TNG Episode 2.10 – The Dauphin

In which we briefly spot Shelley the waitress from Twin Peaks. Shelley, I just want to say that you can do so much better than Bobby – and that doesn’t mean you should just trade up to the deaf guy from the FBI. Take some time to get your own shit together before you get involved with another man. I just have a lot of feelings about Shelley.

Memory Alpha says: Wesley falls in love with the new leader of a war-torn planet. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review

Okay, I get the impression that this episode is going to be weird, corny and inconsequential in equal parts. It’s another in the great parade of episodes that I don’t think I saw when they were first on – indeed, the more I continue with this blog, the more I realise that I’ve missed a lot of TNG. I would feel like a Bad Fan, but I can’t be bothered.

Oh, and this episode has also recently been covered by Fashion It So! I just… can’t find it. Search doesn’t seem to be working and my patience for scrolling is finite. So not that recently after all. Never mind.

You have probably noticed that I’ve given up on DS9 for a while. I will return to it eventually, don’t worry. Now allow me to fire off some bullet points.

  • ‘Dauphin’ is French for dolphin and also for Crown Prince. However, since this story is about Wesley falling in love with a princess, the title should really be ‘The Dauphine,’ or even ‘La Dauphine,’ unless the writer had something else in mind but The Man, aka Rick ‘No Homosexuals In Space’ Berman… no I think it’s just a slightly inaccurate use of French in an English context.
  • Apropos of nothing: You know how, after Geordi moved down to Engineering permanently, they never developed a regular helmsman character after that? The seat was just filled by an assortment of different people (sometimes with excellent hairdos) week by week? At one time there was a plan to develop a young woman helm officer who was to have been a love interest for O’Brien, but the writers thought it would diminish O’Brien to… have a wife with a more high-powered job than him? So they didn’t? I love O’Brien and am glad he was picked up for development and a given name and all the rest, but that’s so very, very sexist. Also, there’s a decent chance that I would have liked her better than Keiko, and it would have restored the balance that was upset by Tasha’s departure, by giving us another female character not in a care-giving role. Have I told that story before? Probably.
  • Today’s disposable helmswoman has pretty good mall hair.
  • Geordi wants to do some nerd stuff so he gets permission and they go into orbit.
  • Geordi sends Wesley to fetch an ‘SCM model 4’ from ship’s stores, and I wish this were a ‘tease the apprentice’ joke like sending him to get a bag of nail holes or a tin of striped paint (the go-faster stripes on the hull need re-doing) but I bet it’s not.
  • I just realised the other day how similar Wesley’s hair at this stage is to Kurt from Glee‘s. I don’t know what to do with that insight, because I can’t draw Kurt in the Rainbow Sweater and get it out of my system.
  • Everyone thinks the yellowy-green fog looks disgusting. Picard and Troi are sitting with their legs crossed in the same direction, but Riker is sitting with his knees sprawled apart like he’s airing himself out.
  • Once again, Worf is doing Uhura’s old job – except Uhura got to sit down while she worked.
  • Data has the bridge, yay. I always like that.
  • O’Brien sighted. I always like that.
  • So we have a bright and inquisitive princess and a stern and repressive duenna, check, check.
  • Here come Wesley and his hair to fall in love with the princess – who apparently was gazing not at him, but at the SCM in his hands. It’s an appropriately nerdy meet cute.
  • Jesus Christ, Wesley’s hairswoop today! It must be three inches high.
  • TROLLING WESLEY SO HARD.
  • This is another of those Awkward Screenwriting things. There’s no real reason why Wesley couldn’t have tagged after Riker at the end of the teaser and got him to explain properly who Salia was. But instead, here he is pumping Data for information. Because he can just call the third-in-command of the whole starship to come over to his place to tell him about some girl he likes. On the Enterprise, asking Data about someone is the equivalent of Googling them. Except that Data might have things he would rather be doing, Wesley. He’s got mash notes from Bruce Maddox to answer.
  • There is a loop of blue neon behind Data that is quite distracting in his close-ups. Has Wesley redecorated in his mother’s absence, trying to create a cool bachelor pad? For that matter, is he still living in the same two-bedroom quarters or did they move him to a single? How many non-acting ensigns get a single to themselves?
  • And we then find out that not only is Wesley bothering grown-ups with important jobs (all right, Data’s ‘grown-up’ status is nebulous) to lazy-Google his dream girl, he’s not even doing his own, made-up job, because he went straight home to work on his hair and summon Data instead of taking the SCM to Geordi!
  • How come randoms about whom ‘little is known’ can just bother Starfleet ships to come and give them a lift? Since when is the Federation running a taxi service? Salia and Anya are being put up in the guest quarters usually given to admirals and other important assholes, but clearly nothing like a proper background check has been done on them. This is an incredible security fuck-up in disguise as a Mysterious and Beautiful Stranger. She could be full of bombs.
  • Seriously, the first person to raise any concern about the Daled Duo is Deanna, and she doesn’t even sound worried about it. Doesn’t anyone remember the admiral with a worm in his neck? Or the Klingons with kitset guns in their boots? Or Lore?
  • I know they operate on a high-trust model and that’s very cuddly and noble of them but I do think they make a rod for their own backs sometimes.
  • So I guess Salia feels bad about having a Dreadful Secret. Or she feels bad about forming a crush on someone before she knew his name was ‘Wesley.’
  • Daled IV: Planet of Quarrelsome Assholes. And how is Salia supposed to solve the day and night problem (overlooking for a moment that it’s a total non-reason for world war)?
  • And, for no reason, Anya the Duenna has turned herself into Shelley the Waitress (only not in a cute waitress uniform, in a horrible ruggy-textured catsuit), and is talking a line of bullshit about how Salia will ‘just know’ what to do about the centuries of world war on her home planet. She wants her to ‘arrive with an open mind,’ which seems to mean not preparing her in any way. Salia has a little Disney Princess moment as she gazes out at the stars and wonders why nobody’s asked her what she wants. I feel like she should release some birds from a cage at this point. Anya tells her she’s ‘the last and only chance,’ I guess because none of the Quarrelsome Assholes are capable of enough initiative or responsibility for themselves to try to negotiate for peace.
  • And, for no reason, Shelley turns herself into a little owl-eyed Ewok thing and starts click-talking at Salia. It’s not David Lynch weird, but it’s weird.
  • Geordi does nerd stuff, and the computer talks to him in a man’s voice the way it sometimes did in early seasons. Geordi notices that Wesley is totally spacing out, and instead of telling him that if he wants to be an Acting Ensign he’d better jolly well pull himself together and act like a grown-up during work hours, he just, I don’t know, humours him or something, and tells him he has ‘glands erupting with hormones’ and excuses him from work because of his hormones.
  • I’m not a regular boss, I’m a cool boss! Right, Regina?
  • Wesley apparently thinks that talking to girls you like is ‘silly.’ Right. You should get to know them by asking poor Data questions, instead. Or perhaps he thinks Geordi’s diagnosis of ‘hormones’ is silly. Wil Wheaton evidently had worked out a very cool way of sliding down the ladder from the Engineering mezzanine to the main floor, and I give him credit for that.
  • Geordi’s idea of an ice-breaker: ‘Hi, I’m [name]. I’d like to talk to you.’ Wow. How is he still single?
  • So Wesley farts off to the bridge – it’s not his shift to be there or anything, but apparently he’s lost all sense of Bridge Boundaries since being acting-promoted, demonstrating the truth of the old saw about giving an inch and taking a yard – and bothers Worf about it. This scene is worth it because Worf describing Klingons courting is kind of adorable, although God knows why he chose to open by demonstrating a Klingon woman’s flirty roar.
  • We also see that Data (once again? still? This episode’s sense of passage of time is not very clear to me – did Data take a break during his shift to answer Wesley’s summons? Is Wesley the spoiled little Dauphin of the Enterprise? EPISODE TITLE MAKES UNEXPECTED SENSE) has the bridge, so I suppose it figures that nonsense like this is going on – if Picard were in the swivelly chair he would have none of it. If Riker were, well, he’d be leaning, grinning and trying to egg Worf on to describe the more salacious details.
  • ‘Data,’ Wesley says, in an unnecessarily snotty tone, ‘I want to meet her, not dissect her.’ Actually, I believe Data was saying he thought you could nail her. You have to bear with him; in his experience, you go to the girl’s apartment, she shows up in a silly outfit, talks about her traumatic childhood for a while and then you score. Data and Worf exchange kindred-spirit Looks as Wesley prances off.
  • The next scene is jammed full of not-sense-making and girl-on-girl crime. For one thing, why does Salia have to shoo still-little-and-furry Anya out of the room when Picard calls? It’s been established that Picard is a gentleman who won’t turn on the viewer part of the commlink without permission, and ANYA CAN CHANGE HER WHOLE APPEARANCE IN SECONDS. For another, Picard tells Salia ‘We’ve invited Anya to take a tour of the ship,’ but when they arrived in the transporter room and Salia showed curiosity about the machines, Riker offered her a tour of the ship and Anya curtly said that wouldn’t be necessary! And THEN little furry clicking Anya tries to stop Salia going on the tour to which she apparently accepted an invitation during some conversation we the viewers were never privileged to see! She just takes off with Worf, leaving poor Salia to stew alone! If Anya isn’t willing to give her any useful advice for trying to quell the Quarrelsome Assholes, she could at least keep her company and play cards or something to take her mind off it. Boo, you whore.
  • Having asked an unhelpful nerd, Worf and the guy who can’t feel, Wesley finally gets around to interrogating the only person on the Enterprise who has any sort of expertise on pitching woo. Riker is remarkably patient with the pipsqueak, although I suspect him of covert trolling, as he calls Guinan over and the pair of them give him a sort of exhibition match of Courtly Love. Wesley looks progressively more embarrassed, uncomfortable and eye-rolly until he interrupts ‘I don’t think this is my style,’ and Guinan, delightfully, responds ‘Shut up, kid. [to Riker] Tell me more about my eyes.’
  • You know how I don’t like the classic ‘Shut up, Wesley’ from ‘Datalore’? I like the ‘Shut up, kid’ from ‘The Dauphin’ very, very much.
  • The chief of security for the Federation flagship is stuck giving a tour to a crabby old lady who, rather like her charge, turns out to know a lot about engineering. Worf just stands there and lets her get in the lift and ride up to the mezzanine without him. SHE COULD BE FULL OF BOMBS.
  • Anyway, Anya bitches at Geordi about his machines for a bit and he just refrains from telling her to shove it up her jumper, and Worf calls her away (ooh, effectual) and Anya promises/threatens that she’ll be back to check on Geordi’s progress, and what the fuck.
  • Wesley and his hair prance along the corridor to the Admiralty Suite or whatever they call it, which has a guard on the door, in a remarkable display of actual trying to keep tabs on the total strangers they have blithely allowed onto their flagship. The guard has a really nice chest. He asks Wesley what he can do for him, and Wes, perhaps cowed by the chest, meekly answers ‘Nothing.’ Just then, suggesting she’s been listening at the keyhole, Salia opens the door and Wesley looks at her with a mixture of adoration and terror. Salia asks him in to help her ‘work the food dispenser’ and the guard is left looking vaguely annoyed.
  • ‘On Thalos Seven they age the beans four hundred years.’ What’s your point? To let her know that the replicated Thalian mousse she just enjoyed isn’t as good? And the music she likes is okay but kind of mainstream?
  • The planet being called ‘Klavdia III’ just reminds me of how my dad thinks it’s very witty to pronounce I, Claudius as ‘I, Clavdivs.’
  • So there’s a ‘cute’ scene with chocolate mousse (which Salia only tastes and doesn’t get to finish, a bit like how in ‘Be Our Guest’ the only thing you can see Belle gets to eat is a finger-scoop of ‘the grey stuff.’ My headcanon is that during all the shots in which we can only see Lumière and the other enchanted objects, Belle is stuffing her face like a hungry hungry hippo) and Wesley gets to show off about all the planets he’s visited and I CAN SHOW YOU THE WORLD, SHINING SHIMMERING SPLENDID, TELL ME PRINCESS NOW WHEN DID YOU LAST LET YOUR HEART DECIDE? Which in this show means they’re going to the holodeck.
  • The next scene is just… mental. For some reason Worf’s tour includes taking Anya to the sickbay, where she completely loses her shit over a crewman with a sniffle that Salia might just possibly catch, tells Pulaski to kill him like one of those parents who want a schoolwide ban on peanut butter sandwiches because their special snowflake has a punk-ass nut allergy, and then blows her cover by turning into a giant red-eyed yeti thing! Anya is an idiot. Poor Worf has to have a stupid-looking fight with her which is broken up by Picard saying ‘Wait.’
  • Anya (I keep accidentally typing her name as Anyway, and can I just say that I would much rather by typing about Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who was funny and lovely and did not deserve to be bisected) growls ‘Your powers are infinitesimal compared to mine.’ Well, if your powers are so fancy, why don’t you use them to keep Salia in a quarantine that satisfies you? Also, Captain Picard doesn’t take any shit from people with superpowers. And Q is better dressed than you and more fun. So he tells her off and sends her to her room. She flounces off ahead of the two security guards escorting her.
  • Pulaski shows some pretty Data-worthy recall, saying ‘There is mention in the galactic zoological catalogue of a species called allasomorph, which is supposed to possess the power to alter their molecular structure into other life forms.’ I’d be interested to know whether Martia, in The Undiscovered Country, should be considered an allasomorph, because I don’t think she’s a Founder. Hang on, if it was a zoological catalogue rather than an anthropological one, wouldn’t that imply that allasomorphs aren’t intelligent/sentient creatures? So that wouldn’t explain Anya, would it?
  • On the holodeck, I break away briefly from my Disney Princess extended metaphor to point out that Wesley is getting to feel like the Doctor, impressing a girl by showing her distant worlds and strange starscapes (but on the other hand, I also totally think ‘A Whole New World’ is Nine and Rose’s Our Song, so make of it all what you will. Also, I miss Nine and wish he’d had a longer run). Wesley also makes a bunch of unfounded assumptions about what Salia will be able to do in her life, given that he knows nothing about her background or prospects. He pretty much just assumes she’s as privileged as he is, and she doesn’t tell him otherwise. Wesley, not everyone can travel on a starship.
  • Worf marches angry Anya back to the Admiralty, and they snot back and forth at each other about who is a bigger badass and who can protect Salia, without either of them having the faintest clue that Salia has left her suite and is playing on the Holodeck with germy Wesley. Looking it over, I get the impression that the script for this episode wanted there to be a love-hate chemistry between Anya and Worf, but it just didn’t come out that way, not least because she only looks like Madchen Amick for five minutes with Salia,  and in her scenes with Worf she looks like an elderly nun.
  • In the Ready Room, Picard anvils ‘We’ve obviously brought a very dangerous life form aboard this ship.’ Yeah, a few questions and an insistence on straight answers could have spared you that! He and Troi chat about how Anya is like a mama bear protecting her babies and then the Mama Bear comms Picard to say that SALIA IS GONE.
  • Salia and Wesley are winding up their date at Ten Forward with MOAR CHOCOLATE, which Salia still doesn’t get to eat. Of course, eating while acting isn’t easy and it’s often quite unpleasant because the food is faked up or cold or dyed blue to look alien, but I just feel really bad for the character not getting to EAT SOME DAMN CHOCOLATE PUDDING.
  • It’s all fun and games until Salia gets all emo about the fact that she’s not going to have the freedom to goof off and engulf chocolate mousse on Asshole World, and Wesley’s all ‘You could stay!’ and she’s all *choke* ‘I can’t!’ and runs out. Guinan has to drop a hint that Wesley should follow her.
  • And I swear they really have the following conversation, with sad romantic BGM.
  • WESLEY: What is it? What happened? Salia!SALIA: Stay away from me! I’m sorry.WESLEY: I don’t understand.SALIA: I can’t stay here! I can’t have this life! I want it more than anything, but I can’t have it!WESLEY: Salia, nothing is impossible.

    SALIA: Not for you.

    WESLEY: There’s a way. I know there is!

  • And then Salia gets arrested. Well, no, but Picard and Anya show up so that’s Death To Fun Dates. Awwww, Sad Wesley leans against a wall and mopes.
  • And then Geordi reports that he’s fixed his nerd thing, because the only reason any of this silliness had time to develop was that they’ve been travelling at impulse speed while he futzed with it. It isn’t important for any other reason.
  • Picard calls Wesley to the Ready Room, which in this situation I interpret as the Headmaster’s Office.
  • Picard quite kindly tells Wesley that Anya is an allasomorph, even though we haven’t heard Anya confirm that. And Wesley either translates ‘allasomorph’ in his head or has read that zoological catalogue Pulaski was talking about, because he says ‘A shapeshifter?’ Anyway, Headmaster Picard tells Wesley to stay away from Salia, and Wesley folds his arms and looks down and looks sad and at long last says ‘I will do as you ask.’ Actually, I don’t think he was asking you, Pretending Ensign.
  • Salia and Anya have a boring fight about Destiny and Duty and how girls with both can’t have friends (or chocolate mousse). You know, I think I’m going to have to make a chocolate mousse for dinner. I’ve got a bar of decent dark chocolate waiting in the pantry. It hasn’t been aged four hundred years, but it’s lasted without being eatean for over a week, which is pretty impressive for confectionery in this house.
  • Planet of the Quarrelsome Assholes turns out to be just as yellow and green and yukky as the planet they picked up Salia and Anya from, and Riker has a remarkably dumb line, ‘How could anyone exist in an environment so totally hostile toward human life?’ Perhaps by not being human? You know, like most of the new life-forms you encounter on your ship’s stated mission?
  • The helmswoman with Bump-It hair is still there. I wonder if rotating helmspeeps ever take advantage of the opportunity to hit on Data a little. He is right there.
  • If ‘allasomorph’ is a species rather than just a, I don’t know, type, why wasn’t it in any of the records that they come from Asshole World? This is not an episode whose premise bears scrutiny.
  • Anyway now I think Wesley is a Princess in a Tower (playing Electronic Battleship by himself) and Salia bravely goes to him or some junk, and they SMOOCH, and Anya charges in all RAARSKREEEEEE, and Salia has to shape-shift to make her fuck off. And Wesley is traumatised because his dream girl is all icky, not perfect like he imagined.
  • Wow, I am sincerely unused to being so bored during an episode of Star Trek.
  • Not only has Anya never given Salia any helpful advice for reuniting the Assholes, she now claims she’s done all she can and it’s time for her to go. So much for being emotionally her mother. And Salia is probably stuck on Asshole World with no chocolate or cute boys to kiss FOREVER.
  • And Anya and Worf have this weird little conversation about how she was a worthy opponent and ‘at heart we are very much alike’ (wut) and maybe one day they’ll fight on the same side. And I’m like HOT DAMN BUT ANYA COULD HAVE SERVED AS A DOUBLE AGENT IN THE DOMINION WAR IT WOULD HAVE BEEN FUCKIN’ AMAZING. COULD SHE BE PLAYED BY MADCHEN AMICK ALL THE TIME PLEASE? It’s rare that I think of things I’d like to change or add to DS9 (with the exception of making Garak and Bashir Official with KISSING SCENES) but there you go, there’s one, and it comes out of an objectively stupid, boring episode.
  • And Salia goes to say goodbye to Wesley and he’s sulking because he feels used or something, and there is never any actual answer as to why Anya and Salia deceived the Enterprise crew about what they were. Salia claims ‘Our natural state is one unlike anything you can imagine.’ So? You thought we wouldn’t give you a lift because you’re weird, or because we’re unimaginative?
  • Gloriously and ridiculously, Wesley bitterly declares ‘I loved you’ and Salia’s like ‘I love you too!’ and he won’t have it and kicks her out. Wesley Crusher is a ridiculous human being.
  • But then he shows up in the transporter room and gives her a bowl of chocolate mousse to remember him by.
  • WHICH SHE DOESN’T GET TO EAT EITHER. JUST A FINGERLICK. THIS IS DRIVING ME MAD.
  • But at least O’Brien’s there.
  • And then Salia’s ‘unimaginable’ natural state is just a pretty blob of shiny light. ANYA YOU IDIOT. NOBODY WOULD HAVE MINDED. NOTHING IN THIS EPISODE IS NECESSARY.
  • After she disappears and Wesley exhales through his nose wistfully, the scene cuts, and I assume just after that O’Brien leans over the console and asks if Wesley will be finishing that chocolate mousse. I mean, wasting food is wrong.
  • Wesley goes to drown his sorrows in a glass of fizzy water or something. Guinan comes over to give him sage advice and I actually really like this dialogue:
    WESLEY: I miss her. I feel empty.
    GUINAN: I know that sensation. But there’ll come a time when all you remember is the love.
    WESLEY: I’m never going to feel this way about anyone else.
    GUINAN: You’re right.
    WESLEY: I didn’t expect you to say that.
    GUINAN: There’ll be others, but every time you feel love it’ll be different. Every time, it’s different.
    WESLEY: Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier.
    GUINAN: It’s not supposed to.
  • WELL. That was… an episode. I’d go and make chocolate mousse but I just realised we don’t have any cream and to hell with going out to get it. Anyway, tonight I’m making spaghetti carbonara, so that’s probably enough egg for any sane person, or me. (My spag carb recipe does not involve cream. Or peas. Why the fuck would you adulterate spaghetti with peas. It’s bacon, onion, garlic, some white wine, beaten egg, parmesan cheese.)
  • What did you think? Commentate me.
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5 Responses to “TNG Episode 2.10 – The Dauphin”

  1. Michael Says:

    Just recently discovered your blog so let me first say awesome work and very funny. Then let me say I agree this episode is a complete waste save for the Riker/Guinian scene and the insightful dialog in the last scene. Everytime you fall in lI’ve it is different as it should be!

  2. Brin Says:

    And I’m like HOT DAMN BUT ANYA COULD HAVE SERVED AS A DOUBLE AGENT IN THE DOMINION WAR IT WOULD HAVE BEEN FUCKIN’ AMAZING. COULD SHE BE PLAYED BY MADCHEN AMICK ALL THE TIME PLEASE?

    By the time the Jem’Hadar fleet realise they weren’t supposed to have unquestioningly obeyed her, she’s light-years away.


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