The Arsenal of Freedom – 1.21

So I have a day job and my darling roommate (for whose ST:TNG obsession I am pretty much single-handedly responsible for) does not. So fairly frequently, I will receive any number of electronic messages from her, usually in the form of Facebook wall posts, alerting me to the episode she is watching. This is how I found the delightful episode Captain’s Holiday. So the other day, I see this on my wall:

dude: tell me about your ship, riker. it’s the Enterprise, isn’t it?
riker: no, it’s the…Lollipop.
dude: i have no knowledge of that ship.
riker: it’s just been commissioned. it’s a good ship.

I was MOROSE that I was not at home watching with her, but let’s be real, mama needs a job so she can buy more shoes that look like Worf.

At my earliest convenience, I skedaddled over to my laptop and pulled up the episode in question. It’s a first season episode, which usually means it’s going to be not as good, but it did involve some non-primary-crew-member characters, so I hoped there would at least be some outfits. Sadly, they were mostly Federation folk, so it was pretty much all burgundy and mustard pajamas for the most part. There was this guy, though, who you probably know as “hey, we need sort of a weird-looking guy,” but I know as Subway Ghost from Ghost. The late Vincent Schiavelli, ladies and gentlemen! The link between Jack Nicholson and Fran Drescher! He taught Swayze how to kick a can!

Now, while Vincent’s character here is sort of a recorded pitchman for a planet that was once a major purveyor of weapons (sort of like a Crazy Eddie’s Phaser Emporium Planet, if you will), he is dressed like Hugh Hefner, if Hef was a fan of those duct tape prom dresses you see every year, or maybe of Red Green. With a neck that long, Vincent can get away with the mock duct-tape turtleneck look, but I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. Or anyone.

But really, that’s all the non-Federation garb we see in this episode. So I’d like to take a minute to talk about hair. First, we have Ensign T’Su.

She’s only in this one episode, and I think it’s because Picard was like “Onscreen! Is it onscreen yet? T’Su, move your head, it’s like an orange on a toothpick.” Girl is WORKING. THAT. PERM. And with a middle part? That is hardcore. I would not be surprised if she stood up from that console and had some Starfleet-issue legwarmers on with some 24th-century LA Gear.

So the crew is orbiting this uninhabited planet that used to be a weapons warehouse, and Riker is like “my friend’s ship crashed here, let me go check it out,” so he and Yar and Data kick it on down to the surface to investigate, where they find Captain Paul Rice, friend of Riker:

This guy has been on, like, every TV show, ever (including a second episode of TNG, in which he plays a different character), but I recognized him as the dad of the one Mexican-American kid in Hamlet 2. Which means he probably touched Steve Coogan once, which means he’s awesome. What I don’t understand about his hair here is that it’s at once perfect and imperfect. It’s Schrodinger’s Hair. It’s like a Ken doll’s hair, but then, just to the right of his part, there’s a weird cowlick or something, like the hairstylist just looked at him and said “anything I do to your lustrous raven locks will only make it worse. This imperfection is part of your beauty” and then went to braid Troi’s hair for like 3 hours.

But it turns out this isn’t Paul Rice at all! It’s only a hologram of him, created by the weapon planet to try to trick Riker into giving him information. This is also the aforementioned “dude” in my roommate’s wall post.

Meanwhile, Picard and Crusher are also on the planet, and they’re trapped in a cave of sexual tension, so guess who’s running the ship? Data. But guess who doesn’t like that? Chief Engineer Logan. (Geordi wasn’t promoted until Season 2.) This is Logan:

From the Orson Welles/Vincent D’Onofrio school of Latent Jowlyface comes Vito Ruginis! He plays Logan as douchey as possible, a character choice that I can’t help but think was inspired by the vast amount of gel that must be in his hair. Look at that sheen! Look at that structure! You can almost feel the crunch beneath your fingers.

Also on the bridge, since basically everyone is down on the crazy weapons planet, is Lt. Solis, who I really hope is a descendant of the character Eva Longoria plays on Desperate Housewives. I watched one season of that show and I still know that that was her last name. I don’t know why. What information did I lose to make room for that tidbit? Anyway, here’s Solis:

My research indicates that Solis was played by George de la Pena, who was a soloist at American Ballet Theater in the 70s and 80s. He even played Nijinsky in a movie called Nijinsky, so he must be great. But even great dancers must retire eventually. And what do dancers do when they retire from dancing? Single episodes of TV shows. His hair is sort of dancer-y, don’t you think? A tiny bit of elegant movement, but with each hair perfectly in place, as if by magic. DANCE MAGIC.

The episode has a fair amount of delightfully cheesy action and also taught me that the saucer section (which they refer to as “the saucer section”) can SEPARATE from the rest of the ship! What!? But the real lesson here, I think, is that even in the 24th century, people still have bad hair days.

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