49 – Evolution

Grade: C-

Evolution (1989) on IMDb


While investigating an astronomical event that takes place only once every 196 years, Captain Picard and his crew need to deal with strange computer glitches randomly taking place all over the ship. If they can’t prevent the ship malfunctions, they won’t be able to complete the scientific research they were sent to perform.


This is not a very strong episode, in my opinion, and certainly one of the weaker season premieres in this series. The premise is fine – Wesley’s technological creation takes on a life of its own. It just isn’t very well executed. The writing was weak, and the scenes seemed a bit contrived. With some better writing, this really could have been a remarkable episode.

One bit of weirdness is that the writer, director, producer and actors all seem to have forgotten that the machines that dispense food are called “replicators”, not “food slots.” It sounds really strange, and I seriously wonder why nobody else picked up on this when they were making the episode.

I also thought the soundtrack was bad. I try not to be a music snob, and I don’t expect to hear a symphony when I watch Star Trek. But the music was just a little too obvious, and I’ve never liked it when soundtracks try too hard to be noticed.

By far, the weakest point has to be the climax of the episode. The very last scene (with Dr. Crusher in Ten Forward) is actually pretty good and very much in line with the last few seasons of the series. But the scenes right before this (right after Data finds out he can communicate with the nanites) are such an abrupt ending that it’s really hard to enjoy it. It’s a tremendous let-down akin to the film They Came From Beyond Space.

So overall, a nice episode in places, but not one that I would recommend. If you never see this episode, you won’t miss a thing.

Of Note

I find it rather odd that Wesley has the knowledge and ability to create technology that can become alive. Later in the Star Trek universe, nanite technology is used against the Borg. But that’s several years later. I suppose we’ll find out why they don’t think of using nanites before, but it’s an interesting connection.

I actually liked it that when the visiting scientist told Counselor Troi that it is rude for her to read his emotions without his permission. It’s about time that someone puts her in her place. I have nothing against Troi as a character, but I wouldn’t want anyone to know how I feel before I am ready to make that known.