The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Power Play

When the Enterprise follows a distress call to a storm-filled moon, it looks like they have found the final resting place of the long-lost USS Essex. Even though the Essex was lost some two centuries ago, Troi insists that she can sense life on the surface, and so Riker leads an away team to investigate. But on their return, Troi, Data and O’Brien have all been possessed by consciousnesses claiming to be the spirits of the Essex senior crew.

TNG has long since evolved its own style, but this episode felt very TOS-like to me – a mix of the body possession of Return to Tomorrow, and every episode ever where Kirk and crew went down to a dangerous, stormy planet. Other than that, this feels like a pretty standard hostage situation episode, and the fact that no one for a minute believes that the entities possessing Troi et al are Starfleet officers robs it of its only potential twist. In the end, the highlight of the episode is Troi being badass – no more Ms Nice Counsellor!

Enterprise security

Things that were done or considered in this episode:

  • Geordi actually suggests flooding Ten Forward with anaesthezine gas, but in the end this isn’t done because it wouldn’t affect Data. It’s also possible that it wouldn’t have been good for baby Molly, either, as a high enough dose to knock out an adult might have killed her.
  • Confining force fields are used.

Things that weren’t done:

  • The artificial gravity is not increased to make moving around difficult.
  • Troi, Data and O’Brien’s computer accesses are not immediately revoked, making it harder for them to lock everyone else out of the computer.

Other points

  • I keep meaning to say this, but time after time we see control of the ship transferred from the bridge to engineering. What about the poor, neglected battle bridge? What’s the point of having it if engineering will suffice as a point of control for the stardrive section?
  • Why did O’Brien have to risk his life beaming down to the moon? Couldn’t he have beamed down the pattern enhancers plus a set of instructions on how to use them?

Summary – Power Play: In which Troi and Data’s bodies are used against their will yet again.

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