Season 2, Episode 22
Otherwise known as the “WORST EPISODE EVER!”
Back in the 80’s TV studios would save money by doing a “clip show” every now and then. You know, like on The Golden Girls when Sofia is thinking of leaving to move in with her other other daughter, Gloria. So Dorothy, Blanche, & Rose sit around a cheesecake in the kitchen sharing memories of Sofia and trying to come up with a way to convince her to stay. The memories, or course are just clips from previous episodes. It’s a cheap and fast way to shoot an episode. No guest stars, only a day or two of filming, and it makes the accountants very happy.
Surely Star Trek is above such tropes, right? NOPE! After episodes like “Q Who” and “Elementary, Dear Data” went over budget they needed to save some money at the end of the season. The result was “Shades of Gray”. Basically, Riker get’s infected by an alien plant and has to fight the infection by reliving memories. Sounds pretty weak right? Well, it is. Not only do we see Riker’s memories but we see scenes that he wasn’t even in. So… yeah, it’s just a clip show.
In fact, I’d say the only highlight of the episode is watching how hesitant Dr. Pulaski is to get in the transporter. It’s classic Pulaski. She has a sassy interaction wish Chief O’Brian before going to save Riker’s life. Sadly, this would be the last episode we’d ever see her in. Diana Muldaur left the show at the end of the season and the producers brought Gates McFadden back– which was actually the right move in hind sight.
Final conclusion. This is Trek’s darkest hour. Even I find it hard to watch.