Thursday, September 01, 2016

17 to 01: Turnabout Intruder

This episode plays with a lot of Star Trek elements, but it never coalesces around a central theme because it doesn't know what its angle is. The mind-swap is cool, but the "insane woman" part completely contradicts it. At best, it's accusing women who don't behave the way women "should" of being solely responsible for their lack of achievement. That's not good.

I think this is the second or third time in the original series that ubiquitous video is used as an important part of the episode. Do these plot conveniences imply an angle to Federation society that is somewhat dystopian? Does a society where people are generally good not need safeguards on privacy?

Commissioners. I was thinking of Federation commissioners. 

17 to 01 is available on iTunes. It updates Thursday mornings at 2:00 AM ET / 1:00 CT. We're also amazingly on Stitcher.


SkilTao said...

You alright? Get hit by wildfires, Louisiana flooding, or eastcoast hurricanes?

VanVelding said...

Whoop. Fixed it. Queuing up templates is tricky because I sometimes think I've taken care of everything already.

Everything's fine I'm just trying to keep plates spinning and being kind of stupid.

SkilTao said...

Cool. On that note, I don't think you've posted Paradise Syndrome or The Enterprise Incident over here yet. You planning to keep both blogs running in parallel, or are you eventually going to switch over completely to the other one?

VanVelding said...

Probably going to shift more over there, but don't worry; I'll only commit to that after I begin managing it like a proper adult.

But yeah, the plan is that the odd episode will be exclusively over there. I think of blogspot like the exclusive early-release for the folks who've been here since the start. But, y'know, just ask and I'll put those up over here. You're basically 50% of the fanbase. ;)

SkilTao said...

Heh, nah, it's easy enough to keep an eye on both feeds, and I can comment over there as needed. I'd joke about being half the audience buuuuuuuut constant interruptions + tired now = has already made comment length creep past my threshold for requisite intelligent thought.

This ep: good ep, good acting / good Shatnering.

I can't tell if its accidentally or self-consciously calling that dystopian element to the fore; it definitely hits on the "if you've done nothing wrong then you have nothing to fear" fallacy, and the issues of trust (both up and down the chain of command) that TNG calls out more explicitly in Conspiracy. Starfleet facilities have an evident need to guard against space madness in all its forms (in addition to their scientific interest in documenting everything); it's hard to tell if or how their cctv is safeguarded against abuse, or how far it seeps from Starfleet facilities into everyday society.

The Glass Ceiling remark might be justifiable... we've seen women in the Science Blue uniforms, Uhura and various yeomen in Operations Red, but (outside of the pilot eps) I only remember the occasional extra in Command Gold, and never a woman with dialogue.

Derek's "a bridge too far" dialogue around minute 10, I've heard that kind of thing from a mentor tired of their mentee showing no initiative, or between partners where burdens aren't equally distributed; I had a conversation very much like that with a classmate in high school about sharing snacks. I don't doubt that some romances exist where one person's demands or ambition outstrip the other's generosity, patience or affection, but I neither work in couples therapy nor know anyone who should attend, so I can't speak to that. I think the flunky is mainly there to contrast with Kirk - Kirk couldn't be manipulated, the flunky could; if one is patronizing, the other isn't; and so on.

Along those lines, maybe they should've had a sane and competent woman officer to contrast with Janice Lester. E.g., in the vein of "lower decks" stuff you discuss later, put Chapel in a position to remove Captain Jirk (hah) from duty, with obstacles comparable to Janice's (but without making Chapel a model of hewing to expected roles/norms).

The StarFleet Manual Appendices, in order of increasing importance:
-faking your death
-keeping logs

If I ever tire of Janeway, I'll imagine a smug Janice Lester got mind-swapped into cadet Janeway's body.

Of course there's a phaser and lethal hypo concealed in McCoy's research lab.

Kinda surprised you guys rolled right past the "Shatner had a life threatening flu" bit. Not that I expect there's any depth to explain about the flu; it's just rare that you're both so into the main discussion that you roll on without acknowledgement.

There is definitely room to work a biochemistry thing into how the mind swapping gets reversed.

I like that the (or at least a) decisive moment goes to Checkov and Sulu. The crew knows something's up, but they've seen all the senior staff get possessed before, so they don't know who's in the wrong until someone overreaches. And then Janice basically smashes herself against the rocks of the crew's rock-solid principles. So, if one was to fix the ep by introducing a crisis to test Janice's and Brevet Chapel's mettle, I'd favor one which gives these elements greater play.

Seems like they close the episode by implicitly giving the flunky--who is a co-conspirator and accessory to murder--a free pass. Kinda weird.

VanVelding said...

Oooh, Lester v. Janeway is worth some consideration.

On the flu topic, I try to get historical context and behind the scenes details in, but time and shitty memory wait for no man. I'm trying to get better about remembering things on the spot, but it's a long road.

SkilTao said...

I guess commenting is disabled on the other blog? No matter.

Not a lot to say about Paradise Syndrome. Amnesiac Captain's logs, space gods planting humanoid civilizations like Johnny Appleseed plants apples... I think Derek's prescience peaks here when he says "you know how I'd fix this ep? I'd make 'For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky.'"

The Enterprise Incident is a good ep with lots of clever dialogue... it's interesting that the viewer never hears the Romulan Commander's name, and I wonder if Romulan women prize sudden emotional attachments the way Vulcans prize logic; I wonder if Kirk is modeling his erratic behavior on that one Starbase Commodore who previously took his ship into The Neutral Zone; and I'm amused that Kirk's gloryhounding comes up when Spock describes Kirk's flaws to the Romulans, but not when the Enterprise crew talks about Kirk's aberrant behavior.

VanVelding said...

Fixed the comments thing on the big site.

"Paradise Syndrome" is so very, very much what it is. That's for sure.

IIRC, the Commodore from "The Deadly Years" was claiming they had a legitimate medical issue which justified their crossing of the zone to save time. Kirk was just spooling out the standard "navigational error" BS everyone uses when they cross into the zone on purpose.