Recap: Star Trek The Next Generation S 1 E 13 Angel One

The Enterprise visits a world in which the otherwise very humanlike (they aren't even Rubber-Forehead Aliens) inhabitants have reversed some human patterns of sex-based physical differences. The females are generally taller, stronger, and more physically imposing than the (to us) effeminate and waifish males. In addition, all the leadership roles in this society are filled by women and the men are subservient. The Enterprise's purpose is to rescue survivors of a downed freighter but everyone on the Enterprise gets sick.

We open with the Enterprise investigating a seven-year overdue ship, showing just how much the Federation cares for its citizens. They find the wreck, but with no escape pods, suggesting there are survivors. The nearest planet is Angel One, a pre-warp society which is a matriarchy. Women are the dominant gender, while men are subservient. Naturally, Picard gives the responsibility of contacting them to Troi, the only person on the bridge who isn't wearing a uniform and has no diplomatic training whatsoever. The women of Angel One agree to help them, with Picard noting that Starfleet is hoping this world will become part of the Federation (again, they are a pre-warp society).

Riker, Troi, Data, and Tasha beam down to Angel One, where we see just how desperate casting was to find women over six feet tall with acting ability. In addition, the men are wearing tight-fitting clothes exposing a great deal of chest, an attempt to provide commentary, and yet Troi is doing the exact same thing (another reason why Troi wearing a uniform would be better). The women of Angel One are distrustful of the Enterprise crew, but permit them to stay for the meantime. Aboard the Enterprise, Wesley Crusher has contracted a virus, continuing the Season 1 trend of Wesley helping destroy the ship. Picard is relieved of duty by Dr. Crusher, even though he seems no worse off than getting the flu, and leaves Geordi in command.

Meanwhile, the away team decides to find the missing crew by isolating something unique to them that doesn't exist on Angel One. Rather than looking for human biosigns, they look for platinum. Riker is invited to a private audience with the Baeta, complete with the tight-fitting attire of the native men, while the others look for the survivors. Sure enough, they find Ramsey, the captain of the freighter. Unfortunately, he has no intention of leaving. The crew has settled in, taken wives, and even have children. However, due to how men are treated on this planet, they're in hiding. Nevertheless, they refuse to leave.

  • Boldly Coming: One of the more notable cases in the series. Riker not only rationalizes going off to score with Baeta as being part of the diplomatic nature of their mission, but he even dresses up in native male attire, which bares his chest, specifically to appeal to her. Deanna and Tasha find it hilarious.
  • Camp Straight: The native males of Angel One are distinctly effeminate as compared to men from the Federation.
  • Dull Surprise: When casting is tasked with finding a bunch of women over six feet tall, they're naturally not going to be too picky about acting ability.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Angel One is established to be a world in a mid-20th Century age of development, meaning the Prime Directive should have forbidden Picard from making contact with them.
  • Lady Land: More like Lady Planet.
  • Modern Stasis: Angel One is described as having roughly a 20th Century level of technology. Yet this is not their first contact with the Federation. They had been contacted more than 60 years prior, raising the question of whether they had either been very primitive at the time of first contact or else made very little technological progress.
  • Moral Dissonance: Despite the above-mentioned low-tech nature of the civilization on Angel One, not only is the Prime Directive being ignored with regards to them, but the opening exposition outright states that this mission is diplomatically sensitive because the Federation hopes to bring Angel One into the Federation as a member! Apparently this is due to their strategic proximity to the Romulan Neutral Zone.
  • Race Against the Clock: The Enterprise can't linger too long, as there is increased Romulan activity at an outpost near the Neutral Zone.
  • Straw Feminist: The defining trait of Angel One.
  • Take a Third Option: Instead of executing the freighter's survivors, or letting the Enterprise take them away, Baeta chooses to exile them to a remote portion of the planet.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Ariel had married one of the survivors, presumably for quite some time, and somehow it is only now that she is caught.
  • You Are in Command Now: Picard puts Geordi in command upon being relieved by Dr. Crusher. When Geordi is incapacitated, Riker orders Data back to the ship to take command.