146 – The Chase

Grade: C+

The Chase (1993) on IMDb


The Enterprise is studying protostars in a stellar nursery. Suddenly, Riker calls Picard into the Observation lounge, where he meets his old archaeology professor, Dr. Galen. The professor brings him a priceless ancient artifact and an intriguing proposal.


I don’t believe I’ve ever liked this episode. Well, I should clarify that. The Chase is fine, but what they find at the end is pretty lame. It is bad enough to make me not want to watch this even one more time.

Here’s the problem: They spend about 40 minutes, looking for clues that will help them unravel the mystery that Professor Galen was studying. They keep finding dead end after dead end, but somehow, they end up in the right place anyway. Once there, they find out that 5 billion years ago, alien explorers left their DNA on the home planets of the Romulans, Cardassians, Klingons and humans. And this explains why they all look similar.

Now if you’ve seen a few select episodes of Star Trek before, you should know right off the bat why this is such a problem. See, the Romulans are actually descendants of the Vulcans. And yet, this alien race claims to have given birth to the Romulans, and in the meantime, the Vulcans are not even mentioned. Oops. Bad continuity.

I also found it very odd that the alien at the end of the episode looked so much like one of Odo’s race from Deep Space Nine. I wonder if that was deliberate. Probably not, but you’d think someone would have a bit more imagination than that. It might also just be a coincidence because the same actress plays this alien and the main Founder in Deep Space Nine.

One last thing about the ending – so they find this last bit of DNA and input it into the tricorder. Then it somehow reprograms the tricorder to emit a holographic image. That just seems really strange to me. The tricorder was never designed to emit a holographic image. How could these aliens know that they’d have to create software that would then re-program a tricorder that wouldn’t exist for another 5 billion years? Sorry, that’s just way too big a stretch for me to accept.

Finally, I didn’t like Professor Galen at all. I’m not sure why Picard would have. Galen struck me as a very proud man – and one who didn’t know how to take “no” for an answer. I half expected him to throw a temper tantrum when Picard had to keep telling him “I can’t leave the Enterprise.” He’s a totally unlikable character. Maybe that was the point, but it was really annoying to see him in every scene in which he appeared.

It was also annoying how quickly and easily Picard sets aside any previous orders just so he can chase down this mystery that his old college professor started investigating.

Of Note

The artifact that Picard receives from Professor Galen in this episode is the same one he carelessly tosses aside at the end of Star Trek: Generations. I’ve often wondered if his tossing aside of this artifact was deliberately written or if nobody remembered what the significance of it was.

One other thing that has always been weird is that alien technology always seems to work with human technology. Notice how easily the Klingon can connect his data contraption to the setup on the Enterprise and copy the files to the ship’s main computer. And yet here on Earth today, we can’t even get PCs and MACs to play nicely together.