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Shades of Grey (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

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Note: Not to be confused with the book Fifty Shades of Grey or its 2015 film adaptation of the same name.

Shades of Grey (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Shades of Gray title card.jpg
Before there was Fifty Shades of Grey, there was this disappointing finale.
Part of Season: 2
Episode Number: 22
Air Date: July 17, 1989
Writer: Maurice Hurley
Hans Beimler
Richard Manning
Director: Rob Bowman
Previous episode: Peak Performance
Next episode: Evolution

Shades of Grey is the final episode of the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.


Riker gets infected with microbes from an alien plant, and falls into a coma. Dr. Pulaski makes him dream good memories, but this makes the infection worse. Then she makes him dream bad memories, which make him all better. Yes, that really is the entire plot.

Why It Sucks

  1. Really lazy way of executing a clip show. While the way they induce the memories is at least a little bit more creative than the "Hey, remember when we..." method used in most clip shows, it's cancelled out by there being no theme to the clips beyond, as mentioned, good memories for Riker and bad memories for Riker.
  2. Only three sets are used in the whole episode, namely sickbay, the transporter room, and the surface of the alien planet, making the non-clip sections pretty boring.
  3. Riker spends most of the episode before he falls unconscious cracking lame puns, and then adds in a few more once he's regained consciousness.
  4. The nearest thing that we get to any actual action (outside of the clips) is Data shaking an alien vine around in an attempt to make it look like it's moving. It honestly looks like the sort of thing you'd see in an Ed Wood movie.
  5. Troi openly talks about the erotic dreams that her ex-boyfriend (Riker) is having, in a way that comes off really creepy.
  6. Most of the cast visibly don't give a crap about the episode. It's also the last appearance of Dr. Pulaski who, while never that endearing of a character, deserved a better send-off than this.
  7. Just when you think we might have dodged any appearances by Wesley Crusher, he appears in the clips.
  8. The fact that this was what they closed the second season of the show out with. While the first season finale, "The Neutral Zone" wasn't that great of an episode, it at least teased the return of the Romulans, along with a powerful new enemy who would eventually become the Borg.
  9. The title sounds like a crossover between Fifty Shades Of Grey and Star Wars, which wouldn't mix at all.
  10. There were way better episodes about alien infections in the series than this.
  11. It's considered to be the worst episode of the entire franchise.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. One or two half-decent bits in the clips from older episodes.
  2. As terrible as the episode is in execution, at least the basic story concept (a medical emergency that requires the crew to save Riker's life) isn't as face-palmingly stupid those of certain other Star Trek episodes.
  3. The knowledge that once you've watched this episode, you've cleared the weaker early seasons of TNG, and what lies ahead is much better.