Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Trek Sifter, Jul 1, 2013.
That's how I've always seen it.
Until 1967, women serving in the U.S military couldn't hold a rank higher than Lt. Colonel/Commander. You can imagine that, at the time, this real world restriction may have inspired the "Women aren't allowed to be captains" plot point in this episode.
...And it would also be fine from the in-universe point of view (seeing as Starfleet at that time point is neo-conservative in so many ways), if not for this not really fitting the plot at all.
Janice Lester does not seem to be angry about not being able to become starship captain. She's angry solely at Kirk, for not being able to have Kirk, and subsequently (deeper into her madness) for not being able to be Kirk. She mentions no ambition of becoming a starship captain, and no hatred of Starfleet - it's all about Kirk, Kirk, Kirk.
The captain thing is just something she has to tackle on the side, something she tells she had to spend extra time preparing for. Only Kirk, in the inquest, ever suggests that ambition would have been among Lester's motivations - and he simply guesses wrong.
I'm still annoyed that, here in the very last episode, the XO is still subject to a very deep-seated disrespect.
Lt. Security dude: "You're as mad as she is.
You're to leave here at once. I follow orders."
^This was an "idiot premise" episode through and through....The plot only worked because people bought into the charade too easily. There should have been a million things that only Kirk would know that weren't on public record, that he could have used to prove who he really was, for example.
But the point wasn't just that of proving that Kirk was Kirk. It also involved proving that Lester wasn't Kirk - and that should not be easy. Undermining the position of the ship's commanding officer should be full of obstacles instead, and Lester had studied Starfleet regulations with the intent of making things as difficult as possible.
As for talking a guard out of his duty... That really shouldn't happen. "You are to leave here at once" is right. But I fully agree that "You are mad" is not.
But the guards aren't complete idiots. They know not to take sides; they know not to pursue theories. They know that if they do nothing, things will get sorted out eventually. The CO can't e.g. execute anybody without their active cooperation, and despite appearances we never see the guards prepare for an execution. At most they walk people out of the room where a seeming madman has sentenced them to death - an eminently smart move!
I'm not just talking about redshirts, I'm talking about the entire crew from Spock down. A mind meld shouldn't have been necessary in Spock's case. And given the number of impersonators of one type or another that had infiltrated the ship, a situation like this should be investigated, not scoffed at out of hand. TNG was a bit smarter about this...when somebody started acting strangely, the characters actually knew to take "alien influences" into account.
Remember in "The Enemy Within" how Spock put everything else on hold when the person looking like Kirk told him to concentrate on maintaining appearances and preserving the Captain's reputation? It would be inconsistent for him to do anything else in this case, either...
By Spock's logic, in both of these cases, having the real Kirk in command of the ship is less important than having a Kirk there, as long as the ship is in no obvious danger from the possible impostor.
Why is this? Would the ship indeed be thrown into chaos if it turned out the CO was a rotten apple, one way or another? This is not exactly Horatio Hornblower, where the crew consists of the dregs of the society and is ready to cut throats at the first sign of laxness from their bosses. But this is not exactly TNG, either: Kirk's crew in the early episodes is undisciplined, argumentative and less than fully committed to its duties (say, "The Man Trap"). Protecting the apparent CO from impressions of weakness might indeed be crucial, and a priority job for the XO.
Number One was an Executive Officer, but still not a Captain. Not a single female Starfleet Captain ever appeared on TREK until ''The Voyage Home.'' Shaky writing notwithstanding, I've never doubted Lester's ''no female Captains'' comment to be valid. She resents Kirk to be sure, but she resented being barred from captaincy so much she was willing to alter her sexuality to achieve that. Even if she possessed self-hatred, the Starfleet rule only poisoned and exacerbated it.
^^@Timo: They also put top priority on flushing out the "imposter", they couldn't allow him command of the ship...and all of that was before the android, the mirror universe double, etc.
While sifting through the transcript for the line I was looking for, I saw this was a very talky episode. Nice. Also, McCoy and Scott have a nice scene.
I've heard that, when asked about it, Gene Roddenberry (who wrote the story), admitted that the whole "no women captains" was simply sexist. I can't find anything to support it on line, but I also didn't look for that long.
My sister is a Trek fan and a staunch feminist. This episode was always one she never wanted to watch after the first time. Recently, I asked her to watch it again, but just watch it for Shatner. I said, "whatever you may think of the episode or his choices, I find him mesmerizing." Later on she admitted she was able to enjoy it on that level. It's hammy and stereotypical, but he's body language and vocal control is incredible. He's a lot of fun to watch and he did it while battling a bad bout of the flu.
It is worth noting that although Roddenberry's story outline is full of sexism, that particular line doesn't show up until the teleplay, which he didn't write.
^ Who did then?
According to Memory Alpha, Arthur Singer.
Interesting to know. Now I can see why Gene would easily admit it was sexist if it didn't come from him. Thanks for that.
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