Warp Speed to Nonsense

Warp Speed to Nonsense

Monday, February 10, 2020

ST:TNG Season Four, Episode Twenty-Five "In Theory"

ST:TNG Season Four. Episode Twenty-Five "In Theory"
Production Order: 25
Air Order: 25
Stardate: 44932.3
Original Air Date: June 3, 1991

Picard's Log 44932.3: "We're going into this dark matter nebula - should be fun and not dangerous at all! Data is modifying a few photon torpedoes so we can shoot the nebula and get more info. Again, should be fun and not dangerous!"

Data and a Security Gold, Jenna D'Sora, are modifying a torpedo.
"You seem distracted today," Data notes. "Are you alright?"
Jenna admits that she ran into her ex in the lift, and he asked her to dinner. She relays that she told him she would consider it.
Data pauses, then reminds her that she asked him to tell her all of the reasons why she ended the relationship with this guy.
She rolls her eyes, but smiles. She did indeed ask Data to remind her about this shit, and he's being a good friend.
"He seemed unable to set aside time for you, never did "the little things," was unresponsive, you dislike the noises he makes when he eats soup -"
She cuts him off, thinking that she probably should have told her ex no.
Data states that this is the third time he has had to remind Jenna about why she shouldn't date this guy, and asks if she wants him to stop. She responds no, that's for her own good.

While they are working, he starts telling her about famous lovers in history. It's not uninteresting, but she asks how he was drawn to the subject.
"Six weeks ago, when you broke up with your boyfriend, I decided to look into romance as a form of human interaction."
Basically, he saw his friend was having a specific problem and researched the topic so he could help her.
Jenna is taken aback. She's probably used to her friends supporting her break-ups with sweatpants and pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and declarations that the ex doesn't deserve her, anyway. Researching the history of romance is kind of out of left field.
"That was... sweet of you?"
Data calls the bridge to tell them the torpedoes are ready, enabling the show to go upstairs to the bridge.

Meanwhile, Riker is acting like a little kid with ten fingers and a box of fireworks. "Gonna light up a nebula!"
Worf fires off the torpedoes.
They land, and the nebula flickers a bit.
Downstairs, Jenna is impressed. "It's like watching fireworks when I was a kid."

Wonder-filled music! Opening credits break!

Jenna, Data, Keiko O'Brien. and two others are giving a woodwind concert in Ten Forward. Jenna seems kind of distracted when they take their bows, and when Data asks if she's okay, she worries that her tempo was off. He assures her that this is not the case. He cheers her up by telling her that the piece is hard, and they can work on timing next rehearsal, but he's pretty sure no one in the audience noticed.

Later, they share a table with the O'Briens. Keiko tells a story about her husband leaving his socks on the floor, and Miles seems less than thrilled that she's teasing him like this.
(Though seriously, you're an adult sharing a living space with another adult, Miles. If you don't want to be teased, pick up your fucking socks.)
Jenna breaks in to this "happy couple" story by telling her own awkward "happy couple" story with Data. Basically, he came over to her quarters to practice music and remarked about her sloppy housekeeping that she "seem(s) to have an aversion to orderliness." They all laugh. In the meantime, Jenna has moved in close to him, and keeps touching his arm.

Picard and Riker approach Data at the science station on the bridge. He tells them that he's gone over the info they got from their illumination tests of the nebula, and he thinks life may have developed there in ways they've never seen. There are also several M-class planets in the area, and Picard says they should check them out while working on the survey.

There's a weird little scene here that doesn't make a lot of sense unless you watch the episode a few times. Crusher is walking through sick bay, and stops to look at the floor behind her after hearing a clink sound. A piece of handheld equipment is on the floor. She picks it up and puts it back on the table with the others.
End of scene.

 Down in the torpedo bay, Data is working while Jenna sits reminiscing. Why she's not working is beyond me. Anyway, she's telling Data about hanging out with her mother and brother after her father died.
"I wish we could go back there, just you and me," she says.
"Yeah, time doesn't work that way?" he reminds her.
She laughs and starts talking about how she needs to find a higher-quality man, and why can't she get a guy like him, because he's perfect?
"That is not true. I have no human feelings."
She describes how he is a supportive friend (spends time with her when she's lonely, encourages her when she's down, notes that he's kind to her), then gets up to leave. After a moment's thought, she leans down and kisses him on the cheek.
"You're very handsome."
He considers this, then goes back to work. He's not picking up on her hints, so she kisses him full on the mouth.
"See you tomorrow." She's trying to be just the tiniest bit coy, without realizing that it's totally wasted here. She leaves.
Data pauses, considering, then returns to the task at hand.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Guinan is in an empty Ten Forward, making what looks like green milk. Data enters, and she asks for his opinion on this new drink. He gives her a breakdown of the contents, and she notes that he seems distracted.
"Lt D'Sora just kissed me pretty passionately in the torpedo bay," he admits.
He's piqued her interest. This is some good-ass tea.
Guinan asks what Data thinks of her.
He gives a performance review of her work ethic.
"Yeah, no," says Guinan. "How about personally?"
Data admits that he looks forward to their time together.
"Ball's in your court, then."
"Oh. I need advice on what to do."
She demurs. "You can't really give advice on a first romance. You have to figure it out for yourself."
"Hmm. Not really capable of love," he points out.
"Then I guess it'll get interesting."

Data is headed for his quarters when La Forge catches up with him, carrying Data's cat, Spot.
"Did the door on your quarters not close properly?" asks La Forge.
"No, it's closed," says Data. "And the doors are programmed to not open unless there's a humanoid in front of them. The door wouldn't have opened for Spot."
They go into Data's quarters and look around.
"Was anyone in here while you were out?" asks La Forge.
But nothing is out of place, and when asked, Majel says that no one has entered Data's quarters while he was gone.
La Forge suggests making a report with Security about a possible unauthorized entry and starts to leave, but Data calls him back.
"Should I start a relationship with Lt D'Sora?" he asks.
La Forge pauses. He asks about Jenna's ex, and Data confirms that that coupling is kaput. La Forge fumbles for a moment, then advises Data to asks someone who gives better advice.

What follows is a series of Data receiving advice from various crew members/friends. Troi counsels him to proceed with care, as Jenna is a person with feelings, rather than an experiment that Data is running. He decides that maybe he should study more, then write himself a program on how to act.
Worf does the whole, "Lt D'Sora is under my command, and if you were to hurt her feelings, I would be very... displeased." Then he remembers that Data outranks him, and adds, "sir" to the end of his threat.
Riker, being Riker, tells him to go for it.
Data tries to get some advice from Picard but

Data's Personal Log 44935.6: "Okay. Have decided to do the thing."

Data takes flowers to Jenna's quarters, which are just as messy as mentioned previously. She thanks him for the flowers, and he tells her that Riker had recommended them, as "they had worked for him in the past." He holds out his arms for a hug, but in a stiff, Data way.
Startled, she asks if he talked to the entire ship about them.
Data: "No. In actuality, less than one percent of the Enterprise crew was involved."
He then goes on to explain that a program like this required not only study, but consulting those who had experience with romantic relationships. He then sits on her couch, has Majel dim the lights, and holds out his arm without even doing the fake yawn-and-stretch.

"Um, this is a program?" Jenna has clearly never dated an android before.
"More than that." He explains that he has carefully created a program-within-a-program, a subroutine, just for her, into which he has put considerable care and time.
She sits and tells him that that's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to her, and I don't know if that's lovely, or really, really sad. He swings his arm up to embrace her within the other (really, it's like a roller coaster bar locking her into place so she won't fall out), then cocks his head to the side so he can kiss her.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Up on the bridge later, Data tells Picard and Riker that they'll be at that first class-M planet in 11 hours, and Picard is like "cool" before putting Riker in charge and going to his ready room. Because when you're captain, you can wait out 11 hours in your private office, playing Candy Crush on your phone while your second in command stares out the window from the Big Chair.
But there's a problem. All of Picard's desk tchotchkes are on the floor. He pages Worf into the ready room and asks that he bring a tricorder. So now they're both on the floor.
Worf relays that the tricorder isn't picking up any traces of anyone but Picard on this stuff, and Picard suggests that they have a poltergeist. Worf is confused by this word.
Do Russians not know the word "poltergeist"?
Picard explains it, and Worf gives him a raised Vulcan eyebrow. A mischievous ghost? As head of security, this is not a thing he can take seriously. He offers to go to red alert.
"Eh, too soon. It's just a bunch of crap on the floor."
"Post a security guard outside the door?" He's convinced that someone broke in.
"No, it's fine."

Data is painting in his quarters when Jenna comes over. He's surprised to see her because their date isn't until later, but she was too excited to wait, because she has a gift for him: a Lucite sculpture.
He asks if she's giving him this gift because she had said his quarters were too spartan. She admits that she is.
So you gave him a Lucite sculpture?
"I thought it might brighten things up."
It's... it's Lucite.
She asks what he thinks of it, and Data, being Data, gives a thorough run-down by art specifications.
Honey, have you not met your boyfriend?
Unsure of what to do, she sees that he was painting, and comments, "oh, don't let me interrupt."
"Cool," he replies, and picks up his palette.
She starts to leave, but then turns and tells him that the truth is, when your girlfriend comes by to give you a gift, you stop what you're doing and give her your attention.

Okay, that's on you, lady. You told him to go back to his painting. Which Data then spells back out for her: she's using human-isms to date someone who is not human. And while Data notes that he "has much to learn," the fact of the matter is, that Jenna could also bridge that gap by recognizing that not everyone will pick up on her clues. She could also alter her perspective so that Data isn't doing all of the heavy lifting here.
They decide to deal with the gift, and she tells Data that the best response here isn't a critical analysis of the piece itself.
"I should look for a place to display it?" he suggests.
He finds a corner when the light is good for "accentuating contours."
She makes a maybe not face.
He places it on a table, talking about how a centralizing location indicates how much the giver is appreciated.
"What's important is that you're trying," she says. "That means a lot to me."
Girl, you could be trying, too.
She suggests that he return to his painting and - yes, she really means it this time - then turns to leave. She blows him a kiss. He stiffly returns a blown kiss.
After exiting, she pauses in the corridor to consider the encounter she just had, then decides it was a good one and smiles, walking away.
Oh hey, it's the B-plot.

After 11 hours have elapsed, Riker calls Picard out of the ready room and back onto the bridge. (How... how long are those shifts?)
"So we reached the coordinates for that M-class planet," explains Riker, "but it isn't there."

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

They discuss it for a few minutes, and Data says he doesn't know why the planet isn't there, but all the info they got earlier said it would be there, so there was no reason for it not to be.
And then it reappears.
"WTF?" asks Picard.
"Hey," says Majel, "there's no air pressure in the Obs Lounge."
"Whut?" asks Picard.
"There's no hull breach or life-forms in the Obs Lounge," Worf reports.
"Everything is now fine in the Obs Lounge," says Data.
"WTF again?" Picard demands. "Okay, let's go look and see what this is about."
So Picard, Riker, Data and Worf all pile into the Obs Lounge with tricorders and find the furniture and plants of the room all in a jumble against a window.
"There's a weird electrical current in the transparent aluminum of this window," says Data. "Like, there was a subspace occurrence, but the scans show none."
"Well, that's fucking annoying," says Picard. "Okay, we're gonna stay here until we figure out what's going on."

So in this next scene, Data is running his romance program, and he's not acting like himself. I've never met Brent Spiner, or seen many videos of how he acts when he's just being himself, but the best way for me to describe Romance Program Data is to say that it's Brent Spiner playing Data playing Brent Spiner. He uses contractions and his speech is more fluid and filled with different tones.
It starts out with Data walking into Jenna's quarters with a toolbox that I guess is a stand-in for a briefcase, and he calls out "Honey, I'm home!"
Do they live together? He didn't ring the bell. Did she program the door to recognize him and just open on command?
She comes into frame and says "Hi." He matches her tone in a goofy way and also says "hi." He kisses her on the cheek. She asks in a casual way how his diagnostic went, and he tells her in Regular Data Voice that nothing turned up. She replies that security's sweep of the ship turned up nothing as well.

She sits and takes off her boots. Romance Program Data asks if he can get her a drink. Then he compliments her choice in an oily manner. RPD is not my favorite. He gets drinks for them both and she gives him a White People Smile. Why is Data acting like this? He asks her in a regular voice if he can get her some dinner, and when she declines, he reverts back to RPD and says "Whatever you wish, dear."
Then he toasts her in a weird combination of RPD voice, but Regular Data wording: "Darling, you remain as aesthetically pleasing as the first day we met. I believe I am the most fortunate sentient in this sector of the galaxy."
Then he tells her to relax while he takes care of everything. He kisses his fingertip and pushes it to her lips, which she kisses with some hesitation. The whole time, she's like

He then starts cleaning her quarters while singing opera. He goes into her room, and drops RPD altogether.
"Do you want me to organize your closet for you?" he asks in his regular voice. He starts an explanation about grouping together like colors.
She tells him that he doesn't have to clean her quarters, and still in Regular Mode, asks what she would like him to do (slipping in an awkward "dear"), and asks if he has not been complimenting her enough. He sits next to her and, switching to RPD, tells her that her hair is silky.
She tells him that he's being kind of... weird.
Regular Data Voice: "Am I not acting like a solicitous mate?"

Jenna: "No, you are. You're just acting strangely."
Romance Program Data: (angrily) "Perhaps there is something wrong with you!"
Jenna is surprised. "I've never seen you behave so foolishly. Why are you doing this?"

Jenna: "What?"
Regular Data: "You are not my mother. That is the appropriate response for your statement that I am behaving foolishly."
Jenna asks him to leave, and he asks if she wants to continue their lovers' quarrel. In his research, he found that couples argue, and the aftermath brings them closer together.
"Oh," says Jenna, because what the hell else do you say to that? "It was kind of artificial though, not like the real you."
"I'm not capable of emotion," he reminds her. "In this case, there is no real me."
Jenna seems to decide to conduct her own experiment, and asks him to kiss her. Afterward, she asks what he was thinking. Along with rattling off a list of unrelated thing, he says "... the amount of pressure I could safely apply to your lips..."
"Glad I was in there somewhere?" she laughs nervously.

Up on the bridge, Picard meets with Data, Worf and Riker to go over what they've found: a bunch more weird incidents, but no damage or injury, and Data thinks he might be able to adjust the sensors to tell where these subspace anomalies are.
In the meantime, it's kind of like they're swimming in a pool of jellyfish, and Riker recommends that they move, and check out the nebula from outside of the danger zone.
Picard agrees and they make plans to leave, but an anomaly appears on Data's science station, and there's an explosive compression issue down near Engineering.

La Forge says the problem is between decks, and they're looking into it, but then there's an anomaly at a nearby station, and an electrical shock causes a Ops Gold to fly backward from the console. He's okay, but La Forge tells the bridge it was close. He's gonna take some people to check out the between-decks anomaly.
In the corridor, La Forge has the guy who almost bit the dust just now (Thorne), and another Gold (Van Mayter). He tells Van Mayter to go check out some ship part, and he begins assigning tasks to himself and Thorne as they walk away.
Van Mayter screams, and they go running back to her.

Dramatic music because WTF?! Commercial break!

Picard's Supplemental Log: "This weirdness has now caused the super fucked-up death of a crewmember. Data thinks he knows what's going on."

In the Obs Lounge, Data explains some hypotheses to Picard, Riker, La Forge and Worf. Basically, the jellyfish analogy is correct: the anomalies are phasing in and out of regular space, but they're all around, and also in motion. So when they come into contact with the Enterprise, that part of the ship phases in and out of space.
Data says he can reconfigure the sensors to detect when they're coming up on one. But only at super-close range. "The E isn't that maneuverable."
"A shuttle is," says Worf.
"Yeah, someone could pilot a shuttle in front of the E," suggests Riker.
"We could hook it up so the ship mirrors the controls of the shuttle, and we may be able to steer around them," La Forge offers.
"Make that shit so," says Picard.

They all go out onto the bridge (where Lt D'Sora is at Worf's station), and Riker and Picard briefly argue about who is going to pilot the shuttle: Picard says he's going to, Riker argues that it's his duty to protect Picard. In the end, Picard wins because he's the CO.

So they get everything set up: the shuttle controls the E's movements, the helm has sent over a nav course to the shuttle, and O'Brien has a lock on Picard in case things go pear-shaped. Picard starts out, and is able to dance around an anomaly. They're doing okay for a bit, but one of the anomalies brushes a nacelle on the shuttle, causing Picard to lose maneuverability. The nacelle is damaged, and Picard will have to steer manually, calling out the corrections, because they lost the link.
Not doing as well, and an anomaly appears on deck 15, with minimal damage. Picard is sweating now, and La Forge tells him that the damage to the shuttle is going to make things increasingly difficult.

 The shuttle is now spinning out of control. The immediate choice to beam Picard off is made by everyone simultaneously, but because he's spinning, O'Brien struggles to keep the lock.

Riker calls O'Brien, demanding to know if he got Picard. For the sake of building tension, it is a few moments before O'Brien answers in the affirmative. Data reports that they're pretty close to the edge of the nebula, and Riker tells the helm to gun it.
Picard enters the bridge.
"We're out of the nebula," Riker tells him.
"Great, let's get the fuck out of here," Picard answers.

And now, to wrap up the A-plot...
Data sets the table in his quarters for a quiet, romantic dinner. The lights are low, and he's lit a candle. Jenna comes in and makes note of the fact that he's decorated. She says "it looks great," a few too many times.
Data asks if she's distracted.
She sits down to break up with him. She tells him that sometimes people make the same mistake over and over again, and she only recognized today that she had done it again: she got out of a relationship with someone she calls "unemotional," then jumped into a new relationship with someone who is literally incapable of having emotions. She figured Data being "kind and attentive" would be enough to make up for it.
"I don't really matter to you," she says.
That's not... true, though. Data's friends do matter to him.
"Nothing I can say or do can cause you to be happy or sad."
That one is true, and Data admits as much:

He notes that he isn't quite as human as he wants to be... yet. He still doesn't quite get it, and asks if she's ready to eat. She says no thank you and gets up to leave. Before she reaches the door, it clicks with him, and he asks if they are still a couple.
"No, sorry," she answers, clearly upset.
"Then I will delete the program," he says.
She sort of half-nods, tells him she'll see him around, then leaves.

Spot hops in Data's lap for some scritches, and Data blows out the candle. And hopefully moves that Lucite sculpture back to the corner with the better lighting.

This is a pretty good episode. Not the best ever, but pretty good. Data, in trying to learn more about something that has to do with humans, sets out to study it further, but his usual tried and true methods fall flat because it involves emotion, something that he just isn't capable of. They've tried this kind of story for Data before in "The Outrageous Okona," where Data attempts to understand comedy, and thank fuck this episode turned out better. It's not that he didn't try hard. It's that love and relationships are completely illogical, and you can't use the scientific method to get there. In the end, while Jenna seemed very upset that he could not make the leap to where he needed to be, Data didn't seem terribly bothered by it. He simply filed it away under "requires further study." This really sums up Data nicely - his life and thought processes are fairly simple because he does not have to think about how he feels about things. No shower thoughts to ruminate over, because he neither feels, nor showers. His programming is not yet up to the challenge.

Buuuut that brings me to other things. When I view each episode first to get a feel for it, I often have one overall feeling that tends to shift as I go over it again bit by bit. My first feeling toward this episode involved the idea that it was no one's fault that it didn't work out. And that's still kind of true. There were some underlying issues, of course - Jenna not realizing that she tended to repeat bad dating habits, and Data not fully understanding the depth of emotions involved in romantic relationships, and that they cannot just be copy-pasted in artificially. But when I went back and combed through it all, I noticed that Jenna took it for granted that Data needed to do all of the learning and adjustments to her. She did not adjust how she did things or how she spoke in order to communicate with him. She used idioms that he didn't catch, and body language he didn't pick up on, and she played tiny games that humans sometimes know, but which androids would not. (How many people know that when a person says "don't let me interrupt," that you should stop what you're doing and focus on them? They've told you, point-blank, not to stop.) If Jenna isn't adjusting to her partner, is she really giving her fair share? Data checks in with her (in weird ways), but he most definitely checks in. Janna only does once - she asks if he found the solution behind the weird occurrences. Work stuff, only mildly personal. Not even "how was your day?"

The thing that really gets me here is that Data completely changed himself for the relationship - a giant red flag. He had no way of knowing that unless he went back to Troi, but the flags existed nonetheless. Janna noticed in a roundabout way, because the person Data became with the Romance Program was completely different to the guy she asked out. But had his program made him far more subtle, would she have noticed? I don't know.
I don't mean to get down on Janna here. She seems like a perfectly lovely human who has flaws and needs to examine what she needs from a relationship and how to give back to a partner. But I'm not sure she knew what to expect from an android boyfriend. Probably not what she got.

One thing I've never thought about before this episode - do Data's friends and coworkers ever treat him like a smart phone (lol, Android)? Jenna asked Data to remind her of why she broke up with her ex, which he does repeatedly in the service of being a better friend. We all ask friends to do this sort of thing for us from time to time, but here we have a walking, talking reminder machine, and I have to wonder... do people in Data's life take advantage of this, for better or worse? Could some forgetful person ask tell Data their to-do list, and then ask him to recall it later? Like, that could get rude. And Data, being a good guy, wouldn't think twice about it. He would never realize that he was being taken advantage of, until some well-meaning person pointed it out.

And now, a weird continuity complaint: Data tells Riker and Picard that it will be eleven hours until they reach the coordinates for that class-M planet. Picard goes to his ready room and leaves Riker in charge. The Enterprise-D runs on three 8-hour duty shifts for a 24-hour Earth day, so they should arrive at the planet three hours after the duty shift has ended, right? But when eleven hours have elapsed, they are all still on duty. You could say that Picard and Riker, being the CO and XO, could be called onto the bridge when they arrived post-duty shift, but Data was still on the bridge, Worf was still at his station, and Ensign McKnight was still at the conn. Why were they still on shift? Writer oversight? They could have chosen a much shorter length of time between their starting point and those coordinates to make it so the start point and arrival fell in the same shift. Bonus continuity weirdness: Data is shown painting in his quarters between the starting point and arrival. Was he on lunch break? It seems like at first his shift had ended, and he was painting after work, but then he's shown on the bridge at his station again at the end of that eleven-hour stretch, so a lunch break seems like the only logical answer here. Memory Alpha states that the scene where he goes to Jenna's quarters and acts weird is post-shift for him, and not enough time had elapsed for him to have worked another shift entirely. (I know that technically, he has stated that he wouldn't ever need to leave his station, as he has no biological needs like eating or sleeping or using the facilities, but McKnight and Worf both have those needs, so it's not a case of Data just working every shift.)

- Fun Facts:

- The writers wanted this episode just to be a straight character study of Data, but the formula for TNG is A Plot + B Plot, which means that they needed a B Plot. They came up with the subspace anomaly, but they all hated it, and felt that it didn't really need to be there. The idea behind A Plot + B Plot was that, even when you were with one plot, you would be wondering what else was going on inside this huge ship. While this device works well for some episodes, such as "The Mind's Eye" where the B Plot turned out to be an extension of the A Plot, with "In Theory," it really only served to hamstring the A plot.
- This episode marks Patrick Stewart's directorial debut. The directors get assigned episodes in lots, and Stewart was glad that this was a nice, simple story without a lot of large Klingon sets or political intrigue. He spent time talking to Jonathan Frakes and Edward R Brown, the show's original cinematographer, in preparation.

- Frakes felt that it was lucky that Stewart's first directing job featured Brent Spiner in the leading role, as he considers Spiner an excellent actor. Three of Stewart's first five episodes directed featured Spiner as the lead.
- Stewart: "I was a virgin then. Those seven days that I worked on "In Theory" were seven of the most exciting days of my career. They were so intense."
- Data uses several contractions when talking to Jenna after their relationship has begun, suggesting that he purposefully wrote them into the Relationship program, possibly as a kind of script. When arguing with Jenna, he yells, "You're not my mother!" When she is confused, he seems to drop out of the Lovers' Quarrel program and restates in his normal voice, "You are not my mother."
- This is the last episode where Spot is a Somali cat. Going forward, Spot will be an orange tabby.

- Data mentions that the windows in the Obs Lounge are made of transparent aluminum. This is the same material that Montgomery Scott used as a bargaining chip in The One With The Whales.
- This is the only time we see the inside of the Enterprise-D torpedo bay.
- Stewart named this episode as his favorite of the series.
- Writer Ronald D Moore felt that the A plot of this episode didn't get enough credit.
- The woodwind quintet that Data and Jenna perform in is Anton Reicha's Wind Quintet in E-Flat Major.
- The song Data sings while cleaning Jenna's quarters is from La Boheme.

Red deaths: 0
To date: 0
Gold deaths: 1
To date: 1
Blue deaths: 0
To date: 1
Unnamed color crew deaths: 0
To date: 11,000
Obnoxious Wes moments: 0
To date: 1
Legitimate Wes moments when he should have told someone to go fuck themselves: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Geordi moments: 1
To date: 9
Sassy Wes Moments: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Worf Moment: 1
To date: 5
Sassy Riker Moments: 0
To date: 7
Sassy Picard Moments: 3
To date: 15
Sassy NPC Moments: 0
To date: 1
Sassy Data Moments: 0
To date: 2
Sassy O'Brien Moments: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Crusher Moments: 0
To date: 3
Sassy Troi Moments: 0
To date: 7
Sassy Guest Star Moments: 0
To date: 5
Number of times that it is mentioned that Data is an android: 10
To date: 33
Number of times that Troi reacts to someone else's feelings: 0
To date: 19
Number of times that Geordi "looks at something" with his VISOR: 0
To date: 10
Number of times when Data gives too much info and has to be told to shut up: 1
To date: 2
Picard Maneuvers: 3
To date: 22
Tea, Earl Grey: 0
To date: 11

Baby girl Ange got adopted!

Monday, February 3, 2020

ST:TNG Season Four, Episode Twenty-Four "The Mind's Eye"

ST:TNG Season Four, Episode Twenty-Four "The Mind's Eye"
Production Order: 24
Air Order: 24
Stardate: 44885.5
Original Air Date: May 27, 1991

 Geordi's Log 44885.5: "Going to Risa for this conference thing, but Picard has insisted that I get in some fun time while I'm there. Not gonna argue."

Geordi is chilling in the shuttle on route to Risa, drinking a cool drink and listening to music. For some reason, even though he is off-duty, and going a few days early to get some R&R in before the conference, he's in his uniform. Is it because he's taken a Starfleet shuttle and is therefore a representative of Starfleet? I dunno. Anyway, it's his downtime, so I'm gonna call him Geordi instead of La Forge.
He asks Majel if he can play a game. And... and she asks what a fucking game is. Is the computer not an encyclopedia? Has it never been asked to play a game before? I seriously find that hard to believe. In the last episode, Odon-Riker asks for a specific drink from the replicator, and it sounds like the drink was Trill-specific, and it asked for a molecular recipe, and I get that. It's a Federation replicator on a Starfleet ship, so it won't have everything.
But not knowing what a game is?
So he explains what he wants, and she's like, "cool, I'll ask trivia questions, you get 20 seconds to answer, and they'll get harder as you go along."
Majel: "List the resonances of the sub-quantum states associated with transitional relativity..."
Me: "Whut?"
Geordi: "That's easy -"
Majel: "... in alphabetical order."
Geordi: "Whut? Okay, crap -"
He gets them, but he can't quite get the last one in time. I didn't understand like 90% of what she asked for, and he knew all of them within 25 seconds, so I'd still call that a win.
She asks a second question (of which I understand the word "warp"), and he starts to answer, but then


Geordi swings his chair around for funsies, and spots the Romulan cruiser.
"Whoa, shit! Shields up! Kill the music!"
(Seriously? She knows the phrase "kill the music" but not what a game is? Okay, I'll drop it.)
But it's too late. The shields fail, and Geordi is beamed off the shuttle.

Dramatic music! Opening credits break!

Picard's Log 44891.6: "We're escorting an emissary of the Klingon Empire to the Kriosian system. One of their colonies is fighting for independence."

Picard is in his ready room with Riker and Ambassador Kell. Kell is complaining that the Klingon Empire used to just squash uprisings like this, and now it's "tolerated."
Oh, wow. So sorry your people have figured out that peace is sometimes the way.
Picard, a bit surprised, asks if Kell is going to grant the colonists independence.
"Ehh, we got too much shit going on right now to devote energy and resources to put them down," Kell admits. "We can re-conquer them later if we feel like it."
I roll my eyes at this, and wonder if I am feeling a bit too anti-politician at the moment to watch this show. "We'll give you freedom now because it's more convenient, then take it back when we feel like it" is certainly honest, but also makes me want to cut a bitch.

"Why am I here?" Picard asks bluntly.
"The governor of Krios says that the colony uprising is receiving aid from the Federation," Kell explains. "I'm going as a rep from the Council to see if that theory holds any water. I picked you to come with me because a lot of Council members have respect for you."
Picard humbly thanks him in Klingon, and says it has been his pleasure to help in Klingon matters before. But he does say that he doubts that the Federation has interfered here.
"I hope so!" says Kell. "It would completely destroy our alliance!"
Picard starts to tell Kell that he'll go ahead and set Worf to work on reports for this shit, but here comes Kell with the fucking discommendation discrimination bullshit, and the "I don't want to work with this guy because he isn't fit to wipe my boots blah blah blah."
But like before, Picard lets Kell know that that shit won't fly with him, that Worf is a trusted member of his staff, and the best person for the job, and honestly, this is how you get employees to do their best work.
We've all had garbage managers that just let clients or customers or other employees talk shit about us, and the manager shrugs it off and lets them get away with it. And are you willing to go the extra mile for that manager? Of course not. This is why people die for Picard. Why they willingly walk into dangerous situations for him. Why Worf asked him to be second to him when he was forced to go before the council. And why, when my friend was lamenting being let down by celebrities and heroes, stated that she only trusted Picard. Picard has never let her down.
Riker looks at Kell in that same way that says that isn't putting up with that crap, either.
Kell smiles with his mouth, but not his eyes.

Picard knows your Council's dirty little secret, so maybe don't be a whiny
little petaQ, mmmkay?

Back on the cruiser, a pair of Romulans have forced Geordi into some kind of creepy torture-device chair and strapped him down.
He is welcomed by the oily Taibak who, according to the script, is either a doctor or a scientist. Maybe both. He's certainly a Romulan military officer of some kind, because he's wearing the Working Girl shoulder pads that come standard-issue in that group.
Geordi starts slinging the sarcasm.
From out of the shadows steps a Geordi look-alike in a Gold uniform, probably a Romulan who has undergone plastic surgery. He puts on a VISOR and leaves. Taibak tells him not to enjoy himself too much on Risa, and now we know that this doppleganger intends to takes Geordi's place at the conference so no one will be alerted to his absence.

The Roms take Geordi's VISOR.
"I want to show you something," says Taibak.
"Yeah, that'll be a neat trick," snaps Geordi. "You basically stole my eyes."
"Nah, gonna do something fun," Taibak replies.
He starts talking to some unknown Romulan commander that we can't quite see, cuz they're standing in the shadows. It seems that the chair that Geordi's strapped to has hook-ups to his cerebral cortex, and he's feeding Geordi god-awful images of others suffering. And Geordi, being a good guy, is reacting by flinching and moaning. This is not enjoyable.

Taibak switches the image. Now Geordi is looking at a spring meadow, and his physical reaction changes. His heartbeat slows. This image is pleasant. Taibak apologizes to Geordi for making him watch those other shitty images, and it's very much in the same attitude and tone as Count Rugen recording Westley's response to torture in The Princess Bride. Or, you know, how one would assume Nazi doctors reacted when torturing innocent people for "medical reasons."
You know how I complain when they show the Roms doing a whole lot of dick-waving, and the Federation is like, "those guys are terrible," and I respond "whatever"? If you tell me that someone is terrible, I need to see it, or I won't be convinced. Now I'm seeing the Romulans doing something uber-shitty, and I can believe that they're terrible. (Or at least, these particular Romulans are. I'm guessing that your average Romulan cafe owner is perfectly lovely.)
Taibak gives Geordi that crappy images again, and explains that once he's finished his "conditioning,"Geordi will act normally, and that he'll be "a great tool."
I think you're calling the wrong person a tool, Taibak, but go on.
"Will there be physical evidence of what you did?" asks the Shadowy Commander.
OOOH! That voice is familiar! If you've seen these episodes, you know who it is, but I'm not saying anything here because

Taibak assures her that no one will know anything is wrong with Geordi, and that he was chosen specifically, because they can fuck with the existing neural implants Geordi's parents put in so the VISOR would work. No one will suspect. And they're going to put him through a bunch of tests both before and after sending him back to the E, just to make sure that he'll do what they want him to do.

On the E, Kell and Worf are working in the tactical laboratory concerning the uprising and which ships the rebels have attacked and where.
"They'll attack a freighter, but I doubt that they'd do anything to a Federation ship," Worf remarks.
"They might be okay with a Federation ship if they were getting aid from them," says Kell in a sly voice, as though he's being clever and not one of those aforementioned tools.
And you know he saved that shit specifically for Worf.
"Are you insinuating that Picard has lied to you?" demands Worf. "If he says there is no aid from our side, there isn't. Do you think I would be disloyal to Picard and give you information because I have no honor in your eyes?"
I gotta admire Worf's ability to hold his temper here. Every fucking Klingon who has come aboard this ship has given him shit about that discommendation. And then Satie and Sabin, a human and a Betazoid who presumably who have no fucks to give about Klingon culture or politics, did the same. They treat him like crap without knowing who he is, or how he treats others, and give him hell based on what they think his father may have done when he was a small child. It's like when people treat others like garbage for Doing Anything While Black. Or currently, Being Asian At A Time When A Disease Is Going Around That Originated In China.
Stop being a racist piece of shit. Quit discriminating against people for things they can't control. In fact, if you are a racist piece of shit, quit reading my blog. I don't need your clicks.

So, Worf. Constantly hassled by assholes. I'd have decked someone by now, but dude keeps his cool. Credit to him, and the Rozhenkos, who probably spent a lot of time patiently telling him that he couldn't go around dropping people.
Kell gives him some fake-ass non-apology, and as Worf starts to exit, he mentions that many members of the Council would thank him for killing Duras, as he probably would have become Head of the Council, and a lot of them didn't want to deal with his shit.
"I did it for personal reasons, not political," Worf states firmly.
"So what?" asks Kell. "You acted like a true Klingon that day."
Worf just kind of gives a little formal "good day to you" nod and leaves, because why the fuck does he care if Kell thinks he acted correctly or not?

Down in Ten Forward, O'Brien is having a drink and a chat with a couple of other Golds, but then it turns out to be not Ten Forward, because Geordi, now back in his VISOR, is standing near the bar with Taibak and some of his cronies.
Taibak is asking him questions ("How long have you served with Chief O'Brien?", ect), and then he's all "take this phaser, and kill Chief O'Brien."
"Cool," says Geordi. He takes the phaser and walks to the table, but then he pauses and looks back at Taibak. "I, uh... I just...?"
Taibak messes with the equipment he has on the bar, and you can see the readout on Geordi's VISOR alter slightly. "I said kill Chief O'Brien."
So he does.

"Now have a drink with your friends," says Taibak.
And Geordi politely asks the remaining Golds at the table if he can sit with them. The Golds, who have not reacted to the death of O'Brien, cheerfully tell him to sit down. He takes O'Brien's chair and finishes his drink.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Picard's Log 44896.9: "Orbiting Krios, waiting for a meeting with the governor. La Forge has come back from his conference on Risa."

Data meets La Forge in the shuttle bay, and La Forge tells him that Risa was awesome, and that the conference was great. They go to the bridge, where Data presumably has a shift, and Picard introduces Kell to La Forge. Picard and Riker then tell La Forge that the Kriosian governor has accused the Federation of aiding the rebels, and they'll need his help in getting to the bottom of things. He replies that he'll help however he can, and Troi accompanies La Forge off the bridge.

Governor Vagh tells the E that he is ready to receive them, and Picard and Kell head for the transporter room. Data calls Riker over to his station to tell him that he's getting weird signals in the E-band readings. They briefly discuss what might be causing it, and Riker orders a scan from Data.

Troi walks Geordi back to his quarters, asking for details about his trip.
"I sense something special happened."
He lists off banal things, like swimming and walking and taking second place in a chess tournament, but she's just bursting to know what better tea he has to spill.
He pauses at his quarters. "Her name is Jonic," he grins. "Bye, Counselor."
He disappears inside, and she's left in the hall, saddened that he wasn't willing to give her better gossip than just a name.
I'm gonna pause here and ask, WTF? Did Taibak invent some memories of Risa and implant them, or did the weird surgically-altered Romulan double give his memories of his time on Risa over to the cause? If so, how did the double's memories jive with Geordi's brain? Like, would they have made the same choices, and if not, would the real Geordi have asked, "why the hell did I do that? Doesn't sound like me"? If the double did give his memories of the trip, what of Jonic? How far did they go? Surely she had no idea that she was getting down with a surgically-altered Romulan and not a human. Was the double weirded out about sharing that kind of thing? I mean, if I were him, I would have avoided those kinds of activities on purpose so as not to have to share them, but that's me.
And if the double was just meant to be a placeholder, and none of his memories were given to Geordi, then that means that Taibak assigned some flunkies to write some memories of Geordi's missing trip to implant in his brain, and the choice was made to give him a romantic encounter.
Does a woman named Jonic actually exist? Did she "make some memories" with the double, which were then shared with Geordi? Or did the double come back and describe her to the memory-writing flunkies, who then created a 24th century Sim to implant in his brain? Or maybe they made her up completely? Is this another Leah Brahms situation? WHY DO THEY GIVE ALL OF THE FUCKED-UP ROMANTIC ENCOUNTERS TO GEORDI?

Down on Krios, we meet Governor Vagh, and he is pissed. He wants to put the smack-down on the insurgency, but Kell tells him that it doesn't matter what they think, because the High Council wants to keep the peace. Vagh accuses the Federation of aiding the rebels.
"We don't do that," states Picard. "Tell us your proof."
"We found Federation medical supplies in their hideouts."
"The Federation doesn't restrict access to medical supplies," says Riker, practically rolling his eyes.
"Yeah, how about weapons?" demands Vagh.
He throws a phaser rifle at Picard.
"Fuck me," mutters Riker. "That does look like ours."
Picard requests that the rifle go back to the E for examination, but warns that if it's genuine, it probably came from a third party. "We're not in the business of arming rebels."
"Fucking convenient, as this is the only Klingon colony on the border of Federation space," Vagh snarls. "Krios getting independence would make you less vulnerable to attack."
"Bitch, I thought we were friends?" says Picard.
Vagh swears at him in Klingon. Picard swears back at him. Swearing in Klingon is kind of a fine art, and Vagh is actually impressed when Picard does it well.

La Forge takes a tour through Engineering, checking the specs of everything and congratulating his crew on doing an awesome job while he was gone.
(Again, this is how good managers keep employees.)
There's a cool shot here next to the warp core. He gives them a routine thing to do before the shift ends, then excuses himself to "take care of something."

La Forge goes to Ten Forward and orders a drink. When the camera pans across the room to follow him, we see that Chief O'Brien is sitting at a table by himself working on a padd. La Forge orders a red drink like the one O'Brien was drinking in the simulation earlier, and we see him look at O'Brien via the VISOR, watching the Romulan information change. The audience asks what will happen, especially when the dramatic music swells in the background. His objective was to kill O'Brien, right? But he doesn't have a weapon, just a drink. La Forge approaches O'Brien from behind, then promptly pours the drink all over the chief's shoulder.
Both immediately react with "WTH?"
Kell, Riker and Crusher, at a table nearby, look up in surprise.
La Forge, confused as to why he did that, apologizes profusely. O'Brien, convinced it was an accident, smiles and brushes off the incident, saying that it's no problem, and he can just swing by his quarters and change.
La Forge is left standing in Ten Forward with a partially-empty glass, wondering wtf is wrong with him.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

We're back in Engineering with La Forge and Data, and they're checking out the phaser rifle. They fire it into some equipment to test it, and everything looks fine, but then Data notices that it's way more efficient than normal. They fire it again to look at more numbers and notice that it's been charged in a way that Starfleet and the Federation do not charge weapons.
"How many species charge weapons like that?" asks La Forge.
"327," Data replies.
"Uh-huh. And out of those 327, who has the most to gain from a conflict between the Klingon Empire and the Federation?"

Down on Krios, La Forge puts the phaser rifle on the table in front of Picard, Kell, and Vagh. "Romulans made these. They look like ours, but they had to charge it with their own energy sources."
"Krios is too far from Romulan space to be useful to them," Vagh argues.
"They don't want Krios," Picard answers. "They want us at each other's throats so they can do evil shit unchecked."
"Typical Romulan ploy to sow distrust," replies Kell. He thanks La Forge for figuring it out.
"I want my own people to look at the phaser rifle," Vagh insists.
Picard promises full cooperation from the E.

Data is sitting at a science station when he is approached by Riker.
"I found more e-band emissions, but it's coming from a few different places," Data tells him.
"Do the Romulans use e-band for communications?" Riker asks.
"I don't think so? But if there are more, we can use the primary sensor array to track where they're coming from."
"Make that shit so," says Riker.

La Forge is in cargo bay 4, doing his brainwashed double-agent thing, moving isolinear chips around, rerouting power, and making sure that Majel erases everything he's doing as soon as it's completed. Then he beams an entire crate of weapons down to the surface of Krios and walks away.
He shows up on the bridge a few minutes later and casually strolls to his station.
"Vagh calling," announces Worf.
"Picard, WTF?" Vagh barks when he comes on screen. "We caught you transporting weapons to the surface just now!"
"Wait - whut?" demands Picard.
"Don't leave orbit!"
A bunch of Klingon ships uncloak in front of the Enterprise.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

After some searching, Data confirms that weapons were transported down a little bit ago, and La Forge, working furiously at his station, tells Picard and Riker that he isn't sure how it was done, but that the records are blank, and it was done in a very round-about way.
"Not that many people on board could do it."
Kell enters the bridge and tells the group that he's convinced Vagh not to attack the Enterprise until they've heard from the High Council, but they only have a few hours until an answer arrives.

In Engineering, Data and La Forge discuss how the transfer could have been done when there were no power drains on any of the transporters on board. They start checking all of the drains on power at that exact time, and trace it back to cargo bay 4. They call Worf to meet them there, maybe thinking they will catch the culprit in person?
They meet up in the cargo bay, where O'Brien runs a diagnostic on the transporter. Nada.
La Forge suggests how it might have been done, but it's complicated.
"Who could have done that?" asks Worf.
"Maybe me," says La Forge. "Um, O'Brien? Data? Lt Costa?"
"Where were you guys at the time of transfer?" Worf asks.
Each of those people has an alibi with witnesses, except La Forge: "I was alone in my quarters."

Data and La Forge report their findings to Picard and Kell in the ready room: everything was erased, but the isolinear chips were tampered with, and things left an almost-indetectable trace. If they keep working at it, they could maybe find the perpetrator's authorization code.
La Forge admits that, of the people who could have done this, he is the only one without an alibi. They talk more about how to find the culprit, and La Forge says cargo bay 4 has had some heavy traffic that day, so it could be any number of those people.
Riker calls Data: he's found more e-band emissions.
"What's that?" asks Kell.
"Maybe Romulan communications," admits Data. "We're looking into it."
He and La Forge leave.
Kell suggests to Picard that he extend and invitation to Vagh to come up to the ship to witness the investigation himself. When Picard wonders if Vagh would accept, Kell says he will convince the governor to come.

Vagh is enjoying a Klingon feast in his quarters when La Forge shows up. Then the Klingon gives the whole damn thing away, via instructions to the head engineer: La Forge is in danger of being exposed too early because he and Data are doing a good job hunting down clues, so Kell will go to get Vagh and bring him to the E. La Forge should kill Vagh with a hand phaser and claim that he's acting on behalf of Starfleet, in support of Kriosian independence.
La Forge simply says, "I understand," and leaves.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Geordi is sleeping fitfully when he wakes in a sweat and frantically calls for O'Brien. But when the chief finally picks up, a baffled Geordi apologizes for disturbing him.
Geordi goes to sick bay (again in his uniform - is this hours later, just before his shift starts? Or does wardrobe just not have that many off-duty outfits for him?). He tells Crusher that he can't sleep, and she does a quick exam, scanning him with her diagnostic tools. The normal battery of questions, plus asking about his VISOR, ect. She says he's fine, but she'll get him something that will help him sleep.

Up on the bridge, Data tells Riker that the calls are coming from inside the hooooouse!
"E-bands emissions from inside the E?" asks Riker. "You sure?"
"Yep. First two on the ship, then a third on the surface of Krios."
"So we have a spy on board, now maybe a covert signal? That's some shit. Can you find out where it's coming from?"
"I'll give it the ol' Academy try," Data promises.
Riker leaves, and Data asks Majel if the e-band emissions match up to any kind of communications.
She confirms no, then he expands the search, and she eventually tells him that it matches to brain waves in humans.
"What kind of receiver would you need to get those e-bands?" he asks.
"The kind that carries electromagnetic signals to the brain."

La Forge grabs his hand phaser and leaves his quarters.

Data goes to the shuttle bay and links Majel to the shuttle's computer, then asks for weird log discrepancies. When she turns up nothing, he asks about anything else that's weird.

Now La Forge is traveling in the lift, accompanied by Dramatic Music!

Data asks Majel if the physical structure of the shuttlepod is different.
"Yeah, it's got stresses from being towed by a tractor beam."

Dramatic Music! follows La Forge down the corridors and into cargo bay 4. Picard is showing the Klingons around - Kell, Vagh, and two bodyguards.

Data calls La Forge, but doesn't get an answer. Data leaves the shuttle bay and asks Majel where La Forge is. When she responds "cargo bay 4," and La Forge does not answer, he skips straight to Worf.
"Take Commander La Forge into custody immediately."
Worf is confused and quietly asks, "Sir?"
"That is an order," Data replies.
Worf is up on a scaffolding ladder, and has a great view of cargo bay 4: the Klingons, the Starfleet officers, and Geordi La Forge steadily approaching the unaware group. But when he hops down and tries to move past the Klingon bodyguards to La Forge on the other side, the bodyguards start a fist fight.
Worf manages to yell out "LA FORGE!" before Picard turns around, sees the weapon, and grabs La Forge's arm. The phaser goes off, but is now pointed at the ceiling.

Picard takes the phaser, but La Forge does not struggle. Vagh looks startled. Picard tells Worf to take La Forge away, and the bodyguards grudgingly give him up to do so. Vagh is immediately accusatory, because hey, it looks bad. Picard says he wishes he could explain, but here's Data coming from behind, and he says he has answers.
"Hey so, I think Romulans kidnapped La Forge on his way to Risa. They conditioned him to behave a certain way, and have been sending e-band emissions to his VISOR to give him directions."
"I saw no Romulans," says Kell, trying to salvage his FUBAR'd spy mission. "He was acting alone."
"Why would the Romulans want me dead?" scoffs Vagh.
"The Roms want to destroy our alliance," Picard tells him for the thousandth time. "If Commander La Forge had killed you, it probably would have meant war."

"Who sent the signals?" demands Kell. "A cloaked Romulan ship nearby?"
He's grasping at straws to save this shit. Maybe he can't start a war between the Klingons and the Federation, but he can throw the Romulans under the bus.
"Nope. Had to be closer than that. There were only two people with La Forge all three times I detected e-band emissions," says Data. "You, Ambassador... and Captain Picard."
"They might be hiding an e-band transmitter. We could search them," he continues to the group at large.
Well, now this has fully spiraled out of Kell's control. "Hell no, you're not searching me! I'm a member of the High Council!"
"Cool," says Vagh. "We'll take the ambassador back to the planet, and search him ourselves."
The bodyguards grab Kell, and he panics. "Captain, I want asylum!"
"You can have asylum with us... when you've been proven innocent," say Picard smoothly.
The Klingons beam back to the surface.

The ship leaves Krios.
La Forge and Troi are in her office, and he's struggling to coincide the fact that he's been brainwashed into assassinating the Kriosian governor with the fact that he didn't actually go to Risa.
"But I remember being there! There was this Andorian waiter, who couldn't get our orders right...!"
"It'll take a lot of time to untangle this," she says gently. "Let's talk about the shuttle. What was the first thing you did when you saw the Romulan ship? Did you call for help?"
"No, I -- damn." And he realizes that there was a Romulan ship, and all of his Risa memories are crap.
He's at a loss for words.
And the ship continues on, to slightly sinister music.


Not gonna lie: I like it so much better when my sci-fi touches on things that are relevant today, but are not actively destroying my hope in humanity. This episode is pretty good. Some intrigue, some politics, and some psychological fuckery. Plus, we get to see the Romulans actually doing something worthy of the title Big Baddie. Previously, they didn't do anything. They just talked a big talk, and everyone gasped. Maybe history provided them with reasons to gasp, but the audience doesn't have that privilege. We have to take their word for it that these guys suck. So now we have them doing things. And they're extra-shitty things. Things that you would actually gasp at, because hey, psychologically conditioning someone to assassinate someone else is some straight Nazi shit. Good on ya, Romulans, for walking the walk. (It'll get worse, but no need to go there yet.)
There were definitely some loose ends here, like with the memory/double thing, but those are not issues of canon. Those are things that one could use to create a lively debate in fan chats. They aren't necessary to make the story make sense.
Overall, a nice little episode that could be a one-off but ends up become part of a larger arc later.

- Fun Facts:

- This episode was inspired by the film The Manchurian Candidate (obviously 1962, and not 2004). First-time director David Livingston was a fan of the film and tried to get an actor from it to appear as an extra in this episode, but he was unsuccessful. However, he did set up several shots in this episode in a similar way to the film.
- Livingston was excited to direct this episode because it contained a lot of short, action-filled scenes instead of longer, dialogue-filled ones.
- The title for this episode comes from Hamlet: "A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye."
- The Familiar Voice is not actually attached to the Familiar Actor it goes with here. The Shadowy Commander is played by Debra Dilley. The Familiar Voice was then dubbed over the actions of the Shadowy Commander, but not credited.
- Larry Dobkin (Kell) directed the TOS episode "Charlie X."
- John Fleck (Taibak) will appear more than seven times between guest starring roles on DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise.
- The Type 15 shuttlepod that Geordi takes to Risa is the Onizuka, named for astronaut Ellison Onizuka, who died during the Challenger explosion in 1986. A tiny replica of the shuttlepod Onizuka was on display at the Ellison Onizuka museum in Onizuka's hometown of Kona, Hawaii.

- The guy playing Geordi's Romulan double was uncredited, and referred to in the call sheet by his last name only - Aikins. I thought maybe he might be a photo double for LeVar Burton, or a stunt double or something, but nothing came up like that. And he doesn't even look like La Forge. The Romulan plastic surgeon is like "Eh, he could pass for a Somalian human, good enough." I would accuse the Romulan surgeon of being racist, but you just assume that he's that kind of asshole, you know?

- This is the first episode where Majel Barrett receives credit for being the voice of the computer.
- This is the first mention of the Kriosians, who are not actually Klingon. They will appear in season five on TNG, and then again on ENT.
- Ambassador Kell wears the same sash worn by Kamarag in movies 4 and 5.

- This is the first time we see the Klingon and Romulan transporter effects.
- In this episode, Krios is blue. But in the fifth season episode "The Perfect Mate," Krios will be green. When the Kriosians appear again on ENT, the differences will be explained by calling one of them "Krios Prime," suggesting that the two colored planets are not the same.
- The star chart describing Krios and the surrounding space will later be reused in season 5 to describe the Typhon Expanse.

- The matte painting used for the Kriosian city was a reuse of the matte painting city used for "Angel One." Klingon details were added to make it different.
- The footage of the three Klingon ships was a reuse of footage from the episode "Reunion."
- This is the first appearance of the Type 3 phaser rifle.
- Edward Wiley (Vagh) will appear again as a Cardassian in DS9.
Debra Dilley Appreciation post: in addition to playing the shadowed Romulan commander, Dilley appeared as a Vulcan handmaiden in the third TOS movie, as an unnamed ensign in no less than 12 episodes of TNG, a Klingon pilgrim, and a double episode as a Borg drone (also TNG). She worked as a stand-in and photo double for Gates McFadden. All of her Star Trek work went uncredited (wth?, but also big ups to the people at Memory Alpha for tracking down her work and making her an MA page).

Red deaths: 0
To date: 0
Gold deaths: 0
To date: 0
Blue deaths: 0
To date: 1
Unnamed color crew deaths: 0
To date: 11,000
Obnoxious Wes moments: 0
To date: 1
Legitimate Wes moments when he should have told someone to go fuck themselves: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Geordi moments: 4
To date: 8
Sassy Wes Moments: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Worf Moment: 0
To date: 4
Sassy Riker Moments: 0
To date: 7
Sassy Picard Moments: 0
To date: 12
Sassy NPC Moments: 0
To date: 1
Sassy Data Moments: 0
To date: 2
Sassy O'Brien Moments: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Crusher Moments: 0
To date: 3
Sassy Troi Moments: 0
To date: 7
Sassy Guest Star Moments: 0
To date: 5
Number of times that it is mentioned that Data is an android: 0
To date: 23
Number of times that Troi reacts to someone else's feelings: 1
To date: 19
Number of times that Geordi "looks at something" with his VISOR: 9
To date: 10
Number of times when Data gives too much info and has to be told to shut up: 0
To date: 1
Picard Maneuvers: 0
To date: 19
Tea, Earl Grey: 0
To date: 11

Bratty got one of those fancy wool cat caves and likes to
lord it over everyone else.