Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar'?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Lt.Cmdr.LaForge, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. Lt.Cmdr.LaForge

    Lt.Cmdr.LaForge Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I recently watched 'Yesterday's Enterprise'. Seeing Tasha again reminded me of 'Skin of Evil' when she died. Was being killed by a lump of black slime really what Denise Crosby had in mind when she decided she wanted to leave Star trek? Was it a dignified death? Tasha Yar always said she wanted her death to mean something, but did it?
     
  2. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    No, that was the point of the episode, wasn't it?
    That sometime people die meaningless deaths.
    Great exits like Spock's in ST2 are the exception. And this epsiode was a reminder of that.
    Sometimes it can be even a senior officer like Tasha instead of a redshirt that gets eaten by salt vampires, energy clouds or big black blobs.
     
  3. DGCatAniSiri

    DGCatAniSiri Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    Tasha's death was a meaningless one - and I believe that was the point. I seem recall reading that Gene Roddenberry felt that getting killed in a meaningless way like that is an inherent risk of the security officer position.

    Denise made comments about being a glorified extra during her time on the show, and I think it even went to her death - how many standard issue red-shirts get that same style death.
     
  4. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    True, but redshirts wouldn't have gotten that poignant funeral scene Yar received in the episode, nor the occasional reference like the one in "The Measure of a Man." The episode in which she died could have been better, but the meaningless nature of her death was an important and well-executed one, I thought.
     
  5. Saumer

    Saumer Ensign Red Shirt

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    I agree with the comments here that Tasha's death was supposed to be meaningless. But my only issue with it, is that I think it would have had more impact for how quick and pointless it all was had she been a better developed character. Personally, I liked Tasha and was disappointed when she died, but the same goes for characters like Joseph Carey in Voyager.
     
  6. Newspaper Taxi

    Newspaper Taxi Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    I would like to argue that Tasha's death was a meaningful one. She died preforming the duty that was assigned to her without running away when things looked bad; she was committed to her job. Every Starfleet member knows that death is a real possibility out in the wilderness of space and every Starfleet member knows that if the time comes they have to 'go down with the ship', so to speak. Or the mission, at least. Despite this, it's still a choice. I can't remember offhand any specific episodes where a Starfleet officer ran away instead of doing the right thing but I'm certain it happens from time to time in that universe.

    It also sort of comes down to the same theory as the "Support the Troops, not the war" mentality. (Let's avoid the debate about Starfleet and the military and focus on the sentiment.) If a soldier dies in Iraq fighting a war I don't believe in, was it a meaningless death? No. Because he volunteered to fight and die so that people like me and my family weren't forced to do it.

    I will say that Tasha Yar's death was a non-cinematic death. She didn't walk into a chamber of radiation to save her best friend and dye giving a salute to him in the process. She didn't even get exploded at the end of a movie when she let her Captain use the last emergency transporter in her place. Death just happened to her. In movies people are always dying to sacrifice themselves for their friends for the good of the world/universe/time/multiverse but in the real world most people either die in a hospital after a long battle with disease or out of the blue with a sudden medical crisis. You can milk a little bit of drama out of that sort of death, but you can milk out an even larger amount of drama with heroic sacrifices so they appear more in film.
     
  7. Obi Wana Jones

    Obi Wana Jones Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    The death was supposed to meaningless; the crew even commented on it in the episode.

    The sad part was Tasha was killed by a guy in a slimey black sheet d/t an exhausted budget and not knowing whether or not ST:TNG was going to make it to a second season.

    Remember, it struggled for an audience it's first year. Tasha was one of the better characters, along with Riker. Picard was too uptight, Beverly was OK, Geordi kind of just hung around as an obligatory minority wearing cool sunglasses; Worf was the obligatory alien who shot first, asked questions later; Data was Spock's comical clone; Wesley was just plain annoying, and so was Troi, who looked completely stupid with her hairstyles and uniforms.

    ST:TNG really grew in the second season. Characters were really fleshed out, the writing made leaps and bounds in quality.
     
  8. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    She was a security officer and was killed in the performance of her duty. Given that it's an ever-present risk, one would think that if she were inclined to view that potential outcome as a meaningless sacrifice she'd have sought other work.
     
  9. Nardpuncher

    Nardpuncher Rear Admiral

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    I just want to know what that weird splotch was on her face when she went to sickbay.
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    Subdermal results of the thing that struck her... A spreading patch of poisons or other vile deathiness? Clearly it wasn't supposed to imitate a natural bruise or wound, but was meant to look exotic.

    Do we know that, though? The camera could have missed all the times Kirk lamented on a security bloke he lost, or the funeral he gave to Ensign Mallory's few remains. Top brass did honor the death of the lowly Muniz in DS9 "The Ship" with all sort of ritual and emotion.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    Exactly. In real life, death isn't usually noble or purposeful, and it sure as hell isn't dignified. It's ugly and painful and messy and random and frustrating. That's why it's bad!! Sanitizing every fictional death, making it noble or meaningful or fulfilling, is a copout and a cheat. Death should make you angry and frustrated and hurt. It should leave you anguished about the sheer needlessness and wasted potential. A story that insists on giving a character a noble, romanticized death just isn't being honest or courageous enough.

    I do wish that Denise Crosby hadn't left the series. I wish the writing staff had handled her character well from the get-go so that she wouldn't have felt compelled to leave. But I'm glad that they handled her death in a way that was honest, that rejected the idea of glorifying or romanticizing death.

    And I've never seen her death as meaningless anyway. She died trying to rescue her crewmates. That's as heroic as it gets. The being who killed her had no reason for doing it, but she gave her life doing the one thing that had the most meaning to her in all the universe: protecting her crew. I don't think that's anything to be ashamed of. I think that "Yesterday's Enterprise" was wrong to interpret that as a meaningless death, to devalue it like that. There doesn't have to be some big epic purpose for it to have meaning. She was doing the job she loved, and she was doing it on behalf of others. How can that not be enough?
     
  12. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    What Starship Polaris and Christopher said.
     
  13. The Sneeze Police

    The Sneeze Police Captain Captain

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    She died in the line of duty...I don't recall thinking that she had an undignified death. Given the current trend of TV shows to kill off main characters for no other reason than the creators think it is a cool, brave, or gutsy thing to do, her death was reasonably handled, besides her leaving wasn't a gimmick or a fad...the actress wished to leave the series.

    I did feel her memorial service was touching and at least gave me some closure about the loss of the character. I was delighted when Tasha showed up in Yesterday's Enterprise and All Good Things.
     
  14. Red Ranger

    Red Ranger Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    People,

    I think why some people found the ep difficult to take -- as I did -- is because the point of the ep, as others have mentioned, was to highlight how meaningless death is with a pointless death. Ironically, Tasha Yar's character got a meaningful send-off in that we're still talking about her senseless death.

    It was also a significant development drama-wise for Star Trek because up to that point, unlike other TV shows, no major character died an irrevocable death. Before then, it was just crewmembers of the week biting the dust, mostly red-shirts. And of course, we had Spock's very dramatic death in TWOK, swiftly undone in TSFS.

    So Denise Crosby did get what she said she didn't get, a good, memorable performance. Of course, that exit helped Michael Dorn and the character of Worf.

    Red Ranger
     
  15. DGCatAniSiri

    DGCatAniSiri Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    So, basically, we're basically agreeing that there was meaning in the meaninglessness?

    Although Christopher raises a valid point - she was trying to rescue her fellow crewmen, which is particularly meaningful. I think, though, that the meaningless that Guinan drew from her death was that it wasn't actually anything that Tasha did that resulted in the rescue of the shuttle - the death itself served no purpose more than getting Tasha killed. It didn't get the others any closer in saving Troi and the pilot.
     
  16. Red Ranger

    Red Ranger Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    Quite true. I think we can say that while the death in and of itself was meaningless, in that, as you correctly point out, it didn't actually help Troi and Pilot Prieto, it had meaning in that the ep was making a point of the suddenness of death, its abrupt and shocking nature. Ironic, isn't it? -- RR
     
  17. 2 of 10

    2 of 10 Captain Captain

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    Tasha, Kirk, Jadzia, Data, Damar, Sloan, the list goes on. Art imatates life, and at times even a meaningful life can be cut short. JFK gets assissnated by an deranged loner, same for John Lennon. I don't consider and death meaningless, the way in which they were killed however can be either heroic or mundane. In the case with Tasha she was on an away mission and as any Redshirt can tell you, away mission can be dangerous.
     
  18. Anika Hanson

    Anika Hanson Captain Captain

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    I think the was she died was sudden and abrupt but then I guess it could go to show that these are the kind of risks and experiences associated with a career in starfleet.
     
  19. Alrik

    Alrik Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    I don't think it was meaningless in the least. I do think, as some are starting to point towards, that it was senseless. But there is a big difference between the two.
     
  20. Xelo

    Xelo Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Was 'Skin of Evil' an undignified/meaningless death for 'Tasha Yar

    I agree that the meaninglessness of her death was the point of the episode. I wish Denise had stayed on though, I think she is great.