My three-year-old daughter has just been telling me about an episode of The Next Generation which was on earlier.

The man runned on the sand and he fell in the black thing, and he came up a black snowman.

Followed by

The mans had their orange torches, and they threw fire on the black snowman and it melted.

My curiosity is piqued; can anyone help me identify this episode where phaser fire (I presume) melts a black creature in a sandy environment?

  • 22
    Starting 'em on TNG early, eh? Good parenting, there. :-)
    – Iszi
    Sep 27, 2012 at 19:44
  • 7
    If only more ST:TNG episodes could be synopsized that way.
    – fluffy
    Sep 27, 2012 at 23:24
  • 16
    Can this be a regular feature of the site? We get small children to watch and describe Star Trek or other sci fi shows, then we have to work out the episode? Feb 26, 2016 at 14:59

1 Answer 1


black snowman

My best guess is "Skin of Evil" (S01E23), in which Riker gets absorbed by what could be described compactly as a sludge monster and is later spat out covered in Metamucil and printer ink. While the monster isn't destroyed, melted, or even harmed by phaser fire, I'm quite certain that at some point he responds to phaser fire by "melting down" into a less anthropomorphic, more ooze-like form and retreating.

  • 2
    Wife has confirmed this is indeed the one. Thanks! Sep 27, 2012 at 22:37
  • 32
    Ah yes, Tar vs. Yar. Sep 27, 2012 at 22:57
  • 15
    @GrahamBorland Y'all must have some creepy-looking snowmen where you're at.
    – Iszi
    Sep 28, 2012 at 0:02
  • 7
    I'd be more concerned with the kind of snow creatures your child has been exposed to.
    – Katey HW
    Oct 4, 2012 at 18:00
  • 7
    Hey, that "sludge monster" has a name. It's "Armus", apparently. I've always admired Armus for not being complicated or misunderstood like all the other aliens on Star Trek: He's pretty much just a slimewad, physically and spiritually. Feb 17, 2016 at 17:27

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