Tuesday, August 16, 2016

TNG Re-Watch: Commander Shelby

Over the weekend I re-watched Best of Both Worlds. I'd known it would be coming up and was sort of dreading in. Not just because I always dread it because of the whole Locutus thing but because I've written about this major episode twice already. And so has every other Trek blogger/reviewer/fan out there. So I just let this blog sit here.

I thought, "Maybe I'll write about Worf's perspective, or Data's. Or follow Beverly through the trauma of this whole mess."

But no. None of that really felt right. And I didn't really feel like writing at all, to be honest. Not because I don't want to. Because my hands are still a complete mess. An hour of typing renders them completely useless so I feel the need to save them for the comic I'm working on and the query letters I'm sending out for the most recent book and the editing I was doing (now finished!) for the second Awesome Jones book. I never mean to put this project on the back burner but there it is. It happens sometimes.

Anyway, re-watching this two-parter, what I mostly thought about was the role of the women herein.

Troi actually has something useful to do here. She can sense when Picard is and isn't Locutus. She can monitor the emotions of the crew. She can actively participate in the mission with something other than, "He's hiding something, Captain."

Crusher goes on the away mission to retrieve Picard and comes up with the idea of treating the Borg ship like a giant organism and acting as a virus within it.

Guinan realizes how bad is the state of the crew's emotional wellbeing and confronts Riker about how he needs to let Picard go. It's in this speech that we get a clue about the closeness between Guinan and Picard. She's assertive and involved here in a way that she, in her mysterious Guinan way, doesn't usually get to be.

And finally, SHELBY. Everyone hates Shelby. When I was a kid, I didn't like Shelby. She shook up the crew, my crew, and she challenged Riker in ways I found uncomfortable. As an adult female though, I see Shelby differently. Under that floofy hair and flamingo lipstick, Shelby is 1000% baller. This woman has made it her business to know everything there is to know about The Borg. THE BORG. That's a dangerous damn job. She's also gunning for first mate of the Federation's flag ship, something she lets practically everyone know as soon as she steps foot on board. She's assertive and smart and she has bucket loads of gumption--which she gets chastised for. I get that she shouldn't be running off to inspect suspicious business with Data without letting anyone know but this is how bitches get shit done. They beat every dude at poker and don't get to sleep until 1AM. They roll out of bed in full (probably yesterday's) makeup. They beam down to some dangerous planet with their new robot friend in tow. And they do risky science at the crack of dawn. And... they still get talked about in terms of being, "just an old man's fantasy..." which is a shame. Because Shelby has fantasies of her own. And those fantasies include commanding a damn starship. I have no doubt that she does just that.

Ok. As predicted, my fingers are on fire. So this BAMF lady is going to go soak her hands in some hot water and say a thousand curse words while I wonder, "What would Shelby do?"


  1. Wow! Take care of your hands, and let Shelby do the rest, okay?

  2. You know how I was lamenting watching season three of TOS??? Well along came "Plato's Stepchildren" and "The Empath" and suddenly I was no longer looking at the episode time every few minutes.

    I've loved Shatner and Nemoy and Kelley since the TOS films... but damned if I haven't actually fallen in love with Kirk, Spock and Bones! I finally understand where the fervor came from, and the chemistry between them, and to a lesser-degree, WHY fans became rabid to keep the series alive: like many of my favourite shows, it was cancelled JUST WHEN IT WAS GETTING GOOD! That's not to say I saw no merit in the first and second seasons, but I'd have to say it took 10 episodes into the third season for me to see everyone taking the concept of Roddenberry's vision seriously, without the flavour of "Look at us... we're SPACEMEN, playing pretend!", or "Look at us... Alien babes find us irresistable!". Some larger concepts of humanism crept-in and made these characters noble and admirable and wise!

    My personally-imposed obligation is suddenly worth every horrible element I've sat through. I couldn't be more pleased. :)


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