Welcome back to Underrated Trek, where I take a special look at Star Trek episodes that I loveâ€¦which may not be the most popular or even liked by most. This will most likely be my last of these for the year, and decided that I had looked at enough early episodes of TNG. After all, the last year of that show offered episodes just as bad as Season One or Two. Today I want to talk about one which is almost unanimously considered awful. Then why do I like it? This is:
Poor Season 7. What happened? Letâ€™s take a closer look.
Barclay is whining in sick-bay about not feeling good. I guess even in the 24th century hypochondria is a think. Crusher gives him a hypo spray.
A few days later, Picard and Data leave the ship to chase down a torpedo that go away. After they leave, the crew being experience strange symptoms which are unique to every person. When Data and Picard finally return, the find the Enterprise adrift in space.
A search reveals that the crew has all de-evolved into creatures. Troi is an aquatic lifeform, Riker a primate, and Barclay turning into a spider. Data speculates that something has caused the crew to de-evolve, including Worf who is now a wild animal. While Picard distracts Worf Data manages to create a cure. The next day, everything is back to normal and Barclay gets a new disease named after him.
Recurring characters. Dwight Schultz returns as Barclay in an episode I bet he regrets and Patti Yasutake shows that Ogawa can be more than a nurse, she comes off very good here stepping in to replace Crusher (as she did in the episode Parallels, she was turning into quite a strong character by the end). Gates McFadden directed, and man what a shame for her.
The make-up is good. No, really…I mean that. This episode won an award for its make-up effects and that makes sense. Riker as a primate was chilling, was Jonathan Frakes really under all of that? And Barclay’s reveal as a spider was chilling. In fact the atmosphere works, until the last act anyway. It is very eerie with a real sense of dread and even horror, add the very creepy music and it really doesn’t feel like your standard episode.
Michael Down did a decent job in this episode making the usual nice Worf scary as hell. There is one scene where he can’t get comfortable in bed and ends up tearing it up and making a bed for himself. It could have been silly but it’s quite grim. And the scene where he sprays Dr.Crusher with venom scared me pretty good when I first saw this. It’s to bad we never saw Worf normal in the end apologizing to everyone, would have liked that. In fact there really should have been a much bigger epilogue than the quick last scene in sick-bay.
Well let’s get right into it. The plot makes no sense. And I don’t mean in that silly “well it’s Star Trek so we can get away with techno babble way”. No, in order for this story to work they had to invent a concept which doesn’t work. This is even worst than “Rascals” which also created a concept so that story would make sense. But that one wasn’t nearly as crazy as this one. A T Cell was activated and became airborne triggering latent interons which caused dormant genes to activate, de-evolving the crew. I am hardly an expert so will simply say that there about a dozen ways this makes no sense. A T Cell is not a virus so can’t be spread and interons…are to complicated for me to explain. But they do not do what Data says. Finally, species evovle but people do not. The fact that the crew de-evovles is just stupid. I got this from the Nitpickers Guide for Next Generation Trekkers by the way and they (and others) can do a much better job explaining the idiotic science. I need Linkara’s joke here (Of course, don’t you know anything about science?). When science is this made-up it gets distracting. But to be fair, this isn’t at the “Threshold” level of stupid either!
It’s not fair to blame this episode for this since it wasn’t a cliche yet, but I will anyway. This was the start of the lame “two crewmen were away to miss the crisis only to return to save the day” plot device. This happened again on Voyager at least twice and it gets so old. Wasn’t it lucky Data and Picard happened to be away just at the right time? Lucky lucky.
And I’m sorry while I gave credit to the mood and atmosphere created that final scene with Worf chasing Picard down the hallways just doesn’t work for me. I give them credit for coming up with the whole pheromone thing but there is no suspense. Like Worf is really going to end up eating Picard. And I mentioned this above but why was there no resolution? Did Worf wake up with Picard sitting there staring at him, and wondering why he had a hang over?
Finally, this episode get a big boo by continuity lovers for one big reason. One of the plot points is that Data’s tabby cat is pregnant with kittens. One little problem, the series has shown more than once that Spot is a MALE Somali cat!! I mean did they think no one would notice? Then the cat de-evolves into an iguana. What? In fact why do the crew de-evoolve into the creatures they do, especially Barclay turning into a spider which makes NO sense. And if the crew are all animals then shouldn’t more be running around the ship? And what the heck happened to Geordi anyway? He was on the ship when everything was going down but never appears again after act 2, transformed or otherwise. And how did Crusher heal from her injuries so fast? She needed reconstructive surgery! You know what, I am done. This episode is just to full of holes to be taken seriously.
â€œFast Forwardâ€ Moment:
The opening teaser isn’t exactly pointless but if you skip it you wont be lost either
Final Thoughts-So if it’s so bad why do I have a place for it in my heart? I don’t know I guess I am just a sucker for gimmicks like this. I am willing to trun my brain off even though this a hard one to do that. The problem is that this is Star Trek, and the episode has to make some kind of sense!!!
As I said that will be it forÂ this series for the year with Christmas coming up. But I have had a lot of fun doing these so you can bet anything more will be coming!