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Season 1, Episode 5

Episode Details

Plot Summary | Ongoing Story and Character Developments
Unanswered Questions | Memorable Lines | Glitches
Trivia, Inside Jokes and References | NotePAD

Plot Summary

The episode opens with Harlan, Catalina and Radu on the ComPost, giggling about a practical joke they have planned. Ms. Davenport walks in and the children become serious. They turn on the viewscreen, showing a person floating in space. They say it is Goddard, and they don't know how to rescue him. They try a tractor beam, but the image on screen explodes. Suddenly, Goddard appears from the jump tubes. Ms. Davenport faints, as usual.

We see a mysterious probe following the Christa.

Goddard chews the kids out for their prank and confines them to quarters, but he can't deny that he found the prank amusing. Suddenly, a probe appears on the ComPost, and emits a gas that seems to choke the adults.

The kids hear an alarm and go to the ComPost to find the alien probe and two younger children. They realize that the children are Goddard and Ms. Davenport. The crew explains the situation to young Goddard and Davenport. Harlan doesn't want to tell them that they are supposed to be adults, but Radu reveals it.

Harlan doesn't particularly want to change the adults back. He likes it better with everybody equal. Instead, Harlan instigates a food fight.

Meanwhile, on the bridge, the various personalities of the alien probe argue about the appropriate punishment for the misbehaving children. The probe takes control of the Christa, redirects the ship, and begins to take over Thelma.

The probe, known as Neinstein, gives the children a set of commandments to live by, and sets Thelma to enforce it.

In the middle of the night, the children conspire to take back the ship. They decide to try electrocuting Neinstein, using a cable to get power from the engine room to zap Neinstein. They must also crawl through the jump tubes, instead of using them normally, to pull this off.

Young Goddard wants a more bold, action-packed solution, but Harlan acts as the responsible voice of reason.

The kids ultimately manage to zap Neinstein and disengage him from the computer. In the process, they also cure Neinstein's schizophrenia. He leaves peacefully, and returns the adults to normal. Their memory of the incident are blurry, but the adults still retain some memories of their time as children.

Ongoing Story and Character Developments

  • Davenport is fast with the computer.

Memorable Lines

Young Goddard: Oh, so you're the one responsible for all this.
Harlan: Sorry Commander, we were just -- wait a minute! You just keep your pants on there, short stuff.

Harlan: What does Suzee think? I can't believe I just asked that!

Young Goddard: OK, Mr. Neinthing, get ready for Seth Goddard... Commander Seth Goddard. Stardog.

Goddard: Well, it's good to know that while you were in charge you handled everything smoothly. You did handle everything smoothly, didn't you? You didn't trash the ship?


  • Radu's incredible disappearing strength: This episode paid virtually no attention to the consequences of Radu's strength. In the food fight scene, Radu staggers when hit with a pie. He strikes others with sofa cushions and pillows without hurting them. He is as affected by Neinstein's shaking of the ship and high gravity demonstration as the other students. He pulls on the electrical cable with all of his strength, yet does no damage to the cable or the wall of the ship.
  • Something seemed to be seriously wrong in the scenes where they were dragging the cable around the ship. First of all, anybody who's ever carried a long length of cable knows that you carry the main mass of cable with you and then release it from behind; you don't leave the main mass in the back and drag forward, because it may get stuck on something. But aside from that, everybody seems to be carrying the front of the cable! We see Harlan and Radu with the front, then Bova and Davenport, then Goddard and Rosie, then Bova and Davenport have the middle, then Harlan, Goddard and Davenport have the middle, and finally back to Harlan and Radu have the front.

Trivia, Inside Jokes and References

  • The episode title is a song title, as usual. It probably refers to the Joni Mitchell song, which is unrelated to the Rod Stewart song with the same title.
  • The story idea underlying this episode was submitted by Kristian Ayre, the actor who plays Radu. Peter David noted that the most impressive thing about Kristian's pitch for this story was that, unlike most actors' story ideas, this story does not focus on Radu. (Kristian Ayre's original story treatment.) The episode is substantially different from the treatment, but many of Kristian's ideas are evident in the broadcast episode.
  • This is the first episode that was not written by Peter David and Bill Mumy (first both in filming order and in airing order).
  • The name Neinstein is a play on Einstein and the fact that Neinstein is composed of nine personalities.
  • It took a week to scrub down the team room after the food fight, and the set never came completely clean. Kristian said he noticed remnants of whipped cream high up on the top of that set when they returned from break two weeks after the scene was shot and Cher (Jewel "Catalina" Staite's mom) said they were constantly finding feathers in odd places for the rest of the season. (information provided by Peter David and ZaBaGaBe).

Unanswered Questions

  1. What enhancements did Neinstein make that will benefit the crew in the future?
  2. Are the kids able to control the ship because they're kids, or because they bonded with it? Other episodes seem to suggest that bonding is the reason, but Neinstein seemed to think that Goddard and Davenport would be able to control the ship. (This might simply be a glitch.)

(Notes from co-creator Peter A. David)

When we were still filming the pilot for the series (the "lost episode" which never aired) Kristian came to Bill and I with a concept for an episode. Usually, when an actor does that, the pitch begins with, "My character does such and such" which is an immediate turn off.  But Kristian's notion instead focused on Goddard and Davenport as he suggested that they are transformed into kids and see life from the "other side," as it were.  Meantime the crew would come to appreciate the value of having adults around (placing them way ahead of Nickelodeon executives.)

Kristian wrote an initial outline which, naturally, was rewritten as the script progressed.  It was the first script written by an outside writer, Jerry Colker, who would later work on "Tie me Kangaroo Down, Court."

When Cary Lawrence first read the script, her initial reaction was, "Great, there's a lot for me to do this episode!" until she remembered that,  in fact, she had almost nothing to do since she was only in the teaser and tag.  We crafted a wig for young Davenport to wear that was modeled on Cary's own hair, and for a brief time we toyed with the notion of adding gray to young Goddard's hair just for laughs, as if Goddard has always been gray.  Young Ricky Mabe became quite a favorite around the place.  His last name is pronounced "Maybe," and we joked that when he becomes a teenager he'll be changing it to "Ricky Probably" and, upon reaching adulthood, "Ricky Definitely."

"Forever Young" was the last episode we filmed before going on Christmas break.  Consequently, we scheduled the food fight to be the last scene we filmed, because that scene completely demolished the team room, and it took studio crews a week to scrub it down and return it to shooting condition. Everyone got hit by food that day, including the director and me.  Cameramen wore raincoats or hastily converted garbage bags.

Later, at a party, Kristian came to me with a carefully maintained straight face and said he had an idea for another episode.  He claimed it was called "Radu Vs. the Amazon Women."  "What happens is," he explained, "in the teaser the entire crew gets frozen...except for Radu.  And then he spends the rest of the episode with the Amazon women."  "Fighting them?" I asked.  He shrugged and grinned.

I told him I'd think about it.  I invite fans to flesh it out.


Episode Details provided by Tracey Rich.
This page was last updated on January 11, 1998.