Star Trek: The Next Generation (1994) – Masks, and Eye of the Beholder

Captain’s log: stardate 47615.2

Joe Menosky pens this less than stellar episode that sees Data (Brent Spiner) taking on the role of the villain in the story. This story first aired on 21 February, 1994.

The Enterprise comes across a comet that contains a hidden 87 million year old alien archive which begins to redesign the Enterprise, and take control of Data with incarnations of various alien personalities.

The idea is cool, the execution, not so much.

The archive begins to override Enterprise systems and begins rewriting designs, and information, reshaping it in the image of its forebears. Symbols are floating through the computer, and strange artefacts are popping up all over the ship. Picard (Patrick Stewart) is intrigued, his love of archaeology drives his curiosity but it’s going to prove to be a problem very soon…

Data is at its centre and has been overtaken by intelligences, and impulses that will make him a threat to everyone aboard, as he proclaims that Masaka is awakening.

It does give Spiner the chance to play a number of roles, and exercise his acting chops.

In the end it’s a bit of an odd episode that just doesn’t work as well as it should. If there had been time to expand the episode, build a little more mystery into it, and maybe effect a few more obvious changes to the design of the Enterprise… that could have made it work a little better.

This is just a strange anomaly of an episode that hints that perhaps the series overstayed its welcome by staying on for a seventh season. While none of the stories are as bad as the first exploratory season, few are as strong as previous seasons.


Captain’s log: stardate 47622.1

Rene Echevarria pens the teleplay from this episode from a story by Brannon Braga. It first aired on 28 February, 1994.

Counsellor Troi’s (Marina Sirtis) skills are put to the test when a crewman commits suicide. As she investigates, it seems to indicate that there may have been a murder that occurred aboard the starship when it was being constructed, and that somehow, the guilty party is still aboard.

Troi begins to have visions of the past, and is soon able to put together what originally happened and what led to the crewman’s suicide.

It also begins to develop the questionable Worf (Michael Dorn) and Troi romance storyline. I think this may have worked better if slowly worked on a couple of seasons ago, but here, as we are coming up on the end of the series. It doesn’t play so well. Course, it is partly illusory joined to the visions that Troi is having. But the series will continue to explore the relationship until the close of the series.

I will say this, I do like that the series took on the subject of suicide, one could argue it was very overdue.

The Human Adventure continues Thursday with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine!


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