96 – Half a Life

Grade: C-

Half a Life (1991) on IMDb


The Enterprise has been helping the people of Kalon 2, whose planet is going to be destroyed in the very near future. A scientist named Dr. Timicin believes he has a way to extend the life of the sun so that his planet will not be destroyed. For some reason, Counselor Troi’s mother is also on board the Enterprise, and she falls for Dr. Timicin.


After several very good episodes in a row, we get this one. It’s definitely not one of my favorites. In fact, I have already thought about the issues that this episode raised, through reading Isaac Asimov’s Pebble in the Sky, and watching films like Logan’s Run and Soylent Green. The issue at the heart of this episode is that on this planet, when people reach the age of 60 (exactly like Pebble in the Sky), they are expected to participate in ritualistic suicide. Lwaxana Troi has the best line, when she asks Dr. Timicin why it would even matter for him to try to repair his sun if the planet is just going to die in 30 years anyway.

So you now know the best part about this episode. The rest of it is just filler. In general, the acting is just bad. David Ogden Stiers does a pretty good job, but Majel Roddenberry just isn’t very good. The rest of the cast seems to be going through the motions, as if they don’t care what happens in this. It’s as if they knew this show would have little to do with them, so they mailed it in.

Michelle Forbes is in here, and she does a fine job as Dr. Timicin’s daughter, but it’s a very small role. She obviously did well enough with what she was given that they gave her a recurring role as Ensign Ro Lauren. That might be the best part of this entire episode, actually.

The writing could have used some help, too. In one scene, Commander Riker is sitting on a chair, talking to one of the administrators on the planet, but Captain Picard is standing up behind him. Then, Mrs. Troi comes into the room, and Riker remains sitting. I just don’t believe Riker would have been sitting if this were real instead of a show. So the characterizations just weren’t consistent.

I guess the worst thing I could say about this episode is that despite the acting and characters, I just didn’t care much for the story. It didn’t matter to me that this character felt pressure to kill himself. This is one episode that I didn’t really need to see.

Of Note

At one point, Mrs. Troi calls Worf “Woof”, and she almost launches a torpedo. That’s probably the best moment in this episode.

Surprisingly, David Ogden Stiers was 49 when he appeared in this episode, when he was supposed to be 60. With male actors, it usually works the other way around – actors are often much older than the characters they’re supposed to play.