Recap: Star Trek The Next Generation S 7 E 10 Parallels

Series:Star Trek: The Next Generation
Episode: Season 7, Episode 10
Title:"Parallels"
Previous: Inheritance
Next: The Pegasus
Recapper: IlGreven

Worf returns home from a Klingon bat'leth tournament that he won to a surprise birthday party thrown by Riker. As he celebrates being "old enough", he notices several subtle changes in his own reality: The flavor of the cake changes, Captain Picard is at the party when he said he wouldn't be available. As the Enterprise works on the Argus Array, a space telescope that is having problems, Worf has more dizzy spells, with more slight perception problems: officers switching positions, appearing and disappearing. More troubling, Doctor Crusher remembers him complaining about a concussion he suffered when he lost the bat'leth tournament. He returns to his room to find his champion's trophy replaced with one for ninth place.

More and more things Worf has been party to are being forgotten by his crewmates, while things he doesn't remember are being claimed by them. He claims the Array was being tampered with by the Cardassians, but no one believes him. Angry, he takes himself off duty, and Troi tries to comfort him. As La Forge enters his quarters to tell him what they found with the array, he blacks out twice. The second time he suddenly finds himself in the middle of a battle situation with Cardassians and he tries to shake off the effects and figure out how to operate the new controls. The disorientation proves costly, as the attack badly injures La Forge and it seems likely that his delay was the reason for this. Worse, when he's relieved of duty for his "memory loss", he now doesn't have any bat'leth tournament trophy, as he apparently skipped it for repairs to the ship. Another shock comes in the form of Troi, who announces she is his wife. Worf has Data try to find any temporal anomalies that might explain the changes, but the now blue-eyed android can find none, so they search for commonalities in the events. Worf figures out that La Forge was present in all of them. As they head down to sickbay, the doctor (Ogawa instead of Crusher) informs them that Geordi is dead.

Geordi's body gives no indication, so they check his visor...and Worf gets dizzy again. When he comes to, he's in a red command uniform and is informed that he's the first officer of the Enterprise under Captain William Riker, ever since Jean-Luc Picard was killed in the Borg incident (a deviation from what happens in "The Best of Both Worlds"). Data scans Worf and finds what Worf is saying himself: He doesn't belong in this reality, where the tactical officer is Lieutenant Wesley Crusher and the conn officer is a Cardassian. A search for anomalies finds a quantum fissure in the space-time continuum that was crossed by Worf's shuttle in his own timeline. As the Enterprise scans the fissure, Worf returns to his quarters with Troi, who again is his wife, and they have two children in this timeline, but Alexander doesn't exist. The scan is interrupted by a Bajoran warship (as the Bajorans turned warlike after defeating the Cardassians, who joined the Federation), and the battle disrupts the fissure; hundreds of thousands of Enterprises appear out of nowhere.

Riker sends out Worf's genetic info to the Enterprises, as it has the signature of his own reality encoded in it. They find the Enterprise that matches his information, and sends a shuttlecraft to get him. However, before he can get to the fissure and seal it, another Enterprise starts to fire on it. This Enterprise is from a world where the Borg are everywhere, and a disheveled and panicking Captain Riker proclaims they won't go back. The "current" Enterprise tries to disable it with a photon torpedo, but it is so damaged the shot destroys it. Worf enters the rift, fixing the anomaly. He finds himself in his own uniform, with a Bat'leth tournament Champion's trophy. This time when he returns to his room, only one person is waiting for him: Deanna Troi. Thinking about the Trois of the other universes, he decides to invite her to a birthday dinner for two.

Tropes

  • Adorkable: A rare moment for Worf when Deanna makes herself at home in his quarters (with him not knowing that they're married).
  • Beard of Sorrow: Captain Riker from the Borg-controlled reality has a massive unkempt beard and looks noticeably dishevelled from all the stress.
  • Book Ends: Worf returning to the Enterprise after a bat'leth tournament and going to his quarters, talking with Riker along the way, suspecting a surprise birthday party waiting for him. In the beginning part of the episode, the birthday party takes place, but in the ending, it doesn't, with just Deanna Troi taking care of things until Worf returned.
  • Call Back: In one universe, Data explains that Worf's marriage to Counselor Troi was rooted in her helping him recover after his spinal cord injury in season 5's "Ethics".
    • The last universe is established as being how things would've been had they have been unsuccessful in saving Picard from the Borg in "Best of Both Worlds".
    • Troi alternates between much of her wardrobe throughout the series as we shift from universe to universe.
  • Captain's Log: Worf records a log entry on his way back to the Enterprise, which becomes a plot point when it changes between quantum realities.
  • Cassandra Truth: How Worf feels about nobody believing him when he points out that things aren't right. At least until Data finds the Technobabble that confirms his story.
  • Crapsack World: One Enterprise comes from a reality where the Borg successfully conquered the Federation in "The Best of Both Worlds". The Riker from that universe is so broken that he'd rather kill Worf than return to his universe.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The last reality Worf finds himself in. He's the first officer of the Enterprise, and married to Troi with two children. But Alexander isn't one of them. And Picard is dead.
  • Development Gag: In at least two realities, Riker has been the Enterprise's captain since "The Best of Both Worlds", which was strongly considered when it was unclear if Patrick Stewart would renew his contract.
  • Didn't Think This Through: When Worf asks Deanna to become Alexander's surrogate mother, legally available to care for Alexander should anything happen to Worf. Troi asks what that would make her to Worf, and he says the Klingon word for this relationship has no exact translation but the closest equivalent is that she would be his stepsister. Deanna's response? "That would make my mother your stepmother." The look on Worf's face...
    Worf: I had not considered that... (beat) It is a risk I am willing to take.
  • Expendable Alternate Universe: To such a degree that J. J. Abrams used this episode to explain how the new timeline from the 2009 reboot works with the Prime timeline.
  • Funny Background Event: When Captain Picard starts talking with Captain Riker, Commander Riker shares a surprised look with Lieutenant Worf over seeing Captain Riker and Commander Worf.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: Worf begins to notice that small details are off from how he remembered them — the placement of decorations, the positions where people are standing, Starfleet uniforms and insignia, and even Data's eyes changing colour. As the episode progresses, the differences are magnified to the extent that Picard was killed at Wolf 359, Riker is captain of the Enterprise, and Counselor Troi is Worf's wife. Rather than being trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine, it turns out that Worf is shifting through increasingly divergent parallel universes.
  • Guess Who I'm Marrying?: A heroic variant when Worf finds out he's married to Troi in one universe.
  • Happy Birthday to You: The crew ends up singing "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow" in Klingon.
  • The Hero's Birthday: Worf's birthday.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The Bajorans, in one timeline.
  • In Spite of a Nail: All the universes Worf shifts through are more or less the same as the "real" one.
  • It's a Long Story: Worf to Troi while confirming he's in the correct universe.
  • Mythology Gag: The commbadges in the last reality visited by Worf are the same than in the false future seen by Riker in "Future Imperfect".
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Captain Riker is very disturbed at seeing a panicked, disheveled version of himself.
  • Spoiler Title: If you're familiar with the concept of parallel universes, the title of the episode makes it easy to figure out what's going on long before the characters do.
  • What Could Have Been: The writers thought of bring back Tasha Yar on one of the alternate Enterprises, but it got vetoed because it was redundant after "Yesterday's Enterprise". However, they did bring back Wesley Crusher.
  • Wham Line: After Worf is stunned by Troi kissing him.
    Worf: I do not believe this is appropriate behavior!
    Troi: Not even for your wife?