Wing woman (n) – A female friend who accompanies one to social events, acts as facilitator of encounters with potential romantic or sexual partners and wards off unwanted attention.
Anika and Liz ask the big questions: who, among Star Trek‘s many female characters, would be the best wing women? And who would be the worst? It’s something light and frothy for the final days of 2018.
- at least three women are described as “the ultimate wing woman” because what even are words?
- the Borg Queen will need all the help she can get
- maybe we just want more women interacting in Star Trek
This episode’s audio issues: variations in volume, and there’s a leaf blower in the background around the 20 minute mark. Also some birds. Turns out there are downsides to recording on a beautiful, sunny summer morning.
Anika: Welcome to Antimatter Pod, a Star Trek podcast where we discuss fashion, feminism, subtext and subspace, hosted by Anika and Liz.
Today we discuss the Star Trek characters we want as our wing women.
Liz: Oh, that was nice. I think I was talking a little too fast when I did it last time.
Anika: It’s easier to read a script.
So do we want to introduce ourselves a little bit? Yes.
Liz: I feel like we should. Like, we missed that last time, and it was like, “Oh, Liz is talking for a really long time!”
Anika: “Who are these people?”
Liz: I’m Liz. I’ve been a Trekkie since I was ten, and I live in Australia.
Anika: I’m Anika. I’ve been a Trekkie since seven or eight, and I live in the United States, in New England.
Liz: This episode was your idea, so tell me what your concept of a wing woman is.
Anika: So – I don’t think this episode was my idea. I think this episode was actually our guest Ellie’s idea. But my concept of a wing woman – – –
Liz: That sounds right.
Anika: – – – is someone that goes with you, out to a bar or other event or occasion. Somewhere where you’re going to mingle with people that you may or may not want to date, or get to know in some way. It doesn’t necessarily have to be romantic, but I think that is the general idea. And so – – –
Anika: – – – someone to go along with you, both as support and encouragement, and also to sort of point out the good ones and the bad ones, and steer you in a certain direction. And even go up and start the transaction if you’re completely incapable.
Liz: The, uh, “Hi, my friend likes you, tick yes to date her, tick no…”
Anika: Yes, exactly.
Liz: Just the grown up version.
Anika: I was going to say, it’s like middle school but in a bar. And you’re sending drinks to people instead of little folded up notes. Then I also think – my perception of this is definitely someone who can also rescue you if it’s going poorly. Either if you’re screwing it up, or if you’re sending the signal, “Get me away from this person, I definitely don’t want to be in here.” So I think that those are – – –
Anika: Maybe someone doesn’t think of that when it’s a wingman, but I think for wing women, that is definitely a part of it.
Liz: Absolutely. I think my definition would be pretty much the same? But with, also, the non-dating scenario of the friend who will get you out of the house for the night, and take you out drinking, hold your hair back when you vomit, and only make fun of you a little in the morning. Or the opposite, who will say, “Yes, let’s stay in and watch Netflix and chill, and not actually talk.” And when I say ‘Netflix and chill’, I don’t mean in the – – –
Anika: Euphemistic way.
Liz: – – – romantic sense. I mean literally hanging out on the couch, watching TV.
To me, I think the ultimate Star Trek wing woman? It’s Deanna Troi.
Anika: I mean, she has a leg up on everybody because she can sense what they may or may not be feeling, and I think that that’s definitely something that you would want on your side.
Liz: Absolutely. And, you know, there are episodes of The Next Generation where she’ll say to Riker, “Hey, that lady is totally into you, you should go for it.” Which I think is really what you want in both a friend, and a friend who has a very long and complicated relationship with the guy you may or may not be interested in.
Anika: I love Riker and Troi. I love Riker and Troi in general, but I love them when they’re just friends, and they have this really intricate relationship that just – I don’t know, I love that era of their relationship, where they’re encouraging each other to date certain people, and being the supportive person for them to – you know, cry on their shoulder, and also – you know. It’s a great relationship. Then, when they end up getting together, it’s like they’ve really grown.
Liz: Yeah. I think the lack of jealousy there is fantastic. Which – we should probably discuss more when we come to Next Generation shipping.
Anika: So, yeah, Deanna definitely had a little asterisk on my list as well.
The ultimate, though? I mean, I’m going to say, the ultimate for me would probably be Jadzia Dax. Because she has a lot of – – –
Liz: I was thinking – yes.
Anika: – – – experience of different ways of interacting with people to fall back on, and she is just so ready for whatever is happening. I just absolutely love her personality and the way that she’s ready to jump in, you know, full on, and do whatever it is. And she definitely loves a party.
Liz: I was thinking, you know, if you need a really good party in the twenty-fourth century, I think, get Deanna Troi and Jadzia Dax to plan it.
Anika: I wanna go to that party! That’s what we’ll do for New Year’s.
Liz: Right. Mr Homm is behind the bar.
Anika: Speaking of behind the bar! Another person I think would be a great wing woman – – –
Anika: Guinan. Because she – – –
Anika: – – – like both of them, she has this really long history, so she has a lot of experience. And she’s also a really – you know, listening is her thing, and understanding people’s emotional – you know, what they need and do. That’s what she’s best at, it’s why she makes such a good bartender, but I think it’s why she makes such a good friend as well.
Liz: Agreed. Which brings me to her best friend – her best female friend – and the worst wing woman in the entire franchise: Ro Laren.
Anika: She’d definitely be terrible.
Liz: I think there are contenders for the worst, but Ro has to be up there.
Anika: I love Ro Laren so much. She was the first Star Trek character that I responded to as, “Oh, that’s me on screen!” Like, that was it. There was no one, up until that point, that I really connected to on that primal level. So I really need a wing woman all the time, and so – – –
Liz: So does she.
Anika: – – – I completely agree that she’s inept at communication. And even knowing what she’s doing? Like, she doesn’t know what she wants, or what she needs, like, what she wants to get from a person? So she doesn’t know what her expectations are. She would be completely incapable of helping you, because she wouldn’t understand what you wanted either. But she also is incapable of helping herself.
Liz: I think it’s that, but also, she’s just not very interested.
Anika: That is definitely true.
Liz: This is not where her priorities lie.
Anika: Other people that I think would do well are another person who works in a bar, and so has the lay of the land, is Leeta, on Deep Space 9.
Liz: Oh yes!
Anika: You know, like Jadzia, she’s sort of ready, she’s down for the party, and has this really, you know, whimsical and – she’s excited about things. Things that seem simple, she gets really excited about. And so, yes.
Liz: And she’s interested in people.
Anika: So I think she would be really good at – like, she could approach someone easily for you, and start up a conversation. And she might, you know, they might be more interested in her. Which is, you know, one of the things with all these people is, like, they might like them more than you.
Liz: You know, that’s the risk you run.
Anika: She would be able to steer – I think, you know, her experience as a Dabo girl would give her the ability to steer the person in the direction that she wants them to go?
Liz: Yeah, yeah, absolutely a Dabo girl needs to be able to redirect advances without leaving someone feeling offended or put off.
Liz: Which is kind of gross. Quark, get your shit together.
Anika: I mean, I think that’s true for all of Deep Space 9. Quark, get your shit together.
Liz: [laughing] Yeah. Yeah.
The one character, off the top of my head, that I think we’ve seen actively being a wing woman in this context is Sylvia Tilly.
Anika: Yes! Yes! I was going to say that as well. I mean, the party scene. And then, going forward from that, she’s always ready to jump in. Speaking of the rescuing aspect, I love when the four of them are going down to Qo’noS and Michael and Ash are sort of like, “Errrr.” And she just stands right in between them, makes sure that she is the barrier, and you don’t have to deal with this – – –
Anika: – – – personal mess right now, we have a mission, and I’m just gonna say nope, that’s over. And I’m gonna be the protector friend. And I just love that slight moment.
Liz: It’s perfect. And the other thing that I love about Tilly’s support of Michael and Ash’s relationship before the whole, you know, Klingon thing happened, is that she also finds him very attractive, she thinks he’s very good looking, but the second she realises that Michael is also intrigued, she backs off.
Anika: Yes. And is very, you know, supportive of both of them, and really is a friend to both of them, to help that along.
Anika: And also, Michael would not be a good wing woman. Just since we’re talking about it! Don’t ask Michael Burnham to be your wing woman. She’s another one who would not know what is expected, or what she wants, what another person wants. She has a block there. Let her figure it out. She’s getting better, she’ll be okay.
Liz: I think she would take a very direct approach, where she walks up to the person and says, “My friend is interested in you. Would you like to reciprocate?”
Anika: That’s also what Seven of Nine would do.
Liz: Oh God, yes. I think we can put Michael, Seven, uh, Number One, all in the category marked Staying Home, Watching Netflix Or Reading A Good Book.
Anika: Yes. But then there’s T’Pol.
Liz: Oh yeah!
Anika: Who you would think would be in that group, but I think that T’Pol is actually secretly good at this kind of thing. She’s definitely more curious about people.
Liz: She wishes she wasn’t good at it, but she is.
Anika: Yeah, exactly. It’s like, she’s good at being a Slytherin kind of Vulcan, and she’s not good at being a Ravenclaw kind of Vulcan.
Liz: I’ve only seen a bit of Enterprise, I’m only in late season 1. But T’Pol seems to have the sort of interest in people which I think is necessary for a good wing woman.
Anika: Yes. And she would be able to get you out of things easily.
Liz: Oh yeah. No shame there.
Anika: She definitely knows how to extricate – – –
Liz: Awkwardness is illogical.
Anika: Right. So I think that she would actually be pretty good. You know, she wouldn’t be the best, but she would be pretty good.
Liz: Interesting outside choice, yeah. Because before we came into this, I was thinking, “Mm, T’Pol, she’s not really gonna be good.” But you’ve talked me around.
Anika: Well, I have seen more Enterprise than that.
Anika: And I love T’Pol. I think that her character – I mean, we can have a whole episode about T’Pol, but – – –
Liz: Oh, and we should one day.
Anika: But she – again, my little thing of, I latch onto parts of a character, and pull at those threads, and sort of ignore the parts of canon that don’t fit with what I think of it.
Liz: Which is a fair amount of Enterprise, I understand.
Anika: Yes. Or I try to explain it away. Like, I was doing her fashion, and I just decided that she was a fashionista. That she was a fashionista Vulcan. And that’s why she had so many different costumes, and that’s why she liked colours so much. You know, I was like, “Oh, she just likes it.” The truth is that they wanted a sexy, pretty girl. But I can explain it away. So T’Pol is one of those characters that I can explain a lot of things to myself.
But I really do think that – like, she kind of is Archer’s wing woman in terms of interacting with space. The final frontier.
Liz: Oh, that is so true!
Anika: So I just think that she would be good at it on a personal level, because that is really her role in the series.
Liz: She does seem to spend a lot of time going to various aliens, going, like, “Hey, my friend is really interested in learning about you? He’s a bit awkward, just, like, be nice, okay?”
Liz: “Let him down gently.”
Anika: And the rest of the Vulcans are like, “Will you stop? Stop helping him!”
Liz: “Don’t encourage the humans!”
Anika: They’re like the dads.
Liz: I will say – and we could have a whole Vulcan fashion episode one of these days – – –
Liz: – – – but Sarek is also a Vulcan fashionista, and he does not wear a single brightly coloured velvet catsuit.
Anika: Absolutely. He is 100% – like, he cares very much about how he presents himself.
Liz: Can someone please draw Sarek wearing one of T’Pol’s costumes? I would enjoy that.
Anika: All right. Ok. So can we talk about Kathryn Janeway?
Liz: The ultimate wing woman.
Liz: She just wants everyone to pair up and be happy so she can live vicariously through them, and not address her own needs.
Anika: She definitely interferes in her crew’s lives a lot, in these sneaky ways. So I just think – and she’s also another person who is up for anything, and, you know, she knows it. She owns it. She owns her party animal side. She’s okay with it.
Anika: You know, Picard – when Picard starts hanging out with the crew in Ten Forward, everyone’s like, “Oh, he’s an imposter!” Whereas Janeway, they invite her to the holodeck pool place, you know, Sandrine’s – – –
Liz: Right, right.
Anika: – – – and she’s like, “I’m gonna run the table.” It’s so completely different.
Liz: It takes seven years for Picard to join a poker game, and about five episodes for Janeway to start hanging out with her crew.
Anika: Right. And showing them all up. Because she knows that she’s the best at it. You know, Janeway knows that she’s the best at everything.
Liz: Well, she is.
Anika: Absolutely. So I think that she would be great.
Liz: Well, I think in “Someone to Watch Over Me”, she’s actively encouraging Seven of Nine to pursue romance. And I have a lot of issues with this, because the last time I watched Voyager, Seven of Nine struck me really strongly as asexual? But, you know, it was the ‘90s and Voyager – Star Trek in general was very into compulsory heterosexuality, so…
Anika: There are many reasons why Seven of Nine should not have had dating lessons, and certainly why her dating lessons shouldn’t have been so incredibly heteronormative. But. That’s another topic. But definitely, as much as Seven would be terrible as a wing woman, Janeway would be great.
And then there’s B’Elanna, who…
Liz: I think B’Elanna would be hit or miss?
Liz: It depends how well she knows you.
Anika: That’s exactly what I was going to say. It’s like a 50/50 chance on which side of B’Elanna you’re gonna get. And if she knows you, and knows how to do it – and if she’s, like, in the right frame of mind to be there for it.
Liz: I am willing to bet money, now that I think of it, that B’Elanna was the one who got Seska and Chakotay together.
Liz: I feel like she might have some regrets.
Anika: Yes. But I love – Seska and B’Elanna were really good friends, and I love that.
Liz: They were!
Anika: And I agree, I feel like they both had feelings – like, it’s canonical that they both had feelings for Chakotay. And I think I can absolutely see – – –
Liz: Look, even Neelix thought Chakotay was very handsome.
Anika: I can absolutely see B’Elanna helping – you know, it’s like, “Well, if I can’t have him, at least my best friend will.” And I think that would be adorable.
Liz: Also, B’Elanna, with a vaguely Starfleet background, might be more likely to go, “Eh, he’s sort of my commanding officer, maybe I shouldn’t. But Seska has no such hang ups, she’s a Bajoran rebel, so she should go for it, and I’m gonna help her.”
Seska, on the other hand? Not such a great wing woman.
Anika: But she could pretend to be!
Liz: Oh, she would pretend really well.
Anika: Yes! Right? So that’s a whole different, you know, concept! You know, Seska’s another – I love Seska. I absolutely adore her.
Liz: Oh, I know.
Anika: And it’s one of those things of identity, and if I – you know, fake it ‘til you make it. “If I’m pretending well enough to do this well, does that mean I do it well?” But Seska, her real personality? Absolutely not. She doesn’t have time for that. She’s disinterested in helping anyone.
Liz: It’s an awful lot like caring about other people, and Seska is – – –
Anika: Yeah, ew!
Liz: – – – not here for that nonsense. But I also think, you know, I don’t want to get into gay best friend stereotypes, but Garak would be a great wingman for the same reasons.
Anika: Yes. And I would love to put the two of them together and see what happens. There’s these crazy – Cardassians are interesting.
Liz: I love Cardassians. They’re the worst.
Anika: I can’t actually – no Cardassian would be a good wingman or wing woman, really. Because, yeah, that’s just not what they do. Like, it’s not a thing. But, in sort of the same way that T’Pol is good at it even though she’s a Vulcan, Garak would be good at it even as a Cardassian, because he’s not like the other Cardassians, quote-unquote.
Liz: And, you know, he’s good at doing his job, and sometimes his job might involve getting two people together. Never Julian, Julian is his. But, you know, if a relationship needs a nudge, and he can see some value in it. Or at least an opportunity to make a nice wedding dress.
Anika: Okay, I want that fic now.
Liz: Now I’m seeing a major professional conflict of interest for Garak here. And I love it.
Keiko O’Brien? Hit or miss, do you think?
Anika: Hmm. Keiko O’Brien. I mean, she’s – it’s really hard to know who Keiko really is, unfortunately. I love – – –
Liz: She’s so often written by men who maybe have never met a woman.
Anika: Yeah. Yes. Exactly. They have the idea of a wife, but they don’t have a wife. I just – really from her introduction, she was very misunderstood, I guess, by the people who were in charge of understanding her. And I love – – –
Liz: Yeah, and it’s such a shame, because Rosalind Chao is so talented.
Anika: Exactly. She’s so good.
Liz: And most of Keiko’s success as a character is down to her being charismatic.
Anika: Absolutely. And, like, I really like Keiko’s arc when you think about – there’s so much potential. She has a lot of worth as a character.
Liz: Oh yeah.
Anika: And I like the O’Brien – I like their family dynamics. That’s an interesting – we don’t get married with children in Star Trek, like, ever.
Liz: No, no. And when they let Keiko step out of the nagging sitcom wife role, she – you know, they seem to have a really fun relationship. But too often she is put into that category, or she’s sort of manipulating Miles instead of actually outright saying what she needs. Again, it’s men who don’t have wives trying to write a marriage.
Anika: Yes, exactly.
Liz: And I say this as a person without a spouse. But, you know, I’ve known … married people.
Anika: So, yeah, I think that she could be good in – I can imagine it. I can imagine her being good at it. But I can also imagine her … not being good at it. So it’s which way I decide I would want to imagine that scenario, really.
Liz: What I’m picturing all of a sudden is Keiko attempting to be Kira’s wing woman, and sort of mixing it up, but it working out anyway.
Anika: Yeah, I can see that. And Kira would be hard. Like, Kira would be really hard to – I love Kira, and I think she’s an amazing character who is well written.
Anika: But – – –
Liz: But she’s complicated.
Anika: Yeah, she’s very complicated. And especially in regards to romance, and really, any kind of intimate relationship.
Liz: She really does have the worst taste in men of any woman in any Star Trek.
Anika: Yes. So – like, the Keiko and Kira dynamic, I wish we got more of it. We only got these weird jealousy things.
Anika: But I do think that they had to be close. But in this weird, incestuous kind of way.
Liz: The forced intimacy of an unexpected surrogacy.
Anika: Yeah. But I can see Keiko really wanting to do it really well, like, having this, “I have to get this right” kind of – – –
Liz: Yeah, like, she’s lived on Bajor, she’s probably familiar with Bajoran cultural traditions. She probably thinks she would be really good at it, and she just doesn’t expect Kira to be so prickly and contrary.
Anika: Right. Just because Kira doesn’t know how to do that. Kira doesn’t know how to people in that way.
Liz: No. But I think we can be certain that, however bad Keiko is, she’s going to be better than Vic Fontaine.
Anika: Yeah. Right? Oh, don’t even get me started. I can’t – – –
Liz: I’m sorry.
Anika: I can’t speak about that in a coherent way. So we’ll leave that for DS9 shipping, because I have a rant. You can look forward to it.
Liz: I am looking forward to it, and I have a rant of my own! So it’s gonna be great! We can have a whole episode about how awful Vic Fontaine is.
Anika: Yes. All right. I wanna go back to oldschool, and talk about Nyota Uhura.
Liz: Oh my god, she would be amazing.
Anika: She’d be so good. She is so good. Like, she does this.
Liz: The worst problem would be the very strong risk that whoever she’s chatting up on your behalf falls in love with her instead.
Liz: Which is not her fault, she’s just amazing.
Anika: She is just perfect for everyone. Everyone wants to date Uhura.
Liz: She plays the Vulcan lute! She sings! She’s – you know?
Anika: Right! The early TOS episode where Rand and Uhura are, like, playing cards, or something, and Spock starts playing, and she does this little song and dance, and – it’s like this whole – I can imagine that she’s doing it to set up Rand with Spock. Like, that’s what I get out of that scene. And so – she’d be amazing. She can approach anyone, even the most intimidating … Spock.
Liz: Well, she has very good communications skills. Sort of a professional requirement.
Anika: And then, even in the first JJ Abrams Star Trek movie, she’s introduced bopping into a bar and totally – – –
Liz: Yeah, yeah!
Anika: – – – handling Kirk with no problems. So I’m like, yup, I want her.
I feel like Janice Rand would be fun as well? But I kind of want to be an anti-wing woman for her, because she’s so often the object of creepy attention. I just wanna hang out with her, and death stare anyone who tries to talk to her.
Anika: Just wanna protect her.
Liz: “No. This is a girls night, not for you. Goodbye, go away.”
Anika: I love the Uhura, Rand and Chapel, you know, girls night out.
Liz: That would be amazing.
Anika: That would be so perfect. It would be so beautiful.
And Chapel – I don’t think she’d be very good as a wing – she would be good at being supportive, and helping you talk things out, but she wouldn’t be good at helping you approach them. And she would be terrible at approaching them herself.
Liz: Oh yeah. Like we see with her whole thing with Spock, her approach is to bring him soup and almost mother him. Which is very sweet, but it’s not – – –
Anika: No. It’s just – – –
Liz: – – – really conducive to a romantic relationship.
Anika: Yeah. And even with her fiancé, she does everything the same way. I hate that episode. I hate that episode. Like, hardcore hate that episode. But she is very nurturing, and, oh, you know, “You love me for my maternal … and I’m both the damsel and the mommy.” It’s like, ugh.
Liz: [long shuddering sound of horror]
Anika: Like, no. Just stop.
Liz: Okay. So Christine Chapel: wonderful friend, terrible wing woman.
Liz: You know who would be great at both? Beverly Crusher.
Anika: Yes, I agree.
Liz: In fact, I honestly think, with the exception of Ro, who we’ve discussed, all of the women of Next Generation would be pretty good to have on your side.
Liz: Even Tasha, you know, in the first season, Tasha is a closer friend to Deanna than Beverly is, they have that BFF – it’s great.
Anika: It’s a beautiful vibe that they have. And, yes, Beverly is absolutely great as a friend, and great as a wing woman. Again, it’s just her realm. And I guess it’s partly that the TNG women are all that type?
Anika: Yes, they are pigeonholed into – other than Ro, which is why she’d be bad – but, you know, they are nurturing, they are good friends, they are people who are going to take care of you. They’re like momma bears.
Liz: There’s an episode quite late in the series where Alyssa Ogawa’s boyfriend may or may not be cheating on her, and [Beverly]’s deeply concerned about that. And the whole relationship, by this point, between Beverly and Alyssa was frustrating to me, because Beverly is meant to be her professional mentor, but actually they’re just talking about boys? But that Beverly is protective of her friend and subordinate is very sweet.
But I also think, if you were really into someone, Beverly would, like, write you a play and cast him as the character you had to kiss a lot.
Anika: Aw, that would be so sweet. Yes. She would be good. The people who can come up with creative ways to make it happen, so that you don’t have to do anything. Those are good people.
Liz: God bless those people.
Anika: See, I – not the Emperor, but prime universe Philippa Georgiou, I imagined – I think about Philippa and Gabriel and Katrina young, a lot.
Liz: Just a bit?
Anika: And I even have a half-written story about Philippa being Lorca’s wing woman when they were young. I am, like, in love with – I just have this idea that she would be really good at it. And they were, like, besties, and it was really cute. Because they weren’t attracted to each other at all, but they were both good at helping each other out.
Liz: And we’ve only seen Lorca through his mirror universe persona, but you kind of get the impression that there may have been a point in his life where he maybe needed that support.
Anika: Yes. If you think, like, the only reason that mirror Lorca got away with it for as long as he did is that he had enough charisma to play it off – – –
Anika: – – – and so his mirror would have a different – a quieter charisma, I guess? Or none. So, you know, that’s where my mind goes with it. And I know it’s completely made up, and only in my head, they didn’t even know each other. However, I really – so I imagine Philippa as really good, she’s great, she’s exactly the wing woman you want, even though there is zero evidence for that in canon.
Liz: No, I can totally buy that. She’s so supportive and enthusiastic. But then I picture the Emperor. And I think that would be really dangerous. You go, like, “Hey, Empress Mom, I have a crush on someone.” And the next thing you know, you walk into your bedroom and he’s tied up there, waiting for you. “Merry Christmas!”
Anika: That’s amazing.
Liz: I think you’ll find it’s problematic.
Anika: Yes. No. Bad – I mean, yeah. Everyone in the mirror universe? No. Like, just no. That’s not how they – they don’t do any of this. They just – as you say, they kidnap people that they are interested in. That’s it. The end.
Liz: Don’t have crushes on them, don’t ask them to set you up with people, don’t bring them home and try to adopt them as your new mother. It’s not going to work out.
Anika: They’re very direct.
Liz: So here’s a curveball. Alynna Nechayev.
Anika: Yeah, you’re gonna have to – ‘cos I can’t even imagine it. But please tell me your thoughts.
Liz: Well. I think Nechayev is not very good at socialising she is with subordinates, you know, we see how awkward she and Picard are together, and I don’t think it’s just because they have mismatched personality types. But we have no reason to believe that she is not a really good friend to the people she knows well and trusts as her peers.
Liz: Having said that, if you were in a bar, like, the Starfleet officers bar, or whatever they have, and Admiral Necheyev comes and sits down and says, “Hey, you see my friend over there, Fleet Admiral So-and-so? She thinks you’re all right, how about it?” I would run screaming into the night, how about you?
Anika: Yes, exactly! I’d be like, “Nope, I don’t wanna be in on that.” I mean, honestly, if she started coming towards me at a bar, I would go in the other direction. I would find someone to talk to. Immediately.
Liz: You know, she is one of my top three space vice admirals? But yeah, she is quite scary.
Anika: She’s scary. That’s just her entire vibe is, “I don’t wanna be here.”
I wanted to bring up Rain Robinson, played by Sarah Silverman in “Future’s End”.
Anika: Because I was like, you know, obviously I don’t live in the 24th century, so choosing a wing woman in the future doesn’t really help me out. But she’s right here, in my world. And in my time period.
Liz: She does seem fun. And I bet she knows some cool nerds.
Anika: Exactly. She would know the people that would be on my level. So we could hang out, it’d be great. Her whole aesthetic is totally mine, so A+.
Liz: The mid-90s were a great time.
Can I share a theory?
Liz: Saavik: Kirsty Alley Saavik? Terrible wing woman. Robin Curtis Saavik? Quite good.
Anika: Interesting. Interesting. Yeah, I mean, that’s – I love Saavik, but mostly because of a tie-in novel more than – I mean, she’s great in the movies, but in this – it’s The Pandora Principle by … I think it’s Carolyn Palamas? [Note: Carolyn Clowes.] I always get the name wrong. We’ll put it in the show notes. But it’s called The Pandora Principle and it’s literally the book that I read when I was fourteen, or something, and it defined my life. Like, I was in youth group at church, and I asked my youth minister, “Is it okay if you find God in something that’s not the Bible? In a book that’s not the Bible?” And I was talking about The Pandora Principle.
Liz: The fact that it’s Star Trek tie-in fiction that you were talking about makes this even more charming.
Anika: That is literally what I was thinking of, and still, to this day, if I was going to define religion or spirituality in any way in my life, it would be like, “Read this book about Saavik and you will understand.” I have also literally bought the book for more than one person, to say, “Read this book if you want to understand me.” Like, that’s how much this book – it’s hugely important to my persona in my head.
Liz: I think I’m going, when we’re done here, to see if it’s on Amazon.
Anika: It’s really great. When I went to Star Trek Las Vegas, and I was at the Roddenberry booth, they had a bunch of books that were just – it’s like, “Here’s books that the Roddenberrys were given because they were Star Trek books.” And they were selling them. So I got a copy of The Pandora Principle where, if you open the front cover, it says, property of Gene and Majel Roddenberry.
Liz: Oh my gosh. Amazing.
Anika: So, yes. But anyway, that’s how I know Saavik, and the Saavik of that book would be bad at being a wing woman.
Anika: But she would try so hard.
Liz: What about – let’s switch species – L’Rell.
Anika: Hooo. Okay, so, Mary Chieffo would be great.
Liz: Oh, Mary Chieffo is like the BFF to the entire fandom, and I love her.
Anika: Exactly. She would hook all of us up. But L’Rell? You know, I think that, in the right circumstances, like, in an arena that she is comfortable and familiar with, she’d be good.
Liz: Yeah. Yeah. Like, uh, say, Klingon matrimonial alliances.
Anika: Yeah. She would be great at that.
Liz: Oh man, that would be some matriarchs of Mokai stuff right there.
Anika: Which we really should get. I hope we get some.
Liz: Oh, I know.
Anika: Some day.
Liz: I know.
Anika: But in a Starfleet bar? No. Even if it wasn’t weird that she was a Klingon to begin with, but setting that aside, she would be out of her element. And L’Rell out of her element is someone who – you know, with her back to the wall, she pulls out a dagger. And that kind of person is not who you want for your wing woman. You want someone – – –
Anika: – – – who uses words to get out of things or into things, not someone who’s going to shoot or fight their way out.
Liz: Very. Strongly. Agreed.
Anika: So who haven’t we discussed?
Liz: Hoshi Sato!
Anika: Oh, well, okay. Hoshi Sato, you know, didn’t get a lot of characterisation.
Liz: I’ve noticed this. It’s regrettable.
Anika: Her development stayed pretty flat throughout. But every now and then, you got a few little tidbits that – they weren’t really – it wasn’t characterisation so much as character traits. They’d be like, “Well, let’s make Hoshi do this. That’s fine.” But they didn’t explain any part of why.
Liz: Like the episode where – – –
Anika: It was just, “Eh. We need someone to do this.”
Liz: Like the episode where she’s tasked with finding out what meal Malcolm wants for his birthday.
Anika: Yeah. Right. But there’s this one episode of Enterprise that really stuck with me, and I have no idea what happens in the entire rest of the episode. But Hoshi is on a planet – it’s maybe shore leave? I think it is, and, like, possibly Trip and Malcolm are tied up in their underwear? But that might be a whole other episode. I literally don’t know.
But Hoshi meets this guy, a random hot guy, and takes him to bed, and is totally cool with it, and is like, you know, “I’m having fun and we’re having a great weekend, and it was great.” And that’s her entire plot. But I was like, “You go, Hoshi Sato.” I wish that I had the confidence of Hoshi here. To just do that.
Anika: Again, for little me, watching this – I don’t know, I was – Enterprise … twenties-ish? And I didn’t know how to date. At all. I didn’t know what I was doing. And it was completely – it opened my mind to the idea that a woman could have a casual weekend fling, and it would be okay. And it wouldn’t say anything bad about her – – –
Liz: And he’s not going to take over the ship, or – – –
Anika: – – – it wouldn’t be – it was just – you know, that happens constantly with the men in these series, but Hoshi’s the first one who was like, “Hey, I’m just gonna go have sex ‘cos I want to!” And it was amazing to me. I was like, “Whoa.” So that’s what I remember of Hoshi: she’s really good at languages, she’s scared of space, and she’s cool with casual sex. Again, that’s – – –
Liz: That is three whole character traits.
Anika: Yes, exactly, that’s not a character, but I can get behind all of them. If they had spent a little more energy and effort making her a fully fledged character, she would have been great.
Liz: Yeah, so many missed opportunities in that whole era of Trek.
Okay. The Borg Queen.
Anika: I just – can we just picture it! You and the Borg Queen walk into Ten Forward. Like, why?
Anika: But if it – you know, okay, I’m going to say, like, Janeway decides that instead of battling the Borg Queen, she’s gonna reform her.
Liz: She’s going to adopt her!
Anika: Like she did Seven, like she does everyone. She’s going to be like, “Hey, join my crew, I’ll hook you up, everything’s gonna be great.” So in that scenario – – –
Liz: Which is amazing.
Anika: Yes, which is amazing, Janeway would be really good at getting the Borg Queen a date. But the Borg Queen would need a lot – a lot of work. I mean, on one hand, she has millions of people’s memories of how to do this? But I feel like none of that would be – like, the Borg would not prioritise that at all. So it would just be, like, if they were a computer system, it’s like the parts of their memory that’s not accessed. It’s in storage. It’s not important. So now, suddenly, the Borg Queen finds herself in a position where she has to access those parts, and … it would be amazing.
Liz: I think this is the great sitcom we will never, ever get.
Anika: Yes! Exactly! It would have to be a sitcom because it would only work as comedy. But it would be amazing.
Liz: I would enjoy watching that.
So, finally, how about Vash? I see you added her to our list.
Anika: I did. Because, you know, it’s another one-off character, she’s in, I think, three episodes? But she, unlike poor Hoshi, comes across as a fully formed person who has her own ideas and ideals, and desires. She jumps into various relationships, but it’s really for herself. It’s like, “I chose this,” it’s not, “You’re interested in me so–” She’s gonna go do it.
So I just think that because she has this – both “I am very good at people, I have a lot of charisma and I’m good at getting people to talk, and I’m fearless,” you know, she jumps right in. But also, she’s kind of standoffish with her own – she’s not invested in the relationship that much. Like, “I’m good with keeping things simple.” That combination would actually make her pretty good at being your wing woman.
Liz: I think, if she was interested, and bonus points if she got something out of it, she would be great.
Anika: Right. It would definitely be, like, “If these two people getting together means that I get X, then yes.” Because she is very selfish.
Liz: I actually think there is a tie-in novella where, on the eve of Picard and Beverly’s wedding, Q sweeps them away and – I think Picard has to go through some kind of adventure with Vash? To, I dunno, let him decide whether he wants to settle down with Beverly, or some other woman, because Q is the worst?
Anika: Wow. That’s – – –
Liz: It wasn’t great.
Anika: I can imagine it, though.
Liz: But that was sort of her attitude.
Anika: “What do I get out of this?”
Liz: Pretty much. I mean, as far as I can recall. I have to say, it was not a memorable piece of work.
Anika: But she’s just – you know, I wish she came back more. She had potential. She’s interesting.
Liz: She’s another one we never really get to see interacting with women very much.
Liz: She briefly encounters Beverly, it’s awkward, that’s it.
Anika: Yeah. It’s definitely – and I want to see her interacting with women, I want to see her interact with everybody. I’m intrigued.
Liz: Honestly, if I could change – if I could change one thing about Star Trek, I wouldn’t be able to choose. But more women interacting with each other, platonically, romantically, professionally, that’s what I want.
Anika: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, you know who I want to talk about? That I just thought of?
Anika: Because you said women interacting with women. Amanda Grayson.
Anika: Who I definitely want to, first of all, interact with all women. Like, anyone she can interact with, I want her to. But she would be great – – –
Liz: I just want Amanda to have adventures separate from Sarek.
Anika: She would be so good at being, like, she’d be great.
Liz: She’s a diplomat, I think professionally she was a teacher before she met Sarek?
Liz: I don’t know if that’s canon or something we’ve inherited from the tie-in novels, but sure, why not? You know, she has really good communication skills, she’s good at supporting people.
Anika: It’s another thing that she’s – in various iterations of Amanda, that she’s a linguist, and was instrumental in helping with the universal translator, or something like that.
Anika: So, yeah. She has these skills, whichever version of Amanda you end up with, she has some kind of skill that is useful in communication and people skills, and just getting people to tell their story. If she married Sarek, then she’s really good at figuring people out and getting them to want to interact with you.
Liz: Honestly, Amanda as linguist just makes me love Spock/Uhura even more.
Liz: Oh, Spock, honey, you have it bad.
I have a new dream for season 2 of Discovery, and it’s finding out what Amanda did before she was Sarek’s wife and Spock’s mother. And now I’m hoping for linguistics.
Anika: There’s no indication that we’re going to see Amanda at all, but I really – – –
Liz: No, she’s in one of the trailers!
Anika: Oh, she is?
Liz: Yeah, she’s on Discovery, telling Michael about Spock’s first vision of the Red Angel.
Anika: I do not think I’ve seen that trailer! But cool, because I love her.
Liz: Well, I’m going to dig it up for you. But the important thing is, she’s around. Sarek, apparently, is not.
Anika: Yay! Oh, good. Sarek is – he’s angry at Spock, I get it. But that’s fine, that’s fine. I mean, I love Sarek, and I want Sarek all the time, too. But Amanda being Spock’s parent for a little while is like – yes, please interact with Michael a lot.
Liz: Amanda as a character in her own right. Yes.
Anika: So. Yeah.
Liz: Okay. Should we wrap up?
Anika: All right!
Liz: Thank you for listening to Antimatter Pod. You do not have to rate and review us on iTunes – yet. You cannot support us on Patreon or like us on Facebook. Please send vaguely positive thoughts in our direction, and join us in two weeks, when we discuss the characters Tasha Yar and Ellen Landry.
Our theme music is Lee Rosevere and includes audio recorded and uploaded by Iwiploppenisse, both shared under creative commons attributions licenses.