ST:TNG:38 - "The Royale" (Stardate: 42625.4) - this is the 12th episode to air of the 2nd season of The Next Generation. This episode concerns the Enterprise traveling through an uncharted solar system, when Picard and crew discover a piece of sheet metal with the NASA logo on it. Soon they discover a structure around one of the planets, an inhospitable windy gas giant . . . a stable structure enclosed in a breathable atmosphere. Of course when the crew beams down to investigates, a mystery ensues.
Trivia: a running gag, Worf can't figure out how to open an elevator door, as Data looks on (just like in the episode "The Neutral Zone", when he couldn't figure out an old style door handle aboard an ancient cryogenic spaceship.
Also, we find out more about Star Trek history: from 2033-2079 America had 52 stars, an astronaut named Colenol Ritchie flew for NASA in a spacecraft launched July 23, 2037, which was third manned attempt to exit the Solar System.
The Royale is one of the best episodes from season 2.I actually watched it on sky one way back on the 5th of June 2005 and I'm only getting round to writing my review now.
Upon discovering debris from a 21st century NASA spaceship near a strange planet.Entering the planet Data,Riker and Worf come across a hotel style casino from the 1980's.Investigating further they find a book written by a NASA astronaut called Hotel Royale.It then dawns on them they are in a living version of the book.Having seen out the conclusion of the book the officers are able to return to the enterprise.
This episode stands out as it was refreshing to see a realistic version of Earth and the plot involving the characters living out the novel was pretty creative on the part of the writing team.Also the supporting cast have a sizeable part and played it well.
Ever since I saw this episode when it first aired, this has always been one of the favorite episode of ST:TNG. Now, when I was younger, I don't think I got a lot of the humor, but now when I watch it I laugh my head off. The plot is fairly clever and it's always hilarious when we see the members of the Enterprise try to interact with obsolete technology.
The plot revolves around Riker, Worf, and Data become trapped in a sort of simulation based off a "second rate" novel that is set in a 1920's gangster era hotel/casino. The characters they interact with are caricatures and I think the actors and actresses playing them have a good time with that. It's obvious that the writers had a fun time making the most cliché'd version of the hotel that they possibly could. For example, there's a rich Texan playing blackjack and loudly giving advice to anyone who will listen, because there's ALWAYS a rich Texan acting just like that in these kind of novels. There's a gangster named (of course) "Mickey D". And when we find out the opening line of the novel is "It was a dark and stormy night" we know it's probably even worse then we can imagine.
I am a Star Wars fan trying to become a Trek fan. I am slowly watching TNG one episode at a time. This episode was my favorite to date. Season 2 has really picked up steam as far as story lines go. The acting is getting better too. Season 1 was entertaining, but a little corny. Season 2 has been a real treat. This particular episode is entertaining. Great story line that ties in to today's world. A true science fiction plot with a Twilight Zone twist.
Just don't ask "why"? After finding a floating artifact from the 21st century something interesting ensues. An away team of Riker, Worf, and Data find a revolving door in the middle of nowhere. They go through and find themselves in a kind of hotel/casino. Something is being held from them. The problem is that now they are in the place, they can't get out. The get into the door and circle right back in. Meanwhile, a cast of characters, a hostile clerk, a cowboy who is gambling, a floozy, and others go about their business. Somehow, this whole thing was set up based on a cheap novel. The problem is that there is no reason for this happening. Who are the alien forces that caused all this and what were their motivations. Sometimes I think that the writers would use any excuse to write something about another setting than the Enterprise. This has some funny moments, but they are based on the fact that a starship lieutenant, a Klingon, and an android are interacting with regular people who don't notice their physical appearances.
In my opinion Star Trek in general has three types of episodes; political conflicts, social conflicts, and mystery conflicts. This episode qualify as the third one which happens to be my favourite. Sure Star Trek is so good because it so often brings up real problems which we actually can learn from, but once in a while I enjoy the fact they they can make episodes that are just pure Sci-Fi fun. And episodes like these are quite clever. Episodes like this is a sort of supernatural problem explained trough science fiction.
The away-team; Riker, Worf and Data find themselves in a hotel. It is a lonely structure on a literally dead planet, the inhabitants don't register as life-forms, but still exist. And only to make it more exiting they are incapable of exiting the hotel. (SPOILER AHED) It turns out the whole place is an recreation of a second rate novel owned by a dead 21 century astronaut they find in the hotel. Turns out the life form on the planet assumed this was the natural habitat for humans and created it for him. (SPOILER ENDS) To be honest this episode just makes me laugh, and it shows Data and Riker on their best and funniest. heck even Worfs grumpy attitude are funny at times. But the episode still manages retain it's seriousness.
This reminds me of some of the classical TOS episodes like; the Squire of Gothos, Patterns of Force, and mostly Spectre of the gun. Like mentioned before there are three types of episodes, well there are also three settings for Star Trek; the enterprise, alien planets, and the "bizzarre" setting. I like these because they always present a mystery and plays on the unknown. I like these because they are unique, weird, sometimes a bit funny, and they are a good variation from the casual sci-fi with spaceships, aliens, etc.
This episode is like spending 45 minutes in a Dentist chair.
The outcome is somewhat on the positive side, but you question for days after whether or not the suffering you went through was worth it.
The basic idea behind the script was a good one. A 21st century NASA Astronaut was somehow inadvertently transported far away from Earth, and the aliens responsible for it felt remorse, and created an environment for him to live out his life in.
But the trash-novel they based Earth society upon is sooo bad, that we also feel the pain of his final 38 years of existence. Just imagine being stuck for the rest of your life on the Disney ride "It's a Small World" (which they used in Gitmo to interrogate prisoners), with no escape possible.
It was enjoyable to watch Data shooting craps and breaking the bank at the casino, but why was there no interest at all in who these aliens were, where they are now, or effort to find them? It might have made a good 'First Contact' episode had this been explored at all.
Watch this one if you have to, but you won't miss anything even remotely important about Star Trek if you skip it.
Now, excuse me. I have to go now and watch my Aunt & Uncle's Vacation photo slide-show. It should be more entertaining than this episode was.
The Enterprise arrives at planet Theta 8 in order to pick up some space debris that the Klingons found. Oddly, it's from an old Nasa craft--so what's it doing in this part of space?! The away team decide to land on the planet but what they find makes no sense at all--it's am Earth casino called 'The Royale'! At first, the trio are amused at what they find but soon it becomes apparent that they cannot leave--and things become a bit tense. What plays out inside the casino, much of the time, plays out like a holodeck program--and that's NOT good, as the holodeck episodes were usually among the worst in the series. Fortunately, the answer to this conundrum isn't that bad and actually does eventually make some sense. A very strange change of pace episode for the show, that's for sure. But, worth seeing.
There was potential to make a clever episode here, but instead it plays out like the second-rate novel it was supposed to be. A great portrayal of a second-rate novel, with nothing but clichéd science fiction content and no interesting character development.
And no curiosity about the aliens who set up the world of the second-rate novel? The crew seems oddly satisfied by solving the first layer of the mystery. Shouldn't there be some communication with whoever set up this crazy place?
It was fun to learn a bit more about the history of the world they live in, with 52 stars on the flag and the early attempts for human exploration of interstellar space. That, and a few humorous moments, earns this episode a bit more than 1 star, but not much.
Did anybody get it? Based on the shaky premise from TOS where the aliens find a book about 1930's Old Chicago Gangland (after Earth astronauts visit) and it contaminates their entire way-of-life. Obviously written before the "Holodeck" adventures. It's very cleverly written. Like the Eagles song "Hotel California" it's a lovely place where you can check in, but you can't check out. A nod to the "Twilight Zone" as well. Gambling shows up in Sci-Fi all the time and always in a strange way. Remember the aliens casino "trap" in the original " Battlestar Galactica"? Quark's Place on DS 9? Here, the away team is trapped in the Royale Hotel Casino. A hotel with no way out. All the "people" are characters made of energy. No real humans. They "follow the novel" Data rolls several "Craps" wins (after "fixing" the crooked dice). Data amasses 12.7 million dollars and buys the place so they can walk out as the "foreigners" at the end of the novel. Only then can they exit the revolving door out of the place. Here's why it's dumb: Who created this place on an otherwise barren, airless, planet? (like "Squire of Gothos") We only know that it was created by an alien force to comfort a marooned late 20th Century U.S. astronaut who went mad and was trapped there for 37 years, until he died! "Curiouser & curiouser"!
I think I can coin the phrase "all fun and games" to describe this rather insignificant but enjoyable episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation which allows Data to gamble, see Worf call an elevator a turbolift, and find the skeletal remains of a NASA astronaut from around 2033 named Col. S Richey whose cheap dimestore novel, Hotel Royale, was the inspiration for a recreated place by an alien race who accidentally killed his shuttle crew, out of perhaps guilt hoping the sole survivor might have the comforts of what they believed home was to him. A French mathematician's theorem is mentioned by Picard as he studies it, like so many, trying to find the answer and it has a reason for being a topic of conversation as it pertains to the mystery behind how Richey's shuttle, whose trajectory was disrupted when in space exploring the end of the Earth's solar system, could have made it out so far. The main "suspense" angle of the premise is that away team Riker, Data, and Worf beam onto a planet with a nasty atmosphere incapable of human life, but a single structure exists that has breathable air. This is the Royale, and the trio get trapped in the alien-created hotel, needing to uncover a way to get out so they can beam back to the Enterprise. The answer could be in the recreated details of the novel and their role as it pertains to the results of the conclusion of Hotel Royale. This is one of those undemanding episodes that tickles the funnybone...but "The Royale" isn't a barnburner or of certain importance in regards to the Trek Universe or the characters that inhabit it. That said, Noble Willingham (Walker, Texas Ranger) as a Texas gambler with a cowboy hat, with lingo and drawl to match, and bubble-headed Jill Jacobson as a gullible lady he easily manipulates are fun characters within the Royale literary creation on the planet; Data's interaction with them adds charm to the episode. If anything, this allows the characters on the Enterprise to have fun absent the usual crises and complexities often encountered when exploring universes and alien races.