The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Galaxy’s Child

Geordi is delighted when Enterprise engine designer Leah Brahms comes aboard, but when she’s less than impressed with his modifications to her designs, tension arises between them. Meanwhile, the Enterprise encounters a spaceborne life-form, but when they are forced to kill it, the crew must devise a way to save its child.

This is an episode that could and should have been good, and probably was considered such back in the nineties when it first aired. Unfortunately, these days neither the crew of the Enterprise nor Geordi himself come off in a very good light.

Geordi the Stalker

As we all remember from my blogging it a few weeks ago, in Booby Trap, Geordi solved the ship’s dilemma with help from a holographic version of Leah Brahms – and along the way, he developed a major crush on her. After all, a holographic geek girl was much easier to talk to than those pesky real women who kept firendzoning him.

In this episode, the real Leah shows up, and she’s immediately prickly and cold – she hates that Geordi has modified her engine designs. She’s unsettled by the fact that Geordi knows random personal facts about her, and, when his crush becomes painfully clear, admits that, actually, she’s married. Obviously, the audience is supposed to think “poor Geordi, his crush is actually a frigid bitch” at this point, even though Leah is acting largely professionally and owes nothing to Geordi at this point.

Naturally, it’s only a matter of time before Leah finds out about Geordi’s holodeck version of her, and is understandably angry – from her perspective, it looks as if Geordi has essentially been wanking over a holographic version of her. Instead of being apologetic, Geordi gets defensive and claims that the only thing he is guilty of is wanting to be friends with her.

Now, rightly or wrongly anyone can get defensive when shouted at – it’s a natural reaction. But what’s so wrong here is that by the end of the episode Leah is the one apologising. She’s sorry that she reacted badly to Geordi’s behaviour, and that she was such a stuck-up bitch in the meantime – in fact, now she’s all smiles and laughter around him. And here’s the rub – she had every right to be angry with Geordi, and absolutely nothing to apologise for. He made a holographic copy of her, filled it with her personal data, and acted like a creepy stalker from the moment she came on board. She owed him nothing, yet was made to feel bad for not welcoming his advances.

The thing is, I essentially want Geordi to be a nice guy. When he’s with the senior crew or in a professional situation, he’s exactly that. But every time we see him in a romantic situation, he becomes an utter prick. Maybe it helped the geeky males of the nineties identify with him – “poor Geordi, he can’t get any because bitches be bitches”, but these days it’s a deeply troubling trait in an otherwise likeable character.

Also, in the alternate future of All Good Things, Geordi is married to a “Leah”(presumably Brahms); they have several children together and she does all the cooking. Domestic bliss.

Other points

  • The Enterprise is out on a mission to seek out new life, but here they murder a magnificent space creature. Admittedly, they are remorseful, but it just furthers the entitled, privileged attitude of the Federation.
  • According to Leah, “the matter-antimatter ratios have been changed”. Surely no ratio other than 1:1 makes any sense – the show even admitted as much in Coming of Age.
  • Picard admires how the creature can live in space without the need for a ship or spacesuit – echoing his sentiments way back in Lonely Among Us.
  • The crew are able to see the baby creature attached to the hull on the viewscreen – are there external hull cameras? At least the creature is attached in a place where such a camera placed on a nacelle would be able to see it – what if it had latched on to the bottom of the saucer section? I guess they could have launched a special camera probe.
  • Data mentions “gamma particles” – does he mean high energy photons?
  • Leah claims that everything in the universe resonates at 21cm (bear with me). Presumably she is referring to the 21cm hydrogen spectral line. A cursory glance at the linked article will show that this is an energy transition seen in neutral hydrogen atoms; whilst hydrogen is plentiful, it’s not a special frequency for “everything in the universe”.
  • Geordi says he never writes up reports. I understand the pain of writing up, but as someone doing technical work, he really should be writing things up – and Picard should insist upon it.

Summary – Galaxy’s Child: “Come to my woman’s breasts, And take my milk for gall”

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