It's a pretty boring, regular, day on the Enterprise when suddenly it comes into contact with a "quantum filament" which is an almost undetectable space phenomenon that Chief O'Brien describes as "the ship coming into contact with a live wire." The effects of the filaments the ship impacts renders the Enterprise dead in space with the crew scattered throughout the ship trying to work through various problems. On the bridge: After the lieutenant at the CONN, who had the bridge at the time, is killed after one of the impacts Troi is left in charge of the ship being the ranking officer on deck over the other ensign on the bridge, Chief O'Brien (who's a petty officer/enlisted man) and Ensign Ro who climbs onto the bridge from the disabled turbolift. Emergency bulkheads have deployed, essentially cutting access off from the bridge to the rest of the ship. Troi struggles with making decisions as she's had little command experience and she's confronted with a difficult choice once more information is gained about the ship's condition. The quantum filaments have disrupted the containment fields for the antimatter storage pods. The field strength is dropping and if it reaches a certain point containment will be lost and the ship will explode. Ro thinks they should separate the saucer and flee from the battle section and save as many lives as they can. O'Brien thinks there's a chance that people are still alive in Engineering who can correct the problem but right now the only power available is coming from the saucer. If they detach they'll be leaving the survivors in the battle section behind and without power and the means to correct the problem. Troi agrees with O'Brien and swears to keep the ship intact for as long as possible to give anyone in Engineering a chance to fix the problem with the antimatter containment. She buts heads with Ro constantly over her choice and while the contaiment has a couple of close calls that's able to be corrected from the bridge, ultimately, Troi's gamble pays off; though she admits Ro just as easily could have correct as well. In the Jefferies Tube: Riker and Data left Ten-Forward shortly after the accident to make their way to Engineering to re-establish control of the ship; erring on the side of caution that everyone on the bridge and in Engineering is dead. While en-route to Engineering via the Jefferies Tubes Riker and Data become trapped on the other side of a tube bulkhead door after a coolant leak in the tube. Their path is blocked in the tube corridor by an electrical arc. Data proposes he use his body as a capacitor to shut-down the arc. While the electrical charge will disable his body, the higher functions in his head will remain intact. Riker can remove Data's head and then continue to Engineering. They make it to Engineering and see that there is a problem shortly before the containment of the antimatter is lost. Data is able to repair the problem causing the containment field to strengthen. In the cargo bay: Before the accident Crusher is in the cargo bay pestering Geordi to audition for her latest production. In the wake of the accident the door out of the room is sealed and a fire erupts behind a panel when Geordi tries to use the manual release. The fire poses a problem as it's letting out doses of dangerous radiation that threatens to ignite some fuel being stored in the cargo bay. Geordi suggests they kill two birds with one stone by opening the cargo bay doors and then lowering the environmental shield. This will decompress the bay which will simultaneously put out the fire and blow out the potentially explosive fuel containers. As long as they hold on Geordi and Beverly will be able to survive the vacuum provided they can re-establish the environment in time. The plan seems to go off well and Geordi and Crusher are able to get out of the cargo bay since the fire in the emergency release compartment is now out. In the turboshaft: Picard is taking a group of science-fair winners in the ship's primary school on a tour of the ship (but not to the battle bridge or torpedo bays to kids' disappointment.) The kids are understandably upset and worried after the accident. Picard is able to get one of the kids onto the top of the turbocar to inspect the emergency brakes only to discover one of them is broken. Picard and the children need to climb out of the tubocar and up the turboshaft until they they can open a door to one of the decks. Picard is successfully able to, sort of out of character for him, calm the children down enough by asigning them ranks (using his collar pips.) He names the oldest child his first officer, the next child the "science officer" and the youngest child a specialist in charge of radishes (as radishes were involved the young child's science experiment.) He manages to get the children calm enough to work with him and get them to climb to safety, using a length of cabling taken from the car to use as a safety tether as they climb up the shaft to a door they can open. In Ten-Forward: Ten Forward is being used as something of a triage center as Sickbay is blocked off by damage to the ship. After Riker and Data leave for Engineering, Worf is leading the cause with his limited medical experience and training. Helping him is a very pregnant Keiko O'Brien who soon goes into labor. Worf must help Keiko through childbirth but finds the experience frustrating as Keiko's delivery isn't exactly going by the book; and Worf doesn't have the greatest bedside manner. Ultimately Worf is able to successfully deliver a healthy (though one month premature) Molly. In the aftermath of the disaster, life slowly returns to normal on the Enterprise and Picard tries again to take the children on a tour of the ship, this time including the battle bridge and torpedo bays on the tour. This episode is a lot like that "natural disaster" movie or episode you usually see -most often centering around an earthquake- that puts various characters into various problems common to the type of disaster; and we'll throw a pregnant woman at an inexperienced person for good measure. All and all I think the episode comes out pretty good playing with the premise and trope of this type of story and it's interesting to see some of our characters in situations they're not used to. Worf playing midwife is fairly fun and interesting as Keiko's delivery doesn't go "by the book" as he learned it in his first-aid extension courses at the academy and the actress who plays Keiko does a good job, probably depicting one of the more realistic labor pains I've seen on TV. The more interesting thing in this episode is waching Picard dealing with the children in the turbocar/shaft. When the series began the captain expressed annoyance and frustration with having a ship with families and children on it as he's not a family man. And, sure, a few years have passed and Picard has obviously lightened a bit from the S1 Picard but, still, it's a recurring theme with him that he's not good with children.... Except when he is. He showed a good relationship with his nephew last season and here he handles the situation with the children pretty well to get them calmed and to work together to save all of them. Some initial hiccups at first, sure, but in the end he really builds a nice relationship with them. The bigger focal point of the episode is Troi's struggles with being in command on the bridge given that her career path in Starfleet isn't in command but in medical so she doesn't have a lot of experience with the decision making or anything along those lines. We could argue whether or not she made the right call in her decision making (which mostly falls on her making a bad call. She seems intent to keep the ship together for as long as possible, but when Riker and Data are in Engineering the field strength gets as low as 16% where 15% is the failure point. Seems to me the ship should have been separated by the time it got to 16% or at least the process beginning.) There's some expected head butting between her and Ro, but Troi is able to exert her authority and Ro is at least a good enough officer to not go rogue too much and disobey orders. (The most out of line she gets is using an unauthorized method of restoring power to the Engineering bridge console.) The stories with Data/Riker and Crusher/Geordi are mostly B-plots (C and D plots?) as there's really not much development or character exploration in either of those cases as no one is forced by the situation out of their comfort zone. This is a pretty good episode and one I quite enjoy, it certainly has flaw and questions but, in the end, it's a good watch.