‘EYE OF THE BEHOLDER’ (TNG)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
This is a ‘Star Trek: TNG’ episode that struggles to tell its story. The ideas and concepts sound clever but they don’t feel clever. Even after watching it a second time, I became confused regarding the story.
In the episode, an emergency occurs aboard the Enterprise where one of the crewmembers commits suicide by jumping into the plasma discharge in one of the warp nacelle tubes on the ship. Interesting.
That crewmember happens to be Tim Lounibos as Lt. Daniel Kwan, who is half alien and partially telepathic. He states “They were laughing at me!” and “I knows what I have to do!” before jumping in.
Confused by this turn of events when Riker relates this to the others, Captain Picard assigns Worf and Deanna Troi to investigate this mysterious death. Worf and Troi check out the personnel logs by Kwan.
But as they discover, they find there are no traces of depression in Kwan when he made the logs. In fact, Kwan seems to be happy as he was looking forward to spend the next few days with his girlfriend.
That girlfriend happens to be Johanna McCloy as Ensign Maddy Calloway. Deanna questions Calloway about Kwan before he committed suicide, but she is just as shocked and befuddled on why he did this.
It then turns out that Kwan had a slight but normal dislike for his superior officer, Nancy Harewood as Lt. Nara. What alien species Nara is I haven’t a clue, since they don’t identify these aliens in ‘Star Trek’!
But Kwan’s dislike for Nara doesn’t amount to anything in the episode, since she had nothing against Kwan either. It would’ve been very interesting if Nara did actually commit murder in the episode itself.
Deanna eventually stands on the platform overlooking the plasma discharge. She becomes awash with emotions from it. I did wonder if that was when Deanna became in her own world, but it was not here.
It seems that Deanna’s empathic senses have been overloaded according to Beverly Crusher and that rest is recommended. Deanna and Worf continue sharing theories regarding her empathic experience.
Eventually, Deanna returns to the platform overlooking the plasma discharge where Worf opens it for her to see inside. She then experiences visions of a woman afraid of this man on board Utopia Planitia.
And this is where things get confused. For you see, everything that Deanna experiences after seeing those visions is inside her mind. And I do not think it is that well-executed in the episode in its attempt.
Incidentally, Utopia Planitia is the starbase where the Enterprise-D was constructed. Also Deanna sees a vision of a woman kissing another man in a closet and the two seem to be laughing mockingly at her.
Worf eventually breaks Deanna out of her visions, although she’s still in the dream world here. They discover that the visions that Deanna experienced were a part of events that took place eight years ago.
The events that had occurred eight years ago happened during the Enterprise’s construction. Deanna also learns the red-haired man was Lieutenant Walter Piece, who is currently serving aboard the ship.
Worf and Deanna soon meet Mark Rolston as Walter Piece aboard the Enteprise, who seems to be a suspicious person. His deviousness gets revealed by the end when Deanna has her emotional moment.
Eventually, Deanna and Worf are about to retire for the night before they kiss each other and spend the night together. Yep! This episode builds up to the romance between Deanna and Worf in the show.
Fans did react against this move to have Deanna and Worf in a relationship. This I can appreciate it since I would’ve preferred if it was Deanna and Riker, even though this got hinted at during ‘Parallels’.
Eventually, Deanna experience strange visions during her waking reality that eventually lead her to killing Worf. She’s about to commit suicide, just like Kwan did, before Worf saves her in the real world.
It turns out all that occurred for Deanna was only for a few seconds since she first arrived at the nacelle when Worf opened it for her. The visions Deanna saw were from Pierce’s physic residue in the nacelle.
I’ve tried to explain the episode as best as I can in my review. You probably need to watch it again and again, but overall I found this rather underwhelming as the story struggled to get out during its telling.
‘Eye of the Beholder’ (TNG) rating – 4/10
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