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KimD
Mon, Sep 9, 2019, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Best of Both Worlds, Part I

The only downside of this episode is that I can never see it again for the first time. As great as it is, it will never again punch me in the gut with the revelation of Locutus, or delight me with the surprise characterization of Shelby.

I’ll weigh in on Shelby since opinions seem split. I thought she was a great character who added an important layer to the episode and ratcheted up the pressure on Riker. As much as I loved the show, the smooth interactions between all crew members and their cheery averageness became stultifying at times. Shelby joined Jellico, Barclay, and Ro In adding some refreshing variety to the personalities found at Starfleet.

She also did something that I wish the show had done more of: she threw light on a (debatable) flaw in one of the main characters. We are used to believing Riker is a perfect officer and Picard is a perfect captain and so forth. But through Shelby’s eyes, we can question this for the first time. Is Shelby right that he prefers sheltering in Picard’s shadow? Is he angry with her mostly because she was actually wrong to beam down to the planet early - or because her brashness threatens him and reminds him of what he’s lost with age? Is it because he isn’t used to sharing the bridge with an equal?

I would have preferred for the show to continue showing Riker’s internal struggles and flaws in later episodes, or - just as good - that he take a captaincy position so Shelby could replace him as first officer. But the show, like Riker, gravitated toward keeping the status quo.
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KimD
Mon, Sep 9, 2019, 11:21am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Who Watches the Watchers

Good episode.

Baffled by a couple commenters saying the locals practiced polygamy. What Troi said was that women and men formed couples, and that if another woman were interested in a mated man (presumably interested in him for sex, though this wasn’t spelled out), she could discuss it with the man’s mate.

A lot of things were left unclear here: Did the male get a say in things? Did the couple stay coupled after the new woman made advances, or did the original
mate hand over her man and then find a new man of her own?

Riker leered happily at the thought of sexually aggressive women in a promiscuous society - but the idea of two women negotiating over a man’s sexual services without ever speaking to him is distasteful. It’s only acceptable because in our own twentieth-century world, women lack the physical strength or cultural power to make sex slaves of men. On Mintaka, gender roles could well be different.

The Troi-Riker exchange struck me as a clumsy stab at human-centered bro-humor circa 1990, ridiculously out of place among galaxy-travelers of the twenty-fourth century.
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