Get to know Dr. Katherine Pulaski! When a mysterious illness starts making people very old very quickly, Dr. Pulaski wants to know why. Also, she wants to save a group of super children, genetically created in a lab. But what happens when she is stricken by the aging disease? And why is she on the Enterprise anyway? Answers to these questions and more when we put Unnatural Selection in the Mission Log.
Tags: aging, Darwin station, DNA, genetic engineering, genetics, George Baxter, John Mason, Mike Gray, Patricia Smith, Paul Lynch, Sara Kingsley, telepathy, The Next Generation, The Next Generation Season 2, TNG, transporter, Unnatural Selection, USS Lantree, virus
I’ve never liked how this episode suggests aging and death can be “cured” by the transporter, but then just disregards the premise going forward. It was nice to see Pulaski featured. I almost started to like her.
Well, they allowed the transporter to do some pretty miraculous things before. Seems like the writers would pull back for a while every time they do it, though.
agreed, the transporter saves are such a cop out in my opinion for the writers and weak storylines. This episode was terrible because really, Pulaski/Muldaur was already fairly old, and just a terrible re-do TOS episode, “The Dying Years” I think…I was not a fan of episodes like “The Big Goodbye”, “The Naked Now” which seemed like re-hashing TOS plot devices….sigh…
wow, really takes you back…
I realize at this point I’m super behind in the game, but I had two points about this episode (of Mission Log) that I just wanted to get out. The first one is regarding Data. I don’t know if you guys have firmly established it for yourselves by now being so close to the end of season three, but since you’ve mentioned being unsure of how Data falls into the org chart several times by this episode…Data is the 2nd Officer or third in command. This has actually come up at least twice by this point. More recently in the second season Picard introduces Data as his 2nd Officer at one point and then way back in season one on “The Last Outpost” when he is stating their terms of surrender the Ferengi says “we offer the lives of our second officers as required by the Ferengi Code” to which Data leans in and offers the throwaway joke of “Fortunately, Starfleet has no such rules involving ITS second officers” (because that would be him). On another note, even if he wasn’t the second officer, medical officers aren’t line officers so they have no direct command authority outside of medical issues (so while Pulaski would have the authority to order medical tests or remove the Captain [or any officer] from command to protect the safety of the ship, she can’t just order Data to fly her around without the Captain’s approval).
The second point is about Pulaski herself. I’m one of those that hate(d) Pulaski and it was because of the point you made in the podcast…she is just a retread of McCoy (and frankly this episode just hammered that in by making her ALSO mistrust transporters) and though I realize I’m in the minority I HATE McCoy (or rather I hated McCoy until the movies). TV McCoy was not just irascible and cranky…he was flat out irrational, ignorant, and borderline racist (when it came to Spock). I cringed every time he opened his mouth during TOS and frankly couldn’t tolerate him before the movies (and even then I didn’t much care for his character until toward the end of Wrath of Khan onward). So it isn’t that she is a woman…I hate irrational, ignorant, borderline racists (in this case with Data) regardless of gender and it isn’t JUST because she replace Crusher (though I’m disappointed that they replaced Crusher with McCoy 2.0). I know that it may be just me, but I feel justified in disliking Pulaski because I disliked the character she was based on.
I agree on all points, McCoy was my least favourite character in TOS and while I don’t strongly dislike Pulaski I don’t think she served a purpose.
Wait wait wait wait… a bunch of scientists go off and genetically engineer some human beings to not only have telepathy and telekinesis and a lethal immune system, but to hyper-accelerate from childhood to adulthood without passing through adolescence, and NO ONE SAYS ANYTHING? The worst thing Pulaski comes up with is something about the “mistakes” these scientists have made? I know I’m jumping the timeline by bringing it up, but we know that genetic augmentation is forbidden in the Federation, and I’m certain it’s at least hinted at in previous episodes. But the focus of the story remains on solving the aging disease – where was Picard’s righteous anger here over using human beings, *children*, as test subjects?
I try to remain pretty neutral on Pulaski but whenever she interacts with Data, I can’t help mentally labeling her with certain expletives.
Okay, maybe the argument over whether Data is fully sentient hasn’t been fully addressed by the show (though I’ve never doubted his equality), but still. What does it really cost her to show Data the respect and dignity he requests? She is annoyingly McCoy-esque in her close-mindedness. Honestly, she comes off as a bully. And you might say, “well, if Data isn’t really ‘alive’ like she believes then she doesn’t need to be nice to him.” That logic is pretty twisted. I don’t go home and hassle my microwave.
I was pretty indifferent towards Dr. Crusher but I honestly miss her as a female character. In the beginning, we saw two female stereotypes- Troi, the sensitive, feminine one and Yar, the tough, rough-around-the-edges one. Of course, real women *can* be like that, but most of us fall in the middle- the Dr. Crushers of the world. Troi has grown to be a lot more than her initial archetype but part of me wonders if they have put Pulaski so in the rough-around-the-edges, even at times cold (though I wince at using the word), camp in order to offset their other female lead. Which is unnecessary but perhaps subconscious.
Personally, if Pulaski wasn’t so mean to Data, her obstinate, brusque nature would be endearing rather than alienating.