*** (3 stars out of 5)
Just after a successful grief counselling session, Troi is struck down by a vicious headache. Similar to mine after this weekend's 3D showing of 'John Carter'.
Heading for T'li Beta, but there's a strange problem when they try to move. There is choppiness when they try to start the engines, and they're being dragged sideways.
Troi has lost her empathic sense. Crusher can't reverse the damage, and urges Troi to see one of the other therapists. Many races are not empathically detectable, including Ferengi and Breen. This factoid does not help Troi with losing a sense most humans can't understand.
Deanna is terrified and very brittle. She lashes out when Will offers comfort.
Troi continues to see her patient Ensign Brooks (the one in denial of her grief) thus demonstrating how her irony sense has also been impaired.
Data and Geordi discover the ship is caught up in a graviton field generated by a shoal of two-dimensional space fish fresh from Flatland. They can't be seen along the side.
Troi snaps at Crusher for failing her, mouths off to the Captain while resigning her post. Finally she cries into Riker's chest.
"Is this how you handle all your personnel problems?' she sobs.
"Sure, you'd be surprised how far a hug goes with Geordi. Or Worf."
Guinan brings Troi a drink and tells her she's going to ask Picard for the Counselor job. She wants a nice office. She's kidding: she's trying to show Troi she can learn to use her intuition. Also, she wants better hours.
The 2D shoal is headed for a cosmic string fragment, 107 km long, 1 proton wide, the intense gravity of which will be quite fatal. Spaghettification sounds tasty, but not if you're the spaghetti.
The universal translator cannot reach the flat beings. Torpedos in their path do not deter them. It's up to Troi to divine their psychology and find the answer.
When the stricken Betazoid Counselor recovers like a Vulcan with some kind of inner eyelid, Beverly easily accepts Troi's apology. "Therapists are always the worst patients. Except for doctors, a' course."
"The Loss" is what they call a bottle show, inexpensive, intimate, and character-driven. It's worthwhile, with good performances. If it's only run-of-the-mill, that's proof positive that Star Trek's become a pretty exceptional mill.