Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 7, Episode 17

Masks (19 Feb. 1994)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 589 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 3 critic

Investigating a rogue comet that's been traveling throughout the universe for over 87 million years, Picard discovers alien beings within the comet, which infest the computer systems on the Enterprise, as well as Data.



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Episode cast overview:


While the Enterprise makes an astronomical study of a 87 million year old rogue comet, it discovers a ship-like construction, possibly the nucleus, which contains alien artifacts constituting the 'archive' of an Ancient culture. From then on the aliens take over, 'possessing' Data's positronic network to give him several of their personalities, including the talkative Ehad and the feared queen Musaka. Alas they also transform matter and even genetics aboard, so as to turn the ship into a city their style. Picard resolves to stop that by understanding and playing the key alien characters. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

24th century




Release Date:

19 February 1994 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The temple set was built on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993)'s Stage 18. The set was put to good use as the Albino's fortress in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Blood Oath (1994). TNG's own Stage 16 was not free, as the Barkonian village from the previous episode Star Trek: The Next Generation: Thine Own Self (1994) was built on it. See more »


After Data and Picard's meeting around the fire, as the camera zooms out, Data's head mark, and the sign drawn in the sand 20 seconds previously, are no longer visible. See more »


Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: If this is the wrong symbol, it might turn the Enterprise into a big chunk of rock.
See more »


References Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation End Credits
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

An uninteresting and confusing story.
10 March 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Just guessing but I assume that most people that review this episode are fans of series and would think would rate higher than an independent reviewer. But if we can be honest about this particular episode, then this show was lacking in so many ways. And after watching the episode on two occasions, this was more about the many acting abilities of Brent Spiner than an entertaining view by the public.

When the Enterprise investigates a passing comet they find inside a mysterious religion facility deep inside the comet. Somehow the passing facility invades the Enterprise's computers plus Data's computer mind making the facility able to communicate with the crew by means of several strange characters that are projected through Data's computer brain. While the Enterprise is being transformed into a ancient alien city, Data's computer mind will hold the key to how Captain Picard can communicate with the forces that are holding the Enterprise.

Brent Spiner did his best at playing several characters but it was not enough to make the story interesting. In fact it was distracting seeing Data change into so many characters in which some had no relevance to the on-going problem the crew was facing.

Thinking I may have missed some important information during my first view, I watch the episode for a second time. Much to my chagrin the second viewing was worse than the first. Nothing had been missed. This was an uninteresting and confusing story that had little action and even less sense. Even being a fan of the series, this was one of the poorest offerings in the entire collection.

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