Transfigurations (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season Three, Episode 25) Injured Humanoid Charms Beverly, Glows

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break.

A low-key story that revisits the “corporeal species evolving into a higher form” trope, this time from the perspective of Dr. Crusher, who observes the physical process, as an injured humanoid with lumpy face bumps gradually starts to glow. Not a great episode, but new to me, so a treat to watch.

A nicely framed shot of a row of mountains at first looked like an on-location shot, but once the camera started moving it looked more obviously like a painted backdrop. Still, the planet set was good enough to sell the scene.

We spend a lot of time in sickbay, as the amnesiac “John Doe” recovers and spends time in “room four,” which is not the regular ICU and not a convalescent ward, but some generic space full of medical-looking things. The gadgets, diagnostic graphics, and medical dialogue (“Use the proto-dino-plaser to stabilize his immune system!”) don’t stand up to much scrutiny, but they are good enough to serve the story.

A subplot involves LaForge yet again bombing with Kristie (who said she didn’t feel “that way” about him during a failed holodeck date in “Booby Trap”), getting tutored by Worf (“Words come later. It is the scent that first speaks of love.”) and then eventually smooching with her in an elevator.

As soon as O’Brien showed up man-whining about a dislocated shoulder, I saw the joke a mile away, but when a cheerful and relaxed Wesley sauntered over and slapped him on the back, I still laughed. I also enjoyed a mother-son scene where Wesley playfully probes the good doctor about her feelings for her patient.

An odd little shelf that I had never noticed before on the bridge seems to have been added there so that the actors would have a horizontal surface where they could casually place a mystery MacGuffin prop, so it would be there in the frame while they talked about it.

I couldn’t imagine why the director had awkwardly perched Riker’s hand on a granite-looking projection on the conference room table, and in fact I rewound to see if perhaps he was holding Troi’s hand. (He wasn’t.) Then when John Doe got up and patted Beverly’s hand, which was conveniently resting on a similar projection on the other side of the table, I realized the director was probably trying to normalize the awkward position he needed Beverly to be in.

The finale was a little cringeworthy, since what was supposed to be an awesome manifestation of a glowing post-corporeal creature was clearly a guy padding around in a white catsuit, and the model of a new alien ship was unimpressive, but I’m sure the effects were good enough for us and our crappy bulbous CRT screens back in 1990.