Sometimes, a longrunning TV show with a big cast and a sci-fi bend will do an episode that is less about one of the main characters as it is about some strange situation they’re in and how, perhaps, a guest star might react.
That’s the best explanation I can come up with for “Tin Man,” but maybe Jimmy and I have some more precise thoughts below.
The crew races the Romulans to make contact with a new life form, and they need to work with a seemingly unstable telepath to do it!
jimmy: So, something stood out to me with this one that had little to do with the episode itself. When the first Romulan warbird attacks, Picard asks for a damage report. Worf says, “casualties report, blah, blah, blah shields”. So people were killed in the attack and not one person bats an eyelash. And it’s never mentioned again.
tomk: Casualties could maybe mean injuries.
Or the Romulans killed some children and Picard doesn’t mind.
jimmy: You’re right. I heard casualties and thought fatalities. But I like your second answer better so let’s go with that.
tomk: Wesley probably covered it up.
jimmy: He’s got nothing else to do.
tomk: What was his other option? Hang out with Troi’s former patient?
jimmy: No, he couldn’t do that. His specialness might have driven the guy insane.
tomk: You don’t think Tam Elbrun could handle the special?
jimmy: Few can. And the guy was on shaky ground as it was.
tomk: Maybe he could have shut Wesley’s brain down like Professor X.
tomk: There is a strong resemblance there…
jimmy: Maybe Tam Elron is not the only telepath on the ship…
tomk: Well, Guinan has her secrets.
jimmy: And she scares Q.
tomk: Yes. You in danger, Jimmy.
jimmy: Speaking of danger…where the hell did Starfleet come up with Tin Man?
tomk: Scarecrow was taken by a flying space gerbil?
jimmy: Makes about as much sense.
tomk: What would you have called Tin Man? Spaceship McBoom-Boom?
jimmy: I dunno, but he was neither tin nor man.
tomk: Are you sure?
jimmy: Can Data not be read by telepaths?
tomk: Um, no?
tomk: Maybe they need more Datas for that guy. He could always hang out with Lore.
jimmy: He’d like that. No one else would.
tomk: Especially Lore.
jimmy: But especially Lore.
jimmy: That’s what this chat needs…more dinosaurs!
tomk: Why? Was the episode subpar?
jimmy: Dinos make everything better. Par or subpar.
tomk: I see. I thought that was ninjas or kazoo music.
jimmy: All part of the Awesomeness Trifecta.
tomk: Well, you’re the expert there.
jimmy: We’re usually pretty critical of Troi; did she bring anything to the table here outside of keeping Tam slightly sane?
tomk: For Troi, that’s impressive.
jimmy: No mercy from Tom.
tomk: You disagree?
tomk: Good. Have a muffin.
jimmy: I’ll save it for later, don’t want to spoil my lunch.
tomk: Still, this episode was more about that Tam guy. What did you think of him?
jimmy: He was a bit annoying but I’m…happy?…that he and Tin Man found peace.
tomk: Well, if it means they flew off together never to be seen again, that could make you happy.
jimmy: I’ll take it.
tomk: You should. Otherwise, he’d be hanging around the corridors all day for the next three seasons until Wesley just opted to murder him. Or the Night Crew got him so drunk he stepped out of an airlock.
jimmy: You think many people drunkenly stumble out of airlocks on space ships?
tomk: It’s why they put locks on doors.
jimmy: They lost more Night Crew that way prior to doing that.
tomk: But the ones who survived got results, dammit.
tomk: It just seems to me this episode mostly spotlighted a guest character that was, by design, difficult to work with.
jimmy: They usually are, or there wouldn’t be much of a show. That said, he wasn’t too bad. The crew has certainly dealt with worse.
tomk: Yeah, but it seemed to be more about this guy than,say, Picard worrying about him.
jimmy: I see what you mean. Fair enough. No one really fretted too much over him outside of the initial look of shock from Picard when he learned Tam was a patient and not a student. Except for Riker hating him.
tomk: Riker is a giant jerk sometimes.
jimmy: At least it wasn’t about Troi.
tomk: That could be next time.
But it won’t be.
jimmy: Not with the Tam Man anyways.
tomk: Not the worst nickname I’ve seen…
jimmy: Do I want to know the worst?
(Speedy Tam the Race Car Man)
jimmy: Did they explain how the Romulans caught up to the Enterprise? Data starts to explain but is basically told to shut up.
tomk: Maybe it was less important how the Romulans got there so much that the Romulans were there.
jimmy: That’s true. Doesn’t really matter at that point.
tomk: PICARD: The Romulans are firing at us! How did they get here?
DATA: Sir, using multi-modal deflection around a stable nebula…
WORF: The last console explosion just killed Acting Ensign Crusher.
PICARD: Not now, Lt. Worf. Data was explaining something fascinating.
tomk: Tin Man had other ideas. Most of them involved exploding stars.
jimmy: Or Warbirds.
tomk: Or both at once.
tomk: That’s the Tin Man way.
jimmy: If he only had a heart.’
tomk: That’s Tam’s new job.
jimmy: Quite the prophetic name Starfleet gave it then. Almost like they knew…
tomk: That they could get rid of Tam for good? Yeah, possibly.
The real name for the mission was “Operation: Ditch That Dude”.
It worked when the Illuminati did it to the Hulk! Planet Hulk was a great story.
jimmy: That it was.
tomk: OK, it didn’t work out so well for the Illuminati, but who really liked those guys anyway?
It’s like someone said, “Let’s take the least popular member of each superhero team, plus Black Bolt because Inhumans are not a Thing, and put them together!”
jimmy: Notice how Tom capitalized the “T” in “Thing”? FF confirmed for MCU! (Editor: uh, Jimmy, they’re already confirmed.) Oh, right.
tomk: Jimmy, did you get ahead of yourself and miss the Trek Illuminati?
jimmy: I’m not watching that show.
tomk: Neither did anyone else. They recorded a negative number of episodes.
jimmy: That’s not a lot.
tomk: They erased episodes from existence.
jimmy: That’s bad.
tomk: But you got your choice of toppings.
jimmy: I see where this is going…
tomk: That’s good!
But the toppings contain more digressions from this episode.
jimmy: I see. Digressions usually mean we’re out of stuff to talk about. Anything else to add on this typical telepath meets living space ship story?
tomk: Wait til Cowardly Lion shows up.
tomk: Well, in that case, shall we move on?
jimmy: Probably for the best.
tomk: In that case, we should probably check on the holodeck.
jimmy: I smell trouble already.
tomk: But this time, the problem isn’t the holodeck itself.
Ready to find out what that means?
jimmy: I am.
tomk: Then let’s say hello to a shy reoccurring character.