At the risk of sounding pretentious, this episode was a perfectly executed case study of someone dealing with an extreme life change. The fact of the matter is that everything that the Doctor stated to Troi in the sick bay is one hundred percent accurate. Troi has neither ever been counseled, nor has she ever faced such a distinct loss. Anyone that is accustomed to a certain way of life can face any number of emotional responses when faced with a traumatic incident. Many people have been lost within themselves, and many feign happiness. The most common reaction to extreme change, however, is anger and heightened emotions. The problem with people judging episodes like this, comes when people have a lack of understanding for human behavior as a whole. While it is not my intent to start a war with this next comment, I feel it must be said. The fact of the matter is that this has happened to male characters on the show; not in the same fashion, but they often exhibited extreme behavioral changes and the episodes were praised. It is easy to see her as an annoying chick just overreacting to what may be perceived to regular people as nothing more than a minor, if not major, wound. As the doctor said, however, it would be like losing an arm or sight, or an appendage/sense of your choice. She literally lost a piece of herself, part of her essence, and what makes her who/what she is. It is well within her rights, as well as expected by/from psychologists for her to lose control. She has never had her needs attended to, and has never really needed them attended to in such a way. She simply went through the stages of grief caused by an extreme loss. While it may not have been how everyone reacts, so many people watching this episode lack the ability realize that actors become other people when they step on screen. Counselor Deanna Troi would react in that way. It does not make Marina a bad actress; quite the contrary, it makes her great to be able to understand how her character would react and portray it to that level. Now, if you understand all that and still don't like it, then I respectfully back off. But for those of you out there that are ignorant to these things, you might want to take a better look at your reviews, and just give her a chance. Like I said, from a psychological standpoint, this episode was flawless.
.... Although Marina Sirtis was perfectly cast as Counselor Deana Troi and is a talented character actor overall, the Troi-centered episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" usually fall flat. "The Loss" is certainly one of the better Troi-centered TNG episodes (unlike "Haven" or "The Child") but is generally lackluster. Sirtis is given a number of opportunities to shine with some very emotionally heavy moments and does not exactly blow her chances; however, the notion of Troi losing her empathic abilities does not play out very well. The episode is neither compelling nor thrilling, with the B-story regarding two-dimensional beings not making much sense even for Star Trek, and ends up one of the lesser episodes of the fourth season.
Of all the character-oriented episodes on TNG, those focusing on Troi were among the weakest. The writers rarely put her in interesting situations, instead relying on typically "feminine" stories.
In this case – a sort of hybrid between "Loud as a Whisper" and "The Child" – Troi loses her empathic abilities. The plot is not especially interesting (nor is the sci fi device underlying it). However, Marina Sirtis shines at points – particularly when stoic and not over-emoting. There are some good sequences interacting with the other characters. The conversation with Guinan is particularly strong.
I would emphatically recommend this above "Loud as a Whisper" as a less preachy commentary about disability. But it's only a decent episode, not a great or even good one.
The "Enterprise" encounters something in the path of travel. It appears and disappears. The fact is the "Enterprise" is being pulled by this unknown force. Troi loses her empathetic powers. Dr Krusher examines Troi and tells her that her powers may never
The "Enterprise" encounters something in the path of travel. It appears and disappears. The fact is the "Enterprise" is being pulled by this unknown force. Troi loses her empathetic powers. Dr Krusher examines Troi and tells her that her powers may never come back. With loss of powers, Troi feels she is unable to perform her job, So she resigns. Who is going to be ship's counseler? Guinan is interested in taking on the job. The odd force turns out to be two dimensional with basic instinct. How will the "Enterprise" break free? I rate this one a 6.9
This Troi episode, a disability allegory, comes across as preachy and somewhat annoying. (Or at least, Troi is annoying, as she seemingly develops a wicked case of interstellar PMS.) Whoopi Goldberg has some good moments as Guinan, and the cloud of two dimensional beings isn't a bad concept but overall this is a weak fourth season offering that doesn't offer much of interest.
Most of this episode is filler. It's clear the writers wanted to do a story about Troi losing her empathic abilities, a very good idea, but then couldn't figure out how to make it work. It's always pretty lame when the main story is supported by some cop-out side story just to make things work, such as in the previous episode "Final Mission" with the garbage ship. However, the difference is that usually the side story is just a minute here and there, not the majority of the episode. Then, after all that, they barely even explained how Troi lost her powers. I guess a plot device just came and snatched them, then gave them back. The only way the resolution could have been any worse is if it had all been a dream. I think the lesson here is if you have a good idea but can't find a way to incorporate it into an interesting story, just throw it away.
The episode is still watchable thanks to the chemistry between Riker and Troi, and it had a couple of high points. I like when Riker points out to Troi that she's on equal footing with everyone now. I also like Mirina Sirtis. I realize I'm pretty much alone on that one. She has a very distinct style of acting, and it's the kind of thing you either love or hate. I think both she and Wil Wheaton did the best they could with some pretty crappy material from the writers. Troi is the eye candy of the ship, with her special cleavage-cut suits. It's unfair to her character, because the way they dress her and just use her as a backdrop in most episodes, when she has an episode of her own it's hard for her to make herself more three-dimensional. It's like the writers wanted a bimbo AND an empathic ship's counselor, and combined them into one character. One day they want her to stand there and look pretty, the next day they want her to suddenly have depth. As an actor, how is she supposed to work with that? I'd much rather they would have developed her character more and ditched the cleavage.
There was one part of this episode that made me cringe: When the blonde ensign said "Cosmic... string?" UGH. It takes effort to be that bad at saying two words.
Having just seen this one again for the first time in a while, I can see why I was never tempted to pull a repeat viewing with it. I like Troi, but she's not remotely my favorite character. Outside of "Face of the Enemy", I'm not sure there's an episode centered around her that I really like. This episode is no exception to that rule. A little bit of angry, irritated, and highly emotional Troi goes a long way and this episode provides plenty of it. It gets pretty tiresome rather quickly and I found myself not really interested in her plight. Still, her storyline does give some good character moments, especially in her coversations with Riker (loved her huffy dismissal of him when he calls her Imzadi) and Guinan's typical inspirational guide-you-to-figure-it-out-yourself speech. She really would make a good counselor if she wanted to. I guess centuries of living give you that kind of wisdom.
The other plot was pretty routine and didn't add all that much to the episode. Not one of Season 4's best.
The ideas at the heart of this episode, Troi loosing her empathic sense and the two dimensional beings, both have promise, unfortunately that promise is not realised.
The science behind the two dimensional beings and why they could not be detected is rather weak. If the sensors on the Enterprise are so dependant on how the ship is oriented it is a wonder they can ever detect anything at all. It was a clever premise, rather than going for the more grounded in Physics idea of higher dimensions, that is more commonly used in Science Fiction, they instead went for lower dimensions. This was a good variation but the explanation was just too silly, and yanks the viewer out of the experience. This is however a minor complaint, there have been worse explanations in sci-fi and indeed in this show, that have gone unnoticed. The reason I and others are nitpicking the sci-fi is that the main story is so flawed.
It seems the intention was to show how a character reacts to a debilitating loss, it is however executed very poorly. It is understandable that someone could react angrily and erratically in such a situation, but that is mostly what we get, with very little progression through the stages of grief. Troi comes off as a very unlikeable person, with a superiority complex, I felt little sympathy for her. I know in reality it can take a person a very long time to deal with such a loss, but in TV-shorthand it should have been possible to show more progression back towards the Troi we know and love. The writing is generally weak, it is not only Troi that behaves uncharacteristically. Captain Piccard trotting out the "losing one sense, heightens the others" line did not come across well, neither did his reaction to basically being insulted by Troi.
For a show that normally does a wonderful job of dealing with difficult subjects, this episode is almost a complete failure. The way the episode plays out, Troi does not really show that she would have learned to cope, missing a great teachable moment. Even at the resolution of the episode when her empathic powers are restored, she is so overjoyed with her recovery that she shows no genuine remorse for how she behaved. In the end we are left with a story and character with little to no redeeming value.
The bottom line with this episode is that it made the Troi character, never one of my favorites along with the always pathetic Wesley, one that I thoroughly detested.
When she loses her power and starts to rail and pitch hysterical fits at her crew mates who are trying to show concern, well it gets to be way, way too much emoting from an actress who's simply not that talented.
Ryker nailed her when he described her as having a superior attitude and frankly, I always found her "empathic" abilities to be a cheap and lazy writer's crutch to supply a quick way to know what the opposition was feeling instead of making the writers, actors and yes the viewers figure it out without her method of cheating.
This episode exposes the actor's weakness, much as any Data episode where he has any type of emotions expose Spiner's inability to be anything more than the emotionless Data - which he is perfect at. If he gets to emote as Lore or then in films with his emotion chip, well it was worse than a very special Wesley episode.
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