Episode 5-17, The Outcast

The Outcast is an incredible episode. First of all the dialogue is incredibly well written, the chemistry between Riker and Soren is excellent, and the story is first rate classic Trek. It’s so good, Geordi grew a beard! But seriously, this is vintage Trek in using sci fi to explore contemporary social issues, in this case gender issues, but also gay and lesbian issues. Yet other than a good speech at the end that makes the case for treating people who are different no better or worse than “normal” people, the real weight of the episode is in getting to know Soren and seeing that relationship evolve naturally so that we care about Soren without having to be told how and what to think. This episode builds genuine empathy for Soren. Great, and heartbreaking episode.