Star Trek 270: Parallels

270. Parallels

FORMULA: Mirror, Mirror x1000 (or, depending on your quantum state, Yesterday's Enterprise x1000)

WHY WE LIKE IT: Thousands of Enterprises. A dozen parallel worlds.

WHY WE DON'T: Geordi's lack of dignity.

REVIEW: Just a fun, fun, fun reality bender starring Worf, who's a one-man comedy team with his deadpan deliveries and uncomfortable double-takes. His cringing at a potential birthday party, "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" sung in Klingon, and his expression as he discovers slowly but alarmingly that Troi is his wife in another reality, are classic moments. In fact, I'd like to nominate Troi for most improved character in the past year or so. Since maybe the middle of the 6th season, she's had very few false notes and a lot of good ones. In Parallels, she gets to show real emotion and be quite funny. I love the "amused" Troi. I don't know if it's the uniform or what, but since then...

The other fun thing about Parallels, of course, is that we get to see a bunch of alternate realities, and to geeks, that's coooool. From small, "didja see" moments (like Data's eyes turning blue at one point, rather subtle), to big changes like Picard dying in the Borg incident, or the Bajorans having invaded Cardassia, there's plenty to fire the imagination. I can't help trying to imagine what events resulted in Ogawa becoming CMO, for example, or Wesley being a tactical. I think they should have gone wilder, like using TOS uniforms or making everyone a Klingon's slave or something, but I understand this would have been cost-prohibitive.

In the end, how cool is that scene with the thousands of Enterprises? Great humor comes from the absurdity of the number hails received by the Enterprise, or how long it will take to fill a sector with Enterprises. Note also that this is the true start of the Worf/Troi romance, which we unfortunately won't see enough of before Worf moves on. An unlikely couple, but the uniting factor that is Alexander gives it weight. And the alternate realities do not lie.

If I had to find a flaw in the story, it's that Geordi is a bit abused. Not only does he die in a couple of realities, but they only cover him up with a tiny little towel, and no one seems to grieve much for him. Sure, Worf's dilemma is mighty interesting, but that's your friend you just lost there. (Maybe he was hated and reviled in those parallels, who knows?) Still not fair to the character, and the sure sign that it's an "imaginary story". As in Marvel's What If? series, the body count is unreasonably high and no one bats an eye.

LESSON: When fighting the Borg, personal hygiene is secondary.

REWATCHABILITY - High: A Star Trek What If would be mighty cool, and this episode proves it. A lot of fun, and despite the reset button, manages to be important to a couple characters' arcs.


Anonymous said...


You crack me up sometimes with the "rollover" humor.
Something I miss when I use Safari.

De said...

This is indeed a terrific episode. You can look forward to some Star Trek What If in novel form next summer with two volumes of Star Trek: Myriad Universes. No word yet on who will write what but this is a concept long in the making.

Andrew Gilbertson said...

"I think they should have gone wilder, like using TOS uniforms or making everyone a Klingon's slave or something, but I understand this would have been cost-prohibitive."

Wish granted- the Klingon slave part (along with Captain Wesley and his first officer Picard, a continuation of the 'Tapestry' AU in which botanist Picard received Conn duty as a farewell gift from the Titan-bound Riker, and a few others) are all presented when this situation is re-visited/hybrid-ed with All Good Things' anti-time anomaly in the excellent tie-it-all-together novel "Q&A." Maybe Keith R. A. DeCandido is a reader here? :-)

LiamKav said...

I do love the subtle changes, like Data's eyes, or the Engineering pool table being at 90 degrees to where it normally sits. I also believe that in the blue-eyed Data universe the warp core lights pulse in the opposite direction to normal, (ie, they go top to bottom rather than bottom to top). Or I've gotten confused about their normal direction...


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