LaForge is surprised when he learns the starship designer he had previously become infatuated with via the holodeck (s3e6 “Booby Trap”) is nothing like the romantic possibility he expected. (I turned the episode off during the cringeworthy dinner scene, and didn’t come back to it for almost a week.)
The story unfolds like a workplace sit-com, with the script affirming LaForge’s presumption that his brusque and defensive co-worker has a warm and personal side that he can unlock by showing her the right kind of personal attention.
The Space Thing of the Week is a starship-sized creature, rendered in CGI that was impressive when the show first aired but now seems rubbery and clunky. While the bridge crew does a lot of scanning and looking and talking about what they are looking at, Stewart still manages to convey wonder, even though this is the third time we’ve encountered large spacefaring organisms (after the pilot “Encounter at Farpoint,” and s3e10 “Tin Man“).
The space beastie subplot supplies a convenient crisis that forces LaForge and Brahms to work together, even after she learns of his holographic infatuation. I was surprised that the confrontation scene gave LaForge the last word, saying she’s too quick to condemn him and that she came aboard the ship with a bad attitude.
LaForge insists what happened on the holodeck a year ago “was a professional collaboration,” but anyone who watches that episode will see that it ends with a tender kiss. (In my review, I wrote “LaForge is downright creepy.”) LaForge is clearly lying to Brahms, in a script that seems to condone LaForge’s inaccurate version of events.
The plot requires Brahms to shrug off her (perfectly justified) feelings of being “outraged… invaded… violated” by LaForge’s actions. The episode ends with the two of them laughing together like old friends. (At least he never told her she should smile more.)