38 – The Royale

Grade: B-

The Royale (1989) on IMDb


The Enterprise investigates an inhospitable planet (full of ammonia tornadoes, according to Geordi), searching for some strange debris floating in orbit. When they beam aboard a piece of it, it turns out to be the remains of a NASA spacecraft.


I’m not sure what it is exactly, but this episode has always been one of my favorites, but maybe it’s because you can tell the actors are really having fun. I especially like the scenes with Worf, Data and Riker on the planet and inside the hotel. Data isn’t supposed to have emotions, for example, but he sure seems to display them when he’s winning at the craps table. Still, it’s funny.

The mystery contained in the really bad novel isn’t worth getting into, but it’s interesting that these aliens cared enough about this astronaut to try to create an environment for him where he could live the rest of his life. He really must have been lonely, though. I would have wanted to see more about the aliens, and find out exactly what happened to this astronaut, but it’s really not that important to this storyline. Besides, if they had tried to do this, it probably would have ended like a lot of the Animated Series episodes did – cheesy and disappointing.

I’ve rated it a little lower in the character development, acting, and storyline, because these aren’t quite up to the standard set in seasons 5-7. But it’s certainly an enjoyable and memorable episode.

Of Note

This isn’t the first time some aliens have re-worked the planet based on a book from Earth. There was also the Original Series episode called A Piece of the Action, in which the aliens based their civilization on a history of the Chicago mobs of the 1920s. Both episodes are among the must humorous in the entire series, in my opinion.