This episode finds the Enterprise (surprise, surprise) transporting some sort of highly-coveted arbitrator, a la Judge Judy, named Riva, to help two warring planets finally make peace after centuries of war. The first thing we see is neither fashion- nor arbitration-related, but I love it anyway:
What the hell is THESE orbits
What is happening with that one orbit?! And where can I get one of these planetary system projections for my coffee table? (Note: I do not actually own a coffee table.) When even Picard is like “wtf,” you know that orbit is wonky.
But on to the main thrust of our story. Troi, as she is wont to do, accompanies Picard and Worf down to fetch Riva. For this occasion, she has decided to coat her lips in molten bronze:
It only burns for a second and then I look beautiful
Troi is very, very pretty, to be sure, but I really think she’s more of a winter than an autumn. That bronze is far too warm (and shiny) for her face. I did color me beautiful in seventh grade home ec; I am qualified to make these calls.
They meet Riva, about whom I can’t decide which joke to make:
So many possible jokes
1. He’s a lumberjack from a tropical island (note: joke stolen from warm-up guy at the taping of the Colbert Report that Charlie and I went to last week)
2. Something something “Footloose” blah blah “Danger Zone”
3. Jesse Tyler Ferguson looks really different with the beard
I think Ginger Kenny Loggins here needs a haircut (ya damn hippie) and maybe a beard-maintenance lesson from Riker, but overall he looks pretty appropriate for a universally-desired arbitrator guy:
Seriously, what’s with the too-short sleeves again
Mayyyyyyyyyybe a little too many pleats on the sleeves. If you took out just ONE pleat, your sleeves would actually be long enough! But I think it makes sense for him to be in all whites and neutral grey. Very dignified. 10 Dignity Points.
So Picard and Troi start to talk to him, and are surprised to learn that Riva is a deaf-mute with a Chorus of telepathic mouthpieces that do all his speaking for him:
We felt like togas were a little too on the nose, you know? What with being a Chorus and all
He needs three translators, because DUH, he can’t possibly use the same translator to speak about scholarly interests AND discuss war AND seduce sexy ladies. He’s not William Riker, jeez.
So we have the Scholar:
The sleeve ruffles make me feel closer to Riva
The scholar apparently went to France junior year and started wearing a beret because he thinks it makes him look smart, and everyone tells him it looks great, but really, everyone thinks it just makes him look like a dick. Also, I think the dress he’s wearing (oh, it’s definitely a dress) was recycled from the BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice. That empire waist is Austen-era FOR SURE.
Then we have the guy who is credited as “Passion/Warrior/Anarchy of Lust” in the Memory Alpha post about this episode:
My hair gets puffier as I get lustier
Okay, first of all, this guy only ever speaks to Troi. WE GET IT. TROI IS HOT. In everyone’s defense, if I was as hot as her, and I lived on a starship that put me in contact with a bunch of dudes I’d never see again, I would definitely take advantage of the situation. Also I would get it on with Riker a lot more than she does. There are at a MINIMUM, seven holodecks on the Enterprise, and you know at least one of them is devoted to freaky shit. I’m just saying.
Boner-camouflaging pants: crucial for the Anarchy of Lust thing
For someone who is supposed to represent passion, this is not a very sexy outfit. It looks so complicated! So many layers! Layers are obstacles to nakedness. Do not want.
Then we have the sole lady member of the Chorus, who describes herself as “that which ties the other things together; harmony.” So, what, because she’s a woman, she doesn’t get her own title? She’s just there to, like, make sure the dudes don’t get too rowdy? Come on, 24th century, get some better gender roles:
Probably purchased at InnuWindow, which is a play on “innuendo,” which doesn’t make any sense
Like the scholar, Harmony is saddled with a re-used costume, but hers is a valance from the tropical lumberjack shed that Riva spends his winters in. Riva needs to dress his chorus better.
So Riva greets everyone, which goes something like this:
You’ve been working out
Note: he does not greet Troi this way. Save that for later, croquaaaaaaayyyyy?
Speaking of Troi, Riva asks her to have dinner, and at first, the Lust of Anarchy guy is there with them, translating, which is understandably awkward. So he bounces, and Troi and Riva try to find their own method of communication:
At least we know he’s good with his hands
Is this ASL? Are they still using it in 2367? Also, how in the HELL would Troi figure out that these gestures mean what they mean? I mean, I don’t know sign language, so these could very well be the signs for all of these things, but other than “on top,” none of them seem readily guessable by someone who doesn’t know how to sign, yet Troi guesses all of them correctly. I’m going to let you wonder about why “on top” was even a phrase Riva brought up.
Riva, having romanced the lady, proceeds to the planet where he will be doing the negotiation. Key to this scene is that the two warring factions make it VERY CLEAR that they want to speak ONLY TO RIVA. Here is one faction’s crew:
Girl, you need some V05 Hot Oil ASAP
Yet another style from the re-used costume bin: these guys just cut up some old catcher’s vests, threw on some gardening gloves, and called it a day. Seriously, someone took advantage of the sale on matte gold spray paint at Michael’s that week:
My She-Ra doll has a necklace just like that
These guys show up first and are very skittish. I would be nervous too, if I’d showed up to represent my WHOLE PLANET to end a centuries-old war and my hair looked like that. You couldn’t take one second to make sure you didn’t look like part of the ‘93 Phillies lineup? (Mitch Williams: mullet. Mickey Morandini: mullet. John Kruk: glorious mullet.)
Michelin man, is that you
Then the other faction shows up, and it turns out the first guys needn’t have worried, because their hair is just as tragic AND their vests are made of old tires. So they’re on an even playing field, at least.
The thing with these two planets is that they’re a little primitive, and thus don’t understand the whole deal with Riva and his translating Chorus. So when the chorus starts to speak, one of the factions shoots at Riva – but nails his Chorus with the lasergun instead:
I’m sorry, but I have only one word for this series of screencaps: LOLOLOLOLOL. You can see their skeletons!! This is the height of CGI for the time, I’m sure, so I won’t hate, but it’s really one of the more hilarious things that’s ever happened on any planet. It’s like: surfing squirrel, this, box cat. Total hilarity.
So Riva is like “oh shit, my Chorus!” and starts to freak out that he won’t be able to do his job, but Picard basically does a Picard version of “get a hold of yourself, man!”
And Riva realizes that since neither warring faction knows sign language, he’ll teach it to both of them, and somehow the learning together will bring peace? I’m not really sure how the plan is supposed to work, but he seems confident. Must be all the sleeve pleats.