Star Trek: The Next Generation: Chain of Command, Part I   Rewatch 
July 19, 2021 10:38 AM - Season 6, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Picard, Worf, and Dr. Crusher are reassigned from the Enterprise to a secret mission. Meanwhile, the Enterprise is under the command of Captain Edward Jellico, who immediately starts making changes, much to the dismay of the crew.

That's why we came here, because only Memory Alpha could help us.

Story and production
  • The episode was originally intended to be a single episode, with Picard rescued at the end of the hour. Michael Piller suggested to split the story into two parts primarily for financial rather than dramatic reasons. Jeri Taylor recalled, "We were in budget trouble and Michael said, 'You know, I think what we could do is make this a two-parter. Have Picard captured and then make it an episode about his relationship with his torturer that takes place in one room. It's a fascinating two-person play and we'll get another episode out of it that way and we'll save a lot of money that will bring us even with the budget.'" (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 266)
  • Rick Berman pointed out, "I think that money and creativity have never really gone hand in hand when it comes to Star Trek. Episodes like "The Measure Of A Man" was one of our cheapest episodes and one of our best, but an episode like "Yesterday's Enterprise" was quite expensive and it was wonderful. 'Chain of Command' was a very inexpensive episode and one of the greats." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 267)
  • The producers attempted to establish Jellico as more of a "by-the-book" captain than Picard by means of various subtle details. His entry onto the bridge is announced ("Captain on the bridge!"); he himself announces Picard's return at the end of the next episode. He also insists upon crewmembers appearing in full standard uniform when on duty, and has Data wear a command division red uniform when promoting him temporarily to first officer in Part II. His catchphrase "Get it done" when issuing orders was intended to be a counterpart to Picard's somewhat friendlier "Make it so." He also was a family man; after ordering Livingston's tank removed from the ready room, he puts up pictures drawn by his son. The writers wished to stress that Jellico wasn't at all ineffective as a captain despite his run-ins with Riker, his approach was just more direct than Picard's. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 228))
  • According to Ronny Cox, the removal of Livingston from the ready room had a larger motive. Patrick Stewart hated Livingston's presence in the ready room, and constantly petitioned the producers to remove the fish. Stewart felt that it was inappropriate to have a captive animal in a series that valued the dignity of different species. Cox stated that the producers' decision to temporarily remove the fish was thus a "sort of bone they threw to Patrick". [2]
  • Troi began wearing a standard Starfleet uniform in this episode when ordered to do so by Jellico; she had not done so since "Encounter at Farpoint" with the exception of the fantasy universe portrayed in "Future Imperfect". This was a costume experiment that Ronald D. Moore had wanted to try and Marina Sirtis was eager to oblige. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 228)) Ronny Cox noted, "I think there were a lot of things that [Jellico] did that were really important for that show. Having Troi put on a damn uniform? Give me a break! This is an officer on a ship and she's running around with her boobs hanging out?" [3] Troi continued to appear in uniform while on duty for nearly all of the rest of the series.
  • This episode and its concluding part set the scene for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as it is revealed that the Cardassians have left the Bajoran sector. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 228)) Indeed, the writer, Ronald D. Moore, became a senior writer on DS9 after TNG ended.
  • Picard tells Jellico that Riker is one of the finest officers he has ever served with, which is almost exactly what he told Sirna Kolrami in TNG: "Peak Performance". Picard also praises Riker to Kargan, captain of the IKS Pagh, in TNG: "A Matter Of Honor".
  • This episode marks the first appearance of the iconic style of Cardassian military uniform seen throughout DS9. In fact, the uniforms made their first appearance in "Emissary", which was filmed before "Chain of Command", but the audience could see them for the first time here.
  • This episode also marks the first appearance of Admiral Alynna Nechayev. She would go on to appear in three more episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as two episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Poster's Log:

I find myself annoyed with Admiral Nechayev's enigmatic little half-smile.

I hate the all-black "special ops" outfits in this episode, especially the hats.

There seems to be some confusion regarding the pronunciation of Admiral Nechayev's name - Picard pronounces it in at least two different ways.

Riker, why are you whinging about the department heads' pushback on the delta shift change? There is a time to ask for opinions and there is a time to say "the captain gave this order".

Speaking of whinging, this might be the worst light LaForge has ever been cast in. He's never been one to complain about work before.

Data lampshaded Geordi's beard a couple of episodes back, but no one comments on his having gone back to clean-shaven?

I am always just a little disgusted by the writers' use of oo-mox as a "negotiating" tool. This case is, maybe, a little more heinous because massaging someone's erogenous zone to convince them doesn't really feel like a Beverly thing.

David Warner does "menacing" so very well. And, of course, TO BE CONTINUED.

Poster's Log, Supplemental:

I hadn't watched this Part I in quite some time, and I'd forgotten just how badly the Enterprise crew comes off here. Kudos to the writers for showing how soft the crew's become. Jellico is not Picard, but he's also not wrong in what he expects from his crew. And, he's right - things with the Cardassians could fire off any moment, and he needs to know that his crew and his ship are going to respond as he expects.

The away team mission is a little silly - if there's a fear of a metagenic weapon, Starfleet should be sending spec-ops-trained medical personnel with Picard, not his own CMO - but it serves the purpose of feeding drama into part II, coming this Thursday.
posted by hanov3r (28 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is such a great two-parter—I'd put it in the same league as BoBW—and I'll have more to say about it later this week for my Part 2 post.

Kudos to the writers for showing how soft the crew's become.

Yeah, the last couple of times I've rewatched this two-parter, I've found myself more sympathetic to Jellico. Obviously the story presents him as the Wicked Step-Captain and that makes sense, but I guess maybe I tend now to look at the story through a worldbuilding lens. And this isn't precisely canon, but the Federation-Cardassian wars were long and destructive enough that (especially combined with Borg-related concerns) Starfleet is not ready for renewed war with Cardassia, and I keep imagining that thought repeating itself in Jellico's head, particularly in his moments alone onscreen.

Not to mention that Jellico's, shall we say, poor "cultural fit" on this ship is so obvious and unfortunate that you almost wonder if Nechayev is just maliciously fucking with everybody. Jellico's obviously not an explorer, but the Enterprise is, but it's also the flagship, but it's not intended for an age of war. It seems like Jellico understands that mismatch, but nobody on the -D seems to, or acknowledges it anyway. A pep talk to the senior staff about why these quick changes are necessary might've reduced a lot of the friction, but that's clearly not his style; hence the tension.

Our crew's complaints about Jellico's manner are one thing, but his orders make sense as far as I can see. (Mrs. Cheeses and I got into a long, semi-tipsy discussion about the merits of a three- or four-shift rotation, and on the basis (I should emphasize) of absolutely no military experience between us, we landed on the theory that four six-hour shifts might mean every crewman has two daily work shifts rather than one, which could allow for more flexibility of assignments, particularly with little or no advance warning, e.g. in response to some unforeseen emergency. I'll call upon Mr.Encyclopedia or anybody else with actual relevant experience to talk about that…and maybe also the question of just how whiny Riker, Geordi, et al. are being from a military POV.)

I'm guessing Jellico is named after this guy, whose name I came across once or twice while recently reading The Guns of August.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 10:47 AM on July 19, 2021 [2 favorites]

OMG, I have been waiting for this episode for SO LONG, y'all. Every time a two-parter came up, I was all like, "is this it? Is this the Jellico one? Is it? Is it?" And now SQUEEE IT'S HERE IT'S HERE, and I can finally, finally drop the link I've been sitting on for months.

Say hello to the best spin-off to come out of the Star Trek franchise.
Say hello to Star Trek: JELLICO.

You are welcome.
posted by phooky at 11:00 AM on July 19, 2021 [20 favorites]

I think that whether or not Jellico was right in the changes that he made and/or his general demeanor is one of those litmus tests for the fandom; anyone who's had any experience with the real military probably is for it, and I'm glad that Troi finally got to give up the fanservicey leotards. Cox does have a bit of a reputation for playing authority figures who are either sticklers for rules (the first two Beverly Hills Cop movies) or just flat-out evil (his Verhoeven movies, Total Recall and Robocop), and there's something about the specific changes that he orders the crew to make to the E-D that reminds me a bit of fans who want Trek to be more mil-SF friendly, not something that I would ever be in support of. But he really does seem to think that they just don't have time to get to know each other, and he at least allows Riker to speak freely before the shuttle launches.

In general, and it may be the sight of the more familiar Cardassian uniforms (I'm so glad that they got rid of the janky original ones), it seems like they're spinning up for DS9 and some of the shenanigans that the Cardassians will get up to in that show, and that the Federation will get up to in return. The threat of "metagenic" weapons doesn't seem implausible for Trek--in fact, it reminded me a bit of a cross between the neutron bomb and Trek's own Genesis Device--and they came up with a plausible reason for Picard to take on the mission. The fact that it was a trap is reminiscent of the Romulans doing something similar in "The Defector", and I could even retcon Section 31's existence in here, even though they won't show up for several years; they could have let the "amateurs" take on this mission in order to re-justify their existence. (The black hoodie-leotards are indeed kind of ridiculous, which is why they'll show up in Lower Decks eventually.) Also, I liked John Durbin (who's done a few other roles in the franchise) as Lemec, who comes off as a gaunter, less-chill Dukat; his anger at being jerked around by Jellico at first turns to patent glee when the trap is sprung.

Commenter's log, supplemental: the other thing that I'm most familiar with Cox from, aside from the movies that I listed above, would be Deliverance, from the other scene that people think of when they think of that movie, "Dueling Banjos." Cox didn't actually play the guitar part that you hear on the soundtrack, but he is a touring musician--apparently, he turns down about 90% of the roles that he's offered so that he can tour. Here's one of his own numbers.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:33 AM on July 19, 2021 [2 favorites]

David Warner does "menacing" so very well.

When you need menace, you go to the man who played Reinhard Heydrich in two different TV productions (Holocaust and Hitler's SS: Portrait of Evil). He was nominated for an Emmy for the former.

Great thoughts so far about Jellico. Riker and Geordi are not coming off well in this one.
posted by Fukiyama at 11:51 AM on July 19, 2021

This two-parter and "Allegiance" are so fascinating in how you see the crew's reaction to a not-Picard captain.
posted by brainwane at 11:58 AM on July 19, 2021

you go to the man who played Reinhard Heydrich in two different TV productions

I'll always remember David Warner for three parts:
  • Jack the Ripper in "Time After Time"
  • Ed Dillinger/Sark in "TRON", and
  • the Ultimate Evil in "Time Bandits".
All excellent scene-chewing villainy.
posted by hanov3r at 12:02 PM on July 19, 2021 [2 favorites]

Jellico, and the whole 'Picard is out' plotline, is another example of how TNG the TV show did TNG the fictional universe no favors. Like I said about MacDuff in "Conundrum", the writers really should have had Jellico show up an episode or two (or even at the beginning of the season for maximum effect!) before "Chain of Command" to really sell that Jellico is THE CAPTAIN now and that Picard might actually be in mortal danger when he finally goes on the mission after a long training program with cool Starfleet Special Forces.
posted by Stuka at 12:15 PM on July 19, 2021

I was so excited that this was finally up! I have always loved it, but I realized that I haven't watched it in a long time for some reason (I couldn't even remember how many lights Picard sees in Pt. 2) and some of the things I most liked or disliked landed differently now. Other people have made great points, so this is more of a bulleted list of what struck me.

* Ronny Cox is only a couple years older than Patrick Stewart, but when he first arrives on the Enterprise, he seems old. There's a way he walks, kind of hunched over, and his voice is slightly shaky, that makes it seem as though he should have retired by now. I mean, this is a thing in film in TV--actors playing parents of teens or twentysomethings who are old enough to be their grandparents, the offensive chronic May-December romance casting, and so on--and not particular to Trek, but he definitely seems like he should have been sipping margs on a Risian beach instead of being pulled off active duty from his other ship.

* Echoing what other people have said about how whiny the crew come off here. I'm fairly certain I thought Jellico was evil and they were justified back when it first aired, but subsequent years have made me cringe at how abysmal they are. You can say that Star Fleet is about exploration all you want, but you still have a command-based structure (the episode is title Chain of Command!!). You know who doesn't whine when confronted with an order or command? Deanna fucking Troi, that's who, and yet the showrunners and the fanboys have shit on her for decades. ("Having Troi put on a damn uniform? Give me a break! This is an officer on a ship and she's running around with her boobs hanging out?" Cox is not wrong, but, um...maybe he could have phrased that better.)

* They're doing that thing I hate, where to show a woman in a position of authority she has to be icy, bitchy, and acting unreasonably to Our Heroes. I mean, maybe the admiral is an icy smirky ball-busting bitch around the clock, but the paucity of imagination from patriarchically saturated writers just makes me grind my teeth. (I see this all the time when I work on SFF books: writers who create these incredible worlds, yet everything is still limited by a structure where women are secondary or only written with certain character beats. I read one book where the guy created this amazing, unique parallel universe of our own, yet he simply couldn't imagine a world where the women weren't "co-eds" at the university or not described by their physical attributes or weren't bitches on wheels if they had positions of power.)

* It's always kind of scratched at the back of my mind that it was ridiculous to send Picard, Beverly, and Worf into that situation, so thanks for articulating what bothered me. I can see their logic with Picard, I suppose, but why they don't have specialists for black ops is a little weird, though I imagine that at the time they thought those silly outfits (Worf's eyebrows look the size of Alaska peeking out of that hood!) made them look cool.

* Aw, the fish story. I get the reasoning, but I liked the fish.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 1:43 PM on July 19, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'll always remember David Warner for three parts:
  • Jack the Ripper in "Time After Time"
  • Ed Dillinger/Sark in "TRON", and
  • the Ultimate Evil in "Time Bandits".
All excellent scene-chewing villainy.
  • The Lobe, Freakazoid
Although I also like when he gets the non-evil roles like Aldous Gajic in the Babylon 5 episode, Grail.
posted by radwolf76 at 2:19 PM on July 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

On rewatch, I could spy, with my HD-remastered TNG on a fancy TV eye, that the covert team were all wearing gloves with the Pearl Izumi logo on the backs of their hands. I love the thought of the prop department sending a PA To the nearest bike shop to buy these, only to point out that, “Eh, it’s TV, no one’s ever going to notice.”
posted by RakDaddy at 2:29 PM on July 19, 2021 [3 favorites]

Cards of the episode in the Star Trek CCG:

Cardassian Trap takes one of your opponent's crew members out of the picture unless you have a somewhat rare Empathy present, not bad at the time.

Bioweapon Ruse is an average mission for Cardassian players. 40 points is nothing to sneeze at.

Edward Jellico provides an alternative commander for your Ent-D and some support to build blue/purple decks. If you want to run treaties between super-different affiliations for some reason. They can both report on your Klaestron Outpost, grabbing that treaty allows both factions use it at the same time.

Taken Prisoner provides an essential element for your Cardassian capture-oriented decks, a lot of their interference synergies in Second Edition revolve around such mechanics. As we will see in the next episode...
posted by StarkRoads at 3:20 PM on July 19, 2021

Also good freakin' riddance to Troi's anime pixie costumes. This is where in a certain way she becomes a for-real member of the crew in a way she never quite got to be before.
posted by StarkRoads at 3:38 PM on July 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

Lemec was awesome, I would like to have seen more of him.

So strange to learn that this was a one-parter that they just stretched for budget reasons. Unlike maybe every other two-parter, I think the intro here is mostly forgettable, it's part II where it really gets going.

Jellico was pretty cool, but I just don't buy Starfleet not letting Riker take command, it just seemed like cheap drama. This is the guy who saved Federation civilization like 18 months ago, as acting captain of the Enterprise. I think he'd get a little more deference. They could have had Jellico be a Commodore and pull rank on Riker constantly, that would have made more sense, and Riker's response to being micromanaged would have made more sense than him deciding that Delta shift was the hill he'd die on.
posted by skewed at 4:02 PM on July 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

After my rewatch:
1) Riker is not much of an officer or a gentleman. Right at the top of the episode, he walks into the ready room AHEAD of the admiral! The writers needed him to be in room ahead of her to say his line, so they make him look like a d... ungentlemanly to get him there. Ugh.

2) There is no delta shift. Riker DISREGARDED orders! O.M.G. Did the writers have any idea of what that would mean if Starfleet was more than casually realistic. If I had written Jellico, I'd have had him looking at Data as a new first officer, pronto!

3) Didn't TNG already cover the concept of an organization being too finely honed that any change would be disruptive and provoke a hostile response? Oh yeah, "The Masterpiece Society".

3A) More ground TNG has already covered, Riker is going over Jellico's head to Picard. WTF! Didn't he give Commander Shelby grief for doing the EXACT SAME THING when she went over his head to Picard in "Best of Both Worlds"?

4) Beverly and her feminine wiles! I know, I know. TNG the show, not a good look to 21st Century sensibilities. And they rub it in (no pun intended) with reaction shots of Picard and Worf. How typically male! But in TNG the fictional universe, if it works, it works. And it works. And she does it so well. Great job from Gates.

5) I actually kind of like Picard, Crusher, and Worf's ninja suits. Take some secondary characters and extras, give them a phaser rifle, some flak jackets and load-bearing harnesses with gadgets, and voilà, TNG would have had some pretty nifty looking, badass Federation GROPOS.

6) "[S]hort, controlled bursts," and "it's a trap." RDM was paying homage when he wrote this episode. And the the Beverly seduction moment: Pris in Blade Runner, no?

7) David Warner. What an incredible actor. I mean, all the roles everyone's mentioned. But to be able to play pure evil as well as an epitome of goodness in Bob Cratchit! Range.

8) Ronny Cox, El Jefe. 'nuff said.

9) "Chain of Command, Part I" is a pretty good epsiode of TNG.
posted by Stuka at 8:11 PM on July 19, 2021 [3 favorites]

Echoing what some of you have said about seeing this as a kid vs. rewatching it daughter (age 10) let it be known several times that Jellico was a big ol' jerkwad. I tried to point out that maybe he has his reasons. I think we really were supposed to feel that the crew might see him as the wicked step-captain, but we're also supposed to see that the situation is urgent and what he's doing is necessary (except getting rid of the fish--there's clearly no time to worry about that kind of thing).

Overall, this episode displayed a lot of tight writing and acting that I feel has been sorely missing from season 6 so far. It had its flaws, but they seem par for the course with TNG. Like, as soon as the scene with the Ferengi started, I knew we were in for some cornball. And they gave a justification why it has to be Picard that goes on the James Bond mission, but I still think it's obvious that you instead take some trained James Bond types and instruct those people how to deal with the high-tech radiation (I think everything they need to know can be handled by a special app on their tricorder). Nonetheless, it's already been established that Picard can go on a spy mission to Romulus, so away we go.
posted by polecat at 10:38 PM on July 19, 2021

Take some secondary characters and extras, give them a phaser rifle, some flak jackets and load-bearing harnesses with gadgets, and voilà, TNG would have had some pretty nifty looking, badass Federation GROPOS.

This is basically the set-up for Star Trek Online away missions.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:45 PM on July 20, 2021

Wow, this is one lop-sided two-parter. Part one is fine, engaging but nothing too revolutionary, and then you get to part two and OH MY GOD.

I intensely dislike Jellico, and to be honest the Jellico fandom kind of creeps me out. He strikes me as kind of a macho, anachronistic, patriarchal asshole, and when people say the Enterprise crew had gotten soft I wonder if we were watching the same show. These are people who deal with aggro aliens, explosions and red alerts every other week, and while Picard treats his crew with respect, by no means does he coddle them. Jellico wants to run the ship like a 20th Century US military operation, and that is just not the Enterprise. It's an exploratory flagship from a progressive sci-fi utopia, and there are violin concertos and families with toddlers on board!

Ronny Cox noted, "I think there were a lot of things that [Jellico] did that were really important for that show. Having Troi put on a damn uniform? Give me a break! This is an officer on a ship and she's running around with her boobs hanging out?"

Ugh, Ronny Cox. That remark really spells out the misogynist subtext of the scene: "What's this girl doing on my bridge, dressed like a civilian, with boobs and everything? Get those things out of my face!" Never mind that she's the ship's counselor, is allowed to dress however the hell she likes, and her clothes are clearly not meant to be unusually revealing for the era. I don't know if Marina Sirtis was lobbying to get into a uniform, but Troi clearly wasn't. You've got this middle-aged white dude basically shaming one of his female officers for daring to show some skin in the workplace, and that played badly in the 90s and plays worse now. Troi's discomfort in the scene is obvious, and the fact that she spends the rest of the series covered up in a uniform never felt right to me. It doesn't play like she's made her own choice, like this is true to who she is. It plays like some old dude shamed her into conformity.

Just looked it up, and of course the teleplay is by Ronald D. Moore. I admire a lot of what he did on the Galactica reboot, but the guy clearly came away from his time on TNG with a lot of anger and I feel like this episode is him crabbing about how the Enterprise should've been run more like a US naval carrier in space. TNG wasn't that, and when Moore finally got to do his own show it was basically as un-TNG as he could make it.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:17 PM on July 20, 2021 [3 favorites]

Long ago a friend had told me that Sirtis had long lobbied to get a uniform change that wouldn't show the cleavage. However, my brief internet search doesn't say anything about a long running fight over the uniform, but does say:

Behind the scenes, producer Ronald D. Moore wanted to experiment with changing Troi's costume and Sirtis was ecstatic about it. She said, "So I put [the Starfleet uniform] on, and by then I was skinny, and the director and all the producers were like 'she looks good in that, why wasn’t she been wearing that for the last six years?'

"So I started to wear my spacesuit. I was thrilled to finally be in a spacesuit. First of all, my pips - cause I had a rank, you know. And then, it was very flattering actually, it looked really good. Suddenly, I was smart again. My cleavage had gone. My gray matter came flooding back. I was on away teams! I was the leader of one away team! I had a medical tricorder! And unlike Beverly, I seemed to know what was wrong with people."

It's interesting that you interpret Cox's statement to mean that he hates women or their sexuality. I interpreted it to mean that he was happy the producers stopped making her show her cleavage when none of the other cast have to.
posted by polecat at 9:23 PM on July 20, 2021 [3 favorites]

when people say the Enterprise crew had gotten soft I wonder if we were watching the same show

I take my TNG an episode at a time. It's the nature of the beast. Just because the crew was hard core in one episode, there is no guarantee that they won't be soft in the next. Whatever the plot demands, the characters obey. And in "Chain of Command, Part I", the plot needed the crew to be soft, or at least a little too comfortable, to create some conflict with Jellico, for Riker to be borderline insubordinate to set things up for Part II, for Geordie to whine about his new commanding officer, again to set things up for Part II.
posted by Stuka at 9:43 PM on July 20, 2021

making her show her cleavage when none of the other cast have to.

Well there was this one time at band camp....
posted by fairmettle at 3:14 AM on July 21, 2021

In general, I can see some justification for Troi not wearing a uniform when she's counseling someone, to come across less as an officer who might relieve them of duty and get her clients to chill. And, if that had been the extent of it, it might have been a good character- and world-building detail. But, she's the only one who wears the action leotards, and that's all she's worn for a while, and it's weird for her not to wear a duty uniform when she's on the bridge. And this is in the context of her character arc overall for five-plus seasons, in which most of the Troi-centered episodes have been about a) her past sexual history with Riker and/or current sexual history with someone else, b) sexualized psychic trauma, and/or c) her mom. It's not like she was coming from aerobics with Crusher once and Jellico pops up and yells, "Cover your bosoms, harlot!" As the article in the link that polecat posted points out, the pilot is the only episode in which she's not showing off the girls, and then she's wearing a skant, which the show tried to establish as unisex wear, but ended up dropping pretty quickly. I mean, yeah, it's a sci-fi utopia and even Picard will occasionally show off some chest hair and it's all cool. But on the bridge? Maybe not. (At least in or adjacent to Federation space. Voyager could have, and should have, been different...)
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:56 AM on July 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

When I read shit like how Troi was conceived as a hypersexual hermaphrodite with 4 breasts, I start to wonder if “counsellor” was Roddenberry code for sex worker. In the enlightened 24th century, every starship has one.

If I had a complaint about this episode, it would be that Jellico and Necheyev are part of the same Starfleet as our crew, and they should know that a dictatorial approach is going to create resistance. I don’t really have that complaint though, it’s all in the service of drama.

I did like Troi’s observation that Jellico’s confidence was a front. He was probably freaking the fuck out internally, which maybe helps puts his manner in context a bit too. Ronny Cox is such a great asshole.
posted by rodlymight at 10:04 AM on July 21, 2021

I'm not sure if by "Jellico fandom" you meant us here talking about the whinginess of the crew or the fan population at large, but if it's addressed to us here, I think that's a fairly uncharitable reading. I definitely, for myself at least, am not a fan of his and read most of the other comments as being more about how the crew--on this military-style hierarchical structure of the chain of command--don't come off as well as it seems the writers wanted us to think. I don't know that it makes us fans if we realize he wasn't quite as horrible as we'd remembered (would it have killed him to have a conference with his staff??).

I don't know anything about Moore and don't really care to so I have no idea if he wanted to make an aircraft carrier in space, but I also don't feel like those of us wanting to see the crew act more professionally or grown up means we're totally on board with his aspirations for the show. I still love this show so much even though I see lots of holes in it now in my old age.

As for Deanna, other people have said the important things, but I'll say that I have heard Sirtis talk about this at cons and she had always wished she didn't have to be the only one with cleavage. I never felt like the character was unhappily forced to wear a uniform--she has rank, she's clearly been to the academy, so she's worn uniforms before. She always seemed comfortable to me, at least, in it and I recall being really happy to see her wear the uniform when this was first airing, being impressed with her. And as I said above, she was the one crewmember who never whined about a request or command.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 11:09 AM on July 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Sirtis had her take on it, but I would maintain that Troi had a different take. The character has dressed that way by choice for six seasons, and she looks humiliated when Jellico reprimands her. I'm certainly not saying that Sirtis should have been required to continue dressing in the old outfit if she didn't want to! But there would have been much better ways to handle her switching to a uniform. The way it plays is, a man shames her for how she's always chosen to dress, she hurries off to put on a uniform and dresses like that for the rest of the series. We never get a scene where it's clear that this is a choice she's making, for herself.

I thought the scene effectively made Jellico read as a bullying, sexist jerk who had no business commanding a ship. Cox and Sirtis would seem to disagree. But I will readily admit that things get messy when you start talking about cleavage and empowerment, especially when the actor apparently feels one way and the character she plays clearly feels another way. It may have been a victory for Sirtis, but to me it just plays like Troi got shamed by a man and the criticism stuck with her.

I'm not sure if by "Jellico fandom" you meant us here talking about the whinginess of the crew or the fan population at large, but if it's addressed to us here, I think that's a fairly uncharitable reading

No, there's a very vocal contingent of fans who insist that Jellico was great and the whole show should've been more militaristic. He has an actual fandom, and that's what I was referencing.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:11 PM on July 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't have guessed Jellico had an actual fandom, but I suppose I should have. -_- Thank the Prophets that the era of All Access Er I Mean Paramount+ Trek has shown basically no signs of going all mil-sci-fi. Sometimes even STO is too far in that direction for my tastes.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 2:38 PM on July 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

It may have been a victory for Sirtis, but to me it just plays like Troi got shamed by a man and the criticism stuck with her.

That's the eternal frustration with TNG, isn't it? They could have done better, it wasn't like misogyny in entertainment was news to them, and yet they never did. (Thanks for the clarification.)

there's a very vocal contingent of fans who insist that Jellico was great and the whole show should've been more militaristic. He has an actual fandom, and that's what I was referencing.

Fuckin' yikes.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 3:47 PM on July 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I'm not sure if it's just from America and some of its allies being involved in the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, or the mil-SF fans being more, well, militant, but it's been a recurring issue in some of the Trek subreddits, and with mil-SF types also in SF in general, as with the recurring Sad/Rabid Puppies problem (the pups aren't exclusively mil-SF, but skew heavily in that direction). And I don't actually hate mil-SF myself--I'm still a fan of the Mass Effect video game franchise--but neither do I think that all or most SF or even space opera in particular should be about killing all the bugs.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:35 PM on July 21, 2021

I hate the all-black "special ops" outfits in this episode, especially the hats.

Elite Spy Team, or Modern Dance Troupe -- You Decide!
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:48 PM on August 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

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