The Rewatch 180: The Game

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 5.6 The Game (10/28/1991)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/35

Notable Guest Stars:
Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) – He’s back ladies and gentlemen.  And to save the day, although all he wanted to do was relax, and maybe have a nice date with the lady in engineering.

Ashley Judd (Robin Lefler) – Ashley Judd also returns for her second appearance as Robin, this time she gets to be running a project in Engineering as well as getting the attention of Wesley.

Patti Yasutake (Alyssa Ogawa) – Also a return.  Since she is on here several times, I’m going to retire her from Guest Star and put her down as reoccuring.

Katherine Moffat (Etana Jol)- Moffat was a child actress, staring in early shows such as The Nancy Drew Mysteries, and later she worked on several television programs including TNG, DS9 and for non-star Trek appearances Dukes of Hazzard.  Her last credits date from the late 1990s, so I am assuming she has retired or has kept to mostly stage work.

Review:

 My friends and I have watched this episode several tiems and have given it so many alternative titles. The current one is “That time Riker came home with a Space STD and infected everyone.”

To be fair to Riker, he’s been pretty lonely the last season or two.  The woman he was intending to date got destroyed by the Crystaline Intity and Deanna has no interest in moving on with their relationship.  So when a pretty lady on Risa shows interest, he returns it.

Only she’s basically making him her drug mule. You see, the game she gives him is addictive, and it changes their brain chemistry.  It makes them feel really good, but also makes them quite ready for suggestions.   So Riker, thinking this a grand old game, takes it with him when he gets home.

Soon everyone one on the ship is playing the game.  Some of them even when they are on duty.  However, do not fear, Wesley Crusher is here.  On break from the Academy Wesley Crusher has arrived home to relax.  Only the Enterprise puts him to work (not that he minds).  On the bright side, he meets a girl who around his age (she’s probably only a few years older) named Robin who geeks out on Engineering as much as he does. 

This episode is probably my favorite “Wesley” episode because he’s not treated like a wunderkind.  He’s a college kid, home on break.  He finds a nice girl to date, and the two of them get along.   Robin Lefler is every much part of the figuring things out as he is.

Now as there is more Trek to come, we know Wes and Robin figure things out, and with the help of Data manage to save the ship.  I imagine the rest of Wesley’s vacation was pretty awkward for the crew, particularly the main crew who almost gave the ship up.

On the bright side, Robin and Wesley seem to have hit it off, and for once I can say the two actors had enough chemistry to believe that they kept a long distance relationship.

There are rumors of course that Robin was set to appear in Nemesis as Wesley’s wife but following the train of information it seems that someone might have suggested something to Ashley Judd, she liked the idea and went with it, but officially it was never done.  Whether it was an early pitch or just felding ideas, it didn’t seem to go far.

But hey, I like the idea and there is nothing to say she isn’t.  So I’ll keep that idea.

I do wish they had done more with Robin.  Engineering could have used a good reoccuring character.  Ashley Judd is a great actress and could have done quite a lot with the character.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Brannon Braga, Susan Sackett, and Fred Bronson
  • Directed by Corey Allen
  • This was one of the first scripts that Brannon Braga was given to work on when he became part of the writing team.  He wanted to relax Wesley a little and make him a bit more like a regular college kid.  I think he did a good job.
  • Brent Spiner ended up in the hospital because he did his job a little too well.
  • This is the first episode to air on television after the death of Gene Roddenberry. Roddenberry died four days before this aired.  Unification, which would air next, held a dedication plague for him.

Pros

  • Wesley is treated less like a kid wonder, and more like a normal intelligent officer. 
  • Ashley Judd and Wil Wheaton did an awesome job in this episode.
  • Wesley’s closet seems to have improved.

Cons:

  • Poor Riker needs an honest to goodness regular girlfriend.  The ones that are nice get killed, and the ones that don’t all seem to be after him for nefarious reasons.  Or you know, Imzadi could happen.  *waits patiently*
  • Seriously, is Risa the only vacation spot in the galaxy??
  • The graphics of the game did not age well.  I’m not sure they were that great for the time in which they made.

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

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