Star Trek: The Next Generation


2 stars.

Air date: 10/21/1991
Teleplay by Ronald D. Moore
Story by Ron Jarvis & Philip A. Scorza
Directed by Gabrielle Beaumont

Review Text

The random spatial anomaly of this week hits the Enterprise, leading to shaking cameras that go on for longer than usual and cause all the lights to shut off. Uh-oh. The ship is dead in space, and the characters are trapped in various parts of the ship with no communications, each facing their own individual crises. The title says it all: It's a disaster movie on the Enterprise.

Here's an episode that plays like a collection of half-baked C-stories rolled into a single show whose tepid premise was used to justify the summation of its parts. The result is the ultimate procedural hodgepodge. (1) In what must've been his worst nightmare, Picard is trapped in a turbolift with three children (whose early whimpering proves especially unconvincing). (2) La Forge and Crusher are trapped in a cargo bay with a radiation leak that could cause some containers with volatile chemicals to explode. (3) Worf is trapped in Ten-Forward with a pregnant Keiko O'Brien, who is going to give birth imminently, making Worf the reluctant midwife. (4) Riker and Data must crawl through Jeffries tubes to get to engineering, leading to Data's head ultimately being detached. And, perhaps most frighteningly, (5) Counselor Troi is in command on the bridge.

Many of these pieces employ the usual disaster clichés (Keiko giving birth is especially well-trodden), and there's a notable lack of tension and conviction throughout. But perhaps most problematic here is the depressing realization that Troi is so utterly useless. Putting her in command proves painfully contrived, as the story demonstrates how she's the only bridge officer who doesn't speak Trekkian technobabble — begging the question (rank be damned) of why she would take command in the first place. Both O'Brien and Ro have to walk her through what's happening in the early going. (O'Brien is the very definition of competence, and Ro, while abrasive, is at least someone you know will have your back. Troi, on the other hand — sigh.) Troi gets more decisive as things proceed, but the early hemming and hawing is so overplayed that her transformation into The Decider isn't believable.

I'm honestly not even sure how the ship ultimately gets repaired. The episode basically resolves each of the vignettes and then stops, with everything suddenly returned to normal. TNG has done far worse (an episode where Picard says, "I shall appoint you my executive officer in charge of radishes," can't be all bad), but move along, nothing to see here.

Previous episode: Silicon Avatar
Next episode: The Game

Like this site? Support it by buying Jammer a coffee.

◄ Season Index

Comment Section

155 comments on this post

    Disaster is a fun 3 star episode. I could care less if we see the repairs to the ship-- they got the ship up and running to get to a repair base that's sufficient. I think you are just being nitpicky. I personally enjoyed seeing Troi in charge and the Troi/Obrien/Ro dynamic. Picard's dealing with the scared children was fun whether him handing out pips or singing Frere Jacque. And I loved the disembodied Data scene. I also thought it had a nice amount of geniune tension with the ticking clock of a warp core explosion.

    Yes Troi being in charge is a conceit but I personally didn't mind it.

    "I'm honestly not even sure how the ship ultimately gets repaired."

    One word: Starbase

    BTW, if you want to convince yourself Troi is useless, fine. But that doesn't change the fact that she's hot & became more interesting as the show went on.

    I like this episode because it's completely different from anything else ever done on TNG. It has a lot more tension than usual, which is a nice change of pace. Although I did squirm a bit over the Picard turbolift scenes, and thought the Ro/Troi ending was a bit duller. I agree with Michael Piller that Ro should have said something like "You still could have killed him and I still think I was right and you're just lucky it came out this way." That would have been great.

    Worf: "Congratulations; you may now give birth." Fantastic line! I give this one a solid 3 stars.

    I loved this show, and thought it was classic Ron Moore High Concept. Simple idea, with lots of pieces, and great great great dialogue.

    I agree with Derek. No matter how many times I watch it, I always laugh out loud to Worf's "You may now give birth" line.

    Man I love TNG.

    Worf's response of "You cannot" when Keiko tells him she is going into labor is the funniest line in TNG.

    The best part of this episode is that it puts characters together who weren't usually paired up. It was kind of nice to see Riker and Data as a tag team again -- echoing some of the better stuff in the early seasons.

    But Troi is just awful. Next to the Ferengi in DS9 and most of the Voyager crew, she's easily the worst Trek character.

    Anyone remember the Towering Inferno, that 70's disaster movie. As embarrassing as it may be, I didn't mind it, and since "Disaster" was "The Towering Inferno IN SPACE!" I also didn't mind it.

    And let's not forget, no matter how cliched Keiko's giving birth was, it led to a great character moment years later.

    This episode's existence can be justified solely by the fact that it made possible the line "NOW?!?!?" in DS9.

    Nolan, had the episode faithfully followed the Irwin Allen disaster formula...well, then the most annoying characters would be dead!

    I'm with those who like this one--I'd definitely give it 3 for fun.

    But did anyone else want to smack that Jay Gordon kid for insisting that his name is not "Jay?"

    Yeah, this one is just stupid fun. I give it a 3, but I can sympathize with a 2.

    As for Worf, he probably has his two greatest lines in the entire series here. "YOU CANNOT"!!

    "Congratulations, you are fully dilated. You may now give birth"

    I've always thought this episode was underrated, especially when compared to other similar Trek episodes. (ie- "Civil Defense".) "Picard is trapped with kids" is such a great and obviouse idea. Plus I always enjoyed how terrible Troi was as a commander. And Worf is just plain awesome here.

    From reading these reviews I am simply coming to the conclusion that Jammer just doesn't like TNG. He doesn't seem to be rating the average episodes any higher than average Voyager or Enterprise episodes (in some cases he's rating them lower!) despite TNG's superior acting and writing.

    I think TNG really was past its prime by season 5. I remember having the same feelings back in November of 2002 when I bought the DVD set. It certainly wasn't bad, but I was surprised by how clunky and pedestrian many of the episodes were. The show's prime was definitely the third and fourth seasons.

    I'm starting to think that Jammer hates TNG, too. In his review of "Muse,' he referred to "Darmok" as "a TNG classic," yet he gives the episode a mere 3 stars. How it's not as 4 star worthy as, say, "The Visitor," is something that baffles me.

    Yes, some negative reviews in the midst of what is decidedly not one of TNG's stronger seasons must mean I HATE TNG.

    (Rolling my eyes.)

    First, let me say thanks to Jammer for continuing with the TNG reviews. I've enjoyed your site for many years now and it's great to see you back in action.

    Secondly, for other people on the post supposing he hates TNG, I think that's fairly ridiculous. Why would anyone spend the hours watching all of the episodes and then spending more hours reviewing them if they hate the show to begin with.

    Regarding "Darmok" I don't think it's difficult to acknowledge an episode as a "classic" even if you don't care for it personally. I can say WEST SIDE STORY is a classic film, even though I'm not a fan of it myself.

    Also, MadBaggins said something along the lines of Jammer rating average TNG lower than average VOY even though TNG is the better show. I agree that TNG is the better series, but I don't think you can necessarily accept Jammer's rating scale across different series. For example, he gave "Timeless" 4 stars, his highest rating. I do think "Timeless" is a better than average VOY episode, but compared with other 4 star episodes from different Trek shows I don't VOY holds up. VOY featured more average or middling episodes than TNG so if VOY happened to feature a better than average episode for themselves I get the higher rating, but I don't match every three star TNG episode with every three star VOY episode and think they perfectly match.

    I don't know if any of the previous paragraph made any sense, but I think you just have to take the rating scale for each series and apply it specifically for each series.

    But in the end it's all a matter of opinion. I'm sure there are tons of episodes people disagree on for whatever reason. For example, Jammer enjoyed Joel Grey's guest performance in VOY: "Resistance." I didn't. But that doesn't mean I hate VOY.

    Feel free to disagree, but I just think it's silly to believe someone would invest this much time and work into a review site (regardless of the show) if he or she actually hated it.

    Thanks, Jeff. I think you've described the star rating scale accurately. It is not meant to be absolute or even necessarily consistent. It is meant to be a useful guide taken in consideration with what I've written as well as the other factors out there -- not the least of them being that I wrote most of these reviews 10 or 15 years ago.

    And the notion that I somehow "hate" "Darmok" because I "only" gave it three stars is just silly. I actually LIKE "Darmok." But I don't like it as much as a lot of other TNG episodes. Ergo, three stars instead of four.

    As for the claim that I "hate" TNG (or even Voyager, for that matter) is ridiculous. If I hated any of these shows I wouldn't have reviewed them. I would've stopped like I did at the end of the second season of Andromeda.

    You're welcome. Looking forward to the season 6 reviews.

    Jeff, that's how I understand Jammer's rating system as well. It is adjusted to the series in question. You just gotta have somewhat different criteria when grading underachievers compared to geniuses.

    For example, if he used Voyager or perhaps even other Trek grading scale in his BSG reviews, I guess around 75% of all episodes would have to get 4 stars ;)

    Either that, or he'd have to invent a fifth star.

    Can we please not spoil a perfectly sanitary review of TNG with BSG talk? Please???????

    It's hard to rate an episode like this I think. It's pretty stupid, it isn't about anything, it takes itself WAY to seriously and yet is offensively casual at the same time. Yet...the moments which work are so hilarious it's hard not to recommend an episode like this.

    In college, I took one Shakespeare course on comedies/histories and one on tragedies. While it was necessary to mention and even dissect the opposing dramatic means in both classes, it was extremely helpful on the whole to keep them separate. If such a division of episode types exists for TNG, I think that would help in justifying ratings like 3 stars here.

    I dig the very 24th century goodwill going on here, but I'm not too happy to find it confirmed that Jammer's reviews are on the whole a reflection of what he likes and doesn't like. I will grant DS9 episodes (which as I series I pretty much hate) their 4-star dues when they're good (which occasionally they are) even though I can't bring myself to like them. It makes the whole effort of reviewing seem like an exercise in realising one and Jammer have the same tastes.

    My reviews are a confirmation of what I like and don't like? As opposed to learning that I like things I hate and hate things I like? What is that supposed to even mean?

    It's not like I pick certain themes and say, "moral plays on TNG are all boring" and "everything dark and gritty on DS9 is great."

    jammer, perhaps I read too much into your post :

    "And the notion that I somehow "hate" "Darmok" because I "only" gave it three stars is just silly. I actually LIKE "Darmok." But I don't like it as much as a lot of other TNG episodes. Ergo, three stars instead of four."

    I took this to mean that your evaluation of an episode's quality is subject to the whims of your own personal reactions rather than attempted objectivity. I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that personal taste can account for half a star or at most a star and a half, but....let me put it this way; how do you think people would react if you gave "City on the Edge" less than 4 stars?

    "I took this to mean that your evaluation of an episode's quality is subject to the whims of your own personal reactions rather than attempted objectivity."

    Oh c'mon Elliott, you really don't mean that, right?

    It seems to me that the first criterion a reviewer has to take into account is exactly that -- personal reaction. We are all human beings, we like what we like. I for one prefer it that way; otherwise you can end up with those bogus critiques where it's obvious that the reviewer doesn't really like/dislike a certain show/movie/whatever but feels obligated to adjust his opinion to be in line with an intangible "objective consensus".

    In fact, that's a pretty common fan behaviour where you can see them desparately trying to convince themselves of a greater truth.

    I also think that Darmok is among the very best Star Trek has ever produced. It reminds me of LeGuins masterpiece Left Hand of Darkness in its timeless beauty and humanism. But hey, if Jammer thinks otherwise, it's silly trying to show him the error of his ways.

    BTW, your DS9 hatred is really spinning out of control. No need to be on some crusade against it.

    LOL, Trek reviews are no laughing matter. TNG's fifth season, in particular, is very, very serious business.


    I meant every word I said.

    That reviewers feel obligated to adjust their ratings to accomodate something objective is not "bogus" ; of course a reviewer cannot divorce himself from his humanity (no one is a Data), but the attempt at objectivity is a responsibility of informed opining. Personal rections are worth mentioning absolutely and can factor marginally into one's evaluation, but should never eclipse the analysis.

    I am not so much on a crusade against DS9 as one in favour of VOY--I think DS9 was the inferior incarnation and I'm definitely in the minority, but DS9 advocates seem to be much more vocal on this site so I feel the need to speak a little more loudly in compensation.

    Marina Sirtis herself complained to Ron Moore that this episode made Troi look completely incompetent. She doesn't even know what a containment breach is?

    As something of a military buff, I was always extremely bothered by the very premise of this episode. The whole story is based on a completely nonsensical idea that a *counselor* is going to assume command.

    Troi may have the highest rank (LtCmdr) of everyone left on the bridge, but she is a godamn psychologist, for crying out loud, she is not a part of the chain of command.

    In any real world organization, Ro would be in charge, seeing as how O'Brien isn't an officer.

    May seem like a nitpick, but I just couldn't buy the rest of the episode when the whole plot hinges on such a nonsense.

    Oh god, now I remembered Beverly Crusher commanding the Enteprise in Descent :shudder:

    Jammer's star ratings have already been expounded upon, so I shouldn't even go there, but...this gets a lower rating than "The Game"? Really? Besides Ashley Judd's hotness that was one of the worst TNG shows of the run, in my opinion. At least "Disaster" had Ensign Ro, singing Picard, the hilarious birth scene, and the cute tag with the two Number Ones on the bridge. Easy 3 stars from me.

    A couple things about this episode:
    There were women in Ten Forward when Keiko was giving birth (including one wiping her forehead) so why did Worf need to be the one to deliver the baby? Guess writers thought the contrast would provide more humor.

    And it's too bad Riker didn't think of detaching Data's head at the hearing that decided he was a human being etc. It would really have been difficult to convince anyone that Data was nothing more than a computer in the shape of a man!

    Aah, everybody was talking to Jeff! I'm so confused!

    Being considered attractive =\= useful. :)

    At any rate, this score is a bit lower than I'd personally provide. It's a two-and-a-half star over here: Troi's incompetence is grating and the one-on-top-of-the-other cliche syndrome, irksome.

    Oddly enough, while I usually don't care for stories involving children in my fiction I thought Picard's end of the deal was surprisingly OK, no doubt in large part because Patrick Stewart could read the phone book and get an Emmy nomination out of it.

    Speaking of things that very rarely do it for me, the baby delivery was something I was dreading going back into "Disaster" as an adult. I hate the vast majority of these scenes. And yet the dialogue between Worf and Keiko proved exceptional. Possibly the highlight of the hour. Never, ever thought I'd say that.

    I didn’t mind this episode as much as you did. I liked it as a “something different” show – The ship is completely dead and no one can get around. Turbolifts are dead, the bridge has limited control and crew… I liked elements of it. Yes, I agree some of the content was contrived and silly, some working and some not. Worf brought some freshness to the clichéd baby delivery scene. Perhaps Picard’s transformation into a child-lover was a bit instant (nor do I truly believe that his anti-children stance, first referenced in Encounter at Farpoint, truly fits the enlightened character Picard has grown into since the first season).

    I heard once (and I say this with the caveat that I don’t see it on Memory Alpha, so I don’t know if I heard this as a rumour that was in fact false) that this episode was actually a ‘test’ episode to see if O’Brien and Ro would work strongly commanding the ship, as Ro was originally intended to join O’Brien on DS9 instead of Kira. This would explain why those two take ‘charge’ on the bridge for a time. This episode probably had some contribution to the later concept of the Bridge Officer Test that Troi would herself take (which make you wonder – had Lt. JG LaForge already taken this test in the first season when he took command at least one time? And if so, The later episode would suggest the test is only open to Lt. Cmdrs, as the position promotes Troi to Commander.

    Actually I would hope that the star rating system would translate across the various series, rather than the notion that a **** Voyager is only **** BECAUSE it's Voyager, and that the same exact story presented on, say, DS9 would only rate *** because DS9 somehow has a higher bar. But it's all moot anyways because I tend to think jammer, and anyone else, would be rather likely to rate the same episode differently depending on the day, based on trivialities as simple as the mood you were in when viewing it.

    Back to the episode...did noone else notice the ridiculousness of Georgi LaForge having to ask "where" when Beverly says the wall is hot considering that contraption on his face?

    Definitely a 3 star ep for me. It's a classic mesh of disaster movie vignettes, nothing wrong with breaking out a well worn trope, as long as you throw some fresh wrapping on it (such as popping off Data's head and carrying it around the ship). Stoic guy has to deliver a baby? How hard was that to see coming? I still bet it had people chuckling.

    I'm not exactly sure how a review is supposed to be objective either. Other than the technical aspects of the production, or perhaps the originality (or lack of) in the storyline, isn't a review basically describing what you liked or didn't like about something? Was it fun? Was it entertaining? Was it boring and predictable? Does it accomplish it's own goals?

    Those are highly subjective. It's all based on opinion. Which I totally get scaling between shows, if you think a series is generally subpar, good episodes seem great in comparison.

    I agree with most people here that this is a fun episode which might deserve a higher rating. A episode like this was never done before and feels fresh in that perspective. However, it became dumb and brainless once Voyager did a thing like this every other episode. Repairing the ship here so sudden is therefore not a problem to me as it isn't a cliché yet and at least they acknowledge that they need to go to a starbase for more repairs.
    Apart from the fun and excitement, this episode ranks among the most illogical ones on TNG, e.g.:
    - there is no one in the whole of engineering or an engineer closer to it than Riker and Data?
    - no power in engineering or the possibility of getting it without the bridge rerouteing it? Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?
    - ensign Black Guy on the bridge trying to get the first turbolift out of there!
    - discussion in the dark conference room with only 3 people while ensign Black Guy had to stay on the bridge and every minute counted
    - Keiko not getting a more private spot to give birth, like pull a table into the corridor or hack another door while you're there...
    - indeed, Geordie not detecting the plasma fire with his visor
    - cargobay outer doors, forcefield and environmental control working fine but the door to the hallway is stuck like every other door on the ship.

    Still, it was a fun episode

    I really enjoyed this episode, I think it is much better than 2 stars. I loved the Whorf scenes, they were extremely funny.

    Just putting in my 2 cents: I enjoyed this episode as well. I didn't see any production problems. There are some "logic" problems, as others have pointed out, but none of them have caused my enjoyment of this episode to detract.

    There's no way this is on the same level as The Inner Light, but neither is it so mediocre (such as "Hosts" - at least it is for me) that I would recommend a pass. I would give it 3 stars using Jammer's rating system.

    As a side note, of all the subplots, I found the one on the bridge the most interesting and entertaining. You got (at least by what the show potrayed) an incompetent commander, an officer who doesn't follow the rules if she doesn't feel like it, including safety procedures, and you got the straight man O'Brien. As far as I was concerned, they could have made the whole show the interplay between those 3, and I would have been fine with it.

    Some episodes I couldn't wait for them to end so I could get them out of my mind (that one with Llaxwanna Troi and Alexander in a mud bath comes to mind), but this wasn't one of those, I was entertained throughout.

    Seriously, HOW can you possibly have given this only 2 stars but the inferior DS9 version of this episode (Starship Down) gets 3 stars? Did you just decide before writing these reviews that you were always going to rank TNG lower than DS9 no matter what?

    @MadBaggins...I'd say that "Civil Defense" is much closer to being DS9's answer to this episode than "Starship Down"

    I always liked that episode. It felt fresh, something new and had interesting dynamics. It also played well the "fish out of water" situation of many characters and had something interesting/important to do for every one of them. And yes, I always liked the Troi character! Definetely deserves more than a mere 2 stars!

    @MadBaggins - "Starship Down" is inferior to this? I'd say the difference lies in the execution. That, and it's much easier to buy Worf's tendency to be overbearing causing friction while in command than conceiving of Troi as even theoretically qualified to command a starship.

    I mean... I really like "Disaster". It's the epitome of a so-bad-it's-kinda-good disaster movie, like "The Day After Tomorrow". It contains more than its fair share of stupidity and arbitrary plot points, e.g. Keiko's precipitous and (in)conveniently timed labour, a woefully ignorant and unqualified Troi in command, and the fact that the button to re-pressurize the cargo bay is bizarrely NOT on the same panel that opens the door and *de-pressurizes* it!

    But it is fun, much like episodes like "The Royale", "Qpid", "The Ensigns of Command" ("My grandfather is buried on that mountain!!"), "Schisms", and "Liasons". (okay, the last isn't really fun apart from the "Love me!!" line)

    I really, really don't understand why people get hung up on star ratings. What does it has to do with *your* enjoyment of the show? Maybe Jammer should add a "for entertainment purposes only" disclaimer, hah!

    I definitely agree with the notion of star ratings being "for entertainment purposes only." They tend to be dissected far beyond their practical usefulness.

    Ha ha this is funny.

    Worf boredly checking his uniform while they talk baby names.

    The immediate analysis that it's a 'quantum filament'.

    Ensign Black Guy checks the turbo lift before he checks his injured colleague right next to him. Then again she is a red shirt so he must have known she was dead.

    'Stop crying!!!'

    Ro's face on learning Troi outranks her.

    'Heat? Where?'

    'It's like a cosmic string?' 'No.'

    Half a million amps?

    'You bore that well'. Ultimate compliment from Worf.

    'Can't you tell?'

    Bay repressurisation takes 0.5 seconds.

    'That is not the correct port sir.'

    The magic wink.

    Gotta love it.

    Seemed like a filler episode to me. The pairings were cliche. Let's trap Picard with kids and have Worf deliver a baby. Clearly a case of forced humor as was Troi's dig at Riker.

    This episode isn't perfect, but it certainly is enjoyable. Worf's scenes are perhaps the funniest of the entire series (or even any of the Trek series), and it's fun watching Picard grow beyond his obvious discomfort around the children. Riker and Data work well together, and it would have been nice to see more of them instead of the dull LaForge/Crusher subplot.

    Anyway, this is something different, something fun -- especially considering it is essentially a bottle episode. It may not be great, but it has always been one of my favorites.

    The episode is not meant to be taken overly seriously. I do love the fact that there is no one in Engineering -- the main explanation we should presume is that everyone in Engineering is dead, but TNG is too tasteful to show any bodies. Also, that connecting Data's head to the various warp subsystems is easier than Riker trying to shut it down himself. (Well, maybe THAT part is not that implausible.)

    Stories ranked:

    Picard & kids: ***. "Executive officer in charge of radishes." Picard getting over his frustration with kids and finding a way to connect to them. Them refusing to leave him behind. Slight but fun.

    Worf & Keiko: ***. Of course it's a cliche, but Worf is so much fun here. "You may now give birth." "You bore that well." As was mentioned above, Worf casually brushing on his uniform while discussing baby names. "This is not a good time!" "And now you must push and I must reassure you -- firmly but gently -- to push." Hee.

    La Forge & Crusher: *1/2. The only panel to repressurize the bay is on the other side of the room, then? Thanks.

    Data & Riker: **1/2. Worth it for the wackiness of Data's head separation, and Riker's reaction, though not otherwise notable.

    Troi, Ro and O'Brien: **. Here is where, as Jammer points out, the main trouble lies. Troi is written as incompetent a little beyond what she should be -- surely even she knows what a containment breach would mean? Meanwhile, the rules which govern the episode are so arbitrary that we have no real sense of what Ro and Troi's differing positions really mean in terms of probability. This does make good use of O'Brien's professionalism and Ro's abrasiveness.

    Even still, I'm not sure what, in-universe, the correct solution is. Troi seems not well-informed enough in ship's systems to be an appropriate commander in this situation, but she clearly is the ranking officer, and it also makes sense that someone whose field is with the human side of the crew would have a high rank without as much knowledge of the ship's systems as Ro/O'Brien do. Further, Troi's position as advocate for the crew and for saving the greatest number of people actually does rely to some degree on what her "job" is on the ship, as the person who is supposed to look out for the crew's interests. That Troi has a decent rank is because the Enterprise puts high emphasis on her role as counsellor, and it makes some sense that this value for the lives of individual shipmates is the thing that she ultimately does contribute to the command set-up, in contrast to Ro's pragmatism. (Troi turns out to be right, but as she says to Ro, Ro easily could have been.)

    Episode as a whole:

    Overall though I just like this episode for the fun of spending time with this crew, in whose company I could pass hours. It's filler, and much of it is stupid, but there are some bright spots. In general, this episode has the same type of problem that many future episodes have (say, "Masks") which make the ship seem entirely fragile to the point where one wonders why it is out there at all; in order to drive the not-very-serious plot forward, the entire ship is placed in jeopardy which is then removed the moment the individual subplots are finished. So, you know, not a serious endeavour. 2 stars, but a high 2 stars.

    The depressurization of the cargo scene was goofy...Georgdi sez that someone has to get to "that panel" to repressurize, but the panel had lots of buttons on it...Geordi may know offhand which button it is, but how could Beverly (who ends up doing it) possibly know? But then, apparently, all that is required is to touch the panel anywhere. But, couldn't Geordi have jsut quickly programmed things so that the same panel he used to open and close the door, which was right within his reach, would also begin the repressurization?

    Having so many people and so much action take place in Ten Forward made it very obvious that Guinan was missing from Ten Forward. What a mess she'll have to clean up when she reports to work next...

    I liked this episode. A solid three stars in MY rating system. Picard and kids, always makes for entertaining scenes, and I just loved Worf as a midwife. His character seems to get all the best lines in TNG.

    It's strange that Ro had to tell O'Brien how to overcome the thermal inversion in the power coupling. I thought Miles was the genius on such matters.

    @TH: I wonder if being bridge-qualified was simply REQUIRED for Troi to get the promotion? I agree that she was badly written here. However, she was NOT in charge of the bridge...the OOD was killed in the initial power surge.

    Also, regarding Worf: he may have been the only one there with medical training.

    Not much to say about this episode. It's a fun but mostly harmless romp. Each of the 5 plots were generally acceptable and moved along nicely. Picard's characterization was great, showing that his annoyance at kids isn't as big a deal as some make it out to be. He's uncomfortable around them, yes, but when the chips are down he deals with it like he deals with any other problem. People comparing kids to kryptonite for Picard are going too far.

    As for Troi's plot, yes, she was way too clueless and didn't portray it well, but Ro and Miles were good. O'Brien should have been in politics. Take the useless figurehead and prop her up as the authority figure and support her whole-heartedly, and then give her "advice" when she finds herself indecisive. Take command without anyone realizing it. Smiley really should have taken over the mirror universe...

    And the Worf plot was hilarious. Don't forget Keiko; she had some great lines too!

    Since there's not much to talk about really, I'm going to harp on a very minor point. Namely, why weren't there oxygen masks in the cargo bay? Normally I'd complain about a lack of OSHA compliance, but we did see them in The Hunted. So why weren't they here? Did the writers forget? Or did they think they needed more dramatic tension?

    Because if they were going for dramatic tension, they failed. We know they aren't going to die. Characters don't just get meaningless deaths in the middle of a season... unless your name is Tasha, of course (and even her death was less pointless than if Geordi or Bev died here). And even then, you are absolutely not killing off two characters in a pointless death. So of course they are going to survive. Admittedly, 99 times out of 100 the heroes live in fiction. But does that mean there's never dramatic tension or suspense? Of course not.

    But what drives suspense and tension in those instances is still uncertainty about the future. We may guess that the characters will survive, but we don't know how they will. We don't know how they're going to get out of this mess. When two Warbirds decloaked in front of the Enterprise in The Defector, there was tension. Of course the Enterprise wouldn't be destroyed.... But how would it escape? We had no clue, so real tension was present. Would they fight their way out? Would a Picard speech save them? Would Jarok offer his life to spare the Enterprise? Who knows? So when the Klingon ships decloaked, the tension shifted, and we could all breath easier. It worked. But here? We know the plan: hit the button before you run out of oxygen. The only uncertainty is how much fake drama we can get in having the actors stumble about. But of course one of them will hit the button. No tension at all.

    So why have it in at all? The suspense was present at the beginning when the fire appeared. First there was the attempt to move the barrels. That bought some time. So how to solve the problem? Blow it out the airlock. And that's all you need. If you want a little extra suspense, make some technobabble situation that Geordi has to Macgyver the thing to blow due to some system being down; people have already pointed out how silly it is that the outer door works just fine but the door to the hallway doesn't. Use that as your plot device, and you don't have to worry at all about the silly contrivance of people stumbling over themselves to reach a panel. And you also don't have to try to explain why, yet again, the Enterprise seems to be lacking in all common sense when it comes to safety.

    And how hard is it to hold your breath for more than 15 seconds anyway? Clearly neither of these two were ever swimmers.

    "People comparing kids to kryptonite for Picard are going too far."

    We all have it in us to handle problems we are not comfortable with, I think that's more what it is. Picard is not BAD with kids (see his charming exchange with his nephew), he's uncomfortable around them. In fact some people are very GOOD at things they are uncomfortable with, but they have to try.

    I think that's the moral of it all. Picard was good with the kids, Troi ends up being good with command (at least enough to not let Ro push her around), and Worf is able to deliver the baby.

    The other 2 weren't really fish out of water stories, but I would have liked if they had tried to push them a little more to conform to the theme. Maybe instead of the silly plot with the cargo bay Beverly gets injured and has to talk a squeamish Geordi, who is more comfortable dealing with computers, into performing triage on her. Or something like that.

    I liked this episode more as it continued. It shows the exceptional leadership potential of the senior officers when things go unexpectedly wrong. I appreciate these episodes showing the more routine aspects of living on the Enterprise - dealing with debilitating ship malfunctions are a part of that. I love seeing how cool and rational the senior officers are when circumstances change quickly - they represent an ideal of "level-headedness" I think we should all aspire to.

    I love how this episode had lots of problems, but the non-qualified solving each: Troi in command, Crusher pushing the control panel in the cargo bay because Geordi has collapsed, Picard with children, and, Worf delivering a baby. I was cracking up with every line he had. The tension between him and Keiko actually made you forget there was a bigger disaster going on. This will be one of my favorites, but unlike others, I think TNG is entertainment. Tension, humor, and fish-out-of-water stories are always theatrical, and usually entertaining. I don't really care how much techno-babble Troi can speak. She was true to character--she could feel every living being onboard. I don't think she could ever consciously decide to take their lives.


    "But did anyone else want to smack that Jay Gordon kid?"


    One problem I had with Troi's command persona was that she didn't have one -- O'Brien had to explain to Ro, "She [Troi] holds the rank of lieutenant commander." Troi herself should have shrugged on her command persona -- surely that's part of the training for the command track -- and said it herself, something all Al Haig-like, perhaps "I'm in charge here" and "Ensign Ro, you're on report for insubordination."

    Despite it being a fluff episode, this carried on from "The Wounded" and "Data's Day" in making O'Brien a more rounded character, The way he delivered the technobabble and his mini-conflict with Ro really reflected the O'Brien we saw in the early seasons of DS9. While I don't dislike Troi nearly as much as some TNG fans, the bit where he brushed off her comparison between a quantum filament and a cosmic string was a punch-the-air moment (and hopefully a deliberate wink by the writers about the sudden introduction of this hazard for starships - can't think of another episode that mentions these filaments).

    Weird you gave this one 2 stars, I always liked this one!

    3 stars from me.

    Yeah surprised Jammer didn't like this one so much. I gave it easily a 3 star. I really enjoyed this episodes use of characters. Putting each character in uncomfortable situations or with there own set of obstacles. Picard with kids and Counselor Troi on the bridge and ranking officer. Data and Riker getting to enginnering and uses a frequent unused combo of Dr. Crusher with Geordi. I also like that the storyline was that there was a phenomenon and the ship goes down. It felt more like a realistic thing and a movie style premise. Great episode.

    Five stories in one episode? That's pushing it a little far for my tastes.

    The main problem with "Disaster" is, like Jammer said, it's "a collection of half-baked C-stories." Taken on their own, most of the stories could legitimately be good, but forcing them together like this harms each one. What we end up with is a situation where there are too many dishes in the fire so none of them are properly cooked. At least two of the five needed to be jettisoned and the time spent on them used to better develop the remaining three.

    The first one that really needed to go was the LaForge/Crusher story. Aside from the novelty of putting two characters who rarely do much together in the same story, what did this one actually add to the mix? Nothing. The story connects in no way to the others. Not only that, but it really adds no character development to either Crusher or LaForge. It was a nice little diversion, but a needless one.

    The second that needed to be dropped was the Worf/Keiko story in Ten Forward. The only element this story added to any others was a moment's concern from Chief O'Brien on the bridge when he wants to know what happened to Ten Forward because that's where Keiko was. The story did provide some good humor to the episode with Worf, of all people, having to be the midwife. But, did we really need a whole sub-plot focused on Molly's birth? Good grief, she's not even named in the episode! (And, as an aside, given that "Disaster" aired less than ten months after "Data's Day," where the O'Brien wedding took place, and given that Keiko directly tells Worf that she still had another month before her due date, she and Miles sure didn't waste much time, did they?! LOL!) This was another nice diversion, but another needless one.

    The three remaining stories - Troi/O'Brien/Ro, Riker/Data, Picard/kids - are what this episode should have focused on exclusively. Even without the compression the first two stories are forcing on them, only one of these remaining three is handled properly.

    Let's start with the Troi/O'Brien/Ro story. I'm most likely in the minority here, but I actually like the idea of putting Troi in command, even if it makes absolutely no sense. (Seriously, the character who "should" have been put in command once the Conn Officer was killed was Ensign No-Name at Ops, but we all know that wouldn't happen. One of the main or recurring characters would be placed in command, not some random nobody. But of the three characters we focus on, Troi is the last person in line for the job. O'Brien obviously would be a better choice since he's clearly the most competent of the three. But, he's an enlisted man, not an officer, which has been established by this point. Ro should have been placed in command. Once she climbed out of the turbolift shaft, she should have immediately assumed command. She, unlike O'Brien, is an officer. And, unlike Troi, is a Bridge Officer. Troi may in fact vastly outrank Ro, but the Bridge Officer status should be the determining factor. Ro is trained for situations like this; Troi isn't. And, really, how interesting would it have been to have Ensign Ro in command, especially so soon after joining the show?) But, despite all of that, I'm willing with roll with the idea of Troi in command because it actually gives her something constructive to do that doesn't involve her ill-defined empathic abilities and isn't a romance plot. As for her initial indecision giving way too quickly to decisiveness - that's exactly why this story needed more time to be properly fleshed out. Cut out the "pregnant woman antics" and give us more character development for Troi!

    Now the Riker/Data story. This one is essential for the episode because it's the one that ultimately solves the main dilemma - the warp core breach. (Another aside - how the hell does Troi not know what a containment breach is?!) However, of all the stories, this one is the one that absolutely begs to be developed further. It's ultimately nothing but Riker and Data crawling through some Jefferies Tubes, nothing else. Good Lord, give them something to actually do!

    Finally, the Picard/kids story. The one, and only, story of the five that's properly developed and utilized. What a wonderful situation to put Picard in. It has no relevance to the other stories, but I don't care because it gives us some marvelous character growth for Picard. It's quite possibly the most humanizing story he's had thus far. And, we actually get kids acting like kids! That's something Trek has really struggled with. I have no problems with this one.

    So, what is "Disaster"? Well, it's not a disaster of an episode. Each of the five stories are enjoyable in their own way. They just didn't need to be crammed together like this. "Disaster" is a perfect example of something not being greater than the sum of its parts.


    @Luke - I'll mostly agree with you, but come to a slightly different conclusion. The Data/Riker story honestly did nothing for me either (you seem to agree). But your solution would be to jettison 2 other stories and expand that. I disagree.

    This episode was more about Troi/Picard than anything else. I'd have jettisoned the Data/Riker story to add more suspense to the Troi story. Troi may be second guessing herself, but WE know Riker/Data are going to make it in the nick of time... we're watching them do it. And honestly... Worf's plotline provided a decent humorous C plot to a heavy episode.

    I'd have gotten rid of Crusher/LaForge and Data/Riker. Then I'd have refocused Troi's story to make IT the A plot, left Picard's story entirely alone and kept Worf for the comic relief.

    I think I'd still rate this higher than you though. 7/10

    Also, to expand on my comment above. Those 3 stories flow together as "fish out of water" stories. The Counselor in command, the Captain in command of daycare and the soldier as a midwife.

    The other 3 stories were filler, the fish out of water stories were the ones I liked. Data's story existed entirely for the cool factor of removing his head. It was empty.


    "The Data/Riker story honestly did nothing for me either (you seem to agree)."

    I do agree. Three of these five stories left me cold, but I can't see getting rid of this one because the whole plot depends on it. Unless you're going to have Picard and the kids emerge from the turbolift shaft in Main Engineering and have Picard be the one who fixes the problem, I can't see how you can cut it.

    If the viewer has no idea what's going on in Engineering I think it makes the bridge story more suspenseful. Data/Riker can fix it off screen. And then you genuinely don't know if everyone in Engineering is dead!

    Apparently I'm in the minority (or maybe even alone) in finding the Picard story absolutely insufferable, but then again I prefer my Trek without children. I would have much rather have seen Picard and Beverly trapped together. (That also would have spared us from the rather pointless Beverly/Geordi storyline...)

    Troi is easily my least favorite character in TNG, but I actually really enjoyed seeing her in this scenario. More to the point, I enjoyed how Ro and O'Brien reacted to her. Overall, this surprised me by being my favorite plotline of the episode.

    So I guess my ideal modification of this episode's storylines would have been:

    -Troi/Ro/O'Brien on the bridge (as is)
    -Picard and Beverly in the turbolift
    -Data and Riker saving the ship (expanded)

    While I enjoyed Worf's dialogue, I agree with others that the time spent with him and Keiko in Ten Forward limited the other, meatier plots.

    TNG does The Poseidon Adventure. What we have here is a set of disaster movie vignettes, indeed. But when they are handled with the wit and verve we see here, what's not to like?

    Seeing how characters who don't normally interact deal with a set of problems provides fresh insight and motivation to character development. Ro's ultra-pragmatic approach tests Troi's aptitude for command. Worf makes an unexpectedly competent doctor (and despite the hilarious delivery scenes, the best line is still "You bore it well"). Data's severed head makes for a comedic vision all its own.

    It's shallow but it's sharp and it's both fun and funny. Worthy 3 stars.

    Jammer seems to have a problem with disaster plots. I thought this episode was a solid 3 star outing. I feel about it roughly the way I felt about the DS9 episode Civil Defence, another that Jammer panned.

    I don't generally like cute children episodes (I loathed When the Bough Breaks) but in this one it worked because they played well off Picard and his well established discomfort with kids. Patrick Stewart just made the episode, and I liked how he was forced by circumstance to adjust to the needs of his "crew", particularly when they refused to abandon him in the turbolift and committed mutiny on him.

    The Geordi / Crusher plot was not all that interesting, but Worf's line "You may now give birth" to Keyko was gold and stole the show. Cliched? Sure. But what can I say, it worked.

    As for the other A plot, mainly Troi on the bridge, I enjoyed that as well. Note I am certainly not a fan of Troi's character by any stretch of the imagination. But here it worked, because it played into all the criticism Troi has received over the years as being useless, as being little more than eye candy. You could just feel Ro Laron channeling all of the pent up contempt from the fans. Here was finally something for Troi to do, a real decision she was forced to make in the heat of command and not something that could be solved by psychobabble. I liked it. That she got let off the hook in the end (rather than blowing up the ship) was a necessary evil.

    I too find the Picard-story horrible, but the parts where Worf has to be Keiko's Birth facilitator made it all worth it.

    Thomas: I love how on Deep Space Nine when Keiko becomes pregnant again Worf arranges his schedule so he's far away from the station when the baby is born. Hilarious follow up to this episode.

    This whole time I just assumed Troi was some sort of civilian attache, who helped out children and crewmen on the ship. I never once looked at her and thought yup that woman seems competent enough to outrank Ro laren chief O'brien Geordi and share the same rank as Data. It also explained why she never wore a damn uniform.

    I always thought ships counselor was a special rank somewhere between crewman and ensign.

    @ Ivanov,

    It does seem strange, but I suspect that what happens is the moment an officer becomes senior staff and the head of a department they are immediately promoted so that they aren't in charge of people above them in rank. It would make the chain of command difficult to maintain on a ship otherwise. This would certainly be true of a ship's chief medical officer regardless of what their rank had been before; you can't have someone who effectively outranks the Captain in certain situations be an ensign. I imagine department heads in the sciences maybe have to be senior grade lieutenants or something like that (which I believe Neela Daren was). It's a little less clear since we don't ever see a 'counseling department', but still since Deanna is senior staff and is effectively Picard's attache in all diplomatic and strategic scenarios, she can't be a mere ensign and have that kind of responsibility. The show failed entirely to show her in that role, mind you, relegating her instead to inane chatter, but if you think about what she does and where she sits on the bridge she's more like a psi-corps telepath (from B5) than a therapist. That they choose to focus on her therapy sessions in later seasons rather than her tactical contribution is...well, sad.

    I really hate how there's always someone on the bridge who goes flying to their death in an emergency. Why wouldn't a starship have seatbelts or safety harnesses of some kind that get deployed in an emergency?

    I also wanted to point out a minor nitpick with this episode: the baby that Keiko gives birth to is caucasian - it has no oriental features at all.

    Hello Everyone


    I have been thinking about the lack of harnesses or whatnot, and while watching an episode of DS9 where their runabout crash lands through trees (!) while the two main characters only shake and rattle a bit, I've come to the conclusion that the Federation believes their inertial dampeners will always function properly to keep folks from flying about too much. Without them, the crew would be paste on the back wall when they went to warp. So they must believe they will always function to keep everyone on an even keel when the ship is violently shaken.

    Now, we know that every ship in the fleet has folks flying this way and that, so the inertial dampeners don't always work quickly enough for sudden emergencies, but this was the only thing I could come up with. Reality is they probably thought folks falling down (and chairs falling over in TOS) would add something to the drama. Or, they didn't want them bolted down to chairs when those darned plasma conduits would blow, or the consoles with no circuit breakers going kablooie (above comment by NCC-1701-Z), that suddenly work properly when someone steps over a body to take over that same console.

    I always thought they missed the boat on this one...

    Take care Everyone... RT

    Where are those children's parents? Seems highly unlikely that children that age would be visiting a Starfleet vessel all by themselves considering the distance and the risk (who is caring for them "off hours"?), and if the parents are there, it seems that they'd be taken on Picard's tour of the Enterprise as well. Clearly this was to facilitate the Picard stranded with children plot, but it was hard to buy.

    I assume the parents don't need a tour, because they work there; the children live and attend school aboard but haven't seen most working areas.

    Definitely a three-star episode. I enjoyed this more last night than I did years ago when I first saw it. I've been watching some of my favorite DS9 eps on DVD, and after watching Kira have the O'Briens' baby boy on "Begotten", thought I'd go back and watch Mollie O'Brien's birth. Such a hoot--laugh out loud funny. Worf rocks! The other plot lines were interesting and fun to watch, too. Not a deep episode, but entertaining. My only quibble would be Deanna Troy, who as usual was awful. A weak link in the chain of characters, no question about that. The only Troy scene I really like is in "Chain of Command, part 1", where Captain Jellico puts her in her place after her psycho-babble and tells her to go put on a uniform. Ha-ha-ha.

    Have to concur, way undermarked by Jammer. This is a fun and different little ep, placing a lot of the characters in fish-out-of-water scenarios. It's exceedingly watchable and for what seems like a stand alone show, sets a lot of things up for the future. It gets 3.5 stars from me.

    Three stars because it's fun!

    I am in the minority for hating the Keiko/Worf crap. Ugh. Stupid humor as a woman goes through something that is (take your pick) deeply meaningful, very bloody and painful, a risk to her health, a vulnerable moment in which her naked privates are on display. But yeah let's yuck it up!

    I am also apparently the only one who thought THE classic line of the episode was "Wait.- Data-- are you asking me to take off your head???"

    What, you don't think Klingons make good midwives? At least they didn't have him do a Caesarian with his Bat'Leth.

    1.5 stars

    2.5 base minus one half for annoying children, and another half for a woman giving birth.

    Its only because im feeling generous that i dont knock another half off for the singing

    I enjoyed. All four stories.

    I did find myself puzzled that everything is going fritz, but the artificial gravity is fully functional. Shouldn't that be futzing out, at least in random locations? Yet not only is it functional, it's functional enough to be a hazard in of itself. Even when I first saw it that puzzled me.

    Ever since movies like Event Horizon and shows like Battlestar Galactica have portrayed this more accurately, I've disliked shows that portray exposure to a vacuum inaccurately: trying to hold your breath is a death-sentence.


    Wow, someone pissed in your Wheaties this morning. From your apparent disposition in your post, I guess it had to be some children and a pregnant lady... :)


    I could say the same of your review. What did you find boring? How would you improve the episode?

    Just rewatched Disaster for the first time in years. I always liked the episode, if only because it put the crew out of their respective comfort zones. Yet, I winced at the
    "you have the bridge Number One" joke ending. A little too cutesy and cheesy for a show called Disaster.

    This episode would be referenced in season 7 when Troi decides to take the bridge exam and become a full commander. Riker only passes her after Deanna proves she can order people to their deaths if it would help save the ship and crew. Yet, in Disaster the same Riker doesn't want Data to possibly risk his "life" in order to save the Enterprise. Seems like a classic case of "do as I say, not as I do."

    How the hell does Picard get himself out of the turbo lift ? He's got a broken ankle and the kiddies aren't going to be pulling him up. Sorry. This has always bugged me.

    3 stars. The Klingon is brilliant and it's the only episode I can think of where Troi's presence on the set doesn't make me want to scream.

    Troi gets a lot of hate from the tng fanbase and I don't think all of it is justified.
    The character did get a lot better as soon as she was allowed to forego her bunny outfit and actually use her brain and in some essence that all started here in this episode.

    I think the episode deserves 2 stars just for that.

    Plus midwife worf that's another half a star.

    This has always been one of my favorites. That doesn't mean that I don't agree with a lot of the criticisms above. But I love every one of the mini-stories in here, especially Picard and the children and the HILARIOUS Worf/Keiko birth scene. As for all the discussion on rating scales above, I would say that I would rate this one 3 stars (acknowledging its many flaws), but within my own individual universe I rate it 4 stars because I just enjoy it so much (and that does not mean I place it on par quality-wise or impact-wise with Best of Both Worlds, The Inner Light, Yesterday's Enterprise, or Sins of the Father).

    Why on earth is the control to repressurize the cargo bay not right next to the one that depressurizes it? Are there no oxygen masks there? Aren't people being a bit harsh towards Deanna? I can't judge here counseling skills, but I would think anyone not trained in the technical aspects of a Star Ship or command would be of much use in the position she got forced in. No whether the way the story placed in here in that position is contrived or not is a different question. Oh well, the episode has a few questionable bits but isn't too bad.

    Barely a decent episode for me -- just seemed like everything that could go wrong did with some of the most contrived situations imaginable. Quite slow paced/boring at times but the later acts were better. Some good performances from Stewart, Dorn, and Chao as Keiko. I liked that Troi felt completely useless but that she tried to do her best and kept it together -- even though I'd question why she'd be in charge just based on rank instead of function.

    We know Ensign Ro is very driven and extremely pragmatic but her belief that a bunch of people are dead and to take drastic action (saucer separation) was ridiculous. Perhaps the writers put this in there just to have Troi exercise her authority.

    There were also some cool shots/moments like looking up the turbolift shaft -- get an idea of how massive the ship must be. Also liked Geordi/Crusher sending the cargo out into space -- although I have to wonder why the bay door was able to function perfectly but none of the other doors on the ship could... Also pretty cool was Data's head separated and still functioning (managed to contain the anti-matter). I always wonder why the gravity plating never fails in these situations -- probably too costly to create zero gravity...

    Worf helping Keiko give birth was an entertaining scene -- I guess she prematurely gave birth but this was also a bit cliche/contrived along with all the other vignettes. Worf had some good lines here and Keiko wasn't annoying, for a change.

    And like magic the ship is functioning in the end so we get a reset albeit after an arbitrary cosmic phenomenon damaging the ship in the first place.

    Barely 2.5 stars for "Disaster" -- not a disaster of an episode by any stretch but with plenty of flaws, contrivances, arbitrary situations. Not sure what has been gained from this episode -- Troi gets a taste of command and takes a jab at Riker since he doesn't have to command, maybe Picard gets a better understanding of kids? Should be some lasting damage from this episode but a quick trip to the star base will make everything perfect again.

    Another one I remembered from the original run and for the wrong reasons.

    Throughout the episode we are led to believe there are many fatalities.
    Well we only see one dead bridge officer-not anyone we ever met before.
    If a quantum filament can do that much damage to a Galaxy Class ship it is a wonder there is still a fleet.
    Mind you this episode at least confirms that the 1701D was just thrown together by some cowboys and should fail its MOT.
    Seriously-the ship's systems are that fragile?

    I agree with Jammer.

    I liked it. It's not an epic by any means, but a good "space is dangerous" episode that mixes up the crew and gives everybody some peril and something to do.

    And for all of you who whine all the time about how preachy Next Gen can get in social commentary episodes, you should wetting yourself over the happiness of a straight-on action episode.

    Couldn't Geordi's magic visor not detect the fire building behind the wall?

    I liked it more on re-watch. Rosalind Chao was great. I would have liked to see her shout some Klingon obscenities at him.

    Disaster: When the title of an episode describes the episode so well...

    How is it that nobody notices the officer on the bridge lying there dead? It takes 5 minutes for the Three Stooges to notice "oh, hey, a body on the floor".

    Troi is totally useless as usual this time. And to someone who said she never wore a uniform, she did in Season 1--she had the micro miniskirt (paired with huge big hair).

    The one thing I really like about this episode are the exterior views of the Enterprise without power - for once it actually looks realistic, not being surrounded by that horrible garish blue & red lighting & weird rectangles all over the hull. As someone who grew up with TOS, and for whom the Enterprise WAS Star Trek, I could never get over how TNG made the interior sets so stunning but the Enterprise itself look like a cartoon.

    While it might hit a few movie cliches, just about everything that happens in this episode is new for TNG.

    - seeing how the turbolifts work
    - Picard stuck with children in a life and death situation (would say borrowed from Jurassic Park but that was two years later (maybe from the book?))
    - Troi in command
    - Worf as a medic
    - O'Brian's most important situation yet I think
    - Data willingly electrocuting himself/Data's head detached
    - venting to put out a fire/enduring space vacuum

    it does end very abruptly, but otherwise it definitely deserves more than 2/4.


    I always liked this one. It's good to see the bridge crew work together to solve problems. And Troi got the most interesting assignment - taking charge. For once this wasn't The Captain Picard show. There were interesting pairings: Geordi and Crusher in their matter of fact roles but together when they normally aren't, I like Worf in most scenes and he as the best deadpan expressions "That birth was orderly", Picard and children, and finally Data and Riker -probably the most boring of the threads.

    I will now read the review and comments above to see what others thought. I predict all sorts of shitting on Troi by armchair captains who have never had to lead in real life and hate for Keiko ..but I have pleasantly surprised before.

    I have read the comments. I have my own rating system. It actually works better with a scale of 5.. I am using 10 here and I just realized that my scores don't actually translate between the 2. I use this for music and books as well and it basically answers the question "And the next step is?" so now that I have watched the episode or read the book what is the next step?

    3/5 means that I am glad I watched it or listened to the music or read the book but I wont buy or keep a copy (or turn the radio channel if the song would happen to be on)..then 4/5 and 5/5 mean I would buy my own copy of the book or music or keep the tv episode (if I did such a thing) 5/5 means I shout my love form the rooftops.

    2/5 means that I regret reading the book/listening to the music or watching the episode and 1/5 means I will shout my dislike from the treetops

    I just realized that I actually have been rating episodes as 7/10 when I mean 3/5.

    In this case, someone asked why a woman didn't help Keiko rather than Worf? really? Worf has had training. What an odd comment. Men with medical training work with women patients and women with medical training work with men patients. It works better if someone with medical training helps with a delivery. I assume this comment was because Worf would see Keiko. Women's "private parts" are not just for ogling and titillation or the private enjoyment of an intimate partner.

    Another person made the comment - I think the wonderful William B - that we really don't have the probabilities to know whether Troi or Ro is more reasonable. I agree with this. Ro is more vocal and her loud approach is a sign of lack of leadership.

    While it's certainly true that Worf has had medical training and that modesty, therefore, should not be a problem, this episode still has the unfortunate flaw that the main characters are doing everything (except the bridge officer at the very beginning who got a console exploded in her face). Fine, Worf has medical training. But don't the rest of the Starfleet officers have it as well? Yes, there's civilians on board, but how many? I'd imagine at least 25% of everyone on board is Starfleet. And yet no one else could provide medical assistance? In fact, before her labor started, Keiko (a botanist outside of Starfleet who probably did NOT have medical training) was the one assisting with medical help!

    It's understandable given how Hollywood works, but it was a bit weird. More egregious was Riker and Data attempting to get to an empty Engineering. So not ONE of Geordi's engineering crew realized that the situation was dire and tried to get there? Every main character was uninjured, but ALL of the goldshirts were and couldn't help? A bit silly. But ignoring that, it's a good episode.

    I just watched this episode last night. It was so much fun to see the main characters in places they’ve never been in, and probably internally fear. 3.25 stars out of 4, and 5 for having the guts to try something like this. It’s a gem of an outlier.

    I feel there is a lot of overthinking in these comments about nitpicky details in this episode that interferes with why we watch Trek—to escape vicariously through characters we adore and see how they cope with absurd circumstances that none of us will ever experience .

    Damn why did I stay in Starfleet?! Bald-Picard talked me into it back on Solarion IV.
    Every time I make a command decision people die, or almost die! Hell I butted heads with Counselor Troi and she ended up being right, ay yai yai!! I think I'll finally quit Starfleet since I don't belong here. I heard my cousin Leeta is going to Jupiter Station, maybe there's an opening for a Dabo girl at Deep Space 9.

    Thank goodness for the quantum filament - it kept us from seeing any more of Dr. Crusher's insufferable plays.

    Too bad for Ens. Mandel. Four characters on the bridge and you disappear halfway through the episode. They even have a strategy conference and you're not invited.

    @Jammer "...but move along, nothing to see here."

    Man that's harsh!

    'Disaster' strikes me as a pretty good episode. The kids are passable (as kids). It's great seeing the steady movement of Troi toward command, and her calling it right saved the ship. She pushes back against the caustic and intimidating bad girl Ro. More points are logged when nasty Ro has to eat crow! Thus sayeth the Raven. Ro admitting she was wrong was in itself a reason for putting the episode ahead of others.

    Of course Jammer has a point....birth scenes in time of crisis are hackneyed as hell, but this one was comparatively memorable. Loved Worf's line " Now is not a good time Keiko!" Michael Dorn does the panic stifled by chagrin thing so well and rises to the challenge by burying himself in his trusty tricorder.

    It rates a 7/10 despite Riker removing Data's head, and Picard dealing with those kids was really charming. His little girl no. 1 also did a good job with the part.

    A pretty dumb episode, this one. But enjoyable. It's a chance to watch a '70s style disaster movie in the Star Trek universe. Fun, but built on a pretty shaky premise, ie that the Enterprise could so easily be very comprehensively disabled. It doesn't really fit with my notion of the powerful, advanced Starfleet flagship we see in other episodes. And "bulkheads"? Really? I thought forcefields were used for that sort of thing. Seems a bit low tech.

    Good to see Ro again. I like her spirit. For an ensign, she's certainly highly uninhibited when speaking to senior officers, and I see that she has her non-dress-code earrings on as well. There's a certain darkness though, isn't there, given her past, in that her plan - ultimately overruled by Troi - could have cost the lives of a number of her comrades?

    We're reminded in this episode that the Enterprise, despite being involved in potentially lethal military confrontations every other week, is home to a sizeable population of children. It makes no sense.

    Fun to see Data's head detached. What a shame he doesn't have a couple of spares, like Kryten in Red Dwarf.

    Interesting that Troi is addressed as "Sir"; I'm pretty sure Janeway (for example) always gets "ma'am".

    Why is the ceiling in the turbolift so high? Given that there's a hatch there that gives access to a ladder running up and down the shaft. What's the point in making it harder to use?

    Geordi and Beverley's plan to repressurise the cargo deck seems reckless; what if the repressurising function isn't working because of the damage to the ship? I think this whole idea was recycled from Airport '77.

    And of course - Keiko giving birth. It's the little touch that almost transforms the whole episode into a parody of disaster movies rather than an homage.

    I don't understand why someone we don't recognise should be in charge of the bridge at the beginning of the episode, and I don't get how everything seems pretty much back to normal at the end of the episode. Would have been better if we'd seen another starship arriving to tow the Enterprise to a Starbase.

    Despite all that - fun.

    I always thought the falling turbo lift thing was ridiculous. They have gravity in a lift tube that the lift then has to work against? All the way to the, um, “bottom” floor of the ship like a skyscraper?

    Of course I can fan wank it, but blah. It just feels like a cheap import without any sci-fi thought.

    Never mind the "quantum anomaly"! LOL! Disastrous in more ways than one. Total incoherence. Saved by Worf the Midwife, uttering some priceless lines , and child hating Picard spending several hours trying to climb out if the broken turbolift with three whining kids, and a shattered ankle. Glimmers of a sense of humour in the writers, but too little and too undeveloped.

    @James G Sir instead of Ma'am also (as a non english native speaker) draw my intention.

    I have understood that in the beginning when female officers appeared male soldiers did not really know how to adress them. This might have been the case 1990 but hardly in 2370. I have also understood that some female officers prefer sir so it seems to be individual.

    In the series Chief O'Brian normaly gets orders from male Officers, except Dr. Crusher but there a response would be "Yes Dr. Crusher".

    I did enjoyed the triangel drama on the bridge. I had no Problem with how Troi handled it. She accepted that she had to make decissions in an area where she had no expertices. She listened to both opinions and decided. Ro did follow her orders and cooperated with O'Brian. Both Ro and O'Brian whre very constructive.

    The birth sceen was also entertaining. Geordi Crusher plot was not fantastic but no disaster. Data never loosing his head also ok. Picard in the lift would not have been funny if it had not been for the fact that (he beleivies) that he does not come clear with children. Here, like Troi, had to adapt and did it.

    The episode was entertaining.

    While it's easy to focus on Troi being bad at her job, we should spare a moment to consider Crusher telling Geordi not to exhale during explosive decompression.

    "While it's easy to focus on Troi being bad at her job, we should spare a moment to consider Crusher telling Geordi not to exhale during explosive decompression."

    Haha, how much practice have you had staying safe in explosive decompressions?

    BERMAN: We’ve never done a disaster movie in the whole history of Trek.
    PILLER: That’s because it just isn’t Trek.
    BERMAN: Why not? Anyway, what you got for the next episode?
    PILLER: I thought we could do that one about the giant intergalactic sentient radish that kidnaps Data to create sentient salad dressing for its survival.
    BERMAN: Yeah! Let’s go for it!
    PILLER: You know what? I’ve just come round to the disaster movie idea.
    BERMAN: Great. We could have Picard stranded with kids, Keiko stuck in Ten-Forward having her baby with - let’s see - someone unlikely as midwife..
    PILLER: Worf?
    BERMAN: Perfect! And we could put Troi in charge on the bridge.
    PILLER: What about Data? Crusher? Geordi? Riker?
    BERMAN: You’ll think of something.
    PILLER: We need a title.
    BERMAN: Yeah. The Day The World Stood Still? Or, what about The Need For Enterprise? No, wait! Three Kids, An Android, And A Baby?
    PILLER: Hmm. I’ll just call it Disaster as a code name until we come up with the real title.

    As a disaster movie cliche set on The Enterprise, it’s got to be 3 stars. As a TNG episode? 2.5, for Worf as midwife and Data having his head removed! There have been worse episodes…

    Not sure why I never thought of this before...but having just watched this again, I tried to see if I could find when DS9 casting was happening. I couldn't easily find out whether or not the casting was settled by this time, but my guess is that it was still really up in the air, especially since iirc Jadzia as an example wasn't even cast until after filming began.

    But looking at TNG S5 as being a ramp-up for DS9, it seems to me that, along with Ensign Ro and a few other episodes, Disaster plays as a very overt opportunity to set up DS9 for us to an extent. We have many serious interactions between Ro and O'Brien on the bridge, who might well have ended up butting heads again on DS9 had Forbes accepted the job. The cavalier and edgy Ro going up against the more somber and thoughtful O'Brien gets more screen time here than one would expect as a side-story in an episode of the week. So my guess is they were already sowing seeds. And then there's the Keiko's birth subplot, which in hindsight maybe has so much screen presence since they were setting up her family for DS9.

    Since TNG and DS9 thrived when using side characters and recurring personnel, it never occurred to me there might be an ulterior motive for this episode, but now that I've thought about it I'd be shocked if this was just a coincidence.

    This episode holds up a lot more than I remembered, though I think Picard's ease with the children - i suppose, which evolved after years on board - was still a little too sweet for what we knew about him.

    The line from Riker about Data needing a bigger head was also a nice touch.

    I have a feeling that Ro and O'Brien would have had a friendship on the show. The stories of Ro having left the camps, joined Starfleet, served time might have made it easier to turn to someone who knew her. Bringing in Kira Nerys changed the dynamic. While I think Michelle Forbes is probably a better actress in some ways, Kira's anger at the occupation and love for Bajor made her relationships very different, but I liked what they were trying to do with Ro.

    I actually like this episode, but it's because I like Troi as a character. I found her dilemma on the bridge compelling, even though the premise didn't make sense. The officers who wear red are command officers; the officers in blue (Troi, in later seasons) are medical/science; and the gold officers are security/engineering. It makes no sense that Troi would get command just because of her rank, when she has no training in command. It seems like Ro should've been in charge, but then it wouldn't have worked for the plot. Ro would've separated the saucer section and high tailed it out of there. What I liked to see during Troi's turnabout was when her empathic nature governed her decision to keep the ship in one piece despite disagreement, showing an entirely different kind of command style.

    The children were bad child actors, like almost every child who appeared in TNG. I think the only child that wasn't grating was Clara in Imaginary Friend. I even found Wesley Crusher annoying, until he grew up a bit. But I think the point of the Enterprise having families was to connect viewers with the prospect that anyone could explore space, even children. Nonetheless, in this episode the children were particularly off-putting.

    Data and Riker's premise was fine. Crusher and Geordi's scenario worked fine except for the decompression part. With zero atmospheric pressure any body cavity, including their lungs and ears, would've had the air sucked out instantly. But alas, science fiction doesn't have to be science fact. What I don't understand is why the manual override for the door didn't work. Was the door damaged? It looked fine to me. When the "manual" option doesn't work in Trek episodes, it drives me nuts. The ship has to be falling apart for something manual to stop working.

    Worf and Keiko's part was well acted, but the trope of the "emergency birth" has been done to death. Also I am just so sick of television talking about waters breaking when that is something that usually happens after labour has already started. The woman isn't just standing there and randomly her water breaks.

    I personally give this episode a 3 because it does a lot of character development and more or less manages to portray 5 sub-plots. A cosmic string? Meh... who knows or cares what that is.

    The main thing wrong with with Crusher and Geordi's scenario is that after all their deep breaths they should've exhaled just before deactivating the forcefield. Trying to hold your breath in a vacuum is what would destroy your lung tissue if not rupture your lungs completely. So if they did that, and they could maintain enough composure, then as Crusher correctly stated "We will have about 15 seconds of useful consciousness..." after which point they'd pass out and die within 30-60 seconds. The ears and eyes don't rupture on exposure to a vacuum and internal pressures cause swelling of the skin, but generally it's possible to come out of it unharmed.

    Rofl. I love how you mentioned the kids unconvincing performances. There's a scene after the impact where Picard exclaims "we're falling! For whatever reason I always laugh and wonder if it is actually in the script or if he HAD to convey to the kids what was supposed to be happening so they would properly react for the scene haha.

    The technical details are so annoying here. It just seems so arbitrary and quite poorly thought through.

    Particularly, the bridge crew doesn't know if there are survivors in the drive section, yet they seem to have plenty of access to monitoring, such that they know there's a risk of the technobabble failing and blowing up the ship.

    Ok, maybe they could detect that remotely in a variety of ways.

    But far worse, the bridge can detect that engineering doesn't have power to its monitors and FAR FAR worse, despite the extensive problems, the bridge can send power all the way down there without the slightest problem.

    And Beverly and Geordi's scene-- an actually pretty good scene overall. And I did like the green fire. But, again, the details are annoying. Geordi has to ask Beverly where the wall is hot? VISOR conveniently stopped working? And despite the usually extremely flexible LCARS system, they have to walk all the way across the room to repressurize the bay?

    Why can't they program the computer to do that?

    Blah, one of the most grating episodes evar.

    This was a neat ep. I quite enjoyed it and give it at least three stars.

    Okay, Troi is way out of her depth and, ultimately, she didn't have to make any hard choices, which is unfortunate character-development-wise. The whole thing is absurd anyway: They're, like, three milliseconds away from core kablooey, Troi & Co. have no idea there's anyone "down" in Engineering, let alone doing something about the impending breach, yet, Troi STILL doesn't order a saucer separation. Seems legit. Then:
    "I was wrong, Counselor."
    "You could easily have been right [ which case, we'd all have been blown up into itty-bitty kingdom come, thanks to my navel-gazing]."
    Well... Okay, then... Still, she's got a nice little caboose and that'll do me!

    Picard's kids were pretty annoying at times but those scenes, mercifully, didn't take too much time. Plus, there was something wholesome about them, especially the final shots.

    The pregnant chick and the "The baby can't wait, it's coming out now, NOW!!!" routine... Yeah, very novel. Never been done before. Yawn. I was afraid there at one point that we'd not get to be treated to her screaming in labor while making passive-aggressive-cum-witty repartee with a Clueless Man Who Doesn't Understand Womyn™ but I needn't have worried. We got that, too, in its full splendor and glory. Finally, the baby cries, all is forgiven and forgotten, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand...scene.

    The cargo bay depressurization experience was just about the most unrealistic depiction of anything I ever saw on Star Trek! LOL!

    I really enjoyed the Riker-Data scenes; definitely the highlight!

    What I find really unbelievable is how the entire ship can be totally paralyzed and rendered not just inoperative but have parts of it turn into a death trap just like that. There are no redundancies, no safeguards, no failsafe devices, no manual/mechanical overrides... - nothing. Give me a break. Even a washing machine fabricated 20 years ago couldn't be knocked out cold by a solar flare or whatever the "anomaly" was.

    After this incident I think Picard would be having some serious talks with his crew and especially his First Officer about being ready for emergencies.

    Leave and rex cancelled with drills and simulations for everyone for several weeks.

    It's a good episode :) - and character development for Picard in regards to his phobia of kids. The best part, however, is the kid who looks direct at the cameraman, 45 minutes in, and smiles - as Picard says "Starting with the battle bridge."

    ..."the kid who looks direct at the cameraman..."

    Hah nice, blink and you'll miss it, but once you see it you can't un-see it. I can only imagine how tough it must've been dealing with the (generally bad) child actors on a series where multiple takes and reshoots just weren't a thing that they had the time and budget for. Sure if someone flubbed their line they had to try again, but at some point they just had to call it good enough and move on.

    I was always amused by this bit:

    TROI: Yes. How big is a quantum filament?

    O'BRIEN: It can be hundreds of metres long, but it has almost no mass, which makes it very difficult to detect.

    TROI: So, it's like a cosmic string?

    O'BRIEN: No. that's a completely different phenomenon.

    Yes, it's never the wrong time for a quick cosmology lecture.

    While there were some great Worf lines with Keiko I still think his best ever is from Q-Pid "Sir, I protest, I am not a merry man!"

    And I've always thought the writers missed a golden opportunity somewhere in the Riker-LaForge storyline after Data's head is detached to work in something referencing the TOS Spock's Brain episode "Brain, brain, what is brain?" If you're going to go camp minus well go all in.

    @Donald Pietruk:

    I think Worf’s best line was one word in Deja Q:

    Q: “What must I do to convince you [that I am mortal]?”
    Worf: “Die.”

    “You may now give birth.” This episode is a classic just for the birth scene with Worf & Keiko!

    Part of what I enjoy the most out of this ep is the out-of-the-ordinary character pairings that puts the regulars in situations out of their element. You’ve got some great multiple storylines: Picard & the kids, Data & Riker, Worf & Keiko, Troi, Ro & O’Brien. Yeah, there’s some cheesy stuff in it too, but it’s one of my favorites when I do a rewatch. 👍🙂

    Having just rewatched this, I think I may have under-rated it at the time. The relationships and character moments throughout are gorgeously played by the main cast, even if frequently for comedy or quick in-the-moment thrills.

    “I planted radishes in this special dirt and they grew up all weird.” Picard not knowing how to respond and moving swiftly on is one of several lovely and funny moments.

    Decidedly enjoyable for what it is! Three stars!

    Nice use of the disaster formula: situation requires characters to act oppposite thei inclinations. Troi must be a jerk . Picard must attend to & nurture kids. Worf must be a tender gateway to anew life, opposite of a warrior. Gripe: Picard's French origins are reflected in silly stereotypes-- there's more music to France and I presume French kids than Frere Jacques or Aupres de ma blonde; or an occasional Edith Piaf. How come he never (not referring to this episode particulary) speak French (perhaps because Stewart cant do it any more convincingly than Inspector C;ouseau.) I find it ironic that the Trek Captain actor that didnt speak French as a kid is supposed to be one who did, but Shatner who did (in native Montreal) never spoke French at lease on the TV show.

    @Matthew h

    "Gripe: Picard's French origins are reflected in silly stereotypes-- there's more music to France and I presume French kids than Frere Jacques or Aupres de ma blonde; or an occasional Edith Piaf. "

    Nice post. J-L Picard as written is ambiguous. 'A Picard was at Trafalgar' as was said in one episode. Qu'est-ce que cela signifie? Did this Picard serve under Villeneuve or Nelson? Personne ne sait.

    @ matthew h,

    They didn't end up casting a French actor, but an English one. At that point they were only going to push him being a Frenchman so far before it would become farcical. The only reason they probably didn't alter his background once casting was done was because they had already settled on the name Jean-Luc Picard. And as for Shatner, why would the actor's Montreal origins be relevant to the character, who is from Iowa?

    "I find it ironic that the Trek Captain actor that didnt speak French as a kid is supposed to be one who did, but Shatner who did (in native Montreal) never spoke French at lease on the TV show."

    Growing up in Montreal would not necessarily make you bilingual, especially in Shatner's generation. No doubt he'd have been able to get along in French but doubtful he was completely fluent.

    "Growing up in Montreal would not necessarily make you bilingual, especially in Shatner's generation. No doubt he'd have been able to get along in French but doubtful he was completely fluent."

    H e has claimed to have spoken it "in the streets" as a kid though when he spoke it at a McGIll ceremony, it sounded Anglo-accented. He has probably forgotten a lot if he indeed had it.

    My whine about Stewart portraying the Frenchman is not really about SHatner being authentic as Kirk did not have to be. Just a whine that the character is so veddy British when so much is made of a french backstory, and all we get are cliches like a French provine as a name plus wine-growing and Frere Jacque an little of Stewart using it - i think he did to Minuet on holodeck. Even Nichelle Nichols got to speak Swahili.

    I bet if they had thought about this at the beginning of TNG, they would've cast Stewart, given the character a name like "William Hastings," kept the Earl Grey and Shakespeare and dropped the wine. But Roddenberry was so keen on having the character be French for some reason and the rest is history.

    Nothing special but definitely a fun little episode seeing our main characters out of their usual element. Having Worf of all people serve as a midwife was genius. The only thing I found hard to believe is Troi having the rank of Lt. Commander, meaning she's the same rank as Geordi and Data despite contributing next to nothing on the ship ESPECIALLY when compared to those two guys.

    Besides the fact that this has been a longtime favorite of mine, I never noticed before something that should have been a bit obvious. The bridge segment involved many scenes of O'Brien and Ro having conflicting opinions, which come to a head in the Observation Lounge when they are basically barking at each other doing everything short of calling each other names. And this is interesting because at this point in time I suspect they intentionally paired them up in this way to create character backstory to prepare for DS9, since both of them were meant to be on the show. Ro's more or less militant approach to securing the saucer section would segue fairly smoothly into a militant Major Ro position as Sisko's XO. I don't know whether the idea would have been that she's only an Ensign in Starfleet but the Bajoran government made her a Major, therefore there would be a weird situation where she'd be both a superior officer and a junior officer depending on which uniform she was wearing at a given time. Maybe she would have resigned from Starfleet to joint the Bajoran militia. Either way having had this conflict with O'Brien would have given them good fodder in the pilot to get the ball rolling quickly.

    Why couldn’t Troi sense the rest of the crew in the lower section? I mean she should have felt if they were alive, shouldn’t she?

    Notice how Tori’s empathic abilities all but disappear in the later seasons? It’s like the writers just quietly decided to ignore them.

    Troi said she could sense a lot of people were still alive and many were hurt, but she couldn't tell where on the ship they were. That tracks with her abilities.

    Really fun episode, three stars from me. I don't understand the hatred for Troi. She's not a hugely talented actress, but critics act like she's some wooden porn-star type, and I don't see it.

    Picard's awkwardness is fun, Data and Riker's adventure is fun, Worf and Keiko are hilarious, and Troi's story is serviceable. Beverly/Geordi's story is the weakest. It could have been removed and the story would have lost nothing.

    I say, what a rip-roaring adventure! I say, seeing the Enterprise knocked about like a paper aeroplane in a hurricane was a bit spooky, what! And Geordi having a good old singsong! Why, I used to sing a bit in my youth, in the Royal Opera House. I'd sing a bit of Ravioli for the Duke and Dutchess of Camembert. I would give you a bit of the old vocal cords now, but Basil would just start complaining again and I can't find the record button.

    Submit a comment

    ◄ Season Index