(written from a Production point of view)
Captain Picard and three other people are abducted and imprisoned by an unknown force and replaced by duplicates.
Captain Picard is reading in his quarters. He falls asleep when he is scanned by a mysterious probe and transported away to an unknown room where he cannot communicate with the USS Enterprise-D. On the bridge, an unknown energy source is detected in the captain's quarters. The captain doesn't answer when paged, so a security team led by Lieutenant Worf immediately heads to investigate. As they attempt to open the door to his quarters, they find the "captain" standing there, book and glass in hand, as if nothing at all is out of the ordinary.
The "captain" running the Enterprise is a replacement of some type, but still seems to have all of the memories and experiences of Picard. However, his behavior is somewhat unusual. It is subtle, but his demeanor has changed; he is more outgoing, yet emotionless. His actions become more and more unusual as time passes. He orders the crew to stop their course to their rendezvous with the USS Hood to assist in terraforming Browder IV, and head towards the well-studied pulsar in the Lonka Cluster. When Wesley Crusher says that at warp 7, they can make the trip in a little under forty minutes, "Picard" orders him to instead travel at warp 2, which will take nearly a day-and-a-half. When Riker attempts to communicate with Starfleet, 'Picard' orders no further communications without his prior approval. The crew does not understand, but follows orders.
Meanwhile, in the holding cell, Picard takes charge of the situation and attempts to find a way out. Tholl believes in peaceful non-resistance; his homeworld has been conquered six times. Because of this he refuses to help in escape and in fact tries to convince the others to stop trying. He states that he tried once earlier and received an extremely painful punishment. Tholl states he will never go near the door again. Cadet Haro is willing to do whatever Picard says.
After explaining they are prisoners like him, and that their captors will not show themselves, the captain is able to calm him down by saying that he has visited Esoqq's homeworld, twelve years previously, when he commanded the USS Stargazer.
Back on the ship, "Picard" stops in at the poker game in Data's quarters, and asks La Forge to increase the efficiency of the warp drive from 93% to 95%. He emphasizes that this doesn't need to be done right away, but La Forge, who has had a luckless night at the table, decides it'd be a better use of his time, and leaves. Despite the fact that Captain Picard has never stopped in for a poker game before, when Counselor Troi invites "Picard" to join them, he decides to watch the others play, yet declines to actually take part. He asks to speak with Troi and when outside asks if the crew is suspicious of their sudden change of heading. She reminds him that such changes are not unusual, and that she will tell him if they become distrustful. The conversation strikes Troi as rather odd, and just a bit suspicious in and of itself.
After belittling Mizarians and their culture, Esoqq finds that he is disgusted by, and incapable of eating the edible tablet that is the only nourishment provided. He is already quick to violence, but he says that he can go only three to four days without food, but no more. He then eyes Tholl, hungrily.
"Picard" then gets a physical examination in sickbay, and appears to be in perfect health. Dr. Crusher does not understand why Picard would request or volunteer for a physical; not only was not due for a checkup for a month, normally he hates physicals, and wonders if he has any personal medical concerns. "Picard" then invites Crusher to dinner in his quarters and she seems surprised about this unexpected gesture, which he chooses to regard as her acceptance.
In the holding cell, after some discussion, the prisoners decide to try to open the door and escape, notwithstanding the risks, and Tholl's opposition. Esoqq smashes a panel. Haro then works on the circuits to try to rig the door open. The door opens a crack, closes again and then Picard, Esoqq, and Haro are punished by a painful green ray.
On the Enterprise, Crusher is having dinner with "Picard". After a toast, she tells 'Picard' that she knows that something is on his mind, and he says he wants a more intimate relationship. They talk about their duty and how both their jobs require professional distance. When he asks if it would be simpler if he were not her commanding officer, she reminds "Picard" that it's more complicated than that. He then asks her to dance. Surprised, Crusher exclaims she thought that Picard didn't dance; he responds, only on special occasions. He then kisses her, and Crusher gets the feeling that something is odd, and asks if she is being played. "Picard" asks if she regrets what just happened, but then calls it a night and shows her the door.
At this point, in the holding cell, the four captives begin to accuse each other. Esoqq accuses Tholl of being the enemy because he refused to help and seemed to sit there observing them, claiming he was peaceful. The remainder of the attack is directed toward Picard because he was ordering them all around all the time. Haro vouches for him by citing some of the deeds Picard has participated in, including his visit to Mintaka III and helping eradicate the Cor Caroli V plague. After clearing up some the conflicts in the holding cell, they all decide that it would be better to work together than to bicker about whose fault it was.
Troi and Riker are sitting in Ten Forward talking about the unusual actions of the captain. "Picard" walks into Ten Forward and greets and congratulates Geordi La Forge for increasing the efficiency of warp drive even beyond his request, to 96%. After ordering an ale for himself, and his officers, and then everyone else in the bar, he toasts the "finest crew in Starfleet", before leading them all in a sing-along. La Forge expresses suspicion about Picard's unusual behavior. Riker expresses doubt that he even recognizes this "Picard".
The senior staff all meet together to discuss "Picard's" odd behavior. Though they have considerable evidence for suspicion and concern, there is not yet cause for mutiny. "The next move is his", states Riker as the meeting is adjourned.
The Enterprise finally arrives to the Lonka pulsar. "Picard" then orders to move the ship dangerously close to it, such that their shields will only last eighteen minutes before the entire crew would be lethally irradiated. Riker asks to speak in private with "Picard", and once in the ready room, complains about these orders, the endangerment of the ship, and the lack of mission or cause behind them, and that without an explanation, he would be forced to usurp command. "Picard" counters that he is under no obligation to explain himself, questions if Riker believes he'd be able to convince a board of inquiry, and then suggests that Riker has been under a lot of stress, and should get a physical examination, else, "Picard" will relieve Riker of duty. With no actual proof that Picard's judgement is compromised, Riker is forced to withdraw his objections, for now.
In the holding cell, all of the prisoners cooperate in disabling the green ray and opening the access door, only to find a wall behind the door that they managed to open.
On the Enterprise, "Picard" orders to move even closer to the pulsar, which would almost certainly destroy the ship and kill the entire crew. Riker countermands "Picard's" orders. "Picard" commands Worf to remove Riker from the bridge, but Worf disregards the order.
Riker takes control of the ship and orders Wesley to immediately move the Enterprise away from the pulsar.
By now, the prisoners are depressed and confused. Picard, having long grown suspicious of Haro, announces to everyone that this entire scenario is an elaborate experiment to see how everyone reacts to authority; Tholl, the collaborator, follows whoever has the most power at any given moment out of self preservation; Esoqq, the anarchist, rejects authority; Haro, the Starfleet cadet, sworn to follow any superior officer's orders; and Picard, a Starfleet captain, trained to command. He notes that there were tasks designed to require them to work together to complete, and that the Chalnoth was unable to eat the food, to make him a threat.
Picard then reveals that Haro is not who she appears to be; she had earlier mentioned Picard's mission to Mintaka III, which was unlikely for a cadet to know about, and so Picard tested her; the Cor Caroli V plague, which has been classified and would not be known of by any real Starfleet cadet. Upon Picard's declaration that he will no longer cooperate, Haro admits that Picard is correct, and then morphs into a trio of aliens, who explain to Picard that they were studying the concept of leadership, which their own culture lacks. However, Picard's knowledge of the experiment will taint the results, so they decide to return the captives to their places of origin.
Picard is transported to his ship and "Picard" is revealed as an alien observer who had been testing if the crew would follow Picard's orders, even to their deaths.
Picard expresses his moral outrage at him and his crew, not to mention Esoqq and Tholl, being kidnapped, deceived, and subjected to the aliens' experimentation without consent; the aliens are unruffled, finding Picard's outrage to itself be an interesting subject for future study, since they are likewise unfamiliar with the concept. But Picard gives his crew subtle signals to let them know that he wants the aliens to be trapped in a force field. Once trapped, they become afraid and panicked, protesting this treatment since they did not harm Picard or the others in any way. Picard tells them that imprisonment is harm in itself, and that they should rethink the morality of their experiments. He also warns them that the Federation now is not only aware of their existence, but also has the ability to trap them. Picard then sets them free, and orders them leave his ship. They transport away.
Picard asks the crew how they knew it was a replica, and Riker jokingly retorts that he didn't know that Picard could sing that well. Dr. Crusher enters the bridge, sits next to Picard, and glances at him in an oddly flirtatious manner, making Picard confused as they return to their normal course.
"It's edible, but I wouldn't call it food."
- - Kova Tholl
"My given name is Esoqq. It means 'fighter.'"
"I'll bet half the names in Chalnoth language mean fighter."
"Mizarians, your names all mean surrenderer!"
- - Esoqq and Kova Tholl
"What is this?"
"The only food?!"
"It would seem so."
- (Esoqq nibbles food)
- - Esoqq and Jean-Luc Picard
"You're destroying yourself and anyone who is foolish enough to listen to you!"
"You've shown none of the concern that Captain Picard would for the safety of his ship, the welfare of his crew."
- - Fake Picard and Riker
"I found it unlikely that a first year cadet would know of the Enterprise's visit to Mintaka III, so I tested you. Starfleet has classified the Cor Caroli V plague as secret. No cadet would have knowledge of that incident."
"So you may as well drop this pretense. I'm not playing any further. I'm quitting this game. As far as I am concerned, this experiment is over!"
"You are correct, Captain Picard."
- - Picard and "Cadet Haro"
"The next beams might be lethal!"
"Not to you. You moved FAR from the door!"
- - Kova Tholl and Esoqq
"In any event, we now know of your race and we know how to imprison you. Bear that in mind. Now, get off my ship!"
- - Picard, to the aliens who kidnapped him
"Then my doppelganger caused no serious damage. The replica was convincing?"
"Very convincing, but not perfect."
"Not perfect in what way?"
"Well sir, I find it hard to believe that you're that good a singer."
"Singer? I look forward to reading your report, Commander. At least I think I do."
- - Picard and Riker
- Final draft script: 15 January 1990 
- Premiere airdate: 26 March 1990
- First UK airdate: 4 March 1992
Story and production
- This episode, along with "The Offspring", was written in part to balance the series' budget after "Yesterday's Enterprise". Michael Piller commented, "I'm a great fan of intimate shows, and it was a simple show from a production point of view, because you needed only one set." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 194)
- Piller saw this episode as a chance to flesh out Picard's character. "We wanted to come up with some real fun for both Patrick the actor and Jean-Luc the character, so we came up with this idea. It might have been two ideas put into one. One was Picard gets stuck in a no-exit situation, and a false Picard takes his place on the Enterprise. I loved the stuff on the Enterprise, wonderful character stuff and Patrick was wonderful. I thought it was a good, solid show and immediately following that was "Captain's Holiday", which, again, was borne out of the fact that we wanted to give the captain some characterization." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 194)
- The song that the fake Picard sings in Ten Forward with the crew is called "Heart of Oak".
- The Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., pp. 121-122) notes that similar themes of aliens conducting experiments on kidnapped crew appeared in a number of previous episodes, including "The Cage" and "The Empath" from Star Trek: The Original Series.
- Captain Picard's quarters are seen to be on Deck 9, Room 3601.
- This episode features one of only two occasions in the whole series that Picard (real or otherwise) drops into the weekly poker game, the other being in the final scene of "All Good Things...".
- This episode marks the second appearance of a Bolian after Captain Rixx in TNG: "Conspiracy", though technically Mitena Haro was actually a fake Bolian.
- Esoqq's outfit was modified and later became Morn's costume on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- Captain Picard makes a reference to Enterprise's visit to Mintaka III in TNG: "Who Watches The Watchers" as something unlikely that a first year cadet would know about.
- A brief reaction shot of Worf on the bridge seeing Picard's doppelgänger change into its true appearance is a stock shot taken from TNG: "The Survivors", as he is wearing the earlier version of the Starfleet uniform that debuted in "Evolution" and was seen in several early episodes of the third season.
- Riker and the senior staff discussing a possible mutiny against Captain Picard for acting erratically was previously shown in the first season episode "Lonely Among Us" when he was possessed by the Beta Renner cloud.
- Ronald D. Moore commented, "Picard does some things that had only been in the real Picard's mind. Watching him sing in Ten Forward gave everyone a kick. And the scene with Beverly in his cabin was kind of fun. I like the fact we've taken him apart more and really are seeing what makes this guy tick." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 194)
- This was Winrich Kolbe's favorite episode out of the ones he directed. "I like it because we did something stylistically interesting in the lit room where the four people were incarcerated. It was Patrick's show and I always know when it's going to be Patrick's show it's going to be a good one because he's so damn good in everything that he does… I liked the look of it and what Marvin Rush was able to do, and Richard James the set designer. What you have to consider in directing any kind of entertainment concept is time and money. We were so far behind after the first two days that basically the whole hierarchy of Paramount was camping out on my set. Then we went into the new set, the octagonal chamber and suddenly we were taking off. We came in under budget and under time. It was a set that was terrific to shoot in and I could put the camera anywhere I wanted to." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 194)
- Kolbe also remarked, "I like "Allegiance" because I liked working with Patrick Stewart. He's a very subtle actor. I remember talking to Patrick the first time he started playing the clone. I said, 'I think I need more from you.' He thought about it and then gave me more. As we rehearsed the scene, we looked at each other and knew he was giving me too much. So, we just pulled it back. Patrick is like Itzhak Perlman with a Stradivarius. You have to compare the Stradivarius to the Joe Schmuck violin. To the untrained eye, they're no different. But they are different, very different. Patrick played the good guy and the bad guy so close at times, but it was different and it was right." (The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 21, p. 31)
- A mission report for this episode by Robert Greenberger was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 13, pp. 54-57.
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for a Series.
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 33, 6 December 1991
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 3.6, 14 August 2000
- As part of the TNG Season 3 DVD collection
- As part of the Region 2 release of the Star Trek: The Next Generation - Jean-Luc Picard Collection
- As part of the TNG Season 3 Blu-ray collection
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf
- Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
- Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher
- Stephen Markle as Kova Tholl
- Reiner Schöne as Esoqq
- Joycelyn O'Brien as Mitena Haro
- Jerry Rector as first alien
- Jeff Rector as second alien
- Joe Bauman as Garvey
- Michael Braveheart as Martinez
- Carl David Burks as Russell
- Eben Ham as operations division officer
- Debbie Marsh as command division officer
- Michael Moorehead as science division ensign
- John Rice as science division officer
- Richard Sarstedt as command division officer
- Unknown performers
- Alien #3 and #4
- Command division officer
- Female civilian
- Female command division officer
- Female engineer
- Female operations division officer
- Female operations division officer
- Female science division officer
- Female science division officer
- Science division officer
- Science division officer
- Security officer
- Ten Forward waiter
- Ten Forward waiter
- Ten Forward waitress
- Jeffrey Deacon – stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- Nora Leonhardt – stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Tim McCormack – stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Lorine Mendell – stand-in for Gates McFadden
- Guy Vardaman – stand-in for Wil Wheaton
21st century; 2354; "a little"; abduction; abductor; abductor aliens; accusation; adversary; ale; "all right"; alternative; anarchist; anarchy; annual physical; area of study; "as far as I know"; "as you wish"; assault; "at bay"; "at least"; "at random"; "at stake"; "at work"; authority; authorization; behavior; board of inquiry; Bolians; Bolarus IX; brain; brainpower; Browder IV; cabin; captain's quarters; captive; captivity; captor (abductor); Chalna; Chalnoth; Chalnoth language; charade; choice; collaboration; collaborator; commanding officer; concept; confidence; confined to quarters; confrontation; consciousness; Cor Caroli V; coward; culture; curiosity; dance; day; dendrite; design; dinner; distance; doctor; door; door mechanism; doppelgänger; drinking song; efficiency drill; emotion; enemy; energy beam; engine efficiency status; engineer; Esoqq (replica); Esoqq's enemies; evidence; experiment; explanation; fact; fainting; field coil; fighter; first year cadet; flush; food; "for once"; friendship; gesture; given name; glory; government; harm; "Heart of Oak"; holding cell; Hood, USS; hostility; hour; Human; Human characteristic; hypothesis; "I don't know"; "I see"; immorality; impostor; impulse propulsion systems; "in any event"; "in common"; "in fact"; "in the dark"; idea; identity; imprisonment; impulse propulsion system; injury; intelligence; kidnapping; knowledge; mathematics; kilometer; kiss; knife; laboratory maze; "Lady Luck"; language; law; leader; leadership; Lonka Cluster; luck; magnetic field; malice; matter; medical test; meditation; memory; mental stress; Mintaka III; minute; million; mission; mistake; mister; Mizar II; Mizarians; month; morality; Moropa; murder; mutiny; mutual fear; neutron star; "no problem"; "not at all"; obligation; obstacle; "of course"; "on your mind"; orbit; Ordek Nebula; order; pain; panel; peace; percent; physical; Phyrox plague; Picard, Jean-Luc; place of origin; player; poison; poker; power; prime number; prisoner; priority one; problem; proof; public servant; pulsar; queen; question; race; radiation; ransom; reason; recreation; relationship; relieved of duty; rendezvous; rendezvous point; replica; report; result; right; "right now"; risk; Romulans; room; security override; security team; senior officer; sensor; sextant; shield; shock; singer; solar mass; sound; species; "stand back"; Starfleet Academy; Stargazer, USS; status; stress; stun beam; stun mechanism; superior officer; surrender; suspicion; symptom; technology; telepathy; terraforming; "thank you"; thinking; Tholl, Kova; threat; toast; tour of duty; transmission; transporter; trauma; trillion; truce; trust; violence; visit; vocal communication; volunteer; weapon; "well done"; Wogneer creature; year
- "Allegiance" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Allegiance" at Wikipedia
- "Allegiance" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Allegiance" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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