2.18 - Up the Long Ladder
While I was watching this episode, I thought to myself, “this has to be from the second season…it’s too bananas to be any later, but Riker has a (very sexy) beard.” (I then realized the presence of Dr. “You Ain’t No Crusher” Pulaski should have been enough to tip me off.) And lo and behold! It is, indeed, a second-season episode. Part of the bananas-ness is just the plot itself, which is ridic, but part of it are the number of completely unfinished storylines that are touched on and never returned to.
For example, in the cold open, Worf is shown at his security panel on the bridge, making Klingon discomfort-noises. He then later faints (“Klingons don’t faint,” he complains) and Dr. Pulaski (ugh) keeps it under her hat, so he thanks her by showing her the Klingon Tea Ceremony, which is apparently a thing. All of this happens before the second commercial break. It is then NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN. It doesn’t relate to the rest of the episode, it’s not somehow a parallel, it’s just like “oh, here’s some stuff that happened.”
And the thing is that the A plot is crazy enough that all this Worf business is totally unnecessary. So the Enterprise is, as they are wont to do, driving around being boring when - HEY! A mysterious colony no one knew about! Let’s check it out! They find the colony, which happens to be on a planet that is about to be consumed by solar flares, so they transport the colonists up to the Enterprise, which makes the transporter room look like this:
Hay girl hayyyyyy
Really? They transported buckets? And hay? You expect me to believe that the transporter accidentally brought that hay along? Although I guess if there are GOATS on the Enterprise, you’re going to need hay.
You may have noticed that these people aren’t exactly dressed “futuristically.” That’s because they are the descendants of some colonists who, in 2123, left Earth to create a utopian society that connected back with nature.
This, of course, can mean only one thing: SHAWLS FOR ALL.
So Picard is like “wtf is going on in the transporter room?” and goes there to check it out. This is what he sees:
I don’t care who you are or if you have ever seen an episode of Star Trek. This image is hilarious. Maybe because chickens are inherently hilarious?
So Picard is like, “who is responsible for these animals?” and the leader of the colony, Danilo, is like “heidy deidy deidy I am.”
This hat: more or less Irish than Jameson? Discuss
As with the Twilight Saga’s obsession with the Trite Native American Stereotype Store, this episode of TNG has done all their research at Irish Stereotype National Headquarters, Inc. All of the colonists (who are Irish for no reason whatsoever) speak with what can only be described as a Lucky Charms leprechaun accent. The leader is an alcoholic. The daughter of the leader is extremely feisty. I’m surprised that no one did an actual jig at any point.
This jacket: more or less Irish than the hat? Discuss
So Danilo, in his ascot and tiger-stripe shirt, and hobo pants with corduroy jacket, asks Picard if he knows what happened to the other colony. See, back in 2123, these colonists shared a spaceship with some other colonists, some more sciencey ones. So Picard is like, “uh, what” and they set off to find this other colony, with a shit-ton of chickens and goats in Cargo Hold 7.
“Sometimes you just have to bow to the absurd.” SO TRUE, JLP. So true.
In the meantime, though, it’s time for SexyTimes with William Riker. So remember how the leader of the colony has a feisty daughter? Well, of course she’s super cute:
So feisty she could have a hit song on an Apple commercial
Of course she has a shawl. She loves nature! People who love nature also love shawls!
Even though I’m pretty sure that top is a bodysuit that was purchased at County Seat, I’m a little into it? It’s a good color on her, and that’s a flattering neckline. But the outfit as a whole is very early 90s, and not, as Heidi Klum might say, in a good way.
Riker, of course, is like, “daaaaaaaaaamn.” This is actual dialogue between them:
Brenna: What, have you never seen a woman before?
Riker: I thought I had. [gives sexy eyes]
This is when Jonathan Frakes was auditioning for The Hills
This is supposed to be come-hither, but it’s more like “…….” Brenna responds in kind:
I promise you, this was much more romantic on the show. Probably because of the Irish flute playing in the background.
So Brenna, who, like any girl would be, is like “who is this sexy bearded man?” and asks Riker where a girl can wash her feet, revealing a precursor to the current bane of my existence, the gladiator sandal:
Nothing like implying your feet are dirty to get a man interested
Everyone on this colony is wearing LAYER upon LAYER of clothing, always topped with a shawl, and yet they wear SANDALS? Surely in the 300 years they have colonized that planet, SOMEONE learned to cobble. Come on.
So they go on a date, I guess, that involves showing Brenna the many wonders of the Enterprise. I really hope Riker uses that as a pickup line. “I’d like to show you the many wonders of the Enterprise, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.” He takes her back to his quarters, where her date outfit is revealed:
Back to nature means back to crop tops
Yes, your eyes do not lie. That is a straight-up CROP TOP, paired with a voluminous peasant skirt. But wait - it gets better. ENHANCE:
Cable-knit sweaters: Ireland’s lingerie
It’s like the costume designer said to himself, “well, it needs to be sexy…but it also needs to fit into our Stereotypical Irish Design Concept. Bring me something that marries the Aran Islands with Ibiza.” Even the back is elaborate:
Slouchier! I mean sexier! I mean…I don’t know what I mean
It just occurred to me in writing this that there are only two options for how this thing got on the show:
- someone had to knit it (and I know how long that shit takes)
- this was a commercially-available product that could be purchased (probably at the store where you can get Guatemalan gloves and glass pipes “for tobacco only”)
Either option is equally terrifying.
But let’s not dwell on that scary sweater. Let’s talk about HOW SEXY THIS SCENE IS.
First, Brenna basically accuses Riker of being gay (“Don’t you like girls?”) while slipping off her peasant skirt to reveal a skirt that could not possibly stay up under normal gravitational circumstances:
Then, the seduction begins…on both ends.
Riker: So, is there any special technique to this foot-washing?
Brenna: You generally start at the top and work your way down.
Taking down a woman’s hair: hott
Riker: I think I can handle that.
Where’s your feistiness now
Brenna: I was hoping you might.
Not gonna lie, guys…this was PRETTY SEXY, especially considering Brenna was covered in thick wool up top.
So back in the plot, Danilo is requesting whiskey from the replicator (GET IT? BECAUSE HE’S IRISH) and the Enterprise is wending towards the other colony. When they get there, they learn a couple of things:
- the clothes in the new colony are super boring/do not involve shawls
- they are ALL CLONES, leading to this bit of stellar dialogue:
Dr. “Bad Hair” Pulaski: Tell me, is your entire population made up of clones, Prime Minister?
Prime Minister: Clones.
As if this episode wasn’t already crazy enough, we add some fucking CLONES to the mix. So the main problem with this new colony, which is called “Mariposa,” is that if you clone a clone, you’re getting a copy of a copy, and eventually, the copy is going to be so bad that it’s not going to look like anything. We all saw Multiplicity, right? That last Michael Keaton was effed up. So Mariposa is like “can we have some of your DNA to refresh our population” and the crew of the Enterprise is like “uh, no, creepy,” but the Mariposa people STEAL their epithelial cells (the best ones for cloning) anyway.
Riker and Pulaski have to go DESTROY the clones of themselves and the Mariposa people are like “NOW what are we going to do?” and Picard is like “you don’t need more clones, you need breeding stock, and we have some in Cargo Hold 7.” The homeless Irish will have a place to live, and the Mariposa people will have someone to bone! Everyone wins!
But we are left with SO MANY STRINGS:
- Brenna deserts Riker for a new colony
- the Mariposa people are, apparently, forgiven for stealing Riker’s and Pulaski’s DNA (like you would want a planet of Pulaskis anyway)
- Worf FAINTED earlier
- there is goat shit all over the cargo hold
But we got to see this:
…and that is worth a million unfinished plotlines.
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