The Royale

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For other uses, see Royale (disambiguation).
"The Royale"
Star Trek: The Next Generation episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 12
Directed by Cliff Bole
Written by Tracy Tormé (as Keith Mills)
Featured music Ron Jones
Cinematography by Edward R. Brown
Production code 138
Original air date March 27, 1989 (1989-03-27)
Guest actors
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List of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes

"The Royale" is the 12th episode of the second season of the syndicated science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 38th episode overall, originally airing on March 27, 1989.

In this episode, Riker, Data, and Worf become trapped in a strange hotel on a planet otherwise incapable of supporting human life.


Following a tip from a Klingon ship, the Federation starship Enterprise, under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, finds debris from an Earth ship orbiting an uninhabitable alien planet. A sample of the debris beamed aboard shows NASA markings and a 52-star American flag, meaning the ship is several hundred years old, and has traveled far beyond the capability of ships of that era. Scans of the planet reveal a small anomalous area capable of supporting human life, so Commander Riker, Lt. Worf, and Lt. Commander Data beam down to investigate, and find a revolving door. Upon entering they find themselves in an old Earth-style hotel/casino called The Royale, where they are cut off from contact with the Enterprise.

The away team soon discovers they are trapped inside the casino, and after making several unsuccessful attempts to leave, they decide to explore the building, and find the desiccated but preserved remains of Col. Steven Richey, a NASA astronaut, and a pulp novel titled Hotel Royale. Upon reading Richey's diary, they learn that his starship was accidentally contaminated by aliens and he is the only survivor. Taking pity on him, the aliens created The Royale for him, thinking the novel represented humans' preferred way of living, whereas Richey found it unbearable.

Riker, Data, and Worf realize that the novel's plot has been recreated in detail by the aliens and is playing out in front of them, and surmise that they might be able to leave if they are scripted to do so. They assume the role of a trio of foreign investors and, taking advantage of Data's ability to precisely manipulate the dice at the casino's craps table, win enough money to buy out the Royale, and are then able to leave.


The episode was written by Tracy Tormé under the pseudonym of Keith Mills. Tormé had his name removed from the credits after he became unsatisfied with rewrites. His original idea was a surreal nightmare about an astronaut stuck forever in his most pleasant memory.[1]

Historical/scientific accuracy[edit]

  • In the scene where Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge scans the planet, he describes the surface temperature as -291°C, a temperature that is below absolute zero (−273.15°C). Although absolute negative temperatures are possible, they do not correspond to the portrayal of the planet in the episode.


Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club rated it B and wrote that the episode is "watchable" but does not live up to his memories.[2]


  1. ^ Block, Paula M; Erdmann, Terry J. (2012). Star Trek: the Next Generation 365. Abrams Books. ISBN 1613124007. 
  2. ^ Handlen, Zack (June 24, 2010). "Star Trek: The Next Generation: "The Dauphin"/"Contagion"/"The Royale"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 9, 2014. 

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