This episode really wants to hammer home that “perspective” angle mentioned in the title, so it opens with a painting class:
I paint my own misery
Man, lieutenant! Why you so sad, girl? You have incredible shoulderpads, you should be gleeful! And the silhouette on your top (or possibly jumpsuit) is quite flattering, though the neckline is a bit high. Who else is in painting class?
Mock turtlenecks are so called because they mock you with their ugliness
YOU GUYS KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT MOCK TURTLENECKS. They are the devil. This one is no different, though this is an interesting shade of vermillion this ensign is sporting.
Tactical analysis through art appreciation
Picard, the classiest dude. Not only is he in a painting class WHILST CAPTAINING (as we assume the captain never really stops being the captain), but he is also sporting a fancy kimono top in a steel blue to bring out the shininess of his head. Let’s get a better look at that collar:
I made this shirt out of the ocean, that’s the kind of power I have
Picard does often enjoy an asymmetrical look (as do many of the crew; Troi’s most cleave-worthy dress comes to mind) and this is no exception, the flap dangling open casually as if to say, “Yes, I am responsible for over a thousand lives on this ship, but I also enjoy daiquiris on a lawn chair on occasion.” I can’t tell if that’s a pattern or a texture on the silky fabric, but either way, I like it.
And what, you may wonder, are all these students painting?
Dangerous curves ahead
Ohhh daaaaaamn! Who is this fine bitch?! I wonder if this is a real person, or if they are in the holodeck and this is a holonude model. It would be a little weird if it was, like, some random engineering crew member that has now been seen au naturale by her colleagues AND CAPTAIN. But I suppose there is plenty of boning on the Enterprise, so eventually everyone in the crew will have seen at least one other crew member naked. Statistics.
The real story in this episode – because the opening scene seems to be included so that Data can hilariously trash JLP’s artistic talents – is that Riker is visiting a science space station to check in on a scientist doing something sciencey (trying to find Krieger waves, if you must know). Riker is in the midst of transporting back to the Enterprise when:
Yeah, that was the space station. Well, shit. Everyone is like “huh, weird,” but assumes it was some sort of crazy accident, until this guy shows up:
Everyone’s standing so close together
Aside from his hair, which we’ll address momentarily, this outfit at first seems drab and boring. Wow, guy, a black suit, REAL CREATIVE. But looking closer, there are some interesting things happening. Once again, we have some asymmetry happening here on his jacket, but it sort of looks like he just buttoned his buttons in the wrong buttonhole. I am, however, quite enjoying the lapel action:
Their main export is hair gel; it is also their main import
It’s almost like this lapel is two different lapels, with the top and bottom being cobbled together into some sort of Frankenstein lapel. I think his mock turtleneck is made of craft foam.
I wonder if his hair is shaped like that, or if his head is shaped like that:
Proof that baldness is not necessarily a liability
Oh, yeah, it’s his hair. So high! Pauly D is jealous.
So this silver guido is like, “that was no accidental explosion – Riker did it on purpose as he was leaving the space station and thus is guilty of MURDER.” Obviously, Riker didn’t murder this guy, but Picard has to take the accusation seriously because of Space Law or something. What follows is a “trial” in the holodeck in which Riker, the dead scientist’s wife, and the dead scientist’s assistant give depositions that are then programmed into the holodeck so that we can see a re-creation.
FIRST of all: what?!? How is this more useful than just hearing testimony? It’s just as unreliable, but easier to believe, because you are “seeing” it happen. Now, it does turn out to be important that they run the trial this way, but why would you do it in the first place??
Present at the trial are Riker, his accuser, Picard (who is supposed to be neutral), and Troi, for, uh…sensing…things. Or, you know, boobs. Honestly, I’m just super into this table.
We meet the dead scientist and his assistant – or rather, we meet their holodeck avatars in Riker’s version of events:
I needed somewhere to keep all my pens
That hair is glorious. I wonder if she did what Victorian ladies used to do, which was that they would clean out their hairbrush every so often but keep their own shedded hair in a little box on their vanity, and then craft a “rat” of hair that they put under the hair still attached to their head to create volume.
Probably she just has a really big, futuristic Bump-It.
And I kind of love her top, even though I could never wear something that textured in front. The way the pleats are arranged is flattering in this pic, but from the back:
I personally enjoy this look, since I’m trying to bring back the bustle, but some ladies might not be super-pleased with the extra volume in the badonkadonk region.
Also crucial to this episode is the dead scientist’s wife, Manua (I thought her name was “Manual” for like half the episode):
Apparently on a space station one does not need to dress in clothing to receive visitors, but can remain in one’s mullet nightgown. In her defense, it is super cute, but for one detail:
Why, Manua? Why do you need that illusion netting? This would be so great without that, but I guess she is concerned about her decollete.
And can we talk about the serious eye-fucking she is working in Riker’s direction in this shot? This will be important, since in Riker’s version, girl is sweating him like a Axe-Body-Spray wearing bro in a club on West 25th St. I mean, girl.
Just touching my own chest to draw your eye there, NBD
She is shameless. And in front of her husband, whose pants appear to start at about the bottom of his ribcage. Once again, nice lapel, though.
I’m drunk on your beard
I mean, no one could blame this woman for mentally un-jumpsuiting Number One, sure, but does she have to be so obvious about it? Then I remember that this is not an actual event, just Riker’s memory of it, so it’s probably at least a little exaggerated. Her hair, I hope, is not exaggerated at all, because it is wondrous. I wonder if she pulled a Gaga and did her hair this way.
Tee hee, I locked you in here
Is this supposed to be come-hither? It looks a little more like “I stole your pot of gold, haha,” but we know Riker’s got a weakness for cute Irish girls.
Anyway, in this version, Riker’s version, Manua is a man-eater, and then the scientist catches her putting the moves on him and gets mad. Riker then leaves via transporter and the space station blows up.
The accuser guy (with the double arches hair) claims that Riker tried to shoot the scientist JUST as he was being transported away:
No more science for you!!
This seems as illogical as it does dangerous, but no one seems to mention that. What motive does Riker have to kill this guy? They sort of address it, but not really.
You may have noticed the caption up there; I accidentally enabled the YouTube captions at this point in the video. I’m glad they stayed on for a little bit, because this happened:
There are like five plausible indie rock band names in there
I wrote down what Worf was actually saying, which was “sensors indicate a radiation burst on deck 39 outside cargo bay 12.” Check out this radiation!
Char-broiled metal, mmmm
LeVar Burton and Wil Wheaton: masters of confusion.
As is appropriate and expected, the B plot of the mystery radiation will have some bearing on the A plot of the trial. Speaking of which:
I’m a professional
That headband is, like, the Troi equivalent of a scrunchie, in that it is a hair thing, and it makes her look dumb.
Next on the docket: Manua’s version of the events leading up to her husband’s death. She’s wearing a decidedly more demure and less cute outfit to the trial:
Florence Welch would love it
At least her hair is still interesting:
I killed a man with these earrings
I like a woman who can work the same hairdo all the time, like Janelle Monae or Wilma Flintstone.
So in Manua’s version, she is the innocent, and Riker the lascivious ogler:
Just try to resist my one weird eye
I’ma be real, this shot does not capture the essence of his gaze. It was sort of unsettling. Manua looks appropriately unsettled:
Your eyes are burning a hole in my nightie
Note that her nightie still has the illusion netting, but with a slightly higher neckline than the previous one. She’s still showing off her shoulders like a whore, though.
We see essentially the same scenes again, with Riker being the aggressor this time, giving him something of a motive to kill the scientist (since he doesn’t want to be revealed as an attempted rapist).
At this point, the trial portion is pretty much a he said/she said type situation, and Troi assures us that everyone thinks they are being truthful (it’s a MATTER OF PERSEPECTIVE, GET IT). Meanwhile, on the rest of the ship, more radiation:
That’s where we keep the demons
Sickbay has to be cleared out because of the weird radiation, which has been revealed to be on a very exact cycle. THIS WILL BE IMPORTANT. Bev’s patient is wearing off-duty clothes:
Spandex for all
I think those are spandex pants she’s wearing with that sweater (possibly a fine-knit cable situation), but I really hope it’s a skirt. And I want one.
We still have one more “witness” to hear from, which is the scientist’s assistant, the one with the sweet hair. Also sweet? Her shoes:
Is that a button? A huge, awesome button?? On SILVER shoes? Really, the only thing wrong with these is that they are flats, and even that I’m willing to overlook:
Turns out the scientist isn’t doing too shabby himself in the kicks department. A shiny brown ankle boot a la The Beatles? Pretty cool, scientist.
In the assistant’s version, Riker and Manua are BOTH at fault, and actually end up making out:
Hands above the equator
Interestingly, it’s in the assistant’s version that Manua is dressed most scantily:
Not even illusion netting to cover you
I could write a whole thing about how it’s women, not men, who are actually harder on other women who dress in a way that they don’t find “appropriate,” or about slut-shaming and the role of clothing in slut-shaming, or the evolution of how much skin is okay to show, but instead I will just point out that the dart in this dress is, like, not doing anything.
In the end, it turns out that the mysterious radiation all over the ship was ALSO the cause of the space station exploding: the scientist attempted to kill Riker as he transported away, not the other way around, but because of the mysterious radiation, the beam bounced back into the space station’s energy source, causing the explosion:
It turns out to be useful that they’re doing this convoluted holodeck deposition trial, since they can actually prove what happened by re-creating it with the real radiation, except no one actually dies? I guess? And they are all left in the holodeck:
Everything is righted (I mean, scientist dude is still dead, but I guess he deserved it) and the Enterprise goes on its merry way, sadly bereft of those sweet space sneakers.