The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Night Terrors

When the Enterprise encounters the USS Brittain adrift with the crew having murdered each other, it’s a warning sign for what’s to come. Not only does the Enterprise get caught in an energy-draining region of space, but the crew start becoming irritable, ill-focussed and subject to hallucinations. Will they be able to escape before they suffer the same fate as the Brittain?

It’s unclear whether this episode is TNG’s conscious attempt at a horror story or not, but either way, it doesn’t quite work. Deanna’s cryptic dreams are silly rather than scary or portentous, and the rest of the episode largely fails to engage. When the most memorable part of an episode is Picard hallucinating that the buzzer to his ready room is being repeatedly pressed, then what you have is probably not a great episode.

Cliché moments

  • O’Brien gets jealous about one of Keiko’s coworkers.
  • Picard thinks he hears someone at the door, but there’s no one there. As soon as he starts ignoring the chime, there’s someone there.
  • The Enterprise escapes with ten seconds to spare.
  • Special Betazoid abilities are the key to saving the day.
  • Crusher thinks she sees bodies sit up in the morgue.
  • Data is the only one unaffected.
  • A random crewmember becomes the official troublemaker of the episode, and foments discord in Ten Forward whilst other background characters say “yeah” and “I agree”.
  • Guinan stops a bar fight by firing a gun above everyone’s heads.

Enterprise life

  • I can’t remember if we’ve been told Keiko’s job before, but she’s head of the plant science lab.
  • The Enterprise has a morgue.
  • Why is Guinan, a civilian, even allowed a deadly weapon?
  • Why is Ten Forward a designated shelter area when it’s right next to the hull?
  • Betazoid REM sleep occurs at a different frequency to that of human sleep. According to howsleepworks.com, “Brain activity during REM sleep is largely characterized by low-amplitude mixed-frequency brain waves, quite similar to those experienced during the waking state”, so I might give them a pass on this one.

Summary – Night Terrors: Telepathic aliens fail to communicate in a less than cryptic manner.

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