At the end of "Skin of Evil," Captain Picard angers Armus, telling the entity that since it is immortal, it would forever be alone on the planet.

How could Picard possibly know that Armus wouldn't eventually die of some form of old age? Was he guessing? I assume that Picard didn't mean true immortality, as he surely believed that Q (or other beings) could destroy Armus.

2 Answers 2


Picard is trying to provoke an emotional reaction. It's clear from the speech immediately proceeding that Armus has been alone on the planet for some considerable time and has become progressively more and more unstable:

PICARD: How long have you been here?
ARMUS: Since they left. A very long time.
PICARD: A long time to be alone.

They know that the planet is listed in their own database as "uninhabited". We've no indication of who created the database but it's clear that the Federation have gained a vague knowledge about the place, presumably by swapping information with other Federation species who live in the area.

DATA: There is little information in the library computer other than the fact of its existence. Our sensor show no signs of life forms, virtually no vegetation.

DATA (continued): The planet is Vagra Two of the Zed Lapis system. Uninhabited.

No-one has landed on the planet for at least as far back as their records go. Since Armus immediately travels to the location of the crash, it follows that any other probes or visits would have encountered him.

On top of that, Picard has undoubtedly been briefed on Data's tri-corder readings (from the start of the episode) as well as Riker's advice that the creature seems to thrive on absorbing energy (when they shoot it with phasers).

Add that all together and you could make a fair guess that Armus, if not immortal is at least very long-lived.


Armus himself tells Picard what he is. He was a by-product of a procedure in which a race of "titans" brought out from within themselves all evil and negative attributes that had bound them to destructiveness.

Here is what Armus said of himself to Troi:

TROI: And the emptiness remains. You sound so alone.

ARMUS [OC]: I am alone.

TROI: Abandoned. Who deserted you?

ARMUS [OC]: Creatures whose beauty now dazzles all who see them. They would not exist without me.

TROI: You were together?

ARMUS [OC]: They perfected a means of bringing to the surface all that was evil and negative within. Erupting, spreading, connecting. In time it formed second skin, dank and vile.

TROI: You.

ARMUS [OC]: Yes.

TROI: They discarded you and left.

ARMUS [OC]: And here I am.

Here is what Armus said of himself to Picard:

PICARD: How long have you been here?

ARMUS: Since they left. A very long time.

PICARD: A long time to be alone.

ARMUS: Save your compassion. It's revolting. You offer it like a prize when in fact it's an insult.

PICARD: Because you feel unworthy.

ARMUS: You overrate your gift. You humans are puny, weak.

PICARD: But our spirit, it is indomitable.

ARMUS: And still you die from a flake of my power.

PICARD: A great poet once said, 'all spirits are enslaved that serve things evil'.

ARMUS: You do not understand. I do not serve things evil. I am evil.

PICARD: Oh, no, you are not.

ARMUS: I am a skin of evil left here by a race of Titans who believed if they rid themselves of me, they would free the bonds of destructiveness.


Given these descriptions and the creatures demonstration of power, Picard would reasonably assume that the embodiment of evil and malice would effectively be immortal.

  • I think we can be reasonably sure that the OP has seen the episode. Simply quoting large chunks of the script isn't as much help as a textual analysis
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 13:44
  • 3
    @Richard - Seeing the episode and remembering specific quotes and relevant self descriptions are two different things. Providing the actual text I believe is helpful.
    – Morgan
    Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 14:10

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