Warp Speed to Nonsense

Warp Speed to Nonsense

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

ST:TNG Season Four, Episode Fourteen "Clues"

ST:TNG Season Four, Episode Fourteen "Clues"
Production Order: 14
Air Order: 14
Stardate: 44502.7
Original Air Date: February 11, 1991

Anybody else spend their entire December weekends volunteering at a petting zoo, asking small children over and over, "Would you like to pet the kitten? Isn't she so soft?"
Just me?
Okay, then.


We open seeing shots of Worf's mok'bara class, which is new for this show. (If you're not familiar with mok'bara, it's Klingon martial arts and is similar to tai chi.)

Picard's Log 44502.7: "We finished up this one mission early, which is awesome, because we've been so freaking busy lately that no one has had time for hobbies and stuff. So the crew is fucking around for a few days. Gonna cruise by this one nebula, and I'm mentioning it and the fact that I think it'll be a walk in the park as a way to foreshadow that some shit is about to go down, because frankly, an episode where we just have downtime is not that interesting. Nobody wants to watch me hanging out watching Netflix."

As more foreshadowing, we see Crusher put some clear, empty pantyhose containers on a machine and smile. We have no idea what she's doing, but she seems to be enjoying herself.

Last of the Picard voice-overs: "Also doing a thing I like, and introducing a friend to it."


Guinan swings into the Dixon Hill office and asks for him, but she's stymied by Hill's obstinate girl Friday, Madeline. Madeline says Hill doesn't want to be disturbed, and Guinan is annoyed. She and Picard were supposed to do this thing, and Madeline is holodeck-blocking her.
Madeline tries to get smart and say that Hill is incommunicado, but she can't remember the last part of the word, stutters, and makes a sound like a cat horking up a hairball. Guinan finishes the word for her.

"Tell him Gloria from Cleveland is here. I have an appointment at 2:00."
"It's 2:10," argues Madeline.
"I had trouble with the clothes," snaps Guinan, lifting her skirt to reveal a set of stockings and a garter.
Nice gams, Whoopi.

Madeline calls into the back office to tell Hill that Gloria from Cleveland is here to see him, but she hangs up and tells Guinan that Hill has never heard of her.
Guinan drops the pretense and starts to tell Madeline that she and Picard set this up in advance, and they're meeting here at 2:00, but she realizes that gatekeeper Maddie has no idea what she's talking about.
"Fuck it," says Guinan. She goes around the desk, Madeline protesting at her, and opens the office door.

The dude with the gun gestures for her to come inside and close the door.
... did Madeline know this shit was happening five feet from her? Cuz she was real casual about it.
This new guy (Johnny) is clearly holding Hill hostage, and Hill apologizes to "Gloria" for getting her mixed up in this.
Picard and Guinan insist that Gloria is Hill's cousin, and they speak in weird, fake film noir gangster accents. Johnny wants to know where his money is. Guinan awkwardly tries to play along.
But Johnny steps in front of the window and is immediately filled with bullet holes from a machine gun. Bye, Johnny.
Somehow, Madeline hears none of this, and doesn't come running. Has the office been sound-proofed? Does Dixon Hill make that kind of cash?
"WTF even is this?" Guinan demands
"A mystery!" says Picard enthusiastically. "We don't know who this guy is, or who killed him, or where his money went, or why he thinks Hill took it! Now we look for clues."
Guinan is unconvinced. "This is fun?"

The phone on the desk rings, and Picard picks it up. It's Data.
"Hey, sir. Thought it would be less distracting to call you this way instead of through comm badges, which might ruin the effect of the holodeck."
That's pretty damn considerate, Data.
"Anyway, we came across a weird-ass planet in the T-Tauri system, and wouldn't you know, it's class-M."
"Oh. Regulations say we check it out. Call up the bridge crew. Thanks, Data."
Is... is there not a crew on the bridge already? Can you not check shit out with the crew that's already in place?
Picard turns to Guinan and says he has to go, but she's welcome to stay and work on the mystery without him.
"Aww, Picard," she replies. "I love you and your quirky shit, but I'm really over this crap. Thanks, though."
I don't blame her. She probably wants to get out of those damn garters and into something less uncomfortable.

Picard enters the bridge.
"So there's a class-M planet, and an unstable wormhole," says Riker.
"There are almost 40 wormholes in this system," adds Data. "Oh, hey."
Data looks up to see the wormhole swallow the ship.


Dramatic music! Opening credits break!

When we return, Data is helping up Picard while the others climb to their feet. Data explains that the wormhole knocked everybody the hell out for about 30 seconds, but he scanned the whole ship and didn't find any problems.
Riker checks the computer. "We're really far away. Like, a whole day's travel."
"I think I should change the ship's clock to reflect the actual time," volunteers Data.
Crusher calls. "WTH?"
"Unstable wormhole," explains Picard. "We were all knocked out for 30 seconds. Everything okay there?"
"Yep, just little injury reports coming in. You guys cool?"
He confirms they are and hangs up.
Sassy Riker Moment: "We're lucky we weren't knocked into next week."
Hmmm, kind of actually possible in Star Trek.
But Data swings around in his chair. "Actually not possible here. The wormhole was small and not very powerful. Probably just a local thing."
"Yeah, but we were gonna check out that planet...." says Picard.
"Not a good idea," Data puts in. "That wormhole was super unstable. It would be way safer to send a probe to check it out."
"Cool," agrees Picard.

Down in sick bay, Crusher is scanning O'Brien's arm and asking him what he was doing when he fell. This week's Exposition to Prove That O'Brien is a 3-D Character has him telling Crusher that he was hanging a plant for his wife, and that she's trying to make him more of a plant guy. It is not going well.
Crusher turns to ask her nurse for something, but seeing that the nurse is busy with a patient, cheerfully tells her "never mind," and goes to get it herself.
The nurse, who we've seen before and who has had lines, finally gets a first name: Alyssa. She won't get a last name until later (Ogawa) and she isn't going to get the full O'Brien Treatment with plenty of lines and stories of her own, but at least she isn't just "nurse" anymore. She's better than a piece of equipment, and clearly friends with Crusher, as she's being called by her first name rather than Nurse Ogawa.

Anyway, Crusher goes into a back room to grab something and stops at her pantyhose eggs, which are now filled with... pink cotton candy or something. She pauses. Clearly, that cotton candy should not be there.
She goes back to O'Brien and casually asks Alyssa if she saw anybody messing with her pantyhose eggs or if she changed it at all.
"Hell no," replies Alyssa. "I wouldn't touch one of your experiments."

Back on the bridge, the probe info has come back, and the brown planet that they saw on the viewscreen earlier is now green.
"It's got a helium-nitrogen atmosphere," says Data.
"But we saw - and you reported - a class-M planet," says Picard. "The whole reason why we went over there was because you said it was class-M."
Data shrugs. "Could be interference from the wormhole."
"That's a weirdly specific thing for the sensors to get wrong," points out Riker.
"Maybe a planet we detected on the other side of the wormhole," suggests Data. "We can check all of the nearby systems here for a planet like the one we saw. It would take about six days."
Picard snorts. "Who has that kind of time? Naw, we're good. Check the sensors to make sure they weren't damaged by the wormhole, Data. Let's get out of here."

Suspicious music! Zoom-in on Data!

Crusher goes to see Picard in the ready room, and she takes her incubator of cotton candy.
"Cool, Diomedian scarlet moss," says Picard. "That's a good crop. Shit's hard to cultivate. Didn't know you were into ethnobotany."
She admits she dabbles in it, and says this batch concerns her: she just started it, and there's already a full day's growth. "We were seriously only out for 30 seconds?"
"Yeah," he says. "All of the ship's chronometers, the systems, even Data, says we were out 30 seconds. Maybe your moss was fast-growing, or something weird happened to it."
"I have a bunch of this," she argues. "Maybe something weird happened to one, but not all of it. I think we were out for a whole day."

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Picard's Log, supplemental: "Data says we were out 30 seconds. Crusher's moss says it was more."

Picard holds a senior staff meeting in the Obs Lounge with the moss.
"I have a theory about the moss," announces Data. "(Science concerning some theorist from the 22nd century.)"
"Doesn't quite match up," argues La Forge. "That theory is about energy, not matter."
"Could still apply," says Data.
"Okay, cool," says Picard. "Hey Data, could you go help Nelson with the sensor thing? I told him to expect you."
Data agrees and leaves, and it's real obvious that A) peeps don't trust him, and B) Picard just got rid of him on purpose.
"Anybody think Data's telling the truth?" Picard asks, once Data is gone.
They hesitate, then Geordi says he doesn't buy it, that's he's surprised Data suggested that weak-ass theory about the moss.
They bat about some questions to ponder, like if they were out a whole day, then why did nobody's beard grow? And what happened on that day that they aren't aware of?
"Eh, Data doesn't lie, though," reasons Picard. "Maybe whatever affected us, affected him in another way, and he's actually being honest."
"We could check the ship's chronometer to see if someone messed with it," says Geordi.
"And I could check the transporter trace analysis, see if there's something there as well," adds Crusher.
"Both," replies Picard. "But nobody make Data suspicious, okay?"

La Forge goes down to Engineering and gets an update on the sensors from Data (they're fine), then tells Data that Picard wants him on the bridge. Once Data leaves, La Forge asks him in a meaningful way to help him with the computers. Poor Nelson. He has nothing to do with this shit, but everyone keeps involving him in their intrigue.

There's a small time-filler scene where Crusher asks O'Brien who went through the transporter last, and he looks it up and tells it's one of his transporter crew. She asks him to send that crew member to sick bay.
In sick bay, Crusher and Alyssa scan the crew member and discover some discrepancies. Crusher is ecstatic. She calls Picard and he asks her to do a Walk & Talk with him to Engineering.
"I can measure internal clocks at the molecular level," she tells Picard a few minutes later. "I took scans of the last person to use the transporter, and compared them to her trace from the transport. They were off. We were out longer than 30 seconds."

They go down to Engineering.
"Figured out that yes, the ship's chronometer was fucked with," says La Forge. "Here's the shitty part: only Data and I can do it."
Dramatic shot of Geordi!

Picard confronts Data in the ready room about the tampered-with chronometer.
"That's mysterious," says Data.
"Could someone or something have messed with you without you knowing about it?" asks Picard.
"Good question."
"Would you consent to Geordi examining you?"
"Yeah, okay."
There's a security Gold in the ready room with them, and Picard asks her to escort Data to Engineering.
Sassy Data Moment: "I know the way, sir."
They disappear through the door.
Dramatic zoom-in on Picard!

Picard's Log, supplemental: "Looks like we lost a whole day. To what, nobody knows. But Data is looking hella suspicious now."

A section of Data's hair is missing, revealing flashing lights, and La Forge tells him that he's going to start with higher motor functions and go down. He uses some bedside manner, cuz Data is his best friend, and he's a nice guy.
"It's nice of you to make me feel comfortable," says Data, "but I notice that you are uncomfortable."
"Seems like you're not being honest with us," says La Forge. "Anything you want to tell me?"
Data pauses as though about to say something, then decides against it and says he's told them everything he knows.

On the bridge, La Forge reports that Data is functioning perfectly.
"Kinda wanted to find something wrong," he admits.
"Fuck a DUCK," says Riker. "So Data is hiding something, and there's something wrong with our sensors. Because that probe said that that planet was not habitable, but our sensors said it was."
"Data launched that probe," replies Picard, with a look that says he'd rather not remind them of that.
"Could you prove it if he messed with the probe?" Riker asks La Forge.
"Maybe," replies La Forge. He leaves to go check it out.

"Fuck a duck, indeed," says Picard. He tells the bridge at large to see if they can remember what they were doing right before they got knocked out, to search for clues.
Troi doubles over. "Crap, I'm dizzy."
"You should go to sick bay," suggests Picard.
"Nah, I'll lay down in my quarters," she decides.
Worf escorts her there at Picard's request.
She goes in, the door closes, and Worf starts to walk away. Then she screams and he runs back, calling for an override on her door when he yells her name and she doesn't respond.
Terrified, she tells him she looked in the mirror and it wasn't her.

Picard goes to Troi's quarters, where Crusher is scanning her. They both report that Troi is fine now.
"I looked in the mirror, and I saw my own image, but it was like behind my eyes was a stranger? Like my face was a mask?"
Geordi calls Picard. "Found something."

Worf goes to sick bay.
When Crusher asks what's wrong, he huffs and tries to be all, "It's a little complaint, but Picard said to report anything suspicious. Like, it's nothing."
He's holding his wrist, so she scans it. "WTF?"

Picard and La Forge go to Data's quarters. When La Forge shows Data a pic of the green planet, Data says it's the one they scanned before they went through the wormhole, and the one the probe picked up.
"Naw, it's Tethys III with some bits altered," says Geordi.
"You go through the ship's library and plug this image of some obscure planet into the probe?" Picard asks Data.
Data pauses. "Can't say either way," he says finally.
Picard sends La Forge to launch another probe, and Geordi apologizes to Data on his way out.
"Troi had a creepy hallucination. You know why?" asks Picard.
"Can't say."
"Ugh, I'm trying to get to the bottom of this shit, Data! Why are you being such a dick?"
"It's not by choice," Data admits.

"Would you endanger your friend and colleague Deanna?"
Another pause. "Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or one?"
"Are... you protecting us?"
"Can't say."
This "Data being enigmatic" thing is starting to piss me off.
It's pissing off Picard, too.
"Answer me directly: what really happened to us?"
"I can't answer that."
"WTF, Data? I mean, what if you were in my position?"
This one gives Data pause, and he rips the Bandaid off. "So... it seems like I tampered with the ship's records, screwed with an investigation, and disobeyed a direct order from a commanding officer. I think we both know what that means."
Yeah, Picard does. "A court-martial. Your career would be over."
"That's true."
"And that asshole Maddox would probably take you apart to find out what went wrong."

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Back in the ready room, Crusher and Worf tell Picard that Worf's wrist was broken, reset, and mended by sick bay equipment during the time when they were all unconscious. Worf looks like he'd like to just sink into the ready room carpet and disappear forever. Crusher and Picard are mostly talking about him, near him, like parents talking to a principal about a kid who got in trouble, while the kid sits nearby in embarrassed silence.
"You think Worf was awake during that time?" Picard asks Crusher.
She thinks they all were, and then their memories of that time were erased or blocked or changed somehow. Picard asks who would have done such a thing.
Worf finally speaks up. "The list of people on this ship who are quick and strong enough to break my wrist is really short. Data's on it."
"Yeah, I don't think so," says Picard. "I mean, I know he's being fishy, but there are other parts of this puzzle, and I have a hunch that Data isn't a completely willing participant."
Geordi calls again. "Our probe is near that planet."

They all hurry onto the bridge, and Geordi put his findings up on the viewscreen. It's the same planet they saw when they first rolled up.
"Class-M, no spacial distortions anywhere nearby," says Geordi. "Like, even if the wormhole was closed, we could still detect residuals."
"There is no wormhole," says Picard. "It's a fucking ruse. There are a bunch of clues here that suggest that we are missing a day, a day that we experienced. And Worf's broken wrist says that there was a struggle for our lives."
"We're still alive," says Crusher. "We probably won."
"Data acting weird says that we didn't," he argues. "And he seems to accept that fact that his career could be ruined, just to keep his secrets. I think maybe it was a stalemate. With part of a compromise being that we had to have our memories erased. And somehow Data got roped into keeping his mouth shut."
"Shit, that means that us uncovering this stuff upsets the stalemate," points out Riker. "Should we just... leave it alone? Go about our merry way?"
"No," says Picard. "We have to figure out how Data fits into this, or Starfleet will decide he's untrustworthy, and we end up with the same problem. No, we gotta talk to Data. Let's go back to the T-Tauri system and see what's up."

So they go back to the planet, and an energy field appears between them and the planet.
Is it a giant green hand in space?
Naw, it looks like a diaphanous length of gauze, floating on the surface of bathtub water or something.

The field puts out an energy pulse, and Picard is curious, so he just lets it hit the shields.
"It dispersed," Worf announces.
But it actually didn't. In true TNG tradition, a ball of light assaults Troi while she's sleeping.

Troi shows up in Data's quarters. Fortunately, whatever is possessing her allowed her to put on clothes so she isn't just wandering around naked. 
"You're in our space again," says Troi in a weird, deep-ass voice.
"Ah, you again," says Data. "Yeah, sorry. I'm trying."
"I have to destroy the ship," says Troi-thing.
"I can maybe fix this still," he offers.
La Forge pokes his head through the door. "Hey Data, you're wanted on the bridge."

Data and La Forge exit the turbolift and Data goes straight to Picard's side.
"We're back at that planet you lied about," says Picard.
"Yeeeaaahhh... we need to leave?" says Data. "Like, yesterday?"
"No way," says Picard. "Spill the fucking tea already."
"I can't. And, it's dangerous to be here, so let's go."
"What's the deal with this planet?" demands Picard.
"Can't say. Was ordered not to."
"Why the hell not?" Picard puts on his conspiracy face. "Did Starfleet contact you, and tell you not to say anything to us?"
"Can't say."
"Who ordered you to not say anything to us?!"
But then Troi-thing enters, and her tea is extra strong.
"You did, sir," replies Data.

WHAAAAA? Dramatic music! Commercial break!

"The fuck?" asks Picard. "Me?"
"Hey, that energy field is getting closer," warns Worf.
Riker starts to tell the crew to do max shields, but Data interrupts to say that max shields will speed up the takeover of the ship, and to vary the shield strength and shape as quickly as possible. And even though Data is being super sketch, Picard still trusts him, and goes with his recommendation.
The energy field tries to match the shifting shields.
Data pretty much gives up the ghost at this point. "So that shield thing will delay the takeover, but it will still happen. The Paxans have better technology than us."
Troi-thing steps forward. "You invaded our system," it says in that weird voice-modulation.
Worf draws his phaser, but Data points out that shooting the Troi-thing will only end in harming Troi.
Geez Worf, don't you know how alien possession by energy ball works?

Time for an exposition dump!
"The Paxans are xenophobes," explains Data. "They don't want contact, and they don't want people to know about them. So they set up a trap around their planet. The energy field stuns everyone on board the invading ship and puts them in stasis."
"That's why our beards didn't grow," La Forge tells Worf.
"Then they move the ship way away from the planet," Data concludes.
"Ah," says Riker. "Then the crew assumes wormhole based on the distance traveled, and goes on their way."
"What went wrong?" asks Picard.
"Me," says Data. "My tech is unknown to them. So I stayed awake."
Flash-back time!
Past-Data is shown activating emergency procedures and creating the shifting shield. Then he tells Majel to basically fill the ship's air with smelling salts.
The crew wakes up.

Data voice-over: "The Paxans can do a bunch of cool energy-manipulation, so they took over Counselor Troi's body to communicate with us."

When Past-Troi-thing stands to talk to Picard and the others, Worf rushes it with a phaser. It breaks his wrist.
Picard puts a stop to the action to talk to Troi-thing.
"You're not allowed to know about us," the Troi-thing tells him. "We tried to put you in stasis and it didn't work. Gonna have to blow you to smithereens now."
"No good," says Picard. "We're part of this vast network of explorers. If you blow us up, someone will come looking for us. More people than you can imagine will know about you. I promise to keep your secret and never tell anyone about you if you just let us go."
"Not gonna happen," argues Troi-thing. "There are 1000-plus people on this ship. Someone will talk."
And now we get to the stalemate:
"Can your stasis stuff affect memory? Like, could you erase the memories of everyone on board? Then no one will know about you, and you can move us and make it look like a wormhole thing."
"Yeah, but it'll take like, one of your days to hit up everyone on board. Also, dude is immune?" Troi-thing points out, looking at Data. "He'd still know."
Picard pauses. "Okay Data: gonna give you a direct order. Don't tell anyone about the Paxans. Not Starfleet, not me." 
"Cool," replies Data.
Picard announces to the bridge crew that they better start erasing all of this crap ASAP from the records.

"So we did," says Present-Data. "I changed the ship's chronometer to show that only 30 seconds had passed, and we erased all of the records and everybody's memories, but you guys started picking threads in the sweater, and the whole thing unraveled."
"And here we are again," says Riker.
"Yeah, gotta blow you up this time," says Paxan-Troi.
"No, wait!" says Picard. "The problem with this time is that little clues were left. It makes for a mystery. Humans love mysteries. We gotta get to the bottom of shit. What say we treat this last time as a dress rehearsal, and we try again, making sure we leave no clues. Things like Crusher's experiment, and Data tinkering with the computer, and his weird behavior. Anyway, can we try again?"
"Eh, I kind of like you," shrugs Paxan-Troi. "Give it another shot."
"Cool," says Picard. "Nobody fuck it up this time!"
The Paxan energy-thing leaves Troi.

Later, the bridge crew wakes up on the floor.
"That was some wormhole," says Data. "You guys were all knocked unconscious for about 30 seconds."
Picard does a quick check: no damage or casualties. Everyone is fine, but they're a ways from where they started.
"Oh yeah," says Picard. "We were gonna check out that class-M planet back there."
"I think it's too dangerous," says Data. "That wormhole was hella unstable. Plus, there might not even be a planet there. Might be a reflection or something from the wormhole."
"Probe?" suggests Riker.
"Sure," shrugs Data.
"Eh, good enough for government," brushes off Picard. "Let's get back on track. Also, call Starfleet and let them know there's a big-ass wormhole there that needs to be avoided."
Knowing close-up on Data...

This is an episode that I like quite a bit. There's good Star Trek stuff here, some fun at the beginning, and the mystery is top-notch: what happens when the guy who is suspected of fishy behavior is actually incapable of lying? (Okay, okay - all of his answers end up being "Can't say," which gets annoying, but still.)
Thing is, when you go over an episode with a fine-toothed comb, you notice stuff that was never explained, or things that warrant more detail, or... well, just plot-holes in general.
The Paxans are a xenophobic culture that secretly diverts possible visitors by making them think that they've gone through a wormhole. As defenses go, that's pretty freaking clever. No need to waste resources on military, or time making threatening gestures, or money building a fucking wall. They just use tech to knock everybody the hell out and tow them to a safe distance. A+.
So that's how we get our mystery and backstory, and both are great. But the problem turns out to be Data, in that he was awake the whole time, and his promise to past-Picard to keep the secret might have worked, had they not inadvertently left clues behind.
And here's where I make McKayla Maroney face and go, "Eh..."

It's the "humans are wonderful and special" thing again. Picard frantically explains to Troi-Paxan that humans are curious, and love mysteries, and getting down to the bottom of them is considered exhilarating. Troi-Paxan is quick to give them another chance to do it right. "You're an interesting species," is how she puts it. "Worthy of a second chance."
I know we can chalk this up to needing to wrap up the episode in the time allotted, but if you were a xenophobe, and carefully diverted a ship from your space with the promise that they would not be back, then showed up on your doorstep right away again, would you take their word for it a second time, or blow them up? My guess is gooey-kablooey, but here she decides to let them go ahead with it. Is Picard really that skilled a diplomat, or are humans just charmed with great luck? Are Worf or Troi or the Bolian barbers ever annoyed that things just magically turn out okay for humans at every turn? I've often found myself muttering that humans are the Gryffindors of the universe, and here they fit the bill again: they win the day "just because." The Dumbledore of this particular universe is the writing staff, awarding extra points to Team Human for farting.

Well done, humans!

So let's set that aside and talk about the problem with Picard's plan. The initial idea wasn't a bad one, as long as Data agreed to not tell future-Picard the truth, or to let anyone know for as long as he continued to function. The trouble lies in that missing time: they wouldn't be missing an hour, but 24 of them. That's a lot of hours to miss. I know that's what set off the "mystery," but think about that for a minute: there's the problem of life going on without them. The moss grows. Pets on board would be hungry and will have probably eliminated all over the floor in their quarters. Worf's wrist will still have been broken and reset. And most telling: Starfleet will have continued to function in that 24 hours. What if they had sent a communique to Picard that went unanswered? When they hit dock again, someone would have noticed that Data had screwed with the chronometers, and asked Picard about it. Oops. And we begin again.
Speaking of beginning again, we end with the Enterprise attempting to cover their tracks a second time in preparation for being knocked out, towed away, and relieved of their memories again. So, if we do the math, that's
- the initial 24 hours that went missing;
- the second 24 hours that now need to be erased as well;
- all of the time between these first two times, when the senior staff were investigating Data - we don't know how long that was, maybe a few hours, but maybe several days.
When they dock again, they'll be missing possibly three or more days. The E crew can try to explain it as wormhole time, but Data claims they were out 30 seconds, not days on end. Would he tell the crew that they had been out for all of those days, instead of half a minute? Starfleet would still ask Data for his report for those days.
"The whole crew was out? Why didn't you contact us? What were you doing those days? Why weren't you bringing the ship back to Federation space in the meantime?"
There are too many variables to cover. I get that they're out in the middle of nowhere, but they're still tied umbilically to Starfleet, who is definitely going to open an investigation as to why 1000+ people are missing a number of days.

A tiny little side thing: Madeline can definitely hear into Hill's office on the holodeck. She heard the glass breaking and guy getting shot, but never ran in to check on Hill or "Gloria" or even react to it. How do I know? Data's phone call initially rang in the front office, and they overheard her answer the phone, which resulted in a quasi-funny moment: "Sorry, there's no Captain Picard here. Try the docks." Picard then called to her to transfer the call into his office. Is the program set so that Madeline doesn't respond to things unless they concern her directly? Why would she not scream, or rattle around outside like she was crawling under her desk, or yell that she was calling the cops? Did the writers temporarily forget she was there?

Despite my objections, this is actually a fairly good episode, with some fun and funny moments. The mystery is solid storytelling, and the intrigue of "is the honest-by-nature guy lying?" is interesting enough to hold the audience's attention.

- Fun Facts:

- This episode came from a spec script from fan Bruce D Arthurs. Michael Piller liked it well enough to offer Arthurs a writer job on the show. The script was then rewritten to take out Wes' part and polish up the dialogue.
- There's a similarity between this episode and the Red Dwarf episode "Thanks For the Memory."
- Director Les Landau used longer, more fluid takes on the flashback scenes to set them apart from the real-time ones.
- This episode is a bottle show.
- First appearance of the mok'bara classes.
- First mention of Nurse Ogawa's first name.
- Picard mentions the Paxans by name during the flashback, despite the fact that Troi-Paxan had not mentioned the name of her people.

Red deaths: 0
To date: 0
Gold deaths: 0
To date: 0
Blue deaths: 0
To date: 0
Unnamed color crew deaths: 0
To date: 11,000
Obnoxious Wes moments: 0
To date: 1
Legitimate Wes moments when he should have told someone to go fuck themselves: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Geordi moments: 0
To date: 2
Sassy Wes Moments: 0
To date: 1
Sassy Worf Moment: 0
To date: 2
Sassy Riker Moments: 1
To date: 7
Sassy Picard Moments: 0
To date: 7
Sassy NPC Moments: 0
To date: 1
Sassy Data Moments: 1
To date: 2
Sassy O'Brien Moments: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Crusher Moments: 0
To date: 2
Sassy Troi Moments: 0
To date: 4
Sassy Guinan Moments: 1
To date: 1
Sassy Guest Star Moments: 0
To date: 3
Number of times that it is mentioned that Data is an android: 2
To date: 20
Number of times that Troi reacts to someone else's feelings: 1
To date: 14
Number of times that Geordi "looks at something" with his VISOR: 0
To date: 0
Number of times when Data gives too much info and has to be told to shut up: 1
To date: 1
Picard Maneuvers: 0
To date: 16
Tea, Earl Grey: 0
To date: 5

Pavel and Princess Ginger

Monday, November 12, 2018

ST:TNG Season Four, Episode Thirteen "Devil's Due"

ST:TNG Season Four, Episode Thirteen "Devil's Due"
Production Order: 13
Air Order: 13
Stardate: 44474.5
Original Air Date: February 4, 1991

Data is on the holodeck in full Ebenezer Scrooge costume, arguing with a Jacob Marley ghost. After a moment, the audience realizes that Data is playing the character while Picard sits nearby, reading the play from an old-school hardcover book. Data cowers in front of the Marley ghost, and Picard freezes the program to praise Data for how far he's come in his acting skills.
"Eh, they're okay," says Data. "But I'm really not playing up the fear the way the play says I should."
"You've never known fear," shrugs Picard. "You can watch others and emulate them."
"No, I'm studying method acting," Data replies. "I'm supposed to draw on my own fear."
They leave the holodeck.
"Method acting is pretty old-school," says Picard.
They walk down the corridor.
"Yeah, I'm using it backward," Data explains. "People use the method to draw on their own emotions to help them act those emotions out. I'm acting the emotions out to see if I can form my own emotions."

Riker pages Picard to the bridge, and Picard says something nice to Data about finding his humanity before they part ways.
On the bridge, Riker tells Picard that they're getting an SOS from the planet Ventax II. The viewscreen is showing a live feed that's so staticky that I want to put tin foil on the Enterprise's sensor array. Worf tells Picard that it's all on the other end.

Onscreen is Dr Howard Clark, a Federation anthropologist who is running a science team on the surface of the planet. "Little help here?" he asks. "The people on this planet are rioting, convinced they're going to die tomorrow. We need to get the hell out of Dodge."
Then the transmission cuts out.

Zoom-in on worried Picard! Dramatic music! Opening credits break!

Picard's Log 44474.5: "Going to Ventax II to pick up the scientists and find out what's going on there."

They pick up another transmission from Clark, who is begging to be removed with his team. There's an explosion off-screen, and some screaming, and Clark reports that the mob outside has broken into the station.
Picard calls to the transporter room to beam out the team, but the chief replies back that he can only get a lock on Clark.
"Just him then," says Picard. He sends Worf to the transporter room to bring Clark to the ready room, and asks Riker to figure out WTF is going on down on Ventax II.

Livingston sighting:

In the ready room, Clark lays out the exposition: the Ventaxians used to be super-technological, but a thousand years earlier, they switched over to agrarian, ditching the tech and getting back to the land. Clark was interested in the switch, so he started doing anthropological studies on them. (Interesting side note: the Ventaxians are aware of the science station, and the fact that they were studied, unlike the Mintakans. Presumably, they let him study them.) First contact was made by the Klingons 70 years earlier, and since then, technology has been offered to the Ventaxians, but they were not interested.
"They were happy tending crops and living simply," says Clark. "They have no social problems. Things are pretty awesome for them. But a few years ago, their leader - Acost Jared - starting getting super paranoid about someone from the distant past, Ardra. "She's coming back, we have to leave" -that kind of thing. For lack of a better description, she's the devil. They think they sold their souls to the devil."

Riker calls Picard over his comm badge. "Hey, so the science team is being held hostage on the surface, and the Ventaxian leader - a dude named Acost Jared - is calling."
Clark and Picard rush back onto the bridge.
"Jared," pleads Clark. "WTH? We're friends!"
"I know," says Jared. "It's pretty fucked up. And I hate violence. But the people are freaked out about Ardra returning, and I no longer have control of the situation. The prophesies are coming true."
Picard looks at Clark, who shrugs. "Supposedly, earthquakes will occur. And there have been some little ones, but... way small. Insignificant."
"Sightings, too!" insists Jared. "She has been reappearing, like the ancient texts say she would."
"Can we help?" asks Picard.
"No," says Jared. "The group that has the scientists know that your weapons are not as powerful as Ardra. BUT, you guys are innocent in all of this, and you shouldn't have to suffer for our sins, so I'll see if I can get your people released."
"Cool," says Picard. "We can help you with this Ardra if need be."
They sign off.

The senior officers meet in the Obs Lounge with Clark to talk about how this is all going down.
"This is a pretty crap situation," says Troi. "It's spiraling out of control, and there may be suicides soon. These people are losing their shit."
Picard asks Data for the low-down on the Ventaxians.
"They made a deal with this woman: 1000 years of peace and prosperity, but when she came to collect, she'd enslave the population. It's actually considered bad luck to say her name."
That's a pretty shitty deal. Like, deals with the devil generally are, but usually the person making the deal also has to pay the piper. In this case, 50 generations were able to cash in on that peace and prosperity thing, because Generation 51 was going to pick up the tab. That's garbage. Imagine being Generation 51 and having everyone before you go, "hey, thanks for taking on the yoke of oppression for us. Good luck with that enslavement thing." Sounds like Jared accepts his fate, but still thinks it's crap.
"There are ancient scrolls that talk about her," shrugs Clark. "Sometimes scholars read them, but there hasn't been a lot of interest outside of academia, until recently."
Of course not. Generations 1-50 didn't give a shit.
"I think I'll go down planet-side and meet with Jared," says Picard.
Worf doing his job: "That's a bad idea. You could be taken hostage, too." He sounds annoyed, like Picard is deliberately walking into danger, and he'll have to save the captain. Revising his resume again.
But nope, no revising tonight: "I want you and Data and Troi to go with me," says Picard. "O'Brien can keep a lock on our communicators."
Worf nods, but it's clear this is not his favorite plan. It's interesting that a guy who comes from a people who are very... Leeroy Jenkins, is in a position where he advises others to be conservative, risk-wise.

The away team beams down into some fancy little chamber where Acost Jared is huddling with some other Ventaxians.
"OH!" says Jared. "You shouldn't have come! It's dangerous to be here now."
"If you're talking about the earthquakes, we scanned the planet, and they're pretty harmless. They won't bring you danger," says Data.
"No, it's not that," says Jared. "Ardra is coming!"
"That's stupid," frowns Picard. "Help me find our people."
There's an earthquake, and Jared looks panicked.
"She's here, she's here."
There's a flash of light, and a new person appears. Whoever scored this episode used evil-sounding unharmonic music to herald her arrival. Yaaasss.
"Wazzzup, Ventax," says Ardra.
High-fives to the costume department!

Ardra has chutzpah. She smoothly admonishes Jared for not keeping up his end of the bargain, then tells him he won't be punished, so he thanks her.
"And don't be bowing and scraping," she says, walking around the room. "It's boring. If I want you on your knees, I'll tell you."
Daaammmnnn, girl.

She stops in front of Picard. "Much better. Keep up the good work."
Ardra gives Jared a scroll and tells him she wants him to prepare for her a census of the population "with emphasis on productivity and economic forecasts."
"Who TF are you?" demands Picard.
The conversation between Ardra and Picard is mostly Picard being pissed off and frustrated that she won't give him a straight answer, and Ardra serving up a bunch of innuendo:
"My, you are forceful, aren't you? Good. I like my men to be forceful... at least at the start." And "That's all right. I like a challenge."
"Are you claiming to be the mythical figure Ardra?" Data asks her.
She says that she has several names, and lists off a few, and which group of people that identity belongs to.
"I'm also known to the Klingons as Fek'lhr," she purrs at Worf.
"Bitch, you are not Fek'lhr," scowls Worf.
"I am, though."
There's a flash of light, and this thing appears:

If she's not Fek'lhr, then she's a really talented cosplayer.
"I'm the guardian of dishonored Klingons," the thing growls.
Worf is taken aback. Recall that he's walking around with a bullshit discommendation. He and Fek'lhr would be roommates if Worf died today.
There's another flash of light, and Ardra reappears.
"You really don't believe me?" she simpers at Picard.
"I wanna see the contract," he states.
They go down to a dusty, cobwebby library (are there spiders on this planet?) and Jared shows Picard to the contract.
"It's a pretty standard contract with a really long term," sighs Ardra. "Lots of words that means I gave them 1000 years of paradise in return for enslavement."
"Can Data look at this contract?" Picard asks Jared.
"Um, it's not really up to me anymore," mumbles the leader. He looks to Ardra.
Jared, grow a backbone.
Picard looks to Ardra as well, and she teases him by saying he finds her intriguing.
"I'm just here to get the hostages freed," he corrects.
"WTH hostages are you talking about?" Ardra demands.
"Uh, the people panicked at the thought of your arrival, and they took several Federation scientists hostage," stutters Jared.
"That's such bullshit," says Ardra. "Free them, now."

Picard calls Clark to tell him to expect the hostages, then asks the transporter room for a beam-out for himself, Worf, and Troi. He insists that he isn't going to walk away from Ventax II and leave Ardra in charge. Data will stay behind to look at the contract.

Another senior meeting in the Obs Lounge with Clark.
They debate over whether or not Ardra might be Q.
"Feels like she's a flim-flam artist," says Picard. "The devil doesn't ask for economic forecasts, and neither do the Q."
"She has powers," argues Worf.
"Meh, we can do a lot of that same shit with transporters," shrugs Picard.
"She's hella focused," put in Troi. "I couldn't really see deception in her, or how she was doing it."
"Like a magician," adds Crusher.
Geordi is assigned to go back to the science station with Clark, to find out how the earthquakes are done, and Picard assigns the others to find the source of Ardra's power in this system.
They all put their hands in and yell "Enterprise!" before dispersing.

They exit to the bridge, and guess who's in the Big Chair?
Nope, not Wes.

"Bitch, leave my bridge, or I'll remove you by force."
"Ooh, yes please! Force!"
Geez, we've spent like five minutes with this woman, and we've already compiled a list of her kinks.
Picard directs Worf to take her down, and she sends a flash of light at his chest, knocking him backward several steps. Crusher rushes forward to scan him for injuries.
"Aww, I was hoping you would try it yourself," she tells Picard.
"Transporter room, please beam the intruder the fuck off of the bridge," Picard calls.

Ardra dematerializes, but when Picard asks the ensign at the conn to raise the shields, the chair spins, and it's Ardra in an Ops uniform.
"We're not impressed by your magic tricks," says Riker, who only has like, two lines in this episode.
Data enters the bridge, and Ardra gleefully refers to him as "my pale friend" again.
"So I looked over the contract, and it's pretty water-tight," says Data. "One thousand years of peace for personal servitude to Ardra."
"You're so fabulous and speedy," gushes Ardra. "You cannot be human."
"No, I'm an android," confirms Data.
"Yay!" she practically kiddy-claps. "I get an android, too?"
"How the fuck do you mean?" demands Riker.
"When the contract came due, I was entitled to everything on the planet, in the air, and in orbit. So I get the Enterprise, too!"
Everyone looks at Data. "Yeah, she could interpret the contract like that," he confirms.
She laughs and vanishes, leaving behind one very baffled-looking Ops ensign in his chair.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Picard's Log, supplemental: "Gonna research this chick to find out what her deal is."

Picard is rabbit-holing on the little desktop computer in the ready room when Data comes in. Picard tells him that he has been researching the con game, and damn that sounds interesting.
I could totally waste an afternoon reading shit on con artists. Also, marathon documentaries on con artists.
"Do you think Ardra is a con artist?" asks Data.
"Yes, I do!" says Picard. His body language says that he has some exciting gossip to share with Data. "I'm gonna reveal her to the Ventaxians. I don't know how Ardra came into this, but she's part of their theology now, and we have to shake that tree until some shit falls out. I want you to look at the contract and all of Ventaxian law precedent for the last thousand years. Find a frickin' loophole."

Picard is asleep in his quarters. He's fallen asleep with a book open on his chest, and... his head in a planter?

Anyway, a breeze blows through his quarters, and you know that's bad news bears. He wakes up to a blue light flash, and guess who again?

God, that's awful. Reminds me of -

Picard tries to page the bridge. Nada.
Ardra laughs, saying that she planned for privacy here. He stomps out of bed and attempts to leave his quarters, but the door won't open.
"I know you're attracted to me," she purrs.
No, honey. That's you projecting.
"I'm not attracted to you in any way," he corrects. "You're gross and obvious."
"Oh, I can change it up," she replies.
Yay, another Sylvia.

"I can be your perfect chaste woman, and succumb to your charms."
Picard just stares at her.
"Or maybe a more professional woman, someone who's always around, but inaccessible."
Ardra disappears, but then -

She's pissed when he tells her to fuck off, and she drops him, jammies and all, in the science station down on the planet.

Geordi, who is working with Clark, contacts Worf for Picard.
"Hey, could you beam Picard up from the surface?"
"Directly to my quarters?" requests an exasperated Picard.
"Um, what?" asks Worf.
"Ardra did a thing," grouches Picard.
Worf attempts to have Picard beamed up, but reports problems with the transporter due to "interference."
"Ugh," says Picard. "Just have Data come get me in a fucking shuttle. And have him bring a uniform!"

Data and Picard are heading back in the shuttle, and Picard tells Data that Geordi and Clark haven't found anything, and neither have Riker and Worf. He's crabby as hell because some creep woke him up when she broke into his quarters to force herself on him. Things are not going well in Picardtown.
"Found a loophole," announces Data. "There was this case where a Klingon craftsman got into it with a Ventaxian homeowner, and they agreed to arbitration, rather than going to court. Only case with an alien claimant."
"Good. Let's nail her to the wall."
The shuttle calls the E to prepare for docking. Then the freaking ship disappears.
"Oh, fuck me," sighs Picard.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Downstairs, Picard is working with Clark, La Forge and Data to figure out where the E went. Hails are going unanswered. La Forge and Clark have found traces of Z-particles when the ship disappeared, but they can't find evidence of the E being anywhere within a light-year of the planet.
Ardra shows up and boasts about how she used her fancy powers to take the ship.
"I want arbitration," Picard tells her.
"For what? I came to collect on a contract, and I am."
"I think you're a fraud, and I intend to prove it."
She's amused. "Okay, but if I win, what do I get? I don't have any reason to go along with this farce."
Picard thinks, then offers to show her a priceless archaeological find. She appears to consider, then tells him she isn't interested, and wants to choose her own prize.
"I want you," she smiles. "By all rights, your body is already mine. But I want more. I want your heart, your mind, your soul and I want you to give them to me without resistance, of your own free will."
Wow, going full Jareth the Goblin King, are we?
Honey, rapey does not look good on you. Back off.
"I agree to your terms," growls Picard.
"Oh, Picard. I will enjoy you morning, noon and night."
Gurl, STAHP. Gross.

Picard reminds her that they need to choose an arbitrator, and she selects Data.
"Um, dude is a member of my crew."
"My crew," she corrects. "And as an android, he is incapable of deceit or bias. He'll be a great arbitrator."
Data asks to speak to Picard alone, and when they are out of earshot, Data reminds Picard that Ardra is right.
"That's fine," says Picard.
"But I might not find in your favor," Data protests.
"You're pretty much the only person on this planet that she can't intimidate," Picard points out. "I'll take it."

We go straight to the arbitration.
Jared is sitting in some kind of hot seat, giving exposition on his culture's history.
"So, a thousand years ago, we were a mess," he says. "There was overcrowding and warring among the city-states, and the pollution was awful. Water and air were garbage. There was a constant threat of starvation and illness."
"What happened?" asks Ardra.
"You came along."
Picard calls for an objection. "There's no evidence she was here a thousand years ago."
Sassy Guest Star Moment: "I suppose you want a thousand-year-old witness?"
Sassy Picard Moment: "That would be great, thanks."
She asks Jared how the contract says she'll be identified, and he responds that the date, the earthquakes, and the sightings would all identify her.
"I fulfilled all of those requirements," Ardra tells Data.
Data overrules Picard's objection.
"So I came along, and what happened then?" she asks Jared.
"We made a bargain: 1000 years of prosperity, and then you come to collect at the end of it."
"Why would you make a bargain like that?"
"We had nothing to lose," says Jared nervously. "Things sucked."
Ardra rests her case, and Picard gets up and appeals to Data: Ardra has not proven that she did anything to improve the lives of the Ventaxians, so Data should invalidate the contract.
"Nope," says Data. "You haven't proven your case, Picard. Keep going."

Mmm, a rainbow of jewel-toned clothing. Yum.

Ardra stands up. "Can I question opposing counsel?"
"That's weird," says Data. "But I can't think of a reason to deny it, so go ahead."
"Cool. I won't be too hard on you, Picard. You know how much I like you."
"Come on," Picard objects.
"Seriously," Data tells her. "Quit telling opposing counsel that you have the hots for him."
"You don't believe in my powers?" Ardra asks Picard.
"How about now?"
The room shakes with an earthquake.
"Hey. Knock it off," says Data.
She makes Picard vanish.
"Hey, I said stop," Data tells her.
Picard reappears in the chair, and she appears as the devil.
"What about now?" the devil demands.

Data bangs his gavel. "I told you to fucking knock it off. Do I need to find you in contempt of court?"
The devil figure vanishes, to be replaced by Ardra. "Do you know how I accomplish these things, Picard?"
"No," scowls Picard.
Ardra chuckles and sits back down.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

At the science station, La Forge has picked up on coordinates for the E. It's in orbit over the Western pole of the planet. Clark plugs them into the scanners, but doesn't find anything.
"I'm not buying that "magic" crap," says La Forge. "We're gonna find that frickin' ship."

Back in the courtroom, Picard asks Jared to describe exactly what happened after the bargain with Ardra had been struck.
"Did she snap her fingers and make you guys kiss and make up?"
"No." Jared casts a nervous glance at Ardra. "We created a committee to draw up a constitution, which the people ratified."
"Oh, so Ardra advised the council?"
"She gathered up the weapons and destroyed them?"
"No, the leaders did that, then signed a treaty of nonaggression."
"Okay. Let's talk about environmental stuff. Did Ardra fix the pollution?"
"Um, no. We switched from industrial base to agrarian, because it was more ecologically sound."
"Did Ardra clean up the water and air?" asks Picard.
"No, the leaders passed laws and things."
Sassy Picard Moment: "Did Ardra not even pick up one piece of trash? She didn't do anything! You guys did it all yourselves!"
Ardra objects, saying Picard is drawing conclusions.

Picard rests his case, and Ardra is given time for rebuttal.
She approaches Jared. "Do you have any doubt that I intervened on behalf of your people?"
Jared is uncomfortable. Picard just made some hella good points, but he might be taking to the devil here, so best not to take chances.
"Are you satisfied with the life I gave you guys?"
"Yes, Ardra." Jared bows his head.
Ardra turns to Data. "Everyone agrees that I fulfilled the terms of the contract."
"Do you have more evidence before I make my ruling?" Data asks Picard.
La Forge comes into the room unexpectedly. Picard requests a one-hour recess, which Data grants.
They all go their separate ways, and Geordi pulls Picard aside.
"We found her ship in orbit. She has a Romulan cloaking device."
"STFU. Really?" asks Picard.
"Yeah. And the E is right where it always was. She just tossed her cloak over it like a freaking invisibility blanket. She set up a dampening field over it to cut off communications. And we already made contact with both ships."
"You're the fucking best, Geordi. I have a plan, but we have less than an hour to set it up."

Reconvening, Picard asks Jared if he can trust his senses.
"For the most part," says Jared.
"Okay, what if I told you that Ardra has no actual powers, and that I can steal what she does call powers?"
Jared gives Picard a wry smile. "Yeaaah, you're not Ardra."
"Let's start with this," says Picard.
A huge earthquake starts. Everyone is surprised, including Ardra.
"This is annoying," Data says after a moment. "Stop the earthquake, please."
"Okay," says Picard. "Or maybe Ardra wants to do it?"
Ardra pauses. "Um, I like the earthquakes."
Picard shuts them off. "How about this trick?" He makes Ardra disappear. "Come back, Ardra!" he calls. "No?"
He makes her reappear. "One more?"
This time, he disappears and Fek'lhr returns.
"It's pretty shitty for you to be wandering around the galaxy, pretending to be Fek'lhr," he growls at Ardra.

"Okay, this is amusing, but getting tedious," Data announces. "Shut it down, please."
Picard reappears. "Thanks for humoring me. I can do these things because we took control of this woman's ship, which has been in orbit around Ventax II. My crew has been helping me do these tricks, just like her crew was helping her. Riker has been listening through my communicator. The different tricks are controlled by eye movement."
He starts to walk around the courtroom. "Ardra said she was known by many names, and that's true. Her crew admitted that she has 23 aliases in this sector alone."
Ardra starts to blow up. "WTF?! You talked to my crew?"
"Yeah, she's been pulling cons all over the place," continues Picard. "And the mythology of Ardra probably looked pretty awesome to her, so she studied it, reappeared at the right time, with the right prophesies, and convinced you all to just surrender."
Jared is suddenly seeing Ardra in a new light.

Ardra gets up. "So hey, I should get going. I'm not really interested in Ventax II anymore. So I'm gonna invalidate the contract and be on my way."
She starts for the exit, but Jared was quicker and called for some security. She's met by a couple of uniformed dudes.

"The contract is dissolved," announces Data.
Jared approaches Picard. He tries to give Picard credit for saving the Ventaxians, but Picard reminds him that the Ventaxians saved themselves a long time ago.
Data walks up to them and congratulates Picard on his win.
"You would have had a lot more fun if you'd lost," laughs Ardra.
Girl, take your human trafficking elsewhere.
She's escorted away by the uniformed guys.
Picard rolls his eyes and he and Data walk away.

Man, I love this episode. It's light and comedic, and follows the heaviness of last week's episode nicely. Also, the idea of a female con artist always entertains me. In a world where a lot of the interesting parts are given to men, a woman who has shady morals is a nice change of pace. (Yeah, okay: I like comedic con artists. Doc Terminus is easily my favorite character in Pete's Dragon. Sue me.)

Strange to see (and I'm not sure how well this episode or idea aged) is the trope of Ardra being creepily attracted to Picard. The idea of a female being the aggressor, or obsessively pursuing a male, or threatening violence (sexual or otherwise) is still sort of thought of as being funny. A year or two ago and it still would have been funny. But with all that has happened, gender-swap stories don't work quite as well. Rapey female is not funny, just as female-on-male violence is not funny. People like to pretend it is, but males who have been harassed by females will tell you it's not. Ardra is both amusing and creepy, much like TOS' Harry Mudd.

- Fun Facts:

- An early draft of this story was written for TOS, which makes sense, given Gene Rod's obsession with the crew of the Enterprise meeting God. The censors were not okay with this idea, but told him that meeting the devil was okay. This idea was taken advantage of by TAS, who produced the acid-trip-inducing The Magicks of Megas-Tu. Gene Rod's dream partially came true when William Shatner wrote the script for Star Trek: The Final Frontier (A Complete Piece of Garbage). When this episode was not used for TOS, it was co-opted for the aborted series Star Trek: Phase II. Following the cancellation of that series, this episode and "The Child" (also a Phase II script) were both considered for TNG. "The Child" was rewritten and used as the premier for season two, and Devil's Due was set aside to be reworked and used during the writer's strike. It was determined that TNG characters could not just be slotted into the original story, so the script where Kirk confronts the devil character with the help of the computer judge, was reworked with Picard and Data.

- Marta Dubois, who played Ardra, had read for several parts in TNG episodes, but never seemed quite right for any of them. However, they loved her for Ardra and wanted to start filming with her right away.
- The character of the devil was originally a male named Komether.
- Picard uses the phrase "Fek'lhr of Klingon," as Qo'noS has not been set as the name of the Klingon homeworld. Qo'noS won't be used officially until the sixth Star Trek film, but it would be a while before Qo'noS will be used universally.
- This was the highest-rated TNG episode since Encounter at Farpoint.
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Costume Design in a Series.
- At the beginning of the episode, Data plays Ebenezer Scrooge while Picard watches. In 1999, Patrick Stewart will play the part of Ebenezer Scrooge in a remake.
- Jonathan Frakes remarked about this episode, "It's ironic that it was an old Star Trek story, because it's really a Kirk story. It was so 60's."
- The part of Fek'lhr was played by Tom Magee.

- The part of the Terran devil was played by Thad Lamey.

- The lines at the beginning of the episode in which the ghost of Jacob Marley asks Scrooge if he believes his senses are mirrored at the end of the episode, when Picard asks Jared if he believes his senses.

Red deaths: 0
To date: 0
Gold deaths: 0
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Blue deaths: 0
To date: 0
Unnamed color crew deaths: 0
To date: 11,000
Obnoxious Wes moments: 0
To date: 1
Legitimate Wes moments when he should have told someone to go fuck themselves: 0
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Sassy Geordi moments: 0
To date: 2
Sassy Wes Moments: 0
To date: 1
Sassy Worf Moment: 0
To date: 2
Sassy Riker Moments: 0
To date: 6
Sassy Picard Moments: 2
To date: 7
Sassy NPC Moments: 0
To date: 1
Sassy Data Moments: 0
To date: 1
Sassy O'Brien Moments: 0
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Sassy Crusher Moments: 0
To date: 2
Sassy Troi Moments: 0
To date: 4
Sassy Guest Star Moments: 1
To date: 3
Number of times that it is mentioned that Data is an android: 3
To date: 18
Number of times that Troi reacts to someone else's feelings: 2
To date: 13
Number of times that Geordi "looks at something" with his VISOR: 0
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Number of times when Data gives too much info and has to be told to shut up: 0
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Picard Maneuvers: 1
To date: 16
Tea, Earl Grey: 3
To date: 5

Princess Ginger