116 – Ethics

Grade: C+

Ethics (1992) on IMDb


LaForge and Worf are making an inventory of some hazardous materials in one of the cargo bays. Suddenly, one of the large heavy containers falls on Worf and shatters his spinal column. Dr. Crusher invites a specialist onto the Enterprise to see if she can help him recover from the accident, but she doesn’t know that this new doctor uses experimental methods on her patients.


This episode raised a lot of interesting points, and there is some very good dialogue in it. I also think this is one of the better-written episodes of this season. Well, that is until the last scene – but I’ll get to that later.

Of all the characters, I think I liked Picard the best in this one. Crusher seemed overly emotional and inconsistent with previous episodes. Troi was OK, and I thought her scenes with Alexander during Worf’s surgery were very good. For a second there, I actually thought they’d allow a major character to die. Of course, we know this isn’t going to happen, and in all honesty, the ending is not at all a surprise. But they really did play it well, and I imagine back in 1992 when this episode aired, it was a major shock.

Surprisingly, the actor with the least amount of experience is the one who carries the crucial scene – and that is very impressive.

What’s not very impressive is that there is never again any mention of Worf’s injury, surgery, recovery, etc. To have such a powerful scene near the end of this episode and then do nothing with it later is just unthinkable. But that’s a problem with the series in general and really has nothing to do with this particular episode. Just imagine if a character goes blind in one episode but then is able to see in the very next episode. That’s what Star Trek does all the time.

But anyway. It’s pretty common for this series to introduce several weighty ethical debates. From what happens here, it seems like the writer doesn’t like doctors very much. The ending scene seemed unusually harsh, and it really dropped the overall quality of the episode a couple of notches, in my opinion. I could go along with it to a great extent, but once Crusher starts talking, it loses a lot of credibility with me, and I start to side with the other character instead. For some reason, I identify myself a lot more with the visiting doctor rather than Dr. Crusher in that last scene. I’m certain that’s not the intention of the writer, but it’s hard for me to see Dr. Crusher really acting this way if she were a real person instead of just a character on a TV show.

But I did like Picard in this episode. He seems much more human here than he has in other episodes. The dialogue in his scenes is excellent. Overall, this is a good episode and worth a watch sometime, but it’s not among the best work of this crew.

Of Note

Here’s yet another example of something that came up once and will never be used again. In this episode, Geordi LaForge mentions that he can see through playing cards with his VISOR. I wonder why he took so long to mention this. And I also wonder if he’ll ever be invited back for another Poker game. Of course we all know the writers of future episodes will do nothing with this, so it makes me wonder why they brought it up at all.