After dwelling for so long in the late ’80s with Season 1, I needed something a little more crisp and refreshing, so I dove into the other end of the pool with this episode from the last season.
So, PLOT: The Enterprise gets a distress signal from the planet Boraal II, where Worf’s brother is studying the Boraalans secretly, while observing the Prime Directive (there’s just no time for that here, but believe me, it is covered in detail elsewhere). The most important part of that for us is that the Boraalans can’t know that the Federation exists, so that means anyone who interacts with them has to look like them. Which means Worf has to have “surgical alterations”. They throw this around like it ain’t no thang, but really, Worf is having major plastic surgery, right? By the way, this is how they do it:
This this thing make my head look fat?
I think, since this is a Worf episode, we could afford to spend a few moments talking about his personal style, but before we do, I have to say… plastic surgery that happens without having to take off your uniform? This is the future!
Anyway, Worf. Worf, Worf, Worf. It doesn’t quite translate in the still, but he’s got some amazing consternation he’s aiming at Beverly. Look at that Fu-Manchu moustache. It seems so in contrast to the long, flowing, supple hair that’s piled on the pillow next to him. I know that, throughout the series, whenever Worf goes to bed with a woman, he lets his hair down, and it is always full and flowing.
So, transformation complete, Worf heads down to the surface:
I don’t know where to start, so maybe we’ll just go with another pic:
I suppose the most obvious thing is that cowl that he’s wearing. It’s very Robin Hood and his Merry Men, which we’ve already covered in “Q-Pid” (Thanks Anna! image here). The next thing that jumps to mind is that ALL OF THEIR CLOTHING HAS A LOT OF TEXTURE. Helen Keller would have a field day with this stuff (too much?).
So one thing that I couldn’t really get away from in this episode is what the eff was going on with this society, developmentally. Okay, they haven’t discovered Warp Speed (which is what qualifies you to know the Federation, incidentally), but where are they exactly in history? This shot would suggest a medieval period. I mean, his sleeves aren’t even connected to his shirt, for chrissakes.
Of course, he gets found by to Boraalans, who are similarly dressed:
I’m so glad that mauve and chartreuse are in this year.
One thing that we know now about this society is that they are NUTS about closures. Snaps, buttons, laces, sashes, ribbons… anything that can close it up, they’re into. They don’t want to use them, oh, no, they just think it looks classy.
Okay, so, more evidence to suggest a primitive society. They haven’t discovered zippers or velcro yet… that’s fine. Hell, it may even be preferable. Imagine a hipster without zippers or velcro: YOU CAN’T.
Except that when these dudes find Worf in the caves, he’s holding this thing:
What? No, this is just my magic light tube.
Okay, so they have neon tubes? Or something? At first you’re like, “sure, science-fiction”, but then I have to say… along the way they wouldn’t have invented some sort of vehicle? Or a communication device? Or a zipper? Apparently not.
Anyway, PLOT: Worf’s brother is there, Nikolai, and he’s played by Paul Sorvino! He’s got a lot of knits and textures too!
What do you mean, indigo doesn’t go with plum?
So, just in case anyone’s curious, Paul Sorvino is literally the ONLY GUY ON THE PLANET who doesn’t wear a cowl. My theory? He showed up on the set, someone said “you have to wear this”, he said “why? who are you?” and they said “I’m the set anthropologist”, and then Paul Sorvino punched them in the face and said “I’m not wearing that fucking thing, you dickwad.” Anyway, let’s just note that none of the natives are freaked out by the fact that he’s not wearing one.
Oh, I’m forgetting some PLOT: The reason they got the distress call from Nikolai is because the planet is experiencing the phenomenon known as “atmospheric dissipation” where, in this case, the entire atmosphere just disappears in 38 hours. Problem is, Nikolai is now friends with the Boraalans (though they think he’s just another guy from Boraal). Nikolai is in trouble because the Prime Directive indicated that he should have let the Boraalans die in the dissipation (my brain hurts) but instead he protected them. So he has to go up for a Picard tongue-lashing.
Back to the fashion: that’s a lot of purple for one fat guy to wear, right? Well, honey, you ain’t seen nothing yet. When Nikolai gets on board the Enterprise, he chooses these classy civvies:
Plum, grape or eggplant? I can’t decide.
He’s trying real hard here to convince the senior crew to let him help the Boraalans. Troi is having none of it:
How could anyone be seen in an outfit so utterly ridiculous?
So he doesn’t manage to convince the crew, though I choose to believe that that has more to do with the fact that HIS SHOES MATCH HIS SHIRT:
“Nikolai, you’re embarrassing me in front of the rest of the ship.” —Worf
I still really don’t get what this says about a man, that he likes one color so much that he’d wear it ALL OVER ALL THE TIME. It’s really disconcerting, and I’d much rather have him in a cowl and choosing a couple of complementary colors. You chose the wrong thing to get pissy over, Sorvy.
Anyway, PLOT: the captain says he can’t save the people BUT HE DOES IT ANYWAY. We’ve been fed a little backstory about how Worf was the studious, serious one and Nikolai was the wild party one, and it’s right about then that you’re like… brothers? Somehow I already knew this backstory, that Worf was adoped by Nikolai’s father after his family was killed in a space-station attack/blast/collapse(?) way back in the day. So, we’re talking foster brother. The more serious concern is WHY DO I KNOW THIS?
The way Nikolai saves the Boraalans without spilling the beans about THE FUTURE is by beaming them all onto the Holodeck, where they can be fooled into thinking they’re still on their world. Unfortunately, the Holodeck is on the fritz (oh no!) so they have to find another planet to drop them on quick.
This isn’t a fashion item per sé, but it’s the 24th century, iPads and 3D visualizers are about as old news as paper and earth tones, so what would you use to find a new, suitable planet for this Boraalan refugees?
I made it with foam core, some Christmas lights, and my mom’s punch bowl.
If you said something that looks alarmingly like this constellation projector that I used to have when I was a kid, then you were correct:
PS., they never use this thing again. Eventually Data is just like, fuckit, I’m using a computer.
“I swear, Beverly, if you barf on my workstation again, I will punch you. I’m not programmed not to hit girls.” —Data (Though, lets look at those pointy sideburns. Bold choice, Data)
Also, while we have Beverly here, can we talk about the eye makeup? Let’s go in for a closer look:
I’m sorry, we’ll have to seat you and your eyes in the Smoky section.
Look up at Deanna earlier! Wow. All of a sudden I want to be drinking a glass of red wine and have either one of them diagnose me in a deep, husky voice.
Okay, PLOT: They find a planet, but in order for the transition from their old planet to their new planet to go unnoticed, Worf and Nikolai have to lead the refugees on a fake trip in the Holodeck, which means Worf has to spend more time on the Holodeck. He gets to know this guy a bit:
Oh BTW we never discovered paper SORRY.
This kid is the earnest one who you knew was going to be trouble from the start. That thing he’s holding is his village’s Chronicle, which is sacred and stuff and he could only save part of it. Say, let’s go in for a closer look:
This kid realizes he’s dropped a scroll, wanders off, and, inevitably, finds his way off the Holodeck and is TERRIFIED by the rest of the ship:
The open jacket with the top button buttoned is the new black.
What is happening under there, by the way? There’s a lot of bows tied… it must take hours to get dressed and undressed. Nice puce color, though. This is why he looks so scared, though:
That’s not a bumpit holding her hair up in front, right? Ladies?
Anyway. Smoky eyes.
They get him to sickbay, where they get him to take off his jacket, leaving them with more fashion questions than it answered:
This guy: “I have no idea what’s going on here.” Me: “That makes two of us.”
So, here’s a fashion trend I noticed three-quarters of the way through the episode: this culture is a big fan of belts that DO NOTHING. Add belt loops to the list of things they never invented. This must be a known fact, because Worf’s outfit has a belt that’s really only there to give him more of a waist:
Sarah Palin’s Belt to Nowhere.
Is he wearing couch upholstery? Anyway. More people with belts to nowhere:
I’m gonna need something in a primitive space society, with a slight western twinge. Oh, and give that creepy dude in back a crazy Amish beard. Perfect.
All right, folks, it’s getting late so I better wrap this up. They get everyone to the new planet, and just in time. They all kind of give up on the guy who wandered off the Holodeck. On the ship, they’ve decided to let him do what he wants—he can go back to his people and tell them about THE FUTURE, or he can stay on the ship, or he can go back and not tell them anything.
I’m so confused I don’t even know to sit on a chair! WHAT’S A CHAIR?!
I was having trouble remembering how things turned out for him, and then he commits ritual suicide.
Now here’s a thing: how can a guy being confined in a room on a ship with nothing but his own clothes kill himself without leaving a mark anywhere on him? Also, how can the Boraalans produce such finely engineered gromits and not have figured out how to make a few different patterns of clothing?
But that’s a down note to end on. Let’s go back down to the surface:
What kind of animal do you suppose that was?
We of course have to end on a tender brother moment, and it made me realize that, with all of his heavy forhead makeup on, we often miss out on the acting talents of Michael Dorn:
Face, face, face.
Oh, and at the very end, Worf asks to take one of their Chronicles, even though they’re a Pre-Xerox society, and they lost half of their Chronicles in the destruction of their homeworld, and the guy who committed suicide had one with him on the ship. And the guy who gives it away is Nikolai, who’s an impostor anyway.
It’ll make a great centerpiece for CB2.
Sigh. So much texture.