There are these two fantastic episodes of Star Trek the Next Generation at this point in season five. Jimmy and Tom covered one last week. Did they cover the other this week?
Nah! There’s an episode about Geordi and Ensign Ro sandwiched in-between. The guys have some thoughts this one anyway.
“The Next Phase”
During a mission of mercy, Geordi and Ro appear to die in a transporter accident.
jimmy: It’s a good thing that when your body can phase through anything, that doesn’t include the floor.
tomk: They took lessons from the Vision and Martian Manhunter.
jimmy: If you’re going to learn, learn from the best.
tomk: Is that why you give lessons on being awesome to chat with?
jimmy: It is. Just 9 easy payments of $149.95 a month.
tomk: I am assuming that’s in American dollars.
jimmy: It better be or I might as well be giving it away.
tomk: And your commercial has that catchy jingle: “Call Mr. Pal, that’s my name. That name again is Mr. Pal.”
Huh. This might be a record for how quickly we want to talk about something other than Geordi.
jimmy: Heh. I guess we can talk about Ro and what Riker was going to say about her.
tomk: “I’m glad she’s dead, but when we both had amnesia, she was a demon in the sack. Now to play a bit o’ the bone!”
jimmy: Haha. He loves the bone.
tomk: Must be why Ro shot him in the head.
jimmy: Just for fun.
tomk: It beats looking for the Bajoran afterlife.
jimmy: And it’s hours of chanting to lead you there.
tomk: They were stuck like that for two days according to Geordi. I am sure they could have gotten a good start on that chant.
jimmy: Don’t ask Worf.
tomk: He’s not really good at funeral preparation. His thing is more getting it so his many enemies have an early one.
jimmy: He said he was glad they were dead. Hopefully they don’t take that out of context.
tomk: Someone has to prepare the route to Stovocore for him.
Though step up for Worf’s not immediately blaming the Romulans for their supposed death.
jimmy: They didn’t investigate the accident too much.
tomk: Worf just quietly said their names in shock when he found out like that time a collector faked Data’s death.
Huh. This happens a lot.
jimmy: Maybe it was a secret mission to get that phased Romulan.
tomk: So secret even Ro and Geordi didn’t know about it?
jimmy: Exactly. That’s the brilliance.
tomk: You can’t give away anything if you don’t know you’re on a mission.
tomk: So, how do you accomplish a mission without knowing what it is?
jimmy: They got him didn’t they?
tomk: This time. And they left him in the void of space. But they also didn’t need to eat, so I am not sure if they needed to breath too.
jimmy: Didn’t need to eat or couldn’t?
tomk: You’ve put a lot of thought into this.
jimmy: Or have I?
tomk: Jimmy, have you been conducting phase experiments in the basement again?
jimmy: In the basement? No.
tomk: Oh good. That’s where Watson stores his oily rags and old blasting caps.
jimmy: I know it’s just a show, and we joked about it already, but the inconsistencies in what they could touch was frustrating. They could walk through walls and people but didn’t go through the floor. They could sit down on the bridge or in a shuttle craft. When Ro says goodbye to her station she clearly touches the chair and console without phasing through it. Etc.
tomk: Geordi even remarked how he still had a working VISOR.
jimmy: That was phased too. Like their clothes. And the Romulan phaser.
tomk: And McGruff the Crime Dog.
Say, if Geordi and Ro’s comm badges were also phased, could they talk to each other?
tomk: So, everything but the comm badges still worked?
jimmy: Well, the comm badges don’t work because they can’t connect to the comm system.
tomk: But they can’t connect to each other?
jimmy: Zero bars.
tomk: Their network isn’t very good.
jimmy: They must be using <insert joke about worst US cellular phone service>.
tomk: That’s why I use <insert name of Venezuela’s worst cellular phone company>.
jimmy: Those guys are a bunch of clowns.
tomk: They were the only company that had a contract plan that covers all out-of-phase calls.
jimmy: It’s a good point though. If the Romulans got this technology to work and say, phased cloaked a whole ship, how would anyone unphased communicate with them?
tomk: Clearly they had a good three point plan.
Phase one: unphase a ship
Phase two: ???
Phase three: PROFIT!
jimmy: That’s more of the Ferengi plan.
tomk: I didn’t realize there were Ferengi in early South Park episodes.
jimmy: I’ve never seen them.
tomk: In that case…don’t start now. You have a long enough list.
tomk: But if the plan worked, wouldn’t the Romulans have blown up their own guy?
jimmy: The one that snuck on the Enterprise?
jimmy: I don’t think they knew he was there.
tomk: Their plan was somehow even dumber than I thought.
jimmy: So, I don’t think it was explained, but was the Romulan purposely phase shifted to spy on the Enterprise crew? When I watched, I felt like he had been lost in a similar accident, perhaps what put them in distress in the first place.
tomk: I’m not sure. But the Romulans were quick to plan the Enterprise’s destruction for the crime of (checks notes) helping them out of a jam.
jimmy: I think they were afraid they would catch onto the whole phase inverter thing, which only Geordi noticed because he could put his head through…the giant device awkwardly in the way on their bridge.
tomk: Yeah…that was weird.
jimmy: Data’s not always that perceptive. And not much stronger than Riker. He showed off closing the door, but did you see Riker lift that giant pylon that even Worf couldn’t move!?!
tomk: Worf let him do that.
jimmy: They’re pals.
tomk: Like Mr. Pal?
jimmy; Uh, sure.
tomk: Call Mr Pal. That’s his name. That name again is Mr Pal.
tomk: It should be. According to the start of this episode chat, it’s your jingle.
jimmy: It worked well too until that Pal King came along.
tomk: Lousy Watson…
jimmy: So, according to the interwebs, this episode originally had been written for Geordi and Troi. But they thought they had given Troi enough running around that season, and were really looking for ways to get Ro involved.
tomk: That means they can make up more stuff about Bajor before DS9 starts.
jimmy: That 3 hour episode of DS9 that was just Bajoran death chants was a bit much.
tomk: Especially since it turned out Kira wasn’t really dead.
jimmy: We all know that in Star Trek only Uncle Ben stays dead.
tomk: Ben Sisko?
jimmy: That’s racist, Tom.
tomk: He’s the only Ben in Star Trek.
jimmy: Are you sure that Romulan wasn’t named Ben?
tomk: His name was Herb.
That’s Romulan for “Dumbass Victim.”
jimmy: Herb Romulan.
tomk: That’s the guy. Everybody’s least favorite Romulan.
jimmy: And I guess so much for the good will earned by the Enterprise’s help to their distress call.
tomk: They heard Riker say to give them second rate parts to appease Worf.
jimmy: A Vic 20 by the sounds of it.
tomk: Whatever that means, sure.
tomk: Whatever that is, sure.
tomk: I’m not a tech guy. My androids are made of soggy cardboard and good intentions.
jimmy: Sounds like the hors d’oeuvres at Data’s party.
tomk: Who lets Data plan parties anyway?
tomk: Hmmm. You’re right. Again.
jimmy: It was right there in the episode. I can’t take too much credit.
tomk: You were paying attention.
jimmy: So was that the season finale?
tomk: Um, no.
jimmy: Ok, good. It would have been weak in that regards. It was the last one on the current Blu-ray, so I wasn’t sure.
tomk: There is one next that is considered by many to be among the best the series ever did.
jimmy: Does it involve lights?
tomk: An internal one, yes.
jimmy: Internal eh?
tomk: Well, yes. It’s the sort of episode that Trek was built on, a philosophical sci-fi trip where violence is unnecessary and a character learns a lot about what it means to be human.
jimmy: Human eh?
tomk: And it isn’t Data.
jimmy: Will we find out who it is, or do you have more to add on Ghost Ro and the Geordigiest?
tomk: I have nothing else to add aside from maybe suggesting you don’t do more nicknames.
jimmy: Tough but fair.
jimmy: Ready, Major Tom.
tomk: What did I just tell you about nicknames, Mr. Pal?
jimmy: Right, sorry.
tomk: That’s OK. The Venture Brothers did something with that once.
Anyhoo, time for one of the series’s all-time greats.