Our popular Next Generation workprint series continues today with an exclusive first look at “Evolution“, the third season premiere! This twenty-three-year-old VHS tape is dated August 10, 1989, and like the other VHS recordings in this series, it features an early, unfinished copy of the episode, with missing visual effects, music, and voice-over audio.

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The original VHS tapes, generously shared with TrekCore by Cyril “Patchou” Paciullo

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Workprint vs. Finished Episode

In addition to several scenes featuring slightly different camera angles, this “Director’s Cut” also includes over seven minutes of additional scenes cut from the broadcast version of the episode! We’ve been provided a copy of the original VHS transfer, and we’re happy to present the first of two exclusive cut-down packages highlighting the most prominent deleted scenes – in proper context with the finished episode – along with a scene-by-scene breakdown!


 

TEASER, SCENE 07

Our take: This short sequence, removed from the episode’s opening scene, is the first of several cuts all pertaining to Wesley Crusher’s storyline. It’s the first of many scenes highlighting Wesley’s devotion to his studies and to his Acting Ensign duties.

The final episode only references his reading of an “unauthorized biography” of Dr. Stubbs – rather than everything written by (or about) the man.

ACT ONE, SCENE 25

Our take: This scene is the first major cut from the episode, and it’s one that we would have loved to see remain in the final version of the story. Guest stars Scott Grimes (as Eric, in blue) and Amy O’Neill (as Annette, in yellow) – and a girl in magenta, credited only as “Eric’s Girlfriend” in the script – are the first group of real teenagers we’ve seen on board the Enterprise-D.

Up until this point in the series, the only other kids we’ve seen on the ship are much younger than Wesley – he was the “grown up” of the abducted group in Season 1’s “When The Bough Breaks” – and it’s nice to see that the Acting Ensign really does have a group of age-appropriate peers in his life… even though he’s blowing them off to hang out with the adults.

Scott Grimes (who will be seen years later on HBO’s Band of Brothers, NBC’s E.R., and FOX’s American Dad!) does the best he can with the dialogue he’s given, but Amy O’Neill gives a fairly terrible performance – the script indicates that Annette is “clearly interested in Wes”, but O’Neill gives about the blandest possible reading of her single line.

How about those funky ski suits, though? That’s the kind of Trek costuming we like to see, even on a fuzzy VHS recording.

ACT ONE, SCENE 26

Our take: These few slices from Stubbs’ first visit to sickbay are the first of several cuts dealing with his views towards women, and their removal was a good decision. Dialogue filmed but cut from the conference lounge scene which follows offers this insight into Stubbs’ exploits:

TROI
…he doesn’t like women very much.

DATA
Odd. The research material on Doctor Stubbs
includes not a few references from gossip
columns. It suggests females
find him quite attractive.

TROI
Not this one.

ACT TWO, SCENES 39 – 40

Our take: The return of Eric and Annette! This is the second big scene featuring these kids – complaining about Wesley to his mom – and this time Mary McCusker joins in as an unnamed sickbay duty nurse.

Her role in the final episode is reduced to helping Stubbs sit up in the first sickbay scene, but here she gets several lines of dialogue (including the cringe-worthy “You look like you could use something warm inside you!”), and even gets to act out an electrocution-by-replicator attack by the nanites.

Aside from saving us from another awful performance by Amy O’Neill (not helped by that unflattering camera angle looking up her nose), the removal of this scene changes the nanites’ storyline, as well – in the final version of the episode, the only person hurt by the nanites’ actions is Stubbs, in a seeming deliberate attack of retribution.

Not counting the steller phenomena outside the ship, no one on board is seriously put in danger – but this scene, featuring violent holodeck malfunctions and random lightning attacks by replicators, makes the ship’s “control problems” seem much more dangerous to the crew.

With this cut, all of O’Neill and Grimes’ lines are now removed from the final episode. The only time we see the teens is in the closing scene in Ten Forward, where Crusher watches Wesley and his friends from across the room… and doesn’t seem to know anything about Annette, who walks in with Wesley’s arm around her shoulder.

ACT TWO, SCENE 41

Our take: Finally, somebody stops to ask if the malfunctions could be some sort of attack on the Enterprise! Worf gets to act suspicious, Troi senses nothing (not surprising, since the “enemy” is machine-based), and Wesley gets to look guilty while listening in on the conversation.

Did this need to stay in the in the episode? Not really. Riker’s reaction is basically, “Well, maybe?”, and Picard doesn’t even ask Worf to look into the possibility of an outside influence on the ship.

ACT TWO, SCENES 42 – 43

Our take: This little trim from Geordi’s repair work was probably removed to get rid of Wesley’s goofy line – “Nice going, Geordi!”

He’s the Chief Engineer, kid – he doesn’t need you to cheer him on.

There’s more! Part 2 of “Evolution” Deleted Scenes

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We’re eager to hear your feedback, so tell us your thoughts about these new scenes in the comments below!

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