So, it’s kinda weird that an episode of this series seems to take as long as it does to actually get to the real crisis of the episode, but that does seem to be the case with “Force of Nature.”
Jimmy and Tom share some thoughts below.
“Force of Nature”
A routine search and rescue becomes anything but.
jimmy: So, was this about the ozone layer?
tomk: I think it’s about the futility of training a cat or putting together a better engine.
jimmy: The cat one for sure.
tomk: All I know is this episode is weird. You don’t even get to the crisis of the week until halfway through the runtime.
jimmy: That’s because of all the character development.
tomk: Is that what that was? Seemed like they didn’t have enough story for the environment stuff.
jimmy: Maybe that too.
tomk: I mean, do we tune into a show about the futility of training a cat rather than, I dunno, fight the Borg or transfer to an alien planet where people live out whole lives and learn to play the flute?
jimmy: You just feel that way because you lived the cat story.
tomk: I don’t think you need to live that life to know training cats is difficult.
jimmy: Fine. You lived the engine fine tuning life?
jimmy: You’re a tough nut to crack.
tomk: I’m sure you compete for meaningless bragging rights with colleagues and coworkers all the time.
jimmy: You don’t?
tomk: I don’t need to validate myself that way. I just do the work.
jimmy: You’re a better man than Geordi.
tomk: Well, I have never mistaken a hologram for a living woman.
Something Riker also did once…
jimmy: Have you met many holographic women?
tomk: There’s Melody down in Shipping, the one with the big boobs Watson keeps hitting on.
jimmy: She’s a hologram?
tomk: Yes. That’s why she doesn’t pick things up or move from behind her desk, and why she becomes transparent in the right lighting.
Why do you ask?
jimmy: Uh…no reason.
tomk: Well, good. I’d hate to think you were wasting your time down there trying to get ahead of Watson or something.
jimmy: Geordi said there was nothing wrong with a little friendly competition.
tomk: Watson is your friend?
jimmy: Good point. Unfriendly competition?
tomk: Does he know you are competing?
jimmy: …maybe we should get back to the cat training episode.
tomk: You mean the one where the basic tool used for transportation is somehow ruining the environment?
jimmy: And in 40 years will make the place uninhabitable.
tomk: Hey, how old is this episode again?
jimmy: Pretty old. We better check on the space corridor.
tomk: I’m sure there are no real world parallels to that sort of thing.
And this episode first aired in November of 1993. So about thirty years old.
jimmy: And we’re still here, so obviously there was nothing to worry about.
tomk: Or, you know, we have ten years left.
jimmy: Uh oh.
tomk: Then again, you know this is fiction: faced with obvious climate issues caused by humans (and other sentient beings), the people are actually going to do something about it.
jimmy: Well, they slowed down to warp 5. What else could they do?
tomk: Forget about that in a couple episodes?
jimmy: Couple of episodes? That was forgotten when Geordi walked out of the meeting room.
tomk: Geordi was there? I forgot.
jimmy: He was the one Spot didn’t like.
tomk: Spot doesn’t seem to like anybody except Data.
jimmy: And that’s questionable.
tomk: Data would have to keep getting his plastic skin fixed somehow if he had. Or whatever he’s made out of. I don’t recall Worf complaining when he had to watch Spot, but Worf might like a combative pet.
jimmy: He only agreed to feed it.
tomk: Yes, but who knows how long that was.
jimmy: Less than 42 minutes.
tomk: Maybe not for them.
jimmy: These episodes aren’t in real time?
tomk: They’re in the future, Jimmy.
jimmy: I thought so. I mean we don’t have warp drives.
tomk: That’s just what the government wants you to think.
jimmy: My government or your government?
tomk: You think the government I am talking about isn’t running both of our countries?
jimmy: Some kinda super government?
tomk: Yeah. Their most visible agent is a smoking Canadian.
jimmy: You can’t trust that guy.
He’s keeping us from enjoying warp drive.
jimmy: Where would we go?
tomk: I could probably get to work in about five seconds.
jimmy: We have a warp drive and you’re taking it to work?
tomk: For starters.
You could visit Ryan.
jimmy: We have a warp drive and I’m visiting Ryan?
tomk: Visit Malin Ackerman then?
tomk: I mean, where else are you gonna go? Picard hasn’t even been born yet.
jimmy: If we slingshot around the sun maybe we can go to the future.
tomk: Or backwards if you do it wrong.
jimmy: We could visit John Cabot.
tomk: We could. It would probably be more interesting than the first half of this episode.
Or we do it really wrong and we’re discussing Batman the Animated Series again.
jimmy: Sounds like you’d prefer that to this episode.
tomk: It took way too long to get to the point. Normally we’d get at least a hint during the cold open. Here, it’s all about training Spot.
jimmy: As a cat owner that wasn’t right up your alley?
tomk: We saw more of Data talking about Spot than Spot.
jimmy: Ironically, it’s hard to train a cat to act.
tomk: It’s hard to train a cat to do anything.
jimmy: “Entertain Tom” being near the top of the list.
tomk: I was raised a dog person.
jimmy: Me too!
tomk: And all you really need to know about cats, dogs, trust, and how to train them, can be seen here:
jimmy: That’s why the first question on the “Are you Jimmy’s idea of a jerk?” test is “Are you a cat? Yes/No”.
tomk: Best watch they don’t find out, Jimmy.
And then you’ll be stranded in a subspace rupture with no way to warp out without making things worse.
jimmy: Or just turn the Enterprise into a kite.
tomk: That only works if you catch the right waves.
tomk: And if you get caught out there, you’ll see the weirdest and most horrifying things.
jimmy: I’d rather go head first into the rupture.
tomk: Somehow, I knew you’d say that.
jimmy: I’m anything if not predictable.
tomk: Well, as environmental metaphors go, this episode has one of them.
jimmy: I wonder if I would have really noticed if you hadn’t set it up as such in our last chat.
tomk: Maybe it’s just because climate change is in the news so much, but the idea of a common form of transportation causing gradual environmental issues that too many people just dismissed stuck out to me. Factor in how Geordi pointed out how warp drive is such a staple to all things Trek like the transporter, and it just fit. They might as well be discussing the internal combustion engine.
jimmy: And in 1993 climate change was much more in the news.
tomk: Plus, like you said, the ozone layer.
jimmy: Specifically, yes.
tomk: And just some talk of global warming.
jimmy: And now it’s reversed.
tomk: Well, fixing the ozone layer was relatively simple.
jimmy: Large band aid?
tomk: Or just stop using certain types of aerosols.
jimmy: So there’s no hole now?
tomk: Last I heard, it was closing up.
jimmy: Maybe we should open it up, let some of this heat out.
tomk: That was a little mean of the meanest judge. Have a slice of warm chocolate cake and a scoop of cool vanilla ice cream.
tomk: Plus a bacon cheeseburger with a side of fries
jimmy: Wow. What a great night!
tomk: There’s even a bag of money since your Gabbing Geek back pay finally came through.
jimmy: Wow. If that guy’s sister had been treated like this maybe she wouldn’t have blown space up.
tomk: She seems like an eco-fanatic. Like the people who would set all the SUVs in a car lot on fire to make a statement about global warming.
jimmy: But it was less a rash statement and more a sacrifice for the greater good.
tomk: By making things worse?
jimmy: Did she?
tomk: There wasn’t a rupture before. She had to do an extra large whateveritwas to do that.
jimmy: But there would have been eventually. Hence the reduce to Warp 5 at the end.
tomk: Something I am sure they will remember in future episodes.
jimmy: I think they left at the end of the episode at warp 7.
jimmy: Space is a big place. They’ll probably never go back that way anyways.
tomk: Plus, as Troi pointed out, other races with warp tech might not listen and cause more problems. It’s supposed to affect all of space.
jimmy: Lousy aliens.
tomk: It’s just the Ferengi, Romulans, Cardassians, and the pigs.
jimmy: They don’t listen at all.
tomk: They have their own problems.
jimmy: If they were long ago and far away they should be safe from ruptures.
jimmy: All right all right all right.
tomk: Well, I think we all learned a valuable lesson.
jimmy: Don’t mess with space?
tomk: It puts the “final” in “final frontier.”
jimmy: Anything else on this one?
jimmy: Do I have to?
tomk: No, I guess not. I was trying to point out other members of the crew may also have mothers.
tomk: Well, there’s this one character who may not know for certain.
jimmy: Geodi’s sister’s cat?
tomk: I meant Data.
jimmy: Oh. Right. Data.
tomk: I get the impression you knew that.
Or I’m not sure cats know they have mothers.
tomk: That’s an interesting loophole.
jimmy: Indeed. But you want to talk Data.
tomk: He generally has more to say than Spot.
jimmy: And doesn’t get up on the consoles.
tomk: Unless he’s working on one.
jimmy: But he gets down if Geordi tells him.
tomk: That’s because you can train an android.
jimmy: So, what’s this about Data’s mother?
tomk: For starters, he may have one. Interested?
tomk: Then you can learn alongside Data how he has one.