Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 5, Episode 14

Conundrum (15 Feb. 1992)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 736 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 5 critic

When an approaching alien ship wipes their memory, the crew struggles to put back together what happened.

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Title: Conundrum (15 Feb 1992)

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Erich Anderson ...
Commander MacDuff
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Kristin
Erick Weiss ...
Crewman
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Storyline

The Enterprise is heading for the Epsilon solar system. A suddenly approaching alien ship uses scanners so strong that all crew members including Data lose most of their personal memories, even names and ranks, yet retain their operational and language skills. The external communications are down and computer data banks have been selectively wiped. Some, including the ship's manifest, are altered, so as to make a Commander MacDuff Executive Officer (rather then Riker) and the Enterprise is on a crucial mission in a war the Federation would be conducting for years against the Lysian race. The alien ship has been destroyed, they assume by the Enterprise, although there's no battle damage. While crew members behave differently, failing their normal reference patterns, MacDuff volunteers for a memory therapy Dr. Crusher suggests, so he can pretend for it to fail and press on the attack on the Lysian headquarters, but the war logic doesn't quite add up... Written by KGF Vissers

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15 February 1992 (USA)  »

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Trivia

47-reference: Riker says that he is reading 47 sentry pods around the perimeter of the Lysian central command. See more »

Goofs

In the first scene, where Data is playing chess with Counselor Troi, he uses the contraction "I've": "... particularly since I've already taken both of your rooks." For whatever reason, Data has a reputation for being unable to use verbal contractions. See more »

Quotes

Commander William T. Riker: [explaining Troi's visit in his quarters] We were just discussing the situation we're all in.
Ensign Ro Laren: Hm... good. Because I have a feeling that I used to be the jealous type.
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Connections

References Lost in Space (1965) See more »

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Star Trek: The Next Generation End Credits
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

 
More Fluff from MacDuff.
27 October 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is one of the cooler episodes in a long time. BUT, this episode has some major plot holes that are just downright embarrassing.

One: If the alien ship could wipe their memories, why not do that to their enemies and win the war that way?

Two: If you have wiped out all the memories of the crew, and installed one of your own, why not make yourself Captain? The second officer has no control over the crew as long as there is the captain in charge. Why not just work around this and make sure you are in charge to get the mission done your way. Besides, the Captain has to know the least about the operation of the ship than any other rank including ensign. And no one would ever call him on it if he didn't know something. When is the last time you saw Cpt. Picard fire photons, phasers, do a transport, or align the warp coils? Pretty much never. I think he controlled the helm on the Enterprise once before this. In fact this is one of the rare episodes where you see him man another station than the captain's chair.

Three: How could an alien race that was 100 years behind them have any understanding of how to wipe the crew's memory, get through their shields, or even run the ship at all? The memory wipe was instant. Which brings me to my next point.

Four: In which of the 5 seconds they were stunned did MacDuff become fully dressed in uniform, change the personnel files, and then get into position before they realized what was going on? Doesn't leave a lot of time for pre-mission briefing like studying their files while they are oblivious. Hardly something a technologically inferior race could handle.

Five: If you have the crew dead to rights, why not just transport them into space one by one( tell them they are going planet-side) and then take over the ship and its superior technology. It would be an intelligence coup. Besides, if Starfleet never knew it happened they would have no idea where to look for it. Especially amongst the technologically inferior.

Six: If a single photon torpedo was all it would take to end their war why didn't they just steal a bunch of those? Maybe a launcher or two. Grab a shuttle and go. You get a shuttle to take apart too. I believe they have phasers on them at least. If nothing else, they have advanced computers, and impulse engines to retro-engineer.

Seven: If they could understand Data enough to alter his circuitry wouldn't they be of a higher technological level than 100 years in the past?

Eight: Star Trek completely ignores the lessons of the past. Humanity is linear. We build upon the past. Things that have worked for 1000 years will still work in the future. Things like military tactics, commando style raids, intelligence coups, logistics, economy(I love how Picard "bought" a totem for Riker on Riza), EVEN THE WAY THE NAVY WORKS. None of this is applied. In the navy, an admiral runs the flagship not a captain. In the navy the flagship is usually a carrier, not a frigate which is a tiny boat used to help defend a carrier. In fact I would label the Enterprise as a cruiser which is much larger than a frigate. A Flagship has a fleet which surrounds it and protects it at all times while it attempts to complete a military mission. In the Star Trek universe, they would have you believe that the Enterprise is the only ship in the universe unless the story calls for more.

What the Enterprise is, really, is an ambassador's ship, and this makes about 0 sense from a navy perspective.

If I had made TNG I would have made the Enterprise a carrier with fighters a la Battlestar Galactica style. I would have made it a fleet. And Picard would be an Admiral. And there would be a war.

Ships don't run around too much in times of peace, other than as displays of power in ports of call. They are made for war. Instead of making humanity in the future a bunch of wussies, we could be more realistic and realize that we were bred to destroy things. Humanity is a war-like race. I know I have seriously digressed but from a Navy standpoint, BSG is a far more accurate view of the future in my opinion. They actually use navy terms and concepts and put them into action.

None of this makes any sense. From a completely oblivious standpoint, however, this episode is fun and different. The scene where the alien gets shot with the phaser is just awesome. The sound it makes and the visuals were cool as can be, even to this day.

I just wish they had hired a continuity crew to go through and make sure all of this stuff makes sense in fitting into the Star Trek Universe. If you ask me the Next Generation has more plot holes than all the other series combined. There are just WAY too many inconsistencies brought on by a need to write a decent episode, at the cost of the series' integrity. The reason I think this is, is because TNG was written by so many different writers. It feels like a pulp fiction novella series half the time.


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