The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Parallels

When Worf returns from the Enterprise after a bat’leth competition, something seems amiss – and it isn’t just the surprise birthday party his friends arranged for him. Things keep changing – at first, just minor and inconsequential, but when significant parts of his life become radically different, he has to convince the rest of the crew that something is happening to him.

I like this episode. I know I shouldn’t, because the ‘science’ behind quantum signatures and rifts and such is hokum even by Star Trek standards, but it’s just such fun. In the early parts of the episode, you can play spot the difference as things change, and later on it’s fascinating to visit alternate realities. The ending is silly, of course, because you have to restore the status quo within a short space of time, but it’s a fun ride while it lasts.

Different worlds

Some of the glimpses into parallel universes include the following:

  • Wesley as tactical officer.
  • Captain Picard lost at Wolf 359, making Riker captain and Worf (not Data) first officer.
  • Worf married to Deanna, with two children.
  • The Federation overrun by the Borg.
  • The Bajorans as villains, having overthrown the Cardassians and taken their place.
  • Alyssa Ogawa as chief medical officer.
  • Geordi dead after suffering plasma burns in engineering because Worf didn’t raise shields quickly enough.
  • The alternate comm badge style later seen in All Good Things.
  • One version of Worf’s quarters appears to have a half-bat’leth that is attached to a handle. This is unlike any standard Klingon weapon glimpsed elsewhere in the series.

Other points of note

  • This episode would see the budding of a Worf/Deanna romance that would last for the rest of the season. This coupling always felt a bit contrived to me, but on rewatch I can see how their relationship could have grown out of Deanna helping Worf with Alexander.
  • When Prime Worf has to fly back in Prime Shuttlecraft, why aren’t all the other ships exchanging shuttlecraft with each other to match their corresponding Worfs? We definitely see and alternate Worf on the bridge of the Prime Enterprise, for example.
  • Similarly, how are all those alternate Worfs then on the same shuttlecraft as Prime Worf, instead of on overlapping shuttlecraft? Why would all the shuttlecraft occupy the same space when none of the Worfs or Enterprises do? I should stop thinking about this, shouldn’t I?

Summary – Parallels: Silly, but fun.

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