Incremental progress meets Zeno’s Paradox

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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.


  1. Ross
    December 17, 2014 @ 2:55 am

    I always found it compelling — and even moreso now in light of this article — that they spend a part of this episode speculating on the possibility that what destroyed the Yamato was that there is just some fatal design flaw that has secretly doomed the Galaxy Class. Which is a kind of lovely rejection of the common fan-perception of the TNG federation as a utopia: perhaps, in fact, we've all been doomed from the start and this whole thing is fatally flawed.

    In light of which, it's kind of beautifully fitting that the solution to the iconian "virus" is to stop what you're doing, turn everything off, then start over from scratch.


  2. FlexFantastic
    December 17, 2014 @ 8:40 am

    I deeply, deeply love this episode. Great writeup.


  3. K. Jones
    December 17, 2014 @ 12:48 pm

    There is a fatal flaw, of course – in the heart of militarism in Starfleet, even if its as innocuous as "the best naval tradition". Even Wesley's discussion with Picard reflects on the Iconian shift from militarism to … something else.

    I'm pleased as I re-watch this that the Romulans far resemble their TOS incarnation, as much as I'm pleased that this is a spec script, and that there's real tension here, right down to the synth riff as they watch the Yamato disintegrate, or how the camera in the Romulan command bridge makes it look like the two rooms mirror right across from one another, like somebody just modularly linked the two bridges.

    This episode clearly captured some imaginations, as the Iconians become one of the most prevalent recurring motifs in fan and expanded fiction, as well as recurring in a pretty strong episode of DS9.


  4. Daru
    December 17, 2014 @ 10:57 pm

    The thing I'm absolutely fascinated by as I've read your recent essays ~Josh are the occurrences of the hidden examples of Kei & Yuri appearing (as well as the other references you mention this time) within stories. I had absolutely no idea! My Neighbour Totoro is absolutely one of my favourite works too.

    When I do a re watch it will be with fresh eyes…

    Thanks again for a great article, sorry I've not got much more to add but my memory of this story is limited.


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