The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: The Survivors

When the Enterprise rushes to answer a colony’s distress call, they are horrified to find that it they have arrived too late, and that the colony has already been destroyed. Perplexingly, however, a single house and its occupants – a pair of botanists in their eighties – appears to have been completely spared. Just what happened here, and what is so special about these retired botanists that they were able to survive?

We’re three episodes into season three now, and nothing has come along to wow me yet, which makes me start to worry – what if the average episode of TNG isn’t as good as I thought it was? This is another ‘decent but not outstanding’ episode with a reasonably obvious twist – admittedly one could argue that it tries to tackle the old “with great power comes great responsibility” debate, but since this doesn’t really happen until the last three minutes, it’s hardly the best example of a misused superpowers story.

With great power comes great inconsistency

The first thing we need to do is to establish the limit of Kevin’s powers. He can create illusions and destroy things many thousands of light-years away, but cannot bring people back to life. Fair enough – destroying things has always been easier than mending or recreating them, after all. However, we must still ask ourselves a couple of questions:

  • For all Kevin’s great powers, he couldn’t detect the Enterprise hanging round in a high orbit waiting for him to recreate his house?
  • Kevin put music into Troi’s mind to stop her from figuring out that he wasn’t human. Troi isn’t the only telepath on board – we know that at the very least, there are Vulcans serving on the Enterprise. Why does Picard never rely on these Vulcans and their abilities? Yes, they are touch-telepaths, so they can’t sense things at a distance like Troi can (or at least like she claims to be able to), but at the very least shouldn’t Dr Selar have performed a mental scan of the afflicted Troi?
  • There was no need for Kevin’s handheld weapon to be non-functioning – unless of course he was trying to impress Worf.

Other points

  • Worf stakes his reputation on the attackers having already departed, and even though he is correct, he appears wrong thanks to Kevin’s illusion. That’s twice already this season that Worf has been fooled by illusions.
  • Troi sports her turquoise variant uniform for the first time.
  • It’s a shame Geordi’s superior vision didn’t spot the Uxbridges’ trap in time to warn Riker not to step in it. Or to notice that Rishon and the house weren’t even real.

Summary – The Survivors: Troi gets a nasty earworm.

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