Amnesia, repression, fugue, whatever you call it it all comes down to the classic storytelling trope of memory loss. Star Trek is certainly no stranger to the trope as we see in the episode that originally aired on February 17,1992. This is Conundrum.
Stardate 45494.2 Conundrum
The Enterprise crew gets mass amnesia and discover that they may indeed be in a war with a violent enemy. As they try to determine who they are and their purpose as a crew, they soon find things are not quite what they appear.
They Enterprise encounters a strange ship that scans and erases the memories of the crew on board. It appears that everyone remembers their skills but not who they are or what they were doing at the time of their memory loss. They soon begin working to figure out the issue on board by playing to their skills, Worf assumes command of the ship while the rest of the crew begin to analyze all of the systems for more information.
They continue on until they finally access their personnel files where they discover their names and positions aboard the ship. There is one interesting addition of Commander Kieran MacDuff who is identified as the second in command aboard the ship. They then discover that they are at war with a people called the the Lysians and the Enterprise has been tasked with destroying the Lysian Command Center as the Enterprise is the linchpin of the operation. At the command of Picard and the encouragement of the new Commander, they enter Lysian space and begin their mission.
Before long it becomes apparent that Commander MacDuff isn’t who he appears and, as Picard begins to have doubts, MacDuff enlists Worf to begin a coup to lead the Enterprise into battle. Picard begins to suspect that their enemy is not who Commander MacDuff claims they are and when it becomes clear that he is the real enemy the crew reacts. Riker shoots him with a phaser, revealing his real identity. It appears that MacDuff was a Sataraan, who was a member of a race that has been at war with the Lysians. He used a mind erasing technology to take over the Enterprise to strike out at the peaceful Lysian people. Crusher restores the crews memories and they continue on their mission.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is a decent episode and, while it doesn’t really further the crew in any way, it does tell a good tale. It doesn’t quite feel like the rest of the series and, much like the crew, it feels like you as a view are ‘forgetting’ something the entire episode. I have to wonder if this was done on purpose as the episode feels somewhat disjointed and unnerving for most of it.
Overall I think it works as a stand alone episode. Overall it is a bit of a throwaway episode as it has no real message and really doesn’t further the plot of the characters in any meaningful way, outside of Riker’s love-life that is.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
Riker and Troi continue their on again off again relationship in this one. even with their memory loss they realize that they mean something to one another, this revelation is something that they keep pushing aside and ignoring, despite the obviousness of their love.
On another note, it seems that Ensign Ro is very much interested in Riker and Riker her as they… shall we say take advantage of the situation a couple of times. Even without his memory, Riker can not keep it in his pants.
Data gets a stint as a bartender. Maybe he has a future in Ten-Forward if this Starfleet gig doesn’t pan out.
Worf does get his moment in ‘the big chair’ but is soon humbled by the revelation that he is not in command. We’ll see him in command of his own ship soon enough…
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Late To The Game 3/21/2020 (Originally published 9/19/2018)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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