Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, November 13, 2017

ST:TNG Season Three, Episode Fourteen "A Matter of Perspective"

ST:TNG Season Three, Episode Fourteen "A Matter of Perspective"
Production Order: 14
Air Order: 14
Stardate: 43610.4
Original Air Date: February 12, 1990

This week's cold open starts with an art class: Picard and two other students (at least, we only see two) are painting with a live model. Data comes in to give Picard some news, and glances at his painting. Picard foolishly invites Data to critique the work. Data takes a careful look at each painting, then identifies the influences each artist is channeling, remarking on their success. He then notes that Picard is trying to marry two very different styles, and because he lacks subtlety, he straight-up tells him that it isn't working and why.
Dude, asked and answered. You got an honest critique from someone who is almost incapable of lying.
Still, Picard is pissed.

Picard's Log 43610.4: "We took a shipment of dicosilium to Dr Nel Apgar on Tanuga IV, and he's updating us on Krieger waves, which could be an awesome new power source for us."

Picard enters the bridge, now wearing his uniform, and greets Geordi, who had apparently been on the Tanuga space station-lab thing as part of the away team. Geordi is uneasy.
"Anything wrong?" asks Picard.
"Not with the science," Geordi admits. "Riker will explain it when he gets back."
Right on cue, an agitated Riker calls and asks to be beamed back right-the-fuck-now.
"I'm on it," comes O'Brien's voice.
I guess it was a conference call?
Anyway, O'Brien starts to beam Riker back, when there's a sudden power drain, then -

- oops.
Dramatic zoom-in on Picard!
O'Brien admits that he's having trouble with the signal, but is finally able to git 'er done as the space debris starts clearing.
Riker appears on the pad.
"Got him!" yells O'Brien.
"Why do you sound surprised?" asks Riker suspiciously.
"The station just blew up!"
"Well, shit."

Dramatic music! Opening credits break!

Picard's Log, supplemental: "So Riker says only Dr Apgar was on board the station when it exploded. We're gonna hang out for a bit, see if we can figure out what caused it."

O'Brien is busy in the transporter room, checking out his stuff. He calls Picard to say that he's pretty sure that the transporter didn't cause the explosion. He still doesn't know what caused the power drain, though.
Data reports that the reactor core on the station overloaded.
"Was the station having core problems?" Picard asks Geordi.
Picard looks at Riker, who looks really uncomfortable. "Dude, Geordi said there was some weirdness?"
"Yeah," Riker admits, "but I'm sure it's unrelated."
"Hey," says Worf. "A guy named Krag wants to beam up - says he's the Chief Investigator for the Tanugans."
"Cool," says Picard.
Worf fetches Krag and brings him to the bridge while Riker tells Picard his uncomfortable story.
Krag exits the lift and tries to arrest Riker.
"Say what?" demands Riker.
"We suspect you of the murder of Dr Apgar," Krag tells him.
Picard says he'll more than willingly give them Riker, but first he wants to chat with Krag in the ready room. He puts Riker in charge of the bridge.
Everybody on the bridge gives Riker the side-eye before going back to work.

"Riker told me his side of the story," says Picard, "but what's this shit about murder?"
"Two witnesses have said he made threats against Apgar," Krag responds.
Then he tells Picard that on Tanuga, a person is presumed guilty until proven innocent.
"Also, you're in my neck of the woods," he points out.
This guy puts the dick in jurisdiction. He's also checked out the Federation's policies on extradition (okay, that's fine: he should be doing that), but Picard adds that he should have read the fine print - the captain of a ship reserves the right to decide if extradition is warranted. tl;dr: Krag can have Riker if he proves that there's enough evidence for a trial.
They get into an argument. Picard suggests that Krag do the interrogation on the ship. Krag suggests that Picard will simply leave the star system.
"Besides," argues Krag, "to do the investigation, we need to have witnesses painstaking replicate a simulation, and for that, we need to go to the surface."

"Au contraire, dumb bear. It's called a holodeck, and you bet your ass we have one." Picard calls Data into the ready room. "Hey, can we take witness testimony and lab station blueprints and stuff and recreate the scenes before the explosion on the holodeck?"
"Yeah, if I can get specs for pretty much everything on the station."
"Make that shit so. Also, take the Inspector back to the transporter room."

"Hey, you guys gonna extradite me, or...?"

Picard marches out of the ready room with a plan. Geordi and others will recreate the scenes on the station. And Geordi and Riker will give detailed accounts of what happened. Picard tells Riker that he'll use any evidence found here to decide if he'll be extradited.
"Um, can I talk to you?" asks Riker.
"Sorry, no," says Picard sadly.

Sadd-ish music ramping up! Commercial break!

Data's Log 43611.6: "So it took freaking forever to program the holodeck, but everything is uploaded and ready to go, including all the witness statements, information from the lab on the surface, the station schematics, and Dr Apgar's personal logs."

Picard, Riker and Troi enter the holodeck with Krag and take a look around.

Then they sit at a table for the deposition.
Riker starts: "I didn't kill anybody. I went to the station to talk to Dr Apgar about Krieger waves. That's it. I didn't do anything inappropriate."
They run Riker's deposition program.

In the program, Riker and Geordi beam onto the station, where they greet Apgar and he introduces them to his assistant, Tayna. His wife Manua comes in and also greets them.
"Nice to meet you, Mrs Apgar. So tell us about Krieger waves," says Riker in a friendly tone.
"Yeah, we'll get there," says Apgar, annoyed. "I really don't like that you've come so early. Starfleet will get it's converter. But it's not going very quickly."
Manua keeps checking out Riker, who is ignoring her.

"It's cool," says Riker. "We're not here to turn the screws on you. Just an update on how it's going, is all."
Geordi goes off with Tayna to look at data and stuff, and as they exit, she tells him that they have to have their generator on the planet's surface because it needs 5000 km to create power.
Manua suggests they have a drink, and takes Riker by the arm to lead him to a different room. A sullen Apgar follows while Manua waxes about how nobody wants to hear about boring old Krieger waves, anyway.
They drink something like champagne and toast to Dr Apgar's future success.
"And the rewards that come with it," adds Manua.
Apgar asks Riker what he's doing there, as he isn't due to turn over the Krieger wave converter for three months.
"It's no bigs," shrugs Riker. "We were nearby, and you asked for more dicosilium, so we thought we'd do a pop-in."
When Manua asks about what other missions they were doing nearby, Riker admits that they were dropped off by the Enterprise. He adds that he and Geordi made plans to stay on the planet, but Manua insists that they stay the night on the station. Apgar seems put out.
"Whatever," she replies. "You wanna be a hermit, but I want some company."
She's clearly flirting with Riker.

Krag stops the program to ask if it was really Mrs Apgar's idea that they stay the night.
"Yep," says Riker.
Would like to point out that Riker said they had already made accommodations on the surface, and that's a real easy thing to check.
The program starts again, this time in another room. Manua shows Riker to his quarters, and says she hopes he'll be comfortable in her sanctuary.
"It's very nice," he replies. "Okay, goodnight."
She doesn't take the hint, but instead shows him where the light switch is like he couldn't find it on his own. And she drags her hand lightly across his stomach when she moves past him. Then she closes the door and turns down the lights.
"I'm often left here alone for long periods of time," she purrs.
"Sucks to be you."
She starts to take off the white, outer part of her dress and fall into his arms, but he backs up and says, "Dude, no thanks. It's late and I'm tired."
Of course the door opens, and it's Apgar.
"A-ha! I knew this would happen!" He accuses Manua of flirting with Riker then yells, "I'm not the fool you take me for!"
He slaps her.
"Whoa, nelly!" yells Riker.
Apgar takes a swing at Riker, who side-steps it.
"You won't get away with this!" yells Apgar.
He exits the room in a hurry, and Manua hurries after him.

Riker freezes the program to say that Apgar asked to see him alone the next morning, and Geordi beamed back to the ship. Manua and Tayna have gone to the surface.
Apgar says he thinks that if he makes a formal complaint against Riker, then Riker will talk some shit about him in his report.
"No way," says Riker. "My report has nothing to do with your wife hitting on me."
"Starfleet suspects something is wrong because I asked for more dicosilium, right? That's why you're here?"
"Naw, I told you - we were in the neighborhood."
"I can explain the dicosilium!"
"I don't need any explanations -"
"Fine. Whatever. Leave."
Apgar goes back to his equipment.
"Fine," agrees Riker. "I'll tell my captain that you'll be complaining."
He requests a beam-down (up? out? sideways? away?).

Riker freezes the program. "And I beamed back to the ship. When I rematerialized, they said the station had blown up."
"Anything else?" asks Krag. "Anything about firing a phaser?"
"No, I never did that," Riker replies.
"Oh, yeah? Didn't you have a power drain during transport?"
"We did," confirms Picard.
"We have a theory that Riker fired a phaser at the converter," says Krag, smugly. "Computer, play my program!"
In the program, Riker calls for a beam-out. Just before he disappears, he pulls out his phaser and fires it at the converter.
"Then the station exploded. We confirmed all of this with the computer lab on the surface."

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Data, Geordi and Wes are at the science station on the bridge. Apparently, the Tanugans were right about a phaser-like blast to the converter just before Riker beamed off the station.
Being loyal to his crewmates, Wes protests that it just couldn't have been Riker. Geordi admits that it's damning that the phaser blast seems to have originated from where Riker beamed out, and then he laments that he beamed out when he did.
Geordi stalks off to do science.
Worf calls Data over to tell him that there's been some kind of radiation burst outside a cargo bay on deck 12.
"What kind of radiation?" asks Data.
"Dunno," replies Worf.
"Majel, what kind of radiation is that on deck 12?"
"Dunno," replies Majel.

Geordi and Wes go down to deck 12 to check it out and find a panel that's burst like a giant metal zit. They scan it, and come up with more dunnos. They also dunno where it came from.

Krag re-enters the holodeck with Manua Apgar. Troi kindly tells her that this is probably going to be tough for her, and if she needs a break, all she has to do is ask. (They don't really give Troi a whole lot to do in this episode, so they probably inserted extra lines for her like that so she's not just set dressing.)
Manua's statement: "I just know he did it. He killed my husband."
Okay, inflammatory. Let's proceed.
Manua's simulation starts in the living room chamber set, where Manua makes sure that her husband looks presentable and tells him that if he looks nervous, it'll reflect badly on him, and that he needs to turn up the charm a little.
"You're better at that than I am," he protests. "When this is all over, I'll get you the rewards that you deserve."
"I have all the rewards I need," she says, and they kiss.
I vomit.
Okay, I know that people tend to exaggerate and change things subtly in order to appear more sympathetic, but holy shit, is she ever laying it on thick. In Riker's version, Apgar is an agitated scientist, and Manua is a shameless flirt, a bored housewife being ignored by her brilliant husband. Here, he's just nervous and lacks social skills, while she's his patient, ever-loving cheerleader.
They start the introductions, and Manua enters. Her dress is buttoned up all the way in her version. It didn't seem overly sexual in Riker's version that it was undone, as we can see other parts of that peach underdress, but when you compare the two, Manua's buttoned-up version seems kind of prudish.
When Mrs Apgar is introduced, Riker calls her Manua, and casts her lecherous looks. She is clearly uncomfortable.

Tayna and Geordi go off together, and everyone seems to agree on that part, because nothing has changed. But now, when Apgar tries to show Riker around the lab, Manua tells him to leave those things to Tayna and that she'll pour Riker and himself a drink and they can have a chat about Krieger waves, and how close he is to a break-through. Patient, ever-loving cheerleader.
Once in the living room area again, Manua passes around the champagne drink, and they toast briefly.
"We're gonna stay here tonight," says Riker.
"That's kind of inconvenient," Manua replies.
Riker hints that things might not go so well if they don't let him stay, and they relent.
In the next scene, she shows him the guest quarters.
As they're walking in, the show either reused earlier footage, or else goofed up when filming, because her dress is briefly open at the top, then closed again in the next shot.
She explains, as in Riker's version, that this room is her sanctuary,  but this time, instead of complimenting the room, he leers at her and asks, "Who do you need sanctuary from?"
She ignores him and shows him the environmental controls. He closes the door. Then he grabs her wrist.
"Please," she says, "it's late and I'm tired."
Funny how those exact same words came up in his version, but were spoken by him, trying to escape her advances. Clearly, someone said that... but who?

He grabs her and says that it's sad that her husband doesn't appreciate his pretty wife, and she protests that she and her husband love each other very much. There's a struggle, and he tries to slip her dress off her shoulder.
"The fuck? She's lying!" bursts out the real Riker.
Picard pauses the program.
Riker walks over to the frozen holograms and tells them that this version is not him, that "I didn't close the door, I didn't proposition her, and I certainly didn't try to rape her!"
Whoa. It isn't often that a show (a prime-time show at that!) actually uses that word. It's usually something like, "I never forced myself on her!" It makes me wonder why we're so afraid of the word rape.

Manua, for her part, seems little too calm and collected when she looks at the others and says, "That's exactly what happened," as though mildly scandalized that he would question her version.
Troi encourages Riker to sit down again so they can move forward with the deposition.
When the program starts again, an irate Apgar bursts in and yells, "I knew I'd find you here! I saw you ogling my wife! I'm not the fool you take me for!"
(Again, the same phrase, only this time, he's yelling it at Riker instead of Manua. Both added it to their programs, and Manua was not present to see Riker's program, so we can guess that whatever is repeated is what was actually said. Too bad they're attributed differently each time.)
Apgar tries to punch Riker, but Riker beats the hell out of him.
"Your career is over!" yells Apgar from the floor.
Riker implies that reporting the incident would have a terrible outcome for Apgar. Manua helps her husband up and they exit into the corridor.

Real Manua shakes her head and says that Riker's career was safe, and that in another day or so, Apgar would have been distracted by some other bit of science and forgotten all about his complaint to Starfleet. She excuses herself and hurries from the holodeck.
I have to say, her insistence that her own husband would have forgotten about the attempted rape of his wife in a day or two is a bit disturbing. Deciding not to report attempted rape of your spouse because they ask you not to, or because they want to forget the incident, or because they want to avoid further trouble brought about by an accusation... that's one thing. Saying that he'll actually forget about it because something more interesting comes along... damn, either Apgar is an asshole, or Manua has a pretty low opinion of her late husband.

Picard calls a recess from the deposition. He pats Riker on the shoulder in a supportive way as he exits, and alone, Riker turns to Troi.
"Why would she lie about that?"
Troi pauses. "She wasn't lying. Or at least, I wasn't catching any deception from her."
"Then you think I tried to rape her?" he demands.
"No, because I know you, and I know you would never do anything like that," she reassures him. "But you each told the truth as you remember it."
"That's crap," he says. "One of us has to be wrong. Also, her version "as she remembers it" puts a noose around my neck."
I kind of wish they hadn't involved Troi here. Because Riker is correct - one of them has to be wrong. Is it possible that the truth of what happened lies between the versions they each told? Most assuredly. But each of their stories has the other one as the aggressor. Did she attempt to cheat on her husband, or did he attempt to rape her?

Crusher and an assistant Blue are examining a patient when Worf calls.
"Evacuate sick bay!"
Fortunately, they appear to be the only ones in sick bay at the moment, because as they leave, a hole gets eaten through the wall.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

The gang is all in sick bay later, checking out the hole in the wall. Data, Geordi and Wes have noticed something weird: the two metal-melting radiation events happened five hours and twenty minutes apart.
"We can't say for sure," says Data, "but we think it might be related to the explosion on the station. It's a tiny bit different, but still really close. If another one happens in just over five hours, then we'll be able to establish a pattern."
"If it's true," says Picard, "we may have to move the ship."
That's a slightly different Ship-Disabling device: they need to stay for deposition and possible extradition purposes, but this new occurrence might force them to leave, probably at the protest of the Tanugan government.

Back on the holodeck, Krag has invited Tayna the assistant to come in and give her statement. He explains to Riker and Picard that Apgar went to Tayna after the fight with Riker, and told to her what happened. Krag has made a simulation based on what Apgar told her.
"Um, that's hearsay," Picard replies. "It's not admissible."
"Apgar is dead, so Tanugan law says it is."
Krag starts the simulation.
We go back to the sanctuary/guest quarters, and now Riker and Manua are making out. Manua's top dress is tossed aside, and she's just wearing the silky peach underdress.
Apgar bursts in. "I knew you'd be here!" Now he's talking to both of them. "Did you think I wouldn't notice how you were looking at each other? I'm not the fool you take me for!"
Riker takes a swing at him, but Apgar proceeds to beat him up.
"I'm reporting this, Riker!"
"You're a dead man, Apgar!" yells Riker from the floor.
The scene shifts, and we're back in the main lab room again. Apgar tells Tayna that he wants her to take his wife and go back to the surface. (That must have been a fun trip.) Tayna protests, saying that she doesn't think Apgar should be alone on the station with Riker if Riker was throwing threats around.
"It's fine," he tells her. "I don't want Riker alone with the equipment."
Tayna says she's going to contact the authorities, but he shuts down the idea.
"Then Manua and I left for the surface," Real Tayna tells them. "When the lab exploded, I knew Riker had killed Dr Apgar."

She leaves the holodeck.
"There's my evidence," Krag tells Picard. "In pretty much any Federation court, it would hold up, and Riker would be extradited. I await your answer."

Picard is pacing in his ready room a little bit later, talking to Troi.
"This is such bullshit! Krag has a bunch of evidence to go to trial, and I can't find a reason to not extradite him."
"We both know he's innocent," she puts in. "Did you see enough evidence that he might be cleared of all charges?"
"No," he sighs. "And my saying "he's my friend, and I know he couldn't have done it" isn't going to hack it."
Data calls. "Hey, we have something you should see here on the bridge."
They exit the ready room for the bridge.
Our boys have figured out the radiation bursts.
"So the bursts occur every five hours and twenty minutes," says Geordi. "Turns out the planet-side field generator has that exact same interval when putting out a charge. Then it takes five hours and twenty minutes to create another burst."
"Somebody left it on when the station exploded," Wes explains.
"But it's just a generator...?" says Picard.
"Yeah, we know what's causing those bursts on the E,"
"Also, why the station exploded."
"Also also, who killed Dr Apgar."

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

On the holodeck, Picard is walking through the simulation and giving what kind of amounts to a lawyer's closing arguments. The basic gist: "We haven't actually seen what happened."
"Um, we have...?"
"Nope. Lt-Commander La Forge is going to show us what happened."
Picard sits down with Krag, Manua, Tayna, Riker and Troi. Then he has Majel pull up Manua's deposition from when she met Riker.
"Starfleet will get it's converter, I've just had a few setbacks," Apgar is telling Not-Riker.
Picard freezes the program. "Mrs Apgar, this sounds like he hadn't actually created any Krieger waves."
"No, but he was close to a breakthrough."
"He was upset that we showed up early. I submit that he had made Krieger waves and was lying. He thought we were wise to him."
"That makes no sense - why would he lie?" asks Krag.
"For a while now," says Geordi, "we've been getting hit with these radiation bursts. Turns out they were Krieger waves."
"The station blew up," frowns Tayna. "Where would  they be coming from?"
"The holodeck," says Geordi. "We recreated every inch of the lab for this simulation, which means that when the generator on the surface of the planet goes off, it shoots up here, turns on the simulation, and creates Krieger waves that are burning holes in our ship. The reason why it keeps hitting the ship in different places is that the ship is orbiting the planet and is at different angles when the waves are created."
"But the holodeck can't make anything dangerous," Riker protests.
Shut up, Riker. He's proving your innocence.
"It didn't, though," says Geordi. "The generator shoots radiation at the converter here, which bounces out Krieger waves. The holodeck isn't doing it."

"Okay, but why would Apgar lie about his converter not working?" asks Krag.
Picard plays Manua's simulation again, this time where she and Apgar are in the living room before going out to meet Riker and Geordi. They have that convo where Apgar tells her that some day, he'll get her everything her little heart desires, and she replies that she has all the rewards she needs. He then plays Riker's deposition, where the three of them toast to success, and Manua adds, "and the rewards that come with it."
"Oh! I never said that!" protests Manua.
Turnabout is fair play, Mrs Apgar. In his deposition, Riker had you make an off-hand remark about the rewards of success, and you claim you never said that. In your deposition, you accuse Riker of attempted rape, and he claims that never happened.
Anyway, Picard feels that multiple mentions of being rewarded for success point to Apgar's motivation in this venture - he wanted to buy his wife some nice stuff.
When Manua protests that there's nothing wrong with that, Troi points out that he wouldn't have made much selling the converter to Starfleet, because they only wanted a new power source.
"As a weapon, it would have been worth more," adds Geordi. "To the Ferengi... the Romulans...."
"He was ordering a bunch more dicosilium. He was afraid that we were cottoning on and would cut him off before he finished. He said in each version that he needed more time," Picard finishes. "Then he found Manua and Riker together."

"I think he decided to murder Riker," says Picard.
Everyone reacts in a shocked manner.
He plays Tayna's deposition. Not-Tayna says she'll contact the authorities, but he tells her not to, and sits down at a computer console.
"What's he doing?" asks Picard.
"Activating the planet-side generator."
"Yeah, I think he was deciding to murder Riker here, and setting it up."
He plays Riker's version again, where Apgar argues with him one last time, about how he needed more time, and could explain the extra dicosilium, and Riker brushes him off, saying his doesn't need explanations.
"Dude, the energy pulse that blew up the station came from Riker's spot." Krag is still determined to prosecute Riker.
"Sort of?" replies Geordi. "Our guess is that Dr Apgar meant to kill Riker by sending a Krieger wave at him at the same time he was beaming out. He wanted it to look like a transporter accident. But it backfired. The Krieger wave bounced off of the transporter beam and hit the converter, blowing up the station. In fact, we've set up another program here to show how that happened. We've coincided the program to run exactly when the next radiation burst goes off, so we'll see right away if we were right or not."
That's hella coincidental, but okay.

They run Geordi's program concurrently with Riker's program. Riker and Apgar exchange their final snotty "Fine" and Riker requests to be beamed back to the ship. Apgar glances back as Riker starts to dematerialize. A beam from the converter shoots out at Riker, then bounces back at the converter. Apgar has a split second to glance up at it before the whole thing blows. The program disintegrates, and the table with the real people are left on the holodeck grid. Manua exchanges a look with Krag.
"Dr Apgar killed himself trying to kill Commander Riker," says Picard quietly.
"O...kay," says Krag. "I'm not gonna extradite Riker after all." He apologizes to Riker.

Back on bridge, and everyone is feelin' fine.
"Do we have anything else to do while we're here?" asks Picard.
"Noop," says Riker. "Let's GTFO."
"Course laid in," announces Wes.
"Great. Engage that shit."
And away they go.

Our tally for this episode: some good stuff, some bad stuff, some good science, some iffy science, and a whole lot of grey area. Nothing too heinous, but nothing super memorable as great, either. In the middle, like most Star Trek episodes.
Let's start with the interesting premise: gonna go with a good ol' Rashomon-style storytelling. if you're not familiar with it, Rashomon is a Japanese film from 1950, in which four witnesses describe a murder differently. Star Trek is not the first television show to utilize Rashomon storytelling, nor will it be the last. (Though it is used more often in sitcoms than space dramas.) With this particular trope, sometimes you get a definitive answer as to what actually happened (as is the case here), and sometimes the audience is left to argue about it with each other afterward. What counts most here is ferreting out the different personalities and prejudices of each person telling their side - how does each character insinuate that they are more innocent than another if guilt is discussed? Here, Riker insists that Manua came on to him, while she insists that she was innocent of any wrong-doing and was, in fact, a victim of Riker. His version makes him less like a guy who would murder a scientist out of anger or revenge, and her version paints him as just such a person.

What's interesting here is that they don't actually get down to the nitty-gritties of the murder until the very last few minutes of the episode. Because this deposition is to determine whether or not they have enough evidence to hold Riker for trial, it becomes more a question of "what was Riker's motive for killing Apgar?" From Riker's point of view, he had nothing to do with it, and Apgar's death did not occur until after he had left the station. He simply had a nasty argument with the guy over his wife. Because the writers chose to focus on that, they gave Manua a huge reason to kill Apgar: he tried to rape her, and when Apgar found them and threatened to tell Starfleet, Riker decided that Apgar should die.
Now. we all know that Manua's side of the story is crap. We've spent two and a half seasons with this guy, and even if you're of the mind that he's a bit of a player, we have yet to see him do anything manipulative or violent to a partner. The sex that he's had has been consensual. And again, it would be so easy to figure out who had suggested that he and Geordi stay the night because they had already made plans to stay on the surface. Presumably, they had to cancel a shuttle down there or something.
We also know that she seems to be in it to win it, and she wants to get Riker tried for murder, so she probably "spiced up" her story a bit. It's possible she shined a light on him because if it turned out to be true that she was looking to cheat on Apgar, then it would weaken her own alibi, and she could be looked at for his murder instead.
So then we're left with the question of Riker and Manua. Somebody closed the door. Somebody said "it's late, I'm tired." And when Apgar came in, he yelled at either one or both of them. My inclination is toward Manua flirting with Riker, Riker rebuffing her, and Apgar yelling at both. But Troi insists that neither was lying, so I guess we don't get to know. We just know that Apgar killed himself accidentally, and that's the end of it.
Some stuff that worked for me: Apgar's side gig to sell the Krieger wave converter as a weapon because the returns would have been better; the twist that Apgar killed himself accidentally; the Krieger wave set-up. Stuff that did not work for me: even though this episode came first, when I look at Apgar, all I see is Jeffrey Tambor in the live-action Grinch movie.

It's probably a combo of nose and hair.
The second thing that didn't work: the fact that the holodeck managed to convert Krieger waves, and the transporter beam on the holodeck managed to deflect them. They went to the trouble to establish that the holodeck cannot create anything dangerous, then went ahead and shrugged it off. Even Riker protested at that, because the writers knew the audience would as well. They broke canon. But then they have Geordi explain it in some way that made it sound like they had done such a good job making the recreation, that it still made the Krieger waves, which weren't dangerous, but were still eating holes in the ship. What? That's... that shouldn't even be possible. The stuff in the holodeck is matter made of light. It's kind of the equivalent of cardboard set pieces in a theatrical production. Even if you build a full model of the converter out of cardboard, it will still not convert radiation into Krieger waves. That should not have been. Wish they had found another way to make the big reveal work without the use of the fake-not fake converter on the holodeck.
Thirdly, had Krag actually believed Manua's story, then Riker should have been charged with two crimes: killing Apgar and assaulting Manua. But once he was cleared of the murder, no mention of the assault came up. I guess he decided she was lying.

Fun facts:

- This was Ronald D Moore's first writing assignment. He uses the rather horrifying phrase "gang-bang rewrite" to refer to scripts that get quick rewrites from the whole writing staff rather than one or two people. This script was one of those.
- The Krieger waves from this episode were named after David Krieger, a scientist who was working as a consultant on the show for seasons three and four. He had an explanation of how they worked added to the script, but it was cut.
- This episode is considered to be a bottle show.
- The science station is a reuse of the one used in Wrath of Khan, which was a reuse of the one used in the first film.
- This is the only time we ever see Picard painting. A deleted scene features him throwing red paint at the canvas after Data's unfavorable critique.
- This was one of the only times that Krieger was invited to a story meeting. He had made up a kind of way that the geometry of the holodeck would react to the radiation in such a way as to create Krieger waves. They didn't have a name for the waves yet, so the writers dubbed them Krieger waves. Krieger was amused when he watched the episode and noticed that the name had stuck.
- Ira Steven Behr and Ronald Moore both thought this episode was terrible, and called it "one of the worst of season three."
- Director Cliff Boyle found the episode tough to film, as everyone involved had to keep track of what was happening at any one time. He found the episode clever. He seems to have been the only one.
- Michael Piller was proud of the script for this episode, but disappointed by the final product overall. He felt Manua had been miscast, and that if they had found the right actor for her, it would have been great television. This episode was actually scheduled to be rerun in June of that same year, but Piller thought the Emmy Awards voters might be watching at that point, and had it swapped with another episode.
-We'll see Juliana Donald (Tayna) again in DS9. She also had a part in an interactive Star Trek video game.

Doug Drexler adjusts make-up on
Juliana Donald
- Craig Richard Nelson (Krag) will appear in an episode of Voyager.

Red deaths: 0
To date: 1
Gold deaths: 0
To date: 1
Blue deaths: 0
To date: 1
Unnamed color crew deaths: 0
To date: 1
Obnoxious Wes moments: 0
Legitimate Wes moments when he should have told someone to go fuck themselves: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Geordi moments: 0
To date: 9
Sassy Wes Moments: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Worf Moment: 0
To date: 4
Sassy Riker Moments: 0
To date: 10
Sassy Picard Moments: 0
To date: 8
Sassy NPC Moments: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Data Moments: 0
To date: 4
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: 0
To date: 4
Sassy Guest Star Moments: 0
To date: 1
Number of times that it is mentioned that Data is an android: 0
To date: 13
Number of times that Troi reacts to someone else's feelings: 1
To date: 20
Number of times that Geordi "looks at something" with his VISOR: 0
To date: 4
Number of times when Data gives too much info and has to be told to shut up: 0
To date: 2
Picard Maneuvers: 1
To date: 20
Tea, Earl Grey: 0
To date: 2

Ridley: toes for daaays

Monday, November 6, 2017

ST:TNG Season Three, Episode Thirteen "Deja Q"

ST:TNG Season Three, Episode Thirteen "Deja Q"
Production Order: 13
Air Order: 13
Stardate: 43539.1
Original Air Date: February 5, 1990

Picard's Log 43539.1: "We're in orbit around Bre'el IV, trying to work with their scientists. Their moon is about to fall out of the sky and fuck up all of their shit."

Between the active work that Data is doing and the conversation they're actively having with the Bre'el scientists, we learn why this is such a problem: the moon will drop out of orbit in about 29 hours. Can't blow it up, it has a structure that wouldn't allow for it. Can't break it up otherwise, because the destruction would rain down on the planet, just in smaller pieces. Letting it drop to the surface would destroy everything in an 800 km radius, creating earthquakes and tsunamis, and major dust clouds that could bring about an ice age. Screwed, screwed, screwed.

Picard calls Geordi. "Hey, can we push this thing?"
"Eh, we can try?" Geordi replies. "But it'll pretty much blow out the engines. Like an ant pushing a tricycle. We need like, 50 percent more output."
Riker shrugs at Picard. "Worth a try."
They tell Geordi to do it, and put out an APB to other ships in the area to come help push the moon back into place.
So they start the process of pushing with the tractor beam and blowing out the engines, but there's this weird metallic whine that they're all pretty sure isn't coming from the engines. Nobody can pinpoint the source, as it isn't registering on the sensors. It grows considerably louder.
And then -

"So in this scene, Patrick, you'll be about eye level with John's junk."

It's Q, naked as the day he was bo-
Hmm, idiom does not apply here.
I can't even get cheeky and say "balls to the wall" because he's floating in mid-air.
Anyway, so much Q skin falls to the floor, and he leers at Picard, because what else would naked Q do?

Dramatic music with a zoom-in on Picard! Opening credits break!

Picard's Log, supplemental: "So we're trying to figure out this moon-moving thing, and then fucking Q shows up. Bet his sorry ass did this in the first place."

Geordi tells Picard that he's just shy of breaking the laws of physics on this problem, and he still doesn't have a good answer, but he'll keep trying. He goes back to Engineering.
Meanwhile, they found some kind of worker's jumpsuit for naked Q, and he's pouting like a four-year-old who wanted their sandwich cut into squares not triangles.
"These aren't my colors."
"STFU," snaps Riker. "We know you did this."
"What are you talking about?" Q demands.
Picard tells Q about the moon situation. Q replies that he has nothing to do with it, and anyway, let's bring it back to being all about him: he's been kicked out of the Q Continuum, and stripped of his powers.
"They think I'm a nuisance."
"You are," deadpans Riker.
"Well, now I'm human," he replies pissily.

"They made you human as part of your punishment?" asks Troi.
"No, I picked human," he admits. "I had a choice and no time in which to make it, so I picked this and asked them to bring me to the E."
"Because Picard is as close to a friend as I have," he grumps.
Picard has been facepalming, but now gives Q the best "are you fucking kidding me?" look.

Data scans Q and reports that he registers as human. Troi also says she's getting an emotional response from him, something in the field of "terrified." (Does Troi not usually sense emotions from Q? I don't recall either way.) Picard finally asks what the hell Q wants from them, and he begrudgingly asks for sanctuary.
"What must I do to convince you that I'm human?" he asks manically.
Sassy Worf Moment:

Riker grins at him.
Q tries to clap back, but it isn't very good: "Very clever. Eat any good books lately?"
"You wanna be treated like a human?" asks Picard. "Okay, toss him in the brig, Worf."
And Worf gleefully drags a bitching Q to the lift. Just as the door closes, Q discovers that he's claustrophobic.

In the lift, Q continues to complain about being human, questioning his choice. He lists off all of the things he could experience as a result, including losing his hair, sneezing, and being forced to wear clothes because of "some outdated concept of modesty."
Okay, dude. You're the one who uses his omnipotence for impromptu costume changes.
"Too bad," growls Worf in response.
They get out of the lift and Q keeps going on and on, claiming that he should have asked to be a Klingon, and what a good Klingon he would have made, blah, blah.
"STFU!" Worf barks. "Or disappear back to where you came from!"
"I can no more disappear than you can win a beauty contest."
Eh. Let's say 2/5. Q's insults to Worf are kind of unimaginative.
Worf pushes Q into the brig.
"If I still had my powers, would I allow you to lock me up?" asks Q, still trying to prove his case.
"You've fooled us before," Worf points out.
"Oh, geez. Do we need to talk about the story of the boy who cried Worf?"
Meh. Extra point for a pun, and because it wasn't yet another "dumb and/or ugly" joke. 3/5. Still not great.
When Worf turns to leave, Q yells "Romulan!" at his back.

Picard and Riker are in the ready room, entertaining thoughts that Q may or may not be lying about losing his powers. They reach the conclusion that they need to keep plugging forward with their plans to help Bre'el IV regardless. With that in mind, they call the scientists to say that the first attempt to move the moon didn't work, but they're still working on it. The Bre'el tell them that they're starting an evacuation, moving people away from the coastal regions. I guess they don't have a space program? Is full evacuation of the planet not possible? Seems like they would move everybody off-planet and then try to reposition the moon, but I know for story purposes they probably need the Bre'el to be trapped on their own planet with their impending sense of doom.
(I know part of the tenets of storytelling include putting your characters in danger and having them figure out a way out of it, in order to build interest, sympathy, and tension, but if I can think of an easy way out of this predicament, and you don't explain why that can't happen, then I'm going to be indifferent to the plight of these people. Was there not enough time to evacuate? Not enough ships nearby to hold the population? Take ten seconds from your story meeting, come up with a reason why my solution wouldn't work and present it as exposition. If nothing else, at least I'm on board with the idea that your characters considered it.)

Our boys exit the ready room for the bridge, and the whole place fills with white light.
"What the hell is that?" they ask Data.
"Berthold rays," he explains. "Non-lethal. Like a medical scan? I think we're being probed."
Everybody looks around, trying to figure out where it's coming from, but sensors aren't able to pinpoint the source.
It ends up moving from a white light that fills the space, to one little ball of light in the brig. Then it just kind of disappears over a sleeping Q.

Very light suspicious music! Commercial break!

Picard goes to the brig to see what Q knows about the probe.
Q is awake and complaining of boredom. He also knows nothing about the probe.
"Anyway, I just had a really frightening experience. My body was all weak, and I lost consciousness."
"You fell asleep, nerd."
"Oh, it was really scary."
"Eh, you'll get used to it."
(Wait - does Picard believe that Q is human?)
Picard starts to leave because this conversation isn't going anywhere, but Q calls him back. He runs into the brig's force field and makes an aside about how that's getting on his nerves, now that he has them.
Dude: STAHP.
"I can help you fix the thing! I know about moons!" Q says eagerly.
Picard considers it, then calls Data down to the brig, assigning him to Q and telling him to take Q to Engineering to work with Geordi on this moon thing.
Data tells Q that his being human now is ironic.
"What you have achieved in disgrace is what I have aspired to be my whole life."
Q tells Data that he should save his aspirations for better things, because humans are a very minor species in the grand scheme of things.
And I might believe that if he hadn't put humanity on trial in the very first episode, declaring that the Continuum had decided that they were progressing too fast. You don't decide to watch a species closely if you think they're minor characters. Q is full of shit.

Down in Engineering, Geordi explains his plan to boost some output of something, increase the power of the tractor beam, and push the moon for nine hours.
"That's a crap plan," says Q, who is leaning over one of the consoles at the pool table. "You'll rip apart your ship and the moon in the process."
"You got a better idea?" demands Geordi.
"Yes, but first, my back hurts. I can't stand up. What do I say in this instance? Is it ow?"
"Ow," the boys confirm.
"Oww!" Q howls. "I need a doctor!"
Data calls Crusher.

"Dude! Plan!" says an impatient Geordi.
"Okay, look," says Q. "They probably have this problem because a black hole passed by the system at near-right angles. So you have to change the gravitational constant of the universe to fix it."
"Change the law of gravity? Are you fucking kidding me?" Geordi throws his hands in the air and walks away.
"What's wrong with my plan?" Q asks.
"Changing the gravitational constant of the universe is beyond our capabilities," Data explains.
"Oh. Okay. I didn't know. We should not do that plan."
Crusher comes in and does a scan. "Huh. He has back spasms. Pretty fitting. He's been a pain in our backside often enough."
"I've been under a lot of pressure lately," he laments to her. "Family problems."
Oh, much better. 4/5. Plus, there was no fanfare or "ta-da!" moment with that joke like there usually is, making it that much funnier.
Anyway, she runs a thing over his back while he complains about her bedside manner.
"Oh." Geordi is standing at another console nearby. "We can't change the gravitational constant of the universe," he tells Data, "but we can wrap like a low-level warp field around the moon to make it lighter and easier to push."
Q is upright again, but now complaining his stomach hurts. "It's growling."
Sassy Crusher Moment: "Maybe you're hungry."

Data takes Q to Ten Forward, and they sit at the bar, but Q doesn't know what to order, so he asks Data... a guy who doesn't eat.
The android explains that he doesn't need to eat, but will sometimes drink a lubricant to keep his bio-functions working. "Humans frequently choose food based on mood," he adds helpfully.
"My mood right now is bad," Q grumps.
"Counselor Troi will typically order a chocolate sundae when she's in a bad mood," Data suggests. "She's usually in a better mood by the time she's finished."
"Great! I want ten chocolate sundaes," Q tells the waiter.
"I've never seen anybody eat ten chocolate sundaes," Data says.
Another Q joke that works because it's understated: "I'm in a really bad mood."
The doors open, and oops, it's Guinan.

Remember the last time we saw them together and he introduced the Borg to the Alpha Quadrant? Things go a little more in Guinan's favor this time.
"Heard you're human now, and that the Continuum kicked you out."
"The crew isn't fully convinced that he's human," Data tells her.
"Oh, yeah?"
She picks up either a fancy fork, or some kind hair ornament - a thing with tines - and stabs him in the hand with it. He screams.
"Seems human to me," she shrugs. "You're a pitiful excuse for a human. You could learn a lot from Data."
"Sure, the robot who teaches a course in the humanities."
(Lol, works both ways. 4/5.)
Guinan stalks away and the waiters bring Q's ten sundaes.
"I'm not hungry."

Up on the bridge, they've detected some kind of light and energy floating near the ship. The energy says something, which comes across as noise.
"It's intelligent," says Majel, "But I have no idea what it's saying."
They've noticed the energy ball out the window down in Ten Forward as well... everyone but Q, who is sitting and sulking at a table by himself.
"Whoa, Calamarain," says Guinan.
The energy ball enters Ten Forward and immediately attacks Q, enveloping him in energy. Data tries several times to touch him, but keeps getting zapped in the process. Finally, the energy ball lets him go and flies out the window again. Q hits the floor.
"Someone help me!"
Several people in the background scurry out of Ten Forward. Guinan makes a snarky remark.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Picard's Log, supplemental: "We got attacked by the Calamarain, an energy-based species that doesn't like Q. Looks like we're not the only ones."

In the Obs Lounge, Q admits to having messed with the Calamarain, who he claims have no sense of humor.
"You didn't come here because we're friends," guesses Picard. "You came here because you thought we would protect you when the people you've hassled find out you're mortal."
"Yeah, maybe," admits Q. "But you people are so quick to forgive and forget, I knew you'd help me, even after I'd messed with you."
"You've screwed with a lot of people over the years," says Riker. "I didn't sign up to be your Secret Service."
"Seriously, fuck that shit," says Picard. "I'm dropping you off at a starbase, and washing my hands of this matter."
"No, let me join your crew!" pleads Q.
"He did help Geordi with the moon thing," Data adds.
"Uh-huh." Picard calls Geordi to see if that's true. "Mr La Forge, how's it going?"
"Pretty good," comes Geordi's reply. "Gonna try another push pretty soon."
"Fine," says Picard. He reassigns Q to Data, and sends them back down to Engineering.

In the corridor, Q bitches to Data about how he's got this huge IQ, and all these skills, but Picard won't just add him to the team like he wants.
"It's nice that you have those things," says Data, "but you have to be able to work in a group, otherwise those things are no good to have."
Q pouts, but makes a good point about how the Q function: "It's difficult to work in groups when you're omnipotent."
Okay, but now you're in a different situation where you have to work in a group. Suck it up, buttercup.

Picard calls the Bre'el. They tell him that the moon being out of alignment has already caused problems, but that their people are taking shelter. They're desperate for any help he can provide, but also grateful. If this doesn't work, they'll at least be thankful that the Enterprise tried its best.

Data and Q arrive in Engineering, and Q tries to announce what everyone will be doing, but Geordi puts a stop to it.
"Everybody knows what they're doing, except you. I need you to go to station X, and monitor thing Y."
Then he walks away like a boss.
"Who does he think he is?" demands Q.
Sassy Data Moment: "He thinks he is in charge... because he is."
Everybody gets into position, and they start the warp field and tractor beam. The warp field is too small to encompass the whole moon, and Q starts an argument that it isn't going to work, that the moon will crumble into a bunch of smaller pieces.
Data has to tell Q to simmer down and cooperate.
They start to push the moon, but the Calamarain choose this moment to attack, when the shields are down. They have to drop the tractor beam and raise the shields, but the attack has knocked the E into the upper atmosphere of the planet. The hull temperature shoots up. That bright light fills the ship again, and the Calamarain grab Q, shocking him and yanking him upward toward the second story of the warp core. Data grabs his feet to keep him on the ground, but now Data is surrounded by the energy as well.
"Can we move energy to the shields?" asks Riker.
"No!" says Geordi. "We need the shield levels to be lower so the engines can bump us out of the atmosphere."
They move out of the atmosphere, the hull temperature drops, and Geordi bumps up the shields. I guess the Calamarain weren't completely inside the ship, because the energy suddenly disappears. Data and Q drop unconscious to the floor.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

When we return, Q is fine, but Data is in sick bay, being worked on by Geordi and Crusher. They tell Picard and the others that Data is completely screwed up and if he were an actual living being, he'd be dead.
"So what? He's strong, he'll survive," pouts Q. "I'm living, and I survived."
"He saved your life," Picard snaps. "How about some concern for him?"
"I love you guys, but GTFO," says Crusher.
Picard assigns a Gold security guy to Q, who hauls him off, then leaves himself. Riker pauses long enough to ask Geordi about the moon.
"Bought ourselves another orbit," shrugs Geordi. "We'll go back in when it's at it's lowest, but we'll have to drop the shields then to try again."
"And when we drop our shields, the Calamarain will attack Q again," sighs Riker.
"He's not worth it," says Geordi flatly.

Picard is in his ready room when Q comes in.
"Been thinking about this mortality stuff, and it's weird, because I'm not used to it. I can't figure out why Data would sacrifice himself to save me."
 "Because he's not an asshole?" suggests Picard.
"Yeah, I feel bad when I ask myself if I would do the same for him and answer no. I'm kind of a shitty human being, a coward without my powers. I don't really have what it takes to be human."
He leaves. Picard resumes drinking his tea like Kermit the frog.

Q makes his way down to sick bay. Geordi tells him that Data is mostly up and functioning, but they're still working on his language systems, so he lacks the ability to talk.
"Some people out there would consider you to be the height of achievement," Q tells Data, "because you don't feel emotions or pain. But if it really means that much to you, you're a better human than I am."
Then he leaves. Data looks at Geordi like, "WTH?"

Q steals a shuttle. On the bridge, Worf tells the others that a shuttle is leaving the ship, and Picard calls it.
"Q, what are you doing?"
"Leaving. This is the easiest way to do this. Without me on board, the Calamarain will give up on the ship, allowing you to do your thing."
"Don't be stupid. Get your ass back here."
"Noop, not gonna happen. I was a terrible human, and dying seems a much better idea.  And don't do the cliched thing of charging to my rescue at the last minute."
Lol, was that a partial wall break?
"Laters." Q signs off and flies the shuttle away from the ship, with the Calamarain tagging along behind.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Picard asks Worf to beam the shuttle back into the shuttle bay. Worf punches some buttons before declaring that he cannot. Then Picard asks Geordi to get a tractor beam on the shuttle, and Geordi gives the same answer: no go.
Riker aims a look at his boss.
Sassy Picard Moment: "What? It's a good shuttle."

Q is in the shuttle, piloting away from the E when a blond dude steps through the outer wall and into the cabin. "Hey, Q."
Q tries to ignore him at first, but then puts on the charm, like a Southern belle greeting someone she hates. "Q! What are you doing here?"
"Checking in on you."
"Aw, I always knew you were my friend!"
"What friend? I got you kicked out."
"Fucking turncoat." Q goes back to the shuttle controls.
"See, I have this problem," says Q2. "I convinced the Continuum to boot your sorry ass out based on the fact that you were the universe's biggest asshole. I was always cleaning up your messes. But then you decided to pull this selfless act bullshit, and now I look like a liar."
"Eh, I wasn't doing something selfless. They were annoying. I was miserable, and now I'm just gonna commit suicide."

"Uh-huh." Q2 sits in the passenger seat. "Those humans are actually pretty cool. They tried to save you by hauling you back in with their techo-dodads. I stopped them, of course. Stopped the Calamarain, too. The thing is, I feel like you've learned some kind of lesson here."
Suddenly, his suicide is leading to something he wants, and Q is fully ready to embrace the accusation handed to him by Q2. "It was a totally selfless act! I'm so glad you noticed."
Q2 snorts. "You're full of shit. "But I'm giving you your powers back."
Blondie disappears.
Q snaps, and now he's wearing a Command Red uniform. "Hell yes!" He snaps again, and the Calamarain appear very tiny in his hand. "Oh, the ways I'm gonna punish you!"
Blondie pops just his head back inside the cabin in a super-creepy way. "Still watching you!"
"Still being good!" Q grins. And he blows into his open palm, blowing the Calamarain someplace else.

On the bridge, Data reports that both the shuttle and Calamarain are gone.
"I guess that's the end of Q," says Picard quietly.
"It is not!"
Q appears on the ramp behind them with a mariachi band. He plays the trumpet, then announces that the Continuum has taken him back, and he's regained all of his powers. He snaps his fingers, and everyone on the bridge gets a cigar.

"Yay," says Riker flatly.
"It's all good!" says Q. "I have my powers back, so -"
He snaps again.

"Dude, no."
"Eh, I liked you better before the beard." Q snaps again, and the women reappear, draped all over Worf.
"Get rid of it," says Picard.
Q sighs, and snaps and the girls and band disappear. He's back in Command Red.
"Okay, so I know what you're gonna say next: GTFO.  And as a human, I couldn't thank you properly, but just know that you have my gratitude." He walks over to Data. "I have a gift for the android."
"Please don't make me human," says Data.
"Naw, I wouldn't do that. Just a small present."
He disappears.
Data breaks out laughing. The bridge crew pauses, not sure if they should be amused by this or not.
"Why are you laughing?" asks Geordi.
"I dunno," Data admits. "But it's a wonderful... feeling."

Bre'el IV calls. Apparently, the moon is back in it's correct orbit, and they want to thank Picard.
"Whut?" he asks.
When the Bre'el scientists hang up, they check it out: totally fixed, and no longer in danger of falling out of the sky.
"Huh. Maybe Q has a tiny piece of humanity in him after all," notes Picard.
He's about to give the order to fly away, but a cigar appears in his hand, with Q's head in the smoke.
"Don't bet on it," says Q.
The Enterprise takes off.

So some good stuff and some bad stuff.
Bad stuff first: Q's jokes suck, for the most part. They're like Dad jokes, specifically the kind that only dads laugh at, but like, Evil Dad jokes. I can't tell if the writers think these are genuinely funny, or if they write these knowing that they're awful, and that Q tells awful jokes to amuse himself. There were a handful that were actually pretty good, but really only when they were down-played quite a bit. The part at the end where his head appears in the cigar smoke was stupid.
Good stuff: With the exception of that evacuation question that was never answered, the story was pretty good. The science, too. The idea of a guy in power getting cut down to humble circumstances and still receiving compassion from his inferiors is nothing new, but using Q as "the king who would be man" (as he put it) was a good idea. Q is an asshole, and as we find out from Q2, it is not aimed exclusively at humans. We get a tiny glimpse into the workings of the Continuum, and we find out that not only is Q's behavior not indicative of all Q, but it isn't condoned by them, either. It's a character flaw, and one that gets him booted from their ranks. In this case, the members of the Continuum aren't so callous as to make him human as a punishment (implying that to be human is a punishment in itself), but instead make him mortal and strip him of his powers. He then spends the rest of the episode trying to convince the humans that being human is the real punishment. Classic Q assholery. However, he reaches the end of the episode with his powers and immortality in place again, and does a solid for Data. I don't recall if it's this episode or a general lessening over time to make him less of a jerk, but I'm not fond of early Q. he comes off as... well, like Sid from Toy Story: destroying things for his own amusement. Later Q will do more of the same, but it'll be tempered with less selfishness on his part. He'll become more palatable.
I really liked this pairing of Former Omnipotent Being and Android Who Aspires To Be Human. Somehow, Data must be a guide to Q, despite the fact that he himself is not human. It works comically because neither has any experience in what that might be like, but it also works on a more philosophical level, because the teacher has spent 30 or so years studying humans and constantly questioning their actions in order to gain knowledge. Data actually cares about humans and how they function, and unlike everyone else on the ship, actually seems to believe that Q might make a decent human being in the future. The others are biased, and uncertain if Q is telling the truth or not. Data, possibly being naive, is willing to give Q a shot at this whole human thing; and Q probably would not have taken any of this seriously had he been assigned to anyone else who would have given him a hard time. Two great scenes that illustrate this: the scene where he tells Geordi that he needs to change the gravitational constant of the universe, and the scene following, where he and Data discuss what to eat. In these scenes, he drops the condescension a bit, and simply understands when Data explains. Again, if anyone else had tried to explain, they would have got huffy with him, and he would have trotted out the asshole tendencies. Here, Data's patience is an asset, allowing Q to understand without getting defensive. Good stuff, Maynard.

Fun Facts:

- They tried unsuccessfully to film fake-outs of the nude scene at the beginning, but none of the fake stuff worked. John de Lancie is totally, totally naked here.
- In the original script, Q had faked losing his powers, and there was some trouble with the Klingons. Gene nixed the faking lost powers thing and said "Just have him lose his powers."
- Maurice Hurley thinks that Q exists to give lessons on things. Melinda Snodgrass thinks of Q like Loki.
- The song the mariachi band plays is "La Paloma." In English it's called "No More," and was popularized in the movie "Blue Hawaii" with Elvis Presley.
- This is the first time we see another member of the Q Continuum.
- This episode contains the still that's most commonly used in the Picard Facepalm meme.
- Sandra Wild, the blonde girl who drapes herself on Riker and Worf, was a Playboy model. She'll show up twice more in DS9, as a Dabo girl.

Red deaths: 0
To date: 1
Gold deaths: 0
To date: 1
Blue deaths: 0
To date: 1
Unnamed color crew deaths: 0
To date: 1
Obnoxious Wes moments: 0
Legitimate Wes moments when he should have told someone to go fuck themselves: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Geordi moments: 0
To date: 9
Sassy Wes Moments: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Worf Moment: 1
To date: 4
Sassy Riker Moments: 1
To date: 10
Sassy Picard Moments: 1
To date: 8
Sassy NPC Moments: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Data Moments: 1
To date: 4
Sassy O'Brien Moments: 0
To date: 0
Sassy Crusher Moments: 1
To date: 2
Sassy Troi Moments: 0
To date: 4
Sassy Guinan Moments: 2
To date: 4
Sassy Guest Star Moments: 0
To date: 1
Number of times that it is mentioned that Data is an android: 3
To date: 13
Number of times that Troi reacts to someone else's feelings: 0
To date: 19
Number of times that Geordi "looks at something" with his VISOR: 0
To date: 4
Number of times when Data gives too much info and has to be told to shut up: 0
To date: 2
Picard Maneuvers: 2
To date: 19
Tea, Earl Grey: 1
To date: 2

RIP, Harvey