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Booming
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

@ Peter G.
Thanks for the write up.

To me it just seemed odd. The kid lost his parents. Probably one of the most traumatizing experience a child can have. So yeah I saw his behavior as psychotic. One of the main gripes with this episode is how the kids development is driven by what the plot needs not what seemed realistic to me. I guess it all depends on if you find the relationship between Data and the kid emotionally engaging. I did not.

To quote from Jammer:"It relies on a child guest character we have no connection to, and then uses particularly unconvincing second-rate psychobabble to justify its lame premise."
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Mal
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 12:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Star Trek: Lower Decks episode 1 “Second Contact”

Mal’s review

* 1/2 (one and a half stars) out of 4

“Did I eat flesh?”

- Commander Ransom asks after being cured of the Zombie virus.

A Star Trek show about four young ensigns on a starship sounds like gold. Who wouldn’t want to see a show that revolves around someone like Chekov, a 19 year old Ensign with a bright future? Or how about Ensigns Nog & Dax, maybe sent off on an away mission before Ezri’s promotion came in?

Over the 50 years of Star Trek, we’ve been treated to a whole host of wonderful young junior officers - teenagers - from young acting Ensign Wesley Crusher, to sweet Ensign Sito. From fresh from the academy Ensign Harry Kim to cynical and broken Ensign Ro Laren. Ensigns have been a rich vein for Star Trek lore.

Anyone expecting something remotely like that from Star Trek: Lower Decks will be sorely disappointed.

The first episode follows a roughly A & B story pattern.

The “B story” revolves around the crew turning into zombies, spewing black vomit on each other, and eating human flesh. It is literally as bad as it sounds.

The “A story” betrays everything that Star Trek holds dear.

I suppose it does this for laughs, but honestly, I didn’t find any of it amusing.

Ensign Mariner violates regulations and gives Starfleet technology to some farmers belonging to a newly admitted race, because she feels Federation bureaucracy might take too long to approve the technology transfer. The “joke” is that the technology is a shovel and a hoe.

Why is the Federation giving membership to a race that does not have shovels and hoes?

You’re telling me that Bajor was not ready for membership when Kai Winn and Shakaar were fighting over reclamators (see DS9 "Shakaar“), but 10 years later, this backwater world - without shovels - has been granted membership?

No wonder Star Trek Lower Decks cannot be considered canon.

The “A story” gets worse. When one of the farmer’s animals starts inflicting excruciating pain on a fellow Ensign Boimler, his crew mate Ensign Mariner refuses to stun the animal and render it unconscious because that might spoil the flavour of the milk. And so she allows Ensign Boimler to suffer for many, many more excruciating minutes. When the animal finally tires of inflicting pain, poor Boimler is hurting right down to his very bones. This too is supposed to be funny.

I’m not laughing.

I cannot imagine Nog and Ezri on an away mission where Ezri allows Nog to suffer excruciating pain just because stunning the animal causing the pain might ruin the milk. That would be insane, and a violation of everything we have seen Star Trek stand for over 50 years.

There are a few other vignettes in the short first episode. A young Orion Ensign who works in sickbay is covered with black vomit which is sprayed on her repeatedly by her boss who has been turned into a zombie. She is assigned to pump the heart of a ailing lieutenant, but she does so without any anaesthetics, so the lieutenant calls out in pain “That’s my heart, it hurts when you pump it!” The green Orion Ensign continues to pump it. The lieutenant continues to cry out in pain. This is supposed to be funny.

Finally, a cyborg Ensign and a Trill Ensign are on a date as the crew descends into chaos, turning into zombies, shooting each other, attacking each other while the two Ensigns continue to chat and flirt, without making any effort to stem the violence or save their crew mates. “So, where are you quartered?” he asks as the phasers fire around them and the ship is at red alert. “Deck nine, by the squash courts,” she answers as a medical officer exclaims that “this is happening all over the ship.” The two Ensigns continue to smile obliviously and chat about playing squash sometime, while the medical officer darts away to tend to the emergency. This is supposed to be funny.

Will the next episode be any better? The preview tells us that one young ensign will recommend evasive pattern 88. The Chief Medical Officer will reply, “is he fucking serious?”

There are so many insults to the viewer’s intelligence packed into these 20 odd minutes, that is almost not worth listing them. So let’s just take one example: the Starfleet briefing officer down on the planet cannot pronounce the name of the race that has just been admitted to the Federation. He mispronounces the name of the race right in front of a representative of the race - actually struggling to read the race’s name off a padd. All the years we saw officers prepare and practice alien names and greetings to make them feel welcome and appreciated - all of that up in smoke - for a “joke”.

So will I be watching next week? Are you fucking serious?
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CaptainMercer
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 12:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Having slept on it a bit, I woke up still not liking it. Still it had a story and plot that was at least as serviceable as the Orville pilot, and ine that was solid, unlike Discovery .. it just moved way too fast.
ORVILLE PILOT
STORY: Ed takes command but has to work with his ex wife, who cheated on him. She put his name up for the position, actually.
PLOT: Bad guys want MacGuffin that Orville has.
LOWER DECKS
STORY: Ensign wants to play by the rules but is told to report on misbehavior on the ensign who doesn't, as she is the captain's daughter.
PLOT: strange disease/ cure plot

I actually respect the attempt at simple straightforward storytelling here. If it was 46 minutes and live action it would gave been solid , if not classic, Trek episode
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Peter G.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

@ Booming,

"I saw it a as a psychosis. That the kid actually believes to be an android. I guess the borders between psychosis and very elevated make believe are fuzzy."

I think it might be more accurate to say that in regards to a TV show like TNG, which combines some degree of verisimilitude with some degree of meta-theme or mythical content, you need to pick your axis of examination before getting too literal about what is being portrayed on-screen. If the show is giving us a 'mythical' case of hero-worship, contrasting the desire to be human with the desire to be emotionless after a trauma, then what we have is an allegorical tale about different aspects of what we'd wish in different circumstances. If you wanted to look at it as, say, hard sci-fi, then you'd want the tech to make sense; and if you wanted to look at it as a realistic portrayal of trauma management, then you'd want the details to be accurate and the therapy to be sensible.

It sounds to me like you want to read the episode literally, that this is a portrayal of trauma and how it's being handled. Ok, if we're going down that road then you need to really stick to what's on-screen and not add anything. If this is meant to be a literal portrayal of psychosis (notwithstanding Omicron's opinion that this actually could be realistic as portrayed) then we would expect a delusional or psychotic person to be treated *for that*. You don't handle a schizophrenic person as if he's just depressed or upset, for example. If you are looking for signs of delusion or other psychosis then I would expect the therapy to match that in some way, shape, or form. This may be the realm of a therapist, but it strikes me as being unreasonable also to suppose this is an actually delusional or psychotic person who 'gets over it' in a few days of playing at being an android. Does a delusion go away that easily? I don't know, honestly, but supposing the literal content on-screen to be a bona fide delusion seems like quite a stretch to me.

I know your response seems to be something to the effect that the therapy doesn't match psychosis situation because it's bad therapy; but this seems a bit circular to me. It should be more likely to conclude that it doesn't match the therapy for a psychosis because it isn't a psychosis. And that's if we're being literal. I think this incongruity seems even more strongly to suggest that we shouldn't be going for a literalist interpretation of the episode. You may note that people with an interest or specialty will often tend to stick its nose into matters that don't relate to it; for instance someone in real estate will watch Seinfeld's first season and will want to criticize how Costanza is portrayed as a realtor, notwithstanding the fact that the show isn't about realty and doesn't even take him seriously as a realtor, even though it does contain scenes of him showing off homes. And of course we have plenty of shows with courtroom episodes where the lawyer in the room will boast that they got XYZ wrong, even though narratively it's beside the point. It's at least worth asking yourself whether you're doing that here.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 12:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

@Jason R.

Jason, you are 100% correct.

Sorry if my previous reply wasn't clear on that.

I'll try to rephrase it to make it clearer:

No psychology expert or therapist will categorize Timothy's fantasy as a psychotic break. The reason is exactly the one you stated: It's clearly just a fantasy, rather than a delusion.

However,

There *are* psychology experts who think that "a fantasy that goes a bit far" is almost as bad as an actual psychotic break. They view it is as a pointless escape from reality which serves no long-term purpose, and will never go away on its own.

It is these experts who would deem Troi's approach to be grossly irresponsible.

It is these experts that Booming refered to (even though he used the wrong technical term of "psychosis" for the condition).

And it is these people whose view I've vehemently argued against, due to what I've personally observed and experienced.

Hopefully, I've managed to explain myself clearly, this time.
(I guess that starting my previous reply with "yes and no" did not serve the goal of being clear lol)
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Jason R.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 11:53am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

My six year old was once building a sand castle at the beach and was busy explaining to me all the details like this is the garage and this is the living room etc... then I pointed to the stick she planted at the top and asked her if that was the flagpole. Her response was a bemused "no daddy that's just a stick..." like I was delusional or something haha.
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Booming
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 11:41am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

@Omicron
You are easily insulted. My question was just about if you have received any actual medical training beyond being part of what I suppose is some kind of victims support group for psychological malpractice.
Well, have a nice day. I have *studies* to read.

@Jason R.
I saw it a as a psychosis. That the kid actually believes to be an android. I guess the borders between psychosis and very elevated make believe are fuzzy. But hey for really clearing that up we would need a therapist who would probably say that it's just a show and we should get a life.
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Mark
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 11:28am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Worst Case Scenario

This reminded me of "Peak Performance": an intriguing premise that deteriorated into another "the ship is in danger" situation. Why couldn't they have had the battle exercise play itself out? And why couldn't they have let Paris and Tuvok finish the program?

Something else... why would Seska do this? At the time she found the program, her cover was intact. If Tuvok had returned to his work, that cover would have been unnecessarily blown.
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Trent
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

I watched the first episode. I liked the TNG decor, and the fact that the franchise once again has a nautical feel: you get the sense of a big ship, a vast organization, with its various departments and hierarchies.

I thought the episode was far too busy, its short running time busily zipping from its A to its B to its C to its D plot. I thought most of the dialogue was bad, too manic and snarky, too "contemporary cool", the ADD-inflicted characters all hopped-up on cocaine. I liked the lead duo in theory - essentially Tom and Harry Kim, only now with Tom as a girl - but they're far too zany.

The big cast may become a problem. Juggling all their stories may lead to something more manic than even RICK and MORTY, which worked because it tended to focus on a smaller group, and a literal sociopath. Rick acting nonchalant, fast and deranged made sense - he's a super-smart, murderous Dr Who/Doc Brown - but Trek characters spouting rapid-fire craziness, while pretending to be "normal" and "utopian", just makes them seem like meth-heads.
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Neo the Beagle
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 10:53am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Requiem for Methuselah

As I write this (8/6/20) today is the 80th birthday of Louise Sorel, who played Rayna. Since Shatner is still alive (89yrs old), it's not too late for Kirk and Rayna to get together after all!
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HC
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 10:51am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The First Duty

Caught this on tv last night and it's every bit as good as I remembered. Especially liked how Locarno was true to his word and really was willing to throw himself under the bus for the good of the team. A lesser episode would have cast him as a more clear cut asshole, but this one has a nuanced and complicated view of all its characters. And god, the scene where Joshua's father apologises to Wes is just devastating, with some of Wheaton's finest acting on the show. It's a shame to go from this fallible, human version of Wes to the "he's actually a special boy after all!" nonsense in 'Journey's End' but at least we got this terrific episode.
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Yanks
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 10:08am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Well, that was interesting...

The music made me think of Stargate.

Not bad, maybe even better than I was expecting.

I'm still tuning in...

What crowd is this aimed at? After one episode I would guess teenager to early adult?
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Troy G
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 9:44am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Mini-Reviews on Lower Decks and the other three so-called Star Trek shows:

Discovery:
The Good: Good visuals, Saru, Stamets, Pike.
The Bad: Nothing is period-correct, confusing and rushed plots, aimless seasons-arcs, magical Spore Drive

The Orville:
The Good: looks and feels like a continuation of the Rick Berman Trek years, light and breezy tone
The Bad: Un-even early episodes, Mercer/Kelley

Picard:
The Good: the first episode
The Bad: foul language, contemporary speech, the show generally doesn’t feel like a continuation of Earth and Star Trek Voyager, silly nonsense such as androids learning Vulcan Mind Meld

Lower Decks
The Good (so far) Visually fits the canon Universe,
sometimes made me laugh, episodic structure, funny opening credits, good comic timing
The Bad (so far) it’s not canon Star Trek nor should it be seen as such

It’s one episode in, but I don’t hate what I’ve seen in Lower Decks
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Jason R.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 9:21am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

Okay I defer to those with more knowledge on the topic but it just seemed to me that we were not intended to think that Timothy literally believed he was an android. It was a fantasy taken a bit far as a coping mechanism but not an actual delusion - which I presumed was a prerequisite for a psychotic break.

I mean even as an adult I am capable of having a strong emotional reaction to something unreal (like a scary movie) without literally believing a monster is going to get me. And a child's imagination is so much more malleable.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 9:17am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Personally, I thought the first episode was genuinely good...much better than the trailers let on. Very different in terms of tone/composition from DIS and PIC. I'd rate it three out of four in Jammer's rating system, and say it was one of the better Trek pilot episodes.

The show is not - as some feared - about a crew of mean-spirited fuckups. Both the bridge crew and most of the ensigns are well-meaning, hard-working Starfleet officers who are doing the best they can to come up with collective solutions to difficult problems. The one main exception of course is Ensign Mariner. The backstory they've given her is interesting - she's the daughter of the captain and an admiral, who has had a relatively long amount of service, but keeps getting demoted. She's basically stopped trying to live up to her parents expectations, and despite her obvious intelligence and skill, is lazy and insubordinate. But she still can be a classic Starfleet officer when the situation requires.

The comic tone is fine. There were some genuinely funny jokes (unlike the trailers) which fortunately mostly revolve around absurd circumstances or jarring changes in tone. I wouldn't say I laughed out loud, but I smiled in more than a few cases. Certainly it was better than the humor in the first season of The Orville.

My biggest issue with the episode is I think it failed as a pilot. The other two "mains" - Rutherford and Tendi - were not introduced well enough for it to work as a true pilot. Rutherford gets an entire B plot, but what we apparently learn about him is...he's nice and he's boring? And Tendi is just portrayed as overeager and wide-eyed. Similar to how one-hour dramatic trek often has two-hour pilots, I think that this series could have done with a one-hour premier which padded out their own story elements a bit.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 8:40am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

@Booming

I may have read some books and articles about the horrors of war, but I would never dream of lecturing an actual war veteran about the subject.

Seriously, what is it with so many people on the internet, that they think sitting in their comfy chairs and reading a bunch of books magically turns them into some kind of expert?

I just love this bit:
"What is your expertise apart from the described personal experience?"

You mean, apart from:

1. Volunteering in the field for over a decade and directly guiding dozen of kids and parents in need.
2. Seeing hundreds of cases develop over time with my own eyes, and directly observing what works and what doesn't.
3. Personally being in exactly the same position in the past, as these kids are in the present, and personally feeling the crushing effect of your "wonderful" ideas put to action (as well as witnessing the same effect in others, so I know I wasn't an atypical case).

That's my personal experience.

And you're asking what expertise I've got "besides that"?

Yeah, well... I admit I haven't read quite as many... ehm... *studies* as you have. Guess this means I have no choice but to concede to your vastly superior intellect.

@Jason R.
"It's hard to believe that any therapist would describe what's depicted on screen as 'psychosis'."

Yes and no.

You are right that they won't use that specific word in this situation, since there's no actual delusion involved.

But many would still regard Timothy's coping mechanism as something that's as unhealthy as an actual psychosis, and would recommend similarly drastic treatments. In short, they'll still think of Timothy as "crazy" and will do everything in their power to get that craziness out of him.

Troi's idea, to let the kid grow out of the pretense in his own time and at his own
pace, would be literally unthinkable to these people.

Hence my passionate reply to Booming. Because such therapists do exist (even if Booming used the wrong technical term) and their methods nearly always do more harm than good.

(at best/worst, such attempts succeed at snapping the person out of it before he is emotionally ready to do so, leading to much more severe problems later)
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Jason R.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 7:57am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

Booming it's hard to believe that any therapist would describe what's depicted on screen as "psychosis". Troi's approach didn't strike me as outrageous FWIW but I am no therapist (although like you, I have had to read probably 1,000+ psych reports over the years)
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Tannhaeuser
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 7:15am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Devil in the Dark

I like this one very much, except for Spock's over the top acting during the mind-melt.
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Booming
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 6:47am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

@Omicron
"Now, you say that we don't understand the human mind? I completely agree."
I did not say that. The Human mind is complex which means that something that works in 90% of the cases is still a viable treatment.

To answer your two questions or one big question. Social science research and medical research have very similar research techniques. Both are probabilistic sciences and not deterministic ones. Which means in effect that you never have a 100% effect rate. Both work within strong boundaries because measures done because of scientists/doctors can be harmful.

To give two examples, If you make primary/elementary schools mandatory (in effect a social scientific experiment) then the literacy rate will go up as high as 90-98% (depending on the definition) but not 100%. Reason here would be: people refuse to learn, low IQ, no official status (illegal immigrants) and so on

If you have a very good medical cure then it will still not work for a few percent
and you will never have a pill that cures 100% because the Human body is also very complex.

Personally I have read hundreds of studies that involved children in some form. So I have some understanding. I also almost studied medicine and read psychological or medical studies sometimes because these fields still interest me.
In addition, quite a few told me that I am like a therapist for them which I don't like but have grudgingly accepted at this point.

What is your expertise apart from the described personal experience? And were these experiences with children or with adults describing their childhood?

See why I wanted to end this. Now I have written a page about stuff most people here aren't interested in and I cut it all extremely short already. :(
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Maxim_7
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 6:39am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Gave this a watch just now, and i would like to hear the opinion of this forum:

Who is this made for?
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Hotel bastardos
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 6:27am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Allegiance

That mizarian sure was a capitulating motherfucker....
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 5:39am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

@Booming

Different therapists use different approaches. Some agree with your view, some don't. And I don't particularly care which side is the majority. What's important is what's helpful and what's harmful.

And I'm telling you that the approach you're condoning SIMPLY DOES NOT WORK in real life.

Now, you say that we don't understand the human mind? I completely agree. This is exactly why we shouldn't fall in love with pet theories that sound nice on paper. We should, instead, rely on things that actually work to improve the lives of the people we are trying to help.

And I'm really curious to hear from you:

How come you feel so confident in your beliefs about the proper way to help kids in emotional distress?

What actual experience do you have in this field?

(and nice try calling this discussion off-topic, when it's one of the main themes of this episode)

@John
"I would be more impressed by this episode (which I haven't seen for years) if it did depict a psychotic break, with Troi encouraging Timothy to explore it."

That could have been a *very* interesting episode. But it's also a completely different story (and a story that's much easier to botch).

Honestly, I don't think Star Trek - even in it's prime - was ever that bold on this topic. They sometimes come close, like with this episode, or DS9's "It's only a Paper Moon", or VOY's "Latent Image". But as progressive as Trek often was on other issues, it was usually hopelessly backwards on the mental health front.

Maybe the Orville will pick this idea one day? They've already done an effective message episode on the horrors of conforming kids to social expectations (complete with blaming the victims for their own plight). They seem to have the balls to do this kind of stories, which Trek usually lacks.
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Booming
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 4:29am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

@Omicron
While I understand the sentiment, even though I don't understand under what circumstances one could acquire your insights, in the end it is not a stretch to say that trained doctors will be right more often, than laymen. In other words only because a bridge collapses every now and then doesn't mean that all engineers are incompetent. But that debate is now off topic. I guess we have to disagree on the subject.

@John
Yeah the Human mind is complex. Many people now learn a lot about medical research.

The depiction in the episode is rather unfortunate because of the interrogation of the kid at the end. That the boy blames himself is also something a therapist should assume as likely. It is a fairly common pattern to blame oneself when bad things happen. But outright calling the kid a liar, forcing the kid to have a mental breakdown in front of several people... ouch. That they find out that way how to save the ship and then it's all "back to normal" stuff for the kid. I just find it very convenient.

"I'm probably in the minority in thinking the decline of Trek is very much linked to its unwillingness to question current paradigms of thinking."
I don't think that NuTrek is interested in questioning anything. These are fast and shallow action shows. What current paradigms of thinking do you think they should tackle?
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John
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 3:57am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

I would be more impressed by this episode (which I haven't seen for years) if it did depict a psychotic break, with Troi encouraging Timothy to explore it. That was a theme being explored in the psychiatric literature of the 1990s, with the re-characterization of psychosis as a harmful state to be suppressed with medication, towards viewing it as a spiritual emergency which when explored in a supportive environment confers vast benefits upon a successful resolution.

It may not turn out to be a valid approach based on how it's depicted in the episode, but this is science fiction and based on the current science it's a perfectly valid topic to explore as a possibility. Handheld medical devices emitting magical blue healing rays are far more unlikely.

But then, I'm probably in the minority in thinking the decline of Trek is very much linked to its unwillingness to question current paradigms of thinking.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 3:11am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

Many therapists may agree with you Booming, but they are wrong.

I've seen more than one kid being sent down a downward spiral (sometimes an IRREVERSIBLE downward spiral) due to therapists who label his methods of coping as a "psychosis".

I've seen this approach leading to self-destruction, stunted social development, and in more than a few cases - suicide. I've also helped more than one kid to recover their self-respect and their ability to heal, after this kind of damage was done to them.

And you know something else? I've discovered that when kids are treated with respect and are given the proper time to heal, they eventually grow out of the need for such coping mechanisms - all by themselves.

Just like Timothy grew out of it, eventually, in this episode.

In short, I can tell you from my own experience in this field: Troi was 100% right. My respect to her grew considerably after this episode.
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