“The Royale” is the 12th episode of the second season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 38th episode overall. It was originally released on 27 March 1989, in broadcast syndication.
Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, Riker, Data, and Worf become trapped in a strange hotel on a planet otherwise incapable of supporting human life.
Following a tip from a Klingon ship, the Federation starship Enterprise, under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, finds debris from an Earth ship orbiting an uninhabitable alien planet. A sample of the debris beamed aboard shows NASA markings and a 52-star American flag, meaning the debris of the ship is several hundred years old, and has travelled far beyond the capability of ships of that era. Scans of the planet reveal a small anomalous area capable of supporting human life, so Commander Riker, Lt. Worf, and Lt. Commander Data beam down to investigate, and find a revolving door in an otherwise blank environment. Upon entering they find themselves in an old Earth-style hotel and casino called The Royale, where they are cut off from contact with the Enterprise.
The away team soon discovers they are trapped inside the casino, and after making several unsuccessful attempts to leave, they decide to explore the building. They find the desiccated but preserved remains of Col. Steven Richey, a NASA astronaut, and a pulp novel entitled Hotel Royale. Upon reading Richey’s logs, they learn that his starship was accidentally contaminated by an unknown race of aliens, then thrown across the galaxy, and he was the only survivor. Taking pity on him, the aliens created The Royale for him, thinking the novel’s story represented humans’ preferred way of living, whereas Richey found it unbearable thanks to the poor quality of the novel.
Riker, Data, and Worf realise that the plot has been recreated in detail by the aliens and is playing out in front of them, and surmise that they might be able to leave if they are scripted to do so. They assume the role of a trio of “foreign investors” described in the novel and, taking advantage of Data’s ability to precisely manipulate dice at the casino’s craps table, win enough money to buy out the Royale, and are then able to leave.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Cliff Bole.
- Writer(s): Tracy Torme (as Keith Mills).
- Release Date: 27 March 1989.
- Running Time: 50 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.