Captains Log: Stardate 46154.2. The Enterprise has entered the Amargos Diaspora, an usually dense globular cluster. We are faced with the daunting task of charting this vast region.
Hello and welcome to my Star Trek Halloween Special. I prefer Halloween over any other holiday these days so I thought I would get in the spirit a little early whilst having a bit of fun. As the good Captain said above, there is a lot of work to be done but something far more sinister happening on the Enterprise.
Schisms was released on the 17th October 1994 so I’m hoping you have watched this episode before? It’s twenty-eight years old so you must have had an hour to spare in all that time! This is just a couple of moments I think are worth mentioning and why schisms is my scariest episode of Star Trek.
First of all, I would like to talk about the funniest moment in this episode. Maybe it’s just my sense of humour but it still makes me laugh just thinking about it! I should point out that some of the crew are not feeling themselves lately, lack of sleep, irritability and reacting alarmingly to everyday items on the ship. Chief security officer Worf visits Mot’s, the barbershop of this fine vessel for a quick trim. While Mot starts to cut his hair and recommends a good conditioning agent, Worf becomes fearful of the scissors, reacting angrily before leaving the room. I guess you’re wondering what is funny about that? Well, it’s pretty funny that Worf goes about his business with chunks of his hair missing from the back of his head. You could imagine other crew members being too frightened to tell him while wondering if he has finally gone mad.
Another scene in this episode would become something much more than anyone involved in making this series could have imagined. I don’t go to many conventions, but I do follow a lot of Star Trek folk and understand Ode to Spot is something very special to the fans. Seriously, check out some of the comments on the YouTube video below to find out. My favourite is “Cat owners, please rise to your national anthem” need I say more?
Finally, it comes down to the horror! I have always loved the sets used on the Enterprise-D. Even after watching Discovery and the way set design has improved, it remains my favourite. One of the sets that is used a lot in this episode is the living quarters and I have always found these scenes fascinating. It’s a place for the crew to unwind and be themselves. It’s their safe space and you ultimately get to learn more about the character when their uniform is removed, metaphorically speaking. The Enterprise is always facing one danger or another but when something happens to one of the crew in their quarters, it becomes something that feels far more dangerous, and real.
Commander Riker is also one of the crew that is suffering a lack of sleep lately and it’s wearing him down. Late for work and a flashback of something terrifying when he touches a smooth surface on the bridge! After speaking to Counsellor Troi about his disturbances, she reveals that he is not the first person to mention this to her and the affected crew members should get together. Riker speaks to other crew members and they all have similar stories, then decide the holodeck would be the perfect place to recreate the images in their minds.
I know this isn’t as horrifying as the Blair Witch Project or any of your favourite horror films but it is pretty dark for a science-fiction show and the next scene . . . . . using your imagination, is pretty unsettling. It’s easy to watch this episode numerous times, but nothing can bring back those goose bumps I had when I first watched the Enterprise crew put together this jigsaw puzzle from their minds. Using the holodeck imaging technology, Riker, Geordi and Worf and Kaminer bring all the pieces together to create a picture they are all familiar with. The picture on its own is not enough though as they can also remember a sound, clicking!! After the bringing that sound and vision together just right, each crew member soon realise they have been on that operating table before!!!
After visiting Doctor Crusher for a full examination, Riker is shocked to find out that his arm has been amputated and then reattached recently!! Captain Picard is now made aware of the situation and asks the computer to check if all crewmates are aboard the Enterprise. There are three crew members unaccounted for and that’s when they realise that people are getting abducted, why they are sleeping. There is a lot of science in Star Trek and this episode has all the science, but I want to keep that out of it because it takes something away from what Riker has to go through next.
The Enterprise needs to know the location the crew are going to, so they can close the spatial rift down. Commander Riker volunteers to be abducted again, only this time he will be awake after receiving a stimulant. Riker goes back to his quarters and lies down in bed and eventually a portal opens and pulls him inside. The horror Riker can remember suddenly becomes a reality as he is prodded and poked at by a mysterious hooded alien. Next to him, another crew member lies sleeping, unaware of the situation she is in.
The aliens seem to communicate with a clicking noise and it intensifies as they become aware that their location has become known to the Enterprise. As the aliens hurry around to fix the problem, Riker leaps up from the table, picks up his crewmate and jumps through the portal and back to his ship. As the portal closes for the last time, a bolt of light flies through it and leaves the ship, before disappearing into the darkness of space. In the briefing room, Captain Picard wonders if the anomaly that left the ship was a probe and that the aliens were simply trying to communicate? Riker on the other hand, thinks the alien’s motives are far more heinous.
I don’t know about you but the thought of lying in bed asleep, while someone removes my body parts is beyond terrifying. I guess I have only just realised this was released around Halloween time and is quite a shift from the regular storylines on this show. I wonder if the writers planned on visiting this storyline again or just wanted to leave you wondering? Thinking about it, I would love to revisit this story in Picard! I just think its a brilliant idea and writing about it has made me realise how well crafted it is. I have been watching all the Star Trek lately, apart from The Next Generation and it was nice to get back on board again.