Star Trek - The Next Generation, Episode 22: Skin of Evil (VHS) ... Cover Art

Star Trek - The Next Generation, Episode 22: Skin of Evil (VHS)

Patrick Stewart (actor), Jonathan Frakes (actor) and Joseph L. Scanlan (director)


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Review

A substandard Trek adventure that attains a bit of notoriety as the final episode of Denise Crosby's Tasha Yar--at least until her cleverly conceived return in the third season's "Yesterday's Enterprise." When a shuttle crash strands Counselor Troi and a (barely glimpsed) crewman on a barren planet, the away team's efforts to rescue her are frustrated by a black, viscous pool that moves to block their path. The oily goop soon identifies itself as Armus, not an alien being per se, but rather the cast-off remnants of an ancient race that had learned how to make manifest the cruel, destructive sides of their own nature and abandoned this physical embodiment of evil as a hindrance to their evolution. Armus immediately proves his own motiveless malignancy by killing Tasha with wonton dispatch. But murder proves insufficient to satisfy his cravings, and he goes on to torment and torture the remainder of the landing team through such schoolyard stratagems as playing keep away with Geordi's visor and forcing Data to hold his phaser on his comrades. A pretty regrettable episode overall, with laughable dialogue and special effects (the evil oil slick may be the lamest-looking villain in all of Star Trek), but in hindsight the brutal offhandedness of Tasha's death, done without preamble or any great effort on Armus's part, was the first healthy sign that TNG would outgrow the self-congratulatory PC smugness of its first few seasons. --Bruce Reid


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