The One where Geordi takes command
3 very distinct storylines here, 1 is successful, 1 is filler and the other is curtailed. Lets look at the average one first.
After Riker, Yar and Data beam down to a planet looking for survivors (and then Picard and Beverly beam down rather unbelievably - no, just because Troi questions it doesn't mean it's okay. Rather it flags up how wrong and strange it is and it is obviously a plot device to get them on the planet) they are attacked by a weapon that can evolve and anticipate their reactions. This is a neat idea and would be used again in the Borg (especially their shields), plus I like the fact they only have 12 minutes between attacks. However, this is never played up and the weapons themselves look odd rather than menacing, but their eyes are quite cool looking. There's a lot of phaser firing and ducking behind rocks and it's okay but rather ho-hum.
This of course leaves Geordi on the Enterprise and in charge, when the ship starts being attacked and he's forced to make big decisions and also fend of chief engineer Logans designs on the captains chair. These are the scenes that make the episode and it's great to see Geordi take charge, be seemingly weak and come back fighting. We also see the Saucer separation, but man does that star drive look ugly with out the saucer. This would have been an interesting development for Geordi if the writers wanted to go that route, but his Chief engineer role side tracked it (though he is a captain in Voyagers "Timeless" I think).
The 3rd strand is Beverly and Picard trapped down a hole with Bev injured and Picard looking after her and the pair of them getting close. It's ultimately a frustrating scene as it's perfectly set up for Beverly to say her feelings, but behind the scenes writing nixed the idea and makes it rather dull and pointless. The fact they seem to have fallen into the control room for the machine that wiped out an entire planet is stretching it a bit, and the final solution could be seen a mile away (it also raises the question how they ever hoped to sell anything if they kept killing their buyers)
It's never really mentioned but the Drake has been destroyed and there's a spooky cool scene of Captain Rice, Rikers old pal who looks alien and ghost like when he's talking. It's an unsettling scene and is quite effective of this THING being Rikers old pal.
The plant based story strands bring this down, but the Geordi scenes are very good.
Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 299/530
Troi Cleavage Watch:
Troi probably had the least to do this episode out all the regulars, but her discussion with Geordi was quite good. You just wish she would cheer her face up at times. Tastefully filmed this episode, even when there were chances for the Film crew. I thought we might get to the end of the episode with out the Leering shot. However, they caved in half way through. Better luck next time: