The Rewatch 114: The Royale

Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Episode: 2.12 The Royale (03-27-89)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/0/3

Notable Guest Stars:
Sam Anderson – Assistant Manager. He played Holland Manners in the first episode of Angel.
Jill Jacobson – Vanessa She’ll appear again in DS9.
Noble Willingham – Texas. He is a veteran, and appeared on the TV series Walker: Texas Ranger for several years before trying his hand at politics.
Gregory Beecroft – Mickey D. He appeared on several soap operas through out the 1980s.

Review:

I would call this a forgettable episode, and I think the ongoing problems behind the scenes leaked into the foreground here. The original script synopsis sounded interesting and this one has been made bland, and forgettable.

The premise is that an Alien race, having accidently killed a crew of astronauts, have taken the lone survivor into their care. They create a holographic world for him based on a book they thought was a guide to their society. Only this novel was poorly written, and also, well, fiction rather then reality. So the astronaut in question lived forty years stuck in a book he didn’t like with no one really to keep him company.

The episode in general is boring, although the concept isn’t necessarily so. The original script was going for surreal and involved a much different ending. I think it would have been better to keep that ending. Or perhaps use other characters.

Going by their own continuity, NASA shouldn’t have been around in the mid 21st century. We were in the middle of WWIII, or the post atomic horror. In either case, I don’t see the US supporting a outer solar system mission. Then again, we are partnering with private companies for space flights now so perhaps this was a NASA driven by privately funded endeavor.

I feel this episode is similar to The Caretaker, the premiere of Voyager. In that a more advanced endity ended up causing a world harm, so they ended up taking care of the species they hurt.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Tracy Torme (as Keith Mills…he didn’t like the end result)
  • Directed by Cliff Bole
  • Fermat’s Last Theorem was given a proof in 1995, six years after this episode was made. So it wasn’t a continuity issue at the time of shooting, but soon afterwards it was made into one. According to Wikipedia they bring it up again in DS9 with a correction but I don’t remember it. I’ll have to remember it when that episode comes up.

Pros:

  • Nothing really stands out. This episode is a bit of a dud. Oh wait..
  • Data playing blackjack in a cowboy hat.

Cons:

  • The more I read about Maurice Hurley, the more he comes off as a micromanaging producer who often rewrote episodes, and not always for the better. I think this episode might have been one. His often rewriting of episodes caused issues with the writing staff. He ended up leaving at the end of the second season, but not before at least one writer quit (Tracy Torme).

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