Written by Philip Lazebnik, William Douglas Lansford, David Carren, J. Larry Carroll, Joe Menosky, and Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Tom Benko
Every now and then you come across an episode that just feels like the writers had to put together something really quick. The reason could be because of the production schedule or because everyone happened to have writer’s block at the same time. In the case of Devil’s Due, I think one of the writers fell asleep while Damn Yankees was on.
The Enterprise receives a distress signal from a group of Federation scientists stationed on the planet Ventax. It seems that the Ventaxians are preparing for a doomsday scenario. Their legends have it that a thousand years ago the planet was being torn apart by war when a mysterious being known as Ardra promised the inhabitants of the planet a thousand years of peace and prosperity. In exchange, at the end of that time, Ardra would come back and rule the planet however she saw fit.
Ardra, in case you haven’t yet figured it out, is the Ventaxian equivalent of the devil. Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the Enterprise race to Ventax to rescue the science team. As they are trying to reason with the Ventaxian leader, Ardra makes her appearance.
In this case, Ardra is a slinky, sexy siren (portrayed by Marta Dubois). At any moment I expected her to break out into Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets…. After Ardra makes the Enterprise disappear stating that anything in orbit around the planet she also considers her, Picard challenges Ardra to a trial. The android Data (Brent Spiner) is designated the judge since his programming will make him impartial.
Picard believes Ardra to be nothing more than a con artist, as he and the crew systematically begin to debunk all of her stunts such as the seismic activity, her appearing and disappearing, and her changing form.
The episode felt to me like someone who is not religious trying to debunk all of the religious myths out there. Suffice it to say, since our technology cannot do what the technology on Star Trek does, it seems a dumb angle to take. Having the audience question what we believe has been done before but in a much more intelligent and thought-provoking way. If this was the angle of this episode, it really is an insult to the fan’s intelligence.
To their credit, the actors do seem to make a concerted effort to try to do something with what had to appear to them as a horrible script. Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart do the best they can with how their characters are written, but it just all feels wrong.
Suffice it to say, I’ve read fan-fiction that is of much better quality than this episode. Not quite as bad as The Royale, Devil’s Due is just plain stupid. The only redeeming feature I could find was seeing what the Klingon’s idea of a devil looked like. This episode is not worth the time spent watching it.
Previous episode (link): Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Wounded
Next episode (link): Star Trek: The Next Generation – Clues