Lt. Helen Johansson - What was the deal?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by JonnyQuest037, Mar 24, 2020.

  1. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Location:
    Parsippany, New Jersey, USA
    So we've had lots of extra-canon stories about Kirk's relationships with such lovely ladies as Carol Marcus, Edith Keeler, Janet Wallace, Areel Shaw, Ruth, Janice Lester, Janice Rand, Helen Noel, and others, but AFAIK, there's never been a story that covered his relationship with someone who was only mentioned but never seen on TOS... Lt. Helen Johansson, mutual friend of Miss Piper.

    From "The Menagerie, Part I":
    The transcription doesn't quite do the exchange justice, as it's obvious that Kirk is rather embarrassed, probably because Helen is gossiping about him to other Starfleet officers, and most definitely because Miss Piper chose to tease him about it in front of Commodore Mendez.

    So... What was the deal? I personally have a lot of trouble imagining the Kirk we saw on TOS ever having a relationship with his direct subordinate, considering how he embarrassed he was about his attractions to Janice Rand and Helen Noel. Did he just have a fling with Helen Johansson, sometime before he took command of the Enterprise? Were they contemporaries? Did he realize that she was in Starfleet when he met her? Did she join Starfleet sometime after her relationship with Kirk? Did Kirk have some extra reason to be embarrassed about his relationship with her? Was she a descendant of Scarlett Johansson? What?

    Serious answers, funny answers, whatever you want! Go nuts! :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2020
    Phaser Two and UnknownSample like this.
  2. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    astral plane
    Kirk and Helen Johansson had sex. They knew each other in the Biblical sense. Miss Piper was teasing Kirk about it, perhaps even as an overture for sexual relations with him. That's my head-canon, and I'm sticking to it! :techman:
     
    Poltargyst and BillJ like this.
  3. Maurice

    Maurice ATARI CX5200 Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    One ferry ride from Starfleet HQ
    Nothing indicates the was a subordinate.




    She might have been woman on top after all.
     
    Phoenix219 and BillJ like this.
  4. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Location:
    Parsippany, New Jersey, USA
    It's tricky because we have no idea how far in the past their relationship was, but I'm assuming that if Johansson is currently a Lieutenant while Kirk is a Captain, then she was probably always below him in the command chain. I could see them maybe being Lieutenants together at the same time, but that's about as far as it goes.

    Plus, it's not like TOS ever showed us any high ranking women, anyway. Did we even see any female Commanders on the show?
     
  5. Maurice

    Maurice ATARI CX5200 Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    One ferry ride from Starfleet HQ
    They have to be on the same chain to be in a command chain. If she works for Commodore Friday on a starbase then while Kirk is senior to her he's not in her command chain.
     
    BillJ likes this.
  6. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    astral plane
    You'd think that Number One could have been a commander, except that Pike addresses her as "Lieutenant," although it's in a line that was cut for "The Menagerie" [http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/1.htm]:

    PIKE: She does a good job, all right. It's just that I can't get used to having a woman on the bridge. No offence, Lieutenant. You're different, of course.​

    The sleeve braids in "The Cage" are prototypical and effed up. compared to the series.

    In the series proper, the highest ranked female that is seen AFAIK is Dr. Mulhall.

    https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Ann_Mulhall
     
  7. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Location:
    Parsippany, New Jersey, USA
    Yep, I remembered that. Number One's rank being so low for a first officer was a plot point in John Byrne's Crew miniseries.
    Yeah, I figured that we'd seen a female Lt. Commander somewhere along the way, even if I couldn't immediately recall them. (I was thinking that Areel Shaw might have been one, but Memory Alpha says that she was only a Lieutenant.) So no one that was a Commander or above, then.
     
  8. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Location:
    Parsippany, New Jersey, USA
    Thank you for the correction.
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    A setup where she would have been a Lieutenant "back then" and his boss at the time is workable, but we have to make a lot of extra assumptions to really make it work. Pick and choose:

    A) She has hit a glass ceiling, because otherwise Piper would call her by her current, higher rank.
    B) She swapped careers, so Piper needs to call her Lieutenant, her then/last rank.
    C) She bossed over Kirk somehow despite him already having skyrocketed to a higher rank.

    It probably wasn't all that long ago. But Kirk hasn't been a mighty Captain for all that long, either.

    Add to the complications Mitchell's teasing implication that Kirk was shy around women in ye olden days already, so the time window for random womanizing before he gets leadership responsibilities is further narrowed down. But do note that Kirk has no shortage of suitors, regardless of his own attitude towards them. Perhaps this attitude is the description Kirk doesn't want explicated in public - but whether it's "he's really not really interested" or "he's secretly a horndog after all", and which of those he would consider more damaging, is left as an exercise to the audience. Or then the description would merely involve inches, and there's nothing about Kirk's attitudes that would not stand to personal or professional scrutiny.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    The rank structure on that ship is pretty flat overall, and Pike himself wears the very same braid. Nothing really wrong with it: the ship has mere 200 people aboard, and the audiences of the time would certainly expect even a humble tin can to embark more. Despite the touch of silver in his hair, Pike could really be a super-junior commander of a very humble Starfleet asset, only bound for greatness over the course of his would-be televised adventures.

    As is that other female character sitting on the bridge, of course...

    Really, Pike is only agonizing over losing his personal yeoman, who was a lad. Plus he's extra scared of ladies to begin with, so he trips over his words all the time, which in turn only goes to prove that #1 isn't really all that different.

    Except, by sheer chance, they aren't effed up at all - the character called Lieutenant wears Lieutenant braid all right! It's just that the skipper, too, is a Lieutenant, senior within rank no doubt, but not with senior rank. And nothing wrong with a Lieutenant commanding a ship, if you want to do nautical adventures in Hornblower style...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    astral plane
    Pike's rank is captain, so....
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Well, his job is Captain. He'd be called that even if he were civilian. Or an Ensign. Or a Lieutenant Commander.

    We see him in single braid in an era where that braid is applicable as the marker for Lieutenant rank in a number of uniform designs (the "The Cage" one as per #1, plus at least two distinct uniform styles in DSC) , and later we see his very uniform on another character in an era where the same still applies. We later see him in Captain braid, though. And we hear that Kirk met him around the time of his promotion to (Fleet) Captain, which might have been shortly before we spotted him in his pretty |:| braid in DSC "Brother". Or then shortly after we last saw him in that braid in DSC "Sweet Sorrow II", depending on how we feel about (Fleet) Captain.

    Point being, there's no a priori reason to think his braid couldn't be consistent and acceptable in all his appearances. He logically proceeds from single braid to two-and-a-half over his career history (and then to five pips in one possible future, and to |:|| flag braid in another), while generally being addressed in a manner appropriate for his position.

    We can also speculate that Starfleet changed its rank braid system back and forth a lot. Or abandon any in-universe speculation altogether. But we really don't have to, because there's no real problem with taking it all at face value.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    astral plane
    He introduces himself as Captain Christopher Pike, not Lieutenant Christopher Pike.

    The fact that the sleeve braids on all of the costumes practically all look the same is an a priori reason to think that the costumes are still a work in progress, especially when it comes to indicating rank.
     
    J.T.B. likes this.
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Or then that all the main characters are of the same rank. Much as in the TOS movies where everybody is a Commander. Or, eventually, Captain.

    Kirk considered himself Captain in formal introductions regardless of whether his uniform showed line or flag rank. "Admiral" was an alternative form of self-address he was additionally entitled, is all.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    astral plane
    Nope. That's completely implausible.
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    In what way? It's pretty much par for the course in any sailing era fiction. And we really only see a tiny handful of officer characters: Pike, #1, Boyce, Tyler. The latter three all hold positions that in other Trek incarnations have been held by Lieutenants, so why not here?

    Our only real argument would be with the CO being a (somewhat older) Lieutenant. But it's a small ship doing a milk run and suffering unexpected casualties as the result of surprise action that immediately sends them back home with the tail tucked firmly between the nacelles. Great for an introductory adventure, really. Heck, it's also a growth story where we learn Pike is his own worst enemy, and see him defeat that enemy in the end. Perhaps his career had stalled due to his bouts of self-doubt, and he now gets going...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    astral plane
  18. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Location:
    Parsippany, New Jersey, USA
    Perhaps the speculation about Pike's rank would be better off in its own thread, as it doesn't have much of anything to do with the topic of this one.
     
    Phaser Two and Kor like this.
  19. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    But yes, Johansson's rank as relating to Kirk's isn't exactly dependent on Pike's rank and career... Which once again happens to have its own thread running.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. telerites

    telerites Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2014
    That statement has at least a few connotations in a thread about Kirk and his relationship to a woman. ;)