(written from a Production point of view)
|TNG, Episode 1x15|
Production number: 40271-116
First aired: 1 February 1988
|←||15th of 176 produced in TNG||→|
|←||14th of 176 released in TNG||→|
|←||119th of 728 released in all||→|
| Written By|
Maurice Hurley and Robert Lewin
While a group of technologically advanced aliens board the Enterprise to update the ship's computer systems, Riker discovers just how real a holodeck character can be.
The USS Enterprise-D is calling at Starbase 74, in orbit around Tarsas III, for a maintenance check and upgrades. The ship docks, and Captain Picard and Commander Riker go to meet the maintenance crews. The crews' leader, Commander Quinteros, greets them and tells them he was in charge of building the Enterprise. Also with him are the Bynars, two aliens named One Zero and Zero One who work as a unified pair. They have recently completed a successful upgrade to the computer aboard the USS Wellington, and will be upgrading the computers on the Enterprise, as well as making repairs to the holodeck.
Riker and Picard discuss the Bynars on the way to the bridge. Apparently, over time they have become so interconnected with the master computer on their home planet that their thought patterns are as close to binary code as is possible. On their way back to the bridge, the two discuss their plans for the downtime. Picard plans to relax with a book in his quarters, but Riker hasn't decided yet. On the bridge, Wesley is watching the Bynars work. They have been joined by two more of their species. Picard goes to his ready room, and Riker tells Wesley to keep an eye on the Bynars, as he doesn't altogether trust them. He then leaves to take a walk around the ship.
Riker is walking the decks. He meets Worf, Natasha Yar and two other crewmembers on their way to play a game of Parrises squares with some of the starbase crew. They invite him to join, but he declines; they already have the requisite team of four, and switching off mid-game disrupts a team's rhythm. Instead, he wishes them luck, but Worf's reply seems too forceful. Yar assures him, though, that Worf is probably joking; he is picking up a sense of humor. As they leave, the lights dim in the corridor. Inquiring at a wall interface, Riker learns from the computer that uninhabited sections of the ship are being selectively shut down to free computer resources and facilitate the systems upgrade.
Satisfied with the explanation, he next drops in on Data, who, with the help of Geordi La Forge, is exploring his creativity by trying to paint a creative picture. Riker amusingly tells the two to take notes; a blind man teaching an android how to paint is bound to be of scientific significance someday.
Riker then visits sickbay, where Dr. Crusher is getting ready to meet Professor Terence Epstein, the leading mind in cybernetics who had lectured at her medical school. She is highly excited with the chance to meet such an expert, mentioning the disaster at Micromius as when she started working on an approach that combines cybernetics and regeneration. She keeps talking about him with Riker even as she heads for the turbolift.
Finally, Riker approaches Holodeck Four, where two of the Bynars are working. They tell him the holodeck is repaired, enhanced, and ready for use, so he creates a jazz club, the Bourbon Street Bar, in New Orleans, 1958, a trombone, a trio accompaniment, and a one-woman audience. He experiments with various looks and hair colors for his female companion until he finally gets what he wants: a brunette who is more alluring and realistic than anything he has ever seen on a holodeck. He starts to chat with her and her name is Minuet.
On the bridge, Wes asks the Bynars how they can process information so fast. They tell him they store information in buffers and save it until they need it. Picard emerges from the ready room. Upon learning that Riker is on the holodeck, he decides to join him there.
Riker is playing the trombone with a backing group. He tells Minuet he has to leave, but she asks him to dance with her. He still can't get over how realistic she is. She asks him why his work "consumes and enthralls" him. He tells her that his posting is a dream come true, and starts to kiss her when Picard walks in. On hearing his name, Minuet speaks to him in French. They ask him to join them, and Minuet praises him, telling him Riker is a credit to his captain. Picard is also highly impressed with the program, commenting how it adapted to speak French to him.
On the bridge, Wes calls Data and tells him that there is a problem in engineering. The magnetic containment field that holds the antimatter is reporting difficulties. Data and La Forge rush down to engineering and learn that the containment field is deteriorating; a containment breach will destroy the ship. Data calls a red alert while La Forge tries to determine the source of the problem, but he can't halt the collapse. They quickly learn that they have only four minutes until the antimatter is released. Unable to reach Picard, Data makes an emergency command decision and broadcasts an "all hands" message ordering everyone to abandon ship.
Instructions are broadcast through the ship instructing people to appropriate transporter rooms for beam-off to the starbase; Wes is among the first to leave this way. Others leave via the gangway. The commotion quickly attracts Yar and Worf at the starbase, and they're quickly filled in. On the bridge, Data and La Forge set the autopilot to put the maximum distance possible between the Enterprise and any inhabited area. Though the computer reports they are the last two aboard, Data is concerned for Picard since, as captain, he is usually the last to leave, but there is no time to search for him.
They beam onto the starbase, and are told by Yar, Worf and Dr. Crusher, who had been on the starbase since before the emergency, that Picard and Riker aren't there either. Data wants to return for him, but there's no time. As the Enterprise starts to move out of the starbase, the magnetic field suddenly restores itself. The ship, no longer in danger, clears the starbase and jumps to warp.
Picard and Riker, unknowing of what has been going on this entire time, are still in the holodeck, amazed at how intuitive the program is. When Picard tries to leave, however, Minuet becomes nervous and goes to great lengths to make him stay. He gets suspicious and orders the holodeck exit to show. Upon opening the doors, he and Riker discover the red alert, learning there is no one on the bridge. Picard consults the computer and learns the details of the situation. They come to a conclusion; the Bynars have stolen the Enterprise. They question Minuet, who tells them she was programmed by the Bynars to keep Riker busy. Picard's presence was just a lucky coincidence. She is not able to tell them what the Bynars want with the ship.
On Starbase 74, Data asks what the nearest Starfleet ship is. When he learns it's the Trieste, he dismisses it as too small and too slow, to which Cmdr. Quinteros replies, that even if it is the ship closest to the starbase, it is still too far away. Then Data notices that the Bynars are missing and deduces that they stole the ship. He also guesses their most likely course: their homeworld, Bynaus.
Back on the Enterprise, Picard and Riker enter the weapon room to obtain phasers. It is now up to them to retake the ship.
Picard and Riker have a momentary disagreement about a course of action, but Riker eventually follows Picard into Main Engineering. Facing an unknown opposition, they must assume the worst, so they activate the one function of the ship that requires both of them to consent: the auto-destruct sequence. Riker is a bit reluctant since they'll only have five minutes once started, but should they retake the ship, they can stop the countdown at the bridge. As they leave, Picard notices that huge amounts of information are being stored in the ship's computer. Finding access to the turbolift blocked, they decide to use the transporter room.
La Forge tells the others that there is no response from the Enterprise, and Worf states that someone else must be in control of the ship. Data blames himself for what happened, claiming that he was negligent of his duty since he doesn't require rest or recreation and thus theoretically can be on duty constantly, but the others console him by saying that the incident could have occurred even if he was present on the bridge. The ship nearest to readiness in the starbase is the USS Melbourne, but it's still 18 hours from being ready.
Using a timed delay, Picard and Riker both beam onto the bridge at the same time and in different locations in order to give themselves a better chance of retaking the ship should they meet resistance. Upon arriving, they find the four Bynars, collapsed. Two of them ask for help before they pass out.
With the bridge under their control again, Picard and Riker deactivate the auto-destruct sequence and find that they're in orbit around Bynaus. All the equipment on Bynaus is inert, and no one is responding; they reason they're probably dying like the ones on board. Another look at their computer shows it completely packed with data--a core dump from the main computer on Bynaus--but they can't access it.
They go back to Minuet, who tells them that a star in the Bynaus system went supernova. The electromagnetic pulse was going to knock out the main computer, so the only option was to back up its contents into the only mobile computer large enough: the computer aboard the Enterprise. However, the star went supernova sooner than expected and the Enterprise arrived later than expected at the starbase, leaving them no time for consultation and forcing them to resort to their desperate action. Riker and Picard must now restore the computer before it is too late, but not even Minuet knows the means to access it.
They return to the bridge, where Picard contacts Data. Data tells him that the Bynars would want them to access the stored file, which would be called something simple; based on the Bynars' way of thinking, the most likely name is an 8- or 16-character binary string. Riker runs some 8-bit possibilities and they find the file called 11001001. They both have to work together, as the Bynars do, to access the information. The Bynaus computer reboots and the Bynars awaken. They tell Picard they didn't ask for help, as they were afraid that they might be turned down; by their way of thinking, their situation was too desperate to gamble on such an uncertainty. They trapped Riker because they thought they might need someone to restore the computer for them.
Picard takes the conn, and they return to Starbase 74. The crew comes on board and the Bynars are led off to face a hearing. Riker returns to the holodeck, but the Minuet he knew is gone; in her place is another brunette - similar looking to his, but nowhere near as sultry, enchanting, beautiful and perceptive. He is unable to get her back. Disappointed, he returns to the bridge. Picard suspects that maybe it was part of the Bynar's programming, stating, however, that "some relationships just can't work." Riker sighs, admitting that she will be difficult to forget.
"If winning is not important, then Commander, why keep score?"
- - Worf, to Riker
"Believe it or not, Worf is developing a sense of humor."
- - Tasha Yar, to Riker
"A blind man teaching an android how to paint? That's got to be worth a couple of pages in somebody's book!"
- - Riker, finding Data and La Forge's hobby amusing
"Gentlemen, if this is what you call "enhancement", you've got a gift for understatement."
- - Riker, regarding the upgrades to the holodeck (and Minuet's appearance) to the Bynars
"What's your name and tell me you love jazz."
"My name is Minuet and I love all jazz, except Dixieland."
"Why not Dixieland?"
"Because you can't dance to it."
- - Riker, upon meeting Minuet
"What's a knockout like you doing in a computer generated gin joint like this?"
- - Riker, to Minuet in the Holodeck after the Bynars' enhancements
"Au fond c'est vrai, nous sommes tous parisiens." (Deep down, it is true: we are all Parisians)
- - Minuet, to Captain Picard
"This is Lieutenant Commander Data speaking for the Captain. Abandon ship! This is not a drill! All personnel, this is not a drill. I say again, abandon ship! All personnel, this is not a drill. Abandon ship!"
- - Data
"Am I to understand that the Bynars have stolen the Enterprise?"
"That information is not available."
- - Picard and the Computer
"This vessel must not fall into hostile hands."
- - Picard on the importance of arming the auto-destruct
Story and script
- 11001001 is:
- the number 201 in binary.
- 11.001001 is an approximation of Pi in binary (3.14159).
- the binary representation of the RET (Unconditional Return) Opcode for an Intel 8080 CPU (copied in the Z80 CPU)
- Hex C9, which in IBM's EBCDIC equals the letter
- the character É in the ISO 8859-1 (Latin-1) and Windows-1252 character sets and also in Unicode
- Each nybble (1100 & 1001) corresponds to names of the two pairs of Bynars on the Enterprise: 11 & 00 and 10 & 01. Each Bynar name represents one of four possible settings for a pair of bits.
- The episode was originally intended to be filmed and aired before "The Big Goodbye" with the latter's holodeck malfunction explained as having been caused by the Bynar's modification. (Star Trek Encyclopedia 2nd ed., p. 44)
- According to the script, a working title for this episode was "10101001". 
- The voice tracks of the actors playing the Bynars were pitchshifted down. Initially, conversations between them in their own language were to have been subtitled.
- The Bynar species seen in this episode are somewhat similar to the Talosian species from TOS: "The Cage": they were androgynous aliens with male-sounding voices, played by females. In both cases, the effect suggests an alien nature to the observer.
- Some scenes of crewmembers reacting to the evacuation alert were lifted from "Where No One Has Gone Before".
- The script included a short scene where Terence Epstein and Beverly are chatting in the Starbase lounge, just before the Enterprise's evacuation, making Epstein appear on screen, and establishing him as being only twenty-six years old.
- The episode's score, composed and conducted by Ron Jones, was recorded on 15 January 1988 at Paramount Stage M. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Ron Jones Project liner notes ) The complete episode score, totalling 29 minutes 56 seconds, appears on Disc Two of the Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Ron Jones Project collection.
- The trombone piece played by Riker is "The Nearness of You" by Hoagy Carmichael. The same tune can be heard in the score when Riker re-enters the holodeck to find that Minuet is no longer there. He is also seen playing the opening notes of the tune in the later episode "Conundrum" after having had his memory wiped.
- Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) does not appear in this episode.
- The computer voice is shared in this episode by Majel Barrett and an unidentified male voice. This voice had also been heard in the syndicated second part of "Encounter at Farpoint" announcing "Last time on "Encounter at Farpoint" prior to the recap of the first part.
- Commander Quinteros remarks that the Enterprise was expected at Starbase 74 a week earlier which Riker claims was due to an unexpected stop at Omicron Pascal. At the end of TNG: "Datalore" (which aired two weeks before this episode), Picard informs Riker that the ship is due for a computer refit which is what happens in this episode, however, the Enterprise would carry out an unexpected mission to Angel I and an outpost near the Romulan Neutral Zone in TNG: "Angel One" (which aired a week later) in-between. It is possible that the outpost was Omicron Pascal and would account for the one week delay.
- The Bynars make reference to the "probe" which had caused the problems in the holodeck Picard mentions in the captain's log, referring to the Jaradan probe that disrupted the holodeck in TNG: "The Big Goodbye".
- The alien Barash would program his holographic environment on Alpha Onias III to feature Minuet as Riker's wife in TNG: "Future Imperfect".
- The Bynar species is mentioned again in ENT: "Regeneration".
- Data claims he is familiar with the USS Trieste. In TNG: "Clues", it is followed up on as Data claims he served aboard the vessel.
- When Data orders the crew to abandon ship, one of the crewmembers is looking at the "Holodeck 4-J" display from TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint".
- Also during Data's command to abandon ship, a crewmember listens from a station in Engineering (the blue glow from the warp core is visibly reflected in the window), though Engineering was empty when the announcement was given, save for himself and Geordi.
- This episode is the first of only two other occasions in the series in which Picard is at the conn of the Enterprise. The other times are in "Booby Trap" and "Conundrum".
- Jean-Luc Picard describes the holodeck with references to previous episodes, telling Minuet that it "has given us woodlands ("Encounter at Farpoint") and ski slopes ("Angel One"), figures that fight ("Code of Honor"), and fictional characters with whom we can interact ("The Big Goodbye")."
- Modified effect shots of the Spacedock from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock are used to represent Starbase 74. The most noticable difference is the USS Enterprise-D added in place of the original USS Enterprise, the planet retouched to look like a generic blue globe instead of Earth and the aspect ratio cropped from the theatrical 2.39:1 to television's 1.33:1. Stock footage from this episode was reused later in "Remember Me", "Ensign Ro" and "Phantasms" to represent other starbases.
- Minuet was originally the name for the female Android Starfleet officer in the original story for "Datalore". (Creating the Next Generation: The Conception and Creation of a Phenomenon, p.53)
- Actor Jonathan Frakes noted this episode was, to him, one of the highlights of TNG Season 1. "A fabulous show. Those were the kind of chances we took first season that when they worked, they worked great. It was a very chancy show and I loved it. Those characters, the Binars [sic], why haven't they returned? That was a very well conceived idea. They should have them as a regular on the ship to fix the engines or whatever the hell they do." (Trek: The Next Generation Crew Book)
- A mission report by Will Murray for this episode was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 5, pp. 23-25.
- This episode won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series.
- Second revised final draft script: 19 November 1987
- Filmed: 20 November 1987 – 2 December 1987
- Premiere airdate: 1 February 1988
- UK premiere airdate: 16th January 1991
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 8, catalogue number VHR 2437, 7 January 1991.
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 1.5, catalogue number VHR 4646, 6 July 1998.
- As part of the TNG Season 1 DVD collection.
- As part of the TNG Season 1 Blu-ray collection.
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Geordi La Forge
- Denise Crosby as Lt. Tasha Yar
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Worf
- Gates McFadden as Doctor Beverly Crusher
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
- Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher
- Carolyn McCormick as Minuet
- Gene Dynarski as Orfil Quinteros
- Katy Boyer as Zero One
- Alexandra Johnson as One Zero
- Iva Lane as Zero Zero
- Kelli Ann McNally as One One
- Jack Sheldon as Piano Player
- Abdul Salaam El Razzac as Bass Player
- Ron Brown as Drummer
- Majel Barrett as USS Enterprise-D computer voice
- James G. Becker as Youngblood
- Dexter Clay as operations division officer
- Jeffrey Deacon as command division officer
- Susan Duchow as operations division officer
- David Eum as
- Tim McCormack as Bennett
- James McElroy as Starbase 74 technician
- Lorine Mendell as Diana Giddings
- Brad Phillips as Longo
- Guy Vardaman as Darien Wallace
- Unknown performers as
- Command division officer
- Eight Starbase 74 Starfleet officers
- Female medical officer
- Male USS Enterprise-D computer voice
- Minuet-like Woman
- Parrises squares player
- Pretty Blonde
- Starbase 74 officer (voice)
- Stunning Brunette
- Thirteen bar patrons
- Three Starbase 74 technicians
- Transporter officer (voice)
- Two waitresses
- James G. Becker - stand-in for Jonathan Frakes
- Darrell Burris - stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Dexter Clay - stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Jeffrey Deacon - stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- Susan Duchow - stand-in for Denise Crosby
- Tim McCormack - stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Lorine Mendell - stand-in for Gates McFadden
- Guy Vardaman - stand-in for Wil Wheaton
1958; armory; antimatter; Armstrong, Louis; Auto-destruct; autopilot; Beta Magellan; Beta Magellan system; binary language; Bourbon Street Bar; Bussard collector; Bynar; Bynaus; Byte; buffer; computer; cybernetics; Epstein, Terence; French language; Galaxy-class; holodeck; "Hula Blues"; intercooler; jazz; jukebox; Kansas City; magnetic containment field; Melbourne, USS; Micromius; Mooring beam; New Orleans; Omicron Pascal; Paris; parrises squares; Pelleus V; plasma injector; Quinteros, Orfil; shuttle drone, Starbase 74; Starfleet Operational Support Services; supernova; "Sweet and Low"; Tarsas III; Trieste, USS; warp coil; Warp engine; Weapons room; Wellington, USS; Wurlitzer; Zylo eggs
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