‘THE GAME’ (TNG)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
This is another one of my favourite episodes from the ‘Star Trek: TNG’ series. It features the guest return of Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher as well as a highly-addictive game the Enterprise crew plays.
It was nice to see Wesley back aboard the Enterprise since his final regular appearance in ‘Final Mission’. Wesley is on leave from Starfleet Academy as he comes to reunite with his friends and family.
I really liked that surprise scene when Wesley walks into a darkened room and everyone greets him. It’s like Wesley has never left and is happy to be back with his mother, Picard, Data, Geordi, Worf, etc.
Wesley also meets Ashley Judd as Robin Lefler who made a brief appearance in ‘Darmok’. Robin becomes Wesley’s love interest for the episode. These two get on well and share this great chemistry.
But not everything’s happy plain sailing as you would expect with Wesley’s return. For Riker has brought back a game with him from his previous vacation to Risa. It’s a game that’s so highly addictive.
Now you may think, what’s wrong with that? Compared to today’s standards with video games being played on Playstation and Xbox consoles as well as on people’s phones, this is not something irregular.
But as the episode progresses, Wesley and Robin discover that the game is conditioning people’s minds. It seems to numb their reasoning and they’re being manipulated to do the bidding of an alien race.
The game gets distributed everywhere aboard the Enterprise ship by Riker when he introduces the game to people. Very soon, everyone is playing the game and it isn’t a very pretty sight to watch here.
What’s worse, Data gets secretly and deliberately shut offline by Beverly Crusher in sick bay. I was shocked to see this occur and was wondering what Beverly, Deanna and Riker were doing in the scene.
It was disturbing when Beverly was playing the game herself and was trying to encourage Wesley to play it. Wesley manages to fend off Beverly’s attempts as he’s about to go on a dinner date with Robin.
After finding out more about the game’s addictiveness on people, Wesley goes to see Captain Picard to warn him about it. But would you know it, Picard is playing the game himself. How shocking is that?
As well as the regular ‘TNG’ cast, other victims of the game include Colm Meaney as Chief O’Brien. I wondered where Keiko was in all this and whether she was addicted to the game as well as her husband.
There’s also Patti Yasutake as Alyssa Ogawa, Beverly’s nurse in sick bay who gets addicted to the game. I thought Alyssa was enjoying the game too much when she and Wesley were in the turbo-lift together.
I like how Wesley and Robin work together in order to find a way to stop everyone playing the game and getting Data back online. This is before Robin is sadly subjugated to play the game later in the tale.
The episode features an exciting climatic chase where Wesley is being pursued by Riker and Worf to play the game. I got anxious and wondered whether Wesley would escape and avoid playing the game.
But unfortunately Wesley gets captured and is taken to the bridge where he is forced to play the game by everyone else. I found it really tense and was on the edge of my seat when Wesley played the game.
Thankfully though, Data comes to the rescue as he turns off all the lights and uses a flashlight to snap everyone out of their game addiction. It works with everyone back normal and the aliens are defeated.
The aliens happen to be Ktarians, led by Katherine Moffat as Etana Jol. She was the one who gave the game to Riker and presumably captains the Ktarian spaceship in the episode. Etana ends up not happy.
I did like that final scene between Wesley and Robin where they say goodbye and share a kiss with each other. It would’ve been nice if these two saw each other again, but it doesn’t happen afterwards.
‘The Game’ is a brilliant episode in ‘TNG’. I love Wesley’s guest return and especially found the story of an addictive game played by crew aboard the Enterprise very engaging. Definitely worth watching!
‘The Game’ (TNG) rating – 10/10
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