The Good: Moments of good acting, Special effects, Interesting enough character development
The Bad: Extended plot
The Basics: When a space-born life-form attaches to the Enterprise, Geordi and an adversary must work together to save it.
Back in the third season episode "Booby Trap" (reviewed here!), Geordi met the holographic representation of Enterprise design specialist Dr. Leah Brahms. Since then, Geordi has had nothing but unsuccessful dates. So, apparently the writers figured it was time to change his luck and have him actually meet Dr. Brahms.
In "Galaxy's Child," Dr. Brahms arrives for transport to inspect Geordi's altered engines. After Geordi's anticipation, Dr. Brahms is a bit of a let-down; she criticizes the way LaForge has changed the Enterprise's engines to make practical improvements. Their animosity comes to a head when Dr. Brahms finds her holographic counterpart. But their tension is forced aside when the Enterprise encounters a space life-form. The creature defies the Enterprise officers' explanation as it appears to be a child born in the vacuum of space. The child quickly latches onto the Enterprise and begins to deprive it of power. Geordi and Dr. Brahms must work together to determine how to get it removed without killing it.
This episode works, when it does, for the simple reason that it keeps the work focused on the characters, as opposed to the plot. The plot is stretched a bit thin, reading almost like a bad sitcom where there is a reversal and another reversal: Brahms learns the truth about Geordi's feelings, the space baby arrives, etc.
But keeping the focus instead on LaForge, the episode moves forward quite well. Geordi illustrates his usual pathetic attempts at wooing Dr. Brahms, but here he has some confidence, which is what he usually lacks in such situations. It makes sense after all of the dates he's had that have ended badly that here he would have some confidence.
Dr. Brahms, for her part, comes across as quite a bit more than the monolithic hologram she did in "Booby Trap." Instead, here she seems a viable human being, even despite her icy demeanor. She seems like someone we might know: the irritable woman in a power position at our job, perhaps.
The special effects are reasonably good as well. The space baby "Junior" has a very original design to it. While it seems most resemblant of an allosaurus' posterior and a pie crust, it has a rather unique sense. Conversely, it's shape seems to make sense given its natural habitat. The computer movements of the creature are perfect, making it seem more like a life-form than a projection on film.
What saves the episode from a razor decision is the acting. Here Levar Burton reminds us what a great actor he is, giving us a versatility in his performance as he goes through the full range of emotions. His excitement at the beginning of the episode contrasts with his lethargy in the middle and his upset protestations throughout. Burton presents all of these and more with utter convincing vocal tones and body language, effectively convincing him of his moods.
Easy to like for a fan of Star Trek The Next Generation, "Galaxy's Child" has little to offer the non-fan. It alludes to other episodes and without having seen "Booby Trap," this seems like a typical "boy meets girl" hour of television. The Junior plot is interesting, but hardly enough to carry the episode.
In the end, "Galaxy's Child" is a chance to tie up another loose end of the series while slowly progressing the character of Geordi LaForge. Beyond that . . . well, there's not much beyond that here.
[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Complete Fourth Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the fourth season by clicking here!
For other Star Trek reviews, please visit my index page on the subject!
© 2011, 2007, 2002 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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