The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Where Silence Has Lease

When the Enterprise encounters a mysterious hole in space, their curiosity compels them to investigate. But within this mysterious phenomenon, many strange things await . It’s as if a great intelligence is using the crew as lab rats in a giant maze, but will they ever be able to escape?

The main thing anyone who has seen this episode will remember is that Nagilum, the entity which is toying with the Enterprise, threatens to kill between a third and half the crew in an attempt to understand the intricacies of death, and Picard responds by setting the auto-destruct on the ship and not cancelling it until the last possible second. Actually, this doesn’t even happen until quite late on in the episode – before that we have some investigation of the phenomenon, a battle with a fake Romulan ship, and Riker and Worf exploring a fake Galaxy-class starship. It’s no wonder that overall it feels very slow paced.

Characterisation

  • Two episodes in, and Doctor Pulaski continues to be annoying, hanging out on the bridge for no real reason (it was cool when McCoy and Crusher did it, but they were likeable), and treating Data with disdain. She calls Data a device, refers to him as ‘it’, and is openly prejudiced against him – that’s grounds for disciplinary action, surely?
  • Worf starts the episode by introducing Riker to the intense weaponsfest that is Klingon calisthenics, goes on duty to have his every suggestion ignored or overruled, and then gets very annoyed with the layout of the fake starship. “There’s one bridge! One Riker!”. Calm down, Lieutenant.
  • Troi gets away with another “I can sense something, but I’m not really sure what it is”. When will someone call her on her bullshit? She’s not sensing anything – it’s just a massive con!

How expendable is a Starfleet officer?

When you think about it, the only way to investigate most of the phenomena encountered by the Enterprise crew is to throw caution to the winds and jump in headfirst. Maybe starships are expected to get destroyed the first time they encounter something dangerous, and anything beyond that is a bonus.

  • Why do Worf and Riker beam over unprotected to a starship that they know isn’t a real starship? At least wear spacesuits or something, in case you get beamed directly into space. Or beam Data over, since he doesn’t need an atmosphere to breathe – although I suppose the vacuum and extreme cold of space would have a deleterious effect on his circuits.
  • Last time the self-destruct was activated, it was said that it couldn’t be stopped within the final five minutes, but here Picard and Riker it cancel it with seconds left on the clock. I guess there was an OS update for the Enterprise.
  • It sucks to be the one guy on the bridge who isn’t a main character – his days were numbered once he sat down at the navigation panel.

Other points

  • Is that meant to be a Gorn in Worf’s Klingon calisthenics program?
  • In this episode and the last, the Morgana Quadrant is mentioned. Clearly this not a quadrant in the sense of the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta quadrants of the galaxy.

Summary – Where Silence Has Lease: Powerful aliens act like dicks towards the Enterprise crew – again.

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