6/16/13

Star Trek: Asterisk "Transfigurations"

Vital Information
Series: The Next Generation
Episode: S03E25
Air Date: June 4, 1990
Written by: René Echevarria
Directed by: Tom Benko

Premise
Beverly brings a man who was fatally wounded in a shuttle crash back to life and he undergoes a strange transformation by the power of lemon-scented Pine-Sol.

Review
So the Enterprise is on a routine charting mission and Geordi has nothing to do but worry about how he can't talk to women. Worf tries to give him some pointers, but when a woman approaches him in 10-Forward, he locks up. Which is just as well, because just then, the Enterprise finds a crashed shuttle and calls Geordi along to check it out. They find the pilot under a pile of rubble and, for the most part, dead. Beverly hooks up some kind of brain scanner thinggie to him and connects it to Geordi so that Geordi's brain can help keep the alien's brain alive. But then something unexpected happens... a burst of light transfers to Geordi from the alien. And suddenly Geordi's got swag.

Back on the ship, Beverly works hard to restore "John Doe's" life and health. Dr. Crusher's work is miraculous, to be sure, but she can't take all the credit. Apparently, John's cells are mutating and healing by themselves faster than she can diagnose why. Meanwhile, in 10-Forward, Geordi puts his swag to work by taking Christy Henshaw to the arboreum. Worf, of course, takes credit for Geordi's newfound confidence, but he's still clearly puzzled by it. Later, Riker will catch Geordi in the turbolift making out with Christy. I think it's safe to say that Geordi's got the moves now.
It's like a giant watching two hobbits, to be honest.
In sick bay, John Doe has recovered well enough to be awake and walking around, but he doesn't remember who he is. O'Brien then comes in with a dislocated shoulder from kayaking on the holodeck and John touches him with a yellow glow and he's suddenly healed before Beverly can get to him. Well, this is a new development. It doesn't take long before these new powers he's developing start to worry him. He feels like he has to get out of the ship and, to that end, he books it to the shuttle bay to steal a shuttle. In the ensuing chaos, he gets in a fight with Worf, kills him, but then revives him with his yellow glowy powers.

That's when his countrymen stop by to ask for him back. The Zalkonian commander says that he's a criminal. But there's no way John can defend himself because he still has very little memory. All he remembers is that he can't go home and that the Zalkonian commander is somehow dangerous. After two hours of deliberation, Picard tries to negotiate with the Zalkonian commander, but the commander is in no mood for negotiations, so he has his underling push a magical button that sucks all the air out of the Enterprise somehow.
"Well! I never!"
It's really lucky for the ship that that's when John Doe remembers who he is, because he's then able to save Beverly who was suffocating on the floor of sick bay, and then touch a computer console that saves the rest of the ship... by... putting air back in their lungs? Bringing the environmental controls back online? We just don't know... In any case, they make their way to the bridge and John magically transports the Zalkonian commander onto the Enterprise for a face-to-face talk.

He explains that he and several like him were undergoing the final step of their evolution into energy beings. The initial pain that this caused made the Zalkonian culture fear them and hunt them down. Many of them had been killed, but he is now the first of his kind to take the next step into the next plane. Just then, he evolves before their very eyes into a yellow glowing energy being. He transports the commander back to his ship, and that ship leaves. John thanks the crew of the Enterprise, but says he must go. And Picard says how honored he feels to be witness to the birth of a new species.
He's off to play with Q and Trelane now. Maybe the Organians.
And we never hear about Geordi's love life again.

Overall Thoughts
So, the story behind this episode is that they really wanted to showcase how awesome 25th century medicine was by bringing a man who was near death back to full recovery, but they just couldn't crack the story or who this man would be. When they decided that the man was going to be on the verge of evolving into an energy being, that was their first mistake, because 25th century medicine now takes a backseat to natural recovery. When they decided to throw Geordi's love life into the picture, that was their second mistake, because we never see this confident, womanizing Geordi or Christy ever again. Their third mistake was killing a Klingon warrior by knocking him off of a balcony. And their fourth mistake was giving the enemy aliens the magical ability to suck the air out of the Enterprise. I didn't like this episode for those four reasons, but if you can look past them, be my guest. I wouldn't, however, place this on a list of essential episodes, though.