‘THE LOSS’ (TNG)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
This ‘Star Trek’ episode explores Deanna Troi’s character as it sees her losing her empathic abilities. This is an unusual, scary situation for Deanna to be in and she becomes a very different person here.
The Enterprise travels through deep space before coming across an odd phenomenon that appears like phantom images. As this occurs, Deanna gets headaches as her empathic abilities get removed.
The Enterprise gets caught up in a group of two-dimensional life-forms and can’t break out of it to resume its course through space. The Enterprise crew soon learns of Deanna’s loss with her abilities.
During the episode, Deanna suffers a tremendous sense of loss as she goes through stages of denial, fear and anger. She behaves out of character in front of everyone, despite her friends reassuring her.
This is an intriguing episode of character development on Deanna Troi’s part. Usually we see her in control of her emotions as she performs her duties as ship’s counsellor. She’s not so in control here.
This episode isn’t so action-packed as you would expect other ‘Star Trek’ episodes to be. Some would prefer more action than character drama. I’d prefer a combination of both in some episodes.
Not that I’m saying I dislike this episode. It’s a good piece of character development for Deanna Troi when she loses her empathic abilities. But it doesn’t make it one of my standout favourites in ‘TNG’.
There are some moments that stood out for me, such as her relationship with Riker. Riker tries to reach out and help her, but she’s dismissive of his concern for her as she doesn’t want to feel pitied.
There’s also a scene between Deanna and Beverly Crusher in sick bay. Deanna lashes out at Beverly for not giving her the cure and being told to get used to it, something that’s not shown in her before.
As Deanna finds herself not getting used to her abilities removed from her, she requests to resign as ship’s counsellor. This is despite her not thinking she will get her abilities back after this crisis is over.
Picard is reluctant to grant Deanna’s request, but she’s adamant about it. She’s not in a clear state of mind, as she’s unwilling to accept her human side over Betazoid side to help her as ship’s counsellor.
There’s one scene I like where Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan talks to Deanna in Ten Forward. Guinan manages to give Deanna some words of wisdom when she’s considering to be the ship’s counsellor.
During the episode, Deanna has been helping Kim Braden as Ensign Janet Brooks over the loss of her late husband. In the first scene of this episode, she manages to help get through to her in her grief.
Later on, Deanna tries to help Janet Brooks without her empathic abilities. Janet seems convinced that she is getting over her late husband’s death, despite Deanna advising her that she may not be.
Afterwards, Deanna sees Janet for one more time as she’s about to resign as ship’s counsellor. Janet tells Deanna that she was right, since she’s not feeling better getting over her late husband’s death.
Meanwhile, it’s soon realised that the two-dimensional creatures are heading for a cosmic string in space. The Enterprise is in tow as it’s likely that the ship will be destroyed once it reaches the string.
Picard pleads with Deanna to help them with trying to communicate with the strange creatures. I liked it when Data and Deanna are working together, even though Deanna doesn’t have her abilities.
Deanna soon comes up with an idea on how to get out of this mess. She suggests a way in relation to ‘a moth drawn to a flame’. It sounds complicated as it is explained, but it is an intriguing hypothesis.
Very soon, the Enterprise uses the Deflector Dish to simulate the vibration of a cosmic string, created by Data. The simulation works, as the Enterprise manages to break free from the creatures.
And of course, Deanna Troi gets her empathic abilities back. It seems she never lost her abilities as they were overwhelmed by the emotions of the creatures. She returns to her job with confidence.
‘The Loss’ is an intriguing character-driven episode for Deanna Troi. I wouldn’t call it a favourite, but I enjoyed how this explores Deanna coping in a situation where her abilities are temporarily absent.
‘The Loss’ (TNG) rating – 7/10
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