You know, we’ve got to talk about the classic Trek episodes. “Relics” is one of these, earning a spot on my All-Time Best Trek list.
The episode was written by Ronald D. Moore, who continues to make a name for himself in television and was the driving force behind the Battlestar Galactica reboot a few years back. It is a tight script, with very little—if any—padding. A good story, well-told.
We’ve had other good stories before this one, of course. What makes “Relics” special is that it brings back another TOS character into the TNG universe. This time it is Montgomery Scott, our beloved Scotty from the original series, Kirk’s second officer. Scotty is not the first TOS character to appear on this series. Dr. Leonard McCoy, as a very old man, appeared in the pilot episode. Sarek, Spock’s father, appears a few years later, in the appropriately titled “Sarek.” Then Spock himself appeared in “Unification, Parts 1 & 2.” Scotty was the fourth, and last, character from the original series to appear on this show.
Instead of further aging the already old James Doohan, they decided that Scotty had survived for seven or eight decades in a teleporter loop the he, being the genius engineer that he is, designed after crash-landing on the surface of a huge Dyson Sphere. Scotty is rescued and suddenly finds himself living in the future. Much of the episode’s story is a fish-out-of-water, stranger-in-a-strange-land tale, with Scotty making the determination that he no longer belongs on board a starship. The world has passed him by. Of course, part of the story involves Scotty proving that he still has worth and helping Geordi La Forge to save this new Enterprise from danger.
At the end of the episode, Picard and team give one of their shuttlecraft to Scotty. He has decided to postpone retirement a bit longer and he takes off for parts unknown. I’m sure there’s other fiction out there in the world telling about the adventures he had afterward.
Without a doubt, Scotty was the main attraction in this episode. It’s that nostalgia factor, especially for fans of the original show, like me and Ronald D. Moore. There is a holodeck sequence in which Scotty pulls up the bridge from the original Enterprise, where he proceeds to get drunk on Aldebaran whiskey. Captain Jean-Luc Picard even joins him. That is a priceless, iconic moment.
Adding a Dyson Sphere to the mix was just the icing on the cake for me. I’ve been a fan of Dyson Spheres since I first learned about them, when I first read Larry Niven’s Ringworld, I think. All old-school science-fiction nerds could appreciate this.
“Relics,” as I said before, is on the list. I give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars.