D.C. Fontana started off as Gene Roddenberry’s secretary and went on to become one of his most reliable writers, penning multiple episodes of the original series and continuing to work on all things Trek into the Next Generation era.
Jimmy and Tom are taking a look at one of her Next Generation scripts with “Lonely Among Us”.
“Lonely Among Us”
During a delicate diplomatic mission, an alien intelligence jumps around, infecting different members of the crew of the Enterprise.
jimmy: Blue lightning!
tomk: That’s the worst kind!
jimmy: I enjoyed this episode, but Pure Energy Picard was kinda dumb.
tomk: But he blinded everybody!
jimmy: That was before he was pure energy. And if the being itself was the lightning, how did the “blinding” stay going while he walked off the bridge?
tomk: Um, a wizard did it?
jimmy: It’s always a Wizard! Or a fjord!
tomk: That explains more than why the ambassadors were there. They didn’t really add anything to the episode except runtime.
jimmy: And comic relief? The jury is still out on that one.
tomk: Were they funny?
I mean, aside from some of the mouth movements.
jimmy: Hence the hung jury.
tomk: I noticed Beverly only really shows interest in Wesley’s school work when she’s possessed.
jimmy: Heh. Probably because she doesn’t understand it.
tomk: Who can? Last time suggested most of this stuff is all made up silliness anyway.
jimmy: To be fair, most everything on TV is made up silliness.
tomk: What? Even Lost?
jimmy: Well, not Lost obviously.
tomk: Cool. I want a smoke monster.
jimmy: Back to the side plot, I can understand Riker never having to kill and eat a real animal, but Tasha? Given what they’ve said and the brief glimpse of her home world, do you really think there were replicated steaks for everyone? And not only did she not eat real animals…she didn’t even understand the concept?
tomk: They don’t eat their kills there.
jimmy: I know it’s a silly thing to nitpick, but anyway…
tomk: I think it’s reasonable. This episode, written by longtime Trek scribe DC Fontana, has some pacing concerns. The ambassadors don’t really do anything. They’re an excuse to put the ship where it is but they don’t add anything to the overall story. We could even question why Data went full Holmes. Does he solve the mystery that way?
jimmy: No. But that we can agree was comic relief.
tomk: Data chomping on a pipe for no real reason?
jimmy: The whole Holmes schitck.
tomk: I know he uses that again, but this was yet again some instance where you’d think Data wouldn’t be hearing about this sort of thing for the first time.
jimmy: Yes. That crossed my mind as well. He has the entire Starfleet exploration history in his memory banks but has never heard of Sherlock Holmes?
Or even “PI” for that matter.
tomk: PI might be a little archaic. Holmes? Seems unlikely unless fictional detectives are that passe in the 24th century.
jimmy: Quite possible…yet everyone besides Data seems aware…
tomk: Data has some serious gaps in his knowledge sometimes.
jimmy: Well, I guess you can argue that Soong would see no need to give him that knowledge.
tomk: Soong has a lot of ‘splainin’ to do.
tomk: But I did think the whole “Picard energy union thing” was a very Trek thing. It wasn’t so much hostile as very interested in learning.
jimmy: It should learn not to accidentally kill the engineering crew.
tomk: IT SAID IT WAS AN ACCIDENT!
jimmy: Well, all is forgiven.
tomk: Do you even remember that character’s name?
jimmy: If I did, I wouldn’t have said “engineering crew”.
tomk: Well, now who’s the jerk? At least nameless energy being knew his name!
jimmy: Well, yeah, I remember his name it was…Joey Joe Joe Shabadoo.
tomk: That’s the stupidest name I ever…why did Watson run out crying?
jimmy: Is that all it takes? I should have done that years ago.
tomk: At least he has a name. Colm Meaney is listed in the closing credits as something like “First Security Officer”.
jimmy: It will be interesting to watch his transition from “lucky he’s not a red shirt” to “multi-series regular”.
tomk: First, he needs a name.
jimmy: In time.
tomk: Maybe a regular job.
jimmy: Well, like Worf said, Picard wants all his officers to “learn, learn, learn!”
tomk: Like, learn their names?
jimmy: Haha, it’s a start.
tomk: So, we had blue lightning possessing people and computers and ambassadors hunting each other for two thirds of the episode, plus Troi knows hypnosis.
jimmy: Seems like a common tool for a councilor.
tomk: So, we get to see her use it at parties or something? I’ll bet Picard clucks like a really classy chicken.
jimmy: That could be interesting. Maybe there are some deleted scenes to that affect.
tomk: It probably went really wrong with Worf at some point and they had to ban it for future gatherings.
jimmy: Worf. He’s why we can’t have nice things
tomk: Or Data takes things too seriously.
jimmy: Data seems more fun-loving than Worf.
tomk: Worf has fun. It’s just rougher than what you’d do for fun.
jimmy: I dunno. Watching TV and reading comic books can get pretty rough.
tomk: Only when you’re under quarantine.
jimmy: Well, we know who wouldn’t be a problem: Geordi. He’s quickly being characterized as a pal to everyone.
tomk: Everyone by that time grew up with Reading Rainbow.
jimmy: Even Tasha?
tomk: Well, maybe when she was avoiding the cannibals who don’t eat animals.
jimmy: Just the cannibals that eat vegetables?
tomk: That or the cannibals that like cannabis.
They’re actually a rather mellow bunch.
jimmy: Sitting around reading Sherlock Holmes.
tomk: Smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo.
jimmy: Lol. Nice.
You can’t tell cannibals they got nothing to do.
tomk: But we might. Anything else to add?
jimmy: I’m surprised Wesley doesn’t have a uniform.
tomk: Not for a while. He hasn’t formally joined Starfleet. He still has to wear those sweaters.
jimmy: Ugh. Those sweaters. Will he wear one next episode?
tomk: He might but he is the focus of the next episode because he clearly was the breakout character of this show.
jimmy: And turned it into a highly successful career.
tomk: He’s probably descended from the Clan Impossible. You know those guys all have great destinies.
tomk: Well, now that we know you belong to a long line of great heroes, anything else?
jimmy: That’s all you need to know really.
tomk: Shall we move on then?
jimmy: Make it so!
tomk: On to the space hippies then.