‘FIRST CONTACT’ (TNG)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Let’s take a look at this ‘Star Trek: TNG’ episode called ‘First Contact’. And it’s not be confused with the movie called ‘Star Trek: First Contact’. That is an entirely different story which involves the Borg.
The story takes places on the planet Malcor III. It begins with a patient being brought into a Malcorian hospital. This turns out to be Commander Riker, who is surgically disguised as a Malcorian.
The episode focuses on the people of Malcor III and is from their point of view. They’re about to develop warp drive technology, but there are doubts among the people on whether they are ready.
The lead researcher on Malcor III’s warp experiments, Science Minister Mirasta Yale, gets a visit from Captain Picard and Deanna Troi. They tell her they’ve come in peace when they try not to scare her.
Carolyn Seymour guest stars as Mirasta Yale. She previously played a Romulan in the Season 2 ‘TNG’ episode, ‘Contagion’. She would appear in one more ‘TNG’ episode as well as episodes of ‘Voyager’.
Mirasta Yale seems willing to listen to Picard and Troi as they invite her aboard the starship Enterprise and take her to see Ten Forward. They share who they are and the Federation to Mirasta.
They also inform her that Riker is missing and tell her that he was disguised as a Malcorian to study their race. Mirasta agrees to help find Riker and arranges a private meeting with Chancellor Durken.
George Coe guest stars as Avel Durken, the Chancellor of Malcor III. He seems to be a good leader and willing to hear Picard out. But he’s also quite cautious, as he questions the Enterprise’s motives.
I like the scenes between Picard and Durken on the Enterprise when he shows him around and persuades him about the benefits of a relationship with the Federations. It seems so good to be true.
A lot of the episode focuses on how the Federation tries its best to not interfere with an alien culture’s development. It all relates to their Prime Directive and how they conduct studies on a race.
Meanwhile with Riker, he’s detained in hospital where he’s barely conscious due to his injuries. The hospital staff notice Riker’s physiology being different to theirs and suspect he is an extraterrestrial.
Some are curious about Riker and some are in fear of him. The hospital administrator, George Hearn as Berel, tries to keep the whole situation quiet. But it gets leaked out and he’s so unhappy about it.
Riker does get aided in an escape attempt by a nurse who wants to make love to him, as it’s her wish to ‘make love with an alien’. What is it with Riker?! He attracts female attention wherever he goes!!!
But the escape attempt fails and Riker gets spotted, caught and beaten up by the guards. This worsens his condition as he’s taken back to the hospital ward he was in and the doctors tend to him.
Riker’s presence at the hospital gets reported by Michael Ensign as Security Miniter Krola. Krola accuses Durken for hiding the truth. Mirasta tells Durken that she had told Picard to keep this quiet.
It gets tense and serious when the Chancellor sees Picard again and questions him about the Federations’ surveillance methods. He comes to understand Picard’s explanation, but isn’t so happy.
Krola meanwhile fears a hostile invasion by the Federation on their planet. He endangers Riker’s life by reviving him prematurely. He questions Riker, before he frames him to shoot him with his phaser.
Thankfully, the phaser was on stun setting and Krola’s life was in no real danger. The Enterprise crew are able to save Riker and Krola’s life, but this means that Durken can’t accept the Federation’s offer.
Durken regretfully refuses the planet Malcor III to join the Federation and politely asks Picard for him and his ship to leave. Picard respects Druken’s request. Mirasta asks to join the Enterprise crew.
‘First Contact’ is a fairly decent ‘TNG’ episode. It’s not what I would call a standout favourite, but it has a reasonable plot on how the Enterprise crew tries to make first contact with this new alien race.
I don’t know why I can’t rate it highly, as it has the makings of a good ‘Star Trek’ story. Maybe if this was more action-packed and tension-driven, I’d find this a great ‘Star Trek’ story in the ‘TNG’ series.
‘First Contact’ (TNG) rating – 7/10
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