TNG: “The Outrageous Okona” and “Loud As A Whisper”

Date: March 13, 2020

Season 2, Episodes 4 and 5

Setting the Stage: I watched both episodes, via DVD, while in the Bronx with my good friends. I got to spend the morning on Arthur Avenue and had the most wonderful day doing all of the things I miss from my life up North. I’m a total city girl living in not-quite-the-city and Journey would never make a song about me. I made my friends a five-cheese mac & cheese, garlic pull-apart bread, and coffee sugar cookies to thank them for being such awesome friends and for giving me a place to stay. There were also their two cats in attendance, both of whom played musical laps with us. Although I didn’t get any kitty snuggles at night, it was a wonderful Wednesday. Thursday I spent driving back to NC so I’ve had a few days to think about these episodes. I’m also working from home for at least the next two weeks, stay safe and healthy my friends. Tonight’s writing music is Gymnopédies by Erik Satie.

Fun fact about “The Outrageous Okona” is that it’s the only episode in Star Trek history that I could find that has a premiere date on my birthday (December 12th). A dear friend of mine had to spoil the fun and explain about broadcast syndication, but according to Wikipedia and the original air date is December 12, so I’m claiming it and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.

Favorite Quote from “The Outrageous Okona”:

Okona: What about drunk? Ever do that?

Data: From alcohol? That is not possible for me, sir.

Okona: Pity. What about love?

Data: The act or the emotion?

Okona: They’re both the same.

Data: I believe that statement to be inaccurate, sir.

Data is going to have to explain how what else you can get drunk on, but he’s certainly got a better handle on love.

“The Outrageous Okona” begins with a vessel in trouble! The Enterprise offers to help out and encounters a Han Solo-type captain who fancies himself quite the ladies’ man named Okona. La Forge goes to develop a replacement part while Okona is fascinated by Data. Data doesn’t understand humor and desperately wants to, so he tries out Joe Piscopo in the holodeck. Data tries his routine out on Guinan to no avail, but winds up being funny by just being himself.

Han Solo shrugging his shoulders
A rogue captain? Who? Me? Nah! Never…

All of a sudden there are two, quite inferior, ships that approach the Enterprise – and they both want Okona. One wants him because the father is convinced Okona knocked up his daughter and now they must be married. The other wants him because they are convinced he stole a precious jewel. Worf goes to find Okona, who is making a swath through some of the female crew members, and brings him to the bridge to explain himself. Okona swears innocence so they beam aboard the other captains and their respective children to figure this all out.

Romeo holds a dying Juliet, thankfully no one died in this episode
No one died in the making of this episode.

Turns out the children are in a Romeo and Juliet situation and Okona just smuggled them back and forth. The kids decide to marry and the father’s start to argue about where they will live. La Forge fixes the ship part so Okona departs as the rogue with a heart of gold. Data takes Guinan to the holodeck to try out his comedy on a “live” audience but soon realizes they’re programmed to laugh at anything and sad Data is sad.

This episode features a baby Terri Hatcher who had been in all sort of fantastic shows and was a “Bond girl”. I’m quite upset that she starts off rebuking Okona but later give into his charms, come on Hatcher – snap out of it! When Piscopo is doing his Jerry Lewis impression in the holodeck he mentions Teaneck which is a town in New Jersey and also happens to be where I was born, whoa! There are two main parts to this episode: Okona and Data. Okona is set up to be the “bad guy” pretty hard only to have the viewer find out that it was all a front and he’s really the “good guy” in all of this. Data, on the other hand, is obsessed with finding “the thing” that will make him more human or understand humans better. I wish he could understand that just being himself makes him more human sometimes, especially when he makes the joke about words that end in “K”, I about lost it and I’m pretty sure Piscopo did too. Overall this was a solid, good episode but nothing really science-fictiony, so it’s a 7 ate nein rating.

Favorite Quote from “Loud As A Whisper”:

Pulaski: There’s something else you must know. This is a one shot. If you decide to change your mind, there’s no going back. And there are risks. I can offer choices, not guarantees.

La Forge: Well, this is a lot to think about. I’ll get back to you, Doctor. Thank you.

Pulaski is offering La Forge a chance at a pair of replicated eyes here and I feel that “I can offer choices, not guarantees” is such a damn powerful line.

“Loud As A Whisper” has the Enterprise traveling to pick up and transport the famed mediator, Riva. Worf, Troi, and Picard beam down and eventually meet Riva who is apparently deaf and travels with a chorus of three, each who help communicate for him. Riva instantly has the hots for Troi and he also bonds with La Forge over their disabilities. After a brief briefing, I mean it was seriously short, we find out the two factions have been at war for over 1500 years but peace is finally on the table. Riva has no time for the briefing and instead wants his dinner date with Troi and communicates with her in sign language instead of using his chorus. Guess he wanted some alone time with her, giggity.

Riva and the two men and one woman who make up his chorus
Riva and his chorus

On the planet Riva takes charge of the negotiations and is off to a good start until one of the parties fires upon and kills his chorus. They all beam back to the ship and Riva is having trouble communicating so Data is ordered to learn sign language. Troi decides that she will need to give negotiations a try and ultimately convinces Riva to turn his situation into a peace tool. He decides to teach the factions sign language so that as they are learning to communicate with him, they will have something in common and hopefully achieve peace. Picard tells Troi she “done good” and away we go.

Picard does a great job explaining how to communicate with Riva to his crew very easily and very quickly to avoid any further miscommunications. I hate that universal translators cannot understand sign language and it was not something that was pre-programmed into Data. The 24th century is supposed to be super advanced and yet they still do not know how to deal with a person who has a disability or who is unlike the majority of the population. I do like how Picard tells Riva “we are all in this together”, but it’s marred by the fact that he’s shouting and a deaf person cannot hear no matter how loud you go.

What did you say? I didn't quite catch that. A football player who has had trouble catching the ball.
Ah, a sportsball joke.

This episode tried really hard but failed in some spectacular ways. The ending was greatand I thought it was a clever way to achieve peace and to allow Riva to also learn to communicate with others – even if he has to teach everyone sign language. I audibly gasped when Riva’s chorus was killed and truly felt for him being severed from such a big part of his life. Their method of communication was so unique I wanted to know more. Overall I think there could have been better things about this episode, but it also could have been a lot worse. That earns this episode 6 dark chocolate covered pretzels, when you’re feeling sweet and salty.

TA Out!

Published by njdevil12

I'm just a big city girl living in a not so big city with my fur children and partner.

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