Loss and closure are explored in the episode that originally aired on October 4, 1993. This is Interface.
Stardate 47215.5 Interface
Geordi learns that his mother’s ship has gone missing. When he begins to see his mother through a VR interface, he begins to believe that he can save them despite the warnings of his superiors.
We open with Geordi exploring a ship filled with gas but there is something odd…he isn’t wearing his VISOR. As he explores the ship, he comments on the conditions of the ship and even shows the ability to walk through fire. What is going on here?! Oh wait, we finally see that Geordi is linked up to a type of VR device where he can explore a dangerous situation without even being in danger.
After the initial test, Picard receives a communique from Starfleet. It appears that the USS Hera has vanished and all hands are believed lost. Unfortunately, the Captain of the ship is none other than Geordi’s mother, Captain Silva La Forge. Geordi is understandably upset and, when it is time for him to use the probe to explore a downed ship, he indicates that he is okay to do so even though Riker offers to let him take some down time due to the circumstances.
Geordi contacts his father who indicates that they are planning a service for Silva on Vulcan. His father insists that they consider Silva lost as the ship is nowhere to be found. Geordi feels it is too early to determine that his mother and her crew dead and wants to wait it out. Geordi visits Data to talk out the situation with his friend and finds the android staring at a blank screen studying poetry.
After talking with Data about his loss, Geordi goes back into the interface and, to his surprise, he encounters his mother. She indicates that they need help and that they need to go to the surface of the planet as they are dying. Geordi reaches out to touch his mother and is shocked disabling the interface. Upon returning, he tells Picard and crew what he encountered and they believe this to be a hallucination that occurred due to Geordi’s loss. He insists that it was real but Picard asks him to visit Counselor Troi to discuss the situation.
After discussing the situation with Troi, he still believes that his mother and her crew are stranded on the planet. La Forge wants to explore deeper despite Picard and Riker’s uncertainty. Picard explains that, while sympathetic to Geordi’s plight, he can not risk his officer on a dangerous mission that may only be stress induced. Geordi is naturally upset and sees a chance that his mother can be saved no matter that no one believes him. Taking matters into his own hands, Geordi goes to the interface to find his mother on his own. Data arrives and, even though it looks like he is going to try to stop his friend, the android assists Geordi in his personal mission.
Geordi goes in and immediately encounters his mother. She confirms that her ship encountered a warp bubble that landed the Hera there. As the ship gets deeper La Forge must insist that Data increases the signal tolerance, putting Geordi in danger. Geordi gets closer to the Hera and,to his surprise, finds nothing. Soon his Mother attacks him and exposes herself as an elemental being. He learns that the USS Raman had accidentally taken beings aboard their ship which inadvertently killed the crew. The beings ask La Forge to return them to their home. He does so and releases the beings into the atmosphere. The USS Raman begins to break up, threatening Geordi’s system through the interface. At the last minute, Crusher is able to disengage Geordi from the interface saving his life. Picard chastises La Forge for his actions but indicates that he understands why his Chief Engineer did what he did.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is a solid La Forge episode and really gets a chance to play to his strengths, this time without the need for yet another failed love interest. In this one we also get a chance to finally explore his family history and learn more about who they are. We learn that both of his parents are in Starfleet and that his mother is a Captain of her own ship. We also learn that he has a sister but not much on what she does exactly.
More importantly, however, this episode is about dealing with loss. Being mortal, each of us face the loss of someone at some point in our lives. While it is not an easy thing to deal with, it is something we all face and manage in various ways. It is said that one of the most important facets of recovering from loss is the act of closure. In the case of this episode, La Forge is dealing with the fact that his mother and her crew have simply vanished and that, until he sees evidence to the contrary, she is not dead but simply missing. Given that this isn’t an uncommon occurrence in the Star Trek universe, I can’t say that I blame him. I mean, we have had ships vanish only to arrive intact fifty years later, so she could very well still be alive, so closure is a tough one for him in this circumstance. In the end, Geordi finds a semblance of it himself even if it is just because he manages to save a race of elemental beings who deceived him into believing he was saving his mother.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
The roles of Silva La Forge and Geordi’s Father Edward are played by none other than the famous Madge Sinclair (Silva) and Ben Vereen (Edward). Levar Burton also starred with these two actors in the miniseries Roots.
We never do find out what happened to Silva La Forge and the crew of the USS Hera. In my mind Canon they were swept away by the Caretaker and started a long journey home from the Delta quadrant, encountering all sort of crazy new aliens along the way. Oh, wait, that’s the plot of Voyager….never-mind.
We never learn what the elemental fire race of people who Geordi saved are called. Heck, we never even hear from them again. You’d think they would have at least sent a thank you card.
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Late To The Game 8/9/2020 (Originally published 12/24/2018)
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