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GENESIS (7th season; episode #171)
Directed by Gates McFadden; written by Brannon Braga
This episode was a transparent effort to capture a more spooky, scary atmosphere, like a Halloween episode (it does better at this than Catspaw on TOS). As such, it recalls the 'haunted house in outer space' plot of films going back to IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE (1958) and the more famous ALIEN (1979) and its sequels. It begins deceptively routine and even pleasant; even though the first scenes are in sickbay, it's all trivial, everyone seems in a good mood and nurse Ogawa (Yasutake) even reveals that she's preggers. Lt. Barclay (Dwight Schultz) annoys Dr. Crusher a bit, convinced that he has some dire illness. Picard & Data leave the ship in a shuttlecraft to fetch an errant missile from an asteroid belt; they will be gone for several days. uh-oh.
In addition, Data informs Picard that the captain is also infected with this new disease - he's turning into a kind of lemur monkey. Of course, the two officers need to find a cure for all this - it soon involves Data's cat (now a lizard) and her new litter of kittens, of all things.
The episode has too much techno-babble from Data and there's not too much repeat value to this one - once you know the story, it may be a bit uninteresting to watch again (though, like any good scary film, it may indeed have good repeat value). The first time I saw this one, it was genuinely frightening in spots - the late scenes of Worf chasing Picard have a lot of tension; Picard adds to this tension due to his acquiring the fear syndrome of a lemur. I also like the early amusing scenes of the crew changing - Riker losing his intelligence and Barclay acting very strangely are nice bits. But, Worf takes top honors in the freak-out department; in fact, the freaky things happening to the crew makes this episode stand out a bit from most others.
There are no long-term repercussions, even though at least one crew member had been killed on the bridge, probably by Worf; I suppose he was blameless. The acid attack on Crusher was straight out of a disturbing sci-fi horror picture. Crusher, btw, was the one actually at fault for creating this new virus.
TNG Trivia: the only episode to be directed by McFadden or by a female cast member.
Last edited by BoG on Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:37 pm; edited 3 times in total
BoG's Score: 8 out of 10
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