Warp Speed to Nonsense

Warp Speed to Nonsense

Monday, May 22, 2017

ST:TNG Season Two, Episode Eighteen "Up the Long Ladder"

ST:TNG Season Two, Episode Eighteen "Up the Long Ladder"
Production Order: 44
Air Order: 44
Stardate: 42823.2
Original Air Date: May 22, 1989

Peeps are on the bridge doing their thing, and nothing scary or suspicious is happening, but scary/suspicious music is playing. Worf looks... nervous?
Picard exits the lift and asks Riker to join him in the ready room as he passes by. Riker puts Data in charge.
In the ready room, Picard presses a button and plays a repeating sound for Riker.
"What's this?" Picard asks, mildly amused.
Riker listens. "Distress signal?"
"Lol, good guess. It's totes a distress signal, terran in origin, and from the Ficus sector," relays Picard. "Took those idiots at Starfleet Command weeks to figure out that it was a distress signal."
Riker feels pretty good about himself. "Okay, but it doesn't sound like any distress signal I've ever heard."
"Let's Google it," says Picard, and he asks Majel Barrett when the signal was last used.
"European Hegemony," says Majel.
"What the hell is that?" demands Riker.
And for the second week in a row, Picard chastises someone for not reading more history.
Riker, who was feeling pretty smart a second ago, now feels less smart, and rolls his eyes. To be honest, I agree with him. Picard says that the European Hegemony was the first stirrings of a world government, but then dates are given: 2123-2190. The signal used came from a 67-year period in history. That's nothing in the grand scheme of things. A blip on the radar. What's more, how often have alliances been formed across multiple countries, only to be broken up a few decades later? Like, the European Union is only 24 years old, and now there's a possibility that it'll break apart.
No exact dates are given for the EH, just "early 22nd century," and the United Earth Government was founded in 2150, after which the EH ceased to exist, so we're talking a really tiny slice of time here.
Like, bully for you for knowing about the European Hegemony, Picard, but it's like when I tell people that the first Mickey Mouse cartoon was "Plane Crazy" and not "Steamboat Willie" - who the fuck is going to know that unless they have reason to look it up?

Anyway, they ask Majel about starship launches from that era that were bound for or near the Ficus sector, and she says there were none.
"Did aliens use this distress signal?" asks Riker.
"Nope," says Majel.
"Guess we better find these people," says Riker.
They go out to the bridge, but now we know the reason for the scary/suspicious music: Worf passed out.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Picard's Log 42843.2: "Leaving our current starbase to go find out who sent that distress signal. Also, what the hell is up with Worf?"

Worf is in sick bay on a biobed, being scanned by Pulaski.
"Klingons do not faint," he asserts.
She then goes on to sarcastically rephrase her wording, but still reach the conclusion that he fainted. She's not being a jerk about it, though, which is nice.
Pulaski does a few quick scans and announces that he has rop'ngor.
OMG, what is that? Is it serious? Will he die?
He's pretty pissed off: "That's a childhood ailment!"
It's Klingon measles. He's annoyed. He feels kind of dumb.
Picard calls to ask about Worf's condition.
"Worf was fasting for a Klingon thing," she lies. "He forgot that you have to do less physical activity when you're fasting. He's fine."
She actually crosses her fingers when saying this, hoping Picard will buy it.
"Cool," says PIcard, and hangs up.
Worf thanks Pulaski for keeping his secret, and leaves sick bay.
Maybe she gave him a hypo when he got to sick bay? Otherwise, how is he fine? Dude is still technically sick.

Picard is in the ready room again when Data enters.
"I've been thinking about that distress signal," says Data. "Somebody had to load that ship."
"Oh, manifest!" says Picard. "Data, you're a fucking genius!"
Picard plugs in the info he wants, and the computer gives him an answer: the SS Mariposa, launched in 2123 and bound for the Ficus sector.
He starts reading off the cargo list - along with people, the ship is packed with all kinds of technology, computers, things of that nature, plus spinning wheels and livestock.
"What the hell?" asks Picard. "None of that stuff matches."
Data, in the meantime, is curious about the mention of the spinning wheel. He checks it out in his memory banks, then begins reciting off the definition while Picard talks aloud to himself about the Mariposa's disparate manifest.
"Data!" Picard barks. "I'm trying to think! Shut the hell up!... why computers and livestock?"
"Trying to prepare for every eventuality?" asks a now-silent Data.
"What was going on in the world when they launched?" Picard asked Data.
Data thinks. "So this was after WWIII, and this one philosopher was popular. He advocated Neo Transcendentalism, going back to nature, and stuff."
"That explains the spinning wheels, but not the computers," states Picard.
Data shrugs.

This next scene is actually pretty cool.
Worf goes into Pulaski's office with a tray laden with objects: cups and a branch with some flowers on it.
"Thanks for keeping my secret," he says.
She's pretty stoked. "No one's ever performed the Klingon tea ceremony for me!"
She gets a little table, and he sets the tray down. Excitedly, she picks the flowers and places them in the cups. He's surprised.
"You know this ceremony?"
I like her answer: "I understand the externals, not the mysteries. I'm not a Klingon."
And that, boys and girls, is the difference between appropriation and appreciation.
He tells her that the tea is deadly to her, so she can't drink it. She points out that it's not good for Klingons to drink it, either. He gives her a bit of background on those mysteries, and tells her that drinking the tea is about facing bravery, and reminding one another that death is an experience that is best when shared, like the tea.
She says he's a romantic, and he replies that love poetry is best in the hands of Klingons. I think she might argue with him again, like she did at Data's going-away party in "Measure of a Man," but instead she runs out of the room, returning with a hypospray.
Pulaski shoots herself with antidote. "Let's do this."
They drink, breathe deeply, and she asks him to quote some poetry to her.
(My only sticking point in this really excellent scene: why does Pulaski readily have a hypospray of Klingon tea ceremony antidote? Is that substance one she would need to use often enough that she keeps it on hand? She was only gone for a moment, seems like not enough time passed for her to replicate it.)

We finally arrive in the Ficus sector, and it's obvious right away what the problem is - the sun is producing solar flares, and the people have retreated underground. Hailing is tried, but gets no answer.
"The hell?" asks Picard. "These people were carrying a ton of technology. Where is it?"
"No power source," says Data.
Worf reports that the sun's flares will start brushing the planet in a little more than three hours, so they better move fast. Oh, and also, if they're going to transport, they can't do it when the flares are... flaring. They gotta go in between.
Troi points out to Picard that these people have been here and uncontacted for 300 years, so they might freak out if they suddenly appeared on a starship.
It is decided that Riker will beam down to talk to these people, then beam them up. But only in-between flares, like some kind of weird interstellar double-dutch.

Picard's Log 42827.3: "Rehash."

Picard calls Riker.
"So there's like 200 people down here, and they're in pretty good health, and they're totes willing to leave, but..."
"Cool, get 'em up here," says Picard.
"Yeah, but there's a problem..." starts Riker.
"No time. Transporting now, please," barks Picard. "Just beam 'em up, and we'll deal with it here."
"...'kay," replies Riker.
We switch to the transporter room, where Riker tells O'Brien to start transporting.
So he does.

"...got a problem, Captain," O'Brien pages Picard.
Picard and Worf step out of the lift a few moments later. The doors to the transporter room open, and a chicken flies out into the corridor, to be scooped up by a tiny sprite with a big smile, who pulls the chicken back in.
"The fuck?" demands Picard.
He and Worf step into the room as a dude steps forward to shake O'Brien's hand.
"Irishman, huh?" He offers O'Brien a pull off his flask, but the chief is standing right next to his CO, and declines.
The guy introduces himself to Picard as Danilo Odell, and good Lord, this guy is all brogue. He's mildly annoyed that they had to pack up and leave so quickly.
Picard doesn't respond to this. "Why animals?" he demands.
"We couldn't leave them to die," Odell explains. "Also, we'll need to stat a new life someplace else, and how will we do that without our animals?"
Picard decides that this answer is good enough, but there's no way they can all hang out in the transporter room, so he tells O'Brien in an irked voice to beam them to a cargo hold, including the ones that have yet to come onboard.
So they climb back up on the transporter pad and beam to the cargo hold.

(A question for this scene, and some others I've come across: how did they beam up the hay? Like, if you're carrying something, that will beam with you. Okay, no problem there. But... I think when they transport they scan for life signs, and then beam those up, specifically ones that are wearing comm badges. But here, they've transported up many people. So Riker says "three to beam up," or whatever
 and O'brien beams up Riker and two people next to him. Okay. But what if five people are standing there, and O'Brien picks the wrong two to come up with Riker? And then we have objects, like said spinning wheels. No life signs. We know they can transport matter because we've seen it. But O'Brien was really surprised when they beamed up a shit-ton of animals as well. And nothing in my quick-and-dirty research suggests anything about that hay, save for the fact that very early transporters could not filter out objects blowing in the wind during transport, which could then become embedded in a transporting person.
I guess it was just done to further the "these are country folk" feel of that particular transport, but it would be nice to get an explanation for it, anyway.)

Odell runs after Picard and Worf, guessing that Picard must be pretty rich to have a ship like this.
Picard sets him straight on that.
"Oh. Um, are you married?"
Damn. Two weeks in a row, and people can't stop asking Picard personal questions.
"No. Why?" says Picard in a clipped tone.
"I have a daughter."
Sassy Picard Moment: "Felicitations."
"Are you sure?" Odell asks as Picard climbs in the lift.
Worf stares him down.
"He's sure," Odell tells Worf's chest.

Picard is meeting with Pulaski and Riker in the Obs Lounge when Worf arrives and says there are 223 people in cargo bay 7. Pulaski smiles and says they should expect several more over the next few days. They discuss the fact that the Bringloidi (a name at last!) seem out of time with everyone else, and Riker states that "they'll adapt."
Some warning klaxon goes off and a security Gold calls Worf to say that fire suppression went off in the cargo bay... guess which one?

Picard, Worf, and Riker go down to the cargo bay to check it out. A Gold says the fire is contained, and when the cargo bay door is unsealed, Odell hurries out yelling about lightening bolts falling from the ceiling.
"What the hell was that?" he yells as everyone steps into the cargo bay.
"Fire suppression system," says Worf. "A force field contains the fire, and all oxygen is sucked out of the space."
"And what if I was inside that force field?" demands Odell indignantly.
Sassy Worf Moment: "You would have been standing in the fire."
"Okay, so what if I was?" Odell insists.
"Suffocation and death," Worf answers drily.
They come up on a woman who's got a cooking pot over some rocks, like a campfire. (Where the hell did those rocks come from?) She's pretty pissed off, though not the same way that Odell was. She's actually livid, where he was kind of frantic.
"You guys didn't offer us anything to eat, and when I tried to cook something, your freaking ship shut it down!"

Picard is taken aback by this woman, and says, "Oh, um, sorry. Didn't know you guys had not been introduced to the food dispensers. I'll have someone show you."
Riker stares at her with a half-smile. She rounds on him.
"Never seen a woman before?" she snaps.
"Thought I had," smiles Riker.
"This is my daughter, Brenna," says Odell sheepishly.
"Seriously, I have to take care of these people! Shouldn't you be flying this stupid ship?" she yells at Picard before storming off.
Still determined to marry her off to Picard, Odell adds, "She's not usually like this," but she screams for him from the other side of the cargo bay, and he goes running.
Picard goes to a spinning wheel and starts laughing his ass off.
"This is not what I expected," laughs Riker.
"Sometimes you gotta bow to the absurd," snickers Picard.

They're on their way out of the cargo bay when Brenna takes one more opportunity to bark at them to get back to work. Riker decides to stay behind and help her. He finds her moving hay around (still have no idea where that hay came from), and tells her the ship will clean itself.
Sassy Guest Star Moment: "Good for the bloody ship."
She considers him for a moment, then asks him, nicely, where she can go to wash her feet.
Riker uses his flirtiest voice to tell her that, as First Officer, it's his duty to show her around the ship, and she takes his arm.

Odell catches up with Picard and Worf in the corridor.
"Hey, so, have you guys ever learned what happened to the other colony?"
"Other colony?" asks Picard.

Mildly suspicious music! Commercial break!

Picard's Log, supplemental: "There's a Class-M planet nearby that we're gonna check out, see if it might have that other colony that Odell is talking about. At least that solves the mystery of where the tech went."

Riker shows Brenna his quarters, and judging by the fact that she's had a costume change, it's like, the next day. She's slightly disgusted by the fact that he hasn't cleaned his quarters, and I am a bit, too. Like, if you've been showing her around, Will, then you knew you might bring her back here, so why the hell didn't you pick up?
He playfully remarks that he can see why her father wants to marry her off.
"And why's that?" she demands.
"So he can have a pipe and a mug of beer in peace," he jokes.
She looks around, then says that he's been remiss in his tour. "You still haven't shown me where to wash my feet."
"Through that door," he says, pointing to where I guess the bathroom is.
"Is something wrong?" she asks, puzzled.
"No, why?"
She steps forward, and out of her heavy outer skirt. "Do you not like girls?"

Riker realizes that he missed something. "Is there something about this feet-washing thing that I didn't get?"
"You start at the top," she purrs, "and you work your way down."
And they make out.

Odell calls Worf to the cargo bay.
"Okay," he says, standing next to a giant still. "We're making booze, but we need to know how to brew it without setting off the fire-suppressant thingy."
"You can get booze from the food dispensers," says Worf.
"Naw, O'Brien showed us that shit. It's fake," says Odell, wrinkling his nose.
"You can get the good shit from there also," says Worf, taking Odell back to the wall.
"Good," says Odell. Then a bit of Bringloid wisdom: "For every moment of pleasure in life, there's a bit of pain as well."
Odells orders whiskey from the food dispensers, then says it has no bite. because he's probably used to drinking flavored rubbing alcohol.
"Bitch, please," says Worf. He orders a Klingon drink, and that shit comes out smoking, which is the universal sign for "hangover after two sips."

He coughs after the first sip, then Brenna yells at him from across the cargo bay again. he chugs it before stepping up to her and coughing out, "Yes, my darlin'?"
"Get your drunk ass to Pulaski. She wants to talk to you about letting our kids go to school here on the ship."
Odell scurries off, and she chastises the guys who were standing around watching Odell get drunk off of that Klingon drink. They scurry away too, before she barks at Worf.
"Why the fuck did you tell them that they could get booze from that magic wall? Now they'll just be drunk all the time!"
Worf steps up to her: "Madam, have you ever considered a career in security?"
"If it's anything like babysitting, I'm an authority!"
The women gathered around laugh.

Picard's Log, supplemental: "Rolling up on the planet where we think the other colony might be."

Immediately, Worf gets a hail from the surface.
"Hi, I'm Wilson Granger, the Prime Minister of Mariposa, and I totally did not escape from a Talking Heads music video."
"He's probs a descendant from the captain, Walter Granger," Data says.
"Not quite, but close enough," says Granger. "We're so glad to see you. We thought something terrible happened to Earth, because we never heard anything else."
"Yeah, about that," says Picard diplomatically. "I think you guys got lost in the bureaucracy. We had no idea you were out here."
"You should come visit!" says Granger.
"Cool," says Picard, before signing off.
He tells Riker to put together an away team, but Troi says he should be cautious, because she thinks Granger is hiding something.

Riker takes Worf and Pulaski with him. While she's necessary to the story, not sure why he picked Pulaski. Oh, well. Whatever.
They're met at the beam-down site by a dude named Victor Granger, who says he'll escort them to the Prime Minister. Victor looks just like Wilson, so Riker and Worf quietly guess twins. They pass a trio of women who all look alike, and guess triplets. But then a fourth look-alike passes them, and Wor guesses quadruplets.

Esoteric TOS reference in three...

Yep, that's Diana Muldaur in "Return to Tomorrow"

When Pulaski pauses by the statue, she scans a dude, and then Victor shows her and the others into the office. Wilson greets them, and she responds with, "Is your entire population made up of clones?"
"Clones?" Worf asks Riker.
"Clones?" Riker asks Wilson.
"Clones," Wilson confirms.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Picard's Log, supplemental: "Wilson Granger says he needs our help, so we called a meeting with him in the Obs Lounge."

Wilson explains to Picard, Riker, and Pulaski what their deal is. Apparently, there was an accident with the Mariposa after they dropped off the Bringloidi, and when they finally reached the surface of their planet, there were only five survivors, two women and three men. It was not a big enough gene pool to sustain a population, and they were all scientists, so they turned to cloning.
"How'd you keep them from getting down with one another?" asks Pulaski.
"Drugs and laws at first," shrugs Wilson. "But it's been three hundred years, so now we think sex is kind of gross."
"Uh-huh," says Pulaski. "And how did you deal with replicative fading?"
"Yeeeaaah, we haven't," Wilson admits.
"Whoa, that's a problem," says Pulaski.
Riker here is serving as the go-between for the audience. "What the hell is replicative fading?"
"Each time you clone somebody," explains Pulaski, "you make a copy of a copy. Little errors come up in the genetic material, and eventually, you get a clone that won't live because of those errors."
"What help do you need from us?" Picard asks.
"We need your DNA," says Wilson.
Picard is taken aback.
"Ex-squeeze me?" demands Riker. "You want to clone us?"
"Yeah," says Wilson, like he's not asking for much.
"Fuck off in the nicest way possible," replies Riker.
"How would it harm you to give us some tissue samples?" asks Wilson.
"Because one of me is unique, but hundreds or thousands are not," says Riker.
"You'd be preserving yourself," argues Wilson.
"I can do that by having kids," Riker argues.
Wilson looks at Picard and Pulaski, who shake their heads in turn.
"I don't think anyone will be willing to give you their tissue samples," Picard tells him.
"Okay." Wilson looks put out. "Can you at least have someone repair some of our failing equipment?"
Now that he's stopped asking for their essence, the Enterprise crew are more than happy to help. Riker jumps up to form a tech crew.
Pulaski asks for permission from both Picard and Wilson Granger to go back with the tech team to study replicative fading before they leave.
"Maybe you'll find a solution to our problem," says Wilson hopefully.
"That's flattering, but I doubt it," says Pulaski. "Also, fixing this equipment won't solve your problems."
"We have no solutions," Wilson replies. "Remember, doctor - there are only five of us."

Captain's Log: "Another one of those days where I make a thousand supplemental logs. Riker and Pulaski went back down to the surface with the tech team."

Pulaski and Riker enter Wilson's office. They report that the equipment repairs are almost done. Wilson asks them to reconsider donating to his cause, and they refuse again, at which point, he has them stunned by security and hauled off.
A second or so later, Geordi enters the office. "Hey, Prime Minister. Looking for Riker."
"Haven't seen him. Sorry," shrugs Wilson.
"Um, okay, thanks." Geordi leaves.
And now we're subjected to a creepy scene backed by a lot of percussion and suspicious music. Someone who is probably a doctor or genetic specialist uses the world's biggest needle, inserting it into Pulaski's abdomen. In the next bed over, someone else does it to Riker.

Riker and Pulaski are in her office later when Geordi comes in.
"WTF happened to you guys on the surface? Every time I asked where you were, some clone lied to me."
"Lied?" asks Riker.
"Yeah. I got better vision than you guys remember?" He taps the VISOR. "Humans go through body chemistry changes when they lie, and my VISOR picks it all up."
Pulaski gets up from her chair and scans all three of them. "Geordi, you're not missing any epithelial cells. But Will and I are."
"What are those?" asks Geordi.
"Stomach cells," explains Pulaski. "If you're gonna clone somebody, using those cells works best because they're all largely the same."
"Bullshit!" yells Riker. "I'm going to their fucking cloning lab!"
He storms out. The others follow.

This time, they beam directly into the cloning lab, where they find that the Mariposans have been busy. One coffin-like chamber holds a hairless Riker clone, which he disintegrates with a phaser. The other holds a hairless Pulaski clone. She nods, and he phasers that one as well.
Wilson runs in with three security dudes who are all clones of the same guy.
"Murderer!" yells Wilson.
"Thief!" hollers Riker. "You can't just take our shit!"
"We have the right to survive!" pleads Wilson.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Riker and Pulaski gather in the ready room to bitch to Picard and Troi. Riker says he wants their labs inspected, because remember - they had a tech crew down there, and just because they found the Riker and Pulaski clones, doesn't mean they won't find more. (Think about who they didn't steal from, though - Geordi. Because he's damaged goods, and they'd end up with a bunch of blind clones. Bullshit.)
Troi tries to get the others to see that the Mariposans, while they seemed different, are just like the humans on the Enterprise. She tries to make the case that if the E were in the same situation, they'd probably do as the Mariposans did.
"Doesn't matter even if they did get new DNA," explains Pulaski. "They're already dying out, and in 15 more generations, their new people would die out as well. They don't need more clones, they need breeding stock."
That term gives Picard and "a-ha" moment, and Troi reaches the same conclusion.
"We should have them mate with the Bringloidi!"

So now we go to the Obs Lounge, where Picard and Pulaski have introduced Odell and Wilson, and told them the plan.
"That's gross," says Wilson. "They're creepy, and I don't want to have sex with their women."
"Hey, you're gross, too!" says Odell indignantly. "I'm not doing this!"
"STFU, both of you," says Picard. "You both have problems, and this is a good solution. Also, Wilson, we're gonna inspect your labs to see if you took any more samples. We'll probs have to beam up all your shit to get a good look."
"That's blackmail!" says Wilson. "And we're fine without the Bringloidi."
Hella sarcastic Pulaski: "That's cool. In 50 years or so, we'll have a pre-colonized Class-M planet, complete with cities, roads and tech. Just add humans."
He looks uncomfortable.
She turns to Odell. "Look, I know this is weird, but you both have to compromise here. You can't have monogamous marriages for like, three generations. Each woman, both Mariposan and Bringloidi, needs to have three kids with three different guys."
This appeals to Odell, who tries again. "Okay, look. We both have problems, and this solves it for each of us. We should try to make this work."
Wilson agrees with hesitation, especially after Odell spits in his hand and offers it to shake.

Picard takes Wilson to cargo bay 7. Odell runs forward and pulls Brenna aside to tell her the plan. Meanwhile, Picard walks Wilson past a very preggo Bringloidi, who is snuggling a pygmy goat. Wilson puts out his hand, and the woman turns both her swollen middle and the goat toward him, uncertain which one he wants to touch. He seems uncertain himself, and kind of just lets his hand drop.

They walk past some Bringloidi men who are having a drink and a laugh, and it's probably a good thing that they're in such good moods, because the look on Wilson's face is douche-baggy.

An enraged Brenna storms up to Picard and Wilson escapes to talk to Odell.
"WTF?" she yells at Picard. "The men run off to discuss things over beers, and when they're done, the women always get stuck doing all the work!"
"You wanted a new home," he points out.
I like the way she phrases her answer: "Yeah, but I didn't want to be Eve!"
"It's cool," shrugs Picard. "Come with us, we'll drop you off at a starbase."
"Leave my da?" she asks uncertainly.

So he appeals to her sense of responsibility. "Look, if this is going to work, these people will need your strength and guidance."
She crumbles. "Well, shit." She scopes Wilson. "What's that guy do again?"
"Prime Minister."
"He's probably not poor," she muses.
"Probably not," he agrees.
"I get three husbands?"
"Uh-huh," says Picard.
And Brenna puts on her flirtiest smile to sidle up to Wilson Granger.

Irish-flavored Star Trek theme! Ending credits!

Some good, some bad, some weird.
So first, we have what appear to be two different stories mushed into one. I'm not sure how that could have been done differently, though, as the E encounters the Bringloidi first, and the Mariposans as a result. maybe integrate the Bringloidi story more once they reached Mariposa? Dunno. I do like the fact that it was discovered that the two cultures had beneficial things to offer one another, though. And the Mariposan story was pretty good sci-fi - starship landing goes badly, only a few survive, they get along by creating clones, but now they need to interbreed with another group of people in order to save themselves.
Thing is, as much as I like the Bringloidi, their straight-up caricature of 19th-century Irish peasants is a bit much for a show about space travel. The backstory didn't do too terrible a job of explaining why they were the way they were, but it was still a little strange.
Gotta kinda agree with Brenna on that last bit as well. While checking numbers on forums about how many people were needed to make a viable gene pool, someone brought up the very idea that she complained about: body autonomy. Certainly, the Mariposan women will complain about not only having to have sex with three different men, but also bearing children by each. Plus, it's possible that some of those Bringloidi women will not be amenable to the same issue. There's also the possibility that some of them are infertile, and that death from pregnancy complications are a real thing. Any way you slice it, this plan is going to put a tremendous burden on the backs of the females, specifically because the males are not capable of carrying pregnancies. Hopefully, Pulaski's guess of sixty couples leaves enough females out of the loop so that if some are unable or unwilling to participate, this is possible. Otherwise, you run the risk of a break-out of The Handmaid's Tale, and ain't nobody got time for that.
Some bits and pieces:
- Still baffled by that hay thing with the transporter. And who transported rocks on board? They weren't replicated, because the Bringloidi didn't know of the existence of those machines at that point.
- I love Brenna's clothes. I would wear everything she wore, including her lace-up-the-calf sandals. Okay, maybe I wouldn't wear her crop-top sweater, cuz I just don't have that kind of confidence, but I really like that spin they put on that traditional Irish cable-knit sweater.
- I like the word hegemony, It sounds like something a ridiculous person would name their daughter.
      "Um, you know that word means like, a form of domination, right?"
      "Well, no. But it's pretty! Like feminine, don't you think?"
      "... no."

Fun Facts:
- Melinda Snodgrass (author of "Measure of a Man") pitched this story as a commentary on American immigration policy, with the idea that your very different neighbor can bring something very valuable to your life. Maurice Hurley liked the pitch, and told her to write it up. But subsequent rewrites buried the immigration commentary, and it came out as a sort of "oddballs in space benefit other oddballs in space,"
- When giving the pitch to Hurley, Snodgrass likened her first colony to "a little village of Irish tinkerers." Hurley, a guy who gleefully leads St Patrick's Day parades, encouraged her to keep the Irish tinkerers village, creating the Bringloidi.
- Director Winrich "Rick" Kolbe wanted a huge difference in attitude and personality between the Bringloidi and Mariposans, so he purposefully allowed the actors playing the Bringloidi to go as nuts as they wanted.
- The result of these things is that Irish-Americans were pissed off that the Bringloidi were huge stereotypes. (I see their point, though now I'm interested in knowing how the actual Irish feel about this episode. I've noticed that there often seems to be a gap in what is found to be offensive to (immigrant-descended)-Americans, and the people of the country they descended from.)
- Another group this episode pissed off? The pro-lifers. They felt that Riker destroying the clones was Star Trek condoning abortion. Though that wasn't quite what Snodgrass was going for, she did purposefully add in a pro-choice-based line for Riker (with Hurley's blessing): "I told you that you can't clone me and you did it against my will, and I have the right to have control over my own body."
- The original title for this episode was "Send in the Clones," and can we talk about how glad I am that they changed it? It was changed a bit late, because all of the scripts had been printed with the original title by that point. The permanent title "Up the Long Ladder" comes from a song "Are You Ready For War?" "Up the long ladder and down the short rope" refers to the gallows.
- Briongloid is the Irish word for dream.
- The pygmy goats that the Bringloidi transport onboard with them were raised by the show's property master, Alan Sims.
- When Riker is talking to Picard in the ready room, a mission category for 22nd century ships lists "Diplomatic Mission to Alderaan." Sadly, it was scrubbed for the remastered edition.
- Neither Barrie Ingham (Danilo Odell) nor Rosalyn Landor (Brenna) is Irish, but they're at least British, and more likely to get the brogue right.
- Barrie Ingham was almost cast to play Captain Picard.
- Jon DeVries played both Wilson and Victor Granger.
- Triplets Floyd, Lloyd and Troy Weaver played one set of Mariposan clones.

Floyd Weaver

- The quadruplet clones were played by unknown actors.
- Elizabeth Vallis, a woman in Wilson Granger's office, is played by an unknown actor, as well as another Elizabeth Vallis clone.
- A pair of unknown twins play the last set of clones. These clones work security in Wilson Granger's office.

Red deaths: 0
To date: 2
Gold deaths: 0
Blue deaths: 0
Unknown color crewmember deaths: 0
To date: 18
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: 6
Sassy Wes Moments: 0
To date: 1
Sassy Worf Moment: 1
To date: 4
Sassy Riker Moments: 0
To date: 6
Sassy Picard Moments: 1
To date: 13
Sassy NPC Moments: 0
To date: 3
Sassy Data Moments: 0
To date: 6
Sassy O'Brien Moments: 0
To date: 3
Sassy Pulaski Moments: 0
To date: 3
Sassy Guest Star Moments: 1
Number of times that it is mentioned that Data is an android: 0
To date: 19
Number of times that Troi reacts to someone else's feelings: 1
To date: 23
Number of times that Geordi "looks at something" with his VISOR: 1
To date: 2
Number of times when Data gives too much info and has to be told to shut up: 0
To date: 12

Episodes Left Until We Get Rid of Pulaski:

The Siamese-tabby I'm fostering


  1. The Worf subplot was nice, but it got so little screen time. Was in written in just to get the episode up to a normal running time?

    United Earth was formed in 2150? Just a year before the launch of the NX-01? So what was Starfleet before that? An American organization?

    1. Given the The Right Stuff vibe the producers tried to give Starfleet in "First Flight", I wouldn't be surprised if it was American, or at least part of a coalition dominated by America.

    2. They're headquartered in San Francisco, so I would guess that to be the case.
      But I've always thought that this show had distinctly American ideals and a vibe of "yee-haw, I'm a space cowboy!" so it doesn't surprise me that they would make Starfleet specifically American pre-world government.

  2. I'm okay with assuming Pulaski replicated the hypo, even though there wasn't quite enough time. It's up there with people never having to wait for a lift unless they happen to be chatting with each other before they reach the doors.

    As for the beaming, I'm going to go with a line Chekov said while operating the transporter in Star Trek (2009): "locking volume". I'm going to assume O'Brien can just lock onto all objects within a certain volume and beam the whole shebang up when there's uncertainty about which specific targets you're trying to get. He's supposed to be hurrying after all.

    1. Yeah, it either had to be replicated or was made of some common compound that she had readily available. I'm not too worried about that or the hay, I just end up wondering about the strangest things...

  3. Number of times Data...has to be told to shut up:0 Shouldn't this be 1? Picard snaps at him in the Ready Room when Data is accessing information on spinning wheels. Although he doesn't directly tell him to shut up, per se, he does give him that "DATA!", which basically means, "shut up!"