In which Riker likes to see Worf in a dress, Worf beats the crap out a diplomat, and I reference a Star Wars D20 game from college that none of my readers will get.
Worf has a new sash. Made of the ceremonial lamé of his people, and probably weighing less than ten pounds. Riker is also in his dress uniform, so clearly this is his dress sash. Neither of them are looking forward to this diplomatic meetings, and neither of them like the dress uniforms, but Riker can at least have a little fun with it. Honestly, that moment might just make this whole episode worth it. Also, nobody makes Picard wear a dress.
This is some sort of cultural exchange – The ambassadors will be checking out the ship, and Picard will be checking out their home planet, I guess. Alone and without a security contingent. Seems like a great idea, I’m sure nothing will go wrong. Loquel gets to go with Troi to his quarters, Byleth is assigned to Riker but decides he wants to go with Worf instead, and has started off a bit brusque.
Loquel is checking out the vast variety of foods – his people don’t have a culture of eating for pleasure, so she decides to blow his mind by giving him a kind of cake made from, apparently, seventeen different kinds of chocolate. Meanwhile, Byleth is forcing Worf to play waiter. Data is Not Helping. He’s so completely Not Helping that at this point in the series I have to suspect him of intentionally making a joke.
Picard’s chauffeur is not big on small talk, but fortunately they’re distracted from an interminable journey in the ugliest shuttle skin ever by an unknown energy field and a crash-landing on a barely-habitable planet.
Those universal translators are pretty great – they can even tell Picard which button on the shuttle is the radio. It’s gotta be a brain implant that can tap into both his auditory and visual senses. Picard goes to get help but is knocked on his ass by some ground-effect lightning, and he is dragged away by a mysterious figure who couldn’t possibly be the pilot because the pilot was totes injured.
Worf is giving Byleth a tour of Engineering, which is 12 decks of the rear hull. Byleth is continuing his insistence on getting thrown out an airlock. Meanwhile, Troi has given Loquel a 64-ounce smoothie, and then loses him when he sees a kid and doesn’t understand what it is. Their species has some process involving a chrysalis. And Eric’s mom has no problems with strangers giving her child candy.
Picard has woken up with a creepy beeping harness on his side and a woman who appears to be helping him out, but being cryptic about it. Also, the pilot’s dead, and Pciard should definitely not ask what’s in the stew. Anna, for that is hername, was a passenger on a terralian freighter, and has been on this planet for seven years. Picard’s going to get her out, but she has to be the one to go to the shuttle to get the equipment.
Worf is not happy about his assignment. He’s also judging the entire species by his experience with Byleth. Troi even admits to being overdosed on chocolate. And Troi gives Worf counselor’s permission to tell Byleth where to shove it. Riker suggests poker as the correct venue for this. Why would you suggest that, Riker, you don’t even use money?
Now here’s an interesting thing, Anna has locked Picard in. She claims it’s to keep him safe from dangerous animals, but she also managed to totally mangle the transmitter trying to get it free, trapping them both on the planet forever. This subplot is starting to get a little Misery-like.
Actually, scratch that. Not Misery, “Allegiance“, with a dash of “By Any Other Name” thrown in for good measure. Each crewmember being subjected to a varied deluge of experience seems like either an experiment or an attempt at psychological warfare. Picard tries to talk Anna down from her “I love you” moment, with limited success.
Riker’s habit of string raises is catching. Byleth is also stealing Worf’s chips. Finally, the last straw is reached, and Worf throws the ambassador across the room, and they have what looks like quite a cathartic fight. Byleth seems to really enjoy Worf’s demonstration of knocking him on his ass.
Similarly, Picard is picking up on the situation with Anna, desperately trying to make him love her, and she wanders out into the storm, leaving her necklace behind. Mere moments later, the pilot shows up to let Picard out. His people have a healing trance, which is why she thought he was dead. The two of them go to look for the cliff she literally just talked about maybe throwing herself off. Definitely no setup there. Also, she has her necklace back, even though Picard left it in the wrecked freighter.
And yup, Anna was the pilot, trying to study the human concepts of love and intimacy, which, when you consider how… vociferous… Anna got with Picard, suggests that the Federation must have been incredibly lucky in their first contacts so far. The pilot was sent to study love, based on the same story Picard just lived out. Loquel was sent to experience pleasure, Byleth was sent to experience getting your ass kicked. Picard is taking this whole thing fairly well, all things considered.
Turns out another concept this species doesn’t really get is moderation. Moderation is a human quality.