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?