Star Trek: The Next Generation: Remember Me   Rewatch 
January 1, 2021 6:59 AM - Season 4, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Oh, but you are alone, Dr. Crusher! Who knows what you've spoken to the darkness? In the bitter watches of the Gamma shift, when all your universe seems to shrink, the walls of your starship closing in about you…

It's all perfectly logical to Memory Alpha, isn't it?:

• This story originated as a subplot for "Family", in which crew members were to have disappeared due to a wormhole. However, it was felt that there was not enough room for both plots, so the premise was developed as a separate episode.

• The Traveler was added at the last minute. According to Michael Piller, "The first two drafts did not have the Traveler in it. The first draft ended with the realization of what had happened turning out to be a dream episode. We didn't find that satisfying, so we decided at the end of act three to pull everything from the first 60 pages into the first three acts and tell the audience what's going on on the other side of the warp bubble and how they're trying to get Beverly back. We spend the next two acts deciding how to get her back. At the beginning of the year we said we wanted to bring the Traveler back for something, so why not use him in this episode to help Beverly back."

• Director Cliff Bole commented, "They added him because he's big at the conventions. He was just a walk-on."

• Gates McFadden did all her stunts for the vortex effects sequences. Robert Legato coordinated the sequence where she hangs from Data's ops chair. The chair was mounted on a wall, with McFadden hanging from it while compressed air machines provided the vortex effect. Shortly after performing the stunt where she is thrown from Data's ops console chair, McFadden learned she was pregnant.

• In the deleted scene 15A, Dr. Crusher talks to Dr. Richard Hill's wife Cara who doesn't remember her husband.

• Rick Berman remarked, "That was a very interesting high concept episode. I thought it was possibly a little bit overly confusing. You're fooling the audience a little and I don't like to do that. They were looking at one world when, in fact, we were dealing with parallel universes and that was potentially confusing."

• Bole comments, "Gates did a very good job on it. Again, that was a savings program. [...] It's not my favorite show, but I've received more positive letters about that episode than any other. It blew me away. Sometimes they give you a story and they know what it is, but they hope that the mirrors will change everything. It just doesn't happen. The written word is there. You can't just move the camera around and cover a weak script. That's why the Klingons and Borg lend themselves to creativity. It's a real challenge when you have someone running down the Enterprise corridor, like in 'Remember Me'."


"You wanna be the one to explain when the captain says 'Engage' and we just sit here?!"
- La Forge, imploring Wesley Crusher to stop his warp bubble experiment in engineering

"Is she alive?"
"As long as she thinks she is alive, she is alive."
"What the hell does that mean?"
- Picard, The Traveler, and Riker

"If there's nothing wrong with me, maybe there's something wrong with the universe!"
- Beverly Crusher

"If this were a bad dream, would you tell me?"
"That is not a valid question."
"Like hell it's not!"
- Beverly Crusher and the Enterprise computer


Poster's Log:
I've mentioned this episode once or twice before now and I'll probably continue mentioning it, because it's…well, maybe not a FAVorite, but it's one I like a lot. It's thought- and speculation-provoking, but not merely that. Sci-fi always risks losing sight of the human element when they get all future-sciencey and cosmic-anomaly-y, but this one remembers (har!) to have real emotional weight. And it's unique! Weird, unpredictable, scary. I want to see DISCO (and maybe PIC) lean into scariness more often. The recent DISCO episode "Su'Kal" kind of did, but in more of a Haunted Holodeck sort of way, not existentially like this.

And IIRC, there's no better "Dr. Crusher episode."

Poster's Log, Supplemental:
Previously on the Blue: a discussion around this episode.

The Greatest Gen guys disagreed kind of forcefully about this one.

Quaice actor Bill Erwin had a memorable guest appearance as the titular character in the Seinfeld episode "The Old Man." That's two guests in a row who were central to the plots of their respective Seinfeld episodes.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (21 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
This episode is one of my favorite episodes of Star Trek. Like you said, it's an interesting high-concept episode that doesn't neglect what it would feel like to be in this situation. I love how everyone in Crusher's world earnestly tries to help her, while patiently explaining that the decks full of empty living areas are meant for dignitaries and evacuation efforts. The whole universe is gently gaslighting her.

The podcast Friends at the Table had several seasons in the fantasy world of Heiron, which was a world that had recovered from one calamity and was headed for another calamity. One NPC mage proposed a solution of putting people into their own bubbles of reality that their minds would fill in, essentially the exact same scenario that Dr. Crusher found herself in. The Heiron bubbles were more stable, and ostensibly they would be used to find a more permanent solution for people, but maybe the mage was also using them to get rid of people he thought would prevent him from achieving his ends in the crumbling real world.

It would be interesting to see this phenomenon again in Star Trek, in an applied technology. In my opinion having your own private universe that conforms to your desires is a pretty tempting concept.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:09 AM on January 1 [3 favorites]


I completely missed that previous post--it's a great essay and an interesting discussion. And I really liked this episode, in part because of the nightmarish quality of it--I've had many nightmares or just kind of disturbing dreams in which I was in sort-of familiar surroundings that were just about ten degrees off of normal--but also because of the things mentioned in that article; the bubble-universe crew trusts Crusher and works to resolve the situation with her, even as they rationalize having such a huge starship with such a small crew, while at the same time the real crew was working to save her. Some aspects of it remind me of TOS' "The Tholian Web", with Kirk lost in a universe by himself. It's also another Wesley's-weird-science-causes-problems episode, which I actually prefer to the yer-a-space-wizard-Wesley ones (and relieved that the Traveler mostly sets that aside during his appearance).
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:16 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


You know what I really, really love about this episode? I mean really love about it?

Picard listens to her.

She says, something strange is happening. He doesn't see the evidence for it, but he listens and he takes her testimony seriously. Her word is sufficient evidence for him, alone.

I mean.... Think about that. Think about how incredibly different that is from what just about any other fiction would do this sort of plot.
posted by meese at 9:23 AM on January 1 [11 favorites]


You all are making great points on why this one is a pretty good episode. For me though, there are a couple of things that always tend to bother me about this one.

First, and this applies to other episodes where it is done as well, is being sassy with the computer. I think it is a lack of imagination when a character gets an answer from the computer that is insufficient and responds with some kind of "like hell it's not!" I would think that in The Future, living in a time where computers talk back, people would have naturally adapted to it. Having a pithy reply is cute and all for those of us in The Present, but not for me.

Wesley's phasing... Oh. When the Traveler showed up in "Where No One Has Gone Before" and does his thing, we can buy it there because he's the Traveler. But I don't quite buy Wesley doing the same thing. Why does he even need to be seated at the pool table tapping on the console if he's just going to use his mind to open the vortex?
posted by Fukiyama at 9:38 AM on January 1


I like this episode a lot but I had forgotten that the traveller was even in it. I think they should have dropped that whole side of it and given bev more alone time, and had her figure out some way to establish contact with the other universe.

Anyway, seen this one a bunch and it still holds up. A little scary, lots of suspense and mystery. It feels like they tried to turn this one up to 11 with that one Riker episode where he’s trapped in a play/nightmare/alien jail, but I can barely stand to watch that one.
posted by skewed at 11:26 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


I would think that in The Future, living in a time where computers talk back, people would have naturally adapted to it. Having a pithy reply is cute and all for those of us in The Present, but not for me.

On the other hand, is not the way she barks back at the computer more-or-less the way a confused, scared, and exasperated person would respond to another person if they gave the same useless answer? If I’ve learned anything from sci-fi, it’s that in the future people interact with computers the same way they interact with people.

I’ve always liked this episode, primarily because it’s a well-deserved showcase for an oft-underused player. And, it’s a really good piece of character-centered sci-fi.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:49 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


Did Beverly really ride the turbo lift from Transporter 3 to the bridge with Riker just to turn around and head back down to Sickbay?
posted by hanov3r at 1:16 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]


Vanishing, but significant, appearances of this episode from the Star Trek CCG:

In Premiere, there's Static Warp Bubble, which makes cards disappear from your opponent's hand. A good effect, but it's defeated by The Traveler: Transcendence. TT:T also accelerates end-of-turn draws, giving you two cards instead of the standard one. There was really no reason not to run this in First Edition, it probably appeared in more decks than any other single card, bar none. Seriously, this is THE card, gameplay-wise. A staple's staple.

The Traveler also appeared along with The Emissary in a 1998 Away Team Pack, representing game publisher Decipher's two person roaming marketing team at that time. In spite of scoring licenses to produce games based on Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Austin Powers, Decipher's marketing efforts were rather shoestring, which, along with a sad embezzlement scandal ultimately doomed the company.

This episode did manage to make an appearance in Second Edition, via 2007's Warp Bubble Mishap, which is appropriately a pretty good filter to throw in prior to Where No One Has Gone Before.
posted by StarkRoads at 1:18 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]


Second turbo lift issue: Beverly gets on at the bridge, asks to be taken to Deck 36, and starts going *up*.
posted by hanov3r at 1:39 PM on January 1 [2 favorites]


Shortly after performing the stunt where she is thrown from Data's ops console chair, McFadden learned she was pregnant.

I know objectively that this show is three decades old, but looking up her son just now and realizing he’s turning 30 this year made me really FEEL it, you know?
posted by Ian A.T. at 2:14 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]


I don't quite buy Wesley doing the same thing. Why does he even need to be seated at the pool table tapping on the console if he's just going to use his mind to open the vortex?

While it's all well and good to tell someone his mind can save his mom, it's another to expect him to immediately know how to make that happen. Best to let him go through the motions of what he thinks will help save her and let his mind reach that point on it's own.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:09 PM on January 1 [3 favorites]


Ya know, if Wesley's such a Demigod of Warp Fields, where the hell was he after The Burn? :p
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:29 AM on January 2 [4 favorites]


This is high on my list of episodes to rewatch. I like that Bev gets the spotlight.
posted by kathrynm at 7:22 AM on January 2


Thorzdad: On the other hand, is not the way she barks back at the computer more-or-less the way a confused, scared, and exasperated person would respond to another person if they gave the same useless answer? If I’ve learned anything from sci-fi, it’s that in the future people interact with computers the same way they interact with people.

Yes, but I think people in The Future will be responding to computers a bit differently. If Beverly had been responding to a person who was capable of answering her less fact oriented questions fully and that person gave a reply like the computer, her reply would definitely be understandable. But it's the Computer. She's lived in The Future all her life dealing with Computers.

This raises a good point though. If the computer can generate characters who mimic real people on the Holodeck, why can't it have some personality of its own in answering questions? In 2001 Hal is programmed to talk like a human so that Frank and Dave can interact more easily with him. I wonder if that would be considered an in-universe decision by the designers and programmers to keep computer-user relations a certain way.

Mr.Encyclopedia: While it's all well and good to tell someone his mind can save his mom, it's another to expect him to immediately know how to make that happen. Best to let him go through the motions of what he thinks will help save her and let his mind reach that point on it's own.

I need to go back and rewatch the Traveler's whole spiel to Picard about Wesley. I would have preferred if they had stuck closer to the "Wes is a prodigy with Warp Fields like Mozart was with Music" analogy the Traveler used rather than adding on any ideas that he had powers waiting to be realized.
posted by Fukiyama at 9:28 AM on January 2


Ya know, if Wesley's such a Demigod of Warp Fields, where the hell was he after The Burn? :p

I always liked the idea that Wesley was the Future Man from Enterprise, for whatever reason.

Presumably Wes is still a mere mortal and has shuffled off the coil by the Burn.

According to a deleted scene from Nemesis he went back to Starfleet at some point, though it's pretty hard to see why he'd bother. He's like if Stamets didn't need a ship, and like Stamets it's clear by his later actions in the series that his devotion to Starfleet hierarchy is fairly limited.
posted by StarkRoads at 12:26 PM on January 2


If the computer can generate characters who mimic real people on the Holodeck, why can't it have some personality of its own in answering questions? In 2001 Hal is programmed to talk like a human so that Frank and Dave can interact more easily with him.

HAL is a full-fledged AI; any computer system that could sustain more natural conversation with a person would pass the Turing test. (Which opens up any number of cans of worms WRT even lesser holodeck characters, let alone the likes of Moriarty, Vic Fontaine, and the EMH.) The 23rd-century Enterprise's computer was capable of hosting an intelligence, Redjac, for at least a short time, so its (apparent and/or assumed) lack of sentience may simply be a deliberate choice on the part of the ship builders and/or LCARS programmers.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:24 PM on January 2


HAL is a full-fledged AI; any computer system that could sustain more natural conversation with a person would pass the Turing test. (Which opens up any number of cans of worms WRT even lesser holodeck characters, let alone the likes of Moriarty, Vic Fontaine, and the EMH.) The 23rd-century Enterprise's computer was capable of hosting an intelligence, Redjac, for at least a short time, so its (apparent and/or assumed) lack of sentience may simply be a deliberate choice on the part of the ship builders and/or LCARS programmers.

Without getting into what all Hal's AI included, I merely brought him up because of the response Dave gives to the interviewer about how Hal was programmed on how to respond to humans in order to make it easier for humans to interact with him.

I wonder what the designers would have in mind for how they envisioned human/computer interaction when Geordi's creation of Leah Brahms worked so well at creating a synergistic problem solving environment.

(Leah is an interesting halfway point between the standard holodeck character and the fully sentient types like Moriarty and Vic and the EMH as she was seemingly aware of an "out there", but she didn't depict any sense of doom the end of her program.)
posted by Fukiyama at 5:41 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


This is a good one. I particularly like the bit towards the end when Beverly questions Jean-Luc about being the only ones aboard, and he responds something along the lines of, "well, we've hardly needed anyone else before, have we?"

And you know what? The ship is so automated, they really don't. I would watch the hell out of Bev and J-L just cruising around the galaxy on their own. They'd probably give up on the uniforms after a week; fuzzy slippers and nice robes will do just fine. Breakfast in Ten Forward, spending the afternoons chilling out and reading on the holodeck. Every once in a while they'd stop at some unknown planet and have adventures, and then beam back up and kick back. Hell, I'd love it if all the adventures happened off-screen, and we just get to watch them hanging out and talking over the wild stuff they'd just seen and done. I would tune in every damn week.

Also, I know I'm just hammering this into the ground at this point but [bernie_sanders.jpg] I am once again asking you WHY WESLEY CRUSHER IS ALLOWED ON THE ENTERPRISE [/bernie_sanders.jpg] I mean, clearly even Geordi has had it with him. whyyyyyyy
posted by phooky at 6:24 PM on January 2 [1 favorite]


They'd probably give up on the uniforms after a week; fuzzy slippers and nice robes will do just fine.

This reminds me of how I thought that VOY should have gone if they'd had anything remotely resembling the barest outline of a series arc. First episode: a deep space outpost on the edge of the Federation picks up a transponder signal from a starship long thought lost in the Badlands. At least, they think it's a Starfleet ship... even the transponder has some odd code mingled in with the standard signal. When it comes within visual range, they don't know what to make of it. It's got the regular Starfleet markings identifying it as Voyager, but there are various and sundry other markings on the hull--most are unfamiliar, but there's one in an obscure dialect of Bolian saying, "Be cool, we have holodecks and weed." One edge of the forward section seems to form right angles, as if it were partially turned into a Borg cube, and the nacelles look like 23rd-century Klingon models.

An away team beams directly to the bridge. At first, no one can identify the odd, rhythmic noise coming from the consoles, but soon it resolves into an utterly unfamiliar form of music, albeit with a catchy beat. Some of the crew are in Starfleet uniforms, although not all from the same era, and some are in casual outfits reminiscent of an extinct rebel group. There's a woman wearing a Klingon uniform, and another with something that looks like a Borg unitard but with mostly Federation equipment stuck to it. There's also a very cross-looking Vulcan arguing with what looks like an obsolete version of the Emergency Medical Hologram, wearing an admiral's uniform. They all stop what they're doing to look at the agog away team.

The bridge turbolift door opens, and a woman wearing a Regency costume with her hair in a bun sweeps in. "What the hell--" she starts to say, and then freezes.

[Janeway voice-over] "You're probably wondering how we got here..."

SEVEN YEARS EARLIER
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:21 PM on January 2 [11 favorites]


Halloween Jack, That's a much better idea for how the series should have gone. A shame that it was put to bed the instant they dressed the Maquis crew members in starfleet uniforms.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:37 PM on January 4


Shortly after performing the stunt where she is thrown from Data's ops console chair, McFadden learned she was pregnant.

I...I don't think that's how it works.

...

I mean I know for a fact it's not the only way...
posted by Naberius at 7:59 AM on January 6


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