First Contact

When on Malcor, do as the Malcorians do. That’s what Commander Riker does when he pretends to be one of the locals while the Federation learns what they can about this pre-warp society. Things get complicated when Riker gets caught, though. Some Malcorians want to kill him, others want to know him. Intimately. Find out what happens when we put First Contact into the Mission Log.

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  • Lou Dalmaso

    at last! one of my favorite episodes! the guest stars! the issues! the only nit to pick is the whole “one man = the whole planet” problem, but I can see where you have to do that for the purpose of a 45 minute show.

    This could have been a TOS episode and i mean that as a compliment.

  • CmdrR

    It’s ‘Malcor III,’ because the Federation carries on the fine British tradition of going to an inhabited place and telling the natives what to call their home.
    This is such a rich episode, both on thinky bits as well as emotional beats and fun! WHY can’t they make movies this well?

    • This episode and last weeks “Clues” w the xenophobic Paxans, reminds me of the US head butting Japan into trade in the 1800s -a la “The Last Samurai”- lol, I think it was a US Admiral Nelson who said “TRADE WITH US OR ELSE!!!”- UGH, what arrogance…and the devastating repercussions. I think Mt McKinley had a name before the US “bought” the territory right? lol

      • Mt McKinley, “Denali” Mt Everest “Kangchenjunga”- perspective is so important….

        • CmdrR

          NY lawyer and avid hunter Charles Rushmore basically named Mt. Rushmore after himself, then gave bucks for the monument. The Sioux, in their oral tradition, knew the site as Six Grandfathers.

      • Muthsarah

        It worked out pretty well for Japan, actually. They got a head-start, compared to the rest of East Asia, on entering the industrial age (and were able to do so mostly on their own terms), were able to form more or less equal diplomatic relations with the world powers (at least compared with most other non-Western countries), and consequently had the strongest economy with the highest standards of living in the region for a century.

        Great Power politics, then as now, are about bastards trying to screw over other bastards, so I’m not saying anything done was right or moral or whatever. But it’s hard to argue with results – Japan’s done pretty well over the last 150 years, and a lot of that had to do with their leadership being pro-active and flexible when dealing with sudden, unwanted contact with foreign powers.

        Similarly, the Melkorians are destined to have a difficult time adjusting their way of life (or at least their perceptions of themselves and the world around them), but that would be the case no matter when they finally dealt with it. They’d probably be a lot better off dealing when they still have some control over the matter, rather than sticking their heads in the sand – only until they figure out what is going on, of course – and hoping things will somehow be easier the next time someone finds them.

        • Perry ! That’s the guy! I think waiting till a civilization is warp capable is a good policy, but let them tinker around a bit…darn you Riker! lol

    • TOTALLY AGREE! see my comment…could have been a great feature film concept. lol- the first 10 minutes of “Into Darkness” was about as Star Trek First Contact we get….

    • nathankc

      The Federation has to label systems *something* – in a first contact situation, it’s not like they can contact the natives and ask them what they want to call it. The system has probably been called Malcor III since it was charted back in NX or TOS days – before they even knew if it was inhabited or not

      • CmdrR

        [edited scene: Picard threatens to pour Canola oil over Durken, rendering his suckers useless, unless Durken and his people agree to use Federation nomenclature for their world. The action continues … ]
        PICARD: I’ve been saving this for a special occasion. My brother on Earth produces fruit known as grapes, which he turns into wine. He’s really quite good at it. Chancellor, we have a tradition called a toast. It is a drink to salute one’s friends and good fortune, and I would like to propose a toast to a new friendship.
        DURKEN: We have something very much like this here on Malcor Three.
        PICARD: Suckers working all right, are they?
        DURKEN: Yes. Yes, fine!

  • mc900

    How do you not think the message holds up? The message isn’t that society will bound towards a brighter tomorrow. No. It’s that human-oids tend to be suspicious and cautious and slowly accept a sea change.

    Other things-

    It’s a bit egocentric to think that advanced alien tech will follow our design path. In that an alien crt might look that way for a different reason might be constructed that way on a diffferent design path with different capabilities bc it is alien. At least that’s the rationale I make up to account for it.
    And- it’s not that everyone speaks english, come on we know it’s the universal translator. The question is why it doesnt translate the written word into some kind of google glass contact lense.

    • I felt the message held up very well, because it was truly realistic and honest. Sometimes elected leaders do not do what is best for their people and also, they might think it’s right but be totally wrong. There are limits to what a society can handle in the name of progress. There are fundamentalists of every stripe, clamoring for “the old days” and wanting others to run backwards at full speed. Sigh….

  • Wildride

    Ah, good, finally an adult: Perhaps she can take care of Barash, Jeremy Astor and any of the other random kids they’ve picked up over the years.

    Btw: Occam’s razor: The universal translator substitutes Federation place names for the local names. So, maybe, there isn’t a 3 in the name of their planet when Miranda says it, but only when Picard hears it, and vice versa.

    What you say, “Welcome to Earth.”
    What the alien hears, “Bliff zaab tey Terra soge 3.”

  • Lou Dalmaso

    I don’t have as cynical an outlook for the Malcorians. Because Chancellor Durkin is now the “Believer” that Yale was. And he’s in the power position to actually do the things that Yale wanted him to. It’s just the timetable that got pushed back. He knows for certain that there is an “out there” out there, where all he had to go on before were the opinions of advisers. I think that he was thinking of his people by not introducing culture shock into his citizenry. It’s true that he represents “the man” but now he is an enlightened “man” his speech about “still I think it was a good day” says that he won’t turn tail and hide like Krolla

    • I was not as cynical either. I got the impression the Chancellor wanted time, to get things on his planet better before entering formal relations w the UFP. I saw nothing really wrong w it. Like some relationships/endeavors, college applications, joining the military, timing is everything. As leader of the planet, he wanted to get things more prepared on his world, to ease growing pains. Like Pope Francis…lol, trying to change things gradually to avoid a major schism or fight? I also do not think Mirasta Yale was the only space warp proponent. There would have to be others in her organization that believed in the warp program and life beyond. It would just be too much of an oversimplification to say there was only 1-2 representatives of a particular viewpoint. Mirasta Yales successor would still push for the warp test, and the Chancellor would wink slyly…

      • Dave Steph Taylor

        This was also my impression, that the Chancellor simply wanted a bit of time. I am assuming that Mirasta was not the only one involved in the Warp project.

        Unfortunately/Fortunately those in power do not always get to see their promises fulfilled. Politics is a lot of give and take.

  • Rixizu

    Chuck Sonnenburg also known as Sf Debris did an interesting video on this episode and a follow up video dealing with the issues of first contact with alien species. It’s very interesting stuff.


  • Roger Birks

    Just off topic. A question to john and ken out of curiosity..

    I enjoy the podcasts. Question is this: Do you record these episodes well in advance of publishing online or do you record the week before you publish online? I mean do you two not have taken a holiday/break in the last 4 years?

    • Hi Roger – we do take breaks, but our recording schedule fluctuates greatly. Sometimes we are only a few days ahead of a release date, and other times we try to make up that time by getting a couple of weeks ahead. It really depends on what we have on our plates.

  • One of my favorites as well Lou!!- I always thought this episode concept should have been a movie. Not the Borg thing, time travel w a species we already know (Vulcans), sigh, but a real First Contact. The novel “Prime Directive” has a great First Contact gone horribly wrong. It tells us of “le reve de etoiles” French for “the dream of stars” – a concept that space faring/yearning civilizations should have or grasp before Starfleet makes contact. It is a really cool book!. Vash, got 3 episodes…including DS9…sigh..Ardra, Mirasta Yale…hmmm many more should have been followed up on…I remember back in the 90s thinking they should have followed up on “Pen Pals”- the volcano ravaged planet that the Enterprise saved, violating the Prime Directive per Data’s actions….what if 20 years later the planet’s race became invading conquerors in their system?? This episode really made you think…changing perspectives on Roswell or UFOs in general… I love DS9s upcoming “Little Green Men”

  • “Mirasta Yale”- Carolyn Seymour

  • “Chancellor Durken” George Coe RIP 2015

  • “Krola” Michael Ensign

    • nathankc

      Holy crap! I never made that connection.
      “That’s outrageous! I won’t pay it'”

  • “Lanel” Bebe Neuwirth

  • Barry Ingram

    Funny story about my father, a big Star Trek fan, but also a right-wing republican. We were watching this episode, and at the end, Durken said: “The warp program will have to be delayed… we will divert more resources into education and social development.” My father replied, to the screen MST3K-style: “Bunch of god-damn liberals!”.

    • it’s so funny how people are entrenched and see what they want to see….great example!

    • TrixieB

      Had to block someone on Twitter for their outright violent racism. They had a 7 of 9 avatar. I felt betrayed. People who watch Star Trek just cannot be racist! So wrong…

  • JusenkyoGuide

    Ken, I’m sorry. How can you possibly think this does not hold up?! This is… gah, this is the current US election in a nutshell. This is the status of what we’ve got, do we go forward, backwards? How? How do we do this when society is tearing itself apart AND we have someone *cough*Trump*cough* using every conceivable boogeyman he can? I look at this ep and see echos of what we’re having to deal with now.

    Furthermore, they don’t need to die. Let’s be honest, if Trump were elected, it would most likely not spell the end of the United States. Would people be worse served? Yes. Progress would suffer? Yup. But chances of the end of our life as we know it happening are very, very small. It’s not always the big choices and I applaud Star Trek for showing that. They missed their chance and perhaps THAT is the big warning to us, that you CAN play it safe and things will still be fine, there’s not a huge downside to that, but you won’t get to the stars that way.

    No, this somehow managed to mirror us today 30 years ago. It holds up well, unfortunately.

    • Durakken

      You do realize that while Trump is a joke of a presidential canidate, what you have ssaid, and what many other have said about him are outright lies perpetrated by the media and various groups who can find their way out of a paper bag.

      If you want to compare the characters to the Candidates.
      Krola would be Clinton
      Durken would be Trump
      Berel would Sanders
      Marista would likely be one of the third parties.

      Is Durken the best person moving forward? Nope. Does he know what he’s going to do? Nope. But is he a better choice than a person openly trying to start conflicts and people who don’t have the integrity to stand by their supposed convictions who don’t know what they would do but are just acting out of fear or a desire for power? Yep.

      But honestly, I think that’s a real poor comparison and if you’re saying it holds up on grounds of mirroring the present day i’d say it doesn’t, but I think it hold up because the various messages, like sometimes it is best to step back and re-evaluate what you’re doing before you go too far and get yourself into a situation you’re not ready for, do hold up.

      • JusenkyoGuide

        Okaaaaaaaay, I think what I was saying went past you a bit. I am not claiming this mirrors things exactly, I AM saying that we are dealing with the fight between progress and non still. The non side wants to stand still, the progressive side wants to go forward.

        What Star Trek is doing here is noting that non-progress doesn’t automatically OMG! BAD THINGS! but it can mean missed opportunities, a chance to reach for the stars. Furthermore, there’s also the issue about how do you deal with people who are against progress? Do we FORCE them to do so (Ala Kirk, it’s called progress. You’ll like it!)? In the Star Trek universe it’s so much easier to call for a violation of the Prime Directive when a planet is going to explode and intervening means saving lives. Well, here’s one where non-intervention means losing the stars, so what should the Enterprise crew do?

        The message isn’t back off, it’s a message that giving into fear means lost opportunities, but that has to be balanced with making sure that others are on the same page. There’s no easy answers here.

        • Durakken

          And I think you are a typical person that wants to do good and relies on people they perceive to be good to inform them properly even when what they are told is completely wrong.

          While yes, there is a group of people out there that are “new = bad” the majority of people aren’t like that. In fact, the actual threat in reality at present is that there are people, namely feminists, SJWs, “the left” that are trying to claim that what they are doing is new and different and because it’s new and different it is good. Both of those things are distinctly false. What these people are doing is just continuation of the same old thing, if not a surface level inversion to acheive the same ends of things that reasonable and rational people have fought and mostly won against. For quite a while now people have seen that new things have turned out alright if not great and so people have now gotten into the mind set that any stupid thing that sounds new is also good and so they willing take on horrible ideas that people push calling it new or “progressive” all while those same people continue to push lies and false histories to commit worse atrocities than what has happened in the past.

          And as far as this notion of one side wants to progress and other side wants to stay still. That’s purely nonsense. You’ve attached an emotional feeling to the word “progress” as something that is good and thus anyone who is doing something you see as good is “progressive” and anyone you see as bad or neutral you see as “standing still” or “regressive” when in reality progress just means to move towards some goal, whatever that goal may be. They all have some goal whether it is completely immoral, unethical, corrupt and regressive like Clinton’s or Trump’s personal ambitions whether they be altruistic or about personal greed.

          What you are promoting is called authoritarianism, also refered to as a tyranical dictatorship, and the complete opposite of “progress”.

          As far as the message of the show. I said that what I said is one message. Slowing down and making sure your ready is one message. Another is that if you are afraid of the unknown you could miss out on things, like you said, but the counterpoint to that is, if you let yourself run headlong into something out of fear of losing out of you can wind up doing more harm than good, which is what is being argued. You are not doing away with fear in your thinking, all you are doing is letting it push you into make bad decisions the other way…. which to be fair relates tangentially to modern politics in that people are so afraid of not being perceived as good they are letting themselves do and support really vile things. You have simply chosen to ignore one way of looking at things because that allows you to continue to lie to yourself that one side is fear driven and “the other side” is some noble cause.

          As far as the idea that Trump will destroy the US. lol. That’s fear mongering firstly, but it’s also hilarious because GW and Obama have been the most incompetent presidents likely in history and Trump is certainly a more competent leader than them. If anything were to tear the US apart is the hatred that the groups i mentioned are fomenting against Trump… if not the outright bigotry and authoritarianism that those same people are pushing.

          Anyways… Not going to respond any more because I’m sure this will go further down the rabbit hole if I do and I’ve said before, this probably isn’t that place for that.

          • JusenkyoGuide

            Oh, I see… You’re one of those.

          • Durakken

            Why yes I am a god.

        • Like Rutia III in “The High Ground”, an advanced but non aligned planet…this is what could have happened to Malcor III, if they had been willing to step forward….some planets are aware of the Federation, just not members…The missed opportunity though was pretty great…who’s to say the Zalconians from “Transfigurations” or random other race might not stumble upon Malcor next week. The Talerians, hmmm I know theres more…lol, and the new advanced race might not have any Prime Directive to hold them back

      • Michael Poole

        Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos!

    • I agree it totally, 100% holds up. Denial over facts, because it might scare some…bruise some egos, offend some religions, sigh, yup holds up today. The review was wondering why this one guy gets to make the call? He is the leader of the planet and we are talking about establishing some form of diplomatic relations. Special circumstances of course, but along those lines, and he is the head of state. Other branches of govt were involved by proxy, the space administration and security apparatus/military, but cut short due to time. This is on my Top 10 list for sure. It delves into the nitty gritty of one of the most interesting concepts of Star Trek. The Prime Directive is ethical imo, because it does try to ease a planets way into a larger neighborhood. Random interstellar bumps could be bad. I think the book “Prime Directive” w its First Contact Office is a must for any Trek fans on this board! lol

        10, Cause and Effect
        9. First Contact
        8. Conspiracy
        7. The Enemy
        6. Yesterday’s Enterprise
        5. The Offspring
        4. The Most Toys
        3. Inner Light
        2. The Defector
        1. The Best of Both Worlds
        Lists are fun!! lol-

  • Dave Steph Taylor

    I saw this one was next and instantly I thought, “This is the one where Riker gets it on with Fraser’s ex-Wife.”

    So why would Riker have sex with her? It seems like this would be a complete violation of the Prime Directive. And it accomplished nothing to help out Riker’s situation. For all we know there could be a little Riker in a few years.

    I too totally enjoyed the episode as a view from the Aliens point of view.

    And I totally get the Chancellor’s hesitation to open immediate negotiations with the Federation. Yet, why stop the Warp program, just because you had issues with Aliens from another planet?

  • Durakken

    The Riker sex thing… It should be considered rape, not extortion. But as far as it happening in the show. I think it’s perfectly fine that it happened, because its a small bit of comedy, parody, poking fun at certain people and really has nothing to do with the sex itself. There are always a group of people that have this alien sex/love fetish thing and almost everytime they come up they are made fun of… One such example of this outside of this episdoe is in Independence Day you have a bunch of people with signs with messages that are, shall we say, welcoming… and then if i remember right the aliens park over them and blast them to oblivion.

    • Dave Steph Taylor

      It is a mixed thing.

      She did not tie down Riker and force herself upon him. But, she did imply that he would be stuck without “servicing” her.

      • Durakken

        Not really. Under the strictest definitions that aren’t sexist it is rape. Under the crazy ways that people look at that he should be traumatized, unable to do anything ever again, and would have been better if he was murdered in the most gruesome and heinous way yuo can think of.

        But then philosophy can make the argument that no matter the situation you’re in you always have the choice. There is no reason he couldn’t just knock her out, vulcan nerve pinch her, or any number of other things that would incapacitate her fairly rapidly. Of course, that would have had worse problems overall and as such would constitute a larger threat taking away his agency… but then it’s still his choice to act in accordance to those goals which he really doesn’t have to.

        • Dave Steph Taylor

          Ya, he did not protest too much. 😉

          It is really an odd moment in the middle of this episode that accomplished nothing.

          Seems like this would be a major violation of the Prime Directive as well, and depending on the DNA compatibility left a half alien child behind.

    • Wildride

      Now, in The Host, however …

  • Cygnus-X1

    @John Champion, I can’t believe that you guys made an issue of the sex-extortion scene being immoral. I can’t believe that Ken used the words “extremely disturbing” to describe how he feels about that scene. Is he descended from Puritans or something? Are you guys just extremely prudish, or what? It’s one of the few such risque scenes (perhaps the only one) in all of TNG. It was funny, it was sexy, it was memorable, it was fun. I would suggest that you guys are taking it way too seriously. I suppose the silver lining of your poo-pooing that scene is that it took the place of the usual ministerial, holier-than-thou sermon by Ken about sexism in Trek.

    • Switch the characters. Let’s say Troi was trapped on a planet and the male orderly or nurse came in and said, “I’ll help you escape, but you have to have sex with me first.” She doesn’t want to but does anyway if it will help her escape. Is that the same hilarious light-hearted romp, just another moment of Star Trek letting its hair down?
      And yes, we will continue to point out sexism. Our job is to analyze and discuss all aspects of Star Trek since, presumably, Star Trek is an important show that deals with important topics. If I made a list of all the topics we were asked to stay away from by some listeners (politics, religion, sex, sexism, the environment, etc.) we would have a lovely show about how cool spaceships are.

      • Durakken

        I think there is a fine line between pointing it out and overly sensitive about it. If we don’t allow any act that we find immoral in our fiction then we instantly find ourselves not being able to really tell a story because it removes a lot of conflict which is essential in story telling, but excessiveness is bad, simply because it means you’re relying on a single idea and repeating it over and over.

        The important point on this is the meta analysis of how it was taken in the writing and by the characters. We get a very different feel from the various scenarious. Every time that Star Trek broaches sexual assault(or similar) happening to men it is considered comedic. Every time it happens to women it is a terrible thing. That is what I find disturbing because the writers would never broach this topic in a gender swapped story, BUT I also think that it’s ok how it’s handled here because it’s meant to be comedic and not a major plot point similar to Transporters… how do we x rather than how do we interlaced this concept into this huge story… where as in other episodes it is a main point thus it is handled well there… Just there is no balance which is the problem imo

      • Cygnus-X1

        “Switch the characters… Is that the same hilarious light-hearted romp,
        just another moment of Star Trek letting its hair down?”

        That depends on a number of variables. But, you’re glossing over the most important one, which is that there are differences between men and women. Many, if not most of us, get extorted, even raped, in some fashion or another by our employers, and it’s perfectly legal. Personally, I have endured far worse treatment by my male bosses over the years than having a session of sexual intercourse extorted from me by a woman. Honestly, I have a hard time imagining myself being upset about it afterwards if I’m Riker in that scenario. I can’t think of a single male friend of mine who would feel very differently than I about it, and we’ve had these sort of conversations. Having sex with a woman that I never see again in order to get out of captivity? Sure, why not? I get free, plus I get laid, plus I have a great story to tell. As long as I don’t get a disease in the process, it’s win/win.

        • Durakken

          Thats not because the seriousness of the crime is different. It’s because how people have socialized men and women to treat these things. It’s abhorant that your making such an excuse, because it just furthers the problem and it’s trajic that society allows this to be a common way of thinking. It’s literally mental derangement resulting from abuse that most men think the same way you do.

          You can sit there and go through a situation and the laws and such and most men might be able to admit that sexual assault of some sort has happened legally, but have a very hard time saying that’s a problem. That type of thing only ever really happen when a person has been mentally broken to view themself as less than and unworthy of justice/equal treatment.

          • Cygnus-X1

            I’m sorry, I see that you are upset, but I don’t understand what you are trying to say. I’m not sure that you understood my point as I intended it.

          • Durakken

            Wrong on both accounts.
            You should really stop and think about why you think a crime is ok when it is commited against one group but not another.

          • Cygnus-X1

            I never said it was OK.

        • Muthsarah

          “Many, if not most of us, get extorted, even raped, in some fashion or another by our employers, and it’s perfectly legal.”

          OK, maybe you don’t understand what the word “rape” means. But it’s not similar to extortion, at all. It’s even less like having to work overtime, or not getting that cost-of-living adjustment raise you were hoping for. I think you’re speaking of matters far beyond your understanding, and, given the sensitivity of the topic, you should probably be more discreet when talking about it.

          As for the “what’s wrong with being raped, it’s just like free sex!” bit. Imagine, if you would, if this woman you’re thinking about was someone you were not attracted to. At all. In fact, you feel legitimately threatened by her, so much so that you actually wouldn’t feel reMOTEly comfortable with the thought of having sex with her.

          Now picture if she’s a man. That’s actually a much more gentle logical leap than what you’re talking about.

          • Cygnus-X1

            “OK, maybe you don’t understand what the word “rape” means.”

            Maybe you don’t understand that I was using it as a metaphor for being severely pressured to give a part of yourself that you weren’t willing to give.

            “But it’s not
            similar to extortion, at all. It’s even less like having to work
            overtime, or not getting that cost-of-living adjustment raise you were
            hoping for.”

            This appears to be condescension and belittling of my point. Should I bother mentioning that I said nothing of overtime or pay raises.

            “I think you’re speaking of matters far beyond your
            understanding, and, given the sensitivity of the topic, you should
            probably be more discreet when talking about it.”

            I would say the same about your comment. You have no idea what you’re even belittling.

          • Muthsarah

            For simplicity, I’ll just combine all replies to this one comment.

            “Maybe you don’t understand that I was using it as a metaphor for being severely pressured to give a part of yourself that you weren’t willing to give.”

            What you said earlier was: “Many, if not most of us, get extorted, even raped, in some fashion or another by our employers, and it’s perfectly legal.”

            Again, you are not drawing a clear enough distinction between extortion and rape. Anything remotely similar to rape, especially from a boss to an employee, IS clearly illegal. There are laws about this. If there’s any vagueness, or if it’s “perfectly legal”, you’re talking about something other than rape.

            “That is a significantly different scenario than the one at issue in this
            Trek episode. And even so, it would depend on many variables. No need
            to get more specific”

            Not really. Most of what you’ve said here about this hypothetical scenario has been framed as being “not that bad” because it’s somehow kinky, or because Riker (or you) like the idea – a physically threatening woman might turn you on, as you said. We’re talking at cross-purposes here. It is irrelevant if there’s any attraction or some semblance of enjoyment had (such as whether or not a man/boy has to be physically aroused, which he doesn’t). It is all about consent and coercion. Now, while physical threats make non-consent quite obvious, coercion threatens to blur that line, and does in the eyes of many. But that doesn’t ultimately change what’s going on – sex through extortion IS creepy and wrong.

            What Lanel did to Riker was wrong. Not in the wanting, or the offering, but by clearly implying that Riker would be endangered if he didn’t give her what she wanted, something he repeatedly refused to go along with, with her merely repeating the threat and using the power she has over him (his life, the success of his mission, so his career as well) to force him to do something he didn’t want to do.

            As to the specific comment you made about your once-girlfriend, it sounds awful, and potentially very confusing and disturbing to think about even today, but unless she was your boss, it’s not germane to what I said about the legality of extortion of rape. Also, that you say you sorta enjoyed it, that also doesn’t affect my point about non-consent. It’s sex being forced upon the victim.

            Brief aside – Several decades ago, the actor Errol Flynn was charged with raping one (or perhaps more) underage women. This was when he was still a very, very popular movie star. At the time, he was considered to be so desirable, that many, many people (including the press) made the argument: “How could any woman be raped by Errol Flynn?”, clearly implying that consent could only be implied – even legally! – with someone so desirable. According to that argument, the women couldn’t possibly NOT have consented, so it’s irrelevant if they say they did, and so they were branded as liars. Flynn was acquitted, and remained extremely popular. His “desirability”, or whether or not the women enjoyed it, were used as excuses for why the women’s claims could not and should not have been believed, and for why whatever happened couldn’t have even been rape, by definition. Without having to go into he-said-she-said, framing the defense as not-guilty-because-hot was a gross perversion of the very concept of what rape is. It denied the women the very right to refuse consent, which is the most relevant matter.

            If you found your ex-girlfriend’s act of extortion AND sexual assault of some kind to be “hot”, after the fact, well…I can’t speak for that. But that you IMMEDIATELY called the police about her suggests that – at the time – you were afraid or even traumatized about the experience. And that’s the part that’s relevant here. You didn’t want to do it, but it was forced on you because of threats. Clearly, clearly wrong.

            Anyway, I don’t want to dwell too deeply into this, so I won’t go into any more lengthy replies. Let’s just move away from this messy discussion about sex and consent and move on to………REALLY?! “Galaxy’s Child”? Season 4, why??

          • Cygnus-X1

            Well, I agree that we’ve been talking at cross purposes. You’ve made your own points, and I’m not interested in rebutting them. But, they aren’t the same points that I was making. I was not making any point about legality. I will, however, respond to your rejoinder about my personal “rape” experience.

            You said, “…that you IMMEDIATELY called the police about her suggests that –
            at the time – you were afraid or even traumatized about the experience.
            And that’s the part that’s relevant here. You didn’t want to do it,
            but it was forced on you because of threats. Clearly, clearly wrong.”

            You’re not entirely wrong in your assessment. I was afraid of her. The whole episode had begun with an evil look coming onto her face that I’d never seen before. And what followed was pure madness.

            But, you are wrong to say that her threats were somehow not as threatening as if she’d been my boss. I’m not going to get into specifics, but what she threatened to do, and I knew that she had the means to do it, was perhaps more threatening and more potentially damaging than a simple quid-pro-quo extortion from a superior at work. My main goal throughout the incident was to leave the room that she had me trapped in. Ultimately I called the police because she was physically preventing me from getting my stuff and leaving. In order to leave, I would have had to be physically violent with her. I was traumatized by the event. I’d never before had my trust betrayed in such a willfully extreme and flagrant manner. While she was forcing herself on me sexually, I told her several times to stop. She’d insist that I liked it, and I’d reply no each time. I was in tears intermittently throughout the entire episode, which lasted about a day and a half—that’s how long she had me trapped in the room, threatening me the entire time if I left or called anyone. Of course, the whole time, I was trying to talk her down, talk sense into her, tell her anything to let me leave or make a phone call. The whole ordeal was extremely unpleasant. But, like I said, the sex part of it was pretty damned hot in retrospect. Would I endure the entire day-and-a-half ordeal again just for the sex? No. But, the memory of the “rape” is a kinky benefit of the whole episode. And that’s really the operative word here—kinky. It’s not something that I’m going to try to explain to you, the concept of sexual kink, but suffice it to say that it’s very common and people pay a lot of money for it. Was what she did to me “wrong?” Yes. But, that’s the essence of kink.

            People obviously have varying opinions and sensibilities about issues of sex, but to me that Riker scene is pretty tame. And being that TNG was a pretty tame and PC show, I feel it’s reasonable to say that most viewers did not find the scene “extremely disturbing.” Whether or not you can appreciate the kink of it is entirely up to you. Obviously the writers appreciated the kink of it, or they’d not have written the scene.

            As is my wont when Trek writers are accused of some immorality in these podcasts, I side with the writers on this one. I find it annoying that some goody-two-shoes always has to make an issue of any slightly off-color humor or implication in entertainment like this. How boring would dramatic entertainment be if they got their way? Pretty damned boring, if you ask me. Frankly, that prospect and the oppressiveness of excessive political correctness offends my sensibilities much more than any “wrong” I’ve seen portrayed in a drama, certainly in Trek which has always been a relatively PC and socially conscious show, even in the old days when Kirk would talk down to his female crew members. I don’t particularly want to see that sort of behavior, but I’ll take it over the incessant whining and Puritanical, holier-than-thou PC policing that oppresses the creation of good art and entertainment.

          • Cygnus-X1

            “Imagine, if you would, that this woman you’re thinking about was
            someone you were not attracted to.”

            I would have to be somewhat attracted to her physically in order to be physically capable of having sexual intercourse with her. This is one of the differences between men and women.

            “In fact, you feel
            legitimately threatened by her, so much so that you actually wouldn’t
            feel reMOTEly comfortable with the thought of having sex with her.”

            I haven’t met many women that I felt physically threatened by, if any. And if I did feel physically threatened by a woman, that wouldn’t necessarily preclude my wanting to have sex with her. It might turn me on.

            “Now picture if she’s a man.”

            That is a significantly different scenario than the one at issue in this Trek episode. And even so, it would depend on many variables. No need to get more specific.

          • Durakken

            “I would have to be somewhat attracted to her physically in order to be physically capable of having sexual intercourse with her.”

            No v.v Go learn biology.

            “I haven’t met many women that I felt physically threatened by, if any.”

            Your ignorance of danger has little to do with what is being talked about by muthsarah, but it shows how you think. You think in terms of “physical” threat in terms of “I bet I can fight that woman and win” which is completely wrong head whether you’re athletic or an outshape wastrel that couldn’t fight if their life depended on it, because threats, especially in the modern world, are almost never direct and as such your ruler, however accurate it is, which I doubt is even remotely so, is inadequate to the job of threat assessment.

            “That is a significantly different scenario than the one at issue in this Trek episode.”

            Not really. The fact of the matter is that in the scenario Riker has limited time to escape. He can overpower his opponent or convince them, before others arrive. Since overpowering them is off the table he can only hope to talk his way out of the situation. Being that women are much powerful verbally than men a woman is an even greater threat in this situation than a man. Further, in a physical confrontation, Riker is likely superior to whatever thrown at him as he is supposedly trained in the best martial arts in the galaxy which is refined from thousands of other martial arts which no single planet’s martial tradition could ever hope to match… so it’s not extremely different but in the ways it could/would be the more threatening just based on gender swapping is what Riker faced, but you don’t think so because man strong, woman weak v.v

          • Cygnus-X1

            You seem not to have read my comments in their entirety. Either that or you’re not understanding what I’ve written.

          • Cygnus-X1

            Now that I think of it, I don’t even need to imagine your proposed scenario, because I actually have been raped in a manner akin to the one at issue in this episode. Long story short, I was extorted by my then girlfriend after I told her that I had to break up with her. During a crazed session lasting hours, in which she threatened to cause severe harm to myself and to my company—to ruin me—alternating with threatening to kill herself, she basically forced herself on me sexually. I would have had to resort to physical violence in order to stop her, and I did not. After it was over, I called the police and she absconded only to be picked up by them later. The whole experience was very upsetting and traumatic for me. But, when I think about it now, while I would not want to re-live the whole episode, I’d be lying if I said that the rape part of it wasn’t pretty damned hot.

            So, there you have it. I’d bet real money that many more men would share my feelings than women.

          • Durakken

            “I’d bet real money that many more men would share my feelings than women.”

            I’d bet the reverse, because research has shown that a large majority of women fantasize about rape and even play at it while most men have a savage hatred of it leaving many to suicide from just being accused when they know hadn’t done it or killing other men that have been accused of it….

          • Cygnus-X1

            A large majority of women fantasize about rape?

            That would seem to support my position even more.

      • Cygnus-X1

        “And yes, we will continue to point out sexism. Our job is to analyze and discuss all aspects of Star Trek…”

        But, are you discussing all aspects of Trek? Or, is Ken just focusing on males in Trek who make unwarranted assumptions about women in Trek? John, you don’t seem to ever discuss men in Trek being put upon by women in Trek, only the other way around. So, are you discussing all aspects of Trek, or are you just picking and choosing in accordance with the rules of political correctness? Frankly, given the obsessiveness with which Ken goes after every slight occurrence of sexism in Trek, I get the impression that it’s more of a personal issue for him, that he is ever reacting to some past trauma involving the mistreatment of women, rather than analyzing Trek for its dramatic, entertainment, philosophical and production value.

        All women aren’t saints, you know. They stereotype and mistreat men, too. And neither is stereotyping intrinsically immoral or even bad as a matter of practice. Market segmentation is stereotyping, but it’s not necessarily immoral. Neither is sexism intrinsically immoral or bad. Professional sports discriminate between men and woman, but the vast majority of people seem to think it’s a good idea. And I can list many other such examples. So, it’s not just that you discuss “sexism” in Trek, it’s that you do it in a manner that is not particularly even-handed and not thought-provoking. Having the PC Police repeat “sexism is bad” ad nauseum isn’t interesting. And, it happens to be grossly imprecise and inaccurate as a matter of practice in the real world.

  • Cygnus-X1

    P.S. @John Champion, I see (hear) now that you did point out the fun aspect of that scene. So, let me not include you in my complaint. But, Ken… I mean, come on. That guy must live a wonderfully protected life if he finds that scene extremely disturbing. In any case, I did find the rest of this podcast thought-provoking and enjoyable.

  • Matt Bell

    At last we are given a canon reference of the average cruising velocity of starships in the 24th century – Troi outright states that Earth is over 2,000 light years away from Malcor. Now, we don’t know the exact stardate of this episode, but based on the ones before and after it means that the E-D would average between 3000 and 4000 times lightspeed. This is obviously much faster than the “official” velocities but makes a lot more sense overall