Mark Watches ‘The Next Generation’: S07E03 – Interface

In the third episode of the seventh season of The Next Generation, Geordi copes with a possible loss while trying to work on a challenging mission. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of loss/grief/death.

This is an odd episode. It’s touching, and I think that it gives us one of the best looks at Geordi as a character, but I am perplexed by a few of the choices made in terms of focus. “Interface” opens by introducing us to a fascinating and engrossing bit of technology that Geordi and Dr. Crusher helped develop, and there was a lot of potential for a storyline to develop there, especially since the interface allowed Geordi to experience things that were virtually impossible by himself. I suppose that’s sort of the point here, but because the script is split between this and the plot involving his mother, we get yet another episode where each story suffers from a lack of development.

The problem is that one of these stories is simply much more interesting (and original) than the other, and I wish desperately that we’d seen more of it. Again, I think the interface is cool as hell (as is the costume designed for it!!!), but haven’t we seen a number of episodes about an alien species unknowingly harming humans because it was just doing its own thing and trying to survive? Seven seasons into this show, it’s not exactly revolutionary or engaging, you know? The same with the rescue mission; it felt a little stale after so many similar storylines in The Next Generation.

However, what makes this worse by comparison is GEORDI LAFORGE’S PARENTS. Everything was going to pale in contrast to this, and it’s just so unfortunate that I truly feel that this show wasted a fantastic opportunity. How are you gonna get BEN VEREEN and MADGE SINCLAR to be GEORDI’S PARENTS, and then DO THEM LIKE THIS? Ben Vereen is in ONE SCENE. One!!! How are you going to reunite cast members from Roots and include them in so few scenes?

But hey, that’s not necessarily the fairest criticism, is it? I know that’s a little selfish of me, so let me explain why I think we should have had an episode that explored Geordi’s emotional state far more than it did. At this point in The Next Generation, Geordi is probably the character with the least amount of history explored in-canon. We don’t really know that much about him. So, of course it was exciting to me to get to see that! Granted, it’s through a tragic impetus that we get this, but there’s still hope that there will be some sort of resolution or closure. Geordi has to juggle his duties as a crew member and his own feelings towards his mother.

Throughout “Interface,” we see that he has far more positivity towards the situation than literally everyone he comes into contact with. Understandably, his friends and family are worried, but many of them have already resigned themselves to Captain LaForge’s fate. She’s gone, they assume, never to return. And while Geordi does his best to resist that, he’s haunted by her image in the interface, which certainly doesn’t make things better. I think it’s a haunting and sad affair to see Geordi interact with someone who isn’t really his mother, but I found the ending to be wholly unsatisfying. The unnamed species who accidentally killed the crew of the Federation ship read his mind, and they attempted to communicate through the imagery of Geordi’s mother.

But in the end, everyone just assumes Captain LaForge is dead. That’s it. We get no confirmation otherwise, and the episode just ends with one of the most distressing scenes imaginable. Geordi has to admit that he still never got to say goodbye to his mom. The Next Generation will most likely never revisit this story again, and that means all of Geordi’s emotional turmoil won’t be addressed in the future. It seems really bizarre to me to put Geordi through something like this, only to have it all wiped away in the end. Except technically, it’s not! His mom is assumed dead, and that’s probably all the canon information we’ll ever get.

I enjoyed this episode, for what it’s worth, and I’m sure my criticism is coming across harsher than I intended to. I just feel like the wait for some sort of backstory on Geordi did not live up to the execution of it, that’s all.

The video for “Interface” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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