Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Star Trek The Next Generation: Devil's Due

"It's just a standard contract with an unusually long term."

Well, it could have been worse. We did get to see Picard in his jammies.

The original series often (some say, way too often) explored the possibility of god-like aliens, or GLAs for short. Interestingly, the script for this episode was intended for an earlier version of Trek that never happened (Star Trek: Phase II back in the 1970s, which would have starred the original cast). Maybe the original-series-ness of this story is why I kept thinking about Trelane, since Ardra also had a well-hidden power source for her tricks that she was ultimately unable to hide from the clever and resourceful Geordi La Forge.

While I thought this episode had its moments, especially the use of the transporter for trickery, and I didn't outright dislike the intergalactic con woman Ardra (played competently enough by Marta Dubois), I wonder if I would have liked it more if it had been rewritten to fit Q? Or maybe the problem was the lack of sexual chemistry? The original script was written for Captain Kirk and his predilection for alien babe sexcapades, not our staid and sober Jean-Luc Picard. I'm one of those women who finds Patrick Stewart very attractive, so Ardra lusting for Picard didn't ring false for me, but honestly? I was soured just a bit by Picard's extreme dislike of Ardra, the way he referred to her as "that woman" and called her "obvious and vulgar." Picard has always had a lot more chemistry with Q; their exchanges sparkle with wit and dislike.

While Ardra's Goth costumes and forehead-alien makeup were somewhat cool, I found it hard to see Ardra as a genuine planetary threat; she looked like she was late for a Halloween party. And seriously, how could she collect on the bargain? I suppose she could make the Ventaxians give her lots and lots of stuff, but how could one person actively enslave an entire planet? And who was the original Ardra, anyway? If that wasn't her a thousand years ago, who was it? Will the "real" Ardra be showing up to collect soon?

Although the rest of the cast was pretty much underutilized, I liked what they did with Data, who was exploring acting, and specifically the emotion of fear, as yet another way to better understand humanity. His bit as the judge of the arbitration was fun. Although you'd think Data would be able to lie when the fate of the Enterprise, her crew, not to mention an entire planet were at stake. I guess it's a good thing he didn't have to. I did like the optimism of the Ventaxians completely fixing their societal and environmental problems, even if it was because of extreme fear. It made me feel slightly more optimistic about the fate of our own planet. And I liked the shots of the planet Ventax with its interesting-looking pyramidal buildings.

The opener with Data playing Scrooge was... okay. I assume it was a petite homage to Patrick Stewart's famous one-man show which I unfortunately never got to see. Frankly, the best part of the Scrooge-ness was Data walking through the corridors in costume and the other crew members walking by as if it were just another day on board. Perhaps the Enterprise crew is so accustomed to the outlandish that seeing an android walk by in a nightcap and robe is no big deal.


-- Stardate 44474.5. The planet Ventax II, and the rescue of Federation scientists from an angry mob.

-- I liked the simple competency of Dr. Clark, and the pink and pale gray-ish lavender jumpsuits that he and the Federation scientists were wearing. I also liked the Klingon devil, Fek'lhr.

-- Why tempt Picard with Deanna Troi? Shouldn't it have been Beverly Crusher?


Picard: "Method acting? I'm vaguely familiar with it."

Riker: "Could she be another refugee from the Q Continuum?"
Crusher: "For that matter, could she be Q?"
Picard: "Q would never bother with contracts."
Troi: "Or economic forecasts."

Picard: "A wise man once said, there's a sucker born every minute."

Ardra: "Oh, Picard. I will enjoy you morning, noon and night."

Data: "The advocate will refrain from expressing personal affections for her opponent."
Laugh out loud. And even better:

Data: "The advocate will refrain from making her opponent disappear."

I'm torn about rating this one. I mean, it certainly wasn't a classic episode and there was a lack of substance, but I enjoyed watching it. But I also didn't remember it from the original run. Two out of four pink jumpsuits?

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. Well, Ardra tempting Picard with Troi was just further evidence that she was no God or devil, thus predictably falling into the trap that all men must want teh boobies.

    I liked this episode. It was a fun outing and it rang true with TNG's and Roddenberry's stated atheist message which I always fully supported. I watch it now and then. ;)

  2. I spent this whole episode thinking, "I've already seen 'Who Mourns for Adonais' AND 'Catspaw' AND 'The Squire of Gothos,' thanks. No need to put them all in a blender and come out with this mess!"

    Of course, I'm one of those women who does not find Patrick Stewart at all sexy; if he'd been Leonard Nimoy, I might have been able to get into the spirit of things more. :-)

  3. This was an okay-ish episode for me. I liked Ardra quite a bit. She was a scammer a liar, but Ardra had a certain moxie about herself I enjoyed. She was a bold-faced liar and it's not too often that you see anyone really go against Picard. I liked that. Plus she could change clothes, make up in an eyeblink. Who wouldn't like that power?

    The part I didn't like was Picard. I actually like Picard quite a bit, but he can at times be too...pure? Yet he is at times sort of a hypocrite. He went out of his way to prove that Ardra was a fraud. What was it about her he was so compelled to disprove? The leader of the planet didn't seem that out of sorts at the thought of Ardra as his ruler, yet Picard was just so indignant of the thought. Where was all this concern in season 2 episode Pen Pals? That entire planet came within a whisper of being torn apart, an entire society wiped out. The Picard in that episode was almost cruel, and used the Prime Directive as a way to not do something...almost. I get the fact the planet in Pen Pals were not on a high level technology wise, but they should have been saved and I'm glad they were. Had Picard not heard the child's plea he would have let them die. That's cold.

    Data was fine I suppose. I find the character so creepy. I did enjoy Picard in his pajamas, nothing wrong with that all.

  4. Data was so good here, and the quoted lines at the end of this review make me grin even to this day.

    TOS did use GLAs far too often, and this one wasn't bad, but that lack of chemistry was apparent between Picard and Ardra to the point that the episode felt forced and a bit stiff at times. And I'd say that Doctor Crusher would have been a better choice over Deanna Troi as well, I like them both myself, but back when it aired, I always did prefer Crusher over Troi personally, even if I do generally prefer black/brown hair over other colors, there's just something about Gates McFadden in this show that I still appreciate so many years later!

    It's one of the better GLA stories to be sure, but it lacked oomph, so the 2 of 4 rating works well for me too.


We love comments! We moderate because of spam and trolls, but don't let that stop you! It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.