Reviews & Ratings for
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" The Bonding (1989)

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16 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Great Episode

Author: Kaleko from United States
27 February 2008

So far from my chronological viewing of the series, this is the most moving episode yet for me. For anyone who has lost a parent, they can relate.

But this episode deals with death on different levels. It deals with the concept of the temptation of living in the past and ignoring the reality of loss, and mentions the strength of humanity in overcoming the acceptance of our mortality.

There is a great conversation between Data and Riker, where Data questions why we do not equally mourn the loss of those we are close to and those we are not. Riker makes a compelling comment while explaining this to an android, and it ends with Riker saying that if we mourned all loss of life equally, humans would have a much less bloodier past.

This episode brought laughs and tears. The ending with Worf and the boy was great, it made Worf out to have a decent and likable character inside of him.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Great! if you can suspend your disbelief

Author: cake-26 from United Kingdom
10 November 2013

Interesting philosophical questions about loss and suffering and a different and moving dimension to the characters and acting of most episodes. It all seems a bit silly because any kid, even a Starfleet kid would just totally freak out at the events in this one. However, like most trek episodes, there is enough in the story to make a feature length movie. It stands to reason therefore, that a lot of potential character and story development has to be cut down to make it fit into 45 minutes. Understandably, it can seem a bit unrealistic at times. Still, great sci-fi provides insights into the human condition by exploring fantasy scenarios, which this episode does, if you can just suspend your disbelief.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Death comes a knocking.

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
15 November 2014

During a seemingly routine away team mission to a planet long wiped out by some war, an away team member is accidentally killed by some ancient war device left behind. Lt. Marla Aster's death and its consequences are the subject of this episode. As for her son, Jeremy, he is very stoic and needs to react emotionally to her death. Because of this, Wesley is asked to talk to the boy about his own father's death. But it's not only him--Worf is also affected strongly. Because of his own issues as an orphan, Worf's planning on asking Jeremy to join him in the Ruus'tai ceremony--by which Klingons become blood brothers or sisters. However, what happens next...well THAT certainly wasn't expected!! To see what this is, try watching "The Bonding".

While this episode is all about death and is a serious downer, it is interesting and worth exploring this aspect of space exploration. Very emotional and it might just bring a tear to your eye as the characters discuss their own losses. Also, what happens to the boy is really strange...but in a very good way, as the planet feels bad about what has happened and tries, in a way, to make things better.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Somewhat spooky episode

Author: CCsito from United States
12 August 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This episode dealt with death, grief, and coping with the loss of a close family member. A young boy loses his mother when she goes out with an away team. The episode brings up things that come out with trying to deal with losing someone close to you. The real twist of this episode occurs when the person who was thought to have died appears to have been "resurrected". The crew then has to figure out how the supposed deceased appears to be alive again. Several of the crew are impacted by the death of the crew member and it brings out emotions of their previous personal loss. Wesley, Worf, and Data are particularly affected by the crew member's death. This was a thought provoking episode that was made a bit eerie with the plot twist concerning the accident victim.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The Bonding

Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
12 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

On an archaeological mission on a planet once home to a now extinct intelligent race called the Koinonians, who destroyed themselves in a centuries-long war, the chief archaeologist on the away team, Marla Aster would be a inadvertent victim of a weapon used during that long-forgotten people, an explosive device that caused a cavernous collapse on top of her while Worf and the others were wounded. Marla had a young boy child named Jeremy, on the Enterprise, his father dead of a disease, now all alone. Because he is now an orphan, Worf (also orphaned when the Romulans attacked the Klingons at Kitimer) wants to share R'uustai with Jeremy, a "brothers" ceremony called the bonding. But Jeremy will need to come to terms with the pain and anguish, the anger and bitterness he hides behind a façade of bravery and maturity. This will not be easy when a strong energy source from the planet manifests into the form of Marla Aster offering Jeremy a home (an exact replica, including pet cat, of their Earth home) absent all the hurt and suffering that loss of life belies. Picard, Troi, and the others understand that Jeremy must see past the "mask" that the energy source puts on Marla's demise, to face and acknowledge the grief and mourning process that comes with losing your mother. Convincing a boy of this will be quite a task, but Troi and Picard will have help from Wesley Crusher who must once again address the loss of his father (...told to him as a child by Picard). With Worf the commanding officer of the away team when his mother was killed, Jeremy will need to get it out so he can release all of the deep emotions buried inside; it is important that he faces Worf who will be a catalyst in drawing out the anguish. This episode, as I have described, is about loss and dealing with it in a healthy way, not embracing a fiction that isn't real even if it looks the part. You see how difficult it is on those who have lost, those who have the duty to tell the ones left behind the bad news, and how this loss never truly leaves, that you just find a way to move on without forgetting about them, cherishing their memory and meaning in your life. Susan Powell is the mother and energy source version of her with Gabriel Damon the child trying to deal with a unique situation. The mother's "re-emergence" is quite a stunner: it definitely had me going, "What the hell?!?!"

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Death and it's meaning.

Author: russem31 from United States
17 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

ST:TNG:53 - "The Bonding" (Stardate: 43198.7) - this is the 5th episode of the 3rd season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

This episode brings the question whether it's wise to have children onboard a starship like the Enterprise (as Picard ponders with Troi) because of an accidental death of a crewman and how her son now has to cope with this - however, Troi makes a counterpoint that leaving the children away from the parents serving on the starship isn't good in itself.

Trivia note: in the previous episode "Who Watches The Watchers", Ray Wise guest starred (he was also in "Robocop"). In this episode, Gabriel Damon guest stars (and he was also in "Robocop 2"). Also, you see another Klingon ritual called appropriately "The Bonding".

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Solid Episode

Author: M_Exchange from United States
10 January 2017

I understand the reviewers who state that in some regards this episode is outlandish because a child wouldn't be nearly as calm and reserved in such a situation, but I think that Gabriel Damon did a good job as a child actor. He was working within the limits of the writing. Susan Powell also put in a solid performance as his mom. I'm rather surprised that those two actors don't even work anymore.

Near the end of this episode Picard makes an argument that is very reminiscent of the things that he says in the "Generations" movie (my personal favorite from the Trek cannon). Wesley Crusher also lets some inside secrets slip. It's a good episode.

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Life and death in the outer reaches

Author: Mr-Fusion from United States
9 November 2016

I don't have the experience of a deceased parent, but I still know that loss is a fundamental part of the human condition. 'The Bonding' takes that and applies it to life onboard a starship. A Starfleet archaeologist is killed during a routine mission, leaving behind a young boy; Worf deals with his own guilt after leading the expedition, Riker and Picard contemplate the after effects from a command perspective and Wesley vividly recalls the news of his own father's death. Throw in an alien being whose only aim is to relieve suffering and this is a heartfelt look at how we deal with personal pain. All of this can easily become syrupy, but it doesn't. There's sensitivity involved here, and even though the pacing feels a little compressed, this is a very well written episode.

Touching, to the last.


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A Child's Loss

Author: Hitchcoc from United States
14 August 2014

An archaeologist loses her life on what appeared to be a safe mission. A leftover explosive device from a centuries old war explode causes her death. Unfortunately, she has a ten year old son, Jeremy, who is now orphaned, his father succumbing to disease earlier. As Troi tries to work with the boy, a manifestation arises from the planet. Suddenly, the dead woman appears in the boy's room, whole again and promising never to leave him. Picard assumes the activity on the planet is causing this, but in his delicate condition, the boy latches on to hope that this is, indeed, his mother. The "woman" wants Jeremy to go to the planet's surface and it is necessary to use the transporter. They do everything to withhold the transporter from the pair, but the thing is persistent. It even recreates the childhood home including a cat that the boy loved. It is sad that the finality of death is such a part of our being, but the sterility of the this entity would prove harmful to the boy's psyche. It is up to the real living to end this. Also, the explanation of the entity itself is quite unique.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Enjoyable episode of death and remembrance.

Author: kfo9494 from United States
19 March 2014

This strange episode begins when an away-team, lead by Worf, encounter a problem which leads to the death of one of the members, Lt. Marla Aster. She is killed leaving a young son, Jeremy Aster, to face the her death head-on. But while Jeremy is grieving his mother's death, she all of the sudden appears in his room stating her death was a big mistake and she want Jeremy to come live with her on the planet.

Jeremy is now torn between his mother alive and the crew of the Enterprise telling him that it's an alien presents that is acting like his mother. When the Enterprise takes action to remove the alien from the ship, it returns with a vengeance.

A very nice story that involves death and remembrance. We will learn that the alien's motive is respectable but misunderstood in human's perception. Some good emotional scenes with Wesley and another with Worf. Entertaining story that was enjoyable to watch and learn.

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