14 – Angel One

Grade: D-

Angel One (1988) on IMDb


Captain Picard and friends search for three escape pods, which may have found their way to a planet called Angel One. The escapees were members of the Federation starship, Odin, which had an accident in space and was forced to take refuge on the planet. Angel One is a matriarchal planet, where the women are larger and stronger than the men, and they also run the government.


Here’s one of the worst episodes of the first season, and probably in the entire series. By far, the worst offender is Riker. He plays the role of James Kirk here – wooing the women on the planet and then making some stupid speech at the end that’s supposed to change Beata’s mind plus change the entire evolution of the planet. Then he finishes that off with “I hope it was enough.” Just terrible writing.

For example, Data tells Yar and Troi that these survivors are not Starfleet officers and therefore not bound by the Prime Directive. That means they can stay on the planet if they want, and there’s nothing the Enterprise can do about it. Then Yar and Troi act as if this is the first time they’ve ever heard of this. Duh, they would have known this already. They’re Starfleet officers just like Data is.

The Enterprise landing party tells Beata that they are not going to take these survivors with them, and Beata responds by saying she has no choice but to execute them. Why? Well, there’s an easy answer – because it says so in the script. That’s why. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t stupid.

The acting is awful as well. Look how Yar and Troi pretend to be amused at Riker’s appearance. Denise Crosby is absolutely awful in this episode, and Marina Sirtis isn’t much better, if anything. And note Riker’s reaction when he thinks he’s been insulted right at the beginning of the episode. Just terrible acting.

Finally, one thing I really hated about this episode is how hard it tried to be dramatic. Like the suspenseful music and the predictable scene cuts, and the stupid little one-liners in the script. Then, just when you think it can’t be any worse, the people on the planet demonstrate their execution device by vaporizing an innocent vase, which was placed there before the scene started – presumably for our benefit. I can’t believe how poorly this episode was written and directed. You should avoid it at all costs.

Of Note

Right at the end of the episode, the away team beams onto the ship and then goes up to the bridge. As they come off the turbolift, Dr. Crusher gives them an injection against the virus. But wouldn’t it have made more sense for them to have the injection as soon as they came through the transporter? I guess it’s not important.

One curious thing is that the external shot of the city on the planet looks exactly like every other planet in this series. It could pass for the Klingon Home World as well as Romulus, or someplace on Earth.

One last thing – as great as it was to see Geordi LaForge in command of the Enterprise, wouldn’t the chief engineer out-rank him? I just thought it was weird.