Warp Speed to Nonsense

Warp Speed to Nonsense

Monday, February 27, 2017

ST:TNG Season Two, Episode Eight "A Matter of Honor"

ST:TNG Season Two, Episode Eight "A Matter of Honor"
Production Order: 34
Air Order: 34
Stardate: 42506.5
Original Air Date: February 6, 1989

So I saw Allegiance last weekend.
They filmed one of the productions and released it for one showing in selected theaters in January, and the demand for it was so great that they released it again this month.
It was amazing. Great costumes, great acting, great songs, great story.
George Takei plays the grandfather who barely speaks English, and he and his family are sent to an internment camp for Japanese-Americans during WWII. It's based on Takei's own experiences being sent to these camps as a child.
As you'd expect from a musical about an internment camp, it's sweet and funny and heartbreaking, and at times, so, so hard to watch.
If they release it in theaters again, or you get the chance to see it on Broadway, you should go.

(Pro-tip: order your tickets online and get there early to get a good seat. It sells out quickly. I got mine online, but arrived a few minutes after it started, so I had to stand at the back for two and half hours because finding my lone seat in the dark would have been impossible.)


When we open, the Enterprise is arriving at Starbase 179 to take on new crew. They go through the whole spiel of docking and communicating with the starbase about the transfer, and Riker and Wes go down to the transporter room to meet them. Three are Blues who are replacing other crew members. One is a Benzite, like that dude that Wes competed against to get into Starfleet Academy.
Wes calls him Mordoc, and asks how he could have graduated so quickly.
"I'm not Mordoc," says the Benzite. "I'm Mendon, and Mordoc and I came from the same place, so we look alike."
"How do you tell each other apart?" asks Wes.
That's... racially insensitive, Wes.
Mendon considers it for a moment, then replies, "We just do."
(Fun fact: Yes, that's Mordoc. Actor John Putch was feeling very "You like me - you really like me!" when they asked him to come back to play another Benzite... but then he realized that they only asked him to return because the Benzite facial appliances had been molded for his face, and would not have fit anyone else. Clever Star Trek covered their tracks by claiming that Mordoc and Mendon hailed from the same geostructure, thus making it perfectly logical that they looked the same.)

Riker welcomes the ensign to the ship, and Mendon tells him that it was not luck that he happened to be doing his Exchange Program here - he requested the E, and looks forward to offering helpful suggestion to how things could be changed here for the better.
"O...kay," replies Riker when Wes leads Mendon out of the transporter room.
O'Brien chuckles.

Riker is paged to the "phaser range," which appears to be a theater on the ship where you do phaser target practice. It's like skeet shooting, and it seems that doing this every so often is required, as Picard ordered him to report there.
This is a pretty sweet budgetary set-up. The whole scene set consists of a round dais divided into two sections, one for each participant, and then blackness, so the people doing this exercise can see the electronic targets. The targets and phaser beams are then added in in post. It shows a new part of the ship, adds to the duties and everyday activities of the crew, and doesn't cost a whole lot by having a big, complicated set.

While they practice their aim, Picard and Riker chat about the Exchange Program being initiated by the Federation. They both like the idea of this cultural exchange, getting to know other races, and seeing how their ships are run.
Riker says he just welcomes Mendon on board, and that he seems "eager to please."
"Benzite trait," remarks Picard.
He then mentions that someone from the E should do the Exchange Program, and that there's a Klingon vessel nearby.
(I'm pretty sure that saying "someone should do it," and then putting that person on a nearby vessel the next day is not how a bureaucracy like the Federation works, but okay.)
Riker thinks that it's a good idea, and then asks if any human has served aboard a Klingon ship. He thinks having Worf on the E has been enormously beneficial.
"I kinda want to do it," says Riker.
"Because no one else has ever done it."
"Okay, then."

No music! Opening credits break!

After the break, Riker talks-and-walks with Worf in the corridor.
"Wait, sooo.. as the first officer in a Klingon ship, I'd be expected to assassinate the captain?" Riker asks.
"Of course," replies Worf, as though assassination is the norm everywhere. "If the captain fucks up all of the shit and needs to be removed from duty, it is the first officer's job to do it. If the first officer fucks up, then the second officer assassinates him, and so on. It's all very straight-forward."
Riker thinks it sounds chaotic, but it sounds logical to me: in a culture obsessed with honorable deaths, the next dude in line saves you from embarrassment and kills you. There's no such thing as a Klingon court-martial. If you really like your captain, you'll shoot his ass.

On the bridge, Mendon is walking around watching others work, and he tells the operation divisions officer that he could be working smarter. The officer gives him the same kind of look you gives anyone who spouts that crap-logic of "work smarter, not harder." Mendon, for all his good intentions, sounds like a shitty micro-manager. When he delivers the news to the officer that he could be working smarter, he tries to employ what supervisors like to call "the compliment sandwich": compliment, criticism, compliment. It's supposed to soften the blow of the criticism, but it never does. Mendon also doesn't do it right. He gives a compliment ("That's a wonderful way of doing that"), then the criticism ( "response time could be better"), then fails to add another compliment.
"Didn't mean to interrupt you," Mendon offers when the officer looks annoyed/baffled at his rudeness. "But I'm totes right," he adds.

Mendon then walks down and does the same thing to Wes at the conn: compliment, "could be running better."
"I think it's fine," says Wes.
Mendon says he'll mention his suggestions to Picard, then asks if Picard will listen to them.
Wes shrugs. "Pretty sure he's always listened to the officers on his ship."
But he looks a bit concerned when Mendon walks off.

Riker is in Ten Forward eating Klingon food when Pulaski joins him. He tells her what each of the foods are while she looks disgusted. personally, I think it was a smart move for him to check this stuff out, see what he liked first.

There's a actually a funny little moment here between Riker and Pulaski when he asks if she'd like to join him for a meal.
Pulaski: "I'm abstaining in honor of your last hour on board."
Riker: "Your sacrifice will not go unnoticed."
They are then joined by Picard, who tells Riker that he's jealous of the new experiences he'll be having. Again, Riker invites Picard to have something to eat, and Picard declines.
Picard waxes poetic about there being so much to learn from one another, but he and Pulaski make faces when the waiter brings more Klingon foods to the table. Riker, meanwhile, continues to chow down.

Later in the corridor, Worf gives Riker a transponder. It's a homing device that also sends out a distress call when activated.
Riker asks if he suspects trouble.
"No, I want to make sure that you come back."
Riker smiles. "Sentimentality, Worf?"
A pause. "Efficiency, commander."

The Enterprise rendezvous with the Klingon vessel IKS Pagh. The captain, Kargan, demands that Picard beam over Riker.
"Cool," says Picard. "You're getting a good officer."
"STFU," barks Kargan. "I get to decide that. Now go the hell away."
He turns the viewscreen off.

"O...kay," says Picard's look.
"That was douchey," remarks Mendon to Worf.
"Mind your own beeswax," Worf snaps back.
Mendon pauses. "No offense meant."
"You didn't offend me," replies Worf. "...yet."
Mendon turns to the station behind him, and notices that the E has been scanning the Pagh, and turned up something. Something maybe growing on the hull of the Pagh, and something that is undefinable. He starts pressing buttons to see if he can get the computer to figure out what it is.

Down in the transporter room, O'Brien wishes Riker good luck, then mentions there's no way in fucking hell that he would go over to the Klingon ship.
"Hey, thanks," says Riker dryly as he steps on the transporter pad.
O'Brien hits the switch and Riker beams away.

Lightly suspicious music! Commercial break!

The Pagh goes in a different direction, and Picard leaves Data in charge so he can go to the Observation lounge for some reason. (I suspect that it's mostly because of blocking. He needs to stand somewhere near Mendon, so the ensign can catch him as he goes by, which is exactly what happens.)
"Oh, hey, hi, Captain," says Mendon. "I have a bunch of stuff that I noted that could use improvement. If we implement this stuff right away, we can have the ship running perfectly in no time."
"Oh, right. Ensign Mendon. God to have you onboard. Listen, it's great that you want to improve efficiency, but we use Chain of Command on this ship, so next time, take it to your next higher up. That would be Worf." Picard points.
Mendon back-peddles. "So sorry. I had no idea. Didn't mean to offend."
"No, it's cool," replies Picard. "We didn't explain it well enough."
He goes into the Observation Lounge and Worf sidles up to Mendon.

Riker appears on the Klingon ship. he is escorted to the bridge by a Klingon named Klag, who says that he has never seen a human in the flesh, and that Riker is not what he expected.
Riker gets to the bridge and introduces himself to Kargan as the first officer of the Enterprise.
"No," corrects Kargan. "You're now the first officer of the Pagh. Point fucking blank: every Klingon on this ship is ready to go to battle, and die in battle. I know I can count on them. What about you?"
"I'll serve this ship as first officer to the best of my abilities," Riker swears.
Klag tells Kargan in Klingon that he doesn't trust Riker, and Riker challenges him.
"You got a problem with me, Klag?"
"Yeah, I challenge your authority over me," Klag growls.
"And what do you think?" Riker asks Kargan.
"Bitch, that's your second officer, and your problem," smiles Kargan.
So Riker beats the shit out of Klag, taking him by surprise.
Kargan gleefully watches the fight.

"I took an oath with Kargan, which s none of your fucking business. Your business is to take my orders," Riker barks at Klag. "Got it?"
Klag agrees to take Riker's orders.
So now Riker is cool with Kargan and Klag.

Back on the Enterprise, Worf has noticed that scans have turned up something weird growing on the ship. They use whatever cameras the E has on the outside and broadcast it to the viewscreen. So even though Mendon kept running analyses on whatever it was that was growing on the Pagh, and he kept getting back answers of "unknown," Data, who is serving as first officer, kind of glances at it and determines that it's "a rare form of subatomic bacteria capable of doubling in size every fifteen minutes, and which is eating away at two compounds which are contained within the hull of the ship."

Mendon steps forward to say that hes seen this before, on the back of the Pagh. He did an extensive scan, but wasn't able to turn up a lot of information.
Data, sitting in the first officer's chair, actually swivels the chair around to stare at Mendon. I didn't even know that chair swiveled. It's sort of ridiculous. He looks like a comical Austin Powers villain, swiveling in his chair to accuse people of things.

Picard wants to know who Mendon told about his Pagh scans.
"Nobody," Mendon replies. "I wasn't finished with the analysis. Everybody knows that you never bring half-information to the captain. You only do that when you have everything. No Benzite would go to their captain with partial information."
Worf is pissed.
Picard is pissed.
"Okay," says Picard. "Listen: if there's a danger to the ship, you report it to command, whether you have all the info or not. Got it?"
"Yes, sir," says Mendon.
"Good. Finish the analysis of both ships, then scoot your blue ass back to me to give me the outcome. Data, watch him."
And Picard disappears into the lift.
Worf sidles up to Mendon like Mendon just arrived in prison and Worf is telling him about the rules about soap in the showers. "I will instruct you on proper etiquette of command," he growls.
The Gold working next to Mendon keeps doing that thing where you're pretending to work real hard while your coworker is getting chewed out nearby, but you know you're only just going through the motions because you're busy gathering intel to give up at the water cooler. You know that Gold is probably messaging buddies down in Engineering.
"Shit, dude. That blue guy is getting an ass-chewing from P. And now W is acting like he's gonna make the blue dude his prison girlfriend!"

Riker's personal Log: "The Klingons are cooler than I thought."

It's lunchtime, and Riker is down in the mess hall with a number of other Klingons, including Klag. Klag now seems inherently less scary, and now a bit goofier. The others notice that he is not eating much, and ask why.
"Meh, not very hungry," he replies. "It's all delicious, though."
They're impressed that he's familiar with their culinary offerings. Klag gives him a bowl of gagh.
"It's moving," notes Riker.
"It's supposed to," answers Klag, in that tone of voice you would use if someone suggested that you should drink liquid ice cream rather than freeze it.
"You want something easier?" asks Klag. "Maybe we could get one of the females to breastfeed you."
Everybody laughs, including Riker and the female who's been sizing him up the whole time.

"They're curious about you," Klag says of the females. "They want to know how you would endure a night with them."
Riker glances at the two females present, then asks Klag, "One or both?"
Another round of raucous laughter.
The female next to Riker says that he isn't attractive, but but she may be back for him later. She gets up to leave, and in the midst of everyone laughing, Riker casts a worried look at Klag.
"Is she serious?" he asks.

Riker is a tad alarmed. Klingon strange is more than he signed up for.
The others get up and leave, and it's just Riker, Klag and another (unnamed) Klingon officer.
Klag asks if Riker is a typical Federation officer, and Riker replies that he thinks he is. The unnamed guy says he didn't expect humans to have a sense of humor.
Riker says the same. "The thought never occurred to me of Klingons laughing," he admits.
"We have a lot to learn about one another," the other Klingon says. "We're different, but also alike in many ways. We each have parents, and look like them."

"Are your parents still alive?" Riker asks, making small talk.
"My mother is, but my father was killed in battle at Tranome Sar," replies the other guy proudly.
It connects back to something that Klag said earlier, about not finding old warriors on the ship. In Klingon culture, you die with honor in battle.
Riker, continuing the conversation, asks Klag about his father.
Ah, a touchy subject here.
Klag says that his father was captured in battle with the Romulans and "not permitted to die." he escaped eventually, but now he lies on Qo'nos and "waits."
"Waits?" Riker quietly asks the other guy.
"He waits to die," the other guy replies.
Klag is pretty pissed off. He tells Riker that his father will probably die of some natural illness, "weak and useless." He says he won't see his father anymore.
"But that's your father," argues Riker.
"Klingons do not express emotions the way that you do," replies Klag. 
"Maybe you should try."
"We would not know how."
"Yesterday, I did not know how to eat gagh," says Riker, putting a forkful of the wriggly worms in his mouth.

Back at the ranch, Data and Mendon have some answers for Picard: that unknown organism on the hull of that ship is feeding off of compounds in the metal, but the Pagh will be more at risk, because there are more of those compounds in their hull material. They estimate that there is probably a 12 centimeter hole in the Pagh's hull at this point.
"Well, shit," says Picard. "We have to find them and warn them. Where the hell are they?"
"Wandering around a nearby system, probably cloaked," says Data. "It may take a while to find them."
"Get on it," barks Picard.

Riker is paged to the bridge of the Pagh, where Kargan shows him a hole in the hull.
"WTH is that?" he asks. "Collision? Corrosion?"
"Neither," says Klag. "An organism is eating away at the hull. It opened a hole in a section that could take the change in pressure, but we estimate that it will eat away enough to destroy the ship in about eight hours."
"Well that sucks," replies Riker. "Do we have a plan?"
"No, but we have suspicions," answers Kargan. "The only ship we've had contact with lately is the Enterprise. And our records show that the E aimed an intense scan at that part of the hull for two minutes."
"WTF?" demands Riker. "You think the E did this? We're allies!"
"It's a weapon!" says the science officer.
"Change course to intercept the Enterprise!" says Kargan. "We're going to attack and destroy it for attacking us first!"

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

When we return, Wes has decided that Mendon probably feels like shit because he's got Data and Worf babysitting him. Wes leaves his station and goes to science, telling Mendon that it looks like he's doing a really good job.
"No, I've failed," says Mendon, in a voice that's about as emo as you can get without being actually emo. "I had the opportunity to show the captain that I have superior capabilities, and instead I look like an asshole because I didn't follow protocol."
"It's cool," Wes insists. "Captain Picard doesn't like mistakes, but he know they're unavoidable sometimes. And you know what the protocol is now, so we're good."
Mendon considers Wes for a moment, then pulls him into the little alcove near the door into the observation lounge.
"I appreciate that you're trying to be nice to me, but I can't figure out why," he explains.
Wes is taken aback. "Because it's nice to be friendly to people? Because you looked like you needed a friend? Because why would I be a dick to you?"

"I guess my methods seem weird to you," says Mendon.
"Just different," admits Wes. "But that's why we're doing this exchange thing. So you learn our ways, then you take them back to your people, and let them decide which way is better."
"That's true," agrees Mendon. "Okay, I'll do it your way. And I'll succeed brilliantly."
Man, Benzites are all over the map. First, Mendon says that he can never recover from the failure of not doing protocol right, then he's back to declaring that he'll be awesome at anything he tries. All while being even-keel the whole time.

The hole in the hull of the Pagh is much larger, and Kargan sends Riker down to Engineering to get information about him, presumably so he can talk shit about Riker behind his back.
Fortunately, Riker had lunch with Klag, and now they're BFFs.
"I don't think he had anything to do with it," Klag tells Kargan. "Why would they assign him to this ship if they wanted all of us to die? He'd die, too,"
"Meh, all officers should walk onto a ship expecting to die at any time," Kargan brushes him off.
"Naw, that's Klingon thinking," Klag points out. "His people don't volunteer for death like we do. It's not the same."
"Maybe I think you're a weak little bitch now," growls Kargan.

"The Enterprise has changed course and is now heading for us," reports Lt Science.
Riker returns to the bridge.
"You asshole!" yells Kargan. "I almost thought this was a misunderstanding! But no! Your ship is following us! Battle stations!"
"Why don't you just fucking ask them what's going on?" demands Riker logically.
"Because I can guess!" says Kargan. "Clearly, they're spoiling for a battle, so I'm gonna get 'em first!"

The E has reached the point where the Pagh should be, but because the Klingon ship is cloaked, they can't be sure. They open hailing frequencies, and do a sweep of the area.

Lt Science reports that the E is near them and doing a sweep.
"Don't be an idiot," Riker tells Kargan. "They might be here to help. We won't know for sure until we talk to them."
"You took an oath to work for, and possible die with, this ship," Kargan reminds him. "Tell me how to destroy the Enterprise."
"Fuck off and die without honor," replies Riker. "I took an oath to Starfleet and to you, and I will honor both. If we get attacked, I will serve this ship as first officer, and I will die with your crew. But I'm not breaking any oaths I've made to anyone in the process."

Kargan considers Riker, then answers quietly, "If you had told me how to destroy the Enterprise, I would have called you a traitor and killed you here and now. Instead, I've decided that you're loyal, and that you'll probs die with us, like a Klingon. We are cool."

On the E, Mendon has finished his homework and goes to Picard.
"Okay, I figured out what that organism is, what exactly it's eating, and how to get rid of it. If we use a tunneling neutrino beam, we can get it off of both hulls."
"Awesome," replies Picard. "Add that info to the hailing frequencies," he tells Worf.

On the Pagh, Lt Science announces that the hailing message has changed, and that the E is now offering cleaning and repair services to the Klingon ship.
"Told you," says Riker.
"Fuck that noise, they're faking!" yells Karagan. "Arm everything! We'll attack!"

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Picard's Log 42507.8: "We've been looking, and still can't find the frickin' Pagh. They've either been destroyed or are cloaked."

"There's no debris, so I say they're cloaked," says Data.
"Probably," agrees Picard. "But they're not answering either, so we don't know what's up."
"We should go to red alert," suggests Data.
Picard agrees again.

On the Pagh, Lt Science announces that the E has raised shields.
"That's normal," says Riker. "Not aggressive. They do that when going into any suspicious situation. It's just a precaution. They won't fire first."
"That's dumb," declares Kargan. "Arm everything."
Riker hesitates. "Maybe don't fire until we're within 40,000 kilometers," he suggests. "Turnaround time will be shortened. They won't be able to react as fast."
Klag is surprised. "You are honoring your oath?"
"Said I would," replies Riker.
"Cool, you give the order to fire," says Kargan.
"Okay, but I think you're a giant dipshit for doing this," Riker tells him. "Your judgement here sucks."

Riker turns and pulls the homing device from his boot, clicking it on. A little red light blinks at the top.
"You got a weapon there?" demands Kargan.
"Mine now."
Riker willingly gives Kargan the homing device.

On the E, Worf registers that the device has been turned on, and announces that he's getting an emergency signal from nearby.
"It's Commander Riker!"
Picard orders O'Brien to lock onto the signal, and beam Riker onto the bridge. O'Brien answers back that he can't beam anyone through shields, and that they're a bit too far from the signal anyway.
"Okay," says Picard. "Gonna move in closer to say, 40,000? When we hit that spot, drop the shields, which you now control, and beam Riker to the bridge."
So now both ships are counting down to 40,000, and when they hit that number, all shields are dropped. Kargan starts to tell Lt Science to get ready to fire (because in this tiny ship, everything is apparently run through that one station by Lt Science). And then Kargan shimmers and disappears.

Klag starts forward, drawing his weapon, but Riker stops him.
"I've relieved Kargan, he was being a moron." Riker drops into the Big Chair. "I'm captain now, bitches."

Kargan reappears on the bridge of the E.
"WTF? Where am I?"
"The Enterprise?" answers Picard, who is just as surprised to see Kargan.
"Riker tricked me!" he roars.
He turns away from them and draws a weapon, but Worf is just as quick on the draw.

And I don't know if that was in the script, or an acting choice by Brent Spiner, but look at where Data is standing. Yeaaah, boi!
Kargan goes down. Data rips the disruptor from his hand and pronounces Kargan to be "dazed."
"Good enough," says Picard. "But where is Riker?"

Back on the Pagh, Riker tells Lt Science to drop the cloaking shields.
"If I do that, they'll find us, and we'll die," protests Science.
"If we die, it'll be in battle, and I'll die too," Riker points out. "Turn. The fucking. Cloaking device. Off."
Lt Science obeys, and the Pagh shimmers into existence in front of the E, weapons loaded.

Picard quickly calls to the ship. "We're here to help! Don't fire!"
"It's a trick!" yells Kargan. "No one will believe you!"
The viewscreen comes on.
"This is Captain William T Riker of the Klingon vessel, Pagh," he says smoothly. "Lower your shields and surrender."

There's a quiet sort of rolfmao in Picard's face as he orders Worf to lower the shields. 
"WTH?" asks Worf's face.
"Beam me back!" shrieks Kargan.
"Whatever," waves Picard. "Beam that guy back. And we can repair your ship, Captain Riker," Picard tells Riker.
"Cool," shrugs Riker.

Kargan is beamed back to the Pagh and stomps back to the bridge.
"You tricked me!" he rages at Riker. "Why didn't you kill me instead?"
"I don't want your lame-ass command," says Riker.
"Fine, go to your station."
Riker hesitates, then decides to stand his ground on the dais.
Kargan back-hands him, and Riker flies across the bridge. Klag props Riker up.
"GTFO," growls Kargan.
"You understand the Klingons better than I thought," says Klag quietly.
"Thank you, my friend," smiles Riker.
Klag pulls Riker roughly to his feet and escorts him off the bridge.

An outer-establishing shots shows the E using a tunneling neutrino beam to repair the damage done to the Pagh.
Riker beams back onto the E, and is greeted by Worf and Picard.
"Welcome back," says Picard.
"Thanks, I learned a lot," Riker replies, stepping off the pad.
"Should have learned when to duck," observes Picard, checking out the huge bruise on Riker's face.
"I learned when not to duck," Riker replies.
Picard goes back to the bridge while Worf escorts Riker to sick bay.
"That was pretty awesome," says Riker. "Your doohickey worked."
"I'm glad," grunts Worf.
"Your people are really cool. I'm glad you're with us on the E."
"Thank you. And welcome home."

Man, I really like this episode. The idea behind the story was, "we've seen what it means to be the lone Klingon amongst the humans on this ship, what does it mean to be the lone human amongst Klingons?" This means that we not only get some cultural understanding for our characters, but a little character-building and cultural information for the audience as well. Basically - what's it like on a Klingon ship?  How does that line of succession work? And how does our protagonist (Riker) keep his word to the Klingons while still maintaining his ideals of not killing anyone?
By counting coup, of course. he knew that Kargan would not listen to reason, but was not going to kill him, as Klingon rules would have dictated. Killing Kargan would have not only meant killing, but also inheriting the Pagh, which he didn't want. Riker wanted to finish his internship and get the hell out, not remain locked into a command forever. So he needed to remove Kargan in such a way that Kargan was not dead, but not in command to start a war with an ally. What to do? Beam him to your own ship. Take command in his absence. Demand that your friends on the E fake surrender so that everyone's honor stays intact. Accept both the surrender and the help from the Enterprise, then have Kargan beamed back. Now how to restore Kargan's honor?
Riker was still in charge of the Pagh when Kargan came back on board. Riker could just give him the command back, but why would the crew respect him going forward? He was tricked and not killed, and a human just gave him the ship back. Nope. The human needed to stand his ground, refuse to return to his station, just a little, so that Kargan could beat the crap out of him and take everything back without losing face.
So the Hmmm Moment here is that both Mendon and Riker learned that there are good ways to deal with other people, but sometimes When In Rome is the best strategy.
There was really just one small sticking moment for me with this episode - when Riker tries to talk Klag into seeing to his father again.
While I appreciate what Riker says about trying new things, he's trying to talk some guys into changing their entire culture just so that it fits his way of thinking, which doesn't really work out. Klag's dismissal of his father fits in with his cultures mores, even if they don't align with human/Federation mores. The embracing of new cultures is a two-way street: they can appreciate your culture, but you must also learn to appreciate theirs, and not just by eating gagh.

Red deaths: 0
To date: 1
Gold deaths: 0
Blue deaths: 0
Obnoxious Wes moments: 0
Legitimate Wes moments when he should have told someone to go fuck themselves: 0
To date: 1
Sassy Geordi moments: 0
To date: 2
Sassy Wes Moments: 0
Sassy Worf Moment: 0
Sassy Riker Moments: 0
To date: 4
Sassy Picard Moments: 0
To date: 7
Sassy NPC Moments: 0
Sassy Data Moments: 0
To date: 3
Number of times that it is mentioned that Data is an android: 0
To date: 16
Number of times that Troi reacts to someone else's feelings: 0
To date: 9
Number of times that Geordi "looks at something" with his VISOR: 0
To date: 1
Number of times when Data gives too much info and has to be told to shut up: 0
To date: 11

Episodes Left Until We Get Rid of Pulaski:

Fun Facts:

- The officer on the bridge that Mendon insults looks familiar. I actually thought he had died in an earlier episode, but I was thinking of someone else. So why does he look familiar? Because he played this same background role in thirty freaking episodes of the first two seasons of TNG. He's a lieutenant junior grade with no name, so if I see him again, I'm dubbing him LTJG That Guy. (Bonus Fun facts: LTJG That Guy, played by Dexter Clay, was the second person to be seen on TNG after Picard. This episode features his first line, "Can I help you, sir?" even though he had been on-screen in twenty-five previous episodes. Along with background actors Lorine Mendell, James G Becker ("Ensign Youngblood") and Michael Dorn, Dexter Clay appeared on an episode of the show "Webster," where Webster dreams that he is on the Enterprise.)
- The more unusual-looking Klingon foods featured were purchased at an Asian food market, the idea probably being that American audiences would not recognize them.
- This is the first episode in which Christopher Collins appears. Collins played Kargan here and in another episode ("Shades of Gray"), and will have three more parts in TNG and DS9, all under heavy alien make-up.
- This is also the first episode in which Brian Thompson appears (Klag). He will also appear in "Shades of Gray" with Christopher Collins, then in two episodes of DS9, a TNG film, and several episodes of Enterprise.
- This is the first time this season that Geordi is not featured.
- The scene where Riker goes to the Pagh engine room was filmed but later cut.
- There's a tiny reference to a Japanese series called Dirty Pair in this episode. In the Okudagram (display) of the Pagh on the Enterprise, some labels in the lower right corner list the characters Kai and Yuri as part of the read-out.

- Klingon bloodwine makes it debut in this episode.
- The Exchange Program will be utilized by the Klingons in later episodes.
- It is stated here that the Klingon cruisers are outfitted with phasers, when Klingons usually favor disruptors.
- This was the last of fie Star trek productions to be made into View Master reels.
- Also, if you have those View Master reels, please mail them to me.
- The scene with the fight on the bridge had to be toned down a little, because Jonathan Frakes and the other actors got into it a bit too much.
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy for make-up. (For reals, that's a lot of Klingon foreheads.)

Tuxie Caterina is having none of your shit.


  1. Given his own estrangement, Riker's advice to Klag about his father seems a bit hypocritical. Granted, we don't know about that yet....

    This episode did tell us one thing: Riker would have happily eaten those mealworms in "Conspiracy" if he hadn't been playing a trick.

    1. Fun Fact! The stuff Jonathan Frakes ate here were just noodles, but those mealworms in Conspiracy were actual live worms. He admits that some of the worms "crossed the threshold" of his lips. And not on purpose.

  2. Long time reader, first time commenter. Just wanted to let you know how much I love these. I hope you continue right on through the remaining series.

    1. Aw thanks, Anon!
      We estimated that I'd be doing these for about ten years, and I'm three years into this continuing mission, so barring my untimely death in a red shirt, you'll be getting this crap in your inbox well into the next decade. :D

  3. This is one of my top 5 episodes of all time in this series. Seriously, the huge window into Klingon ship life is rad as hell. Seeing it though Riker's eyes made the story all the more interesting in the way that "he's the 'normal' guy with whom the audience associates as themselves" always works. I was really hoping that the Klingon lady came back for some Riker lovin'. (Luckily we get to see some of that when K'Eylar makes her appearance. Rowr.)