147 – Frame of Mind

Grade: A-

Frame of Mind (1993) on IMDb


Riker and Data are practicing one of Dr Crusher’s plays, in which Riker plays an insane man and Data is a cruel doctor. Later, Captain Picard gives Riker a very dangerous mission on a hostile planet. Because of what happens to him on the planet, Riker has a hard time separating illusion from reality.


This is a fantastic episode, and one of the best that they ever produced. Jonathan Frakes really does an excellent job with this material – much better than I’ve seen him in other Star Trek episodes.

The storyline is also excellent. Some people may be put off or annoyed by how the location changes from the Enterprise to the mental hospital and back many times, but I thought it worked great. The viewer really has no idea what’s really happening until the very end of the episode.

This episode really is Riker’s own version of the second half of Chain of Command. In that episode, it’s Captain Picard who is tortured and has to deal with questions about his sanity. Frame of Mind, however, is different enough that in no way does it seem like a rehash of the same material. This is one of only a handful of TNG episodes that I could watch over and over again.

Of Note

Interestingly, we never see any shots of the exterior of the Enterprise until the very end after the situation is resolved.

Several years ago, I went to a special screening of the two part episode Best of Both Worlds. Before the screening, someone at the theater did a trivia contest and one question they asked was “what was the name of Dr. Crusher’s play in the episode when Riker questioned his sanity?” I answered with “Frame of Mind.” The presenter’s response was “that was the episode, but what was the name of the play?” I replied that it was the title of both the play and the episode and they said no. But since nobody else “knew” the answer they gave me the prize. True story.