Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 155 (Interface)

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

We’ve seen Commander Riker’s father and Counselor Troi’s mother has been a recurring character on The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. We’ve also seen Picard’s family and we know a lot about Worf, his adoptive family, his son and his birth brother. Even Data has Lore and Dr. Soong. This is the only episode where we get to see any of Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge’s family. It’s been said that both of his parents were in Starfleet and that Geordi had to move around a lot, but that’s about it.

The episode starts out simply enough. La Forge is testing out an interface with a probe. Because he uses a VISOR, which is a special prosthesis that allows him to see, he’s perfectly suited for the job. He can see what the probe ‘sees’ and control it just by thinking. There are still a few glitches, but it does well enough under test conditions that it’s worth keeping around. When the Enterprise goes to rescue a science vessel, Captain Picard wants to use the probe to assess the situation.

Then, word comes in that the Hera has been lost. Geordi’s mother is in command of that ship. Geordi decides to keep working with the probe; it would take too long to bring someone else up to speed. The next time Geordi uses the probe, he sees his mother. She tells Geordi that she and her crew are trapped and they need the science vessel to be brought closer. No one believes Geordi; it’s too much of a stretch to think that his mother’s vessel is trapped so close to the Enterprise. Still, he insists that he sees her. Geordi is willing to risk everything to save her.

I don’t want to give away the ending. The truth is that the only point in watching the episode, really, is in finding out what’s really going on. The episode has very little replay value. Because of this, I can’t recommend buying the VHS tape. You’d be better off renting the episode or waiting for it to come on TV.

As I said, most of we know of Geordi seems to come out in this episode. In fact, I don’t even thing it was mentioned that he had siblings before this episode. Most of what has been revealed about Geordi has to do with his blindness and that is what drives half of the episode. The other half has no real meaning since Geordi’s mother was simply introduced. Any emotional connection is more with Geordi than with anyone else.

The episode seems to deal more with having to grieve without having a body to mourn. Geordi simply has to accept that his mother is gone. Had this episode been done earlier in the series, it might have led to some other story ideas. It might have even been possible to have the Hera show up on Voyager. (At one point, there was a second Federation vessel, but it wasn’t the Hera.) As it stands, we’ll never really know what happened to Geordi’s mother.

I have to give the episode two stars. The episode is interesting, but it doesn’t seem to be written too well. I think that it could have been done better. The acting is good and having Geordi control a probe is an interesting idea, but the probe interface falls into that category of Star Trek technology that is only seen once. It might have been interesting to have it used in other situations, even if not on the Enterprise. (I’d imagine that Geordi isn’t the only one with a VISOR.) Like I said: Don’t buy this episode. Rent it or wait for it to come on TV.

IMDb page

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