Friday, June 9, 2023

Star Trek: Parallels

Episode: "Parallels"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 7, Episode 11
Original Air Date: November 29, 1993

Worf returns to the Enterprise from a bat'leth tournament.  Reality seems to be shifting.  It starts small.  The chocolate cake at his birthday party is suddenly a yellow cake.  Picard is at the party whereas just moments before, Worf had been told the captain was on the bridge.  Gradually, the changes get bigger.  People are on opposite sides of the room from where he thought they'd been.  The past shifts.  His place in the tournament, and the trophy won, keeps changing.  He has forgotten things others seem to remember.  Worf seems to be the only one who notices it's happening.

"Parallels" is a popular episode with the devoted.  I don't care for it - not a fan of Trek's usual treatment of either time travel or parallel universes.  Furthermore, at this stage of the series, such stories serve as a further reminder that the writers were running out of ideas.  All of that said, there is one meaningful wrinkle for the long term...

"Parallels" raises the possibility of a more intimate relationship between Worf and Deanna Troi.  In his alternate reality, Worf is, in fact, married to Troi.  And they have children (not seen on screen)!  The devoted did not like this.  They'd always been rooting for the Riker-Troi pairing.  To be fair, we were all encouraged in that thinking from the beginning.  Six seasons later, the story line hadn't gone anywhere.  So, why not mix things up?  I like the Worf-Troi line.  I prefer Worf to Will.  Why wouldn't Deanna?  

30 years on, we know the love lives of all three characters will play out differently.  But I am glad the writers invested a bit of Season 7 in testing the waters with the Worf-Troi possibility.

Acting Notes

Mark Bramhall played the role of Gul Nador, a Cardassian starship commander.  This was the first of two Trek appearances for Bramhall.  He was also a Vulcan elder in J.J. Abrams's 2009 Star Trek film.  Bramhall was born in Los Angeles County, August 22, 1942.  

Other films include Vice, Annabelle: Creation and Vanilla Sky.  Other television appearances include Colony, Weeds and Nip/Tuck.  


  1. I really like this episode even if my head was ready to explode. It just shows how each choice we make can create an alternate reality. It's mind-numbing. I was rooting for Worf and Deanna and was sad when they just went the easy route. I think the characters and the actors had a spark.