EXCLUSIVE: Almost Six Minutes of Newly Recovered Footage from TNG S3’s “The Bonding”!

Last month, TrekCore was happy to share an exclusive look at production-era copies of "The Child" and "The Wounded", featuring several minutes of scenes cut from the finished episodes - and today we're continuing our exclusive workprint series with "The Bonding", the Season Three episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation which brought writer Ronald D. Moore to the series!

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

This tape of "The Bonding" is dated September 15, 1989, and like the other VHS recordings in this series, it contains an early, unfinished copy of the episode, with missing visual effects, music, and voice-over audio.

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Workprint vs. Finished Episode

In addition to several scenes featuring slightly different camera angles, this "Cut #4" also includes almost six 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 share an exclusive cut-down package highlighting the six most prominent deleted scenes - in proper context with the finished episode - along with a scene-by-scene breakdown!

ACT ONE, SCENE 6

Our take: These two bits of dialogue set in sickbay only serve to slow down the pacing of the overall scene, and they add nothing to the narrative. Once removed, the sequence runs much more smoothly.

ACT ONE, SCENE 12

Our take: "The Bonding" gives the impression that Jeremy doesn't even know any other kids. This scene, had it remained, may have reduced some of the isolation depicted in Jeremy's shipboard life, considering he only interacts with adults (and Wesley Crusher, briefly) in the final cut of the episode - which may have worked against the episode's message.

Removing Troi and Picard's entrance into the classroom does fix one thing, though: it eliminates another emotionless scene with Gabriel Damon, playing Jeremy. Like us, Ron Moore wasn't a fan of the actor - so it's not too disappointing to see this bit cut out.

Actor Raymond D. Turner plays Jeremy's teacher in the Enterprise classroom; his appearance is completely removed from the broadcast version of the episode, along with all of the other children in Jeremy's class.

ACT TWO, SCENE 16

Our take: Aside from the alien impersonation of Marla Aster - based upon Jeremy's memories - we have almost no idea what the real lieutenant was like; even Riker admits that he barely knew the officer.

This sequence sheds light on just who the "ship's archaeologist" was - her history, her motivations for joining Starfleet, and her interactions with Jeremy... it gives depth to a character that we only see through Jeremy's home video recordings.

It's really too bad that this lengthy scene featuring Troi actually being a counselor had to be removed from the final cut of the episode. Running nearly three-and-a-half minutes long, it's clear that it must have only been cut for time, because it's one of the rare scenes we get to see Troi doing her job!

It also gives us some new insight into what being half-human meant when growing up on Betazed. At this point in the series, we saw Deanna and her mother communicate telepathically several times, always with obvious resistance from the ship's counselor - this piece of character background shows that it was a battle fought since childhood.

ACT TWO, SCENE 18

Our take: As with the sickbay edits in the beginning of the episode, this introduction to the long Worf/Troi conversation set in the Enterprise computer access room just gets in the way. Removing it paves a much cleaner path to the important scene it precedes.

ACT TWO, SCENE 22A

Our take: Worf offers Jeremy the chance to "bring meaning to [his] mother's death" at the end of this scene, which is a much more reasonable approach to take with the boy after they've had a chance to at least talk about the situation. This line's removal gives a much more graceful presentation to Worf's entrance.

ACT THREE, SCENE 31A

Our take: This part of the conversation between Jeremy and the Marla impersonator was simply a bit of continuity cleanup. Once the big Troi/Jeremy scene in Act Two was removed, the reference to the "broken terminal" doesn't make sense - so this had to go.

Keep checking back with TrekCore, as we still several more Next Generation workprint analyses on the way - along with the next entry in our series looking back at TNG's visual effects! We're eager to hear your feedback about this newly-recovered footage cut from "The Bonding", so tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

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  • Dan

    why are these always “found” AFTER the blurays?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Allen-Williams/1389687638 Allen Williams

      I don’t think it was. I think this was found at the same time as all the other VHS tapes that have emerged recently. However they were found too late for season 3 (and possibly season 4)’s release.

    • http://www.randomtuesday.com/ Aatrek

      The owner of these tapes didn’t come forward until early March. We put him in touch with the CBS production team as soon as they became known to us.

      • hypnotoad72

        Cool, thanks much!

    • Dan

      well i guess we have to be grateful that all this is coming out to make the blurays the best they can be. its so great that all this is happening now….. 25 years later :-)

  • RHandley

    Interesting. I’ve always thought that kid was great as Jeremy. I hadn’t realized others felt differently.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Allen-Williams/1389687638 Allen Williams

      I never cared for his performance. I’ve never particularly cared for this episode either.

    • hypnotoad72

      In the right mood, it’s a cool story. Especially Worf’s subplot.

      But it’s not one of my favorite TNGs either… it’s not the acting, it’s not the writing, it’s the plot. Yes, it deals with mortality and feels true to Trek, yet at the same time it feels more like a soap opera inspired by “The Twilight Zone”. One day I’ll dig the episode and the next I’ll be apathetic to it…

  • BrianRoskamp

    Will the full workprint be released as the others were?

    • http://www.randomtuesday.com/ Aatrek

      Click on Cyril Patchou’s name at the beginning of the article to take you to his posting. The workprint is viewable there.

  • bbock

    In most cases deleted scenes add little and in some cases detract. There are to parts here that really would have added to the story. One would have also added significantly to a character’s development. Scene 16, where Troi counsels the boy is an excellent scene. And it’s a rare case where you see Troi doing something worthwhile. Usually she’s relegated to stating the obvious. In this case it was a nice several moments of character development and pathos, and Marina Sirtis is really good in this scene. The other worthwhile segment is very short. It’s where Worf tells the boy he hopes this tragedy will bond them. It’s a pity they cut that little bit.

  • sypher

    One thing that bothers me about these extra scenes is the feeling by the fanbase that they absolutely, imperatively must be added to the DVD’s. Most of the time, the question of whether they should be added is dropped entirely. Most times they’re cute but absolutely useless or pointless. Many server no purpose and their inclusion would be a waste of space used for more interesting material, there is disk space to consider. There isn’t an infinite amount. Yes, the counseling scene is interesting, but nothing warrants the kind of attention “Measure of a Man” garnered. Realistically, even if the tapes had been found in time, they shouldn’t be included. They aren’t worth the money or effort.
    I tend to think this way about all extended scenes in movies too. I find them pointless. Like Whedon’s Avengers. Oh? The original cut was 40 minutes longer. Really? Ever consider it was cut for a reason?

    Either way, thanks for the analysis. I greatly enjoy these.

    • http://www.randomtuesday.com/ Aatrek

      Well, I don’t think people are clamoring to have most of these scenes inserted back into the episode itself. Having them as a side bonus feature is what we’re all hoping for – to have them preserved.

    • archer9234

      Your opinion. I want to see the material that’s lost in a episode. No one ask them to restore the scenes to the episode. We Just like to have them. Plus, not all the Bluray’s are maxed out. Some of the S3 discs only used 34gb of space.

    • http://twitter.com/funkylovemonkey funkylovemonkey

      I think that’s less true of a television show then a movie. Because directors of movies have more latitude as far as length, the stuff they leave on the cutting room floor is often expendable and cut for reasons of plotting, pacing, etc… However because a television show has to fit within an extremely narrow frame, from 42 to 46 minutes depending on what era we’re talking about, there is a lot more room for things that were supposed to be in there that just had to be cut for lack of time. A television director has very few options in these matters, because there’s absolutely no way an episode of TNG was going to be made at 55 minutes instead of 46. Even if the 55 minute version is far superior with little or no fat, the director has no choice but to cut that episode down to 46 minutes so it can be cut for commercials and still fill the hour timeslot. In other words, in television it’s less about the artistry and director’s vision and more about shoehorning a story into the time allotted.

  • Sky

    @ trekcore: Trekcore why in heavens name didn’t they fixed the “dead breathing woman” on the sickbay in “who watches the watchers” and the appearing mic when they watch out of the windows to the planet in the observation launch?? It would have been so easy to fix by just changing the frame a little bit or erase it! They did it before, why didnt they do now??

    • Sky

      Sorry, I’m not sure if there was a mic I think it was picards head mirroring in the window!

    • trekcore

      They are as careful as possible to fix things as the show progresses, but of course some things will always slip through. By and large, S3 looks incredible.

  • M. Wright

    Act 1, Scene 12 helps add context to Jeremy’s life. Act 2, Scene 16 is actually really important, and should have been left in. It shows Troi doing actual therapeutic work! which was sorely missing from the episodes where she’s supposed to be helping people throughout the run of the show.

  • Irish-Toffee

    Thanks Trek Core!