171 – Genesis

Grade: C-

Genesis (1994) on IMDb


While Picard and Data take a shuttlecraft to retrieve a non-responsive photo torpedo, the rest of the Enterprise crew fall victim to a strange virus. The virus causes cellular genetic mutations and transform them into prehistoric creatures.


This is one of several bad episodes in this final season of the series. Well, OK, it’s not horrible, but it just isn’t good. It’s a very unsettling episode, full of troubling imagery and mood. It’s obvious that’s what was intended with this episode. So much for what it does well.

It also is completely contrived, based on some very flimsy and/or completely ridiculous “science”. There are plot holes and implausibility all over the place. Maybe that’s OK for some people, but not for me. To enjoy a science fiction series, you have to suspend your logic a little here and there, but the story still has to make sense. In my opinion, this one is too much for me to accept.

Here’s an example of some major plot holes in this episode. At least three of the crew members (Riker, Troi, Nurse Ogawa) were found in other parts of the ship, but ended up in Sickbay. Since main power was not working, the only way these people could have reached Sickbay was if Picard and Data carried them there. This is never shown, and they would have wasted a lot of time carrying people around. Obviously, these three characters end up in Sickbay because that’s where they’re supposed to be, and we’re expected to just not ask any questions. For me, it’s just too distracting.

In this episode, Spot gives birth to kittens. This is very odd, since one of the last times we saw Spot, he was definitely male. Remember Data asked Worf to “tell him he is a good cat, and a pretty cat…” And Worf says, “I will feed him.” It would have been one thing if Spot had been shown as pregnant in previous episodes. But that didn’t happen. Instead, he just shows up here pregnant and about to give birth. And the only reason it happens at all is so that they can have a way to reverse the virus at the end of the episode. Spot’s pregnancy provides Data the knowledge he needs to make everyone back to normal. It’s just so contrived.

So this isn’t one of my favorites. Maybe the story had potential, but the episode isn’t good.

Of Note

Gates McFadden directed this episode. It’s the only time a female cast member has directed an episode of the series. McFadden did a very good job as director, but she didn’t have very much to work with. It was the storyline that was the problem here – not the directing.