TNG: “Contagion” and “The Royale”

Date: March 18, 2020

Season 2, Episodes 11 and 12

Setting the Stage: I watched both episodes, via Netflix, today with all the fur children and the husband. We are continuing our marathon as yesterday we watched Boondock Saints, an Irish movie with an Italian man, while eating Mexican food and today we watched Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, an Irish movie with a Hispanic man, while eating Chinese food. I’m pretty sure I’m doing this “American” thing right while also supporting local businesses that might be affected by local bans on eating in and such. I felt productive today, although time seems to be slipping away rather quickly as I swore it was just 10:00 pm and now it’s totally 11:00 pm. While I write tonight I decided to hop on Pandora and listed to my El Ten Eleven radio station, so far it’s just as awesome as I remember. Not sure if the link to it will work, but I’m always happy to share my writing jams with others.

Update: last night my internet went out so I went to bed hoping the sun setting and rising would help, and it did. Sorry again for the late post.

Favorite Quotes from “Contagion”:

Wesley: It’s the Yamato, Captain. I can’t stop thinking about her. All those people dead. I don’t know how you and Commander Riker and Geordi, how you handle it so easily.

Picard: Easily? Oh no, not easily. We handle it because we’re trained to, as you will be. But if the time ever comes when the death of a single individual fails to move us…

Picard trying to help Wesley understand how to grieve and getting sidetracked by the potted plant that appears instead of his tea…
Picard staring at the potted plant that just came out of the food replicator thing
This is NOT what I ordered…

Picard: Mr. La Forge, time is the one thing which we do not have in abundance.

While this is not a long quote, it’s one that hits home. I always tell students when advising them on their schedules “time is not something we can make more of”. In these uncertain times, I’m trying to remember happy thoughts and not focus on time I will not get back with those I love. I know I will not take any time I may get in the future for granted ever again.

“Contagion” has the Enterprise heading to the aid of the Yamato as it is in trouble with serious technical difficulties, though that means Picard has enter the Neutral Zone. While talking with the captain, the transmission begins to deteriorate and then the Yamato spontaneously combusts killing everyone on board and, to add insult to injury, a Romulan vessel approaches. Picard wants answers and they will not leave TNZ until he has answers. La Forge explains what happened to the Yamato and thinks it may just be a design flaw. Picard accesses the personal files of the Yamato’s captain and decides to head to where the Yamato was last scanned.

Similar technological issues begin happening on the Enterprise and Picard is concerned. As a probe is launched Picard goes to capture it. La Forge tries to stop him but has to run like a mad man as he figured out what the probe was. Things start breaking down, but slowly, and Picard decides to lead the away team of him, Worf, and Data. No sooner do they beam down the Romulan vessel appears and tries to blow up the Enterprise, but stops at the last minute. Both ships are being fucked with and now the away team is stuck on the planet – oh this is going to be fun. Troi suggests giving everyone on the ship something to do as the tension on the ship is rising, so Riker plans an evacuation.

Data putting his hand through the portal
Welcome to… Portal Kombat!

The away team figures out how to open a gateway but Data is then hit with electricity and the Iconion program tries to rewrite his software. Worf goes through the portal with Data (to get back to the Enterprise) and Picard is going to try to blow everything up. Data reads as dead, but since there are 5 more seasons, I know that’s not going to be permanent. No sooner do I finish that last thought, he pops back up because there was a complete shutdown and a wipe of his affected memory. Picard sets the destruct and jumps over to the Romulan ship so as not to be blown up and O’Brien locks onto Picard to beam him over like a good transporter chief. Riker decides to be a good not-enemy to the Romulans and tells them the fix and we warp away to our next adventure.

"Have you tried turning it off and on again?" from the british IT show

First thing I have to get off my chest is… ARE YOU SERIOUS? The solution is to turn it off and back on again, really? Okay so maybe watching this in 2020 it’s the obvious solution and it’s more obvious when Data fixes himself, but you’re telling me that’s the best we can do in the 24th century and not the absolute first thing that comes to mind when dealing with a software issue? Has La Forge never played a video game and just returned to the last save spot? Have we really advanced technology so much that there’s no need to reboot our systems every so often and return to the last backup? The second thing is that this episode reminds me a bit of the TOS episode “All Our Yesterdays“. While there may not be a crazy librarian, nor does Data get amnesia and decide to marry anyone after he gets struck by computer lightning, this portal can take anyone to any of the places that flash by because, reasons. It’s never explained why this one random thing survived, if the Romulans actually knew about it, or a lot of other things I really wanted to know. One thing I really liked about this episode though was La Forge running through the ship trying to get to the bridge, Picard immediately trusting his Chief Engineer’s assessment, and then finding the time to be a little snarky in welcoming La Forge to the bridge. For those reasons this episode has been Chopped after round 3.

Favorite Quote from “The Royale”:

The Man from Texas: How’d you? Shut my mouth. Hey, you’re not one of them card counting fellas, are you?

Data: The number of the cards and their values remain quite constant. What would be the purpose in counting them?

Something going over Data’s head but, as usual, he’s not wrong.

“The Royale” starts with the Enterprise investigating debris near an uncharted planet and it’s part of an old NASA vessel with the current United States flag and everything. The ship fragment is from the 20th century but looks like it was blown up with 24th century technology, curiouser and curiouser. Data, Worf, and Riker beam down to the only livable spot on the planet in order to see what is going on where they find an antique revolving door. This takes them to the The Royale, a hotel and casino, but they lose communication with the Enterprise. They decide to take a look around and are given rooms and some casino chips where they also find out they’re on Earth. Data’s tricorder reads the folks in the casino are not emitting life signs and the plot thickens. Data plays blackjack with a man from Texas, but Riker decides it’s time to leave – only to be stopped by the revolving door… gasp!

Data wearing a cowboy hat and playing blackjack with a man and a woman
Hit me!

As they try to interact with the people in the casino they are ignored and Worf can’t even break through a wall with his phaser, poor Klingon cannot smash. They take the elevator to the nearest life reading that takes them to a room with a skeleton. The book found on the nightstand looks to be the reality of the structure. Turns out aliens infected the NASA ship and created the area for this one lone survivor out of guilt, but that doesn’t answer “why can’t the away team leave”? All of a sudden the eponymous “Micky Dee” arrives and shoots the bell boy in the back, which happens in the book, so that gives Riker the idea to gamble in order to raise the funds in order to buy the hotel and end the novel so they can leave. Data “repairs” the dice in order to play and win at Craps, Riker really gets into his role as the flamboyant and generous investor, and it works because they are able to leave and beam back. 

Quarter pounder with cheese because FUCK THE METRIC SYSTEM… heh

When I read the title of this episode I immediately thought of the above scene from Pulp Fiction. It gets better when they main character is called “Mickey Dee” as some people refer to McDonald’s as that. Anyway, I immediately fawn over Sam Anderson as the assistant manager as he’s been in a TON of stuff I love including Shonda-land TV, NCIS, Lost, The West Wing, and The Golden Girls. Back to the episode, until they find the skeleton I completely forgot about the NASA debris and was sucked into the weird casino world. The music, and plot, are cheesy as hell but it works perfectly. Like when Picard goes back to the 20th century in “The Big Goodbye” or when the perfect world was created for Kirk in “The Cage“, the world of The Royale hotel is something created by a being that doesn’t understand what it’s like to live that life. To be honest neither does the away team as it’s all just living out history to them. I can’t put my finger on why I like this episode, but I just do. I’ll have a number 6 with cheese and hold the onions, please.

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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