(written from a Production point of view)
A rescue operation to save the lives of a shuttle crew becomes complicated thanks to a malevolent entity, and one Enterprise-D crew member pays the ultimate price in their rescue.
- 1 Summary
- 2 Log entries
- 3 Memorable quotes
- 4 Background information
- 5 Links and references
The USS Enterprise-D is traveling through the Zed Lapis sector where it will rendezvous with shuttlecraft 13, carrying Counselor Deanna Troi, who is returning from a conference, along with the shuttle pilot, Lieutenant Ben Prieto. As the engineering crew is conducting maintenance of the ship's dilithium crystals, the ship is flying at impulse, with the main engines deactivated. On the bridge, Lieutenant Worf tells Lieutenant Natasha Yar that deep space probes have picked up no vessels or debris within three light years. Worf then shifts the conversation towards the martial arts competition happening on the Enterprise-D in three days.
He asks Yar if she is ready. She replies that she needs some practice with the Mishiama wristlock and break, and if she can use it on Worf, she can use it on anybody, an assumption Worf promptly assures her is valid. He then asks who she is facing, and Yar says her first opponent is science officer Swenson. Worf says that she will easily defeat him. However Yar is more concerned about being beaten by Lt. Minnerly, a skilled kickboxer. Worf then boosts her confidence by telling her that she is heavily favored in the ship's pool to win. Yar asks Worf if he placed a bet on her. Worf replies that it is a sure thing. Yar then looks at Worf with a smile. Worf, embarrassed, moves away.
Helmsman Lieutenant Geordi La Forge reports to Captain Picard that the Enterprise-D will meet up with the shuttle in just over an hour. Picard comments how it will be good to have Troi back aboard, a sentiment Commander Riker agrees with. Suddenly, Worf receives an emergency distress call from the shuttle. The shuttle's computer is severely damaged and impulse engines are off-line. Prieto can't even tell what their current location is. Picard calls down to main engineering and asks chief engineer Lieutenant Commander Leland T. Lynch how long it would take to restore warp drive.
When Lynch complains that he's currently in the middle of re-aligning the dilithium crystals, Picard tells him there is an emergency and they urgently need warp drive. Lynch initially says it'll be more than twenty minutes, and Picard berates him, telling Lynch that they don't have that much time. Lynch promises to re-align the crystals by hand to get warp drive restarted immediately. La Forge then tells Prieto that he's coming dangerously close to a planet, which Prieto confirms. Lieutenant Commander Data reports that the shuttle is near Vagra II, an uninhabited planet. Picard calls down to engineering again and Lynch tells him that although he offers no guarantees, he's working on it and it'll be about three minutes. Just then, Prieto reports that the shuttle is now out of control and has been caught in Vagra II's gravity, to the grave concern of the bridge crew.
In engineering, the engineers are frantically trying to restore the Enterprise-D's warp drive. Lynch, along with his engineering crew, quickly re-align the dilithium crystals into the warp reactor and Lynch decides to ignore the final safety check, telling the computer to restart the warp drive. When the ship's computer begins the checklist, Lynch overrides the checks and they go directly to startup. As the warp reactor comes back online, Lynch calls Picard and tells him that they now have minimum warp drive. When La Forge reports course for Vagra II is laid in, Picard orders warp eight. Over the intercom, Lynch tells Picard he recommended minimum warp drive. Picard then tells Lynch he heard his command and to make it so.
Shortly thereafter, the Enterprise-D arrives at Vagra II and enters standard orbit, although the ship is not reading the emergency signal from the shuttle. Data runs a scan of the planet. There is no vegetation and no lifeforms on the planet, but the atmosphere is breathable for Humans. Worf locates the shuttle on the planet. It appears to be buried under debris. Picard asks if they can beam up Troi and Prieto; however, the debris appears to be blocking the ship's sensors. Picard, seeing this as strange, orders Riker to prepare an away team. He chooses Data and Yar. Picard signals Doctor Beverly Crusher to join them.
On Vagra II, the shuttle's nacelle has been ripped off and the shuttle itself has been embedded within a rock face. The away team materializes on the barren surface of the planet, near the wreckage of the shuttle. Dr. Crusher notes that the signals inside the shuttle are weak. The away team begins to walk over to the shuttle, but a giant black liquid pool is blocking the way. Dr. Crusher asks the away team to walk around it, just to be on the safe side. However, the black substance follows the away team to the right side. Yar suggests that they go to the left, but the substance still follows them.
Crusher prepares to step over a narrow part of the pool, but Riker stops her. He then asks if the creature has a skeletal structure. Data scans with his tricorder, however, he cannot confirm Riker's question. Picard asks Data if the black substance is a lifeform. Again, Data cannot confirm. When asked finally if it is possible that this pool is alive, Data says it is but again, he has insufficient information. Then they hear an ominous voice calling Data "Tin Man" and a figure begins to slowly arise from the black liquid. Picard asks Riker what he sees, and Riker simply replies, "Trouble."
Picard signals Riker and comes to the conclusion that the placement of the creature and the location of the shuttle's crash landing cannot be a coincidence. Picard asks Riker to try to communicate with the creature, which Riker does. The creature states that his name is Armus, and asks why the crew has come. Riker explains that they mean no harm and they have injured crewmembers on the shuttle and asks permission to pass over. Armus states that he has not given him a good enough reason. Riker states that preserving life is important to all Humans., but Armus is not satisfied and suggests the Enterprise-D crew leave the planet. Yar walks up to Armus and says that they will not leave without their crew and that they must help them.
Yar begins to walk over to the shuttle and is hit by a blast of energy from Armus and knocked away. Riker and Data react quickly and fire their phasers at Armus as Dr. Crusher rushes over to Yar, followed by Riker and Data. Picard asks for a report on the situation and Data says their phasers had no effect on Armus as he seemed to feed off their energy. As Armus retreats back into the black liquid, Picard inquires about Yar's condition. After scanning her body, Dr. Crusher grimly reports that Yar is dead. Picard tells the transporter chief to beam up the away team quickly. As soon as the away team rematerializes on the transporter pad, Dr. Crusher reports that they will have to get Yar to sickbay immediately if they are to revive her. Picard tells Worf to put the ship on yellow alert and leaves the bridge for sickbay.
In sickbay, Dr. Crusher and her medical assistants are desperately trying to revive Yar. Picard asks for a report on Yar's condition. Crusher reports that it is unchanged. Riker and Data stand in the back, joined by Picard, waiting and watching intently. Dr. Crusher puts Yar on total life support, but Yar is still not responding and her synaptic network is breaking down. Dr. Crusher, seeing no other choice, decides to go for direct reticular stimulation. The electrical energy goes into Yar's body, but she is still flatlining. Trying the procedure a few more times out of desperation, Dr. Crusher then pronounces Yar officially dead, and that Armus sucked the life right out of her.
On Vagra II, Armus moves toward the shuttle. Inside, Lieutenant Prieto is unconscious, lying down on his console. Troi is uninjured. She taps her combadge and tries to contact the ship. Armus is blocking the communication. She can feel Armus' presence. Armus taunts her by saying that her friends deserted her and even killed one of them. Troi says she knows, she felt her die. Armus then says that he wanted to kill Yar to amuse himself. Troi tells him that he thought it would amuse him, but it did not. Troi senses he has a great need for something. Troi asks Armus to let her and Prieto go, and that the crew of the Enterprise-D will not give him what he wants, to break their spirit. Armus replies that if breaking their spirit amuses him, he will do it.
In the conference lounge on the Enterprise-D, the senior officers are arguing and talking over each other about Yar's death and how she did nothing to provoke Armus. Only Worf and Picard remain silent. Picard taps the table with his fingers to bring the meeting back under control. Picard tells the crew that Yar's death is painful for all of them, but they will have to put it aside until the crisis is resolved. Picard makes Worf an acting chief of security. Worf accepts. Picard asks about the condition of the shuttle crew. Crusher says the life signs are faint, but the sensor readings are fluctuating, which means they may not be accurate. Riker asks to go down to the planet again. La Forge volunteers to join the away team; his VISOR may see something in Armus that the other crewmembers may not be able to see. Picard agrees. Riker asks Worf to join them, but Worf believes he will be better used at tactical.
The away team sees Armus stretched out over the shuttle. Armus is surprised that the away team came back for Troi and Prieto. Troi senses something in Armus, that he was abandoned by his kind. Troi says he cannot hide the emptiness he feels from her. Armus goes back to his liquid state. Back on the Enterprise-D, Worf and acting ensign Wesley Crusher are monitoring Armus from a science station. Worf notes that Armus' energy went down when he enveloped the shuttlecraft. Picard asks them to chart it and to see if there is a pattern.
The away team beams down again. Armus returns to his humanoid state and speaks with Riker. La Forge examines Armus with his VISOR discreetly as Riker pleads with Armus to see their injured crewmembers, with Dr. Crusher making an impassioned plea to Armus. Armus says she can, but only if she says please. Crusher submits to Armus' strange request and he allows her to communicate with Troi via combadge. Troi responds and says she is fine. Armus is angered when the crew continues to ask him about going over and helping their crewmembers, which he views as ungrateful. He then rises up again, but taller than before. Armus uses his powers to throw Data's phaser and La Forge's VISOR away. La Forge, blinded, falls to his knees looking for his VISOR. Data directs him towards the VISOR, but Armus moves it away. Data then refuses when Armus demands that he try to help La Forge again, knowing he will just keep moving the VISOR away anyway. Angry that the crew won't amuse him, Armus allows Data to retrieve the VISOR then leaves.
Armus re-envelops the shuttle, and on further probing from Troi, reveals how he came to be. The original inhabitants of Vagra II devised a process via which all their negative drives would be physically manifested as a "dank and vile" second skin, which could then be shed. This left them as "creatures whose beauty now dazzles all who see them," who then left the planet, while the parts that they left behind coalesced into the singular being that is Armus. Troi expresses sympathy for him, but this causes Armus to temporarily lose cohesion. He becomes enraged again, he shakes the shuttle, then moves over to the away team. Suddenly, Riker falls to the ground and is dragged toward Armus' liquid state. Riker screams for Data's help, but Armus threatens to kill Riker if any of them touches him. The first officer is sucked into the slick and disappears beneath the surface. Picard orders the away team to return to the ship, but Armus warns that if they leave, Riker and the crash survivors will all be killed. Data, La Forge, and Crusher gasp as Riker's lifeless face briefly surfaces, wracked with pain, before disappearing back into the pool.
Picard, after seeing the grave danger his crewmembers are in, decides to beam down. Troi, feeling her imzadi, Riker, struggling and in pain, pleads with Armus to let him go. Armus continues taunting Troi, with her begging him to let the away team go. He considers it, but then realizes that Picard has beamed down. Picard asks if Riker is still alive. Data surmises that, since death can no longer alleviate Armus' boredom, then Riker is, indeed, still alive. Picard asks to see his crewmembers, and Armus asks Picard to entertain him, but Picard refuses. Armus replies that he will have to provide entertainment for himself.
Data, under Armus' influence, takes out his phaser and points it at Crusher and then Picard. Armus asks Data how he would feel if he was responsible for the death of Captain Picard. Data notes that as he is not in control of himself, thus he would not be an instrument of his death. Armus then makes Data point the phaser at Dr. Crusher, then La Forge, then finally, has Data point the phaser at his own head. Armus finally has Data drop the phaser from his hand. Data feels that Armus must be destroyed, since he is capable of great cruelty and sadism and thus he cannot be redeemed. Picard then asks Armus if he can see Troi and Prieto. Armus lets Picard see one member of his crew, Commander Riker, covered in black, who is finally brought up to the surface by Armus.
Picard tells Armus that this is now between him and Armus. He tells Armus to let the Enterprise-D beam up the remaining members of the away team. They are beamed back to the ship; Picard is finally allowed to see Troi and is taken there by Armus. Picard, in the shuttle, checks Prieto's pulse and finds that he's still alive, while Troi asks if they were able to revive Yar. Picard, regretfully, tells her that they weren't. Troi is saddened by the loss of her friend, but Picard is able to find out about Armus' past, and works out how to distract him long enough for Troi and Prieto to be rescued.
Armus brings Picard back outside the shuttle, and asks to be taken aboard the Enterprise. He makes it clear that he wants to find Vagra II's original inhabitants and avenge himself upon them. Picard attempts to sympathize with Armus, who irately dismisses his attempts and taunts him over Yar's death. On the Enterprise, Worf and Wesley notice that Armus' energy field has almost weakened enough for Troi and Prieto to be transported, and set the computer to automatically beam them out when the field weakens sufficiently.
In response to Armus' claims to be the embodiment of evil, Picard says that true evil would be allowing Armus to force them into giving him what he wants. Armus threatens to kill Picard and the shuttle crewmembers, to which Picard points out that if Armus murders them, he will still be immortal and alone, forever, on Vagra II. Armus lets out an angry scream, and is distracted enough and the Enterprise-D beams out Troi and Prieto from the shuttle. Finally, Picard announces he will not take him anywhere, at which Armus yells out an enraged scream as the Enterprise-D beams up Picard, once again leaving Armus as the only lifeform on the entire planet as the sadistic creature continues to scream in rage.
Back on the Enterprise-D, Picard orders that the shuttle be destroyed with a photon torpedo fired from the ship so that Armus will not have a chance to leave Vagra II and declares the planet off-limits. Still, as Picard notes in his log, the damage has already been done.
On the holodeck, a funeral on a grassy knoll with a bright blue sky for Yar has begun. All of the senior staff – Worf, Data, La Forge, Beverly and Wesley Crusher, Riker, Troi, and Picard – attend the service. To begin the service, a hologram of Yar is played, with her noting all of the exceptional qualities that each member of the crew possess and what she in turn learned from them. The service concludes when the hologram of Yar fades away. Everyone leaves the holodeck, except Data and Picard. Data notes that, during the service, he was not thinking about Yar, but how empty it will be without her. He asks if he missed the point of the service, but Picard assures him that he understood it completely.
"Data, something's got me!"
- - Commander William Riker, while being pulled into the black sludge
"Lieutenant Yar's death is very painful for all of us. We will have to deal with it as best we can for now. Until the shuttle crew are safely beamed aboard the ship, our feelings will have to wait, is that understood? Lieutenant Worf, you're now acting chief of security."
"I will do my best, sir."
- - Captain Picard and Worf
"You wanted her to suffer. You have a great need."
"I need nothing."
- - Troi talking to Armus after the death of Tasha Yar
"I think you should be destroyed."
- - Data, to Armus
"She said you'd be back."
- - Armus, to the Enterprise away team regarding Troi
"I would guess that death is no longer sufficient to alleviate its boredom."
- - Data, on Armus
"If any of you leave now, he dies… and so do the survivors of the crash."
- - Armus
"Save your compassion; it's revolting. You offer it like a prize, when it's an insult."
- - Armus to Captain Picard
"A great poet once said "All spirits are enslaved that serve things evil.'"
- - Captain Picard quoting from "Prometheus Unbound" by Percy Bysshe Shelley to Armus
"You say you are true evil? Shall I tell you what true evil is? It is to submit to you. It is when we surrender our freedom, our dignity, instead of defying you."
"I will kill you, and those in there."
"But you will still be here. In this place. Forever. Alone, immortal."
(Armus begins growling loudly)
"That's your real fear: Never to die. Never again to be united with those who left you here."
(Armus begins screaming)
"I'm not taking you anywhere." (Armus screams continually as Picard beams out)
- - Captain Picard and Armus – file info
"We are here to honor our friend and comrade, Lieutenant Natasha Yar. Coming to terms with the loss of a colleague is perhaps the most difficult task we must face in the work we have chosen to pursue. We will all find time to grieve for her in the days that are ahead. But for now, she has asked that we celebrate her life, with this."
- - Picard, introducing Tasha's holo-recording. – file info
"Hello, my friends. You are here now watching this image of me because I have died. It probably happened while I was on duty, and quickly, which is what I expected. Never forget I died doing exactly what I chose to do. What I want you to know is how much I loved my life, and those of you who shared it with me. You are my family. You all know where I came from and what my life was like before. But Starfleet took that frightened, angry young girl and tempered her. I have been blessed with your friendship and your love."
"Will Riker, you are the best. You trusted me, you encouraged me, and most of all, you made me laugh."
- - Tasha Yar, to William T. Riker in her recorded message – file info
"Deanna, you are capable of so much love. You taught me without ever having to say a word. I realized I could be feminine without losing anything."
- - Tasha Yar, to Deanna Troi in her recorded message – file info
"Ah, Worf. We are so much alike, you and I: both warriors, orphans who found ourselves this family. I hope I met death with my eyes wide open."
- - Tasha Yar, to Worf in her recorded message – file info
"Beverly. Your fierce devotion comes from within. It can't be diminished. From you, I have learned to strive for excellence, no matter what the personal cost."
- - Tasha Yar, to Beverly Crusher in her recorded message – file info
"Wesley, I'm sorry I won't be able to see you grow into the exceptional man you'll become. But your kindness and innocence are ageless."
- - Tasha Yar, to Wesley Crusher in her recorded message – file info
"Geordi, in those moments I felt the most despair, you took my hand and helped me to see things differently. You taught me to look beyond the moment."
- - Tasha Yar, to Geordi LaForge in her recorded message – file info
"My friend Data, you see things with the wonder of a child. And that makes you more Human than any of us."
- - Tasha Yar, to Data in her recorded message – file info
"Captain Jean-Luc Picard. I wish I could say you've been like a father to me, but I've never had one so I don't know what it feels like. But if there was someone in this universe I could choose to be like, someone who I would want to make proud of me, it's you. You who have the heart of an explorer and the soul of a poet. So, you'll understand when I say: death is that state in which one only exists in the memory of others; which is why it is not an end. No goodbyes, just good memories. Hailing frequencies closed, sir."
- - Tasha Yar, to Jean-Luc Picard in her recorded message – file info
"Au revoir, Natasha. The gathering is concluded."
- - Picard – file info
"Sir, the purpose of this gathering confuses me."
"Oh? How so?"
"My thoughts are not for Tasha, but for myself. I keep thinking, how empty it will be without her presence. Did I miss the point?"
"No you didn't, Data. You got it."
- - Data and Jean-Luc Picard (last lines) – file info
- Final draft script (titled "The Shroud"): 22 January 1988
- Four-page memo of script notes from Robert Justman: 27 January 1988
- Maurice Hurley "polish" of final draft script (still titled "The Shroud"): 28 January 1988
- Three-page memo of script notes from Robert Justman: 29 January 1988
- Revised final draft script: 1 February 1988 
- Two-page memo of script notes from Robert Justman: 4 February 1988
- Score recorded at Paramount Stage M: 5 April 1988 (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Ron Jones Project liner notes )
- Premiere airdate: 25 April 1988
- UK premiere airdate: 6 March 1991
Story and script
- The original title of this episode was "The Shroud" (another name for the entity), and during the funeral/memorial scene, Commander Riker was scripted to have "signs of the shroud" still on his face. 
- The writing of this episode was influenced by Natasha Yar actress Denise Crosby requesting to be released from the series because she had become disappointed by how little Yar was being developed in the series' first season. On leaving the show and marking the end of her character, Crosby stated, "Gene [Roddenberry] really felt that the strongest way to go would be to have me killed. That would be so shocking and dramatic that he wanted to go with that." (Trek: The Next Generation Crew Book)
- At the time this episode was written, several rumors had been surfacing that Roddenberry's lawyer, Leonard Maizlish, was rewriting a majority of the season's scripts, an illegal act in terms of Writer's Guild policies. According to one source, Maizlish was responsible for the dismal manner of Yar's demise, and wanted to be sure that Roddenberry's story idea was enforced, and that Yar's death happened as a matter of course during a dangerous mission, despite the differing views held by the various writers involved with the story. In the end, there was considerable controversy among the show's staff regarding this death: some felt that it was cynically manipulative, while others felt that a swift death made sense to avoid sentimentality. (Trek: The Unauthorized Behind-The-Scenes Story of The Next Generation)
Cast and characters
- Denise Crosby has expressed that, if more TNG scripts had provided parts for her that were as strong as this episode, she would never have asked to leave the series. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 61) She has also said that, had there been more scenes like the one at the beginning of the episode between her and Worf, she may have considered staying on the show. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion) However, Crosby added, "Perhaps Tasha should've really gone out in a blaze of glory. There's never any real battles ever fought. The show is never supposed to be about violence and it shouldn't be. But I think if you have one cause for there to be a show about a real violent battle, that was it. Let's see this supposed expert security officer do her stuff." (Trek: The Next Generation Crew Book)
- Denise Crosby later returned to the series, firstly as an alternate timeline version of Yar (in "Yesterday's Enterprise"), then as Yar's offspring Sela (in "The Mind's Eye", "Redemption", "Redemption II", and "Unification II"), and finally as Yar again in the series finale "All Good Things...".
- As a whole, Troi actress Marina Sirtis felt she did some of her best work in this episode, citing it as one of two episodes from the first season that she fondly recalls, with the other being "Haven". (Trek: The Next Generation Crew Book)
- In describing TNG Season 1 and Gene Roddenberry's attempts to "push the limits a little," Jonathan Frakes stated, "I think we took greater chances then than we do now. The shows may be better, the level of it, but 'Skin of Evil' was absurd. We had Patrick sitting and talking into a black oil slick – but what was wrong with that? [....] That was absurd." Frakes referred to the physicality of his own part in the episode as another bizarre aspect of the installment. (Trek: The Next Generation Crew Book) He expressed sadness, too, regarding Crosby's departure in "Skin of Evil", musing, "That's an episode where we were all crying as our characters and ourselves." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 112) Frakes also commented, "It's ironic, that they finally came up with a script that gave Tasha great things to do, and it was the one where she died." ("Jonathan Frakes – Commander William Riker", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 5, p. 9)
- Mart McChesney later portrayed the Sheliak director in TNG: "The Ensigns of Command".
- This episode marks the first appearance of recurring background actress Juliet Cesario.
- This was also Wil Wheaton's final appearance of the first season.
- Roddy McDowall was a favorite of director Joseph L. Scanlan for voicing Armus in this episode but ultimately didn't get the part. (Creating the Next Generation, p. 60)
- Michael Westmore created Armus' head, whereas his body was represented with a costume made by Makeup & Effects Laboratories. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 26) The black slime was actually a mixture of Metamucil and printer's ink. (Journey's End: The Saga of Star Trek: The Next Generation) The slime was created by TNG's special effects department. Westmore recalled, "It was a combination of printer's ink and a water-soluble gel, but I don't know what else was in it because it caused the glue in the costume – very strong shoe glue – to undo itself, and the costume would fall apart, so we would need a new costume for the next day!" (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 26)
- The scene when Riker is sucked into Armus was actually performed by Jonathan Frakes himself. During a break in filming – while Frakes was lying on the beach set, covered in the black sludge – LeVar Burton approached him and said, "Frakes, I never would have done that!" (Journey's End: The Saga of Star Trek: The Next Generation) Recalling the experience, Frakes himself said, "I suffered physically like a fool with Mikey – sure, I'll get in that black fucking Metamucil shit. That was absurd." (Trek: The Next Generation Crew Book)
- Filming the funeral/memorial service for Yar was an emotionally charged affair for the cast and crew; indeed, the tears cried by Marina Sirtis during the scene were real, as she and Denise Crosby had become particularly close friends while working together on the series. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion) Sirtis regarded Yar's holographic farewell as "one of the most moving things we've ever shot," adding, "Jonathan [Frakes] and I were standing together at that point and I was sobbing… unfortunately, I started sobbing which got Jonathan very teary-eyed and set the tone. Every time Denise [Crosby] looked at me, she just walled up because I was so sad that this was happening. I cried all day. No matter how many times I heard Denise do [the lines], no matter how many takes, it still made me cry." (Trek: The Next Generation Crew Book)
- Despite the cast being very deeply saddened by Denise Crosby's departure, there was meanwhile a need for the cast to try to avoid becoming maudlin about the situation and instead maintain a sense of levity during production. As Jonathan Frakes later recalled, there was a particularly memorable lighthearted moment on the set; while shooting the final holodeck scene for Yar's funeral, Patrick Stewart jokingly lightened everyone's mood by singing "The Hills Are Alive" from the musical The Sound of Music as they were walking up the grassy knoll. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 112) On another occasion, Frakes spoke not only about how sad he had found "the day we finished up filming that last show," but also remarked about Crosby, "She shot her farewell message to us in one take." ("Jonathan Frakes – Commander William Riker", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 5, p. 9)
- The episode's score, composed and conducted by Ron Jones, was recorded on 5 April 1988 at Paramount Stage M. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Ron Jones Project liner notes ) The complete episode score, totalling thirty-two minutes, twenty-four seconds, appears on Disc Four of the Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Ron Jones Project collection.
- With its depiction of Natasha Yar's death, this episode marks the first time in Star Trek history that a regular character is killed and not brought back to life.
- Although Tasha Yar dies in this episode, Denise Crosby's name remains in the opening credits for the remainder of the season.
- The stardate for this episode (41601.3) is set before the stardates of seven other first-season episodes, four in which Tasha Yar is still alive: "The Battle", "The Big Goodbye", "Angel One", and "The Arsenal of Freedom".
- This episode is part of a story arc involving Data's treatment as an equal member of Starfleet. Armus continues to refer to him as just a device. In episodes of the second season, he is continued to be regarded as such until "The Measure Of A Man", when Data is declared property of Starfleet.
- According to Ronald D. Moore, strong dissatisfaction among fans and production staff with the manner of Yar's death in this episode was one of the main reasons the character was brought back in the alternate timeline of "Yesterday's Enterprise". (Chronicles from the Final Frontier, TNG Season 4 DVD special features)
- Alternatively, in his online review, writer Keith R.A. DeCandido expressed much more satisfaction with Yar's death in this episode, saying, "Frankly, I've never gone along with the complaints about how Yar is killed. Klingon feelings notwithstanding, there's no such thing as a 'good' death, and Yar going out in a blaze of glory isn't inherently any better than being casually snuffed out by a sadistic oil slick. In fact, Yar's death is in keeping with the deaths of security people throughout Trek history – the only difference is that this one's listed in the opening credits… I actually prefer this random, pointless death to the clichéd-up-the-wazoo one she would get in the third season's 'Yesterday's Enterprise', though many, including the cast and crew of the show and a large chunk of the fanbase, disagree with me."  DeCandido also commented on Yar's death in general, saying, "The loss of Yar is unfortunate. While it's true the character as portrayed didn't live up to the character as envisioned – Yar was the most interesting person in the TNG bible – that's also true of a lot of characters. Denise Crosby has never been the best actor in the universe, but Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes, and Marina Sirtis weren't any great shakes in the first season, either, and their characters didn't blow the doors off. They got better with time, and there's every reason to believe the same would've been true for Crosby had she remained." 
- A mission report by Robert Greenberger for this episode was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 5, pp. 59-62.
- Reviewing this episode for its re-release on video in the UK in 1998, Star Trek Monthly(citation needed • edit) described it as "arguably the bravest moment in all of Star Trek for being the permanent death of a regular character in such a sudden manner."
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 12, catalog number VHR 2441, 7 May 1991
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 1.8, catalog number VHR 4649, 5 October 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
- Ron Gans as Voice of Armus
- Walker Boone as Leland T. Lynch
- Brad Zerbst as Nurse
- Raymond Forchion as Ben Prieto
- Majel Barrett as USS Enterprise-D computer voice
- James G. Becker as Youngblood
- Juliet Cesario as operations division officer
- Dexter Clay as operations division officer
- Tim McCormack as Bennett
- Burt Nacke as operations division technician
- Steve Reed as science division officer
- Guy Vardaman as Darien Wallace
- Unknown performers as
- Demetrius Bryant – stand-in for Armus
- 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
acting; aikido; "a lot"; "all right"; amusement; analysis; answer; antimatter injectors; assumption; "as yet"; atmosphere; attack; attention; audio; au revoir; away team; battle; beauty; blood; blood pressure; boredom; brain; bridge; cellular structure; central nervous system; "change my mind; chart; checklist; chief of security; child; choice; circulatory system; cloud; coincidence; colleague; "coming to terms"; community; compassion; competition; competitor; computer; comrade; conference; conference room; contact; coordinates; cortical stimulator; course; crash landing; creature; cruelty; current feed; damage; danger; day; death; debris; deep sensor probe; despair; device; dignity; dilithium articulation frame; dilithium assembly; dilithium crystal; direct reticular stimulation; distress call; doctor; effect; emergency; emergency signal; emergency transmission; emptiness; energy; energy core; energy field; energy level; entertainment; entity; evidence; evil; excellence; existence; explorer; extinction; eye; fact; family; father; fear; feeling; feminine; first officer; flight control computer; force field; freedom; frequency; friend; friendship; frustration; funeral; Galaxy-class decks; gift; goal; gravity; hailing frequency; hand; harm; hate; haywire; heart; holodeck; hologram; holographic duplicate; hope; hour; Human; humanoid; hypospray; idea; image; impulse power; imzadi; "in effect"; "in fact"; information; innocence; insult; intelligence; intermix ratio; internal organ; "in time"; judgment; kickboxer; kindness; last will and testament; leader; liar; library computer; lifeform; life sign; light year; life support; location; loneliness; love; machine; main engineering; main viewer; martial arts; matter injectors; matter-antimatter reaction assembly; meaning; medical tricorder; medkit; memory; meter; microvolt; Minnerly; minute; Mishiama wristlock; mission; mister; moral judgment; musculature; neural stimulator; neural system; neuron; non-humanoid; norepinephrine; number one; observation lounge; obstacle; "off limits"; onboard system; "on the safe side"; order; orphan; "out of control"; override; pain; painting; parallel transport; path; pattern; personification; phaser; phaser energy; pilot; prize; pity; place; poet; position report; power; preventive maintenance; prime; problem; protein; proximity; psychology; pulse; quality; race; rage; ratio; reactant; ready room; reason; rendezvous; respiration; reticular stimulation; right; "right away"; robot; sadism; science officer; Science II; sensitivity factor; sensor; Shelley, Percy Bysshe; ship's pool; Shuttlecraft 13; shuttle crew; sickbay; sight; skant; skeletal framework; slick; soul; spirit; standard orbit; Starfleet; start-up sequence; status; status report; strength; survivor; Swenson; synapse; tactic; tactical station; "thank you"; thing; thought; "Tin Man"; Titans; transportation; transporter; Transporter Room 4; tricorder; turbolift; type 2 phaser; Type 7 shuttlecraft; unnamed plants; utility uniform; universe; Vagra II; Vagrans; vegetation; VISOR; vital signs; warp drive; warp power; warrior; wonder; word; yellow alert; z-particle; Zed Lapis sector
Unused production references
- "Skin of Evil" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Skin of Evil" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Skin of Evil" at Wikipedia
- "Skin of Evil" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
|Star Trek: The Next Generation
"We'll Always Have Paris"