Star Trek: The Next Generation

"The Mind's Eye"

3.5 stars

Air date: 5/27/1991
Teleplay by Rene Echevarria
Story by Ken Schafer and Rene Echevarria
Directed by David Livingston

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

En route to Risa for a conference, Geordi is kidnapped by the Romulans and temporarily replaced with a doppelganger while the Romulans go to work torturing and brainwashing Geordi to turn him into an assassin. Let's start with the torture method: It's an ingenious story starting point. The Romulans use Geordi's visor inputs to tap directly into the visual centers of his brain; Geordi is forced to watch whatever horrifying images the Romulans feed him, and he's incapable of looking away. It's like A Clockwork Orange: The Romulans condition Geordi with images to psychologically break him. It's also like The Manchurian Candidate: Geordi is returned to the Enterprise with false memories, completely unaware he has been programmed as an unwitting sleeper agent.

Shortly thereafter, the Enterprise takes Klingon Ambassador Kell (Larry Dobkin) to a Klingon colony facing a rebellion. Vagh (Edward Wiley), the colony's garrison trying to quell the uprising, claims that the rebels are being armed with Federation weapons. Picard suspects Romulan involvement attempting to destabilize the region and drive a wedge between the Klingons and the Federation. That sounds about right for the Romulans. An investigation is launched. (TNG is always launching investigations.)

"The Mind's Eye" is more brawny, devious, and suspenseful than most TNG fare. It features a first-rate intrigue plot that grows from a general theme explored from "Sins of the Father" on to "Reunion," then here, and onward through "Redemption" — the notion of ongoing corruption in the Klingon Empire by conspirators in bed with the Romulans. There's even the establishment of a future major player (to be revealed in "Redemption") in the form of a silhouetted Romulan agent pulling the strings. The revelation that the Klingon conspirator is actually Ambassador Kell is skillfully pulled off (and I had forgotten the twist from my long-ago viewing of the episode). For a time it looks like Kell is a target when in fact he is the one triggering Geordi's mind-control instructions.

The episode works so well because it raises the stakes by making the would-be assassin one of our regular characters. The suspense builds through the last act as it becomes a race for Data to put together the pieces of the puzzle before Geordi carries out his assignment to kill Vagh. "The Mind's Eye" is effective, well-oiled, thriller-genre Trek.

Previous episode: The Host
Next episode: In Theory

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52 comments on this post

Wed, Apr 2, 2008, 12:45pm (UTC -6)
Re: Data not running when he puts the pieces together at the climax of the superb "The Mind's Eye."
Data does order Worf to neutralize LaForge, and he knows Worf is good, so he figures there's no need to rush.

At least that's the excuse some would give if this had been a DS9 episode.
Thu, Jul 5, 2012, 11:39pm (UTC -6)
I wish Alfred HItchcock had lived at least in to the 1990s just to see this episode. He'd be impressed.

It's 21 years later, and this episode is genuinely eerie from the music score to the unusual composition of each shot. John Fleck (before he got the role of Silik on Enterprise 10 years later) is deliciously cold and sadistic as the Romulan programmer. That bit on the Romulan holodeck where they have Geordi kill the holo-Chief O'Brien is so perverse--especially when Geordi just sits down with his holo-friends casually. *shudder*
Sat, Jun 22, 2013, 9:01pm (UTC -6)
It's not surprising that there aren't many comments on this episode. It was an excellent episode with crucial future implications. Had this review come before the subsequent episodes, there would be plenty of comments and speculations. Obviously when viewed with hindsight, it loses some of its intended drama.
Wed, Jul 10, 2013, 2:32pm (UTC -6)
I'm with Jammer on this one - an excellent episode - the threads are woven skillfully together. I agree 100% with the star rating he gives for this.

As for comments - this episode doesn't really comment on the human condition (we all don't have implants that hook directly to our brain like Geordi does), nor does it ask hard questions (such as Ethics episode does), so there's not much to say - a lot people could say "Yeah it's a real good episode" but perhaps not much else.

This episode is just a great rendition of a sci-fi story. I do like at the end Geordi is in a counseling session with Troi, and she says this will take a long time (to de-program him). Too bad they don't have him in another session in a later episode for follow-up, you would think it might even take years to completely heal.
Sat, Aug 3, 2013, 2:51pm (UTC -6)
Just watched this episode with my wife, and her response at the end - which accurately described my feelings as well - was just:


La Forge was entirely violated this episode by the Romulans, and everything about the direction, music, and acting reinforced that. It had a grim edge that is so unusual in TNG.

I think this could be realistically labelled a four star episode. I don't usually feel so much from TV, as I feel disturbed right now.
Thu, Dec 19, 2013, 7:39am (UTC -6)
I agree with Ian, this is probably a four-star outing. The only weakness I can spot being the intransigence and shortsightedness of Governor Vagh, who seems just this side a medication holiday with his crazy-glue quick conviction of Federation munitions mischief. That is easily set aside, however; this is a taute, focussed and self-assured effort without a moment of padding, dropped threads or fanciful physics.

Even the technology elements never stray, appearing only in logical support of the greater narritive. As Jammer mentioned, the Romulans' exploitation of Geordi's imbedded visor components was trully inspired. Even more impressive, regular viewers will be able actually keep up with Data during his investigation and recognize at the same moment as Data that he has found a critical piece of the puzzle. Knowing how Geordi's visor is actually supposed to work is suddenly an emotionally rewarding circumstance, and I cheered when the Enterprise conputer gave Data what he needed to connect the dots....a great moment.

Still the story does not let up on us. As we follow Data's brilliant, dogged and methodical investigation, we know what he does not: time is short. This is Trek, I knew when watching Geordi wasn't going to kill anyone...hell, that drink he spilled on O'Brian wasn't even hot! But I was nevertheless on the edge of my seat urging Data to hurry. This is great stuff!

The closing scene with Geordi and Troi was for me the best moment for Troi in the entire series. Say what you will of Marina Sirtis, but she pulls this scene off with subtlty and skill. She is first and foremost being a counselor and projects the professional demeaner-skilled, pattient, caring, but at a necessary remove-that her job would absolutely demand. Yet Sirtis somehow lets us feel the undercurrent of sadness, deep concern, and even a hint of anger at what has been done to a dear friend.

Even the way the show characterizes memory here, much more tentatively then its usual certain jibberjabber about "memory engrams" being erased, or not, etc. stands up surprisingly well in 2013, research having shown how human memory is SO not like a computer, and how we seem not to "retrieve" memories but rather seem to "reconstruct" them, with varying degrees of accuracy and considerable latitude, every time we "remember". It's pretty cool this 20+ year old dialog keeps many doors open, intentionally or not, so as to forestall groans of chagrin from future viewers. "Dark Matter" anyone? How about "spacetime"?

The score too is excellent, operating unannounced with the narritive; together inducing a deepening dread appropriate to the gravity of the harms done and those as yet intended. This is a story about a act of extreme violence perpetrated on a beloved character; the Romulans to me thereafter seemed the more real, more threatening, and the show the more serious.
Thu, Apr 17, 2014, 9:01pm (UTC -6)
As others have mentioned, this is a rather dark story, with Geordi being put through hell. Of course, it could have been darker. Tell me, how did the Romulans know so much about Geordi's visor? How did they single him out so easily and seem to have the technology all in place? After all, it's not like they've ever gotten their hands on a VISOR before. It's not like any of them ever tinkered with one before. Well, except for that one guy in The Enemy, who worked with the VISOR enough to hook it up to a tricorder... Oh.

Yes, Bochra, the man who saved Geordi's life, who confided to Geordi that he did not want to die, the person involved in what Geordi cheerfully and triumphantly declared the first Federation-Romulan co-venture... Bochra was the one who caused all of this brainwashing. How's that for a nice swift kick in the gut, La Forge? Although I'm not sure which scenario is darker: Bochra immediately going to the Tal Shiar and offering up all intelligence freely, or Bochra imprisoned by the Tal Shiar and forced to give intel on his new Federation friend...

OK, random speculation aside, this is an excellent episode. There really is a sense of dread, a sense of danger throughout the episode. Of course everything would turn out ok. But Klingon and Romulan episodes tended to be the dark ones, tended to shake up the status quo. Worf killed someone in the last one. Maybe La Forge would too. Probably not, but maybe... Of course, it wouldn't be O'Brien. But that scene in 10-Forward was creepy enough because you knew something was going to happen. And when it ended up just being a spilled drink, it made perfect sense (the Romulans aren't going to call too much attention to themselves for a test) as well as being, well, a bit unexpected. A bit of relief, but then you realize that means he is still being controlled by the Romulans, so not a relief at all.

And then we see him in action, using his brain to wipe the computer memory. And then see him later with no recollection of it. It's painful for the viewer to see, which is undoubtedly the point. And then Data gets on the case, and it's a race to the end...

The end is a little bit contrived, but forgivable. I wasn't bothered by Data not running or anything, he didn't know an assassination attempt was underway. What was a bit of a bother was Worf fighting with the two Klingon bodyguards while Picard and Vagh stand there stupidly and watch him. And then Data seemed to hedge all his bets on Kell still having the transmitter on him. Which was a lucky guess. This was definitely the last order (since La Forge would be imprisoned if successful), and Kell beamed down to the planet after giving the last order. He could have abandoned the doohicky at any time. Yet it was obvious that Kell still had it.

But it's a minor nitpick. The overall episode was still an excellent, suspense-filled show, a worthy member of the Klingon civil war arc.
Wed, Oct 8, 2014, 2:03pm (UTC -6)
This is the first appearance of Romulan Commander Sela (Tasha Yar's daughter). You don't see her face, but you see her silouhette and you hear Denise Crosby's voice when they are first experimenting on Geordi. Cool that they introduced her as a shadowy figure here, only to bring her out into the light at the end of Redemption, part 1.

I'm impressed at how much continuity there is in TNG's storyline. This is the era of TV before big long story arcs for the most part, but you can certainly see the seeds of long story arc here, and it's not too big a jump to the X-files-style story-arcs that eventually led to things like LOST.
Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 5:22am (UTC -6)
Definetely the darkest episode so far, and another thrilling LaForge-focused story after his holodeck investigation on "Identity Crisis".

Since I'm often unsatisfied with TNG's endings, where plots are usually resolved by technobabble or deus ex machina and the crew flies off into the sunset without any consequences from their adventure, I was very happy with this episode's ending. Of course TNG is far away from today's arc-based drama series, but the last scene at least shows that the events of the episode have some lasting effect on Geordie and he will have to work to achieve some closure. This was a welcome change after the last episode, where a Trill used Riker's body and we were shown no effect at all on the host. I also liked the ending because Troi actually does some real counseling (only for the third time after "The Loss" and "The Nth Degree") instead of just "sensing feelings".

The further development in the Klingon-Romulan alliance arc was excellent, too. In my memory, the Borg were the most menacing TNG villains, but during my recent rewatch I've grown to appreciate the Romulans as much more interesting. Their actions in this episode give us some of what the people over at TV Tropes like to call "fridge horror": SkepticalMI already pointed out that only Bochra could have informed the Romulan command of the VISOR, but there is another thing - how could they have known that LaForge would be attending the conference on Risa and that he would be travelling there by shuttle? Either they had an informant on the Enterprise, or they had access to the ship's communications. The only person aligned with the Romulans who had sufficient access to the ship's computers had been ambassador T'Pel (from "Data's Day"), so it is probable that she had planted a bug there. Anyway, in this episode the Enterprise's crew learns the hard way that the Romulans know much more about the Federation than they had thought. They even employed a human spy who acts as Geordie's double (or was that a surgically altered Romulan?)!

Another interesting aspect for me was the role of the Klingons. TNG had first developed them into a one-dimensional warrior race, but then their society was gradually explored over the course of several episodes and they became more and more fleshed out and believable. Here, we are shown more of the corruption that drives their political elite and which is usually hidden behind big words about honor and glory. We also see that not all Klingons care about the Empire. In fact, a whole colony is fighting for independence!

Starfleet's role in this conflict is of particular interest, because here, their whole non-interference and alliance policy serves to protect an aristocratic empire which crushes its internal resistance with brute force. Even with all the Federation's ideas of cultural exchange and mutual understanding, the Empire's policies are obviously against Federation core values (well, at least against values which Picard likes to uphold in his speeches). Picard, who is usually eager to understand other cultures, doesn't show the slightest interest in the nature of the conflict on the colony. Why do the secessionists want indepence? What are their problems with the Empire? What has either side done in the conflict, and how might a resolution be reached? Instead, Picard's sole interest is in keeping friendly diplomatic relations with the Empire, because they are needed as a military ally against the Romulans. This is in line with his behavior in "The Wounded", where he put the goal of avoiding war with the Cardassians above everything else.

The episode gives an interesting twist to the optimistic portrayal of TNG's non-interference policy in the previous seasons. Here, non-interference is just another word for realpolitik. In that way, the Klingon-UFP alliance reminded me of the relationship between the USA and despotist governments like Saudi-Arabia, whose human rights violations are tolerated by the US as long as they are considered a useful ally against their enemies.

Just some more minor thoughts:
Isn't Troi a little too nosy and fond of gossip to be considered a trustworty counselor? Granted, Geordie is her friend and she'd like to know if he enjoyed his vacation, but he's also her colleague and a potential patient and she should respect some boundaries when asking other crew members about their love life.
Speaking of love life... Wasn't it nice of the Romulans to inject Geordie with the memory of a holiday romance? And wasn't it sad that his love life as shown on the series now consists of one holodeck romance, one fake memory romance, one date where he got stood up and one date which only came to be because he had been given an artificual boost of confidence by an alien?
And another thing about Geordie. It's cool that we see for once what his VISOR shows him, but really: How can he function in the world with this thing? It only gives him blurred infra-red images of his surroundings with some strange blinking symbols going over the screen. No wonder he always complains about headaches! But more importantly: It must be really hard for Geordie to have a convincing holodeck adventure. Unless the holodeck also replicates the infra-red signatures of the images it creates (including the body-warmth patterns of humans), he should only be able to see undefined mass and a lot of light.
Mon, Jul 20, 2015, 10:11am (UTC -6)
Wow! I did not remember this episode being so good. I remembered it as above average, sure, but not this good! That was one incredibly well-made piece of television. Someone in the comments above said that if Alfred Hitchcock had lived to see "The Mind's Eye" he would probably have been impressed. I can't argue with that.

The direction, the eerie camera angles, the tension, the use of one of the main cast as an unwitting and unknowing Romulan sleeper agent, the wonderful music, the world-building (again, no "seek out new life and new civilizations" here), the introduction of Sela as a mysterious power behind the scenes (literally cloaked in shadows) and the stellar performances all make this episode one of TNG's best.

Even the use of fake-outs is superbly executed. When LaForge is back on the Enterprise and in Ten-Forward walking up to Chief O'Brien you can't help but feel concerned about the Chief. When LaForge only deliberately spills his drink on O'Brien you also can't help but feel a sense of relief - which also shows how well they've developed O'Brien as a character even though he's not in the main cast. When LaForge and Data are testing the phaser in Engineering you think "oh crap, here it comes!" only to faked out again. Nicely done.

I'm also going to say that the view from inside LaForge's visor looks much nicer and more impressive than it did the other times we saw it back in "Heart of Glory" and "The Enemy."

The only thing that I didn't care for in the episode (and the only thing keeping it from a 10 out of 10 score) was the use of the rebellion against the Klingons. It's rather uncomfortable having the Federation be such close allies with an Empire that conquers and subjugates other peoples while the Federation turns a blind eye to it. Kell, at one point, even says that the Empire might grant the rebels independence only to conquer them again later when the problems on Qo'noS are settled while Riker and Picard never even bat an eye at the thought. Hmm... kind of morally questionable there, guys.

Wed, Aug 26, 2015, 8:04pm (UTC -6)
Thanks everyone - I'm almost as impressed by the quality of your comments as I was by this episode, which does deserve 4 stars I think.
Diamond Dave
Sat, Sep 19, 2015, 10:56am (UTC -6)
Classic cold war thriller done TNG style, with the brainwashed saboteur/assassin coming from within the ranks of our heroes to do the Romulans' bidding.

As opposed to so many of the recent mystery episodes where the revelation comes at the end, here we get to see it play out from the beginning as we already know what has befallen Geordi.
Yet the structure keeps ratcheting up the tension - the surprise reveal of Kell kicks it into the next gear. Geordi's own efforts to resolve the problem he unwittingly created, and Data's increasing race against time to solve the mystery, also add to a many layered depth. And this is all set against the bigger backdrop of Romulan espionage and Klingon dissatisfaction with the peace treaty.

Excellent stuff, 3.5 stars.
Wed, Dec 23, 2015, 9:00am (UTC -6)
Loved, loved, loved this episode when it originally aired (still do). The unknown of the Romulans in regard to the Klingons is great! Remember to think of this one as if you have not seen any that come after, then recall the foreshadowing from previous episodes (by accident or on purpose). Duras's father betrayed Klingons to Romulans 20 or so years before, told in 'Sins of the Father'. During the picking of the new ruler, a Klingon self-detonates, and the bomb used a Romulan switch, in 'Reunion'. And a Klingon is spying for the Romulans in 'The Drumhead'. Now, we see Romulans right from the get-go, but only learn later that, yep, a Klingon is working with them. It really made my friends and I feel that there was some instability in the universe, and we were excited by that and the possibilities for future episodes. We weren't disappointed! :)...

The Rebellion on the colony world. Hmm... the story says it's a colony, so I assume they are Klingon colonists. With that, I find it hard to believe they would rebel. Just the way Klingons have been portrayed, there are a few spies here and there, but a whole colony of Klingon rebels? I... don't know about that (seems they'd mention Klingons killing each other). The Ambassador mentions they can 'conquer them AGAIN later...', which sounds like they were conquered before to me. I've wondered if this was originally to have been a rebellion on a conquered world within their empire, similar to Cardassians and Bajorians later. That would make the Ambassador's statements about how they used to (I paraphrase) go in and destroy rebels, but now talk to them, more logical to me. They needed a reason for story conflict, so they invented rebels which the Federation does not seem to care about one whit (but I digress...).

I think the Klingons would have just gone in and quietly Nuked them from orbit.

Regards... RT
Thu, Feb 4, 2016, 11:13am (UTC -6)
Yeah but minus a star since in the future we apparently forgot how to take fingerprints.
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 9:22pm (UTC -6)
A Brilliant episode of Trek's version of Manchurian Candidate.

Perfect pitch, perfect musical/atmospheric score, and characters were fun to watch from Worf's subtle discomfort to Geordi's brainwashing. When I saw this on syndication in the late 90's as a kid, I did not know as much about movies and films as I do now, but I was mesmerized and could not forget this episodes direction.

I do agree though, like inner light, I really wish Geordi's mental reprogramming could have been slowly resolved over a longer arc over the next few seasons to show this episodes impact like Picard's later encounter with the alien memorial.

Still as an episode it deserves 9/10 for sure.
Mon, Sep 12, 2016, 2:37pm (UTC -6)
It was good, but you guys are overrating it a little. The first brainwashing scene had so much obvious exposition, I thought the Romulan was going to turn to the camera and say "All you viewers got that? You understand what we're trying to do, right?" And what a fortunate coincidence for the viewer that Geordi's double happens to be in the room! Beyond that, I can't find anything specific to point to that was wrong, and there were many scenes that were effective in their own eerie, dark way, but I just can't see this making anyone's list of best all-time episodes.
Intrinsic Random Event
Mon, Oct 17, 2016, 9:14am (UTC -6)
It is a great episode for so many reasons highlighted above, but the best bit for me was Picard swearing in Klingon. Brutal.
Fri, Jun 9, 2017, 10:00pm (UTC -6)
Lots of elements here "borrowed" from The Manchurian Candidate including the killing of Chief O'Brien scene but I saw this episode long before the 1962 film. They say it's not stealing if you call it a homage.
Mon, Jul 10, 2017, 6:08pm (UTC -6)
-The camerawork. Lot's of different angles and closeups. Effective at keeping the viewer aware that something was going on inside Geordi's mind.
-Scary Romulans
-Geordi's scream during the teaser
-Klingon backstories, regarding Worf, the home planet, and colonial politics
-The face of a dead Chief O'Brien

-Some of the camera shots where a little over the top, like when they show Geordi walking down the corridor at the end.
-Having a phaser continuously fire inside main engineering. Couldn't this be done somewhere else where it has less of a change of vaporizing someone?
Tue, Aug 15, 2017, 5:39pm (UTC -6)
Excellent episode -- it really picked up when Geordi sets out to kill the Klingon captain while Data races against time in the shuttle to figure out the mystery. That part with Geordi walking down the hallway, the camera angle, the musical score all came together wonderfully to achieve the perfect effect of an assassin about to carry out his grisly deed. And it could have ended with Geordi killing the Klingon captain because he's just a guest character -- and then what would have happened? So I didn't know how it would play out in the end.

Again, the Romulans come across as a deceptive and worthy enemy. This episode makes use of Geordi's previous encounter with the Romulans (which ended well, or so I it seemed) in "The Enemy" -- although there is no reference to that episode, it would explain how the Romulans know of the visor and Geordi. But I guess there's still a fair bit of timing that they needed to get right with planting the Klingon ambassador on board the Enterprise, Geordi in a shuttle etc.

"The Mind's Eye" also mixes in the ongoing Klingon power struggle, corruption arc, which never ceases to provide decent to great episodes.

The only complaint I have is why were those transporter chips not checked for fingerprints? They should have been able to pin down Geordi sooner. Or to avoid this oversight, have Geordi do his bit with gloves on.

I give this episode 3.5 stars -- hard to turn away from it for a second. The normally affable Geordi is a good candidate to become a sleeper assassin. Plenty of suspense here as we wonder what Geordi is going to do (like when he spills his drink on O'Brien) as well as some credible investigative work done by Data. Also one of the notable musical scores for a TNG episode.
Wed, Oct 25, 2017, 3:03am (UTC -6)
Great episode, just rewatched. And thanks to SkepticalMI, I can now put a more cynical face on Bochra from "The Enemy".

"Some of the camera shots where a little over the top, like when they show Geordi walking down the corridor at the end."

I noticed this immediately and even though I know you aren't supposed to notice it consciously for it to be fully effective, I still love it, probably because I've been messing around with indy film how-to's for the last few months. Wide angle lens, close-up, dolly back. One of those great shots that communicates a bit of mentally unhinged. In unconventional films or when playing with the subjective effects of certain drugs, they really ratchet this up by getting a variable width lens, and widen it as they zoom in fast for an extreme close up on the face. This episode had great music and cinematography.
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 4:28pm (UTC -6)
Great Geordie/Romulan/Klingon episode, the likes of which we'd never get again. Inspired choice to utilize the VISOR as a means of assassination. Weird how Geordie can function with it, with those fuzzy infrared images, but I attribute that more to the poor quality F/X of 1991. In a real 24th century, I can imagine the images would be super sharp.
Thu, Nov 9, 2017, 3:09am (UTC -6)
The first of Chief O'Briens many sufferings. :)
Scotty from Detroit
Mon, Nov 13, 2017, 1:58pm (UTC -6)
Was anyone else really bothered that when Data and Geordi were testing the phaser rifle that they took it to main engineering just mere feet from the warp core? If I needed a shooting range on the Enterprise I would NOT make one right in front of the thing that can blow the whole ship up.
Wed, Dec 20, 2017, 4:19pm (UTC -6)
@Scotty: ... not to mention Data standing downrange while Geordi fired the rifle. I also saw Geordi open fire without looking up to see where Data was.
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 2:18am (UTC -6)
@CRUFP: This isn't Troi's third time counseling someone. You mentioned "The Nth Degree" in which she counseled Barclay but she also originally counseled Barclay in "Hollow Pursuits" even if it was rather briefly.
Wed, Dec 27, 2017, 1:36pm (UTC -6)
Jammer once described the heart of TNG as "problem solving" and this episode really exemplifies that - it's one of the best "problem solving" eps in TNG. I love following along with the deductions and the Treknobabble doesn't overwhelm, and there are real stakes here.

Although, as the parody pointed out, Worf missed a big clue (Direct quote from the parody - Geordi: "Everyone has an alibi but me." Worf: "I'm stumped.")

And I loved the little word game at the end (I can't remember the exact words though)

Kell: "You can't search me!"
Vagh: "I agree. We will take him with us...and search him ourselves."
Kell: "I want asylum!"
Picard: "I'll be happy to grant it...when you have been absolved of this crime."

Brilliant writing!
Roger W Norris
Fri, Mar 23, 2018, 10:39am (UTC -6)
Since this is the first appearance of Sela, a few complaints about her. According to a later show whose name I forgot, she is the daughter of Tasha Yar, who landed on Romulus 22 years ago. She definitely doesn't look 22 years old! If she is, she's too young to be a Commander (Captain). A human 22 year old Starfleet officer would be an ensign. If Romulans have Vulcan life spans, she's the equivalent of a teenager! So why is she a Commander?
And to complain about the makeup. If she's half Romulan, couldn't they at least make her a brunette? You might be able to ignore the ears. But she's much too much Denise Crosby, and not enough the offspring of Tasha and a Romulan. (But she makes a good adversary over the length of the show.)
Wed, Apr 11, 2018, 10:10pm (UTC -6)
About Sela - I concur, I've always found her backstory to be extremely weird. She's just 22 years old, but a commander? Any why does she look exactly like her mother? We've seen Trek actors play their own relatives before, but there were usually hundreds of years in between - think of Brent Spiner on "Enterprise".

I know that a core story to define her was how she betrayed her own mother, when she was still a small child, and told the guards that her mother was trying to flee, getting her own mother killed. That's a strong backstory, to point out how this child was brainwashed into thinking like a Romulan from her earliest days. But still... it doesn't go well with being played by the same actress.

I would have made Sela an actual clone of Tasha instead - with no Romulan DNA involved. Effectively, she would've been like Shinzon from the Nemesis movie. Now, I don't really like that movie, but the concept of a clone as such is a good one: You have exactly the same person, from a genetic perspective, just raised in another environment, and you see that beloved person grow up to be evil. I feel this is how the Sela actor should've been done; it just would've made more sense. It could also have explained why Tasha looked older than 22; the clone could've gone through an accelerated growth.

I think the clone should've been created AFTER Tasha's execution, by her husband, in order to replace her with a more loyal version. That would've been genuinely eerie. So yeah, the writers kind of created a sub-par backstory for Sela. It could've been better.
Wed, Jun 6, 2018, 3:35pm (UTC -6)
I absolutely loved this episode channeling The Manchurian Candidate and teeing up the Romulan plot against the Klingon Empire soon to be realised.
I had forgotten the shadowy Denise Crosby presence.
This was all executed with style and a genuinely chilling performance by Burton which continued right to the last scene where Troi begins the painstaking task of helping Geordie reconstruct his lost memories.

Now, we would more easily appreciate the likely PTSD that would need to be addressed but I guess that was not such a known problem in 1991.
Sun, Jul 29, 2018, 12:16pm (UTC -6)
Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention to the episode, but what was the point of the double on the Romulan ship? It seems like they just sent the original Geordie back to the Enterprise...or the double went to Risa, and then they swapped again on the Romulan ship?
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Oct 7, 2018, 8:04pm (UTC -6)
JerJer, Geordi's double went to Risa so nobody would ask why Geordi never showed up, and also to get memories to be implanted back into Geordi after they finished his conditioning ("but I REMEMBER everything!").
Geordi La Forge
Sat, Nov 24, 2018, 12:52am (UTC -6)
Sat, Apr 13, 2019, 11:08am (UTC -6)
I guess 6/10. I am not a fan of these brain washing type shows. Some are done well but it just doesn't seem original anymore. +1 for the creepy nature they showed leading up the attempted assassination and also Troi's gentle assistance afterwards. La Forge was truly tortured and to do a reset after this is just plain ignorant and rude. However...
Sat, May 11, 2019, 1:36pm (UTC -6)
Very good, tense episode, I'm surprised there aren't more comments.

I would love to know what Picard swore at Vagh. Any Klingon speakers out there?!

Kell's banquet of Klingon food though, blurgh. Shudder.
Tue, Jun 11, 2019, 8:57am (UTC -6)
How was Sela Tasha Yar's daughter? Yesterday's Enterprise and Redemption, part II explains that.
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 10:35pm (UTC -6)
This was intense, and the last scene is definitely a standout. I get the impression Geordi's not gonna get his own equivalent of Family to recover like Picard did though.

I gotta admit, though, I was amused by the simulated "kill O'Brien" scene, where brainwashed Geordi sits down to have a drink and casually moves aside O'Brien's dead body in the process...!
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 10:55pm (UTC -6)
(addendum: I do appreciate the fact that some time is devoted to the psychological consequences though)
Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 6:01pm (UTC -6)
Love this episode but I wish there had been more follow-up and consequences for Geordi. He was tortured and violated in ways that would take some time to recover from. The scene at the end of the episode with Troi was a good start, but he's seemingly over it by the next episode and it never comes up again. Wasted opportunity for character development.

Another thing that bothers me regarding follow-up is the obvious security vulnerability with Geordi's visor/interface. Maybe this is just because I'm an I.T. guy, but it seems like nothing is done to prevent further exploitation of this major security vulnerability. Nobody thinks about preventing this from happening again? The Enterprise is a high profile ship. Of course, Geordi's visor would again be abused in Star Trek Generations, leading to the destruction of the ship.

Great episode otherwise. Really makes the ongoing conflict with the Romulans feel more personal.
Tue, Apr 7, 2020, 8:12am (UTC -6)
"The Mind’s Eye” was always a good episode of TNG, but a few things push it into that select category of truly great Star Trek. It is a testament to DS9, that the more you watch DS9, the more you enjoy “The Mind’s Eye.”

First, the O’Brien torture. Whether virtual (during Geordi’s brainwashing), or real but relatively harmless (when Geordi spills a drink on him), as @ Patrick says, it is just eerie. All the more eerie after you come to love O’Brien in DS9. Especially after watching the DS9 annual tradition of the "let's torture O’Brien" episodes.

Second, as @ Corey points out, Geordi’s counselling session with Troi is particularly good. And you’ll notice that Troi actually does do some real counselling in the later seasons of TNG.

I think we can trace the reason why Troi gets better at counselling to Season 4’s “The Loss.” In that episode, a 2D swarm temporarily incapacitates our favorite half-betazoid and renders her as telepathically blind as the rest of us.

There is a truly stunning conversation between Troi and Riker in “The Loss”, something I don’t think I noticed the first few times I watched it.

RIKER: You always had an advantage. A little bit of control of every situation.
That must have been a very safe position to be in. To be honest, I'd always thought there was something a little too aristocratic about your Betazoid heritage. As if your human side wasn't quite good enough for you.
TROI: That isn't true.
RIKER: Isn't it?

Wow Riker. That’s cold.

Cold truth.

So after "The Loss," I think it is natural to see Troi rely less on her empathic abilities as a crutch, and start learning what real counselling is all about. And “The Mind’s Eye” might be one of the best examples of that. Nice writeup @ SFKeepay.

But what really puts “The Mind’s Eye” over the top and into that truly excellent category is, as @ SkepticalMI points out, the question of how the Romulans found out about Geordi and his Visor and his trip to Risa? Sure, if we believe, that Bochra (from “The Enemy”) was responsible, that alone is enough to give you goose bumps, seeing as how he and Geordi saved each other’s lives down on Galorndon Core.

But I’d like to suggest and even darker possibility than Bochra, or the alternative that @ CPUFP suggest, T'Pel. This suggestion only makes sense after you’ve seen one of DS9’s all time best episodes, “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges.”

Who brainwashes Geordi in “The Mind’s Eye”? That Romulan has a name. His name is… Koval. Of course he is using an alias in “The Mind’s Eye”. But I recognise that face, that voice, that casual brutality.

And Koval, if you recall from DS9, was section 31’s man in the Romulan security services. Koval is a Federation operative!

So now, let's put it all together.

The Romulans are working with the Duras and their faction of the Klingon high counsel to sever Klingon relations with the Federation. The Romulans intend to ignite a Klingon/Federation conflict by having a Starfleet officer - Geordi - assassinate a Klingon governor.

And that plan… fails.


Because the Romulan agent who is running operation was a Section 31 agent!

So it was Section 31 that gave the Romulans the info they needed to kidnap Geordi on his way to Risa. That is exactly their style. Remember, in DS9’s “Inquisition”, Section 31 kidnaps Bashir just as he is headed to a conference.

Fuck. If Geordi ever found out, he’d be pissed. Agents of the Federation, Section 31, were responsible for putting him on a Romulan ship to be tortured and brainwashed. Fuck.

Finally, I just want to echo what @ Kolmashekidim says. The comments on this episode are some of the finest of all of Jammer’s great website.

Jolan tru, my friends. Jolan tru
Mr Peepers
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 4:27pm (UTC -6)
A conference on Risa? I should ask my boss can I attend the conference at the Bunny Ranch.

I once had a dream that was so real that it took me a couple weeks to convince myself it didn't really happen. So I can sort of relate how Geordi tries to come to terms with his brainwashing. Not sure if you can really get someone to assassinate a person like he almost did. But the way Geordi pushed Miles out of the way to take his seat made me giggle. I like all the Klingon political episodes. It says something that Worf is the most handsome Klingon in TNG. But K'Ehleyr is the most sexiest female, although she is half human. Very disturbing that some human laid up with a Klingon female like those two sisters, Lursa and B'Etor.
Thu, Jul 2, 2020, 7:41pm (UTC -6)
So Data didn't need a pipe and deerstalker to exercise his Sherlockian skills!

I think the comments about poor old Bochra are unfair, even if his experience with Geordi's visor was the source of their knowing about it's possibilities. Both him and Geordi would automatically have been debriefed about what happened after returning home, and there'd have been no reason for him to treat that information as anything to conceal, or to fail to include it in the report he would have given about the episode. In no sense would that have felt like betraying his Federation friend.

As for knowing about Geordi's trip to Risa, I'd assume the Romulans would have a spy presence there, and a hotel booking clerk could have supplied the information.

A well crafted episode - though I prefer Startrek when there's an element of some ethical or interpersonal dilemma.
James G
Sun, Jul 19, 2020, 7:44am (UTC -6)
An archetypical TNG episode this one, with lots of boxes ticked - a mystery with an involved technical explanation, Romulan espionage, Klingon treachery. I liked it a lot. I didn't actually think I'd seen it before until the last minute, when I remembered the request for asylum.

Curious that a different actor is used to play the Geordi impersonator on Risa; we see him leaving in a Starfleet uniform not long after Geordi is brought aboard. If the Romulans can have someone appear so like a human of African origin, why not have them create an exact duplicate? Would have been a nice, slightly disturbing touch. Anyway I'm sure the young cosmetically-modified Romulan had a fantastic time on Risa.

I was disappointed that Picard resorted to swearing in Klingon. Undignified.

Brent Spiner conveys a lovely sense of urgency in Data's detective work - stress even - when realises that Geordi is involved in the deception. As an Android Data should really just get on with it in an unemotional matter-of-fact manner, but it does really add to the tension and drama.
Sun, Sep 20, 2020, 8:19am (UTC -6)
>> I was disappointed that Picard resorted to swearing in Klingon. Undignified.

When interacting with Klingons, it is the an appropriate response to having one's honor challenged. In other circumstances, Picard might have been obligated to fight.
Hotel bastardos
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 8:43am (UTC -6)
Couldn't they just have let Geordie labour under the delusion that he'd finally popped his cherry whilst on Risa?
Fri, Nov 6, 2020, 8:36pm (UTC -6)
Geordi's hinted sexual escapades on Risa should have tipped off Troi about the false memories. Everyone knows Geordi never gets the girl. Deanna "I'm sensing something" Troi misses again.
Mon, Jun 21, 2021, 3:59pm (UTC -6)
“It’ll take time to rebuild your memory, Geordi. A long time. Possibly even a whole week. But no longer than that. Because you’ve got to be 100% back to normal and on-duty as Chief Engineer of the flagship, despite being homicidally hypnotized by Romulans, before the next episode. So let’s get cracking, hmm?”

I kid, I kid. I understand TNG’s episodic nature, even if it does get a little silly at times.

My only real critique of this otherwise brilliant episode is a minor one, mentioned previously by another commenter: Governor Vagh was entirely too certain of Federation collusion with the rebels, with his only evidence at first being the presence of Federation weapons in rebel hands. Ok…and there’s no way that profiteers on the black market illicitly acquired these weapons and sold them to the highest bidder? Picard even mentions this possibility, yet Vagh is unconvinced. Even in the face of findings implicating Romulans in the sort of scheme precisely they are known for! What does this guy have against the Federation?

But again, not a huge point. And a very compelling story otherwise.
Frake's Nightmare
Sat, Jul 24, 2021, 4:28pm (UTC -6)
Star Fleet regulation 1 (amended) - no personnel must ever ever ever even think about going to Risa ever as it will only lead to bad shit.
Fri, Sep 10, 2021, 3:18am (UTC -6)
I note that Jammer refers to The Manchurian Candidate - that was running through my mind too while watching this very good episode. The first fully Geordi-centred story and a great suspense segment. Of course, the moment where he spills his drink over O’Brien in 10-F was put in solely to give some tension where actually there was no motivation for the act - but based on what we had seen on the Romulan ship, it was a heart-in-mouth moment. From there on in, it was a constant nervous waiting for the real act of terrorism Geordi had been programmed to perform. Data’s investigation, meanwhile, was also a good subplot, leading to the final act.

Geordi otherwise behaved perfectly normal, which added to the drama: WE knew something was wrong, but he clearly didn’t, which just added to the dramatic tension. The realistic ‘conditioning’ scenario, where the subject doesn’t know they‘ve been conditioned. That made the scene between him and Kell poor: Kell would have had to use some kind of trigger to put Geordi ‘under the influence’, but he didn’t; he interacted with the ‘normal Geordi’ and I just didn’t believe that scene.

Otherwise, excellent, and I think 3.5 stars is fair.
Thu, Oct 7, 2021, 10:09am (UTC -6)
@ Tidd

I thought the scene in 10 Forward was Kell testing Geordi's conditioning to see if he could get him to spill the drink on O-Brien. Also, Kell had a small transmitter hidden in his clothes that he used as a trigger. We never see him do it, but that's how he was caught at the end. Data said the transmitter had to be there and Kell was taken away for what I am sure was a very gentle search by the Klingons. ;)

I'm in the 4 star group on this one.
Wed, Feb 9, 2022, 7:35pm (UTC -6)
Great episode and the coda of Deanna counseling Geordi was a high point. Quite ironic that she was very good when they finally had her doing counseling instead of her somewhat less convincing "empath" (Political Officer) job on the bridge. The way she led him to remembering the Romulan ship seemed believable.

It's funny when Data says the collaborator could be Picard or Kell and everybody immediately knows it's Kell.
Willy Lovington
Wed, Mar 22, 2023, 2:41pm (UTC -6)
By Jove, what a twisting and turning episode! Robo-Geordi programmed by Romulans, what! I knew he was the traitor right away, he had a suspicious look about him. But then I am an accomplished sleuth, my instincts honed by years of crime solving at Scotland Yard.

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