The backbone of this dark Riker episode is a fictitious play with the same title. It's such a fascinating piece of art on its own (with a great little set to boot) that the "Twilight Zone" like story built around it can't help but be compelling. Frakes is outstanding, adding just the right variations to his performance of the circular script, and the episode builds the intrigue and suspense before the quick, unpredictable ending. (Or not so unpredictable, if you're a big Star Trek geek and you know why the first shot of the Enterprise in space doesn't happen until close to the end of the episode!)
Gold acting stars for Jonathan Frakes in this episode. I was truly taken by both his performance and the sheer mystery of the whole situation. I mean, I knew that he wasn't actually just having hallucinations about his whole time on the Enterprise, but what about the recent events? It was so great how they lured me in with the different hallucinations. I loved when the crazy woman came up to Riker telling him that story about "her ship" and the communicator-spoon. :)
RIker has definitely grown as a character now that he's out of this "have sex with everything that moves and do all the action stuff" phase. He's shown himself to be a great decision-maker ever since The Best of Both Worlds, and an emotionally strong person. He's still a counterpunch to Picard, but it seems to be in a more mature way. (although, explosive at just the right times.)
Fantastic episode and definitely one of the top 5 of the season.
Shortly, the episode is quite 'mental'. This one really rocked, I actually expected that at the end we will see Riker at the ward shouting "I'm not maaad!". Seriously, it was a nice blend of X-Files, TNG and a lot of Twilight Zone! Furthermore we see that Riker's mind is quite a Play-doh (a previous episode had a small alien kid which turned him a father and captain of the Enterprise..) A great episode!
Riker is assigned to go on a undercover mission. The mission is five days away, so he will be able to participate in a play called “The Frame Of Mind” Strange things begin to happen Riker starts seeing weird looking Starfleet personnel.
Riker is assigned to go on a undercover mission. The mission is five days away, so he will be able to participate in a play called “The Frame Of Mind” Strange things begin to happen Riker starts seeing weird looking Starfleet personnel. He finds that he is in a mental hospital. Dr Syrus convinces Riker that the ship and his friend all were a delusion. Riker starts to believe Dr Syrus until Worf and Data take him back to the ship. But is this another delusion. You need to watch this episode and see. I rate this one a 9.4
This really is a dark episode. It replaces action with suspense and intrigue. Most of which is pyschological in nature.
The story is essentially a "captured behind enemy lines" type. It also encompasses themes of torture (though for as per ST v. mildy) and asks in a limited way a few existential questions.
The setting is nothing spectacular, with most of the scenes taking place between the Enterprise and the detention centre that Ryker is enprisoned in. The start is perfect in its setup, anchoring us in Rykers here and now - and his amateur dramatics rehersal. This plays an essential part in the core story throughout and is the perfect foil for waht is to come.
What is easily the best facet of this episode is the story itself. Ryker is at his very best portraying a man whose mind has been subjected to the sort of mental torture that causes the mind to start disbelieving in the reality set before it. The way in which the scenes switch between his current reality in the prison and to his life back on the ship goes along way to convince us of his increasing plight. The prison doctors also provide a convincing foil for further developing his spiral into mental oblivion. Up to the point that Dr. Crusher arrives incognito to prepare this for escape. At which point Ryker doesnt know what to believe.
Every scene. Every line of dialogue really convinces you of Rykers desperation. Its really hard not to empathise with him. Despite knowing that eventually he will be safe aboard the Enterprise.
I really enjoy this thriller. It kept me glued to the screen. It's interesting as we the viewer try to make out what's actually happening as Riker does. It's one of my favorite episodes, due to my personal tastes, Jonathon Frakes' acting skills, and the overall quality of the episode.
My only problem with the episode is the ending. It just doesn't fit with the rest of the episode. I know the show is aimed to be light-hearted most of the time. However, the scary thriller just ends "It was all a hallucination forced upon by aliens", literally. I think ending with the crazy "doctor" coming into Riker's quarters as he sleeps, or at least something to make the situation feel it actually meant for something.
This episode is unusually dark for TNG - Riker loses his grip on reality while undergoing psychological torture. There are elements of both "Future Imperfect" (season 4) and "Schisms" (earlier in season 6), though this is a stronger episode than either of its predecessors.
This episode quickly dispenses with doubts about Jonathan Frakes's abilities as a dramatic actor. His performance as a man cracking under the pressure is superb.
The plot is very well paced, toying with our expectations and offering several neat twists. My only complaint is about the resolution - while it's decent enough, I would have liked something less fancy than a hallucination incurred on an operating table. But that's only a minor beef.
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