68 – Tin Man

Grade: D+

Tin Man (1990) on IMDb


The Enterprise must transport a Betazoid male named Tam Elbrun to a star that will soon become a supernova. Apparently, there is a new alien life form near the star that the Federation wants to investigate. Counselor Troi knows Tam as a former patient at the University’s school of psychology.


I know there are people who like this episode, but I’m certainly not one of them. I found this episode to be based on a good idea, but hardly fleshed out enough to make it ready for filming. In fact, I’ve always thought of this as a first season episode because the overall quality is so low. At this point in the series, we’ve seen several excellent episodes and many more which are almost as good. But this one is just a mess, and it doesn’t seem to fit in the third season.

The acting in this episode is really weak. Probably the worst scene is when Elbrun is in Sickbay, but pretty much any scene with Elbrun is just terrible.

Another problem that I have with this episode is the lack of quality characters. This is especially true of Tam Elbrun. We have no history of this man, so when he decides to leave the Enterprise and join the alien (oops, sorry for spoiling the ending – but you really shouldn’t watch this anyway), I didn’t really care one way or the other. If anything, I knew he’d leave the Enterprise as soon as he appeared on the ship. He kept saying that he didn’t know where he belongs in this universe, and when we find out that the alien has a chamber where humanoid life forms can live, I knew he’d end up there. But just in case you don’t see the signs as quickly as I did, there’s one scene when Counselor Troi tells Picard that she’s afraid they’ll lose Elbrun to the alien. That should be clear enough foreshadowing for just about anyone over the age of 6.

Speaking of the guest, however, I thought he had some very weird eyes. Maybe it’s just how it was filmed or something, but it doesn’t look like he has any pupils. It’s very strange looking.

Aside from the cheesy acting, the special effects are also very cheesy. There’s a scene when Tin Man pushes the Enterprise far away from the supernova, and it looks hilarious. Try not to laugh when you see everyone flopping around on the bridge. I know it’s not supposed to be funny, but there are a ton of scenes like this that I just had to laugh.

In this episode, they make it seem like it’s so unusual to find an alien creature that can travel through space and that has breathable air inside, perfect for humanoids. But the pilot episode of the Animated Series also has a creature like this, and just like in this one, all the humanoid occupants died. So in my opinion, Tin Man is an episode that is a re-hash of the far superior Animated Series episode.

Of Note

In this episode, Data says that no known natural phenomenon can travel up to warp speed, but what about the Crystaline Entity that Lore introduced to the Enterprise? And what about the two creatures in the pilot episode?

At the end of the episode, Tin Man pushes the Enterprise and the Romulan ship 3.8 billion kilometers from the supernova, according to Wesley Crusher. That’s about 3.5 light hours away from the exploding star, so the supernova shouldn’t have been visible for at least that long. Well, unless they left a probe that can send a video signal through subspace.

One last thing. Data and Tam Elbrun are transported to Tin Man when they’re still 18 minutes away from it. That’s well outside of the transporter’s range. I blame inconsistent writing for all of these mistakes.