Star Trek: The Next Generation “Conspiracy” (part 4 of 4)

Riker and Picard subdue the conspirators with relative ease, and the parasites within them crawl out their mouths and scurry away. Hell if I know how they get from the back of the neck to the mouth, but we’re almost to the end, so that’s just nitpicking.

Star Trek: The Next Generation "Conspiracy" (part 4 of 4)
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They chase the last one (a rather cheesily rendered bit of f/x, I might add) into a room where Remmick is sitting. Remmick is quite calm about the entire matter, as the creature climbs up and sits on his shoulder. He opens his mouth and it climbs in.

Star Trek: The Next Generation "Conspiracy" (part 4 of 4)

This causes his neck begins to bulge and pulsate while he creepily intones, “You don’t understand. We mean you no harm. We seek peaceful coexistence!”

Caption contributed by Ed

Carl was adamant that he did not want to get that goiter checked out.

Picard and Riker are not convinced, an attitude they express in a refreshingly non-Trekkian manner by pulling out their phasers and shooting Remmick in the face until his head explodes messily.

Caption contributed by Ed

That’s pretty much what watching and recapping “The Alternative Factor” did to me.

The fun is just starting though, as Remmick’s chest burns open and a huge slug creature (you could call it the Queen Alien, if you were so inclined) emerges, screeching.

Caption contributed by Ed

“Hello, my baby, hello, my honey…”

It gets the phaser treatment as well, vaporizing and leaving only Remmick’s smoking, headless carcass with a huge gaping hole where his chest used to be, with a bunch of dead parasites surrounding him.

Caption contributed by Ed

Probably too late for some Rolaids at this point.

Yep, no negotiating, no handwringing, just taking aim and blowing the damn thing’s head off. This was added in post, as our heroes were initially supposed to encounter just a full-sized creature. I like this ending though, simply because it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen in the franchise, and will probably never see again. It’s a moment that just sticks with you.

The episode ends with Picard reporting Quinn will be fine, and the creature inside Remmick was keeping the others alive, meaning everyone who had been taken over is okay now.

The show ends things on an ominous note, as Data reports Remmick sent a message to the alien home world before losing his head, a plot thread that sadly was never followed up on. I for one would have loved to see more exploding heads on this show. It’s made even creepier by the end fade to credits being accompanied by the sound of the beacon.

Star Trek: The Next Generation "Conspiracy" (part 4 of 4)

This was a fantastic episode. Paced very well, with good acting, and while the f/x work is a little dodgy, that just adds to the charm of the whole thing. Trek didn’t often do horror, but in this case, it worked quite well.

Ed Harris

A fan of less than great cinema since childhood, Ed divides his time between writing scripts, working an actual paying job and subjecting himself willingly to some of the worst films society has produced.

Multi-Part Article: Star Trek: The Next Generation "Conspiracy"
TV Show: Star Trek: The Next Generation

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  • SaxonMatt

    My major problem with the whole thing is that Picard would not simply be allowed to depart. There would be months of military investigations, someone would have been court-martialled, and lots of officers would have been mustered out of command altogether. To imagine that this would just end neatly the next day and the Enterprise would just take off is insane, especially since the highest levels of the Fleet were compromised.

    I’m not saying that this has to be followed up upon, or that there should have been episodes dealing with military bureaucracy, but some officer could say “Well, you’ll have to stay for the investigation,” or something realistic.

    • Well, it was a quiet night at Starfleet Command. I guess he sneaked out before the day shift got into the office.

    • Casandro

      Well as Steward recently sad in an issue of “The Infinite Monkey Cage”, they didn’t film the weeks when nothing happened. Why should they film the boring investigation?

      • SaxonMatt

        Like I said, they didn’t have to actually go over the whole investigation, just acknowledge that this would have been THE GREATEST BREACH OF THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF MILITARY COMMAND OF ALL TIME, which it would have been.

    • Jonathan Middleton

      I believe the original intention was the creatures seen here would have been some spearhead for the Borg

      • Cameron Vale

        I like this idea, it reminds me of the Drakh from Babylon 5.

  • Muthsarah

    A “fantastic” episode? Yikes!

    While I’ll agree that this may be the best Season One gets (though I’ll always be somewhat fond of Hide and Q’s particular brand of silliness and Wesley-bayonetting), it still moves too slow and the characters just don’t…I dunno…pop or something. Crusher looks more bored/sleepy than horrified when she’s blasting Quinn. Worf, Data and Geordi’s…uh…contributions are worthless (as is Troi’s, of course), yet they’re all highly visible for some reason. Top it off with the conspiracy being so goofy and the ending not resolving anything, and it doesn’t add up to much. It’s just far less crap than the season as a whole (Arsenal of Freedom is surprisingly not that bad…and Too Short a Season….well…they weren’t all stinkers). Then again, I didn’t start watching until seasons five or six so I may not be able to see the first two in a fair context.

    It probably would have worked great as a bottle show, with a genuine coup, a focus on human conflict and the good ol’ chestnut of the generals (/admirals) “reluctantly” scrapping democracy for the sake of security in the face of a threat only they can recognize. In the Cold War, it probably would have fit even better. Oh, Gene….

    P.S. Actually, looking back, We’ll Always Have Paris and The Neutral Zone weren’t too bad either. The season kinda ended on a high note. Relatively.

  • Cristiona

    This was an episode that really stuck with me. Saw it when it first aired and it was so non-Trek-like that I never forgot it. At the time, the effects didn’t seem too dodgy, and the slug things were horrific enough that you didn’t much care. I think they only stand out as poor when looking back.
    I remember that ending being exceptionally gruesome at the time as was pretty surprised by it. I had forgotten about that last-second beacon, though. Probably because they never followed up on it, which it too bad.

    • edharris1178

      Yeah, I would have liked to have gotten a little follow-up as well. Still, you can;t complain about what we got instead.

  • Thomas Stockel

    “It hurt the first film”. Do you mean the first TNG film, or Star Trek, TMP? Because I think TMP took a few chances. Did you see McCoy’s beard?!

    Seriously, Kirk is portrayed as a completely self centered selfish dick. If that wasn’t taking chances I don’t know what was.

  • I remember seeing this when it first aired. My friends and I were all excited. “Okay, things are really going to start to get good now” was the thought we all had. Unfortunately there was never any follow up to this.

  • Cameron Vale

    I think they explained the parasite strength buff by saying that it vastly increased adrenaline levels in the host, or something equally ridiculous.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    I remember that for awhile the reruns of this episode had the more graphic parts edited.

    • edharris1178

      That’s the version I watched for this recap, got the unedited screen captures though.

  • LindaMinda

    Badly written Ed, but I won’t hold that against you as this IS indeed quite a good episode.

  • Guest

    This episode never impressed, except for the Remmick blasting at the end. Didn’t seem to be any sense of peril or consequence, so that the fact that key leaders were “infected” did not seem consequential. They did better with the Borg threat (tho I was never impressed how the Borg was defeated)

  • Pet peeve of mine : Stop saying that the aliens were from far flung galaxies. They were from far off solar systems… Learn that difference between a “Galaxy” and a “Solar Syatem”! It’s a pet peeve of mine that I see used a lot.

  • BuddyPup

    Worf’s comment regarding swimming and bathing could be less about him not bathing, and more about seeing swimming as just another form of bathing (i.e. something one does as a task, without much in the way of pleasure or recreation) and therefore somewhat pointless to him. In other words, he already bathed that day/week/month…why would he want to do it again just for “fun”?

  • Marcus

    ” a rather unnerving laugh that really makes me want to see Brent Spiner play a psychotic asylum patient”

    The closest thing I know of offhand is his voice acting as the Joker in Young Justice.

  • Forrest

    I like Brent ONLY as Data. It seems everything he does (Iess Data) is over-the-top. It’s like someone told him to play Data completely straight and sober and he thus suppressed his usual obtuseness.