The Star Trek The Next Generation episode “Skin of Evil,” premiered on April 25, 1988, 26 years ago.
Denise Crosby, who was not happy with the development of her character Tasha Yar and wanting to pursue other opportunities, was let out of her contract by Gene Roddenberry. Tasha died in the line of duty, killed by the energy creature called Armus.
“Skin of Evil” Synopsis:
While the U.S.S. Enterprise is en route to rendezvous with Troi’s shuttlecraft, a bizarre malfunction causes the transport vehicle to crash on Vagra II.
The only life form on the planet is Armus, a sinister entity that derives pleasure from the suffering of others.
Picard orders Commander Riker, Dr. Crusher, Lieutenant Commander Data and Lieutenant Yar to the planet to rescue Troi. Upon arrival, they discover that a strange entity has surrounded the crash site with a forcefield, preventing the away team from helping her. Suddenly, for no conceivable reason, Armus kills Yar.
Captain Picard beams down with the rest of the away team in an attempt to negotiate for the crash victims’ release. However, Armus responds by ridiculing the crew and tormenting them with vicious and childish pranks.
While Picard tries to reason with Armus, Lt. Worf and Wesley Crusher discover that when Armus is provoked, the forcefield around the shuttlecraft weakens. Picard then taunts Armus, while Lt. Worf and Wesley beam the crew back to the U.S.S. Enterprise.
Picard orders the starship to destroy the shuttlecraft with the ship’s phasers and declares the planet off-limits to future Federation travelers, thus leaving Armus quarantined on a barren, lonely planet forever.
Returning to the U.S.S. Enterprise, the crew is touched by the living will of Lieutenant Yar. As her holographic image appears before them, she gives a moving farewell to each of her fellow crew members.
Here are some little known facts concerning the episode.
The episode, like the creature, was originally called “The Shroud.”
The mix used to create Armus include… Metamucil and printer’s ink.
Denise Crosby’s name remained in the TNG credits for the rest of season one, despite her departure in “Skin of Evil.”
Denise Crosby during an interview in 2003 with Star Trek Magazine, spoke about her decision to leave TNG “… I had no dialogue. So what was the point? It was torture to stand there. I felt like I was wasting away. I felt that if I had any chance to become the actor I had trained to be, the kind of actor that I admired, that this was not going to propel me into that. So, I had to leave and, no, I don’t regret it.”
Categories: Star Trek, The Next Generation
While Tasha’s death was quick and unexciting it did do something that never happened in the original series – a main character getting killed and not coming back to life before the end of the episode. This did help the new show. I was never sorry to see Tasha go but as I wrote in a recent review of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” Denise Crosby certainly had potential and it shows in that later episode so it was a shame she wasn’t more utilized like she said.