Episode 16: Contaminated Cultures (PRO 1×13 All the World's a Stage, PRO 1×14 Crossroads)

After looking at the two latest episodes of Star Trek: Prodigy, "All the World's a Stage" and "Crossroads", Kev & Rob ensure their communicators are securely fastened to their belts and beam down to two worlds that have suffered cultural contamination in "A Piece of the Action" (TOS) and "False Profits" (VOY).

Rob: Did you miss us?

It has been a fortnight, but has
it felt like an a, a millennia?

Well, we are back.

I am indeed Rob, and the person
I am shooting the poo with is,

uh, the wonderful Kevin Yank.

How are you?

Kevin: Yeah, it's me, Kev.

Uh, I'm, I'm, well it is, uh, two weeks
is a long time between missions, uh,

but it feels like we're doing the long
haul from the Delta quadrant here.

Uh, there's a long distance between
stars sometimes, We've got two

episodes of Prodigy here to talk
about, uh, today and a theme as usual.

Uh, the, the theme we picked out was
contaminated cultures or like primitive

cultures that have come in contact with
the federation or some other entity

and, uh, have their cultures warp.

Because of it.

Rob: Yes.

And as always, like you came up
with a very long, uh, very specific

detailed description of it.

And then you find on memory alpha
that they came up with that turn a

phrase, the, uh, contaminated culture.

So, cuz of course I do.


Kevin: Here's a link.

There's a link in the show
notes to contaminated cultures.

If you wanna read all of the background,

Rob: There will always be a link.

So we, we are.

Episode 13 of season one.

All the world's a stage.

Of course, the wonderful quote from, uh,
Jay, from, as You Like It, um, one of the

characters, the melancholy color character
from, as You Like It, that pastoral

comedy by the Great William Shakespeare
and is incorporated in to this episode.

And what were your initial
thoughts of the episode, Kevin?

Kevin: Love hate is my
reaction to this episode.

I love it so much and I hate a couple
of small details , but overall, perhaps

my favorite episode of Prodigy so far.

Rob: Oh wow.

That is a big call, is definitely the one
that leans, this is the most star Trek

of Star Trek, prodigy episodes because
it has not only, although that tip of

the hat to the past with the original.

But it has, unlike our lower
decks, which has a like a hint of

a cynical edge to it, sometimes.

Kevin: Yes.

There's a barb in every compliment.


Whereas this is a true loving homage.


Like a wholehearted, you know what?

That show is so good.

We're gonna build our
whole society around it.

Rob: Exactly.

And for me, it's very much a case of.

It does owe a lot to the incredible,
uh, work of, uh, galaxy Quest as well

that I did feel like the Thermians did.


They were sorta like spawned from
this culture who embraced it so

much, and the even down to the fact
like characters spoke like James T.

Kirk, and spoke life.

Kevin: Now you're talking about one of
my hate moments of this cause the idea

that a planet would be inspired by a
glancing contact with Starfleet and,

and get a few of the details charmingly
wrong, uh, even as they did their

best to mimic every single aspect that
is like, it makes your heart swell.

It is, it is a lovely,
joyful thing to behold a.

What I will call, I'm sure it
wasn't intended this way, but it

came off to me as a mean-spirited
lampooning of William Shatner.

Rob: Oh, really?

Kevin: I think it was
completely unnecessary.

Oh yeah.

Rob: I didn't see it as
mean-spirited as all, because so

many of us as huge hardcore fans.

Do our Shana.


We all have our Shatner impersonation,
and in many ways, Shatner, the

Shatner impersonation is the go-to.

Like in Star Wars, you have Vader,
you have 3PO, you have Yoda.

You have those clear voices
and things that you can do well

within the Star Trek world.

Everyone leans into their
Shatner, so the pause is needed.

You know, John Belushi did a Shatner um,
uh, Jim Carey has an incredible Shatner.


So it's just like almost a rite of
passage within the Star Trek world.

Kevin: I concede that, but the, the
ultimate effect of it here, to me is

to make the show less accessible, more
off-putting to its intended audience.


If you're a kid who's never seen
William Shatner do Kirk, let.

Do that version of Kirk the larger
than life Kirk, um, this character is

just gonna be off-putting and weird
in, in a cringey kind of way, I feel.

Rob: Yes.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

It it, like I was saying, it does
the one, it is the one episode of

Prodigy that leans so heavily into it.

Um, and that's why I was a bit
worried about with the previous

one, with the, uh, uh, Koru episode,
with bringing in these characters.

Would that inspire young, new viewers?

Kevin: Yeah, I agree.


Same deal.

We'll put them off.

Rob: Um, So yes, the crew of the, uh,
the Protostar, are obviously worried

that they have this machine, uh, that's
been installed in the ship that will just

immediately, with any contact with a staff
lead vessel, will, uh, infect that ship

and just destroy it, set it apart as we
have already seen in the previous episode.

Kevin: What I love about this episode,
one of the many things I love about

this episode is faced with that
impasse of we can't go back to star.

They just go on a mission.


They're like, what good can we do?

We're we wanna be like Starfleet,
let's try and help someone.

Rob: Which they've been implying
they've been doing for like the

last, you know, couple of episodes.

Kevin: That's right.

We see little clips.

But it was so refreshing.

Just like Strange, New, Worlds was
a breath of fresh air to see a.

Crew on a ship do a mission.



Uh, that's what we got this episode.

And it was the same.

Oh yes.

This is what I love about Starfleet.

We get to the end of an hour
together and they've fixed the

problems of an entire world.

Rob: You made a new culture.

See how they interact And we, we
find out that this race has got

some sort of, um, Evil presence or
dark presence known as the gallows.

And, uh, that's one aspect
of sci-fi that I really love.

There's been explored in a lot of things.

There's a, a Dr who story called
The Face of Evil, where, uh, the,

uh, colonists of crash on the planet
and thousands of years later, the

descendants of split into two tribes.

So instead of the survey
team, there's the sever team.


And, uh, instead of um, uh,
the technicians, there's the.

And so like this as well, how the
dialogue, the broken language,

the language has evolved.

Kevin: You can decipher about half of it.

Like I knew right away that
"en-son" was an ensign.

I was like, okay, which ensign?

I'm gonna guess.

Uh, I know there was an ensign
behind all of this, and it was,

some of them were just charming.

The James t and Sue Lou and Dr.

Boones and Spock.

Rob: Yes.

So good.

And the, and the and the Vulcan Signal.

Signal Yes.

Was different and done wrong.

Oh, and what was what?

Kevin: They all live together
on the new end up prize

Rob: And what was the, instead
of live long and prosper, it was,

Kevin: uh, live logs and proper , which,
which seems to make no sense until later.

We find out that the logs are
what they call the plays that

they put on to teach each other.

What Starfleet or Star
Flight is all about.

Rob: And look, as a high school
drama teacher and, uh, a member of

many amateur performances back in
the day, I do appreciate an animated

recreation of a very amateur performance
with the use of very bad, um, props

and, and, and sets that move very
easily from one place to the other.

Kevin: Yeah, so I, I, I love that
they played fair, the gallows.

First of all, not an obviously broken
word, so you aren't immediately

looking for what it actually means.


But when it was revealed that it
was the shuttle craft Galileo, it

was like, of course the gallows
and the, the googly pink eyes were

the lights on the end of the Noels.


And it's just Oh, so satisfying.

Rob: Very well done.

Very, very well done.

It was good again, for these,
you know, protester crew.

Find out more about this
federation culture and staff league

culture and the positivity of
it and how they're inspired by.

Yeah, cuz they're so wanting to be
a part of staff athlete and they've

kind of lost their way a little bit.

But going on these missions and then
finding out the modus appi of the

federation can stay with them and inspire
them, whether it be TOS or Voyager.



And while that is going on, we
have, uh, Janeway on the hunt.

Again, finding out more
information as they.

And of course it doesn't look good
for the Protostar crew, uh, how

everything is perceived by Janeway
and her and her crew are sort, like

taking it as the worst possible
version of, of what actually happened.

Kevin: Indeed.

And that, uh, that comes ahead
in the next episode in a big way.

Rob: Well, at the end of episode 13,
they've been able to do a hologram thing

so that the people from the colony can.

Kevin: Yeah, that was one.

I think as often happens almost
every week, in fact on, uh, Prodigy,

it is a, uh, solution that will
satisfy the kiddies, but not

quite make sense to us grownups.

We just have to kind of smile
along and go, yeah, sure.

Rob: You can change the layout to
look like the original Enterprise.

Kevin: The theater kids
can drive the ship.

They know how.

Damn right.

And all it worked in Galaxy Quest.


Rob: It very much did.

So, yes.

Uh, and another big shocker was, uh, Murf.

Murf was um, is in some
sort of cocoon as well.

Kevin: It's like he's going
to be a pretty butterfly.

Rob: I was thinking that too.

I'm going, let's bring
out the Murf butterfly.

And there was a hint at the end of
the episode that they would dispose

of the ship and find their own
way to get to, to the Federation,

which leads into Yes, indeed.

Episode 14, crossroads,

Kevin: Before we go there.

I just wanna say the, the
connection to cannon of Ensign

Garrovick, David Garrovick.

Uh, a small red shirt part in an
original series episode called Obsession.

He was, a single episode guest star.

But a big part of that episode, he was
a red shirt whose father was killed

by a gas cloud and he was obsessed
with tracking it down and killing it.

And Kirk, uh, is his commander.

And Kirk is like trying to also
get to the bottom of this gas cloud

mystery, but keep this young kid alive.

And Garrovick was the
hotheaded, young ensign who.

Uh, trying to get revenge for the
death of his father and at risk of

getting himself killed in the process.

So Garrovick learned a valuable
lesson at the end of that episode

and, and like, became a member of
the crew and was never seen again

until we discover, somehow he ended
up piloting the shuttle craft Galileo

into this planet and never returning,

Rob: never returning to the Enterprise,
but, uh, inspiring this culture.

Uh, strive to be their very best.

Kevin: Yes.

And what more can you
expect from a red shirt?

Rob: Well, in Starfleet you inspire
a really good theater company

to put on, you know, a series of
plays that just define a culture.

And don't we all want that we've
all done impro shows that we

thought would change society?


Okay, so next episode.

Crossroads, the most
recent one that came out.

They've decided to dump,
uh, the Protostar Yeah.

On an ice planet, uh, covered in the snow.

Leave Janeway there.

And, um, try and find Federation
while at the same time.


Uh, Janeway and her crew, uh,
arrive at the same, uh, planet.

Go to the.

Uh, so like, almost like Mos Eisley.

Kevin: Yes, it was.

They, they stopped short of calling it
a wretched den of scum and villainy.

Rob: There's no wretched hive there.

Kevin: They called it a haven for
smugglers and anyone wishing to disappear.

Rob: Exactly.

Kevin: But it was much the same vibe.

Rob: Yeah.

Alec Guinness was uh, uh, pricking ears
as up in his grave going, uh, you quoing

me . Um, and we had another, Uh, deep
cut reference from the next generation.

Speaking of Scum and villainy.

Yeah, it's the great Billy
Campbell returns with in voice

form with now with an eye patch
and gray hair in animated form.

Kevin: Yeah.

Great's a strong word.

Rob: I like Billy Campbell.

Come on.

He was the Rocketeer.

Kevin: Yeah.


I don't know if the Outrageous
Okona was the character we needed

to bring back from the past, but I
guess everyone gets a turn, right?

Rob: Everyone's getting a turn right now.

No matter what spinoff we get,
everyone's gonna be coming back

in some way, shape or form.

Kevin: He ends this episode on the
Protostar, stuck in the neutral

zone, so I hope they're going
somewhere interesting with him.

Uh, in all honesty, if they
take Okona on an interesting

character arc, I am here for it.

Like I am, I would love the idea that
this, uh, cringey eighties lethario from

one episode of TNG, if he became the
heart and soul of, uh, this series for

a few episodes, and we ended up falling
in love with that character, great.

I haven't seen it yet.

Rob: Look, look and look, if, if
he does look like he's the pirate

king from, uh, Pirates of Penzance.

So if he does, yeah, if he does break
out into one of those, uh, Gilbert

Sullivan songs, I'd be very happy.

Kevin: Uh, what did you think
about this episode overall?

Rob: There's some good stuff in
there, like, but I'm getting,

I'm getting frustrated by it.

I mean, obviously it's the buildup of
television tension and all that type

of stuff, and I'm there going mm-hmm.

They're the good guys.

Don't think they're the bad guys.

And you've got the bad guy
and you think he's the good.


And it's just,

Kevin: It's a plot episode where they're
like adding complexity to string it out.

Rob: And they've got the Yeah,
they found the, the guy who was

on the, the outpost and he thinks
they're all monsters and animals and

Kevin: Barniss Frex.


If he sticks around much longer,
we're gonna have to do an episode on

bad Starfleet officers, because Vice
Admiral Janeway calls him out and

she's like, some Starfleet officer.

Won't even answer his communicator.

Rob: Yeah.

And, and, and also, and she does
turn and goes, you didn't tell

me they were children, . Yeah.

But yeah.

Well, uh, how did you find the
doctor in this episode as compared

to his first appearance where he was,

Kevin: They've laid off.

I think they, I don't know if they
course corrected or what, but he's, he

is much more professional and fading
into the background a bit more, I think.

Rob: Yeah.

He did bring the sass with Jankom.

Yes, indeed.

They were a bit sassy back and forth.

Kevin: Yeah.

And I guess that's what
he was written for.


Uh, so.

Worked for me.


I did like it.

Rob: And we had, uh, we
had a Klingon show up.

Kevin: Yeah, lovely.

I, I didn't realize how much I was
missing seeing Klingons on screen, but

this was a real Klingon and I liked him.

Rob: And being put into place by a Trill.

So it was very much, I had
flashbacks of Dax and Worf.

It was, uh, yeah, it was very good.

Kevin: All the plot machinations of
this episode to me are just there

to create this one scene where
Dal comes face to face with Vice

Admiral Janeway and confesses that
he really wants to live up to what

is needed to be a Starfleet officer.

Uh, and Janeway gives him the great
advice of, fear of failure has

killed more dreams than anything.

So I usually go for it.

And it just, Yet another pearl
of, of Janeway wisdom that, um, I

am, I am loving that Janeway has
become the speaker of grand truths

from the experience of Starfleet.

Rob: Look, you know, when we got to
the first half of the season, I went,

how this show can't get any better.

You got Kate Mulgrew back as Janeway.

You know how they did that?

They gave us two Janeways.

So, yeah, yeah, yeah.

You want, you want Mulgrew?

We'll give you two Muglrews.

Kevin: We'll pay you twice.

Rob: So yes, we had an exciting
chase through the snow.

We had avalanches, we had
races through deep warp, we had

drifting into the neutral zone.

Romulans show up.

Kevin: Those animated Romulan
warbirds were pretty sweet.

I have to say they looked even
better than the ones we got in Lower

Decks in, in Rutherford's fever
dream about his past personality.

Rob: It's a brilliant grain of the,
of, of, of the ships just stood

out beautifully in the, in the.

Good design those Romulans.

Bad haircuts, but they
know how to design a ship.


So we end on a bit of a cliffhangery
type thing with, uh, with uh,

drifting into neutral zone.

Cannot communicate with,
uh, Janeway's ship.

The Romulans coming in.

Kevin: I have a bone to pick with
these Romulans, and it's not the

first time this has happened, where
the Federation is minding their own

business, clearly outside of the
neutral zone on their side of it.

The point of a neutral zone is it creates
a vast expanse between you and your enemy,

and you stay on your side and they stay
on their side and no one goes to war.

In this episode, Jay W gets a little
too close to the neutral zone.

and the Warbirds uncloak and go,
what do you think you're doing?

You're coming a little close to
our neutral zone over here that

that would be an act of war.

And I'm asking myself, where exactly
are these Romulans that they are

not committing an act of war by de
cloaking in front of Janeway's ship?

Rob: Well this is, this is the
beauty of Star Trek, kevin.

You know the, it's not black and white.

It's many layers of gray.

Kevin: Geography is fluid in Star Trek.

Rob: It's very, very fluid.


You know, there's only so many
outer and inner rims we can have.

How many rims do we have here?

Come on.

Kevin: All right, so we
had our loving homage.

We had our plot heavy action episode.

Uh, we're getting some variety in our
Prodigy at the moment, which I'm loving.

Rob: Very much so.

Kevin: But the thing we picked out
this week to talk about is that

idea of a contaminated culture.

And we saw it with the Endaprizians, here.

And, uh, Rob and I have each picked
out, uh, one example of another

contaminated culture that, uh, we
wanted to revisit here on this episode.

So who should go first?

Rob, what do you think?

Rob: Well, let's, um, let's start
off with, uh, the original series.

An Excellent Choice.

Um, yes.


And I've heard of this episode many,
many times before, but I've never

actually seen it so, To finally
watch it for the first time was

Kevin: You had never seen A
Piece of the Action until today?

Rob: Until today.

Today was my, uh, first time of watching.

Ooh, uh, piece of the action.

Kevin: I, it is my pleasure
to introduce you to the joy

that is A Piece of the Action.

Rob: It's a, a great deal of fun.

Uh, right smack bang on near the end.

Of season two.

So they're very much, uh,
set in their ways and, uh,

Kevin: They had the confidence to go there
with the comedy, with the broad comedy.

Rob: And, and, and Shatner just is allowed
to just sail into the, the hammiest

over the top fun I have ever seen.

Kevin: Yeah.

So good.

As a kid, when I first saw
this episode, I bought it 100%.

In fact, I'm pretty sure I learned
what gangsters were by watching this

episode as a child and it, it works
that way because our crew are the

outsiders learning about this culture.

You don't have to know what a gangster is,
you get to learn it through this episode.

So everything that they do is accessible.

It is not a genre episode that
assumes knowledge in any way.

Rob: Yeah, and it's a beautiful balance
of, they're aware of the fact that they

are caught up in a universe where they
are ships that traveled through space

and they're aware of all this type of
stuff, but they're stuck in this tribute

to this certain era of American history.

Kevin: Uh, for anyone in our
audience who has not seen A Piece

of the Action season two, episode
20 of the original series, like,

Rob: Like me three hours ago.

Kevin: Yeah.

Uh, the quick recap is that the
Enterprise comes to make second contact.


I didn't remember that we had
seen a second contact before.


They returned to a planet that
was first visited by a Starfleet

ship a hundred years before.

That ship met an ill-fated end
shortly after that mission.

And so the radio transmissions
of their visit did not make it to

Starfleet until just last week.

Rob: A hundred years prior to, uh, TOS.


How was that in relation
to Archer's timeline?

Where is that?

Kevin: It'll be right around then.

Rob: Right.

Kevin: And in fact, they did, uh,
There is a Starship Horizon that

appears in Enterprise in one season.

Ensign Merewether, was his family ship.

He in his quarters.

On a bookshelf behind him is
a copy of Gangs of the 1920s.

Rob: Excellent.

Kevin: The same white hardbound tone.

Uh, so yes, the connection
is definitely there in this

episode of the original series.

It turns out that this book was left
behind by the original visit and the

very impressionable natives of this
planet make it their bible, effectively,

and model their entire culture.

Rob: They are experts in mimicry, so
they take everything and they can do

it absolutely perfectly, which is a
great, uh, yes, great plot filler.

They can just, you know, logic jumps.

Kevin: So they read this big
book and credit to the production

design, it's a big, thick book.

Like there's a lot of gangster
information in that book.

Rob: Well, Chicagey was
a, a very violent town.

Kevin: Originally pitched, uh,
with the two words, President

Capone, in the original pitch
document for the original series.

Rob: Nice.

Kevin: Um, this, this episode is basically
Kirk, Spock and McCoy trying to navigate

this culture of gangs and bosses.

Getting kidnapped and thrown in
one cell and then escaping only

to get picked up and get kidnapped
and thrown in another boss's cell.

And all the bosses want them to
provide weapons or heaters as

they are called in this culture.


Rob: Uh, yeah, bring the heat!

Kevin: And ultimately it's resolved
by Kirk going, you know what these

people will respect is another boss.

So he goes, Hey, the
Federation's moving in here.

Rob: Yeah, we've gotta
take our percentage.

We want 40% of you get nothing
And can And can I just say

this is like, like this is 68?

Kevin: Yeah.

Rob: Yeah.

So this is, the Kirk's hat is
very much like a 1970s pimp pat.

It is very furry.

I'm there going this,

Kevin: It's very fuzzy in HD.

You can tell just how fuzzy it's, it's

Rob: So like HD from Paramount
Plus I'm there going, that is

a pimp hat from the seventies

I don't think that was even in
existence anywhere near the 1920s.

Kevin: Well, yeah, they did their best.

Those, uh, those Icosians.

Rob: But there's a lot of, there's
a lot of stuff in there that harks,

harkens back all forward to me from
like, my favorite era of growing up

with the original crew was the movies,
and especially that Star Trek IV Voyage

Home, that that interplay between,
um, Shatner and Nimoy is just, yeah.

Burst at just how flashy
they are back and forth.

And you see that here,
like yes, with their team.

Kevin: The whole, don't lose
yourself in the role there buddy.

Rob: Don't bury yourself in the part.

Um, but also like in the car, they're
going, I believe it's a clutch.

That's right because let's the whole
line of captain never drive again.

Kevin: It's not the car that frightens
me, captain, it's your driving.

So good.

Uh, and worth pointing out.

There is no plot justification for Kirk
suddenly going, well, this is my chance.

I've always wanted to
put on a gangster accent.

It is just there for fun.

And Kirk appears to be
having fun with it as well.

Rob: Look, is it just me?

If I'd watched this as a younger
man, just having James T.

Kirk hold a gun at somebody and
say, take your clothes off it.

Just of there.

Kevin: Get outta them clothes.

Rob: Get outta them clothes.

And it's a,

Kevin: I love that he
calls Bones Sawbones.

Rob: Sawbones.

Kevin: And he calls, calls Spock Spock-o.

Rob: Spock-o, that's right.

And um, and trying to translate
to Scotty with his strong,

Kevin: Oh, bewildered Scotty, yes,
on the bridge is my favorite thing,

Rob: And I look on that now going,
that should be Uhura, though.

Uhura is the,

Kevin: It should be Uhura.

Yes, it should definitely be Uhura.

But uh, yeah, when, when Bella Oxmyx
calls up and says, you understand?

And, and Scotty goes, I don't know.

Rob: I, I actually have no idea.

And it ends on a, like, cuz the ones on
Paramount Plus are all the new HD ones

with all the special effects added.


So, um, at the end of the episode,
it literally ends on a, uh,

American sitcom freeze frame.

Kevin: Yes it does.

Rob: And then it cuts from the freeze
frame to the really beautiful new CGI

and they go, you're trying to cover it
up, but you added on a freeze frame.


Kevin: With his, eh, Shatner, like, yeah.

One thumb pointed at Spock,
the other pointed at McCoy.

Rob: It's a lot, it's a lot of fun.

Kevin: That's for a piece of our action.

It doesn't even make sense that closing
line, but the freeze frame sells it.

Rob: Ah, the scene with the
kid is really, really cute.


Kevin: Oh, so sweet.


What a Oh, hard to cast a good
kid bit part, but they did it.

Rob: They did a great job.

Um, and so, yeah, just a lot of fun.

Very, very silly.

It's a very silly episode.

Kevin: I think everyone thinks of
Trouble with Tribbles, but this is

right up there with silly episodes
of the original series for me.

Rob: Yeah, and it's a little
bit timeless because it.

That future representation of the 1920s.

So the suits are impeccable.

It's like with, um, some
of the best episodes of Dr.

Who in the seventies is when they set
it in, uh, medieval times or back into

Victorian era because the BBC costume
department could just bring out.

Kevin: A Cobwebby dungeon
looks the same in any area.

Rob: Exactly.

And they could get those specific
costumes that you know, you know,

but you're trying to create an alien
culture from 300 years in the future.

That's hard to create.

Kevin: This is also why they did those
episodes, because they could use the

backlot, they could use all the props.

They just raid the costume
department and they're done.

Rob: So any episode, which would come
across as dated now because the costumes

are trying to capture a, a colony in
the future, or a planet in the future.


That shows the dated this, but here
you can just rely on the fun of the

episode because the costumes are
something that you can relate to apart

from, you know, Kirk's fuzzy pimp hat.

Kevin: Yes.

This episode ends with
McCoy admitting he left his

communicator behind on the planet.


Rob: Quite unprofessional McCoy.

Kevin: It's he's, he's
deciding whether to, he's, he's

deciding whether to mention it.

At the end.

It's like, maybe I just
won't say anything.

Rob: And McCoy is so
serious the entire episode.

You think that that seriousness
and dedication, you've been so

serious in focus this entire
episode and you still That's true.

Lose your communicator, McCoy.

Kevin: This concept is followed up on
in an Enterprise, uh, episode Star Trek

Enterprise, season two, episode eight,
called The Communicator, which I wondered

if they had found some way to literally
follow up on McCoy's communicator, but

no, the timeline is not right for that.

But I do want to know the story of what
happened to Sigma Iotia as a result

of that communicator being left there.

That is a story that has been
told in comics, but I think that

that is a potentially rich enough
story that I would love to see us

come back to it somehow, someday.

Rob: It'd be hilarious if Boimler and
and Beckett went to, uh, oh, exactly.

Did they?

Kevin: Gang gangster.

It's dying for it.

They have mentioned that planet.

They have mentioned the gangster planet.

This thing writes itself.

The Enterprise episode, the communicator
is, uh, much more straight down the line.

Oh, we were on a mission.

We left a communicator behind.

Now we have to go back for it.

And we've been captured.

We need to explain ourselves as,
as, oh as, uh, owners of future

technology and yeah, it, it's, it's
much less fun than a piece, piece of

the action, but almost anything is.

Rob: That just defines,
uh, Enterprise, doesn't it?

Ooh, burn.

Bit of burn for Enterprise.

Kevin: You know what
does sound fun, though?


Ferengi sound fun.

Rob: Oh, what a segue.

That's incredible.


Influential episode based on these
contaminated cultures and Memory Alpha

says it is of course False Profits.

Season three, episode five of Voyager.

Kevin: A uh, a rare Voyager tie in
to a previous episode of Star Trek.

Rob: Yes.

Which they say in the episode
of Voyager is seven years ago.

So it's from.

I'm not sure which
season it is in, uh, TNG.

Kevin: The Price, season
three, episode eight.

Rob: Wow.

So pretty close.

So season three, episode
five for False Profits.

And its a sequel to season
three, episode eight of the TNGs.

Kevin: Ah, well it's that close.

Why didn't they just line them up?

It would've been so
satisfying to match them up.

Rob: I know, I know.

That's another thing for us to
be annoyed about Voyager about.

Yeah, Harry.

Something else can annoy
us just as much as you.


Kevin: An early wormhole episode.

Like this is long before Deep Space Nine.

TNG had, there was a a, a race
whose planet was near a wormhole

and they wanted to auction off the
travel rights, the ownership rights

of that wormhole that would be a,
a gateway to the delta quadrant.

And, uh, people could come and go open
up a whole new, uh, avenue of commerce.

And the Federation was bidding
and the Ferengi were bidding.

And at the end of the episode,
it's discovered the, the wormhole

is unstable and worthless, but
the Ferengi aren't having it.

They're like, oh, you're just
trying to pull one over on us?

We'll, we'll fly into the wormhole
and uh, sure enough, the wormhole

collapses, stranding them in the
delta quadrant to be up to appear.

Rob: So, yes.

And here in the Delta Quadrant, they,
um, uh, seen as the, the prophets, the

gods of, uh, the sort, like the, the
sages, uh, for this, for this culture.

And, um, pretty much just milk
them for all they're worth.

They live in opulence life.

They have very scantily dressed
futuristic slash early nineties,

mid 90s, ladies fing all over them,

Kevin: Uhhuh

Rob: and, uh, while the, the culture
is pretty much struggling and living in

poverty and living from hand to mouth
in a Bronze Age type existence, uh, the

Ferengi uh, living, the opulent life,
taking all the profits that they need.

Kevin: A beautiful extension
of the premise in my mind.

Like if we have established that in
the galaxy, there are entire planets

that are so impressionable, they
pattern themselves after whatever

book or instructions you give them.

Why would that not be abused by a
pair of Ferengi a long way from home?

Rob: And there's a reason why
the Ferengi Empire has, uh,

lasted and been so successful.

It knows how to adapt and adjust.

Kevin: Um, so I have not seen this
episode in a long time, so I'm looking

forward to reliving it through you.

Uh, what did, what stood out to you, Rob?

Rob: Yeah, there's some, there's
some great stuff in this.

I hadn't seen this for a while as well.

What really stood out for me.

What they deal with a lot in Voyager
is, let's look at the Prime Directive.

Like Tuvok says, well, the Prime
Directive is we cannot interfere at all.

And even though these people, uh,
the Ferengi are coming here, they're

not a part of the Federation.

So we can't interfere in
any way, shape, or form.

And Janeway goes, yeah, if I remember
correctly, we were a part of the

original negotiations, and so if we
hadn't done that, they would never

have gone through the wormhole.

So this is our responsibility.

I'm there going, oh, that's
very good logic jumping.

That is, that is some logic
jumping there, Janeway.

And I love that type of
justification she does in her head.

Kevin: Does Tuvok buy it?

Rob: Oh, oh, Tuvok as always.

Tim Russ does his normal, passive
aggressive raised, you know.


Um, sigh out.

So because doesn't do
Nimoy's raised eyebrows.

Kevin: Yeah, that's, that's what I was
gonna say is there were a couple of.

Um, Spock accepting the logic
moments in the previous episode

we were discussing as well.

When the little kid goes, uh, Spock goes,
you don't even know what the action is.

And the kid goes, well, it's
gotta be big or you wouldn't be,

you wouldn't be hitting Krakko.

And Spock goes, Logical.

Rob: Logical.

That's logical.

So, um, uh, and a highlight for me is
Ethan Phillips as, uh, Neelix for most

of the episode I actually said out loud,
they're basically just showing Neelix

looking and nodding . And they had,
they didn't clearly signify the Janeway

was looking at Neelix to do something.

I'm just there going, why
are they looking at Neelix.

Having a shot on him for
an extended period of time.

And then of course, the next scene he
comes disguised as a Ferengi and Ethan

Phillips does an incredible job as,
uh, as, as the Ferengi right there.

He's, he's no Jeffrey Coombs, but
you know, or he's no Armin Shimerman,

but he does a great job as a,
as the Ferengi, you know, proxy.

Kevin: Absolutely.

I would buy, all it takes is
gregariousness at 11 to be a,

a, at least a cheerful Ferengi.

Rob: So they try everything in their
power to, they can't force the Ferengi

off the planet, so they try and convince
them by using their greed against them.

Um, it's, yeah, it's a very clever
episode to connect but not connect

and, um, and how it all works out.

And there's some great appearances.

Uh, in supporting roles.

Michael Ensen, uh, he plays the bard,
the, the shonky bard, very much

like Igor from Young Frankenstein.

His eye patch moves from
one side to the other.

Kevin: No!

Rob: Uh, he's, yeah, he's like, sings
great poetry about the, the Sages

arrival and all that type of stuff.

Kevin: Course I completely forgot that.

That's great.

Rob: And he's a great character
actor who, uh, most, uh, fans will.

As, uh, the hotel
concierge in Ghostbusters.

He's a wonderful,
wonderful character actor.

He does an awesome job.

Uh, Robert, uh, LaBelle
as Kafa is great as well.

He's been around doing stuff.

He plays two Talaxians in other Voyager
episodes, but two big standouts.

They brought back Dan Shor, who was the
original, uh, Ferengi from The Price and

filling in as Kol is the great Leslie
Jordan, who just recently passed away.

This is one of his early television
roles, playing a Ferengi beautifully.

He went on to do Will and
Grace, and um, he's in The Help

and just a incredible actor.

If you want to see more about him,
there's a great YouTube channel.

Matt Baum, one of my
favorite, um, YouTubers.

He focuses on pop culture and
LGBTQI+, um, rights and issues within

pop culture, and he's just done
a video tribute to Leslie Jordan.

Find out about his amazing life
and, um, his, uh, wonderful career.

Kevin: Amazing.

Rob: But here he does great here.

Kevin: I'll be watching that right after
this as I put the link in the show notes.

Rob: Uh, yes.

So Leslie Jordan does a great job.

He works beautifully with Dan and they,
um, play off each other really well.

As with all Ferengi characters,
you need the, the powerful

one, and the sniveling one.

Uh, the, the more manipulative
one and the one who's easily

manipulated, they work beautifully.

Oh, yeah.

Uh, together,

Kevin: It's like a pair
of clowns in a way.

You need the high status clown
and the low status clown.

Rob: Ferengis are great in especially
this, the, the iteration that they became.

Kevin: Mm-hmm.

Rob: Uh, they're, they're great in
bringing that whole sense of just

stripping back all that Starfleet facade.


And giving.

A little bit of almost, you know,
modern day Earth culture in, uh,

in this, in this futuristic world.

So yeah, it's a, it's
a, it's a funny episode.

So you've got Chakotay and
Paris going undercover.

Um, there's some great jokes in
there about cuz this culture has

embraced the, the rules of acquisition
and, uh, in fact the culture knows

it better than the Ferengi do.

It, it's all about bartering
and what money they can get, and

there's a great moment where the
bard will give them information

if they could, oh, those shoes.

Those, because they've replicated suits
and clothing to look exactly like it.

So that means they're fresh and new.

Uhhuh and these people just
going, I want those shoes.

So uh, so Chakotay and Paris, by the
end of the mission, end up, you know,

barefoot going through this mission.

Kevin: Tell me about
this, this native culture.

They got warped by the Ferengi.

Are they another, like, are
they conspicuously, gullible?

Rob: No.

It, they're, they're a great
description of it from Janeway.

So let goes, they weren't very
advanced, but they were doing well.

They were doing okay.

They were looking after each other.

They were, mm-hmm.

They were, they were prosperous as
in, you know, they weren't making lots

of money and stuff, but they were,
it was a healthy, thriving culture.

But then with this Ferengi
influence, um, they're not gullible.

They're, they are deeply embedded in
their religious beliefs, so, to the

point where, you know, their prophets
or sages come from uh, from the sky

with a flaming tail behind them.

And so that was the ship's warp core.

And so they say they, they arrived with
fire and they need to leave with fire.

So yes, it does end with them tying
up the two Ferengi and Neelix dresses

of Gerengi about to set them on
fire cuz that will send them back.

Kevin: Gotcha.

So not so much a, like a gullible
species, but there was a myth that

the Ferengi were able to exploit
and fit, fit themselves into,

Rob: Yes, they are.

They can reason, but they are very
embedded in their culture of their

religious culture, and especially,
wouldn't you be if the gods that

you have been worshiping have been
living among you for seven years.

Kevin: If anything, going back to
Sigma Iotia, it with, uh, A Piece

of the Action, I almost regret
that that planet and species were

painted as, you know, mimickers,

Rob: Mm-hmm.

Kevin: because I think it's, it, it's
a more powerful point that one book

and a visit from a Starship a hundred
years later, that small influence can

warp a culture very severely over a long
period of time, and I think yes, it,

it wasn't even necessary to say that
oh, they'll, they'll copy anything.

I think the point of the Prime
Directive is that the smallest, most

innocent influence on a primitive
culture can have these drastic

ramifications down through time.

Rob: It is Star Trek in its infancy.


And so there's concepts and
ideas back in the sixties of

them going, how do we justify it?

Oh, well the culture mimics.

Sure, sure.


So that's why they're doing that.

Whereas nowadays they've evolved
Star Trek into so many other

different interpretations and
they've developed this law.


So now they're a lot more confident
to say, no, just this one encounter,

brief encounter, this hint.

Can have a tidal wave of
influence on your entire culture.

Kevin: I get that.

It was definitely primordial Star Trek.

At the same time, so amazing that
in season two of a TV series from

the sixties doing a comedy episode,
they would pull out as subtle an

idea as like cultural contamination.

Rob: Yeah.

Kevin: From a visit from the Federation.

Like that, that, um, that is why we still
have Star Trek today, is because they,

they were using those deep rich ideas.

In a comedy episode.

Rob: A comedy episode that has
a very high body count as well.

There is, there is a
lot of people who die.

Kevin: McCoy makes no effort
whatsoever to save those shooting

victims by the side of the road.

Rob: McCoy's not doing himself any favors.

He drops a communicator.

He doesn't save anybody.

Was he drunk?

And doesn't know the
physiology of a Klingon?


Come on.


Come on, McCoy.

Kevin: You got a lot to answer for, McCoy.

Rob: Sawbones, if that is your real name.

Kevin: Well, thank you Rob.

I enjoyed that, uh, that trip down
memory lane to some, like, opposite

ends of the Starfleet timeline, but
at the same time, like connected

through this one idea, uh, so much
fun to visit these things with you.

Rob: We had Ferengi, we had
pirates, we had gangsters.

We had, you know, we had two Janeways.

I mean, it's, it's been a hell of a two
weeks and, um, see you in a fortnight.

Kevin: See ya.

Little hatched Murf who's walking
around that is creeping me out.

Rob: Yeah, we didn't get to talk
about it in the, when we talk about

Crossroads, I was disappointed.

Yeah, I was disappointed.

It's just Murf upright with a little
ex exclamation mark on his head

and he's just, yeah, the same form.

Now with legs.

I'm going, he accidentally
sits on a button that causes

a photon to go back and hit.

I'm going, oh no man.

Kevin: That's not what I wanted.

I wanted.

Beautiful butterfly.

Rob: I want my moth, I want my,
I want my beautiful butterfly.

I want my, you know, evolution to
the next stage of this, uh, creature.

So if it, I'm hoping there's all,

Kevin: This is an intermediate,
this is the larval stage of the

new Murf is what you're saying.

Rob: This is teenage Groot stage.


Kevin: Okay, good.

I have my hopes restored.

Rob: We have our eyes, we have
our critical eyes on you, Prodigy.

Don't let us down.

Episode 16: Contaminated Cultures (PRO 1×13 All the World's a Stage, PRO 1×14 Crossroads)
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