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Skin of Evil 

1:51 | Trailer
Counselor Troi is held captive on a deserted planet by a slick, black, oily, sentient and immortal puddle of evil.


Joseph L. Scanlan


Gene Roddenberry (created by), Joseph Stefano (teleplay by) | 6 more credits »





Episode complete credited cast:
Patrick Stewart ... Capt. Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes ... Cmdr. William Riker
LeVar Burton ... Lt. Geordi La Forge
Denise Crosby ... Lt. Tasha Yar
Michael Dorn ... Lt. Worf
Gates McFadden ... Dr. Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis ... Counselor Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner ... Lt. Cmdr. Data
Wil Wheaton ... Wesley Crusher
Mart McChesney Mart McChesney ... Armus
Ron Gans Ron Gans ... Armus (voice)
Walker Boone Walker Boone ... Leland T. Lynch
Brad Zerbst Brad Zerbst ... Nurse
Raymond Forchion ... Ben Prieto


The shuttle, returning Troi to the Enterprise from an individual mission, crashes on a nearly unknown planet. Presumed uninhabited, it shows atypical, life-like activity. Riker leads an away-team, which finds the shuttle controlled and access-barred by a shape-shifting, oily slick with immense powers and a hostile, almost sadistic nature. Attempts to pass it causes Riker to be temporarily swallowed and Yar killed. Picard beams down to take command while Deanna works out that it's acting out of deep frustration, which they must tap into. Written by KGF Vissers/edited by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site




English | French

Release Date:

23 April 1988 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Armus was originally intended to be based on the Mummenschanz theatre group style, but that was discarded in favor of a "shroud" type creature. Joseph L. Scanlan was determined to make the creature believable, and it was aimed to have the creature rise up out of the oil slick, drawing it up with him. A test was made using a melting miniature figure of Armus with the intention to play it in reverse, but it didn't provide the required effect. The construction of the suit for Mart McChesney to wear as Armus was split between two teams. Michael Westmore and Gerald Quist spent a day sculpting the head, while the construction of the body was outsourced to an external company. McChesney as Armus was lowered into and out of the oil by means of a grate under the surface. Although the head was designed to enable the clearing of McChesney's airways quickly should there be a problem, no air tank was included in the construction, so he had to hold his breath whilst under the surface of the oil. Crewmembers kept track of the length of time he was under by using a stopwatch. The oil itself was a water-soluble Metamucil material dyed black using printer's ink. During production the crew found that, for some reason, the liquid kept dissolving the seams of the suit, but leaving the head unaffected. A backup suit was last-minute ordered before production began, required in order to shoot all the scenes. After it, too, started to break apart, further orders were placed for additional suits. All the suits eventually fell apart during the four days they were used on set. In order to film one scene, McChesney had to wear one damage suit open-backed. See more »


As Armus pulls Commander Riker toward him, a wire can be seen disturbing the sand and the surface of the slime pool directly behind Riker. See more »


Voice of Armus: Save your compassion! It's revolting. You offer it like a prize, when in fact, it's an insult.
Capt. Picard: Because you feel unworthy.
Voice of Armus: You overrate your gift. You Humans are puny, weak.
Capt. Picard: But our spirit is indomitable.
Voice of Armus: And still you die from a flake of my power.
See more »


Referenced in Star Trek: The Next Generation - A XXX Parody (2011) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
See more »

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User Reviews

Silly Oil Monster
20 March 2020 | by anarchisticaSee all my reviews

If some random redshirt had died in this episode, it would've been utterly inconsequential and this would be among the worst episodes of season 1. It's sole redeeming factor is Tasha's gathering at the end, which was actually touching.

Also, this is the nth episode in which an alien force proves too much for the Enterprise. And it's not even the last TNG episode in which a powerful being kills a crewmember for their amusement. It's the "Hiro problem". The Enterprise is so mighty that writers have to come up with convoluted reasons why it can't deal with this week's problem. It kinda gets on your nerves after a while.

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