Friday, June 13, 2014

Deep Space Dance with the Devil, Part 03

So I've been wanting to talk about the morality of Deep Space Nine for a while now. I'm finally launching into it, but before I get started, I wanted to take a few moments to establish some fundamentals of Star Trek morality. 

The thing about Star Trek is that right makes right. They run into so many primitive species is because we need to see that even though the crew of the Enterprise can do a thing, it does not necessarily follow that they must do that thing.

In fact, let us redefine that quote to clarify that just because we can do a thing, we desire to do that thing, and there are no consequences for doing that thing, it does not necessarily mean that we should do that thing. Principle is restraint in the absence of law and The Federation is a government of principle.

The reason we see so many omnipotent energy beings in Star Trek (Jesus Christ, someone tell me there were omnipotent energy beings in Star Trek: Enterprise.) is because they represent something that cannot be overcome by brute force. It's up to the intelligence and integrity of the crew to "overcome" them. They're sort of like the Mr. Mxyzptlk of Star Trek.

I mean, has anyone noticed that despite how angry he acts, most of Q's interactions with Picard are focused around pushing or revealing his integrity?


Derek said...

lol that title


SkilTao said...

Yeah, I think Q points that out in the final episode.

Picard is Job, because his suffering is designed to test his integrity; O'Brien is not Job because his suffering is pointless. (Heh.) I wonder if Q, in his challenges to Picard's integrity, is meant to be a better-written analogue to some godling from the original series. It's nice to have that sort of thing consolidated into a single recurring character, rather than a succession of one-offs, anyway.

Star Trek: Enterprise doesn't really have anything similar. There's an episode with body snatchers, and another one (also body snatchers) that reverse the usual Prime Directive roles... I think the series wants to use far-future time travellers in the "omnipotent being" role, but it doesn't come off the same.