|The Next Generation|
Yet again almost the entire company of officers beam down onto a planet. So what, there's is nothing new about that. This planet we are told, has just suffered from a nuclear holocaust. Of all the places they would want to be without protection, this is not one of them. Still, we cut to the most terribly unrealistic and obviously painted landscape that the show has ever had the audacity to use, in which we find a nice white painted house. The budget must have been suffering terribly for this episode.
Inside are Ma and Pa Kettle who, like all other members of the Federation, would prefer to stay on their plant in squalor and devastation than be rescued by the Enterprise. I wonder if there are stories about our heros that circulate before them that promote this attitude...
Why were they spared from the devastation? Not for their keen fashion sense for sure! The house is full of kitsch rubbish, including a music box which plays typical elevator muzak. You know what it's like when you get a tune in your head that just won't go away? Troi knows, as the melody repeats itself over and over and over...
The beam back to the Enterprise to find an enormous warship just hanging around. It must be the planet buster coming back for dessert. It has somewhat weak though really cool looking blue guns; but what it lacks in armament it makes up for in speed. The Enterprise can't catch it at more than Warp 9. Picard's not convinced and orders a return to the planet...
He and Worf beam back down to talk to the survivors. At tea, Worf proves he is ever the conversationalist: "Good tea, nice house". The Bald Avenger offers them a last chance to leave. Strike 2. When they beam back to the ship, the unknown warship is back, only this time its looking tougher. It smashes down the shields with a quick blast, and forces the Enterprise to leave or be destroyed. Bummer.
Picard thinks that it's somehow the colonists making them leave. Is the ship protecting them? He beams down again and confronts them and tells them that while they live, the Enterprise will keep orbiting the planet. They beam back to find the warship again, but it doesn't attack them, it destroys the settlement on the planet. There are no survivors this time.
The Enterprise has no reason to stay now, other than to rubberneck at the destruction. Well that seems to be a pretty good reason, so they do. Amazingly the house reappears, and they are still two survivors. The Chrome Dome Gnome has them beamed directly onto the bridge for a stiff talking to.
There was really only one survivor. A naughty alien who was masquerading as a man, but was actually a Douwd who fell in love with a human and has been living as one for the last 50 years. He is also immortal, and in a fit of pique at the death of his wife, destroyed the attackers - the Husnock. Not just the ones who were actually attacking, but the entire species! This is one dude you would not want to piss off. I would love to see him go up against the Q.
After the alien heals Troi, Picard utters the classic "we have no law to fit your crime". What about murder? Genocide? Unreasonable nastiness? If he can't come up with a single crime then he should probably redo Law 101. But to cap it off, we get "you are free to return to the planet". Like he could have stopped him if he wanted to to?