The Survivors (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
|Star Trek: The Next Generation episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Les Landau|
|Written by||Michael Wagner|
|Featured music||Dennis McCarthy|
|Cinematography by||Marvin V. Rush|
|Original air date||October 9, 1989|
"The Survivors" is the third episode of the third season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 51st episode overall, first broadcast on October 9, 1989.
Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the crew of the Federation starship Enterprise. In this episode, the Enterprise reaches a Federation colony where all but two of the 11,000 inhabitants have been killed by a mysterious attacker. The two survivors, Kevin and Rishon Uxbridge, an elderly couple (played by John Anderson and Anne Haney) refuse assistance and do not want to be rescued. The crew of the Enterprise must determine why only two survivors remain on an otherwise obliterated planet.
The episode is inspired by concepts from "The Society of Friends" colloquially, Quakers. The phrase "Special Conscience" is part of Quaker theology, referring to the idea that there is a fragment of God within each person. The pacifism, the ethics, the lack of action portrayed in the episode are also part of the theology.
The Federation starship Enterprise-D, under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, responds to a distress call from a Federation colony on Delta Rana IV and discovers the planet to be devastated and devoid of life, save for a patch of land containing a house and vegetation. Transporting to the surface, the away team meets the human occupants of the house, Kevin and Rishon Uxbridge. The android Lt. Cdr. Data relates personal information about the couple, impressing them. They witnessed the attack that destroyed the colony, but are unaware that they are the only survivors. Though Kevin would rather have the Enterprise leave them in peace, Rishon allows the team to check the house for any reason why they might have been spared. The team, finding nothing of interest save for a small music box, insists that the Uxbridges return to the Enterprise for safety, but they refuse. Aboard the Enterprise, Counselor Troi hears the music from the music box in her mind on a never-ending loop, which begins to slowly drive her insane. Eventually she is reduced to hysterics, resulting in being medically forced into a coma.
An unknown spacecraft appears in orbit and starts to attack the Enterprise, then turns and leaves at high speed. The Enterprise gives chase but is unable to overtake the spaceship; eventually Captain Picard orders the ship to return to the planet. Picard transports to the surface with Worf to visit the Uxbridges; Kevin suggests they were spared because they are pacifists. Upon the away team's return, the spaceship appears in orbit again, but Picard orders the Enterprise to leave the system first, believing that the crew is being toyed with.
When they return to the planet, the ship is nowhere in sight, and Picard transports to the surface to plead that the Uxbridges leave with him as well as to tell them about Troi's dementia. After being refused again, Picard tells them the Enterprise will remain to protect them as long as they live, and returns to the ship. The alien spaceship appears again and destroys the Uxbridges' home. Picard orders an attack on the craft; unlike the previous encounter, this time the ship is easily destroyed by the Enterprise's firepower. Playing on a suspicion, Picard has the Enterprise move to a higher orbit and continue scans of the planet; after a short time, the Uxbridges' home reappears.
Picard orders the Uxbridges beamed up to the Enterprise and confronts Kevin with the details he has deduced: Kevin and Rishon's house was destroyed in the attack and Rishon was killed, but Kevin, who is not human, has recreated them both. The alien warship is a device of Kevin's to make the Enterprise go away: in the last attack, it seemed to destroy the Uxbridges because then the Enterprise would no longer need to stay and defend them. Kevin admits the truth, and the illusory Rishon disappears. He goes to Troi to remove the torturous music that he had placed in her mind to prevent her from telepathically identifying him.
Kevin reveals that he is a Douwd, an immortal energy being with vast powers. While traveling in human form, he met Rishon, fell in love, and settled with her on Rana IV. When the planet was attacked by an aggressive, destructive species called the Husnock, he refused to join the fight in accordance with his species' pacifism. Rishon actually did take up arms to defend the colony - and was killed in the ensuing battle, lost to Kevin forever as bringing the dead back to life is something beyond even his extraordinary abilities.
Stricken with grief and wanting revenge, Kevin lashed out with his vast powers and wiped out the entire Husnock species—over 50 billion. Horrified by his crime, he chose self-exile to the planet, creating the replicas of Rishon and their house with which to spend the rest of eternity and using a recreation of the Husnock ship as intimidation to keep their privacy. Picard states that they are not qualified to be his judge and they have no laws to fit the magnitude of this crime. The Enterprise leaves Kevin and his illusion in peace, and Picard confirms he will issue a warning not to visit the planet.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation DVD set, Vol. 3, Disc 1, Selection 3.
- "The Survivors" on IMDb
- "The Survivors" at TV.com
- "The Survivors" at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- "The Survivors" at StarTrek.com
- "The Survivors" rewatch by Keith R.A. DeCandido
- "The Survivors" rewatch by Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club