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Star Trek: Asterisk "The Child"

Vital Information
Series: The Next Generation
Episode: S02E01
Air Date: November 21, 1988
Written by: Jaron Summers, Jon Povill and Maurice Hurley
Directed by: Rob Bowman

Premise
Troi gets impregnated by an alien at the same time as the Enterprise is supposed to transport a deadly plasma plague. Perfect timing.

Review
We start the episode off with the Enterprise picking up a brand new shiny Chief Medical Officer from the USS Repulse, Dr. Katherine Pulaski. But we don't see Pulaski just yet. She's being dropped off by shuttle because apparently she hates transporters. We see the shuttle leave the Enterprise and we see Riker talk to the captain of the Repulse and the two ships go on their way. Meanwhile, the Enterprise's brand new Chief Engineer, Geordi LaForge, is in the ready room explaining to Picard how his containment modules work. They're about to pick up a deadly plasma plague, and this is what's going to keep everyone from catching it and dying. Hopefully...

The purpose of this mission is to pick up the plague and transport it to the Rachelis system in order for them to find a cure. It's a simple enough job, so long as the containers hold. And so long as a mysterious alien doesn't come into the Enterprise and creep on people in the middle of the night. Well, this is exactly what happens. But no one knows about it until Picard discovers that Pulaski hasn't checked in yet and that she's in 10-Forward. Ready to berate her, he goes and finds that she's discussing an important matter with Deanna Troi. The councilor is pregnant.
See? Toldja so.
Meanwhile, Wesley Crusher has a decision to make. His mom is now Head of Starfleet Medical. He could either go join her, or stay on the Enterprise. Currently, the Enterprise's plasma plague mission is keeping him from reuniting with his mom, but by the time the mission is done, he needs to decide if reuniting is what he really wants. Luckily for him, there's a brand new character in 10-Forward ready to give him advice. Guinan takes on the responsibility of listening to Wesley's troubles and offering insight. And she lets him know that maybe he shouldn't always do what's expected of him.

And now it's time for Troi to give birth. That's right, after about a day of gestation, her alien baby is ready to pop. The birth, and, in fact, the entire pregnancy has been entirely painless for her, despite how quickly it's gone. When the boy is born, Troi names him Ian. And after a few hours, when Picard goes to check on Ian, the boy has grown to be the equivalent of eight years old.
He has also gained the abilities to both speak and stare into the depths of your soul.
It doesn't take long before Ian is in school, playing around with some puppies. He shows remarkable insight for a boy of his age and his teacher says he has even grown since he came to class. It's all very strange, of course, but Troi does her best to be the best new mommy that she can be. Even despite the fact that he seems to know more about his alien self than he lets on. So this situation seems to be handling itself, what about the regular mission? Oh, Geordi's just struggling to hold back a deadly virus from escaping onto the ship.

That's right, while the rest of the crew seems enamored by Ian, Geordi is watching as the plasma plague is getting stronger and stronger and threatening to escape containment and he can't figure out why. All he knows is there's some kind of weird radiation coming from inside the ship. Data and Picard go off in search of it and discover that it's coming from Ian... but not before Ian discovers this himself and begins to self-destruct. With Data, Picard, Pulanski and Troi surrounding him, Ian dies and then becomes a tiny light that floats into Troi's hands and tells her all his secrets.
Look at that hair... it's full of secrets.
Turns out this alien was floating along, saw humanity and decided he was curious about us, so he found the one woman who was only half human and decided to be born through her to see what human life was all about. When he discovered that he was responsible for the plasma plague getting stronger, he decided to end his study and move along to save the ship while, in the meantime, putting his "mother" in tears. Douchebag life form. Meanwhile, Wesley has decided that he is no longer a child, either, and doesn't need his mother. He requests to stay aboard the Enterprise. So Picard appoints Data to be his teacher and Riker to be his father figure, and with Riker's new beard, that should work out perfectly.

Overall Thoughts
After wobbling around in season 1, feeling out everyone's characters, everything is finally right where it should be! ...Except for the doctor. Riker has a beard, Geordi is Chief Engineer, O'Brien is back on board, Guinan is in 10-Forward, but Dr. Crusher is gone. I'm saddened that Gates McFadden found it necessary to leave, but she'll be back in the next season. Until then, we have to suffer through this new chick. The story of "The Child" itself, though, was pretty cool, I guess. I just hate it when aliens find the need to invade without giving any reason until they're ready to leave. But I guess that's a normal Star Trek thing. This wasn't the first time this happened, and it probably won't be the last.