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William B
Tue, Jun 11, 2019, 2:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

@Springy, it was fun seeing you make your way through! I'm glad you stuck with it.

Nimoy really blows me away. He's magic in the role and did so much to create that iconic, weird character.
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William B
Mon, Jun 10, 2019, 3:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

@Peter, good points. I think though that this is a case where it's hard to tell whether the episode was attempting to make a progressive point and failed, or attempting to make a regressive point. I'd say that looking at TOS as a whole, the former is the read that matches the rest of the series better, but within the episode itself I'm not so sure. The behind-the-scenes chaos in season 3 is such that I'm not sure how much individual episodes were really filtered through a common vision.

That said, I just remembered to check the episode's credits and Roddenberry wrote the story! So, oops -- I had totally forgotten that. So I was wrong that this episode doesn't represent Roddenberry, unless it went through pretty huge revisions by the time it got from story to teleplay to air (possible).
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William B
Mon, Jun 10, 2019, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

@Peter, I agree that often TOS is focused on the "current" as of 1969 situation, and the idea that the ep is referencing the banning of female leads at the time is intriguing. That said, the episode seems to be about how Lester deals with this rule in a crazy way rather than that the rule is unjust. I'm not sure how this episode would really work as a middle finger rather than a confirmation of their worst fears about female stars. The most sympathetic read of Lester is that she was driven mad by the injustice of the rule limiting her, I suppose.

Although, I do wonder sometimes if the depiction of "Lester" by Shatner as a megalomaniac the whole main cast has to rein in was a dig at Shatner's diva-esque behaviour on set (as alleged by the supporting cast).

I think it's worth noting from a behind the scenes perspective that Roddenberry basically had no involvement in the show for season 3, and so it's hard to draw conclusions (positive or negative) about Roddenberry himself from this episode. The writing team behind this episode is (for better or worse) disjoint from the writer that tried to get Majel Barrett in a command position in The Cage. Not that this means they necessarily would disagree with Roddenberry or his mission.
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William B
Mon, Jun 10, 2019, 9:29am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

@Springy, yyyyyyeah.

I do like the "mutiny" scenes, from Spock talking to the real Kirk onward to Sulu and Chekov stopping work. I thought it was nice to have some ensemble scenes to go out on. Of course, Uhura is absent, which is pretty glaring in this one.

Glad you liked Yesterdays though!
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William B
Mon, Jun 3, 2019, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Night Terrors

If Molly had a non-human father it might explain her rapid aging....
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William B
Sun, Jun 2, 2019, 6:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

@Jack,

Fair enough. I didn't do my research on this point and should not have been so careless re Hurley.
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William B
Sun, Jun 2, 2019, 9:31am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

My take, on a few points:

Geordi's original creation of the Leah program was innocent enough. His continuing to converse with her only rather than his whole staff, in Booby Trap, is partly because he was caught in his own "Booby Trap," in keeping with the episode's theme -- caught in the thrall of technology and only eventually realizing he needed to get out (and thus back out into reality). It was related to his character flaws and the episode's theme, but in a way that wasn't indicative of a huge transgression. That said, you know, he and fake-Leah did kiss. I wouldn't call it "making out" exactly but they definitely kissed, and it's clear that there's a romantic tinge to it. I will have to watch the last scene again but I don't think Geordi exactly pulls away from the kiss, although it's one that is followed by him ending the program. I don't personally think Geordi turned on the program between BT and GC. However, I always took it that Wesley *was* talking about the Leah hologram and Booby Trap, in Sarek. We know that Geordi references "[falling] in love in there once" to Barclay re the Holodeck in Hollow Pursuits. I suppose Wesley could have been talking about Geordi taking dates to the holodeck, but I find that unlikely because the holodeck is one of the main possible locations on the ship for a date (we usually hear people going on dates to the holodeck, Ten-Forward or the arboretum).

His behaviour toward Leah in Galaxy's Child is weird, in that he keeps bringing up personal facts about her that he shouldn't know and then lies about where he got it. When Leah finds the program, with the "when you're touching the engines, you're touching me," coupled with his awkward asking her out in a Jeffries Tube, his pushing for dinner, etc. -- all his signs of pushing for a romantic connection well before they've established they even know each other -- I think her thinking the worst is not surprising. So that's why I don't think she should *apologize*. Maybe in the 24th century behaviour is better so there'd be no reason to think the worst, but the thing is, I think from Leah's POV it certainly would be hard to fathom how he could have become romantically interested in her without knowing her while having a hologram talking about touching her every time he touches the engines and for it to have an innocent explanation. Geordi's "I offered you friendship" speech seems to me to be very disingenuous, because he clearly wanted to date Leah. I'm not saying this was some creepy predatory motive, but it's not the same as Geordi trying to bond with Hugh.

I don't think it's wrong for Leah to eventually accept that Geordi's behaviour was relatively well-intentioned and to forgive him, and maybe accept that they could be friends. I think she just decided to smooth things over, also. It's fairly believable to me that she would just try to make their conflict stop, especially since it might be worth trying a different strategy with Geordi. I don't know if that's the good way to go. The thing is, there is a big gap between Leah apologizing (as is what happens) and, as Jason suggests as the alternative, getting Geordi fired. Those are not the only two options. Leah could just say, "This was very weird to me. Let's just keep this professional from now on," for example, without trying to press charges or remove Geordi from his job. I'm not really sure exactly how Leah should have dealt with it. I think the main issue with the episode is not in-story but from a writer's perspective, where Maurice Hurley -- whom apparently Gates McFadden quit the show because she felt threatened by -- writes this ending where the woman apologizes to the guy and realizes she was wrong to be offended, etc., etc. In-story, I don't know, whatever. It seems kind of excessive to me for Leah to apologize, but I think it's believable and I think it was probably good for her to try to take the leap of faith that Geordi's behaviour was well-intentioned and awkward. I wouldn't have minded if she'd stayed angry, though. That's not to say I think she should have destroyed his career or anything like that.

In terms of the episode's intent, I think FutureQ gets it right (and I enjoyed FutureQ's elaborate thoughts on the episode!). I think this is meant to be a learning experience for Geordi, and possibly even for Leah. As a Geordi episode it's probably okay, if we restrict it to Geordi POV; because it's his POV, it's hard to get a read on what Leah is actually going through. Which is fine, I guess. I remember feeling Geordi's behaviour was over the top last time I watched it, but I might be misremembering.
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William B
Sat, Jun 1, 2019, 10:01am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

@Dave, I mostly agree and don't really find Leah's apology believable. However, regarding the specific point about the quasi-military organization, she is not part of Starfleet -- she's an outside-contractor non-Starfleet engineer/scientist. I don't think we're supposed to see her reaction as representative of how internal Starfleet matters are supposed to go, and I think that's part also of why Geordi behaves as he does (not with the hologram, I mean, the casual approach to dating, because she's totally outside the chain of command).
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William B
Thu, May 30, 2019, 9:36am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Eye of the Beholder

Seeing the inside of a warp nacelle is indeed cool.

I don't think this ep is very good, but there is an interesting theme in season seven of characters standing at the verge of some major change in their lives, peering over the edge, and recoiling, either because what they see is an illusion or because they deliberately avoid it. It's most obvious with the relationship eps (Attached, Eye of the Beholder) but you see it with Geordi and his mother's disappearance, Data with the emotion chip and then the truth about his mother, Picard and the possibility that he has a son, Worf getting a glimpse of Alexander's future, etc. Genesis flips the usual stuff about societal evolution by showing the characters, lol, "de-evolving" instead. Force of Nature is of course the environmental allegory but it is also literally an episode in which the crew finds out they can no longer go anywhere very quickly because going too fast damages the space they're in. The world seems a lot smaller, because there seem to be fewer external things to explore and they keep pulling back from exploring internal things (usually for good reasons). And it feels like aging, somehow.

I suspect that a lot of it is a matter of Jeri Taylor et al. being in a holding pattern, because they've run out of too many stories that keep the characters static but also are kept in place both by the usual staticity of TNG and especially by the requirement that nothing much can change before Generations. And many of these eps end up being pretty bad (though I like some, like Inheritance). But I think it kinda sorta works in setting up All Good Things and the possibility that the future is a disappointing place, where some of the wonder has gone out of the characters' world, and has to be recovered. Notably, I say "disappointing," not dystopian. This episode is a good example of that pattern, where Troi doesn't really want to stay perpetually single waiting for her Imzadi to get a clue, but also senses (probably correctly) that taking the plunge with Worf would be disastrous, even if it's because of the sci-fi psychological thriller telepath suicide lens that she actively feels it.
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William B
Tue, May 28, 2019, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Tuvix

@Peter, largely agree. I will say though that if we take "The Enemy Within" very literally, we cannot be sure that "Good" Kirk knows what "Evil" Kirk wants, because all we really have are theories postulated by Spock et al. to account for the bizarre occurrence, backed up by other examples like the space dog. If their theory is wrong, then perhaps "Good" Kirk and "Evil" Kirk really are two different beings, and so "Good" Kirk is not particularly qualified to speak about what "Evil" Kirk really wants. I don't think it's worth too much effort trying to read "The Enemy Within" without its metaphorical meaning, so I won't belabour that point. "Tuvix" seems to me different from "TEW" in that it doesn't read to me that there is a metaphorical reading that would require that what is truly good for Tuvix is to be split in two (the way "TEW's" metaphor means that it's good for both Kirk halves to recombine). As Elliott was saying, this is part of what's interesting and even impressive about "Tuvix." I do think the show *could* have played Tuvix as a case where the correct and natural thing for Tuvix would be to separate, either by playing it through a metaphor lens or by some other narrative choices, but I agree that the show really does not seem to do so (and nor do I think it is attempting to).
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William B
Tue, May 28, 2019, 12:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Tuvix

@Luke, Peter:

For what it's worth, I'm more in agreement with Peter. But just to defend Luke's (and Lt. Yarko's) point a bit more, Elliott made a good point IMO in comparing the episode to The Enemy Within and in particular to "Bad" (or Animalistic) Kirk's "I AM CAPTAIN KIRK!" insistence that he's the real deal, which is shown to be only partially correct. That episode was one mind divided in two whose natural state was to be recombined. I can understanding reading this episode as the inverse of that -- two minds artificially combined into one body, and the two consciousnesses then being fooled into thinking they're one individual, falsely. It's an intriguing idea, and I do think that some sense that that might be some of what is going on maybe affects Janeway's decision.

*However*, it's still not how this episode strikes me when I watch it. Tuvix seems to me to begin as a weird combination of Tuvok and Neelix, and that's strange, but he still seems to be a distinct individual by the episode's end. I think if the episode were trying to convince us that Tuvix is unambiguously not a single consciousness but two trapped in one body, it would have played things differently. Janeway's controversial argument at the end largely seems to be that Tuvok and Neelix, despite being absent, have rights which supersede Tuvix's, rather than that Tuvix is not a person at all.

I was thinking about how a story dedicated to two consciousnesses trapped together as one who need to be forcibly separated would actually play. One Trek example that comes to mind of a somewhat similar situation is Attached, where Picard and Crusher are somewhat forced into merging for a time; some of the Borg stories also function as a larger-scale version of that. What I think such a story would emphasize is the analogy between the combined person's two consciousnesses getting used to functioning as one and a codependent relationship, where they are forced to be separated for their own good. That might be a good Neelix story to tell, since he tends to be clingy and possessive and not to respect boundaries (resulting from his traumatic loss of his family). I guess it doesn't really strike me that this is the story this episode is telling.
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William B
Fri, May 24, 2019, 9:37am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Tholian Web

In fairness, there are a few things that I like about TI as a final episode, involving the supporting cast. I won't say them here because Springy's going through the series (and that's why I wrote my comment). But overall, no.
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William B
Fri, May 24, 2019, 9:01am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Tholian Web

@Springy,

IMO season 3 is quite rough, and I like season 1 and 2 a fair bit. There are still some episodes I find worthwhile, though the TOS goofiness is present in most of them.

It's up to you but I might recommend swapping Turnabout Intruder and All Our Yesterdays, which is considered by most (including me) to be a better episode, and a better one to go out on, if you want to end on a higher note. AOY gives a lot of attention to Spock & McCoy, whereas Turnabout Intruder, while having good qualities, is infamous for SHATNER ACTING and sexism. (Well, not everyone agrees re: sexism, or that the SHATNER ACTING is bad. But I think you will fall in with the not being a fan of TI camp.)
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William B
Thu, May 23, 2019, 2:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

It's weird and cool that there's a new DuckTales and people like it. I haven't followed it (and have only the vaguest childhood memories of the original) but it is kind of neat -- if symptomatic of the endless reboots. I guess my general rule is that if reboots are good, they're good. Tautology but hey.
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William B
Wed, May 22, 2019, 11:14am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Spectre of the Gun

The episode gets points off for not making a "Chek[h]ov's gun" joke.
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William B
Tue, May 21, 2019, 10:44am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Final Mission

I'll add, under normal circumstances the natural move would be to make the weird EM crystal thing Wesley figures out block the Enterprise's scanners. But it was wise to not have the Enterprise crew working on the same problem as Wesley, so as to avoid the s1 trap of Wes solving the problem faster than the entire rest of the ship working together.
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William B
Tue, May 21, 2019, 10:34am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Final Mission

It's true they need some contrivance (I'm not using "contrivance" pejoratively here) to keep the Enterprise away, either some reason they are unaware of the crash or some urgent business away. But I don't think they had to spend any time on it after setting it up. That said, if it were better executed it wouldn't be a problem to have a problem-solving B-plot.
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William B
Sun, May 19, 2019, 12:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Necessary Evil

@Michael, thank you!

I don't have an active blog. I'll let people know here if I get one.
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William B
Sat, May 18, 2019, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@Peter, lol. I laughed. I could hear his voice.
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William B
Thu, May 16, 2019, 8:58am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

@methane -- I agree on all points. I think there are lots of in-universe reasons that make sense for Odo, and I also think that until "Chimera" any alternatives didn't occur to the writers. (And once again, I'm not personally saying they necessarily needed to go with any alternative courses with Odo, just that I think Odo was a good candidate.)
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William B
Wed, May 15, 2019, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

@Peter,

That is definitely clear, and makes sense to me. I guess here I just want to say I agree with Elliott that the story *could* have gone in a different direction by this point in the series. I think you probably don't disagree either, but I think we differ in the degree to which the Odo material up to this point in the series would be *particularly* fertile ground for him to be less traditionally heterosexual than he appears to be. I am actually kind of agnostic on it, but I think that there is enough up to this point in the show that for the physical, corporeal side of Odo's sexuality to be less fixed than for the other solids in the show would make sense, in a similar way to Odo's eating, drinking, sleeping etc. being different than from other humanoids. For his corporeal self, created in the image of a Bajoran man and also coinciding with his emotional development of mapping his developing feelings for a Bajoran woman, to be heterosexual, makes sense and I don't actually object.
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William B
Wed, May 15, 2019, 3:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

@Peter G.,

I definitely agree about Odo's burgeoning sexuality matching onto how young people discover their sexuality, and I think you put it well. And in general I don't disagree too much with any particular point. Still, I'd maybe elaborate on the connection between the changelings' Link and humanoid sex. I agree that the link and humanoid sexual intercourse seem to be similar/analogous, but this reinforces even more why heteronormativity needn't be assumed. It may be that Odo really is "male" and the Salome Jens Founder is "female," as they often present themselves. But that doesn't quite match with the Great Link as a single mass of all changelings, wherein distinctions between individual bodies become irrelevant. Even if they have individual m/f genders, they seem to exist outside heteronormativity in the Link given that it would seem to match up to a kind of mass orgy, if it matches up to human sexuality. This is part of why viewing the changeling Link impulse and human sexuality as having a similar instinct is tricky, IF we also accept heteronormativity as an assumed default for the changelings as well. In their changeling form, they don't appear to be heterosexual, and seem to be outside gendered distinctions except when they put themselves in humanoid form. So I think it's worth distinguishing between "sexual" in the sense of, "having to do with sexual intercourse and desire for such" and "sexual" as in, "pertaining to male/female sex differences." Odo appears to have "sexual" (desire to merge with) feelings for Kira, but this does not necessarily mean he has "sexual" (having to do with Kira's specifically female traits, her having a vagina etc.) feelings for her. I think there are enough indications that the Founders decontextualize "sexuality" (the desire for physical merging as intimacy) from "sexuality" (the existence of biological sex differences between male and female) that it could be interesting to follow up on this some more.

Of course, there's Trek precedent for gender being so fundamental that it is not even related to biological form -- in "Metamorphosis" the Companion is a specifically *female* amorphous gas light blob. I'm not sure whether that really makes sense to me or not.

@Jason R.,

I hadn't remembered about "Badda-Bing Badda-Bang," though I do now that you mention it. As you say though that could also count as a retcon.

//

Anyway, I don't really object to Odo being a hetero male, just that I don't think it's obvious he has to be (or that it's the most interesting story choice, though "what is interesting" is a pretty big, broad topic).
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William B
Wed, May 15, 2019, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

@Chrome -- thanks! Regarding your devil's advocate: but "A Simple Investigation" takes place when Odo's a solid, and he's *completely* solidified, so that he also eats, drinks, sleeps, etc. -- all the physical things that he doesn't do as a changeling. So the ambiguities that come with him being a changeling or an alien are no longer relevant.

@Peter, just to add one more thing, you're right of course that aliens in Trek are usually only so alien and are usually humans except for one or two quirks. It's really because Odo 1) has been established as being physically ill-at-ease in his body, 2) IIRC denied having romantic feelings for anyone at all before the Kira thing started, 3) IIRC again has never shown any sexual feelings for anyone besides Kira that I think it's quite legitimate to argue that boxing Odo into a "default sexuality" at this point in the series is a new development and then to question whether it removes some of what's interesting and unique about Odo. This is I think an area where they have already *established* Odo as being different from other humanoids, at least in his own description. He is perhaps in denial about that, but it's an issue that has in some ways come up. It's not like arguing that Odo shouldn't be able to speak English because we don't know how his tongue works.
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William B
Wed, May 15, 2019, 1:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

@Peter,

Good points. But two things:

1. Odo has said that he doesn't eat because the results were "messy." That's neither here nor there.

2. Odo's attraction to Kira: I feel like it's worth pausing here. I might be misunderstanding. But up to this point in the series, do we know his attraction to her is definitely *sexual*? I know I said earlier that there is a sexual component, and I think there probably is. But I also don't know how well we can distinguish between different kinds of needs and feelings. Odo is jealous of Kira's sexual relationship with Bareil and Shakaar, but that does not necessarily mean he has the same feelings for her that they do. What Odo really wants of Kira seems to me to be intimacy and closeness. As I said earlier, that is something humans can do through sexual intercourse, but it's not the only way. I'd argue that what Odo *really wants* is to Link with Kira, which is of course impossible. Of course the Link is also partly a sexual metaphor -- but it's still distinct, and the meaning of gender is irrelevant with regards to the Link itself. I can see how his desire is also probably a sexual desire. I am trying to think whether there were any scenes in which Odo's feelings for Kira were distinctly sexualized -- him staring at her breasts or whatever. I don't think they ever did, and again the closest seems to be his clear jealousy of her sex with Shakaar. But even this is not *quite* the same as him having a "normal" set of sexual feelings for Kira. One could argue that there's a certain limitation that a 90's Trek show isn't going to have Odo ogling Kira and having a visible erection, and that's certainly true, but that still means that I don't think the show had conclusively established that Odo is necessarily wired in a precisely sexual adult male way. Again I'm not arguing that he definitely *isn't* wired that way. What I mean is that the show has been ambiguous in certain respects, and has also made clear at other times that his body is not like other people's bodies.

This is why for Odo to react with sexual interest in a woman he doesn't know, as opposed to a woman is a new thing. Again, I don't mean "new thing" necessarily in a bad way. It's treated in the scene as something new-ish for him. What's happening here is that Elliott regards the scene as sending Odo into a direction that is unnecessary and stupid. It appears that you, Jason, and Chrome are arguing that the scene is not establishing anything new for Odo but is merely restating what the series has already made obvious -- that Odo is a sexual male being with normal drives, when he's in his humanoid form. What I'm arguing is that I think Elliott is right that the scene is making a new statement, and that the series had not yet established definitely what Odo's sexual status was, and that there has been enough ambiguity in the treatment of Odo's body that it *is* a new development to have him react this way. Whether it's a bad development or not -- eh, I don't know. I think the scene is kind of stale. I don't really object that strongly and I don't think it's implausible. I think it can work with what we know, for reasons you have all articulated and for reasons I've added. But I do think it was a choice in this scene. And I think that it was a choice makes Elliott's arguments about it valid. I think I tend to agree, but I also don't have a strong emotional connection so it's a bit hard for me to evaluate.

"As far as Garak and the Bajoran woman go, don't forget also how clever Garak is. I always assume that whatever else he's doing, he's collecting information. Maybe his appeal to Odo here is a way of gauging exactly what Odo's sexual nature is in the first place?"

This, on the other hand, I agree with completely -- it's definitely a plausible read on the scene, and it seems to me to be very Garak (particularly mid-series Garak) to be, simultaneously, doing a favour for a friend and gathering information to use (possibly against them) later, should the need arise.
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William B
Wed, May 15, 2019, 1:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

Anyway, this isn't really my fight. I don't really care that much that Odo turns out to be a straight dude. It seems quite likely that his feelings for Kira and his longing for intimacy with her triggered a certain mode of relating to her that is probably sexual. I think that what Odo *actually longs for* with Kira is closeness and intimacy -- something of the melding which occurs in the Link -- and he recognizes that the closest humanoid equivalent to the Link is sexual intercourse. Embodied in a physical male form, his emotional/spiritual desire to meld with Kira takes on physical/sexual dimensions. And once that process starts, it makes sense that, with attractive Bajoran woman Kira off the table, he'll see other attractive Bajoran women in a similar way. He probably didn't experience sexual attraction before Kira because he never recognized that his lonely existence wasn't enough for him and he wasn't skilled enough at reproducing his humanoid body, and now post-Link/post-Kira feelings he is better at it. There's lots of ways of interpreting it that make sense to me.

What I'm saying is that I think that Elliott has a point. This isn't even my fight, and it's not really that emotionally involved a subject for me -- I'm straight and I don't really care whether Odo is or not. But there is a dearth of representation in Trek for non-heteronormative sexualities, and I think Odo was a good candidate for various reasons. He is not locked into a single body and has been celibate (in terms of humanoid sexuality) the whole time we knew him, and this scene marks the point at which a decision was made that he was *definitely* not just Kirasexual but also attracted to other Bajoran women based on their looks. An active decision was made in the scene, which winnowed down some of the possibilities of Odo's character. Maybe that's fine because maybe they do enough interesting things with Odo that it's not worth examining these possibilities.
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