"Star Trek: The Next Generation" Lonely Among Us (TV Episode 1987) Poster

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Yes, It's a Very Yummy Peace Process
Rizar12 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
"Lonely Among Us" (Episode 6, Season 1, Air Date 11/02/87, Star-date 41249.3) has an outlandish body invader theme, and toys with an idea of an intelligent energy being. It informs us about a Star Trek value: humans don't eat meat, just inorganic replicas of meat. Riker emphasizes this by saying 'we don't enslave animals for purposes of eating'. But a race on-board, the Anticans, insist on eating real meat and butchering the animals themselves!

The Enterprise crew investigates an energy cloud on their way to a peace conference. They must transport representatives from the Antica and Selay races, who are prospective candidates for the Federation. The two races abhor each other and Picard and his officers learn the tireless difficulties of mediating peace negotiations between two sides that agree on very little (a recurring theme). The tasty ending might indicate that the races are not ready to be part of the Federation.

The ship starts having technical difficulties after encountering an energy cloud and unknowingly taking on an energy being from the cloud. The energy being passes around the crew and ship computer, desperately trying to study navigation and find a way to get back to its cloud. It can somehow coexist inside people and computers.

Here are a few notable things that short plot summaries would tend to miss:

(1) I love it when Star Trek characters are given thoughtful lines. Picard comments on a long history of hostility between civilizations: they often feel hatred over different 'customs, God concepts, and even (strangely enough) economic systems'. It is difficult for people in the Star Trek world to see how people would fight over economic systems and money -- they don't work for money at all now and only work to better themselves.

(2) The energy cloud travels at warp speed, but this doesn't seem to bother anyone or make them overly suspicious of it. This would have been a good spot for witty comments about human arrogance, anthropomorphizing, and disregard for different kinds of lifeforms, which would explain how the characters never seem to consider the energy cloud as the cause of all their problems.

(3) Star Fleet officers must learn about the jobs of others, for we see Worf studying engineering.

(4) Wesley utters the universal truism that we learn best on the job and not in the classroom. He studies a theory on dilithium crystals and warp speed, apparently Dr. Channing has an idea that the crystals would be more useful if matter and anitmatter could be aligned better.

(5) Data learns about Sherlock Holmes and starts using the Holmes inductive/deductive method to solve the mysterious ship malfunctions. But he doesn't get to solve the case or successfully use his reasoning since the plot goes other places. He ends up just mimicking Holmes in superficial ways, with key phrases and a pipe. But Holmes will be back in later episodes!

(6) Deanna uses hypnosis. I have actually heard that only about 1 in 10 people are susceptible to hypnosis.

(7) Deanna comments about the duality in all people as they argue inside themselves, so she fails to notice that the energy being coexists in any of the crew.

(8) Picard becomes an energy being! The energy being enters him and beams it-and-Picard into the cloud to try to create a unified energy being. Somehow this doesn't erase anything important about Picard. Obviously this accepts some sort of belief in an informational component of human identity, so that we exist as 'soul' or 'form' more so than as matter, or perhaps the energy contained enough energy in it to keep Picard's matter information available for re-materialization. Very weird!

I didn't like the idea of the Captain turning into an energy being without complications to his identity. I thought additional explanation was needed, and if this was more like the excellent 'Where No One Has Gone Before' episode such an explanation would have been given (even if I would have thought it crazy!). It also seems strange for the energy being to coexist inside people and pass between them. This seems rather magical and more like a typical 'soul transfer' episode in a bad Season 3 episode of The Original Series of Star Trek or an episode out of 'Smallville'.

I love the ending, though, in which the Anticans might be trying to eat a missing Selay delegate! (The film 'A Boy and His Dog' has a similar idea in it.) Yes, it's a very yummy peace process!
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Average but some highlights
russem318 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
ST:TNG:08 - "Lonely Among Us" (Stardate: 41249.3) - this is the 8th episode to go into production but the 7th to actually air on TV. This episode marks Colm Meaney's second appearance as Miles O'Brien (he first guest-starred as Conn in the pilot episode Encounter At Farpoint). Also the makeup effects for the two alien species is pretty top-notch (the effects have definitely improved since the Original Series). Otherwise this episode is just average in my opinion, with a storyline that is somewhat confusing until Captain Picard has to explain it to us (via the speech he gives on the bridge) near the end. Oh, for trivia fans, look out for an Original Series runabout shuttle model, can be seen behind Troi as she talks with the other senior personnel!
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One of first season's best!
Robert Schneider16 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"Lonely among us" definitely is one of the best first season episodes. The storyline, although somewhat confusing, creates a lot of suspense, supported by the creepy synthesizer-driven soundtrack. This is a typically "alien body invasion" scenario but finally turning out to no evil purpose (the death of assistant chief engineer Singh to me was an accident). The two delegate species deliver an entertaining frame (best make-up so far) finally adding a little black humor to the series (the final scene). Patrick Stewart obviously enjoys stepping out a bit of his Picard character and exploring some new terrain as does Data by posing as Sherlock Holmes (another all time classic). The special effects are also convincing and director Cliff Bole did his job well. He is the first one trying to compensate Trois lack in acting ability by improving her looks. She does look beautiful in some scenes and the neck of her dress improves her appearance a lot. Picard's "lightning-scene" on the bridge gives him a slight air of the emperor of Star Wars "Return of the Jedi" (which is a personal impression but made me smile).

There's also some playing with the lighting of the corridors (simulating night aboard) and the first moving camera, pulling back from Picard when he's entering the transporter room to beam into the cloud... Nice work. The clever cutting, creating continuing dialog through different scenes (Troi's hypnosis report) rounds up the impression of a really well crafted TNG episode. The first one, where even Wesley Crusher seemed almost tolerable...

The ending however is a bit confusing, just as if the producers were running out of time. "P for Picard" is a little far fetched and his return far too easy but that can be left aside regarding the many strong moments this episode has to offer...
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An alien entity comes aboard and possesses different crew members including the captain, causing havoc
vidhi shah12 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This seems the weakest episode of TNG so far. The plot is riddled with unnecessary characters and glaring holes:

a) The Enterprise is picking up delegates of two opposing species for a peace parliament. Their presence in the plot does nothing to forward the story, offering a very little comic relief at the end. They are nothing but the fillers.

b) The captain is possessed by the alien entity. The crew recognises it but is shown as helpless due to regulations. The doctor tries to order a medical examination which he refuses. Now Federation regulation clearly states that CMO has the authority to force the captain to take these exams. When the CMO fails to do it, it weakens the character and the whole episode falls.

c) Data's impersonation of Sherlock Holmes is another plot point leading upto nothing.

All in all, the whole episode is made on very flimsy material which doesn't even give the illusion of an episode.
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Hey, You, Get Offa My Cloud!
Hitchcoc26 July 2014
Picard and the crew are overseeing the negotiations between to embittered rivals. There seems little chance that anything is going to get done. During this time a cloud is entered which alters the resolve of many significant crew members. Each of the principles seems to have a go at a new existence, acting strangely or putting forth dangerous actions and ideas. Somehow this cloud is responsible for this alteration. It is fortunate that there are those on the crew that are able to interpret things properly. Commander Data must act because for all his good intentions, Picard fall victim to the forces of the cloud. This type of dangerous entity is ongoing in many episodes. Also, it is up to someone other than Picard to come forth and deal with the issues. This is seldom done in these efforts. Good episode but somewhat derivative.
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Anticans and Selay
gritfrombray-127 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The USS Enterprise is escorting two rival factions called the Anticans and the Selay to a peace conference when an energy life form inhabiting a gas cloud accidentally enters the ship. Worf and Geordi are working in Engineering and interestingly Worf states his reason for being in Engineering is, the Captain wants his junior Officers to learn, learn, learn! The life form enters Worf and travels from host to host ending up in the Captain and he beams himself out into the gas cloud. We get to see Data's interest in Sherlock Holmes for the first time here. They eventually find a way to get him back through a pattern in the energy, Picard, with a puzzled face steps off the transporter, asks what's going on? Troi announces this pattern was formed before the Captain was inhabited! The Enterprise warps off for Pacifica. Trivia fans should know Chief Engineer Singh had the dubious distinction of being the first person to die in this show....
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Wow...the quality of the graphics and costumes sure would get better than this.
MartinHafer10 November 2014
When I watched "Lonely Among Us" again, I was surprised at how crappy the look was of the show. The graphics for the planet looked poor and the costumes of the snake-like and mouse-like aliens were very poor (stiff and with unmoving mouths). This is NOT to say the show was awful--but through the course of the series, they sure got better!! Think about how the Andorians looked in the final series, "Enterprise"--they were BRILLIANTLY made and seemed like real aliens. So much we have come to expect with costumes is the result of earlier efforts like "Star Trek: The Next Generation".

The Enterprise is escorting two really annoying and aggressive enemies to a conference--no easy feat. However, when they come near a giant cloud in space, a new and far more serious problem develops. Soon, an electric shock attacks Worf and it passes to various crew members--and even kills Mr. Singh*! What's worse is that eventually the electric shot hits the Captain and he begins giving seemingly irrational orders.

This is a pretty decent episode--even with primitive costumes and graphics. I could easily looked past this. However, I could not look past a portent of dumb things to come-having Data acting like Sherlock Holmes. This plot is just awful and would lead to one of the worst episodes of the series--the one where Moriarty takes over the ship. So, we have an interesting plot, a dumb subplot and some odd graphics compared to later ones. A mixed bag, but worth seeing if you are a fan of the series. If not, I say try another episode instead.

*This is VERY sad. This was a great opportunity to FINALLY include an Indian crew member and they kill him off!! The show tried VERY hard to be ultra-politically correct yet they somehow killed the guy. Sad, but at least they'd EVENTUALLY bring on crew members like Dr. Bashir in "Deep Space 9".
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all started with Mr. Singh
ozgur-demirhan9 November 2009
The magnificent death of Mr. Singh... He gets shocked from the warp station at engineering and flies like a butterfly just close to the warp core and while facing downwards, spotted by Worf and declared dead.

I hope I'm not wrong, but this is the very first time we see on a TNG episode the rule "Appeared too much, lived too much".

I mean when an "appearance with a dialogue" playing actor that we see for the first time and doesn't have a relation with the story of that episode, eventually dies before the end of that episode :)

...and the last scene with the delegate BBQ is probably the funniest cultural conflict i have ever heard of.
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