Data has a weird dream. Data thinks he has had a nightmare, so He starts explaining it to Geordi. Geordi explains to Data it is normal to have a nightmare. Data again has a wierd dream. This time he dreams of cutting a cake.
Data has a weird dream. Data thinks he has had a nightmare, so He starts explaining it to Geordi. Geordi explains to Data it is normal to have a nightmare. Data again has a wierd dream. This time he dreams of cutting a cake. It kind of remind me of the Tom Petty video "Don't come around here anymore. Picard has been invited to the Admiral Banquet. But may not make it again this year. The "Enterprise" has a new warp core that is useless as a Ferengi in a Klingon brawl. Could it be gremlins at work?
This unsettling episode follows in the mold of season 5's "Schisms". Data has a series of unsettling nightmares - intimations of something gone terribly wrong.
Like "Schisms", the writers are willing to play with the audience expectations - there is plenty of humor here, not all of which I remember offhand but includes Data's hilarious pre-nap ritual. The scene where Data stabs Troi is pretty much the highlight of the episode - the kind of thing that will probably shake a viewer out of their complacency.
That said, I have the same beef with this episode that I had with season 6's "Timescape" - the underlying explanation for what's happened seems very generic for TNG. "Schisms" had a much more satisfying resolution.
This episode is best remembered for it's dark and disturbing dream sequences that really shook the boat. Data's head being torn off so physically and crudely is a powerful image and the workmen particularly stick in my mind as guys you wouldn't want to bump into. The dream sequences of Troi as a cake, Riker's brain being drained and Freud were all brilliant. They are all very clever too having direct connections to the real world. This episode really leaves an imprint on your mind and is true series highlight.
Did you know that Data's cat is a boy in this episode, but in another episdode, the cat becomes pregnant and has kittens!! They really messed up there, but I don't really care, because I don't like cats, and I thought that it was sooooooo funny that in the end that Data might have a house full of cats, and I thought it was funny that Worf sneezed on the cat..........
but this episode is hilarious..... In one of Data's Dreams, Dr. Crusher was drinking RIKER with a straw that came out of his forehead!! she said "Do you want some?? It's delicious!!" and that dream counselor person said "Kill Zem!! Kill Zem Befour It's Too Layte!!" and we all get to find out that Data is capable of haveing some kind of premonitions.... which enable him to see the parasites that are infecting The Enterprise........
Director Patrick Stewart brings the weird (and then some) in this follow-up to six season's "Birthright, Part 1" that features Data's nightmares. The story (which includes violence to a level not normally seen on this show) advances through Data's repetitive dreams and visions, adding layers of mystery before eventually tying everything together in a freaky climax.
Par for the course for TNG, "Phantasms" is memorable but hardly a standout episode, although Stewart does a nice job of directing himself in the B story, which uses the old malfunctioning ship gag from The Empire Strikes Back and Star Trek V.
Season 7 has two episodes which feature Data and the use of surreal imagery: this episode and Masks. This episode works in every way, whereas Masks is confusing and lacks resolution.
The surreal imagery is at times humorous, at other times creepy, and the episode flows seamlessly between the conflicting emotions. For example, the "cellular peptide cake" comprised of Counselor Troi's body is at first humorous ("with mint frosting,") but becomes disturbing as she shrieks in pain and as Data later stabs her in a "waking dream" state. The inter-phasic alien creatures are particularly disturbing, both as parasites and as an existential threat to the crew of the Enterprise.
What makes this episode so much better than the other surreal season 7 Data episode ("Masks") is that the threat makes sense once it is discovered, the imagery makes sense once the meaning is determined, and the resolution tidies everything up nicely. "Masks," on the other hand, is completely unsatisfactory on every level, other than it showcases Brent Spiner's acting capability. Sadly, lacking any real emotional connection, "Masks" fails even on that level.
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