‘Sub Rosa’ (TNG) (TV)

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Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is an episode focusing on Beverly Crusher’s character as she attends the funeral of her late grandmother. She also falls in love with a mysterious man she hardly knows. It may be trouble for her.

‘Sub Rosa’ has been cited as one of the worst episodes in any ‘Star Trek’ series by the fans. Gates McFadden who plays Beverly also has her reservations about this episode, despite giving a superb performance.

The episode is also directed by Jonathan Frakes and it’s the last contribution he makes as a director for the ‘TNG’ series. He would later go on to be a director for more ‘Star Trek’ episodes and two movies.

The episode takes place on the colony planet of Caldos IV where the funeral of Beverly’s dear grandmother, Felisa Howard, takes place. Caldos IV is supposed a world resembling Scotland on Earth.

Now that is actually a rather intriguingly neat concept. I’ve done a similar thing myself in creating a world of Scotland for my ‘Doctor Who’ fan-fiction story, ‘Chieftain’s Caves’. This I can appreciate here.

Whilst the burial takes place, Beverly notices a man she doesn’t know in attendance at the funeral. It intrigues Beverly as to why he’s attending the funeral and what connection he has to her grandmother.

As the episode progresses, Beverly discovers that her grandmother kept several mementos in her house on Caldos IV. She soon takes some diaries on board the Enterprise to do some bedtime reading.

Apparently Beverly’s grandmother, who was 100 years old (yikes she lived that long?!) had a romance with a 34-year-old man named Ronin. Okay. That’s pretty weird. It sort of makes sense as it progresses.

Anyway, Beverly comes across a groundskeeper, Shay Duffin as Mr. Ned Quint, who warns her that there’s a ghost in her grandmother’s house. Beverly does not believe this when he intrudes the house.

Quint also tells Beverly not to light the candle her grandmother carried as it will wake up the ghost. Very soon, Beverly hears a voice that tells her he is Ronin and that he loved her grandmother so much.

Ronin also tells Beverly that he now loves her too. He soon becomes visible, revealing himself to be Duncan Regehr as the character. Ronin seems a man out of time and claims to be from Scotland’s past.

It was quite a shock when Beverly saw Ronin in a mirror when she looked. It gave my Mum a fright when she saw that. Very soon, Beverly falls under Ronin’s spell, soon believing she is in love with him.

Okay! This is bizarre, weird and confusing on all levels. For one thing, how is it Beverly is able to fall in love with a man she hardly knows so quickly? I thought that Beverly was made of pretty stronger stuff.

I would be okay if this was a love story for Beverly with a man she hardly knows, but somehow it feels forced. There isn’t a progression on how Beverly fell in love with Ronin and why she would do anyway.

Also, and Gates McFadden has made this point clear I believe, Beverly is falling in love with someone who comes out from a candle? How does this work? This has me feel less detached about the romance.

It also makes me feel uncomfortable when Beverly seems to be sexually aroused by Ronin once he turns into a green vapour. I would’ve preferred it if Ronin stayed in corporeal form when making love.

Picard isn’t happy about the way Beverly is behaving too, especially considering he admitted his feelings for her in ‘Attached’. He’s surprised and shocked when Beverly abruptly leaves the Enterprise.

She decides to stay on Caldos IV to be a healer like her grandmother but also have her romance with Ronin. Picard eventually visits Beverly in her house, unhappy with how she’s changed, preferring her old self.

Eventually, it turns out Ronin has been manipulating Beverly to keep his life-force stable just like he did with her grandmother. It was so interesting to hear the revelations made towards the story’s end.

The emotion in Gates McFadden’s performance is spellbinding to watch when Beverly finds out about Ronin. Thankfully, Beverly uses a phaser to fire on Ronin and destroys him, despite him still loving her.

I wouldn’t consider ‘Sub Rosa’ to be a favourite of mine in the ‘TNG’ series. It’s a weird, bizarre love story for Beverly, but I commend Gates McFadden’s performance in how she delivered the emotions.

‘Sub Rosa’ rating – 5/10

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