the story: Crusher unwittingly uncovers a creepy secret about her family.
what it's all about: This is legitimately one of the worst episodes of the whole franchise. Frankly, it's kind of the worst, if you take into account that it comes along when there's absolutely no reason for something like this to have happened. I mean, the other worst episodes of this particular series occur in the first season, when Next Generation was struggling desperately to find itself. "Sub Rosa" technically fits the pattern of the seventh season, in which dark family secrets of the past are exposed.
The problem with this one is this, and it's simple enough to explain: it's creepy. It's really, really creepy.
Oh, if I could leave it at that..."Sub Rosa" takes all the wrong lessons from all Crusher's previous spotlight episodes. I've talked about the remoteness of Crusher's personality in other reviews, and how it forced her to take positions that only further isolated her. But "Sub Rosa" takes it to a thoroughly unlikeable extreme.
And it's so unfortunate, too, because we'd just had "Attached," where the carrot of the Crusher/Picard relationship was dangled so enticingly. Instead, not just Crusher, but everyone woman in her family line, becomes the dupe in the dumbest romance ever, one of those parasitic beings who pop up in the franchise every now and then ("The Man Trap" from the original series, "Exile" from Enterprise) in desperate need for some lovin' and doing their best to screw it up as royally as possible (I mean, even Harry Kim wasn't this bad in Voyager! not even Geordi!).
It's supposed to seem like a classic romance of the 19th century, but yeah...just really, really creepy. And Crusher is the last character capable of selling something this insipid and having it come off as anything but. I have no idea why "Sub Rosa" isn't touted as the worst episode ever. Because it basically is.
franchise- makes Star Trek in general look bad. series- makes the series itself look bad. character- makes Crusher look bad. essential- it makes everything look bad!