The Origin of the species is explored in the episode that originally aired on April 26, 1993. This is The Chase.
Stardate 46731.5 The Chase
Following in his old teacher’s footsteps, Picard leads his crew on what should be the most important discovery of the galaxy.
Picard is surprised by a visit from his old archaeology teacher, Richard Galen. Picard is presented with a gift of a Kurlan Naiskos and he is soon asks to join his professor on an expedition of utmost importance.
Professor Galen informs Picard that he has discovered something that will shake the universe to it’s core. He asks that Picard joins him for three months on the expedition so that Galen can complete his work. After much soul searching, Picard reluctantly declines the offer much to Galen’s dismay. Galen leaves, upset at the answer and leaves the ship.
Before long, Professor Galen sends a distress call indicating that he is being boarded. In their rescue attempt, the attacking Yridian vessel is destroyed and, while Galen is saved, he is nearing death. Galen apologies to Picard in his final breath.
After investigating the attack, they soon discover that the Yridians were after Galen’s work and soon the Enterprise crew begins their investigation into, not only the murder, but into the Professors work as well. Heading to the last place Galen has been, they begin searching for answers. Upon their arrival, they find the planet of their destination has been wiped out. All life on the planet has been eradicated and no one knows why. When Picard looks deeper into the data left behind in Galen’s files, they find that the data indicates some kind of program in the DNA of multiple different species, however some of the strands are missing. It seems that someone is ahead of them and that someone destroyed life on the planet to prevent anyone to find the missing pieces. Rushing to the next location, they find themselves facing Cardassian and Klingon ships who are both there for the same information.
Picard holds a summit aboard the Enterprise with the Cardassian and Klingon commanders. He informs them that he knows that they are both aware of Professor Galen’s research. The Cardassian says that she has a DNA sample from the planet but will kill anyone who attempts to get more. The Klingon also claims to have another strand from the destroyed planet. Picard insists that they all work together for the same goal. He asks that they cooperate and view the results of their shared work together. The commanders reluctantly agree and they combine their findings. They soon find that they are missing one remaining piece and they are now all on a mission to find it. The Klingon and the Cardassian decide to stay on board the Enterprise and wait as the Enterprise systems analyse the samples.
When the results are found, the Cardassian beams away and they attack the Enterprise. Picard feigns that they were damaged only for the Cardassians to rush away believing they have the final piece of the puzzle. After the Enterprise leaves for the real location the Cardassians arrive as do a group of Romulans. They are all there for the same thing and tensions rise. As the factions argue, Picard secretly scans some of the fossilized DNA. The program projects an alien that informs them that all of the people of the Galaxy are related through an ancient race. Of course this changes nothing among the enemies but the puzzle is solved, even if the message presented fell on mostly deaf ears.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
We get to see a side of Picard not seen often. He shows that he is indeed a man of passion and, when he sets his mind to something he wants, he won’t even let the mission at hand get in his way.
Sadly, Literally nothing comes of this episode. The revelation that all of the species in the series are related via their own universal common ancestor should have thrown the whole universe into relative chaos. This should have been a pivotal moment in the series that radically changed every series to come. Unfortunately all it really ended up being was the writers shoddy attempt at explaining why all of the aliens in Star Trek looked human-ish. Seriously, you can almost hear the writers room coming up with the plot.
‘So, no one has ever explained why the Romulans, Vulcans, Humans, Klingons, Cardassians and all the rest look really similar. Can we do that?’
‘Yeah and lets make it a space race like that cartoon series back in the day, you know the one with Yogi Bear?’
ugh. seriously folks?
Overall, this is a completely useless and throwaway episode. While it was also attempting to impress upon its viewers a message of peace and hope, all it succeeded in doing was waste a hour of our time. This could have been a much better, drawn out tale and, if it were part of one of the later series, it likely would have been. Trying to rush an epic quest like this is just poor planning and it really shows. Although directed by Frakes, this is probably his worst effort in the series…for now.
File this one as ‘it looked good on paper’.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
This marks the first time Romulans, Klingons, Cardassians and Humans all appear on screen together at the same time.
We literally never seen nor hear about this event ever again. Never. really. So much for a discovery that will change the universe huh?
Does anyone else think this ancient relative kinda looks like one of the Founders on DS9? hmmmm.
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 Review: Frame Of Mind
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Late To The Game 7/11/2020 (Originally published 12/3/2018)
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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