92 – Identity Crisis

Grade: C+

Identity Crisis (1991) on IMDb


About five years before the events of this episode, Geordi LaForge and Commander Susanna Leitjen were on an away mission to a strange planet. Without any warning, two of the other officers on the same mission have disappeared, and a third has stolen a shuttlecraft. Now LaForge and Leitjen want to find out why.


It seems every Star Trek series has an episode or two about some characters turning into a different species. In Enterprise, it’s Captain Archer and Hoshi Sato who transform into ape-like creatures while looking for the Xindi. In Voyager, it was Captain Janeway and Tom Paris who become some kind of aligator creatures, and Janeway even gets pregnant. This episode is the TNG version of that storyline. For what it’s worth, I think all these episodes stink. In fact, the Enterprise version could very well be the absolute worst episode in the entire Star Trek franchise. Well, I think it could be anyway.

The biggest problem I have with these episodes is not necessarily how gradually they transform into this new species, but how quickly they return to being human. In Identity Crisis, it is only a matter of hours for Commander Leitjen to become human again. Hours? Really? It took 5 years for her to get to this point, and then it accelerates slightly, but as soon as Crusher does her thing, she almost instantly is human again. Doesn’t seem scientifically plausible to me. And this lack of realism just ruins the storyline for me.

The characters and the acting are fine, and I guess in some ways, it could be a metaphor for watching one of your friends slip into a life-threatening illness or addiction, but honestly, I don’t really care that much. The episode is interesting, but only until you see that they’re changing into aliens. Once that happens, I lose interest. I guess it’s because I’ve seen too many of these Star Trek episodes where one thing takes supposedly years to develop, but only minutes to cure. This is one episode you can skip without missing anything at all.

Of Note

Even in this episode, we get a glimpse of LaForge’s bad luck with women. When Commander Leitjen asks him if he had ever gotten married, LaForge said, “I enjoy the bachelor’s life too much.” Personally, I don’t think that’s even remotely true. He doesn’t like being a bachelor. He just has bad luck with women.