Star Trek: The Next Generation (1988): S02E04 – The Outrageous Okona


Introduction

“The Outrageous Okona” (/oʊˈkɒnə/ oh-KON-ə) is the fourth episode of the second season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 30th episode overall. It was first aired on 12 December 1988, in broadcast syndication.

It was written by Les Menchen, Lance Dickson and David Landsberg, with a teleplay by Burton Armus, and directed by Robert Becker.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, the crew of the Enterprise encounters a flamboyant space rogue, while Data tries to learn humour from a holographic comedian.

This episode guest stars William O. Campbell.

Outline

As the Federation starship Enterprise, under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, passes through the Coalition of Madena, it detects a small cargo ship, under manual control by its single occupant. The crew makes contact with the pilot, Captain Thadiun Okona (William O. Campbell), who requests help to repair a part on his ship. Captain Picard agrees, and the Enterprise tows Okona’s ship while Okona is brought on board. The crew soon finds that Okona has taken a keen interest in the women on the ship, beginning with Transporter Chief Robinson (Teri Hatcher in an uncredited role) and is in no rush to effect repairs.

Continuing through the sector, the Enterprise is set upon by ships from two different planets, each of which locks its weapons upon the Enterprise, though both are vastly outclassed, and pose no actual threat. Debin (Douglas Rowe), from the planet Atlec, accuses Okona of impregnating his daughter Yanar (Rosalind Ingledew), while Kushell (Albert Stratton) from the planet Straleb asserts that Okona has stolen a state treasure, the Jewel of Thesia. The two leaders clearly know each other, and both demand that their own claim on Okona take priority. Okona denies both accusations but offers nothing to defend himself with. Picard offers to arbitrate the dispute, and brings Debin, Yanar, Kushell and Benzan (Kieran Mulroney), Kushell’s son, aboard the Enterprise. Okona sits and quietly listens to both Debin and Kushell’s arguments but does not offer any evidence to defend himself from both allegations.

After much more arguing amongst the two leaders, Okona then declares that he is the father of Yanar’s child, and offers to marry her. Benzan then declares that the Jewel of Thesia hasn’t been stolen: it is revealed that Okona has been acting as a go-between for Yanar and Benzan, who are in love with each other, and that Yanar is pregnant with Benzan’s child; Benzan has offered to marry Yanar, intending to present the Jewel of Thesia, which he asserts is rightly his, as a courting gift. Okona was carrying the jewel between the two planets when he got engine trouble, and he only falsely claimed to be the father to force the two lovers to reveal the truth. Picard cannot get involved in the internal political disputes between the two planets and allows Okona to go on his way once his ship is repaired, and Debin and Kushell are left to argue about wedding details.

Meanwhile, Lt. Commander Data is motivated to explore the concept of humour after meeting Okona. Prompted by Guinan, Data uses the holodeck to generate a comedy club setting and stand-up comic (played by Joe Piscopo) as his adviser, but when he performs in front of the holographic audience, he is dismayed to find that they are predisposed to laugh at anything he says or does. As the Enterprise parts with Okona, Data is able to unintentionally make the crew laugh, but does not at first understand the joke himself.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Robert Becker.
  • Writer(s): Les Menchen, Lance Dickson, and David Landsberg.
  • Release Date: 12 December 1988.
  • Running Time: 50 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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