38: Stigma – Star Trek Enterprise Season 2, Episode 14

Matt and Sean talk about discrimination in a morality play that hints at the bias used against victims of the AIDS epidemic. Also: Trip doesn’t want to have sex.

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Hey, everybody on today’s episode of trek and time we’re going to talk about stigma that’s episode 14 of season 2 of enterprise and we’ll be answering the question can to Paul deal with the fallout of the mine Mel assault she experienced in season 1 can she survive a disease brought on by the mind med and can trip overcome his moral distaste for sleeping with another man’s wife and finally this question how do these 2 stories actually share airtime together. Welcome to trek in time. As our regular listeners know we’re watching every episode of star trek in chronological order that means that we are still in enterprise these are of course the oldest stories in the trek verse. We’re also taking a look at the context that these episodes originally were broadcast in. So we’re taking a look at history the time of these episodes which would put us in early 2003 and who are we I’m Sean Farrell I’m a published author I write some sci-fi I write some stuff for kids. And with me as my brother Matthew he’s the guru and inquisitor behind the Youtube channel undecided with Matt Ferrell which takes a look at emerging tech and its impact on our lives Matt how are you doing.
I’m doing good trying to stay warm but all’s good. How about you.
I’m doing it all right? Just a quick word of support to the people in Ukraine like everybody else. Our awareness of the disastrous events that are unfolding right now. Make us feel like there’s not enough we can do. There’s not enough ways available to us to support the people who are struggling with an inhuman situation but we hope that saner days are ahead. And that that suffering can end soon and we hope that our listeners are on our side with that. This show is built around a series which is predicated upon the idea that humanity can overcome its differences and when real world events. Like the ones we’re seeing unfold right now in Ukraine tell us that that’s not what’s happening it breaks my heart a little bit. So. As for today’s episode as I mentioned we’re going to be taking a look at the episode stigma just big picture before we get into the details Matt what did you think of stigma.
Overall I I don’t know if we’re gonna diverge here but I like this episode for a particular reason mainly because it’s following up on a previous storyline that we had and I liked the connection to something we saw before and it’s still gonna continue later in the series which I think is interesting. But there’s some interesting like throughlines longer story plots that I liked about it.
I’m with you on that I enjoyed the connection to past and future episodes I enjoyed the aspects of what that does for character development or Rentaal in particular I Also enjoyed this episode’s ability to and we haven’t.
And this happen a lot up to this point but the entire point of our podcast taking a look at an episode in in the moment of when it was broadcast. This episode is very much of its era. It is very much of the moment and is talking about something using the.
Um, of the moment.
Strength of sci-fi sci-fi’s greatest strength is of course to be able to talk about the present by giving it distance this episode does that in a really really powerful way. So I’m looking forward to talking about that before we get into that Matt do you have any.
Yeah, yes I do from our last episode. There was a comments from vfx soup hi guys. Great series as someone who worked on part of next gen a lot of ds 9 and most of voyager I want to say this is amazing. Keep it up. Thank you Mark he.
Comments from previous episodes that you wanted to share with us.
I Want to reach out to him because I’d love to talk to somebody that worked on those shows. Yeah yeah.
We should absolutely reach out to Mark Mark thank you for listening that’s fantastic. So for today’s episode stigma guess what Matt it’s everybody’s favorite moment in the episode where we turn to the Wikipedia.
Me reading the Wikipedia oh boy.
Synopsis take us into what this episode stigma is all about.
It just just to clarify for everybody I always go in blind onto this. This is the first time I’m seeing this so bear with me stigma is the oh my gosh can we get the first sentence. Stigma is the Fortieth episode production 2 14 of the television series star trek enterprise the fort or the fourth wait wait wait wait they said Fortieth they said Fortieth but now they’re going the fourteenth.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re having good time.
Of the second season but the fourteenth of the second season. Why does this matter. Why is it even important to bring that up this science fiction episode has a story about a spacecraft crew.
It’s the Fortieth episode of the it’s the Fortieth episode. Overall it’s the fourteenth of the second season. Both of those are important to have in 1 sentence together. So let’s yeah, yes.
In the twenty second century dealing with an alien disease and also mortality and immortality play about sexuality morality play but sexually transmitted diseases in the episode is revealed that subcommater to Paul has a degenerative disease panar syndrome contracted for her mind meltd in fusion.
Morality Play a Morality play.
Surprised they didn’t say another episode of a star trek show that was produced in the nineteenth twentieth century she must face being ostracized by a vulcan society and losing her position on enterprise wow that first sentence really threw me for a loop I’m sorry about that.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, and the nature of Wikipedia being what it is I can guarantee you that the first sentence and the last sentence were not written by the same person this Wikipedia continues to astound me with giving me the sense that.
There is somewhere is an algorithm that is just a random synopsis generator and it spits these out because it’s almost it’s almost readable it almost makes sense but it also doesn’t this episode was directed by David Livingstone we’ve seen his work before and I think he does. Very good work in this episode and it was written by Rick Berman and bran and braggga and we have talked about in the past all respect to Bruman and braga they were 2 remarkable showrunners to really resurrect trek during an era when.
When it came back. Everybody was kind of surprised. What do you mean you’re bringing back a star trek show in the mid 80 s that doesn’t make any sense. How is that going to work and then they were part of shepherding it through multiple series and that’s a remarkable achievement so all the respect in the world to the 2 of them but Matt and I up to this point. Have both referred to the kind of okay when they are the writers involved on the episode. There have been some episodes which haven’t been so great that they have been the writers on this episode I think gives me a sense of when they’re given a moment.
To write something of the moment they can really pin it down in a really remarkable way I think the writing in this episode is very very strong and it it shows why they got there and it shows that perhaps there was a little bit of exhaustion in the earlier episodes that we’ve been talking about where we felt like.
It shows why they got to where they are yes.
They just don’t seem to have the same kind of ah I want to say Chutzpah but gravelocks keeps coming into my mind. The.
This episode originally let me just like jump past all of that and enter into this part of the the episode the original air date of this episode was February fifth 2003 and I’ll be talking about some of the larger cultural moments. Of that time in two thousand and three later but first these details the number 1 song well Matt you’ll remember this better than most the number 1 song was beautiful by Christina Agulera um I know it’s ah it’s on yeah, it’s on your Spotify playlist I know number one movie. Well, it’s a little movie called the recruit which was of an American Spy Thriller directed by Roger Donaldson star Al Pacino Colin Farrell and Bridget Moynihan
Ah, yeah, had that on repeat. That’s right.
Made $16000000 and I had 0 recollection that this movie even existed I think it’s worth to our listeners Google this movie just to look at the poster because you’ll see what looks like a very focused and committed Al Pacino
I Don’t even remember what this movie is.
And an extremely confused Colin Farrell and on television on the date of this airing February fifth this show earned four point four million viewers which again. We’re used to this by now puts it at the bottom of its time slot. It still is able to beat Dawson’s creek take that Mr Dawson but it was losing out to shows like that 70 show which had 12 main my wife and kids also with 12000000 and prices right? Million dollar spectacular which also had 12 man the number 1 show for the week was Twenty twenty and that’s an unusual appearance by a news program with 27000000 viewers for the week and
Oh my gosh.
I looked into well why would this be the number one program for the week I I scratched my head about that until I realized that this was merely four days after the columbia disaster the space shuttle Columbia burning up during reentry in the earth’s atmosphere as a result of. Ah, failure of the tiles that were supposed to protect it from reentry heat and in the New York Times there were stories regarding general powell at the time secretary of state was making claims that Iraq was moving weapons to fool inspectors. And of course we know long term those weapons were never found and Nasa was facing criticism about tile safety which had been first identified in 191990 s but had been unaddressed and as a result the Columbia Disaster occurred which effectively put the.
Ended this ended it.
Yeah, ended the the space shuttle program.
And normally when I talk about the news what’s in the news I’m talking about very particular news stories but I wanted to get into this part of what was going on in larger culture because I think it plays an important part in our discussions around this episode and. What I’m talking about is the aids crisis the aids epidemic what was it like at this point in 2003 to give you a sense of where we were in the year two thousand and six president george W Bush indicated that he would issue an executive order. Allowing hiv positive people to enter the United States on standard visas up to this point at this point in 2003 if you were trying to visit the United States on a visa there was a question are you infected with Hiv and if you said yes. You could be not denied entry on October thirtieth Two thousand and Nine president Obama reauthorized the Ryan White H I v aids bill which expanded care and treatment through federal funding to nearly half a million people the department of health and human services also crafted regulation. Would end the hib travel and immigration ban effective in January Two Thousand and ten on January fourth 2010 the United States department of health and human services and centers for disease control and prevention removed hiv infection from the list of quote communicable diseases of public health significance. Due to its not being spread by casual contact air food or water and removed hyv status as a factor to be considered in granting of travel visas disallowing hv status from among the diseases that could prevent people who are not Us citizens from entering the country. Doctors during the early days and when we’re talking about hiv and aids I’ve just mentioned that the rules in place restricting people from coming into the country were in place as late as 2010. So in 2003 this perspective.
They were still much in place. Yep.
Perspective of doctors on aids aids was met with great fear and concern by the nation much like any other endemic epidemic and those who were primarily affected were homosexuals african americans latinos and intravenous drug users. The general thought of the population was to create distance and establish. Boundaries from most people and some doctors were not immune from such impulses during the epidemic doctors began to not treat aids patients not only to create distance from these groups of people but also because they were afraid to contract the disease themselves a surgeon in Milwaukee said quote. I’ve got to be selfish. It’s an incurable disease. That’s uniformly fatal and I’m constantly at risk of getting it I’ve got to think about myself I’ve got to think about my family that responsibility is greater than to the patient. this is the this is the mindset that was in place. Ninety Ninety a national survey of doctors showed that only 24 believed 24% believed that office-based practitioners should be legally required to provide care to and to individuals with h iv infection the mindset from the early days when. Aids first started making news in the in the 80 s into the 90 s and into the 2000 was that this was the problem of an immoral group of people. This was the undesirable people were the ones spreading this disease and if they were not simply immoral people.
The undesirables.
They would not be getting sick. This was the disease of people who made bad choices and were on some level explicitly blamed for the fact that they contracted the disease. The thing that began to turn the tide was when the disease started impacting celebrities who started coming forward. People like magic Johnson who in broadcasting publicly that he had the illness put a different face on it. He was an extremely popular and and a successful professional athlete. He was not among the group that were quote supposed to get it. So people like Freddy Mercury people who were putting a different face on it than the one that was easy to blame and keep in mind that the groups who were being talked about african americans latinos intravenous drug users and homosexuals these are. Already a group of people who had difficulty in gaining access to treatment just in ah, a general sense. So now they were being taken from already having a difficult access to medical care to being denied medical care outright all because of. An argument about morality. All of that is on full display in this episode in which right from the beginning we start with. I think a very interesting directorial choice. The first scene in which Dr Flox is informing to Paul that the treatment of her panar syndrome which is known to be ultimately fatal for vulcans. Treatment is losing its effectiveness that things are not going to go well for her unless they can get more information to continue to expand on the type of treatment. She’s getting the way that this opening scene is shot is as if you are in the perspective. Of Dr Flox it effectively removes him from the screen I thought this was a very telling way of framing the opening because it puts to Paul in isolation it puts her by herself despite the fact she’s actually in the moment having a conversation. She is alone in this she is being sequestered and isolated a very powerful opening image. What did you think about the opening of this episode.
No I thought I had the exact same note I Just love the introduction of this because it sets her even though she’s Emotionless. You can tell that there’s something going on and by the camera just the camera technique. It’s like that. It’s like the technique of Montage How you can change the emotional. Could use the same exact clips. But how you pair them up will change your emotional reaction to it So by isolating her the way they did it sets a very clear tone for what this hard message that she’s being delivered with and how she’s going to have to grapple with it over the episode. It really kind of set everything up and I really like that. Lot.
We see the introduction of other vulcans who are at a medical conference the enterprise visits this conference to allow effectively. They’re there just for flocks so that he can he can visit this conference. He takes the opportunity to meete with some vulcan doctors and asks for more information and here’s where everything I just talked about about the context of this episode in the american culture at the time what the view of aids was it is as if the the. Words that I talked about as a doctor in Milwaukee saying I have to take care of myself before I can even consider treating somebody with this disease which is guaranteed to kill me these doctors are given those exact motives. For how they are approaching. Panar syndrome panar syndrome in the vulcan culture is viewed as a syndrome that occurs only in those that practice mind melding there is a minority of vulcans who are born with the ability to easily mind meld and it is seen as repugnant. Because their stoic controlled nature means the sharing of emotions is forbidden I thought it was interesting that the doctor who is the most vehemently against this the he says. Sharing of emotions is repugnant to us but mind melding is not just explicitly about emotion. It’s I think in that moment of writing it’s an opportunity was taken to show that there. Relationship to what is happening in a mind. Meld is more about their bias about the idea of sharing as opposed to the actual implications of what is happening in a mind med.
I did um 1 thing I’d want to bring up just rewind just for a second the whole when Flox goes to the planet and he goes to these doctors asking them for information on the patarnist syndrome the story he concocts.
Did you see that as well.
To try to protect ah to Paul’s identity um you could understand why he’s he to Paul said I don’t want you talking to them about me so he’s trying to you know doctor patient privilege but his smokescreen is so bad and so stupid.
As he’s doing it I’m like yeah this is going to go over well with a species that’s all about logic. They’re going to see through your smokescreen in half a heartbeat I thought it was kind of I thought they could have come up with a better way for him to go about it because it shows how he didn’t think this through he didn’t it’s like I have more faith in flocks.
To do something a little more subtle than what he did because very hamfed. Ah, but the the distinction of how the doctors respond to the pinar Syndrome is. It’s interesting because it’s like it is a mind. It’s um, 2 minds Melding. It’s not about just emotion. You’re sharing thoughts as well as emotions. And the fact that they’re correct. So if you’re looking from a purely logical point of View. There’s a good reason to do mind melts because you’re sharing those experiences and those thoughts It’s not just about the emotion but yet they focus on that because of their innate Bias humans are just ruled by their emotions and these other species are ruled by their emotions.
You’re sharing also experience as opposed to yeah.
It’s an interesting dance. They never really dealt with it much in the episode which disappointed me but like it goes back to was it. Seroc’s teachings where it shows how the vulcans diverged from the truth of seroc’s teachings and it became kind of perverted and distorted into the. Era of vulcans we’re seeing in this show has basically perverted his teachings and has kind of gone astray but they don’t realize they’ve gone astray yet. So it’s like they will start to come come back to that later, but’s they didn’t talk about that explicitly and that was disappointing to me because if you’re not as steeped in star trek as I am or you are. You’re not going to know that so it’s like this comes back to this show was written for people who are just like all in on star trek and it was not super accessible for that reason of like really conveying what was going on and giving a little more depth to that bias.
Um, right.
Right? I think that I I do agree with you. But I think if you were to do that. It would have take you would have had to take away effectively. The B storyline would have had to shrink.
Um, I thought it would be a little more interesting if they’d explored that a little bit more.
So that you would have the room to be able to explore that because to explore that would have been discussions around what is it in the mind Melt is it The fact that one individual is going to experience the emotional realities of the other person which means now you are doubling up on having to buttress yourself. Against emotional experience is that the distaste or is it the experience of emotion at all that the potential of accidentally experience emotion is distasteful to them like you you then need to tease that out through conversation.
In a way that’s going to take time and I think that they wanted to balance all of this and we’ll talk about the B Storyline I feel like the B storyline can be synopsized very quickly and we can talk about it in more detail later but that B storyline is very light in comparison to.
Um, it’s comic relief. Yeah.
Very heavy heavy seriousness of we are watching a storyline in which one of the main characters of the series is being told you have a fatal disease. It is going to likely kill you at some point in the Future. It will undo you and. They’re not saying by the end of the episode. It is not in any way shape or form that kind of experience. We are not being given a ticking clock onto Paul to know that she’s she’s in mortal danger and there’s no this puts the character in Peril in a way that for a series like this. Is perfect because we’re not being told a main character of the series might die by the end of this episode and you go in knowing Well, that’s not gonna happen. She’s a main character of the series. This is the perfect kind of Peril because it’s about her future past the show. It’s.
Is it.
About a horizon including something as awful as this disease and so we’re put in a position of legitimately connecting to that peril in a way that’s deeper than. Oh. There’s ah, a mine that’s connected itself to the enterprise will they detach it in time like we know they’re going to detach it in time. It’s all about the like we’re going to see the details but we go in knowing this is a different kind of of experience and I think that the heaviness of that. They balanced it very clearly with the comic relief b storyline one of the the things that you just mentioned about flox’s ham-fisted explanation I felt like in the moment I had the exact same experience I was just like oh boy, what is he. Doing. He’s like doing this terrible song and dance of like tapity tapity tapity. There’s a disease on Dennabula which is similar to this and it’s just like no, that’s not working I think.
Right? Yeah when when it does blow up when it does blow up in his face. You can tell he regrets what he did like there’s a scene with him in de Paul where he looks like I am so sorry I am so so sorry because he realized he’d made a a very bad call.
Yes, Yes, yeah, yeah, I Yeah I think that they showed the ramifications of that I Also think they needed the bad choice to be a bad choice So that.
So they did they did show the ramifications of that bad choice.
They would be found out I think it’s one of those dominoes that has to fall where somebody has to kind of like step in poop before you can have poop tracked through the hallways. So. You end up with that moment of just like would he really do all of that he kind of needed to somebody needed to let that cat out of the bag the one that I didn’t agree with where I thought the writing was questionable was when archer found out. About everything. Yeah I could tell by your intake of breath. Yeah.
Yeah I had that my notes yeah his his reaction when he was in his ah he calls the men and says basically says what the hell and says you lied to. Them why weren’t you gonna tell me why didn’t you tell me you had this disease as he’s going through this whole thing I’m like toal has no no need to tell you anything about her private health and it was like the fact that he was railing against this. It did it was like ah somebody playing this beautiful symphony and they hit 1 wrong key and it was like oh oh oh.
Um, yeah, yeah.
Archer what the hell but at the same time I forgave it because he goes past it so fast because as soon as the two of them go I didn’t have to tell you this. He’s like you can tell he goes right past it. He’s like yeah okay, you didn’t have to tell me this but still you lied to them and you didn’t pull me into this.
So it’s like he he did bring it back very quickly to where he did have a leg to stand on so you could tell he was just hurt that like I thought we were friends. Why didn’t you tell me this there was like this undercurrent that allowed me to forgive that wrong note that got played.
Um, yeah.
Yeah I think that it would have I mean for me you you you mentioned? It’s like listen to a beautiful symphony then somebody hits a wrong note for me, it was like listening to a beautiful symphony and then hearing that some of the instruments are kitchen pots and pans and just being like. I still get what the music is doing but why did you choose to use those instead of going with a normal tympany. It’s the and for me what what happens is this he is. I think if the scene had been a separate scene with Depal in which he said to Paul I want to be there in support of you. Why didn’t you share this with me that would have felt like you could have had the same moment.
True. Yep.
But it would have been a little more in character than he he really does go from 0 to 60 in an instant is hauls them both in to basically rake them over the coals of you lied and it takes flocks saying. I believe that even humans have doctor patient confidentiality and to Paul says this is in no way impacting my performance therefore you did not have a right to know and as.
That a.
The character of archer has demonstrated. He has the ability to look at the other side and know like we need to give patience. We need to we need to to seek out that moment. He seemed a little too angry in that scene for my taste that it.
I just I did I disagree I disagree a little bit I disagree a little bit because they they’ve shown over a course of many episodes. He’s a little bit of a hothead. He does have a trigger where he will suddenly go to sixty miles an hour instantly on something.
Didn’t make sense.
So it it kind of made sense to me because it’s like he calls them in. He’s probably been in there for who knows how long stewing as to like what the hell so by the time they get in there. He’s already just railing to like tear them apart. So I I get I got it. But I think you’re 100% correct in he could have said something just different.
Um, yeah. Right.
About like why didn’t you come to me, you could have come to me and talk to me about this instead of saying you should have been telling me because of X Y and Z which he had no leg to stand on. He could have been a little more empathetic in his anger towards her so it’s like that would have worked a lot better and it wouldn’t been that wrong note or the tympany of pans.
Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Yeah, so we’re set up with a situation where the vulcans the 3 velcan doctors see through Flox’s request as they put the pieces together very quickly. You’re asking us about a vulcan disease. You have a vulcan officer aboard your. Ship and there are a list of names of of certain people that we’d like her to take a look at and they surreptitiously again a very nice moment of the vulcans doing something. It doesn’t seem quite Vulcan like stealing some of her Dna by getting her to touch a.
Ah, ah pad and then they’re able to lift from that. The fact that she has panar syndrome and not only does this incorporate than the larger world view at the time when this episode was made in 2003 of aids being the realm of the immoral. They even go so far as to take the next step which is similar to the kinds of laws that were in place restricting the entry of people with aids. Into the United States they are going to pull to Paul from the enterprise take her back to vulcan and effectively drum her out of the service because of the fact that she contracted this disease. Here’s where the episode takes what I thought was a masterful turn into the morality play that it truly is this is one of those episodes that I feel like you could pluck it out and show it to anybody who. Doesn’t necessarily know star trek and they would get the point they would. It’s it’s similar to the episode from the next generation which I believe is called the drumhead where wharf gets pulled in to an investigation.
Looking for conspiracy within the federation and the judge who is doing the investigation is seeing conspiracies where there are none and it’s leading her directly into the ah ready room of Captain Picard she views him as potentially a conspirator working against the federation and it takes wharf. Realizing that the logic of her arguments doesn’t hold up in the light of day and it’s an extremely compelling episode that is like watching the crucible. It is something that you can look at. Regardless of experience with star trek you can see the dramatic story being told and that’s what happens here when everybody around to Paul who knows the background of how she experienced a mind meld we know from the episode fusion that she was effectively assaulted.
Yes, yes.
She was assaulted by a Vulcan who was experimenting with emotion and his ability to mind Meld and mind melded with her in a way that she was not willing to participate in it was that episode being a metaphor for sexual assault here we have. Repercussions of that being used as her out, you just knew to explain to them that you contracted this not as a result of mind melding but because you were assaulted by somebody and she refuses to do it.
Yeah, every single person that’s on the Enterprise including one of the doctors that we Discover. He is one of this small minority that can do mine Melds. He’s even telling her you need to tell them you resulted and I love that in the episode. They never express. She never expresses Why she’s unwilling to do it until close to the end. It’s like she’s just not. She’s like no no I’m not gonna say it and it’s leaving it up to you The viewer to go. Why isn’t she wanting to do this and you’re starting to piece together. Oh I think I understand why she’s probably not wanting to do this because this is clearly so.
Um, yeah.
Biased It doesn’t matter how she got it. It shouldn’t matter how she got it. So by the time she delivers that statement. It’s just like ah I don’t know it was like a hammer blow to me. It was like perfect for me perfectly timed in the episode to really make it the most dramatic moment for her when she says I’m not going to say this because it’s like it doesn’t shouldn’t matter.
Um, yeah.
Yeah, she she makes the point that it will further stigmatize the minority that can mine meld because by claiming this was the result of an assault that becomes another culture another cudgel against.
How I got it.
That group they are immoral and this is the kind of thing they do. They are a danger to the rest of vulcan society because this is what they do and she sees through the bias of viewing the minority in this way and her are. Emotional core will not bend that way. She will not even in self-defense or to gain access to information that might help her she will not reveal that aspect of the assault and all of that I felt like was a perfectly rendered. Powder keg I really felt like this episode packed this storyline so perfectly. So that by the time you get to the end and it’s at the end where yurus who is the doctor of the three he is the most sympathetic to her he. In fact, shares the information that they’ve asked for with. Her and he reveals that he is among the group that can naturally mind meld and this is a piece of the puzzle in 2003 when this show was produced one of the things I’ve already mentioned that celebrities began part of the turn of the tide against changing public perception about aids another element was doctors who would treat aids patients because they themselves were a part of the communities. That were being ostracized and viewed as the immoral group. So just like the the words that are put in the mouth of the doctor who’s the most vehemently against this minority eurus as a character is is given. The words that were actually taking place in the early two thousand s from the doctors who were saying I can’t turn a blind eye to this group because I am of this group so eurus tries to share the information but there’s still the withdrawal of to Paul that is looming and in a. Technique that is used again and again and again in star trek somebody shows up with the regulations I always love it when the the dramatic, the dramatic turning point of an episode is like the klingons are going to blow up that planet. What are we going to do I just found this obscure rule in the klingon handbook that says you can’t blow up a planet.
Yes, find the loophole.
Um, they should yeah they they should call it the Picard maneuver because Picard does it like every other episode next generation.
Now what are you going to do so. Every other episode. Yes, yes, he’s always like Mr data look through this encyclopedia from this planet and find me a loophole. Yes sir so archer goes to the head doctor and points out to him. Ah, by the way you’ve got yes the head doctor.
The head doctor.
He goes to the head doctor and says doc I’m not sleeping well.
Which oh god.
Archer presents the doctor with the literally the rulebook of the vulcan medical establishment and says she’s entitled to a hearing and the doctor very reluctantly agrees. Okay tomorrow afternoon. We’ll meet and have this hearing and. Which leads to the scene that I wish had included the stuff I talked about before this would have been the scene where I think archer could have said like hey I’m your friend right? I’m not just your commanding officer I’m your friend when archer goes to de paul and says I’ve bought us some time. And she is in the moment saying like there’s nothing. We can do. They’ll never agree to a hearing and archer says they already did we’ve got some time and this is when he makes the argument you need to come out and let them know you were assaulted Flox also backs. This up says you need to let them know you’re assaulted urus who. When he shared the information the medical information around vulcan research into the syndrome. He says you need to come forward and let them know you’re resulted and she’s been very clear. No I’m not going to do this but it’s during the hearing when the arguments are being made. Around the morality of denying support for a group of people who’ve done nothing wrong other than being born with a specific potential and judging them for that potential not for their actions. It’s during this discussion. The eurus. Outs himself and he steps forward to say she told me that she was assaulted and he brings all of this to light in a way that now it benefits her not necessarily the type of action that. We should be thrilled with a doctor outing the details of ah of ah another person in this way, but it puts eurus in a position now where he is going to be now. He is the one being targeted. And the last we hear is that urus is potentially going to be removed from the medical service as a result of him outing himself I don’t know about you but I couldn’t help in that moment of wishing if this was ah deep space 9 think it definitely would have had a follow-up episode if this was next generation it might have had a follow-up episode. But I found myself thinking there was a follow-up storyline around eurus and the enterprise following them to vulcan to try and defend this doctor and make some.
What earth.
Larger change in Vulcan’s mindset around this illness. It does not happen I understand why it does not happen. Yeah, but I think that in the context of looking at the writing the fact that it made me want that So desperately.
Yeah I was going to say I understand why it doesn’t happen. It makes sense that it wouldn’t happen.
It’s a good thing always leave them wanting more um to to kind of veer away from this I want to talk a little bit about the b plot because it is so polar opposite from this. It’s basically ish really quickly. It’s Flox’s wife
Was really a sign of how strong the writing was in this episode.
Um, yeah, yes, yeah.
Has come on 1 of his wives has come on board. She’s setting up a neutron microscope. That’s very tricky and difficult to master and she’s training trip on how to set it up maintain it and keep it working for flocks and she is flirting like mad with him and is like in the.
Um, yes, yeah, she has she has set phasers to sex that is yeah.
Dining hall rubbing his leg with her foot and like just coming on to him nonstop. Yes, it’s yes, like she’s coming on hard and it’s all about comic relief because trip is a good old Southern Boy who’s like don’t sleep with your neighbor’s wife kind of guy and he’s all. You know all uncomfortable. So the humor is coming from his discomfort and not wanting to offend her and trying to protect flocks and it’s it’s ah it’s an an amusing b storyline but there are times where it feels out of place for the heaviness of what we’re seeing on the a plot but. By the end of the episode I really came to appreciate the balance that they were doing jumping back and forth because both plots do relate in a very abstract way they’re both about perceptions and biases because the denobulences are polygamists.
Like they have 3 wives and 3 husbands and they sleep around and they don’t have the same morality around sex that humans do and they’ve explored this exact thing about denobians in previous episodes. So it’s not like out of the blue. We know this. But again, it’s fun to play with that.
Um, yeah.
Biases of humans versus the way the denobianss operate operate and the way that the vulcans have biased against people of this of pinar syndrome. It’s playing with the same exact kind of biases that are innate in all of us and 1 is a comic. Plotline and 1 is a dead serious plotline but they both are addressing the issue from 2 very different points of view and I thought it was very kind of clever how they wove those 2 together to keep it so that you weren’t getting too bogged down in the weightiness of the topic you were keeping it lightweight but you were doing a really interesting way of exploring it.
Yeah I I agree with you I thought at one point I’m just like wow these 2 things like do not like how do these? How do these line up. How do you get? How do you get the story board going for the b plot next to the heaviness of this one understandably.
What do you think about it.
They were looking at balancing out emotional weight but by the end of the episode I Saw everything you saw I saw both of these stories being about how Morality is a construct and the issue being the through line.
Of your morality if you rest on do no harm your moral choices start to look a little more clear when they are just based on Bias if you are saying. I will not treat this Ill patient because I don’t like how they live their life do no harm doesn’t make you look good in that light and in the context of the B Plot The do no harm comes in the form of well I won’t sleep with my neighbor’s wife. But your neighbor is saying like hey it doesn’t bother me at all. So Maybe there is no do no harm in that situation. There’s no stakes in that situation and it being about openness and communication. Both these storylines are about openness and communication on the one hand trip is.
Right? right.
Right? right.
Literally stumbling over the scenario until he does the thing that he thinks he should which is talks to flocks about it. He’s finally says like hey I think I need to talk to you about this and once he clears the air it resolves and the same thing happens in the other storyline.
When Eurus finally says hey there’s details here that we’re not talking about it dispels the situation. The one will not go away the bias in the Vulcan culture will not go away because Vulcan at large is not willing to talk about this whereas the denobulins are set up as being so open and willing to talk about everything that. There’s no conflict. They’re almost presented as just like this laid back Hippie Trippy group that just like hey man if you’re into the experience experience it man. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Hey, man hey man did she give you a rose pedal bath. It’s like what what the other side of it is the a plotline obviously has a lot of character development around to Paul which is wonderful I’m a sucker for the character development. But they have character developments even in the b plotline. There’s this wonderful scene like all this angst is going on the trip of like ah but you never see him really talking to other people about like looking for advice and there’s this amazing scene where he’s going in to work out and he walks in and and.
Um, yeah.
Um, yeah of all the people of all the people to be in there.
And was it read his other. He’s he’s already no but Reid’s already exercising and he comes in and goes she’s at it again and I thought that was brilliant because it’s like it shows. He’s been talking to other people about this all along and it was such a great shorthand to show this is like his best friend.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
And he’s been telling them about it all along and Reid’s like you got to talk to flox. You got to you know, get it out there I thought there’s a great moment to show the relationship of them and how it’s evolving over time and then there’s also the um at the end. Ah when when when when Flox’s wife is about to leave.
Um, yeah.
And the 2 of them are so like doing that weird sniffing thing they do with each other and trips like right there and he’s like like leaning back trying to get away and there’s this awkward moment where just stands there. Nobody’s saying anything and trip just goes well I’ve got to get back to my war pinch and it’s running a little hot.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
The the plasma is running a little high. Yeah yeah.
I Thought there was like there’s such great comic delivery and it’s just like wonderful just lighthearted character development between flocks and trip and all these different characters. It was nice all humans. Yeah yeah.
Yeah, yeah, and fisal in that moment. The wife says I know how it feels she says I know how it feels trip leaves and then I love the ending moment flocks and vis all both going humans like the idea that.
They they laugh about humans? Yeah yeah.
From a vulcan’s perspective humans are just controlled by their emotion and from the denoullin perspective humans are overly controlled by moral decision making like there’s this, there’s this idea that somehow we are in the middle between the 2 extremes. It’s a very.
Yes, yes.
That’s another moment of nice balance and the last thing I want to say about the balancing act that this achieves is the metaphor up to Paul’s storyline is about aids. It is not about sex but they’ve introduced that element of that morality play. The sexual element the idea of congress the idea of people judging other people’s lives through a moral lens and deciding whether or not they are deserving of help the sexual component of that. The fact that aids was viewed as the disease of an immoral group of homosexual people. Is introduced in the other storyline sex is kept on your mind sprinkled throughout the show by the fact, the fisal is chasing trip. So you’re watching a morality play about immoral behavior and judgments and then you’re watching a thing about sex. So it’s. Reintroducing that element of what aids was viewed as aids was viewed as the scarlet letter. It was viewed as it’s the signifier of whether or not, you’re a moral or immoral person because what that disease means is that you are a homosexual I thought at the end. All of that came together in a way I did not expect I was really blown away by the writing from that perspective and I was happy to find some information about how this episode came to be which was that viacom the owner of the upm network in late 2002
Gave an edict to the writers and producers of the programming on upn saying that in 2003 they should have an episode devoted to the aids situation I thought that that was really remarkable that this came from a directive. By the network and that the writers in putting this together had an experience previously. Brandon Braggga said that he had wanted to write an aids awareness story that was subtle and that it wasn’t too preachy and it wasn’t. Going for cheap sympathy and I have a note about cheap sympathy in a moment but there was an episode that never was produced. It was written by David Gerald who’s a old star trek writer. He wrote an episode for the next generation and it was called blood and fire. It was never. Never made it out of development but it had to do with this kind of storyline. So when they put this together. They tackled the idea in a way that I think still holds up. It’s still I think easily recognizable as an aids metaphor but it’s.
Oh yeah, very.
I Think it does everything they were looking for so that it touches on all of these ideas so that it’s about more than aids. It’s ah it’s It’s about the communities that rest suffering with the disease the most it’s dealing with the fact that it’s about prejudice at the heart of it. And it’s about the potential way forward of opening up lines of communication and and really learning as much as we can at the very end flock says of the research that he’s been given by the vulcans for a disease that is a part of Vulcan Society. There is surprisingly little research here but based on what I’m seeing I already see some avenues that could lead me potentially to creating a cure for this disease. So It’s about learning. And communication and openness again, it’s about those 3 things working together that can lead to better days for everybody as opposed to letting those you view as lesser than suffer and struggle in the soup of their own making as as the Vulcan doctors like to. To treat. It.
It’s It’s my favorite part about Science Fiction. It’s dealing with complex Thorny topics and dissociating itself from it so that you can have a more rational discussion or exploration of the topic you brought the drumbeat I’d bring up measure of a man from next generation. It’s like there’s so many storylines that you see this in Science fiction. Kind of the strength when they do it Well like this.
Yeah, and as far as putting a story like this together. That’s a subtle allegory It’s not preachy and it’s not going for cheap sympathy. As soon as I read that immediately I couldn’t help but here in my head a little haily Joe Osma say Walker told me I have aids. People may or may not be aware of the fact that on October eighteenth ninetyninetyseven the show Walker Texas ranger which starred Chuck Norris as the aforementioned ranger named Walker. They had an episode a 2 wo-parter called Lucas in which the actor hay Joe Osman appeared as a young man a young boy who as I mentioned by the end Walker for some reason the Texas Ranger informs this boy. You’ve got aids. It is the most him-fisted embarrassing cheap plea for sympathy you could possibly imagine which is why for a number of years. The clip of that was aired on Conan O’brien’s
Hamfisted. It’s all.
Late night show repeatedly as a punchline for roughly I think about 15 years so to our listeners I’m curious did all of you have a similar experience to Matt and I Matt and I in this one are clearly in lockstep.
Which can happen doesn’t always happen but can happen and the 2 of us seem to have watched the same episode did everybody out there agree are you in the the mindset that the a storyline and the b storyline really do work together to create this nice balance of. Ah, very difficult topic or did you feel like it didn’t hold up, let us know in the comments or if you’re not on Youtube you can find the contact information in the podcast description and
next time we’re going to be discussing the episode cease Fire Matt any predictions about what cease fire might be about.
I Think they’re gonna be probably telling somebody to stop firing could be smoking there.
Um, or maybe putting out a fire. We’ll find out in the meantime is there anything you want to share with the listeners about what you have coming up in your other channel.
By the time this episode’s out on my main channel undecided with Matt Ferrell I should have an episode out about 3 d printing homes and the good and the bad of the process.
As for me, you can go to http://seanferrell.com and you can find out information about my writing there. You can also look for my writing at Amazon brines and http://noble.com or your local bookstore or public library. My books are available in all those locations. You so much for your interest. Don’t forget to review us and subscribe and when you do so know that it’s greatly supporting the channel. We appreciate all of your time and we thank you so much for listening or checking us out on Youtube. Talk to you next time bye bye everybody.
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