Skin of Evil

It is the La Brea tar pits meets Doomsday! It is Star Trek: The Next Generation meets The Blob! It is Tasha Yar meets her demise! It is Skin of Evil meets Mission Log!

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  1. Tegan Bigone says:

    Armis’ “voice” sounded like someone constantly on the verge of vomiting.
    The set for this episode was worse than most of the 1960’s sets of the Original Series.
    Geeking out over the “tin man” thing is a bit much. It was clearly meant as an inside joke for the viewers because it is an insult that none of the Enterprise crew could ever get away with saying.
    Also, don’t confuse justice with vengeance; abandoning Armis a second time can just as easily be called “vengeance” as killing him. Everyone is so politically correct today that we’ve devolved into the lunatic backward notion that the death penalty for a murderer is just as evil as the murder. Armis has just committed a heinous act of murder and therefore forfeited his own existence, and issuing that punishment is NOT an act of vengeance, it is an act of justice.

    • Low Mileage Pit Woofie says:

      Not a few episodes before this one, Picard and crew were proud to say that humanity had grown and evolved beyond the “lunatic backward notion” that the death penalty was a viable punishment.

      Picard was right then. And he was right not to execute Armus. What would have been the point? To end his suffering and loneliness? To bring back Tasha? There was no call for him to kill Armus.

      What’s the point of executing anyone?

      Is it to teach criminals not to do it again? Most crimes worthy of execution are committed by people not equipped to understand their actions, or ones who committed their crimes impulsively. Besides, locking them away for life is effectively preventing them from committing those crimes anyway.

      And what about those who are wrongfully executed? Someone locked away for life who’s found innocent can at least be set free. Not so for those executed.

      And every enemy in a war that dies in battle did not die out of vengeance, or out of justice, but because they died. The battlefield is the last place to expect to find justice.

      I look forward to a time when the death penalty is seen as a barbaric punishment, even if I don’t live to see it.

      • Tegan Bigone says:

        Then what is the point of Justice? What is the point of courts and punishment, since it does not undo the crime? What you are proposing is ANARCHY. No law can stand without a punishment for violating it. And the greatest crime anyone can commit against another human is the taking of their life – and JUSTICE DEMMANDS that a murderer has forfeited his own existence, and a person who does not believe in Justice is as equally a threat to Humanity as the murderer..

        • Low Mileage Pit Woofie says:

          Justice. Demands. NOTHING.

          Justice is a concept, subject to multiple interpretations, as it obviously has between us. And you’ll find many people like myself that choose not to follow some 4000 year old legal ruling about an eye for an eye, if for no other reason than there are always extenuating circumstances that shouldn’t make a judgement so summarily.

          You write that “the greatest crime anyone can commit against another human is the taking of their life”. Armus wasn’t human. He was an alien entity left alone for who knows how long, obviously hated it, and may not necessarily be fully responsible for his actions (also, he did literally warn Yar not to approach, and she refused to listen).

          And if you still crave revenge and want Armus to suffer, what do you think will be more appropriate, that his lonely, tortuous life is ended quickly with a photon torpedo, or if he’s left alone for eternity to consider what he’s done?

          • Tegan Bigone says:

            So if some dude rapes and tortures and dismembers and kills your daughter, you don’t think that the guy should be punished because “justice is just a concept”?! You are a fricking LUNATIC and YOU NEED TO BE LOCKED AWAY IN GUANTANAMO far away from CIVILization!!!!!

          • Low Mileage Pit Woofie says:

            My, such vitriol. And from a supposed Bible scholar.

            For the record, I never wrote that people shouldn’t be punished for their crimes. I never espoused anarchy. I wrote that I did not consider capital punishment a viable option for crimes. It’s not a deterrent, it’s not a curative, it doesn’t bring back the dead victims, it doesn’t bring back the dead criminal if later you discover that they weren’t guilty of the crime, and it is no more a worthy aspect of a modern civilised society than slavery or holy wars.

            Would I feel the same way if a criminal had done all those terrible things you suggested to my daughter? Of course not. But thankfully the legal system is driven by laws rather than emotion, otherwise mob rule, the anarchy of which you speak, would hold sway.

            This week in Britain, a young local politician named Jo Cox, a selfless wife and mother who fought to help refugees and family and fight against people trafficking and poverty, was brutally murdered by a right-wing extremist. She was an amazing, laudable woman, an inspiration not just to other women but to people in general. If anyone deserved to feel like inflicting lethal vengeance on her murderer, it would be her husband.

            And yet, he released a message after her death. “She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.”

            He doesn’t want the courts to free the man who killed her, or free any murderer or criminal. Nor do I. But we’re supposed to be better than they are.

            And if you can’t conduct a civilised conversation and continue to react as you do, I’ll make a complaint to the moderators.

          • Tegan Bigone says:

            As I said, you are a lunatic.

          • Low Mileage Pit Woofie says:

            And you’re a hypocrite. But hey, thanks for playing, you don’t go empty handed, you get to take the Home version of our game with you.

          • Tegan Bigone says:

            Hypocrite? LOL. You’re just flinging words out to be insulting. You do not know me and therefor you have nothing by which to judge that I am a hypocrite. A hypocrite is one who does something that he condemns someone else of doing. You have not seen me do that at all. The Bible condemns those who condemn marriage between homosexuals (1st Timothy 4:1-3) saying that such people, like you, have turned from the biblical faith to follow the hatemongering lies of devils and call YOU the hypocrite, not me.

          • Low Mileage Pit Woofie says:

            A hypocrite picks the bits of a religion or philosophy that they like, and ignores the rest. You beat the drum about damnation and sin, but turn a blind eye and deaf ear to mercy and forgiveness. And you seem to support a sci-fi show that says people will outgrow religions like yours, that people should be treated equally regardless of their sexual preference… and that the death penalty is an outmoded, primitive concept. How can you continue to watch and support a program with this philosophy?

            As for marriage between homosexuals, I support it. And I believe that there is something fundamentally wrong about a religion whose deity purportedly creates people with a certain sexual preference, and then condemn them for that. If your God exists and condemns me for it, so be it. To paraphrase Picard, “If we’re to be damned, let’s be damned for what we really are.”

          • Tegan Bigone says:

            I’M being vitriolic?! I’m merely saying what YOU teach, that no matter what heinous crime a person commits in take a life from this world, he hasn’t forfeited his own life. Instead, you want them to be barbarically locked in a small cage for the rest of their life and have US pay for it! They’ve committed the crime but WE get punished! You take a life and you FORFEIT YOUR LIFE. PERIOD. If you would let that person live, YOU are as guilty as the criminal.

          • Low Mileage Pit Woofie says:

            Don’t play the “cruel and unusual” card with me, bubulah. You’ve been preaching fire and brimstone throughout this discussion, and now you want to go on about how barbaric it would be lock up these poor people for the rest of their lives. You don’t give a shit about them.

            Or the expense card, either (your real bone of contention here); death penalty cases cost more than keeping someone alive in prison (in some cases, up to 10 times more). Of course, you could streamline the process – like, take away their fundamental civil rights – and simply take the convicted out and chopping off their heads. of course, if later the evidence points to their innocence (as so many, MANY cases have done), you can always- no wait, you’re screwed. Well, they’re screwed.

          • Tegan Bigone says:

            You are completely advocating anarchy out of one side of your mouth and saying you’re not out of the other side. if you do not want to live in a system of law and order and CONSEQUENCES FOR DOING EVIL, then the United States is not the country for you.

          • Low Mileage Pit Woofie says:

            Once again, and I’ll write it slowly so you’ll understand: being against capital punishment does not mean supporting anarchy. There should be consequences for committing crimes, but not at the expense of someone’s life. It makes the state no better than the criminal, it is more costly, and if the system gets it wrong, as it has repeatedly done, then there’s no takesies-backsies.

            I have tried repeatedly to engage in a civilised discussion about this, and you have been repeatedly vitriolic and unreasonable.

            PS – I don’t live in the United States. Was born there, lived there for 25 years, and left for a country without the death penalty, without a gun culture, without a fundamentalist theocracy on the level of the Taliban, without the worry that I can’t afford medical treatment… and without nutjobs like you.

            (Most other Americans, however, are decent, wonderful folk whom I love, by the way)

  2. Jerry Stokes says:

    Looking back, I guess I did not like Yar, but she had a great death. A great epidode.

    • Tegan Bigone says:

      Jerry… ya know, I wasn’t really thrilled with the character in that first season (well, I wasn’t really thrilled with that first season, period) – but I thought the actress was wicked awesome when she returned as a Romulan and when she returned as Yar for the last episode of Next Generation. Would be awesome to see her in a movie.

  3. Will Wright says:

    Original KHTV Ch 39 Houston Ad…

  4. As you mentioned, this ep was written by Joseph Stefano. He co-created The Outer Limits, and Armis was kind of in the style of his Gothic creatures seen there, such as in “Don’t Open Till Doomsday.”

    “The Tholian Web” also used the device of a message from a (presumed) dead person, in Kirk’s inspiring message left for Spock and McCoy. I always find this device moving, although you have to allow for some creative license, as you said with Yar addressing her friends who all luckily managed to survive (unless the computer edited for this.) Great discussion!

  5. I have only just discovered this podcast, my wife and I are enjoying our first complete TNG watch through… I really enjoy the dynamic between you both.
    The message that Tasha Yar leaves for the Command crew during her memorial.
    I interpreted that as a letter for those we left behind… which is something that a lot of soldiers (even today) write prior to going on particularly dangerous missions. Most of us write a single letter and leave it in our breast pocket to be found by our fellow soldiers and sent on to our loved ones. It may never be read, but it is there on the chance that it is needed.

  6. Liam McMullin says:

    I think I like your podcast about “Skin of Evil” more than I like the episode itself. Armus is a bit too “fi” for me perhaps.

    Re-creating dead loved ones in a holodeck might be very upsetting for a lot of people. While it seems to be able to create very believable people after the Bynars upgraded* it, there would still be an uncanny valley problem where the computer is guessing at a person’s behaviours based on available information and its accuracy would vary. Some people might be traumatized. Perhaps seeing a holodeck can’t do a friend justice would help some other people grieve.

    *Do different holodecks in the Federation end up with vastly different software capabilities? What happens if you take a great program and load it in a holodeck powered by an inferior computer?

  7. KatieN says:

    I think one message that you guys didn’t fully cover can be witnessed through Troi’s interactions with the creature and then Picard’s line about evil.

    Cruelty and misery have a cause. The creature is not “evil” -some base truism. He has an origin and a reason. He was created.

    Sometimes, in modern society, when something morally hideous occurs, we have a tendency to apply dark, mythic platitudes. We blame evil, essentially, and free ourselves from painful contemplation. Perhaps we worry that attempting an explanation or outlining a cause might be tantamount to justifying or excusing.

    Take terrorism. How do we understand that there are always root causes to terrorism without victim blaming or seeming to shift moral responsibility for a tragedy?

    Or a deranged teenage boy who commits a massacre against women while espousing his gendered hatred. How do we discuss toxic patriarchal values without appearing to “blame all men” for his violence.

    To avoid complicated, ugly discussions, “evil” is our reliable scapegoat. Terrorists are simply evil. That boy was simply evil.

    This monster is not evil, Picard calls that out. The creature was shed and abandoned by a species. Its loneliness and bitterness drove it mad. It has thoughts and feelings and motivations (warped though they may be). It could be so simple for Picard to say “it is evil, it must be destroyed” but it is Picard’s (and Troi’s) sophisticated view of the situation that enables them to think and talk their way through.