(written from a Production point of view)
|"Who Watches The Watchers"|
|TNG, Episode 3x04|
Production number: 40273-152
First aired: 16 October 1989
|←||51st of 176 produced in TNG||→|
|←||51st of 176 released in TNG||→|
|←||158th of 728 released in all||→|
| Written By|
Richard Manning & Hans Beimler
The Enterprise must undo the damage when a primitive civilization discovers a Federation observation team and concludes that the Starfleet personnel are gods.
- "Captain's log, Stardate 43173.5. We are en route to Mintaka III where a three-man Federation anthropological field team has been studying the inhabitants. Our mission is to resupply the outpost and repair their malfunctioning reactor."
The observation post is studying Mintakans, proto-Vulcan humanoids at the Bronze Age level, from behind a holographic wall. When contacted en route, they inform the USS Enterprise-D they only have 3 hours of battery backup remaining. However, during the status report, there is a large explosion, resulting in power failure, injuries, and the transmission failing.
When the Enterprise arrives, and the away team begins repairs, flashing lights from behind the failed holographic wall draw the attention of two Mintakans, Liko and Oji. Before the holographic generator can be repaired, Liko manages to get a glimpse of the inside. When noticed, he accidentally touches one of the electrically charged walls, and falls off. Dr. Crusher, acting upon instinct, goes down and gets him beamed to sickbay. Oji is amazed when she sees them disappear into thin air. Only now is the holographic generator repaired successfully.
Dr. Crusher, after standing up to her decision to violate the Prime Directive in this manner (Liko had already seen inside), performs a short-term memory wipe. When Dr. Barron awakens in the next bed, he is informed of the situation: one of the scientists, Dr. Palmer, is still down there. Liko sees Picard explaining this, and giving several orders before Dr. Crusher re-sedates him.
When Liko is beamed down to the planet, he does in fact remember everything. He explains to Oji about his experience, convinced that the beings of legend saved him, and knew the name of one: the Picard.
- "First officer's log, stardate 43174.2. Counselor Troi and I are beaming down to Mintaka III to locate Dr. Palmer and to determine the extent of the cultural contamination. Dr. Crusher has temporarily altered our features and skin color. She's also implanted subcutaneous communicators so that any transmissions we receive will be inaudible to the Mintakans."
Riker and Troi beam down to Mintaka III, and once they arrive in the town, they hear that Liko's story is continuing around. Nuria is one of the major skeptics. Riker and Troi attempt to convince them it was a dream, but to no avail. Then Dr. Palmer is brought in, and Liko is convinced it will please the Picard.
When Riker reports this, Dr. Barron is adamant that Palmer should be beamed aboard, since the cultural damage has been done. Picard will look for an opportunity, but refuses to do it immediately or drastically.
The town concludes that Palmer should be kept safe to please the Picard, and he will be bound in case he was hiding from the Picard. Troi attempts to distract many members by claiming that "another servant of the Picard" is headed for a faraway cave, while Riker binds the guards and escapes with Palmer. He manages to beam back to the ship before he can be caught.
Troi, however, is captured. Liko suggests they harm Troi to hold off the Picard's anger. Nuria refuses to until they have a better chance to find her.
Meanwhile, on the ship, Dr. Barron suggests that Picard "show them a sign". He refuses, citing again the Prime Directive, and all of the damage he would do. Instead, he believes that he can convince Nuria that "the Picard" is not magical, simply very advanced.
When Nuria is alone, they transport her aboard. Immediately, she bows in reverence, but Picard tells her to get up, and tries to talk her out of it. When it does not work, he shows her the ship, the view of her world, and continues to explain to her the fact he is only natural, using technology which evolved over many centuries. She appears to understand, but then asks Picard to return her people to life who are long dead.
Since there seems to be nothing else he can do to convince her, Picard brings her into sickbay when Dr. Mary Warren is dying. Nuria watches her die, and then finally understands: she couldn't be saved; his power does have limits.
Meanwhile, on the planet, a storm frightens Liko, one out of season and quite intense. Believing the Picard has sent it, and without Nuria to question his actions, he prepares to sacrifice Troi, feeling he has no choice. Just in time, Picard returns with Nuria, who attempts to persuade Liko that Picard is mortal. Liko, however, will not believe it. He begs for Picard to restore his dead wife, but Picard again tries to explain this is impossible.
In a desperate attempt to demonstrate Picard's supreme nature Liko aims his bow and threatens to shoot him. Nuria attempts to stand in between Liko and Picard, but Picard pushes her out of the way, encouraging him to indeed shoot if that is the only way he will be convinced that he is truly mortal. Liko shoots, the arrow injuring Picard seriously and for all to witness. Only now does Liko believe in Picard's mortality.
- "Captain's log, supplemental. Dr. Crusher has repaired my injury with her usual skill. Mr. La Forge will supervise the dismantling of the observation post after I make one last visit to Mintaka III."
He shows them the observation post, and explains their presence, their desire for research, and the Prime Directives. After accepting a tapestry, exchanging good will, he departs the planet.
"Mintakan emotions are quite interesting. Like the Vulcans, they have highly ordered minds. A very sensible people. For example, Mintakan women precede their mates. It's a signal to other women."
"'This man's taken, get your own'?"
"Not precisely. More like 'if you want his services, I'm the one you have to negotiate with.'"
"What kind of services?"
"They are a sensible race."
- - Troi and Riker discussing Mintakan society
"I believe I have seen the Overseer. He is called 'The Picard.'"
- - Liko
"Dr. Barron, I cannot, I will not impose a set of commandments on these people!"
- - Picard, at Barron's suggestion that he pose as God to the Mintakans
"Look at me... feel the warmth of my hand, the rhythm of my pulse. I'm not a supreme being. I'm flesh and blood, like you."
"Not like me."
"Like you. Different in appearance, yes, but we are both living beings. We are born, we grow, we live... and we die. In all the ways that matter, we are alike."
- - Picard and Nuria, just after Nuria is beamed aboard the Enterprise
"Perhaps one day, my people will travel above the skies..."
"Of that, I have absolutely no doubt."
- - Picard and Nuria, in the Enterprise observation lounge
"Horrifying... Dr. Barron, your report describes how rational these people are. Millennia ago, they abandoned their belief in the supernatural. Now you are asking me to sabotage that achievement, to send them back into the dark ages of superstition and ignorance and fear? No!"
- - Picard
- Rick Sternbach based the design of the duck blind on the video cameras used by the TMA-1 team in 2001: A Space Odyssey. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Vasquez Rocks, a familiar filming location from Star Trek: The Original Series, was used again for this episode. The cast and crew spent two days shooting in 100°F heat. Due to the presence of local snakes, scorpions and bees, no attractants such as deodorant or perfume could be used. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- This was the last episode produced during Michael Wagner's brief tenure as showrunner. Michael Piller took over the role starting with "The Bonding".
Cast and characters
- Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) does not appear in this episode.
- James Greene later appears in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Reckoning" as Ranjen Koral.
- Ray Wise later appears in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Hope and Fear" as Arturis.
Sets, props and costumes
- The Mintakan tapestry that is given to Picard by Nuria and the villagers was seen on Captain Picard's chair in his ready room in many subsequent episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and in all of the "Next Generation" films except Star Trek Nemesis.
- The episode refers to events that happened in "Pen Pals", specifically Dr. Pulaski's memory wipe on Sarjenka.
- This episode also marks the final reference to Dr. Pulaski on the show. She is henceforth never mentioned (by name) on the series again, although she is alluded to by Professor Moriarty in "Ship in a Bottle". Moreover, she does get a brief mention in the closing episode of Star Trek: Voyager, "Endgame", where she receives a page from Starfleet Medical. Interestingly enough, one of the early victims in this episode happens to share the last name "Pulaski."
- The planet shown in the episode is the same prop as would later be used for the planet of Betazed.
- This episode is referenced by Mitena Haro in TNG: "Allegiance".
- The concept of observing another civilization from a holographic duck blind is revisited - with equally unsatisfactory results - in Star Trek: Insurrection.
- A mission report for this episode by John Sayers was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 10, pp. 49-53.
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 26, 21 October 1991.
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 3.2, 3 April 2000.
- As part of the TNG Season 3 DVD collection.
- As part of the TNG Season 3 Blu-ray collection.
Links and references
- 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
- Kathryn Leigh Scott as Nuria
- Ray Wise as Liko
- James Greene as Barron
- Pamela Segall as Oji
- John McLiam as Fento
- Michael Braveheart as Martinez
- Lorine Mendell as Diana Giddings
- John Rice as science division officer
- Tim Trella as Palmer
- Natalie Wood as Bailey
- Yolanda as science division officer
- Unknown performers as
- Dan Koko as stunt double for Jonathan Frakes
- John Nowak as stunt double for Patrick Stewart
- Unknown stunt performer as stunt double for Ray Wise
- 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
13th century; anthropology; Bow and arrow; Bronze Age; duck blind; Federation; fusion reactor; gigawatt; holy war; hornbuck; inquisition; Karst topography; lysosome; Mintaka III; Mintakans; Mintakan tapestry; norep; observation team; Overseer; phaser bank; Prime Directive; memory wipe; Proto-Vulcan humanoid; Pulaski, Katherine; record keeper; subcutaneous communicator; subspace relay station; sundial; thallium; tricordrazine; Vulcans; Vulcan (planet); zenith
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