124 – The Next Phase

Grade: B

The Next Phase (1992) on IMDb


The Enterprise receives a distress signal from a Romulan ship. Riker, LaForge, Worf and Ro transport over and find the ship in serious trouble. When LaForge and Ro try to transport back to the Enterprise, their transporter signal is lost and they are presumed dead.


This episode sure has a ton of plot holes, but we can excuse the nonsense since it’s so much fun to watch. I love watching how LaForge and Ro react to finding out they may be dead. Ro was raised in a religious community, but I don’t believe we ever find out what LaForge’s religious beliefs are. And it’s even more interesting that Ro admits to never having paid much attention to her religious upbringing, and yet she is happy to accept it as true when she finds out she may have died.

It’s also wonderful to see how the rest of the crew react to the apparent deaths of the two officers. But because everything is resolved at the end, and we find out that they really aren’t dead, we never find out what Commander Riker was planning to say about Ensign Ro. Maybe he was going to admit to everyone that he had an affair with her just a few episodes ago. Or maybe he would admit to having been unusually harsh on an officer that Picard personally allowed to be part of the ship’s crew. I guess the important thing is the writer planted the seed in our head so we would think about what Riker was going to say.

If there was anything disappointing about this episode, it is the lack of attention to detail in the storyline. So Ro and LaForge find out they’re not alone when the Romulan officer follows them over to the Enterprise. They can walk through walls, but not floors? And the Romulan’s weapon works, but the communicators that LaForge and Ro have don’t? One last thing – LaForge is trying to communicate with Data by putting his hand through one of the computer consoles in Engineering. But rather than doing something randomly, why doesn’t he spell out “Data, I’m not dead” with Morse code? Wouldn’t Data immediately recognize that? That could have been pretty funny, actually. I’m imagining a scene when Data tells Riker that he doesn’t believe LaForge is dead because he keeps seeing patterns like “I’m not dead” everywhere he looks. Oh well. What might have been. Still, it’s a fun episode to watch and one that I can recommend.

Of Note

I thought it was funny to see Ensign Ro’s reaction to the Bajoran Death Chant. Apparently, it’s two hours long. It’s interesting that in the last scene, Ro complains that LaForge has been eating for two hours. A nice comparison, but I’m not sure if it is supposed to be significant. At least the closing scene wasn’t a speech by Picard.