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Old September 15 2012, 04:33 PM   #2
Christopher
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Re: What if... ETERNAL TIDE SPOILERS

They tried the "more worthy death" thing in "Yesterday's Enterprise," and it was kind of silly. I don't care for the idea of picking and choosing what deaths are more "worthy" or "noble." Especially since different people can disagree on which deaths are worthy or not. I think Tasha's death in "Skin of Evil" was fantastically handled, because it was honest and acknowledged the randomness of the dangers that can take people's lives, and really let us feel the grief of her loss. I feel that "Yesterday's Enterprise" was an insult to the viewers' intelligence by comparison, dismissing that honest, mature portrayal of death as "unworthy" and replacing it with a cliched, juvenile fantasy of "heroic sacrifice" -- a sacrifice which then got turned into something even worse when we found out alt-Tasha's ultimate fate from Sela, so really, what was the point?

I also don't think Kirk's death in Generations was unworthy. Okay, so he was on a bridge that fell down, it wasn't some big spectacular epic, but why the hell should that matter? He sacrificed himself to save lives. He placed doing his job over his personal safety, just as he always had, and that's exactly how I would've expected him to go out. It shouldn't have been glamorous or melodramatic, because that's not who Jim Kirk was, despite the myths that have grown up around him. He was just a soldier doing his duty, putting himself on the line to protect other people, even people he'd never met. And that's exactly how he went out, and it was exactly right for who he was. I think bringing him back just to give him some more melodramatic, larger-than-life sacrifice would've served his character badly, diminished his death rather than "improving" it.

So if you give a character a do-over on how they died, there's no guarantee the audience will all agree on which was the "better" death. I think Janeway's demise in Before Dishonor was very heroic -- despite having been assimilated, her consciousness held on to the bitter end, and in a critical moment, motivated by her deep bond of love to Seven of Nine, she reasserted herself and resisted the Borg's control, thereby saving not only Seven but the entire Earth. That sounds like a very classic heroic sacrifice to me. I don't see what's "unworthy" about it, or what would constitute a "better" death. Certainly there are elements of the surrounding plot that I can understand readers being dissatisfied with, but that particular aspect of the book was one of my favorite parts.
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