Now that season three of Star Trek the Next Generation has finally come around, one noteworthy change is individual episodes begin to focus more on individual characters rather than make every episode some kind of ensemble piece.
But then we got two Geordi episodes in a row for some reason. Will Jimmy and Tom even notice? See below to find out what they thought.
Geordi is trapped on a planet under a radiological storm with a wounded Romulan and no way out!
jimmy: This one made me wonder if there is any rhyme or reason to the production of these ensemble shows? Do they attempt to make sure throughout the season that Picard gets X amount of screen time, Riker Y amount, or does it just kind of organically fall wherever the best scripts are for that year?
Along those lines, I found it a little odd to have back to back episodes so heavily feature Geordi.
tomk: The Geordi thing is probably a coincidence.
This is what happened when Rick Bergman took over. He started focusing episodes on individual characters rather than turn every episode into an ensemble piece. Considering we mostly saw Picard, Riker, Data, and sometimes Worf or Wesley, this is good news for characters like Geordi, Troi, and Beverly.
Picard being captain will probably always have a lot of screen time because keeping him informed does the same for the audience.
jimmy: Speaking of Beverly…what is up with her hair being incredibly long all of the sudden after being short the entire season so far?
tomk: Um…long gap between episodes?
jimmy: In universe you mean?
tomk: In. Out. To the side.
jimmy: Heh. You obviously don’t care, but I found it a bit jarring, and I bet it is short again in the next one. I’ve seen a couple of possible explanations. One, her hair is that long, it’s just been styled in previous episodes in such a way that it looks shorter. Not sure about that, but what do I know about women’s hair? Two, she is trying out a new wig and apparently wears them for much of the TNG run.
tomk: One of the reasons she may have been let go after season one was, believe it or not, hair continuity.
jimmy: Did you make that up?
Not sure where I heard it, but I did read that recently.
jimmy: Great. Another continuity I have to worry about.
tomk: Try here.
jimmy: There HAS to be a picture somewhere, in someone’s personal collection of Stewart in a McFadden wig.
tomk: Possibly Stewart’s.
Funny how they initially wanted him to wear the wig…
jimmy: That was all Roddenberry.
tomk: It pic might be in the Roddenberry collection then.
jimmy: Was he still around at this point?
tomk: I think so. He had some say in that kid with the dead mom.
jimmy: From a casting perspective?
tomk: No, from a “kids don’t mourn” perspective.
jimmy: BTW, Roddenberry died in the fall of ’91, shortly after the start of season 5.
tomk: Hmm. Sounds about right.
Well, this has been a good chat about Beverly’s hair. Was there anything else in this episode?
jimmy: No, I think that covers it.
tomk: Not much of an episode then.
jimmy: Well, there was that whole Geordi trapped with a Romulan on Planet Storm thing.
tomk: Oh yeah.
Plus, Worf won’t give a guy some blood.
jimmy: And Picard won’t force him.
tomk: I got a story on that subplot!
jimmy: Let’s hear it then!
tomk: So, unlike Maurice Hurley, Rick Berman would talk over scripts and take suggestions from the cast, usually going along with what the actor wanted to change. For this episode, Michael Dorn didn’t like the idea that Worf wouldn’t change his mind, but Berman wouldn’t change it. Berman believed that Worf, as an alien, would have different values and beliefs than the humans on the crew, so he would never change his mind about giving blood to the Romulan. Dorn, after seeing the episode, actually ultimately agreed with the decision.
jimmy: Wouldn’t change his mind because he would never change his mind or because of the Romulan recipient?
tomk: Worf would never give blood to a Romulan.
Or, you know, do anything to save a Romulan’s life.
Or, you know, anything to help a Romulan at all.
Worf really hates those guys.
jimmy: I get that…though Geordi doesn’t quite behave the same way.
tomk: Geordi was on a planet where some kind of radiation storm might be interfering with his brain.
jimmy: I hate when that happens!
tomk: Yes, but you might have had something like that from getting blackout drunk.
jimmy: You know, that’s never happened to me.
tomk: I’ve heard tell there’s another term for it: time travel!
You’re drinking, you black out, you wake up somewhere else.
tomk: Admittedly, not my joke. It’s from a stand-up comedian named Dave Attel.
jimmy: I won’t tell if you won’t.
tomk: “You ever drink so much you black out, or as I like to call it, time travel? You’re in a bar, you’re drinking, you black out, you wake up, you’re in another bar, you’re drinking, you black out, you wake up, you’re in McDonald’s. Working there for five years, still haven’t made assistant manager.”
jimmy: I went to high school with that guy.
tomk: Oh really?
tomk: Wikipedia tells me Attell is from New York City and he’s about a decade older than us…so far, your story checks out.
jimmy: I meant the quote described someone(s) I went to school with, not Dave Attel (who I’ve never heard of) himself, Mr. Literal.
tomk: Oh. I thought you meant Watson.
jimmy: I never went to high school with Watson.
tomk: Are you sure he didn’t shove you into a locker when the Moose was somewhere else and you weren’t looking?
jimmy: I’m a lot bigger than him. He’s not pushing me into no locker.
tomk: Good to know.
jimmy: So, if you were in Worf or Geordi’s shoes, would you help the Romulan?
tomk: Probably. They didn’t kill my parents.
jimmy: Fair enough. Me too probably.
tomk: And everyone knows what a boiling cauldron of rage Geordi is.
jimmy: It’s the lack of dates.
tomk: Yeah. Christy is probably going out with Data now.
jimmy: He is fully functional.
tomk: And after that…Wesley.
jimmy: Hopefully not for a while.
tomk: Wes prefers shapeshifting alien princesses.
jimmy: That could have some advantages.
tomk: He didn’t seem to think so at first, but that episode was at best silly. Not like this one which gave us Romulan commander Tomalak who may or may not be a reoccurring adversary for Picard.
jimmy: Based on that comment, I will say “may”.
tomk: I make note of it for two reasons: Tomalak apparently appears in a couple more episodes, and he’s played by the late Andreas Katsulas, who would be part of the main cast of Babylon 5 and wear even more make-up as an alien there. That said, you may remember him as the one-armed man Harrison Ford was looking for in The Fugitive.
jimmy: If I had a good memory, then yes!
tomk: I did say “may remember”.
jimmy: I did see The Fugitive, but remember very little about it. It’s been almost 30 years since I’ve seen it. Maybe I should check it out again.
tomk: I was watching it one day maybe a decade ago when my then-wife came home, asked what I was watching, and then said she thought the movie was a huge flop. She was surprised when I told her it was a big hit with a bunch of Oscar nominations and one win for Tommy Lee Jones.
jimmy: Oh yeah, huge back in the day. Adjusted for inflation, The Fugitive would be #95 all time at the box office.
tomk: And that scene where Harrison Ford’s character jumped off that dam was parodied everywhere.
But no. Total bomb.
This is what I get for marrying someone seven years younger than me.
jimmy: Hey, I dated someone 10 years younger than me after the Dark Days. While it had some advantages, she also 1) didn’t know you had to put dishwasher detergent in her dish washer to get the dishes clean and then 2) used dish detergent instead which bubbled out everywhere. Hmmm, that might have nothing to do with being younger? Sufficed to say, that one didn’t last long.
tomk: Jimmy Impossible, man of odd dating woes.
jimmy: I’m no Geordi.
tomk: Well, you can see better.
jimmy: Or worse. I never would have found that metal he turned into the climbing spikes.
tomk: Or seen Wesley’s weird probe beam that he somehow knew was Wesley’s work and not, say, Data’s.
jimmy: It was probably an experiment Wesley had been working on for school.
tomk: Another one?
jimmy: I just assume all new tech/ideas on the Enterprise start out that way.
tomk: Even the bad ones?
jimmy: Especially the bad ones. But especially the ones that save the day in the climax of the show.
tomk: Did this one do either of those?
tomk: Hmmm, you threaded that needle well. Have a giant cookie fresh from the oven.
jimmy: Perfect. I’m starving.
tomk: And a mug of hot cocoa to wash it down.
jimmy: You’re too good to me.
tomk: You make chats more fun.
jimmy: I do make chats more fun!
tomk: Yes. Yes, you do. Not like those Romulans who just growl smug insults.
jimmy: Geordi seemed to turn that one guy around.
tomk: Only after he let that guy do all the work building their gizmo and then shouting “We did it!”
jimmy: There’s no “i” in “team”, but there is in “Geordi”.
tomk: Are you saying he’s a bad team player?
jimmy: I think you did.
Regardless, I think the episode taught us Geordi is basically a decent guy and Gates McFadden’s hair was problematic. Did I miss anything?
jimmy: Worf hates Romulans and Picard is cool with it?
tomk: Jean-Luc Picard: Space Racist.
jimmy: Seems to be a lot of them flying around up there
tomk: And these are the good guys.
jimmy: The bad guys are super duper space racist.
tomk: Like the Ferengi?
jimmy: Pretty much every race hates every other race outside of the few serving together in the Federation. And a lot of times that is more about tolerance than like.
tomk: That explains McCoy and Spock…
jimmy: Think about it. Outside of the Starfleet ships/stations, do you ever see a mix of races? The Klingon ships are all Klingons (unless Riker is having a sleep over). Romulans, all Romulans. Vulcans, all Vulcans. Etc.
tomk: Starfleet is still mostly human.
jimmy: Yes, but lots of other races. Often represented by hot women in skin tight suits.
tomk: And miniskirts.
jimmy: At times. Even the men.
tomk: Well, if that’s all, maybe we can move on. Up next…a Troi episode…
jimmy: Speaking of representatives of other races in skin tight suits…
tomk: Ready to go there?
jimmy: To see women in skin tight suits? Always.
tomk: OK, then…