Star Trek: The Next Generation – “Evolution”
The episode Christian TV critics tore apart. Just kidding, it’s the one where Wesley effs up big time and puts the ship in danger, while Dr. Kelso from Scrubs goes off the deep end trying to realize a once in a lifetime dream.
This is a perfect example of an episode where the pieces are good, but they don’t add up to much in the end. A huge part is that Ken Jenkins is miscast as the obsessive Dr. Stubbs. I just didn’t buy any part of his performance, especially when he references his passion for baseball (which was a passion of the writer Michael Piller).
Stubbs wants his interests put ahead of everything going on aboard the Enterprise, even when the ship appears to be falling apart from the attacks of Wesley’s nanites (tiny machines built at the atomic level - the ultimate Micro Machines). All Picard had to do was slap Stubbs across the face just once and ask him if he really believes the lives of over 1,000 men, women and children on the ship are worth more than his goofy science experiment. Stubbs was acting like a selfish child and could have used a good spanking or at least a good shouting to, like Kirk would have done. This whole episode could, and should, have ended at the 20 minute mark.
A huge detriment in this episode is its lack of real drama. Yes, the ship is in danger, yet again, but we know it will make it out hale and hearty for next week’s tale. When Stubbs shoots one the Enterprise computer cores which the nanites have invaded he “kills” something that we only see as either a crude 1980s video game on a screen or when Data speaks for them. The nanites never seem like a real life form. Also they only retaliate by goosing Stubbs. Someone, even a nameless extra, should have died in the course of this story – the best place is when they attack Stubbs - to give it some weight.
In the end, everyone is happy: the ship is out of danger, Dr. Stubbs gets to perform his precious experiment, the nanites leave the ship to colonize a world of their own, and Wesley gets another A (and a hot blond cutie too).
This is the worst kind of Star Trek.