Star Trek: The Next Generation Episode Review: The Masterpiece Society

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 5th season television episode that first aired February 10, 1992.

Synopsis: While tracking a stellar core fragment, the Enterprise crew discovers the fragment will pass by and destroy a previously unknown colony of genetically engineered humans. When the colony's leaders refuse to evacuate, LaForge (LeVar Burton) works with the colony's top scientist (Dey Young) to save the day. However, the Enterprise's interaction with the colonists may result in the destruction of their perfect society anyway.


It has been a while since I have had an opportunity to sit down and watch a full episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. However, I was finally able to do that this week and wound up watching this one on Netflix.

I have seen this episode before, but it has been a while and I didn't remember a whole lot about it. Overall, I thought the episode (like many STNG episodes) was a bit preachy, especially when it came to the crew's views about genetic manipulation. But, that being said, there was also a lot to like about this episode too.

For me personally, I think the thing that really stands out about this episode is the way it drives home the whole purpose of the infamous "Prime Directive," the rule that essentially provides a cop-out for the Enterprise crew whenever an alien culture needs help and they don't want to get involved. 

In this particular case, the Prime Directive actually didn't apply because they were helping humans. But, the way their help caused even more problems within the colony (primarily people wanting to leave it) did show how even the best of intentions could backfire.

Adding to that was the fact there really wasn't a right choice to be made. If the Enterprise didn't help, the colony would be completely destroyed by the stellar fragment. But, if they did help, they would bring an outside influence on the colony (which used genetic manipulation to fill any gaps in their society) and destroy it from within, albeit over a longer period of time. It was one of those dilemmas that really make you think "what would I do in that situation?"

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 5 [Blu-ray]

The complete fifth season of the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation.

View on Amazon

Final Opinion

As I said before, the episode is a bit preachy, especially when it is revealed the blind LaForge wouldn't have been allowed to be born in the colony. However, I do think the main storyline is intriguing enough to make this episode worth watching at least once.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 09/21/2018, StevenHelmer
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