The Royale

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"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 twelfth 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. To investigate how such an old ship got so far from home, Commander Riker, Lt. Worf and Lt. Commander Data beam down to a small area capable of supporting human life and find a revolving door. Upon entering they find themselves trapped in an old Earth-style hotel/casino called the Royale where they are cut off from contact with their ship.

After unsuccessfully attempting to leave, they explore the building and find the remains of Col. Steven Richey, a NASA astronaut, and a pulp book 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 is an instruction of humans' preferred way of living, but Col. Richey's time in The Royale is a living hell. Data, Riker, and Worf eventually discover that they too are inside a living version of the book.

However, this knowledge does not help them escape until they realize that the novel's plot has been recreated in detail by the aliens. None of the characters (or the away team) can leave until they are scripted to do so. As such, Riker realizes they have to assume the role of the characters in the novel to escape and, using the building's craps table, raise enough money to become the nondescript "foreign investors" destined to buy out the Royale. They successfully leave after fulfilling their part of the story. Back on the "Enterprise", Worf, Riker and Data contemplate the gamble they took, with Worf and Data showing keen interest in Poker (cut scene, DVD only).


  • 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 not impossible, it would mean that the planet is incredibly hot and radiating massive amounts of radiation, which is the opposite of how it is portrayed in the episode.


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]


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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