The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: The Mind’s Eye

Whilst en route to Risa, Geordi La Forge is abducted by Romulans and subjected to intense mental conditioning. Back on board, Geordi has no memory of what happened, but deep in his subconscious mind, he has been programmed to kill a Klingon governor – and, if he is successful, his actions might just fracture the peace between the Klingons and the Federation.

It hasn’t been a good season for Geordi. First we learnt that he’s a creepy stalker when it comes to matters of the heart. Then it turns out that he was space-raped five years previously, and almost ends up turning into an alien. Now he comes over all Manchurian Candidate as the Romulans use his VISOR connections to brainwash him. Whilst not one of my favourites, this is still a solid episode, even if it relies on some of the usual tropes like the Romulans being evil, Federation security being poor, and the Klingons generally being ready to go to war at the drop of a hat.

Geordi and the Romulans, Round 2

  • One assumes that Risa, as a peaceful planet, is fairly well protected from hostile aliens – so how was a Romulan ship able to get so close? If it’s that hazardous for a Starfleet officer to take a three hour trip in a shuttlecraft, the Enterprise itself should have dropped him off. Of course, we know that the Ferengi vacation on Risa, so maybe it’s in a dangerously neutral location.
  • For that matter, how did the Romulans know where to find Geordi? Was Kell already on board and able to send a message to the Romulans that Geordi was leaving? Did they even conspire to arrange a reason for him to go to Risa in the first place? After all, Geordi was the only person aboard the Enterprise who could be brainwashed in this manner, as no one else has a VISOR. Could it be that there’s another Romulan agent on board – Chief O’Brien, perhaps?
  • Geordi’s VISOR remains a security risk right up until Generations – why isn’t there some kind of encryption on the connection to his visual cortex. I guess in this case it could have been bypassed, and encryption might add too much lag to the sensory input.
  • We get to see through Geordi’s VISOR for the first time since The Enemy. It looks similar but not identical to how it was before.
  • Why is pretty much every Klingon we meet either a Romulan traitor or dissatisfied with the Empire? Is there a single Klingon who is simply content with their life?
  • This is our first glimpse of Commander Sela, alternate-Yar’s daughter.
  • Did the Romulans manufacture Geordi’s Risa memories, or did they implant the memories of fake Geordi? For that matter, who was fake Geordi? Was he a surgically altered Romulan, or a human collaborator?
  • Why aren’t there better logs of when crewmembers are in operational areas? I guess even if there were, Geordi probably has a sysadmin powers and can just delete logs.

Summary – The Mind’s Eye: Go on, kill Chief O’Brien. You know you want to.

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