The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: The Outrageous Okona

Whilst exploring a solar system with twin planets, the Enterprise encounters a broken-down ship and its roguish captain, Thadiun Okona. Picard agrees to rescue Okona and fix his ship, but this good deed becomes troublesome when the leaders of both planets show up and ask to take Okona into custody for crimes against their families.

Having the word ‘outrageous’ in an episode title is a red flag in itself, and indeed the main storyline here is painfully old-school, falling back on the “irritatingly roguish character shows up, makes trouble, turns out to be rough diamond in the end”. The Okona story is so on-the-rails that pretty much anyone could write in their sleep, whilst a B-story about Data trying to understand humour involves some painful moments in a comedy club. The denouement of that story, which sees Data realising that his holodeck audience is not truly laughing at his jokes, is a little sad, but it’s not enough to redeem the episode as a whole. In fact, the B-story can be summarised as:

Guinan: Data, humour is important.

Data: Okay, I will learn about it.

*later*

Data: I have failed to grasp how to make people laugh.

Guinan: Never mind, it’s not that important.

Points of Note

  • Worf suggests that Okona be given only limited access to the ship. This is notable not only because it’s what I’ve been saying should be normal procedure for visitors right from the start, but because for once Picard actually agrees with Worf’s advice.
  • None of the main characters step in to stop Okona essentially harassing the female transporter chief.
  • Despite being (presumably) a Starfleet officer, one of Okona’s later conquests does nothing Worf arrives to collect Okona. Maybe she was just too embarrassed to take any kind of action.
  • This episode acts as if it’s the first time that Data has considered humour, even though he has tried to understand it in previous episodes. How could we forget “includeling the kiddleys”?
  • Dr Pulaski doesn’t appear – surely a high point of this episode.

Summary – The Outrageous Okona: “Take my Worf, please.”

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