Star Trek: The Next Generation “Conspiracy” (part 3 of 4)

Worf is spared further embarrassment by the intervention of Crusher, who proceeds to simply blast away at Quinn with a phaser until he’s rendered unconscious.

Caption contributed by Ed

Fun fact: If you were to line up all the Trekkies who wish she would have done this to Wesley in a row… you’d have a lot of people looking at you weird.

Later in sickbay, Quinn is examined, and a wiggling thorn-like protrusion is found on the back of his neck.

Caption contributed by Ed

I hear this is how the Jeopardy! producers keep Trebek in line.

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Back downstairs, Picard and the admirals are talking conspiracies, and I have to say, these aliens do a piss-poor job of not arousing suspicion. In general, if you’re part of a conspiracy to gain power, it’s not really a great idea to engage in small talk about conspiracies with someone who in all likelihood is onto you. They may as well have neon signs above their heads reading “Something is fishy here!”

Constantly noting that it’s “a quiet night” in one of the busiest buildings in the galaxy is also not the best strategy.

Remmick enters and announces dinner is ready, and Picard tells them he’ll join them after he checks in with the ship. Picard calls Riker, but gets Crusher, who informs him about the attack by Quinn. The man is possessed by a parasitic being that has full control over him, enhances his strength and energy, and can only be immobilized by heavy duty phaser fire. The protrusion is apparently how it breathes.

Picard notes he’s unarmed (the actual line is a nicely funny moment), and he goes into dinner with the admirals. We get a nice horror movie moment as Riker surprises Crusher, and it’s back to dinner as Picard enters. He sits down, and in front of him is a bowl with a lid which he lifts to reveal, to his disgust, a bunch of worms. Still alive, mind you.

Caption contributed by Ed

I’d still rather eat this than anything from the Waffle House.

Like I said, these aliens aren’t the best when it comes to being low-key. The admirals, along with a random guy, start eating, and I have to imagine the director was watching the dinner scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and thought to himself, “I can top Spielberg!”

Picard begins to back out of the room, only to be intercepted by Riker. Riker keeps him from leaving and appears to have been taken over, as the admirals confirm by the protrusion on his neck.

Star Trek: The Next Generation "Conspiracy" (part 3 of 4)

Captain Scott enters, also now one of them, and she sits down to eat. Sort of surprised Rixx doesn’t turn up again; I guess Michael Berryman was too busy. The man works enough that that’s pretty damn likely.

The admirals explain they’ve been aware of Picard’s suspicions the entire time, and let him find out (hence Scott’s appearance, I guess), and Riker is encouraged to eat.

Star Trek: The Next Generation "Conspiracy" (part 3 of 4)

Riker gets ready to chow down, with a huge smile on his face… until he suddenly whips out a phaser and begins shooting at the others in the room.

Star Trek: The Next Generation "Conspiracy" (part 3 of 4)

I’d question how the prosthetic on the back of Riker’s neck fooled the guys who were actually taken over, but as I said, we’re not exactly dealing with those lizard guys from V here.

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"

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  • mamba

    One thing about this episode is that they had the solution all along:

    “Gee, we can’t tell if our friends are really our friends or not. If ONLY we had access to some kind of mind reader…maybe a PLANET WORTH of them…something Beta-zeddy maybe…and they could just be in the AREA of our friends and tell us what’s going on. Naaah, let’s send the captain in virtually alone and see what happens.”

    Seriously, you won’t hear this sentence too often, but Luxwana Troi could have solved their dilemma in seconds. As they’re walking towards the room, she’d be like “Gee Picard, thanks for inviting me to your meeting. BTW, your friends are all thinking about inserting a bug in you and are hungry for worms. I have the list of fellow aliens that’s in the front of their minds if you want to try and corral them. I got the name of their next high-profile target so we should go there next. Can we beam out now?”

  • downtown21

    The plot thread was never followed up on because the parasites were too expensive to render. The story arc was still used, however. It was rewritten as the Borg. So the next episode (“The Neutral Zone”) which lays the groundwork of the Borg invasion was originally a continuation of this story.

    If anyone’s interested in a fanwank explanation, I say both the bug aliens and the Borg heard the homing signal. The Borg bumped into the bug aliens as both were on their way to earth and the Borg assimilated them before proceeding to earth.

  • PhysUnknown

    I wasn’t a devoted follower of TNG, but I do remember seeing this episode as a kid. Well, at least part of it (I would have remembered that ending!) – I owned the “case” the admiral uses to carry the creature. It was actually a Trapper-Keeper-esque plastic case with a magnetic latch. It had a spaces for pencils/etc, as well as a 3-ring binder section. I loved it because it looked like some sort of high-tech device (this was back when laptops were just barely a thing). Apparently Star Trek thought so, too, though they painted it black; mine was a light grey.