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Lunch » Tags » Tv Shows » Reviews » Star Trek - The Next Generation, Episode 53: The Bonding » User review

Although the role of the energy being is a bit forced, the reaction to a crew K.I.A. is excellent

  • Apr 5, 2009
  • by
This episode is about the human side of the people of the Federation, how they do their jobs and how they respond when things go wrong. While exploring a planet once inhabited by a species that completely destroyed itself through a war, Lt. Marla Aster is killed by a bomb set long ago. Her 12-year-old son Jeremy survives her, and he is now an orphan because his father died several years earlier. Worf was in command of the away team and while he was also injured, he feels responsible for Aster's death and expresses his willingness to perform the Klingon ceremony of R'uustai (the bonding) with Jeremy. This ceremony will make Jeremy part of Worf's family. However, initially Troi advises against it as Jeremy will need time to adjust to the loss.
Wesley Crusher is also deeply affected by the death as it brings back painful memories of his father's death in a Star Fleet mission. The other members of the crew are affected and each has to deal with it in their own way. What makes this episode powerful is that it is a look inside the crew and how they deal with a K.I.A. among them. Geordi leads a second away team and they oddly find many other bombs that were excavated, defused and left where they would easily be discovered.
Suddenly, Jeremy senses a presence in his quarters and it is a creature that has taken the form of his mother. It was an odd scene; for it is absurd that Jeremy would have been left alone in his quarters so soon after his mother's death. The alien presence expresses a goal of transporting Jeremy down to the surface where he will be able to relive his life with his mother. Troi tries to explain to Jeremy that she is not his mother and how he would be living in an artificial environment. The most powerful point of the episode is when Wesley describes the feelings he had when his father died and how for some time he hated Captain Picard. Since his outburst was directed at Picard, it was very moving, both to the viewer and to Jeremy. At the end, the entity, which was only trying to help Jeremy, recognizes that he is best left on the Enterprise and leaves. The episode concludes with Worf and Jeremy completing the R'uustai.
Sometimes, the best science fiction is when it deals with humans and their reactions to things that happen to humans. That is the case here, while the alien presence is a bit forced, the human emotions and reactions to the loss are what makes this episode so good.

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Charles Ashbacher ()
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Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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About this tv show


An Away Team's search of a barren planet turns tragic when a buried bomb explodes and kills one of the group's archaeologists. Worf (Michael Dorn), the team leader, feels he is to blame for the death.

On board the Enterprise, Picard (Patrick Stewart) breaks the news to the victim's 12-year old son, Jeremy (Gabriel Damon). As Worf, himself an orphan, lends comfort to Jeremy, Troi (Marina Sirtis) detects an alien presence aboard the ship-Jeremy's mother, seemingly come back to life!

Picard determines that the image of Jeremy's mother is being created by an energy source from the planet's surface, and that the alien power is gaining control of the transporter room. Can Picard protect Jeremy and save The Enterprise?

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Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Paramount

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