Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 1, Episode 16

When the Bough Breaks (13 Feb. 1988)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
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A planet that was able to cloak itself for thousands of years suddenly reveals itself, with its inhabitants proposing peace. But, after initial negotiations, children of the Enterprise are kidnapped due to the impotence of the inhabitants.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jandi Swanson ...
Paul Lambert ...
Ivy Bethune ...
Dierk Torsek ...
Dr. Bernard


The Enterprise is delighted with a rare chance to visit a technologically advanced planet which long prevented access by means of a perfect cloaking technique. Prime administrator Radue shows how their people lead a life of leisure, trusting their central computer takes care of all necessities. But they can't solve a medical nightmare: endemic infertility, so they need to 'adopt' earthling children. Negotiations failing, they suddenly snatch Wesley and several younger, also gifted crew kids. Picard can barely keep negotiating credibly enough to avoid being chased too far in space ever to return, but Wesley manages to study and befriend the locals while planning a minimal risk revolt. Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

13 February 1988 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title is based upon an American child's lullaby: "Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop, When the wind blows, the cradle will rock, When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall, And down will come baby, cradle and all." See more »


When the Enterprise is hit by the Aldea repulsor beam and is spinning out of control the main bridge alert indicator behind Riker (and beside Worf) is flashing at Red Alert (at the same time as the audible klaxon) while the other alert indicator behind Dr Crusher is still indicating Yellow Alert. See more »


Dr. Bernard: [referring to his son, ruefully] The last time I saw him, I yelled at him...
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Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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Sort of Bland
29 July 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A planet with members of historic artistic ability has become sterile and is on the verge of extinction. They decide to stock the planet with children from the Enterprise. They choose the most talented, including Wesley Crusher, and treat to a paradise of perks, including instructions from masters. The parents, of course, are horrified. These people have the ability to do amazing things with their technology, including sending the Starship three days out into space. These people are so superior and yet are quite out of touch, with their own abilities and future. It is an episode that goes nowhere and is so dull. That they could bond with these children is their hope, but they are actually rather kind can see the handwriting on the wall, even before Picard and the crew act. The ending is so pat as well and not very satisfying.

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