Friday, March 24, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 90 (Galaxy's Child)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

It’s always amazed me how one ship could get into so much trouble practically every week for seven seasons.  It seemed like the Enterprise was getting the snot kicked out of it by some alien race or the crew was trying to get out of some bizarre trap.  In the third season, the crew found itself ensnared in an ancient alien booby trap.  Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge managed to get out of it by recreating the woman who designed the ship, Leah Brahms.  It was a pretty ingenious move, even if it should have taken a lot of energy.

In Galaxy’s Child, the real Leah Brahms comes on board to inspect the ship.  Geordi is asked if he’d like to greet her, which he eagerly accepts, expecting her to be like his holographic recreation.  Right off the bat, she’s rude and dismissive.  Two things should be evident:  Geordi is going to fail miserably at getting her to like him and, at some point after his accepting and acknowledging said failure, she’ll find the holodeck program and it won‘t look good.

Geordi comes off kind of like a stalker.  Because of the holodeck program, he knows things, like her favorite dish and design upgrades for the next class of ship.  After a series of awkward scenes of the two of them interacting, Brahms lets Geordi in on a little secret.  She’s married.  She has no idea how he missed it, but there it is.  Talk about embarrassing.  How could he have missed that?

Before Geordi can go off and sulk, the ship gets into some trouble.  The Enterprise encountered a space-dwelling life form that attacked the ship.  (Not a life form in a ship -- a life form that is as big as a ship.)  The Enterprise managed to kill the creature with minimum phasers, but discovered that the creature was pregnant.  Just as quickly as the crew can dub it Junior, the baby creature attaches itself to the ships hull and starts draining energy.

Captain Picard isn’t too keen on playing wet nurse, but he doesn’t have much of a choice.  He was willing to abandon the creature and only now realizes how defenseless it is.  It’s up to Geordi and Leah to come together, find a solution and maybe bond a little.  When all is said and done, they both have a laugh about it and Leah is on her way.

Several things occurred to me while watching this episode.  The first of which was how unlikely it is that an alien would live in space like this.  How could something evolve in the vacuum of space?  Is there really that much material between the planets?  Also consider how long it takes us to go between planets.  It takes us several days to get to the moon.  How long would it take an alien to move between orbits?  What if one of those things got too close to the gravity well of a planet?  Most importantly, how does a species overcome all these issues, only to be killed by the lowest setting of phasers, especially when it has a similar capacity?

I also noticed how quickly Picard got over the death of the alien mother.  When I say briefly, we’re talking a moment before and a moment after what was the commercial break.  Granted, it would have seemed much longer when aired on TV, but it is a very short time.  I know we don’t want to see the crew moping around, but they do at least try to redeem themselves by saving the baby.  Speaking of which, they were pretty quick to leave.  I realize that there aren’t really any space hospitals where they can just leave Junior on the doorstep, but still…

On a similar note, I find it odd that Junior was able to feed off the ship at all.  Wouldn’t it seem more likely that it would electrocute itself?  How embarrassing would that have been?  Instead, it drains power and basically cries out when the crew tries to dislodge it.  That’s when we get an angry mob of space-dwelling aliens, minus the torches and pitchforks.  (How do those things move in the vacuum of space, anyway?)

My biggest issue with the episode is that it’s one long, slow train wreck for Geordi.  Every interaction with Leah is her berating him and asking what kind of idiot would make these kinds of modifications.  He’s trying to be Mr. Happy and she’s beating him over the head with every little detail she finds.  And yes, she does find the holodeck program and watches the whole thing.  (Why the heck did Geordi save a recording of it?  I think she had a right to be upset about that one, personally.)

I’d say don’t buy this episode on VHS.  Put your money towards the season set.  There’s limited replay value and it’s not particularly good.  I hate episodes where it’s one bad break for a character after another.  Then again, that’s just me. 

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