SF Debris – Star Trek (TNG): Frame of Mind

Opinionated Next Gen Episode Guide asks whether or not Riker is going mad. Shockingly, it does not feature Wesley Crusher.

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  1. Glad I’m gonna be the first to say it.

    “Nobody ever expects the Star Trek Inquisition!”

    Ba Dum Pssshhhhhh

    Frame of mind was a great TNG episode that put Riker through the ringer. We all knew at the end it would turn out ok, this is TNG after all. But the ride was intense and moody and I love the scene at the end where Riker is tearing down the set.

  2. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

  3. I never read the ST:TNG novels, comic books or did any research on Troi and Riker but I’m going to say something that I hope no one scolds me for. This episode would have been the perfect beginning to a change in Riker and an exploration into the whole ” Imzadi ” thing he and Troi shared that was hinted at in Encounter at Farpoint. I watched the entire Next Gen series almost religiously back in the early 90’s and I can’t recall them ever getting into that and we were just left hanging as to their history together and what could have been if they stayed together.
    Yes, I’ve heard the novels went deeper into it, but to me way back then a book was a waste of time when a TV was available. A lost opportunity for me though as I’ve heard some of the novels were pretty good.
    Back to topic: With Riker spending so much time in his subconscious, and US being aware that he and Deanna had some empathic experiences in their past, this episode could have been the catalyst for his mental evolution and a deeper relationship with Deanna. It also could have been an opportunity for the two to leave the show for their own spinoff, but we all know that would never have happened after the series’ runtime.
    One can only dream of what could have been I suppose

    • Interesting you should mention that. Peter David (who is kind of a big name in comics and sci fi) wrote two books, one of them dealing with the past relationship of willana (wll + deanna) , the other dealing with the breakup of worfanna (deanna + worf) and potential reconciliation of willanna. they are Imzadi and Imzadi II.

      Incidentally, and because it’s my favorite star trek story ever, feel free to check out Q-Pid, also by Peter David which deals with Q and Laxanna troi hooking up. Mostly for Q just to do another bit of research into humanity, and to bug the hell out Picard and Troi.

  4. I always loved this episode. I remember when it first aired it impressed me so much I actually went back & checked the opening credits for the writer’s name & thought “Hmmm, this Brannon Braga guy, he seems like someone to keep an eye on!”.

    …Yeah, ultimately that really did not turn out well at all. But for a while there in the beginning, he was cranking out some of the most intriguing mind-fuck episodes on Trek.

  5. A ship with several thousand individuals onboard, a good portion of whom are Star Fleet and the Enterprise sends its first officer on a mission, not that it’s not regular for Star Trek but I’m really disappointed you didn’t call them out.

    • It’s certainly a “Star Trek thing”. Incidents like this one are something that you’d expect a specialist to handle and not a regular crew member. Star Trek is all about main characters and situations, not about reality and proper functions. If things were the way they should have been the Enterprise’s most important crew members would probably be so uninteresting as to hardly be worth watching. This kind of thing works perfect for a ship like Serenity or even the Millennium Falcon where the ships are so small that the crew and main characters are one and the same.
      Personally, just once I’d like to see them attempt a Star Trek where things are done as they realistically should be. We’d get two small groups of main characters: the highest ranking officers who deal with politics, diplomacy and ship command and then the lower ranking crewmen that actually work their butts off taking orders and getting things done so that the ship keeps working. I know which group of people would truly be way more interesting to watch if that was the case.

      • To be frank it would depend on how they’d portray grunt work, if they do it correctly like the new Mr. Robot tv show or some of Vernor Vinges novels then yes they’d be interesting, but if they’d be portrait the same way Geordi and Scotty were then I think I’ll pass on the little people. For example in Starship Trooper we are told repeatedly that the Space Marines take care of their own suits to a certain point, and Rico, while beeing a third lieutenant, does in fact do grunt work because his squad is undermanned and no one bats an eye at that. In fact, his superior encourages it since he knows Rico has the know how to do the job well. Officers could technically be depicted doing grunt work, but it would have to be justified, and in most Star Trek episodes it’s not. I especially hate the good episodes whose very premise is laughable – like Chain of Command, where they send a high ranking officer that is both a strategy genius and high enough in the chain of command to have access to sensitive information on an infiltration mission.

      • @ AlucardNoir

        Then I’ve got the perfect ST: TNG episode for you: “Lower Decks”.

        It revolves around a day in the life of a group of about 4 ensigns on the Enterprise.
        They’re all friends/acquaintances/roommates, and the episode deals with their personal lives, friendships, comrade, challenges, and talking about what asses some of the superior officers are.

        I loved it.

        • Yeah, that’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. I’d forgotten about that episode.
          Those lower ranking officers, or whatever they’d be refered to as, are the types that get things done. They are the ones that are supposed to go on away missions because most of the highest ranking officers shouldn’t have to leave the ship. It’s people like these that get commanded by the highest ranking officers. These are the people that have aspirations, do some of the dirty work and get recognized and then promoted or sent packing for doing something foolish.
          These are the kind of people I “typically” see as having the most interesting lives to watch because shit is going to happen to these people. Granted, they may not have the lifespan for all of them to eventually reach the level of bridge or command crew status but that is part of a character’s journey. Main characters such as the typical ST bridge creware gonna live to see the end of the series 90-95% of the time. Everyone else on the other hand is just a red shirt by comparrison. Maybe they’ll live to see another episode, maybe they won’t.
          I’m not saying this should be the new Star Trek, I’m just saying I’d like to see something like this done from scratch to see how it might play out. It’ll probably never happen though.

          • @ Brad1ey Shaw

            I can’t wait until he reviews Inquisition.
            It’s the episode in which they introduce agent Sloan.

            Did you see that one?

          • Sorry. I quit watching the series a year or two before then. In a post below I talk about why.
            I’ve actually seen a few episodes from the final DS9 seasons, from when Spike TV aired them years ago, but there are a bunch I still haven’t seen and probably never will.

          • If you want to see a comedic take on what that type of show would be like, you should check out “Starship Icarus” over on cracked.com

  6. My god – that was a good one! I was laughing so hard.

  7. Thing is, that thumbnail isn’t actually from the episode. That’s Jonathan Frakes being “convinced” to appear in the last episode of Enterprise

    • Boy, what an embarrassment that appearance was. You’ve only got so much time in your life to do a crossover episode, while still based in an even older setting, before you look too old to be in the older production. He looked as old and out of place on ‘Enterprise’ as Grace Lee Whitney did on the Voyager episode ‘Flashback’.
      It’s nice to see these older characters again but there are times when you have to sacrifice the things you want for the sake of a better production. I know that having Jonathan Frakes guest star was done more to boost ratings than as a “want”, but it was still a “want” to me and it was just too out of place for the producers to ever have considered being better for the production. Subtracting the Riker and Troi elements from the episode I don’t think it was bad, in fact it would have been the perfect end to the series had they intended it that way. They should have just intended it that way from the beginning.

      • @Bradley Shaw

        As if the entire episode being just a holodeck simulation (and thus, pointless) wasn’t bad enough, Riker and/or Troi LITERALLY interrupting it approximately every 4 minutes (lest we get the idea that an episode about Captain Archer & co. should actually BE about Captain Archer and Co.) , made it completely unbearable.
        So the entire SERIES FINALE episode of Enterprise was not only meaningless, it was just a glorified vanity project for Frakes and Sirtis.

        And I thought that the Star Trek franchise could never make a worse series finale than they did for Deep Space 9.

        • I never saw it. Kinda makes me glad I gave up on that series a couple years before it ended. I know the Dominion War/s were where the producers intended to take the show from the beginning, I just didn’t see that as being “Star Trek”. In fact the entire show felt less like “Star Trek” than ST:Voyager. Look at the title. It’s called ‘Star Trek’ for a reason. We expect the characters to be out there “trekking” through the stars, not based on a space station that mostly stayed in one place. That’s what Babylon 5 did and it did it quite well.
          Sorry for my rant. It wasn’t a bad show I just think it wasn’t what Star Trek was meant to be.

          • @Brad1ey Shaw

            There were a few episodes in the final 2 seasons which were worth watching.
            Inquisition was one of the best.
            It introduced the shady/somewhat sinister covert Star Fleet organization Section 31, who are dedication to protecting the Federation “at any cost”.
            They routinely disregard basic human rights (or alien, as the case may be) for the “greater good” of the Federation.

            The episode dealt with Dr. Bashir’s encounter with them, and means vs ends.

          • “dedicated”.
            “I meant to say “dedicated”.

          • I don’t think that the producers meant to create the Dominon war at first.
            It seem pretty clear to me, that they came up with this ongoing war, as a means to compete with the ongoing war in Babylon 5.

  8. I remember watching this episode when I was a little kid.
    And grinning throughout much of it.
    Riker was always an asshole.

    • I never thought he was an asshole, just a bit more arrogant than most.

      • particularly how he acted when he met Commander Shelby after the Borg 2nd strike.

        “Oh no! A threat to my position! I’ll show her!”

      • @Brad1ey Shaw

        Which do you think is the worst episode of Star Trek: DS9 that you’ve ever seen?

        • I really couldn’t say. I’m more of an anti-critic because of how I see things. I tend to go by: Entertainment Value, What Works and What Doesn’t Work. Entertainment Value always comes first so even a production that most critics tend to loathe I can still enjoy. What Works and What Doesn’t Work go together. I also don’t always agree with critics here either as sometimes they can be just plain wrong. How they view a production is skewed because they fail to see the vision of the directors and producers as they tend to use their own vision to judge such productions. We may agree that a movie is crap but we may agree for totally different reasons. What they hate I may like. What they love I may find unimportant and uninteresting to the point of boredom.
          As for your question, I really can’t say. It’s just been far too long since I watched the show and even longer since I watched it with the love for Trek that I had back in the early 90’s. I’ll just say that the first three, and maybe four, seasons were the best regardless of any weak links. Everything after that, especially with anything involving character romance that never blossomed propperly, just felt forced and made me feel the writers betrayed the characters and the production as a whole just for the sake of adding something new or exploring what probably wasn’t meant to ever be. In my “dislikes” I could also include any one-shot episode that felt like classic Star Trek but was then never reexplored even though there was room to go farther.
          Sorry I can’t give you anything specific.

          • ” In my “dislikes” I could also include any one-shot episode that felt like classic Star Trek but was then never re-explored even though there was room to go farther. ”


            Like the DS9 episode “Trials and Tribbleations”.


            (In case you missed it, it was the one in which Sisco, Odo, Jadzea, O’Brian, and Worf, go back in time and meet captain Kirk & company onboard space station K-7 (or called something like that).
            Just in time for the Tribble incident. )

          • Perhaps, but I never really saw that episode going any farther than it did. I never saw that episode as anything more than fan-service and a nostalgia trip for cast and crew. It was interesting to watch but everything felt out of place to me.

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