** (2 stars out of 5)
In the lull between a plague and a terraforming, the 2001 monolith tiptoes into Picard's room and beams him away.
He finds himself in a cell with other captives, while back on the ship a doppelgänger is drinking his wine.
Picard's cellmates are introduced. Bolian Mitena Haro, she's a first year Academy Cadet who's been here 3 days. Pacifist Kova Tholl of Mizar II has been here for 12 days. I see beds and the jello-puck dispensing food machine, but without toilets or shower that cell must reek!
Picard's Queen Dopplepopalis sends the crew on an increasingly inexplicable 'secret' mission into the throat of a deadly pulsar.
Who is their captor, Picard ponders. The Bolians don't get along with the Moropans, but this room is not Moropan technology. The Mizarians claim no enemies, although they've been conquered six times in three centuries. They value peace above confrontation. And this one kind of needs a punch.
Their fourth joins them: hissing giant lolcat Esoqq of planet Chalna. Picard visited there 12 years ago on Stargazer and apparently by having heard of the place earns Esoqq's respect, I guess? The Chalnoth are rebels and they'll never, ever be any good. And the jello pudding pucks aren't going to cut it: Esoqq's gonna eat Tholl in four days, tops. (It might be the only way Tholl could earn my respect, too: letting someone eat you to maintain peace would indeed show some backbone. And other organs.)
Speaking of dinner, quirky replacement Picard asks Bev to an intimate dinner in his quarters. A talk, a dance, a kiss, then it's out the door for the dancing doctor. Just when she thought it was getting interesting. Bow-chicka-wow-wow!
Picard, Haro, and Esoqq are hit with a pain beam for their escape attempt. They begin to turn on each other, wondering if one of them is an imposter.
Tricksy Captain doles out backslaps, ales, and song on the Enterprise. He starts to scare the senior staff. Yes, precious.
Riker mutinies when it becomes clear "Picard" is not concerned for the crew's welfare in the face of pulsar radiation.
In the cell, Picard divines they are in an Authority Test: The Commander, The Follower, The Collaborator, and The Anarchist. Picard also exposes Haro, who in the process of kissing up to Picard knew too much about Enterprise's missions. Once the subjects are released, the telepathic scientists are themselves captured by Picard. Lo and behold, they don't like it. He asks them to remember that the next time they feel like snatching people.
Everything is back to normal, but Jean-Luc is discomfited by Beverly scooching a little closer. Yikes! A lady person!
"Allegiance" has no strikingly terrible flaws, and the alien makeup is really cool. I love me a new alien. Point a camera at Patrick Stewart and 'boom', you got good work. But I'm really blase about the story. Especially the unnamed villain researchers. With the power to duplicate someone's memories, and transform yourselves, what do you really need to kidnap people for? Send in your monoliths, make the scans, then study the scans. Study each other role-playing the scans if you want to. But this seems less like an Authority Test and more like an out-of-control game of Marry, Screw, or Kill. Putting your own researchers into the test pretending to be subjects invalidates your results anyway, doesn't it?