Enlightenment > Star Trek > TNG
TNG 1-18

TNG 1x18
"Home Soil"

Original airdate: 2/22/1988
Rewatch date: 8/1/2011

A terraforming station grinds to a halt when one of its scientists dies a violent death at the hands of what appears to be a highly intelligent, inorganic form of life.

Spoiler-free notes:

Apparently, nobody ever took another stab at Project Genesis.

When Malencon is shot by the laser drill, why do they waste so much time shutting down the laser before retrieving the body? The transporter works, and no matter what condition Malencon is in, he's going to sick bay. Why not just skip a couple of steps and beam him up directly?

Immediately afterwards, Data is trapped in the room with the laser, and Geordi wastes plenty of time trying to get the door open. Again, we know the transporter works, and we know people can beam out of that exact same room. So why not just beam Data out of there? After about 60 seconds, Picard finally suggests beaming him out, but by then, it is already over.

I really want to know how Data managed to smash up that laser drill so completely.

When discussing whether or not something has to be organic in order to be alive, how come nobody questions whether or not these same questions apply to Mr. Data? Besides, haven't they already come across beings of pure energy, not to mention the fact that the original Enterprise discovered silicon-based life in the similar TOS episode "Devil in the Dark"? It seems strange that they would continue to operate under the basic assumption that you need carbon to have life.

"Disregard incongruity and theorize as to source." Um, not to be a stickler, but that's not how science works. Only through recognizing--not ignoring--the anomalies in our understanding do we come up with new ways of explaining things. If you were to try to understand something by forgetting that it doesn't make sense, as Dr. Crusher is asking the computer to do, you won't be able to come to any meaningful conclusions. That's actually how you create superstition.

"Only life can replicate itself, Doctor." Not true, actually. Viruses, for example, do not qualify as life-forms, and yet they are extremely adept at replicating themselves. Also, exploding stars replicate themselves. A few popular theories posit that even the entire universe can replicate itself. Data should know better than to make such an obviously incorrect generalization.

"Giant ugly bags of mostly water" is one of my personal favorite descriptions of humans.

They shouldn't call it a "microbrain" however. That's Q's nickname for Worf.

These life-forms are probably going to spend three centuries building an army.

I like that this is one of those episodes that tries to address a real scientific question: how do you define life? Still, it's not exactly the best episode so far.

TNG 1x17
"When the Bough Breaks"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
TNG 1x19
"Coming of Age"
Copyright 2011 e. magill. All rights reserved.