Someone please explain Star Trek TNG episode "Masks"

Please explain it, if an explanation is possible. I am not sure if I am not getting it or if there perhaps isn’t anything to get.
As far as I can see this episode boils down to this: “In deep space, archive accesses you!”
More than any other episode this is just random stuff happening. Perhaps it was inspired by a movie or something else that was topical then but that now eludes us?

Y’might want to give more than an episode title to go on, unless it’s a really unique one…


It’s a season 7 episode, therefore inherently crap. I likely didn’t watch it, and certainly don’t remember it, so I’ll leave it to someone else to answer your question.

Inherently crap? Ever tried TNG series 1? I am not sure if your reply was useful except for posting the link.

I did watch it, and I agree with Tengu. :frowning: I suppose it’s about the mystery of space, or of the divine. Really it’s just an hour too long.

Oh come on, there were some decent episodes in series 7.

I guess it’s not a typical STTNG episode. There is no “battle of the mind” thingy in it. I couldn’t even figure out “whose” episode it was.

Season 1 was crap, too. Season 2 was little better. It finally found its feet with season 3, and continued well for about 4 seasons, until collapsing under its own weight at the end.

Saying Season 1 was crap doesn’t change that 7 was almost as bad. The series limped to a start, and crashed at the end. And season 7 doesn’t have the excuses 1 or 2 do - the series was established, they’d found their direction, they had better budgets, or at least better technology, so didn’t have to write around what they could actually DO as much - it just ended up ineptly.

You disagree with my opinion, that’s fine…You’re taking up my slack on the franchise-support front.

But, I stand by my comment. Parallels is the only episode I both remember watching and don’t remember hating.

I always thought it was some excuse to highlight Brent Spiner’s acting abilities. They kept playing it up like he was this great actor, and I kept thinking “Ok, so what else has he been in, and if he’s this acting god, why aren’t they seeking him out for major roles?”

Utter and total crap. My guess is that it was “Bring your kids to work” Week and they went with something a third-grader wrote instead of a real script.

I think Masks was pretty badly written and overall a stupid episode. But, I do have an explanation that I’ve heard.

If you look at Season 7’s production schedule, Thine Own Self, another entirely Data-centered episode about Data losing his memory after crash landing on a planet, was shot just the week before. So when he was given the script to Masks, Spiner simply didn’t have enough time to properly develop all the different characters required in Masks, and it kind of ended up as a jumbled mess.

I seem to remember thinking that viruses don’t work like that. It made sense for the ship’s computer, and even Data to be hacked, maybe, but the ability to reshape matter? If the civilization could do that, then why did it no longer exist?

A much more plausible version was “The Inner Light” (the one where Picard got the flute), or even that one Voyager episode that ripped off of that one that I can’t find. (It’s the one where a beacon makes everyone on the ship remember a battle/war that happened thousands of years ago.)

That would make sense, were it not for the fact that the entire season was garbage. “Masks” doesn’t stand out as being any worse than the rest of the dreck. Hell, compared to “Genesis” or “Sub Rosa” it’s downright Shakespearean.
eta: reply to Ender

He is a fair actor, but I think his acting ability gets played up specifically because he is best known for a wooden, emotionless character. Even muted pastels look colorful next to grey.

If you want confirmation of Spiner’s acting chops, watch the episode Brothers. He carries nearly the entire show himself, playing Data, Lore, and Dr. Soong.

I have hated hated hated this episode from the first time I ever saw it. I’d sooner watch “Spock’s Brain”, that’s how bad it is.

The only question is, is it worse, or only just slightly better, than the first season episode where Wesley commits a capital crime on the planet of the scantily clad aerobics instructors.

Somewhere between those two episodes, surely we have the nadir of TNG.

That position is surely held by “Genesis.”

I’ll go with Journey’s End.

Wesley is in reality a supreme being with a higher level of conciousness as revealed to him by his Indian spirit guide, who was really The Traveller. Barf.

Season 7 was weaker than 3-6, but it still had it good moments. I liked Lower Decks, Preemptive Strike, and All Good Things. There’s probably a few more.

Yeah, “Masks” was pretty bad. I do think Brent Spiner is a very good actor, though - he and Patrick Stewart carried all of the TNG cast.

“Genesis” was kind of fun, in a silly sort of way. Not unlike, oh, say, “Shore Leave”.

But, I’ll give you “Journey’s End”.

Ok, whew. I figured I just wasn’t enough of a nerd to enjoy Star Trek at all, 'cause I really hated Journey’s End. It was just…awful. So frigging awful…but I’d kinda figured <hoped> that it tied in with something geminal in the whole Star Trek schtick.

If not, then whew. 'cause I rather liked the middle seasons.
I’m content to be only a semi-geek.