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TNG 5-12

TNG 5x12

Original airdate: 2/3/1992
Rewatch date: 4/6/2012

Telepathic aliens who specialize in memory visit the Enterprise, but shortly after they arrive, members of the crew start having waking nightmares so vivid and intense that they fall into comas.

Spoiler-free notes:

I'm not going to spend too much time nitpicking it, but memory doesn't really work that way. Alas, I shall suspend disbelief and accept the premise, because I'm a good sport.

Those alien robes look like a kid with scissors got to them.

"Klingons do not allow themselves to be probed."

When Riker talks to a comatose Troi and remembers how their roles were once reversed, he is referring to "Shades of Gray." Riker's monologue in the scene starts out horribly cliché, but it recovers. It's good to see Riker worrying about Troi, because this scene would be conspicuous were it absent.

You only see Jack Crusher for maybe five seconds total--and he doesn't speak--but he's played by the same actor who played him in "Family."

Allowing Jev to probe Troi's memory seems awfully stupid. Even if you don't know that Jev is responsible--as nobody but Jev and the audience does--it is irresponsible to let the people who might be responsible have access to one of the victims. It's like letting a potential rapist visit a rape victim so that he can say, "See? She's not afraid of me, so I must be innocent. Can you leave us completely alone and unmonitored for a few minutes, so I can prove to you that I didn't rape her?"

I'm confused about Troi's memory of Riker after the poker game. Riker's memory and Crusher's memory both feel like completely real experiences that actually happened, but if Troi's memory is just as accurate, does that mean Riker got a little rough with Troi once? It's more likely that the actual rape part of the memory is an intentional confabulation, I guess; it just goes to illustrate the unreliable nature of memory.

Jev's a psychopath, telepathically raping people and then trying to frame his own father for it.

I love how Worf incapacitates Jev with a single bitch slap.

Number of episodes in which a member of the crew is subverted by an alien life-force: 18.

This episode would have been more effective if it were treated as more of a puzzle show. By including Jev in the memories, it kills the mystery. Besides, I think the memories would be more disturbing if Jev didn't appear in them, if they were just repetitions of increasing intensity and instability. It also would help Picard not seem like a total idiot for letting Jev do his thing with Troi, though it still wouldn't exonerate him. Having said that, I like stories that involve little snippets of backstory for our characters. We don't really learn anything new about Troi, Riker, or Crusher, but it's still pretty neat seeing these past events, especially Crusher's. There's also something very TOS about the structure of the episode in that it deals with a heavy real-world issue--rape--by using funky aliens as a proxy, and in that it ends on such a blatant moral delivered by the captain.

Spoiler section:

The scene where Troi is psychically raped is very similar to a scene in Star Trek: Nemesis, in which she is telepathically raped by Shinzon.

TNG 5x11
"Hero Worship"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
TNG 5x13
"The Masterpiece Society"
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