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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. Sean Dillon
    April 15, 2016 @ 3:33 am


  2. Froborr
    April 15, 2016 @ 6:09 am

    I love this episode, and you have done an excellent job of summarizing why. (Also: holy shit what an acting showcase for Spiner–SFDebris has pointed out that this was filmed immediately after "Thine Own Self," which must have been EXHAUSTING for Spiner.)

    Gods and heroes are loaclized

    I see what you did there.


  3. Josh Marsfelder
    April 15, 2016 @ 9:24 am

    In my defense, this was written and 5 in the morning on a schedule of extremely little and erratic sleep in the middle of doing a bunch of other things.


  4. Ross
    April 15, 2016 @ 12:29 pm

    I remember being really interested in this episode from its trailer, but upon the actual watching of it, I was a little underwhelmed. Particularly, it seemed sort of blah that at the end, Picard's just like, "Oh, hey, I know alien mythologies, which are pretty much interchangeable. I bet I can just wing this," and it works.

    Also, I thought the Bernice Summerfield Adventures version of the premise was really, really funny.


  5. Froborr
    April 19, 2016 @ 9:25 am

    I completely thought it was an intentional reference to the Loa!


  6. Daru
    May 16, 2016 @ 8:50 pm

    "Folk tradition dictates that gods can take mortal form through ritualized performativity, and its through those same traditions that the D'Arsay in a real sense get to live again. Gods and heroes are localized to the people, places and traditions who honour them, so in many ways you could argue one of the best way to get to know a people is through their stories."

    I feel like Froborr above, you did a brilliant job of touching on why I think this was a great episode. 'Ritualized performativity' is exactly what I think Star Trek is when it's working best – thinking all the way back to including Kirk, etc here, as TV is kind of a ritual which has it's own set of formalised ritual practices that need to be followed, and it happens with a regularity that has seasons, and within 'another world' from the viewer.

    And as far as the idea of canon within Trek and other similar properties goes, well I think even though some parts of fandom want it to exist, it doesn't, as such powerful mask work does indeed bring the deities to life, and you just have to look at such works as the Mabinogion to see that they resist any classification of fixed interpretation. So yes I really agree that the Goddesses and Gods are continuously renewed within story, as well as all of the localised variations.

    Mask work and the themes connected to are some of my deep passions within performance and storytelling. Love this episode so much.


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