Episode

243

Interface

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Discussion

  • Dave Taylor

    Not as terrible an episode as the past few have been, but more stuff I simply did not care about. It would have been better if we had ever meet Geordi’s parents along the way, but I simply don’t care about them.

    Once again, it is great that Geordi is so quickly able to deal with the trauma in his life. By the ending credits, all is well 😉

    And once again, it is good that Star Fleet’s penalties for such massive violations of direct orders are so lenient. If this was a real fleet, every one of the command staff would have been court marshaled several times throughout the series and removed from positions of authority.

    • Even Riker – remember that whole thing in The Outcast.
      Even Wesley – he took over the ship in week two. *Week. two.*

      Wonder if anyone’s ever called in on a duty shift: “Sorry, can’t come in this morning. I’ve been possessed by an alien life form.” “Should we beam you to sick bay?” “No, it’s cool. I just need to rest.”

      • Dave Taylor

        Na, all is well. At this point they just kind of expect shifty behavior.

      • Dan Less

        This is a complaint I have in many TV shows, movies, and books. Very typical in police / detective stories. Employee deliberately violates a rule and/or order but because things turned out “OK,” the supervisor gives the employee a good tongue lashing and then basically tossels the employee’s hair with a “warning” (don’t ever let me see you do that again) and all but chuckles to him/herself afterwards musing “that crazy kid.” It would be nice to see some real consequences – Jeordi having to peel potatoes for a month? Closest I ever saw was the end of Season 1 of The Wire when McNaulty gets put on boat duty.

      • Scrappy

        I could imagine Worf walking around with a clipboard ticking off the names of the crew who were shifty that morning. Ensign Gomes…tick. Lieutenant Junior J… tick. Lieutenant Barkley… double tick.

  • CmdrR

    When late TOS choked, Kirk boinked a priestess and/or talked a computer to death. When TNG choked, the crew wandered around confused for 40 minutes before discovering ‘it was whacky aliens all along!’ Interface is one of those eps. It would have been nice if we ever heard of Geordi’s parents outside this ep. Ah well…

  • Aaron

    For the computer…

    https://youtu.be/gkiOm-vmpcY

  • Total geekery-outery: the probe was inspired at least in part by an aborted NASA project called the Teleoperator Retrieval System, a remote-controlled platform that would, at least on paper, be used by early space shuttle crews to latch onto Skylab and push it back into a higher orbit so the shuttle program would have an already-available space station as a port-of-call when flights began. (Problem: this idea was predicated on shuttle flights starting in a window during 1977-79, rather than 1981; Skylab fell out of the sky and ceased being a lab in July ’79.) No cool VR rigs, just cameras and remote controls…but otherwise, kind of the same idea. The VR element of it may put on immediately in mind of virtual reality, but strip that away, and it’s kind of a hopped-up descendant of the TRS with all sorts of environmental sensors attached…and apparently a mean of communicating with fire critters who look like your mom*.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/67f768bc2e2dcb0c958d5855de1deb6141b0410eb2ec446b2e967421da61b312.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d2fb5f0fda9ad8eff6633030f99385e013e7e1858a74f18b8cc55fc2015edb13.jpg

    * I may need to find a better way to phrase this.

    • By the way, if you string a bunch of silent pauses together and wrap them around each other, would that be some kind of lacuna coil?

  • Pete2174

    I have no recollection of this episode at all.
    Indicative of season 7 for the most part.

    • It was filler, unfortunately.

    • gizmochimp

      Yeah, like last week’s episode it’s largely forgettable. Not bad, not good, just an episode.

  • Troy Brooks

    Anyone bothered by the fact that when Barkley saw worms in the transporter everyone tried to figure out what it was, but when Geordi sees his missing mother everyone assumes he’s imagining it?

    • It does bug me a bit, but remember also that there was absolutely no expectation that the Hera would be at this particular planet; it was supposed to be somewhere else entirely. I think using that assumption as a starting point, it just didn’t make any sense to anybody that the Hera’s captain would be at this planet.

      Geordi’s “propose a theory to fit what you think the facts are” scene was a great specimen of the logical fallacy of confirmation bias. He was not about to let anyone talk him out of the idea that he’d seen his mother aboard the Hera, so he devised a really convoluted theory using “I saw my mom aboard the Hera” as its basis. Result: faulty theory. And *that* bothers me – that our supposedly idealized humans of the future can snap back to the 21st century reality of people who refuse to take on board information conflicting with what they’ve decided their worldview it. Sigh.

      • Judie Liri

        It’s clearly because he’s in the denial stage regarding his mother. But the ep. shows how his method of theorising is faulty.

      • to me w all the CRAAAAAZZZZYYYY stuff they have been through, I am surprised they are not a bit more accepting of outlandish theories….also, it does illustrate how bizarre some of the premises have been for storylines….lol

  • Scrappy

    Here we go again guys! Its a labour of love… or sometimes just labour.
    I’m not surprised that this episode was almost written for Riker. Halfway through the episode I was thinking this could be Riker in Geordi’s place. partly because of the daddy issues.

    • I was thinking that it should have been Data as a machine-machine interface would seem to be better than a human-machine interface for operating the probe.

      • Dave Taylor

        That really would make a lot more sense.

  • The Enterprise gets stuck in some sort of time loop for days on end in the Kelsey Grammar episode and it came back, but we are willing to give up on the Hera after four or five days. Seems odd.

    I would think that whatever the tele-presence robot sensed would be recorded and not just only interpreted by Geordi. Data can make the probe shoot a phaser with a remote control, but he can’t see what the sensors see?

    At least the relatives of our crew get real actors and not just Shatner with a mustache. But in 60s TV, every star ended up playing their own double it seems.

    • Dave Taylor

      Ya, as the guys say, they give up the search way to early. And Geordi’s Dad is way to o.k. with this. As you mention, ships go out of contact for days, maybe even weeks on end.

      And YES. The data coming from the probe had to come through the computer to Geordi. Even if it was not recording the first time around, they would be recording later on.

  • For the record, I *did* see All That Jazz when I was a kid. Boy, did my mom have to explain some stuff to me afterward. “I think I’m gonna di-ie!”

    The problem with the probe here is the same problem with the chess movie/countermove “password” in Whom Gods Destroy – why don’t they do that ALL the time? Why don’t they send one of these in before beaming down and shoveling the local vegetation into their mouths? Other shows have done this (I’m thinking Stargate SG-1 and its MALPs) without diluting dramatic tension. Why risk an away team when you could send one of these?

    And then, of course, like the chess-inspired passwords, it never shows up again, ever. I can already think of a follow-up story – maybe someone decides that, rather than sending something that looks vaguely like Nomad, they want to build one of these remote probes in a humanoid shape. And then we’re back once again to the Exocomp question – perhaps in a more compelling package than robot puppets.

    Apropos to absolutely nothing, the great thing about John Cage’s 4’33 is that, regardless of how “full” your MP3 player or phone is, you can still fit that track onto it. The file takes up very little digital real estate.

    • Jk Yamamoto

      There are a lot of instances in Star Trek where some kind of tech is introduced and then quickly forgotten. Like Spock’s rocket boots in “Star Trek V” — would have been useful in “Second Chances,” where the two Rikers go underground with nothing to stop them from falling to their deaths. (Yes, I know they needed to be put in jeopardy to advance the story.) In at least one movie, security personnel wore protective gear, but in subsequent shows they have no protection, basically going into hazardous situations wearing their pajamas.

      • Durakken

        The problem with the future is that it is too safe and peacefully full of everything that you could possibly want in one way or another. It makes for a hard time to write stories…possibly impossible. As Heinlein put it, a story is where you have a character go through event where after those events they would not make the same choices as before those events. In other words, a story is about a character changing. The thing that makes one change is when you run into something the conflicts with your present state, whether that be physical, mental, social, or spiritual. Future tech removes things that create conflict and as a result no changes happen thus no story can happen.

        So when they introduce technology that reduces danger, and need for resources and other such things, well each of those things remove the ability to tell story. It’s a pretty bad place to be in ^.^

  • Durakken

    “Geordi that’s impossible” says Data… about a fairly mundane every day occurance that they have experieced multiple times. That’s the part that makes no sense to me…

    The completely jacked in to a drone thing is fine and VR is not the same thing as the Holodeck.

    Why no gloves? It’s in your mind. All the info is being sent to and from his mind, including the data in the rest of his body. The movement that you see Geodi make is actually residual movement which we see in these types of things. We mean to move x and we use the pathways for y that haven’t completely differentiated yet so both move at the same time. Since geordi doesn’t do this every day that’s normal and th feeling in his hand isn’t really a feeling in his hand. It’s just how he is processing it.

    Likewise the speakes on the drone would be activated when he spoke and could that could have been differentiatd enough at that time to be able to do it unconsciously or he just focused on doing it and did it himself. why he would though, who knows.

    why use the done rather than the holodeck? There is a diffeence between first person and third person visuals and futher the way that th brain processs a given signal will be different than the computer so Geordi having the signal processed is probably best and allows for the quickest reaction in a dangerous environment that might need split second reactions.

    The holodeck is a great device but it is not better than VR. It takes up more energy and limits you to your own body where as VR takes up only server processing and you can be in any body you want. If you want to experience being a dog, for example, you can’t do that on the holodeck, but you can in VR. You can have the characters react to you as if you were whatever, but that is not the same thing.

  • Bruce Aguilar

    It’s a bit cheap to introduce Geordi’s parents at this late stage when we know we’ll never see them again. The writers should have at least made sure the story revealed something of their characters and interrelationships instead of just saying, “Yeah, Geordi has parents. Here they are. Wasn’t it exciting to see them?” There’s a lack of respect for Geordi and the audience as well with this surface level trreatment. It just goes to show how focus had turned towards the feature films and the series was being less and less attention. It hurts because TNG was on fire for quite awhile. But even in this dimmed state, it’s still my favorite Trek series.