Encounter at Farpoint


Encounter at Farpoint
"Encounter at Farpoint"
Star Trek: The Next Generation episode
Encounter at Farpoint.jpg
The Enterprise overlooks the space creature and its mate.
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 1 and 2
Directed by Corey Allen
Written by Gene Roddenberry
Featured music Dennis McCarthy
Original air date September 28, 1987 (1987-09-28)[1]
Guest stars
Episode chronology
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List of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes


"Encounter at Farpoint" is the first episode of the science fiction television program Star Trek: The Next Generation It was written by series creator Gene Roddenberry and directed by Corey Allen.

The episode premièred on 28 September, 1987[1] and was the first new live-action episode of Star Trek to have been created since 1969.

The crew of the newly built USS Enterprise-D examine the mysterious Farpoint Station which the enigmatic Bandi people are offering to the Federation, while under the judgmental gaze of a powerful alien entity that calls itself Q.

Plot

The newest flagship of the United Federation of Planets, Starfleet's USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D, is assigned to travel to Deneb IV for its first mission out of drydock, both to collect the remaining members of its crew and to open relations with the simple Bandi people who have somehow been able to tap immense energy reserves and constructed Farpoint Station, much to the surprise of the United Federation of Planets. En route, the Enterprise is met by an omnipotent being who identifies himself as a member of the Q continuum and declares that humanity is being put on trial, using their actions in this upcoming mission to judge their worthiness and to avoid extermination. Before letting the ship continue to Deneb IV, Q warns Captain Picard that he is destined to fail.

As the Enterprise arrives, the awaiting crew members explore the offerings of Farpoint Station led by their Bandi host, Groppler Zorn. The crew is suspicious of how certain items they desire appear moments after they look away and are unable to identify the power source that feeds the station. Deanna Troi, an empath, senses a being with powerful yet despairing emotions nearby, and others of the crew discover a strange labyrinth beneath the station, but Zorn is unable to offer an explanation. As the Enterprise crew continues its explorations, a large unknown alien craft enters orbit and begins to fire upon an older Bandi settlement near Farpoint Station and abducts Zorn. Before Picard orders the crew to fire phasers at the craft, Q appears to remind him of humanity's trial and prompts Picard to send an away team to the alien craft. The away team discovers the craft has passages similar to those under Farpoint and are able to free Zorn. Their actions cause the alien craft to transform into a jellyfish-like space creature, and Picard is able to deduce the mystery of Farpoint Station. He confirms with the apologetic Zorn that the Bandi had found a similar lifeform injured on their planet and, though they attempted to care for it, they also exploited its ability to create matter to create Farpoint Station. The creature now in orbit is trying to help free its mate by punishing those who ensnared it.

Though Q goads Picard into punishing the Bandi, Picard refuses, instead ordering the Enterprise to fire a vivifying energy beam onto Farpoint after the station is evacuated. The beam allows the land-bound creature to transform back into its jellyfish-like form, and it flies into orbit to join its fellow being. As the crew watches the reunion of the alien creatures, Q reluctantly tells Picard that they have succeeded in their test, but hints that they will meet again.

Production

The episode features a cameo appearance by DeForest Kelley as Admiral Leonard McCoy. This was the first of several eventual appearances by Original Series cast members on the series; the others being "Sarek" (Mark Lenard) in "Unification I", Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in "Unification II", and Scotty (James Doohan) in "Relics".

It also started the tradition that the first episode of each new Star Trek series (set in the 24th century) include an appearance by a prominent character from a previous Star Trek series: TNG's Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine premiere and DS9's Ferengi bartender Quark (Armin Shimerman) in the Star Trek: Voyager premiere.

Reception

Michelle Erica Green, reviewing the episode for TrekNation, found the episode disappointing with reference to the character of Captain Picard and the female crew members and a lack of sense of fun.[2]

Actor Wil Wheaton, also reviewing the episode years later for TV Squad, gave the episode a 'C-' grade, suggesting that "at the time, Trekkies who were hoping to see the Star Trek that they were used to from the sixties must have been disappointed".[3]

See also

  • All Good Things..., the TNG series finale whose years-past scenes have elements that take place before the opening of this episode.

References

  • Star Trek The Next Generation DVD set, volume 1, disc 1, selection 1.

External links


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