Plot Synopsis: Geordi finds out that a scientist is hardly what he imagined her to be. However, they must work together to save the child of a space-borne alien the Enterprise has accidentally killed.
Plot A and B Analysis: The teaser promises that Geordi is in for a rougher ride than he thought. The Enterprise is headed toward a starbase to, among other things, pick up Dr. Leah Brahms. A chief designer of the ship’s engines, Geordi is excited to meet her because he simulated her on the holodeck back (falling for her in the process) in Booby Trap. He is positive they’ll get along swimmingly so of course the first thing she says to him is, “So you’re the one who’s fouled up my engine designs.” Pretty bitchy! Plot A is about the galactic baby, plot B is about the La Forge/Brahms drama.
Plot A comes along right away, with Data seeing some strange readings and asking to investigate. They run into a life form that attacks them, Picard reluctantly defends the ship and they kill it. Good going. Geordi and Brahms have a love/hate relationship until the 25-minute mark when she drops the bombshell: she’s married. Meanwhile things go from weird to weirder for the Enterprise, when after they discover and free the space baby from its mom’s corpse it starts sucking on the ship for food. Plot A is lackluster and strange, and we don’t buy for the minute the ‘peril’ that is introduced to generate some tension. Meanwhile in plot B Brahm’s bitchiness continues, as does Geordi’s unrealistic expectations. In the end everything gets predictably resolved.
Favorite Scenes: Picard and Riker work well together when they encounter the life form at around the 11-minue mark, an excellent example of teamwork. The only other scene that’s decent is where Brahms discovers the holodeck simulation and accuses him of using her as a sex toy. Her indignation and Geordi’s response is good.
Use of Cast/Characters: Picard is in this episode primarily to act as captain. He takes appropriate action but Patrick doesn’t have much to do that’s demanding. Riker has about the same. Data, Beverly and Troi all have something to do, but nothing particularly interesting. Worf doesn’t have much except getting shot down whenever he says anything. This is Geordi’s episode more than any other cast members, and is another example of him being unlucky in love. His acting is wonderful, watching him in this episode your heart just goes out to the guy. It’s nice to see the return of a former love interest, and he is far more patient with Brahms than I would be, but in the end he strikes out, just like he did in the last episode she showed up. Poor sucker. Whoopi Goldberg is here as Guinan, and serves to gently slap Geordi around a bit so he wakes up and sees what he’s doing. Susan Gibney returns as Leah Brahms and does a good job with her role, and the reason for her perpetual annoyance with Geordi is explained.
Blu Ray Version: Take a second to appreciate the first shot of the episode. It’s the same as in Encounter at Farpoint; it’s rarely seen and even longer here. The CGI shots of the baby being born were noticeably improved. There is one deleted scene, taking place not long after they first view the life form. Picard and Worf then inexplicably start reciting a nursery rhyme they both heard when they were kids? Another weird touch, I’m glad they left it out.
Nitpicks: Watching it now the arc with Brahms and Geordi is a little too predictable, their ending a little too ‘pat.’ Then there’s the tech solution: changing the rate at which the Enterprise vibrates so it doesn’t match the baby’s ‘natural vibrations’? Even for sci-fi that sounds made up.
Overall Impression: The CGI was impressive for its time, but nothing else impresses. There is some interest in how the drama with Geordi and Brahms plays out the first time you see it, because of the caliber of LeVar’s performance. The whole space baby plot just doesn’t work for me. This is also an example of what should not be done in Star Trek: technology solving the problem, not the people. It’s a precursor to episodes where the solution to everything is to “reverse the polarity” or to use “tachyons.” This is something that we will encounter increasingly for the rest of the series, and will plague DS9 and Voyager to an even greater degree. I rate this episode 2.5 out of 5 stars on a good day.
Behind the Scenes/Trivia: The use of CGI is prominent in this episode to a greater extent than Datalore. The initial shots of the space life form is a physical model, but anything that shows movement is CGI. The idea for what the space baby should look like evolved quite a bit; originally it was going to be plankton-shaped. The title of the episode refers not just to the baby, but also to the Enterprise being a Galaxy-class ship, and it thinking the ship is its mother. The large schematic of the Enterprise is visible, along with all of the in-jokes on it as well, which I refer to specifically in my review of Brothers.
Missable/Unmissable? Missable. Nothing to see here unless you want to see how things with Geordi and Leah Brahms play out. The next episode isn’t any better, but but the concept is better than this one.