August 16, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Weekend Trek “Devil’s Due”

It's Picard vs the Devil! Maybe...

You know, shows like Star Trek the Next Generation doesn’t have to have a particularly deep episode to be fun, and having Captain Picard square off against someone who may be the Devil certainly could be deep…or it could just be fun.  Which one is this episode?  Jimmy and Tom chat “Devil’s Due” below.

“Devil’s Due”

It’s Picard vs a woman claiming to be the devil!

jimmy:  I’m pretty sure some of Ardra’s magic was well beyond the capabilities of a cloaked ship, transporters and a tractor beam.  Especially controlling them with eye movements.

tomk:  Yeah, syrup is better than jelly.

Wait, that’s an answer for a different observation.

Ardra thought she could outsmart the sharp, legal mind of Jean-Luc Picard, the guy who picks out Klingon rulers and defends an android’s civil rights without a law degree.

jimmy:  Well, she doesn’t know those things.

tomk:  The devil is in the details , Jimmy.

jimmy:  Apparently.  Or in a cloaked ship.

tomk:  Some devil. She didn’t know the three most dangerous members of Picard’s crew when it came to ruining her plans were on the planet

jimmy:  No one said devils were smart.  Look at Watson.  Or Beelz.

tomk:  They do know how to pack a jury when they think to do so.

jimmy:  Good thing Lionel Hutz wasn’t representing Picard.

tomk:  Picard, unlike other bald men needing legal representation, knows better than to hire him.

jimmy:  And Picard wouldn’t sample the goods.

tomk:  We assume.

jimmy:  He had no interest in Ardra when she somehow 1) beamed aboard the Enterprise undetected, 2) created a perfect replica of Troi, 3) blocked the Enterprise transporters from getting Picard off the planet in his pajamas.

tomk:  You’re right. Ardra should have gone with Beverly.

jimmy:  She would have had a better chance, but he still knew it wasn’t real.

tomk:  Picard, like Wolverine in X-Men 2, only likes the real thing.

jimmy:  Can’t blame them there.

tomk:  What?  You wouldn’t want a woman who can look like any other woman you can think of?

That’s good, Jimmy.  Don’t give in to weird kinks.

jimmy:  Oh, I would. But not those fictional guys.

tomk:  So, you hold Picard and Wolverine (who may or may not look like you) to different standards than you hold yourself?

jimmy:  You don’t?

tomk:  Hold you to different standards than Picard and Wolverine (who may or may not look like you)?

Maybe.

jimmy:  Exactly. Have an ice cream sandwich.

tomk:  Did you have to give me one on rye bread?

jimmy:  I had no graham crackers.

tomk:  Fair enough.  Wasn’t expecting a BLT with butter pecan scoops in between.

That said, that Ardra sure was aiming high, thinking she could con both an entire planet and the skeptical captain of a starship that happened to be visiting.

jimmy:  In her defense, the con started before the Enterprise was ever involved.

tomk:  She couldn’t hold off for Picard to leave?

jimmy:  It was a bit late by that point.

tomk:  She also apparently didn’t have much of a crew. If it takes at least eleven guys to rob a casino then a planetary con must need at least fifteen.

jimmy:  Well, someone had to dress up as the various devils and sit around and wait to be transported when needed.

tomk:  You mean with the giant slobbering Klingon monster mouth?  Or those Satan tights?

jimmy:  Yeah. I’m just picturing a ship full of people dressed up as various devils just sitting around playing cards, waiting for their 5 seconds to shine!

tomk:  And then Riker and Worf show up with phasers armed to stun…

jimmy:  Yeah. I don’t think her crew put up much of a fight.

tomk:  Not really.  Though I think I know where this story came from.  Are you familiar with the short story “The Devil and Daniel Webster” by Stephen Vincent Benet, Jimmy?

jimmy:  The title sounds vaguely familiar, but I’ll say no.

tomk:  Let’s just say it’s the basis for that Simpsons Halloween episode segment and leave it at that.

Basic plot:  a simple guy sells his soul to the devil, so he goes to court with the greatest lawyer in America at the time as his attorney (the historic Daniel Webster).

Though the story doesn’t end with the guy having a donut for a head…

jimmy:  That’s too bad. That donut head is delicious.

tomk:  Donut-head shouldn’t pick at it.

jimmy:  But it’s so tasty!

tomk:  …is there something wrong with your head, Jimmy?

jimmy:  Why…no.

tomk:  Good.  Have a hot coffee no one should dunk their donut head into.

jimmy:  I don’t like coffee, so no worries about that.

tomk:  Well, good.  Point is, this episode seems to exist so Picard can do a Daniel Webster against a woman with very high hair.

jimmy:  They touch on this briefly in the episode, when they wonder if Ardra might be a Q, but why is Picard so immediately certain that she’s a fraud?  They’ve met plenty of beings that could accomplish the things she did.

tomk:  His Picard sense was tingling.

Plus, her stunts were maybe not as impressive to Picard as they were to the people of the planet.

jimmy:  Perhaps.

tomk:  Look, just because you were impressed doesn’t mean a whole lot.  I mean, you got really excited when Jenny got that blue car.

jimmy:  And Ryan got that dog with the puffy tail!

tomk:  Right.  I mean, Greg had to step in before you sold your soul to that flimflam artist in the lobby for a stale muffin.

jimmy:  At least I didn’t sell everybody’s soul for 1000 years of prosperity.

tomk:  That would have been downright decent of you, especially if they do all the work themselves.

Well, regardless Jimmy, I think it is safe to say that Picard will get to the bottom of any puzzle as long as there are enough…clues.

jimmy:  Of which there was none until Geordi used that screen with a pattern of rectangles on it to find her ship. So high tech!

tomk:  You were expecting tiny triangles?

jimmy:  No. Everyone knows there are no triangles in the future.

tomk:  That sounds unlikely.

jimmy:  Just wait 200 years and we’ll see, Tom. We’ll see.

tomk:  Fine.  I’ll wait.

Waiting sucks.  Let’s play Hungry Hungry Hippos.

jimmy:

tomk:  Well, this is all well and good, but I think the problem here is that foolish Ardra left too many…clues.

jimmy:  You keep saying that.

tomk:  Well, if only there was someone to decipher all those…clues.

jimmy:  Burns’ suit?

tomk:  Maybe.  Do you have anything else to say about this one?  It’s a fun episode, but Picard can beat Q, so the devil should be a snap.

jimmy:  It was fun enough you’re right. Again, not sure how Picard was so convinced she was fake, but good thing he was right.

tomk:  Well, Picard clearly saw this devil’s concerns were rather…petty.

Plus, she was more obnoxious than evil.

jimmy:  And potentially hotter than the real Ardra.

tomk:  Are you saying that wasn’t the real Ardra?

Man, Picard didn’t really beat the devil, didn’t he?

Wait, I knew that…

jimmy:  And I’m assuming they arrested the rest of her crew as accomplices?

tomk:  Obviously.  Though maybe the Klingon devil got some time off by taking Picard’s place at one point.  Unless all the other devils were just holographic projections instead of accomplices taking her place.

jimmy:  I wondered about them being holograms. Would make more sense than her crew sitting around in costumes. How she would project the holograms is another. Same for when Picard did it actually.

tomk:  Eye movements, Jimmy. Weren’t you paying attention?

jimmy:  Well then. Case solved. And she would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for Picard and those pesky kids.

tomk:  Data and Geordi?

jimmy:  Yeah. Those guys.

tomk:  Well then, ready to move on?

jimmy:  I think we’ve given the devil his..uh, her, due.

tomk:  Good. Because now we can see more evidence that Picard is good with mysteries as long as he has some…clues.

jimmy:  Clues!

tomk:  Yes.  Clues.

Next:  “Clues”

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