44 – Up the Long Ladder

Grade: C

Up The Long Ladder (1989) on IMDb


Starfleet received an SOS from an ancient beacon near the Ficus Sector. The Enterprise races on its way to find the source. When the Enterprise arrives at the planet where the SOS signal originated, they find descendants of Irish explorers.


This really isn’t one of my favorite episodes, though it has some silly moments. The writing is much better here than in the last episode. The acting here is OK, but as usual, not everyone is good.

The best character in this entire episode has to be Brenna O’Dell, the strong-willed Irish woman from the planet. And yet, on the other hand, I had a hard time believing she would suddenly be interested in Riker. Their relationship seemed rushed and wasn’t very credible.

A couple of other interesting plot points were first of all when the aliens asked Picard, Riker and Pulaski if they would allow themselves to be cloned to help their society survive. Riker said no because one William Riker is unique, and that more of him would diminish him in ways he can’t even imagine. What’s ironic is that later in this series, Riker will meet his own clone, who was created by a transporter accident.

One other oddity is when LaForge says that he can tell when humans are lying, because of his visor’s unique qualities. We’ve never heard this before, and as far as I know, this never comes up again. Maybe it was enough that Troi could do this.

Finally, one last point – Pulaski says that within 15 generations, they’d have the same problem again. Sounds like a long time from now. Maybe it isn’t such a big deal to fix something now that won’t be a problem for at least 300 years.

All things considered, not a great episode, but a rather famous one, due to the fact that we meet another of Riker’s love interests.

Of Note

This episode’s original title was “Send in the Clones.” I’m glad they didn’t stick with that title, because that’s just stupid.

Here’s a great reference. About 2.5 minutes into the episode, the computer lists a bunch of expeditions launched from Earth between 2123 and 2190. One of them is “Diplomatic Mission to Alderaan.”