Jammer's Review

Star Trek: The Next Generation

"Galaxy's Child"

**1/2

Air date: 3/11/1991
Teleplay by Maurice Hurley
Story by Thomas Kartozian
Directed by Winrich Kolbe

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Dr. Leah Brahms (Susan Gibney), the designer of the Enterprise's engines, comes aboard the Enterprise. Geordi is ecstatic, because he met — and kissed — a holographic version of her in last season's "Booby Trap." This can't end well. His boundless optimism only makes it that much more obvious when we learn that Brahms is, in reality, kind of a pain in the ass. Her first words to Geordi after stepping off the transporter pad: "So you're the one who's fouled up my engine designs." The payoff is so telegraphed that if "Galaxy's Child" were on cable, she would've used a different word starting with F.

Last season's "Booby Trap" was an engaging enough hour, so I guess it sort of made sense to do a follow-up on the whole Geordi/Leah thing. It's funny but also cringe-worthy to watch Geordi get so worked up over this woman whom he met on a holodeck (in a best-computer-guess simulation) and who doesn't actually know him. Reality. Fantasy. Two things. Watching Geordi confess to Guinan this 16-year-old-boy-like crush is embarrassing enough, but then Geordi arranges a date in his quarters where I'm just feeling bad for when Brahms walks out perplexed. Because Brahms is married. And Geordi doesn't know this because, what, he never bothered to find it in the computer? Uh-huh. Look at it this way: If you found someone on Facebook you wanted to date, don't you think the first thing you'd look at on their profile is whether they're, you know, MARRIED? Just wait until Leah finds herself in last year's holodeck program. (Her reaction was over the top, in my opinion, and when Geordi defended himself I was nodding in agreement.) This is either hilarious or sad; I'm not sure which.

The sci-fi plot, which is sort of an afterthought, involves the Enterprise studying a creature (sort of like a whale in space) that suddenly attacks the ship with deadly radiation. In defense, Picard fires phasers (minimum setting, of course). Priceless is Picard's devastated reaction when the phasers accidentally kill the creature. It's so wonderfully Picard: We came out here to study this wonderful creature and we have killed it; thus we have failed our mission. But then it turns out the creature was pregnant, and the baby survived in the womb, is born, and starts following the Enterprise around like its mother. How cute. Until it latches on and attempts to breast-feed all the ship's energy away.

Leah and Geordi must work together to figure out how to get the creature off the ship without harming it. In the process they reach an understanding and mutual respect (and make a natural technobabble tag-team) — but, come on, did you really expect them not to?

Previous episode: First Contact
Next episode: Night Terrors

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17 comments on this review

Captain Tripps - Thu, Sep 22, 2011 - 10:59pm (USA Central)
From Galaxy's Child

"Just wait until Leah finds herself in last year's holodeck program. (Her reaction was over the top, in my opinion, and when Geordi defended himself I was nodding in agreement.) "

I don't know, this guy she's never met has been hitting on her since she beamed aboard, and now she finds out he has her simulated on the Holo-Sex-Deck. Justifiable reaction is justifiable. Geordi should have told her upfront.

Same ep, didn't they meet another spacefaring creature? Tin Man? That doesn't justify as "similar phenomennon"? I half suspect they reused the same, "retrofitted" prop.
Nick P. - Fri, Sep 23, 2011 - 9:02am (USA Central)
@Captain Tripps (love the king reference, BTW)

I don't think I agree with you about telling Leah up front.

"Hi, I am Geordi LaForge, I am the Chief Engineer, I have a flirtatious holodeck recreation of you, but it is not sexual, hope you don't mind....Are you busy later?"

I think the proper move would have been to delete the program as soon as you saw her name on the guest list.
Captain Tripps - Fri, Sep 23, 2011 - 9:20pm (USA Central)
Well by upfront I mean during one of those dozen or so times where she asks him how he knows so much about her. Instead of the cryptic "I read your file". I think she would have found it interesting, if he had shown it to her while explaining the circumstances he was under at the time.

Or what you said, at the very least, delete her character/scale it back to the generic version he started with.
Moegreen - Sun, Sep 2, 2012 - 8:03am (USA Central)
More like a floating giant cheese ravioli in space.
Arachnea - Tue, Oct 23, 2012 - 3:01pm (USA Central)
Hi,

I usually agree with most of your reviews, I thorougly enjoy them and thank you for your hard work. However, on this one, I have to wonder why you found Brahms' reaction over the top:

She meets a man she's never seen before; he seems to know a lot about her, he invites her on a romantic dinner, he obviously hits on her and then she finds out a holodeck version where the other she says: "Every time you touch it, it's me"...

Put yourself in her shoes and tell me you wouldn't have reacted badly ? ;)

I like Geordi very much, but here, he responded with hypocrisy (he wanted only friendship, really ?) and put her on defense. What I regret most is that Brahms didn't argue more. She's shown as a strong woman with strong ideas (sometimes obnoxious) and suddendly, she's melting and gets along with Geordi, which doesn't suit with me, at all (of course, it suits TNG).

It also poses the question of holodeck's ethics (same question in "Hollow Pursuits" with Barclay's use of living beings). Shouldn't use of real persons be prohibited ?

As for the reference of "Tin Man", I see those aliens of the week more like giant space whales, not sentient beings like Tin Man.

PS: sorry for my poor english :p
xaaos - Thu, Dec 20, 2012 - 10:02am (USA Central)
Lesson of this episode: always use password for your private files...
Grumpy - Thu, Apr 4, 2013 - 11:00pm (USA Central)
The more I think about the missing follow-up from "Booby Trap," the more I'm convinced that this episode dropped a ball I never realized was in the air. The question raised here -- why did the computer lead LaForge into thinking Brahms would be interested in him? -- could've had a more interesting answer. Not because the simulation was imperfect or because LaForge never asked, but because it was the *Enterprise* that was interested in him, using holo-Brahms as its voice.

That revelation could've been a twist ending to this episode, but it also would've opened a can of worms thst changed TNG forever. From that moment, the Enterprise would've been recognized as alive, a new character in the ensemble. Suddenly, Geordi has more girlfriend than he ever wanted; Data is a mentor to an emerging AI; and Picard has to wonder if a sentient ship will obey his commands. Given the b-plot, this episode would've been the perfect launching pad for a "living ship" arc.
William B - Fri, Apr 5, 2013 - 12:20am (USA Central)
@Grumpy, I liked your comment in the Booby Trap thread and I like it here. It'd be particularly interesting to play *this* revelation against Geordi's hopeless crush for Brahms -- maybe even a two-part episode in which part one ends with the discovery that the ship was communicating with Geordi, and a second part in which Brahms stays around to help diagnose the ship as the primary expert on the Enterprise's construction. Actually, the idea of revealing that the ship was communicating love to Geordi via a female image reminds me reminds me of Zefram Cochrane finding out about the entity being in love with him in TOS' "Metamorphosis" -- so aspects of this are in keeping with what Trek had done before. Given that LaForge has very few good stories after "The Mind's Eye," this might be an interesting way to go.... They gestured at the computer gaining its own intelligence in "Emergence" -- but the ideas never quite gelled within this series.
mike - Sat, Jun 1, 2013 - 8:46am (USA Central)
Galaxy's Child could just as easily be called "Geordi's Big Miss". As much as I want to like Geordi, he is a probably the least developed of all the main characters. He basically just spouts Trekno-babble to rationalize and prod along ship-in-peril stories. Little is known about Geordi the person. My sister, a lifelong trekkie like me, calls him dull.


What few times we get a Geordi-centric story, it's usuall with him being just inept with women and never more so than in this episode. The way he gushes and giggles in front of Picard when he is told that Leah Brahms is coming for a visit is just short of silly for any grown man. And it only gets worse when he explains his "admiration" to Guinan. At this point we can already see we're all being set up for his big letdown. It's the next logical step.

Now, enter Leah, who of course is a block of ice on wheels. Not that it matters to Geordi who still keeps babbling oddly creepy over-reaching things just begging for a restraining order. Truly no grown man could be this bad at charming a woman. Not even Wesley.

Plot B, the giant ship-sucking space-baby that provides the ship-in-peril stuff, feels like an afterthought. It does give Geordi and Leah the necessary motive to ends their squabbling and work a problem together.

Overall it's not a bad story as long you can believe Geordi or any other grown man could be so awfully clumsy with women.

Oh, by the way, in case you didn't watch or pay attention to "All Good Things", the series finale, some time in the future Geordi and Leah eventually marry.


William B - Mon, Jul 1, 2013 - 11:24am (USA Central)
I think the B-plot does connect to the A-plot in at least one way -- but a way that is not very flattering to La Forge. The baby space alien mistakenly believes that the Enterprise is its mother, follows the Enterprise around for a while, and then starts sucking energy out of it. The Enterprise can only shake the baby off by "souring the milk" and pouring some figurative vinegar into what they give it, until it finally gets the message that maybe it is not actually wanted. I wonder how Leah could ever have come up with this. Replace the space baby with La Forge, the Enterprise with Leah, and "mother" with "potential girlfriend" and you pretty much have the episode's A plot, except that Leah's various attempts to shut down La Forge's puppydog interest basically never work, which means that Geordi is slower to catch a hint than a space baby who had just been born. I suppose Leah's "sourness" eventually gets through to Geordi and pushes him away -- but mostly it's actually her saying that she's married which gets Geordi to stop pursuing her. In principle, I guess, Geordi and Leah can only be friends once he has stopped latching onto her in a role which she emphatically does not want in his life; the Enterprise crew want the best for the space baby but they need to find a way to convince it to stop sucking all the life out of it.

I think Leah's reaction to finding the holoprogram of herself, saying that every time Geordi looks at the engines he's looking at her, every time he touches the engines he's touching her, etc., is entirely reasonable and perhaps even measured. Geordi has been not only clueless, but actually creepy for most of the episode -- demonstrating again and again that he knows personal information about her and trying to find artificial ways of spending time together when she has not indicated any interest, and of course the holoprogram's deep and abiding love pretty much explains how Geordi got all his information and his inappropriate fixation. Geordi *hadn't* actually had sex with holo-Leah as she implies, but it's not unreasonable given his recent behaviour and his repeated lying about why he was acting like he knew her to assume that his "relationship" with the holographic version of her went much further. I understand why Geordi tried turning it around on Leah the way he did, because it's pretty hard to deal with criticism and all, but claiming that his great sin was offering her friendship is disingenuous at best and awful and manipulative at worst. No, his sin wasn't "offering her friendship" but refusing to engage with her as a human being, being sullen and angry with her for not being as personable as the computer's version of her and pushing a relationship she didn't want. None of these are unforgivable, but they are *not* "offering friendship." The episode ending with Leah apologizing to Geordi and sharing a drink and a big laugh with him is messed up, ultimately, because while she was wrong about how far his holo-fantasies went, Geordi's own fantasy of his relationship with Leah had clearly gone to unhealthy extremes and so I don't think she was wrong in spirit. (Let's remember that Geordi is so out to lunch that he says "You remember!" to Leah regarding the design modifications made in "Booby Trap," and it seems to take a few seconds after Leah says that she has no idea what he's talking about for him to remember that that was the computer.)

Jammer's description of the date scene as either hilarious or sad gets to what I think the episode's tone is; actually, it mostly reads to me like an episode of The Office without jokes -- a cringe comedy of errors, without really any comedy. It's just a lot of errors. I can relate to Geordi's imagining a relationship that wasn't there, because I have made similar mistakes when I was, like, 20, but the episode ultimately makes his behaviour a little too extreme to be believable and certainly too extreme to end on the redemptive note of total friendship with Leah. There are some interesting moments -- for example, Leah saying that she relates better to machines than to people basically shines a light on Geordi's whole problem; in "Booby Trap" he fell for Leah because she was essentially an avatar for the Enterprise anyway. Given that Leah considers the Enterprise engines to be her child in a way (another connection to the B-plot?), the end-of-episode bonding does make some sense; even if Geordi and Leah are not meant to be a couple (and how), they are in a sense surrogate parents to the Enterprise and can bond over her. Whether Geordi can build human connections that are not just projections of his feelings for the ship remains to be seen. (2 stars.)
Tom - Fri, Jul 5, 2013 - 4:53pm (USA Central)
This is yet another episode where Picard puts his ship in danger for some misguided notion of diplomacy, as usual to the detriment of everyone. First of all, he is constantly refusing to raise shields and power up weapons, as if being prepared is a hostile act. If he would have just adopted a hard posture earlier and raised shields he wouldn't have had to kill the alien. Instead he placed his entire ship and crew in danger and killed the thing he sought to protect.
Reverend Spork - Fri, Aug 30, 2013 - 10:08pm (USA Central)
I agree with William; Geordi comes off as utterly creepy. In the first ten minutes alone, he gives away to Leah Brahms his knowledge of future technology she presumed nobody knew of yet, and just happened to guess her favorite food. If I were Brahms, I wouldn't have gone within one parsec of his quarters. LaForge's behavior is also off-kilter, behaving more like wesley than a chief engineer. And the sub-plot of the suckling baby whatever was weak. One and a half stars for this one.
Jack - Fri, Sep 6, 2013 - 6:10pm (USA Central)
Add me to the group that was skeeved out by Geordi in this episode. No way can "when you're touching them, you're touching me" can be dismissed as just being friendly. It was so bad that even more normal dialogue from Geordi came off as creepy, like at the end when they are doing the milk souring and Geordi tells Leah to "take it down further".
Nissa - Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - 12:23am (USA Central)
Jammer, I'm disappointed with you. What Geordi did was indefensible, and it makes him extremely creepy as a character that he would have a holo-replica of a woman for his sordid fantasies. It makes me think less of you that you think her reaction to finding this as "over-the-top". Quite frankly, MY reaction would be to bring this to the Captain, assuming I didn't beat the crap out of Geordi first. Brahms is quite tame by comparison, no?
Kieran - Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - 7:37am (USA Central)
Think I have to side with the "Geordi is a creep" brigade here. Brahms even gave him multiple opportunities to come clean about how he knew so much about her and he didn't take them - if his holodeck simulation was really so innocent he coudl have been open and he wouldn't have panicked when he found out Brahms was accessing it.
ncfan - Thu, Feb 20, 2014 - 6:19pm (USA Central)
Seriously, I am going to have to be another person joining the "Geordi is a creep" brigade. Brahms' discovery of the holodeck program? Is roughly equivalent to this.

You are a young woman who has been invited to the home of a coworker for a casual dinner. You haven't been working at your job for very long, and you don't know the guy very well, but he seems nice enough. But when you get to his house, some things start to seem “off.” He knows your favorite foods, your favorite music, and other personal interests of yours, and you know you never told him any of this. Dinner’s pretty awkward. He just seems to know way too much about you, and it’s starting to make you a bit nervous, but you know that if you walk out now, when you go to work tomorrow he will cast the whole incident as you being a bitch, and everyone will believe him, because no one knows you very well, and when something like that happens between a man and a woman, the woman’s often considered to be in the wrong unless the man does something overtly threatening, even if every alarm bell in her head is ringing like a claxon.

After the meal, you move into the living room. He goes out of the room for some reason, and you notice a closet door left slightly open. Curious, you open it. Inside, you find a shrine to yourself, completely with hair and toenail samples. After that, you throw all social conventions to the winds and RUN.

You know what I call Geordi’s behavior towards Brahms in this episode? RED FLAGS. That’s probably how she saw them, too. And before you say “Oh, well Geordi would never do something like that”, ask yourself this question. How exactly is Brahms supposed to know that?

It’s a travesty that the scriptwriter or whoever decided that it would be more appropriate to have Brahms APOLOGIZE to Geordi for her (completely justified) behavior than, as one of the previous commenters suggests, bringing all of this to the captain and then refusing to ever work with Geordi again, ever speak to him again, or ever being in the same room alone with him again.
Cheyne - Sun, Mar 30, 2014 - 11:51am (USA Central)
While I would usually be in the "Geordi is a creep" camp, I'm afraid that I can't be here. I understand their arguments, but the Holo-Leah was not programmed by Geordi to flirt with him or say those things, it was just extrapolating on the records of her personality, with a certain margin of error. But Geordi can't be blamed for how the hologram unfolded. Now if he had purposefully programmed Leah to be like that, sure, he would be a creep, but that wasn't the case... He originally only conjured her up to help with an engineering problem. Now, having said that, Leah's reaction is entirely justified, as others have argued, but Geordi did not have unsavory motives when holo-Leah was created.

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