Star Trek: The Next Generation
Air date: 1/25/1988
Written by Patrick Barry
Directed by Michael Rhodes
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"Angel One" is tripe, with endless season one cliches, whose plot lines are assembled into a massive incoherent mess where you end up caring about none of it. Strange society that looks completely human but is completely backward? Check. "Weighty" Prime Directive issues? Check. Highly contagious virus that virtually shuts down the ship and threatens to kill everyone? Check. Race to solve a problem while we have a ticking clock (in this case, scheduled executions)? Check. Second ticking clock involving the Enterprise in orbit (in this case, the need to deploy to the Neutral Zone ASAP)? Check.
Not one damn bit of sense or compelling drama regarding it all? Check.
Much like "Justice," the episode begins with a ludicrous premise that's impossible to take seriously (as presented) before then trying to get all serious on us with a Trekkian message about growth and tolerance. Angel One is run solely by women. The men are oppressed and essentially told to keep their place. This is shown in the silliest of ways, and we snicker when one of these annoying men interrupts Riker and government head Beata (Karen Montgomery) while they're about to seal the deal. (Should Riker be sleeping with the heads of states on such missions? Might not violate the PD, but it seems awfully inappropriate.)
The plot ostensibly is about the status of some Federation survivors who crashed on Angel One and brought with them the idea of men as equals (gasp!), thereby poisoning this society's status quo. Riker can't interfere in their forthcoming executions because of the Prime Directive, which leads to some of the most interminable, ponderous "substantive" dialog in TNG's run. The lesson here is as muddled as the plot ... and it's sanctimonious in TNG's worst way, until we're waiting for the soapbox to collapse, or, better yet, explode.