Published Sep 13, 2022
The Lower Decks Connection: The Mind's Eye
This isn’t the first time a crew’s minds has played tricks on them.
By Julian Gardner
Welcome back to The Lower Decks Connection, where we curate a list of episodes for you to watch after you’ve watched the latest episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks! This week in “Mining the Mind’s Mines” (an episode you should say the title of three times fast), Mariner, Boimler, and Rutherford saw their fantasies and nightmares come to life thanks to “psychic mines” — green orbs that bring your thoughts to life. This ranges from the embarrassing (poor Leah Brahms) to the frightening (clown Klingons). Of course, in legacy Star Trek, there were plenty of episodes where mysterious entities messed with the crews’ minds. From making things that don’t exist appear to altering people’s personalities, here are several top episodes where the mind took power over matter.
“The Naked Time,” the first episode in which the crew’s minds took a detour, is famous for the images of Sulu fencing down the hallways of the Enterprise and Spock sobbing when he loses control of his emotions. As an infection ravaged the Enterprise, the crew started to lose their inhibitions. It also marked the first time that the Enterprise time-traveled in the series, becoming a staple for future Star Trek stories.
Before Risa became the go-to relaxation planet, Captain Kirk and his crew found an “amusement park” of a planet that brought whatever they’re thinking of to life. An exhausted Enterprise crew conjured up a variety of strange visions, including one of Kirk’s ex-girlfriend and Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Ultimately though, the visions proved harmless, and Kirk decided to beam his entire crew down for shore leave. I suppose whatever happened on this planet stayed on this planet, as so far no one has mentioned it or returned to it.
Dr. Crusher went through a peculiar time in this episode. It appeared as if people were disappearing off the Enterprise-D, but only she remembered that the ship’s personnel ever existed. As the number of the ship’s complement dwindles, she is resolute in not only finding them but bringing them back into existence. A powerful Crusher episode, it showcases her tenacity and determination even in the face of disbelief and difficulty. Without Crusher, the crew would’ve been lost.
Star Trek: The Next Generation - “Qpid”
“I am not a merry man!” The line that spawned a thousand memes comes from this episode, where Q dropped the crew into Sherwood Forest. The goal was to teach Picard more about love via his relationship with archaeologist Vash, but it seemed more like an excuse for Q to cause some mayhem aboard the Enterprise-D. Ultimately, Picard and his crew were returned to the Enterprise and Vash departed with Q, ending her flirtation with Picard.
As Starfleet and the Bajoran officers grew to trust one another in Deep Space Nine’s first season, that tentative truce was disrupted by an alien force that made the crew turn on each other in a vicious power struggle. As the only one unaffected, Odo must unravel the mystery and save those involved before the peace on DS9 was permanently destroyed and someone got hurt.
During the Bajoran Gratitude Festival and a visit from Lwaxana Troi, the crew started behaving oddly. Quark was obsessed with Keiko, Jadzia pursued Sisko romantically, and Kira and Bashir found themselves drawn to each other as well. This was not usual behavior, and it’s up to Sisko and Odo to investigate what was making the inhabitants of DS9 behave in such a strange fashion. Fear not - the crew returns to normal, though Bashir advised they not think too hard about what caused this particular occurrence.
One of the scariest episodes on this list, the crew of theU.S.S. Voyager found themselves trapped in hallucinations caused by the telepathic Botha, a species they were meeting at the time. It took Kes and her telepathic powers to save the day, compelling the Botha to let them pass through space undisturbed. If you’re looking for the perfect episode on this list to ring in spooky season, this is the one.
Another frightening episode saw Captain Archer and his crew try to rescue a crew of Vulcans succumbing to insanity due to a neurotoxin. When T’Pol began to regress violently, it’s up to Dr. Phlox to save her. Demonstrating a dark side of Vulcan culture, the story was co-written by Terry Matalas, who would go on to write Star Trek: Picard Seasons 2 and 3. Did your favorite make the list? Let us know on social!