“Some relationships just can’t work.”
A damned good episode shockingly delivered at the mid-point of the first season in regular production. The Enterprise arrives at Spacedock for systems overhaul and shore leave. Riker, on his rounds, runs into departing crewmates. Crusher is on her way to meet one of her favorite professors. Yar and Worf are on their way to a Parrises squares (a game referenced in every show but never explained, except to say that it’s incredibly dangerous) match. Picard plans on relaxing in his quarters with a good book, and Data paints while Geordie observes. In the middle of all of this are the Bynar, mysterious little people with computer fanny-packs that communicate at high speed by means of buffering technology. The Bynar have been engaged by Commander Quinteros to assist in the aforementioned system overhaul. In a bit of foreshadowing, while Wesley marvels at the advantages of computer/humanoid interface, the Bynars alert us to the disadvantages.
It’s here that we understand Riker’s loneliness. As Executive Officer of the Enterprise, he is responsible for the smooth operation of the ship and crew. He doesn’t enjoy “downtime,” and he has no plans for shore leave. In these early episodes, he throws himself into his work (most of it involves keeping Picard safe on the ship). Sampling some of the Bynar upgrades, he visits the holodeck, conjures up a bar in New Orleans, and plays trombone with the band. He meets the beautiful Minuet (Carolyn McCormick, from another prolific franchise, TV’s Law & Order) who keeps him occupied in the holodeck as the Bynar set their plan in motion. In short order, a containment breach is discovered. Assuming Riker and Picard are already off the ship, Data and Geordie order the ship to be abandoned and set a course for unoccupied space. After the ship leaves Spacedock, the containment breach is repaired, and the Bynar have effectively hijacked the Enterprise.
The Bynar have similarities to the Borg, but the Bynar have no interest in galactic conquest through assimilation. It would be interesting to see the Borg go up against the Bynar. Who would the ultimate victor be in such a computer and cybernetic struggle? I don’t think we ever see the Bynar again. For Riker, Minuet represents the perfect woman, but being a hologram, she’s too good to be real. Minuet even charms Picard (no easy feat). “11001001” is the first episode to show us the bond between Riker and Picard when they commiserate over Minuet. Even after the adventure is over, Riker tries to resurrect Minuet in the holodeck, but she is nowhere to be found. She remains prominent in his thoughts for a long time. There were a couple of decent episodes before “11001001” premiered, but the show would improve immeasurably toward the end of the first season and into the second season.
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