When they get to the planet, Lutan introduces his lovely wife Yareena, who is seriously rockin’ the Rick James hairdo and wants to party all the time.
Picard acknowledges that she is quite the Superfreak, but he really wants to see Tasha. Lutan relents, and we learn a little bit more about Ligonian culture, and the importance they place on honor and ritual. If you’ll allow me to stop snarking again for a moment, this is also a decent scene – grading, as always, on a steep curve – where we see Picard’s diplomacy and strength on full display. Oh! Snark back on: It’s too bad he can’t seem to access this particular skill when dealing with Doctor Crusher and Wesley. Maybe he constantly fails his save vs. hot redheads with boobies. Thank you. Snark off. The writing in this scene isn’t horrible, and the acting is quite good, so what could be painful exposition is instead a chance for the characters to develop while we all learn something together. Also, this is great misdirection. As we’ll see in a few minutes, Lutan isn’t interested in counting coup at all, and actually just wants all of Yareena’s money and power (hey, it’s just like John Kerry! Wait. McCain? Tell you what: apply your own politics, and have a good laugh at the other side.)
Tasha shows up, and though she is clearly unhappy with the whole “hey, I was just kidnapped by the 7*UP guy” thing, she’s obviously okay. Which may explain why, even though she has her damn communicator on, she never once tried to contact the Enterprise so she could be safely beamed away.
After a few tense moments of delicate diplomacy, Picard and Lutan agree to chill out for a little bit, until they can have a little party, where he swears to Zombie Jesus he’ll give up Tasha and the vaccine.
The party is a high class function. Food is served, and Picard’s stone cold munchin’. Tasha walks in at the end of the show, and sits next to Lutan , who’s sportin’ a really sweet ’fro. She’s dressed in yellow, she says “Hello, beam me the hell out of here you fine fellow.” Picard does his best to incite the groove, but Lutan won’t let him bust a move.
Er, what I mean is, they have their banquet. When it’s over, with great dignity and grace, Picard follows Ligonian custom, and asks – politely and with great humility – for Lutan to let him take Tasha back to the Enterprise.
The thing is, Lutan isn’t all that interested in letting Tasha go, because he’s got Jungle Fever.
Yareena thinks Mandingo is a little out of line, so she says, “Hey! I have a great idea! Since TNG is only three episodes old, and we’ve only rehashed one original series episode so far, let’s do it again! A show of hands: who here has seen ‘Amok Time’?”
This isn't my strongest review to date, and I'm not sure of that's because the humor well is running dry (I certainly hope not) or because it was really hard (like it was with Angel One) to come up with lots of different jokes and different ways of saying "Oh my god this is crap." I think the funny bits are pretty funny, though, and make up for the not-so-funny bits that tie them together.
The most interesting thing to me, though, is that after watching this episode for the first time in 25 years, it's not nearly as overtly racist as I thought it was when I was younger (certainly not as racist as Angel One is sexist.) However, let's put the episode into context:
This is only our third episode, and as I mockingly pointed out in the synopsis, it borrows way too heavily from "Amok Time," immediately after an episode that was essentially a rewrite of another TOS classic. We were still proving that we deserved the right to carry the Star Trek mantle, and when I look back at "Code of Honor" and see that it came between "The Naked Now" and "The Last Outpost," I'm astonished that we weren't canceled by mid-season. In fact, if we hadn't been first-run syndication, and if the core audience of Trekkies hadn't been as patient as the Ligonians – not to mention incredibly forgiving – we almost certainly would have been.
As I said in my podcast, I'd completely forgotten I was even in this episode, which is why I skipped it back when I started writing these reviews for TV Squad. After watching it, I can see why it was such a forgettable experience for me, since I probably worked half a day on the whole thing. But if I can be completely and embarrassingly honest for a moment: even though it's fucking retarded to put Wesley on the bridge the way they did, when I watched Code of Honor last week, I remembered how cool I thought it was that I got to sit on the bridge, at Ops, no less. As I write about it now, I can feel the butterflies in my stomach that I got every time I got to work there, or the transporter room, or sickbay, or engineering, or . . well, any of the sets that were iconic Star Trek sets. I thought it was so cool back then to be part of it, I didn't care how horrible the scripts were, as long as I got to be on the spaceship.
Watching the show now as a fan, I can see why everyone hated that shit so much. Hell, I agree with them. But as an adult looking back on his 14 year-old self, I feel a great deal of affection for that kid, who is so obviously excited to hang out with the grown ups on the space ship, he doesn't care how lame his dialog is.