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- Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 12:09pm (USA Central)
@Joshua: ”There are no gay people in Star Trek because no one chooses perversiont in the future. End of story.”
@Robert: "Although I fundamentally disagree with Joshua, I believe its a topic worth of discussion in the context of Star Trek, especially with this episode."
Joshua’s fundamental attitude is of course not worth waisting time on. However, I wholly concur with Robert. However, I disagree on the final outcome.
Yes, “seeing a gay person on the bridge of a starship” far in the future could be very meaningful and important to the viewers, and especially to the particular viwer. But the question is actually: would it be realistic, i.e., consistent with the view of humanity in TOS and TNG?
I believe it’s short-sighted to focus on gays, or the absence of gays, in Star Trek. There’s a much, much more obvious absence in all the series that is indicative of the much greater issue at hand: that of obese humans. In other words: in Star Trek, what we see in the future is ideal humans.
This is especially true in TOS and TNG, where every human is more or less an ideal human, in every way, except for a few individuals who turn out to be more or less insane or otherwise "inhuman", such as Bekker in "The Doomsday Machine", or even better, Korby in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?". But see also Satie in "The Drumhead", Marr in "Silicon Avatar", Maxwell in "The Wounded", or Graves in "The Schizoid Man", just to name a few. Apart from such "wounded", "schizoid" people, and the very rare example of Pressman in "The Pegasus", humans on TOS and TNG were virtually always near-ideal: physically "perfect", and morally paragons of virtue, much like Jean-Luc Picard. There are very few shades of grey here.
This poses a much, much more fundamental question than the superficial gay issue; the gay question is interesting, of course, in late 20th/early 21st century contexts, but less significant in the grand scheme of Trek.
The real question is: why are there never, apart from such clinical cases as the above mentioned, any anormal people in Star Trek, apart from the genetically enhanced in "Space Seed", before DS9 revisits that exact same theme with "Doctor Bashir, I Presume?", and "Statistical Probabilities"?
[It’s interesting to note how DS9, which completely subverted what humanity and the Federation had evolved to in the course of TOS and TNG, also subverted their very idea of ideal people.]
Allow me to quote my previous comment on this thread of Dec 28, 2013:
"Secondly, about the absence of homosexuals in Star Trek: what if ― just what if ― there are no homosexuals in the 24th century?
What I mean is this: I have no doubt that we in Picard's era will be much more "enlightened" (see below) than we are today. Nevertheless, I am convinced that no matter how enlightened, there is a very good probability that, given the possibility to screen and genetically modify embryos, we will make use of that technology. And given that possibility, I believe extremely few people, if any, will be born as, for example, dwarves, or albinos, or blind, or with Down Syndrome, if a simple genetic modification is all it takes to make the embryo "normal". We can all agree that there is nothing wrong with any of these people, but nevertheless, I am convinced that virtually all parents would prefer said small "corrective" genetic modification(s).
There is no doubt that it will some day be possible to do this, and all human history shows us that what is possible to do is also done. All we need is to get used to the idea. [...]
The question is, where does homosexuality stand? I can't help but wonder how many parents, if given the choice, would/will prefer their child to function "within normal parameters"?
Did the producers of Star Trek ever contemplate these matters? Why do we virtually never see anyone outside the norm in Star Trek? On TNG, we never even see any overweight humans. (David Ogden Stirs' character in "Half a Life" was an alien. So are the Pakleds. Other than that only a couple of guest stars are slighty chubby). Is this a mere coincidence? What do you think? What will happen when we finally begin to be able to make such precise modifications to our genome?
We know that genetic manipulation takes place in the Trekverse, and while "enhancement" is prohibited, what do we know of "corrective" procedures? Can genetic manipulation be the reason why virtually every human on Star Trek is so "normal"? Why we never seen any disabled, or even overweight, human of any kind? Can this be why we never encounter homosexuality among humans on Star Trek?"
And to finish, what follows: "More profoundly, is it thinkable that [...] in enough centuries, we will all be some sort of "perfect" mainstream beings? Or is it thinkable that we will leave such technology, which undoubtedly will be developed, unused?"
This is really the main question we should be considering; homosexuality is merely part of a larger question.
I’m guessing all of us ― apart from Joshua ― can see no moral wrong in being a homosexual. I’m guessing most of us ― including me ― can see no ethical problem with civil marriages for gays. I’m guessing some of us ― though not me ― can see no ethical problem in gay adoption. But *when* a bit of genetic resequencing of an embryo is all it will take to make the future child a person who will not be blind nor deaf, nor have some other physically or mentally crippling genetic disorder [I’m *not* including homosexuality in this category], and who will be able to fall in love and have children with a person of the opposite sex as the most natural [no pun intended] thing on Earth, who will refrain from doing it? I’m guessing not many.
To me, there's nothing as beautiful in creation or evolution (your choice) as the ability of two people of the opposite sex who love each other to have a child that is, quite literally, a part of them both. This is something truly amazing. For no other reason than that, I would feel extremely sorry for being gay, just like I feel extremely sorry for all the people who for one reason or another cannot have a child with the person they love.
I think adoption is a beautiful thing. I think the capacity to love a child that is not your own is a beautiful thing. But don’t tell me that that is what every straight couple in love dream of. No, we dream of creating new life, unassisted by technology, that is, magically, a part of ourselves and the very man or woman we love. And I believe (though I may be wrong), that this is some sort of longing, and a problem, that at least some homosexuals who truly love each other somehow must feel, at some point. “Ahh, if only we could...”
So please don’t take this the wrong way. But who on Earth would deny their future child the possibility of having a "normal" family, if all it took was a visit to the doctor?
I seriously believe that someday in the future, there will be no homosexuality. I seriously believe that in the future, every human being will be near-perfect. And yes, I’m sorry to say this, but there is such a thing as "perfection" to most humans. We all know that, let’s not pretend otherwise. When the technology becomes available, we’ll all have different eye and hair and skin colours, but we’ll all have essentially the same build, etc. No one will chose their child to have short, crooked legs, or be bald, or with a tendency to be fat. We’ll all look essentially alike. Hell, to any alien species out there we probably already do.
That’s actually something I like about TNG. In TOS it would of course be totally unthinkable to mention homosexuality. But by the time TNG was around, the issue could have been adressed. By season 7, we could have seen a gay captain in one of the episodes. In a way, I’m actually glad we didn’t. I understand Robert’s argument that that would be an important message to the viewers back then, or even today, twenty years later. But I actually believe that doing so would be an undermining of the “ideal human” idea that pervades TOS and TNG.
No, some of you may be thinking: “What is this idiot talking about? There is no such thing as an ideal human.” I share that sentiment, but again, please, let’s not fool ourselves. There’s nothing wrong in being very short, and yet we give people growth hormones these days.
I’m sure that in the real 24th century, no one will be missing homosexuals in TNG; in fact, they’ll probably praise it for not caving in to that particular social issue of its day, and having been so far-sighted in predicting the human trend for perfecting ourselves as soon as the relevant technologies are becoming available. In that way, we humans aren't really that different from the Borg.
But I may be wrong. Who knows, by the 24th century, maybe we’ll see it as something natural that two male homosexuals, one of whom is some sort of cyborg, have their DNA matched in a laboratory, and then have their scientifically engineered child implanted in the cyborg for gestation. It could certainly be done, and would merely be another take on our resemblance to the Borg. All I’m saying is, the other way around would make a lot more sense.
What do you think?
- Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 11:02am (USA Central)
The Inner Light
I would watch Patrick Stewart read the phone book.
- Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 10:55am (USA Central)
The Inner Light
Not to be a party-pooper here or anything, but the success of this episode lies largely with the acting ability of Patrick Stewart.
It was a good piece of melodrama in itself, but take Stewart out of it and replace him with any other member of the crew and it just wouldn't be quite so captivating.
I agree that the 30+ years of memories passing by in a real time of 25 minutes, and with that the memories of a life aboard a star ship that live within, was effective and certainly captures the imagination, but I can't help but feel there is a little too much love for cheese here on this board if everybody is tearing up at the mere mention of this episode.
I just watched The Wind That Shakes The Barely earlier today! Now that has the power to elicit tears in me! The Inner Light? Not so much.
Like I said, it's a good episode elevated by Stewart, but it is not a masterpiece of sci-fi/melodrama at all!
- Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 8:47am (USA Central)
"This is interesting because there was also an episode where Odo linked with a "male" changeling. If we DO accept that changelings have a gender, the Odo was definitely double dipping."
Agreed. It was stated (in some ways) that linking is even more intimate than sex. But even if Odo is confused by solid terms I don't the "female" changeling would actually consider herself female or consider her or Odo bi-sexual. That's why I went with pan-sexual... I just think it's about the person, not about an attraction to a gender.
In a lot of ways DS9 was very progressive about sexuality. I particularly liked that in "Rejoined" nobody even blinked that Lenara was a woman. It was all about violating the Trill taboo that people were upset with. DS9's progressive take on sexuality was, to me (especially as a product of the time) a natural progression from TNG being willing to dip their toes into such subject matter in this episode. Sadly future Trek series dropped the ball.
When I was younger and watching Star Trek I couldn't understand why people were clamoring for a gay character. I mean, I wouldn't have had a problem with it (my parents were pretty conservative, and my father even fairly religious... but they actually never tried to teach us there was anything wrong with being gay, and I had already watched gay characters on Roseanne) but I didn't see the need. I suppose it comes with being a straight white male.
With a little more perspective I see the legacy Gene left. A Japanese man, a black woman, a Russian (during the cold war) and even an alien first officer (how nice to think that when we finally meet another species we'll be friends with them). That's a legacy of inclusion. A show that had the first interracial kiss written by a man who's pilot included a female first officer!
For all of Gene's faults it's a hell of a legacy and one that I'm proud to be a fan of. With a little more perspective I do see that Rick Berman dropped the ball. It might not have meant much to me as a middle schooler watching Voyager, but to the kid who just realized he was gay it might have meant the world.
A quote from Whoopi Goldberg :
"She said, 'Well when I was nine years old Star Trek came on,' and she said, 'I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, "Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there's a black lady on television and she ain't no maid!"' And she said, 'I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be, and I want to be on Star Trek.'"
Now that I'm older I could see what seeing a gay person on the bridge of a starship in an accepting future could have meant to that kid. And I'm sad that Rick Berman decided he couldn't boldly go where no one had gone before.
- Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 8:18am (USA Central)
Ties of Blood and Water
I quite like this one. I was surprised to see its relatively negative reception over at the AV Club (which did a quality retrospective of the series that's nearly on par with this site).
There are minor flaws in this episode, such as having one line too many about Kira being all Ghemor has left. We get it. And, maybe not a fault of the episode, but I really feel its earnestness would have benefited from a middle chapter somewhere between "Second Skin" and now. "Ties" suggests Kira and Ghemor probably have had contact, but something more than that would have been welcome.
That said, it's a really solid episode with good character work for both Kira and Dukat. The Ghemor plot dovetails nicely into the show's current events, showing how rich and thoughtfully plotted DS9 is on the whole. Dukat's attempts to silence/convince Ghemor to return were satisfyingly treacherous (especially pulling out the daughter bait, at which Ghemor doesn't bite). The scene in Kira's quarters was so well done, played very viscerally by Visitor and Alaimo. It's obvious Kira hates Dukat, but there's something about the scene that just festers (it's the teacup she throws) that gives it the added kick.
Some last touches I really enjoyed:
-Weyoun having too much fun. He's just with Dukat because it's his job. He's probably seen the man's posturing in a hundred other would-be dictators the Dominion have puppeted over the years.
-The Cardassian propaganda machine. Dukat mentioning Ghemor's "conversion" is such a foul PR spin that it's to be expected at this point. Ghemor won't be buried on Cardassian soil, but his name will still sadly be used in the way he hoped to fight against.
Honestly, this one is an easy three but gets an extra half star for dangling and treating so many plot and character threads at once - so, 3 1/2 stars! A hidden gem in the pantheon of great DS9 hours.
- Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 5:16am (USA Central)
Two main flaws with this episode:
No one considers that this "duonetic" field could lose its effect after a certain distance. You can't tell us that her little box buried in the woods affects the entire planet. Either one of the colonists or Sisko/O'Brian would have simply walked as far as it took to get out of the affected area. It simply would have been a better outcome if O'Brian had escaped, walked a few days, gotten aboard the runabout and then used it to locate her field generator.
And the ending...I mean really? These colonists may have wanted to call that place "home", but you're telling me that after 10 years isolated in that crappy village, they don't even want to visit the Federation again? If not only to see friends, family, get additional supplies, etc?... Completely unbelievable.
Dave in NC
- Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 3:17am (USA Central)
I've never been to a luau, so it should be fun. :)
It's sad that you are so judgmental . . . obviously your parents failed to teach you about empathy or respect for your fellow man. Apparently Star Trek didn't help either.
I can only hope one day that you'll see that bigotry and fear is no way to live a life.
Your discussion of Odo's gender/sexuality is fascinating.
My two cents? In the episode where Odo boinked the hideous "female" changeling as the solids do, the dialogue basically stated that linking is the Shapeshifter equivalent of sexual intercourse.
This is interesting because there was also an episode where Odo linked with a "male" changeling. If we DO accept that changelings have a gender, the Odo was definitely double dipping.
- Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 2:21am (USA Central)
If its any consolation, Brandon Bragga calls this piece of filth the worst episode of Trek ever.
- Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 1:58am (USA Central)
Fourth Season Recap
Yall should watch this documentary on the failing of Enterprise.
Flying Tiger Comics
- Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 11:37pm (USA Central)
Dear Doctor is evil pablum but it would at least have been cool if the race wasn't the Menk but a race that in the later shows had turned into an existential threat, like the Cardassians...
Law of unforeseen consequences and all that.
Waayyyy too smart for this show and its pathological hatred of not just TOS but also the normal rules of storytelling in prequels.
Lucasian in its level of fail.
- Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 11:37pm (USA Central)
We do see Tomalak briefly in the finale. Are there really no other appearances by him after this?
I don't think this one is 4stars for me. I have a minor personal complaint that prevents a highest rating - I've never liked it when stories put the viewer/reader/whatever in the position of one of the protagonists, but then withhold the protagonist's plan for the sake of a surprise later. It would have been tough to make this story work well otherwise, but it still bothers me.
See, the episode pretty clearly shows events unfolding from Picard's perspective. As others have noted, the (well-built) tension is derived from our lack of knowledge, dramatically presented as Picard's lack of knowledge. It makes Picard's decision to 'go for it' exciting, because we understand the risks inherent with incomplete knowledge just as Picard does. Except that when the Klingon reveal is made, we realize that no, we didn't actually understand the risks (or lack thereof). This, to me, gives the built-up tension a slightly fake quality, and it disconnects me from the main characters.
Despite that rant, the episode is still great in a lot of respects. Mid to low 3.5 stars.
- Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 11:14pm (USA Central)
I skipped this one on my recent rewatch (first since initial broadcasts and early reruns) because I had forgotten which episode it was. I did a bit of reading and realized this was the episode with 'the scene' and I watched it today.
I bring up my experience because I think it fits with my thoughts on the episode. As a whole, there's not a whole lot going on, and the script isn't anything special. But that one scene in the holodeck really sticks in the memory as something genuinely creepy, if you are willing to suspend disbelief just a bit.
I'd have a hard time giving a star-rating to something like this. The scene is a triumph of idea and atmosphere over character; the abductees feel like they could've been practically anybody. The rest of the episode is okay, but nothing great. The Ode to Spot was just lovely, but Geordi's conversation with Data feels like it belongs in an episode where character matters.
I'd waver between 2.5 and 3 stars myself.
- Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 10:16pm (USA Central)
People may not realize that this episode is taken straight from Greek theater. Many will recognize the chorus and the masks, but there are three types of plot twists that are included. Two were described by Aristotle – the reversal of fortune (Peripeteia) and the moment of recognition (Anagnorisis). Then there is the Deus ex Machina at the end.
Flying Tiger Comics
- Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 10:00pm (USA Central)
Flesh and Blood
Any captain who didn't lobotomise the obnoxious, wasteful and irritating picardogram after this little effort should be put up for general court martial herself.
Absolutely ridiculous stuff and when you think what this show could have done... Gah.
- Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 9:52pm (USA Central)
Actually Jammer, the psychology and brain makeup of children is demonstrably, significantly different of that of adults. Even after 300 years, their society might still differ from what we would expect of adults...though I agree this episode doesn't render the concept in a way that rings true.
- Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 8:14pm (USA Central)
I was less interested in "Harry's Story" than the generational ship, particularly its past. What was the world they left like? Is there a specific star or destination they sought out? What experiences did they have to make them so afraid to contact any other civilations?
- Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 7:55pm (USA Central)
(Spoiler for later DS9...)
Jem'hadar do have other motives than bloodlust, obedience to the Founders, and need for white. They value the *ideals* of their loyalty and devotion to victory, and respect for a warrior ethic of strength and camaraderie. Thus Omet'iklan is willing to kill Weyoun (presumably against standing Founder orders), for doubting the first, and not to kill Sisko, for upholding the last.
- Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 7:48pm (USA Central)
The star rating on this episode is indeed too high. It should be lower, and I'm willing to concede that.
- Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 7:13pm (USA Central)
"I, Borg", as noted before, posed a real ethical dilemma as Hugh was altered by his experience on the Enterprise. The Abandoned shows none of those signs. It wasn't a bad episode but I found the words Odo used to convey "humanity" to the boy to be what I call "Star Trek stock spiel". I understand the show has an ethos to protect, but I found it all too heavy-handed in this instance.
New here. I've watched all other Star Trek series (TOS and TNG in reruns as a kid, Voyager as it aired, Enterprise a few months ago) except this one. Working my way through DS9 for the first time.
- Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 7:12pm (USA Central)
I find it a bit interesting that I agree with basically all of Jammer's complaints about this episode, especially about how slow and ultimately pointless it feels. It also doesn't make a lick of sense to me why the dude feels he HAS to go back, and why Kira doesn't, oh I don't know, ARREST the bad Kira.
The result is that I really don't get Jammer's star rating on this one. The few 'nice' moments he mentions feel way too inconsequential to boost the score this high.
Also, if Quark was the one who decided to put those flashing lights outside of his bar, he should be shot out of a docking bay. Worst background visual ever. At one point I wondered if they were supposed to be some kind of visual cue that the audience's warning bells were supposed be going off (duh) even though Kira's weren't.
- Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 7:08pm (USA Central)
The silver blood thing seems like something out of a Doctor Who episode. Except that even the worst Doctor Who episodes are made almost watchable by the antics of whoever happens to be playing the Doctor in that particular episode. This episode, on the other hand, had boring, flat characters this time around in addition to a boring, flat plot. I think I fell asleep before the very end and never bothered to actually watch the ending.
Also, Jammer, this is one of the funniest reviews you've ever done. (My vote for funniest Jammer review still goes to the ENT "Precious Cargo" review.) I guess it can be fun to creatively trash a really bad episode - I think you covered all the major plot holes although I won't be going back to the ep to make sure.
- Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 7:04pm (USA Central)
You Are Cordially Invited
Some friends of mine are watching through DS9. I tried joining them one night a while ago, and one of the episodes I caught was Meridian. I didn't return until the other night, when I caught this episode and the next one.
I'm sorry folks, but this episode is pretty bad. There are a couple of good things I can say:
1. Bashir (since when is he Worf's choice for a ceremony like this?) and O'Brien are awesome. Meaney is as good as ever in the role.
2. Some of Martok's lines, while still a bit too cheesy to really resonate with me, have some worthwhile stuff to say.
But the bad far outweighs the good here:
1. Alexander is here.
2. Worf and Jadzia don't seem to be a particularly good couple.
3. The crew is inept - how do things get done when security officers join parties, and/or miss their shifts?
4. I still don't like Brooks' acting.
5. The most potentially interesting scenes are kept offscreen:
5a) Odo and Kira
5b) Jadzia's final meeting with the Klingon lady
5c) O'Brien and Bashir attacking Worf
I could probably go on, but I'm sure anyone reading this gets the idea. Contrast this bullshit with the O'Brien wedding (Data's Day). For one thing, it wasn't the entire focus of the episode. For another, even not knowing Keiko at all before that, there was a definite feeling of wanting the wedding to succeed. I'm not certain that Worf+Jadzia will be good for either of them, so I can't decide if I want this wedding to succeed or not. Also, the TNG episode gave us the single best Data-face ever. It's a bit unfair to use that in a comparison with this episode, but I'm doing it anyways.
Maybe most importantly, the predictability of the standard 'wedding-drama' is used playfully in Data's Day - Geordi has to make it clear to Data that, despite Keiko's protestations, Data should be ready to proceed with the wedding. After all, that's how these scripts play out. The script has a tongue-in-cheek feel that makes it fun even if it's unsurprising at the end. Meanwhile, this script's predictability just makes it dull.
- Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 6:55pm (USA Central)
I just watched both parts again. I too feel they are of equal quality--or, more precisely, form a coherent whole story of quality. This is *not* like the cliffhanger two-parters for which the second halves were written separately.
"Homefront" definitely contains clues to Leyton's real plan; for example, he says he's had weapons stockpiled... for *just such* an unprecedented security deployment.
Also, Sisko does tell people about his changeling encounter, at some point off screen. He declines to tell Dad at first, not wanting to scare him and not sure yet how he himself is going to proceed. But by the end both Dad and Odo clearly know that there are changelings, plural, on Earth.
Not that there's really much useful intelligence there. The claim of "four" may or may not be true, and in any event Starfleet already knew there was one, and if the Dominion can land one they obviously could have landed a bunch.
Changelings can 'eat' if they want to.
Finally, a note on direction. Remember the (great) scene where the Red Squad cadet proudly explains the sabotage operation--and thus Sisko learns the full, awful dimensions of Leyton's plot? The crushing fact of treason by his own CO, who he had learned from and respected? And then the *next* scene is so dark--literally dark, as he and Odo grapple with the betrayal. The light of "paradise," so bright in the early, sunlit outdoor scenes, has fallen into shadows.
- Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 4:06pm (USA Central)
Cause and Effect
I love how in each iteration, Beverly's glass breaks every single time no matter what she does.
Classic episode, especially with Picard shouting "ALL HANDS ABANDON SHIP!" over and over again. 4 popcorns.
- Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 3:15pm (USA Central)
"On another note, now that I think of it, Odo can be seen as a kind of transgender/no gender character. One who chooses his sexuality... or does he? hmm "
I choose to think Odo and Dax are nearly pansexual (and Dax is genderless). Jadzia obviously has a gender, but the Dax symbiont cannot possibly have a gender as we understand it and seems to be capable of romantic relationships outside the consideration of gender (a trait that Jadzia Dax has demonstrated to have obtained via joining most likely). There was no element of bi-sexuality in her attraction to Lenara Khan, it was much more gender blind/pansexual.
As to Odo? He only exhibits sexual attraction towards women, but I don't think he selected his gender anymore than Data did. Odo's is modeled after his "father" Dr. Moya and Data's is modeled after his "father" as well. I would assume that both of them would be capable of attraction to their same gender, since the entire great link is well, practically the same organism?
"ODO: To differentiate yourself from the others.
FOUNDER: I don't.
ODO: But you are a separate being, aren't you?
FOUNDER: In a sense.
ODO: When you return to the Link, what will happen to the entity I'm talking to right now?
FOUNDER: The drop becomes the ocean."
That basically means that, to my understanding, they should all be the same gender (or lack there of). And unless something in them programs them to like humanoid females, I'd imagine that, should the right man come along, Odo could be attracted to him. (I'm SURE there has got to be some Odo/Garak fan-fic somewhere).
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