Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

Riker falls in love with Soren, a member of an androgynous race known as the J'naii, who dares to be female.



"Captain's log, stardate 45614.6. We have been contacted by an androgynous race called the J'naii to investigate the mysterious disappearance of one of their shuttlecraft."

When the J'naii mysteriously lose track of one of their shuttlecraft within their own star system, they request the USS Enterprise-D crew to assist in the investigation to locate it. Three of them are on the bridge observing the effort. Data detects neutrino emissions, but no source. They launch a probe, but after a few seconds it stops transmitting for no reason.

Act One

"Captain's log, supplemental. The sudden disappearance of our probe suggests that we may have found the first instance of what is called null space, an anomaly which until now had been only theoretical. Commander Riker has been working around the clock with a team of J'naii specialists to formalize this hypothesis."

A pocket of null space is discovered in the system, which until now had been considered theoretical. Believing the missing shuttle to be trapped inside the pocket, Commander Riker and Soren of the J'naii devise a rescue plan. Soren insists on being involved in the rescue mission, as Soren is a good pilot. Riker suggests they team up and they go to the shuttlebay to review the Magellan's systems.

Working closely with the Enterprise crew, and Commander Riker in particular, Soren reveals herself to be curious about the differences between males and females. In Ten Forward, they have a long conversation about it. At the end, Krite arrives and Soren decides to leave, suddenly more formal as she bids Riker goodnight.

Act Two

"Captain's log, supplemental. Commander Riker and the J'naii pilot have set out to chart the null space pocket. If they are successful, we can then proceed with a rescue attempt."

Riker and Soren begin the charting mission of the null pocket. During this, Soren bluntly asks about Human sexual organs and acts. Riker, somewhat uncomfortable, explains the process and Soren describes the process for them, describing it as less risky while Riker comments that it is "less enjoyable." Soren disagrees, as the mating process is a long process. Soren then recounts the J'naii history of evolving from the male/female divide. Suddenly, the shuttle's engine is damaged and they retreat to the Enterprise.

Soren is taken to sickbay to recover. Soren strikes up a conversation with Beverly Crusher about the sexes. She tells Soren that men and women are considered equal. Riker arrives and asks if Soren can continue, and Crusher agrees. Meanwhile, during a poker game, Worf reveals he is bothered by the genderless J'naii, because he still has stereotypical views on men and women and does not know how to relate to the J'naii.

On the shuttle, Soren reveals to Riker that the J'naii consider it a criminal perversion for a J'naii to identify as either male or female, but Soren admits to having secretly identified as a female since childhood and having had relationships in secret with those who identify as males. Soren finds Riker attractive and is interested in starting a relationship with him.

Act Three

Geordi La Forge approves the shuttle's launch and they head out, noting they have a short timeframe. Fortunately, they find the Taris Murn and life signs, but the crew is unconscious. After a brief fight with power drains, they successfully beam the two to the shuttle, then to sickbay. Crusher says they should be all right and orders dexalin. Krite immediately thanks Riker and invites them all to the planet that evening to celebrate.

At the celebration, Riker takes a moment outside to breathe, and Soren meets him. Under some slight observation, they decide to see the plant life. Soren notes some of the plants, but the romantic mood strikes Riker to kiss her.

Act Four

Riker goes to discuss the forming relationship with Deanna Troi and how it would affect their relationship if he pursues it with Soren. Troi puts aside Riker's fears of losing their friendship, telling him that that will never change. He's pleased and leaves to see her. Instead, he finds Krite, who informs him she's been arrested, and Riker immediately goes to the planet.

Riker intrudes on the proceedings, already in progress, and pleads to Noor for Soren's release, saying he forced himself on Soren. Soren, however, is tired of living a lie and owns up to the act. She makes a plea for acceptance of all those with gender identities, saying no one has been hurt or affected. Noor allows her to speak, but with a blank expression, not giving away an opinion.

Act Five

The tribunal, incapable of open-mindedness, sentences Soren to receive treatment on the following day. Riker asks the tribunal for permission to give Soren asylum aboard the Enterprise in lieu of the treatment, but the request is denied, as the J'naii see Soren's condition as a simple sickness they have an obligation to cure.

Picard offers to negotiate with Noor, the leader of the J'naii, for Soren's release. He urges Riker not to take matters into his own hands as he would be violating the Prime Directive if he does, thus putting himself at risk of losing his career in Starfleet. Riker, however, is convinced the J'naii's minds are set and any negotiations would be futile. Worf overcomes his prejudices after hearing of the events that had transpired on the planet. The same evening, Riker and Worf lead a rescue mission together to save Soren. They are able to get Soren away from the security guards, however, they are too late. Soren has already undergone the psychotectic treatment and has no more interest in Riker.

After warning buoys have been deployed around the null space pocket, the Enterprise is prepared to leave the system. Picard asks Riker if all their business with the J'naii is finished, and he answers without emotion, "finished, sir". Picard orders Ensign Gates to take the Enterprise to warp six, while Riker stares ahead, distraught.

Log entries

Memorable quotes

"We prefer to stay warm by sleeping with a friend."
"… I see."
"Not to mate."

- Soren and Riker

"It's hard to grasp the idea of no gender."

- Riker, on the androgynous J'naii

"Tell me… about males. What is it that makes you different from females?"
"Snips and snails and puppy dogs' tails…"
"You have a dog's tail?"

- Soren and Riker, discussing the sexes

"Commander, tell me about your sexual organs."

- Soren and Riker, while in the shuttle

"For Humans, the sexual act brings a closeness and intimacy. It can be a very pleasurable experience."

- Riker discusses sex between a man and a woman to Soren

"The J'naii… they bother me."
"Why, Worf?"
"They just do!"

- Worf and Deanna Troi

"On my planet, we have been taught that gender is primitive."
"Less evolved."
"Maybe so, but sometimes, there is a lot to be said for an experience that's… primitive."

- Soren and Riker

"Then it is up to women to attract the men?"
"Oh no, men want to be attractive, too. Believe me. They just go about it differently. They like to pretend they're not doing anything to attract a woman, even when it's the most important thing on their minds."

- Soren and Dr. Crusher

"That is a woman's game… a man's game has no wild cards."

- Worf, on Troi's use of wildcards in poker

"I am female. I was born that way. I have had those feelings, those longings, all of my life. It is not unnatural. I am not sick because I feel this way. I do not need to be helped. I do not need to be cured. What I need, and what all of those who are like me need, is your understanding. And your compassion. We have not injured you in any way. And yet we are scorned and attacked. And all because we are different. What we do is no different from what you do. We talk and laugh. We complain about work. And we wonder about growing old. We talk about our families and we worry about the future. And we cry with each other when things seem hopeless. All of the loving things that you do with each other – that is what we do. And for that we are called misfits, and deviants and criminals. What right do you have to punish us? What right do you have to change us? What makes you think you can dictate how people love each other?"

- Soren, to Noor

"You see commander, on this world, everyone wants to be normal."
"She is!"

- Noor and Riker

Background information

Production history

Story and script

  • "The Outcast" was written with the intention of brushing on the subject of homosexuality in an allegorical manner. Rick Berman tried not to let perceptions of what the public would find acceptable "influence us too much" in the choice of Riker's opposite, adding "but having Riker engaged in passionate kisses with a male actor might have been a little unpalatable to viewers." (San Jose Mercury News, Grapevine, March 14, 1992) Nevertheless, Jonathan Frakes felt otherwise and later criticized the decision to cast women in the roles of the J'naii, as a love affair apparently shared between two men would have made the statement of the episode stronger. [2]
  • Two lines of dialogue were cut from the final release: Noor explaining to Riker that the J'naii are by all measurements an enlightened race and Riker asking, "Then how is it that Soren has no choice about her sexual orientation?" [3]
  • Sexual inequalities were also explored, though secondarily, in "The Outcast", in which Dr. Crusher apparently struggles to recall a time when women were considered to be "weak and inferior." She asserts that those sentiments haven't been an issue in "a long time," though Worf's statements about a weak hand contributing to a "Woman's Game" of poker indicates this may still be an issue within Klingon society.
  • The allegorical narrative raised the topic of sexuality and gender in ways that the largely heterosexual ambience of the show had failed to explore to date, while other narratives and the casting in general touched on various contemporary 20th century civil rights issues frequently, especially race.


  • The pre-production meeting for this episode was on 16 December 1991 at 2:00 pm at the Cooper Building, whereas the production meeting was on 2 January 1992 at 2:00 pm.
  • "The Outcast" was filmed between Monday 6 January 1992 and Tuesday 14 January 1992 on Paramount Stage 8, 9, and 16. An additional day of second unit filming was Friday 21 February 1992 on Paramount Stage 9. This was the first episode filmed in 1992.
  • The call sheet for Tuesday 7 January 1992 featured a note with congratulations to L.Z. and Gaylene for the birth of their daughter Kristin.



Reception and aftermath

Video and DVD releases

Links and references


Also starring

Guest stars

Uncredited co-stars

Stunt double

Stand-ins and photo double


2161; ace; Alaska; androgyny; annular confinement beam; anti-inflammatory; buffer field generator; cheek; civic chamber; cloak; cochrane; color; concussion; criminal; debris; deviant; dexalin; dizziness; doll; Earth; electromagnetic energy; exobotany; eyelids; falla bush; Federation; Federation Day; fingernails; gender; genitals; gravitational field; graviton polarity source generator; guest of honor; head of government; inertial damper; inflammation; J'naii; J'naii (planet); Magellan; magnetic field; make-up; maneuvering thruster; mating; megajoule; menellen tree; microfusion thruster; microjoule; Midsummer Night's Dream, A; mouth; navigational deflector; neutrino emission; null space; Onizuka; oxygen; Phelan system; plestorene; poker; political asylum; portable transporter array; Prime Directive; pronoun; psychotectic therapy; recipe; Riker, Kyle; sanction; sexism; sexuality; sexual reproduction; snail; snips; Soren's parents; spice; split pea soup; sugar; Taris Murn; throwback; Troi, Ian Andrew; Troi, Lwaxana; Troi ancestors; type 4 phaser emitter; Type 6 shuttlecraft; Type 15 shuttlepod; warning buoy; "What Are Little Boys Made Of?"

External links

Previous episode:
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 5
Next episode:
"Cause and Effect"
Community content is available under CC-BY-NC unless otherwise noted.