Star Trek 191: The Loss

191. The Loss

FORMULA: Operation: Annihilate + The Immunity Syndrome

WHY WE LIKE IT: Deanna gets her psychobabble turned against her.

WHY WE DON'T: The counselor turns out to be a pretty wretched person.

REVIEW: There aren't a lot of opportunities for Troi-driven episodes, so why make her thoroughly unlikeable when one actually comes along? Troi has always had a childish, spoiled side when her mother was around (we often revert to old behaviors when thrown in with our families), but here, it is unleashed tenfold. She's insubordinate, bitter, condescending, ungrateful and veers towards offensive as she wails about how disabled she is. Her attitude is totally unbecoming of a Starfleet officer. I mean, get over yourself! It's not that I think Marina Sirtis isn't playing it right (indeed, she's pretty uncompromising about her portrayal, fearlessly making Troi unlikeable), but that this stuff should never have been written for her. By the end, you get the very real sense that Deanna is an emotion junkie in withdrawal. (Please watch it again and tell me I'm wrong.) The therapy stuff with Janet Brooks is all meant to mirror Deanna's situation, but we could have been spared this as well. It's boring and hackneyed.

The B-plot about the two-dimensional creatures isn't a real winner either, even if I am a big fan of that Cosmos episode where Carl Sagan has thin squares living in a roofless house, as well as the deeper discussions about two-dimensionality in Edwin Abbott's Flatland. Though it ends with an interesting behavioral approach that finally uses Deanna well, it's all technobabble until then. Staring at screens, pushing buttons and trying to start the engines. Steeped in higher physics, but dull. (Some wouldn't use the "but" here.) It's also silly that no one wants to connect Deanna's loss and the creatures. Obviously, they are connected.

And yet, I can't totally pan this one. I thought I would, but I found everybody else's performance just right, and enough to marginally recommend the episode. Troi is insufferable, but anytime the other regulars have a scene with her, they shine. Beverly's knowing hurt, Picard's stuffy anecdotes and anxious fiddling, Guinan's reverse-psychology, Riker's being there for her no matter what, Data's perking up at Deanna's new approach... They all hit just the right note. There's some amusement in seeing everyone else play counselor to an infuriated Troi who knows all the tricks, and the discussion about what if feels like to not have empathic powers (actually informing the opposite) is interesting.

LESSON: That I would still be going to Ten-Forward for my therapy.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-Low: If you haven't seen this one in a while (I'm pretty sure I've been avoiding it myself), it's a lot better than you remember. Troi is still hard to take though, so it's far from a must-see.

0 comments:

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine