Series: The Next Generation
Air Date: April 25, 1988
Written by: Joseph Stefano and Hannah Louise Shearer
Directed by: Joseph L Scanlon
An evil tar monster blocks the away teams path to their crashed shuttle with Dianna Troi trapped inside. And then someone dies.
So, after Tasha and Worf have a chat about a martial arts competition that Tasha was going to be in and how Worf bet on her in the ship's pool, Geordi says that Troi, who was coming back on a shuttle from a conference, was having troubles and was falling into the atmosphere of a planet. Unfortunately, the incompetent engineer, Lieutenant Commander Leland T. Lynch, is in the middle of re-aligning the dilithium crystals, so they won't have warp speed until well after Troi's shuttle has crashed. After a while Lieutenant Commander Leland T. Lynch says that they have minimal warp power, but when Picard calls for warp 8, he sasses back saying "I said minimal warp power!" and we never see Lieutenant Commander Leland T. Lynch again.
When they get to the planet, they find that there's some kind of force field preventing them from beaming her immediately up, so Riker takes a team of Data and Tasha do the planet to find her and Picard tells Crusher to go along. When they get down, they encounter an oil slick that follows them around like a lost puppy and disallows them to get to Troi's shuttle. Data scans it and doesn't find any kind of organs or recognizable material of any kind, but it does seem to be alive. And then it talks! "VERY GOOD, TIN MAN." It rises from its place on the ground and takes humanoid form. Riker quickly surmises that they've found trouble.
|There's no way a sentient tar monster can be a good thing.|
Back on the planet, Troi starts talking to Armus after he completely envelops the shuttle. Armus tries to gloat that he'd killed Troi, but Troi knows. She sensed it. Further, she says that the crew will not give him what he wants. When they talk more, Troi analyzes him and discovers his deep loneliness. Meanwhile, up on the ship, they're regathering after Yar's death and Worf is taking over the security duties. He and Wesley discover that Armus is his weakest when he's enveloping the shuttle. The away team, back on the planet, confronts Armus again and Armus just plays around with them. After knocking Geordi's VISOR on the ground, he just up and eats Riker.
|To be fair, Riker is pretty tasty.|
The episode ends with a holographic projection of Tasha Yar addressing the crew upon the occasion of her death among the backdrop of the Windows XP classic desktop wallpaper. After a heartfelt farewell, Data admits some confusion to Picard. He says that during the ceremony, his thoughts were not on Tasha, but rather on how empty his own life will be without her. Picard just tells him, no; Grieving: You're doing it right.
|Excuse me while I make this my wallpaper.|
Overall, this was a pretty good episode. The story of Armus and what he was, how he came to be, was interesting and held my attention. I don't think there's any argument that they could have handled Denise Crosby's exit from the series a little better. "Yesterday's Enterprise" will go a long way toward fixing that, but until then we're left with a sudden, meaningless death just because Denise thought her character wasn't being given enough to do. So, mixed feelings for this episode.