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Star trek: The next generation 1.12a - Skin of evil

Stardate 41601.3
Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Episode propaganda

Counsellor Troi is returning from a conference in a shuttle, but while passing Vagra II, the shuttle suddenly spins out of control and crash-lands on the planet, injuring both Troi and the pilot.

When the Enterprise arrives at Vagra, they cannot beam them up. An away team beams down and finds a dark liquid blocking the path to the shuttle. It assumes humanoid form (Mart McChesney) and tells them (voice by Ron Gans) that he is Armus and doesn't share the UFP ideal that all life has a right to exist. Then he kills Tasha yar...

Persons of interest

  • Patrick Stewart .... Captain Jean-Luc Picard
  • Jonathan Frakes .... Commander Will Riker
  • Michael Dorn .... Lieutenant Worf
  • Brent Spiner .... Lieutenant Commander Data
  • Gates McFadden .... Commander Doctor Beverly Crusher
  • Marina Sirtis .... Lieutenant Commander Counsellor Deanna Troi
  • LeVar Burton .... Commander Geordi La Forge
  • Wil Wheaton .... Wesley Crusher
  • Denise Crosby .... Lieutenant Natasha "Tasha" Yar
  • Majel Barrett .... USS Enterprise-D computer voice
  • Mart McChesney... Armus (body)
  • Ron Gans .... Armus (voice)
  • Walker Boone .... Lieutenant Commander Leland T Lynch
  • Brad Zerbst .... Medical Technician
  • Raymond Forchion .... Ben Prieto
  • Joseph Stefano .... Storywriter, Screenwriter
  • Hannah Louise Shearer... Screenwriter
  • Joseph L Scanlan... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Intelligence report

Denise Crosby felt that she wasn't being utilised in a rewarding fashion so she asked to leave the show. She was right; Natasha Yar was little more than a talking red-shirt. It is tough on an actor to turn up on the set day after day and do nothing more than stand around pushing buttons (as exciting as that sounds to people with a button-pushing fetish). Looking back over the first season of The next generation you get the impression that no-one really knew what to do with the character: she's too much a warrior to be as "womanly" as Crusher or Troi, she's too far down the chain of command to lead away missions like Riker, she's not "intelligent" enough to solve problems like Data, she has no special abilities like La Forge, she's not strange and unusual like Worf, she's not old enough to be a captain like Picard.

Natasha Yar is bland.

That said, her death is wonderfully shocking. TV shows don't get rid of actors who have their name in the opening credits because (a) they have a contract and (b) the audience has an emotional investment in the character and (c) the show is built around the ensemble cast. Killing off a major character is an irreversible step (soap operas aside). Besides, in the Star trek world, medicine can revive all but the most severely damaged people such that death is not the end it once was. Not this time. Cool. That her death is meaningless makes it wonderfully bittersweet: it's just like real life.

The whole business of Armus's creators sloughing off their "skin of evil" is a dodgy concept but it serves the part: Yar dies and there's nothing that can be done to fix it. The best that Starfleet can do is leave, placing an interdiction on Vagra II so that no-one else has to suffer a similar fate. Starfleet needs to be humbled or it becomes insufferably arrogant (see Deep Space Nine).

Security censorship classification

M 15 + (Low level violence)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Out now

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