Reviews & Ratings for
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" Skin of Evil (1988)

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26 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Un-complicated Review - A great episode

9/10
Author: liljjbug from United States
30 July 2010

Previous reviews seem to be from fanatics who are original series purists and are not objective at all. This episode is perhaps one of the great episodes of the TNG series. Never mind all of the mumbo jumbo about the writers' and producers' intent, the STORY is an excellent portrayal of good versus evil. Never in the Star Trek universe have our heroes encountered a creature as purely evil as Armus. As a matter of fact, the primitive set and props has exactly the feel of the original Star Trek and the situation is one that explores the very depths of the human psyche the way that Roddenberry's original Star Trek explored many issues in human life. An excellent episode if you see it for what it is - an EPISODE! and not try to judge it for how it "fits" into the Star Trek universe.

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13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

A meaningless death.

Author: russem31 from United States
12 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

ST:TNG:22 - "Skin Of Evil" (Stardate: 41601.3) - this is the 22nd episode to go into production but the 23rd episode to air on TV. This is a pivotal episode for the series because of a death of one of the main characters. Though I won't give away who, let's just say it was a meaningless death, as will be noted later on in the series. Of course the main reason a main character died is because that person wanted out of their contract and was granted that. Also, it should be noted that Lt. Worf is also made acting chief of security, a position he will hold for the rest of the series, and that Troi mentions the word "Imzadi" again. All in all, this is really one of the sadder of the TNG episodes.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

"All that rage..."

8/10
Author: Robert Klaric from Croatia
5 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

You can easily say this is crucial turning point in first season of TNG, where we have death of one of the main characters of the series. I know many people will refer to this episode as the "one where Tasha left" and the subplot won't matter that much. Though many will argue this episode is here just to justify Denise Crosby leaving the series, somehow I found that without it, the "Skin of Evil" wouldn't have the impact it carries now.

First and foremost - this is a great portrait of evil in it's core, a result of what happens when all of the sadness, rage, anger, disappointment have been suppressed long enough to kill all the goodness inside. Armus is the essence of a "scorned castaway" who turns to pure evil after being eaten away by desire for revenge in probably eons that he was left behind. And even though he is nothing but evil entity that toys with Enterprise crew just as he was toyed with by those who left him behind, and even though he kills a someone of the crew that became so dear to us, we cannot but feel sorry for what he's gone through and what has made him what he is now. By the time Enterprise leaves you wish they somehow found the way to kill him just to release him from this dreadful state. This is exactly the dramatical and emotional climax this episode delivers.

The end sequence in holodeck of memorial for Tasha, with almost heavenly feel in image of green grassy slope and clear blue skies with fluffy clouds is simply breathtaking. That image was stuck in my head ever since I watched this episode as kid, and reflecting on it now - I'm sorry they didn't make more emotional highpoints in the series as this. Yes, Tasha may have died, but you feel she didn't die in vain, and all the time they spent together won't be forgotten.

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A case of Good News/Bad News

5/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
11 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The shuttlecraft crashes on a remote planet. However, when the rescue party arrives, a real jerk of a creature that looks like an oil slick torments the team for the entire episode. It's very long-winded and slow, though seeing the thing killing Tasha Yar is good for a laugh. I say this because I found her to be the most annoying of all the cast regulars. I have no idea why they killed her off...but it was a good thing for the show because her character was so one-dimensional and I was tired about hearing about the rape gangs (this actually seemed to trivialize rape). So, on the positive side, this episode signals the death of Tasha Yar...at least for a while. On the bad, she does return (of sorts) and the episode itself very, very talky and schmaltzy at the end. So, on balance it's an iffy episode.

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The Death of Tasha

8/10
Author: Hitchcoc from United States
31 July 2014

An entity that looks like an oil slick intercedes in the rescue of Deanna and an ensign on a shuttlecraft. This creature who occasionally takes on a kind of human form, is pure evil, using its power to prevent the crew from rescuing the two on the marooned craft. As Tasha tries to pass by, the thing hits her so hard that she flies through the air, landing several feet away. When Crusher checks, she realizes that Tasha is dead. This puts a pall on the crew. They are faced with an entity that doesn't care about anyone. It gains pleasure from inflicting pain and holding people for a kind of ransom, toying with them. It even submerges Will Riker in the oily goo. The crew must figure out what to do to break through such a formidable force. Deanna remains trapped in the shuttle with the man and she is visited by this thing. It turns out that this creature was abandoned on this planet and is full of feeling of anger and vengeance. I'm not sure why the plug was pulled on Tasha but she left a gap in the crew. Worf now takes on new duties.

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Better than people give it credit for

9/10
Author: Truckhitterfilms from United States
25 April 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" was a hard one to do both physically and emotionally. It was emotionally straining for the cast and crew because of the death of main character Natasha "Tasha" Yar (Denise Crosby), and it was physically straining do to it being hard to create the creature of Armus (the late Ron Gans) and make him believable. Why do I bring both of these points up? Well, this was an episode that had everything running against it, yet it still succeeded.

After Counselor Tori's (Marina Sirtis) shuttle crashes on a planet and the crew cannot beam her and the pilot out, an away-team is dispatched to rescue them. Upon their arrival the away-team is met by a stream of black goo that keeps moving to block their access to the shuttle and its survivors. The black goo turns out to be a creature by the name of Armus, who wants to watch people suffer for his amusement. Lieutenant Yar becomes fed up with the creature and tries to pass it, only for Armus to quickly kill her. The creature proceeds to torment the crew, swallowing Riker (Jonathan Frakes), and taking control of Data (Brent Spiner) to attempt to make him kill a fellow crew mate. When the crew is gone, he is confronted by Troi and we learn the reasons behind why Armus is the way he is. He was left behind by people and now he just wants to witness torment.

The episode has received harsh criticism towards it, mainly from the death of Lieutenant Yar and the creature of Armus himself. As I said earlier, this episode had a lot going against it, and it managed to pull through.

While a main character, I felt Lieutenant Yar's death was a fitting end to her character as she died in a similar manner as the red shirts from "Star Trek: The Original Series". The only difference here is that Lieutenant Yar was a main character that we had grown to know while the red shirts were cannon fodder to begin with.

The creature of Armus was a tricky creature to create, but when it was all done, I feel that all the work payed off. Armus looked real had a menacing appearance. The scenes with him and Troi were nice because we actually got to see why he was making the crew of the 'Enterprise' suffer for his pleasure of viewing it. The only problem is that for a character who did something as big as kill off a main character, he is not all that memorable considering some of the other characters who did less that the 'Enterprise' crew encountered, such as Admiral Jameson (Clayton Rohner) who had been taking medication to become younger.

The ending of the episode with Yar's funeral was emotional and well executed. You can argue that it makes no sense how Yar knew where each member of the crew was going to be ahead of time so she could look at them when she said how they meant to her, but it all works to set the mood. When everything is over, this is probably the most emotional scene in "Star Trek" I have ever watched.

"Skin of Evil" is a thrilling and emotional episode of "Star Trek", with good looking effects for the villain. While the episode is a bit bogged down by the fact that Armus is not too memorable considering what he does in the episode, it is still a good episode.

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Run from the Black Slicky Thing!

Author: Rizar from United States
5 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Counselor Troi is on her way to rejoin the Enterprise after attending a conference, but her ship slows and then crashes near an uninhabited planet (Vagra II). Picard risks the safety of his ship to rescue her as quickly as possible.

"Skin of Evil" (Season 1, 04/25/88, Stardate: 41601.3) is mostly a character development episode and is only important for those interested in the fate of Tasha Yar.

The plot: A fantastic black slick (named Armus) traps Troi in her ship and toys with the Enterprise away team. Armus can talk, move around, and take a few black-liquid shapes. But Data and the crew can't understand how it does any of these things; it doesn't have normal signs of life.

Apparently, Armus was created by an unknown species (the Titans) who emptied all their evil and negative traits into a second skin to shed away. Armus is what remains of this second skin, and Armus is not very happy about being abandoned.

Armus has great power and talks like a mischievous egoistic villain! Yes, I love to parrot its evil voice for the whole episode.

But there are a few interesting tidbits about the Star Trek world. (1) We learn that the Enterprise has a martial arts competition. Yar is training for it and the crew is betting on the winners. (2) An engineer, Lynch, re-aligns the dilithium crystals manually when Picard tells him he can't wait for the required 20 minutes to safely align the crystals. Picard seems to dangerously risk the entire ship just to get to one of his crew members. (3) It also makes use of the holodeck in an interesting way.

I always wonder whether the final holographic conversations make any sense. Were they pre-recorded predictions or holographic A.I.? They seem strange in the context of the episode. In any case, I'll keep silent on them since it may spoil it too much.

I refuse to discuss the absurdities of Armus. So in summary I'll just say that I don't recommend this episode. Skip it unless you just have to know everything about Tasha Yar.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Skin of Evil

5/10
Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
9 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

No goodbyes. Just good memories.

Well it was inevitable. I have fought and fought watching "Skin of Evil" but putting it off any longer would be futile. Getting it over with is the best option. Part of me hates "Skin of Evil". Part of me is angry with Denise Crosby and those involved with Star Trek: The Next Generation for killing off Yar when it wasn't necessary. Why not find another way to have Yar exit the show for a possible return in the future? Ugh, it leaves me disappointed and just angry. Putting those unpleasant feelings aside, the skin of evil in this episode, the slick mass that looks like a puddle of gelatin, his devious, darkly sinister voice, is quite a creepy presence and the lack of compassion or morality makes it a definite force to be reckoned with. Yar's departure leaves a lasting feeling of loss while trying to focus on the plot is difficult. The show really hums when Picard engages the Skin, actually stirring his rage as a means to save a downed shuttlecraft (with an injured Troi on board) by beaming them up when its anger is at its peak. Vagras II will always be looked at as the place where Tasha Yar's life was ended for no reason other than to possibly amuse an evil creature whose very essence was discarded by an ancient race who wished to free themselves from that destructiveness that comes from within. Seems like Yar's life should've ended with more of a purpose, but I guess that's the point…sometimes a person dies in an event on some insignificant planet during a routine rescue operation. Too bad, because Yar was the kind of human warrior who deserved better. Probably the most disturbing scene has Riker "enveloped" by the evil skin, his life hanging in the balance, paraded psychologically by Armus to antagonize Deanna. The skin doesn't seem to have the characteristics of what it is to be a lifeform yet has intelligence and can shape itself into a humanoid form (still gelatinous, giving it a menacing look that is certainly memorable). Still, I couldn't help feel this was all designed just to kill off Yar and give Picard and his away team a little struggle before the big finale allows the holographic image of Tasha to address her friends and colleagues one last time, telling each one what they meant to her, one last memorial in honor of a fallen member of the Enterprise crew. This episode, once Yar's life is declared expired by Beverly in a throat-gulping scene that tears you up inside, has plenty of Armus toying with the away team, trying and failing to amuse itself whether it be have Geordi try to locate his visors or Data forced to point his phaser at his crew members. Trying to get into the episode, though, was (and has always been) difficult.

I must say that this episode leaves me frustrated and a little down because I believed Yar had so much potential if Crosby had just stuck it out a little while longer. Strong female characters in the Trek universe were always welcomed by me and Yar was quite an example of this archetype. Admittedly, I had more than a little trepidation watching this episode again as I know how I felt in the past after watching it...it just reinforces my belief that Yar could've be quite a character. Sigh.

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1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Armus.......

6/10
Author: gritfrombray-1 from Ireland
16 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When Troi's shuttle is found to be missing the Enterprise locates it crashed on a planet known as Vagra 2. A team beams down and their path to the crashed shuttle is blocked by a black tar type goo. It eventually identifies itself as Armus and refuses to let anyone near the shuttle. When Tasha protests and moves toward the shuttle Armus zaps her with an energy blast and kills her. The Enterprise medical staff try to revive her to no avail. Armus claims to be the skin of evil a race of titans shed to rid themselves of all bad things. Picard eventually outwits Armus and the shuttle crew are rescued. A touching message is later delivers a touching message to each of her friends on the holodeck in a previously recorded message. Trivia, Armus actor Mart McChesney later played the Sheliak delegate in 'The Ensigns Of Command'

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3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A real howler., typical of the first season.

5/10
Author: Zeke Pliskin from United Kingdom
29 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Star Trek TNG is often cited as re-igniting the franchise, taking it onto new plains without losing the core values that Roddenberry worked to create in The Original Series. While in later seasons the writing would improve and finally match the strong abilities of the main cast, the first season is routinely derided for being weak; a mere rehash of old ideas and extraneous plots introduced to waste time. This episode is somewhere between those points, with the added embarrassment of a needless death.

The premise of the show is standard Trek fare; a shuttlecraft carrying Ensign Ricky Redshirt and a main cast member - in this case the voluptuous Deanna Troi - crash lands on a planet and requires rescue. The attempt is then impeded by an indigenous lifeform. Rather than an interesting villain of some description, the main cast spend most of their time on a poorly designed 'Planet Hell' set talking to a poorly-animated tar pit with an ugly duckling complex.

Even this terrible concept could have been enlivened by some cracking dialogue, but no, the writers were more than happy to stick to hapless cliché and stilted exposition here. Plot holes are obvious - how did Troi survive for the amount of time depicted in the episode stranded on a shuttle with no replicator, for example? The few redeeming moments of the whole sorry proceeding are within the Yar's eulogy scene, where Denise Crosby speaks for Yar and describes her love and respect for the remaining cast and Brent Spiner has the opportunity to develop Data's character. It is partly this closeness between the cast that led to the 'classic' episodes later on in the show's run.

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