Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 2, Episode 22

Shades of Gray (15 Jul. 1989)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Mystery
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Ratings: 3.3/10 from 1,063 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 6 critic

Riker returns from an away team mission wounded and infected with microbes from the planet below. He is soon in a coma in sick bay, the microbes having fused itself to his sciatic nerve and... See full summary »



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Title: Shades of Gray (15 Jul 1989)

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Episode cast overview:
Lieutenant Worf (archive footage)
Wesley Crusher (archive footage)


Riker returns from an away team mission wounded and infected with microbes from the planet below. He is soon in a coma in sick bay, the microbes having fused itself to his sciatic nerve and impeding his normal functions. Dr. Pulaski cannot find a cure and although she can kill the microbes, it would also likely kill Riker. With only a hour or so before the spreading disease reaches his brain, Pulaski stimulates his neural impulses leading Riker to recall previous events aboard the Enterprise. The Doctor realizes that negative emotions are what will defeat the the body's invaders. Written by garykmcd

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Plot Keywords:

24th century | clip show | See All (2) »




Release Date:

15 July 1989 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The final appearance of Dr Katharine Pulaski, played by Diana Muldaur. See more »


Riker appears to blink even though he's supposed to be unconscious. You can see this after the infection has been eradicated from his system. See more »


[Riker has been infected with some unknown microbes]
Captain Jean-Luc Picard: And the unknown can be benign... or malevolent.
Commander William T. Riker: Captain, one of the things I've learned on these voyages, and on this ship and from you... is that most life forms act out of an instinct for survival, not out of malice.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard: It's an important lesson. And I admire your lack of resentment, Number One.
Commander William T. Riker: If you drop a hammer on your foot, it's hardly useful to get mad at the hammer.
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Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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It Could Be Worse, I Suppose
13 August 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'd forgotten about the writer's strike of 1988. After watching those season ending episodes of "The Outer Limits" which shamelessly includes random insertions from previous episodes, I thought other series were above that. I guess, at least for one episode, STNG needed to save a few buck and bank on an insipid plot. Riker picks up a kind of raging virus as he and Geordi explore a planet previously unexplored. It is beyond the expertise of Dr. Pulaski, who can't stop it. Scans reveal that it has attacked the nervous system and will eventually head for the brain and kill Riker. What Pulaski and Troi find is that the entity is reactive to human emotions. Troi is there to read Riker's thoughts as he dreams. She senses different kinds of dreams from adventure to erotic to pain to terror. All these are represented by short clips from the first two seasons. There is no order to them, but Pulaski is able to use drugs to enhance the experiences. Troi, whom we all know is in love with Will, coaches the doctor as they search. It was fun to guess what scenes might fit in, but it detracted from the actually presentation. It's sad sometimes to know that factors other than a lack of creativity force the hands to the producers of shows such as these. It's so piecemeal and the whole treatment is so hard to swallow that it's a bit of an embarrassment.

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