the story: Geordi is transformed into an alien.
similar to: "Ashes to Ashes" (Voyager)
my thoughts: This is a Geordi episode that works less well than the earlier "Galaxy's Child." It attempts to flesh out more of his backstory by drawing on his earlier career (the series loved doing this, almost to an obsessive degree: "Clues," also just a few episodes earlier; "The Wounded," also just a few episodes earlier; and "The Pegasus," from the final season, which was further expounded on in the controversial Enterprise finale, "These Are the Voyages...").
The problem with "Identity Crisis" is that Geordi gets together with a friend with no dramatic heft, and nothing to say about Geordi's past. The whole thing becomes far more about a random sci-fi story (which itself is pretty interesting; that's the main reason why I'll give it franchise credentials, because, as fans seem to forget, Star Trek is above all things kind of a random sci-fi story vehicle in the best Twilight Zone tradition). The later "Ashes to Ashes" explores a similar tale of someone being somewhat forcibly drafted into an alien species.
When the episode can literally be about anyone but goes to the trouble of being about someone, that's a problem.
But as I said, it's not without its merits. For example, there's one of those neat holodeck recreation scenes (such as also featured in "Schisms") that's a wonderful working example of how these people in the future use their fancy technology in ways that are easy for people like us to understand (in other words, not what's commonly known as "technobabble).
All that being said, if you want to watch this just for having the spotlight on Geordi, then it's all good. He was apparently a tough character to write for, outside of his purely functional roles, so it's always a treat to watch him in one of his own episodes.
criteria analysis: franchise -
Patti Yasutake (Ogawa)