ext_2512: ([tng] i'm not lying)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] 1summermission
Episode Notes:
+ Basically all my notes on the first half of the episode boil down to "Do I think Odan is cute or not" and "Do I think his and Beverly's relationship is cute or not". They are sort of connected questions, and the cuter I think Odan is the more forgiving I'm going to be of all the PDA and soppy smiles and tender touches. Ugh. Love really is revolting. It's even worse than when you're moulting. Basically, on the plus side he has epic hair and a really sexy voice and is obviously genuinely into Bev and the Doctor Beverly thing is cute. On the downside his hair is so 90s and his smiles are so soft, almost as soft as his caresses, and he gives her a stupid rose and talks to Picard about it, oh my godddddd. Like, this wrist-kissing thing. Is it incredibly romantic...or do I hate it with every fibre of my being? I don't know.
+ All of this is moot because after the first half of the episode, their relationship is obviously terrible, both because of homophobia and because I have to see Beverly and Riker kiss.
+ A+ to Capt Picard for this episode, both for not actually having an aneurysm when Odan tried to talk about his special feelings for Beverly with him, and for stepping it up friendshipwise for Bev when things got rough. He faced his only real weakness, which is, as we know, emotions.
+ Nothing will ever make me as happy as girl talk with Crusher and Troi. I love how much Deanna loves to talk about other people's sex lives. Why didn't you just use your empath skills to be a matchmaker, Dee, it is obviously your calling.
+ Watching this episode again when I know things about the characters...it is crazy that Deanna encouraged Beverly to have sex with the host inhabiting her (Deanna's) ex's body.
+ It is the most Riker thing in the world to volunteer to be the host to an alien symbiote. "By all means, put your lobster boyfriend inside me. Sounds like a party."

Overall Reaction: Oh, boy.

Okay, so, I wrote a thirty page paper on queer representation (or lack thereof) in Star Trek when I was in college, and I watched a lot of episodes from the spin-offs for it. One of these was "The Host." I...did not have a lot of great things to say about it. (I didn't have a lot of great things to say about "The Outcast" as an example of queer representation on TV either, but I suspect than when I eventually rewatch it, I will have a lot of great things to say about Riker's constant willingness to step out of his comfort zone. I really do love that about him even if sometimes it leads to him allowing his doctor pal to insert her space lobster boyfriend into his abdomen.)

This episode is probably the prime example of media "pushing its boundaries" in a way that frankly just puts a giant neon sign on those boundaries that says "BOUNDARIES HERE APPROACH WITH CAUTION." It defines limits that the viewer may never have thought were there by being so limited in its imagination.

An illustrative anecdote: when I finally had to watch High School Musical, also for a college course, I was struck by the song "Stick to the Status Quo." In it, the school queen bee watches in panic as her carefully constructed social order seems to be crumbling. Students, inspired by the basketball player and the brainiac who are daring to sing on stage, begin to share their freakiest confessions. And I thought, as I watched this scene, "Wait. You mean I am supposed to be ashamed of being the kind of crazy reprobate who both likes to do homework and to groove to my tunes? That is something I am supposed to feel bad about and that people will reject me for? This is the outer bounds of socially unacceptable behavior?" It made difference so tame and then patted itself on the back for its willingness to celebrate "doing your own thing," all the while sending the subtextual message that even these tiny transgressions against the status quo would be noticed and policed and shutting off the possibility of bigger, unimaginable transgressions.

In my Starfleet, the Starfleet of my dreams, the one I was taught to expect, it would never have occurred to me that gender and sexuality would still be so rigid in the 24th century. "Perhaps, someday, our ability to love won't be so limited," Beverly says -- referring, in theory, to her inability to cope with Odan's changeable physical form -- and I had sort of thought that that someday might have come already in Star Trek. However the episode tries to frame Beverly's conflict, however reasonable that internal conflict might be, what we see is her able, bizarrely, to accept her love when he is temporarily in the body of one of her closest friends, but unable to fathom the idea of being with a woman, because her ability to love is too limited. I see her saying that Star Trek isn't ready for me.

I have no doubt that this episode was well-meaning. But I want more than well-meaning, or I want nothing at all. I can work with nothing; not enough is just depressing.



Finally, I'm never ever ever going to win this fight with sci fi shows but...it's not okay to sleep with your friend's body when he isn't home? Also now I'm never going to be able to get rid of the mental image of Riker and Crusher macking on each other, so. Thanks for that.


Star Rating: **, for some good scenes and Picard hugs; ZERO, for at all satisfying queer content

Quote of a Different Episode:

SPOCK: Her attitude when she approaches you is profoundly different than when she contacts us. Her appearance is soft, gentle. Her voice is melodic, pleasing. I do not totally understand the emotion, but it obviously exists. The Companion loves you.
COCHRANE: Do you know what you're saying? For all these years, I've let something as alien as that crawl around inside me, into my mind, my feelings.
KIRK: What are you complaining about? It kept you alive.
COCHRANE: That thing fed on me. It used me. It's disgusting.
MCCOY: There's nothing disgusting about it. It's just another life form, that's all. You get used to those things.
COCHRANE: You're as bad as it is.
SPOCK: Your highly emotional reaction is most illogical. Your relationship with the Companion has for one hundred and fifty years been emotionally satisfying, eminently practical, and totally harmless. It may indeed have been quite beneficial.
COCHRANE: Is this what the future holds? Men who have no notion of decency or morality? Maybe I'm a hundred and fifty years out of style, but I'm not going to be fodder for any inhuman monster.
SPOCK: Fascinating. A totally parochial attitude.


This scene from the Original Series episode "Metamorphosis" completely reinforces the gender binary, but, still. This is the Starfleet that I want to imagine. What a totally parochial attitude, Beverly.

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