ext_2512: ([tng] i'm not lying)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night. )

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.
ext_2512: ([tng] lecherous)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: Riker? More like RiKirk. By which I mean Riker fits Kirk's reputation as an intergalactic hussy better than the Captain does. )

Overall Reaction: I always enjoy seeing Riker go into diplomat mode, and this was no exception. It was interesting to see how the Federation approaches an intentional first contact, and even more interesting that the aliens decided they weren't ready to be part of an intergalactic community yet.

It's been a few months since I watched the episode (oops), so I don't have much else to say, but I thought this was a solid venture.

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode: "My world's history has recorded that conquerors often arrived with the words, 'We are your friends'." (Good point, Sampa)
ext_2512: ([tng] bored)
[identity profile] tafadhali.livejournal.com
Episode Notes: I'm surprisingly overwhelmed with Riker affection. )

Overall Reaction: This was a pretty fantastic Riker episode! Both in the sense that it was a great episode about Riker and that it was a great episode for Riker -- few people would have rolled with the punches with as much equanimity as he did here.

I loved the glimpse of the "future" Enterprise that we got -- I'm a giant sucker for time travel, amnesia, and both flashbacks and flashforwards, so I am not exactly having a surprised feeling -- which felt grounded and plausible, even if there was something ever so subtly off about it. The episode struck a very nice balance between giving us an Enterprise that could be, that never quite tipped too far into wish fulfillment to be possible (peace with the Romulans was obviously stretching it, but peace with the Klingons would have seemed impossible to Kirk), and suggesting that something not right was happening.

The fake-out was also handled extremely well, I thought. All the pieces that made Riker and us add up to Romulan plot were perfectly in place -- the establishment that the Enterprise was on the edges of the Neutral Zone at the beginning of the episode, the sliminess of Andreas Katsulas as Ambassador Tomalak that no one but Riker seemed to see, the bits of critical information the Enterprise was missing. In almost any other episode, this would have been a ploy to find out the location of a secret Federation base, and the familiarity of that plot successfully misdirected me from any suspicion that something different was afoot. Even science fiction's tendency towards plot holes worked in the episodes favor, causing me to ignore the logical inconsistencies that finally led Riker to the truth.

In short, I found this a very enjoyable episode plot-wise. I also loved it for its character moments, though! It was an especial pleasure to see Riker be such a wonderful father. Not...everyone...on the Enterprise takes to it so naturally. In the past three episodes we've seen Picard go into an awkward introvert freak-out over caring for a teenager, Worf be unable to acknowledge his own child, and Beverly actually hug Wesley after he made her vanish into an inter-dimensional bubble! Awkward parenting all around! But Riker doesn't freak out about discovering that he has a child (though he looks sad that he's lost his son's childhood and that his son has lost the father he knew), and he acknowledges the difficulties of their position while affirming his commitment to be the best father he can and to be their for Jean-Luc Jr in every way possible. I found their conversation in the lift sincerely touching, and I liked that care carried over to the ending, when Riker's (justified) suspicion gave way to empathy.

I make fun of Riker -- a lot -- but this episode highlighted all that's best about him as a character, while also delivering a nicely satisfying sci fi plot.

Also, lolllll, Riker realizing he's in a constructed reality because his dead wife was his holodeck gf. Finally his lechery serves him well!

Star Rating: *** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"Captain... perhaps it would be best if we discussed this--"
"Shut up!"
"I beg your pardon?"
"I said 'shut up'. As in 'close your mouth and stop talking'!" ('Ambassador' Picard and 'Captain' Riker -- this was honestly the most shocking thing ever shown on the program)


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My (Continuing) One Summer Mission

August 2014



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