22 – Symbiosis

Grade: C

Symbiosis (1988) on IMDb


The Enterprise will be studying a star with magnetic field changes. They’ll need to keep a safe distance, but still stay close enough to observe the phenomenon. Suddenly, the ship receives a distress signal from a ship near the 4th planet in the star system. The ship apparently needs some replacement parts, but the ship’s crew has no idea how to install them.


This could be the most mediocre Star Trek episode that I’ve seen. There are some pretty good parts, and there are some pretty bad ones. Of course, there is a lot of lame acting and lazy writing, just as usual for this first season. On the other hand, the storyline is surprisingly mature compared to what we’ve seen so far. It deals with some pretty weighty issues. This is definitely one episode that could have been a lot better than it was.

Now for some silliness. Near the beginning of the episode, Yar says, “the tractor beam is available,” but then as soon as they use it, it becomes completely ineffective. So what did she mean when she said it was available?

I’m really wondering what purpose Troi serves on this ship. Once we’ve had several scenes illustrating how much more these people cared about their cargo than their missing crew members, Troi points out the obvious: “they’re not concerned about the passengers who perished, but their cargo is extremely important to them.” Uh, yeah, we gathered that from the events in the episode. But thanks for catching us up just in case we weren’t paying attention for the last 10 minutes.

There are more examples of unncessary dialogue, but two scenes were especially annoying. First, Wesley Crusher’s discussion with Data and Yar on the bridge, and Picard’s unnecessary lecture in the turbolift. Picard explains the importance of the Prime Directive, but he was certainly willing to ignore it when Wesley Crusher had been sentenced to die in “Justice.”

Overall, this is not my favorite episode, but it certainly had potential.

Of Note

Instead of doing a “Captain’s Log”, Picard addresses everyone over the ship intercom.

Judson Earney Scott appears in this episode, only 6 years after he appeared in Star Trek Wrath of Khan. Also, the man playing T’Jon also played Kirk’s son in Star Trek 2 and 3.