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Recap / Star Trek: The Next Generation S5E24 "The Next Phase"

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When a Romulan ship is stranded, Geordi and Ro are apparently lost in a transporter malfunction, and the rest of the crew assume they are dead. They awaken on the Enterprise, able to pass through solid walls due to their molecules being 'phased'.

Tropes provided by "The Next Phase":

  • Attending Your Own Funeral: Geordi and Ro do that because it's a large gathering of people, which raises the chance that someone will see them during the short time in which the decontamination is making them visible.
  • Big Eater: Geordi in the end. Justified since he and Ro had been out of phase for nearly two days.
    • Inverted Trope with Ro; as the Fridge Logic page points out, she grew up in concentration camps and as a refugee, missing food for two days didn't affect her as badly as it did Geordi.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Played with. When Ro realizes that she will never know what Riker was going to say about her during their "funeral", she "shoots" him in the head with the Romulan Disruptor while she is out of phase.
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  • Bottle Episode: This was meant to be one, but like "Power Play", the special effects necessary wound up making this one of the more expensive episodes of the season.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: When the Romulan sent to kill Ro and Geordi is tacked by Geordi, the Romulan, being as intangible as Ro and Geordi, is sent through the bulkhead into space.
    • Which leads to the Fridge Logic of why none of the out-of-phase people were falling through the floor. Perhaps the artificial gravity makes them stick there? Voyager would seem to indicate the artificial gravity is generated by the deck plating so it might count as "dense" enough for them to stand on despite otherwise being intangible.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Though it was only a brief moment, Geordi was previously very vocal about not being happy with Ro joining the crew. The two bond in this episode, though.
  • Foreshadowing: Geordi mentions rumors of the Romulans developing an interphasing cloaking device. In season 7's "The Pegasus", we'll see these rumors were very real.
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  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": Ro is horrified that Data decided to make their memorial service a New Orleans-style jazz funeral. He got the idea from Worf, who explained that Klingons celebrate when a friend joins the honored dead.
  • Ghostly Goals: Lampshaded, as Ro thinks that they're dead and need to settle personal business before moving on to the afterlife.
  • Hell of a Heaven: Subtly discussed. Among the chief reasons why Geordi refuses to accept the possibly that him and Ro are both dead and in some of afterlife, is because of the fact that he is still blind. This at the very least implies that Geordi believes that in whatever afterlife there might be, your earthly ailments shouldn't be troubling you anymore, and he finds the notion that they still will unacceptable.
  • Intangible Man: Geordi and Ro and Romulan officer Parem.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: Discussed. Geordi and Ro confront the possibility that an accident killed them, and the reason they're invisible to the crew is that they're ghosts. The skeptical Geordi runs headlong into this very trope.
    Geordi: But my uniform, my visor... are you saying I'm some blind ghost with clothes?
    Ro: I don't have all the answers! I've never been dead before!
  • Karma Houdini: Even though they nearly kill the folks who saved their lives, the Romulans get away scot-free. Well, except for that one guy flung into space...
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Ro thinks that she and Geordi have become ghosts, but Geordi doesn't buy into it as easily as her.
  • Plot Hole: One of the more cited examples on the show: "Why don't they fall through the floor?"
    • This was actually going to be explained originally (it would actually take a bit of effort to phase through something, meaning you won't actually do it unless you actively tried to) but was presumably cut due to the effect work required meant the episode would go even more over budget then it already had. This would also have explained how the Romulan was thrown clear of the ship.
    • And even if, say, artificial gravity could explain them sticking to the floor, there are still a few plot-holes where characters interact with other objects. Most notably, Ro runs her hand nostalgically across the chair of the helm position at point.
      • Although since she never actually tried to move it, this could be justified as her essentially 'tricking' herself into feeling that she was touching it without physically coming into contact with it.
  • The Power of Friendship: Reflecting on Geordi's apparent death:
    Data: I never knew what a friend was, until I met Geordi. He spoke to me as though I were human. He treated me no differently from anyone else. He accepted me for what I am. And that, I have learned, is friendship.
  • Recycled In Space: This episode is Ghost in space. Too bad Whoopi Goldberg wasn't there that week...
  • Riddle for the Ages / The Un-Reveal: What was Riker going to say about Ro?
    • Considering the events of Conundrum, it seems Riker's unrevealed funeral speech and Ro's interest in it are foreshadowing a possible future romance between the two. However, since Ro only appears in two more episodes after this one, no such plot development ever happens.
  • Skeptic No Longer: As an adult, Ro stopped thinking much of Bajoran religious beliefs, but after apparently dying, becomes more appreciative and understanding of them.
  • Trapped on the Astral Plane: Due to a transporter malfunction, Geordi & Ro are phased out of sync with the rest of the universe. They can see everyone else but nobody can see them, so people think they're dead. Eventually, they manage to find a way to contact the rest of their crew members, who then manage to phase them back.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The Romulans "thank" the crew for coming to their aid by sabotaging the Enterprise so that it will explode the next time it enters warp.
  • Wham Shot:
    • In sickbay, Ro is frustrated that no one seems to notice her. Then, Picard walks straight through her.
    • Later, when Geordi and Ro figure out what's going on, they head back to the Enterprise...and one random Romulan who'd just been sitting in the background the whole time gets up and follows them, phasing through a console as he does so.


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