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Imaginary Friend
Stardate 45832.1
Star Trek: The Next Generation, episode 122 (5.22)

Last Modified: 28 Jun 2006 13:30:03

         
Cast:
Patrick Stewart   IMDB   Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes   IMDB   Commander William T. Riker
Levar Burton   IMDB   Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge
Michael Dorn   IMDB   Lieutenant Worf
Gates McFadden   IMDB   Commander Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis   IMDB   Lt. Commander Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner   IMDB   Lt. Commander Data
Guest Cast:
Noley Thornton   IMDB   Clara Sutter
Shay Astar   IMDB   Isabella
Jeff Allin   IMDB   Ensign Daniel Sutter
Whoopi Goldberg   IMDB   Guinan
Brian Bonsall   IMDB   Alexander Rozhenko
Patti Yasutake   IMDB   Ensign Alyssa Ogawa
Sheila Franklin   IMDB   Ensign Felton
Music:
Dennis McCarthy   IMDB
Director:
Gabrielle Beaumont   IMDB
Teleplay:
Edithe Swensen   IMDB
Brannon Braga   IMDB
Story:
Jean Louise Matthias   IMDB
Ronald Wilkerson   IMDB
Richard Fliegel   IMDB
Published
Laser Disc   ST:TNG LaserDisc Volume 61
DVD   ST:TNG DVD 5.6
Teaser
The Next Generation Teaser #122: Imaginary Friend

A little girl's imaginary friend becomes a frightening reality for the crew when she threatens to destroy the U.S.S. Enterprise.
Synopsis
After learning from a young Enterprise resident named Clara that she has an "Invisible friend," Troi reassures the girl's father, Daniel Sutter, that the practice is normal. Since Clara has been moved from starship to starship, Troi explains that her imaginary friend "Isabella" provides her with a constant companion. Meanwhile, the Enterprise investigates a rare nebula that has formed around a neutron star. As the exploration proceeds, a strange energy source makes its way onto the ship and begins to conduct an exploration of its own. The being discovers Clara playing in the Arboretum, and immediately materializes into the image of her friend Isabella.

Clara is astonished to see her imaginary friend come to life. Isabella convinces the girl to take her on a tour of the ship, concentrating on forbidden areas like Engineering, the Bridge and the Ten-Forward. The crew is shocked to see Clara popping up in such unexpected places, especially when she blames her "companion" Isabella, whom none of the adults can see. At the same time, Picard and the crew are troubled by mysterious energy strands which have surrounded the ship like a web and are causing it to lose power.

Troi decides Clara should meet some other children, and arranges for her to attend a ceramics class. The girl immediately hits it off with Worf's son Alexander, that is, until Isabella arrives and destroys one of Alexander's creations. Since Alexander can't see Isabella, he blames Clara. Later, a tearful Clara confronts Isabella, asking why she has been so mean to her. Isabella coldly replies that when the "others" come, Clara and everyone else on the ship will die.

Terrified, Clara confesses to her father that she is afraid of Isabella. Sutter calls Troi in, and the counselor accompanies the little girl back to her room to assure her that she is safe. She looks under the bed and in the bathroom in an effort to prove to Clara that nothing is lurking in the shadows. However, when she opens the door to Clara's closet, Isabella appears before her and knocks Troi unconscious with a strand of red energy.

Making a connection between Isabella and the beings that are draining the ship's energy, Picard begins a search for the girl. He finds her with Clara's help, and she tells them that she was on board to assess the ship's energy sources. When Picard tells her there are ways of providing her race with energy without destroying the ship, she replies that she plans to destroy it anyway. But when Clara asks her to spare them, Isabella changes her mind. She dematerializes, and moments later, the energy strands vanish. Picard orders Geordi to drive the warp engines to full power and direct the energy into the nebula, providing the aliens with the needed nourishment. Later, Isabella says goodbye to Clara in her quarters, and the two pledge to always remain friends.
Reviews

By Dark Materia on 14 Dec 2002 08:41:34
I am normally not very fond of children on Star Trek, because of the horribly unconvincing acting. But these children are not that bad, young Noley Thornton who would later play Taya in the DS9 episode Shadowplay is only midly annoying. The story is pretty basic, child psychology and some non-coporeal lifeform who threatens to kill everyone. There is a lot of Troi in there and we hear about Geordi's childhood.

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