First Contact – 4.15

This might be confusing for a second, but this post is not about the Star Trek movie subtitled “First Contact,” but rather an episode in the fourth season, about a planet that is right on the verge of warp technology, which means they’re almost ready to join the Federation! If they want to, that is. Riker heads on down, disguised as one of the species that lives on the planet, to check out the sitch and do some recon, and wouldn’t you know it, but he ends up in the hospital, where all the inhabitants of the planet (including George Hearn) are like “what is this thing” “why does it have digits on its hands” “its heart is in its stomach” etc. The fact that the residents of this world basically look like humans, but with weird heads and flippers for hands is, statistically, NIGH IMPOSSIBLE, but hey, we’re dealing in a universe where the host of Reading Rainbow can drive a spaceship. So I guess anything can happen.

So Picard and Troi speed up the first contact thing and find the main scientist of the planet to be like “oh hey we’re from space, you’re almost to warp technology, you go girl” and she is like “omg aliens, ok this is pretty cool” but everyone else on the planet is like “nuh uh” and she is like “uh huh” and the chancellor (the leader of the WHOLE PLANET, which when you think about it: how is that even a thing? Can you imagine those elections??) is like “GOD YOU GUYS JUST LET ME THINK ABOUT THIS FOR ONE EFFING SECOND.”

This episode did not have a lot of interesting things happening, clothes-wise. BUT. The guest star was Bebe Neuwirth! This episode aired originally in 1991, which meant Bebe was smack in the middle of her run as Lilith on Cheers, so I’m not sure who was riding whose coattails, but this was most certainly a stunt casting, uh, stunt.

Our girl Bebe shows up for less than 5 minutes of the episode as a nurse in the hospital where Riker is being kept prisoner under suspicion of Alienness. As soon as she enters, you know she means business by her no-nonsense outfit:

“In the future, we don’t believe in clothes that fit”

From the way that shit moved, it was either heavy wool or 1960s-level double-knit polyester. Those aliens may have been on the verge of developing the warp drive, but fabric technology is a little behind. Is this a coat or a dress? The world may never know. Let’s check the lapel situation:

“I can’t tell if my brow is furrowed. Now? How about now? I just want to look quizzical”

Warp technology: check. Buttons? Not so much. And those glasses! They are serving up straight Sally Jessy Raphael in the 23rd century. Gaga would be jealous.

So of course Bebe is some kind of alien-fetish weirdo and demands that Riker bone her before she’ll help him escape:

Riker: Don’t be afraid.
Bebe: We shouldn’t fear things that are different. We should embrace them.
[serious, serious eye fucking in Riker’s direction]

Riker, being Riker, is probably kind of into it, but he is on a mission! No dilly-dallying! Plus, what can she possibly do with these hands:

“Yay!!! Alien boning!!!!!”

But she is persistent, and we see her VERY interested in Riker’s fingers right before the scene cuts out. So I guess we are meant to assume that Riker does, in fact, get it on with her, alien-finger-style. Or something.

“Damn, I wish I wasn’t so literally universally sexy”

She helps him escape, but not before gazing at him helplessly and asking him whether she’d see him again. “I’ll call you the next time I pass through your star system,” he says, just like a goddamn man. Always having weird alien finger sex and then leaving on their spaceships!!

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