Friday, June 25, 2021

Star Trek: Identity Crisis

Episode: "Identity Crisis"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 4, Episode 18
Original Air Date: March 25, 1991

La Forge is reunited with an old friend.  Lieutenant Commander Susanna Leitjen has come aboard and she's worried.  Years before, they were both part of an away mission on Trachannen III and recently, the other three members of the team abandoned their current posts and returned to the planet, not to be heard from again.  Naturally, she is concerned she and Geordi might be next.

I like this episode.  For starters, this is a far more satisfying female interaction than La Forge had with Leah Brahms in "Galaxy's Child."  Evidently, there was initially a plan for romance between La Forge and Leitjen but the writers thought better of it.  It was the right choice.  The platonic friendship between the two is both healthy and credible.  Also, the way La Forge uses the holodeck to unravel the mystery of what happened on the original Trachannen mission is very cool.  

A couple fun casting notes.   The two non-Geordi aliens in the climactic scene were played by Brian Phelps and Mark Thompson, two LA disc jockeys who were also on set to interview cast members for their radio show, The Mark & Brian Show.  Meanwhile, Ensign Graham was played by Mona Grudt, the reigning Miss Universe at the time.  The episode was her only appearance.


Acting Notes

Maryann Plunkett played the role of Lt. Cmdr. Leitjen.  She was born in Lowell, Massachusetts.  She graduated from the University of New Hampshire.

Most of her work has been on stage: a consistent theme for guest stars in the fourth season.  She won a Tony for her lead role in Me and My Girl in 1987 and has performed in the plays of Richard Nelson for many years.  Big screen gigs include Claire Dolan and The Company Men.  Apart from Trek, she made television guest appearances on Matlock, Miami Vice and Law & Order, among others.

10 comments:

  1. It’s an interesting episode, and yes, a clever use of the holodeck.

    ReplyDelete
  2. la verdad es que no conocĂ­a esta actriz, algunos nos pasan desapercibidos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't say I knew much about her work before either. Such is the way with those who are primarily stage actors, unfortunately.

      Delete
  3. The Holodeck scene is brilliant and really showcases Geordi’s deductive reasoning skills. Something that probably made him a brilliant Chief Engineer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maurice! Always a pleasure.

      Geordi episodes are rare - good Geordi episodes even more so. This one qualifies.

      Delete
  4. This episode was a quantum leap above last weeks. It's almost as if the writing A-Team came back from vacation.

    Being honest, the lonely loser Geordi story line always annoyed me. I mean he's the Chief Engineer of the Starship Enterprise in charge of maybe hundreds of people, plus has to command the ship on occasion. And we're suppose to believe the dude can't get a date?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know. I know plenty of professionally capable people with disastrous personal lives.

      But I'm with you on your broader point. I love Geordi and it's great to see him get a better story.

      Delete
  5. This episode, for some reason, really creeped me out. I guess, turning into another type of life form did not appeal to me but it is a really good episode but it makes me uncomfortable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you on creepy. When Geordi says the other two are too far gone to be rescued, it's heartbreaking.

      Delete