episode #27: The Child

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episode #27: The Child

Post  BoG on Tue May 04, 2010 12:13 pm

THE CHILD - episode #1, second season / Air Date: 11/21/88
written by Jason Summers, Jon Povill, Maurice Hurley; Directed by Rob Bowman

A point of light flits after the Enterprise, enters the ship and soon chooses Troi's cabin. The next morning, she is pregnant, giving birth a day later. This makes for an unusual staff meeting - Riker is really surprised. The child grows at an astonishing rate, becoming a small boy in hours. There's a secondary story about some plague specimens which the Enterprise needs to transport.
A heady enough turn of events, but this episode is full of firsts and beginnings. This is the first episode with Dr. Pulaski (Diana Muldaur, who guested on a couple of TOS episodes as other characters), who comes aboard to replace Dr. Crusher, who has been re-assigned to Starfleet HQ. Picard gets annoyed with her right away, thinking she made a beeline for the ship's bar instead of reporting to him, not knowing that she's in Ten Forward due to Troi's 'situation.' There, we first meet the bartender, Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg).
Pulaski becomes rather grating from the get go; she's an older, more calloused doctor than even Dr. Crusher, who came across as cold but was sensitive to certain matters. Pulaski, however, is full bore obnoxious in some scenes; she indulges herself by trying to pick a fight with Data, who she obviously sees as much less than human. Maybe he is, but why belabor the point? This may have been TNG's bid to create a McCoy-like character and recreate the Spock-McCoy tension, but it's rather banal and ham-fisted. Also, La Forge basks in the glow of being the new chief engineer.
In the meantime, Wesley is sad that he is to soon leave to join his mom (many Trek fans hold their breaths...).  But, in the end, after much soul searching and a talk with the wise Guinan, he requests that Picard let him stay with the magnificent starship (no..! Picard, no! - scream many fans).  What should have been an interesting look at an alien life force experiencing life in human form is side-lighted by all these personal, ah, personnel issues. This didn't bode well for the 2nd season. BoG's Score: 4 out of 10

TNG Trivia: this story was intended originally for the aborted Star Trek Phase II series, which would have run episodes in 1978 had it been produced. In the original draft, Lt. Ilia was the one who got suddenly pregnant. There was a writer's strike during TNG's 2nd season, forcing the producers to scramble for existing scripts.
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