‘Genesis’ (TNG) (TV)

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Please feel free to comment on my review.

Well, they had Jonathan Frakes direct episodes of ‘Star Trek’; then Patrick Stewart and then LeVar Burton. Now we have a ‘Star Trek’ TV episode directed by Gates McFadden who plays Beverly Crusher.

Before I start, I want to stress how impressed I am by Gates McFadden’s direction of the episode. I’m amazed Gates became a director on ‘Star Trek’ as well as being an actress and a dancer in the TV show.

However, I must admit I’m not really a fan of the episode itself. The concepts are fine and there are tensions and scares throughout. But it’s a story about the ‘TNG’ crew de-evolving which is unpleasant.

If you think this episode has any connection to the Genesis Project in ‘Star Trek II’ and ‘III’ like I did, then you’re bound to be very disappointed. Quite frankly, a link to the Genesis Project would be great.

In the episode, the Enterprise tries out a new weapons system that goes wrong when Worf fires a set of torpedoes. One of these torpedoes happens to veer off course during one of the weapon exercises.

Picard and Data leave in a shuttlecraft to retrieve the torpedo from space since the Enterprise can’t do it due to being so big in an asteroid field. It’s just as well that Picard and Data leave in a shuttlecraft.

In their absence, the Enterprise crew begin to experience strange symptoms. Worf becomes highly aggressive with a high temperature and Deanna Troi drinks glasses of water since she’s feeling so cold.

Riker also has trouble concentrating as his brain gets smaller. Beverly also discovers a venom sac on Worf’s neck and he soon sprays venom into her face, injuring her severely before she gets put into stasis.

The root cause of this is Dwight Schultz who returns as Lt. Barclay. Beforehand, Barclay was in sick bay. It turned he was a hypochondriac. Beverly gave him a synthetic T-cell to activate one of his genes.

But as a result, this had the undesired side-effect in activating all of Barclay’s dormant introns. Don’t ask me to explain it. I don’t understand this either, but it somehow spread a disease to the ship’s crew.

Patti Yasutake as Nurse Ogawa takes over Beverly’s medical duties aboard the Enterprise and warns the senior staff including Riker and Barclay that everybody on the ship is in danger. It may be too late.

Very soon, several days later apparently, Picard and Data return to find the Enterprise adrift in space. They soon find things have changed aboard the ship with most of the Enterprise crew de-evolved here.

There’s Deanna who has become an amphibian; Riker who’s now become a caveman; Barclay who’s now become a spider and Worf who has now become an aggressive predator. Where are the others?!

Yeah, we only see four of the Enterprise crewmembers de-evolved but not many of the others. Aren’t there supposed to families and children on board? What happened to them? Did they get killed here?

There are also a few crewmembers who got killed like one of the bridge officers and it turns out Spot, Data’s cat, had kittens and turned into iguana. Intriguing. Not sure how that is supposed to work here.

As Picard and Data work out what’s going on and how to stop it, Data reveals to Picard that he’s also been infected by the disease. Data informs Picard that he might de-evolve into a primate of some sort.

This becomes evident when Picard gets overcome by irrational emotions of fear and anxiety. This is when Barclay as a spider scares Picard as well as Worf as a predator breaking down the sick bay doors.

In their discoveries, Picard and Data realise that Spot’s kittens are normal and haven’t been affected. They soon decide to use Nurse Ogawa, who’s been pregnant lately, to counteract this strange disease.

There’s a tense chase sequence where Picard lures the predator Worf away from sick bay so that Data can work on the cure. Picard uses a power cable in the Jefferies tube to incapacitate Worf in the story.

Thankfully Data creates a modified retro-virus before releasing it into the air of the ship and restores everybody back to normal. The disease has the name ‘Barclay’s protomorphosis syndrome’ by Beverly.

‘Genesis’ isn’t really a favourite of mine. It’s well-directed by Gates McFadden and it has an interesting concept. But I didn’t find this episode pleasant. Such a shame this was the only episode Gates directed.

‘Genesis’ (TNG) rating – 5/10

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