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The Outrageous Okona

Series : The Next Generation Rating : 2
Disc No : 2.1 Episode : 29
First Aired : 12 Dec 1988 Stardate : 42402.7
Director : Robert Becker Year : 2365
Writers : David Landersberg, Lance Dickson, Les Menchen Season : 2
Guest Cast :
Albert Stratton as Kushell
Diana Muldaur as Dr. Katherine Pulaski
Douglas Rowe as Debin
Guy Vardaman as Darien Wallace
Joe Piscopo as Ronald B. Moore
Kieran Mulroney as Benzan
Lorine Mendell as Dianna Giddings
Rosalind Ingledew as Yanar
Teri Hatcher as Transporter Chief Robinson
Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan
William O. Campbell as Thadiun Okona
Moral :
Comedy : It's harder than it looks
Guest Reviews :
Rating : 0.0000 for 2 reviewsView existing reviewsAdd your own review
YATI : When the comic mentions a briefcase shaped like a fish, Data refers to it as an 'amphibian' briefcase. Fish are not amphibians.
Great Moment : I like Okona, he's a welcome change from the usual stuffy Federation types.
Body Count : Zero.
Factoid : William O. Campbell also played the Rocketeer in the movie of the same name, and was the second choice for the part of Will Riker in TNG! The transporter operator he lusted after was played by Teri Hatcher, shortly before she landed the role as Lois Lane in "The New Adventures of Superman".
Quote : "Life is like loading twice your cargo weight into your spacecraft. If it's canaries and you can keep half of them flying all the time, you're all right." - Okona to Data. He's actually wrong about the canaries thing, but it's a good line.

Plotline

The Enterprise-D is traversing the Omega Sagitta system when it encounters a Class-9 cargo ship piloted by one Captain Thadiun Okona, an independant trader. Okona's ship, the Erstwhile, has a malfunctioning guidance system and Captain Picard offers help with the repairs. Okona proves to be a charmer who is an instant hit with the ship's female population. He chats to Data about humour, prompting Data to wonder whether it would be possible for him to master this field of Human behaviour. Whilst Okona heads to engineering to oversee the repair of his guidance module, Data heads to a holodeck and calls up an image of a Human comedian to try and learn how to be funny.

The Enterprise is approached by another vessel. Although technically a warship, the ship is tiny and primitive enough to be completely harmless. Nevertheless the ship's captain, Debin, demands that Picard hand over Okona, who he claims is a wanted criminal on his planet of Altec. As Picard talks to him another vessel arrives, similarly weak. Captain Kushell, from the Straleb also demands that Okona be handed over to him as he is a wanted man.

Picard has Okona brought to the bridge - with Worf having to practically drag him there - to discuss the sitation. Okona denies any criminal acts, and a furious Debin reveals that Okona has impregnated his daughter, Yanar. Kushell in turn claims that Okona stole the Jewel of Thesia from his planet.

Realising that whoever he hands Okona to, the other Captain will start firing, Picard decides to release his guest to go his own way as soon as his ship is repaired. But after a talk with Wesley about his rootless life, okona decides that for once he is going to face the consequences of his actions, and decides to hand himself over. Picard invites both captains aboard the Enterprise and in a heated discussion, it emerges that Okona is guilty neither of theft nor sexual infidelity. In fact Kushell's son Benzan is the father of Yanar's child, and Okona was carrying the jewel to her as an engagement gift from him. Although the two Captains are initially reluctant to accept the relationship between their children, they come to accept it and start making plans for the upcoming wedding.

Data, meanwhile, has been attempting to exercise his comedy skills - but to no avail. His efforts to make his shipmates laugh end in failure, so Guinan suggests he perform a comedy routine in front of an audience on the holodeck. This seems to be going well at first, until Data realises that the computer-generated audience will quite literally laugh at anything, funny or not. The android reluctantly ends the program and admits defeat.

With Okona and the two warships heading their own ways, the Enterprise-D continues on course.

Analysis

A bit of a mixed bag, really. Okona is an interesting character and the Enterprise-D crew do tend to look a little stuffy next to him, as intended. But the story involving his pursuers really doesn't gel. It's nice to see Picard having to deal with a diplomatic situation, where he has all the firepower on his side but is restrained from using it. But really, it all seems to be a bit of a fuss about nothing. I know that was the intent, to have the mighty starship having to deal with a tiny problem, but it really just doesn't work that well.

Data starts his exploration of comedy, and that makes for a nice B-story. Spiner does his usual bang-up job as Data, and manages to be both funny and ultimately sad.


Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 2,846 Last updated : 18 Feb 2007