Two parters are a tricky beast for any TV series. They need to catch the audience’s attention while having a story that actually needs two episodes to tell. Arguably, the late series episode “Chain of Command” does that with the help of two very prominent guest stars.
One of them doesn’t have much to do in part one, but Jimmy and Tom have some thoughts that episode below anyway.
“Chain of Command Part One”
While Picard goes on an undercover mission, Riker has to deal with a new captain with a very different leadership style.
jimmy: As you know, I watch these on Blu-ray. It gives you the option to watch the promo for the episode prior to the episode itself. When we first started, I used to watch them as I figured it was just like back in the day when you’d see a commercial or “Next time on…”. But I started to find them a bit spoilery, so I changed to watching them after I watched the episode.
In this case, I’m glad I did as the promo gives away everything about this episode. What Picard, Worf and Crusher’s mission is. That it’s a trap. That Picard gets captured. Only thing it left out was how big a jerk Ronny Cox was.
tomk: And yet, I don’t think Captain Jellico is in the wrong. He just runs things differently.
jimmy: Being a jerk doesn’t make you wrong, it just makes you a jerk.
tomk: You miss Troi’s tights already.
jimmy: Actually…I think she looks better in the uniform.
tomk: Same actually.
jimmy: I know at some point she wears it full time, is this the start of that?
tomk: Yes, and Marina Sirtis was apparently happy about it because she didn’t have to starve herself quite so much.
jimmy: Black is slimming.
tomk: And less skintight clothes that don’t push some things up are probably more comfortable.
jimmy: That’s what I find, for sure.
tomk: Jimmy, stop wearing all that spandex around the office.
jimmy: But it feels like I’m wearing nothing at all. Nothing at all. Nothing at all.
tomk: Given the seat of the pants, I think you might actually be wearing nothing at all.
jimmy: But our zero readers don’t want to think about that. They’d rather Troi in a Starfleet uniform. It does beg the question why she never wore one outside of the skirted monstrosity from Farpoint?
tomk: Do I really need to explain why the well-endowed young woman wore those outfits?
jimmy: I think you just did.
At least she wasn’t wearing this:
tomk: That’s for when Beverly gets back.
jimmy: If she makes it back.
tomk: Are you saying Worf can’t get her back safely?
jimmy: Given Worf is hurt, shouldn’t it be Crusher getting him back?
tomk: Are you saying the MVP can’t just shrug off an injury to save a comrade?
jimmy: I know. Who was I kidding?
tomk: Not Worf. He doesn’t kid.
jimmy: You’re right. I’d take an injured Worf over Crusher to get me out of hostile territory any day.
tomk: And he’s even better if Crusher gives him an aspirin first.
jimmy: She’s a good doctor.
tomk: Is she as good as Dr Teeth?
tomk: Well, is she as good as Dr Doom?
jimmy: Define “good”.
tomk: Is she as good as Dr Pulaski?
tomk: She’s better?
tomk: She’s not a better doctor than Pulaski?
jimmy: Neither of them seem that great.
tomk: Who is a great doctor then?
tomk: Can’t argue there.
jimmy: So this episode doesn’t make the Federation look very good.
tomk: They should just put Jellico in charge. He looks like he kicks ass.
jimmy: But he isn’t a master on theta band emissions.
tomk: Right. For that, you need Lefty McGee.
jimmy: Or Picard.
tomk: Picard might be a better choice. Unlike Lefty, Picard has a left arm as opposed to two right arms.
jimmy: Lefty has two right arms?
tomk: Yeah. Hence the ironic nickname.
jimmy: Lefty also never got captured by the Cardassians.
tomk: He blasted his one left arm off to prevent that.
jimmy: Picard wouldn’t do that.
tomk: He can’t. It’s not in the special effects budget.
jimmy: They used that all up on the trap emitter. And they could barely afford that after the exocomps.
tomk: Lousy exocomps.
jimmy: Imagine what they could have done with the budget of shows like Picard or Discovery?
tomk: They can’t have too much of a budget. They seem to sit in the dark a lot.
jimmy: Light bulbs aren’t included in the budget.
tomk: But the electric bill should be.
jimmy: Either way, sometimes the 90s budget is very apparent. Even for such a successful show.
tomk: You think they can get the likes of Ronny Cox or David Warner for the loose change in the sofa?
jimmy: Good point.
tomk: So, shall we talk Captain Jellico? I hear he joined Starfleet to get away from both Martian Arnold and Robocop.
jimmy: Now there’s a crossover…Star Trek and Robocop.
tomk: But not Total Recall?
Oh well. At least you didn’t ask to crossover with one of Cox’s first movie roles with Deliverance.
jimmy: Maybe Picard is a crossover with Total Recall when he gets his ass to Mars.
tomk: That was probably a holodeck simulation.
jimmy: Total Recall might have only happened in Arnie’s mind.
tomk: So did this episode.
tomk: Part Two? Bruce Willis’s psyche.
jimmy: Is that a 12 Monkeys reference?
tomk: Um…it may have started off as a Planet Hollywood reference, but it isn’t now!
jimmy: I see.
tomk: But the way I see it, Jellico is headed into a potential war zone to negotiate with some tough adversaries that he already knows. His way of doing things are probably appropriate for that situation.
jimmy: Besides being different than Picard, he never came across as incompetent or anything.
tomk: But the show seems intent on making him look bad by having Troi say he’s not as confident as he looks and not getting to know the crew as well as he should given he has, like, ten minutes to take over and start a dangerous assignment that does not involve dressing like a ninja and sneaking through Cardassian sewers. No one likes sewer ninjas.
jimmy: No one…or everyone?
tomk: Depends on the sewer ninja.
jimmy: You’re right. And his hatred of Riker
tomk: Seems kinda mutual there.
jimmy: Indeed. But Riker and his beard are on our side so we have to side with him over Jellico.
tomk: And you probably don’t wanna know what Jellico said about Captain Jake and the Night Crew.
Maybe if Jellico grew his own beard or just had a few beers with the boys.
jimmy: We don’t have time for that.
tomk: Maybe they will when Picard never returns.
jimmy: It’s possible. This could be the end of Picard.
tomk: Is Ronny Cox a good trade-in for Patrick Stewart?
jimmy: Interesting. If this was a permanent switch…they could do worse. Especially with the dynamic they are setting up. Could be rife for future episode possibilities.
tomk: You just know Jellico would just humiliate the Borg with a good telling-off.
jimmy: And then he’d be dead.
tomk: Jellico looks too ornery to die. The only way to kill him might be to shove him out a window or an airlock.
jimmy: Airlock might not work with those unusually long arms.
tomk: That’s what gravity does to a man sometimes.
Eh, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like Jellico can go up to those Cardassians and take out the trash.
jimmy: I need to get that scrubbed from the internet.
tomk: You wanna take it out to the curb?
jimmy: I set myself up for that one.
tomk: Don’t feel bad. You have the promise of David Warner for Part Two.
jimmy: That one is all about Worf getting Crusher to safety I guess.
tomk: Or maybe he’ll reprise his greatest role.
tomk: Only if Picard kissed her without realizing he was kissing her father.
jimmy: Hard to shake that from your nightmares.
tomk: Yes. I am sure that’s the worst thing that could happen to Picard.
jimmy: There’s worse?
tomk: There could be. They might read outlines for the first two seasons of Picard.
jimmy: There’s got to be worse than that.
tomk: Would you be interested in finding out if it is?
jimmy: Let’s do that.
tomk: Alrighty then.