Captain Picard is visited by his old archaeology professor with an intriguing proposal: leave the Enterprise and come with him to uncover one of the great mysteries of the ages. Hot on his tail though are Klingons, Cardassians and Romulans who are after the same thing. Is it a weapon? A source of power? Or something with far greater meaning? The Chase is on in this week’s Mission Log!
Tags: algorithm, ancient alien, ancient humanoid, archaeology, Atalia VII, B'aht Qul challenge, biscuit, Caere, Cardassian, computer program, Deep Space 4, DNA, genetics, Gul Ocett, Indri VIII, John Cothran Jr., Klingon, Kurl, Kurlan naiskos, lichen, Linda Thorson, Loren III, Maurice Roeves, mystery, Norman Lloyd, Nu'Daq, paleontology, Professor Galen, puzzle, Rahm-Izad, regret, remorse, Romulan, Salome Jens, The Chase, The Next Generation, The Next Generation Season 6, The Preservers, This Side of Paradise, wild goose chase, Ya'Seem, Yridian
This episode is the one we can point to when people ask why there are so many humanoid types out there in the Galaxy.
You guys mentioned it last week, pretty amazing how Picard is an expert at so many things.
yeah…a good way to explain it I and not touch on budget! hahaha, show biz!
Agree with John & Ken. This one is a very Star Trek episode. And yes it always bugged me that a being from way back when spoke perfect English.
BTW. Was this the first appearance by Salome Jens?
It was indeed!
Thanks for the confirmation.
Sure wish they and other races would have garbled speech for a few seconds…then scramble into English….dang, that would make so much more sense/be more digestible!!
Jumping ahead in the timeline, I seem to recall the Kurlan Nabiscos Intergalactic Nesting Cookie Jar making an appearance in the movie ST:Generations. At the very end, Captain Picard casually tosses it aside when looking for his photo album. I guess he can be excused as he had a lot on his mind…
In ‘Generations,’ after the D’s saucer crashes onto the planet (spoiler alert), Picard pics through his belongings. He tosses the Kurlan naiskos aside like trash. Just another reason to hate on ‘Generations.’ https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fba2b097c43a9fe681cb29896356be3b3f1b7a172eff7f91ba8f3a7deec58ae6.jpg
btw — T-Rexes in starships? Who’s streaming THAT show?! I would watch the hell outta that!
Coming soon to CBS All Access
Ha, at least it survived
Definately a scene that really hurt back then. They could have used one of his Shakespeare books for that since they probably are just replicated.
Yup. I always wished the TNG movies waited a few years to build up anticipation to them…also, that they did more of these references to the series…some sort of call back…sigh
I wonder if the naiskos makes Picard think of the borg
An excellent episode per se, both fun and with a nice underlying idea of knowledge vs power. The only real problem with it is that the themes are so huge that they need more than a single episode to really deal with them. This is a massive tale in terms of the nature of life in the galaxy, and yet it’s dealt with in an almost throwaway manner. I’m left wondering if this would have been a better season finale than Descent.
That was a trick question. Spoiler: an episode involving an old man sitting in a bin and reading out random numbers would have been better than Descent.
Looking forward to Ken & Johns review of Decent greatly….
I thought it gave a great answer as to why it is that all the aliens are mostly humanoids in Star Trek
Holy cow, it’s Norman Lloyd! So this places the whole Star Trek universe inside the snowglobe, right? (Just kidding.)
Spoilers! Hahaha 😉
Great job once again Ken and John! Appreciate the comments about Picard shirking off his orders. In this episode, notice that when Deanna went to Picard to discuss the importance of mediating the conference on Itailia 7 that had been scheduled for 6 months he tersely said, “…if that means inconveniencing a few squabbling delegates for a few days then so be it. I will take the full responsibility.” Effectively shutting down her very reasonable suggestion. And then Deanna backed out of the office, a little defeated. Very similar, when Deanna attempted to approach the controversial Captian Jellico (Chan of Command) with a few suggestions he shut her down as well – and added that she was to wear the standard uniform (thank goodness). That was also a difficult moment. It was suggested that Deanna’s empathic ability should have led her to understand that approaching Jellico was a futile effort. My thought then and in this case is that Deanna has a job to do regardless of what her empathic abilities might be telling her. Even if it means getting shut down by the captain.
And yet no consequences from Star Fleet for going on his own
I wasn’t sure if I missed a bit w Picard asking Starfleet for “special duty” permission. Seemed reasonable since he is…well Captain Picard. Also, would seem like w all the craziness in the galaxy things would come up where Captains would need some discretion…
“What is the life of one race compared to the vast stretches of cosmic time?”
I promise, this is my last comment on this episode… It would have been too much and tragically unbelievable if they would have “gotten it” and all experienced some sort of epiphany when the program was activated.
There are those of us who hope that the arrival of extra terrestrial lifeforms to our planet would bring about some sort of renewed hope for the state of mankind. That human beings would cast aside our petty bickering and concerns about our differences and togehter usher in a new era of hope, peace, and discovery. But… I wonder… would that be the case?
“That’s all! If she were not dead I would kill her.”
“The very notion that a Cardassian could have anything in common with a Klingon, it turns my stomach.”
Everyone gets it, Series over
The Romulans get it. I’ve always liked that while the Cardassians and Klingons miss the point, the Romulans DO get it.
I recall some Twilight Zone 80s episode where aliens arrive and tell the UN your wars are pathetic. So Earth leaders make world peace ASAP, expecting alien approval. Then alien says “Your wars are pathetic because they are so small scale and your weapons so weak! We started your planet off millennia ago to raise and breed fighters for our intergalactic militia!!”- interesting take I thought. Also, Stephen Hawking’s recent doom and gloom about alien first contact will kick our asses was pretty cool/terrifying. I think it is pretty likely to go down in a way we will not expect, predict or enjoy.
This should have been a two-part episode. It had a better story than Birthright. Birthright should have been one episode.
Could have used some more time for sure
RIGHT?!!?!? talk about cramming a BIG concept into a LITTLE show. Ugh…then we get more about DATA/WORF Daddy issues…
Birthright is clearly two episodes that were patched together. Its very messy, by far the worst two-part episode of the show in my opinion.
I do like the Data subplot in Part I, the rest is difficult to get through, just dull…
TNG did tend to be a little dull and ‘bland’ quite a lot, late in its run, as if the writers began to fall lazy and by the numbers.
The early seasons had bad episodes, but at least they all seemed to have an ‘umpth’, and sort of imaginative look and feel. Late TNG was bland and the bad episodes are even worse for it.
Space archeology is awesome. The fun of the concept is enough to save kind of a dumb wrap-up. If they made a Trek show centered around a globe-hopping Vash-like archeologist I would watch it.
Indiana Jones in Space
Am I the only one who wants to see a comedic take on this episode?
I’m thinking a cross between Spock’s Brain and Return to Tomorrow
I’ve always felt the Klingon captain was PLAYED like it was a comedic episode. Compared with Worf, K’ehleyr, Gowron, Kurn, Gorkon, Kor, Kang (or even “the fat one), this guy comes off like a braggart and a doofus, more like Koloth. Only Koloth was in comedic episodes, so it fit.
This episode has given me some serious existential questions. Because the artifact is now a resident of a starship (sat right next to the space fish Livingston), is it now a space artifact? If it’s not, then how do we get space pillows and space forks? What qualifies an item as a space item?
On a side note, it’s becoming a game to spot Lt. Junior J in each episode.
No one has mentioned yet how sad it is that the ancient race went to space, traveled the galaxy and no one was there. Where were the Q during this time?
Just had a thought, the message of this episode isn’t really “work together”
It’s more “work together, or not, you’ll find the answer either way”
I took it as…look how much you accomplished being childish…you could do A LOT more…obviously the writers had no idea about coming Dominion War, but they all did eventually rally to fight a greater threat.
@@MLhostJohn:disqus NICE TOS call outs there guys. I believe you even mentioned the one that someone once said was ” the bane of my existence “….
Well, when it comes t Ken that would be “This Side of Paradise.” “The Paradsie Syndrome” seemed to also bring up some, uh, unpleasant memories too!
“This Side of The Paradise Syndrome”! Nice!
“Professor Galen” Norman Lloyd age 102- credited as oldest working actor currently!!! RESPECT!!
“Captain Nu’Daq” John Cothran Jr.
“Gul Ocet” Linda Thorson https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a457552bd82ce98bec81c6c228db4963a5578d1869cf628114da4ac663fbf07f.jpg
Last of the Mohicans “Major Steele” Maurice Roeves /
“Romulan Captain” Maurice Roeves…. I knew he seemed familiar!!
“Alien” Salome Jens
“Gul Ocet” Linda Thorson
One more random thought,
There are those who believe…that life here began out there, far across the Universe…with tribes of humans…who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians…or the Toltecs…or the Mayans…that they may have been the architects of the Great Pyramids…or the lost civilizations of Lemuria…or Atlantis. Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man…who even now fight to survive–somewhere beyond the heavens!
Ok, kind of good episode with we are all brothers them at the end.