(written from a Production point of view)
While Riker leads an away team to a female-dominated planet, a mysterious virus spreads among the Enterprise crew.
The USS Enterprise-D has discovered the wreckage of the Odin, a freighter that disappeared seven years earlier. It was disabled by a collision with an asteroid, and there are no life signs on board, but three escape pods have been discovered missing. The Enterprise travels to Angel I, the nearest class M planet, to search for the freighter's survivors. Angel I is a female-dominated society, ruled by six elected mistresses and a leader known simply as "the Elected One". It has been 62 years since the last Federation contact with the planet.
As the away team heads for the transporter room, they encounter Wesley and a friend entering the holodeck for a skiing lesson in the Denubian Alps. The away team of Data, Riker, Troi, and Yar beam down to the planet, where they meet with Beata and ask about any survivors that might be on the planet. Still suspicious, she asks why they are only coming now, and Troi explains that the Enterprise's discovery of the freighter was unexpected. Their only purpose in coming is to simply find any survivors and bring them home to their families. Another member of the council, Ariel, expresses her misgivings, and Beata refuses to tell them if there are survivors. Instead Beata's male servant, Trent, takes them to another room where they will stay until summoned. Troi reckons that Beata's refusal to tell them about the survivors confirms that there are in fact survivors.
Back on the Enterprise, Picard tells Worf in the turbolift that all department heads will have to prepare for a trip to the Neutral Zone when the away team returns, as Romulan battle cruisers have been detected near one of the Federation's border posts. As they pass the holodeck, they are hit by a snowball thrown by Wesley. Picard scolds him. He also detects an unusual smell that Worf identifies as Night-Blooming Throgni, a Klingon scent.
Data is investigating some perfume when Trent returns to bring them back to the council chambers. Beata tells them that, although the decision was not unanimous, they have decided to tell them about the survivors. She says there were four of them, and their leader is a man named Ramsey. However, they are now fugitives in hiding: some time after arriving on Angel I, they started to abuse the hospitality they received and began to cause trouble. She warns Troi that they are dangerous.
Meanwhile, Dr. Crusher tells Picard that Wes and his friend are sick with a respiratory ailment. She is, however, working on a vaccine. On the planet, Data suggests that they can locate the survivors by searching for platinum, an element not found on Angel I, but which would have been brought by the survivors. Data asks La Forge to break orbit and to begin the search. Riker is brought an outfit worn by the men of the planet, as he wants to wear it when he meets Beata, to impress her by wearing indigenous apparel. Troi and Yar find his appearance wearing the outfit hilarious, however.
Dr. Crusher examines Captain Picard in his ready room. She pronounces him unfit for command and orders him to bed. He relents and tells La Forge while stumbling to the turbolift that he has command. La Forge sits in the captain's chair, and Worf tells him the platinum has been located on the planet. Riker meets with Beata and tells her the Enterprise has found the location of the survivors. Ariel is still suspicious and tells Riker this, then she storms out. Riker waits with Beata and tells Yar to begin the search. She, Data, and Troi beam to the location of the platinum, a cave mouth, where they meet a man who says he's been expecting them.
Crusher tells La Forge there are 82 more cases of the virus and she's converted a holodeck to deal with it. Worf then leaves the bridge to go to sickbay. Meanwhile, Yar tells Ramsey how they found him, and tells him they're bringing him home. He shocks them by telling them he doesn't want to leave as he and the others are happy. They have wives and in some cases children.
Beata tells Riker that Ramsey and his friends are anarchists and outlaws. She starts flirting with him, and as they start to kiss, Trent walks in with a present that Riker has brought for her. He shows her the Albeni meditation crystal, before they get back to kissing. Ramsey tells the rest of the away team that at first, they thought Angel I was great, but then they saw how the men had no respect and were discriminated against. When they spoke out, they were forced to become fugitives. He refuses to leave, and Data adds that they can't force him, as he and his crew are not members of Starfleet, nor do they have to obey the Prime Directive. Crusher tells La Forge there are more sick than beds, and he remarks they'd be seriously undermanned if they were forced to take action against the Romulans.
Yar contacts La Forge, asking to beam the three of them to their previous location, where they will regroup with Riker and return to the ship. He informs them that one-third of the crew has been infected and more Romulan vessels are converging in the Neutral Zone. Ramsey won't tell them how he knew they were coming, but after they beam away, Ariel comes out of the cave and kisses him.
Riker is with Beata when Trent enters and tells her that the away team hasn't got the survivors. Yar fills in Riker, and then Beata says she is forced to sentence the survivors to death.
Dr. Crusher visits Picard in his quarters to give him some medicine and notices the same odor that Picard smelled at the holodeck. She realizes that the virus is caused by an airborne particle whose sweet scent induces deep inhalation and that this is the way the virus spreads. Down on the planet, Data tells Riker that seven Romulan battle cruisers are now in the vicinity of the outpost, and the USS Berlin has responded to the distress call. However, the presence of the Enterprise is still regarded as a vital show of strength by Starfleet.
Beata brings in Ramsey and his crew, whom she found by having Ariel followed. She tells Riker that the fugitives are to be executed tomorrow. Riker is outraged and asks her for another chance to convince Ramsey to leave with them. She agrees, but Ramsey still won't go. Riker wants to beam them aboard anyway, against their will, in violation of regulations. However, Dr. Crusher won't allow anyone to come aboard the ship. La Forge has succumbed to the virus, and she can't find a cure. Riker orders Data to beam up and take the Enterprise to the Neutral Zone before it is too late.
The next day, Trent invites them to come to the execution. Data contacts them and says they still have time for Dr. Crusher to develop a vaccine before their ship has to leave for the Neutral Zone: 47 minutes to be exact. Riker agrees to attend the execution, which will be carried out by disintegrating the fugitives. Riker makes a speech about how Beata is trying to hold back evolution, which can't be done, and warns her that she'll just make a martyr out of Ramsey. At the last second, she relents and adjourns to reconsider. Crusher informs Data that she has devised an inoculant. Data then informs Riker that the Enterprise is ready for the away team to return. Riker instructs Data to maintain a lock on the away team and Ramsey's group but to stand by for further instructions. Beata then returns and says she's decided to stay the executions, and she exiles Ramsey and his followers to a remote region. It's not quite as hospitable as the rest of the planet, but she is confident that if they work hard, they can make a life for themselves... and be free to live as they please.
The away team returns to the Enterprise and is inoculated by Dr. Crusher against the virus. Captain Picard, although hoarse, has returned to the bridge, and the ship heads for the Neutral Zone.
"I think I may sneeze."
"A Klingon sneeze?"
"Only kind I know."
- - Worf and La Forge discuss matters on the bridge
"Ever feel like you're not really wanted?"
- - La Forge, after Beata's terse statement to the Enterprise
"Save us some deep powder."
"No problem, sir. The holodecks have all you'll ever need."
- - Riker, when Wesley Crusher and his friend are dressed in snow wear
"Engineering reports computer ma... ah... ACHOO!! ...I'm sorry, I'm getting sick."
"I'm sure half the ship knows that by now."
- - Worf and La Forge, on Worf's rather loud "Klingon sneeze"
"On the Enterprise, Mr. Crusher, nothing just happens!"
- - Picard, to Wesley Crusher after he accidentally throws a snowball at him
"Make it so!"
- - La Forge, while in temporary command of Enterprise
"You can't rescue a man from what he calls his home."
- - Ramsey, refusing to be transported aboard the Enterprise from Angel I
"It looks horrible, tastes worse, but it's absolutely guaranteed to make you feel better."
- - Beverly Crusher, giving Picard a liquid remedy on his sickbed
"I must say, Commander, it looks kinda sexy!"
"Thank you. Actually, it feels quite comfortable."
- - Yar and Riker, regarding the latter's outfit for his rendezvous with Beata
(hoarsely) "Mr. Data, set course for the Neutral Zone. Warp six."
"Coordinates set. Warp six, on your mark, sir."
(Picard turns to Riker, who gives the order) "Engage."
- - Picard, Data, and Riker, after Picard's recovery from the virus
"We have determined that the heretical teachings of Ramsey and his followers are inconsistent with harmonious life on Angel I. Our patient efforts to silence revolutionary voices have failed. Therefore, we are left with none but the most final alternative." (Trent demonstrates the device used on Angel I for executions, vaporizing a vase) "As you can see, we are not without compassion. Your deaths will be swift and painless."
- - Beata, Elected One of Angel I
"After careful consideration this legislature has voted to stay the executions of the prisoners. Their children will be returned to them immediately. Do not rejoice prematurely. Ramsey and his followers are to be exiled to a distant and unpopulated region. Life will be difficult there, with little time for revolutionary or evolutionary upheaval. As some have observed we may not be able to stop evolution, but perhaps we can reduce it to a slow crawl. (aside) For a man, you can be very clever, Commander Riker."
- - Beata, informing Ramsey and the Enterprise crew of the vote to stay the executions
- Revised second draft script: 30 October 1987
- Final draft script: 4 November 1987
- Revised final draft script: 9 November 1987 
- Filmed: 11 November 1987 – 19 November 1987
- Premiere airdate: 25 January 1988
- UK Premiere airdate on BBC2: 9 January 1991
Story and production
- In Patrick Barry's original story, Beata was named "Victoria" and she imprisoned Riker after he directly addressed her and then touched her hand. Tasha Yar stunned Riker to prevent him being killed and then took over command of the away team. In this version, Captain Picard was the only person aboard the Enterprise-D who was affected by the virus. The male slaves started a revolution, led by Lucas Jones, who was killed. (Creating the Next Generation, p. 52)
- An early story meeting about this episode was attended by Patrick Barry, Gene Roddenberry, and Herbert J. Wright. Wright was wary that the concept of a matriarchal society had been too overdone. "So one of the major issues that we didn't want to do was an Amazon Women kind of thing where the women are six feet tall with steel D cups," he recalled. "I said, 'The hit I want to take on this is apartheid, so that the men are treated as though they are blacks of South Africa. Make it political. Sexual overtones, yes, but political.' Well, that didn't last very long. Everything that Gene got involved with had to have sex in it. It's so perverse that it's hard to believe. The places it was dragged into is absurd. We were talking about how women would react, and Gene was voicing all the right words again, saying, 'Oh, yes, we've got to make sure that women are represented fairly, because, after all, women are probably the superior sex anyway, and it's real important we don't get letters from feminists, because we want to be fair and we don't want to infer that women have to rule by force if they do rule, because men don't have to rule by force.' Very sensible stuff. All of a sudden something kicks in and he changes: 'However, we also don't want to infer that it would be a better society if women ruled.'" His voice becoming increasingly louder, Roddenberry continued that this was because women were untrustworthy, "vicious creatures," which he angrily blurted out in a torrent of hateful verbiage. Concluded Wright, "Then he looks out the window, looks at the outline, and says, 'Okay, on page eight…' and continues like that didn't even happen." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 83)
- In November 1987, production was shut down for a few days because the script of this episode wasn't available yet. This was the first of two occasions in TNG Season 1 when production was stopped for a few days due to the unavailability of scripts (the other being for "The Arsenal of Freedom"). (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 56)
- The final draft script, which was submitted seven days before shooting began, is slightly different from the final episode:
- Wesley Crusher had two friends who accompany him to his ski trip on the holodeck, which was to the Swiss Alps instead of the Denubian Alps.
- In this script version no Romulan was mentioned being a threat. The heading for the Enterprise-D was the Avastam Triangle where a Federation outpost was surrounded by seven Ferengi battle cruisers.
- Following their first visit on the planet's surface, the away team was invited to an evening meal. This was also the time Riker and Troi delivered their gift, the Albeni meditation crystal.
- During the evening meal, Data sat next to Mistress Di who would later bring him to a separate room and a terminal where he could study the history of Angel I. She also tried to seduce him and kissed him.
- Ramsey and fellow survivors were not hiding in this version. There was only one survivor, Ramsey, and he was a prisoner of Beata. A guard brought him into the evening meal, restrained, at the order of Beata. Ramsey tried to knock one of the guards down and was himself knocked to the ground. When Tasha scanned him with a tricorder, she tried to calm him down and told him that they'd bring him home, but Ramsey responded that this is his home.
- Wesley and his two friends were treated in sickbay because of their viral infection. Wesley compared the infection to a Romulan thumping cough.
- During the away team mission, there were several conversations between Troi and Riker with harsh words. Troi named the attraction between Beata and Riker and Riker had a problem accepting Troi as the commanding officer of the away team.
- Dr. Crusher relieved La Forge from duty when he became ill. She took command of the Enterprise-D and did her research from the conn station.
- Ramsey escaped from his prison before he could be transported to the Enterprise-D. When Troi decided to beam back to the ship and head for the Avastam Triangle and come back later, Beata and two guards disarmed the away team and held them prisoners. They got their gear back when Ramsey was imprisoned again. But Dr. Crusher declined to beam the away team back because of the virus; only Data was beamed aboard. The rest of the away team was again held prisoner.
- Mistress Ariel, who previously helped Ramsey to escape, brought a communicator to the away team. When the away team prepared to beam aboard, including Ramsey, Ariel told them that she was expecting Ramsey's child. After a discussion about the Prime Directive, the away team assisted Ariel and Ramsey in their escape and then paid a visit to Beata who got furious and threw the Albeni meditation crystal at the away team but failed because Troi, Tasha, and Riker already beamed back aboard the Enterprise-D.
- The episode was filmed between Wednesday 11 November 1987 and Thursday 19 November 1987 for seven days on Paramount Stage 6, 9, and 16.
- This episode wrapped principal photography on the same date as Paramount announced that Star Trek: The Next Generation had been renewed for a second season. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 58)
Cast and characters
- This was Leonard John Crofoot's first Star Trek appearance. He later appeared in TNG: "The Offspring" and VOY: "Virtuoso".
- This episode was also the first for recurring background actor David Eum who was most notably featured as Ensign Wright during the first three seasons of The Next Generation.
Props and sets
- The matte painting of the surface of Angel I was reused many times in later Star Trek episodes.
- The first reuse came in the second season episode "Samaritan Snare", when the Angel I matte was used to depict Starbase 515 without any change. In the fourth season episode "First Contact", the painting remained substantially the same to depict the surface of Malcor III, though the colors were slightly more intense, the hue being overall more green compared to Angel I. A completely new painting was produced to represent another view of the planet, the style being similar to the original Angel I scenery.
- In the episode "The Mind's Eye", the Angel I matte was modified to represent the Klingon colony Krios Prime. Trees were removed, and the style of the buildings were "Klingon-ized". Several new buildings were added in the background, the most prominent bearing the Klingon emblem.
- For the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine first season episode "Dax", much of the original Angel I scenery was restored, adding a new tall building in the background for the night shot (which had curiously disappeared at daytime) and omitting some of the greenery. The colors for the day shot are more intense than the original matte; instead, it appears more similar to Malcor III.
- The most recent reuse of the Angel I matte came on the Star Trek: Voyager first season episode "Ex Post Facto", when it was used to depict the surface of Banea.
- Likewise, pieces of decoration from the episode were seen many more times on various episodes:
- White lamps in various sizes, helix-shaped statues and round wall decorations appeared in several episodes.
- The silver box in which Riker keeps the Albeni meditation crystal later housed Miles O'Brien's pet Lycosa tarantula Christina in "Realm of Fear".
- The pen that Mistress Beata uses to sign the death sentences popped up as a pen again in "Resistance".
- The Albeni meditation crystal later appeared as an artifact housing the embryonic lifeform in DS9: "Q-Less".
- A flower-shaped wall decoration (presumably the Angel I logo) is seen in several scenes in the episode.
- Among the items from this episode which were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, was an Angel I costume lot including the costume of Jacqueline Drake , the costumes of Jonathan Frakes,  Karen Montgomery,  Leonard John Crofoot,  Wil Wheaton,  Chris Hall,  and three background performer costumes.   
- This episode marks the first mention of the Romulans in The Next Generation. At the end of the episode, the Enterprise heads for the Romulan Neutral Zone. However, apparently no confrontation actually ensued, since the encounter with the Romulans in "The Neutral Zone" is described as the first direct encounter since 2311.
- Data's party transports directly from their planetside accommodations to Ramsey's camp, marking the second occurrence of site-to-site transport, though it is not given its specific name yet. The first occurrence was in "Encounter at Farpoint", when Riker and Data beamed to Troi's position underneath Farpoint Station.
- This episode depicts the Prime Directive into a doctrine of total non-interference with the affairs of other species or cultures, irrespective of technology level. This is consistent with "The Magicks of Megas-Tu", which stated that "No starship may interfere with the normal development of any alien life or society." While "First Contact" would later establish the idea that the Directive was meant to apply to pre-warp civilizations, it would also continue to be applied to post-warp civilizations as well; for instance, Starfleet could not intervene in either the Klingon Civil War or the coup of the Alliance for Global Unity as long as they were believed to be strictly internal matters.
- This episode does differ from other portrayals of the Prime Directive in stating that the rule applies only to Starfleet personnel and not Federation civilians.
- This is one of only two episodes where La Forge was in command, the second being "The Arsenal of Freedom".
- This episode marks the second time in The Next Generation someone from the production staff can be seen. This time the reflection of a boom operator and another man can be seen in the Albeni meditation crystal prop in Beata's quarters. Previously a camera operator was seen in a reflection in the episode "The Naked Now". Further production staffers who can be seen include Bill Gocke in "Unification II", an unknown man in "Time's Arrow", June Abston Haymore in "Birthright, Part I", and a boom operator in "Journey's End".
- After his ski lesson, Wesley accidentally hits Captain Picard (standing outside the holodeck) with a snowball. Some water from this snowball remains on both his and Worf's uniform for the entire scene. The permanence of basic matter exiting the holodeck is unclear.
- At the conclusion of the episode, as the bridge crew discusses moving on to the Neutral Zone, the turbolift the away team entered from remains open.
- Maurice Hurley was succinct in his opinion of "Angel One": "Terrible. Just terrible. One of the ones you'd just as soon erase". (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, page 118))
- A mission report by Patrick Daniel O'Neill for this episode was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 5, pp. 19-21.
- Keith DeCandido reviewed the episode for Tor.com. He described the episode as being "one of the most sexist episodes of Star Trek ever produced under the veneer of feminism", and that the virus subplot was "filler, and boring filler at that". He said that it was "one of the absolute low points of the show", giving it a score of two out of ten.
- Wil Wheaton watched it for AOL TV, and thought that it started well but soon descended into the appearance of an episode from The Original Series with Riker in the Kirk role. He also noted that if the speech that Riker gave towards the end of the episode had been given to Yar or Troi then the overall message would have been more subtle. He gave it a grade of D overall.
- James Hunt of Den of Geek said that the episode was not as bad as "Code of Honor", but that it contained "almost every terrible cliché seen in TNG's first season in one episode". He summed up, "We've seen all of this before, and it was barely interesting the first time around. The second time, it's just tedious. A horrible episode on so many levels."
- Zack Handlen watched the episode for The A.V. Club and said that he was not sure what the reversal of gender roles in the episode was meant to achieve. He described the virus subplot as "absurd" and gave the episode an F grade.
- The episode was included in a couple of worst episode lists, including in one compiled by Scott Thrill for Wired magazine, and it was ranked the fourth worst episode by Jay Garmon at the website TechRepublic.
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 7, catalog number VHR 2398, 5 November 1990
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 1.5, catalog number VHR 4646, 6 July 1998
- As part of the TNG Season 1 DVD collection
- As part of the TNG Season 1 Blu-ray collection
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Geordi La Forge
- Denise Crosby as Lt. Tasha Yar
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Worf
- Gates McFadden as Doctor Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
- Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher
- James G. Becker as Youngblood
- Kellee Bradley as Angel I guard
- Jeffrey Deacon as command officer
- Jacqueline Drake as Angel I mistress
- Susan Duchow as operations officer
- David Eum as Odin crewmember
- Curtis Fairchild as Odin crewmember
- Chris Hall as Wesley's friend
- Nora Leonhardt as sciences ensign
- Tim McCormack as Bennett
- James McElroy as operations officer
- Lorine Mendell as Diana Giddings
- Rebecca Rose as Angel I native
- Guy Vardaman as Darien Wallace
- Unknown performers as
- Engineering crewmember (voice)
- Female Angel I native
- Female command officer
- Female medical officer
- Female tactical officer
- Four Angel I mistresses
- Four command crewmembers
- Odin crewmember
- Operations crewmember
- Sciences officer
- Six civilians
- Three Angel I guards
- Three male Angel I natives
- Two male Angel I servants
- James G. Becker – stand-in for Jonathan Frakes
- Darrell Burris – stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Dexter Clay – stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Jeffrey Deacon – stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- Susan Duchow – stand-in for Denise Crosby
- 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
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- "Angel One" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Angel One" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Angel One" at Wikipedia
- "Angel One" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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