The Naked Now (TNG episode)

From Academic Kids

"The Naked Now" is an episode from Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was the second episode broadcast of the new series, aired on November 5, 1987. It is episode #2, production #103. The teleplay was written by J. Michael Bingham, based on a story by John D.F. Black and J. Michael Bingham, and directed by Paul Lynch.

The episode introduces the major characters and explores the relationships and tensions among them by portraying them in an inebriated fashion. This same technique was used in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Naked Time".

Quick Overview: A bizarre virus causes impaired judgment in the crew of the Enterprise.

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STNakedNow.jpg
Tasha and Data share a night to remember in "The Naked Now".

On stardate 41209.2, the USS Enterprise investigates a series of strange reports from the science vessel USS Tsiolkovsky, which has been monitoring the collapse of a red supergiant star for the past 8 months. As the Enterprise arrives on the scene, a final message from the Tsiolkovsky is heard consisting of the sound of outrageous laughter which is then abruptly cut off by an explosion. Lt. Data identifies the sound as an emergency hatch to outer space being opened.

Captain Picard sends over an away team to investigate. The team finds the crew frozen to death from an apparent deadly change in environmental settings. The stiff bodies lie about in various stages of undress in what Data describes as evidence of a “wild party”.

Geordi finds a fully clothed crewmember frozen in a shower. The body falls and he instinctively catches her even though he knows she's dead. Meanwhile, Commander Riker and Data make their way to the bridge finding everything that wasn't bolted down has been blown out the open airlock just as Data had suspected. Riker reports their grisly findings to Picard's incredulity.

The away team returns to the Enterprise, and preparations begin for towing the Tsiolkovsky to safety since Picard is uncertain when the star will collapse until the survey data is analyzed. As a precaution, the away team is sent to sickbay to have a full examination since Dr. Crusher is suspicious of a possible viral infection. Everyone checks out except for Geordi who is sweating profusely and complains the room is too hot. Dr. Crusher takes him off duty, and confines him to sickbay until she can run more tests. While her back is turned, Geordi suddenly gets up and leaves before she notices. She reports Geordi's strange disappearance to security.

Meanwhile, Geordi has made his way to young Wesley Crusher's lab where the boy is busy working on a new portable tractor beam device. Wesley shows Geordi another invention that he uses to “pretend” that he is on the bridge. It consists of a series of intercom recordings of the captain barking various orders to different crewmembers. Geordi is amused by the toy and places an encouraging hand on Wesley's shoulder. Geordi then says some puzzling things, complains the room is too hot, and quickly leaves to Wesley's bewilderment.

Soon afterward, security officer Lt. Tasha Yar, finds Georgi on an observation deck staring off into space. He turns and grabs her arms, hunching over as if in pain, and begs her to help him get the "wild thoughts" out if his head. Geordi is taken to sickbay and monitored by Dr. Crusher. Yar gives her report to Picard, stating Georgi seems emotionally delusional; unnoticed, is she is also sweating. Picard presses Dr. Crusher remains at a loss for an explanation; simply stating that Geordi is suffering from similar effects as someone who is intoxicated.

Picard returns to the bridge where Riker report findings of a similar incident mentioned in the logs of the Constitution class, USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk. The records show the crew suffered impaired judgment and wild behavior after investigating a planet in the midst of a gravitational break up. It was theorized the gravity distortions created a virus that caused a chemical imbalance in the brains of the crewmembers. To Picard's relief, the report contains the complete medical data for a cure and he quickly forwards the information to Dr. Crusher.

Later, Lt. Yar appears strolling around in a revealing gown, swaying with a sexy walk instead of her usual straightforward stride. Other personnel appear running around the corridors laughing and screaming childishly. Tasha grabs a crewman as he passes, and plants a big wet kiss upon him. It is obvious that the boisterous behavior is spreading rapidly.

Down in main engineering, Wesley uses his recordings of Picard's orders to lure Chief Engineer MacDougal and her attendant, Shimboda, away from their stations. The boy sneaks in and starts playing with the main engineering console. MacDougal reports "as ordered" to Picard, who claims he ordered no such thing. Suddenly, Picard hears his own words coming over the main intercom stating he has given full control of the ship to "Captain Wesley Crusher".

Picard quickly realizes his crew are losing their minds, as report after report floods in. Picard orders Data to find Lt. Yar and restore order immediately. He tells MacDougal to remove Wesley from engineering. Shimoda returns to engineering and finds the boy has activated a force field projected from his tractor beam device that prevents access to the control room. By now, Shimoda is acting loopy himself; he hails "Capt' Wes" and Wesley deactivates the field for a moment to let him in.

Meanwhile, Data enters Lt. Yar's quarters finding the security officer lying provocatively in the darkened room. She throws her arms around him, telling him she wants "gentleness and love", then pulls the bewildered android into her bedroom. He is not sure what to do, especially when Yar asks him if he is "sexually functional". The android tells her he is fully programmed for pleasure and knows various "techniques". Yar joyfully tells him that's just what she's looking for.

Riker discovers that the main engines are offline and the computer has been cut off, caused by Shimoda removing the isolinear control chips from the engine room relay bank. Riker works to bypass the system hoping to cut power to Wesley's force field device, but then counselor Troi distracts him with passionate advances. Riker knows she's not herself and hurriedly carries her to sickbay.

In sickbay, Dr. Crusher tests the old Enterprise serum on Geordi, but is horrified when it doesn't work. According to the old logs, the serum should work instantly. Riker enters and places Troi on a bed. He finds the doctor sitting in her office dismayed over the failure of the serum. Riker puts a confiding hand on her shoulder while she contemplates if the virus is a different version, perhaps mutated, and not hampered by the old antidote formula. She then notices the reports warn of physical contact spreading the virus, and gasps when she realizes Riker has just infected her.

Back on the bridge, Lt. Worf reports the star is becoming dangerously unstable as Picard tries to reason with Wesley. He tells Wesley the importance of activating the tractor beam on the science vessel so that the Enterprise and the Tsiolkovsky can get away from the star. Wesley brightens at the mention of the "tractor beam" and tells Picard not to worry, and that he has everything under control. He cuts off to Picard's annoyance. Outside of engineering, Riker and MacDougal work desperately to bypass Wesley's force field, but their attempts fail.

Meanwhile, Dr. Crusher works feverishly for a solution, fighting to keep her mind focused. In the meantime, Picard becomes astonished when Wesley casts the Enterprise's tractor beam on the Tsiolkovsky, all on his own. Data finally returns the bridge, looking disheveled and covered in lipstick kisses. He is still rather dazed by his recent encounter with Lt. Yar.

Eventually, the star explodes and Worf reports a huge chunk of stellar matter headed directly at them. With minutes left until impact, MacDougal finally deactivates Wesley's force field, and she rushes into regain control. She gasps finding Shimoda has scattered the isolinear chips everywhere. She reports replacing them all correctly would take hours. Wesley speaks up, declaring that Data could shuffle isolinear chips like a deck of cards. Picard orders Data to rush to engineering to reinsert the chips. He does so at lightning speed, however there are too many to deal with and time is running out.

Picard enters sickbay, where Dr. Crusher is almost completely smashed, but miraculously has a modified and more potent antidote ready to be tested. With Picard's aid, she injects Geordi, who pops to attention and seems to have a clearing head. Excitedly, the doctor injects herself and the captain. They quickly gather the prepared hypos and rush out to inject the others.

With seconds remaining, it is clear that Data, even at his dexterous speed, will not have the chips replaced in time. Wesley goes to a console and fiddles with the ship's main tractor beam; reconfiguring the circuits to repulse the Tsiolkovsky away. The force pushes the two starships apart and the Enterprise drifts safely out of the path as the chunk of stellar matter collides with the Tsiolkovsky and destroys it.

Once everyone is back to normal, Data is approached by an embarrassed Lt. Yar who quickly reminds him “it never happened”. Data stands confused.

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