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TNG 3-06

TNG 3x06
"Booby Trap"

Original airdate: 10/30/1989
Rewatch date: 10/2/2011

While studying an ancient spacecraft, the ship is caught in a deadly booby trap. To help find a way out, La Forge goes to the holodeck and creates a simulation of one of the Enterprise's original designers.

Spoiler-free notes:

The writers finally seem to have come up with an interesting way to use Geordi. Right from the start of this episode, you can see they are trying to appeal to the target geek audience, people who are into science but aren't very good with the opposite sex. They tried to use Wesley the same way in "The Dauphin," but with Wesley, there's all that adolescent hormone stuff getting in the way. As an adult, though, Geordi is a much better stand-in for the geeks watching the show, and this story--with him falling in love with a fictional, idealized creation that speaks to his love of the Enterprise--is something that those geeks can relate to.

In reference to the Promellian battle cruiser, Picard says it belongs in a museum. Is there a museum out there of ancient starships and civilizations? I want to go.

Picard talking about ships in bottles is a nice motif. After all, that's essentially what Geordi builds in the holodeck, and the steady carefulness one needs to assemble a ship in a bottle is exactly the type of skill Picard needs in the climax when he pilots out of the trap. (More in the spoiler section.)

Riker is in command for mere seconds when something starts going wrong. This seems to happen whenever Riker's left in charge, just like in "Samaritan Snare."

Guinan talks about how she likes bald men because a bald man was once kind to her. Is she talking about Picard, and does she have the hots for him because he's bald?

Again, I have to bring up translation issues. When Data and Picard access the log of the Promellian captain, how can they understand what he's saying? The only way this could be explained is if they somehow have knowledge of Promellian language, which is thus included in the universal translator software.

This is a good episode for a number of reasons. I like the way Geordi's character is finally explored, and I like how the writers continues to delve into the philosophical implications of--and practical uses for--the holodeck. The previous episode, "The Bonding," was originally going to be a holodeck episode too, but I'm glad they didn't go that route, because it would have lessened the impact here. I also like that we see Picard get giddy over archaeology. However, the constant technobabble is a little over-the-top and could alienate certain members of the audience. It doesn't bother me, because I don't see how the writers could have otherwise given La Forge and the holodeck Brahms something to talk about and bond over.

Spoiler section:

Of course, they hammer the ship in a bottle motif into the ground in the episode "Ship in a Bottle."

After this episode was written, it became inevitable that La Forge would eventually meet the real Leah Brahms. This happens in the fourth season's "Galaxy's Child."

TNG 3x05
"The Bonding"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
TNG 3x07
"The Enemy"
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