Season Two had begun and we were all anxiously awaiting for this new exciting season. What strange and new worlds would we visit? What changes would we see? Well, there have been a few and this episode is certainly about change. So, without any delay, here is the Season Two Premiere of Star Trek the Next Generation, originally airing on November 21,1988: The Child.
Stardate 42073.1: The Child
While the Enterprise gets underway, Councilor Troi discovers she is pregnant (and it’s not Riker’s). Meanwhile Wesley has to decide on his future while the ship gets some new crew members.
There is a lot going on in this premiere so let’s start with the immediate changes.
We finally have a permanent Chief Engineer with Geordi LaForge. To be honest, I kinda think he sabotaged the other four Chief Engineers from the last season. He’s a wily one that Geordi.
Worf is now officially the Chief of Security having
killed replaced Tasha Yar after her death last season.
We also get a new Doctor on the series as Doctor Crusher has left the ship to join Starfleet Medical as the new Director . Doctor Katherine Pulaski is now the ship’s Doctor and, lets just say she has a very different bedside manner. I’ll get more into my thoughts on her later.
One last addition is the El-Aurian, Guinan, played by Whoopi Goldberg. Guinan is the bartender on Ten-forward and will end up being a vital part of the crew for the rest of the series.
And Please, keep in mind much of this season was made during a writers strike so some of the episodes are…shall we say, not as good as they should be.
Now for the actual story.
The A story deals with Trois pregnancy while the B story is the actual mission. We will start with the A story.
Deanna is impregnated by a ball of light that starts to grow into a child almost immediately. In a matter of days it comes full term and the crew must figure out what to do about it. At first they even debate terminating pregnancy due to the security threat (Worf’s suggestion) but Deanna stands firm saying that she will carry this child full term no matter what.
The New Doctor, Pulaski, performs the birth with Data by Trois side. They are concerned but everything comes out all right. Within no time, her new child who she named Ian, is already aged 4 years and this is a concern to Picard and Pulaski.
Ian continues to grow and we soon discover him to be an alien intelligence who desires to experience life as a corporeal being and this is why he chose to be born. However, his presence inadvertently causes some of the deadly viruses to grow and this endangers the ship.
Meanwhile (B Story) the Enterprise arrives at their destination to transport some highly dangerous viruses. Pulaski and Data work on the containment protocols and she casually reverse to Data as data, pronouncing it da-ta not day-ta. He immediately corrects her and her reaction clearly shows her bias toward synthetic organisms, she doesn’t see them as ‘real’.
Once the viruses are on board they soon discover that one of them has begun to grow despite the precautions in place. After investigating they find that the growth has been caused by a radiation that is emanating from Ian himself.
After Ian discovers that he is the cause, he chooses to sacrifice his life to save the crew, despite Trois protests. The crew is safe and Troi is left grieving.
There is a slight C story that deals with Wesley. You see, the Enterprise was originally heading to a rendezvous to reunite Wesley and his mother as Dr. Crusher has left for Starfleet Medical. He doesn’t want to go but doesn’t feel he has a choice. He and Guinan talk about the choices he has and he ultimately decides that he wants to stay. After talking it over with Picard, His mother approves and Data agrees to be his tutor while Worf agrees to ‘tuck him in at night’. Picard then allows Wesley to take over as the Helmsman, as the spot is technically open as Geordi is now Chief Engineer.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
For the Second Season premiere it really does what it sets out to do. It not only reintroduces the audience to the returning crew but gives us a chance to meet the new members and accept the change in the status quo. The ‘A’ story of Troi’s pregnancy is a little silly. That’s all I can really say about that part.
There are some really great character moments in this one. We get to see more of Wesley’s growth as a character and this episode really sets him up for the story arcs to come.
Guinan immediately establishes herself as someone who has been there for a while. Her appearance feels very natural and works perfectly with the feel of the show. It is revealed that she and Picard have a history but it does not elaborate. As I indicated before, her character will be a major contribution to this series.
Our introduction to Katherine Pulaski as the new Chief Medical Doctor aboard the Enterprise is a tough one. Her manner is more gruff and she is quick to judge. I will be honest, I really don’t like her character and, at the moment, feel that she was not a good addition to the crew. I think her overall treatment of Commander Data (pronounced DAY-DU not da-tu) really made me dislike her. I wonder if my opinion will change as I rewatch this series again for this review series.
I vividly remember the announcement that Whoopi Goldberg would be joining the series and my father instantly being against it. You see Goldberg was known for her comedy at the time and his immediate fear was that she would be some kind of comic relief on the series. He even made a comment that she ‘would would ruin this series’. Boy was he ever so wrong. Whoopi Goldberg’s Character ended up becoming of the most beloved additions to the crew (and one of my favorite to be honest). He would come to see that as well.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
Due to the Writers Strike the same year, this season started later than any other season in the series. This also forced the production to reuse old scripts that were meant for an aborted series entitled Star Trek Phase II. The Child is one of these scripts.
For such a dramatic experience for Troi, we never really hear about her child again. As if it never happened. Maybe she wanted to forget?
We see O’Brien again! He’s now, officially, the transporter chief and we will see him many more times in the series from here on out.
We see the beginning of a thread with Katherine Pulaski and her distrust of Data that would come to a head in one of my favorite episodes The Measure of a Man, in which Data will have to justify his sentiance.
Diana Muldaur (who plays Pulaski) is a Trek Veteran in her own right having appeared in two episodes of the Original Series, Return to Tomorrow and Is There In Truth No Beauty.
Although Geordi is the Chief Engineer he has a regular station on the Bridge that will eventually lead to a joke in the first movie referencing him as the only Starfleet Engineer who never goes to Engineering. While not entirely accurate, it is funny.
But the most important thing, we finally get Bearded Riker. Feast on the magnificence of The Beard. BEARDED RIKER EMERGENCE HAS OCCURRED!!!
If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and for more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here.
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Late To The Game 5/19/2019 (originally published 2/28/2018)
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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