeless battle against the raiders and was killed. Viewing her broken body, in an instant of insane rage and grief towards the invaders, he annihilated the entire Husnock race -- around fifty billion lives.
Stunned at his "sin", Kevin recreated Rishon and their house, and sentenced himself to exile on the ruined Delta Rana IV. He used the fake warship as a ruse to try and keep the Enterprise from finding out the truth. Picard confesses that the Federation is not qualified to be his judge in the matter, and allows him to return to the planet.
With Troi returned to full health, the Enterprise departs for Starbase 133. Picard notes in his log that the Douwd is a being of extraordinary power, and isn't sure if he should be condemned for his crime or praised for his conscience. What he does know, however, is that "Kevin" should be left alone.
"Sir, may I say your attempt to hold the away team at bay, with a non-functioning weapon, was an act of unmitigated gall."
"Didn't fool you, huh?"
"I admire gall."
- - Worf and Kevin Uxbridge
"An entire planet obliterated... except for a few acres of trees and grass and one building?"
- - Riker
"Number One, I think you had better see who's at home."
- - Picard, after sensors discover a solitary home found in the middle of devastation on Delta Rana IV
(Worf drinks his tea and makes a face).
"Well, what do you think, Mr. Worf?"
"Good tea. (looks around) Nice house."
- - Rishon Uxbridge and Worf
"If they are the only survivors of a nuclear holocaust, they can't be in very good shape."
- - Beverly Crusher
"Your colony was attacked by a warship-"
"Belonging to the Husnock. A species of hideous intelligence. Knew only aggression... destruction."
- - Picard and Kevin Uxbridge
"I saw her broken body... I went insane. My hatred exploded. And in an instant of grief... I destroyed the Husnock!'"
- - Kevin Uxbridge
"No, no, no, no, you don't understand the scope of my crime. I didn't kill just one Husnock, or a hundred, or a thousand. I killed them all. All Husnock, everywhere."
- - Kevin Uxbridge
"Are eleven thousand people worth fifty billion? Is the love of a woman worth the destruction of an entire species?"
- - Kevin Uxbridge
"We are not qualified to be your judges. We have no law to fit your crime. You're free to return to the planet, and to make Rishon live again."
- - Picard
"We leave behind a being of extraordinary power... and conscience. I am not certain if he should be praised or condemned. Only that he should be left alone."
Background information Edit
Story and script Edit
- According to the first draft script dated 7 July 1989, the working title for this episode was "The Veiled Planet".  
- The outdoor scenes in this episode were shot at a beach house in Malibu, California. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Director Les Landau recalled, "We were on location for a day. It made not only the audience but the crew happy. When you're tied to shooting indoors every day, it gets monotonous. We were lucky enough to go out to Malibu and we had a beautiful summer day. I think it was unique story for Star Trek and one of my best works to date." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- First UK airdate: 23rd October 1991
Cast and characters Edit
- John Anderson had lost his own wife shortly before appearing in "The Survivors", and said that the subject matter made the role of Kevin Uxbridge one of the most difficult of his career. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
Sets, props, and costumes Edit
- The large round window in the Uxbridge's living room previously appeared on the surface of Ramatis III in "Loud As A Whisper".
- This is the first episode that Deanna Troi wears her new turquoise uniform, which she would continue to wear on a rotating basis with her maroon and dark gray unitard until the season six episode "Chain of Command, Part I".
- Both guest stars play characters that are much older than they were in real life at the time of shooting. 67-year-old John Anderson played 85-year-old Kevin Uxbridge and 55-year-old Anne Haney played 82-year-old Rishon Uxbridge. This seems to indicate, as with the 137-year-old Admiral Leonard McCoy in "Encounter at Farpoint", that the average Human lifespan is much longer in the 24th century. (Haney would subsequently play an even older character, the hundred-year old Els Renora in the episode "Dax".)
- Riker says in learning of the only surviving area of the devastation on Delta Rana IV, "a few acres of trees and grass," indicating an anachronistic familiarity with the U.S./Imperial system of measurement, rather than the 24th century standard metric system which would use hectares.
- A mission report of this episode by Patrick Daniel O'Neill was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 10, pp. 44-47.
Video and DVD releases Edit
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 26, 21 October 1991
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 3.1, 28 February 2000
- As part of the TNG Season 3 DVD collection
- As part of the TNG Season 3 Blu-ray 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
- Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher
Guest stars Edit
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- Michael Braveheart as Martinez
- Mitchell Danton as command division officer
- Michele Gerren as science division officer
- Richard Sarstedt as command division officer
- Natalie Wood as Bailey
- Unknown performers as
Stunt double Edit
- James G. Becker – stand-in for Jonathan Frakes
- Dexter Clay – stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Jeffrey Deacon – stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- Nora Leonhardt – stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Tim McCormack – stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Lorine Mendell – stand-in for Gates McFadden
- Guy Vardaman – stand-in for Wil Wheaton
2284; 2313; 2361; 2366; acre; admiral; Andorian renegades; Andorians; antiprotons; aquarium; aquatic city; Atlantic Ocean; botanist; city; collaborator; Colony Operations; colony register; coma; dance; Delta Rana IV; Delta Rana IV colony; Delta Rana system; Delta Rana warship; delta sleep; distress call; Douwd; Earth; evasive action; Federation; fish; fusion reactor; gigawatt; Husnock; Husnock warship; immortality; kilometer; Lagrange point; medical tricorder; megawatt; Milky Way Galaxy; moon; Much Ado About Nothing; music box; neocortex; New Martim Vaz; nuclear holocaust; number one; high equatorial orbit; perfume; phaser; philosophy; photon torpedo; plant; positrons; red alert; replicator; ship; Starbase 133; symbiosis; Tao-classical music; tea; tree; Triangulum system; Uxbridge, Rishon (recreation); vehicle classification index; waltz
- "The Survivors" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Survivors" at Wikipedia
- The Survivors at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Survivors" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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