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Summary

Picard is abducted by unknown aliens and finds himself in what seems to be a cage of lab rats - together with three other individuals from different planets: the Bolian woman Mitena Haro, the Mizarian Kova Tholl and some time later a Chalnoth named Esoqq. After some unsuccessful attempts to escape he finds out that one of his fellow prisoners, namely Mitena Haro, is not what she appears to be. In the meantime a false Picard is commanding the Enterprise, but his silly behavior helps to unmask him in time before his orders put the ship and crew in danger. When Picard is eventually rescued from his prison, he gives the aliens who are responsible for the kidnapping a taste of being imprisoned by confining them in a forcefield.

Errors and Explanantions

Internet Movie Database

Character error

  1. Data describes the nearest pulsar as "a rotating neutron star of approximately 4.656 solar masses". This might anticipate a future breakthrough - current physics have been putting the maximum possible mass of neutron stars at 3 solar masses (the Richard Tolman-J. Robert Oppenheimer-George Volkoff limit, calculated in 1939). Possibly a side effect of subspace physics, which also permits faster-than-light travel - something else considered 'impossible' with current physics.
  2. According to Mitena Haro, Picard is tapping the first six prime numbers trying to communicate with their abductors. The first six prime numbers are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, and 13. However, Picard is tapping 2, 3, 5, 7, 3, 5, 5, 7, 7, and finally 4, before giving up. This could be a test either by the aliens or Picard.

Revealing mistakes

  1. Mitena Haro's make-up comes loose at the base of her neck, revealing the line dividing her face to be just that, make-up. This could be delibrate, to see if any of the others notice.

The Nitpicker's Guide
Next Generation Trekkers
Volume 2

Equipment Oddities

  1. Worf not having the ability to surround Picard - or anyone hostiles who beam onto the bridge - with a protective forcefield. It may require too much power.

Nit Central

  1. Keith Alan Morgan (Kmorgan) on Monday, July 23, 2001 - 2:35 am: In The First Duty cadets wore a rank, or year, insignia on their uniforms, but the "cadet" in this episode is not wearing one. Perhaps the captors did this to see if Picard would notice.
  2. If faux Picard is an alien then why wasn't Troi suspicious of him? The impersanation may have been too good.
  3. These creatures have a lot of knowledge about many things, so why don't they understand morality and even need to conduct this study to understand authority? If you had no understanding of authority and were sent to impersonate an authority figure, wouldn't it be obvious you were an impostor? Perhaps the creatures were not studying authority, but were actually seeing how far they could go before the crew would try to stop them? That actually makes sense!
  4. John A. Lang on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 10:12 pm: If the abduction of Picard was only "temporary", why was the faux-Picard trying to take the Enterprise towards a deadly radioactive pulsar? LUIGI NOVI on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 3:00 am:They wanted to test what the crew's reaction would be. John A. Lang on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 9:11 pm: I get it---the entire crew was being tested.


The Next Generation Season 3
Evolution I The Ensigns of Command I The Survivors I Who Watches the Watchers I The Bonding I Booby Trap I The Enemy I The Price I The Vengeance Factor I The Defector I The Hunted I The High Ground I Déjà Q I A Matter of Perspective I Yesterday's Enterprise I The Offspring I Sins of the Father I Allegiance I Captain's Holiday I Tin Man I Hollow Pursuits I The Most Toys I Sarek I Ménage à Troi I Transfigurations I The Best of Both Worlds Part 1