Fri
Mar 2 2012 3:00pm
Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “Remember Me”

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Remember Me“Remember Me”
Written by Lee Sheldon
Directed by Cliff Bole
Season 4, Episode 5
Production episode 40274-179
Original air date: October 22, 1990
Stardate: 44161.2

Captain’s Log: Crusher welcomes Dr. Dalen Quaice aboard when the ship docks at Starbase 133. He’s retiring following the death of his wife, and the Enterprise is ferrying him back to his homeworld on Kenda II. Quaice waxes philosophical about growing old, particularly the fact that all the people you know are gone, and you never appreciated them while they were there.

With that in mind, Crusher heads to engineering, where Wes is doing an experiment with the warp field. There’s a visible burst of light — which Wes says should not have happened — but everything seems fine. The Enterprise leaves the starbase, but Wes notices that his mother is no longer there.

The next day, Crusher goes to meet Quaice in his guest quarters to have breakfast — but he’s not on board. She reports it to Worf, as she’s worried that he’s injured, but a search turns up nothing. To make matters worse, Data can find no record of Quaice serving at the starbase — even though he’s been assigned there for six years — nor a record of him in Starfleet. Neither Worf nor Picard have any recollection of Crusher’s passenger request, even though she filed it weeks earlier, and O’Brien doesn’t remember transporting Quaice aboard.

Crusher examines O’Brien, and while doing so pages Doctors Hill and Selar — but there’s no record of them, no indication that they ever served on the Enterprise, and the nurses and relatives of the doctors have no memory of them.

Wes and La Forge look back at Wes’s earlier experiment, which was with Kozinski’s warp field equations. They tried to create a static warp bubble, but the bubble burst. They hypothesize that Quaice might have been caught in the bubble when it burst, though Picard pokes a hole in it by pointing out that Quaice wasn’t in engineering.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Remember Me

Crusher returns to sickbay only to find her entire staff is missing. She goes to the bridge to report this, only to be informed that she never had a staff, nor would she need one with only 230 people on board the ship. Crusher is, needless to say, shocked, since the ship should have a thousand people.

At this point, Crusher is worried that something’s wrong with her, and she agrees to talk to Troi. Picard, however, is willing to believe that someone has sabotaged the ship, and he agrees to head back to Starbase 133.

When Crusher goes back to sickbay, a giant vortex appears and tries to suck the doctor into it before it closes. La Forge sends a team to investigate, but they find no indication that there was ever a vortex there. Data also indicates that the entire crew is accounted for — all 114 of them, which makes Crusher even more anxious.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Remember Me

Wes’s experiment is the only thing that Crusher thinks could explain all this, but he hasn’t been able to figure out how. He’s also talked to Kozinski, who is equally in the dark. He sent a message to Kozinski’s assistant, the Traveler from Tau Alpha C, but there’s been no reply. Wes and Crusher leave engineering together, but she winds up in the corridor alone. She goes to the bridge, only to find that it’s just her and Picard. The captain blithely says that they’ve never needed a crew, and it’s just been the two of them roaming this gigunda starship alone. Crusher loses it, saying that the crew deserves better than to be forgotten like this — and then Picard disappears, leaving Crusher alone.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Remember Me

After she swears never to forget any of them, the vortex returns. We follow through the vortex to find Wes and La Forge on the other side in the engine room. The two vortices were attempts to rescue Crusher that failed. Wes is convinced they’ve lost her forever —

— but then the Traveler appears with a bit of optimism. Crusher, he says, created a reality when she was trapped within the warp bubble out of her own thoughts. Because it’s her reality, she has to be the one to escape it. The Traveler can help Wes create a new gateway through which she can come home — but she has to walk through it.

Back in the warp bubble, Crusher, now alone on the Enterprise, decides to apply diagnostic methodology. She asks the computer for the full ship’s roster — it’s just her. She then asks what the Enterprise’s mission is, and then asks if she’s qualified to perform that mission all by herself — which the computer can’t answer. (“That information is not available.”)

She orders the ship to Tau Alpha C, since the Traveler seems to be her only hope. But after she orders the course change, nothing happens, and when she repeats her instruction, the computer informs her that no such planet exists. Neither does Starbase 133, and when she activates the viewscreen, she finds an energy field, 705 meters in diameter, surrounding the ship. Hypothesizing that, if there’s nothing wrong with her, there might be something wrong with the universe, she asks the computer what the nature of the universe. “The universe is a spheroid region, 705 meters in diameter.”

Back in reality, the Enterprise returns to Starbase 133 to the same position they occupied when the warp bubble was formed. When they arrive at the spot, the Traveler realizes that the bubble is collapsing.

In the bubble, Crusher asks for a visual representation of the universe — and it looks just like Wes’s warp bubble. She realizes that she’s the one who was trapped. The bubble is also collapsing to a size smaller than that of the ship, and the Enterprise is slowly being destroyed.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Remember Me

Remembering that the Traveler used thought to form warp fields, she realizes that her own thoughts formed this little universe — and she was thinking about Quaice’s words to her about losing everyone she knew, which is why everyone was disappearing.

The Traveler and Wes open another vortex — and both of them phase out in much the same way the Traveler did the last time he was on board. In the bubble, Crusher jumps through, and makes it safely home — and is assured by Picard that there are 1014 people on board, including her guest, Dr. Quaice.

Can’t We Just Reverse the Polarity?: The warp bubble is formed by thought, and so Crusher’s thoughts upon creating it helped shape it. In order to build a bridge to the bubble, the Traveler says that Wes must think beyond traditional mathematics, beyond the numbers. Apparently this involves closing his eyes while working the engineering console.

Thank You, Counselor Obvious: The warp bubble version of Troi helps Crusher be convinced that she’s not crazy, and also points out that she’s acting in the best interests of the ship and the crew with her concerns.

There is No Honor in Being Pummeled: After Worf disappears from the warp bubble, Crusher’s attempt to remind everyone who he is is hilarious. “The big guy who never smiles?” Blank stares. “The Klingon!”

The Boy!?: Wes is trying to create a static warp bubble using Kozinsi’s equations and nearly gets his Mom killed. Of course, these are the same equations that were dismissed as “nonsense” when we met Kozinski, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that it didn’t work so hot. The Traveler generously gives Wes all the credit for rescuing Crusher in the end, and indeed the effort nearly kills him.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Remember Me

No Sex, Please, We’re Starfleet: For the second time, Crusher starts to tell Picard something important, only to have him disappear on her. This officially cements Crusher’s wanting to tell Picard something important before being interrupted as a running gag.

I Believe I Said That: “We will start with the assumption that I am not crazy. If I am, it won’t matter one way or another.”

Crusher starting her examination of what’s wrong.

Welcome Aboard: Eric Menyuk returns as the Traveler, and is as opaque as ever. (Menyuk was one of the finalists for the role of Data, and both here and in his last appearance in “Where No One Has Gone Before,” you can see how well he would have done with the role.) Bill Erwin acts very much like a tired old widower in his brief appearance as Quaice.

You’ve already forgotten him, haven’t you?

Trivial Matters: This story was originally meant to be the “sci-fi” plot in “Family,” but it was carved out into its own episode.

Gates McFadden, a dancer and choreographer, did all her own stunts in this episode. Shortly after filming, she discovered that she was pregnant.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Remember Me

This episode is a sequel of sorts to “Where No One Has Gone Before,” what with Wes using the equations from that episode, mentions of Kozinski, and the return of the Traveler. The Traveler will be back for a third appearance in “Journey’s End” in the seventh season, and one can view the three episodes as a trilogy of sorts chronicling Wes’s mental advancement.

In a deleted scene, Crusher spoke to Cara Hill, the wife of the missing Dr. Hill, who has no memory of her husband. This episode also has another mention of Dr. Selar, who appeared in “The Schizoid Man.”

This is the only writing credit for Lee Sheldon, whose tenure as a producer on the show was short-lived.

Make it So: “Maybe there’s something wrong with the universe.” A fun little episode that gives Gates McFadden a rare chance to be front and center, and she makes the best of it. Her growing frustration plays beautifully against the confusion of the rest of the crew, who all make great straight men for her hysteria. (I especially adore Sir Patrick Stewart shrugging and saying that they’ve never needed a crew as the two of them stand alone on a bridge obviously designed to have at least ten people in it at any given time.) So does the ship’s computer, done with Majel Barrett’s usual aplomb.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Remember Me

The mystery is handled well, as the viewer is just as confused as Crusher, and then Bole does excellent work transitioning through the second vortex to the echoing voices of Wes and La Forge followed by the shadowed form of Wes frantically operating a console, and the viewer has the “aha!” moment when it all makes sense.

It’s also nice to see the Traveler again, as Menyuk’s ethereal presence is always welcome, plus there’s nothing wrong with a call-back to one of the absolute high points of the show’s first season.

Neither a great episode nor a bad one, this is a nice solid entry in the series.

 

Warp factor rating: 6


Keith R.A. DeCandido will be a guest at Lunacon 2012 in Rye Brook, New York in the middle of March and at I-Con 31 (along with Star Trek actors Nana Visitor, Daphne Ashbrook, Casey Biggs, and J.G. Hertzler, and fellow Trek novelists Peter David, Robert Greenberger,Glenn Hauman, John Peel, and Aaron Rosenberg) in Stony Book, New York at the end of March. You should come see him. You should also go to his web site, as it is from there that you can a) order his latest books, b) go to his blog, his Facebook, and his Twitter, and c) check out the various podcasts he’s involved with: Dead Kitchen Radio, The Chronic Rift, and the Parsec Award-winning HG World.

29 comments
Paul Weimer
1. PrinceJvstin
A strong episode for Dr. Crusher, and thus, why I have a soft spot for it.
Josh W.
2. Josh W.
I love the "Never Forget" poster. (:
Michael Burstein
3. mabfan
A solid entry, perhaps, but one of the first that freaked me out. (You can probably guess what some of the others are going to be...)

-- Michael A. Burstein
Josh W.
4. MJSS
"The universe is a spheroid region, 705 meters in diameter" is one of my favorite Star Trek lines ever.
Josh W.
5. Rancho Unicorno
During the course of the rewatch, I'm finding that I see Dr. Crusher more and more as a cultural elitist and get irritated with her. McFadden does a good job with what the script gave her here, but by the end this was added to my list of episodes to skip for future rewatches.
Josh W.
6. Rootboy
The sci-fi mystery in this one is fun, and it's nice that Doc Crusher gets something to do. Once the mystery gets solved and we cut back to the regular enterprise it gets a lot less interesting, though.
Josh W.
7. critter42
I've always had this idea in the back of my head that this episode would have been better, with more tension if we never left Crusher's universe until she figures it out. Though I'm not sure if that would be considered too much of a deus ex machina ending
Josh W.
8. John R. Ellis
I consider this one to be a warm-up for the deja vu episode.
Chris Long
9. radynski
I always really loved this episode, and I think it deserves at least an 8. The tension builds well, the mystery is nicely disguised, and it has a good resolution. One of my favorites.
Josh W.
10. Christopher L. Bennett
The "pocket universe created from thought" premise is absurd, but it does fit fairly well with the metaphysics of "Where No One Has Gone Before," and it was good to see the Traveler revisited. And yes, it's a fanciful premise, but I liked the Twilight Zone feel of the first half. I think the episode was right to pull back and give the answers once Crusher was alone rather than dragging it out to the end, because that's the climax of the "Where is Everybody ?" phase of the story, and that's when it has to stop being a Twilight Zone episode about mystery and existential dread and become a Star Trek episode about smart people thinking up solutions. (Plus they couldn't have sustained 20 minutes of Gates McFadden talking to the computer; they needed something to cut away to.) I did like the way Crusher reasoned through her problem once she was by herself, though.

And here they actually remembered the name of the distant planet the Traveler's supposedly from, Tau Alpha C. When he comes back in "Journey's End," they'll mistakenly say he's from Tau Ceti, one of the closest stars to Earth, and the primary star of Kaferia in some Trek references and tie-ins.

And I like the (perhaps intentional, perhaps accidental) really obscure in-joke of the title. "Remember me" is the last line of Gene Roddenberry's deservedly little-known lyrics to the Star Trek theme.
Risha Jorgensen
11. RishaBree
One of my favorite episodes. Yes, not necessarily brilliant, but solid all around, and I've seen it dozens of times without ever getting tired of it. It's one of the very rare occasions that I've liked Beverly Crusher - normally she annoys me for no reason I can clearly define. But in this episode, she's smart (as the "figuring it out" scene displays), and realistically distressed without becoming overwhelmingly hysterical.

Plus, being a kid genre fan when TNG first aired, I was always into the super-Wesley Crusher plots.

(And it doesn't hurt that Picard blithely saying that they've never needed a crew before is one of my favorite lines in the series.)
Josh W.
12. General Vagueness
I don't get why it's only a 6, I thought for sure it would be a 9 or 10 and I don't see any mistakes or flaws pointed out to justify it.
Josh W.
13. Seryddwr
@4: so true! That line made me shiver as a kid. The creepy score underlines it. Is this episode Crusher's finest moment?...
Josh W.
14. Chessara
I've also always liked this episode, and I think Dr. Crusher proves herself very nicely in it! Methodically and logically getting to the bottom of the problem.

When it first aired I remember being really surprised by the reveal that the vortex was Wes trying to save his mom, and not some evil kidnapping alien! :)

To me this episode is at least a 9, I also see no flaws and the premise/mystery is interesting, and it gives the chance for a underused character to shine.

I've also always liked this episode, and I think Dr. Crusher proves herself very nicely in it! Methodically and logically getting to the bottom of the problem.

When it first aired I remember being really surprised by the reveal that the vortex was Wes trying to save his mom, and not some evil kidnapping alien! :)

To me this episode is at least a 9, I also see no flaws and the premise/mystery is interesting, and it gives the chance for a underused character to shine.
Josh W.
15. Chessara
*scratches head*

uhhh...sorry for the double post in the same post....don't know what went wrong there...
Michael Burke
16. Ludon
This episode and "Family" are among my top five TNG episodes. Knowing now the connection between the two episodes only adds to my feelings about them.

I can see where this episode might seem weak to those only seeing it for the first time after being exposed to the strong storytelling in series like BSG but I should point out that when this episode first ran it stood out for many fans for being so different from what they were use to.
Keith DeCandido
17. krad
Folks, keep in mind that the warp factor rating is the least important part of the rewatch. :)

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Josh W.
18. Lance Sibley
I have to join the chorus who feel that you've been too harsh in your rating of this episode. I'd give it a 9 myself. The uniqueness of the story (in the Trek canon, anyway - I think Twilight Zone may have done a similar episode, and I'm sure it wasn't a brand new premise), the fact that Doctor Crusher had a prominent role that didn't involve her falling in love with the guest star of the week, and the dialogue are all contributing factors to raising the episode's rating in my view.

I remember seeing it for the first time when I was in university. My then-fiance, our roommates and a friend of ours were watching it together, and as Doctor Crusher started to piece it all together, our friend said, "Come on, Beverly... just click your heels together three times." About thirty seconds later, Crusher uttered the line, "Click my heels together three times and I'm back in Kansas - can it be that simple?" (I also loved it when she asked the computer why she was the only crewmember when she wasn't qualified to run the mission, and the computer being unable to answer. And the line about the universe being a spheroid region 705 metres in diameter actually gave me chills.)
Josh W.
19. AlexG
Rather than Twilight Zone, this episode reminds me very strongly of The Demolished Man; the reason for the scenario is different, but it plays out in much the same way. It does seem rather like the writers were working backwards from the climax, to create an SF scenario that would allow the disappearance of the universe to (1) have a reason to happen, and (2) return to normal in time for the next episode. The reason is ultimately not that interesting, compared to the drama of the gradual collapse of reality - which is nicely done here!
Justin Devlin
20. EnsignJayburd
I never cared very much for this episode. Too much technobabble claptrap to suspend one's disbelief over. This is precisely the type of esoteric episode that Brannon Braga would eventually become famous/infamous for.
Keith DeCandido
21. krad
Administrative note: due to the unexpected death Sunday of someone I've known since high school (she was only 41), there will be no rewatch today (6 March 2012). We'll be back on Friday the 9th with "Legacy," the historic 80th episode of TNG, as we meet Yar's sister and Riker pulls a lame-ass card trick on Data.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Josh W.
22. General Vagueness
I'm sorry to hear about your friend, Mr. DeCandido. If I'd known her, I would assure you I'd remember her.
Josh W.
23. Mike S.
My apologies for being late in commenting on this episode (I've fallen behind in the rewatch, and am just now starting to catch up).

I liked this episode very much. I like how it forces the viewer to think, and follow along with the mystery, with us trying to figure out what happened, as much as the crew, or just Beverly in this case ("Timescape" in season 6 did this effectivly as well).

Special effects are not the strong suit of this series, but when that warp bubble came on the fake bridge, and Crusher tried to elude it, I was totally taken aback. Bravo to the effects crew on that one.
Josh W.
25. lorq
@19 AlexG --

Yes, I instantly thought of "The Demolished Man" too. I'd bet money that that was the original inspiration for this episode.
Josh W.
26. Etherbeard
This is one of the episodes that really stuck with me over the years. It didn't hold up upon rewatching. The quasi-mystical mumbo-jumbo of the Traveler really brings the episode down in my opinion. He seemed wholly unnecessary. I alos feel the reveal of Wesley and La Forge through the vortex came a couple of scenes early. It would have been really nice to see that image of the warp bubble shaped universe before knowing exactly what was going on, giving the audience the oppotunity to come to the realization along with Crusher instead of spending 15 minutes watching her come to conclusions we'd been spoon fed. Between this and the mysticism, the last third of the episode comes off as patronizing.
Dante Hopkins
27. DanteHopkins
One of my personal favorites, and a fun, mysterious episode, a real standout for Gates McFadden. You feel every emotion with Dr. Crusher, from confusion, to fright and frustration, to resolve. And its always awesome to see the Traveler, as Eric Menyuk's presence gives each episode a genuine sci-fi mystery feel. And as others above have said, one of the greatest lines in sci-fi is "The universe is a spheroid region, 705 meters in diameter." Still gives me chills. I'd rated this episode an 8.
Josh W.
28. JohnC
I just saw the episode for the first time (somehow missed it all these years) and I will co-sign all the commenters thus far who latched on to what, for me, is now the most terrifying line ever uttered in TNG: "The universe is a spheroid region, 705 meters in diameter". The sense of claustrophobia and absolute isolation that line evoked from my subconcious was really quite thrilling in an unnerving sort of way.
Josh W.
29. Gary B
I too am a latecomer, watching TNG for the first time after being a longtime fan of TOS. The first time thru, I loved this episode - in fact, it's the only ST episode ever to give me a nightmare. I can see how it would not be as good once you know what's going to happen. The great episodes - I've seen Yesterday's Enterprise at least four times in the six months I've been watching TNG - stand up to repeated watching.

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