87 – Devil’s Due

Grade: B

Devil's Due (1991) on IMDb


All of a sudden, the Enterprise receives a distress signal from a Federation station on a planet in chaos. Apparently, the people of the planet think their world is coming to an end tomorrow.


Despite some rather lousy special effects (note how the camera shakes but the set doesn’t when there are supposed to be earthquakes on the planet), this episode is actually pretty fun to watch, and it has been one of my favorites for a while. What makes this episode work is the character of Ardra, played by Marta DuBois. She plays the part just as if she were one of the Q aliens. In fact, at one point of the episode, the crew of the Enterprise think she may actually be from the Q Continuum. If you’ve seen this episode, you know what I’m talking about. Ardra is a great character, and a perfect foil for Picard.

The writing is very good in this episode. This is one of several Star Trek episodes taking place in a court of law. One thing I like about this particular episode is how Data plays the role of the judge. At one point, Picard raises an objection because there is no proof that she’s the Ardra spoken of by the contract. Data overrules the objection not on a logical basis, but based on his interpretation of their law. A less careful writer would have been tempted to have Data ignore law and rule strictly on logic.

Even though this is a 4th season episode, it almost feels like a 2nd or 3rd season effort. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but if it had happened a couple of years earlier, it would have really stood out as one of the most enjoyable episodes up to then.

Overall, I find this to be one of the more enjoyable episodes of the 4th season, but I wouldn’t say it’s one of the best ones. The episode seems to be missing something. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but it’s just short of the very best.

Of Note

This episode’s script was based on an unused script for the abandoned series, Star Trek Phase II.

Apparently, this was the highest-rated Next Generation episode since Encounter at Farpoint. I find that very interesting. Why would this one be rated so much higher than Best of Both Worlds, Yesterday’s Enterprise, or any other previous episode? Maybe people were intrigued by Ardra.