The Rewatch 94: When the Bough Breaks

Series: Star Trek The Next Generation
Episode: 1.17 When The Bough Breaks (02-15-88)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1

Notable Guest Stars:
Jerry Hardin – Radue. This is his first appearance, but he would appear in Star Trek for three more episodes (a two parter on TNG and a single episode on Voyager).
Brenda Strong – Rashella. She appeared on Twin Peaks.
Mackenzie Westmore – uncredited child (Rose). She appeared as Sheridan Crane on Passions. She is also the daughter of Michael Westmore, the make-up supervisor of the series.

Review:

Riker once again shows his nerdiness (much to the happiness of fellow nerd Picard) as they see Aldea, a mythical planet. As you might imagine, the mythical planet does not turn out well for our ship.

The Aldeans are dying, and are need of children to continue their culture. So they take the children of the Enterprise who appear to have abilities in certain areas. Picard and crew are of course pissed about this because who would not be if their child was kidnapped even if was by a well-meaning population.

The Aldeans divide the children up by their skill set, sending Wesley Crusher to work with their main computer. I find it odd that the only “special” child over the age of ten is Wesley. You mean to tell me there are no other teenagers with abilities in his age group? I know there are kids his age. Not to mention if they plan on having these kids eventually repopulate the planet they picked a really small group and Wesley is ten years older then a good lot of them.

Things end happily in the end, as Rashella is made to see reason when Crusher tells her the reason they are so ill. She convinces Radue to listen to them, and Radue eventually accepts their help when Picard manages to get the children beamed up to the ship.

There is some commentary on environmental issues – learning to use technology safely to protect the environment is one such theme in this episode. Although I also like to think there is a second theme of helping children excel in what drives them – be it art, music or engineering.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Hannah Louise Shearer
  • Directed by Kim Manners (you might remember him from X-files and Supernatual)
  • Two of the uncredited children were Wil Wheaton’s brother and sister.

Pros:

  • Apparently, they have an onboard oceanographer. Imagine being able to see new oceans all the time. I can imagine he spends a lot of time on away missions.
  • I like the idea that two cultures can help each other out even if one is technologically superior

Cons:

  • The thought of taking calculus at 12
  • There are some audio problems in this episode with dubbing

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