‘Dark Page’ (TNG) (TV)

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Please feel free to comment on my review.

After seeing this ‘Star Trek: TNG’ episode a second time in a long while, I found myself in tears watching it. I wasn’t initially impressed by the episode first time, but having seen it again I found very emotional.

‘Dark Page’ also features a highlight for me as this episode features a special guest appearance of a young Kirsten Dunst as an alien. Kirsten would later go and play Mary Jane in the ‘Spider-Man’ movies.

It was amazing to see Kirsten Dunst looking very young as a child actress in a ‘Star Trek’ episode. She has done TV and film before the ‘Spider-Man’ films, but it was rare for me to see her in an earlier role.

The episode also features the return of Majel Barrett as Lwaxana Troi, Deanna’s mother. It’s been a while since we last saw Lwaxana in ‘Star Trek: TNG’. The last time we saw her was in Season 5, I believe.

In the episode, Lwaxana has come aboard the Enterprise to introduce a new alien species called the Cairn. They’re a unique species as they communicate telepathically not through words but via images.

Lwaxana has assumed the role of teacher to this alien species in order to learn how to speak through words with other species. It’s to ensure a place for the Cairn in the Federation once they’ve joined up.

It was interesting to see Lwaxana is a new diplomatic role as the Betazed Ambassador which we rarely see. She can still be overbearing at times, but at least she isn’t silly and causing trouble in the episode.

Kirsten Dunst plays Hedril, who is Lwaxana’s star pupil among the Cairn race. Hedril is accompanied by her father, Norman Large as Maques, who does struggles to communicate his thoughts into words.

And goodness me! Those ‘ears’ that the Cairn like Kirsten Dunst’s character have! I get it, it’s meant to represent them as being alien, but watching Kirsten Dunst with the huge ‘ears’ on her is off-putting.

During the episode, Deanna notices that Lwaxana’s not her usual, flamboyant self. This is pretty evident when Lwaxana starts showing signs of fatigue as she has been working too hard with the Cairn.

At one point, Lwaxana lashes out at Riker for no reason when he’s with Deanna in Ten Forward. She’s taken to sick bay where Beverly tells her that her telepathic interaction with the Cairn is straining her.

Lwaxana is asked to refrain making telepathic connect with the Cairn so that she can recover, but she’s insistent that she keeps on working with them. Deanna offers to help her with verbal communication.

But it doesn’t work out as hoped as when Deanna communicates verbally with the Cairn like Maques and Hedril, Lwaxana slips in her telepathy from time to time. It occurs when they are in the arboretum.

After Hedril accidentally falls into a pool of water in the arboretum, Lwaxana collapses and falls into a coma. Lwaxana gets taken to sick bay where Beverly deduces her telepathy has been greatly overused.

In an attempt to rescue her, Maques uses his telepathy to form a bridge between Deanna and her mother Lwaxana. This is so Deanna can access the mind of her mother in order to recover her securely.

Deanna finds herself in the corridors of the Enterprise when inside her mother’s mind. Lwaxana’s mental defences kick in when she tries to shoo Deanna away, despite inwardly calling for help at times.

The first defence is conjuring up an image of Picard ordering Deanna to sever the connection. Next is an image of a wolf. Then Deanna sees her father, Amick Byram as Ian Andrew Troi when he was young.

Deanna resists these images conjured up by her mother until she sees an image of Kirsten Dunst as Hedril. Lwaxana then appears and charges at Deanna, screaming, before Deanna wakes up in sick bay.

The episode soon resolves itself in the conclusion when it gets revealed that Lwaxana lost a daughter named Kestra which she and Ian Troi had before Deanna. Hedril reminded Lwaxana of her losing Kestra.

I like how Deanna tries to reassure her mother and helps her to move on from the traumatic experience she had. It ends with them both together, as Deanna asks Lwaxana to know more of Kestra.

‘Dark Page’ is a ‘TNG’ episode that reduced me to tears and I’m glad I saw it again to appreciate it more. It doesn’t have a huge appearance of Kirsten Dunst in ‘Star Trek’, but at least she played a significant role.

‘Dark Page’ (TNG) rating – 8/10

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