82 – Future Imperfect

Grade: C+

Future Imperfect (1990) on IMDb


Riker, Worf and LaForge visit a planet that is emitting a strange scanning signal. They are concerned about possible Romulan activity in the area, and they’re afraid the planet may have fallen under their control. After beaming down, however, they are attacked by a poison gas. Then, Riker wakes up in sickbay on the Enterprise, 16 years later.


The first 35 minutes of this 42-minute episode are pretty good, but the last seven minutes are rather mediocre. I read someplace that this episode was written the night before it went to filming. If that’s true, it’s impressive that the actors could do such a good job with it despite not having much time to prepare. But one symptom of having the episode written so late is that it has such a mediocre ending. I had hoped they could have found a more creative way of ending this one. It seems too much like so many other “alien of the week” episodes when the featured alien tries to study humanity. The alien itself looks very cheesy, by the way. It’s a very bad way to end it. With such a fake-looking alien, you may forget the great parts of this episode that came before it.

I thought there were some pretty strong points to this episode, and in many ways, it reminds me of the movie called 36 Hours, starring James Garner. In that one, a German scientist in World War II tries to convince an American soldier that he is suffering amnesia and that the war has been over for many years. They even convince a woman to “play” the part of his wife.

In Future Imperfect, for most of the episode, that’s where I thought we were going. It would have been great, except they tacked on the less than satisfactory ending.

I always thought it was weird to see Admiral Picard on a Romulan ship, but it seems like they’ve missed something in the script. If Admiral Picard is in command of a Romulan Warbird, it would seem that the treaty they’re trying to get Riker to sign would be a moot point. After all, would there be a Federation Admiral on board a Romulan ship if there were no treaty?

Of Note

This episode is one of only three times when Counselor Troi wears a standard Starfleet uniform. The other two are in the pilot episode and Chain of Command, when Captain Jellico asked her to. I didn’t like Captain Jellico, but I also didn’t like it that Troi didn’t have to wear a regular uniform.