05. Where No One Has Gone Before

Mango

Is it me or did Mango the male striper just beam over to the Enterprise from the Fearless dressed as a Starfleet officer? That Mango is arrogant, but something about him mesmerizes men especially this traveler fellow who is following him around…

What? Wait a minute? That was Kosinski? My mistake, but that explains it.

Mango is far too much a diva to sit on a stool like the ones they have in engineering. Boy 80s ideas of futuristic furniture is every bit as tacky as any from the 60s. (I mean ideas of futuristic furniture from the ‘60s not actual furniture from the 60s.) (Though it is as tacky as furniture from the 60s now that I think of it.) (That was just a joke. I don’t really know since I wasn’t alive in the 60s.)

Anyway, it sure was nice of Kosinski and Traveler to have the crew of the Enterprise on their show this week. 

The Boy

I kept wishing Wesley Crusher would do a Hancock impersonation: “Call me boy… one more time.”

Mad props to him for saying, “My name is Wesley, Commander Riker.” Could you imagine how much courage that would take for someone so young and surrounded by important people? Especially a teenager so enamored with Starfleet? Though Picard snaps at him, it does force Picard to realize they shouldn’t be talking to Wesley like that.

 Visions

Since we learned last episode that fear is the mind killer, I’m surprised with the visions that

came from Picard’s subconscious. Stranded far away, he’s feeling so trapped that he almost steps out the turbolift and into space conjured from his imagination. That’s so scary that he starts thinking about his mother. He is filled with fear.

The sequence of his visions makes sense. So does Yar’s. She sees the targ and thinks about her cat, and the cat reminds her of running from rape gangs. Dark, but a logical progression. What I don’t get is why Worf was thinking of the targ in the first place!

By the way, not very cool of Yar to make fun of Worf’s targ.

It cracks me up: that sentence might make no sense to a lot of people and complete sense to others.

Picard strolls to engineering ruining the dreams of those having good visions (ballerina and violinist) and ignoring those having bad ones (the two officers being chased). Ok, Ok he helped the blue shirt with the flame problem, but that was only later. After Traveler had cheered him up a bit.

Also notice that again Riker was unaffected.

 Conference Evaluation

Of course one of the many things that makes Picard awesome is his captaining. Since Riker is passionately against this project, he puts him in charge of it, which means Riker will either be convinced by the project’s merits or will head off disaster. Plus it makes Riker feel like his opinions are being heard.

Stranded in M-33 Picard does listen to everyone and make a decision thing. It’s so cool.

The advice he gets from his crew says a lot about them.

Deanna – talks about Kosinski’s emotions

Geordi – try to get home

Data – let’s study

Worf – Kosinski seems incompetent because he made a mistake (nothing to do with honor)

Riker –  You’re the captain.

Yar – Nothing because try as she might she couldn’t think of a way to slip “Let’s attack” into this one.

 Fiasco

I have to say that having listened to this podcast all this time and now finally trying to do something similar t, I admire it even more because they keep it fresh each week. I saw a lot of the same themes in this that I’ve seen in the past four episodes. But I wanted to look past the ideas I already have and search for more.

In particular, I was interested in the relationship between Dr. Crusher and Picard, so going into the episode, I was really prepared to explore that. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much there.

However, I did stay focused on relationships, which made me kind of feel like this was a game of Fiasco. So if this were a game of Fiasco, the setup would go something like this:

There are five players.

They’re sitting around the table in this order:

Riker -> Kosinski -> Picard -> Traveler -> Wesley (and back to Riker)

  1. Riker –  Kosinski

Relationship:   Workplace  –  Professional rivals

Detail: Location  –  Engineering

  1. Kosinski – Picard

Relationship: Workplace  –  Supervisor/subordinate

Detail: Need  –  to get respect by doing something great

  1. Picard  –  Traveler

Relationship: Workplace  –  Business Rivals

Detail: Object  –  the computer changes to the warp propulsion system

  1. Traveler  –  Wesley

Relationship: Friendship  –  Father figure

Detail: Need  –  mentorship

  1. Wesley  –  Riker

Relationship: Friendship  –  Outsider looking in

Detail: Need  –  To prove himself worthy

I say Traveler and Picard are business rivals because they’re in the same kind of business of exploring, but they’re doing it for different groups. They’re going at it during different phases in the stories of their worlds. Although neither threatens the other, they are both after the same thing–satisfying their curiosities.

Morals, Messages, and Meanings

In no particular order…

  1. You gotta earn stuff – If you don’t work for what you get, then you don’t deserve it. Kosinski is so determined to prove his worth that he takes credit for Traveler’s work. This is what makes him a bad guy. This and his arrogance. And his eyeliner.

Also I got the feeling that Picard is so uncomfortable with their exploration windfall (a trip through three galaxies) because he suspected they didn’t earn it by having the technological knowhow.

The Traveler tells Wesley that Starfleet isn’t ready for the knowledge that the world of the real and the world of the physical are not separate because Starfleet hasn’t figured it out on their own. Wesley got it from reading over Traveler’s shoulder.

The little scamp.

  1. Don’t just accept what you’re told – Riker isn’t willing to accept Kosinski’s changes to the engines because they don’t make sense, and he doesn’t care if the Org Chart is forcing it on him. He’s like, “I got my own org chart right heeeere, yea!”

Ok he’s not like that, but he refuses to except that which he cannot understand just because he is being ordered to accept it.

  1. Reexamine your thinking – Picard empowers his crew, but he barely treats Wesley as a sentient being. Mostly this is due to Picard’s own shortcomings (he’s crap with kids). All of the events in this episode had to happen before he could get past his way of thinking and start treating Wesley better. (Riker goes through the same thing.)

Another incident of this message was when Geordi and Data, and then Picard are forced to accept the Enterprise’s location. They each start by being unable to believe it. They lacked the ability to accept the evidence, but instead of refusing to accept the evidence, they adapted their way of thinking.

  1. Reality is affected by thoughts – Traveler is more advanced than Starfleet because he already knows this. It’s easy to imagine that there is energy in ideas, but put that aside and we see that we can’t create anything without imagining it first.
  1. Nurture talented people – In order for people to reach their potential, they must be nurtured. That’s what Traveler tells Picard. Wesley is a genius, but he still needs help.

Does it hold up?

Yeah, sure.

Directing and music are better.

The ideas are wonderful.

It is boring though. The crew does pretty much nothing. They let a couple of people get them into trouble, and then let those same people get them out of trouble.

And we’ve seen the whole-control-your-thoughts thing before.

The wardrobes aren’t great. I imagine years later Wesley looking back and fondly remembering: “That was the day I finally became an acting ensign. I’ll remember it forever. I only wish I’d worn a different sweater.”

Maybe the sweater is the reason Denna doesn’t look at all happy to have him sitting next to her…

One thing I loved was that Kosinski was presented as a jerk the whole time, but instead of having him get some comeuppance in the end so that we the viewers can snicker and feel self-righteous, Traveler says he needs him. That’s why I love Star Trek.

I’d say it is probably the second best episode this season so far.

 

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