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Investigating the disappearance of the USSDrake, theEnterprisereceives a message from a seemingly uninhabited world. It turns out to be nothing more than an ancient, prerecorded sales pitch (delivered with sleepy enthusiasm by long-faced character actor Vincent Schiavelli) welcoming visitors to Minos, the arms market of the universe. Beaming down to the planet, Riker, Tasha, and Data wander about a lush forest before encountering a series of flying sentinels (vaguely resembling outboard motors minus their propellers), the first easily destroyed by phaser fire, but subsequent incarnations adapting themselves to the crewmembers' attacks. Meanwhile, Picard and Dr. Crusher also go exploring, finding themselves trapped in an underground cave where the captain must tend to the doctor's broken leg. With both Picard and Riker on the planet, La Forge finds himself in command for the first time; he's not the only one questioning whether he's ready for the job. Though the situation is old hat and unfolds with a certain tattered predictability, this is one of the better outings ofThe Next Generation's first season. The characters are fleshed out without resorting to too much overdrawn dialogue (even the usually aggravating almost-romance between Picard and Crusher is subtly drawn); in particular it's Geordi's day to shine, and LeVar Burton brings a nice self-confidence to the heretofore submissive engineer. Overlooking the studio-bound landscapes typical of earlyStar Trek, the episode also features some impressive effects in the brief scenes of theEnterprise's saucer separation, a clever device that fortunately was never overused on the show. Nothing groundbreaking, though no major missteps either.--Bruce Reid
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Genre:  Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio:  Paramount
CastLeVar Burton, Gates McFadden
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review by . October 11, 2004
This is another one of the "technology gone wild" episodes of Star Trek. It is no better than the others are, as there are several points of absurdity. The Enterprise is sent to investigate the disappearance of the USS Drake and finds the planet Minos inexplicably devoid of intelligent life. The inhabitants of Minos are well known as arms merchants, willing to sell anything to anybody possessing the means of payment. When the Enterprise arrives, they receive an automated message extolling …
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