135 – The Quality of Life

Grade: C-

The Quality of Life (1992) on IMDb


Riker, Worf, LaForge and Dr. Crusher are playing poker, and they make an interesting bet. If Dr. Crusher wins this hand, all three of the men will need to shave their beards. But if one of them wins, she will need to dye her hair brunette. Alas, before we can see who wins the bet, Captain Picard calls the senior staff to the bridge. Then we find out LaForge and Data are needed on a station. There, they find that Dr. Farallon is using mini robots called exocomps to effect repairs to the station.


This is one of several Star Trek episodes when the Enterprise has to answer “what is life?” As in “Measure of a Man” and “Offspring,” “Quality of Life” really revolves around Mr. Data. This time, though, the story is about how he reacts to what’s happening around him. Much of what happens is fairly interesting, but overall, I just don’t like this episode. I think it’s rather manipulative and predictable.

This episode is relies too much on dialogue, and none of it is very good. The characters are weak and undeveloped. For whatever reason, these characters didn’t seem real to me, and it was like watching something other than Star Trek. The plot is extremely predictable and there are no interesting twists. There are some good ideas in it, but the execution was not very good. Lately, I’ve been getting the feeling that this show is just going through the motions and not really trying as hard as they used to do. So far, the 6th season has been the worst since season 2.

Of Note

Though we never find out if Dr. Crusher wins the bet, Geordi eventually shaves his beard anyway. Actually so does Riker in one of the films.