17 – When the Bough Breaks

Grade: D-

When The Bough Breaks (1988) on IMDb


The Enterprise reaches a planet that is somehow able to conceal itself. It may even be the legendary planet Aldea, which remained hidden and was therefore able to escape conquest. The people on the planet appear peaceful at first, but then they suddenly kidnap several children on the Enterprise.


My goodness, this episode is really bad. It’s very much like some of the worst episodes of the Original Series. OK, so you knew there would be an episode focusing on children and Picard’s feeling towards them. It’s just too bad that this storyline is silly. The acting is just terrible. The camera angles, scene cuts, script, and soundtrack are very much like the rest of the first season, which means lousy.

The script was just awful. Here are a few examples. Troi explains to the Aldeans that “humans are unusually attached to their offspring.” Hmm. I guess in Star Trek, not all races are fond of their kids. Then, later in the episode, when the Aldeans find out from Captain Picard that he won’t let them take their kids, the Aldeans ask, “Why do you care so much? You can always have more.” Who writes this stuff? Here’s yet another example. Dr. Crusher tells a mother who is obviously frantic about her missing daughter, “don’t give in to fear.” Seriously, what’s with this dialogue?

In one scene, Wesley asks one of the Aldeans a bunch of questions like “what is the power source of the computer?” and “how can you repair it if you don’t know it?” and then the lady with him says he should ask the computer. But then he asks the computer where each of the children are. Then he asks the lady again “What’s behind that door – is it the power source?” Sheesh. Why not ask the computer? Duh.

At one point, the Aldeans tell Captain Picard that they’ll show him a small demonstration of their power. Then they push the ship so far away that it would take 3 days at warp 9 to reach the planet. Then, Riker has to remind us that this was a “small demonstration.” Yeah, we got that the first time around. Sheesh.

Don’t waste your time with this episode. Or with the first season.

Of Note

Some kid runs into Riker at the beginning of the episode, and then later, Dr. Crusher asks Riker why he’s limping. Seems a bit much. It doesn’t take much to injure Riker, I guess.

Wil Wheaton’s actual brother and sister appear in this episode.

One of the actors on Aldea will appear again later as Mark Twain.