Jammer's Review

Star Trek: The Next Generation

"The Next Phase"


Air date: 5/18/1992
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by David Carson

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The Enterprise responds to a Romulan ship that has been crippled in a catastrophic accident. La Forge and Ro beam over with an away team, but when they beam back, their transporter patterns are lost in an apparent transporter mishap. The two are declared dead, but they both wake up aboard the Enterprise — where they discover they are invisible to everyone around them and can walk through walls and other objects.

Are they ghosts trapped in purgatory? Please; this is Star Trek, where a ghost has never been encountered that cannot be ascribed to either technology or the presence of an alien life form. In this case, Geordi slowly realizes that they have been phase-shifted outside normal time and space because of experimental top-secret Romulan cloaking technology aboard the crippled Romulan ship (which was crippled because the technology blew up in their faces during testing). The Enterprise crew does not discover this in the course of their investigation, but La Forge and Ro, being invisible, are privy to more information.

Alongside the plot are some welcome character touches. Being the proverbial flies on the wall, Geordi and Ro get to listen in on conversations about themselves by shipmates who believe they are dead. A discussion in a shuttle between Riker and Worf has a certain amount of resonance — without being too earnest to get schmaltzy. Meanwhile, Ro — usually the firebrand — finds the whole situation oddly humbling. At first she believes she's dead, before Geordi is able to win her over with technobabble arguments.

For the most part, "The Next Phase" is content to be an entertaining but slight sci-fi adventure in which two invisible people must figure out how to make themselves visible — while also fending off an attack from an invisible Romulan who himself has been phase-shifted and wants to stop La Forge and Ro from revealing the Romulan cover-up of this experimental technology. Eventually we get a chase through the Enterprise where Ro and La Forge are running through walls and pushing the Romulan intruder through the bulkhead and out into space. Heh.

Of course, the nitpicker in me has to ask exactly what it is about this technology that makes it possible to pass through all objects except, of course, the floors. For some reason (that reason being plot convenience), the laws of physics are only selectively broken, so you can plant your feet on the floor instead of simply sinking straight through to who-knows-where. Maybe the technology is set to not affect the bottoms of one's feet. In which case, Geordi should've just gone around engineering kicking Data in the face instead of leading him around with mysterious energy signatures. So, yes, this is all goofy and absurd, but then many things in Star Trek are absurd, and in this case I'm not inclined to let absurdity get in the way of an amusing adventure yarn with cloaking technology that lets people walk through walls while teaching Ro Laren the virtue of humility.

Previous episode: I, Borg
Next episode: The Inner Light

Season Index

47 comments on this review

grumpy_otter - Wed, May 11, 2011 - 8:00am (USA Central)
There are so many things I love about this episode!

I'll give them the "feet/floor" thing--I have never seen any movie or TV show that didn't use that convention. Just have to ignore it, and then it's all good.

Ro thinking they are dead;
Ro shooting Riker;
Geordi leaving clues for Data;
Riker being so moved by Ro's death;
Data's design for the memorial;
Geordi and Ro waving frantically; and
Worf almost seeing them;
The "click" when Data figures it out;
Data's "joy" that Geordi is not dead.
The final scene.

This is one of the best of Trek for me. It had humor, emotion, science (I found the "we're cloaked" to be very effective)--what more could you want? And I like Ro very much, so that helps.

I have to go watch this again--good thing it is saved on my DVR. (And good thing I'm on a break from school!)
Jhoh - Wed, May 11, 2011 - 12:03pm (USA Central)
This was one of my favorite high concept adventure type episodes, just because it was funny, but also had a good touch of mystery and suspense. Especially that reveal of the one Romulan who is phased as well, when he walks through stuff going after Georgi and Ro. And yeah that chase through the ship, lots of fun.
Brandon Adams - Wed, May 11, 2011 - 3:11pm (USA Central)
"Geordi should've just gone around engineering kicking Data in the face..."

Possibly the funniest thing you've ever written, Jammer.
startrekwatcher - Wed, May 11, 2011 - 8:00pm (USA Central)
I agree with the 3 star rating here--that is what I would have given it.

But unlike Jammer I bought into the possibility of the two being dead--when I first watched this I was a kid and wasn't tuned into all the conventions of tv--thankfully!--and could buy into the emotional arc of their story. I liked the use of the Romulans here. The chase was exciting. The ticking clock was exciting. I loved the idea of a New Orleans type memorial service and was so perfectly Data. And the final scene was perfect.

I don't watch Trek for sci fi accuracy so I can't get bothered by Fun with DNA stories or the fact that the two didn't fall through the floor.
Destructor - Wed, May 11, 2011 - 8:48pm (USA Central)
The floor thing is easily explained by the gravity coils in the deck plates of both the Enterprise and the shuttle. *spluh*
bigpale - Wed, May 11, 2011 - 11:57pm (USA Central)
I remember when I first saw this episode. I was not even in high school, and I remember saying "Shouldn't they fall through the floors and into space?"

Still a fun hour though.
William B - Thu, May 12, 2011 - 1:57am (USA Central)
Great review as usual. I'll add that an even bigger problem (IMO) than the floors is the problem that Geordi and Ro should be out of phase with, you know, breathing air. They should actually be, within their phase of things, in vacuum.
Ian Whitcombe - Thu, May 12, 2011 - 8:38pm (USA Central)
Most of the phase issues can be explained away by the simple fact that it is a cloaking device intended for individual espionage. However, this explanation reduces their ability to walk through bulkheads to be an arbitrary gimmick to facilitate the "afterlife" red herring.

I still think a clever explanation or two can be reached, though it's tricky.
Grumpy - Fri, May 13, 2011 - 8:15pm (USA Central)
Given that this is my second favorite episode of the season, after "Cause and Effect," I've devoted plenty of time to fanwanking its implausibilities. Like Destructor, I assumed there's something in the grav plating that is conveniently impermeable to phased matter. To answer William B's breathing problem, I figure the transporters leak phased air as an unnoticed side effect -- though why this doesn't escape through the hull, I dunno. That just leaves the problem of how phased/cloaked individuals can hear/see the world around them, when sound/light cannot bounce off their ears/eyes.

That, and the Romulan is tumbling the wrong way when he's knocked out the window. But that's not enough to keep this from being a 4-star episode.
Elliott - Fri, May 13, 2011 - 8:27pm (USA Central)
Ro's attitude in this episode turned it from being, "tolerably light" to "tooth-gnawingly stupid." Is anything made of the difference between Geordi and Ro's outlooks on the situation? No. Does Ro feel at all foolish when it's realised they aren't actually dead? Well of course not, that wouldn't be nice to the Bajoran religious nonsense would it? And then I look at the writing credits and of course it's RDM. Ugh. I agree with others that the tech nitpick is pretty dismissible, but why should i dismiss it? This episode offers nothing but a series of scenes, some of which come across well (the memorial, for example) and some really stupid (ultra-intelligent Data densely un-phasing the computer terminal like a cat chasing a laser beam) and many which are just blasé and pointless (like Ro's "confession" to a Picard who thinks she's dead).

2 stars at most.
grumpy_otter - Sun, May 15, 2011 - 7:47pm (USA Central)

If I may, and if you feel like it, may I ask you to expand on your objections? I'm not quite sure what your objection to the "difference between Geordi and Ro's outlooks" is. And I thought the final scene dealt with Ro's "foolishness" pretty well.

As an aside, you you like the character of Ro?

On another note, I see often that other posters have noticed who the writers of various episodes are--I never do. Maybe I should do that and see if I like more of "RDM"'s work!

methane - Mon, May 16, 2011 - 3:03pm (USA Central)

I'd definitely suggest you start to pay attention to the writers. They each have different strengths and weaknesses. Once you start identifying writers you will start to anticipate the quality of the story and the type of storyline to come up as soon as you see the writer's name.

Star Trek is rather unique in that you can track several writers over 4 series; many of us have the firm belief that the decline of the series in Voyager and Enterprise had nothing to do with 'franchise fatigue' but with 'writer fatigue', as the same writers were putting out watered down versions of the same scripts they were writing in the TNG era.

Many Star Trek writers have also gone onto success in other shows; you'll find them contributing to such series as Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, CSI, 24, the 4400, and Andromeda.
SC - Mon, May 16, 2011 - 6:34pm (USA Central)
Love this one. Tons of great character details. I especially like Ro's actions when she thinks that she's dead.
grumpy_otter - Tue, May 17, 2011 - 9:59am (USA Central)

Thanks for the suggestion, but I think I am going to wait until I watch DS 9 before tracking writers too closely--I don't want my pre-enjoyment to be tainted. (Yes, I have NEVER watched DS 9--I'm so pleased that I have it to look forward to!)

I did look through some of the Voyager episodes and you are so right--I definitely noticed trends in the episodes I most liked and disliked.

I wonder if some ST fan has done a chart of every writer and the episodes they are responsible for? (tried a google but no joy)
methane - Wed, May 18, 2011 - 9:50pm (USA Central)
Go to Memory Alpha and type the writer you want in the search engine.

For example, here's Ron Moore:

Eric Dugdale - Tue, May 24, 2011 - 7:12pm (USA Central)
Forget the floors. What about the air? If they can't interact with normal matter, then they should have suffocated in the vacuum of "space".
Stef - Wed, Jun 1, 2011 - 10:22am (USA Central)
You've never seen DS9? Well, unfortunately you're going to have 2 and a half seasons of "meh" to sit through before it turns into one of the best shows on TV.

I love this episode. And the whole sinking through the floor thing was raised in an episode of Stargate SG1, where they are filming the Stargate rip-off TV show Wormhole X-Treme. The actress asks the writer why if they are out of phase do they not just fall through the floor.

No answer was forthcoming.
methane - Tue, Jun 7, 2011 - 10:20pm (USA Central)
Grumpy Otter is the one who hasn't seen DS9.

And I thought season 2 was very good; season 1 was also better than early TNG and just about any season of Voyager and Enterprise.
Phil - Tue, Jun 21, 2011 - 4:39am (USA Central)
@Ian Whitcombe
It wasn't a device intended for individual espionage - the dialogue reveals that the entire reason the Romulan ship was disabled in the first place is because something went wrong when they were testing the phase cloak for their vessel.

And it wasn't just the bottoms of their feet that are conveniently immune to the cloak's effect. When Ro regains consciousness she's lying on the floor near sickbay. She and Geordi are sitting in the shuttlecraft. The Romulan is sitting in a chair on the enemy ship. And of course they shouldn't be able to breathe or make sound. Even "TOS" did a more credible job of conveying this sort of scenario in "The Tholian Web" - Kirk was at least wearing a spacesuit!

That said it's a fun episode I've always enjoyed. But by no stretch can you explain away the absurd premise with technobabble.
TH - Fri, Sep 9, 2011 - 6:58am (USA Central)
Not just the air they breath, but even the light, I would think, should pass through their eyes, not bounce around and allow vision.

It's a conceit that is required for any hope of the premise; but I also one pondered the same issues with sci-fi that involves a character that can freeze time. Air wouldn't flow into one's mouth, and light wouldn't move into one's eyes.

But anyway, I feel as though they never quite 100% explain how "phasing" works. Perhaps there is some technical explanation that would work. I don't think it was necessary for the episode to explore it though. Great episode.
Jay - Sun, Sep 25, 2011 - 7:28pm (USA Central)
I chalk the fact that they didn't fall through the floor to the gravity plating, but that's just me doing their work for them.
Jay - Sun, Sep 25, 2011 - 7:34pm (USA Central)
Ha...should have read the comments before making a comment...it's already been touched upon...

Good point William on the air...that is a bigger issue. The same issue could have been a problem in DS9's "Extreme Measures", but they threw in dialogue to deal with it.
Jay - Sun, Sep 25, 2011 - 10:57pm (USA Central)
I took about 40 viewings to realize that Troi was nowhere to be seen in this episode.

Was she missed? Not in the least.
Jay - Tue, Sep 27, 2011 - 10:17am (USA Central)
Whoops...that should be "One Little Ship", not "Extreme Measures"
Matrix - Thu, Sep 29, 2011 - 4:41am (USA Central)
The reason they don't fall through the floors is so that I don't have nightmares. I remember one day thinking about this phasing cloak and if it happened if i was just standing here and then phased out, falling through the earth for an eternity. Except, the earth is spinning and rotating around the sun pretty fast so I guess it'd be "see you later planet". Except, if I phased I wouldn't be bound by gravity then so I wouldn't fall through anything then would I?

Fun episode though. I love Geordi episodes! 3 stars.
Chris - Wed, Oct 19, 2011 - 10:11pm (USA Central)
@Jay - then you didn't watch the opening too many times then; Picard asks Troi if she can sense them before she dissapears from the episode. She doesn't get a line though; just shakes her head.
John - Fri, Jul 6, 2012 - 10:21am (USA Central)
Silly, but generally good fun.
TMLS - Sat, Jul 7, 2012 - 5:04pm (USA Central)
Shame they weren't ghosts. As some fellow posters on a UK forum I won't name know, Star Trek needs ghosts. ;)
Chris - Sun, Dec 2, 2012 - 8:32pm (USA Central)
This technology seems rather similar to the technology the Federation had persued that is mentioned in The Pegasus.
dipads - Sun, Jun 23, 2013 - 2:07pm (USA Central)
Strange that nobody mentions the bit role played by Susanna Thompson as Varel in this episode. She would later be famous for playing the Borg queen for the most part on ST-Voy.
Jack - Thu, Jul 18, 2013 - 1:34pm (USA Central)
@ Matrix...well a crewman did fall through the deckfloor and instant die in the S4 episode "In Theory".

I thought it rather absurd that Riker made them leave their weapons behind so that the Romulans "didn't think they were under attack". They could still have them without wielding them the moment they beamed in, and these are, after all, the most treacherous aliens in the quadrant.
mephyve - Thu, Jul 25, 2013 - 10:18pm (USA Central)
I didn't let them off the hook back then and I won't let them off now. Roe got shot and fell to the floor. They jumped to the floor, rolled on the floor, Roe toucned the panel on the bridge. I don't think it's nit picky, it was the fatal flaw in the script that nagged me from the start. It was made even more ironic when Geordi used the term 'Chronoton footprints'. The writers were mocking us I tell you. The shoes passed through everything except floors. Use some technobabble to give me an explanation. Say the floors were made to rapidly alternate in and out of phase, whatever.
I'm sorry, I just couldn't get past it.
William B - Wed, Aug 14, 2013 - 11:46am (USA Central)
So, at the very end of the episode, when Geordi is eating away and Ro is mulling over what happened, Geordi exclaims that he hasn't eaten in two days -- he's hungry! So, sorry, Geordi and Ro were increasingly hungry, perhaps even starving, over the course of the episode? Think about this for a little while and other questions pop up. How did they go to the bathroom? Did they have to shower? These are not, typically, questions TNG deals with, but normally people are at least in phase with the people around them. Even if we accept for convention's sake that they can breathe air and that they don't fall beneath the floors, were they just going to get hungrier and hungrier until the ship either exploded or they went Donner Party on each other (or, I suppose, the Romulan). So, when Geordi and Ro talk about their predicament, Geordi saying that they are alive and Ro saying they are dead, I think that they both missed some crucial arguments. Geordi points out that he's "a blind ghost with clothes," but if they were starving he should have pointed out that dead or not, it's in their interests to try to find some more information about their situation before their hunger pains become overwhelming. And if they weren't hungry, which they certainly didn't seem throughout the episode, well, then the episode shifts into the realm of fantasy and suddenly hey, maybe Ro's right, I mean, she is in a Ron Moore script after all.

But okay, maybe Geordi exaggerated at the end of the episode and we can mostly ignore the implausibilities here. What is interesting about the Geordi/Ro split in how they react to their predicament is what it reveals as the strengths and weaknesses of the two characters, an unusual and inspired pairing to be sure. Geordi is right in this episode, which fits in with the rational Trek universe, except that the story kind of has to cheat to get there (see above). Since he's right, Geordi doesn't change or learn anything in the story. It's actually a trope that the dead don't initially accept that they're dead, and can only move on once they do, which the episode subverts. However, Geordi's rationalism has its limits, and somehow I think there is a nice symmetry between Geordi's correctly identifying that his and Ro's "death" is actually a problem that he can solve, and his incorrectly being lulled into believing that his mother's "death" is a problem that he can solve in "Interface." It's not that Captain La Forge died and started wandering around as a ghost, or that anything mystical happened to her at all, but there are some puzzles which Geordi can't solve, and the ability to accept that which Ro seems to have readily is something Geordi could use there. Still, when Geordi tells Data that Data lacks imagination, when Geordi is going around pushing random parts of the table again and again, I want to throttle the guy. How about writing "GEORDI" in big letters on the console with his finger? How about punching out prime number patterns on the console? Geordi has a chance to communicate and he mostly doesn't do anything that looks like a careful, intelligent pattern. This is probably more the fault of the script than a deliberately-created flaw in Geordi's character, but I do think that Geordi lacks people skills sometimes and his inability to think of how to communicate his presence more directly may be characteristic.

As for Ro, she is wrong. What is interesting is how quickly and immediately she comes to a place of serene acceptance that she has died and there is nothing she can do, and how this squares with her usual anger and conviction that she must act, as well as her rejection of her Bajoran faith. What this says to me is that Ro really, at her core, *wants* to believe in an afterlife, wants to believe in her Bajoran upbringing, and above all wants to *stop fighting*, stop hating her past and hating herself. But as long as she's living and as long as she has to continue finding a way to make it through each day, she has to hang onto her anger and her cynicism -- about herself, about Bajor, about Starfleet. Given a chance at escape, she takes it instantly; she wants to tell Picard what he means to her, wants to hear what Riker has to say about her (though she quickly shut down the possibility of continuing their memory-addled relationship), wants to believe in what she learned in her rough childhood which she ran away from, wants to believe in the crew, and wants peace. The chance to be able to stop being the version of Ro Laren she has become and to be a different one is so tempting that she ignores the possibility that she may not be dead. She doesn't come out and say that she was foolish for thinking she was dead so soon, but her talk about humility at the end suggests something else to me. She realizes this -- that when the chips were down, she absolutely believed and was defined by her childhood beliefs, even when there was not sufficient evidence for it. Maybe Ro does have a strong arc, since the very next Ro story is about getting in touch with her inner child so to speak ("Rascals") before she rejoins her roots ("Preemptive Strike"). Of course, Ro's stubbornness and unwillingness to listen to others manifests in her reaction to Geordi's suggesting an alternative explanation, and her crankiness at people's treatment of her starts up again once she realizes that she's not dead and it's time to kick butts again and (awesomely) shoot Riker in the head with a disruptor beam.

For an episode that emphasizes the sense of touch, there is something moving (I avoided saying "touching" there, see?) about Geordi and Ro learning about being able to touch each other, and about the two of them grabbing onto each other when they are shifted back into phase. In addition to everything else, this episode is partly about community, and it does end up needing both of them to fight the threats both from the Romulans and from the possibility of not being discovered; just as the crew (as a community) honours them, they have to reach each other. Their ability to touch each other is a representation of their ability to impact and communicate with each other, when they can't touch or communicate with anyone else, and their holding onto each other as they pass through the return threshold back into life says this: they needed each other. They couldn't do it alone. They are not, or at least were not friends, but in the shared experience hopefully they have been impacted by each other in a positive way. Geordi has been through this story already in "The Enemy," and there's less for him to gain here, but the Romulan with a disruptor pretty much ensures that Geordi would not have made it through the episode well alone, and any trace of the Geordi talking about watching his back if Ro is with him on an away mission in "Ensign Ro" is gone. But Ro not only learns humility, she is able to open up to another person and share her recognition that she doesn't have all the answers and that she is able to admit that. The two don't become best friends after this, but that's not really the point. There's something poetic about it: they were "dead" and they brought each other back to life.

Data's reaction to Geordi's death is a bit of an inverse and payoff to Geordi's reaction to Data's death in "The Most Toys"; it's Data, eventually, who figures out what's going on with Geordi, who follows the clues carefully enough that he gets the information that Geordi can use to manipulate the situation so that they are revealed. Unlike Geordi, Data doesn't recognize the clues as pointing to Geordi still being alive, but he does put it together the instant that Geordi's being alive becomes clear. His scene with Worf is touching, though I think that Worf's side of the conversation is disingenuous and/or out of character (if La Forge had died down in Engineering saving the ship from being destroyed, that would be one thing, but a transporter malfunction is the most pointless way to go; Worf was upset about Marla Astor blowing up for no reason, after all). The funeral scene is great fun for all, and it's because Data is an outsider to humanity that he is able to see into the heart of what matters and ignore convention (though, you know, it's not as if celebratory funerals were invented by Data, but you see my point hopefully); Data is an observer of humanity who builds up humanity from the ground up, but that sometimes means, as an outsider, he can see what's important instantly. He saved Geordi too, both by recognizing the clues once they all were put together with Geordi's face, and he found for everyone the meaning and joy in Geordi's life (and "death"). I mean, and Ro's, but it's mostly Geordi for Data. I like, too, Picard's short speech on meeting Geordi and Geordi's moment of beaming, slightly awkward pride about it; Picard's saying that Ro would have had a great career if it weren't for that Garon II incident; Riker's having feelings about Ro he never talks about, and his giddy excitement at being able to participate in the jazz celebration.

The plot is somehow both smartly constructed and entirely ludicrous: the Romulans' decision to blow up the Enterprise is so extreme that I have to roll my eyes at it (and the fact that the Enterprise crew never would have been the wiser if it weren't for Geordi and Ro *OVERHEARING THE ROMULANS' EVIL PLANS* says little for the Enterprise' security and self-protection). I'm also not clear on why the phased Romulan figured that he needs to be so EVIL; it seems as if he wants to return to normal phasing, so, uh, why the need to threaten everyone with disruptor blasts when he wants the same thing as them? Or does he want to forestall their attempts to return to normal and die when the Enterprise explodes? And yet I like the fact that the Romulan's presence not only gives a nice action sequence (including the Romulan floating into space), but having defeated the Romulan gives Geordi and Ro the disruptor which turns out to be the key to creating a large enough energy signature to get the two out of there. I also love that there is a plot justification for the episode to end at Ro and Geordi's funeral.

I think I have talked myself into liking this episode even more than when I watched it a few days ago; it has significant flaws in plotting areas, which wouldn't bother me if this episode weren't as plot-heavy as it is. It is also ultimately slight, in that the central Ro/Geordi relationship is not particularly deep or important. But there are a lot of neat things here and it's entertaining. A high 3 stars.
Nick P. - Fri, Dec 20, 2013 - 1:50pm (USA Central)
I also love this episode, but something bugs me about the fans response to this episode. Everyone says it is a fun cute episode, just ignore the physics of it, big deal, but then in season 7, genesis, all of a sudden science is the most important thing in star trek and because the events in that episode couldn't happen, it is an embarrasment to star trek lore and one of the worst episodes of cannon.....If anything, Genesis is more plausible than this!

That is absurd, they are both fun, stupid-science episodes, why is this one loved, and Genesis hated?
Grumpy - Fri, Dec 20, 2013 - 4:40pm (USA Central)
I'll engage your question, Nick P, as someone who likes this ep yet does NOT hate "Genesis." While there could be any number of aesthetic differences, mostly chalked up to McFadden's directing vs Carson's, those would mostly be nitpicks to justify judgments held for other reasons. Could be a halo effect, with this show floating on the rising tide of S5, whereas "Genesis" is dragged down by S7's baggage. Or, coming late in the run, "Genesis" suffers more from "been there, done that." Or the relative plausibility of the dna gimmick could hurt, being more familiar and therefore more obviously bogus than magic phasing. Or maybe people have been hypnotized to have a violently negative reaction to the words "pygmy marmoset."
William B - Fri, Dec 20, 2013 - 4:57pm (USA Central)
In addition to the points raised by Grumpy, a lot of the difference is simply that "The Next Phase" allows us to spend time with the cast, behaving normally in an unusual situation. They are themselves. Besides Data, no one in "Genesis" is themselves by the end of the episode (with Picard, obviously, closest). They are also not even "versions" of themselves, but have become various monster-movie creatures. "The Next Phase" goes a long way on the differences between Ro and Geordi's reactions to their predicament and the crew's (especially Data's) reactions to their apparent death. The only real character details in "Genesis" are some of the very-early scenes of the crew going wacky, which are based a little on traits that these characters already have, exaggerated, and so are somewhat interesting. And it's fun to see Barclay again, as ever. But that's very thin, and ceases to matter after the first act or so. I think that "The Next Phase's" mystery elements are far better executed, too, with many inventive sequences (e.g. the Romulan chasing Ro through the various Enterprise crew members, and finally plunging into space) which "Genesis" can't touch. "The Next Phase's" implausibilities, too, are still at least somewhat linked to existing tech in the Trek universe -- i.e. the cloaking device. "Genesis" perhaps follows a tradition from "Identity Crisis," and becomes part of a later tradition of DNA mutation stories, but it's a much less storied tradition, and goes way beyond "Identity Crisis." Geordi and Ro don't really lose much of their identity in the process of going out of and back into phase, as opposed to the rest of the crew becoming totally different creatures, mating on instinct, crashing around and wrecking the ship, and there is *still* a final scene in "The Next Phase" where the two talk about what they've been through, whereas with the exception of Barclay there is no real sense in "Genesis" that anyone has been affected at all by gradually turning into bizarre human-animal hybrids.
Grumpy - Fri, Dec 20, 2013 - 7:22pm (USA Central)
Well said, but I'm not fully prepared to discard the marmoset/hypnosis factor.
William B - Fri, Dec 20, 2013 - 9:29pm (USA Central)
"Well said, but I'm not fully prepared to discard the marmoset/hypnosis factor. "

Definitely, there are several explanations, and not mutually exclusive :)
Nissa - Sat, Jan 4, 2014 - 12:23am (USA Central)
I don't care about the technobabble. I like Ro, I like Geordi, and I like the religious overtones. Ignoring metaphysics isn't wisdom, and what if they were dead?

Of course, if Ro had read Life After Life by Ray Moody, she might have been able to tell they weren't dead. Great book. It's about a doctor who collects testimonials from people who have died but were rescussitated.
grumpy_otter - Tue, Jan 7, 2014 - 9:00pm (USA Central)
Nissa, Ray Moody is a man who passionately WANTS an afterlife to exist. His "research" was the worst kind of popular tripe and lacked scientific rigor.

No serious scientist considers his work anything more than anecdotal. Everything he describes is easily attributable to non-supernatural causes.

He's a nice guy--I know this because he was my doctor in 1981--but "Life After Life" is nothing more than fantasy.
213karaokejoe - Sat, May 24, 2014 - 6:26pm (USA Central)
I see a lot of discussion of why Giordi and Ro don't sink through the floor. I agree that that is just one of the things we have to accept in these kinds of episodes unless we want to hate it all. I mean, heck, in the non-gravity of space, how do they just walk through the halls like they are in some hotel? When the ship changes orientation, like it sometimes does, what keeps them all from falling onto the walls or the ceilings?
Elliott - Sun, Jun 8, 2014 - 5:55pm (USA Central)
@grump_otter :

Sorry for the delayed reply!

If Ro alone had been "phased", she would have been convinced she was dead, accepted her heritage, blah blah and died of starvation or something worse. Only Geordi's unwillingness to accept the idea of an "afterlife"ghost story BS is what saved her sorry credulous ass. I don't have a problem with portraying these characters this way, but Ro neither apologises nor is chastised for her foolishness.

In these types of stories, whenever atheistic characters encounter even one minor example of a phenomenon they cannot readily explain, they invariably grant credibility to the spiritual, but the same expectation is not extended in reverse. Ro, a religious person, directly confronts a situation which should make her question at least her urgency in explaining her situation in religious terms, but she doesn't. It's just...insulting.
grumpy_otter - Wed, Jun 18, 2014 - 10:17am (USA Central)
Thanks for eventually getting back to this, Elliott! Nice to "see" you again!

And thanks for expanding on your comments--I get it now. Normally I think I would feel exactly the same way, but I guess I find this episode so fun that the lack of scientific rigor didn't bother me too much. And I really like Ro, so I's biased.

I haven't been over to this site in about 6 months, and I find you answered me a week ago! Must be psychic! lol
Tommy - Sun, Aug 3, 2014 - 8:52pm (USA Central)
The "implosion" wasn't an implosion.
Jean Claude Van Hamm - Wed, Aug 6, 2014 - 4:19pm (USA Central)
One thing I've always wondered about this episode is what happened to the Romulan after he decided to leave the ship.

I'd like to think that Ro and Geordi eventually told the other Romulans how they could detect him before he got too hungry.

On the other hand, you have to wonder if they simply forgot...

Lal - Wed, Oct 8, 2014 - 12:00pm (USA Central)
@ Jean Claude Van Hamm - I kind of wonder that too (after he "decided to leave", lol). But I also thought that perhaps he would have died within seconds in the vacuum and deep cold of space. (And yes, I'm aware that in their phase-shifted-ness, Geordi and Ro should be having difficulty surviving in a vacuum too. But yeah, it's Star Trek, and this particular episode only makes any sense when wrapped in a bubble of technobabble and old TV/storymaking conventions).
Locke - Sat, Jan 10, 2015 - 2:12pm (USA Central)
Regarding the common sci-fi convention of intangible characters being rooted to the floor, there is actually an episode of Batman Beyond which breaks this convention. A super villain develops phasing tech which works too well. He falls through the ground and Batman implies that he will keep falling until he reaches the planet's core where no more gravity will act on him. =) Can't post URLs but search Ian Peek for reference.

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