Booby Trap (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season Three Episode 6) LaForge falls for a simulated nerd on the holodeck

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break.

To escape a thousand-year-old booby trap, LaForge interacts with a holodeck simulation of the designer of the Enterprise’s engines… and gets waaay too attached.

The teaser shows LaForge on a date — a failure that he later talks over with Guinan. Meanwhile, Picard, thrilled to explore an old warship, is dismayed that his officers never played with ships-in-bottles. (“I did, sir,” says O’Brien. Picard must not have seen the ship Geordi brought to engineering in Elementary, Dear Data.)

After a very slow exploration of a very small derelict set (because budget), and just a hint of the fate of the crew, it’s back to the Enterprise, which triggers a weapon from the 1000-year-old war, leaving everyone three hours until certain death.

Because the script calls for unlucky-in-love LaForge to fall for a simulation, the computer (implausibly) misinterprets something he says on the holodeck, and an unexpected hand on his shoulder is revealed to belong to a hologram of the brilliant Dr. Leah Brahms, who helped design the Enterprise-D.

At first the hologram is robotically no-nonsense. LaForge praises one of her suggestions with an inappropriate “Leah, you’re beautiful!” After he asks the computer to recreate her personality, she’s soon smiling into his eyes and promising to cook for him. (Seriously.)

As much as I love a starship bridge, we’ve watched people scan Sci-Fi Things and report before. Picard calls LaForge away from his mission-critical flirting in order to ask him a single question, then sends him right back, saying “Continue your efforts without delay.” (Yawn.)

Picard’s boyish love of simple technology, LaForge’s professed interest in “the human factor,” and the holographic representation of a highly trained professional massaging LaForge’s shoulders (she wanted him to “feel good”) all seem to want to say something coherent, but the ending is a train wreck.

HOLOGRAM OF LEAH BRAHMS: We made a good team.
LAFORGE: Maybe we can do it again some time.
HOLOBRAHMS: I’m with you every day, Geordi. Every time you look at this engine, you’re looking at me. Every time you touch it, it’s me.
(They kiss.)

We can see TNG scripts are trying to balance character development with exploring the Space Thing of the Week, but in this story LaForge is downright creepy. In fairness, later episodes, and the new character Barclay, more fully explore holodeck ethics. But as it stands… ewww.