Six episodes in and this had become must watch TV. I honestly don’t think we missed a single episode as it aired. As a kid, each episode promised the chance that new species and new worlds would be seen and was exciting. This one provided the former in more ways than one. Airing November 2,1987, I give you Lonely Among Us.
Stardate 41249.3 The Lonely Among Us
The Enterprise is tasked with taking two warring species (the Anticans and the Selay) to the planet Parliament (yeah, kinda on the nose, I know) with the hope that they will be able to resolve their conflict with the peacemakers there. Both species have petitioned the Federation for membership but must overcome their warring ways before being considered. On their way the crew encounter an unusual object that is traveling at warp only to discover that it is something rather unique and possibly dangerous.
The Anticans and the Selay are very different species with the Selay being reptilian, very snake-like, and the Anticans are mammalian a carnivorous species that still eat meat. It is established in this episode that humans no longer kill animals for food and only replicate ‘meat’ using their food replication units.
The entity that the Enterprise is following first attacks Worf and briefly inhabits him via a conduit that he and Geordi are working on. Worf is knocked unconscious and the entity jumps to Dr. Crusher as she is caring for him in sickbay. She begins acting fishy and, to the viewer, it is not clear what is going on at first. The being then jumps into the ship and begins its exploration.
Meanwhile things start ‘breaking down’ around the ship and, as far as anyone can tell, the new visitors may be responsible as they are at odds with one another. An investigation begins and Riker believes that the Ferengi may have influenced one of the delegates. Data takes it upon himself to take up the investigation after being inspired by the famed detective Sherlock Holmes.
As the investigation gets underway the unknown entity ultimately possessing Picard and things get really interesting. It turns out that the Enterprise accidentally scooped up a lifeform as it went through a cloud in space. The entity went from body to body trying to figure out where it was and accidentally killed one of the crewman. (It’s sorry by the way) Possessed Picard decides to beam himself out into the cloud since they both like to explore. They of course try to stop him but he is über Picard so he can’t be stopped! Picard ends up in space in energy form and turns out he doesn’t belong and works his way back to the Enterprise. He ends up back and, since his physical patterns are still in the transporter buffer they get him back. He signals them with the letter P on the helm to let them know he is there. seriously.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
It’s a little slow , has a fun story and a wonky ending. So, it’s a mixed bag. This is one that could have easily been an original series episode but would have missed some of the benefit of the new series cast had it been. The story does a solid job with its ‘mystery’ involving the unknown entity, a little obvious now but at the time it was clever.
It does have some more good bits of character development. Most of the development is focused on Data as this is the start of his series long obsession with Sherlock Holmes, a thread that will play out through the rest of the series. This will lead to some cool holodeck adventures with Geordi and Data later on as well!
Beardless Riker is also seen to be growing in his role as First Officer when the bridge crew confront a possessed Picard. Sadly this growth is stifled by a certain lack of hair follicles on his face but he’ll get there eventually.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
Chief Argyle is mentioned by Asst Chief Engineer ‘Mr Singh’ (wait what happened to the last Asst. Chief Engineer did he leave with MacDougal?) but Argyle is not seen.
Geordi shows some early engineering aptitude.
This episode marks the first obvious appearance of Picard’s fish Livingston!
This episode heavily implies that the transporter holds ‘the last version’ of a person who goes through it, setting up an interesting bit later in the series with Riker and a certain Twin.
This episode marks the first appearance of the ‘Dress Uniform’ looking more dress than uniform in this case.
We don’t really see the Selay or the Anticans again, but they are mentioned again later. Apparently one of the Selay went missing and the Anticans asked to have some ‘bird’ broiled so….yeah….there may be a good reason they didn’t come back.
O’brien makes another appearance but as ‘First Security Guard’!
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review. I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday!
Next time: Justice
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Late To The Game 01/12/18
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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