May 29, 2018
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine “Let He Who Is Without Sin...” (part 3 of 7)
After the credits, the tiny, sexy little runabout has set a course… for romance (sorry, I’m just getting caught up in this episode’s “theme”), and is streaking through space. Inside, Leeta is a total busybody, serving drinks to everyone, apparently unable to let go of her Dabo girl identity for even a brief moment while on vacation. The beverage selection is, per all Star Trek episodes from TNG onward, completely predictable: Tarkalean tea for Bashir, a raktajino for Dax (which is basically Klingon coffee, and the name alone would seem to imply that Qo’noS now has a Starbucks on every corner, and now tell me those guys didn’t get screwed in the Khitomer accords), and for Worf, another glass of “extra large prune juice”.
I have two problems with this. First of all, why is it that everyone in the Star Trek universe drinks exactly one type of beverage? I can understand having a favorite, but apparently people in the future will be utterly terrified of variety. Unless it’s some kind of Starfleet regulation that you can only drink one type of beverage, ever. In the off chance that the Enterprise slingshots back in time and whisks me away like Gillian Taylor, I’d like to make my beverage of choice clear right now: Absolut Citron and soda. Got that, computer?
Second, and this has been going on since his TNG days, but judging by his constant grimacing and growling, the extra large glasses of prune juice are not doing a damn thing for Worf. Maybe it’s time for him to step up to something harder. Like maybe a glass of Metamucil with a Fibercon chaser. Prune juice could be like his gateway drug to other, harder fiber supplements, is what I’m saying.
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Dax reminds Leeta she’s on vacation, but Leeta says she needs to do something, because space travel is “dull” and “all the stars look the same”. Before Worf has a chance to fully glower at her, Quark shows up complaining that he never got his particular drink of choice, which is “snail juice”. And it’s this moment when Leeta suddenly declares she’s on vacation, ha ha. Quark then basically asks “are we there yet?” to which Worf yells at Dax to tell “the Ferengi” to return to his cabin.
Quark ignores him, asking, “What’s he gonna do? Turn around and take me home? Ruin everyone’s vacation?”
Worf bluffs, “Coming about. Setting course for Deep Space Nine.” Well, since we already had the equivalent of “Are we there yet?” we might as well get the equivalent of “You behave or I’m turning this thing around right now!” That’s pretty much the sophisticated level of humor we’ll be faced with for the entirety of this episode. Get out now while you still can.
Quark buys the bluff, but before he leaves he hands out these large-headed, vaguely African statuettes, which Bashir identifies as a Horga’hn, “a Risian fertility symbol”, and we’ve seen these before, in the TNG Risa episode “Captain’s Holiday”. As Picard learned then, and as we learn now, displaying one of these lets everyone know that you’re available for dirty animal sex with the first stranger who happens to walk past. Or, as Quark puts it, “it indicates you’re seeking jamaharon.” Leeta asks what jamaharon is, to which Bashir quietly smarms, “I’ll show you later.” Which Leeta immediately gets. Because she may be dumb, but she’s not stupid. Get that sponge ready, girl!
Worf snarls and drives Quark off, and then both ladies take off to change into something “more comfortable”. And in both their cases, they mean “something sluttier”. Bashir leans into Worf and says, “When in Rome…” and he heads off, too. I think I know that saying. When in Rome, turn into a filthy slut. Hey, it worked for Caligula.
They reach Risa, and we pan across an emerald landscape of barely-clothed couples of varying species, all frolicking together. The DS9 gang beams down, with everybody wearing bright and garish, vaguely tropical clothing. With the exception of Worf, of course, who’s still in his Starfleet uniform, because hah hah he’s so square. Leeta is so happy to be there that she starts making out with Bashir on the spot, and the two immediately run off so Bashir can show her his jamaharon. I find myself wondering if genetic engineering helped him out at all in that department, and if so, I’m experiencing a very strong streak of DNA Envy right now.
Two women walk past in these blue floral outfits, that are basically the kind of lingerie they sell in the Sears catalog, and Quark flashes his Horga’hn at them. Which is better than flashing his orga’n at them, all things considered. The babes turn around to ask if he’s seeking jamaharon, and they both have these weird Egyptian-style symbols on their foreheads that make them look like they got here through a Stargate. But I think it means they’re natives of Risa. Quark takes them both by the arm and leads them away. And a freaky MFF threesome is just that simple! Tell me again why people only come here for vacation?
That leaves Worf and Dax alone, and Dax is wearing a one-piece bathing suit with a long wrap around her waist, and she asks if Worf is uncomfortable in his uniform. Worf says, “Starfleet uniforms are designed for comfort, even in the most extreme environments!” Unfortunately, nobody told that to the guy who originally designed the TNG uniforms. I’ve heard that the one-piece spandex uniforms were astoundingly uncomfortable for actors to wear, and that’s why they switched over to this two-piece shirt-and-pants deal that Worf is currently wearing.
And so Dax admires the planet, which Worf expositionally dismisses as an “artificially created paradise, maintained by the most elaborate weather control system in the Federation!” He growls that without the weather grid, Risa is “a rain-soaked, geologically unstable jungle”. Hmm, I wonder if I should remember that for later? It sounds like it might be important to the plot. Ah crap, what were we talking about again?
Dax continues the brilliant streak of dialogue by calling Worf the “only dark cloud” around here, and if he’s going to be Mr. Grumpy Pants about it, they might as well just leave. Worf seems about to agree, until Dax takes off her wrap, revealing that her Trill spots travel all the way down her legs. And that’s quite a long distance to travel, believe me. Like, miles. It must have taken a makeup artist a good while to apply this particular effect. Sadly, most Hollywood makeup artists would not be of the persuasion to really enjoy that kind of experience, and I mean that in the way you think I mean it.
Worf eyeballs her gams, and predictably, he’s all, “let’s not be hasty”, and then his horniness causes him to start babbling about protostars in the Gamma Quadrant and swirling colors and glowing clouds, spewing out the old “it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen… until now” crap that women on TV shows always fall for even if they’ve had seven lifetimes before this. And for my third Cheers reference, there was a moment between Sam and Diane that was just like this. Only in their case, it was perfectly executed. Yeah, as I’m sure you can tell, I’m already experiencing the old Wish I Could Be Watching Anything Else Besides This Syndrome. Anyway, Worf and Dax start to make out, and then suddenly, someone calls out to Dax.
Appearing in a skimpy bathing suit and wrap, with her very own Egyptian forehead symbol, is actress, songstress, and former Miss America Vanessa Williams! You may remember her from such films as Eraser and Soul Food, hit songs like “Love Is” and “Save the Best for Last”, infomercials for Proactiv skin care (where we’re meant to believe that the mere speckle of acne on their chins made her and Jessica Simpson absolutely hideous… disfigured, horrible monsters, I tell you!), and from a few Radio Shack ads where she was the black Teri Hatcher opposite Ving Rhames as the black Howie Long. And, of course, you might have seen her in a nude spread with another woman in Hustler, and if you haven’t, commence your web searching now.
Okay, DS9 crew. We get it. You can make bizarre casting choices. We already learned that when you cast Iggy Pop as a Vorta. Unfortunately, the ads for this episode heavily hyped Vanessa Williams’ appearance, implying she had a huge role, despite the fact that she appears on screen for maybe five minutes, tops.
Actually, I should point out she’s credited as Vanessa L. Williams. That’s because when she eventually got around to becoming an actress, there was already a Vanessa Williams in the Screen Actors Guild, so she had to pick another name. And for some reason, the union thinks a middle initial is enough to distinguish you from another actor, when really, it’s confusing as hell. (It’s the same reason for the “J” in Michael J. Fox.)
As a mild footnote, the actress who actually works under the name “Vanessa Williams” has something of a career herself, appearing in the first Candyman movie, for instance, as well as being the only black cast member on Melrose Place before they shifted directions, and added that key to ratings gold known as Heather Locklear. And by sheer coincidence, Vanessa was also on the TV version of Soul Food, though thankfully, not playing the same role that Vanessa L. Williams played in the movie, which would just be too cutesy for words.
Vanessa L is playing “Arandis” here, and apparently she’s part of the staff on Risa. She says she’s just been promoted to “Chief Facilitator for the entire Temtibi Lagoon”. And I’ll be a gentleman and not ask what she’s supposed to be “facilitating” there. Dax introduces her to Worf, explaining that Vanessa was close with Curzon Dax.
“We had a wonderful time together,” Vanessa says. “Until I killed him.” Yes, this is the moment where it’s finally revealed how Dax’s previous host died, and it turns out he experienced “death by jamaharon“. I swear, this show’s sense of humor can be so juvenile. And if you don’t believe me, “Profit and Lace”. Vanessa says, “I suppose there are worse ways to go!” Okay, having sex with Vanessa Williams, fine, I’ll give her that. It’s still juvenile. Not only that, but it blatantly contradicts the flashback we saw to Curzon’s death in the pilot episode. And by the way, what’s with bringing up how you sorta-murdered a guy, within two seconds of meeting somebody for the first time? Are first impressions not that important on Risa? I guess not. “Have Horga’hn? Will screw.”
Upon hearing all this, Worf is already starting to grimace. Like, dude, I know you’re uptight, but dude. Your girlfriend basically did the dirty deed with Vanessa Williams. I mean, even the most homophobic guy in the world still wants to see two hot chicks getting it on, just like even the most bigoted, skin-headed, Ed Norton in American History X White Power neo-Nazi type of guy would still do Tyra Banks if he had the chance. But we’re supposed to believe Worf is even more uptight than that, which is completely absurd. And yet, somehow, not even close to the most absurd thing you’ll witness in this episode.
Vanessa compliments Dax on her “new host” and offers to show them around, but Worf rebuffs. After Vanessa turns around and walks away (with a genuine thank you to Mr. Auberjonois for including that shot), Dax lets Worf have it. Basically, he’s jealous of Vanessa, and Dax again wonders if this is all about her having lunch with Captain Boday and his transparent skull.
Then they have Banal Couple Argument #257, where Worf says he wants to get married, and if she were a Klingon woman they would already be married. And Dax is all, don’t run my life, and something about “icoberry juice” and how she’s allergic to it, which would just take too long to explain, and it just isn’t worth it.
Okay, fine—it makes her “spots itch”, yuk yuk. And Dax is defiantly going to go have some icoberry juice, so don’t try to control her, you can’t tell her what to do, and she’s keeping her baby, ooooh, ohhhh.