Star Trek: The Next Generation

“Galaxy's Child”

2.5 stars.

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

Review Text

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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337 comments on this post

    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.

    @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.

    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.


    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

    Lesson of this episode: always use password for your private files...

    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.

    @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.

    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.

    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.)

    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.

    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.

    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".

    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?

    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.

    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.

    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.

    @ Cheyne

    Nothing in the real Brahm's "personality profile" that was used to generate the interactive hologram would conjure up a phrase like "when you're touching them, you're touching me".

    Someone's a perv, and it's hard to buy that it's the Ent-D's computer.

    I'm going to join the 'Geordie is a creep' brigade. It was bad enough that he never told her, despite having multiple openings to divulge the information in a non-creepy way. He used the information from the holodeck to try to manipulate her into being into him. It was a messed up thing to do. The worst part was when he gives his sort of rebuttal in the holodeck and the show goes on like that settles it. Geordie was just trying to be nice, even if he erred, and Leah was overreacting.

    So glad to find this site and see some of the feelings about this episode.

    I am more in the "Just come clean Geordi" or more specifically in the "Just shut up Geordi, a little professionalism would be nice Geordi!!" camp. I like his character. He seems to be a bright guy who gets things done. (Perhaps not smart enough to edit the embarrassing program)

    Geordi's behavior is consistent with sexual harassment in the workplace, plain and simple. I'd hate to have to work with anyone who can't see that. It was also galling to have to watch Leah apologize to Geordi at the end of the show. "I'm sorry I overreacted when I saw your holo-sex-deck version of me say that when you're touching the Enterprise, you're touching me." This show comes off so differently as I re-watch it at age 39! Come on... if you have a daughter, would you want her to experience what Leah experienced in the workplace? I like Geordi's character, but the writer made his behavior consistent with a perpetrator in this episode.

    @Jack: You say that as though you've read her personality files.

    Cheyne's description of the chain of events was accurate. Watch Booby Trap again.

    Maybe it's Leah who's the perv? Either way, it's not Geordi's fault that Holo-Leah came on to him. And also, Geordi said goodbye and shut her off the moment that mission was over.

    I just watched this episode and my goodness does Geordi come across as a stalker. If the episode had been edited differently and had a darker musical score, this could have been Fatal Attraction in Space.

    The scene in Engineering about "souring the milk" had a creepy vibe to it, coming right on the heels of the confrontation on the Holodeck. Geordi was REALLY into that breast feeding analogy.

    I laughed with incredulity when in the final scene in Ten Forward, it was Leah doing the apologizing and not Geordi. I told my roommate "I bet a man wrote this."

    I was definitely entertained by this episode, but viewing this through the prism of "Aquiel" and "Identity Crisis" (and the Sherlock Holmes episodes), I'd say Geordi has a bigger holodeck problem than Barclay.

    A few more notes:

    Where was Counselor Troi when all this was going on? Instead of being an irritant to Picard on the bridge, she should have been addressing the Chief Engineer sexually harassing a distinguished guest. (A ship's counselor is kind of like HR, right? Just kidding.)

    Also, did Picard remember meeting the holographic Dr. Brahms on the holodeck a year before, or not? At first I thought no, but the way the opening scene was edited, it seemed like he looked at Geordi a second too long to be mere coincidence . . . I rewatched this scene and I can't tell if that subtext is intentional or not, but it's most definitely there.

    A final thought: I was kind of Dennis McCarthy wrote the score to this episode. While there's nothing super amazing out about it, it's 1000% percent better than most of his other (later) Star Trek music. (You know, actual chords and themes instead of droning french horns over atonal strings). My guess is that having to compete with a musical genius like Ron Jones made him try a little harder in the early days.

    PS- to be precise: when I was comparing Barclay and Geordi, I meant to say Geordi is fundamentally more effed up than Barclay.

    I would agree that Geordi was being a bit over the top with the way he acted with Leah but creepy and stalker like? I don't agree with that. I think people tend to be a bit over dramatic about such things and really have a little too much disdain or lack sympathy for people who don't know how to talk to women. Leah took the whole thing quite well until the hologram and then she was angry which I would agree that she should have been and Geordi's excuse didn't really seem valid enough to convince Leah.

    I liked this episode quite a bit but not nearly as well as episodes in this season such as Data's Day ,Family, or First Contact. The whole thing with the space creature was OK but certainly took second place behind the Leah and Geordi story. I will say that when they killed the mother creature it was quite the sad moment and you could really feel the impact that it had on everybody on the bridge. For me I think the 2.5 stars rating is about spot on.

    With a modern day analogy, what Geordi was doing was like googling a person to the extreme and then attempting to use that background info to get on their good side. With a blind date or something maybe that's reasonable, but since she was just a coworker who barely knows he exists, it is well into creep territory in my opinion.

    2plix said:You say that as though you've read her personality files.

    We're really going to drag in contemporary blame the victim logic here?

    @ Jack

    It's not the first time I've seen 2plix make a questionable comment. Once I saw him say "Maybe it's Leah who's the perv?" I knew he was crossing into troll territory. No real Star Trek fan would be so blind to the truth.

    Geordi not telling Leah of the hologram, and using its insights (albeit apparently public knowledge) with her, could seem suspicious/creepy but the reaction still seemed excessive as the scenes in "Booby Trap" that she was said to be viewing seemed barely romantic and far from sexual (and the records would indicate that the program was created in response to crisis for information and only lasted through it). Geordi could/should have been annoyed that she wasn't even willing to see how it ended.
    I was annoyed that there was so much time before she found out about the program, as was predictable, and that the reconciliation was told rather than shown.

    @Nissa 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.

    Get over yourself Nissa. I'm sorry but so many people these days over react when it comes to any sensitive issue. Geordi didn't create a holo sex toy for his "sordid" fantasies. What a joke.

    In booby trap (and no that's not a sexist episode title) Geordi doesnt even mean to create a replica of Leah. He tells the computer to show him something. Instead of the computer highlighting the information it creates the real Leah. Then he just asked for some of her personality so he could congratulate her while he's trying to solve a problem. All he did was kiss her. He didn't do anything creepy. If you wanna see creepy go watch ds9 where quark actually tries to film Kira to replicate her so someone who paid him could have sex with her image. All without her knowledge. Geordi does act weird around women but if she would have watched the whole program she wouldn't have reacted over the top like jammer pointed out. I'm just surprised people are acting like Geordi is having threesomes with double Leah's inside the warp core. Ha.

    Leah said, "If you wanna see creepy go watch ds9 where quark actually tries to film Kira to replicate her so someone who paid him could have sex with her image."

    Agreed. But I still maintain that Geordi's behavior towards Leah, when he actually did meet her in person, was creepy - and this is why I am coming to the defense of anyone who has made that point on this thread. While I love Star Trek, I have been dismayed by some of the writing on TNG and DS9 (I haven't started Voyager yet; I only saw a few episodes of that show here and there when it was on air.) I blame the predominantly male writing team. There weren't enough checks and balances for some of the questionable story lines that involved male/female relationships. (As a counterpoint, I've gained a lot of insights/enjoyment from viewing relationships between fathers/sons, mentors/mentees, and 'brothers' in arms.) Re: Geordi/Leah and other questionable story lines, I'm heartened by the large number of men on this website who have come out to acknowledge the problems. It makes me feel better about how we're doing as a society.


    Are you blind? Geordi was creating a holographic image of her so that he could create a fantasy with her, and then when she showed up in person, he had the intention of extending that fantasy to herself as a real person. Not to mention that the whole "touching" line was creepy as all get out. While I don't deny that the thing that happened to Kira was worse, just because it was worse doesn't mean that Geordi was innocent here. Geordi's reaction to Picard mentioning her arrival indicates he knew he was doing something wrong, so I don't want to hear it.

    Why all the disdain for a character in a television show that aired over 20 years ago? Sure what he did was over the top a bit, but our society nowadays tends to use the word "creepy" and "creeper" way too often. This I think is an example of that. No sympathy for the fact that Geordi was more or less inexperienced with women. Instead you have people disliking his character because he went overboard with one particular woman. Do I agree with what he did? No I don't, I wouldn't have done most of the stuff that he did throughout the episode. However at the same time I think there is the usual over reaction from people when it comes to this kind of thing.

    I've known a few close friends of mine(both male and female) who were similarly inexperienced (and lonely)who went a little too far in their engagement of someone else and they received similar treatment. I think its great that our society condemns men who are actually creepy and potentially dangerous but Geordi's actions here are just ill conceived in my opinion and that's all.

    Nissa - you are completely over-inflating the issue.

    Geordi was by no means innocent in the situation, since he obviously used some details from that program and assumably other research to know a bit more about Brahms (in his defense, what person doesn't try to learn more about someone they're interested in...). But the important thing is that he never created a holographic image of her to try and fantasize with. It was intended as a diagnostic simulation to try and figure out a solution to the issue at hand.

    In the Booby Trap episode it was a degree of give and take with the computer that lead to there being a 3d image of her at all in the program. He never initially asked for it (the computer made the decision on it's own to insert a 3d image of her into the scene to assist with identification of certain items), but when confronted with an image of her that wasn't reacting like a human, he decided to instruct the computer to make the program act more like the real thing, so he could bounce ideas off it more effectively.

    All the sexual innuendo was invented by the holodeck computer system, which in the process of making the invention seem believable was no doubt detecting that Geordi was somewhat attracted to the image (this does seem to happen on the holodeck occasionally...). Using this information it connected the dots, and made the holo version say those lines, and act the way it did. The holodeck doesn't know that what it's doing is creepy, it's just creating a mostly realistic simulation based on the information at hand, and parameters that had been defined.

    I highly doubt that any reasonable person would look at this situation and assume Geordi was without fault, but they should also be able to see that the situation wasn't as creepy as you are insinuating.

    His reaction to her outrage was wrong, but no-one said he was perfect. I also admit that the sudden turn-around by the episodes end in her reaction to him was a bit jarring, but from the way they are talking (with him acknowledging that he got a bit too attached to the holo-Brahms) it seems that we are seeing the end of a conversation, where the proper framing of why there was a holo version of her was explained and presumably understood.

    The lack of a scene showing this sort of conversation, with Geordi apologising for the way he acted etc is definitely an oversight, but we must remember that TV schedules often cause pages of dialog to be left on the floor, especially in a scifi series, where the studio is often pushing for less talking and more action etc.

    To be honest I think the modern equivalent to all of this is a person I am attracted to opening up my search history and finding that I have looked them up on facebook prior to having conversations with them. Sure, Geordi could have told Brahms about the holodeck, just like I could mention that I had previously browsed an picture album on a facebook profile, but is that information that absolutely needs to be admitted? Sometimes things are better left unsaid because they can come across as really creepy, and as it is Geordi is a professional at that with his godawful attempts at flirtation. Furthermore, the costume designers deserve some recognition for the pink shirt that Geordi was wearing, no question.

    Jammer: "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"

    I'm glad you noticed this; it seems everyone else commenting on this episode is caught up in debating whether or not Geordi is a creep.

    I thought the scene where they first discovered the life-form and the subsequent disaster showcased some of Patrick Stewart's understated acting at its very best. If you watch his face, you can intensely feel his sense of childlike excitement at discovering the unknown object in space, then he waxes poetic about living between the stars when he discovers it is a living being. He then shows caution and great sensitivity for not upsetting or alarming it; this turns to concern at the problems start to develop. Then when he realizes he is forced to use phasers, he hesitates so long in giving Worf the command, it's like he doesn't want to believe what is happening. Finally when it happens, the worst thing possible results: the creature dies before their very eyes.

    Picard's powerlessness to save it and the feeling of his childlike joy and wonder turning into horror at the realization at what he's done was so acute, I wanted to burst into tears. But he did all this just with a look in his eye and an expression on his face. Patrick Stewart really is a great A-level actor and his heavy duty dramatic presence is a huge part of why this show about space people in costumes and little models and CGI moves us so deeply. You can feel his character's great intelligence and sensitivity, his noble intentions, and he makes it all feel very real and believable.

    ^ That really is one of my favourite Picard moments as well. The sense of abject failure Stewart squeezes out of that scene is really, really effective.

    I agree with the praise for Picard's wonderful moment there. I really felt it would have been stronger if they had left out the dialogue of "we're here to explore, not to kill"... yes, we know, and we recognized your joy and pain (and its motivation) from the acting, without the clunky speech for the cheap seats.

    It's amazing that people are getting legitimately angry and calling Geordi creepy, a stalker and calling it sexual harrassment. A fictional character no less!

    You don't want to hear it @Nissa? Clearly you're taking real life issues and extending f it to a fictional character. Clearly you're blind or haven't seen the episode "Booby Trap" she wasn't created for him to fantasize about she was a diagnostic program and the computer took personality traits from her appearances at caucuses in an attempt to give her a personality Geordi did not give her that personality.

    What the difference between sexual harrassment and flirting? It is flirting if you're attracted to the person. Geordi's ineptness with women does fit with the typical demographic of star trek fans, so it is good to have a character that is like this. Geordi seems stalkerish because in his own mind after interacting with Leia on the holodeck he felt he was ready for the next level. In normal reality he would have been. So it works on that level. I also like how Leia Brahms finds the holodeck program. She is just being thorough tracking down stuff from the logs. It obviously had to be done and it could have been done in a much less intelligent way. I didn't get the parallels between the star child aliens and the Geordi situation until I read the comments here, that's a nice bit of nuance. One thing about Geordi though, I'm sure a lot of women would find his blindness a turn off, especially since his eyes have that milk white pallor to them. Along with using another 'F' word during the introduction, "who fouled up my engines" during their bantor it would have been funny if Leia had said, "what are you BLIND...oops!"

    Remember that episode from Season Three where LaForge fell in love with a holodeck woman (or was it the computer itself?)? You know, the one that basically said that nerds shouldn't even attempt to get real girlfriends? Talk about an episode that absolutely did not need a follow-up!

    Seriously, what was the point here? In "Booby Trap" LaForge can't get a real woman interested in him, so he retreats off with his fantasy woman. Now, in "Galaxy's Child," the real version of that fantasy woman shows up and LaForge promptly screws everything up with her because he can't distinguish fantasy from reality. Oh, those wacky nerds and their women problems, am I right?! Then, just to rub salt in the wound, they have the real Leah Brahms be married, so there' no chance of LaForge ending up with her even after they've become somewhat friendly.

    I thought the rather lackluster "Transfigurations" solved these romance problems for LaForge. I guess not. Seriously, if this is the type of "romance" the poor guy is going to get, it would have been better if the writers simply didn't do anything romantic with him in the first place.

    It's actually kind of sad that the rather disappointing tech plot is again, just like in "Booby Trap," the redeeming feature of this episode. Like in the previous episode, it's enjoyable enough for what it is - nothing great about it and nothing terrible about it. It's just "there." Though I do feel the need to point out that this is the THIRD time these people have encountered a space dwelling life-form and they still act like it's something they've never seen before.


    Mike- on "most" Geordi centric episodes being "about him having trouble with women"... actually, this is the only one *really* about that. Booby Trap shows the humorous scene in the teaser about him having trouble with a girl on the holo deck but the rest of the episode isn't about that. Transitions has one scene with him being shy when talking to that Christie girl but that's it. Otherwise none of his other episodes are about that. Identity Crises, Relics, Interface, The Next Phase, Elementry Dear Data, not to mention Aquel (where he does have success with a woman) all don't have him having trouble with women as a major or minor plot line int the episode.

    I actually tend to like the Geordi episodes and I like this one, and one reason I think I enjoyed it more than many others is that I took it to be in the "semi-comedy" Star Trek genre and thought it was pretty funny (between laughing at Geordi and at Leah's grouchy attitude). And to all those who talk about his creepyness in "researching" Leah and it being like googling people, well it was t even on that level (something which btw is somewhat unadmirable but not crossing the line into creepy in my book) as the hologram he made to help save the ship in Booby Trap volunteered all that he knew about Leah to him, if you re watch that episode. Yes one could say he sounded kinda creepy (but more so odd or just dopey/foolish) in his continuing references to what he had learned (emphasizing "foolish" for how much of a hard time he had in not permitting himself to act as though he already knew her- the "you remember" line in parricular but also not realizing how you can only establish so many "coincidental commonalities" between you and someone (the fungilli, seeing engines as your children... *ahem*) before what you're up to becomes fairly obvious (having prior knowledge of the person and using that to curry favor in making it seem like you have so much in common) but I didn't mind these things in the episode because I always thought and still do it was meant to be funny and I grant those sort of Trek episodes more benefit of the doubt than others and because it was the comically awkward with women Geordi saying them (and his general attitude was funny too in how he acted like he thought he was being all clever and sly but he wasn't clever enough to not overuse what he knew and it all ended up blowing up in his face.

    On Leah encountering his holodeck program- sorry Nissa but you come off as someone sounding like they almost wanted to be offended especially with how you repeated your erroneous recollection of events even after you were corrected and referred to "Booby Trap" for what really did happen- yes Leah accused Geordi of doing creating a copy of her for sex but he obviously didn't, it was innocent and the facsimile said that line about touching engines=touching me on its (her?) own, and her being wrong about that and flying off the handle on him about something she was wrong about was why she apologized (and for her initially grumpy/somewhat unprofessionally confrontational attitude at first). But again, it was funny and I think that was at least half of that scene's goal. I also enjoyed the B plot with the space creature and thought it was a classically Trek/TNG plot and was particularly well suited for Picard, like others have said.

    To me, this was more an examination of how - for want of a better word - socially awkward individuals sometimes just get things wrong when it comes to the opposite sex. Whether it's inappropriate fantasy figure, awkward attempts at seduction, misplaced indignation at rejection and confrontation, it's not malicious , just... very misguided. Whether Geordi making an ass of himself makes a whole episode is another question entirely.

    The sub-plot is interesting enough, and worth the price of admission alone for Picard's quietly devastated response to killing the alien. That the Enterprise is presented with an immediate chance to make amends is of course a standard plot device. But it's nicely played nonetheless, and goes some way to ameliorate the rather on the nose main story. 2.5 stars.

    The clearest evidence that Geordi - and the episode writer - knew that his behavior was inappropriate was the fact that he was panicked when the ensign told him she went to the holodeck to run his program. If it was all innocent and friendly, why care?

    ^ For a very simple reason: she would be unprepared to her a holographic version of herself, and might get the wrong impression. That does *not* make his behaviour inappropriate to begin with. I'm sure you can see the logical fallacy in that argument.

    Yes @Luke, I was thinking the same thing about Geordi being 'cured' of his ineptness with ladies in Transfigurations. I counted 16 episodes between that one and this one. He should still have the confidence he ended up with then. Looking at the writers, I believe they should have known this and dropped the ball. But they needed another storyline, not just the one where they discuss the engines over and over (that would get rather tiresome I suppose).

    So I don't buy the premise of him being completely out-of-touch here. He drops a silly little message like "I make a great fungilli", then gives a knowing smile, as if she knows what is going on, or is flirting with him as well. And she's not. If he'd never said that line, things would have been much better. As it was, it made me cringe. Oh, I didn't believe Geordi was stalking her. That would've been going to her quarters over and over, watching her surreptitiously through the ship monitors, etc. No, I believe he was just being incompetent and clueless,...

    Part of this episode did have a small ring of reality though, at least to me. He says earlier that he doesn't necessarily expect there to be anything romantic (just wants to be friends really), then later looks like someone just killed his dog after finding out she was married. Classic deluding himself, and people do that all the time. They say they aren't that interested in someone, when secretly the person is hoping against hope they will turn their eyes toward them. I totally believed that part of the episode.

    Holodeck: Eh, she might have over-reacted a little, but I think it fit. After she thought about it a bit, and the circumstances surrounding the program, she seemed to realize it wasn't a big deal. But... in Booby Trap, why was the holodeck program recorded? Do they always record the goings-on in there? Why was there a program to be found of them? It should have just been Utopia Planetia, same as when Geordi started the program. There was no reason for her to ever see anything, because there should't have been anything to see.

    Have a great day... RT

    The writers of this show were probably not too aware of workplace sexual harassment issues.

    In our time, which is supposed to be less evolved than TNG.....A guy invites a new female co worker to his apartment for dinner under the guise of a professional meeting, with dimmed lighting, music, casual clothing, etc....... well, she would have full grounds to report him and he may lose his job over it.

    Then the holodeck thing. That would be today's equivalent of mounting a webcam in her office and then playing it on your home computer. So the co-worker finds this out; well, again the guy would likely be fired and maybe subject to a lawsuit.

    The problem with the holodeck was it was made to be a lover of Geordi. I would assume the computer picked that up and pushed the personality in that direction. when you touch the engines you touch me..... there is only one way to interpret that, sexual. And, Geordi's talk with Guinan before Leah arrived made it very clear he was not looking at her from a friendship angle. He was wanting to be her boyfriend, right away, the day she arrived.

    However, what I really disliked, was how they resolved it. They had Leah apologizing for her reaction! LIke who on earth thought that was a good idea? I guess with TNG they didn't like conflicts with their regular cast and it all had to by the end of the episode. Female's fault for over reacting, right? Is that how it is?

    I guess back then, most of us were young and didn't notice this. I certainly as a man over 40, if I saw this first run now, would have likely disliked the LaForge character for the rest of the series, and have been disappointed the writers took a serious issue as a joke.

    Add me to the "Geordi comes off as a creepy, obsessed stalker" list.

    At the time the show aired, there really wasn't any real life parallel. Now with social media and other technology we are getting closer to where someone could create a virtual reality version of a person he/she had a crush on or an obsession with.

    You would think the evolved humans of the 24th Century would have had developed a good code of holo-ethics that would forbid such behavior.

    He essentially appropriated her 3 dimensional image, her voice, and and his approximation of her personality and used it to create a virtual version of her for his own fantasies.

    I think she had every right to feel violated and even more reason to think Geordi was pathetic and creepy.

    I think Geordi had at least as serious holodeck issues as Reg Broccoli...I mean Barclay.

    I may go out on a limb here and defend Geordi (and this episode). Yes, Geordi got caught up in a fantasy, but he never took it "too far".

    He was nice to Leah, he invited her to dinner, he took her objections to romantic relationship seriously. That doesn't sound like the laundry list of stalker qualifications to me.

    No, Geordi's only problem is that he didn't come clean earlier in the episode, and used the computers' knowledge to overwhelm Leah. But whatever his romantic intentions, he obviously did have professional intentions as an engineer too, as this episode shows.

    Overall, I like this show. I suppose you could say it's ahead of it's time in terms of computers and social media. And overall the message is good; don't get caught up in a fantasy, especially when the real world is itself interesting. The space beast is also clever, and gets a shout out in "Relics".

    3.0 - 3.5 stars

    didn't someone ever tell you always delete your Holodeck history when we have guest over Geordi? or at least set up a password for Christ sake!
    I sort of like this episode
    2 stars

    First time watching Star Trek. I'm really liking it but this episode (which I just finished) has me in a little shock!
    There are quite some episodes where it is very clear that the script writers are males from the 20th century because the traditional gender roles are all over the place.

    In Star Trek TNG I have seen more than a few cases of sexual harassment, discrimination towards women or sexism. And all are being seen as normal by bystanders/colleagues/crew members? Like in this case with Georgi too: He is acting totally inappropriate and unprofessional. He goes way over the line. Even has a holo-sex-thing with her and then SHE apologizes for being upset?
    It makes it for me (as a young woman) sometimes hard to watch..

    Also I am surprised that there are apparently no restrictions to the holodeck? Everyone can do whatever (and whoever?) they want? ... Can someone explain this to me?

    (sorry for my bad english, i'm not a native)


    You're right in that this show was written in the 20th century and surely reflects on gender roles of its time to some degree.

    As for this episode, I think you're being a little hard on Geordi. This episode is actually a follow up from season 3's "Booby Trap" where the computer actually went of its way to create a Leah Brahms character to help Geordi solve a serious engine problem. It might not be clear because this episode plays the scene for humor, but Geordi *never* used Leah's character for anything remotely sexual.

    As for restrictions, I don't really see the point. The holodeck is supposed to be private and it's completely fictional. In our time, should someone be banned from writing a book about people they know and the fantasies they have about them? People are free to make these fictional creations, and, as we see in this episode, they sometimes have to deal with the consequences of their own imagination.

    The episode overtly depicts him conflating the imagined Leah with the real one, both in terms of their work history and of their personal relationship. Failure to distinguish fantasy from reality is pretty definitionally "too far."


    No one's saying Geordi didn't go overboard with his expectations with Leah. After Geordi's conversations with Guinan, that's a pretty clear Aesop for this episode. But Leah confesses she has her own interpersonal issues, making it hard for her to work with others.

    I thought the one restriction for the holodeck was that you couldn't make a character who's an existing member of the same ship. Or at the very least it's heavily frowned upon. I think they touch on this in the episode with Barclay making some of the crew into the Three Musketeers and mini Riker (lol). Troi says that it's no big deal until she sees he's made one of her too.

    The exact line is:

    This is a violation of protocol. Crewmembers should not be simulated in the Holodeck...

    Ah, Commander... I don't think there's any regulation...

    Then there should be...

    So, no, there's no regulation against it. However, if you had to access restricted crew profiles like Quark when he was trying to do this to Kira, then there's a problem.

    Chrome: "No one's saying Geordi didn't go overboard with his expectations with Leah."

    No? I thought you were, back in April.

    In April, I actually I agreed he got "caught up in a fantasy". I also said he could've come off a lot better if he had explained what happened to Leah earlier instead of letting her find out on her own out of context.

    I'd personally put aside the issue of Geordi coming in with preconceptions about Leah. We can just assert he wanted to romance her for whatever the reason; his rationale is more or less irrelevant.

    The issue as I see it is really whether his conduct was proper or improper in attempting straight away to woo someone who came onto a Starfleet vessel to work with him. Whether his concept of her was accurate or not isn't pertinent to this point. The kneejerk answer will be that it was inappropriate of him to behave in that kind of unprofessional manner. However one potential lesson here is that manners in the 24th century might be more evolved than they are now. Right now making attraction for someone else felt has a better chance of offending them than anything else, and I personally view this as not ideal. I could see a case for a 24th century mentality where someone else's feelings or attempts to woo are understood and noted, but where offense isn't taken if the feeling isn't reciprocated. It would become uncomfortable, of course, were the wooer to persist over protests of disinterest. And even then we might suppose that people will be charitable enough by then that if they see someone feeling desperate or lonely they'd be understanding about it and not get upset if the person goes a bit too far.

    That's not to say I don't find Geordi's behavior a little out of line, but then again I'm only a 21st century guy.

    Regardless of whether it's right or wrong, Geordi running into the holodeck room and getting caught red-handed was funny as hell!

    I know it's been a few years but to answer Captain Tripps point about the similarities between Galaxy's Child and Tin Man; Tin Man was a living space ship - bred (engineered) to carry a crew. Galaxy's child was a space whale.

    Ugh.... awful episode. Overmarked by Jammer I feel. Another Geordi has the emotional range of a 12 year old episode, only this time he acts like a creepy stalker as well. How is this remotely entertaining? The space whale baby stuff is cute but Geordi as a whole drags this episode down. 1.5 stars max.

    Geordi is definitely Creep #2 in this episode: Creep #1 is the writer who decided to end the episode by making *Leah* apologize to *Geordi*.

    As others here have stated, Geordi had multiple opportunities to come clean about the holodeck program, in a way that would have lessened the creep-factor of his ensuing bizarre behaviour with Leah. She asked him more than once how he knew things about her she never told him-- it would have been perfectly acceptable for him to tell her honestly about the crisis where her hologram was needed, and ease that into a more friendly and transparent camaraderie.

    The fact that he lied to her (pretending he's just studied her professional file, and just happens to guess her favourite food etc) makes the hologram bit creepier because it's like he himself believes it's creepy (why else would he conceal it from her and race to try to stop her from seeing it). That he compounds that lie with basically trying to bring a fantasy relationship to life (inviting her to dinner, dimming the lights, playing soft guitar music), creates an incredibly weird and uncomfortable situation for Leah, that she knows is slightly 'off' in real-time, and can only really interpret one way even in retrospect.

    That he then turned around and yelled at her once she found out what he was hiding, and that the writers ended the episode with HER APOLOGIZING TO HIM, and him 'magnanimously' FORGIVING her... left a sour taste in my mouth.


    Also, and only going here because Star Trek has always been about making us look at our own behaviour in contemporary society, and inspiring future developments...

    Add me to the list of people who thinks simulating real people (in holodecks or VR) should be banned, except in the strictest and most regulated circumstances (with the approval of the person whose image is in use). Otherwise, it really is a disrespect and violation, and with the way today's technology is going... I think the real-life implications are not too far away. Considering the potential of Virtual Reality (and let's be realistic, a huge subset of people are interested in VR for the pornographic possibilities), and the increasingly customizable nature of video game images.... whether you're a man or a woman, how would you feel about knowing that the creepiest, meanest, least attractive (to you) person you know is programming an image of YOU to perform whatever sex act or degrading activity they want for them? I mean, seriously... theoretically people could use images of you, your daughter, your son, your sister, your mother, your father--- and not only interact with them however they want, but probably record the simulated encounter and share it. Absent regulation, I bet there are already people out there who would claim "Artistic License" or "Free Speech" about that sort of thing.

    Not to tangent too far away from this TNG episode. But there's a reason Leah used the word "Violated" about her feelings seeing her own image used to speak suggestively to Geordi. And we all know it could be a lot worse-- both in the world of Trek, and here in our own world.

    Yeah, the writers of this one were very sexist, clearly male, and clearly not in favor of women being equal and empowered.

    I can accept them portraying Geordi getting a crush on someone he has never met... many of us have that in life. But he went into violation territory and continued it even when she was around.

    Then, they not only push it way beyond the boundaries of professional behavior, they have it be treated is no problem, and the woman has to ask him for forgiveness for being mad about it, as if she was the one in the wrong.

    Honestly, disgusting writing all around. I am happy they didn't go this far with Geordi again because it was grounds to lose your job, even back in the days this show was first broadcast.

    "How would you feel about knowing that the creepiest, meanest, least attractive (to you) person you know is programming an image of YOU to perform whatever sex act or degrading activity they want for them?"

    I couldn't care less. It would not upset me in the slightest. I'd probably be flattered, frankly.

    Whether that's a male attitude or just me, I'm not sure. I know my wife would freak out.

    I think society has more pressing matters to worry about than whether someone is upset about an image of themselves being abused.

    That said I do agree that Geordi was a creep in this episode. I do kind of enjoy characters like this and Barclay - peculiar socially awkward types, the antithesis of Riker or Picard or most Trek exemplars.

    I should clarify my comment that I inferred the example was of the image being abused *privately*. I am not speaking of public display like in a revenge porn case.

    Jason, you are a guy. The vast majority of women would feel violated if they knew someone was recreating them in a holodeck and doing sex acts and degrading things. Most women have at some point in their lives be subject to someone touching them inappropriately, looks, comments, put downs ,etc... that shapes their sensitivities to such things.

    And like I said, the writers must have been guys . Because for a guy "hey, no big deal".... i have no problem with them writing him to do that (because it is something that could happen)... the disgusting part was having her apologize for it like some submissive woman who was worried she would lose the approval of someone abusing her.

    Just terribe.

    I think it's kind of funny that we, the audience, actually know Geordi didn't do anything genuinely gross or inappropriate with the hologram (at least not what was ever shown or even implied) yet even we don't give him the benefit of the doubt.

    I think in the context of reviewing this episode, it's important to make note of that fact.

    Geordi's behaviour is a little "creepy" superficially - but I'm not sure I agree he's a villain in this episode. He is awkward and inept, which isn't the same thing. It's not like he assaults Brahms.

    And I'd point out: Brahms is legitimately rude and antagonistic to him throughout the episode. She does owe him an apology at the end - whether or not he owes her one too (which I agree he does). Haven't watched this one recently but he never apologizes to her about the hologram? I doubt that.

    You can certainly argue she owes him an apology for being rude and abrasive when they first started working together. This is not the apology I am referring to.

    You can not defend them writing her to apologize for her getting angry when she found out he was re creating her in a holodeck and researching intimate personal details about her. She had full right to be pissed off and in the real world he would have been reported, demoted, and punished in some way (unless it is a workplace that does not care about harassment). "Oh sir, you researched my personal details and created me in a holodeck love fantasy... but please , I should not have been angry about it and please forgive me for reacting negatively to it. "

    If they wanted a happy ending, then she could have forgiven him and he apologizes profusely and goes and talks to Troi about his lonliness..... that is fine. For her to be the one apologizing was disgraceful.

    Dave, do we have any evidence that Geordi ever interacted with the hologram Brahms outside the confines of what we saw in Booby Trap? If not, what are you even talking about?

    I will agree that Geordi was presumptuous, awkward and clueless in this episode.

    That said the information he used to create the original hologram was based on publicly available information - he in no way invaded her privacy. Calling for his demotion is ridiculous.

    Incidentally, many people (not just women) apologize all the time to defuse awkward situations, to make somebody feel better, or just to smooth over relations. Personally, I have done it many times.

    I will have to rewatch the episode, but I think alot of people are creating a narrative based on facts "not in evidence" as they say.

    I agree with Jason R. here. Considering that "Booby Trap" was about getting enticed by technology (both ancient and modern), you have to remember that the Enterprise computer made the holographic Brahms in a manner *the computer* thought would comfort Geordi. Geordi never asked for the computer to make holo-Brahms anything more than have a personality so he could *work* better with her.

    Also, remember that Geordi shut down the program because he recognized how unrealistic it had become.

    None of that addresses my point.. which is

    She was written to "apologize for being angry Geordi made a holo fantasy of her".

    She had a right to be angry, should have been angry.. and even if she forgives him.. never should have apologized for getting angry about it

    stop trying to go after something I am not pointing out.

    Dave didn't you just say that Geordi should be fired for researching "intimate personal details" about her? Then you stated she should not apologize like a submissive woman to someone "abusing" her.

    It seems you say alot of things that aren't true.

    You aren't going to see it Jason.. so what else can I say.

    A person has a right to be angry about being violated. That person should not be getting on their knees saying "Sorry I got mad at you for doing that".

    That ending would have never flown today. They would have had to write it as her saying "I forgive you"....... not "I apologize I got upset about it, please forgive ME".

    Jason R: "I think it's kind of funny that we, the audience, actually know Geordi didn't do anything genuinely gross or inappropriate with the hologram (at least not what was ever shown or even implied) yet even we don't give him the benefit of the doubt.

    I think in the context of reviewing this episode, it's important to make note of that fact.

    Geordi's behaviour is a little "creepy" superficially - but I'm not sure I agree he's a villain in this episode. He is awkward and inept, which isn't the same thing..."

    We *do* see him explicitly confusing the real Leah with the fantasy Leah. I call that unprofessional and troubling, sufficient to void a presumptive benefit of the doubt for a previously competent officer and nice-enough guy.

    Also, I think the writers intend to leave it open to imagination what might have happened with the holo program out of scene.

    On the other hand, I don't think it's characterizing Geordi as a "villain" to say that his behavior here was unprofessional, creepy and wrong. Basically good people do wrong things sometimes, and I count it a strength of Trek that most of our favorites have been shown to be in the wrong on some occasion.

    This is where you fellas keep mis representing me. I am not highly critical of Geordi doing what he did . It is human to be lonely and do something like that. All I am saying is, in the real world, he would have face some sort of consequence for doing that to a co-worker (whether that is suspension, demotion, or something else). The writers gave him a pass and that is the issue.

    The main problem I have detailed already... was instead of him having a consequence, they have the woman apologizing for being offended by his clearly wrong behavior. Put it in the real world....... Female Employee hears 2 guys talking in the coffee room about how they want to perform sex acts with her..... she gets angry, upset, etc....... then she walks in and says "hey, sorry guys for getting mad about that, my bad... carry on"...... that is appalling to think women should react that way.

    Dave Geordie never actually said or did anything re "sex acts" with respect to the hologram. Your lunchroom scenario again presupposes a level of crassness and vulgarity not evident. The problem with your argument is you keep having to modify or ignore key facts to shoehorn the episode into the narrative you prefer.

    Again I have not watched the episode in a while, but my recollection was the apology was not so much her being sorry for being mad about the hologram, but her being sorry for being hard on him about it. I also saw it as an olive branch and invitation to start over with a colleague she respected after an ordeal.

    Whether or not she was more or less in the wrong is kind of beside the point. Have you never apologized to anyone as a token of respect / friendship despite not really "owing" one? I have done it nany times. It diesn't make me submissive or grovelling - and again, from memory I highly doubt that was how it was portrayed. More shoehorning on your part.

    You are a fairly ignorant male to keep thinking a woman should apologize to the man who did this to her. Forgive... sure, that is fine. To say she is the one in the wrong and should have been cool with it? That is misogynist crap.

    i dont know if you hate women or not.. what i to know is you view women's issues through male eyes and think you are some sort of expert

    Heya Everyone

    Going sideways from the most current comments, I still wonder about this, as I posted in Nov of '15:

    *But... in Booby Trap, why was the holodeck program recorded? Do they always record the goings-on in there? Why was there a program to be found of them? It should have just been Utopia Planetia, same as when Geordi started the program. There was no reason for her to ever see anything, because there should't have been anything to see.*

    And now I say that, even if it was an updated program that included Leah, it should simply have shown her standing there, right where she was when the program was ended. As I recall, he didn't say anything about "save everything that happened and end", he just said "end program" or some such thing. Real Leah then might have seen herself and asked the computer why her image was in it, and fake Leah should have simply stated she was helping Geordi with the engines.

    I mean, if everything in the holodeck is recorded in total, someone would have a field day blackmailing someone like Barclay.

    Once again, your mileage may vary... RT

    Not much gain from blackmailing Barclay.. he doesn't get paid, doesn't have a wife or children to lose...... he already got embarassed with people seeing him drool over the Doc and Counseller in his fantasy.....

    PS - what Barclay did was similar.. creating his co-workers into romantic interests... the difference is he apologized to the women... they didn't have Crusher and Troi asking for his forgiveness because they got mad about it.

    @dave johnson

    Ah, points taken. But Geordi did not set out to create Leah. He asked the computer for a more interactive way to help him, then turned around and she was standing there. He asked something along the lines of (paraphrase) "Did I ask for this?" and the computer basically tells him yes. When interacting with a computerized Fake Leah, he then asks the computer to rig up some personality for her (so he can communicate more readily), including from some debate, and the computer adds it into the mix. He did not set out to create a fantasy, as Barclay had done. He bounced ideas off of Fake, argued with her, and ended up thinking Fake was really neat. Went a bit too far? Perhaps. Did it hurt anything? Nah.

    My Geordi comments are above, Nov '15.

    Somehow, I doubt Fake Leah would know about her love of fungilli, but might take a moment to rub his shoulders to help remove tension. *shrugs*

    Heh, it still doesn't answer my question about why there was a recording to watch in the first place. :)

    With hopes of gentle discourse from all... RT

    "i dont know if you hate women or not.."

    Correct, you don't. Think before you imply someone is a "misogynist" again.

    "what i to know is you view women's issues through male eyes"

    Indeed I do. They're the only eyes I have. What eyes ought I have used?

    "and think you are some sort of expert"

    That's the only place where you're wrong. I never claimed to be an "expert". I just thought your interpretation of the facts were skewed and that you were assuming things that weren't actually shown to reach a biased conclusion.

    And remind me again, are you male or female? Or are your "eyes" less male than mine?

    "But... in Booby Trap, why was the holodeck program recorded? Do they always record the goings-on in there? Why was there a program to be found of them? It should have just been Utopia Planetia, same as when Geordi started the program. There was no reason for her to ever see anything, because there should't have been anything to see."

    I always figured that there was a text log written into the program that includes dialog spoken by holograms. After all, our computer scripting software contains prompts and dialogs. So, while Leah was looking over the log admiring Geordi's work, she saw her name and the text attached to it, and decided to play out that timeframe to see with her own eyes what Geordi had done.


    Okay, I might be able to get behind that. She was looking for what he had done, and how he had done it, by going through some logs of what was said. Then she saw some strange dialog, jumped to the end and had the computer run it (maybe not a true recording, but as best the computer could approximate). And then got quite miffed. Yes, I can see that. Then she had a moment of clarity where she realized how, well, strangely and familiar Geordi had been acting toward her and it went straight to ballistic. In that moment, she could not have cared less about context or how the program had gotten to that point.

    And the Rule of Funny is that Geordi is destined to never get there in time to explain, because Geordi. :)

    Thanks Chrome, I think that'll work as a most reasonable answer to my question.

    Regards... RT

    I guess it seems natural to me that the default for a customized holodeck program would be to always save it at whatever point it was left. It seems that when people want to revert to an earlier or neutral state, or to trash it entirely, they specify *that*.


    I'd thought about that, and this seemed to be a customized, private file. I'd have thought if Leah went in, or anyone, it would start at the beginning just as Geordi had seen it originally, with the Enterprise in the background and computer terminals. If Geordi used it again, it might just start up where he left off. And if she went in and wanted to see Geordi's version, then she'd need his permission.

    Thanks for the input!

    Regards... RT

    I haven't seen this episode since I was in my early twenties. Though there's a lot in TNG (especially the first two seasons) that infuriates my feminist soul, the Geordi/Leah stuff didn't bother me at that time. (Maybe it would now.) It seemed reasonable to me that he would have high hopes about her and imagine the two of them hitting it off at a romantic dinner. It was reasonable of Leah to interpret his behavior as creepy - especially the holo-Leah - but we know his inner life so we know he *wasn't* creepy. Just awkward and a doofus.

    I was - and still am - thrown by how hostile Leah was when she came aboard. "So you're the one who's been fouling up my engine designs." Why did she say that? Surely she understands that the designs are put to real-world use and are patched up on the fly by engineers.

    Just stumbled across this and watched it again. Both episodes featuring Brahms are too convenient. Why did the computer lead him to believe she was interested? Where did the intense sexuality "whenever you touch this ship you're touching me" come from? Her personality in galaxy's child is polar opposite. Both personalities (and I would argue they are totally different characters in fact and only have appearance and job in common) arose out of plot necessity. It seemed s lazy and cheap and poorly thought out plot trick to have her appear in real life as a completely different human being. It's not just that she's annoyed by his engine modifications. She's aggressive and unreasonable and harsh and unyeilding - until the plot at the end requires she do another 180 and they become best buddies because of course that's the only safe ending. And why was she massaging him and docile and loving and sexually suggestive in the first episode? Someone suggested it's a best guess by the computer. Seriously? That's a best guess? It doesn't seem logical to me that the computer would assume all that. And besides it was supppsedly based on her personality profile. So why? Because it was convenient to the plot. Which would be fine had they left it at that. But then the think the viewer should just fall for the idea that in reality she is completely the opposite on every way but we aren't to question any of this? It's always troubling when st takes on women in the workplace. Tng relegated them largely to nurturing roles like doctor and counselor. So I get nervous when an engineer who designed the ship's engine is a woman. But of course she is. Because her main purpose was to be a sexual fantasy then a frigid harpy all for the sake of exploring what really matters here -the guy involved. The flip flopping on this character to facilitate the Geordie wants a woman storyline it's disturbing and lazy

    "Just stumbled across this and watched it again. Both episodes featuring Brahms are too convenient. Why did the computer lead him to believe she was interested? Where did the intense sexuality "whenever you touch this ship you're touching me" come from?"

    Leftover programming from Minuet perhaps?

    "Both personalities (and I would argue they are totally different characters in fact and only have appearance and job in common) arose out of plot necessity. "

    There are really two ways to reconcile the facts. The first is to presume that the computer is just full of $hit and can't properly represent someone's true personality based on personality profiles.

    The alternative, more charitable explanation, is that the computer is presuming in its simulation that Brahms has a level of comfort and familiarity with Geordi that simply isn't justified. Nobody behaves the same way to, say, a husband or a close friend, versus a total stranger. The real Brahms may indeed be such a warm person - to her friends and family, not to some goofy engineer she barely knows. By the end of the episode, once she has gotten to know Geordi, she is more like the computer simulation (minus the sexual innuendo).

    The computer may be showing us the most perfect version of the person it is simulating.

    Jason, those are all plausible ideas, certainly. But I think they are what you are bringing to the episodes and not implicit in the material itself, as you are looking for ways to explain it that somehow would make sense. But though they do make sense I don't think that's at all obvious from the shows themselves. The questions are unanswered though hard to ignore - as others have mentioned above in other comments. Someone proposed the notion the computer/ship itself is inserted into the first personality. That too is a reasonable explanation but nothing in the show indicates that at all. Rather it's a viewer attempt to add an idea to make it make sense. I still think that the answer is the Brahms character flip flopped and was inconsistent and overly specialized then overly icy because it was needed for the plot and not much more thought was given to it beyond that when it was written. And that is what I find troubling and disappointing, particularly with the history of women's roles in these series. That said, again, I certainly don't disagree with your ideas. Those make sense, though I don't think are intrinsic and rather are something we as the audience have to fill in and add to make this not what it seems to be.

    Correction to above comment: "I still think that the answer is the Brahms character flip flopped and was inconsistent and overly sexualized** then overly icy because it was needed for the plot and not much more thought was given to it beyond that when it was written."


    "I think they are what you are bringing to the episodes and not implicit in the material itself"

    Geordi actually gives possible explanations in the episode:

    GEORDI: A glitch, a malfunction in the holodeck... it's the only explanation I can think of... it's a miracle we ever got out of that booby-trap alive... how could it have been so far off?

    So, if you're looking for an in-universe explanation, there you have it. Guinan also suggested that Geordi's behavior in the holodeck prompted the computer to "fill in the blanks" to meet what he wanted.

    I'm seeing a lot of devil's advocate on this, which is great, but when it comes down to it I think Anna is pretty much right. I was actually tempted to reply to the OP with an upvote.

    Certainly Geordi would comment on the huge disparity between the Brahms iterations, but at the end of the day I think it's pretty clear that it was written this way just to f**k with Geordi and watch him have to fall on his face and fix it. To be fair, it might be more accurate to suggest that this ep was calling bs on Booby Trap's version of Brahms, but either way I think it's pretty clear that there was no necessity suggesting a different personality and that they decided quite deliberately to flip the character to create some drama.

    @Peter G.

    I'm not sure why you're characterizing actual dialog from the episode as "playing devil's advocate". And the computer messes up all the time, especially in the holodeck.

    @ Chrome,

    It's dialogue from the episode, and its content can more or less be summarized as "Well huh, who knows what happened." Geordi's guess doesn't amount to much because there isn't a tangible in-universe explanation for it. He can't explain it because there is no explanation. The real answer, in my opinion, is that the writers wanted to do it to yank Geordi's chain and teach him a lesson in making assumptions, and part of how they wrote him experiencing this Bugs-Bunny-esque scenario of the writers messing with the character was to have Geordi scratching his head like Daffy Duck wondering what the big idea is. But there's no answer to be found in the episode.

    I think the main takeaway is that Geordi was making unfounded assumptions about a real person based on a simulation. That's not only a social-technological issue, where a person's 'virtual self' may not match up to their real one (this is even true now for online versus real personas), but it's also an issue with Geordi's job where theoretical models may not function in a practical environment and he has to adapt and cope. In a very literal sense it's part of the engineer's life to have a model, such as holodeck-Leah, and to find that in practice it's not representative of the real thing. That's kind of cool, and it would have been neat if this angle had been explored a bit more deeply rather than just putting mud in Geordi's eye. But in any case from this standpoint I have no problem with the fact they they opted for the real Leah to be totally different from the simulated one. It was an arbitrary choice in order to put Geordi off-balance, and I'm cool with that, but there is no logical in-universe explanation for it that really makes sense.

    It's worth mentioning, though, that the episode may have intended itself to be a show about Geordi's social ineptitude rather than the holodeck's inaccuracy. Imagining for the moment that the real Leah had a personality just like the one the holodeck imagined, Geordi's behavior would *still* have come off as weird and presumptuous. The problem wasn't that he was wrong about how she would behave; the problem was that his behavior was off regardless of who she was. What kind of slavish woman would fall into your arms just because you have previous knowledge of her (we assert for the moment that his knowledge was accurate), despite the fact that she doesn't know you at all and will be weirded out by your unsolicited romantic overtures in a work setting? Even if she was actually the perfect woman for him, as he imagined, his method of going after her might still have driven her away!

    @Peter G.

    But a glitch is an explanation. Do computers not glitch for you? I've had my email freeze twice on me just today.

    I agree with your take-away and the out-of-universe explanations, though I don't think it's valid to say that the writers made no effort to try and explain why the two Brahms are so different when in fact several explanations are given in the scene I mentioned.

    If people don't like the explanations, that's fine, but own up to that! Don't just say the writers didn't give us one.

    @ Chrome,

    I would be flabbergasted to think that the Enterprise computer could glitch like a Microsoft OS does. The amount of redundancies they have must be enormous, with multiple computer networks all backing each other up in case one fails. If anything you could suggest it was a software failure, meaning the computer was just ill-equipped to actually create a simulation like that in the first place. It seemed to surprise Geordi in the first place when it suggested to him to include her personnel data in the simulation. However, from his comments in "Galaxy's Child" it seems like he does believe the computer should be capable of an accurate representation. I've never seen the computer randomly glitch in any other episode, nor heard of it simply making computational errors due to software ineffectiveness. In fact, the though that it *could* do that should be cause for major concern. It seems like the most likely conclusion to draw is that the computer did, in fact, accurately depict Leah's personality from the available personnel files, to whatever extent they included enough information about her for the computer to complete the job. If the representation was wrong it seems to me that the only plausible in-universe explanation would be that the personnel files were incomplete, but you'd think the computer would be able to determine "insufficient data" as it often protests if that was the case.

    The writer was also a bit unclear because it omitted to address the possibility that the original simulation was accurate, but that the real Leah was just in a terrible mood when coming on board, or perhaps had suffered a major trauma or setback recently that put her in a worse disposition. But instead the episode treated the disparity as "she's like a different person!" and worked with that as the premise. Bottom line, I don't think the writers were that interested in who Leah really was or why she was different; she just wanted her not acting how Geordi expected so he could put his foot in his mouth.

    Sorry, some typos there. Last line should read: "*they* just wanted her not acting..."

    @Peter G.

    "I would be flabbergasted to think that the Enterprise computer could glitch like a Microsoft OS does. The amount of redundancies they have must be enormous, with multiple computer networks all backing each other up in case one fails."

    True, but we've seen the computer glitches mess up the holodecks before as in "The Big Goodbye" or even "Elementary, Dear Data" for an example of the computer creating things that reach beyond the scope of what a player requested. It's certainly not out of the realm of possibility that the power drain on the Enterprise's computer could result in a similar problem.

    But let's say that's not the case and go with Jason R.'s suggestion that Brahms was in a bad mood. There, too, the episode gives us a reason why. Geordi had made a bunch of crazy modifications to the systems that Brahms worked so hard perfecting. The Galaxy Class starship is supposed to be the pinnacle of Starfleet engineering, and it seems natural (to me, at least) that an engineer of Brahm's caliber would have some personal pride at stake at its actual operation. Geordi's modifications thus wounded her pride, making her understandably upset.

    It's also a fact that Brahms does end up being more like the person in "Booby Trap", the more she warms up to the idea that Geordi's a good engineer and actually did some out-of-the-box engineering to improve on her systems. Obviously, the real Brahms will never reach the levels of intimacy of her holo-counterpart with Geordi, but that doesn't mean she couldn't have if the circumstances weren't different.

    Just as an aside, isn't curious that the Enterprise computer can produce these lifelike and nuanced holograms capable of humor, subtlety and the whole rainbow of emotion, but Data can't? What is so amazing about a positronic brain if it can't master something that apparently Quark's holisuite can do?

    But then I will answer my own question and suggest that Data is *sentient* while holograms like Minuet and Brahms are not. (Okay okay forget about The Doctor, Moriarty and Vic Fontaine!)

    But then it's even more curious that a weak AI like the Enterprise computer, that has little more than (presumably) brute force cpu cycles and heuristic algorithms, can best a true "strong" AI, a sentient mind, in mimicking human behaviour!

    @ Jason R.,

    I don't know if it was knowingly deliberate or not, but TNG completely avoided the issue of AI capabilities as compared to TOS, which occasionally delved into android and computer capabilities. Data is meant, I think, as more of a 'curious character' than any kind of actual sci-fi statement about what robotics can achieve.

    But as you're drawing a distinction between a truly sentient AI and well-designed 'fakes' on the holodeck that can visually imitate emotions but do not actually 'experience' anything, I think we'd have to argue that TNG didn't make any attempt to show in which ways Minuet, for example, was different than other holo-characters. That is both a failure of storytelling in "11001001" to make her seem out of the ordinary, and also in subsequent episodes to make the holodeck characters appear to obviously be NPC's in a video game that have limited programming. Vic comes off as different to us both because of his anachronistic behavior and also his self-awareness mixed with a suspicious amount of computer access. But in terms of what a holodeck character like fake-Leah experiences, we'd have to say that she experiences nothing and that what we're seeing is the equivalent of a CGI rendered Disney character. It can be well-rendered, but it would be wrong-headed to watch a Pixar film and to suggest that the animated character is 'feeling' anything. It's just images on a screen with audio-dubbing, and that's all a holodeck character is. Little more than a moving drawing.

    Where the sentience angle comes up isn't so much in the fact of a holodeck character looking believable (which in itself is little more than an art project to achieve) but rather in the programming that would allow it to learn and develop its own priorities based on external stimulae. In effect, it would be the program that could become sentient, not the holographic representation itself. I have to assume that there's a default character-generation program someone devised that is the default program for all holodeck characters, and that this program is fairly basic and can't create sentient programs. In the case of Moriarty I suspect that what happened is that a glitchy command was given to the computer and it created something like a virus in effect; a malicious program that could mess things up, but I don't necessarily see any case for sentience there even though he *spoke* as if self-aware. But I could drawn a cartoon with stick figures speaking *as if* self-aware, and of course this doesn't mean they are. In Vic's case I suspect the author designed his own AI from scratch and didn't use the default one. Maybe his is advanced enough that it's legitimately a sentient AI (in which case I'd expect Federation security to be knocking on his door, but never mind that). In Data's case we may well have real sentience even though his emotions aren't there. Since emotions are mainly a by-product of wetware, which Data has none of, I'm not so sure why human emotions would be standard in any kind if AI. They would be simulations of emotions at best, anyhow, not 'real emotions' in any bio-chemical sense.

    Peter it goes without saying that the AI behind the hologram and not the hologram itself is the source of any sentience (Voyager's "photonic" idiocy notwithstanding)

    But I think you are downplaying the achievement of a character like Minuet. This type of character clearly passes the Turing test with flying colours and once you get to that point, trying to figure out whether that is a clever fake or true sentience becomes a murky question. Indeed, it is not hard to see how characters like Moriarty and eventually the Doctor were conceived given this inherent ambiguity.

    I do think that when it comes to the Doctor and Moriarty (and probably Vic) you have to accept that there is sentience there - it is pretty much in the text that they are.

    I always thought, by the way, that there was a huge storytelling missed opportunity in explaining this development after the Bynar's meddling that made vastly more sense than just presuming that Federarion computers could always conjure sentient AI but nobody realized it!

    As for Data, if I am being charitable to the writing, I wonder if they are trying to say that physicality (having a real body) is more than just an acoutremont, but an actual pre-requisite to true sentience - or at least that may have been the idea before Moriarty popped into existence for no reason.

    @ Jason R.,

    The thing about the Turing test is that it's a fictitious test. Whatever "consciousness" is, we haven't discovered what that might be. Being able to 'act like' a human is certainly not what consciousness is, or else if it is then it's actually not much of anything. You could probably program a simplistic (by wetware standards) piece of software equipped with a human body and have it pass as human; sure. But that would just mean we're easily fooled, not that it's 'alive'. It's actually much like arguing that because Chess computers can defeat human players it means they are "thinking". By any standards that matter, all they are doing is executing a linear program repetitiously and achieving the desired result, which is all a holographic AI would be doing. If sentience is merely that then the Federation's reverence for sentience would really just be a vanity preference for beings that can perform human-like tasks efficiently.

    Personally I don't really see AI as being potentially 'sentient' until it reaches the technological singularity when it can think for itself and ceases to require human handlers. In other words, I would equate 'sentient AI' with 'extremely dangerous AI' since the moment it began to think 'for itself' the speed of its processes would snowball its internal changes out of out ability to monitor them. But even if there was some kind of AI that could have sentience shy of this level of self-sufficiency, it would seem to me that it wouldn't be of much value to anyone in Starfleet because it would 'have a mind of its own.' In Data's case he does appear to have a mind of his own, and actually chose Starfleet despite what Soong would have wanted for him. In the case of Voyager's Doctor he's really just a slave of the computer and has to do everything he's ordered to do. The sense of him having a personality seems to me to be an aesthetic piece of decor that the crew let get out of control, but in no sense does it ever appear to me that he's independently conscious apart from his programming to care about everyone's well-being.

    "As for Data, if I am being charitable to the writing, I wonder if they are trying to say that physicality (having a real body) is more than just an acoutremont, but an actual pre-requisite to true sentience - or at least that may have been the idea before Moriarty popped into existence for no reason."

    I don't believe Trek as a whole would make this case, because of the countless incorporeal intelligent beings we've seen over the years, most notably the Q. But I would agree with the statement (in real life) that having a body is more than merely a toolkit for your brain to use as people are increasingly beginning to suggest.

    Well Peter my point is once something can mimic perfectly a sentient being, how do you distinguish it from the real article? Humans are almost certainly the subject of "programming" albeit biological / organic versus technological. Your line of argument leads down a road where we almost need to conceive of something akin to a soul to maintain this bright line between human intelligence and AI - as was noted in Measure of a Man. Incidentally, there is no software to date that I am aware of, that can pass a Turing test (except possibly Dr. Sbaitso) so I don't see this as remotely "simple" by any stretch.

    My point about physicality was not that only things with bodies can be sentient, but that this may be the secret ingredient to the development of sentience in the first place. Remember, it is likely that most of the non corporeal beings we encounter in Trek (and scifi in general) were corporeal at one time, and many (such as the Dowd and the Q) choose to exist as corporeal despite not needing to anymore. The point about Data is that having a physical form may indeed be a pre-requisite to that sense of "self" which would differentiate a sophisticated (but non sentient) AI from a truly self aware lifeform.

    Regarding the doctor, he is certainly sentient - your reading is pretty much directly in contradiction to the text. Regarding my hypothesis about the physical body being the "active ingredient" in developing a sense of self, it is interesting to note that the Doctor's character significantly developed after he obtained the mobile emitter, which rendered him much more "corporeal" than he was before. At that point he was independent of the computer and for all intents and purposes, had a "body".

    I also just did a random re-watch of this episode, and found it utterly cringe worthy because of the comically dated gender politics. The first half of the episode is Geordi making incredibly creepy come ons to Leah, taking stunning liberties with an attitude that this person who has shown up is his personal play thing, leading up to the evene more creepy ambush dinner in his quarters. I know the stuff jammer mentioned is bad enough (not bothering to check if she's married is just part of the utter adolescence of this script), but what's really worse than that is the sense of moment to moment entitlement Geordi displays through the entire first half. I keep thinking "ok this is the moment when he backs off and gives this other human being some respectful space," but it never happens! Every scene is just him coming back for another bite at the apple, leading inevitably to his fantasy moment of revealing his secret program and demanding that she be just like that for him.

    I had thought from memory that it got better from there, but oh no. I was stunned to see the big showdown scene when she finds his hollogram, where the writers actually turn it around and blame HER for the whole thing! Wow, talk about a second rate writing and production staff of total male nerds projecting the most adolescent possible ideas about gender interaction, with unfortunately no grown up anywhere in the process to check this horrendous mess and say "boys, grow the frak up, this is something you'll look back on in shame unless you change it now." Too bad.

    And is it EVEN worse that after this horredous mess the same writing staff ends the series with the promise that she actually marries this creepy version of Geordi after all? The normal Geordi character isn't a creep, just to be clear, but the one they trotted out for this twisted mess certainly was and never really appeared again, thank goodness.

    In today's environment, Brahms would have reported Geordi to HR and he'd be fired! Perhaps even a sexual harassment lawsuit.

    But it's TNG, so all is magically forgiven!

    What a wonderful world we live in Alex. Truly a time of wonders and greatness.

    Geordie should have gotten the hint long before Leah had to tell him she was married. Simple.

    There's nothing wrong with showing interest in someone (although in the workplace it should be handled with caution) but when the other person shows no interest that's when the game is over. If you push it further you are entering the realm of creepiness.

    Leah absolutely did not owe Geordie an apology.

    On another note:

    Picard has the enterprise perform a caesarean on the dead alien and birth an infant. Then he just wants to fly away and leave a newborn to its own devices? I find this incredibly hard to believe.

    3 stars

    A decent episode. It’s not up with the best of the season but it was involving enough that it held my attention for an hour

    I wasn’t a fan of Booby Trap In season three and I’ve never really cared at all about Geordi’s woeful romantic life but when the episode wasn’t making poor Geordi look like a schmuck trying to mack on Leah the engineer/designer dynamic was good. And the alien baby plot kept things going. It made nice moment about even when trying to peacefully explore things still go wrong like the incident where in trying to defend the Enterprise from the mother they accidentally kill her

    Leah Brahms is HOT HOT HOT! I mean, MEEEOOOW! By far the most adorable chick in the star trek universe. I don't blame Geordi for getting so excited about her arrival. It's just such a shame she had to be married...

    I have to be honest-I really don't see that Geordi did anything wrong with the hologram. Even his using "inside knowledge" with Leah Brahms was...unwise and immature, but not wrong. People are using the "creep" and "stalker" titles too freely. If he genuinely used the hologram in an inappropriate way, that would be different. It seems that Lt Barclay did do that with Troi (and possibly the doctor). There is a BIG difference

    Geordi came out VERY immature and creepy in this episode.
    The fact that he tried to defend with "all I offer is friendship" made it even more dishonest, since he clearly had wanted much more than friendship.

    I guess that the writers assume that the audience is composed of their impression of teenage boys who have limited exposure to women so maybe Geordi's crass and, frankly, offensively creepy behaviour is supposed to meet the audience demographic.

    Or, possibly, the audience in 1990 was not attuned to sexual harassement issues to the degree we are now.

    Then again there are plenty of other , more recent, examples of obtuse sexual unawareness outside Star Trek-Attack of the Clones being a prime case.

    It is just a huge cringe fest and if I was Leah Brahms I would be getting the hell away from that creepy stalker guy.

    Space baby plot-yawn ( apart from Picard 's reaction to killing the mother).

    I remember when LaForge told Barkley he knows what it likes to get too familiar with a Holodeck character, when he had a fetish for Crusher and Troi on the holodeck. Geordi is too smart to get busy with Brahms's holodeck character, but I did hear Riker does it on the regular. Geordi is just a perv geek who Googled a woman on Facebook and LinkedIn, then used that info to get his Mac-On with Leah. He totally overlooked her relationship status, or did he? Too bad Guinan didn't tell him to chill out with his stalking, but I guess nothing very interesting happen on that ship, so she just waited to see the train wreck.

    I'm just glad that alien, whose life Crusher saved, gave Geordi some confidence and game so he could develop a healthy relationship with women.

    The crew needs more shore leave, or a rotation back on Earth. Only having other crewmen to hookup with can't be too healthy.

    @ Dr Lazarus

    Or they could not engage in relations outside of marriage. That would be the healthiest solution!

    I was enjoying the first half on the understanding that Geordi was obviously acting very inappropriately, even if somewhat excused by a weird situation, and would get his due comedic comeuppance, and then hopefully a bit of a redemption thing. But then they turn around and give him this self righteous speech and have Leah apologise and that ruins things a bit.

    These kinds of TNG episodes seem like a dime a dozen -- predictable 2-plot affairs that can drag for stretches, leading to an arbitrary technobabble ending. Geordi's crush on Brahms -- I suppose it's fine to re-visit it but it was all too predictable that, after Leah being aghast at Geordi's holodeck recreation they'd find a way to smooth it over and connect to the B-plot of getting the alien off the ship's hull.

    The thing is we might feel for Geordi in that he's the typical engineering geek and a genuine person with good intentions -- but it makes sense that Brahms would not like being turned into a holodeck character and being fantasized about. So Geordi is a creep. Wish his actions weren't interpretable in that way.

    And how Geordi misses that she's married is downright bizarre. What was also abrupt was why Brahms started opening up about people finding her cold and then she says it would be inappropriate to stay for dinner. Why start to open up in the first place?

    Read that the actress for Brahms was considered for Janeway's character -- completely agree with her rejection. Wasn't particularly impressed her acting here.

    As for the B-plot with the "Tin Man" like creature -- the best part was Picard's reaction after the Enterprise kills the mother accidentally. Stewart has some of the best facial expressions. There's the usual frantic part at the end about technobabble trying to "sour the milk" before other aliens get to the ship -- and of course it works in the nick of time. No surprise, no suspense.

    2 stars for "Galaxy's Child" -- a reminder that Geordi's character has some women issues and hopefully Guinan's words about seeing a woman for who she is and not who he wants her to be take hold. Some mildly interesting sci-fi with the aliens, however it doesn't seem like the ship makes any progress understanding them and the episode just becomes a mechanical exercise in getting rid of it. One of those overall middling episodes.

    re: "Then again there are plenty of other , more recent, examples of obtuse sexual unawareness outside Star Trek-Attack of the Clones being a prime case."

    That one felt far worse to me. Geordi mostly was guilty of cluenessless. He was creepy, but he wasn't trying to be creepy - and Leah doesn't fall for it or get charmed by it in the least. Anakin was intentionally being creepy and continued with it immediately after being told to stop - and Padme falls in love with him. Bleecgh.

    Just watched this one, and I have a few remarks about Geordi's controversial behavior. For one thing Geordi does seem to make an attempt when Leah comes aboard to treat her formally at a distance, and what we're shown is that he repeatedly missteps and accidentally reveals he knows things he shouldn't; a whole series of 'oops' moments in a row, which eventually turn into him realizing he can sort of wink at himself when they happen and to enjoy the private joke. So right off the bat he's not exactly hitting on her and the drama comes from his private knowledge of his interactions with her holographic likeness. In fact, the tension in one scene in engineering has Geordi practically yelling at her when she won't behave the way he wants, which is really the opposite of hitting on her and more a result of her not being the version of herself that he expects or wants. And so this private knowledge of his ends up being an underlying tension marring all of their interactions, and it almost plays like a dirty secret.

    This brings up a serious issue that the writers may only have unconsciously been channeling, which is: what if it isn't Geordi being weird here, but rather what if it's inherently unethical to interact with artificial versions of real people (like Barclay did in Hollow Pursuits)? And what if this dirty secret isn't just a secret, but really is dirty? And I don't mean sexually dirty per se, but sordid in the way where he really couldn't tell her because deep down he knows it really is untoward. Maybe Geordi is acting weird because he's actually done something wrong prior to her ever setting foot on the ship and he's compensating for it. I'm reminded of how angry Kira was when Quark tried to take her holographic likeness, and I have to say that I think most people would be just as furious. It might even be counted as sexual assault of some kind to create a fake version of someone (in a porn film, for instance).

    At the discomfort becomes palpable Geordi tries a different tack and decides to do an about face: instead of being upset that she's not how he wants her to be, he'll make it so she is, by being too friendly and flirting with her. On the one hand this may be partially a result of cognitive dissonance of not being able to accept that she just won't like him the way he wants. But on the other hand maybe it's a way of coping with having done a bad thing - if he can make it so that she's not struggling with him any more there won't be dissonance to worry about with regard to his dirty secret. The secret will still be there, but the friction alluding to it would be gone. This is a bit of an alternate explanation that goes beyond "Geordi's a dork". Although he is one.

    Another issue that strikes me is that he starts gaslighting her pretty early on, telling her she's friendly when she says she knows she isn't, and other remarks that seem to have the effect of making her question her own perceptions. She still knows he's being unprofessional, but she's now wondering whether it's her fault somehow. And this is another issue with holograhic reality: when you interact with others in a virtual scenario, like in an MMO or even with legit holograms that are bots, your main objective is to get what you want and to game the system unless you get the desired result. When 'others' become effectively bots for you to pick correct dialogue options with it will almost certainly have the result of training you that that's how conduct interactions. So by entertaining a holographic Leah, Geordi may well be prone now to strategically try to maneuver her, which may include giving 'correct dialogue romance' options such as flattering her, even when anyone observing could see that he's telling her about herself to her face, contradicting what she's saying. And I think this is an issue generally with technology. For instance for people hooked on smart phones, quick games, and instant messaging with 10 people at once, will they have the patience any more to sit quietly with one person? So holo-Leah may well be an example of technology programming a person to act in a very disconnected way with another real human. She ends up being being an NPC to interact with or else some inferior version to the one that existed only to serve him. I would very much like to have seen this aspect of technology explored a bit, since it's clearly present here, even if only between the lines.

    One small other note: in lieu of the discussion we just had in the DS9 thread for The Wire, regarding how 'anti-Trek' it is to portray people as being nearly so perfect as TNG allegedly showed them, I find it remarkable just how quickly Geordi got angry and frustrated with Leah. And it's not just because she was snide, because despite being a little passive aggressive she was actually being quite calm and more or less respectful while he was getting all up in her fact, fuming. It doesn't seem very superior to me to have so little resilience that small perturbations in your comfy routine get you bent out of shape. All that shows is that having a cushy life may make you generally pleasant, but the real money is when you can remain pleasant and positive when you're being treated like garbage and taken advantage of, like what happens to many people today. Now Geordi is certainly a good guy, and does take steps to try to reconcile their conflict, but it's noteworthy that, being so unused to adversarial conditions in general, a person like Geordi doesn't seem that well equipped to handle conflict. This is, of course, a matter of the heart for him which is a special circumstance, and he did handle himself pretty well in The Enemy, so I'm not totally down on him. But I mean only to say that this episode shows me pretty clearly that humans of the future have an advanced culture and superior ethics to modern man, and yet have certainly not evolved beyond anger and distemper when they don't get their way. Even by today's standards Geordi would have received a reprimand from most CEO's for that behavior in the workplace when he was yelling at Leah. So I stand by my assertion that Federation culture is an outstanding model for us, but individually each person has their own struggles to deal with and is by no means homo superior yet.

    @Peter G.

    “This brings up a serious issue that the writers may only have unconsciously been channeling, which is: what if it isn't Geordi being weird here, but rather what if it's inherently unethical to interact with artificial versions of real people (like Barclay did in Hollow Pursuits)? And what if this dirty secret isn't just a secret, but really is dirty? And I don't mean sexually dirty per se, but sordid in the way where he really couldn't tell her because deep down he knows it really is untoward. Maybe Geordi is acting weird because he's actually done something wrong prior to her ever setting foot on the ship and he's compensating for it. I'm reminded of how angry Kira was when Quark tried to take her holographic likeness, and I have to say that I think most people would be just as furious. It might even be counted as sexual assault of some kind to create a fake version of someone (in a porn film, for instance). ”

    One huge difference between those two scenarios where it was clearly bad manners/creepy to recreate a hollow image of someone was that in “Booby Trap” Geordi never requests a holo-simulation and is actually confused when the computer interprets his commands that way. To that end, it’s worth pointing out that Brahms designed the Enterprise which includes the ships computer, so she’s indirectly responsible for that sort of glitch.

    At least, I think that helps reconcile the final act of this episode where we see she’s a bit apologetic. The writers are trying to show that the image she walked in on had a reasonable explanation and once Brahms was informed, it became innocent or even amusing. Though, I will say as I said above that Geordi should have explained what happened sooner instead of keeping hush on why he knows so much about Brahms’ personal life.

    @ Chrome,

    Because Geordi is a good guy and never meant harm there's good ground for a reconciliation. But I'm not so sure his secret knowledge is so innocent, as he seems to realize earlier on that he's actually beginning to delight in dangling things in front of her; "I love fungillo", "You don't say...." It's straight-up creepy. Not that he's a creep, but this is sort of the inevitable result of him knowing details about her he shouldn't. Granted, the food thing was more the equivalent of FB stalking her rather than his interactions with the hologram, but I think those are largely conflated here. Even though he didn't intend harm, he in fact ends up in the position of having too much personal knowledge about her without actually knowing her. And this does end up resonating with our current social media, because it's entirely possible to know all sorts of things about a total stranger and be 'one up on them' in a way that's sort of creepy, without ever having intended to be creepy. It's a reality of the technology, mixed with a bit of a lack of discipline in making yourself avoid learning those things.

    Like, imagine for instance if you had a magic x-ray scanner or something that would allow you to see under everyone's clothes. No doubt many people would use this, know personal details about others' bodies, and have a 'knowing smile' when talking to them for the first time. That's messed up in my book, and assuming it was legal to use the device the only thing stopping you would be your own ethics. In that case it's easy to see how it's unethical. But a holographic representation with clothes on? It's not as easy to see, but it's not a zero on that scale either. It may be reasonable to suggest that once Geordi realized he was using her likeness for more than just working out his problem he should have discontinued using it out of respect, and just talked to the computer, or to Einstein or something. Developing a romance with a likeness of Leah's body absent her actual self is surely questionable, if not outright bad objectively.

    But as Geordi is a good guy we can note that he never asked for the hologram, really, and his primary goal was to save the ship, so this all happened more or less by accident. And that's why I say the interesting issue here is the technology and how he should have realized there are unethical ways to use it; but he didn't because holodecks were still new to him and like the absurd malfunction stories there's a learning curve in figuring out how to use this technology safely and wisely. In this case it was unwise, because it really messed Geordi up in a way, blocking his ability to see another person as a person. And I think social media can do that to us as well.

    @Chrome, Peter G., William B:

    I have never really seen what the problem is in this episode, or its predecessor (‘Booby Trap’). It is a story as human as it gets. Are people really so detached from their humanity nowadays? Are we really so fast becoming robots?

    Meet Peter, Paul, and Mary. Mary has just met Peter. Peter then tells Mary about his good friend, Paul. Over the next few days or weeks, as Peter and Mary keep meeting and having nice conversations about themselves and their lives, Paul keeps coming up. In the end, after several long chats, Mary feels that she has a pretty good idea of who Paul is. But when she finally meets him, she finds that, although everything Peter told her about him was true, Paul doesn’t correspond, perhaps not at all, to the idea she had made of him.

    This is something any minimally adult person will have experienced in life. Nothing new here so far.

    Now imagine that Peter is absent at Mary’s first meeting with Paul. This immediately creates a slightly awkward situation, for Mary will have some or perhaps detailed knowledge of some events in Peter’s life, and Peter has no idea of which. What does she know about him? What has his friend told her? Has he exaggerated? Has he been truthful? Has he told her any truly intimate details? Familial matters? Matters of life and death?

    Again, none of this should be unknown to any adult: if it is, he or she has been watching too much television, and interacting too little with other people. This is what happens when people meet, and talk. ‘I have a friend who…’ … ‘My cousin is…’ and so on, and so forth. And any sane adult knows which kind of details of a personal nature are innocent to share with a new acquaintance, and which are not. ‘My friend Paul likes wasps’ is fairly innocent. ‘Paul has weird sexual fantasies of being a giant wasp‘ is perhaps not. But of course, if Mary tells Paul, in Peter’s absence, ‘Your friend told me that you like wasps…’, the poor fellow will have no idea of just how much more his friend has told her. Again: absolutely nothing new here.

    This episode and its predecessor are therefore intelligent, in that Peter is replaced by a computer, and Paul is artificially created by one in the first instalment. This is simply science-fiction doing what science-fiction should, and showing us new iterations of ages-old human issues made possible by technology. But the problems themselves are as old as mankind. There is nothing new under the sun.

    None of this is creepy. None of this is inappropriate. None of this is unprofessional — especially in 'Booby Trap'. We are humans, for Christ’s sake, not robots. All this is extremely human — although I will agree that Geordi’s handling of the situation is, shall we say, clumsy. But that is precisely his trademark when dealing with the opposite sex. As such, these two episodes are good both as sci-fi and as character studies.

    A final commentary: I am baffled at the amount of criticism Geordi gets from viewers over these two episodes. I believe this is a cultural phenomenon. I realise that in the United States these days — as well as in Scandinavia where I live — a current in society wishes to transform human beings into orderly robots, or robotic consumers. Disenchantment, in the Weberian sense, is everywhere around us. Society is increasingly desacralized. There is no magic garden any longer, no wonder. Everything is explained rationally and scientifically, with molecules and mathematics, and we humans are increasingly expected to behave rationally and scientifically, while increasingly being reduced to numbers in algorithms ourselves at the same time.

    We see how this affects cognition, and argumentation. People increasingly attempt to win arguments based on statistics, not philosophy: numbers, not ideas. We are fast un-learning how to reason. 'Time is money', we are told, and in order to save eight seconds here and twelve seconds there, we are increasingly asked to forget how to think. Let technology do that for us. What a 'Brave New World' this is becoming: that nightmarish scenario is fast becoming true. And it is becoming one at an alarming pace.

    Unfortunately, part of this discourse seems to have distorted the perceptions of younger generations of what it means to be human, to the point that even loving and caring gestures are deemed ‘inappropriate’. I have seen people online commenting that Melanie in Hitchcock’s ‘Birds’ (1963) is behaving ‘inappropriately’ for ‘breaking into' Mitch’s house to leave him the two lovebirds , and the note, for example. I have even read American students online commenting that Romeo is a ‘creep’ for ‘stalking’ Juliet, for crying out loud: this is how far removed younger generations seem to be of their own humanity today.

    And here I see people complaining that Geordi, the nicest guy on all Star Trek, is a creep, too. Why is that? Is it because he is seen to behave like a pervert? No: it is precisely because he is see to behave like a human. What a truly scaring scenario this is.

    @Peter G.

    At lot of that stuff that can be characterized as creepy is a bi-product of Geordi being awkward around women. It’s not just this episode’s date, but “Booby Trap” as well shows Geordi going overboard trying to impress the girl - though I think his intentions are innocent enough in both cases. There’s so much social awkwardness at play here frustrating his actions, which is why we see Geordi eventually break down and say “I was just trying to be your friend!” - something the audience who knows Geordi could understand. Hey, they do make a pretty good team in the right circumstances (“All Good Things” even has them eventually get married with children).

    As for the social media comparison, I think we need to bring up that the computer was using public information that anyone at least in Starfleet had access to. If this were say Facebook, it would be like Leah had posted some personal details but made them viewable to the public so her expectation of privacy on those details shouldn’t be so high.

    @Andy’s Friend

    I see where you’re coming from and I just wanted to clarify that while Geordi was likely innocent here despite his clumsy awkwardness looking otherwise, what Barclay and that dude in DS9 did for Kira’s image were definitely crossing the line. That said, I agree that too many people are ready to rag on Geordi for what I think are very human depictions of a shy person trying their best to woo the girl. I don’t know if that’s the bi-product of people trying to be too politically correct or whatnot, but it’s interesting to think about.

    @ Andy's Friend,

    I'm not sure if any of that is directed at my post or not. If so, it seems to address a point different than the one I made and to object to something I didn't say (that Geordi is a creep). My post is about the technology, not him. But watch the episode again, because your characterization of the information Geordi has coming in is not in evidence. He didn't just hear about her from his friend the computer, but researched her tastes, and already had an emotional involvement with her likeness. And he's bringing his feeling of intimacy into a first meeting with the real person. Watch her reactions: she is very put off and uncomfortable, and I would be too. You're not describing the situation accurately. Go to me x-ray scanner analogy for a better version of what it would be like to get copious information about someone that makes you feel like you know then in an intimate way. *That* is what the episode is about.

    But indeed the end can come off as funny because Geordi is sort of a victim in that he never intends any of this to be weird.

    @ Chrome,

    "At lot of that stuff that can be characterized as creepy is a bi-product of Geordi being awkward around women. It’s not just this episode’s date, but “Booby Trap” as well shows Geordi going overboard trying to impress the girl - though I think his intentions are innocent enough in both cases."

    I gave it a bit more thought and looked at some scenes again, and I have to say I can't agree that his intentions are entirely innocent. I generally agree that he's basically acting like a kid (for better or worse) and just wants everyone to be nice with each other, but the way in which he goes about trying to make this happen strikes me as being incredibly entitled, as if he's owed her friendship. It's one thing to try too hard, but it's quite another to feel like she *owes him* a reciprocation of his sentiments. So him trying and falling flat on his face, only to ask - 'but what happened??' would indeed be completely innocent. But his repeated attempts despite her looking uncomfortable (hey, it was 1991) followed by outrage that she won't play nice - that's not innocent at all.

    And I'm not picking this up out of the clear blue sky either: in an earlier scene Geordi brags to Guinan about how great it's going to be when she arrives, and how they'll "at the least" have a great friendship, and how open he is to the idea that they may not have a romance. That scene is noteworthy because Guinan gives him a look but says little, and yet it's clear he's totally out to lunch on this. Now at that part of the story it's a bit cringey to see him all worked up about the relationship "they" will have (the hidden assertion being that a relationship between two people is based on what only one person wants). But for all we know he'll take this expectation and nevertheless act polite and professional and just have his private hopes. As that's not what happened we can look back and realize that Guinan's concern may have been for more than just "oh, that silly Geordi and his hopeless romantic hopes". Maybe that's what the writers were going for but it's not what they got.

    In fact I'm willing to bend over backwards not to blame Geordi for this and just ascribe it to a writing mistake, because I think what they were going for was something like "Geordi is confused but means well." Instead what we get is a modern day manual on male entitlement. Watch it again: some of these scenes are sooo uncomfortable. If this happened where you work HR and the lawyers would be getting involved.

    Worthy of note is that once Geordi and Leah go about solving the problem they bond, and it's primarily because Geordi has by then done what she asked and ceased imposing himself into her personal space, probably because he was too busy to keep trying. In way he was saved by the plot and never had to re-evaluate his own actions in order to show her what he was really like. Because there was an emergency she 'was made to see' him in action, which really impressed her. And that sort of shoots in the foot the previous tension regarding him trying so hard to impress her despite her asking him to stop, since by the end she folded and ended up impressed by him. It's sort of like the writers believed she was just being stubborn and once she stopped being a jerk she would just fall for him. What a nice chauvinistic message.

    Just a fun fact that I think will explain how creepy and bad these interactions were: the teleplay is by Maurice Hurley, i.e. TNG's S1 show runner who fired McFadden because he hated her guts (and her acting) and didn't like that she spoke up sometimes about things she felt were chauvinistic or unfair. He was given the boot soon after and she was brought back. So it comes as no surprise at all to me that he wrote a teleplay that strikes me as being rather chauvinistic and exemplifying entitlement and gaslighting of professional women. However Kartozian's original story is probably exactly what we would have liked to imagine in terms of innocent and dopey Geordi messing things up.

    @Peter, I would have to rewatch the episode to be sure, but your description really matches my memory of this episode, and I was not unaware of Maurice Hurley's contribution to the episode. The thing is, I think that it we *are* meant to see Geordi as *somewhat* wrong, but I think that the degree of wrongness is greater than was intended by Hurley.

    I think also that, even if we can give Geordi a break, I feel like the episode should have made clearer that Leah had every right to be put off by how he acted, and especially that hologram. I think coming on to her in a Jeffries tube (a very enclosed space without much escape) or his quarters (his space, on his ship) is not really Geordi deliberately trying to make her uncomfortable so much as not really knowing how to proceed, but I think that it does put her in a pretty weird position, which she handles with aplomb and tries to assume the best of him, until she finds that his romantic interest in her follows from a hologram of her telling him he loves her. I feel like under these circumstances, there's no reason for her to think that Geordi's interest in that hologram was purely professional, and not to assume he used the holodeck for, well, what people tend to use the holosuite for. So for Geordi to do the I OFFERED YOU FRIENDSHIP speech, which reads as being intended to be at least somewhat justified, is sort of painful to watch. Now, Guinan does set him straight -- the look mentioned earlier, and also the way she tells him that he has his wrong VISOR on -- and the episode is partly about Geordi's flaws. But it still feels uncomfortable to me.

    I think the other thing to say in Geordi's defense -- taking the episode as written -- is that I think he really doesn't think there's any power imbalance between him and Brahms (which there isn't, in terms of their overall professional standing, but there is to a degree in that Geordi is in his element on the ship with everyone he knows, and she's a stranger aboard, despite knowing about the engines), and he's so focused on his own feelings that he doesn't quite register that he's making her uncomfortable by acting strangely. These are things that he should be more sensitive to, and I think it is to some degree a general character flaw of Geordi's that he can be a little literal-minded or goal oriented and miss some of what is around him; many episodes focus not just on his romantic difficulties but his problems dealing with someone who has emotional problems that are outside a certain range of his experience (Barclay in Hollow Pursuits, Scotty in Relics).

    @ William B,

    The most shocking moment in the "I OFFERED YOU FRIENDSHIP" scene is when she begins to leave, and he says "Oh, no no no!" and *physically moves to block her exit*, while he then proceeds to tell her how wrong she is. Yikes! That's beyond creepy, it's actually rapey. However, it's worth pointing out that this moment probably came as a result of (a) crappy writing, and (b) Burton being so enthused to finally get a script where he can do some interesting acting (which he rarely got) that he no doubt wanted to go whole hog and give it a lot of gusto. I can sympathize with that, even though in that scene giving it 'more' ended up exacerbating a scene already on the wrong foot.

    The other most painful moment in the episode is (I think) in his quarters, where she suddenly looks ashamed and begins to question herself, saying how people have told her before that's she's not that good with people and how maybe she's messing everything up with Geordi because of her attitude. This is such a bad moment, because I think at that moment we're meant to believe that she is, indeed, the problem. The mitigating factor is that she does come on strong regarding him messing up 'her engines' and doesn't like his alterations, so I can see him being defensive about that. But I can't help but feeling that instead of it being the case that each of them really just hadn't gotten used to each other yet and needed to learn how to work together, the gist of the episode instead seems to read more like "these professional chics with a bad attitude need to chill out and let the man take charge."

    Ugh, I forgot the blocking the exit. The thing is, by this point, Leah has no idea what is up with this guy, and in the 20th century she would have reason to fear for her safety. In the 24th, presumably everyone is enlightened generally, so maybe Leah isn't going to be *that* worried that Geordi is blocking the exit, but the script is *very* 20th century in its tone.

    Anyway I concur with your general assessment. I think part of the problem is that the episode *also* is playing a "theorist vs engineer" thing where Geordi has insight into the engines on a starship that Leah lacks, and so she needs to learn from him, which might be okay if the ep weren't also doing these other notes simultaneously.

    @Peter G, William B

    I don’t know, I’ve read the script out there that Hurley penned and I don’t see anything chauvinistic in the dialogue or stage direction. I think it’s easy come in and white knight the poor woman in this episode who of course is the victim because she’s not interested in Geordi’s attempts to be friends. But a fair amount of the episode deals with Brahms putting Geordi down, disrespecting his work, and flat out accusing him of being a pervert after accessing a program of his out of context.

    I agree that Geordi isn’t entirely in the right here, and as William mentioned it’s another symptom of his social awkwardness at play. But at the same time I see Brahms coming off the way she self-describes as cold, cerebral, and unyielding. In a sense, I think Geordi represents the more seasoned field side of engineering while Brahms represents more of the academic planning side. The thing is neither side is entirely right in their approach, and it takes a sort of meeting in the middle for them to solve the problem. Brahms knows the solution because she knows the technical problem but she doesn’t know how to work the solution out in the field under uncontrolled circumstances the way Geordi does.

    So the episode plays out as two people who approach both interpersonal *and* engineering problems differently, and although it’s painful to watch Geordi at times, I think there’s something inspiring here about how the two could overcome their vastly different personalities, save the ship and end up as friends. It may not be something that’s possible in our day seeing as how polarized people often get in their views, but I’d like to think in the future both “creepy” and “cold” people can rise above themselves andform a bond.

    @Chrome, I see your point and I think that your read is close to the episode's intent. And I do see that in the episode, so I don't think it's a total failure. I think for me, what gets in the way is that I don't see Geordi and Leah's behaviours as being equivalently out of bounds, and I also see the resolution to the ep as pushing a little bit far toward what Geordi wanted. There's sort of the implication that they *should* be friends, and Geordi overshot by wanting to be romantically involved and Leah undershot by wanting only a cold professional relationship, when really Leah's flaw would tend to suggest that once they get past it, they should have a comfortable working relationship -- but they don't *have* to be "friends" at the end, and she's not too cold if she'd rather not be friends. I think that's part of the problem with Geordi's "I offered you friendship" speech -- in addition to it being out of place when she's caught him with his apparent photonic love toy of her, the bottom line is that it's not appropriate to "offer friendship" to a colleague and then get mad at them when they turn it down, even if that friendship came with no romantic strings attached. This isn't to say Leah couldn't have handled things better when she first came onto the ship, and if I squint a little I can read the episode's end more generously as saying that their getting off on the wrong foot doesn't mean they *can't* be friends, if both of them want it, which I agree with. It's just hard given what's come earlier in the episode not to read it as saying not just that Leah does want the friendship, but that she *should* want it, and that's off-putting given other things in it.

    All that said, I wouldn't say I hate the episode. I gave it 2 stars back in the day, and that's still about where I land, because I think it's sort of a bad episode (the one Peter and I were just describing) and a good episode (the one you're describing) in one.

    @William B

    “There's sort of the implication that they *should* be friends, and Geordi overshot by wanting to be romantically involved and Leah undershot by wanting only a cold professional relationship, when really Leah's flaw would tend to suggest that once they get past it, they should have a comfortable working relationship -- but they don't *have* to be "friends" at the end, and she's not too cold if she'd rather not be friends.”

    I think we agree what the middle ground is: a comfortable working relationship. But, I’m not sure if Geordi is saying they *must be friends*. To me at least it comes off as “Hey, I offered you friendship but you not only rejected it, you begrudged me for it”. Of course, as this comment section shows, the execution of that of that critical moment of tension exploding varies from person to person, more siding with Leah.

    Just something I want to throw out there that came up earlier - I think because the audience knows Geordi and the writers know we know Geordi and will tend to side with Geordi, they had to ride him hard here for us to consider siding with Leah. If they had toned down Geordi’s eagerness and increased Leah’s hostility it might of worked better, but it also may have been impossible to side with this guest character newcomer. So the show runners have a balancing act here, and I think your mileage may vary whether they pulled the act together.

    @ Chrome,

    Your argument sounds reasonable, although I'm not sure it is matched in reason with what we see in the episode. Geordi's scene with Guinan pretty clearly shows me, at any rate, that Geordi is 100% wrong in his anticipation. Even besides the fact that the's seeing through 'the wrong VISOR', the idea of announcing in advance of meeting someone that you'll either totally bag them or else at least have a great friendship is just plain insulting. On my side of this debate that's the chief issue for me, more so than Geordi's exact tone or gusto in pursuing her. The tone matters more when he's yelling at her, but yelling out of context doesn't bug me; that's just humanity. It's the yelling *because* he went in feeling entitled and didn't get what he wanted that feels indefensible to me; there are no 'sides' to this aspect of the episode. She can be as irrationally irritating as she wants and yet that still has no bearing on this whole baggage Geordi brought in with him with no input from her. Even if she had been less annoyed with his engineering modifications initially that would have changed nothing about his idea that they *were going* to be friends, 'at least'. I don't think it would have been much different on his end had she come in more friendly and only gotten cross once he began his overtures towards her. By the scene in the holodeck the rest would have played out in much the same way.

    If anything I'll go completely opposite to you and suggest that by making her bitchy out of the gate the writing manipulated the situation to make it feel to us that Geordi was justified in getting upset. "Me! What about how unfriendly YOU've been!" Which is really a red herring because the thing she was upset about what something Geordi was going to impose on her regardless of her behavior. Being a somewhat cross and cold person probably equipped her better in handling it. I imagine that for someone brought up to always act friendly and avoid confrontation it would have been a lot harder to stand up to Geordi's advances with poise and keep working with him.

    As a side note, there is a phenomenon to this day that I think is very real, where forward and outspoken women in some companies are often received by the men there (including their bosses) as 'bitchy' or 'aggressive', whereas men acting the same way are "go-getters" and "TCB". I'm not trying to go all feminist on you, but I am very wary of the "well she was being bitchy, so..." argument justifying how each of them did something wrong. Not only do I not think it's on parity, but I don't think she did anything wrong at all. What we find out later, and which *should have been* the focus of the episode, is that she's just as attached to her designs as Geordi as to his actual engines, and they each feel possessive about them. That's a good thing, and would put them in conflict initially until they both realize they're fighting for the same final good. But her initially confrontational manner in going over the engines came from a place of caring rather than disdain, feeling that the modifications were going to mess things up. But his being upset involved completely separate matters that had nothing to do with engineering. *Some* of his displeasure was about engineering, but that aggravation was greatly overshadowed by his being frustrated that they weren't getting along as he had planned. So yeah, I still can't see this one as 'they were each in the wrong and needed to meet in the middle.' That is true of the engineering part of the episode (which actually got discarded half way through and never resolved), but totally untrue of the relationship part of it.

    @Peter G.

    “the idea of announcing in advance of meeting someone that you'll either totally bag them or else at least have a great friendship is just plain insulting.”

    This is the meaty part of the episode, though. We’re shown a future situation where Geordi had, for all intents and purposes, met someone before actually meeting them (“Booby Trap” said there would be a mere 9% margin of error between Brahms and Holo-Brahms) and he had a good idea they’d hit it off. It’s a pure sci-fi conceit though because, despite all the analogues of personality tests and social media in our present day, there’s nothing we could do to simulate another person so well. So, for all we know, Geordi was justified to have expectations he had, he just didn’t have a contingency plan for the small chance that there wouldn’t be even a friendship.

    “I’ll suggest that by making her bitchy out of the gate the writing manipulated the situation to make it feel to us that Geordi was justified in getting upset. "Me! What about how unfriendly YOU've been!" Which is really a red herring because the thing she was upset about what something Geordi was going to impose on her regardless of her behavior.”

    I’m not sure how it’s “manipulative” to write a character who’s perfectionist with a cold disposition when these kinds of people exist. Have you honestly never met a person, male or female, like Brahms who was rude to coworkers who didn’t meet their exacting standards? The personality profiles of many successful CEOs like Gates, Jobs, and Zuckerberg in our time actually meet this description very well.

    @ Chrome,

    "It’s a pure sci-fi conceit though because, despite all the analogues of personality tests and social media in our present day, there’s nothing we could do to simulate another person so well."

    I agree, and that's why my recent 'new' post mentioned that I think the sci-fi element is of upmost importance; specifically in the ramifications of creating lifelike versions of real people to simulate 'interactions' with them. In Geordi's case it was just to do engineering work despite it becoming more than that; in most other cases Leah's assumption would be completely accurate. So while we know Geordi is better than that, it doesn't mean that creating the holo-image isn't problematic. My suggestion is that it is problematic regardless of how he chose to use it. Ever play Planescape Torment? In it there's an "intellectual brothel" where you pay women to exercise your brain. My point here is that 'using' the hologram for non-physical pursuits doesn't, in my opinion, alter the basic fact that you're *using* someone's likeness and having a relationship with it. So I totally agree that the sci-fi conceit is at the heart of what goes wrong between Geordi and Leah.

    "So, for all we know, Geordi was justified to have expectations he had, he just didn’t have a contingency plan for the small chance that there wouldn’t be even a friendship."

    That's where I disagree flatly. There is literally no scenario where it should be acceptable to "plot" a person's expected reactions and treat them like an RPG character to score all the right answers and get the expected result. The fact that technology allowed Geordi to estimate her responses better than we could now has no bearing on whether it's *ever* acceptable to think of a person as a system to game. All of that carries with it the concept of another person as being something that exists to satisfy your desires, and that's primarily why I think Hurley ended up writing a chauvinist episode.

    "I’m not sure how it’s “manipulative” to write a character who’s perfectionist with a cold disposition when these kinds of people exist."

    Let my try to explain better. It's manipulative because it gives the audience an emotional reason to side against her (she's being gruff with our buddy, Geordi) which then ends up having weight in the "BUT I OFFERED YOU FRIENDSHIP" scene, when in fact that particular aspect of her should have zero weight in the issue of whether he was behaving inappropriately toward her. Let's say the story was different and the episode was purely about an engineer and a theorist trying to work together: she starts off gruff about her engines, he gets defensive about his modifications. We'd feel that she's being too harsh and we'd be right to take Geordi's side; at least to a large extent. But in this case that story is running in parallel to the story of Geordi trying to make a romance already going on in his head materialize, and frankly the two stories have nothing to do with each other. So in the romance story, we'd feel he's in the wrong (as per Guinan's scene), whereas in the engineering story we'd feel they're each being a little too touchy, maybe she more so. But because both stories happen at once the annoyance the audience feels toward her in her attitude in the engineering story, we end up generally wanting to side against her even in the romance story. So when Geordi is yelling at her, we think in our heads, "yeah, she was so mean to him!" But that's why it's manipulative: she wasn't being mean about his advances, and in fact she was being a saint about it. She was only being mean about the engineering situation, and there is in fact no reason to judge her harshly except in regards to her approach to discussing the engines.

    Did that make it more clear? I guess it's not that simple to see at first. We associate our negative feels about her engineering approach with how Geordi talks to her about his romantic advances and then her reaction to the Leah-bot, so that it feels like she shares some blame when in fact that's totally false since on the topic of the romance story she has not only no blame but she should be commended and given a medal for patience.

    @Peter G.

    “So while we know Geordi is better than that, it doesn't mean that creating the holo-image isn't problematic.”

    It’s not problematic since the computer itself made the decision to make image. And why does Brahms get to snoop around in Geordi’s programs? The episode doesn’t make it clear, but there’s a case for a violation of *Geordi’s privacy* here.

    “There is literally no scenario where it should be acceptable to "plot" a person's expected reactions and treat them like an RPG character to score all the right answers and get the expected result.”

    I’ll refer to Andy’s Friends’ example above. If hypothetically Brahms’ real life friend came to Geordi and told him about Leah and said they’d make a perfect match, Geordi would have a realistic expectation to think the friend might be correct. This episode just replaces the friend with a super smart computer. You personally may not trust computers like Geordi, but again this is 24th century where humanity, and especially Starfleet officers, rely on computers to help make informed decisions for them.

    As to your last point about the work environment and friendship attempt, I see what you’re saying but there’s also independent interactions where Brahms and Geordi do look like they’d be a good work team and good colleagues. This is despite Geordi’s machinations and despite Brahms’ own attempt to distance herself. The thing is, the computer was right about Brahms, it’s just that all Geordi’s “homework” on her including the inadvertent holo-program, were obstacles to them becoming good colleagues instead of being helpful. This is where I factor the discussion with Guinan fitting in, and perhaps the greater message of the episode.

    @ Chrome,

    "It’s not problematic since the computer itself made the decision to make image. And why does Brahms get to snoop around in Geordi’s programs? The episode doesn’t make it clear, but there’s a case for a violation of *Geordi’s privacy* here."

    True, the computer made it. And if for example a computer generated me a nude imagine of some stranger I'd say "whoa, I'm not supposed to be seeing that." That's because we have enough experience with nudity=private that this is a no-brainer. But in the case of a new tech it's not a no-brainer because we (in the 21st century) don't have experience of a computer being able to show a person's personality and private ideas. But those things certainly seem private to me, and even if ship's regs hadn't caught up with tech yet (a common problem), my point is that this *should be* seen as an invasion of privacy. The computer wouldn't know better if it wasn't programmed like that, and Geordi wouldn't because he's not used to that situation. But it causes real problems, and I think he unknowingly made a mistake (just as he did with Moriarty).

    In terms of Brahms invading his privacy, all she did was summon up a program of her own design facility; the same one Geordi summoned up in Booby Trap. It was actually her program and she had no way to know Geordi had added elements to it. This was just an honest coincidence.

    "I’ll refer to Andy’s Friends’ example above. If hypothetically Brahms’ real life friend came to Geordi and told him about Leah and said they’d make a perfect match, Geordi would have a realistic expectation to think the friend might be correct."

    I don't think you're seeing what I'm saying. I'm not *at all* talking about how accurate Geordi's guess will be about what Brahms will be like and the chances she'll like him. He can be 100% correct for all I care. I'm talking about him going in assuming it's going to happen. The other person has a say in it, you know! In fact, their say is all that matters. So Geordi may well be on track to think they could make a good couple. But he's way off base going in assuming she wants that, or agrees, or is even open to his advances at all (she's married, in fact). And he's like, "well oops, that bit of research escaped me." No kidding. How about just taking her no for a no? We could get into the issue of "but what if she is wrong and they actually would make a good couple? Should be press the matter until she sees the truth?" The episode seems to take that approach. Nowadays people see this as problematic, and for my part I'm not sure what to say about persistence being good or bad but it's more that Geordi felt like this was already a fait accomplis, and he had basically no interest in her point of view.

    "there’s also independent interactions where Brahms and Geordi do look like they’d be a good work team and good colleagues. This is despite Geordi’s machinations and despite Brahms’ own attempt to distance herself."

    Agreed, and things work well between them when Geordi simply desists hitting on her. It only goes to show how wrong he was to pursue her in the manner he did. The way to get her respect was to be respectable, rather than to flirt with her constantly and assume things were 'going somewhere.' They actually were a good couple, once he stopped 'trying so hard' (e.g. aggressing on her).

    @Peter G.

    “But those things certainly seem private to me, and even if ship's regs hadn't caught up with tech yet (a common problem), my point is that this *should be* seen as an invasion of privacy.”

    The computer used information based on free access of records and public seminars. I’d only agree it was an invasion if the computer/Geordi were accessing records they shouldn’t be accessing without permission. Neither episode says this is the case - in fact, Geordi suggests that guest Starfleet personnel routinely have their records viewed.

    And the episode doesn’t speak on the details of Brahms accessing Geordi’s work, but for example if a co-worker went to my PC and started going into folders opening up files I made they thought were useful, whatever their intentions, I’d feel a bit violated.

    “How about just taking her no for a no?”

    Geordi does back off after Brahms explains she’s not interested. He doesn’t pursue her for the rest of the episode.

    “It only goes to show how wrong he was to pursue her in the manner he did.”

    Maybe, although there’s truth to the show’s depiction of how a shy person might pursue a woman. Though he may have been wrong, Geordi lacked the experience or social intelligence to understand that. It’s not an easy lesson, and contrary to what’s been said here I don’t think the episode paints him in a positive light, but at least he learns from this episode.

    I don't see why the issue of appropeiateness should hinge on whether the data on her was drawn from public appearances. Kira's image was going to be taken "in public" but using it for personal consumption doesn't suddenly become ok. Presumably her holo image was taken during lectures or something but I'm certain she never consented to having an interactive holo made. The computer no doubt did that with AI processes so new that presumably no one would think it could even do that. The holodeck tech itself is a scant few years old at this point. No way she knew some program was out there of her! So what I'm saying is that had it been generally known this could be done there would already be an etiquette about it. As there isn't Geordi stumbles into 'using her image' without her consent (even if for an initially noble motive).

    @Peter G.

    “So what I'm saying is that had it been generally known this could be done there would already be an etiquette about it.”

    I’m not quite sure what the etiquette is and surely everyone will have a different opinion. In the present, we have freedom of speech and can write fictional novels or paint paintings of people we know in private without fear of reprisal. It’s a pretty murky area as far as Trek goes, but I think generally Geordi’s use of the holo-image would be more socially acceptable than Quark’s proposed use of Kira in DS9.

    Anyone just watch these episodes to enjoy them? I liked the chemistry the actors had together (Brahms/Geordi). Sure the storyline was creepy, but that’s what we needed to see as anyone interacting with a holo character is weird. I more so took away that you shouldn’t assume the imagined person you’ve been chatting with is the actual when you finally meet them.

    People overthink these issues way too much. Great episode, even if the dialog was awkward at times.

    Hello Everyone!

    Maybe, just maybe, Thomas never figured this particular episode would get over-over-Over-analyzed. He just wrote it and thought it worked at the time.

    Nothing implied or intended. Just a story.

    And fade to black...


    Just to follow up on the hypothetical example of 'Andy's Friend':

    "if Mary tells Paul, in Peter’s absence, ‘Your friend told me that you like wasps…’,"

    Problem is, in the equivalent scenario Geordi doesn't tell Leah the source of his information. He lies in the real world, and when his lie is discovered he gets defensive and the script refuses to have him apologize.

    2/10 for portraying La forge as a douche

    this is one of those episodes I recognized soon after it started: with the space pod creature.

    La Forge, a nice guy, is so creepy when he meets Brahms. And to invite her over for a candlelit dinner with guitar music? They are supposed to be senior engineering staff- accomplished professionals. Take a look at Brahms' face during their time up to and including that dinner. She is creeped out by his behaviour towards her. Seriously - talking about her hair. It doesn't matter if you were even thinking about it, you wouldn't talk about it with a respected colleague like that...

    Brahms on the other hand is portrayed as you would expect someone like that - a visiting expert - to behave . Why do they portray La forge as an ass - that scene where he asks her if she realizes that they have to crawl inside the power conduits - she put him in his place perfectly - she designed them. Was all of this to somehow show La Forge as warm (they missed the mark he is creepy) and Brahms as cold (it was ridiculous during the dinner where they had her tell him that people find her cold. No one would say that during a professional meeting. You meet different people in your working life and you respectfully get along. So I suspect they were setting up this tired old nonsense about an uninterested woman being an ice queen NEEDING to be thawed by a man...) Yup, there we go LA Forge talking with Guinan about how unfriendly Brahms was.

    Brahms was never unfriendly. La Forge should know how someone would react to modifications and expect professional inquiry. But no, Brahms is his love interest and he loses all professionalism. And now Brahms is being mean.(insert pouts here)

    +10 for Guinan being the adult and having to explain that women don't have to fit your fantasy life. And have done nothing wrong by being their own people. If I had treated my wife like LA Forge was with Brahms ( we worked together), we would not be married.

    I cannot believe they had La Forge actually saying how nice he had been to Brahms since she arrived and she had been badgering him. And for him to play the victim after being caught creating his Holodeck of Brahms. He had already been through this with Barclay and he knew how unacceptable that was to the person being created. And seriously in the end she offers him an apology? and goes on and on about how she should have changed her behaviour. who wrote this dreck?

    A small note: ever notice the crew meeting after they determine that the creature they killed was pregnant. take a look at Riker's arm and how close it is to Crusher. this is the equivalent to people who sit with their legs wide open on a bus or bench taking up more space. ha ha!

    I'm tired of people accusing Geordi of being a creep and a sexual harasser, you know for a fact the worst Geordi has done in that episode was assuming that Leah would be interested in him like her holographic counterpart, it was presumptuous and dumb of him, but that's not being a creep, that's not sexual harassment, jesus christ people, one guy makes a move on a woman who is not willing to go through with it and already you cry out sexual harassment, she turned him down, and Geordi just gave up, as he should have, do we need to fire his ass for trying? It's established that Geordi is not good with women, so cut the guy some slack, jesus christ, all of you talking about Geordi like he's this horrible human being when you've seen up to this point that he's been nothing but a freaking awkward saint. Shame on you.

    @ Kyle

    Would you like it if someone was posing as you online and catfishing innocent people?

    It's wrong to use someone else's image and personal information for sexual and emotional self-gratification.

    In "Booby Trap", Geordi could have easily paused the holodeck program and asked the computer to tone down the romance so he could concentrate on keeping everyone from dying .... but he didn't. He went right along with it, kissing and touching her.

    Also, the computer told him that the holo-Leah facsimile would be about 10% inaccurate.

    I don't know if that means 1 out of 10 reactions wpuld be incorrect or the computer had to make up 10 % of her personality since it was undeterminable from her posts and speeches .... but that's MORE than enough variance for Geordi not to make assumptions about the "real" Leah.

    His lies about "making a great fungili" (using her private info just to get her to think they had something in common) is extremely cringy and deceptive as well.

    I'm sorry but I think it's creepy: he used her once without her knowledge/consent and then tried to do the same thing to the real her. It's wrong.

    First, I want to state that the thread of comments attached to this episode is perhaps quite fascinating in terms of watching the shift in judgment and perception that has occurred in the Real World toward the issues discussed, especially to someone who is not born in the West and doesn't really participate in the er… 'broader culture' if you will. Part of me wishes we could get comments all the way back in 1991 and all the way forward to 2040 just to see the trajectory of opinion.

    Second, @ Abby - I loved the chemistry of the actors and actually wished this storyline progressed. Like you, I tend to watch this less for the moralizing comments that abound and more for the dramatic situation.

    Third, I was so taken by this episode and Booby Trap that I decided to comb through the scripts, directors commentary, and actor/actress commentary that's been had over the character of Leah Brahms and her relationship to Geordi.

    If we take 10 steps back, this is an old story - as old as the Greek Myth of Pygmalion (rundown: Gifted Artist/Technician with crap social skills is blessed by I guess Zeus and the Gods with a wife who is one of his statues turned human).

    But taken together its also the breaking of that Myth, the end of an Illusion.

    Let's be frank and fair - Geordi is awkward. Some people might say "well he's too old to be like that/this is an action of a teenager/this run against his perceived character in other episodes," and my response to all of that is: People are very complicated. I've seen some of the most brilliant minds at MIT and Caltech be unable to navigate other peoples - much less their own emotions.

    These two episodes toward are kind of a journey for Geordi from Fanciful Illusion to Reality and the pain/embarrassment/awkwardness that go with that journey.

    The crux of the matter is the misperception Geordi received about Leah Brahms due to the facsimile created by the computer. We must remember, that Holodeck technology and the capabilities/limitations of the Computer don't seem that well understood at times ( I mean the creation of Moriarty in Ship in a Bottle was a pure accident).

    I can't help but make the connection that Geordi seems to be extrapolating his experiences from the simulation in the way that Millennials and others seem to pin hopes on some sort of Dating Algorithm or Pop Psychology categorization that will somehow take the bite out of dating and lead one to their One True Love....

    ….. so how's that working for us in the real world? ;-)

    What I like about the episode is how every single second, Reality in the form of the Real Leah Brahms keeps smashing that dream to bits. And Geordi can't seem to figure it out (he's not Riker or Kirk folks :P) until Guinan has to hit him over the head.

    Its at that moment that we see - Geordi's got his realization....sadly a little too late before the Holodeck incident, but he's learnt the lesson at least.

    The "Dating Algorithm" 's 9% flaw is quite palpable and Virtual Leah has nothing in common with Real Leah.

    What a minute - Stop. Think. Breathe.

    I have often found it funny the amount of attention that Geordi receives in the analysis of the two episodes as opposed to Leah - who at least from a professional perspective is the far more interesting personality in this interaction.

    So let's focus on Leah for a second.

    Digging through the Staging Directions and the Scripts for both episodes, I note the following (some has already been said)

    1.) She does not come onto the Enterprise with a neutral tone (First Words: "La Forge. So you're the one who's fouled up my engine design.") - she's perturbed about.....something that is never made explicit. And as such she's a little curt with Geordi…. although we are left out of the tantalizing reason as to why.

    2.) We are also given glimpses of Leah's own character (she ain't Troi's Mom ;-) )

    LEAH: "Well, to be honest, some people find me cold, cerebral, lacking
    in humor..."

    LEAH: "Well, I... try... not to be that way. But when it comes to my
    designs, to my engines...especially the ones on the Enterprise..."

    GEORDI: "... they're like your children."

    [Stage Direction: She gives him a look of sheer amazement. How did he know what she was going to say?]

    LEAH: You -- understand that?

    [He doesn't say, "I'm the father," but that's there. She is utterly taken aback by his understanding.

    ***She lets her guard down just a little... ]

    LEAH: That's amazing. I don't think anyone has ever...

    [She hesitates, ***not comfortably able to discuss her feelings.]

    LEAH: ***Sometimes I'm more comfortable with engine schematics than with

    If I had to do a psych assessment with the little I've got to go off of.
    Highly Intelligent Introvert Intuitive Thinker.

    She's also very private. She takes her husband's call without even referring to what she's doing. Meanwhile, I can take a bus or subway or sit in a café and overhear people chatting and gossiping about loved ones and friends.

    So you have this quiet, intelligent, defensive person who...…..gets to see that Holodeck Fantasy. OF COURSE SHE'S GOING TO BE LIVID!

    But I don't think people are going to give her enough credit as to -why- she apologized.

    Leah's a smart cookie, you can tell that immediately. Keep things Rational, keep things Reasonable. After she recovers from an uncharacteristic outburst on her part and Geordi's - the gears in her mind are turning.

    You think she's the type of person to speculate wildly or work from evidence? She's got the whole Time Log of "Booby Trap" recorded - she can see with her own two eyes the genesis of Virtual Leah, she can go over alterations to the program.

    We should also note that, up until this moment, she was gaining some professional respect for Geordi. Go back over the parts where they are talking about alterations. She's curious, impressed, and interested in what he's accomplished.

    You ever see two people, couple/friends/etc., completely lost in something? Whether its fishing, or baking, or some other activity, they get so into it that the world drops away and they might as well be speaking a foreign language to us mere onlookers?

    This is where I think Leah shines - Yes she has every right to be Angry as Hell.

    But she gives Geordi a second chance - but very very tentatively acting cool and professional and saying "If you would like a suggestion.."

    And when working on the Problem - she "Nerds out" with Geordi if I may borrow a phrase: [ Stage Direction: She's drawn in, curious...she's lost her icy demeanor.]


    So at the end we have two highly intelligent, eminently awkward people, attempting to bury the hatchet so to speak and try something akin to a friendship.

    Is it perfect? Hell no...

    But I think this is where I will stand up a little higher and speak professionally for a second: Human Relationships are Never Perfect Nor Completely Rational - not now and not in the 24th Century.

    If these things always made sense, hell, i'd be out of a job. ;-)

    As for Virtual Leah/Real Leah - i'll make a conjecture.

    The Psych Metrics were correct - because Psych Metrics are usually about the Internal State of a Person. Internal states aren't always expressed. Virtual Leah doesn't carry on her the strain, stress, and problems of everyday life. She does not truly feel the disappointments, the failures, and the things that can make us all crabby and put up Walls.

    I like your read. I’m generally not a huge fan of this episode, although precisely because it’s cringeworthy. Personally I don’t think Geordi would have made it to a senior role with his relationship issues. Psych evals would have revealed this blind spot long ago.

    It was an interesting read (I never noticed the casual sexism in the dialogue about poor childless Ice Queen Leah mothering her designs), but at the end of the day, I don't believe that one of the brightest minds in the Federation (female or male) would apologize for overreacting (after meeting their fantasy avatar on the holodeck).

    It's beyond implausible to me.

    “I don't believe that one of the brightest minds in the Federation (female or male) would apologize for overreacting”

    Being the bigger person and apologizing to diffuse a tense situation isn’t a bad thing. I see a lot fights break out on the internet where everyone likes to be right and have the last say, but it takes a certain maturity o step back and say, “I understand your position”. Leah here is probably totally in the right to react the way she did, and yet — she recognizes that the peaceful solution is to make amends. She can be right and still be sympathetic to Geordi’s awkwardness, can’t she?

    They are in a quasi-military organization, not at a campfire workshop about feelings.

    She has the absolute right AND DUTY to expect professionalism.

    I don't care what anyone says, no one should have to apologize to someone who is sexually harassing them just to smoothe things over, especially at WORK!

    @Dave, I mostly agree and don't really find Leah's apology believable. However, regarding the specific point about the quasi-military organization, she is not part of Starfleet -- she's an outside-contractor non-Starfleet engineer/scientist. I don't think we're supposed to see her reaction as representative of how internal Starfleet matters are supposed to go, and I think that's part also of why Geordi behaves as he does (not with the hologram, I mean, the casual approach to dating, because she's totally outside the chain of command).

    I appreciate the thoughtful reply.

    I guess, to me, it strikes me as being no different than harassing someone working for a vendor partner. I mean, she heads the design team of the most advanced starship in the Federation, she's not there to water the plants.

    And, even if she WAS just watering the plants, her position in society/ Starfleet should have no bearing on how she's treated.

    You know what would've made this episode SO much more realistic?

    After the apology, they should've shown her walk into the transporter room alone and tell Chief O'Brien "I'm ready to go". Before the transporter initializes, Leah gives a little shudder as she exhales deeply and says "energize".

    “After the apology, they should've shown her walk into the transporter room alone and tell Chief O'Brien "I'm ready to go". Before the transporter initializes, Leah gives a little shudder as she exhales deeply and says "energize".”

    See, I think that would be a very dystopian way to end a show that tries to be optimistic. I appreciate that you feel like there’s a grave injustice in this episode and Leah should feel violated as a co-worker. Indeed, there’s an interesting discussion above how if this were our time, Geordi would be facing sexual harassment charges, a possible lawsuit, and suspension of duty. Though your mileage may very whether that’s actually a “good result” based on interactions in this episode.

    I think the problem with portraying Leah too much in the right is that we’re missing out on some of the innocent context from “Booby Trap” that led to this awkward situation. LaForge is what, guilty of building up his expectations too high and making Leah uncomfortable with his advances? Should men worry about pursuing their colleagues lest they face the wrath of the Federation HR system?

    Flirting and courtship are *always* awkward and part of the fun of courtship is things *could* go disastrously wrong. But there’s a chance things will go right and maybe it’s worth HR consequences or what have you at the chance something good and real could materialize from the courtship.

    I mean yeah, Geordi is a brilliant engineer who saved the enterprise countless times with his genius. And yeah, he had no power over Leah, did not assault or even harm her, other than making her feel awkward momentarily.

    But he should never have advanced to chief engineer because of his awkwardness with women (his talent as an engineer be damned), and Leah (rather than kindly apologizing to be the big person even though she didn't have to) should have pressed a sex harassment claim, gotten him good and fired and told him to rot in hell to boot. Because that's what good people do to make the world a better place.

    Truly we are the ones living in the utopia. What a horror the 24th century is.

    He MADE OUT WITH A FACSIMILE OF HER and then used the biographical tidbits learned from that facsimile to try to rope the "real her" in.

    He also lied when he angrily said he was "just offering friendship". He WANTED her, and not in a merely friendly way.


    He did? I don't remember that scene...

    What? Haven't you seen Booby Trap?

    Just watched it last week. Don't recall a makeout scene - would be especially weird if there was one given they had 1 hour to save the ship from radiation death...

    "Every time you touch it, it's me"

    Who would have a problem with an engineer doing his little sex fantasy on a work computer? And a woman having a problem with being portrayed like that, spied on... Grow up lady! All men do it.
    Just think about Riker's sex stuff ... or Worf's *shudders*. Geordie is having a little "fun" with his little robot. Perfectly innocent. He is a 30 year old man with a copy of his love interest which would do everything he desires. What is he supposed to do?!

    It obviously has to lead to.
    "Every time you touch it, it's me"
    Man, I'm trying to come up with a situation where this doesn't sound kinky...

    PS: They probably should have a look at Wesley's programs to while they are at it.


    Interesting, like Abby, I think I do like this episode (paired with Booby Trap) a lot precisely -because- it is cringeworthy. I think all Art (and yes, I just called Star Trek art) tends to be -provocative-, especially science fiction and the dramatic situation of this episode stirs emotions in people, it has done its job.

    I suppose it kind of falls on where you stand in terms of Gene Roddenberry's vision. Truth be told, while i'm quite sympathetic to it i'm more in line with the DS9 head writers take on the Future - Striving for Utopia, yet acknowledging cynical realities.

    Re: Psych Evals - to be honest with you Dougie…. at least in Real Life... these things don't tend to pick up on certain character traits or problems either in the military or in private industry ( there's that job security for me again! ;-) ).

    I stand by my initial statement: People, in general, are exceedingly complicated in terms of their wants, desires, motivations, and dreams. And competency or expertise in a field such as Robotics or Quantum Physics does not correlate directly with emotional development.....even among the best and brightest of us.


    On more note: I once had the opportunity a while back to speak with Susan Gibney, the actress who portrayed Leah Brahms, at a convention.

    I'm not really a convention goer (and no it wasn't even a Star Trek related one), but several of my friends are - so its more of an excuse for me to see them and hang out so to speak.

    I asked Ms. Gibney (who I think was doing more other TV series related things at the time - she's on Crossing Jordan btw) what her take on it was.

    She said something rather interesting, if I recall correctly it was something like - "I always imagined that there was some other thing that was driving the character's mood. Did you notice the number of times she was taking "phone calls" from her husband?"

    I got interested in that comment and went back to Original Script and Stage Directions again - there's a small comment that never made it into the episode where she does in fact compare Geordi to her husband as being quite similar in behaviors/ways of thinking. There's also a tantalizing missing piece of Stage Direction that accompanies this....and occurs right before she has to take her "call" again.

    Ms. Gibney also commented that she was supposed to appear in Star Trek Nemesis, attending Riker and Troi's wedding as Leah Brahms being Geordi's wedding date with....more tantalizing Dialogue with Geordi. Of course, Geordi by Nemesis was a very different person and so would Leah Brahms be as well.

    Such are the Trials and Gifts bestowed by Age and Time.

    Unfortunately, she had committed to another project concurrent with the shoot, although she'd be up for a cameo (she's apparently got a very good repoire with the Trek Admin people)

    Booming I just watched Booby Trap recently. When she made that comment she had literally been conjured by Geordie minutes earlier in an emergency, purely based on public information. We see it happen on the screen. The computer says that. Geordie didn't program her as some kind of fantasy.

    This claim that Geordie created the hologram *as a sex fantasy* is false.

    So this whole idea that Geordie had been using the hologram in that fashion is false. If he did it surely didn't happen in Booby Trap because he was racing to save his crew from imminent death and it was impossible for him to do that nor would anyone in the face of impending death.

    Now it could have happened later - anything is possible. But why would you go out of your way to assume the worst about anyone, especially a fictional character? Why are you and others so invested in spinning Geordie's behaviour (even to the point of falsely stating what happened on screen) to make it horrible and creepy?

    @Jason R

    I think it would be appropriate to chop this up a little bit as to where the offense may lay:

    1.) One can be offended by the -writers- presenting a certain type of situation that a viewer may find displeasing.

    2.) One can be offended by the actions of the characters within the context of the world they are living in.

    Its Reasonable to assume that the writers were attempting to develop a kind of Story-Arc for Geordi, which actually goes beyond these two Episodes and could arguably be fit into the relationship between Geordi and Christy Henshaw. Remember, Christy is the girl who rejected him at the beginning of "Booby Trap"?

    We should also look at Geordi by the time of the episode of "Transfigurations", where he seems to be progressing in that relationship and is noted by Riker to be a lot more confident not only around women but just in general....

    But to get from Point A (Booby Trap) to Point B (Transfigurations) they had to put him through the ringer - he had to make Errors.

    This is why I think the Leah Brahms arc is important, because the whole scenario forces Geordi on the path of being a better person - the type of person who could attract Christy Henshaw...

    The type of person who by the time of Nemesis has become a writer (do you remember in Galaxy's Child, how he said he couldn't write) - ie: surpassing a perceived limitation, as well as becoming more competent and confident in himself.

    …..and if i'm to believe two fictional novels and 1 actress, he's become the type of person Dr. Leah Brahms -would- want to date. It just took him about 7-8 years to grow in that direction and deal with life changing events like...… the Borg, Data/Lore Trying to Kill Everyone, a couple Universe-ending time paradoxes, more Borg, etc. etc.

    The offense seems to emanate from the scenario. I mean, to be honest, Galaxy's Child is pretty cringeworthy, but acceptable due to dramatic license. As a 3rd Party Viewer, there's a kind of comedic element to the scene where Geordi walks in on Brahms. Much of the commentary I see from the young-ins is "This is the equivalent of your girlfriend or wife looking through your web-browsing history."

    While that might be overstated, it does point to the fact that Leah got to see a bit of Geordi's mind as well. I'm not trying to imply anything untoward as some folks in this thread have done - that off-camera Geordi was getting it on with Porn Star Leah or something.

    Rather, throughout the episode you could tell she was kind of quizzically confused as to how Geordi knew things about her. Sometimes it provoked her defensiveness, other times it made her soften.

    And upon finding it, she obviously initially assumed the worst For that moment, it was a reasonable assumption (and comedy gold for the viewer). We have already established the character as being a person with a private and somewhat curt exterior.


    It the denouement that pisses off people because to some it appears that "Geordi got away with it"..... although I would contend otherwise.... as I've stated (as Guinan stated no less), Geordi had to dump a lot of his preconceived notions. Otherwise he won't progress to being Geordi a la "Transfigurations"

    If this were a plot where Geordi and Brahms were teenagers, I think people would be more forgiving to be honest.


    I would like to echo a comment, made in 2013 by forum user Grumpy higher up in the thread.

    I think the writers dropped the ball on exploring something that occurred in Booby Trap, which could have been tied into Galaxy's Child.

    The issue being "Dream Leah" was a combination of the Psych Metrics of Leah Brahms as a personality template.... AND the Computer.

    Is the Computer sentient? Hell - its created Sentient Beings (Moriarty) and could such a sentience develop a capacity to care for the person who knows it intimately.

    "Dream Leah" is aware its a program - it said as much when she and Geordi were trying to figure out how to get out of the trap.

    It also puts a different context on the last phrase "Everytime you touch it, its me."

    The Problem with taking this route is:

    1.) You end up with the Ship's Computer being like the Doctor on Voyager.

    2.) Think about how Geordi's character arc will go now.

    Geordi fails with real women, so now he dates a virtual one?

    Can this be considered progress? Is this desirable?

    I mean - in the Real World we live in an age where people are eschewing real relationships for Virtual Ones (I read an article where two folks were dating from 16-24, even though they had only met each other for 21 minutes in real life) or turning toward Sex Bots.

    Part of this also makes me wonder if the message that this would send would be: "Socially inept people don't bother with trying to fix your social life. Go make out with your computer."

    :shrug: Time will tell.

    Although now I have a thought. If we in the 21st century have to deal with things like DeepFake Videos (especially DeepFake Porn), I don't see how its conceivably possible to regulate Holodeck Programs to do the same thing.

    And hence one of the reasons why Quark Stays in in Business I guess....

    In "Sarek", Wesley called out Geordi in a negative way for messing around with holo-Leah, the implication being that his dalliance was common knowledge and the crew frowned upon it.

    Dave, you’re reaching now. Wesley never mentioned Leah and just insinuated LaForge needs the holodeck to meet women.

    Even assuming Wesley meant Leah, though, Geordi and Wesley are friends and he probably shared what happened in “Booby Trap” to Wes in confidence.

    @Jason R

    “Why are you and others so invested in spinning Geordie's behaviour (even to the point of falsely stating what happened on screen) to make it horrible and creepy?”

    Probably typical white-knighting. I’m sure if we gender-swapped Geordi/Leah and had a woman create a man to help her with engineering problems in a holodeck, no one would say boo.

    Why would Geordi, his superior, tell a teenager about his dating life? An implausible assumption.


    Geordi and Wesley are friends and moreover fellow engineering nerds. Friends share information with each other they don’t share with others. Friends don’t need to be the same age. And if you watched “Sarek”, much of dealt with *hidden feelings* bubbling to the surface.


    "Probably typical white-knighting. I’m sure if we gender-swapped Geordi/Leah and had a woman create a man to help her with engineering problems in a holodeck, no one would say boo. "

    Funny you should mention that...

    Ron Randall wrote a story which turned into a comic book.....

    @ Jason R.
    Let's recap. Geordie hears that Leah is watching his program and immediately rushes to the holodeck. There we see Leah and dream Leah. Dream Leah says stuff like:"I'm with you every day, Geordie. Every time you look at this engine, you are looking at me. Every time you touch it, it's me."

    Why does he run to the holodeck if he knows that there is nothing to worry about? The computer created a useful program to solve a tough situation.

    Why does he run?
    Because he knows that it is embarrassing if not more.

    Geordie doesn't have a sexual partner. So how does he deal with that? Does he get injections that suppress his needs? Are these people still human?

    " But why would you go out of your way to assume the worst about anyone, especially a fictional character? Why are you and others so invested in spinning Geordie's behaviour (even to the point of falsely stating what happened on screen) to make it horrible and creepy?"

    Out of my way??
    What did I state falsely??
    And why do you feel the need to insinuate that I have some ulterior motive while you are defending the person that did something objectively wrong?? Why do you feel the need to defend such behavior?

    @ Jack
    If I'm white knighting what are you? Pillaging Vikings?
    And no, I would find it as problematic with a gender swap. Having a copy of a desired person making sexually suggestive comments and whatnot.

    Has nobody seen USS Callister?!


    In regards to the Black Mirror episode you cited, I think that's a good foil for the situation.

    It's incredibly easy for us to indict Robert Daly for his actions because we see the concrete steps he's taken to create/torture the artificial intelligence he has generated.

    If you start from the very top of this comments section and read all the way down, what you often see are assumptions made as to how that last line in Booby Trap came about.

    We don't see any clear intentionality on the part of Geordi that equals what Robert Daly committed. In fact, if you sum up the textual evidence (Script, Screenplay, Commentaries by directo and cast) we have, it points to a serendipitous occurrence (i.e.: the Computer did it) - as I said before this is the Space Version of the Greek Legend Pygmalion.

    This doesn't rob the embarrassing tone of the incident (theres a reason why that portion of the episode is copied multiple times as videos on YouTube, most people who don't even follow Trek just like the dramatic situation - a Kin to the type of drama people get from reality tv dating shows), but at the same time there is no further evidence to suggest Geordi did anything untoward with that Program after the events of Booby Trap.

    If he did, Real Leah Brahms would have been able to play-back. Instead, the last tidbit we see is the last line from Booby Trap.

    My take, on a few points:

    Geordi's original creation of the Leah program was innocent enough. His continuing to converse with her only rather than his whole staff, in Booby Trap, is partly because he was caught in his own "Booby Trap," in keeping with the episode's theme -- caught in the thrall of technology and only eventually realizing he needed to get out (and thus back out into reality). It was related to his character flaws and the episode's theme, but in a way that wasn't indicative of a huge transgression. That said, you know, he and fake-Leah did kiss. I wouldn't call it "making out" exactly but they definitely kissed, and it's clear that there's a romantic tinge to it. I will have to watch the last scene again but I don't think Geordi exactly pulls away from the kiss, although it's one that is followed by him ending the program. I don't personally think Geordi turned on the program between BT and GC. However, I always took it that Wesley *was* talking about the Leah hologram and Booby Trap, in Sarek. We know that Geordi references "[falling] in love in there once" to Barclay re the Holodeck in Hollow Pursuits. I suppose Wesley could have been talking about Geordi taking dates to the holodeck, but I find that unlikely because the holodeck is one of the main possible locations on the ship for a date (we usually hear people going on dates to the holodeck, Ten-Forward or the arboretum).

    His behaviour toward Leah in Galaxy's Child is weird, in that he keeps bringing up personal facts about her that he shouldn't know and then lies about where he got it. When Leah finds the program, with the "when you're touching the engines, you're touching me," coupled with his awkward asking her out in a Jeffries Tube, his pushing for dinner, etc. -- all his signs of pushing for a romantic connection well before they've established they even know each other -- I think her thinking the worst is not surprising. So that's why I don't think she should *apologize*. Maybe in the 24th century behaviour is better so there'd be no reason to think the worst, but the thing is, I think from Leah's POV it certainly would be hard to fathom how he could have become romantically interested in her without knowing her while having a hologram talking about touching her every time he touches the engines and for it to have an innocent explanation. Geordi's "I offered you friendship" speech seems to me to be very disingenuous, because he clearly wanted to date Leah. I'm not saying this was some creepy predatory motive, but it's not the same as Geordi trying to bond with Hugh.

    I don't think it's wrong for Leah to eventually accept that Geordi's behaviour was relatively well-intentioned and to forgive him, and maybe accept that they could be friends. I think she just decided to smooth things over, also. It's fairly believable to me that she would just try to make their conflict stop, especially since it might be worth trying a different strategy with Geordi. I don't know if that's the good way to go. The thing is, there is a big gap between Leah apologizing (as is what happens) and, as Jason suggests as the alternative, getting Geordi fired. Those are not the only two options. Leah could just say, "This was very weird to me. Let's just keep this professional from now on," for example, without trying to press charges or remove Geordi from his job. I'm not really sure exactly how Leah should have dealt with it. I think the main issue with the episode is not in-story but from a writer's perspective, where Maurice Hurley -- whom apparently Gates McFadden quit the show because she felt threatened by -- writes this ending where the woman apologizes to the guy and realizes she was wrong to be offended, etc., etc. In-story, I don't know, whatever. It seems kind of excessive to me for Leah to apologize, but I think it's believable and I think it was probably good for her to try to take the leap of faith that Geordi's behaviour was well-intentioned and awkward. I wouldn't have minded if she'd stayed angry, though. That's not to say I think she should have destroyed his career or anything like that.

    In terms of the episode's intent, I think FutureQ gets it right (and I enjoyed FutureQ's elaborate thoughts on the episode!). I think this is meant to be a learning experience for Geordi, and possibly even for Leah. As a Geordi episode it's probably okay, if we restrict it to Geordi POV; because it's his POV, it's hard to get a read on what Leah is actually going through. Which is fine, I guess. I remember feeling Geordi's behaviour was over the top last time I watched it, but I might be misremembering.

    Doesn't the holodeck usually restart a program where it's left off?

    I always thought Geordi had already created a playback file that he'd watch from time to time ... and that Leah happened to start it near the end because Geordi had already time-stamped it.

    And imagine being in her shoes.

    Skipping through hours of footage, watching this 10% incorrect version of yourself sharing your intimate details, parading about in a sick pantomime of yourself as your copy grows romantically close to a guy you thought was a stranger.

    It's really perverse.

    If I had the ability to rewrite this episode (or insert another Leah Brahms episode was planned), I would have still framed it as a growth/development story for Geordi but with a twist - Virtual Leah vs. Real Leah.

    Things off the top my head:

    1.) A quizzical looking Picard doing a "Captain's Log, Supplemental: Our ship's Computer seems to have come into an altercation with my Chief Engineer"

    2.) Pick up on those unused threads about Leah Brahms. Perhaps Dr. Brahms marriage is in a very very fragile place, and she's dealing with a husband who is having trouble coping with the success of his wife (she's further up the food chain at the Daystrom Institute).

    This isn't that much of reach - I've actually had to deal with situations like this in real life. But it does give us dramatic license to show why Brahms' is a bit curt/short with people. She's under pressure.

    3.) Virtual Leah receives a system error - this isn't like Moriarty, this is a Terminator you can't unplug. She's very supportive of Geordi...….which starts to veer into the realm of protective...possessive.

    4.) We Keep the Scene - Because as I said, its just pure gold.

    5.) Real Leah finds her self-trapped in the Holodeck with Virtual Leah who has gone Rampant.

    6.) Geordi get's his Sophie's Choice moment, The Fantasy vs. The Reality. He's learnt his lesson though - he apologizes to Real Leah and protects her before being critically injured by Rampant Virtual Leah who is eventually defeated by a combination of his own actions, Data, and Wesley.

    (And now we have a reason for Wesley to make that comment during Sarek).

    7.) The fact that Real Leah is able to see the true character of La Forge, allows her to forgive him (because I think Sacrificing one's self is a good enough apology wouldn't you all agree?).

    8.) And we can throw back that line in from the original script

    LEAH: My husband? His name is Michael [I'd change it to Levar, after Geordi's actor name]... he's an engineer on Garran-four...
    (beat)... you'd like him.

    GEORDI: I'm sure...

    LEAH: You remind me of him actually. [Addition: When we were younger.....before....before...]

    [Invented Stage Direction: Nostalgic tension, there is an extreme wistfulness in her voice...a longing for a happier time.....]

    And we interrupt with the "Phone Call" - Worf patches it through.... it Rings....

    They stare at each other.... it Rings... it Rings....

    LEAH: [Invented Dialogue: I have to go.... its my husband]


    Main Point: We keep the Awkwardness of the Encounter (that's the point of the Episode!) We just resolve it better.

    We hammer home the Fantasy vs. Reality issue, we show a more fully developed Leah Brahms, we show a Geordi who has learned.

    We have Comedic Gold in the form of the Scene, and also the fact that Wesley and Picard know that.... Geordi's Virtual Girlfriend almost Doomed the Enterprise ;-). That wouldn't be common knowledge though, I rather like the idea of Wesley holding it over Geordi's head every so often.

    Finally, it also.... it makes Leah's planned appearance in Star Trek Nemesis as Geordi's girlfriend to Riker/Troi's wedding make more sense. We see two very mature figures at that time, whose personalities have settled, who have learned to forgive, and who may have found a spark of something... a hint of happiness.. in the decade or so from the first encounter.

    @William B

    We’ve discussed this one a lot and I’m with you here. Geordi does a bunch of creepy stuff, but we know Geordi and “Booby Trap” so we’re sort of in on the joke.

    I think that, by design, this plays as cringeworthy blind dating and we’re supposed to laugh and cry at Geordi’s problems. I don’t know if many remember 90s dating shows, but many of them were guilty pleasures like this episode where we’d just watch dates go bad and occasionally there would be a “winner”.

    I really like FutureQ’s thoughts on seeing this from Leah’s perspective. And although I enjoy this one, I think the lack of info on her end and the apology scene as depicted blocks this from getting much higher than 3 stars in my book.

    The one place where I might depart from others is holodeck recreation which is private time as far as I’m concerned. Sure, what Barkley did was overboard - but a little fantasy life, even about people you know, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Knowing how to set limits and walk away, which was a great message from “Hollow Pursuits” is, I think, the key to enjoying that type of recreation respectfully.

    The question still remains. Is there masturbation in the 24th century. How do they do it? Or what about toilets. Is the food so efficient that nothing remains?? What if you eat something at a planet. Do you need to see Dr. Crusher. I digress.

    What I also didn't like about that episode that it had this very old trope of the stuck up woman who just needs to chill.

    Maybe it is different in the 24th century and yeah we know Geordie. I didn't even remember a kiss. And again why was he running...

    Gathering information about someone, lying about it and all that other stuff. It is just not ok.

    Think about a friend telling you that he has gathered lots of information about a desired person then used that information to trick her/him into a date admitting that he lied to her/him about it while also mentioning that he occasionally uses a program where she/he makes sexually suggestive comments in a flirtatious voice. Would you say: Oh, that's great buddy! or would you say: Wtf man are you crazy?! I call this the Weinstein test.

    @William B

    “I think the main issue with the episode is not in-story but from a writer's perspective, where Maurice Hurley -- whom apparently Gates McFadden quit the show because she felt threatened by”

    I wanted to address this, because it’s the type of slander I’ve been talking about that I see in these discussions. For the record, Hurley had already left the show by season two and Jeri Taylor (yes, a woman) rewrote this episode before it aired. Additionally, McFadden didn’t leave the show, Hurley didn’t like her acting so he *fired* her. It wasn’t until after Hurley left that Berman hired her back.

    Regarding the Call for "Realism" in this episode -

    The more I think about it, the more I find it to be an incredibly strange objection. If only because the numerous times the Narrative has been chosen over Realism for the sake of telling a SciFi story.

    Again, it depends on whether or not you buy into Roddenberry's vision of the future, but I will point out one glaring issue with the idea of a moralistic efficiently run Starfleet.

    Namely: The Presence of Elim Garak on DS9.

    Garak was one of the most beloved showrunners, hell I like the character myself. Witty, charming, mysterious, and sarcastically comical.

    He's also possiblely the main character with the most blood-soaked hands in all of Trekdom. Remember, "protégé of Enabran Tain, high ranking member of the Obsidian Order, spymaster, torturer of Bajoran Children, etc etc."

    Cardassians, with their militaristic society, with their occupation and concentration camps (we all remember that stunning award wining episode "Duet", where Kira is interrogating the supposed "Butcher of Gallitep"), etc. etc.

    I mean... let's call a duck a duck.. They are as close in Trekdom as you get to Space Nazis.

    That makes Garak an Ex-Space Nazi.... not only an Ex-Space Nazi, but an Ex-Space Nazi who was a high ranking member of the SS.

    So you have this Ex-SS Space Nazi....working as a tailor.... on a Federation-run space station...…

    Realism? Really? Because if I were to translate that into real life, that would be the equivalent of an Ex-Nazi SS Officer deciding to be a tailor on an American base in say... Israel...

    In Real Life, someone like Garak would have been either assassinated by Israeli Mossad OR would have been interrogated by the Americans and (assuming they needed him) would probably be shipped to a Mid-western state where he would be monitored and checked-in on every so often.

    Instead - he's at a critical point in space, abutting the border of a hostile power, one that he used to be a member of the Ruling Elite....

    Again... is this Realism?

    FURTHERMORE, the way he is written and the way he is acted, the audience develops Empathy for our little Cardassian….who is a liar, thief, murderer, and actively took part in the genocide of a species.

    The reason is because we see he goes through an Story Arc of Redemption. Its painful, haunting, and let's face it by the end of it - Garak has lost everything.

    In the Real World, someone like Garak would have been tried at Nuremberg, or would have ended up like Rudolph Eichmann at brought to Israel.

    But the reason why we can tolerate this is - Garak is Fictional.

    And hence why I say, the call for "realism" is very odd depending on the context. Unless of course you think War Criminals from an Opposing Power walking around a military base is a normal thing.

    :shrug: I leave this in your hands Americans.


    Fair enough. I didn't do my research on this point and should not have been so careless re Hurley.

    Is realism the opposite of implausibility?

    Whatever the antonym is, that's what I wished the episode did.

    I want to point out that Cardassia or the Cardassian Union isn't Nazi Germany. It is more like a late stage Soviet Union. I thought that was pretty obvious.

    "Hurley had already left the show by season two and Jeri Taylor (yes, a woman) rewrote this episode before it aired."

    Wasn't he the showrunner until the end of season 2. And why is it relevant that the episode was partly rewritten by (yes, a woman)? We don't know how it was changed. Maybe it was far worse before it was rewritten. Maybe it wasn't.

    If you look through the 186 or so comments that have been written - there's a trend of thought that "Geordi should have lost his job/never made it to his position due to his weirdness."

    And it seems that what gives a warrant to this viewpoint is this weird idealized state of how Starfleet operates. And that's what i'm finding to be implausible - Starfleet isn't a perfect organization.

    But let's run with Plausability for a second:

    Season 3 Episodes 66 and 67 (Improbable Cause and The Die is Cast) of DS9 starts with Odo attempting to figure out who tried to assassinate Garak who's shop was just blown up. Odo hates Garak, Garak hates Odo, but we go on this weird "buddy" adventure till we arrive at the Romulans...and Enabrin Tain.

    So SS Space Himmler (Enabrin) decides to offer Garak his old job back...… this results in.

    1.) Ex-SS Space Nazi agreeing with SS Space Himmler that he will rejoin the Space Nazis.

    2.) SS Space Nazi proceeds to Torture Odo

    So let's think about that - Garak just rejoined the Space Nazis (betraying the Federation) and has decided that the appropriate course of action is Torture the Person who was Trying to Figure out who Garak's possible Assassin was.

    3.) Everything of course goes to hell, because Changelings... Our Lovable SS Space Nazi is trying to save Dear Old Dad from impending doom, and they are going to die..... until Odo saves his life, gets him on a transport, and on the way back forgives Garak.

    Result: Next Episode is Business as Usual .

    Let's Process that for a Second:

    An enemy combatant (he did rejoin the Space Nazis), who tortured an associated Starfleet Personnel, goes back to the Federation.....and nothing happens to him. He literally goes back to the whole information trading/assassination/luring a foreign power into a war/etc.


    More importantly - perhaps i'm going out on a limb here, but I would think that if all of you feel that Leah Brahms has the right to be Angry with Geordi, Odo has the Right to be Angry with Garak from now until the End of Time. Because...

    1.) He's only on this stupid mission because he was trying to help Garak.
    2.) Garak betrayed the Greater Interplanetary Institution that has been sheltering him, which Odo believes in.
    3.) His "reward" was getting the Changeling equivalent of being Waterboarded, Electrocuted, and having his Finger Nails Ripped out.

    Look, I don't want to impose my own moral viewpoint on anyone - but where I come from, War Criminal Activity/Betrayal of the Nation just ranks a little bit higher than purely domestic issues such as sexual harassment, theft, etc. Crimes happen by Degrees. Stealing a stick of gum is a little bit different from a robbing the Federal Reserve.

    But I dunno, like I said, maybe you all think about this differently - you can educate me on it.

    So I don't think anyone has an objection to Odo being absolutely Livid with Garak… know, because the whole Torture thing (we can put aside Treason issue for now).

    But - not only does Odo save his Life (he could have left him to do die with Space Himmler), he also forgives Garak.

    He forgives Garak, because one of the underlying themes of both their Journeys is the Inability to Return Home. Despite their vastly different characters, Odo is capable of finding a Single Point of Kinship with the Man who just tried Torture the Crap out of him.

    Odo wants to go home. But he can't.
    Garak wants to go home - or as he told the Doctor when his implant failed:

    ..because back in Space Nazi Land, Garak had it all.

    So... is Odo's forgiveness of Garak Plausible?

    Because, if I were translate this into Real Life - this is the equivalent of an ex-member of ISIS, teaming up with a CIA or MI-6 agent, going to find a cell, only to be readmitted back into ISIS, proceeds to Torture the CIA agent, it all goes to hell, and the ex-ISIS member and the CIA agent riding off into the sunset with the CIA agent saying "What's a little torture between friends? Why don't you join me for breakfast tomorrow?"

    ……..yeah...….umm.. going to have to say no to that one.


    However, Odo's forgiveness of Garak seems to be channeling that "Rodenberry Utopianism" (it has to be...because of the Torture) - that even if the world is a generally crappy and horrible place - there is still Hope, even among people who have done terrible terrible life altering crimes against others.

    We see this again also in Kira's Interaction with the person she believes to be Gul Darheel in Season 1, Episode 19 - "Duet." Specifically at the end.

    I don't see these outcomes as being Plausible. They are highly implausible when reflected against what would probably occur in the real world.

    So... looking at Leah Brahms/Geordi's situation. When folks say that Leah Brahms would have never forgiven Geordi - i'm forced to cognize this into one of two options:

    1.) Folks are stating that what happened to Leah Brahms is worse than what happened to Odo. ie: Facsimile of Image > War Crimes/Treason/Torture.

    Again - i'm not here to judge your personal moral codes. Just, from where I come from, the War Crimes/Treason thing is on a much higher tier. But, you do you.

    2.) The character of Leah Brahms lacks personal depth that would incline her toward humanism and "Rodenberry Utopianism" that someone like Picard, Kira, Odo, Data, Tuvok, Janeway, Crusher etc. partake of.

    That's perfectly fine, we've seen characters in the Federation and Starfleet who just kinda pay lip service to that all of that anyway.

    Some people just can't forgive - Captain Maxwell in episode "The Wounded" went on a Vendetta against the Cardassians for the death of his wife and child. He brought the Federation to the brink of war, "justifying" his actions against the Cardassians as an attempt to "save the Federation" to Picard.

    Does Maxwell have ever right to be angry with the Cardassians for the death of his wife and child? Wouldn't you be?

    Was he right about the Cardassian plot of building a "science station" that was actually a forward military base - Yep.

    But what did Picard do?

    ["One more thing Gul Macet: "Maxwell was right, those ships were not carrying scientific equipment were they? A 'research station' within arms reach of three Federation sectors? Cargo Ships running with high energy subspace fields that jam sensors?

    Gul Macet: "If you believed the transport ship was carrying weapons captain, why didn't you board it as Maxwell requested?"

    Picard: "I was here to Protect the Peace. A peace that I firmly believe is in the interest of both our peoples. If I had attempted to board that ship, i'm quite certain that you and I would not be having this pleasant conversation and that ships on both sides would now be arming for war."]

    Maxwell lacked that "Rodenberry Utopianism," Jean-Luc Picard is the Freaking Moral Center of his Ship... the very best that the Federation and Starfleet could produce.

    I would like to think of Leah Brahms to be more in that Picard Column than Maxwell's - otherwise it seems like you'd be impoverishing her character.

    But hey, I've made my arguments, done my due diligence, did my research.

    Choice is yours at the end of the day.


    Oh, my mistake, I was basing my interpretation of what several the Writers have stated in the Past.

    [Director Winrich Kolbe stated about the Cardassians, "They're the Prussians of the universe, always 'kill, kill, kill.'" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 22) On the other hand, episodes such as DS9: "Duet" and "Return to Grace" used the Cardassians as metaphors for the Nazis (with the Bajorans representing Jews)]

    I mean - Duet is basically a callback to the Holocaust. Gul Darheel's "Butcher of Gallitep" title and character were modeled off the notorious Amon Goth, the real-world of Krakow. Hence the performance below:


    I'd love to see your sources though regarding the Post-Soviet Interpretation, would you be kind enough to post and share with the group?

    The fact remains though - the Federation had a War Criminal/Ex-Member of one of the most loathsome Intelligence agencies in the alpha quadrant running around their facilities.....

    Doesn't change my point - we can shift this to "Ex-KGB officer who decided to become a tailor and work on An American Base..." its still pretty unrealistic.

    "Think about a friend telling you that he has gathered lots of information about a desired person then used that information to trick her/him into a date admitting that he lied to her/him about it while also mentioning that he occasionally uses a program where she/he makes sexually suggestive comments in a flirtatious voice. Would you say: Oh, that's great buddy! or would you say: Wtf man are you crazy?! "

    Your scenario is too vague to be of much use since we have no idea what "personal information" you are even talking about. But since we are talking about an episode where we know Geordie used publicly available information from Brahm's debate performances and had zero access to non public info I am going to assume your scenario involves something comparable like Facebook rather than, say, illegal hacking or surveillance. So our hypothetical has our "creep" using his knowledge of your posting about loving cheese to entice you on a date with a cheese plate?

    As to the "program" I don't know what the real world analog to this would even be. Fantasizing? Digitally altering an explicit video to insert someone's face?

    Again also not analagous because Geordie didn't program the computer to talk to him suggestively - the line that was used as an example was made *spontaneously* by the computer, in a manner that was almost certainly inadvertent in its suggestiveness. That was the joke - in essence the booby trap as someone mentioned earlier.It was bordering on comedy of errors. We have no evidence that Geordie did something sexual with the hologram.

    So again, what? Gratifying himself to publicly posted pics of you in a bathing suit?

    I can tell you that if someone did that to me I'd be 1) Flattered 2) Creeped out and 3) Feeling pity for the person who is so socially inept.

    I think my reaction is normal although I will concede different people would probably have different levels of 1-2-3. For me the "creep" factor would be pretty minimal.

    What I wouldn't be is trying to think of ways to destroy someone who has done me zero actual harm save maybe make me feel a bit awkward or "creeped" me out momentarily. Even if he worked in the same company as me.... so? Is this supposed to be my boss or a close colleague? Cause Geordi was neither to Brahm - they worked in different star systems lol.

    But in answer to your question, I'd be concerned about my friend to be sure. What would *you* do pray tell? Call the police, get him fired from his job and thrown in prison? Bravo. You sir are the hallmark of our evolved society lol. Truly 2019 is the utopian age.

    @ Future Q
    "1.) Folks are stating that what happened to Leah Brahms is worse than what happened to Odo. ie: Facsimile of Image > War Crimes/Treason/Torture."
    Who said that???
    Also, you cannot compare Odo to a Human. We have no idea how he deals with emotions or what emotions he actually has. Admittedly, he is presented as emotionally Human. We shouldn't forget that Odo sent innocent to their death and worked for the Cardassians and it isn't treason not even really a betrayal because Odo never trusted him. The torture is bad enough, though.

    To your other post.
    "Director Winrich Kolbe stated about the Cardassians, "They're the Prussians of the universe, always 'kill, kill, kill.' That is obviously a very inaccurate description of Prussia. Prussia took part in more or less 16 wars during it's 170 years existence. The US has since its founding participated in far more than 50 wars, most of which they started (I stopped counting around 1870 and didn't even count military interventions).

    "On the other hand, episodes such as DS9: "Duet" and "Return to Grace" used the Cardassians as metaphors for the Nazis (with the Bajorans representing Jews)"
    No. The Cardassians treated the Bajorans more like subjugated people like the USA and the Native Americans or the soviet russification treated people in the Caucasus . Nazi Germany tried to annihilate the Jews in giant death industries. I guarantee you, if Nazi Germany would have ruled Europe for 50 years there wouldn't have been a single Jew left.

    " Duet is basically a callback to the Holocaust. Gul Darheel's "Butcher of Gallitep" title and character were modeled off the notorious Amon Goth"
    Was he? We also don't know that much about what happened there because we only hear vague descriptions and Maritza is obviously not reliable. You could easily find people in Stalinist Russia who committed comparable stuff. And Gallitep was the worst Cardassian camp but the camp Goth oversaw certainly was not.

    Why I think that the Cardassian Union is mostly modeled after the Soviet Union. Well, there is the name of course. Then the structure. Nazi Germany depending on your scientific view is either totalitarian or a facist dictatorship. Cardassia on the other hand is militaristic Oligarchy. The military and the secret service rule and do basically what they want as in the Societ Union. They are falling behind technologically as the Soviet Union. They have a civilian parliament with no power as Russia had.

    Historically the parallels are pretty striking:
    The Cardassian lost a war as the Soviet Union did (Afghanistan) which exhausted their resources, they then had to fight insurrections as the Soviet Union had (Caucasus) and after all that the former puppet parliament takes over and starts to rule over a very fragile and corrupt country again like in Russia (Jelzin years).

    You know Jason R. I never said that he should be fired or whatever. i only said it was wrong.

    You again ignore that he uses his special knowledge about her several times to impress her (favorite food, hairstyle, her feelings about her work) he also lies to her about it. She asks him point blank why he had to see for example her PERSONAL FILE (which is far more than a FB profile I would assume) and he makes up a lie about that, too. She also tells him at the very early end of the date that she doesn't think that it is appropriate to meet in such a fashion.

    The dream Leah kissed him in Booby trap, she talks in a sexually suggestive voice about touching and so on. I guess the computer is kinky, then. Some mentioned that as a possibility. These 9% difference from the real Leah seem to be filled with sexual innuendo.

    You also ignore that he runs to the Holodeck when he hears that Brahms is about to see his program. Again why does he run?

    "The dream Leah kissed him in Booby trap, she talks in a sexually suggestive voice about touching and so on."

    Kissed him? Huh? I don't remember that part. I do recall her rubbing his back briefly and making the oft repeated statement about the engine being her or something.

    "I guess the computer is kinky, then. Some mentioned that as a possibility. These 9% difference from the real Leah seem to be filled with sexual innuendo."

    Yes and Geordie didn't program that in at all. Recall he just asked the computer to make a realistic character based on her debate performances and some other publicly available info. He was in the middle of a crisis and had an hour to save everyone from death.

    To the extent it "came on" to him it was entirely the computer's doing. And we've seen the computer do something similar with Minuet. And heck why not? She's a person, not an android. Maybe that was just its most realistic simulation of her?

    Indeed that was the "booby trap" for Geordie. Much like the ship itself, he stumbled into something dangerous despite good intentions. For Geordie the computer was easier to relate to because he could be himself (as Guinan intimated after his date at the beginning) and the computer, accurately simulating a real person, reacted accordingly to his newfound confidence and ease.

    "You also ignore that he runs to the Holodeck when he hears that Brahms is about to see his program. Again why does he run?"

    Because he knew how it would look of course. Geordie knew he didn't do anything inappropriate with the hologram (as do we the audience - at least not as far as Booby Trap portrayed) but she doesn't!

    The whole thing is a comedy of errors. Yes she has a right to be creeped out to some extent (and the episode doesn't shy away from that) but this idea that he was somehow vicariously abusing her through the hologram (which is *never* indicated in the episode) or that he deserves to be fired (which others, but perhaps not you admittedly have claimed) is just so extreme and over the top.

    One additional point. Would it matter if Geordi was on the spectrum? It is certainly arguable that he is given his occupation and the way he relates to others (his best friend is an Android!).

    Should people who are on the spectrum be fired, excluded or otherwise be destroyed if sometimes they lack personal boundaries or go over the line of appropriateness? Not a very Trekkian message.

    @Jason R.
    Goerdie kisses the Hologram at then end of Booby Trap which makes everything in this episode quite a bit weirder.
    And what is your opinion about him using his rank to go into the personal file and probably more of a person he desires, then using that information to his advantage and lying about it.

    "that he deserves to be fired (which others, but perhaps not you admittedly have claimed) is just so extreme and over the top."
    I'm not responsible for what other people write and because you never asked, I don't think that he should be fired. First offense, a serious one, making out with the hologram of a person without consent, using your rank to look up personal information for personal benefit. I would say mandatory counseling and a two week suspension.

    Of course you can say that it is the 24th century and it's all hugs and kisses.

    Huh I didn't remember the kiss. But as far as the personnel file we were told in Booby Trap that her records were restricted. Will have to rewatch Galaxy's Child.

    One thing I'll say in Geordi's favor about not admitting right away what happened in the holodeck in "Booby Trap", is that it's not really easy to explain that - and someone might get offended no matter how well you explained it. It was such an unlikely serendipitous occurrence that it's practically unbelievable.

    Which isn't to say that I think he should have covered it up so much either. I think the episode is trying to make it clear that was wrong of him and got him in trouble. It's a fair argument that the writers didn't get that across well enough.

    Kolbe's quote about Prussians is interesting coming from a German (not sure what part of Germany he was from).

    Just watched this. I think it is pretty clear that nothing sexual happened between Laforge and the hologram. My interpretation of Laforge's comments in the confrontation scene is that everything that happened was what we saw in Booby Trap, period. Any suggestion that it did makes Laforge a flat out liar in that scene, and I am just not buying that was the intention - especially since we saw in Booby Trap exactly what happened and know to the extent anything happened it was the computer not him.

    So the question is: did he behave inappropriately? Yes. Was he a "creep"? Sort of. I'd say he was guilty of being ridiculously presumptuous. Not because of the hologram (which was basically an innocent comedy of errors) but based on his awkward attempt to come onto Brahms.

    If I would change one thing in the episode it would be to have Geordi apologize a second time to Brahms as he owes her one. She owed him one too mind you - she was a complete a-hole to him from the get go.

    Ok, let's just assume the computer turns female holodeck characters into willing objects and Geordie is not to blame for that behavior.

    Geordie should have deleted the program but the more serious offense in my opinion is that he uses his post as a starfleet officer to gather personal information about her, going into her personnel file to trick her into thinking that they have a deeper connection.

    It also seems that she tries to apologize during the diner scene but Geordie always interrupts her. At the end she says "I owe you an apology" and that "she wouldn't change a thing. Except for the way I behaved.". What more do you want?? She is only rude during the first two scenes (in the transporter room and the machine room) after that she is not which makes his whole "You were mean to me the whole time" speech even more atrocious. He even says that he showed her nothing but respect, patience and offered her friendship. HE LIED TO HER REPEATEDLY!!! Rewatching this I must say it's pretty disgusting stuff. Man, the 90s.

    "Ok, let's just assume the computer turns female holodeck characters into willing objects and Geordie is not to blame for that behavior."

    Well we don't need to assume - it's what literally happened on screen in Booby Trap.

    But I agree with you on re-watching - his behaviour was atrocious. And while I do think the episode calls him out *to some extent* I think it does not go far enough.

    The scene that bugs me the most actually isn't the final dinner scene where she apologizes but the confrontation scene in the holodeck where Geordie goes from "sorry! Let me explain!" to "sorry for trying to reach out to you b$$$" I the space of 8 seconds.

    But you know what, I am still okay with how it turns out. I like that the show does not need all of its characters to be perfect people. It let's the audience judge without being heavy handed.

    I still don't agree, on the balance, that Geordie is a "creep", any more than, say, Barclay in Hollow Pursuits (who does far worse). Geordie's a pretty imperfect character and through Guinan and Brahms I don't think he gets let off the hook for it. Maybe he should get called out more, but the stuff from people on this thread about firing or whatever is just so sad and depressing. It's the time we live in.

    When this was filmed, movie's like "Disclosure" were just starting to penetrate mass consciousness.

    I think it's sad that behavior like Geordi's used to result in no repercussions at all (and that someone would wistfully yearn for the halcyon days of sexual harassment being the norm).

    My feeling is this: if one can't control their animal urges in a professional setting, then they deserve some kind of corrective repercussion to learn the error of their ways.

    I don't know what's appropriate for Starfleet , but they don't have money. The only punitive options available are a suspension of duty/ privileges, termination or the brig.

    I don't think completely getting away with such behavior is appropriate and it sends the wrong message.

    Geordi should have been punished (or at least sent to Troi for extensive counseling).


    where was Troi? Normally, she seems to get off on other's psychic pain. You'd think she'd be all over the Leah situation (just to get her jollies, if nothing else).

    "Kissed him? Huh? I don't remember that part. I do recall her rubbing his back briefly and making the oft repeated statement about the engine being her or something."

    FWIW They did kiss at the end of "Booby Trap". But taking that scene in isolation is taking it out of context.

    "Ok, let's just assume the computer turns female holodeck characters into willing objects and Geordie is not to blame for that behavior."

    A willing object of what, exactly? Just what do you think happened between Geordi and Holo-Leah?

    In "Booby Trap" we've seen them work together in a race against the clock to solve an engineering problem. Yes, there was also a flirtatious undertone, but it was never the emphasis of the simulation. Nor, might I add, did it interfere with their work. Those scenes just gave the impression of two friends working together and having a wonderful chemistry with one another.

    In short, I don't see any problem with Geordi continuing to use the original program. He really felt a genuine connection - both professional and personal with the character he was working with.

    Doesn't excuse what he did when the real Leah came along, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with what he did in the original program.

    "You again ignore that he uses his special knowledge about her several times to impress her (favorite food, hairstyle, her feelings about her work) he also lies to her about it."

    I agree it was wrong of him to do that.

    But let me tell you a secret: When I was young and stupid, I did similar things and thought it made me really clever. This is exactly the kind of thing that young socially-inept people sometimes do, simply because they are so clueless.

    I assure you that I was never a stalker and never treated people (male or female) as objects. I was simply an idiot who was completely oblivious to the basic rules of proper social interactions.

    Of-course, today I know better, and I cringe to think about the stuff I did back then. But my point is, that creeps and perverts are not the only people who might pull a stunt like that. And Geordi strikes me as precisely the kind of person who would fall into this trap without any malicious intent.

    Doesn't make him any less wrong, of-course. But intent does matter.

    @ Omicron
    "A willing object of what, exactly? Just what do you think happened between Geordi and Holo-Leah?"

    We already know that they kissed and there was sexually suggestive comments. If that is just the computer then there is something seriously wrong with the computer. He didn't have to use Leah as a template. Why didn't the computer just create a random person?

    Jason R. pointed out that the scene were Geordie goes full victim blaming is a terrible representation of how to deal with such a situation. He even jumps into her way when she wants to leave. What would have happened if she still wanted to leave. Sure, this is happy hugging town and nobody does anything really untoward but this is a show that is/was consumed to a high degree by young men.

    "But intent does matter" Sure BUT and it's a big one.
    What impression would an insecure young man get from this. That Geordie is kind of wrong and that Leah is kind of wrong which is very wrong. When it comes to the message it is almost as bad as Code of honor. There it is "black skinned people are primitives" here it is "women are there to please"

    And while all this is happening the ship is a wet nurse for a baby space whale and this whale is sucking all the life out of the enterprise almost killing everybody. What a metaphor... :D

    This episode needs therapy. Lots of therapy!

    Hey Jammer,

    I'm a little curious. Have you rewatched this in the time since your initial review?

    I have not. I imagine it might be a different viewing experience seen through a different lens now.

    @ Jammer


    I actually had a similar reaction as you did on my first viewing.

    It was only when I watched it many years later did the ethical and moral problems (with the script) bothered me.

    As always, I enjoy your reviews and the community you cultivated. Have a good one, sir

    @ Dave in MN,

    ""I actually had a similar reaction as you did on my first viewing.

    It was only when I watched it many years later did the ethical and moral problems (with the script) bothered me."

    This is a good point, and one I should made made clearer on my own behalf. Back when the episode first aired, when I was still in elementary school, I was on Geordi's side 100% with no questions asked. Why was she so mean to him, what the heck! This position would be somewhat modified over time even until my 20's, when I saw both sides more or less equally. It was only into my 30's that I began to see Leah's side much more strongly to the point where now I'm largely on her side while finding Geordi's antics to be problematic.

    There are many eps where my opinion of them now is more or less as it was when they first aired, for instance Cause and Effect, where my "wow, cool!" reaction is sustained to this day. But certain eps like this one and Hollow Pursuits strike me very differently than they did when I was younger.

    There's definitely some self awareness from the writers, since they take the "every time you touch the engines you're touching me" ending from Booby Trap and re-contextualise it here, taking a seemingly bittersweet romantic moment from that ep and showing it to be creepy af.

    But then not quite enough self awareness to accept that Geordi needed to back off! His speech about how he's tried to be courteous and was only offering friendship (he clearly wasn't!) is one of the few dud characters notes in my rewatch so far. Brahms even makes to leave and Geordi moves in front of her saying "no no no no" in a kind of threatening manner. From Brahms perspective it's a dangerous situation! She knows nothing about this guy and now he's snapped.

    Definitely not Geordi's finest moment. The show is kind of salvageable in that it doesn't appear to endorse his behaviour... until the end when Brahms apologies to him!!

    It's been 30 years since it was made, a few elements are going to start creaking and this is one of them.

    Best bit of the episode hands down is Picard's reaction when they accidentally kill the parent. His face barely moves but it's pure desolation.

    Me and my Mom watched this episode together the other day. She had been doing a marathon of TNG. This is one of the episodes we happened to watch.

    I told her about the comments here about Geordi coming across as a creepy stalker. We both agreed that he did not come across that way whatsoever. More like a socially awkward person who may not have gone about it in quite the right way. It probably would have been best if he told Leah outright about the program/situation. Instead this led to a lot of misunderstanding, but really nothing more than that.

    Nowadays it seems people are all too ready to label someone with some overly dramatic label. I just think we live in times where a lot of people just seem very paranoid and overly sensitive.

    @ Mark

    Watch Booby Trap first and you'd probably have a different opinion .... he obviously was trying to get in her pants by deceiving her and using her own intimate details to do so. Also, he kissed a holo-copy of Leah. I don't think that should be handwaved away as some innocent goof.


    I did watch Booby Trap. All of what you're saying is pure conjecture and assumption.

    I'm not going to debate the issue however, mainly since it really doesn't matter what I say. People are stubborn and are going to think whatever they want to. Just wanted to give my quick two cents on it.

    You are claiming Geordie had no romantic intentions toward Brahms in this episode? Uh, okay.

    I think Geordi's intentions weren't necessarily malicious in a predatory way, moreso hopelessly awkward and oblivious, plus the insistence that he was merely offering her friendship is simply dishonest. Either way, his behavior was inappropriate (especially in a professional setting) and I think it's wholly understandable that any women would find it "creepy", regardless of intent.

    Here Geordi reminds me a bit of myself when I moved to another city for the first time. One of the few people I knew there was a woman whom I had a friendly/flirt relationship with, so I saw reconnecting with her as a big upside of moving there. But she was in a relationship and we never ended up doing more exchanging a few polite emails. It wasn't devastating but it took a bit of the bloom off of the expectations that I had. Geordi's not at all behaving properly here, but I think that the episode does get some things right about male psychology that aren't often explored.


    What you said about Geordi's intentions not being malicious in a predatory way is pretty much what Dave from MN was trying to imply. That is why i said that that process of thought was based on conjecture. Sure he want's to have some sort of relationship with her, but I don't think that it's at all in how a lot of people on here are trying to portray it.

    I just think people are taking what happened in a TV episode 25 years ago a little too seriously.

    I’ve defended this one in the past and I really enjoy it, Mark, but I think the writers messed up a little. The problem is Leah and Geordi start too far apart for their connection to not feel forced in some way. They made Leah a) mad at Geordi for messing with what she thought was optimal design, b) easily upsettable and a perfectionist, and the biggest one c) married. I really feel for Geordi but how can any scenario setup like this end with them being good friends?

    A better way to have done this would have been to make Leah warm to Geordi at first so he’d interpret that wrong. That’s a very common and relatable scenario for men and women. Geordi has faults and we as the audience like him and forgive those problems, but if Leah has completely zero liability for Geordi’s come-ons then she becomes a victim.

    I agree with Chrome that the way the situation is set up they are preventing Geordi looking entirely reasonable. But I will go further and suggest that it is completely intentional: not so much that Geordi look bad, but that there be pushback against him.

    The entire premise of this episode is that Geordi is an practical engineer while Leah is a designer; he has to improvise while she goes on blueprints. What they were generally going for here is that he was treating dating Leah as if trying to carry out a blueprint of how to successfully date someone, and was inflexibly sticking to his guns even when it wasn't working. What I think the writers were going for is that his real strength is working on the fly, unplanned, and this comes out in the crisis with the alien when he's improvising. But he failed to realize that his engineering strength should also be his dating strength: don't just go by some abstract plan and treat her like a design schematic.

    But here's where things get hairy: in our day and age we are not content to only see things from the POV the show intends us to. We're not going to just say "aha! Geordi should have been less planning-oriented from the start, and just let it play out." That's nice, except it completely ignores Leah's side of it, and in 2020 we cannot ignore Leah's side of it even if the writers intend for us to. So we are inevitably adding more content than they perhaps thought we would to what's going on.

    But upon reflection I think this scenario gets even worse: what is set up as a problem-solving situation for Geordi - how do you get a woman to like you - ends up being far more pernicious. Because of course, in a sort of gaming-mentality of "there is an obstacle, how do you get around it" of course the theme makes sense that you get around it by not trying so hard and being more natural. That makes sense on those terms. Except hold on: the entire premise is one that has come to be accepted as almost quintessentially sexist and objectifying. What I mean is that the scenario can be described like this: guy knows that he likes girl, doesn't know how to get across to her that she should like him too if only he was given a chance. Instead of being friendly girl gives guy big pushback (uh-oh, plot twist!) and guy finds his planned scheme hitting a wall. Solution: go easier on her and she's come around. Result: guy gets girl to like him in the end, just had to stop pushing so hard. Conclusion: the girl problem was always solvable, the engineer guy just had to figure out the right method.

    You can image what I think about this social statement. It basically fits into a male fantasy of "well of course she ought to like me, but if only she would give me a chance or see me for what I really am." It's a super-entitled and rather demeaning scenario that we should imagine a guy's chief goal is how to get around the obstacle of the girl telling him to back off. There's a term for this: being a player. Generally it involves having no respect for women. Now we know that is not true in Geordi's case, and that's why I agree with Chrome that the writers messed this one up badly. They set up a cute engineering episode where Geordi had to learn the lesson of which method is his best, and that's cool. It could *never* come off an innocenet, however, when the engineering problem to be solved is how to get the lady to bed. And yeah, him already coming in with a crush on her and designs on romance makes the whole thing go from "he's a player trying to get past her resistance" right to "he has been thinking about imaginary her for a while and now is going to demand that she behave like the holodeck version, or he'll get upset." They went soooo far off the rails putting the episode together in this way. Poor LeVar.

    It would have been much cleaner to take this same theme and apply it to Geordi trying to make a friend or something. Making it a romantic partner, and having it be the typical TNG "Let's solve this" plot, ends up objectifying the other person no matter which way you look at it. She's the tech problem of the week.

    I see your point Peter but here's the counterpoint: I don't know a ton about this "player" subculture but my understanding was they generally taught self-confidence, paying attention to verbal and non verbal cues and other basic awareness of psychology that could just be considered common sense self-improvement. Much like the courses that teach you how to engage prospective clients in business .

    In other words, while "players" may use the skills they teach for negative ends, those skills are not inherently bad and indeed, might be used in a perfectly innocuous manner.

    Doing things that make you more appealing to the opposite sex by paying attention to psychology doesn't make you some kind of predator necessarily, anymore than employing similar psychological principles when you approach prospective clients makes you a swindler. There is absolutely an "art" to approaching a woman, even if it's usually more instinct than practiced technique. Some things definitely work better than others. Why shouldn't people be conscious of that and change their behaviour to make the outcome they want more likely?

    I agree it's dangerous for a man to see every woman as some kind of puzzle to solve (a variation on Kirk's refusal to accept the "no win" scenario) but on the other hand, why should it be wrong to try? Especially when it's self-evident that women (and men!) clearly are open to pursuation at least some of the time.

    I don't see pursuation (aka wooing) to be tantamount to harrassment, even if it sometimes crosses that line. And Geordie didn't "solve" Brahms did he? (at least not in this episode or timeline). She was married and unavailable. That didn't change at least not in this episode.

    Or let me put this another way. If Geordie had approached his date at the outset without trying too hard, without putting so much pressure, by dressing better, by listening more (fill in the blanks) and his date went the way he wanted because of that difference - does it matter if he was coached how to behave versus having just divined it through instinct? So if you're a natural like a Riker then kudos but if you need help like Geordie, you're a creep?


    Fair enough, I suppose. Personally, I think the problem with this episode isn't so much Geordi's intentions or even his actions (although the door-blocking was very yikes), but rather how the script plays out the consequences of his advances. It would have been perfectly reasonable for Brahms to go to one of Geordi's senior officers, tell them what happened and refuse to work with Geordi, leading to a fully deserved dressing-down in which Geordi realizes that yes, his behavior was out of line. Instead, Brahms apologizes to Geordi(!) for "overreacting", which is ridiculous. Geordi is clearly the one who requires some introspection into his own behavior, not Brahms, and for the script to portray their actions as equitably problematic is... Well, problematic.

    I say all this as a guy who has been in Geordi's clueless shoes more than once. You make mistakes and learn, but you have to recognize those mistakes in order to correct them, and IMO this episode was flawed in that respect.

    Players, while interested in those with no interest, do not pursue those with “negative interest” for more than a passing moment. Meeting someone like Brahms, as a Player, would have an immediate signal: Damaged Goods. Although we wouldn’t necessarily know the reason, we would know the behaviors. One might even assume Brahms is a female Domme, and has a dungeon full of tied up starfleet cadets somewhere she tortures for her amusement. But she is not someone a Player would continue to approach.

    What’s most interesting is how the 20xx Workplace is no longer accepted as a place men can use to look for mates. What this episode ACTUALLY portrays is how we used to see these workplace accidents end - man who makes error pursuing married woman causes woman to apologize (1980s) versus today, where most people cringe and say No Way! Geordi should be hung out to dry for being a creeper.

    @ Jason R.

    I actually agree with everything you wrote, which makes me thing I should have been a bit more specific. I don't mean to suggest that Geordi is in fact a creep, or that as I watch this episode I'm aghast and offended. Actually the way it's directed is much the same way as many TNG episodes are: sort of sweet for the most part, well-intentioned, and only vaguely willing to have characters really upset at each other. If one went only on the tone and 'feel' of the episode I would say that Geordi's interactions with Leah are if anything overtrumped; that he's making a much bigger deal about what's going on than we really see.

    So my commentary isn't so much on what I would call the scenic direction of the episode (how it's played out and how it appears to the camera), but more about the point of view inherent in the direction and/or writing. It's the implicit premise that I think is pernicious and creepy (from a modern mindset). So while I sort of agree that a "player" might actually take a pass on someone offering resistance, that wasn't exactly my point. What I was trying to say was that the episode's point of view (innocent though it may feel based on tone) is that Geordi inherently has a right to a relationship of some kind with her, and his big problem was to figure out how to get it. The mistake we're shown is that his methods were clunky and forced, and he refines his methods by the end. Jason, as you say, it's not the methods that are the issue. It's that we are given the idea (which is backed up at various points in the episode) that Geordi knows he and she ought to have something and it's only a question of how. I agree with you that 'giving it a shot' is not creepy. The world must be peopled, as the expression goes. But rather it's the idea that he *will* have a relationship with her, and that her feedback about this is not really relevant. In fact her feedback is rebuked by him when it's not what he wants.

    The show plays as cute, with innocent confusions, and a warm reconciliation. And PS - she does warm to him at the end, marriage or no marriage. All Good Things didn't pick up on that out of nowhere. It's the built-in premise, never actually seen or mentioned on screen, that bothers me. The only real evidence of it in direct action is Geordi's blocking her way when she tries to leave: this makes it pretty clear that on some level he will absolutely not accept a resolution where she doesn't give him what he wants. And it's not because Geordi is a jerk, but rather because the writers truly believed that he has a right to something from her. Don't you find that troubling? It plays as lighthearted, but beneath the surface lurks a disturbing world view.

    Well Peter look, Geordie is a main character on this fictional show and therefore, a protagonist. What is a protagonist, if not someone we feel compelled to root for, at least on some level?

    This goes to the fundamental nature of fiction. Even in stories where the protagonist is an anti hero or someone borderline villainous, it's natural to get sucked into their point of view. Watching a show like Breaking Bad all my wife and I could do was scream at the TV "let the poor man cook his meth!". In Infinity War I kind of felt like Thanos earned it too and was just a little happy for him at the end if I am being honest.

    I don't feel wanting Geordie to succeed is inherently bad anymore than wanting oneself to succeed in a similar situation is bad. We step into Geordie's point of view and feel he deserves to succeed the same way we would in our own lives. That's called good self-esteem. You don't approach a woman without thinking you deserve for her to say yes, at least on some level. The guys that don't feel deserving are usually alone, let's be honest.

    Can that cross a line into entitlement and even go further into darker territory? Sure. But that's just not what I see portrayed in this episode, with maybe a couple exceptions (I will agree Geordie skirts close to the line in that botched confrontation scene)

    But to be fair, you might be angry too if someone got completely the wrong idea like she did. It was basically a comedy of errors. We know from Booby Trap the hologram was never intended the way that it appeared to her and we know Geordie never did anything with the hologram. Booby Trap is crystal clear on this point. We saw exactly how (and why) he created the Brahms hologram and that's that. So Geordie loses it a bit and he kind of has a right to be upset. She believed he was a pervert and he wasn't!

    I saw this episode again recently, and each time I can't figure out how Mrs. Brahms saw the ending of the holodeck file. It would had taken hours to reach the end where she says "that every time Geordi looks at the engines he's looking at her, every time he touches the engines he's touching her". She had only been looking at the replay for a few minutes. Plus, I didn't think a holodeck program worked that way. It's more like a scenario that is programmed. So the next time you run the program, it will be the same setting, but not the same exact story or outcome. It's not like a VCR with a ply by play from the first time it is run. The Captain goes to the same Dixon Hill story, but it is a fresh encounter, not an exact rehash of the first few times he experienced that book chapter.

    Geordi needs to get some ladies pointers from Wesley. At least he hooked up and made out with Robin Lefler in, The Game.

    @ Mr Peepers

    Wesley “the crusher” Crusher is the first person anyone goes to when they need pointers on the opposite sex. Wesley is a master PUA. It’s why Picard was always screaming at him. Pure jealousy. Wesleys also the mastermind behind all of Riker’s conquests.

    @ Mr Peepers,

    You might be thinking of pre-fab programs, which we tended to see more on VOY like 'holo-novels', or on DS9 with the James Bond adventures. On TNG Worf's calisthenics are probably like this too. But there are plenty of programs that "save and end" and you resume it where you left off. Most Trek examples of holodeck use are the latter type, where you have an ongoing story that you can pause when you have to go back on duty or go to sleep or whatever. A technical or laboratory use of the holodeck would be especially useful to continue where you left off, and completely useless if you had to restart it every time. Why have to retread all the ground you already covered every time you turn on the program?

    One example that comes to mind that may be a bit of both is Vic's program in DS9, where it does seem to be a long-form holo-novel type situation, but it's so long that you do save and end when you leave and this could go on maybe for years. I don't know what happens when that program 'ends', or if there is a natural end to it.

    It always seems strange how many people seem to see criticising the behaviour of a fictional character we the same thing as identifying a fault in the writing and portrayal of that character.

    People are imperfect. It is right that that should be represented in the characters as shown in a dramatic work.

    Geordi's character is seen as behaving in a way that invites criticism (maybe more). But it is consistent with the character we have been shown, and in its way realistic (and in the context of the narrative, understandable and even excusable). The job of drama isn't to photoshop the way real people behave , and when we express disapproval of the actions of a fictional character we shot not slip into seeing that as indicating a failure on the part of the writer/ director/actor.

    "The job of drama isn't to photoshop the way real people behave , and when we express disapproval of the actions of a fictional character we shot not slip into seeing that as indicating a failure on the part of the writer/ director/actor."

    This presumes that the medium itself, through its imagery, its writing, its musical cues, its editing... is value neutral and totally objective. This is certainly wrong.

    It is true enough that the medium can well present the actions of a character in a way that encourages the viewer or reader to see it in a particular light, and this can open it to criticism. But that is a different matter.

    For example behaviour that is sexist or racist could be presented in a way tat made it seem acceptable or sympathetic, and it would be very fair to comment critically on this or object to it, but that is a different thing from objecting to the fact of the character behaving in that way. It could be quite possible for the medium to give the reverse emphasis - or even to seek to avoid loading things either way and aim to invite viewers or readers to make up their own minds, as in real life. And again, as in real life situations, there are liable to be unconscious biases involved one way and another, even where neutrality might be the conscious aim.

    And all those things are reasonable areas for discussion.

    I quite like this one, but there's a rather high cringe factor. The notion of space creatures is quite interesting, though it's been done in a few TNG episodes. I quite liked the space creature plot.

    But the Geordi / Leah story is risible. She describes Geordi's behaviour toward her as "peculiar", but actually it's downright creepy, especially as he has her at a disadvantage the whole time. She quite understandably goes off on one after finding her likeness on the Holodeck, and understandably feels violated - but that predictable happy ending where she decides she likes and respects him comes far too easy.

    I love the way Data turns and says "I believe it is dead, sir" in that matter-of-fact way, when the creature is phasered to death.

    The CGI renditions of the space creature seem impressive for the late '80s, though they look a bit rubbish on a decent monitor in the present day. Or have they been redone since then? Not sure.

    " he has her at a disadvantage the whole time". I can't see how that is the case. He is in no sense in any kind of superior position to Leah - possibly even the reverse. He is a senior figure within the Enterprise, but in the context of StarTrek it seems likely that she, if anything, is more senior than him, as a distinguished scientist and well-regarded designer of starships.

    It strikes me that much of the criticism of Geordi is based on an unexamined assumption that he is dealing with someone with less clout than himself, a kind of superior intern, and, even, that by virtue of the fact that she is female, her position is more vulnerable. But we are surely intended to accept that in 24th century Federation culture, that kind of assumption is no more relevant than it would be to see Geordi's colour as putting him in a more vulnerable position.

    I think it is a fallacy to see Geordi's actions as "creepy" or as some kind of sexual abuse. The episode is a sardonic comedy of errors.

    For excellent reasons Geordi inadvertently caused the holographic Leah to come into existence and cooperated with her in saving the ship. The ship's computer adjusted her personality to assist in that, leading to greater closeness between the holograph and Geordi.

    When the real Leah arrived Geordi instinctively, and perfectly understandably fell into assuming the real Leah was more similar to the holograph than was the case, and acted in a way that reflected that. And he also failed to advise her of the fact that he had already met with a holographic version of her, which was a mistake, but not a ethical fault on his part. And when Leah saw the computerised version of herself she quite reasonably misunderstood the whole situation.

    And when all the misunderstandings were sorted out, it ended in their establishing a friendship on a different and more real basis.

    Nothing "creepy", nothing "abusive" - as I said, a comedy of errors.

    The reason many people see this as abusive and creepy is not only because of the hologram but because of his behavior during the entire episode.
    A few points:
    - Why did the computer create a hologram that was so different from Brahms?
    - Why did that Hologram make sexually suggestive comments and act like a love interest?
    - Why did Geordie never find out, despite his research about her personal tastes, that she is married?
    - Why did Geordie save that hologram?
    - When Brahms wanted to leave Geordie didn't allow her to and in that situation she is vulnerable because she is a woman because of his physical superiority.
    - Can people become friends if one of the persons is deeply in love with the other?
    - The episode presents Brahms as in the wrong and Geordie's behavior as justified.

    It's easy enough to produce perfectly reasonable counters to all those points. But the crucial one is the last one; I don't think the episode is very much about awarding points as to who is more in the right or who is in the wrong, it's more bout about misunderstandings arising between two likeable people which set them at odds, and which get resolved. That's what I meant by "comedy of errors".

    (For example I'd question whether it's right to assume Geordi is "physically superior" just because he's a male. Knock his viewer off and he's much more the vulnerable one.)

    The problem is not if it works as the concept you describe. The problem is that it portrays Geordie's outrage about her behavior as justified when he is pretty much wrong all the way through.

    I also think that a battle trained veteran like Geordie is physically superior compared to a female scientist. Or do you think that during hand to hand combat Geordie falls to the floor shouting:"Don't hit me. I'm disabled!"

    Ok I have to add one thing.
    The confusion/debate about this episode comes from differing perspectives. Viewed from the outside Geordie is plain wrong and comes across a creepy and threatening. One should not behave like Geordie did. But we know that Geordie is a nice and intelligent guy who wouldn't hurt a fly. That could be the reason why the writers stumbled into this story. They know the character as well.

    @Booming we also know what they know: that Geordie never did anything with the hologram and that its creation was just a fluke / comedy of errors from Boobie Trap.

    It was perfectly reasonable of Leah to misunderstand what Geordi had done, and object to what she thought he had, and it was perfectly natural that he should protest at being misjudged. And it was perfectly in character that when the misunderstanding was cleared up she should say sorry. It would have been better perhaps if they'd included him saying sorry as well, rather than leaving it to be taken as understood. Patching up a quarrel generally means you both indicate you're sorry, in my experience.

    As for failing to avoid all this by explaining in advance, yes that was a mistake, but the kind of mistake anyone might make, especially an awkward young man probably wary of things being misinterpreted (as they were).

    And trying to find out what food someone likes before setting up a meal amounts to invading their personal space....?

    "And trying to find out what food someone likes before setting up a meal amounts to invading their personal space....? "
    It can be but what Geordie did went far beyond that. He not only created a hologram with her personality files, he got a massage from holo leah and also kissed her (in Booby Trap). That is not some boys will be boys thing. That is a serious invasion of privacy and she is justified in feeling violated.

    In galaxy child Leah asks him how far it went and Geordie flat out lies to her (It was a professional cooperation) and ends his tirade with the sentence:" I offered you friendship." which he certainly did not.

    Another question is why Geordie runs to the holodeck when he hears that Leah went to the holodeck? Why run when he has nothing to hide?

    Why run to the holodeck? Because he realises that however innocent everything was, Leah is going to jump to the wrong conclusion. He wanrts to get there before that happens and explain what happened and put it in context.

    And remember, Geordi didn't "create" the hologram, the ships computer did that without him intending to, and it came up with the holographic Leah's script, and with any and all of Leah's actions. Which were presumably based on its understanding of the way she would have been likely to behave with a trusted colleague she liked. The trouble was that, for the real Leah, Geordi wasn't a trusted colleague she liked. Not until later in the episode.

    And if his delving into her personal history didn't go beyond finding out a favourite food and didn't even tell him that she was married, it couldn't have been that intrusive.

    Geordi had a facsimile of her saved in the computer: a copy that was made without her consent in which Geordi engaged romantically. He didn't just "delve into her personal history".

    Also, are we supposed to believe that Geordi remembered she loves fungili a year and a half later?

    Obviously Geordi reran the program to brush up on her personal details.

    @Booming the creation of the hologram and its behaviour was clearly *unintentional*. Rewatch Booby Trap. Not up for debate.

    I don't understand why people can't process this fact. Have to keep pointing it out every couple years.

    I rewatched the scenes before I wrote my last comment. Again he got a massage from holo Leah and he kissed holo Leah. As Dave said he was clearly romantically involved with the hologram.

    He created a hologram of Leah which then provided him with physical pleasure (massage, kissing).

    It doesn't matter if Geordi intentionally created her or not.

    Over a thousand lives were at risk and Geordi allowed the program to distract him with needless personal asides that ate up precious time. Any Starfleet officer wirth their salt would've told the computer to knock off the romantic stuff. But Geordi didn't .... and he even made sure to go back (once the emergency was done) to see her holo-duplicate once again and kiss her.

    And once the emergency had passed? Did Geordi delete the program?

    Just because he didn't create the program doesn't mean he didn't take advantage of it (and her).

    If you find a wallet on the ground and keep it, it's a crime of opportunity. You didn't set out to rob anyone, but you're still taking advantage of the situation for your own benefit.

    This is literally no different.

    Haha, the firestorm has begun again! I love it. This is TNG's For the Uniform.

    For what it's worth I think it's pretty indisputable that Geordi did nothing wrong in Booby Trap. The entire episode is about how technology can be your undoing without you realize it, and it makes Geordi have a tough time with people. It's no accident he got it on with the computer, he knows computers!

    To me the 'wrong' stuff is all in this episode. He needn't have had any guilt about the holoimage *if not for the fact* that in this episode he was acting entitled to a relationship with the real Leah on account of his encounter with the hologram. Not only that, in so many words he flat out tells Guinan that they're totally gonna get it on when they meet, and she rolls her eyes. That is the problem.

    @ Peter G.

    It's hilarious you said that because I think of this as TNG's "Tuvix".

    Having people act as if they know you when they've never actually met you I believe is a pretty common thing that happens to TV actors and presenters. It's a natural enough kind of misunderstanding. It isn't generally seen in itself as any kind of sexual harassment, unless that is what actually takes place in the course of the interaction.

    "Computer FREEZE program!

    Computer - stop this holographic Leah acting like this! Don't let her touch me, or say such suggestive things. It's not proper.

    In fact, could you provide a chaperone who can sit in the corner."

    That should have sorted things out perhaps?

    @ Gerontius

    Actually, all he had to say was "Holo-Leah, we only have a few hours until the ship is destroyed and all of us die. Could we focus on the crisis at hand?"

    If holo-Leah balked, he could've easily instructed the computer to reset her personality subroutines back to their original state and told the computer to keep her interest firmly platonic.

    It sure would've wasted less time than talking about her favorite pasta.

    Actually, all he had to do was say " Computer, reset physical parameters of Holo-Leah. Make her hideously unattractive and smelly. Resume program. "

    uh no, this is no way near the horrible abomination that is "for the uniform".
    Dave and Gerontius have correctly pointed out that all Geordi had to do was saying: "Computer, cut the romantic and sexually suggestive behavior."

    What bothers people is that even though Geordi lies repeatedly and used his position to gather information (or are personal files public domain; is privacy dead in Star Trek??)
    - he lies when he schedules a diner with Leah (an ok lie, in love a few tricks are allowed)
    - when Leah notices that Geordi knows a lot about her, he lies about why and how he got the info (borderline)
    - when Leah accuses him of using the hologram for god knows what he lies about how far it went (understandable but over the line)
    - he also states that he just wanted to be nice (another convenient lie)

    I think the clash where Leah finds out would have been far better if Geordi would have confessed everything and admitted that he is lonely and fell for that hologram in a high pressure situation, that he made a mistake and is deeply sorry. AND then Leah warms to his honesty.

    but he shows outrage and continues to lie and trick her.
    and it works.

    I think that is a terrible message for boys and men.

    "I think the clash where Leah finds out would have been far better if Geordi would have confessed everything and admitted that he is lonely and fell for that hologram in a high pressure situation, that he made a mistake and is deeply sorry. AND then Leah warms to his honesty."

    I rather took it that that was pretty well what we are meant to assume actually happened, after the initial spat, in the light of the eventual rapprochement. Though I can't see "deeply sorry" as the appropriate level of penitence for Geordi any more than for Leah. Both made errors of judgement which were perfectly understandable.

    I obviously strongly disagree with your view.
    Geordi is ethically and legally the guilty person. Leah is rude at the beginning and that is it. Geordie lies almost all the way through, makes out with her hologram, lies about that and is using his rank to get personal information and so on. How you see those two as equally in the wrong is beyond me.
    But it is obvious that we will not come to an understanding here.

    Quite right, we differ in our views. I think neither of them did anything blameworthy, and that we were given to understand that, having got to know each other better, they both accept that to be the case. Booming disagrees. We can't let the protagonists adjudicate, since they are fictional, so we agree to differ.

    Does anyone else think Leah is a little young to have designed the Enterprise's engines? She only looks about 30 years old and the Enterprise had already been around for a few years before the episode "Booby Trap". I would have thought someone in their 60's would have designed the Galaxy Class engines. Is she supposed to be a genius like Wesley?

    @ Gerontius
    " I think neither of them did anything blameworthy, and that we were given to understand that, having got to know each other better, they both accept that to be the case."
    That seems to be the message the authors intended to convey which, in my view, makes it even worse.

    These are a few snippets from people who reviewed the episode. Taken from wikipedia
    - "The primary issue here ... is that we should be sympathetic to Geordi's mistakes here, and I don't think we're given good reason to be"
    - and that the chemistry between Brahms and LaForge is pretty good in its own right, even though it’s working from an untenable premise that nothing he did was wrong or particularly weird."
    - Couldn't we have had a bit more celebration of her genius rather than a pity party for LaForge and his fantasies of the girl of his dreams?

    Looking into the "career" of the guy who wrote this thing I'm not surprised about the content of this episode.

    He has two other writing credits. For one I couldn't find anything, he wrote an episode for a show that on IMDB is described as such:"Short lived comedy about construction workers enjoying themselves."

    The second one is a movie called Frozen Assets and the plot is about a guy who starts at a new job and finds out, it's at a sperm bank and because they lack sperm they start a contest. The man who gives them the biggest amount of sperm wins the prize. Roger Ebert wrote:" What puzzles me is this film's tone. It's essentially a children's film with a dirty mind. This is a movie to watch in appalled silence. To call it the year's worst would be a kindness."

    A children's film with a dirty mind. Sounds about right.

    @Eventual Zen
    Yeah, she was 29 when they filmed it. In universe she is 31. The Enterprise was finished in 2363 (Leah was 27) and definitely in construction during 2362. So yeah Leah was the leading engineer in the Federation at the age of 22-23. :D That's pretty funny.

    To throw in my two cents:

    Maurice Hurley made multiple sexual passes at Gates McFadden in the first season, and when she didn't reciprocate, he had her booted off the show for a season (until he left his role as producer). He viewed the workplace as a dating pool.

    My personal feeling is that M.H. wrote this episode with that personal situation (and potentially others) in mind. In fact, It wouldn't surprise me if he got a perverse kick out of Gates McFadden having to read and film a script that handwaves away his personal behavior and attacks female "frigidity".

    I don't think that there's a suggestion that Brahms is of lesser authority than LaForge. I think it's the other way round. But he has her at a disadvantage in the sense that he knows her, more personally than is usual for someone whom she is entitled to regard as a stranger.

    As unrealistic as her career is. There is a difference between the power in a specific situation and what society perceives as a higher social position.
    In other words a, unemployed person can sexually assault a CEO of a company.

    The people complaining about sexual harassment and "obtuse sexual unawareness" in Star Trek due to the "teenage boy audience" remind me of this academic paper from the grievance studies affair:

    Quick summary being "men masturbating while thinking of women qualifies as sexual assault".

    Geordie didn't do that to Brahms (as far as we know) but even if he did, so what? People of all genders do it. They also research personal details sometimes to fit into their fantasies. Obviously there is a line where it becomes too personal, but most people don't cross that line. Otherwise, we would have to shut down all celebrity fan clubs. If a woman has a hot and heavy moment while fantasizing about a Ryan Gosling photo or a fanfic someone wrote, does that mean she (or the person who wrote the fanfic) is sexually harassing him?

    We shouldn't be thought police, but we can punish people's actions if those actions violate norms that are deemed to be punishable. I don't see how Geordie's actions qualify as "sexual harassment". Calling it "sexual harassment" or "obtuse sexual unawareness" only serves to dilute instances of real sexual harassment.

    The only potential criticism here is that using the holodeck to recreate someone's likeness seems like it could violate some 24th century privacy or copyright laws, but that question could be asked of the fanfic example. If the person's likeness isn't being used for sales, then I'm not sure there's a strong enough legal justification to prosecute in this case.

    hahaha. I don't know if you are trolling but this a bogus article, not an actual scientific paper.

    So if your neighbor would somehow research you very indepth and then create a model of you that could be considered a realistic copy only to fuck that copy. You think that should be legal?

    You beam aboard on a job. You meet your colleague, who makes weird comments, talks about your hairstyle, invites you to his quarters where you expect a professional meeting, except when you arrive he’s got a fancy ‘date night” dinner ready and is clearly looking to get lucky. You excuse yourself quickly. You go to the holodeck to do some work and there you stumble across a sweet-n-sexy version of yourself - uttering pleasing come-ons (“Every time you touch the engine, you’re touching me”) that you would never ever be caught dead saying. You put it all together and are disgusted. Who would t be?

    Then you give the unprofessional creep a piece of your mind. His response: He blocks your path when you try to walk away, and delivers an angry speech that amounts to, “You bitch, you should be grateful I made the effort. You should be nice to me. I did you a favor, trying to be your friend.” Yeah, that would be a winning speech.

    We (audience) know Geordi, so we know he meant well and we tend to sympathize with him. All Brahms knows is that this guy is a persistent creeper. And she is not the forgiving type.

    I have no idea why she was suddenly so chummy in the very next scene. It was ridiculous writing - a sudden change of her character that got shoehorned in, to create an unearned happy ending.

    Tara said: "All Brahms knows is that this guy is a persistent creeper."

    Geordi pretty much is a creeper. Like some kind of modern internet stalker, he's always creeping on women he barely knows. He means well, and means no harm, but he's your classic socially awkward techno-creeper (or what modern folk call "incels").

    I wonder if TNG had more female writers, how the character would have been written. I always felt Geordi needed a few counseling sessions with Troi to sort himself out.

    I had a slight revelation about this episode based on a rewatch of "Booby Trap." In that episode, when Geordie wants to add personality to the Brahms simulation he asks for a psych profile, which could be who knows how long out of date, thus representing a younger more carefree Brahms (perhaps based off her entry exam into Starfleet ala Wesley's entrance - which wouldn't account for either's personal growth over that time) but also, and more importantly, he asked the computer to model her persona off of _speaking appearances_ that she gave. By nature of speech giving, one adpots a certain performative persona in order to connect with the audience, and the back and forth repore she may have formed with an audience during a Q and A session. As such, by using these two flawed samplings, it's not suprising that reality doesn't match Geordie's fantasy, and despite some sketchiness in the way Geordie interacts with Brahms in these two episodes, I think both are really good explorations of a typical parasocial relationship.

    The computer based Brahms off her public persona, NOT her entire one. Remember, people only post what they want you to see.

    @Nolan, Out-dated or out of context behavior is an excellent point. We grow and change with out experiences on a day to day basis, changes compounding upon eachother until we no longer resemble what we were.

    @ The Geordi = creep train, (10 years of conversation) I don't agree with most of Geordi's behavior in this episode, but I understand it. I was very similar in my late teens and early 20's. He didn't seem to understand that when she said staying for dinner would be unprofessional, that she wasn't interested. and of course he was disappointed when she spelled it out for him. From his perspective, he was able to make a connection with someone, albeit a computer simulation, during a time when he was having a really hard time doing so. With that simulation, he pulled the enterprise out of a cold death. When he was wrapping up the simulation it gave a speech about him touching the ship was him touching her, which in a room full of people, would be taken as a romanticization of the purpose of engineering design, but in the context of a 1 on 1 conversation is much more intimate.

    It makes sense that Geordi would become attached to the simulation, and correlate the behaviors of it and reality. That doesn't make him right, but it makes sense. If Geordi had taken time to reflect upon that attachment, I think that he would see that he was in error, especially with Guinan's input. Instead he had whiplash from the drastic difference in behaviors, and never took the time to look at it objectively, and before he had the time to do it, she saw his simulation.

    As for Leah, I agree with her response to seeing the simulation, within the context of Geordi's odd behavior. He knew things about her, and when she called him on it, he gave flakey responses at best. When she sees his odd affections, despite her admitted abrasiveness, it puts her on edge But hey, maybe he's just an odd ball: Socially awkward and can't take a hint. It happens in all walks of life. But then to want to give him the benefit of the doubt and then to see her simulation, regardless of the other context, it would appear to be a creepy stalker scenario.

    His response, was to try to defend himself. Yes he was in the wrong for subjecting her to his expectations, just like Guinan said, but he couldn't and shouldn't have just accepted her accusing him of creating tons of programs for every mood he was in to fulfill his fantasies. The way he did it was questionable, but he was panicked. People make poor decisions while panicked. He left the simulation running when he left, and that may have given Leah an opportunity to see the context. This in turn, made her feel like she over-reacted by accusing him. She didn't owe him anything but, as far as I can tell, it was her trying to make a compromise for the sake of building a rapport with the chief engineer of her designed systems. to which:
    LEAH: You know, I really owe you an apology.
    LAFORGE: No, you don't. I should have told you straight out.

    Frankly, what was needed was a conversation, and it seems that's what happened by the end. And so long as Geordi grew and learned from it, instead of turning into a d-bag, then it was for the best.

    And to the people who say "it's just like browsing a facebook photo album" to defend Geordi for not communicating, there is a fundamental difference. People put things on facebook that they want people to see, with the understanding that strangers can see it. Leah's psych profiles, taste in food, and personality quirks, were not volunteered to the world, and thus private. It makes sense that she was upset by this.

    And here I came in to this to make fun of people for writing essay long comments to an episode review, defending or condemning a fictional character. Go figure...


    I agree with ith this more or less completely but I would like to add.

    Trek is not the future, also not sci-fi. It sit the vision, dream, guess, fantasy ... of a future socitiy havin a time stamp of the time it was written. Although we had quite good computers in those days, internet was being born, no facebook. Still enough experiences to guess and in my opinion they did really good.

    I very much assumed that writer and actors sometimes had a 1000 person society in mind weh doing and acting. Geordi I a pearson trying find a mate in this environment. He has a high social and formal position . Furthermore he is shy. I find his and this interpertation of such situation good in this episode.

    The most remarkable thing about this episode is how the writers almost certainly never envisioned how it would suddenly become relevant with the advent of deepfakes and how famous people must feel about their likeness being used for AI-generated porn that is more and more indistinguishable from reality.

    I liked a lot about how they developed the Brahms and Geordi relationship, it felt mostly realistic which is high praise considering how most of the single-episode relationships go down in TNG.

    I never put two and two together regarding Kolbes harassment of McFadden with the script of this episode.
    It makes a lot of sense that he would try to "get back" at McFadden by doing a script like this. The scene with Laforge yelling at Brahms is how I envision Kolbes behavior towards McFadden.

    Do you mean Hurley? I’ve never heard a bad word about Kolbe (who apparently dated Kate Mulgrew for years).

    Why exactly does someone who designs a starship engine believe she has any right to act as if that ship's chief engineer is accountable to her? This is the tone of nearly all her interactions with Geordi, but it's never really explained.

    He kept saying that out there in space things work out differently than in spacedock, and she would be unimpressed. But why didn't he more directly say "In the end this isn't your business. If you want to become a chief engineer of a starship, you can apply for the job like anyone else and do things very differently from me - but it's just not your role as an engine designer to tell me how to do my job."

    Off camera, it was of course a way to create conflict and drama - but in-universe it made little sense to me. Any theories?

    Or look at it this way: what if Picard and Brahms for some reason disagreed about what to do about the engines? Who is Geordi accountable to then? The only logical answer is that she has no place in his chain of command and she is just moaning about something that is rightly beyond her control. Even allowing for his infatuation with her, it's surprising he didn't see this.

    And his infatuation hardly explains why Brahms would get so confused about the scope of her own position.

    @ Tomalak,

    It sounds like your question about what Brahms' job is can't be reduced to more than that: a question. We don't know what her responsibilities are. Maybe the good function of starship engines in the field makes or breaks her career, since she's the designer and needs to be producing effective components. If engineers aren't using her devices to spec then maybe it makes her look bad. Or maybe it's an aesthetic thing, like he's doing messy stuff with her perfect design. Bottom line is we don't know, but since she's acting as if it's her business and the script never contradicts this, I think it's safe to say it's her business. She doesn't need to be in Starfleet to have authority here; Starfleet runs under civilian oversight, and many times civilians are given authority even on a Starship (see: Peak Performance).

    "since she's acting as if it's her business and the script never contradicts this, I think it's safe to say it's her business"

    Hmm I think I disagree, sorry. Geordi is clearly accountable to Picard, Riker et al but there is nothing in this episode or outside it that I think explains how he would be accountable to the designer of the engines - or how this kind of rival chain of command could work even in theory. You can throw your hands up and just assume it makes sense because the characters act like it does, but I am a bit more critical/sceptical than that.

    Not sure why you're hung up about the chain of command. We have umpteen examples if Trek of civilians on a starship with significant authority. They don't need to be in the chain of command to imbued with authority on a ship.

    As for disagreeing, I'm not even talking about what the episode says about her place in the authority structure. The episode is not interested in that detail. But if you deny that she has authority you are simply repudiating the writers' intention, and I would suggest to you that this is a technical mistake in script analysis. The given premises of a script need to be taken seriously if you're going to try to make the contents intelligible. The script is pretty focused on her attitude, not on whether she has any business being there. That's a clue. Not every premise is spelled out (in the best literature, it never is).

    Brahms never threatens Geordi with any repercussions so the question of whether or not he "answers" to her in an official capacity is basically irrelevant to the story.

    Brahms was upset that he monkeyed around with her design and told him so.

    What is so complicated here? What is difficult to understand?

    Ok, Jason - I'm turning up to your office all next week. I won't threaten any repercussions, either, but I'll be rude when we first meet and from then on I'll constant ask you to justify everything you do and I'll be sure to have regular scathing comments for your every explanation. If you ever seem puzzled or ask why this is happening, I'll just say "What is so complicated here? What is so difficult to understand?". See you on Monday.

    Peter, again, I think I just don't share your attitude to this stuff. I enjoy asking critical questions when I watch Star Trek and thinking about how and whether what happens on screen makes sense in the broader universe. If you think that's some kind of technical error, it's one that almost everyone here makes constantly, so at least I am in good company.

    "Ok, Jason - I'm turning up to your office all next week. I won't threaten any repercussions, either, but I'll be rude when we first meet and from then on I'll constant ask you to justify everything you do and I'll be sure to have regular scathing comments for your every explanation. If you ever seem puzzled or ask why this is happening, I'll just say "What is so complicated here? What is so difficult to understand?". See you on Monday."

    I haven't watched the episode in a few years, but didn't Geordie invite her to the Enterprise? She's not some random hobo who wondered off the street unannounced. She's a fellow engineer who criticizes what he did with the engine she designed. She doesn't threaten to sanction him or imply that she has such authority. She just acts like a jerk to him.

    @ Tomalak,

    Your analogy to Jason R. doesn't really make sense, because you're ignoring the fact that she's obviously not there univited. Either Starfleet arranged for a technical review of the engines, or else Geordi or someone else invited her. It doesn't really matter, since she's there and obviously supposed to be there. You wan to question that, you may as well question anything not said explicitly on-screen. That's not asking critical questions, it's raising issues in contradiction to the given circumstances.

    Take Peak Performance: did Starfleet *really* give Kolrami authority on the ship? How do we know - did they show us his transfer papers? Maybe he's unlawfully usurping Picard's ship and is being a sneaky spy. Well it's "possible" insofar as nothing in the episode contradicts these ideas, except that the story establishes clearly his purpose for being there and moves on. You can question fundamental story premises, which then in turn undermines each scene that follows, and you can suggest that the entire scenic structure is illogical if your theory pans out...or you can just accept the premise and not try to poke realism holes in it. I'm about as amenable as anyone to exploring head canon, and asking how the episode affects the broader universe, but usually the starting point for me is taking the episode's story as a given and seeing where it leads. If you argue that Leah is out of bounds critiquing Geordi's engines, then each scene after the last becomes illogical for increasingly impossible to explain reasons. The whole script falls apart. At that point you have to either conclude that the writers were confused about their own intention (which happens), or that you're imposing script demands that are out of place in the story being told. I'm not saying the former is impossible, but the entire story and its structure have to be taken into account when making a grand statement about the story structure.

    I don't see the problem here.

    LAFORGE: You wanted to see me, Captain?
    PICARD: Yes, Mister La Forge. It seems that the exemplary nature of your work has caught the attention of Starfleet Command. In fact, someone is coming on board just to see the engine modifications you've made.
    LAFORGE: Who, Captain?
    PICARD: The Senior Design Engineer of the Theoretical Propulsion Group. Doctor Leah Brahms.

    So Leah has no real authority over Geordi, she's just there to observe, learn, and report. As Jason R. said, she's not threatening to sanction Geordi or anything like that, she's just being kind of possessive. She also comes around pretty quickly, realizing that many of the modifications are useful and deserving of credit. That said, it IS her business, because she is a representative of Starfleet, and while Geordi or Picard may not answer to Leah, they all answer to Starfleet. So if Starfleet is interested in this then they have authority to send in whoever they want to do whatever they want.

    Although never referenced, I wonder if the death of this space creature -- and btw I thought Picard's mortified reaction was in character -- influenced his vehement objections to killing the far more aggressive and ruthless Crystalline Entity in Season 5's Silicon Avatar. Probably just me connecting the dots that the writers didn't bother doing themselves, but that was my first thought, anyways.

    Wesley's Jumper - ooh err. If anyone ever wondered where Wes got his fashion tips - 'this is what I call seduction casual'.

    This episode aired in 1990, and people are reviewing it with the lens of posts from 2013-2021 from the posts here. Back THEN Geordi's behavior wasn't viewed as creepy. Yes he was kind of impulsive, but he backed off when she told him he was married, and didn't progress any further besides friendship.

    Guys it was 1990, the "Me too" movement didn't exist yet.

    Scott - It was creepy back then, too. I was a teenage boy back then, completely oblivious to the issues, and I was *still* skeeved out by Geordi's behavior, and the excruciatingly awkward scene in the holodeck. And that was in 1990. As a know-nothing teenager.

    As a much older man, I see a lot more in it. As a teen, I missed the outrageousness of having Leah *apologize to him* for being upset he'd kept this doll around, a doll that apparently started saying creepily sexual things the moment you walked in the door. Not a good look. Nor was Geordi's "Guh! It's a compliment!" attitude when he was finally busted.

    But leaving all that aside, the "it was 1990" argument would carry more weight if there weren't people upthread *still* trying to justify Geordi's behavior, thirty years later.

    Its funny reading these comments. If there was ever a place to post the Lal not catching the ball meme it is here. This entire episode is about how people take what little we know about others and fill in the blanks with what we want to see...good or bad.
    Reading these comments you would think Geordi was the next coming of Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey.

    He goes into the episode excited to meet a woman who he really admires because of her work. Unfortunately it was tainted by a computer generated holodeck character. His cluelessness as to her marital status is a pretty good indication he wasn't some kind of cybersalker. He invites her to dinner, she shoots him down and that's it. There was no creepy oh she's saying no but she really means yes stalking after that. He's professional and courteous. And that is in spite of Brahms consistently hostile treatment of him.

    And yes Brahms owed him an apology. She came on the ship with her own preconceived notions. I don't know what professional environment where it would be considered proper to be immediately hostile with a coworker and then proceed to be an offended jerk because he has his own ideas about how a ship should run.

    And look, I can understand the criticism of that last scene. It is a little one sided in its presentation of their mutual apologies. But it was a non serialised 40 minute network TV show form the 90s. I'm not going to murder it because it didn't stick the landing as well as it hypothetically could.

    "Reading these comments you would think Geordi was the next coming of Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey."
    Nobody said that. Weinstein is a serial rapist and Spacey tried to have sex with a 14 year old.

    Geordi's behavior is still not ok. He made a copy of her on the holodeck and at least once made out with that copy. Even if we keep in mind that Geordi is not a freaky perv and probably never did anything again, that's still wrong. Especially considering that he used starfleet equipment to do it. Furthermore, if somebody wants to leave and then you jump in front of that person to block that person from leaving then that is not ok. Both things could be seen at least as misdemeanors. Her behavior might have been irratating but that still does not justify anything Geordi did.

    Piece of advice for the fellas: if you get busted with a borderline sex doll of a lady you’re into, do not expect her to apologize

    I squirmed when I watched this, just waiting for the dreadful moment when Leah discovers the holographic program. “Every time you touch them, you’re…”. Shudder. It always amazes me that they become so buddy-buddy after they solve the Space Ravioli problem; I tell you what - if someone I never met created a borderline sexual fantasy of me, it would be a cold day in hell before I became even comfortable in their company. Yes, WE know Geordi is a teenage virgin with a crush who didn’t mean any harm, but I think a scene between him and Troi / Guinan trying to explain exactly why Leah was so upset might have been a preferable outcome, though not perhaps Trek-ish.

    I see there are nearly 300 comments. I guess most of them are discussing whether or not what Geordi did was invasive, and if so, how far? Put me in the “yes it was” school. I haven’t the energy to trawl my way back through what amounts to an entire book.

    The Space Ravioli plot had its moments. I’ll go with Jammer’s rating.

    "I tell you what - if someone I never met created a borderline sexual fantasy of me, it would be a cold day in hell before I became even comfortable in their company. "

    I guess men and women really are different after all.

    Let's not get ahead of ourselves. So far you can only say that you are different from Tidd.

    Maybe you wouldn't feel uncomfortable towards a female coworker after finding out that this coworker has created a submissive holographic version of you to play around with in a very sexual way. Just watch this black mirror episode and imagine it to be a female captain. (very disturbing)

    "Maybe you wouldn't feel uncomfortable towards a female coworker after finding out that this coworker has created a submissive holographic version of you to play around with in a very sexual way. Just watch this black mirror episode and imagine it to be a female captain. (very disturbing)"

    In the Black Mirror episode they were *sentient* holograms - the holograms themselves were being tortured so what their real life counterparts would or wouldn't feel wasn't in issue (as I recall from that episode, the real life versions never discovered what was happening)

    So no I wouldn't want to be tortured in someone's fantasy. But that's hardly the issue here.

    In answer to your question, assuming the hologram was just a hologram? I'd be flattered, end of story. It seems ridiculous to not be flattered. Someone wants me and thinks I'm sexy. What could possibly be the downside to it? Who doesn't want to be attractive? Not me.

    To clarify my post, I'd be flattered over someone using my image as a *sex* fantasy (eg: Geordie) not over someone using my image as a *torture* fantasy (eg: Black Mirror)

    The actual people in the black mirror episode found out at some point.

    "In answer to your question, assuming the hologram was just a hologram? I'd be flattered, end of story."
    if you were ever sexually assaulted or harassed, do you think that might change your view?

    Would you be equally flattered if a gay guy would make hologram Jason to do the dance with no pants? :)

    @ Booming,

    "Would you be equally flattered if a gay guy would make hologram Jason to do the dance with no pants? :)"

    This detail may actually go beyond the details of the "who doesn't want to be sexy" proposition, because the issue of who the actual person in question is goes beyond just disreputable (or questionable) scenarios. For instance if you ask a random person (usually a woman) whether it's nice to be complimented and even flirted with, you'll probably get an answer of yes. But shift the question to be "do you want to be complimented by scuzzy people or creeps" the answer would be a definitive no. It's not flattering to be complimented by someone you're repulsed by. But that doesn't really refute the general proposition that it's nice to be complimented or flirted with, it just assumes a constant proviso that the person has to be at least sort of attractive for the situation to be a positive one.

    Now you're bringing up a border case, where a gay man may not visually repulse a straight man per se (i.e. he's not in the correct 'dating category', so his looks aren't that relevant maybe), so it might not fall under the "compliments are unwelcome when the person is scuzzy" scenario, but it may still be a grey area. How complimented can you be when the person in question is someone you could never possibly be attracted to? But I think this examination exceeds the basic thing Jason R was trying to say.

    All valid points but what Geordi did goes quite a bit beyond making a few compliments. If a guy I know nothing about would create an elaborate "insert own interpretation here" then it barely matters if the guy is a total dreamboat. It's not about the desire, it's about effort put into creating this. He created a copy of her to use that copy. I don't find that flattering at all.

    @ Booming,

    Hence why Jason R made the comment he did about 'men and women really are different after all.' His entire point was that if an attractive woman (I'm inferring) wanted to make a hologram of him because she found him sexy (which is not even what Geordi did) then that would be flattering *to him*.

    I only made the comparison to compliments and flirting because your question about what if it was a gay man went outside the confines of what Jason R said and introduced a whole other issue, which has overlap with flirting/compliments.

    @Booming I'll ignore your ridiculous "would you feel the same way if horned demons shoved burning sticks up your behind while making out with your clone" hypotheticals and address the scenario that's actually applicable to this debate:

    "Would you be equally flattered if a gay guy would make hologram Jason to do the dance with no pants? :)"

    No matter how many ways you restate the question, the answer will be yes.

    Would I prefer it to be a pretty woman? Sure. Am I terrified or upset by the idea that some gay dude is jerking off to my photo? No. Why would I care? It doesn't make me gay if gay dudes think I'm hot. If an ugly woman thinks I'm hot, I don't have to date her.

    You seem to think that you're going to catch me in a contradiction or something but that just illustrates my point - we are totally not thinking about this in the same terms. I really do think there is a difference in how men and women see this sort of situation.

    "The actual people in the black mirror episode found out at some point."

    Not that it matters to our discussion but no they didn't.


    The digital recreations recruited their real life counterparts to steal genetic samples in the villain's refrigerator so that he couldn't recreate them once they succeeded in committing digital "suicide". But they never told the counterpart who they were instead just blackmailing her anonymously via text message.

    And no one in the real world finds out - that's the point- the villain ends up trapped in his digital world and because no one in real life knew about it (and it was the Christmas break) he (presumably) dies of starvation or whatnot.

    "You seem to think that you're going to catch me in a contradiction or something but that just illustrates my point."
    No, I'm just doing a little Socratic questioning here. No gotcha questions here. :)
    So if the gay guy was physically superior, could potentially force his will on you and you knew nothing about his capacity for violence, would you still be flattered?

    "If an ugly woman thinks I'm hot, I don't have to date her."
    Yes, because that is what all this boils down to you. Do I want her or not because you do not perceive a woman as a potential serious threat? That is why I brought up the sexual harassment part. Could one not argue based on that that men and women are not different at first but women change through negative experiences with men?

    "So if the gay guy was physically superior, could potentially force his will on you and you knew nothing about his capacity for violence, would you still be flattered?"

    Alright now we are getting into some more useful hypotheticals here.

    The answer is: yes, I'd still be flattered, but if I really thought this scary dude was going to come after me and lock me in his dungeon? Indeed, I'd also feel fear and that fear would overshadow any fleeting feeling of flattery.

    But you see how far we've strayed from nerdy Starfleet engineer makes sexy hologram scenario? Geordie isn't Buffalo Bill from Silence if the Lambs, or at least if he is, Levar Burton did a piss poor job of selling it on screen (do serial killers fit into Gene's ideal future?)

    "Could one not argue based on that that men and women are not different at first but women change through negative experiences with men?"

    Well sure, why not? I never said the difference was genetic or due to organic factors. I just said there seemed to be a difference. Your hypothesis is totally plausible.

    @Jason R @Peter G @Booming

    It wasn't the hologram use of me that creeped me out. It was the professional project that turned into 'something else' ("Every time you touch [the engines], you're touching me...") that I found unsettling. In other words, going beyond what was a legitimate exercise and turning it into something else.

    I'm not being absolutist about it. Someone like Troi - who knows Geordi and that he is a harmless 'relationship inadequate' - MIGHT cut him some slack if it was a hologram of her .. but would the viewers? Almost certainly not. I personally think he is non-threatening, but the situation is still creepy, at least to me.


    Did you ever see the Black Mirror episode where a young widow was sold a faithful recreation of her dead husband drawn from different online sources? That's even more disturbing, though less relevant to Trek than that other one.

    Thanks for approaching this with an open mind. :)

    Do you mean "be right back"? yeah that was unsettling. I think San Junipero was my most favorite episode I'm ashamed to admit. It's so good!

    @ Tidd,

    "It wasn't the hologram use of me that creeped me out. It was the professional project that turned into 'something else' ("Every time you touch [the engines], you're touching me...") that I found unsettling."

    I think we need to remember that in Booby Trap Geordi neither asked for the Leah hologram, nor did he ever intend to *or even try* to use it any other way. The holographic Leah seems to me to have been the party coming on to him. Sure, he was feeling a great working relationship, and overall I think that episode was trying to show that Geordi is more comfortable working with the computer than dating real humans. The episode was about technology and our relationship to it, not about Geordi's fantasies. I don't think there was anything in that ep about his fantasy of a lady engineer. It was only Galaxy's Child that introduces what I suppose is supposed to be the fun idea of "hey what if the real Leah came on board!" to riff off of Booby Trap. It's this episode that concocts the uncomfortable scenario, but I don't think it's fair to retroactively blame Geordi for the creation of the hologram or for what it said in an unsolicited fashion. He was as surprised as we were that the ship's computer did that. The only thing I think is really worthy of blame is the directing and writing of Galaxy's Child, because it's pretty clear what they wanted (and IMO failed to do) was to write a cute man/woman tension story that resolves in warm feelings. It's just that it wasn't actually cute, and Geordi does come off (to me) as a creep as a result. But it's technical flaws in execution that I think are to blame. And certainly not anything that was in Booby Trap.

    @Peter G

    Yet again I've forgotten crucial details. I have to accept what you say about Booby Trap, and I agree with you that the writers did a p*ss poor job with Galaxy's Child.


    Yes, San Junipero is pretty unforgettable! But the episode that has stayed with me longest and is the most disturbing, is the one where a girl wakes up to find a deserted town.. then people gradually appear just taking pictures of her on their phones. Soon she gets caught up in a macabre chase, but it's the last 5 minutes or so, when you find out what's going on, that is really disturbing. "White (something)"?

    Ya as I pointed out in the thread earlier there was 0 evidence that Geordie did anything sexual with the hologram - but was assuming he did just for the sake of argument.

    There is an ironclad law of the universe that the instant there is the whisper of two people being involved it is a certainty that this will morph into common knowledge that they had sex, lots and lots of sex. And the more anybody denies it, the more sex they must have had.

    Works for holograms. Kind of a Godwin's law.

    It's really sad. The concept is not bad. Geordi, the chief engineer, whose best friend is a machine, falls in love with the person that invented the engine. It could have been a nice love story. They are both a little shy and awkward around each other and really don't get it going but still there are feelings. Guinan happens. They help to bring a new life into this galaxy and in that moment we see from Data's perspective how their hands touch and they kiss. Data turns around. Cut to Geordi's quarter where we see him read a book called:"The Kamasutra modernized for the space age by William T. Riker."
    The end

    Oh and here now my top 3 disturbing black mirror episodes (no order)
    white bear, white christmas, shut up an dance. Honorable mention goes to the very first one because that hit me completely unprepared. It really showed the power of perspective, how we dehumanize people.


    Oh yes - White Bear, that was it. In the end, I didn’t know whether I was more sympathetic towards the child killers, or those who had devised that “punishment”. VERY disturbing.

    White Christmas gave me nightmares: they set one second to equal a thousand years then went off for Christmas, leaving the trapped man to listen to Wizzard’s song on endless repeat! Aaaaaaargh….

    Yes, Shut Up and Dance would be up there too, along with Crocodile. The one that was best on the lighter side was the one with Miley Cyrus as Jackie O (can’t remember the title).

    @Tidd / @Booming I don't know if I told you previously but if you like Black Mirror you have to read Ted Chiang. Several episodes are based on his short stories, including the very cool episode "Story of your Life" - one of the more plausible scifi concepts introduced in the series (ironically the episode was *not* based on Chiang's story "Story of your Life* - which was made into the movie Arrival starring Amy Adam's- but on a totally different Chiang story!) Chiang is like a modern Phillip K. Dick as his stories are super creative, feature amazing high concept scifi but have tons of heart.

    I love Black Mirror, but Chiang is the real master here. Black Mirror's predictable cynicism (which Chiang does not share) becomes wearisome after a while.

    Will keep that in mind. I loved Arrival. Great lead, great story, great director.

    @Booming I know it's a cliche to say but Chiang's story is far better than the movie imho.

    I've watched this again after many years and read many (but not all, there are so many!) of the comments and despite the fact this seems to have been (almost) beaten to death I will add one point that I believe was overlooked. Many people kept talking about Geordi's intentions, what did he intend, etc. He did not intend for the hologram in Booby Trap to become a sexual attraction/love situation. True. He did fall in love and was sexually attracted, but I don’t think many are arguing that that was his crime. He transferred those feelings to the real Leah (also not a crime) but because of his feelings his actions were completely inappropriate, unprofessional and, yes, sexual harassment. It wasn’t his feelings that were the crime, but his resulting behavior (yes Peter G. that’s aimed at you! ;) ) Certainly he never intended his actions to be sexual harassment, but I would think that most of us have gone through sexual harassment training by now and have learned that the intentions of the person doing the harassment are irrelevant. Intent is almost impossible to prove and it really doesn't and shouldn't matter. The reasonable person standard is often used as in "a hypothetically reasonable person with a reasonable way of interpreting and reacting to a situation of sexual harassment." In some jurisdictions a “reasonable woman” standard is used instead.

    Based on many of the comments in this thread and my own reaction to Geordi's behavior if I was in Leah's shoes, I do believe by today's standards Geordi sexually harassed Leah. I'm not going to attempt to try to put this into any 24th century standard, but in the late 80s and early 90s the standards we use today were being established. Creating a “hostile environment” (which is what I think Geordi was guilty of) was established as early as 1981 by a D.C. Circuit court. I would argue the standards we use today were already well established when this review and these comments were written. So, even if the writers could have merely been guilty of poor writing based outdated stereotypes, the reviewers defending Geordi by today’s standards have gotten it wrong. Yes, that’s my opinion and it’s nigh impossible to get a consensus on this kind of hot-button topic, but go ahead, look up what a “hostile environment” means.

    Finally, whether or not Geordi is a meek little nerdy guy or a big buff bodybuilder is irrelevant to the hostile environment. Leah never had to feel physically threatened for there to be a hostile environment. Leah could have been a total slut and that would be irrelevant too. I bring that up because of the First Contact episode and some of those comments. Some people actually said that Riker was a womanizer so it wasn’t rape. Huh? I’m actually not taking the position it was rape but the logic behind those comments scares me. So a prostitute can’t get raped, is that it?

    With that said, I guess I’ll have to check out Black Mirror and Ted Chiang.

    I just want to add that I use the word "crime" for expedience sake, but it may be too harsh. Infraction may be a better word.


    Just in case I was one of the ones you were referring to with "First Contact," my position was that the reason it shouldn't be interpreted as particularly traumatic for Riker is that I think that subplot is really part of the spy/alien invasion action/intrigue genre (as counterpart to the more cerebral, talky Picard side of the story), among several other wacky things that happen to Riker, and so the narrative conventions suggest it wouldn't be particularly rough on him. This isn't really meant to convey anything about what that implies for a real life person (except I guess maybe a spy who needs to use sex to escape a tricky situation, but again it's pretty far from real life). That Riker has a rather broad-minded attitude towards sex maybe contributes to this but for me it's secondary to the genre/storytelling considerations, and isn't meant to trivialize any real life incidents.

    @ William B

    I appreciate your comment and I agree that is probably the intention of the episode. They almost got there. I just don't think they quite made it and I can see why many consider what she did at worse rape, at best coerced. I can also see why it's hard not to take into consideration it was Riker being 007 (versus someone like Geordi as many of us probably think that Geordi would have said "no thank you") and that it wasn't succumb or die. I'm glad they didn't write it as a truly life and death choice for Riker.

    I do think that some people went to far with the argument that it can't be rape because it's Riker. Thus my comment.

    I don't think any of us are trying to trivialize any real if incidents in these threads, even if people toss around the insults sometimes. We just like Star Trek and reading and talking about it. A lot.

    I like this episode a great deal and think it was a valuable bit of social commentary on entitlement. Geordi had a flaw in that he felt like Leah was going to magically fall into his arms because he'd already "dated" her fantasy recreation.

    He had the very wrong idea of who Leah Brahms was based on the computer's reconstruction of her and that made all of his actions extremely wrong footed. I feel like fan entitlement and parasocial relationships can find a lot of applicability in the story on the screen. Geordi thinks he has a relationship with her already and it will go swimmingly when, of course, it's all a product of his imagination.

    Honestly, I feel this is good development and characterization. It's arguable biggest flaw is that it does backtrack at the end with Georid and Leah friends. I feel like Fry and Lucy Liu in "I dated a robot", they should have gone all out and have Leah just think of Geordi as a creep and him have to deal with him bungling it.

    @ Pamellllaaa, I completely agree with your feelings on both this episode and First Contact. This episode in particular struck a nerve with me because I'm a current (female) graduate student in Mechanical Engineering. It's easy enough to dismiss a lot of questionable plot lines and characterizations in older Trek because of the time that's passed since airing, but what makes this episode so uncomfortable is how accurate it is to the culture in engineering today. There are still so many "nice guys" who are let off the hook because they're considered awkward/geeky/socially inept and that's seen by bystanders as endearing. I'm a big fan of jammer's reviews usually but I'm really saddened to see how he (and many others in this insanely long comment thread) don't find a problem with Geordi's actions and put the blame on Leah.

    Honestly the problem with this episode isn't necessarily Geordi's actions, but the framing. When Leah (rightly) accuses Geordi of being invasive and violating, I was ready to forgive the episode for the early cringe. But the way Geordi is shown as sympathetic with his "I'm only guilty of trying to be your friend :(" + Leah apologizing at the end was frankly nauseating. At the same time, I don't particularly take issue with the Quark/Kira plotline in DS9 because it's /framed/ as quark being creepy and violating and Kira very quickly puts him in his place. It's well established by DS9 that Quark will do basically anything, regardless of morality, for a profit. In no way does DS9 make Quark sympathetic for trying to scan Kira nor does it vilify Kira for being angry, which is the big difference between the two episodes.

    The one thing I will give this episode is that the concept of the baby alien imprinting on the enterprise was very amusing, particularly because of the various ways the crew reacted to it. Don't think I'll ever rewatch this one though...

    I wasn't going to comment on this episode because it's too dumb, but I looked through the review and some of the comments and I just... - I'm speechless.

    Julia's comment, directly above mine, typifies so much of what's wrong with us today. Chips on people's shoulders the size of hubcaps. Everyone's a victim (except straight white men, of course). Most any male interaction with a woman is sexist or misogynistic. After all, all men are rapists, somehow or other.

    Quo vadis, Western civilization!

    Geordie did nothing wrong. His holodeck program was a bit..."weird"...but innocent child's play compared to most guy's (and gals'!) private fantasies. Oooooooh, he programmed some soppy innuendo in there. RAAAAAAAAY-PIIIIIIIIIST!!! Sheesh... They didn't even get physical... - IN HIS DADGUM FANTASY!!! The holodeck program is a virtualization of a sweet, innocent daydream Geordie had had about this chick. His only mistake was not password-protecting the file and, really, that's the biggest (and only!) scandal of this episode: You really DO expect the chief engineer of a starship to know better!

    So yeah, spare me the confected outrage. If we rake Geordie over the coals for the holodeck program or for trying to hit on his crush, then we really have no future as a species.

    People openly debating a contentious issue is not the end of western civilization, on the contrary, it is it's very essence.

    You might not have a problem with being objectified or an episode blaming a woman for the unethical acts of a man but some do.

    Oh, and as an aside, literally nobody called Geordie a rapist. Nobody called all men rapists or all interactions misogynistic. That's all just in your head.

    Back to my gilded soap opera

    Oh man, this episode is the reason I found this site. I watched all of TOS and up to this episode in TNG without incident but the conversation where Brahms apologizes to Geordi(!) put me over the edge. I just had to see what the reviews and commentary were saying and this site was the first result.

    I know I've got a comment or two in this massive thread but my stance remains the same: Geordie is no "rapist" but he was being creepy, manipulative and entirely inappropriate in a professional setting. "I offered you friendship" is such horse-shit when he obviously wanted more than that. That's ""nice guy"" shit and it doesn't fly. I'm not saying he should have been fired or demoted but Brahms would have been perfectly justified in complaining and Geordie absolutely deserved a "hey man, what the fuck" dressing-down from Picard.

    One of those episodes that is clearly very much of it's time, and good for fostering discussion.

    "I've studied her schematics for years." I bet you have Geordie, I bet you have.

    The writers had already somewhat established Geordi as inept around women in one of the earlier episodes, but still one has to wonder if it was really their intention to portray him as a borderline creep here or was it just an unforeseen consequence of the script. At this point, I guess it doesn't really matter and I share the predominant view in this comment section that Geordi's demeanor was highly inappropriate (even without the holodeck program), but, arguably, understandable to a point. Notice how at the end, once the plot has been resolved and the initial shock of discovering the program subsided, Geordi actually talks to Brahms as one would to a normal human being and comes off as somebody one would actually like to spend time with, as opposed to the intense and creepy man who invited her to his quarters a couple of scenes earlier.

    What actually bothered me more about this episode is the B-plot's premise. I remember reading a hypothesis somewhere years ago that if we were to create anti-matter, a single particle of the stuff could power a city the size of NYC for a full 24 hours, or practically fuel a car for eternity. I obviously have no way of knowing whether that's true or not, but it doesn't seem too farfetched. That being said, one would think that a ship carrying a reactor made of that stuff that is capable of launching it to speeds exponentially higher than the speed of light would be able to feed a whole bunch of those space faring creatures no matter their size and barely feel it.

    I was ambivalent about this episode, including Geordi's behavior, before and rewatching I still am though it does have some interesting elements I had forgotten. Especially that Geordi is totally open about the background/prior events and hologram with Guinan, though it still feels disappointing, forced, cheap that he doesn't reveal having created it to Leah when he had at least two easy opportunities to. The dinner and crawl space scenes aside Geordi doesn't come off as that romance-seeking, and to the extent he does Leah doesn't seem that bothered by it (though presumably because she keeps thinking she must be misinterpreting because he must know she's married), although it's still too much for Geordi to angrily insist all he did was offer her friendship. Otherwise the episode does OK in showing what they do have in common, that despite friction they can become friends (and, given the possible future from the finale, maybe ironically get together later after this begininning).

    Acting outraged over having a hologram created of you does seem excessive and yet TNG with its previous episodes had done pretty well in establishing the sense that holograms were very new, unusual technology so given that it's OK.

    Maybe the best part is that while Geordi doesn't specifically use the word sorry or act really apologetic he does in the last scene admit, apologetically, that he should have just told her.

    The whole episode would have been a bit better if in the dinner scene after the computer's over the top music suggestions Geordi had decided to go with no music, gone with the compromise of dimmed lights, no music.

    Fantastic episode. The Geordi / Leah plot would be a lot more fun in the hands of writers who had the time to better delve into the issue rather than trying to neatly wrap it up in 42 minutes. My biggest pet peeve about this episode is that Picard shows more emotion and grief over this creature's death than he does 99% of the crewmembers that have perished under his command.

    Having just discovered Star Trek and this website in 2023 it is really interesting to read back these comments from over a decade ago. I'm personally glad to see the amount of people from back then who also highlighted the problematic aspects of Geordi's behavior. Sometimes people give me the impression that they think that before metoo everyone was perfectly fine with inappropriate workplace behavior... I also want to applaud the civil discussions I have seen in this thread.

    Having said that, I found the episode to have a refreshing, non-2010'/20's resolution. Sure Geordi's behavior is absolutely cringeworthy and wrong, but in true Star Trek fashion he is able to learn a valuable lesson exactly because Guinnan and Leah show their 24th century humanity in their responses to his behavior. Instead of jumping to red alert and arming phasers they offer wisdom, forgiveness and listen to his explanation with an open mind.

    Would it have been a better episode if La Forge would have been villainized, demoted and socially crucified for his behavior? Would that have made him a better person in the long run? Who would have saved the ship?

    Now there are certainly unforgivable actions (harrasment, stalking and many others). But the type of social ineptitude shown by La Forge can manifest itself in any human being (yes, even YOU) under the wrong circumstances. Crucially he owned up to his mistakes, although in criticism of the episode this should have been shown more strongly.

    I think the message is similar to the one about the daydreaming engineer (forgot his name), although imo this one pulls it of better.

    3/5 stars

    They really should have made an episode down the line about the rules / litigation of holodeck use. Could have been a good court episode.

    In the opening season they touted the holodeck as being this grand new thing. It reminds me of how social media was originally all about people showing off cats, and pies, and then over time became used to lead revolutions and organize huge events it wasn't intended for. People used it to get information on others, and they still do.

    As for here, I do cringe a bit at Geordi, though not as much as some others. I think this episode would have worked better if say the episode was revolving around Wesley or even Barclay. Geordi is too old not to know better, especially since he is so competent and even handed almost all the time. It was nice to see Guinan throw a burning comment his way.

    I also think the episode may have worked a bit better if Leah came off as even more hostile to him. I think they were going for the idea that both of them had a "fantasy" of the other, and that they would meet somewhere in the middle after realizing they both deluded themselves. Leah is a bit to nice to him, and Geordi is a bit too aggressive.

    For me the biggest cringe was Geordi inviting a professional to his OWN quarters for a meeting. She should have immediately suggested 10 forward (A public place). But I guess humans are so perfect in the future they don't even think of bad things happening on dates / private meetings.

    Despite all this, TNG is weird to me, I like the characters and I liked the Space Whale Baby plot enough to still reccommend it. I'm glad Leah ripped Georidi in the Holodeck, and while I get the argument Geordi was pushing back at her, I didn't like his tone. But I also like they were both wrong in a way (though Geordi was more wrong)

    The line about if the alien should be named "Jr" from Data was classic.

    I'd squeak this in just into the 3 star range.

    In the episode Booby Trap, Dr. Brahms was a junior designer. Did she get retroactively promoted to senior designer?

    * Leah is the one who said "sour the milk", not Geordi.

    * Geordi didn't program holo-Leah to say "when you're touching the engines, you're touching me".

    * But yeah, Geordi was pretty creepy to real Leah.

    I recently re-watched this one, and I found it significantly better than I was expecting, given the prominent discussion around it nowadays. I think the major problem is that the argument between Geordi and Leah in the holodeck isn't really two people arguing about the same thing: Leah is concentrating on the holodeck program and how she's angry about it, and Geordi, after trying to explain things, starts arguing about his attempt to connect with her over the past few days. I get where Geordi's coming from, but then the holodeck issue itself isn't really sufficiently addressed during that particular scene. And then, we get to the end, and apparently they've both moved on, which is...a bit sudden. Given the way it's presented, I could see people thinking that Geordi is attempting to evade the issue entirely and turn pressure onto someone else instead, which I don't think was the intent, given the way he fully apologizes at the end for not coming clean.

    Well, anybody who was ever blocked from leaving by a somewhat hostile guy will not perceive this scene as creepy but as threatening. I know that for heterosexual men this is normally a reality that they never experience but many women (and some gay men/women, I would assume) have been at a party where they had to spent some time on the floor of a locked bathroom.
    I leave it at that because it is such a dark topic but men, just keep in mind that for women that scene often has a completely different vibe. I don't want men to feel bad, though. If you are a good guy, then don't feel humiliated by the negative behavior of others. Just be compassionate if you notice something.
    Could that lead to you being used? Yes, but I always think that I'd rather be compassionate towards somebody who doesn't deserve it than deny compassion towards somebody who needs it.

    Phew, normally I delete stuff like this after the tenth rewrite. 2 hours well spent...

    I always wondered if Geordi got an unintended racist treatment. Worf was the guy who got beaten up and people said no to and Geordi was the guy who never "gets the girl" and is blind.

    Let's be real here. He is good looking; He has a very impressive career; He is normally nice, caring, thoughtful and brave (+so much more); He is blind from birth which is the perfect icebreaker and also makes anybodies caring meter go up; In one episode he also talks about how he was always blind and how he sees things which was beautiful and touching. Even if he is somewhat awkward or overeager. Any women older than 16 has dealt with nervous guys. It's not a positive but it is also not a big negative.
    In other words, Geordie should have no problem finding somebody. He is what Americans call "a keeper".

    Riker probably had a weekly meeting with Crusher to check for STD's, Picard was always running away from awesome women chasing him and even Wesley got the occasional super model/genius girlfriend.
    Geordie on the other hand was an incel "for some reason", probably spending his nights on 8000chan...

    Well, they let him have an unseen relationship in the future. I guess becoming an admiral and the curator of the most prominent museum in the Federation after years of heroic service on the flagship finally led to women actively seeking him out.

    For me to give one star or less, I have to find an episode repellant. Geordi's crush is one thing - people have crushes on movie stars or even movie characters. But I was so embarrassed by Geordi's inability to separate his crush from the real woman that I could not finish the episode.

    Adults are subject to inappropriate feelings, but they are still required to act like adults.

    This episode made a mockery of LCdr LaForge.


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