169 – Masks

Grade: C+

Masks (1994) on IMDb


Counselor Troi is in a school, helping to teach creativity to some of the students. Data is also there, trying to work on his imagination. Suddenly, the Enterprise encounters a rogue comet which has an ancient alien probe contained inside. Then, just as suddenly, strange ancient artifacts appear all over on the ship.


OK, this one is not one of my favorites. On the one hand, Brent Spiner does a fabulous job in his roles. He plays Lt Commander Data, obviously, but he also has to play several other characters, since Data’s consciousness is taken over. It’s pretty chilling at one point when Data asks LaForge what it feels like to lose your mind. It’s also very interesting to see Spiner suddenly go from Data to some other alien character in a second at a time. But unfortunately, Spiner’s acting is really the only reason to watch this episode. The rest of the actors and characters are rather bland.

All of this alien archaeology shows up in random places on the ship during the entire episode, and you’d think there could not be a captain in the entire fleet who should be better prepared to analyze the artifacts. And yet, Picard is rather confused by the symbols that appear on the ship and the myths that Data tells. I admit I obviously have an advantage over Picard in that I have seen this episode before, and I remembered (more or less) what the story was about. And yet find it extremely hard to believe that Picard, who is at least an amateur archaeologist (if not an accomplished one) can’t solve the mystery of Masaka and Korgano. The symbols make it pretty obvious – Masaka looks like asun, and Korgano looks like amoon.

As I said before, I’m at an advantage because I’ve seen this before and I’m sure I remembered it from the time I watched this originally. But when I watched it again last night, the clues were so obvious that I’m honestly disturbed that Picard couldn’t figure it out until the very end of the episode. It’s extremely annoying, and completely out of character.

So I rank this one pretty low. It seems like a 4th season episode, and not one that should come so late in the series. Spiner is a great actor, and he’s proven this over and over again in this series. But this episode is just painful and tedious. I’d skip this one if I were you.

Of Note

Apparently, Michael Dorn has said this was his least favorite episode of the entire series. Personally, I wouldn’t go that far. Most of the first two seasons are horrible.