Star Trek: The Next Generation (1989) – The Bonding, and Booby Trap

Captain’s log: stardate 43198.7

Ronald D. Moore who would later to go on to reimagine Battlestar Galactica, and bring Outlander to the screen wrote this episode when he joined the writers’ room on the show’s third season.

With an original airdate of 23 October, 1989, the show worked within the constraints of series creator Roddenberry’s edicts. In this case the fact that everyone will have accepted death as a part of life, that people would have learned to deal with it, and move on.

The story works around that, when an away team, led by Worf (Michael Dorn) suffers a fatality, Lt. Marla Aster (Susan Powell). She leaves behind a son, Jeremy (Gabriel Damon), and Troi (Marina Sirtis) worries about him, and with good reason.

It seems Marla Aster is still around, determined to look after her son.

Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his crew investigate the strange being, and learn that it is an alien life form that seeks to comfort Jeremy. Troi believes that the alien must let Jeremy go, to let him grieve the loss of his mother, and sees a way to connect Jeremy and Worf, who is upset with himself over the loss of Aster under his watch.

Moore was a welcome voice to the series, and the subject matter, the way we deal with death, loss and how we grieve over it is handled in the best of Trek fashion. It’s a beautifully made episode that tackles its story and subject in a moving and intelligent way.

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Captain’s log: stardate 43205.6

Written by Ron Roman, Michael Piller and Richard Danus, based on a story by Roman and Michael I. Wagner, Booby Trap is an exceptional Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) episode.

First airing on 30 October, 1989, the episode gives us a look into the engineer’s personal life. He seems to be looking for love in all the wrong places, first pursuing Christy Henshaw (Julie Warner), and crashing and burning, and then falling for a holographic representation of an actual person.

When the Enterprise receives an ancient radio signal they move to investigate, but the crew soon find themselves in a trap that they can’t find their way out of, as the ship is sapped of its energy.

Geordi tries to figure out how to get the Enterprise free, and reroutes some power to the holodeck where he can confer with one of the Enterprise’s original designers, Dr. Leah Brahms (Susan Gibney).

The two have a great chemistry together, and work incredibly well as a team, and Geordi finds himself falling for her a bit, even as they come up with a way out of the trap.

I also love the fact that story allows Picard to lead an away mission for a change and plays to his love of history, and continues to build on his character. Not to mention getting to take the helm as well.

Both story threads combine nicely, and it’s very evident that the series is coming into its own in a big way – the writing is stronger, production values increase, and the actors are comfortable with their characters now, and are being given more to do.

Great stuff.

The Human Adventure continues Thursday…

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