Episode 24: Swearing in Star Trek (PIC 3×04 No Win Scenario)

Rob: Welcome, welcome, welcome.

We are back because another episode
of Star Trek has just dropped

and there's so much to discuss.

We need to talk about it.

I am here with Kevin Yank,
as always and I am Rob Lloyd.

And so the most recent episode to
drop is episode four of season three

of Picard, No Win Scenario, written
by Terry Matalas and Sean Tretta and

directed by the great Jonathan Frakes.

Kevin: What a team!

Well done team.

Rob: What a team.

What a combo.

What an episode.

What are your first thoughts, Kevin?

Of No Win Scenario?

Kevin: If, this was as good as Picard
ever got, I would be satisfied.

Rob: Look.

Kevin: This deserves to be the
high point of the entire series.

Rob: It was an incredible episode.

And it's amazing what can be done
when you bring characters back.

And so they're not in their prime.

They're not in a weekly, regular program
that's going over and over again.

So that whole threat level is
diminished when you're in you're

halfway through the season and you
know you've got more seasons to come.

But with this being touted as the
final one, anything's up for grabs.

Anything could happen.

So that threat level can be manipulated
with, I'm not saying used, but

definitely can manipulate the audience.

Kevin: So you're talking about that
sense of we are all doomed, like

to a certain extent you buy it.

Like this could be the end of the road,
at least for one of our characters.

Rob: The whole scenario of a ship of
our heroes trapped in a situation where

it looks like there is no way out.

The know, resources have
diminished, oxygen is diminishing.

They're at the point of if they're found,
they're pretty much dead in the water.

And that has been played out
in Star Trek multiple times.

But because of the, the finality of this
season, the age of the characters, the

age of the actors, the shortness of this
season compared to, say, a a 22, 24 arc

season back in the eighties and nineties.

That, is rarely used.

They, They have tried at times to be Game
of Thrones in modern Star Trek, but it's

very much still Star Trek as we know it.

So they can manipulate that
emotional investment a lot more.

So we find ourselves Vadic's
ship, the Shrike, is cat-n-mousing

the Titan within this nebula.

Has been blown to smithereens because of
a tactical decision that Picard got wrong.

And Riker is is dealing with the
realities of their situation.

They are losing all power.

They have no way.

They're floating dead in
the water in this nebula.

Kevin: Riker did a pretty sharp turn
following the throwing Picard off the

bridge at the end of the previous episode.

He was pretty quick to assess the
situation and go apologize to his friend.

So, uh, I think it it further made
me question the point of that heated

moment, at the end of the last episode.

I feel like someone just had it as their
personal mission to create a moment

of their relationship fracturing under
stress, and they were gonna do that,

whatever it took to get them there and
then they would move past it very quickly.

Rob: They move past it incredibly quickly.

Some might say, that is more in
character than the line that was

dropped at the end of the previous one.

Kevin: That scene was the first of several
big speeches this episode, getting to

hear from Riker what was going on in his
head, in his relationship with Deanna.

That it almost made it worth it.

If the question was why is Riker not
behaving like Riker last episode, they

did provide an answer for that here.

Like, He's the guy's going
through some stuff and,

Rob: He is.

He is.

Kevin: Yeah, it affected me and
ultimately, this continued, the pattern

that we saw last episode of it seems
like this season, besides telling a

satisfying story, seems to be deliberately
crafted to create breaks in the storm

where there is relative quiet, where
our characters have nothing to do, but

to confide in each other how they're
feeling about the situation, and we're

getting great character moments out of it.

Rob: And that is a tricky balance to get.

It's the, there's been criticisms
in other franchise shows, other IP,

where finding that balance of how
you hit the emotional while still

going through the, the threat level.

And some shows don't get that balance
right where they literally, put a brake

on any type of action or progress with
a narrative and just go straight into

let's have it deep and meaningful.

Other shows can blend that into the
threat level as that, when you're

at this heightened state, you
have to get straight to the point.

And so this was a good exploration of the
fact that, it's being sucked into this

nebulous type of a gravity pull system.

There's the mystery of trying
to solve what it is and Dr.

Crusher is sorting out the patterns of it.

But they're at that lowest point.

They've lost more than any other ship
I've seen that hadn't been destroyed

in the background of a ma major fight.

And taking solace just to take those
final moments and some dealing with it

by going into the holodeck, which is a
whole other, there's been a lot of online

criticism from fans and I'm interested
to get your take on going, hang on.

They're down to Baris
minimum life support,

Kevin: Look it, it, it is dumb,
but it's one of those dumb Star

Trek things that was established
previously and so it's fair game.

It happened a fair bit in Voyager and
there they, they explained it pretty

clearly, that idea that Starfleet ships
have a dedicated, non repurposable

power system just for the holodeck,
for the crew to use in emergencies.

Yeah, it was dumb in, in
Voyager when they made it.

I think they could have
chosen not to bring it back.

There was, the thing that bothered me
is there was nothing about that scene

that wouldn't have worked in a mess hall
or some other quiet corner of the ship.

It seems like they must have spent
a whole lot of money on that 10

Forward set and they are using every
excuse to get characters in there.

Rob: A part of me was thinking, yeah,
it's that whole case that they don't

trust, it's that modern trait I'm
seeing in star Trek of they're not

trusting that you can hit that emotional
truth that is universal, whatever

timeline you are without having it
set in a environment that you as a

modern audience are comfortable with.

It's that case of, having a, just
sitting around and having a chat

about that could be done at any
of, any space within Star Trek.

And we've seen it done in regular
Star Trek in any series, even if,

like in Star Trek II, you have Kirk
going through his mortality crisis

when he gets older and he's talking
to Bones about it, having the drink

of Romulan Ale in his quarters, which
look realistic, but are so futuristic.

They don't trust that
anymore, I don't think.

They just go, oh, we're gonna
have this deep and meaningful

casu— relationship chat.

We gotta do it in a setting that
we know as being a confessional

area in, in, in that setting.

I'm going, we've been doing this
over 50, you know, nearly 60 years,

Kevin: I've heard some comments about
the fact that from the showrunners

that this season, despite it looking
like a movie so often, they have been

making it on surprisingly little money.

And behind that, like I hear a
certain amount of pride of, oh, we

reused that set from season two.

It was very expensive, but
we didn't have to pay for it.

And it was almost like Terry Matalas,
every time he reused something his

bosses were very happy with him.

So he was gonna reuse stuff as much as
possible to make the exorbitant expensive

season two feel less expensive somehow.

Rob: Terry has gotta deal with,
it's the final season syndrome.

We've wasted all the money
on the previous seasons.

All the main show runners have buggered
off, you've only got these sets.

You, most of our money
has gone into the cast,

Kevin: Yeah.

Ultimately the question has to be
did it make the show better or worse?

And for me, it took me out of the scene.

And to their credit, they
explained it on screen,

Rob: It was very much a hand
wavy type of, oh yeah, Bubba.

Kevin: but they had to take the time
to explain it so it also distracted

from the story they were telling.

It was Jack's accent all over again.

Like I was saying last week, I would've
preferred Jack not have that accent so

that they didn't have to explain it.

But given that he had the accent,
I'm glad they explained it.

It's the exact same thing
with the holodeck here.

I would prefer they hadn't used
it, but I'm glad that if they did,

they at least did us the respect
of explaining, "explaining" why.

Rob: And this led into a
retelling of of a young Picard,

Kevin: Yeah.

And I wanted to point out a detail that
I noticed that delighted me, and I don't

know if this is just in my head, but
throughout these conversations that Jack

and Picard were having Jack was fiddling
with some red straws that were on the

bar and he was tying them up in knots.

And I'm like, Ooh, these are, this is like
a visual reference to the red vines that

are in his head and invading his world.

It's great.

I saw them, they were like prominently
positioned out of focus in the

background when they first went in.

And I was like, that is
a bright splash of red.

And when he got there and he
started playing with them,

I was like, that is not an

Rob: That is done on purpose.

That is all metaphor and symbol.

Kevin: Very cool.


I don't know what to make of
his flashes of violence yet.

They seem to be dealing with
it head on, which is good.

But it is that puzzle box of the season.

The voices in his head seem to have
gotten a bit clearer this episode, and

to me they sound like Vadic's voice.

They sound like Amanda Plummer.

Rob: Yes, we shall, we
shall see how it plays out.

That's very interesting.

The symbolism that they're doing.

I guess it's because it's very much
pushed in our conscience now, but it looks

very Stranger Things in The Upside Down
with those red vines and that red type

of environment and those flashes of red
doors opening and that type of hellscape

environment that keeps to be seeping in.

And that's been employed
so much by Stranger Things.

So I'm looking forward to see
how it, differentiates itself and

steps itself away from that kind
of, symbolism and iconography.

Kevin: Yeah.

While we're speaking of Vadic, she
did have a little scene where she cut

off her hand and it became a face.

And I've seen a joke online
that was her "handler".

Uh, what did you make of that?

Do you think she's a Changeling herself?

Is she reporting to Changelings?

Has she got a Changeling
attached to her somehow?


Rob: I think.

I think she is an actual Changeling.

And that type of, that's something
we haven't seen within the Changeling

culture, and I like that type of
advancement of how they communicate,

how they stay connected, even though
they're disconnected from the Great

Link, how they link themselves
within this new faction, which

Kevin: Perhaps she is two Changelings.

She's like the fluky and
the handler, like in one.

And, And that moment was them
separating to have a conversation

with each other for our benefit.

I'm not really sure
what was going on there.

It was visually, spectacularly creepy.

Rob: Yeah, I think it is their
way of how she connects with

Changelings within the conspiracy, so

Kevin: That all smacks of uh,
Star Trek VI and the Bird of

Prey that can fire while cloaked.

They're prominently changing some
rules to unlock some new storytelling

Rob: To make it even harder to
make the challenge something

we have not seen before.

But there was a great moment and
I, we did talk about it in previous

episodes and we finally got it.

There was the moment where Vadic,
in a moment of pure joy and release,

got in her chair and spun around
Amanda Plummer very much a tip

of the hat to her father spinning
around in his chair in Star Trek VI.

Kevin: It was a less triumphant moment.

It was detach the weapon we're going
to, to our deaths on a suicide mission.

But she was delighted nonetheless.

Rob: Oh yes.

Cuz you know that unhinged character
slash actor, so the where the lines blur.

We had an incredible
moment in the bar with

Kevin: Speeches two and three, we
had Picard telling the story of Jack

Crusher in the when they borrowed a
shuttle and spent all that time limping

home when they got hit by a meteoroid.

And Picard uh, dropping the F bomb there.

Rob: Which uh, I dunno if you
read the article that I sent you,

Kevin: I've read a few
articles about that this

Rob: Hey, are they contrary
opinions about what, how it

happened or how it came about?

Kevin: Oh look, the people writing
the articles come from it, come

at it from one side or the other.

But the showrunners and the cast
and crew all seemed to be on the

same page of, it was improvised.

It was not in the script.

But it came from Patrick Stewart.

And the showrunners went,
Ooh, this did not work for us

when we did it in season one.

Uh, we probably don't wanna
make everyone angry again.

But the moment felt so real, so human
when that is what the scene needed.

So they decided to keep it.

But it sounded like they, they were
not claiming it was the right decision.

They are claiming they
expected it to be polarizing.

They accept, some people won't like
it, but it felt like the right thing

to do to keep it in the moment.

Rob: And that's something we'll
talk about a bit later on when

we get to our deeper dive.

Kevin: Long story that the
old swearing in Star Trek.

Rob: Yes.

And then we get to Shaw's
speech, which is incredible.

Just absolutely an incredible moment.

Kevin: We were praising him
for his performance in his very

first appearance in the Captain's
Mess, eating that blue steak.

A and yet that feels to me perhaps
like the strongest emotional

beat of this entire season.

Who knows what they still have in store
for us, but like I was saying at the

beginning, if that's as good as it gets,
I'm go, I'm walking away satisfied.

And that's a guest star playing
a character we've never seen

before, have no expectation of
seeing again past this point.

But yeah, made us feel more
than any of our regulars.

Rob: And yeah.

Uh, An actor at the top of their
game given a gift of a speech think I

spoke to you about it last week about
this was the equivalent of Quaid's

speech about the Indianapolis in

Kevin: In Jaws, and I've seen
that reference to a couple

of other places as well.

That was a touchstone for
them in writing that scene.

Rob: Yes.

And it shows just that beautiful,
just that slow, methodical, retelling

of how things happened and then
the emotions slowly seeping in.

Kevin: It is an interesting contrast to
me from the scenes with Ben Sisko in The

Emissary, the series premiere of Deep
Space Nine, where in a very similar way,

Ben Sisko, who lost his wife at Wolf
359 comes face-to-face with Picard, or

Locutus as the survivors of that battle
would see him, and the story is retold.

In Deep Space Nine, it
is retold in flashback.

So we get to live it with Ben
Sisko and then flashback forward

and see the effect it had.

In this the job is done by the actor
rather than flashbacks and special

effects, much as it is amazing.

It still holds up today to go back
and watch The Emissary and see those

scenes inside of Wolf 359 of Ben Sisko
in the escape pod launching away from

his ship and it getting destroyed.


Rob: And also, but that's a whole tele
movie length to show Sisko's journey.

And so you have him going
into the wormhole and meeting

the beings within there.

And they appear as not only his wife
but as Patrick Stewart as well playing.

So this whole ordeal plays out for him,
and it's his kind of coming to terms

with that so that he can start the
rest of the season on, a fresh mind.

Kevin: The economy of it is what
fascinates me, is like how much money

and how many sets and rolls of film
did they have to spend to let us into

Ben Sisko's experience in The Emissary.

And here one actor did it in one
speech sitting at a bar in closeup.

And it was more affecting this way
because the experience happened in

our mind where it is most terrible.

I wonder what The Emissary could have
been if Sisko was treated that same way.

Rob: Emissary is very much a product
of its time, obviously it's nineties

television, and it was very much that
case of we need to show everything.

And now how television evolved,
how streaming services has come

along, how that balance of film,
theater, and television have blurred.

And so stripping it right back, it could
be a, it could be a sense of, yeah,

there's nothing more horrifying that
you can see that your mind can create.

Kevin: I love what they're
choosing to spend their money on.

Like they have effectively unlimited
streaming dollars this season.

Although, like I said before,
they are claiming they are doing

it surprisingly economically.

But given all the money that is visible
on screen in an episode like this

one that they choose not to take us
there and live it through a flashback.

They choose to stay right up
close on an actor's face and

tell it to us in a speech.

It feels like remarkable
restraint, great artistic choices.

Rob: Oh.

But yeah, it is that case of that
the functionality of that process and

the coldness of going, we only can
have so many people get on the ship.

If that was played out, if you saw that
acted out, it would be over overdramatic.

It would be, you'd have multiple actors,
sound effects, editing, all this type

of stuff it would take away than just
hearing it from that cool, troubled

recount is just, yeah, like I said, it,
the horror in your mind is far worse than

anything that anyone can create on screen.

And you, when you've got an actor at
the top of their game being given such

beautiful words and imagery, trust
the art of what we all do this for.

Kevin: I feel like we haven't talked
enough about Seven this season so far.

And she had a lot to do with the
Changeling hunt this episode.

What did you think of that
sort of sequence of events?

Rob: Yeah.

Um, it's, It's a, a fascinating
exploration of who they keep and

who they have let go from Picard.

And pardon me, because as we know, Seven
had no interactions with Picard at all.

And so they've tried to, in many
ways, build up this really intense

relationship between them over
two and a half, three seasons.

But it's great to have Jeri Ryan back.

It's great to have her inhabit this
character and how Seven of Nine has

evolved and grown and the challenges they
have to go through, but the intelligence

of them, how they solve solve problems
and how they interact with people.

It's fascinating to see how
that character has changed.

And it's great to have her out of, it
always was in, in Voyager as well, not

having her attached to any romantic stuff.

They hamstrung her by throwing
this odd thing of them holding

her and Raffi holding hands at
the last episode of season one.

I went, what?

Kevin: It felt forced.

It felt like they, they needed, they had
a sense that they needed to create an

emotional arc for that character that
season, where she, along with every

other character in the season would
come out of the story changed forever.

And this season, I am appreciating
that Seven is more or less being

allowed to be the competent Starfleet
officer that we know her to be.

And in a sense it is, the step forward
that she has by donning the uniform,

rising to first officer and acting
in that capacity, that in itself

is a change from when we left her.

And it feels like at least so far
that is enough for her or that is

enough for the storytellers here
to let us see her inhabiting that

that status that accomplishment
and be the foil to Shaw a bit.

But this is not a story about Seven.

I don't get the sense that Seven
will be making a monumental life

decision at the end of this season.

I get the sense that at the end of the
season, the Titan, should it survive,

will fly off into the sunset with
Seven as its first officer and and

we'll be perfectly satisfied with that.

And maybe leaving room for more
Jeri Ryan stories in the future.

Rob: Look, we could we can
never have enough Jeri Ryan.

And it did explain a lot why you know of
Shaw's like we went Okay, Shaw doesn't

trust Seven because of the Borg thing.


But now we find out a specific
direct reason for it and the great

line of, how she justified, when she
explains to Shaw that she knew that

LaForge was a Changeling because she
didn't call her by Seven, and Shaw

goes, oh, what's that all about?

She goes, cuz that's a sign of respect.

And you just go and that sinks into Shaw
and it's, yeah it's a great great moment.

Kevin: Even without this amazing
speech from Shaw, this would've

been a great Shaw episode.

Like the the chime because he's in his
quarters and Seven's knocking on the door.

The chime.

Don't come.


Don't come.


Okay, come.

Can I talk to you?

Officially, no.



You know, just.

It's a beautiful melding of the
writing and the performance.

It is obvious these two, like the writer
and the performer know each other so well.

And they're, the work
is incredible cuz of it.

Rob: And it was a great setup of
like you find out more about Shaw and

there's this great dramatic moment
where Picard goes, I, there's nothing

I can say, I just have to walk out.

But then Picard goes, actually,
there's information within that

traumatic story that I can use.

And so therefore they go back to
shore and he's the only one that can,

Kevin: Yes, Agh!

It serves a purpose!

It serves a story purpose!

Rob: And so he's the only one that could
get down there and do the hot wiring.

And a great beautiful Star Trek
ending where they are literally it's

always the darkest before the dawn.

So they are literally
at their lowest point.


Kevin: They assemble around
the conference room table.

They work the problem.

Riker isn't convinced,
but then he is convinced.

I did note a moment of maybe I'm
oversensitive to this stuff because this

is my day job, is this kind of thing,
these workplace dynamics, but Crusher

says, Deanna would say it's about trust.

Let's come together and trust each
other to do what we know we're good at.

And Riker is unconvinced and turns away.

Then Picard says effectively the
exact same thing and he turns around

and goes, actually, now that you
say it, Jean-Luc, I'm, like this

sexism seems to have persisted into
the 25th century, is all I'm saying.

Rob: Uh, Yep.

Um, it, It, it was a fun moment to
see the three, like the three family

members come up with the idea.

So there was jack, Beverly, and
Picard going, oh, how about this?

How about this?

How about this?

And they're just riffing off each other
and the three of them go, ah, there's

a dynamic that I would like to see more

Kevin: Jack was a nice presence in this
episode, but more and more, and I, you

know, the Red Vines tell us that there
is a story here that centers around him.

So we need to get to know him so we can
feel what will happen to that character.

But every long unburdening of the
soul that Picard and Jack have

together make me regret the fact
that we're not getting that, more

of that between Crusher and Picard.

Rob: Yeah.

Kevin: They had the one scene
in sickbay and it's been very

transactional since then.

Rob: Yes, very much so.

Beverly was serving a purpose of
figuring out what these pulses of

energy mean and what this could.

And so that was, they have a
crucial role and that was wonderful

to see how proactive they were.

But that takes away

Kevin: I love how competent she is.

I love how she's making a
difference in every episode.

She's got stuff to do in every episode.

They are serving her character
well, but they aren't quite serving

the Picard Crusher relationship
as well as I might hope for, but

I guess you can't have everything.

Rob: We've only got an hour each week.

We wasted so much in episode two.

They wasted so much in episode

Kevin: Yes.

Shutting down life support in order to
eke the last little bit of power out

of the ship to do that, that wave surf.

It was I really nerded out on that.

So often we see Starfleet ships like
where main power is down and the lights

on the set turn off, but all the computers
keep working, all the air keeps flowing.

You can still make a cup
of tea if you need to.

I'm not really sure what power
they've lost other than lights.

But here, there was a sense of, oh no,
really, we're throwing it all into the

last ditch attempt to save ourselves.

They did everything but have people
float off the ground because the

gravity plating was switched off.

But it was nice to hear a very specific
life support is turning off now alarm,

that it feels like one of those really
low tech things, that it's the last

thing to fail on a ship, that alarm.

It's someone standing in the
corner turning a crank on a box.

That's what makes that sound.

So yeah, lovely to see
the workings of a ship.

Rob: Definitely.

And then to have that,
everything built up.

So they've finally got all they
need to open the two vents.

The Changeling comes in.

Seven of Nine needs to sort that out.

Then they open the vents, so they, then
the next thing they need to is they need

to ride with the wave as it goes along.

Then at that point, Vadic shows up.

Then they had to find a way
to solve it, and then of

Kevin: Very quickly.

I reckon.

Riker now has the Riker
Maneuver named after him.

The chuck an asteroid at him.

Rob: But didn't they throw
something else earlier,

Kevin: Early in the season, Vadic
threw the ship at the Titan, and

so throwing the asteroid at Vadic
was giving as good as we got.

Rob: I was thinking that and I'm
there going that maybe there could

have been a reference to that going

Kevin: See how you like it!

Rob: Yeah, exactly.

Sort of like she threw a ship
at me, I throw a rock at her.


Very petty Riker.

And then finally getting through and
not only is it the beauty of Oh my God,

we've survived, but then look around
and look space babies everywhere.

And you just go, that's
frigging Star Trek.

Star Trek right

Kevin: Were they too cute for you?

My partner said they
didn't need to have eyes.

They didn't need to have cute anime eyes.

Rob: I thought they were
absolutely fine and what all, how

the depths of the episode went.

I was totally fine with just
that beautiful sight and just

Kevin: It had to be beautiful enough to
restore Riker's faith in the universe.

Rob: Yeah.

And just to remember,
this is what Star Trek is.

It's that positivity, the joy of in coming
across new life and new civilizations as

opposed to, space battles or, swearing.

Kevin: A real sense of end of
chapter or end of story here

at the end of episode four.

What I'm expecting at this point is
another series of four episodes that

are one story and then like a grand
finale at the end of the season.

And this sense of closing a book that we
are gonna open again in the next episode.

But it is very much the end of something.

There's a long series of scenes at
the end here that are both resolving

character issues and setting up
mysteries for the next chapter.

And Riker's call to Troi where
he confesses why he left and, and

accepts responsibility for what's
been going on in their relationship.

This one worked for me.

This was the best Riker speech
we've had so far this season for me.

And that was the fourth amazing speech,
the second from Riker in a single

episode that really hit home for me.

Rob: And it's just, that's one
of the few moments I actually

liked about Picard season one.

I loved Picard hanging out with Troi
and Riker, and hanging out with the

daughter and sure the grief of their
loss of their son was there, but it

just, it felt right, and then it gets
caught up in other ridiculous stuff

in season one, but it felt right.

Kevin: really hope we get to see
Troi in the flesh, like it's starting

to feel like she's just gonna be
a voice on the phone this season.

Rob: Oh, really?

No I'm there going, they've gotta have at
least a moment where everyone's together,

Kevin: I want more than a moment though.

I want an, I want a whole
episode of them all together.

Rob: Coming from my experience as
a Doctor Who fan, the biggest event

for us was, one of the biggest events
for us was the 20th anniversary

where they had the five doctors.

And the original actor who
played The Doctor had been

dead for a number of years.

The fourth doctor, Tom Baker, the most
popular one, didn't want to come back

because it was too soon after he had left.

So we only technically had three Doctors,
and most of those Doctors were sent

off to their own little adventure.

And then in the final moments,
they see each other again.

Kevin: They got them to stand
in one room for 10 minutes.

Rob: 10 minutes is all we could get.


I'm hoping we have more than that, but
I am expecting that, like end of Star

Trek VI, where they're all together and,
oh, not even, not even Sulu was there.

He's on the on, on board Excelsior.

Kevin: I just wanted to say the
culmination of the scenes of Picard's

lunch being interrupted by eager cadets
with Jack asking, did you ever find

time for a family outside of Starfleet?

I thought it was just, they went a
little too far, making Jack wear a

stalker hat in the bar in that scene.

I think we, we could tell that he was
secretly following Picard around without

giving him a creepy baseball hat.

Rob: Yeah.

And were baseball caps still around there.

Kevin: Did you wear
them indoors, is what I

Rob: Ah, Ah, look, when
you're, when you're in a,

Kevin: I wouldn't have said young man.

I have never needed a
family outside of Starfleet.

I would've said, young
man, take off your hat.

We're indoors.

Rob: They're in a pub.


You can wear a hat and it
wasn't like a high class.

Yeah, they're using the
same pub, but they're going,

that fish and chips is cold.

That like the amount of time he
goes I'm gonna have my dinner.

I've got another question.

I'm gonna have my dinner.

I'm there going, seriously, that's
the point where you turn and go,

I'm eating and just everyone leave.

Or you just pick up the fish
and go, maybe that's just me.

Maybe that's why I'll never
make it as a Starfleet captain

Kevin: It is, it is fun to think of the
timeline of that bar that Picard went

back in time in season two and found that
Guinan had been on Earth running a bar

at 10 Forward Avenue, and he came back
into his present and went, I wonder if

that bar is still there 400 years later?

And sure enough, it is.

So he starts having lunch there
and the cadets get word that every

Tuesday at lunchtime, old man
Picard can be ambushed for stories.

And uh, apparently Picard doesn't
mind because he keeps going.

Rob: Oh, again?


Kevin: Oh, well.

Rob: Think, and maybe it's just
the same haddock every week, they

just bring it out going, we'll
just put this out in front of you.

And he goes, oh, I have go.

This hasn't been touched for months.


It's been sprayed in some
sort of thing to keep it all

Kevin: Yeah.


And then he goes, he loves the
bar so much that when he goes off

on a mission, he recreates it on
the holodeck at his lowest point.

Rob: Hand waving justification.


Kevin: He really likes that bar.

I don't know about you.

There is no place in the world that I like
as much as Picard likes that 10 Forward.

Rob: Exactly.

But there's also a case of he's n.

Never in the history, and I'm not as
okay with Next Gen as you are, obviously,

but when has he ever been in a bar?

When has he ever gone to,
oh, you know what I need?

I need a,


Kevin: Well, Young Picard
was a bar surfer for sure.


So he

Rob: stabbed.

Kevin: His youth

Rob: Sure.


Let's go that.

Yeah, that's a nice wave
of the hand explanation.

But they did give the impression
with the look that he, that

Picard figured out that was Jack.

Kevin: Yeah.

In hindsight, it occurred to him.

I don't think we can quite believe
it, so they didn't explicitly say

it, but they gave us enough of a
hint that we can, like our heart can

believe it, even if our brain can't.

Rob: Very true.

So our hearts were full from that episode.

No Win Scenario was definitely a win-win
situation for at least Kevin and I.

And overall, the feedback online from
the fans has been quite positive.

Apart with the odd niggle here
about the swear word or, yeah.

Kevin: The swear word, Rob.

Rob: Let's get to it.

We've been tiptoeing around it for so
long, and you lay it out bare bones.

Let's discuss swearing in Star Trek.

Kevin: Yes.

I feel like we should give, an opening
statement each of just what is our

personal irrational um, reaction
or rational reaction, if you feel

it is, to swearing in Star Trek.

Just what is your personal preference
and why, what do you attribute it to?

Then I've done a bit of research on
the history of swears in Star Trek,

so we'll go through it and maybe
discuss some of those instances to

see if they evolve our thinking.

Rob: First and foremost I can't believe
I've I've found myself in a position

where I'm of the traditional view of it's
created a, it's been created this world

where swearing has not been a, involved.

So much so in my, the big first
movie I saw Star Trek IV: The Voyage

Home, that swearing is an antique.

They don't know how to do

Kevin: They, they barely recognize what's

Rob: Yeah.

And there's big discussions of it and it's
hilarious and brilliant and wonderful.

They go all the colorful metaphors.

Oh, you mean the profanity?

Oh, you can find it in all the great works
of Jacqueline Susann, ah, the giants.


Kevin: Kirk says, That's
simply the way they talk here.

Nobody pays any attention to
you unless you swear every

Rob: every other word.

And that how bad they are at it.


Kevin: That's it.

It is a lost art.

Rob: Yes.

Double dumb ass on you.

The hell they did.

They're not the hell your whales.

Spock, I think you should
cut down on this word

Kevin: Some of that is
okay, Spock is not human.

He grew up on Vulcan.

You could understand that maybe it is a
human cultural artifact that Spock doesn't

recognize, but, and Kirk is proud of how
much he knows about swearing, but he's

Rob: He's terrible at it.

He's terrible.

And it's great because you have
it with, eighties contemporaries,

so you have Gillian, and
Gillian, she says son of a bitch.

She slaps the guy when they take george
and Gracie and calls him a son of a bitch.

And, you know, so for me,
I'm going, that makes sense.

That's of that time.

And these characters are so bad at it.

I was one of those people when as soon
as we get to Picard and the admiral

up against Picard is just dropping
bombs all the time and I'm there

going, this doesn't feel right at all.

And I think I figured out what it is
because I was okay with the F bomb

dropped by Picard, cuz he's he's not
in uni uniform, he's outta uniform.

He's in this relaxed setting.

They're just hanging out and
chatting and swearing could

be a thing in a casual sense.

I didn't like it when they're swearing
in uniform, I'm there go, I dunno

what it is cuz you're there going.

Kevin: One of the most senior members
of Starfleet in her own office

says "the sheer fucking hubris."

It felt like Starfleet was broken
to me, and may, maybe that was what

we were supposed to feel, but, ugh.

Rob: And that seems a little bit,
yeah, of the showrunners going.

Yeah, that's it.

It's Starfleet's broken.

Kevin: But that is, yeah.

So somewhere between the 23rd and 24th
centuries, we get that swearing came

back into fashion and was rediscovered.

Rob: Yeah.

I miss that days of Star Trek
IV, where they have evolved so

much, they don't need money.

There's no poverty, no
disease, and no swearing.

And so I

Kevin: I like that that's where
you are head is at, because me too.

Every time it happens, my mind immediately
goes to Star Trek IV and goes, no.

It has been historically established
that this is something that has fallen

away from our culture, our knowledge.

It's not about it's not about, morals
or humanity being better than that.

It is the history of the world and
just like changing any other rule or

breaking any other rule in Star Trek
makes the world feel less real, this

makes the world feel less real to me.

Rob: It's it's something that people have
been saying about the latest Scream movie

that has come out, Scream VI, which is
Scream from a couple of years ago, which

is Scream V and Scream VI is like they're
trying to create this new reboot of it.

And some of the legacy characters have
come back, some of them haven't, but

they've created this new generation.

And what a lot of people are saying
is going, when Scream was originally

created by Wes Craven, he was excited.

He had experimented with, took this
type of meta reference to horror

and slasher films with Freddy's New
Nightmare, which is a great experiment.

It's not a very good film, but there's
some incredible stuff in it where

the actress who played Nancy in the
original is haunted by Freddie Kruger.

So she plays herself in this,
altered reality where she is

haunted by the ghost of the
character from the movie she was in.

Very meta.

He refined that and created Scream,
which is a celebration not only of

the slasher genre, but horror genre
and all those references really

elevated and he was excited by it.

Whereas now people look at it and they're
using all those elements that made Scream

good, but there's no, they're doing it
not because they love the franchise,

they're doing it just to, get a paycheck.

Kevin: Right.

It's, It's, cynical or it's uh,

Rob: a little bit cynical to go surface
level going, this is what, oh, okay.

So the Scream movies are about, twists,
plot twists, big reveals, and gimmicky

in joke stuff about horror genre.

And th they've just kept that.

Whereas when Craven did it, he added all
those elements, but he loved the genre.

He knew so much about it.

That's what I get with this modern version
of Star Trek, is that it's basic stuff.

If you knew Star Trek,
you know Star Trek IV.

That's there and you can use that.

They've created an entire world where, you
know, swearing from the Elizabethan era

is not the same as swearing as it is now.

Kevin: Although the F word is surprisingly
persistent in English culture.

Rob: You can't beat the classics, Kevin.

Like when they made Deadwood a
lot of, they said they had to

make the artistic choice of going.

We could use all the type
of swear words back in.

People would laugh so they said, let's
put in all those swear words that

people know now to have that impact.

And so that's what I get from now.

They go, it's, they can do it.

A hand wave gesture, reference back to it.

Go maybe swearing has come back.

But no, it's been proven in Star Trek.

It is cannon.

You're just doing it to be cynical and
you just want to go, let's be, let's

do something radical with Star Trek.

Let's add in swearing.

And so of course it loses all legs
because of going, we've established

that it's died out because just like
poverty, just like disease, just

Kevin: What, what of those
other things are no longer

true in the Star Trek universe?

If the if the absence of
swearing has been tossed.

Rob: Yeah.

As well.

Like a lot of people are angry
about, okay, swearing's back.

And also someone with a severe
mental condition cannot be treated

in a future utopia where they've,
where they've established that in

Star Trek, all those type of things,
can be healed, can be sorted out.

And that's a utopian

Kevin: Uh, I mean Rob,
Crusher got pregnant uh, uh,

had an unplanned pregnancy.

I don't buy that in the
24th century either.

Rob: One last night of passion, Picard.

He doesn't miss, he engages.

Kevin: Beyond the historical
fact of swearing in Star Trek.

And that is for me, my only rational
objection to it, and it's a strong

one, but I feel like creatively, the
ship has sailed and I almost need to

get on board with it because there
are more examples for swearing than

against swearing at this point.

But the other way it affects me is
a it's something that's relatively

personal to me, and therefore I don't
think it's, it's at all important or

anything that the creatives behind
the show should be thinking of.

But as someone who grew up with Star
Trek, as for me, it was the primary pop

cultural influence on my personality.

Star Trek was my show from from
the age where I was old enough to

watch the original series in reruns
right up to today, it is the show

that I have always watched as soon
as I could get my hands on it.

And when you engage with a piece of art
that closely, it colors you in return.

Rob: Yeah.

Kevin: I am known by people who
know me well as someone who rarely

swears and to the point when I do
swear, people are shocked by it.

In the same way that people are
shocked when Star Trek swears.

Rob: I have known you on and off
for years, and I didn't even know

that you knew what a swear word was.


Kevin: And I, it's only relatively
recently that I think I realize I at, I

should be attributing that to Star Trek.

Star Trek showed me people that I look up
to and showed me that they don't swear.

In fact, they live in a culture
where that has been left behind.

And as a young, impressionable youth,
I took that on as part of my definition

of what it is to be a good person,
to the point where today when people

swear, I like, I have a irrational,
like I'm somewhat triggered by it.

I don't judge them for it.

I try not to respond
or react to it unduly.

But it is something that Star
Trek has left me with and to now

have Trek "triggering" me, if
you will— I use the largest of

scare quotes around that word, in

Rob: They are very big listeners.

They are very big.

Kevin: But for Star Trek now to be the
thing that is shocking me with swearing

rather the thing than the thing that
created that aspect of my personality.

It is a thing to, to reckon with.

Rob: Look for me, I also see it as very
lazy and clumsy writing and going for

a cheap reference because there are
multiple examples within the sci-fi

realm where you've got around that by
creating, especially a lot of television

stuff, by not being able to use swearing.

So they create their own.

So Star Wars doesn't have any swearing at
all, and it would completely take you out.

But they have created
their own swear words.

The biggest one is poo-doo, which
is their version of, what, that

you know of crap, of poo, of shit.

Red Dwarf, one of the greatest
sci-fi comedy shows of all time,

they create their own swear words
where they have, you know, smeg.

Smeg substitutes everything else.

They've dropped in asshole every
once in a while or stuff like that.

Kevin: Battlestar Galactica did

Rob: Frack, yeah, Battlestar
Galactico is my next one.

They created their own
swear words as well.

It can be done.

It is a precedent.

It is, it is cheap, it is lazy.

And it, and yeah, you said I've just
gotta get on board cuz everyone else

is, and going, we have justified it
in my way of going, well I kind of

like Picard saying fuck when he's just
casually having a drink with his son.

But again, it's a case
of, but it's not clever.

And it's no matter how times
they try and justify it,

Kevin: I don't doubt that Patrick
Stewart was able to get somewhere in

his performance with that word that
he wasn't able to get without it.

I don't doubt that the take was
stronger and that it made the moment,

the scene work better, but what cost?

Rob: Yeah.

It does take you out a little
bit, and Patrick Stewart has been

doing a lot better this season,
performance-wise than previous seasons.

So that's a credit to the directors
they've got to the writing, to the

environment that he feels safe within.

Kevin: So very briefly I'll
share with you my research here.

So the first prominent example of swearing
in Star Trek that I could find was in

the original series, back when they were
dealing with the censors of television in

the sixties, City on the Edge of Forever,
the episode in which they go through

the Guardian of Forever back in time.

Kirk falls in love with Edith Keeler and
she, she must die in a traffic accident

in order to put history back on track.

They come back into the present and Kirk
is broken up by the loss of his love.

And he sits heavily in his captain's
chair on the bridge and he says,

Let's get the hell outta here.

And it is that word at that
time was transgressive.

Rob: Yep.



Kevin: And according to the, some of the
research that's been done there's a great

book called, These Are the Voyages that's
on my bookshelf here that has deep history

from the memos between Gene Roddenberry
and the studio around that time.

This was something that the studio
said, no, Roddenberry fought for it.

He said, it's an important
moment to the story and there's

no other way to achieve it.

And ultimately the studio relented.

So it was a fight to get that word on
our screens back in the sixties, but it,

an argument could be made, many people
argue that is the best episode of the

original series, and I might argue that
line is the best line in that episode.

And I struggle to reconcile that
with how Picard's F-Bomb in this

latest episode affected me because
this is the equivalent at that time.

Rob: At that time, Yeah.

Kevin: And but it works.

He, he gives that order in a way.

He never has given an order
before and never will again.

And so you buy that something irreversible
and unprecedented has happened to

this character in a single line.

Rob: Definitely.

But it's still

Kevin: It's still lazy?

Rob: No, not at all.

I don't see it as lazy, and I still like
it was a hell of a statement at that time

Kevin: Literally.

Rob: and that's more to do with the
conservative nature of American society,

which is still very much prominent now.

And it's such a it's not like he
said, let's get the fuck outta of.

Kevin: That's right.


Rob: Or Yeah, let's get
the shit outta here.


Cuz that's a phrase that people say,
Kevin, I know you don't know swearing

that me, I swear all the time.

And how many times have I said
let's get the shit outta here.

Kevin: I need to ask my parents
cuz I wasn't alive in the sixties.

I need to ask my parents.

Was Captain Kirk saying hell on the
bridge of the Enterprise, is that

equivalent to Picard saying, fuck today?

Like, is it, is it

Rob: don't think it, I don't think it is.

I think it, it's very much that
conservative American culture of

you do not say that because that
is our Lord and Savior, connection.

But yeah, I don't think it's a
it, it was a, a shocking moment

that had to be fought for.

But people go, oh, as opposed to
going, that's a swear word that is

like hell is causes a lot of heart
palpitations within the conservative

group, but it is not drop in the F bomb.

Kevin: McCoy gave us a lot
of Damnit Jims in the movies.

I think we can move past that.

At that time,

Rob: If anyone was gonna swear,
I'd accept Bones swearing.

And he does say, are you
outta your Vulcan mind, so.

Kevin: Uh, We talked about
Star Trek IV already.

Moving into The Next Generation.

Picard twice is established
as swearing in French.

He uses the word "merde" in uh,
which is shit in, in French twice.

Both in The Last Outpost, episode
five of season one and Elementary,

Dear Data, episode three of season
two, it is notable to me that both

of these are very early in the run.

It almost looks to me, in hindsight,
like they were flirting with

this being a quirk of Picard.

Like every once in a while when
things get really bad, he says merde.

And the audience would go, oh,
there's the old Picard catchphrase.

In both cases it came off a little
strange and it had fans asking why the

universal translator didn't translate
it, and it was just, not worth the

speed bump of the moment in my mind.

And so I'm glad they dropped it.

But it is there if you go looking for it,

Rob: If you look for the
shit, you'll find it.

Kevin: And then fast forward to
the Next Gen movies, we have a Data

freshly equipped with his emotion
chip as the saucer section of the

Enterprise is crash landing on
Viridian III, he goes, "Oh shit!"

Rob: That's right.

He does.

Kevin: And it has to be the
dumbest moment in what is not the

strongest film of the franchise.

That's the one where
I'm like, no, too far.

I was even on day one watching it.

I was like, Nope, nope, don't like it.

It is.

It is an attempt at comedy.

We are supposed to laugh at that.

It is meant to be funny.

Data, or Brent Spiner loves
playing comedy when he can.

But in a moment where the Enterprise
is split into and crash landing, those

of us who take Star Trek seriously,
those of us who are affected by peril

to our characters and the biggest
character of all, the Enterprise, not

in a mood to laugh in that moment.

Rob: And that's the thing, that's more
of a sign of they didn't get the humor

balanced out in that particular film,
especially cuz they work on the emotion

chip in Data and all of it falls flat.

Even remember the first time when
they were showing a clip back in

the day when they're going Star
Trek Generations comes out, this is

the first time, blah, blah, blah.

Here's the clip.

And they showed the clip
of him going Open sesame.

Humor, I love it!

Which I've quoted multiple times.

And even then I was watching it going, oh.

Kevin: Still better than swearing,
swearing on the bridge during a crash.

Rob: Yeah.

And but that is, is leveled out.


That comedy isn't hitting properly.


The saying, Oh shit makes me laugh now.

And that would probably work better in the
Orville as opposed to, or Galaxy Quest.

But yeah, at this moment it
takes away from the tension.

Kevin: And then from there we end up
in Discovery where Tilly and Stamets

drop some language at different times.

And the the fans are somewhat outraged and
the creators are like, ah, get over it.

They're young and impressionable.

People, people should be excited on Star
Trek and they should let their feelings

out in unpolished ways when they do.

And like I think that brings us back
to what we've already covered, is that

those versions of it are especially
historically out of place in a way that

I would wish they I wish they would
take more seriously and do as much

damage to the moment as support it.

Like the, if the argument is it makes the
characters more believable, in return,

it makes the world less believable and
on balance, I don't think it's worth it.

Rob: Look, and there's a lot of
issues within, like I have my

own issues with Discovery anyway.

But just how they have tried so much to
overhaul it for the sake of overhauling

and they go to hell with the consequences
time, timeline wise or anything like that.

We'll sort that out with a
wave of our hand later on.

We wanna have all this modern stuff
in for the sake of it, as opposed

to just letting it occur naturally.

And, doing it, it's clever, it's
far cleverer to do it within the

confines of the genre you have,
as opposed to go dragging it out

of what makes the show what it is.

It's just, yeah, anyone can just throw
in swear words or stuff like that.

Kevin: Give us a performance that feels
like a swear word without using it.


Rob: Mm-hmm.



William Shatner said Khan, and I know
he was saying, yeah, he was saying

every other swear word imaginable,
Khan isn't even a swear word.

So I swear I felt that DeForest Kelly
dropped many swear words in his entire

performance, but he never did, because
yeah, it's the intention he put behind it.

Kevin: It seems like we're on the
same page, Rob I think we should wrap

this one up and see if we can find
something to disagree about next week.

Rob: Yeah, great episode.

Brilliant direction, wonderful writing.

Take swearing out of Star Trek.

Find a cleverer way.

Make up your own swear word.

We've got frack, we've got
smeg, we've got poo-doo.

What can you come up with?

Bring double dumb ass on you back.

Kevin: I would love that.

Episode 24: Swearing in Star Trek (PIC 3×04 No Win Scenario)
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