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TNG 4-18

TNG 4x18
"Identity Crisis"

Original airdate: 3/25/1991
Rewatch date: 2/21/2012

When members of a five-year old away mission start mysteriously disappearing, it is up to La Forge and his former crewmate to solve the riddle before they lose their humanity.

Spoiler-free notes:

In the recording from the USS Victory, La Forge and the rest of the away team are wearing older style uniforms from the first two seasons. Nice touch.

How come we've never seen anyone making a recording of any other away mission?

We're finally getting a little bit of La Forge's backstory. It's not much, but it's good to be reminded that every crewmember has served on other vessels and with other crews in the past. It's also good that this is a La Forge story that doesn't deal with his bad luck in romance, even though there is plenty of opportunity to shoehorn in some sexual tension between Geordi and Susanna, opportunity that the writers wisely do not sieze. I like that their relationship is more familial than romantic.

When Riker calls for Commander Leijten on his communicator, why does he say "Riker to Susanna"? Seems a little unprofessional to use her first name. Even La Forge calls her "Leijten" on his communicator.

Leijten is a commander, but she is wearing the pip insignia of a lieutenant commander.

Why do characters--Dr. Crusher in this case--get a self-satisfied smile when they think they've caught Data behaving like a human? It seems a little condescending.

The writers continue to find novel uses for the holodeck.

During the holodeck scene, what does La Forge see when he looks back at the light while his head is in the anomylous shadow? An invisible object causing a visible shadow makes no logical sense, although it does make for a cool reveal when the holodeck creates its simulated alien.

They bring out the icky needle-tipped headgear in sickbay when they are about to remove Liejten's parasite. We haven't seen it since "Shades of Gray."

La Forge has turned into a Predator!

Why does Data take so long to modify the emergency beacon? We know how fast he can work, and yet he's very slowly examining the lens and fiddling with the pieces like he's in no big hurry.

The make-up in this episode is really cool, as are the eyes that glow in the black light. This episode was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for a Series, and according to the DVD special features, LeVar Burton spent six hours being worked on by four makeup artists for his fully mutated look.

Number of episodes in which a member of the crew is subverted by an alien lifeforce: 14.

TNG 4x17
"Night Terrors"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
TNG 4x19
"The Nth Degree"
Copyright 2012 e. magill. All rights reserved.