Star Trek: The Next Generation
Air date: 10/25/1993
Written by Brannon Braga
Directed by Patrick Stewart
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
During his periods of nightly shutdown, Data's dream program begins manifesting bizarre and nonsensical nightmares that Data has difficulty deciphering the meanings of. The situation becomes more serious, however, when Data begins oversleeping, then having periods of waking dreams — and things become dire when he eventually begins sleepwalking during those waking dreams and doing bad stuff, like, say, stabbing Counselor Troi.
I've talked recently about Good Brannon Braga. "Phantasms" is more like B-grade Decent Brannon Braga, but it still gets an endorsement from me because it has the benefit of being amusing. The best way to approach "Phantasms" is to look at it as weirdness for weirdness' sake. On that level it works. It benefits from some bizarre and funny images and has a tone that strikes the right balance of strange, funny, and downright goofy. It does all of this while also tying everything into a fairly routine — and definitely Braga-esque — tech/alien mystery involving interphasic parasites from another dimension (or something) which, if not expunged, will cause the entire crew to lose cellular cohesion and disintegrate. You know, the part of the plot that makes sense compared to Data's nightmares.
This is the logical plot-based non-character outgrowth of Data dreaming, established in last year's "Birthright, Part I." It involves Troi as a human cake being cut up, Worf commenting on its deliciousness ("It is a cellular peptide cake"), a trio of 19th-century laborers dismantling a corridor on the Enterprise, a telephone that won't stop ringing inside Data's chest, Crusher drinking Riker's brain through a straw, and, of course, Dr. Sigmund Freud (Bernard Kates) deconstructing it all in the holodeck and recommending Data undergo full psychoanalysis. Of course, all of that pales in comparison to Data becoming a mad slasher, stalking Troi through the corridor, and then stabbing her in the turbolift in a perfectly framed payoff shot that echoes Norman Bates in Psycho. When I look at that list, what's not to like?
All of this is happening for a reason, naturally. It's shortly after the stabbing that Crusher discovers the invisible alien parasites from another dimension, and it's learned that Data's dreams are actually subconscious manifestations of his program having detected them on their wavelength. The meanings behind the images line up with the happenings aboard the Enterprise as a result of the alien presence; within the clues lie the answer of how to destroy them. So Picard and Geordi use the holodeck to enter Data's dream and try to crack the mystery. This leads to a lengthy sequence where Data's dream is broken down, symbol by symbol, with Picard and Geordi providing running commentary to explain how the puzzle all fits together. This is more arbitrary than enlightening, but it gets the story from A to B.
All of this is leavened by its humor. In addition to the story's clear amusement with its own goofiness, we also have a running gag about Picard potentially missing a conference that he absolutely would love to miss but has been sternly warned by the admiral to absolutely not miss it without a really good reason. As I said before, this is the nuts-and-bolts approach to Data as a piece of hardware instead of an exploration of what nightmares mean to him as a character, but sometimes hardware is what we enjoy in our TNG.
Previous episode: Gambit
Next episode: Dark Page
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93 comments on this post
Thu, Sep 20, 2012, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
And oh, good lord, that was the worst Freud I've ever seen.
I think there could have been potential with the parasites and Data stabbing Troi, but the weird stuff didn't seem fun to me at all.
It gets the 1 for the scene with Spot and Worf.
Fri, Sep 21, 2012, 12:17am (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 21, 2012, 12:20am (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 22, 2012, 5:03pm (UTC -5)
Trek should have more episodes where a character's subjective reality bends as it offers so many storytelling opportunities. Whenever they experimented and used art house techniques the episode stood out, even if they sometimes missed their mark. Voyager's horridly pretentious "The Fight" comes to mind as an obvious failure. All form (or lack of it...) with no substance to present through the form.
Sat, Sep 22, 2012, 6:24pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 23, 2012, 6:07pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Sep 24, 2012, 10:37am (UTC -5)
The weird, almost metaphysical plots from Braga sometimes work. But this is just Data masturbation, of which there's way too much of in season 7 (Masks, Thine Own Self, Descent II). We get it -- he's the series' most interesting character, Spiner's a good actor and we're bored with just about everybody else.
The first six episodes of this season (with the awful Dark Page next) show that TNG was really out of gas. If not for Parallels, All Good Things and even The Pegasus, there would be almost nothing worth watching this season.
Mon, Sep 24, 2012, 6:14pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 25, 2012, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 26, 2012, 6:22pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Sep 27, 2012, 3:14pm (UTC -5)
All Good Things", with maybe a sentence on each episode in between, I am perfectly fine.
The only reason I say this is because I fear we will all be dead of boredom by the time we get to "All Good Things"!
Quick question to everybody. Why was "All Good Things" so amazing, and every single other episode of season 7 so amazingly lackuster? Did some writer or director come back from somewhere? I felt like "All Good Things" would have fit perfectly during season 3 or 4, back when the show was really good.
Thu, Sep 27, 2012, 7:10pm (UTC -5)
Sorry dude. "Lower Decks" is a classic, and I and many others want to hear Jammer's thoughts on this matter.
("Firstborn" and "Preemptive Strike" are also ones of considerable interest.)
Fri, Sep 28, 2012, 10:55am (UTC -5)
The finale, Parallels, Pegasus and Preemtpive Strike are all good to great. Lower Decks, Attached, Force of Nature, Journey's End, Inheritance, Interface, Bloodlines and Gambit are watchable.
But I'd say Liaisons, Phantasms, Dark Page, Homeward, Masks, Thine Own Self, Eye of the Beholder, Firstborn and Emergence are all really terrible, Sub Rosa is arguably TNG's worst episode and Genesis is arguably its most ridiculous.
The series lost a lot of its zip in the sixth season and only rarely found it again in the seventh. Troi gets too much airtime, Worf gets declawed, there's too much Data masturbation (Thine Own Self, Masks, Phantasms) and the tone of the series is noticeably muted.
TNG was at its best midway through season three to midway through season six (with some classics sprinkled around elsewhere).
Fri, Sep 28, 2012, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
"Genesis" is the worst episode of all 178 episodes of the series. It's worse than even "Shades of Grey". Seriously.
Fri, Sep 28, 2012, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
And "Lower Decks" is *far* more than 'watchable'. It's a classic.
Fri, Sep 28, 2012, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 28, 2012, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 28, 2012, 4:06pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 28, 2012, 5:04pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 28, 2012, 6:27pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 28, 2012, 6:32pm (UTC -5)
It's especially transparent when Ben is CLEARLY playing a role meant for Guinan -- right down to the character's self-assured nature.
Fri, Sep 28, 2012, 8:44pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 29, 2012, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
The Cardassian thing was less plausible, though it happened a couple other times (the Xgenthi in DS9, the one-off bad guys in TNG's Suddenly Human, etc.).
But, yes, I do find the Ben thing more annoying the others. Here's a character who we never saw before and never saw again who's like best friends with everybody. Ridiculous.
Mon, Oct 1, 2012, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
Even DS9 (which had a more fleshed out set of recurring characters) sometimes suffered from that same feeling of being too small (especially jarring during wartime when, outside of big battle CGI sequences, it felt like the entire enemy force was Damar, Weyoun and the female changeling). Introducing one off characters that seem to be friends with and know everybody isn't necessarily a bad thing (especially in an episode that seemed designed to make you feel the amount of people on the ship).
Paul, I do share your feeling that it was a little sad we never saw him (or Ensigns Gomez and Lefler) again. It was a missed opportunity to get some excellent recurring characters (like O'Brien/Ro). But even with those recurring characters they often just "show up" one day. Ro got a hefty introduction, but one day everybody is psyched for Keiko/O'Brien's wedding and the viewers had never heard of Keiko before. I remember Guinan's introduction being equally as sudden and shes best buddies with Picard even though we never heard from her Season 1. The only difference between that and Ben is that Keiko/Guinan showed up again later!
Mon, Oct 1, 2012, 5:23pm (UTC -5)
Concerning TNG, I've jonestly gone from thinking maybe ssn 6, then 5, then 7 and then 4, now 3 are the best seasons, at one point I even felt like maybe season 2 was the best due to its handful of timeless juggernauts...before I looked more for high-concept episodes, ow I more appreciate the expanding, epic-scale fleshing out of the Trek universe that ssns 3 and 4 did....so, again...I think this says something....and I think ultimately that something is Star Trek is damn good and damn consistent for all the reasons and in all the ways all of us already know....
Tue, Oct 2, 2012, 11:47am (UTC -5)
The problem here isn't that they introduced a new character. It's that the senior officers on the Enterprise are so trusting of and close to this new character who we never saw previously and never see again.
To be perfectly honest, I don't think this episode should have been made without Guinan -- unless the Ten Forward bartender role was removed completely.
Sat, Oct 6, 2012, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 6, 2012, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 16, 2012, 8:54am (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 16, 2012, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
Compared to garbage like "Masks", "Sub Rosa" and the worst episode of TNG ever a.k.a. "Genesis"--this episode is "Yesterday's Enterprise".
Tue, Jan 1, 2013, 8:07pm (UTC -5)
The parasites were creepy. I would jump up and down if I discovered such a creepy critter was attached to my body, invisible or not. Our crew members are not that much disturbed.
One question: why does a captain have to attend an admiral's dinner? And that for six year in a row?
Mon, Jan 14, 2013, 9:25pm (UTC -5)
I get that Data detected the creatures on some level, and his dreams were how he was working out the problem in his subconscious, but if there was a reason that his internal chronometer failed, or that he started uncontrollably dreaming while awake, I missed it. I assume that there is a technobabble explanation as to why this situation was unique, but was it mentioned? It saved them this time, but I wouldn't want to travel through space with an android who might get stabby any time he has to sleep on a problem!
Regardless of whether or not there was an explanation, I think that 3 stars is about right for this episode. It's not perfect, but the crazy imagery and humor ("I will feed him!") make up for most of its flaws.
Mon, Jan 14, 2013, 10:54pm (UTC -5)
The explanation for Data's glitches is, as usual, Braga once again failed to understand the premise of his own story, I'm sorry to say (because it's beating a dead horse).
Fri, Aug 2, 2013, 1:45am (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 8, 2013, 1:02am (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 30, 2013, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
Braga previously suggested what happens when Data gets a subconscious signal in "Cause and Effect," where Data obsessively placed three's all around the ship and didn't know he was doing so. In this episode, he "subconsciously" perceives the threat from the parasitic life forms. It enters his dreams, where he processes information through his creative side. The dreams turn to nightmares, and the urgency with which this occurs eventually drives out other considerations. He starts having waking dreams, and reflexively stabs Troi to save her. What is interesting and scary and kind of great is that Data is at the point of processing so much information that he "knows" on a deep level that he absolutely has to "save" Troi, and the crew, by alerting them to the parasites, but that knowledge is only encoded in him intuitively, and so manifests as an urge which he can't control.
I was thinking about no one being too concerned, after the episode ends, that this incident not be repeated; that there is no court-martial, nor any risk of Data being disassembled and reexamined, or so on. To some extent, it's because the Enterprise crew are a forgiving bunch, but I think the other thing is, *Data was right* -- Data's uncontrollable impulse was not a sign of some buried destructive urge, but a way to alert the crew to the life forms in a way that was not possible for him to access. Data's dreaming becomes a metaphor for, and demonstration of, all the value of creativity and the irrational mind (in Data and in humans) in interpreting information about the world that is too difficult and complex to deal with fully rationally. It's not so much that the irrational is better than the rational, but that the latter, while frightening, can actually be very important. That's a very Braga type theme to play with, and it's one he deals with well.
I love so many of the touches of humour in this episode -- Worf & Spot, Data's lip smacking, the great Admiral's Banquet subplot. My favourite touch is the image of Data sitting quietly across from Picard in the conference room with two security guards towering over him on either side -- it's such a beautiful contrast, Data's relatively small frame and quiet, pleasant demeanour up against the evidence of how dangerous he is. This is by far the best of the symbol-laden shows this season, though it still falters in some areas (the Fredu is too silly, for example).
Tue, Jan 28, 2014, 10:47pm (UTC -5)
Lots of good humor here. Especially imagining Worf calling Spot 'pretty cat.'
I do believe that there was some poking fun at Freud and some of his theories. We weren't supposed to take him seriously.
Riker's brain is apparently the perfect beverage to wash down Troi's body. Wierd stuff but definitely enjoyable.
Sun, Feb 23, 2014, 9:25am (UTC -5)
In esoteric circles...there are actually incorporial parasites and perhaps Braga tapped into this subcounsly... All in all, fun episode!
Sat, Aug 23, 2014, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
So Data goes to talk to Troi about his nightmares, and Troi tells him that it's ok to visit his dark side sometimes. Apparently, she forgot that the last time she gave that advice to him, he held her prisoner and nearly tortured Geordi to death. I guess she still didn't learn her lesson here, and ends up getting stabbed for her effort. I imagine the next time Data comes to her with some negative feelings, she'll prescribe a hefty dose of puppies and rainbows before fleeing to the Andromeda galaxy.
Meanwhile, poor Frakes. Even in Data's dream all he can do is be annoyed and yell at people.
But other than that, it was a fun episode! The humor worked, the eeriness worked, and the mystery worked. About that didn't work was the horror, mainly the slasher scene of Data going after Troi, which was done in just about the most cliched way imaginable. But that was such a minor part compared to everything else that I didn't mind.
Mon, Dec 8, 2014, 12:00am (UTC -5)
That, and characters created from real people are almost always cringe-worthily inaccurate.
Mon, Aug 3, 2015, 9:17am (UTC -5)
Mon, Oct 12, 2015, 8:46am (UTC -5)
I'm reminded of a moment in "Tapestry," which I'll paraphrase - "never [comes] into focus, [drifts] with no plan or agenda, going from one assignment to the next, never seizing the opportunities that [present] themselves." What we have here is a simple series of whimsical/goofy scenes that are loosely tied together with the idea that the Enterprise is being invaded by invisible creatures. It all flows together but never once feels like it means anything other than an excuse to have, as Jammer says, weirdness for weirdness' sake. We go from a scene of Data fighting the workers to Data watching Spot sleep to the cake sequence to a counseling session with Sigmund Freud to Data having waking dreams to more dream sequences until we finally get a resolution. Okay, all of that is okay for what it is, but it leaves me thinking - now what, what was the point? Brannon Braga can often make stories like this work, but this one never really achieves liftoff. And speaking of "never seizing opportunities," why isn't Troi involved in the holodeck search through Data's dream? You would think that would be something the Ship's Counselor, the one who is specifically trained in the interpretation of dreams, would be on hand for. Instead, they have the Chief Engineer and the Captain doing it. Um, okay. Why isn't Troi used here?! They, instead, have her confined to a Sickbay bed for no apparent reason - everyone, like her, is infected with the creatures and Crusher healed her stab wounds. Instead of actually using the character for something she would be helpful in they decide to just drop her from the story. If that doesn't tell you about how woefully misused Troi is as a character, I don't know what will. But then, what also does it say that Data got just as much good counseling advice from Sigmund Freud (a guy who had some good but a whole lot of bad things to say) as he did from Troi!
But, despite all that, "Phantasms" is just average. What really harms it, however, are the two sub-plots. So, one of the pieces of "drama" is that Picard REALLY doesn't want to go to a banquet with a bunch of admirals. Well, zip-a-dee-fucking-doo-dah! This is what passes for tension now? This?! Picard doesn't want to spend a few hours schmoozing with his superiors because he finds it tedious? Who the fuck cares?! It can't be more tedious than this concept. I've often defended Season Seven against people who say it was the season where they ran out of ideas, but - damn - those people might have a point about this one! (Though, I will say, given some of the things Picard likes to do for "fun," if he finds something tedious and boring then it most likely is. :P) Then there's the sub-plot of the ensign with a crush on LaForge. Braga, I'm trying to defend you here and will admit that you can produce some really quality stuff, but sometimes you make that awfully hard. Had the man even watched this show before him wrote this stuff? Had he seen what LaForge's "love life" has consisted of? He's been routinely shown to be so desperate for love that he's often willing to fall for women he hasn't even met! Now he's got an attractive woman who is also an engineer literally throwing herself at him and.... he's just not interested? Did I miss a memo here or something?! Talk about out of character!
But, in the end, it does have some genuinely enjoyable scenes like Worf with Spot and Data's attack on Troi, so I won't be too harsh with it.
Sun, Nov 1, 2015, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
This sets up a genuinely unsettling and suitably nightmarish atmosphere - for some reason the miners dismantling Data is a particularly disturbing image. But where some episodes might drop the ball once the alien infestation is revealed this keeps on running and wraps up the conclusion in a satisfying way as all of the dream imagery is tied together.
Add in a healthy sense of fun - Worf and Spot being a particular high point - and this is an episode that ticks all the right boxes. 3.5 stars.
Sat, Feb 13, 2016, 4:25am (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 7, 2016, 1:30pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 19, 2016, 10:28pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 14, 2016, 3:58pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Nov 25, 2016, 10:59am (UTC -5)
Yeah, this one isn't working for me. I suppose this is how people who hate The Thaw (which remember liking a lot) feel.
Sat, Dec 17, 2016, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
Tue, May 16, 2017, 12:41am (UTC -5)
Geordi being disinterested when a real woman is attracted to him is hilariously ridiculous. And entirely hypocritical for him to find her annoying, seeing how downright creepy he gets towards women he's pursuing. But he's a flawed character, and it fits with what we've seen of his social awkwardness and occasions of being unable to look at things objectively. It's still really hard to believe, given how desperate he normally is. Maybe his mom's death shook him more than we thought. Or maybe this is just a badly written episode where almost everyone is out of character.
Data seems to exhibit mental illness... But it's just because his subconscious is making him react that way.... .. .? Uh-uh. Data can't notice something without noticing it. He's a machine, he has a perfect memory and is constantly multitasking. Either he knows about it, or he doesn't. Even if there was a hidden part of him that could know something or notice something without him knowing, he notices everything so it would never know something he didn't just based off of observed data. It just doesn't fit with what we've been told about how he works, and it's too late in the series to be trying to reinterpret things the way this episode did.
Why is Starfleet fine with Data stabbing Troi because he "felt compelled to"? If I kill someone because I'm sleep-driving I still get in trouble for it. If I kill someone and claim it's because the voices told me to I still get institutionalized. Temporary insanity or not, there should have been some sort of followup on it.
There's no way Riker and Worf could take down Data on their own the way they did, given how strong Data's been shown to be. He would have eviscerated them both in under two seconds, or at least thrown them halfway down the hall. The only way that scene makes sense is if it was part of a dream sequence. Having one of them come from the front (and take a few broken ribs for their trouble) while the other hit his off switch would have been more believable.
Troi is surprisingly vengeful at the end with that Data cake. She knows he didn't intentionally stab her or dream about harming/eating her, and since they recently entered into a patient-therapist relationship it's grossly inappropriate for her to bring a cake mocking his bouts of psychosis. Actually, that seems out of character for Troi, I know a lot of people don't like her, but she's never been shown to be that petty, especially with Data.
This is another of those episodes that is mostly random creepy stuff happening that doesn't fit Trek. I can't believe I'm saying this about a Data-centric episode, but not even he could turn this into more than a "meh" from me. It felt like I was stuck in a weird dream myself.
Tue, May 16, 2017, 7:21am (UTC -5)
They did bring Alexander back a couple times in DS9 and they did some pretty decent episodes with him IMO. To be honest though I liked the one in TNG where he came back from the future to try to get his younger self to want to be a warrior in order to save Worf later from being killed in a fight.
Fri, Sep 8, 2017, 5:18am (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 11, 2017, 2:43am (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 28, 2017, 6:32pm (UTC -5)
Some comedic moments were inserted like Picard's running gag with the admiral. I liked the part when he was hovering over Geordi in engineering. It's just entertaining watching Stewart do almost anything -- sign of a good actor. Worf's cake icing line was good, but Ensign Tyler's crush on Geordi didn't go anywhere.
This is another one of the TNG creative sci-fi problem-solving episodes -- not sure how any viewer could catch on (or is supposed to catch on) to what Data's dreams mean and what Freud is telling him to do. I'm asking myself, why doesn't Data just turn off the damn dream program? But then they wouldn't find the interphasic creatures, I suppose. But they don't know that until much later, and certainly after Troi's already been stabbed Norman Bates-style.
2 stars for "Phantasms" -- plenty of filler to create some kind of weird atmosphere, perhaps creepy which left me slightly bored. The explanation at the end was interesting from a creative sci-fi standpoint but it's ultimately pointless and is just another outing where Data gets to do some unusual things.
I think by this stage in the game, having already made its mark, TNG is coasting. There are some interesting ideas here and there. The show basically has carte blanche and is firing mostly blanks so far in Season 7. Think I'd easily prefer TOS S3 over TNG S7.
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 1:14am (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 3, 2018, 10:05am (UTC -5)
Regarding the ensign who was flirting with Geordi, and the Admiral's Banquet subplot, I read these scenes as bits of misdirection; attempts to get you to think that the fantasies and nightmares of everyone (not just Data) were being projected and made real.
I didn't like the way the episode misused Freud; on TV, Freudian psychology is too often portrayed as a silly means of interpreting unconscious symbols, symbols which have elaborate meanings and narratives. But Freud believed the opposite; most symbols or "things" in dreams are irrelevent, accidental or simple, and it is waking life that is a kind of shared dream, everyone enacting their desires or participating in the desires of others, all of which are programmed by socio-economic, psychological and cultural forces. The typical TV version of Freud plays like a reductive game of Where's Walo?.
Tue, Apr 3, 2018, 10:32am (UTC -5)
Fantastic. Indeed, if we take this to its natural conclusion, those creepy parasites were dreamed up by Picard to avoid going to that conference.
I actually enjoy both those subplots; the conference story is an inverted jeopardy plot, comic in its hitting the usual beats of a ticking clock scenario while the stakes are so obviously low.
Tue, Apr 3, 2018, 10:48am (UTC -5)
Maybe we can gather than even for the crew of a ship that regularly experiences extraordinary events, during their long lulls between the storm even they need to dream up adventures to keep things interesting.
Tue, Apr 3, 2018, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
"Let's make an episode about Data having nightmares. But what does Data dream about? What does the subconscious of a machine look like? Well, it would look logical. It would make perfect sense. The symbols would be super locked down and literal.
But why would Data need dreams and nightmares? To save the ship! But from what? I don't know...what eats you while you're dreaming? Ah, evil bed bugs! Okay, now let's tie this plot to subtext and subplot. How do nightmares affect the rest of the crew? I know: Geordi's bad at love but is being pursed by someone he doesn't like! haha, nice one Braga! What about Picard? The guy hates dull Federation meetings! What a wonderfully banal nightmare! And what's up with Riker? He's the First Officier; he's constantly annoyed by everyone wanting to call him! And Troi? She's an annoying character, let's cut her up and silence the smug mouth on her shoulder (don't want to seem too sexist, so we'll let her eat a cake of Data). Sorted." - Braga's Brain (1993)
Tue, Apr 3, 2018, 2:46pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 3, 2018, 3:07pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 3, 2018, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 3, 2018, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jun 15, 2018, 2:28am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 5, 2018, 7:33pm (UTC -5)
"we also have a running gag about Picard potentially missing a conference that he absolutely would love to miss "
It was a banquet, not a conference.
Wed, Sep 5, 2018, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 7, 2018, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Dec 4, 2018, 3:22am (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 7, 2018, 1:58am (UTC -5)
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 8:29am (UTC -5)
- Data with a phone in his stomach
- Asking Worf to talk to Spot
- mint frosting
Freud is a blabbering idiot. Sub-conscious crap about your mother, your father...bleh.
Good thing they only had the top half of Troi as a cake. Could get interesting what part of her people want to eat...
Mon, May 6, 2019, 8:04am (UTC -5)
Sun, May 12, 2019, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
Oh the ironies of Geordi finding unwanted attention uncomfortable. Maybe he would like to revisit his treatment of Dr Brahms.
Ugh I hope this isn't one of those creatures in the warp core/plasma conduit/transporter stream in trouble and communicating through Data...
Tue, Oct 15, 2019, 8:58pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 26, 2019, 6:48am (UTC -5)
Some kid havinmg a crush on Geordi that goes nowehere did not fit in to it.
Worf eating counsellor Troi cake might have future significance.
I was initially bored but ended up quite liking this episode.
Tue, Oct 29, 2019, 6:56pm (UTC -5)
There are still weaknesses. First, we're asked to accept that the parasites are somehow undetectable despite being able to directly interface to physical objects and untouchable and invisible to anything other than a special torch. Then, we're expected to accept the idea that Data's body contains the only mechanism capable of dealing with the parasites, and that he's able to generate a pulse energetic enough to cover the entire ship from his internal power cells.
And equally, this arguably was the starting point for Data being heavily overused in the seventh series.
But still. This was definitely an entertaining episode!
Fri, Dec 20, 2019, 12:19am (UTC -5)
Needless to say, when I saw that it actually *was* a Troi cake...
I think I had to pause for a bit to process that.
(I then sent a screenshot to my partner, who skipped this episode in his own TNG watch, and the exact words of his reaction were "WHAT THE HOLY JESUS".)
To be honest, I don't think there's too much that's memorable about the actual story here. The dreams could've served any purpose or no purpose at all and I think I'd have come away with my reaction pretty much unchanged. Suffice to say, those visuals aren't gonna be something I'm forgetting any time soon.
(And I see people quote the "cellular peptide cake... with mint frosting" line all the time. Now I know. NOW I KNOW.)
Sun, Apr 26, 2020, 2:20am (UTC -5)
The ensign hitting on LaForge is very cute. Don't know why he isn't interested, especially since he strikes out at every other opportunity with more boring women who aren't as attractive. She's even perceptive and runs interference with Picard. She's a keeper. You suck, LaForge.
Great atmosphere in this one. The far above comment about it being "Lynchian" is spot on. Also, regarding the comment directly above mine, I don't think Ten Forward ever looked more interesting. Usually it's shot so flat and bland. The direction (and lighting) was actually pretty good in general.
Sat, Jul 11, 2020, 5:21am (UTC -5)
Sun, Jul 19, 2020, 10:01am (UTC -5)
If anything, I consider Data’s concern over Spot as a better demonstration of how human Data has become. Perhaps the purely logical/mechanical solution would’ve been to give Worf a program of instructions of how to care for Spot. Instead, Data worryingly tells Worf how to give Spot the best care possible.
“Some comedic moments were inserted like Picard's running gag with the admiral.”
A part of me agrees there is something comedic about the Admiral seeing through Picard’s charade of trying to conceal his disdain for attending the banquet. Another part of me finds it a bit unprofessional for the Admiral to assert Picard would be dishonest with a superior officer just to get out of a banquet. Picard is the Captain of a federation flagship. I would imagine most of the Enterprise’s missions have greater priority than a banquet. It’s not as if Picard has a desk job and works in the same building as the Admiral and the only time he’s on an away mission on a starship is when he’s been invited to one of these banquets.
If the two of them knew each other personally, I think the dialogue would be more sensible.
“Oh the ironies of Geordi finding unwanted attention uncomfortable. Maybe he would like to revisit his treatment of Dr Brahms. “
I have a very different interpretation of Geordi’s behavior. My impression was he considers it inappropriate for a junior officer to flirt with a superior officer, especially when they’re working in the same section on the same ship. Whether it be in the civilian or military world, romantic relationships between subordinates and supervisors are frequently frowned upon, if not prohibited by company policy or military regulations. If the Ensign was from a different department, I would agree with you more about the explanation for Geordi’s behavior.
Fri, Oct 16, 2020, 4:30pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 19, 2020, 5:09am (UTC -5)
The Enterprise's holodecks seem sometimes just to be an excuse for TNG to present 20th Century period pieces, but at least the Freud scenes were short. I didn't quite get the scenes with the young lady in engineering fawning over Geordi and they seem to have nothing to do with the plot, unless I'm overlooking some subtle allegory. I also don't get why Geordi wouldn't encourage it, she's delightful.
It's a bit of a stretch to think that an Android might work something out in his subconscious that he's not able to recognise consciously. It also seems to me that this episode has uncovered something of a serious flaw in Data's operation. He's susceptible to "waking dreams" that can induce him to stab other members of the crew with a lethal weapon. Just bizarre. At the very least, the episode should have resolved that problem. Even as a response to a very serious situation, it's hardly appropriate to carve up the ship's counsellor in an elevator.
Brave of Deanna to hand Data a cake knife at the end.
A lovely comedy touch in this one. "Tell him he's a pretty cat". A scene which exploits the contrast in Worf and Data's characters nicely. Totally illogical for an Android to ask a Klingon to express that to a cat. But funny.
At the conclusion, Picard says that he'd never "sacrifice" the safety of the ship, by rushing to the Admiral's dinner. I think the script must have said "compromise" and he got his line wrong. Either that or poor writing. Perhaps I should be a script editor.
And finally - yet another quasi-magic space creature. The universe seems to be teeming with them. At least they didn't inhabit someone's body and start talking to the crew. Nonetheless - am I missing something or do they just get killed at the end, there? Where's the usual Star Trek respect for life in all its forms? I'd have expected a bit of hand-wringing at the very least.
Anyway - a bit bonkers but original, amusing, intriguing and fun. Good one.
Wed, Dec 16, 2020, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jan 18, 2021, 3:07am (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 19, 2021, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
Sun, May 9, 2021, 8:34am (UTC -5)
Agree, enign Tyler is just some sort of filler / diverson. Perhaps there to descirbe "normal" life.
Episode, fun, but perhaps to many cigars. On the other side, comander Troi wearing old fashion male unterear would have been a to obvious Freudian slip.
Fri, Jul 9, 2021, 2:32am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 23, 2021, 9:38am (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 1, 2021, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
Also, there is a much less credible Mandela Effect I just made up, where I could have sworn Troi came in at the end with a whole cake and said, "Data, any number of planets in this quadrant are experiencing food shortages, or even outright starvation. I thought we'd spit in their eye with this massive waste of biomass, for the sake of a very mild callback gag."
And Data replies, "Speaking of eating people, Counselor, I am a literally tireless machine, programmed with endless patience and the ability to perform cunniligus. Why is there not a line outside my door at all hours of the day and night?"
Tue, Nov 16, 2021, 1:23am (UTC -5)
- the Admirals’ banquet theme (though what kind of miniature galaxy do they inhabit where they can converge for an event as if travelling across the States for a meal in New York?)
- Troi as a cake! Crusher sucking Riker’s brain though a straw!
Intentional or not?
- the absurd cliched caricature of Sigmund Freud which was of the “so bad, it’s funny” kind of scene.
- an android needing a counsellor!!!
- a Starfleet ensign’s work being affected by a crush on her chief!
Then it all comes crashing down to the banal with technobabbly “Interphasic” invisible cicadas being the cause of all the problems. It then becomes a standard “Enterprise has to deal with an alien menace” load of old cobblers.
2 stars for the entertainment value.
Sat, Nov 27, 2021, 12:04am (UTC -5)
Three episodes later, in Force of Nature, Spot is female.
Apparently that was the window during which "Genesis" was written.
Thu, Apr 14, 2022, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 26, 2022, 9:48am (UTC -5)
I know saying anything negative about Data is tantamount to blasphemy...
I mean, seriously... - haven't this guy's(?) asinine (by every definition) pursuits of "becoming more human" landed him and everyone else in enough hot water already?! How's about we leave well enough alone, slugger!
The technological/"science" part of this episode was okay but the dollar-store Freud and Diana "I Wish She'd Take a Day Off" Troi were annoying as all heck.
Two stars overall.
Data to Troi: "Thank you, counselor; I look forward to our next meeting."
Yeah: You, her, and NO-ONE else, buddy!!
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 8:57pm (UTC -5)
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