The Enterprise finds an old ship left over from a battle. After inspecting the ship they find that the debris field is a trap. Geordi must figure out how to get the Enterprise out of the trap, and to do so, he has the Enterprise create a holographic projection of a star ship designer - and guess what? She's cute. Together they figure out two methods that might let the Enterprise escape. One requires handing the ship over to the computer, and the other requires shutting down all nonessential functions and drivings the ship manually. Picard drives the Enterprise out of the trap and Geordi says goodbye to his holographic sweetie.
The opening scene where Geordi is on a date was pretty funny. As much as I like the shooty-guns bits of Star Trek, sometimes its nice to be reminded that they actually live on the ship, 24/7, inbetween the alien attacks. There's also a precedent for this kind of topic already. You might remember this scene from "The Dauphin" where Riker and Guinan pretend flirt as an example for Wesley. I probably shouldn't have mentioned that, because in comparison, this scene was pretty lame. Ah well. Maybe its because of the pat answer that Guinan gives, which amounts to "just be yourself." What would have been 'truly amazing' is if that lesson had somehow tied in to the rest of the plot.
OH WAIT. In true Star Trek fashion, it did. Geordi "meets" a young, smart woman - or rather, her holograph - that helps him solve the ship's problems. It's kind of creepy, and by kind of, I mean a lot. At the end of the episode the holograph assures him that she'll always be with him, every time he...touches the ship. And does Geordi learn anything about interacting with real women? Probably just that he shouldn't bother because his one true love is now a woman who is out of his reach on some star base or research station somewhere. Yeesh.
To contrast with the message that holographic women are awesome, the Enterprise crew goes the opposite direction when they escape the mine field. Geordi says that their chances are the same whether they let the computer try or do it themselves, so they opt to do it themselves, with Captain Picard at the helm. I'm all for believing that humans are superior to non-sentient machines, especially if those humans are Captain Picard, but in this case I'm not at all convinced. The escape depended on reaction time and correct calculations, not "intuition". I think the computer could have handled using the asteroids' mass to sling shot around and increase their speed. Letting Picard do it instead is like letting your legally blind great-grandfather drive you to the hospital.
Picard's references to building ships in bottles is cute, but eh. I never built ships in bottles. This episode had a lot of technical babble that I didn't care for, but at least ended with a big explosion.
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