As important as the Prime Directive is on Star Trek, particularly on The Next Generation, it seems to exist mostly as a concept that needs to be broken for dramatic purposes. Sometimes those breaks are worse than others. Jimmy and Tom cover one such breakage in their discussion of “Who Watches the Watchers”.
Somehow, we did not make a Watchmen joke.
“Who Watches the Watchers”
A less advanced culture decides to worship Picard as a god!
jimmy: All this trouble could have been avoided if Crusher was as good a doctor as Pulaski.
tomk: Really? Vulcans can mindmeld memories away. They should use that Vulcan doctor for that.
jimmy: Or that female Vulcan doctor that had the surgery to become a Klingon.
tomk: Or something. It’s a character Crusher speaks of often but we never see.
jimmy: Either way, this is not a good look for Crusher. But better than Jean-Luc “you should have let him die” Picard.
tomk: Picard’s all heart…and his is artificial.
jimmy: He does come around.
tomk: Sure. And then he gets shot.
jimmy: Did you find it odd that he needed a sling at the end?
tomk: Well, he did get hurt.
jimmy: Yeah, but he even says Crusher fixed him up. You think in that day and age that she can’t fix him up enough that he doesn’t need a sling? Or is this just more of Crusher sucking as a doctor?
tomk: He probably hurt himself at Worf’s arm wrestling competition in Ten Forward.
jimmy: Or Crusher sucks.
tomk: Are you suggesting that she didn’t leave Starfleet Medical voluntarily?
jimmy: Pulaski probably replaced her.
Speaking of, I don’t think they ever explain Pulaski leaving and why Crusher came back.
tomk: I think Crusher had a line about wanting to come back in the season premiere.
jimmy: Yeah, but incredibly vague.
tomk: As for Pulaski, well…
jimmy: She probably fell down a turbolift shaft.
tomk: Or Data pushed her out an airlock.
jimmy: Maybe earlier in the season, but she stopped hating on him.
tomk: Well, regardless, you sound like the Reverse Angle guys who constantly say what a terrible doctor Crusher is.
jimmy: Man, it’s hard not to in this one.
Riker’s lucky he didn’t have that clip show episode in season 3.
tomk: Look, just because Picard got shot on one side of his body and then had the opposite arm in a sling doesn’t mean that Beverly…um…
jimmy: Are you sure? Not that I want to pick up for Crusher’s medical skills.
tomk: I’m not a doctor, so I could be wrong.
jimmy: I thought he was shot and had the sling on his left side.
tomk: Regardless, he wasn’t shot in the arm.
But we shouldn’t pick on Crusher.
jimmy: Maybe it was just for show. “Look uncivilized creatures, I can’t be a God because I’m still hurt! Arm sling yo!”
tomk: Sounds like a plan from Captain Jake…
jimmy: Not enough alcohol involved for that.
tomk: He might have been drunk when he came up with it.
jimmy: They have a bar and you often see them have a drink but you never see any of them get drunk.
tomk: That’s because they drink nonalcoholic booze.
jimmy: That seems like a waste of time.
tomk: Well, what else is there to do? Remember how confused they were by those folks from the 20th century? They didn’t get why that musician used drugs.
jimmy: They eliminated addiction to hard drugs. That’s why rock music in the future sucks.
tomk: You mean Data’s string quartet?
jimmy: More that there is a string quartet because rock is dead.
tomk: Hmm. Riker likes jazz. That’s the most modern music these people have!
This is a worse time for artistic achievement than the stunted pop culture of Ready Player One!
tomk: You assume correctly. Have a mediocre muffin.
jimmy: Oatmeal and raisin? Uh, thanks?
tomk: It’s the best you can hope for with a so-so Ernie Cline reference.
In that Ernie Cline’s books tend to be so-so.
jimmy: I liked RP1. Armada was, as Watson would call it: shit. I haven’t read RP2.
tomk: RP2 reminded me of everything I hated about RP1 in the first two chapters.
jimmy: But you hate nostalgia in general.
tomk: And I am not a gamer.
Wait til we get to the TNG episode where everybody but Wesley gets addicted to a video game!
jimmy: …is that a thing?
tomk: Well, technically Data is also fine.
We have a ways to go to get to that one first. Here we have an episode guest starring Ray Wise.
jimmy: Who is…?
tomk: Ever seen Twin Peaks?
tomk: He helped Kurtwood Smith kill Robocop.
jimmy: That jerk!
tomk: He was also the pre-transformation Alec Holland in Wes Craven’s old Swamp Thing movie.
jimmy: Which I also haven’t seen.
tomk: And he played a very smooth version of the Devil on the short-lived cult TV show (that I loved) Reaper.
jimmy: Never even heard of that one.
tomk: You need help identifying badass character actors, Jimmy.
jimmy: It looks that way.
tomk: Well, he was Liko, the guy who believed too hard.
Meanwhile, his daughter was played by actress Pamela Segall. Better known these days as Pamela Adlon, she did some voice work back in the day. Here’s her best known character:
jimmy: Really? Now that is interesting.
tomk: Apparently, all the voice actors whose faces you’ve never seen were hiding on this show.
jimmy: There’s been a few now that you mention it.
tomk: And apparently, they wear heavy makeup often enough that you still haven’t seen their faces.
jimmy: Also true.
tomk: However, we do know where these guys fall in the Kirk vs Picard debate.
jimmy: Picard is the only answer.
jimmy: Heh. He’s not Captain of a starship, and it’s not named Enterprise.
jimmy: I knew you’d bring Archer into this. What about this guy?
tomk: He took Ferris Bueller’s lessons to heart.
P.S. asking for an “Archer” gif doesn’t always go the Trek route.
jimmy: I didn’t even attempt to find one of John Harriman.
tomk: Well, he was only Captain of the Enterprise for like a week before he flew into a pulsar.
jimmy: He continued on after that according to my unfinished and unreleased novel.
tomk: Interesting. Does this one involve Ensign Jason Improbable defeating a Romulan war party single-handedly before going on a date with Sulu’s daughter?
jimmy: No. But now it will if I ever finish it!
tomk: Well, so long as Ensign Improbable’s goal isn’t to find out what makes her say “Oh my!” we might still be able to sell it as family friendly.
tomk: Also, observe the Prime Directive. You know, don’t contaminate other cultures, serve the public trust, protect the innocent, and uphold the law.
jimmy: Like this guy?
tomk: Not like this guy.
jimmy: No. Not that guy.
tomk: No, but we learned a valuable lesson: if you accidentally break the Prime Directive, and then explain why, people can be very reasonable.
jimmy: They have to be since it seems like they break it every other episode.
tomk: Could you do better if a less advanced culture was worshiping you or the Moose or even the Ms. like a god?
jimmy: I deal with that every day, Tom.
jimmy: The Moose has a huge congregation.
tomk: Better not tell them about Watson.
jimmy: They’re well aware of The Dark One.
tomk: Mental note: don’t mess with an ungulate.
jimmy: No kidding.
tomk: Are we done with this one then?
jimmy: Unless we want to pick on Beverly some more.
tomk: I do not.
jimmy: Then I guess we are.
tomk: Shall we see how kids mourn dead parents in the future?
jimmy: I thought mourning was passé in the future?
tomk: Well, it’s complicated.
Would you like to find out how?
jimmy: Now that I have Avril Lavigne stuck in my head, sure.
tomk: Make it so…complicated.