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.

Monday, February 20, 2017

ST:TNG Season Two, Episode Seven "Unnatural Selection"

ST:TNG Season Two, Episode Seven "Unnatural Selection"
Production Order: 33
Air Order: 33
Stardate: 42494.8
Original Air Date: January 30, 1989

So ThinkGeek has a comm badge with Bluetooth now. Basically, you hit the thing and it connects you to Siri or Cortana or whatever kind of talking computer thingy you own, and you can call people.

Why should you get it?
It's kind of as close to the real thing as we're gonna get at this point.
Why should you skip it?
According to ThnkGeek, Siri or Cortana or whoever will answer, but not Majel Barrett. They mention that specifically, which makes me wonder if enough customers complained about not getting her to answer their comm badges. (It might not be too long before they do release Majel for Siri or something, though - back in September, Roddenberry Entertainment announced that Majel's voice had been recorded phonetically before her death, so they could keep her as the voice of the computer for the next show, and possibly for devices like Siri.)
The other let-down? Reviewers report that the mic sucks. They can hear others through the comm badge just fine, but the person on the other end can barely hear them at all. What good is a two-way communicator if one person isn't quite communicating?

Save your gold-pressed latinum his time, friends. 


Picard's Log 42494.8: "Gonna rendezvous or something with a medical courier. Deciding whether or not Pulaski is doing a good job."

Sooo, your new CMO has been onboard and working with your ship for almost exactly six months, and you're just now getting around to figuring out if she's a good fit? Geez, Picard. Get yo' shit together.

He asks Troi into the ready room to ask her what she thinks of Pulaski.
"Well, she's robophobic as hell, and is rude to Data at every chance she gets, for no reason at all."
...is what she should have said.
"She's passionate about her work," she says instead.
Charitably, I might add. 
So far, we've had just a few scenes where she's doing her job, and she looks competent. But in our very first episode that featured her, those scenes were also filled with her heaping shit on Data. And I don't know about you guys, but if I said racist/homophobic/sexist/ect shit about my coworkers for six months, I'd be let go. And not after six months. After like, the third incident. Which occurred pretty much in the first episode here.
Anyway, Picard is concerned that Pulaski is letting her "passion" cloud her judgement, but Troi says she doesn't think that's happening.

They're paged onto the bridge then, when Data picks up a distress signal from nearby.
When all appropriate parties are on the bridge, Data reveals that it's the USS Lantree. They open the channel, and Picard asks the Lantree if they need help.
A staticky voice replies that they are dying and that there are too many to help.
Picard tries to ask if they are under attack, but no one answers back.

Dramatic music! Opening credits break!

While trying to raise the Lantree again, Picard asks Data for more info on it: it's a little supply ship, still en route to its destination, captained by a dude named LI Talaka. Picard tells Data to meet up with it, post-haste.
Geordi enters the bridge and transfers his Engineering controls to that station.
When they finally catch up to the Lantree, there are no life signs. Troi says she senses nothing from the ship. Everyone reports in: there are no other ships in the area, no battle damage to the ship, and the ship is functioning perfectly.
"Let's go on board," says Worf immediately.
You know, for a dude who's supposed to be taking all threats into account at all times, Worf sure does throw caution to the wind a lot. He's very Kirk in that respect.
"I think we should do remote access to the ship so we can see the bridge," suggests Riker.

This is much more reasonable. There's no telling what's over there, and just beaming over to the Lantree might fuck up all the shit. Looking first eliminates that immediate threat. Of course, they may remote in over there and find nothing on the bridge, prompting them to go over anyway, but given that this sounds like a new thing they're suggesting (at least I don't recall them saying they could do remote access to someone else's bridge before), that means it probably will work, and give them the answers they want. Otherwise, the writers would not have suggested it.
They can't just do it, though. Fortunately, there's some level of security here, where Picard must request the action of the computer by himself in the ready room, and give a code.
(Imagine if it wasn't, though. "OMG, that's (ship)! My old buddy from the Academy is the captain! Let's remote-access his computer and fuck up some stuff! It'll be hilarious!" And that's how you end up on a future Reddit entitled "The dumb way I got court-martialed." Also in that thread: some hapless second officer is left in charge of the bridge on third shift, and with no one else on the bridge, he decides to watch some interspecies porn on the viewscreen. He is caught with his pants down around his ankles when another ship passes by and that second officer decided to prank him by remote-accessing him. Courts-martial for everyone!)
Wait, where was I? Oh yeah, legit remote-accessing the Lantree. Everyone is super-professional about it, a well-oiled machine of prep once Picard steps from the ready room. They halt the Lantree's progress in space.
So they get all set up, turn on the Lantree's forward-facing camera, and -

Well, fuck.
They zoom in on Captain Talaka.

Pulaski's medical computer on the bridge is doing remote scans, and she says they all died of natural causes... old age.
In the observation lounge, Riker plays back Talaka's last log entry, in which the captain speaks of watching friends grow old and die in a matter of hours. They were attempting to get to the nearest starbase, as they could not figure out what was happening.
"Talaka was my age," says Riker, disquieted.
Pulaski says that all of the crew members had check-ups two months earlier, and everyone was in perfect health. The first officer had Thelusian flu five days ago, but it's harmless.
Riker says that the Lantree's last stop had been Darwin Research Station three days ago, so this new thing may have come from there. Anyway, they should check it out, even if it's just to warn the people at Darwin.
They all agree to quarantine the Lantree for now, and Worf is instructed to place homing beacons on the Lantree so they can find it again later, and also quarantine warnings.

On the bridge, they set the quarantine warning, which announces over the PA of any approaching ship that the Lantree is quarantined. Then they take off for Darwin Station.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Picard's Log, supplemental: "Kinda creeped out. Darwin Station is a genetic research facility. A possible connection between the Lantree and the station seems guaranteed."

They arrive at Darwin and hail the station. A woman, Dr Kingsley, answers the call.
"Hey, we've just declared a medical emergency here, and could use your help."
"What's your emergency?" asks Pulaski.
Dr Kingsley asks who is asking, and when Pulaski answers, she fangirls a bit. Seems Pulaski wrote some medical book with a long, complicated titled, and this woman is kind of excited, despite the circumstances.

Pulaski looks mildly embarrassed. Not flattered, or glad of the attention, or humble-braggy, just kind of "it's inappropriate to receive kudos in light of an emergency."
"That was a long time ago," she replies.
Picard looks slightly impressed.
"It's still the standard," Kingsley insists. "I can't think of anyone else I'd rather have helping us now."
She then goes on to say that people at the station are aging rapidly. She says that she herself is 35. They think they were infected by something from the Lantree.
"Ooh, about that," says Picard. "We just saw the Lantree. They're all dead."
"Sucks to be them," replies Kingsley. "Did you find out why?"
Picard is a little put-off. "Um, hello? Everybody dead? How about some empathy?"
"Not worried about that," insists Kinsley. "You have to evacuate our kids. They've been in isolation this whole time."
Pulaski frowns. "Not a chance. I put a quarantine on the Lantree, and you'll get the same."
They sign off to chat about their options.

In the observation lounge, Worf and Riker suggest not letting anyone on board the ship, and Picard agrees. Pulaski says she wants to beam up a kid in a force field to study him. Troi reports that Kingsley totally thinks the kids are safe, but is hiding info from them.
Weighing everything else, Picard agrees to beam up a kid in suspended animation, encased in styrolite, because they can't begin to study this thing until they can actually get some answers as to what it might be. There's a risk, but Pulaski thinks it's worth it.

So Geordi sets up this sweet-ass force field in sick bay.

Picard calls the transporter chief to make sure that he's almost ready.
"O'Brien here," says O'Brien.
I mean, good God, he's only been guest-starring on this freaking show since the first episode.
Anyway, O'Brien says he's taking some extra time because he needs to make sure that the styrolite beams into the force field like two micro-seconds after the kid does.

Then Pulaski calls Darwin Station.
"Sending up a twelve-year-old boy," says Kingsley.
Are you sure, Kingsley?

And Worf is all

Pulaski checks to make sure the styrolite is holding, and when she says it is, they drop the force field to check him out. Pulaski says that he is actually twelve, and Troi reports that she can tell, even in stasis, that he's telepathic and has a distinct personality.
"Genetic engineering," muses Pulaski. "Is this the future?"
"It's Dr Kingsley's version, anyway," answers Picard.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

When we return, Pulaski and her med team are scanning the kid, David. (They never call him David onscreen, but Memory Alpha says he's David, so let's just go with that.) Pulaski says he's incredibly healthy. She wants to free him from the styrolite to do further studies, and asks Picard if she can do them with a force field up.
"No way," he replies. "Too big a risk."
She argues that if they don't find the cause of the disease or whatever, then the adults at Darwin Station will die, and the kids will be left to fend for themselves until they die as well.
"I know I'm right!" she interrupts.
"If you can figure out how to do it, then I'll get you all the help you need," snaps Picard, heading for the door. "Until then, let me finish my fucking sentences for once."

Some time later, Pulaski catches up with Troi in the corridor, and asks her for advice on how to deal with Picard. Basically, Pulaski wonders if Picard puts his passion for his ship and crew before his better judgement - the same thing he wondered about her in that first scene. Here, she thinks that Picard can't see the human side of things, which is a bit laughable, considering that the person that she constantly makes fun of for trying to be more human... is trying to be more human.
Troi says that she doesn't think Picard would be here if he couldn't see the human side.

Troi is a real trooper here, playing counselor and passing out Dear Abby advice to everyone and their dog on this ship. Girlfriend has office hours, you know.

There's a brief scene where Pulaski goes back to her office to talk to Kingsley via Skype about not being able to do further tests without putting the ship in harm's way. Kingsley still insists that the kids are harmless, and then she demands that Pulaski do something to save them. No joke, she uses the word "demand." Okay: if you're dying, you're really in no position to be demanding things from the people who could help save you. Try being nicer when you beg, Kingsley.

Out of ideas, Pulaski goes to Geordi. He tells her that, even with sick bay being on an separate system, there's no way to isolate it completely, because there's no way to make it totally fail-safe. He says the only area they have like that is a shuttlecraft.
"Oh!" she says. "That's a great idea!"

She rushes to the ready room and says she wants to study David on a shuttlecraft away from the ship.
"How?" he asks. "You'd be putting yourself at risk."
"I'm willing to take it," she replies.
They start another argument, and she tells him through gritted teeth that he doesn't have to quote regulation at her.
"Request approved," he mutters after a moment, and she's so certain that he said no that she starts arguing again before realizing that he actually said yes.
"You're trying to do what I asked," he shrugs. "Brownie points for that. Don't fuck it up."

Data meets up with Pulaski in the shuttlebay.
When she says she assumes he can pilot the shuttle, he starts to rattle off his qualifications. She gives him a "Thank you, Mr Data" that's clipped and efficient, but at least she isn't rude.
Data takes the craft out a little ways and "parks" it.
"What if the kid isn't harmless?" asks Data, once they're in position.
"I hate to keep reminding you, but you're a machine, and can't get sick."
RUDE. Here I was, all ready to maybe give her credit for not being a dick, and she has to fuck it all up. It's like she can't help herself. She has to be a jerk to Data. It's like she has a quota. "Oh, shit! I totally forgot to rag on Data today. Oh, well. I know it's late, but he'll be up. He doesn't need sleep, because he's an android."
"Bitch, I wasn't talking about me," says Data. "I was talking about you. I give a shit about your safety because I'm not a giant asshole."

"Oh... um, sometimes in medicine you have to take risks." She looks like she might be accepting his concern.
Don't be a dick, don't be a dick...
"It's all a part of being human."
Dude, fuck you. You just couldn't let it go, could you?
They call Chief O'Brien and have him transport David to the shuttle.
Once aboard, Pulaski gets rid of the styrolite, and David wakes up and touches her arm.
"Oh, yes, I understand you perfectly!" she smiles. "He's telepathic, just like Troi said!" she tells Data.

Twenty minutes later, Data is scanning her to check for problems, and reports that everything is in good working order. She tells him that his bedside manner needs work.
She returns to scanning David, then doubles over in pain. She has acute arthritic inflammation, which Kingsley reported as being one of the initial symptoms.

Dramatic Music! Commercial break!

Pulaski Skypes Picard to tell him that she has the disease now, and that it came on without warning.
"The children don't have the disease, but they're carriers," she tells him. "He needs to be beamed back down to their isolation chambers."
She tells a sad-looking David that it wasn't his fault shortly before he beams back down.
"What should we do?" asks Picard.
"I have to quarantine myself at Darwin Station," she says. "Otherwise, I'll give it to someone else."

She signs out, and Data, whose bedside manner is apparently shitty, asks her how she's doing.
"Not up to factory specs," she replies.
He gives her a look, and she actually apologizes!
"Doing okay for now," she adds, hypo'ing her arthritis.
Data sets course for Darwin Station.

Back at the ranch, Picard has called the senior officers (and O'Brien!) into a meeting in the observation lounge. He says that the old objective was to figure out what illness was making everyone die of old age, but the new objective is to rescue Data and Pulaski, if possible.
A suggestion is made to utilize the transporter's bio-filter, but O'Brien points out that whatever David is carrying wasn't filtered out by the transporter, even though they transported him several times.
He suggests using the transporter trace instead, using Pulaski's "signature" (which should be stored in the mainframe for security purposes) to tell the transporter how to reassemble her when she reappears on the pad.
"Okay," points out Riker, "but she's never used our transporter. We don't have her trace on file. Transporters weird her out, so she goes everywhere by shuttle."
"Um, okay. Let's contact her last ship, the Repulse, and see if they have her trace," says Picard.
O'Brien runs off to alter the transporter, because this has supposedly never been done, even though this exact situation has totally been done before in The Lorelei Signal, but that's TAS, and they're going to pretend that it doesn't count because TAS is Schrodinger's canon.

Data and Pulaski go down to Darwin Station.
Mmm, sexy matte painting.

They meet Kingsley in the lab. She apologizes for their current condition, and Pulaski tells her that, as an android, Data is not affected. She then says that she chose this path because she was so sure that the kids were healthy.
I should like to point out that she really only believed that based on Kingsley's insistence that the kids were alright. It was backed up by the fact that they appeared unaffected, but there was no evidence that they weren't carriers, or that they didn't have a strain that wasn't slower-acting.
Kingsley is still shocked that the kids are carriers, because their immune systems are so awesome. She shows Pulaski and Data the isolation chamber where the kids live.
David is the oldest, and they're telepathic, and telekinetic.

"Genetically engineered," mutters Pulaski.
"Naw, genetically created," corrects Kingsley. "They're perfect in every way. They have a really aggressive immune system. Their immune systems don't wait for a disease to approach them. It seeks out the disease and destroys it before it gets close to the kids."
"But you guys were only exposed to the Lantree crew, including that guy who had a light case of the flu?"

"How would it destroy the disease?"
"The antibodies would attack it, and change the genetic code of the disease to wipe it out." Kingsley is super proud of her little project.
"Data," says Pulaski, "could you do an analysis of what those antibodies would do to the Thelusian flu on a molecular level?"
"Totes," replies Data.
"We don't have that kind of time," argues Kingsley. "That would take months."
"Data... has a way with computers," Pulaski replies.
Holy shit, a compliment.

Upstairs, Picard has returned to the ready room and is now chatting with the captain of the Repulse.
"No, sorry," he says. "We erased her trace when she left the ship. Also, she didn't take the transporter very often. Mostly shuttles."
The Repulse's captain was sorry to see her go because he thought she was a really good doctor.
Then he reveals that Pulaski had jumped at the chance to join the E's crew when she heard there was an opening. Apparently, Pulaski was a Picard fangirl.
"Extraordinary," says Picard dryly.

Down at Darwin, Data has answers.
The first mate's Thelusian flu was the trigger. The kids had never been exposed to this virus, so their crazy-aggressive immune systems went on the warpath, altering the DNA of not only the virus, but the human carrying the virus. DNA is self-replicating, and this particular altered gene sped up the aging process. And it turned out to be contagious, so everyone is a carrier. You can see the moment where Kingsley realizes that she's made a huge mistake.

Pulaski calls the E to report back in: they're screwed. There's no lifting the quarantine, because there isn't a cure for "altered DNA." So everyone, including herself, will die on Darwin Station, with the exception of the kids, who are the cause of the illness to begin with. Pulaski says she aged faster than everyone else because she was in that tiny, enclosed shuttlecraft with David, who infected her.
Picard offers to beam her up in suspended animation, giving them more time to find a cure, but she thanks him and says the risk is too great. She then makes a final CMO log to the bridge.

Pulaski's Log: "Changes in evolution are sometimes caused by environment, but it can also be the other way around. The people here fucked with genetics, so now they made a new kind of human that's lethal to them. So everybody will die, because the quarantine cannot ever be dropped."

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Data and Pulaski say goodbye before he beams back up to the ship. He apologizes for not being able to do more, and she actually pays him another compliment!
"As androids go, you're in a class by yourself."
Shit, dude. I will take it.

Data beams back up after his pattern is checked for weird life-forms. Picard, who is unable to believe that nothing else could be done, rushes to the transporter room to talk to Data. He still likes the idea of using the trace to restore her DNA to before she was infected, but wants to know now if they could use DNA from something else, like a blood test.
"Sure," says O'Brien. "But I'd have to alter the transporter in these ways..." and he lists off a bunch of science-y sounding tech words that I'm not sure are actual things, or if they were just made up by Star Trek.
"Interesting," chimes in Data, and he starts rattling off tech words as well.
"Thank you, Data," interrupts Picard.

Data and Riker quickly search the computer database, but they haven't got anything, because apparently, Starfleet shipped her medical records via fucking Pony Express or some shit. Are you kidding me, Starfleet? Six freaking months, and you don't have her records?
They rush to her quarters and begin rifling through Pulaski's stuff, looking for her DNA, which isn't creepy at all.
"A fingernail, a hair, anything," laments Riker.
"Ooh, hairbrush!" says Data.
Then they go through her clothing drawers and suss out her brush, picking a single strand out.

That got weird quick.

Picard calls Pulaski to tell her that they can restore her using her original non-altered DNA as run through the transporters. 
"If it works, we can do the same for the others," she suggests.
"Sure," he agrees. "But you should know that we believe that this has never been done before, even though this is pretty much the exact same fucking thing that happened in The Lorelei Signal. Like, crew members were dying of premature old age, and Lt Uhura took over the ship like a bad-ass and then restored those crew members to health using their original DNA by running it through the transporter. But I guess that doesn't count, sooo..."
"Let's do it," she says.

Down in the transporter room, O'Brien tells Picard that this is a one-way deal. If they beam her up, and it doesn't work, they can't keep her because she's infected... but they can't beam her back down again.
",,,how about I run the transporter, so if we have to consign her to oblivion, it'll be my fault? Cool?" asks Picard.
"Cool," says O'Brien. "Thanks."

They switch it on, and the transporter takes its sweet-ass time thinking about whether or not it wants to cooperate, but then it does its thing, and Pulaski steps off as her regular age.
Everyone is glad to see her, and she, them.
"So hey," says Picard casually. "If this hadn't worked, we would have had to just beam your atoms out into space."
"Lol, that sucks," she laughs. "I'm afraid that very same thing will happen each time I use the transporter."

Pulaski's Log, supplemental: "So we fixed the adults on Darwin Station using the transporter, but they're gonna have to probably spend years or more looking for a way that they can hang out with their kids again."

The last scene is played out around Pulaski's voice-over, talking about genetics, and how sometimes progress comes with a price. The E approaches the Lantree, Worf arms the torpedoes, and they all stand at attention.

Damn, dude. That was a rough ending.

Okay so, this one was kind of middle of the road. The thing with this episode that strikes me is its similarity to TOS' "Charlie X". The stories aren't anything close to the same, but both featured characters that I hate (Rand, Pulaski), falling into situations that I sympathize with, and it makes me look at that character a little differently. I don't necessarily like them better after that episode ends, but I feel like I like them more during that episode. Here, Pulaski pisses me off and continues to do so at points during the plot, but it's tempered by the fact that she is willing to sacrifice herself in order to help others. And at one point, she gives up on being a giant asshole to Data, and actually pays him two nice compliments. We'll see if it lasts, or if she falls back into old habits next week.
While the science isn't terrible, I just can't move past the fact that this is almost the same ending as The Lorelei Signal. The first part is different, the part where dabbling in genetic engineering results in illness, and that's actually pretty good. But it's irksome that they pretty much ripped off of themselves to get that ending.
This episode is also similar to TOS' "The Deadly Years," where the crew began aging prematurely, and the older, grouchy, brilliant doctor finds a risky cure in the nick of time. I mean, I know there are a finite number of stories in the world, but... Star Trek likes to retell its own stories a lot.

Red deaths: 0  I can't really count the Lantree deaths, because there were 26 of them, and I have no idea which colors they were
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: 3
To date: 16
Number of times that Troi reacts to someone else's feelings: 1
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: 2
To date: 11

Episodes Left Until We Get Rid of Pulaski:

Fun Facts:

- The shuttlecraft Sakharov was most likely named after nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov, an activist for peace and human rights who won the Nobel Peace Prize. Sakharov would die about a year after this episode aired.
- A slightly different version of the script featured scenes on the Lantree, and the destruction of the ship happened in the middle of the story. In this finished version, the Enterprise's battle bridge was used for the Lantree's bridge.
- Another early script featured a crew member named Rina, who was supposed to assist LaForge, and whose attractiveness caused some love triangles. O'Brien was slotted to help LaForge instead.
- The Darwin children were supposed to appear naked, but transparent furniture in the lab nixed that idea.
- There's an odd continuity problem with this episode, in that, by the chronological time this episode takes place, genetic engineering has been banned by the Federation. However, the episodes that discuss and deal with this ban are from Enterprise, DS9, and the fifth season of TNG, so I suppose we can forgive them this gaffe.
- As well as getting a name and a title, this is the first episode that Colm Meany is listed in the opening credits as a guest star, and not in the closing credits.
- That sexy matte painting will appear again in later episodes, though modified.
- This is the first time that Pulaski's hatred of the transporter is mentioned.
- The Miranda-class ship used for the Lantree was used in the Star Trek movies, but appears in TNG here for the first time.
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy for Hairstyling.

Michael Westmore applying Diana Muldaur's geriatric make-up

Bueller is a cozy dude.