Star Trek: The Next Generation


1 star

Air date: 11/9/1987
Teleplay by Worley Thorne
Story by Ralph Wills and Worley Thorne
Directed by James L. Conway

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Here's a bad episode that plays like a severe case of whiplash. What begins as one of the most hilariously unintentional self-parodies in all of Trek (this side of "Spock's Brain") becomes, by the end, a talky and serious affair about the Prime Directive. That shift is not in its favor.

The Enterprise away team beams down to a paradise-like planet inhabited by the Edo, a peaceful bunch known to "make love at the drop of a hat." Their outfits, customs, and manner of speech are so hopelessly corny that it takes sheer endurance not to giggle through all the silliness of the first half of the show. (I encourage you just to laugh out loud; it's much more fun that way.) Does anyone on this planet have a job or a reason for living, or do they just frolic and gambol and laugh all day?

Wesley, aka "The Boy," frolics with some other teenagers and ends up falling into a Forbidden Flower Bed (FFB), the penalty for which is death — because the penalty for all crimes on this world, no matter how trivial, is death ... which, let's face it, is just plain stupid. Watching this unfold, you'd think you were watching a Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker movie about space adventures, but no, this story actually plays itself basically straight.

Back aboard the Enterprise, we have yet another Trek-clichéd Infinitely Superior Life Form (best Picard line: "Why has everything become a 'something' or a 'whatever'?") that the Edo regard as God. Picard's dilemma is how to rescue Wesley from his death sentence without violating the Prime Directive and without offending the Edo's god. This leads to some seriously talky debate, and a conclusion that's more obtuse than enlightening. By this point I could regard the story with a straight face, but the opening silliness was frankly more fun to snicker at.

Previous episode: Lonely Among Us
Next episode: The Battle

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135 comments on this post

Mr. Mister
Mon, Sep 26, 2011, 6:51am (UTC -6)
Wow, the Edo episode WAS the episode in which I just laughed so badly I creeped people out. It was a like Q-induced Data laugh.
Thu, Nov 17, 2011, 2:46pm (UTC -6)
"Justice" gave us one of the most unintentionally hilarious lines in all of TNG...

Data: "I am reading something off the starboard bow, but there is nothing there."
Fri, Mar 23, 2012, 8:05pm (UTC -6)
When I first saw this episode, I was so disgusted that I didn't pick up TNG for three months afterward. Luckily, "The Battle"--while not perfect--was miles ahead of this garbage, and restored my faith in TNG. I consider this one of the worst eps in the entire franchise, right down there with VOY's "Threshold", and TOS's "Spock's Brain".

This ep was basically a TOS morality play done badly. In TOS, I always found morality-play-style episodes to be enlightening and worthy of my interest even on the 100th viewing, however obvious and non-subtle the moral was ("Day of the Dove" comes to mind as one of my faves). In 1st season TNG, morals came across as dry and stilted and clunked to the floor real quick. I think part of it was due to the acting; the TNG cast never quite had the same passion and excitement of the TOS cast, although I hear that got better later on (I'm still drudging through 1st season).

That said, where to begin? When I saw the Edo for the first time, it was so cringe-worthy that I couldn't even laugh. Same with a lot of the dialogue early on--I don't want to know what TPTB were thinking that day. The plot device of "trip over a fence and break some flowers" was utterly contrived. The ep got more tolerable as the plot got more serious (the Picard-Data conversation came as a relief), but it was still painful. And the moral at the end just clunked to the floor.

I can appreciate the writers' good intentions, trying to present a good moral and channel the charm of TOS, but they failed this time around. Miserably. If ever there was an episode that derserved zero stars (or even negative stars), this is it.
Sun, Jun 17, 2012, 1:26am (UTC -6)
Lol at this episode, most of it was so bad that it's good. From Riker asking Worf about "plain old sex" to the classic Wesley's line: "We are with Starfleet, we don't lie". Actually, there's a lot of bad quotable dialogue here.

And to top it off, it ends with a very preachy speech of the Prime Directive. Even then, that final dialogue between Data and Picard was the highlight of the episode.
Mon, Jul 23, 2012, 2:39pm (UTC -6)
@Rikko: You're right in that the bits of Picard-Data dialogue were the most bearable parts / highlights of the episode; in fact, I wish they had said what they said in another episode.

I'm about halfway through Season 1 now, and I'm thinking of skipping the rest and going straight to Season 2...
Fri, Aug 10, 2012, 6:02am (UTC -6)
For many Trek fans, until the advent of Voyager, Season 1 of TNG was the closest equivalent to a perpetual Xmas, with a seemingly endless stream of Turkeys. Following on from 'Cide of Honour' and 'Lonely Among Us' here is arguably one of the most badly remembered (maybe barring 'Angel One') The basic premise is that the Enterprise is looking for suitable planets on which to undertake Shore Leave and stumbles across the Edo homeworld, where the inhabitants live lives of constant running around and apparently having sex most of the time.

If this sounds absurd, then the execution is way off kilter - even taking into account that this aired in 1987' the Edo look absurd and the very concept invites nitpicking, always a bad sign. As Jammer points out, we then shift, following the episode's first half into a stern morality drama regarding the morality if the Prime Directive. It's an uneasy change of tone, and it's hard to take the Edo seriously, especially when dressed in those absurd outfits.

As Rikko points out, some of the dialogue is so laughable, it's memorable (I do believe this is Worf's first reference to the fragility of 'human females') but the performances are fairly poor across the Board. It seems wrong to single out Crosby and Sirtis, as Frakes gives his poorest performance thus far. As always, Stewart and Spiner provide the best exchanges and the most memorable scenes, basically because much of their dialogue takes place without the Edo!

A well-renowned Turkey -1.5 stars from me.
Mon, Aug 27, 2012, 9:06pm (UTC -6)
I've seen this several times. Each time I suffer though it, hoping the timeline has been altered and that Wesley is excecuted for his terrible crime with the flower bed. After all, he did wander into a forbidden zone.
Sun, Oct 28, 2012, 5:04pm (UTC -6)
Nice planet!

Awful episode!
Tue, Nov 13, 2012, 8:11pm (UTC -6)
If the original premise wasn't diluted by such inane sexuality, this one might have been FAR better.

But it was rewritten, th4e dialogue is atrocious, the Prime Directly is shoehorned to the side, and is just one stupid joke of a story. Which is a shame as the concept (one penalty for ANY crime) would have been a great trope to really make proper use of...

And I have to agree with others; this episode is intentionally racist because everyone was blond haired and blue-eyed. "Code of Honor" wasn't originally Blaxploitation, became that way, and not a line of dialogue was altered. Had the cast been all white, nobody would have complained...
Thu, Dec 20, 2012, 12:40am (UTC -6)
I just finished DS9, so the comparison of Wesley to Jake Sisko is a little fresh on my mind.

Jake Sisko is a character, a person. Cirroc Lofton was a tolerable, if flawed, actor.

Wesley Crusher is an obnoxious piece of crap, and in this episode especially, Wil Wheaton is a cringeworthy non actor.

Cirroc Lofton got sort of worse as an actor as the show went on, Wil Wheaton got better, but eh...
Tue, Jan 22, 2013, 4:32pm (UTC -6)
Just recently watched this episode again, as I am watching the entire first season again as its come out on blu ray. I have to say, while obviously inferior to later seasons, I LIKE that its different. Ive found the season to be fun and adventurous, even big in scale. It even has some really deep/philosophical/social commentary points though its overall more superficial in plot thtan later seasons.

Now, maybe Im alone,but I liked the episode. Yes, wesley was horrible but I didnt seem to care. I like the philosphical dilemna. I found the planet people to be reminiscent of perhaps ancient romans or something, reminiscent of TOS. I actually wpuld give it a passing rating...3 stars. Guess Ive gone crazy...
Sun, Mar 10, 2013, 9:24am (UTC -6)
One star is too generous for this episode. Terrible at every turn. Bad acting, bad writing, bad costumes, bad hair...
William B
Sun, Mar 24, 2013, 2:45am (UTC -6)
Yeah, 1 star is pretty appropriate.

Incidentally, in future seasons (c.f. "Pen Pals," "Who Watches the Watchers," "First Contact" the episode, "Homeward" -- yeesh that last one), it's usually taken as read that the Prime Directive actually means having no contact with pre-warp societies, or at least means hiding information about other worlds and spacefaring societies from them.

Within TNG season one, there are three episodes in which the crew openly interacts with what seems to be a pre-warp society: "Code of Honour," "Justice" and "Angel One."

...yeah. So, it's good that they moved away from the "open interactions with pre-warp societies with bizarre laws" trope, because maaaaaan.

(It seems as if the planet Haven might be pre-warp, but it's not a huge component of that episode. And while I know some people dislike/hate it, I generally like it in a low-key kind of way.)
Tue, May 21, 2013, 9:06am (UTC -6)
I honestly thought this was a good episode. It has a solid plot and I like the fact that the crew has to decide between obeying the society's rules or doing what's morally correct. I find the whole bit about the "prime directive" kind of stupid though. There's a difference between interfering in a society's affairs and not following society's rules and then leaving. Still this deserves a 3 out of 4 stars as it really wasn't a bad episode.
Tue, Jul 2, 2013, 11:28am (UTC -6)
This was 2 stars for me - entertaining, but flawed. But shouldn't obtaining a copy of a world's laws be the first thing done, before beaming down your children (Wesley)?

Think about it. What if an American wanted to travel to Saudi Arabia? But they said they weren't going to learn the laws/rules before they went? You call them foolish. Having Enterprise crew do that, even though they are "professional" is basically the same thing. It badly weakens the premise of the story. Enterprise crew should only act foolish if it's an integral part of the story -- that isn't intended here, and they look like 1st year cadets, or perhaps civilians.
Mon, Aug 19, 2013, 4:32pm (UTC -6)
Tasha has got to be the worst security chief ever. In the beginning of the episode, she said she had a report of the laws and customs of the planet, but didn't bother to figure out the punishment aspect. Not very smart, is it?

One thing I've noticed rewatching these early episodes is that Picard is a highly unlikable character. He's consistently angry, dismissive of his crew, and sounds like a grumpy old man half the time. Given that he's the main character, and played by Patrick Stewart, it's bizarre that the writers wrote him that way. I guess part of it was to build up the creator's pets of Wesley and Riker, but it's part of the reason these first episodes are so bad.

Anywho, one small positive of this episode is to start defrosting Picard. His philosophical conversation with Data in his quarters was nice in that since, especially since he apologized to Data to the beginning and was far nicer to Dr. Crusher at the end.

And I personally enjoyed the sarcastic responses the Edo had when Picard started moralizing. Given how annoying Roddenberry's preachiness is in this first season, it was nice to see some pushback.

Maybe 1.5 stars for me. Hokey setup, hokier aliens, and bad dialog in general. Yet another potentially strong concept (justice vs mercy, different value systems, etc) with terrible execution.
Mon, Sep 16, 2013, 5:32pm (UTC -6)
My biggest issue with the plot of this episode is that, surely, beaming one of the Edo onto the ship and allowing her to come closer to her 'god' than was ever intended was a far greater violation of the prime directive than rescuing Wesley would have been. Yet Picard felt that it was the correct course of action despite the fact that it achieved very little.
Fri, Oct 4, 2013, 12:36am (UTC -6)
My biggest issue with this episode was how easily it was wrapped up at the end, i.e.,

PICARD: Life itself is an exercise in exceptions.
EDO GOD: Yeah, that sounds reasonable. *disappears*

What? It was like someone looked up and went, 'oh crap, out of time, need to wrap this up really quickly'.
Wed, Nov 27, 2013, 10:53am (UTC -6)
Just finished watching this. Don't think I've seen it before; or if I had, it was a long time ago.

Maybe I'm just not as cynical as the rest of you, but I found it interesting; although there are several serious problems with it.

The first major issue that I had, was the fact that everyone visible on the planet, was white and blonde. Given Gene Roddenberry's usual commitment to diversity in Trek series, (and he was presumably still alive at the time this show was made) I find that surprising, and disappointing. Beauty can and does exist among other human phenotypes.

Another major issue that I had with this episode, was the exaggerated sensuality when the crew were first greeted, and their equally exaggerated awkwardness in response to it. I did get a chuckle out of one of the male Edo saying that he could see that Troi enjoyed, "play," however; many of TNG's fans would probably agree that she had the body for it!

I found this episode's examination of hedonism in comparison with harsh justice to be interesting. Given my reading of channelled material, I've come across at least one other account of a supposed ET race which was at least partly dedicated to such persuits. Sex is a contradiction for me; I love the idea in theory, but not in practice.

I also very much agree with Silvermink that we got a Hollywood ending, and one that was dealt with far too quickly. All in all, though, I certainly would not have rated this only one star, as it was not painful to watch. The talk about the alien entity kept me interested. I'd give it 2-2.5 stars, personally. Nothing Earth shattering, but not unpleasant, and certainly not unwatchable.
David M
Sat, Jan 25, 2014, 11:43pm (UTC -6)
Why has NO one commented on the most obvious mis casting flaw in this episode? Were there THAT many flabby character actors in 1987? OMG, so many of them WERE flabby and seriously NOT toned OR tan. The teenaged girl was a Heifer who must have had to cut between running takes because she obviously must have been wheezing and huffing and puffing. Then there were the two "Mediators"..FLAB BEE! And the one male Edo lead...double FLABBY. No WAY had these guys run more than to the buffet in their lives. Those costumes showed a LOT of skin and granted, some of the non speaking women extras were stunning, and SOME of the males were simply OK...a LOT were down right EMBARRASSING to look at. What did they think later in life to look back on themselves cast as athletic Greek like figures when in reality they could be candidates for weight watchers! Oh, they were not THAT bad, but they were FAR from even being TONED. I can't watch any more. I am done and moving to eppy 9.
Andy's Friend
Sun, Jan 26, 2014, 10:16am (UTC -6)
@David M:

"Were there THAT many flabby character actors in 1987?" No, but there were THAT many people who really couldn't care less.
Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 3:54pm (UTC -6)
Besides the obvious ridicule of that episode, I agree with David M.

The obvious answer being that ST is a show made by and for straight men. They not only don't care about male physique but would probably feel threatened by guys who look too good. Hence the flabbliness fiesta. Too bad because the male Edo lead had a very nice face.
Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 4:27pm (UTC -6)
Oh come on, this is just yet another example of gay male body fascism, holding men's bodies to ridiculous standards. What disgusting comments. The men in this episode were fine. (
Sat, Jun 14, 2014, 5:38am (UTC -6)
What's sad is that the music in the episode is so damned good--just listen to that lurking harpsichord during the reveal about the Edo's laws. Or the scene from quarters where "God" is getting pissed off.

There's just so much to the light-grey barely there tunics which flutter so casually in the breeze holding a lethal syringe right next to the enforcer's the fact that the Punishment Zone moves to another location 2 minutes after Wes' the fully-clothed dry-humping on the floor while others sit around giggling (but not at the dry-humpers)...

I THINK the idea here was to demonstrate the dangers of extremism: the Edo are simultaneously liberal (in terms of social customs...there are no stigmas or taboos it seems) and conservative (in theological and legal terms).

The Prime Directive debates and the music actually make this episode rather watchable for me. I like it a hell of a lot better than the later season snooze-fests like Aquiel or Interface.
Paul M.
Sun, Jun 15, 2014, 2:42am (UTC -6)
@Elliott: "What's sad is that the music in the episode is so damned good--just listen to that lurking harpsichord during the reveal about the Edo's laws. Or the scene from quarters where "God" is getting pissed off."

Yeah. I'd like to add that in general the music during the first three seasons was miles ahead of blandness we got afterward.
Kevin Mc
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, 10:21am (UTC -6)
A whopping big black quantum singularity in place of the usual one-star minimum score.
Fri, Sep 12, 2014, 12:21pm (UTC -6)
Agree that there are several silly, 80s things about costume, etc. but the one plot point that bugged me was when Picard meets with the Edo leadership. They came up with a perfectly plausible, real-world solution to the issue. Just run away. We'll say he's a criminal, but so what?

And they rejected it... for some weird version of the prime directive? That sort of broke the rest of the episode for me. They have whole episodes about diplomacy (even in S1) yet this time they just blow it off, and decide to make an argument of it, then get in a fight with a guy with a giant trans-dimensional spaceship.
Dave in NC
Sun, Sep 14, 2014, 1:02am (UTC -6)
I actually like this episode: yes, it is cheesy hokum. t does have it's positives: the planet is believably "alien", we hear some pretty frank talk about sexuality, and this may be the first TNG that really made the Prime Directive a center to the plot.

Also, I loved when the Edo responded to Picard's moralizing with thinly veiled sarcasm. This isn't an episode that's designed to be nitpicked, but still, why exactly didn't they just take Wesley and leave when brought up the idea?

Conclusion:yes, there are plot issues, however I found it to be a kitschy, fun romp with some interesting commentary on the Prime Directive.

** ½ stars

@ David M Are we to the point now where any man without a shirt has to look like an Adonis? I cannot believe people are so shallow. Besides, how do you know the Edo don't have a different male physiology than us?

@ Elliot & Paul M.

Absolutely agree on the music for this episode! The music does SO much to advance the plot and generate atmosphere. Really astounding work, especially when you consider the composer only had three weeks to write the score.

I'm so glad to see I'm not the only one who notices it!
Mon, Sep 29, 2014, 3:19pm (UTC -6)
@Petrus The first major issue that I had, was the fact that everyone visible on the planet, was white and blonde. Given Gene Roddenberry's usual commitment to diversity in Trek series, (and he was presumably still alive at the time this show was made) I find that surprising, and disappointing. Beauty can and does exist among other human phenotypes.

First of all white blonde people are attractive and this planet just happens to only have white people on it. The writers shouldn't change their story to fit our human percentage of races. Look at the episode code of honor. I'm pretty sure everyone on that planet was black and I'm sure you wouldn't say they were ugly.
Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 7:36am (UTC -6)
As someone who loves diversity among humans, I'm a little exasperated by how latter-day Trek so often depicts nonhuman peoples as having *remarkably similar* phenotypic variety to humans. "Justice" and "Code of Honor" may not be great but at least they don't make that mistake.
Mon, Oct 6, 2014, 2:10am (UTC -6)
The uber-blondness and white-ness of the Edo might not be such a problem if:

a) there wasn't only ONE all-black planet in all of TNG (Ligon II), and that planet was filled primarily with sexist, tribalist hot-heads looking for to steal THE WOMENS (i.e. Tasha, because she's STRONG) or to FIGHT TO THE DEATH...cause!

b) there are so many TNG episodes where the aliens are ALL white people, sometimes with nary a bump on their foreheads to make them look alien in any way. Lazy casting? Or a hint of the subtle racism that pervades TV and Hollywood even today?
Thu, Oct 9, 2014, 1:52pm (UTC -6)
I agree that there are too many worlds of ostensible aliens indistinguishable from "white" humans. I just don't think having a few token "black" or other-color aliens mixed in to a still largely-white cast is really better, politically (tokenism is soft racism) or in terms of Trekverse plausibility. The phenotypic variation within alien races should, at least sometimes, fall along entirely different axes. The variety of Klingon foreheads did work well in this sense; Worf even makes an oblique reference to the concept.
Thu, Oct 9, 2014, 2:08pm (UTC -6)

The problem is that the phenotype of skin colour is the result of the evolution of skin's absorption/reflection of sunlight. Humans who spent millennia near the Equator have darker skin than those closer to the poles for this reason. Since most of the planets we see in Trek are remarkably similar to Earth with regards to climate, it would make sense that those species would have a variety of skin colours similar to humanity. Obvious exceptions are the Andorians, who are blue (ice-planet--silly, but consistent) and reptilian species like the Cardassians.
Thu, Oct 9, 2014, 3:29pm (UTC -6)
We all saw what happened the last time we found a planet full of black people. Do we REALLY want to go there again?

Disclaimer : The above post is only half serious.
Thu, Oct 9, 2014, 6:13pm (UTC -6)
^^ Having variation in skin color makes sense for many planetary environments, sure (though not all humanoid species will have occupied all the equivalent zones to ours). But there's no reason it should be the *same* colors as for humans. And it's even 'worse' that the skin colors seen should happen to correlate with the other ethnic characteristics just the same as for humans.

I wanna see the Enterprise stop at a planet of people who are, say, a variety of purplish-brown (makeup) shades, all played by ethnic Japanese. Some kind of mix of features that feels like a 'natural' distribution, that fits in with the ancient-humanoid panspermia and Trekverse biology, but doesn't resemble *any* human population. Don't patronize me by putting a Bajoran nosewrinkle on one or two black actors.
Thu, Oct 9, 2014, 8:11pm (UTC -6)
I have two responses to that:

In-Universe: if a humanoid species like the Bajorans displays phenotypes which are remarkably similar two our own human Caucasian type, it is logical to assume that they would develop the same variations in skin colour, hair type, bone structure, etc as humans. If already accept the conceit that a wrinkled nose makes you an alien, there seems to be little validity behind feeling insulted that the actors in those rubber wrinkles are different (human) races.

Out-of-Universe: since we have accepted the conceit that using alien humanoids is a means of allegorising modern human types (racial and otherwise) without the baggage of contemporary preconceptions, it would seem insulting *not* to include actors of different races in aliens species where no effort has been made to make their skin pigment non-human. Imagine if they cast a black actor to play a Bajoran and put her in white-face before gluing on her nose! How conspicuous would that be? Well it's just as conspicuous to have a complete absence of black or brown or yellow actors in makeup for these almost-human species.
Fri, Oct 10, 2014, 8:03am (UTC -6)
As I said, I do not find it logical at all that the same *patterns* of variation would occur in nonhumans. Similar variations in both skin tone and morphology could be present, sure, but there's no reason they should go together the same ways.

Imagine if they cast white actors to play Klingons and darkened their skin before gluing on the foreheads? They did that all the time, and so it made no difference* when darker-toned actors were also cast. The differences in Klingon morphology--both prosthetic and actor-actual--did not correlate with skin color.

No difference in-universe, that is; in the real world of course more casting of non-white actors was all to the good and overdue.

Light makeup on a dark actor to play a Bajoran wouldn't seem right because, as you say, other Bajorans (unlike Klingons) weren't in skin-tone makeup at all. But for another species, a convention of light makeup for all, and *many* non-white actors, could have been brilliant.
Fri, Oct 10, 2014, 8:10am (UTC -6)
Look at it this way. Which is more progressive: That people see Worf and Gowron, and there is *no concept* of them as ethnically distinct? Or that Tuvok is inevitably "the black Vulcan"?
Sun, Oct 12, 2014, 9:13pm (UTC -6)
I like seeing the best actor/actress for the part. If Joe Asian-actor does a great job as Ambassador Spivok of Vulcan, awesome.
Mon, Nov 10, 2014, 5:15pm (UTC -6)
In the episode "matter of perspective" Picard comes to the conclusion that he will have to hand Riker over to them based on their laws even though they are guilty until proven innocent. Picard also admits that there is not enough evidence to prove Riker's innocence even though he knows Riker didn't commit murder. Yet in this ep be is not willing to let Wesley be judged by that planet even though he knows Wesley is guilty of their laws however weird they are. It basically comes down to Picard ignoring federation policy because beverly would be too upset. They should have had Picard hand over Wesley and then maybe their God would have mercy on him and let him go. That would have been some good character development for Picard and it might have stopped Beverly from constantly wanting to ignore the prime directive. I at least wish Picard had taken beverly at the end of the episode and told her that she needed to reconsider if she wanted Wesley to remain on the ship and working as an acting ensign. He should have let her know it was part of the job and he wasn't going to ignore the laws again just because Wesley was in danger
Sat, Nov 22, 2014, 2:00pm (UTC -6)
I found it ridiculous that Picard wouldn't rescue Wesley right off the bat, citing the "Prime Directive", and then immediately proceeds to take one of the Edo up to the Enterprise to come identify what they believe is "God". What?
Mon, Dec 29, 2014, 11:24pm (UTC -6)
I actually get what they're trying to say (or at least what it seems like they're trying to say) in this episode. The idea of a society with mixed extreme views on different aspects of life. I also get the justice versus exception angle.

Ultimately, having something to say only works when it's said well. And this episode sounds like gibberish in that the execution of everything is so laughably horrible that all intents and purposes mean absolutely nothing. It's pretty to look at and nothing more. Everything else about it falls flat on its face several times over.

I'd rather watch an empty ant-farm in slow motion.

Zero stars.
Thu, Feb 19, 2015, 6:48pm (UTC -6)
LaForge: And they make LOVE at a drop of a hat


CRUSHER: Sounds wonderful for the children
Mon, Jun 8, 2015, 3:57pm (UTC -6)
Great website, fun discussion... but I think this episode is given too little credit. Sure, much of it is a kitsch fest. But cutting past all that, I think the episode poses a formidable ethical dilemma in the tradition of philosophical "trolley cases", in this case forcing Picard to choose between (rule) utilitarianism (exemplified by the undeniably positive implications of upholding the Prime Directive and the Edos' justice system) and a more contextual "justice" based morality (such as Scanlonian or Rawlsian contractualism).
Fri, Jun 12, 2015, 11:34pm (UTC -6)
"Unless of course they...can't run."

"Can't run!? Of course we can run!! Right, commander!?"

THAT is the line that I remember from this episode.

I pushed STOP on the VCR, man. Fast forward to the next episode!!

It's that bad. I am nowhere near kidding. One star is waaaay generous. Maybe give it a half star for having a cute blonde in it or something but ugh.

This episode is drivel, plain and simple. Badly acted drivel, at that.
Mon, Jun 15, 2015, 7:41am (UTC -6)
@MidshipmanNorris - The problem is that there's actually a wonderful episode buried under all of that crap. Unlike some dreck (most of S1), there's actually a lot of really interesting stuff here. If this episode was a spec script 2 years from now during TNG season 3 it would have came out really cool.
Tue, Jun 16, 2015, 8:18am (UTC -6)
There's nothing interesting here at all... it's more of the same generic death penalty bashing and Prime Directive nonsense. It's totally shallow.
Shannon Jeffries
Tue, Jul 21, 2015, 6:19pm (UTC -6)
TNG's first stab at tackling the Prime Directive, and wow, what a flop! Sometimes episodes seem good on paper, but just don't quite play out that way. Yet I have to wonder, how could the producers have read this script and thought it was any good? In comparison it was ever so slightly better than Code of Honor, but it's not that hard to be better than a zero! And good grief, I will never understand the writers' preoccupation with always qualifying Wesley as "the boy".
Diamond Dave
Sun, Aug 9, 2015, 3:05pm (UTC -6)
OK, so this episode jumps right off the deep end into a morass of kitsch and terrible dialogue. But by its end it is making at least half way cogent philosophical arguments about the nature of law and justice. Albeit at the very end the alien entity simply decides "fair point, rightly made" and disappears for no obvious reason, but it is hardly unique in that regard.

Overall, you can't help thinking it was an opportunity to execute Wesley that should have been taken... 1.5 stars.
Tue, Nov 3, 2015, 1:17pm (UTC -6)
Here's my issue with this terrible episode. The Enterprise should have never even encountered the Edo in the first place. Seemed pretty clear that these people were not space faring people. They ran everywhere they needed to go and had sex. So the prime directive was already violated when they landed for some R&R&sex. But then Wesley lands on some flowers and he's sentenced to death and NOW all of a sudden the prime directive matters....

I guess when the planet is full of mankinis and blonde white women, first contact should be made!
Fri, Jan 22, 2016, 5:55pm (UTC -6)
In this episode several characters asked in different ways 'Why don't you just beam the boy off the planet if you want to save him from being executed?'
Picard secretly thinking 'Just hurry up and kill Wesley before i manage to find a diplomatic way out of it'.
Jason R.
Tue, Feb 9, 2016, 2:32pm (UTC -6)
"Here's my issue with this terrible episode. The Enterprise should have never even encountered the Edo in the first place. Seemed pretty clear that these people were not space faring people."

I can't believe I'm defending this drek, but I took the episode to be implying that the Edo were already aware of interstellar travel and civilization so this was not a "first contact" situation. Also, while I agree it's laughable to even imagine it, we don't have any specific evidence that the Edo can't leave their world (they may have warp technology for all we know) but they may simply choose not to, kind of like those frolicking hippies in Star Trek Insurrection.
Tue, Feb 9, 2016, 11:38pm (UTC -6)
Reading the comments on this one...

Had a laugh at that goof that called everyone flabby and fat and all that. Can't imagine what "David" looks like in real life. I guess you have to be 2% body fat or you are out of shape in his eyes.

All the actors and actresses on the planet were healthy, active, and fit people. Some were lean, some were not... but they all were healthy actors.

Strange comment to make; I guess it is par for the course on internet sites in the 2010's. Every person online is somehow ugly or fat or whatever, right? lol
Mon, Mar 28, 2016, 11:30am (UTC -6)
Cant run? Of course we can run!
The only thing I like about JJ trek is that technically speaking this episode never hapoened. Yay.
Sometimes I'm amazed that the next generation ever got past the first season.
Tue, Mar 29, 2016, 11:28am (UTC -6)
Holy cow, this episode really isn't that horrible--as long as you don't watch it! I hadn't seen this in years, and just had a memory of the absolute hokiness and Beverly whining about her son. But I am painting walls and had Star Trek on in the other room just so I could listen to something while I work, and it wasn't all that awful! I was very surprised.

It turns out that if you don't see the Edo in their idiotic outfits and their idiotic frolicking, it's actually a decent exploration of how peoples should, or should not, respect others' laws. We are usually taught that we have to respect others' beliefs, even if they go against our own, and this is the situation for the Enterprise.

The Edo law of "death as the only punishment" may seem stupid, but it actually works for them, so maybe it's not that bad. They seem pretty happy. And there is a pretty wonderful scene when one of the Edo sarcastically tells the Enterprise how superior they are. I found it pretty cool how smart the Edo were about their development and how arrogant it was for someone else to judge them.

Beverly's whining was a real downside, but the humor and entendres were pretty amusing. So, to appreciate this episode, just listen to it.
Sat, May 28, 2016, 7:40pm (UTC -6)
Could of mentioned those extreme laws when the crew beamed down really instead of trying to mount them. Definately a heads up situation. However it would of been nice to see wesley exercuted but all multi dimention god needed was a good talking to so that was a bust. Cant really find anything to redeem this episode but there is something about star trek that makes me forgive the bad ones and plough on.
Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 3:47pm (UTC -6)
This really felt like a bad TOS episode I'll list some of the things that stood out.
-you have the bad 60's looking costumes for the Edo set with hairdo's
-They have an all powerful energy being that the captain must confront.
-The human looking aliens have a strict set of rules that puts 1 or more of the crew in danger.
-using the power of Humanity is more enlightened they overcome the aliens strict laws.
1.5 stars if you want to watch something so bad its good this might be an episode you can enjoy.
Wed, Jun 22, 2016, 8:24am (UTC -6)
Seriously? People sit there watching TV calculating what it would look like if you put black actors in whiteface alien makeup to be "fair"? Or any other kind of nitpicking? You can't just sit there and enjoy a story? There's no suspension of disbelief, and therefore no drama or immersion, if you're sitting there looking for production flaws. TV must really not be fun for you people.
Thu, Jun 23, 2016, 2:29am (UTC -6)
Data has pink-eye in his left eye in this episode.
Thu, Jun 30, 2016, 10:17pm (UTC -6)
"I honestly thought this was a good episode. It has a solid plot and I like the fact that the crew has to decide between obeying the society's rules or doing what's morally correct." - Agreed. Not nearly as bad as Jammer or the others here make it out to be. I found it entertaining and enjoyable. A few minor gripes - why do the "aliens" look exactly like humans? I can't think of any other race on this show where there don't seem to be any distinctive features at all. If these people are so free, then why the need for clothing? The planet looks warm enough to not need any during the day. The ending was also questionable. Beaming Wesley out would be akin to a foreigner committing an offence in say, Saudi Arabia, or somewhere with a strict penal system, and then having a group of people from his/her country come and break him/her out of prison to avoid prosecution in that country. It's just not on. I give the episode 2.5 out of 4.
Thu, Sep 15, 2016, 3:44pm (UTC -6)
Ah yes-this one had stuck in my head as a low point.
The first ten minutes or so is a rather successful unintentional homage to seventies soft porn movies.
I think there's a line in there with some woman who forgot to get dressed that morning and Worf ,played this week by Michael Horn ('oo-er!) like ,"Hello there:my you are so big,oh yeah ,baby"( well maybe not but almost).
None of the away team seem at all bothered by the nymphomanic antics of these escapees from a skin flick although Wesley has the grace to seem a bit embarrassed before being sent off to play catch with a bunch of fellow teenagers ( do they all have developmental delay or something?).

There's actually a lot of talk of sex but all we see is a bit of adolescent snogging.
There is also a lot of jogging which kind of dates the show badly and makes the whole thing look like a Benny Hill show sketch.
Tasha Yar doesn't seem bothered by all this talk of sex and given she spent her early life hiding from the rape gangs you would think she might have reservations.
Actually how come in perfect 24th Century human society where there is no violence ,no jealousy and so forth Tasha spent so long in a failed colony where such awful things could even be contemplated by former perfect human beings?

Despite the alleged writing credits ,as was set out clearly in the documentary'Chaos on the Bridge' , Rodenberry apparently just grabbed scripts off writers and re wrote vast chunks anyway and you can see his hand here not just with the Children of Vaal -sorry-Edo and their lusty ways but also the cliched God being .
I expect the credited writers are responsible for the Edo justice system which is ,of course, stupid and unworkable.
Shades here of Return of the Archons.
My problem is that if all crimes within the demarcated area are punishable by death does this mean that there is no punishment for crime,any crime at all, outside of that area?
If you were a budding Edo serial killer for example as long as you know that the white rails are not going to be placed around you in the next five minutes you could bludgeon an adjacent random Edo to death just for the hell of it with impunity.
That is 'Wacky-Doodle'
As already said a very low point was Wesley's pompusly arrogant line;"We are from Starfleet, we don't lie" and I was cheering the Edo leader guy later in the show for taking Picard to task for his supposed superiority.
Then the solution to the Prime Directive problem-they just beamed out after making the spectacularly childishly obvious point that laws have to be exercised with discretion.

I am amazed this is worth 1 star .

In my opinion it is worth no stars and would have been more evidence for cancellation,preferably mid season.
It is incredible that the show lasted through another 1.5 seasons of this awfullness ( with some bright points admittedly) before it got better.
Wed, Oct 19, 2016, 5:34pm (UTC -6)
On the plus side, there is some nice side boob at the end.
Fri, Nov 11, 2016, 9:20am (UTC -6)
Some strange cultural observations from this episode - odd depictions of human sexuality, with a sort of creepy "Ken & Barbie" aryan eugenics playground going on, as if everyone in the future is nymphomaniacal and polyamorous to the point where even the Vidiians would likely avoid their planet from all the transmitted diseases.
Sometimes I think these episodes only served to offer one cerebral quote "there can be no justice so long as laws are absolute", but which actually boils down to the sober practical reality that of course context is relevant in moral decisions. But once again, every alien culture in Star Trek is terminally stunted in terms of their moral philosophy and lead two-dimensional lives that are as paper-thin as the cheap sci-fi books they're likely harvested from.

I'm sure there is some veiled critique on the death penalty and laws based on deity worship, but it remained obscured.

(Oh, and don't think I didn't notice when you recycled the Edo God thing to become the Lisian Central Command years later.) Photographic memory.
Fri, Jan 20, 2017, 4:08pm (UTC -6)
Thanks for all the hilarious and insightful comments - I am loving this site!

I actually liked this episode. Part of the fun was Wesley's delivery of "Of course we can run!" - which has scarred my brain for decades. And the sexy- weirdness of "any hat." And the skin-baring costumes. But the plot was entertaining too. Maybe you have to watch it when you're young and dumb?

Regarding the race question: do other viewers think of Klingons as black people and Bajorans and Cardassians and Edo
as white people? They were just aliens to me; it never occurred to me to think about their human-corresponding races. I was surprised when I eventually saw a photo of Michael Dorn out of makeup: "oh hey the actor's black? Huh. But wasn't his son a white kid on Family Ties? So what skin tone was the Kheylar actor? Eh who cares!"

By contrast, on a very different show - Xena - I was delighted by the casual mix of Euro-pale and Maori-brown actors, playing humans of the ancient world who simply didn't give a damn about color.
corando gallegos
Fri, Mar 3, 2017, 1:40pm (UTC -6)
I want to propose the theory that the ancestors of the Edo are space hippes from TOS "Way to Eden". They never gave up their movement and had others join them. The alien ship called to them and they settled on its planet. The death penalty punishment was their way of protesting against "the man" and the system since it was an extreme form of punishment and made a statement.
I am still working on more details but that is just off the top of my head and how much my thinking has been impacted by this episode. (Oh 1/2 star is generous)
Sun, May 7, 2017, 3:01am (UTC -6)
I agree with those who consider the rating for this episode a bit harsh. I'd still only give it two stars, though, so it's not as though I would actually recommend it.

I think the biggest flaw, as noted above, is how quickly it wrapped up. Picard's speech, and Riker's addendum. were certainly not on a par with some of Kirk's great soliloquys. And then Picard asked the "god" to give a signal as to whether the Federation should remove their colony. The "god" then disappeared, and Picard decided that must be the signal, even if it was an unsatisfying one. Does that mean they are removing the colony? Seemed ambiguous.
Richard Fitzgood
Sat, May 13, 2017, 7:38pm (UTC -6)
I remember recording this episode a jerking one off to the Judith Jones character when I was 14. Good memories...
Wed, May 31, 2017, 3:42pm (UTC -6)
They episode is stupid for so many reasons. Apart from the the cheesiness of the Edo,

- I can't stand how mentally retarded the Edo are. They didn't realize it's necessary to instruct visitors about the "death zones"? Just WHYY? Can they form coherent thoughts inside of their childish minds? It's such a no-brainer.

Episodes with aliens that are seriously stupid are just no fun.

- It also made me sick how the TNG crew claimed "taking Wesley by force would violate the Prime Directive". The whole second half of the episode centered around that problem, which was really a non-issue: The Prime Directive was never intended to allow alien cultures to hurt federation citizens arbitrarily. Yes, it is arbitrary if you withhold the information of what is considered a crime and only tell your guests AFTERWARDS.

With so much stupidity at the center of the episode, it was hard to enjoy in any way. 1 star is already rated too highly.
Sat, Jul 8, 2017, 2:33pm (UTC -6)
"because the penalty for all crimes on this world, no matter how trivial, is death ... which, let's face it, is just plain stupid."

I think that could have made for an interesting premise - a world that eliminated almost all crime by making all crimes worthy of execution.

If it had only been done more sanely. For one thing, if people KNEW about this law instead of it being "surprise, we're gonna kill you for this". For another, if intent mattered. Jumping a fence into your yard is trespassing. Walking along the sidewalk, tripping, and falling into your yard is not.
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 7:45pm (UTC -6)
I actually liked Justice and considered it the first good episode with anything serious to ponder. It's definitely flawed though. Perhaps the most glaring is the omission of Picard's history with the Crusher family-- Picard having sent Jack Crusher where he died... and there was a very real possibility it was going to happen again, this time with Wesley.

They most annoying thing to me was Picard's absolute obsession with discussing the (supposed) problem with the Prime Directive... the aliens learned everything Data knew, but there are untold thousands of laws and tiles and it's entirely possible the aliens would not have even realized it.

It also seems like the Edo God would help in this situation. The one Edoan says "we cannot allow ignorance of the law to be a defense" may well make sense for people in that society who have had years to learn it, but for a guest who has merely visited for a couple hours? This is an absurdly child like understanding, and even a dangerous one-- what if a Cardassian or Klingon ship visited and one of their people killed for a ridiculous reason?

Oh, and Tasha was absolutely incompetent here for failing to discover the punishment for crimes.
Sarjenka's Little Brother
Tue, Nov 21, 2017, 10:55pm (UTC -6)
Seems to me the Enterprise violated the Prime Directive simply by contacting the Edo. They didn't have warp capability, and it's vague whether they knew of other life forms.

It's established later that the protocol for First Contact is warp capability.

And Riker, Yar and LaForge literally screwed the Edo. Seems like that's a violation as well.

And Dear God in Heaven, the stupidity of the flower bed. Surely they could have come up with something more compelling than that.

However, the show lay the groundwork for future and much better philosophical discussions and dilemmas. So it has a little value for that, but not much else.

And by this stage, all these vague, powerful, multidimensional beings are getting tiresome.
Sun, Dec 3, 2017, 12:48am (UTC -6)
3 stars. I enjoyed it—the sensual
Aspect, the filming outside of a soundstage, the crew’s reactions to the Efo’s advances, the strange alien in orbit, the genuine jeopardy for Wes and Picard unable to do anything because of threat from Edo god
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 11:02pm (UTC -6)
It was around this time in 1987 when I thought TNG was going to be a one season series.
Tue, Jan 30, 2018, 6:25pm (UTC -6)
Flawed episode that quickly turns from mindless shore leave to a contrived examination of the PD and a ridiculous conclusion. But it does have redeeming qualities like Picard/Crusher/Data trying to figure out what to do about Crusher's impending execution.

So there is this god-like entity looking after the Edo, a hedonistic people that do look like they're from the 80s (fitting, given that it was 1987 when this first aired). We don't get any details about why it looks after the Edo (maybe because the Edo are just screwing around - literally - all the time). But it just does, so Picard & co. just have to deal with it. Doesn't make sense to me that such fun-loving people could have a rule that the death penalty is the only punishment for any crime no matter how trivial. If TNG wanted to explore the very valid idea of interfering with the laws of a planet, make it so that the laws actually make sense given the kind of people live there.

So Picard appeals to this God suggesting that rules should have flexibility, Riker chimes in as well and voila! the God agrees with them and allows the transporters to work. And where does this leave the Edo and their laws? And then the God disappears when Picard talks about removing the colonies -- so I guess it's OK to leave them. Guess the writers backed themselves into a corner and ran out of time so they took the easy way out. We are left to assume that Picard returning the Edo woman back to the planet and the God finally understanding how humans' laws work based on the data transfer with Data eventually pays off and it lets Wesley live. Not much of a plot/resolution.

1.5 stars for "Justice" -- TNG writing at this stage is very weak -- poor dialogue and poor construction of episodes. Even with the great Patrick Stewart, it's taking the writers time to not make him such a hard-ass and we finally get a good scene with him and Data after Picard had chewed out the android for babbling. The ending comes about too abruptly, leaving a very unsatisfied feeling about this episode.
Peter Swinkels
Thu, Feb 22, 2018, 3:01pm (UTC -6)
In my opinion worse than code of honor, the Edo and their god thing were actually embarassing to watch.
Data Fan
Sun, Mar 11, 2018, 7:48pm (UTC -6)
David M.
Justice was filmed in late 1980's these actors aren't flabbey, they are somewhat slim. But you are thinking of the over-exercised bodies of today. Back then athlets and bodybuilders were the only obesvthat were "ripped".
To the guy about the black populated planets- this tv show like manyvothers are white dominate. BUT I also know there are several channels devoted to black people, black writer, black directors and black actors. I've never complained that those shows have no white families nor have I heard others complain of this. As for my rati g on Justice of which I just rewatched I give it a black hole of no stars, not even one!.
Cesar Gonzalez
Sat, Apr 28, 2018, 8:32am (UTC -6)
"We are from Starfleet, we don't lie". Lol. Facepalm*
Wesley's performance was so bad.

And all that whole talk that Picard had, when he spoke about how humans no longer practice in death sentances was so idealistic.
I hate when in Star Trek they talk about how "enlightened" they are now, as if they don't commit mistakes and errors like people from before.

I can't recall the episode, but I recall Janeway doing the same. She spoke to an alien entity and said that how humans had evolved so much that they now didn't have wars.
Lol, okay. Sure.

That being said. The female actresses were so beautiful. So, at least they were nice to look at.
Sat, Apr 28, 2018, 4:01pm (UTC -6)
I don't see how it's "idealistic" to say we no longer practice the death penalty. It's only a minority of less civilized countries that do that now (the US is one). In a 24th century where history has gone the way Trek has, it would be looked upon as savage. Would it also be idealistic for Picard to say we now live in houses instead of caves?
Sat, Apr 28, 2018, 4:46pm (UTC -6)

Capital punishment isn’t “less civilized”, but it rarely happens, even in the U.S. We just believe that there are people out there who have committed such attrocities against society, that the only way for us to move on is for that person to pay for their crimes with their life. Like I said though, it’s very rare these days, and basically reserved for people who have committed terrible crimes against human life.

Maybe by Picard’s time (or before), we can adequately detect and treat such criminals before they strike, which could lead to capital punishment’s defacto removal. That’s still idealistic, though.
Sat, Apr 28, 2018, 6:10pm (UTC -6)

What is it that is being punished by putting someone to death? We already know that a person's behavior is determined by their genetics and conditioning, not free will. One would think that by the very rational 24th century of TNG this fact would have sunk in enough to show compassion even to those who have committed "terrible crimes against human life". As I said, most countries already show such compassion without this having a negative effect on deterring crime.
Sat, Apr 28, 2018, 7:26pm (UTC -6)
“We already know that a person's behavior is determined by their genetics and conditioning, not free will.”

We don’t know that. There have been many instances where attempted muderers have changed their minds at the last moment. Nothing is predestined with criminal behavior and deterrents likely impact a person’s choice. It doesn’t matter if you say “well this works well in our country so it’s civilized”. All countries have different cultures and societies and what may work in one country may not work in another. Try not to be provential and understand that capital punishment countries keep that punishment around because it works for them.
Sean Hagins
Sun, Apr 29, 2018, 4:32pm (UTC -6)

If you follow the bible (and I know some here do not), then it is evident that we DO have free will. I understand can not understand how people can think they do not have free will!
Sun, Apr 29, 2018, 6:10pm (UTC -6)
@Sean Hagins

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven
-Matthew 6:9-13

All that happens is God's will, not ours. Science also backs this up, since physics leaves no room for a separate, independent entity that acts apart from the body.
Sun, Apr 29, 2018, 6:51pm (UTC -6)

God’s will is for humans to choose. Go read Genesis, particularly the part with the apple.
Sun, Apr 29, 2018, 7:01pm (UTC -6)

To be honest I don't find the Bible (especially old testament) particularly enlightening. The old Vedic scriptures have much more to say on this topic.

The Ashtavakra Gita, for example says:
"Righteousness and unrighteousness, pleasure and pain are purely of the mind and are no concern of yours. You are neither the doer nor the reaper of the consequences, so you are always free." 1.6
Tue, May 8, 2018, 10:16pm (UTC -6)
1 star is more than enough.

The ending was especially off-putting, with the smug Starfleet types doing a runner, and violating the justice of the Edosians, without bothering to explain why their own justice should take precedence over it. There was the seed of an intelligent debate here, but nothing could come of it. Wesley should have been executed. That would have been a hard choice for Picard, it would have satisfied the logic of the Prime Directive, & it would have provided a plotline for possible future use. Other members of Starfleet die - so why should he be spared ? It would have shown that Redshirts are not the only mortals on Enterprise, and that actions have consequences.

As that scene in fact developed, it left the impression that the Federation can stomp over other cultures’ laws and sensibilities because the pygmy Eloi - sorry, pre-warp aliens - cannot stop it doing so. The vaunted Prime Directive is merely a figleaf to cover the moral nakedness of Starfleet, for its application is not governed by any discernible principle. One was unpleasantly reminded of US military interventionism at its most sanctimonious. Hypocrisy and smugness are no less nauseating from Starfleet 350 years from now than they are from present-day politicians. The obvious moral of this intellectually tawdry episode is the very cynical one that might makes right.
Peter G.
Wed, May 9, 2018, 10:08am (UTC -6)
@ james04,

Won't argue with 1 star, but the flaw in the episode isn't that the Federation stomped on local law. The issue is that the locals didn't transmit their law to peaceful people visiting them, which means an entrapment situation was going on. The locals cajoled Wesley into running all over the place, which greatly increased the chances of him stumbling into one of their forbidden zones, which regardless of their intent is roughly equivalent morally to them deliberately tricking him into breaking the law. The resulting situation is on them, not on Wesley, and the only "legal" leg the Edo had to stand on was their terrorizing alien protector. So which, again, was the side employing force to back up a morally devoid position?
Sat, May 19, 2018, 2:53pm (UTC -6)
Yowza. this was awful.
Dr Lazarus
Tue, May 22, 2018, 4:46pm (UTC -6)
Is Wesley suppose to be around 16 or so, or is he a ten year old? He has like zero interest in females and no clue what to do if a female jumped on his face. He isn't even gay. Just androgynous and oblivious when it comes to sex and making out. A no sex entity that wears the most ugliest sweaters ever.

If this ship were to actually abide by the Prime Directive, they would be watching these people making out from a duck blind.

And concerning the death penalty for breaking any law, their god seems to move the off limits zones on a daily basis. How else to have something to do by executing someone for entertainment. On this Enterprise day, the off limits area was a flower bed. Tomorrow it may be a mud puddle, or some other ridiculous spot. None of these young people who had no problem playing so close to a death zone, had the foresight to clue Wesley in to keeping clear of the flower bed. "Yo dude, didn't you see the caution tape around the flowers when I tossed you the ball as you ran towards it? Now you gots to die. Sorry". When I want free love and sex, I'll stick with Risa.

And whatever happened to Captain's prerogative, where he gets his fill of sex so he doesn't get Riker's sloppy seconds, or wore out from Worf?

This episode is on right now, but I had to change the channel because it is so ridiculous The next episode from season one comes on after this, so I'll wait for it.
Tue, Jul 17, 2018, 5:42pm (UTC -6)
The legal saying goes, "Justice delayed is justice denied." So is Justice watched.
Wed, Nov 28, 2018, 4:22pm (UTC -6)
TNG would have gotten serious props and street cred if they killed Wesley here.
Fri, Jan 18, 2019, 8:17am (UTC -6)
@Peter G:

Thanks for replying.

“but the flaw in the episode isn't that the Federation stomped on local law. ”

It is however one of the flaws. The Federation has no right to come in and impose their laws on a planet and a people not under their lawful rule, to which they are strangers. They should have complied with the Edo’s laws.

This could have been a good episode, exploring the tension between the two, but it was mishandled, so the exploration, which could have been very creative, was incompletely realised.

As for the responsibility you refer to - in a better version of this episode, it could have been explored. The defence you make for Wesley might not convince the Edo.
Mon, Feb 18, 2019, 10:19am (UTC -6)
I found this to be a fun and hilarious re-imagining of TOS' "Apple". Here we have a planet of child-like aliens living on an Edenic world of pleasures. They spend their days RUNNING, LAUGHING, DOING BACKFLIPS, HAVING LOTS OF SEX or FROLICKING IN THE SUN in MANKINIS, SKIRTS whilst LOOKING LIKE SOFTCORE PORN ACTORS at a health spa. The depiction of the alien society is much criticized, but if you pretend this is an episode of TOS, it's hilarious, ballsy and kind of charming.

The episode's first act is its weakest, as most of its running time is devoted to topless men jogging and Wesley violating alien laws by falling into flower beds (ie symbolically/literally trampling over Eden's garden). The moment Wesley is arrested for violating these laws, however, the episode tightens its screws, Wesley exits, and the episode becomes pretty good. The alien God then appears, who, like the Abrahamic God of the Bible, oversees this paradise and seeks to keep out the Federation (ie- the Biblical serpent) and their wayward ways.

Lots of neat little scenes abound: an alien sphere "invades" the Enterprise and "uploads data from Data's forhead" (a stark visual). Picard also has a number of good scenes in which he attempts to juggle the Prime Directive, his personal wishes to serve Wes/Crusher, and his respect for the alien culture. He's also a Biblical figure himself: the Devil of the Old Testament, bringing New Knowledge, New Laws, and pointing fingers at the silliness of Absolute Rule/s. The Federation have learned to be flexible, Picard schools us, it doesn't fanatically cling to regulations and has evolved far beyond silly stuff like capital punishment and casual nudity!

We also get a powerful scene in which an alien native boards the Enterprise and, spying her God through a window, cowers in terror. It's a great scene, thanks largely to Season 1's willingness to use over-emphatic 80s music.

Yes the episode's climax is a rush, and Picard's RIGHTEOUS MONOLOGUE seems a couple sentences too short, but there's a madcap charm to the episode, and its core idea and narrative arc is good.

Incidentally, Wesley proudly says "a Federation officer never lies", perhaps intended to contrast the Federation's own odd absolutism with that of the aliens. The episode is also widely criticized for its handling of the Prime Directive, the assumption being that the aliens are pre-warp. But there are lines of dialogue which hint that the alien civilization was radically different before its adoption of hard-line rules; perhaps it did have warp technology.
Peter G.
Mon, Feb 18, 2019, 11:22am (UTC -6)
One big difference between Justice and The Apple (or Return of the Archons, or any of those) is that unlike Kirk, Picard *cannot* defeat the computer through force or guile. There is no chance here of simply deciding the fate of the Edo. Rather, Picard's only recourse is to actually engage in dialogue with their god and try to come to a compromise, and this is quite intriguing to note for those who claim that the only good solution to religion is to stamp it out. Justice at the very least seems to say that the advanced way to deal with those who potentially need help is through dialogue rather than through paternalistic force. Now the Edo don't actually reform or anything like that, but in a kind of way a compromise is reached at the end wherein both sides can have what they want without needing to harm each other. So maybe the message here about justice isn't that what the Edo had was phony justice (we really don't know) but rather that perhaps justice is best found when trying to solve it together, as opposed to trying to enforce our own dogmas on others. Even though I think the episode is pretty weak, this point is certainly an important Trek one, and an especially important one to establish early in the series. Doubly so because Picard becomes personally associated with this credo, and so we have an ethos tied up into a person so that it's no mere abstraction. That's good storytelling...or at least it would be if the episode was much fun to watch.
Mon, Feb 18, 2019, 11:27am (UTC -6)
Criticism of the Prime Directive is actually central to the story. The godlike alien learns of the PD, and decides to judge the Fedration based on its own rules of non-interference by insisting Edo’s punishment is enforced. It takes Picard and Riker’s insight of rules being meant to be adjusted to circumstance to solve the problem. If the PD is applied inflexibly, it will lead to *injustice*, just like the Edo’s death penalty rule.
Mon, Feb 18, 2019, 11:35am (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

“That's good storytelling...or at least it would be if the episode was much fun to watch.”

It’s fun to watch in a sort of “laugh at this episode with some friends” way. It’s a really good concept but there’s two major execution problems: 1) The story doesn’t make you sympathetic to Wesley, 2) Picard and Riker’s solution seems too simplistic. Like you say, real justice should be decided by a dialogue, but this episode solves it with a monologue.
Thu, Feb 21, 2019, 7:52pm (UTC -6)
I didn’t think this episode was so bad. I enjoyed the philosophical dilemma of whether to obey the other society’s laws or not.

I like how different Season 1 is from the others. It has its stinkers, but it also seems to have a lot of adventure. I like that there are sets in Season 1 that we never see again, and the music is great.

I’ll take the slightly heavy handed moralizing and philosophical debate over that Discovery garbage any day.
Sun, Jul 14, 2019, 8:01am (UTC -6)
Below average, but not a true stinker.

The sexuality stuff was hokey and cringeworthy and the Prime Directive conflict was horribly contrived - made no sense. The preachiness was not good, though it was somewhat mitigated by the Edo not buying it.

But, I liked the sudden surprising twist. I liked Dr Crusher's barely constrained constraint. She did a much better job of handling her son's predicament than the God who was protecting His children.

Not good, but doesn't belong in the same bin as Code of Honor or other notorious stinkers.
Sat, Oct 5, 2019, 4:17pm (UTC -6)
I watched most of the Star Trek: TNG episodes either as they came out or during reruns, but I missed a lot of DS9 episodes and most of Voyager episodes. I still haven't seen a full episode of Enterprise. I like the concept of Trek in theory, but a lot of early season episodes from any iteration are difficult, at best.

So, I'm rewatching them now (or watching them for the first time, when I get to those episodes), slowly, as it's a non-priority project. That being said, this episode, "Justice" took more than two days to get through - it's just that bad. I have a poor attention span as it is (I'm writing this during a break in "The Battle"), but this was made for me to find other things to do every couple minutes.
Thu, Nov 14, 2019, 12:24am (UTC -6)
The setup was good. If the ending hadn't been so deflating, we would have remembered this as a better episode. For example, maybe they have an exception to the law that says children younger than 4 years of age are not punishable; and Picard argues that the intent of the exception applies to Wesley.

= = = =

* Edo sarcasm towards Picard's pontification was well done.

* They clearly build very modern buildings, so the Edo probably work. Maybe it was Edo Sunday.

* Maybe the Lysians (S05E14) are the Edo God. They both have the same ship, no direct weapons, and do not communicate well.

* If it had been TOS, Kirk would have argued that God is breaking his own laws (killing the Edos? trespassing?) and the God would have blown up in a self-referential logic loop.

* When ST:TNG first aired, I heard about this episode from a friend. My friend made it seem as if all episodes had raunchy planets -- and being a teenager, I was immediately interested. 30 years later, I have finally seen the episode that got me interested in TNG. Humph!
Mon, Dec 30, 2019, 11:15pm (UTC -6)
Ahh, a planet of all white, hot dog skinned people. Since this episode aired in 1987, I can see Patrick Bateman watching this episode and wanting to vacation with the Edo
Captain Jon
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 9:24pm (UTC -6)
Where to begin? Absolute trash. While not the season’s weakest, it’s down there. This episode suffers from not knowing whether it’s a campy romp or a serious analysis of the Prime Directive. Had it stuck to either one of these instead of starting with one then switching to the other, it may have been better. The Edo are too campy to take seriously and their one law makes little sense especially when being enforced by these people.

The greatest potential lies in the debate over the Prime Directive. There is some valid substance here but unfortunately by the time we get to it the episode is too far gone.

Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 9:48pm (UTC -6)
Good grief. I've just watched it again after many many years. Never again.

Presumably they've got a Logan's Run type law no-one mentioned, and everyone gets put down when they reach 30. A happy release, really.
Jean Luc
Sat, May 30, 2020, 1:35pm (UTC -6)
This is a bad episode, but I'm kind of surprised at how much hate the concept gets -- Jammer calls it "just plain stupid," apparently unaware of the original story underpinning it.

Draco was one of the early lawmakers of Athens. According to Plutarch, he set death as the penalty for all offenses. His reasoning was that lesser crimes deserved death, and he could think of no harsher punishment for the more serious crimes.

Like another commenter, I really did like the juxtaposition of ultra-hedonism with totally unreasonable, inflexible legal system as its ultimate guarantor. If we could have a nearly perfect society -- a pleasurable utopia in which everyone is honest and law-abiding and has unlimited time for recreation -- would it be worth it if it meant living under such an unreasonable, ludicrous legal system? IMO that's a philosophical question worthy of Star Trek.

Unfortunately, this idea doesn't get a very fair shake. The campy and over-sexually suggestive welcome. Lt. Yar saying their laws are "Fairly simple, common sense things" -- but oh, she overlooked that bit about death to all criminals. Uh...okay.

Much worse is this contrived debate over the Prime Directive, which should have nothing to do with this. The Edo literally watch these tourists from another planet beam down from a starship in starfleet uniforms and communicate with Enterprise using com-badges. There is no effort at all to conceal their alien origin or the fact that their ship is in orbit. Picard even brings one of them up to the ship.

So, in what way does the Prime Directive apply here? If it ever did, then they violated it a thousand different ways before getting to this point.

This is some new reading of it the Prime Directive that never existed in TOS. The Prime Directive often comes up as a plot device in the various Star Trek series, but this is just an abuse of it. I can understand that Wesley's transgression creates a diplomatic fiasco for the Federation and Picard, but it seems bizarre to me that the Prime Directive is brought into this story at all.

In sum, I think this episode raises a serious, challenging, philosophical quandary about law and society, then falls completely flat in trying to resolve it. 1.5 stars.
Sat, May 30, 2020, 2:21pm (UTC -6)
@ Jean-Luc
It is really not a good way to portray the issue. I also find Plutarch pretty unreliable in this instance. He wrote about Solon (and Draco) 700 years later. A law code with death for almost everything and written in blood. Sure.

And the question of "would it be good to be living under such a legal system if that would lead to a near perfect society", is not compelling. In Human history we had very harsh legal codes until very recently and they did not lead to a utopian society.
So the basis for the question is nonsense.

Also why did the others not warn Wesley, even the kids playing with him. Tasha rightly says: "And who tells visitors these rules?!!" to which the Edo reply:"Duhhhh." and what an idiot is Wesley. He runs into that flowerbed like a blind person. Maybe he deserves to die.

Plus the Prime Directive applies here (as vague as it is): "Subverting or avoiding the application of a society's laws." So the Edo' stupid stupid rules apply.
Sun, May 31, 2020, 10:23pm (UTC -6)
I have watched a lot of terrible Trek in my day but this one really takes the cake! The main problem is the atrocious Edo. I doubt that even Draco was as bad as the writers make this lot. And not a Solon among them to alter the constitution in a reasonable way.

They realize that their law code is backward and disgusting and do nothing to revise it. For all we know these are the seventh sons of the seventh son of the seventh son times 49 generations without any change in the status quo. All we get is petulance from the leader dude, who's upset that he can't just execute Wesley and uphold his idiotic legal traditions. He has to admit that the Federation is more advanced and that he won't be able to speedily mete out justice to the boy, who he angrily describes as "an advanced person who luckily escaped the barbarism of this backward little world." He is genuinely disappointed at not getting a pound of flesh in exchange for his damaged little flowers.

In a way, the episode is very effective. It's really hard not to want to throw an old sneaker at the TV when the Edo start whining about not getting to execute a kid and throwing the words god and punishment around.

A good scene with Picard and Data in the early version of 10 Forward ( an empty cafeteria)...saves the episode from the deep dustbin of history.
Wed, Jul 8, 2020, 2:14pm (UTC -6)
This was the very first episode of star trek (any star trek) i watched, i was about 8 or 9 and remember asking my dad, why do they want to kill him for falling over the flowers? And him explaining the plot to me.
Wed, Sep 2, 2020, 2:50pm (UTC -6)
Westley saying over and over I'm ok, when no one asked, and not immediately apologizing for destroying the flowers is so stupid . Even after they complained about him messing up the flowers his response is 'I'm ok'. That sounded like my 4 year old saying that when he would fall down before we even had a chance to say 'Are you ok?'.
Fri, Sep 18, 2020, 2:50am (UTC -6)
i couldn't help but think this episode was a critique of the bible. Edo is explicitly Eden, and the FFB is an analogue for the Tree of Knowledge: it looks inconspicuous and nobody can tell why it's wrong to go near it, but the superior being has deemed it so without explanation.

The "punishment for everything is death" also seemed like a reference to Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death [...]" -- you know, sin in general, not just specific super bad sins. So the fact that it was so didn't bother me because he looked like this was what the show was going to challenge...

... except it didn't. They just took it for granted and tried to work within that law. Fine, whatever. But I wasn't insulted by this episode as much as I was by Code of Honor.

Also I have a problem with jammer's quip about people of Edo not working. Again this plane is clearly an analogue of Eden. If there are no conflicts and they can share the resources the planet (or their god) provides without problems, why would they work?

Sat, Sep 19, 2020, 1:11am (UTC -6)
"Nice planet."

It's worth watching just for this priceless Worf comment. I still quote it. I think this is the first of his many dry, terse, hysterical deliveries.
Tue, Dec 1, 2020, 6:47am (UTC -6)
Sigh2000: all you say is true, and very Kirkian, but it’s certainly plausible in the Trek-verse that this planet exists, a planet of adult children, literally lorded over.

Gene: it’s true that Wesley repeatedly saying that was weird, but fundamentally this episode is showing severe culture clash. Wesley is keenly aware that the Edo are freaking out beyond reason, and is baffled by it, and since damaging the flower bed is seemingly so trivial, he assumes they are worried about him.

The Edo lady on the Enterprise scene was nicely done, when they have to beam her away. Picard ordering the transport repeatedly even after the transport started was a better level of realism than Trek usually manages. Usually all orders are immediately acted on, there’s never a risk that orders weren’t heard, etc. Deanna’s role there nicely accentuates the urgency.
Sat, Feb 13, 2021, 7:12am (UTC -6)

TNG season 1 episode 8

"I've listed my report on their customs and laws, sir. Fairly simple, common sense things.”

- Tasha fucked up

2 stars (out of 4)

The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;

The "quality of mercy” is one of the most famous monologues from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. Mercy is an attribute of God himself. This substandard episode of TNG does it’s best to set up a Picard Gives a Speech for the first time, but falls flat. Given the quality of Picard’s speeches later in the show, I am so very glad they didn’t let this one failure deter them from trying again.

Before I dive into criticism, let me at least mention how nice the scene in Picard’s quarters was with Data and later Beverly. Also, as @Dave in NC says, the Edo sarcasm is fantastic! Now with that done... ;)

The show has a rough start, mostly because it does a very poor job setting the stage.

These people are exhausted from an absolutely brutal mission settling a planet,

CRUSHER: Establishing that colony has been exhausting for the entire crew, Captain. We're not a supply vessel. Settling all those people has been a strain on everyone. I'm tired myself.

Obviously the strain of this last mission has compromised everyone’s, er, Judgment - and as a consequences, mistakes are to be expected. The setup is the same as in TOS’ “The Immunity Syndrome,”

KIRK: The crew has performed excellently, but is exhausted. And I, too, am looking forward to a nice period of rest on some lovely planet.

Now here is where the quality of actors (h/t @NCC-1701-Z) really makes all the difference.

Beverly can’t sell exhausted to save her life. Whereas in TOS, when the Enterprise gets orders for a new mission, Kirk himself is like, are you freaking kidding me,

STARBASE: You will divert immediately to sector three-nine-jay.

KIRK: Sir, the Enterprise just completed an exhausting mission. We're on our way in for R & R. There must be another starship in that sector.

That’s what makes Kirk such an amazing people-manager. He instinctively knows how his crew is feeling. He doesn’t need some psychobabble counselor to tell him how the team is doing.

But Picard fails to understand his own crew. And as a result, Wesley almost dies.

The perpetually horny Tasha (fuck me Data; Lutan is hot), once again can’t wait to get her game on,

LAFORGE: They're wild in some ways, actually puritanical in others. Neat as pins, ultra-lawful, and make love at the drop of a hat.

TASHA: Any hat.

Read that again.

Tasha has just told the Captain that the laws on the planet are just fine, please sir, please, let us go for shore leave there. But Geordi, as @Corey would want, warns them that these people are “puritanical” and “ultra-lawful.” So what does Tasha hang her hat on - the fact that she’s gonna get laid.

And Picard goes along with it. Because he gets confirmation from the only member of his crew who is even more of a horn-dog than Tasha. Riker,

PICARD: I take it you find no glitch at all in this planet, however?

RIKER: No, sir.

Did Picard even bother to read Riker’s personnel file? I have to go with @SkepticalMI’s write-up on this one.

The middle of the episode is where things drag. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the fit, oiled up, pseudo-orgy action. But it doesn’t really go anywhere because it lacks sexiness. Not one of our crew disrobes. This is not Jadzia and Kira getting massages in a holo-suite. The Edo themselves, while fit, are not exactly sensual. TPTB could have maybe added a bit more flavor (h/t @DPC, @Petrus). Imagine if the Edo looked like Lutan in Code of Honor! Would Worf still think them inadequate:

RIKER: What about plain old basic sex? You must have some need for that.

WORF: Of course, but with the females available to me, sir, Earth females, I must restrain myself too much. They are quite fragile, sir.

Somethings tells me @Data & @Peremensoe, that if Lutan’s wife Yareena were running around the Edo planet making love at the drop of a hat, she could certainly hold her own with Worf in the sack,

You make me want to Hershey's Kiss your Licorice.
Mon, Feb 15, 2021, 12:58pm (UTC -6)
Silly? Stupid? Perhaps but also a quite typical Star Trek. There is a lot philosophy and etic here. It is sometimes embarrasing to watch, still I liked the plot of having to pay a high price for a paradise.

I viewed it with a smile and was quite impressed how they manage to get these dresses to stay in place even when running.

I think I will bring a lot of hats and be very careful where I step when I go there :-)
Frake's Nightmare
Wed, Feb 17, 2021, 4:45pm (UTC -6)
Wesley's jumper - sort of brown crew neck, fairly open weave - with a tabard like appearance, and sculpting around the shoulders. Like a woolly suit of armour. Does Beverley knit them or are they replicated ? Anyway the perfect outfit for a visit to Planet of the Oversexed Aryans.....and it protected him well from injury from the fall on the cold-frame.
Wed, Jun 2, 2021, 1:51am (UTC -6)
Hmm. It’s as if they saw the movie Logan’s Run, took the ’Run’ literally, made the costumes even more skimpy, removed the entire back story... the first half of the episode was indeed laugh-out-loud silly. You would think the serious issues of crime and punishment, and the Prime Directive, and religion, might have rescued it, but by then it was too late - the damage was done!

But perhaps the silliest bit was where Crusher scanned Data and announced that signs of consciousness were returning. Consciousness in a machine? Oh please! Artificial intelligence, maybe, but consciousness? Data is not alive; “he” can’t be conscious. Having said that, I genuinely thought that the “babble” conversation with Picard was funny, in a good way!

Not quite as poor as Jammer rates - I’d give it 1.5 stars.
Wed, Jun 2, 2021, 2:21am (UTC -6)
This episode is called Justice... yet Wesley Crusher escaped execution. Eh? As Picard would say, “What the hell...”
Tue, Aug 17, 2021, 11:28am (UTC -6)
2 stars at least. I disagree with Jammer on this one.

There are seeds of a decent episode (or episodes) here:
-Differing cultural conceptions of justice
-How justice is applied and understood in a cross-cultural context
-Justice vs. diplomacy
-Comparisons & contrasts of historical narratives
-Differing cultural beliefs regarding sexuality and relationships
-Comparing and contrasting our main characters moral belief systems and desires, and how flexible those are in cross-cultural contexts
-Legitimate criticisms of Starfleet and Picard's cultural arrogance
-Nuances regarding application of the Prime Directive
-Societies living under the control of an oppressive overseer who is revered as godlike, and how to communicate a difference in understanding of this "godlike" figure
-Commitment to religion vs. commitment to universal justice
-What constitutes an "organised" societal religion vs. an unofficial societal religion, such as the deeply-rooted sets of ethnocentric belief systems that exist in homogenous countries like Korea and Japan but aren't recognised as organised religions.
-Data learning how to modify his communication depending on the context and people present

I think if the episode were executed more refined and seriously, with the laughable introduction of the Edo in the first third removed (a complete reimagining of the species wouldn't be a bad idea), with some complexity added to the above-mentioned concepts, and an ending that isn't as abruptly and neatly wrapped-up, this could be a classic episode.
Tue, Aug 17, 2021, 11:48am (UTC -6)
Oh, and how could I forget another idea in the episode that could've been elevated and explored in a far more intelligent way: The importance of thorough intelligence gathering (Tasha "dropped her hat" in a big way). How many times in various Treks have we seen interactions between species where our protagonists appear to know absolutely nothing about some foundational features of other aliens and cultural groups they come across.

Often their inexplicable ignorance is used as a tool for exposition for the audience's benefit, or as a plot device in episodes like this. But the ramifications of poor intelligence gathering, how to properly conduct it, and how to measure intelligence gathered vs. changing realities would make for yet another interesting episode.

Other posters, such as Jean Luc, have mentioned other potentially fascinating concepts in this episode such as "the juxtaposition of ultra-hedonism with totally unreasonable, inflexible legal system as its ultimate guarantor".

It's an episode packed with ideas that have potential to be farmed in future episodes by writers that aren't facing studio pressure to produce a supposedly audience-pleasing, yet ultimately misguided piece of entertainment.
Proud Capitalist Pig
Wed, Sep 1, 2021, 9:07pm (UTC -6)
Here are ten ways to have fun with “Justice” instead of just watching it (which isn’t fun):

1.) UNNECESSARY CENSORSHIP -- If there’s one television episode that’s crying out for an edited version with plenty of bleeps, it’s this one, particularly in the first couple of acts when nearly every verb actually *is* a double entendre. It works beautifully.

Favorite results / examples:

- Rivan: “Come! Our people will want to [bleep] you.”
- Liator: “Rivan, perhaps they can’t [bleep].”
- Wesley: “Can’t [bleep]?! Of course we can [bleep]! Right, Commander?”

- Rivan: “Everyone! We’ve [bleep] the visitors.”

- Data: “Enterprise to object off our starboard bow. Request that you [bleep] yourself.”

- God Globe: “DO YOU PLAN TO [bleep] LIFE-FORMS HERE?”

- Worf: “For what we consider love, sir, I would [bleep] a Klingon woman.”

- Wesley (worried): “Captain… are you going to let them [bleep] me?”

2.) DRINKING GAME: Take a shot whenever you hear the term “Prime Directive.” Trust me, you’ll be blackout-stupid halfway through and won’t have to slog through the rest of it (or at least you won’t remember it).

3.) FUN WITH IMDB -- Search for what the vaunted guest stars of “Justice” have been up to lately. I’d be amazed if any of these bargain-basement schlubs are still acting.

4.) THIS LONG AND THIS THICK -- Watch Wesley’s description of a baseball bat again, and you’ll realize immediately what he’s *actually* talking about. For God's sake, Worley.

5.) SECOND OPINIONS -- Jamahl's review is sublime. But I’ll bet there are forums and other review sites out there that trash this episode equally inventively.

6.) SPEED IT UP -- When you watch it at Netflix’s 1.5x-speed, it’s far more entertaining and obviously doesn’t last as long.

7.) THREATEN TO SLOW IT DOWN -- I’ve warned my children about the best punishment ever: forcing them to watch “Justice” at Netflix’s 0.5x-speed the next time one of them one of them needs to be grounded. Now *that’s* justice.

8.) WIL WHEATON’S COMMENTARY -- Apparently this exists. Years later, Wil Wheaton watched "Justice" live, recording his commentary and memories of filming it. I definitely think I might listen to it. [Honorable mention: Watch the movie “Stand By Me” instead of this episode. Wheaton is not as bad of an actor as you may think he is.]

9.) TALLY IT UP -- Count how many times the word “God” is spoken in “Justice.” Then count how many times the word “God” is spoken in the horror movie “Jesus Camp.” Divide each count by running time and see how the percentages hold up.

10.) MAKE A LIST OF YOUR OWN -- Trust me. This was therapeutic. Special thanks to my daughter for contributing #8.

Best Line: "Life itself is an exercise in exceptions." -- Picard.

My Grade: D-
Freshly Single?
Sun, Nov 21, 2021, 3:39pm (UTC -6)
Watching series 1 through, never seen most of it. Despite it occasionally being cheesy and clunky, with bad writing and bad acting in places, I'm surprised how much I'm enjoying it. Definitely not as staid and one-note as many later season episodes.

My experience is that this episode encapsulates TNG finding its feet. Will it feature sex? Will the crew break alien rules? Is God real?

My problems with it are different to other peoples'. While I agree the "crime" was very contrived in how it happened, the whole POINT of the episode was the disproportionate response to said crime.

Number one in this episode was Dr Crusher's continued wooden, hammy performance. Did she practice acting in front of a block of wood? She is dreadful and has never brought much to the show.

Second, how did the episode actually end? Did Picard have to relocate the colonists? Will the Federation remain friends with the planet's imhabitants? Why did God let them break the rules? What was God really, and why did Data learn nothing of it during the data transfer?

The positives: it was pretty bold when talking about sex and it showed males and females having equal sex drives and being equally capable of giving into temptation. We typically see women being the ones who resist and men "hilariously" succumbing and suffering for it, when the reality is, anyone can fall. I like the intensity of the dialogue and discussions. Series 1 is far more intense and fast-paced than TNG later becomes, while still being more thoughtful than Voyager.

I don't know, I just enjoyed this despite its flaws, and I'm not going to go all cancel culture and demand it be censored or changed. It's 30 years old, standards were different then and people had tougher atittudes.
Peter G.
Sun, Nov 21, 2021, 4:31pm (UTC -6)
@ Freshly Single?,

I think the ending is supposed to show that Picard is daring the Edo guardian to stop them if it finds Picard's reasoning flawed, and it allows them to go, meaning Picard persuaded it of the need for an exception in this case. Or at least persuaded it that they were honorable enough people that it should let them go rather than attack them just for the sake of justice.
Mon, Dec 6, 2021, 5:30pm (UTC -6)
You know, reading the comments, it does strike me how this episode's Hedonistic Sex Planet was pretty provocative for 1987 TV, yet the vibe here is practically Leave it to Beaver. (Ahem). I guess they didn't want to go too far.

It is true that Wesley acts more like a ten year old than a fifteen year old. He should be horny as hell. Maybe he's supposed to be Aspie or something. Maybe Beverly wants him on the away team so he'll get laid.

But it seems more like they meant Wesley and the other "children" to be like 10 year olds, clueless and playing with toys.

Which is weird because the Edo kids are at least in their late teens.

One of the Edo boys has a hairy chest and the other has a huge boner-- watch when they first come running out of city hall.
Mon, Dec 6, 2021, 5:56pm (UTC -6)
Also, I agree with Landon. The first season is definitely inferior in many ways to later seasons, but it's also definitely different and often has a very grand epic feel. It often feels much more adventurous than the following seasons, and if you haven't seen an episode, often you won't have the slightest idea how it's going to end.
Wed, Jan 12, 2022, 4:55pm (UTC -6)
A typical Star Trek episode which depicts the white supremacist fantasy of a world without people of colour. It seemingly celebrates the decadence of a society without moral or constructive purpose. Did the people of Edo have slaves? Who built the structures?
Sun, Feb 13, 2022, 5:29pm (UTC -6)

Ha good questions. Maybe it's like HG Wells' "The Time Machine" where the people we see are the Eloi and we don't see the Morlocks doing the actual work.

It's not like the Enterprise would know considering their survey seemed limited to "look, PARTAY!!"

Probably really just the remarkably clunky production values of first season TNG. It is after all an easy way to depict aliens since they immediately contrast with the Enterprise cosmopolitan crew. Though in this case their ridiculous clothing would have been sufficient.

If I were to fan wank, I would point out that we only see a small part of one city, maybe the super blonde one.

And btw regarding Wesley's goofy sweater, it's easily the best clothing seen on that planet.
Mon, Apr 18, 2022, 11:29pm (UTC -6)
I think this episode had a great premisse and can bring interesting legal and moral discussions, but it was TERRIBLY conducted. I mean, Picard poorly tries to reason with the Edo, the Edo present good points, Picard runs out of arguments, and then simply decides to take a powder and beam up?? Not virtuous at all. And, worst, couldn't even pull it off and just stood there looking goffy! Absolutely lame on all aspects. For that, I think this episode deserves negative 2 stars -- it's not only incompetent on telling the story, it also destroys Picard as a respectable starfleet captain. And the resolution is absolutely foolish: they make a silly argument about absolute rules and exceptions of life and the gods are somehow moved by it? C'mon...

This episode could've been great if it had an appropriate advocate for Wesley's release, and its a shame it hadn't, because in fact there are good legal, moral and ethical points that could've been made in that regard. Also, it would be far less dumb if Wesley's where prosecuted for something he did with intent, and not merely tripped, as @MMM pointed out.
Emperor Clint
Wed, Apr 27, 2022, 11:07am (UTC -6)
The Edo hive(?) "deity" and its A.I. orb interface are actually pretty interesting and should have been explored further. Riker stating, "When has justice ever been as simple as a rulebook?", combined with the information exchange with Data, seemed to allow it to bridge its own directive.

The shell outer story is amusing and nostalgiac because I watched the episode in 1987 during its first airing, but yes, overall I rate this episode in my "Top Ten Worst T.N.G.". (Oh, just find the regulators with the differently-colored clothing and serious countenances, and that should provide a good idea of which areas to avoid....😉).
Peter G.
Sun, Apr 9, 2023, 1:49am (UTC -6)
I was going to skip posting about Justice, but I do have one remark to make. The X-rated goings on earlier in the episode are some of the embarrassing moments in the entire series. Without giving away spoilers, it's on the level of what Gates McFadden will have to ensure sometime in S7. It's not just that they're describing a nonstop orgy and that this is supposed to be such a good thing that everyone is automatically expected to be thrilled about it. And it's not just that they specifically asked Wesley, an underage teenager, to beam down and help them, *knowing* this was the case. But it's that the scenes where the Edo hug each of them, slowly, one at a time, basically promising to have sex with each and everyone of them, is simultaneously boring and disturbing. It's almost like something out of Strange New World. And when that younger girl is asking Wesley if he knows 'how to play', he assumes what we do, and it's merely a trick the writer plays on us that this isn't what she meant, because, come on, it was. So why should be enjoy the prospect of hearing a young boy basically be propositioned by a stranger on a strange planet, when he's obviously uncomfortable with it and not ready for that? The whole thing feels like some over-sexed adult (or under-sexed adult overcompensating) putting his fantasy on display, and then hazing the young'uns so they'll join the fraternity. I think that's pretty gross, personally. I would have still been turned off by it either way, but having Wesley there for all of it makes it positively creepy.

Also the plot of the episode really seems to hang on the thin thread of Tasha having reviewed the laws and giving them the all-clear, and then saying she was told nothing about punishments. What was she reviewing then??? That bit of flim-flam work in the writing is really foolish, because we're going to think that ourselves anyhow and just thing either the writing is stupid or Tasha is incompetent. Or, if it really was the case that they *hid* these punishments from their disclosures, then the whole moral dilemma is upended because if the crew was deceived then there's no question that Wesley is being unfairly punished. Either way the details were written in wrongly so that the story as it stands has no real foundation.
SpaceTime Hole
Sun, May 21, 2023, 12:01am (UTC -6)
Hilarious episode. The athletic Aryan aesthetic and “HH” greeting (Health & Happiness!) was perfectly dystopian, with enough flesh to make one squirm.

Reference to Klingon sex is a repeating theme. As are undefinable space blobs; pleasure planets; god-aliens. Deserves 5 stars, but I respect the serious 1 star castigation.
Wed, Jun 14, 2023, 7:18pm (UTC -6)
This episode feels like "What if we combined hippies and free love with a far right wing authoritarian deity/religion?"
Sat, Jun 24, 2023, 10:24pm (UTC -6)
"The Edo want to execute my son!" - Dr. Beverly Crusher

In an episode full of absurd lines, this one got the biggest laugh out of me.
Sat, Jul 1, 2023, 8:45am (UTC -6)
Roddenberry’s over-sexualized aesthetic notwithstanding, the episode infuriates me because it is never resolved. It’s like the writers had a solid idea for the conflict, but passed on a resolution that solved the problem for everyone.
Wed, Nov 8, 2023, 5:08am (UTC -6)
I agree with Neil. This episode sets up a premise that is not very credible, for all the reasons everyone has given - but at least if we swallow that premise, it’s potentially interesting. How should this impasse be resolved? What arguments can Picard make to achieve this? And then… the episode simply gives up and has Picard “solve” the problem by brute force. This is perhaps the most realistic element of the plot but it’s hardly satisfying!
Gorn with the Wind
Sat, Nov 11, 2023, 9:23am (UTC -6)
Rolled up a cone and rewatched this one last night after a 10 years of "abstinence" (from the episode, not marijuana), fully expecting to enjoy it in a so-bad-its-good campy way.

The first half delivers: The Bill Theiss outfits. The fact that everyone MUST jog while giggling. Wheaton's delivery of "We're Starfleet, we don't lie". The grubby pawprints of late-stage Roddenberry all over... well, everything.

Then, the pivot to preachy morality over "Justice" which gave me narrative whiplash so hard I had to call a local Ambulance Chaser lawyer to see if I had a case for litigation. As others have noted, the episode should have stayed a farce.
Wed, Nov 22, 2023, 10:30pm (UTC -6)
What I find strangest about this episode is how big a deal the edo’s attitude towards sex is early on, yet how little that attitude actually impacts the heart of the story. It’s not like Wesley got in trouble because he refused to bone some local weirdo only to find out that refusing an advance is a capital offense, some sort of reverse rape culture clash or something. Instead the edo’s sexual culture is pretty much shunted aside as soon as Wesley derps into the flower bed. The Edo’s sexual liberality was perhaps meant to juxtapose with their rigidity in the face of legal technicalities as an unexpected narrative twist, but it’s not really a point that was driven home or highlighted. Rather we, as the audience, simply endure this weird, cringy, adult contemporary suburban swingers party vibed planet seemingly for its own sake. Or maybe as a means of explaining why Tasha yar in a frenzy of horniness did a hard skim of the finer points of edosian law.

In any event, this is very much a signature style first season TNG episode: awkward, strangely executed, weird aesthetics, Wesley focused, the whole bit.

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