Mad Matt Watches A Star Trek STTNG:S1E25 The Neutral Zone

This is my first in a series where I watch a random star trek episode, and write my thoughts as they occur. There are likely spoilers.

This episode is the season finale of the first season of Next gen, so not only have I seen it, but I remember parts of it. Picard is away, they find a derelict Earth ship that got way out to wherever we are. So we’re going to send the least human of the command crew over to take a look. Nice.

Interesting that Riker thinks leaving the ship be is the best course of action. Isn’t there Star Fleet Protocol for this situation? I mean, sailors are superstitious, so I can see it being bad luck or something, but he made his ruling as temporary commander as if it was too much work to investigate.

Data has no problem with doing work and was probably just spinning his wheels as they waited for Picard’s return anyway. I mean, how many times can you calculate all the 19 digit primes, amiright?

Okay, Warf smacking his face into a door because it didn’t automatically open for him is funny. I don’t think it’s in character, but it is funny.

These characters are so young. Their movements don’t look fluid. I hadn’t really thought of a character’s body language developing over a season, but it makes sense, now that I think about it.

Data’s eyes are very green. Did they change that later on? Tone it down or something?


Look, I totally get the verisimilitude of Picard using Stardates in the briefing, but come on, throw the audience a bone! Mention that it’s been 3 weeks or 2 hours after they reported in or something. I don’t know how worried I should be. If this is on the scale of years, then its an interesting fact, but not urgent. If it’s been minutes, then that’s also interesting, but still, I’m not 100% worried, unless I’m told its a magic “never goes off line” beacon.

Picard: “We’re sending one ship into the Neutral Zone.”
Riker: “The Enterprise.”
Picard: “No, the Venture. We’re going to Texarcana, to pick up a shipment of beer for a certain Captian Enis, here in Georgia.” (Okay, this was a joke, but now I really want to write Smokey and the Bandit as a Next Gen episode)

Did Picard always sneer like that? He seems so hostile for a commander. Maybe its the fact that he had no idea this was happening (which he should have had some briefing of it, altho he was excited to get everyone to the briefing room). Or maybe its just the first Season. I think he was like that in first episode of Next Gen. Maybe he was in the rest of the episodes too.

Man, I want to fast forward through the rest of this episode. That’s not the goal of MMWaST, tho. But I am feeling a bit of cringe here with this cryogenics speech. It doesn’t feel very well written, which troubles me for some reason. I mean, I know there are some bad eggs in Star Trek, but a season finale should have some polish on it, right?

Picard: “Mr. Data, I am never critical of my crew being curious, but this was a bad idea.”
Data: “It seemed like a good idea at the time, sir”
Mad-Matt: “You know Captain, I will remember that and call you on it if it ever comes up. Just so you know.”

I think it is probably good characterization that Picard is so used to Warf that he doesn’t even consider his appearance. No I’m curious how much speciesism Warf got in the show. Another thing to watch for.

Man, that cheeky little flute when the girl sees Warf. Its trying to get us to laugh at her reaction.

Wait, no, Picard is a jerk and did it on purpose. At least he’s feeling better about the whole thing. I can see why Q likes him.

Yeah, no, the cowboy accent is swaying me. I’m starting to skip these filler scenes.

I wonder what the breakdown pure episode is for action and human pieces and how that varies season to season. This feels like they needed to do a human piece and have a backdrop of the Romulan encounters.

As much as I’m skipping forward, I do think this episode highlights what the future is. Each of the 3 frozen people represent a different aspect of what the writers thought was an issue that plagued people. The lust for power, the wants of hedonism, and the helplessness of looking at the world and wondering what is the point. In the Star trek future, the power is no longer there, the hedonism isn’t rampart, and we’re easily able to see through this passive time-traveler that our lives and out children’s lives can reach generations of people.

I don’t have the context for this episode. I was born six month after it aired, apparently. So any current event tensions that were written in go over my head. Also, I don’t know the lore that well, so the brief appearance of Romulans or “Something New”

This does have an intersting place in my mental database as the second verse of Hank Green’s “What Would Picard Do” song. And for some reason, I’m more likely to quote from that than the actual episode.

So, I passed this episode through my 10 point scale and it got a 4. It was probably really harshly judged. It was still in the first season, so I think the craft wasn’t what it would be later on. Also, there wasn’t really a villian in it, and that’s a part of my scale.I had issues watching it through this time, so I doubt I would watch it again.

We can’t say that any particular plot point is returning, as it’s our first episode, but I picked out 4 ideas that are kind of i dunno, tropey? Themey?

  1. Dead Ship In Space
  2. Is there Protocol for this?
  3. Lost contact with the outpost
  4. Found some past-sicles. Cryogenics/Other Time travel means

That’s it for today. Who knows what tommorrow brings.


(hey, I’m doing this thing. If you like this thing and want me to do more of them, comment below so I can know! Thanks!

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