This review contains spoilers.
4.5 Remember Me
At Starbase 133, Dr. Crusher welcomes aboard her mentor, Dr. Quaice, who tells her how awful it is to grow old because everyone you know and love is gone. Crusher ponders this bleak outlook as she goes to visit her son in engineering. Wesley is tinkering with warp fields when there’s a flash. He looks up and his mother is gone. If only it were that simple to get rid of all the Crushers.
Later, Crusher goes to visit Dr. Quaice’s room to find that he’s no longer there. Worried for his safety, she asks Worf to investigate, and they turn up nothing. Picard is informed, and the investigation gathers more urgency. Soon the entire senior staff has diverted all of the ship’s resources into locating one man who the computer can’t even verify exists anymore. Even Chief O’Brien, the ship’s most important crew member, cannot recall beaming him onboard.
Determined to get to the root of the problem, Crusher performs a medical examination on O’Brien, only to realise that her staff have all disappeared as well. None of her colleagues can remember Crusher having any staff, and after she interrogates them on the sanity of her being the only Doctor for 1000 crew members, she’s informed the full crew is only 230 people.
As Crusher begins to doubt her own sanity, a strange portal opens up in Sickbay and tries to pull her through. She manages to resist being pulled through, and informs the senior staff of her ordeal. By this point, the crew has shrunk to just 114 people, and even Worf is gone. Realising that people are disappearing every second, she rushes to find her son and speculates that maybe his experiment is the problem, and he suggests that The Traveler might be able to help them. Then he disappears as well.
Crusher returns to the bridge to find that the entire crew now consists of just her and Picard, who finds nothing insane about this situation. “We’ve never needed a crew before” says Picard, who isn’t far wrong because 90% of everything that happens on the ship affects and is resolved by the same 8 people every week. Then he disappears too, just as another portal opens up in front of her. She resists again, and the action cuts to main engineering as Geordi and Wesley attempt to rescue Crusher from the warp bubble she’s been trapped in since practically the start of the episode.
That’s right, after nearly 80 episodes, someone wrote one with a plot twist that doesn’t happen in the last 3 minutes.
As Beverly tries to figure out what’s happening to the universe, even as it shrinks around her, Wesley and Geordi are visited by The Traveler, who starts doing his space-hippy talk about how thought and time and space are all connected. Maaan. After convincing the crew that he might be able to save Crusher – with the help of the Enterprise’s foremost brat – he and Wesley align their auras and open a final doorway into the bubble.
This time, Crusher is ready for them and leaps through it with only seconds to spare. She reappears in engineering and everyone is happy. Presumably, Wesley then emails his equations to Starfleet’s Research division so that they can properly credit him with figuring out how to create bespoke universes using only a warp engine and someone’s stray thoughts. Seems like that might have a few practical applications, all things considered.
TNG WTF: As a narrative conceit, this episode is quite good. As attempts to explain it in a sci-fi context go, it’s grade-A WTF. Crusher falls into a parallel universe based on her own anxieties after Wesley puts the wrong equations into his computer during an experiment with the warp engines. And then it gets fixed with the power of Wesley’s self-belief. Suddenly I’ve gained new respect for the “It was all a dream” ending.
TNG LOL: “An alien from Tau Alpha C. He said he was some kind of Traveler” Oh, you mean the Traveler? That’s his name, don’t wear it out.
I also enjoyed how Riker has no time for philosophy. “As long as she thinks she’s alive, she is alive” says the Traveler. “What the hell does THAT mean?” says Riker. I dunno, Will, ever heard of cogito ergo sum? Presumably he skipped that module at Starfleet Academy because he was off behind the spacebike robosheds with the girls’ tri-dimensional Raquetball Instructor.
To Boldly Go: The Enterprise docks at Starbase 133 for scheduled crew rotation. Not that it’s rotating any characters you’ve heard of, of course.
Who’s That Face?: Bill Erwin is one of those jobbing TV actors who appeared in virtually everything, but I was most familiar with his guest role in the Seinfeld episode, The Old Man.
Time Until Meeting: 18:46. The team tries to figure out how Crusher nearly fell through a space-door.
Captain’s Log: The first half of this episode is a little bit like Left Behind: the Star Trek version, but the mystery about how and why people are disappearing is surprisingly tense and proceeds at an unusually quick pace, such that you’re not really sure what’s going on. Prior to season 4 you can imagine the mystery would’ve been solved in the last 5 minutes of the episode, but putting the twist around the 30-minute mark is a great way to answer the question of “what’s happening?” while replacing it with “…and how do we stop it?”
That said, the episode does give away quite early that Crusher isn’t going mad when Chief O’Brien disappears. As soon as a regular character disappears the audience becomes 100% certain that she’s sane and something weird IS going on, and it seems as though there could’ve been a lot of mileage in leaving it ambiguous for longer. If nothing else, it would’ve given more weight to the scenes where she’s questioning her sanity to Troi.
Still, as Crusher episodes go it’s one of the better ones. Probably because it doesn’t involve her getting stand-offish about some ethical dilemma. Or doing any medicine. Although ultimately, it probably would’ve had a better resolution if she’d gotten herself out of the problem instead of being saved by Wesley and his imaginary friend.
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