Recap: Star Trek The Next Generation S 1 E 22 Skin Of Evil
The first pivotal episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation
. An evil, tar-like creature holds Troi hostage on an alien world. During the rescue mission, one of the Enterprise crew is killed. It's Tasha
This episode contains the following tropes:
- Always Chaotic Evil: Armus has zero redeeming qualities. He kills because he thinks it will amuse him. He tortures, physically and psychologically for the same reason. He is literally a black tar pit of hate that was cast off long ago. The only thing that might provoke sympathy is that he had no choice in his creation, and his evil nature is torture for him as well, being in a constant state of undirected hatred and rage.
- The cast themselves (as in Johnathan Frakes) spoke candidly about what a vile monster he is. In one encyclopaedia he discusses being pissed at how Starfleet would show Armus mercy, and even used a Precision F-Strike to express his feelings.
- And I Must Scream: Armus is trapped alone on a dead world with nowhere to go, nothing to do, and never to be reunited with the glorious beings who abandoned him there. Forever. And how he screams when Picard rubs that fact in.
- Apocalypse How: Class 4 for the entire planet... all except for Armus.
- Blob Monster: Armus.
- Break Them by Talking: Picard's way of defeating Armus; possibly the only way, as he is Made of Indestructium to the point where a direct photon torpedo strike wasn't expected to kill him, only to destroy the downed shuttle.
- Complete Immortality: Armus. And it is absolute torture for him.
- Dark Is Evil: Armus, made out of pure evil, is an entirely black liquid.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Picard and Deanna both feel some level of pity for Armus when they learn how he came into existence, and just how unimaginably long he's been alone on the dead planet. Armus feels insulted when they offer their compassion.
- Dropped A Bridge On Her: Tasha Yar.
- Enemy Without: Armus was created by an alien race who left his world eons ago, possibly to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. He is the result of a process they used to dispose of their collective negative emotions, of which he is the physical manifestation.
- Heroic Spirit: Picard says that the human spirit is indomitable, and that true evil is not Armus himself but the resignation of submitting to him.
- It Amused Me
- Karma Houdini: In the end, the only retribution Armus can get is staying stranded on Vagra II.
- Kick the Dog: Armus seizes every chance he can get to do this to the away team because he hopes it will amuse him.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: And Picard delivers it right back to Armus with words, which are the only thing that can really harm him.
- Killed Off for Real: Tasha Yar. Denise Crosby left the show because she felt her character didn't have enough to do in the episodes. The producers probably felt that there were too many characters anyway and needed to trim the cast a bit. So they apparently took it pretty well. In fact, they worked with Crosby to make her departing episode special in terms of Star Trek, the show that was responsible for the Redshirt trope. Also, driven home is the fact that Yar's death was somewhat pointless and understated and not the type of dramatic heroic death usually reserved for main characters.
- Made of Evil: Armus claims to be a skin of evil cast off by titans who thought that by ridding themselves of him, they could escape the bonds of destructiveness.
- The Power of Hate: Subverted: Armus is a creature literally Made of Evil and this leads the audience to expect negative emotions to fuel his power. However, being forced to confront and feel his own rage and hate instead of suppressing it makes Armus weaker. Picard fully uses this to his advantage in escaping him. See Talking the Monster to Death above.
- Puny Humans: Armus feels this way about the humans, as his power allows him to kill them with ease despite their force of will.
- Sacrificial Lion: Tasha Yar's death makes Armus an especially scary villain for the episode, as none of the other main cast were ever killed off in the series by another villain.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: See Talking the Monster to Death.
- Stupid Evil: Armus. He tortures the Enterprise away team for fun and then expects them to transport him off world, using threats of more violence as his sole bargaining strategy. Not that he has much of a choice on the matter. As an artificial entity of pure evil, it's literally the only thing he can do.
- Talking the Monster to Death: Picard utterly breaks, crushes and obliterates Armus's spirit.
Armus: I am a skin of evil left here by a race of Titans who believed if they rid themselves of me, they would free the bonds of destructiveness.
Picard: You say you are true evil? Shall I tell you what true evil is? It is to submit to you. It is when we surrender our freedom, our dignity, instead of defying you.
Armus: I will kill you, and those in there!
: That's your real fear. Never to die.
Never again to be reunited with those who left you here.
Picard: I'm not taking you anywhere.
- Third-Person Person: This episodes entry in the first season's round of finding a Chief Engineer is one Leland T. Lynch whose gimmick is apparently insisting on using his full name when hailed by the bridge. Picard seems annoyed by this already.
- Thirteen Is Unlucky: Troi was on Shuttlecraft 13, which crashed.
- Video Wills: Tasha leaves a tearjerking one on the holodeck for the rest of the crew.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Armus, rejected and bereft by a species that just abandoned him and left him alone.
- Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Armus does this to Troi about Yar, who replies that she already sensed Yar died.