In the twenty-third episode of the fourth season of The Next Generation, Dr. Crusherâ€™s love life is complicated by a secret. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.
Trigger Warning: For cissexism, homophobia, consent
Oh, I wanted to like this so much more than I did. And I was board â€“ utterly on board! â€“ right until the end, when a poor writing decision just tanks the entire thing. I know that thereâ€™s a complicated dance that many of us have to do when watching television or films from twenty, thirty, forty, and such years ago. Theyâ€™re simply not going to get some things right. Now, Iâ€™m not going to trod out that whole â€œproduct of their timeâ€ nonsense because Iâ€™m often bored by that logic. Thatâ€™s especially the case here, since The Next Generation is trying to give us a utopian future (or as close to one as possible), a glimpse of what our world can be like when we conquer most of the prejudices that have plagued us. And thenâ€¦ this? Really?
Hereâ€™s the thing. Prior to that abysmal, deplorable ending, this was a GREAT episode. I think that this was meant to be an exploration of desire and attraction. Is love attraction to a body or to a personality? What would happen if the person you loved suddenly and rapidly changed their appearance? Would you still love them? These are great questions to ask! And Dr. Crusher has to deal with this in an admittedly upsetting way. Itâ€™s not like sheâ€™s gotten much of a chance to romance anyone on the ship in the last four years, so I get why this was so jarring to her. I understand on some level why she was angered by Odanâ€™s secret, too, especially since it calls into question what part of Odan she was attracted to.
Look, itâ€™s not a comfortable question to ask, and I think some self reflection is absolutely crucial here. I know this issue is compounded for me because Iâ€™m a gay man. What kind of men have I been attracted to? Am I attracted to them because Iâ€™ve been conditioned to find a specific kind of guy attractive? Where does that attractiveness come from?
Hereâ€™s where â€œThe Hostâ€ loses me. I think Iâ€™m fine with the challenge here being presented to Dr. Crusher through Riker. Yes, itâ€™s awkward that sheâ€™s now made out with a commanding officer, but hey, at least it was with someone she knew. It feels a lot safer than with a stranger in that context. But when Odan is finally returned to a Trill body and this time, itâ€™s someone who presents as a woman, suddenly, attraction is off the table. Oh, so now the chance of fostering a relationship is gone? Once we invoke a possible same-gender pairing, itâ€™s all about discomfort. Look, I get that Dr. Crusher is straight, and no oneâ€™s sexuality should be forcibly changed. But these are fictional characters, and in this instance, a more courageous writer would have at least done something with this opportunity. Confirmed the existence of bisexuality? Mentioned gender reassignment surgery? Trans people? Talked about any possibility that would have made Dr. Crusherâ€™s love for Odan possibly in their new body? Instead, we get a wishy-washy excuse that humans simply arenâ€™t evolved enough to withstand these kind of changes.
Oh, honey, some of us long ago evolved. Donâ€™t put this on the entire human race. This isnâ€™t a human problem. Itâ€™s the problem of cis people and straight people.
Blah. That did not leave a good taste in my mouth.
The video for â€œThe Hostâ€ can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
– I am now on Patreon!!! MANY SURPRISES ARE IN STORE FOR YOU IF YOU SUPPORT ME.
– The Mark Does Stuff Tour 2015 is now live and includes dates across the U.S. this summer and fall Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often.Â My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be the remainder ofÂ The Legend of Korra, series 8 ofÂ Doctor Who, and Kings. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
-Â Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook!Â I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!