‘Emergence’ (TNG) (TV)

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Please feel free to comment on my review.

Okay, this is where I think ‘Star Trek: TNG’ was running out of ideas. I say that because the idea of a steam train inside one of the Enterprise’s holodecks could’ve been so much better than it ended up being.

The episode begins where Data rehearses for his performance of Prospero from the Shakespeare play called ‘The Tempest’. I found it funny when Picard couldn’t see Data’s performance in the dark.

It’s been a while since we saw Data reenacting a scene from a Shakespeare play or a Dickens novel with Picard watching in the holodeck. It’s occurred twice in ‘The Defector’ and ‘Devil’s Due’ of ‘TNG’.

Anyway Data and Picard become surprised when they see a steam train approaching them on the set of ‘The Tempest’. The two jump out of the way in time before being run over by the steam train.

I actually like that opening teaser sequence in the episode. It sets up the strangeness of what’s to come and has a weird feel to it. Although I wish the utilisation of the steam train was more effective.

The train actually happens to be the Orient Express train and was a part of one of Beverly Crusher’s holodeck programs. I’m surprised they didn’t do a ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ plot with this one.

Later, the Enterprise somehow jumps into warp drive on its own without any of the crewmembers to make it happen. It seems the Enterprise was saving itself from destruction by going into warp drive.

Geordi and Data also discover these small nodes all over the ship. They can’t gain access to these nodes as they’re protected by force-fields. It seems these mystery nodes are linked to one holodeck.

It’s the holodeck where Picard and Data got run over by the Orient Express. As Riker, Worf and Data first investigate this, they find themselves on board the Orient Express train that is currently running.

They also discover several random characters interacting with them in odd manners. These include a train conductor; the train engineer; a gangster hit-man; a hayseed and a medieval knight in armour.

Data tries to shut down the holodeck program but it doesn’t work out well. The train conductor also insists to have Riker; Data and Worf’s tickers and the gangster hit-man shoots and kills the engineer.

It seems that the Enterprise’s ship operations and the train’s journey inside the holodeck are occurring at the same time. All more nodes connect all over the ship except for the main computer.

Data soon comes to the conclusion that the formation of these nodes makes them similar to the human brain’s structure. It also seems that the Enterprise is developing its own unique intelligence.

Hmm! Okay. This is an interesting idea. The Enterprise having its own intelligence sounds quite clever. But I don’t think the setting up of how the Enterprise got its own intelligence isn’t done well.

There is an explanation that the Enterprise went through a magnascopic storm in the Mekorda sector to make this happen. But I think it’d be better if we actually saw those scenes to clarify that point.

Data, Worf and Deanna make a second visit to the holodeck to learn more about what’s going on. They soon follow the gangster character when the train stops at Keystone City as we go in the open.

Deanna and Worf witness the gangster placing a brick inside a wall to complete it. At the same time, Geordi detects a power surge in a cargo bay where a strange object becomes formed atom by atom.

Data makes a second attempt to access the holodeck circuits that causes the ship to shake violently. After stopping this happening, the conclusion is made that a new life-form is being created on board.

Eventually the Enterprise crew works with the ship itself by interacting with the Orient Express holodeck characters to get the life-form created. After this has happened, the entity leaves the ship.

I don’t know about you, but I found this underwhelming. I think it would’ve worked well if there was an evil entity aboard the Enterprise that put our heroes’ lives at risk. Sadly this wasn’t the case here.

‘Emergence’ isn’t the steam train inside the holodeck aboard the Enterprise episode I’d been hoping for. I think a ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ plot would’ve been better compared to what I’ve seen.

‘Emergence’ (TNG) rating – 6/10

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