Friday, June 11, 2021

Star Trek: Galaxy's Child

Episode: "Galaxy's Child"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 4, Episode 16
Original Air Date: March 11, 1991

Dr. Leah Brahms is actually coming aboard the Enterprise!  In "Booby Trap," La Forge created a holographic simulation of the warp drive engineer and promptly fell in love with her.  Now, he meets her in the flesh and she doesn't exactly live up to his expectations.  Meanwhile, the Enterprise has encountered a new space travelling species.  In fact, a newborn imprints itself on the ship after our heroes accidentally killed its mother.

The new life encounter story is good.  The Geordi/Leah story is profoundly awkward.  Geordi handles his disappointment very poorly and then digs even deeper into the hole when Leah discovers the holodeck program with herself in the starring role.  We are meant to feel sorry for Geordi and forgive him for his missteps rather than holding him accountable for his inappropriate and unprofessional presumptions.  The truth is, Leah is right to be offended and our old buddy Geordi should have to suffer the consequences.  She's entitled to kick his ass and should have been given more rein to do so.

How might the same story have been told more effectively?  The basic idea of reality failing to live up to fantasy is a good one - true to life.  But the story could have been about Geordi growing to appreciate Leah for who she truly is rather than endlessly whining about who she isn't.  Intellectually, she's every bit as impressive as he thought.  Why not have the story be about that?  He can't "have" her but maybe he could respect her anyway.

It was an opportunity bumbled and it's too bad.  Geordi stories don't come around so often.

Acting Notes

Lanei Chapman played the role of Ensign Sariel Rager.  This was her first of four appearances.  Chapman was born January 23, 1973 in Los Angeles.  She made her screen debut in a Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial at age 13.  She graduated from Dartmouth as a Spanish major.  She taught kindergarten before she decided to pursue acting full-time.

Her biggest role was the lead in the short-lived series Space: Above and Beyond.  Apart from Trek, she had guest appearances on Seinfeld, The Wonder Years and China Beach.  Her highest-profile film credit was for White Men Can't Jump.


  1. The way I remember it, it was as disappointing to watch Brahms turn out differently as it was for La Forge. If you substitute “hero worship” for “infatuation,” it probably feels different. It’s kind of Cochrane before Cochrane. In that light we see a much different La Forge later. So your disappointment in him shouldn’t last forever.

    1. There's no way Brahms could have lived up to his idealized preconception. That's just life. But Geordi takes it too far. He's clumsy with women. We know that and it's fair game to play with that. But she lets him off the hook far too easily. She had good reason to be put off by his presumptuous advances. It would have been a better story if she didn't forgive him. The needs for a tidy 42-minute episode and to feel better about our man by the end detracted from the overall quality of the narrative.

      Bigger picture: this is an industry - a franchise, a world - in which men get away with this crap far too often. Let her stick up for herself without being obligated to absolve him.

      I don't fault the character himself. To err is human. I'm simply saying there could have been a more satisfying path for real growth.

  2. Yeah, the Geordi/Leah story did seem creepy to me even back in the 90s. To me it sort of felt like Geordi was almost stalking Leah, in a super-advanced 24th century way.

    I even felt the new life encounter story was weak.

    1. The moment when Picard realizes they've accidentally killed the mother is genuinely powerful.

  3. Hmmm...Interesting to read this.

  4. I remember this episode and thought Geordi is above this. I believe , if they tried to write this today, it would show Geordi needing some therapy. They would not become friends and she would tell him a thing or two.

    1. Yes, that's what I wanted. But the story is written with the need to love and forgive Geordi by the end to be the higher priority. It's a shame.