Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 5, Episode 17

The Outcast (14 Mar. 1992)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
6.6
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While aiding an androgynous race who lost a couple of members in an unmapped region of space, Riker falls for one of them, which can lead to trouble if detected, since the alien race does not endorse gender specificity.

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Title: The Outcast (14 Mar 1992)

The Outcast (14 Mar 1992) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Storyline

The Enterprise obliges the androgynous Genai race's request to investigate a mysterious shuttle disappearance. When a probe follows an inexplicable neutrino emission, it too suddenly vanishes without a trace, possibly the first-ever documented 'null-space', which absorbs all electro-magnetic forces around it. Riker will attempt to chart it in a shuttle with the Gennai Soren. While contemplating the differences between social and biological life with or without gender-distinctions they become close. Entering the null-space, they find the shuttle and beam back with its crew of two to the Genai's green planet, where they fall in love. Soren is arrested for loving sexually and sentenced to psycho-technic perversion therapy... Written by KGF Vissers

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gender | probe | shuttle craft | alien | love | See more »


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14 March 1992 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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We learn in this episode that the Federation was founded in 2161. See more »

Goofs

Some viewers have noted that Soren tells Commander Riker that there are no 'hes' and 'shes' in Soren's species, but when she later speaks of her former classmate, she too uses the terms 'he' and 'him'. However, as Riker has said he feels uncomfortable using the pronoun "it" it's likely that Soren is simply adjusting her language to accommodate Riker. Also the classmate felt being male so using "he" would be logical choice. See more »

Quotes

Soren: Doctor? You are female.
Doctor Beverly Crusher: Yes.
Soren: Forgive me, I do not mean to be rude. But I'm curious. What is it like?
Doctor Beverly Crusher: Well, it's... it's just the way I am. I've never really thought about what it's like.
Soren: I notice you tend to have longer hair, and you arrange it more elaborately. And you apply color to your bodies.
Doctor Beverly Crusher: Color?
Soren: You put color on your mouths. And your eyes, your cheeks and... your fingernails. The men don't.
Doctor Beverly Crusher: That's true.
Soren: Then it is up to women to attract the men?
Doctor Beverly Crusher: Oh, no. Men want to be attractive too, ...
[...]
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Star Trek: The Next Generation End Credits
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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A noble attempt that failed
1 June 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

SPOILERS AHEAD: In this episode, the "Enterprise" ends up at a planet where the inhabitants are androgynous. Commander Riker works with one of them, Soren, and they end up falling in love. Problem: these aliens are forbidden to express sexual desires inclined to only one gender (Soren tends towards female behavior), so she is "tried" and taken away for psychological reprogramming when their relationship is discovered.

The episode is famous, of course, for trying to take on the way gay people are treated in our culture, much as the original "Star Trek" took on issues such as the Vietnam War and racism. A big plus is that, up until the trial, the performances are solid and the writing is very good. As someone else here said, Soren's self-defense speech is rather heavy handed, perhaps making the point a bit too obviously.

However, my biggest problem is with what happens after Soren is taken away. Forbidden from the planet, Riker decides to disregard his Starfleet training and orders so that he can sneak down to the planet and rescue his new love. He also manages to convince the usually by-the-book Klingon Lt. Worf to go along with his plan. This is TOTALLY out of character for both Riker and Worf. This really rings falsely against the way both characters had been developed throughout the course of the series. The writer, Jeri Taylor, really should have known better. She decided to make the Big Social Statement at the expense of Riker and Worf. As a result, Jonathan Frakes gives an unconvincing performance during the last quarter of the episode, totally ruining it for me. The ending, of course, is predictable.

It's good that a television show tries for something other than mindless entertainment. But it can't be done with plot contrivances which go against the grain of the show's premise or its characters, which is what happens here. Certainly not one of the worst moments for "TNG", but far from its best.


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