Recap: Star Trek The Next Generation S 2 E 2 Where Silence Has Lease
Series:Star Trek: The Next Generation
Episode: Season 2, Episode 2
Title: Where Silence Has Lease
Previous: The Child
Next: Elementary, Dear Data
The Enterprise encounters an area of space where a patch of it it is completely black, and no stars are visible. Worf remarks about an old Klingon Legend about a space monster that devours ships. Suddenly the Enterprise is engulfed in the blackness. When they try to leave, they find they can't get anywhere, which they discover when they drop a probe behind them, and come up on the same probe up ahead. Then a small patch of starry space appears, but when they head for it, it closes. They are further toyed with inside the anomaly with an exact duplicate of its sister ship, the USS Yamato
. No life signs are detected aboard it, so Riker and Worf beam onto the Yamato and are supposed to transport to the bridge. However, they both materialize on different parts of the ship, in the corridors. Nothing is the way it is supposed to be but they both end up on the Bridge eventually, only to discover another, identical Bridge, with them on it
, through one of the doors. This causes Worf to start shouting, "There is ONE BRIDGE! ONE BRIDGE!" and Riker has to calm him down.
While this is going on, Picard notices another small opening in the blackness, where they can see stars and normal space. But with Riker and Worf on the "Yamato", and unable to establish a transporter lock, they cannot head for it without leaving Riker and Worf behind. They finally get Riker and Worf back just as the "Yamato" starts fading into nothingness. They're then confronted by an alien being that calls himself "Nagilum". He is curious about humanoids and the fact that they die, and wishes to conduct experiments on how they react to it. He kills the redshirted pilot on the spot. He becomes curious about Dr. Pulaski next, saying that she's different from the other (male) bridge crew members (although Troi is on the bridge as well, and Worf is also obviously different), and when it is explained that she is female and having both male and female is how they propagate the species, Nagilum requests a demonstration but is told no. He then says that the experiments he wants to conduct should only take about a third of the Enterprise's crew. Picard decides to set the ship to Autodestruct to thwart Nagilum's plans.
While the Autodestruct counts down, Troi and Data go to Picard's quarters and talk to him about Death, telling him "You shouldn't be doing this. It is wrong of you [to decide for the rest of the crew] Jean-luc." Picard remarks that neither of them should be acting this way and they both vanish. To which Picard says, "Nice try, Nagilum."
Nagilum finally acquiesces and backs out on his desire to conduct his experiments. Picard cancels the autodestruct, and Nagilum remarks that Humans and his species are too different to hang out together. Picard says, "We do have one thing in common. Curiosity." Nagilum says, "The point is well taken, Captain!" and chuckles. The episode ends with Picard saying, "We will meet again, but next time, it will be out there."
- Bizarrchitecture: As Riker and Worf investigate the phantom Yamato ship inside the void, the rooms themselves change around them and do not obey the laws of physics.
- Black Dude Dies First: Wesley inexplicably leaves his station early in the episode and is replaced by Ensign Haskell, a black Red Shirt. Guess who's the first person Nagilum kills.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Nagilum has literally no concept of human morality or ethics and sees nothing wrong with killing half the Enterprise crew to observe how they die to satisfy its own curiosity.
- Captain Obvious: Riker, when he is beamed into a hallway on the Yamato instead of on the bridge: "This isn't the bridge."
- Cooldown Hug: Not a hug, but twice in the episode Riker has to calm an enraged Worf. "AT EASE, LIEUTENANT!"
- Critical Research Failure: (In Universe) Kirk and crew encountered a similar void in space 97 years earlier despite the fact that Data claims such an area had never been encountered before.
- Eldritch Abomination: Nagilum practically is one, especially in Klingon myth.
- Eldritch Location: The void is a "hole" in space with no discernible physical proportions (dimensions, volume, etc.). When the Enterprise is trapped inside it, any attempt to escape it gets them nowhere, as they simply circle back to the same point despite flying dead-ahead. Then phantom ships start showing up with similar impossibilities to them, and the void turns out to be the home of a sentient, eternal, and amoral space being called Nagilum.
- Recycled Set: The appearance of the Yamato, another Galaxy-class starship, means they can just reuse the Enterprise sets. This doesn't necessarily come across as cheap, though, because it arguably makes the Alien Geometries scenes all the creepier for being on a recognisable ship.
- Skull for a Head: One of the monsters that Worf fights in his holodeck adventure has a very skull-like head.
- What Could Have Been: The role of Nagilum was planned for Richard Mulligan, but his commitment to Empty Nest prevented him from taking the role. The name "Nagilum" is "Mulligan" backwards, minus one L.