The Mind’s Eye

From the people who brought you the Star Trek edition of Monopoly and the Star Trek edition of Risk, it is the Star Trek edition of The Manchurian Candidate. Angela Lansbury is a Klingon. Henry Silva is a Romulan. And John Champion is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being you have ever known in your life. Also, Geordi does stuff. Find out what when we put The Mind’s Eye in the Mission Log.

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  1. JusenkyoGuide says:

    Haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but I’m giggling madly over this week’s episode description. Well done!

  2. Aaron says:

    I think there’s a Spoiler alert needed for the trivia, John. 😉 There’s a reason that the voice was uncredited. On first viewing 25 years ago, almost nobody caught the voice. The holy $#!@ moment that is coming should not be ruined.

    • Earl Green says:

      I’d beg to differ – I recall Usenet and dialup bulletin board systems were awash with people pointing out that this sounded an awful lot like…the person…who did the voice… who used to be on the show… he said quarter-century-later-spoilerlessly.

    • Fair enough, Aaron… though it has been 25 years 😉
      Seriously though, I thought about leaving that out (knowing full well I’d hear about it if I did!). In the end I thought that’s a voice definitely in this episode so it’s worth mentioning even if I leave out the rest of the context.

      • Aaron says:

        I thought for sure you would make a joke about a somewhat familiar voice that was probably nothing of note… or was it.

      • CmdrR says:

        Pssst! Darth Vader has children… The Statue of Liberty has a cameo… and Sherlock is Khaaaaaaaaan!!!

    • Dave Steph Taylor says:

      Maybe that was the head of Romulan Security. 😉

  3. Earl Green says:

    The Conspiracy reference gave me a flashback to Firesign Theatre – “Beware! Your brain…may no longer be the boss.”

    The problem pointed out – that a lot of the externally-caused-mind-effery that goes on in TNG – really only becomes a problem when you take into account the sheer number of times that this happened in TNG. “Mental possession” was done far, far, far too often for my tastes on TNG. It was a novelty, probably rolled out too soon, in Lonely Among Us (I say too soon because we’d *just met Picard maybe five weeks ago* and already he seems to be losing his marbles). By the time we get to The Host, Power Play, etc. etc., it’s happened a LOT. “Mental possession” is to TNG what “parallel Earths” was to TOS: too much, too close together (and it’s a fallback plotline that got even more prevalent in DS9 and Voyager). It happens so often in TNG, one has to imagine that there’s a public safety poster, next to the required OSHA posters down in the rec room, about how to spot the signs of a crewmate being controlled by an outside force.

    So, in early TNG, we get “you’re back on duty next shift, everything checks out!”, but starting with TNG season 4, there are Consequences. Go to France, get in a dust-up with your brother, book some sessions with Deanna, you name it – suddenly we’re NOT doing “you’re back on duty next shift!” and it’s a jarring gear-shift.

    From a production standpoint, I get the appeal of “mental possession” stories: it lets the regular cast stretch their acting muscles and keep from getting bored (you know what else helps with that? decent scripts!), it gets you a new character without having to hire a new guest actor, and the cognitive dissonance (see also: Beverly bedding down with Riker/Odan in The Host, or…pretty much everything that happens in Conundrum) can sometimes be fun.

    But it also got really old for me. [Character X]’s body is being taken over again? Eh…is Babylon 5 on yet? Highlander maybe? (I know the lynch mob will be lining up for me for saying that, but mid-20s me, in the ’90s, was thinking *exactly* that. Although both of those shows also did the “mental possession” thing…very sparingly, relative to ’90s Trek. Bet this never happened on Supertrain.)

    That being said, Mind’s Eye is one of the better specimens of that plotline. Geordi was the character I connected with most during the show’s run, fantastic social awkwardness, inadvisable attempts to meet women and all, and it really didn’t sit well with me seeing him tortured and then seeing, potentially, him dealing with the fallout from this episode on a long-term basis.

    • deaddropsd says:

      Lonely Among Us, Conspiracy, Power Play, Conundrum, Mind’s Eye, Schizoid Man, hmmm cant think of anymore..episodes where a body gets possessed or ?

      • Earl Green says:

        The sheer number of times it happens to Data is disturbing (Schizoid Man, Brothers, Masks, Power Play, A Fistful of Datas, Descent, Phantasms, Insurrection) – someone ELSE needs to reset his router password. Include Clues (Deanna is taken over), arguably Identity Crisis (Geordi), Nth Degree (Barclay), The Game (everybody), Conundrum (everybody), Man of the People (Deanna)…mind-bleepery and mind control are a REAL problem for these people! Granted, some like Identity Crisis are about a physical mutation of which mind-bleepage is a side-effect, but *still*…wow. There’s some real potential for a story about how easily the humanoid brain can be tampered with here, which would be interesting to do – sort of like a “we’re not ready for what’s out there” thing, except that the first half of the series is spent shrugging it off like a momentary headache.

        DS9 did it a bit more sparingly (Dramatis Personae felt like a TNG script with the names swapped out, most other DS9 mind-bleepery had to do with continuing elements such as the Trill), but Voyager got back to doing it quite a bit. I mean, mind control, mind-bleepery, mutating into oversexed subspace salamanders, Voyager’s crew went through it all.

  4. Wildride says:

    Good thing that, after this, they made his visor more secure, so that people couldn’t use it against him I the futu–Aww, crap!

  5. John Hart says:

    A little bit of clarification re: firing the phaser rifle in engineering. In Star Trek VI, Valeris explains that an alarm goes off if an UNAUTHORIZED phaser is fired on a Federation starship. I would think in alert situations starship security and senior officers at the very least would be authorized users. Since Geordi and Data are running tests on the modified phaser rifle, it is an authorized usage that doesn’t warrant an alarm.

  6. regeekery - JD says:

    The Romulans assigned to Project Treadstone in this episode should programmed LaForge with a kung-fu grip while they were at it. Going back to the ship with stories of being an action star on vacation is less unlikely than a story about him meeting a girl that wanted to put out.

  7. Durakken says:

    Something you guys might not know, with regards to Troi’s treatment in the end… Back when this was made the way she asked those questions were considered perfectly ok and it was thought that the memories that were being “reconstructed” were real memories…

    The sinister part is that they aren’t and in reality they weren’t. That literally lead to what I brought up with the Drumhead… The satanic Panic and another moral outcry as well as people having memories created of alien abductions and the like. We learned that these “reconstructed” memories are all or monstly constructed, highly influenced not only by the hypnotist’s way of asking but generally the hypnotists own thoughts and biases.

    So basically what Troi is doing is a huge violation of Geordi more so than what the romulans do, because the trust aspect is there between them.

    Also it’s unfortunate this and drumhead weren’t in reversed order looking back at from our position knowing how bad that type of mental manipulation is I can’t help but think that a reversal would have been so much better and might have added more depth overall on both episodes…

    I just wonder how Starfleet justifies not leading an inquiry into this though. They just had a sabeteur and were accused of possible spies… and then you have Geordi literally brain washed a short time later and yet noone raises an eyebrow.

  8. deaddropsd says:

    I was always bummed that Geordi’s VISOR was dumbed down or cheapened. The original view from “Heart of Glory” was impressive/amazing imo. Granted it was on a super heated freighter about to explode, but I really enjoyed the explosive nature of Geordi’s vision. The cheaper version which appeared in “The Enemy” was an immediate downgrade imo. I wish they allowed Geordi to switch modes and go from night vision to thermal , xray etc….his abilities really were never maximized in my opinion. sigh….

    • Dave Steph Taylor says:

      That would be a great addition and probably would occur if the series was made today as we have units already that do offer multiple viewing modes.

  9. deaddropsd says:

    I also really enjoyed the music buildup when Data deduces the assassin is Geordi….!

  10. deaddropsd says:

    “Ambassador Kell” Lawrence Dobkin

  11. deaddropsd says:

    “Taibak” or “Romulan brainwasher”- John Fleck

  12. Troy Brooks says:

    I think the first time we see really bad things happen to Miles O’Brien.
    Get used to it

  13. Muthsarah says:

    Hey John, what was this From Russia With Love podcast you were talking about? Along with Trek, Bond’s my favorite intellectual property/franchise-that-used-to-be-good-but-now-it-sucks.

    • On TrekFM, it’s called “The 602 Club” http://trek.fm/the-602-club-home
      We did the four Daniel Craig films last year, and we’ve posted discussions about “Dr. No” and “From Russia With Love” this year so far. “Goldfinger” is coming in August!

    • Dave Steph Taylor says:

      There is also this podcast if you want more Bond Stuff


      • Muthsarah says:

        Oh yes, I discovered that podcast two years ago; my first podcast, actually. It’s what turned me from a casual fan into a borderline nut who watches a Bond film roughly every week. The Man With the Golden Gun and A View to a Kill are my favorite episodes (and ridiculously underappreciated movies).

        • Dave Steph Taylor says:

          They do a good job of finding something good in even the silly ones.

          • Muthsarah says:

            Not with Die Another Day, they had NOTHING to say to defend it. And, try as they might, I still hate Quantum and Never Say Never Again. Compared with them, Moonraker might as well be Hitchcock.

        • John Anderton says:

          View to a Kill gets better with age as you get older and fatter too.

  14. Robert Karma says:

    There is a definite Manchurian Candidate vibe to this episode. It was also nice to find a Klingon in Ambassador Kell who wasn’t all about Honor. He would make a fine candidate for political office here on earth. Somehow, I don’t think he came o a good end after he failed in his bid for asylum & Vagh took him away.

  15. Ascarion says:

    Geordi clearly mentions not once (to Worf), but twice (to Picard and the Ambassador) that he has no alibi. Neither of the others calls him on it, but I wonder whether that and him going to Beverly for the sleeping pills isn’t a possibly subconscious cry for help. Especially him saying something along the lines of “I’ll be fine” after Beverly is done with him. The way he says it kind of makes it seem like he’s trying to get discovered, but he can’t actively break through the conditioning.

  16. John Anderton says:

    Not repulsive, not profound. Fine