Oct 19 2012 6:30pm

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “Chain of Command, Part I”

Star Trek: The Next Generation “Chain of Command, Part I”
Written by Frank Abatemarco and Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Robert Scheerer
Season 6, Episode 10
Production episode 40276-236
Original air date: December 14, 1992
Stardate: 46357.4

Captain’s Log: The Enterprise rendezvouses with the U.S.S. Cairo near the Cardassian border to meet with Vice Admiral Alynna Nechayev, who relieves Picard of command of the Enterprise. She then meets with Riker, Data, and Troi, explaining that the forces the Cardassians had been using to hold the Bajoran system have been moved toward the Federation border, and that they’re making incursions on disputed planets on that border. She explains that not only Picard, but Worf and Crusher have been reassigned, and that Captain Edward Jellico, CO of the Cairo, will be taking command of the ship for a negotiation with the Cardassians – Jellico has considerable experience with the Cardassians.

Riker is a little cranky about all this – three of the senior staff reassigned, Nechayev playing word games regarding “war” versus “incursion” which sounds dangerously like doublespeak, and then someone else being given command instead of him—and meets Jellico in the transporter room. Jellico has his own style—he knows Riker’s service record already, and asks how he prefers to be referred to, “William” or “Will” (what, no “Bill”?), and also asks for a change to a four-shift watch.

Meanwhile, Picard, Worf, and Crusher are running drills on the holodeck, performing a mission that involves running through caves and fighting off Cardassians. The specifics of the mission have yet to be divulged to Worf or Crusher.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

The change-of-command ceremony occurs in Ten-Forward – Picard reads his orders, transfers command codes to the new guy, and then is formally relieved by Jellico. The two captains talk in private about the mission – the intelligence Picard has on the installation is two years old, and Jellico offers to launch a probe. When ordering Riker to do that, Jellico learns that the four-shift rotation hasn’t been implemented yet, as the department heads have all stated that a four-shift rotation would present significant personnel issues. Jellico doesn’t give a good goddamn, and he tells Riker to get it done, no matter what the department heads say.

(The four-shift thing has always bugged me. The most efficient method on a twenty-four hour day with humans is eight hours of sleep, eight hours of work, eight hours of leisure – that’s three shifts. Having four six-hour shifts instead is disruptive and silly, and it’s the one change that Jellico makes that never made anything like sense.)

Later on the bridge (which Jellico’s arrival on is announced by Data with “Captain on the bridge!”), the ship is 51 hours from their rendezvous with the Reklar for the negotiations and Jellico seems determined to overhaul the Enterprise’s engines and tactical systems. He calls for a change in the distribution of phaser power and warp coil efficiency, which will require the entire engineering staff working ’round the clock.

Troi talks to Jellico as he’s redecorating his ready room—including with some artwork by his young son—about the difficulty of adjusting to Jellico’s command style. Jellico then fobs it all off on her; he doesn’t have time for a honeymoon with the crew, and puts her in charge of “the morale situation,” making sure they adjust to his way of doing things.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

La Forge talks to Riker about Jellico’s wholesale changes—which are fine in and of themselves, but La Forge can’t make the changes in the time allotted and with the personnel he has, while adjusting to a stupid four-shift rotation. La Forge suggests talking to Picard, but Riker comes to him when he’s back from training for the mission, and he’s obviously completely fried. Riker gently backs off from burdening him further.

Jellico and Picard have a final meeting, with Picard singing Riker’s praises to an unimpressed Jellico. Then the shuttle departs with Picard, Worf, and Crusher, and the captain can now explain the mission: Starfleet Intelligence believe the Cardassians are developing metagenic weapons. SI detected theta-band emissions that may indicate the construction of a delivery system for the metagenic weapons that would make them safe for the wielder (which has always been the biggest risk with bio-weapons of this sort). The three of them are to penetrate the Celtris III installation, determine if metagenic weapons are being used, and destroy them.

Picard did experiments with theta-band emissions on the Stargazer, Crusher is there to find and destroy any biotoxins, and Worf is there for muscle. They can’t go into Cardassian territory on a Starfleet shuttle, so they acquire passage on a Ferengi cargo carrier. Upon arrival at Celtris III, they move through caves that look like the ones from the holodeck. However, the real thing has bats, which startle Worf (“You’re not afraid of bats, are you, Lieutenant?” “Of course not!”), and then they have to rappel down a cliff face, which makes Crusher apprehensive (“You’re not afraid of heights, are you, Doctor?” “Of course not!”).

Star Trek: The Next Generation

The Enterprise meets with the Reklar, and Gul Lemec beams on board. Jellico deliberately keeps them waiting by way of establishing dominance in the meeting. (When he explains this to Troi, he likens Cardassians to timber wolves.) When he finally does meet with Lemec, Riker and Troi by his side, he causes a scene, running over Lemec’s objections that he was waiting for an hour and that it’s not a one-on-one meeting, and then Jellico storms out. On the bridge, he tells Riker and Troi to go back and tell Lemec that Jellico is a loose cannon and give grudging permission for two aides.

At the second meeting, to which Lemec has indeed brought two aides, Jellico is much more polite—at least, at first. Lemec insists that the troops massing are training exercises. Jellico counters that they might send starships on the border to observe the exercises. There’s posturing back and forth, and then Lemec makes it clear that they know about Picard, Worf, and Crusher’s mission, which sets everyone on edge.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

On Celtris III, after cutting through a lava tube (and after Worf has to rescue Crusher from a cave-in, literally picking Picard up and moving him out of the way so he can save her with his soooper Klingon strength), they arrive at a maintenance hatch for the installation.

Except, once they break into the hatch, there is no installation, no lab, no nothing, just another cave, with a small device that emits theta-band waves. Picard channels Admiral Ackbar (“It’s a trap!”), and they try to escape, but only Worf and Crusher get away. Picard is captured, and brought to an interrogator named Gul Madred, who announces that the questioning of Picard will be an interesting challenge.

To be continued...

Can’t we just reverse the polarity?: Metagenic weapons can wipe out every living thing on a planet, but leave the equipment and technology intact (basically a big-ass sci-fi version of a neutron bomb). The Cardassians are alleged to be developing a subspace carrier wave for such a weapon, which would leave it neutral until it’s deployed.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Thank you, Counselor Obvious: Troi tries to talk to Jellico about the problems the crew is having with his command style, and Jellico not only shuts her down, but makes her wear a formal uniform, something she hasn’t done since “Encounter at Farpoint” (and which she will continue to wear for the rest of the show’s run).

There is no honor in being pummeled: Worf gets to show off a bit here, singlehandedly rescuing Crusher from a cave-in, then using his mad security skillz to break into the fake lab.

If I only had a brain...: Data turns out to be the ideal officer for Jellico, because he does what he’s told and comes up with methods of doing things without letting emotion get in the way. This will be carried over into next week...

What happens on the holodeck stays on the holodeck: Picard runs simulations on the holodeck of the cave system on Celtris III. When they’re on Celtris III itself, Picard recognizes the bats, so why the heck didn’t he put them in the holodeck program? Seems to me that it’s not much of a simulation if it doesn’t include that...

I believe I said that: “I’ve got to get this ship ready, and I don’t have time to give Will Riker, or anyone else, a chance. And forgive me for being blunt, but the Enterprise is mine now.”

Jellico peeing all over Picard’s stuff.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Welcome aboard: Four of the most distinctive guest stars in Trek history this week, creating four memorable characters. Natalia Nogulich makes the first of many appearances as the antagonistic Admiral Nechayev. John Durbin, having previously been a Selay on “Lonely Among Us,” plays Gul Lemec with a wonderful voice and a delightfully insincere smile (he’ll return to play roles on both Deep Space Nine and Voyager). Ronny Cox brings the same intensity to Edward Jellico that he brought to his signature roles in the films Total Recall and RoboCop, and the great David Warner makes an immediate impression in the final scene as Gul Madred, warming us up for next week (Warner appeared in two straight Trek films, playing the drunken St. John Talbot in Star Trek V and the ill-fated reformer Chancellor Gorkon in Star Trek VI).

Lou Wagner also appears as DaiMon Solok; he’ll be back later this season on DS9 as Krax in “The Nagus.”

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Trivial matters: This two-parter sets the stage for Deep Space Nine, establishing that the Cardassians have pulled out of Bajor. The original intent was for the scene with DaiMon Solok to involve Quark and take place on DS9, but it was changed when the decision was made to debut the spinoff in January, a month after “Chain of Command” aired. That scene was filmed on DS9’s replimat set.

The character of Jellico only appears in this two-parter on screen, but he recurs extensively in the tie-in fiction. He’s a regular in Peter David’s New Frontier series (having been promoted to admiral following the events of this two-parter), and also plays a large supporting role in David Mack’s Destiny trilogy. He’s made a bunch of other appearances, most taking place after this storyline, but your humble rewatcher did a story of Jellico on the Cairo for the Captain’s Log comic book miniseries published by IDW.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

The same thing for the character of Madred, who has appeared in the DS9 novels Mission: Gamma: Lesser Evil by Robert Simpson and A Stitch in Time by Andrew J. Robinson, the TNG novel Ship of the Line by Diane Carey, and your humble rewatcher’s short story “Four Lights” in the TNG anthology The Sky’s the Limit, that last a direct sequel to this two-parter, where Picard captures Madred during the Dominion War and puts him in the brig.

Lemec will appear again as the Cardassian leader of the conquering of Betazed during the Dominion War, as seen in both your humble rewatcher’s short story “The Ceremony of Innocence is Drowned” in Tales of the Dominion War and the TNG novel The Battle of Betazed by Susan Kearney & Charlotte Douglas.

This is the first of several onscreen appearances by Nechayev, who will return in “Descent,” “Journey’s End,” and “Preemptive Strike,” and also appear twice on DS9. She, too, is a regular in David’s New Frontier series, and is also in (among others), Rogue Saucer and the Genesis Wave series by John Vornholt, Terok Nor: Dawn of the Eagles by S.D. Perry & Britta Dennison, Invasion!: Time’s Enemy by L.A. Graf, Hollow Men by Una McCormack, the Destiny trilogy by David Mack, your humble rewatcher’s The Brave and the Bold Book 2, and the comic book The Space Between by David Tischman and Casey Maloney.

The episode was originally intended as a single story, with Picard being rescued in the end, but Michael Piller suggested expanding it to do a two-person play with Madred and Picard for the second part as a budget-saver. It not only worked to help keep the budget under control, it made the two-parter far more memorable.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Make it so: “Get it done.” This is half a great episode, as we get a shakeup of the status quo on the Enterprise. Edward Jellico is a fascinating character—also a polarizing one. Talking about him among Star Trek fans is always entertaining, because opinion is usually divided down the middle. Some think he’s just what the ship needed, others think he’s an irredeemable asshat.

Mind you, the episode works because they’re both right. Jellico is a good captain, just with a different style (epitomized by his more direct “get it done” versus Picard’s gentler “make it so”). He’s also put on the ship during a tense situation, which warps everything around him, magnifying the problems and muting the good. He has a much more formal command style, but he refers to everyone casually by their given name, an interesting velvet glove in which to clad his iron fist. His changes to the engineering and tactical systems are reasonable given the likelihood of a conflict—on the other hand, asking them to make such radical changes so quickly is just asking for trouble, especially when you’re also adjusting to a spectacularly stupid new shift structure on top of it. (I know I keep harping on it, but the four-shift thing is really dumb, and Jellico’s insistence on sledgehammering it in along with everything else serves to make him look unnecessarily stubborn and recalcitrant.)

But the shakeup works wonderfully, creating some fascinating dynamics, especially with Jellico’s increased dissatisfaction with Riker (which will come to a head next week).

Star Trek: The Next Generation

The other half of the episode falls apart as soon as you blow on it. The actual mission of gadding about through the caves is mildly diverting (less so the idiotic scene where they book passage with the Ferengi, which might have been salvaged by Armin Shimerman...), but it makes absolutely no sense that these three people are being sent on the mission. Picard’s the captain of the flagship—just because his ship played with theta-band emissions once (and it had to have been at least a decade earlier), they’re going to take him off his post to lead this mission? Wouldn’t it make more sense to take a doctor who specializes in bio-weapons instead of Crusher? And doesn’t Starfleet Intelligence have, y’know, operatives who can do what Worf is doing?

Worse, Madred reveals that the whole thing was specifically to lure Picard into Cardassian territory, which makes me wonder what they would have done if they got someone else who served on the Stargazer back when the theta-band tests were done to perform this mission.

It’s all an excuse to set up Part 2, of course, which we’ll talk about on Tuesday, but the methods by which they get there are horrendously contrived.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Having said all that, this remains an excellent episode for the Enterprise portions. Often lost in the hugger-mugger about Jellico and Nechayev and Madred (all memorable characters who have each created great impressions on the Trek universe) is the fact that John Durbin gives a superb performance as Lemec, modulating easily from outrage to arrogance. The moment when he reveals that the Cardassians know about Picard’s covert mission is brilliant, Jellico’s maneuverings collapsing under the weight of that revelation that changes everything. Both Durbin and Cox play it perfectly.

Wonderful stuff, even with its flaws, but the flaws set up the best parts of the conclusion...

Warp factor rating: 7

Keith R.A. DeCandido is Media Guest of Honor at Albacon 2012 in Latham, New York this weekend (here’s his schedule), and will also be one of the readers, along with fellow Trek scribe Aaron Rosenberg, for next week’s New York Review of Science Fiction Reading at the SoHo Gallery for Digital Art on Tuesday the 23rd of October at 7pm.

Bethany Pratt
1. LiC
I thought a 4 shift rotation made more sense if you wanted your officers to stay sharp and have more officers with bridge/active experience. It would also allow more time for additional assignments outside duty hours, like special training.
2. StrongDreams
Jellico can be forgiven much on the basis of his dressing down of Troi and Riker. (I expect Riker's tantrum will be one of the negatives next week. He really is portrayed as a terrible XO all over the series.)

The idea that the Enterprise has shifts at all is barely recognized except when it needs to be a plot point. Every major conflict occurs when all the senior officers are on the bridge together. I really wonder what the US Navy does. It might make sense on Earth, where everyone in a given longitude will be on the same biological clock, that most of the good stuff happens during a common time window. But in space, not only will alien races be on different clocks, but not all races will have the same biological imperative to sleep at night, or to sleep at all for that matter.

Although the watch business did feel to me like a call back to Heinlein, whose junior fiction has a lot of space navies doing things like watch-and-watch (4 hours on, 4 hours off, continuously) which sounds like hazing for middies, frankly, and was itself a call back to old sailing navies.

Have there been any really good fictional considerations of watch-standing in space navies that take all this into account?
3. rowanblaze
The change to a four shift rotation made no sense to me from the very first time I saw it, and less so now that I actually have military experience. A given unit (in this case the Enterprise) only has so many personnel. Changing from a three shifts to four shifts means that fewer people will be on duty during a given shift, yet still trying to accomplish the same tasks Or worse, that an individual crewmember will have only 18 hours from the start of one shift to the start of the next shift. Unless more personnel came aboard with Jellico, there's is really no practical way to implement his demand from a human Resource perspective, especially given the changes expected of tactical and engineering. In fact, a number of people are probably working split shifts to maintain continuity of work flow.

All that overanalyzing aside, count me among those who think Jellico is a complete asshat on the level of Captain Styles from ST III.
4. narrativium
The shift thing does beg the question of how a thousand people operate a ship which only nominally has to support the idea of day and night. Three shifts implies no overlap to communicate with the next shift - though you'd imagine in practice there'd be some staggering in the shift change. Four shifts might easily just mean two hours overlap at the start and end of the day to ensure continuity, though that could be overkill.
Also... two of the key assumptions are that the three shifts happen over a 24-hour period (arbitrary, in space), and that the officers involved are humans. Starfleet's idea of shift patterns has to be a flexible thing at best.
5. FellKnight
As someone who is in the military, while a four shift watch may not make a lot of sense, it is a reasonably common style of leadership to, when posted to a new command, shake things up and implement a major change immediately to accustom the crew to obey your orders. In my experience it is a style of leadership displayed by otherwise weak leaders.
Jack Flynn
6. JackofMidworld
I kept waiting for Jellico to call himself "Dick Jones" when I watched this. That said, looking forward to next week!!
7. Nicholas Winter
I seem to remember that Niven and Pournelle's The Mote in God's Eye dealt well with the realities of multiple shift in a space navy. But all action there still took place primarily during the main command shift.
8. boquaz
What struck me as odd was the idea of three watches on a ship.

The US Navy uses many different systems, as FellKnight implied, it's up to the Captain. A typical surface ship watch system is essentially 6 4-hour shifts split between two or three teams, often with split 2-hour watches in there as well. The "submarine" system of 4 6-hour shifts is also common. I always assumed Riker meant 6 instead of 3.

The number of watches has very little to do with the number of teams. You can have A/B, A/B/C , A1/A2/B1/B2 teams with 4,5 or 6 watch shift schedules. You can have senior officers, junior officers and enlisted all on different schedules so that everyone gets to work with everyone else over the course of a cruise. You can arrainge for all the senior officers to overlap for a small amount of time each day. You're at work 24/7 on a ship, it's not like other military jobs. You're not always sleeping at the same time every day either. If the Captain says all senior officers stand a two hour watch together from 0800-1000, then that's what happens, it's as simple as that.

One thing I like about TNG is how often ship business is waking up senior officers or intruding on their personal time. Look for it and you'll see it happening all the time.
Christopher Bennett
9. ChristopherLBennett
Given that space is really, really big (although this is often ignored in Trek), could it be that Picard et al. were chosen for the mission because it was time-sensitive and they were the only qualified individuals close enough to get there in a reasonable amount of time? In principle, that's one of the core ideas of ST, that a starship captain and crew are often the only Federation representatives around and thus need to be ready to take on any needed responsibility, whether serving as de facto ambassadors in a first contact or making decisions about war and peace in a conflict. That idea was badly undermined in TNG/DS9, which tended to treat Starfleet Command as just a phone call away, but maybe there are cases where it still applies.

I've always been surprised by the perception of Jellico as a mean and hostile character. I feel that Cox did a good job of playing against what the script suggested and portraying Jellico as someone who was basically a nice guy, probably quite charming if you met him off duty, but who wasn't necessarily the best person to have in charge during a crisis. I think maybe people's expectations of Cox may color how they perceive Jellico, since they're so used to thinking of Cox as complete bastards like Dick Jones and Vilos Cohaagen. People forget that prior to RoboCop, Cox was consistently typecast as a nice guy, with Dick Jones being a startling departure from his usual type. But it was such a breakout role that it completely overwrote his former image in the public mind (just as Airplane! did for Leslie Neilsen, who was cast in that film specifically because of his reputation as an ultra-serious dramatic actor).
Joseph Newton
10. crzydroid
I wonder if there are crew working two shifts, or if they're on a 36-hour cycle like DS9 or something.

@9: I think I used to not like seeing Cox show up because I was projecting his characters too much on to him, but now I appreciate him as a good actor. I think he did a good job as Jellico in this. Though now I am interested to see Leslie Nielsen's serious roles.
Bastiaan Stapel
11. Stapel
Some good actors (and acting) indeed. And the idea of a different captain with his own style is appealing. IMHO what TNG needed (so, it's clear on what side I am :) ). Having Jellico and Gul Lemec together was very good!

However......, I disliked this episode big time. Taking away three senior offices from a flag ship, when a possible war is around the corner is just beyond stupid. Adding a experienced officer is a good idea, but a new captain, knowing a battle is coming soon?????? The new captain does two things. First making some necesarry changes to prepare for war, which is indeed a good thing, but one of the alterations is, as KRAD mentioned, plain stupid. Second, he not only makes himself disliked (which is ok), but decreases morale of the troops.......

Now, if the removal of the three officers wouls be remotely justified (abduction, leisure, injury, or just a better plot...), I could live with it. But there is no need at all to pick these three to check out the metagenic thingy. Any three crew members could have gone there!

What bites me the most is that it turns out to be a Cardassian plan. Basically, the Cardassians anticipate on the Federation to make an unbelievably stupid move by sending out Picard, and guess what, the Federation makes it so!

Does it set things up nicely for the conclusion? Not for me. The only way I could explain this situation, was waiting for a spy to come forward. That idea kept my brain occupied for the whole of the conclusion.....

Usually, I don't mind too much a bout a few flaws to set up some great characters or some great conclusions. But here it was so poor, that it kept spoiling my joy. If Jellico would have been brought aboard within a half-decent plot, it would have been so much better!
12. Erik dercf
Riker was due to be knocked down a peg. The shake up makes for a interesting what if. We get to see how the crew performs under a different commander and it is satisfying to see. Troi to me becomes more believible as a character with a uniform on.
13. killtacular
"The most efficient method on a twenty-four hour day with humans is eight hours of sleep, eight hours of work, eight hours of leisure – that’s
three shifts"

That is a very ... 20th/21st century outlook to have when talking about sf that takes place hundreds of years in the future.
14. ChrisC
The watch/shift change makes sense IF you are preparing for imminent hostilities (as Jellico expected). The trick is that there are only 2 teams covering the 4 shifts so that you are on/off/on/off in a 24 hour period.
@3 This addresses your reduction concern as it provides a Captain with an -increase- in numbers; with half of their ships company always to a hand.
On a 3 shift/3 teams system (i.e. civilian-style 8 hr working day) 2/3rds of any crewmembers time is spent not on duty, which dillutes the experienced crew immediately available. (Yes they can be called back but in an emergency you don't want 300 odd crew all hoping about the corridors changing out of holodeck historical costumes/sports gear/night dress etc.)
Four watch systems ARE used today by some navies as a 6/6/6/6 or 7/5/5/7 split; you just have to grab your limited lesiure time in the same off watch as you have to sleep. It's not good for a long duration with few port/planet calls, but I'm sure if Picard hadn't made it back and Jellico stayed on for the next mundane stellar charting mission, he would have reverted back to 3 shifts.
Keith DeCandido
15. krad
Leaving aside the efficacy of a four-shift rotation rather than a three-shift one -- and there've been some good arguments here on both sides -- the fact is that changing from a three-shift to a four-shift in less than three days while also preparing for war is spectacularly stupid, as that's a major overhaul of your personnel distribution. La Forge has already been told he has to overhaul the warp coil efficiency by working double shifts for two days -- when the hell is he supposed to reallocate his personnel?

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Jenny Thrash
16. Sihaya
The complaint is usualy that cliffhanger episodes have a great setup, but collapse in the second episode. I find it intersting that this one sort of does the opposite. The setup's weaknesses are minor, but if the finish had similar problems, we would find it a little flat. As it is, next episode we can ignore our misgivings and concentrate on the four lights.

Speaking of four lights, I wonder if some writer had put in a four shift setup as some sort of symmetry with the use of the number four in the next episode? Maybe it was conscious; maybe not.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
17. Lisamarie
I don't mind Jellico so much since I can appreciate his no-nonsense style of command as a legitmate difference of style, as well as the urgency of making sure the warp coil is in tip top shape...but I do think the four shift thing was kind of a jerkish move. Whether or not it is a good idea in and of itself, I always got the impression he was basically changing it for the sake of changing it and so he could throw his weight around and emphasize his authority.

More or less agreed on the plot stupidity of taking your three senior officers off the flag ship ;) And the less said about the Ferengi incident, the better...
18. Brian Mac
Does anyone know if there's any truth to the story that Marina Sirtis requested the uniform change? I know that she regarded wearing a standard duty uniform as a major step up for the character, and believes that the role got better after she switched, but did she actually ask for it?
19. Cybersnark
It occurs to me that Jellico is an officer who probably spends more time thinking of promotion/advancement (both for himself --he does have his eye on an admiral's pips-- and for similarly ambitious subordinates) than Picard does.

A set of four six-hour shifts makes sense because it separates the "adequate" (who work six hours then take 18 hours off) and the "go-getters" (who work double-shifts and are satisfied with twelve hours of rack time --and who are the ones who get promoted). It's a very Donald-Trumpian tactic.

IOW, he may be a good Captain when it comes to getting results, but he's a lousy boss.
Ian Tait
20. Cradok
Yeah, I think that people's dislike of Jellico stems from the four shifts. He asks for a big change ten seconds after coming aboard - before the official transfer of command - and then gets pissy when the XO comes back to him to tell him that it's not viable after conferring with the department heads, the people on the ship who actually know the situation and who will have to manage the change. And then asks for something which, while sensible, would be hard enough normally. And then dismisses the morale of the crew. And all in a situation where the captain and two senoir officers have been reassigned without warning, and they're potentially heading for war. Weather or not you believe that Riker is being an ass in part 2, and nonwithstanding his record and ability with the Cardassians, Jellico's behaviour here is pretty bad.

Also, you've got to feel pretty bad for Worf's second in command; in the space of a couple of days, he's unexpectedly put in charge, has to reorganise the shifts, and has to prepare for who knows what with the Cardassians.
21. peachy
If Jellico is just a temporary replacement for Picard, then he's being a first-class goober - Picard will change everything back as soon as he returns, so why bother? And as others have noted, it's especially goober-ific since he's there specifically to deal with an imminent crisis; his time & energy should be focused on that, not futzing around with details that won't bear fruit until after his departure, and that ought to be left to his XO anyhow. (He'd only be a second-class goober if he were taking over command permanently.)
22. Beambounder19
I love this 2 part episode. Hints of the dark side of Riker's past show, and The Cardassians (The Klingons of the next generation.) appearance as strong adversaries; even after The dominion Wars. I like episodes where military protocol are put to the tests of LOYALTY. It's great to revisit these episodes where Riker's number two position is strained by the overzealous high command of StarFleet .Episodes like this show a realistic keen edge to the next generation where seniority of command does not always mean superior judgement or morality.
Sara H
23. LadyBelaine
Although I hated this episode for a thousand reasons I will always treasure it for being the one when Troi stopped wearing her silly outfits.

I mean, some of them were just weird - she had that teal ballgown with the asymmetrical neckline - what is that? Is that her idea of business casual? How is that an acceptable alterative to the uniforms all around her?

She also had those two pantsuit/unitard things - one was maroon with a dark grey neck, the other was grey with pink, both cut very low, both vaguely unform-ish. I never understood what those were suppose to be? Are those her idea of civilian clothing? Why was she permitted to dress that way anyway?
Christopher Bennett
24. ChristopherLBennett
^I always find it strange when people expect future fashions not to be weird to our eyes. They should be weird. Heck, look at a TV show from the '70s, just 40 years ago, and the fashions are downright bizarre to modern eyes. Fashions from 400 years in the future, especially with alien influences in the mix, should be even more bizarre to our eyes than Trek has shown them to be.
Bastiaan Stapel
26. Stapel
Well, that's an interesting point I hadn't thought off (cliffhanger episodes have a great setup, but collapse in the second episode; this one sort of does the opposite)!

Obviously, I disagree with you the setup's issues are minor :) , but I guess your arguement has persuaded me to enjoy the conclusion without thinking too much of those issues.
27. rea
One of the first things Jack Aubrey does after taking command of HMS Sophie in Master and Commander is change the watch schedule, to the displeasure of his new crew. Could that be where this idea came from?
Sara H
28. LadyBelaine
ChristopherBennet @26,

I realize that futuristic fashion is likely to be weird and mind-boggling yadda yadda but the producers clearly were designing the clothes for what *we* the contemporary audience would see as "futuristic" but yet still recognizable - that's why the Starfleet uniforms have a simplified, yet formal military aspect to them - they look like steamlined, tailored military uniforms in SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!!!!!


So, what is Counselor's Troi's wardrobe supposed to reflect? I realize that with the exception of the teal ballgown, they are rather spartan and trim also, but they are cut low and don't correspond to the attire of those around her - I don't know if I'd appreciate going to a psychologist who had her decolletage in my face. Her outfits are rather frivolous, if you ask me. The real lulu is that teal flowing ballgown - that is no one's conception of "futuristic to modern eyes" suitable working attire.
29. Earl Rogers
The problem with Troi's outfits were never that they didn't look contemporary, Mr. Bennett. It's that they didn't look at all professional, making it difficult to take the character seriously.

Gifted a performer as Patrick Stewart is, would you have found him quite as convincing as Captain Picard if he was wearing Bozo the Clown's blue rayon jumpsuit with giant stiff ruffled collar and pom pom buttons?
30. Sanagi
I don't mind Picard, Worf and Crusher going on the mission because "the senior staff personally risk their lives instead of sending someone more qualified or expendable" is a description of every Trek episode. The only difference here is Starfleet Command has made the call instead of the captain of the ship.

I do wish Jellico was a bit more reasonable, and not so bizarrely determined to throw the Enterprise off its game just before going into battle. He's an interesting character otherwise and the shakeup is fun to watch. And of course, it's great to see Troi finally put on a uniform.
31. Electone
I remember a great feeling of satisafaction when I saw this episode in its original airing. How wonderful it was for a no-nonsense guy to step onto the relaxation-lounge bridge and turn it upside down. It didn't take long for the crew, who are supposed to be Starfleet's best, to start whining like two-year olds at Jellico's changes. LaForge crying to Riker was priceless. And I never understood Troi (who supposedly holds the rank of Lieutenant Commander) dressing the way she had up until Jellico arrived.
Christopher Bennett
32. ChristopherLBennett
@28 & 29: But that's just my point -- what looks "frivolous" or "unprofessional" to modern eyes might have completely different connotations to people in another generation with different standards. I mean, let's go back to my '70s example. I've seen episodes of Mission: Impossible and The Rockford Files wherein nasty, murderous tough guys were wearing bright pink shirts and this wasn't treated as incongruous at all. To us, there's a cognitive dissonance there, but to people at the time, there wasn't. It's always a mistake to assume that the way we perceive things in our time and culture is a universal rule.
Sara H
33. LadyBelaine
@28 & 29: But that's just my point -- what looks "frivolous" or "unprofessional" to modern eyes might have completely different connotations to people in another generation with different standards.

I think is a rather a weak argument when obviously the whims have fashion haven't completely radically changed - the men wear pants and the women wear pink, the uniforms are high collared and in dark colors, when Beverly is in mufti, it's usually a sweater and slacks, etc...

If you seriously saying that maybe in the 23rd century Troi wearing a bustle and corset made of aquamarine lycra (with matching headband!) is the same as someone in our time wearing a tailored dark business suit and pearls... when everyone else is dressed in spartan, trim and snazzy uniforms.... ugh... I lost my point in there somewhere....
Christopher Bennett
34. ChristopherLBennett
I never said anything about a business suit. Presumably, as ship's counselor, one of Deanna's roles is as a liaison with the civilian crewmembers. Thus maybe wearing civilian clothes makes her seem more accessible. And who knows what Betazoids may consider to be appropriate civilian wear? These are a people whose wedding clothes consist of thin air.
35. Cathy KJ
I was thinking about the 3 vs 4-shift issue, and thought about one thing that's never really addressed in TNG - meals. I'm an office drone, and my typical work day is 9 hours - 4 hours of work, a 1-hour meal break, and then 4 more hours of work. We never see anyone on the bridge say "I'm going to go grab a sandwich, be back in 20."

Since this is only on paper (I imagine it would be a logistical nightmare), I might implement a shift that is 4 hours and 30 minutes. You go to work, spend 15 minutes conferring with whomever you're replacing, work for 4 hours, and then spend 15 minutes conferring with your replacement. You'd then have 3 hours and 30 minutes of leisure time, and then work again and have leisure again, followed by 8 hours of sleep. Make sense?
36. oldfan
Well, count me a Jellico supporter, but I can't help but feel a little sorry for the rather summary and insulting way Starfleet command treats Riker, at least given his role in saving the entire Federation from the Borg. Could it be that this is a deliberate and tacit attempt to shake him off the Enterprise and on to his own ship? And of course, only in TV does any sane organization send a senior officer with a head crammed full of valuable secrets on such a mission.
Rob Rater
37. Quasarmodo
I was surprised that Troi stuck to the uniform after this 2 parter, since she only did it upon Jellico's orders. I expected her to go right back to her old ways on the very next episode. If their intention was to get her character to change her appearance permanently, that was still a pretty good way to work it in. And me no like asshate Jellico. I was happy when he turned into Jellyco in front of the Cardassians. Asshat.
38. slybrarian
@36. oldfan

Summary and insulting way Starfleet Command treated Riker? His defeat of the Borg was basically the shining point of his career and was several years ago. Meanwhile, two weeks ago he lost the Enterprise to a dozen Ferengi in pair of ancient Birds-of-Prey. I sure as hell wouldn't want him in charge while potentially facing down Cardassian battlegroups. The Enterprise has shown it can disable a Cardie cruiser with one shot, but I wouldn't trust Riker to actually give the order to fire as opposed to just sitting there while the ship gets blown to pieces around him.
39. Scavenger
I too am pro-Jellico. One of the weakest parts of early New Frontier stories was the way he was written as a rather one dimensional character.

He's clearly from the more military side of Starfleet and it was a good shakeup.

Brain @18 : I can't recall if she said it was her request, but at a Starfest in 1994 (wow..that long ago?) I was at, she was asked about the change and she said she prefered the uniforms. (I always took the dresses and casual outfits as a method for her to appear less intimidating to people she's counciling. Imagine how much more difficulties someone like Barclay would have had talking to someone in uniform about his problems).
40. oldfan
@ 36. slybrarian

Well, I must admit that you have a point, and Starfleet might also be understandingly irritated at Riker's refusal to command, as many such organizations have an "up or out" structure. By the way, I always assumed that Jellicoe was named after Sir John Jellicoe, who commanded the British fleet at Jutland in WW I, and was somewhat controversial himself. Agree?
adam miller
41. adamjmil
I recall reading somewhere that Troi wore the non-uniforms in order to make her more approachable as counselor, especially to civilians, but my guess is that was in a book and thus non-cannon.
adam miller
42. adamjmil
At the time of this episode Riker's defeat of the borg was only 2-3 years ago. True, he didn't have many highlights after that.

I'm neutral on Jellico. Making the Enterprise battle-ready made sense. I also believe it's good for people to get pulled out of their comfort zone from time to time. But shaking things up with the shifts (and no reason given) without reading the situation first, and then blowing off Troi and Riker's legimate concerns, is a sign of an insecure leader. He also had that miscommunication with Riker re: being specifically informed his order had been completed - I hold Jellico at fault for not making his expectatations clear and then essentially blaming Riker for not reading his mind.

That being said, from what I recall Riker and Geordi were rather whiny. And as usual, when Data fills in for someone, he does a much better job than the original person.

I think Worf would have loved Jellico.

(edited twice for misspellings - ugh).
Sara H
43. LadyBelaine
Christopher Bennet:

"I never said anything about a business suit. Presumably, as ship's counselor, one of Deanna's roles is as a liaison with the civilian crewmembers. "

No, you said that "what looks "frivolous" or "unprofessional" to modern eyes might have completely different connotations to people in another generation with different standards." By which you imply that what she is wearing might not look "unprofessional" to them (them being a futuristic society completely unmoored from what we would deem appropriate... except everyone else dresses in ways that we do...hrrrm), thus being the perfectly acceptable version of what they (those wacky, outre futuristic 'they') would deem "unfrivolous" and "professional," ergo - what is their equivalent of a business suit.
adam miller
44. adamjmil
We've never seen the 24th century equivalent of the business suit, which means maybe there isn't one. What do people of that era wear to work?

Anyone remember what the Federation Presidents were wearing in the movies or DS9? (I don't).
Jenny Thrash
45. Sihaya
Earl Rogers @#29: "Gifted a performer as Patrick Stewart is, would you have found him quite as convincing as Captain Picard if he was wearing Bozo the Clown's blue rayon jumpsuit with giant stiff ruffled collar and pom pom buttons?"

Wasn't that the wardrobe for the entire cast of Blake's 7? Don't know if that proves the point or negates the argument; depends on the fan.

Anyway, I thought Marina Sirtis's hatred of her casual unitards was legendary. I assumed Jellico's command was as good an axcuse as any to finally put her in a uniform that wasn't a miniskirt. Making it into a change that Troi didn't like was probably he writers' attempt at an inside joke.
Alan Courchene
46. Majicou
Fashion in the 24th century might turn out to be far more unusual than Trek portrays, but I think this is an area where a visual work has to avoid looking silly or bizarre in the eyes of the viewers rather than embrace absolute futurism. Certainly the costumes on Ronald Moore's BSG are at least partly a reaction to some of the stranger excesses of Trek fashion.

As for Troi, it was about damned time in my view. Her outfits were always purely for fanservice, and without so much as a hand-waved explanation in-universe. And call me crazy, but I like a woman in uniform. Having regular characters in catsuits on Voyager and Enterprise later was just plain embarrassing, and even after T'Pol got a Starfleet commission they wouldn't give her a regular uniform.
Christopher Bennett
47. ChristopherLBennett
@43: You're selectively reading my words in a way I didn't intend. I'm just saying there's room for some ambiguity in things like this. You seem to want this to be some fierce argument, but my whole point is that there's no reason to make such a big deal out of it, because who the heck knows what the fashion standards 400 years from now could be? Personally I think that the uniforms looking conventional by our standards is far more implausible than Deanna's outfits looking inappropriate by our standards. Really, Trek wardrobe has rarely been particularly plausible; TMP was probably the best they did in terms of conveying a sense of functionality and futurism, with so many different variations for dress and fatigues, officers and enlisted, field jackets, security armor, radiation suits for engineering, etc. (and next to that, who cares if the colors are a bit bland?). But then they had to go and replace those well-thought-out functional uniforms with the ridiculous retro TWOK uniforms that made the whole crew look like they were part of some historical re-enactment society. Those ugly, overcomplicated double-breasted jackets might've made sense as formal dress, but as everyday duty wear they were preposterous. And how come the TNG-era security guards weren't wearing body armor anymore? Why didn't away team members have field jackets anymore? Why give up that functionality?

So there's no shortage of problematical costuming decisions in Trek, thus Deanna's dresses and pantsuits don't really stand out for me as worthy of exceptional scorn. At least she looked good in the blue dress.
48. Tesh
Jellico was indeed an egotistical jerk. It's a shame, then, that they made him also incompetent. It seems to me that he'd have been far more interesting if he saved the day, at least partially because he was a jerk. Maybe that's contrived writing, but it would have been interesting to me to see the contrast in captains putting them on equal ground, rather than undermining Jellico in the end.
49. Tesh
Y'know what, scratch that, sorry. I was misremembering the second half of the story. Jellico did wind up being pretty effective. Still a jerk, but that doesn't bother me all that much. I just write it up as a "command style". I wouldn't want to work for or even with him, but I can't argue that he's ineffective.
50. jlpsquared
Regarding Troi's uniform, isn't it possible that at that point she was closing in on 40, and wasn't the hottie she was from season 1?

I mean, lets' keep it real.
Christopher Bennett
51. ChristopherLBennett
@50: Speak for yourself. I thought Deanna got even hotter in later seasons.
53. Chris G
@47 -- Yes! I felt the same way about the uniforms from TWOK on. I never understood why people complained about the TMP uniforms. They looked like something you'd actually want to wear day to day. And the wide variety implied an organization that did a wide variety of tasks. I remember first seeing a picture of the crew in their TWOK uniforms--it was in a Time magazine in my high school's library in 1982--and thinking: what in the hell are they wearing? Worst uniforms ever!

krad, thanks for doing the Rewatch. I have been enjoying it very much.
Sara H
54. LadyBelaine
Christopher Bennett,

I am not really trying to sound strident or fierce, but my whole point is that the producers could either:

a) dress these make believe people in ways that seems acceptable and suitable for what we - the modern audience - could suppose would what these people would wear to work in SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACE or

b) they could go in another direction and dress these make believe people up in clothing that would, as you say, look fantastical and alien to our modern sensibilities but would be easily explainable by saying "we are showing an advanced, futuristic culture with unknowable trends and alien influences and we're just inventing what we might think that would look like" (for example, Queen Amidala's Nabooneese regal, er... regalia from Star Wars). If they had the Enterprise bridge crew in pastel printed sarongs and clodhoppers and said "this is was a service uniform looks like in the future!" I'd guess we'd have to accept it, or show us that when Beverly and Deana do their sex-chatting aerobics they aren't wearing what are basically work-out clothes recognizable to the modern audience, but instead they slip into lacquered plates of plastic with heat sensing thermals or something.

The problem is that Deanna Troi's outfits were incongruent; they don't make sense with the rules as shown for everyone else - Robert Blackman basically has everyone dressing in clothes that we recognize as modified abstractions of what people wear now - Riker's father wears a suit of sorts, Picard's riding clothes are basically what people wear now - tight breeches and boots, etc...

Yet, here she is, amid all those military-style personnel and practically dressed civilians wearing bodysuits with deep cleavage or oddly princessy lycra ball gowns. It just doesn't fit and makes her very hard to take seriously. It's like she wafted in from Ice Pirates or something.

As a concluding note, it also struck as me as a very deep-seated sexist portrayal, while trying to have it both ways. Either make her a respected caregiver and high figure among the crew or just stick a hot blonde with gizmos and spandex a la Seven of Nine on the show and be done with it.
Christopher Bennett
55. ChristopherLBennett
@54: I don't deny there was a gendered double standard involved in the costuming, but was there anywhere in '80s or '90s TV that such a double standard didn't exist? And at least Theiss and Blackman tried to balance it somewhat by giving men casual attire that also had low necklines. (And Picard spent quite a lot of "Captain's Holiday" bare-chested.) Plus there was Theiss's experiment with putting men in skants in season 1. If anything, I'd say TNG did slightly better than most shows of the era at avoiding, or at least reducing, sexist costuming standards -- and certainly better than VGR and ENT did.

And I still don't agree that there's no way to explain the difference in Deanna's attire in-universe. As I already pointed out, she's not human. She comes from a planet where our taboos about the body clearly don't exist. If anything, her civilian attire may be somewhat modest by Betazoid standards.

And personally I object to the notion that how seriously a person -- especially a woman -- can be taken is dependent on what that person is wearing. I think that's very superficial. If you're against sexism, then shouldn't you be against the idea that a woman should be judged by her appearance rather than what's beneath the surface? If a woman is smart and decent and capable and complex as a person, then it shouldn't matter whether she's wearing a business suit, a burqa, or a bikini -- she's still equally worthy of being respected and taken seriously.
Sara H
56. LadyBelaine
"If a woman is smart and decent and capable and complex as a person, then it shouldn't matter whether she's wearing a business suit, a burqa, or a bikini -- she's still equally worthy of being respected and taken seriously."

that is utter nonsense - of course it matters how women and men attire themselves in a manner that is appropriate for the event or purpose or occasion? Would you let your children be taught by a male teacher wearing a swimsuit in class or would you be pleased to be a passenger on a plane piloted by a man dressed in bib overalls?
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
57. Lisamarie
I hope I'm not interrupting, but I think this discussion is very interesting.

But, basically - yes, I would allow that if I thought they were qualified (and assuming the swimsuit wasn't sexually explicit, and that the clothes were generally well kept and clean).

For the most part, I think dress codes are dumb (safety/utility) reasons aside - for example, most labs have certain dress codes and for good reason), I hate fashion, and I'm glad I work at a company that has no dress code (although they do enforce business casual while interacting with clients for their comfort, although I do think that it's because we are a superficial society that their comfort is related to that).

That being said, I do think there is a use for uniforms in situations where you need to be able to quickly identify something or where there is a thoughtful symbolism imbued, (such as police officers, clergy, etc). And I can understand their use in the military for morale and a feeling of 'cohesion' and a sense of being part of something bigger than yourself. Maybe that is also kind of superficial. I'm aware that my ideal here is a bit naive and maybe inconsistent in certain situations. For example, at my wedding, I definitely wore a fancy dress and veil and all that, and loved it, and it was a special day. I do enjoy dressing up for special occasions, but other than that I pretty much live in a T-shirt and jeans. But I really wouldn't care what a teacher and/or pilot wore, as long as they were good at it.

When I was a teen and considered myself very countercultural (haha), my favorite quote was a Thoreau quote: Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, rather than a new wearer of clothes (although the context is really more about people who concentrate more on outward appearance than self-improvement, and not necessarily an indictment on uniforms or new clothes in every situation. Although he may very well have been against that too).

As for Troi, I have no opinion. I actually prefer the uniform because I think it looks better in an aesthetic sense, but I didn't think her clothes before that were that bad or unprofessional, or take her less seriously when she was in them. It did mark her as a little bit 'apart' from the rest of the crew, but that could be a good thing given her role on the ship. At the same time I did always think it was a little strange that she was an officer but not in the uniform - not sure why she got to be exempt, unless it was specifically related to her role as Counselor.
Christopher Bennett
58. ChristopherLBennett
@56: Why should it matter? The pilot's ability isn't contained in his clothes, it's in his head. Clothes are just a surface covering, a matter of social convention. Changing what we wear doesn't change our abilities or our worth as people.
59. DezDemona

when you applied for your current job, did you show up in your underwear?
Christopher Bennett
60. ChristopherLBennett
@59: My current job is as a freelance novelist. I can wear whatever I want.

The point is that I think the real sexism isn't putting a woman in a skimpy outfit -- it's thinking she's somehow worth less as a person because she's in a skimpy outfit. Sure, there are contexts where it isn't socially acceptable to wear a certain thing; but that's just a superficial social convention, not a fundamental measure of a human being's worth.

I don't dispute that there was a double standard behind Deanna's costuming. But that's something to judge the costume designers for, not Deanna herself. I don't think any less of Deanna as a character, or Marina Sirtis as a person, because of how the makers of the show chose to attire her.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
61. Lisamarie
LOL LOL LOL - I hope you worked in your underwear today :)

Was the question perhaps aimed at me? Because I said the place I work has no dress code. No, I did not show up in my underwear, because I would find that immodest (and I DO think modesty is important). Also, it was January in the Midwest. However, I did show up in my 'geekiest girl alive' t-shirt and some khaki pants. And I got the job.
Sara H
62. LadyBelaine
Christopher Bennett @ 60,

judging from your response, I guess you can go to work in your underwear, but speaking as a person who works in a professional government office, has to appear in other people's offices and has to commute to get there (and maintain a professional working wardrobe) I remain utterly skeptical that you'd be so blase about outward appearances and willing to overlook a "social superficial convention" if you needed to hire an attorney for whatever reason and went to his office and he greeted you wearing a tutu and a wizard hat regardless of the law degree from TopNotch University on his wall, or would be so eager to have an oncologist (God forbid!) treat a loved one when she appeared at the consultation dressed like Slave Leia or a tattered bathrobe and buuny slippers, even if she is on the board of The Best Hospital in Town and went to AcesHigh Medical School.

But, hey, you'd be willing to overlook such flouting of convention (so superficial! so unworthy of consideration!) and be able to take them seriously, huh? You'd be able to just glance past it and value the knowledge in their heads?
Alan Courchene
63. Majicou
And I still don't agree that there's no way to explain the difference in
Deanna's attire in-universe. As I already pointed out, she's not human.
She comes from a planet where our taboos about the body clearly don't
exist. If anything, her civilian attire may be somewhat modest by
Betazoid standards.

And yet you say "her civilian attire." Deanna isn't and wasn't a civilian. She was a senior officer on a prominent starship and constantly acting as one of the faces of the senior staff when dealing with outsiders. Even if you take the view that clothes most certainly do not make the man or the woman, it doesn't make much sense in this fictional context. Starfleet has a uniform code. Why is a lieutenant commander randomly operating outside that code until one other captain remarks on it?
Christopher Bennett
64. ChristopherLBennett
@62: I think the "tutu and wizard hat" analogy is a rather ludicrous exaggeration. Deanna was simply wearing pantsuits or dresses that seemed like perfectly acceptable informal wear. I agree there was an incongruity with the uniforms surrounding her, but the actual outfits were hardly ridiculous or outrageous. Honestly, I don't see why a simple matter of wardrobe has sparked such a huge controversy, but then, clothes have never been a big deal to me.

@63: Asked and answered, multiple times. Deanna is the ship's counselor, and several commenters in this discussion have noted that it's understandable that the counselor would wear civilian attire to be accessible to her patients. After all, despite her rank, she was routinely addressed as "Counselor" rather than "Commander," so it seems as if her rank was something of a technicality and her primary role was outside the command structure. Perhaps her rank was downplayed because it was important that everyone in the crew regardless of rank could feel as if they could be on a level playing field with her. No, it's not a perfect explanation, but at least there's some justification for it, which is more than you can say for T'Pol's fourth-season "Starfleet uniforms" being just her third-season civilian pantsuits with rank pins and science-blue shoulder stripes attached. Now, that was just weird.

Also, Starfleet has rarely been shown to be as strict as the present-day military, including where things like uniforms are concerned. We've seen plenty of variations like Kirk's green wraparound, McCoy's short sleeves, the traditional jewelry worn by the Native American crewmembers in the TMP rec deck scene, Scotty's work vest from the later movies, Worf's sash, the aforementioned T'Pol thing, and the like. Starfleet personnel are mostly scientists and scholars rather than warriors, so it makes sense they'd be more flexible about such things.

In fact, Jellico's lines to Deanna are rather telling. He said, "I prefer a certain formality on the bridge. I'd appreciate it if you wore standard uniform when you're on duty." That phrasing -- "I prefer" and "I'd appreciate it" -- suggests pretty strongly that it's not a matter of fleetwide doctrine, but something that's left up to the individual commanding officer. Uniforms are for formal situations, and some captains are open to greater informality than others, even on the bridge. That's just one of the ways that analogies between Starfleet and the modern military are imperfect.
Eugenie Delaney
65. EmpressMaude
Christopher Bennet @ 63,

"@62: I think the "tutu and wizard hat" analogy is a rather ludicrous exaggeration."

I would suspect that LadyBelane was writing that in response to your absurd statement "If a woman is smart and decent and capable and complex as a person, then it shouldn't matter whether she's wearing a business suit, a burqa, or a bikini -- she's still equally worthy of being respected and taken seriously." (Seriously, I cringe)

I take it from your response to the tutu comment that you do have some threshold requirement in someone's level of appropriate dress for the situation, or instead of Belane saying "tutu and wizard hat" she should have said "a top notch lawyer arguing in a bikini (and at what age - is she 30? 40? 50?)" and that would have been acceptable to you? After all, it's the quality of her intellect, not how she can interact with the world at large that matters?

Christopher Bennett
66. ChristopherLBennett
@65: I feel this discussion has degenerated into straw men and borderline ad hominem territory. Again, I don't for the life of me understand why a simple matter of wardrobe is so controversial or emotionally charged. It's just clothes.

And you're blurring two separate concepts. No, I accept that it wouldn't be appropriate for an attorney to plead her case in court while wearing a bikini. But that's just a social convention, not a matter of her fundamental nature and worth as a human being. If I saw her in a bikini on the beach, or in any other context, I wouldn't think less of her intelligence or ability. I feel that some of the reactions I've read here toward Deanna's wardrobe have bordered on being derogatory toward Deanna as a person. And I think it's sexist to think less of a woman just because you can see her cleavage.
Eugenie Delaney
67. EmpressMaude
But that is a direct response to your rebuttal of LadyBelaine's assertion that it matters that people dress appropriately for the purpose or event to which you derided her by saying "And personally I object to the notion that how seriously a person -- especially a woman -- can be taken is dependent on what that person is wearing. I think that's very superficial" and you have this ability to grasp the person's inner intrinsic worth and don't even think about clothes, and now you have just acknowledged that how a person dresses does, at least, have some value.

And while we're all trotting out our Diction 101 terminology, I salute your employment of the Reductio Ad Absurdum device - no one is saying because she shows cleavage we must think less of her. Masterfully done!

As far as I can tell, people have been saying that it makes it hard to take her seriously as a bridge officer and health care provider (not that she is unworthy as a person) when she a) doesn't match the rest of the crew and b) is wearing some designer's idea of space-faring cheesecake attire that doesn't even correspond to what other civilians wear and seems designed to call attention to her pelvis and breasts. Sometimes with bedazzlings in her hair!
68. mikap
Riker should have said, "If it wasn't for me you'd be a Borg drone by now." And I don't know why eating a raw bird was such a big deal since Picard probably ate Gagh and other Klingon delicacies.
Brickhouse MacLarge
69. Midnightair
If one is a Lt. Cmdr. in a military or semi military organization, one must dress the part. Enough said. It was very satisfying to finally see Ms. Fan Disservice clothed. Enough said. Captain Jellico was a good captain, and the insubordination shown to a captain of a starship by the whiny petulant XO and other Lt. Cmdrs was disgusting and childish. Data showed the proper respect and attitude, and adapted well. If you don't like your new captain and having to obviously adjust, then take off the uniform, and go and play with the other children in the ship's kindergarten sandbox. Or roll up your sleeves and snap out of your comfort zone. Either way, snap to it, or just get off the bridge.
Dante Hopkins
70. DanteHopkins
Put me in the latter camp of thinking of Jellico as an irredeemable asshat. It had nothing to do with my perceptions of Ronny Cox through other roles he's played, as I've never watched RoboCop or Total Recall. So trust me my view is unbiased when I say Jellico is an irredeemable asshat. Not because he shook up the status quo on the Enterprise, but he went about it in ridiculous, ham-handed, ass-backwards ways.

I have to say though, the only change Jellico made I did like was making Troi where a standard unform. That was a much needed change imo, and I took Troi much more seriously as an officer when she finally started wearing the standard uniform. Well, wearing it again I should say. (And to boot, Marina Sirtis looked great in it. I was glad she stayed in uniform for the rest of the series.)

Speaking of ham-handed, Nacheyev in this first appearance is really really unlikeable, though I could tell straight away that Nacheyev would be far more interesting than the other boring white admirals throughout Trek.

This one's always interesting to watch, though I mainly watch it to get to Part II. I also have been watching TNG and DS9 together as they ran originally, so I watched this time to get to Part II and then start DS9.
71. Sam0
I was glad to see Troi's change to a uniform, and I do think it marked an important change in attitudes about her character.

That said, I also absolutely agree with Christopher Bennett here that the "sexism" is not in the costume, but in those who make assumptions about the character when viewing the costume. The only other Betazoid we see with any frequency on TNG is Troi's mother, and she also tends to wear somewhat crazy outfits often revealing lots of cleavage. Maybe that's the Betazoid way -- and, indeed, maybe it actually IS the Betazoid equivalent of "professional" or maybe "semi-professional" dress. As pointed out, the wedding ceremony custom clearly shows that they're not hung up on body and nudity issues in the same way humans now are, so what the devil would a little cleavage mean to them? I can't imagine it would be looked down upon as "unprofessional" when formal ceremonies take place in the nude in that culture.

Moreover, all the stuff about Troi's "rank" and what it should dictate about her "professional attire" is a load of bollocks. For half of the series, there was hardly any hint that Troi even had formal rank of any sort, and she certainly wasn't seen giving orders or anything like that. We even needed Chief O'Brien to tell us -- and the rest of the bridge crew! -- that she even had a rank at that point. From Troi's expression, to me I always assumed she barely even realized her official position in terms of the military hierarchy.

It struck me at the time (and still strikes me now) as some sort of official ranking that's meaningless except in cases of severe disaster. It's like knowing who ranks next in line to be President of the U.S. after the Secretary of Agriculture. Most people don't know, and most people don't care. Probably even the members of the cabinet would have to look it up in a list if it ever came to that. Chief O'Brien's declaration that Troi holds a rank (which even she seemed somewhat surprised about at the time) strikes me as exactly that sort of thing -- a kind of trivia that even some members of the bridge crew might not know.

So, given that we have absolutely no evidence that Troi participated in any meaningful way in the military hierarchy for many years aboard the Enterprise, and that many people (maybe even Troi among them) didn't even realize what her "official rank" even was, why the devil should we assume that she should be forced to conform to some military dress code when her primary day-to-day duties were acting as a psychologist often (maybe mostly) communicating with civilians?

Instead, as Worf wears his thing, Ro wears her thing, Troi -- as someone whose official military standing is so obscure that no one ever mentions it for years on end -- gets to wear "normal" semi-professional Betazoid attire. What's the problem with that?

I was an adolescent boy when the series was originally on, and frankly I never even noticed her outfits much. I remember the episodes with her mother that referenced nudity, which I found mildly titillating, but Troi's everyday attire? It hardly seemed outlandish to me. It still doesn't, again, keeping in mind what we know of the culture she comes from. It's not like she was walking around wearing a bikini all day or some other "trashy" outfit. She just tended to show a little cleavage. So what?

I really do think there's some latent sexism in making judgments about her character on that basis. I have a close female friend who had to be told to "tone it down" in terms of her wardrobe that she wore to professional events. She wasn't wearing short skirts or particularly revealing outfits -- she just liked to wear certain kinds of dresses, which were rather formal but sometimes showed a bit of cleavage. To the "fashion police" in my field (not a formal attire place), this was unprofessional, and even reflected poorly upon her character or her intellect or whatever.

Her dresses never bothered me, nor did I ever think of them as overly "revealing" or even "sexy." They were just clothes, and I couldn't care less. They would be perfectly acceptable for her to wear out in the evening, even at many professional events, but she couldn't wear them during the day or at certain kinds of professional events. Meanwhile, men's professional attire is more-or-less consistently acceptable in all situations. The double standard is arbitrary and, frankly, rather sexist. If a female outfit is acceptable in our most formal and structured ceremonial events -- e.g., a "tasteful" ball gown -- calling the same outfit "unprofessional" in another everyday context is crap.

Some people apparently are so shallow that they judge women based what they wear rather than who they are. And they assume it must be so centuries into the future and in completely different cultures.
72. Sebastian Messiah
@68: Riker should have said, "If it wasn't for me you'd be a Borg drone by now."

Right...and then Jellico would say: "Really? Then thank you for letting your incompetent ex-captain making the borg aware of the Federation in the first place. Thank you also for failing in your duty as a first officer and letting your ex-captain be captured so the borg could mind-rape him and kill thousands of our people both at Wolf 359 and Sol with the knowledge they stole from him, and while you're at it a big heartfelt thank you for being part of the treasonous crew that refused to get rid of the borg menace when you had the chance to destroy the collective because you're a bunch of bleeding hearts who care more about your precious little feelings and feel-good dogma than the safety and lives of Federation citizens! Now get the f*ck of my bridge before I send your sorry ass to the brig!"

Folks are free to go fanboy on Ricker as much as they want, but cripes! the guy is *incompetent*. Even among a crew of incompetents, his stands out...well except maybe for Worf's security team.

Riker's "defeat" of the borg is like a driver that causes a mass road accident only to find that a dangerous serial killer was among the victims..yay! our hero!
73. SethC
Count me among those that like Edward Jellico. I found his crisp "Get it done," more militaristic than Picard's friendly "Make it so." Picard treated his senior staff as equal colleagues. Jellico treated them as subordinates. He had to prepare for potential war and as he said to Troi, didn't have time for a honeymoon with the crew. The down side to that of course was that essentially everyone but Data complained bitterly about it and likely morale plummeted. As Riker pointed out to him in part II, Jellico had "... Everyone wound up so tight that there's no joy in anything." Perhaps Jellico misjudged the Enterprise's crew system. Regardless of that, I think Jellico should have been accorded more respect because he was assigned as the captain and if he says to jump, they should reply "How high sir?" He was efficent in getting Picard back and why Riker was still aboard after is a mystery to me. He should have been court martialed and sent packing. As for Troi, it wasn't a bad idea she put on some actual clothes. Future fashion aside, I wouldn't be comfortable going to a professional therapist who dressed like a 24th century cheerleader, Betazoid cultural fashion or not. True Ro and Worf retained elements of their culture in their clothing, but it was an earring and a baldric respectively, while wearing a standard uniform. As Ronny Cox said in an interview "An officer on the ship with her boobs hanging out?" Troi was a Starfleet officer, whether her rank and professional obligations were aknowledged or not. Crusher was a doctor but wore the standard uniform on-duty, as did EVERY OTHER OFFICER AND CREW MEMBER. Troi shouldn't have been an exception. It was sexist to have her in those outfits to begin with. The only reason was to show off Marina Sirtis' body, which is also sexist. Gates McFadden was still presented as a sex symbol even in a standard uniform. And whether the unitards Troi wore are "professional" attire to Betazoids should be irrelevant. She's an officer in STARFLEET, not the Betazoid cultural attache' to the Federation flagship. A soldier in the US military wears the uniform of the U.S. armed service, not their cultural heritage.
Christopher Bennett
74. ChristopherLBennett
@73: Except that Roddenberry in the TNG era sought to de-emphasize the military aspect of Starfleet as much as possible, treating it more as a cross between the Coast Guard and NASA -- an organization devoted principally to research, exploration, and diplomacy and also performing rescue and patrol operations as needed. Early TNG stressed that the Enterprise was basically a university village in space, with a large contingent of civilian scientists aboard. The military rank structure was seen more as a sort of organizational convenience than anything else. Roddenberry by that point in his life had really bought into his own hype and saw himself as a philosopher promoting peace and understanding, so he was trying to show a more "enlightened" Starfleet, something very different from what we understand a military to be. In that context, the idea of the ship's counselor -- the one whose job it was to tend to the mental health of the entire crew including its civilian contingent -- dressing informally and having her rank treated as a technicality makes more sense. It's just that once Roddenberry and his original staffers were phased out of the creative team, a lot of those original ideas were lost and the civilian presence aboard ship was mostly forgotten (except for Keiko and Guinan). So the apparent "military" nature of Starfleet increased as a result.
Thomas Thatcher
75. StrongDreams
Well, the military nature of Starfleet also increased because of the nature of storytelling. You can't put a university village on TV every week and expect people to tune in--"Animal House" notwithstanding. TV shows require conflict so you create the Ferengi, the bug conspiracy in season 2, the Borg, and the Cardassians, so naturally Starfleet is forced to re-emphasize its military side. Even in the ostensibly non-military episodes, you have the ship in so much peril (plasma fires, quantum filament, external radiation threats, plague, computer virus) that it turns out to be really stupid to have children on board.
Christopher Bennett
76. ChristopherLBennett
@75: But there are tons of action shows about people who aren't in the military, like, say, MacGyver or Jim Rockford or the Warehouse 13 agents. There are plenty of shows where dangerous things happen on a weekly basis in Los Angeles or New York or San Francisco or Toronto. Is it stupid for the denizens of the cities in those shows to have children, or to lead civilian lives?

Every adventure show is going to have constant peril whether it's about the military or civilians, and that includes shows that have young children in their casts, like Lost in Space or Eureka. And yes, even adventure shows set at schools or universities have constant danger, e.g. Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Veronica Mars. Even shows set in research institutions have constant danger. Eureka was a prime example. It wasn't a show about soldiers or warriors, it was a show about scientists probing the mysteries of the universe. (Which is one reason I love it, because it's one of the few science fiction shows that's actually about people doing science, however fanciful the portrayal.) And yet it had its characters facing life-threatening dangers every week, because that's what happens in a TV series.

So your argument makes no sense. A show in any setting, even an academic or research setting, can be just as exciting because the writers will make it exciting, will make it dangerous. Of course that's not realistic, but neither is the amount of danger you see on a cop show. Real-life cops often go their entire careers without ever having to fire their weapons outside the practice range, but in TV they're getting into gunfights every week. It's the nature of series adventure fiction to portray extraordinary situations as a routine occurrence, to make every environment more routinely dangerous than it would be in real life, yet to portray life going on normally in spite of it.
77. SethC
I think there are two sides of commanders in Starfleet: the Picard model, emulated by himself and Janeway, and the Jellico model, emulated by Jellico and Sisko. Please remember that this is my interpretation; others may disagree with it but respect that it is an alternate point of view. The Picard model is based on progressive, enlightened, and consensus-based decision making. The Jellico model is based on conservative, militaristic and top-down decision making. It is simply two different styles of command. Both have advantages and disadvantages, as I've highlighted above. And as you yourself point out, Roddenberry's ideas were downplayed or phased out as Rick Berman and Jeri Taylor took full control of the franchise; Troi was originally going to have three breasts, until D.C. Fontana and Majel Roddenberry objected on sexism. How appropriate would it have been for a trained psychologist to have an extra mammary gland? Speaking as someone who has visited psychologist in the past, I would not be comfortable speaking with someone like that. There were no other outfits they could have had Troi wear besides unitards? It was the same thing as having Jolene Blalock or Jeri Ryan wearing those skin-tight jumpsuits in "Enterprise" and "VGR"; a blatant attempt to showcase a woman's body for the sexual kicks of the male audience. As far as military parlance goes, I would rather serve under Jellico than Picard. Picard would rather talk to his enemies as they blast his ship to pieces. Jellico would shoot photons first and ask questions later.
Christopher Bennett
78. ChristopherLBennett
@77: "How appropriate would it have been for a trained psychologist to have an extra mammary gland? Speaking as someone who has visited psychologist in the past, I would not be comfortable speaking with someone like that."

What a horribly intolerant thing to say. How is that any worse than Andorians having antennae or Edosians having three arms or Dremans having six fingers? Breasts are not an intrinsically dirty or immoral body part and it's horrifically sexist to say they are. They're as legitimate a part of the body as an eye or a finger or an ear. Saying that having any number of breasts is "inappropriate" is implying that having breasts at all is some kind of moral failing, and that's a hideously misogynistic sentiment.

After all, there are plenty of women who have only one breast due to a mastectomy. Would you say that it's wrong for such a woman to become a therapist because the unusual nature of her chest would make you uncomfortable? I'd say that's your problem, not theirs.
79. SethC
Well isn't that a very pompous thing to write. I didn't say that having three breasts is inappropriate; I wrote it. She was meant to be Betazoid-Human; healthly Human women do not have three breasts, they have two. With the few Betazoid women we saw on the various series, they all had two breasts, not three. I refuse to engage in further discussions about women's anatomy as it is inappropriate to this forum. I think most people want to deal with professional-looking people when they are in a clinical and professional setting. It is hard to do so when someone is wearing lounging wear designed to be as sex appealing as possible. I think making Troi wear a standard uniform on-duty was an excellent idea and I think Jellico was an excellent captain; he just had a different command style than Picard.
Christopher Bennett
80. ChristopherLBennett
@79: In fact, many healthy women choose to have mastectomies as a preventative measure. Besides, the point is that if an alien species did naturally have three breasts, or four, or six, or however many, that would be just as "healthy" for them and it would be totally wrong to get angry about one of them pursuing a given profession simply because of the nature of her anatomy.

And your argument about Betazoids makes no sense. If they had decided at the start of the series to give Troi three breasts, then of course every subsequent Betazoid female we saw would also have had three breasts -- just as every Vulcan after Spock had pointed ears and every Andorian after Shras and Thelin had blue skin and antennae.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
81. Lisamarie
I can see the argument for Troi wearing a standard uniform for consistency with the other crew, as well as also have a general dislike for women being portrayed in skimpy clothes solely for a male gaze (although I never found Troi's civilian getup that skimpy) but I agree, you kind of lost me at 'How appropriate would it have been for a trained psychologist to have an extra mammary gland? Speaking as someone who has visited psychologist in the past, I would not be comfortable speaking with someone like that.' I'm really not sure what number of breasts have to do with her job, especially if in the Star Trek universe, you'd be accustomed to all sorts of species anyway. Certainly there is professional attire and non professional attire, but I really don't see what the *number* of breasts has to do with it, as if they somehow inherently contribute to non-professionalism. Also, its not like discussing 'female anatomy' is automatically inappropriate either; it's not like we are being tittilating (no pun intended) about it or reducing women to just breasts or something like that. There is a difference between prudishness and chastity, if that's what you're getting at. (This is honestly a lot tamer than the discussion on Odo's nipples, ha!)
82. SethC
I see your point. However Troi was to have three breasts to increase the sex appeal of the character, which borders on sexism. Also Gene Roddenberry is well-known as a womanizer. Zephram Cochrane is a thinly-veiled reference to Roddenberry himself. He didn't create "Star Trek" b/c he was some visionary of the future; he wanted money. His original idea of Earth was as a nudist paradise. He had multiple mistresses, Majel Barrett simply being the best known. It was not appropriate for Troi to wear cheerleader "skant" outfits.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
83. Lisamarie
Yeah, I can see that - I would not be in favor of giving Troi 3 breasts simply for sex appeal (ie, sending a message that that's all that matters for a woman, woohoo, the more breasts the better!). But I wouldn't mind it merely for world building; there are other mammals with more than two breasts, so it stands to reason that other sentient species could evolve as such. There would be good ways and bad ways to handle it, I guess. It just seemed your comments seemed to come from an 'in universe' point of view, like if there WERE women with 3 breasts, it would be automatically inappropriate.
Christopher Bennett
84. ChristopherLBennett
@83: Exactly. Talking about it in in-universe terms made it sound ultra-racist.

Although if we're talking about aliens with a basically humanoid/mammalian body plan, it would make more sense for them to have an even number of breasts, say, 4 or 6, due to bilateral symmetry. It'd be easier to do the makeup for that too, I'd think, since you wouldn't have to change the proportions or positioning of the existing pair. (In Total Recall, they cast Lycia "Sonya Gomez" Naff as the 3-breasted hooker because she had a very small chest that could fit under a set of three large prosthetic breasts, since that was the only way to make the proportions work. In the remake, I assume they did it digitally.)

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