26 – The Neutral Zone

Grade: C+

The Neutral Zone (1988) on IMDb


While waiting for Captain Picard to return from a meeting at a nearby starbase, the Enterprise finds an ancient spaceship from Earth’s past. Data asks to investigate the ship and finds people who have been frozen. Not wanting to leave the people there, Data brings them on board the Enterprise, and Dr. Crusher revives them. Meanwhile, the Romulans, who were last seen 50 years ago, may be on the move.


Compared to all the weak episodes in this first season, The Neutral Zone is one of the better ones. It has a great ending – we don’t know what will happen in the next season, but we do know that the Romulans are back and ready for more action with the Federation.

It’s really great that this episode has characters from the early 21st Century, because it actually is easier for today’s viewers to relate to this new Star Trek. I honestly wish they’d have had this episode much earlier in the season, but it really is a great finale.

Something else that I love about this episode is Data’s assumption that a “homemaker” is a person involved in construction work. The best humor in this series, in my opinion, is how the characters struggle to understand the 21st Century.

Finally, one last thing about this episode in particular. It seems to have carried on the storyline from the previous episode, called Conspiracy. In this episode, the Romulans claim that several of their outposts have also been destroyed, and they have come to the Neutral Zone to investigate. Could it be that these insect-like aliens have received the homing beacon that Remmick sent out in the previous episode?

One theory is that the insect-like aliens from Conspiracy were the original idea of the Borg. As we know the Borg now, they have a hive mentality and even the music that is played anytime they appear seems to sound like bees and wasps. But obviously, they decided to do something different with the Borg later. Still, this episode has a great ending and it brings up a lot of questions that will be answered later.

Of Note

This episode establishes that Star Trek Next Generation takes place in 2364. Data also says that TV became unpopular in 2040. That’s coming up fairly soon. At first, I didn’t know if that would really happen, but considering all of the online entertainment options out there, maybe he was on to something. Time will tell.