(written from a Production point of view)
|TNG, Episode 7x07|
Production number: 40277-259
First aired: 1 November 1993
|←||158th of 176 produced in TNG||→|
|←||158th of 176 released in TNG||→|
|←||291st of 728 released in all||→|
| Written By|
Hilary J. Bader
Lwaxana Troi visits the Enterprise, but she's preoccupied by a dark secret she has carried for years.
Lwaxana Troi returns to the USS Enterprise, this time as the teacher of an alien race learning to speak, the Cairn. Their native form of communication is telepathy, but they want to learn spoken language in order to interact with other races. Lwaxana comes aboard with Maques and his daughter Hedril. Hedril is a young child and is Lwaxana's star pupil.
The crew begins to notice that Lwaxana doesn't seem to be her normal flamboyant self. She's quiet and almost reserved. After a very emotional outburst toward Commander Riker, Deanna Troi attempts to figure out what's going on, and even has her mother examined in sickbay. Dr. Crusher determines that the chemical used for telepathy is sapped – Lwaxana must refrain from telepathy until it can regenerate.
Deanna volunteers to help Maques and Hedril, but it is clear that Lwaxana is better suited to the task. She still uses her telepathy occasionally, and soon falls into a coma, just as Hedril trips and falls into a brook in the Arboretum. Dr. Crusher cannot figure out what is causing it, as the telepathy – chemical depletion would not cause a coma. Deanna, with Maques' help, decides to go into her mother's brain telepathically in an attempt to help her.
Once inside her mother's thoughts, she has to fight Lwaxana's desire to keep her secret. Deanna fights through several obstacles, including a delay tactic in the form of her own deceased father. Finally she finds her mother and learns that she once had a sister named Kestra, her mother's "precious one". Kestra had fallen into a creek and drowned, and Lwaxana (who had looked away for a few seconds as the infant Deanna was crying) blamed herself.
After confessing to Deanna, Lwaxana awoke from her coma. Mother and daughter have a heartfelt talk about Kestra.
"I don't know what they'd have done without me. First, I had to learn how they communicate – it was an absolutely exhausting process–"
"I'm sure it was"
"Quite different from Betazed telepathy. We transmit words, but the Cairn... it's... er... images... er... floods of them, all at the same time – it's overwhelming!"
"I can imagine"
"Actually, it's a very efficient way of communication. If two Cairn were having this conversation, it would have been over minutes ago!"
"Of course, they realize that they'll want to communicate verbally if they join the Federation. Oh! do me a favor! Introduce yourself to one of them. Engage them in conversation – they need the practice."
"I'd be happy to!"
- - Lwaxana Troi and Jean-Luc Picard
"Aren't you going to mingle, Mr. Woof?"
"I do not care for telepaths. They make me... uneasy."
"Don't worry. The Cairn couldn't read your thoughts even if they wanted to. Your brain isn't sophisticated enough."
- - Lwaxana Troi and Worf
Story and script
- Jeri Taylor recalled, "There was a great reluctance to do this episode and "Phantasms" back to back, but it was one of those predicaments where we didn't have anything else ready to go. "Dark Page" had been around a long, long time and it had undergone many permutations. Hilary Bader had pitched this story and it just never seemed to work. It started as a Dr. Crusher story and went through every possible combination of people on the Enterprise. It wasn't until we hit upon Troi and Mrs. Troi that it really seemed to work, and then it was a long time before we could figure out what the secret was that is hurting Mrs. Troi." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- According to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, variations of the theme of a telepathic rescue considered included: Doctor Crusher and another female doctor, a La Forge story, Crusher and Troi, and Lwaxana rescuing Deanna.
- René Echevarria, who gave an uncredited polish to the episode's script, noted the difficulty in finding a dark enough secret that after seven years wouldn't portray Lwaxana too unsympathetically. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Echevarria regretted having been forced to tone down Maques' comical attempts at language. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Lake El'nar was named after a friend of writer Hilary J. Bader. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- "Dark Page" was filmed between Friday 27 August 1993 and Monday 6 September 1993.
- Split-screen shots against a blue screen were used to allow characters to interact with the wolf, which although trained was still dangerous. Peter Lauritson commented, "Nobody wanted to be there with the wolf except Dan Curry." Kirsten Dunst petted a stand rather than the wolf, with the animal matted in later. The wolf's growl was achieved by giving it a lick of a meaty bone and then filming its reaction when a trainer moved as if to take it. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Marina Sirtis performed her own stunt when apparently jumping into space: she leapt off a blue-screened platform onto air mattresses. This was then matted in with the star field and corridor walls. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- First UK airdate: 21 February 1996
- Although Deanna says that Homn saved the picture of Kestra, Xelo was most likely Lwaxana's attendant at the time of Kestra's death. ("Haven") Homn was Xelo's replacement, and Xelo apparently passed the picture on to Homn.
- This episode is one of a few in which the Enterprise bridge is not seen, along with "Family" and "Liaisons".
- Data makes reference to his dreaming program, which had just received heavy focus in the previous episode, "Phantasms".
Cast and characters
- This episode features a very young Kirsten Dunst as Hedril.
- This is Lwaxana's last appearance in TNG. Her next appearance is in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Fascination".
- This is the first and only appearance of Ian Troi, whose name was previously established in "The Child".
- Mr. Homn was to appear in the episode, but Carel Struycken was unavailable. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Norman Large had previously played the Romulan proconsul Neral in "Unification I" and "Unification II", as well as Kobheerian captain Viterian in DS9: "Duet".
- This marks the final appearance of Deanna Troi and Lwaxana Troi together on-screen.
- Jeri Taylor remarked, "Ultimately, I think it worked really well and was an emotional episode. It provided a depth to Mrs. Troi's character that we had not seen before." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- Naren Shankar commented, "I think Rene, who did the production re-write on the episode, did a magnificent job on the show. It's sort of like The Joy Luck Club. It was better than I expected. It was quite touching in many ways." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- The back story on Ian and Lwaxana Troi revealed in this episode was further expanded upon as a subplot in the novel The Art of the Impossible.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 80, 23 May 1994
- As part of the TNG Season 7 DVD collection
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf
- Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
- Majel Barrett as Lwaxana Troi
- Norman Large as Maques
- Kirsten Dunst as Hedril
- Amick Byram as Ian Andrew Troi
- David Keith Anderson as Armstrong
- Michael Braveheart as Martinez
- Carl David Burks as Russell
- Tracee Lee Cocco as Jae
- John Copage as science division officer
- Hal Donahue as command division lieutenant
- Gunnel Eriksson as science division officer
- Gina Gallante as science division ensign
- Fumiko Hamada as command division officer
- Deborah Landis as Cairn
- Rad Milo as operations division ensign
- Michael Moorehead as science division ensign
- Richard Sarstedt as command division ensign
- Christina Wegler Miles as command division ensign
- Unknown performers as
- David Keith Anderson - stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Carl David Burks - stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Michael Echols - stand-in for Michael Dorn
- June Jordan as stand-in for Kirsten Dunst
- Nora Leonhardt - stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Lorine Mendell - stand-in for Gates McFadden
- Richard Sarstedt - stand-in for Jonathan Frakes and Norman Large
- Dennis Tracy - stand-in for Patrick Stewart
Arboretum; Betazed; Betazoid; Cairn; counselor's office; dog; "Down in the Valley"; Earth; Federation Council; Folnar jewel plant; Folnar III; gemstone; heaven; Homn; Human; Klingon; Lake El'nar; metaconscious; Milton, John; oneirology; painting; paracortex; poetry; psilosynine; rose; sub-neural scan; telepathy; Ten Forward; VISOR; vocal enhancer; Ten Forward
| Previous episode:|
| Star Trek: The Next Generation|
| Next episode:|