Awkwardness, many hats, so funny! This episode doesn't really explore anything except maybe Picard's commitment issues, but I don't care cos it's hilarious.
The Enterprise is hosting an archaeological conference and Picard is fussing over his speech about the forbidden ruins on the planet below. Picard finds an unexpected visitor in his quarters, it's Vash, the roguish archaeologist he met on Risa in Captain's Holiday. They pick up where they left off, which means sex, then breakfast. Beverly arrives for morning tea, Picard is the awkwardest man in awkward town as he introduces Vash, then the two women go on a tour of the ship. Vash meets Riker and after confusing the hell out of him finishes her tour of the ship with him. She realises that Picard never mentioned her to any of his crew and gets angry about it at an archaeologist's reception. Picard tries to explain that Captains aren't allowed personal lives, Vash has trouble believing that's an actual rule (as do I). After the tiff Picard goes to his office to find a second unexpected guest, it's Q! This is less welcome but simpler as Picard just yells at Q. Q feels he owes Picard a debt after their last encounter in Deja Q and refuses to leave even when Picard wishes it. Q disappears temporarily promising to find something Picard wants.
Picard visits Vash, but discreetly because he's so uncomfortable with having a lover on board the ship. He starts to apologise but realises that she's there to raid the forbidden ruins on the planet below, meaning he gets to be accusatory and Captainy, which he's far more comfortable with. They argue more and as Picard leaves Q watches in interest. While Picard is trying to sleep Q appears in his room and suggests that Vash is a weakness. Picard tries to refute this and forbids Q from harming her.
Next day, while Picard is starting his speech, the senior crew are afflicted by mysterious hats and props, then they and Picard disappear. They reappear in fake Sherwood Forest cosplaying as Robin Hood and his Merry Men; Riker is Little John, Worf is Will Scarlet, Geordi is Alan A-Dale and Data is Friar Tuck. Troi and Crusher are in costume but unnamed because they're women and that's how too many stories work. A bloke on a horse and some archers show up to attack them and the crew run into the wood. Then Q shows up, also on a horse, reveals that he's the Sheriff of Nottingham and that Maid Marion is due to be executed the next day. Picard realises Q has Vash and the magical being reveals that he's set this scenario running and won't meddle further, meaning that Picard can rescue Vash. Picard refuses to allow any of the crew to help rescue his private matter and orders them to stay in the forest. While entertaining themselves Troi accidentally shoots Data with an arrow and Worf stops Geordi from making music.
Meanwhile Vash has appeared in an ancient castle where everyone calls her Marion. Some guy, called Sir Guy, says she has to marry him, so of course she slaps him. Then he says he'll execute her so she turns on the charm and agrees to marry him. Q is shocked that Vash is acting out of self-preservation, obviously expecting her to be more like Picard. Picard sneaks into Vash's room to rescue her, and briefly explains about Q, but she's annoyed to find that Picard is still keeping her away from his crew and says she's got things under control. Picard is about to carry her off when Sir Guy and his guards come in, rather than let him fight Vash steals Picard's sword and hands "Robin Hood" to Sir Guy. Q confronts Vash and finds her sending a message to Riker and the others in the wood. He's intrigued by her but has a point to prove, so he calls in the guards and has her arrested for treason. Picard and Vash argue all the way to the chopping block, but the execution is disrupted by the senior crew who fight the guards. Picard defeats Sir Guy with dramatic sword fighting, then goes to Vash and calls Q to end the game. The senior crew all reappear in the empty conference room and Vash isn't on the ship.
|Q's outfit is skimpier than Vash's|
Oh Captain My Captain
Picard has a personal life, but he normally confines it to holiday. He has no idea how to conduct himself with a lover on the ship, he's too used to being Captain Formal and private about everything. This means that Picard is super awkward whenever Vash and any of his crew are together in his presence, it is so funny. Picard is awkward when Vash accuses him of being ashamed of her, awkward that a random crewman might see him visiting Vash's room and awkward when trying to apologise. It's clear that he told Vash all about his crew -not sure when- but he didn't tell any of them he had a fling on Risa, though as I understand it that's kinda what Risa is for. That's not an appropriate workplace chat in his world, of course when you hold such views and live in your workplace that removes a type of socialising. You'd think he might have mentioned it to Beverly since they're mates already, though again they're both always at work. I guess rank-wise the other person he could talk to is Riker, but can you imagine chatting to Riker about something like that? He'd just grin and look way too amused, which does not make sharing easy, plus he'd probably be all smug since was the one who sent Picard to Risa in the first place. It's probably a relief when he can just yell at Q or be angry that Vash is planning something illegal. Later Picard still insists on keeping the crew out of his personal life, even though he knows there's real danger. Picard and Vash are different and unsuited in a lot of ways but they're both equally stubborn.
Picard Really Likes Old Stuff
How did Picard swing getting an archaeology conference (complete with archaeological giants) on the Enterprise? Despite all the weirdness and danger being Captain of the flagship obviously has it perks. I mean Picard likes archaeology more than anything except captaining, he certainly likes it more than having a personal life. I mean Picard once breached the neutral zone chasing an ancient mystery! He worries that the professional archaeologists will think of him as an enthusiastic amateur, Troi says that's not so but it's not like archaeology is his job, so what else would they think? There's a lot of talk about the forbidden ruins, a red herring to make us think that's where the action will end up. Not mentioned is whether this adventure damages Picard's standing among the archaeologists, I assume it must do since he just disappears before giving his speech. I can see these guys avoiding the Enterprise for future cons.
Riker: adventurer, middle-manager, flirt
He's off-duty and sees pretty lady he's not seen before in 10 Forward, so Riker's first instinct is to flirt with her. I do think that Riker is one of TV's better/least-objectionable ladies-man characters, but that doesn't mean that he isn't corny as hell with dialogue that makes me roll my eyes. Of course he's got flirting material prepared, so he's totally wrong-footed when she knows who he is and what his best lines are. It's so funny! It's silly of him to use the same lines on everyone, you'd think he'd realise word will get round (or it would if women had many conversations on the Enterprise, but there's limited evidence of that). I like that Vash is messing with him on purpose and says Picard does a good Riker impression, when will we get to see that?
Beverly is totally fine that Picard has a guest for breakfast, surprised because he's secretive about his life, but also really amused by how awkward he is. We don't see the interaction between the two women (who'd want that), but I like to think they bonded a little over how awkward Jean-Luc was when introducing them.
|I like her jumper, especially the colour.|
Vash is pretty amazing. Especially the way she sits right in the big chair. Perfectly comfortable in herself and not remorseful about her semi-legal lifestyle or her choices. She admits that she's a well-known liar, but she's honest with Picard about her feelings for him and who she is. When he forbids her from doing anything illegal on his ship, which is his job, she points out that she won't change herself for him or anyone else and she doesn't expect to be treated like a guilty secret by Picard. She sizes up the weird situation in Nottingham and plays Sir Guy to preserve her life and get into a safe position. She refuses Picard's rescue when its clear he's still hiding her from his crew and besides she had things sorted herself even if it wasn't how he might have done it. Then he tries to rescue her against her will. She pulls Picard's sword on him to keep him safe, but I think it's also to show him she can handle things and get the better of him. At the end when Picard describes Q as amoral and untrustworthy Vash is happy to say that these qualities match her personality too. Plus Q can take her on really amazing adventures, why wouldn't she throw in with him.
Random Q Member (Damn! I totally should've used this heading in Deja Q but only just thought of it.)
Picard gets Q to promise Vash will be safe. Q suggests Picard kiss her goodbye, they stare at him until he leaves. They're about to kiss and when Q re-materialises to watch and pretends he's come back for his hat. He leaves and Vash kisses Picard goodbye.
|"I'm not from Nottingham." Not the catchiest duel dialogue.|