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Star Trek TNG - Season 5 - Episode 24

Star Trek TNG - 5x24 - The Next Phase

Originally Aired: 1992-5-18

Geordi and Ro are pronounced dead after an accident. [DVD]

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 6.74

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 13 2 1 3 6 9 34 23 38 22 21

- Common problem with these kinds of episodes... if Ro and Geordi can pass through things, how do they not fall through the floor?


Remarkable Scenes
- Ro, with regards to Riker's order to go to the Romulan ship without phasers: "This is not a bright idea."
- It's nice to see Humans, Klingons, and Romulans working together in this episode.
- Worf being concerned with giving the Romulans too much technology and Riker appeasing him.
- Geordi: "Are you saying I'm some kind of blind ghost with cloths?"
- Geordi trying to use his communicator to talk to Ro.
- Worf and Data discussing the funeral plans.
- Geordi and Ro figuring out why they're "phased".
- Ro running through people's quarters.
- Geordi and Ro trying get Data to expose them.
- Geordi and Ro returning.

My Review
A fine episode and certainly fun to watch, but the bad science drops its score quite a bit in this one. When everything happening doesn't make any sense, it drops the fun quite a bit. Honestly, this would have been a much better episode if it were centrally about the Federation helping the Romulans and not about some secret phased cloaking device. Oh well.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-10-04 at 7:04am:
    -I can "live with" the fact that the floors are solid. Of course, there would be no show - or at least a much more expensive show - if the floors weren't solid. There were several "problems" concerning Geordi and Ro's ability to pass through normal matter that were avoidable: Geordi sits on a transporter pad; Ro touches her navigator's chair and terminal on the bridge; Geordi and Ro sit on benches in a shuttle as it travels to the Romulan ship; the phased Romulan sits in a chair; when the phased Romulan shoots Ro in the leg, she falls down, and a plant in front of her jiggles; Geordi and Ro dive behind a couch, and a bunch of balloons move from the air disturbance. If Geordi and Ro can really pass through normal matter, why did these events happen?
    - Let's take this one step further. There are some other problems of being truly out of phase with normal matter. Geordi comments that he hasn't eaten in two days. That makes sense, he couldn't pick up any food. Along the same line, how can his lungs absorb normal oxygen? And how can they hear the conversations of the other crew members? Hearing comes from the impact of waves of air on the eardrum. Wouldn't the normal air molecules pass right through their eardrums, leaving them deaf?
  • From Lyric on 2011-03-03 at 5:31am:
    There is a scene in this episode that has bothered me since before I was able to pick up on the whole not falling through the floors problem - I was quite young when it first aired. That scene is the one in engineering where Geordi keeps putting his hand in one of the terminals in random places and then gets annoyed with Data, who was scanning the terminal for the anomalies that Geordi was creating, for not realizing that what he was scanning wasn't a random occurrence. Why wasn't Geordi trying to make signs in the terminal that didn't seem random like writing his name or initials or "drawing" with his hand? I suppose that was just too hard to show on t.v., but it still bothers me.
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-26 at 12:03pm:
    I love these science fiction episodes that take an idea and explore it. I found this episode really interesting to watch, to see how things progress. Not perhaps one of the very best episodes, but high up there in my mind.
    - I was just as puzzled by the issues of not falling through the floor, but then I noticed the same issues DSOmo raised about other instants of not passing through objects, and I realized that actually solves the problem. It is clear that the out-of-phase individuals can choose to rest their hands, feet, or bodies on other objects. They just cannot move those objects, or resist being moved through. Apparently it takes a little extra force to move through solid objects, and the extra-thick tritanium floors may be even harder. It is unfortunate they do not explain this, but the instances of this happening are so clearly shown in multiple cases. Especially the way Ro very clearly places her hand on the instrument panel, and the way Geordi says it is "getter harder" to move his hand through the instrument panel after the anyon radiation, as if it was a matter of degree rather than an absolute. Cases where they move through solid objects, then, are either when they intend to, or when they accidentally try to apply force to the object and end up pushing through it instead.
    - The issue with breathing oxygen and hearing sound, on the other hand, can't easily be excused. But that is so universal to so many depictions of intangibility in so many mediums that I don't really count it against the show. I just consider it part of the suspension of disbelief when watching a "soft" science fiction program.
    - With respect to Lyric's comment, I totally thought the same thing while watching. I assumed the instrument Data was using wasn't calibrated precisely enough to recognize writing. But surely Geordi could have tried something clever by creating some pattern in the choice of items he was touching.
  • From Robert Koenn on 2011-04-26 at 2:40pm:
    Well being an engineer for NASA I do like to see the science being at least fairly realistic. That is why I gave this episode only a three rating. There were simply too many inconsistencies and conflicts with the scenario. They can walk through walls but don't fall through the floor? They can hear and breathe. On and on with these type conflicts digresses rapidly into the writers simply writing a plot scenario as they felt like it creating a fantasy actually. The TOS episode where they went into a high frequency mode was more realistic. The characterization was good though but hardly near the top for episodes. I liked Data's reaction and Ro wanting to know what Riker was going to say about her. I guess I felt too much of the story was contrived and ventured far into the realm of fantasy.
  • From Daniel on 2014-05-01 at 5:54pm:
    I like this episode for many reasons. My only question is one of a technical detail; isn't the phase inverter system used to phase and cloak in this episode similar or the same as the mechanism used in the episode The Pegasus, in which the ship had a phased cloaking device? The devices in both episodes seem to have the same purpose and effect. I just wonder if the writers of the show created them as intentionally the same device or just coincidentally similar, since both devices were created by Romulan technology.
  • From Kenneth Kiyoshi Sasaki-Loya on 2017-10-09 at 11:30pm:
    Daniel Stewart (born 1967) is the actor who played Batai in the Star Trek: The Next Generation fifth season episode "The Inner Light" in 1992. He is the son of Patrick Stewart, who also played his on-screen father Kamin in this episode. Stewart received special thanks in the end credits of the 2011 Star Trek documentary The Captains.
    From Fandom powered by Wikia - Memory Alpha
  • From McCoy on 2018-01-03 at 12:06pm:
    I know we have logical problems here (stated above - how they could walk on the floor or breathe?), but... This is probably the most enjoyable TNG episode to watch. I absolutely love it. And that scene, when Ro shoots in Riker's head was a cherry on top:) Btw. I really like her, she's one of the best Trek characters and probably best of TNG characters (she's not dull like others happy nice friends on the ship). I like Kira too, but I still regret that Michelle Forbes didn't wanted to play in DS9.
  • From Axel on 2020-05-15 at 1:21am:
    This episode is a good example of my own personal belief about Star Trek: it's ok if the science isn't good, as long as the story is compelling in some way.

    That may irritate some fans, but come on. This is science-fiction. It combines real science with imaginary science. I get irritated sometimes by how many people seem to lose sight of that. If you're going to argue the validity of the science in a show that, to start with, portrays telepathy as being real, then I think you're missing the bigger picture.

    The bigger picture here is a story about two people who get to observe the reactions of their crewmates and friends to what is believed to be their deaths. It also shows how differently the two of them react based on their beliefs and views of life. Finally, it's an interesting series of twists as to how they get seen again.

    Overall I think the criticisms of this episode are too harsh. I'm happy to see most people give it a 6 or above. I put it in the 6-8 range. If nothing else, it was a good Geordi episode, which doesn't happen all that often.
  • From Ensign Ro Bummer on 2023-05-14 at 10:35am:
    This is a great episode, Romulans, Mystery, the entire crew involved, and how great is that scene when they finally appear to Data and Picard?
    Easy 9 or 10!

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