Season Six, Episode 4
Written by Ronald D Moore
Directed by Alexander Singer
Main Cast:
Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes as Commander William Riker
LeVar Burton as Lt Geordi LaForge
Michael Dorn as Lt Worf
Gates McFadden as Dr Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis as Counsellor Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner as Lt Cmdr Data

Guest Cast:
James Doohan as Captain Montgomery "Scotty" Scott
Lanei Chapman as Ensign Ragar
Erick Weiss as Ensign
Stacie Foster as Lieutenant Bartel
Ernie Mirich as Waiter


The Enterprise locates the USS Jenolan, a starship that has been missing for seventy-five years. It is pinned to the surface of a Dyson Sphere -- a large metallic platform that is build around an actual star. Riker and Geordi find the Jenolan's transporter still active and inside is the pattern of one of its crew. They activate the transporter and who re-materialises but Captain Montgomery "Scotty" Scott. But Scotty is a man out of time and he finds himself more of a hindrance than a help to Geordi. But when the Enterprise is snared and pulled into the Sphere, he is of invaluable assistance to Geordi, using the Jenolan to hold open the mouth of the Sphere, thus enabling the Enterprise to escape. As a thank you for his help, Picard lets Scotty have a shuttle craft which he can take wherever he should desire.


First of all, I just gotta say -- THAT'S more like it! The sixth season kicked off with no less than *three* out of three duff episodes, ranging from neutral (Time's Arrow, Part two) to quite dreadful (Realm of Fear). This -- this is a lot better and far more worthy of the show. It's also a more than worthy tribute to the show's progenitor, and whilst it's not a patch on that perennial DS9 masterpiece Trials and Tribble-ations (where Sisko and crew travel back in time to save Kirk's life) it's hugely enjoyable nonetheless. 

Relics is everything that the fifth season's Spock-fest Unification wasn't. Sure, Unification had its moments (mainly in the first half), but it smacked of a dull, laborious plot and suffered a painfully disappointing lack of spark and lustre in terms of the character interaction. Relics, on the other hand, captures the warmth, emotion and wistful nostalgia that truly befits what amounts to a loving nod to the illustrious Original Series. Me like, very much.

For a start, the use of the transporter to enable Scotty to basically step from the Original Series (the Movie series, anyway) into TNG is a masterstroke -- no doubt about that. Whoever came up with the idea deserves a good pat on the back. It also serves as an ingenius way to connect and contrast both shows in a way that Unification failed. Scotty's loveable blustering was a lot of fun, from his fond reminiscing of past glories (see if you can pick out the TOS episodes mentioned -- I got Elaan of Troyius, The Naked Time and By Any Other Name, but there's probably more!), to his use of such catch-phrases as "you canna change the laws of physics" and an explanation of how he achieved his "miracle worker" status ("ye didnae tell him how long it would really take, did ye?"). 

He's such great fun and James Doohan does a wonderful job, clearly relishing an episode which puts him firmly in the spotlight for a change. Contrast this with stale, boring Geordi who's far too preoccupied with his technobabble to pay a blind bit of notice. By virtue of this, it's Geordi that comes off the least likeable of the pair. There's something in that; as much as I like TNG, you have to admit that it places too much emphasis on silly science and technobabble and not nearly enough on fun and adventure as TOS did. If they had been able to consistently achieve this level of quality I wouldn't be complaining, but it's something that has to be said nonetheless.

The only real problem with the Scotty storyline was the fact it was a little obvious. What I'm referring to, of course, is the "Scotty feels useless and gets all depressed but redeems himself at the end" repartee. Let's just say that there's nothing particularly fresh or original about it, but it is executed very well. Between the sheer exuberance of Doohan's scenery-chewing performance and Ron Moore's wonderfully nostalgic script, what Relics may lack in plot it makes up for in execution. For instance, the "Scotty gets depressed" part of the aforementioned formula leads to a simply wonderful, magical scene where he gets the holodeck to recreate the bridge of the original Enterprise! Now isn't that a moment of sheer magic? The partial recreation of the Bridge set, and the effects used to stitch in old footage are simply awesome. Of course, as I said earlier, this is simply nothing compared to Trials and Tribble-ations but it was the highlight of the episode here, OK! I must also say that Moore's choice to play down Scotty's inevitable "redemption" at the climax kept things believable and nicely grounded. The whole episode has an understated feel to it which seems to work very well.

Oh, and let's not forget our "jeopardy B-plot of the week" (TM). Fortunately this was definitely one of the show's more effective efforts and the concept of a Dyson Sphere was very interesting indeed. I don't think the plot quite lived up to the full potential of the premise, degenerating into that all-too familiar "the ship's in danger" formula, leaving a lot of interesting questions unanswered (such as who built the Sphere and where are they?). But I will say that it was a LOT better than the usual anomaly-of-the-week and the very fact that I cared about the unanswered questions in itself says a lot. As usual the technobbale was overdone, but at least this week it seemed to be supported by an actual plot which, following Realm of Fear, which is something of a novelty these days.

Relics is definitely a keeper; in fact I'm quite happy to go on record as saying that this quite easily qualifies as the show's best TOS crossover. The plot itself is a bit by-the-numbers, but benefits from one or two inspired touches (Scotty's transporter "preservation" and the Dyson Sphere), the script is particularly well-written (with a number of great lines) and Doohan is simply a delight as the beloved engineer. Top it off with a healthy dose of nostalgia, some above-average special effects, a good score and some particularly evocative sound-effects...and you have one hell of an enjoyable episode! And don't forget that wonderful scene on the Bridge of the old Enterprise -- simply put, that was worth the price of admission alone...

Rating: 9

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