Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Next Generation 4x15 "First Contact"

rating: *

the story: Riker finds himself compromised on an alien world that has yet to find out they're not alone in the universe.

similar to: "The Communicator" (Enterprise), "Who Watches the Watchers" (Next Generation)

my thoughts: This is an episode that feels like it breaks new ground, but then you realize, the series itself had just done most of this episode already only a season earlier ("Who Watches the Watchers") with proto-Romulans instead of...whoever the alien race is this time. 

Yes, the approach is different, but the gist the same: alien species finds out Starfleet exists and puts our crew in a hairy situation.  Here you might consider it a Riker episode, but I'm hesitant to give "First Contact" too much credit.  It really could have featured anyone, and as a Riker episode, it's about as generic as you can get, in that he has a quasi-romance that's so convoluted and impossible (even for him!) that it's just not worth considering in that way.  Riker in peril, in short, is really it amounts to, and again, it could have been anyone.

It's a Prime Directive episode first and foremost, an exploration of something that's about as basic a Star Trek trope as you can get, so I'll recommend it for that basis alone.  Enterprise later goes a little deeper with the same basic premise ("The Communicator"), with the advantage of being able to add something to the mythos.

It's not a bad episode, it's just, in the grand scheme, not as memorable as you might originally think.  Enjoy it for what it is, but there are better episodes out there.

criteria analysis: franchise - series - character - essential

notable guest-stars:
Bebe Neuwirth
Michael Ensign


  1. Its pretty radical when the aliens discover Riker isn't actually one of them!


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