Episode

262

Emergence

Something has taken over the Enterprise, and that something is – the Enterprise. The ship is alive and trying to create life, too. But Picard and crew have places to be. Can they wrest back control from this new life without killing it so they can go back to seeking new life? And can they please play in the holodeck without being almost killed? Find out when Emergence goes into the Mission Log.

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Discussion

  • Pete2174

    I knew I’d seen the Catheter Cowboy somewhere!
    As for the episode it’s a typical late season TNG episode. Not bad, not brilliant.
    Can’t believe we’re so close to the end of TNG in TV format now. Are you doing All Good things as two episodes or one giant episode after the forthcoming and great Preemptive strike?

    Happy new year to everyone too!

    • Roger Birks

      Thats an easy question to answer. It will be one episode. I believe it originally aired as one tv movie anyway – it is a complete episode on the boxsets – and mission log have done all the double-episodes in one m/l episode previously, so definitely no changes now.

      • Pete2174

        Great stuff (although tinged with sadness).

        • DataMat

          Thing is; It is a very nice episode to end the show – A lovely bookend to the show, that both celebrates its past methology, and has fun with its future too.
          John and Ken will likely have a lot of fun talking about it, and perhaps will be a little sad that TNG is done. It is the perfect feel-good sci-fi show, the kind that makes you feel good about life I will say.

          • Pete2174

            Very true. Just sad as it was my Trek and one of the few shows I truly love (along with Quantum Leap). But All Good things is a lovely way for it to come to an end…

  • Dave Steph Taylor

    Somehow this show takes a fascinating concept and makes it boring.

  • CmdrR

    I’m glad they have that bendy-straw thing; it really ties the whole episode together. Whew! I need a drink, maybe a White Russian.

    • Scrappy

      That bendy-straw node reminds me of the pipes screensaver from Windows 98

  • Anjune Thursday

    This is probably my favourite Star Trek epside of any series!

    Perhaps the reason the “smart” Enterprise computer’s thinking as it manifests on the holodeck is slow and dreamlike is that the newly emerging Enterprise intelligence/consciousness can’t simply execute a purposefully, intelligently designed program here — rather, it’s an entirely unplanned side-effect of all those “smart” shipboard systems interacting. That is to say, it’s essentially a new, “unprogrammed” brain that can’t just call a “solve a complex equation” subroutine (for example) but has to figure things out on its own, somewhat like a human would have to.

    I also thoughtthat the “lifeform” it creates in the cargo bay was basically a vessel for itself so it can have an existence independent from being other people’s vessel — so instead of reproducing and then going back to being a self-unaware machine, it’s actually leaving the ship.

    • I am glad you like it. I just had issues w this happening despite their being so many other ship’s computers, why was this on the Enterprise…. I would be ok if some foreign system infected the ship… oh well. also, we should have heard the computer voice argue w Picard at some point. The notion of this manifesting itself in the holodeck seemed corny to me…. better to have a HAL-9000 psycho house effect imo…..

  • Roger Birks

    I liked this show.
    It is a harmless 40 minutes of pure filler, but fun filler.

  • Steve Peters

    Questions John and Ken’s discussion made me think of: Is this happening on other starships? Could it happen on the ships of alien races, such as the Klingons or Cardassians, and if it’s the sum of their experiences, would that make those new entities warlike and aggressive? If it IS happening on other ships (I see no reason why it wouldn’t), are these new entities seeking each other out for companionship or to procreate?

    And finally—could a similar process be how the Borg were created?

    • VOY had some silliness about holograms from other societies forming some group of refugees. I never liked the show, nor the holodeck doctor plot devices…. I am ok w sentient mechanical lifeforms, but I just like there to be some plausible impetus.

  • Leif Nar

    Do you think Data uses the holodeck to pretend he’s hosting Jeopardy?

  • John Anderton

    This episode could have been about all the things that made Measure of Man great – about what it means to essentially be human.

    Unfortunately, this episode is really about the most innane and ridiculous dialog of people on trains. It is a dull and lifeless affair having neither logical consistency or suspense.

    It also makes the fundamental mistake of substituting a cool tech idea (“ooh, we can make the Enterprise spawn a life!”) with character development, plot and story.

    Science Fiction should never just be about … science fiction.

  • Philip Coultas

    RE: Will taking vertion (sp?) particles kill a white dwarf star? A: Nope, a white dwarf star is a stellar remnant, what is left over when a star like our Sun dies. Already dead, no worries.

    • Dave Steph Taylor

      No but it might help speed up the dying process

      • I always chuckle at how fast Trek, sci-fi in general has these stellar phenomena occur at such rapid rates. Of course, it is for the sake of the viewer and time constraints but still funny.

  • Pete2174

    As an aside from this weeks episode sad to see that Jon Steuer has passed away at age 33.

  • I wanted to see the waiters come out dancing and serving hot chocolate to everyone.

  • Don’t really have much to say on this one…because TNG doesn’t really have much to say this week. All of the potential implications play out in our heads, rather than on-screen – a real story would’ve been, what if the Enterprise decides it doesn’t want to be infested with carbon units anymore? Wouldn’t that have been a potential series ender? We’ve spent years seeking out new life and it’s evolving within our own AI? What is our responsibility to this new form of life since we basically created it?

    But none of that is addressed, or will be. Not even on Voyager, which made a big deal about that ship having “bio-neural gel packs” (they’re like Tide Pods…BUT THEY THINK!). Instead, Menosky officially flies the communicating-by-metaphor thing nose-first into terrain with the train denizens on the holodeck…and…a Krazy Straw is born…and…that’s it. This should’ve been a huge development, but instead it’s “woah, glad that’s over, let’s forget it ever happened.”

    I remember the anguished outcry when it was announced that shows like Lost and Mad Men would be making their exit via significantly shortened seasons. Episodes like Emergence make me wonder: is it better to see your show and characters take an early exit, leaving you to yearn for the potential that could have been, or is it better to see them doing a death march, trudging toward filling out that full-season order of 20-odd episodes, having already clearly run out of creative enthusiasm?

    • VOY intro’d that gel pack nonsense and phaser compression rifles and a different beam out effect..ugh, none of that stuff ever mattered did it? Neither does this episode. I think at one point I thought an alien presence was involved, but I guess this was completely on the Enterpirses computer right? Ugh, just silly. Like this is the first computer on a ship to go through this? Why? Is it a death row inmate infused Skynet? again, more junk….computers becoming self aware..I can handle but there should be something fundamentally different about this computer vs other UFP, Starfleet ship computers. If perhaps something of Moriarty or Lore or Ira Graves had infected the 1701-D mainframe, even the Bynars…but no… ugh…again. Weak episode imo.

      • I thought Moriarty’s second appearance was an excellent episode; he wasn’t “evil,” he just wanted to grow and be free and independent.

    • Dave Steph Taylor

      Ya the follow through is the most annoying.

    • Scrappy

      I think its better to get as much content as possible from your show, especially a show like Star Trek. Think of the many discussions on various podcasts that have came from reviewing or referencing this episode. Besides, this episode is probably someone’s favourite even though the majority may not care for it.

  • Never liked this episode….just the nonsense of “New Vertiform City”- yeah that’s the ticket! ugh… the holodeck trope always annoyed me because, why would you install tech like this on ships w such a propensity to go haywire and kill its users? Is the holodeck on 1701-D the first ever created? Arrrgh…just silly. Oh well, imo, the “Descent” is over, the next 2 episodes are good ones, but S7 was just an abysmal case of missed opportunities…could have fleshed out or followed up on some interesting stories from earlier seasons…hmmm just off the top of my head…”The Hunted” Roga Danar, “First Contact” Mirasta Yale, and of course…there’s always more social issues that could have been touched on that TNG just skirted around…

  • Scrappy

    The guy on the train should’ve said to Troi “Hey lady get your hands off my brick”

  • Jay Palm

    Emergence: The Book might actually exist, as Stephen Pinker’s “How the Mind Works”. It explores the idea of specialized modules of intelligence for domains such as vision, language, and reasoning. It’s non-fiction though, so there aren’t any interesting characters.
    Hofstadter’s much heavier “Gödel, Escher, Bach” discusses self-referential systems more abstractly, touching on consciousness as an example. and features several colorful characters, including Achilles and a tortoise.

    But enough about books. More importantly, I think there’s an additional 47 in this episode: when the brick wall collapses, it reveals a door numbered 1136, and 11 + 36 = …