Season Two has begun and already it is showing promise. New characters, new positions and new places to explore. This is the season where the actors really start exploring their characters and you get to see the start of this development over the course of the next twenty episodes. So let’s continue with Where Silence Has Lease, an episode that originally aired on November 28, 1988.
Stardate 42193.6 Where Silence Has Lease
Heading to a quadrant that has yet to be explored, the Enterprise encounters an area of space that appears devoid of everything. Like a hole in space itself it is a void without matter or energy of any kind. They soon discover that they are facing against a being, known as Nagilum, who entraps the crew and threatens to kill off half the crew to sate it’s twisted curiosity.
As they investigate the void in space they soon discover that nothing can penetrate or escape its totality. As they get closer to it they soon find that they are surrounded by nothing and can not escape.
As they attempt their escape from the void they soon find themselves unable to even get their bearings, even dropping a beacon that miraculously appears in front of them as they move away.
Soon another vessel is detected, and a Romulan Vessel appears, immediately attacking the Enterprise. The Enterprise easily defeats the ship but Picard notes that it was too easy and there is no debris. Within moments they run across their sister ship, the Yamato and attempt to contact their crew. They soon discover via their scans of the Yamato that no one is on board yet all of its systems are functioning properly.
Riker and Worf beam aboard the ship only to be separated and Riker begins hearing strange screams in the distance. Riker and Worf reunite but can not get in touch with the Enterprise to return. They begin to find that the ship’s layout isn’t right and Worf begins to get anxious of the situation.
On board the Enterprise they have lost contact with their away team but then escape openings begin to appear as if taunting them. Soon the O’brien is able to beam Riker and Worf aboard just as the Yamato starts to vanish.
After reviewing the events they soon discover that it seems that someone or something is playing with them. Every move they make leads them to failure and it is almost as if they have become ‘rats in a maze’. They realize that they may indeed be being experimented on by some larger intelligence.
As soon as they decide to stop playing along, Nagilum appears and reveals that it is indeed experimenting on them to learn more about their species. It demonstrates this by killing helmsman Haskell without even a thought. Enjoying this, Nagilum announces that he wants to see every kind of death possible, estimating that this will only cost a third of the Enterprise’s Crew.
Picard determines that the only way to defeat Nagilum is to play at its own game and set the Enterprise to self destruct. Nagilum tries to call his bluff, appearing to Picard as both Data and Troi, but ultimately Picard wins and the creature sets them free, somewhat satisfied of the results of his experiment.
The creature appears to Picard one final time and they agree that, while they are very dissimilar they both share curiosity and that one day they may meet again in the stars.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
There are far worse episodes, this one is very much in the middle ground. Overall, It is an interesting episode that really establishes that there are things in space that are vastly unknown. It has some character development in Worf and Riker as they get a chance to team up together on an away mission. We also get to see Picards resolve when it comes to defending his crew against the unknown.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
The Episode opens with a cool holodeck ‘calisthenics program’ with Bearded Riker and Worf. In the program we get a tame version of what a Klingon exercise program looks like and it is quite violent. This is the start to a loose friendship between the two characters. You see Riker, when grow a beard you get a Klingon friend.
We see, once again, the bias Doctor Pulaski has against Data as she refers to him as an ‘it’ and questions his abilities. She also comments that he is not a living being only to apologize for it immediately noting that as per Starfleet he is indeed alive.
Worf mentions Klingon tales of a giant space creature that ‘eats starships’ and is quite unnerved by the void.
Sadly we never see or hear from Nagilum again, I guess he found out what he needed to know.
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 5/25/2019 (Originally Published 3/2/2018)
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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