ST:TNG 1.23 Skin of Evil ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

Images Source: TrekCore 

The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues with...

Skin on Evil
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 23

  • Troi is travelling by shuttlecraft on the way back from a conference, when the shuttlecraft crash lands on a seemingly uninhabited planet.  While the away team beams down to rescue Troi they encounter Armus, a black slick entity that thrives off creating pain and suffering.
What it's really about:
  • It's ups the states of the show giving us the first big death of the series with Yar getting killed by the entity Armus.
  • It also showcases that the Federation values every life, but showing in contrast Armus' indifference to life. 
Character Focus:
  • It's a Yar episode as she dies, and a bit of a 360 on her character, or at least 180 as at her funeral we see her share what each of the main cast means to her.  Oddly we don't have too many people discussing her, although there is a great conversation between Yar and Worf about preparing for an upcoming martial arts competition.
  • Worf gets some time in this episode to, especially as he is promoted to acting security officer in Yar's place and likely would be the only person on the crew to be okay with or even honoured to take the job after someone died in the line of duty.
What I remembered about this episode:
  • Yar dies!  Is it awful to say that every single episode on a planet in Season 1 I was hoping it would be this episode?  From the early ep of The Last Outpost all the way up to recent The Arsenal of Freedom, and even the unlikely possibility of Hide and Q.  I was never a big fan of her character, but it does feel kind of mean to really look forward to this one.  
  • It also has a great black ooze monster, which is pretty amazing.  It's rare that they encounter anything that is so malicious.
What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
  • I thought I was going to be all WOOHOO, but I actually felt pretty sad for it to be the Yar's death episode.  I was surprized that the funeral to see Yar's holographic speech giving the perspective on her relationships with the other crew members.  I understand using this as a device to communicate the relationships, but some of the relationships felt pretty new to have such depth, even so it was pretty fascinating.
  • Now we have the third episodes in a row where Riker is in danger of dying, last ep of 1.22 Symbiosis one of the druggies holds him hostage via energy charge and in 1.21 The Arsenal of Freedom he is encased in an energy field, and now Armus pulls him into the black slick.  That's a heck of a dangerous time for Riker!
What feels different now, than then:
  • I forgot that the big message here is the horror of Armus being so indifferent to life and wanting to inflict pain for his own amusement.  That's pretty disturbing, but I forgot that element of the episode and just remembered Armus as an evil creature.
  • I actually was surprized they leave Armus there to continue to demise in it's own despair, they don't destroy him (I don't think they can), they can't reach him - not even Deanna.  It actually feels like an admission of the existence of pure evil, which is rather unnerving.
What remained the same:
  • I still find the Riker getting pulled into the black goo really scary.  And ... how did that even work?  While he is 'in' the goo it slicks over the shuttlecraft and thins out.  How is that possible?
What I see differently:
  • I didn't get much new insight on this one to be honest, although I was surprized to find Yar's final speech kind of touching.  I feel like I'm getting soft!
Great Quotes:
  • "I am a skin of evil, left here by a race of Titans, who believed if they rid themselves of me, they would free the bonds of destructiveness." - Armus
  • "You say you are true evil? Shall I tell you what true evil is? It is to submit to you. It is when we surrender our freedom, our dignity instead of defying you." - Picard
  •  "My friend Data. You see things with the wonder of a child. And that makes you more human than any of us." - Yar
Left off at:
Picard gets Troi (and the barely noted almost-red-shirt pilot) off the planet & has warning signs put up for people to not land and therefore avoid Armus; plus there is a funeral service to Yar where she speaks to the crew as a hologram.

Images Source: TrekCore 


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