Star Trek: Voyager: Someone to Watch Over Me   Rewatch 
February 1, 2018 3:34 AM - Season 5, Episode 22 - Subscribe

What is…kiss? Teach me your Earthling concept of…love…

Memory Alpha / Lights the corners of my post / Links we shared with one another…

- Director Robert Duncan McNeill noted that the episode's conclusion was deliberately restrained, as the writers were not willing to continue the romantic aspect of the relationship between The Doctor and Seven of Nine.

- Robert Picardo and Jeri Ryan, the performers of The Doctor and Seven of Nine respectively, did at least some of their own singing in this episode, including the duet "You Are My Sunshine".

- The episode's uniqueness slightly worried Robert Duncan McNeill, shortly before he directed the outing. "It was a very unusual episode for Star Trek, because it's a very traditional romantic comedy," McNeill observed. "I have to admit, when I first read it I was a little nervous. I thought, this is not what someone would expect from a Star Trek show." However, McNeill found that helming the episode was highly enjoyable, especially due to the fact that McNeill (who had previously directed both VOY: "Sacred Ground" and "Unity") had recently begun directing non-Trek productions, such as having shot the short film The Battery. "This time directing, I really felt very comfortable and relaxed [....] The fact that I [had] started directing outside helped me not only feel comfortable, but it helped the whole crew and the cast feel like, 'He's becoming a real director. He's not just an actor on our show who is trying to direct."

- The episode's conclusion was not yet written when the shooting company filmed the rest of the installment. "When the whole script wasn't written," Robert Duncan McNeill recalled, "we were just sort of making it up, shooting it as it was being written [....] It definitely kept us on our toes, kept us aware of how much we were telling, in what order we were telling the story, and not to have The Doctor fall in love with Seven in Act One, to really find the whole journey, and fill it out fully." Robert Picardo offered, "This episode is like the movie Casablanca, because we shot it without knowing what the end will be. It's like shooting a romantic story, without knowing the payoff. But Casablanca turned out pretty well. I'm hoping that we will be equally fortunate."

- This is the last time in the series that the Chez Sandríne holoprogram appears.

- In TNG: "Liaisons", some Iyaaran ambassadors visit the USS Enterprise-D for a cultural exchange. Ambassador Loquel was studying pleasure and indulged in experimenting with various food, similar to what Ambassador Tomin does.

- While this episode was still being pieced together, Jeri Ryan was aware of the episode's popularity. "Even the editors were coming up to me on the set and saying, 'This never happens, but everyone was coming in out of the other editing room, and stopping what they were doing and watching this show while we were cutting it together.' They said it was just so charming that everybody loved it."

- The scene in the ready-room where Seven helps Janeway put on her pip was removed from most airings on US stations during its first run (although the scene is present in all syndicated reruns and on the DVDs). An explanation for this was never given.

- The episode's success was evident to Robert Duncan McNeill. "The response has just been incredible," he commented. "A lot of people are saying it's going to be one of our best episodes." McNeill was also personally very pleased with the outing. Executive producer Brannon Braga was thrilled with this episode, too, describing it as "one of my favorites of the year." He also enthused, "It's very, very charming, and heartbreaking." In a 2011 interview, he described the episode as "a special favorite to me" and went on to say, "That was really a very simple character piece, with no space battles and not much science fiction at all. It showed Star Trek could be funny and touching." Fellow executive producer Rick Berman was likewise happy with this outing, citing the episode (in 2003) among his favorites from the entirety of Voyager.


"Species 8472 appears to have as many as five sexes. Bystanders better keep their distance."

- The Doctor, to Seven of Nine


"You know I don't drink. I don't have the stomach for it."

- The Doctor, to Seven of Nine and Tom Paris


"Here we see how Fortress Ovum is besieged by countless little warriors..."

- The Doctor's explanation of conception


"How the hell do you know when we're having intimate relations?"
"There is no one on Deck 9, Section 12 who doesn't know when you're having intimate relations."

- B'Elanna Torres and Seven of Nine


"Seven, please state the nature of the medical emergency."
"I have a date."

- The Doctor and Seven of Nine


"What did the counselor say to the hologram? 'You're projecting!'"

- Tom Paris telling a joke


"Assimilate ME!"

- Tomin, to Seven


Poster's Log:
I was pretty surprised to learn that the producers and crew consider this such a homerun. Maybe they just found it refreshing because it's so tonally different for this show and, really, this franchise. I mean, from a writing and acting standpoint, it IS an effective example of this extremely old and overused (and more than a little icky) plot—a few moments of humor and pathos do land. But Seven's agency is so suppressed here that I found myself wondering if, in the final scene, she knows damn well that she's breaking the Doctor's heart; after that awful wager between Tom and the Doctor, I basically wanted that to be the case. Notwithstanding the fact that THAT is also an old and overused trope. Really, I for one have seen these plot moves so often that, on first watch, nothing in the episode surprised me at all. (Not even the Tomin stuff, though that's got nothing to do with the trope; that was just his casting, and the obvious similarity to the TNG episode mentioned above.)

Actually, let me amend that. One thing DID surprise me, on this rewatch anyway: how uncomfortable the episode made me feel. The writers have pretty consistently intended Seven to be an adolescent psychologically. As evidence, consider that Seven's friendship with Naomi, who's closer to her emotional-development-wise than anybody else, is basically her only fully healthy relationship (as of this approximate point in the series anyway). So this adolescent's got two chief parental figures guiding her development: Janeway and the Doctor. And at the start, the Doctor's dating-training is perfectly innocent, if a bit rushed and overbearing. But for the Doctor, and Tomin, to then start in with the Adult stuff was pretty off-putting. You can maybe forgive the Doctor (he's got some developing of his own to do, after all), but not the writers. I mean, even leaving aside the inherent Pygmalion ickiness, there's that whole other layer of icky that you'd think SOMEbody in the writers' room would've noticed, and raised their hand and said, "Um?"* Or maybe my metaknowledge is affecting my analysis here. I guess if one is unaware of, or is willing to forget, previously-established characterization, a lot of the ickiness falls away and the charm can then be enjoyed?

But on that topic, I must acknowledge some points for characterization continuity: though the Doctor's feelings for Seven sort of originate spontaneously in/for this episode, they are revisited later, albeit in an even ickier fashion.

(* = Actually, this isn't so surprising, as the MA background above indicates that they hadn't written the ending when they started shooting. It's a pretty good ending, given that fact, and setting aside the ickiness.)

Poster's Log, Supplemental:
Three Seinfeld faces in a row here! The abbot of the Kadi, Ian Abercrombie, was Elaine's boss Mr. Pitt. And Lieutenant Chapman was also on Seinfeld, according to MA, but I frankly don't remember who he was. Probably one of Elaine's boyfriends.

And of course, as Tomin, that's Scott Thompson from The Kids in the Hall (and a memorable segment from Tim and Eric: "Nice C-Bund!").
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (13 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
You've covered the points that I was noting to myself when I was watching the episode last night, although I'd add one: B'Elanna threatening to break Seven's nose when Seven was following them around. Aside from the inadvisability of anyone picking a fight with a woman who has a bionic arm, is B'Elanna really that prickly that she hasn't adjusted to Seven's social awkwardness and occasional inappropriate behavior? It's that one-note hot-blooded Latina stereotype again and it's super-irritating. (I also find it kind of unlikely that everyone around Tom and B'Elanna's quarters can hear them doing the nasty, as if 24th-century living quarters on starships were built to the standards of modern off-campus housing.) I could see B'Elanna maybe struggling with her temper a little bit, but letting Seven know that tagging along behind them was kind of not cool, as flattering as it might be that she's using their relationship to build some sort of template.

As far as the Doctor is concerned... yeah. I will give him this much: as Tom pointed out, he's still learning about human behavior himself, and he did pull back from going over the edge of appropriateness, which puts him ahead of Julian Bashir, who crossed that boundary twice. But we didn't really need another redress of Pygmalion.

Also, I wish that they'd found a better use for Scott Thompson, who was probably my favorite of the Kids.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:32 AM on February 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


Particle of the Week: Synthehol, clearly.
Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: One unusual aspect of Star Trek Online over other MMOs is that it includes the odd diplomatic mission, at least one of which has no combat at any point.

Ongoing Counts:
* Maximum Possible Photon Torpedoes: -1.
* Crew: 134, though Neelix quotes a figure of 146. I'm baffled where that came from, because the last wrong number offered was 150 (by Tuvok), and they've never really acknowledged crew reduction before.
* Credulity Straining Alpha Quadrant Contacts: 10.
* Janeway's Big Red Button: 2 aborted self-destructs, 1 successful, 1 game of chicken, 1 ramming speed.

Notes:
* Gah, the rom-com shit.

One thing DID surprise me, on this rewatch anyway: how uncomfortable the episode made me feel. The writers have pretty consistently intended Seven to be an adolescent psychologically.

Right? This is especially evident in her 'field-research' thing. I also approached human interaction in the form of literal research from 8th grade through freshman year of high school, (although my ethical practices were superior: I *talked* to people instead of following them around creepily, but I was just as systematic - I had a framework, hypotheses, etc.).

So that hit pretty close to home in a 'full body shudder' kinda way.

I can understand the Doctor encouraging her to just dive into human interaction anyway, and his whole dumb coursework thing is... well. It sounds like him, and it even sounds like Dr. Zimmerman (whose job it was to reduce bedside manner to algorithms). Plus, the Doctor is trying very hard to be a real boy, and he'd encourage Seven to try things his way. It all checks to me, even though it's icky. I also cut them some slack - like you guys did - for him not crossing the line at the end of the story. The situation is, as Jack notes, better than similar issues on DS9.

Janeway should know better. She should be portrayed as knowing better. Her telling Seven 'oh just go for it already' is both gross and poor leadership for her organization - she is now turning this awkward, lost person loose in a crew where fraternization comes with all kinds of complications that Seven is plainly not equipped to navigate.

The writers are being pretty gross here, as you've both already noted.

* Ugh, B'Ellana's treatment.

It's that one-note hot-blooded Latina stereotype again and it's super-irritating.

Thank you for saying. That stuck out to me extra hard on the heels of Juggernaut.

* I don't understand the social conditions on Voyager, and neither do the writers.

This is an extension of what gus was talking about last time, I feel: the needs of whatever story they wanted to tell versus a more deep and realistic take on how society functions.

On a normal starship - the Enterprise-D or something - plenty of the crew would choose to keep their own company even on voyages lasting a long time. People would eat their meals with just their friends, they would all be passingly familiar with each other but they wouldn't all be close. Voyager looks like that. Like a ship in the Alpha Quadrant, where people have external social support: family, friends, homes to return to. Where they don't desperately need each other.

In such an isolated community, they'd turn to each other more. I'd expect to see games - poker, velocity tournaments. Dances. Movie night. I would picture a lot of *fun* happening in the off-hours. There should be places where Seven could learn to socialize in a healthier way, if they were really a family in the way the writers so frequently assert, and that's a story I would've been more interested in.

As it is, I still don't really understand how the crew feel about an ex-Borg drone just wandering around freely just a couple years after she was trying to hijack the ship and assimilate them. Like... what's it like to be her? I would've enjoyed a story with her talking to lots of people more, trying to figure out how to be human. It could've been a lot of fun instead of weird.

* I believed the B-plot.

Ambassador guy was awful, but in exactly the way I'd expect. I liked Mr. Pitt's statement at the end, where this is clearly an open secret, too. I'm not sure it was worth watching the guy be such an ass the entire time, but at least it all checked out to me.

I did enjoy the role-reversal with Neelix, too - normally, he's the super annoying guy not really following native etiquette. Rewiring things, inserting himself into meetings, making Tuvok crazy... and this time, he was the poor, beleaguered voice of reason.

That did amuse me.

* Other small stuff.

- Seven's holo-date was also pretty recognizable. I remembered him as The Tick's sidekick, myself.

- How do they know anything about the genders of 8472? Did they do DNA analysis on the corpse they had? Did they have an information exchange with Boothby? This isn't even a problem necessarily, it just leapt out as a 'huh?' moment for me.

At any rate... yeah, this was another one of those ones where I feel like it didn't work because they just didn't have a sense of what they were doing, and it's actually reassuring to have the background notes bear that out.
posted by mordax at 10:55 AM on February 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


In such an isolated community, they'd turn to each other more. I'd expect to see games - poker, velocity tournaments. Dances. Movie night. I would picture a lot of *fun* happening in the off-hours.

So, I served aboard a US Navy ballistic missile submarine, which as it happens has about 150 people aboard just like Voyager. Now, we were never lost 75 years from home, but we did go on patrols for 60-120 days at a time where we didn't surface, didn't pull into port, didn't do anything fun outside the boat. You get to know a little something about everyone else, and you learn just about everything about the guys in your division (Sonar, Electrical, Missile, etc).

Voyager is significantly more spacious than a submarine, but that doesn't make much of a difference about the social connections people make. And you're right, we'd have movie nights in Crew's Mess and Crew's Lounge, they'd have contests and giveaways to make the weekly "field day" cleaning more bearable, there would be a "Halfway Night" party to look forward to, special events for every holiday, and a general relaxation of "military bearing" in favor of morale. Even in the most formal places of the boat like Manuvering and Conn you still get banter and small talk because sitting in one spot watching indicators barely move for an 8 hour watch is boring as shit.

We don't really see a whole lot of that on Voyager. Everyone has their own off-time activities and there's very little in the way of hanging out between crew members. On a voyage like theirs, with a crew that small, hanging out pretty much happens automatically by virtue of people working together and using the communal spaces of the ship.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:54 PM on February 1, 2018 [8 favorites]


Voyager is significantly more spacious than a submarine, but that doesn't make much of a difference about the social connections people make. And you're right, we'd have movie nights in Crew's Mess and Crew's Lounge, they'd have contests and giveaways to make the weekly "field day" cleaning more bearable, there would be a "Halfway Night" party to look forward to, special events for every holiday, and a general relaxation of "military bearing" in favor of morale. Even in the most formal places of the boat like Manuvering and Conn you still get banter and small talk because sitting in one spot watching indicators barely move for an 8 hour watch is boring as shit.

Thanks for the firsthand confirmation. It's always really cool to hear about this stuff from people who lived it. :)

And another thing you can probably speak to if you wish: I'd expect a fresh face like Seven, (or Neelix for that matter), to experience crew members proactively attempting to suss them out. Invitations to social events. Lots of questions. Maybe hazing?

I've never done anything like what you did, but whenever I was a member of a tightly knit work crew and a new person joined us, we all wanted to know what to make of them. Are they cool? Are they interesting? Are they going to make the work harder? Being standoffish was never the go-to move because we were now relying on that person and wanted to know how that was going to go.

Seven being mostly alone is very strange unless people are scared of her, and while that is plausible, (z0mg she's Borg!), it doesn't track with anything we've seen: Naomi Wildman is allowed to be alone with her, she has no trouble getting a date here, etc.

So... that feels weird here too.
posted by mordax at 4:42 PM on February 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


I did not like this episode for pretty much all the points y'all have listed.

However, this line:

"There is no one on Deck 9, Section 12 who doesn't know when you're having intimate relations."

Made me laugh aloud on rewatch. I had forgotten it.
posted by zarq at 8:40 AM on February 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


For some reason I thought I'd commented on this episode already, but now I see I haven't. sigh...

It's not a favorite of mine, to be nice about it. I've never really cared much for the Trek romances in general, and the "comedic" elements are usually worse. Thankfully most of the stuff I'd say has already been covered, so I can skip a lot.

Good to see last episode really changed B'Elanna's outlook on things.

Scott Thompson is enjoyable as Tomin, I would have liked to see more with Neelix trying to shepherd him around than what we got.

Yeah, procreation, that what dating is ultimately about. That's not at all an inherently conservative hetronormalizing attitude to take.

Instead of a unnecessary rehash of Pygmalion, I would have much preferred just seeing Seven and Chapman trying to develop a relationship without all the added nonsense with the doctor. McNamara is a fine actor and even does well with the clumsy little bits he got, so just going with a story of his character's attempt at romance with Seven could have had some promise as a way of showing the difficulties Seven would have in developing a relationship on Voyager and could have ended with the same sort of melancholy feeling as this one but with it being about the little things that kept the dates from working despite best intentions instead of pointless fanfic longing for the hot girl by the doc. (I could have forgiven even that aspect if it had been dropped after this episode as coming from his investment in teaching Seven, but they kept piling on this awful idea later on making the doctor character unbearable at times.)

One of the things that sticks out about Seven's integration issues, among other things, is that, in story terms, she's been on Voyager for a couple years, but in writing they treat character development in episode terms, where things only change when the viewer can see them, which makes character development largely static, punctuated by random moments of minor alteration when they notice something they haven't dealt with before. It makes no sense in terms of time scales or what life on Voyager would be like for the crew, but I suppose it fits viewing expectations in some fashion. It just can't be read as fitting the situation as it would be.

One thing that was mentioned I do sort of disagree with is in Seven being psychologically an adolescent, I mean, yeah, that's something they botched from shortly after introducing her, and was just plain dumb and creepy, but I do think they've tried to reverse course on that a bit including introducing Naomi. I found adding her character better differentiated Seven's adult psychology and her awkward social skills. I can see why others might not get the same feeling from it since they did mix the adult and childlike elements haphazardly at first, but that's how I've tracked the character anyway, and found it a welcome choice. I'm glad they're emphasizing Seven's more adult side while they explore her social deficiencies, as the rest of the crew would see them, and didn't really have much problem with the idea Seven would be fairly isolated for some extended period of time in episode terms, though in the "real time" of the story it is more difficult to account for obviously. Again though, that's more a matter of nuancing the details in reading the character than in something they've done a particularly good job of making clear.

Even so, the manner in which they show Seven failing for "humor's" sake is annoying since many of those mistakes aren't those that someone like Seven would be having the most difficult with. The small talk, yes, definitely, but some of the elements of manners, like eating and dancing? Not so much. She may not know about some of the niceties involved, but like any of the other things she's encountered on the ship she would have some clear idea of what isn't acceptable at this point, like causing bodily harm, and would be observant enough to watch and learn quickly as that's part of her character. Her taking offense at the doctor and Tom's wager too is more along the lines of fitting the story expectations than her character to this point. The whole episode feels like they're shoehorning Seven into a tired set of cliches rather than thinking about the unique elements of her character.

It isn't the worst of the romance stuff for the show, but it isn't an episode I found all that enjoyable either. It seemed lazy and made for the actors more than the show.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:26 PM on February 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


One thing that was mentioned I do sort of disagree with is in Seven being psychologically an adolescent

Interesting. You may be right about that because the theory 'they're just lazy and inconsistent' is basically always supported by the background text. Heh.

Even if you're correct, I still find the story pretty squicky on that level because it's clear the characters in the show are uncertain about Seven's development themselves within the text. Like... on the one hand, the Doctor is trying to give Seven a crash course about how to have a romantic relationship, but on the other, he begins this process uncertain if she understands what sex even is - he offers her that slide about egg fertilization during sex, and it's disgusting because if she's that far back, her development needs work before everything else can happen, but if she already knows, it's condescending (even for him). I know they just wanted the joke, but nobody ever thought about how it made him look unnecessarily like a creeper.

Basically, I do agree with this:

Instead of a unnecessary rehash of Pygmalion, I would have much preferred just seeing Seven and Chapman trying to develop a relationship without all the added nonsense with the doctor.

You're probably right. If they'd just had her behaving like an adult here, I probably would've bought it even with what had happened before because we don't really know how long it would take her to get there.

In a way, I think this is a retread of the lack of consideration that plagued treatment of Kes: both Jeri Ryan and Jennifer Lien are plainly adult women IRL, so I think the backstage people never really considered how it would look to us placing them in sexual situations. They never really looked at 'we're showing Seven as a rebellious teenager with Janeway as her downer mom' and went 'huh maybe that's incompatible with sex,' much like nobody ever stopped to think 'making Kes literally one year old might give a lot of viewers serious problems with her relationship with Neelix.'

Overall, I suppose I'm agreeing with you for the most part: this is just... them not thinking stuff through. And I wasn't *as* aware of it in the 90s, but it was less 'this didn't bother me' and more 'I didn't quite know how to say it back then.'

The whole episode feels like they're shoehorning Seven into a tired set of cliches rather than thinking about the unique elements of her character.

Yeah.
posted by mordax at 9:43 AM on February 4, 2018


Sure, there's no question the show did at times posit Seven as more adolescent in her behavior and at their worst hinted that she was psychologically more childlike in a couple notable episodes. My feeling is just that they seemed to have at least gestured towards better placing the elements of Seven's stunted growth in the social realm, with Naomi's addition being somewhat useful in creating a contrast to that effect.

How successful they've been, or whether a viewer might hold to some of those earlier episodes is an open question, where there isn't really any clear answer involved since I'm not sure its entirely clear to the writers who Seven is at some level beyond being the omnicompetent center of the show now. I guess part of my feeling is simply based on what we've seen of her abilities outside the social realm and in how she is treated by the crew/show in regards to the things they assign her. If she is psychologically an adolescent then they certainly shouldn't be putting her in charge of much or sending her on away missions and the like as that would be far from appropriate for her or the crew.

Taking the path of least resistance then, I'm somewhat content to accept that she's socially stunted in her growth, but otherwise adult as that simply makes the show work better even as they've played both sides of the fence about some of it when it suited them, par for the course with many developments on the show, with your point about Kes also fitting that idea well. So, yeah, not remotely seeing the whole picture and dumping Klink and Taylor really didn't help matters at all. They do have some more women involved in writing episodes in season six, so maybe that will improve things, but with Braga in charge, probably not enough.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:51 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


How successful they've been, or whether a viewer might hold to some of those earlier episodes is an open question,

Yeah. Your perspective about this is entirely reasonable.

If she is psychologically an adolescent then they certainly shouldn't be putting her in charge of much or sending her on away missions and the like as that would be far from appropriate for her or the crew.

Mm. I'm not sure I can buy this particular section of your argument.

A recurring theme in Voyager is people being slotted into roles inappropriately because they just don't have the resources to do otherwise. Like:

- The Doctor isn't intended to serve as CMO. Whatever his aspirations, he did run into physical limitations in this role (memory problems and so on).
- B'Ellana is Chief Engineer despite being an Academy dropout, promoted over more technically qualified personnel partly as a crew integration issue.
- Neelix just straight up invited himself onto the senior staff.
- Paris is the poster child for 'doing stuff he shouldn't be' because he is both on the senior staff (inappropriate due to his conviction), and he's the backup CMO, (a running gag that should've been fixed years ago).

Giving Seven inappropriate duties that would endanger all their lives is the most Voyager thing possible. (Honestly, just having her outside of a secure detention cell is a security nightmare because she leaks Borg nanoprobes - potential WMDs - the way you or I sweat.)

They do have some more women involved in writing episodes in season six, so maybe that will improve things, but with Braga in charge, probably not enough.

I'm curious to see that, yeah. And I will say that despite my recurring complaints - some quite bitter - Voyager *is* at least more feminism-friendly than I remembered. My recollection of the show was mostly down to 'Janeway is nuts,' which elides some decent character work with her, B'Ellana, Seven and others over the years.

Here, I do appreciate the classy way Seven rebuffs the Doctor at the end of this episode, and the way he swallows that. I even like how fast Harry switches gears early in the story.

So I don't want to sound relentlessly negative about it either. I more feel like this is *so close* to being interesting and okay that it's disappointing they don't bridge the gap.
posted by mordax at 1:31 PM on February 4, 2018


(I really do think your pitch of 'just let her and that one guy date like normal people without the weird side bet/Doctor hovering' would've been a fine direction to go in.)
posted by mordax at 1:34 PM on February 4, 2018


Giving Seven inappropriate duties that would endanger all their lives is the most Voyager thing possible.

Heh. I can't deny it, that's so true it may as well be the ship's motto.

Here, I do appreciate the classy way Seven rebuffs the Doctor at the end of this episode, and the way he swallows that. I even like how fast Harry switches gears early in the story.

Given the story, those elements were handled about as well as one could hope, but, for me, the Harry bit felt more like it was only included as a joke at his expense, and the whole framing with the doctor made it feel more like the show was more about him than Seven in some significant ways, which made the show feel skewed towards a male perspective. Not surprising obviously, but it only added to the feeling that the episode used Seven, but wasn't really about her, which, unfortunately, parallels the theme of the episode without realizing it.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:21 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Yeah, procreation, that what dating is ultimately about. That's not at all an inherently conservative hetronormalizing attitude to take.

Even given that this episode is nearly two decades in the past, it really is astonishing sometimes how Voyager will go to this sort of attitude. It's supposed to be the pinnacle of experience, when Seven has already experienced the sort of intimacy--involuntarily--that almost nobody can imagine. (Contrast DS9, where the female changeling decides to have solid sex with Odo to see what it's like, and afterwards is like, really, that's what they make all the fuss about?) It's weird that the show will try out all these big SF ideas, but sticks to heteronormativity, and cisnormativity, for that matter.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:42 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Not surprising obviously, but it only added to the feeling that the episode used Seven, but wasn't really about her, which, unfortunately, parallels the theme of the episode without realizing it.

Hm. Yeah, that's fair.

It's weird that the show will try out all these big SF ideas, but sticks to heteronormativity, and cisnormativity, for that matter.

I think it's kind of at the roots of Star Trek, unfortunately. Trek is deeply utopian, and on the one hand, that leads to some good stuff: their focus on diplomacy and friendship and peace is why I love the franchise.

Unfortunately, the idea that the Federation is perfect also has a bunch of negative implications, including this stuff. Change and growth come from acknowledging the imperfections within ourselves and the systems we live in. If the Federation believes itself above racism, it's easy for the sort of low-grade racism we see on the show to flourish. If the Federation believes itself to be past social injustice generally, it's easy for them to remain static about a host of other cultural issues too.

Basically, their idea that they're culturally perfect leads to a deeply conservative and sorta pushy/culturally imperialistic attitude too. (DS9 escaped some of this, but Voyager is pretty firmly rooted in 'the Federation can do no wrong.')
posted by mordax at 3:18 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


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