165 – Homeward

Grade: C

Homeward (1994) on IMDb


Worf’s foster brother Nikolai Rozhenko sends a distress call to Starfleet. Then he violates Captain Picard’s orders and the Prime Directive to save the lives of a pre-industrial society. They are then transported to another M-class planet where they can hopefully live in peace.


Well, I should have known it couldn’t last. After three very strong episodes, it was time for another weak story. This season has had some real doozies. In Homeward, we have some horrible writing and a very lame story. Under normal circumstances, it probably wouldn’t look as bad, but it directly followed one of the best written episodes that this entire franchise has produced. So Homeward sticks out like a sore thumb.

One of the biggest problems this episode has is inconsistent characterizations. For example, Deanna Troi should have picked up on Nikolai’s intentions immediately. She’s supposed to be able to read human minds and emotions, and yet she never even warns Picard about him? I don’t get it. Picard is also a real jerk in this episode. He doesn’t seem to care at all about this planet and he even forces his senior officers to stand there and watch this society die because he wants to adhere strictly to the Prime Directive. Yet this is the same captain who has violated the PD repeatedly when it served his purpose. The Picard we’ve come to know in this series would have most likely saved these people first and then found a way to excuse it later.

Dr. Crusher had a horrible role in this episode. She’s been assigned to help Data find a suitable planet for these people to live on. Why does Data need her help for this? Can’t he just scan the records himself? And where is Troi? Couldn’t she lend some insight as to how these people would feel once they’re on their new planet?

The storyline has some problems as well. For one thing, LaForge says that they can’t repair the Holodeck without turning it off first. So they are forced to make up stories to explain the strange things these people are experiencing. Why didn’t they wait for everyone to fall asleep and then give them some kind of sedative which would keep them all asleep while they make repairs? In fact, wouldn’t the entire episode have been easier that way?

Finally, why does Picard change his stance on the Prime Directive so quickly and completely? At the beginning of the episode, he’s completely committed to the PD, and yet at the end, he’s suddenly so compassionate and concerned. I don’t understand why.

Well, I really could go on and on about this episode. The only thing that saves it is Paul Sorvino. He’s definitely a great actor, and he puts in a very good performance here. If it had been any other actor in his role, I would have given this episde a D+ at best.

Of Note

Homeward’s stardate actually places this episode earlier than The Pegasus. I’m not sure why they were shown out of order when this series was on TV, but my guess is that they wanted to return from the 1993 Christmas break with the best episode they could do.