ST:TNG 6.21 Frame of Mind ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

Riker sanity gets tested in 6.21 Frame of Mind.

Above Image Source: TrekCore

Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch continues with ...

Frame of Mind
Season 6, Episode 21

I was excited to see that Frame of Mind was the next episode in the re-watch, this is one I know by title or even a single shot of the episode. Muffy hair? check. On a stage? check. Does everything look a bit off? check. That's Frame of Mind. If you are less familiar with the episode, it starts with Riker is in a play portraying a character who is being subjected to tests and having his sanity judged. As the episode goes on we start to see odd things here and there, and then eventually Riker ends up in the place that looks like the stage and in the same position his character from the play was in: accused of murder and at the mercy of unknown doctors.

Riker is no stranger to abduction (4.15 First Contact, 6.05 Schisms) or mind control (4.08 Future Imperfect), but out of all the episodes where he encounters these elements, this is the one that has affected me most. As it, it's totally scary. Not knowing what is real, the idea that of doing something horrible but not remembering it, and seeing Riker so vulnerable is all very distressing. What makes it all work is Jonathan Frakes really brings it, his performance in this episode is the best I've ever seen. He doesn't hold back and it pays off big time. I am impressed every time I watch it.

In terms of a rewatch, this episode is particularly interesting. Even thought I know what will happen, I can never find a definitive moment that declares when it shifts from reality to Riker's subconscious. It drives me crazy that I can't pinpoint the moment, and that makes it even more scary. The idea that it blurs the lines, that memory isn't perfect and what you think you know may in fact not be real. Too creepy!

Even though this one freaks me out, I love rewatching it because there are so many great moments in it. Two in particular stood out on this watch. I love when Beverly is prepping Riker before the performance of the play, and says he looks like an actor. It feels so real, as in a nod to acting and the actors themselves. I also love when Riker is using this device to relate to different aspects of himself, and it's all very cold and distanced until Deanna steps towards him and tells him not to believe what is happening. Even though it's something going on in his mind, you can feel that she would do this and encourage him to stay strong and break free. Very powerful stuff.

This might be one of the last episodes in the series I find truly scary. We are really getting close to the end!

Above Images Source: TrekCore


Suzie Ridler said…
Wow! How can I not remember this episode?! I think I must have blocked it from my mind. Just reading you write about it freaks me out. That's one of my greatest fears, not being believed and people thinking I'm crazy. Poor Riker! OK Shannon, I might have to rewatch this one too. Thanks for writing about it!

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