Attached - Crusher is gossiping about Nurse Ogawa to Picard over breakfast. He doesn't care (why would he.) The Enterprise is travelling to a planet named Kesprytt 3 to admit half of the planet (The Kes) to the Federation. The other half (the Prytt) are isolations and won't be joining. Picard and Crusher are to beam down to meet hte leaderover the Kes, but they're kidnapped by the Prytt and end up in a cell together with devices implanted in their heads to read their minds. The Kes Prime Minister (or whatever name their using for the leader of the planet this week) comes up to the Enterprise to plan a rescue mission. Riker wants to talk to the Prytt but the Kes leader says that's impossible. He's also really paranoid and doesn't want Worf handling his security. Picard and Crusher escape with help from a Kes operative. They have to run through some (mostly offscreen) fire in an unexciting action sequence. The Prytt refuse to speak to Riker and the Prytt prime minister won't tell Riker the details of the escape plan. Picard and Crusher find they can hear each other's thoughts due to the implants. Picard gets hungry because she's hungry! They try to put some distance between them but it makes them feel sick. These implants sure have a lot of side effects!
Picard and Crusher find themselves getting closer due to their shared thoughts and feelings. The Kes leader grows increasingly paranoid and fills his quarters with security devices. He accuses Starfleet of being in league with the Prytt as Picard and Crusher haven't mad it to the Kes side of the border yet. Picard and Crusher discover that they both hate having fancy breakfasts. Crusher discovers that Picard was attracted to her even when she was married to Jack and he's felt guilty about it ever since. Picard promised himself he'd never tell her after Jack died and tried to stop her from being placed on the Enterprise. Riker arranges to have the Kes and Prytt leaders meet on the Enterprise. They both accuse Riker of secretly working with the other. They each accuse the other of moreand more stupid things will Riker grows frustrated as he just wants to know where Picard is. Riker tells the Kes leader that they will not be joining the Federation any time soon due to their paranoia and tells the Prytt that if they don't hand over Picard and Crushere there will be more starships coming to the planet to hassle them soon. Picard and Crusher get to go home and confuse Riker by sharing jokes that he can't hear. Picard and Crusher have dinner. The implants are removed now but they admit they miss hearing each other's thoughts. Picard says that now that they know how they each feel they shouldn't be afraid to explore it. They kiss but Crusher says maybe they should be afraid and leaves. So everything stays the same as usual!
The episode is decent enough as Picard and Crusher are a fun pairing. It just doesn't take any risks. The scene where they discover each other's feelings is good, but I kind of always knew that Picard used to have the hots for her and she probably knew it too. Then they kiss at the end but it deosn't lead to anything. Riker dealing with the annoying aliens is fun. There's nothing really wrong with the episode, it's pretty good. But that's all it is.
Force of Nature - Geordi has borrowed Spot as he's thinking about getting a cat of his own. They talk about Spot. That's the teaser. That's everything that happens before the credits. Two guys talking about a cat. The Enterprise is looking for a missing medical ship in an unusual area of space. Then we get lots more of Geordi and Date talking about irrelevant stuff (engines.) Seriously, they just go on and on. They start talking about Spot again. I love Spot but I'm fucking sick of it. They're literally just filling up time. The Enterprise finds a Ferengi ship with an inactive warp drive. The Ferengi attack for some reason but the Enterprise easily shuts them down. The Ferengi Daimon accuses the Enterprise of disabling them. He explains that a Federation signal buoy disabled them. Then we get another pointless scene with Data, Geordi and Spot. GET TO THE PLOT. Then they talk about engines some more. ARGH. The Enterprise is disabled like the Ferengi ship and boarded by a man and woman who say "We're trying to make you listen. You're killing us!"
They're brother and sister scientists who have been disabling ships to get attention (Picard points out that they should have just told the Science Council but apparently the Science Council are crap.) The sister has dedicated her life to proving that warp drive damages their area of space. Her brother didn't believe her at first but she convinced him and he thinks the same could happen to Geordi. The sister gets angry at another delay and says she'll prove warp drive is dangerous. She casues a warp core breach on her ship and it does cause a subspace rift. Couldln't she have done this without killing herself? There probably would have been a way! The medical ship (remember that) is caught up in the rift and must be rescued. Geordi wonders how he and Data could have missed the face that warp drive cause the rift. Geordi admits that he felt a little threatened at the idea of warp engines doing damage. The brother scientist talks about how they'll have to learn to change now that they know warp drive is dangerous. The medical ship tries to go to warp but that just makes the rift grow wider and the Enterprise is trapped inside. The Enterprise escapes by "surfing" on a distoriton wave. The episode tries to make this exciting but I've already checked out. There's a big meeting and Picard gets a message from the Federation saying that a speed limit of warp 5 has been placed on all non-emergency warp travel until a solution for the crisis can be found. I'm sure they'll stick to that in every future episode of every series!
It takes TWENTY MINUTES for this episode to start its plot. It's ridiculous. It's because there was going to be a plot where Geordi's sister came onboard to help him deal with the death of their mother, but they dropped that and needed to fill up the time with something. So we got pointless Spot stuff. And then the actual plot isn't all that great either. It's pretty interesting, the idea that warp drive damages space, but it's hard to care when you know they'll never stick to the "speed limit" thing. And the sister killing herself seemed a bit needless. Really is is just boring and bad.
It's also bad because it's obviously an attempt at an allegory to the pollution/climate change problem today, but it doesn't really make any new points. All it shows us is that we are still selfish polluters hundreds of years from now, and that we mostly pander to those who try to call us out on it. Just like today. SO GLAD WE ARE SO MUCH MORE EVOLVED IN THE FUTURE...
Inheritance - The Enterprise is at a Federation planet suffering from earthquakes that will destroy the whole planet soon (or something.) A human woman Julianna (Fionnula "Mrs Squawking from Lost" Flanagan) is one of the scientists trying to stop the earthquakes. And she claims to be Data's mother! She was Doctor Soong's wife but Data doesn't remember her because his early memories were wiped. Her story is kind of convoluted (there was only room for two people in Soong's escape pod so they couldn't take Data, okay?) but I blame that on the sketchy origin story they gave Data back in season one. Data thinks her storydoesn't make much sense either but Geordi suspects the memories of her could be in the emotion chip as Soong included memories in it. Julianna is happy whens he thinks Data is having sex with Troi. She tells Geordi how baby Data used to run around naked because he didn't understand clothes. Data and Julianna do science stuff together. Data plays the violin for her. Data tells her about Lal (yay, continuity!) Data admits he might create another daughter some day and Julianna is worried because Soong created three prototypes before Lore who all died. She confesses that she was against Data's creation after they lost their first four children, but realised she was wrong.
Data starts to notice strange things about Julianna. He asks her if she would have walked out on him if he was her biological child. They play their instruments together for everyone in Ten Forward and Data notices her playing. He goes to Crusher to check on Julianna's medical records but she finds nothing unusual. Data and Julianna beam down to the planet to do some stuff when there's an earthquake. They have to jump off a cliff and Julianna's arm comes off. She's a robot too! Geordi and Crusher work on her and report that she's been programmed to appear human. Even her husband doesn't know. Data tells Riker all the clues he noticed (her blinking followed a mathematical formula.) They find an interactive Soon hologram in her brain. Julianna was a real person but she was killed by the Crystalline Entity. He managed to transfer her brain patterns into another android but never told her what she really was. But ironically he then got dumped by a robot! He doesn't wish Data to tell her the truth about what she is. She'll live a long human life and then die like anyone else. Data has to decide to tell her or not. Troi points out that telling her would rob her of the one thing Data has always wanted, to be human. Data chooses not to tell her but instead makes up some lie about Soong telling him he had only one great love in his life and he must have meant her. He calls her mother the end.
It's a "never before mentioned family memember shows up!" episode so it's always going to be a little awkward. The episode has to spend quite a bit of time clearing up Data's backstory for it all to make sense. It's perfectly fine once it gets going and Mrs Squawking is always a good guest character. I don't reallly like the idea of another, superior, android being made after Data though? It kind of makes him seem less special. And not telling her husband that he's married to a robot seems a bit questionable. Anyway, the episode is pretty good.
Parrallels - Worf is returning for a bat'leth competition he won (several competitors were maimed.) He's scared that there will be a surprise birthday party for him back on the Enterprise...and he's right! Everyone jumps out shooting SPACE STREAMERS, which is great. They sing "for he's a jolly good fellow" in Klingon because I guess you have to pay the rights fees for "happy birthday to you" even if sung in Klingon. Data gives him an ugly paintng and Worf gets a headache. Suddenly his cake changes and Captain Picard appears out of nowhere. That's some painting! The Enterprise is at a big space telescope that's sending data to the wrong place. Worf goes to Troi to ask her to be Alexander's (some Klingon word) in case anything ever happens to him. Alexander isn't in the episode and hasn't been seen since early season six, by the way. Worf has another headache and people change places. Crusher tells him he came in earlier suffering from a concussion and that he lost his bat'leth tournament when someone hit him in the head. His trophy and even personal log have changed too. More stuff changes and only Worf notices. The painting moves, Troi's clothes change, and suddenly Cardassians are firing on them and Worf doesn't know what's going on. He goes back to his quarters and Troi comes in wearing her pre-Jellico dress. She makes herself at home and Worf is suspicious. She's his wife! That's not right!
Data tells him they started dating after Worf was paralysed that time (but he doesn't know the exact date they started having sex.) Worf and Data find that Geordi was present every time Worf jumped to a different universe. Unfortunately, Geordi's dead! They activate Geordi's VISOR and it sends Worf to a universe where he's the first officer and Riker is the Captain. Picard was killed by the Borg. Wesley's on the ship too so it's truly the darkest timeline. Data explains "quantum realities" to everyone. His shuttle ran into a "quantum fissure" and Geordi's VISOR triggers a trip to another reality. For reasons. Troi says that her Worf won't return (how does she know that?) and is sad that this Worf doesn't love her. She tells him about their children, but there's no Alexander in this reality. Oh well! They're attacked by aggressive Bajorans (who overthrew the Cardassians in this reality) and their attack causes the barriers between realities to break down. Lots of other Enterprises appear. They have to find Worf's Enterprise to send him home and fix all this. Our Picard contacts them (there's a Worf on his ship too, so surely he's the Worf from this reality and Troi will get her husband back?) and Riker says "it's good to see you again" in a nice moment. Troi kisses Worf goodbye and he heads home in his shuttle, but another Enterprise attacks him. It's an Enterprise where Riker's beard is everywhere and the Borg have killed everyone and they don't want to go home. But they get blown up and Worf ends up back home. He thinks there's going to be a surprised birthday party again, but it's just Troi waiting for him (and they're not married!) She says Riker wanted to throw a surprised party but she knew Worf would want to be alone and hit himself with a painstick (this is a really underrated Troi line) but Worf invites her to stay for dinner.
It's another crazy entertaining Braga sci-fi concept episode! The "problem" with the episode is that it starts the Worf/Troi romance subplot, but just watching this episode on its own that isn't actually a problem as all the Worf/Troi scenes here are good. There's no real story to the episode other than that and Worf getting to experience crazy realities but it's just great fun all the way through and sometimes we need great fun!
The Pegasus - It's Captain Picard Day which means the children have done paintings and made Picard dolls. So that's a good start. An Admiral sends Picard on a secret missiion, giving him permission to exceed the warp speed limit (it's still a thing!) Will's old commanding officer Admiral Pressman (Terry O'Quinn) comes on board and tells Riker their old ship The Pegasus has been found. They have to get to it before the Romulans do because The Pegasus was a prototype ship with important stuff on it. A black Romulan (is this the first one we've seen? Probably!) hails the Enterprise and has one of those "friendly but threatening" conversations Romulan commanders always have with Picard. Riker and Pressman have a conversation about how things went bad on The Pegasus and Pressman wants to "finish what they started" twelve years ago. Of course they don't reveal what they're talking about yet. Pressman wants Riker to keep this a secret from Picard. Picard tells Pressman the story about how he picked Riker as his first officer (we've all heard it.) SHIRTLESS RIKER goes to Crusher with an injured rib as he was doing bat'leth moves with Worf. The Enterprise finds The Pegasus inside an asteroid. The Romulans come for a look too. Riker wants to destroy the Pegaus but Pressman won't allow it. Data does a technobabble thing to disguise the Pegasus from the Romulans. Pressman yells at Riker for wanting to destroy the Pegasus after. He tries to appeal to Riker's loyalty and says Riker stood up for what was right twelve years ago and will do the same now.
Picard has done some investigating and found there was a mutiny against Pressman on the Pegasus. There's a tense confrontation between him and Riker when Riker won't tell him exactly what happened. Pressman orders the Enterprise into the asteroid field to recover the Pegasus. The Pegasus is partly phased inside an asteroid somehow. Pressman and Riker beam over and find some of their ex-crewmates dead. Pressman finds the thing he was looking for but Riker says he's had to make a choice and he won't let Pressman start his experiments again. They have it out with Riker saying he was wrong twelve years ago and won't make the same mistake again. The Romulans attack, sealing the Enterprise inside the asteroid. The Romulan Commander offers to transport the Enterprise crew to his shiip and take them back to Romulus for a nice holiday. But Riker knows a way out, using the equipment Riker took from the Pegasus: a prototype for a Federation cloaking device. The Federation signed a treaty with the Romulans agreeing to never develop a cloaking device. Picard tells Pressman off. Pressman orders Worf to remove Picard from the Bridge but Worf crosses his arms. It's not just a cloak, it's a phasing cloak, so it'll allow the Enterprise to pass through the asteroid. The Enteprise flies out through solid rock and Picard orders them to drop the cloaking device so that the Romulans will know the truth. Picard places Pressman under arrest. Riker points out that he must be arrested too. Picard tells Riker that he did the right thing when it came to it and he's proud to have him as his first officer.
(NOTE: at some point during the events of this episode Riker and Troi (who wasn't in the episode at all) got older and fatter and went to the Holodeck to watch Trip Tucker be killed by jewel thieves. This was not included in the finished episode as it would have been really boring to watch.)
It's another great episode! Season seven has finally got going! Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and Terry O'Quinn all get to do some strong acting with each other and the story is strong. If the previous episode was an example of what Braga's good at, this is an example of what Ron Moore's good at.
Homeward - Worf's never before mentioned step-brother Nikolai (long lost family members is a theme for season 7, because they've run out of ideas) sends a distress call from a planet he's observing. It's going to be uninhabitable soon but when they get there Worf's brother is missing. Worf goes to the planet disguised as one of the aliens and finds his brother similarly disguised and living amongst the aliens. He tells them Worf is here to help. He coudn't just watch the people die and has a plant to save them. Worf takes him to the Enterprise to put his case before Picard but of course the Prime Directive says that this whole species has to die. The Enterprise crew watch from the Bridge as everyone on the planet dies. But wait! Nikolai has secretly beamed some of the aliens up into a Holodeck recreation of their home caves. They don't know anything has happened. Nikolai is pretty impressed by himself but Worf says he's a disgraced his family. Nikolai wants to find a new planet for the aliens to live on and Picard has no choice now but to go along with it. Nikolai and Worf go back to the Holodeck to try to make up a story to explain why their whole planet will have changed when they travel through the caves (even the stars will be different!) The Holodeck glitches out and Worf has to be pretend it's an omen (he's pretending to be a seer...it's all very silly.) Data and Crusher talk about what a huge decision they have to make choosing a new planet for the aliens. This should be an interesting scene but it's just a bit dull.
There's more boring scenes with Worf talking to the aliens on the Holodeck. One of the aliens finds the Holodeck door (it's glitching because it's not meant to run like this) and ends up on the Enterprise. He's very confused and scared. Picard talks to him and tries to explain what's happened. Worf, Nikolia and the others finally get out of the Holodeck. Penny Johnson comes to Worf and tells him not to be too hard on his brother as he's saved all their lives. But also she's pregnant with Nikolai's baby. They reach the new planet and Picard asks the alien who escaped what he wants to do. He wants to go back to his people but he doesn't want to tell them the truth. The Holodeck starts to breakdown and the aliens are finally beamed to their new planet. The alien who escaped kills himself and Picard feels bad. Worf and Nikolai have a final heart to heart and end up on good terms. Nikolai will stay with the aliens and raise his child.
The thing with season 7 of TNG is that it's not exactly bad, it's just...boring. I mean there's some great episodes (the last two, for example) but there's too many episodes like this one that just feel lifeless and dull. Compared to season one it's probably better in overall quiality but I can see how someone would prefer watching the hot mess of say the racist episode from season one than an episode like this. At least the bad season one episodes were good to laugh at. Nikolai isn't a very good character, the Prime Directive was debated much more effectively back in 'Who Watches The Watchers', the episode is boring.
Sub Rosa - Beverly is on Space Scotland for her grandmother's funeral. She spots a mysterious sexy(?) man there. Picard asks a the governor, a forehead alien, why he loves Scotland so much. Wait, why didn't Beverly tell Scotty that there's a literal Space Scotland he could live on? An old Scottish stereotype comes to Crusher's gran's house and warns her to throw away a candle. Crusher reads her grandmother's journals and finds that her hundred year old grandmother had a lover in his thirties (Ronin.) When Crusher is sleeping her candle goes out and an invisible presence touches her and says her name. She gossips with Troi about her hot sex dream. The stereotype warns Crusher that her grandmother's house is haunted and the angry ghost is causing the storms Geordi is currently trying to stop (they think the weather system is malfunctioning, but it's obviously a ghost.) The Enterprise watches the storm from space and Crusher rushes to her grandmother's house, which is all messy. She hears the voice of the ghost who she had sex with last night. He tells her he loves her and does something to her brain. Gates McFadden does some bad acting here but you can't really blame her. He tells her he's an eight hundred year old ghost from Glasgow (but he doesn't have the accent) and he's been having sex with the woman of her family all his life. They "become one" which means Gates has to thrash around saying "stop it!" This would be kind of disturbing in its implications (it's all a bit rapey) if it wasn't so laughable.
Bev seems fine the next day and tells Troi (who greets her with "hey Bev") that she met her grandmother's lover and now she's into him too. There's fog on the Bridge for ghostly reasons. This is all really happening. Data and Geordi find the stereotype messing with the ship and suddenly he's shocked and killed. Good. Crusher reports he was killed by a mysterious energy. Crusher asks her ghosts if he killed him but he can now appear physically and has to touch Crusher to help him stay solid and also he lives in a candle so it needs to stay lit and what the fuck is this episode. She returns to the ship and lights the candle and he tells her they've become one. He flies into her body as she has a ghost orgasm. Crusher instantly quites Starfleet and goes to the transporter room. Picard tries to stop her. Troi tells Picard about Bev's new man. Picard wants to meet him. Data and Geordi track an energy reading to Crusher's gran's grave. Crusher has more ghost sex but Picard arrives. He notices her eyes have changed colour and he prefered how they were before. Ronin reveals himself to Picard. He wants to stop the body being dug up and shocks Picard like he did the stereotype. Crusher won't let Picard die. Crusher's dead gran comes out of her coffin and tells her to trust Ronin. Again, this is all really happening in an episode of TNG. He tries to kill Geordi and Data. Crusher reaslies there's no such thing as a ghost so he's actually some weird alien lifeform who's been leeching off her family for centuries. After some more terrible acting she kills him. Crusher tells Troi that whatever else he did, Ronin made her grandmother happy. Yes it's okay to kill people as long as you sexually pleasure an old woman.
Yeah it's really bad. Story by Jeri Taylor, teleplay by Braga, directed by Frakes...how the fuck did it end up this bad? Did nobody thing at any point "wow this is shit"? I mean at least it's funny but only because it's so bad. It's not as bad as 'Shades of Grey' but it has to be the second worst episode of TNG, right? But hey at least ghost sex.
Crusher asks her ghost if he killed him but he can now appear physically and has to touch Crusher to help him stay solid and also he lives in a candle so it needs to stay lit and what the fuck is this episode.
Lower Decks - Riker and Troi are discussing which young officer to promote to Ops. We then cut to those younng officers(!) and get to hear how they feel about it. They're not even main characters! We have Ensign Sito Jaxa (the cute Bajoran from 'The First Duty') and Sam Leville, who are both up for the job, and Engisng Taurik (a Vulcan) and Nurse Ogawa (Nurse Ogawa.) Riker tells Leville "one aye will be sufficient" when he says "aye aye." Taurik tries to impress Geordi with a new warp technique. Crusher tells Ogawa she's promoting her and asks about her new boyfriend. Sito talks to Worf about the challenge of working Ops (she's a security officer) and he tells her he recommended her. There's a fifth younger character in the episode two, Ben the bartender who moves freely between the younger officers and the likes of Riker. I'm guessing Whoopi just wasn't available for the episode but it works well having a younger character in her place. He tells Leville to try to make friends with Riker but it goes really badly with Leville mistakenly thinking Will is Canadian instead of Alaskan ("they both get a lot of snow.") Something secret is happening on the Enterprise but because we're watching the junior officers we don't know what it is either. This is clever. Picard chews out Sito over what happened in the Academy and she defends herself. He tells her she doesn't belong on the Enterprise. Picard is scary! Goerdi has Taurik fire a phaser at a shuttle, for reasons he won't disclose but Taurik quickly figures out. Ogawa finds out that a Cardassian has been brought to Sickbay. THe Junior officers (and Ben) have a poker game and speculate on what's going on (they each know something that they can't share.) We cut between this and the senior stuff also playing poker. Troi tells Riker that she thinks he and Leville are a lot alike. He admits maybe he's been hard on Leville. Riker wins his game but Ben beats Leville. Ben then goes to the senior game and offers to beat them too. He's a one!
Worf teaches his Klingon defense class and has Sito stay behind for special lessons (but not in a pervy way.) He blindfolds her and tells her to anticipate his attack. She isn't able to and takes off the blindfold and says it was an unfair test. Worf has taught her a lesson about standing up for herself when someone is unfair so she goes back to Picard and tells him she doesn't deserve continued punishment for what happened at the Academy. Picard is pleased because this is what he wanted to happen and tells her he has a special mission for her and that he was the one who requested she be sent to the Enterprise in the first place. Ogawa tells Crusher she's gotten engaged and Crusher is relieved because she thought the guy was cheating. Picard introduces Sito to a Cardassian who is working with the Federation. Her mission is to get him back to Cardassian space by posing as a Bajoran prisoner in a stolen Enterprise shuttle while the Cardassian poses as a bounty hunter. Picard won't order her to take the mission but she volunteers. Sito says goodbye to Word and thanks him for all he's done for her. Sito asks the Cardassian why he's doing this and he says he's sick of pointless wars. They have a nice Cardassian/Bajoran bonding moment. Leville and the others wonder what's happened to Sito and he's hurt that they know stuff they can't tell him. The Enterprise goes looking for Sito as she's late for their meeting. Data finds the remains of a Federation escape pod and they intercept a report from the Cardassian stating that a Bajoran was killed on it. Picard has to announce Sito's death to the crew. He friends have a drink in Ten Forward. Leville got promoted but is sad because Sito might have gotten it if she hadn't died. Ben gets Worf to join them as Sito considered her a friend too.
Although TNG remained a strong show in seasons 5 and 6 (and some of 7!) I think it's fair to say that they stopped innovating back in season 4. It's all been a bit samey since then, so this episode is a welcome change of the format. It's the first episode of any Star Trek not focused on the main characters and it totally works because the writing and the younger characters (especially Sito) are so strong. In one episode they managed to make me care more about Sito and her death then all of season one managed to do with Tasha. It's just a shame it came so late in the series run and we didn't get more episodes like this. It's great.
Thine Own Self - Troi returns from a class reunion (she seems to get more time off than everyone) and talks to Crusher on the Bridge. Crusher is in command of the nightshift and enjoys Bridge duty. Troi feels bad that she is hopeless at this kind of stuff. Data is on mission on a planet but a man and his daughter find him looking frazzled and carrying a box with "radioactive" written on it. Data can't remember how to speak at first and repeats everything the man says. Amnesiac Data can read the word "radioactive" but doesn't know what it means, despite knowing the meaning of every other word. Riker talks to Troi through his trombone. She tells him she wants to take the test to become a Bridge Officer as she enjoyed being in command two years ago during 'Disaster' (you know, that time she didn't know that a warp core breach would cause the ship to explode.) Data is taken to the village doctor who tries to act like she's a clever scientist who understands what Data is...and says she's an ICE MAN. The little girl decides to call him Jaden. Data takes his radioactive metal to the village blacksmith (played by the guy who played Treeger in Friends!) who buys some of it from him. Data effortlessly picks up an anvil that fell on someone's leg and everyone is a bit scared. Troi takes her final test, the Engineering component, on the Holodeck (she passed everything else) but fails when the ship explodes. The doctor gives a bad science lesson in the village but Data droidsplains how she's wrong about everything. She says they shouldn't listen to him because he's lost his memory. The alien father takes ill and the doctor doesn't know what's wrong with him.
The blacksmith blames Data for people getting sick because no one was ill before he arrived. He's kind of right but he's a jerk. Data tries to find a cure for the illness witht he doctor, who is in over her head. Troi keeps studying for her exam but Riker tells her he's cancelling the test as she's failed three times now. She's angry and asks if it's just a no win situation (SOUNDS FAMILIAR) but he says there is a solution. Something Riker said makes Troi run back to the Holodeck and take the test again. This time she orders Geordi to his death and saves the ship. Riker congratulates her and says she's a full Commander now. After blowing up the ship three times. Data invents new scientific techniques to determine that the metal is giving off invisible particles (it's radioactive.) A mob shows up and hits Data in the face, exposing his circuits. Jaden/Data comes to see the little girl in a hood because he doesn't want to frighted her. He has a cure for the illness and has to put it in the town well. Treeger impales him with a big pole after he dumps the cure in the well. Picard (he's in this episode!), Riker and Bev go to the planet in disguise looking for Data (why did they wait so long?) and the little girl tells them where Data is buried. They beam Data up and repair him. He can't remember aything that happened. Troi tells Data, who is just recovering from a brain injury, to call her sir.
I have to admit, I always quite liked the Data story in this episode. I liked how the blacksmith always called him "ICE MAN" and how he made a fool of the local doctor with his superior knowledge. The Frankenstein like scene with the angry villagers is fun too. Watching it again it's still a fairly fun subplot...but it's kind of pointless? Data doesn't remember anything about it in the end. Everyone in the village thinks he's dead. They don't learn a lesson about not killing strangers and Data doesn't learn anything either. But hey, it's still fine. The Troi plot is the controversial part of the episode. In theory it's a good plot, I like the idea of Troi trying to better herself. But it should have been a season long plot, not something that happens all in one episode. It seems ridiculous that she gets four attempts at the final test and then OUTRANKS DATA at the end of the episode. Even though he's been a senior bridge officer for seven seasons and she's been one for five minutes. Is she third in command now? Can anyone just go on the Holodeck and kill Geordi and get to be a full Commander? It's silly, though the scenes between Riker and Troi are good as always. So yeah it's a pretty average episode.
Masks - Troi is teaching art to some children (one of her new important Bridge Officer duties?) Data's there too and she tells him to sculpt "music" for her. Something weird happens to the Enterprise when it scans a comet. A sculpture appears in Troi's quarters. Data makes a sculpture of a mask that his a similar symbol on it as Troi's sculpture and symbols start appearing on the computer too. Data somehow knows what the symbols mean. The Enterprise finds an alien object in the middle of the comet and Data thinks it's an archive of an alien civilisation. Data says "I do not know" a lot and asks Geordi what it feels like to lose your mind. One of the symbols appears on his forehead and he starts talking in a different voice. He says "Musaka is waking" but won't really explain what that means. More personalities appear and Picard tries to question them to find out what's going on. The archive starts to somehow transform the Enterprise into an alien city, which means a lot of aliens bricks and vines lying about the place and some snakes in Engineering.
Picard thinks Musaka is the key and questions Data's multiple personalities again. They're all scared of Musaka. Brent Spiner does a good job making them all seem different but man is it boring. One of them is killed (I guess) but tells Picard important infromation about a symbol first. They create Musaka's temple to draw her out. They try to figure out what more symbols mean. Picard realises it's all about the sun and the moon. They talk about more stuff and make another mask appear. Data sits in Musaka's throne wearing a mask and Picard arrives in the other mask, posing as the moon or the sun or whatever I don't care. Everything goes back to normal for reasons. Data asks if he's been dreaming again. Data keeps his mask and Patrick Stewart tries hard to convince the viewere there was a point to all this.
It's funny how the set up for this episode is pretty similar to 'The Innner Light': alien artifiact somehow transfers the history of its people to a main cast member. The difference is that 'The Inner Light' was great in all ways and actually used its sci fi premise to say something about the human condition whereas this is BORING AS FUCK. Like you'd think Brent Spiner playing a whole load of characters would be fun, but they're all just saying vague things about Musaka rather than doing anything interesting. Then Picard just randomly puts a mask on and everything goes back to normal. It's completely lifeless and just as bad as 'Sub Rosa' and I'm struggling to type this because I'm so tired.