Is having the holodeck even a good idea? That thing just seems to cause trouble. Regardless, it’s there, and it is something of a plot device. Jimmy and Tom look into an episode where Riker might be falling in love with a holodeck program in female form.
Riker makes an intriguing new friend on the holodeck while the Enterprise is in space dock for upgrades and repairs.
jimmy: Don’t worry Riker, you’ll have her forgotten by next episode, just like your feelings for Troi, who must be off visiting her mother again.
tomk: Maybe. Minuet actually sort of does appear in future episodes because apparently Riker can’t forget her.
Plus, I get the impression either Worf or Troi were required to sit out every episode right about now.
jimmy: And with no explanation. Seems odd. And Worf had like two lines. He’s pretty low on the totem pole. Even Tasha, as head security officer, doesn’t usually have much to do.
tomk: It’s all about Picard, Riker, and Wesley.
jimmy: It really is. They even gave Wesley command of the bridge!
tomk: Someone had to keep an eye on those tiny aliens.
jimmy: Good job, Wes.
tomk: Better than Riker making asshole jokes to Data and Geordi.
jimmy: Yeah, that wouldn’t play too well today.
tomk: If it were Lore hearing a crack about his painting, Riker’s neck or back might be the thing getting cracked.
jimmy: Luckily for Riker, Lore is gone. Never to be seen again.
tomk: Floating in space, hanging off the side of the Crystalline Entity…
But the holodeck causes nothing but trouble.
jimmy: I’m sure they’ve learned their lesson this time.
tomk: Did they? Picard didn’t bat an eyelash to seeing Riker besotted with a computer program.
jimmy: And tried to remove himself from being a third wheel several times.
tomk: You’d think after dealing with those holo-gangsters, Picard would be more wary of stuff like that.
jimmy: And if French is a “dead” language, it’s a little surprising Picard is so fluent in it.
tomk: Yeah, because Patrick Stewart sounds so French…
jimmy: Well, he’s not Patrick Stewart in the show, Tom…
tomk: Is that a fair criticism, judges?
jimmy: Man, those judges are harsh.
tomk: We can try an appeal. Was that a fair criticism, higher court judges?
tomk: That’s like getting a gold star.
jimmy: I’ll take it!
tomk: Like a blonde in a jazz club?
jimmy: Everyone knows they don’t go together.
tomk: Clearly, blondes play the harp
jimmy: And Rikers play the bone. Um…
tomk: We knew that.
Then again, his love of jazz does come up from time to time.
jimmy: Isn’t it odd that in all the time and all the places in the universe, that Picard and Riker would choose mid 1900’s America for their adventures on the holodeck?
tomk: Picard especially. Why does a French aristocratic type love an American pulp detective so much?
jimmy: Better than Parrises Squares.
tomk: I get the impression whoever worked on the show didn’t know or care much about what French kids like growing up.
jimmy: I assume they just made wine with antifreeze.
tomk: Only the disreputable ones.
jimmy: So the guy that runs the space station…didn’t he look like he could be Picard from the Mirror Universe?
tomk: I thought he might have been his brother or stunt double or something.
jimmy: Yeah, very similar look…well, hairstyle at least.
tomk: He’s someone who needs to screen his alien employees better if anything.
jimmy: Or at least add “Do you plan to hijack the Enterprise? Yes/No” to the job application.
tomk: Of course, the Binars could have just asked for help.
They weren’t really trying to hurt anybody.
jimmy: We wouldn’t have much of a show then.
Just an extra 30 minutes of Riker flirting with a hologram.
tomk: I don’t know about that. Showing the crew working to find a solution to the Binars’ problem could have worked, but that wasn’t the episode we were given. Instead, we got something with a mystery where the real problem was the aliens were too timid to ask for help.
jimmy: Maybe they felt no one would help them.
tomk: Isn’t that what they said?
jimmy: See! I was right!
tomk: Because you remembered some dialogue?
jimmy: No, because you did.
I might need to consult the judges again.
Judges, did Jimmy win that one?
jimmy: Close enough!
tomk: Well, truthfully, the Binars’ whole dilemma was a very classic Trek thing where the problem was not what it appeared to be and the Enterprise was really just there to help…once they found out what was going on.
jimmy: Reminds me of that episode of Three’s Company where there is a misunderstanding and Jack trips over the couch.
tomk: What? You’d prefer the Binars to be agents of Brainiac or something?
jimmy: No. Though, that makes a certain kind of sense.
tomk: It could still be true from a certain point of view.
jimmy: Maybe Brainiac is a cousin of the Crystalline Entity.
tomk: Maybe. Riker could ask Minuet if she wasn’t “gone”.
jimmy: And what even happened there? Did the Binars program here to disappear once everything worked out? Did they go in after the fact and remove her?
tomk: I think she was just part of a temporary program to ensure Riker helped them.
jimmy: Right, but what triggers her to disappear? How does she know they helped him. And if anything, she was more distraction than recruitment.
tomk: She was a product of the Binars’ program. The program was being transported to their homeworld to save their planet. When the program was transferred, she went with it. The holodeck isn’t powerful enough to do anything that good without all the extra stuff the Binars had temporarily uploaded onto the Enterprise. And yes, she was distraction, but she also knew some stuff when Picard and Riker asked her the right questions.
jimmy: I read that this episode was originally supposed to be made prior to “The Big Goodbye,” and that the holodeck malfunctions in that episode were slated to be a by-product of the Binars’ tinkering. Instead, it mostly ended up the other way around and the Binars were “fixing” the issues from “The Big Goodbye”.
tomk: Oh, they fixed it alright.
jimmy: Fixed it real good.
tomk: Picard’s timing was perfect. They fixed the holodeck so well, if the Captain waited another ten minutes, Riker would have been missing his pants.
tomk: Well, this episode was decent enough. No offensive stereotypes or bad make up effects. Did you have anything else to add, Jimmy?
jimmy: I thought the Binars’ makeup was a little too…uh…sexually suggestive…but we’d probably best not go there.
tomk: Probably. We save those questions for Watson as our perv expert.
jimmy: I’m sure he’ll chime in in the comments.
tomk: We have other experts. Jenny is for outrage, Jonathan covers music, Ryan has theater, and various guys named Greg help us remember which one is which.
jimmy: Which expert will we need next episode?
tomk: Probably one on hostage negotiation or aging gracefully.
jimmy: We might need to put out a job application for that one.
tomk: Let’s see if we actually need one then.