In which the cause of gender relations is set back approximately as far as the cause of race relations in ‘Code of Honor.’ These two episodes would make the most horrible/awesome double feature.
Memory Alpha says: Riker struggles with a planet’s female leader, while a plague on the Enterprise prohibits sanctuary for the rebels. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)
This is going to be another bullet-pointer, because this episode, my word, this episode. I’m going to write a proper summary for the next one, though, because it’s actually quite good and interesting, and would make an awesome/not horrible double feature with ‘The Big Goodbye.’
- The Odin was SEVEN YEARS OVERDUE? Could no-one find it again until now? Did no-one try? I suppose this is like the Stargazer being adrift in space until the Ferengi found it. How many lost starships are there, just floating aimlessly onward in whatever direction they were last given a push? I’m not saying I find this implausible in terms of the environment, because of course interstellar space is ridiculously vast and finding any one thing within it, that doesn’t have a known position or orbit in relation to other known things, is a huge job. I just would have thought salvage would be a bigger priority than it seems to be, given the huge investment of resources, including time, expertise and effort, in building a starship. Episode idea for my imaginary TNG: TAS: Starfleet Salvage Missions.
- Data says Angel One is ‘sparsely populated’ but also technologically similar to 2oth Century Earth. Of course, one reason why 20th Century Earth’s population boomed well beyond ‘sparse’ was that the development of our technology enabled it. We’ll hit seven billion this year – isn’t that exciting and perturbing? I suppose Angel One was contacted before the PD was established, or they shouldn’t be going there at all. What is the Federation’s position, incidentally, on pre-warp worlds that are contacted by other interplanetary organisations such as the Ferengi Alliance or the Cardassian Union? Do they then start going there, at least partly on the principle that those poor rubes need protecting from the capitalists and the spoonheads, or do they stay out of it on principle? I can’t for the life of me remember. I’m allowed to wonder crap like this, I’m watching early TNG.
- Geordi reckons it would be like ‘being marooned at home,’ which, no it wouldn’t. At your home you’re used to food replicators and matter reclamation units and probably cute little roomba-bots that clean the place for you. I’d love a Roomba. It would scare the hell out of my cats, and we wouldn’t have all these little fur tumbleweeds from the fluffy one.
- Data will not round off numbers. Ho ho!
- Tasha reports a hail from Angel One. She really does seem to have inherited a lot of Uhura’s job, doesn’t she?
- Starfleet wants them to maintain ‘excellent diplomatic relations’ with Angel One. Why? Who the fuck cares about Angel One? Is it strategically important? Does it have resources they want? Is it a nice place to go on holiday? Pussyfooting around the Ligonians made sense because they were the only known suppliers of an important vaccine. No reason is given here.
- Data gets to do the interesting part of Deanna’s job, summarising the culture and political system of Angel One. The use of ‘mistresses’ as a title here is just… urgh. Deanna says it sounds like her own planet, and Worf, for no reason, pipes up that Klingons appreciate strong women.
- Picard invites Deanna to talk to the Angels because it’s a female dominated society and she’s such a girl. And they’re not likely to think ‘Wait, why is the ship’s shrink talking to us?’ Tasha is female too, and being hailed by the ship’s chief of security makes a little bit more sense, even if Deanna is slightly higher up the chain of command (I think at this point she’s a lieutenant commander).
- Deanna really is a diplomat here. Why wasn’t this her official job. She’s actually good at it ffs.
- After the CREDITS OF ADVENTURE, Riker is strolling along holding a dimply silver ball thing, and Wesley and his non-speaking friend have put on matching outfits to play on the holodeck. That’s adorkable. Why is Wesley’s tighter-fitting?
- Picard now says that Angel One may become strategically important. So okay. The landing party consists of their girliest girl, their toughest girl and their two cutest boys. That is also strategically important. I suppose the silver thingy Riker’s holding is some kind of hostess gift.
- Picard’s narration is so clunky here. Are matriarchal societies actually ‘unusual’ in the galaxy? He says that the Angel One women are larger and stronger than the men, which is not borne out by the casting I can see. It’s not like they didn’t know where to find small, slender men, because they always cast them as Ferengi.
- I enjoy Data watching the others kneel and moving slightly behind them, making sure he’s doing it correctly. The kneeling actually looks fairly similar to the way you’d kneel in Japan, and I see a sort of kimono influence in the crossover-front tops worn by the Angel One women, so maybe they put that together intentionally.
- This dialogue is just so odd. Beata says that even a world as remote as Angel One has ‘heard of Starfleet.’ But we know from earlier dialogue that a Starfleet ship visited Angel One 62 years ago. She also seems surprised that Starfleet does rescue and salvage operations, as if, once again, losing a whole ship wasn’t a big deal. You don’t develop and keep a mighty fleet by not caring what happens to individual vessels.
- Riker, you sassy bitch, stop eyeballing Beata. Can’t take you anywhere.
- ‘What do we do if they deny the existence of survivors?’ ‘Let’s not look for problems.’ Urgh, Riker. It’s called thinking ahead and trying to be prepared. You can overdo it but it’s generally a good idea.
- In this scene Picard tells Worf that the Enterprise is required in the Romulan Neutral Zone ASAP. They will not actually go to the Neutral Zone until several episodes later, and will have many other wacky adventures on the way. I am generously prepared to allow that perhaps the tense situation Picard refers to here quietened down in between episodes, there was a lull, and then things flared up again. In other words, they were starting to attempt greater continuity between episodes, maybe even dimly grasping at the concept of a season arc, but hadn’t really got the hang of it.
- Ow! Snowball in the neck. What is that smell? And when Worf says ‘from home,’ does he mean Q’onos or wherever it was he grew up with his awesome Russian foster parents?
- I think it’s sweet that Worf recognises the smell of flowers. Of course he has ‘a hint of lilac’ himself.
- In a nice smell-based transition, in the next scene Data is messing with a perfume atomiser. Which… I have no idea why it’s even in the room. Is that someone’s apartment they’ve been sent to wait in?
- How is this android twenty-six years old and knows nothing of perfume. Don’t ask me to believe that Deanna, for example, doesn’t wear it – or that Riker doesn’t whiff strongly of Hai Karate or Brut. Or that Tasha hadn’t poured it on in ‘The Naked Now’ to the extent that Data would be like ‘Do you have a pet civet?’ Also interesting that the perfume is synthetic rather than using floral essential oils. They’re cheap on Angel One! I rename the planet Avon One.
- Why does Tasha jump straight to explaining perfume as an ‘aphrodisiac,’ a word I always find creepy somehow? (Like that SNL skit about the creepiness of the word ‘lover.’) It’s an element of fashion and self-expression as much as anything else. Attracting partners is really only one element of why we wear the cosmetics that we do, and sometimes it’s a very minor one. Oh wait, she jumps straight to that because this is still Gene Roddenberry’s show and he was an old goat. Glad I remembered that.
- And then Data says he’s unfamiliar with that term. Data has a thesaurus in his head but not a dictionary? And of course it’s Creepy Riker who explains it to him. He just looooooves having the chance to Explain Sex Things to Data. Actually, this seems like something it would make sense for Deanna to explain, since she’s a psychologist, but she’s just smiling in the background while this incredibly inappropriate workplace conversation transpires, and for some strange reason Tasha, who was so embarrassed or regretful about having dragged Data to bed that she told him it never happened, isn’t bothered at all about talking to him about aphrodisiacs. She raised the subject. What’s going on with you, T?
- Of course I suppose the big question is whether that floral perfume belongs to a woman or a man. And whether Data spends the rest of this episode smelling all flowery. I will go ahead and imagine that when they get back to the ship Worf is like ‘*sniff* Nice cologne.’
- Beata is ‘the Elected One.’ Do the men have votes, I wonder?
- Okay, the perfume belongs to this dude. So is this his apartment? And why does he spray the perfume on his face?
- Everyone else stands at ease. Riker stands there hugging himself. It really is the most awkward pose. It doesn’t even look like normal arm-folding. I don’t understand how he is doing it.
- Awwww, poor little Wesley is sick. He appears to have… a cold. Bev says ‘Wesley and one of his friends,’ as if Wesley has multiple friends his own age. First time we’ve seen any sign of that, that’s all I’m saying.
- I just bet you don’t fancy the idea of any of your crew being infected, after the last time a bug went around the ship.
- After living on Angel One for seven years, how likely is it that the Odin survivors still have any elements in or on them that are not normally found there?
- Trent. Of all names in the world, why did the poor little bugger have to be called Trent? I hope Trent’s not going to be annoyed that Data used his perfume. Why, when the library is supposed to be too sophisticated for a man to understand, is Trent given the job of taking Data there? I suppose there’ll be a woman librarian there to explain things like the card catalogue, and act all surprised and patronising when Data already gets it, and furthermore flicks through it with card-sharp speed.
- I like how an Angelan coat-hanger is just… a stick. Actually, it’s like the rods used to hang and display kimonos, reinforcing my idea that the wardrobe people were on a little Japan kick this week.
- Why is Riker the one to request an audience? I know he’s the ranking officer, but so far Deanna has been allowed to do all the important talking.
- What the hell did Riker’s line about Beata being attractive have to do with anything? I know Deanna is his ex, but Tasha objected the more forcefully, so is he implying that she’s jealous and possessive of him as well?
- Poor Picard has manflu.
- ‘You have an appointment in your cabin, Captain, with your bed!’
‘Is that an order, Doctor?’
OMG NOW KISS HIM THAT WOULD BE BADASS
- What does ‘a Klingon sneeze’ even mean. Worf’s a Klingon. It’s just a sneeze. In China, they just call it food.
- My God, things are dire when you have to leave Geordi in charge of the ship. There really is nobody more senior! Given Riker’s safety objections to the captain going on away missions, why is it okay for both the first and the second officer to go on one together?
- Geordi enjoys catchphrases.
- It’s interesting to me that Worf was completely unaffected by the ‘Naked Now’ virus, but this one is making him feel like shit. Poor Worfles.
- I really like the way Deanna whispers ‘Tasha’ to warn her Riker is coming out in his awesome pastel hairy chest outfit. Incidentally: I normally scorn Star Trek shipping beyond super obvious things like Kirk/Spock, but I was reading a tumblr once where the author said the first time she saw ‘The Naked Now’ she thought the reason Deanna called to Tasha on entering her own quarters was that they lived together, and oh dear lord now I ship it. In an AU kind of way, not an ‘I think this is really going on, just not in scenes we see‘ way like Garak/Bashir. They’d be such a nice admittedly stereotypical lesbian couple, the tomboyish one and the girly one (very Haruka and Michiru), and I imagine Tasha being physically protective of Deanna and Deanna being emotionally protective of Tasha, and it’s just cute as hell.I feel like a real dork about it.
- So anyway, this happens.
Now that’s some pectoral hirsutism! The girls react the only way sane women can, with helpless giggling.
- I can’t tell if it’s just because his thatch is that thick, but you really can’t see if Jonathan Frakes has… a nipple. Isn’t the word nipple stupid-sounding?
- Why the hell do the men wear pants and the women wear long skirts? The skirts do look like they might be divided, like (again) Japanese hakama trousers, but why are the warriors and hunters of this society wearing the more cumbersome clothing?
- Frankly I think Riker should’ve pinned his commbadge to his chest hair.
- Oh, Data’s finally back from the library. He seemed to take a really long time. Was he reading all their mystery novels, once he got done looking up obscure chemical elements?
- Data already had his phaser in his hand when they beamed to the given co-ordinates. Tasha, the chief of security, had to fumble hers out of the holster. And it was Deanna, the ship’s shrink, who had to alert her to the presence of a person approaching them. Oh Tasha. You’re bad at your job.
- That is some mullet.
- It’s a shame Data is missing all the sneezing up on the ship. Worf’s sternutations would be particularly intriguing to him.
- Note that, although he feels sick as a dog, Picard has not gone to bed yet.
- Incidentally, why isn’t Geordi sick yet? Worf is sneezing all over the bridge.
- So now Beata has changed into a long dress.
- RIKER IS WEARING A CODPIECE THAT MATCHES HIS TUNIC. The bindings around his trouser legs are making his thighs look terribly chubby.
- Bitch isn’t even going to let him finish his drink.
- Riker has apparently forgotten Data exists, or is counting him with ‘the women.’ Ouch.
- You know, I’m not even sure if Riker likes Beata. This whole situation feels weird and fake.
- What is that silver ball-box thing, anyway?
- Jeez, Trent, did you think you’d be invited to join in?
- SO it is a hostess gift – which Riker didn’t bother to bring with him, leaving poor goddamn Trent to remember it. No manners.
- So the men don’t vote.
- So Federation civilians aren’t bound by the PD? I can just fly around to whatever the hell planet I want, dropping in on primitive societies and messing with their minds, and it’s perfectly legal? Sweet.
- Beverly’s had a haircut since last week, I think! It looks good. Bouncier and less heavy.
- Ariel’s ingenious hiding place of just around the corner is revealed.
- Riker somehow managed to sex Beata up without either of them taking off their clothes.
- TOPLESS PATRICK STEWART, EVERYBODY.
- Beverly brought him a Thermos of medicine. And thinks he smells like a Klingon hooker. I like how Beverly is such a good doctor that she jumps up and walks away from sweaty, topless Patrick Stewart to do some work. I guess the wardrobe people were so busy with Angel One costumes this week that nobody could be spared to run up a pair of pyjamas for Picard.
- For some reason Data’s sideburns look really long and pointy in this scene. And blah blah blah about the Romulan situation.
- See, Tasha knows how to fold her arms like a normal person.
- I wonder if the actor playing Trent ever worked as a Ferengi?
- Ramsey is such a dork turning down the offer. Did he discuss this decision with Ariel, by the way? Why does Riker pet Data’s shoulder?
- Okay. Riker asks Bev if the virus would affect Data. She says ‘Not likely.’ And apparently nobody remembers ‘The Naked Now,’ in which Data was sufficiently affected by a virus to act like a total galoot. Oh well. At least he’s not sick yet, so even if he gets sick it should be a while before he’s incapacitated, and he should be able to get some stuff done before then.
- Is Riker standing in that position to show off his bubble butt?
- Oh Data, I love you and your time precision. I also think you look pretty cool on the bridge all alone.
- Why does Trent try to grab Tasha’s shoulders as they leave the room?
- The Angel One men’s earcuffs are reminding me of Bajoran ones.
- BEHOLD AS WE VAPORISE A VASE WITH A CRYSTAL BALL FROM THE NEW AGE SHOP.
- Riker’s argument about revolution/evolution doesn’t make a lick of sense. He has no evidence of ripples of dissent predating the Odin crew’s arrival, and making martyrs of them would make revolution more likely, and gender equality is not an evolutionary issue anyway!
- Awww! Did your dramatic speech not work? I love how Riker looks not just dismayed, but baffled that Beata isn’t persuaded.
- Why is it Trent’s job to activate the crystal ball? Shouldn’t a woman have that responsibility? They didn’t have a chick doing ‘Roll on one! Roll on two!’ in The Green Mile.
- ‘I don’t know if it was enough,’ Riker says. Apparently Ariel just saying ‘Beata!’ carried more weight than anything you said.
- Bingo! Cultural lessons for Data. Well done, Beverly! You are smart.
- Urgh, Riker’s smirk is gross. Roll on the beard.
- And after Riker swallowed Beata’s flattery that he was clever, and they all beamed out, she had the dissidents executed anyway. Haha! Well, that’s what I reckon.
- POOR SORE THROAT PICARD.
- I enjoy Data’s ‘what? oh well, he’s a manbear’ reaction to Riker clapping him on the shoulder.
- Perhaps they went to the Neutral Zone, did everything they had to do in between episodes, and then returned to Random Adventuring.
Next time: More Riker macking, but this time on a hologram.
And let’s check in with O’Brien! What did you do this week?