Gene Roddenberry really didn’t want characters from the original series appearing on The Next Generation. There was an exception for the pilot, but for the most part, there weren’t too many, and they largely came later in the series run. Given how much time passed in that universe, it isn’t too much of a shocker, but there ya go.
But when a character from the original series did show up, it was often something special. The first such went to an unexpected character, one Jimmy and Tom discuss at length.
Emotions run unusually high as the Enterprise transports a legendary Vulcan ambassador to important treaty negotiations.
jimmy: One of the things I picked up along the way from one of the Blu-Ray documentaries was how difficult it was for Patrick Stewart to film the first scene with Sarek’s emotions. The director wanted to do it all in one take with the camera moving around Picard. So every time they shot the scene he had to stir up all this emotion and nail this extended monologue.
tomk: That’s why they pay him the big bucks and you have to get by with a couple mid-sized does and a small fawn.
jimmy: Took me a second, but nice word play.
tomk: I get inspired sometimes.
jimmy: Funny how you sent an article just the other day about the TNG bible saying no Vulcans and no characters from the original series. And here we are.
tomk: Sarek was only a sporadic presence in the old show, and sneaking one guy in for one episode is not quite the same. Honestly, Sarek appeared once in the original series, and then he did a couple of the movies.
jimmy: Plus Gene was gone by this point.
tomk: Though actor Mark Lenard was also the first Romulan on the original show, a role he played before Sarek, and he was a Klingon captain in the first movie, so he could be the first guy to have worn the head ridges.
jimmy: He gets around.
tomk: Well, he is also deceased, so…not as much as he used to.
jimmy: I was wondering his age. Looks like around mid-60’s for this episode. More depressing, I looked up Patrick Stewart’s age at the time and he was only 3-4 years older than I am now.
tomk: But you have better hair.
tomk: You have more Moose friends.
tomk: Fine, he’s the sexy Englishman you wished you were.
tomk: Aw, man. Have an ice cream sundae.
tomk: Also, you are getting a free pizza for lunch with a side of the good poutine.
And the Moose is bringing the beer.
jimmy: This day just keeps getting better and better. Unlike the days on the Enterprise after Sarek came on board.
tomk: What? Where we learn Wesley gets more dates than Geordi?
jimmy: And what seemed like a Reading Rainbow in-joke?
tomk: Perhaps. I was wondering how old that Ensign was. If she’s an Academy grad, wouldn’t she be, I dunno, a little too old to date a teenager?
jimmy: That crossed my mind too.
tomk: It also suggests Geordi and Wesley might be in the same dating pool.
jimmy: Perhaps. Geordi didn’t say much about her outside of being attractive. I think Angry Geordi made a crack about her being too good for Wesley or something.
tomk: Well, if the blind man says she’s hot…
jimmy: Ohh. Cold blooded.
tomk: What Geordi can and can’t see is a bit debatable.
jimmy: And maybe he should have spoke up when Sarek lied and said he felt fine, since, well, you know…
tomk: Assuming Sarek is lying.
jimmy: Fair. He did seem taken aback to learn his protégé or whatever he was, was keeping Sarek’s mind intact.
tomk: And his whole entourage might have known that.
jimmy: They all knew outside of Sarek himself.
tomk: Sarek had other problems. His son hadn’t called in while.
jimmy: He’d grown up just like him.
tomk: That kid can show up later.
jimmy: Hopefully in a better mental state.
tomk: He won’t be as old.
jimmy: True. And on life #2.
tomk: So, how did you feel about this one? I know you’re not a huge fan of the original show but I believe you do like the movies. Did you like the idea that Sarek would be there?
jimmy: I thought this was one of the better ones. Sarek is great and the story had feeling. As Picard and Crusher discussed, a Vulcan losing control of their emotions is the greatest insult.
Plus we got to see Beverly slap Wesley.
tomk: Sometimes, characters like Beverly get to do what we all want to do: hang out with Picard, see distant planets, slap Wesley…
tomk: We’re probably lucky Worf never lost his temper.
jimmy: Excellent point. He was too busy fighting everyone in Ten Forward while Riker got knocked out in like 10 seconds.
tomk: You don’t send a Riker to do a Worf’s job.
jimmy: He’s better at being stern and asking questions.
tomk: Meanwhile, Wesley pretends he was being influenced by Sarek while telling people what he really thinks of them.
jimmy: Interesting theory.
jimmy: But the music gives the evil away…unless he (ahem) orchestrated that too.
tomk: All I know is O”Brien apparently got kicked off Data’s string quartet.
jimmy: All the synthohol is not great for rehearsals.
tomk: Yeah, all that nonalcoholic alcohol causes all kinds of problems.
jimmy: That’s why I chuckled when Geodi said he would get everyone another round of drinks. Like that was a big deal.
tomk: Yeah. He doesn’t even have to pay for them.
tomk: Maybe everyone there realized that and just got angrier.
jimmy: Lol, that honestly did cross my mind.
tomk: I’d say Geordi is cheap, but they probably don’t have that concept anymore.
jimmy: Yeah. But they still seem to understand money, even if they don’t use it. Data would surprisingly be lost.
tomk: Good thing Data didn’t get involved in those fights. He would have tossed some dude through a wall and called it an average Tuesday.
jimmy: He was too busy getting the scoop on Sarek and guilt tripping his protege.
tomk: Or playing the violin like some other dude.
jimmy: Was the other dude a 9 year old beginner? None of them looked like they knew how to play.
tomk: You mean a bunch of random extras aren’t a real string quartet?
jimmy: It’s surprising I know.
tomk: Well, what’s next? You gonna tell me Wesley didn’t really get slapped?
jimmy: Oh, that so happened. And almost punched out by Geordi. It was a very anti-Wesley episode.
tomk: You must have loved that.
jimmy: I don’t mind Wesley.
tomk: He hates you and your innate decency.
jimmy: That little bastard.
tomk: Well, if he’s evil, that must be true.
jimmy: You were right all along.
tomk: We were both right.
jimmy: And that’s the best kinda right. Not right? Vulcans crying.
tomk: Vulcans feel things. He loves his wife.
jimmy: Sure. But it’s like Batman smiling. We know he can, it’s just wrong.
tomk: You raise a good point. No wonder you’re the most popular man in Newfoundland.
jimmy: No wonder.
The close up of Sarek’s face (if it was even him) was horribly done though.
tomk: See what happens when you get yourself some fancy blu-rays?
jimmy: Haha, possibly.
tomk: What next? You saw Data’s face paint coming off? Riker’s beard was fake? Q was hiding in the background in Ten Forward?
jimmy: You didn’t think it looked bad?
tomk: I hadn’t thought about it too much. Might have been Mark Lenard’s actual face.
jimmy: Perhaps. I just thought it wasn’t well done.
tomk: Well, it may have been. How many two hundred year old Vulcans do you know?
jimmy: Including Sarek?
tomk: You know Sarek?
jimmy: Well, I know of him.
tomk: Hmmm. I’ll allow it.
jimmy: Then counting Sarek…I know one.
tomk: So, he might actually look typical for a Vulcan that old.
jimmy: When 200 years old I reach, look that good I will not.
tomk: You’re right. You could look better.
jimmy: Not if I keep eating all these treats you keep giving me.
tomk: Fine. Have a stationary bicycle.
jimmy: 200…here I come!
tomk: 200 reps?
jimmy: It’s a start.
tomk: Well, good. Here’s a latte to keep you energized while you exercise. And be glad no one gave Sarek any sugar. That would have made things worse.
jimmy: Have Vulcan’s being psychic been a thing before?
tomk: Yes. It’s the whole basis for the Vulcan mind-meld.
jimmy: I wouldn’t have thought of that as psychic, but whatever.
tomk: Well, what would you have thought of it as? An Eternal Uni-mind?
jimmy: Guess I think of it more as reading others thoughts or predicting the future or helping find lost children in the woods.
tomk: Helping lost children in the woods is a job for Smokey the Bear, not Sarek.
jimmy: Smokey the Bear was psychic? Damn. I’m learning a lot today.
tomk: How else do you explain this astral projection?
jimmy: Or this clip:
tomk: Well, I hope you learned a lot about psychic bears and Vulcans.
jimmy: I sure did, mister!
tomk: And I am sure you’ve learned a lot about how much TNG has improved in its third season.
jimmy: It’s definitely found it’s grove. But I’d hope so almost halfway through it’s run.
tomk: Well, there’s only two or three episodes left in season three.
jimmy: And we know the finale is an all-time great.
tomk: So, you must be ready for another classic first.
jimmy: Another one? Well, if I have to!
tomk: Well good. Up next is Lwaxana Troi and the Ferengi,
jimmy: That sounds…classic all right.
tomk: They can’t all be winners.
jimmy: Then let’s get it over with.
Better Call Saul “Bagman”
Going Through The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Part Twenty-One
Noteworthy Issues: Shazam! #1 (May, 2023)