Investigating the wreckage of a 300-year-old spaceship from Earth, the Enterprise finds a building capable of supporting life in a very unlikely place. But what they find inside is even more unlikely: a staffed and operating, mid-1990s hotel, complete with a front desk, room service and a casino. How did it get there? And how do Riker, Data, and Worf get out? Find out when The Mission Log check into The Royale.
Tags: Air Force, America, bellboy, Cliff Bole, Earth, Hotel Royale, Keith Mills, NASA, Noble Willingham, The Next Generation, The Next Generation Season 2, The Royale, TNG, United States
I love this episode. In my opinion, it’s underrated and perhaps a little bit unfairly disliked. The genius of this one is the fact that the source material is acknowledged to be bad. While it’s essentially a “holodeck goes bad” episode, the crew doesn’t have to spend the entire show being amazed by the technology of the holodeck (and its distressing lack of safety protocols). Instead, the weaknesses of stories like this, such as the cheesy acting and narrative plot holes, can be explained away as being true to the source novel. It’s a great way to get around the issues of “holodeck” type episodes.
Other things I love: Picard’s reaction to the book kills me every single time. Some of the best comedy in the entire series, so well played by Stewart. The tone switches between comedy and creepy very effectively. The hotel room scene with the corpse is creepy and so memorable. The Riker-Data-Worf away team is maybe the best group of characters to be on an away team. Micky D is the greatest of all time.
Things I’m not crazy about: the crew on the Enterprise has nothing to do for the first half. The casino set is extremely cheap. The character of Tex and his mistress are totally useless.
I really enjoy this one. It’s a fun episode.
“When the train comes in, everybody rides”
This should go on the list of episodes that show that Data actually does have emotions.
I have a personal theory that Data was built with simple emotions that were suppose to grow.
Could be! Could also be something he picked up from reading the book or from observing those around him. In any case, would we be able to tell the difference?
What I wonder is would Data be able to tell the difference?
Reminds me of an exchange between Sam and Claptrap in the videogame “Poker Night at the Inventory 2”
Sam: So you don’t actually feel emotions, you just fake them?
Claptrap: There’s a difference?
Sam: Uh, lemme get back to you on that.
full quote can be found here if you want
Hey! “It was a dark and stormy night” is also the first sentence of A WRINKLE IN TIME, one of the greatest books of my childhood, and a Newberry Award winner! (Actually, I suspect author Madeline L’Engle was using it as a sly joke.) :p
This episode always reminded me of “Hotel California” by the Eagles.
Or a Roach Motel.
“Uh, it’s -20K — With the wind chill …”
“It was dark and stormy, McKnight.” – Riker explaining the conditions on the away team to one of the helm officers.
I personally dislike this episode. It’s not a bad episode nor is it due to all the plot holes… I think that it is because it’s a rather boring episode that doesn’t have messages, meanings, or morals really. It seems to me it is less like a story and more like a list of actions that happen… Kinda like how history told right is great entertainment, but history told just as a series of dates is bland and boring.
I could have sworn it was NORTHERN California that was always crying to be made its own state?
It’s not even a Noth vs South California thing. There are several proposals for splitting California into several states, the most recent one splits it into 5…
Also with regards to this discussion, there are arguments for New York City to be it’s own state, having more population by itself than most states have. Another is converting D.C. into a full state.
But considering this is the 80s when this was made it is far more likely the creators of the show were thinking of the US territories that should already be states but aren’t. There are plenty to choose from.
Come on, everyone. It’s obvious this astronaut was really Dave Bowman. In the end of 2001, he’s shown growing old in the hotel room, dining on room service, and finally dying in his bed. The aliens who set this up sucked him through a wormhole (or whatever those special effects were supposed to be), and were represented by the monolith, which may or may not have been a physical object. At any rate, it represents the unknowable motivations of the aliens who are masterminding this situation. I think John’s talking about how the aliens are repentant for killing the others, or trying to be nice to the astronaut miss the mark … we can’t always understand the motivations of alien minds. That’s what the whole Fermat’s Last Theorem thing in the beginning was supposed make you think about … some problems are just not understandable, yet we must try to understand them anyway.
So did I overthink it enough for you?
Dave Bowman….wOw…mind :blown! great idea! man, how cool that would be to have some sci-fi tie ins…
This is such a bland and boring show. I’m amazed it has devout fans. And this is coming from someone who adores TNG.
The thing we learned early on with Mission Log is that EVERY episode of Star Trek is someone’s favorite episode.
yes indeed. “Cloud Minders” is my favorite episode of TOS. “Starship Mine” is my favorite of TNG. yeah, weird, I know.
A corollary to that: Every TV series that’s ever been made, is someone’s favorite. I’ve seriously noticed that.
It currently costs over $10,000 per pound to launch anything into space, which means someone REALLY must have liked that book to bring it along.
Plus, interesting how TNG creators predicted the iPad, but failed to predict the e-reader, even though rudimentary forms were already in existence when this episode aired.
I always liked this episode for a different reason. It reminds me of Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris. There is an alien, but it is never seen or explained. It is just… alien, and unknowable. Why did it create the pocket? We can’t know, just like Picard can’t know Fermat’s last theorem (actual proof aside). I like that – most stories feel like they have to explain the alien and all of its motivations. In this story they don’t. Was it an involuntary response? An effort to make things right? Creating a zoo? It’s an unknowable alien, that’s the answer. Any one answer would have made the story much less satisfying to me.
I really want to know more about when Richey’s crew was “infected” by these aliens. All the questions that came up in discussion about whether they could make certain foods, or know how to interact with Richey could possibly be explained by these events.
Was the infection and subsequent death of the crew quick? or did an alien possess a crewmember and live among them for a certain period of time? Was there a “The Thing” like event aboard Richey’s craft where people were being replaced? Maybe it was the Vendorians from TAS. They replaced crewmembers and eventually felt super guilty for killing and becoming them, so they let Richey live.
Listening to this podcast had me thinking about this episode more than I ever did before… I wonder, am I the only one trying to figure out what book I would want to have had with me in this situation? At first I thought I would want one of my favorite books, but then… all the best books are full of conflict and stress…great reading, but too much drama for a nice life, so then I was thinking what kind of book would I want? At first I thought, maybe a romance (the kind of book I would never really read, honestly), cause then I could just, you know, meet someone nice and live out my life, but then I realized the way this episode plays out, it would just reset once the ‘romance’ was achieved… I don’t think there’s a way this whole idea of having someone live in a book could ever be anything other than torture
If they had looked around a little more they would have noticed the Klingon away team still playing nickel slots and eating complimentary shrimp cocktails..
“Baby needs a new pair of shoes.”
Another good lesson to be gleaned from this episode? If you take a lengthy space journey, bring along a BIG novel, well-written with a vast landscape and many interesting characters, and a timeline spanning centuries. And lots of sex scenes.