(written from a Production point of view)
The USS Enterprise-D has been assigned to investigate a loss of contact with the SS Tsiolkovsky, which had been assigned to observe the final days of a dying red supergiant star. Opening communications, the Enterprise bridge crew hear a woman speaking in a seductive voice. In confusion, Data requests for the woman to repeat her message, in which she states that a huge 'blowout' is about to occur. Many other crew on the Tsiolkovsky begin laughing before a large explosive sound is heard followed by silence. Captain Picard requests a report. Data responds stating that the crew had just opened an emergency hatch. This prompts Commander Riker to stand up and head to the turbolift, followed by Data, Geordi La Forge and Natasha Yar, to beam over to the Tsiolkovsky. As they leave, Worf reports to Picard that there are no life signs on board the ship.
On the Tsiolkovsky, the ship is on red alert as the away team spreads out to investigate the ship. The corridors are quiet, but are littered with discarded items and food. The walls are also covered with phaser burn marks. Data states that the mess in the corridor indicates a "wild party", to which Riker agrees. They approach a distorted screen which Riker makes out as the bridge. Data successfuly repairs the screen to clear the static, to which they see the bridge is empty of all loose items, and people; and is open to space; the emergency hatch was indeed blown. Riker remarks the crew were all sucked out into space, to which Data corrects him, stating that they were instead "blown out."
Yar contacts Riker from Engineering, stating that ten people present there are frozen. Someone had modified the environmental controls, venting all heat into space. In the crew quarters, La Forge witnesses many nude or barely clothed bodies, all frozen. He enters the bathroom and opens the shower to find a fully-clothed woman frozen, who falls in his arms.
Riker contacts the Enterprise to submit his report. He reports that the crew – all 80 people, are dead.
In Doctor Crusher's office, the doctor and Deanna Troi are analyzing the tricorder readings from the away team to ascertain what happened to the Tsiolkovsky's crew. Picard enters to request a report, but Crusher and Troi are unable to give any theories as to what happened to the crew. Picard asks if it could have been madness, hysteria, or delusion to which Troi responds it could have been any or all. Picard then requests that the away team be returned to the Enterprise after undergoing full decontamination.
Later in sickbay, Dr. Crusher is giving medical scans to all members of the away team. Scanning Data, she notes how perfect his overall condition is, stating that she would write him up in a Starfleet Medical textbook. Data responds to her praise by stating that he already is in many bio-mechanic texts. With that said, Data leaves the main biobed and Geordi La Forge takes his place. After a few moments, she checks the scan results for La Forge. All of his systems are normal, except Crusher notes that he's perspiring. He raises his voice saying that the room is too hot; the perspiration is visible on his face.
Those in the room are surprised by La Forge's response, with even Riker noting that it didn't sound like him. La Forge smiles and says that Dr. Crusher threw her voice. He means this as a joke, but nobody is amused. With this response, Crusher decides to perform some more tests on La Forge. Later, after conducting her tests, Crusher contacts Picard via the communications network. She notifies him that she is confining La Forge to sickbay until further notice, as she couldn't determine what the problem was, if any.
On the bridge, Riker steps out from the turbolift towards Data at the science station. Riker wants some information and enlists the help of Data. He has a vague memory of reading something about a person fully clothed in a shower, relating to La Forge's discovery on the Tsiolkovsky. Data agrees to help Riker and commences an extensive library computer inquiry for Riker after he comments that it should be easy for Data to find the information as he is written in many bio-mechanical texts. Data is curious and inquires if he was boasting about his comment about being in many texts to Crusher. Riker comments that he possibly was in a dry way, and inquires about the time it would take for the search. It would take several hours. Data, however, continues the conversation about him by saying that Crusher may look him up in the texts he mentioned.
Back in sickbay, Crusher continues her tests on La Forge, who is still lying on the main bio-bed. She checks the reading of one of her latest scans and then proceeds to her office and compares her readings with ones on her viewer. Meanwhile, La Forge sits up in his bed, removes his combadge and quietly leaves sickbay unnoticed. Not long after, Crusher returns and notices La Forge missing. She snatches his combadge and runs out the door calling out for him, but there is nobody present in the corridor. She sends a message to the bridge to notify Tasha Yar of La Forge's escape. Tasha Yar confirms and notifies her teams while Picard orders a ship-wide search.
In Dr. Crusher's quarters, Wesley Crusher and La Forge are present. Wesley is showing La Forge a miniature tractor beam emitter he created. He demonstrates its abilities by lifting a small chair, stating that the emitter uses technologies similar to those of the Enterprise's emitters with his own ideas included. Despite La Forge's compliment, Wesley is disappointed that Picard still won't let him on the bridge, even with his superior knowledge of ship's systems. He brings out a cube-shaped object that makes him feel like he's welcomed. The object emulates Picard's voice from words he has used over the communication network. La Forge compliments Wesley again, but he notices something wrong in La Forge's voice. La Forge notes that he has a burning feeling, then comments that the room is hot. He exits Crusher's quarters, leaving Wesley confused.
Geordi finds refuge in the observation lounge. However, he is discovered by Tasha Yar, who tells him that Medical is worried about him. Still staring out the room's windows, La Forge yearns for help. Ignoring him, Yar calls for a security team. La Forge asks for help yet again – help to not give in to the wild behavior in his mind. She asks how she can help, but he wants to see with his eyes again. The security team arrives outside the door as La Forge removes his VISOR, revealing his blind eyes. She tells him that they'll talk about it later and leads him to sickbay.
In sickbay, La Forge lies on a bio-bed again but is having difficulty controlling his emotions. Both Dr. Crusher and Deanna Troi are monitoring his condition while Picard and Yar are discussing the current circumstances. She mentions to Picard that La Forge was quite upset and wanted normal vision. Picard acknowledges her and proceeds to sickbay while Yar leaves. Right before she reaches the exit, she wipes her hand on her head; she knows she doesn't feel right but continues to leave.
When Picard arrives at La Forge's bio-bed, Crusher tells him that none of her equipment can detect an elevated temperature in him, but it is obvious by sight. Picard is worried about the spread of the infection, but Crusher doubts it can be spread as full decontamination procedures were performed. Crusher states that the condition was more likely to be a case of insanity or severe emotional upset. Picard and Crusher both look to Troi for answers. All she can sense is confusion, and possibly intoxication. Crusher denies this as tests showed no drugs or hallucinogens in his body.
Back on the bridge, Data and Riker are continuing their search, but it is proving nearly impossible. The mention of a proverb by Riker prompts him to tell Data to search the historical records of all starships named Enterprise. As Data looks over the relevant medical records, Picard arrives on the bridge. Just as he reaches the station, Data finds the relevant information from the medical database from the old Constitution-class USS Enterprise.
The records state that during a planetary breakup, complex water molecules had acquired carbon from the body creating similar effects of alcohol on the brain, essentially intoxication. By Picard's orders, this information is downloaded and transmitted to medical. He contacts Crusher and notifies her that the information and a cure is being transmitted to the medical database. Crusher requests confirmation, in which Picard gives an out-of-character 'Absolutely!' making Data curious.
Later, Deanna Troi goes to her quarters to find Tasha Yar rummaging through her selection of gowns. Troi enters, confused. Yar is comparing the gowns to her body, but the clothes are noticeably not right for her. Yar tells her that she wants help with clothes and hair style, noting that she wants to change her image and that Troi wears great clothes while off-duty. She holds up one gown, but Troi says it is not her style.
She senses Yar's confusion and tries to comfort her, but Yar resists, puts the clothes down and heads for the exit, saying that she'll find what she wants in the ship's stores. As she leaves, Troi heads for the door but can't stop her. She hits the comm panel and notifies Picard that she thinks Yar's been infected with the mysterious Polywater intoxication. Picard says Yar "has the equivalent of a snootful", but Data is unfamiliar with the term. Instead of helping Data, Picard replies 'Forget it!'.
Back in sickbay, Crusher is continuing her work. Wesley calls out for his mother, prompting her to leave her work and see him levitating a medical tricorder. Perspiration is also notable on his face. Crusher is too worried for Wesley, however, to compliment him on his work. She tells him to go to their quarters until it is safe. He excessively acknowledges her orders and starts to leave, but notes that she is stunting his emotional growth. Just as he leaves, he says that the room is hot and wipes his forehead of sweat. Before she can think about what he said, Picard contacts her, inquiring if a test injection had been created. She replies with a negative.
In one of the Enterprise's corridors, Tasha Yar moves in a very seductive way. Around her, everybody is acting unprofessionally, with lots of flirting. A crewman walks past a corner in the corridor in front of Yar. She beckons him closer and gives the officer a huge kiss.
On the bridge, Data continues to upload the information from the Tsiolkovsky to the Enterprise. He notes to Picard that it will take another 41 minutes to complete the upload. Picard asks him why the upload is so slow and Data says the Tsiolkovsky had eight months of information that needed to be transferred. However, Picard looks at the viewscreen, revealing the system's star. He asks what the danger is from the star if it exploded in the worst-case scenario. Data notes that they could outrun any dangerous events from the star at half-impulse. A view of the star again reveals many surface flares.
In engineering, both Chief Engineer Sarah MacDougal and her assistant Jim Shimoda are working at their posts. A boatswain's whistle is heard, accompanied by orders from Picard for MacDougal to come to the bridge. She is obviously not happy with the order and reluctantly leaves engineering, leaving Shimoda in charge. A moment later, Shimoda is ordered by Picard to go to sickbay. He, too, is reluctant, but Wesley arrives inquiring about the order. Shimoda notes that if he left, nobody would be in charge of engineering. Wesley tells Shimoda that he could take care of Engineering and contact MacDougal if anything bad was to happen. He gives a big smile at Shimoda, who then leaves, while Wesley stands in engineering with his arms crossed along with a big grin.
MacDougal arrives on the bridge, but Picard doesn't know why she's there. She notes that he called her to the bridge. As far as he knows, he didn't and he wants her in Engineering in case they need to immediately leave the system. Another boatswain's whistle is heard with Picard's voice accompanying it. Picard looks in disbelief as he hears his own voice turning over command of the vessel to Acting Captain Wesley Crusher. As Picard repeats the title in disbelief, Wesley's voice is heard with joy thanking the recording and he gives a short speech mentioning that this marks a brave new day for the Enterprise.
After hearing Wesley's recording, Picard orders MacDougal to take control of engineering. She heads for the turbolift as Riker follows to assist. Worf, at operations, mentions that abnormal behavior is being reported from all decks, including the ship's training division ordering all officers to attend a lecture in metaphysics. Data confirms this, including a limerick developed by an officer from the shuttlebay involving a "woman from Venus." Picard interrupts Data before he can finish the "adult" limerick by contacting security. The officer who replies is laid back, speaking informally to Picard, even acting rude, telling him "Keep your britches on!" Picard inquires for Yar's location. Yar replies that she's in her quarters and is busy. Picard tells her to stay there and orders Data to take her to sickbay. As Data leaves, Picard orders all security supervisors to report to the bridge.
In engineering, Wesley has complete control, cutting off everybody from himself in the main work area with a force field from his tractor beam emitter. He and the officers outside the force field are contaminated with the intoxication, with all focus on Wesley. He continues his speech, mentioning that a dessert course would precede and follow every meal in his command. Everybody outside the force field cheers for "the acting captain."
Shimoda walks into the force field and is knocked back slightly. Being intoxicated, he asks Wesley how he created the field. Wesley motions towards his tractor beam emitter and notes that he connected it to ship's power and made it into a repulsor beam. He asks if Shimoda wants in, and he joyfully nods, giving an oath of loyalty to Wesley. The field is deactivated, then quickly reactivated after Shimoda enters the work area, leaving the rest of the officers outside.
Data goes to Yar's quarters and finds her provocatively dressed. Unsure how to react, Data tells Yar that he needs to take her to Sickbay; however, she has no intention of going with him. Data indicates that Yar needs time to return to uniform, but she notes that she got out of uniform just for him.
She tells Data that she was abandoned when she was five years old and learned how to stay alive from rape gangs. It wasn't until she was 15 that she escaped, but now she wants love and joy. She asks how "functional" Data is; he replies he is fully functional and is programmed in many "techniques," a wide variety of pleasuring. She leads him to her bedroom, where Data gives a programmed smile. The door closes.
In engineering, Riker and MacDougal are working as Picard contacts them for a progress report. Shimoda had removed all the isolinear chips from the command computers, disabling the ship's engines. In the office, Shimoda is sitting in a great pile of isolinear chips, throwing them around with glee. Riker tells Picard about Wesley's tractor beam force field. Picard asks if there was a way to short out power to the emitter. MacDougal thinks for a moment, then says she can, but it would take some time. Picard, with concern about the impending star explosion, orders her to do it. Riker and MacDougal begin work on a panel near the office, but a door opens nearby and a voice calls for "Bill," Troi's rare nickname for Riker. She goes towards Riker, obviously intoxicated. She's feeling a Human side she had never felt before. Riker picks her up and takes her to Sickbay, but all Troi wants is to be alone with him.
After a long time, Crusher finally concocts the antidote found in the medical database to combat the intoxication. She fills a hypospray and injects La Forge with the antidote. Expecting instant results, she waits, but La Forge asks how the antidote was to help him to see with normal sight, to see a rainbow or sunset. To her dismay, it didn't work.
Later, Riker brings Troi over his shoulder into sickbay and puts her down on a bio-bed. He calls Crusher, but gets no response. He rushes into her office where he finds a disconsolate Dr. Crusher. He shakes her slightly, repeating his call. She tells him that the formula didn't work, and that the water-carbon complex had possibly mutated. She snaps out of her funk and heads back to sickbay with Riker to treat Troi. Crusher then realizes that Riker touched Troi, then Riker touched her. They have both been infected. She tells him that he can't leave, but Riker insists on leaving to assist in reactivating the command computers. If he stayed, they could die; if no formula could be made, they would die. The stress on Dr. Crusher is worsening.
On the bridge, Picard is speaking to Wesley on the viewscreen. Despite Wesley's condition, he speaks formally to Picard as a superior. Picard demands for him to return control of the Enterprise to the bridge, but Wesley simply states that he'll do whatever it is he wants from engineering. Picard interrupts him and tells him that starships are controlled by their own captains. Wesley then notes that the captain doesn't control the vessel by himself, but orders people to do the work. He then asks what the problem is with asking him to perform the work.
Interrupting the conversation, Worf notes that there are unusual readings coming from the star. Picard tells him to stand by, then tells Wesley that he's been infected by the intoxication that occurred on the Tsiolkovsky. Wesley thinks for a moment, then asks if that is why he feels hot and strange, he then asks if he's drunk, because he feels "good." Picard, in a calm tone, tells him that the intoxication is greater than that of alcohol. Wesley appears to be buying it and asks what Picard will do with the Enterprise. He tells Wesley that he intends to tow the Tsiolkovsky away with a tractor beam.
The instant Picard mentions of towing, Wesley notes that he's an expert in tractor beams and proceeds to work, closing the channel. Additionally, without warning, the officer at the Conn leaves the bridge, ignoring Picard. Just as the officer leaves, Worf reports that the star is collapsing.
In engineering, Wesley is attempting to get the tractor beam working to tow the Tsiolkovsky, but all the command chips are still out of their slots, now mixed up due to Shimoda. Meanwhile, Riker and MacDougal think they've found the solution. They look back at the office, where the force field is still active.
Dr. Crusher attempts to find a new formula to cure the intoxication. Out of habit, she wipes her forehead and realizes that the intoxication is beginning. She attempts to focus, but finds difficulty handling simple objects.
Thanks to Wesley's efforts, a tractor beam instantly activates and locks onto the Tsiolkovsky. On the bridge, Worf reports on this. Picard attempts to contact Wesley with no luck; however, Data has arrived on the bridge but in a weird stagger, since he's been infected by Yar. Picard is confused as to how Data got infected. Dr. Crusher arrives and asks to talk to Picard in his ready room on an urgent matter, then goes into it anyway.
Entering the ready room, he finds Crusher with a smile on her face; she's obviously been infected. She giggles, but Picard is not amused. She tries to control herself, speaking in a formal nature but having difficulty controlling her emotions. She can't help but keep mentioning her extreme attraction to Picard, but all Picard wants is a cure. All of a sudden, he finds himself wiping sweat from his forehead; he's been infected, too. They exit the ready room; Crusher giggles again and waves to Picard. Picard tries to refrain from giggling and waving. Worf notices this and contacts Riker to notify him that Data and Picard have been infected. Riker tells him he's on his way and leaves MacDougal alone to continue the work in Engineering.
The reaction in the star is becoming more severe, prompting the red alert klaxon to activate. Seconds later the star implodes into a white dwarf, ejecting a vast number of fragments of its former mass in the process. Despite being intoxicated, the bridge crew look with concern towards the viewscreen; an object is approaching. Worf tells the crew that a portion of the star's surface is on a collision course just as Riker arrives. Picard attempts to order Worf to move the ship, but he can't think of the correct words to say. Finally, Riker finishes Picard's sentence for him and orders Worf to move the ship out of the area, to which Picard shakily agrees. Worf tries his controls at the Ops station, but there is no response. He jumps over to the helm, but still no response.
Riker contacts Wesley in engineering, but he ignores the call. Meanwhile, MacDougal is continuing her work and finally shorts the power to the force field. She rushes in as Riker calls engineering again to reactivate ship power. She walks over to Shimoda, who is playing gleefully with the chips, and admonishes him that they are command chips and not toys. She contacts the bridge to reply to Riker's call. Agitated, she tells him that nothing can be done as all the command chips have been removed. Worf estimates fourteen minutes until the stellar mass collides with the ship, but that isn't enough time to return all the chips into their slots. Wesley, trying to help as much as he can, notes that Data can replace them due to his great speed. Riker orders Data to report to engineering.
As MacDougal attempts to sort the pile of isolinear chips, Data arrives, obviously infected. Wesley and Data exchange greetings, but Riker interrupts them so work can proceed. He yells at Data to get to work before he ends up like everybody else. Wesley compares the task to a game, which intrigues Data and he starts replacing the isolinear chips. To see the progress of the star's explosion, Wesley switches one of the engineering consoles to the main viewer; visible is a stellar core fragment, racing towards the Enterprise. Riker asks Data if he can finish in time, but Data needs slightly more time than is available. Riker wipes his head, to find he's sweating. He starts to panic as he's now succumbing to the infection.
In her office, Crusher is continuing to work on finding a vaccine. Picard skips into her office and Crusher calls him by his first name, which he still considers inappropriate despite being infected. However, Crusher sees it all as a game and tells Picard that he can call her "Chief Medical Officer." Picard begins to wander off and starts to have fun with the conversation, but quickly shakes his head, trying to concentrate. Crusher stands up, taking the blue hypospray container, but she forgets where she was going. Picard indicates the hypospray, which reminds her that she was going to test it on La Forge.
Meanwhile, in engineering, Data continues to work on resetting the isolinear chips, but Wesley is trying to show off his school project. He shows it to Riker, boasting about his work, but Riker focuses on Data instead. Back on the screen, the core fragment continues to approach the defenseless Enterprise, and it begins to worry Wesley. He looks at his project, and contemplates what it could do if it were much more powerful.
Crusher vaccinates La Forge in sickbay with Picard still present. She is unsure about her new vaccine as it is still based on the old Enterprise's remedy. However, after being injected with the modified vaccine, La Forge notes that his head is clearing – the new vaccine has worked. Crusher instantly turns around and injects Picard and herself with the working vaccine. She then hands the hypospray to Picard and both leave to inoculate the crew.
With the fragment homing in on the Enterprise, Wesley develops the idea to turn the starship's tractor beam into a repulsor beam. MacDougal says it would take weeks to lay out new circuits for the idea to work. Despite his intoxication, Wesley is able to formulate an idea to make his theory reality. He begins work at the console he's at; however, he is unable to think straight and becomes stuck halfway through.
Picard rushes into engineering, where Riker is not confident that they have enough time. While Picard inoculates the officers present, Wesley, still suffering from the intoxication, manages to finish turning the ship's tractor beam into a repulsor beam. The beam activates and bounces the Enterprise away from the Tsiolkovsky, buying the extra time needed for Data to finish inserting the last of the isolinear chips.
The core fragment impacts the Tsiolkovsky, utterly destroying her. As the crew tensely watches the monitor as the fragment bears down on them, Data finishes the repairs and Riker orders the bridge to engage the warp engines. The Enterprise blasts into warp speed with seconds to spare as the fragment drifts harmlessly out into space.
With his mind now clear, La Forge, who is present on the bridge, wonders what pushed them out of the way. Worf thinks it was Data, but Picard corrects him saying it was both Data and Wesley. Worf, incredulous, asks if the captain had said Wesley's name. Dr. Crusher, glowing with pride, confirms what Picard had said. Additionally, Riker recommends to Picard that Wesley should receive a fair mention in his log. Picard begrudgingly agrees with the intent to acknowledge his science teacher, as well.
With everything back to normal, the senior staff returns to the bridge to commence normal operations. However, when Yar arrives on the bridge, she turns to Data at the science station and informs him, out of embarrassment, that as far as she is concerned, their "encounter" earlier that day never happened. As Data puzzles over her statement, the Enterprise warps off to its next destination as Picard states that he believes his new crew will work out well, if they can avoid temptation.
"Well, hello, Enterprise, welcome. I hope you have a lot of pretty boys on board, because I'm willing and waiting. In fact, we're going to have a real blowout here."
- - The Tsiolkovsky's message
"Indications of what Humans would call… a wild party?"
- - Data, upon viewing the distressed corridors of the Tsiolkovsky with Riker
"You were right. Somebody blew out the hatch. They were all sucked out into space."
"Correction, sir, that's blown out."
"Thank you, Data."
"A common mistake, sir."
- - Riker and Data get precise about the physics of rapid decompression into the vacuum of space
"Wouldn't you rather be alone with me? With me in your mind?"
- - Troi, while Riker takes her to sickbay
"Normal, all across, except… why are you perspiring, Lieutenant?"
"I suppose because you have it too hot in here! What else would it be?"
"That doesn't sound like you, Geordi."
"Well, maybe it's not. Maybe she threw her voice. Hey, it was a joke!"
- - Beverly Crusher, Geordi La Forge, and William T. Riker, as La Forge exhibits symptoms of polywater intoxication
"Number One, MacDougal, get that boy out of engineering!"
- - Picard, after Wesley Crusher takes control of the Enterprise from engineering
"And there was a rather peculiar limerick being delivered by someone in the shuttlecraft bay. I'm not sure I understand it. 'There was a young lady from Venus, whose body was shaped like a–'"
"Captain to security! Come in!"
"Did I say something wrong?"
"I don't understand their humor, either."
- - Data, Picard, and Worf
"Attention all decks, all divisions: effective immediately, I have handed over control of this vessel to acting captain Wesley Crusher."
"Thank you, Captain Picard. Thank you. And with that order dawns a brave new day for the Enterprise."
- - Picard's voice, Picard and Wesley Crusher
"Tractor beams are my specialty, skipper! I'll contact you when that's done. Wesley out!"
- - Wesley Crusher to Picard when he mentions he needs tractor beam functions back
"Doctor, there must be a cure; some formula… huh-huh-huh-huh… similar to the old one."
- - Picard, clearing his throat uncomfortably due to Dr. Crusher's close proximity and behavior.
"Lieutenant, where are you?"
"I'm in my quarters, and um, I'm pretty busy right at the moment, Jean-Luc."
"All right, Lieutenant. You just stay right there."
- - Tasha Yar and Picard
"Ah, good Data. Least you're functioning."
- - Picard and Data, after Data has been with Tasha Yar
"We are more alike than unlike, my dear captain. I have pores. Humans have pores. I have fingerprints. Humans have fingerprints. My chemical nutrients are like your blood. If you prick me, do I not… leak?"
- - Data
"Are you saying that's why I feel so hot…so strange?"
"That's… that's a bit of adult reasoning, Wesley."
"So you mean I'm drunk! I feel strange, but also good."
"Because…! Because you have lost the capacity for self-judgment. Now alcohol does this, Wesley, but the contaminant we brought back from the Tsiolkovsky does this even more."
- - Wesley and Picard
"Here, Data. You wanted me?"
"Captain Picard ordered me to escort you to sickbay, Lieutenant."
"Did he say when?"
"I'm sure he meant now. So, you should get into uniform."
"But I got out of my uniform for you, Data. Do you know how old I was when I was abandoned?"
"Chronological age, no. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with…"
"Five, five years old. I survived, I learned how to stay alive, how to avoid the rape gangs. I was fifteen before I escaped."
"I am sorry, I did not know."
"What I want now is gentleness, and joy, and love from you, Data. You are fully functional aren't you?"
"Of course, but…"
"In every way, of course. I am programmed in multiple techniques. A broad variety of pleasuring."
"Oh, you jewel! That's exactly what I hoped."
- - Data and Tasha Yar
"And, henceforth, a dessert course shall precede and follow every meal, including breakfast."
"Hooray for the acting captain!!"
"Never got as far as sickbay, Wes. I feel too good for that."
- - Wesley, Crewman, and Shimoda
"Do we owe our thanks to Commander Data?"
"Yes and… Wesley may have bought us a few seconds, too."
"Did he say Wesley, the boy?!"
"He said Wesley."
- - Worf, Picard and Beverly Crusher, on Wesley Crusher saving the Enterprise from destruction
"Here, take this to engineering. I'll make up hypos for the others."
- - Dr. Crusher and Picard
"Data, I'm only going to tell you this just once: it never happened."
- - Tasha Yar, to Data
"I put it to you all, I think we shall end up with a fine crew… if we avoid temptation."
- - Picard
- D.C. Fontana's first draft story outline: 27 April 1987
- Story notes from Herbert J. Wright and Robert Justman: 30 April 1987
- Original script: 12 May 1967 – titled "Revelations" as a planned sequel to "The Naked Time"
- First draft script: 27 April 1987 – titled "The Naked Now"
- Filmed: 6 July 1987 – 13 July 1987
- Premiere airdate: 5 October 1987
- UK premiere (BBC2): 3 October 1990
Story and script
- The plot of this episode was based on the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Naked Time", written by John D.F. Black. Like that episode, this one was intended by Gene Roddenberry to serve as a means to quickly introduce the wants and needs of new characters. However, he was aware, in this case, that approving the story to proceed to the script stage was a calculated risk; although he had decided and declared that Star Trek: The Next Generation wouldn't be a retread of TOS, he was aware he might be accused of simply copying the original series with this story. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 59)
- Gene Roddenberry assigned D.C. Fontana to write the script for this episode. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 59) Fontana herself recalled, "During the period of April and May , I delivered the outline, revised outline, first and second draft scripts for 'The Naked Now'." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 77)
- D.C. Fontana asked for her name to be removed after rewrites changed the episode significantly from her original intent. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, pp. 59-60) Fontana stated, "While the script was given a good reaction by almost everyone, the Roddenberry pattern of dealing with scripts befell it. After a staffer turned in the official second draft of the script, they were not allowed to touch it again. No matter how good a script appeared to be, it would be rewritten by Gene Roddenberry. If possible, scenes of sexual content would be inserted into the script. When two such scenes were put into 'The Naked Now', in addition to other scenes which I felt debased the female characters of the series, I put my sentiments into a frankly worded memo of comment on the script. My comments were ignored." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 77) In the episode's writing credits, "J. Michael Bingham" is a pseudonym for D.C. Fontana.
Cast and characters
- According to Wil Wheaton, Jonathan Frakes sharply criticized this episode, going so far as to call it the worst segment of The Next Generation he ever did, saying he felt "totally ashamed" by it.  However, while recalling the first season (at a time near the end of the series), Frakes noted on how much greater the chances the writers had taken on the show than they did at the end of the series. In contrasting "Skin of Evil", which he described as "absurd" and one of that season's "misses", he described this episode as "great" in as far as it being "the episode which we've never done anything quite like where everyone got drunk and horny. That was risky." (Trek: The Next Generation Crew Book)
- In a 2006 review, Wil Wheaton gave this episode a D+. He concluded, "'The Naked Now' has some genuinely funny moments, but it was only the second time (after series pilot 'Encounter at Farpoint') that audiences had seen us, and this episode was not the best way to introduce the audience to a new show, with a new cast, especially when we all knew we were standing on the shoulders of giants." 
- Beverly Crusher actress Gates McFadden was given this episode for her audition. The installment gave McFadden, whose favorite parts to play were comedic roles, the mistaken impression that Dr. Crusher would be a hilarious character. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 103)
- Yar actress Denise Crosby did not cite this as her favorite TNG episode but acknowledged that, in the moment when Tasha Yar seductively invites Data into her quarters, it includes her most famous scene as Yar. Crosby observed, "Brent [Spiner] and I always have a twinkle in our eye when we talk about it." (SFX, issue 136, p. 028)
Sets and props
- As seen in the scenes set in main engineering, the main engineering central interface console (the "pool table") hasn't been added to the set yet. In addition, the glass partitions seen in sickbay were removed after this episode and never seen again.
- This is the first appearance of the 24th century medical tricorder.
- A wooden sculpture, seen in Natasha Yar's quarters, later turned up in Marla Aster's quarters in the third season episode "The Bonding".
- More artwork was created for a sequence where Data views information at high speed. A number of notable designs are mixed into the graphics, such as ship designs from the FASA role-playing reference works. (See: USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) library computer)
- The Tsiolkovsky is a reuse of the USS Grissom model from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
- A piece of background artwork seen behind Data was the Tsiolkovsky dedication plaque, which lists the ship's NCC number and its origin in the USSR, a nation that disintegrated in 1991, four years after this episode was produced. Starfleet usually places the plaque on the bridge, but the Tsiolkovsky had its plaque in the anteroom outside the bridge where Riker and Data examined a viewscreen.
- Like the dedication plaque, the door labels on the Tsiolkovsky, indicating that the away team beamed to deck 7 on the ship, feature black writing on a white background, both unusual when compared to later plaques and labels.
- In the crew quarters of the Tsiolkovsky, a chair from Star Trek: The Original Series can be seen.
- The shelf seen in Deanna Troi's quarters was previously used as one of the Bandi shop decorations in "Encounter at Farpoint".
- The diamond-shaped statue in Tasha Yar's quarters previously appeared in Kirk's apartment in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and can later be seen in the Antican guest quarters in the episode "Lonely Among Us" and at the Café des Artistes in the episode "We'll Always Have Paris".
Production and visual effects
- This episode entered production on 6 July 1987, merely eight working days after "Encounter at Farpoint" wrapped principal photography. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 48)
- According to Robert Legato, ninety-five visual effects shots were used in this episode. ("Departmental Briefing Year Five" ("Visual Effects"), TNG Season 5 DVD special feature)
- The episode's score was recorded on 20 August 1987 at Paramount Stage M. For this episode, composer and conductor Ron Jones had a smaller orchestra than ultimately became the norm for the series – thirty-one players, as opposed to more than forty musicians. Jones composed two cues that were cut from the finished episode. "Needing Love" was to have underscored the scene where Tasha talks about her feelings. "Horny Doctor" was to have played during the scene between Beverly and Picard in the ready room. Jones attributes Rick Berman with the decision to cut the cues, recalling that Berman asked him, "Can't you write anything non-emotional?" (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Ron Jones Project liner notes ) The complete episode score, totalling twenty-two minutes, forty-nine seconds and including the two cut tracks, appears on Disc One of the Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Ron Jones Project collection.
- This is the first time Captain James T. Kirk is referred to by name in the new Star Trek series.
- This is the first Star Trek episode that does not feature any Vulcan.
- Although literature for many years had referred to the original USS Enterprise as "Constitution-class", this was the first episode in any series that actually used it in its dialogue, thus making it canon for the very first time – even though, as the TOS reference is made, the refit configuration appears on the screen. In the Blu-ray restoration, it was corrected to the original model of the ship.
- This is the only appearance of Lieutenant Commander Sarah MacDougal as chief engineer. After this episode, Lieutenant Commander Argyle, Lieutenant Logan, and Lieutenant Commander Leland T. Lynch all served as chief engineers of the Enterprise-D. As described by Riker in TNG: "Where No One Has Gone Before", the Enterprise-D had several chief engineers before Geordi La Forge assumed the position as the ship's sole chief engineer in TNG Season 2.
- Data uses a couple of contractions in this episode – “Captain, what we’ve just heard is...impossible”, "That's blown out", "I'm sure he meant now". It was later established, in "Datalore", that Data has an inability to use contractions.
- This is the only episode of the series where Picard refers to Beverly Crusher as "Bev", although Troi addresses Crusher by this name much later in the series, in TNG: "Sub Rosa".
- Deanna Troi debuts her dark casual attire in this episode, which she wore during the rest of the first season.
- This is one of the few early episodes where "Will" Riker is referred to as "Bill". In this case, Troi uses "Bill" during a scene in engineering.
- This is one of three episodes where Picard is seen occupying the first officer's chair instead of his usual command chair – the other two being TNG: "Too Short a Season" and "All Good Things...".
- Data later speaks of his and Tasha Yar's intimate encounter in "The Measure Of A Man", making an exception to his vow never to mention it to others. Data's "fully functional" sexual anatomy and knowledge of multiple techniques are also referenced in Star Trek: First Contact.
- This episode marks the first time in The Next Generation that someone from the production staff can be seen. This time, the reflection of a camera operator can be seen in the glass front in sickbay during the final scene. Further production staffers who can be seen include two unknown men in "Angel One", 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".
- Gene Roddenberry made an unexpected cameo (of sorts) in this episode. Around the fifteen-minute mark, as Data explores the LCARS database for info, a brief picture can be seen of Roddenberry's head superimposed onto a parrot. This is in reference to his nickname, the Great Bird of the Galaxy. The same image was reused in several episodes during the first three seasons when someone was portrayed exploring through the ship's information quickly.
- Despite Yar's seduction of Data being highly memorable for viewers, many fans reacted to this story by expressing accusations that it plagiarized "The Naked Time". (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 59)
- Original series cast member George Takei wrote in his autobiography, To The Stars: The Autobiography of George Takei, that he thought this episode was a total copy of one of the best original series episodes, that it was unoriginal, and was like seeing "young children putting on their parents' clothes and trying to act like grown-ups."
- Maurice Hurley commented, "That, to me, represented, 'Don't we have a new idea?' I didn't like that show at all. It just wasn't very good. What it did show, though, was that the new ensemble could interact, and that there were relationships between them that worked. But doing it was terrible. It was a warmed over premise. Why do it?" (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 156)
- However, at least some production staffers who worked on this episode thought it was sufficiently different from "The Naked Now". Rick Berman maintained, "It was an homage, not a copy. We even mentioned the old Enterprise and its remedy, which doesn't help our crew… after all." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion 2nd ed., p. 33)
- Director Paul Lynch commented, "Because it's a new case, they [the intoxicated characters] change accordingly […] I'd say that 'The Naked Now' is slightly more comic than the original […] In this it's much more of a character change in the way of romance and strangeness leading to humor… It's all quite subtle compared to the original, because the original episode was quite heavy-handed like most of the original episodes were." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages) In another interview, Lynch also commented, "I would say 'The Naked Now' is slightly more adult and much more comic. In this, it's much more of a character change in the way of romance and strangeness leading towards humor. Everybody in the show is affected by it in different ways, but not that dissimilar. For instance, while one person might be affected by becoming amorous in a lighter sense. It's all quite subtle." ("Inside 'The Naked Now'", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 1, p. 50) In 2012, Lynch stated that this episode was his favorite of the five Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes he had directed. 
- Mark A. Altman regarded this episode as one of a few "really sub-par" episodes in the early run of TNG. (Trek: Deepspace Nine, p. 73)
- A mission report of this episode, by Patrick Daniel O'Neill, was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 2, pp. 10-15.
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 2, catalog number VHR 2264, 7 May 1990
- US LaserDisc (Pioneer): catalog number LV40270-103, 11 October 1991
- Original US VHS release: 31 May 1995
- Japan LaserDisc: 10 June 1995
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 1.1, catalog number VHR 4642, 20 April 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
- Michael Bailous as sciences officer
- James G. Becker as Youngblood
- Darrell Burris as operations division officer
- Dexter Clay as security officer
- Jeffrey Deacon as command division officer
- Nora Leonhardt as science division ensign
- Tim McCormack as Bennett
- Lorine Mendell as Diana Giddings
- Richard Sarstedt as command division officer
- Unknown performers as
- Seven frozen Tsiolkovsky crewmembers and an eighth frozen in the shower
- Tsiolkovsky bridge crew com channel voices
- Command division officer
- Command division officer
- Female command division officer
- Female science division officer
- Female security officer
- Operations division officer
- Operations division officer
- Science division officer
- Security officer (voice)
- Three female command division crewmembers
- Two civilians
- Two operations division crewmembers
- 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
2342; 2352; 2363; aberrant behavior; acting captain; address; adult; advice; alcohol; "all right" ("alright"): allusion; alternative; answer; area; "at once"; "at the last minute": "at the moment"; away team; biomechanical; bio-mechanical text; blood; boasting; body; brain; breakfast; bridge; cactus; carbon; card; chair; chance; chemical nutrient; chronological age; circuit; close orbit; clothing (clothes); "come in"; command computer; command computer board; commandeering; communicator; confusion; Constitution-class; contaminant; couch; course (heading); courtesy; crew quarters; cross reference; cure; danger; death; decade; deck; decontamination; delusion; Denkir II; dessert course; disease; division; door; download; drug; emergency hatch; engineering; Enterprise, USS; environmental controls; estimate; examination; explosive decompression; eyesight; fabric; "fair's fair"; fingerprint; folklore; force activator; "for example"; formula; Galaxy-class; game; gentleness; "go ahead"; gravity; hair; hallucinogen; head; heat; hello; helm; Henry VI, Part III; hope; hour; hull breach; Human; humor; husband; hydrogen; hypospray (hypo); idea; image; impulse power; "in fact"; infection; information; injection (test injection); "in order"; "in place"; inquiry; insanity; intercom; "in time": intoxication; isolinear optical chip (aka isolinear chip, control chip); job; joke; joy; judgment; "just in case"; Kirk, James T.; judgment; kiss; lecture; library computer; life sign; light year; limerick; location; log entry; love; madness; main lead; mass hysteria; meal; medical banks; medical examination; medical record; medical test; medical tricorder; memory; memory bank; message; metaphysics; mind; minute; mirror; mistake; model; month; "move out"; mustache; mutation; night; navel; "needle in a haystack"; "never mind"; "no way"; number one; Oberth-class; observation; observation lounge; "of course"; office; officer; offline; "on board"; online; order; override; painting; path; person; perspiration; playing card; polywater; polywater intoxication; pore; power lead; prank; problem; proverb; Psi 2000; Psi 2000 showering crewman; quarantine; rainbow; rape gang; readout; reasoning; red alert; red supergiant; remedy; rendezvous; report; repulsor beam; research vessel; "running a temperature"; search; science project; science teacher; science vessel; sculpture; second; security team; self-judgment; senior supervisor; sensor scan; series; sex; Shakespeare, William; ship's store; shuttlecraft bay; skipper; sonic driver; sonic shower; Soong-type android; sound; space; SS (registry); SS 433; "stand by"; star; statue; stellar core fragment; sunrise; sunset; surface; symptom; temperature; temptation; textbook; "thank you": theory; thing; towing; tractor beam; tractor beam power; training division; transporter; tribal memory; tricorder; Tsiolkovsky, SS; Tsiolkovsky engineering crew; Tsiolkovsky infection; Tsiolkovsky star; turbolift; Turkana IV; unnamed plants; unnamed voice duplicating tool; Venus; victim; vision; VISOR; vital sign; voice; week; "what the hell"; white dwarf; word; "wow": "your wish is my command"
- SS Tsiolkovsky dedication plaque: Baikonur Cosmodrome; Cyrillic alphabet; Earth; USSR
- Library computer references: 2165; 61 Cygni; Alpha Centauri; Barnard's Star; Bayard's Planet; concussion ring; Diana; Epsilon Eridani; Epsilon Indi; Excelsior-class; Galileo; great bird of the galaxy; Groombridge 34; Klingonese; K't'inga-class; Lalande 21185; light year; Luyten 789-6; Muleskinner, USS; Phi Puma; Procyon; Proxima Centauri; Ross 154; Ross 248; Sirius; Sol; supernova; Tau Ceti; Type 7 shuttlecraft; United Federation of Planets; Wanderer-class; Wolf 359
- "The Naked Now" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Naked Now" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Naked Now" at Wikipedia
- "The Naked Now" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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