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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old January 20 2014, 05:23 PM   #1
Jeyl
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Episode of the Week: 4x04 "Suddenly Human"




What?! What is this? Jeri Taylor, a female writer and producer joining the TNG creative staff? Man, talk about good timing. Even though Season 4 has given us some great episodes thus far, it's still carrying that "Women Haters" club banner with it's stories so intently focused on the male cast members that the female character can't even do their jobs. It's nice that after the departure of DC Fontana early on that TNG brought along another female talent into the creative process, and Jeri Taylor certainly has promise given that this is what the cast thought of her by the end of the series.

Jonathan Frakes: One of the most talented screenwriters to join our staff. One of my favorites!

Gates McFadden: I think that the team of writers headed by Jeri Taylor have certainly made an effort to make the women's roles stronger.
You know TNG was bad when the female cast members say that it took a female writer and producer to show that the female characters mattered as characters. Let's see how Jeri handles her first outing!

We open our episode with the crew discovering a lone survivor on a damaged alien ship. At first they think he's one of the aliens since he wears the same kind of uniform as the rest of the alien crew, but it turns out this boy was kidnapped when this race of aliens attacked a human colony, killed his parents and took the him so they could make him one of their own. Our heroes than decide that since he was kidnapped, he should rejoin human society. Problem is that this alien race is very strict and runs on a "women don't matter" stature which presents our crew with certain obstacles they must over come. So, this seems like a good opportunity to have our female characters take part in Jeremiah's development. Beverly herself raised her son essentially on her own and Troi can use her telepathic abilities to better understand Jeremiah's condition and how to better help him all while trying to have him adapt to the fact that women can have authority too. So in the briefing room,
TROI: I don't think I can do anything, Captain.
PICARD: Why not?
CRUSHER: Troi's right. It's very clear that the boy does not respond well to women.
DATA: The Talarians are a rigidly patriarchical society, sir.
TROI: Jeremiah needs to build a relationship with a man, a father figure with whom he can explore his origins. And I think it should be you, Captain.


Did this episode literally have Troi and Beverly say they can't do anything because they're women? And it gets better. The only relative that Jeremiah has is a star fleet admiral who just happens to be female! I'm sure that upon realizing this incredible discovery that there is a surviving member of her family who she thought was MURDERED that she and the boy will have the chance to meet and- HA! Just kidding. The crew just return the boy back to the aliens and the admiral will no doubt be lectured by Picard that this was the right thing to do and she should just get over it. She should be happy in knowing that her grandson is alive and happy in a culture that's openly sexist, cold-blooded and condone kidnapping children and making them one of their own. Happy endings all around!

CONCLUSION:
I've rarely thrown my my arms up in defeat at an episode, but after so much attention and focus has been dedicated to the male characters this season, having an episode where both the main female cast members say they don't work because they're women was just... WILL SOMEONE CUT THESE LADIES SOME SLACK ALREADY?!?! And Jono is nothing special either since he comes off more of an exaggerated "rebellious rock and roll" teenager with daddy issues.

STINGER:
Wesley gets creamed.
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Old January 20 2014, 06:56 PM   #2
BillJ
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x04 "Suddenly Human"

Definitely on my list of Craptacular TNG episodes.
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Old January 20 2014, 07:28 PM   #3
Armored Saint
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x04 "Suddenly Human"

As I just said in another thread, when I saw this episode it was "Grrrrreat a warrior race, so orrrriginal". It's an inverted "Heart of Glory".
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Old January 20 2014, 08:34 PM   #4
Armored Saint
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x04 "Suddenly Human"

Jeyl wrote: View Post
Problem is that this alien race is very strict and runs on a "women don't matter" stature which presents our crew with certain obstacles they must over come. So, this seems like a good opportunity to have our female characters take part in Jeremiah's development. Beverly herself raised her son essentially on her own and Troi can use her telepathic abilities to better understand Jeremiah's condition and how to better help him all while trying to have him adapt to the fact that women can have authority too.
You're going too fast. They were at the first step of their intervention plan, establishing the contact. At this moment, Troi and Crusher needed to be rationnal and not idelogical. It's wat they did.

If Picard had decided to keep Jeremiah with them, the gender issues would have been inserted into a reeducation process.

Saying to him, "You're human, forget right now the Tellarian lifestyle and adapt to the human culture" would have been a second abduction.
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Old January 20 2014, 09:43 PM   #5
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x04 "Suddenly Human"

Yeah, I don't think you're reading the episode correctly. For a boy raised in a patriarchal society it would not have been productive to try to force him to connect with women. Suggesting a powerful father figure try to relate with him instead was just the smart approach to that situation. If they had convinced him to come back to the Federation, then in the long run he would have needed to learn to accept women as equals, but expecting that change over a day or two is not realistic.

Also, do you really think it would have been best for the boy to forcefully take him away from everything he knows just because we feel our culture is morally superior?

It's certainly not the greatest episode ever, but I don't think the things you mention are the problems with it.
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Old January 20 2014, 10:06 PM   #6
jimbotron
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x04 "Suddenly Human"

^Coincidentally, the episode was also directed by a woman.

Not a very good episode. The season started off so strongly, so it was due for a stinker. An episode of DS9 "Cardassians" tackled a similar issue, and concluded with the child returning to his blood family. Different reasons, of course, but I think Cardassians worked better than Suddenly Human.

The Federation really needs to do a better job in choosing where it puts its colonies. Placing them so close to a belligerent alien race is a bad idea. The Talarians kill hundreds of Federation citizens, wipe out a colony, and the Federation's response is to make nice and create a treaty? Nuke the bastards!

I hope Locutus destroys the script:

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Old January 21 2014, 02:35 PM   #7
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x04 "Suddenly Human"

I remember this being an absolute snooze fest.
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Old January 21 2014, 03:50 PM   #8
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x04 "Suddenly Human"

Armored Saint wrote: View Post
You're going too fast. They were at the first step of their intervention plan, establishing the contact. At this moment, Troi and Crusher needed to be rationnal and not idelogical. It's wat they did.
That's not really what bothers me about this episode. What bothers me is that the only reason this gender issue exists was to make "Suddenly Human" a Picard episode. Jeremaiah doesn't learn to tolerate the female gender at the end, because that's not the point of the story. It's about the moral implications of taking a child, even though he was abducted, away from a family that raised him and for all intents and purposes love him.

That's what it's all about. The gender issue was not meant to introduce a character flaw that the protagonist has to overcome, but to ensure that the female characters don't do their job. The show isn't trying to find ways to make the female characters work, it's trying to find ways to make them NOT work.
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Old January 21 2014, 04:14 PM   #9
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x04 "Suddenly Human"

jimbotron wrote: View Post
^Coincidentally, the episode was also directed by a woman.
Just as I tried to express in my Jeri Taylor bit, just because you bring in female talent to work on a show doesn't mean you're going to get better or even interesting female characters as a result. Sometimes it can be quite the opposite in some cases. "The Naked Now" being a painful early TNG example, and any Voyager episode written by Jeri Taylor. You just need to have someone who actually cares about these characters and do interesting things with them. TNG as a whole doesn't really show signs that it wants to move in that direction. It will, but not yet.
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Old January 21 2014, 04:57 PM   #10
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x04 "Suddenly Human"

I really find this episode boring. It has it's moments, sure, but overall it's just tiring to get through.
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Old January 21 2014, 06:42 PM   #11
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x04 "Suddenly Human"

There's definitely something to be said about good and bad guest stars, especially when episodes revolve around them. You don't really notice the good ones, but you suuuuure notice the bad ones.

I didn't get anything out of the Jono kid. I don't know if it's him or the script. Going into that annoying hum sure didn't help. The only child actor who I felt did a great job was the kid who played Ethan/"Jean-Luc" in Future Imperfect.
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Old January 21 2014, 09:07 PM   #12
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x04 "Suddenly Human"

I thought Season 4 was one of the best? This and last week are making me blaspheme that scripture.

Jeyl wrote: View Post
Armored Saint wrote: View Post
You're going too fast. They were at the first step of their intervention plan, establishing the contact. At this moment, Troi and Crusher needed to be rationnal and not idelogical. It's wat they did.
That's not really what bothers me about this episode. What bothers me is that the only reason this gender issue exists was to make "Suddenly Human" a Picard episode.
This should have been a Riker episode. Surely?

Picard sure gets his uniform on quickly when he leaves sickbay to deliver the boy back to his captors. I can only assume he was still feeling a little lousy after being "raped" by the Borg and then stabbed by a teenager. Must have affected his ability to reason.
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Old January 21 2014, 09:41 PM   #13
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x04 "Suddenly Human"

So much cringe in this one, but it borders on "so bad it's good" territory. I get some chuckles out of it.

Jeyl wrote: View Post
What bothers me is that the only reason this gender issue exists was to make "Suddenly Human" a Picard episode. Jeremaiah doesn't learn to tolerate the female gender at the end, because that's not the point of the story. It's about the moral implications of taking a child, even though he was abducted, away from a family that raised him and for all intents and purposes love him.
It's also about the opportunity to take Picard out of his comfort zone by forcing him to deal with children, as is also the case (more humorously) in "Disaster".

jimbotron wrote: View Post
The only child actor who I felt did a great job was the kid who played Ethan/"Jean-Luc" in Future Imperfect.
What about the actor who played Rene and "Rascals" Picard?
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Old January 21 2014, 10:33 PM   #14
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x04 "Suddenly Human"

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
It's also about the opportunity to take Picard out of his comfort zone by forcing him to deal with children, as is also the case (more humorously) in "Disaster".
An opportunity to take Picard out of his comfort zone? The episodes we've had so far this season is nothing but Picard out of his comfort zones. The season opened with a shot of Picard as Locutus followed by him killing thousands of his Starfleet comrades and almost assimilating the Earth. The following episode had him coming to terms with the horrors of living with those experiences while at the same time trying to deal with his feelings on wanting to continue his career in Starfleet and dealing with his disapproving brother. Oh! That episode also dealt with Picard dealing with a nosy child as well! Even after that with the first post-borg episode, Data manages to take complete control of the the Enterprise that leaves Picard in a situation where he literally can't do anything.

So yeah, we've actually done the "picard out of his comfort zone" this season, WITH KIDS NO LESS!
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Old January 21 2014, 11:00 PM   #15
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x04 "Suddenly Human"

I kind of felt bad for Jono.
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