Star Trek 180: Transfigurations

180. Transfigurations

FORMULA: Where No Man Has Gone Before + The Empath + Let This Be Your Last Battlefield

WHY WE LIKE IT: Worf teaching Geordi the ways of love. A sweet semi-romance for Beverly.

WHY WE DON'T: Dull in a retro way. More science fantasy than science fiction.

REVIEW: Hey, nice to see Christie Henshaw again, though her character is hardly developped. Julie Warner is pretty, at least. Geordi seems to have turned to Worf for dating advice, which, while amusing, is more than a little ridiculous. Worth it for the scene where Worf attributes Geordi's new confidence to his tutoring. But that's a small side-story, let down by Geordi losing that confidence in later episodes.

The A-plot concerns the mysterious John Doe turning into a new life form of energy (so THAT's how it's done). Interesting in that we've met so many godlike aliens that say they once were just like us, but the leap is pretty sudden. It's like a monkey turning into a human overnight. And do the Zalkonians seem on the cusp of godhood to you? Sunad and his ilk are fascists that you really wouldn't want turned into gods, but there's no sense of any possible negative consequence at the end. Very heavy on the Roddenberry message of humanoids evolving into something great. The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades.

In fact, Transfigurations feels heavily indebted to the original series. It's got that science fantasy element so common in later TOS stories, required to turn the episode into a moralistic fable where message is more important than logic. Given that you have a messiah figure aboard ship, healing bodies and souls, I'm not sure it was a good idea to give the Zalkonians some kind of magical choking weapon to boot. How does that thing work? How can John Doe cure it? It hardly makes sense, and only exists to turn John into the savior at the end.

Though the John Doe character is a nice enough one, his pseudo-romance with Beverly can't go anywhere and we all know it. It's all rather dull though Gates MacFadden plays it very well. She's an impressively naturalistic actress when the script gives her something to work with. I haven't decided if I like that a month passes by during one commercial. That a slow month without occurrence could happen is realistic, but it goes against the usual episode structure. No directorial effort to make the time pass visually I guess is what I'm saying.

LESSON: Not only is evolution true, it can occur during your own lifetime.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: I do seem to have a lot of objections to this episode, but that's because I wanted it to be better. The performances are good, and the story is worthy, but it's feeling the end-of-season fatigue. Still watchable.


Anonymous said...

Don't you know evolution = magic? ;-)

I was ferret just last week, then boom - human being!


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