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TNG 3-18

TNG 3x18

Original airdate: 3/26/1990
Rewatch date: 10/9/2011

Captain Picard is kidnapped, put in captivity along with three disparate aliens, and replaced by a doppelganger.

Spoiler-free notes:

Captain Picard has an amazing memory.

Why doesn't Troi feel anything wrong with the fake Picard? She should be able to sense that he is actually an alien.

The Bolian, Haro, is incredulous when the Mizarian, Tholl, suggests they have not been mistreated. She argues that being put in captivity is mistreatment enough. However, Haro is actually a fake, a representative of the aliens studying them. The lesson Picard teaches them in the end is that captivity is wrong and amoral, a concept that seems foreign to them. And yet, when they were Haro, they understood this perfectly.

Picard gives everybody free drinks in Ten Forward, but aren't drinks already free?

Dr. Crusher comes on the bridge at the very end and gives Picard an enigmatic, playful look. Even though it's a cute moment, it makes very little sense. From Crusher's point of view, this is still the fake Picard she was just conspiring a mutiny against, because she had no way of knowing that the real Picard had suddenly appeared a few minutes earlier. And even if somebody had somehow brought her up to speed, why would she give him that look except to just mess with his head, something that's not very nice considering what Picard had just been through?

Number of episodes in which a member of the crew is subverted by an alien lifeforce: 6.

This is a pretty good character study for Picard. The two stories being told approach him from opposite sides: in one story, you have Picard completely divorced from his crew and put in a situation where he has to lead strangers, and in the other story, you have the crew reacting to a Picard who is acting completely unlike himself. Both methods are classic ways to explore a character. In the first case, it forces a writer to boil down the character to his essentials, and in the second case, it forces the writer to clearly define what the character would and would not do.

TNG 3x17
"Sins of the Father"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
TNG 3x19
"Captain's Holiday"
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