The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Shades of Gray

When Riker gets infected with microbes on an away mission, the prognosis doesn’t look good. Eventually, Pulaski works out that stimulating Riker’s memories is the key to altering the growth rate of the microbes – but can she work out which type of memories will slow down their progress before the microbes infect his brain?

Described by The New Trek Programme Guide as “a shoddy cost-cutting exercise”, Shades of Gray is a damning indictment of how low Star Trek can go when it runs out of money. I’ve watched my fair share of clip shows, and whilst none of them can be said to be a masterpiece, many are better put together than this one. The framing story is weak and stupid, whilst the memories chosen are a haphazard collection of random bits and pieces with barely any coherent thread – not even that provided by the “these are the love memories, these are the fear memories” device. The only redeeming feature of this episode is that it marks the end of Pulaski’s reign of terror.

Enterprise Procedure

  • Given how easily Riker got stung by a vine, why do away teams continue to visit planets with nothing more than flimsy Starfleet uniforms? And for Riker to say “well, these things happen” just shows how little life is valued in the 24th century.
  • Pulaski’s probes penetrate through Riker’s skull like a knife through butter. And when she withdraws them, there’s hardly any bleeding. I hit my head on the corner of a glass cabinet door last year, and it looked like I’d been brutally murdered.
  • Pulaski uses tricordrazine – this must be an enhanced form of the cordrazine that McCoy injected himself with in The City on the Edge of Forever.
  • These days, Troi calls Riker Will rather than Bill.
  • Why does Pulaski beam down just to take a look at Riker and say “beam him up anyway?” And why is there no special medical quarantine area to beam him directly to? Just as well he wasn’t infectious, eh?

Summary – Shades of Grey: The infamous – and infamously bad – Star Trek clip show.

I was challenged to write this review using only sentences from previous reviews, but that’s a task for another day.

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