Star Trek: Recompensa pentru urmatoarea generatie: „Prieten imaginar”

„Prieten imaginar”

Scris de Jean Louise Matthias & Ronald Wilkerson si Richard Fliegel si Edithe Swenson si Brannon Braga

Regizat de Gabrielle Beaumont

Sezonul 5, episodul 22

Productia episodul 40275-222

Data aerului original: 4 mai 1992

Stardate: 45832.1

Capitanul de capitan: Troi are o sesiune cu Clara Sutter, fiica lui Ensign Daniel Sutter, un nou inginer la bordul navei. Clara are un prieten imaginar pe nume Isabella, care il priveste pe Sutter. Troi teoretizeaza ca nava lui Sutter, ca parte a carierei sale in Flota Stelei, a determinat-o pe Clara sa o creeze pe Isabella ca fiind cea constanta in viata ei haotica. Troi este increzator ca, odata ce isi face prieteni pe Enterprise , nu va mai avea nevoie de Isabella.

Enterprise a sosit la FGC 47, o nebuloasa care inconjoara o stea neutronica, pe care intentioneaza sa investigheze. Cand ajung, un lucru stralucitor trece neobservat la bordul navei. Trece Data si La Forge discutand cum sa rationeze senzorii intre diferitele echipe stiintifice, apoi Crusher oferindu-i lui Ogawa un gratar prietenos despre o intalnire pe care a avut-o si, in sfarsit, arboretul. Clara este acolo, plantand nasturtii si explicandu-i lui Isabella ce face si lucrul stralucitor se transforma in Isabella. In traditia fina a celor mai buni prieteni de pretutindeni, Isabella o convinge pe Clara sa opreasca aceasta plictisitoare plantare de seminte si sa plece si sa exploreze nava. Clara se straduieste sa fie responsabila, dar Isabella o vorbeste din asta.

Nava se agita si scuturile inregistreaza un impact, dar nu pot gasi nimic. In plus, nava incetineste – ceva afecteaza coeficientul de tractiune al Enterprise . In timp ce Data, La Forge si Sutter incearca sa-si dea seama ce s-a intamplat, Clara intra in inginerie, dar Isabella nu se va lasa vazuta de adulti. De asemenea, ea dispare pentru o clipa, moment in care coeficientul de tractiune se stabilizeaza si nava este in regula. Apoi, Isabella ia mainile lui Clara si se rataceste pentru a explora mai multe.

Array

Clara vorbeste cu Isabella, confirmand notiunea anterioara a lui Troi ca a creat Isabella ca o modalitate de a face fata constantei lui Sutter. Au alergat pe hol si se lovesc literalmente de Worf.

La Forge se pregateste sa ia niste probe din nebuloasa pentru a vedea daca isi pot da seama ce s-a intamplat. In timp ce face acest lucru, Sutter o intreaba pe La Forge cum a fost cresterea ca un batut Starfleet – atat parintii sai, se dovedeste, sunt ofiterii Starfleet.

In Ten-Forward, Guinan si Data discuta cum arata norii nebuloase atunci cand Clara intra pentru a arata Isabella Ten-Forward – Isabella a revenit la a fi invizibila. Guinan isi fixeaza sucul si ii spune lui Clara despre propriul ei prieten imaginar: Un barbierit.

Troi intra, apoi, si o ia pe Clara (si Isabella) pentru o plimbare si explica faptul ca Ten-Forward este in afara limitelor pentru copiii nesupervizati. Clara insista ca nu a vrut, dar Isabella a facut-o. Troi vorbeste apoi cu spatiul de langa Clara pentru a-i explica ca Isabella nu este placut sa o puna pe Clara in probleme. Clara indica apoi o alta parte a turbulift-ului si spune ca este acolo. Troi isi incheie declaratia, apoi Clara ii spune lui Troi ca Isabella a spus ca Troi mai bine ii lasa in pace.

Ingrijorat, Troi vorbeste cu Sutter. Isi da seama ca Clara o foloseste pe Isabella ca scuza pentru a actiona un pic si sugereaza sa-i puna pe Clara cu copiii de varsta ei – exista o cursa de ceramica in acea dupa-amiaza. (Aceasta ridica intrebarea – nu merge la scoala navei?)

In cartierele lor, Isabella isi cere scuze pentru ca a intrat in dificultate pe Clara, dar apoi incearca sa o puna din nou in dificultate, solicitand sa se intoarca la inginerie si dandu-i discursul de vinovatie „Am crezut ca esti cea mai buna prietena” atunci cand Clara refuza. Troi apare apoi si se ofera sa o duca la clasa de ceramica – dar doar pe ea.

Ei pot lua Isabella inca o data. Poate ca este inca suparata pe Isabella ca a incercat sa o puna din nou in dificultate, Clara este de acord. Isabella este enervata, ceea ce stim pentru ca ochii i se inrosesc (din moment ce a cere lui Shay Astar sa-si schimbe expresia faciala, se pare ca cere prea mult).

Troi o asociaza cu Alexander, care face o ceasca pentru Worf. (In mod natural, ca orice ceasca buna Klingon, este decorat cu varfuri.) Isabella, desi este invizibila, incurca cupa lui Alexander, ceea ce il infurie, de vreme ce crede ca Clara a facut-o. Clara fuge. Isabella se incurca si cu ciocolata calda a lui Troi.

Enterprise merge mai adanc in nebuloasa, si scuturile sunt lovit din nou, si incepe sa piarda viteza. La Forge si Sutter au o teorie: Cand au expus materia nebuloasa la un camp de urzeala, au fost capabili sa detecteze un fir de energie, care este atras de scuturi. Ei ruleaza un camp de urzeala prin deflectoare si descopera ca acele suvite sunt peste tot . Picard porunceste lui Felton sa se apropie si sa paraseasca nebuloasa, cu atentie.

Clara alearga spre arboretum sa planga. Isabella este suparata ca este lasata in pace si ii spune lui Clara ca, atunci cand vor veni ceilalti, Clara va muri cu ei.

Troi se misca in Ten-Forward, iar Guinan vine sa-i vorbeasca, povestindu-i despre naval. Sutter il cheama apoi pe Troi in cartierele lor; Clara este acum ingrozita de Isabella (cu motiv, desi adultii nu isi dau seama de asta) si nu va intra in camera ei. Troi intra cu ea, tinandu-si mana, pentru a se asigura ca Isabella nu este acolo. Cand Troi verifica dulapul, Isabella se materializeaza si-l zapaceste pe Troi cu un fascicul de raze. Pentru ca asta fac extraterestrii malefici.

In sickbay, Troi descrie Isabella lui Picard, Crusher si Sutter. Picard il pune pe alerta pe Worf si Worf recunoaste descrierea Isabellei din intalnirile lor anterioare. Un alt lucru stralucitor loveste nava, drenand scuturile. Cateva mai multe apar la fel de bine pentru a face la fel.

Picard o aduce pe Clara, precum si Sutter si Worf, in arboretum pentru a chema Isabella. La inceput nu apare, apoi Picard il intreaba daca poate comunica doar amenintand un copil mic – moment in care apare. Ea explica ca cauta surse de energie. Picard spune ca pot furniza energie in moduri care nu vor distruge nava, dar Isabella vrea sa distruga nava, deoarece sunt atat de incredibil de crude.

Dandu-si seama ca a ajuns doar sa vada umanitatea prin ochii unui copil, Picard explica ca regulile si reglementarile impuse copiilor sunt pentru protectia lor, deoarece adultii le ingrijesc atat de mult. Isabella vine sa inteleaga si cheama lucrurile stralucitoare. Ca ofranda de pace, Picard porunceste lui La Forge sa produca o energie de urzire la lucrurile stralucitoare inainte de a pleca. Isabella isi cere scuze lui Clara ca a speriat-o si spera ca se vor intalni din nou intr-o zi.

Nu putem doar sa inversam polaritatea ?: Nu este clar cum ar functiona canalizarea unei urzari prin senzori si nici cum puteti transforma un camp de urzire intr-un fascicul de energie asa cum ordoneaza Picard la sfarsit. Stiinta!

Thank You, Counselor Obvious: Troi’s attempts to wean Clara off of Isabella probably would work with an imaginary friend that a) is actually imaginary and b) can’t shoot ray beams out of her hands and make her eyes glow red.

There is No Honor in Being Pummeled: This episode has the first sign that Worf is starting to understand how to deal with kids, as he tells Clara and Isabella to return to their quarters when he finds them outside engineering, “and we will not speak of this.”

If I Only Had a Brain…: When Sutter and La Forge joke about what to name the nebula—the former suggests “Sutter’s Cloud,” while the latter thinks “the La Forge Nebula” has a majestic sound—Data stares at them both and says, “Given the selections, I prefer FGC 47.” Data also gets what may be the single funniest sentence in the entire season with the bunny rabbit line (see below).

No Sex, Please, We’re Starfleet: Ogawa talks to Crusher about a date she had, and he apparently wants to take her to Risa. She’s not ready for anything that decadent, so Crusher suggests a cruise.

Syntheholics Anonymous: Guinan proves as adept at handling children as she does adults, putting Clara at ease from jump.

In the Driver’s Seat: This is the final appearance of Ensign Felton, who gets to navigate malevolent energy strands in a nebula.

I Believe I Said that: “First it was a fish, and now it’s a Mintonian sailing ship.”

“Where?”

“Right there! Don’t you see the two swirls coming together to form the mast?”

“I do not see it. It is interesting that people try to find meaningful patterns in things that are essentially random. I have noticed that the images they perceive sometimes suggest what they are thinking about at that particular moment. [pause] Besides, it is clearly a bunny rabbit.”

Guinan and Data having their version of the Peanuts cloud conversation where Charlie Brown thought he saw a duckie and a horsie.

Welcome Aboard: Both Jeff Allin and Noley Thornton make their first Trek appearances as the Sutter clan—Allin will return as Gedrin in Voyager’s “Dragon’s Teeth,” and Thornton will play Taya in Deep Space Nine’s “Shadowplay.” Shay Astar plays Isabella as pretty much emotionless, which sorta works. Recurring players Sheila Franklin, Patti Yasutake, Brian Bonsall, and Whoopi Goldberg round out the cast, and it’s worth noting that Bonsall is much more compelling when he isn’t forced to share the screen with Dorn.

Trivial Matters: This is the first mention that La Forge’s parents are Starfleet officers. His father’s an exobiologist, his mother a command officer—which tracks with what we see when we meet his parents in the seventh-season “Interface.”

Guinan was not part of the early drafts of the script and was only added in when Goldberg became available. The bunny rabbit scene in Ten-Forward was originally written for Crusher and Troi, then Guinan and Troi, before settling on Guinan and Data.

Ogawa’s date is not identified by name, though it could be Ensign Markson—Ogawa and Markson dating will be the subject of conversation between Picard and Crusher in “Attached.”

Ensign Sutter will appear again in the novel Star Trek: Klingon (the novelization of the video game of the same name) by Dean Wesley Smith & Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Thornton and Astar both continued to act throughout their childhoods—Thornton most notably as Erica McKay on Beverly Hills 90210, Astar as August Leffler on 3rd Rock from the Sun—with Thornton moving behind the camera on the production and directing side, and Astar having a career as a singer as they moved on to adulthood.

Make it So: “Good-bye, Isabella.” Yet another fifth-season episode focusing on a child, but this one isn’t anywhere near as painfully awful as “New Ground,” “Hero Worship,” or “Cost of Living.” Partly this is due to a delightful performance by Noley Thornton as Clara, who projects both intelligence, charm, and tremendous adorability.

The script also has a lot of little touches. One of the things that Brannon Braga brought to TNG was adding to the community of the starship. Little touches abound, from Clara mentioning that she was helping Keiko in the arboretum, to Ogawa’s dishing with Crusher about her date, to Worf taking it easy on the little kids, to the nebula-naming scene, to Clara’s description of a purple omelette, to the absolutely delightful conversation between Data and Guinan about what they see in the nebula cloud. (Seriously, when Data declared that it was a bunny rabbit, I snarfed my coffee.)

Having said all that, being better than the other little-kid episodes that seem to litter the fifth season doesn’t actually make it good. Ultimately, it’s a tiresome technobabble story about yet another being of pure energy that threatens the ship, where the solution is for Picard to speechify at it, and do so poorly. Picard’s speeches are sometimes effective (“The Bonding,” e.g.), but this one was out of the same lame catalogue as “Justice.”

Warp factor rating: 4

Keith R.A. DeCandido wonders if the Enterprise ever scanned a nebula that was just, y’know, a nebula.