For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here.
Episode Overview – (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 3). The Enterprise meets up with the USS Hood where they are given both an unusual assignment and an unusual passenger. Picard and his crew must race towards a disputed system to make contact with a strange entity, code-named “Tin Man”, before the Romulans do.
Episode Score – 6/10. This episode is OK, but not outstanding by any means. The mystery is there, but not significant. The effects are OK, but not stellar. The story is routine, but not special.
Relevance – 1 point. This episode finally shows us the captain of the USS Hood, Captain Robert DeSoto, Riker’s former Captain. He is mentioned again in DS9, though this is the only appearance of the captain.
Continuity – 3 points. Character continuity gets a point. Everyone acts as they should. Universe continuity gets a point. We get some insight on Betazoid abilities. Storyline continuity gets a point. 3 points total. Nothing contradicts anything else before or after.
Character Development – 1 point. This story is about Tam Elbrun, plain and simple. While Deanna has a past with him, Data has a connection with him, and Riker has misgivings about him, this story does nothing to propel the development of any of the main characters. What we do explore is the character of a gifted telepath who struggles to find a place for him in the galaxy. He is never seen again, so character development is minimal.
Social Commentary – 1 point. There is not much that hits home in society in this episode, except for perhaps addressing the needs of those who don’t quite fit in. Tam Elbrun is not your typical Betazoid, and is socially handicapped because of it. I have met a few individuals who remind me of him. They tend to see the world in a way that is different, and they struggle with social conventions and fitting in. The story does not delve too deeply in that story, however, and the commentary is superficial at best.
Cool Factor – 2 points. It is cool to see Gomtu (the name for Tin Man) as a living space vessel, capable of sustaining a crew. This is also the first time that Romulan Warbirds were given the classification of D’deridex class.
Rank – Lieutenant (14 points). Not a bad episode, but things just did not quite click the way I thought they could have. Take it or leave it