Star Trek: The Next Generation
Air date: 1/31/1994
Teleplay by Brannon Braga
Story by Jeri Taylor
Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
Beverly attends her maternal grandmother's funeral on a colony modeled after Scotland, where she finds herself drawn uncontrollably into a bizarre and unexpected tryst with ... a ghost. Okay, not really a ghost, because this is Star Trek. (It's an "anaphasic lifeform," blah, blah, blah.) But for all intents and purposes, yes, a ghost. A ghost named Ronin (Duncan Regehr) who, we ultimately learn, has been seducing the minds and cohabiting the bodies of the women in Beverly's family for generations. After season seven's endless parade of Family Tree Theater, this episode takes the cake — then blows it up with dynamite birthday candles.
Ah, "Sub Rosa." This may be TNG's equivalent to "Spock's Brain" — an episode so insanely, deliriously, hilariously, notoriously, transcendently bad that it manages to elevate awfulness to a sort of epic grandeur. Truth be told, I enjoyed watching "Sub Rosa" (granted, for all the wrong reasons) a lot more than I enjoyed watching "Homeward," but that's because I like to laugh at overcooked and overacted camp. The old adage "so bad it's good" was coined for just this sort of affair. I can't bring myself to hate "Sub Rosa" simply because it's way too goofy to be worthy of hatred.
Make no mistake — this is a terrible, terrible hour of so-called "science fiction" — but it's also a cheese-fest so absurd you almost wonder if it was meant in jest. (Note: I said "almost." I'm afraid it actually wasn't.) It appears to have been conceived as some sort of homage to 19th-century period romances crossed with haunted house stories. Where to begin?
- Beverly has an erotic affair. With a ghost. (No reason to bury the lead.)
- Beverly is warned early on by Ned Quint (Shay Duffin) that there's a ghost that brought her grandmother nothing but misery and bad luck, especially if she lit that dreaded candle. Helpful Quint dialogue: "Dahnaht laaght thaht caandle, and dahnaht goo to thaht hoose!" Beverly of course ignores these warnings. Then again, Quint is so urgent a Scotsman as to make James Doohan's Scotty seem restrained by comparison.
- No cliché goes unused as the writers and producers channel haunted house ideas that had clearly been simmering for years. Green lightning! Thunder! Wind! Faces in mirrors that aren't there when you turn around! Beverly getting possessed!
- Beverly's 10-Forward discussion with Troi about her supernatural paramour has a tone that pretty much translates to: OMG, HE GETS ME SO HOTT, LOL. Note to self for pitching the next spinoff series: Sex and the Saucer Section! Double LOL!
- Beverly resigns her Starfleet commission to go live on the planet full-time with Ronin, because erotic supernatural adventures just SCRAMBLE WOMEN'S MINDS.
- Quint is killed in the later acts by Ronin's sci-fi (or, if you will, ghostly) abilities, a victim of Screenwriting 101.
- Picard walks in on Beverly while she's very close to having an orgasm. With a ghost. Awkward!
- Hey, look! Graverobbing! And the animated corpse of Beverly's grandmother speaks!
- Gates McFadden turns in a brave performance while drowning in oceans of dreck. An overheated, hysterical and, yes, quite awful performance — but brave.
- There's probably a review to be written arguing how offensive this story is if you actually took its situation seriously. (Is Ronin a rapist? Is this episode misogynistic? Etc.) But I won't be the one to bother writing it.
- This must be the worst episode of the season. I don't remember "Genesis" being nearly this bad (nor as laughable), but we'll see.
- Did I mention Beverly has sex with a ghost?
Previous episode: Homeward
Next episode: Lower Decks
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131 comments on this post
Wed, Nov 14, 2012, 11:41pm (UTC -5)
Keeping with that bad-episodes-in-the-final-season parallel, "Genesis" is TNG's "The Way to Eden": an endurance trial. It could definitely compete with "Shades of Grey" as the worst episode of the entire series.
Wed, Nov 14, 2012, 11:49pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 15, 2012, 12:42am (UTC -5)
To me, the parallel with "And the Children Shall Lead" is much stronger. To me, that episode is TOS's worst, because it's boring and, like "Sub Rosa", it raises a lot of questions that go unanswered.
BTW, season 7 is really preparation for Voyager in good ways ("Parallels" was ripped off several times in YOY) and bad ways (do I need to draw the connection to "Spirit Folk").
And JB, who the F cares if this is one of Crusher's few episodes. It's still ridiculously bad.
Thu, Nov 15, 2012, 1:34am (UTC -5)
I'd also argue that this episode is at least objectively better (direction, pace) than "Eye of the Beholder" in which has all the problems of "Sub Rosa" and the only thing going for it is a brief Worf/Riker exchange which makes no sense after the reveal.
Thu, Nov 15, 2012, 1:35am (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 15, 2012, 6:00am (UTC -5)
And i disagree for Masks. For me it was a good and in some aspects even fascinating story at least for those who want to see science fiction not just (the overrated these days) character development.
Fri, Nov 16, 2012, 4:33am (UTC -5)
Fri, Nov 16, 2012, 9:30am (UTC -5)
Episodes like SUB ROSA, A FISTFULL OF DATA, GENESIS, and MASK are much more fun than most of the i-bring-back-a-family-member-never-seen-before-and-bore-you-to-death episodes :-)
Fri, Nov 16, 2012, 11:57am (UTC -5)
I find it wildly entertaining that the show mostly ignores sex for 6.5 seasons, and then suddenly has a show with 'ghost orgasms'.
Fri, Nov 16, 2012, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
Don't you have a negative stars option?
Sat, Nov 17, 2012, 1:06pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Nov 17, 2012, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Nov 18, 2012, 10:07am (UTC -5)
I've always found the idea of a colony explicitly modelled on Scotland an odd one - and I even live in Nova Scotia.
Sun, Nov 18, 2012, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Nov 19, 2012, 10:12pm (UTC -5)
But this one is just too stupid to be bad! Even at 12-13 I remember thinking "seriously"? But then when you take it for the joke that it is(that I thought it was, thanks for THAT Jammer), it is really quite enjoyable. I mean, during the third season did you really think you would some day be able to say the following sentence... "and Than Picard walked in on Beverly masterbating to her grandmothers candle"??? SPOCKS BRAINNNNN.
Now, guys, I am a defender of "genesis". It is nowhere in the realm of BOBW or yesterdays Enterprise, but come on, it is really fun! Who cares if the "science" of it is stupid. Did you jerks forget they are flying PAST the speed of light in EVERY episode. That is IMPOSSIBLE. I have long since stopped caring if things in Star Trek are possible, and more if the stories make sense and the acting and music are good quality. That is why I would take a "Genesis" or a "Code of Honor" any day of the week over most of the cathartic by the numbers non-sense of this season like "Force of Nature" or masks. I honestly would rather watch the entire 3rd season of TOS 3 times in a row non-stop before having to watch "force of Nature" or "Masks" even once!!
BTW, JB, if every episode a certain character is in sucks, that probably says something about the character. Now, I love Crusher as much as the next fan, but honestly her episodes are among the worst.
Also, quick controversy question. Why is "code of honor" considered racist towards continental Africans, and yet this is NOT considered racist towards Irish? Even though the stereotypes are at least 10 times worse?
Tue, Nov 20, 2012, 9:13am (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 20, 2012, 4:13pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Nov 23, 2012, 4:05am (UTC -5)
Sat, May 4, 2013, 2:04am (UTC -5)
Sat, Jul 20, 2013, 12:28am (UTC -5)
I believe it's "bury the lede." Don't worry, I only heard it on the radio and I thought it was "lead" also, and I worked in the newspapaer staff in high school!
Sat, Jul 20, 2013, 8:58am (UTC -5)
Granted, the Wikipedia entry mentions "burying the lede" right there, but I think you see what I'm getting at based on the origins. Or perhaps my whole reasoning is indefensible. Considering that I worked in newspapers so long, I should probably use the industry spelling that I'm stubbornly shying away from.
Mon, Aug 19, 2013, 10:21pm (UTC -5)
Yes. Star Dreck.
Mon, Oct 21, 2013, 8:56am (UTC -5)
Mon, Oct 21, 2013, 9:06am (UTC -5)
I also choose to interpret the last scene, in which Beverly tells Deanna "maybe it's too bad that I killed him rather than going to live with him and have ghost orgasms, because my grandmother was very happy" and Troi just stares at her, as being followed immediately by Troi saying, "Beverly, I was thinking, perhaps you should come see me for therapy. Every day. For the next several years."
I do like the way Riker delivers that line about the fog on the Enterprise -- "It just sort of rolled in on us, sir."
*One of the episode's many catastrophic failings is that Beverly basically transforms into a complete alternate version of herself with basically no explanation -- uh, so, he's an anaphasic life form, and that makes her...respond like a heroin addict undergoing withdrawal when he disappears for a few minutes?
Sun, Nov 24, 2013, 5:52am (UTC -5)
I do agree the story is odd and raises some uneasy questions. I think ultimately TNG wanted a stylized gothic romance episode and went with all style and no substance.
Fri, Jan 24, 2014, 9:28am (UTC -5)
2 icky things that nobody (in the episode) seems to question:
1) a 100 year old dating a 34 year old (without any hint or suggestion of gold-digging, not that gold-digging could exist in the moneyless Federation)
2) Beverly instantly hooking up with her dead grandmother's lover - coz that's not remotely weird is it?
Wed, Jan 29, 2014, 7:13pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Feb 8, 2014, 3:55pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 27, 2014, 8:06am (UTC -5)
To read the behind the scenes testimonials of the writers whose good scripts Jeri Taylor blocked (as an exec) while writing and approving this one herself makes you cringe.
Sun, Jun 8, 2014, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 8, 2014, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
Shouldn't that be enough to earn the presence of the genre at least a little respect? If the status of Jane Eyre and Weathering Heights are any indication, then the basic gothic romance has something to say about certain perspectives of romance, and beyond that, the human condition. And ultimately, isn't science fiction about commenting on the human condition?
Regardless of whatever flaws the episode's execution may have, I just don't see the reasons for the excessive knee-jerk negativity that's been directed against it over the years.
Sun, Jun 8, 2014, 6:02pm (UTC -5)
The problem with Sub Rosa isn't its stylised use of the Gothic genre, but its subversion of it-every (once must admit, clichéd) characteristic prop of the genre is here relentlessly replaced with technobabble explanations in order to shoe-horn the story into the Trekverse.
The appeal of the Gothic genre is in the psychological examination of a character subject to a perceived suspension of reality. In Sub Rosa, the majority of the story's content focuses upon debunking those mysterious aspects which in Gothic art must remain mysterious.
The remaining time for character analysis of Beverly is anæmic. Add to that a nauseating does of tedium and utterly goofy choices in execution and you've got a reliably laughable episode.
Sat, Aug 2, 2014, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 3, 2014, 11:47am (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
And we can put another nail in this episode's coffin. Apparently they were sued for plagiarizing an Anne Rice novel. I mean, the Trek crew denies it, but still not a good sign.
And not that this episode deserves this much thought, but whatever happened to the mantra of exploring new life? I mean, yeah, Ronin was creepy and possessive and violated about a gazillion of our little ethical codes, but to just up and kill him like that? You couldn't try to reason with him, Beverly? For shame, for shame.
Meanwhile, there was one bit of unintentional (or maybe intentional) comedy here. Beverly was telling Picard about her grandma's erotic affairs, and Picard commented about Howard women maintaining a healthy libido as they age. And the way he said it sounded like he was practically leering at her. And then when Bev mentioned that Ronin was 30 years old, Picard looked disappointed. Maybe I just have a dirty mind, but I couldn't help but think that Picard was hoping to test his theory about Howard women's libido with Beverly... Heck, I can imagine Patrick Stewart intending it to be that way.
In any case, that's about all the time I'm spending with this episode. I've already spent far more time with it than it deserves.
Sat, Sep 20, 2014, 10:53am (UTC -5)
Of special notice for hilarity are Picard walking in on Beverly's self-love session and Nana coming back to life in her coffin.
"Dinna light the candle" is one of those lines that have taken on a life of their own. So much awesome cheesiness.
My main nitpick is different than some others: how is it that the Howard women have kept their surname throughout the centuries? I wasn't too clear on that.
Eh, this wasn't made to be analyzed, it was made to be absorbed.
Sun, Oct 12, 2014, 3:07pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jan 1, 2015, 5:44am (UTC -5)
Oh, dear. You know an episode is going to be bad when you're rolling your eyes five minutes in, which I did during the clunky expository scene about the faux-Scottish Federation colony. The first laughs came nine minutes in with Shay Duffin doing a Scrooge McDuck impression. I cringed at the boring weather control scenes and Picard's joke about Beverly getting her nan's "affairs" in order.
For the rest of the episode I rolled my eyes, laughed, and cringed simultaneously. The gothic romance scenes are the kind of drek you would see on Lifetime, right down to the painful acting. Quint's death-by-green-lightning scene happens so fast you could look out the window and miss it, as though everyone involved was embarrassed and wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible. The climax with the zombie grandma and a page's worth of exposition from Beverly on "anaphasic life forms" was horrendously bad.
The only lasting entertainment I got out of 'Sub Rosa' was writing this comment, and sitting around trying to do a more over-the-top Scottish accent than Quint's. (I succeeded, but only just.) I would contend that Bev's motives for staying with Ronin, other than supernatural possession, were more about love than "mind-blowing orgasms"--although it's safe to say they were a factor. If this happened in real life, Beverly's reputation in Starfleet would never be the same, but thankfully it's just one episode of a TV show so it never had to be acknowledged again. I agree with Jammer: half a star for unintentional hilarity.
Wed, Mar 4, 2015, 12:42am (UTC -5)
My main problem with it is that it falls into the category of a female character having some evil dude dating them, which happens a lot.
I really don't think season 7 is a bad as some say it is, but I'd rank this one slightly below The Royale.
Wed, Mar 4, 2015, 7:27am (UTC -5)
I just can't help myself. :)
The episode is so ludicrous and over-the-top I have to sit back and smile. Yes, it is cheesy and badly written, but it is NOT boring.
I, mean, Picard walks in on Beverly masturbating!!! How can that NOT make you laugh?
Thu, Mar 12, 2015, 3:11am (UTC -5)
The episode Sub Rosa, was not even fun or entertaining in anyway... it was a total embarrassment for the writers, the actors, especially Gates Mc Fadden, and even more disappointingly, the direction, by Johnathan Frakes, whose episodes I usually enjoy the most... "Spock's Brain", as bad as it was, should have earned an Emmy, compared to this terrible episode...
Fri, Apr 3, 2015, 6:04am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 14, 2015, 12:52pm (UTC -5)
I did recognize a few little allusions to gothic literature thrown in for fun. For example, the colony's governor is named Maturin, presumably after Charles Maturin, an Irish writer of Gothic potboilers in the early 19th-century. Also, Beverly's Nana's caretaker is named Ned Quint, which is no doubt inspired by the caretaker Peter Quint in Henry James' superb gothic-inspired ghost story, The Turn of the Screw.
Whoever wrote this script is obviously a huge fan of gothic romance and ghost stories. The problem is, this is STAR TREK. The whole thing just didn't work. It would have been more plausible as a holodeck historical adventure. Or perhaps the writer should have penned an episode of HBOs Tales from the Crypt, which I think was still going on at the time. It's not a sci fi story.
Also, "anaphasic" is a stage in cellular mitosis. It has nothing to do with forms of energy. Sometimes I wonder if TNG writers ever took any science classes as kids. I mean, this is SCIENCE fiction after all.
Fri, Aug 7, 2015, 3:46pm (UTC -5)
I liked Josh's comment from Nova Scotia (that is to say "New Scotland")that a colony modeled on Scotland an odd one. I can just hear the pitch for it: "I like to think of it as Haggis for the entire galaxy!"
Possibly the only intelligent aspect of the episode was the title, "Sub Rosa", I had never heard of this latin phrase meaning below the roses as a secretive affair.
Mon, Aug 17, 2015, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Aug 20, 2015, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 23, 2015, 12:54am (UTC -5)
Is this episode misogynistic? I don't think so. It's no more so than any Harlequin romance story, or nineteenth century Gothic romance story or any Anne Rice story for that matter. Given that it's in the same genres that a lot of women enjoy (because women are the vast majority of the consumers of those genres) I doubt that it's misogynistic. I have a hard time believing that so many women would like misogynistic stories that much. I don't particular care for those genres myself, but that's just my thing. (I actually tried to read Anne Rice's "Interview with the Vampire" once and couldn't even get a quarter of the way through it. While I kind of liked the movie with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, the book was WAY too homo-erotic for my tastes. I mean, hey, to each their own, just not my cup of tea.)
Do I really need to go into what's wrong with "Sub Rosa"? Everybody knows what's wrong so what's the point of me just re-hashing it? Instead, I'll just focus on the few things I actually liked about it. Beyond the general "so-bad-it's-good" quality, I actually did enjoy the very beginning of the episode. That is, right up until Scottish Stereotype Man walks into the house and blows out the candle. (As an aside - dear God, could that man's accent be any worse? I don't know, maybe the guy actually does sound like that in real life or maybe that's how people sound in the Scottish Highlands - I've never been there so I'm no authority on the matter. But this just seemed so cartoonish. "Ye stay on in theese damn whoouse and ye keep that daaaaamn khandull." Really? Damn, Scotty's Scottish accent was never this outlandish. Imagine if O'Brien had a similarly ridiculous Irish accent. Or McCoy or Joseph Sisko having a stereotypical redneck Southern accent.) But, I did enjoy the fact that they were celebrating Scottish culture, even if it was chock-full of cliches. The intent was obviously to portray the culture in a positive light and I can respect that. Especially since, if the episode where made today, a bunch of idiots would probably accuse it of being racist (or promoting slavery or something) for celebrating a white, European culture or accuse it of something stupid like cultural genocide/appropriation for having the alien governor so enraptured by the culture. They even go so far as to have a churchyard cemetery and people doing things like saying "Amen" and crossing themselves at Crusher's grandmother's funeral. They're hearts were obviously in the right place. It's too bad the execution leaves so much to be desired. Second, I really respected McFadden's performance. You can't blame her for this episode's short-comings. And that's not just my Crusher fanboyism coming through. Just look at the dreck she was given to work with here. Not even Meryl Streep or Daniel Day Lewis themselves could make this script work. But, God bless her, McFadden gives it her all.
So, "Sub Rosa" has a few good things going for it and it does have a certain watchability factor, so while it is pretty bad, I don't think it's as bad as a lot of people make it out to be.
Thu, Nov 5, 2015, 1:54pm (UTC -5)
McFadden's performance is brave in so far as she throws herself into it, but let's be realistic, it is a terrible performance too. It looks a bit better because it's next to some really bizarre character choices - Groundskeeper Willie being one of the most obvious. It's so over the top and melodramatic, and it doesn't leave a cliche unturned. If it was knowingly fun - like a Darin Morgan X-Files - then you might forgive it. But played straight, it is just a complete shocker.
I think the worst episode I've watched so far. "Dinnae go intae that hoose" indeed. 1 star.
Sat, Nov 21, 2015, 11:41am (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 5, 2016, 10:28pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 21, 2016, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
As for a main character going mad and making a huge decision, The Doctor on VOY (also a Chief Medical Officer) did that when he had the chance to be a divo opera singer on that one planet. And he wasn't even getting holo-gasms from Seven of Nine! (Oh wait, there is a better one for this...I got it! He wasn't getting *borg-asms* from Seven of Nine).
And speaking of borgasms, I've been fortunate to have had chemistry with women like in "Sub Rosa," and I'll tell you that a woman experiencing that kind of pleasure will do almost anything. Add in a bit of mind control, and it's as plausible as any other Star Trek story.
Lastly, it really is a tragic end for Ronin, whom we can accept to have been completely sincere and honest in everything he said and did. I don't think he lied even one time! Paraphrasing: "So Bev, we can bond together. I've done this with every one of your ancestors. It gives me a warm place to stay. And you get literally endless mind-shattering pleasure. You good with that? It's totally win-win." To which Bevery moans her approval. Like any gothic character, particularly a Bronte one, Ronin is trapped in who he is, and as in Wuthering Heights, cannot change who he is. Tragic more than comical.
Oh, only thing worthy of complaint: Beverly identifies Ronin's candle flame as "plasma" ... Um, hey Bev, you're getting a call from Sir William Crookes (discoverer of the fourth state of matter); *every* flame is plasma. You'd best stick to your scalpels and leeches, and leave the real science to the men (you see? Now *that* was sexist! [and completely tongue in cheek for effect] — unlike "Sub Rosa").
Mon, May 16, 2016, 11:51am (UTC -5)
So, I remember liking this when it originally aired. I was a teenager then. Gates McFadden's acting is pretty good, and I think she's definitely showcasing more than her typical ho-hum Doctor character here. It's also fun to see an episode taking place in a luscious green forest.
But the guest characters are ridiculous. Besides perhaps TNG's "Up The Long Ladder", I don't think I've seen a worse case of European stereotypes. There's also some cheesy ghost story-telling, but I think I can write it off as being a product of romance novels of the time.
Tue, Jul 12, 2016, 6:30am (UTC -5)
I enjoy watching this episode. As was said above...it is anything but boring!
There were so many things about this episode that were awesome (or awful, whatever way you sway). A horde of Scots got tired of Earth & took off to their own planet. Beverly getting all hot telling Troi about her granny's smutty diary & erotic dreams. fog on the Bridge. Spooky house (sorry, hooose). Reanimated corpse. Bev does the junkie thing. Bev writes against walls & stairs, spooky graveyard...
And of course, one of the more infamous scenes of TNG....Picard walks in on Beverly getting her rocks off.
Too much camp fun in this episode to hate it!
Thu, Jul 21, 2016, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 14, 2016, 7:48am (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 15, 2016, 2:54pm (UTC -5)
Brannon Braga: Hey, Gates! Guess what? Next week you're getting your very own episode! Here's the script.
Gates McFadden: Oh great! Finally an episode of my very own!
Later that night...
Gates McFadden: Awww God dammit...
Sun, Oct 2, 2016, 9:46am (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 2, 2016, 1:08pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 2, 2016, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 2, 2016, 4:03pm (UTC -5)
In the spirit of William I'm trying to read that post as being some ironical statement about this episode being sexist in its portrayal of Beverly. It's not easy.
Sun, Oct 2, 2016, 5:09pm (UTC -5)
Well, also in the spirit of...me, maybe those posts are also some ironical statement about sexism and priorities:
"This bad episode reminds me, all women are liars and whores."
"He raises a good point, this episode is bad."
Mon, Oct 3, 2016, 9:23am (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 11, 2016, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
That being said, I agree with Robert. Don't feed the trolls.
Wed, Mar 1, 2017, 10:07pm (UTC -5)
However, this episode leaves me with some unanswered questions:
-Can aliens perform religious burial ceremonies for humans?
-Is Scotland really so interesting to model an entire human colony after it? I find it hard to believe that only one type of human culture has been preserved in this little colony for so long. It's almost as bad as the episode with the Irish colonists.
-How is it that something as important as a "weather control" system has gone without proper maintenance for 22 years? Can this governor not just ask the Federation to have someone drop by once in a while? Are there no regular transports to the colony that could take care of these things? He has to wait for someone to die, then bribe the captain of the flagship with a tour of the colony and a "hot meal."
-If they teleported the coffin from inside the ground to the top of the dirt pile that was previously on top of the coffin, wouldn't the displacement cause it to sink a little?
-How the hell has that candle been lit every day for 800 years? That is some seriously dense wax. Unless the creature-cough-(ghost)-cough lives in the fire itself somehow. But if it needs an organic host, why is it living in a fire? I really didn't follow the technobabble on this one.
-Why is it so often impossible for characters to simply "turn off" a beam? Just unplug the damn thing!
Mon, Mar 6, 2017, 10:29pm (UTC -5)
The three emergent theories are that (a) freelancer "Jeanna F. Gallo" blatantly stole Anne Rice's intellectual property, or (b) freelancer "Jeanna F. Gallo" legitimately had no prior knowledge of Rice's work, or (c) freelancer "Jeanna F. Gallo" is in fact a pseudonym for Anne Rice herself, submitted either for anonymity, or possibly as part of a legal cover-up to give the author credit and enable some sort of hush-money payments.
But. Beverly Crusher learns her Scottish family originally had the matriarchal surname Howard (Beverly Howard, Felisa Howard, etc.), and the Howard bloodline has a familiar-spirit that clings to and romances them from generation to generation, etc. Beyond the existing Witching-Hour parallels, I think this subtle reference is actually most damning.
ANNE RICE'S FIRST NAME IS IN FACT HOWARD. HER DRUNKEN NE'ER-DO-WELL FATHER PLAYED A CRUEL JOKE ON HER IN THE HOSPITAL AND WROTE "HOWARD" ON HER BIRTH CERTIFICATE. THE PLAGIARIST AUTHOR HAS PUT AN(OTHER) ANNE RICE IN-JOKE (THE NAME "HOWARD") IN THE VERY SCRIPT ITSELF.
To me, this suggests that Gallo must have intentionally plagiarized, or (as I am coming to guess) Gallo is Ms. Rice herself. A person claiming to be Ms. Gallo commented on Internet review www.agonybooth.com/star-trek-the-next-generation-sub-rosa-part-1-1497 -- you'll have to scan this for yourself, but (to me) her prose reads remarkably similarly to Anne Rice's 2004 flame-war with dissatisfied book fans on Amazon.com.
As a final Easter egg: the writer's name, "Gallo," might (or might not) be evocative of "Gallopinto," a traditional RICE and beans dish. I think all of these little tongue-in-cheek references speak to an identity-coverup.
Tue, Mar 7, 2017, 9:18am (UTC -5)
I read the review and reader comments that you linked, and I think there is a plausible alternative explanation beyond what you gave. It's possible the credited author did, in fact, write a spec scrip, as, according to her user comment, her version only had a couple of similarities to "The Witching Hour" (it being Scottish, and it being about a doctor). What might have happened then is Braga and Taylor read the script and said to themselves "Oh wow! This is just like that great Anne Rice book we read, let's change a few things so it's more like that! We already have the Scottish thing, after all!! lulz"
I would not put it past Braga to do something like that, and moreover, I don't really see why Anne Rice would want one of her beloved stories done on an hourly basis for a show that has nothing to do with her typical mythos. I mean, it's possible of course, but equally possible (despite the "Gallo" pun) that Braga and Taylor are the plagiarists and that the original spec script only had a passing similarity.
Mon, Mar 13, 2017, 11:48am (UTC -5)
Other than that, just have to say, still a better love story than Twilight.
Sun, Apr 16, 2017, 7:52pm (UTC -5)
Tue, May 30, 2017, 11:06pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 14, 2017, 3:12am (UTC -5)
How can it pass down through the Howard women? They change their name when they marry, there would be no line of Howard women after the first one married, unless it hopped onto spinsters and passed down to nieces or something, but it sounded like it went down through mothers mostly. Odd.
Patrick Stewart did a good job of conveying how horribly uncomfortable some scenes are for Picard while simultaneously appearing disgusted to be acting in them. You can kind of tell some of the actors are embarrassed to be in this one, ha. Some of McFadden's acting was truly cringe-worthy, but this episode doesn't deserve better.
I don't see why aliens couldn't perform human religious ceremonies, so long as they were also members of said religion (or even if they weren't, depending on the religion). This being TNG I don't think the funeral shown was religious in nature so much as a generic "you died" ceremony so the guy presiding over it was probably just someone important to the community or whatever.
Since Beverly has no daughters, would Ronin go after Wes when she finally kicked the bucket?
Sat, Jun 17, 2017, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
Sadly, there are a couple of episodes in which either Troi or Crusher finds a weird alien lover (or sometimes rapist), who turns out to have bad intentions. The previous awful installment was season 6's "Man of the people". Sure, it was kind of fun to see Marina Sirtis play a seductive, obsessive version of Deanna Troi, but that's the only positive thing that I can say about that episode.
About "Sub Rosa", I have pretty much nothing good to say. Except that I like the Scottish setting - so, 0.5 stars.
Mon, Jul 24, 2017, 7:44pm (UTC -5)
I loved the atmosphere from the Scottish colony to the storm to the appearance of all those flowers from nowhere. Definitely spooky. I also enjoyed All of Troi and Beveely's conversations and scenes with each other. It does start to come apart maybe with 15 minutes left. I didn't buy that Picard or Troi suspect more to Beverly's odd behavior. 2.5-3stars. It's mindlessly entertaining with lots of atmosphere that does a great deal for the episode Someone suggested that it would be better of Ronin was actually a ghost rather than the show trying to find a sci fi fallback of anaphasic being
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
Spock's brain does not make me sick.
Tue, Dec 12, 2017, 6:26pm (UTC -5)
And what does it say about Beverly's character -- that she falls for a ghost after experiencing something like sex and resigns her commission in Star Fleet?? Not a good message by Trek standards of empowering women.
I would say, comparing it with some other turkeys in the Trek cannon, that I wasn't bored by the episode. It wasn't as stupid as "Spock's Brain" or "And the Children Shall Lead" and it was no where near as bad as "Profit and Lace". It started off ok for the 1st 20 or so mins. when I was just wondering what the plot's going to be. Also not a bad idea for a colony to be created based on Scotland and the setup/house/scene wasn't bad.
Also, I thought McFadden put on a decent acting performance -- her anticipation of Ronin on the Enterprise, her orgasm in the house -- it's just that the whole premise for the acting is pretty stupid.
The ending is a shitshow with your typical cliches: of course the grandma pops up in the coffin, Crusher phasers Ronin as he approaches her. There was also the seriously Scottish dude warning about the haunted house and the heirloom light. It's not good when Trek resorts to portraying stuff typically associated with other shows and then tries to wrap it up in sci-fi (anaphasic energy).
1 star for "Sub Rosa" -- poorly conceived and actually a bad character episode for Beverly Crusher. Ronin was annoying as well. This is a major gaffe for the writer(s) though as I think they thought they had something worthy here, but it turns out to be an insult to Trek fans.
Thu, Feb 8, 2018, 10:14pm (UTC -5)
I know it seems wrong, but if you doubt me look it up yourself!
Sun, Feb 25, 2018, 8:14pm (UTC -5)
Also! I've always found it interesting how much hardcore trek fans hate this episode and how often I run into people who just watched TNG in reruns who actually quite enjoyed it.
Sat, Mar 10, 2018, 12:02pm (UTC -5)
I was cringing through every scene with Gates Mcfadden/Beverly Crusher in it...as usual!.
Which made me wonder if I'M the only one that tries to find episodes with her either not in it,or not in it much?. My search broughtvme here,and the Memory Alpha website. And I'm not theconly one I'm relieved to know.
The Sub Rosa episode is also imho the WORST of the worst. How this woman was kept on such an iconic tv series I'll never understand. I do know how she came to be on the show though, I just wish they'd left her out of it.
The parallels to Ann Rice's Lasher and Taltos and The Witching Hour hadn't ever occurred to me until reading the comments here. I've read those books and many others by Ann Rice, and I can absolutely see some similarities. Of course whether they're intentional or not we will probably never know.
This series TNG, was very good most of the time. But, when Mcfadden, Sirtis and the guy that played Wesley Crusher was on screen much eye roling and cringing was guaranteed.
Another cring inducing scene was when Crusher and Barclay were doing a play fir the crew, her line " 100 men!...such courage " is so utterly nauseatingly BAD acting!. No other words for that scene..at least no words of praise. Well, that's enough venting and complaining from me for one post. To the webmaster /site owner I say "Great website!!" .
Mon, Jun 18, 2018, 12:14am (UTC -5)
Sat, Jul 21, 2018, 7:21am (UTC -5)
It's forgettable, an average offering, neither particularly good or bad.
I think the identity of the main character for an ep has a lot of influence on enjoyment, and Beverly seems to be disliked by many, though I'm clueless as to why. Now Wesley, with the ludicrous "always smarter than everyone else" portrayal early on, I can understand. It's definitely irritating and sigh-worthy. But Beverly? I don't get it.
However I confess to a similar reaction to Riker episodes. With a few exceptions, I don't like them and feel bored and zone out.
Sat, Sep 8, 2018, 12:43am (UTC -5)
I don't actively dislike Beverly, unlike Wes she's not an annoying character. She's one of the prominent faces of beloved TNG, so I do like her, and of course she means something for Picard--but so I think ironically she does more to add some depth to Picard than to have any depth of her own.
On her own she's a pretty bland character, and I'm sorry to say Gates McFadden's acting is pretty poor. Certainly worse than Diana Muldaur as Dr. Pulaski. Beverly always is a character who I feel is underdeveloped and underacted.
I can see what they were trying with Sub Rosa, but it was doomed to failure because the whole episode was incredibly stupid and Gates McFadden was visibly overchallenged with the more eccentric acting it expected from her.
Sat, Sep 29, 2018, 4:26am (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 1, 2018, 3:36am (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 1, 2018, 7:59pm (UTC -5)
I like the premise of a story around Beverly's healer grandmother on a colony, but this wasn't the way to go with it.
Tue, Dec 4, 2018, 9:46pm (UTC -5)
I can sort of appreciate it as a half romance-novel half ghost story, but... the execution kind of ruins it, and this is supposed to be a *sci-fi* show.
Wed, Dec 5, 2018, 9:02am (UTC -5)
Wed, Dec 5, 2018, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 2:39am (UTC -5)
It's Season 7. The show is starting to flag, things are wearing thin.
Need to find a new audience. How about women?
How do you attract bored housewives to a TV show?
Single women engaging in soft core sex.
Sun, Apr 28, 2019, 6:53am (UTC -5)
Fri, May 3, 2019, 10:27am (UTC -5)
Wed, May 15, 2019, 9:52pm (UTC -5)
I am not interested in her erotic dreams
I do like mysteries but not fantasy bodice ripper damsel in distress stories with Fabian. Although I enjoyed the final graveyard scene.
Mon, Dec 23, 2019, 11:43pm (UTC -5)
*This* is how you repay me, huh?
Whatever the hell this was, it's definitely provoked a strong reaction from me. A thousand emotions stir within my heaving Harlequin bosom (that I just spontaneously have now): among them are "what are they DOING", "oh my god REALLY", and most powerfully of all, *"WHY"*.
Don't get me wrong, I had some laughs here -- mostly born from despair, but y'know, you gotta take what you can get. Among the most cackle-sob-inducing moments were Picard going "WOW BEVERLEY your HUNDRED-YEAR-OLD NAN sure could FUCK LIKE A CHAMP", not to mention Crusher regaling Troi with how uncontrollably turned on she is from reading... her aforementioned hundred-year-old nan's excessively detailed erotic recollections of her phantasmal sexcapades...
And yeah. The scene where Picard walks in on her when she's mid-getting off on ghost. My expectations had already plunged *below* rock bottom by that point, and yet. And yet. Good lord WHY.
Y'know, this is one of the times I'm glad TNG returns to the status quo every time the credits have rolled. If not? Well, I'm sure this would be the end for our dear Doctor Crusher, who has proven beyond a doubt that hot Scottish ghost action clearly outweighs every other petty concern that might exist in her life. Y'know, like career, duty of care, family (family that hasn't already been "ghosted"), et cetera. Her medical career goes down the drain from here on out; she spends the rest of her life chasing that ghostgasm high, but not even the deepest of sexual depravities can compare to the pure ecstasy that comes of being covered in green 90s CGI. How anyone thought this was even passable writing or that anything that happens here was a sensible character decision, I don't have a ghost of a clue. Ha ha.
I've written a lot more about this episode than I have about some of my favourites -- hell, a lot of the best ones I simply pass over without commenting, because the show and its reviews have already said all there is to be said -- but this one? Only up to a point could I take refuge in contemplating combinations of the words "Scot" and "erotica" (they *sound* like they should make a good portmanteau but they *don't*). I'm fairly sure something must've snapped in my brain, and if that didn't happen while watching the episode, it must've happened while reading that comment up above saying "Crusher doesn't have any daughters, so would the ghost have moved onto Wesley next".
Lord give me strength
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
I do not like Sub Rosa.
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 8:46am (UTC -5)
A well-developed Crusher would have been an interesting vehicle to carry these themes. She is - theoretically - a top-notch scientific mind who should easily see through Ronan’s thin disguise., as well as a human being who loved and lost her spouse and her only child. The conflict between intellect and emotion, cold reality and warm fantasy, could have been terrific.
But TNG has never developed Dr. Crusher the scientist. It has always played up Beverly as mother, caregiver, romance-seeker, worrier and creature of emotion. In this episode she is no different. She abandons reason without a moment’s hesitation - and were any of us surprised when she did? The trite work of rescuing the besotted, irrational damsel in distress falls to Picard. This same besotted-victim-of-love role was played by Troi in a previous episode. She too was rescued through no art or smarts of her own.
The episode ends without poignancy. Beverly is not humiliated by her folly, does not become harder or sadder or more risk-averse. And not for one moment (not even in the final moment when she notes that Ronan gave her grandmother lifelong joy) does she seem to mourn her lost sojourn in a country of passion and bliss, and her lost chance at lifelong love.
Side note: The episode right after this one is “Lower Decks,” which begins with this exchange in Sick Bay.
Ogawa: “My boyfriend seems wonderful... but you know how people in relationships sometimes fail to see things clearly?”
Crusher, puzzled: “No, Alyssa - what do you mean?”
Tue, Apr 14, 2020, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
I know he wasn't a character in this episode but O'Brien was referenced by a previous commentator.
Sun, May 3, 2020, 5:56pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 28, 2020, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
I can still watch Sub Rosa though, I don't even think it's "so bad it's good" but it's at least not boring, and the atmosphere is interesting. That doesn't mean it's not a turd. Troi was beyond useless, and I prefer to give her the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. Her conversations with Beverly were totally unprofessional and inappropriate, and her alarm bells should've been going off from the get-go.
Fri, Jul 17, 2020, 9:55am (UTC -5)
If "Sub Rosa" were an episode of Star Trek: Discovery or Star Trek: Picard, it would be a 3 or 4-star episode, easily.
Tue, Sep 8, 2020, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
Those movies are all so consistent that I can't compare one movie another without using a curve.
Tue, Sep 8, 2020, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
I don't mind Sub Rosa. Seven is the "experimental season" - the X-Files had one in (I think) Season Five. Xena had them littered through her last season.
TNG tried a lot of weird stuff, and at this point I just enjoy the characters' company. They can even crawl through Jeffries Tubes and talk about Spot the cat for half the episode. I know it's ending and I will miss them.
This is my first actual rewatch. I saw it live in the 80-90s and it was appointment TV. Since then I've only rewatched my favorites. So it's nice to find "lost" episodes. Even the ones that suck have value to me in small ways.
Another note: this isn't the first time someone walked in on Bev pleasuring herself. Wesley caught her during The Game.
Beverly might want to lock the door next time...move it into the bedroom.. just saying.
And didn't she tell Troi that Odan made her toes curl?
Maybe sex in the 24th is more open?
Tue, Sep 29, 2020, 9:38am (UTC -5)
Sun, Dec 6, 2020, 9:00am (UTC -5)
What an absolute load of old crap this episode is. A vain attempt to blend a creepy romantic ghost story with science fiction, via the medium of technobollocks. The plasma-based candle. The notion of the "organic host".
I quite liked the spectacle of Beverley vaporising the ghost-creature with a phaser. Good special effects. I liked the moral question-mark at the end, when she admits that the lifeform made her grandmother happy.
But that moment when the body in the coffin comes to life. Like a hilarious parody of a Hammer Horror. Buttock-clenchingly awful.
More importantly it's just ridiculous that Beverley would go along with a relationship with an "anaphasic lifeform".
I'm going to say the Robin Hood episode is still the worst TNG ever, though.
Mon, Dec 7, 2020, 10:15am (UTC -5)
This was not one of them
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 24, 2020, 2:55pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 10:38am (UTC -5)
I sense that if this was a season 1 episode it would of rated better amongst fans. I guess by season 7, the soup du jour for TNG was more inner personnel relationships between characters and a clear checkpoint of their character evolution (from where they started) and takes a peek into their origins, the family theme helps in that matter and so does the Pegasus episode in that matter.
So yeah, I just treated this episode as TNG making an attempt to rediscover it's goofy sci-fi roots from season 1, probably a 2 1/2 stars....
Wed, Jan 20, 2021, 7:21pm (UTC -5)
This one is just off the excruciating scale. They'd never get away with doing something like this in today's "me too" climate. Harvey Weinstein is an innocent babe compare to this vicious rapist ghost. At least he and his "victims" were in the flesh, so to speak, you could see Harvey coming at you, not sneak up on you unseen like a coward.
Gates McFadden should have just flatly refused to do it.
OMG. What were they all thinking?
Mon, Jan 25, 2021, 11:33pm (UTC -5)
Watching with my mom is very awkward....
Fri, Mar 19, 2021, 4:30pm (UTC -5)
I don't think anyone involved can have taken it entirely serious, and the result is definitely more entertaining than quite a few of TNG's serious episodes. McFadden clearly is hamming it up appropriately, and she's damn hot while doing so.
While the plot is obviously bad by any serious measure, the thing that annoyed me most was the part about being possessed was a "family tradition" of the "Howard women" that passed from mother to daughter? As if the daughters wouldn't lose the family name when they married?
But whatever, it's not as if there was a lot of sense here, although there was definitely some sensuality. The fact that Frakes who plays memetic sex god Riker directed this piece of pulp, only makes it more fun to think about what the shooting must have been like. Would love to see some outtakes/bloopers of this.
1.5 haunted candles
Sat, Mar 20, 2021, 6:03pm (UTC -5)
>1.5 haunted candles
I don't like using emoticons so I'll say this made me lol. I gave the episode a 4/10 and don't think it's anywhere near as bad as other infamous Trek episodes like Threshold or Shades of Grey.
Sat, Apr 3, 2021, 6:01pm (UTC -5)
Well not quite lost, but I couldn't get into it at all first run. So, finally really watching it was interesting.
I thought McFadden did a fine job. Even keeping a straight face while that hilariously stereotyped Scot talked was an achievement.
"Dinna light that candle!"
It sounded like a Simpson's caricature.
Sat, Apr 24, 2021, 6:14pm (UTC -5)
Mon, May 10, 2021, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
The real horror comes when you force yourself to rewatch it.
Sun, Jul 18, 2021, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 23, 2021, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 23, 2021, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 5, 2021, 3:52pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 30, 2021, 6:06pm (UTC -5)
Beverly was acting like a drug addict and I think they should have explored angle that a bit more. When she was impatiently waiting for her "ghost" lover on the Enterprise she was acting like a heroin addict jonesing for her next fix. It would also explain her abrupt change in life choices a bit more.
Finally, I have to wonder if you are trying to recreate Scotland, why in the 24th century would you recreate (approximately) early 20th century Scotland?
Sat, Oct 30, 2021, 6:20pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 31, 2021, 11:44am (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 31, 2021, 11:47am (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 31, 2021, 12:19pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 25, 2021, 3:15am (UTC -5)
As an added bonus, some of the worst acting yet from Gates McFadden.
45 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.
Kill me now.
Wed, Jan 19, 2022, 7:42pm (UTC -5)
[[the clunky expository scene about the faux-Scottish Federation colony]]
I thought Quint might say, "Welcome to All Things Scottish — if it’s not Scottish it's CRRRAAAP!"
Wed, Mar 16, 2022, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jul 3, 2022, 3:36am (UTC -5)
Seems like I made the right choice.
Tue, Aug 16, 2022, 3:12pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 14, 2022, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 14, 2022, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 14, 2022, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
You might notice that Dr Lucien Sanchez is played by Matt Berry, who, of course, now stars in What We Do in the Shadows.
Wed, Mar 8, 2023, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
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