The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Phantasms

When Data’s dream program starts giving him nightmares, he must explore this new development in his psyche. Is it just an evolution planned by Dr Soong, or is it a warning that something’s going wrong on board the Enterprise?

When you stop to think about it, there isn’t really much to this episode beyond “Data has some bad dreams”. That said, it’s still rather entertaining – I enjoyed the Dali-esque images in Data’s dreams, and who doesn’t want to see holographic Sigmund Freud insisting “kill them all”? So, even though it might feel a bit thin from an analytical point of view, it’s still actually a decent enough episode, and one of those few that gets trotted out on cake-themed Star Trek evenings, along with Voyager’s Riddles. And if you think I don’t have Star Trek evenings themed around a specific food item, think again.

Bits and pieces

  • A quick one from Gambit – as Galen, Picard introduced Riker as the first officer of the Enterprise, but also as a troublesome Starfleet officer with discipline issues. Given that first officer of the Federation flagship is a prestigious position, are we really supposed to believe that Riker is such a rebellious and ineffective officer? Then again, given the average competence of a Starfleet admiral, it’s no unbelievable that, like in many real world organisations, seniority is not a guarantee of ability.
  • Troi repays Data ‘in kind’ with a cake (rather than stabbing him) – now imagine if she repaid in kind all those one-off characters who space-raped her.
  • Given that the parasites came from the new warp core, it does raise questions as to Starfleet’s quality control, especially for their flagship.
  • Troi tells Data that he should have come to her instead of holographic Freud – whilst it’s true in principle that Troi should be a better counsellor than a hologram, as usual it’s a conflict of interest that she counsels the bridge crew.

Summary – Phantasms: I’d like a slice of cellular peptide cake with mint frosting, please.

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