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

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31 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Un-complicated Review - A great episode

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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14 out of 17 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 11 people found the following review useful:

"All that rage..."

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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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Better than people give it credit for

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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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Skin of Evil

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 just reinforces my belief that Yar could've be quite a character. Sigh.

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Boring episode

Author: myname203
14 July 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Was one one of the most boring episodes. When I saw it first time was just acceptable, but the second time was boring and I was jumping scenes with the remote control ! Pity an entire boring episode to satisfy the request of an actress ! Well was her right but they could make a more complicated episode.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Wasted potential

Author: Mr-Fusion from United States
29 April 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There's some undeniable nerve at the heart of 'Skin of Evil'. Denise Crosby wanted off the Enterprise (dissatisfied with her character's development), to which the producers respond by killing her off. So Tasha Yar gets blasted not ten minutes in by a black sludge monster. I dunno, that just sounds like an overt statement. A character can be killed off with purpose - saving the crew, the ship - but no. One minute, she's standing there with the rest of the away team, the next she's killed off like a red shirt. It's meaningless. Even that guy Ben on the shuttle survived and we *never* see him again!

And it'd help if a decent episode resulted from this, but it's pretty lame. I can see they were going for a simple good-vs-evil story here, but there's no substance to it. And then it's off to the holodeck for Yar's funeral . . . where she has a pre-recorded sugary speech prepared. Yeah, that's not weird. The whole damn scene is awkward, and the only good thing that comes out of this is that it indirectly paves the way for 'Yesterday's Enterprise'.


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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

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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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

One of the Best

Author: asfhgwt-1 from United States
14 March 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Joseph Stefano has written some of the best science fiction ever seen on TV, and he's created a masterpiece here. "Skin of "Evil" is a fascinating story, with a creepy, intelligent, sadistic "villain" (Armus) and the rule-breaking death of a main character. It includes some of the best dialogue in TV history. When the crew tells Armus that they try to protect life, he asks "Why?" Simple, yet brilliant. He somehow knows Data is an android and sarcastically calls him "robot" and "Tin Man." He taunts Geordi by shuffling his visor around on the ground out of arm's reach (I couldn't help but let out a belly-laugh at that). Only Stefano could fully realize a creature so convincingly evil -- yet human (which is ironic since Armus is actually the worst part of, and was discarded by, a "race of titans"). To those who find Armus "silly"and the episode "weak," I suggest you revisit it when you've matured -- probably around age 50.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A case of Good News/Bad News

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 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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