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131. Fortune Cookie Therapy

Anyway, we’re still pretty mad about season 2 of Picard

Anika and Liz don their blue shirts and do a deep dive into depictions of depression in Star Trek. (Please note this includes discussions of suicide and self-harm.) 

  • The early years:
    • Dr Elizabeth Dehner
    • Badmirals
    • Spock’s stories can be a metaphor for a lot of things, but the emotional repression to depression pipeline is definitely one of them
    • (Anika has a whole THING about The Motion Picture and Spock’s arc, it’s amazing)
  • The 90s:
    • A counsellor on the bridge
    • Stories that are explicitly about mental health
    • Lwaxana Troi
    • Sometimes the problem is not the depiction in the series, but the (ableist) reaction of fans
    • Anika presents a very strong argument for B’Elanna having an anxiety disorder
  • Post 9/11 (ENT and the Kelvinverse films)
    • Liz says T’Pol was the first female Vulcan character when clearly she meant first female Vulcan regular, don’t @ us
    • ENT reverts to a very masculine type of story: men deal with feelings through avoidance and sex, while T’Pol is literally too emotional
    • ENT and the AOS era: a time of magical healing vaginas as substitute for mental health care
  • The Trek Renaissance
    • Discovery and Picard tell explicit stories about mental health, with varying levels of success
    • Prodigy and Lower Decks tell implicit stories
    • SNW takes us back to the manly man stories of the ENT era
  • Harmful and helpful depictions
    • fandom ableism
    • Liz has an UNPOPULAR OPINION about the depiction of Seven in Picard
    • “I’m gonna say something mean about Katrina Cornwell.”

Specific episodes we talk about include:

  • “The Loss” (TNG)
  • “Dark Page” (TNG)
  • “Emissary” (DS9)
  • “It’s Only A Paper Moon” (DS9)
  • “Night” (VOY)
  • “Extreme Risk” (VOY)