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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.

2 Comments

  1. K. Jones
    August 3, 2015 @ 6:03 am

    Actually I always found Perfect Mate to be a good deal worse than Elaan of Troyius. At least that one gave the female trophy wife the veneer of her own sense of agency and disapproval of the whole affair. Sure, by playing up tropish pulp "warrior woman" stubbornness cliches, but still.

    This was always at least memorable for Jansen's deftness with the material, as bad as it is. And I think we're in for a LOT of that this season. It is indeed rocky and unfocused. With each passing season, TNG has gotten less focused and had more ups and downs. But admittedly, by the latter half the quality of guest actors was often so good that they made pretty bad scripts watchable.

    I do want to give a slight (ever so slight) redemptive reading here, if only because the blatant and brutal sexist dilemma at the heart of this episode is you know … what the Enterprise crew are facing. That there is this kind of thing in the wide, wide galaxy. They're careful never to depict the initial transactional crap as having anything to do with the crew, merely that they're also affected somewhat by Kamala's extrasensory vim. As soon as they find out what's going on they quickly react negatively to it. It's somewhat obviously the space miners in Ten-Forward who act like complete idiots. This episode isn't a great example of it, and it's a little TOS and a little moral-of-the-day and a little inorganic, but it is part of Trek's makeup to have our crew encounter alien cultures that are engaging in the retrograde practices of the day and to have to deal with that with utopian ethics.

    That's all the redemptive reading I have though – that I'm not offended by the fact that other cultures in Star Trek that the Enterprise might encounter are somewhat heinous. But seriously, when latter day Ferengi sex & gender politics episodes seem nuanced and organic by comparison, we're not breaking much ground.

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  2. Daru
    August 31, 2015 @ 8:43 pm

    Horrible episode.

    Not much more to say!

    (I am not having as much time to comment as I catch up on essays, but really enjoying the current run)

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