The pandemic is here, y'all! Due to sheltering-in-place, we could not record this episode in the same room, so please forgive any odd audio. ************************SPOILERS******************* Nevertheless, join Becca and Ryan, and the Motley Crew on their very first Away Mission <3. We follow them through beautifully-scored vistas with a woeful lack of hats, to a magical land of gold robots. Also, Picard makes a big announcement and everybody gets emotional. But don't forget, et in Arcadia ego - even here there's death.
So much happens in Episode 8 of Picard that we can hardly summarize our podcast without spoilers, so ********************************************************************SPOILERS****** Raffi puts on her detective hat and solves at least two, maybe three mysteries this episode, with the help of all five emergency Rios look alike holograms. Soji and Agnes have feelings. Seven and Elnor have ACTION SCENES. Becca and Ryan have lots of thoughts.
Content Warning: Suicide and Rape.
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So much d'awwwwww
Malingering and Ableism
Becca calls out the ableism inherent in Sister Incest describing Ramdha's coma as "malingering." Here's some writing on the subject:
The Able-ist Gaze: Imagining Malingering by Meadow Jones via The Feminist Wire.
Flip the Script by Calling Out Ableism First via Invisible Disability Project.
"Chronic pain is generally understood as pain that lasts much longer than it should, not necessarily or expected to stop in the near future, and it carries with it suspicions of malingering or hysteria." Using Pain, Living with Pain by Emma Sheppard via SAGE Journals, published in Feminist Review.
Ann Magnuson is pretty cool
Karen aka Admiral Clancy is played by not-afraid-to-drop-f-bombs Ann Magnuson, who is 64 years old (to Patrick Stewart's 79). Among other things, she played vampire David Bowie's victim in the 1983 film The Hunger... so we must all go watch that immediately now.
If only we could all make out with vampire David Bowie (or any David Bowie, RIP)
Trigger warning: discussion of suicide
We talk about the recurring theme of suicide-as-solution in this episode. Ryan mentioned that people who don't see other options - in other words, who are hopeless - become vulnerable to suicide. This is the topic of a good deal of research, for example:
Hopelessness as a predictor of attempted suicide among first admission patients with psychosis: A 10-year cohort study by E. David Klonsky, et al. via NIH.
Reasons for Living, Hopelessness, and Suicide Ideation Among Depressed Adults 50 Years or Older by Peter C. Britton, Ph.D., et al. via NIH
Hopelessness Leading to Self-harm and Suicide by Dr. Sarmad Muhammad Soomar Ranani, et al. via Journal of Neurology and Neuroscience.
Best scene of the episode
What is colorism?
At the end of the episode, Becca briefly mentions colorism. Lori L. Tharps, author of Same Family, Different Colors, writes about this form of discrimination in The Difference Between Racism and Colorism via TIME. The National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) has assembled this bulletin on Colorism which includes a powerful set of videos and statistics.
So much happens in Episode 8 of Picard that we can hardly summarize our podcast without spoilers, so ********************************************************************SPOILERS******Raffi puts on her detective hat and solves at least two, maybe three mysteries this episode, with the help of all five emergency Rios look alike holograms. Soji and Agnes have feelings. Seven and Elnor have ACTION SCENES. Becca and Ryan have lots of thoughts.
Content Warning: Suicide and Rape.
* * *
We're all tears as Picard finds shelter with some familiar faces. This episode hits heavy on themes of family and loss, mistrust and loyalty, what it means to be an individual, and fighting against impossible odds. Becca and Ryan talk third wave verses second wave feminism and get real thirsty about the beautiful cast of Picard. Spoilers abound.
**We apologize for posting a day later this week due to the Jewish holiday of Purim**
[Content Warning: Extremely cursory and brief discussion of rape and partner abuse.]
***HERE THERE BE SPOILERS***
This is your heart, Mon Capitan
Ryan and Becca get emotional this week when Picard is reunited with Riker and Troi. We meet their precocious tween daughter and spend a lot of time ogling the idyllic wilderness. Soji learns about Data. Meanwhile, shit is going down on the Borg cube, and Sister F*ckboy is LIVING for it.
Who does this remind you of?
Becca was paraphrasing Gloria Steinem on getting married in her 60s and her need to change the institution of marriage first. Her interview with Barbara Walters in 2001 has it in her own words.
Hugh's dying words are a good example of the Almost Dead Guy trope, wherein the dying live just long enough to impart important information to further the plot.
The crew of La Sirena might trust Aggie in the face of countervailing evidence because they buy into the trope of fair hair being characteristic of virtue and heroism.
We talk a bit about how the Zhat Vash could be causing the very apocalypse they're trying to prevent, which may be the result of a time travel Predestination Paradox. There are definitions of causality paradoxes that depend less on fate and predestination than the above citation. We were also using time travel to describe a very old literary device, the classical tragedy: where a character (or people) cause their own fate by trying to avoid it. These tropes are also part of the storytelling apparatus in the finale episode of The Next Generation, All Good Things....
There are three anomalies, and I caused all of them :(
Michael Chabon clarifies that Romulans who have forehead ridges are from the Northern hemisphere of Romulus.
We refer to our episode Mind Rape is Still Rape (trigger warning) with regards to Commodore Oh's mind-meld with Dr. Jurati.
Becca was especially pleased with the music composition of this episode and how it tied in the Picard theme and the TNG theme so beautifully. Cudos to Jeff Russo for composing!
Evan Evagora is causing us a to swoon juuuuuust a bit. Hear him in this interview with his New Zealand accent!
Many agree with our argument in favor of Equal Opportunity Objectification (of all genders), including feminist bloggers and male celebrities. Academia has a deep and nuanced set of arguments on this topic, helpfully summarized by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy!
(Content Warning: PTSD, addiction, incest, the Holocaust) This week Becca and Ryan take Soji's return as a jumping off point to discuss Fembots, the Pygmalion myth, and Pinocchio. Also (mild spoiler) Hugh is back! Plus, how is Raffi holding up? Join us for our analysis of The Impossible Box.
Interact with the Show Runner!
Picard and the Borg
We believe that Picard is suffering from post-traumatic stress distorder, or PTSD, from his time in the Borg collective where he was instrumental as Locutus of Borg in the Battle of Wolf 359, which was devastating to Star Fleet. We saw Picard struggle to see individual borg drones as victims who can be saved in First Contact, exemplified by this scene with Alfre Woodard, who echos the audience's horror at his attitude toward assimilated crewmen.
One theory we put forward is that Picard's exaggerated arrogance in the Picard series is the result of him being separated from the Enterprise senior crew, who kept him in check and grounded throughout the TNG series and films. This is an example of the Heroes needing friends trope, which is depicted in many properties including Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In that series, we repeatedly see Buffy's heroism and effectiveness suffer when she is separated from her friends, never more so than in the episode "The Wish," which explores an alternate timeline where Buffy never moved to SunnyDale.
Fembots and Bikini Machines
For our discussion of fembots and female robots, we read the essay "Fembots: Female Androids in Mainstream Cinema and Beyond," by Marianne Zumberge. We also read The Fembot Mystique by Annalee Newitz at Popular Science, and this review of Ex Machina by Angela Watercutter, which coins the brilliant phrase "The Ex Machina Zone" for a mashup of the Bechdel Test and the Turing Test. We a few other essays and articles which we failed to bookmark and are, as always, indebted to the internet's feminists in general.
And let's not forget the Buffybot.
Scene on Radio: Men is a 12 part series that we HIGHLY recommend listening to. We specifically reference Episode 6: Warriors on how society conditions men to embrace violence and prize character traits that make for pliant soldiers.
A lot of Star Wars fans hated the evolution of the elder Luke Skywalker who had lost his way and needed to redeem himself, including Mark Hamill. (For the record, Ryan completely disagrees with this analysis and thinks his retreat from the galaxy in the face of failure is completely in character, since Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda did the same thing in their old age in the original trilogy. Plus, flawed characters are more interesting to watch. But whatever, fanboys. )
(Content Warning: PTSD, addiction, incest, the Holocaust.) This week, Becca and Ryan take Soji's return as a jumping off point to discuss Fembots, the Pygmalion myth, and Pinocchio. Also (mild spoiler) Hugh is back! Plus, how is Raffi holding up? Join us for our analysis of The Impossible Box.
On Free Cloud, crime queens dress like pop queens
Seven of Nine is back in a bomber jacket! We are here to chat Borg, crazy costumes, queering villains, and more space socialism. What happens in Free Cloud stays in Free Cloud, but spoilers lie ahead. Also, more wine.
Welcome back, Ryan!
Becca is curious if Ryan ate guinea pig while away on adventures in Argentina, but apparently this is more of a Peruvian dish. There is a Short Trek where H Jon Benjamin eats a tribble, which is basically space guinea pig.
Do these look delicious?
We speculate that Star Trek's version of socialism is predicated on machines taking the shitty jobs. What is Fully Automated Luxury Communism by Annie Lowrey via The Atlantic provides a good analysis. One element of this Utopian vision is likely predicated on having a Universal Basic Income - check out friend-of-the-pod Owen Poindexter's TEDx talk on the subject. Outside of the Star Trek universe, The Expanse presents another example of what this future may look like.
Data's Family and Friends
Ryan gives us a mini-synopsis of the extended universe novel Cold Equations, in which Dr. Noonian Soong is resurrected in B4's body and also incorporates Data's consciousness. From this, we know that Data and Dr. Bruce Maddox became pen pals after the events of The Measure of a Man (but still, fuck that guy). In Inheritance, we meet Data's mother Juliana Tainer, who is probably the earliest in-universe example of an android who passes for human.
Hi there, Robo-Mom!
Shoutout to Director Hanelle Culpepper
Hanelle Culpepper directed a number of Discovery episodes, making history as the first black woman to direct a Star Trek property. She continued on to work on Picard, and we commend her directorial acumen!
Still Stuck on the Queer-coded Villains
We meet a new villain in this episode, Bjazl. While being a badass who has the best costumes, she's also another entry in the too-long list of villains who are queer-coded. She is also a representation of another problematic trope - Bury Your Gays - which sees queer characters die disproportionately to their hetero counterparts. Finally, consider Evil is Sexy; she's ticking all the boxes, and not in a good way.
Seven of Nine is back in a bomber jacket! We are here to chat Borg, berets and bedazzled body suits, queering villains, and more space socialism. What happens in Free Cloud stays in Free Cloud, but spoilers lie ahead. Also, more wine.
Special Guest Host Molly Sanchez (@seriousmolly) fills in for Ryan this week! She and Becca get deep in Planet Vashti - permanent refugee camp for the Romulan diaspora. We ask the tough questions: who’s going to make out with whom, what do all of Captain Rios’s emergency holograms do anyway, and where can Becca get that hat? Also, we meet Space Legolas and some ninja nuns. Strap in!
Florida Picard smiles. Florida Picard wears a hat.
Check out this Medium article by T.S. Mendola which also recaps this episode - thanks so much for crediting us for coining Dr. F*ckboy, T.S.!!!
Important Doggo Update
Molly solved the mystery of Captain Archer's dog Porthos! Apparently dogs DO live decades longer in the future (yay!) so this was, indeed, the same dog from Enterprise. Scotty disappears--but doesn't kill!--Porthos in Star Trek (2009), and rescues him in a subsequent comic book. Phew. Confirmed by
Porthos the Beagle: extremely old and not dead.
What's going on with Planet Vashti?
Are we supposed to infer some relationship to Queen Vashti from the Book of Esther? It seems like a stretch, but here's a great article on the feminist overtones of the Purim holiday - Vashti and Esther: A Feminist Perspective by Wendy Amsellem via My Jewish Learning.
The Qowat Milat are a sect of nuns who follow the Way of Absolute Candor. It seems that Absolute Candor is similar but not really the same as Radical Candor by Kim Scott. Nevertheless, if you're a manager, you might consider picking up this book.
Divergent fans might have noticed a similarity between the "Way of Absolute Candor" and the "Candor" faction, who also practiced radical truth-telling, and were pretty much hated by all the other factions for being dicks.
Michael Chabon making Jewish Trek happen
This image is already trending on Twitter.
The Prime Directive vs Savior Captains
Check out The Original Series episode "The Apple" for a worst-case scenario of Kirk interfering with a culture and breaking the Prime Directive in the name of his human savior complex. Via Memory Alpha.
Here is some more information on broken treaties between the United States and native peoples, similar to the Federation's broken promise to the Romulans. Via the African American Policy Forum.
The Three Musketeers is a pretty great book by Alexander Dumas. It's in the public domain and you can read it for free on Google Books. The Count of Monte Cristo, which he also wrote and which Molly also discusses, is a much better book. Last we checked it was free or close to it on Kindle.
Alexander Dumas was black French novelist. You can read about the role of race in his books and his sort of messed up relationship with his white father in this cool article in the Independent. We also recommend this podcast episode about Alexander Dumas from Stuff You Missed in History Class.
Check out Molly's friend and author Meg Elison, whose novel The Book of the Unnamed Midwife won the Phillip K. Dick award.
Dr. Jurati was giving off major Shut Me Up Kiss vibes, which is a trope where women who talk too much get taught to do something for the patriarchy with their face instead of blabbering. via TV Tropes.
Geordi can get it
Levar Burton's "Special Talent"
You can hear Levar Burton brag about his special talent (tongue strength? dexterity?) in the episode "Kunta in the House" on the Another Round podcast.