Thursday, November 09, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 163 (Parallels)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Everyone’s been faced with a decision. Do you eat at McDonalds or Taco Bell? Do you take your umbrella with you or do you leave it at home? In theory, whenever someone is presented with such a choice, all possible outcomes exist. We simply decide which path we’re going to take.

After coming back from a competition, Worf walks into his quarters to find that a surprise birthday party has been thrown for him. That’s when things start to go strange. At first, it’s minor stuff. At first, Worf is told that Captain Picard can’t attend. Moments later, Picard is there. Also, the cake changes color and flavor.

At first, Worf thinks nothing of it, but the changes start to get more bizarre. While in engineering, Data and Chief Engineer La Forge switch places and Picard disappears. Later, a painting suddenly switches to a different wall and Counselor Troi’s clothing changes. Also, Worf had originally won first place in the competition. With each successive change, his rank in the competition gets lower; eventually, his log shows that he didn’t even compete. Something is going on and Worf knows it.

After some investigation, Data finds that Worf must have passed through an anomaly that intersects all possible realities. Whenever Worf came in contact with La Forge’s VISOR, he jumped realties. Data comes up with a plan to get Worf back to his home universe. However, a Bajoran ship attacks the Enterprise and causes the barrier between universes to collapse. Different Enterprises start entering Worf’s universe. Worf is immediately sent into the anomaly and told how to seal the anomaly permanently. With that, he’s sent back to the universe that he should be in.

This was a very interesting episode. Those that have watched the series regularly will recognize many of the turning points that created the various alternate universes. The one in which Riker is captain is the result of Picard being lost in “Best of Both Worlds”. Worf and Troi being married is the result of a different outcome in “Ethics”. Those that have never seen the series before should be able to follow it, but you’ll be missing out on a few things.

The only thing that really bothered me was that towards the end, it was just the various Enterprises that started popping into the universe. It seems odd to me that it would just be that one ship. Even if you were to say that it has to do with Worf serving on the Enterprise, there should be an infinite number of universes. In at least one of them, Worf should have served on a different ship.

I’d give this episode four stars. The acting was done well. Michael Dorn had an unusual job having to shift realities. All of the other actors did well having to adapt to slightly different roles. The story was also well written for the most part. Parallel universes and alternate realities are nothing new. However, the story handled it well and in a consistent manner.

IMDb page

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