“Where No One Has Gone Before” is the sixth episode of the American science-fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, originally aired 26 October 1987, in broadcast syndication in the United States.
A high-definition, remastered version of the episode received limited theatrical release for one day (along with the episode “Datalore“) to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the series on 23 July 2012.
The story was originally developed with the title “Where None Have Gone Before” and was based on Diane Duane’s book, The Wounded Sky. Duane and Michael Reaves pitched the idea to David Gerrold and Gene Roddenberry, and then submitted a script. Their script was subsequently rewritten by Maurice Hurley, whose first effort was poorly received; however, he subsequently rewrote it and that version was filmed.
The episode was the first of the series directed by Rob Bowman, who went on to direct 12 more episodes. It was the only Star Trek: The Next Generation assignment for writers Duane and Reaves.
Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. In “Where No One Has Gone Before”, the Enterprise is visited by Mr. Kosinski (Stanley Kamel) and an alien known as the Traveller (Eric Menyuk). The Traveller sends the Enterprise to distant parts of the universe, and help is required from Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) to bring the ship back home.
In this episode, Menyuk made the first of three appearances as the Traveller. Biff Yeager made his first appearance as the longest-running chief engineer of the first season.
The Enterprise rendezvous with the USS Fearless to bring aboard Mr. Kosinski (Kamel), a Starfleet propulsion expert who plans to run tests on the warp engines to improve their efficiency. Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes) is sceptical of Kosinski’s seemingly nonsensical specifications, suggesting his apparent success on other ships was merely addressing inherent design flaws on older engines, whereas the Enterprise’s engines are brand new. With Kosinski is his assistant, an alien from Tau Alpha C known as the Traveller.
As Kosinski and the Traveller explain the tests to the engineering crew, Wesley Crusher (Wheaton) quickly grasps what the tests are designed to accomplish and the Traveller expresses admiration for his problem-solving abilities. The test quickly goes awry when the Enterprise speeds up, surpassing the known capabilities of warp engines. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) orders the ship stopped, and the crew finds themselves on the far side of the M33 Galaxy (more than 2.7 million light years from the Milky Way, the Enterprise’s home galaxy).
Although Kosinski is pleased with the results, Picard reprimands him and asks him to simply redo the process to return home. Crusher attempts to warn Riker that during the warp test, the Traveller appeared to “phase”, drifting in and out of reality, but Riker dismisses him without listening. However, after Kosinski begins the second test, Crusher and Riker both observe the Traveller again drifting out, appearing more tired. The Enterprise again experiences a burst of speed, and when it stops, the crew cannot determine their position. Picard demands that Kosinski get the crew home.
While Kosinski, the Traveller, and the engineering crew work on reversing the process, the rest of the crew begins experiencing lifelike visions of their past. After having a vision of his mother (Herta Ware), Picard surmises that they have arrived at the theoretical Outer Rim of the universe, and issues a red alert to awaken the crew from their visions.
Riker suggests that Kosinski may have had nothing to do with the warp jumps, which were more likely to be a result of the Traveller’s illness. Picard has the alien moved to sick bay, but Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden) cannot evaluate the Traveller’s alien biology, and is unable to treat him. The Traveller explains that he has the ability to channel thought into reality, and brought the crew of the Enterprise to the Outer Rim, triggering similar effects in anyone within it to ascertain if they were ready to experience thought as reality.
The Traveller confides to Picard that he looks for scientific prodigies such as the young Crusher, and suggests that Picard nurture him. When he returns to the engineering section, the Traveller asks Crusher to assist him in returning the Enterprise to known space. As they concentrate, beginning to return the ship home, the Traveller again phases and finally disappears completely.
The Enterprise suddenly stops, and the crew is relieved to find themselves back in Federation space. After the incident, Picard promotes Crusher to acting ensign (following his own unspoken suggestion in “The Naked Now“) on the Enterprise for his performance.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Rob Bowman.
- Writer(s): Diane Duane and Michael Reaves.
- Release Date: 26 October 1987.
- Running Time: 50 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.