“You owe me a ship, Picard.”

Sometimes it’s the weirdest things that get me wrapped around the axle. Such a great metaphor, right? Better than “like a mad dog with an old rag” although it’s basically the same thing. A fly in the ointment; the monkey in the wrench. The pain in the ass. The thing that stops the forward motion, dead. These new Kurtzman Star Treks seem to have at least one an episode… and not overt stuff like why does Irish Romulan have a hearing aid if it isn’t a story point, or how Starfleet designed and instituted and replicated and subsequently enslaved Data-level Real Dolls in six short years. Good morning, Plastic People! Sometimes you just have to shake your head and let the narrative roll over you. But this “Zhat Vash” secret police of the secret police thing is indefensible. There are a million homophones in the English language, and one assumes a million more in Klingon, Vulcan, and Romulan, so, OK, but why is the writer’s room in love with the syllable “vash” besides the obvious that Jennifer Hetrick is amazing and everyone loves “Captain’s Holiday” and all but did we need the Romulan Gestapo and this week’s Romulan reservation planet need to be called “Vashti” as well? That’s like having every Army show have a character or forward base or political party or small Latin American country to overthrow or whatever called “Radar” or “Trapper Johnistan” or something.\

I did like hearing “Jolan Tru” and seeing a proper bottle of Romulan Ale on the table again, which was nice.

But this episode, all I could think of was Michael Chabon’s limp defense of cussin’ in Star Trek: Picard. I was happy to see that at least Captain Rios knows how to swear like an adult. “I hate the fuckin’ Hospitality Program” is a thing that his scotch-drinkin’, paper book-readin’, stogie butt-chewin’ anachronistic throwback space pirate might actually say, and the line was delivered convincingly. I mean, it still sounds off for Star Trek but at least the argument can be made. Chabon’s interview, though, claiming the cussin’ is pushback against the censorship! of the 1960s network television censors! in Standards and Practices is so precious in the extreme it hardly seems Kosher to address it. These guys will twist themselves into all sorts of knots to explain the stupidest story choices. Swearing is what real people would do in space! Really? Real people would clog up the air vents trying to give themselves haircuts with the biology experiment in science bay three. Real people would murder their significant other within three weeks in the icy cold of space as soon as somebody used their toothpaste or drank their vodka hidden in the borscht tubes. Real people would open the windows for the sweet release of vacuum after a month of eating cheese sticks with eight essential vitamins and iron while washing it down with their reclaimed pee a couple AUs north of the plane of the ecliptic. Pampered English majors don’t know anything about what real people would do in any situation, much less the massively made-up world of Star Trek, and Chabon should be ashamed of himself for saying so in public.

But at least it was the Latino Han Solo who said, “I hate the fuckin’ Hospitality Program” and not the noob Cadet or a Starfleet Admiral enunciating! every! syllable! which is more on-model for a space story. More The Expanse than Star Trek  but we have to take the lemon with the meringue at this point.

Romulan warrior nuns? I guess that’s cool that’s a thing, but did they have to make Elnore such a Lord of the Rings elf? What’s wrong with showing a guy raised by Romulan! Warrior! Nuns! and the external shape his internal conflict takes. There’s no way a teenager left alone in that situation isn’t a fool or a badass twice his life later. He should have a short haircut he gave himself, Romulan death metal band logo tattoos on his arms, dirty clothes, and a shitty attitude. If you think I’m sassy, can you imagine if I was raised on the Absolute Candor planet since I was a kid? This guy shouldn’t be Space Legolas, he should be Space Jason Mewes.

Anyway, good to see Seven of Nine show up in episode Four of Ten. That’s not going to seem like an interminable waste of time, getting the team together when the season is half done, no, it won’t.

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