Every so often, Star Trek the Next Generation would trot out a guest star that somehow turned out to be a new reoccurring character. One such character was Ensign Ro Laren, as memorably played by actress Michelle Forbes. Ro was actually planned at one point to be part of the main cast for Deep Space Nine, but Forbes declined the offer and the producers created the character of Major Kira as a replacement. Kira is awesome. Ro is awesome. We ended up with both of them after a fashion.
But in the meantime, Jimmy and Tom have some thoughts on Ro’s first appearance.
Picard finds himself dealing with the Cardassians, the Bajorans, and an Ensign he didn’t ask for.
jimmy: Before we get started, just want to make sure Metaphor Tom has left the building?
tomk: That guy sucked. He couldn’t even explain that Lower Decks had a metaphor guy on that used his language to try to pick up women.
jimmy: At least he put it to good use.
tomk: He might have if it worked. So, how about Riker’s unappreciation of other cultures?
jimmy: Was it cultures? It seemed to be just Ro in general.
Or are you talking about the earring? That did seem a bit much, but he did say it was Starfleet protocol. Which they may have let slide if they didn’t want to fire Ro out a torpedo bay.
tomk: Yeah, I meant the earring.
jimmy: Maybe Riker made it up? Worf goes around with a sash on. Picard wears a suede coat.
tomk: Troi wears whatever the hell she feels like. Or whatever the hell the producers feel like.
jimmy: True. Ro complied, so I guess Riker never made it up. Just being a hard ass.
tomk: Yeah, but it reminded me of, say, telling a Muslim woman she can’t wear a headscarf. And every other Bajoran in the episode had an earring.
jimmy: Were there other Bajorans in this episode that were in Starfleet?
tomk: No, but there were a lot in those camps.
jimmy: Sure. But Riker can’t tell them to remove their earrings.
tomk: And Picard can let Ro put it back on.
jimmy: He is the Captain.
So not the gif I was hoping for.
jimmy: Riker probably had a few Captain Morgan’s when Ro came on board.
tomk: Yeah, well, Riker and Geordi both thought poorly of her…because those guys are paragons of virtue.
Meanwhile, Troi and Crusher try to make nice and get scared off because they may be wimps.
Finally, Guinan said, “You know what? I will do more than one scene for this episode!”
jimmy: She’s no wimp.
tomk: Well, she either is a good listener or she does that weird attack pose like she’s going to gouge Q’s eyes out.
jimmy: Is she a good listener? She did the opposite of everything Ro and Picard said to her.
tomk: That’s because she was listening to the words they weren’t saying.
jimmy: That is a good listener!
tomk: It got results, didn’t it?
jimmy: It did. Once Picard started listening.
tomk: See? Everyone should listen in case Admiral Sniffles or that Cardassian with the oddly-shaped head is up to something
jimmy: His head was oddly shaped.
tomk: Yeah. And after all those episodes of DS9 I have watched recently, who would have thought the Cardassians were up to no good!
tomk: Well, maybe not people who were half-paying attention when Gul Dukat kicked a puppy.
jimmy: And that Admiral hates puppies, so he was on board.
tomk: Yeah. And after nearly every other time an Admiral appears on an episode of any version of Star Trek who would have though the Admiral was up to no good!
tomk: Man, you sure are on the ball today. Have a bacon cheeseburger.
jimmy: Awesome. Better than ginger tea.
tomk: You can also have a blanket.
jimmy: Picard was like Oprah giving a blanket to everyone.
tomk: It helps after he made a bunch of meally-mouthed excuses for not helping sooner.
jimmy: He has to follow the Prime Directive. Except when he doesn’t.
tomk: He follows other Prime Directives sometimes. Like when the Borg show up, and he goes to the “one shall stand, one shall fall” Prime Directive.
jimmy: Or when he goes to the Space Sizzler and orders the Prime Rib. Wait, that’s not the same thing.
tomk: True. By the by, your Space Sizzler order just arrived from Space UberEats.
jimmy: About damn time.
tomk: You did order it two weeks ago.
jimmy: That was right after my meeting with Admiral McSneezy.
tomk: I told you to wait until the invention of warp drive.
jimmy: You did. On a related note, the fries I got for you are cold.
tomk: They were for Metaphorical Tom. He sucks anyway.
jimmy: That’s true. Like the Cardassians.
tomk: Well, we won’t be seeing one of them again.
jimmy: Doesn’t Metaphorical Tom appear on DS9?
tomk: Just that one episode everybody hates.
jimmy: Sounds about right.
tomk: But since you brought up DS9, how about those Bajorans?
jimmy: Not much to them at this point. Bunch of refugees. This did more to further the “Cardassians are jerks” narrative than really say much about the Bajorans.
tomk: They’re a scrappy bunch.
jimmy: And now they have blankets.
tomk: The earrings weren’t keeping them warm at night.
jimmy: Not one at least.
tomk: Weird considering how much Bajor played a big role in a later series for what could have been a one and done appearance.
jimmy: There was more mythology building here, especially with the Cardassians, than your typical alien of the week guest stars.
tomk: That is true. The Cardassians seem like a different kind of enemy in that there actually are other races under their thumb. You don’t see other races in Klingon, Romulan, or even Ferengi space.
jimmy: Not on the show at least.
tomk: What did you make of Ro just based on this one episode?
jimmy: Intriguing. A decent addition to the crew moving forward. That said, I know she appears more, but I could totally see this being a one and done appearance.
tomk: Yes, but you might also wanna hang out with young Michelle Forbes.
jimmy: Well, yes…that too.
tomk: Even though Ensign Ro looks like someone who could break you into very small pieces.
jimmy: No. But yeah, you don’t want to be on her non-earring side.
tomk: Like Riker?
jimmy: She’s in Riker’s good books now. He was probably hitting on her soon as her and Picard beamed back at the end of the episode.
tomk: I dunno. Picard let her put her earring back on. Sure, she was all smiles for the captain, but Riker seems like he might be another story.
jimmy: That was only cause he hated her. He’s over that now.
tomk: We’ll see about that. Ro doesn’t seem like the forgive and forget type.
jimmy: Perhaps. But Riker’s smooth.
tomk: He ain’t that smooth. That sort of thing only works on people like Troi. Or Guinan. Or half the kitchen staff on Riza. Or Data. Or…
jimmy: Data eh? Now there’s an episode!
tomk: Data gets around.
jimmy: Even Data likes young Michelle Forbes.
tomk: Or he doesn’t care for the Admiral’s antics and that’s how he shows it.
jimmy: Probably both. That Admiral needs a demotion.
tomk: There will be no prison movies where the Admiral’s going…prison!
tomk: I miss the old gif generator.
tomk: But there may be other things we missed. Did you have anything else to add, Jimmy?
jimmy: Is it interesting or lazy that the episode is named after a character?
tomk: You want to go back to episode titles like the “The Battle”?
jimmy: Good point.
tomk: But it could be intriguing if you don’t know who this mysterious Ensign Ro is…
jimmy: Another good point.
tomk: I mean, if the episode was titled “The Unruly” or “The Anti-Troi” that might be different.
jimmy: Then I guess that’s all I got.
tomk: Ok, how about we go with the return of a mysterious old enemy?
jimmy: Mysterious eh? Sure!
tomk: We’ll see if you agree when you see which one.