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The Icarus Factor 

Riker's delight at being offered a command of the USS Aries turns to frustration when the man sent to prepare him for his mission is his estranged father; Worf's behavior leads Wesley to delve into Klingon tradition.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Lance Spellerberg ...
Ensign Herbert


When Riker is offered the command of the the USS Aries he and Picard are pleased. They are stopping at Starbase Montgomery where they are taking a civilian on board to brief Riker on his new assignment. When it turns out to be Riker's father -they haven't seen each other for some 15 years - it seems he knows Dr. Pulaski with whom he obviously at one time had a serious relationship. It takes a physical encounter for father and son to solve their issues. Worf meanwhile has been quite irascible lately and it's left to Wesley Crusher to figure out what he needs. While at the base, the crew is also taking advantage of the facilities to have the engines looked at. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

22 April 1989 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jonathan Frakes (William Riker) and Mitchell Ryan (Kyle Riker) were both stars in North and South. Frakes as Stanley Hazard and Ryan as Tillet Main. See more »


During the poker game, when Worf makes his last bet ("Your 50 and 50 more"), he pushes two stacks of chips toward the pot. At this point, there are six stacks of "50" surrounding the pile of chips at the center of the table. But then when Dr. Pulaski sees the bet and pushes another stack of "50" toward the pot, all the other stacks of chips are gone. The stacks all return when Worf wins the hand and takes the pot. See more »


[Kyle Riker has challenged Will to an anbo-jyutsu match]
Counselor Deanna Troi: In spite of human evolution, there are still some traits that are endemic to gender.
Doctor Pulaski: You think that they're going to knock each other's brains out because they're men?
Counselor Deanna Troi: Human males are unique. Fathers continue to regard their sons as children even into adulthood, and sons continue to chafe against what they perceive as their fathers' expectations of them.
Doctor Pulaski: It's almost as if they never really grow up at all, isn't it?
Counselor Deanna Troi: Perhaps that's part of ...
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Referenced in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Second Chances (1993) See more »


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

The Father-Son Factor
12 August 2014 | by See all my reviews

Riker has a chance to leave the Enterprise. His leadership and his overall competence has brought an offer of command on another ship. There are two issues. One is the fact that the ship he would go to wouldn't have the spirit of adventure this one does. I assume he may be bored. The other factor is that Will's father is on board and there is no love loss on Riker's part. He is resentful and full of almost childhood hatred. Somehow, the father is seen as indifferent to his son and not adequately affected by the death of his wife, Will's mother. This is a tired old plot where the guy can't speak to his son for more than a few seconds without the son taking off. Riker's father is a handsome, impressive man, highly respected in Starfleet. He apparently also has had some romantic connection to Dr. Pulaski. Of course, we know what's coming.

The second plot is that Worf has been acting distant and silent. It turns out that he is in the tenth year of his age of ascension, and he needs to transition into a warrior. This is done by his surviving a painful ritual where he is subjected to incredible pain by a gauntlet of Klingon warriors with pain sticks. This is supposed to be set up by a family, but since Worf has no family, he must rely on his friends, Geordi, Will, and Data. Of course, Worf would never ask for this since it is a question of honor.

It's an OK episode but not really memorable.

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