Second Chances (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
|Star Trek: The Next Generation episode|
Commander Riker confronts Lieutenant Riker.
|Episode no.||Season 6
|Directed by||LeVar Burton|
|Teleplay by||René Echevarria|
|Story by||Michael A. Medlock|
|Featured music||Dennis McCarthy|
|Cinematography by||Jonathan West|
|Original air date||May 24, 1993|
"Second Chances" is the 150th episode of the American syndicated science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 24th episode of the sixth season. It was directed by series regular castmember LeVar Burton ("Geordi La Forge").
In this episode, Commander Riker comes face to face with an exact duplicate of himself, created years earlier by a transporter phenomenon.
The Federation starship Enterprise is sent to the inhospitable planet Nervala IV to retrieve data from a Federation research base that was abandoned about eight years earlier due to the onset of a disruption field that prevented transporter use. Commander Riker is chosen to lead the team, having been part of the rescue team that helped to evacuate the base; Riker notes that during that mission he was the last person to be beamed out to the Potemkin, where he was then serving.
Using a break in the disruption field, the away team beams down and discovers a man who appears exactly like Riker. He says that he is Riker, and has been living alone on the base for eight years ever since the Potemkin was unable to transport him back aboard, under the assumption the Potemkin crew presumed him lost. He is a Starfleet lieutenant, Cdr. Riker's rank before he was promoted as a result of this mission.
Returning to the Enterprise, Dr. Crusher determines that this person is truly a second Riker; Chief Engineer La Forge postulates that years before, when Riker was being beamed off the planet, the Potemkin had split the transporter beam to cut through the distortions, but one beam was reflected back to the base, so that Riker materialized in both places.
Cdr. Riker suggests that Lt. Riker join them on a second attempt to recover the data. At the base, their personality styles conflict, and the attempt ends in failure when Lt. Riker refuses to follow Cdr. Riker's orders. Cdr. Data postulates that the two men are resentful towards each other due to the loss of their sense of uniqueness. Lt. Worf suggests another reason: each one sees in the other something of himself he does not like.
While helping plan a third attempt to recover the data, Lt. Riker tries to learn about what he has missed, and attempts to rekindle his previous relationship with Ship's Counselor Deanna Troi. Troi has come to accept that her relationship with Riker is no longer a romantic one, and is initially hesitant, but then considers it a second chance. They enjoy their time together; and Lt. Riker suggests leaving the Enterprise together for a new posting. Troi tells him she will have to think about it.
For their third attempt, Captain Picard selects Lt. Riker's plan over Cdr. Riker's, leaving Cdr. Riker further upset. The plan to get the data is successful, but on the way out a walkway collapses, putting Lt. Riker in mortal danger. Rescuing him would also put Cdr. Riker in peril, and Lt. Riker tells him not to risk it. But Cdr. Riker saves his double, and both return to the Enterprise.
The two Rikers reconcile their differences; Lt. Riker states that he has been given a new assignment on another ship, and plans to take on his middle name "Thomas" to distinguish himself from William. As a parting gift, Cdr. Riker gives his double his treasured trombone, noting that it belongs equally to him. Troi also tells Lt. Riker that she will be staying on the Enterprise, but thanks him for the time they had.
- Thomas Riker would later appear in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Defiant".
- This was the first episode of Star Trek to be directed by LeVar Burton. It was Burton's directing debut.
- NASA astronaut Mae Jemison was cast by Burton to play Lt. Palmer.
- "LeVar Burton Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story". Biography.com. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
- Star Trek The Next Generation DVD set, volume 6, disc 6, selection 4
- "Second Chances" at the Internet Movie Database
- "Second Chances" at TV.com
- "Second Chances" at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- "Second Chances" at StarTrek.com