Episode 21: Star-crossed Lovers (PIC 3×01 The Next Generation)

Kevin: Hello and welcome
back to Subspace Radio.

I can hear the cinematic music
swelling around us, Rob, as we.

Rob: It, it's as if Jerry
Goldsmith is right here with us.

Kevin: I know, it's uncanny.

It's like it's, it sounds like his music,
but it's not quite exactly his music, if

Rob: It's, yes.


I actually surprisingly do.

It's like the guy who came in and took the
score in the second Harry Potter film, but

it wasn't actually John Williams' score.

Kevin: You need to do just
enough to justify your paycheck.

And so we don't have to pay the, for the

Rob: And you use that wonderful
get out jail free card, homage.

Kevin: We are here, of course, to talk
about Star Trek Picard season three,

episode one, and the themes we saw in it
that take us back into Star Trek history.

Rob: Yes, that's right after our
divergence into The Animated Series

where you unexpectedly threw in
a let's do a whole season review.

Rob notes, notes that
don't actually exist.

I'm just mind noting.

Kevin: If Rob sounded unprepared in that
last episode, that was entirely my fault

because I threw him a huge curve ball.

Rob: But that look if you can't go
into a podcast unprepared, what's

the point of doing a podcast anyway?

Kevin: I hear you're an improviser

Rob: Uh, yes.



And I proved that probably I'm a
little bit rusty after last week.

I'm prepared and ready to get back into
our old school format, talk about the

episode, break it off into the wider
world, and see how I can compare it

and bring it back to Deep Space Nine.

That's the familiar ground.

Welcome back and welcome to 2023.

Kevin: Or, welcome to
the 25th century, as it

Rob: Exactly.

Oh, well done.

Kevin: Before we talk about this specific
episode, and I am dying to, let's first

talk about Star Trek Picard to this point.

And I know you, you recently Rob
you, you mainlined that series.

To get prepared for season three.

What trajectory were you on as
you, you entered the atmosphere

for Star Trek Picard, season

Rob: Look I hate being one of those
people who align with this vocal

minority that seem to have besmirched
all fandom, but I'm hovering around them,

but I'm not completely invested in 'em.

So it's sort of like, I agree with
a couple of ideas, but when they go

into their really extreme stuff, I go
whoa, that's not what I signed up for.

So I, like many other people, were
incredibly excited to have Picard back.

And as season one kind of went along its
way, I got more and more upset and sad.

I tried my hardest to stay tuned
in and go, no, this'll be good.

And it's a, it's a common thread I have
as a fan in any of the IPs that I follow.

I'm the one who's always at the
front going, come on guys, it's okay.

This campaign can still survive.

Even though like we've got limbs lost
and it's I'm like the Black Knight

going, it's just a flesh wound.

But by the end I just had completely
lost interest, so much so that I

did not touch season two at all.

And yeah, little echoes and rumors
online, confirm that for me.

But with the invite to
do a podcast from Mr.

Kevin Yank, he drags me back into
this world of having to, be up to date.

So I devoured all of season two in
a matter of days during my summer

holiday break over here in Australia.

And look, there was some
really good stuff in there.

There's some nice points and moments.

But overall I got to the end and
I went, what is happening here?

Why, why, Why?

But going into season three, I'd
heard a lot of the stuff backstage.

As we know, we talk about a lot, that
Kurtzman and Goldman have handed over

Picard to this new showrunner who
started out working as a dog's body on

Kevin: He was a PA in Star
Trek, Voyager, I think.

Rob: Yes.

And then he became Bragga's
like personal assistant.

And so this is a guy embraced in Star
Trek lore and not caught up in that

whole, gotta make a new one, flash
and sweary and, and dark and bold.

Just going, or we can do Star Trek.

So I was, I was excited to come back.

But yeah, season two was rough going.

There was a, it was an improvement
in some ways on season one, but yeah.

It was it was a bit of a mess and I
could see the early stages of something

different happening because this crew that
they had spent an entire season hoping our

emotional states would be invested in it.

They just went this isn't working,
so let's just get rid of all

of them, which was hilarious.

And now they're going

One thing that really peeved me
off, one thing I liked about season

one, I loved the Romulan couple.

I loved Picard's Romulan couple
who he kind of saved from

the destruction of Romulus.

I went, these guys are great.

They're a beautiful couple.

There's a great relationship with them.

And then season two starts and within the
first five minutes they've given away the

husband's dead because we want to set up
this female Romulan as a love interest.

And I've gone, Ooh, that is so clumsy.

That is so jarring.

And that, and that kind of put me on the
back foot even, just as we had started.


Kevin: Yeah.

It's a means to an end brand of
storytelling where they know they have

predetermined the thing they want to do
in order to cause an emotional reaction,

and then they reverse engineer a
justification for it, which comes off as


Rob: It was very much a case
of we want this to happen.

So everything we, yeah,
we're switching everything.

Also the story was quite light in some
ways and had some, that whole traveling

back in time jovial type approach.


Kevin: pacing of both of
those seasons is super weird.

There are moments, There are moments where
the pacing is right on point and it's

firing on all cylinders, and you're like,
that is the best episode of this season.

But it's a transition point between
going too slowly to going too quickly,

or going too quickly to going too slowly.

You get a taste on the way through
of what a satisfying pace would

be, but they don't let you get
comfortable because they're about to

over correct in the other direction.

Both seasons have that problem,

Rob: you're going through a drive
through and they're like throwing ice

cream at you and you go, oh, that's, oh.

But yeah, it was, and plus there
was a different form of darkness.

Season one there was incredibly dark,
brutal, almost defiantly snubbing

noses at Star Trek hardcore fans going,
we're just killing off these characters

that we've brought back that you had
invested stuff in, but they, they're

just minor characters, who cares?

And bringing in this whole subplot about
Picard's mum and her mental health issues,

and her ultimate suicide was incredibly
dark and incredibly clumsily handled.

It's a

Kevin: That's

Rob: incre, incredibly important
issue and a delicate issue that

Kevin: If you go there, you
owe a satisfying story and

a satisfying resolution.

So my problem is not that they went
there, my problem is that when they got

there, it wasn't in service of anything
revelatory or or deep or satisfying.

Rob: No.

It was really quite insulting and
really quite, yeah I, maybe I'm over

overstating it a bit, but a little bit
damaging to to treat it in such a way.

Kevin: So low expectations, I guess

is how we can sum up your uh,

Rob: My interest was peaked when I went.

Oh, okay.

So they're coming back.

Oh no, no, They're all coming back.

And much like, it was a gag on
some show when they were talking

about the Jackson Five coming back
and someone said, What even Tito?

And they're going, what?

Even LeVar?

They got LeVar back?

They got LeVar and he got
his daughter in there.

But that's probably the reason
why he probably went, eh, nepotism

is strong in the 25th century.

But yes, I was, my interest was peaked
and when I heard the the old hands,

the old regime has handed it over to
new blood that got me quite excited.

How about you?

Kevin: Quite similar, like, cautiously
optimistic, I think is not quite right.

You know the old saying,
fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me twice, shame on me.

This was a fool me three times season.

Rob: Yeah.

So you went into season
two after season one.

You went into season two, go.

No, they, this could be all right.

Kevin: Season two had an incredibly strong
start, which is what has me even today

after what I think we are about to agree
is a great start to a season of Star Trek.

I am still nevertheless bruised from
the disappointment of the high highs

at the start of season two of Picard,
and then where all of that ended up.

Rob: It's, look, It's not
a sprint, it's a marathon.

Okay, guys, it,

Kevin: But In storytelling,
beginnings are easy.

Endings are so hard.

Making that all amount to something that
feels like an earned ending that leaves

them changed, in a way that was worth
the audience's time to show up and watch,

that is the hard part of storytelling.

And neither of the first two
seasons of Picard nailed that.

I think the jury is out on whether
they will do that in season three.

Do they have a stronger
start under their feet here?

I think so.

Do they know in advance
where they're going?

And is that going to be worthwhile?

I hope so.

The reunion, as it were, is both
worrying to me and encouraging to me.

Like hopefully all of these stars
saw in their parts in the story,

a worthwhile story to be told.

And this is what we're hearing in the
interviews and the press junkets is the

writers met with each of them individually
and asked, where would you like to see

your character at the start of the season?

What arc would you like to see them go on
that we have not seen before from them?

How are they different all these
years down the line from when

they, we last saw them in Nemesis?

Those questions, the actors are
telling us, were answered not just

to their satisfaction, but to their
delight, and they are feeling like

they're getting to do deeper, more
meaningful stories for their characters.

At the same time, I'm sitting here
going, you only got 10 episodes.

That's little more than one episode
per character, if we're gonna tell a

satisfying story arc, let alone what is
the overarching narrative of this season.

I am a little worried of just how
many masters they are needing to

serve with this story, and if it, if
they pull it off, it will be amazing.

But I am trying not to get my hopes
because I've been burned twice before.

Rob: So what you're saying is if The
Animated Series had done exactly what

Picard season three had done, maybe
those two seasons might have worked out

differently if they, if Roddennberry
met with every single cast member and

Kevin: It still wouldn't have been a
good Saturday morning cartoon, Rob.

Rob: It's a Saturday morning cartoon!

Kevin: Let's talk about high
level impressions of this episode.

I'll go first.

The, the degree to which this is a
love letter to cinematic Star Trek in

a television format like that is the
overwhelming, that is the headline

here is they are not making a season
of TV Star Trek, as we have learned

to know it, and in some cases love
it, this is a 10 part Star Trek movie.

Rob: That's what they've been
pushing a lot, haven't they?

Kevin: That's what they've been
pushing a lot, and it's there on

the screen, like it's not just hype.

Watching this, it had the pace, it
had the lingering establishing shots.

It had the.

The blank page opening of in
the 25th century of this is,

this is not a continuation.

This is not an episode.

This is a long form story we're gonna
tell you, and we're gonna start by telling

you where we are and where everyone is.

And what the state of the world is,
and they are taking their time to roll

all of that out on a grand scale that
has every conceivable touchstone to

remind you, to echo the high points
of the film franchise right down to

the typefaces and the musical motifs.

Rob: As soon as the font
showed, I'm going, yep.

This is, they are all in.

This is like all the chips have
gone, this is what we're doing.

And this is what every fan had been going,
this is what we expected from season one.

That would be this all in.

Kevin: And despite the the press
mentions of we're trying to make the

missing final Star Trek TNG movie
here, I was not expecting it to have

the feel of a movie as you watch it.

Terry Matalas coming forward from
episodic Star Trek television at

its, in its waning years, I did not
expect him to be the same kind of Star

Trek fan as you Rob who fell in love
with the franchise in the film era.

But that's what we see on the screen here.

Rob: we de yeah, we definitely see that
extension of the Next Gen film series

Kevin: But at the same time, the
extension of the Original Series film

Rob: Exa.

Oh, exactly.

And the feel of the original movies,
the Next Gen movies compared to

their original TV series, it's
like they're different beasts.

They're still the same characters, they're
still the same ship in inverted commas,

even though it's Enterprise D, E, F, Q, F.

Oh, Q ooh.

But they are different beats
and it's a different feel.

And just as soon as it started, just
how it felt returning to, Chateau

Picard, the vibe was different.

How these characters talked,
and especially because

it's it's not season three.

It's, sure, Raffi is there and Seven
of Nine's there, and Laris is there.

Wonderful actor.

And she really was good that how
conversational their dialogue was

is a million times better than
any dialogue they had last season.

Just when the two of

Kevin: When they're in front of
the fire, knee to knee, and it's an

exposition scene where Picard has
received the distress call from Crusher.

And she says, as an ex intelligence agent,
here's what I'm seeing, and on rewatch,

it's like, oh, that's an exposition scene.

That is her telling Picard a bunch
of stuff that Picard already knows.

And yet it works because of
the quality of the dialogue.

It sounds true to the characters,
and it doesn't burst the bubble.

Rob: Just the simple thing
of the tone of her voice.

She's in real danger.

And you're there going this,
this is, this is incredible.

It's how you deliver exposition
that, everyone has to do

it, but it's how you do it.

It elevates you from being a fun, basic
writer to being an incredible writer.

Kevin: So many things that were just
like written for me and people like me

of, you know how much I love a space
dock and, oh, we spent a lot of time

at that space dock and we got to see it
from the outside and from the inside.

We got to see, take us out on thrusters
and the space dock doors, which appeared

to all intents and purposes to be a
lift of cells of film from Star Trek II

pasted right on the view screen there.

Rob: It was so cinematic.

Those sequences at space dock were just

Kevin: Cinematic and nostalgic as well.

Like for those of us who love
seeing Starfleet at its heart.

What does the home base
of Starfleet look like?

What is the sense of scale of ships coming
and going and this giant mushroom in

space that they can fly into and out of.

That, that revisiting that sense
of scale, let alone the production

value that tells you this is every
pixel is sweated to the nth detail.

It, It was all.

Rob: and, but no inclusion of that
cliche thing of having a scene

with the top brass or having that
scene, that reference of all the

admirals around and stuff like that.

It was just from Chateau to to
dingy bar, to heading to Titan.

It's just this incredible set.

It felt like it was all there,
but you didn't have all the

admirals going you can't go there
Picard, you can't do this Riker.

It was just a case of yeah, it was
represented by, the place as opposed

to the people and the gimmicks

Kevin: It that scene was replaced with
the dining table scene with Captain

Shaw, which is a hell of a scene.

Rob: Incredible scene.

Yeah, just from that point on they,
yeah, within five minutes, they had more

understanding of the character of Laris
than anyone who wrote for season two.

And just that whole process of,
Picard's moving on into, retirement

he's gonna be the handbag for Laris
moving back to this, Romulan outpost.

And he's just gonna, see out his life
while she's doing all the important

stuff, which is an interesting I could
see a lot of the fans getting arced

up going, oh no, he's gotta be out.

He's gotta be out doing stuff.

He can't just be a a,
a glorified plus one.

Kevin: The other thing that really
heartens me and gives me gets my

hopes up for the season is the size
of, or the scale of the stakes.

We have seen so many, we, we have
seen too many now seasons of Star

Trek that amounted to a galaxy
threatening, puzzle box mystery,

the nature of which is not revealed
to us until the very last episode.

And it's like, surprise, it's metal
snakes coming out of a hole in space.

That's, that was what was
behind this all along.

And you better shoot those metal snakes
real quick or the galaxy will end.

Like ultimately that was the
story of season one of Star Trek

Picard, and I am heartened that
there is no, at least not yet.

Prove me wrong next week, Picard.


But at least setting the table
here, all of the mysteries and all

of the stakes are personal ones.

They are stories about an individual
character that we care about, in

jeopardy, and their friends breaking
regulations to fly to their rescue.

Uh, Star Trek III, anyone?

We'll get we'll, we'll get
you to rewatch that one yet.

Rob: The word is no.

Therefore I'll watch it anyway.


Kevin: That's right,

Rob: The quote fail, fooled me in the end.

Kevin: But other little mysteries
like Rikers mentioned that Troi

and Kestra will appreciate the
time away from him, awkward pause.

Like that is a mystery, but it is
a personal mystery that will affect

a character or characters I care

Rob: Oh.

Sad sack Riker.

Oh my gosh.

Kevin: The closest thing to the
overarching puzzle box that I, that

worries me is this Don't trust Starfleet
thing, and the guy in the bar who's

like listening in on Picard and Riker's
conversation and the officer in the

hallway at the start of the inspection
on the Titan, who just gives Riker a

strange look and it's not commented upon.

There are, there is a sense of
forces at work here that a conspiracy

of some kind is to be revealed.

And I hope that doesn't become what this
season is about, because what I want

this season to be about is those personal
stakes for the characters we care.

Rob: Of course.

And that's gonna be the balance, isn't
it, to get that balance of character

and plot, but what is most important?

Nimoy was the greatest at that going
let's just make a movie with no threat.

There's a threat, but
there's nothing evil.

How about we, you do that?

And but how do you raise, oh, you can
have the stakes, like the Earth is

in peril, it's gonna be destroyed,
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

But we're not learning how to blow it up.

We're not trying to figure
out how to kill this thing.

It's, it, let's focus on the characters
in this situation and how they respond

to this life threatening situation.

So it's finding that balance.

And if the showrunner is steeped in as
much of Star Trek film lore as I am,

then you know, you should be able to
lean into that going, it can take a step

back, that threat, and focus more on
how that threat affects the characters.

And if you've got 10 to get through,
give him a bit of breathing space.

Kevin: Yeah.

The only other thing I just have to
mention in case you didn't notice it, Rob,

was Bev Crusher's puffy collared jacket.

Rob: Yes.

Kevin: It has the same puffer jacket
thing that the Star Trek II and Star

Trek III away jackets had going on.

And I was like, that is a really
puffy collar, and I love it.

I love it on you, Bev.

Rob: I love the quips and the
dialogue between Riker and Picard.

That felt more like cinema Riker and
Picard than, within the TV series they

had time to, to break down an idea and
collaborate, and let's discuss this,

where in the movies they go let's
quip, quip, quip, quip, quip, quip.

Um, And I didn't believe
Raffi was using at all.

And then they're going no.

Kevin: I'm not sure.

I quite believe that she and Seven have
even broken up because she exposited that

fact in the very same breath as everything
else that was a part of her cover.

Now they I don't know what kind of long
distance relationship they could be having

with Seven clearly like, very much on her
own as first officer of the Titan, now.

It does indeed seem
that they are broken up.

But there's a little, there's a
little crack open in my imagination

for the fact that she was just lying.

Rob: Look Seven could do
so much better, come on.

Raffi is okay now.

Raffi is annoying.

Kevin: Yeah, I won't disagree.

Rob: Yeah.

Kevin: She is annoying in a useful
storytelling component sort of

Rob: And that's what they've
really delegated her to.

They've just gone, you are just
going to be the provider of plot.

There you go.

You are going to, that was a nice effect
though with the academy being like,

transport, like the earth coming out
underneath it and just dropping out and

then it opening up and, oh, that was
horrifying and beautifully realized.

Kevin: I don't know how I would feel as
Rachel Garrett knowing that I was being

memorialized by a bright red statue.

Like I'm not sure.

Apart from satisfying the criteria of a
red lady, which could have been rewritten

into something more aesthetically

Rob: Who has red statues, who has red
statues anywhere, even in the future?

Kevin: I don't get it.

When it toppled into the
water, I thought good riddance.

Uh, Rachel Garrett deserves so much

Rob: Garrett, you deserve so much better.

Get a gold one, Miles O'Brien
has somewhere, but yeah the quips

and the back and forth with Riker
and Picard was just exquisite.

That relationship between Seven
and Picard, that was pretty much

only earned through last season.

Was good to see carried on.

And that was hard work to go,
I remember this was established

last season and is earned.

And I think Shaw is too
mustache twirling to be bad.

I think he's just a dick.

I don't think he's a
part of the conspiracy.

Kevin: Yeah, he is a bureaucrat.

He's a rule follower.

He runs a tight ship and is proud of it.

He is not quite as dickish as
Captain Styles in Star Trek

III's space dock escape sequence.

He doesn't have the riding
crop, but he's not far off.

He does wake up in bed and
go, what the hell is going on?

Like it is very much a mirror.

And if he had reached over his
head to grab a riding crop, I would

not have been completely shocked.

But yeah.

The lovely thing about Shaw's
characterization is it walks that

line perfectly where you can say,
you know what, given available

information, I am actually on your side.

But why do you have to
be such a dick about

Rob: Don't have to be a dick about it.

And that's actually
LeVar Burton's daughter.

Kevin: Yes no.


Rob: No?

Kevin: Uh, Sidney La Forge, who we
meet in this episode is an actress

who is not related to LeVar Burton.

We are yet to see Geordi's
other daughter who is played

by his daughter in real life.

Rob: Right.


So he, his daughter is playing his
daughter, but not that daughter.

Kevin: Not that daughter.

We will see two daughters
of Geordi La Forge, this

Rob: Well, after all we've talked about in
previous episode about Geordi being such a

awkward, awkward man when it comes to the.

He is

Kevin: bloomer

Rob: He can see clearly now.

So there we go.

That's more stuff to look forward to.

But yeah, we've only had, one
classic cha— they, they can't do.

There's gonna have to be
some doubling up soon.

There's gonna, we've, yeah.

So yeah, that has, so we're, we enjoyed
it, but we've been burnt before and

Picard season three has to realize
it's a marathon, not just a sprint.

Kevin: That's right.


Rob: We'll wait and see what happens,
but this has inspired us to go back

into the recesses of Star Trek.

Oh, I've missed doing this, Kevin.

Oh, and what, and our main
topic for this week is

Kevin: Star-crossed lovers.

Rob: Yes.


And in the world of televised
genre it's a common thing.

If you start a romance in a
sci-fi or genre based show,

it's probably not gonna go well.

There's not many relationships that
go the distance in genre based,

Kevin: There's no drama
in stable relationships.

Rob: It's, yeah, it's like Lois and Clark.

It was ruined as soon as, Teri Hatcher and
Dean Kane got together and then Teri Yeah.



Come on.


So yeah, we're gonna have a look at
some of the star-crossed lovers and uh,

Kevin: I see three examples, here.

There is Picard and Laris who at the
start of this, they're like, okay, sorry.

We have a story to tell here where you
need to pull you apart at the start.

They seem in a better place
than we've ever seen them

Rob: They're very good.

They're very settled.

They're very much in love.

Kevin: But if Laris just happened
to have been in that building that

collapsed in front of us, it would not
be a complete shock, at this point.

We know Riker and Troi are in trouble,
which come on, ha, have those two

not been through enough by now?

And uh, and Seven and Raffi, like
they got an audio book between seasons

that you can go back and listen to
called No Man's Land, where by all

reports they are happily together.

But it didn't last, it didn't
last is what being told.


Rob: For the sake of a good story,

Kevin: Is there any love that, yeah.

Is there any love that lasts in Star
Trek or what are our most regrettable

breakups or relationship challenges?

You wanna go first, Rob?

Rob: Yeah.

Look I went more oh, the relationship
that coulda, that shoulda, why didn't it?

And I'm looking at and it was done in
such a cute way and I wanted to see more.

And and she's still out there somewhere.

And we've talked about before,
and I wanna see her again.

It's about James, T., Kirk and Dr.

Gillian from yeah, you did that one.

Kevin: I took it off my list
cuz I thought, oh, come on.

They weren't meant for each other, but
it was definitely my first thought.

Rob: Oh, she would've
been so good for him.

She would've kept him on his toes and
kept him keep, he could've, doing his

traveling and stuff like that, but keeping
his feet firmly planted on the ground.

But she had stuff to do.

She had, she couldn't wait
around for a pretty much a

manchild to figure stuff out.

She had science.

300 catch up learnings to do.

Kevin: James T.

Kirk just can't compete with the entire
galaxy of the 23rd century, it seems.

Rob: Whales are just the start of
where Gillian's journey begins.

Kevin: Like yourself, I think I saw this
film at a certain age where just like she

had the the type of charm that appealed
to me and I wanted it for James T.


They had a quippy, playful pizza dinner
that had me rooting for them, and like

the Alice in Wonderland of her being
whisked away into his world just gave

me the sense that surely she will
fall head over heels for this man that

has shown her this whole new world.

But you know what?

In hindsight, Gillian Taylor
deserves better than James T.


Rob: And she didn't really fall for him.

She kind of like got no, but he got
that whole sense of, but why aren't you?

But I'm used to having,

Kevin: This isn't what usually

Rob: Yeah, yeah.

But yeah.

I don't even have your telephone number.

I still love how he delivered that.

It's I'm there going, yeah.

This is a guy who used to be top
crap, and now he's clumsy and

stumbling over lines and stuff.

Um, and he's, they go, but.

But I always get everything I want.

She's going, no, you don't get this.

Kevin: It is a particular, like I,
I think, That plot twist, if we can

call it that at the end, where she
conspicuously does not fall for James T.

Kirk and puts her career first, it is
something that ages better and better.

I am, maybe it was written that way
all along and I've just aged into the

ability to see it through this lens.

But with every passing year, the idea
that she is more than a love interest.

She had a career, she, she chose
this big, risky change in her life

and she can deal with it herself.

She can stand on her own two feet in this
new world, and she doesn't need James T.

Kirk's help to exist in this universe.

Rob: how good she is.

She's like from the 20th century
and she's already picked up

to be on a science vessel.

So even though she is 300 years

Kevin: out of date.

Yeah, it's almost unbelievable.

Rob: almost a little bit too convenient.

But I'm gonna believe it's because she's
absolutely brilliant and incredible.

And all these characters are real.

Kevin: Most weeks, I uh, fare you well
at the end of this by quoting Gillian

Taylor by saying, See around the galaxy.

And that is because that moment
of her giving the kiss on the

cheek and uh, the whisper in the

Rob: And she does the look up.

Oh my

Kevin: It really sticks with you.

Rob: Oh, she's wonderful actress.

Wonderful actress.

And she was in Child's Play.

Kevin: I don't so much regret
not getting to see James T.

Kirk and Gillian Taylor get together.

I mostly just regret not getting to see
the further adventures of Gillian Taylor.

Rob: Why hasn't anyone
done Gillian Taylor story?

Come on.

I wanna spin off of Gillian Taylor stuff.

Lower Decks, if you can
hear me, it's up to you.

Kevin: Crap, that would be

Rob: Oh, wouldn't that be amazing?

Lower Decks is the perfect vehicle for it.

So even though Gillian Taylor
would've been dead for some

time, I'm sure if they're

Kevin: They will find a way.

Animation finds a way.

Rob: They're, yeah, if they're
going back in live action to the

Enterprise with Pike, they will
find a way to find Gillian Taylor.

So yes, tell us your star-crossed
lovers who were doomed to never be.

Kevin: I started by picking a small
one and it's just like Gillian Taylor.

It's a character that we fall in love with
in a single episode or a single story.

And their connection, their romantic
connection to one of our main cast

members is severed at the end of it,
and we never get to see more of them

again, much as we would like to.

This is an episode of Star Trek: The
Next Generation Season four, episode

25 entitled In theory, and it is
the episode in which data explores

a romance with a crew member, Jenna
D'Sora on board the Enterprise.

She has recently broken up with her
long-term boyfriend; she's on the rebound.

and uh, and falls for Data, who
in his particularly mechanical way

stands out to her as thoughtful.

He never forgets a fact about her.

And her recently broken heart interprets
that as care and attention and

safety and uh, they start a romance.

And Data is very open about the fact
that romance is a new experience for

him and he is, he has created a new
program especially to navigate this

experience with her and at first she
is delighted by the him going out of

his way to change himself, to grow in
order to make room for her in his life.

But day by day the signs start to
stack up that the best Data can do is

perform an imitation of a relationship
or act as if he cares for her.

And towards the end she, she confronts
him about it and says, do you care for me?

And data admits, I am
incapable of that emotion.

Certainly you occupy a significant
amount of my processing power.

Rob: Oh, he knows how to say all.

Oh, the sugar coated tongue of Data.

Kevin: There's a beautiful moment where
Data calculates strategically that

what is needed is a fight so that they
can grow closer together as a couple.

And so he very quickly shifts
gears and accuses her angrily

of of treating him unfairly.

And she has taken aback and
he says, Oh, is that not what

I was supposed to do here?

Is this not time for our first fight?

So it is so sweet and tragic that data
is doing more for another human being

than he would ever do, in service
of making this relationship work.

And yet it can never be what she needs.

Or at least that's where it ends up.

She sums it up towards the end of, I've
went from an emotionally unavailable man

to a man that is incapable of emotion.

Rob: Yeah.

Kevin: And it's so sad.

And just like Gillian Taylor, she has that
that charm, that charisma where you want

her for the character we know, if only so
that she'll stick around and continue to

light up the screen and make them happy.

But it is not to be.

Rob: and played by Michele uh Scarabelli,
from, a Canadian actress who I know

from her work on the Alien Nation
TV series playing Susan Francisco.

Kevin: Wow.

Is she equally charming in that?

Rob: Yes.

It like I'm a big fan of Alien Nation,
the film with James Kahn and Mandy

Patinkin, and then they went deeper with
the TV show and explored this weekly

process of, and r relying a lot on, the
refugee problem of how people assimilate

into society and how they are treated.

And the family dynamic is explored
really beautifully in that, and she's a

wonderful, you know, bringing that human
quality to an alien character once a

week within uh, slightly futuristic LA.

Yeah, she's a wonderful actress
and haven't seen this one, but

it, sounds like pure love fodder
within the realms of Star Trek.

Kevin: There's a great B plot of the
Enterprise being stuck in a field of

invisible space pockets that cause
people to fall through decks and die.

And like the, that provides some of the
ticking clock and the tension to this.

But the as TNG did well so
many times, the A plot is the

character plot here, and it is,

Rob: Wonderful.

That is definitely one I'd love
to check out if not just for

catching up with Michele Scarabelli.

Kevin: What's your next

Rob: Well, Look, I've spent a lot of time
talking about the biggest, the biggest

relationship that we wanted to see
happen, then it did happen and it ended.

I've, but I've spoken about
Kira and Odo over and over

and over again, so this is not

Kevin: Oh, I just, my brain said,
but they got together in the end.

It was happily ever after, wasn't it?

And then I remembered the ending.

Rob: Oh, when you just see odo in a tux
absorbing himself into the collective and

you into the pool, and you just go, oh my.

Kevin: Uh,

Rob: I'm done, I'm done with romance.

Kevin: She needed, she
deserves so much better.

Rob: Oh yeah, I know.

But that's why Lower Decks is good.

We see that, she we don't know
how her love life's going, but

she's in charge of Terok Nor.

She's at least positive and happy.

So that's something.

Oh God.

Oh God.

It's making,

Anyway, I went to another
movie, which I always thought.

I'm disappointed that it's the
tropes of film love interests who

come in and, you know, they're
only gonna be around for one.

I'm not mentioning I'm not talking
about Alfre Woodard who wasn't a really

a romantic interest, but was a great
presence for those mainstream audience

members going to see Star Trek going

Kevin: Yeah, she was the
audience surrogate the, she

was the Al Alice in Wonderland.

Rob: Exactly.

Another, anytime we have a reference to
literature in Star Trek, I'm a happy man.

Hello Alice.

Welcome to Wonderland.

I'm gonna go to Insurrection again.

I go back to there.

Donna Murphy is gorgeous and
incredible and amazing as Anij and

I'm there going you fool, Picard.

I don't care who you are, what,
how much you want to explore.

And that is perfection right there.

She is incredible.

And um, it was never gonna
be, never gonna happen.

She broadened his mind and
slowed down time, literally.

And that wasn't enough for Picard.

Kevin: Yeah.

It is amazing what it takes for them
to write a woman that seems a match for

Picard or even that ma that intimidates
Picard by the, their presence.

The depth of experience, of wisdom that
comes with her immortality, effectively.

That the calm sense of this is
all, this has all happened before

and it will all happen again.

And we are all here
just to play our parts.

Rob: But never robotic.

Never robotic.

There's and great charming moments like,
she's lived for however many hundreds

of years, but never learned how to swim.

But she never got, because
she never got around to it.

Never, never a Mary Sue type
character where she can kick ass

and be all that type of stuff,
but never a damsel in distress.

Kevin: That's it.

She is superhuman in her
presence, but she is not magical.

She is not unbelievable.

She comes across as a full fledged person
that can meet Picard on equal terms.

Rob: Yes.


it's a believable energy
and a believable dynamic.

And there's a great charisma.

I She's, one of, yeah.

Incredibly experienced
stage and screen performer.

And she does so much with whatever.

She's never really had a chance to
shine in a leading type capacity in any

major films or TV shows that I've seen.

She's always been, come in, done her thing
and gone like her very small appearance

in Spider-Man 2 is outstanding and she
changes a role that basically just, her

tragic death in that is to fuel Alfred
Molina's character into evil things.

But she does more than that.

You forget that she's just a plot point.

And in this as well, you forget how
much she feels her character space

and it becomes a part of this world,
and it's a, and you really feel it

when they say goodbye at the end.

It's a, yeah, it's a wonderful performance
and a wonderful match for Patrick

Stewart, and that's hard to find.

It's hard to find a good
match for Stewart on screen.

Wendy Hughes did it in the Next Gen
series great Aussie actor there.

And Donna Murphy is more than
a match for Patty Mc Stewart.

Kevin: Do you get the sense that there,
the story is, has a tragic ending?

Like, is the fact that they don't
live happily ever after together,

just because she's a one movie guest
star and it, they couldn't afford

her for the rest of the franchise?

Or is there is there the

Rob: is a sense of a tragedy to the fact
that, this, these people they convey this

sense of we have everything we need here.

We are happy, we are content,
we don't need all this stuff.

But there is a sense of, they in
many ways trapped by their, the

gift that they've been given.

And it's almost like a curse in how
much it affects those people who leave

and want to come back, obviously.

So there is a tragic element of they
are tied to where they are, and that

ability to form connections outside
of their little pocket is is is a

quite, sad lifestyle, no matter how
much, enlightenment and knowledge

and strength and intelligence.

So they don't get to share that
or don't get to, share that

with the rest of the universe.

And so those connections and
commitments and opportunities fade

by the wayside, which is, which I
think is very sad and very tragic.

Kevin: Yeah, it's a feeling of ships
passing in the night that they their,

their worlds briefly intersected.

Love is not strong enough for
either of them to give up their

respective responsibilities.

Rob: Exactly.

And what about you?

What was your second

Kevin: I, chose one that I.

I never quite felt myself rooting for
them as a couple, but that is because they

were they had everything against them and
so poorly served from beginning to end.

This is from Star Trek: Enterprise.

Rob: Oh,

Kevin: Tucker and T'Pol.

Rob: Right.

Kevin: I mean from the beginning,
the sense here is that their

relationship was not in service of
the characters, or not character

driven; it was in service of ratings.

And the number of awkward decon chamber
rubbing gel on each other sequences

that led up to this re relationship
being kindled and the aborted attempts

to set T'Pol up as a romantic interest
for other characters in the show.

Just it, the starting point for this
feels somewhat cynical and thin.

Um, T'Pol had a, there, there was
a moment, there was an episode or

two where T'Pol and Jonathan Archer,
the captain and first officer of

the first warp five Starship in
Starfleet, flirted with confessing

romantic feelings for each other.

And they did that very nice thing
where T'Pol said if in theory

there were something there, we
of course could never act on it.

And they both agreed, oh, of
course we could never act on

that if that were ever true.

Which it isn't, it's not.

But that,

Rob: convinced.

I'm convinced.

Kevin: felt to me like the writers
walking up to a line and realizing, nah,

that'd be too much, that we can't cross
that line, but what could we cross?

How about the chief engineer?

That could work.

And there is.

The romance grows out of Trip
Tucker suffering the emotional

trauma of his sister's death
in a terrorist attack on Earth.

He's going through some stuff and
T'Pol's Vulcan meditation techniques,

and it turns out massage techniques,
enable him to work through that to a

certain extent and they, they initial.

Bond in the heat of therapy as

Rob: That's, that sounds so hot.

Kevin: I know.

Rob: Wow.

Tell you why.

I'm gee, could someone put the air on?

It's boiling over here.

That's sex appeal right there.

Kevin: Yeah, and just as the awkwardness
is passing, and it seems like we might

be ready for something real like a
real emotion to occur on screen here

T'Pol's betrothal to her, her arranged
husband, as happens in Vulcan culture

as we have learned, that comes to the
fore and trip has to escort her and

effectively be her best man at her
wedding and give her away at her wedding.

And he is of course, devastated.

And then there is plot twist after plot
twist with these two where they keep

like getting to that place where you
would almost care if they got together.

And then it's disrupted
by some plot twist.

And then at the end of it Trip Tucker
dies in the episode before the finale,

which is and it's ultimately unrequited.

So these two, I think if there had been
an effort to write a genuine relationship

here, it could have been something
satisfying, but it was continually

disrupted by what felt like party tricks
of narrative of, oh, see if you can

deal with this one, you crazy kids.

And yeah, it, so it
never quite gets there.

And now that one of them has died,
we will never know what might.

Rob: Never know.

Never know.

So well there.

I'm aware of select the
certain beats of of Enterprise.

I was aware of the ultimate fate of Trip,
but I did not know that the, their fate

of their romance was already sealed long

Kevin: Yeah, just for completeness, to
give you a sense, the last plot twist

is that they discover that their DNA has
been stolen and some aliens have created

a child that is genetically theirs.

And they rescue the child
from that alien culture.

And then the child, like it's a
poor clone, and it ultimately dies.

And so they are, without ever having,
come together as a couple to create

a child, they are traumatized by
the death of their child and that

prevents them from getting together.

Rob: This is it, man.


Sci-fi is

Kevin: I know, I know.

So certainly star crossed lovers.

I think it satisfies what we're going for.

Rob: Definitely.

That is that is a a broad range
of tragic to to just not being in

the right place at the right time.

Kevin: Uh,

Rob: what I did there.

Kevin: I wanna say though, I have
hope, Rob, I still have hope.

There are examples of couples
that do work out, and I want to

say Miles O and Keiko O'Brien.

Rob: Yes.

Very much so.

Kevin: and I want to say,

Rob: Garak and Garak and Bashir.

Kevin: Of course.

Rob: We didn't even, we didn't
even talk about Dax and and Worf.

That was tragic.

Kevin: Torres and Tom Paris.

Rob: There we go.

But that's kind of a weird one.

Anyway, that's a

Kevin: It's super weird,
but they get there.

They get there, they get
married, they have a baby.

They live happily ever

Rob: They do.

But it's super weird.

Yeah and Oh, look, I, and I'm gonna put
it out there, you know, I reckon, Troi

and um, Troi and Riker are gonna be fine.


Kevin: Whatever it is, they can get

Rob: they, they've, they've the
Oh my God, what they put them

through in season one of Picard,

Kevin: I'm sure one of them has
been secretly replaced by an

alien or something like that.


Rob: Yeah, Yeah.

It's a whole animated thing.

It's like a, it's a shape
shifting, Romulan spy.


So yeah, that's us.

That's our return to our
regular episode structure.

We have episode two coming up
just a couple of days away.


Kevin: can't believe.

Again, I can feel my hopes getting
too high, but I was about to say,

I can't believe we are getting
what feels like a new Star Trek

movie every week for 10 weeks.

Rob: Look, I'm glad you didn't say
that because that's peaking yourself

at a point far too high for it to,
but look, we'll, we will wait and

Kevin: I didn't say they
would be good movies.

I didn't say they would all be good.

Rob: Look.

We'll ha well yeah, it's either gonna be
Nemesis or it's gonna be First Contact

or, yeah, we've got a fifth canon
now, but it's gonna be 10 hours long.

So look we wait and and see, and
we'll take it in, week to week.

You'll be joining us every week.

Kevin will be here.

I'll be here.

We'll connect it to a broader issue.

That's the way we do things
here at Subspace Radio.

And um, keep watching.

Until next week, Kevin.

Kevin: See around the galaxy!

Episode 21: Star-crossed Lovers (PIC 3×01 The Next Generation)
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