‘Frame of Mind’ (TNG) (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

Okay, I know this episode may appeal to some people as ‘Star Trek’ fans. But I found this one not to my tastes and it was pretty complex to follow. But it has a very good performance by Jonathan Frakes.

The episode has Riker rehearsing for a theatre play by Beverly Crusher called ‘Frame of Mind’, hence the episode’s title. However the play is on a dark story about a character confined to a mental asylum.

Now beforehand a lot of Beverly’s plays were pretty cheerful and sosphicated, sort of Shakespearean. I wonder why Beverly has gone for this very darker play in her theatre performances on the Enterprise.

However Riker isn’t feeling comfortable with the part he’s playing as I’m sure I would be. He isn’t sure whether he is right for the part and he is gets anxious that the play has him going into darker territory.

Riker also has a mission to go on an alien planet away from the play. He gets some tips on what to do with the mission before he is accidentally injured by Worf on the side of his head. This is a key plot point.

Beverly heals Riker’s wound but he still experiences pain at the side of his head. He soon performs the play for the Enterprise and it becomes a big hit. But Riker notices a new crewmember in the audience.

This crewmember is a strange looking alien who frowns at the performance and becomes a bit scary for Riker when he looks at him. Riker takes a bow before he straightens up and sees his audience gone.

Riker finds himself trapped in a cell that is similar to the set for the play aboard the Enterprise. The alien doctor who is there says to Riker, “I see we still have much work to do”, a line from the very play.

Now this is where it starts to get rather baffling. There are times when Riker shifts from being on the Enterprise to back inside the prison cell on an alien planet. There’s no knowing which the right reality.

This episode harps upon the more psychological aspects to Riker’s sanity as he doesn’t know whether his Enterprise life is real or not. It gets baffling to even think about it whilst writing this review.

There’s a point where Riker gets taken to the asylum cafeteria in his prison world where he’s told he killed a man. Riker gets agitated by the news, almost gets injected with drugs by the doctors and then…

…he’s back on the Enterprise. Almost like it was all a dream. But then he sees the alien doctors a number of times during his hallucinations. This is a specific episode where you really need to keep up.

Just when Riker is running away from his hallucinations aboard the Enterprise, he runs back into his quarters only to find himself in the asylum cell. He screams to be let out of this nightmare he’s still in.

The alien doctors try to quench Riker of his hallucinations about the Enterprise whilst he lives his life in the asylum. Riker then has holographic projections of the Enterprise crew who tell him other things.

This is an aspect of the episode I do like when Picard, Deanna and Worf try to tell Riker his asylum cell reality is not real. There is even a moment when Beverly Crusher walks in to help Riker out of his asylum.

It gets puzzling when Worf and Data are trying to rescue Riker out of his cell to get back on board the Enterprise and he’s resisting them. He also keeps getting that wound he recieved when Worf injured him.

Just when Beverly heals Riker of the wound, it keeps coming back to him. Riker believes himself to be in a fictional reality aboard the Enterprise. Riker shoots himself with a phaser and he is back in his cell.

Riker then finds he still has the wound from before whilst in his cell. He shoots himself again to be on the Enterprise stage for the play. The wound comes back again and Riker defies everything about him.

This leads to an ovation by a fake Enterprise crew before Riker wakes to find himself on an operating table. He returns to the Enterprise in the real world since everything has been going on inside his head.

This seems to be something that’s happened since the beginning of the episode. It was when Riker was on an away mission. He was held hostage for everything in this episode to happen inside his head.

‘Frame of Mind’ is an episode that’s likely to baffle you if you have a relaxed mind to it. I’ve been able to follow it to a certain extent, but my goodness it’s one of those episodes that’ll give you a headache.

The episode features guest stars like David Selburg, Andrew Prine and Gary Werntz who play aliens torturing Riker. There’s also Susanna Thompson who would go on to play the Borg Queen in ‘Voyager’.

‘Frame of Mind’ (TNG) rating – 4/10

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