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Star Trek: The Next Generation/Encounter at Farpoint
Encounter at Farpoint is the first and second episodes of the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Also Starring: Levar Burton (Lt. Geordi La Forge), Denise Crosby (Lt. Tasha Yar), Michael Dorn (Lt. Worf), Gates McFadden (Doctor Beverly Crusher), Marina Sirtis (Counselor Deanna Troi), Brent Spiner (Lt. Commander Data), Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher)
Featuring: Colm Meaney (Battle Bridge Conn), Cary-Hiroyuki (Mandarin Bailiff), Timothy Dang (Main Bridge Security), David Erskine (Bandi Shopkeeper), Evelyn Guerrero (Young Female Ensign), Chuck Hicks (Military Officer), Jimmy Ortega (Torres)
The USS Enterprise-D, captained by Jean-Luc Picard is en-route to Farpoint Station on planet Deneb IV for its first mission. Without warning, they are assaulted by an extremely powerful entity which calls itself Q. Q maintains that humanity are a savage, child race, and summarily puts Picard and his crew on trial for the crimes of his people. Picard admits that humanity were once savage, but that they have since grown, and convinces Q to let them prove it. Q agrees to this, remarking that their Farpoint mission will be enough of a test to prove themselves.
Arriving at Farpoint, the Enterprise is joined by the rest of the crew, including First Officer Commander William Riker, who arrived with the USS Hood. While waiting for the Enterprise to arrive, the crew began investigating Farpoint Station, and noticed several strange occurrences. The administrator of the station, Groppler Zorn, denies that anything is out of the ordinary with the station, and assures Riker it will be perfect for the Federation to use as a starbase. Picard brings Riker up to speed on the happenings with Q, but as the Hood departs Q appears and accuses Picard of wasting time, of which they only have 24 hours with which to unravel the mystery of Farpoint.
Picard, Riker and Troi beam down to Farpoint to meet with Zorn. While there, Troi senses terrible pain on the planet. Zorn denies any knowledge of what she is sensing, and becomes agitated and evasive towards Picard's questions. They adjourn the meeting, and an away team of Riker, Data, Tasha, Geordi and Troi continue investigating the station. In tunnels beneath the station, they discover that the construction is radically different from the rest of the station, and even Geordi cannot identify what it's made of with his visor.
Above the planet, a ship of unknown design and origin enters into orbit with the Enterprise, and begins firing on the Bandi city, avoiding Farpoint Station itself. Riker and Data head for the city to attempt to see what's happening, while the others beam back to the Enterprise. Picard requests that Riker brings Zorn on board, however when they reach him he appears to be transported away by an unknown force.
On board the Enterprise, Q appears and begins taunting Picard about his inability to figure out the puzzle. Q suggests that an away team investigates the alien ship, so Riker beams over with a team. They discover the interior is the exact same as the tunnels beneath Farpoint, with no sounds of power or anything they'd expect on a ship. Troi senses powerful anger and hate directed toward the Bandi city. They find Zorn, apparently being tortured within a forcefield, and release him. They are all transported back to the Enterprise bridge, and Zorn admits that they captured a sick creature, and kept it fed but only enough so that they could control it. Picard orders an energy beam to be directed to Farpoint, which gives the alien enough energy to free itself. It is reunited with its mate, and they depart. Picard then negotiates an agreement with Zorn for the Bandi to rebuild Farpoint, and the Enterprise departs to begin its mission.
- Stardate: 41153.7
Alien of the Week
- Q: The crew encounter the entity known as Q for the first time, and he places them on trial for the crimes of humanity. Picard and his crew surprise Q by solving the mystery of Farpoint. Having passed Q's test, Picard orders him off the ship. However, as he leaves, Q remarks that he is leaving because it suits him, and that he doesn't promise never to appear again.
- Farpoint Station: The crew are to investigate Farpoint Station, which apparently is more than it appears to be. Farpoint is revealed to be an alien lifeform, and the Enterprise crew help to free it from its captivity at the hands of the Bandi.
- Farpoint: The Enterprise crew are investigating Farpoint Station on planet Deneb IV, which is being considered for use by Starfleet as a Starbase. The station was apparently constructed by the Bandi people of the planet.
- Ferengi Dealings: Zorn mentions the Ferengi during his dealings with Picard. While this was an empty thread to force co-operation, the Enterprise encounters the Ferengi not too long after in 1x05 - "The Last Outpost".
- Dr. Crusher: Dr. Crusher is assigned to the USS Enterprise-D, which brings back painful memories for her and her son, Wesley, as Captain Picard was the commanding officer of her late husband, Jack, when he was killed.
- Riker and Troi: It's revealed that Riker and Troi have a history, however they keep the extent of that history from Picard.
- Picard and Beverly: Picard and Crusher are also re-united, and Picard suggests that the doctor request a transfer. However, she informs him that she requested this assignment, and that her husband's death will have no effect on the way that she serves Picard, the crew or the mission. The two resolve to being friends.
- Wesley: Wesley convinces his mother, Dr. Crusher to let him go to the bridge with her so he can see it from the turbolift. Seeing him again after so many years, Picard allows the boy on, however he becomes agitated when Wesley displays intimate knowledge of the ship's systems. When an intruder alert is sounded, Wesley instinctively checks on it after being told not to touch anything, and Picard shouts at him, ordering both he and his mother off the bridge. This is the first indication of Wesley's intelligence, which later episodes will build upon.
- Data: While he claims he is superior to humans, Data expresses a wish to actually be human. This plot is dealt with and expanded upon throughout the run of the show.
- Bones still refuses to use transporters, as he is afraid his molecules will be scattered across space.
- First Appearances: This episode contains the first appearance of Q, who will feature regularly throughout the show's run, constantly giving much grief to Picard and his crew. He next appears in 1x10 - "Hide and Q". Chief Miles O'Brien also appears in this episode, serving as the Battle Bridge Conn Officer, however he does not receive a name until 2x07 - "Unnatural Selection".
- Passing the Torch: DeForest Kelley reprises his role as an aged Leonard "Bones" McCoy, which starts a tradition of a character from the predecessor Star Trek show appearing in the premiere episode of a new one.
Behind the Scenes
- Halved: "Encounter at Farpoint" was originally aired as a 2-hour episode, however for subsequent airings it was separated into two parts. Both parts have the same production number.
Allusions and References
- Pop Goes the Weasel: When Riker finds him, Data is attempting to whistle "Pop Goes the Weasel", but has difficulty. Riker finishes it for him, and Data marvels at how easily he does it.
- Pinocchio: Riker calls Data "Pinocchio" on the Holodeck, referring to Data's wish to be human. Pinocchio is a story, by Carlo Collodi, of an animated puppet who wishes to be a real boy.
- Data escorts Admiral McCoy to the shuttle bay to be transferred to the USS Hood.
- After showing Riker how he can locate Data, a female ensign checks out the Commander's backside as he walks away.
- Bones: Well, it's a new ship, but she's got the right name. Now you remember that, you hear?
- Data: I will, sir.
- Bones: You treat her like a lady, and she'll always bring you home.
- Picard: Have the two of you met before?
- Riker: We have, sir.
- Picard: Excellent. I consider it important for my key officers to know each others' abilities.
- Troi: We do, sir. We do.
- Zorn: Captain! The Ferengi would be very interested in a base like this.
- Picard: Fine. I hope they find you as tasty as they did their past associates.
- Picard: Let's see what's out there... Engage!