Series: The Next Generation
Air Date: May 14,1990
Written by: Peter S. Beagle
Directed by: Les Landau
Ambassador Sarek has a sick, sick mind, and it's affecting the crew of the Enterprise.
Sarek has been working on a diplomatic mission with the Legarans for a very long time and on this final, crucial step of the process, he has been brought aboard the USS Enterprise to negotiate a treaty. Before he beams aboard, however, his aids come first and warn Picard that Sarek is growing ill in his old age and won't be able to attend any of the social functions he might normally take part in as an ambassador. Picard is disappointed, but understands, and then Sarek beams aboard with his wife, Perrin. He wants to get to work immediately preparing the ship for the Legarans' arrival. And the aids just roll their eyes.
Wesley and Geordi and preparing a vat of ectoplasm for the Legarans (although Wesley really wants to hurry because he somehow got a date) when Sarek comes in and points out everything wrong with the room. Geordi assures him that the room will be ready in time for the Legarans' arrival, but Sarek still seems uncharacteristically upset and stressed. So his aids bring him back to his quarters and decline a tour of the ship. Such a pity, however, that Sarek will not be able to attend the concert Picard set up for him, but the concert will go on, and Troi suggests inviting at least Perrin. So Picard does, and Sarek ends up joining his wife at the concert, much to his aids' protest.
|Hello, friends, I am here.|
Crusher explains that Bendii Syndrome affects Vulcans over 200 years old and causes them to lose their emotional control. Because of the Vulcans' natural telepathic powers, it often affects those around them. So Picard confronts first Perrin and then Sarek about the disease. Then Sarek requests to be left alone with Picard to discuss it, and, while insisting to Picard that he is in perfect health, he becomes visibly shaken and upset. Picard points this out, and the only logical conclusion is that he is, in fact, sick. His Vulcan aid has been holding his mind together for him all this time, but the stress of this particular mission made this an impossible task.
|Damn! I've been out-logic'd!|
Meanwhile, Picard, who is now partly Sarek, starts losing his mind. He feels all the sadness, all the anger, all the stress that has been raging deep inside the Vulcan. And, perhaps most poignantly, all the love. Through Picard, Sarek expresses his love for Perrin; for Spock, his son; and for Amanda, Spock's mother. He expresses his anger that he was never able to tell any of them. He weeps, he laughs, he yells, and it's all Crusher can do to keep him company through his terror. Meanwhile, the meeting with the Legarans is a complete success.
|"I-Chaya! I even loved that inferior beast!"|
I'm telling you, Patrick Stewart's performance while Picard is under the effect of the mind meld is amazing and precisely, I think, why he was chosen for the role. Even without that performance, though, this was a great episode exploring the depths of Vulcan emotions and the lengths to which they go to suppress them. As well as the effects of this suppression on those they, in all actuality, love. Three thumbs up for this episode.