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     Episode Guides Home : Startrek The Next Generation : Season 3 Episode 5

The Bonding

Air Date:  
   Winrich Kolbe
Written By:  
   Ronald D. Moore
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StarDate: 43198.7

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.

Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes as William Thomas Riker
LeVar Burton as Geordi La Forge
Michael Dorn as Worf
Gates McFadden as Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner as Data
Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher

  Guest Cast
Colm Meaney as O'Brien
Gabriel Damon as Jeremy Aster
Susan Powell as Maira Aster
Raymond D. Turner as Teacher

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