When Commander Riker comes down with a dangerous alien infection after an away mission, the only way to treat it may be through reliving his memories.

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Lieutenant Worf (archive footage)
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Wesley Crusher (archive footage)
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Storyline

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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15 July 1989 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frequently cited by fans (as well as some cast members) as the worst episode in the series. See more »

Goofs

In Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Battle, Dr. Crusher claims 24th-century science "...has mapped the brain." But despite this, Dr. Pulaski doesn't understand the endorphins the brain produces under different circumstances. See more »

Quotes

Commander William T. Riker: [about the tenacity of the Rikers] My great-grandfather once got bit by a rattlesnake. After three days of intense pain... the snake died.
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Connections

Features Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Child (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

 
An insult to the audience and my vote for the worst "Star Trek" episode ever!
15 November 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

"Shades of Gray" is a pathetic excuse for an episode for "Star Trek: The Next Generation"--one that insults the audience's intelligence and just looks like a lazy attempt to fill the time slot. It is so bad and so irrelevant that I recommend you skip it completely--you really don't need to bother with this one.

When the episode begins, Riker's leg is injured while on an away team mission. However, this is no mere scratch--the thing festers and cannot be eliminated using the transporter's bio-filters. Soon, Riker is dying and Dr. Pulaski is fighting to save his life.

This doesn't sound that bad, does it? Well, no...the concept isn't bad. However, this only takes up a tiny fraction of the show. Most of it consists of clips of Riker from other episodes--and they appear to be completely random in how they are used. Relevant or not--they are tossed into "Shades of Gray" and the sum effect is a show that obviously no one gave a crap about when they made it. A complete waste of time and the worst simply because there have been episodes with dumber premises (such as the baseball game episode from "Deep Space 9"), but at least they TRIED something different with these shows. Here, it's just an attempt to re-use old footage and otherwise take the week off from production! Awful.

UPDATE: By the way, it isn't just me who hated this episode. At the 50th anniversary Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, this was voted as one of the 10 worst of all episodes from every Trek franchise! That is some ignoble designation!


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