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The Bonding
Stardate 43198.7
Star Trek: The Next Generation, episode 53 (3.5)

Last Modified: 28 Jun 2006 13:30:03

Patrick Stewart   IMDB   Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes   IMDB   Commander William T. Riker
Levar Burton   IMDB   Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge
Michael Dorn   IMDB   Lieutenant Worf
Gates McFadden   IMDB   Commander Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis   IMDB   Lt. Commander Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner   IMDB   Lt. Commander Data
Wil Wheaton   IMDB   Wesley Crusher
Guest Cast:
Susan Powell   IMDB   Lieutenant Marla Aster
Gabriel Damon   IMDB   Jeremy Aster
Colm Meaney   IMDB   Miles Edward O'Brien
Raymond D. Turner   IMDB   Teacher
Dennis McCarthy   IMDB
Winrich Kolbe   IMDB
Ronald D. Moore   IMDB
Laser Disc   ST:TNG LaserDisc Volume 27
The Next Generation Teaser #053: The Bonding

The crew is baffled by the mysterious appearance of the ship's archeologist, who returns to claim her son... hours after her death.
An Away Team, led by Worf, investigates a barren planet once inhabited by the Koinonians, a race which destroyed themselves in a lengthy war. While exploring an underground tunnel, archeologist Marla Aster is killed by a bomb buried years earlier beneath the surface. Worf, though injured in the blast himself, feels he is to blame for the tragedy, despite Picard's assurances that it was an accident.

Lt. Aster is survived by a son, 12-year-old Jeremy. Together with Troi, Picard informs the child of his mother's tragic death. Knowing that Jeremy's father is also deceased, Troi is concerned by the child's stoic reaction to the news. Worf, himself an orphan, feels a special kinship with Jeremy and tells Troi of his wish to perform a Klingon ceremony, the R'uustai (or Bonding), with the boy.

A short time later, Troi detects an alien presence on board the U.S.S. Enterprise. In his quarters, Jeremy senses a movement and turns to see what appears to be his late mother, telling him that they are both going to leave the starship and live on the planet. When Worf discovers Lt. Aster's impostor, she vanishes. She later reappears and transforms Jeremy's room into the Aster home on Earth, as the confused boy rushes to the warmth of his "mother's" arms.

Determining that an energy beam from the planet is powering the image of Aster, Picard orders the crew to sever it. Undaunted, the energy field then gathers into a glowing mass, enters the ship and tries to gain control of the transporter room, while Jeremy and his mother hurry toward it to make their escape.

When the alien Aster is trapped in the Enterprise's forcefield, she confesses that she is part of a lifeform that survived the Koinonian Wars. In an effort to prevent further suffering from that conflict, the being recreated Jeremy's mother and home to comfort him.

Wesley, who suffered the loss of his own father, joins Picard in explaining to Jeremy that it is part of being human to mourn and feel pain, as well as joy. At first torn between his "mother" and reality, Jeremy soon decides to stay on board the U.S.S. Enterprise. After the lifeform leaves the ship, Worf performs the R'uustai with Jeremy, making them brothers forever.
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