La'an: Missed Opportunity?

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

  1. HotRod

    HotRod Commodore Commodore

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    Watch the show.
     
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  2. Spoonful of Sugar

    Spoonful of Sugar Ensign Red Shirt

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    I'll just leave this real world example for you (assuming I can link stuff, I have no idea what the rules are for us nubkins).
    https://allthatsinteresting.com/hitlers-descendants
     
  3. Spoonful of Sugar

    Spoonful of Sugar Ensign Red Shirt

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    The key part if you don't want to read it all:

    Both Peter Raubal and Heiner Hochegger have never married and have no children. Nor do they plan to. They also have no interest in continuing the legacy of their great-uncle any more than the Stuart-Houston brothers.

    When Heiner’s identity was revealed in 2004, there was a question of whether the descendants would receive royalties from Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf. All of the living heirs claim they want no part of it.

    “Yes I know the whole story about Hitler’s inheritance,” Peter told Bild am Sonntag, a German newspaper. “But I don’t want to have anything to do with it. I will not do anything about it. I only want to be left alone.”

    The sentiment is one that all five of Adolf Hitler’s descendants share.
     
  4. Death Ray

    Death Ray Commander Red Shirt

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    Hmm. I still don’t see it. Yes, it’s an interesting hook for a minute, but then again, she is not the victim of any real, ongoing prejudice. She is a high-ranking officer in Starfleet. Una is now the one suffering from intolerance, not her.

    But if La’an were raised in a pro-augment sect, or had a Khan-inspired dark side… THEN it would be optimal use of her story potential. Just don’t tell me she is one of the Boys from Brazil and then not pay it off, that’s all. Is Star Trek now more about the drama than the sci-fi?

    I mean… why am I asking? They just did a musical episode. I am pretty sure that the producers have greatly different priorities than a TNG fan like myself.:lol:
     
  5. Xerxes82

    Xerxes82 Captain Captain

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    It's been deployed a couple of different ways so far, that I can tell.
    1. To isolate her from everyone else. It's the source of the separation she feels from the rest of the crew, who could be her friends as well as coworkers. It's the emotional wedge that keeps the character closed off, and is thus the driving force of her major character arc through the first two seasons. It also parallels Una's driving mindset, which not only tees up the hero worship La'an has for Number One, but also allows Una to serve as a role model. "Here is this strong, confident and capable officer. If she can keep her distance and be aloof and effective then so can I." This only deepens the connection between La'an and Una, setting up...
    2. As dramatic device for Una's reveal. Because of her heritage, La'an has a strong and understandable, very personal, aversion to augments. Yet she practically worships the ground Una walks on. What happens when Una is revealed to be the thing La'an loathes? It's a fantastic beat for La'an, because it forces her to reevaluate deeply held beliefs, and that's always good drama.
     
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  6. Spoonful of Sugar

    Spoonful of Sugar Ensign Red Shirt

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    Last edited: Aug 5, 2023
  7. Death Ray

    Death Ray Commander Red Shirt

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    This would make good narrative sense if, say, La’an’s father were Khan, or even her grandfather. But La’an is about two hundred years removed from Khan, and faces no prejudice in society. Her emotional baggage regarding her ancestry is simply… manufactured. If she didn’t tell the world who she was, no one would know.

    It also doesn’t hold water when, canonically, Khan was regarded more as a Napoleon than a Hitler.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2023
  8. Australis

    Australis Writer - Australis Admiral

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    @Death Ray it's really quite simple.

    Starfleet was against Augments. With that name AND being anti-augmentation there is NO WAY she would have been able to join in the first place. To join, she would have to be squeaky clean, and I mean really clean. It would have been Lt Smith, Nowhere, Illinois instead. And instead of a Hitler comparison, think Mussolini - his granddaughter Alessandra ran for the Italian parliament, and I think got a seat. She is proud of her name. And I bet Noonien Singhs would feel proud of their name too, not because of Khan, but because (for better ore worse) they shaped the destiny of the world.

    You said you hadn't watched S1? There's an episode, specifically E3, that covers a lot of this.

    (Why yes, I did skip several pages as your argument wasn't convincing me, no matter how you rephrased it.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2023
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  9. Tosk

    Tosk Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps I'm misunderstanding (happens to me a lot) but these two points seem to be at odds with each other in regards to La'an.
     
  10. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You know they really missed an opportunity to link the musical episode to the one where we met Khan - just think alt-Kirk could have belted out:

    I've been to the year 2359 and we don't live underwater but your great great granddaughter is pretty fine.

    (This likely makes more much sense to British posters of a certain age).
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2023
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  11. Australis

    Australis Writer - Australis Admiral

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    You've confused me too. :)

    I think... that's what I'm saying. She has to be one or t'other.

    Starfleet said, "Ah, Noonien Singh, I see! And you want to join? Well, excuse me while we withdraw half a litre of blood and scan every millimetre of you inside and out. And when we're convinced you have no augmentation at all, you can begin training. Ms Chin-Riley? Go straight through."

    I don't think La'an has any augmentation. She's trying to live down the shame but is nonetheless proud, and won't let anyone scare her off her name, like Ms Mussolini.
     
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  12. Tosk

    Tosk Admiral Admiral

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    What I mean is, you say La'an could not possibly get into Starfleet with that name, but then you have a real-world example of someone with a controversial name rising to some level of power.

    But your second post makes me (I think) better understand the broader point. :)
     
  13. Australis

    Australis Writer - Australis Admiral

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    No I meant she could get into Starfleet if she could prove she was not Augmented, and despite her name.
     
  14. Tosk

    Tosk Admiral Admiral

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    Did Mussolini have to prove she would never become a dictator? (Not a serious question.)
     
  15. Set Harth

    Set Harth Admiral Admiral

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    Picard: "What if one of those lives I save down there is a child who grows up to be the next Adolf Hitler, or Khan Singh?"
     
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  16. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yes. As it always has been since TOS.
     
  17. Serveaux

    Serveaux Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    One of Picard's most idiotic speeches. Collect 'em all.
     
  18. Serveaux

    Serveaux Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    Absolutely Right.

    Judged by the standards of other science fiction in its own day, TOS was very weak tea. People now cite and celebrate the sf authors of the time who praised it* and don't remember how widely criticized it was in the magazines of the time for too-obvious borrowing (Hello, Frederic Brown, Hi there, Fred Saberhagen!), reliance on thrice-repeated cliches from the thirties and forties, and oversimplification of those tropes that it did reuse.

    A little irony, in terms of the present discussion, is that one reason those criticisms may not have endured is that the critics were taking the genre and the importance of their own ideas far, far too seriously.** Some science fiction writers in those days believed the genre was on the verge of recognition as Serious Literature. And Trek was always a combination of melodrama, genuine emotion and a bit of a romp.

    On the more interesting topic of what they are choosing to do with La'An, one of my favorite moments for her character was in "Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow" when it dawns on her that the name "Noonien-Singh" is unfamiliar to James Kirk, and what that means. I imagine that it might also tell her something about the character of the "Prime universe***" Kirk that he doesn't evince any curiosity about her heritage when they talk. The further we see of her unfolding story, the better "Tomorrow" becomes as an episode.

    *As is always true, many with their own career interests in mind.
    **It was the 1960s, after all.
    ***Hate that whole sorting/labeling business that the lame multiverse notion has foist upon us.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2023
  19. JHarper

    JHarper Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah I'm pretty happy with the direction their going with for La'an. I'm really happy they aren't doing an evil genes plot, and that they explicitly called it out as not being a thing when she was on the stand in the trial episode. I actually think it was the best speech of the episode, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how she develops as the show goes on more than any other character I think.
     
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  20. CrockAlley

    CrockAlley Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I'm a fan of the utopian Federation. (I don't like Section 31, for example.) But, I also like that the Federation is still flawed. Humanity has evolved and become better, but's it's not perfect. It's important to show these flaws in order for us to reflect on our own flaws. The Federation is a little bit racist against this one alien species, and this episode brings them face-to-face with that prejudice. Ideally, that will encourage the viewer to reflect on our own prejudices.
     
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