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

When the Bough Breaks (13 Feb. 1988)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Action, Adventure, Mystery
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 890 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 7 critic

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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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Radue
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Rashella
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Katie
Paul Lambert ...
Melian
Ivy Bethune ...
Duana
Dierk Torsek ...
Dr. Bernard
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Storyline

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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TV-PG
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13 February 1988 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Uncredited guest children Jeremy Wheaton (Mason) and Amy Wheaton (Tara) join their older brother, series regular Wil Wheaton. See more »

Goofs

After Picard asks Dr Crusher to report to the bridge to meet with the Aldeans, after mentioning Starfleet regulation 6.5.7 he walks away from Data who is at the helm. When the scene goes back to Data, Picards hand is clearly visible in the short, although he already clearly walked away. The shot of Data is taken from just a few seconds earlier. See more »

Quotes

Captain Jean-Luc Picard: We do not condone your actions. You're attempting to salve your conscience by offering us goods in exchange for our children.
Radue: Why do you want them back so badly? You can always have more.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard: You are trifling with the primal instincts of our species. I must warn you that human parents are quite willing to die for their children.
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Star Trek: The Next Generation End Credits
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

 
Why not just bring these folks a shipload of needy orphans?! This seems like such an obvious solution!!!
10 November 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Rarely has there been an episode that has such a very obvious and simple answer--yet the entire episode seems to offer a HUGE conundrum--one that no one can figure out for themselves!! So, no matter how good the show is, it ends up being built like a house of cards--and THINKING about it will make it all tumble down!

Planet Aldea is a mythical planet---one that supposedly is a paradise and is cloaked! Imagine the excitement when the Enterprise discovers that the planet is real and they want to establish contact with them!! However, soon the real reason for the Aldeans contacting the Enterprise is obvious--they want the children because the Aldeans are sterile and their race is dying.

This brings me to an answer so obvious that any 4 year-old could figure it out for themselves. WHY NOT LET THESE DESPERATE PEOPLE ADOPT ORPHANS?!?!?! Or, why not let the children and their families come to live on the planet? After all, the population is very, very low and any influx of people would be a plus. Yet, through the entire show NO ONE THINKS OF EITHER OF THESE ALTERNATIVES!!! Talk about lousy writing. Didn't anyone involved in making the show THINK about these options--especially since the Aldeans are supposed to be a very advanced race?! Additionally, late in the show Dr. Crusher figures out WHY the Aldeans are sterile---so why didn't the super-smart Aldeans figure this out for themselves?!

While the episode is interesting, it's amazingly simplistic and stupid. Not annoyingly stupid--just stupid! And, I am amazed that other reviewers haven't addressed this.


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