Episode

245

Phantasms

Data is a simple android with simple dreams. He dreams of drinks from the head of a commanding officer, robocidal workers from the early 20th century, and cellular peptide cake (with mint frosting). Reality is much more boring: staring at his cat, installing warp plasma conduits, and stabbing Counselor Troi repeatedly. Can Data ever make his dreams come true? Find out when we put Phantasms into the Mission Log.

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Discussion

  • Dave Steph Taylor

    Wow was that ever a bad episode.

    Just a side note: The Android that has taken over the ship by himself several times, when he is saying he is having nightmares, perhaps take him off of active duty.

    • Pete2174

      Utter shyte. Terrible episode.

      • Yup… I wonder if “Twin Peaks” was already on the air?? I think it was…uggggh…not a creepiness that can transfer over well to the scenery of TNG…. yup another turd and darn it…the “Descent” continues….Lwaxana…arrrggggh…

        • Pete2174

          Definitely not the greatest TNG episode. I am looking forward to next weeks though as I enjoyed that one

        • Twin Peaks in its entire original iteration had come and gone by now – even “Fire Walk With Me” was a year old by the time TNG’s last season began.

    • Muthsarah

      I’ve always hated this episode too. I really don’t like arbitrary world-bendery (see also: Frame of Mind), but this took it to a ridiculous extreme. I get that this is Braga’s wheelhouse, but watching this episode – first run – convinced me that I was SOOOO much more in Moore’s (EDIT: or Piller’s) camp than Braga’s. Give me humanity, or give me politics. Just don’t give me an arbitrary-reality-of-the-week. Dreams-within-dreams, symbolism as the truest reality, uber-“clever” writerly symbolism…forgive the crudeness, but this is all such authorial masturbation. Yes, it’s truly convoluted. And that IS the bad side of complexity. Even modern genre films need to learn the difference.

      EDIT AGAIN: Though I totally understand that this episode would give an analyzer plenty to talk about, even if – to me – none of it is of any substance or relevance. I applaud the lengths John and Ken went to to turn….THIS….into another fun episode. Of Mission Log.

      • Dave Steph Taylor

        John and Ken can take the most lame episodes and still make a fascinating podcast.

      • Yep…junk episode imo….

    • Where is that thigh switch…!?!!?!? lol….

  • CmdrR

    My basic problem with ‘psychological’ stories is that they don’t offer anything I can relate to. NO, I never have eaten a friend in cake form or sucked another friend’s brain through a straw. I know, I’m boring. Still… I just get nothing from this… or from the slew of other ‘psychological’ stories in late Trek. (Or the ones on M*A*S*H: the officers fight the war in their dreams, a dying soldier leaves his body…) I just don’t care! Besides, the Petty song was better than this episode. https://tse2.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.UOTszQgu2AxyM8lYhETKPwEsDl&w=270&h=201&c=7&qlt=90&o=4&dpr=1.5&pid=1.7

    • I think the problem with “it all happened in their minds” and other hallucination tropes is that it lets the writers get as crazy as they want without having to worry about playing the consequences out on screen. By this point in its history, TNG was getting really bad about the combination of those tropes and the Big Narrative Reset Button that wriggles out from under the corner the writers have put themselves in with, again, no consequence. The show’s habit of raising the stakes insanely high only to fizzle out or cheat the audience really defuses dramatic tension – it’s hard to take it seriously knowing that someone’ll tech the tech and with one bound, Jack will be free.

  • Konservenknilch

    I guess they picked Freud because is something of a pop culture icon, and easily the most regognizable for the layman. Everyone knows the old guy with beard and glasses, where you lie down on a sofa and talk about your mother.

    If anyone here plans on visiting Vienna, the Freud museum is really quite recommended. It’s almost like walking into a movie set, it’s exactly how you always imagined it.

  • JJ

    I loved this one! The concept was unexpected and I was entertained from start to finish. It holds up!!

  • MT

    Welcome back, Data! Good to see you’ve returned to duty so quickly. What? Nonsense! No one cares that you stabbed a fellow officer and close friend! Court martial? No way. Don’t worry about it, we considered the matter closed as soon as we realized your actions ultimately saved lives. You have the bridge!

    • Compartmentalized to the extreme!! hahaha, sigh, I think we all know Data would have been scraped in S4 after his “Brothers” incident. Also, Worf and Riker at the turbolift should have been fumbling for the off switch…

    • Engineering rolled Data back to the previous OS. Again.

      Next time the Windows 10 mandatory upgrade kicks in, he’ll probably go on a killing spree.

  • Dave Steph Taylor

    After listening to the podcast and hearing John and Ken go on about the creepiness of this episode I just have to say, nothing in this episode was overly creepy.

    Given a movie format and/or a modern Cable network, this could be a really creepy movie. However given the prime time network TV standards of the time, this episode just could not go far enough to make this more than a yawn fest.

    • The sterile nature of the ship doesn’t lend itself to creepy in my opinion. Just looks to damn clean. Yup, this one of the least played from my VHS recorded tapes…lol..this whole season was pretty rarely re-played.

      • Dave Steph Taylor

        Agreed.

      • Roger Birks

        At least it was not Season 8 0r 9 X Files bad!

    • I dunno, the dispassionate look on Data’s face when he gets stabby is a bit unnerving, as is his befuddled expression as the miners pile onto him.

      • Dave Steph Taylor

        Sure compared to a normal episode of Trek

  • Scrappy

    Thoughts on this episode:
    1. I thought they were miners (not minors for the galaxy quest fans) since they were the bane of the federation since the days of Captain Kirk.

    2. I understand he is her boss and she is a bit annoying but is Jordi really in a position to be turning down women at this point?

    3. The Starfleet banquet would’ve been boring anyway without Commander Hutch and his small talk

    4. Another over-dramatic Picard delivery is in Time’s Arrow (I think) when Data said that a feature in his brain in Type R and Picard exclaimed “Type R!” like he know what that meant.

    • He took a class on Type R…*at the Academy*.

      Oh, wait, sorry, I’m thinking of Ensign Ro overdoing it there.

  • mc900

    Meta/Social commentary on the meaning/labeling of laborer imagery?
    Let’s back that off a bit. Nothing to be ‘woke’ about there.

    And yes that cake was straight up Tom Petty video.

    • mc900

      The admirals dinner – is suppose to be the innocuous set piece slice of every day life that happens even in the future life of space travel to balance the perilous intermdimensional problems of future life of space travel. Contrast. I think this podcast has an increasing tendency to look at critiquing Star Trek as a job that means finding and labeling all the things that don’t work about Star Trek. That’s criticizing not a critique.

      • We’re getting to a point where TNG says so little with the time it has left, John and Ken have to turn over every stone just to make sure they didn’t miss anything that *does* mean something. Plenty of times they turn these stones over, talk about what they might have found for a couple of minutes, and either pick up that ball and run with it or discard it on the spot.

        I think it would be a far worse thing if, instead of double-checking everything to see if they’d missed the heir to the Corbomite Maneuver, they shrugged it off and collectively decided that they can’t hold future installments to that standard. Seems like that would be a tacit (and tragic) admission that nothing beyond this point is worthwhile.

        • The show definitely lacked a vision of where it was going and how it should end imo. I know the “All Good Things…” seemed to make it appear they had a plan to have “Q” be in the first and last episodes, but I sorta doubt it…anyway…the final season should have been used to develop and flesh out the stories of these memorable characters…instead…ennnh…oh well…we all know DS9 does a much better job at this….

          • Roger Birks

            Still have TNG movies to come. I I am looking forward to hearing what Ken and John can pick through.

  • Anyone notice how odd it is that the “extra” at conn, does not say one word in response to any of Captain Picard’s commands?? Just bizarre how the rules of speaking, payment and royalties were allowed to affect this show soOOOooOOOoo much. I never notice it in other shows….to be fair I don’t analyze shows as much..but come on….give her a few lines!!!!

    • I notice that a lot when watching the Andy Griffith show as well. Lots of town people standing in a crowd about something, but it is rare when any of them gets a line.

    • It’s just hard to imagine the same captain tolerating both a hearty “aye, sir” *and* an unspoken “mmm-hmmm” agreement. It would’ve been great to have a nondescript bridge officer who acknowledged every order by saying “Yeeeeeah buddy!” (It works better with Riker’s “git ‘er done!” than with Picard’s “make it so”, admittedly.)

      • lol, “Git ‘er done…!” hahaha…

  • Robert Hackett

    I knew the movie Phantasm would be mentioned in the podcast. I saw it when it first came out when I was about 12 or 13 and it scared the crap out of me. The best dreams are the ones where you know you are dreaming. It is a bizarre situation. This is another season 7 episode that just does not work for me. Season 7 has some sub par episodes and the writing should be better at this point. I always got the impression this episode was weird just for the sake of being weird. Meh. I am watching Arena on BBC America and just now realized the voice of the Metron is the same voice introducing the original Outer Limits. I never made that connection.

    • I’m in the same boat…my older brother would scare me bringing it up…I never actually saw the movie, but I know a deadly spiked ball is in it….

  • Durakken

    Have to point out that Freud was an unoriginal hack and Data would know this which really confuses the episode. Everything the Freud ever “came up with” was originally conceived hundreds, if not thousands of years ago, especially the Id, Ego, Super Ego. And as far as his fame and such, that was the result of a relative that invented “Propaganda” and “Marketing.”

    Not important, but is bleh, and has been shown to be wrong about just about everything.

  • I enjoyed the Packlid reference.
    And Worf didn’t seem to have a space fork when eating the cake.

  • Episodes w invisible or near invisible space critters or infections….
    “The Naked Now”
    “Lonely Among Us”
    “Home Soil”
    “The Child”
    “Unnatural Selection”
    “A Matter of Honor”
    “Contagion”
    “Evolution”
    “The Loss”
    “Identity Crisis”
    “Power Play”
    “Cost of Living”
    “Imaginary Friend”
    “Realm of Fear”
    “Phantasms”
    “Emergence”
    hahaha…Yes, I was bored at work….

    • Scrappy

      Lol is it wrong that I didn’t really like any of these. Except Home Soil. ‘Sup Home Soil

      • lol…hahaha “Sup Home Soil…” home slice joke? I think “A Matter of Honor” sneaks in there as different…

        • Scrappy

          I agree. Matter of Honour is great because the space critters are a sub plot. By the way, I had to google what home slice meant. lol

  • What a beautiful scene. I really wish TNG re-used some of their more majestic shots/unique starships MORE. So boring seeing an Excelsior class starship over and over… also so many mentions of coming and going to starbases; woulda been nice to see the starbase a few more times. I mean, it’s FREE!! Re-use that B roll!!!!! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5ff3ad3d3b4a6dc672b0a8538e30f9f7c4339f5c0bc1f99c9e5827e187229851.jpg

  • John Anderton

    I had this nightmare I was watching a bad TOS episode that had a telephone in Data’s stomach. And every once and while the show would shriek like banshee and hurt my ears and force me to wake up.

    My psychiatrist said I was crazy.

  • RonB78

    Of course Dixon Hill is going to recognize the telephone.