La'an: Missed Opportunity?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' started by Death Ray, Aug 3, 2023.

  1. Death Ray

    Death Ray Commander Red Shirt

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    Tastes vary, I suppose. Of course characters can share emotional baggage (Data and Worf are both orphans, for example, and have problems with feeling too much or too little), but it is insensible to hang a lampshade on Khan’s descendent and then port her issues onto another character at the moment of truth.

    And now, I have officially squeezed all the juice out of this lemon.

    —-

    With all that out of the way, let me tease my own spin on Star Trek, in the form of the comic I mentioned (below).The great thing about Trek is that, as with La’an Khan, their lemons always have more juice in them. I have also wanted to see the moral consequences of the Eugenics Wars expanded on, so I wrote my own take on it, and added in some other whimsical ideas.

    For instance, what if you had a Cheron who was half black and half white, but you couldn’t tell which half was which? Or, what if the religion of the Bajorans started to sweep the Federation? The digital edition of the comic is just a couple bucks! Judge for yourself if I REALLY know better than SNW how to handle Star Trek material.
     
  2. Death Ray

    Death Ray Commander Red Shirt

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    Nope! Just a happy coincidence that I tackled a similar plot as SNW. (And what kind of cartoonist would I be not to shill when the opportunity arises? Baby needs a new pair of ears!)
     
  3. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    No, not really. The drama of their stories is set up and carries through in Season 1. It's sensible based upon what the writers chose to do.
     
  4. The_Baron

    The_Baron Captain Captain

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    Well, I'm, intrigued, I like the artwork alot and you'll probably see an order from me coming through around the time I get next get paid. Always on the look out for new comics
     
  5. Death Ray

    Death Ray Commander Red Shirt

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    Groovy! Everything is coming up Milhouse!
     
  6. Serveaux

    Serveaux Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    Yes, La'An's issues have to do with the notoriety associated with her family name. Una's have to do with her own genetic augmentation.

    Have they ever made clear what La'An's real family relationship to Khan is, other than "descendant?" There's been no indication that other members of her immediate family exhibited any enhanced abilities, either.
     
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  7. HotRod

    HotRod Commodore Commodore

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    They understood just fine and they're crafting an interesting story around La'an and her family history, you just don't like it.

    Of course you are.

    Presumptuous much? No mistakes have been made. The writers are crafting the story how they want.

    Indeed. Frankly, if you haven't seen the entire story, as played out so far, you really have no leg to stand on.

    In your opinion.
     
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  8. Serveaux

    Serveaux Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    Indeed.
     
  9. FederationHistorian

    FederationHistorian Commodore Commodore

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    The only missed opportunity I can see is La’an dealing with those that are actually fans of Khan.
     
  10. Death Ray

    Death Ray Commander Red Shirt

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    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ What can I tells ya? I've been writing and drawing comics for a living for almost 25 years.

    If you liked the story and its payoff, fine. That doesn't mean that it couldn't have been written better. Over in That Other Franchise, a recent billion dollar sci-fi trilogy was written with as much inattention to craft as one could have ever imagined, and some people really like that as well.

    People keep saying that, implying that I missed some critical nuance, but then they never justify it with examples.

    I am only giving people permission to acknowledge the elephant in the room. I bet that better than 50% of viewers were left scratching their head as to why a story about bigotry against a Starfleet officer with a sus lineage wouldn't have been better if it had used La'an Superman Hitler as the subject. In fact, why even establish La'an as a sympathetic character with an infamous name if you aren't going to play her story out to its natural conclusion? I mean, for Crissakes... all La'an's family had to do was change their name to Smith and they never would have had an ounce of trouble. What exactly is the purpose of making her Khan's great-great-granddaughter if NOT to create the sort of tension which was then thrown onto Una instead? It boggles the mind.
     
  11. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That's every piece of fiction out there. That doesn't make it a mistake, or that the writers don't "know how to dance" as the parlance was here.

    Would love to see the poll result on this one.

    Because the tension is internal, not external, character driven not culturally driven. La'an journey is very similar to Spock, with her having to make peace with the bullying, trauma and difficulties she had, as well as feeling as an outsider. As a character story I think it's one of the more intriguing individual stories, aside from M'Benga.

    Could it be better? Hell yeah. But that's pretty much my attitude with much of Trek. Damn that was good but could have been better. :shrug:
     
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  12. Death Ray

    Death Ray Commander Red Shirt

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    Which only would have made a story about her being the one drummed out of Starfleet for her ancestry that much more unjust, and thus the payoff of her exoneration that much more satisfying.

    This episode obviously harkens back to numerous other officer-on-trial episodes like "The Drumhead" and "The Measure of a Man". And just like those, "Ad Astra per Aspera" puts Starfleet on trial, not the officers. The officers are our heroes, it is the bureaucracy that is the criminal. In the end, we learn that Starfleet has some flaws, but that they can be corrected.

    However, this new entry in the "trials" canon is pretty muddy. In the first place, it portrays the Federation as needlessly bigoted. Una is treated like a modern day Palestinian, when it has always been clear that the Federation has moved beyond that kind of prejudice. Remember: The Federation is home to aliens, like Vulcans, who are already superior in strength and mind than humans. You really have to stretch to make the audience believe that having a healing factor would be terribly frightening to a society that welcome pig people, antenna people and telepaths.

    And that, again, is why La'an makes better sense as the person on trial. She has no super abilities, and so It would be pure, leftover prejudice against the descendants of augments that would ultimately incriminate Starfleet, showing that their attitudes need to be refined. Una comes from a world where you literally cannot breathe the air without gene editing. It's just stretching things too far to imply that the Federation is that uptight. But uptight against the people who nearly destroyed the earth? That makes a lot more sense.

    And then there is the hamfisted-ness of the trial itself. Every group that has ever been persecuted is roped into the story, a la the attorney's speechifying. (Doesn't she also mention "privilege" at some point? Ugh.) The story didn't know if it was about gays, Jews or Mexican migrants. It just wanted to preach, not teach.
     
  13. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    *squints in DS9, TNG and TOS*

    Dude, the Federation preaches that it's past prejudices, but that is not always out in practice. Comments on Spock's background, both from humans and Vulcans, a Starfleet crew member terrified to reveal is grandfather was a Romulan, Stiles' racism against Romulans (and then Vulcans). O'Brien's wounding and negative view of Cardassians. Sisko's bias against Ferengi.

    Where did they move past it all the time?
     
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  14. Death Ray

    Death Ray Commander Red Shirt

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    If everyone knew La'an had super DNA, that would be one thing. If she came from some sect that still worshipped Khan, that would be one thing. But if La'an is nothing more than a person with no special abilities who merely carries the Singh name, there is no reason for her to have suffered at all. Change your name already.

    So, what exactly is the reason for La'an to be the victim of persecution, except that she wears a sandwich board that says "I Am Descended from History's Greatest Monster"?

    If a good explanation for this is divulged in another episode, please direct me to it. But now you have two women on the show that appear to have the same boo-hoo childhood, and for pretty much the same reasons. I call that needless duplication.

    I think I already acknowledged that numerous episodes have proven that the Feds still have some growing up to do. But this line from Kirk has been emblematic of human philosophy from the get-go: "“We’ve each learned to be delighted with what we are. The Vulcans learned that centuries before we did.”
     
  15. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    He wasn't. Our TOS friends had admiration for him.

    It should probably go to Colonel Green or something.

    I call that fleshing out the world since people, for some strange reason in real life, have needless duplication of problems too.

    Pride is a stubborn thing. Also, currently Singh is the 6th most common last name in the world.
     
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  16. Death Ray

    Death Ray Commander Red Shirt

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    I can only take this to mean that there really IS no good reason that the writers have given us for La'an to have grown up with prejudice. I mean, the sin of La'an's family is centuries in the past at this point. You don't see families of former slaveholders or Indian killers walking around with their heads down. It is not in the nature of society to hold those kinds of grudges against particular families when they are that far removed from the events.

    Is this really how she is written? Her family wasn't at least in a Khan-cult or something?
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2023
  17. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, the only reason is for drama. It's for her own personal soul searching, making peace with her past, and even coming face to face with it. As sci-fi elements go it utilizes them quite well.

    And since I cannot recall all the details of La'an's journey I will default to another for that argument though I am skeptical that will satisfy the high bar that must now be cleared. :shrug:
     
  18. Unique

    Unique Commander Red Shirt

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    She didn’t come from that planet her lawyer was on when Pike went to fetch her; Una was on a planet with regular humans as a child. I don’t remember the name, but I remember she talked about her family, and other augmented families, being in hiding amongst the “normal” population.
     
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  19. Death Ray

    Death Ray Commander Red Shirt

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    If the writers aren't actually going to deliver on the premise they have established-- that La'an has a secret payload of super-soldier DNA straight from Khan's crockpot--then they should not have set this up at all. Because, again: La'an is far too removed from those past events to be carrying guilt over them. And if she ACTUALLY felt the weight of her family's centuries-old dishonor, she wouldn't choose to wear both the first AND last name of Khan like a hairshirt while also complaining about being picked on for it.

    If this is drama, it is the most contrived, strained excuse for it I have ever encountered on Star Trek.

    I think that they WILL reveal that La'an has Khan's abilities. But if they do, that is all the more reason not to have given similar abilities to Una.
     
  20. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I find that hard to believe.
     
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