Star Trek: The Next Generation


1.5 stars.

Air date: 5/10/1993
Written by Joe Menosky and Naren Shankar
Directed by Cliff Bole

Review Text

Crusher plays host to a motley crew of alien scientists she has assembled in the hopes of validating the theoretical work of Ferengi Dr. Reyga (Peter Slutsker), who has developed an unproven new shield technology that can supposedly withstand the heat of a star's corona. His work is not taken seriously, however, because Ferengi are apparently so lowly regarded in scientific circles that most don't even grant that "Ferengi" and "scientist" can be said in the same sentence. That reveals a thinking that would seem awfully implausible (how could the Ferengi have ever developed space flight without scientific minds?) if not for the fact the Ferengi have been portrayed as so relentlessly one-note stupid throughout TNG's run as to have made me think on multiple occasions, well, "How did the Ferengi ever develop space flight, anyway?"

The testing of this shield technology requires a lot of danger, because for some reason the technology cannot be tested on an unmanned shuttle piloted by remote. Because for no other reason than the plot requires it, the shuttle must be piloted by a living person, which seems not simply contrived and implausible, but foolish: If you didn't believe this technology was sound, would you pilot a shuttle into the corona of a star? Just asking.

The volunteer test pilot, the Tarkarian scientist Jo'Bril, ventures into the inferno of the corona, has a sudden gasping fit, pilots the shuttle out, is beamed to sickbay, and dies on the operating table. What went wrong? Did the shield fail? If not, why wasn't the shuttle incinerated? Crusher is suspicious, then things turn even more curious when Reyga turns up dead with clues that indicate possible suicide but point with bright neon arrows to more-possible murrrrrrr-derrrrrrrr. Did one of the other scientists engineer an elaborate plot to sabotage the flight and then kill and discredit Reyga, and perhaps steal his scientific breakthrough for themselves?

"Suspicions" is a who-cares murder mystery told in hackneyed narrated flashback (as if this were some sort of film noir) as Crusher relays to Guinan the details of this somber mess that ultimately will supposedly cost Crusher her career, but actually not. Reyga's death is unsolved, yet no one on the Enterprise seems to care except Crusher, who as the story's lone-wolf heroine must press on even with the world aligned against her. Much is made of the fact that Crusher orders an autopsy of Reyga against the wishes of his family (leading to aforementioned supposed end of Crusher's career, etc.), and yet at the end, having violated the rules apparently means nothing so long as she ultimately proves there was actually a killer in the midst. (One actually has nothing to do with the other and she should still face the ethics panel, but, seriously, why pretend any of this has consequences?)

The characters are paper-thin vessels (the other scientists are a Klingon, a Vulcan, and a human, none of which deserves mention in this review, but I'll do it anyway) carrying only the plot pieces, which assemble into a story of relative nonsense and absolute inconsequence. The big twist is that Jo'Bril is the killer, having earlier faked his own death and who now appears in the show's finale — in which Crusher attempts to prove the initial flight was sabotaged by taking a second flight, using the logic that the shuttle won't burst into flames because this time it wasn't sabotaged, I guess.

Words escape me as to how many silly assumptions this line of thinking requires, but never mind, because Jo'Bril is aboard the shuttle and confronts Crusher and goes into full Talking Killer exposition mode by conveniently explaining to her in the most heavy-handed fashion imaginable every remaining plot question: the motivation behind his faked death, the — yes — murder of the Ferengi, how he intends to now steal the technology for himself (and turn it into a weapon, bwahahaha!), and, for all I know, even why the dog did it in "Aquiel" — which is the only episode of season six more mind-numbing than this one.

Previous episode: Frame of Mind
Next episode: Rightful Heir

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128 comments on this post

    The only reason I remember this episode at all is that it is the last appearance of Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan on televised TNG. Finito. She never appears in season 7 at all. In Star Trek: Generations she reveals some major plot points, but her wit and wisdom are absent. And her final appearance ever is in Star Trek: Nemesis is just fluff.

    She was pivotal in such classics as "The Measure of a Man"; "Q Who"; "Yesterday's Enterprise"; "The Best of Both Worlds I and II"; "I, Borg". This character deserved a better TV swansong than this.

    This was an average episode. I have to think I would have enjoyed this more if I hadn't been spoiled by TVGuide. That was actually my first encounter with spoilers. There was a brief article in TVGuide making a big deal about James Horan who at the time was on a soap opera appearing on TNG and they revealed he played an alien that could slow his body functions to appear as if he was dead. Needless to say it turned what probably could have been an interesting murder mystery into a predictable exercise for me.

    Still I dont hate this one like Jammer does. I like Beverly taking center stage and the group of scientists were for the most part interesting enough. I also liked Guinan's role in it at the end when she reveals her coming to Beverly with tennis elbow was just a pretense.

    I'd easily give it 2.5 stars.

    Patrick--you are so dead on. Such a lame way to end Guinan's appearances on the TV show. She is one of my favorite characters and this was a poor way to send her off.

    David--Having Beverly "taking center stage" is enough to make me dislike any episode, but in this one it is especially cloying because the "mystery" is so idiotic. But that's just me.

    This episode is about 2.5 for me. OK, but not great. My big problem with this episode is Crusher's motivation. She is a medical officer, yet she becomes enamored with shield technology. No reason for this interest is given. I'd understand it better if somehow there was a medical application to this technology, but clearly there isn't. Anytime I watch this episode I can't get past the fact that Crusher's interest in Reyga's work makes no sense to me.

    I did like Picard's dressing down of Crusher for having performed the autopsy. I've never been a huge fan of Crusher myself so I like it on those rare occasions when she gets taken down a peg. :)

    Just one point I'd like to make regarding the Ferengi that I recall is that they didn't develop spaceflight. They bought it. Can't remember off who but it was mentioned in an episode of DS9.

    Like other commentators here, while I do not really like this episode, I don't think it's total trash like "Aquiel." I'd say it's 2 or 2.5*.

    In defence of Beverly's motivations here, let me say this: in the later seasons of TNG, the writers strove to wedge a palpably feminist bent into the shows (a trend which would manifest in Kira and Janeway for a few years after, until it finally, thankfully dissolved in both). In "Thine Own Self," Beverly and Deanna discuss the implications of being a command officer and their shared need to do more than their relatively passive roles as medical staff require. Crusher's desire to play a pivotal rôle in the development of an important piece of non-medical technology seems to fit in with that arc quite well. I'm not saying I liked it. Sociopolitical implications aside, TNG worked better before this bent was inserted into the mix.

    @Elliott: Interesting point. But the problem here isn't that Crusher is the story's main character. It's that the story itself is so ham-fisted. Jammer's right about the characters being ridiculous -- to say nothing of Crusher's ridiculous decision to take the shuttle into the star's corona and the lack of consequences after the fact.

    This is a nice example of why Jammer's negative reviews have more re-readability than the serious ones -- I certainly had more fun reading this review than seeing the actual episode!

    I know no on is a fan of Crusher, but I actually liked her performance in this episode. Yes, the plot would have been better had a three year old written it in poo, but McFadden turned in a solid performance and really made the most of the crap she was given to work with. The character of Crusher shines in this one despite the extremely clumsy writing.

    Worst line of the episode is Worf agitatedly asking "Are you through yet doctor?" at the scene of Reyga's death. Completely out of character. Worf sees danger everywhere, (Those fluffy bunnies could be armed, let's just go ahead and shoot them...) but here when Crusher implies murder may have occurred, he just seems like he's got better things to do. After that, the whole question in my mind for the entire rest of the episode isn't who did it, but where the **** is security?

    Horribly written, but one of the better Crusher performances, which stands out more against the terrible backdrop.

    I like to think that since this whole episode was Bev telling it all to Guinan, that maybe she was a bit jaded in her story telling. That would explain a lot of the shallow guest characters, and why several of the regulars were a bit off. Maybe she thought Worf wasn't doing enough and interpreted it as disinterest and that bled over to her storytelling to Guinan. It makes the episode a lot more forgivable.

    Jeremy Short-in coming up with your (possible explanation) for why the guest characters were shalow, why the regulars were a bit off, etc., you obviously have showed much more thought than the writer did in concocting this episode.

    In my opinion, the writing was just tired. You have the lame flashback plot, the tired introduction of characters about whom we could care less, and a lacklustre mystery that in the end underwhelms because we are given no clues that would give us some kind of investment in the story's resolution.

    Also, re: Guinan - this wsan't just a sad swan song for the character. This was the first time where there was absolutely ZERO point to having Guinan on the show. Guinan was there for one reason: so Beverly could relate information about what brought her up to the point at which we saw her at the beginning of the episode. a "Medical Log" series of entries could have done the same thing...

    Dull, dull, dull

    Also, not that anyone is counting, but this is the SECOND time in season six that Crusher's ordering an autopsy against a family/culture's wishes is used as a major plot point (the other time being in that other keeper of an episode, "Man of the People". I guess there is one difference between the two episodes: In "Suspicions", we do not know who the killer is, and we do not care. In "Man of the People", we DO know who the killer is, and we do not care). How tired.

    I agree about the often ridiculous length Star Trek goes to pigeon-hole pretty much every racer other than humans. Ferengi scientists and Klingon doctors are presented as virtual contradictions, and in the latter case, without Klingon medical expertise there's no way a racelike theirs could ever have survived to the technological level they now have. They seem to try compensate for that human diversity by making every other race physiologically superior to humans, which is equally ridiculous. How many episodes have there been where some pathogen or anomoly incapacitates everyone on board except for the one or two among the crew who aren't frail humans.

    @ Dan L...that's a good point. And all the more appalling considering her shrillness about ethics back in, well, "Ethics".

    Also, the reasoning why the technology didn't work (although it did) is yet another example of a load of gibberish being presented as "logic" just because the dialogue is delivered by a Vulcan.

    @ Elliot, interesting point about the feminist bent of TNG, DS9 and VOY, that I had never really noticed until you brought it up. It is a liberal show, so I can excuse a little of it, but at least with TNG the females should at least appear to be capable of command, which neither Troi or Crusher are. I love these characters, but come on, I don't want to see Picard taking a medical course, or Riker taking the bar exam!!!

    Yes it is sad the way Guinan's arc was never finished. We got a great revelation of her meeting Picard in "Time's Arrow", and it would have been nice to see how that impacted their relationship now that Picard knew. Instead we got "Rascals" and "Suspicions". And she didn't get any closure in the films either. Too bad.

    @Kevin I'm a fan of Crusher. Awesome bod. Let's not forget she's got 'nice t**s', as said by Jim Belushi in Taking Care of Business. Seriously... this was a good mystery. Enjoyed it.

    I've always layed that overwrought feminist bent at the feet of Jeri Taylor. The worst example for me was in VOY on "Parallax" when Janeway and Torres sit and spew technobabble back and forth and excitedly figure out the entire plot while the menfolk look on with dull expressions. The early Janeway was almost written as a Mary Sue instead of the nuanced and more believable leader she eventually became. I never thought Major Kira was written as a feminist cipher so much as a hothead. I've always chalked that up to the fact that her role was originally intended for Ro Laren.

    As for "Suspicions" I agree with every criticism here but I still enjoy it. By the sixth season TNG had become like a comfortable old blanket to me and I just liked spending time on the ship with the characters even if the stories were often mediocre. Probably a hypnotic side effect of the bland boring monotonous sonic wallpaper that passed for musical scoring at that point.

    According to Nog, the Ferengi had to buy warp technology.

    So maybe a Ferengi scientist is indeed a contradiction in terms.

    @ John...even if they bought warp technology, there'd still need to be some people with enough science and technology background to be able to comprehend it and do something with it.

    Reading your reviews has brought up another problematic issue that I hadn't realized. Between The Chase, Frame of Mind and Suspicions, there were THREE consecutive "mystery" episodes in which we are trying to figure something out along with the crew or one specific character. These were few and far between normally (e.g. Clues), but three in a row reminds me of your problem with New Ground and Hero Worship being back to back episodes with kids misbehaving followed by a a disaster plot.

    I agree that Frame of Mind was the bset of the three and that this episode suffered from some holes, but I always found this one to be more interesting to me than The Chase. Perhaps it's because at the end of the day, Crusher's quest at least resulted in something (clearing her name, vindication, solving a murder) rather than a lame unbelievable holographic message saying "We are the world, we are the people"

    Yes, the alien characters were stereotypes, the Vulcan character was especially pathetic, and of course, how would these species have developed space travel without scientists, doctors, etc.

    Bev's narration was very lackluster, as was the acting of the other main characters.

    As to the "feminist bent" debate above, I strongly disagree. Having women (strong or otherwise) in the command structure or episodes based on them doesn't mean that there is a feminist bent. There were still fewer women than men, and the main elements of the command structure were also men. I don't think that there was a particular feminist message that was pushed at any time, except perhaps when alien species were surprised by Janeway's command for example. This is in contrast to the messages of certain DS9 episodes about racism (which, by the way, don't bother me, since they are few and pertinent).

    As to Kira, she seems to be following in the line of Bajoran female characters, probably due to a traumatic early life, which is probably why they're hotheaded, not because they represent "feminists" everywhere.

    And to respond to another comment above, if Janeway and Torres figure out a problem while the male staff look on, that just means that those two are competent crew members that happen to be women who are solving a problem. That doesn't necessarily scream feminism, and the fact that some people think it does suggests that they are unwilling to believe that two women could solve a problem without the help of men without that being some kind of politically correct lecture.

    As to their being "capable of command" well, I think that was the point of the later Troi arc, she learns to become capable of command, and I don't think that's an inappropriate story for a series based on a starship.

    Now, having said all that, I thought Bev's performance was especially weak in this episode, and Troi's almost always are, but I don't think there's a hidden agenda here.

    And no, I'm neither female nor black.

    Yet another case of Troi mysteriously forgetting her empathic abilities.

    What's this Ferengi death ritual? Crusher specificly says here that it's a ritual performed "before the body is buried", but DS9 show that their bodies are converted into discs of desecated remains and sold...

    I'm watching this now, and having a hard time getting through it without pausing. So, for now: a few of my favourite instances of redundant voice over in the episode:

    1. (scene of scientists reacting unenthusiastically to Dr. Reyga's technology)
    CRUSHER [VOICE OVER]: It wasn't exactly an enthusiastic response to Doctor Reyga's technology, but given the circumstances and the scientist's quarrelsome personalities, I was quite pleased.
    CRUSHER [in flashback]: I thought that went well, didn't you?

    2. CRUSHER [VO]: It was probably the most puzzling autopsy I've ever performed, and the most frustrating, because Jo'Bril's anatomy was unlike any I'd encountered, and I've run into some unusual specimens.
    PICARD: How's it going?
    CRUSHER: I've never run into a humanoid species like this before. His internal physiology's baffling.

    3. (Reyga acts angry)
    CRUSHER: Reyga seemed angry.

    I also note that at one point, Patrick Stewart pronounces "solar" like "so-LAR," as if to rhyme with "Dr. Selar."

    Having finished the episode, I think that it improves a fair amount once the flashback part of the episode stops and Beverly starts investigating in real time. Many of the episode's problems remain, but the pacing is much better and the emotional stakes are clearer. I like Ogawa helping Crusher out, and I like Crusher's decision to test the metaphasic shield directly as her way of getting through to the murder investigation -- it's a bit weakly justified that this is the *only* possible way for Beverly to prove that Reyga was indeed murdered, but if you accept that this is the only way to prove that, then there is a neatness to the plot element wherein proving the worth of Reyga's initial technology is the thing that also proves that he did not commit suicide and that there is still a killer. And somehow this manages to combine the main traits that motivate Beverly in the episode -- her scientific curiosity and enthusiasm and her humanism; she wants to find the truth and she wants to help a man whom she'd (perhaps?) gotten killed.

    To get there, you still have to swallow the episode's huge leaps of logic. The Ferengi, just about the least spiritual, most materialistic people in the Star Trek universe, suddenly have a burial ritual which must remain active even if an autopsy could potentially be used in helping to solve a murder investigation. (And, you know, if Reyga was murdered, even if his family didn't care about that, surely they could demand compensation?) The suspicious circumstances of Reyga's death are brushed off by the entire security staff, and neither Worf nor the command officers (Picard/Riker) make the slightest attempt to investigate the other scientists in what is surely standard procedure after a death, even one faked to look like a suicide. And, yep, Jo'Bril's plan makes no sense; I guess no one would have noticed that he disappeared from the morgue, then, and his plan had been to "discredit Reyga," and then to...kill him?...and then go back to the morgue, I guess?

    Even so, while the episode doesn't make much sense and the first half is interminable, I think that there is some snap to the last few scenes which allows the character core of the episode to land a little better than it had been otherwise. Of course, what's weird is that the episode's ending -- the doctor risks her life in a shuttlecraft to prove a hypothetical -- is basically ripped from "Unnatural Selection," of all things, which worked to the extent that it did because Diana Muldaur is very good, and so even this episode's "strengths" are weaker than that. On the other hand, this does not end with a magic de-aging transporter, so. I'd give this one 2 stars.

    I know this is just a silly little continuity nit, but didn't Worf's ship in Redemption II fly into a sun's corona? It practically landed on the surface - without metaphasic shields.

    @ JR...yes

    Further, the trick of destroying a ship with a conjured solar flare that some ensign came up with that impressed Beverly immensely in "Descent" was actually something Kurn had already thought up and performed in R2.

    I liked the story. Was doctor Crusher acting foolishly throughout the episode? Yes, but that's her character anyway. She did come across as overly suicidal here though; both career wise and literally with her life. 'I'm going to fly into a sun to prove I'm right!' Ok Bev, more power to you.
    As for the green guy, he actually sabotaged the shielding of a ship that he was flying into the sun? Was this an episode of Star Trek or 'You bet your life?'

    I found it funny how all shots from outside the shuttle are of it flying into the corona. That was some of the most blatant reusal of footage so far.

    I also wonder how he plans to turn the shield into a weapon or how Beverly plans to prove anything after atomizing his body.

    Fun episode that I liked. Think Crusher was a good solo actor (Crush vs everybody else) and this reminded me (in a positive way) of the episode in which people vanish one by one on the enterprise. Perhaps the actor could identity after being booted for season 2. The Ferangi actor was a tad too anthropomorphic though. Berman was not happy that this used narration to explain the plot...which just goes to show how clueless he is.

    Could have been worth another star if the actors hadn't all phoned it in.

    Think I'd probably give this one just a slightly higher score.

    I'm not a fan of Guinan but ironically I like her in this one. She finally gives some advice that ends up helping the person unlike many other episodes where she just insults the person (Geordie). I'm cool with this being her final episode.

    This was an ok episode to me, I really like Beverly in this but the ending felt like a cheat. Because in the beginning they go out of their way to say he was dead despite his unique biology. Then they just flip flop on it at the end. Still, I was really engaged in the investigation plot.

    I kind of wish Worf was more involved, he should be all over a possible murderer on board like he was in the drumhead.

    Like a lot of Trek, it's a good idea, fun, but full of holes. The first massive problem is when the Klingon scientist suggests that she does not trust the Ferengi to fly the craft into the Corona... That she wants someone more objective. This is completely bonkers. Does the writer of this episode think flying into a coroner can be falsified? That bias can come into it?

    Ferengi scientist is almost a contradiction in terms? Ah, Trek... You know I love ya, but you sure do act stupidly sometimes. After all, why would a race obsessed with profit care about science? It only allows you to create things of immense value that no one else has access to, why would the Ferengi be interested in that? Science can't possibly be used for anything practical. It is only a hollowed religion for the pure and holy Federation, practiced only by the priests of Starfleet. Such an impure race like the Ferengi couldn't possibly be interested in it.

    Meanwhile, Jo'Bril is a true criminal mastermind. Move over, Lex Luthor. Get out of the way, Moriarty. This is a diabolical genius here. First, you fake your own death. Then, you sit still while getting an autopsy performed on you. Since there was such a to-do over the Ferengi one, presumably an autopsy here is invasive. Then you sit in the cold freezer in the morgue for a while. Then you sneak out, managing to avoid anyone in sickbay from noticing you despite being stuck inside a freezer and thus having no idea where anyone else is. Then you walk around the Enterprise, even though the weird green alien dying was the big news of the day and anyone who sees you will instantly recognize you. Then you kill the Ferengi because, um, reasons. Then you sneak back into the morgue, because after all this was a weird accident and you never know when the Dr might want to do more tests on your body. Then you sneak out again into the shuttlebay, which is always manned. Then you sneak into a shuttle, with some strange plan to steal it or something. Then you manage to hide in the shuttle somehow when Bev takes it out, even though you had no idea she would be coming and there's no hiding place inside the shuttle anyway.

    A brilliant plan!

    OK, mocking aside, there were a few ok scenes. I know people complain about Guinan's appearance here, but I liked the scene at the end of the flashbacks. Bev stops talking, and Guinan immediately starts talking about her tennis game again. It was so out there, yet quite well done and felt like a natural thing for her to do. The rest of the episode was generally just boring. And the plot just didn't have much relevance. Very, very forgettable.

    Why does beverly care about a ferengi's shuttle test? That made no sense to me. I also don't know why people wouldn't accept a ferengi scientist. Space travel has brought interstellar commerce to the ferengi economy. From a profit standpoint a ferengi scientist would be respected by other ferengi's.

    As for the feminist aspect of the later seasons I agree they change troi and beverly. They mainly change troi. Once she puts on that uniform all of a sudden she changes. Look at the episode disaster. She was in charge and didn't know anything obrien was talking about. Then look at timescape and she's throwing out technobabble left and right. I love troi in the early seasons even though she kinda sucks at being a counselor too. But once modern day political correctness changed her character I couldn't take it.

    Oh SkepticalMI, my hats off to you. Had me on the floor in the Relics review pondering an exchange between Wilbur Wright and a contemporary jet mechanic, and now this masterpiece of sarcasm.

    The tone was a little too routine and Crusher seemed too naive, more than usual, but it was still interesting to see her develop an interest in a technology outside of her field and a friendship with the Ferengi scientist and develop enough determination to break orders. There was also effective suspense about who the villain was (even if the answer was a little underwhelming).

    What a bizarre episode. Having read the comments there's not much more to say but I did note a few things. The 'entire' crew seem totally not concerned with what's going on, even picard seems to give the impression ' oh Beverly what have you done now...sigh' like she does this all the time... even Beverly walks round the ship in a slow convoluted way, Data seems confused and 'not really interested' when Beverly asks him if sabotage is possible. They all seem to treat her as they would any 'non regular' crew member - or maybe it's just me that's noticed that - With contempt, irritability, as if anyone else on the ship but them has problems or knows what they are doing. Strange. Did enjoy the almost 'porn movie' sounds that seemed dubbed over the fight scene on the shuttle craft, and Beverlys roundhouse kick chuck norris stylee on the was dead but now isn't alien scientist bloke. Just how did he get out of the morgue and back again whilst he was doing dastardly things? And if I hadn't known better I would have said Will Wheaton played the ferengi.

    Just watched this one for the first time. Think most of the negative aspects have been discussed here, but one more for you that annoyed me more than anything at the end: this huge, cunning, scheming alien, who has masterminded the faking of his own death, killed someone else and then proven that he can take a phaser blast at point blank range..... Loses a fist fight to a skinny unarmed earth woman.

    Also was there any way for Beverley to prove what happened on the shuttle after she vaporised him? Cctv doesn't appear to exist in the future...all they've got is the word of a disgraced off duty medical officer who's about to face the ethics committee for disobeying the captain's orders. Oh dear Beverley. Oh dear.

    So...uh....Crusher still did an unauthorized autopsy. What am I missing here? Why wasn't she disciplined?

    She should have been bounced out of Starfleet at the very least and most likely jailed.

    But then they'd break up the happy 7 and we can't have that!

    Watched this again and the biggest problems are:

    1. The idea that only radiation / heat are the issues with flying into the sun. Clearly, the writer had no idea about the science behind it (what about enormous gravity for starters?)

    2. "I do not believe the shield will ever work"

    It did work. The dude entered the sun and then (albeit supposedly dying) made it back out. In science terms, while not perfect, this would still be a breakthrough.

    3. A scientist agrees immediately, and without hesitation, to piloting a test run into the sun. Like his life is meaningless.

    4. Klingons don't rate scientists... but she is a Klingon scientist. And how would Klingons get anywhere without scientists?

    It's just really shoddy writing. No thought went into the set up at all.

    Sometimes there are mediocre or bad episodes I don't think are *too* bad, but I'll see commenters here stamp them with a zero or half-star rating and think those commenters are being over the top about it. This episode is probably my turn at being one of *those* commenters.

    I can think of only one compliment to lob at this episode: that Klingon and, specifically, Ferengi scientists are shown. Even better, the Ferengi scientist isn't just a businessman or con man in disguise trying to make some profit on some stolen technology (actually, he *does* offer exclusive rights to its further study or some such, but that's fine by me considering it's still *his* research and he is genuinely passionate about it).

    Other than that? Terrible all around. Dialogue, plotting, characterization. All worthless. Was Beverly's autopsy on the Ferengi so invasive? Couldn't it have been just a scan? How come the autopsy on Jo'Bril left him intact? Why did Picard or Riker seemingly not care about proving that a murder (or two) took place on the Enterprise? Why was Worf not being held back from getting involved in the investigation? It all just seemed so tired, so worn out, and a little bit depressing? Bad writing, or just late season fatigue on the part of the producers and actors?

    Why is it *Beverly* who is interested in shield technology? Why not Data or Geordi? Probably because Geordi got his own put-my-career-on-the-line murder mystery plot a few weeks ago. Yeah, I think "Suspicions" is even worse than "Aquiel".

    And then the killer crawls out of the shuttle furniture (in one of the most unintentionally hilarious scenes since Season 1) and spills his *whole* plan. All of it, everything. I covered my eyes when he boasted about stealing the technology to build "a weapon". I was stunned into silence when Beverly did some kung fu (which I guess makes sense since she's pretty athletic, I guess...?) shot a hole in his belly, and when he, like a zombie, lumbered towards her until she vaporized him completely.

    Punctuating this is the most juvenile and pathetic use of Guinan on the show. None of her advice is something anyone else could have given her. None of it is even all that *good*. Why did she need the pretense of tennis elbow? I mean usually she comes up with some act to make a point, but in this episode it's more like a parody. I'm also reading that this is Guinan's last appearance on the show. Not that the producers could have known that, but what a ball dropped.

    Oddly, even though I'm a huge Trek fan, I'd never seen this episode before last night. I probably will never watch it again. Zero stars for me. Probably one of the five or six worst entries of the series. At least most dreadful Season 1 outings had a kernel of an interesting premise buried somewhere. I know an episode is beyond saving when I pulled out the "at least" apologetics for Season 1.

    The episode doesn't work very well 1.75 stars for me. I can't imagine Dr. Crusher geeking out over an engineering marvel like corona shielding. As a dialog between the Doc and Guinan was probably the best vehicle to present it but also falls a little flat. I also thought the alien Jabrill was sooo incredibly alien his body had multiple organs and so forth, yet his chest hair and nipples suggest a typical human male painted green.
    A few things I liked: Alyssa defying the doctor by saying, "you're not my boss anymore" and I did like the idea of flying into a star's coronna.

    I agree with all the points made about the extra characters being cardboard cut-outs and the awful plot (and how was that guy going to make a weapon out of this shield). It's a shame that Klingon and Ferengi scientists, some of the first that we see of them, are just not very well defined characters.

    My biggest gripe about this episode and maybe the series as a whole is just Crusher. She's a good scientist, but kind of an awful doctor in terms of ethics. How did she make it as far as Chief Medical Officer when she, time and again, refuses to take orders? I could definitely see her being a normal doctor serving aboard the Enterprise, but you'd think the Chief Medical Officer could follow orders.

    The difference between Beverly and, say, Jean luc's characters are that when when confronted with a problem, Picard always figures out a clever solution using rules to his advantage while Crusher just barrels through the rules and gets away with it. I remember one scene where Picard mentions that he was the Arbiter of Succession for the current Klingon leader to a Klingon captain who was being ornery in order to get the guy to do what he wanted and play along. Little things like that are what's interesting to me about the series, but I feel like if he took Beverly's approach to it, he would've just put the whole Klingon ship into a tractor beam or disabled their engines with the ship's phasers and forced them to come on board because it was the "right thing to do".

    They write Beverly completely different from the other characters and definitely not in a good way.

    I'm just going to quote this from SkepticalMI's comment, because it is a true tour de force....

    "Ferengi scientist is almost a contradiction in terms? Ah, Trek... You know I love ya, but you sure do act stupidly sometimes. After all, why would a race obsessed with profit care about science? It only allows you to create things of immense value that no one else has access to, why would the Ferengi be interested in that? Science can't possibly be used for anything practical. It is only a hollowed religion for the pure and holy Federation, practiced only by the priests of Starfleet. Such an impure race like the Ferengi couldn't possibly be interested in it."

    Slow clap. Seriously, that deserves a god-damn standing ovation!

    They can't help themselves, can they? Even when they actually attempt to give the Ferengi some semblance of dignity (which I do think was the intent here - Reyga is not presented as brain-meltingly moronic and we are asked to care about him as a character, after all), they can't help but continue to present them in the worst light imaginable. Yeah, why would capitalists ever be interested in scientific discoveries? Never mind that most of the major scientific discoveries in Human history have happened in societies that have been capitalistic (to one degree or another). But no... Capitalists are dumb; dumb people hate science; therefore capitalists hate science; the Ferengi are capitalists; therefore the Ferengi hate science. GENIUS! ABSOLUTELY GENIUS!! Oh, and apparently Klingons don't think too highly of scientists either, because.... REASONS! What?!

    Of course, that's just one of the many problemS with "Suspicions." Most noteworthy, is... why is this a Crusher-centric episode? I've made absolutely no attempt to hide my Beverly Crusher fanboyism, but even I have to wonder why Crusher, of all characters, was chosen for this story. Why is the ship's doctor interested in subspce shielding? This whole aspect of the episode literally screams for LaForge to be the central character. Why is the ship's doctor investigating a murder? Now the episode is screaming for Worf to be the main character. It's not until we get into the autopsies that we have a reasonable excuse for Crusher to even be involved. God, this makes no sense!

    Then there's the other scientist characters who are just as Jammer describes them - "paper-thin vessels... none of which deserves mention." So, that's all the mention I'll give them.

    And, there's the insane logical and narrative leaps that we're expected to overlook in the final act. First, the logical one.... So, Crusher decides the shields were tampered with and her response is to pilot the shuttle back into the star's corona? I guess it's a good thing it's no longer malfunctioning, right? Now the narrative ones.... First, Crusher decides to pilot the shuttle back toward the star. But, first, Jo'Bril has to somehow get into the shuttle before her. Let's look at the sequence of events we're asked to accept here. 1.) Crusher performs a second autopsy on Jo'Bril. 2.) She leaves him and Ogawa in Sickbay and makes a beeline for the shuttle-bay. 3.) Jo'Bril then gets up out of the morgue slot, manages to get himself fully dressed without being noticed by Ogawa or any other Sickbay staff and quietly sneaks from Sickbay to the shuttle-bay without being noticed by anybody. 4.) Jo'Bril arrives in the shuttle-bay before Crusher, even though she didn't have to worry about anybody noticing her and was making a bee-line there. 5.) Jo'Bril sneaks into the shuttle without anybody noticing and hides in the storage compartment, also before Crusher arrives. 6.) Crusher then gets into the shuttle and launches it without anybody noticing. Anybody see the problem here? How the hell did Jo'Bril get there so fast?! Second, so Crusher is simply reinstated at the end of the episode. Why? She has no proof that Jo'Bril was the killer, unless the shuttle has video surveillance cameras operating continuously, because she vaporized the evidence. And, of course, didn't she violate Ferengi death rituals by performing an autopsy on Reyga? (Another swipe from TNG at traditionalists - though this time I agree. Your family member was possibly murdered and all you care about is burial rituals? Morons! Thank God DS9 completely ret-conned that element of the Ferengi away.) And yet, she's simply re-instated without any consequences? She caused an interstellar incident, her phrase not mine! But, hey, I guess the episode was running short on time, so.... screw it? UGH!

    The only enjoyable part of "Suspicions" were the scenes between Crusher and Guinan, especially the final one in Ten Forward. I suppose it was also good to see Riker and Ogawa display their loyalty to Cruhser as well, that was nice. But, even then, it's not exactly a fitting swan-song for the Guinan character, is it?


    For what it's worth the maligned quote - "After all, a Ferengi scientist is almost a contradiction in terms" is not as bad as it sounds when paired with a quote later in the same conversation "All I want is to be acknowledged. Respected as a scientist. This invention will finally do that."

    He's not a capitalist designing a new shield to get rich, he's a scientist designing a shield for his own scientific curiosity, violating his religion/culture/etc. The fact that he is an unusual Ferengi does not mean that there aren't other Ferengi scientists.

    Just what the world needed - a murder mystery solved by Beverly Crusher, Sherlock Holmes style. At least it's not on the holodeck...

    This is dull, flat, and lifeless. It's not clear why Crusher cares enough to get involved in the first place, and the rest of the crew don't seem too involved either. The flashback style sucks all the drive out of the early part of the story, so it's difficult to care too much by the time we get to the end.

    In retrospect, it's also a sad way for Guinan to bow out. So many potential stories not played out.

    On the positive side, we do at least have an attempt to redeem the Ferengi and at a bit more to the capering simpletons we have oft seen in the past. Perhaps DS9 helped in giving a more rounded portrayal. And the bit where Jo'Bril gets a hole blown through him was pretty cool. 2 stars.

    @William B

    "The Ferengi, just about the least spiritual, most materialistic people in the Star Trek universe, suddenly have a burial ritual which must remain active even if an autopsy could potentially be used in helping to solve a murder investigation."

    If you're a DS9 fan, you probably would've made the connection here that his family wanted to sell his vacuum-desiccated remains and that the autopsy would damage them in some tangible way.

    Well, this was...different. As Trek murder mysteries go I prefer 'Field of Fire', due in part to the superior plot but also due to me being an Ezri fan. I care about her in that episode because her character is so vulnerable, impressionable and immediate...whereas I still can't get a handle on Beverly. Who exactly is she supposed to be and why should I care about her? Even her profession is elusive here. She's a doctor moonlighting as a "scientific diplomat" moonlighting as a homicide detective.

    But despite Beverly herself, a laundry list of plot contrivances, and Guinan's nonexistent tennis elbow...I still enjoyed this episode. Maybe because it resembles Murder, She Wrote and Jo'Bril was pretty interesting for a one-off character. Even his makeup was great.

    Oh come on, this review is ridiculously harsh. There are one or two plot holes but basically this is a thoroughly enjoyable episode to watch (and a rather cool piece of CGI that gives Jo'Bril a hole in his stomach, Terminator 2-style!)

    3 stars from me.

    I was 13 when I saw this episode. Loved seeing Beverly kick that alien dudes butt!

    Worf definitely should have had more involvement in this episode.

    One thing I did find interesting about the portrayal of the Ferengi was the evolution of the Ferengi themselves. They started out as savages, as even worse Klingons essentially. Violent, misogynistic, imperialistic. They were even implied to be cannibals.

    Gradually, though, they changed into space-nerds. Awkward, sniveling guys who were good at math, and science. Opportunistic but mostly peaceful. By late DS9, Quark is talking about how savage humans are, and how the Ferengi alliance recommended peaceful negotiations with the Dominion and the Federation ignored them.

    This episode marks a kind of mid-point for them.

    One of the great things about being a Trek fan is that I enjoy it, even when it's iredeemably tutti.

    My favourite nitpick in this one?

    There's been a murder on board, suspects - including one who is known to be emotionally volatile - need to be questioned. The head of ship's security would go on to become a legendary hand-to-hand warrior and there is a frigging mind reader on board. So naturally the poxy doctor conducts the enquiry. Alone.

    Yet another episode where a crew member gets away with illegal activity without even a slap on the wrist, only this time it's the ever-inept and frequently unethical "Dr" Crusher. Yeah, I don't like episodes where the main characters get away with murder, and I don't like Crusher, so you can guess I didn't enjoy this episode.

    Crusher should have been fired, lost her medical license, and had legal action taken against her for violating the family's rights and doing the autopsy against their wishes. This could have also caused relations with the whole species to get worse! Her being "right" about the "mystery" had zero to do with her HIPPA/whatever agency she's affiliated with violations, and would not have gotten her off the hook. Illegally obtained evidence is not considered in court, two wrongs don't make a right.

    Why aren't they using a remote controlled shuttle? Why do they need a live subject when the shielding reportedly hasnt even been proven to work yet?

    Why is Crusher the one "investigating" a potential murder? Even if she were competent she wouldn't be qualified to do so. Where's Troi, Worf, and Riker to do a proper investigation?

    Funny that a Ferengi, you know, the guys that treat their women like animals and don't let them wear clothes, seems to get along fine with Crusher and the other females.

    The only interesting part of this episode was seeing another Vulcan/human couple. And a Ferengi who doesn't seem even a little evil. Good to see Guinan again, though, even if she's wasted listening to Beverly's sniveling about how's she's going to get in trouble for violating ethics again. Imagine how much better the episode would've been with Guinan doing some lowkey investigating and solving the case with Beverly having minimal involvement. I wasn't a fan of Guinan when she first showed up in season two but I've really grown fond of her over the course of the series. I agree with what other have said, what a disappointing sendoff for the character.

    Even the actors seemed like they hated this one, I don't think I've seen the cast so completely disinterested across the board before. Given how stupid the episode is, I can't blame them.

    And I entirely disagree, Aquiel was much better than this one, it only had a few stupid moments in comparison to this.

    The feminist comments really made me think back and consider just how far we have come. This episode and many of the comments were written decades ago so there is opportunity to judge through time. It is obvious now that star trek episodes were just the beginning of the problem and the feminist bend in all matters has completely exploded out of any sense of proportion or reason.

    What a dreadful episode. The flashback narration serves no purpose and is dull, the story is not engaging, the acting is terrible. It's not as bad as the Riker flashback episode, but at least that one had the excuse of a writers' strike. A half star. Barely.

    The most unbelievable part of this episode for me was the fact that a death by suspicious circumstances, where the doctor doubted suicide, on a Federation ship was not investigated because the family didn't want an autopsy.

    Even if a forensic autopsy was not allowed where suspicious circumstances were a factor, which I find would be unacceptable from any society that has a rule of law, why would there still not be a criminal investigation?

    They spend whole episodes investigating some inane scientific mystery, or spending days helping someone repair their crappy ships, like it's no big deal.

    Potential murder? Meh, we'll leave that one alone. Who gives a fuck if our beloved Captain Picard might be next?

    Well, these comments are depressing. Trek fans talking as though it would be self-evidently a bad thing for an episode of Star Trek to have a feminist viewpoint. God forbid.

    Bad episode, but I'm still glad if exists if simply seeing a female character with agency is all it takes to bother a certain subsection of fans.

    Others have already said it, but I have to repeat how incredulous it is that a Ferengi scientist wouldn't be respected. Science is incredibly profitable. I can see a Ferengi scientist being more concerned with patents than a human scientist, but the idea that they wouldn't even exist is absurd.

    The whole no autopsy thing seems very out-of-character for a Ferengi as well. No autopsies means it is easier for someone to murder you and rob your corpse of every spec of latinum. No way would that be part of their culture. The DS9 story where Ferengi sell their body-parts makes way more sense.

    Despite an incredible number of plot holes, I still enjoyed this one enough to give in 2 stars.

    While I love just about every scene Guinan was in up until this episode, I found her scenes with Crusher very wooden and uncomfortable to watch because they were so poorly acted by both of them.

    A question: is it mandatory for Vulcans who leave the home planet to marry humans? Just asking.

    This was a poor script. In Star Trek physics laws and terms are invented freely. This is ok and funny. The humans though normally acts as they would and could do in our world.

    So Beverly , a medical, is suddenly doing physics will do an extraordinarily experiment and Geordi, Data and engineering team seems to be doing something else. OK they help a little. Someone is murdered and Warf , what does he do. We do not know but perhaps he is doing a day excursion with Alexander. Picard is sitting behind his desk and Will is worried. A Ferengi, Klingon , Vulkan, an Earthling and something else turns up.

    At the end? The Ferrengi autopsy was undone as the they entered the corona the second time.

    I am normally quite tolerant against poor scripts and human inconsistencies if they turn out to be funny or fulfil something. Here it did not.

    It was definitely OK to have an episode with McFadden in the lead. A "Who has dunnit" was also ok but the rest was poor, with some few exceptions like Guinan and 10 seconds nurse Alyssa.

    This was truly the worst-written episode I've ever seen, and that includes the very close second, Aquiel. Whoever was the primary author should be punished for this pitiful script. I also found the added dialog horrendous. In fact, as I was watching the seminal and worst scene in the episode -- scene 5 in which the scientists are all in the room discussing the initial experiment before it takes place -- I thought to myself, "this is the worst-written episode I've ever seen."

    In particular, there were major problems from that scene that set the stage for all the other stupid problems with this script:

    (1) Late-added dialog -- in scene 5, there were obviously several statements that were just crammed into the script last-minute, to help us, the idiot audience, understand the obviously extremely complicated (read: inane) plot a little better.

    For example, Kurak's statement that was *obviously* inserted last-minute: "I, for one, came here only at the request of my government. I am highly dubious that this so-called metaphasic shield technology will prove anything but a fantasy."

    Hah! This isn't writing! This is just the margin notes of the script, telling us what he's thinking, written into actual dialog!).

    (2) Also as added dialog in scene 5, the Vulcan character, T'pan, really violates every tenet of Vulcanism, in multiple ways (see below) with her pitifully-written and even worse-acted lines, starting with: "Since everything Doctor Reyga says contradicts the work I have been doing in subspace shielding, I will have to be convinced that he is credible." Hah hah! Margin notes again, anyone? This was pitiful for multiple reasons, especially:

    (a) The delivery of this line and all the rest of T'pan's dialog (as well as her reactions to others' dialog) was *non-Vulcan-like* in the extreme. She came across as pouting (a non-Vulcan emotion!), in denial as she was unwilling to listen to reason (the worst offense -- this is a Vulcan whose culture is driven by the quest for logic and reason!), etc.; and

    (b) the lack of any scientific critique of Reyga's "invention" -- as a scientist, she would have a rational basis for believing this was a flawed invention, not just say it "contradicts everything [she has] been doing in subspace shielding"! I mean, this is really incredibly off-base for a Vulcan scientist to be saying. The emotion in the actor's voice, her facial expressions, etc. were all just completely wrong. The director deserves much of the blame here. In fact, for scene 5, I blame the director entirely -- terrible writing allowed to be made even worse by last-minute script additions, and terrible, terrible acting out of the Vulcan's character.

    (3) Of course, as everyone else has pointed out, it's entirely contrived and unbelievable that Crusher would be leading this "investigation" entirely on her own, especially after the second death that was clearly under unexplained circumstances.

    She's the medical officer who would do the medical part of the investigation (i.e. the autopsies) -- but she would be *asked* to do these by the actual investigator(s) who would have surely been brought in to determine what had happened!

    Crusher wouldn't have had to go ask the Captain for permission. That's ridiculous.

    The fact that nobody seems to give a flying crap about this situation is also ridiculously stupid and unbelievable. She would never have been on her own conducting interviews and determining how to proceed with this investigation.

    There's a whole structure of support around her, with well-defined roles and responsibilities, a military-like structure with clear lines of responsibility -- they would all come together to solve this. It was especially offensive for me as a viewer to be subjected to the stupid scene where it's like the other medical person is doing her a *favor* by asking the computer to bring up the medical data she needs to investigate this properly. I mean, that's just *ridiculous*. It made me so angry that we were supposed to feel like it was so great that she decided to help Dr. Crusher out here. I mean, c'mon, that's just ridiculous.

    She would never have had any trouble getting anyone to help her investigate -- that would *never* happen the way the pitiful writer of this episode wrote that it would happen. That writer clearly had no idea how anything in the world worked at all. I hated this episode so much because of this.

    (4) The entire sequence after the ship returns and they beam Jo'Bril's body to sick bay (through the end of that scene when he's dead) was *ridiculous*. There were so many things wrong, I won't try to enumerate them (and mos t have been pointed out above), but the key ones that stood out for me were:

    (a) how ridiculous is it that Dr. Crusher is left to her own devices to figure out what's wrong with Jo'Bril and how to treat him? I mean, at this point in the 34th century (or whenever this is) with the United Federation of Planets and all that comes with it, there's clearly a massive compendium of medical data on every single intelligence species that they know about. Especially someone who comes on board the Enterprise and is a renowned scientist in his field, etc. Worst-case, he would have brought his own physician with him, but more likely they would have had people cross-trained on multiple species and they would have diagnostic systems and massive volumes of detailed information on each species (not to mention on each person) on the ship! The idea that Crusher would only have a simple diagram of the person's innards to diagnose them with, and would ever say such drivel as was written for her about not knowing *anything* about this species, is .. just that, drivel. It's of course the whole basis of her not realizing that a lizard-like species would be cold-blooded and be able to go into hibernation, but I mean, come up with a different plot device since this was not one that made any sense! The idea that both the computer(s) and the medical staff would all decide someone's dead and throw them into the morgue based on such a simple, cursory attempt to save them, not even knowing what was wrong in the first place, was *pitiful* writing, to say the least. I was not fooled for a second. The instant she declared that she had no idea how to treat him, and that his cells were not decaying or whatever it was, I knew he was still alive. So it was just stupid to have to sit through the whole episode from that point waiting for her to figure that out, too.

    (b) seriously, all these great scientific minds, including the inventor, all just consider this a "pass/fail" test that was a simple "fail"? I mean, there's still a LOT that went right with this experiment, and to just have everyone so deflated and certain it had failed, just because the lizard-guy goes into stasis for no apparent reason, was probably the dumbest thing of all in this episode (and that's saying a lot). There was clearly a *lot* of diagnostic data to pour over, that they just ignored, declaring it a failure just because lizard-guy seemed to die. Many people have pointed this out above, so I'll not go on, because it's so obvious at this point. But I had to include this for completeness. It is critically stupid and whichever of the listed co-writers of this episode should have been fired instantly upon this script being submitted, because this episode should never have been made and hurt the entire series.

    (c) as many people have pointed out, it really made *no sense at all* to have a person need to pilot the shuttle to prove this device was functional. First of all, as with any scientific experiment, there would already be tons of data from previous experiments the inventor had done to get to this point. He would have had a team around him, too, it wouldn't have just been up to the 5 people sitting around the table in the lab in scene 5 to decide the entire fate of this experiment. They would have started that meeting with the inventor and his team presenting the data to date -- all the experiments they'd done up to this point, how they were able to address the various constraints that the other scientists were skeptical of them being able to address, etc. All that would have been done, they would have agreed (based on real data) that it seemed viable, and the only question would be to reproduce the test results now, in a controlled way that they could all observe, to ensure he wasn't cheating somehow on his previous experiments. But there was *none* of that. They acted as if this was the first time it had ever been tried -- like, inventing a new technology was a simple matter of luck! Like he would have said "I'm sure it would work if someone just tried it" and they all decided to try it for the first time that day. And then to have all his detractors decide amongst themselves which of them would pilot the vessel -- when in fact it would *clearly* have been possible to remote-pilot it, was also obviously stupid. Finally, more stupid than all that, was the fact that they had *no contingency plan* for how to abort the experiment if it ever started going wrong. They would have known a priori that the transporter wouldn't work past a certain point, and they would have built in controls to ensure it automatically turned out of the corona on its own if there were any problems. There would have been a dead-man switch (assuming they really couldn't do it remotely and really needed a pilot, which was already a stupid assumption) such that if the scientist (who wasn't doing science but was just piloting it -- hah!) did not press a button every 30 seconds for example, it would go out of the star's corona so they could be emergency beamed back. And/or they would have had signal enhancers to lock onto them in that situation, etc., etc. It was just stupid, stupid, stupid from the get-go.

    Thanks for listening.


    This episode is abominable and I can't believe that it actually exists. Along with Rascals, probably the worst TNG episode I can remember. And unlike Rascals (Riker's technobabble extravaganza), it has not a single scene that is remotely enjoyable to watch. I could not care the slightest for any of the characters, for the concept of a shuttle flying into a star's corona, for the murder mystery, for the framing device involving Guinan and voiceovers, and by the end I didn't even care if Beverly (who I usually like) lived or died. I admit that I skipped about 10 minutes of it to preserve my sanity. 0 stars.

    This is a poor Crusher episode and one that I found particularly boring and nonsensical. Considering it's a murder mystery, it's a real disappointment as the cast of characters/suspects aren't well-developed. Crusher's career is on the line yet it didn't have any impact. Guinan and her tennis elbow BS didn't work -- she hints that Crusher should keep pursuing the mystery but her role was mostly fluff.

    There's the usual technobabble which is to be expected -- flying a shuttle into a star's corona with special shielding. What of the brightness of the star? No discussion of that. Or does the special shielding take care of that too in addition to the heat and radiation? Makes me think of "Operation -- Annihilate!" from TOS where all the work McCoy/Spock do fails to realize that a star is very bright.

    The ending with Jo'Bril popping up in the shuttle and announcing his evil plan was just too ridiculous. Muahahahah! indeed. And of course Crusher subdues him and phasers a hole in him and then kills him. And where did Crusher figure out how to set the shuttle to evade Enterprise's methods of stopping it? Too much that Crusher does seems hard for me to believe she should be capable of doing -- not to mention disobeying orders multiple times - just seems so out of character for her. And what of her doing an autopsy on the Ferengi? Are she/Picard off the hook for that? Loose ends...

    Barely 1.5 stars for "Suspicions" -- one of those episodes where a main character has his/her obsession/career on the line but it didn't work for Crusher here. Just too much nonsense and sloppiness. Came up with a new alien species with just enough contrivances (able to fake death) to make a story (albeit unoriginal). Betting there are no lasting consequences for Crusher -- really seems as if the show-runners were trying to force a Crusher episode but it had her doing a lot of non-medical things which didn't feel right for me.

    Loved the perfect spinning back kick- Crusher totally could pull that off- used to get the upper hand on Jo'bril.

    How does a doctor become so involved in an engineering idea like heat shielding?

    This episode was AWFUL. The acting was so flat, it was grating.

    Her voiceover was horribly awful. Most annoying thing about the episode...

    The "alien of the week whose species won't be used again" was stupid. He comes back from the dead, woooooo...

    In badness, this is a run-up to the "Crusher is shagged by a ghost on the holodeck" episode...

    The best Dr Crusher episode, and you give it 1.5 stars ???

    You actually rate several terrible season 1 episodes higher than this episode. You are totally crazy!

    You gave Symbiosis from Season 1 two stars, but Suspicions, which is the best Crusher centric episode of the entire series only 1.5?? It boggles the mind.

    This is at least a 2.5 star or 3 star episode. At least.

    "The best Dr. Crusher episode" is a description like "the mildest form of cancer". Beverley is boring AF and Pulaski never should have left the show. I would take season 1 Bashir over Beverley.

    Just one scene with data or the doctor saying "we have conducted 30 tests with a remote piloted shuttle and they all show extremely low levels of radiation, we believe it is safe to try with a live pilot" would have solved the ridiculous setup with needlessly risking someone's life. No spacesuit (no budget for them) either.... any other episode and Picard would have had a fit about endangering life.

    On my most recent viewing of this episode, what I kept wondering was why Crusher, a medical doctor, was doing the "psychological autopsy" of Reyga (trying to determine if it was psychologically plausible that he had committed suicide) with no help from Troi, the ship's counselor.

    When McCoy dabbled in psychology, the writers added lines of dialogue pointing out that he had studied psychology as well as medicine. I don't recall anything like that in Crusher's background.

    I know, the story is showing Crusher going out on a limb all by herself (except when Nurse Ogawa gives her access to the autopsy files after her suspension), and a cooperative effort with Troi would have spoiled the mood. But they could have had Troi being about as "helpful" with psychology as Data and Geordi were with engineering, telling Crusher she did not have strong reason to say Reyga was not suicidal.

    I like a good mystery and the basic elements of this one were good. I don't know how that creature survived an autopsy though. Don't they get cut up and weighed ?

    However, this one seemed so implausible. Why is Crusher doing the investigating. Why isn't Worf in charge? I would have liked to see Crusher begging for her career , grovelling to the Ferengi that she had restored the inventor's reputation and there was money to be made off the new invention.


    I'm surprised Troi wasn't able to sense Beverly at all at the end, I nean.,.. That just really annoyed me that coupled with the fact that everyone seems out of character makes for a bad rpisode.

    Well, I thoroughly enjoyed this episode and I thought it was very nicely done. Sure, there are some glaring plotholes, but that's par for the course for Star Trek. And there's so much to like in it.

    1) The opening, just before the credits, is extremely short yet very effective. Loved seeing Crusher in a bad mood.

    2) Guinan and Crusher's dialogue, especially the part where she made Crusher angry by seemingly not caring at all about what Crusher was telling her. Also loved Guinan's outfit, glorious green.

    3) The whole idea of Crusher calling a conference of scientists to give a new theory a chance to prove itself. Normally it's the sort of thing Picard would do, and it's nice to see that other characters on the Enterprise besides the show's star have both the interest in science and the power to do it. I also thought the bit about scientific research needing to be reviewed by peers was realistic and a good peep at how science works.

    4) The Ferengi scientist. It's the first (and only, so far as I can tell) time in TNG we get a real Ferengi character instead of a painful-to-watch caricature. He breaks most Ferengi stererotypes but not all of them (he still has no notion of personal space, see him talking to Crusher in the corridors), which I thought was a nice touch because it made him much more believable.

    5) The other scientists. We get a mixed couple where the woman is the more important one and the husband kind of accompanies her, which is a nice reversion from the usual. The Klingon scientist woman was another unusual character for a Klingon (scientist, female, not sexual and kind of defensive), and then we get a new race that turns out to be a lot less humanoid than most. All in all, a great show for diversity.

    6) The scene between Crusher and Picard was a good one: I liked how she came clean to him about what she had done and how he pointed out all the ways in which it was wrong. But I also liked how before chewing her up, he first asked if she had found anything. It showed he still cared about her. Of course, it could also be interpreted another way: Crusher was forgiven in the end because she was right in her suspicions, so in Starfleet they don't punish you for disobeying but for being wrong (which would explain why in so many other episodes the main characters get away with flouting rules, and to an extent it also works that way in real life). In that context, it's only logical that when she says to Picard she's disobeyed an order, the first thing he'd want to know to decide if he must punish her was if her action was useful. With that interpretation, Picard's question would be cynical, but still a nice bit of foreshadowing.

    7) The scene between Crusher and Riker. It shows how well they understand each other and they care for each other.

    8) The scene between Crusher and Data. She asked the right questions to get the technobabble answers she needed. A nice bit of investigating and of getting crucial information in a field outside your area of expertise.

    9) The scene between Crusher and Alyssa. Alyssa's answer and her smile are glorious. "You're not my boss so you can't keep me from helping you."

    10) A physical reckoning between two women (Crusher and Kurak) that wasn't ridiculous or petty or over some love interest.

    11) The fight between Crusher and Jo'Bril. In Qpid, it burned to see Crusher and Troi attacking their enemies with plant pots when their actresses were the only ones with fencing experience. Here, Crusher genuinely kicks ass and it's cathartic. I particularly liked that martial arts leg kick.

    12) The twist at the ending. I tought T'Pan would turn out to be the one who did it, so it was very nice to be surprised.

    13) Oh, and another one I forgot. I loved the bit where Picard and Guinan explain the difference between losing a patient and losing someone on an away mission. Nicely done.

    I also would like to mention my favourite nitpicks because I don't think they have been pointed out here.
    1) I have no problem with them needing to test the device on a manned shuttle, but I can't wrap my head around the fact they didn't do a thorough medical check of the guy first. I mean, how did they expect to notice any effects on his health if his anatomy was completely unknown and they didn't even know what it looked like under normal conditions?

    2) The moment when Crusher says "I admired Reyga's determination because he wasn't going to give up after a single failure", or words to that effect. This one made me laugh. I mean, trial and error is probably about the most fundamental trait of scientific research. Anyone who gave up after one failure would find it hard to even be a scientist, never mind make a breakthrough discovery like the one we are talking about here!

    In a nutshell: there were a lot of little gems in this episode, many of them unique in the whole of TNG's run. And even the plot holes were hilarious. So there, haters of this episode! I love it.

    I don't have a huge problem with Crusher taking centre stage if it makes sense.
    1. As said above why on Earth is Crusher profssionally interested in shield technology? If she had had a secondary interest in engineering it may have helped but she had not as far as we know.
    2. Why would the writers think Crusher would make a good Agatha Christie sleuth? Shades of those dreadful holodeck episodes from earlier series.
    3. I am sure we all saw the 'first victim faked his own death and is the real killer 'cliche from the first reel.
    4. Crusher should have been canned for performing an unauthorised autopsy-I think this is a criminal offence in most jurisdictions in our primitive 21st Century although you can apparently get away with anything in the 24th Century.

    The evidence against TNG continues to mount in my book.

    The idea that Ferrengi wouldn't have scientists just sounds silly. Patents are profitable. The research division of Ferringi corporations should be top notch.

    Every aspect of Beverly's role just seems odd. Being interested in force-field science is more Geordi's purview. Investigating a murder is Worf's wheelhouse. Where are they while all this is going on?

    Wow, seriously the only thing I remembered about this episode, which I think I lastsaw in 1993, is "tennis elbow". But it all started coming back, reading this review and the comments.

    I have nothing to really say in defense of this turkey, but two small things:

    Why's everyone so hard on Beverly (not my favourite character either) for her actions in this episode, but they give Riker and even Picard a free pass for "The PEgassus". Seems like both of them should have been hauled over the coals for Starfleet for that. Picard mentions offhand at the end an "inquiry" into Riker's conduct, but, seems to me he could be considered just as guilty. I don't blame you all though; Riker and Picard make a great duo and I honestly always wanted to see them team up more, but the regs on ship kind of prevent tht most of the time as one of them always has to remain in charge of the ship.

    The other thing, of course, is that I totally agree with the comments about the ridiculous portrayals of the Ferengi in this episode and others, and the weird attitude toward some of the alien races on this show. But I'd just like to put forward the idea that, just because this one family decided they wanted to honour an ancient Frengi death ritual custom, doesn't make it the norm among all Frengi, or imply that the whole race follows this one creed.

    Now back to hating. Carry on.

    Just watched this episode for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was surprised at the identity of the saboteur, too. All that said, all of Jammer's critiques are valid. This isn't great drama and has a lot of holes. But I did have a good time with it all the same.

    I just noticed that the female Klingon scientist is played by the women who captained the Enterprise-C in 'Yesterday's Enterprise.'

    I'm amazed a man with the name Peter Slutsker survived to adulthood. Well, at least until this episode.

    I swear the camera focus gets softer every episode with Crusher. I think by the time I get to the Space Candle episode I'll be trying to wipe the Vaseline off my monitor.

    So, uh, why does Crusher care about star shields? A little outside of her expertise. Shouldn't this be a LaForge episode or something? Hard to believe LeVar Burton slid so far down the totem pole that Gates McFadden got his stories.

    Why can't they remote control the shuttle? Not only did the technology already exist, the 80s were defined by it. I don't want to hear any crap about star interference. If they can get a video conference stream, they can send a 200 baud signal to enable basic piloting commands.

    "Mr. Worf, override the shuttle's computer. Return it to the shuttlebay."
    What?! Bullshit!

    "Sir, she has isolated her navigational control. It will not be possible to establish remote operation."
    Okay now I'm positive this was a Geordi episode.

    So what was the guy's plan to get away? What if the plan was to eject him into the sun after the autopsy? How can the shuttlecraft have a warp engine breach when it lacks a warp engine? What the hell is going on in this episode?

    If I were Picard, what the Ferengi government thought of whatever would be like #50 on my list of concerns after all the crap their citizens put the Enterprise through over the years.

    On the topic of the injection of "Mary Sue feminism" into mid-90s Trek, I almost turned Voyager off during the first episode when Harry Kim stammers through "Sir... I mean ma'am... I mean, uh uh uh" to which Janeway tells him to call her "Captain". This is the type of setup a teenager writes into her fanfiction about the time she looked really smart in class and how Becky was really embarrassed.

    After seven years of seeing females in command positions, including at least one admiral, it was absolute cringe seeing the franchise pretend we've never seen a female senior officer before. Sure, it was the first female captain showrunner, but the in-universe people shouldn't be reacting to media hype. I'm sure the Los Angeles focus group cheered loudly at the scene.

    I felt sorry for Kate Mulgrew for inheriting such a shitty character, a character who ended up so irreparably damaged that they basically had to soft reboot the show halfway through. Actually, it would have been funny to see her in this episode as Mrs. Columbo.

    @Picard maneuver, how old were you in the 1997 and were you a Fortune 100 professional, working with or for a female in an executive position? Asking for a friend.

    @Picard maneuver
    "On the topic of the injection of "Mary Sue feminism" into mid-90s Trek"
    What has that scene to do with feminism?? and Mary Sue feminism?
    It wasn't until 1998, in other words more than three years after the first Voyager episode aired, that for the first time a women in the US Navy was commissioned to command a combat vessel. So yeah it may not make much sense in-universe or for you but for the audience it certainly did.

    I'm still puzzled how a male cadet being insecure how to address a female superior is pushing feminism?

    Picard Maneuver's point was that in-universe an officer set in this time shouldn't be struggling over gender pronouns. Hasn't Kim ever had a female superior before? Doesn't Starfleet have an established pronoun for female officers (ex: everyone is called sir)? It sounds pretty incredible given what we've seen of Starfleet at this point if the answer to both is in the negative.

    I get that. That is why I wrote that it may not make sense in universe. Still why is that pushing Mary Sue Feminism. Is Janeway infallible or omnipotent?? No.


    I don't agree with his wording or with the use of Mary Sue generally, but there is an agenda being pushed (not in a negative way) in that the line exists for the benefit of the 1990s audience. It is kind of funny that it comes up now because they want the audiences' awkwardness with females to be mirrored in the characters on screen. Because the scene ends up being clumsy, I think the subject should've been dealt with back in TOS or not at all. It feels patronizing as well as anachronistic.

    "It is kind of funny that it comes up now because they want the audiences' awkwardness with females to be mirrored in the characters on screen. Because the scene ends up being clumsy, I think the subject should've been dealt with back in TOS or not at all. It feels patronizing as well as anachronistic."

    I pretty much agree with this. Just imagine for a moment if Kira had met Sisko for the first time and said something like "Major Kira, reporting for duty, my brother...uh...I mean sir? Commander? Welcome to your hood. I mean station."

    In other words, pushing "he is black!" as an in-universe moment of uncertainty would be both illogical and also highly signalling on the part of the writers. Wow, he is a black man!!! But no, the Trek way is to have these things be a reality but no big deal; in-universe, that is. In press and publicity obviously it's going to come up.

    @ Peter
    I don't think that is really comparable. Show your street cred by calling dark skinned people brother is one thing (pandering) but in the case of the Kim Janeway thing it is about societal insecurities, in this case: Can vagina people command a warship and how do people deal with this new situation. To give you an example. I went to the military in 2001 and there I had a female sergeant, she commanded the truck I was on (signal corps), and nobody knew how to address her. I hope they changed it already but the official way to address a female superior back then was, and I kid you not: Sergeant feminine. :D

    The scene isn't smart or anything but I don't think it is pushing an agenda. It just acknowledges the fact that society doesn't really know how to deal with a new phenomenon like female captains, verbally and otherwise.

    In TOS they said once explicitly that women aren't allowed to be captains which even Kirk admits doesn't seem fair. They kind of retconned it later with ENT and Discovery but yeah.

    to explain. In Germany there is no sir or mam. You always refer to people by their rank. It is kind of strange that the US adopted sir when you really think about it.

    Y'all are misremembering the scene. Kim called Janeway "sir" without hesitation. She told him that it was her preference not to abide by the protocol, at which point he offered "ma'am."

    Out-of-Universe, this was fairly progressive for the time. It was very trope-ish well into the 90s and beyond that women in positions of authority had to be coded masculine. That the first female captain would openly acknowledge a preference for some degree of femininity was actually a bit transgressive.

    In-Universe, it's just a facet of Janeway's personality. She doesn't like sir, possibly because of some lingering father issues, but we can't know for sure. I always got the feeling that Janeway didn't like calling anyone "sir' herself.

    Good point.
    " She doesn't like sir, possibly because of some lingering father issues"
    Is there any indication for that? I just thought that she doesn't want to be addressed with a male title. Like calling a man who cares for mothers "midwife". Obviously there are far more male gendered jobs than the other way around.


    No that's pure speculation on my part. We don't know a lot about Janeway's backstory.

    I thought it was obvious that Beverly went unpunished because Dr Reyga's family would immediately excuse the autopsy when they learned she proved his shield actually did work. He wasn't interested in the potential profits, but his family surely would have been. If Worf can get away with revenge-killing Duras because the Klingon empire considered the matter closed, letting Beverly get away with the horrible "crime" of doing an autopsy after a suspicious death isn't much of a stretch.

    I'm a little baffled at the hate this episode receives. I think this is a thoroughly enjoyable single-character-focus episode. Guinan and Ogawa were both used well. I agree that the performances of T'Pan and Christopher were off. But they were the least important guests, and I truly enjoyed Reyga, Kurak, and Jo'Bril. it's a fun episode. A 2.5 for me -- down from 3 due to the 2 duds in the cast.

    I agree with most of the criticisms of this episode: the bad acting, hollow characters, waste of Guinan, Worf's disinterest in the situation, Crusher playing investigator, the absurd logistics of every single aspect of Jo'Bril's "plot," the completely unnecessary need for someone else to pilot the shuttle, of the need for ANYONE to pilot the shuttle, Crusher violating medical ethics without repercussions, and her ability to launch the shuttle and lock out the controls, but I have no problem with Crusher's motivations in engaging Reyga and the other scientists in the first place. She was never really interested in the metaphasic shield technology in itself, she just recognized it as the breakthrough it is, and she saw that it wasn't getting proper attention due to...racism against the Ferengi I guess. I suppose Crusher's motivation to attend this conference in the first place could be questioned, but beyond that she just wanted to make sure Reyga got an audience so this breakthrough technology could come to light.

    Speaking of the acting, there's one line that always really bugged me. It's Crusher's "I'm sorry I know I shouldn't have done it" when she tells Picard that she performed an autopsy on Reyga. She came off like a 10 year old who was just told by her parents to apologize to the kid she pushed over on the playground, but doesn't really mean it. That's totally the wrong read. It should project the emotional conflict she's feeling over her medical ethics, the disappointment in herself, and the fear for her future. We're told about that struggle in the dialog, and some of the other lines work ok, but it doesn't come through in the delivery of this one.

    A few other notes. I don't have a problem with Reyga's lack of sexism, since he's portrayed as rather unorthodox (for a Ferengi) due to his profession and his jovial attitude. I'll grant that this can just as well be the writers still not having a good grasp of the species, and forgetting some of the precedents set forth in Ménage à Troi. Either way I can look past it.

    As for sexism, I find the feminist complaints kind of bizarre. How is having female characters grow and develop some sort of leftist woke feminist plot? Troi realizing after Disaster that she needs to up her game is a good thing, hence her taking the commander test in Thine Own Self. She learned a good deal about the workings of Romulan ships in Face of the Enemy, so why shouldn't she use that knowledge in Timescape? Do we call it masculinism when Riker or Geordi or Wesley solve problems others can't figure out or when their characters grow and change? I just don't see why this makes some guys so upset.

    This episode is mildly fascinating to me, in that I've never seen a Star Trek episode that feels so much like it used a first draft of a script.

    There's plenty here that should have worked, and yet it seemed like a kind of sketched outline of a plot, with filler dialogue that crudely establishes the story beats, and plot holes that could easily be ironed out with a keen editorial eye.

    The kind of tech being developed here should have required a well-funded team, not a single mad scientist, and a fuller version would have delved more fully into the different sides of the various alien cultures that are revealed through science symposiums. You wouldn't have needed any more actors - just dialogue that established the characters were representing various programs or divisions, and had actually read each other's research.

    The dialogue over the instability of the testing site star was, on the other hand, entirely unnecessary. It's completely absurd that Jo'Bril 'dies' from the extreme and unsafe nature of the testing conditions, and all interest in the potential of the shield technology is thereafter dropped. It would have been a matter of a simple rewrite to have him volunteer to take the shuttle out in relatively safe conditions (edging into the corona of a weaker star, with a transporter lock as a safety net), only to have him sabotage the expriment in such a way that the *shields themselves* cause his apparent death.

    Instead, we get to watch the Enterprise bridge crew stand calmly by while they shoot a man into an unstable sun, banking on technology that only two people in the room have any faith in.

    Then there's the problem of every other regular character seemingly acting out of sorts in order to isolate Crusher. This is just a case of weak dialogue - there are ways they could have performed that same role without coming across as completely uninterested in the possibility of murder.

    Really very weak, this one. I just didn't buy the ship's-doctor-as-homicide-investigator plot at all. And I just didn't particularly care whether she solved her mystery or not.

    And the implausible aspects - among others, scientists risking their lives to prove a hypothesis, including Beverley - just made it even worse.

    The punch up in the shuttlecraft was a pretty predictable way to solve that particular problem, but I did enjoy the spectacle of the phaser punching a hole in the evil alien's upper body.

    Beverly needs the host another science conference to explore this amazing wonderful invention called "the autopilot" so that you don't have your characters sit in an experimental vehicle as it plunges into a star.

    Who can survive a plunge into a star's corona?
    A Mad Ferengi, a Blue Scaly Alien, and a Dumb Redhead Broad.

    Not to mention.....this whole episode would be moot if Troi were there. Why was she conveniently absent?

    "this whole episode would be moot if Troi were there."

    Troi: "I'm sensing that he's hiding something...but I don't know what"

    Ebert said: "I just noticed that the female Klingon scientist is played by the women who captained the Enterprise-C in 'Yesterday's Enterprise.'"

    Good catch. I never noticed that before. I recently saw Tricia O'Neil in an old episode of Columbo; she looked great.

    I like this episode more than most people. I'd give it a rating of "average."

    Several people have asked "Where was Worf during the murder investigation?" but that's kind of the issue - Worf didn't believe that there was a murder.

    I've always thought that this was an episode where Dr. Crusher tries to branch out a bit, like Troi wanting to move over into the command track in another episode.

    Beverly becomes interested in something outside of her own wheelhouse and is met with one obstacle after another. Is her taking the shuttle for a joy ride a bit of a leap? Yes. But the whole episode is about her getting increasingly frustrated because it seems like everyone doubts her:

    - Few of the scientists she invites show up
    - the ones that do are highly skeptical
    - It appears that she has misplaced her faith in the Ferengi scientist when his experiment fails spectacularly
    - If she was truly wrong about the experiment then she is partially responsible for Jo'Bril's death
    - She believes that Dr. Reyga was murdered but Worf doesn't back her up,
    - She want's to perform an autopsy but no one will back her up. Would she normally have performed an autopsy without permission? No. And the fact that she does shows that the pressure is getting to her. At least that's my view anyway.

    So, in the end, she's in a spot where no one believes her, she feels like she needs to clear her name for Jo'Bril's death, she's about to be hammered by an ethics panel, and she wants to solve a murder. I don't think her stealing a shuttle is that far fetched at that point.

    p.s. I thought Guinan was used very well in this episode.

    One and a half stars is mighty generous for this train wreck of an episode. McFadden is nowhere near capable enough to carry an episode, and her obvious reading off a script for the voice-over narration was abysmal. The flashback structure was cringeworthy at best as Crusher goes into pointlessly mundane background to answer Guinan’s innocent question of “tell me what happened”.

    This is literally only the second episode I skipped forward through due to how awful it was - Shades of Gray being the other. That’s how bad this was. ZERO STARS.

    And to answer the question above as to why Troi was absent: TROI IS ALWAYS MISSING when a plot could be easily resolved by her presence. She’s only around when she’s pointless.

    It's a shame really, I think Beverly deserves better Beverly episodes than this. It's such a lazy throwaway script so full of contrivances and plot holes I don't even know where to start. Jammer has already pointed out a lot of them, but...

    What is Starfleet procedure when there's an unauthorised shuttle launch? If I were captain or commander, my first reaction would be an instant "tractor beam!". But standard procedure on the Enterprise seems to be to wait until it's too late. It did the same in "Coming of Age" in S1. And returning to the standards of S1 is not something that's going to help any episode.

    Again, all the writing throughout the episode is just so bad and lazy and contrived. I feel bad for Gates McFadden that another Beverly-centric episode was just garbage (and that's before she gets to bang a ghost).

    A really poor episode. One that does a huge disservice to Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan.

    A Ferengi with a scientific breakthrough who is “not interested in competition”? A Vulcan who is among suspects who might have a personal motive for murder? Crusher as a science coordinator? Worst of all, Crusher as Hercule Poirot.

    And a pathetically stupid ending. 1 star, if that.

    In the running for the episode with the weakest guest performances, I think (the Ferengi isn't too bad but the Vulcan and Klingon sciences are both dreadful).

    The only good thing about this episode is the memes it generates:

    I don't see anyway to make this material play better - its shuttle mystery plot is fairly dull - but revolving things around Geordi rather than Crusher might have helped. The technologies involved in this episode seem more suited to his interests, and Crusher seems out of place in most scenes taking place outside the medical bay. TNG never quite figured out how to "broaden" the roles of Troi and Crusher, and its well-meaning attempts to "be less traditional" with regard to these two characters (women can fly spaceships too!), often seemed to backfire.

    I like the way this episode hinted at Guinan's powers. You get the sense that she can see the future, or perhaps has telepathic abilities.

    "The only good thing about this episode is the memes it generates:"

    Thank you, I needed that!

    I guess an all-wise mystery woman like Guinan is intuitively aware that once you've been relieved of duty, Starfleet has no further penalty it can mete out, so you may as well keep going down the road that has gotten you in trouble so far. As the immortal Janis Joplin said, "Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose."

    I seem to recall folks like Ro and Paris having a prison record, but apparently this episode occurs during an in-between period when all the stockades have been closed. So go ahead, Bev. do whatever you want; all that will happen is that you'll be proven right, and the Reset Button will be pushed.

    Guinan is indeed wise.

    I used to think this episode was OK a long time ago, but on the re-watching it doesn't quite work.

    First of all, how is the only person in the Federation who's interested in testing Reyga's shield technology a medical doctor? How does he gain access to the Federation flagship on only a medical doctor's say so? I can forgive Crusher herself being interested in something other than medicine, but the rest doesn't make sense, especially when so few scientists take the tech seriously.

    Jo'Bril's espionage is also kind of unbelievable. He kills Reyga with no trace. Then kills himself and leaves no trace he's still alive, despite apparently escaping the morgue. Then he plants himself on Crusher's shuttle without being detected by anyone -- a shuttle which, by the way, is able to launch undetected. And his people have never been on a Federation star ship before because nobody in the Federation has sever seen his species. Makes real sense. Does the Enterprise suddenly have no security or forensic ability whatsoever???

    The episode started on shaky ground but when the shield was to be tested by a live person, I was gobsmacked. Why didn't that outfit a probe with this technology? Or an unmanned shuttle? It just makes no sense to risk the life of an eminent scientist for there are so many unknowns.

    I too am sad that this was Guinan's final episode. It did manage to really capture her interest in helping people as a benevolent trickster, but it could have been used on a much better plot!

    I very much enjoyed this one.

    Yes, it's chock-full of all kinds of ridiculous holes, both pertaining to the plot and the background, but it's a pretty well done whodunit that had me at least CLOSE to the edge of my seat for much of the time.

    Caryn "Whoopi Goldberg" Johnson I could definitely have done without. I hope rumors of this having been her last appearance are true!

    Three stars for sure; maybe another 1/2. Deductions only for the phaser-pulverization ending and for the totally unnecessary scenes with Caryn Johnson.

    Every Beverly-centric episode—with the possible exception of Remember Me—sucked.

    I was thinking about how this episode would have been with Dr. Pulaski instead of Crusher and I really think it would have been much better. Pulaski's personality would have fit her actions much better, I can see her going all out to prove that the Ferengi scientists was murdered no matter what. With Crusher I just didn't buy it.

    I agree, this would have worked better as a Pulaski vehicle.

    McFadden seems to give it her all, but it's a huge misfit as a Beverly vehicle. Shielding, really? This feels like one of the harbingers of the downward slide of season 7.

    It wouldn't have actually made sense with Pulaski either.

    I should have finished the episode before posting.

    The Bev/Guinan framing just feels unnatural, at least for this type of ep.

    But when they bring out Ogawa... THIS feels like Beverly. I like Guinan, but if they had mustered a Bev/Ogawa vehicle, it could have been great.

    At least the production acknowledges the Bev/Ogawa kinship.

    Some episodes have aged better than others for me. This was always one I thought was fun and different, even though no one seems to hold it very highly. But this time around I seem to converge much more with Jammer's original rating. I don't know why it didn't strike me this way before, but most of what goes on in this episode makes little to no sense, both technically and in terms of plotting. Why is Crusher even doing this? Why in physics instead of bio-research? Why does everyone frown on a new shielding technique, as if it's the new craniometry? Why is the Vulcan group so certain it will fail? Isn't that illogical, especially considering it works perfectly without any modifications at all? And why is it strange that there's a Ferengi scientist? Isn't this a case of the show taking its own preposterous idea (that they're all greedy merchants) too literally? That's like implying that all Klingons are shock troopers and that they don't have anyone to build roads or construct starships. And just how stupid is it that after surviving for quite a while in the sun's corona, only for the shield to then fail, these goofballs throw up their arms and say the thing is a total bust and is junk. Really?? That would never, ever happen. It's almost like the Vulcans are in on the scam. And finally, for the plot to hinge on (a) someone faking their death, and (b) for them to have been able to sabotage the original experiment without anyone being able to detect it, makes for a silly detective premise in the first place. It also makes no sense that Crucher would throw her career away for this; and likewise it makes no sense that she'd be forgiven it just because she happened to solve a murder, which is was not her job to solve. Why Worf wasn't conducting an investigation in the first place is beyond the scope of this rant. Last, but perhaps not least, why was Guinan going out of her way to pretend to have an injury (!!) to egg Crusher on, when in fact it was a bad idea to do so?

    Did I mention how dumb the line is where they ask who would be dumb enough to volunteer to test the shields? Is this really the sticking point in testing technology??

    Yeah I don't like this one anymore.


    This episode is bad and you point out various reasons why. What struck me reading it is that I finally caught a (probably unintended) parallel, which is that Guinan, like the bad guy, was faking an injury (in his case, death). And I think that opens up what this episode could have done differently to be somewhat better. Beverly is a doctor. The episode is a medical mystery disguised as a technical mystery.

    So, page one rewrite, but summary: Dr. Reyga introduces the idea to Beverly of metaphasic shields; Beverly makes the analogy that in order to survive the star's ferocity, the ship must "play dead." Dr. Reyga laughs it off a bit, but maybe makes a connection to his own experience of having to guard his research in a fiercely competitive field (and culture) by downplaying his results. After Jo'Bril's death, Picard orders a full investigation; Geordi and Worf take the ship apart, without destroying it, and find nothing, and Beverly agonizes, feeling herself unable to parse the technical details of the shuttle. She finally performs the autopsy and Jo'Bril is exactly the body she expected to find -- she makes a point of saying that it is *exactly* what she would have expected from solar radiation.

    After treating Guinan's tennis elbow, Beverly stops short and says that she thinks Guinan just memorized a list of symptoms; everything is so rote, and it wouldn't show up in the scans but she thinks Guinan is faking. Why would she do that, Guinan innocently asks. Because Beverly isn't supposed to have visitors, and wouldn't let her in besides, if Guinan were there for a pep talk. Because -- Beverly intones, realizing, "you needed the right shields." She grabs her communicator. Crusher to Picard.

    PICARD: Doctor, you are under house arrest, for performing an autopsy expressly against the wishes of the patient's family.
    BEVERLY: But Captain, that's just it. I didn't perform an autopsy. Jo'Bril is still alive.

    (Yes I know it was Reyga she was supposed to not perform the autopsy on in the episode proper...just imagine it was Jo'Bril instead and we're all set...maybe!)

    @ William B,

    Probably unintended indeed!

    And yes I like your version better. The "play dead" triad of connections would be tidy but I'm not sure I understand how a ship playing dead would nullify solar radiation (on a sci-fi tech level). If they wanted to make Beverly's connection to Reyga more logical than they did, and perhaps more scientifically interesting than just giving it a snazzy name, maybe the reason she can help him is because metaphasic shields use some technique analogous to a life form; sort of a bio-tech design. I imagine it might be more plausible that physicists wouldn't take him seriously if he had modeled his shield on a salamander or something else that harnesses solar radiation and eats it up. And Crusher's life sciences background would help him complete his design, perhaps. Or maybe if we connect "play dead" as you mention, with "meta-PHASIC" it could mean that the radiation ignores the ship, because it causes nearby radiation to phase-shift in some way that eliminates interactions with the ship, thus effectively causing the radiation to 'not notice' the ship is there.

    About the plotting, the gotcha line you wrote would work quite well, although it might be a slight bit of a bridge too far for Guinan to be prescient to this extent. Maybe instead of her hinting that Jo'Bril is faking, it could be that somehow the scan Crusher performed must have missed something, just as the radiation was missing the shielded ship; and that this must have been intentional on someone's part. I could probably buy Guinan having an intuition that something didn't make sense, more so than her just knowing the answer to the mystery. Crusher could then make the connection herself, since she knows that life forms can sometimes fool scanners, but only if they're alive! (we saw an example of this in The Hunted). Anyhow, something like that.


    Yeah, I don't know how to make the shields/"playing dead" connection cleaner. I was thinking that the ship should be somehow fooling "the star" into thinking that it's more star there. I like the idea that Reyga is sort of anthropomorphizing (or zoomorphizing, I guess) the star too much for his colleagues, and that is what appeals to Crusher about his work.

    Re: Guinan, I was thinking that Guinan was faking the injury to get past Crusher's defences in order to give her a pep talk/be a friend (which I think is true in the actual episode), and that it would be Crusher to a) realize this and b) make the connection to the case -- not that Guinan had intuited that Jo'Bril was playing possum, but that it happened to be the clue that Crusher needed.

    One of the victims just pretending to be dead is a tradition in locked room mysteries, and having him be able to pretend to be dead using his alien physiology is a fine sci-fi twist. The problem with its use here is that the "detective" is supposed to figure it out for a satisfying story. Crusher has a hunch that the shields did work, and she's right, but she doesn't figure out why and stumbles onto the resolution of the plot.

    To say something positive, while it's weird how invested Crusher is, as you say, I like that she is motivated by scientific curiosity and a sense of responsibility to her "colleague," rather than by a more obvious personal stake (such as with Geordi in Aquiel).

    I don't think the Ferengi ever developed spaceflight - they "acquired" it

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