Star Trek: The Next Generation

“The Loss”

2 stars.

Air date: 12/31/1990
Teleplay by Hilary J. Bader and Alan J. Adler & Vanessa Greene
Story by Hilary J. Bader
Directed by Chip Chalmers

Review Text

The Enterprise becomes ensnared in a field that pulls the ship along like a boat in a current. It turns out the current is actually a swarm of two-dimensional life forms that exist in space on a flat plane (which, of course, is not unlike how space travel is often depicted in Trek anyway). The crew must figure out how to escape the current without hurting the 2D-beings. The sci-fi gobbledygook surrounding this storyline is not one of TNG's best examples of sci-fi gobbledygook.

Coinciding with this encounter, Counselor Troi's telepathic abilities suddenly vanish. Is there a connection? Gee, what do you think? Will Troi have her abilities back before the hour is up? I wonder. "The Loss" is a better title than "Two-Dimensional Life Forms" and it describes the more relatable of the story's equal-time-shared plot. I had sympathy for Troi's loss of her ability to sense other people's feelings, whom she aptly now describes as "surfaces without depth" and "projections." But the depiction of this just doesn't work. Troi has a meltdown where she snaps on Beverly, and I didn't buy it. And her almost immediately resigning her post borders on silly as knee-jerk overreactions go. Dramatically, the net effect of a helpless Troi feels more shrill than effective. Aren't TNG characters supposed to be more perfect than this?

The 2D-beings plot turns to tedium and forced jeopardy simultaneously. We've got the 2D-beings headed toward a cosmic-string fragment (with the gravity of 1,000 black holes, if I heard right, although one would've been sufficient) and the only way for the Enterprise to escape comes when Troi hits on the idea of "moths to a flame." Of course, creating another "flame" in this instance involves reams of cascading technobabble that ... oh, never mind.

Previous episode: Final Mission
Next episode: Data's Day

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132 comments on this post

    I actually thought the moment in "The Loss" where Troi loses her temper to Crusher & Riker was first-rate.

    You were nicer to "The Loss" than I would have been. Nice to read some new Trek reviews. Season Four was a great season for TNG.

    PS: I just thought I'd add, since you didn't seem to touch on it, that the premise of "The Loss" SEEMS to be (and is analogized by Troi in the episode) a sci-fi analogy to a handicap like blindness or deafness, or the loss of a limb or something like that suddenly thrust upon a person, it can be life-changing. I don't think they managed to play this analogy out well enough, however. Perhaps in part due to the obvious reset at the end of the episode, but I think there was something more missing in the writing or performance. I think even having sen the whole series, Troi's empathic ability was not showcased enough (in frequency and in depth) for us to really understand what she was missing, whereas if she had gone blind, we might be able to relate better. It just seems like in her everyday conversations that are shown on the show, she isn't using her power - at least we're not aware of her using it; so it seems odd that she'd feel so lost talking to someone without that power.

    The Loss: Marina was never (imo) effective conveying shock/startled loss, spontanaiety etc ... Where she WAS good was doing her job as a counselor (except on the bridge where she was atrocious) ... When someone actually had an appointment with her to be counseled, Marina posessed a calm competence that I liked ... when they needed quick reactions from her, it often came across as vapid/

    Data's Day - One of the funniest things ever in television is when Beverley has just finished working so hard with Data on tap dancing (because he had said he needed to learn 'dancing') and then he concludes that he is fit for dancing at the WEDDING! Gates' reactions are HILARIOUS!!!

    You dislike this episode because of the way Troi's understandable breakdown occurs, yet you gave "Crossfire" 3 stars even though Odo moping for Kira almost got Bajor's First Minister KILLED!
    Funny, I don't recall Troi's moping getting anyone killed. Indeed, Picard encourages her to help the crew even though she doesn't have her abilities, whereas Worf saves Odo's shapeshifting ass by catching Shakaar's would-be assassin.
    There's goes your DS9 bias again. Sheesh.....

    Bleh. I've never been a fan of Troi-based episodes. I found the 2D life forms far more engaging in this than MArina Sirtis playing Deanna whining for most of the episode. It just comes off as Troi deciding her problems are more important than the Enterprise being in danger.

    Her episodes usually tend to boil down to either falling in love with some Mary Sue of the week or going around whining about her problems in a very self-centered way. Troi is my least favorite character.

    I agree with Tony above that while Troi's meltdown is unprofessional, it's still never dangerous to anyone and I think this helps keep her panic in perspective. While it's stupid for Troi to resign as quickly as she does, she also avoids spreading her problems to others after some of her initial freakouts, and in particular she snaps at people mostly when they actually keep pushing her. The one major exception -- which I find hilarious, and I can't tell whether I think it's because it's convincing or because it's so unconvincing -- is when she freaks out at Geordi's saying that he wishes they knew whether the 2D life forms were sentient and she yells "What's THAT supposed to mean?" Ha, great stuff. But no -- when Troi is "whining" it is almost always because someone else has started the conversation, and so while I don't always approve of what she says and I don't always find her behaviour convincing, I don't think she's really indicating that her problems are worse than the ship's overall.

    Really, Troi's reaction to her loss of empathy does make sense -- after all, she has just been disabled. Worf's reaction to finding out he has lost his mobility in "Ethics" is to try to *kill himself*, and so I think Troi going around yelling at people trying to help her and threatening to quit her job are pretty tame in comparison. That said, something still doesn't work for me about this story. For one, it's fairly clear that her powers are likely to come back when the 2D life forms go away, and the episode mostly obscures this point by cheating -- having Beverly announce that Troi has permanent brain damage which might not repair itself, and then having Troi regain her powers instantly when the Enterprise is out of the 2D life forms' wake. That the episode makes no reference at all to the fact that there is a *disabled main character* to whom Troi might possibly talk also annoys me, though yes Geordi's being born blind is different from Troi's loss of her powers. Part of it may be that, in the end, I'm not actually that sure that Troi is very good at her job most of the time -- so many episodes involve Troi being inappropriately pushy, for example -- so that I find an episode devoted to Troi learning how she doesn't need her powers to be a good counselor somewhat unconvincing. Ideally, I wish that Troi had learned from her experience being badgered by Riker and Crusher that going on to someone in pain that they aren't dealing with their pain enough and invading their personal space to do so is not always the best way to get them to realize what they are doing wrong, and that she might become a better counselor simply by realizing what it's like to be the patient. Some elements of the dialogue hit on this -- Beverly's saying that therapists make the worst patients ("except for doctors") and Riker's suggesting that Troi likes being in emotional control of every situation and that she needs to learn to accept lack of control point to this, and those do help the episode work for me; but neither are quite enough.

    I do find the attempt to link the two plots thematically especially hamfisted and funny -- "Why, everyone feels as flat to me as those two dimensional life forms!" and whatnot -- and indeed about as far as the episode ever got to developing the "2D life form" idea is "Maybe 2D life forms aren't affected by gravity the same way 3D objects are," which is a fine premise I guess but is not very imaginative. (When they mentioned the cosmic string, I thought they were going to argue that the cosmic string was essentially a one-dimensional object for all intents and purposes, and that that would be relevant somehow, but no dice.) That Troi was able to psychoanalyze these 2D life forms as acting on instinct was meant to prove that she doesn't need empathy to be useful, which is good I guess? But her speculation doesn't feel convincing enough to really establish this thing.

    I guess I agree with 2 stars.

    That no one in the show suggests that maybe Troi could take a leave of absence as a middle ground between "being competent to return to her job immediately" and "quitting Starfleet forever" is also annoying.

    One last point: I love it when Troi responds to Riker saying, "Imzadi..." with an annoyed "Oh, please!", and also her rejection of his kiss at the episode's end. I don't quite know why it's so satisfying -- maybe it's that Riker, more than Troi, acts as if the Riker/Troi relationship could be picked up at any time, but has no actual interest in giving anything up at all for it.

    Actually the string has a force of 100 stars. Not unreasonable I think, especially compared to a blackhole.

    I think this just might be the single most boring TNG episode I ever watched.

    I like Troi, I just think the writers have done a really poor job with her character, her lines and her stories.
    "Flat" describes this episode very well.

    I think it was an interesting idea to see how Troi would react to losing her abilities. However, this show was pretty much a failure. Troi doesn't have the acting ability to carry a show. Her crying scene was not convincing at all. Actually, pretty much all of her scenes were not convincing. When she's finally cured, she just puts on a fake smile.

    It's harder to empathize with a character who loses a power that normal humans don't have. As Riker says, there's something aristocratic about it. The show didn't succeed in showing us what it was like for her to lose her sensing abilities and making us care about it. I agree with William that they also missed a great opportunity to have her interact with Geordi.

    Also, the 2D life forms plot was pretty bad. I don't find the idea of 2D life forms convincing. Is that even physically possible?

    Some good parts to this episode, in interactions between characters. But man is Trek science a load of nonsense. Who is the idiot they hired as a science adviser? Or did they just not bother? It's like high school standard.

    Troi's empathic ability was not showcased enough (in frequency and in depth) for us to really understand what she was missing

    How do you propose we understand something that has never happened, and will probably never happen? And something we have never experienced. You can't understand qualia if you don't experience it. No matter how "well explained" it is. You also can't go into depth about something that is absolute fiction.

    DLPB: "How do you propose we understand something that has never happened, and will probably never happen? And something we have never experienced. You can't understand qualia if you don't experience it. No matter how "well explained" it is. You also can't go into depth about something that is absolute fiction."

    WHAT? It sounds like you don't believe in the power of (the best) writing to be convincing and transportive.

    You aren't understanding. Troi losing her powers can be conveyed as compared to a person losing their sight, but you can never hope to understand it, because it will never happen to a human. It is also not possible for you to really gauge what a loss of sight is like, since it hasn't happened to you.

    Well, I suppose that losing her empathic abilities might be devastating for Troi. But Picard is right: They sure are no requirement for her job as ship's counselor. In fact, the only situations where her abilities come in handy are when the Enterprise is looking for life forms which cannot be traced by their ominous "life signs". At any point in the series where real counseling is concerned, they are worthless. In fact, Troi does her best counseling jobs when she didn't use her abilities at all, but focuses on understanding the other person's thoughts (on which their feelings are based), like in this episode, where she senses that her patient is in denial, or in "The Nth Degree", where she helps Barclay by understanding (not feeling) his fears.

    Is "The Loss" good? No. Is it bad? No. It's just another run-of-the-mill episode that does virtually nothing for me either way.

    Well, okay, it does do a few things bad. What was the point of Troi's outbursts and general attitude about her loss? Was it to make her look unprofessional and all-around unlikeable? If that was the case then mission accomplished, I guess. And, the way she gets her empathic abilities back is just absurd. A short circuit in her brain because she couldn't handle such intense emotion? Give me a break! If that's the case, why is there verifiable brain damage (which is hand-waved away in the end)?

    I would have rather had a techno-babble explanation for her impairment with something like the organisms blocking her abilities with a subspace field or something - because.... wait for it.... techno-babble doesn't bother me. Shock, horror, surprise, fainting, screams, sighs, pants-shitting, mass hysteria ensues and the internet explodes!

    Then life goes on. On to "Data's Day."


    This was a pretty lame episode. I did however appreciate the exchange at the very beginning between Riker and Data when Riker notices that Data didn't relay the time in milliseconds. This is great continuity from two episodes ago when Riker was questioning his reality by challenging Data's processing speed. Riker questioning Data in this episode shows how deeply Riker was effected by his experience and perhaps now he will always be looking out for indications that he is not part of normal reality. Also Data's reason for not supplying the information showed good character development. Thank you Michael Piller!

    A well intentioned but ultimately ham-fisted attempt to look at disability and how it is handled by those affected and those around them. As others have noted, because Troi's empathic abilities are notional it is difficult to get too involved. The character's whiny and histrionic reaction adds to the difficulty. The only sparky moment is when Riker tells her that her problem is she is no longer using her senses to remain in control of her relationships - a welcome change to the well-meaning advice delivered elsewhere.

    The plot with the 2D beings is also difficult to associate with, as they don't react to anything the Enterprise does and are therefore just 'there'. Ballsy move though to have Worf recommend firing photon torpedoes yet again - and for Picard to actually agree to it! 1.5 stars.

    Troi has always been a "know-it-all-character" and as I said on The Price episode, she's a hypocrite. The Loss episode shows us that without her know-it-all powers, she's useless and insufferable.

    Hello Everyone

    I always attempt to look at the episodes the way I did when I first saw them, recorded to VHS tape (I've still got them).

    The beginning wasn't too bad, with Troi interacting with the crew-woman. Normal stuff, but setting the stage...

    Only an idiot would not completely tie in the 2D beings and Troi's loss of her abilities, since they happened at the same time. I mean, really? When first viewing this, I thought 'Oh, the little critters are messing with her'. They sort of thought this as well, but only mention it for a bit.

    It was mentioned above that they said Betazoid's have great brain-healing abilities, and that they never mentioned it again. Perhaps they (the writers) saw it as Troi trying to rationalize things, as folks do when disaster strikes. But why say they can heal better than most, then completely forget about it?

    On first viewing, I thought she needed to wait out the current crisis, because things might change. And heck, how many hours was this crisis? Not that long, I think. Troi reacts as if it's been weeks or months she's been without her abilities, but it's only been a few hours. She ends up with a nasty attitude that reminded me of the voice Marina used in the episode where she was taken over by an alien, later in the series. But I digress: On first viewing, I couldn't suspend reality long enough to think she was really in a peril we were worried about. THE SHIP IS GOING TO DIE!... and we're worried about two crew-women who are having a terrible day? ...

    And we need to be interested in that crew-woman? At that exact moment towards the end? When she goes to Troi and explains Troi was correct all along? With the next scene telling us how many Minutes are left until the are all GOING TO DIE?!

    Heck, I just watched this a few hours ago and cannot quickly recall the techno-babble they used to save the day. But... it seemed Troi took Wesley's spot this week: she figured out something that they could try, and it worked. Yea!

    This episode was an instant dislike for me when it first aired. Not that it was... totally... horrible, but it seemed Troi was completely out of character, like she'd been written by someone who knew about the series, but hadn't watched many of them. I really thought she would handle this problem better, especially since it happened at the same time as the alien 2D problem.

    I believe the Troi I recall from earlier episodes would be smarter about the problem, try to help with the resolution, and not bother with an appointment when they were all GOING TO DIE!

    Enjoy the day Everyone!

    Oh, I just recalled Troi said, at the end, she'd forgotten to cancel the appointment. As if that should have been a consideration at that time. We're ABOUT TO DIE, and the crew-woman still shows up, not to talk about their impending doom, but to talk about what they'd talked about, like everything was a normal day...

    awwww... poor Deanna can't invade people's privacy for an episode.

    Funny how horrible this is for her. Imagine having to function without knowing people's private and personal feelings and emotions; and without having to violate people against their will.

    The point they were trying to make is it'd be like you suddenly not being able to see or hear. To us, yeah it's all BOO HOO you're just like the rest of us now but to her it's losing one of your main senses.

    I thought it was funny she was so willing to up and quit being a counseler though at the drop of a hat lol.

    Watching this series as an adult, I have a hard time understanding why I liked Troi so much when I was little. Maybe it was just because she was pretty and I wanted to look like her. She's insufferable to me these days, as much as I still want to like her. Nostalgia, I suppose.

    Did anyone else notice how over it Stewart was about a third of the way into the episode? I don't think he'd rate it among his favorites. It seemed almost like two different stories at the same time. I mean, who resigns their position on the ship in the middle of a crisis? Who starts packing their crap up when the ship's about to be destroyed? Where did she think she was going to go? There didn't seem to be much urgency from...well, anyone in this episode, really. The bridge crew acted mildly concerned, but that's about as far as it got. Ho hum, we're about to be sucked into a cosmic string. How unfortunate. That will surely put a crimp in my holodeck plans.

    And seriously, it took four people to write this stinker?

    I do understand why people wouldn't like Deanna for going off on people after they were trying to help her. But otherwise, I think this is a good episode about loss of senses.

    Let's compare it to DS9's "Melora" shall we? Troi becomes this sort of angry woman who doesn't like people "walking on eggshells" because of her disability. Ensign Melora was the same way, and the episode spent time showing how great Melora was just as she is.

    So, this episode also shows us how great Troi can be as a professional without her empathic powers. works to some degree. I like Troi puzzle-solving with Data for a change. There are also some great scenes for Riker and Troi where Riker gives Troi some tough love (and Troi of course gets back at him later).

    And finally to address people's complaints about Troi's attitude, I think Siritis was trying to act out the emotional range of a newly handicapped person. It may come off strong, yet I think her off-putting demeanor shows just how painful it is to lose an important sense in a small amount of time.

    3 stars.

    I also wanted to add that Whoopi Goldberg is terrific in this episode. Her method of "counseling the counselor" was great and all the scenes she was in were hilarious and heartwarming.

    Blah, blah, blah, blah, Troi loses her powers and then get them back... yawn! This episode is for the easily amused ST and Troi fans. It's hard to be moved and touched by an insufferable Mary Sue bitch who did nothing but whine throughout the whole episode and didn't care what's going to happen to everyone else on the ship. Although, Marina Sirtis is an insufferable bitch in real life, so it probably wasn't hard her to act like this. I know that no one is perfect... but damn...

    This episode could have been about a real disablement, like Wolf in episode Ethics, that was being disabled, even in the far future. Losing your "know it all abilities" comes across more as a dumb joke, "I lose my powers, I hate everyone! I got my powers back, now I love everyone!"

    One and half Star

    It's funny -- I picked this episode to watch randomly a few months ago after not seeing any tng for years and I pretty much hated it. Now, after re-watching the show in chronological order I actually really liked it.

    I felt the way that Troi described it ("surfaces without depth") was a great descriptor. It would be like humans going about their life but feeling an emptiness not unlike depression.

    The only thing that truly bothered me and it extends beyond this episode is that Troi is the only counsellor onboard the entire ship? Sure there's some crew members with degrees in psychology but no other counsellors. Yes, people in a more perfect society can probably handle their mental and emotional health better than we can, but come on! For example look at "Q Who" -- 19 crew members were killed by the Borg. It rattled Ensign Gomez and she probably didn't get a chance to meet any of them. I imagine the crew members and possible family members of the dead would need counselling. It would have been nice if they had introduced someone who worked under Troi but oh well.

    I like the idea of an empath being on the bridge for the captain and in other situations but shouldn't there be some sort of disclosure of her abilities to whomever they're dealing with? Seems somewhat underhanded to me.

    The excuses for this episode are so weak and desperate... "not unlike depression"... oh please, give me a break. When you have a character that can only rely on special powers and no real skill, like that of an actual therapist, throws a fit about it, treats others like crap and when she gets them back and acts all nice... that's a character that's useless, unlikable and unrelatable.

    While Star Trek VOY was not the best ST series (it's still far better than ENT), I have to give credit where credit is due, they at least got rid of Kes, you know the blonde version of Troi.

    "Listening to Counselor Troi's pedantic psychobabble."

    Thank you Q

    Zero stars

    Rikers comment about Troi being "aristocratic" was the equivalent of the more down-to-earth 21st century phrase of "poor little rich girl", which is exactly what she is.
    TNG writers didn't try to make Troi a particularly likeable character - she just floated around, reading minds, making judgements, playing victim and eating chocolate.

    I wonder do all the people complaining about Troi's "know it all" abilities also complain about Jordie's "know it all" visor that can see neutrinos (you know... those itty bitty things it takes swimming pools full of dry-cleaning fluid to detect?) or Data's "know it all" petaflops processor? These people probably shouldn't be watching Star Trek at all.

    I believe the problem with Troi is that she was there for one reason originally. And it wasn't a good reason. It was to give the male pervs watching the show the chance to peek at some panties with her short skirt (and, yeah, I was one of those pervs!). In fact, Gates McFadden left the show after Season 1 (and returned in Season 3), and she mentioned this type of stunt as one of the reasons for her decision to leave. She was asked to return by Berman and Stewart.

    But as nice as a skimpy costume is, it's an insult to the character and the story—especially when the writer hasn't given a care for anything beyond moronic titillation. That's why Troi is such a useless pile of rubbish. It isn't Marina Sirtis' fault; she did her best with the material she was given. The problem is that the character was only there for some sneak peak panties, and nothing else. The writers didn't think about ANYTHING ELSE when they conjured her up.

    Even the job itself—Counsellor—was dull and pathetic. If such a position were available on the Enterprise, she still wouldn't be on the Bridge. So, with a total lack of character development, or backstory, or prognosis, they simply forced Troi to repeat "I sense..." "I feel..." And even THAT wasn't consistent. When a scene would genuinely benefit greatly from having her talent, there was some silly reason why her power wouldn't work.

    It was just really, really lazy and insulting to the audience. At least Marina got paid. I consider the character a total failure—not only did we not receive a character with depth, we also didn't get to see any lovely Marina Siritis/Troi panties!

    I sense a very disappointed reviewer.


    Then you have episodes like "Face of the Enemy" where Sirtis and Troi play out a fantastic Hunter for the Red October-like story. And to be fair, this episode itself did a good job of showcasing Troi's psychology abilities minus her powers. I don't think overall the writers did a stellar job with the character but credit where credit is due.

    Yes, they attempted much later to rectify the damage - but it was mostly too late.

    Ugh...... absolute dreck!

    Troi acts like a brat for the majority of the episode. The technobabble sci-fi plot was stupid and the resolution was even dumber. An exceptionally dull episode in a so-far excellent season. 0.5 stars from me

    1.5 stars. The tech plot is zero-star and the Troi material, while featuring worthwhile moments with Riker and Guinan (Frakes and Goldberg are especially good), is overplayed - I normally like Sirtis in the role, and she conveys upset and distress well, but isn't so good at conveying anger in this episode when the script (prematurely and excessively) calls on her to go into aggressive meltdown towards Beverly and others (I agree with Jammer's assessment that the early scenes of her reaction, especially towards Beverly, are not credible and "more shrill than effective"). The ending of the episoe is banal and absurd - even though the ship is supposedly minutes away from destruction, there's no sense of jeopardy, urgency or panic among the totally calm crew, the solution is contrived, and the "they're home!" moment super-corny...

    Not a very enjoyable episode. Troi's emotions appeared as shallow as her perception of her crewmates. I also consider it a missed opportunity to explore the theme of disability more. Geordi could and should have had a bigger role in this episode (possibly also Data, since there is a sense of loss in him to some extent). That would have also made it a lot more interesting, because that would make the episode revolve around multiple characters, instead of just one.

    Guinan was excellent, as always.


    Geordi was born blind and never "lost" anything. He seems pretty content with his VISOR as we see in episodes like "The Masterpiece Society". What did Data lose?

    @ Chrome,

    "Geordi was born blind and never "lost" anything. He seems pretty content with his VISOR as we see in episodes like "The Masterpiece Society". What did Data lose?"

    Funny you should ask, I had to check the episode order just to make sure. Not seven episodes earlier Data lost the emotion chip that would have given him the thing he'd been after for years. I'd say that's more of a loss than Troi losing some special ability that no one else even had in the first place.

    Regarding Geordi, I agree that he never 'lost' his sight, but I do think it would be fair to still say he has a disability that he's had to learn to live with. He has some advantages there, but if you remember from "Hide and Q" it's pretty clear that despite his scanner-vision he is missing out on a lot of what others take for granted, and I'm sure he's aware of that at all times.I definitely think he could have contributed something to the discussion of how to cope with feeling left out or having suffered a misfortune.

    @Peter G.

    Data losing a chance at feeling emotion isn't really the same as what Troi's going through in this episode, I'm not sure Data could relate. But even so, Data does have a scene with Troi where explains that he lacks human insight anyway.

    As for Geordi and his blindness, pardon the pun, but I don't see it. "Hey Deanna, I've lived without sight all my life, so you'll be fine without empathic powers?" What? Guinan was really a good choice because she actually does have a skillset and capabilities similar to Troi.

    Right, but part of this episode seems to be a disability metaphor. Troi's disability is hard to relate to in some ways because she loses a power that most humans don't have. Nevertheless, if they *are* going for disability, there's an opportunity to deal with it by having Troi interact with the disabled member of the cast. It's not even that Geordi could necessarily help Troi that much, but I think it'd add a lot to the episode as a drama.

    But it's possible the episode is a bit of a non-starter because she loses a power that no one in our world actually has. This is why Riker's "aristocratic" accusation maybe has some weight -- there is a bit of a "poor little rich girl" vibe here, where Troi has to suffer the unbearable fate of...being like other people. And I think that doesn't mean that it isn't a horrible and painful loss, at all -- anything that is central to a person's identity is hard to lose. But it also seems as if Troi doesn't quite get to the point where she adjusts to recognizing that her experience post-loss is actually what other people go through all the time. She sort of does, but I'm not sure if she learns that much, besides some generic "have confidence in yourself" lesson. I think that she maybe does view her empathic powers at the episode's end much more as a gift that she should treasure, rather than a default setting she takes for granted, the loss of which she should mourn, which is something.

    This is one frame, though; if we look at it from Troi's perspective, it's awful, especially since this is part of her connection to (one of her) species. But I think that element of the story gets lost, too. I mean, imagine how her relationship with her mother would change if she could no longer communicate telepathically. There are lots of angles the episode could have taken, I think, to make the episode richer and deeper. I don't hate it like many do, but it plays to me as (jokey reference intended) pretty 2D.

    @ Chrome,

    Data doesn't experience emotions, but what he experienced would qualify to most humans as a major trauma. His brother killed their father than stole his birthright, which included the completion of his programming. There is something Edward-Scissorhands-ish about that; very sad, I should think. His experience isn't a 1-to-1 comparison with Troi, but he (and heck, even Worf) could certainly have something to say about things being suboptimal compared to what they hoped for.

    About Geordi, we can talk about the tech behind his VISOR all day, but ultimately his character was originally about how even disabled people will have a place right alongside everyone else in the future and will be able to contribute. The idea isn't that he *isn't* disabled, but that in the future being disabled won't have all the negative consequences that it does today. It's one thing to say that he's afforded the chance to contribute, but quite another to write off his disability and say that since he's 'used to it' that he has nothing to add to someone's experience of recently becoming disabled. The point isn't that his experience and hers are identical, but that he is a role model for the audience in how lacking some capability others have doesn't mean you can't be useful or participate. Troi's problem isn't that she lost her empathic powers; it's that she was obviously hanging on them as a crutch and can't cope without them. Her problem is emotional rather than technical, and that's how Geordi could help, because he no doubt went through a gamut of emotions of the course of his life regarding his blindness.

    Of course you'll get no argument from me that Guinan was a prime candidate to assist. I'm just agreeing with Michb that this was a bit of a wasted opportunity. When anyone else on the ship has problems we are usually treated to them hearing advice from various crew members. Whether it's Data, Worf, or whomever else, they'll go through the gauntlet of hearing various comments from the different perspectives. We often even get humorous scenes when Worf or Data try to give people advice. Just saying, they could have done better using the crew in this one, rather than zeroing in on how upset Troi was. It ended up feeling like a giant tantrum rather than giving her a chance to finally lean on others for support like they do on her. Isn't the show supposed to be about how everyone can help each other?

    In fact, I actually like some things about this episode -- the Riker "aristocratic" scene I mentioned is pretty great. I don't mind Troi dealing with her loss in a way that reads as (and is) self-absorbed, because I find it pretty believable and realistic. I don't think the episode does much to have Troi actually break through and gain real understanding of other people, or of the crew to gain a real understanding of Troi, which is why I think it largely deserves the general disdain it's held in, despite the things I like about it.

    I also like the Riker scene. I think it would have had more impact, though, if Troi had already brushed off earnest attempts by others to help her. It could have been made clear that not only was she mistreating herself but the others as well by acting like she was above their points of view. The 'aristocratic' comment would have hit home even harder, I think. Maybe we could have even been treated to a "you're more like your mother than you think" jab, which could have been really biting :)

    @Wiiliam B./Peter G.

    Actually, TNG in general really plays down Geordi considering his blindness a disability. No crew member ever mentions it, and Geordi never seems discouraged or left out because of it. In fact, I can really only think of one episode, "The Enemy", where Geordi's blindness even affects his performance. I think being blind is something we might consider a terrible disability today, but not such a big deal in the 24th century, and I'm sure that the writers purposefully avoided making us feel bad for Geordi, but rather liked to show off how incredibly capable Geordi was with his blindness.

    So sure, in another show, a blind guy having a heart-to-heart with a woman who lost a sense would work, but it's somewhat antithetical to TNG's message of inclusiveness.

    As for Data, I'm still not convinced. In order to experience the trauma you speak of, Data would need to have emotions. Since Data never had emotions, he has nothing to "feel" traumatic about. "Brothers" was just another interesting day for him.

    Geordi indicates in The Naked Now how much he misses that he can never see a sunrise or Tasha's beautiful face, and does *want* to see in Hide and Q, even though he ultimately rejects it as a lie. I think we can reasonably believe that people generally don't discriminate against Geordi for being blind without it meaning that he doesn't feel a sense of sadness at being shut out from an experience felt by most humans.

    @William B - " I think we can reasonably believe that people generally don't discriminate against Geordi for being blind without it meaning that he doesn't feel a sense of sadness at being shut out from an experience felt by most humans. I think we can reasonably believe that people generally don't discriminate against Geordi for being blind without it meaning that he doesn't feel a sense of sadness at being shut out from an experience felt by most humans. "

    The only time I felt that Geordi may have experienced discrimination from blindness was in his conversation with the woman engineer in "The Masterpiece Society". I feel like LeVar added a bit of a chip on Geordi's shoulder in his acting in that scene. It was quite good.

    @Robert, I thought of "The Masterpiece Society" too, and I agree LeVar adds a great edge to it. (I added "generally" to the discrimination line to account for moments like that -- and any others I can't think of.)

    I think that it's worth noting that the Romulans' using his VISOR in "The Mind's Eye" is especially despicable because of using his disability against him -- not exactly "discrimination" in the sense we're talking about, but very brutal.

    @William B

    I forget about "The Naked Now" because season one's full of early installation weirdness, but I suppose Geordi does lament being blind when "drunk". It might even be safe to say Geordi would only mind being blind if he was out of his senses from intoxication.

    I did think about "The Mind's Eye", but we never really get a moment where Geordi reflects on being used as a tool by the Romulans (and later again by the Klingons in "ST: Generations"). That might make for a darkly humorous conversation with Troi, though:

    Geordi: You think it's hard losing your mind-reading skills? How do you think I feel being, after Data, the single biggest security risk to the Enterprise because I have to use tech to live a normal life?

    Then again, we might just end up feeling worse for Geordi than we do for Troi. :)

    One of the more boring TNG overall and weaker TNG S4 episodes so far. Can tell from Jammer's review he wasn't a fan of it either.

    A Troi-focused episode is not a good recipe for me -- she has had her annoying moments in prior seasons. Here she's lashing out at Crusher, Riker etc. for losing her empathic abilities -- perhaps hard to care about it if you don't know what it's like to lose a sense.

    I think the sci-fi aspect here of 2D beings and their pull on the ship was poorly done. The technobabble didn't make much sense to me -- seems like the Enterprise tried the appropriate things but the moths/flame solution didn't have any logic for me or how the ship could create the reverse phenomena.

    The 1st 30 mins. was pretty forgettable, the opening dreadfully dull. Like I said, hard to empathize with Troi's "loss". And I thought her petulant actions were unprofessional -- but I guess it's all meant to show what it could be like for a therapist to become a patient. But resigning as ship's councillor too? I really liked how Guinan showed an interest in the job -- she should really be the ship's councillor. Riker had some good parts trying to help Troi but also putting her in her place a bit with the "aristocrat" comment.

    "The Loss" doesn't quite make it to 2 stars for my rating. You got 2 mediocre plots, weak sci-fi, and very slow pacing. So I think 1.5 stars is more appropriate. I don't know what more they could do with the interesting idea of 2D beings, but definitely more could be done with a key crew member losing a sense.

    Speaking for those of us who don't find Troi physically attractive (I think she's actually quite ugly), this is an insufferable episode. I wish I could find her attractive, then maybe I could overlook what a whiny, know it all bitch she really is.

    @Mikey - Do you enjoy the Picard, Riker, Geordi, Data or Worf episodes? I mean... you probably don't right? Do you find Worf attractive?

    Sorry all, that was borderline trolling, but I couldn't resist.

    Totally, Robert, that's why all the Ezri Dax episodes are awesome!!1one

    I'm sorry but this entire comment thread about so what if troi lost her alien sixth sense is just stupid.

    Imagine losing a part of your self that you've had since birth, something that everybody else on your home planet has. A thing that basically defines your species and their entire role in the federation. Imagine the shame of having to go back to betazed and be treated like the poor disabled girl who has to talk aloud while everybody else is having telepathic conversations.

    Of course troi was angry, anger is normal in the aftermath of losing something so innate that helps define who you are. Its not like she was parading around the ship shouting at anybody who would listen, she only responded harshly when people were being overly pitiful to her.

    It also makes perfect sense that she would have misgivings about her role on the ship without her empathic abilities. They are a crutch that she is used to leaning on in the absence of any evolved human like instincts that she has probably never learned or had to employ before.

    So what if troi acted like a diva about the whole thing. Worf is the biggest drama queen on the ship most of the time and everybody loves him.

    I think a lot of people just defaulted to meh it's a troi episode she's just being her usual crappy self. The thing is she actually has a very valid reason here. She doesn't know that her abilities are going to return and the weight of having to get used to being essentialy disabled is a hard one to bear for anybody (yes even beautiful half alien women).
    So what if the sense she lost isn't a human one. Your lack of understanding of her plight doesn't make it any less real for the character.

    I will say while I'm here though that a lot of episode was kind of nowhere. The bits I liked boiled down to Guinan being a better counsellor then troi as usual and Data and Troi puzzling out the solution to their problem in a very believable way.

    I mean this is a hilariously bad episode.

    The Enterprise is one hour away from being torn apart so, you know, the tin can's working on it down in Observation.

    Also, lines like "I feel as two-dimensional as our friends out there." Yikes.

    The part that irritates me the most is the massive Troi uppercut Beverly eats in the early part of the episode, only to completely disappear afterwards. I am watching TNG for what, the 50th time through, and I finally get it. Season 2 was great and Pulaski was a better doctor.

    Troi episodes are my guilty pleasure. I know they're always going to be botched in some way, but I love them anyway. Marina was such a trooper to wear the cat suit and put up with the way they wrote her character.

    The biggest problem with this episode was the guest cast. My god, every time I watch I want to smack Troi's patient, Ensign Brooks. She was played with all the depth of a puddle. And don't get me started on her melodramatic way of speaking. Wesley's replacement, Ensign Allenby, was terrible as well. What a stiff. I remember cringing when I read the BTS stuff that the new conn officer was intended to become a love interest for O'Brien!. So glad they dropped that idea.

    I think that Marina succeeds in showing how far out of her composed character Troi is thrown by the loss of her empathic abilities.
    She has a very human meltdown and is realistically traumatised brittle and hurting.

    The rest of the episode is baloney.

    I'm amazed no one has mentioned what has bothered me most about this episode:

    Why didn't they separate the saucer section?!

    Even as a kid, it struck me as terrible writing.

    So much stupidity in one place in this episdoe.

    2-dimensional beings? Huh?
    "Cosmic string". What a load of garbage.
    Troi simply being part of the plot is a strike.
    Troi being a total whiny bitch. Ugh.
    So much technobabble blah blah blah it was a total turnoff.

    To me the worst part about this episode is the scope/context of it... when the ship’s movement is impaired, suddenly Troi’s Empathic senses are shut off. While Dr. Crusher did say “there may be a connection I don’t know” regarding the Enterprise’s propulsion dilemma and Troi’s loss of ability, considering they didn’t have Troi hit her head or anything, of course you would assume that the two are connected. The way Troy and the crew react is sort of out of scope and out of context to the whole situation. There is a crises currently affecting the ship that may have caused Troi’s loss, so should she be expected to continue duty? No, sense loss is traumatic. She should have relieved herself of duty due to the trauma of her sense loss/until it returned after the situation ended. But the show wanted for its character drama to have Troi presuppose that the loss will be permanent rather than the much more rational “let’s wait until we get out of this crazy anamoly before jumping to conclusions” approach.

    I'm sorry but the 2-d life forms plot was one of the most,original, imaginative, engaging, and satisfying alien enoucnters and sci-for concepts TNG ever did..think about it..even if,it's not scientifically plausible at all, it's still creative and unique..a great example of the seek out new life mantra..and they were developed well enough withh the interaction with the cosmic string..doesn't anyone agree..this to me is right up there with Tin Man or Darmok or the Bynars..don't you think so Jammer in retrospect ?

    This one gets extra marks for two reasons. One, it shows the true arrogance of Troi. I think Riker hit the nail on the head with this. Shouldn't Troi be more accomplished as a counsellor. Lots of her clients will show emotions but still need to work on the thinking that leads to those emotions (like present day therapy). So even sensing emotions wouldn't be enough for her as counsellor.

    Second, it gave a good jab at our arrogance about disabled people. We abled people create the disability. A planet full of Deaf people would be just fine: communication would be different but hearing isn't like breathing. Here the episode questions disability by taking away an additional sense. All the humans around Troi who never had that sense are like "so what? we do just fine.". I have a Deaf partner so perhaps this resonated with me in particular.


    I never understood why so many people dislike Troi, she can be too much of a nosy and overvearing counselor, but I thought she was fine, mostly innofensive due to her rather passive and flat nature, that's why I enjoy this episode, it gives her a bit more depth, letting us see more into her character and her arrogance over humans because of her empathic abilities. I feel like people are biased towards this episode because they simply don't like Troi as a character, which is fine, but a tad unfair. This episode ain't exactly all that great, a tad uneventful perhaps, but to me it's a solid 7/10

    I liked the exploration of what it means to be disabled - Troi's been the one-eyed man in the Kingdom of the Blind, and now, youch, she's lost that eye. The Blind don't get it and infuriate her with their platitudes.

    An interesting premise, pretty well realized, though Troi's completely illogical, wildly emotional reaction was a touch overdone. She's a grown woman, and a counselor.

    I liked Guinan's role in talking get off the ledge.

    Lots of talk about depth, and like the last ep, lots of talk about what is real. And perspective. The creatures don't see the strong as the Enterprise does. Things that affect three dimensional creatures don't affect them. Troi knows that the non Empath humans don't understand her. Etc.

    Though there's talk of Troi feeling like she's losing her Enterprise family, and Riker basically acting like a family member, this ep takes a small step away from the heavy family theme of the Season.

    Slightly above average.

    This is one of those Star Trek episodes that isn't very well put together, and is often downright frustrating, but raises some very interesting questions in a provocative way. Hence why I am commenting on it straight after watching.

    Seeing Troi turn almost immediately into a brat after losing her powers makes for challenging viewing, in part because it reminds us of times people around us have behaved insufferably in reaction to setbacks. On the one hand, we want to empathise and understand them - the episode makes it clear that this is a parallel to a major disability. Picard compares it to blindness or being in a wheelchair.

    On the other hand, Riker's reaction in Troi's quarters embodies the other angle: that Troi is merely brought down to the level of everyone else, and her attitude is actually very insulting. This really hit home for me, particularly what Riker says about her having control. I've had experiences with brilliant and supernaturally charming people throwing a tantrum when things don't go their way, simply because they're so used to being able to manipulate the situation - and Troi's reaction here rings true to life. Such people are blind to the privilege they enjoy, and seem to hate the idea of an even playing field.

    With this in mind, I totally understand people's bitchy comments about Troi on this page and others - it's an aspect the show rarely, if ever, delves into, but there would be understandable resentment of a betazoid counsellor with the ear of the captain. She is essentially appointed to spy on the crew constantly, to make sure that no one can cover up their personal misgivings with professionalism. Imagine you bloody hated Riker (an understandable position) but were determined to get along with him for the sake of your career and the rest of the crew. Now imagine that his ex-girlfriend was always hanging around, able to read your emotions and report them to the captain. What a hideously unfair and impossible situation to have to deal with.

    So this episode gets points from me for making Troi realistically hateful in the instance she loses her powers, but the show as a whole is docked points for never making more of this, or allowing her to confront this very unpleasant aspect of her character and grow to be a better person. We have multiple episodes where Data reacts to new limitations and flaws, and has to puzzle it out; Troi should have been given the same treatment.


    Also, an interesting point that gets quickly lost in the mix: Troi compares how she sees people without her powers to holodeck characters. This strongly suggests that the holodeck is completely unconvincing and unnerving to Troi - something like the equivalent of the uncanny valley. It wasn't programmed to simulate actual feelings and emotions on whatever wavelength she picks them up.

    This begs the question, however: why did the writers put this line in here? It tells us (and Riker) nothing about Troi's present condition, because the rest of the crew *do* find holodeck characters convincing.

    Additional: Guinan was great, and one of the weaknesses of the episode is that it's really not clear why she *shouldn't* be the ship's counsellor rather than Troi. Her style is to listen and respond, rather than impose her ideas on a situation, which I would have thought is the better technique for helping people with their anxieties.

    Not a fan of this one. I find Troi a bit over-emotional and over-earnest, and I didn't like the way she snaps at other members of the crew, even her captain. She wouldn't just storm out of a meeting; it's not professional. Downright insubordinate really, especially in front of other officers.

    And the basis of the episode, with the 2D creatures and the cosmic string, just didn't grab me at all.

    Another thought - it's curious to me that in the 24th Century, things are still counted by the dozen. Geordi refers to "half a dozen photon torpedoes".

    Trio comes across as smug and arrogant. The same things that she lectures people for she throws a tantrum about, attacks people and quits over. It makes her advice seem even more smug and disingenuous. Like her problems are always more important than the crews. Everyone else needs to deal with their problems and talk it out but no one should ever discuss HER problems.

    Like The Man says- she can dish out the condescending platitudes but she sure as shit can't take 'em. Rather, she flounces off in a tantrum every time....

    Another poor Troi-centric episode. She comes across as petty, full of self pity, and bitchy after losing her powers. It makes a mockery of any advice she could possibly give about facing adversity with grace and courage, qualities lack in her.

    I think the idea of Troi losing her powers was a good one but it was her completely childish meltdowns as a result that resulted in a truly terrible delivery of that premise.

    A friend lost his vision in his early 20s to an undiagnosed neurological condition. When he was first admitted to the hospital he was upbeat and hopeful but gradually sunk into a deep moodiness and stopped being helpful to the medical staff until it was pointed out that he was hurting his own care by not participating. He snapped out of the funk and started working with the staff again.

    I would have rather seen something like that with Troi falling into a depression. People handle grief and loss in all sorts of ways and lashing out childishly is absolutely one of those ways but that doesn't make for a good TV viewing experience.

    I did not feel empathy for Troi because she was acting less like someone suffering loss and more like a spoiled brat who had their favorite toy taken away.

    Great example of what Futurama called the " explain complex physics with a dumb metaphor" trope that trek so often relied on. The "moths to flame" and the "souring the milk" etc.

    I'm not a fan of Troi, and this episode is a good example of why. She's EXTREMELY immature and self-centered in her behavior here. The way she talks down to Guinan when she mentions her interest in the open role of counselor is very off-putting to me - she's very arrogant and thinks that someone like Guinan can't possibly do what she's done.

    I think she's always exhibited a smug, self-satisfied air, like she naturally just knows better than you. She represents to me the worst aspects of the therapy profession - her behavior reminds me of the worst members of that group - she talks down to people, like "oh, how simple you are". When placed under ANY pressure, however, she always behaves selfishly and tends to lash out at others. I strongly agree with a lot of what Riker says to her in this episode about her "aristocratic" bearing and aloof nature.

    Basically, her snooty behavior is irritating, but the hypocrisy implied in her smugness towards other people's emotional reactions when juxtaposed with her repeated emotional fragility really bothers me. I don't see a single redeeming quality in her personality - Beverly, while she can be annoying, exhibits a strong, sincere desire to help others that I find admirable, however Deanna's personality is nothing but smug arrogance, judgement of others, and myopic, self-centered petulence. I can't stand her.

    I always kind of liked that this episode allows Troi's worst character traits to come to the fore; in other words, it doesn't treat her impairment here as a character builder, at least not without considerable difficulty. And it confronts the fact that Guinan seems to be better at her job than she is. I just wish the plot around it were better.

    In rewatched this for the first time since the 1990s, curious about the comments above. I really like it. The constant interpersonal conflict is very unRoddenberry (a good thing) but seems quite realistic throughout. I liked seeing how poorly Troi reacted, and then the bridge staff dealing with a newly difficult colleague in very different ways that reflected their personalities and their relationship with her. Gold episode. The character doesn't come across that well - but definitely she is well acted by Sirtis.

    I thought for sure we were going to find out that the beings were “overriding” Troi’s betazoid empathic abilities and causing an unstable human emotional response to justify all of the immaturity Troi presented throughout the episode.

    In the end it turned out that in fact no, Troi’s betazoid abilities were temporarily suspended and the rest was all her.

    And we’re supposed to like this character why, exactly?

    And another thing: up until this episode I found it odd that Guinan would also provide the advice when needed to get characters through a difficult moment. It was almost as though she were a better counsellor than “I feel hostility” Troi. To have the writers bring this up specifically with Guinan’s prodding of Troi only for Troi to outright dismiss the notion of Guinan being successful in that role was quite amusing.

    Why pick this name... Sure, Miles had some rough edges but he was a fundamentally good guy. Your comments on the other hand are so negative and unpleasant that I really don't get why you even watch the show.

    Have you watched Star Trek Discovery? I think that could be right up your alley.

    I think you mean "Under Siege". I caught it on TV a few months ago and was surprised to see Meaney there. Fun film though.


    Just judging from your comments so far, there doesn't see to be much, maybe anything, you like about TNG. Not the writing, not the characters, not the actors.

    Nothing against that. Hey, you know what they say: There's no accounting for personal tastes. But just out of curiosity, why are you even watching the show, let alone taking time to leave comments on a review site? I don't think I would have the patience to stick with a series if I had a strongly negative reaction to several episodes. I pretty much gave up on Enterprise within a short time after it came out, and I never got around to watching most of its episodes. You apparently have a lot more stick-to-it-iveness than I do.

    There's another guy here who does the same with Enterprise.

    I just love how they bother to watch every single episode of a 20-30 year old show, in order, just so they could complain about it here.

    I dunno if I can judge... I mean, a good number of us whinge on every new comment thread about nuTrek... so it's not without SOME precedent. And yet, there IS something slightly different about older, and even newer fans complaining about the failings of a NEW entry, versus an potentual new "fan" going to an older entry and bemoaning it. I mean, what, did they watch Disco or Picard, somehow liked that problem laced, fast-pased thrown-together narrative (which Chabon has admitted to, btw) and decided to go back and found (and rightly so) that the shows they watched are not at all like the ones that came before?

    Or mayhaps it's a disgruntled nuTrekkie try to prove a point and critisizing a show we like in order to get "the haters" to reply in ways the nuTrekkies do about their showswhen faced with criticism which the "haters" bristle at and argue against, thus proving haters are hypocrits. Though again, the new product vs old one does shift that narrative.

    Or it's a smartass trying to get a rise. Or a regular ol' hatewatcher. I have noticed this one here tends to rag on the women characters/actors more too, intetestingly.

    So many possibilities for why they're here though. In the words of Spock, "fascinating."

    I think he's wrong but I don't personally think it's helpful, if people are sufficiently negative, to get into "Why do you watch it?" type discussions that take us away from the actual episode. It doesn't matter, does it? If the criticisms are correct, then they're worth hearing. If they're not, they are still probably worth addressing.

    I think it is helpful to acknowledge that these things are happening, when they happen. I agree, though, that it is pointless (and even harmful) to endlessly dwell on it.

    I called him(?) out because I hoped that while obviously being very negative right now, that doesn't mean that he does feel good about his behavior or has the intention to make us all feel a little bit more miserable.
    I have no problem with critique of TNG, for me it is mostly about the style which is just unpleasant.

    About people critiquing NuTrek in relation to this. I think a good comparison is to Enterprise which is a bland show but certainly a Trek show. There aren't hordes of people hating on Enterprise. People hated NuTrek, yes I'm going to say it, because it isn't Star Trek and Picard and Discovery are bad as shows, Trek or not, which adds insult to injury. I'm not sure if I can ever enjoy TNG or DS9 again after Picard destroyed Star Trek. Picard told us the important lesson:" Give up kids, there is no hope for the future. Empires rise, Empires fall until the end of time."
    Taking one of the few genuinely positive visions of the future and crushing it. Unforgivable. It makes me angry just thinking about it.

    “There aren't hordes of people hating on Enterprise.”

    There aren’t hordes of people even watching Enterprise. There’s a reason why it was cancelled.

    The meta discussions of what discussions people are having can get tangled, so I hate to add to it, but:

    1. Not liking Frakes, Sirtis and McFadden's acting isn't uncommon,
    2. This ep in particular is widely disliked,
    3. It's often easier to write about the things that one doesn't like than things one does.

    That said personally I actually kind of like this one. I criticized it above and all, and stand by those points, but I also kind of like that Troi flails about, doesn't really take her sudden, traumatic loss of a part of her ability to relate to the world with much maturity, and I like the Riker scenes where he criticizes her. It's kind of a double edged sword because the episode acknowledges but then can't entirely resolve what are ongoing unanswered questions of the series, mostly whether Deanna is actually good at her job for real reasons or if she's mostly just coasting on her "superpower" (yes it's a species trait, but she is basically among others who don't have it).

    I think episodes like this one maybe show up part of the cracks in TNG, where the show is both aspirational and a more traditional character workplace drama. Troi is an aspirational figure because she has insight into others' emotional state which she primarily uses to help them heal or cope with problems that they cannot deal with; she's a flawed imperfect person because she has this nosy insight into others that others don't really want her to have and she uses this to hold onto an advantage wherein she decides what is best for them. Troi deciding that the widow was wrong about her strategy for dealing with grief and defying her wishes to throw out her husband's stuff is representative of the ambiguity of Troi's role on the ship and the show: it's helpful and kind, and high-handed and manipulative (aristocratic, as Riker says). Take away her emotional insight and she's flying blind and loses her advantage and just has to guess like the rest of us. I think the episode maybe doesn't really "work" because it doesn't really go deep enough, or do enough on how the experience changes Deanna, but I kind of like that it's playing with it a bit.

    "There aren’t hordes of people even watching Enterprise."
    It had through all seasons several million people watching.
    When Genghis Khan conquered the Khwarazmian Empire his horde was 150.000 warriors strong. That means that Enterprise during it last season was still watched by almost 20 Mongol Hordes...

    I would love to know how many hordes watched Discovery but CBS won't tell us.

    Unfortunately many fans *did* hate Enterprise when it first came out.

    I think it's the combination of:
    (1) Being a prequel. For some reason, many fans were against prequels as a matter of principle.
    (2) Contradicting tons of widely-accepted fanon regarding the era in question.
    (3) A few genuinely bad decisions that colored everything else (the Temporal Cold War, the Akira-Enteprise, the Vulcans etc.)

    Many fans where so pissed off by the first few episodes, that they've never really given Enterprise a chance. Though a sizable proportion of them tried the series again later and changed their minds.

    (as for myself, I've never really got all the hate. But what do I know? I also liked Voyager...)

    "the episode acknowledges but then can't entirely resolve what are ongoing unanswered questions of the series, mostly whether Deanna is actually good at her job for real reasons or if she's mostly just coasting on her "superpower""

    I think two major scenes establish her competence even without her powers: how she reads the grieving Ensign, and how she comes to understand the psychology of the aliens of the week - helping the Enterprise to escape. But yes, the rest of the episode was all about her thinking she was useless without her powers.

    OmicronThetaDeltaPhi, I think we agree. I have definitely been on the other side of this phenomenon, when it came to Discovery. I would see well-articulated criticisms that I agreed with laid out here. Now for all I know, there could have been strong rebuttals to the criticisms that could have led to lots of solid discussion. Instead they were often met with exactly that kind of "Why do you watch it then?!" wisecrack. In the end I did stop watching but that line didn't make it happen any sooner.

    @Tomalak, I agree, but I said that it is not "entirely" resolved because (arguably) the episode's arguments are not entirely sufficient to show Troi has moved on from using her powers as a crutch. That said it's been a while since I've watched it.

    It wouldn't be so bad if this was the only time Troi had a meltdown, because in this case it's for completely understandable reasons. Unfortunately, she's had unprofessional emotional outbursts in "Haven", "Gambit", and Voyager's "Life Line" off the top of my head. I can give "The Survivors" a pass since her mind was being deliberately manipulated, her outburst in "Face of the Enemy" could just be her manipulating Subcommander N'Vek, and she was drunk in the movie "First Contact" thanks to Zefram Cochrane, so those aren't AS bad. Still, none of these incidents, along with her crashing the Enterprise in "Generations", or the numerous "pain, so much pain" and other emotional blatherings do anything to benefit the character.

    Just to clarify, the "discussion about the discussion" is not just about the particular new commenter's criticisms of this episode, even though that happens to be where I posted my query. Take a look at the overall pattern of the person's comments. (For those who don't know how to find that easily, just click on the user name, and you can see all their comments from anywhere on the site.)

    It's not often that someone participates on these threads with 100% negative comments. Most of us are a mix, and that makes sense to me. The "I like this, but I'm not crazy about that, and I really hate this thing over here" is what makes possible interesting give-and-take discussions, especially because no two of us have exactly the same mix of reactions. I've found those discussions a fun hobby, off and on through the years, and I think that's probably true for most of us.

    But when someone hates EVERYTHING, from the characters to the writers to the actors and now even to Jammer, without whom this platform for the discussions would not even exist, (and let's not forget that all except the first on that list are real human beings), well, I am genuinely puzzled as to how it's even a fun hobby, and that puzzlement is kind of distracting me , for the moment, from my fun hobby of talking about Trek with other people who enjoy it enough to see both its strengths and its flaws. I'm sure there must be a reason for O'Brien (who I think is probably also the equally angry Chief O'Brien) to be here. I just don't think it's the same reason most of us are here.

    Be that as it may, it is no one but Jammer's business who is welcome here, so whatever mode of discussion is fine with Jammer pretty much has to be fine with the rest of us. If I never get my curiosity satisfied about why an unusual commenter came, so be it.

    The O'Brien guy is probably working through some stuff. You don't write like that if you are happy or even content.

    @Trish he called Devil's Due a "well crafted fun adventure".

    Seems he doesn't hate everything.

    Oh yeah, saying that a well-crafted fun adventure "deserves at least two stars" while also calling Jammer's site "garbage" is just reeking of positivity and goodwill. ;-)

    Anyway, at this point I tend to agree with Tomalak: don't we have more interesting things to discuss?

    I mainly just think of how much pleasure I have got, after watching some old Star Trek episode, from reading Jammer's review and then the thread that follows, mostly going back over a decade. Often I enjoyed that more than the episode itself.

    It's very sad if people instead have to scroll through endless posts that don't even reference the episode but instead focus on something no one will even care about a month from now. I doubt many will bother.

    And to be clearer: I don't think the harm is done by one or two comments saying "This episode is dumb" or whatever. It's when the 20+ posts that follow it don't talk about the episode. If the person in question is deliberately trolling then that really is handing them victory.

    It's not one or two comments, though. If it were, then nobody here would have cared.

    On the other hand, I fully agree that endlessly talking about it isn't productive. Calling out on the guy's behavior was good, but being stuck on this topic isn't.

    Also let's be honest: Such behavior is so common on the internet (even if not here) that it doesn't really merit this kind of interest. Honestly, who f***-ing cares? We should call out such behavior once, and then let it be.

    (it's a pity that this had to happen on the thread of such a meh episode, which makes it harder to go back on topic...)

    Yes, I'm happy to get back to our regularly scheduled programming.

    I actually do think this episode has some value to it. Yeah, Troi's grief at "the loss" comes across kind of over-the-top and even self-absorbed (I mean, she's busy resigning her job and packing up her office when the ship is supposedly about to be destroyed), but the loss of perspective is the very nature of her loss of ability. During the period when she lacks her empathy (in the Betazoid sense of knowing what others are feeling), she also lacks "empathy" in the more ordinary sense. She is becoming a universe unto herself, all that matters in her own little world, as are the one-dimensional beings.

    For the beings for whom it is their natural state, there's nothing pathetic about it. But for someone whose entire life had been lived within the minds and emotions of others, it was indeed a "loss," not just for her, but for the people of her community.

    There is a lesson in that, I think, about the dangers of CHOOSING to live in too small a world.

    This episode is insufferable. I feel for Marina Sirtis that the writers gave her such trash to work with. Her crazy reactions would only have been explainable if the neutrino things had taken over her brain but aside from them being responsible for the initial loss of psychic power, they had no role in her having a different meltdown every five minutes. Just atrocious writing. A little more subtlety could have made a lot of difference.

    Crusher: "The results of the scan are inconclusive."
    Troi: "What does THAT mean?"

    We also have this episode to thank for the visual of Geordi going skin-diving, presumably wearing nothing but his visor. Lordy.

    I did like Picard and Riker's convo about horse riding in the holodeck Himalayas. Picard's line about programming Riker a "suitably docile steed" was hilarious.

    Actually the episode was only watchable because of Frakes, whose acting i have really come to admire. His delivery is so natural and unforced, that he alone salvaged a number of the Troi scenes which were otherwise dreadful. Sometimes it's just the look in his eyes, where Frakes can effectively onvey concern, impatience, confusion, compassion, etc.

    The directors must have recognized that because there are a lot of "Riker reaction shots" in this and many other episodes that bring things back from the brink. Also in this episode we have his classic stance of putting one leg up and crossing his arms over his knees while chatting with whatever ensign is navigating the ship.

    Nevertheless 1.5 stars is all this episode deserves.

    I just didn’t feel involved with this episode. Troi losing her empathic abilities? I’d have thought that would be an advantage as she would no longer be able to sense how useless everyone thought her… (sorry, just my joke! Or is it…. Let me self-telepath and find out…)

    The ‘2D creatures / cosmic purple string’ sub plot was only interesting towards the end. Otherwise it was just an excuse for more endless technobabble.

    However, there were a few good moments: Troi’s conversations with Guinan, then Data, were enjoyable, as was Data’s earlier explanation for why he didn’t deliver timescales down to seconds anymore!

    2 stars seems right - not one of TNG’s best.

    After reading the comments above I clicked on O’Brien’s name to read his comments and see what all the fuss was about. I have to say - apart from trashing Jammer occasionally I couldn’t see where all the angst about him arose from. Sure, many (by no means all) comments are negative in tone, but that’s how some people are. The guy’s clearly not a troll.

    Sorry, didn’t mean to rake the ashes. Ignore my musings…

    "Sure, many (by no means all) comments are negative in tone, but that’s how some people are."
    It's the name. O'Brien. He is the lovable everyman. That's why so many of the guys here dislike Keiko, as well. Calling him out on his occasional racism and even worse make him eat healthy. Never got the hate. I thought the two had the most adult relationship on the show. Miles making a sacrifice for his wife's career was a really sweet thing and fairly progressive for the 90s. Plus her hair looked great and where can I get some of those 24th century skin products... ok ok she was not the greatest actor but still... what was I talking about??

    This episode cements it - Picard, Guinan, Data and Worf (Worfy!) are my favorite characters on this show, up there with Spock and Bones in the whole universe. I would add K'Ehleyr to the list because I love her so, but I am only referring to the main characters. If I had to choose anyone from Voyager, it would be the Doctor but he gets away with too much which taints my view, unfairly so probably. Maybe Tuvok.... For me no one from DS9 rates (sorry) though when I was watching I did admire Dax for a while as she was oh so wise. I haven't watched the "newer" shows (yet?). Hmmm, am I missing anyone? Some characters grow on me overtime but I like the ones I mentioned from the get-go.

    you are not missing much. Plotlines go nowhere, lots of action and a complete disinterest in science. Pike looking at a torpedo explosion through a window is very funny, though.

    Golly, Jammer was really negative on this one, but I always liked it.

    To be sure, we may find Troi wallowing a bit too deeply and too quickly when knocked off her pedestal and boy does she wallow, but I could relate to the situation as laid out by the writers. The line: "You couldn't be more wrong Deanna," spoken by her formerly grieving patient was always memorable to me. Ouch. No emotional intelligence there, at least not at that point.

    Riker, in a pretty good scene, gives Troi a dose of tough love, which doesn't help. Later on, Guinan delivers a reverse-psychology zinger which does. Pretty effective stuff, and I liked the hazard posed by the cosmic string. (I have to remember that that's different from a quantum filament).

    It's what I would call a 'quiet life problem episode' where no hostile warship swoops in to threaten anybody. A lot of people find such episodes dull, or 'after school special-ish'. Oh well.

    Also: a Cosmic String Fragment according to Picard has the gravitational force of 100 stars, in reference to Jammer's review mentioning gravity of 1000 black holes, but as he perceptively states, the gravity of one black hole would be more than sufficient.

    You have to hand it to that Enterprise crew, they are completely calm when a mere 4 minutes away from total destruction. I would have resembled Commodore Decker.

    I liked this one, maybe 3 stars.

    It fairly effectively explored Deanna's plight of having a sudden disability as us losing our sight or hearing. Sirtis does a great job here.

    There are so many great character moments here. Deanna blowing up at Riker and especially Beverly. Riker later justifiably (to some degree) throwing it back in her face. That one is a great use of their history and they're both actually just really angry.

    Deanna flipping out in the conference, believing Geordi took a swipe at her was perfect.

    And Deanna batting down Picard's (truly incorrect) claim that disabled peoples' other senses compensate and his inspirational anecdote were perfect. She's probably the only person on the ship aside from Guinan that could smack Picard down so effectively.

    The script is pretty intelligent, such as when Deanna instantly sees through Guinan's ploy, and says so.

    It was also nice to see Deanna actually counseling patients instead of just her usual job of Political Officer.

    Wow lots of comments here.

    Deanna's blow ups obviously didn't look good, but that worked for me. The time frame here seems a few days at most, and we're basically seeing her initial reactions.

    Consider if you suddenly lost your eyesight and everyone is basically telling you what sounds like "meh, no big deal".

    The major flaw here is that nobody suggested that the plight the ship is in might be related to Deanna's problem. All it would take is a "I don't see how" from someone. Certainly most viewers would guess the connection instantly anyway.

    @Everyone didn't anyone else think this had an IMAGNATIVE AND ORIGINAL SCINFI OREMISE WITH a unique and ORIGINAL ALIEN SPECIES?? Hope someone can respond..and the Trpi stuff was relevant and believably in charscter..some ppl get arrogant at times so isn't it better to be authentic?

    A 2D cluster of space-dwelling creatures was indeed rather unique for Trek. These guys reminded me of a school of fish moving in unison to their own group stimulus. No one on the outside could possibly understand what has motivated them.

    In contrast to so many encounters done up in the ST stable of shows, the lifeforms in this episode are completely indifferent to 'our heroes.' It makes The Loss special. Reminds me (in a way) of the line from Tim Burton's film Beetlejuice: "The living usually won't see the dead." (quoting roughly from The Handbook for the Recently Deceased).

    Indifference is very powerful and rarely a good thing. Deep sigh :)

    "We have four minutes before we go kablooey."

    Can't they ever have, like, four DAYS or a week or something?! This "X minutes till doom but we magick up a solution with eight seconds to spare" trope is really, really, REALLY old!

    Troi's crying, grimacing, writhing, and general drama hugely detracted from the main story, which was actually scientifically pretty interesting. Too much talkie-talkie and personal introspection is never a good thing in a sci-fi show. When are they going to learn that!

    What I found highly annoying is they are about to all die and get pulled into the string and they have not made any end of life plans? Calls to loved ones, escape pods? Which I assume were not an option, but still the slow pace and total lack of concern and urgency when Worf said 23 minutes to impact was jarring. Gee whiz folks good thing Troi came up with the 2 dimensional idea and Data and Jordi figured out how to lure them away for a moment so they could break free.... Other than that, I did like the episode actually.

    I love TNG but the show would have been SO much better without Troi.

    Oh god yes. Sirtis is a terrible actress, the idea of a counselor on the bridge is silly, and her powers cause more problems for they writers than they do opportunities for good stories. Once Whoopi joined the cast Troi should have been relegated to an occasional guest appearance.

    I think Troi/Sirtis adds a lot more to the show's environment, on and offscreen, than is apparently purely from her performance. I think the Troi + Riker due humanizes the show a great deal and adds a warmth we would have been lacking from any of the other actors.

    I don't think Sirtis is a bad actress, I have enjoyed her emotional expression in most of the episodes. She is supposed to portray a soft, intuitive, thoughtful and empathetic person. I enjoy seeing her in situations that call on her to step outside of that role, like in "Disaster" when she was in command, or in "The Loss" when she has to team up with Data, her hyper-rational opposite, to come up with a solution to a crisis. Because Troi has faculties which Data lacks, it was really fascinating to watch him yield to her thought process, despite his superior computational abilities. Data lacks animal instincts, so he overlooks the fact that some beings move toward their own doom out of impulse. Even though he has a vast knowledge database within him, he lacks the intuitive and emotional context to connect certain ideas. Whereas Troi's life is about making those connections in spades.

    The two aspects of the episode that weren't believable:
    1) How fast Troi tries to resign, and in the middle of an emergency no less. Dr. Crusher had such a short time to investigate Troi's disability. I did not find her resignation believable. It came across as a bit bratty and entitled. Though, maybe she was so used to the easy life that facing personal damage was hard for her. Let's face it, being the Betazoid ship's counselor on the flagship is a pretty cushy job. Similarly, I found the conversation where Picard basically begs for her help to not be believable. The writers made it seem like Troi had abandoned all loyalty to her crew mates because of her injury, and I don't buy that. I don't believe Troi would have to be guilt tripped into helping the ship at the 11th hour of destruction.

    2) Crusher said that Troi had brain damage with no way to repair it, yet at the end of the episode, the ship's escape from the 2D cluster miraculously restores all of Troi's empathic abilities. She claimed that the cluster's intensity of emotion must've overwhelmed her senses. So... the brain damage was just irrelevant, I guess?

    I didn't think this episode was as bad as 2 stars. More like 3. We don't get to see many episodes that focus on Troi that aren't total gong shows like when her mother is around. It is also the first episode to really explain her empathic sense in greater depth, through Troi freaking out and expressing the loss of it. Until now, she has used it without us really gaining insight into what it's about.

    I've always thought that Sirtis had a Greek-like beauty that I find particularly attractive. She displayed an impressive physique in that catsuit, and I believe she must have worked out a lot to maintain that shape.

    However, the issue isn't Sirtis acting ability, but rather her function on the ship. Her character was never fully explored, and she didn't have any significant conflicts throughout the series. She was simply portrayed as a pretty girl who was the daughter of an ambassador and enjoyed a comfortable life aboard the Enterprise.

    Even as a counselor, she rarely went on away missions, put herself in danger, or had to solve daring problems. One could argue that a ship facing death situations in a row would need someone to help them on the psychological side, but the crew of TNG was so professional and functional that it made her role seem redundant.

    Overall, while Sirtis' beauty and physique were impressive, her character could have been developed more to make her a more integral part of the show.

    @ Ron,

    "I've always thought that Sirtis had a Greek-like beauty that I find particularly attractive."

    I guess that would make sense, since she's of Greek descent. As a piece of trivia, she figured in an older episode of the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in which she plays a Greek, with accent and all.

    Skin diving is an actual thing - it's not skinny dipping. It means diving without a wetsuit and scuba breathing apparatus, often with a snorkel. So you needn't worry about naked diving Geordi, that's not what he said....

    Everyone in the episode treats Troi's condition as if it's like losing a sense, like going blind or deaf. Picard even trots out the "maybe your other senses will get stronger" routine. But given how she describes her condition, I don't think this is like losing one of the five (or in Troi's case, six) senses. Her empathic abilities don't merely provide her with data that her brain sorts out, like seeing light or hearing sound waves. Like it or not, the telepathic powers operate in some other fashion that is not understood, and they directly give Troi an emotional connection to every mind around her. This not only supplies information, but directly supplies contextual feelings and even knowledge that are not generated purely by her appraisal of the data. In other words unlike the other senses, her perception of other minds isn't just a perception, but an access to the perceptions of others.

    And what's more, the constant presence of this empathic awareness is the manner in which she processes the 'realness' of people. Without it, she says they feel hollow and empty, as if they're not really there. To me this sounds less like losing a sense, and more like Capgras Syndrome or something like that, where due to brain damage you are unable to make the normal connections in your brain that associate a person you see with a feeling of their realness or their meaning to you. People with this syndrome can see a loved on, objectively understand that it looks and talks just like them, but are convinced that it's not really that person and that it's a fake. The brain goes further and may even conclude it's an imposter, an instinct that is apparently hard to shake through reasoning. What Troi is suffering feels to me more like this, where her normal sense of the realness and emotional connection to others is cut off, and she feels alienated from them. In the episode I think Troi comes across as throwing a bit of a tantrum over this, and while the others try to talk her through it we get several scenes of petulance from her, including one where she tries to resign and I think we're expected to agree with Picard that she's basically panicking. But all of that is from the POV that she's just got some run of the mill disability and isn't coping well with it. But if I'm right this type of disability would be so severe that your entire life would rightly be upended. I don't think you could just go to work and interact with people like everything's ok if you literally perceived them all as being unreal and fake, lacking the essential qualities that you had always associated with intelligent life forms. Frankly I don't really think she's overreacting at all.

    The technobabble threat with the technobabble and pushing random buttons last-second solution trope was perhaps on display in its purest for here.

    I did think that there was some great acting from Marina Sirtis. Like she knew she wouldn't get many more episodes, so she was really going to do her best.

    The above comment is from a different Ron (me) vs the earlier Ron's.

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