Friday, March 24, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 98 (The Mind's Eye)

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

One of the reasons I’ve chosen to rewatch the episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation is that, after 20 years, I have a very vague memory of them.  Case in point is The Mind's Eye.  I remember Geordi being abducted and eventually reporting to a Klingon, who was giving him an assignment to do something bad.  I didn’t really remember getting it the first time around.  Upon rewatching it, it turned out to be a solid episode.

It starts with Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge going to a conference on Risa.  Being that Risa is a vacation planet, he’s ordered to go a few days early so that he might have some time off.  En route, he’s abducted by Romulans and subjected to torture.   (An imposter is sent in his place.)  The Romulans are apparently looking to have La Forge as a secret agent onboard the Enterprise.

When he returns, he acts like he had a good time.  He tells everyone about things that happened, like attending conferences or going for a swim.  Also on board is a Klingon ambassador, Kell.  He’s being transported to a Klingon colony to look into a rebellion.  Supposedly, the Federation is supplying the rebels with weapons, which is something the Federation denies.

Governor Vagh has proof in the form of what appear to be Federation phaser rifles.  Further inspection reveals them to be of Romulan origin.  However, he intercepts a delivery of supplies from the Enterprise…which La Forge tried to beam down to the surface.  He was smart about it, erasing the logs, but this is further proof that the Federation may be involved.  Of course, La Forge heads up the investigation, eventually figuring out which transporter was used.

When he figures out everything that he did, he tells the Captain that he’s one of four people on the ship that could have done it and the only one without an alibi.  (I find it odd that no one questions that he was alone in his quarters.  No one even tried to ask the computer to verify this.)  It’s eventually revealed that the Ambassador is in on the whole thing.  He orders La Forge to kill the governor and take credit for everything.

There were a few points that I did wonder about.  I can see using a Federation ship to transport a Klingon ambassador to a Klingon colony.  Starfleet would want one of its own captains to be there to answer charges. It took me a while to understand a scene where La Forge deliberately spills a drink on someone.  (It’s a message to the ambassador that La Forge is good to go.)

The big cliché is that Geordi almost gets away with it.  Data manages to pull off the last-minute save, even though he figures out enough that he should have warned someone.  We have these E-band spikes that look suspicious.  Data ties them to someone using a VISOR (meaning La Forge) but doesn’t contact the captain or security or anyone.  Instead, he goes to the shuttle and examines it, then walks the entire distance to the cargo bay, contacting someone on the way.  La Forge walks up to the governor and is able to lift a weapon to him before anyone does anything.

Also, while La Forge is on the Romulan ship, we have a mystery woman in the shadows.  I’ve always hated this.  Wouldn’t you find it a bit odd if someone you were working with stayed where you couldn’t see them?  It’s eventually revealed who this woman is in the season finale two episodes later.  I understand that they may have wanted to save the surprise for the final scene of the season.  (It occurs to me that there is a legitimate reason, but I can‘t really explain without major spoilers.)  Still, it is a bit annoying.

The big thing for me is that the events of this episode are never mentioned again.  The chief engineer of Starfleet’s flagship is taken by Romulans and he’s not removed from his post, even temporarily?  He sees Counselor Troi about it, and they do make some progress, but you’d think that he’d be given a lighter workload or something.  I don’t recall it ever being mentioned again.

Much of the episode sets up the season finale.  This is where it’s hard to recommend VHS.  You’re better off getting the season set or watching the series streaming though Netflix.  It is a good episode overall, even if it took me time to realize certain things.  I’d recommend watching it, at least.

IMDb page

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