Star Trek: TNG: Sub Rosa (1994) (Manic Episodes)

Star Trek: TNG: Sub Rosa (1994) (Manic Episodes)


[Allison] Heya folks! If you set the clock back to one year ago, you might remember my truly groundbreaking video on Star Trek Enterprise’s “A night in sickbay”. Of course I don’t need to remind you as surely I’ve been racking in hundreds of thousands of views. And you’ll no doubt remember me starting things off by clarifying that I am not a trekkie but a humble Scott Bakula fan. And that’s not because I had anything against Star Trek. I just hadn’t dipped my toe in that well yet. Anyway, that’s changed. Because now, my friends, I have dived deep into the franchise and binge my way through a good chunk of it. And my dudes, I was missing out on a ton of the cultural zeitgeist. Truly the darkest of times. But now I’ve seen the world of Klingons, Vulcans, those stupid cabbage heads from Voyager… Yes, I can trek with the worst of them. And let me tell you guys, coming from someone who watched all of Enterprise first, it’s like night and day. That sound you’re hearing right now is the shrieks of a thousand trekkies, horrified by my watching order. Anyway, Star Trek has provided some of the best and some of the hilariously worst sci-fi has to offer. And so I’m gonna do a Star Trek Manic Episodes triple feature. We’ve got three videos coming up covering the best worst episodes of Next Generation, Deep Space 9 and Voyager. And we’re getting the ball rolling with this masterpiece from one of the biggies. Strap yourselves in for a tale of romance, intrigue… and ghosts? It’s “Sub Rosa”. When it comes to Next Generation I had a buffet of choices from the first two seasons, as it was quite a journey to get them to the classic television series it became. But just because an episode is bad doesn’t necessarily make it funny, and there’s a bevy of snoozefest in those first couple years. I’m looking for real hilarity, folks, and I didn’t expect things to get to those loaves in season 7, but lo and behold, I was gifted “Sub Rosa”. People warned me, but I had no idea it could be this wondrously off-the-mark by their last season. It blew all the other bad episodes out of the water. I’m telling you, this is the hardest I ever laughed at the show. I was crying. Can I just say poor Beverly Crusher? While she did get some solid episodes, it was very few and far between that she got plots of her own. Usually she was just relegated to Wesley’s mom, or medical exposition dump. And hey, it’s cool we get to find out more about her family after seven years, but uh… this is what they gave us? It’s a story that makes you wish you knew less. Appropriately we start things off at a funeral. Beverly’s grandmother, who raised her since her parents died, has passed away in this Federation space colony that models itself after Scotland. And that’s something you’re just gonna have to accept. So already everything looks and feels nothing like Star Trek at all. Thirteen seconds in and Picard instantly wants out of this. It’s really not so bad for Nana when you think about it, she gets to share a cemetery with Marty McFly and Darth Vader. -Well as you know… Bad writing, next. Yeah, yeah, this is all very sad. Hey, wait a minute. Who’s this handsome devil? -He gave me a remarkable look. [Snifs] Remarkable. Crusher and Troy visit grandma’s house, an old-fashioned cottage lit by lamplight almost straight out of the 1800s. Sure, the Federation comes from a world where technology is at its peak and people want for nothing, but wouldn’t you rather live by lamplight in a recreation of old Scotland in the far-off reaches of space? Hell, I know that’s how I want to live now. I loved a time when people died of pneumonia regularly. It’s retrochic. While she’s reminiscing, Beverly shows Deanna the sweet candle her grandma had, a family heirloom meant to symbolize their enduring spirit. Her grandmother used to tell her ghost stories by this candle light, because as you will come to find out, grandma got off on some spooky stuff. -I’m going to head back to the ship. -You don’t have to leave. “Uh, but I want to.” Oh well, nothing left to do but read grandma’s journal and get all the juicy deets. I hope the worst thing in the world doesn’t happen while she’s upstairs. [Dramatic chord] [Explosion noise] My God, the stakes have never been higher. Naturally, Beverly’s pissed this stranger is going around barging into houses and blowing out candles, and demands an explanation. The man introduces himself as Ned Quint, manager for grandmother’s affairs for the past five years. -That candle has brought nithin but misery and bad luck to yer grandmother. -That candle has been a curse in yer family for generations. [Repeats ‘candle’ several times] -That damned candle! “Ye’re damned. Daaaaamned.” “Dinnae licht that candle.” -Ye stay on in this hoose, and ye keep that damned candle. -I have not been responsible for what happens. “I could just tell you exactly what it is instead of speaking cryptically, but then I’d actually be useful.” “Sorry about the rubbish accent.” “According to these readings the transition from old Scotland to this spaceship is as jarring as our inclusion in events is useless.” I’m sorry, but the fact the Enterprise has a rolling chair is hilarious to me. Just imagining Geordi trying to get shit done while the ship is taking heavy damage and this chair is just rolling around all over the place really makes me chuckle. Anyhoo, I wasn’t paying enough attention to know this guy’s name. Let’s just call him the governor of Scotland town. And he asked the good folks on the Enterprise to take a look at their outdated weather control system. As you can see this is an integral part of the plot that uses the rest of our characters wisely, and definitely isn’t just an excuse for them to have something to do. -Our weather control has been working perfectly for the last 22 years. “Which is why I asked you to take a look at it.” Whoa guys, this is fascinating talk about atmospheric humidity, power distribution patterns, climatic flow arrayzzzz… [Allison snoozes] -Don’t worry, governor. We’ll keep it dry. -I certainly hope so, there’s a caber toss scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, -and I’d hate to see it spoiled by an unexpected downpour. No, not the- not the caber toss! No! Rain, ruining the caber toss?! Fuck! Meanwhile Beverly’s got all sorts of steamy details on her grandmother’s love life thanks to her journals. Despite being 100 years old she had a hot young lover in his 30s. Picard’s reaction noise is amazing. -Mmmmmm. “Ridiculous. Well, I’m going to travel back in time and sleep with my roommate at the academy while in my old body again.” Speaking of creepy, I didn’t realize ghosts groping was a genre in the 90s, but apparently that’s some sort of go-to for people who write women badly. And I think if this was written as it is, a frightening violation by an entity you cannot see or fight off, it would work in a horror context, but you see, this episode isn’t horror. It is straight up out of a cheesy romance novel. No, Beverly Crusher, who works on a spaceship where things regularly possess, transform, kill and maim people, finds this fondling terribly romantic. -The sensations were very real and extremely arousing. -Frankly I’m envious. “It’s been ages since something violated me and the show sugar-coated over it. Just like the chocolates I love so much. Nom nom nom nom.” -Mmmmmm. Apparently Beverly thinks this is a dream, but I still question her finding her grandmother’s journal so erotic she has wet dreams after reading it. -I did fall asleep reading a particularly erotic chapter in my grandmother’s journal. -I’d read two chapters. -Mmmmmm. Well, time for Beverly to dress like she always does, in a Cryptkeeper shawl, as she wanders in the fake Scotland fog. My God, could it be true? Could it really rain on the caber toss? [Technobabbling Lullaby] Anyway, back to “dinnae licht that candle!” Seeing as how breaking into her house and flying off the handle with all that candle blowing wasn’t really very helpful, Ned tries to clarify what he meant. See, he’s pretty reasonable, it’s just that the candle is haunted. “Ye’re damned. Daaaaamned.” “Dinnae licht that candle.” Beverly is a woman of science, but hey, just hypothetically, what if her grandmother’s candle is haunted by a ghost? And what if said candle ghost was causing all this green lightning, messing with the weather controls and planting a bunch of magic flowers everywhere? What if that ghost was her grandmother’s lover? I do love that she threatens to call the Enterprise security guards on the ghost. That’s pretty good. She tries to skeptic him but in the end she can’t resist the ghost with the most. -Mmmmmm. -Nice fucking model! *honking* Now they gotta include another scene of Crusher and Troi dishing about boys. Although I don’t know how I can tell they’re girlfriends if they aren’t doing aerobics in front of a butt mirror. The weird part of this is that Troi comes off less like she’s trying to get her to spill and more like she’s jealous. -Beverly, if I didn’t know any better I’d say you were seeing someone. -Now I know you’re seeing someone. “Kind of like I see the replicator every morning and have it make me something chocolate. What else do girls like?” When Beverly tells her she’s falling for her grandmother’s lover she reacts appropriately disturbed. After all, who wants their grandparents sloppy seconds? -What the hell is going on? “Will this ruin the caber toss?” [More sleep-inducing technobabble] -I’ll go get my jacket. “Dinnae licht that candle. Ye’re damned. Daaaaamned. I love being a useless sack of crap.” -He’s dead. Good engineer work, guys. They couldn’t figure out why the weather control system was going wack. Could it be the fake Scottish man like 5 feet behind them who’s ripping out power conduits? “I’m beginning to think we’ll never have our caber toss now.” Suspecting grandma lover ghost might have some answers to this mysterious death, Beverly visits him and he makes a physical appearance. “Yes Beverly, I have all the answers you need, but first, you know that scene in Ghostbusters with Dan Aykroyd from that montage? Well, let’s do that but in reverse.” By now things are getting a bit unhinged for Beverly. She’s dressing like a porcelain doll, acting out of character and getting the Casper shakes. He’s got her in his big old fart cloud of deceit. [Farts] So imagine Picard’s surprise when Beverly abruptly resigns from Starfleet and says she’s going to live in her grandmother’s house in fake Scotland. “You can’t leave, Beverly. You remember what happened last time. Do you want Pulaski to come back? Are you that heartless?” [Music: Unchained Melody] “Beverly, are you done with those journals? Whatever Deanna says, I called dibs first.” Detecting some energy readings matching the spike that killed Ned Quint, Data and Geordi beam down to the surface to do some good old-fashioned cemetery snooping. Finding the source of the energy in Nana Beverly’s grave, they ask Picard for permission to exhume the body. Picard in turn asks for the governor of Scotland town’s permission, all while staring right at Beverly, the person who, you know, should be the one who determines who digs up her grandmother’s corpse. This makes Ghost Fabio non too pleased with Picard’s actions. Heheh… Incredible. I think we all knew this is how Jean-Luc Picard was gonna go out. Lit flat on his ass by an 800 year old candle ghost. This is where the episode just goes completely off the rails and I lose it. Data and Geordi exhume Beverly’s dead grandmother, who proceeds to reanimate and take them out with her lightning fingers. Beverly’s there and naturally, this is quite a shock to her, pun entirely intended. I never expected to see a Star Trek where Dr. Crusher faces her zombie grandma, but lordie, am I glad I did. I should be horrified but I can’t stop laughing. “Werthers…” -You’re not Nana. Nana’s dead. -LEAVE HER ALONE! [Allison chef-kisses] Delicious. She’s chewing that scenery like dead grandma chewing down on some tasty brains. “Hey mom. I’m back from the Academy. What’d I miss?” “Ehmmmmmmm…” Now the truth comes out. As Beverly dramatically explains and fails to naturally infuse into the scene, ghost lover is really an an aphasic life-form, who must use an organic host to keep molecular cohesion, or he’ll die. I don’t know how this gives him the ability to make flowers magically appear but whatever. Get a load of this bit of science. The candle was plasma-based, and he was using it as a receptacle to, uh, get to her and then they could like, merge and stuff and… I don’t know, whatever, look, to make a long story short, he’s been using the women in her family for centuries, meaning her family lines since at least the 1600s has at their lives wasted and sucked dry by this lame-ass ghost candle man. Hi-larious. -No, no… “Yes, yes… oh wait, I forgot I’m dead again. [Farts] -NOOOO! “Come on, we can still work this out.” “Damn, forgot busting makes you feel good.” “That’s the last caber toss you’ll ruin, you son of a bitch.” “Captain’s Log supplemental: Uhhh… pfft… Well this one’s a doozy. Where do I even begin?” -I reread the entries in my grandmother’s journals. -Whatever else he might have done, he made her very happy. No. Credits. [Next Generation ending] “Sub Rosa” is terribly good. The whole romance novel vibe just doesn’t fit anything we saw before or since in this show. The story is nonsense, and does a lot of horrifying things to Beverly’s character and her entire family. And that might mean something more if there was any weight to it, but it’s disturbingly dismissive of the violating nature of the whole ordeal. It’s sexist at worst, clumsy at best, but if you want a bad episode that’s a lot of fun I’d recommend it. Otherwise this will be one ghost that stays in the grave. [Next Generation ending]

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Comments

  1. Rewatched the episode recently. Not terrible as people keep whining about, not great, just like most Season 7 episodes: mediocre.

  2. As I understand it the Federation Colonial Service exists mainly to deport all those with regressive political and cultural views to the arse end of nowhere so they don't screw things up for the rest of the population. Kind of how the regime of Brave New World sends all the screw ups to Iceland.

  3. I must say I find your presentation and enthusiasm for the material more entertaining than the actual material you review. Your gift for this should be better utilized. I don't know where or what your "next level " is but I hope it finds you.

  4. 3:19 Hey, that cabinet on the wall isn't from the 1800s! it's the top part of this type of CD cabinet my parents happen to own!

    Bad propwork, episode is ruined!

  5. "Damn, forgot busting makes you feel good" "That's the last Caber Toss you'll ruin you son of a bitch!"

    Talk about a one-two punch. You had me dying. Well done.

  6. I love these series but they can be so campy and weird. Thank you for reviewing Sub Rosa with the dry blunt wit that this loveable episode deserves. Fucking planet Scotland, I was in stitches.

  7. So…rather than figure out a way for the "ghost" to no longer depend on others for survival, you kill it instead? Huh. Hypocrites.

  8. I hope you do not mind, but I leave a link to a free app that I created that realistically mimics a TOS TRICORDER:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKpq9Er7si4&t=14s

  9. 7:08: "It's been ages since something violated me and the show sugar-coated over it, just like the chocolate I love so much…om-nom-nom-nom." Yep. That about covers it.

  10. i am fehkin HOLLERIN at the line " fell asleep after a particularly erotic entry in my grandmother's journal " how do you not hurl the book across the room when you get to your nana's home brew 50 shades fan fic??? im ded!!!!!

  11. Isn't this kind of like what Marvel did with the phoenix entity and Jean Grey's bloodline? At least this episode made me look up sub rosa. I remember not particularly liking this one, despite Jonathan Frakes' having directed it, and he was probably my second-favorite TNG director after Rob Bowman.

  12. I took it a alternate interest episode, but it does suck pretty bad as sci fi. Give the ghost a slap silly ghost, silly willy ghost enough of you, die. End program

  13. So what's weirder: a bunch of future humans basically LARPing as 19th century Scottish people, or aliens living among those humans and fully embracing all the cabertossing and tweed wearing, even if it's literally alien history?

  14. So, nobody going to mention that week grandma went visit her sister, and back home there was a power cut and grandad lit the candle for light……no. lol

  15. As bad as this is, at least it's got its hilarious parts. Most troubling episode for me is The Child where Troi reenacts the 200th issue of Avengers – ie she's impregnated by an alien, gives birth to a child which grows up insanely quickly and exists only to learn about how Troi and her friends take care of their young and then disappears into space forever, never to return.

    And everyone treats it like this glorious event in her life, and not as it should be this horrendous violation of her body and mind that any normal person would need years of therapy to fix.

  16. I’ve gotta ask, if creepy ghost dude did eventually take over Dr Crusher would he then move onto Wesley? He went from woman to woman but Wesley is last in biochemistry line, would he go gay? Or would he make some weird spiritual orb ginger ghoul baby with Bev to keep the lady streak going!??

  17. Rapey Ghost was effed either way. Living off the women of Beverly's family, kinda at a dead end after her unless he swings both ways. Glad he got Busted because the thought of him attempting to fart sex Wesley is a horrifying one.

  18. Something ruined by a sudden downpour? This has been Scotland since forever you think they'd be used to it by then.

  19. I've been watching TNG on Netflix.. and it was time for this episode.
    I had heard it was terrible.. but oh man.. the cringe was real.
    Who the frik approved this episode!?

  20. I have had parasitic boyfriends before and I just had to laugh when he said “I love you. I’m going to take care of you”. Yeah, like he can keep his corporeal form long enough to go out, get a job and support her. Lol

  21. Well gates mcfadden is an amazing actress and really devotes herself to the plot, no matter how cheesy. She had me believing that green smoke was doing something to her…. LOL😝

  22. Thank you for doing this! I am a huge Star Trek fan and really enjoy this. I am going to watch all your videos on Trek and check out some of your other work.

    One comment on this piece: I do not think it can be called sexist that Beverly enjoyed her “violation.” The fact that she enjoys it, by definition, makes it not a violation. Would you not agree that this a genuine desire of many women?

  23. I'll never understand, nor remember the title of this episode. This will always be referred by me as "Gramma's Sloppy Seconds".

  24. At least 'Threshold' was an attempt at a storyline within the Star Trek universe. This is just

  25. At least Quint (no sharks on him !) was wearing a bunnet, and not a kilt as well. The Force is strong with Bev’s Nana.

  26. Ghost fondling in a horror movie? You need to watch "Hell House" actually… You really really need to review that. Its… a Thing.

  27. I kinda wish the episode of Baywatch where Summer is likewise ghost-raped also had an 18th century Scottish theme. Mitch McMalibu wants that CAHNDLE!

  28. Nicely done. I remember watching this back in the 90s and remember her writhing in pleasure with 'ghost energy' when Picard walks in on her and thinking it was bizarre. Troi and Beverly got some absolutely awful ;lady plots' sometimes. Troi had a couple of weird flings with real weirdos too.

  29. So sexy lamp ghost decided to model itself after a Bajoran freedom fighter turned First Minister of Bajor- not bad. I would have modeled him after Vedek Bareil Antos personally…

  30. Though everything about the candle ghost sexiness is bad and creepy, I was hoping you would comment that, since she had no daughters, when Beverly passed was the candle ghost going to seduce Wesley?
    Just imagine Wil Wheaton trying to sell that moaning/writhing as pleasurable.

  31. Hilarious video! I believe the idea in this book of a ghost seducing a human was very popular at the time this was made because of the book"The witching Hour", which came out in 90, and the follow up book"Lasher" which came out in 93.Written by Anne Rice, both were about a woman who is seduced by a ghost who has seduced several of the women in her family line over the years. The ghost eventually, with her help, incarnates into a physical body and all hell ensues.When I first saw Sub Rosa, that's immediately what I got out of it. Your take down is awesome. I never enjoyed this episode so much as watching your review of it.

  32. Sadly this is not the last time Jeri Taylor would butcher a "Star Trek" series for one episode with her embarrassing romance novel cliches.

  33. is it just me that's disturbed by the fact that Ronin was a ghost that fell in love with his daughter

  34. "I fell alseep after reading a particularly erotic chapter in my grandmother's journal. Did you know what you can do with Werther's?"

  35. Wait, what if Wesley never marries? When Beverly dies is Ghost Fabio going to try putting the moves on Wesley? Asking him to light the candle? (And is Wes going to read Beverly's ghost sex journals?)

  36. 3:42 – Living in an old fashioned cottage with lamplight? Yes! I'd have that. Provided I also have access to modern medicines.

  37. In season seven it seemed the writers were using left over scripts. Stuff they should have thrown away but for some reason didn't.

  38. "Medical exposition dump"

    "Its a story that makes you wish you knew less!"

    I'd get carpal tunnel if I typed out every quote that made me chortle. Loving these reviews, thank you much!!!

  39. This is one thing about the future that has come true before the late 24th Century.

    People are starting to pick eras in which to live as a buffer against technology.

  40. Rewatched this episode a couple of years ago and it isn't that bad. It's not great although not the worst. I think people tend to overreact to the episode when it's like "just chill".

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