229. Imaginary Friend
FORMULA: (And the Children Shall Lead / The Bonding) + Lonely Among Us
WHY WE LIKE IT: Is that a stuffed Gorn in Clara's hands?
WHY WE DON'T: Dull, dull, dull.
REVIEW: Everything in Imaginary Friend is so drawn out and slow that it feels like nothing more than a piece of padding. Troi looking for monsters under Clara's bed, Clara and Alexander working on clay sculptures, Guinan talking about her imaginary razorbeast (twice!)... it's all told in real time or something. And while I'm fine with giving Ogawa a little back story, that turns into a totally irrelevant piece of dialogue, doesn't it?
Now, the idea of showing a child's eye view of the ship is an interesting one, with Worf as the big boogeyman and plenty of restricted areas. To Geordi, it was a grand adventure. To Clara, perhaps not so much. The little girl playing her's fine, but it's all so dull that I can't muster more enthusiasm for her character. Perhaps part of the problem is Isabella herself. When you're doing the creepy child shtick, you better make sure that child is damn creepy. And we've seen all the sentient cloud stuff before...
LESSON: There is a Santa Claus... an alien doppelganger Santa, but a Santa Claus nonetheless.
REWATCHABILITY - Low: A slow-paced snoozefest. The show's creators have to stop manufacturing these kiddie episodes, they only call attention to the idea that a starship is too dangerous a place for them.