ST:TNG 1.26 The Neutral Zone ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

Images Source: TrekCore 

The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch concludes Season 1 with...

The Neutral Zone
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 26

  • The Enterprise is set to investigate the destruction of outpost along The Neutral Zone near Romulan space, at the same time 3 people from the 21st century who were cryogenically frozen and on a derelict ship are found and revived.
What it's really about:
  • An introduction (or re-introduction) to The Romulans, and we see that The Federation hasn't had any interaction with them for many years and the last time it was very destructive.
  • We also get a bit of a view to the the direct changes from the viewers current day experience, views, needs, and cares of life (i.e. 21st century, or at the time the cusp of such) in contrast to the setting of the show. 
Character Focus:
  • The 3 thawed people feel like the primary focus here, the homemaker Clare, financier Offenhouse and musician Sonny
  • We get a bit of insight into Data, as it's his curiosity of the derelict ship is what leads to the discovery of the 3 people, and his has a fair amount of interaction with Sonny.
  • I wish I could include The Romulans here, but this is such a brief introduction to them that I feel remiss not mentioning it, but they are secondary focus at best in this episode.
What I remembered about this episode:
  • I remember the defrosted people, and their different abilities to acclimitization to their new situation.  This is such a curious "What if?..." situation that has so many permutations to explore. 
What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
  • I think it's really sweet that Deanna helps Clare to find out where her family are now, and how that reassures her.
  • The two stories feel like they have so little to do with each other, but they need it for the great and gutsy realization/vocalization from Offenhouse that the Romulans have no clue what's going on.  Technically, this could have gone another way if it was a different race, and usually it's Deanna's role to suss out when someone's lying. I think we even already had that with an episode with The Ferengi...
What feels different now, than then:
  • It's kind of funny that it takes a long time to look into and retrieve data on lineage, ah... the pre-Google days!
  • I think I find it funnier now than I did at the time to see the 'changes over time' stuff.  Which is just bizarre.
What remained the same:
  • I really feel for the out-of-time folks, what a weird way to have your life shift, how would they take it over time?  Would they find something to do?  Would they be historians?  Would they pick up a completely new trade?  Would life be better for them?
What I see differently:
  • I really wish there was more Romulan action going on.  I mean, they are such a cool race and this is the first we've seen of them this season (although they were mentioned before). I can remember how much they were in The Original Series, but I think it's again a lot less than I like.  MORE ROMULANS!
  • This also feels like an odd season finale, I get that adding The Romulans leaves a big door open, especially when it turns out that something else is likely destroying Federation and Romulan outposts (and I have no idea if we ever find out what) but the three 21st centurians are much more contemplative of a storyline.  In a lot of ways, it feels like 1.25 Conspiracy would have been a more punchy finale, but we may think of finales in a different way now than we did in 1988. Perhaps The Romulan door was a better one to leave open than ominous coexisting creepy crawlies.
Great Quotes:
  • "The challenge, Mr. Offenhouse, is to improve yourself. To enrich yourself. Enjoy it." - Picard
  •  "They haven't got a clue! They're hoping *you* know; but they're too arrogant to ask! " - Ralph Offenhouse
  • "That would take us in the wrong direction. Our mission is to go forward - and it's just begun." - Picard
Left off at:
After settling on a dialogue of sharing information between The Federation and The Romulans on what destroyed their outposts along the neutral zone, Picard sends off the 3 unfrozen folks on a long journey to get to Earth and help them acclimatize to their situation, and The Enterprise adventures on. 

That's all of the Season 1 episodes!  I think I'll do some closing thoughts on Season 1 and I'm really looking forward to diving into the more even season of Season 2. 

Images Source: TrekCore 


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