Star Trek: The Next Generation

"Eye of the Beholder"

2.5 stars

Air date: 2/28/1994
Teleplay by Rene Echevarria
Story by Brannon Braga
Directed by Cliff Bole

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The murder mystery is something Star Trek seems unable to occasionally resist, even though it more often than not seems incapable of successfully pulling it off. The thing about murder is that it requires human failings, and years of TNG have beaten into our minds the idea that such a thing is beyond the capability of elite Starfleet officers. For that matter, the notion of suicide seems almost foreign, and yet "Eye of the Beholder" begins with the unexpected suicide of Lt. Kwan (Tim Lounibos), which prompts an investigation by Troi into the reasons why this seemingly normal man would suddenly decide to kill himself.

"Eye of the Beholder" is a murder mystery with a sci-fi twist, and as is always the case with these sort of things, I wonder why it is that sci-fi explanations aren't the first things the crew looks at investigating when we're talking about someone who seemed perfectly normal until the moment he willfully jumped into a plasma stream and disintegrated. Ensign Calloway (Johanna McCloy), who was dating Kwan, indicates that he was happy, as far as she knew — although being elite Starfleet, Calloway seems amazingly less distraught than a person should be who just found out her boyfriend is dead.

The sci-fi twist is that Kwan was part telepath, as is Troi. Coincidence? I think not. Like "Dark Page," telepathic abilities are a major plot piece, which point to the man who seems to be the key to all of this, Lt. Walter Pierce (Mark Rolston). He also has telepathic abilities and is pointed to with big neon arrows as the bad guy.

But wait, there's more: Worf, after struggling over jeopardizing friendships (with Riker as well as Troi), decides to make a move on Troi. There's a certain hilarity in watching Worf reluctantly, hesitantly, tentatively go in for the kiss. This seems like a random piece of business. It isn't, of course, but the fact that it does makes these scenes play as an awkward segue from the procedural plot points.

Truth be told, "Eye of the Beholder" has a perfectly workable — even at times clever — plot. Where it stumbles in its melodramatic silliness and overall execution. The Worf/Troi romance — which was on shaky ground to begin with because it felt so arbitrary, even when you consider its hinted-at genesis in "Parallels" — devolves into an exercise in absurd jealousy when Troi finds Worf making out with Calloway, who then both laugh at her. By this point things are clearly Not What They Seem, which is made even more clear when Troi kills Worf with a phaser. It turns out all of this is a telepathically induced delusion, which Troi is experiencing in her mind in a matter of seconds, similar to what Kwan experienced right before he killed himself. The telepathic echo came from sci-fi telepathic residue from Pierce, who really did kill two people and then himself back when the Enterprise was being built at the Utopia Planitia shipyards. It's kind of a neat trick: the villain of the piece has been dead for eight years.

Of course, since None of This Really Happened, the episode exists in a logical loophole. To mock the melodramatic excess that occurs in "Eye of the Beholder" is to mock what is actually only happening in the version of the story that takes place in Troi's mind as a result of proxy jealousy that isn't even hers to begin with. See what the writers have done here? They've managed to avoid writing contrived characterization by beaming it into her mind from unimportant characters who have been dead for eight years. Whoa. This episode might be even more clever than I thought.

Previous episode: Masks
Next episode: Genesis

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71 comments on this post

Ian Whitcombe
Tue, Dec 4, 2012, 10:22pm (UTC -6)
Huh, clever indeed. I always though this was a one-and-a-half-or-lower episode, but your review put in a surprising amount of thought into it!
Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 8:23am (UTC -6)
This is another Troi-heavy episode in a Troi-heavy season. And, Jammer, it has the no-consequences reset button that you used to rail about (rightly) in your Voyager reviews.

And, sorry, but the Troi-Worf stuff is just preposterous.

Maybe 1 1/2 stars would be appropriate.
Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 1:12pm (UTC -6)
Literally the only thing I remember from this episode is the awesome fact that we get to see the inside of the warm nacelle. The fact that it's basically a big old neon tube just makes my day.
Fri, Dec 7, 2012, 3:09pm (UTC -6)
Paul is right.

This episode is ultimately as much of a cheat as DS9's "The Search 2", but surprisingly, Jammer actually gives DS9 the lower score for it, although his reviews for the two are coming many years apart.

This gets more stars than "Thine Own Self"...neither is anything to write home about, but this is certainly the worse of the two. This one is about as bad as "Liaisons".
Fri, Dec 7, 2012, 4:00pm (UTC -6)
C'mon, Jay - as bad as "Love me!"?

I do think that this episode is genuinely creepy, even if I don't enjoy it *that* much.
Sat, Dec 8, 2012, 9:09pm (UTC -6)
I disagree on the reset button here--because Deanna remembers the delusion and that has on impact on her feelings. But then, I like the Deanna/Worf pairing and was mad the movies abandoned it.

I also find the mystery of this one interesting and compelling--I'd give it three.
John the younger
Mon, Dec 10, 2012, 2:25am (UTC -6)
I'm with Paul and Jay - 1 star from me.
Thu, Dec 13, 2012, 4:44am (UTC -6)
The Troi-out-of-character finale was pretty silly, even if it makes sense on the plot level. It might have been more interesting if the imposition of a different persona was played further, a sort of deconstruction of Troi's self and her reality. Still, I think this is a cleverly structured episode.
Mon, Mar 25, 2013, 11:20pm (UTC -6)
I do like that this episode puts Troi to work on an interesting task that makes sense for her to do. If the episode had come in season two or three, it could've been a turning point for the character instead of the nail in the coffin.
Sun, Jun 16, 2013, 3:41am (UTC -6)
Riker getting back with Troi after she was with Worf? Talk about hotdog in a hallway.
Thu, Jul 11, 2013, 11:13pm (UTC -6)
Apparently phasers on stun don't work on suicidal people.
Thu, Jul 11, 2013, 11:14pm (UTC -6)
"It's not like Dan to take his own life," is one of the more amusing comments in this episode.

Yeah, thanks. You know, Dan doesn't usually take his own life like that -- I'd say this is a first.
William B
Tue, Oct 29, 2013, 6:23am (UTC -6)
@J, thanks for pointing out that line. It really cracks me up.

I kind of wish Calloway had continued, "Unlike you, Lieutenant!" It occurs to me that if the episode had to happen, and that the basic plot of teasing Worf/Troi getting serious and then being broken up by cheating and then murder and then attempted suicide, it actually might have made more story and character sense to make Worf the POV character and not Troi. Imagine: Worf gets the courage to ask Troi out, and they mate, and then he finds her and Riker together after all, he kills Troi, and his only response as a warrior for his great crime is to kill himself. Then he is snapped out of it. I don't know that it'd be a great episode, and somehow I have trouble with Worf picking that kind of suicide -- I mean, a blade is more his style. But flip the protagonist of the episode and the story actually makes a lot more sense. Worf is afraid of the Troi/Riker bond and what it means to step into it (and it is basically given as the reason Worf and Troi never got together in the "All Good Things" future), Worf is emotionally sensitive when it comes to love, has a ferocious temper and is deeply violent when provoked and he only manages to deal with it by carefully guarding his emotions, and has wanted to commit suicide before. Worf's actions could be genuinely, and frighteningly, plausible, and could tie into the story -- because it makes his hesitation and the way Worf-Riker have split apart in the AGT future even more understandable.

I bring this up in part because I think my big problem is that this story doesn't say anything about Troi. This is the last Troi episode, our last chance to take a long look at her character. Troi doesn't even get to show up in the future in "All Good Things." Troi is emotional and can get very upset when someone crosses her. And I do think it's possible that seeing Riker date a bunch of junior officers and random aliens over the years while still staying really close to the edge of a romantic connection to Troi might make her prone to jealousy. But, well, Another Woman isn't what broke her and Riker up, unless that Other Woman was the ship the Potemkin. And I don't think jealousy was ever her issue. Nor do I see her as all that vindictive or suicidal. For the episode to work, I think it does have to tie into real fears that seem to be Troi's. And it does present a scenario which, yes, would definitely suck for anyone, and so would upset anyone; but it doesn't seem to be the type of scenario which seems to represent actual fears Troi seems likely to have about a relationship with Worf.

I think this episode is a particularly annoying to me coming so close to the end of the series. Either have Worf/Troi actually be on the table as a romance or don't. Don't pretend to go somewhere and then back out at the last moment. There's less than ten episodes left, and the show continues going nowhere.

That said, I do think some of this episode does work. Jammer lays it all out pretty well. The mystery is somewhat engaging, the atmosphere is pretty strong, the twist that it's a murder mystery where the killer has been dead for decades is pretty good. In fact, that the episode establishes the empathic echo concept early on by having Troi get Kwan's experience helps make the ending pretty well set up. As a piece of entertainment, there are good moments -- Worf trying to talk to Riker and Riker telling him he sounds like he's asking a man if he can date his sister, Geordi and Data's conversation about Data's initial encounter with the risk of cascade failure and temptation to shut down (a nod to what happened to Lal as well), the crew's sympathy at the shocking suicide that happens -- and some bad ones -- the melodramatic excess in the last act, and much of the fake Worf/Troi romance scenes, which are "justified" by the twist but are not any more fun to watch as a result. As others have mentioned above it's good to see Troi actually doing an important job, and I like the idea that she becomes emotionally involved in Kwan's life, to a degree -- inserting Calloway into her nightmare. Maybe the key thing we learn in our last long look at Troi is that her empathy is a blessing and a curse; her devoting herself to figuring out why Kwan died means she does eventually solve the mystery. She even helps solve an eight year old murder that no one knew was still a mystery. But that level of emotional connection with others comes at real risk, and she could easily have gone the way Kwan did as a result of his encounter with the empathic echo, ridden off on someone else's emotional wave into death. On the balance, I'd give this 2 stars.
Thu, Jan 30, 2014, 6:16am (UTC -6)
"I see dead people." Troi, with her 6TH Sense, sees dead people and attempts to commit murder/suicide. Unfortunately she fails to succeed before the shows allotted time runs out.
Thu, Feb 27, 2014, 12:30pm (UTC -6)
It had a fun mystery aspect to it with a great twist at the end...but the script was a little flat.

The Worf/Troi thing was horrendous. It anthropomorphized Worf from a Klingon to a human.

Worf is a great lens for issues of self-control and violence. Especially as a humorous foil to contrast ideal behavior with anti-ideal behavior. When you domesticate him into a silly soap opera in space, he turns into a klingon in makeup only.
Tue, Jul 29, 2014, 8:09pm (UTC -6)
During the scene where Geordi and Data have a conversation about suicide, Data observes Geordi sigh, lean back, and cross his arms to prepare for discussing a heavy topic. Data crosses his arms in the same way while checking Geordi's form to make sure he gets the gesture correct. It's like you can see the wheels turning in his positronic brain. Brent Spiner really did make small scenes a joy to watch.
Y'know Somebody
Sat, Aug 30, 2014, 11:34am (UTC -6)
"It's not like Dan to take his own life,' is one of the more amusing comments in this episode.

Yeah, thanks. You know, Dan doesn't usually take his own life like that -- I'd say this is a first. "

Let's wait and see if he does it again.
Mon, Jul 20, 2015, 9:50am (UTC -6)
While I think Troi-centered episodes are weak as a rule, this one is weaker than average for me. I don't know whose brilliant idea it was too match up Worf with Troi, but it just doesn't work. There seems to be no chemistry between them and Worf looked awkward embracing her. It's been indicated before that Klingons are into being "rough" for lack of a better word. I guess I can imagine Worf with a human woman, but she'd have to be a very strong, almost physically imposing type. Not Troi.

Beyond that, the mystery just didn't work for me. A murder took place eight years before that left it's "psychic imprint" on a piece of machinery, and it was enough to drive one crewmember to suicide and give Troi major hallucinations even while she was under the influence of a psionic-inhibiting drug? And then there's the negative payoff when the bad guy turns out to have died in the incident eight years before.

All that said, I did enjoy the laugh line about Lt. Dan's suicide being a first. Also, was it a coincidence that his name recalled Forrest Gump's sometimes-suicidal-feeling friend and former commanding officer?
Thu, Oct 29, 2015, 1:35am (UTC -6)
Well, another Troi episode that isn't very good.

Obviously the big "point" of "Eye of the Beholder" is to further develop the Worf-Troi romance. However, I find it rather striking that the only real development we've been given by this point is all from Worf's side. The dinner the two share, with champagne, at the end of "Parallels" and Worf's awkward attempt to talk to Riker here are the only "real" things we've seen happen. Everything else either takes place in a different universe or in Troi's hallucination. Ultimately, that means that all the "development" that happens in this episode was little more than a waste of time, since it didn't really happen at all. Damn, I thought the T'Pol/Trip romance in ENT was little more than one giant tease; at least we got something from that one! What were the writers trying to do with this relationship? Just fill up space? Because that is sure what it feels like!

And of course, Troi doesn't exactly come out looking very good here. They attempt to hand-wave away the character damaging effects of this story at the end by saying that it was only her mind using pieces of her life to fill in the gaps in what happened to Pierce. But, I don't buy it. What we have here is a story that presents Troi as a jealous, emotionally unstable lunatic. She has sex with someone and, quite literally, the very next day her jealousy factor is absolutely through the roof! Worf can't even talk to another woman without her getting paranoid. She then resorts to murder when she's confronted with an emotional situation. Granted, this is supposed to be what Pierce went through and Troi is just reliving it. But from a writing perspective, it really makes Troi look bad. And then there's the final bit with her joking about "Hell hath no fury...". Haha! I murdered you because you made me jealous. It's funny. We don't even have the excuse of her hallucinating for this one.

Other than that, there's the problem of how everyone responds to Kwan's suicide. The only one who even came close to a genuine response was Riker - he's clearly shaken up by it. Yet everyone else seems almost unmoved - especially Calloway. The man killed himself and his own girlfriend is icily stoic about the whole thing? Um, what? Then there's the scene between Data and LaForge where Data reveals that he was once suicidal. It really feels like nothing more than a pale imitation of (or a failed attempt to recreate) the scene from "Rightful Heir" where Data tells Worf about his own leap of faith as a newly activated android. I could have done without it.

I suppose "Eye of the Beholder" does have a decent murder mystery with a nice twist at the end. And the atmosphere is pleasant. So I guess it's not a complete loss. But this is an episode where a nice atmosphere isn't enough to cover over all the problems.

Sun, Nov 1, 2015, 7:05am (UTC -6)
Something that occurred to me is that Troi's feelings here for Worf seem to come almost out of the blue (Worf has had his own didn't-really-happen romance with Troi, but this Troi wasn't there to feel it. They had one sort-of date after he said the other them were married and that's all we've seen).

I think the same thing happened to Kwan as the original man who jumped in, also having telepathic abilities and being under great strain - his feelings were added to that imprint. The facts of the story remained the same because he, like Troi, was convinced this was his real life, but he was in love with Calloway. Troi's reaction to Worf and Calloway is based more on Kwan's feelings for Calloway than Troi's feelings for Worf. However, it all ends with her having had this romance with Worf in her mind, so she does end up with feelings for him. But I don't think she did before the imprint got her.
Ashton Withers
Fri, Nov 6, 2015, 4:29pm (UTC -6)
This is one of those episodes I don't particularly enjoy. I don't hate it, but to me, it's sub-par of what I expect from TNG.

Troi was always my least favorite character, and these weird telepathic connection stories (like the 'Troi in the green tunnel' episode) make me bored out of my mind. I already am (was) not liking the Worf/Troi romance so almost every aspect of this episode I frown at. 45 minutes of Troi's Telepathic Mysteries...with Worf.
Not what I call a good time.

Also: Hi Diamond Dave :)
Diamond Dave
Sat, Nov 7, 2015, 4:14am (UTC -6)
Another one of those episodes that could have been great but just drops the ball. As a murder mystery it was actually working quite well - I even have no great objections to a Troi/Worf romance in principal - but as it becomes more melodramatic it's clear that something is amiss. And boom, there we go with the big red flashing reset button.

But on the positive side, we do get to see a new bit of the ship and Pierce makes for a suitably creepy villain. 2 stars.
Chaz Sutherland
Mon, Nov 9, 2015, 3:25pm (UTC -6)
A bit anti-climatic but certainly not the worst of the series. On a wholly positive note, there was a clever storytelling mechanism when Worf subtly laughed in his first discussion with Ensign Calloway (before everything started to unravel for Troi). This foreshadowing was a nice touch and something that could've been more widely used throughout the series.

On a separate and totally geeky-nit-picker note, I was wondering if anyone knows more about the nacelle's interior construction. Schematics available for study would be awesome.
Greg Q
Wed, Apr 6, 2016, 1:44am (UTC -6)
What happened to Troi's lips?
Fri, Jul 1, 2016, 12:07am (UTC -6)
Her lips? By First Contact her entire face looks like it's been under a plow.
Thu, Sep 8, 2016, 9:14pm (UTC -6)
I actually sort like this episode, a lot in certain ways, and I think that's because I'm a sucker for this kind of creepy surrealism. Another reason I like the episode is for the cool set of the inside of the nacelle, and the plasma waterfall thing.

My main problem with this episode is how everything comes to a screeching halt when Troi is "woken up" for real by Worf tapping her on the shoulder and we realize half the episode was a hallucination that occurred over the course of a couple of seconds. Then the episode was over. The ending was abrupt and such a let-down.
Wed, Sep 14, 2016, 11:07pm (UTC -6)
I didn't mind this episode. I think my major annoyance with it, like some others have mentioned, is Calloway's reaction to her boyfriend killing himself. She reacts more like she got told she'd lost her holodeck privileges for a few weeks than a tragic personal event. Given that suicide is obviously a rarer event in the Trek Universe than it is in real life, I'm actually surprised that generally it wasn't written to be more of a shock to just about everyone on board, and that they wouldn't straight away be looking for some kind of left of centre explanation rather than "he actually wanted to kill himself rather than live in the idyllic Federation, I can't believe that".

But again like others, the best bit was seeing inside the Nacelle. I feel sorry for anyone posted there regularly, I reckon after the initial "this is so cool!" it would probably get rather dull. Plus in an attack, the Nacelles are usually the first things to get hit, I can't see many surviving one of the Nacelle explosions we've seen at various points in the series.
Mon, Nov 14, 2016, 2:49am (UTC -6)
This is a good. Hilarious episode just ignore all the "empathic echo" nonsense think of it as the episode where Troi becomes an early version of "The Ghost Whisperer" or is it "Medium"? It was fun to see the soapy over acting, the Worf awkwardness, Data discussing suicide. It was a nearly arranged mess and a fun ride.

"Empathic echo" sounds almost as stupid a plot device as "Space Dementia" was on Michael Bay's "Armageddon'
Sun, Dec 18, 2016, 1:33am (UTC -6)
This is a loser 2 star episode. It has a good idea of psychic residue and I loved the notion of a secret history of the enterprise going all the way back to its construction. And for the first fifty minutes the show was intriguing. The moment Troi phasered Worf was shocking and at that point I *really* wanted to see where all this was going and what's going on BUT the reveal that it was just a hallucination happening in Trois head ruined the episode. There's one thing that can totally destroy an interesting fifty minutes of mystery and that's a poor climax or ending--and this episode was ruined by that ending. The disappointing part was TNG had a strong track record of doing fantastic high concept sci fi mysteries with great payoffs--the survivors, clues, night terrors, remember me, future imperfect, cause and effect , timescape and parallels for example--but this one was wholly unsatisfying. Actually season seven suffered from a lot of potentially good ideas ruined by execution
Sun, Dec 25, 2016, 9:26pm (UTC -6)
I honestly was never irked by Troi and Worf's relationship, and i personally felt there was some chemistry between them (it worked well in "Parallels"), but for me this episode is unwatchable. I call this the "Troi's swollen lips" episode. Her upper lip is so noticeably puffed up, it's ridiculous and distracting. I think Marina is gorgeous and in her line of work i understand that women feel pressured to maintain their looks...STILL...they should have waited for them to deflat a little before shooting this episode.
Sat, Jan 7, 2017, 10:04am (UTC -6)
I could not figure out at the end: Was Pierce an hallucination all along? If he died 8 years ago and left some of himself on the ship, then all those scenes where they look him up to determine he had been assigned 6 months earlier on the ship, and talking to him in engineering, and other interactions with the guy throughout the episode - all those were hallucinations?

Just didn't make sense to me.
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 9:39pm (UTC -6)
Yes -- everything was a hallucination. The only "real" event was that Troi and Worf entered the chamber, and Troi walked up to the open door for 20 seconds. The rest was all part of the psychic imprint.
Wed, May 24, 2017, 6:22pm (UTC -6)
What gets me is that no one questions Kwan jumping through a force field to his death. Typically, things bounce off /people are blocked from passing through force fields, except for those in the shuttle bays. Seems odd that such a dangerous area would have a passable force field.
Wed, Jul 5, 2017, 9:00pm (UTC -6)
I actually enjoyed this episode, mostly for its transparently Hitchcockian nods. With a Troi plot, this set an intriguing atmosphere, because it gave a sense of how her empathetic abilities work -- or in this case, malfunctioned, as her perceptions get skewed and gradually turn sideways. I could even forgive the otherwise unforgivable Troi-Worf romance, which is just about the most ill-suited pairing you could come up with on TNG.

What really blighted the episode for me was the reaction of Kwan's girlfriend. She acts like he's committed some impish prank that she can only shake her head at and smile about. I have no idea what the director was thinking here -- were we supposed to be creeped out by her reaction? Was she meant to be an overly-demonstrative sociopath, a counterpoint to the real killer's complete lack of emotional affect? Or did the director just have no idea what to do with the scene? Perhaps the answer is the girl had already hit her own internal reset button...
Fri, Jul 28, 2017, 6:46pm (UTC -6)
1.5 most. Even for an illusion it's just so poorly acted. And when everything turns out to be in the past, all interest is lost. This episode goes so slow with Worf just standing around half the time. And the empathic skills of Troi just always being strong or weak whatever the script requires. Man, this one annoyed the hell out of me! 1 star!
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 7:32pm (UTC -6)
Not the best evar episode, but for the Senioritis 7th season, not so bad at all.

As others have said, Troi actually having a task that matches with her actual talents was nice.

But, the Worf/Riker "Worf, you sound like a man who's asking his friend if he can start dating his sister" scene was golden and fitting and gets it up to a 3*** imho.
Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 3:07am (UTC -6)
Concerning the Worf/Troi relationship, I love this callback to OtherDimentionalWorf. I was afraid they'ed dropped the thread. So... The kiss scene was FANTASTIC. First he went for her... HAND... so much connection in the hand... My husband did the same... Then he went in... to kiss... her... NECK! Not her lips... too forward still... he looked into her eyes for reciprocation... and... YES! She's ALLLLL IN! I loved this episode. I normally cringe at a kiss scene, but having suddenly experienced such surprising and amazing love with a longtime friend myself, this scene was so well executed that it pulled all those long-ago first-time emotions back online. It was pure and real. I love how awkward Worf is. I love how much love Troi has for him. In "Parallels" to first see them together, I wasn't so sure, but by this episode I suddenly see how adorable they are together. Yeah, I'm glad the writers followed through. I think it's damn sweet.
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 6:21pm (UTC -6)
It's a Brannon Braga TNG episode so you know it's going to mess with your mind and have some neat sci-fi twist. This episode does that reasonably well for me but it is a cop out in that it all takes place in Troi's mind (the reset). Braga's episodes can be slow-paced and pack a punch in the end. That's how I see this one.

One thing to get out of the way: the Worf/Troi interactions were so awkward -- they were like 2 robots going about their business until the kissing etc. The romance seems so artificial. Worf's lines were (perhaps deliberately) written as being so basic -- just sort of affirmations of what Troi was saying.

As for a suicide/murder mystery, it's pretty clever with the residual of the prior crime 8 years ago triggering the hallucinations in Troi and how she goes about figuring it out. Worf/Troi during the bulk of the episode investigating are not much better than 2 blind mice. But Troi acts the jealous girlfriend part well.

The Pierce dude was suitably creepy -- he committed murder and then suicide 8 years ago. His line to Troi about knowing what to do is an ominous one. Thought there was a funny part at the start with Data crossing his arms when talking about when he thought about "suicide" or restarting all over again.

2.5 stars for "Eye of the Beholder" -- not bad for a Troi-centric episode. Surprised the murder mystery theme hasn't been used more in Trek. Bit of suspension of disbelief required (as seems to be the case with Braga TNG episodes) for the whole residual sci-fi bit that gets Troi going.
Tue, Apr 17, 2018, 7:24pm (UTC -6)
Toph said: "I actually enjoyed this episode, mostly for its transparently Hitchcockian nods."

I was just coming here to say this very thing. As a Hitchcock fan, this episode seemed to me an obvious attempt to emulate a Hitchcock psychodrama. But Hitch was expressionistic and a master of mood, framing and tension; "EYE OF THE BEHOLDER" is mostly flatly directed.

I did like, however, seeing inside the warp nacelles. New Enterprise sets really help convey the sheer size of the Enterprise D.

Like everyone else, I found Troi and Worf's romance to be utterly unbelievable. They've never been close or flirted or even been especially friendly toward one another, and yet Worf goes in for an impromptu kiss and Troi readily reciprocates without comment.

I've just realized, Chakotay and 7of9's last season random romance must have been inspired by Worf and Troi.
Tim Lounibos
Sat, Aug 4, 2018, 3:25pm (UTC -6)
I just loved working on this episode as Lt. Dan Kwan. It was my very first guest star on television, and it was a thrill to work with these guys. I grew up enamored with the original series and actually boycotted watching TNG because of that. Then in it's final season, I had a girlfriend who was a huge trekker. I had the flu and decided to check out a few episodes...binge-watched on vhs the next several days straight! Vowed to get on this show and the very next day got a call from my agent about the part. So thankful to have been a part of ST history (along with being Sulu in the KFC commercial and voicing Vin Asunder in the Away Team video game).

Live long and prosper, everyone...
Tim Lounibos
Instagram: timlounibos
Fri, Sep 14, 2018, 3:57pm (UTC -6)
Dont think its TNGs finest hour, but watchable. My passing interest was raised with the slightly menacing nearly-villan-of-the-week, somthing about that guy was a little worrying. The fact that the whole episode took place in 20 seconds and nothing was what it seemed. Hmmm ok, everybody at the end understood perfectly, and on to the next starbase, make it so.. Decidedly odd.
Mon, Oct 29, 2018, 12:21am (UTC -6)
Hello Everyone!

@Tim Lounibos

Welcome aboard! It is neat you found the site and thank you for your comment. I would enjoy hearing more about your experience, what surprised you the most, what was fun and what wasn't, etc.

I am glad you got to have an experience most of us only dream of.

Enjoy the day... RT

P.S.: Would anyone know if there are there any other actors or writers who have graced these pages? I recall a writer for "Yesterday's Enterprise", and that's about it, but I have not read all of the reviews, as I am doing them slowly, as I do my (seemingly) endless re-watch.
Dash Rendar
Fri, Nov 16, 2018, 2:00pm (UTC -6)
Tim Lounibos, your open armed swan dive into the fuzzy light was impressive and I enjoyed it immensely. Thank you for that. You definitely knew what you had to do! There were a few stand out moments in this one, and that was definitely one of them. (Another was your on-screen girlfriend saying "It's not like him to take his own life." A wonderfully emotionally vacant line that made me chuckle.)

Also, It looks like botched collagen lip injections are still a thing in the 24th century.
Fri, Feb 15, 2019, 2:42pm (UTC -6)
In all honesty, I give this episode 3 stars. The mystery was very intriguing to me and very cleverly written. The things Troi was seeing and experiencing were genuinely unsettling, and up until Worf's "death," I never suspected it was a hallucination.

Many people have been saying that they dislike how the episode resets and nothing Troi experienced actually happened, but the reset doesn't bother me that much. Yes, it would have been nice to see the series impacted in a major way by the events Troi saw take place, similarly to how The Inner Light affected Picard. For example, Troi might have decided to persue a lasting relationship with Worf, or something, but at this point, there were less than 10 episodes of the series left, so a drastic change for Troi's character wouldn't have paid off for very long anyway.

Though this episode did have minor issues, I think it's a lot better than most fans give it credit for. And it's certainly one of the better episodes of season 7, at least in my eyes. An all around fun, if a little inconsequential, episode that has excellent pacing and a riveting mystery. I'll happily revisit this one in the future.
Jer Jer
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 10:52am (UTC -6)
Most of TNG I leave the episode playing and listen while doing other things. Did this here, because it was Troi and it was boring, and lost the plot somewhere in the middle. So the hookup with Worf wasn't even real? Have to re-watch when I can be bothered just to figure out what the heck was going on.
Fri, May 17, 2019, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
Geordi is best when he is patiently explaining something to Data. I know someone had a great explanation as to Geordi being more comfortable with technology I believe. And Data is that and more. We all wish we could sit down and explain things to technology: why we need it to work better! ha ha!

Why does Deanna look like the Joker? Did she have surgery or injections? Does anyone else see it? or the makeup application?

I liked this. Very Hitchcockian...but to be honest, I did NOT understand the explanation.

Dave in MN
Fri, May 17, 2019, 6:21pm (UTC -6)
@ Meister

I think she first had work done between season 6 and 7. Her face looked different in the last season.
Wed, May 29, 2019, 10:43pm (UTC -6)
I think Jammer put a sentiment well: "To mock the melodramatic excess that occurs in "Eye of the Beholder" is to mock what is actually only happening in the version of the story that takes place in Troi's mind as a result of proxy jealousy that isn't even hers to begin with. The writers managed to avoid writing contrived characterization by beaming it into her mind from unimportant characters who have been dead for eight years."

I don't know, or care, what work was "done" on Marina Sirtis. Someone should have done some work this episode's script, and if the script was doctored because earlier versions were even worse, then we have a case here of the operation being a success (contrived characterization was avoided) but the patient dying (incoherent storytelling that makes you not care that it was avoided).

There was a kernel of a good idea of a story here, but as was the case with "Masks," they managed to turn a gem of something interesting into something completely pedestrian, and ultimately, laughable. Guess I should "Genesis" to that category. The seventh season was out there - kind of both too much and not enough all at once.

Pedestrian and incoherent are an unpleasant combination, cf. "The Alternativev Factor."

"Eye of the Beholder" just aired on Heroes and Icons, a local syndicate, and I watched part of it again in an exercise to see if I could remember the ending. By the time the ending unfurled, I was experiencing deja vu - the feeling that I tried remembering the ending the last time I watched the episode, and neither remembered nor cared what it was, then, or now.
Dave in MN
Thu, May 30, 2019, 8:26am (UTC -6)
I haven't seen this in years, but I actually think this a better episode than most give it credit for. Is there any other TNG episode that dissects the violent dissolution of a relationship? I can't really think of one.

Also, the nerd in me LOVED seeing the inside of the nacelles.

This is due for a rewatch.
William B
Thu, May 30, 2019, 9:36am (UTC -6)
Seeing the inside of a warp nacelle is indeed cool.

I don't think this ep is very good, but there is an interesting theme in season seven of characters standing at the verge of some major change in their lives, peering over the edge, and recoiling, either because what they see is an illusion or because they deliberately avoid it. It's most obvious with the relationship eps (Attached, Eye of the Beholder) but you see it with Geordi and his mother's disappearance, Data with the emotion chip and then the truth about his mother, Picard and the possibility that he has a son, Worf getting a glimpse of Alexander's future, etc. Genesis flips the usual stuff about societal evolution by showing the characters, lol, "de-evolving" instead. Force of Nature is of course the environmental allegory but it is also literally an episode in which the crew finds out they can no longer go anywhere very quickly because going too fast damages the space they're in. The world seems a lot smaller, because there seem to be fewer external things to explore and they keep pulling back from exploring internal things (usually for good reasons). And it feels like aging, somehow.

I suspect that a lot of it is a matter of Jeri Taylor et al. being in a holding pattern, because they've run out of too many stories that keep the characters static but also are kept in place both by the usual staticity of TNG and especially by the requirement that nothing much can change before Generations. And many of these eps end up being pretty bad (though I like some, like Inheritance). But I think it kinda sorta works in setting up All Good Things and the possibility that the future is a disappointing place, where some of the wonder has gone out of the characters' world, and has to be recovered. Notably, I say "disappointing," not dystopian. This episode is a good example of that pattern, where Troi doesn't really want to stay perpetually single waiting for her Imzadi to get a clue, but also senses (probably correctly) that taking the plunge with Worf would be disastrous, even if it's because of the sci-fi psychological thriller telepath suicide lens that she actively feels it.
Sat, Oct 5, 2019, 3:28pm (UTC -6)
(Morgan Freeman) The sisters never bothered Wesley again. Pierce...never walked again.
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 11:27am (UTC -6)
What’s not to love?

It’s darker than the usual TNG. There’s conflict. There’s an interesting eleventh-hour development between two main characters, which manages to be surprising yet oddly familiar, and not forced. There’s Troi Drama which, for some reason, stirs me to empathy rather than irritation.

Best of all, it’s entirely fresh. No ship-in-jeopardy, no negotiations with aliens, no guest-character-wreaks-havoc. I love TNG, but after seeing it reruns for a hundred years, I crave the episodes that are inventive and singular.
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sat, Jul 4, 2020, 11:04pm (UTC -6)
I have a bit of a soft spot for this episode because I'm pretty sure I missed it during its first run and only caught it after the series ended. So as far as I can recall this was my last "new" episode of TNG. Since I had to watch the reruns starting at Encounter at Farpoint, it took quite a while to get back to this point.

That said, this episode just screams Season 7. The cold open (without any sort of establishing shot or Captain's log), strangely empty ship, wallpaper music, actors phoning in their performances, it's as Season 7 as it gets. This is also Voyager-level Brannon Braga with yet more mind screwing, which theoretically allows him to botch intra-episode continuity without repercussions, but which still tends to bite him in the ass since plot threads manage to unravel due to the incoherent story. His complete misunderstanding of science, even in a fictional universe, isn't as egregious as in Genesis or Voyager's Threshold (among others), but telepathic residue? Come on. It's technobabble and psychobabble rolled into one. Psychnobabble? I'd agree though that this is a perfectly OK episode, and it manages to stand out due to where it's located in the series' run.
Justin Buck
Tue, Jul 28, 2020, 12:14am (UTC -6)
Kwan's boss appears to be of a very similar species as the pig-gaced people in The Twilight Zone's "Eye of the Beholder."

I thought that was a cool little Easter egg, regardless of the hundreds of other questionable things in this episode.
Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 7:45pm (UTC -6)
Just watched the latest Ryan's Intakes which was hilarious and features a scene from this episode. It prompted me to then watch the episode itself right away! It's been a while but I actually like the weirdness of it all! The acting could be better... esp Ensign Kwan's gf! Heartless b***** much? Lol! And it's so cool to see the inside of a nacelle! The empathic echo sounds nonsensical but truth be told I've come across worse technobabble.
James G
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 8:17am (UTC -6)
Interesting one. I liked it. Quite clever, and a nice twist on a murder mystery even if the notion of empathic echoes, or whatever, doesn't bear a great deal of critical scrutiny.

I like the different sides to Riker that we see in this one - in a good mood in 10 Forward, and earnestly trying to save someone from suicide.

I probably wasn't paying enough attention but the solution to the mystery was slightly lost on me. When we see Mark Rolston, he's playing a character who's been dead for 8 years, and exists only in Deanna's hallucination? I think that's it.

Unfortunately, as far as I can make out - the Deanna / Worf relationship wasn't a hallucination.

One odd thing - Beverley refers to Deanna as "Troi" when only herself, Deanna, Riker and Worf are present - all friends.

Anyway very good, slightly confusing perhaps but probably because I wasn't paying close enough attention.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 7:34pm (UTC -6)
Did they or didn't they?
In their dreams, it seems.
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 11:52pm (UTC -6)
Troi doesn't do anything important normally? Providing/directing mental healthcare for 1500 people doesn't count?
Always cracks me up how even today people view psychiatry or counseling to be a "waste of time" or "pointless."

Hopefully you never need our services but if you ever do, we will be there anyway :)
Matt B
Sun, Jul 25, 2021, 3:15pm (UTC -6)
I really enjoyed this episode. It doesn't bother me that it was all in Troi's head. The mystery was fascinating to follow and try to figure out.

Also cool that Tim / Kwan left a comment here!
Mon, Nov 1, 2021, 11:18am (UTC -6)
Drake from Aliens did it. Ah, I thought he was one of the good guys.

I like that actor. He can be so intimidating (I saw the Shawshank Redemption call-out above).
Mon, Nov 1, 2021, 11:34am (UTC -6)
I've noticed a marked improvement in the guest stars (and thus the acting) in Season 7.
Tue, Nov 30, 2021, 2:22am (UTC -6)
There must be another episode where Troi and Worf get together for real, rather than as the hallucination she has in this episode. We’re getting close to the end of the series so there’s not much time left for it! They still have to fit in the episodes where Ro defects to the Maquis, and Wesley Crusher is revealed to be a “special kind of human”, so… Hmm.

Anyhoo. This was a ho-hum kind of story, with the “big reveal” cheat at the end proving that “nothing is real, and nothing to get hung about”. Yeah, I suppose it’s good the first time around, but like with Agatha Christie (once you know “who done it”, is there anything that merits a re-read?) it loses its point on subsequent viewing.

Barely 2 stars.
Daniel B
Wed, Feb 2, 2022, 2:40pm (UTC -6)
"Troi doesn't do anything important normally? Providing/directing mental healthcare for 1500 people doesn't count?"

I think the point is we hardly ever see her actually do this as an important part of an episode.
Sat, Mar 12, 2022, 11:20am (UTC -6)
No disrespect to Marina Sirtis whatsoever.

But her upper lip looks so ridiculously out of place from the rest of her face that it completely puts me out of the episode. I just keep wondering what the other actors were thinking when they were acting opposite her. Michael Dorn is thinking "what the f*** have you done to your face?" as he says his lines. It's so obvious and distracting.

Marina did come out years later and said she regretted getting plastic surgery and I respect her for that.
Mon, Jul 4, 2022, 9:42am (UTC -6)
Okay, I'll have to swim upstream again and say I really enjoyed this ep. In fact, I'd give it 3-1/2 stars, but feel I have to justify myself by saying that I don't particularly care about things like character development, continuity, Trek "lore," etc. I just want 45 minutes of good science fiction. This one was a bit light on science but the fiction part was done very well.

I liked the plot very much and the various twists kept me in suspense. I genuinely wanted to find out what the heck was (and had been) going on.

The Troi-Worf "romance" was a gratuitous add-on. It may have been a tool to progress the main story, but it made no sense even in the autonomous confines of this episode. That, plus the way too quick and pedestrian resolution in the final two minutes, are my reasons for not awarding this episode the full score.

I'll add that Troi redeemed herself here, after that abomination of the previous installment (which, yes, I didn't even watch...LOLZ!).
Fri, Dec 2, 2022, 3:23pm (UTC -6)
I like how Troi goes to the bridge at the end of the episode and then leaves after her quip to Worf about a woman scorned. It's like she had no reason for going there in the first place. This is a weak episode with good individual performances and good individual scenes.
Sat, Dec 31, 2022, 2:56pm (UTC -6)
Troi looks like a clown in this one with all that makeup.
Worf looks bored out of his mind and is a shell of his former self.

The Worf Troi romance is very clunky.

Her murder of Worf was an unexpected twist in an otherwise plodding telepath episode. She even laughed in Worfs face at the end.
Wed, May 10, 2023, 8:30pm (UTC -6)
I hadn't seen this episode in a while, and I happened to come into it a few minutes in, so maybe I missed something. How come Troi jumps in startlement when Kwan's former supervisor walks up to her? Shouldn't she have empathically sensed her presence? She hasn't yet plunged into the alternate reality, nor been drugged into empathic numbness.
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Thu, May 11, 2023, 1:59pm (UTC -6)
@Trish maybe she's one of those species that Betazoids can't read? Also it seems like Troi was kind of distracted or overwhelmed, whether because this was her first time in the nacelle tube or because of the emotions surrounding the murder, or both.
Thu, May 11, 2023, 5:16pm (UTC -6)
@Jeffrey Jakucyk I wonder if we're supposed to pick up the hint that something so powerful is going on that it overwhelms her empathic senses.
Robert II
Sat, Aug 19, 2023, 2:08pm (UTC -6)
The romance between Troi and Worf was cringey and hamfisted, though I just attributed it to the fact that Worf was near Troi when her delusion happened, so he became the mental stand-in for the entire incident. IMO it would have been way more compelling if was Riker instead. Trek handles romance so poorly and usually at the 11th hour of the series so it just ends up feeling incredibly awkward.

When she asks, "Why did we never do this before?" The answer is: there's nothing from the entire series to suggest that you and Worf had a remote interest in one another.

The telepathic incident itself... it was pretty disappointing. "Face of the Enemy" was Troi's best outing because they managed to weave her Betazoid abilities into the plot without making them front-and-center or full of supernatural talk. At least in "Dark Page," there was talk of Betazoid physiology to explain the crisis. This time, it's practically a psychic powers episode about sensing events from the past, veering away from science fiction and into actual fantasy.

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