23 – Skin of Evil

Grade: D+

Skin Of Evil (1988) on IMDb


The Enterprise is en route to rendezvous with a shuttle craft carrying Counselor Troi. Suddenly, they receive an emergency message from the shuttle, which is experiencing a systems failure. Meanwhile, the Enterprise still needs to re-set its warp drive. When they finally fix their warp drive, they hurry to the planet where they find a damaged shuttle craft and a mysterious alien that resembles an oil slick.


This episode is fairly memorable because of the ending. As I’m sure you know by now, Tasha Yar is killed in this episode, only because she tried to rescue the Enterprise crewmen inside the shuttlecraft. So of course, this was very shocking at the time. The only other major Star Trek character I remember who died was Jadzia Dax in Deep Space Nine, and that was a few years later.

It’s too bad really, that Tasha had to die in such an otherwise unremarkable episode. The writers did a fairly good job making the oil slick appear as evil as possible, but the overall writing quality is just terrible. Take this exchange between the alien and Counselor Troi, for example:

“They care for you. You must be very special.” “We are members of a community. We all care for one another.” “Equally?” Sheesh. Who writes this dialogue? This is just terrible.

Speaking of Counselor Troi, Marina Sirtis is a terrible actress, and the worst episodes of the first season are the ones that rely on her to do something. OK, I realize the dialogue they make her recite is just awful, but she really couldn’t act in this first season. Good thing she became a lot better later in this series.

The funeral scene seemed far too contrived, in my opinion. I found it odd that Yar would just happen to have a farewell speech prepared in advance of this episode. Even more odd was that she would include everyone who just so happened to be at her funeral. What would have happened if someone else had been there?

And we’re back to really bad music here. It sounds cheap. And the special effects are absolutely terrible, even for 1988. These two things alone should be evidence of how little Paramount thought of this series in its first season. They didn’t want to spend much of anything on it.

Of Note

It’s really stupid that LaForge has to tell the pilot that he’s “dangerously close to a planet.” Uh, somehow I think he’d know that.

Also, at one point near the beginning of the episode, Captain Picard asks Dr Crusher if she’s been monitoring the communications between the bridge and the planet. When she said she had been, I wonder if she’s always checking on the bridge to see what’s happening up there.