Date: May 8, 2020
Season 6, Episodes 2 and 3
Musical Accompaniment: Essential Classical Music: 12 Concerti Grossi, Op.6
Interstellar News: Another cold and windy day here, but I made New York style egg creams for dessert.
Favorite Quote from “Realm of Fear”:
O’Brien: I thought you might like to meet Christina. Christina, Lieutenant Barclay.
Barclay: It’s your pet spider.
O’Brien: Lycosa tarantula. Don’t worry, she won’t bite.
Barclay: She’s very… large.I have a feeling O’Brien completely lied about his irrational fear of spiders.
“Realm of Fear” has the Enterprise locate the Yosemite, a ship that went dark a few days ago. Worf, Riker, Crusher, La Forge, and Barclay join the away team but O’Brien has to send them in one at a time. When it’s Barclay’s turn he has a panic attack, apparently he has a fear of transporters. Troi shares a counseling tecnique with him and he is determined to beam over. O’Brien shares his fear about spiders to try to get Barclay over his fear and you’ve got to admit O’Brien is almost as good as Troi and Guinan sometimes, but in that likable every-man kind of way. Barclay heads over to the Yosemite and it’s cool to see what he sees through the transporter beam. The team finishes up and as Barclay beams back it looks like something was trying to eat him, so he shares this with La Forge.
Dr. Crusher is examining one of the crew who died and all of a sudden his heart starts beating and other systems start working, it’s super weird. Barclay notices something flickering in his arm and he thinks he has “transporter psychosis” because he listens to WebMD, I mean the computer. Barclay gets super nervous so Troi temporarily relieves him of duty, but he sees the same thing in the transporter beam and he asks O’Brien to wake the senior staff. The threat is real but no one knows what the hell is going on. The experiment explodes and Barclay faints, turns out there are microbes inside of Barclay. The plan is to suspend Barclay to try to filter things out but just as they are finishing, Barclay grabs the microbe… who is really one of the people from the Yosemite. Barclay saves the day and O’Brien gives him something else to fear… spiders.
Poor Barclay. If there’s a fear, that man has it, but to his credit he goes to counseling and puts in the work. It’s a perfectly normal irrational fear to have in the 24th century, even if it is the safest way to travel. We all have the things we fear no matter how others try to get us to not be so afraid, so it’s very relatable. He lets his anxiety get the best of him but sometimes he has a theory and it works. It was great to see him face his fear, have something totally go wrong, but then it all worked out in the end. It was a very good vehicle for Barclay and a good episode to let two semi-regulars shine in various ways. Everyone on the crew played their part and no one belittled Barclay for having a crisis, they were very supportive. The theory and counseling was right, the science fiction piece was interesting, and I’m totally glad the microbes didn’t eat Barclay. 6.5 bully sticks for this episode, woof.
Favorite Quote from “Man of the People”:
Troi: The skills are demanding. You’re very disciplined.
Alkar: I believe in a strong connection between body and mind. You obviously share the same convictions.
Troi: Yes, I do. Only sometimes my body has a problem conforming to my mind’s wishes.Same, Troi. Same.
“Man of the People” has the Enterprise en route to aid a transport ship that’s under attack because of two people on board, so they are beamed over for protection. Ambassador Alkar and his mother are Lumericans who are also empathic, but only within their own species. His mother is quite old and yells at Troi a lot, stereotypical mother of boy things (“no woman is ever good enough for my son”, wags fingers). Alkar’s mother soon dies and he asks Troi to help with a meditation ceremony, but something happens to her during it. Soon after she starts acting strangely and she shows signs of aging as well as bad behavior… think of the “other Kirk” from “The Enemy Within”, the Kirk with only the “bad” feelings.
Troi cancels her appointments, touches herself during Klingon tai chi, jumps an ensign in a turbolift, and scratches Riker across the face after kissing him. Troi is unusually short with a patient during a session and slowly starts to exhibit signs of aging and acting just like Alkar’s mother. As Alkar is transporting to the planet to begin negotiations Troi shows up, knifes Picard, and is taken to sick bay. Alkar confesses to Picard mostly because he’s a supreme douche-nozzle, but also because Picard can’t really do anything about it. Dr. Crusher “kills” Troi so the connection is severed, Alkar tries to use another on his team to transfer his bad energy, but Troi is revived just in time for Alkar’s system to be overloaded and for him to die.
There was only one redeeming thing about this episode: that dress. That is literally the only thing I liked. The costume director for Troi’s outfits apparently heard the rumor that “there’s no underwear in space” during this episode and took it to heart. The pacing of the episode was slow and I spent most it confused. Was it his mother’s essence, did they swap bodies somehow, what the what was going on? It made more sense when Alkar confesses, but still. Picard felt kind of useless but did enact a successful plan in the end. Oh, and did you know Dr. Crusher needed to do an autopsy? I mean she only mentioned it at least five times, so you knew it was going to happen eventually. What a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad episode. It earns itself 1 tiny, small, mostly stale cookie that someone forgot to put the sugar in.