73 – Transfigurations

Grade: C

Transfigurations (1990) on IMDb


The Enterprise detects a crashed ship on an alien planet. There is a single alien occupant who has suffered serious injuries. Much to Dr. Crusher’s surprise, the alien survives and heals very quickly. But that’s not his only surprise.


When I recently re-watched this, I really struggled to remember what this episode was about. I could only remember a few details, but not the entire storyline. At first, I couldn’t understand why I had forgotten so much about this episode, but then at about the 35-minute mark, it became clear to me. This episode just isn’t very good. The last 10 minutes or so are just awful. It’s a huge letdown.

My sense is this was an episode that should originally have aired in the first season, but was postponed for some reason. There are a few reasons for my thinking this – first, the script is rather mediocre, similar to other episodes in the first season.

Second, the mystery is revealed all at the very end, with one character explaining everything to the others, while everyone else stands around and does nothing – this is a common way to end episodes in the first season.

Third, there’s a very awkward scene toward the end when LaForge thanks the alien for giving him self confidence that he didn’t have before. Aside from the fact that this is a very strange scene, it seems even more out of place given what we have seen from LaForge in the previous episodes. If this had happened in the first season, then I wouldn’t have stopped to scratch my head on this. But this is almost three full seasons into this series, and there’s no reason for LaForge to say this.

Fourth, the acting is much improved, compared to a first season episode, and characters are more consistent with what we’ve seen (except for the aforementioned scene with LaForge), and the overall production quality is much better, but much of this episode is very rough. Notice how in several scenes, the actors seem to stop and wait for something to happen. It’s too obvious we’re watching something scripted, and that’s usually a failing of the early episodes in this franchise.

One last point that’s not really a complaint, but more of a nit-pick. Earlier in this season, we saw LaForge on a date with Christy Henshaw – sitting on a beach in the Holodeck. In the episode, Christy told Geordi that she doesn’t really think of him in that way – or in other words, she was not interested in him at all. But then in Transformations, she reacts positively to Geordi’s advances and she says “I didn’t know you felt that way about me.” It’s a strange thing to say, considering what we saw earlier in the season. This scene by itself makes me wonder if they aired this episode in the wrong order. Maybe Transformations was supposed to come before Booby Trap.

Anyway, that’s more than I wanted to think about this episode. It’s not great by any means. In fact, it’s about as mediocre as it gets in Star Trek.

Of Note

Miles O’Brien shows up in this episode again, but not behind the transporter. He’s actually in sickbay, with an injury suffered while using a kayak on the Holodeck. He would later make extensive use of Quark’s Holosuite on Deep Space Nine, also leading to a separated shoulder from a kayak injury.