01. The Child

That Started in Season 2?!

First, wow! Right off the bat the images and special effects are heaps better than the first year. I don’t know if I made a mistake and opted for a more expensive set of DVDs, but Season 2 started off with wow.

But I spent the first fifteen minutes saying, “Really? That started in Season 2?”

So here we go, 7 things I was surprised started in TNG Season 2.

 

  1. Riker’s beard. (I really hope that the Mission Log trivia tells me why Mr. Frakes opted for facial hair.)
  2. Wesley’s grey uniform. I’m going to miss Orange.
  3. Geordi in yellow (I expected Worf to be in yellow), and wearing the extra collar stripes. Finally we have a chief engineer. Now let this be a lesson to Logan–make friends with the boss.
  4. Dr. Pulaski! What happened to Dr. C. I hope this had nothing to do with her limping in the Neutral Zone.
  5. Transporter Chief O’Brien.
  6. Ten Forward is here.
  7. Guinan is here.

Maybe 6 and 7 could be one thing.

It was cool how we are quickly told everything that’s new in season 2. Well everything except the transport chief, which comes a bit after the story has started.

 About Dr. P

Long before Grey’s Anatomy’s founding concept of introducing me to a character by making me hate her, and then slowly making me lover her, there was Dr. Pulaski. She doesn’t seem to be the embodiment of compassion that Dr. C was. I’ve got a bad feeling about her.

When she laughed at Data for correcting her pronunciation of his name, she earned my ire. More so than when she ordered the captain to sit down at the table in Ten Forward. Her character’s got a steep hill to climb.

How will she approach new life if she has such a bad attitude towards Data? What if she’d been there on Velara III? She wouldn’t have been like, “What’s up Home Soil?” (I know. Sorry. That was for Ken.) (I totally had to look up Velara III. Thank you Memory Alpha.)

Another thing, why is Picard so darn polite to her? I get that he isn’t as close to her as he is to the rest of the crew, but way back at Farpoint he wasn’t that polite to Dr. C or Riker. Could you imagine him saying to any of the other crew, “Your presence is requested?”

 Wesley is

still onboard despite Dr. C’s promotion to head of Starfleet medical, but apparently it’s not for long.

How about that time he creepily jumped back into the turbolift to follow Picard, and then didn’t say anything? No wonder he makes Picard nervous.

Still Picard tries to set him at ease, telling him that change is natural and that leaving a ship will become a part of the life he’s chosen. Which is great advice.

But for the first time we get to see the magic of Guinan. She’s a counterpoint to Picard who always was the moral center of the story. This time she’s the one who sees the truth of things. She tells Wesley that in order to grow, he must know when NOT to do what is expected of him. Thus he stays.

The Wesley duties that are assigned at the end of the episode gives us a chance to revisit our What Role Do They Play table.

The Child Skin of Evil Hide & Q Naked Now
Riker Oversee Wesley’s growing up trusting, encouraging, good humored the idiot (meaning the stand in for humanity) sense of duty
Deanna loving, feminine w/o losing anything, doesn’t need to speak emotions
Worf Oversee tucking Wesley in at night similar to Yar, orphan who found this family honor and physical prowess sense of honor
Dr. C. devotion from w/in, strives for excellence mindless of personal cost wisdom
Wesley kind, innocent creative thinking
Geordi Help see differently, teach to look beyond moment seeing
Data Oversee Wesley’s studies sees with wonder of child, more human than anyone memory and strength memory and learning
Picard father, heart of explorer, soul of a poet decision making
Yar Frightened angry girl made into an officer by Starfleet aggressive but tender

Can we get to the story already?

The Enterprise has to take samples of a plague to a science station where an antidote can be made, which means the plague is some kind of poison.

Geordi replicates some contraption to keep the plague samples from growing, and to make sure it all works who does the Enterprise bring onboard?

Uncle Leo!

(You know? Dreams for an Insomniac?)

(Novocaine for the soul… Before I sputter out… Before I sputter out…)

Sorry that was the most interesting part of the A plot.

 

 

 

Rape?

As for the B plot, I struggled with this. Everything hinges on whether or not Deanna Troi was raped.

We see the birth and growth of a child, and we’re reassured time and again that Deanna is not feeling pain. It was a painless pregnancy and a painless delivery. After the birth, Deanna’s body shows no sign of having been abused. I suspect this is because the storytellers want us to sympathize with the alien.

However if the alien raped Deanna there is no way I can sympathize.

Here’s my thought process on all this:

Is it rape?

In her words, “Something which I can only describe as a presence entered my body.”

So we have penetration, but I don’t think penetration is required for us to call it rape.

Is it sex related?

I’d say yes for three reasons.

  1. The alien chose a woman and not a man. It first encounters a barechested man sleeping and passes over him, looking it seems for a woman.
  2. The encounter resulted in pregnancy.
  3. The light’s encounter with Deanna is presented in a sexual manner. It enters the bottom of the bed coverings and travels up to her girl parts.

So if it’s sexual, I asked myself, was it nonconsensual?

The answer to that is obvious. It was nonconsensual. She was asleep, and the light used her body. Deanna says to Riker that she was surprised. So clearly she never gave consent.

Thus the light subjected Deanna to an involuntary sexual encounter. It was rape.

How can we be OK with this?

Of course we can’t.

But clearly the storytellers want us to be. 

Everything after that

just made me angry. Like for example when Riker said, “We can’t assume its intent was belligerent.” Ugh, yes we can. It’s already acted belligerently.

Deanna becomes so attached to her son but all the while she’s cognisant of the fact that this is the being that violated her.

It’s a discussion of rape that barely happens if at all and becomes muddled.

The Discussion is Over

I loved when Picard said that because clearly what Deanna does with her body should be up to her, and to abort the child without her consent would be awful.

However, is the discussion really over? I mean the abortion discussion perhaps but what about everything else? The security risks etc. I think he overstated his case. 

Morals, Messages, and Meanings

  1. Sometimes in order to grow, one must know when NOT to do what is expected
  2. We are more than the sum of our parts (This is what Dr. P should’ve learned when she scanned Data, said the nasty stuff she said, and smiled smugly at him.)
  3. You can’t let your curiosity put others at risk – is that the point of the alien cutting short his jaunt as human?
  4. People should be able to make their own decisions about their bodies.

I’m sure there’s some kind of intended moral for the way Deanna dealt with the child she was forced to bear, but it’s such a mess, and I don’t want to get all angry about it again. So I’ll just stop here.

Does it hold up?

No.

The first fifteen minutes is a nice beginning to a new season, and it does a great job of grounding us.

But the story that follows lets a character be raped and doesn’t discuss the fact. It even asks the viewers to be sympathetic towards the rapist. The result is misogynist.

But even if it hadn’t been rape. Say the light just turned into a newborn baby on the floor in the barechested man’s quarters. Then really the stories (both A plot and B plot) would just be uninteresting.

By the way, what ever happened to the outposts in the neutral zone?

 

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