‘FUTURE IMPERFECT’ (TNG)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
This is one of my favourite episodes from Season 4 of ‘TNG’. It’s a Riker episode and features him in a future that seems to be perfect. But perhaps it’s a little too perfect, as Riker discovers it for himself.
It’s Riker’s birthday in this episode. But his birthday celebrations get interrupted when he, Geordi and Worf beam down to the planet Alpha Onias III. They find themselves in this underground cavern.
The planet is uninhabited and seems to be Class-M. But the cavern soon fills with toxic gases and Riker, Geordi and Worf choke and fall unconscious. The Enterprise struggles to beam them back up.
Riker later wakes up to find himself in sick bay and to discover that he is now captain of the Enterprise. Beverly explains to Riker that sixteen years have passed and he got affected by this virus.
This happened when he was on the mission to Alpha Onias III. Riker struggles to recall the missing gap in his life. He can’t recall the sixteen years he missed and is unconvinced to accept the situation.
Riker finds that a lot of changes have happened in sixteen years. Data is now his first officer, Geordi doesn’t need his visor and now has clone implants for his eyes and Worf is now at the pilot controls.
There also seems to be a Ferengi Ensign aboard the starship Enterprise as well as a Klingon Starfleet officer. It also seems that the Romulans are now entering peaceful negotiations with the Federation.
A Romulan warbird turns up and aboard is Picard who has now been promoted to admiral and Deanna Troi who is serving as his aide. Riker meets up with Picard and Deanna once they beam over.
Picard and Deanna are disturbed about Riker losing his memory, since he’s apparently meant to take part in a vital peace negotiation with the Romulans. Riker is unconvinced that he’s fit for duty for it.
Later on, Riker discovers that he has a son named Jean-Luc, played by Chris Demetral. Apparently, Riker was married and is now a widow. He struggles with trying to reconcile with a son he’s just met.
The Enterprise soon receives a visit from Andreas Katsuals who returns as Tomalak, former Romulan commander now ambassador. Riker is unwilling to trust Tomalak since he was a former arch-enemy.
Picard tries to reassure Riker that things have changed with the Romulans and Tomalak can be trusted. But Riker is hesitant about revealing sensitive Starfleet information during the negotiations.
Riker struggles to adjust to his new life aboard the Enterprise, but seems to getting along fine with his son Jean-Luc. He gets annoyed as the Enterprise computer seems to be uncharacteristically slow.
When Riker looks up for video files on his son and late wife, he discovers something very suspicious. Apparently Riker’s late wife who’s named ‘Min’ in the story is actually Carolyn McCormick as Minuet.
Minuet was a fictional holodeck character that Riker fell in love with. If you don’t remember the episode, check out ‘11001001’ from Season 1 of ‘TNG’. This arouses Riker’s suspicions on everything.
Riker confronts everyone on the Enterprise bridge, as he confronts Geordi, Worf, Data, Picard and Deanna with more inconsistences to follow. His suspicious are proved when Tomalak is behind it all.
It was all a holodeck simulation by the Romulans. Riker was captured in order to be tricked in giving the location of a key Federation output. I enjoyed the confrontation scenes with Riker and Tomalak.
Riker is soon put into a holding area where he meets the real boy who was used to be his son. This boy happens to be called Ethan. Soon, Ethan and Riker work together as they escape the Romulans.
It seems to go well as Riker and Ethan are escaping the Romulans. But then…well, I don’t think I should mention what happens next after that. All I’ll say is; there’s more to Ethan as Riker discovers.
This episode features the first appearance of Patti Yasutake as Alyssa Ogawa, who becomes Beverly Crusher’s recurring nurse in sick bay. Although she appears in this fictional fantasy, she would return.
‘Future Imperfect’ is a great ‘TNG’ episode with Riker and I enjoyed the twists and turns featured in it. I’m surprised this episode doesn’t get talked about much, as this does feel cleverly written indeed.
‘Future Imperfect’ (TNG) rating – 9/10
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