ST:TNG Season 1, Episode 3: The Naked Now
ST:TNG Season 1, Episode 3: The Naked Now
Directed by: Paul Lynch
Teleplay by J. Michael Bingham, Story by John D. F. Black & J. Michael Bingham
The series kicks off after its two-part pilot episode with a humdinger of a story about errbody gettin’ crunk on the Enterprise. (a/k/a The Android Sex Episode)
I’ve chosen to begin my series of recaps here because I don’t quite feel up to the task of recapping the pilot, which is twice as long as a regular episode and features Q. Let’s just say I’m not that confident of my recapping abilities yet. So I’m going to begin with Episode 3 instead. The Naked Now is no doubt what sold millions of par-geeks on the series. Why? Two words: Android Sex. Even people who are not geeks or who have no interest in science and technology will tune in to see even the suggestion of sex with an android. This is a simple axiom of network television programming.
The episode starts with Picard’s voice-over informing us of their mission to find out just what the hell is going on at the Starship Tsiolkovsky from which strange messages have been emanating. Troi is sitting in her chair in a decidedly un-ladylike fashion while the entire bridge crew is focused on the audio of a sultry-sounding woman declaring that she hopes the Enterprise has lots of ‘pretty boys on board because she’s willing and waiting’. In the background are the sounds of revelry. Suddenly we hear a couple dudes shout “DO IT! JUST DO IT!” and a huge bang occurs bringing the captain and Riker to their feet. Data informs them that it was the sound of an emergency hatch being blown. Riker grabs Data, Geordi and Tasha and race off the bridge while Worf informs the captain that there are no longer any life signs aboard the space ship.
The away team beams onto the ship, which looks like the scene on a morning after a wild fraternity party. There are clothes strewn about the corridor, furniture is toppled, and the red alert alarm is sounding. Cautiously, the crew explores. Data says to Riker, “Indications of what humans would call…a ‘wild party’.” Riker looks confused. Perhaps Riker is squarer than he wants people to think he is.
Riker finds a static-y monitor on which he and Data are able to see the open escape hatch. Riker says, “You were right Data. They were all sucked out into space.” Data says, “Correction sir, that’s blown out.” Riker says, “Thank you Data” although he clearly means “Fuck you, Data” and Data is all, “Eh, it’s a common mistake and if I were human I’d really enjoy being smug about it.”
Tasha calls in to Riker to tell him and that she found a group of people who are frozen solid because someone was playing with the environmental controls and all the heat escaped into space. Geordi enters the room and yep, they are frozen. The whole room is actually frosted over and there’s a bunch of naked people lying around with strategically draped dishtowels on their privates. Geordi proceeds to the bedroom where a frozen couple is on the bed and opens the door to the shower where he discovers yet another frozen person. He catches her as she falls out, then drops her on the floor. He looks disturbed.
Riker calls Picard on the Enterprise and tells him that all 80 people on the ship are dead. The music is quite dramatic. Picard looks disturbed.
Picard now issues a supplemental log entry. He says the Enterprise is hanging out in orbit with the Tsiolkovsky so that they can salvage the research Tsiolkovsky’s crew had been doing on the collapsing super giant star. Hopefully those poor saps would not have died completely in vain. In the meantime, Picard heads down to visit Doctor Crusher to ask what she thinks of the tricorder readings that the away team sent her from Tsiolkovsky. Troi is there, too—and the three of them are at a loss to explain what happened so Picard says he’ll bring the away team back but he orders a full examination and observation of them.
In sick bay, Dr. Crusher checks everyone out with her high-tech medical equipment. Data gets a pass, and then Geordi plops himself down on the examination table. At first Dr. Crusher says he checks out ok too, but HOLD UP. How come Geordi is perspiring? As soon as she asks the question, Geordi gets real pissy and says, “Well MAYBE it’s because YOU have it too hot in here.” He looks like he wants to punch her, which honestly doesn’t seem too far-fetched if you’ve ever had to deal with people changing the thermostat all the time at your office. But Riker says, “That doesn’t sound like you.” And Geordi is all, “Maybe it’s NOT ME. Maybe SHE threw her voice!” You ever think of THAT Riker? DIDJA? Riker and Crusher look at one another like, “Um.” And Geordi is all, “Hey! It’s a joke!” At which point Crusher says she wants to run a few more tests on him and Geordi heaves a gusty, sweaty sigh.
Riker runs up to the bridge and asks Data to help him research some previous incident of a person who died taking a shower with their clothes on because he seems to remember reading something about it before.
Crusher goes to check her computer in her office and Geordi hops up off the bed, removes his communicator and wanders off into the halls of the Enterprise. When Crusher comes back to find him missing she alerts security. Picard tells Tasha Yar to make sure the whole ship gets searched.
Geordi, it seems, went to hang out with Wesley Crusher who is demonstrating how he can move a chair with a mini tractor beam that he made for his science project. He then shows off a device that allows him to mimic Captain Picard’s voice. He says he made it so he can pretend that the Captain is communicating with him. Which is really sort of pathetic when you think about it. They start rapping about how lame it is that Picard won’t let Wesley hang out on the bridge, but suddenly, Geordi gets another hot flash and then takes off leaving Wesley looking disturbed.
Geordi is found next in the observation deck staring out into space (literally) when Tasha comes in. Tasha calls for help, and Geordi starts begging her to help him because he’s got some CRAZY STUFF going on in his mind and he doesn’t want to give in to it. He tells Tasha he wants help seeing…really seeing… and then takes off his visor and starts feeling her face. Luckily before shit gets too weird, another security officer shows up and they take Geordi’s azz back to sick bay where it belongs.
In sick bay, Tasha hands Geordi off to Picard, Troi and Crusher then conspicuously wipes the sweat off her forehead before leaving. Picard is all, “I don’t want this creeping crud on my ship!” and Crusher says, “It can’t be a virus. We used full decontamination. My tests would have told us if they had something contagious. They must be just be crazy.” Troi is all, “I don’t sense anything from Geordi except confusion. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he’s on something!” Crusher is like, “DUDE, my equipment would have told me if he was on anything! Employee drug testing has been around for centuries!”
Back on the bridge Riker and Data are still searching through records (amidst Riker trying to explain the term ‘needle in a haystack’ to Data) to find out whether or not an incident like this happened before. Riker finally remembers that he read about it in a history text about previous Enterprise missions. Picard arrives on the bridge and the three of them discover that there is, in fact, some kind of contagious intoxication that is causing everyone on board to act like they are drunk. Wheeee! They call Crusher and tell her to check her AOL account ‘cause they are sending her the info she needs to clear this shit right up.
Troi arrives in her quarters to find the place a mess. There’s stuff everywhere and someone is giggling sultrily in the adjacent room. It’s none other than Tasha Yar who is standing before a mirror trying on all of Troi’s clothes like the worst roommate anyone ever had in history. She tells Troi she needs clothes advice so she can change her image and she’s come to Troi because she always looks bangin’ on her off days. Troi is all, “Girl, I sense something is going on with you, and it’s not just about fashion.” Tasha says, “Nevermind. I’ve got this,” and saunters off giggling in a very UN-Tasha like fashion. Troi calls the captain to warn him that Drunk Tasha is on the loose.
Dr. Crusher is sitting at her desk and Wesley calls her with the words every mother dreads, “Hey mom! Look what I can do!” She rounds the corner to see her son looking deranged while playing with his tractor beam. Crusher sends Wesley to their quarters and he informs her that she is probably stunting his emotional growth, then proclaims that it’s really hot in herre. Before Crusher can examine her own kid, Picard calls down and asks if she’s got a test antidote, which she claims will be available ‘soon’.
Tasha is slinking through the corridor. She sees a random dude, grabs him and stuffs her tongue down his throat. But back on the bridge there are more serious issues. The download of all the Tsiolkovsky’s data is taking a long time and Picard is worried because the star they are orbiting is pretty much about to collapse on itself. Data tells him to chill because even with half impulse power they can outrun any debris that comes flying at them if it decides to totally blow.
Down in Engineering Picard’s voice comes over the intercom and calls for the Chief Engineer (“CE”) to the bridge. She jumps up and runs out. Then Picard’s voice orders the Assistant Chief Engineer (“ACE”) to medical. Wesley walks in and says, “Hey man, aren’t you supposed to be going to medical?” and ACE says, “Yeah, but that would mean no one is left here in charge.” And Wesley says, “What about me?! I could just call CE if anything happens!” And then in a stunning display of non-intoxicated lack of judgment, the ACE says ok, leaving Wesley in engineering unsupervised.
When CE gets to the bridge she asks why Picard summoned her and he looks at her like she’s an idiot and says he most certainly DID NOT. Suddenly Picard’s own voice comes over the intercom and tells the entire crew that as of this moment, he has handed over the control of the Enterprise to ‘acting captain Wesley Crusher.” Picard looks like he’s going to lose his shit.
Wesley has partitioned himself off from the rest of the crew using a his tractor beam as a repulse beam and is issuing grandiose orders such as a mandate for dessert to be served before and after each meal. The engineering staff seems to have been contaminated at this point because they’re all huddled together laughing like a bunch of fools. Wesley looks pretty fucking messed up. He’s totally sweaty and has a crazed look in his eyes. He lets the ACE join him after he drunkenly swears loyalty to Wesley as captain. Riker and CE head down to try to manage the situation. Worf and Data alert Picard to several strange reports of incidents coming in from all decks.
Picard gets all barky and starts looking for Tasha “Head of Security” Yar. She answers her communicator and tells him she’s ‘pretty busy at the moment’ if you get her drift. (wink wink) Picard tells Data to go fetch Tasha and take her to sick bay. He shows up in dimly-lit quarters and she appears in the doorway wearing an outfit that covers everything on her body except about 17 inches of midriff. She also has a curl pasted onto her forehead.
Data says Picard wants him to take her to sick bay and she coyly asks, “did he say when?” Data says he thinks Picard probably meant now and she should get into uniform. Tasha says “But I got out of my uniform for you, Data.” Then she tells him how she was abandoned at the age of five and learned how to survive and she’s all tough and stuff now but she needs some TLC and Data is the one to give it to her. She clarifies that he is “fully functional” and he confirms that he is programmed in multiple techniques. This pleases Tasha immensely and she drags him into the bedroom.
Back in Engineering things aren’t going too well. Riker reports that ACE has pulled out all the little chips needed to operate the engines, and Wesley is still using his tractor beam to ward people off. Picard tells Riker and CE to short out the system so they can gain access. But just as they start to work Sweaty Troi turns up and calls Riker “Bill” which we can all just assume is not for any official purpose. She’s trippin’ on all the human emotions she feels from the drunk crew, then she grabs Riker around the middle and hangs on to him. He picks her up and carries her off to sick bay.
Dr. Crusher is testing her antidote on Geordi in Sick Bay. She says it should work instantly. It doesn’t. Geordi is still going on about not being able to see sunsets and rainbows. Riker marches in and tosses Troi on an examination table. Crusher tells Riker that, dammit, the antidote is not working. Then Crusher says, “Dude! You brought Troi in and touched her and then you just touched me! I gotta quarantine you!” Riker says that if he doesn’t get the engines back online none of this will matter because they’ll all be DEAD. Crusher looks alarmed, as well she should.
In engineering Wesley and ACE get a video call from Picard who demands that they turn control of the ship back over to him. Wesley argues with Picard who attempts to talk to him reasonably and explain the situation. Wesley grins and says, “So you mean I’m drunk?” He looks pretty jazzed about it. Picard goes on about what needs to happen to get them and Tsiolkovsky out of danger. Wesley is all, “I’m on the case!” and signs off.
Data returns looking exactly like he’s just gotten laid. He swaggers in all smarmy-like, but Picard tells him that he’s not human so he can’t be infected to which Data responds that he is more like humans than different. Dr. Crusher shows up on the bridge and says she needs to speak with Picard NOW. Picard rushes off the bridge and Data falls over.
In Picard’s office, Dr. Crusher leans seductively on his desk and tells him that she has become infected herself. She confirms it’s definitely like alcohol intoxication whereupon she throws herself at Picard (which means unzipping her top a couple inches and getting up in his face). Picard tells her to pull it together and she leaves the bridge waving ‘toodles’ to him.
Worf calls Riker up to the bridge because he is concerned the captain is now infected. The ship goes on red alert because they are in immediate danger of being destroyed as the star they are orbiting collapses on itself. Picard does, indeed, seems to be suffering from the contamination because he can’t issue orders without forgetting what he was going to say.
CE finally breaks through Wesley’s tractor beam and rushes in where ACE is sitting on the floor like a giant drunk baby playing with his pile of control chips. She scolds him and then calls the bridge to tell them they aren’t going anywhere in a hurry because some idiot pulled all the control chips out. Wesley pipes up from behind her that it was “an adult who did it!” indicating the poor ACE.
CE says she needs more than fourteen minutes to replace all the control chips and Wesley pipes up again from behind her to remind them that Data could probably get it done. Riker grabs Drunk Data and shuffles him off the bridge and down to Engineering.
Riker shouts at Data to get the chips back in place, and Wesley tells Data it’s like a game! See? FUN! So Data plops down and begins shoving chips in (ostensibly) the correct slots. Riker says they have 8-9 minutes and asks if he will be able to get it done in time. Data says no. Riker looks like he is going to cry.
Picard waltzes into Dr. Crusher’s office and leans on her desk. They have a not-so-witty exchange in which both of them seem to be partially fighting off the effects of the contamination because both of them are at least partially aware that they are acting like idiots. Crusher says she forgot where she was going just now, and Picard asks if she was going to test that antedote in her hand, and she says, “Oh yeah! On Geordi!”
Data is still working away furiously and Wesley is yammering on to Riker about his stupid tractor beam science project. Riker looks like he would like nothing better than to beat Wesley up. He keeps staring at the video monitor of a giant piece of the star hurtling at them. Then Wesley says, “Hey! If we only need a couple minutes why don’t I just hook this repulser beam up to the ship to buy us some time?” The Chief Engineering Officer is like, “Kid, it’ll take weeks to lay out all the new circuits.” And Wesley’s all, “Why not just see it in your head?” He turns to the console and starts doing some ‘calculations’.
In Sick Bay, Geordi comes to after his injection. Crusher sends Picard around to administer it to everyone else. Just in time! Data suddenly speeds up his chip replacement task, and Wesley’s repulse beam pushes the Enterprise away from the Tsiolkovsky which takes the impact of the giant space rock and gives the Enterprise time to fire up its engines and zoom off.
Picard, still in Engineering, calls up to the bridge and tells Geordi and Warf that both Data and Wesley had something to do with their escape. Warf is incredulous. Riker tells Picard that he ought to mention Wesley in a log entry, which Picard reluctantly agrees is fair.
The command crew then all gathers on the bridge. A long awkward moment occurs between Tasha and Data. She marches over to him and informs him that “it never happened.” Data looks nonplussed.
Picard says, “I think we shall end up with a fine crew if we avoid temptation.” Which sounds like a total drag but if this episode is the alternative I guess we’d better go with avoiding temptation for the rest of the series.
And they’re off.