Star Trek: The Next Generation Episode Review: Power Play

by StevenHelmer

A review of the season 5 television episode that first aired February 22, 1992.

Synopsis: The Enterprise receives a distress signal from a Federation ship that went missing 200 years earlier and is drawn to a planet that is inhabitable because of cosmic storms.
Following a failed mission to search the planet for the wreckage, Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), Data (Brent Spiner) and Chief O'Brien (Colm Meaney) return to the Enterprise under the influence of disembodied entities claiming to be the ghosts from the lost ship and quickly take hostages in an attempt to force Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) to rescue the rest of the crew.


When I started watching this episode for the first time in a while, I found myself laughing a little bit. This is because, if I had a nickel every time someone from the Enterprise (especially Troi) was possessed by an alien, I probably still wouldn't be rich, but I would have quite a few nickels. And, as a result of that, there was the natural feeling of "here we go again."

That being said, as I continued to watch this episode, I wound up finding a whole lot about it I did end up liking.

I think the biggest thing, for me at least, was the the decision to have the entities not only take over bodies but see inside the minds of their hosts. This gave them an almost unfair advantage, especially since Troi had inside knowledge about Picard and O'Brien and Data were familiar enough with the Enterprise's inner workings to know when they were being set up for a trap.

As a result of this, they managed to keep the upper hand from the very start until almost the very end. That, combined with the reluctance to harm the host bodies, did make it seem as though they would wind up winning, especially when the well-planned rescue attempt failed miserably.

I also liked the fact there was some mystery about the entities that took over the three crew members. While they claimed to be the consciousness of the dead crew members, there were also plenty of reasons to suspect they were lying. But, if that was the case, then what was their motive for trying to take over the ship? I liked how the episode managed to keep that a mystery until toward the very end.

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Final Opinion

Again, this has a bit of a "been there, done that" feel to it because of the whole alien possession thing. However, it did turn out to be a halfway decent episode and I did enjoy watching it as a result.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 09/24/2018, StevenHelmer
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