The Rewatch 99: Symbiosis

Series: Star Trek The Next Generation
Episode: 1.22 Symbiosis (04-18-88)
Rating: 5/5
Redshirt Status: 0/3

Notable Guest Stars:
Judson Scott- Sobi. He appeared earlier as one of Khan’s right hand men in The Wraith of Khan. This will not be his last appearance on Star Trek.
Merritt Butrick – T’Jon. He appeared twice before on Star Trek as David Marcus, the son of Captain Kirk. Sadly he died within a year of this episode airing.
Richard Lineback – Romas He will appear as various characters over the course of the franchise.

Review:

Our favorite team of explorers are investigating a sun with strong magnetic radiation when the come across a freighter in trouble. Picard naturally goes to help them, only to find them odd. The people on the ship not only don’t seem to understand their own ship, but they don’t seem to care about their lives. Instead they are more obsessed with their cargo. Their cargo is Felicium, a narcotic that the Onarians are addicted to. They think it’s a medicine helping them live through a 200 year old plague. The Brakkans are the only ones who can produce it, and over the centuries have developed into a relationship where the Brakkans only produce the felicium and the Onarians produce everything else to get it.

The problem I have with episode is that I don’t understand how this could still be an additction. I understand that it is a narcotic, but these people have been taking it for 200 years, continuously, their whole lives. By this point I imagine they are all chemically dependent on it. Not an additiction simply but something they need to function. Of course, perhaps that means their body might start producing it itself but I don’t know.

This episode is also very anti-drug, apparently because of Maurice Hurley decided someone needed to preach to the kids about just saying no. At first I thought it was an attempt to explain the addiction can be a mental issue, but no, it’s a ‘don’t try it’ speech. Which has its places, but it felt a bit out of place there.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Robert Lewin (Story by Robert Lewin, Richard Manning, and Hans Beimler)
  • Directed by Win Phelps

Pros:

  • Beverly episode

Cons:

  • We never find out what happens to these people

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