[TNG] Encounter At Farpoint

[TNG] Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2 (Netflix: S1 E1): Encounter at Farpoint Pt. 1 & 2

Rating: 3

This episode feels like it is split into two distinct stories: the Farpoint story, and the Q story, with character introductions mixed throughout. The Farpoint story feels like a 2 and the Q story feels like a 4, so the overall rating is a 3. It is important to watch if you want to feel the full effect of the series finale and it’s interesting to see how each character is introduced.

Read more at Memory Alpha
A.V. Club gave it a B-
Wil Wheaton did a review of this episode


Cool opening shot of the enterprise. A lot of this episode is showing off the ship.

Introduction of Q

File Under: John de Lancie (Q)

The helm chair position have the helmsman practically laying down.

WWIII uniforms look amazingly dumb

Troi is a bit more involved with ship operations in the first episode.

They show off separating the saucer section and make a really big deal out of it, even playing the opening music while it happens. They also make it seem like something they would do more frequently than they ever do.

O’Brien in red!

The humans in the trial audience seem like aliens and the aliens at Farpoint seem to be humans.

They make it appear like there’s a lot of pressure on Riker “manually” reconnecting the saucer section but he just tells O’Brien to do it.

41:00-44:00 The scenes between Picard and Riker are pretty fantastic.

I’m guessing that they just thought the visor looked cool on Geordi, because thinking that blindness isn’t curable in the 24th century is pretty dumb. They don’t even bother saying that it’s some kind of special blindness or something.

Bones is an admiral. And terrible music follows him around.

Worf almost shoots the viewer with his phaser, and Riker commends him for acting fast.

53:08 They mention the Ferengi. They eat people

That ensign has the hots for Riker!

Also, the computer is much more polite and conversational.

1:02:38 Picard hates kids

Now there’s a gigantic space ship!

Further Analysis:

To most people this episode is too clunky, oddly paced, and too littered with strange scenes to reach above an average rating. It’s weaknesses are pretty clear, and hard to dispute. There are a few strengths that pull this episode above average.

First is that the Q story is very good. Most people recognize this. They acknowledge how John de Lancie and Patrick Stewart do a fantastic job. A.V. Club’s Zack Handlen (who gave this episode a B-) brings up a good point that the stakes of the Q story are only really felt when Q is actually on screen. This is true, and it’s also true that we never actually believe Q will destroy everyone, but there are still great scenes (like the courtroom one) that have a real sense of danger. Having Picard facing down Q in a room full of people mocking and shouting is very effective. If I’m honest, I found these courtroom scenes so compelling that it may be the primary reason for liking this episode. These scenes cover familiar themes in Star Trek, but maybe one of the best iterations in a single sequence. This is exactly what a premiere of TNG should include.

Another reason I like this episode is a little more controversial: Picard is kind of a jerk. For StarTrek.com’s Jordan Hoffman it seems like one of the main reasons for giving it a 1.5/5 rating. Most people think Picard (and especially Patrick Stewart) is still cool in this episode, but are put off by how mean he is. I actually liked it. I like how everyone is afraid of him. I like that he yells at Wesley, and hates kids, and forces Riker to prove himself. A lot of people appreciate the ways Picard is made to look different than Kirk in this episode (which I agree is good), but I kind of liked it when Kirk was mean too. I also liked it when Sisko was mean, and had problems with Janeway and Archer not being able to convincingly sell their toughness. It might just be personal taste, but seeing the aggressive or impersonal side of a captain adds a dimension of reality to a person with that position. Captains with a mean streak are awesome.

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  • http://twitter.com/JackCum Bryan: One great kid

    Data is really really really a creep in early episodes. I can’t stand him.

    • http://twitter.com/LetsWatchST Lets Watch Star Trek

      Yeah, I agree. Any time he smiles I get a little weirded out

      • woverette

         I really love the acting in the earlier episodes. Data really seems inhuman and more fake than in the later seasons; i really like the transition. And every creepy smile of his makes me laugh

        • http://twitter.com/LetsWatchST Lets Watch Star Trek

           Yeah his creepy smiles are also pretty funny

          • http://twitter.com/wolverettealex Alex Varela

             sort of endears me to him

        • Malachi Ward

          I like the idea that Data would be kind of inhuman too, even if the way they express that in the early seasons is hit or miss. It would have been nice if his transition from off-putting to being more like the Data in the later seasons was more deliberate. 

          • http://twitter.com/wolverettealex Alex Varela

             i think that would have been great to see, but either way, i love Brent Spiner and how he portrayed Data

  • http://twitter.com/JackCum Bryan: One great kid

    Also I agree that the pace is clunky. I’ve been watching the TNG blu ray sampler disc (in preparation for tuesdays season 1 release) and its tough to get through. However I’m very fond of Season 1 and 2

    • Malachi Ward

      Even though there are fewer episodes I would recommend from the first two seasons compared to the others, I still have a real soft spot for the early seasons.

  • http://twitter.com/johntodd55 John Christensen

    I love the opening of this episode with extra shots of the enterprise. almost as excessive as the enterprise shots in the first star trek movie. there is also some great lighting on Picard in this episode, probably because its a pilot and they had some extra time.

    The Hair of Tori, and Warfs head seem bigger in the pilot then they do in later episodes.
    I love how complicated the bridge is made out to be, but it looks really simple, empty, and not very elaborate.
    Obrien! in Red! love it.

    on the topic of Picard being a dick in this episode, I found that most characters were dicks. Picard does hate kids, and Riker, even though he is a fan of him at the top of the episode.
    Riker is a dick to Geordi, and reprimands him for not being more professional.
    Crusher is a dick to Riker, and basically ignores him while he talks to her.
    DATA is a dick to Riker, and says he is way superior.
    Geordi is cool, but he does point really funny in this episode. 10 points if you can find it. (i just forgot to mark it down when watching. its somewhere in the middle. but you cant miss it.)

    The conversation where Pikcard says he needs protection from Riker to make sure he’s not being a dick to children is a priceless conversation. well noted.
    Geordi says “see ya” i laughed. it was a good trek joke.
    When Riker finds out that Tori is on the ship, and she is talking into his brain, he really looks constipated. Check out his glare when he steps into the elevator with picard and Tori. He looks like he is going to murder his poop.

    I totally forgot about DATAs super strength.
    and can we give some love to all of Q’s outfits, and the memory of my parents trying to explain that character to me as a kid.

    Im out.

    • http://twitter.com/LetsWatchST Lets Watch Star Trek

      Yeah everyone was kind of mean. At least Riker was nice when he tried to make Worf feel better about almost shooting the screen

  • chelmite