The year is 2364. Captain Jean-Luc Picard has just assumed command of the new USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D. En route to Farpoint Station, built by the Bandi on Deneb IV, where the Enterprise is going to pick up new crew members and to investigate mysterious incidents, an immensely powerful being called "Q" inhibits the ship, and accuses humanity of being an immature species that has to stop exploring the galaxy.

Picard orders a saucer separation in order to avert harm to the civilians aboard and then surrenders. He and the battle bridge crew find themselves in an ancient courtroom where Q puts up a trial against humanity. To prove their worthiness, the crew have to solve the "mystery of Farpoint Station". After the ship has arrived at Deneb IV and the investigation has started, an unknown vessel shows up in the planet's orbit, begins to fire on the old Bandi city and kidnaps the Farpoint administrator, Groppler Zorn.

An away team beams over to the vessel and discovers that the somehow organic interior is much the same as that of parts of Farpoint Station. It turns out that the Bandi have captured an injured space-dwelling being and coerced it to transform itself into a starbase, and the alien vessel now tries to force the Bandi to release its companion. After the away team has freed Zorn, Picard orders to release the creature on the planet with the help of an energy beam. Q, disappointed that the crew was smarter than he thought, retreats for the time being, while Starfleet provides help to the Bandi to rebuild the station.

Errors and Explanations

Internet Movie Database

Character error

  1. When Troi explains to Gropler Zorn that she's only half-Betazoid, she justifies herself by pointing out that her father was a Starfleet officer. Does that rule out the possibility of him being Betazoid? Obviously not, for Starfleet is a multi ethnic organization. This could be due to most aliens regarding Starfleet as a human only organisation.
  2. When Q appears on the bridge as a 20th-century US military officer, he is wearing the rank insignia of a Captain, probably in an attempt to portray Picard's rank. However, in the branch it is supposed to depict, Captain is equivalent to a full Lieutenant, since Starfleet uses the Navy's rank system, not the Marines' or Army's. Either Q got confused, or he was testing Picard's knowledge of Earth's military history.


  1. Data apparently has not been programmed to use contractions. Yet he says the word "can't" at least once. In this episode it is established that Data is unable to use contractions, but uses them at least 32 times. See the Character error section on the series entry for a possible explanation
  2. The "Q bubble" is meant to surround the Enterprise, but when the saucer-less Enterprise surrenders, the near edge of the bubble is clearly behind it. Q could have left a small gap in the field for some reason.
  3. Captain Picard is explaining to Data the details of the mission, Cut to Data sitting at the conn pressing buttons, paying attention to that. Cut to bridge fore and Data is looking up with a perplexed look on his face. Perhaps Data is analysing the information he has just received from Picard.
  4. As we see Riker from behind when he enters the holodeck to find Data, there are shadows behind him. When the POV changes and we see Riker entering from within the holodeck, the shadows are in front. Refracted light, perhaps?
  5. Riker tells Data that he checked Data's records. Apparently he didn't read them very well. He doesn't realize that Data's rank is real, not honorary, and that he graduated from Starfleet Academy. Perhaps he wanted to elicit direct confirmation from Data by implying the rank was honorary.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs

  1. During the first scene on the bridge, when Troi senses the Q-being, Picard refers to her as 'Commander'. But later on the planet's surface, Riker tells her, "You have your orders, Lieutenant." Actually, her rank through most of the series is that of a Lieutenant Commander, and although the usual form of address would be 'Commander', it appears that either appellation can be used for that rank. This is likely due to Riker wanting to emphasise his seniority. (See entry for The Best of Both Worlds Part 2 for another example)[N 1]
  2. When the saucer separates, it is shown drifting away, on the view screen it goes a pretty far distance, yet when it changes screens, the saucer is closer to the ship then the view screen image. However, such effects are normal when two images are seen through different optical systems. For example, if the screen was set to a wide field display, then things could appear much further away than they really were.[1]

The Nitpicker's Guide
Next Generation Trekkers
Volume 2

Plot Oversights

  1. Data not knowing the meaning of the word snoop. This could be a ploy by Dr. Soong to make Data seem less of a threat to the colonists than Lore. (See the entry for Datalore)
  2. Picard’s log entry when Q arrives. Picard could have made the log entry, without looking away from Q, during the title and opening credits.
  3. Data being included in the group put on trial. This could be due to his desire to become more human.
  4. O’Brien not being put on trial. He was not on the Main Bridge when Q first appeared. (In addition, he was probably not considered important enough to stand trial for the crimes of humanity, as shown by Q referring to O'Brien as 'one of the little people' when they met on Deep Space 9 in Q-Less).
  5. The fruit bowl full of apples that appears in Zorn's office. The creature could have made this from the soil around the office.
  6. Riker failing to notice Troi on the security recording. He was probably concentrating on what happened to Lt Torres.
  7. Riker asking the ensign for assistance in locating Data. He may be testing the ensign on her knowledge and ability to relay information, as well as wanting to brief Data in private.
  8. Data’s statement about him graduating with the class of 78. This could be a reference to either the term number, or the number of students in that class.

Changed Premises

  1. Non use of the heel and nod salute in subsequent episodes. Picard could have ordered his crew to discontinue the practice, probably due to it's resemblance to a salute used by the Nazis.
  2. Crusher's change of opinion regarding Command duty between this episode and Descent Part 2. She may have developed a liking for command duty after her stint as head of Starfleet Medical.
  3. Data’s display of emotion when pulling Wes out of the stream in the holodeck. This could have been faked in order for him to fit in with Starfleet.
  4. Wes offering to clean up the water spillage. The self-clean system may not being fully operational at this point.
  5. Troi no longer deeply experiencing the emotions of others after this episode. The immense pain projected by the trapped creature could have prompted Troi to undergo extra training, in order to limit her exposure after this mission.

Equipment Oddities

  1. Picard using the word printouts. This could be a reference to the monitor screens, as part of a ploy to confuse Q.
  2. The Saucer remaining at Warp Speed for so long after separation. The warp field must extend around the saucer section during warp speed separation, possibly as a safety measure.
  3. The holodeck wall blurring when Data's rock hits it. Seniram Either Data programmed the holodeck to blur the scenery, or the holodeck still has a few kinks in it! 2601:199:4300:9970:B95D:4A38:AF16:7A8B The holodeck was extensively upgraded by the Binars later on in this season.
  4. How is it possible for water generated by the holodeck to be taken out of the holodeck ? It was most likely created by the holodeck's replicator sub-system.
  5. The away team beaming back to the ship while the shields were raised. Picard could have arranged for some of the ventral shields to remain down to allow emergency transport.
  6. Phaser beam coming from the centre of the saucer section. There could be a phaser emitter built into the underside of the captain’s yatch, which is located in the centre of the lower half of the saucer. [N 2]

Continuity and Production Problems

  1. Data wiggling his fingers and scratching his armpit. Possibly part of his quest to understand humanity.
  2. Picard and Troi apparently repeating their head movements when the Q force field appears. They could have quickly looked around between the close up and the wide shot.
  3. Disappearance of the two crew members in the hall. They could have ducked into a nearby room.
  4. Zorn's name being spelt out in the window. He may not have wanted a name plate cluttering up his desk.
  5. Yar wearing the “Cosmic Cheerleader” outfit. This is one of the standard uniform options.

Nit Central

  1. Chris Booton on Thursday, May 06, 1999 - 11:01 pm: When Picard see's Wesly in the turbolife as beverly walks onto the bridge, he comments that this is the first time he has seen him since Jack died. Problem with this is that is untrue, in a scene only a couple scenes ago, he saw him just outside of the hollow deck dripping wet from falling into the water in there. Nathan K. on Thursday, May 06, 1999 - 11:10 pm: Maybe Picard didn't recognize Wesley the first time? It had been a while.
  2. Keith Alan Morgan on Saturday, April 17, 1999 - 01:39 pm: Q wears a modern military uniform and says that centuries earlier humans killed each other over tribal god images. Centuries earlier? Did he just ignore the Arabs and the Israelis? Not to mention all the other Twentieth century atrocities that have been committed in the name of God. (Many of which happened before the writers penned this episode.) Perhaps Q meant centuries earlier from the 24th Century.
  3. Picard orders the surrender broadcast in all frequencies in all languages. How long would that take? Are they really broadcasting in languages such as Binary, Linear B, Welsh? The comm system control program probably has an all frequency/all language subroutine.
  4. In the 21st century courtroom Troi says that everything is real. How does she know? She is an Empath, she detects emotions. Do walls and chairs have an emotional state that Betazoids can detect? She's using her empathic abilities in combination with her other senses.
  5. There is a couple of odd things that happen after Picard, Data, Troi and Yar are returned to the Enterprise. Data asks what their heading is and O'Brien seems surprised that Data even had to ask. As a matter of fact, O'Brien acts like the encounter with Q never even happened, and yet he's on the Battle Bridge, not the Main Bridge. Why did he think it was no big deal that the saucer section was missing? He knew about the saucer separation - Picard and the others were on the Battle Bridge when Q transported them to the 21st Century court.
  6. Spockania on Monday, April 16, 2001 - 10:16 pm: Picard makes some odd comments about the Ferengi. He suggests that the Ferengi might find the Bandi "as tasty as their past associates." Huh? Sounds like the Ferengi were intended to be some sort of predatory species, completely different from their later character. But hey, it's the pilot episode. Picard is trying to put the wind up Zorn, using what little information about the Ferengi that is available at this point. kerriem. on Monday, November 26, 2001 - 9:12 am: Remember, at this point in the show's history, the Ferengi were being hyped as the new Ultimate Threat to the Federation. There were all sorts of references in the creators' interviews and (as above) onscreen to how vicious and ruthless they were intended to be.
  7. Somebody who likes to make up long elaborate pseudonyms and turn them into mini-essays, thus making them not actually pseudonyms; they would therefore be pseudo-pseudonyms; since theyre not actually pseudonyms they must be nyms instead. Let Spock figure that one out. on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 9:46 pm: How come Q doesn't know about the Organians and Picard doesn't mention them or any of the other superpowerful races who previously knew and tested humans? Isn't there a newsletter the superpowerful races pass around to each other on this stuff? The superpowerful races probably prefer to keep out of each other's way.
  8. Peter Stoller on Thursday, January 10, 2002 - 7:45 pm: Wesley is dripping holographic water onto the Enterprise's carpet... after he's left the holodeck. (D'oh!) Anonymous on Sunday, March 31, 2002 - 9:32 pm: About the holographic water... Isn't much of the matter in the Holodeck created using the replicators (and then dematerialized when necessary)? This would be the reason water could leave the holodeck.

Ex Astris Scientia

  1. Q states that they are in a courtroom of ‘79’. One would suppose that to be from 2079. In Star Trek: First Contact, they visit the moment Humans first meet an extraterrestrial race, this as they say took place in 2063, 16 years before the period stated by Riker as being the ‘post atomic horror’. We were led to believe though that after the first contact incident that Humanity started to make ‘rapid progress’. It can’t have been that rapid if nearly two decades later they remain in oppression and anarchy, and what would appear to be a savage and corrupt police state (judging by the drug sniffing soldiers arbitrarily firing machine guns). Something could have happened to cause the rapid progress of society to partly relapse.
  2. There is a peculiar costume oddity here. Just as everyone is rushing around prior to the saucer separation, there is a man, walking down a corridor, wearing one of those Starfleet miniskirts, the type worn by Troi in this first episode. Is this a 24th century fetish thing!? As stated in item 5 of the Nitpicker's Guide Continuity and Production Problems section, this is one of the standard uniform options.[3]
  3. This must be the fastest evacuation of a big building ever. It takes exactly 48 seconds from Picard's message to evacuate the station until he orders to energize the beam that would release the captured creature. They probably has a rapid evaccuation procedure in place.

Wiki Users

  1. Mcb359 on Monday, July 16, 2018 - 23:03 During Picard’s first log entry, he talks about Commander Riker as though he doesn’t know him or anything about him. However, in “The Pegasus”, Picard states that he personally chose Riker as his First Officer based on his record. At the time of Farpoint, Picard knows nothing about the real man behind the record.
  2. In the Observation Lounge, as Picard questions Riker about the role of a First Officer, Riker says that Picard served as a First Officer himself in the past. However, later episodes establish that Lt. Picard took command of the USS Stargazer when its Captain was killed and First Officer injured, being promoted to Captain for his actions. Therefore, Picard never served as a First Officer, but he doesn’t correct Riker on this point. Technically, he was serving as an emergency replacement for the First Officer, and would have presumably been given that position if the original First Officer had recovered and assumed command.


  1. Alternatively, the 'You have your orders' remark could have been intended for Tasha.
  2. The original location of the beam corresponds with the location of the phaser emmiters from the Original Series Enterprise. In the Remastered Blu-ray version of this episode, the shot was altered, with the energy beam now coming from the lower phaser strip.[2]


  1. IMDB Entry tt0094030
  2. Ex Astris Scienta - Re-mastered STTNG Blu ray episodes
  3. Ex Astris Scienta - Encounter At Farpoint

The Next Generation - Season 1
Encounter at Farpoint I The Naked Now I Code of Honor I Haven I Where No One Has Gone Before I The Last Outpost I Lonely Among Us I Justice I The Battle I Hide and Q I Too Short a Season I The Big Goodbye I Datalore I Angel One I 11001001 I Home Soil I When the Bough Breaks I Coming of Age I Heart of Glory I The Arsenal of Freedom I Symbiosis I Skin of Evil I We'll Always Have Paris I Conspiracy I The Neutral Zone
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