Warp Speed to Nonsense

Warp Speed to Nonsense

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

ST:TNG Season One, Episode Twenty-Five "Conspiracy"

ST:TNG Season One, Episode Twenty-Five "Conspiracy"
Production Order: 25
Air Order: 25
Stardate: 41775.5
Original Air Date: May 9, 1988

Let's be honest: I could have posted this for the last 49 weeks, and it would still be true.


Riker's Log 41775.5: "Going to this one planet  - Pacifica - with a bunch of beaches. Gonna do some science stuff, yeah, but also, gonna do some swimming and tropical vacay things while we're there."

So right off the bat we know two things:
1. They're not going to Pacifica.
2. What they're going to be waylaid with is going to be unpleasant.

Because this is Star Trek, anytime they tell us that they're going on shore leave, or they're going to be visiting someplace nice, you know they're going to get side-tracked. There isn't money in Star Trek's ever-shitty budget to ship them all to some lovely place where they'll film on location, and there also seems to be some kind of weird formula that states that the nicer their intended location, the worse the actual destination will be. For instance, last week the E was headed for some bona fide shore leave, and where do they end up? Some rock out in BFE.

Down at the front of the bridge, Geordi tells Data a joke. We only hear the punchline, but it doesn't sound like it's all that great a joke, so no worries. What we're supposed to be looking for here is Data's reaction - how does a dude with no sense of humor, but a sense of irony, deal with a joke? He dissects it. And in this case, he decides that it's probably funny, and he starts laughing. It's the fakest, creepiest laugh ever.
Data, I love you. Never make that noise again.

Troi tells Riker that she's looking forward to a moonlight swim at Pacifica, and Data relays back that the holodeck has programs that she can use to get the same effect. She says it isn't the same and tries appealing to Worf, who looks disgusted and states that swimming is too much like bathing.
And you know, I feel like that's kind of a cheap shot to insist that Klingons (or even just Worf) is anti-hygiene because he's a big warrior-type. Seems like a stereotype, and one that's kind of tired.

Data suddenly reports that he's getting a Code 47 message, and because we need to know what that is, Troi gives Riker a worried look and says "Code 47 - for Captain's Eyes Only."
He wakes up Picard to alert him to the message, which Picard accepts in his quarters.
Apparently, we need further exposition, so Majel Barrett spells it out: the captain can't discuss the message with other officers. Also, there won't be a record of the message, and it's on a secure channel. Picard has to agree before he can see it.
When the computer screen clears, it's his friend, Captain Walker Keel. They greet each other warmly, but then Keel switches it up and says that he needs to see Picard about something. He's being super mysterious, and refuses to say what this is all about, even on a secure channel. He tells Picard to meet him immediately on Dytallix-B before signing off.
Dramatic music! Opening credits break!

Picard enters the bridge and immediately asks Data about Dytallix-B in front of everyone. Data relays back that it's in a nearby system, and that it's one of several planets that was mined by the Dytallix Mining Company. Picard tells Geordi to plot a course there, and that there will be no record of them going there. Riker objects - they're supposed to be going someplace else, but Picard shuts him up and locks himself in his ready room.
Later, on their way to this new destination, Data tells Riker that he has pulled up the info he requested on Dytallix-B. It's the same info, just some more about the set-up of the mines, and how there isn't anyone left there. Data tells Riker that it is a worthless hunk of rock, ect. and gets a "Thank you, Data" for his troubles. Riker informs Picard that they have arrived. When Picard comes back onto the bridge, Worf reports that there are already two frigates in orbit around Dytallix-B, and that a third ship is coming into orbit, Walker Keel's ship.
"Oh, hey," says Riker. "Isn't that your buddy?"
"Um, yeah," says Picrad shiftily. "I'm gonna beam down for a few. Hold down the fort."
Riker is a smart officer who knows the rules, so he tries to object, but Picard puts the smack-down on him and climbs into the lift.
The bridge crew exchanges looks.

Picrad had Data scan for life-forms, and when Data found three, Picard has the transporter chief plug those in as beam-down coordinates. He re-materializes in the entrance of a creepy old mine shaft.

I'm really digging this mine shaft set.

Picard descends down the ramp, and three people come out of the shaft toward him: Walker Keel, Tryla Scott, and Captain Rixx, an alien. Rixx and Scott have their weapons trained on him.
"What the hell?" Picard asks Keel.
"Where did we meet?" responds Keel.
"Tau Ceti III. It was a bar, and quite an exotic one, if I remember. What do I win?" he asks sarcastically.
"What about the night you introduced Jack and Beverly Crusher?"
"I didn't introduce them. You did."
"Um, it was my brother," puts in Keel.
"You don't have a brother!" roars Picard. "WTF, Walker?"

"It's cool," Keel says to the others, and they lower their weapons. He introduces Rixx, but Picard says they met at some conference. Apparently, he gets this right, because Rixx nods.

Then Keel introduces Tryla Scott, but Picard knows about her: "It's said you made captain faster than anyone in Starfleet history, present company included. Are you that good?"
Scott smiles. "Yes, I am."
Fuck, yeah! Get it, girl! I love the fact that she doesn't pull out some bullshit modesty thing here. She knows she's good, and she admits it.

We finally get around to the reason they called him there: something weird is going on with Starfleet command. They can't prove anything, but there's been some strange things happening - an evacuation of a starbase with no explanation, the moving of personnel, a handful of deaths chalked up to accidents. Picard admits that this is news to him, as the E has been on the "outer rim." They tell him that they think the E will be targeted. Keel says some top officers at Starfleet are acting weird, and Rixx puts in that they "tested" Picard because these changed officers often don't have complete memories, and try to "bluff their way through talk of old times."
Picard is skeptical.
Keel says he doesn't trust his own crew anymore, that he feels several of his own crew are changed as well.
Scott begs him to keep on the lookout, and Picard agrees.
Keel tells him to say hi to Beverly for him, which is going to be difficult, seeing as how he then tells Picard not to say anything to anyone about this meeting.
Picard agrees to think about it, and beams out.
And so, the formula works: they were headed for paradise, and they ended up on another rock in the middle of nowhere.

Upstairs, Picard decides to tell Troi. He starts out by talking about his own Three Musketeers: Jean-Luc Picard, Walker Keel, and Jack Crusher. This is why he trusts Keel implicitly - they're hella old friends.
Troi plays Devil's Advocate and points out that Picard risked his career by meeting with the others, that they were breaking a ton of Starfleet regulations. He counters by telling her that, if this thing goes all the way to the top, then they'll need to break some rules and ignore some orders to find out. When she asks if he plans to tell the crew, he declines - he doesn't want to drag them down with him if it's all crap.

They go back out to the bridge, and Picard tells Geordi that they should head off for Pacifica now. Then he tells Data that he's going to give him a special assignment. Data seems as pleased as he can for a guy who is trying to fake all of his emotions.
Data sits at the ready room computer and asks it to give him all of Starfleet's communications from the last six months.
Crusher enters the bridge and says she heard the Picard met up with Keel's ship.
"Did you see Walker?"
"No,"lies Picard. "No time."
"Aw, too bad," she sighs, and sits in one of those non-seats to the left of Troi's chair.
Oops, now there's a "disturbance" in a nearby quadrant. They're already ten hours late arriving at Pacifica, what's a few more hours while they rubber-neck?
They come up on some wreckage, and Worf guesses that it could only be Keel's ship, completely destroyed.

Picard's Personal Log 41776.1: "This sucks. Like, a lot. And now I'm wondering if Walker was right. I told Riker about Walker's suspicions."

Picard and Riker meet up in the observation lounge. Riker is also skeptical.
"Okay, yeah, I get that," admits Picard. "But remember when Admiral Quinn was here before, and he was all like, "something weird is going on" and we weren't quite sure what the hell he was talking about? What if that's the same thing?"
Riker is still not buying what Picard isn't sure he wants to sell.

Back in the ready room, Data is still scanning through all of those Starfleet communiques.
He starts whispering how they're "fascinating," and the computer is all, "Huh?"
Data corrects himself: "Sorry, computer. I was talking to myself." Then he pauses. "Dude! I was talking to myself!" He's pretty stoked that he picked up another human idiosyncrasy and was using it without thinking.
"Huh?" asks the computer again.
Data begins listing off all the reasons why a person might talk to themselves, and the computer interrupts him with a "Thank you, Mr Data."
Damn. Twice in one day.

Data busts in on Riker and Picard, who are now arguing over whether or not Keel's ship was destroyed by sabotage.
"I found that thing you asked me to look for," Data tells Picard.
He busts out another one of those laptops, and shows them how there's been a weird "reshuffling" of Starfleet personnel, usually at command level, and all of the new people have spent time with the upper echelons of Starfleet command. These people were all sent to take over command of starbases, colonies and ships within a certain cone-shaped area.
"Dude... like, an invasion?" asks Riker.
He now believes because... well, they put an android on the case. If you want yourself some truth, you get an android.
"Possibly," says Data. "But there isn't enough info to say who's behind it."
"We can't just walk into Starfleet Headquarters and demand to know what the fuck is up," says Riker reasonably.
Data considers it. "Porque no?"
"Yeah, why not?" asks Picard. "If shit's going down, then sooner or later we're going to have to walk the fuck in there and find out what the deal is."

Picard's Personal Log: "Going to Earth. Told the rest of the bridge crew."

Dude, there's an awesome shot here, where the E flies between Earth and the moon.

Starfleet headquarters calls. It's three admirals, including Quinn. The other human is Aaron, and the Vulcan is Savar.
"Hey, whut up, Enterprise. Fancy you, in this neighborhood."
Picard and Quinn exchange pleasantries.

"Sooo, what's the deal?" asks Savar. "You guys are supposed to be at Pacifica, but the guy in charge there says you guys canceled."
"Yeah, I wanna talk about that in person," answers Picard.
Wait, WTH? What is that dumb motherfucker doing here?

Remmick slides in and whispers some sweet nothings into Savar's pointy ear, then Savar is all, "Gotta go. Gotta talk secretly for a few."
When he signs off, Riker is immediately behind Picard. "What's that little brown-nosing asswipe doing here?"
Picard asks Troi what she thinks, and she says someone is hiding something, but it's super-vague. Everyone agrees that the admirals are all acting pretty normal, but Geordi thinks it's weird that they're not getting the smack-down for canceling on a mission and just randomly going home.
The admirals call back.
"Okay, cool. Let's do dinner, in like twenty minutes. Bring your first officer. It'll be fab."
"Sweet," agrees Picard.
"Oh, hey," adds Quinn. "I can't go to the dinner, but I want to beam up to see the E again and say hello."
Picard agrees and they all sign off.
"Well, that's good news at least," remarks Picard. "If Quinn wants to talk to us without the others there, then it means he's still on our side."

Another sweet-ass matte painting here of Starfleet Headquarters. Some real nice establishing shots in this episode.

Quinn goes into the transporter room and opens what looks like a Trapper-Keeper on steroids. There's this weird, wiggly Play-Doh bug inside. Then he closes the Trapper-Keeper when Remmick walks in, and the admiral says he is ready to beam up.
Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Quinn transports up with his bug-thing, where Picard and Riker meet him.
Picard and Quinn greet each other warmly, and Picard says he looks great, not tired like he was complaining about before.
"Naw, I was tired of the same old-same old," says Quinn. "Feeling energized now. Pep in my step."
They're walking through the corridors, and Picard brings up what Quinn said earlier, about thinking that there was a vague threat to the Federation that would destroy everything.
"Aw, man. You took me literally! I'm sorry about that," says Quinn. "I was just talking about bringing new worlds into the Federation, and how stressful that can be."

"Oh, okay," replies Picard.
But you can tell he thinks Quinn is full of shit. A guy complains that there's a threat that may destroy their organization, but then brushes it off by saying he just meant that it was stressful bringing new people in? That's not even the same thing, not by a long shot.

"So I want to freshen up, then look around," says Quinn.
"Okay," answers Picard. "How about I go downstairs to Headquarters to meet the others, and Riker can stay here and give you a tour?"
Riker seems surprised, and Quinn says he totally doesn't have to stay, but Picard insists, and says that Riker can pop down when he's done.
They all agree, with Quinn adding that he might want to stay awhile.
Yeah, that's not fishy as fuck. You can't make a dinner in twenty minutes, but you have plenty of time at the exact same time to freely roam the Enterprise?

Quinn goes off to his quarters, and Picard pulls Riker down the corridor and back into the transporter room.
"So that's not Quinn," Picard tells him. "I want you to watch him like a hawk, and see if you can get Crusher to do a full medical eval on him."
"Um, that's an admiral," Riker points out.
"I don't give a shit if he's the queen," argues Picard. "Get some info on him, then come downstairs."
"...are you beaming down unarmed after giving me that warning?" demands Riker.
"I can watch out for myself," he replies.
Then he looks beyond Riker and says "Energize," which means that they just had a super-secret talk in front of a transporter chief.
...I don't even know what's going on with this organization.

Picard meets Admirals Aaron and Savar, and freaking Remmick.
He questions the lack of activity in the space where they're meeting, and Remmick says pleasantly that it's a quiet night.
Okay, seriously: why do evil people make the worst small talk ever? It's not enough that Picard has to deal with these people at all, now he also has to suffer through crap small talk as well.

Upstairs, Riker reports to Quinn's quarters and asks if he's ready for his tour. Then he asks what Quinn has in his Trapper-Keeper.
"It's this cool thing," says Quinn. "I brought it for Dr Crusher to check out. Maybe you want to see it, too. It's this life-form we came across while checking out planets in uncharted territory. It's a superior form of life."
Wait, how do you know? Did this life-form tell a human that it was a superior form of life? Did a Vulcan agree with it, even if no Vulcan was around a moment earlier? Those are really the two things one needs on this show to confirm a superior life-form, Quinn.
Suspicious, Riker says that maybe the science officer would want to take a look at it instead.
Quinn gets aggressive and grabs Riker by the wrist. "It won't like your science officer! It will like you!"
Wow, look who's declared himself the eHarmony of aliens. The science officer does not Match, Riker. Only you and Crusher.
Quinn then proceeds to beat the ever-loving shit out of Riker.

Riker manages to comm for security, but he's knocked out and crushes a glass table before anyone arrives.

Downstairs, Picard and the admirals come upon a little table set with glasses and Andorian tea. Remmick excuses himself and disappears into another room. Aaron and Savar toast to Keel's destroyed ship. Picard doesn't so much drink the tea as regard the glass suspiciously. Probably smart - it could contain iocane.
"Oh, um. I wanted to talk about that ship," says Picard. "Do we know what caused it be destroyed?"
"Yeah," replies Savar. "Implosion. Extreme negligence of the captain."
Picard knows that that's crap.
Aaron talks about the tea, because again, terrible small talk.

Upstairs, Worf races through the corridors, going to the call that Riker made for security. Geordi is hot on his heels because, I dunno, in addition to being the ship's pilot and also frequently the chief engineer, he's also security?
When they make it to Quinn's quarters, he lies and tells them that Riker slipped and hit his head. They call Crusher. Quinn tries to excuse himself, and when Geordi asks if he shouldn't stick around for the doctor to show up, Quinn just fucking throws him through the doors.
I mean they weren't open. Geordi's body flew through the air and knocked them over like cardboard. (Okay, technically they were, but still.)

"WTF?" asks the look on Worf's face.
"Let's go, bro," Quinn says to him.
Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Worf fights valiantly, even actually using that two-handed punch that Kirk liked so much. Nope. Quinn has apparently been taking Geezer-Fu classes at Starfleet's Rec Center, and he beats the snot out of Worf as well.
So who takes his ass down? Beverly fucking Crusher, that's who. She shoots him with her phaser set for some kind of heavy stun - a bunch of times - and he crumples on the carpet.

Our boys get up and Crusher scans Riker to make sure he's okay. Then they haul Quinn's Chuck Norris-channeling carcass back to sick bay.
Crusher runs some tests and confirms that it's actually Quinn, but Geordi points out before he leaves that Quinn just beat the shit out of the three of them.
She's administering some kind of hypospray on the unconscious Quinn when she finds something squirmy sticking out of his neck.

Downstairs, the admirals start talking to Picard about conspiracies in general.
Aaron says something pretty interesting: "When a machination is real, no one knows about it. And when it's suspected, it's almost never real."
That's true, Admiral Creeper. What about it?
"Except of course in paranoid delusions, for those who believe," adds Savar.
Ohh, I see. You guys plan to gaslight Picard.
Remmick comes out into the corridor to let them know that dinner is served.
While the others go in, Picard stays in the corridor to call Riker and let him know that he should beam down.
But instead of Riker, Crusher picks up, asking first if she can speak freely - smart! Then she gives him a quick run-down: Riker was attacked by Quinn, who is currently being piloted by some weird bug-thing that's wrapped around his nervous system. The bug-thing breathes through that tail that hangs out of a hole in the back of the human host's neck.
"Look for that," she says. "Should be visible on anybody with a bug. It messes with the adrenal gland, which makes that person extra-strong. But so far, I don't think I can remove it without killing Quinn. You're gonna have to set your phaser on kill. Sorry."
"Not as sorry as me," replies Picard. "You don't beam down to Starfleet Headquarters armed."
*cough,cough* warned by Riker *cough, cough*

I'm pretty sure this animation is part of the remastering. Looks a bit too snazzy for mid-80's.

Picard gets called into dinner. He loudly tells Crusher to tell Riker to join them downstairs when he's ready. Then he goes in to dinner.
From the look of the cool little pot in front of Picard, they're having pho - yum!
But no. The lid comes off, and -

Mmmmmm, mealworms!
The admirals pop open their own bowls, and start eating handfuls of worms. (For the squeamish in the audience, you can tell they're actually eating sauteed onions.) The random security Gold in the corner takes an empty seat, and they gorge themselves like zombies on brains.
Picard pushes the bowl away in disgust, and tries to leave, but Riker comes up behind him.
"You're not going anywhere," says Riker, pushing Picard forcefully back in the room.
Aaron is pissed off. "You were meant for the doctor!"
He checks the back of Riker's neck, and finds that tail thing.
"Nothing to be done," replies the first officer. "Riker walked in on us."
"Whatever," shrugs Savar. "The doctor will be here soon, anyway."
Wait, how? Quinn only took one upstairs with him. They'll have to get another and sneak it back up on the E.
The door opens again.
Aww, man. Not her.

They all sit down to dinner again, and the admirals tell Picard that they were aware that he knew something was going on.
Savar also says that they let him come to them, rather than go after him.
Scott then says that their two species both appreciate theater, and that Picard put on a good show.
"What species are you?" asks Picard.
She deflects. It doesn't matter, apparently.
Savar starts talking about how they've been going slowly for a while now, and then they strike when it's too late.
So they're like... monologuing, but it's being done by several of them at the same time... dialoguing? I dunno. Anyway.
Riker chimes in every now and again, with a "yeah, that's right" or "you'll soon find out."
Savar encourages Riker to eat, and Riker takes a whopping handful of mealworks. He's just about to dump it down his gullet, Picard cringing, when Riker uses the action to cover up the fact that he's reaching for his phaser.
Riker takes down the security Gold before anyone can react. A fight breaks out, and he manages to nail Scott right in the chest.
Maaaan, I really liked her, too.
Then, because this shit wasn't fucked up enough already, Scott's mouth opens and the bug crawls out. The bug animation is very Ray Harryhausen, making it all the creepier.

Savar attempts to pinch Riker all Vulcan-style, but Picard grabs the fallen Gold's phaser, and tags Savar in the chest. In the meantime, Aaron has taken off down the corridor. 
Interesting. The superior life form with the strength of ten men is now fleeing the scene. Did the bugs have a staff meeting before their invasion?
"Don't piss this species off. They used to be really brutal to one another a long time ago, and they could revert back if you make them angry."
Every now and again, it totally works in humanity's favor that we can be complete dicks to each other.
So the next part makes me think that these bugs are totally not superior: Aaron is running down the corridor, and he actually has a phaser. Picard and Riker are on his heels, and Picard yells out, "Aaron!"
That dipshit stops and actually turns to look back at them.
Then he fires at them, but hits a painting on the wall behind Riker.
And you can guess what happens now - they both fire at him, killing him instantly.
They run up to Aaron's body, and the bug crawls out of his mouth, but this time, they watch where it goes.
It crawls under a nearby door. (Pretty convenient that all of the doors in this show go all the way to the floor, but this one has a gap sufficient enough to fit a bug under it.)
Let's see what's behind Door Number One!

Aw, shit. It's the booby prize.
I would have been happier with a lifetime supply of Rice-A-Roni. (The Starfleet Headquarters Treat - ding, ding!)
Remmick is all Happy Helper Cog and good customer service toward the upper officers.
Picard spots the bug crawling across the floor, and he tries to warn Remmick, but then that motherfucker swallows the bug WHOLE. Like, he lets it crawl in his mouth.

WTF? Is this Intergalactic Fear Factor?
Then his neck starts doing this bulgy shit.

He starts monologuing about not meaning them any harm, and then he yells, "WE SEEK PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE!"
The hell you do.
So Riker and Picard do they only thing they can do: they tag-team him with phasers.
The death of Remmick is not only satisfying, but special-effects-wise, it's actually pretty fantastic.
First, we get some Indiana Jones face-melting action:

Then the head completely explodes.
And somehow, he hasn't disintegrated like other people hit by phasers set on stun. Instead, he starts burning from the inside out.

Annnndddd, cue the monster popping out of the chest!

"Oh, fuck THIS shit," says Picard.
He and Riker fire on the Mecha-bug.

Mecha-bug disintegrates, and it seems that Remmick was filled with the little bugs, like Oogie Boogie. Gross.
Also, I think his wrist might be broken. It lost like Harry Potter's arm when all of his arm bones disappeared.

Picard's Log 41780.2: "So that sucked. We had to kill those people. But here's the good part: when that Mecha-bug died, all of the little ones did too, so Quinn is fine again."

It's real crappy that they didn't discover that before they shot Scott. Remmick, though... he was a real douche bag, so who gives a shit about him?

Up on the bridge, Riker tells Picard that Crusher was the one who suggested the fake bug tail in his neck to fool the others. Picard says it was effective.

Data approaches The Chair.
"So, um, I took a look at the message that Remmick was sending when you interrupted him. I think it was a beacon."
"A beacon?"
"Yeahhhh... a homing beacon, sent from Earth..."
And instead of going straight into the ending credits music, we see the Enterprise slowly fly by, then the camera pushes just as slowly into the stars, with a background noise that sounds tinkly, mechanical, and like some kind of code. It's creepy. And highly effective. Good ending.

So every time I watch this episode, my reaction is the same: why is this a one-off? Why is this not an arc or a cliffhanger season finale? It bothered me so much that, instead of just complaining about it in my review, I went looking for the answer in Memory Alpha. It gives a decent explanation, but the overall feeling remains - this really needed to be a longer story.
Okay, here's the deal. Writer Tracy Torme originally wanted to do an episode that was commentary on the Iran/Contra Affair that involved treason within the Federation and higher-ups violating the Prime Directive. Both ideas were nixed. The Iran/Contra comparison was thought to be too controversial, and Gene was really, really opposed to the idea that the Federation was less than perfect. I have problems with both of this dissensions. Firstly, it's Star Trek. Star Trek is famous for getting away with commentary on current events and controversies. Why the hell stop now? Secondly, no governing body is perfect. They all fuck up sometimes. Except maybe Canada. But the idea of the Federation as untouchable is not only unrealistic, it closes the door on what could be some really killer episodes. (Not to worry, friends: DS9 gives the finger to this idea, and does a two-parter that covers it.)
Torme starts looking around, because he's got some story, but no substance. Gene adds in the alien bit. Now we have the outline of the problems-within-Starfleet story, but instead of the issue being corrupt Starfleet officers, it's that those officers are playing host to some kind of invading alien race. It was followed by idea of "Eh, let's tie it back to what Quinn said to Picard in "Coming of Age." He said he was worried about issues within the organization, so let's make it this alien thing that he was referring to."
But then they left it unresolved. No mention of the actual alien race - that question was deflected by Infected Scott. And the ending was fabulous, but there was never any follow-up. No invasion came about. It's never mentioned again, save to name the admiral who discovered the parasites. This open-endedness actually drove enough people nuts that several forms of Star Trek fiction have been written about it, either ending the story arc, or suggesting where the bugs came from and what purpose they served.
The whole thing feels a bit... sloppy. Tying it back to "Coming of Age" was pretty smart, because that establishes a continuity that we haven't seen much of yet. But it never goes anywhere. They figure out why certain people in Starfleet are acting weird, but beyond the initial bugs, there isn't any real threat. No bugs ever show up at Earth for the take-over, and presumably, no more Mecha-bugs implant in Starfleet officers for another attempt to take over. What a waste of a possible story arc. Nobody stepped forward with that idea? That's really annoying. I detest wasted potential.

Red deaths: 5
Gold deaths: 1
Blue deaths: 0
Obnoxious Wes moments: 0
Legitimate Wes moments when he should have told someone to go fuck themselves: 0
Sassy Geordi moments: 0
Sassy Wes Moments: 0
Sassy Worf Moment: 0
Sassy Riker Moments: 0
Sassy Yar Moments: 0
Sassy Picard Moments: 0
Sassy NPC Moments: 0
Sassy Data Moments: 0
Sassy Crusher Moments: 0
Number of times that it is mentioned that Data is an android: 0
Number of times that Troi reacts to someone else's feelings: 0
Number of times that Geordi "looks at something" with his VISOR: 0
Number of times when Data gives too much info and has to be told to shut up: 2 - once by the computer!
I think this might be the most TNG deaths we've have so far.

Fun Facts:
- Rixx marks the first appearance of a Bolian on TNG, though the race won't be given a name until a later episode. The name Bolian comes from Cliff Bole, who directed this episode.
- That awesome matte painting of Starfleet Headquarters was a re-use from The One With the Whales.
- Remmick's chair is a redress of that hella-expensive wheelchair they made for the Mark Jameson character in "Too Short a Season."
- This episode marks the only time the computer speaks in the first person. (She seems annoyed with Data's meandering explanation of "talking to oneself" and replies "Thank you, sir. I understand.")
- This is the last episode with this particular admiral's uniform, with the triangular pips. We'll get a different one in season two, then the ones worn in season three will become the permanent uniform.
- The star chart behind Remmick's chair shows several star systems mentioned in TOS and TAS. This is the first time it appears in TNG, and it will later be used in the pilot episode of Doctor Who's spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Chronicles.

- This episode won an Emmy for make-up. No surprises there.
- The first time this episode aired in the UK, several minutes were cut, most notably Remmick's death. Don't know how they might have resolved the episode without it, though.
- This is the only episode of TNG that Canadian sci-fi channel Space precedes with a viewer discretion warning.

Sleepy stripe-amese Caymin


  1. Bashir says that Worf smells like lilac. It'd be funny if he thought the humans were the stinky species who needed constant cleansing to keep their BO tolerable.

    1. Supposedly, Spock says that humans stink, but I can't find out where he says this. Lawl. :D

  2. Picard has to agree before he can see it.

    Man, even in the 24th century, you have to agree to the Terms of Service before you can do anything on your computer.

  3. Here is a comparison of the parasite animation from the original episode and the remastered episode. They're pretty similar. The remastered version seems a bit blurrier.

    1. You know, a few people have told me that that was the original animation and wasn't completely redone for the remastering. I think I might be confusing it with the TOS remastering, where they replaced a bunch of goofy 60's special effects with CGI. I guess I just figured that that particular animation looked too sophisticated for 1988? Can't really give a good opinion, though. I know a lot about hand-drawn animation, and next to nothing about CGI.

    2. The Last Starfighter came out in 1984, so CGI animation of this quality was certainly available by 1988. They just couldn't afford very much of it on a TV-show budget yet, I'm sure. By 1994, Babylon 5 would be using huge amounts of CGI on an even smaller TV budget. So things were progressing pretty fast.

      I think the remastered version was made blurrier on purpose, because the original animation was maybe too sharp-CGI-looking, and less like a scan.

  4. I've always liked this episode. Heavy on atmosphere and a good mystery. The music is great, too. Years ago, I actually once bought a VHS tape of it at the flea market, because I came across it and was suddenly interested in rewatching it.

    The problem is the aliens are very bad tacticians. Couldn't Quinn have said "Top secret" when Riker asked what's in the case? Couldn't the aliens have eaten regular food in front of Picard to keep up appearances? Couldn't the aliens have not brought up the topic of conspiracies?

    Also, it doesn't tie in too well with "Coming of Age". Was Remmick infected with the queen mum back then or not?

    As for why Geordi came with Worf, Worf, being acting chief of security, could have been like "Hey, come on and help me out. We're just parked here anyway." But why not take Data instead?

    One does Bev tells Picard to set his phaser to kill instead of super-stun? That way, they wouldn't have killed everyone - or at least not Scott. They might have used Aaron for a game of "Hey, let's see what happens if we do this."

    It does look like you're viewing the remaster. Notice when Remmick's flesh starts burning off. According to the comparison video that Bunny linked to, that's a different shot of Remmick's head grafted onto his body in the remaster (from when he had said "We seek peaceful coexistence"). In the original shot, he looked surprised and was facing directly forward.