Skip to content

Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Icarus Factor

September 27, 2013

First aired April 24, 1989. Stardate 42686.4. The Enterprise is on its way to a Starbase, where some Engineering matters will be dealt with. Picard also tells Riker that he’s been selected as the new captain for another ship.

After the credits, Riker goes to meet the guy who’s going to be briefing him on the assignment. Turns out it’s Riker’s dad. They haven’t seen each other in 15 years. It’s not a comfortable reunion. Wesley talks to Worf about it, but Worf is pissy, and yells at Wesley. In Engineering, Geordi’s not impressed with the people the Starbase sent to him. In Ten-Forward, Riker and O’Brien chat a bit. Kyle Riker and Pulaski seem to know each other, to Riker’s surprise. Wesley talks to Geordi and Data about Worf’s earlier reaction. Geordi and Data come up with a plan for Wesley to follow to investigate.

Break. Kyle and Pulaski continue talking about their past. Geordi and Data are watching Worf, and Data thinks Worf might be lonely. He goes to talk to Worf, and Worf tells him off, with a hilarious mix of respect of shouting. Riker’s in his quarters, looking through old photos. Worf comes to talk to him, asks about his father, and asks to join Riker in leaving the Enterprise. It’s a bit of a weird scene. Then Kyle tries to talk to Riker, but it doesn’t go well.

Break. Pulaski introduces Kyle to Troi. Troi shows a little bit of her counselor skills. Kyle goes to see Riker again. Still doesn’t go well. In Engineering, Wesley tells Geordi and Data that Worf’s problem is that it’s the 10th anniversary of his Rite of Ascension. They decide to throw the ceremony for him. Riker visits Pulaski to talk about his father.

Break. Riker and Picard talk about the promotion. Wesley invites O’Brien to Worf’s party. Riker talks to Troi to say goodbye. It’s a lame, sappy scene. He goes back to his quarters, and finds his father there. They argue a bit more, and decide to have an Anbo-Jitsu match.

Break. Pulaski is angry at at Kyle for wanting to fight his own son. Then we get Worf’s ceremony. The gathering consists of Wesley, Data, Geordi, O’Brien and Pulaski. O’Brien shares an anecdote about seeing it used on an animal, and its head exploded. Troi leads Worf to the Holodeck, but doesn’t go in. I actually kinda like the way she says “No.” Then there’s the ceremony, of him being repeatedly zapped with pain sticks. He’s very happy with it.  Then we cut to the Anbo-Jitsu. They’re wearing heavy padding, visors that block their vision, and carry big sticks. They get their feelings out while they fight. Riker realizes that his father always cheated. They finally get it all out, and they finally let their old animosities go. Riker decides to stay on the Enterprise.

This is an OK episode. It actually makes good use of almost all the cast. The only one who doesn’t have much to do is Patrick Stewart; Picard gets less to do here than O’Brien. The two plots don’t tie together quite as well as they could. They’re both about family, sort of, but Worf’s is only tangentially about family. His story also has an element of choosing one’s family – in this case, the Enterprise crew – while Riker’s is about not being able to choose one’s family, as O’Brien points out in his little moment with Riker. Worf’s plot is handled better, touching with quite a bit of surprise humour.

Riker’s storyline is tense and emotional, but deeply flawed. Mitchell Ryan was a bit uneven as Kyle Riker. It was a bit of a confused performance at times. He was good, just inconsistent. Part of that was the writing, I think. But he tended to behave a little too differently from one scene to another, and occasionally even within scenes. It didn’t work as well as it should have. He starts off sympathetic, but soon turns into an unbearable and unrepentant jackass. The longer the episode goes, the more of an arrogant dick he turns into. Frakes was much better as Will. Much more consistent. Though his scene with Troi was awful, which is a shame, because Troi’s scene with Kyle was actually pretty OK. Not great – she stated the obvious a bit too much – but not bad. The Troi/Will scene becomes even worse when you find out it was completely and totally pointless, since Riker doesn’t actually leave. I also think Riker let go of his anger towards his father way too suddenly. They’re fighting, Riker’s full of resentment towards his father, then Kyle says “I love you” and suddenly Riker’s hugging him and saying he’s glad he came. It felt forced and phony. It was like the writers realized they only had a couple minutes left to wrap it up, so boom, they’re reconciled. It didn’t work well at all.

Anbo-Jitsu is ridiculous. Just stupid-looking and laughable. Worf’s ceremony is kinda cool. John Tesh got to play a holographic Klingon for it! This was during the time where he was co-host of Entertainment Tonight. I also want to mention that it feels like Colm Meaney was becoming a more regular part of the cast at this point. It’s clear the writers really liked him, so they kept writing in scenes for O’Brien. It’s nice to see.

Overall, I’d give this 2/5. There’s some good stuff in there, but the bad stuff weighs it down quite a bit.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Lawyer by day, reader by night

X-Men: The Animated Series

Celebrating the series with behind-the-scenes content never seen before!

Katie Beluga

in the deep blue sea

Jay Edidin

(or a competent imposter)

Kevin Reviews Uncanny X-Men

Kevin O'Leary Reviews Every Issue of Uncanny X-Men from the 1960s to the Present


Geeky News, Reviews and Rants from a Working Class Super-Villain

Blue Towel Productions

Films, Audios, and Stories for Fun


For new comic book fans by a new comic book fan.

%d bloggers like this: