Star Trek: The Next Generation

“Dark Page”

1.5 stars.

Air date: 11/1/1993
Written by Hilary J. Bader
Directed by Les Landau

Review Text

Lwaxana Troi comes aboard the Enterprise to help facilitate new diplomatic relations between the Federation and the Cairn, a race of telepaths who do not normally use verbal communication. Naturally, this being Lwaxana, she first tries to set up Deanna with the Cairn representative, Maques (Norman Large), a widower who has a daughter (played by a young Kirsten Dunst) who reminds Lwaxana of ... someone. Soon Lwaxana begins exhibiting strange emotional outbursts, before finally collapsing into a coma-like state.

Maques tells Deanna that Lwaxana had previously communicated with him telepathically and he became aware that there was a dark place in her mind — something she was hiding. Deanna, only being half Betazoid, cannot enter her mother's mind to find the truth on her own, and after much setup and jargon concerning telepaths and their abilities, it's decided that Maques will act as a telepathic bridge between Deanna and her mother.

"Dark Page" is the sort of episode that I frequently ask for in theory — an episode that uses sci-fi concepts to tell relatable human stories. But I guess be careful what you wish for, because in practice, this episode is a total dud. It provides a piece of backstory no one was clamoring for (the older sister Deanna never knew she had, who died as a child), and suffers under fairly awful execution. For starters, Maques' constant inability to find the right words in his scenes (which ostensibly stems from his lack of experience with verbal communication) simply makes the storytelling grind to a halt that's infuriating to watch. And consider the utter hokiness of the sequences where Maques creates the telepathic bridge between Deanna and her mother. First the camera tracks in on Lwaxana. Then the camera tracks in on Deanna (who stares straight into it). The technique is hackneyed enough the first time around, but then we get the same series of shots the second time. Okay, we get it. Successful telepathy apparently involves a really good Care Bear Stare. It's hard to become involved in scenes that are so cheesily staged.

When Deanna enters her mother's mind, we get a barrage of Strange Dream Images Shot Through a Fisheye Lens and Signifying Important Things, as if the producers had forgotten they had just made "Phantasms" the week before. "Phantasms" was also a mess, to be sure — but it was a fun and breezy one that didn't take itself so damned seriously. "Dark Page" feels like a bunch of melodrama clichés from the 1950s. The scene where Deanna's long-dead father appears to sing her a lullaby moved me so much that — full confession — I just about wanted to puke. (It's the epitome of false manipulation that fails.) And I love how the story doesn't even let Deanna solve the mystery on her own; it takes Picard's brilliant thinking to find the seven years of deleted entries in Lwaxana's journal. Thanks, captain!

I could maybe overlook all of these problems if the emotional payoff at the end were worth it. Alas, it is not. There's a lot of sobbing and maudlin excess, but I didn't find any of it convincing beyond the most general idea of, well, yeah, it's pretty sad when a child dies. I suppose I'm glad the story actually resolves itself with character and emotion instead of pointless sci-fi and technobabble. But none of this feels necessary or organic. I felt more embarrassed for Majel Barrett's inability to rise to the occasion and deliver a credible performance than I felt invested in this tragedy that Lwaxana has supposedly been repressing for 30 years. I guess the lesson of "Dark Page" is that some storytelling stones are better left unturned.

Previous episode: Phantasms
Next episode: Attached

Like this site? Support it by buying Jammer a coffee.

◄ Season Index

Comment Section

81 comments on this post

    I'd say they tried to save Majel Barrett's grace by giving Lwaxana a better backstory. And to me, it worked, both because it had a credible climax I didn't see coming, and because some of her earlier exaggerations made more sense to me after this (like the obsession to get Deanna married to whomever - she already lost two out of three family members, and if Deanna dies in this risky starfleet business without offspring...)

    Granted, I haven't seen this ep recently, and I understand your concerns about exaggeration, wooden acting and your dislike for Lwaxana/Barrett (both?). But I remember enjoying this one more than I did with last week's what-did-they-smoke-Phantasms.

    Gotta say, I'm surprised at this. This was always one of my favourite TNG eps, giving Lwaxana some believable motivation for the way she's behaved over the years, and a good solid story for a character who is still one of the show's most neglected. And I thought Majel's performance was just fine.

    And that you gave "Force of Nature" more points than this? I'm mind-boggled.

    I agree with Jammer, and I am stunned that anyone liked this episode. It's one of the worst of the series.

    The worst part of this episode is where they save Lwaxana.

    Ugh. I would take a Ferrangi episode anyday over any episode with Lwaxana. It's like watching my mother-in-law ruin space.

    This episode certainly had good intentions, but the revelations are, for one, hard to swallow at this point in the series, and also, badly executed. Though I think Barrett's performance was okay, it was a script (and perhaps directing) problem more than anything else. What's more, it was never mentioned again!

    There's really too much Troi in the seventh season. She's probably the worst character in TNG (and Sirtis is definitely one of Trek's worst actors). Why the creators decided to focus so much of the final season on her -- at least four episodes are extremely Troi heavy, where Riker and La Forge only get an episode each -- is amazing.

    BTW, I think it's telling that the TNG actors (except for Stewart, Spiner and to a lesser extent Burton) had almost no major roles after the series ended -- other than Dorn, who jumped ship to DS9.

    I bring that up because I can understand when TNG leaned too much on Picard and Data for stories. But leaning on Troi? WTF?

    I agree with Paul completely, way to much troi. That being said, there are so many problems with season 7, I think the troi exposure is problem 998.

    "Successful telepathy apparently involves a really good Care Bear Stare." LOL!!! That's great!!

    I haven't seen this episode in at least a decade but I remember it being decent. I always appreciate when they take an annoying "comic relief" character and give them some real development (like Quark on DS9 or Neelix on Voyager), and I feel that was accomplished here, even if it was sort of left field.

    This episode really moved me and made me cry as a kid. Haven't seen it since. Will have to rewatch.

    "Dark Page" has always been a favorite of mine. It is indeed frustrating that they have two somewhat experimental episodes taking place in the inner rather than the outer world back to back.

    And of course next came "Attached," which had the same motif on the thematic level even if the execution was much less innovative. And it of course focused on the conscious and left dreamscape alone except for one comic moment.

    I bought Barrett's performance, it was on the edge of overboard but stayed in line. And Sirtis is quite convincing here. Overall I feel that Landau's directing is pretty modern here; this reminds me of films like "Mulholland Drive" and "Black Swan" in its creation of subjectivity detached from the real world.

    Got round to rewatching this and bawled my eyes out again, just like I did as a kid 20 years ago. This is a ****-episode; doesn't put a foot wrong, and the performances sell it.

    I totally echo Mikael on Majel Barrett - "it was on the edge of overboard but stayed in line" is the perfect way to put it. I believed it coming from the character. The episode is melodrama but it works, and it does inform Lwaxana's character. Comedy and tragedy often go hand in hand.

    It's a very strong female-centred episode in its themes - I'm reminded of the kind of female-themed shows Jane Espenson has tried to write for various series but consistently failed in, like BSG's histrionic, weird Deadlock. Hilary Bader completely succeeds here on similar territory. Bravo.

    I didn't mind this episode, but as Nic hinted above, it isn't really appropriate at this point in the series. I would have enjoyed it as, say, a season 2 or 3 episode, but to concentrate on a Lwaxana back story this late in the game feels a bit empty to me.

    While I agree with Jammer about the rather hokiness of the "care bear stare", I bought the performance of both Trois. And apparently unlike Jammer, I did cry at the end - in fact every time I see it! I give it a solid 3 stars.

    Yeah, I think this is pretty terrible. Quick observation: Data helpfully suggests that maybe they are being too literal in their interpretation of dream imagery, based on his own recent experience with dreams. But this episode pretty much says that, no, everyone was not being literal enough. What does the little girl in Lwaxana's mental landscape represent? "Vulnerability," as Deanna suggests? No, a different little girl. What does the wolf represent? A dog. And Deanna's father represents...Deanna's father, who was also present! Obviously these scenes (the wolf/Troi's father/Picard) are barriers as well, but the choices are entirely literal and unimaginative.

    A bit more: Now that we're in the seventh season and final season of the series, it makes sense to have stories that focus a little bit on what makes main (and supporting) characters tick, and perhaps to tell stories that let us see them in a new light. "Attached," the episode following this one, does some work at explaining Picard and Crusher's emotional motivation toward each other in a way that helps to explain, at least a little bit, something about their relationship in the series. Revealing that Deanna had an older sister who died, ideally, should be done at this stage only if it reveals something about *her*. Deanna is the major character here. But Lwaxana is an important enough supporting character that it makes some sense to discuss a little more of what makes her tick.

    The problem is, what does it mean that Lwaxana lost a child? Well, she's sad about it. Yeah. And she avoided dealing with the pain. Great. So. Um. I've got nothing, or at least very little. The one hint of a story here is that Lwaxana says emphatically to Deanna something to the effect of, "Of course I wouldn't let anything happen to YOU," and I think there is the barest suggestion as a result that Lwaxana's overbearing attitude toward Deanna is because she lost her previous child, and could *not* afford to lose another. That maybe makes a tiny sliver of sense, given that she does continue treating Deanna as a child into her adulthood (as Deanna has called her on before). But it goes counter the actual way in which Lwaxana regards life as a perpetual party, in which caution should be thrown to the wind at any opportunity. Lwaxana's primary obsession with Deanna is that she a) get a husband and b) loosen up, not that Deanna is on a starship flying around the galaxy in which she could die any day and in fact even literally has (albeit only for a few moments). If Lwaxana had *not* repressed her daughter's death and had integrated it into herself, it could even be that her experience of losing her child made her more aware of the importance of enjoying every minute of life; but given that she *had* repressed it, doesn't seem as if that could credibly explain much about Lwaxana's character. I think this is why the revelation seems like such a left-field thing. There's nothing about Lwaxana's backstory that makes it impossible that she had another child before Deanna, but there's almost nothing that makes it genuinely fit.

    And within the notion that, okay, fine, Lwaxana lost a daughter, there was an opportunity for mother-daughter bonding and Deanna to mention that she's lost a "child" herself in Ian Andrew, and what, if anything, that has meant to her. I'm not wild about revisiting "The Child," but if you're going to go to the child-loss well, it is a bit of a notable omission.

    For the most part, Lwaxana stories have been terrible on this show, but the barest hint of genuine pathos of the character is associated with both her loneliness and the fact that she is aging. "Cost of Living" is partly about the loneliness of middle age, and "Half a Life" both about that and about the fear of death over the horizon. In this episode, when Lwaxana's in a coma, Deanna talks to Picard and there is a moment in which she reflects on the fact that she might lose her mother. Yes, she might. Lwaxana is not old, and I presume that in The Future lifespans are pretty long, but if they are going to do a story about death, I think they should do it either about the still-existing ripples from Deanna's father's death, or about the possibility of Lwaxana's somewhere on the horizon. There is nothing that feels necessary or, as Jammer puts it, organic about the story in this episode, nothing that makes it a natural development paying off themes that have been a part of Lwaxana stories. It's not as bad as "Cost of Living," for sure, but it somehow feels even less of a piece with the rest of the Lwaxana episodes than "CoL" did.

    I do mostly like Deanna's attempts to reach her mother, even if the execution usually falls flat, and so I think this episode still holds onto 1.5 stars, but it is a pretty weak show.

    The guy that plays Maquees looks a lot like Mitt Romney. I can't watch this episode anymore without thinking that, so it's fortunate that the episode is horrid.

    Their "house" on Lake Elnar on Betazoid has strange architecture...the walls look like starship bulkheads, right down to the window shape and slope.


    I think Mormons actually do have magic powers similar to Maquees'. Since we didn't see his underwear, I guess we can't be certain.

    Also, midway through the episode, the Kes guy suddenly starts thinking that the Enterprise is working with the Prytt, but then at the end, he still says he wants into the he think the Enterprise has gone rogue from the Federation then? Logically, this episode was a hot mess.

    I really don't hate Mrs. Troi though I do think that she has been in a few stinkers. One example being the time she was in a mud bath with Alexander, ugh! On the other hand I do find her amusing at times, like when she was kidnapped by the Ferengi.
    This episode was difficult to watch. For the most part, she has been used for comic relief. It's too late in the game to change the formula. The revelation was pointless, 'Hey Deanna, you had a sister.' If Deanna had found this out three seasons ago they could have shown it having an impact on her character.
    Finally, the build up to the 'big reveal' was pure soap opera. With the fainting and the coma, and the trip through the mind, it was just way over the top just to find out that 'Hey Deanna, you had a sister.'
    Anyway I found it boring but not as boring as the Geordi's mother episode.

    Among the worst episodes ever. Boring, slowly paced and emotionally indulgent. It looks backards and good science fiction looks forward. Gene Roddenberry was very specific in that he didn't like mourning episodes (24th century officers are beyond that, plus the concept is simple and boring). This is why he did not like Ron Moore's “dead mother who comes back” episode...and who the other producers weaseled into the lineup regardless. Majel should have said no to this episode. She is a great actress with great episodes (especially the early ones). But her strength is her irrelevance and transparency. None of which is present in this episode. She is just bawling over a dead kid. Boring. The idea of repressed negative emotions causing health effects IS interesting...but needed much more abstraction and a focus that and not the egos/past that represent those emotions.

    I'm with Mikael and Niall—I really liked this episode. It made me tear up as a kid, and I never forgot it.

    I thought the story was effective because it knew from the beginning what it wanted to say and, in my opinion, wasted no time in getting there. At the same time, it still managed to make balanced use of characters not central to the story.

    I have to praise Sirtis' and Barrett's performances, which I found absolutely convincing. "It was on the edge of overboard but stayed in line" sums it up for me. Losing a child has to be a traumatic, melodramatic, and emotional experience so if the episode approached "overboard" at times, kindly remember that real life might rightly have exceeded this.

    At times, it was also skillful in its execution. Somewhere along the way, we're led to believe that if Deanna (and, by extension, we) can just see what Lwaxana's hiding, then she will get better. But we never actually see it. *Lwaxana* has to tell it to her daughter. She can't just let the images come before her (like the family picnic scene), nor can she communicate them to her daughter as a mere telepathic bystander (like she communicated with the Cairn). No, she has to confront the event by narrating it herself. She never needed to see it again in detail; simply acknowledging it brings healing and closure. In turn, this preserves Kestra's dignity by not having her tragic death depicted on screen.

    All in all, I welcome this added depth to Lwaxana's heretofore annoying character. It made me better understand the probable origin of her overbearing tendencies. The sci-fi aspect of course is fiction, but stories like these sadly do occur in real life.

    Man this episode was dull. Dull dull dull. I'd have more fun watching "The Loss" again... ugh, well maybe not.

    Season 7 had too much Troi and too many weird dreamy plotlines. Phantasms was the fun kind, sure, but then having to watch this episode right after made me go "Huh? They're doing another one of these episodes?!"

    Wow, I'm starting to think that this is not a true utopia after all. The crew is not a bunch of idealistic explorers spreading the good news of Federation, but a bunch of despondent, desperate individuals trying to escape the horror of the hostile, desolate world. Let us look at our crew:

    - Jean-Luc Picard: nephew killed in a blazing inferno
    - Will Riker: mother died when he was a kid
    - Deanna Troi: sister drowned when she was a baby, father died when she was still a kid
    - Bev/Wesley Crusher: husband/father died when Wesley was a kid
    - Data: all of his numbers were eaten alive, mother died, father murdered, daughter died, forced to kill his own brother
    - Worf: parents killed when he was a kid, girlfriend murdered, wife murdered, brother lobotomized
    - Tasha Yar: grew up in a supposedly failed, anarchic world just fine, then went to the utopian Federation and promptly got killed
    - Ro Laren: escaped a horrid occupation, looked around the Federation, and ran away from that
    - Alyssa Ogawa: baby child killed by a paradox
    - Geordi LaForge: by being born blind, he satiated the Grim Reaper. As a reward, his mom managed to survive all the way to middle age before dying horribly!

    That's part of my annoyance with this episode. It's not necessarily the fault of this episode, but why is there really this much tragedy in these people's lives? Does anyone have a social circle in which EVERYONE had a significant loss in their life like this? While some of these are due to Starfleet, does Starfleet really have that much loss of life during a time of peace? Do people really accept that high of a casualty rate? Tossing out random tragedies is a cheap way of creating drama, and having conveniently dead family members as a way of not introducing them gets a bit stale after a while.

    This one also reeks of a bit of silliness. Did Deanna not have any aunts or uncles? No grandparents? We saw Bev's grandmother was still alive despite being over 100, and Bev is older than Troi. No other family members or old friends who would not be ok with keeping this a secret? Or for that matter, once Deanna knew that this was all about a memory Lwaxana was repressing a memory, why couldn't she just ask Homm? Surely we

    OK, so besides the melodrama of yet more tragedy in these people's lives, I did like this episode to some extent. I agree with a lot of what Joseph S said; the fact that Lwaxana was forced to narrate the tragedy and forced to confront it directly helped alot. And it was quite emotional to see, and rather tragic. Sirtis and Barrett were excellent in this episode. I also liked the healing scene at the end, where Deanna was able to bring some more healing into her mother by being excited about having had a sister and wondering what she was like. So the last 10 minutes or so of the episode were pretty good. I'd also give Barrett props for her acting through the rest of the episode as well, minus one or two scenes.

    But WilliamB also has a point that, if this is supposed to explain some of Lwaxana's behavior, it doesn't really explain why she doesn't seem to mind Deanna being on a starship. I would think that would be a big deal to her.

    In the end, while there are some good scenes, most of the episode is a bore, and the concept doesn't really hold up. I don't think it's as bad as some are saying, but it still wasn't that great.

    For what it's worth, the final scene made my eyes water last night. It's nice to see Lwaxana's character gain some depth.

    The best part of this episode is when Mrs. Troi calls Worf Mr. Woof. She did the same thing in Cost of Living. He corrected her in that episode but this time he decides not to. Pretty funny.
    The writers really ruined season 7 with all the family episodes. I mean you've got this ep, picards son, Beverly's grandma, worfs brother and data's mother. The best episode was parallel and all good things. They should have written nothing but crazy scifi episodes with plenty of anomolies, time travel and space battles. They went out so soft.

    Smith wrote:

    "Gene Roddenberry was very specific in that he didn't like mourning episodes (24th century officers are beyond that, plus the concept is simple and boring). This is why he did not like Ron Moore's “dead mother who comes back” episode...and who the other producers weaseled into the lineup regardless."

    I have to ask why does that matter? Gene Roddenberry apparently didn't even want Patrick Stewart, arguably the best thing about TNG, to be playing Picard. Going against Gene Roddenberry made the show better.

    As for this episode I found it more moving than most Troi episodes. Actually I kinda like it. But I disagree with Woof I'm glad they had family episodes in season 7. TNG is not all about space battles / anomalies - even All Good Things had a focus on the character's relationships and that was why it's so good.

    The reason for lots of Troi is most likely that she looks more attractive here then in the older episodes.

    Better face, better shape, better makeup, for some reason the longer the show went on the better she looked, until the movies.

    Just rewatched this ep for the first time since I was about 12. I don't recall getting emotional then but I did this time. I personally really bought Majel's performance. In fact, I don't think I would have started crying if not for her breaking down as she relived Kestra's death.

    I thought this episode went a little way towards redeeming the Lwaxana character. In her previous appearances, she was strictly there for comic relief. At least in this one, she is not desperately trying to get Troi to marry someone, anyone. (OK, she does in one early scene, but then it moves on her own story.) And Majel Barrett did do a convincing job of carrying the story. I must admit I laughed out loud when she berates Riker in Ten Forward. For all the breakdown-related craziness, she probably has a point.

    I thought all the acting performances were competent, in spite of the "Care Bear stare" telepathy. Not sure why they couldn't just use the TOS Vulcan-style hands-on-side-of-head approach. That at least made some sense and looked dramatic.

    The episode lost me at the very end with the revelation of Deanna's older sister's death by (presumably) drowning. I can accept that Lwaxana hid the tragedy from her younger daughter all those years (though I'm not sure why) and deleted many diary entries to hide the fact that she had had another daughter. But the show made it a point to say that all of Lwaxana's long-time friends were contacted to see if there had been any traumatic events in her past. Did NONE of them know about the older daughter's death? Wouldn't that be a pretty major traumatic event in the life of any friend that one might be able to recall even 30 years later? Yes, fine, they had been sworn to secrecy. I can buy that if they had been asked by Deanna as a youngster -- but not by Deanna as an adult Starfleet officer 30 years later, desperate to find some information that would save her mysteriously dying mother! I just don't buy that none of the friends who were contacted knew about or was willing to confess the truth.

    Still, all in all, I liked this episode better than the previous "let's delve into someone's unconscious psyche" episode with Data. There, the very fake-seeming Freud ruined it for me...Along with a view on Freudian psychoanalysis that's more akin to a 1950s Hitchcock movie than a supposedly 24th-century sci-fi story.

    This one squeaks in at 2 stars for me. It is probably one of the better Lwaxanna episodes and I did like how missing journal entries was a clue, sort of like the "dog that didn't bark". Deanna was one of my least favorite characters and the ersatz introduction of some of her back story was a yawner for me. It does have some appeal that Lwaxanna not being an over the top clown for once, and the unravel of the mystery isn't too bad.

    The one thing I don't understand about this episode how the hell did Kestra drown in a little pond that looked shallow as hell? unless she hit her head or something...I mean I know we don't want to obsess over the gory details but I think this scene warrants it. not just "yep, she drowned."

    Well, this sure seems to be a "love it or hate it" episode, doesn't it? Wow, I don't think I've seen an episode with the commenters so divided. At least it hasn't devolved into name calling.... yet. :P Anyway, how do I feel about "Dark Page"? Count me firmly in the "love it" camp. What the hell are some of you people talking about? This was a great episode!

    "Dark Page" succeeds almost exactly where "Interface" and "Phantasms" failed. In "Interface" we were given a story about a main character's parent that we had never once been introduced to beforehand. Here we're given a backstory to a main character's parent who has been a part of the show almost since the beginning. That's exactly how you do stories like this. The audience can connect with a character we already know, even if it's Lwaxana Troi. In "Phantasms," the problem was that the dream sequences were never aided by a compelling story. Here the story is very compelling.

    They took a recurring character who has been almost nothing but infuriating and actually redeemed her. Lwaxana, up to this point, was only good in her previous appearance, "Cost of Living." But this one almost makes me forgive all the dreadfully horrible uses of her earlier. Okay, not quite, but almost. Giving her a backstory like this makes a lot sense. It explains why she acts the way she does. Why is she so obsessed with Deanna? It's because she lost her other child. Why is she always so full of life (even if it's grating most of the time)? It's because she faced death in probably the two worst possible ways. She therefore subconsciously knows how important each moment has to be. Hell, it even gives an explanation for her, up until now, rather condescending nickname for Deanna - Little One. I'm sorry for all the people who disliked this episode, but I got to say it - Bravo!

    The way in which the story unfolds is also wonderfully paced - even though, I will agree, that it does get rather bogged down early on with the exposition scenes about how the telepathy works. I especially loved how the viewers were expected to put several pieces together on their own instead of just having it all explained outright in the end. Case it point - what makes Lwaxana fall into the coma in the first place. It was because Hedril fell into the pond while playing - almost the exact same thing that happened to Kestra.

    And Majel Barrett definitely rose to the occasion in my opinion. The climatic scene where she has her emotional breakdown with Deanna almost had me in tears - something Trek is only very rarely able to achieve. Maybe it spoke to me because I, personally, have had experiences in my past that I'd rather forget about - nothing as dramatic as the loss of a child, but it still connected with me. "Sobbing and maudlin excess"? Hardly. Whereas in "Face of the Enemy" Deanna Troi was, for 45 minutes, the most riveting character on TNG, here, for 45 minutes, Lwaxana Troi is TNG's most riveting character. And I most certainly NEVER thought I would say that!

    Now, "Dark Page" is far from a perfect episode. I also could have done without the two Telepathic Care Bear Stares (even I have to admit - that was pretty funny, Jammer). It also would have been nice if Deanna had been the one to piece the clues together herself instead of relying on Picard to swoop in and discover the crucial missing link. But other than that I really can't think of much to criticize.

    Some good acting, a wonderful bit of backstory and some superb character development all make this a winner in my book!



    I think the little pond was supposed to be symbolic of a lake on Betazed. When Troi meets her father he says that they are at their old house by a lake on the planet.

    Another love it or hate it episode it seems. Count me down in the hated it category. I guess what makes people fall into either category is whether they buy into the emotional construct that is built through the episode - for me, it just seemed manipulative rather than organic, and I couldn't connect with it. This is TNG doing a daytime soap story - the revelation of a sister Troi never knew she had and other cliches. For me it's slow and dull. And while character depth is always welcome, I can't help feeling that DS9 achieved much more with Lwaxana in The Forsaken.

    It does seem odd that just after Phantasms we get another episode dealing with dream-like imagery, but at least it's man enough to have Data recognise that fact. The intense Maques telepathy stare really needs some pulsing brain veins though! 1.5 stars.

    Completely agreed with Luke and those in the "love it" camp. To me this is the highlight of season 7 and among the top 30 episodes in the series. I suppose that it is because it resonates so well with me on an emotional level; put simply, I "buy it," surely a lot more than Jammer's cynicism in the original review.

    I also balled my eyes out at the end. It certainly is an episode with faults; I read the whole Jammer review before watching it again, and laughed at the Care Bear Stare moment and the others. But the ending...! Incredibly sad, and not cheaply. It wasn't the most creative story, sure, but Lwaxana is incredibly moving. She reminds me of my own grandmother in many ways, who was outwardly extremely happy and social, but secretly held deep pain from her past. When she got older, that pain revealed itself more and more. I think anyone who has had someone close to them undergo the transformation of aging and regret can appreciate Lwaxana's character. That it also, combined with her husband's death, fully explains all her behavior in the series -- all the comedy we laughed at over seven years -- culminating at he very end when she reveals the secret to Deanna, makes the viewer feel even more empathy.

    Wow you guys all take this very seriously. I do the same thing but I don't attempt to look under the surface as much because it's a TV show, and TV no matter how good is a weak comparative to film IMHO.

    I think this ep was definitely better than the what-were-they-smoking Phantasms which I just skipped. But I can't help agreeing with some of the other commenters that when they finally chose to develop Lwaxana, we got a somewhat dull she lost her kid movie. If they were going to do that, they should have gone further with it like having Troi have to go through time and get Kestra so her mother can truly move on by saying good bye, which is what I missed most when my brother died. But this episode didn't move me emotionally like some have commented.

    I think Lwaxana is at her best when she is played for comic relief. Cost of Living I thought was superior to this episode in giving Lwaxana depth, as well as superior to the one with David Ogden Stiers with the resolution. It didn't need crutches like dead family members or false love relationships (she really fell that hard for him in a matter of days? Cmon). It was just her and her relationship to a child and their different perspectives.

    I think this episode probably had lofty goals, but in the end it was a little dramatic/simplistic for me. And I agree with the others about season 7. I just did a marathon, and while I could watch one ep after the other even my dislikes in the other seasons, I had to skip some in season 7. Nobody wants to hear about LaForge's mother who's not even real. But hey I guess that's maybe why it got cancelled when it did. There are some gems like Homeward but mostly it's like Dark Page, just dark and worse than that dark and boring.



    Reading this review, and the subsequent comments, really highlights for me the different factors that go into making a show (or any work of art) good and how different people respond to them.

    This TNG episode is definitely 1.5 stars in terms of production and the integrity of the writing, but it approaches 4 stars in terms of its emotional and human value. I agree with every single criticism from Jammer and the other people who did not like this episode - each point of its shoddiness was very clear to me.

    But this episode is very true and real on an emotional level. It's a very real portrayal of emotional trauma, especially in the final act. Barrett's performance is truly heartbreaking, and the subsequent resolution is very cathartic and realistic and, impressively, brings an ounce of depth to the normally flat character of Troi. In many ways, this is the only episode where she's effective as a counselor. I wish they had taken her to this place more often.

    Without making any judgment, I can totally see how this whole premise would fall flat on someone who is either not very in touch with their feelings or not open to investing them in watching a tv show. The value of this episode relies on the viewer's ability to empathize and respond emotionally, in their body, to what is happening on the screen. The resolution is pretty boring - in the end, who cares about Deanna's sister? No one, not even Deanna. She objectively doesn't matter. It's the physical experience of working through an experience of pain that makes this vital, that teaches you about yourself. There isn't an intellectual lesson here. If you are not sensitive to what's going on (at least at the end - most of the episode is genuinely boring), it's like watching a video of a roller coaster ride instead of going on it, or a 3d movie without the glasses.

    So I get why people feel that the cheesiness wins out. It's a simple, objective matter of perception. I'm color blind myself, and I understand, when people say objects and paintings look a certain way that don't look that way to me, that I might not be seeing it the same way.

    You could say that TNG doesn't really set itself up very well for these deep emotional experiences. We're here for the Braga-ism, aren't we? That's what it does best. It's like this was an experiment in making a different show with a different human angle, and I think in the end it failed, because TNG is not the right setting for what they were aiming for. But they had a beautiful little, anomalous moment there.

    At best, this episode shoes how Majel Barrett was misused in her previous half-dozen TNG appearances and her subsequent handful on DS9. Her performance almost salvaged a pretty terribly written episode.

    When watched this on first air on a CRT television it seemed to smooth over the director's dreadful choice of visual execution and pacing. I liked the idea at the time but re-watching now like a lot of TNG episodes is at times almost a chore to get through. As a side note Enterprise episodes were like that on first airing in general!

    I should also say people enjoy experiencing (emotional) pain and that worried Freud at the end of his life (think of music that makes moves you as an example). The story tries to tap into people in this way but ends up a bit like a wine that's gone off.

    Should have been better and I have to agree with Jammer unfortunately!

    Have to disagree with Jammer and some of the other commenters on here. One thing I love about good sci-fi and indeed good drama in general is when I get emotionally invested in the characters. This is one of the reasons I am a big fan of DS9 where actions have consequences and the character's arcs can put me through the ringer.... and conversely why I get bored with Voyager where actions and events mean little. TNG has always been somewhere between the two for me. Sometimes character arcs play out and sometimes it's fluff that serves no purpose. This episode was a hit for me as I became invested in both the Trois.

    I feel this episode and the Forsaken on DS9, her last episode, have redeemed Lwaxana and turned her from an annoying and unfunny side character, into one with proper depth and they have given her a little dignity. I was genuinely moved by this episode and for me is the best episode of S7 so far. Liasons and Interphase both bored me to tears for example, with several crew members acting completely out of character. I don't see why people get annoyed with Deanna or Marina's acting, I'd rather watch her than Geordi or Beverly any time.

    Jammer's score is far too low - I'm going with 3 stars for this.

    I normally like Deanna Troi, but she was awful in this. Everybody was telling her how to do her job. Isn't she the ship's resident psychologist? And this episode just shows how wasted her empathic powers and refusal to grow them are. Another "meh" episode to me. I never had a lot of fondness for this series, but it's really winding down for me.

    On a final note, Majel is a great actress, I actually felt bad for her. But it's hard to get emotionally invested in a comic relief character.

    Unbelievable people liked this episode and even got moved by it. Lwaxana had some strong episodes but this isn't one of it. Terrible over acting. Melodramatic and I just wanted to tear my eyes out and puke. If only this episode could have been send to my mind with all images at once so it would have been over in 1 second. Not even worth of 1 star.

    2.25 stars

    It’s okay if uneven The best part was the last act which was sad and I liked the revelation Lwaxana had another daughter who drowned. It’s not a great episode or even a good episode. And it is one I don’t watch every time I do a rewatch of TNG but it is also one that I don’t avoid all the time like Force of Nature or Bloodlines or the Outrageous Okona—so it must have it’s charms to some degree

    I'd sum this episode up as good story substance, bad performances. I like the addition to the Troi's backstories, and how this helps explain Lwaxana's pushily ebullient personality (i.e. she's subconciously compensating for that heartache). I can buy that Lwanxana suppressed the memory of Kestra's tragic death rather than deal with it. She's an Alpha-type personality who likes to be in control, and losing a child would, among other things, make her feel helpless, and she couldn't tolerate that. I can also buy that seeing Maques' daughter, who looked a lot like Kestra, would cause that suppressed memory to surface. I can even buy that she would be paralyzed by that suppressed memory. What's difficult to swallow is that Lwaxana would almost instinctively suppress the rest of her psyche rather than the same memory again and render herself a mental vegetable, necessitating all that telepathy hokiness where Maques activates his mind links by deep scowling accompanied by that goofy TOS-esque crescendoing sound effect (in addition to the camera-rushes and Troi staring into the camera like Cindy Brady in the quiz show episode. And that was the on-ramp to the late Majel Roddenberry's overacted blubbering. Losing a child is any parent's worst nightmare, and I get that she never processed her grief when it happened, but good grief, we get the point, Lwaxana. Between those two factors, what would have been a touching episode became giggle-inducing. Not the effect for which I imagine Hilary Bader was going.

    I'm rather puzzled at how, in the 24th century, there would be absolutely no records of a child dying in an accident (and the child of a Starfleet Officer at that). Did Lwaxana hack every computer in the Federation to delete the records? How did no one else remember what happened. The idea that this child was just erased from existence without a trace is kind of disturbing, and definitely far-fetched.

    The lullaby sequence surprised me that it wasn’t “Warm Kitty, Soft Kitty” - I must be confusing The Big Bang Theory, which is always worth watchiing, with TNG, which is sometimes tedious and psycho-babbly - like this episode. TBBT is always fun, and far too many episodes of TNG, like this one, are not fun, but a chore.

    I know what’s wrong with this episode: much too much of it felt, and even looked, like a consultation with a doctor. It was too obvious that the actors were people acting - disbelief went unsuspended. I think this is probably why I dislike of the holodeck scenes: they set out to destroy all possibility of suspension of disbelief. And this episode was marred by the same staginess.

    Two stars seems fair: the episode is not unwatchable garbage with no redeeming features whatsoever, but it is dull and (I believe the word is) over-acted.

    Ok. I say this as a mom who lost a child: this is a good episode and Barrett does a great job.

    The reveal surprised and undid me a bit. Yes, it made sense as a trauma that's just . . . endless, painful, gut wrenching, and unpredictably crippling.

    Very unique and well done, despite a bit of cheesiness from the telepath learning to talk (why do they have voices at all, I wonder?).

    I can barely stand to watch it, but not because it's badly done. Quite the contrary.

    I was moved to tears at the reveal of this episode. It is actually quite a thoughtful way to deepen Lwaxana's character, and is fairly realistic from a psychological perspective.

    She is an unsufferable character for so much of the show, and now we're given a glimpse at why she is frequently prone to excess and antisocial behavior. It's very realistic tragedy. This happens.

    And for whomever above questioned the remote likelihood of a group of people all having experienced significant misfortune or loss... nearly everyone has. If you haven't, you're in the minority, not the other way around.

    I can understand why people who have less of an interest in this subject matter would find this episode boring, but for the rest of us... wow. Very, very moving.

    Want to expand a bit on Amma's great insight above, about how the episode helps explain Lwaxana's excesses. I think this is particularly true when it comes to her meddling, intrusive ways with Deanna.

    She wants Deanna settled down with a nice, strong provider who will care for her and keep her safe. She doesn't want her wandering around, independent and exploring. That's what killed her first child.

    Now we understand Lwaxana obsessive nature, and her own fear of being alone with her thoughts.

    This ep makes me sob. When I watched it the other night, my daughter was sleeping in the next room so I had to keep myself from a full out, wailing, melt down -- though having those occasionally about my own, similar loss, is what keeps me saner than Lwaxana (I think).

    It is not a perfect ep, but well acted by the main participants and a 4 star for me.

    Wholeheartedly agree with Jammer saying: "I guess the lesson of 'Dark Page' is that some storytelling stones are better left unturned." Lwaxana has generally been an annoying character (a shame given who the actress playing her is) so why should we care about her backstory when it doesn't even seem to have much lasting significance for Troi? I guess the episode brings them closer in the end.

    Also what sucks is this episode is so similar to "Phantasms" -- the immediately preceding episode -- (bizarre dream/meta-conscious visions, a cast member entering the vision to solve a mystery etc.) I didn't like "Phantasms" and I like "Dark Page" even less. The TNG show-runners weren't on their toes when planning out Season 7, a below-average TNG season (show-runners probably coasting at this stage, resting on past glories).

    One good thing is that Lwaxana isn't really annoying here in the sense that she's not on some sexual hormone overload and chasing after Picard/Riker. I thought she portrayed her grief well and part with Troi helping her come to terms with the tragedy was reasonably well done. But still, it's hard to care about it. The story dragged on too long with what the big tragedy/mysterious event could be.

    What didn't work for me was the Cairn leader and his telepathic joining. Ridiculous to watch his stupid stare. So they tried to make it difficult for him to speak , which is accurate enough, however it really was frustrating to watch and killed any flow.

    As for how Deanna's older sister died -- I assume the dog dragged her into the pond and she drowned. Lwaxana first passes out when the little alien girl went in the water in the arboretum on the Enterprise. I suppose there are some clues etc. to piece together here and there but the exercise is not worth it. The end tragedy for Lwaxana is understandably difficult to deal with / traumatizing but the episode was just difficult to get through.

    1.5 stars for "Dark Page" -- definitely a weak episode but not a terrible one. Somewhat arbitrary with how the mental anguish manifests in the Betazoid that is Lwaxana (the sci-fi element) but with some hand-waving can be a commentary on a personal human trauma. Not an episode I'd go back to re-watch -- my enjoyment of it is commensurate with a 1-star episode.

    Pretty boring episode. Very hard to watch it through all the way but it got done. Won't be revisiting this episode anytime soon. Unfortunate too as I always think Martina is attractive as hell.

    Technobabble gets replaced this week with medical pyschobabble.

    What a dry dismal sappy annoying boring mess.

    Two 'dream' plots, in a row! The audience will fall asleep and start dreaming themselves.

    Ridiculous ep. I did not feel sorry Lwaxana and all blustering over the years to make everyone around her feel like dirt. Always insulting. Always screaming for Deanna to marry, well sir, Deanna has a career.

    Why would any planet put a person like Lwaxana in charge of representing the planet? She is a disgrace.

    7/10 Its too bad this one came right after Data's dream one. They have the same dreamscape running through the ship type scenes.

    I like Lwaxana. Troi was okay in this one. They set up the mindreader to be another criminal perv with his grimaces but he turned out to be a nice guy.

    Well we are in the home stretch of TNG. I definitely like DS9 better for simply a larger number of better actors and characters and the longer arc stories. But TNG is the basis of it all that greatly expanded on TOS for me.

    It seems quite inconceivable that this family tragedy was kept secret from Troi.
    When Deanna contacts the laconic Mr Hom to ask why her mother might be having a crisis he neglects to mention the deceased sibling but in the last scene we learn that he knew all about it.

    Mr Hom is either a complete twit or an inflexible loyal servant -he could have told Deanna what was wrong with his boss but he seems to have preferred to keep her secret to her grave.

    This episode wasn't so bad, in my view.

    Auntie Mame has a sad.

    I dreaded this episode but it's actually not as bad as I remembered. However, it's very cheap feeling in that they obviously didn't want to construct new sets, utilize the "rocky planet" set, or film on location. As a result, we see Lwaxana's memories from the perspective of the Enterprise, which makes absolutely no sense. The scene with Deanna's father was the only scene that looked remotely different and all they did was use a standard crew quarters, put some toys in it, and replace the starfield background with some trees. It's downright confusing when they reuse the arboretum set and claim it's a different place. It's not like I'm remembering the set from a different episode, it was 20 minutes ago! It looks like a mini-golf course to boot, which really doesn't set the mood they're going for.

    What happened to Kestra, anyway? The dog gets away and then what? She drowns? With no screaming or thrashing or the dog yelping? She can't swim at all? How long was Lwaxana distracted? An hour? The girl was like 11 years old. You generally need a credible threat to explain the loss of a child that age. SIDS doesn't cut it.

    Marina Sirtis is a terrible actress but she actually hit the right notes in this episode. The bit about her thinking her dead dad would be mad at her mom for packing his things away is one of her better performances. She was also convincing when conversing with her father's apparition. I was impressed she did her own jumping stunt.

    I've always wondered, is it normal for adults to keep journals/personal logs? Everyone in this show does it, but otherwise it seems something little girls do and grow out of by the time they start dating. It also seems weird that Captain Picard would just sit down and start reading Troi's logs, even if her life depended on it.

    They went backwards with the telepathic alien guy: they introduced him as a character and then turned him into a MacGuffin by the middle of the episode.

    The turbolift extra in the beginning should have gotten a credit. He was great.

    Thanks to these comments I can't unsee Mitt Romney.

    It's a solid meh from me. I actually think there was something here but it needed script work and better production. People use the term "out of gas" to describe S7 but episodes like this make me think they were actually skating by on the show's reputation and cheaping out on production costs. At the very least clearly the competence-lacking B-team was in charge.

    Lwaxana was never a favorite TNG character of mine, but I do associate her with several meaningful performances. These deal with the deep emotions brought on by meditating on the death of a love one. Majel Barrett nails it, and deserves credit for that. The proof is the lump in one's throat at the climactic moment. Marina Sirtis is strong in all of the lead-in encounters. Sorry bashers. The episode is solid. It is also 12 times better than the one that immediately preceded. Good continuity! 4 Stars.


    - I enjoyed the solid and relatable (but not done-to-death) set-up: a character encounters a race of telepaths and the telepaths discover a secret lurking in her psyche. Most episodes se to focus on ship-in-jeopardy plots or “We’ve encountered a strange phenomenon,” or political intrigue with other races, so I find the different ones refreshing. This one, as well as “Eye of the Beholder”, “Lower Decks” and even the Beverly ghost story all appeal to me because they break the mold.

    - I appreciated seeing (finally) a Lwaxana episode that wasn’t about her pursuit of men and romance. The series-long portrayal of her as an aggressive menopausal man-chaser (whom all the male series regulars flee from and mock) is IMO boring, grating and borderline sexist towards older women. (It doesn’t help that Pulaski was axed after a year and that Picard’s love interests are noticeably younger than he is. A pattern emerges.). While Lwaxana was partly redeemed in a couple past episodes - taking a political stance in Half a Life, and admitting her loneliness in the Alexander/mudbath ep - even those episodes revolve around her one-note pursuit of male companionship. Here, at least the writers let her do something (slightly) different.


    - This doesn’t feel like a seventh-season plot. I wish the writers had fleshed her out with a backstory by season 3 or 4 - or let it go.

    - While at least it’s not a romance, it’s barely better: a mawkish motherhood drama. Compare this with Deanna, who at least got to stretch beyond her counselor persona in a couple eps (“Face of the Enemy” and “Disaster”). By contrast, every single Lwaxana story seems to mindlessly reconfirm her as needy, emotional, and defined by relationships, This is lazy and trite writing. The character gained more pathos here - but she didn’t gain more layers.

    3 stars for the set-up; 1.5 for the resolution.

    Underrated, imo. A second tier classic, me thinks.

    This episode was one of the most impacting emotionally for me. It’s heart rending partly because though Deanna tries to reassure her mother what happened wasn’t her fault, it kind of was!

    But that doesn’t mean you don’t feel very badly for Lwaxana. It was a mistake, but the price is so high! And Deanna’s message was exactly right— tell me the good memories.

    Also, considering Lwaxana’s mostly dreadful overbearing episodes before this, it creates a surprising gut punch to anyone with a seemingly crazy relative... here may be something you don’t know about that explains their behavior. That does not excuse it, but it does create some understanding. That’s a complicated ball.

    One other thing I *really* liked is that they didn’t beat you over the head with explanations about what happened— that Hedril reminded Lwaxana of Kestra and that’s what triggered the whole thing. Trust me, ST tends to make every plot point super clear in dialog, so this was a welcome change. And, ironically, probably for the same reasons of lots in this thread, the producers just didn’t care for this episode.

    William B wrote:

    “If Lwaxana had *not* repressed her daughter's death and had integrated it into herself, it could even be that her experience of losing her child made her more aware of the importance of enjoying every minute of life; but given that she *had* repressed it, doesn't seem as if that could credibly explain much about Lwaxana's character. I think this is why the revelation seems like such a left-field thing. There's nothing about Lwaxana's backstory that makes it impossible that she had another child before Deanna, but there's almost nothing that makes it genuinely fit.”

    This lack of consistency also bothered me. I think while it’s certainly understandable the trauma of losing Kestra is much too unbearable for Lwaxana to openly talk about with Deanna, I find it doubtful anyone could keep such an emotionally wrenching secret hidden away from her only remaining child for so long. The other characters on the show have acted differently/more emotional over relatively minor issues compared to the loss of one’s child. And somehow Lwaxana has been able to play the role of comic relief for so long without any hint of the pain she secretly has?

    Squiggy wrote:

    “I'm rather puzzled at how, in the 24th century, there would be absolutely no records of a child dying in an accident (and the child of a Starfleet Officer at that). Did Lwaxana hack every computer in the Federation to delete the records? How did no one else remember what happened. The idea that this child was just erased from existence without a trace is kind of disturbing, and definitely far-fetched.”

    I agree. If Kestra was born and raised on some remote ship or planet, I would consider it plausible for the knowledge of her existence to be limited to her parents. Or maybe if there was a massive pandemic/disaster on the planet that caused a lot of deaths and records to be lost in the chaos? Barring some unusual circumstances, it seems the Federation is pretty good with record keeping, to the point where detailed information on ordinary people who died centuries ago can be pulled up with ease as demonstrated in “The Neutral Zone” episode.

    Deanna of all people would have a good motive to research her family tree considering her father died when she was very young. If her father’s official biography didn’t list his children, I’m sure there would’ve been records of Starfleet putting him on some form of compassionate leave immediately following Kestra’s death.


    I’m not going to say the episode was perfect (especially from a technical point of view), but I think the bombastic nature of Lwaxana is an extremely believable coping mechanism. This woman experienced a lot of extreme pain for her young years, losing her husband but far more brutally losing her daughter... and it was her fault.

    Honestly, I feel bad just writing that.

    I definitely think it’s real that she would hide her pain with an extreme over the up persona. She has to basically LIVE her charade, because her daughter Deanna can literally read her mind.

    I was mostly annoyed by how they used an American actor for Deanna's father. Where the hell did she get her accent if not from her father?

    Oh no, I thought. Not another Lwaxana episode. But this one is nothing like the usual ham-fisted comedy frivolity.

    I must admit though after the first 25 minutes or so, I was expecting to come here and dismiss it. I just didn't feel that the question of Lwaxana's well-being was really that suspenseful or interesting.

    However, at least it's something a bit different from having to save the Enterprise from malignant invisible space creatures. It revisits the subconscious / dream theme that's been explored a few times in recent earlier episodes, but with a different twist.

    I didn't quite buy the "telepathic bridge" idea, involving someone from an entirely different species.

    But as this wonderful episode unfolded, reaching a touching, emotional climax - I realised that 'Dark Page' is one of the finest stories in the entire franchise. Majel Barrett acts out of her skin in this one.

    I was reminded of the episode of M*A*S*H in which Hawkeye loses his mental health after seeing something he can't process. The very last one, actually. He can only recover from it by facing up to it.

    Bravo. Loved it.

    By the way to address Elmo's question above : Deanna does have an American accent. Granted Marina Sirtis is British and she might not be doing it 100% properly but she does her best, and it sounds nothing like her native English accent.

    So I just watched this episode, really not as bad as the review makes it out to be or some on this message board paints it as being ''another Luxuana Troy episode''.

    I'll say this, the character is polarizing in a sense that she is at times the lowlight and highlight of some episodes. Meaning , she will flatline a plot to the point of eye rolling boredom or be a humorous prop that makes Picard fear her more then the Borg or annoy Troy to death by embarrassment.

    I think the writers really tried to give this character an ounce of credence with this episode ( although DS9 tried to do that with the elevator scene). Repressed trauma is a real problem and this episode explores that plain and simple , sometimes getting it out of a person can be a mucky and emotional experience , reason being why they had those ''1950's cliches'' and Phanthasms like camera work.

    Well, at least she didn't make her mother eat a cake in the shape of her dead daughter. Score for the counsellor!

    Who cares that Troi's backstory comes so late in the series? It's not an arc driven show. Lwaxana is treated so ridiculously in other episodes, it's an insult to the sublime Majel Barrett. She absolutely shines here, and so does the young Kirsten Dunst. Super worth watching for those two bewitching screen presences.

    I didn't find it that hard to believe Lwaxana was able to hide the existence of Kestra. It might have been impossible to do it completely, but it might have been thorough enough that Deanna wouldn't easily stumble upon it.

    Betazed might have privacy laws that made it easier for Lwaxana. And Troi did not know what she was even looking for.

    I always feel confused when watsich a Lwaxana episode. They are mostly silly but on the same time inside Lwxana theres also a very good woman. She may be "flamboyant" on the outside but has a really good core. She is old, she is almost not more wanted. She creates chaos but when it really matters she has guts.

    In fact I would like to have her as a friend and aquentance but bit as a partner.

    Majel Barrett's interpertation is from this point of view impressing. In real life thoug I have met women aged 60 with very similar atributes. They can really shake you up and make you feel ashamed beacuse you are to early to judge.

    This episode has very many similar problem with other Lwaxana episodes. Uneven, slow, chaotic. Also having two psychological episodes after another do not improve the judgement

    in itself , the plot was not bad but the script poor. By the way, I had almost forgotten this episode, or my mind supressed it. It started with the suspicious "bad telpath" but it was not.

    Still, I would defeinetly want to have slightly more Lwaxanas around me. Just to increase my adrenaline level and reflection capacity.

    Another nonsense and insignificant Luxwana-Troi episode that does nothing to advance the series especially this late into the show.

    This episode does inspire me to look at all episodes centred around a specific character and the respective IMDB scores. I would not be surprised if Troy’s episodes were averaged at the rock bottom of that list.

    Did anyone catch how the kid actually died? She just ran away after the dog and then… just died? There were two parents there, how do neither of them notice both the dog and a child running away?

    No wonder Luxwana repressed it - she was at fault. I hope there was a 24th century CPS around to help ensure Troi was raised safely when left with this loon all alone.


    Her older daughter fell in the water while chasing the dog, and she drowned. That's why seeing a girl splashing in a shallow pool in the arboretum triggered the memory in a traumatic enough way to send her into a coma. (Not that that's what happens to humans when they have traumatic memories, but heck, Betazoid brains can work however the wirters decide they work.)

    Such accidents happen in real life. It only takes a moment of distraction. CPS doesn't automatically take away the surviving children every time a sibling dies in an accident. I doubt that any parent can claim never to have been distracted for a moment. Most have just been lucky enough not to have anything terrible happen in that moment.

    Telepathy 101:
    Stare at the subject with a look of such evil malevolent intensity that they are glad to rapidly escape it by diving into their subconscious.

    Screenwriting 101:
    Faced with writers’ block, re-use the hallucinatory effects from the previous episode but in such a dark way that you can use the Dark Pages title you’ve been sitting on for months.

    Joke 101:
    The Cairns? Oh, take them to the holodeck for a re-creation of a classic Stones concert…

    If ever an episode needed a B story, this one did. It plodded along so slowly that I feel even the holodeck’s Sigmund Freud would have wrapped it up in about 5 minutes flat.

    One moment that was genuinely funny: Lwaxana to Picard - “Their method of communication is so efficient that this conversation we’re having now would have been over minutes ago” (cue sudden look of animation and joyful relief on Picard’s face…)

    A human interest story involving the death of a child. Yes, very tragic but did it require an entire episode of a sci-fi series? As the B story, perhaps, but not the main plot. Forgettable (I had, in fact) and poor. 1 star.

    Two more things…

    One. If the Cairns had never evolved language (telepathic images and feelings instead), they would not have vocal cords let alone a language centre in their brain. They certainly wouldn’t start learning ‘English as a second language’ as portrayed in the episode.
    An elegant way around this problem is if they had evolved singing/chanting without words. They would know the beauty of music - a wonderful thing - and would have vocal cords. They could even have sung a continuous note while making telepathic contact, instead of the intense evil look!

    Two. There were 7 years missing from Lwaxana’s journal - from before Kestra’s birth until after her death. That means Kestra must have been 7 years old at the most, yet the girl portraying her was around 10 or 11, which is a huge difference at that age.

    'like watching my mother in law ruin space.'

    @Ravo's 2012 description of viewing a Lwaxana Troi episode.

    This comment is nearly 10 years old, but it just made me laugh in the middle of a pretty awful day.

    Instead of a wolf, they should have had a dog. Maybe a Cairn terrier, like Toto in "The Wizard of Oz."

    Apparently telepathy on the Cairn planet consists Largely of glaring at people.

    @Joseph S. (2014)

    "I'm with Mikael and Niall—I really liked this episode. It made me tear up as a kid, and I never forgot it."

    The scene that got to me was the one in which Mrs. Troi got to embrace the representation of Kestra. How often I’ve wished for the opportunity to see and embrace my departed family members one more time.

    @Lukifer (2015)

    "The one thing I don't understand about this episode how the hell did Kestra drown in a little pond that looked shallow as hell?"

    Bill Clinton's biological father had an accident in which he was ejected from his car into a drainage ditch, lost consciousness, and drowned in like three feet of water.

    I got out of Dodge about 15 minutes in.

    It was clearly going to be about Troi's momma whom I actually like (going against the grain on this, it seems) but don't care enough about to want to watch an entire episode about.

    The aliens de jour are both ugly and bland. The brains breaking out of the skull is disgusting. Their delivery is boring. They're barely two-dimensional. The one special gimmick about them is made irrelevant by contriving for them to communicate verbally.

    So, what are we left with? Lackadaisical characters doing endless talkie-talkie about themselves. All "fi," of the worst type, no "sci."

    No. Not even "no, thanks." Just no.

    Submit a comment

    ◄ Season Index