Star Trek: The Next Generation Episode Review: Conundrum

by StevenHelmer

A review of the season 5 television episode that first aired February 17, 1992.

Synopsis: The Enterprise is scanned by an unknown alien ship and the entire crew is left with no memory of who they are or what their mission is. The computer also seems to be affected and the only information they can retrieve gives evidence they are in the middle of a decades-long war and on a mission that will bring the conflict to an end.

Review

I started watching this Star Trek episode last night, while my wife and youngest daughter were at dance classes, and wound up finishing it when I was home for lunch today. Overall, I came away thinking this was a somewhat interesting installment of the series.

I'll start out by saying this episode does have a lot of elements that are somewhat predictable. From the moment the new first officer, Kieran MacDuff (Erich Anderson) was introduced (and obviously out of place), it was pretty obvious something was up. And, as the first part of the episode progressed, it wasn't too hard to figure out the Enterprise was being led astray and MacDuff was likely the person behind it.

That being said, there were still some things I found I liked about this episode. For one, I liked how Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his crew were able to put just enough pieces together to figure out something wasn't quite right about the situation they were in. I liked this much more than I would have liked a cliche-like conclusion that would have them getting their memories back at the last second.

I also did find I liked the decision to have MacDuff on board the Enterprise. His involvement made the episode a little more interesting than it would have been had the crew just had its memories erased and discovered their orders. His constant manipulation, ranging from insisting Picard follow orders to faking a bad reaction to one of Dr. Crusher's (Gates McFadden) attempts to restore memories did keep the episode from being as predictable as it had the potential to be.

Of course, that being said, I'm still a little confused as to why, when he manipulated the ship's manifest, he elected to make himself second in command rather than captain. It just seems, to me at least, it would have been much more effective for him to be the one making all the decisions rather than leaving himself in a position where he could be overridden by Picard.

I also found I wasn't a huge fan of Riker (Jonathan Frakes) having that tryst with Ensign Ro (Michelle Forbes). It just seemed a bit forced and the attempt to put a comedic spin on it to avoid awkwardness just didn't work for me.

Final Opinion

There were some elements of this episode I didn't like. But, overall, I did think it managed to be interesting and I enjoyed watching it.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 09/21/2018, StevenHelmer
 
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