The Technology of Star Trek can both amaze and confound a person. One of the most interesting pieces of tech though is Geordi’s Visor. The ability to make a blind man see… Sort of, so in today’s episode, we take a look at the visor and ask ourselves…
Does this make sense?
When watching Star Trek The Next Generation one of the things that immediately stood out for me was Geordi’s Visor. It’s an amazing little piece of technology that allows a blind man to see in terms that I would say are better than the normal human eye. That is until the episode Heart of Glory in Season 1 when I saw exactly what Geordi sees with his visor.
Heart of Glory is already a horrible episode in my estimation. Designed to introduce us to Klingon Empire as Allies, it at times is a cringe-worthy episode simply because Starfleet doesn’t seem to know much it’s allies at all.
But what makes this episode worse are the scenes that involve Geordi’s visor and our look into his world. Not because it’s not a cool concept for the audience to be able to see what he see, but just that it’s completely unbelievable.
Captain Picard decided to use a transmitter connected to the visor to be able to transmit real-time images from Geordi’s visor to the bridge main view screen, sounds cool right? I guess they don’t have camera’s in the 24th century. So what does Picard do? Does he have Geordi turn it on and walk around the Enterprise looking at things? Does he wait for a planetary exploration mission to test it out? No, He waits for a distress signal in which a damaged ship is calling for help with life signs being indeterminate. Then once on the ship, they spend several minutes discussing what Geordi sees with Picard “ohh-ing and awe-ing” over it. Do I have to ask myself how many people could have died while Picard was looking at the crew’s auras?
To make matters worse, once we actually see what Geordi sees it makes no sense. I had always assumed, before this point, that Geordi saw a sort of streamed pictured, like a video camera being hooked into his brain. But being that this is the future, and Starfleet not wanting to miss opportunities, had added scanner type functions to it to make him basically a walking Tricorder, Nope, what he sees is a jumble of sensor readings all mashed up into a psychedelic display that he is then able to interpret by using his brains to filter out any information he doesn’t need. What? Come on. You’re telling me that Starfleet can put implants in his brain to receive complex sensor data, but for some reason can’t allow those sensors to simply show him the real world as it is? That doesn’t make sense at all.
A few times during the series we get to see Geordi not only get his sight back through supernatural means, Riker with Q’s power and the Briar Patch are 2 examples that come to mind. But we also see scenes where Pulaski discusses giving him normal sight by regenerating his optic nerve. A Procedure she had done before with success. Geordi ultimately doesn’t go for plan B and wants to keep his visor. That in itself makes sense, after all, it’s what he’s known for his whole life, it wouldn’t be easy to give up. The only issue I have with that is that we had also seen multiple times where Geordi is so impressed after regaining his vision he’s almost tearful so the impact of the Pulaski scene sort of loses it’s lustre.
We know that after the Movie Generations Geordi loses the Visor and gets some sort of ocular implant. We can assume that after the Klingons were able to use his visor by, get this, basically sticking a camera in it, that Geordi would have felt guilty and responsible for the destruction of the Enterprise D, that he made the plunge to get a tech that couldn’t be used against his ship and crewmates.
And still, once we see what he sees in the Movie First Contact it’s better, but even more unbelievable. This time what he sees is an almost perfect picture in a monochromatic scale with punches of colour to denote heat scales. Again What? They can give him black and white film now but not colour? I have expected Charlie Chaplin to walk up behind Zefram Cochrane kick him in the but, but unfortunately no cigar.
The visor was a great plot point and in my opinion, would not have lost any of it’s magic if it allowed Geordi to see like the rest of us with the option for him to see better then us when the plot required it. In fact, that would have shown how amazing and ingenious Starfleet Medical really was…
But instead, we get an acid flashback or silent film constantly running through Geordi’s head, no wonder he got headaches, I’ve got a headache just talking about this. But love it or leave it, Geordi is an amazing character acted by an amazing man. And I think if he hadn’t have been added to show there would have indeed been a huge loss to the Next Generation. SO like I love to tell others, this one, I’m just going to have to suck up…
Watch Episode 3