We’ve seen what happens when Troi’s mother comes to visit the Enterprise, and quite frankly, it ain’t pleasant for the good counselor.
So, what happens when a different member of the command crew gets an unwanted visit from a parent? Jimmy and Tom talk about the time Riker’s father stopped by.
“The Icarus Factor”
RIker is offered his own command, but first, he needs to get a briefing from his estranged father.
jimmy: For some reason I couldn’t shake the feeling of this one being very soap opera-y.
tomk: For some reason, I thought Worf snapping at Wesley was Worf speaking for all of us.
jimmy: Shut up, Wesley!
What does it say that I am not sure if I’ve seen this one before, but the Worf plot was far more memorable than the RIker plot?
jimmy: Wesley was particularly annoying in this one. Even in the deleted scene on the Blu-ray.
I felt like the writers weren’t even sure what to do with the Riker plot and the episode ending up with two “A” plots instead of an “A” and “B”.
tomk: Yeah, but after seeing Riker talk about how he learned to cook because his dad didn’t care in the previous episode, the fact Pulaski asked Riker about his dad takes on new undertones with this one.
jimmy: And that she never mentioned she loved him and would have married him.
tomk: And you thought she was hitting on Riker last episode…
tomk: Didn’t Star Trek Picard say something about Riker and Troi having a dead child? Was it a son? Did the kid die trying to escape the Pulaski monster?
jimmy: They did have a son that died young. No mention of Pulaski.
tomk: I can imagine how that went….
RIKER: Deanna, look who came to visit and see the new baby!
TROI: Dr. Pulaski, long time no see. I sense you were on your way to gloat at the annual Anti-Android League again.
PULASKI: Yes, but let’s see that baby…hmm, that child has a practiced hand!
TROI: I sense you better get the hell out my house right the $&#@ now!
Though you note Pulaski never mentioned being in love with Riker’s dad before. That’s nothing. She never even mentioned knowing the guy!
jimmy: Well, it was no secret, it just never came up. Even during the time they were TALKING ABOUT HIS FATHER IN THE PREVIOUS EPISODE!!!
tomk: It’s like they were just making everything up as they went along.
Didn’t Pulaski mention being married like three or four times in this episode?
jimmy: She did. All good men. And they’re all still friends.
tomk: Right. Friends.
jimmy: She wishes.
tomk: She probably married Ross.
tomk: That was how he said he wanted a divorce.
tomk: Hmm. So far, we’ve mostly talked about Pulaski.
jimmy: We could talk about pain sticks?
tomk: O’Brien has a story about those things, suggesting he has lived a very eventful and interesting life.
jimmy: And we know Worf was stronger than that animal whose head exploded.
tomk: That’s what the head ridges are for: holding his brains in.
tomk: I gotta wonder at what point did O’Btien realize what kind of surprise party he got invited to.
jimmy: And why didn’t Troi go in?
tomk: She knew better. That or she sensed the dark reason why Pulaski wanted to be there.
jimmy: I just found it odd. She lures him there and then is like “ah, no”, when asked if she is coming in, and then saunters off. Yet his “family” is in there. No Picard or Riker. But they got the transporter chief with no first name!
tomk: He got a title this time. Wesley called him “Chief”.
jimmy: Is that the first time?
The Chief didn’t seem to have much sympathy for Geordi…and/or was pretty full of himself about the status of the transporters.
tomk: It’s what he does best.
And yes, I think this was the first time he got called “Chief”.
jimmy: Yet, I think the one time we see the transporter used in this episode, it’s by someone else.
tomk: It was O’Brien’s day off.
jimmy: He needed time off to be condescending and attend pain inducing rituals.
tomk: He may have been hoping for an exploding head.
jimmy: He obviously doesn’t know what we know about head ridges.
tomk: He may have been hoping someone pushed Wesley through first to test the pain sticks.
tomk: DATA: Geordi, are the holodeck’s safeties off?
GEORDI: They should be.
WESLEY: Well, how can we tell? Worf is coming, and I was right about him all along.
O’BRIEN: I think I know a way (shoves Wesley in).
jimmy: DATA (laughing): Who’s special now?!?
shocked stares from everyone
What? Oh, I got emotions now. Deal with it.
tomk: Oh, that Data…
No wonder Pulaski hates him.
jimmy: She’s got no time now for hate. She only wants to help people. With chicken soup.
tomk: And help herself into Papa Riker’s pants from the looks of things.
jimmy: Ahhh man…really? I did not need that image in my head.
tomk: Too late.
Papa Riker got some game
So long as that game isn’t that weird martial arts thing where everyone wears hockey pads.
jimmy: I get being able to find your opponent with the sensor…but how the hell could anyone dodge the strikes?
tomk: They use the Force?
jimmy: You’ve been watching too much Mandalorian.
tomk: Or the original movie.
jimmy: There was a Mandalorian movie?
jimmy: Hey! It’s that guy from the Mandalorian!
tomk: The old man?
jimmy: Now you’re just being silly.
tomk: Not as silly as that silly game Riker and his dad were playing.
jimmy: And we’rd back!
tomk: That contest makes as much sense as Riker’s reasons to stay on the Enterprise which were…um…contractual obligations for Jonathan Frakes?
jimmy: Yeah, that was completely glossed over too. One second he was as good as gone, next he shows up on the bridge because he decided to stay for reasons. For an episode that seemed like it needed the Riker story fleshed out more, they sure skimped on that part.
tomk: We got more of Worf being an angry Klingon, though at least now we know how terrible Data is at offering comfort.
jimmy: At least he tried. Geordi just wanted to leave Worf alone.
tomk: That’s because, deep down, Geordi doesn’t care about anybody.
jimmy: Except kids and their literacy.
tomk: That’s his ancient ancestor.
jimmy: Was that in a book?
tomk: You can take a look.
Geordi was bitter his great-great-great-grandpa kept promising to see people next time. That’s hard on a blind man.
tomk: Riker and Troi had the right idea. Don’t say goodbye. Just hug, cry, and don’t leave.
jimmy: They cut away before Riker could show he was fully functional.
tomk: And you didn’t want to get into Papa Riker with Pulaski…
I think I see where Will got it from.
jimmy: Apple, tree, etc
tomk: Did you feel like Papa Riker looked familiar to you the entire time?
jimmy: Not really. Should I?
tomk: I felt like he did. But his biggest role was the bad guy in the first Lethal Weapon movie.
jimmy: It’s been so long since I’ve seen that I wouldn’t even remember.
tomk: I didn’t either. I looked it up.
jimmy: Ah internet, is there anything you can’t do?
tomk: Give out hugs?
tomk: Not the same thing.
jimmy: In 2020 it is.
tomk: Was that bummer of a statement necessary, judges?
Well, when the Judges come out, we might be at the end of a discussion. Anything else to add, Jimmy?
jimmy: Hmm. Not really. Felt this was a weak episode overall. Riker struggling with his father and accepting command of his own ship sounds like the backbone of a great show, but was handled more like a B story.
tomk: And then nothing came of it because he didn’t exactly go anywhere.
jimmy: For reasons.
tomk: Yes. And since we won’t ever know what they are, let’s move on.