Season 2, Episodes 8 & 14
Watchers: Mike & Brendan
I’m back!! So I think part of the reason that I’ve not blogged in a few weeks (other than life got in the way) is that I’m bogged down in Season 2 and, frankly, it’s just not that good. I need to buckle down and finish this season!!!!
With that in mind, I watched two episodes with my friend Brendan yesterday and in honor of his amazing facial hair, I chose two Riker episodes: “A Matter of Honor” & “The Icarus Factor”. 🙂
A Matter of Honor
I don’t want to get bogged down in a recap here, but this is the episode where Riker enrolls in the never mentioned before or since “Officer Exchange Program”. He becomes the executive officer on a Klingon Bird of Prey for a few days. As Brendan pointed out, this episode is totally about race. It’s like Riker goes to a rich white person high school and he just got transferred to the all black school across town. Come to think of it, that’s the plot of Bring It On: The Musical. But unlike Campbell, he doesn’t take the Klingon dance troupe to state in a cheerleading competition. Instead, he struggles to adapt to a very different culture and command structure- one that’s built on survival of the strongest.
It’s not long before Riker kicks some ass and earns some respect. He even gets to sit with the cool kids at lunch and has them laughing in no time. In fact, he starts to look pretty good to the female Klingons who start to flirt with him. If you call this flirting: “He is not very attractive, but I will have him.” Um… yeah you will. We all know Riker is easy and I’m pretty sure we all know why he’s limping at the end of the episode. 😉
Matter of Honor also gives us an interesting peak into how the Klingons were being written in 1989– before they were quoting Shakespeare in The Undiscovered Country and before we delve deeply into their culture in later TNG and DS9. Here they can come across as a little two demential- more angry than interesting. Captain Kargan is the worse victim of this. He is grumpy, frowny faced and trusts no one. He jumps to conclusions and refuses to listen to reason. He’s all around a bad leader and a poorly written character– just there to advance the plot of Riker having to take over the ship.
Thank goodness Worf gave Riker that emergency transponder before he left! He was clearly worried that Riker would get in over his head. Which didn’t really happen- but Riker was able to use the transponder like James Bond would use a gadget from Q branch. It was just the right tool at just the right time. A little convenient, but that’s ok. Of course, he’s also lucky that Kargan didn’t destroy the transponder as soon as he saw it, fearing it was a weapon. Instead he just held it in his hand… foolish.
There’s something else I want to bring up here. Data is promoted to first officer in Riker’s absence and just loved that chair! He swivels around it twice! When Riker probably would have stood up and turned around, Data is all”weeeeeee!”. Ok, maybe not really. But he does spin around in that chair in a way that I don’t think we ever see Riker do. Now, could he sit in it using “The Riker Maneuver“? We’ll never know.
The Icarus Factor
In this episode we learn that Riker has daddy issues. Surprise Surpsie! Basically, his mother died when he was young and his father raised him– but wasn’t very good at the job. At one point he says something to the effect of “The thing about children is, there’s no user manual”. As Brendan was quick to point out– there actually are hundreds of books on raising children, child psychology and parenthood. Basically, this guy just didn’t try! But now Riker and his father haven’t spoken in 15 years when Daddy comes onboard the enterprise to brief Riker on a new mission. Basically, Riker’s been offered his own command and if he takes it his new ship will be assigned to a dangerous area that his father knows all about. Translation: that’s just an excuse that the writers used to get Daddy on the Enterprise. Don’t get me wrong– it’s not a bad script! I love the complex relationship that he has with his dad who he resents but from whom he seeks approval.
I don’t have much else to say about the A plot, really. Other than, once again Riker turns down his own command. This is the 2nd time (for those counting). Why did the writers create this problem so early in the show?? It would have made sense in Season 7 but not this early. And I don’t think they really explain why he turns it down. He just wants to stay on the Enterprise? That just doesn’t make sense. I thought he was supposed to be career minded.
Having watched these two episodes one right after the other, Brendan came up with a great theory. Worf has a total bromance thing going on with Riker! In the “Honor” he is worried about Riker and gives him the transponder. Then at the end he tells him how happy his is to have him back on board. Now, in “Icarus” when Riker is thinking of leaving the ship, Worf gets all pouty and sad and asks if he can be transferred with him!! Poor Worf! He’s so afraid to miss his friend! I know that Wesley think Worf’s mood swings are caused by the anniversary of the right of ascension. And even though Worf does seem to enjoy getting hit with pain sticks- on the holodeck, the bromance theory totally holds up. What do you think?