As alien dignitaries visit the ship, Picard's shuttle crashes on a desolate moon where he meets a woman who has been stranded there for seven years.
The USS Enterprise-D welcomes two Iyaaran ambassadors, Loquel and Byleth, who are visiting the ship as part of a cultural exchange that will also send Captain Jean-Luc Picard to their planet, Iyar. Before Picard departs, he assigns Counselor Deanna Troi to act as Loquel's liaison and asks Commander William T. Riker to do the same for Byleth. However, upon their arrival, Byleth demands that Lt. Worf serve as his shipboard guide.
Soon afterward, Picard departs for Iyar with Voval, the gruff and uncommunicative Iyaaran shuttle pilot. Their awkward silence is disrupted by a malfunction aboard their ship. Crashing on an unknown Class M moon, Voval receives a concussion. Picard, seemingly unhurt, decides to seek help outside the shuttle, but falls to the ground trying to traverse the planet's stormy surface. As he lies unconscious, someone silently drags him away.
Picard awakens in the small, dimly-lit cabin of a crashed cargo freighter . He is approached by a solemn, attractive Human woman who informs him that Voval did not survive the crash. Picard learns that the woman's name is Anna and that she is the sole survivor of a Terellian cargo freighter crash that occurred seven years before. After Anna tells Picard that he has three broken ribs, he sends her to retrieve the shuttlecraft's comm panel in order to send a distress signal. Anna returns with a non-functional panel, which she accidentally destroyed when removing it with a phaser. Picard is then shocked when Anna suddenly kisses him and tells him she loves him.
Meanwhile, on the Enterprise, Loquel has become fascinated by the existence of desserts, as his people only eat for sustenance. He is equally intrigued by children, as Iyaarans are born fully grown. He and Troi partake in many desserts, much to Troi's eventual dismay.
At the same time, Worf is struggling to maintain his composure due to the abrasive, demanding personality of Byleth. Riker decides that the tension might be eased by a "friendly" game of poker, however the game is anything but "friendly" when Worf realizes that Byleth is stealing chips. Upon the accusation, Byleth verbally provokes Worf, who eventually loses control and, despite Riker's insistence that he calm down, attacks his guest. But instead of getting angry, Byleth is pleased. He expresses admiration for Worf's display of anger and politely excuses himself to document the experience, leaving everyone confused (except Loquel, who is still gleefully enjoying his dessert).
Back on the moon, Picard becomes enraged at Anna when he realizes that his ribs are not really broken, and the woman, who continues to beg for his love, is actually holding him captive. He angrily alerts Anna to his discovery, at which point she becomes distraught over failing to gain his affection and rushes out the door, breaking off her necklace. Picard runs out to find her, only to encounter Voval, who is very much alive.
Voval explains that he only appeared to be dead because, when Lyaarans are injured, their metabolic rates slow down in order to promote healing. He and Picard set off in search of Anna, eventually separating. Picard finds Anna standing at the edge of a cliff, threatening to commit suicide if he does not tell her he loves her. When he notices that Anna is again wearing her necklace and that Voval has again disappeared, Picard senses that something strange is going on and tells Anna to go ahead and jump. At that moment, she transforms into Voval, who explains that he is not really a pilot, but an Iyaaran ambassador. He staged the crash in order to study the emotion of love, non-existent on the Iyaaran homeworld, by using Picard as a subject. Similarly, Loquel and Byleth were sent to experience pleasure and antagonism. Picard is taken aback at first, but upon returning to the Enterprise, joins Worf and Troi in deeming the experience a worthwhile one. Upon their departure, Worf and Byleth recount to Riker their experience of eleven consecutive hours of Worf's calisthenics program on the holodeck, while Loquel offers Troi a sample of Iyaaran food, apologizing that it is not as delicious as chocolate, but which Troi reassures him will come as a welcome relief after the constant barrage of desserts they have been eating over the past few days. Voyal and Picard part on friendly terms with Picard acknowledging the desire to obtain knowledge, but that humans would not have taken such a direct approach in their research.
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"Besides, you look good in a dress."
- - Riker, to Worf's dislike for dress-like uniforms
"Klingons do not procrastinate."
- - Worf
"I want this one."
- - Ambassador Byleth, asking to be escorted by Worf
"Are you smarter than this one?"
- - Ambassador Byleth, to Geordi La Forge concerning Worf
"I am going to kill him with my bare hands! I will take him by the throat, and rip out his esophagus!"
- - Worf and Riker, referring to Byleth
"He has an obsession with dessert. Especially chocolate."
"You must be in heaven."
"Actually, he's even testing my limits."
- - Troi and Riker, referring to Loquel
"You see? You see? They are insane!"
- - Worf, referring to the ambassadors
"You are an insulting, pompous fool! And if you were not an Ambassador, I would disembowel you right here!"
- - Worf, to Byleth
"I have heard that in moments of diplomatic tension, it is often helpful to find elements of commonality."
"Ambassador Byleth is demanding, temperamental, and rude!"
"You share all of those qualities in abundance! Perhaps you should try to build on your similarities."
- - Data and Worf
- The story initially contained a subplot of Troi earning the rank of Commander. This was later used in "Thine Own Self". In an uncredited rewrite, Brannon Braga created the tests undertaken by the other Iyaarans. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Director Cliff Bole was disappointed with the episode, citing constant rewrites as the cause. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- According to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, Eric was named after a nephew of Brannon Braga.
- Chocolate-covered raisins were originally bought for Loquel's poker-game snack, but this was changed at the last minute as it was found that Paul Eiding was allergic to chocolate. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- This is the first episode in which Worf, Troi, and Doctor Crusher are seen in their dress uniforms.
- In a cut scene, Byleth awoke Worf at 0500 for a tour of the arboretum. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- This is one of only a few TNG episodes to not feature the Enterprise bridge, the others being "Family" and "Dark Page".
- This is one of only five TNG episodes that doesn't have a stardate. The others are TNG: "Symbiosis", "First Contact", "Tapestry", "Sub Rosa".
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 77, 7 March 1994.
- As part of the TNG Season 7 DVD collection.
Links and References
- Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard
- Jonathan Frakes as Commander William T. Riker
- LeVar Burton as Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf
- Gates McFadden as Doctor Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lieutenant Commander Data
- David Keith Anderson as Ensign Armstrong
- Lena Banks as an engineering ensign
- Michael Braveheart as Ensign Martinez
- Carl David Burks as Ensign Russell
- Cameron as Ensign Kellogg
- Tracee Lee Cocco as Lieutenant j.g. Jae
- Elliot Durant III as an operations division ensign
- Kerry Hoyt as a security ensign
- Lorine Mendell as Crewman Diana Giddings
- Keith Rayve as a command division officer
- John Tampoya as an operations division ensign
- Unknown performers as
Uncredited Stand-ins and Stunt doubles
- Chuck Borden as stunt double for Michael Harris
- Rusty McClennon as stunt double for Michael Dorn
- John Nowak as stunt double for Patrick Stewart
- Dennis Tracy as stand-in for Patrick Stewart
Betazed; bio-enzymatic supplement; class M; coltayin root; Insanity; Iyaaran; Iyar; Klingon Empire; Ktarian chocolate puff; microfusion flare; natal pod; papalla juice; peach cobbler; plasma storm; poker; post-cellular compounding; premier; suicide; Tarvokian powder cake; Terellian; Terellian freighter.
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