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98. The Win Scenario (Prodigy 1.06)

Liz has strong feelings about Jane Eyre versus Janeway’s gothic romance holonovel

Anika and Liz are AWAKE and SOBER and delighted to talk about a new episode of Star Trek: Prodigy!

  • We are still talking about the unconscious racism in people’s attitudes to Dal (and Michael, and Raffi, and Becket…)
  • Understanding versus interpretation
  • Gwyn finding her identity
  • Things are getting a bit timey wimey up in here
  • There probably isn’t a secret plot to keep DS9 out of current continuity…
  • Archive audio, sound quality and FEELS


Anika: Welcome to Antimatter Pod, a Star Trek podcast where we discuss fashion, feminism, subtext, and subspace, hosted by Anika and Liz. This week, we’re discussing Star Trek: Prodigy, season one, episode six, Kobayashi.

Liz: So, first piece of good news, I am completely sober and I have a cup of coffee beside me. Second piece of good news, there is no poetry in my heart whatsoever. Third piece of good news, Prodigy is back and I love it.

Anika: Prodigy is back and we love it.

Liz: I didn’t realize what a relief it would be to take a break from the large-scale doom and gloom and tension of Discovery.

Anika: One hundred percent.

Liz: And it’s so funny because we were complaining about a lack of tension, and then to have it broken and to go back to this story, which is still very intense, but pitched at a different audience, was a real relief and a real joy.

Anika: I think the reality is that Discovery, even when it’s low tension, is still super intense. And Prodigy – even just because it’s so colorful, that one difference between the real darkness of Discovery and the overwhelming color of Prodigy, it’s a completely different feeling while watching.

Liz: Yes. And I absolutely trust that none of these kids that go to die, or suffer terrible injury, and the trauma that they suffer along the way will serve to mold them into strong adults rather than break them entirely.

Anika: It will be resolved in a comfortable way,

Liz: Yeah, and as we were saying, a couple of weeks ago, there is a week-to-week catharsis in these episodes.

Anika: Right. Yes, exactly. And I would say that Lower Decks is that way, too.

Liz: Yeah. Yeah.

Anika: Not that Lower Decks is traumatic very often, but there is still that, catharsis. It’s more like a shame and embarrassment catharsis, but it’s there. It is very valuable.

Liz: I truly hate that I have to say this, but maybe there is some value in episodic Star Trek? I’ve been saying for a couple of years that the people whinging that Discovery and Picard were serialized were just wrong and needed to get with the times. But now I completely understand the appeal. And I think that I’m glad that we have room in the franchise for both.

Anika: Right. So my position, as always, is, all of the things. My position is always going to be, both. Both/and.

I agree that people need to stop whining that Discovery and Picard aren’t the way they want it to be, because it’s not going to change. Just get over it, let it go, move past things. That’s another position I’m always on. Move past things.

But there is a difference between saying, Discovery is never going to be this and you need to let it go, and saying, Star Trek is never going to be this, and you need to let it go. Star Trek can be that. It can be all of the things.

Liz: Which is just really great. And I’m so glad that we have these kids back, and our purple son is beating the Kobayashi Maru without even cheating.

Anika: I love him so much.

Liz: I think this episode was the perfect blend of fan service that doesn’t go over the heads of new viewers, you know, using old characters and old dialogue from classic episodes was done adeptly enough that it didn’t exclude people who don’t know who those people are. And yet it was a wonderful gift and a way of honoring those actors.

And at the same time, we have these great stories about Dal taking the first steps towards becoming a proper leader, while Gwyn starts to uncover the mystery of the Protostar, which is linked to her own identity. It was just great. It balanced so many things, all in 24 minutes.

Anika: In terms of fan service, and we can discuss the audio and the old characters in a minute, but just the idea of using the Kobayashi Maru in this way, and even using the holodeck in this way, it introduces these characters to those concepts, while also being very, as you said, heart-warming for the fans who know of those concepts.

I just really liked that it introduces the Kobayashi Maru that we, because we’ve seen Star Trek many, many times, know that Dal can’t possibly win, and that’s the point, but he doesn’t know. And a new viewer wouldn’t know.

I just really like the gimmick of, we’re going to have something that is classic Star Trek. You know, at least fifty percent of the movies are based on the idea of the Kobayashi Maru and the no win scenario. There was even an episode in Discovery this season that was about the idea of the Kobayashi Maru.

It’s indelible to Star Trek, but Dal didn’t know anything about it. Dal didn’t know about the Federation, or these characters at all. He didn’t know who any of them were. He gave them his own names. And that was just really … Those two ideas being parallel, and then coming together in the end, that was the fan service that I was the most excited for.

Liz: Also, a cadet going into the Kobayashi Maru knows that it’s an unwinnable scenario. Dal went in totally blind, just like the new viewer. And I think that’s wonderful. And I think, as you say, it’s breaking down the implicit bias of the critiques that he is cocky, because who else wins the Kobayashi Maru?

And Dal doesn’t even have to cheat. He just works really, really hard and brings his own perspective as an untrained teenage boy. Teenagers are the ultimate chaos agents. And so, as you say, “I’ve blown up so many times, I see, now, the only way out is chaos.”

Anika: Dal is a Loki. It’s just the truth.

Liz: I think all teenagers are trickster gods in their own way.

Anika: Very true. I have heard this critique that Dal is cocky. And I’ve heard it, also, about Michael Burnham, Raffi Musiker, and Beckett Mariner. And I would like to point out that these four characters have something in common, and it’s not cockiness.

Liz: Yeah. This is something we’ve ranted about a lot in the first part of our Prodigy coverage. And it’s dismaying that fandom has leaned so far into this critique that they only apply to characters played by Black performers.

Anika: And I do think it is an implicit bias. I don’t think — because I’ve heard this … I’m not talking about the dudebros here. Like, the dudebros, I will never respect, but I’m talking about friends of mine, who I do respect, who I know are very invested in racial equity, who are absolutely pro Black Lives Matter. And yet still have this critique about these characters, and especially about Dal. And Dal is, again, a child.

Liz: Yes, but I think our society is really afraid of Black teenage boys. You know, in America, they get shot and killed. In Australia, they’re murdered in other ways by the police. They’re criminalized, they’re racialized. There is this pervading cliche of the young black male troublemaker.

And I think even if you don’t know that Dal is voiced by a young Black man, I think it’s apparent in his voice and in the way he moves. And I think that’s wonderful, that he’s not de-racialized, even though he’s a purple alien, but it does mean that I think people are subconsciously leaning into some ugly ideas.

Anika: And you have to explicitly choose not to do that as a white person. And I, and I say this as someone who — I know that I have implicit biases, I’m not saying that I am exempt from any of this. And also, I’ll admit that I love a cocky character. A try-hard cocky character is my favorite. Again, Loki. So.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: I also know that I am biased towards him. But I just appreciate that the show gave us this particular episode.

It reminds me of my favorite Boimler moment, with saving all the Borg babies, in that he was determined to win this, and he did it in his own way, and he figured it out, and he did save the people. He learned that saving the people was part of winning. And that’s an important lesson.

And I’m not angry with him for not wanting to save the people in the beginning because, you said that like Kobayashi Maru cadets know that it’s a no-win scenario. They also have had a class, had many classes in Starfleet academy. They’ve grown up in the Federation. They know that the reason you join Starfleet is to save the people on the Kobayashi Maru.

Dal doesn’t have any of that. He has a completely separate reality and background. And so him learning that he has to care about people beyond himself and his crew is such an important lesson, and he comes by it naturally and it becomes his instinct. And I just think that that is beautiful and wonderful, and we need to embrace it, and not be mad at him as a character for any of his fault, because all characters that are worthy have faults.

Liz: His morality has been forged in a slave camp. And so, yeah, how can he be a proper little altruist if he has never been exposed to true altruism? At this point, he still doesn’t trust the Federation.

This reminds me of Finn in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, where he initially betrays the First Order for legitimate reasons, but essentially selfish ones, he doesn’t want to kill. And then he joins the Resistance out of loyalty to Rey, and it takes his experience with Rose in The Last Jedi to understand the wider fight. It’s when he learns to fight for a cause. Not just a person that he cares about.

Anika: I’m just gonna, as a Star Wars aficionado, point out that people get mad at Finn for that, the same way they get mad at Dal for his opinions and cockiness. And Finn has the exact same storyline as Han Solo, and everyone loves Han Solo. So it’s like, what is the difference here? Let me think.

Again, we have to be wider in our thinking, we have to realize that Black boys can be heroes, and in fact are, often.

Liz: And they don’t have to start out as heroes. They can start out as ordinary, selfish kids doing their best and learning along the way. You know, we need to give them the same grace to fail and learn that we extend to white kids.

Anika: It’s called the hero’s journey for a reason. It’s a journey. You don’t just start out this way. Even Luke Skywalker didn’t start out this way.

Liz: No. I know this is a rant that we have had before, but I just think it’s worth flagging, again, that Dal is learning, and the people that he knows, he respects. And he has not yet learned to respect institutions and that’s completely okay.

Anika: This is a theme in Star Trek the series, and also, like, tie in novels and even fan fiction, that someone has an encounter with Starfleet when they’re a child, and that is why they join it. Like, Data, in fact, has this, you know, go all the way to the top, right?

And Dal hasn’t had that either. No one, and not even just Starfleet or the Federation, but ˆhas come to save Dal. He had to get out himself. So of course he doesn’t trust systems. Of course he doesn’t think that there is anyone out in the universe who’s going to come save him. No one did. And so why should he have to go save them?

But again, it’s not that he doesn’t want to. It’s not that he doesn’t care about people. Dal saved Gwyn last week, and he didn’t want to even admit that, because it would admit caring about someone. And caring about someone, for Dal, is a weakness. That’s showing weakness.

Liz: And where he saves someone, where he protects them, it’s someone he already knows. And so, yeah, he has not yet learned to rescue the Kobayashi Maru. As he says, we don’t know those people. Who are they? What do we owe them? And like Eleanor Shellstrop in The Good Place, he is learning what we owe to each other. And,\ frankly I love that arc. I love it for Eleanor, and I love it for Dal.

Anika: Right. Exactly. That’s why I like cocky characters. You have to start out as one thing in order to get to – like, if you just are always altruistic and good, I don’t want to watch that. Great for people who do, but I don’t,

Liz: I mean, I guess. They’re probably happy.

Anika: I can’t even think of a story that is like that. If there is one, I haven’t watched it, maybe, like, Frodo.

Liz: Okay. So I watched Good Sam, the new Jason Isaacs-Sophia Bush medical drama. I have a lot of feelings about it, we’re probably going to end up with a lot of digressions about it here. [Note: we wound up talking about it after recording, and if I had kept on recording, we’d have enough content for a whole separate podcast…] But I did kind of come out thinking, wow, Sam is so altruistic and unselfish and thoughtful, I really need her to be messier

Anika: Exactly. If someone starts out like that, you’re waiting for them to have their dark arc, right? That’s where I am at. I’m always waiting for them to have their dark arc. And when someone starts out as an asshole, I’m waiting for them to have their … It’s not even a redemption arc. It’s just like, ‘I’ve learned to care about people arc.’

Liz: Yes.

Anika: The ‘stop being an island’ arc, you know? And that’s my favorite thing, because I’m very pro community. And as much as I ranted about found family last week, I think it was last week. It might’ve–

Liz: I think it was recently, and I agreed.

Anika: Anyway, I was ranting about found family. I also love found family and team as family and, building … There was this line in, this week’s Expanse where Drummer said, “I didn’t love you for being a fighter, I loved you because you were a builder. I wanted to build something.”

And it’s like, yes, exactly. That’s what I want in every relationship, regardless of if it’s romantic or familial or friendship or crew members, or whatever. It’s building something, building the relationship, building the community, building a better world. And that’s the win scenario. If you can do that, regardless of who dies and who lives, then that’s what matters. And that’s kind of what The Expanse was about this week. So good on them.

Liz: A lot of The Expanse, the books and the series, is about that. And I love it for that.

And I think that is what Dal’s arc so far has been. Every episode sees his community becoming a little bit larger and a little bit more abstract so that, yeah, by the time that they encounter the Federation, he will understand their principles. And he may not want to join Starfleet as such, but he will be a person who Starfleet will be lucky to have.

Anika: So let’s talk about Gwyn, now, and how she had a parallel storyline, in that she was learning how to care about people and she was learning how to care about herself, really.

I didn’t know that I needed Gwyn and Zero to have this relationship. I was so happy to get it. It was so wonderful to see. I loved that someone other than Dal reached out to Gwyn. Rok-Tahk has a semi soft spot for Gwyn, in that she wants a friend. But Zero – and we still don’t know how old Zero is, and I’m not going to call them a mentor, but they did have this sort of therapeutic, ‘I’m going to help you get to where you need to be’ position in this particular episode, that I think only Zero could have done.

None of the other characters could have done that for Gwyn, not even the Janeway hologram, because as we’ve discussed, the Janeway hologram is actually young and doesn’t know how to do everything, either.

Liz: Whereas Zero definitely part of the older…

Anika: Right. Even if Zero is a child, Medusans seem to be long lived, so they have the experience and all of those years, even, if in their society, they would be considered a child.

Liz: Also, they were part of a hive mind, which means that they have had close contact with the adults of their species. Which is something new, we’ve learned something new about Medusans, and I love that. And I love to have a non-threatening hive mind, as against the Borg. But yeah, their reaching out towards Gwyn and offering her a place was really great.

And I loved their repeated motif about understanding a language versus interpreting it. Because I think that’s kind of a metaphor for fandom. You know, you might understand Star Trek, you might know the technobabble and know what the prime directive is and the Kobayashi Maru, but how do you interpret Star Trek?

Anika: Yes.

Liz: I think this is such a complicated and sophisticated concept for a kid’s show, where another character is eating photon grenades.

Anika: I can’t be angry at the whole Murf subplot, because that was — exactly, that was necessary for the kids, got to get that, you know, weird kid humor in somewhere. And so even though I have very little to say about Murf, Rok-Tahk and poor Jankom. I just really need Jankom to, like, do anything to make me care about him.

Liz: Maybe Jankom needs to do some engineering training courses with Geordi and B’Elanna. My main take on Murf is that, yes, as your note says, they’re potentially indestructable. But also, I reckon their ability to eat photon grenades is going to be important later.

Anika: Yes, I was going to say, that it was obviously included for a future episode where the fact that Murf can eat and save anything is going to be important in some way. The fact that Murf can potentially transform things by eating them. There’s a lot of ways it could go, but it’s definitely like, this was a humorous subplot that is a bread crumb for a later adventure.

Liz: Yes. Whereas Gwyn’s subplot, in terms of learning about the Protostar, and the flashback to her creation, all of that stuff is really interesting and potentially really, really dark. Also, a little timey wimey.

Anika: You’re just like, “really, really dark.”

Liz: [laughs, and it was not MEANT to be an evil laugh but it was an evil laugh]

Anika: Just, you sounded very excited about it. It was … clearly, something is going on with time. That’s all over the internet. I will admit that I didn’t even notice, but I believe everybody.

Liz: I watch the episode, I’m like, oh, that’s great, and then I have my shower and I think about it. And just as I was soaping up, I was like, wait, if Gwyn was created seventeen years ago, and the Diviner was already looking for the Protostar then, but that’s like Next Generation era.

And then I had a look, and TrekCore had looked at that stardate they gave, and placed it around the time of the episode Sarek. So Janeway is not even a captain at that point in the timeline, let alone a decorated captain who has been lost in the Delta quadrant and come back. So yeah, that’s really interesting to me.

Anika: I mean, I have always felt that the Protostar is, even if it is a prototype, it still seems super powerful. And also, even just Janeway as the holo, it’s sort of like, okay, Captain Janeway as the hologram, but it’s only been five years. And I feel like that would be at least a decade. Kind of thing. It seems very fast for even that little tiny part. So I certainly believe in the time travel.

Liz: Yeah. I remember, back in the episode where they land on the planet and she hands out the tricorders, I was like, “Wow, that tech is so far advanced, even compared to Star Trek: Picard. I reckon this is set around the same time, like, 2399.”

And we didn’t get a great look at Captain Chakotay, but he looked, yeah, he looks more like Robert Beltran now than five years after Voyager ended. So I think the Protostar is a prototype from the future, which has been thrown back into the past and lost.

And I’m like, is there like a second Chakotay out there in the Delta quadrant? Is he like, “Really? This again?” So I really want to know all about this, and all about the sort of messed up relationship between Captain Chakotay and holo Janeway.

Anika: Our holo Janeway … Now it’s going to get so confusing so quickly. Our holo Janeway was like, oh, this is the first crew I’ve ever had. And I was just like, oh, now we’re really going into the Doctor parallels. And it’s becoming very crazy. I’m just so excited. But the fact that captain Chakotay of the future has a holo Janeway — because she looks identical to the holo Janeway. It’s not like Janeway.

Liz: No, no.

Anika: Our Admiral Janeway, she looks nothing like Admiral Janeway, cause we know what Admiral Janeway looks like. Now that people have clued me into the time travel, I’m like, whoa, this is going to be amazing.

And it’s also, like, we know time travel is a part of Star Trek: Picard, we know that – I mean, okay, we think that the whole Q Continuum disappearing in Discovery is also really – it’s like, this is still a shared universe, even though they’re different time periods. It still is a shared universe, and I really think that these shows are still going to be connected in at least small ways.

Liz: Maybe Prodigy is where we’ll see the end of the temporal cold war storyline.

Anika: Oh my gosh.

Liz: I just pictured the design for a Prodigy style Archer, and it would be so great.

Anika: They haven’t done anything with Enterprise yet in Prodigy. And they have done stuff with Enterprise in Discovery. Multiple times, at this point.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: What I mean by that is that they’re not saying Enterprise doesn’t matter. Because it does matter in certain places. So I really think that even though these shows, again, they have completely different show runners, they have completely different audiences and purposes, I still think that in the end, they are going to be connected.

Liz: Absolutely. And I just want to say that I saw a comment in the TrekCore review, complaining about a secret plot to keep Deep Space Nine out of current continuity. And Odo was right there.

Anika: What are they talking about?

Liz: I –

Anika: Odo was literally in this episode.

Liz: I don’t know.

Anika: [Anika had to make incoherent noises for a few moments] And the thing is that Odo was even … Like, okay, so let’s talk about how Dal gives them all little–

Liz: Nicknames. Yes.

Anika: And Odo’s is Jellyman? And, of course, if you spend, whatever, like 80 holo, you know, ten-minute periods with Odo, you learn who Odo is. But the fact that he calls him Jellyman means that he knows what Odo is. He knows what Odo does. He gets Odo stuff, right?

So it’s like, it wasn’t just Odo showing up and being like, “Hey, I’m Odo.” It was also, Odo and Dal had a relationship, that we maybe we didn’t get to see, but it exists.

Liz: Oh my God. Oh my God. It just–

Anika: So Odo has mentored Dal in a small way, you know. Like they’re not ignoring Deep Space Nine.

Liz: But also, it just occurred to me that, at the beginning of the episode, they have left the Delta quadrant, and they’re now in the Gamma quadrant. Maybe Dal will meet the Founders!

Anika: Right. I clocked that right away. As soon as they were like they’re in the Gamma quadrant, I was like, oh, oh, oh, I know what’s in the Gamma quadrant! ’cause they could’ve picked any quadrant, right?

Liz: Well, I think they want to keep them away from the Federation. So that’s the Alpha and Beta?

Anika: So it can’t be Alpha.

Liz: Star Trek: Picard, one of their tech guys, had a really great map that they had made for the show. And it showed a rough outline of where everyone is in the late 24th century.

And you’ve got the Klingon Empire and the former Romulan Empire in the Beta quadrant. And then the Federation is sort of circling around them and I’m like, guys, maybe you’d be on better terms with everyone if you are not an expansionist empire?

Anika: Another thing I want to talk about and bring up – wait. Okay … So you just said something important, and my mind wandered in the middle of it, so now I’m going to talk about that.

Liz: Please.

Anika: The Kobayashi Maru hasn’t — okay, so they’re on the Next Generation bridge, right? And they have people from different eras. They have Beverly Crusher and Odo from 90s Trek, right, where we were getting along with the Klingons, and eventually we get along with the Romulans. So why hasn’t this…

Liz: Program been updated?

Anika: Why hasn’t the Kobayashi Maru updated from when the Klingons were the bad guys and the Romulan neutral zone was even a thing? Cause in Picard era, which we’re not in, but if the Protostar is from there, we’re in, the Romulan neutral zone doesn’t exist because Romulus doesn’t exist, and Romulans as a culture are scattered. So…

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: It’s weird to me. It’s like, why? Why, are we there?

Liz: I assumed that was just because the Kobayashi Maru test itself was such a perfect recreation of the one we saw in Star Trek II. But what if this time period is another period of tension between the Federation and the Klingons?

Anika: Interesting. I mean, yes. Obviously, it had to be the Kobayashi Maru that we know in order for the dialogue to make sense, in order for the connections that I was discussing earlier, and which I love to make sense. It has to be the Kobayashi Maru that we know.

But I still think it’s weird. Why does Rillak talk about the Kobayashi Maru like she knows it and, it’s like, okay, but is it still Klingons as the bad guys? It really shouldn’t be – in far future Discovery time, it should really not be the Klingons are the bad guys.

Liz: I mean, by that point in the future, it really should be some alien we made up so no one is offended, but I could see, like, late 24th century, it being the Tholians, or the Cardassians, or someone other than the guys who have been our allies for eighty years.

Anika: It’s a little bit weird

Liz: Yes, but I also think this question is deep, deep, deep down the rabbit hole of nerdishness.

Anika: Oh, absolutely. I don’t think that it matters to Prodigy. I will accept that Prodigy did it for the meta reasons of, we wanted to reuse this dialogue and we wanted to reuse this idea.

And I, again, I really liked that. I loved – I loved – I can’t even, like I was practically crying Dal brings up the AC/DC song and then it was very, you know Kelvinverse Jim Kirk energy, and I was super into it. And then he still fails. But he and Spock beam over to the Klingon ship and take them down, basically. That was so rewarding, because the Spock hologram was totally on board with that plan, Spock was like, yes, we are going to beam over and then I’m going to destroy them all with his magic fingers, or whatever.

I really appreciated that the Spock hologram was so into that, because, of course Spock would be into that, but we forget. We forget that young Spock fully believes in Jim Kirk to such a point that he will follow his ridiculous plans.

Liz: Absolutely.

Anika: That was my favorite Spock moment, because it was this like, “I fully believe in my crew moment again,” this whole community building idea, and I just really liked it.

Liz: I truly love that they chose to use archive audio of Nichelle Nichols and Leonard Nimoy, when they could have had Celia R. Gooding, and Ethan Peck doing new dialogue and, you know, synergy and promoting Strange New Worlds and a sneak peek. I think that would have been … fine, but I think to go with the archive footage – even though, through my headphones, it does sound very different to the contemporary recorded dialogue – I think that was just such a great way of honoring those performers.

Anika: I completely agree. I absolutely believe they’ve made the right choice in using that dialogue. And I love the gimmick. As someone who has very strong auditory, like, learning feelings, it was very difficult to me when — specifically Spock. Uhura and Scotty were fine, because they didn’t have as much to say

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: And Odo was also fine. But Spock literally would have three sentences in a row that were completely different audio recordings and completely different, like, this one’s from TOS and this one’s from The Undiscovered Country, and this one’s from Next Generation. And it’s like, okay, there’s, like, 30 years of a difference in between each of these things. And it didn’t mesh. it pulled me out a little bit because I was … It was a little jarring, I guess.

Liz: No, same. I could hear the difference, and I am nerdy enough that I could recognize the sources of a lot of the dialogue. I do think that if I had not been listening with headphones, and if I was not already familiar with Star Trek, it wouldn’t have jumped out at me that much.

Anika: I will say, I was not listening with headphones. I was watching on my regular television, and it jumped out at me a lot. But I am obviously very familiar with Star Trek. I’m familiar with Leonard Nimoy. I’m rewatching Fringe, as I discussed and Leonard Nimoy has shown up. And it’s weird. but at the same time, like, okay, so they had that part at the very end where Spock says, “You remind me of another captain of the Enterprise.” And that’s from…

Liz: Yes, Unification.

Anika: Unification and he’s talking to Picard, and he’s talking about Kirk. And so like, in that moment, like you, I knew exactly where it was from, but it was also like, oh wow, this means that he’s saying it to Dal. And he means both Kirk and Picard, because he knew both of them.

And this is another point where I almost started crying, because I was just so happy that Spock was telling Dal that. It was so beautiful and amazing to me. And I wouldn’t have had that without the Leonard Nimoy dialogue. So again, I absolutely think it was the right choice.

And I’ve done that. I make fan videos, and I record audio, and it is really hard to mix two audio [sources]. Very very hard. They did amazingly for what they had to do. This is not a ding on anyone on the production team. I think that they did great.

I think that also, the more I rewatch this episode, and I’m definitely going to, I feel like I will no longer be listening to the audio. I’ll be listening to the words. sort of like with Gwyn and the interpretation, it’s like, I no longer have to be paying attention to how it’s being said, because I know how it’s being said, and I can just enjoy the story, and enjoy the experience.

Liz: I also want to flag that the only person who did record new dialogue was Gates McFadden, and it’s so great to have her back. The holodeck gave her the best hair of Beverly’s career. And also, it’s so good to have Beverly Crusher as the voice of, “Why the hell are we not rescuing these people? What the fuck is wrong with you, Captain?” Because that was so often her role in The Next Generation. And it’s so easily overlooked.

Anika: I just want to say that because Dal didn’t – neither, Dal, nor Jankom chose these characters, that computer chose these characters, and I love the idea that Beverly Crusher was the best doctor for this job, because absolutely, she was. She has been in command. She has been the person who, as you say, stands up to the captain and says, no, you’re doing this wrong. That is her role in the series.

Liz: And also, though it doesn’t come up in the story, she has also been the parent to a teenage boy, and I can’t think of two teenage boys more different than Wesley and Dal, but at the same time, he doesn’t know that she is a parent. To us, the knowing audience member, that’s another layer of

Anika: And also, oh my gosh, I have been waiting forever for anyone to throw Gates McFadden a bone. And I was so, so happy to see this. It was beautiful. And also, I am just gonna put this right out there that I one hundred thousand percent ship holo Janeway and holo Crusher, because Janeway and Crusher, are like my secret niche ship. So, I can imagine the computer algorithm going on in the background, with the holograms when the holodeck is off, they’re still going, though. In my world, they’re still going.

Liz: Obviously the only entity for holo Janeway, as far as I’m concerned, is Zora. But she has a thousand years to wait for Zora, and a hologram can get lonely. So I’m into it.

Anika: And I agree with you about the hair. And I also love that they had gray strands.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: Another, like, I’m crying moment, because it was like, we are going to acknowledge that this woman ages, is still one hundred percent awesome, and a bad-ass, and the best person for this job.

Liz: And it does make me think, again, that the appearance of Captain Chakotay in that hologram was intentional. I don’t think that much happens in this show that isn’t intentional, because that’s not how animation works.

Anika: Right.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: Oh my gosh. I was just so happy. I’m so happy.

Liz: In our last couple of minutes, let’s shout out Janeway’s terrible holonovel. Oh my goodness.

Anika: I love that they did that. I loved all of the options, like Dracula. So good. So good. Dracula! That would be the one I would choose. But also, you know, Ceti Alpha V and everything. It was all great. But the fact that, first of all, they finally admitted that it was Jane Eyre.

Liz: And as a person who has read Jane Eyre and loves that novel very much, this is not Jane Eyre, but whatever. Go off, guys.

Anika: It was definitely Jane Eyre inspired. I mean, it was obvious in Voyager

Liz: Yeah. But Jane Eyre is … good.

Anika: I wrote in the notes, terrible, because I complained about that holonovel all the time. I hate that holonovel. I hate it because it’s basically saying that, in her off time, Janeway wants to be dominated and told what to do, and doesn’t want to be in charge. And I am super not into that. Just Not my thing. I don’t like that. I don’t like that characterization of Janeway.

Liz: It felt like the use of romance novels and romance tropes, not as an intentional character point, but because hashtag that’s what ladies do.

Anika: Exactly, exactly. It was super stereotypical.

Liz: Whereas, a few seasons later we learned that B’Elanna is into romance novels. And that actually made sense as a character beat for her.

Anika: Right.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: You know, I mean, obviously we’ve said many times, Voyager is not great with Janeway continuity or Janeway characterization. It’s okay. Because they still accidentally made an amazing character.

Liz: And they really did a wonderful parody of that holonovel here.

Anika: It was so good.

Liz: I went back and listened to the dialogue that everyone was talking over. And it was so funny. It was just the most amazing parody of bad nineties gothic novel pastiche.

Anika: They had Janeway holo say, “This is my favorite.” I just, again, I was just so happy.

Liz: The important thing is that it wasn’t Fair Haven.

Anika: I just loved it. I loved it. I also loved the moment where holo Janeway was like, I need coffee.

Liz: That is going to be a gif that I use very frequently.

My final note, before we wrap up, is that one of the options that Dal and Jankom scroll through is Deadwood. And that is the name of the holonovel in A Fistful Of Datas, so canonical Trek, but they have used the logo of Deadwood, the HBO series, which for some unknown reason is on Paramount Plus in Australia.

I watched it last year and it was genuinely amazing. I loved it. And I really enjoyed that shout out and the mental image I just had all of these teenage boys being dropped in a colonialist hellscape where everyone is shouting swear words at them.

Anika: I think I’ve seen music videos of Deadwood, but I haven’t seen actual Deadwood.

Liz: It’s very, very good.

Anika: It’s one of those things that people have told me to watch, and I just, like, I missed it when it was on. And so I just haven’t gone, but, you know, I have HBO, so I should give it a try.

Liz: It’s definitely worth a look. It’s not something that I would automatically think of you when I was recommending shows, but at the same time, I know you love The Mandalorian – and not just because some of the same actors go on to be in The Mandalorian, but the overall feel and dialogue of it is very Mandalorianesque. It definitely left me feeling like I should be watching more westerns.

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