‘SKIN OF EVIL’ (TNG)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Oh dear! This is a depressing ‘Star Trek’ episode, as it features the last appearance of Denise Crosby as Lt. Tasha Yar in ‘TNG’. And the way that she leaves is done in the most dramatic, horrible of ways.
Denise Crosby had asked to leave the series half-way during the making of Season 1. I suppose her character Tasha Yar wasn’t as well-developed as it could have been and that’s very understandable.
By the way, Denise Crosby happens to be the granddaughter of singer/actor Bing Crosby. My parents wondered if there was a connection between the two. I checked to see there was, so that was nice.
It’s a shame that Denise left the show when she did, especially as ‘Star Trek: TNG’ was finding its feet. But then, ‘TNG’ features more characters than ‘The Original Series’ which can be tricky to make.
In this episode, the Enterprise is on its way to rendezvous with a shuttlecraft carrying Counsellor Troi on board. But the shuttlecraft gets caught, diverted and dragged to a desolate planet called Vagra II.
On their way to rescue Troi in the shuttlecraft, the Enterprise arrives in orbit around Vagra II before an away team is sent down. The away team includes Riker, Tasha, Data and Beverly beaming down.
But on the planet itself, when the away team tries to get to Troi in the shuttlecraft, they are prevented by a slime-like creature of a tar-like substance. This ‘skin of evil’ creature is called Armus.
Armus is played by Matt McChesney and voiced by Ron Gans. The creature effects do appear impressive, especially when Armus appears in humanoid-like form to talk with Riker and the others.
But this is where the depressing part of the episode comes into place. When Tasha Yar attempts to reach Troi in the shuttlecraft but walking past the black goo, Armus instantly attacks her on the spot.
And she dies! Oh no! She doesn’t come back to life at the end of the episode. She actually dies…halfway through the story. This is utterly depressing and was so unexpected when I watched it.
Tasha Yar’s death felt so empty and it didn’t seem a heroic way to finish off her character. If she was to die during the episode, couldn’t she have died at the end with a heroic send-off to her character.
This felt disrespectful, especially since Tasha Yar appeared as a regular in the ‘TNG’ series. It’s very heartbreaking and it does make you care for the character, but there should have been a better way.
Despite Tasha’s death, the Enterprise has to carry on and rescue Troi. Worf gets promoted as acting security chief in Tasha’s absence. A new away team led by Riker gets sent down to the planet again.
Now there is something I have to complain about. When Riker’s new away team of Data, Geordi and Beverly gets sent down, why don’t they wear protection suits to defend themselves against Armus?!
There are also a lot of scenes when Troi is inside the shuttlecraft communicating with Armus. Troi senses Armus’ emotions of anger and hatred and has pity for him and his history, which he despises.
Armus tends to taunt the Enterprise crewmembers when they try to rescue Troi on the planet. This includes Geordi losing his visor onto the ground and Data being controlled with a phaser in his hand.
But the most horrible ways of torment by Armus is him sucking Riker inside tar-like substance. Jonathan Frakes actually got enveloped in a lot of tar-like goo and it was so disturbing to watch here.
Eventually, Picard manages to find a way to defeat Armus by use of words to make him angry. This allows Picard, Troi and the pilot to be beamed back to the Enterprise, whilst Armus screams in rage.
The episode ends with a memorial service of Tasha Yar, including a holographic image of her saying goodbye to her friends. This was very emotional and it had me in tears as Tasha was saying goodbye.
Tasha addresses to the ‘TNG’ regulars each in turn as she shares how much they meant to her, including Picard as a father-like figure. I used Tasha’s farewell as an inspiration for one of my stories.
‘Skin of Evil’ is a depressing departure for Tasha Yar’s character in the ‘TNG’ series. It’s not one of my favourites from the series, but at least this had a decent, emotional farewell sequence for Tasha Yar.
‘Skin of Evil’ (TNG) rating – 2/10
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