Identity Crisis

Susanna, an old friend of Geordi’s, is on the Enterprise because other friends of theirs are disappearing. They were all members of an away mission five years ago, and they seem to be returning to that planet. The mystery deepens when Susanna begins to change into something that is not human. It stands to reason that Geordi will be next. Can he solve the mystery before he is lost to whatever change is taking Susanna? Find out when we put Identity Crisis in the Mission Log.

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  • JusenkyoGuide

    You know, I remember watching this one during the original broadcast and it scaring the bejesus outta me…

    • Lou Dalmaso

      I also remember it as being one of the weirdest action figures ever put out

  • Matt Bell

    What the heck is Data doing tinkering with the UV torch in Engineering? That’s what science labs are for! Setting up a little workbench in the MAIN Engine Room is just plain lazy – although perhaps; more signs of how human he’s become? πŸ˜‰

  • CmdrR

    Another great creepfest from TNG. One question: with Geordi’s record of picking the wrong gal, why doesn’t he pair-off with Susanna?

  • PureLimbic .

    I clearly remember losing a night or two of sleep when I saw this one as a kid. Something about finding a shadow that doesn’t belong there,,,shudder

    • Wildride

      “Ahh! It’s the Vashta Nerada! Oh, no, wait — It’s just invisible Geordi.”

  • Muthsarah

    Robert. Picard’s brother is STILL named Robert. Rene is the nephew. John, try to set Ken straight, would ya?

    I’ve always liked this episode. It’s slow, sure, but so’s “The Enemy”. And, to some extent, “The Mind’s Eye”. I like Geordie, but he didn’t get many episodes to call his own, and I think this is one the better ones, since he gets to dress up, solve a mystery practically by himself, and have some lady-moments that are more sweet than sad, or creepy. The show’s doing something very different here, going heavy genre almost, with the body-horror (not “Threshold” level makeup, but also not “Threshold” level stupid).

    It’s unique. It’s creepy. It puts the spotlight on an under-featured character. And it doesn’t threaten to ruin his character forever. It’s a B, maybe a B minus. That’s pretty good.

    • Xander Harris

      I thought Ken was referring to Louis from that episode.

  • Matt Bell

    Glad you guys mentioned the S1 uniforms in the video recording, it was good attention to detail by the production crew and something sadly missing from the McCoy home movie in “Friday’s Child” (an example of a video camera on a mission too! ). I am a bit surprised that there were so many S1 uniforms left really, as we see them all the time having been converted into the new uniform aesthetic (basically, having a collar sewn on).

    Riker seems very friendly with Commander Leijten when they are searching for her on the planet – he refers to her as “Susanna”, something only LaForge has done so far. Did something happen in between scenes? πŸ˜€

    • Hey Matt – those S1 costumes were still around and being used on background actors. The uniforms were never “converted” since the S1 design was a 1-piece suit made of spandex while the later uniforms were a completely new 2-piece design made of gabardine.

      • Matt Bell

        I agree – partially: In S3 the spandex onsies were indeed being thrown onto passing extras (making for some very jarring scenes at times). However, by S4 this was no longer the case, and judging by these screencaps from this week’s episode
        it seems likely that the spandex uniforms had the shoulder section and collar modified to make them *almost* like the 2 piece gabardine uniforms; however, the zip down the front is still painfully apparent. I had always assumed that these are just repurposed S1 uniforms – it is an economical use of costumes which were no longer needed, and why else have the zip at the front?

        • Matt Bell

          Does anyone have any information to support or disprove my whimsical theory above? I’m happy to be proved wrong, but I can’t believe I’m the only one that noticed these uniform oddities! πŸ™‚

  • Michael Rupert

    John, I loved how thoughtful you were about the comparison to the “disease” in this episode and the HIV crisis in the 90’s. I have seen this episode multiple times and never really considered putting it in its historical context. Your discussion of it was one of the gems of this podcast and an analysis I have come to expect. Well done!
    As a person living with HIV, I grew up in that atmosphere of panic in the 80’s and 90’s. The parallels you drew were accurate and impactful.
    Thanks for a great podcast, as always.

    • Greatly appreciated, Micahel – and thank you. I wanted to make sure that people didn’t think I was commenting on the social and political context of rising awareness of HIV in the ’80s and ’90s but rather the language they were using in a medical sense. There was/is some way to go for Trek to deal with the other aspects.

    • Dave Steph Taylor

      Agreed. A fascinating idea.

  • Dave Steph Taylor

    1- I agree with the thought that this seems like a completely ineffective way of reproducing.

    2- Poor Geordi, he has the worst luck.

    3- The transition back to normal is too quick. Their bodies underwent massive changes, then ten minutes later, back to normal.

    4- I agree, this is an ok episode, just not one I would revisit.

    • Matt Bell

      I agree that the transition time to turn back into human was way to fast given the extent of the changes. I could be wrong, but I think this is the first instance of this kind of drastic transformation+cure, isn’t it? Sadly, this sets the precedent for similarly OTT genetic changes such as in Genesis, Threshold and I’m sure many others!

      • Dave Steph Taylor

        Ya, with seemingly no ill effects.

        It would have been interesting to stretch out the recovery over a few episodes with Geordi and Susanna dealing with complications for a while.

  • Scrappy

    The effects for the aliens were a win for me. We’ve come a long way from the dog in the unicorn costume and the closeup of the cat.

  • Dave Steph Taylor

    Another thought I just had about this episode.

    So the transporter is supposed to completely break down your molecules, and in reassembly, look for anomalies. Sure seems like this “parasite” is something the transporter would have caught

    • Matt Bell

      Don’t worry, I’m sure there’s a technobabble way in which the parasite was able to avoid the biofilters πŸ˜‰

      • Dave Steph Taylor

        Oh ya

  • mc900

    I think maybe it’s b/c this is the Trek you both came up on. But you are Wayy harder on the TNG than TOS.

    • I grew up with TOS – Ken grew up with TNG. We’re critical of both, where appropriate: our mission is to pick apart the stories to find morals/meaning/messages. That doesn’t mean we can’t or don’t enjoy the stories.