Star Trek: The Next Generation
"The Next Phase"
Air date: 5/18/1992
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by David Carson
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
The Enterprise responds to a Romulan ship that has been crippled in a catastrophic accident. La Forge and Ro beam over with an away team, but when they beam back, their transporter patterns are lost in an apparent transporter mishap. The two are declared dead, but they both wake up aboard the Enterprise — where they discover they are invisible to everyone around them and can walk through walls and other objects.
Are they ghosts trapped in purgatory? Please; this is Star Trek, where a ghost has never been encountered that cannot be ascribed to either technology or the presence of an alien life form. In this case, Geordi slowly realizes that they have been phase-shifted outside normal time and space because of experimental top-secret Romulan cloaking technology aboard the crippled Romulan ship (which was crippled because the technology blew up in their faces during testing). The Enterprise crew does not discover this in the course of their investigation, but La Forge and Ro, being invisible, are privy to more information.
Alongside the plot are some welcome character touches. Being the proverbial flies on the wall, Geordi and Ro get to listen in on conversations about themselves by shipmates who believe they are dead. A discussion in a shuttle between Riker and Worf has a certain amount of resonance — without being too earnest to get schmaltzy. Meanwhile, Ro — usually the firebrand — finds the whole situation oddly humbling. At first she believes she's dead, before Geordi is able to win her over with technobabble arguments.
For the most part, "The Next Phase" is content to be an entertaining but slight sci-fi adventure in which two invisible people must figure out how to make themselves visible — while also fending off an attack from an invisible Romulan who himself has been phase-shifted and wants to stop La Forge and Ro from revealing the Romulan cover-up of this experimental technology. Eventually we get a chase through the Enterprise where Ro and La Forge are running through walls and pushing the Romulan intruder through the bulkhead and out into space. Heh.
Of course, the nitpicker in me has to ask exactly what it is about this technology that makes it possible to pass through all objects except, of course, the floors. For some reason (that reason being plot convenience), the laws of physics are only selectively broken, so you can plant your feet on the floor instead of simply sinking straight through to who-knows-where. Maybe the technology is set to not affect the bottoms of one's feet. In which case, Geordi should've just gone around engineering kicking Data in the face instead of leading him around with mysterious energy signatures. So, yes, this is all goofy and absurd, but then many things in Star Trek are absurd, and in this case I'm not inclined to let absurdity get in the way of an amusing adventure yarn with cloaking technology that lets people walk through walls while teaching Ro Laren the virtue of humility.
Previous episode: I, Borg
Next episode: The Inner Light
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95 comments on this post
Wed, May 11, 2011, 8:00am (UTC -5)
I'll give them the "feet/floor" thing--I have never seen any movie or TV show that didn't use that convention. Just have to ignore it, and then it's all good.
Ro thinking they are dead;
Ro shooting Riker;
Geordi leaving clues for Data;
Riker being so moved by Ro's death;
Data's design for the memorial;
Geordi and Ro waving frantically; and
Worf almost seeing them;
The "click" when Data figures it out;
Data's "joy" that Geordi is not dead.
The final scene.
This is one of the best of Trek for me. It had humor, emotion, science (I found the "we're cloaked" to be very effective)--what more could you want? And I like Ro very much, so that helps.
I have to go watch this again--good thing it is saved on my DVR. (And good thing I'm on a break from school!)
Wed, May 11, 2011, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
Wed, May 11, 2011, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
Possibly the funniest thing you've ever written, Jammer.
Wed, May 11, 2011, 8:00pm (UTC -5)
But unlike Jammer I bought into the possibility of the two being dead--when I first watched this I was a kid and wasn't tuned into all the conventions of tv--thankfully!--and could buy into the emotional arc of their story. I liked the use of the Romulans here. The chase was exciting. The ticking clock was exciting. I loved the idea of a New Orleans type memorial service and was so perfectly Data. And the final scene was perfect.
I don't watch Trek for sci fi accuracy so I can't get bothered by Fun with DNA stories or the fact that the two didn't fall through the floor.
Wed, May 11, 2011, 8:48pm (UTC -5)
Wed, May 11, 2011, 11:57pm (UTC -5)
Still a fun hour though.
Thu, May 12, 2011, 1:57am (UTC -5)
Thu, May 12, 2011, 8:38pm (UTC -5)
I still think a clever explanation or two can be reached, though it's tricky.
Fri, May 13, 2011, 8:15pm (UTC -5)
That, and the Romulan is tumbling the wrong way when he's knocked out the window. But that's not enough to keep this from being a 4-star episode.
Fri, May 13, 2011, 8:27pm (UTC -5)
2 stars at most.
Sun, May 15, 2011, 7:47pm (UTC -5)
If I may, and if you feel like it, may I ask you to expand on your objections? I'm not quite sure what your objection to the "difference between Geordi and Ro's outlooks" is. And I thought the final scene dealt with Ro's "foolishness" pretty well.
As an aside, you you like the character of Ro?
On another note, I see often that other posters have noticed who the writers of various episodes are--I never do. Maybe I should do that and see if I like more of "RDM"'s work!
Mon, May 16, 2011, 3:03pm (UTC -5)
I'd definitely suggest you start to pay attention to the writers. They each have different strengths and weaknesses. Once you start identifying writers you will start to anticipate the quality of the story and the type of storyline to come up as soon as you see the writer's name.
Star Trek is rather unique in that you can track several writers over 4 series; many of us have the firm belief that the decline of the series in Voyager and Enterprise had nothing to do with 'franchise fatigue' but with 'writer fatigue', as the same writers were putting out watered down versions of the same scripts they were writing in the TNG era.
Many Star Trek writers have also gone onto success in other shows; you'll find them contributing to such series as Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, CSI, 24, the 4400, and Andromeda.
Mon, May 16, 2011, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
Tue, May 17, 2011, 9:59am (UTC -5)
Thanks for the suggestion, but I think I am going to wait until I watch DS 9 before tracking writers too closely--I don't want my pre-enjoyment to be tainted. (Yes, I have NEVER watched DS 9--I'm so pleased that I have it to look forward to!)
I did look through some of the Voyager episodes and you are so right--I definitely noticed trends in the episodes I most liked and disliked.
I wonder if some ST fan has done a chart of every writer and the episodes they are responsible for? (tried a google but no joy)
Wed, May 18, 2011, 9:50pm (UTC -5)
For example, here's Ron Moore:
Tue, May 24, 2011, 7:12pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 1, 2011, 10:22am (UTC -5)
You've never seen DS9? Well, unfortunately you're going to have 2 and a half seasons of "meh" to sit through before it turns into one of the best shows on TV.
I love this episode. And the whole sinking through the floor thing was raised in an episode of Stargate SG1, where they are filming the Stargate rip-off TV show Wormhole X-Treme. The actress asks the writer why if they are out of phase do they not just fall through the floor.
No answer was forthcoming.
Tue, Jun 7, 2011, 10:20pm (UTC -5)
And I thought season 2 was very good; season 1 was also better than early TNG and just about any season of Voyager and Enterprise.
Tue, Jun 21, 2011, 4:39am (UTC -5)
It wasn't a device intended for individual espionage - the dialogue reveals that the entire reason the Romulan ship was disabled in the first place is because something went wrong when they were testing the phase cloak for their vessel.
And it wasn't just the bottoms of their feet that are conveniently immune to the cloak's effect. When Ro regains consciousness she's lying on the floor near sickbay. She and Geordi are sitting in the shuttlecraft. The Romulan is sitting in a chair on the enemy ship. And of course they shouldn't be able to breathe or make sound. Even "TOS" did a more credible job of conveying this sort of scenario in "The Tholian Web" - Kirk was at least wearing a spacesuit!
That said it's a fun episode I've always enjoyed. But by no stretch can you explain away the absurd premise with technobabble.
Fri, Sep 9, 2011, 6:58am (UTC -5)
It's a conceit that is required for any hope of the premise; but I also one pondered the same issues with sci-fi that involves a character that can freeze time. Air wouldn't flow into one's mouth, and light wouldn't move into one's eyes.
But anyway, I feel as though they never quite 100% explain how "phasing" works. Perhaps there is some technical explanation that would work. I don't think it was necessary for the episode to explore it though. Great episode.
Sun, Sep 25, 2011, 7:28pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 25, 2011, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
Good point William on the air...that is a bigger issue. The same issue could have been a problem in DS9's "Extreme Measures", but they threw in dialogue to deal with it.
Sun, Sep 25, 2011, 10:57pm (UTC -5)
Was she missed? Not in the least.
Tue, Sep 27, 2011, 10:17am (UTC -5)
Thu, Sep 29, 2011, 4:41am (UTC -5)
Fun episode though. I love Geordi episodes! 3 stars.
Wed, Oct 19, 2011, 10:11pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 6, 2012, 10:21am (UTC -5)
Sat, Jul 7, 2012, 5:04pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Dec 2, 2012, 8:32pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 23, 2013, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 18, 2013, 1:34pm (UTC -5)
I thought it rather absurd that Riker made them leave their weapons behind so that the Romulans "didn't think they were under attack". They could still have them without wielding them the moment they beamed in, and these are, after all, the most treacherous aliens in the quadrant.
Thu, Jul 25, 2013, 10:18pm (UTC -5)
I'm sorry, I just couldn't get past it.
Wed, Aug 14, 2013, 11:46am (UTC -5)
But okay, maybe Geordi exaggerated at the end of the episode and we can mostly ignore the implausibilities here. What is interesting about the Geordi/Ro split in how they react to their predicament is what it reveals as the strengths and weaknesses of the two characters, an unusual and inspired pairing to be sure. Geordi is right in this episode, which fits in with the rational Trek universe, except that the story kind of has to cheat to get there (see above). Since he's right, Geordi doesn't change or learn anything in the story. It's actually a trope that the dead don't initially accept that they're dead, and can only move on once they do, which the episode subverts. However, Geordi's rationalism has its limits, and somehow I think there is a nice symmetry between Geordi's correctly identifying that his and Ro's "death" is actually a problem that he can solve, and his incorrectly being lulled into believing that his mother's "death" is a problem that he can solve in "Interface." It's not that Captain La Forge died and started wandering around as a ghost, or that anything mystical happened to her at all, but there are some puzzles which Geordi can't solve, and the ability to accept that which Ro seems to have readily is something Geordi could use there. Still, when Geordi tells Data that Data lacks imagination, when Geordi is going around pushing random parts of the table again and again, I want to throttle the guy. How about writing "GEORDI" in big letters on the console with his finger? How about punching out prime number patterns on the console? Geordi has a chance to communicate and he mostly doesn't do anything that looks like a careful, intelligent pattern. This is probably more the fault of the script than a deliberately-created flaw in Geordi's character, but I do think that Geordi lacks people skills sometimes and his inability to think of how to communicate his presence more directly may be characteristic.
As for Ro, she is wrong. What is interesting is how quickly and immediately she comes to a place of serene acceptance that she has died and there is nothing she can do, and how this squares with her usual anger and conviction that she must act, as well as her rejection of her Bajoran faith. What this says to me is that Ro really, at her core, *wants* to believe in an afterlife, wants to believe in her Bajoran upbringing, and above all wants to *stop fighting*, stop hating her past and hating herself. But as long as she's living and as long as she has to continue finding a way to make it through each day, she has to hang onto her anger and her cynicism -- about herself, about Bajor, about Starfleet. Given a chance at escape, she takes it instantly; she wants to tell Picard what he means to her, wants to hear what Riker has to say about her (though she quickly shut down the possibility of continuing their memory-addled relationship), wants to believe in what she learned in her rough childhood which she ran away from, wants to believe in the crew, and wants peace. The chance to be able to stop being the version of Ro Laren she has become and to be a different one is so tempting that she ignores the possibility that she may not be dead. She doesn't come out and say that she was foolish for thinking she was dead so soon, but her talk about humility at the end suggests something else to me. She realizes this -- that when the chips were down, she absolutely believed and was defined by her childhood beliefs, even when there was not sufficient evidence for it. Maybe Ro does have a strong arc, since the very next Ro story is about getting in touch with her inner child so to speak ("Rascals") before she rejoins her roots ("Preemptive Strike"). Of course, Ro's stubbornness and unwillingness to listen to others manifests in her reaction to Geordi's suggesting an alternative explanation, and her crankiness at people's treatment of her starts up again once she realizes that she's not dead and it's time to kick butts again and (awesomely) shoot Riker in the head with a disruptor beam.
For an episode that emphasizes the sense of touch, there is something moving (I avoided saying "touching" there, see?) about Geordi and Ro learning about being able to touch each other, and about the two of them grabbing onto each other when they are shifted back into phase. In addition to everything else, this episode is partly about community, and it does end up needing both of them to fight the threats both from the Romulans and from the possibility of not being discovered; just as the crew (as a community) honours them, they have to reach each other. Their ability to touch each other is a representation of their ability to impact and communicate with each other, when they can't touch or communicate with anyone else, and their holding onto each other as they pass through the return threshold back into life says this: they needed each other. They couldn't do it alone. They are not, or at least were not friends, but in the shared experience hopefully they have been impacted by each other in a positive way. Geordi has been through this story already in "The Enemy," and there's less for him to gain here, but the Romulan with a disruptor pretty much ensures that Geordi would not have made it through the episode well alone, and any trace of the Geordi talking about watching his back if Ro is with him on an away mission in "Ensign Ro" is gone. But Ro not only learns humility, she is able to open up to another person and share her recognition that she doesn't have all the answers and that she is able to admit that. The two don't become best friends after this, but that's not really the point. There's something poetic about it: they were "dead" and they brought each other back to life.
Data's reaction to Geordi's death is a bit of an inverse and payoff to Geordi's reaction to Data's death in "The Most Toys"; it's Data, eventually, who figures out what's going on with Geordi, who follows the clues carefully enough that he gets the information that Geordi can use to manipulate the situation so that they are revealed. Unlike Geordi, Data doesn't recognize the clues as pointing to Geordi still being alive, but he does put it together the instant that Geordi's being alive becomes clear. His scene with Worf is touching, though I think that Worf's side of the conversation is disingenuous and/or out of character (if La Forge had died down in Engineering saving the ship from being destroyed, that would be one thing, but a transporter malfunction is the most pointless way to go; Worf was upset about Marla Astor blowing up for no reason, after all). The funeral scene is great fun for all, and it's because Data is an outsider to humanity that he is able to see into the heart of what matters and ignore convention (though, you know, it's not as if celebratory funerals were invented by Data, but you see my point hopefully); Data is an observer of humanity who builds up humanity from the ground up, but that sometimes means, as an outsider, he can see what's important instantly. He saved Geordi too, both by recognizing the clues once they all were put together with Geordi's face, and he found for everyone the meaning and joy in Geordi's life (and "death"). I mean, and Ro's, but it's mostly Geordi for Data. I like, too, Picard's short speech on meeting Geordi and Geordi's moment of beaming, slightly awkward pride about it; Picard's saying that Ro would have had a great career if it weren't for that Garon II incident; Riker's having feelings about Ro he never talks about, and his giddy excitement at being able to participate in the jazz celebration.
The plot is somehow both smartly constructed and entirely ludicrous: the Romulans' decision to blow up the Enterprise is so extreme that I have to roll my eyes at it (and the fact that the Enterprise crew never would have been the wiser if it weren't for Geordi and Ro *OVERHEARING THE ROMULANS' EVIL PLANS* says little for the Enterprise' security and self-protection). I'm also not clear on why the phased Romulan figured that he needs to be so EVIL; it seems as if he wants to return to normal phasing, so, uh, why the need to threaten everyone with disruptor blasts when he wants the same thing as them? Or does he want to forestall their attempts to return to normal and die when the Enterprise explodes? And yet I like the fact that the Romulan's presence not only gives a nice action sequence (including the Romulan floating into space), but having defeated the Romulan gives Geordi and Ro the disruptor which turns out to be the key to creating a large enough energy signature to get the two out of there. I also love that there is a plot justification for the episode to end at Ro and Geordi's funeral.
I think I have talked myself into liking this episode even more than when I watched it a few days ago; it has significant flaws in plotting areas, which wouldn't bother me if this episode weren't as plot-heavy as it is. It is also ultimately slight, in that the central Ro/Geordi relationship is not particularly deep or important. But there are a lot of neat things here and it's entertaining. A high 3 stars.
Fri, Dec 20, 2013, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
That is absurd, they are both fun, stupid-science episodes, why is this one loved, and Genesis hated?
Fri, Dec 20, 2013, 4:40pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 20, 2013, 4:57pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 20, 2013, 7:22pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 20, 2013, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
Definitely, there are several explanations, and not mutually exclusive :)
Sat, Jan 4, 2014, 12:23am (UTC -5)
Of course, if Ro had read Life After Life by Ray Moody, she might have been able to tell they weren't dead. Great book. It's about a doctor who collects testimonials from people who have died but were rescussitated.
Tue, Jan 7, 2014, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
No serious scientist considers his work anything more than anecdotal. Everything he describes is easily attributable to non-supernatural causes.
He's a nice guy--I know this because he was my doctor in 1981--but "Life After Life" is nothing more than fantasy.
Sat, May 24, 2014, 6:26pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 8, 2014, 5:55pm (UTC -5)
Sorry for the delayed reply!
If Ro alone had been "phased", she would have been convinced she was dead, accepted her heritage, blah blah and died of starvation or something worse. Only Geordi's unwillingness to accept the idea of an "afterlife"ghost story BS is what saved her sorry credulous ass. I don't have a problem with portraying these characters this way, but Ro neither apologises nor is chastised for her foolishness.
In these types of stories, whenever atheistic characters encounter even one minor example of a phenomenon they cannot readily explain, they invariably grant credibility to the spiritual, but the same expectation is not extended in reverse. Ro, a religious person, directly confronts a situation which should make her question at least her urgency in explaining her situation in religious terms, but she doesn't. It's just...insulting.
Wed, Jun 18, 2014, 10:17am (UTC -5)
And thanks for expanding on your comments--I get it now. Normally I think I would feel exactly the same way, but I guess I find this episode so fun that the lack of scientific rigor didn't bother me too much. And I really like Ro, so I's biased.
I haven't been over to this site in about 6 months, and I find you answered me a week ago! Must be psychic! lol
Sun, Aug 3, 2014, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 6, 2014, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
I'd like to think that Ro and Geordi eventually told the other Romulans how they could detect him before he got too hungry.
On the other hand, you have to wonder if they simply forgot...
Wed, Oct 8, 2014, 12:00pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jan 10, 2015, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
Mon, May 4, 2015, 10:36am (UTC -5)
Could the Romulans be any more evil, however? Their sworn enemies have just gone out of their way to help them, even supplying them a brand new engine to get them safely home, and they want to repay them by plotting to blow the Enterprise up when it enters warp?
The Romulan's explanation of "if their engineering people keep coming back here, they may stumble upon the new technology we're hiding" makes little sense, since the the "muons" they implant inside the Enterprise's dilithium chambers will only cause an explosion when the rescue mission is finished and the Enterprise leaves.
Tue, Aug 4, 2015, 7:52pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 18, 2015, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
YES! In general I liked this episode, but that scene was almost unbearable to watch. Especially when Geordi is like, "Data, stop being so rational!" Um, Geordi, maybe you should start being rational and try to get his attention in a way that isn't easily interpreted as sensor malfunction...
Sun, Aug 23, 2015, 9:14am (UTC -5)
I suppose I could nitpick about the standard "ghost story" cliches present - why are they able to walk on floors, why are the able to sit in chairs, why is Ro able to stroke the Helm console, how can they breath the air - but is that all really necessary? Almost all "ghost" stories require that level of suspension of disbelief and I'm willing to grant them that. Add to that the fact that the episode by itself is enjoyable enough on it's own merits and I really don't see how any of those nitpicks pose a problem. If there is one nitpick that gets on my nerves here it's the scene where Data just dumbly eliminates the fields in Engineering while LaForge tells him to not be "so rational." Good grief man, just start drawing a note on the wall with your finger and explain the situation to Data. This isn't hard to figure out!
What really stands out for me in "The Next Phase," however, is something I've harshly criticized TNG for in past episodes - it's treatment of religion. My God, we actually have a fairly balanced view of it here! We have an atheistic character, Ro, who suddenly faces a situation where she has to ask herself some questions about her atheistic worldview and starts to re-evaluate her positions. She even starts to think that maybe, just maybe, the religious beliefs of Bajorans aren't just nonsense, or (in her own words) "superstition passed on to children." In the end she doesn't become a believer - maybe she goes from atheist to agnostic, but she's certainly not a believer in the Prophets or anything else. And, as a believer myself, I'll say this - I'm okay with that. That's because along the way there is none of the previous TNG-standard ridicule of religion. When Ro first mentions religious themes to LaForge he rejects them for himself but doesn't once look down on her for choosing a different path. He basically tells her "you do what you want, I'm going to do to my own thing." There's even a hint that maybe, again just maybe, that treating religion with understanding and an open mind is a good thing. Maybe it isn't desirable to just denounce it and stand there with a smug sense of entitlement and superiority (or with no humility) like TNG has done in the past. Well done, writers, well done! You've shown that religion can have it's positive side even if it's not for everyone - because, after all, LaForge never accepts it, does he? But then, Ronald D. Moore, one of the guys responsible for DS9 and it's multi-layered view of religion, did write this, so I really shouldn't be that surprised.
I suppose if there is one thing I really don't like about the episode it's the fact that we never get to hear what Riker was going to say about Ro at the memorial service. Seriously, what was he going to say? The episode seems to go out of it's way to paint the picture that Riker was tremendously moved by Ro's death. Why? They haven't exactly been shown to have had the best of relationships, have they? I mean, aside from that one time when they screwed like jack-rabbits when everyone's memories were wiped, how was she so special to him? Or were the writers honestly just trying to say that Riker is, in fact, that shallow? "I banged her once so she was special to me."?
All in all, "The Next Phase" is a fluff piece, but its very competently executed fluff.
Sun, Aug 23, 2015, 11:42am (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 27, 2015, 11:25am (UTC -5)
The Ro/LaForge relationship works well - I particularly liked Ro's fatalistic initial interpretation for what was going on. And the episode nicely sets up the Romulans as particularly villainous, but in a subtle way. The phased Romulan is also a decent surprise - although one wonders if the chase sequence through the various cabins was not simply done to show off the nifty phasing effect. 3 stars.
Fri, Mar 25, 2016, 10:52pm (UTC -5)
Mon, May 2, 2016, 1:10am (UTC -5)
Easy - artificial gravity. Although there are still a couple of logic holes I found - resting a hand on a workstation, sitting on chairs in the shuttle.
Tue, Dec 13, 2016, 10:43pm (UTC -5)
If I was trying to get someone into TNG I might show them this, because it stands on it's own so well and is so thoroughly enjoyable.
Tue, Dec 13, 2016, 11:11pm (UTC -5)
I think the funniest part of the episode for me was when Ro shot Riker in the face with her "phased" disruptor.
Thu, Jan 12, 2017, 11:49am (UTC -5)
Nailed it. The lowest point in the modern Trek franchise is the four-year period VOY S6 -> VOY S7 -> ENT S1 -> ENT S2 (2000-2003) for this reason. It's striking how little difference there is, both on an episode-to-episode level and in terms of the big picture, between the last two years of Voyager and the first two years of Enterprise, despite the fact the series are set 200 years apart on opposite sides of the galaxy with very different characters and technology. For those 4 years - after DS9 ended, after Voyager peaked in S4-5, and before Enterprise tried to be more ambitious in S3-4 - Trek episodes were largely anodyne, disposable and retrograde, with a real sense of creative burnout/fatigue, and written to be undemanding and formulaic. There was a real vibe of "we don't care, so why should you?" coming through the screen in those years. It was Trek in a holding pattern, with terrible copy-paste episodes, near non-existent character work, almost no ambition, and a repeated tendency to fall back on familiar tropes and races as a standby in lieu of good drama, as in Voyager's terrible S7 Klingon episode and Enterprise's Ferengi episode.
Thu, Jan 12, 2017, 11:53am (UTC -5)
You're seriously going to blame the 'Trek writers' for what happened? I suggest reading Ron Moore's comments about leaving Voyager:
Problems of this sort *always* begin at the top in business.
Fri, Jan 27, 2017, 11:34pm (UTC -5)
By now I do, after rewatching nearly 5 complete seasons of TNG, I find out the kid-me remembered TNG to have a lot HARDER science behind it, that it really had.
(still leages ahead that crappy reboot stuff that they try to pass for star trek and really isn't I'd much rather had a 5th STE episode or a new series than that reboot crap.
ok, I admit I am cheating by having red and watched a lot more science fiction over the years, including onces with phasing/phased cloaking in it, and the backstory's and mechanisms of those were a lot better.
Strange also will Riker never mentions or recognises the resemblence this cloaking technology has to the "federation cloaking device" he clearly has knowledge of given his story in season 7, "the pegasus".
with a bit better written story, many of the conflicts with this story can be changed :
basicly " being "out of phase" means NO interaction with any matter or energy what so ever. Essentially you are no longer in the same spacetime.
However to throw matter and energy that belongs to this universe out of sinc with this universe indeed needs an energy source, to convert it.
And while the phased matter and energy cannot interact with this universe, the energy source used to cause this phasing can, to an extend interest (but only minimal, kinda how drag, slows down a speedy object)
To maintain the phase, one would to have an active imput of energy, to counter this drag.
Also one could use energy to allow perception of what happens outside the field (like lightwaves coming from around you) to be converted inside the field.
However inside the phase sound could not be converted inwards, as that would need a molecule medium to pass from a to b, and while one could actively convert molecules to be out of phase too, one could not convert the soundwave traveling on those moilecules.
So without an active modulator for this phase, one would be blind AND deaf to the surroundings and percieve the entire universe as darkness and nothingness, and with an active modulator, one would be able to see, but not hear.
This would make for a very different episode, with the characters walking entirely in the dark, and without any sound.. unable to breathe.. but lets say they had a envioremental suit on them when they were converted.
-this would add a level of spookyness, one wakes up, to find oneself afloat in nothingness, completely dark. with a limited airsupply with no clue where one is..
-after a while one might see light.. (lets say they were placed very far away from eachother and ther light of their helmets and suits had to travel a while to reach eachother..
-they quickly discover by sending morse-light signals that they are ro and geordi.. and by doing a ping! find out they are very very far away from eachother.. -it takes almost 7 seconds for the light to get back to me so that means we must be almost a million km apart.. no that it matters, without anything around us, not even gravity.. to push off against, not even venting air would enable us to move towards eachother
-than geordi gets a bright idea... but wait... out boots, magnetic they are and while thats a weak force, without any force out here, they should be able to pull us towards eachother quite nicely if be boost their output.
-ok still in dark but at least they have eachother... when suddenly a beam travels through the nothingness apearingly from nowhere towards them, rupturing one of their air-circelutory recyclers.. ok, so we have them share the same air supply and turn off the lights..
-a few more beams cross the darkness in silence without a sound, missing them, when suddenly they see the beam stop where before it travels onward.. with a small immage of the enterprise being some distrance from them but not to far
-geordi puts 1 and 1 together and things "that must be the side of the phase-field" without anything to sustain it, it must be busy collapsing in on itself...
and that they must be still in the same location, being somewhere in between both ships.. however that given the rotation of the universe and everything in it and their position being fixed, they still move away from the enterprise..
-they turn back on their lights so more shots are done, the wall closing in on them, and they use the wall to push off in the direction of the light...
-the momentum smashes them into the romulan that was also placed out of phase and while they tumble to the outher wall (preservation of momentum) they still succeed in pushing him off and grabbing his phaser when they hit the wall far sooner than they expected.. they figure all this energy release is causing the phase to collapse on it much faster... they put the phaser on explode, as a last moment bet... hoping to create a rift in the phase large enough for them to crawl through...
-they succeed and are quickly picked up by the enterprises long range sensors just before they plan to leave... while they mesmorise what has happend to the romulan still trapped in the field...
it would be a total different way to handle this story, but I believe a more hard scifi one..
Tue, Jan 31, 2017, 7:53pm (UTC -5)
Riker and Ro make for a way more exciting matchup than Riker and Troi.
Sun, Mar 19, 2017, 12:51am (UTC -5)
GEORDI: Take the warp engines off-line until further notice...there's a muon wave building up in the dilithium chamber.
ENSIGN: (soundly suitably creeped out) Captain... who gave that order?!
PICARD: (with a broad smile)That was Commander Geordi La Forge, Ensign – please follow his instructions.
@Jack, was 'In Theory' the episode where that ensign sank through the floor and died? That gave me nightmares as a child. I still maintain that was one of the most disturbing deaths ST ever aired. That and Pegasus, and the way the crew died by being phased into the asteroid rock. Yikes.
Fri, Apr 28, 2017, 10:41pm (UTC -5)
I do think Riker leading the away crew onto the Romulan ship (and I guess Picard) were too naive not to take their weapons and basically walk into a trap. Troi should have been around - she could have been useful in sensing the Romulan commander talking to Picard just before he orders the Enterprise to go to warp.
I'd give it 3/4 stars - I can see the casual TNG viewer enjoying this one.
Sun, Jun 18, 2017, 7:47am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 14, 2017, 11:13pm (UTC -5)
Of course, the whole thing about feet not going through the floor is totally illogical, but artistic license has to be allowed sometimes.
As another example of artistic license, there is a movie called "The Three Stooges meet Hercules". Basically a kid's movie, but I liked it (and I usually don't care for the Stooges, there are too violent for my taste). The Stooges meet a scientist with a time machine, go back to ancient Greece, and ... meet Hercules (surprise!) However, conveniently enough, everyone in ancient Greece happens to speak 20th century American English. Of course, if they didn't, how could we understand what they are saying? So, you just chalk up to artistic license and you let it slide.
In this episode, Geordi mention not having eaten for 2 days. After the Stooges arrive in ancient Greece, one of them says "I'm really hungry. I haven't eaten in over 2,000 years".
Sat, Jul 15, 2017, 8:27am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 26, 2017, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
I always found it ironic that the stronger female characters in TNG weren't part of the main cast - Ro, Guinan, Pulaski - even Shelby! Yar could have been great but Crusher was woefully underused and Troi was just a waste of space until they gave her a uniform.
Mon, Aug 14, 2017, 2:56pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 21, 2017, 5:28pm (UTC -5)
Liked every once in a while seeing a key trek race like Romulans show up in an episode
Urgency with Romulans plotting to destroy the enterprise. Thumbs up Perfectly Romulan that the crew helps them and they pay them back by trying to destroy the ship
Plus added threat with cloaked Romulan trying to thwart Geordie and Ro was great
Glad they did not dragout the mystery of what was going on with Ro and Geordie
TNG WAS REALLY good at coming up with these bad nightmare situations for crew but ultimately with a good explanation that made the situation they had endured or thought was reality wasn't real in some way--like remember me with people disappearing or Troi losing ability in The Loss or Riker waking up sixteen years in the future or something ghostly otherworldly going on in Night Terrors or here with revelation not dead but cloaked and phased. I loved that about tng
Thumbs up for Ron Moore for interesting good revelations-the twosome phased and cloaked, the unexplained chroniton fields actually being Geordie and Ro, or that by accident Geordie realized the anyion beam was the key to becoming de cloaked.
Smart to think of crowded place like the memorial service best place to hope for someone to see them. Liked also the suspenseful moments as Picard almost ordered ship to engage. All those near misses were tense for me
The visual was really nice of Enterprise power transfer beam and the debut of the new Romulsn scout ship was nice.
Sat, Jan 6, 2018, 11:39pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Apr 13, 2018, 3:30am (UTC -5)
@Elliott: I can see why I disagree with almost every comment you make. Your outlook on life and mine are TOTALLY different! I am a deeply religious person, and you seem to go out of your way to not be
Sun, Aug 5, 2018, 11:27am (UTC -5)
"TNG WAS REALLY good at coming up with these bad nightmare situations for crew but ultimately with a good explanation that made the situation they had endured or thought was reality wasn't real in some way"
This pretty much nails it. You cited a few good examples. The episode with "Ardra" is another.
In TNG, various things happened that seemed like they might be magical or mystical, but by episode's end, it was shown to just be technological.
Then DS9 came along, and actually introduced what is essentially magic into the Trekverse, and although I liked DS9, it was mostly for the worse.
The closest TNG actually came to having "magic" was the horrible Sub Rosa, which came along after DS9 was up and running.
Wed, Aug 8, 2018, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
I own everything trek...have watched them all at least 3 times ... some (VOY and ENT) many more....
... and during my current binge watch of TNG I came across this episode and I swear, I DON'T REMEMBER IT!!
Now it's not a bad episode so....
It was like watching new trek!!!!
Sun, Sep 2, 2018, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
They could have permanently replaced Marina Sirtis with Michelle Forbes for all I cared.
Tue, Oct 16, 2018, 9:07pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 13, 2018, 9:01am (UTC -5)
Riker on trombone. Ugh.
Troi isn't allowed to talk much, but she's still there. Ugh.
Wed, Dec 26, 2018, 12:38pm (UTC -5)
No, I have no idea what I am talking about but this was ok-ish.
Another transporter accident-another episode where no one else can see the key character-perfidious Romulans.
Yes, a lesser episode.
Thu, Apr 25, 2019, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
I always liked this episode. Geordi is in his element, I like Ro and the two of them together just work. It`s a good use of technobabble and for once the technobabble was more than just the saving grace, it gently set the premise and solved it.
The Romulans were villians, Troi was absent, Riker wasn't an ass, Data had his part.
Sun, Jan 5, 2020, 5:39pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
Seems relevant... the romulan goon was, after all, dispersed into space "choking" ....
Wed, May 13, 2020, 9:14pm (UTC -5)
Ro was originally intended to be a regular on DS9.
Mon, Jul 20, 2020, 5:54am (UTC -5)
Makes more sense than the original Pascal Wager.
Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 6:53am (UTC -5)
High points: Ensign Ro wise-cracking under her breath when Riker (stupidly) orders the away-team to leave their phasers behind. (After all, we in the Federation have to prove to the Romulans how potentially friendly we are...give me a break!).
Low point: allowing the Romulans to be scum without ever calling them out on it, after spending two days helping them fix their junk-bucket. Sorry Spock, they are irredeemably awful.
The episode is, at points, uncomfortably like a Chuck Jones cartoon: for instance, the chase through the walls of the crew quarters by Ensign Ro and her Lurch-like Romulan pursuer. Just insert the funny 'Bugs Bunny vs. Yosemite Sam style sound track' and you'e transported into a Loony Toons featurette. All you need to finish the job is to give Ensign Ro a carrot and have her say "What's up Doc?" Apologies to Warner Brothers. The scene with Geordie and Data at the computer tabletop in Engineering, is equally cartoonish, although the relationship to the ancient film "Topper" was also hard to miss. Apologies to George and Marion Kirby.
In terms of rating this fare...let me just say that I would never recommend the episode to a friend who had never seen TNG before. It is watchable and enjoyable only by a person already comfortable with the series, and would never hook a newbie. THE END. Insert WB closing music.
Fri, Sep 18, 2020, 6:15am (UTC -5)
I was slightly bothered at first that I was able to see Ro, as a viewer, when she was supposed to be invisible. But I got over that. However - if she and Geordi are out of phase with the universe as we know it, how come it only works one way? Why can she see the rest of the crew, the ship etc etc.
And if Ro and Geordi can't physically interact with the known material world, how is the shuttlecraft able to convey them across to the Romulan vessel? How does it propel their mass? We do actually see her touching objects on the Bridge - her chair and the console - when she first goes there, and there's no sense that she's unable to feel them.
I loved it when the Romulan gets pushed out into space; I was hoping that was going to happen. But I'm not sure how he, Geordi or Ro are able to breathe even when they're on the Enterprise. How are they getting air into their lungs? How does the normal-world oxygen get into their out-of-phase bloodstream?
Observant viewers will have noticed that, to provide the illusion of movement, the stars outside the shuttlecraft window are shown to drift slowly past. But it would have to be moving at many times the speed of light for that to happen.
The Romulans never get their come-uppance in this one, and that's a shame. Not even a snarky word or two from Picard before the Enterprise departs.
It occurred to me that the out-of-phase technology would be a phenomenal tool for espionage.
I didn't really like the way the Romulan ship was shown to be in a state of disaster, with little bonfires on the bridge. And it seems odd that the Enterprise away team turns up without any sort of breathing equipment into an environment like that.
I thought that Geordi might have tried to send a message with his bursts of disruptor fire under Data's nose in Engineering - some sort of code or pattern.
Riker offers to give the Romulans a computer core from "30 or 40 years ago", unless I misheard. Why would the Enterprise be carrying old technology like that? Really odd, I thought.
Anyway - despite all of the above, I was highly entertained.
Fri, Oct 8, 2021, 2:33am (UTC -5)
This was a really enjoyable episode up to the point where the cloaked Romulan plotted to blow up the Enterprise, a wholly stupid and unnecessary addition to what was already a brilliant story. What they SHOULD have done was to have the warp engines compromised by the same accident that phased Ro and Geordi, but the Enterprise crew didn’t realise, so Geordi had to phase back to warn them not to go to warp. Introducing a Romulan Fu Manchu character was just absurd, we really didn’t need that.
Apart from that, this is a great episode. Yes, 3 stars (strong!) is fair but it would have been more without the ridiculous Romulan.
Thu, Oct 14, 2021, 6:37pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Nov 22, 2021, 11:44pm (UTC -5)
I thought the Romulans were thoroughly despicable to have consigned the Enterprise and its crew to annihilation to protect their little secrets. Just evil.
The closing scene with Ro and Geordi laughing was really quite charming.
Wed, Mar 2, 2022, 6:41pm (UTC -5)
How can they hear and see the others but not vice versa, etc? Pretty crazy, and without even device continuously operating.
Still fun though.
I actually expected Geordi to try to tap out an actual code for Data.
Mon, Mar 28, 2022, 4:50pm (UTC -5)
1) I was waiting for the moment when time stops and Geordi and Ro are on the bridge and the frozen Romulan officer turns out to not be frozen after all. Then I realized I conflating this episode with season six's 'Timescape'. After all, both have enterprise officers out of sync with the rest of the crew, an energy transfer beam between the ships, Romulans, and more specifically, a Romulan who is secretly out of sync as well and ends up in a confrontation with 'our' out of sync characters. No wonder I misremembered!
2) On my recent viewing, I decided that I disliked the very end. Ro I feel something personal and expresses genuine conflicted feelings, and what does LaForge do? He uses it to jokingly belittle her and her reputation for being stubborn and difficult, instead of being a true friend. She may have laughed, but it seem to be an uncomfortable laugh.
Wed, May 18, 2022, 12:21pm (UTC -5)
What IS annoying is the constant deus ex machina at the 11th millisecond that prevents total disaster. "Ensign, set a course to UrAnus, warp 7, engay..." - "Commander Data, there is some gobbledygook emission happening in twenty backward." And not just once; it happened at least three times. Give me a break.
I could've done with less-talkie-talkie about how I'm dead, boo-hoo, but it wasn't too unmanageable.
Three stars about does it.
Tue, Aug 30, 2022, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 7, 2022, 9:05pm (UTC -5)
Also, there's nowhere for them to fall to anyway. Where is the gravitational center of the ship? Theoretically it would be somewhere near the middle, like around shuttle bay 2 and 3 perhaps? But that would only be a very slight pull, and it wouldn't pull people down, it would be pulling them towards the center. So gravity plating it is. That said, it also means the turbolift should not have fallen to its demise in Disaster earlier this season, it should've just been floating there in the lift shaft, broken rails or not.
In general, antigravity seems kind of OK when the ship is moving in a straight line, but as 213karaokejoe said, that doesn't work if the ship around them changes direction. Even more so if it's in orbit, because orbit depends on gravity. Then there's the whole breathing air, casting shadows, and other problems. Yeah. I guess you have to assume it's kind of like Time's Arrow, where they're just far enough out of phase to not be perceptible to others, but they're breathing the air from that slightly behind (forward?) timeframe. It still doesn't work, but it's at least a little closer.
Tue, Dec 6, 2022, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
I wonder what happened to that chap with the pointy ears as he floated away.
Thu, Jan 5, 2023, 1:09am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jan 5, 2023, 1:17am (UTC -5)
"Why don't we create our own phase-shifting device? Would undoubtedly be a crucial development in the ongoing cold war with the Romulans. Probably super easy now that we understand the technology inside out.
....Nahhhh, it's an episode-closing punchline, so how could it be serious??? Hahahahahaha"
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