Star Trek: The Next Generation

“The Pegasus”

4 stars.

Air date: 1/10/1994
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by LeVar Burton

Review Text

Admiral Eric Pressman (Terry O'Quinn) is posted to the Enterprise on a provisional basis to oversee the search for the wreckage of the missing USS Pegasus, the ship he commanded 12 years ago before it was lost (and, until recently, presumably destroyed, along with most of its crew) in a calamitous accident. Also aboard the Pegasus at that time was a young Ensign Riker, fresh out of the academy on his first starship assignment.

Pressman intends to find the Pegasus and its valuable and highly classified experimental technology, the details of which he has no intentions of revealing to Picard. The mission is chock-full of secrets, but time is of the essence — because the Romulans also have gotten wind of the whereabouts of this mysterious ship and are looking for it in an asteroid field. They can't be allowed to find it first. Riker, forced to confront ghosts from his past, is ordered by Pressman not to talk to Picard about the classified details of the Pegasus' disastrous fate.

Where "Parallels" was so clearly pure Brannon Braga, "The Pegasus" is just as clearly vintage Ron Moore, delving deep into the complicated and messy military aspects of Starfleet and the themes of duty, loyalty, and integrity. This episode is one of the most perfectly balanced episodes of TNG ever made, featuring a myriad of great elements in one cohesive package.

We've got ominous intrigue and conflict in the hidden agendas of Pressman and the Pegasus past: Just what were they building on that ship that went so awry, and why is everything so secretive? We've got great tension and backstory in the characterization of Riker and his questionable role in that event: Picard cashes in favors to get a classified report on the Pegasus and learns of an unthinkable mutiny. We've got an entertaining cat-and-mouse game with the Enterprise and the Romulan warbird racing to find the prize first: There are brilliant moments between Picard and Romulan Commander Sirol (Michael Mack), who hilariously threaten each other through the false facade of idle pleasantries. And we've got some terrific, atmospheric sci-fi FX sequences when the Enterprise ventures into the tunnels of an asteroid and finds the Pegasus, which lies embedded in a rock face because of the experimental technology that put it there. Oh, and in this otherwise serious episode, there's even a perfect comic note in the opening teaser's hilarious idea of "Captain Picard Day" (and Picard's grumbling about it).

And all through "The Pegasus" is Riker struggling with his conscience. He knows the story's secrets but has been forbidden to divulge them under orders from Pressman. Picard's ensuing conflict with Riker is serious and rare stuff as TNG goes, with Picard promising that if Riker's refusal to come clean in any way puts the Enterprise at risk, then he will have to "re-evaluate the command structure of this ship." For that matter, as the episode progresses, Pressman seems more and more like a villain waiting to be uncovered. (This many secrets can't be hiding anything good.) Terry O'Quinn is especially effective here; the villains in these sorts of stories believe themselves to be doing the right thing at the cost of acceptable collateral damage — in this case, the deaths of much of the Pegasus crew 12 years ago when the secret technology (ultimately revealed to be an illegal cloaking device with phase-shifting abilities that permit the ship to move through objects) blew up in their faces just after the mutiny that divided the crew. Riker, then a rookie, took Pressman's side in that mutiny because Pressman was the captain. But in the years since, Riker has grown to regret that decision as the morally wrong one.

And that's ultimately what "The Pegasus" is about — making the moral choice rather than "following orders." The themes of duty and truth are similar to the themes Moore used to great effect in "The First Duty," but they're employed to even greater effect here — because sometimes the truth of a messy situation only becomes clear with the passage of time and the gaining of maturity and perspective. Now, 12 years later, Riker is able to do what he couldn't do as a rookie by standing up to Pressman and revealing the truth that has been buried for so many years. It's one of the great showcases for Will Riker in TNG's run.

Previous episode: Parallels
Next episode: Homeward

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

◄ Season Index

Comment Section

138 comments on this post

    Wow. Four stars? I'll guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I've always considered "The Pegasus" a sort of "First Duty"-lite. Where "The Pegasus" had some good drama with solid conflict, there really wasn't that much intensity to it. "The First Duty" on the other hand, had my stomach in knots 20 years ago.

    Wesley was in a major bind, and he didn't get a "get out of the brig free" card like Riker because he was following orders, as a matter of fact it was the reverse. Robert Duncan McNeil's Locarno was a far more three dimensional character than Terry O'Quinn's rogue admiral #715. Locarno ultimately accepts the blame and takes the hit for his colleagues, while Admiral Pressman is a sleaze, incapable of taking any kind of responsibility. Picard's final scene with Riker was basically telling Riker not to beat himself up, where he basically tears into Wesley in his last two scenes with righteous indignation. For TNG, that was a shocker.

    "The First Duty" by and large is a better episode.

    @Patrick: I generally agree. I like this episode, but I think Jammer overrates it. It is a little slow and talky, and some of the bridge scenes aren't great.

    Also, Troi's absence -- after the opening scene -- is odd (and not just because of how this story was redone for the ENT finale).

    I'd definitely say this was a three-star ep. But not four.

    I absolutely agree with jammer. Pegasus is a great episode! Together with Parallels, Peemptive strike and, of course, All good things ( and perhaps 2-3 three star episodes) made the final season worth to see.

    Only really watched next gen out of the star treks and had wondered why they didn't use cloaks, this episode explains that, but still think it is a rather big compromise for the federation to make.

    Decent enough episode, but didn't really believe in how the characters behaved.

    Sorry guys, I love this episode too. I love the dielemma Riker faces, and how he finally makes right the mess he was in.

    I agree with Jammer, this is one of the best episodes of the season.

    It's too bad one of the best Riker episodes had to wait until the very end of the series.

    This episode has some weird symmetry for me. I never saw it until shortly after the BP oil spill disaster and somehow the "deaths of 11" resonated with the "deaths of 12" and I started crying about halfway through the episode. So I never was able to really judge it objectively.

    And now Jammer posts his review of it right after BP has "agreed" to pay 4.5 billion.

    But that won't bring back the dead 11.

    "...'The Pegasus' is just as clearly vintage Ron Moore..."

    Only in retrospect, in light of BSG. At the time, Ron Moore was "Klingon Guy," period.

    I wonder if Gene Roddenberry would've approved of this story, with its shady dealings by perfect Starfleet officers. Probably not, even though GR was around for "Too Short A Season," with its Ollie North-esque admiral, and allowed that to happen, too.

    I agree with Patrick and Paul, very good episode, but a far cry from great. I give it 3. Maybe 3.5 if I am having a good day.

    I have stated this on other review sites regarding this episode, that I believe the love you get for this episode is simply because it is head and shoulders above the rest of this dreadful season 7. I suspect that if this aired in the middle of season 3 this would be considered an average or slightly above average episode.

    There are issues.

    1. I didn't care for the romulan commander.
    2. the music was a tick above most music this season, but it was still pretty bad.
    3. It was slow.
    4. Morally. I never understood why the stupid federation couldn't use cloaking technology?

    And for everyone that hates that this "evil" captain was working on a cloaking device, I never hear a peep when the Defiant comes out in DS9. But isn't kind of EXACTLY THE SAME THING? But of course, then our HEROES are doing it so it is OK.

    @Nick P:

    It's an issue (whether it's moral or not) because the Federation has a treaty with the Romulans that prohibits Starfleet from using cloaking technology. Violating treaties with aggressive empires who think humans are "wastes of skin" is never a good idea.

    Meanwhile the Defiant's cloak in DS9 was on loan from the Romulans because the Romulans wanted to help get information about the Dominion. With the Romulans' permission, there was no treaty violation.

    Now, Sisko did occasionally use the cloak in the Alpha Quadrant -- which he wasn't supposed to do (Trials and Tribble-ations, For the Cause, Way of the Warrior). But aside from that, Sisko had permission to cloak the Defiant.


    I get there was a treaty, but what did the federation get out of it? Nothing. People love to make excuses, but at the end of the day there is only one reason. Roddenberry said early on he thought the cload was devious, and he didn't want Starfleet being devious. My problem is that they are devious all the time. Every single series, including the original, found a way to use cloak here and there. And the fans are very selective in what they consider wrong. Supposedly fans think the cloak from this episode is "wrong", thus making Picard right, but wasn't it the same cloak that saved the life of his 1st officer. Let's be honest, if the federation LITERALLY never used cloak, DS9 would have been destroyed in the 4th season by the Jem Hadar.

    If you think the lying is the problem, than fine, I agree with you, but there really is no reason Starfleet cannot have a cloak, that is all I meant by my comment.

    @Nick P:

    Well, presumably, the Federation got peace with the Romulans out of the bargain. You can definitely argue that the price was too high, but Picard's moral indignation toward Pressman -- whose illegal actions jeopardized -- resulted from the fact that Pressman violated the treaty.

    The use of the cloak in DS9 is a totally different issue -- when it was in the Gamma Quadrant -- because the Romulans loaned it to the Federation. There were no ends-justify-the-means arguments because there were no means to justify.

    I don't think Picard thinks cloaks are wrong as a technology -- or, at least, there's no evidence of that. Heck, he borrowed a cloak from the Klingons in "Unification".

    As for Roddenberry's thoughts on the matter, it's pretty clear that his vision wasn't the only one that mattered starting in TOS. He wasn't even around for the third season, he was dead against STV and the Sybok storyline and, well, he died about halfway through TNG's run.

    Loved this episode! Great work by Stewart, Frakes and of course Terry O'Quinn.

    Perhaps it was the darker story popping up in TNG, but I found the story refreshing. And hey, you can just retcon the Pegasus mission as a Section 31 operation. ;) Loved the misdirecting and lighthearted opening scene. Genuinely hilarious and then meant to contrast Riker and Picard's friendship against the later scenes.

    The visuals were great. Loved the Enterprise going into the asteroid. The mystery was well played and kept me riveted. The Enterprise engaging a cloaking device is a rare "cool" moment on TNG. In the books, the Romulans have perfected the phase cloak, which is kind of terrifying.

    The only thing that felt a little hollow was how Riker was going to face some "hard questions" and of course he never does and it never comes up again. Not even in the books.

    @Sxottlan: As far as consequences, I always thought that this episode explained why Riker didn't get another offer for his own ship until Star Trek X. Considering he got three offers in about four years ...

    That said, it still doesn't explain why he didn't get an offer after BOBW and this episode (a span of three and a half years).

    Somewhere on the internet, I'm 100% certain that some Trek fan with mucho time on their hands have edited TNG's "The Pegasus"
    and ENT's "These Are the Voyages..." into a strange mega-episode.
    "Yes, see Riker and Troi alternately look younger and older throughout this mega-sode!"

    And the only thing slightly sadder than that, is how much I would kind of want to see it.

    Roddenberry was around in the third season of TNG even a little before the beginning of season 4. It is confirmed by Michael Piller in the special features of the seasons 3 and 4 boxsets (region 2)

    @karatsiospa: I was referring to the third season of TOS, not TNG. IIRC, Roddenberry left TOS because of the time-slot change.

    Generally, I think Roddenberry's control of the franchise is overstated. The Sybok character, a central piece of STV, was considered apocryphal by Roddenberry, and yet STV exists (sadly).

    @Paul: Put yourself in Starfleet's shoes for a second. Riker rejected three offers of his own ship. I guess I would go "well, if he doesn't want it, we won't force him" and just stop offering him promotions for a while. And just when that ran out and they might have gone "well, perhaps we might try again", this episode comes along, triggering "then again, maybe not".

    @Ospero: That almost makes sense, except Riker, you know, saved the Federation in BOBW.

    Now, maybe you figure he stays on the Enterprise for a year after that as they try to replace the ships lost at Wolf 359 (especially when it's hinted at that 39 ships is a big chunk of the fleet -- even if DS9 changed all that). But by season 5 of TNG, Starfleet should have been beating on Riker's door.

    Now, maybe, they figured that his actions in BOBW should allow him to do whatever the hell he wanted.

    Roddenberry was not in control of the movies after the first one (paramount removed him) but he was in absolute control of TNG at least as long as he lived. The fact that paramount gave him this control was the factor that convinced him to do TNG in the first place. And even after his death and as long as TNG is concerned Berman systematically refused to do anything that roddenberry wouldn't do (according to a LeVar Burton interview about 3 years ago).

    "...'The Pegasus' is just as clearly vintage Ron Moore..."

    @Grumpy "Only in retrospect, in light of BSG. At the time, Ron Moore was "Klingon Guy," period."

    Not really true. His writing and teleplay credits on Trek include a bunch of 'vintage RDM' episodes focusing on just those qualities Jammer mentioned. Let's see, just to name a few:

    The Defector, Yesterday's Enterprise, The First Duty, Chain of Command, Defiant, Paradise Lost, For the Cause, Rocks and Shoals, Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges, Tacking into the Wind.

    And there's more where it comes from. Even his Klingon episodes are very political and very personal.

    Yesterday's Enterprise was not written by R. Moore. The story was by Trent Christopher Ganino & Eric A. Stillwell, only the teleplay was by moore.

    Ι already said that i like this episode but there is something i want to add. Pegasus was great because was both a dramatic character driven story and a science fiction story, i contrast with Lower decks which was a very good episode but not exactly science fiction.

    I thought was some of the Enterprise's manoeuvres vis-a-vis the Romulans were a bit amateurish and the results were predictable (e.g. tipping off the Romulans that they were interested in the asteroid in the first place; entering the asteroid and exposing themselves to the risk of an attack).

    Riker's broken rib scene in sickbay was a bit over the top.

    Ensign Gates might be more of an android than Data. That extra couldn't even be bothered to appear in the slightest bit phased about piloting the ship into the narrow chasm of an asteroid.

    The comparison to “The First Duty” is apt; there are also similarities to Season 4’s “The Wounded” with the Misguided Captain/Admiral angle. Personally I think “The Wounded” was superior, but I feel I may be the only one.

    @Grumpy: This is probably one of many TNG stories Gene would not have approved of in its current form. His rationale for the Federation not having a cloaking device was that they were explorers and didn’t believe in sneaking around.

    My own personal theory (unsupported in canon) for the existence of the treaty is that early in the 24th century, the Federation was trying to develop cloaking technology, possibly somewhere near the Neutral Zone. A horrible accident occurred which resulted in many Romulan deaths, and the only way to prevent the incident from sparking a war, the Federation agreed to cease their research into cloaking technology.

    In dialogue, it was said that the chief of Starfleet Security and the chief of Starfleet Intelligence (interestingly, both of whom RDM decided to be females) were well aware of what Pressman was doing. I don't know why Picard can be so sure that Pressman will be in the trouble he declares him to be in....and if he is, then those two admirals should be as well.

    Nice episode with huge ramifications.
    I agree with the admiral that it was stupid to sign a treaty that said 'We can cloak but you can't.' Who were the brainiacs behind that?
    Nontheless, since the treaty was signed, the federation shouldn't have had a cloaking device on a ship. They could have still worked to develop the technology just in case, just don't put it on a starship.

    Very good episode. Like some Moore episodes this tended to drag on military-career-politics and looking backwards. But altogether a great story that was well produced and directed by LeVar Burton. One issue with LeVar's that I casting the Romulan commander as black. I don't think it is realistic to assign human race identities to alien species.

    @Smith: "One issue with LeVar's that I casting the Romulan commander as black. I don't think it is realistic to assign human race identities to alien species."

    That ship had sailed the moment the very first alien that ever appeared on Trek turned out to fit nicely into human skin tones. I get what you're trying to say, but your solution would make every single humanoid race in Trek white, whether we acknowledge that or not.

    "The Pegasus" was probably one of the Top 3 episodes of Season 7, plus it felt like it might've been setting up a major story-arc that might've occurred across the remaining TNG episodes, and into DS9 and Voyager. Unfortunately nothing like that occurred, and all we got was the pathetic and snore-bore "These Are The Voyages" that added nothing and even conflicted with the events of this episode.

    I've always thought I would have liked to see a bit more of the back story to this episode. The Federation must surely have been in a very weak position to agree to such an unbalanced treaty: the Romulans having cloaks, without the Federation having the same, puts the Federation at a HUGE disadvantage. So what happened? We never really hear about it.

    I've also always thought that it was a bit unrealistic how shocked Picard was at the disclosure. I mean, he might not have approved, but it seems pretty naïve not to assume that the Federation would be secretly continuing cloaking research, at least to some extent.

    Anyone realize that this is the only episode that John Debney (SeaQuest DSV) scored? The music for ST:TNG (and the other series) became terrible after the departure of Ron Jones in the 4th season (despite the writing getting better), but this one episode is noticeably better than the others of the season. SeaQuest was on the air at the same time, with notably better music, its interesting the producers took a shot at Debney (who would go on to become a big time film composer). The music on ST:TNG is such a lost opportunity, especially when you put it up against a show like Lost which was musically coherent from the start.

    @ Phil

    You are absolutely spot on about the musical score to this episode. There's a reason this feels so much like a Season 3/4 entry, and it's not just the incredible acting by Terry O'Quinn. (To me he'll always be John Locke. A horrible Trek pun, I know.)

    The scenes during the asteroid-pass through are marvelously orchestrated, the sense of menace and forboding palpable. Everything is enhanced by the music. It's a crime that Debney was never hired again.

    Rick Berman was an absolute moron for ordering that the music be so boring (in the later seasons). If he was looking to make something that was more "television" than "cinema", he definitely succeeded. I hope that when Paramount & CBS finally get around to filming another series, they'll see that the fans want less restrictions in the musical scoring department.

    Oh, and for the record, this is a fantastic episode: great acting, effects, and plot. When I said this felt like a earlier season entry, I meant it.

    My only nitpicks are . . .

    #1) Are there any Admirals in Starfleet that don't eventually go rogue?

    #2) Why exactly does the Federation not have cloaking technology?

    Not to be specie-ist, but if the Klingons understand cloaking technology, how hard can it be to master? Why would the Federation allow itself to be hamstrung this way?

    People are saying that the Treaty is one-sided, that the Federation gave up too much, etc. But how do you know? We don't know the full treaty, nor do we know what caused it to come into place (at least from my understanding). All we know is that it has limitations on what the Federation can do, but no information on what limitations are on Romulus.

    I read an interesting theory that I like due to its simplicity: the treaty was signed in response to the Genesis project. After discovering that the Federation had, in the name of scientific progress, created a weapon of mass destruction, one can understand why Romulans would be nervous. Mutually assured destruction worked between the US and the USSR because both sides had nukes ready to go at all times, and neither side could ensure that they could prevent a retaliatory attack. But if the Federation had cloaked Genesis devices hidden throughout the Romulan empire? They could wipe them out in 5 minutes. Even better, instead of leaving a huge chunk of the galaxy barren, the destroyed planets would be ripe for colonization. With relative parity between the Romulan and Federation fleet, the Federation could prevent the remains of the Romulan fleet from launching suicide missions on Earth and Vulcan and the like.

    How would the Klingons, Cardassians (depending on if the Fed knew of them yet), Tholians, etc react to the Genesis device? Would they try to build their own? Or another planet-busting device? Perhaps that is what the treaty is about. The Federation, as the only group with such a devastating weapon, would be prohibited from building a cloaking device to prevent it from being used on Romulus. Likewise, Romulans and Klingons and the like would be prohibited from creating their own planet destroyers (presumably there is sufficient technology to stop conventional weapons from destroying a planet). And thus, the peace is maintained.

    Or maybe its something else. Whatever it is, it's hard to judge the treaty when we know nothing about it.

    As for the episode itself, its probably the best of Season 7 outside AGT. Normally I don't like the sudden event from a character's past that we never heard about but that is a huge event in their life, since it tends to be rather contrived. But it makes sense in this case. Of course Riker would never talk about it and would try to forget about it. And it does seem to have changed his way of thinking, of being willing to defy orders if he believes himself to be right. Perhaps even his initial rush to command was due in part to this sort of thing, so that he doesn't have to worry as much about being stuck in a similar situation. And maybe that is partially why he slowed down on the Enterprise, as he recognized that he wouldn't have to make such a decision with someone like Picard. Maybe that's why he became comfortable.

    But whatever the case, the interplay between Picard, Riker, and Pressman was a lot of fun to watch. Pressman had enough charisma that you can imagine a young Riker being completely taken by him. Picard being forced out of the inner circle was great, and seeing him fume was fun to watch. And Riker being torn between his loyalty to Picard and being forced to follow the orders of his admiral, not to mention wrestling with his conscience. Even if the sickbay scene was too unsubtle, it did show Riker being angry and feeling helpless, which I imagine is exactly right.

    The dressing down Picard gave Riker in his room was absolutely chilling. It wasn't entirely fair for Picard, but I think he knew what effect it would have on Riker. That Picard suspected something was up way back when is natural, that Picard suspected Riker would put the Enterprise in danger was a bit too much to expect. However, by pretending to suspect that, he may have pushed Riker into the position of finally coming clean about what happened. That dressing down had to have been devastating to Riker. I'm surprised he didn't tell Picard off right there, but he was probably to shocked to say anything. Either way, it was a great scene.

    And seeing Riker go along with everything until the last moment was good to see as well. Like he said, he had the luxury of time. He probably suspected he was ending his career one way or the other, and thus was naturally putting this off as long as possible. Unfortunately for him, the cloak was still there.

    Meanwhile, the Romulan side plot was pretty fun. About the only disappointment was that it wasn't Tomalak in the warbird. So while the actor was fairly low-key in his presentation, the lines themselves were done. It was nice to see the blatant lying (that was such a big part of The Enemy) resurfacing once again. Even though it wasn't the focus of the story, the chessgame between Picard and the Romulans was good to see.

    My only problem with this episode is the device itself. Every one seems content to keep calling it a cloak, but it isn't, it's a phasing device with the added benefit of being unable to be detected. I think this is a massive distinction. By the logic that it makes you undetectable, one could argue that the slip stream network the borg uses is a cloaking device, or if the federation ever found a way to travel through sub space instead of folding regular space, and since you can not be detected while in it, you are effectively cloaked and able to go about anywhere undetected.

    it comes down to what is and what isn't a cloaking device. And we are never given a satisfactory answer to that.

    Then you have to consider that cloaks are not necessary to to remain undetected. I know that cloaks look like they bend light around the vessel, thus creating the illusion of invisibility, I'm going to give the cloak the benefit of the doubt that it's also redirecting other sensors, as visuals are not really important in space when looking for visual signs of another ship tens to hundreds of KM away is impractical at best. But it's not hard to imagine the federation relying on the concepts of stealth and ECM to blind and confuse an enemy vessel. I wouldn't call those cloaks. Jam sensors, painting the ship with a more stealth space camouflage, active and passive sensor interference techniques, all things that could be done before the treaty was signed.

    Then you have to wonder, what about holo projectors on a ship, disguising it as something else, while scrambling with sensors to give off false readings. Would that be considered a cloak?
    And why have we only ever seen one type of cloaking of stealth device, when there are far more ways to accomplish the task.

    And why was the federation not allowed cloaks, but the Romulans had no problems giving cloaking technology to the Klingons, who had far more conflicts with the Romulans then the federation ever did.

    And how are cloaks effective. The best way to detect any vessel is to scan for a thermal shift in the background. No matter what you do, you can not stop being hotter then space, and the is not something that is very easily countered, either, because you have to actively scramble your enemies devices that can detect thermal energy. Not to mention, looking for impressions in the gravitational field generated by the masses of these vessels.

    loved the episode, but it did leave me wondering why the federation couldn't have the phase "cloak" as it's does not work on the same principle of standard cloaking devices, and has whole new applications. What if the Phase device didn't fully cloak the vessel, could it be used then?

    Of course, Picard revealing the existence of a working phase cloak might also have massive ramifications in the capabilities of Romulan war ships. Might explain why my Romulan ships now have phase cloaks in Star Trek Online.

    "The Pegasus" is by far one of the best TNG episodes, top 5 for sure with me. I re-watched the series withi my daughter last year and even seeing it 20 some-odd years later it's just as powerful. And the scene where the Enterprise de-phases outside the asteroid is priceless.

    Too bad they didn't come back to the phase cloak when the Dominion came knocking down DS9's door later. I guess it's probably a good idea because this tech is just too powerful.

    It's a pretty solid episode, but has some problems for me:

    1. There is no way the Federation would agree to be at a massive military disadvantage. Gene's reasoning that the Federation wouldn't sneak around is naive to say the least. The episode's assertion that a treaty was signed is just the stuff of silly writers without an ounce of understanding for the real world. An advantage of a cloak is an advantage that could win you a war, quite easily.

    2. Trek picks and chooses when to apply the chain of command. In this episode, Picard is disobeying orders and asking Riker to disobey orders because he isn't happy being in the dark. He also pulls strings to get information he had no right to access. In another episode, orders will be obeyed without question because it suits the story.

    3. A conspiracy of this nature is unlikely to have been covered up. Too difficult, especially given how Starfleet operates and the fact the judge knew about it and wrote an official report on it. You do not write official reports of this kind when you are covering something up. This was just an excuse to give Picard something to go on.

    4. The admiral is shown to be a devious and sleazy character, which, as usual, is designed purely to guide the viewer into siding with Picard and his (and the writers') position. It's another loading of the dice.

    This episode solves the issue for me about why Starfleet doesn't have cloaking technology while their allies the Klingons do. Since the peace with Klingon, I had wondered why the technology wasn't shared. As others have pointed out above, it seems unlikely that the Federation would have gone along with such a concession, especially given that cloaking is more of a defensive rather than directly offensive technology.

    Despite all that, I agree with Jammer's 4 star rating. About halfway through this episode, I was thinking, "Who says Season 7 is all weak episodes? This one is great."

    Great episode, maybe 3.5 stars. As a "tactical genius" (S2-E21 "Peak Performance") I cringed when Riker confronted Pressman ALONE in the Pegasus after the latter had removed the device intact. In a full-length movie and perhaps if Riker's shirt was more red, one would expect someone like Pressman who has already shown no concern for morality beyond his focus on the technology (and Riker knows this full well) to have found some way to kill the commander in an "unfortunate accident" which would be easy to do given the circumstances of their immediate, precarious, and unstable environment. Riker was lucky, just lucky, to have gotten beamed back aboard the Enterprise alive.

    @Dave in NC

    "Not to be specie-ist, but if the Klingons understand cloaking technology, how hard can it be to master? Why would the Federation allow itself to be hamstrung this way?"

    Because the script demanded it. No other explanation is plausible, especially "Well the Feds were taking the high road."

    How would a phasing cloak that "changes the structure of matter" change the people inside the ship? A normal cloak is a stealth technology involving the hull of the ship becoming invisible to perception, but doesn't physically manifest any effect upon the people within...the ship and the people inside are still "there" and physically unchanged. Shields work the same...a bubble around the ship that protect all within it but doesn't physically change anything inside. On the other hand, this cloak would somehow have to change the structure of matter in people too...otherwise when the ship passes through the asteroid, the people within would be smashed against the rockface. How does the device cloak people too, when they aren't attached to the cloaking device?

    Now this, ladies and gentlemen, is an episode that shows what Star Trek is capable of when it fires on all cylinders. World-building galore, deep and involved character work, amazing interplay between various characters, high tension without having to resort to explosions - though I like those just fine as well :) - all over the screen, political intrigue, military cat-and-mouse games, friction between main cast characters, a dynamite guest actor, wonderful atmosphere, a truly meaty morality tale to seek our teeth into, some good humor (I agree, Captain Picard Day is rather funny), a nice mystery, the list goes on and on.

    "The Pegasus" is not only TNG at the top of its game, it's also the episode that officially made me a Ron Moore-oholic. One of these days I really need to get around to watching "Battlestar Galactica," because if this episode is any indication of what that show is like I'm almost guaranteed to love it.

    I just want to point to two quick things that I really liked about the episode. (There's a saying - it's easier to talk about what you don't like than about what you do. That's certainly true for me. And I'm honestly stumped to think of anything I don't like about "The Pegasus.") First, the acting. A lot of people say that Jonathan Frakes is in no way Patrick Stewart's equal in the acting department. Most of the time I would agree - Stewart is easily the better actor. But here, Frakes really stands toe to toe with him. The scene where Picard confronts Riker with the classified Starfleet report proves that in spades. Riker's description of what happened during the mutiny on the Pegasus is especially noteworthy. The scene is nothing more than two men standing in a closed room talking to each other (one giving what could have ended up as a rather dry blow-by-blow account of action we don't witness firsthand) and yet it's riveting. I don't think I've seen a scene like this in TNG since Stewart and Mark Lenard did something similar in "Sarek." Then there's Terry O'Quinn. Oh my God, talk about a perfect choice for the role of the admiral. Pressman is clearly a villain, almost from the moment he appears on screen due to Riker's reaction to him, but yet O'Quinn infuses him with just the right amount of charisma, patriotism and swagger that he's almost likable. Almost, but not quite. As a result, he ends up being the perfect type of bad guy. There's another saying - the "best" villains believe themselves to be the hero of the story. Pressman is indeed that. He is not a mad-eye wildman, he is not Joker-level insane, he is instead completely in control of his senses and sanity and believes himself to be completely in the right even if he is violating the treaty. Wonderfully done.

    Second, a short note on the world-building. Can anybody honestly say to themselves that "The Pegasus" wasn't the narrative seed that would eventually bloom into Section 31 four years later over on DS9? Or the events of DS9: "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost"? The idea of a dark underbelly of Starfleet/the Federation is a much welcome addition to the franchise. And there's the explanation of why the Federation doesn't using cloaked ships. You can agree or disagree as to whether you think it was a smart more to give up cloaking technology, but this explanation works for me (and I'm glad we finally got an explanation of some kind). Given what later episodes would show the Federation doing in order to preserve the peace, this abandonment of a defense technology seems rather mild.

    So, all in all, this is easily one of TNG's finest hours. Now, I beg of you, let us never speak of what was later done to this episode eleven years after it aired.


    It seems a long time since we had a bad admiral episode, so it's a welcome return to the hidden machinations of Starfleet.

    The key word for this one is tension. Tension between the characters and tension in the story. The highlight is how Picard and Riker move from convivial leg-pulling in the intro to Picard uncovering aspects of the truth from the Pegasus enquiry and confronting Riker with it. But equally strong is the tension within Riker as he comes to terms with a poor decision made in the past and its ramifications.

    It's not perfect - Pressman perhaps becomes a little too much of the ranting zealot by the end, the set up does take a long time and the plot device requiring the Enterprise to use the cloak is horribly clumsy, as indeed is the scene in sickbay. But on the whole this is a very strong episode. 3.5 stars.

    I'm a little miffed at all of the "the Federation would never agree to such a restrictive treaty" comments. Granted there's a lot of non-canon information about it out there, but the general situation seems to be that the Federation accepted that clause in the treaty in exchange for the Romulans retreating to their side of the Neutral Zone (I believe the Neutral Zone was established prior to that, but I'm not sure), essentially cutting off all contact with the rest of the quadrant. That actually sounds worse for the Romulans, if not for their reclusive bordering on xenophobic tendencies.

    Also (and again, it's difficult to separate what little actual canon exists versus fanfic or just speculation) it's entirely possible that the Federation LOST whatever conflict spurned this treaty. Maintaining that treaty could very well be the only thing preventing an all out war with the Romulans that the Federation knows they would lose, again. That's all speculation on my part yes, but it does show how something like this could come up.

    The Enterprise decloaking in this episode is the best single scene in any iteration of Star Trek just for pure magnificence.

    { I get there was a treaty, but what did the federation get out of it? Nothing. People love to make excuses . . . there really is no reason Starfleet cannot have a cloak, that is all I meant by my comment. }

    Consider the series never goes into the detail of the treaty these types of statements are always ludicrous. My personal guess: It has something to do with how the Federation flat out STOLE Romulan cloaking tech in TOS - The Enterprise Incident. But presumably there was some concession the Romulans made in return for this.

    My favorite aspects of this episode:

    - The Enterprise going full speed ahead into the rock face with a completely untested piece of equipment supposedly phasing them out of normal matter. Yes, Picard did say 'thrusters only', but it looks pretty damn fast on the veiwscreen, and probably would have done considerable damage had they run into the rock at that speed.

    - Data truly being all-knowing during this episode. Several times, Picard asks Data to verify what someone else has said. Data also tells Picard that it is 'theoretically possible' to cloak and phase the ship, even though he's never set eyes on the actual piece of equipment before.

    - Picard de-cloaking the ship right in front of the Romulans. What obligation does Picard have to a single Romulan ship whatsoever, especially after they've already committed a hostile act? How does he know they won't simply open fire and try to get their hands on the phasing technology? They should have warped out of there, gotten back to safety, and had the Federation send a message to the Roman government. Or perhaps, Picard actually feared some sort of repercussion from high level Federation officers, so that he felt his only bargaining chip was to expose the event immediately to the nearest Romulan ship to keep it from being swept under the table (and perhaps himself as well).

    - Riker and Pressman talking about a highly classified, top secret mission out in the open in Ten Forward. How do they know there isn't a telepath nearby, or someone good at reading lips, or someone from a species with extremely good hearing, or simply someone at the next table listening in? You would think they wouldn't even mention it outside of their personal quarters.

    - Picard doubting Riker's resolve after they've served together for seven years (this is season seven, after all). I do think Riker should have told Picard what was going on right away (after all, what Pressman was doing was illegal), but Picard really had no right to suddenly question Riker's character.

    - Why the hell would it be 'safer' to take the Enterprise in instead of a shuttlecraft? A shuttlecraft would have MUCH more clearance inside the chasm and have a much greater margin of error to make course corrections, despite unknown 'gravitational' forces. Plus, since there never was any salvage operation other than the reclamation of the cloaking/phasing device, there was no need for the entire ship to go in.

    - Honestly, I think the lack of cloaking was simply a money issue - It would have cost a lot more money for the tech team to have the Enterprise constantly cloaking/decloaking, so they saved it only for special events that involved one of the other races. We see later (in "All Good Things") that the Federation does in fact employ cloaking technology at some point in the future, so really who cares. Also, I like to believe that their struggle with the Borg forced the Federation to advance much faster in technology than any of the surrounding races, which maybe was Q's reason for doing so in the first place (he truly wanted Humans to advance much faster and become dominant in the quadrant).

    - Also, in reflection, it seems that getting the cloaking device really wasn't necessary for the research to continue at all - Obviously (and especially if high level officers were in favor or it) the experiment could easily be replicated in a lab, and probably had advanced far beyond that over the years. The real reason was that the Federation didn't want the Romulans to realize that they were working on cloaking technology. That was the only reason for the mission - Pressman probably had a whole secret group that had been perfecting the device since his promotion to Admiral.

    Despite all that, I really like watching this episode. My last question: When was Commander Riker day?

    This episode was fine up until the ending, which irritated me. The righteous indignation that both Picard and Riker have for the admiral is way overdone. The federation can't keep using a piece of cloaking tech, which has just been demonstrated to work awesomely, because of some stupid treaty with the Romulans? They should've told the Romulans to shove their treaty.

    At the very least there should have been much more nuance and consideration of whether they wanted to use the cloak and renegotiate with the Romulans. I really didn't like the high horse from which they talked down at the admiral.

    That cloaking device is freaking awesome. I'd like to see them pass through Earth with it enabled. :-)

    Jez, I think if nothing else, the writers of this episode were trying to emulate the actual American government, which seems to be willing to let other countries run it over into the ground.

    You're right, it's really not a big deal at all that the Federation developed not only cloaking technology, but phasing as well. Breaking the treaty to gain that level of technology seems like a very good trade off.

    Plus, it's not like the Romulans respect the Federation in any way shape or's a very unstable peace, so basically screw the treaty and employ the phasing cloak on every ship in the fleet.


    "Plus, it's not like the Romulans respect the Federation in any way shape or's a very unstable peace, so basically screw the treaty and employ the phasing cloak on every ship in the fleet."

    They could just keep the peace, keep the cloak and hang onto it in case they ever go to war.

    That treaty had kept the peace for 60 years. It would be the equivalent of breaking agreements with Russia born out of WWII. Sure, you get a little tactical edge, but you're pretty much guaranteed a war on your hands. And the Federation really needed the Romulans on their side to win the Dominion War.

    Also, the Federation is first and foremost a union focused on peaceful exploration. You can't really compare it to the United States, which has a balance of military and economic goals in its agenda.

    Those are good points Robert and Chrome.

    However, the way I see it, the phasing cloak is a massive tactical advantage, allowing ships to easily cross behind enemy lines, attack from behind, and scout to their hearts content, all with no fear of attack.

    In my opinion, this would actually prevent war, not agitate it. And in reality, there would be serious consequences after Picard exposed the cloak to the Romulans. The story ends with the episode, but the truth of the matter is that Picard just told the entire Romulan empire that the Federation had been secretly developing cloaking technology for an unspecified period of time.

    What reason do the Romulans have to trust the Federation or respect the treaty going forward?

    From that perspective, there may be every reason to quickly arm the entire fleet with the phasing technology. Or if nothing else, at least keep it ready to go (as Robert suggested), since Data already proved it could be setup in just a couple of hours.

    The Federation was almost wiped out by the Borg and the Dominion - I would think under those circumstances, they are permitted to use whatever means necessary to survive. What does a treaty matter if there is no longer a Federation?

    The Romulans already tried to destroy the Enterprise on multiple occasions. They tried to do so in "The Next Phase" after Picard's crew risked their lives to save a Romulan ship. Tomalak wanted to take the hull of the Enterprise home as a war trophy in "The Defector".

    Plus, let us not forget how useful the phased cloak would have been throughout the entire Star Trek: Nemesis movie, where it turns out that a faction of the Romulan empire WAS planning on going to war with the Federation, despite the treaty, and had been planning to do so for years.

    When put in that context, "screw the treaty" would absolutely be appropriate at several points during TNG and also later in DS9.

    I'm no lawyer, but how did Riker get out of this with his career intact?

    Wesley did a similar lesser thing when he tried to cover up the negligence of a flight accident at the Academy.. but when Riker was complicit in the cover-up of a treaty violation that involved the destruction of a starship and crew, it's all OK?

    What would have been interesting would be the dilemma between researching technology that's illegal under a treaty, and actually possessing it. How could you possibly outlaw people studying that area of science and quietly developing a theoretical blueprint in case the Treaty of Algeron was withdrawn? That would have been more interesting than Riker and Pressman colliding like two stag beetles.

    The problem with the treaty is that they never revealed just what did Romulans give up in exchange. Do they have some ultimate weapon lying around they can't use because of it?

    Hey! That could actually explain where the hell did Remans from Nemesis pull that super-awesome ship and their super-awesome Genesis rip-off out of their asses. The treaty forbids Romulans from creating those, but it is somehow specific enough so they could go "well, technically these guys ain't Romulans". Haven't seen the movie in years, but eh? Eh?

    What did the Romulans give up in the treaty?

    They promised not to make a crappy movie with a bogus script about a boring clone who looks nothing like Picard, and a band of (somewhat) Romulan misfits who have no reason to be angry at the Federation at all.

    Unfortuantely, in 2002 they broke the treaty and the movie got made.

    Conclusion: Starfleet can now use cloaking technology whenever they want.

    Thanks, Chrome.

    I'm still not sure if the trade off was worth it - Suffering through 2 hours of a boring, non-sensical script that was an insult to all things TNG just to gain technology already commonplace?

    Hell, Janeway already brought them back transphasic torpedoes and armor hull plating before Nemesis even occurred, so that should have been the bigger breakthrough.

    Who cares about cloaking with you have an armor hull that no current species in the alpha quadrant can shoot through (except maybe the Sheliak).

    Enjoyed this episode but found the moral question of lying to Romulans pretty overshadowed by the incredible disadvantage not developing cloaking (phasing?) technology would be militarily. It doesn't seem the least bit realistic that the federation wouldn't develop this technology, or for that matter, that some of the best scientists in the alpha quadrant wouldn't already have a pretty good idea how cloaking works. Moreover, other technologies seems to be pretty commonly shared by the post-warp civilization powers.

    One other thing---has anyone else noticed that most Starfleet admirals are complete idiots?

    I have a feeling that Section 31 has a few ships with cloaking devices that no one knows about... ;)

    Hey, it's what I would do if I were them!

    (I remember hearing that the expanded universe novels say that the Pegasus experiment was sponsored by Section 31).

    It really bothered me that Star Trek rarely ever advanced the technology of the franchise. It made absolutely no sense that the phase cloak never made an appearance in the Dominion War. Section 31 would've been all over that. As good as "In the Pale Moonlight" was, I would've much rather had the Romulans come in on the side with the Dominion and have Starfleet dust off the phase cloak and arm all of their ships with it, due to the Romulans breaking the treaty.

    >And in reality, there would be serious consequences after Picard exposed the cloak to the Romulans. The story ends with the episode, but the truth of the matter is that Picard just told the entire Romulan empire that the Federation had been secretly developing cloaking technology for an unspecified period of time.

    This is what bothers me most about this episode. Picard chose one of the worst options, that he should only have used as a last resort. He exposed the technology to the Romulans, and let them know that the Federation has broken the treaty. The Romulans will obviously use this to their advantage, by demanding reparations and publicly denouncing The Federation. He should have tried to escape without using the technology.

    As for the treaty, I could buy that it's a very important treaty and that it should not be broken for fear that the Romulans declare war. However, by using the technology Picard broke the treaty and let the Romulans know. So the Romulans could potentially declare war over this or do whatever the treaty was designed to prevent them from doing.

    Also, wasn't that technology dangerous? It killed the whole crew of the Pegasus. By using the device Picard exposed his own crew to danger.

    Overall, I'm unimpressed because they failed to address the real life dilemmas that would be posed by such a situation.

    Picard un-phasing in front of the Romulan ship was sheer stupidity. Deal with Federation internal affairs as you see fit, but don't reveal to your enemy that somewhere along the line you violated a treaty and hope they'll take a "oh sorry it was just these few guys who did it, I'm showing it to you now in good faith please don't go to war with us". The Romulans aren't that reasonable, especially not the one who trapped them in an asteroid!

    Though well acted, I didn't care at all about the drama in this one, because once again it showed how hypocritical the federation and our main characters are.

    Pressman didn't invent or decide to test the phase device on his own; it was an order from a higher-up. Blaming him for the death of the Pegasus crew because they mutinied during a potentially dangerous experimental test is stupid. It's their own fault. Once he was no longer in control of the ship, there was nothing he could have done to prevent what would happen to it. And the crew weren't just refusing, they were apparently actively trying to stun or kill him and the few loyal officers.

    Everyone's got their Starfleet regulation undies in a wad over a phasing device not because it could get them into war with the Romulans but because "it's unethical". After all the hand-wringing I thought the reveal was going to be some planet-shattering super-weapon, bio-weapon, federation cover-up of genocide or something big like that, not some secret experiment that violates a treaty. Yeah, violating a treaty is bad, but there wasn't anything unethical about the phase thingy itself, yet it's treated like some big evil secret. The Romulans aren't trustworthy, why am I supposed to be horrified that the Federation is willing to lie right back to them? I find it hard to believe almost an entire crew would mutiny over something like this.

    It was completely inappropriate for Picard to threaten Riker for following orders from higher-up. He may not like being in the dark, but for him to threaten dismissing Riker for respecting the chain-of-command was way out there and should get Picard in trouble. If people went off left and right disobeying orders Starfleet would fall apart overnight.

    "It was completely inappropriate for Picard to threaten Riker for following orders from higher-up. He may not like being in the dark, but for him to threaten dismissing Riker for respecting the chain-of-command was way out there and should get Picard in trouble."

    I love this episode but this is an excellent point. Now when I rewatch this one I'll try to see if differently from the perspective that Pressman was right.

    Actually, Picard never asked Riker to break any order. Go back and watch the scene again.

    Remember, Picard had gotten ahold of the 'buried', secret report before he ever called Riker into his quarters. Picard already new something had been covered up, and that much of the story surrounding Pressman's original mission had been classified, even though a judge had recommended an inquiry into the possibility of mutiny.

    Now enter Riker, who actually NEGLECTS to tell Picard at the very beginning that he's under orders not to discuss anything. Instead, he begins telling a mostly bogus story, and actually flat-out lies when he tells Picard they were 'running tests on the engines', hoping the story would be good enough that Picard wouldn't continue to question him, and therefore not expose Riker's involvement in the mutiny, as well as his knowledge about the experiment.

    It was only when Picard probed too far that Riker finally pulled out his "I'm under direct orders by Admiral Pressman not to discuss this, sir', which of course was AFTER Riker had already given a false account to Picard about what happened.

    I agree that Picard had no right to 'threaten' Riker with a change in the command structure of the ship because of one incident that he didn't even have all the data for, not to mention the fact that he's suddenly questioning Riker's loyalty and job performance after they've served together for seven years. You'd think they would have built up a high level of trust over that time-period.

    On the other hand, there was no reason for Riker to suddenly start lying to Picard, that was definitely a strike against him. He should have either told Picard from the beginning that he couldn't talk about it, or disobey orders and tell Picard everything. The fact that he took the middle 'grey' area was a very poor choice, in my opinion.

    Also, the fact that Riker DID discuss the mutiny with Picard, which was highly classified, means Riker had already disobeyed Pressman's orders.

    { Only really watched next gen out of the star treks and had wondered why they didn't use cloaks, this episode explains that, but still think it is a rather big compromise for the federation to make. }

    Federation cloaking technology according to TOS was stolen from the Romulans. Also, the Federation doesn't really need cloaks like the Klingons and Romulans do; Starfleet's purposes are different.

    { Yeah, violating a treaty is bad, but there wasn't anything unethical about the phase thingy itself, yet it's treated like some big evil secret. The Romulans aren't trustworthy, why am I supposed to be horrified that the Federation is willing to lie right back to them? I find it hard to believe almost an entire crew would mutiny over something like this. }

    They mutinied over how dangerous and unstable the prototype was. Esp from what we know of Pressman and his fanaticism and how he would have likely behaved as captain. Like, wait, we all might die in order to break the law b/c our captain won't just admit this stage of the test has flaws?

    { It made absolutely no sense that the phase cloak never made an appearance in the Dominion War. Section 31 would've been all over that }

    Well it never worked right for very long, maybe it never did get the bugs worked out.

    One reason this episode is great - the scene of the Enterprise decloaking. Amazing. Always gives me chills.

    Two maybe three stars indeed. Too much talk, too slow and the setup for the little secret between Riker and the admiral was annoying. You can see it all from miles coming and that's why this episode lacks tension. Didn't do much for me.

    The Romulans had little respect for treaties in TOS episode Balance of Terror when they crossed the Neutral Zone to blast a few Federation outposts out of existence.

    Considering this is a Ron Moore episode, I find MANY parallels with this Pegasus story and the BSG Pegasus story (arc). Not all are word for word parallels, but if you think about it a great many of the themes and plot points are deliberately retread--but much, much weightier in th BSG version. This cannot be coincidental. What do you guys think?

    This could be interesting to discuss here.

    Excellent episode -- plenty of military intrigue with the following orders/do what's right dynamic explored. That's nothing new but it is a good theme showing the difficult decision and the consequences for a young Riker.

    Loved the interaction between the Romulan captain and Picard. I miss Tomalak from the earlier days but Sirol in this episode continues that Romulan tradition of the deceitful facade.

    Thought this was a terrific character episode for both Picard and Riker. The captain's tough stance with not knowing what is going on and standing up for the safety of his ship vs. the villain admiral was extremely well done. This is where Stewart is such a great actor.

    As for Riker, his best scene was when he challenged the admiral when on board the Pegasus -- cleansing his conscience. Ultimately, I would think he'd get punished for his actions (in a tough court case) but, of course, the next episode will come along and all will be reset.

    The phase-shifting cloak seems a bit of a stretch to me, however. A ship being able to pass through rock? I would assume TOS "Balance of Terror"/"The Enterprise Incident" is some of the ancient history here with Kirk's Enterprise capturing the cloaking device and then the Federation adapting it for the Pegasus.

    In any case, the technology is not the point but how StarFleet goes about secretly doing something to break a treaty with the Romulans and some are on board while other (Picard) try and do the right thing.

    3.5 stars for "The Pegasus" for the tensions between Picard/Riker/Pressman. Lots of secrets / deception here at the highest ranks and it works well. The idea of a very senior officer (Admiral Pressman) being the "bad guy" and developing technology to tilt the balance of power is definitely not new, but is a theme that still gets good mileage.

    This is a fine episode. What prevents this from being a great episode is that it is dull. Riker's main conflict - his story - is all in exposition. This makes the conflict between Pressman and Riker central, but I think it is obvious that Pressman is an antagonistic character. I mean he is an officer from the Federation, right? And the theme is to abstract to be of too much interest.

    The reason Riker gets let off the hook is because Pressman revealed that he was acting under the orders of one corrupt Admiral. Riker used this situation to stand up to Pressman. One of my favorite episodes.

    2.5 stars

    I think this is overrated

    The best things about this episode personally was the action and jeopardy but the rest I was pretty much lukewarm to

    A phasing cloak as big mystery reveal?!? Meh. I didn’t know originally that this was meant to answer why the Federation had not developed a cloak. Frankly not something in my opinion needed an answer to.

    Pressman was absolute asshole. I couldn’t stand him any time he appeared onscreen. Little did I know that Pressman would not be the last time Moore would inflict insufferable characters upon us

    Also I’ve never been crazy about the whole honor and duty schtick. Frankly it is trite.

    I also don’t like seeing the crew not getting along

    But like I said the episode did a good job with the action side of things Like the cat n mouse in asteroid field
    The episode generated Tension with regards to whether the Enterprise can flood the asteroid before Romulans arrive and that was a clever manuever to throw the Romulans off and then another smart move was to continue to pretend scanning asteroid field to not alert the Romulans

    It was neat seeing enterprise with search lights on inside asteroid and felt tension waiting for Ent running into the asteroid cause such an irregular passageway. Then when the Romulans notice enterprise gone sealing them in and could easily destroy them trapped inside

    Tension on whether phasing cloak will hold and not give out before safely through the asteroid

    I always really liked this episode, but the most nonsensical part of the story was the fact that Pressman's dialogue was centered around trying to convince people that the 'phased cloak' was a good idea.

    I don't think anyone needs to be convinced of that. In fact, I'm sure almost everyone in the federation thought it was a complete joke that they weren't able to develop cloaking technology. That was never the issue.

    The issue was convincing people to break the law and risk the consequences of doing that. That was it.

    The bridge scene near the end with Picard, Pressman, and Riker should have had Pressman trying to convince Picard why he should break the law, NOT trying to explain to him why cloaking was so good:

    Pressman: "Can't you see the potential here? The phasing cloak would be the greatest breakthrough in weapons research in the last 50 years!"

    Yeah, no shit Sherlock. Now make a convincing argument why the entire senior staff and bridge crew should knowingly violate the law and try to cover it up.

    Had the writers thrown that into the mix, it would have made for a more believable and logical storyline, in my opinion.

    Fast forward a year - Pressman is exonerated and his case 'quietly buried' like the last one.

    A good episode, but I never could understand why everyone else thinks it's in the top ten best episodes of the series. By this time, I was tired of seeing admirals with secret agendas abusing their rank.

    Oh, and one thing that really gets under my skin is the timeline. Riker was an ensign aboard the Pegasus twelve years previously. He's been aboard the Enterprise for six of those twelve years at this point. That means that Riker made a meteoric rise through the ranks from Ensign Nobody aboard Pegasus to Commander First Officer of the Hood and then the plum assignment to Enterprise in only SIX YEARS? Really show?

    Plus it also means that Riker is 35 during "The Pegasus". Which means he was only 29 when he reported to Enterprise. I couldn't stop laughing the first time I figured that out.

    That ranks with "Dark Page" where dialogue basically states Troi is 30 during that episode...meaning Lt. Commander Deanna Troi was a mere 23 years old during "Encounter at Farpoint".

    No comment.

    A couple of thoughts:

    1) I liked Riker's telling Pressman when they beamed over to the Pegasus that (paraphrased0 "I was hoping the ship had been destroyed. But it hasn't, I've run out of time, and I have to make a choice". That's likely what enabled Riker to live with his actions over the previous twelve years: that Pressman's phasing cloak experiment had been vaporized when (so he thought) the Pegasus exploded, and the whole incident had died with it. A skeleton comfortably buried in his closet where nobody would ever find it. And then Pressman shows up on the Enterprise, resurrects it, and it bites Riker in the ass. And twelve years of experience and perspective and reflection prompted him to make a different decision - but only when he couldn't kick the phasing cloak down the road anymore. Very nicely nuanced, even if Picard's - and Starfleet's - apparent leniency detracts from it more than a smidge.

    2) I disagree that Pressman was the villain of the story. That doesn't give him enough credit for his character's depth. The fact is, Pressman was right, policy-wise. The Federation's eschewing of cloaking technology in the Treaty of Algeron WAS a strategic blunder. It was unilateral disarmament that gave the Romulans a huge tactical advantage over Starfleet that should have enabled the former to overrun the latter with ease. But it didn't because Gene Roddenberry. Pressman, to his credit, recognized that gaping vulnerability and tried to address it. He just did so the wrong way; his problem was twofold: (a) he didn't have the authority to abrogate the Treaty all by himself, which guaranteed that if he got caught, it would discredit his policy position, and (2) he inhabits a quantum history where strategic lunacy isn't punished by reality.

    In short, Pressman will have to take his medicine for his failed policy end-around, but Riker ought to suffer some penalty - demotion, reassigment - as well. Good thing his name was in the opening credits.

    Lol - If you think back to the beginning of the episode, the entire mission stems from the fact that the Federation has a high level secret agent infiltrator:

    Pressman: "Starfleet Intelligence has an operative in Romulan High Command. He sent us a message that a Romulan warbird had located a piece of debris in the Devolin system which was positively identified as being from the Pegasus"

    So basically, nobody in Starfleet command cares about the fact that they're conducting high level espionage against the Romulans (just business as usual), but when it comes to developing technology now they're afraid what the Romulans will think?

    I would think that espionage would be an even greater affront to their relationship with the Romulans than developing a piece of equipment.

    Nick P,

    I know you will probably never read this...but it's stated quite clearly in DS9 that the Romulans gave the Fed permission to use cloaking tech in the Defiant so they could use it as a forward scout against the Dominion.

    In the beginning, they were to keep a Romulan crew member on board at all times but they relented on this and let it be Star Fleet crew only.


    "Ensign Gates might be more of an android than Data. That extra couldn't even be bothered to appear in the slightest bit phased about piloting the ship into the narrow chasm of an asteroid."

    The word is "fazed," unless you were making a joke about the subject of the episode.

    This might already have been pointed out. But the Enterprise sneaking away under cloak. Wouldn't change the fact, the Romulans know that the Federation developed cloaking technology illegally. Due to the simple fact, the Enterprise got out of that cavern! Using a phasing cloak no less!

    I agree with an earlier post. Pressman should have said this was tech to enable unimpeded travel through solid objects. Could have been developed on Earth say as a way to prevent vehicle collision or ground impact Would have made for much safer air travel.

    I agree with an earlier post. Pressman should have said this was tech to enable unimpeded travel through solid objects. Could have been developed on Earth say as a way to prevent vehicle collision or ground impact Would have made for much safer air travel.

    "Would have made for much safer air travel"

    Yeah, until it malfunctions...and then you'll have to dig out the jetliner that got fused with the Rocky Mountains....would not be pretty.

    If you can phase-cloak an entire ship, could you phase-cloak personnel? I guess maybe it requires the power output or some other effect of a warp engine to function? Could you phase-cloak photon torpedoes?

    In other words, in real life, whatever technique is used to achieve the ship-cloak, there would almost certainly be other applications of that technology that should not violate the treaty. (Does depend how the treaty is worded I guess.)

    Riker did the right thing and said what the tech was, but a question you could ask is: would he if the romulans had not sealed them in? His piece to Pressman on the Pegasus indicates yes, but that conversation, in a court, would be a private one between two defendants, with one person's word against the other. Would Will really survive a court martial? I'm not so sure. Does the Federation protect whistleblowers when in our time, the law is creeping ever closer to silencing them? Obviously not as great a concern back in the 90's, but I feel like Will's complicity here is not clear cut.

    +1 for Captain Picard day and his discomfort

    9/10 A great Riker episode. Could it be the butt of all jokes, Riker is turning into an interesting flawed individual?

    Actual grey is shown here. A fabulous technological development vs a treaty which achieved peace. This is DS9 level grey.

    Yeah, I like this episode. Not a 4 * but a decent 3.

    I'm also on the Federation having no cloaking devices as dumb. So the Federation win their war with the Romulan's and then they organise a peace treaty which basically says "Yeah you can have technology that means you can sneak everywhere and we wont."
    It's nonsense. I appreciate the Federation wouldn't use it as standard, but it would be on all their ships.

    Another episode which leans on the more military side of Trek, with the entire ship being placed under the orders of an Admiral who clearly isn't telling people the full story, and who is obsessed with completing his mission at any cost.

    As ever, this military elements are sharply at odds with TNG's more traditional future-utopia society; even more so when you consider that the Enterprise carries both civilians and children. It's fundamentally not a vessel which should be used for dedicated military activities!

    That aside, the plot unfolds reasonably well, even if it is somewhat plodding and predictable. And arguably even the idea that the Federation has agreed to not use cloaking devices makes sense - it has parallels with the 1960s weapon treaties between the USA and Russia, as well as maintaining the "good cowboy" image of the Federation; they're loaded for bear but if they do shoot you, they'll do so from the front, not by sneaking up on your back.

    On the other hand, the Federation's cloaking device is also the weakest part of the story. The USA and Russia both continued to develop nuclear technologies even while they negotiated on weapon drawdowns, and given how devestating a weapon the cloaking device is, it's hard to imagine that the Federation wouldn't be actively working on both duplicating it and developing countermeasures. As ever, you hope for peace and prepare for war!

    Equally, the admiral's insistence on recovering the phasing device seems odd. Surely this isn't the only prototype, and surely the design schematics are still available? The insistence on a unique macguffin makes little or no sense, especially when there are a number of other ways to provide a plot justification - for instance, they could have wanted to ensure that the ship was destroyed, or they could have required experimental data from the ship which otherwise would have taken years to rebuild. Equally, it's highly convenient that the Enterprise once more gets stuck in a situation which can only be resolved by this week's macguffin.

    It's also a shame that this technology never seemed to appear in later Star Trek - after all, as the admiral repeatedly points out, it's a quantum leap in military technology and significantly more advanced than anything the Romulans or Klingons have to offer!

    Though equally, perhaps it was too powerful - after all, a ship which is both undetectable and able to travel through any material (rock, water, space, air, the heart of a sun, etc) is essentially invincible...

    This would be a great episode if not for one inconvenient fact:

    Admiral Pressman did nothing wrong.

    Can't believe after all these great comments, I'm the first to dive into "Captain Picard Day."

    How appropriate that the last season offers a tribute behind the 4th wall to the man who made it all worth watching. Seriously, with out Patrick Stewart, this show would have either been very different or maybe never have made it past one season. He deserves a celebration. Especially after all he's been through for us.

    Riker's exploration of the art projects and his Picard imitation behind a doll is only beat for comic value by this exchange --
    Adm. Blackwell: [curiously] "Captain Picard Day?"
    Picard: [modestly] Oh, it's uh ... uh, for the children. I'm uh ... I'm a role model.
    Adm. Blackwell: [deadpan] I'm sure you are. Starfleet out.

    And was I the only person who let out a "YES!" when that banner reappeared in the debut of Picard?!?!

    Picard is the father who punishes his own children for being bullied.

    Treaty of Algernon:

    Romulans: "Don't develop cloaks because we don't want to lose our immense tactical advantage. We are more powerful than your highly advanced, quadrant dominating empire of 150 worlds. In return, we won't fight you."
    Federation: "OK LOL"

    In The Pegasus:

    Federation: "We developed a cloak but don't worry, we'll send you a letter."
    Romulans: "OK LOL"

    This episode is worth it just for Frakes' impression of Stewart for Captain Picard Day.

    Something with the admirals in this show, they always seem to just order ships around on their own. Blackwell says she's postponing the quasar study. Um, okay. Just you? Does your boss know about this? Then later Riker is shocked when Pressman tells him higher ups are aware of the mission parameters. I realize that we're supposed to be surprised that some sort of rogue attache is forming but honestly I can't tell the difference from normal Starfleet Command behavior.

    I've always wondered if there was a Starfleet Command hierarchy or once you reach some kind of admiral, eh, it doesn't really matter, just contact any ship and tell them to do whatever. It seems the Enterprise should only hear from one or, at most, two admirals: their regional rear admiral and maybe a higher rank when something major is going down, like a Borg invasion. It's strange that they're bossed around by what seems like at least half a dozen of these guys. It's like Office Space of the 24th century.

    Also, I think it's funny that a handful of episodes since the space ecology one, Picard is authorized to exceed mandated warp speed limits.

    Ensign Gates speaks! Finally! And doesn't get paid for it! At least she has a name now.

    Finally, a S7 episode that doesn't feel cheap. I liked the effects with Riker's rib healing and the interaction with the asteroid. The asteroids outside the ship's windows in the interior shots don't stand the test of time but probably looked fine on NTSC.

    Anyway, this is a good episode and has the kind of stuff I previously mentioned other recent episodes lacking: quandaries and arguments. Finally there is something to weigh and having good reasons for both sides. The biggest flaw is not giving Pressman's side more credence: it makes a lot of sense to develop such a technology. It'd make a lot of sense for Picard to never make admiral as a result of this incident, despite doing the "right" thing. If war happens, the Klingons are always up for killing Romulans. They'd probably be grateful the Federation made space less boring.

    It kinda feels like this episode was backported from DS9. Except if it were there Pressman would be played by Sisko. He's be the good guy and punch the Picard character, who was obviously wrong. That's why he was punched.

    It seems a stretch that the Enterprise could be so easily retrofitted to do the phase cloaking thing. I'd have to imagine that's something a ship would need to be designed for from top to bottom, not just sticking a plastic tube into the engine. Speaking of DS9, I like the aspect that the Defiant wasn't specifically designed for cloaking having consequences, e.g. its dense power output leaking out of the cloak.

    Four years on and everyone harping on the treaty still assumes the Federation won whatever conflict propagated it. I said before, not developing cloaking technology could very well have been the only way to stop a war they were losing.

    I do find it a stretch that something the size of a vacuum cleaner could phase the whole Enterprise flawlessly with just a couple of cables connecting it to some random engineering console. Also, why did nobody suggest separating the saucer section to go into the asteroid in the first place?

    I'm bummed we never got to see Commander Riker Day.

    Superb episode. An intriguing sci-fi concept; that of 'phasing' through solid material. A moral ambiguity over Riker's actions and character that actually brings him into conflict with Picard. Some devious secrecy at Starfleet. And a bit of tension with the Romulans.

    Interesting to see a black Romulan. It makes sense, lots of planets could have regions with different climates in which the local humanoids develop different skin colour and characteristics. See also: Tuvok. You could even argue that Worf is a black Klingon, but I think the prosthetics are laid on a bit thick to describe any Klingon as "white" or "black".

    I suppose it raises the question though of why we don't see more of them, but anyway. Not important.

    It's fantastic to see the Enterprise pot-holing in the asteroid, I loved that. And the confrontation with Picard, in which the Captain fully exerts his authority on his first officer, even concluding their conversation with a curt "Dismissed!" is terrific. The first few minutes set us up quite nicely for this, with Riker comfortable enough to poke fun at Picard at "Captain Picard Day".

    I can't really buy the cloaking device just getting plugged into the ship's systems with a bit of fibre-optic cable then taking the whole structure of the ship out of phase, but you have to overlook some of the detail to go along for the ride. I don't get how thrusters interact with the universe you're out of phase with, either.

    Also - I thought the ending was a bit of a cop-out. Riker comes out of the brig (surely being confined to quarters would have done), Picard gives him a few kind words and I assume that's the last we'll hear of it. But I guess he conducts himself properly throughout the events of the episode, even if he didn't as a younger officer.

    I could also have done without the Riker injury scene, in which he says to Beverley "I knew what I was supposed to do and I didn't do it". Obviously intended to be allegorical but far too obvious. And thoroughly disposable.

    There should have been some astringent dialogue with the Romulan captain after the Enterprise decloaks.

    Still. Really one of the best TNG episodes ever, probably in my top 10.

    Regarding the stiff attitudes regarding the Federation pushing the envelope to employ a cloaking device, I have a tough time getting beyond the fact that Kirk and Spock stole the cloaking device from the Romulans in TOS “The Enterprise Incident”, installed it on the Enterprise, and used it to escape said Romulans. No scruples were expressed at all. The referenced treaty in “Pegasus”outlawing cloaking devices was said to be 60 years old, or about 30 years after the events in “Enterprise Incident”. The Federation would have outfitted the entire fleet by then! The treaty was either the punitive terms of a lost war with the Romulans or a mystery bigger than the Pegasus. And GR has to own the concept of the Feds stealing and using a cloaking device - he was executive producer for “Enterprise Incident”. Aside from the glaring continuity issue, though, it was great dramatic piece.

    What would Commander Riker Day look like ? Poker; smarmy pick ups; how to 'use' the holodeck, and dodgy facial hair.......a treat for all the kids!

    Terry O' Quinn is spectacular. And Admiral Pressman proves what wusses Starfleet are. They should promote him to the highest possible rank for his attempt at a technology that can make starships pass through kilometres of rock! Instead they court martial him!

    Bureaucracy prevailing over scientific breakthrough.

    What potential for ST to be as cutting edge as Altered Carbon, The Expanse etc etc.

    Instead it promotes sanctimonious jump-to-orders Picard as the epitome of heroic humanity in the future. Argh!

    PHENOMENAL episode. The Admiral seemed mad to risk taking the Enterprise into that asteroid. Great plot about the Federation creating this device and seeking to secure it.

    Whilst I liked Picard placing the Admiral under arrest and a test of loyalty on the bridge of the Enterprise, I do wonder if the Federation might have maintained this strategic advantage. Even if the device were to be retained in a secret facility on Earth to be used if necessary.

    In any case, given the Mutiny on the Pegasus was covered up, wouldn't the same thing happen again now upon taking the Admiral back to Earth? Wasn't it Starfleet who had given him a mandate in the first place?

    Worf should have made a snap decision to launch a pre-emptive strike on Romulus with the device giving the Enterprise a tactical advantage.

    Picard did the honest and honourable thing, but admittedly the Federation are giving up a significant advantage over an unscrupulous enemy known for their subterfuge and hostility. It could have been kept as a backup for defensive purposes, or to combat the Borg! Materialise quantum torpedos in the heart of Borg vessels by unphasing them out of nowhere.

    Also I wondered, wouldn't the Romulans have opened fire immediately when the Enterprise decloaked?

    It's not hard to imagine Starfleet agreeing to not use cloaking technology.

    It's similar to how the US doesnt want Iran or Iraq to develop nucleur weapons even though the US already has. The Romulans do have superior technology.

    Well this is a bit of an odd episode. Sure the story was interesting, but given how common it seems for Admirals to be corrupt, how can we really believe Starfleet would turn a blind eye to this technology? Sure they may lock Preston up, but make no mistake it would be a charade and the phased-cloaking device used for numerous top secret missions. If you are naive to believe in the purity of Starfleet (despite the unyielding evidence to the contrary) I’m sure there are countless humanitarian benefits to such technology as well.

    One thing I always wondered is why the phasing tech had to be married to a cloaking device. Surely an uncloaked phasing device would be ridiculously useful too. So why was it necessary to scrap the whole project? Does the treaty ban phasing too?

    One thing that The Pegasus miraculously avoids mentioning is what happens to the tech when all is said and done. It's well and good to choose to abide by the treaty, sacrificing a material advantage in exchange for avoiding a bloody conflict, but does that mean they need to destroy the blueprint? How could they *ever* prove to the Romulans to their satisfaction that they had done so? It's not like the Federation is going to execute anyone even peripherally involved in the project. So it would have been nice for there to be a brief mention at the end of the episode, much like at the end of The Wounded, something to the effect that "we'll abide by the treaty because we believe in peace, but if you ever break the treaty, you know what our ships will be equipped with the moment that happens."

    And wouldn’t I have been in everyone’s best interest to place the ban in abeyance when the Romulans and Federation were allies against the Dominion? Maybe the technology simply didn’t shake out.

    Picard should have been jailed for terminal stupidity.
    Pressman should have received highest Starfleet honors. Of course ,Riker has "grown" since his ensign days, and is very eager to betray Pressman. The idea that unilateral disarmament against an adversary like the Romulans will engender respect and adherence to treaties is a superstition only a Picard or a Neville Chamberlain could believe

    Comparing this to the U.S. government - if: a) there was a treaty with the Russians where the U.S. agreed not to develop enhanced radiation weapons, b) a U.S. official (or military officer) found the CIA was violating that treaty, and c) the U.S. official/officer reported it to the Russians (as opposed to the Senate or Inspector General) - the official would probably be charged with treason. I'm not sure they would have been necessarily convicted, but they would lose their clearance and job. Therefore, I think Picard should have filed a report with the JAG, the Starfleet Inspector General, or the Federation Council as opposed to the Romulans. This could have made for a fascinating multi-part episode.

    Also - I'm guessing there was no Commander Riker Day after this episode.

    This is one of those stories, like ST: Insurrection, where we're scratching our heads wondering why Picard thinks it's so obvious that he's right and the other guy is wrong. He plays like a lawful-stupid paladin charging around and arresting people trying to help the Federation in ways he deems unacceptable. Now this is perhaps a prelude to the - SPOILERS - Section 31 subplot in DS9, but as far as I can tell the matter is given little to no serious treatment here. I actually do like the episode a fair bit, primarily because Pressman is an energetic, chipper fellow, and plays well off Riker and Picard. Between the three of them we have some lively scenes. But the episode cheats at the end by having the head of Fed security really being a criminal about to get prosecuted, instead of having Picard stepping all over a covert ops research project that he just told the Romulans about without authorization. This is actually more of an insurrection than we get in the feature film.

    On another topic, it's interesting that Pressman defines Riker as being exceptional because of his absolute loyalty to the Captain, while Picard tells Riker that he chose him as Number One because he knew he would stand up to him if needed. And likewise, in their conversation Pressman tells Picard he prefers officers who will follow his orders without question, while Picard insists that officers should think for themselves and do what's right. But the issue in this episode isn't just the balance between Riker deciding whether he's a 'follow the orders' guy or a 'do what's right' guy. By this time in the series there can really be no doubt that he's not a follow-the-orders guy. To me the question isn't whether he'll follow in Pressman's footsteps or in Picard's; and to the extent that some screen time is spent apparently weighing this issue it's a waste of our time. What actually matters is how Will will affect his own relationship with Picard with his decision. If he tells the truth, which Picard always advocates, it means admitting a damning thing that defined Riker at the time, and which is really in violation of what Picard deems to be officer material. But if Riker keeps himself high in Picard's esteem it means he's unworthy of Picard's respect. This culminates in the scene where Picard is all but threatening Riker directly, which really should be the pinnacle scene of the episode but doesn't quite feel like it.

    The thing about even Picard's opinion of Riker, that he's the guy who will stand up to the Captain, is actually not totally dissimilar to why Pressman thinks he's a company man: he has his own mind, and won't go along to get along. In the Pegasus mutiny Riker went against the grain in defending the Captain, despite the fact that it technically meant following orders. Pressman said he was too serious on the Pegasus, probably indicating the brash and cocky younger Riker who wanted a fast-track career. But all of this squares with being the guy who could stand up to Picard, since the common ground is being headstrong and not going with the flow. But what's changed by this time in TNG is that Riker does not only keep his own counsel anymore, and if anything almost prefers to defer to Picard's wisdom rather than go with a cocky take of his own. So the dilemma feels to me more like Riker having to defer to Picard in this one instance where doing so will definitely disappoint him. Trusting in Picard's wisdom, even in the case where Picard will not be pleased by it, is the ultimate commitment to that trust. In this particular sense I think the final Picard/Riker scene was underwhelming and undercooked. The entire episode is really about this: that Riker will even sacrifice his own self-image and the captain's opinion of it, because it's what Picard would do. Too bad that in ST: Picard even Picard won't do that.

    I've been agreeing with Jammer's ratings pretty much consistently lately, but I can't see the rationale for this one being 4 stars.

    For one thing, the basic plot premise is so flawed.
    1. Why on earth would the Federation agree to a treaty where the Romulans could use cloaking, but Starfleet couldn't? That would be akin to the US agreeing that the USSR could have nukes but NATO couldn't.
    2. Why were the Romulans so interested in finding the Pegasus? After all, they already had cloaking and the treaty prevented Starfleet having it. Even if the Pegasus experiment had survived, it broke the treaty so the Romulans could simply invoke that. Secondly, if the experiment hadn't survived, Starfleet could simply recreate what they had done once before, and the Romulans would have known that perfectly well.

    The only thing of real interest was Riker's development as an officer, and the way Picard stood up to a rogue admiral.

    So I don't believe it even merits 3 stars (not quite), but it is a reasonable episode .

    1. We could speculate what the Federation got or imagine the rosy cheeked Federation negotiator saying:"Gosh darn it. That didn't go great." while the Romulans chuckle.

    Seriously though, there are several treaties that work like this one. The Treaty on the non proliferation of nuclear weapons, the Anti-Personnel Landmines Convention or the Chemical Weapons Convention.

    2. I always thought that the Federation tech was superior. It is much more than a cloak. You can also fly through objects.

    Picard represents the honest rational individual standard. That's often a drag on progress in some von Clauswitzian sense. This cloak-phasing hybrid tech of Pegasusms reminds me of the Typhoon-class Soviet subs (equipped with the caterpillar/ silent drive) and the logic for their development, to wit, out of frustration with eternal stalemate develop a technology which can settle everything in one bold stroke.

    Picard represents the honest rational individual standard. That's often a drag on progress in some von Clausewitzian sense. This cloak-phasing hybrid tech of Pegasusms reminds me of the Typhoon-class Soviet subs (equipped with the caterpillar/ silent drive) and the logic for their development, to wit, out of frustration with eternal stalemate develop a technology which can settle everything in one bold stroke.

    @Tidd this was discussed a fair bit upthread, but I understand it's gotten rather unwieldy over time. The point I tried to make a few times about the treaty is that everyone assumes the Federation won, but we don't know that. It's entirely possible the Federation lost or was close to losing, and this treaty was the only thing preventing a Romulan invasion.

    There's a sort of meta reason for the Federation not to have cloacking tech, which is that it's sneaky. In TNG I think there was a bit of an idea that Starfleet's ships fly around out in the open for all to see, and don't creep around invisibly. Although this sort of honorable visibility seems not to apply to the Klingons, who are totally ok with making cloaked sneak attacks and don't consider it to be dishonorable (a bit of hypocrisy there IMO). And this idea of having visible ships sort of goes along with the idea that the Federation is very transparent about its aims and operations, and doesn't do sneaky Section 31 type stuff.

    Now obviously this gets upended in DS9 for multiple reasons, but it's a little bit a genre issue. In a more 'mythical' type show where the Federation 'represents' a type of personality or approach, one can fudge details in order to portray the traits of the Federation through its ships and personnel. But DS9 often has a more practical and less mythical approach, wanting to ask how certain things can actually be done; not just whether to stick to doing the right thing, but how to actually carry that out. So when it comes to strategic situations, it simply doesn't make sense to have the Federation not use a cloaking device if it has access to one, just like it doesn't make sense for it not to have sneaky covert opts. How far that goes is something to be negotiated, but it's a different series priority. In TNG I don't think we really need a technical explanation of why the Feds would agree to not have cloaking devices. They don't need them because they're true blue and honest. That's good enough in the context of this series.

    One thing I'll add is that if the s1 finale is to be believed, the Romulans really did avoid any interaction with the Federation for decades. My headcanon is that this was part of the treaty, that the Romulans took their lumps and retreated to their space and ceded more territory to the Federation, in exchange for jealously guarding one tactical advantage. This is a headcanon partly because there's no indication that the Romulans' movement toward greater participation in the quadrant after then constitutes a breaking of the treaty, but I think maybe it's more subtle, like there was an agreement that the Romulans didn't explicitly break but that suggested they'd go into retreat mode, and that was part of the Federation's calculation when agreeing not to produce cloaks. If that's the case, Pressman would be doubly wrong in Picard's (and now Riker's) eyes because he was working on the cloak before the Romulans had "made the first move" in The Neutral Zone. The decision not to "poke the bear," knowing that even secret tests could leak (possibly through third parties), even during other conflicts like with the Cardassians, might have made sense tactically.

    The Klingons might have needed cloaks more on a pragmatic level specifically because their conflict with the Romulans was warmer during this period.

    @ William B,

    "The Klingons might have needed cloaks more on a pragmatic level specifically because their conflict with the Romulans was warmer during this period."

    Even if the Klingons made special rules when dealing with the filthy Romulans, perhaps due to the Romulans betraying their original treaty (from TOS) in which they shared the cloak in the first place), they seem to have no compunction about using it as a general sneak attack tool. Examples such as in Redemption and other episodes show that sneak attacks are a standard thing with them, rather than holding themselves to 'gentlemanly' behavior in revealing themselves before a battle (as if it was a duel). On this score I would say that TNG's image of them as being noble Viking/Samurai's is really at odds with the TOS picture of them being Soviet ne'er-do-wells who are underhanded.


    Yeah I agree about the contradictions with the Klingons. I was just thinking it does dovetail that the Klingons were still fighting Romulans regularly and the Federation wasn't.

    Originally the Romulan military were developed on analogy with German submariners. Their vessels were space U-boats in a way (but the analogy stopped short of the wolf pack group structure and there is no evidence that the Romulans ever raided commerce by habit) . Romulan ships were at the beginning small with small crews. The Federation on the other hand, were the slow and lumbering American WW II destroyer escort class DE trying to score a lucky hit with a depth charge on these U-boats. The cloak is like the intervening sea.

    Things became a visual muddle with the Enterprise Incident....Romulans now used Klingon ship design ...but with cloak.

    Romulan tactics seem never to change....the surprise attack. They take no need to play fair.

    Eventually it is put forward that there are certain disadvantages to cloaking consumption is huge the Feds might never have really wanted to develop a cloaked fleet and went a different way.

    As the Memory Alpha article notes, the people on the Pegasus who have been dead fot twelve years are wearing present-day (Riker's present) Starfleet uniforms.

    My main problem with this episode is how Picard decides to upend at least two layers of authority above him just because a treaty was violated.

    Recall that this wasn’t just a wayward Admiral Pressman doing crazy things. He had the authority of the Admiral above him, who also told Picard that SHE was under orders from an authority in Federation intelligence. So obviously, recovering this object was very important to a lot of people, and probably for a long time.

    But no, Picard declares himself Treaty Violation Hound (tm), and single-handledly implicates four individuals in conspiracy, one of whom is two ranks above him. Isn’t a conspiracy shared officially by several of your superiors just called “policy I don’t like”?

    @ Jimmy,

    It seems to me the argument hinges on whether the admirals were part of a small group operating contrary to the mandate of the Federation Council and the head of Starfleet, or whether they were a small group mandated to quietly conduct a black ops research project off the books. If the former then in principle I guess Picard would be revealing a group of people who need to be court martialed, whereas if there was big stuff happening off the official radar and Picard started trumpeting it to everyone then basically he'd be sabotaging Starfleet's ability to conduct high-security research.

    I actually agree that it's not his prerogative to decide what Starfleet can and can't do, and to publicize their covert ops to the enemy if he doesn't like it. On the other hand maybe the Federation has a standing mandate that they'd rather protect whistleblowers rather than have corruption stand unchallenged. So this might depend on the stance toward Edward Snowden's of the future. And to be frank the topical relevance of this is greater now than when this episode was written. Obviously they didn't focus on Picard being a whistleblower, and his decision to inform the Romulans of the device goes by rather quickly considering how serious a choice that is.

    On the other hand I've written from time to time on the extraordinary powers starship captains appear to have, so perhaps it's not unheard of for an individual captain to make a executive decision that binds Starfleet and the Federation. It's not for nothing that Kirk, in the motion pictures, laments the fact that he's not "out there" making a difference. I don't think it's just the call to adventure, but the fact that as a captain it seems like you may have greater influence in some respects than an admiral sitting as a desk does.

    You're thinking of this in a black or white sense. This is an intel operation. Intel agencies are semi-autonomous. Oversight is limited. There are various justifications for this. In addition, intel agencies often overlap with military priorities. So, reporting chains and funding are messy. This enables broad mandates (e.g. develop new capability to avoid an enemy's detection) to be developed and implemented in ways that often circumvent more conventional channels.

    So, Pressman and company are likely a part of a small faction of intel and ship officers taking a broader mandate and implementing it in a way that violates the Treaty. Maybe some at the very top of SF command are generally aware of this. But certainly not everyone. And the operation is not officially sanctioned.

    Picard outed this not only because it violates the Treaty but because it undercuts the very nascent and limited trust between the Federation and Romulans. It's a path to war. And it's being driven by a bunch of arrogant, black ops people.

    The Federation was foolish to have entered into that treaty. Why on earth would it have bound itself against developing the cloaking tech. when some of its main adversaries as well as one of its former main adversaries (the Klingons) have it?!? Makes sense given the Federation's wishy-washy Leftist ethos, but it's stupid in the extreme.

    As far as the episode, four stars, no question about it.

    >That means that Riker made a meteoric rise through the ranks from Ensign Nobody aboard Pegasus to Commander First Officer of the Hood and then the plum assignment to Enterprise in only SIX YEARS? Really show?

    Meanwhile poor Ensign Kim serves aboard Voyager for 7 years and remains an ensign, not to mention Hoshi and Travis from Enterprise.


    Harry Kim: Asian
    Hoshi Sato: Asian
    Travis Mayweather: Space-African

    Riker: White


    I mean, in the show's defense, Riker is really portrayed as a great officer. Then too, he has his own career problems on the Enterprise for 7 years. All this post stagnation is part of the price we payed for syndicated television, I'm afraid.

    That all said, I don't disagree with Booming's point about poor treatment of Asians or other minorities in U.S. television, especially in the 90s.

    Just with regard to Asians, I didn't get the impression they were treated poorly or poorly portrayed in US television in the 90s. Maybe some examples are in order? And in classic Trek, I thought they were well portrayed, with Harry Kim being a special and bizarre situation.

    Hoshi is a linguistics genius -- Archer specifically wants her for his team. She did a ton of useful things on ENT and was clearly very well regarded.

    Sulu is Sulu -- he's Trek royalty. An important bridge officer and would later become a captain in his own right.

    I recall there's also a male Asian admiral -- was it in "The Measure of a Man"?

    And as for Harry Kim -- this is a really weird one. It's actually a sick joke that he's not promoted. But I think it must have become some kind of VOY running gag that he never got promoted (until well into the future). In any case, his situation is a special exception and can't be used for some kind of generalization due to the strange choice or oversight by the writers.

    Whether a character is portrayed well or not isn't necessarily determined by whether or not he/she gets promoted. In Riker's case, I think we are meant to believe that he is an exceptional talent (like Picard) and so rises through the ranks quickly. Some of his actions on TNG (BoBW) would tend to justify that.

    The other thing I'd say is with classic Trek is that we should believe that rewards come based primarily on merit as opposed to the color of one's skin etc.

    Oh, I wasn't really implying that the portrayal was racist. It seemed like a funny coincidence. It is a little odd that all the regular ensigns, aka the lowest rank, were non white. I guess Checkov was an ensign, though. Oh and wasn't Paris demoted to ensign for saving the fish people??

    What I actually found weird was that Sisko was the only "captain" who started as a commander, while all the others started with the rank captain.


    Garrett Wang said about Kim that the showrunners just wanted to have a freshman naive character on the series. He asked Braga why Kim never got promoted, and Braga simply replied, "Someone has to be the ensign!".

    I haven't read about any racial bias towards Kim per se. Kim's neglect speaks more to a general sentiment that Voyager's writers preferred to develop the characters they found most interesting: Janeway, The Doctor, and Seven.


    "What I actually found weird was that Sisko was the only "captain" who started as a commander, while all the others started with the rank captain."

    And Burnham started as a First Officer and then an ex-con. Don't forget the star of your favorite Trek show :-)

    I wouldn't want to put words into the writer's mouths, but there's something more relatable for blacks struggling in the 1990s to have a captain who wasn't born into privilege. Sisko was in charge, but life wasn't given to him on a silver platter and he had to work damn hard for his position. There's a potent message in that type of story.

    Also, DS9 wanted to set itself apart from TNG right away. Having a lower-ranking officer gave the writers a chance to tell differently-structured stories. Sisko wasn't sitting on a bridge, he was out doing away missions and immersing himself in Bajoran culture.

    Finally, some writers definitely noticed the phenomenon you mentioned, Booming. Lower Decks goes out of its way to have a black ensign born into privilege whose father's a vice-admiral, mother's a captain, and rubs shoulders with top brass on the Titan and DS9. So, maybe we're getting somewhere!

    All in all a fantastic episode of TNG and TREK in general. It also showed that while season 7 was sagging, the creative forces could still come up with a winner this late in the game. On a more humorous note, I often wonder if people have created a drinking game for every time one of the characters mentions the Pegasus by name. I've never bothered to figure out the actual total, but I don't think I've ever heard a starship namedropped in an episode as much as the Pegasus is here. Granted it's the name of the episode and the central point upon which this particular plot turns, but still. Everyone seems to go out of their way to reference Pegasus by name whether it's truly necessary or not.

    I find myself wondering why Pressman would show up on the Enterprise and expect Riker, somebody who he hasn't seen in over a decade, to be loyal and acquiesce to an old conspiracy. Their conversation in Ten Forward, where Pressman totally spills the beans in what was essentially his first real conversation with Riker in 12 years, was extremely risky. Riker could have reacted in any way.

    "Isn’t a conspiracy shared officially by several of your superiors just called “policy I don’t like”?"

    This why why uncloaking in front of the Romulans was critical. If they simply ran away while cloaked Picard and Riker would have been unceremoniously demoted and removed and the whole thing covered up.

    Presenting the violation to the directly to the Romulans ensures Pressman's actions are public or at least held accountable. This puts starfleet command in the position of having to acknowledge Pressman as a renegade. This is extreme political savvy by Picard. Failure to reveal the treaty violation in a highly public way would have resulted in entirely different end results.

    This episode further displays Picard's arrogance and how TNG made Starfleet and Admiral's look stupid. Head of Starfleet intelligenve ( Admiral), "Margaret" (Admiral), Pressman (Admiral), and Picard has Pressman arrested after he lectures him on a treaty violation. Kirk was demoted for not following orders once amd Picard somehow makes it. Poorly written to me. However, Picard as an Admiral overrides a captain S3 E2 to save Crusher's son. I hate how Star Trek only works to advance a plot.

    I agree with Jeffrey Jakucyk. Signing the treaty and protecting it at all costs can simply mean the Federation simply could not win a war again the Romulans, with or without the cloaking device.

    This is a much more reasonable assumption than just saying Picard and Riker are complete idiots that don't understand the advantage this device can provide and the technological and military situation the Federation finds itself in. It's obvious they do understand it and know the device is not nearly enough to give a clear advantage.

    The episode is decently put together.
    Although it suffers from a cliche that you run into a lot in scifi.
    The cliche has a few components that make up the whole.

    1: According to Trek, if you lose a prototype that somehow prevents you from building a new one and/or furthering the science behind it.

    - Starfleet presumably authorized the Pegasus experiment. Surely the scientists that built it are still alive. Surely their work is documented somewhere. Why not just build another one?

    2. According to Trek, prototypes frequently get field tested when there is only one prototype in existence that cannot afford to be lost.

    - Make a few more before you start sending them out for field testing. And while you're at it, maybe even get them out of the prototype phase before distributing them :P

    Submit a comment

    ◄ Season Index