Captain’s Log, stardate 1212.78. We’ve detected some sort of temporal rift that could get us out of the Delta Quadrant. However, it looks as though the rift only opens into one point in space and time … an Earth bar known as the Mustang Club in the 1970s.
Our historical records of the time show the “Swinging Seventies” to be a time of loose secual morals(as defined by their more primitive society, not by our advanced standards) and petty infighting, even among families. To avoid contaminating my crew, I have chosen to embark on this mission alone.
I’ve learned to sing and play guitar, so I will enter the temporal rift and try to become a country-pop superstar like the famed Taylor Swift, in order to amass a fortune that I can use to seek out enough 1970s technology to find a way to bring Voyager home.
Okay, maybe that’s not what happened. But set your phasers to country music … it’s the Ray-Falls-For-Captain-Janeway-Who’s-Obviously-Time-Traveled-To-The-70s-For-Some-Cosmic-Purpose Episode! Can any more explanation be needed?
We open at the Mustang Club, where Garnet McGee is appearing nightly. We know it’s nightly because the poster tells us so. Bobby and Pam are on a double date with Lucy and her beau, who we will likely never see again.
Just FYI, I never went on double dates with my uncle. That is weird.
They see Garnet sit down at a table with Ray. So … Garnet’s been singing a whole set and only now they see their foreman at a table up front? How big is this bar?
They head over to meet her and Garnet is quite dismissive with a “We’ve met,” when she’s introduced to Pam. Mee-ouch, Captain! While the men fall over themselves talking about how talented Garnet is, Pam is less than thrilled. Garnet is clearly hungry for success, but of course, they don’t know she’s only in this time period to help her stranded crew get home, so it’s a classic TV show misunderstanding.
It is odd that Garnet set her sights on a ranch foreman to get ahead. As she and Ray slow dance, a jealous Lucy drags her boy toy out, and tells Bobby she’ll be right home. Bobby wants to dance, and Pam is grumpy. She explains Garnet’s a user and a gold digger, and lived with a songwriter only long enough to acquire a repertoire.
In bed, Garnet quizzes Ray as to why he doesn’t try to marry Lucy. Let’s not go there again! Apparently, Ray has been with Garnet for months. If Garnet’s a gold digger, she’s not a very efficient one. She explains she grew up poor and her wantin’s like a disease and nothing’s ever enough. Great backstory, Captain!
This is actually pretty good development for a one-off character we sadly never get to see again!
At the family breakfast (which you can tell it breakfast, because everyone has orange juice), Lucy explains her new plan to be a singer. After all, J.R. knows all those people in Nashville. He refuses to help her. Miss Ellie adds that if what she read is true, it’s a terrible life of hard work and disappointment.
Oh, Miss Ellie … that’s just life.
J.R. won’t let Lucy make a “public spectacle” of the family and Jock puts his foot down as well.
Lucy goes out to ride a horse and is so frustrated she is aggravating the horse as she saddles it. She complains to Ray that the family acted like she wanted to be a hooker not a singer. I wonder what my mom thought of this language as we watched it. I feel certain I didn’t know what a hooker was at that age.
Ray and Lucy squabble about her life choices, past and present, until he gets her on the horse. He says to go for a ride and get rid of that bad temper. Is that how rich people solve their problems?
Bobby and Pam head out. She is still bothered by Ray dating Garnet. Perhaps it will help her to think that Garnet is only trying to help 150 people get home from the Delta Quadrant.
Jock and Ray are working on the ranch and we see how much like a father Jock is to Ray. NO FORESHADOWING HERE. It is a micro-scene, but it’s nice.
Suddenly, there is a party at the ranch that night and Garnet and Ray show up. She’s nervous about being around all the rich folk. Bobby steals Garnet for a dance and Lucy tries to get Ray to dance. AWKWARD.
Garnet is hitting on Bobby, but that dress is so hideous, she has no chance. As Miss Ellie drags Bobby away to meet some folks, Garnet and Pam trade barbs. Garnet confirms she is just using Ray until something better comes along.
As Garnet dances with Jock, J.R. sees her and now he wants to make a move. So let’s recap — she’s sleeping with Ray (a half-Ewing, though no one knows that yet), she’s hit on Bobby, she’s dancing far too close for me or Miss Ellie’s liking to Jock and now J.R. wants in. Does Gary need to show up so she can collect a whole set of Ewing men?
Ray tries to cut J.R. off at the pass. That is less than successful and probably due to Ray’s unfortunate neckwear choices. Ray is pissed and Lucy is smug.
Next morning, Ray heads up to chat with Jock. Lucy interrupts him and threatens him. WOW at this family! Jock now wants to talk to Ray about his future. He gives Ray a section of SouthFork! It’s a super nice gesture and now Ray is more than ready to ask Garnet to marry him.
Unfortunately, she’s at lunch … with J.R. She is sassy and holds her own with J.R., that’s for sure. I guess it’s all that Starfleet training! J.R. takes her home and wants to come in but she rebuffs him. She should have been a constantly-recurring character, always showing up to sleep with whatever Ewing she can for whatever deal she can.
At breakfast, J.R. maneuvers Jock into heading out to send Ray to Odessa to look at a prize bull. Lucy immediately knows what’s up. From Ray’s reaction, he was about to pop the question to Garnet today.
And he does! He intercepts Garnet outside her apartment and wants her to run off to Mexico and get married. Did he learn this trick from Pam? Garnet isn’t having it … she’s got shows to do. Her boss would kill her. Ray somehow thinks Jock could fix it. OMG, Ray.
Ultimately, Garnet tells him she has things to do before she can get married. Poor Ray. He does have bad luck with relationships. Perhaps it’s his hair style.
Meanwhile, J.R. has set up some studio time for Garnet at Down Home Records, which is exactly the kind of studio J.R. would have pull with. Garnet shows up at J.R.’s office and supposes Ray’s trip to Odessa was “necessary.”
J.R. offers her a record contract for 25% of her earnings and “exclusive use of her services.” She offers 10% and the deal is done. They head out to the studio as Bobby comes out of his office and sees them.
The bull in Odessa turns out to be … bull. Ray heads back to Dallas as Lucy waits in J.R.’s office for something. She sees J.R.’s contract for Garnet. She pleads with J.R. to back her and let Jock allow her to pursue this career. J.R. snidely remembers that last year, Lucy wanted to join the circus.
THIS feels like a stretch. What Ewing EVER wanted to be in the circus? She tries to blackmail J.R. with her knowledge of Garnet’s contract. He offers to give her Garnet’s contract to show everyone, knowing it will make her look bad.
J.R. shows up at Garnet’s with the contract. She has some hideous avocado and yellow wallpaper, so she needs a recording contract for sure.
Miss Ellie commiserates with poor pregnant Sue Ellen, as J.R.’s out on the town again. Not sure what this scene is there for. In contrast, J.R. and Garnet are playing poker. In bed. She eats and explains as she was one of 10 children, she never gets satisfied.
Their chemistry is electric and I weep for the recurring episodes that she could have been in over the years. J.R. pushes her to end things with Ray.
Ray has to tell Jock the bull wasn’t for sale. Jock is pissed, he really wanted that bull. Inside Ray’s house, he has the same red lantern table lamp I had as a kid. Lucy walks in, and she’s ready to get frisky.
Ray is extremely gentle in telling her they will not ever have sex again. Lucy lashes out and tells him that J.R. wants Garnet and she has signed the “exclusive service agreement.” This sends Ray over the edge and over to Garnet’s.
This backfires as Lucy didn’t want him to go over there and start trouble. She screams at him as he heads out to the driveway (he now gets to park at the main house?). Pam is the ONLY one in the house that hears any commotion. Pam hustles out as Ray vows “Bobby got you, I’ll be damned if J.R. gets Garnet.” Them’s fightin’ words!
Pam races to get Bobby to go to Garnet’s and stop things before they get out of hand. Amazingly, Pam knows where Garnet lives.
Ray shows up and punches J.R. across the bed. Twice. Actually it’s a pull-out couch, because Garnet is THAT poor. Bobby gets in the middle and saves J.R. as Ray is choking him. Ray declares he’s sick of the Ewings and all their money and he’s clearing out.
Garnet wants J.R. to abide by the contract. Oh yes, THAT will happen. Ray swaggers out of the apartment building and rips his shirt open as he tries not to cry, which I am totally okay with. Bobby begs him not to leave SouthFork.
When J.R. comes out, he demands Ray leave. That’s the kick in the pants Ray needs. He refuses to leave unless Jock fires him. Ray basically threatens to kill J.R. and Bobby observes J.R. has a knack for making his friends into enemies.
Capiche Moment: Next morning. Ray is looking out at his new property. Lucy comes out to apologize. She plays the pitiful rich girl card and he forgives her.
Oh, I do love this episode. 4.5 pregnant Sue Ellen Martinis out of five.
Oh wait, there’s another transmission coming in..
Captain’s Log, supplemental. Unfortunately, our plan to build a country pop music empire and use the profits to accelerate 1970s technology didn’t work. The humans of this period are still a barbaric lot, willing to use members of their own family to achieve their base ends. I was asked to compromise my own morals, which I normally would never do, but to get my crew home I was willing to try anything. It was best that I was solo on this mission. My crew and I may be stranded in the Delta Quadrant for a few more years, but their morals are intact.
We hope our next mission will be more successful. Lt. Tuvok and Neelix are on the planet below gathering botanical samples. It’s a routine assignment, so there should be no life or death ramifications that force me to make a moral choice between the lives of my crew and a strange new hybrid entity.