Fri
Nov 30 2012 4:30pm

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “Frame of Mind”

Star Trek: The Next Generation, Frame of Mind“Frame of Mind”
Written by Brannon Braga
Directed by James L. Conway
Season 6, Episode 21
Production episode 40276-247
Original air date: May 3, 1993
Stardate: 46778.1

Captain’s log: We open on an extreme closeup of a very messed-up-looking Riker, who is acting in one of Crusher’s plays, called Frame of Mind, alongside Data. It’s a pretty intense back-and-forth, with Data perfectly cast as the even-toned doctor who quite reasonably suggests that he’s still a dangerous psychopath, and Riker just on the edge of going completely binky-bonkers. At one point, Riker loses his way in a speech, and he breaks into a smile. Crusher says it’s okay and calls it a night, as things are going well. Riker heads back to his quarters, going over the speech, and getting strange looks from the people he passes in the corridor. En route, he bumps into a science officer he doesn’t recognize.

The next morning, he meets with Picard. The Enterprise is heading to Tilonus IV, where the prime minister has been assassinated and numerous factions are vying for power. Riker’s mission is to locate and rescue the Federation research team that’s on the planet. He’ll have to go undercover and alone, and he’ll also have to back out of being in Frame of Mind—but Picard assures him that they won’t arrive at Tilonus for five days, so he can still be in the play. Besides, Picard says gravely, if he backs out, Crusher will nab Picard for the part, and the captain makes it abundantly clear that that ain’t happenin’...

Star Trek: The Next Generation, Frame of Mind

Worf gives Riker a briefing on the mission. Riker is flippant, perhaps more so than usual, and Worf is particularly uninterested in responding to Riker’s lame jokes, definitely more so than usual. Riker will be disguised as a merchant, and will have a necklace with a communicator circuit inside it. He will also have to know how to wield a dagger for the traditional bartering ceremony. While demonstrating, Worf accidentally cuts Riker right at the temple. The first officer goes to sickbay, where Crusher treats the cut—but he still feels pain. There’s no nerve damage, and he fobs it off as stage fright. As he’s about to go, La Forge brings in an engineer who had a plasma torch blow up on him. Even as Crusher treats him, the engineer stares at Riker with an accusatory look on his face.

Riker immediately goes to Troi to tell her what’s been happening—that engineer’s just the latest, he’s felt like people have been staring at him and talking about him ever since he started rehearsals for Frame of Mind. Troi figures it’s him really getting into the role, and embracing his dark side. Then his temple starts to ache again, and he sees the same science officer he saw in the turbolift.

We cut to opening night. Riker absolutely nails the speech he struggled with earlier. Data and Riker take their curtain calls, Riker gets a standing ovation. Then the science officer appears again between Worf and Picard, studiously not clapping. After taking another bow, Riker straightens—and the audience is gone. He’s in a real version of the cell that was a stage set a moment ago, and instead of Data, there’s someone else from the same species as the science officer in the doctor’s uniform that Data had worn, and he uses Data’s last line from the play that they still have a lot of work to do.

According to the doctor, who identifies himself as Dr. Cyrus, Riker is a patient who suffers delusions that he’s an officer on a starship. But, according to Cyrus, there is nobody who fits his description in Starfleet—they checked with Admiral Boudreau on Starbase 29—and his headache is from when he hit his head during an escape attempt. Cyrus explains his remembering it as being cut by a Klingon as transposition, shifting elements from reality into a fantasy. Cyrus is encouraged, as there was a time when he couldn’t break away from his starship fantasy at all.

Riker asks where he is and why he’s there. He’s in Ward 47 of the Tilonus Institute for Mental Disorders, but Cyrus won’t answer the second question. After he leaves, Riker checks the cell, and looks at himself in the mirror. A disembodied voice then offers him time in the common area. An orderly comes in to lead him there, accompanied by an armed guard. When Riker insists the weapon isn’t necessarily, the orderly laughs and says, “That’s what you said last time.”

Star Trek: The Next Generation, Frame of Mind

He’s brought out to a big room where folks are sitting, playing with objects, sculpting, and more. He sits down, and a woman sits with him, saying that she’s Commander Bloom from the Yorktown, and that several other inmates are officers as well. She’s fashioned a communicator—which turns out to be a spoon, which she speaks into the head of to contact the Yorktown. The orderly, whose name is Mayvec, chases the woman off. Her real name is Jaya. Mayvec also provides the answers Cyrus didn’t: Riker was found covered in blood holding a knife standing over a mutilated body. Riker insists he didn’t kill anyone, and attacks Mayvec, who then gives him an injection—

—and he wakes up in his bed on the Enterprise. It’s the morning of opening night. As he’s getting ready for the play, he tells Crusher about his nightmare. As he and Data perform the closing bit, Riker sees Mayvec on the other side of the door, hears strange noises, and almost blows the part. Then he sees the science officer in the audience and grabs him, asking who he is. The frightened officer says he’s Lieutenant Suna. Riker lets go, abashed, and Crusher takes him to sickbay. She finds no evidence of neurological problems that would cause hallucinations, though he is physically exhausted.

Star Trek: The Next Generation, Frame of Mind

Troi walks him back to his quarters. (En route, Data congratulates him on his “improvisation,” which he claims helped draw the audience into his character’s plight, which is as good a rationalization for his almost assaulting a crew member as any.) He also hears Cyrus’s voice saying he needs another treatment, but tells Troi nothing’s wrong. He goes into the turbolift, and when the doors open to his deck, it’s a corridor in the institute—at first. Then it’s deck eight, like it should be.

But when he turns a corner, he sees Jaya. He runs to his quarters, but as soon as the doors close, he’s back in his cell in the institute.

He talks to Cyrus—when he’s on the ship, nothing makes sense, but when he’s back in the institute, everything feels real. But he still doesn’t remember the murder he’s accused of. Unfortunately, the hospital administrator is under pressure to resolve his case and give his cell to someone else who needs help. Cyrus suggests reflection therapy, which probes his emotions and projects them holographically so he can interact with them. The alternative is, in essence, a lobotomy. Riker picks door #1 for obvious reasons.

Star Trek: The Next Generation, Frame of Mind

Cyrus tells him to think of how he felt when he first came to the institute. He felt fear—at which point the device projects a hologram of Troi. She represents his fear, and the hologram describes how he felt trapped. When he accesses that emotional memory, Worf appears, stating that he was angry. They go back and forth, Troi as his fear, Worf his anger—and then Picard appears, describing the more objective reality of what happened, while Troi and Worf continue to express his emotional state during those events.

Then Suna is projected—in his Starfleet uniform. Cyrus is confused, as Suna is the hospital administrator, whom Riker only met once, when he was admitted. The holographic Troi, Picard, and Worf all step forward and tell Riker not to believe it, that none of it is real, that he’s still with them on the Enterprise. Riker denies this, denies them, and the holograms all fade. Cyrus is pleased—this was a big step for him, finally turning his back on the delusions.

Later, Riker sits in the common area, eating. Crusher then walks in, wearing civilian garb. She sits across from him. Riker insists she’s not real, trying hard to ignore her. Figuring he can’t talk to her, she just tells him to listen: he was undercover on Tilonus IV, something went wrong, and he was put in this institute. The hospital administrator refuses to admit that he’s there, and the Enterprise is being blocked at every turn. Crusher is posing as a Federation health official to gain access to the institute, and she says they’ll get Riker out of there. But Riker is at this point completely convinced that it’s all fake and that Crusher is just another delusion.

That night, Data and Worf, dressed in black, try to rescue Riker, but he refuses to go, resisting rescue and even grabbing Worf’s phaser and running behind the protection of the institute’s security. However, Data and Worf make short work of Mayvec and the guard and they take Riker and beam him back to the Enterprise with the help of a pattern enhancer. (Which only makes sense—a mental institution would have to be transporter proof.)

Star Trek: The Next Generation, Frame of Mind

Crusher examines him and discovers damage to his parietal lobe and he’s in a state of shock. Recovery will take a while—as if to prove it, he flinches when Picard tries to touch his shoulder. His temple still hurts—and there’s a cut that’s still bleeding, where Worf supposedly cut him. Worf and Picard explain that Suna is involved with one of the rival factions on Tilonus.

Then Riker’s temple starts to bleed again, after Crusher has healed it twice, and he’s now convinced this isn’t real. He knocks Worf down and again takes his phaser, eventually turning it on himself—at which point reality shatters and he’s back in his cell, with Suna asking Cyrus and Mayvec for a report on how he’s progressing, and then reluctantly admits that the lobotomy is the best option. Riker, though, is still holding a phaser, which doesn’t make sense (Suna insists it’s a knife he stole from the common area). Then his temple starts to bleed yet again.

He fires his phaser on Mayvec, who then shatters (not the usual disintegration pattern, but actual shattering). Riker knows none of this—the institute, the Enterprise—is real. He fires it again—and the cell shatters, revealing the Enterprise theatre. Riker and Suna are onstage, with Picard, Worf, Troi, Crusher, and other crew members in the audience.

Star Trek: The Next Generation, Frame of Mind

Riker realizes that Suna is the key. He’s the only person who’s been in both places. Suna says Riker can be saved if he stops fighting them. His temple starts to bleed yet again, at which point Suna says, “Let me help you,” and Riker responds with a screaming, “No!”

In response, the audience applauds. He pushes Suna and screams, “No!” again, and the audience response grows louder, turning into a standing ovation. Then Riker himself shatters—

—and he’s lying on a biobed of some kind, a lead attached to his temple (right where it was bleeding). Suna and the security guard are operating a console, and Suna complains that he’s conscious. The guard moves to sedate him, but Riker palm-heels him in the face and then grabs his personal effects, which are on a table: the necklace communicator and the merchant dagger. He grabs them both, using the former to contact the Enterprise while using the latter to hold Suna at bay. He calls for emergency transport.

He was kidnapped while on his undercover mission to Tilonus. Suna was trying to extract information using a neurosomatic technique. Riker’s unconscious used bits of recent memory—the mission prep, Frame of Mind—to resist what Suna was doing, keeping him grounded and sane, ironically by making him think he was insane. (There is never, at any point, any word about the Federation team Riker was supposed to rescue.)

Riker then goes to the theatre and asks Crusher to strike the set alone. He needs the catharsis.

Thank you, Counselor Obvious: When Riker has his pre-opening-night jitters, Troi goes and quotes Jung and stuff. During the reflection therapy, the image of Troi represents Riker’s fear and panic.

If I only had a brain...: Data is able to use contractions as the character of the doctor. Nobody comments on this.

There is no honor in being pummeled: Worf accidentally cuts Riker during the mission briefing, then later has his phaser taken from him by Riker, not once, but twice. Luckily, none of that really happened. In the reflection therapy, Worf represents Riker’s anger and apprehension.

I believe I said that: “You’ve told me what to eat, and what to think, and what to say, and then when I show a glimmer of independent thought, you strap me down! You inject me with drugs, you call it a ’treatment’!”

“You’re becoming agitated.”

“You bet I’m agitated!”

Riker and Data as the patient and doctor in Frame of Mind, with Data using contractions.

Star Trek: The Next Generation, Frame of Mind

Welcome aboard: Two returning guest stars in David Selburg as Cyrus—he last played Whelan in “The Big Goodbye,” and will play roles on both Voyager and Enterprise—and Susanna Thompson as Jaya—last seen as a Romulan in “The Next Phase,” she’ll be back as the Borg Queen on Voyager and Lenara Kahn on Deep Space Nine. Also of note is Allan Dean Moore as the wounded engineer, who packs a lot into a single accusatory facial expression directed at Riker.

Trivial matters: Writer Brannon Braga cited the Roman Polanski film Repulsion as an influence on the episode. He also specifically wanted to focus on Riker due to the character being underused of late.

This is James L. Conway’s first time directing TNG since the first season (he directed “Justice” and “The Neutral Zone”), and he would go on to direct seven DS9 episodes as well as four each of Voyager and Enterprise.

This is the second time Riker has gone undercover on a planet and gotten captured, after “First Contact.”

Make it so. “Maybe you need another treatment.” This is a glorious little mindfrell of an episode. We know, since we’re in the sixth season of a TV show, that Riker hasn’t really been imagining being on the Enterprise (though there’s an amusing conceit to the notion that Riker is Tommy Westphall from St. Elsewhere), so the stuff on Tilonius has to be fake. But it’s equally obvious—and becomes more so as the episode progresses—that what’s happening on the Enterprise is wrong somehow, also.

It’s interesting, watching this again, I realized how much this calls back, not only to “First Contact” (Riker going undercover and getting trapped in a hospital), but also to “Schisms” (Riker totally losing it, with hallucinations and stuff, and having it all turn out to be him being kidnapped by aliens), but “Frame of Mind” actually works better than either of those episodes, in part because we’re immersed in Riker’s delusion from the get-go. In fact, only the last three scenes in the episode really happened—the entire rest of the story is a product of Riker’s subconscious fighting against Suna’s attempt to get at his memories.

Riker’s struggle plays out in the conflict between the two realities he’s encountering, with neither being real, but with evidence that each is real, which is enough to keep him questioning, to keep him resisting both the institute and the Enterprise, eventually getting him to reject it all and come out of it.

Star Trek: The Next Generation, Frame of Mind

What sells it is all the little set pieces: the play Frame of Mind, Riker’s worry that he’s losing himself in the part of a crazy person, the other inmates, the character of Cyrus who seems to be genuinely interested in helping Riker, Worf and Data’s rescue, and so on. In particular, I love the way the reflection therapy scene played out, the memories of the attack (which is something that did actually happen, as we find out in the end) being recited by Picard, Worf, and Troi, ping-ponging from one to the other depending on what emotion is being accessed. (I only question the use of Picard there, which may have been done to give the show’s top-billed star an additional scene—since that avatar gave a more objective reading of the events, it would’ve made much more sense to use Data for that.) Braga writes a tight, impressive story here, and Conway does an excellent job, all the way to the surreal visuals of the shattering realities as both delusions start to break down.

But all the good writing and directing in the world won’t help if the actors can’t carry it, and Jonathan Frakes deserves a ton of credit for his work here. Riker is often at his best when he’s either completely relaxed or being horribly abused, and he shines in the latter here. Just a bravura performance. What a pity that the Emmy voters refused to acknowledge the existence of actors in genre productions twenty years ago, as in a just world (or in the current one), Frakes would’ve gotten some Emmy consideration for this.

 

Warp factor rating: 9


Keith R.A. DeCandido is going to be at Flora in Arlington, Massachusetts on Tuesday the 11th of December at 6pm for the east coast launch of Tales from the House Band Volume 2, an anthology from Plus One Press that includes his story “I Believe I’m Sinkin’ Down.” He’ll be joined by fellow contributors Clea Simon, Brett Milano, and Dave Brigham. Come check it out!

38 comments
StrongDreams
1. StrongDreams
My first reaction when I realized what episode this is was "Riker gets tortured again." But is that a false impression? Does he really get dumped on more than the other main characters?
Jack Flynn
2. JackofMidworld
I saw this after I saw the Buffy episode where something similar happened to her, and I really enjoyed both of them. I liked the way things from one "world" would bleed into the other and, well, it sounds silly to say that he shot himself out of his insanity, but it worked, didn't it?
StrongDreams
3. Hammerlock
My memory of this episode is "the one where Riker Hairstyle #2 is used a lot."

That said, it really is a well put-together ep. Lot of torture going on this season...was that a big topic then?
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
4. Lisamarie
I really loved this episode - it was just totally different and unexpected and 'atmospheric'. It was kind of like a horror movie/thriller, especially as it plays on a pretty big fear of not knowing what is real or doubting your sanity. Maybe if you thought about it too long it would fall apart, but I definitely enjoyed it.

I also wanted to see Data represent 'logic' as well, but ah well :) My husband suggested that perhaps he is more meant to be a blend of logic AND emotion (a more integrated aspect of his personality).
Jay Hash
5. JYHASH
Ah, Frame of Mind, how I love thee. And how I love that opening scene between Riker and Data as Patient and Doctor which won me many a theatre competition in my youth...

I really wish that Braga had gotten on board with Behr when he was doing his in-universe books and decided to write a One Act version of Beverly's play. It'd be interesting. Reminded me of Pinter's "One for the Road".

All in all though, great episode. So fun to see how theatre shakes itself out and is still viable in the 24th century. Thankfully the Holodeck didn't kill it...
StrongDreams
6. Jeff R.
Riker doesn't get tortured; Riker gets put into situations that lead him to question his own identity and/or sanity. O'Brien's the one that gets flat-out tortured.
StrongDreams
7. Mark Z.
Many dramatic TV series, usually somewhere around the fifth season, do an episode where some character wakes up to discover that they're in a mental hospital and everything they've done is an elaborate delusion. We'll call the story and circumstances they "thought" they were in "A", and the story where they're in insane and in a hospital "B". This has been happening since the finale of "St. Elsewhere" implied that the entire show happened in some kid's imagination.

This doesn't work very well. Unless the show completely sucks (in which case it probably won't last five seasons), the audience has way too much investment in the internal reality of the world to believe for a minute that the Enterprise is all in Will Riker's head or what have you. The series isn't ending, and we're reasonably sure that it's not doing a radical genre shift into One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest with bumpy foreheads*, so we all know that it's not all in their head and in the next episode they'll push the reset button.

As a result, an episode like this stands or falls on whether the "B" story is somehow interesting to watch. In DS9, it was mostly about racism and the possibility of imagining a better future. In Buffy, it was about the aftereffects of her resurrection, which was at least good character development, though I think the point had been made by then. In this episode it was about Riker's frantic search for the reset button. We didn't learn anything about him, any of the other characters, the supposed mission he was on, human nature, or anything else. It earns a big fat "meh".

Jonathan Frakes' performance as Crazy Guy was really the only thing this episode had going for it. That, and the "shattering" effect looked cool.


* Though that would have been awesome with, say, Voyager. They'd be in the middle of an episode about Harry Kim going through puberty or the holodeck eating children and then Seven of Nine would wake up and find that she'd never been separated from the Borg--it was simulated as part of a research project in the collective. They'd thank her for her service and move her to the Relaxation Program, where she'd sit in hot tubs and get massages and Kaylee from Firefly would feed her strawberries, and that would go on until we got tired of watching it, which would be approximately never.
StrongDreams
8. Fishnchips
My first reaction when I realized what episode this is was "Riker gets tortured again." But is that a false impression? Does he really get dumped on more than the other main characters?
Wouldn't that be Troi? Who is brain candy for every sadistic telepath/empath/mind weasel this side of Vulcan.
Christopher Bennett
9. ChristopherLBennett
This is arguably Brannon Braga's best script, the pinnacle of the surreal, reality-bending, Twilight Zone-y stuff he reveled in. Sure, we know which reality is real, but as Keith said, the Enterprise stuff is clearly off too, so the thing that makes the episode compelling (at least the first time through) is the mystery of just what the hell is going on and the cleverness with which the nested unrealities play out, as well as the mood the episode successfully creates, the pervasive sense of disorientation and paranoia. And yes, the visual of reality literally shattering around Riker was very impressive and innovative at the time.
StrongDreams
10. RaySea
I really should watch this one again. Truth be told, I tend to avoid it because it actually kind of creeps me out. That's a testimony to how well it was done, of course. Just...don't watch it before bed. Trust me.
adam miller
11. adamjmil
@6,

You beat me to it. O'Brien Must Suffer!!

To be fair, that really was a DS9 thing. I don't view TNG as having done that much torture - and I don't consider Frame of Mind torture per se, as it was Riker's own mind doing the trick. Only major TNG torture eps I can think of are Schisms, and of course the fantastic Chain of Command Part II.

Edit: ok there was that awful Troi episode with the guy whose mind-eff made Troi age overnight. But even calling that one an episode is too polite.
StrongDreams
12. Lalo
This is one of the few episodes I remember really well from my childhood. I was 9 years old when this aired, my youngest sister had just been born (thwarting all my plans at being the only daughter) and I remember going into school the next day and annoucing to my classmates that this entire world was a delusion of my mind and thus I would shatter this reality to get back to the real one.

...you can imagine how THAT went.
Joseph Newton
13. crzydroid
I love the first photo. Screen cap faces really make me laugh sometimes.

WAIT A SECOND! Now I just noticed...the place where the cut is on his head is approximately the same place he has the straw coming out in "Phantasms"...

Anyway, I get to thinking about two Stargate episodes that resemble this one: The one where Teal'c has to pass his symbiote back and forth with Bra'tac, and his mind experiences a fictional creation of his real life with SG-1, and a totally fictional creation in which he's someone else; The Atlantis episode where Doctor Weir has the nanites and thinks she's in a mental hospital where everyone is trying to convince her that her life on Atlantis was a delusion. But as someone pointed out, this formula has appeared on other shows and before this one, so I really just start thinking about "The Simpsons Did It" now and how no show has an original idea.

@5: "So fun to see how theatre shakes itself out and is still viable in the 24th century. Thankfully the Holodeck didn't kill it..."

This is interesting...it's presumably like how holonovels did not kill regular novels (though, it seems people are only ever reading old books, so are there new novels coming out in book form?). Or, in our own world, how television did not kill theater or books (but it did kill the radio star). I just saw one of the Voyager episodes where they go back in time and Neelix and Kes are fascinated by 2D tv, so it seems that the holodeck maybe did kill tv.
Jack Flynn
14. JackofMidworld
Mark Z - I think the best part of these episodes is watching the actor play the crazy person.

And crzydroid - thank you for reminding me about Dr. Weir, I'd totally forgotten about that one!
Mike S2
15. MikeS2
Rating 9/10? Seriously? For a mystery episode that ends "it was all a dream in one character's head" and a premise that wouldn't have happened if they had just gone with subcutaneous trackers, you know, after the last time Riker was on a covert mission and got trapped in a hospital?

Good thing this time these people, who were some kind of intelligence squad, kept his working communicator loose on a table in the room he was in. It's the climax of the episode and I laughed when Riker pressed it and Wolf replied "Enterprise here" like some telephone operator and Riker had to tell him he wanted to be beamed up.

This episode was creepy, especially in the beginning, there was some good acting, and I agree the shattering effect was nice looking, but the ending.
StrongDreams
16. DASchwartz
@ Krad

As a former theatrical professional I thank you for using the word strike for the dismanteling of the set. In my dozen and some years in the industry when I've used the term around non theatre folk I generally get a response along the lines of "well isn't that an extreme reaction to ending a show?". So thank you for using it, and using it correctly.
Jay Hash
17. JYHASH
I wholeheartedly agree with Schwartz. I was glad you used the correct term.
Bastiaan Stapel
18. Stapel
A fine episode. However, imho it misses the point of what TNG is about. You know, on a mission to find out new stuff.
StrongDreams
19. Seryddwr
'No!'

Clapping.

'No!'

Strenuous clapping.

'No!'

Standing ovation.

Push at screen - crash, bang, wallop - mesmerising viewing, just fabulous.

Jonathan Frakes' finest moment - a really subtle performance. Did anyone else notice how he gradually starts to overplay as the episode goes on?

(No jokes, please...)
StrongDreams
20. Dan Styer
One thing I'm surprised that no one has mentioned is the subtle fact that there were no establishing shots of the Enterprise until the very end of the episode, once we're back to the true reality. A very minor trick that, when noticed, shows where the line between fantasy and reality changed.
Lee VanDyke
21. Cloric
It's funny. You mentioned the similarities to "Schisms" and I think of this episode when I see that episode title. So much so that I was dreading when the rewatch came to that episode. Then when I saw this was the next episode on my Netflix queue I had to make myself watch it instead of skipping over it. I don't think I've seen it from start to finish since the original broadcast, because for some reason my late teenaged self absolutely loathed it. I had it in my head as getting a 3 at best, more likely a 2.

I couldn't have been more wrong. Maybe the intervening years, and a couple times questioning my own sanity, have given me a better understanding of just how well Frakes pulls this off. I do agree that Data would have been a more... logical choice in the reflection therapy scene. I have to admit that by the end, I never wondered what happened to the team he went after, so I suppose I can forgive the writers for doing so, too.

The moment I shook my head at was Suna's reaction after Riker is beamed away at the end. He just sort of gives a half-hearted punch to the the table or bed or something and looks like he's got heartburn. Seems like he just had a major effort ruined. You think he'd be more upset.
Christopher Bennett
22. ChristopherLBennett
@13: TNG's "The Neutral Zone" established that television ceased to exist as a form of popular entertainment sometime in the 2040s. Presumably it was replaced by online media, which is an increasingly credible prediction.

@15: No, the ending wasn't "It was all a dream." We could tell much earlier that what Riker was experiencing wasn't reality, and the mystery was what was causing his delusions and which reality, if either, was real. It was like a Philip K. Dick story where you're left unsure whether anything you're seeing is provably real. The unreality isn't a sudden reveal in the final minutes, but the driving concept behind the whole thing, the systematic erosion of the characters' and viewers' certainty about everything they experience. That's what a "mindfrell" story is all about.
Christopher Hatton
23. Xopher
I think this is one of the best episodes ever. I'm willing to accept the few plausibility flaws for the drama (and the acting!) on display here.
StrongDreams
24. John R. Ellis
Rembember that Twilight Zone episode The After Hours, where a woman finds out her entuire life, her entire sense of reality, can be stripped bare by a simple wrong turn in a department store?

I see this as the Trek equivalent of that. Not in execution so much as in exploration of similar elements.

How secure are we in our lives, in what we know to be true?

Powerful episode all around.
StrongDreams
25. RobinM
Mental institution episodes freak me out. Frakes does a good job of I'm not crazy/crazy guy. On another note why do they keep letting Riker go on away missions by himself he gets captured EVERY time. Why isn't he wearing a tracker when he leaves the ship?
Keith DeCandido
26. krad
Just so folks know, some real life stuff has intruded, so the rewatch of "Suspicions" will have to wait until Wednesday.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
27. Lisamarie
But are you sure it's real? Ha ha ha.

Hope everything is okay!
Keith DeCandido
28. krad
Yeah, everything's fine, thanks for asking, it's just too much other stuff going on for me to squeeze the Rewatch in....

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
adam miller
29. adamjmil
I think krad is holed up watching the Season 2 blu-ray released today :).
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
30. Lisamarie
That's okay, I like having the Tor goodness spread out throughout the week! The other two recurring blogs I follow/am addicted to also come out on either Tuesday or Friday, so during the rest of the week I have nothing to do but stalk comment threads (or read some of the other articles but it's not the same, sigh).

I mean, uh, work. I have nothing to do but work ;)
Phil Parsons
31. Yakko
I've never been particularly fond of this episode but it always resonates with me on a personal level. In February of 1993 I was a young Trekkie visiting family in L.A. and I made a pilgrimmage to the Paramount lot in hopes of catching a glimpse of "TNG" - the sets, an actor - something. There were no tours but I managed to sneak on to the lot. (Not through the famous main gates but through the far less secure Gower Street entrance on the side.) I carried a clipboard and mostly walked purposefully in the hope that I'd look like someone who was supposed to be there. After circling the lot a few times (the coolest part for me were the city streets I recognized from "The Untouchables" and countless other productions) I took a stab at entering Stage 8 through yet another side door. Out of nowhere I was spotted by some guy with a headset. I bluffed and pretended to be lost and looking for David Livingston's office (a name I only knew from show credits!) and he sent me on my way. I was too freaked to try entering the building again so I kept walking near the trailers with the slim hope of seeing a cast member. I was just about to give up when I saw none other than Jonathon Frakes. He had just gone to his trailer and was upset about something. I don't remember what he said but he looked like he was about to tear some poor P.A. a new one. He shot me an angry look and stormed off. Given his apparent mood and my own status as a trespasser it seemed unwise to say anything to him but I was curious why he wasn't wearing his Starfleet uniform costume but instead was dressed completely in a kind of black informal tunic. I left the lot shortly after and would never have known what episode he was shooting until "Frame of Mind" aired three months later and I saw that he spent most of the show in the same black tunic I had seen that day. In retrospect I'm damned lucky I wasn't arrested but it was thrilling at the time.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
33. Lisamarie
Hah, OMG....that is really kind of awesome :)
Steve Nicholson
34. SSteve
I just found the rewatch and have been trying to catch up. (Just reading, not watching.) Almost there!

Through my childhood and into my twenties I'd have dreams where I thought I was awake but wasn't. They got pretty terrifying—especially when I'd finally realize I was asleep but couldn't wake up. Or the ones when I'd wake up and start going about my day and then, after a while, realize I was still asleep. I had a serious fear that I would someday be trapped in my sleep. This episode completely hit home with me.
Joseph Newton
35. crzydroid
@34. My waking up dreams aren't usually that terrifying...sometimes I've felt fear, but not anything super drastic. Usually it happens a couple times before I actually wake up, and once I realize I'm dreaming, I usually do this mad dash of "must wake up for real!" For some reason, a lot of the time this seems to involve smashing my head into the wall or jumping out a window.
Elizabeth Heckert
36. silhouettepoms
One of my all time favorite episodes for sure. And strangely enough every time I watch it or read about it I can never remember the resolution... (I mean other than, he's not crazy and it's not all in his head - but I can't remember why, and am always fooled by the fake-out rescue attempt). Which is good because it keeps it enjoyable LOL
StrongDreams
37. Electone
Are we supposed to believe that the performance theatre is not Ten Forward, because they do not even try to disguise the set here.
Christopher Bennett
38. ChristopherLBennett
@37: Why can't it be Ten Forward? That's the public gathering area on the ship, and we've seen them hold concerts and recitals there, so they could very well use it as a theater as well.

I believe the theater in TOS's "The Conscience of the King" was a redress of the ship's gymnasium set from "Charlie X." And Enterprise NX-01 held movie night in the mess hall. So there's precedent.

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