The Enterprise follows a weak distress signal to a planet where a Federation ship crashed 200 years ago. After a tiny shuttlecraft (with seatbelts!) crashes because of the planet’s glowy storms, some glowy bits enter the bodies of Troi, Data and O’Brien, and before you know it, we have a Die Hard hostage situation, with intelligent and capable villains.
Dialogue tells us that Troi is being controlled by “Captain Shumar,” who says he simply wants the Enterprise to relocate the skeletons of his crew to Earth for a proper burial. The persona controlling Data is aggressive and likes picking fights with Worf. The persona controlling O’Brien seems fascinated by his memories of Keiko, who (with their baby Molly) is among the hostages.
Picard, who offers himself as hostage, appropriately notes that his captors are not acting like Federation officers.
The opening scenes with the glowy planet storms, the unexplained ability of the glowing balls to take over the crew members (including the android Data), and the convenient plot point that within a few hours the Enterprise crew develops anti-glowyball technology method that will totally work on a human, a human/Betazed hybrid, and an android (even though they’ve never tested it), are all pretty silly, but recurring characters O’Brien, Keiko and Ro had plenty to do.
Actors Sirtis, Spiner and Meany do a great job with the overdone “regular character is taken over by an alien” storyline. The hand-phaser zapping, cat-and-mouse gamesmanship, and Picard’s skill at talking add up to an entertaining show.