Star Trek: The Next Generation

“Starship Mine”

2.5 stars.

Air date: 3/29/1993
Written by Morgan Gendel
Directed by Cliff Bole

Review Text

High Concept 101: Die Hard on the Enterprise!

Actually, that's a pretty good one, and the setup is appealing: The Enterprise is vacated by the entire crew in order to make way for a baryon sweep, during which some bad guys posing as technicians try to steal trilithium resin from the warp core. Picard ends up as the only person on board (because he went back for his saddle, of all things) and becomes the starship's last line of defense. He must sneak around the ship and stop them from getting away with the resin, which in the wrong hands could be made into a weapon, exclamation mark!

I really like the idea of the baryon sweep as this slowly moving, deadly, implacable force that gives the story its ticking clock while also decreasing the real estate available for the cat-and-mouse games. So you have an action premise that seems like it would be reasonably adaptable to the decks of the Enterprise, you have Picard taking up arms (look, a crossbow, with poisonous — but not deadly poisonous — arrow tips!), and you have an amusing (if disposable) subplot aboard the planet where Data takes up the activity of small talk and ends up in a small-talk duel with chatty Commander Hutchinson (David Spielberg). What's not to like?

Well, some of the execution, unfortunately. The plot holds together fine, but "Starship Mine" is a pale imitation of Die Hard (and, honestly, how couldn't it be?) and suffers from some hacky moments and a weak villain in the bland Kelsey (Marie Marshall). There's a scene where Picard and Kelsey trade barbs over their communicators, and it's here where the riffs on Die Hard become (1) glaringly obvious and (2) a liability — because "Starship Mine" suffers when it makes us think of similar, better scenes in Die Hard. There's also the problem that an action premise like this feels watered-down when Picard has to be in a constant state of tempered restraint in his response; Star Trek has an inherently non-violent philosophy, which is kind of counterproductive to thwarting bad guys in this sort of plot. And the fairly laughable final fistfight in Ten-Forward suffers in no small part because of an especially atonal Jay Chattaway score (albeit one typical for this period of the TNG era). If ever a sequence needed to be carried by music (and isn't), it's this one — because the stunts sure aren't much to speak of.

On the other hand, as a wind-up action toy with these built-in restraints, "Starship Mine" works about as well as it probably could've. Motormouth Hutchinson always makes me grin (and killing him in the planet-side action was clearly a wink to the audience, even if I don't think Hutch deserved it). Picard posing as barber Mr. Mott is fun. An abandoned Enterprise turns out to have a fair amount of atmosphere for playing hide-and-seek. And the final scene where Picard is reunited with his saddle shows that this story knows that "light" is the right tone here. This is a guilty pleasure that maybe could've been more fun had it been guiltier.

Footnote: Tim Russ has a small part as one of the bad guys.

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118 comments on this post

    I think the TNG cast was simply not suited for action oriented episodes. They never tried many, so this wasn't a liability for the most part, but when they did it, it usually didn't work. I also think that this was what finally did in the TNG franchise with the last two movies. Both Insurrection and Nemesis depended to a large degree on action to carry the movies forward, but fell flat. For sure the scripts were not that great, but I think this is due to the fact that it's just really hard to write action for these characters.

    Anyway, I think this episode showed it in spades. My first reaction to remembering this episode after your review was that they should have put someone other than Picard as the one defending the ship. But then the question is who would be better for an action oriented episode? Unfortunately the answer is: No one.

    Or think of it this way, keep the same plot, but put it on DS9 and have Sisko replace Picard. The action would have been much more fluid and entertaining because either Brooks as an actor or Sisko as a character simply does action better than Steward/Picard. Come to think of it, most of the DS9 actors/crew could probably have made for a more fluid episode.

    I don't intend this as a critique of the actors, but more as a critique of the writers/producers for creating stories that were hard for the characters/actors to pull off.

    I loved this episode. It's a great guilty pleasure.

    It's right up there with the Quark-centric DS9 epis that Jammer hates so much!

    The group of mercenaries are actually stealing trilithium *resin* in this episode.

    Pure trilithium (whatever that is) is a major plot point in Star Trek: Generations--which also features Tim Russ in another non-Tuvok role!

    (The more you know...!)

    Read the script to this the other day as I couldn't remember it. This seems quite a breezy episode. Especially the parts with Hutch which read pretty funny.
    I'll have to check it out when I can.

    One of the issues with this episode is that probably its funniest guest character, Commander Hutchinson, vanishes off the face of the planet after the terrorists attack. We don't even get a confirmation that he's been killed; he's just not there anymore. Also, I blame this episode for starting the "Action Picard" persona that would eventually lead to all that glaringly out-of-character behaviour in "Nemesis".

    Actually, after Hutchinson is shot we briefly see a covered body at the beginning of the next act. Pretty sure that's meant to be Hutch.

    The script has this exchange (which was probably cut for time):
    What about Hutchinson?

    There was nothing I could do for him.

    @Patrick. You are correct about the trilithium resin. I've corrected it in the review.

    @David Clark:

    Oh, please! Knowing DS9, this episode would've ended with Sisko resolving the issue by talking to those stupid wormholes aliens.
    You see, for all of Ira's hot air about how 'different' & 'believable' DS9 was, it was no less susceptible to cliches as the other Trek series.

    "Oh, please! Knowing DS9, this episode would've ended with Sisko resolving the issue by talking to those stupid wormholes aliens. "

    I actually enjoyed this straight run-and-jump show, though maybe that's at least partly because I haven't seen Die Hard. I certainly wouldn't have wanted this type of show every week, but it was a refreshing light romp.


    I agree that DS9 had its own cliches. That wasn't my point. My only point was that TNG never did action very well, and this episode has it on display. The only point of bringing up DS9 was by way of contrast, DS9 did action much better than TNG did. Hell, even Voyager and Enterprise did action better than TNG. Note, this does not make them better shows.

    A completely forgettable and disposable piece of fluff.

    Action or no, this is just a waste of time. Many of the commentators refer to the high-concept tone of this episode as "refreshing" or "a nice change of pace". Change of pace from what exactly? Interesting dialogue? Compelling ideas? Moving character interaction? Why do we need a "break" from those things? I'll tell you what I want, is a break from the white-milk monotony that Season 6 has become--"Chain of Command" and "Tapestry" were refreshing breaks because they were about something interesting for a change. This was silly made more silly by the completely contrived idea that Picard is an action hero. Any of the other captains would have been more suited to this kind of show, but in the end, the show simply did not have to exist. Seasons 6 and 7 should have been combined into one more unified and energetic season leaving out the clunkers like this one.

    I will say to the episode's credit that the Data/Hutch scenes are always enjoyable. It's rather macabre to have poor stupid Hutch killed off amongst this fluffiness.

    2 stars.

    @David Clark:

    "Oh, please! Knowing DS9, this episode would've ended with Sisko resolving the issue by talking to those stupid wormholes aliens."

    =( That doesn't seem fair at all. After the pilot they didn't appear again until Season 3, once in Season 4, once in Season 5, bit more in 6 and 7. I don't think they count as a DS9 cliche.

    "...who would be better for an action oriented episode?"

    I'm picturing Tasha Yar in a Season 1 episode. A single Yar-centric show would've rehabilitated her whiny character. Might even have been meaty enough to convince Crosby to stick with the show a little longer. However, human villains would've been totally forbidden in Season 1.

    "=( That doesn't seem fair at all. After the pilot they didn't appear again until Season 3, once in Season 4, once in Season 5, bit more in 6 and 7. I don't think they count as a DS9 cliche."

    Maybe they wouldn't have if they didn't become more prominent over that show's run and, thus, making its final season a disappointment.

    @ Ospero, I agree completely with the "action Picard" problem. I always felt Picard as a character worked WAYYYY better on the bridge, which is of course technically, where he belongs. Compare this to season 2's "Q who", the scenes where he is on the bridge while the away team was on the borg ship are 1000 times more compelling to me than this boring drivel. I hate this episode. Jammer and I repeatedly complain about the poor state of music at this point in TNG, and this episode is exhibit 1.

    That all being said, it could have been better. heck, just the better soundtrack would have brought this up to a 2 for me, as is 1 star. .5 for the enterprise, and .5 for the sort-of humour on the planet.

    BTW, I actually think, music aside, season 6 has been pretty good. Definitely better than I remember it. Way better than season 5.

    I always wanted to see Die Hard on Trek, so this was basically aimed straight at me.

    However, at that point in my life I was frankly looking for a little more carnage and action. I could usually depend on DS9 for that (we never saw any kind of "automatic" weapon in Trek until we were introduced to the Jem'Hadar rifle). It was a big reason I loved it so much at the time. And this episode promised much, but did not deliver what I had hoped.

    I mean, it WAS interesting to see Action Picard every now and then. As we saw, he was more prone to that when he was young. But his character always seemed better suited to brief bursts of violence. Perhaps like a samurai. His charging right at the terrorist in The High Ground is more of what I'm thinking.

    What was always kind of hard to reconcile with this episode was the seriousness of what was happening on the ship with the almost sitcom-like set up on the planet (it was a similar problem with First Contact). Picard running from the reception is one of the funniest bits we've ever seen with the captain.

    And his last line in the episode is worthy of any 80s action film one liner.

    I was 23 when this first aired, and I used to get so tired of Action!Picard. It wasn't that I didn't like him, but I liked the other characters too, especially Riker. Too often the rest of them got to sit on their thumbs while the oldest, baldest member of the crew had the adventures. The movies were even worse.

    Now that I'm closer to Picard's age, his action scenes don't seem as ridiculous, but watching the episodes one right after the other instead of weekly also makes it more obvious -- "Sheesh, another one all about Picard?" Had it been more of an ensemble show, Riker could've been the one playing commando. It's easy to imagine most of the DS9 characters taking center stage in an episode like that, but TNG just wasn't that kind of show.

    One thing I always found odd about this episode was that Picard makes such an effort to take out the Trilithium thieves in non-lethal ways, but he ultimately leaves them all to die in the Baryon sweep. I know he didn't have much choice, but taking out your opponents non-lethally only to lock them in a closet so the "death-ray" can take them out seems somewhat pointless.

    @ Cail...yeah it seems these "action hero" episodes are relegated only to the 24th century captain characters....Janeway had her equivalent to this episode with Macrocosm.


    Well let's see, they show up at DS9's first damn episode, they figure in boring episodes like "Destiny" and even that one episode where the Nagus 'regresses' to a more generous person, they infamously gave that deux ex machina ending to the arc which began the sixth season, & (for reasons we could care less about because Ira did) they send Sisko away at the series's end.

    Agreed, Tony.
    Those stupid aliens were as much a cliche for DS9 as the reset button was for Voyager

    I'm unsure why *any* appearance of the wormhole aliens, regardless of the context, constitutes a "cliche". That makes about as much sense as saying that the appearance of Q constitutes a cliche.

    The reset button wasn't a cliche for Voyager - it was a recurring plot device that ensured that nothing that ever happened had any lasting consequences.

    As for this episode, I agree that the Die Hard comparisons fall down mainly in the villain. Kelsey is not Hans Gruber, sadly, but I could see a more compelling villain (and more interesting characters on the planet) making it just about perfect.

    I do think that "action" Picard worked pretty well, especially because it was more about his ingenuity and knowledge that let him succeed. In some ways this is more in keeping with John McClane in the original movie.

    What is it about DS9 specifically that gives so many a raging hardoff? Is it because, unlike TNG and Voyager, it can't be followed while playing in the background?

    Absolutely loved the Data small talk scenes... made the rest totally worth it.

    I love the fact that Tim Russ's character was put down by Picard with a Vulcan nerve pinch.

    Never having seen Die Hard, I didn't even have that storyline to bolster my impression of this episode. Way too many plot conveniences and improbabilities make for a (mostly complete) waste of time. Bummer.

    Nice episode. A few bothersome points. Data was afraid of a phaser. The two dumb terrorists let the officers of Starfleet's flagship walk around freely enabling them to devise a plan. And then there's the captain of the flagship, the same guy who challenged those three big aliens by himself and yet he gets whupped by one skinny human chick.
    Anyway it was an entertaining story, Captain Picard became the fly in the ointment of an elaborate heist because he wanted his saddle . The best part though was Data's dabbling in the art of small talk. Quite hilarious.

    I like this episode, I think, though it suffers both from a lack of meaning (obviously) and that it's a little low-octane as an actioner. This time I caught what the arc of the episode is, which I hadn't really before: Picard starts off trying to keep all the terrorists/thieves alive, devising non-lethal traps, etc., and at the very end of the episode he brings out the big guns -- he uncaps the resin container knowing that the lead space-pirate's shuttle will blow up. This is a bit un-Trekkian, perhaps, but I think the idea that Picard recognizes as the episode goes on that lethal measures are the only way he can get off the ship and to prevent the trilithium resin from getting away, which is his highest priority, generally works. The episode relies, too, on the idea that Picard knows the ship very well, and I like some of the details on that level -- e.g. Picard going to Worf's quarters to grab some weapons, and I especially like that this point is not explained in dialogue. Reading up on the episode on Memory Alpha, apparently Morgan Gendel thought of this as a love letter from Picard to the Enterprise, and the rest of the writing staff didn't really buy it, thinking that it was more of a Kirk-Enterprise thing than a Picard-Enterprise one. I think I agree, ultimately; Picard loves his ship, but do we need a whole episode about it?

    The small talk scenes are a lot of fun, and I generally liked Riker et al.'s plan to take back control; it's true that the aliens should really have not let them go around talking, but I think the episode did tackle this at least a bit by suggesting they were in over their heads and hadn't intended this to happen.

    Overall, the episode is a high 2.5 from me.

    Fun episode. Piller hated this episode (too hitting women) and he/Berman heavily censored the story. Would have been fun to see the original. Moore was an uncredited writer and he made an interesting comment that Piller really constrained the staff to "character" stories and that this was an exception that got through (thankfully). Action up top and comedy on the planet. Makes one second guess Pillar's role as an executive and perhaps would explain why the writers would later revolt against him.

    Poor Tuvok, he must be the unluckiest secret agent ever. I mean, we know his undercover op in the Maquis ended when his ship got transported halfway across the galaxy, which is rather unfortunate. But what about his mission before that? A highly sensitive, delicate operation to infiltrate a terrorist operation by posing as a trilithium smuggler. And at a critical juncture, the point where he could see who is interested in obtaining this trilithium resin... he gets a freaking saddle thrown at him by a starship captain. So close...

    What? We don't see Tim Russ' character get killed. And sure, he looks human here, but we know cosmetic surgery exists. And it makes the episode I bit more fun. That's the way I choose to remember it. Too bad the Voyager writers didn't decide to make it canon.

    As for the episode itself, it's good fun as long as you turn off your brain. If you turn on your brain, it ends up making no sense of course.

    After all, look at Kelsey. She killed her nervous tech guy for... what? Being annoying? To cut down on the loot to share? Who knows? What we do know is that means she has no moral concern with killing, no concern in the slightest. So this story should have ended 5 minutes in. Picard brought in to Engineering as a prisoner. Kelsey kills him and gets back to work. Game over. Later, Picard gets captured again. Kelsey asks if he's alive, and is pleased when the answer is affirmative. Why? She's not going to take him with, and the Baryon sweep would eventually kill him anyway. So what difference does it make? Twice Picard should have just been killed if the smugglers were smart. Twice he was allowed to live. Kelsey deserved to lose just based on stupidity.

    And, of course, there was Riker and company's brilliant subterfuge on the surface in clandestinely plotting their escape. Anyone else reminded of Monty Python and the Holy Grail? The scene where the kid in the tower who didn't want to marry the lass with huge tracts of land was "secretly" shooting his arrow asking for help while the guards just smiled? The difference, of course, is that in Python it was played as absurdist comedy, while here it was actually intended to be serious.

    Still, it was an enjoyable action/comedy, a nice breather from more serious episodes. I don't mind a little ActionPicard; he is the main character of the show after all. It was still done in moderation (until the movies of course), so why not?

    I have a few problems with this ep.
    Troi never senses any hostile intent from anyone...would've been better had she not even be in the ep.
    and, the ending was too light haerted. I know they didnt like him, but a starfleet commander was still killed in the line of'd think they'd talk about that instead of Picads frackin saddle.

    If you don't think about this episode it is very good, maybe up to 3-1/2 stars. This is probably nit-picky, and isn't meant as a serious criticism of the episode but if all the power was off on the ship and people weren't supposed to be on board, why is there still artificial gravity on board the Enterprise? The episode would have been super sweet if they lost gravity as well.
    Yes and the aversion to killing main characters in this episode both on the ship and at the station is a bit unrealistic. I've never made any connection to this and Die Hard, though if you do and it bothers you what about Die Hard 2,3,etc? I'd much rather see Patrick Stewart than Bruce Willis fighting off terrorists.

    Troy: "...if all the power was off on the ship and people weren't supposed to be on board, why is there still artificial gravity on board the Enterprise?"

    Ahem. According to Sternbach & Okuda's technical manual, the gravity generators take hours to spin down. Because of course they do.

    "Starship Mine," or as I think it could legitimately be called, "Captain's Holiday 2.0".

    Given how much I've criticized Picard as a dull and non-dynamic character, I'm honest and truly amazed that this episode works as well as it does. This is exactly what "Captain's Holiday" should have been. There they tried to humanize Picard by giving him some action-oriented things to do. Here they do the same thing (only switching from an Indiana Jones style adventure to an almost direct clone of "Die Hard"). The big difference is that here the action set-pieces actually work! The action in "Captain's Holiday" was nothing if not bland and nondescript. Here there is an actual sense of urgency and excitement about the plot. And having Picard be the "action hero" of the story works as well, surprisingly. Granted, if we're going to compare "Starship Mine" to "Die Hard" (and how the hell can't we?), then Picard is still certainly no John McClane. He doesn't come anywhere near close to that level of "action hero," but this is a definite step in the right direction. They took Picard out of his bookish comfort-zone and actually had him do some Kirkian heroics (and didn't mess it up). Bravo!

    (As an aside, I just have to point this out - Patrick Stewart had some tremendous biceps! Did you see them in the scene where Patricia Tallman had him held at gunpoint?! Those things were huge!)

    The episode also works because, unlike "Captain's Holiday," it has a wonderful atmosphere. Jammer is 100% right that the abandoned (and darkened) Enterprise creates, quite unexpectedly, the perfect ambiance for this story. And there's also the use of the villain. It's always nice to see female villains and we get two main ones here. I love how the usual villain dynamics are reversed - with the women being the clearly more strong-willed and the men being rather sheepish. And, I'm going to give this episode a full extra point on the score simply for having the balls to have Picard flat out punch Kelsey in the face during their fight in Ten Forward. Damn, that took guts! Usually when you have female villains and male heroes you never see that. That's because it will often lead to morons crying "sexism!" or "violence against women!" or some other nonsense. And, apparently, that's exactly what happened here with Michael Pillar - who heavily re-worked the episode because that made it "too violent." Yeah, apparently one punch to the villain is too much but having Kesley punch/kick Picard no less than five times in that same fight isn't "too violent." Not to mention the fact that she straight up murders one of her lackeys in cold blood. But apparently that's not "too violent" either. Why treat women like equals when we could treat them like delicate little flowers who have to be shielded from the consequences of their actions? Seriously, fuck that and fuck you Pillar. If you do criminal things, steal explosive material, get into fist fights and murder people, expect to have a punch or two thrown your way. Because that's a little thing called "equality." And, despite all the re-working, "Starship Mine" still presents the female character that way. Again, bravo!

    But, the episode isn't perfect. The most noticeable blemish is the sub-plot on the planet with the rest of the senior staff. It's enjoyable enough for what it is and provides some good light-hearted comedy with Data's small talk. But once it turns into a hostage situation, it just feels completely unnecessary. All it achieved was to siphon off time that could have been spent with more cat-and-mouse games aboard the Enterprise. I think it would have worked much better if they had all been schmoozing at the reception the whole time and completely unaware that Picard was engaged in a life or death struggle. And there's the whole business about Picard's saddle. So he keeps a saddle on the ship; who cares?! Why is this such a big deal? I suppose this is as good a place as any to point out one of my HUGE pet peeves about Trek - the fact that everyone always dresses up for the holodeck. Why do we always see the characters leave the holodeck or enter it already dressed in period, or other appropriate, costume? The only reason I can think of is that the show-runners think it's funny to see the characters walk the hallways dressed in some silly outfit. It's not! It's annoying! Why aren't they just using holographic clothes?! And DS9 and VOY do this exact same thing all the time. It drives me crazy! Given all the ridiculous outfits these people clearly must be keeping on-board, a saddle seems rather mundane.

    Now, granted, "Starship Mine" is a fluff piece. There's absolutely no doubt whatsoever about that. It's nothing more than an excuse to have some fun. Fluff pieces can be bad, like "A Matter of Time," or they can be enjoyable for what they are. This one is enjoyable.


    Just one comment... if triithium resin is produced by all matter/antimatter warp engines (or at least all federation ones), as per Memory Alpha (, shouldn't that make it pretty easy to come by - in ANY federation warp ship?? What morons would decide they had to get it from the flagship of the federation?!

    TNG does Die Hard. I suppose it had to happen. And I suppose it happens well enough, it trots along at a fairly fast pace and commences with an engaging look at Data's small talk routine. The scene where he and "call me Hutch" go at it is excellent - just a shame that Hutch meets such an unregarded end. Worf's smile as he evades the reception is a highlight of its own.

    Picard is also fairly ruthless in this one - tricking a guy to his death with the baryon sweep, shooting a guy in a leg with a crossbow, punching a woman in the face, removing the safety so their ship explodes. I like this Picard!

    It's not perfect by a long way, but as a big dumb action hour it's decent enough. 2.5 stars.

    Oh, and I forgot to add this contained possibly my biggest laugh out loud moment so far in the rewatch - when Picard runs for the transporter against the countdown and the power shuts off BEFORE he can get away. Take that, all you artificial countdown moments!

    I liked it. Instead of a star rating, I'll go thumbs up/down, and I give this one a thumbs up.

    I recognized Patricia Tallman as well in this episode. She was a guest a few times, playing a security officer once (in the background). If some don't know, she was the stunt double for Dr. Crusher, and also played Lyta Alexander on Babylon 5.

    Not only did I like the smalltalk (Hutch and Data stopping to fake-laugh at the same time, in the same way, heheheheh), I thought the look on Riker's face was perfect. Mr Frakes can do the eyes wide, trying not to laugh face with the best of them.

    There was no reason for the terrorists at the reception to do ANYTHING, or have any weapons at all. If they had left the guns at home, there would have been nothing for Geordi to notice. The bad guys on the ship would have gotten their resin, left, and no one would be the wiser that they were in on it. And if something goes wrong on the ship with getting the resin, they still have no reason to take hostages. The folks at the reception had no idea what was going on up there. Some did mention they weren't very smart, letting the good guys get together to talk, but I figure they were amateurs. They worked at the place, maybe for years, and may have never had to point a gun at another sentient. It was also mentioned, why do this to the Flagship? I figure this isn't the first time a resin theft has gone on (it sure seems pretty easy, all things considered), and the Enterprise was just the next ship to come along. Maybe. :)

    Heh, Picard falling all over himself trying to get out of the room was great. *Bounce* into the wall, missing the door, heh, trying to explain why he needs to leave right then, to get his saddle in time. Really liked that.

    Upon first viewing, I and my friends figured he was going non-lethal because he figured he'd make it out long before the sweep was close to finishing, and they could be picked up. But when they were incapacitated, he had to leave them Somewhere, and could not drag them all to 10-Forward. I don't quite get the 'weapons' the baddies had though. It looked like a little welder to me, and was explained as some sort of torch. After Picard threatens a baddie with one (close up), they suddenly seem to be long-range torches. They are many feet away from Picard, he has a crossbow, but surrenders to a tool with a flame that might have been a couple of inches at best. At least that is how it came across to me. After the first encounter with one, they suddenly become a laser/phaser or some such thing.

    I did like Picard having a plan. We were wondering how he would get out of this, and that he'd find a club or something, but he sneaks around and finds weapons at Worf's (we went *of course!*) and finds drugs in sickbay. That worked for us, at the time.

    Thanks and Have Fun! RT

    One of my favorite tidbits was when Riker was introducing Hutchison to Data, and Riker finishes Hutchison's "You can call me Hutch" line and then does the fake laugh... good little moment there :)

    Actually, I really enjoy this episode. My favorite parts:

    - Picard taking down someone with a Vulcan nerve pinch. And that person happened to be someone who would play a Vulcan later on in Star Trek Voyager. Irony abounds.

    - The whole opening scene was ridiculous. Picard walking down the same hallways with the same labels twice, going straight in the a turbo lift once, then avoiding it the second time in order to get onto a different turbo lift, when all of them are supposed to be able to take you anywhere in the ship at any time. Still, it was fun to watch Picard 'putting out fires' left and right.

    - The most glaring plot hole in the entire episode - Why the hell can't Picard simply turn the ship back on? He's the one who shut it down in the first place, and so his command codes would surely be able to turn any part of the ship on at any time, including the transporter. If he was worried about the baryon sweep doing damage, he could simply turn on one section of the ship in order to transport out. Of course, since he was willing to destroy the ship to keep the resin from falling into the wrong hands, it should have been a no brainer to turn the entire ship on and risk doing electrical damage. And hey, wouldn't you think there would be SOME kind of safety for even a low-level officer to stop the process in case he somehow got trapped on board?

    - You would think there would be major safeties in place to keep the transporter from transporting someone without power......I love how the transporter cycle almost starts, only to be shut off immediately. Imagine it he was mid-transport when this happened? You would think there would be major back-up power safeties to complete the transport once started to prevent this from happening.

    - So basically, the same phaser that only stunned Geordi, ended up killing Hutchison? I think the bean counters really couldn't figure out a way to keep from paying the guest actor for the entire show, so they simply had him finished off early on. While the character was annoying, the actor certainly gave a strong performance for the time he was on camera.

    - I always like how Troi rests her head against Riker....What? This was very unprofessional of her to do as a Starleet officer in a dangerous situation. And second, she's acting like they are a couple, which they supposedly are not.

    - So......Data can move his hands faster than the human eye can see (from the Episode "The Offspring"), yet he's helpless when someone has a weapon pointed at him one foot away? Funny how he has extraordinary abilities in one episode, but not in another. This goes for "A Matter of Time" as well. Anytime he has a phaser pointed at him within arm's reach, he should be able to disable it faster than the blink of an eye, right?

    There are my observations. Definitely an episode I enjoy watching again and again.

    I could pick at all the holes (why didn't Data jump the other goon when he had his back turned dealing with Riker?) but I was mildly entertained so I feel forgiving of this episode.

    I was a little impressed with Picard. None of the bad guys made it off alive. And poor Hutch shouldn't have been killed off. Also, someone needs to teach Data the concept of personal space. Standing right up against Picard in the elevator scene was kind of strange behavior even in the context of his experiment.

    Good points, Outsider65.

    One more issue: This gang spent a long time preparing for this mission and they don't even know what the captain of the ship looks like? Very unlikely.

    "One more issue: This gang spent a long time preparing for this mission and they don't even know what the captain of the ship looks like? Very unlikely."

    It sounds like Kelsey and her group were just hired by outsiders, though.

    KELSEY: I'm not a terrorist Captain, and I don't have a political agenda...But I know some people who do have agendas... and who are very interested in this little container.

    So for all we know, Kelsey was tipped off about the Enterprise being vulnerable and unmanned and decided to capitalize on this. What would be the purpose of her looking up the crew registry be if there was zero need for her to ever interact with the crew? Do bank robbers need to know who the bank manager is in order to rob a bank?

    While I do see your point Chrome, I think planning an infiltration into a starship is markedly different than a bank robbery.

    Kelsey said they had been planning the mission for a long time, and I've no doubt that this would include having a good handle on the crew manifest, specifically the commanding officers on board.

    You're right that the mission itself had little to nothing to do with the crew, however it still seems likely they would have studied the chain of command in case they accidentally ran into one of them. Don't forget that they were already on board before the baryon sweep and before the ship was officially shut down. We get the nostalgic scene of Picard on the bridge just before Kelsey's gang comes on deck to start making modifications.

    Wouldn't they want to be well versed with the commanding officers in case they needed to explain themselves?

    "Wouldn't they want to be well versed with the commanding officers in case they needed to explain themselves?"

    The point I was trying to make with the quote above is that robbery of trilithium resin was more of a clandestine effort than you seem to think. Breaking into something mechanical like an engine to get trilithium takes a different skillset than hacking into a Starfleet crew manifest to find out who does what. What if they only had a vague idea of who commands the ship from Starfleet press releases and simply didn't recognize Picard without his uniform?

    And there is evidence that the group was technologically limited throughout the heist. Only Picard had those nifty skeleton keys that could access restricted areas. In fact, the whole premise of the episode relies on the audience accepting that Kelsey's group had inadequate knowledge of the ship, which gave Picard an advantage.

    Actually, Kelsey seemed to have intimate knowledge of the ship, so much so that she knew every path available to get to ten-forward from her present location.

    We'll just have to agree to disagree. I just find it hard to believe that none of her entire gang would know who the captain is and what he looked like.

    But that's just my opinion. You do bring up very valid points.

    "We'll just have to agree to disagree. I just find it hard to believe that none of her entire gang would know who the captain is and what he looked like."

    That's fine, though you still haven't established why they need to know who the crew members are. You brought up a scene where Picard bumped into them earlier, but there wasn't any direct interaction between the two because it wasn't necessary. When Picard was caught, he was treated as a prisoner who needed to be kept under supervision regardless of who the group *thought* he might have been, so it's a moot point to begin with.

    Honestly, had to watch the episode again just now before responding to your post.

    Let's take Kelsey's banter with Picard for example: "Lieutenant, Lieutenant commander perhaps?". It gives the impression that she is fully versed in federation command structure and is very astute to the rank of individuals she encounters.

    I would say personality wise, it's a direct sell as to her need to know and understand the rank structure of the ship.

    In regard to the actual script of the episode, there's no reason for her to know anything about the crew, other than the fact that the ship will be vulnerable at a given period of time. In that regard, I agree with you.

    However, if you were preparing to take over the highest vessel that a country had to offer as a successful CIA infiltrator, would you not become very educated as to the individuals you might encounter during that time?

    Not to beat this particular topic into the ground, but I just watched this episode again and realized I missed the following dialogue starting at about 39:00 into the show:

    Kelsey: You're the only one who needs a deal Mott.

    Picard: My name isn't Mott, it's Jean-Luc Picard.

    Kelsey: Captain Picard? This is all beginning to make sense.

    All Picard did is say his name, it was KELSEY who immediately identified his rank. So you're telling me she knew exactly who the captain of the Enterprise's name was, but had no idea what he looked like?

    I don't think so....

    That changes nothing. I'm aware that John Richardson is the head of the US Navy, but I could never pick him out in a room.

    Oh come now. Are you planning on secretly boarding a Naval vessel?

    I would have believed you up until I heard that Kelsey knew exactly the name of the captain, then it was all over from there. This is the 24th don't think that an immediate inquiry of Captain Picard on any computer wouldn't bring up a current photograph? That is common place even now in the 21st century via the internet.

    I knew what the Commandant of the Marine Corps looked like during my service and got to shake his hand over in Iraq during my enlistment. There was no doubt it was him even though he was surrounded by other officers.

    Hello Everyone!

    Maybe Kelsey was truly confused. Both Mott and Picard are bald after all...

    Some never look past the hair... *sigh*

    On a totally unrelated note from baldness, of course a mercenary team heading toward the Flagship of the entirety of Starfleet should/would have been shown some photos of the command staff, or would have known what the Captain of said starship looked like. These weren't rank amateurs looting a freighter, they were professionals with their own area of expertise in a carefully selected group, or they wouldn't have gotten in to begin with. In the Today of this episode, they don't have to know what the top Admiral looks like, just the Flagship Captain of this ship.

    On the other hand, if the Commandant of the Marine Corps had been holding a saddle...

    Just a bit of levity and whatnot, where needed, hopefully taken as intended... RT

    Thanks, RandomThoughts.

    Also, it seems that even random ships from other species (especially Romulans) know Captain Picard immediately simply because of his fame throughout the quadrant. There's no doubt that a specialized infiltration group would know everything about Picard and the command structure on board.

    I do understand Chrome's points, which are that the onboard mission itself did not necessarily rely on interacting with the crew, but if they had been 'planning this for a long time' it seems very natural they would have at least a basic understanding of the crew manifest.

    One other point that's yet to be brought up (in the last few posts) is that they were supposedly working in tandem with the group that was holding Riker and his team hostage. That would almost certainly indicate that the entire team (including Kelsey) would have intimate knowledge of the entire command structure, ESPECIALLY Picard.

    I don't know, you're both pointing out great failures of Kelsey's operation, but I think it was written that way to show you that this group bit off more than it could chew. Being able to board the ship without knowing much protocol may have been what made the heist seem like a golden opportunity at first, only to proven dreadfully wrong. I mean, you guys tout this group's sophistication, but Kelsey also lacked basic knowledge vital to the mission like "the proper handling of trilithium".

    It's an interesting question, one I might like to hear the writers address, but I don't think it would've changed the direction of the plot whatsoever, just a few dialogue changes.

    Thanks Chrome.

    Remember that the reason for the mishandling of trilithium was because Picard screwed up their operation and sabotaged the device that would have protected them from the Baryon sweep. That's why she rushed her team to dump the trilithium as fast as possible and carry it with them. I think their original plan (although never stated) was to beam directly from engineering onto their ship without having to transport their stolen material to Ten Forward.

    Things would have gone very smoothly for Kesley if Picard had not been onboard. There would have been no reason for things to go 'dreadfully wrong' otherwise.

    At least the fight scene wasn't as bad as that season 1 catfight, featuring Tasha Yar!

    Picard kills all the terrorists, including Ms. Gruber. I wish he'd always be so ruthless with his enemies.

    Entertaining little episode I thought

    The small talk was least interesting but didn’t take up as much of ep as I remembered
    The absolute Most purely action ep of TNG with Picard running around the ship and plotting against the pirates

    The episode was also very suspenseful and tension filled from Picard rushing to beam off before computer shuts down to not only having to contend with thieves but a vaporizing beam that will eradicate him

    Liked seeing Picard employ the hand actuators to manually open the ship doors since no power to automatically open them and don’t possess handles or knobs. Liked the obstacles Picard set up
    Smart that the writer remembered ten forward was furtherest forward point on the Enterprise
    Like idea of needing to cleanse build up on ship
    The visor gimmick to neutralize the aliens was neat
    Liked the little touches too like Troi resting her head on Riker and Beverly rubbing Geordi’s arm after he was injured and Picard’s look of regret when heard the scream as being disintegrated

    Tng plots are usually tight but issues were present here:
    Once the timetable moved up on taking tng crew hostage no need for remmler array as cover why not shut it off? Obviously can be terminated before completed cleanse

    Also why have guns at reception? It seemed more like reason to give rest of cast something to do and pad outbthe hour since it was never really made clear what the plan was to do with the senior staff? Take them hostage? If so her ship took off with trilithium and didn’t seem interested in them. And there was no indication Kelsey had been in communication with the base that things went sideways

    And I initially was under impression the communicators were ineffective due to the beam but Picard got message through to Data so why not contact them sooner to terminate beam and get help. Picard had no idea the crew were taken hostage and not available to do anything with regards to his predicament

    The closing scene with gag about saddle was cute
    Despite logically flaws I still was entertained. 3 stars

    I don't understand how you can make a gratuitous action episode - this is basically Die Hard meets First Blood (Picard even makes a bow and arrow ala Rambo!) - and yet put no effort into crafting decent action sequences. The attempts at excitement here are just so very very lame.

    DS9, when the station was emptied and Sisko led a small band of fighters, did this stuff much better.

    Not my favorite episode, but the Data small talk parts were hilarious.

    The only thing this episode has in common with Die-Hard is that it has a terrorist hijacking plot. The comparisons pretty much end there.

    This is an episode that I loved as a kid (long before I ever saw "Die Hard"), but it doesn't quite hold up years later.

    It might have worked better with Riker or Worf stuck on the Enterprise fighting terrorists, rather than the peace-loving, tea-drinking, flute-playing Capt. Picard that we all know and love. I also agree with the comments above that this would have been a better story for the more action-oriented DS9 or VOY.

    Anyway, "Starship Mine" isn't the worst episode, and it's even kind of fun if you let your brain idle for an hour.


    "After all, look at Kelsey. She killed her nervous tech guy for... what? Being annoying? To cut down on the loot to share? Who knows?"

    At one point she implies that there wouldn't be much, or any, room on her escape ship for additional passengers.

    I have a nit: Kelsey "knows" that "Mot" is a Starfleet officer because he has a combadge. Doesn't *everybody* on the Enterprise have a combadge, even the civilians?

    “I have a nit: Kelsey "knows" that "Mot" is a Starfleet officer because he has a combadge. Doesn't *everybody* on the Enterprise have a combadge, even the civilians?”

    The combadges are Starfleet issue and civilians typically don’t get them. Otherwise, surely Guinan would have one.

    Didn't recall this episode when re-watching it yesterday, and seeing Tim Russ there, less than two years before Voyager, misled me to think this was a Maquis plot :P

    "Die Hard" on the Enterprise indeed with Patrick Stewart as Bruce Willis. Problem is the villains sucked and the action scenes were weak (although typical for TNG). But this episode had a different feel to it -- in a good way -- to see the main crew in this type of hostage situation with a bit of humor injected. This was much better than "Rascals" as it appeared more believable. But TNG can't do justice to a true hostage situation like "Die Hard" because it is the much more sanitized Trek after all.

    I liked the humor of Data imitating Hutch and then engaging in small talk big time. This is the aspect that the tried-and-true TNG crew can add to a more serious situation -- by this stage in Season 6, TNG has "carte blanche" and this is an episode where it can try something atypical ("Die Hard") and mostly get away with it, with its own twists.

    The hijackers were just goofy -- the one guy setting up the trilithium for safe transport did not act like he belonged, "Tuvok" only had a very minor role and the others were stiffs. But the head profiteer -- who looked like Jamie Lee Curtis -- was not convincing. As is typical, when she has a chance to shoot Picard, she doesn't (because Picard is the protagonist). Yet on the planet, Hutch and Geordi get shot no problem.

    Pretty straight forward action/resolution ending -- definitely nothing to write home about. Of course the baryon sweep gets stopped in the nick of time, but it does serve as a good countdown.

    2.5 stars for "Starship Mine" -- kind of a fun, inconsequential episode - sneaking around a darkened Enterprise with some good TNG humor injected (mostly from Data who is the best at it). Picard, as action hero, is serviceable although he is not credible in action scenes - the fight scene with the female head profiteer was weak. Definitely not a bad episode but not a great one either.

    One thing I'm unsure of... maybe besides Ferengi, what reason is there for "profit" in the Star Trek universe? It might have made more sense if the bad guys *did* have a political motive. I suppose if you have something of rare value, you can trade it for something else of rare value, but then you'd have to want something very specific, not just general wealth.

    Most body count I've seen in a while. Most of the thieves died in barium sweep and the last one exploded. Pretty hardcore.

    Picard is brainwashed and a thought planted in his head is driving him: "Kill, pussycat, kill, kill!"

    Just a very out of place episode. There is one other entry in Trek canon that had a similar "I'm watching a story from another show" vibe, and that was "Conspiracy". Now this affair is nowhere near as bad "two phasers on kill = exploding head and stomach alien", but nonetheless it still gives me that weird out-of-universe feeling.

    Having Sir Patrick do fight scenes is always a bad idea as he lacks the physicality. His body somehow looks surprised at what it's doing. The "wiring up Geordi's visor to explode and there's no way they can hear us talking about it at normal volume from 10 feet away" part was just silly, and I kind of felt like the actors playing the bad guys had been chosen for their haircuts more than anything. Maybe Berman visited a psychobilly bar the month before or something?

    It was ok, but suffered from the same tropes that poor quality action films all suffer from. Was fun seeing Tuvok without his ears though.

    I've read in the 50 year mission star trek book that, Patrick Stewart kept wanting more action and romance for Picard. Paramount/Berman & Co worried he wouldn't renew his contract for season 7 so this episode is a direct result of that.

    To be fair, it was a bit of a bum deal originally that Riker, the XO, gets to be Captain Kirk, and Picard sits at a desk every episode.


    I enjoyed this little thriller. It starred Mr TNG himself of course. It feels like it has been a while since almost every episode showcased the captain.

    The supporting ensemble played its part.

    Enjoyed this episode for what it is. Low level Die Hard scenario. Picard arming up with a crossbow and making improvised explosive devices was fun. The Mott thing was a direct rip of the Die Hard scene when Gruber gets caught and calls himself Bill Clay.
    Not sure why Picard goes through the trouble of maiming people when he knows the beam will wipe them out. Maybe he was hoping he could get it shut down. But blowing up the shuttle was just cold-hearted man.
    Hutchinson getting zapped was kinda funny.

    "blowing up the shuttle was just cold-hearted man."

    Cold-hearted? I don't know about that. It would be like if a burglar broke into your house and you were doing chemical experiments and you warned the burglar not to take them or shake them around because it would be deadly but they go ahead and do it anyway. Plus, it's not clear if Picard took the control rod intentionally (he may have just been trying to grab/disarm the device but only got a piece of it), but it was a matter of deciding whether it worth killing a few people on a ship or letting the explosive kill countless others on a planet or station.

    So, Riker,Troi , Data and Crusher are plotting to deceive their captors in quiet voices but not whispering in the same room as their captors when no one else is making any noise.
    That was a director failure.

    As for the villain's plan -if they were just after making a dishonest buck there must be less hazardous ways to do it.
    We could have done without Data's small talk experiment and yep I absolutely agree with the major point that Patrick Stewart is no Bruce Willis. the stuff they were stealing was a waste-product of warp engines, why do they need to steal it? Couldn't they just harvest it from their own ship?

    That's the problem with terrorism in such a high-tech universe: even the lowliest of space-travelers by definition has access to anti-matter and other incredibly energetic materials. If you can travel to the location of anything worth stealing, then you've already got anything a terrorist could realistically want to steal.

    When it was first airing, I watched this episode probably half a dozen times across various syndication slots, staying up way too late to watch it again. I liked the action and the tension from the "chase" of the sweep. The crossbow was also pretty hardcore. It was a nice touch that Picard had to use that door unlocking module while the power was off. It was more satisfying than merely prying the doors open. Good sound design, too. I like the terrorist communicator chirping and the ramping noise Geordi's visor made when incapacitating everybody.

    I realize she inevitably gets eaten by the baryon sweep, but the second female outright vanishes in ten forward. It really seems like some sort of editing mistake. Same with Hutch's fate, which has to be assumed.

    I'm just glad the guy from Spaceballs who ain't found shit ended up eating shit. I also like Hutch and Data Hutch.

    Fights. Whenever Kirk or Picard get in a hand to hand fight, they get their butts kicked by either a retired Admiral, or some woman. Picard can't even hold his own against Kelsey. She beat him down and left him on the ship to pay his regrets. Of course he got the last laugh by removing the control module on the container, and it explodes on her, but still. Kirk usually gets beat up by the old dude who is at least 20 years older than him. The most unrealistic fights ever.

    Thanks Jammer for providing more than just a passing discussion of the absolutely insipid score attached to Starship Mine. It's a real flat tire on the axle of the episode which, at certain points demands quick resort to the mute button. I thought to myself 'One more pointless use of those d____ horns and I'm going to dive into the oncoming baryon sweep'.

    It amazes me that I got through it all, given the well-worn Star Trek tropes I endured, especially that really ancient one where the hero (Kirk or Picard) finally gets a weapon, and is almost immediately thereafter caught and disarmed. I always hated that one.

    The slow picking-off of henchmen trope was already a fossil decades before Die Hard was filmed. Is there a single James Bond film that avoids it? I can't think of one, and surely the tradition goes back to Homer.

    While I liked seeing Picard do something apart from sipping "Earl Grey hot" for a change, what I really enjoyed were the introductory scenes where the relentless tedium of life on a Federation star ship is fully revealed in all its splendor. After everyone of the main cast bores the captain to death with their trivial technical questions, I fully expected someone to pop up and ask him if a shellac-based pigmented primer should be applied over the rust spots in the ready room loo.

    Vaguely enjoyable ... 4/9

    Well - I guess it probably was inspired by Die Hard, but it reminded me more of Under Siege. However where Seagal was an electrifying, imposing presence in that sort of role, Patrick Stewart isn't. The fight scenes were just boring.

    I liked the basic idea though. The deadly beam passing slowly through the ship. Nice idea. But having it stop at the very last moment was something of a hackneyed old cliche.

    I enjoyed the Data small talk gag. Another one to showcase Spiner's comic talents. I didn't really buy Geordie's visor being turned into a magic unconsciousness bomb. Ridiculous.

    A pretty forgettable one, I'm afraid.

    I don't quite get the saddle gag. Initially, it's played as if Picard is making up an excuse to get out of talking to Hutch. But then we see he actually has a saddle (and full riding outfit). Then they joke about it again in the final scene.

    Also, what's with the anti-small talk stuff? Hutch was personable enough - and it's effectively a function/party they were at - you're supposed to make small talk! Just made the Enterprise crew seem like a stuffy mob.

    zaphy said: "I don't quite get the saddle gag. Initially, it's played as if Picard is making up an excuse to get out of talking to Hutch. But then we see he actually has a saddle (and full riding outfit). Then they joke about it again in the final scene."

    That is the joke. Or jokes. The first joke is that what seems to be a transparent and rather lame excuse for getting out of the reception surprisingly turns out to be true. The second joke is people facetiously pretending that they knew all along that Picard was being serious when a new person responds to the "saddle excuse" with incredulity.

    I like this episode, Die Hard clones were all the rage at the time, but this is a good one because, like the original, it finds a nice mix of light and serious moments.

    p.s. Picard's love of horseback riding was previously shown in season two's "Pen Pals."

    The Data parts were great, especially him in the background initiating Hutch. Killing Hutch didn't really fit the vibe of the episode though. It looks they wanted to make it clear This Is A Dangerous Situation, turning him into a glorified red shirt.

    Heck, this situation seems ripe for Data having a full on neurosis. "I was playing small talking and he died. Did I cause this? Was I distracted and missed obvious threats? Is small talk dangerous???"


    I agree, the death of Hutch seemed gratuitous, and the other characters really didn't react to it in any way that made sense to me. I remember when I first saw the episode, I felt an odd kind of guilt at having bought into the characters' sense of him as annoying and kind of pathetic, and laughing behind his back at Data's mimicry. For just one moment, I felt as if I had been mocking a dead man, as if such things could be retroactive.

    It was almost like something I remember hearing two boys from my high school say to each other in the cafeteria the day we'd all been told of the death of a fellow student: "Remember him? We laughed about how pale he looked, and we didn't know it was because he was sick. Just think, we made fun of him, and now he's DEAD."

    The Trek regulars, however, went on with their adventure of the week as if they had stopped noticing the corpse in the room, a corpse that had been the host of the party just a short time before. It seemed inhuman, somehow.

    I liked the rest of the show, but that detail has always felt awkward to me.

    This is a great episode if a bit goofy and intellectually "chewing gum" ish. The ending always makes me roll my eyes.

    Picard: (re: his saddle) "It actually came in handy. I only wish I had had the opportunity to use it on a horse."

    Worf: "Of course."


    @Trish Hutch was not the only death overlooked in this episode, but also those of Kelsie's accomplices, including those only subdued by Picard, who made a point of that fact in both cases, but would later perish in the baryon sweep.

    This episode is a good premise but just has too many loose ends. Why did Kelsie need the money? Why did her team not suspect she would betray them to remove their splits of the earnings? What was Arkania base's role in the plot? It all could've been executed a lot better, I think particularly if the motivation was something other than profit. Look at 11001001 from season 1 for a comparison.

    What ever happened to Hutchenson??? I think they should have at least shown at the end his fate. Dead, or alive and back to his usual happy self....

    @Ari Paul

    The episode does tell you. He dies immediately in the attack.

    The "regulars" don't act like they're all that broken up about it, do they?

    It is a terrible lapse that nothing is done about Hutch in the episode. It's just another example of the casual attitude to the death of others. Quite possibly it was part of the zeitgeist of the early 90's (at least in America)...."Weekend at Bernie's" dates to the same general period. Mourning went out of fashion.

    This episode could have been "Code of Honor" bad, and still would have been redeemed by any two seconds of Data mimicking the expressions of Commander Hutichinson. Pure gold.

    I suppose it’s obvious, but even before I read Jammer’s review I thought of Die Hard - let’s face it, the episode is a fairly standard heist / hostage / hi-jack story, a perfect vehicle for Patrick Willis…

    Let’s ignore the plot holes: the fact that a super-sophisticated starship doesn’t have basic equipment such as radiation suits for emergency use during a ‘baryon sweep’, nor that Data would surely have shut down the sweep as soon as he got control of the computer, or that we are supposed to believe the entire base station except for Commander Hutchison was involved in the heist… the episode was quite fun to watch as long as you ignore the fact that it’s not really Trek.

    To be honest, the only thing which carried strong memories was Data’s attempt to learn small talk. It’s the funniest moment in the whole of Star Trek and brilliantly done by Brent Spiner! It’s a solitary 4 star moment in a 2.5 star episode.


    “Also, what's with the anti-small talk stuff? Hutch was personable enough - and it's effectively a function/party they were at - you're supposed to make small talk“

    I think the joke is that there’s nothing wrong with small talk, but take it too far (like Hutch) and you become a Grade A bore! I.e. someone who talks but doesn’t really listen, except for cues for the next boring monologue…

    I think that "small talk" is a particular thing needed to establish the tone or mood of a conversation. It's information-gathering at an easy level (often caring, but largely impersonal). Compare 'pinging between servers', probing or scanning in tech language.

    Was Hutch boring because he engaged in small talk and nothing else? or was Hutch boring because nobody from the Enterprise had the same interests that he did?

    The 3rd possibility is that Hutch was one of those people who was blind to the full materiality of those he traps into a conversation. We have to admit that some people we meet do not seem 'to get' the whole human thing.

    The episode makes the point that such people ultimately go unmourned.

    "Was Hutch boring because he engaged in small talk and nothing else? or was Hutch boring because nobody from the Enterprise had the same interests that he did?"

    He was a quintessential *bad* smalltalker. He didn't pick up on the other's cues and spent the entire conversation talking without listening. I know people like this. I've been like this myself at times. Good business people know how to do small talk correctly. In a business context my impression is that the other person (prospective client) should be doing about 70% of the talking - assuming they are comfortable doing so. In non business social situations it should be more even. If you find yourself doing 90% of the talking it may be time to take a breath and make sure the other person is as into it as you.

    Here an INtake of the scene. Great Stuff!!

    I just rewatched this, curious. Zapht has a point. I thought Hutch was actually quite good at circulating the room and being polite and friendly. He didn't tend to trap people in long, boring conversations, despite the build up implying this. ​His approach is more like the friendly greeting, 1 or 2 pleasantries, then move on to someone else. That all seems fine, especially in these small doses.

    What is more grating, though, is that his energy levels are just so much higher than everyone else he speaks to. The over the top bonhomie, complete with slapping someone he's just met on the arm, and lots of laughter even at moments that had no actual levity, is so grating. He comes across as a phoney, pretending that a mildly enjoyable chat is actually something wonderful and hilarious in order to make people like him more.

    @Trish and others:

    I saw this a couple times, wondering what happened to Hutch. There's a blink and you'll miss it shot of his draped corpse on the floor.

    Maybe they decided his death didn't fit the vibe and edited to minimize its impact.

    There WAS an exchange on the script that was cut for some reason.

    (after discussing Geordi)

    What about Hutchinson?

    There was nothing I could do for him.

    Whatever, he was a glorified extra anyway.

    (kidding about Riker's second line)


    When returning from commercial, the camera quickly passes over a purple blanket covering Hutch's body....pretty flattened out to minimize its existence.

    It's a shame.
    Beverly's missing line could have been hooked on to the bit about Geordi quite easily. Something like: "If I don't get Geordie proper medical attention soon, he could end up like poor Hutch over there."

    Deanna could have added, "I feel guilty having snickered at Data's impersonations of the commander. They really were somewhat rude."

    Oh well. Not to be.

    The final attempt at levity "horse ...of course" really falls flat after so many fatalities were served up.

    Not possible to like it.
    1 star.

    One thing that bugged me is that Kiros (Patricia Tallman's character) simply disappears. I think it's implied (?) that she's killed by the baryon sweep after Picard's small explosion is tripped in ten forward. But there's no indication that happened -- so sound cue, no scream, no reference by the cast after-the-fact -- just ... vanished.

    BTW, I like the little joke at the end of the episode, where Picard says "Actually [the saddle] came in handy, I only wish I had the opportunity to use it on a horse"...and Worf responds with, "...Of course"!
    (it's from a show called "Mr. Ed", where the opening lyrics are, "A horse is a horse of course of course...")

    2-1/2 stars!?! Get the hell outta heah!!

    This was the television equivalent of a page-turner. I did not pause this episode even once: Every single scene had me wanting more and intrigued me to want to find out what happens next. There are very, very few episodes I could say the same for. It's a four-star for me, with maybe 1/2 star deducted for the oh-so convenient, last-minute saved-by-the-bell ending.

    Riker: "The first thing we need to discuss is this: *palm-strikes the bad guy right in the prosthetic schnozzle*"
    Bad guy: "UAAAGGGHHH"

    Oh, and... - Tuvok!! My favorite Voyager character! Of course, he's in a different guise here but, still, very nice to see him.

    There's got to be a morning after....Yeah, this reminded me of The Poseidon Adventure, the Baryon Sweep filling the ship instead of water.

    I agree with Michael, 05/28/22 above. This was a fun episode with lots of twists and turns and a great cast of extras. 4 stars except for 0.5 deduction for the death of Hutchinson receiving no comment or lament by anyone.

    If trilithium resin is a waste product of warp engines shouldn't it be readily available from pretty much any warp capable vessel. Why would these idiots go to all that trouble to steal it off the flagship of the federation when they could get it from any old ship?

    At the rate the sweep was moving they would have all been dead long before the episode was halfway finished. There at the end it was nearly at ten forward and would have been there in seconds yet the episode went on for minutes.

    It seemed pretty foolish of Picard to beam back aboard the Enterprise with only minutes before shutdown just to get a saddle, and why didn't he immediately contact the starbase instead of trying to beam off the ship when he disovered something was wrong?

    Why don't the doors have battery backup? We already have the technology today in 2023.

    3 stars here. Pretty much the same observations, but it's still enjoyable enough to recommend. The small talk is genuinely funny. We all love Hutch. Baryon sweep is a fun premise. The villain is fairly stock, but decent. The villains at the base, are pretty meh though. I rolled my eyes when they responded to Riker "Oh ok I guess we will listen to you." I also think Picard would have done better against a better foil and then his stoicness wouldn't seem so muted. At least the bad guys weren't Ferengi. Might have been neat to make the villains Bajorans to add some context to DS9. "A horse of course" was a fairly ridiculous / enjoyable note to end on.

    Truly though, this episode's weakest link is the music. I've thought upon rewatching, though it might be insulting to Chattaway, that it would be really awesome if some of season 6,7 was "rescored" by a modern composer to see how it would sound. Obviously the best choice would be to call back Ron Jones, though really all the TNG composers wrote good music before they were held back by Rick Berman's policies.

    Gotta love the stupidity in this one. Captain Picard casually taking his sweet time waltzing around the ship knowing the power is going to go off in seconds.

    Phaser won't work because of the sweep field..even though the field hasn't hit that area yet.

    The transporter actually initiates a beaming sequence even though the power is set to go offline in 5 seconds? Had he actually dematerialized first, then what? No power so would his pattern be lost or just held in suspension?

    Talk about star fleet impatience! Couldn't wait another 15 seconds had to start that sweep a few seconds before the power actually went out.

    Using the visor to neutralize pain receptors in the brain lol OK

    I guess escaping the ship in a shuttlecraft was out of the question? Unlike "enemy within" they don't have the "we didn't put shuttlecrafts in yet" excuse!

    The aliens communicator just so happened to work with their systems, just after a totally unexplainable lag LOL

    They didn't account for captain Picard being missing all that time and just consider that maybe, just maybe, he was still on the ship??? Talk about no one doing their due diligence. Couldn't they detect his lifesigns/lifespans of the Intruders for that matter?

    3 stars, 2.5 after all the stupidity lol

    And if that communicator at the end worked why didn't he just use it to CONTACT the base and tell them to shut off the sweep, or that there were intruders aboard. I mean come on.

    "And if that communicator at the end worked why didn't he just use it to CONTACT the base and tell them to shut off the sweep, or that there were intruders aboard. I mean come on."

    That was the terrorist's communicator, and since they were techs from the base, Picard rightly assumed they were in cahoots with one another. It wasn't until he was in a desperate situation that he tried calling, and he lucked out that Data had commandeered the base's computer system. That said, I would've expected the actual sweep to be administered from an office or control room somewhere else, not a console in the corner of the reception hall. Maybe that was just an auxiliary control panel and Data was able to get access to everything from there.

    That's true I forgot the base was also seized at that point. My main problem with this episode was how they had Picard deliberately taking his sweet time wandering around the ship when the power was about go off, they could have found a better way to strand him on the ship than him just being stupid. Was the transporter really going to dematerialize him with only 10 seconds of power left? Once again I guess there are no basic safety precautions, like the computer aborting the power-termination if human lifesigns were still on board, or the transporter refusing to work unless it has enough power supply.

    So Picard incapacitated a bunch of the terrorists (ie, Tim Russ) and then stashed them... where? Cuz they weren't in Ten Forward at the end. Which means they're dead by Baryon sweep. Which means just as dead as Kelsey.

    The moral? Don't piss off the Captain...

    I like to think that this was about the time that Patrick Stewart's ego started to get the best of him and the writing staff, a trend which would continue through the TNG movies and first 2 seasons of Picard.

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