Episode 1: The Red Shirt Problem (SNW 1x09 "All Those Who Wander")

Kev & Rob mourn the loss of Chief Engineer Hemmer on Strange New Worlds season 1, episode 9, "All Those Who Wander", and take the opportunity to revisit other memorable characters lost in Star Treks past. Stick around at the end to hear your hosts' respective histories discovering and watching the franchise over the years.

Kevin: Welcome to Subspace Radio.

I'm Kevin Yank.

Rob: And I am Rob Lloyd.

Kevin: Each week there's a new
episode of Star Trek on at least

we're looking at that new episode.

Rob: And finding what wormholes
will lead us into Star Trek lore and

history and mythology to explore.

Kevin: Wormholes.


Rob: Hey, see?

And we're entering a quadrant filled with
many… white men in their thirties/forties,

talking about this thing.

And why not we join the party as well?

Kevin: Why not?

Why not?

Get on in, the water's warm.

Rob: Exactly!

Kevin: Um, if you're curious who we
are and how we relate to Star Trek,

stick around at the end, we won't
talk about ourselves till the end.

We know you're here for the Trek.

So we're gonna start with that.

If you get to the end of this, and
you're like, "Actually I enjoyed

that; I wonder who these two dudes
are," we'll compare our Star Trek

credentials, and talk about our
histories with the franchise, at the end.

Rob: Excellent.

Because here at Subspace Radio,
we're all about Trekker, no filler.

Kevin: This week, our focus is on
season one, episode nine of Strange

New Worlds, "All Those Who Wander".

Rob: We've only got
one more episode to go.

And where do we go after an
episode like that, Kevin?

Kevin: Whew!


I needed a breather after that one.

Rob: It snuck up on me.

I didn't expect it to go to the places
it did and to hit the emotions as

hard as it did by the end as well.

Kevin: I was kicking myself that
I didn't see it coming, but uh,

yeah, it was a horror episode.

Arguably, the most horror episode
that Star Trek has ever done?

Rob: Especially in this new
this new era of Star Trek.


And it's the first time that Strange
New Worlds has sort of like leaned

into, I mean, some of Discovery had
a little bit of uh, especially in the

Mirror Verse episode arc of season
one, was quite violent and a bit gory

in some way, shape or form especially
with the Klingons and the sort of

like the body morph stuff in there.

Very Kronenberg.

So there were elements of that, but
really in a pure science fiction manner.

But I didn't think it was overdone, I
think was a nice, a nice balance of just

enough to terrify you, but not going
over the top as some of these new shows…

Kevin: This episode, you mean?

Rob: Do you feel it was
a bit over the top, or…?

Kevin: No I think it was a definite
step into a genre, as every episode

this season has been, they, they
didn't half- uh, measure it.

They went full Aliens on us.

But I agree with you, it
didn't stop being Star Trek.

And as someone who doesn't watch Star Trek
for the horror, I wasn't turned off by it.

And I will say like Star Trek has gone
too far at least once, in my mind.

We're not here to talk about horror
this week, but I'll say Star Trek The

Next Generation, "Conspiracy", the
one with the little bugs that that

crawl into people's mouths and have a
tail sticking out of people's necks.

That one, true gross-out
gore fest at the end.

It felt like they went
too far in that one.

This one, not so much.

Rob: Yes.

We'll do a bit of a, a
rundown of the episode.

So the, uh, the Enterprise is
getting a distress signal on the

planet that of course is buffeted
by storms, and so there's no way of

getting a clear signal in and out.

An away team is sent, whereas
the Enterprise and Number One are

sent off to this vitally important
mission to hand over supplies and

equipment and all that type of stuff.

Kevin: At Space Station K7,
famous for its Tribbles.

Rob: That's right.

That's right.

But those "Trials and
Tribble-ations" are for another time.


Kevin: They are for another time.

Rob: So the away team arrive and as
soon as they get their things go bad.

And we find out that we are maybe
in the presence of the previously

mentioned and not seen, Gorn.

Kevin: Yes.

Second episode in a row that was
largely played out on redressed sets

of the Enterprise, as we know it.

So they're getting good value
for money on those sets!

Rob: Yeah, gone are the plastic vines
from Bunnings and hello falling beams

and sparks and flickering lights.

Kevin: It looked great, I thought.

It was very creepy, even a number of
scenes in the sick bay, obviously,

while we were diagnosing people who
had as it turns out, Gorn eggs in them.

But even in that sick bay where we had
spent a lot of time the week before as

well it had a mood that was different.

Rob: Very much so, very much so.

We knew as soon as the threat
became present that this was the

genre that they were leaning into
and they were leaning into heavily.

Kevin: We get to meet a very
small number of survivors and,

and yeah, two and only one of them
survives to the end of the episode.

Rob: It's something I wanted to bring up
because they've been quite calculated,

following the Steven Spielberg Jaws
method of as little of the beast you

show the better, so the imagination
can carry away, but they went all in

and we actually get to see this new
interpretation of the Gorn, as opposed

to, from the original series episode,
lumbering around in the desert and

throwing paper mache rocks at each other.

And a lot of sweaty hugging and
embracing — no judgment here!

Kevin: The moment I saw the full sized
Gorn land in Engineering and hiss at our

two main characters, my first thought was
"Captain Kirk double-fist-punched that?"

Rob: Yes.



Apparently it— apparently he did!

Kevin: He dropped-kicked
one of those in the chest?

Rob: Look, yeah.

And he lived to tell the tale.

But yeah, I was there going,
how is it gonna be realized?

Is it gonna be through the new art of
CGI or will there be any element of

practicality, and especially the unnamed
creature who was one of the survivors

was fully practical, animatronic.

Kevin: I loved that character.

Rob: Incredible.

Kevin: The moment I saw him, I was
like Oh, Star Trek can do this now!

Ah, I loved it.

The fact that it was… it was, completely
alien, but felt completely real.

Rob: And beautiful motion, beautiful
animatronics, beautiful puppetry work.

But the, Gorn were
relegated to being pure CGI.

Kevin: The babies and at least the
teenager Gorn were puppets and the CGI

was used to eliminate the puppeteers.

Rob: Okay.

Kevin: So yeah, the little
white ones scurrying around?

Rubber puppets with a stick
in the back and everything.

And yeah, the CGI was to
remove the performers.

Rob: Okay.

I got, yeah, I got a sense, like some of
the close up quick shots of the Gorn like

roaring and stuff like that seemed a bit…

Kevin: The big one felt
CGI to me, for sure.

Rob: Yeah.

Kevin: Anyway, that big
blue guy, very next scene.

As soon as he started heavy
breathing, I was like, okay, we're

not gonna see much more of this guy.

Rob: It's— Look, we hardly knew you.

And that's a good segue.

We had the red shirt dilemma for the
first time, Kevin, really in this season.

We had, we had real loss, from
characters that we haven't

really, well at all, seen before.

So in the good old days of the
original Star Trek series, whenever

there was an away team, whichever
schmuck joined the lead actors on the

mission, you could clearly tell they're
not gonna be sticking around cuz we

need to show the element of threat.

They are gonna be sacrificed.

And it's been interesting to see, that's
a whole other broader topic, about how

Star Trek played that out, but there was
a nice, I'd say a an, a noble attempt

to fill in as much of a backstory or at
least connection with this cannon fodder

in a short amount of time as possible.

Kevin: We had cadet Chia finish her
placement on the Enterprise and Ensign

Duke promoted to Lieutenant in one
of the first scenes of the episode

and following our conversation last
week, I was sitting there going, "Hah!

Take that, Harry Kim."

Rob: If only Duke took a clarinet with
him, I think he would've been fine.

Cold weather and some really jazz.

Kevin: Uh, later in the episode I
thought, "Harry Kim gets the last laugh."

Rob: Yes he does.

He always gets the last laugh.

Damn you, Kim!

Kevin: So, um, two, like
disposable red shirts.

And I think both of them there to distract
us from the third loss this episode.

Rob: The big one!

Spoiler alert for anyone who hasn't,
but if you're tuning in here and you

haven't seen the episode, welcome.



After our big conversation on him in
episode zero, Hemmer's gone like that.

Kevin: Yes, he's gone.

And in hindsight, should
have seen it coming.

Rob: With the spray, or…?

Kevin: Even at the spray, he got hit
by the spray and, I was like, oh,

that's some eggs, that's some eggs.

We're gonna have to deal with that.

But it wasn't, like— All credit to
them, it wasn't until he was standing

in the cargo bay and all the problems
in the episode had been resolved and

he turned to camera and it was just
a little too lingery that I thought

"Uh-oh, uh, this guy's going."

And immediately, like my life flashing
before my eyes, but it was his life

flashing before my eyes, all the
clues leading up to this point that

he was headed for this fate, replayed.

And I realized, I had ignored them
and I blamed myself for ignoring them.

Rob: You'd got comfortable, hadn't you?

You'd got completely comfortable
with the Star Trek format, and they

pulled the rug under us, and did
what modern shows have been doing.

And it's it, modern writers have had
to get a bit clever because we kind

of got used to the format with shows
like Game of Thrones or stuff like

that who broke the mold of "these are
the regular characters you think are

gonna stay" and they kill them off.

But you can see the pattern in the
episode, that they get a longer

monologue than they normally
would, and then later, "Na-ha!"

That's where they go.

But they covered…

Kevin: "If anything ever happens to
me, I wanna be remembered for this…"

Rob: Exactly.

"Let me tell you a little bit about
my past that I've never brought up

before, but I'll bring it up now…"

Kevin: And we had that speech several
episodes before, um, with Uhura, and

he said, "We believe that you only die
once your purpose in life is completed.

And my purpose is to fix things."

And I remember at the time when he
said that, I said, in my mind to

him, "You've got more things to fix.

Don't you go nowhere!"

Rob: I think it was the the body
swap episode where we didn't have

any of Hemmer at all, or there was
an episode or two where he wasn't in,

and yeah, and he was sorely missed.

I was actually there going, I'm
actually missing his presence here.

Kevin: Even the very first episode.

We are introduced to the entire cast,
they go on this whole adventure,

and then in the very last clip of
the episode, Hemmer beams on board

and has no lines, he just appears.

Rob: It gives more import to his
appearance last episode where,

clearly, the actor was just having
an absolute ball with the role and…

Kevin: Flipping open the communicator
and saying "Abracadabra!"

There is no, like in one moment
that character will be remembered

through all of Star Trek history.

That is the moment they made
sure we fell in love with him

before they break our hearts.

Rob: Yeah, a very experienced stage
actor who works with the visually

impaired theater in Toronto, I believe?

So yeah, again inclusiveness,
isn't a dirty word, people.

We would never have found an
actor of that quality if we didn't

open up to all types of people
to be involved in, the beautiful,

utopian world that is Star Trek.

Kevin: So, in the moment when we lost
him I felt, oh gosh, this was inevitable.

It was planned.

And I willingly blinded myself to that
fact even though all the clues were there.

So I felt a mix of betrayal,
but also self blame.

How did you feel?

Rob: I was about to discuss with you
what level of the stages of grief did

you go through quicker than others?

Because you put the blame on yourself, did
that mean you got to acceptance quicker?

Kevin: Yeah.

No, I was ready to come to you this
week and go forget this podcast.

I am out.

If we all stop watching, they'll
be forced to bring him back.

Rob: Exactly.



So if we spoke earlier, you would've been
in the denial stage it's Star Trek, he can

come back, if Spock comes back, it's fine.

Even Tasha Yar came back
in some way, shape or form.


They brought back Denise
Crosby, for God's sake.

They can bring back Hemmer!

Kevin: How are you?

Rob: I, I didn't, I wasn't as
self-conscious as you of being able

to pick it earlier, and I should have
seen the moments because earlier in

that episode, they returned Uhura and
Hemmer to the point in, purpose in life.

But yeah, because it was a slow, it
wasn't a sudden type of thing, he

helped us with the acceptance as well
and taking it through with everybody.

And it was a very well shot,
dignified… You know, He was very

much Scott of the Antarctic.

"I'm just going out for a walk; I may be
some time," which I found a very perfectly

beau— and especially, and there was hints!

Like he was talking about this,
everyone was hating the planet cuz

it was cold and icy and he loved it.

Cause it…

Kevin: …like Andoria.

Rob: Just like Andoria.

And ugh.

Normally the shot of someone falling
off a great height can't really be made

to look that dramatic or beautiful,
or could be done too over the top.


Having that distance and how
it was all done was very good.

So I was, I was taken through the
grief process with Hemmer so I

was, not ready to let him go, but
I was going, this has happened now.

So my acceptance was not
completely resolved, but I was

seeing what they were going.

Kevin: Yeah.

When we compared notes this death of
a major character is the thing that

we seized on and wanted to discuss.

Why don't you go first?

Where did this take you
in Star Trek cannon?

Rob: It took me, cuz I was trying
to think about how it all fits in,

and how Star Trek deals with death.

Especially cuz I look at other franchises
that I am into, whether it be Dr Who or

Star Wars and how they deal with the loss
of important characters in the series.

And I've always found a bit of an
emotional disconnect, but through

the course of looking at all these
prominent deaths, I've come up across

two that really stood out for me.

And so, I'll start with one and first one
is I'll go back in chronological time.

I didn't really get affected by
the loss of Spock in Star Trek II.

Kevin: You cold-hearted bastard!

Rob: But I, didn't see
Star Trek II until after.

My first Star Trek movie
was The Voyage Home.


Kevin: Okay, so you knew he was coming…

Rob: I knew he was coming back, and he
was going through the whole process of

remembering his Human and Vulcan side.

So all that I saw.

So when I went back to see it, it was
moving, but I went, he's got this.

But the one thing that really
got is in Star Trek, The Search

for Spock, is the death of David.

That really upset me as a young fan.

And it angered me, so much so that I don't
watch Star Trek III, because it's such,

it's such, a brutal, sad, horrible death.

It's a struggle.

It's a battle.

It's with a knife.

It's brutal and it's awkward, and
it's, there's nothing heroic about it.

He's doing a heroic thing,
and he's just left there.

Kevin: It's played for shock.

The point of it is the
effect it has on Kirk.

It robs David of a story.

Rob: Oh, it takes away so much, especially
with Star Trek II, that beautiful

development of their relationship
and dealing with Kirk's mortality.

Kevin: For those who might be not be that
versed in this part of Star Trek cannon.

This is David Marcus, Kirk's
son that we're talking about

Rob: didn't really know about

Kevin: Yeah, his estranged
son that he had with Dr.

Carol Marcus, who was the
head of the Genesis project.

And in Star Trek II, David and Carol,
mother and son are working on the

Genesis planet to terraform a planet
with a single torpedo that rebuilds

the planet's atmosphere and biome.

Rob: And at the end of the episode
where Spock sacrifices himself, his

body is sent to that Genesis planet to
hopefully, to have a rebirth in some way.

And in Star Trek III, David is left to
supervise how the planet is going and

he gets caught up in finding Spock's
body, who is growing again from a,

baby up to the fully grown Spock.

Kevin: They give a Spock back,
and they take David away.

Rob: They give us Spock.

We get Leonard Nimoy, but we lose David
who we are only just getting to know.

The Klingons are there, and they take
him out in a most brutal fashion.

And they carry on with this, it's
done beautifully in Star Trek VI and

how they incorporate the prejudice
of Kirk about the loss of his son.


Kevin: Yeah.

But it reveals David
ultimately to be a plot device…

Rob: Yes.


As opposed to what I wanted to see,
was this beautiful young man, a

wonderful character who was discovering
his father, finding out he hates his

father, but then loves his father
and finding his own bravery, cuz he's

just a scientist, but he's put into
this appalling, violent situation.

It's, yeah.

I felt this beautiful character
was taken away from us.

And we were robbed of his story, like
you said, and that really angers me.

Kevin: There's a lot of that in Hemmer's
death this week where he is revealed to

be a plot device for Uhura's development.

Rob: Yes.

So that she can decide that she
wants to stay on the ship that

she, we, know she's gonna be on.

Kevin: She could have
figured that out herself.

An Andorian, or an Aenar didn't
need to die for her to figure…

Rob: They could have carried
on that, figuring out together,

having a drink every week.

Kevin: Exactly.

Rob: So that's mine.

So the death of David is one that
still affects me and that I don't

watch Star Trek III, no matter how
much Christopher Lloyd and John

Larroquette as Klingons may be appealing.

Kevin: Yeah.

Rob: So what's uh, what's, one of
your most powerful and influential…?

Kevin: Gosh, I— Just because you took
us back to the movies, uh, and I am now

in that mindset, you reminded me of just
one film before, Captain Decker, who is

introduced at the start of Star Trek, The
Motion Picture as the new the Enterprise.

And the first 50 minutes of that movie are
Captain Kirk deciding he's gonna take the

ship back going on a, a leisurely shuttle
craft tour around every angle of it,

and, coming on board and then breaking—

Rob: That tour takes up
about half an hour of that…

Kevin: Yeah, that's right.

Rob: And even longer in the…

Kevin: …the best part of that film.

He comes on board and he
gives the bad news to Decker.

"She gave her back to me, Will.

I'm the captain now."

Admiral Kirk takes over control of the
Enterprise and Decker is, is relegated

to uh, executive officer, and by
the end of the movie is killed off.

Rob: And goes off with his former lover…?

Kevin: Yes.

Well at least an assimilated,
amalgam of Ilia and V'ger.

She's another character that's
gone before her time in this movie,

actually, but yes she and decker go
off into the sparkly sunset at the end.

Rob: But mind you, his hair looks
great in that final profile shot.

It's all the big, and…

Kevin: …all twinkles, yeah.

Let's compare and contrast, cuz I feel
like I don't mourn the loss of Will

Decker as much as I do David Marcus.

Rob: No, well—

Kevin: And is it just that he's a less,
fleshed out or charismatic character?

Rob: He's not, yeah, it's
not that familial connection.

Like, he is friend, but a little
bit, competition for Kirk.

And we don't know that much.

And even when they introduce Ilia
and they had something, but we don't

know, and they're not giving us that.

So we have to fill in the blanks
and then at the end, they're

gone anyway, and you go, "Eh."

They do so much with David and Kirk
and Carol and that dynamic, and

just at the end, when David says,
"I'm proud to be your son," you go.

Yeah, that is, the, moment where…
Kirk's been dealing with, you know,

he feels so old all the way through.

That helps him feel young again.

Whereas, yeah, Decker, we, even
within the first 15 minutes,

he saying, I'm in charge now.

Oh, now I'm not.

And that makes you just go, you're
not gonna be sticking around.

Kevin: He's more than a red shirt, though.

He's not just there to, die.

He's not the cannon fodder.

I, I think the difference for me is
that his death is the end of his story.

Rob: Yes.

Kevin: It's maybe not the story
he thought he was gonna have at

the start of the movie as the new
captain of the Enterprise, but it

is ah… it is the end of an arc.

As much as that particular film
can manage a satisfying character

arc, it's there a little bit.

Rob: The word 'satisfying' doesn't
really associate with The Motion

Picture, but there is that case of yeah.

You go, yeah.

There's not many places for Decker to go.

And this seems like a poetic place
as any, to have him with the person

that he was connected with, who's
actually just been taken over by

V'ger, just, he accepts his fate.

Kevin: Did you say you had a second
one you wanted to reflect on?

Rob: Yeah.

This is another one
that got me very angry.

You'll probably hear a bit more
about this in the "special features".

So as I said, I got into the
motion pictures the original

motion pictures first.

And, this was around about the time where
Next Gen was happening, and I was excited.

I got caught up in the
Next Gen excitement.

It was being shown on Channel Nine when I
was a kid here, and I got caught up in it.

And a character that immediately
drew me in, straight away, who was

unlike anything previously seen
in Star Trek before was Tasha Yar.

I really loved Tasha Yar.

I'd seen Denise Crosby in a couple
of other TV projects, and I saw her

in, later on, in Pet Cemetery, but
how it was shown in Australia, it

was all wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey.

Sorry, different franchise.

But I liked that she was a street kid.

She had this really
dark, gritty background.

She was, in gangs, and and
all this type of stuff.

And really going with some more adult
concepts of verging on prostitution and

Kevin: Yeah.

Rob: sex trafficking and
all that type of stuff.

Kevin: So much of that revealed in a
single vignette in "Where No Man Has Gone

Before", or, I forget what the title is.

Is it "Where No Man" or
"Where No One", that episode?

I'll have to look it up.

But that one where they're hallucinating
because they're in a weird…

Rob: That's right, yes.


And she flashes back to where she was.

And she's a great actress, Denise Crosby.

And I love Tasha's story.

I loved that she was head of security
and me in my very old school background,

raised with men do these roles and women
do these roles, it was revolutionary.

A woman in charge of security?


Opened my little mind, and I'm
glad that it's a lot wider and

bigger than it was back then.

Kevin: It's "Where No
One Has Gone Before".

"Where No Man Has Gone Before",
of course, is a different episode.

That was the second or actual
pilot of the Original Series.

Rob: There you go.

But yes, the sudden, tragic and
almost inconsequential death of

Yar near the end of season one
really shook me and angered me.

And to be perfectly honest, it
really pissed me off, to the point

where I just, I stopped watching.

I stopped watching because of that.

This is such a great character
and such a great presence.

And no matter how many people, the
writers or the production team talk

about fitting Tasha in, and because Worf
was taking that role that she didn't

really fit, or Denise Crosby talking
about she was getting cold feet, or

was feeling like she wanted to leave…

I thought it was a bit of a
misstep, and I really missed

having her a part of the show.

And I didn't really want to
envision a show without her.

And I've missed out on a lot of
great Star Trek because of that.

I found my feet again with Deep
Space Nine, but there was that

massive gap that Tasha Yar left.

And especially how
inconsequential in many ways.

It just happened outta nowhere, and
it still leaves uh, an empty place

in my heart of, again, lost potential
of where Yar could have gone.

Kevin: Yeah, you've reminded me of the
anger I felt in that moment as well.

I think her speech in hologram form at
her own funeral at the end of the episode,

it saved it just a little for me, but
rewind the tape 15 minutes and like

they're pronouncing her dead in sick bay.

I too was like, "What!?

This is not what I signed up for.

This is not the Star Trek, I want."

So yeah, I could totally imagine that.

These days I find it so hard to see
that death without knowing the behind

the scenes story that effectively
she asked out of her contract,

that she opted out of the show.

And if an actor is not having a good
time, it's very hard for me to begrudge

the death of that character in hindsight.

But you're right, at the
time it was outrageous.


Rob: Yeah.

Especially in that first season,
everyone was a bit unsure, and

like, dear old Patrick Stewart,
wasn't sure what he was doing and

he was struggling to find his place.

Kevin: Oh, everyone was bumping up
against the scenery in that first…

Rob: Yeah, exactly.

That's why I have a lot more
affection for Kira Nerys in Deep

Space Nine, cuz she's very much like
the spiritual partner of Tasha Yar.


Kevin: Oh, I could see that for sure.

Of course, the other thing you
missed out on by opting out was the

triumphant return of Denise Crosby.

As, Tasha Yar "Yesterday's
Enterprise", one of the most memorable

episodes of that entire series.

And then, that character going off
into a wormhole and having a half

Romulan baby, Sela, who comes back
and is effectively evil Tasha Yar.

Rob: Evil Tasha Yar with a
Evil Tasha Yar bowl haircut.


Kevin: Yeah.

Rob: Nothing more evil than a
diagonal diamond-shaped haircut.

Kevin: So that model of a regrettable
death resulting in a triumphant return

that almost justifies the death is
a model I wanna hold up against Dr.

Culber in Star Trek Discovery.

Hugh Culber, whose neck is snapped
by uh, Ash Tyler, who's wrestling

with his Klingon personality.

Rob: He's had the ultimate plastic
surgery to look like a human.

Kevin: In a moment of split
personality conflict he snaps the

neck of his own doctor, Hugh Calber,
who collapses to the floor in full

sight of his lover who is unable to
help because he's in a, in a coma.

Rob: That's right.

Kevin: And it is kind of
tragic, but really unsatisfying.

Rob: Very much so, very much so.

I was at that point where I'm yeah,
Discovery was a hard slog for me in those

early seasons, and still in some ways.

And instead of being this moment of, oh my
gosh, this is really happening, I'm going.

Oh really?

Is this what we're…?


Kevin: And it happened and like, it
was the, shocking end of the episode.

And you're like, okay, I hope that pays
off in some interesting way next week.

gonna be back to, see what the heck you
think you're doing, cuz it better be good!

Rob: But in reality you gotta wait a
couple more weeks, a lot more weeks.

Kevin: The fan outcry was immediate, not
just because the character was beloved.

The couple was beloved by fans.

This played into the "bury your gays"
trope that you would imagine this team

behind this show would be conscious of.

And yet by all appearances, it was
literally what can we do to make

this evil character seem more evil?

We're gonna sacrifice a character
that we had no particular plans for.

Rob: Yeah.


And it doesn't seem like the
messy way to get him back, that's

clearly convoluted up the wazoo…

Kevin: I had to look it up on Memory
Alpha to figure out the rationale,

or to remember the rationale.

I watched it wanting— I watched it
wanting the character to come back

in a satisfying way, leaning for it.

And I still cannot tell
you what exactly happened.

According to Memory Alpha, Stamets,
Paul Stamets cradling him in sick bay

at a moment of being connected to the
Micelial Network, inadvertently pulls

Culber's "essence", quote unquote, into
the Micelial Network, where he becomes

a foreign entity who is hunted by the
natives of that environment until sometime

the following season, the Discovery
completely miraculously happens upon him

in a unrelated foray into that realm…

Rob: And then we have to go through
the weeks of PTSD and not connecting

with Stamets and then reconnecting with
him… and then later in season two, they

become a couple again, and in season
three, they have that solid, almost

parental relationship with the Trill.

Kevin: Yeah.

Rob: So…

Kevin: Like, sum it up for me.


Rob: Oh god, really?

Kevin: You, you started by calling this
the red shirt problem that Star Trek has.

Describe that problem to me, and how
does it intersect with these characters?

Rob: It's because its basis
is that episodic nature.

No real shows apart from Deep Space
Nine have really embraced… Cuz

at that time, overarching story
narratives was quite rare within the…

Kevin: Yeah.

Rob: …television circuit.

Kevin: Deep Space Nine
famous for blazing the…

Rob: Blazing the trail.

And you see they're the
real pioneers of that.

Especially they're of that era where
Twin Peaks was experimenting with that,

and Deep Space Nine was experimenting.

The early stages of stuff we take
for granted now with overarching

stories, and all that type of stuff.

So Star Trek was still very much
a slave to that episodic nature

that they had in the sixties.

Your lead characters are
narratively invulnerable.

But to show a level of threat,
you need to have a loss.

And so they're bringing in
these characters one at a

time with no introduction.

And when you move into trying to break
the mold of the format, like they tried

to do with Deep Space Nine, there was
that ability to introduce characters that

you would see over a couple of episodes.

And especially cuz like we talked about
in episode zero, you'd have more episodes,

as opposed to just nine episodes.

A season you'd have 24, 26.

Whereas with this they wanted to
show the threat straight away,

but they're going all we've really
introduced is our main characters

and we don't really want to kill off
all of them except Hemmer at the end.

So we've gotta quickly spend a bit of time
building up that love and heart for our

two, red shirts who have been promoted,
but they're gonna be um, killed off.

It was like with Voyager.

Voyager set up this process of you are,
Nearly a hundred years away from home.

You, all you have are the supplies
you have and the crew you, have.

So that set up this bold idea of
you could, if you want to set up

the importance of when you lose your
first victim, when you lose your

first crew member, the power of that.

And sadly Voyager never
really followed that process.

They, when they lost
their first crew mate.

It was an episode where B'elanna was
captured and she was being experimented

on and this other character was as well.

And his parts of his body were being
used by the guys who were diseased.

It was just treated, it was just treated
as another, you know, just as if it was a

episodic series, as opposed to, this is a
character we've met, this is a character

we've known, or the power of this is
one of our crew is gone and we've got

Kevin: Yeah.

Rob: a finite supply of them.

Kevin: I think what, in this
conversation, what I've discovered

is the importance of it feeling
like the end of a character's story.

Rob: Yes.

Kevin: There are the true
red shirts in Star Trek.

There are the one episode people that
are just there to be sacrificed to

the plot of that episode, and you
only get to know them well enough

as is necessary to acknowledge that
there is a loss that the characters

you actually care about will feel.

Then there's the characters who go on
a bigger journey that ends in their

death, and you mentioned Spock early on.

By the time Spock died, it did feel
like this was his final frontier.

This was the last unexplored thing
to do with that character, and

so it felt satisfying and earned.

But the middle bit that Star Trek can
fall prey to is killing off a character

for shock value that the show doesn't
value as much as the audience values.

Rob: Yeah, and it doesn't take that
time to deal with the emotional reality

of what that loss means, it's— I
know we're talking about a science

fiction show set hundreds of years in
the future, but it's also following

the format of, okay, this is episodic,
we've got a whole new adventure next

week and we need to almost reset.

So we can't really have
that lingering nature.

It's come in a lot more now with thanks
to Deep Space Nine, and they have

elements of that returning into the show.

So it returns back to past events
and how that has affected the

character as they go along.

But it's taken some time to, to get there.

Kevin: Yeah.

Rob: But it's more of, a
exception as opposed to the rule.

Kevin: Bringing it back to Hemmer, I
think the intent was there to do a good

Star Trek death, a Star Trek death where
we met a character and their story,

its natural, earned conclusion was they
that Hemmer sacrifices himself for the

away team, having made the difference
in the world that he was there to make.

Rob: Definitely.

Kevin: And I think that was the intent.

And I think the failure, if
there is one, is that they did

their work a little too well.

They made us fall in love with him
and want more for that character

than for him just to exist, to
progress another character's story.

The problem is they could think of
too much to do with them and they had

already committed to killing them.

Rob: Yeah.

And we are also living within
the world of Strange New Worlds.

We're in this interesting ground
of, we know where we're going, and

we know what the end point is, but
we've come in a little bit later, so

we don't know, are we three or four
years away from Kirk taking over?

So a part of us is they're going,
are they moving ahead too quickly,

so we're not really enjoying the
time with the cast that we have

and now with La'an off as well?

Kevin: She'll be back.

Rob: Yes.


Not all the characters are
going to, stick around.

We know who sticks around who doesn't,
but we at least want to have more than

just eight episodes with them before
they go, I need to leave now because got

something important to do over there…

Kevin: Yeah.


Deaths in Star Trek.

What, uh, what a tangled web.

Yeah, let's let's talk about, for those
who are interested, here ends, here

ends your discussion of actual Star Trek
canon as relates to Those Who Wander".

Rob: Yes.

So yeah, come back next week.

We'll talk about the grand finale.

It'll be awesome.

It'll be wonderful.

And if you wanna stick around, we'll
get a little bit more personal.

Kevin: Yeah.

You want me to go first?

Rob: Please start us off, Kevin.

Kevin: Cool, cool.

So Star Trek for me was I suppose
it would be the first "grown up"

TV show I watched in my life.

I think my parents recognized me
as the budding computer nerd and

technologist that I was destined to be.

Just about the same year they bought
our first family PC and, uh, a manual

for how to write programs for it,
they also sat me down in front of

this show called Star Trek that was
well and truly in reruns at the time,

this would've been 1986 ish, like just
barely before Next Generation came on…

Rob: Now, had you heard anything
of Star Trek before then?

Cuz the movies were out at this time.

Had you heard anything about it?

Kevin: No, nothing.

They, I was introduced to Star
Trek through the reruns on…

Rob: Right, so that was
your pure introduction.

It wasn't even, it wasn't even
a part of the periphery of

your pop culture knowledge.

Kevin: No, but it came fast, because in
those days, Star Trek was airing five

nights a week at 7:00 PM every weeknight.

It was in full reruns phase at that point.

And so, yeah, over the course of a
year, I probably watched most of Star

Trek as it existed at that time in
three seasons of the original series.

And so the big milestones I
remember are, I think at some point

I watched Star Trek IV on VHS.

I watched the home video release of
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and

went, whoa, Star Trek can be this good?

And funny?

And then Star Trek V came in
theaters, and that was my first

opportunity to go along and see a
Star Trek movie first run in cinemas.

Rob: I'm sorry for your loss.

Kevin: I bought the pin in the
lobby, and I convinced myself

that, was a great movie, dammit.

It took longer than it does in this
internet age for the pronouncement

of the world to land on me about
that movie, and for me to realize

in hindsight, it wasn't very good,
but I was all about the marsh-melons

and the jet boots for a while.

But then Star Trek: The Next Generation
premiered in 1987 and I got to

watch new episodes of Star Trek.

I still remember the teaser TV commercials
that came out in the months and weeks

before its premiere, and feeling that
sense of are they gonna break Star Trek?

Are they gonna do it wrong?

Hang on, the red and the yellow
uniforms have swapped; they

have no idea what they're doing.

Rob: And the captain's a bald guy
and he's got a British accent?

What is this upside-down mirror universe?

Kevin: But just like Star Trek V, I think
season one of Next Generation, I was there

for the ride and novelty of it was enough
to carry me through until it got good.

And since that premier episode of,
since the Encounter At Farpoint

appeared on my screen, I have watched
every new episode of Star Trek as

early as I can after it comes out.

There was a while there where I
was, I was living in Australia at a

time where Star Trek wasn't on TV.

And my friends in Canada were
having to send me tapes that

they had recorded for me.

But apart from that dark time,
I've been a day one viewer of

Star Trek, my entire adult life.

Rob: And what is it about Star Trek that,

Kevin: I'm glad you asked.

Rob: What is it specifically?

Cuz each franchise, each bit of, whether
it be a novel or a TV show or a movie

has something that draws you there,
but what is it specifically about Star

Trek that makes you want to come back?

Kevin: I think what originally attracted
me to it was its flying spaceships.

And that's what I was building out of
LEGOs in my family basement growing up.

But what has kept me there as
an increasingly devoted fan over

all these decades, has been the
hopeful vision of the future.

The idea that it's all going to work
out for the best, that whatever mess

is going on in the world right now
is all in service of a better future

that we need to learn the hard lessons
in order to build that together.

And Star Trek doesn't always wear
that on its sleeve, but when it does,

it is the Star Trek I most live for.

Rob: Amen.


Kevin: Yeah.

How about you?

Rob: Yeah, like I was saying
earlier in the episode I was

introduced to, Star Trek by my mum.

And yeah, mum used to, talk about
Star Trek and how she'd watched

it and all that type of stuff.

And so the first one I remember watching
in full and we taped it off the TV,

illegally, which you weren't meant to do,
but everyone did it, was Star Trek IV.

And it was just for me, cuz
I'd grown up with Star Wars.

And so watching this, it was my
interpretation of science fiction

could be many different things.

And so Star Trek is in
no way like star wars.

So it's a different approach.

And I was really drawn in by the
concepts of they go back in time and

they talk about the fact that, oh, what,
you don't have money in the future?

We don't.

And I'm there going, that blew my
mind, and finding, how does that work?

And, so unlike the almost Western, Seven
Samurai feel of the wild west of Star

Wars, Star Trek had structure and order,
and hope, and people of all different

backgrounds or species of different
alien kind working together and unifying.

And the characters really got me in.

I fell in love with old, weary Kirk.

So I didn't see any of the original with
like young, vibrant sixties Shatner.

Kevin: So you got in through the movies.

Rob: I got in through the movies.

So I had to go back and watch the
original series whenever it was like

repeated when I was in high school.

And I haven't seen all the
original series, but I've seen

as many episodes as I can.

I've seen the key episodes
that everyone talks about.

But yeah, it was the movie.

So, Star Trek IV, I just watched over and
over again because it was funny and it

was about environmental issues and all
that important stuff, that really got me.

Star Trek VI is another one
that really stood out for me,

cuz it's such a good story.

And it got me into Shakespeare as well.

Cuz Nimoy loved dropping his
Shakespeare references and so

getting him and Christopher Plummer
quoting Shakespeare back and forth.

That type of stuff really got me.

And I didn't find my feet again with
Star Trek until Deep Space Nine, where

again, I fell in love with the characters.

I was drawn into it because
I re— this is obscure.

I really loved Rene Auberjonois.

He was one of my,

Kevin: Oh, right.

Rob: of my favorite actors as a kid.

Kevin: He brought you back.

Rob: I loved him in Benson.

He was in a couple of tele movies
called fairytale theater where

he was in a guest star role.

And he was just hilarious and I loved him.

And so whenever I saw him in movies,
TV shows, I loved him as an actor.

And um, I saw that he was like
a lead character in a Star Trek

series, and I went this is amazing.

Kevin: They've earned another shot.

Rob: Yeah.

And And what that, he's a shapeshifter
and me as a young, thespian,

there going, oh, it's the dream
to transform into somebody else.

And how Star Trek Deep Space Nine
created, like we talked about, those

arcs and those storylines that
would last seasons upon seasons.

I fell in love with it.

I loved the Next Gen movies, so
I didn't get into the Next Gen TV

show, but I loved First Contact.

I remember going to see
First Contact in the cinema.

That same excitement I felt for, cuz
the first Star Trek film for me in

the cinema was Undiscovered Country.

And First Contact was that
same excitement about it.

I love Insurrection.

I really love Insurrection.

There's a lot of hate or dismissiveness
for Star Trek: Insurrection.

I love insurrection.

It's a—

Kevin: I'm sure we will have an
episode all about shows and movies that

objectively are bad that we love anyway.

Rob: And that, and what we determine
as bad is gonna be interesting.

So yeah, Voyager was an
important part of my ex's life.

And so she took me through that.

So watching all of Voyager was
the important part for me that

I never thought I'd get into it.

But there's certain things about it.

I love Robert Picardo as a great character
actor, and his work with Jeri Ryan and

Kate Mulgrew as well, inspired me a lot.

So I've sort of like in a more combative
place with Star Trek now because of

the oversaturation and the quality
is quite varied, but I liked finding

those new characters and that new
emotional connection I can make with it.

Kevin: All right.

Well, I'm sure there's there is so
much more detail to our respective

connections to Star Trek that we will
explore and reveal in the weeks to come.

Rob: As Karen Carpenter says,
"We have only just begun."

Kevin: Hmm.

"The human adventure continues."

Episode 1: The Red Shirt Problem (SNW 1x09 "All Those Who Wander")
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