Trekathon 079: Turnabout Intruder (TOS)

February 11th, 2010

So it would appear that the 23rd century Star Fleet is trapped in the 1960s when it comes to gender equity. Personally, I find that a bigger leap of logic than the idea of a machine that can exchange the bodies of Kirk and Dr Lester.

“It’s better to be dead than live alone in the body of a woman”? It seems at odds with the rest of Roddenberry’s vision of the future. It’s also strange that it’s never been mentioned by any of the many female officers of the Enterprise at any time. (And don’t believe the apologists – the episode establishes very clearly that even if it was positively established that Kirk’s mind was in Lester’s body that he(/she) still could not command).

The episode is fairly well constructed technically – writing, directing, acting and so on are quite clear. But the gender politics make this very difficult. In a sense, the entire episode is one long argument about why women shouldn’t be in command – emotionally unstable, erratic attitudes, throwing tantrums, acting like petty dictators. Seriously Jane Austen has more progressive gender politics than this episode.

The redeeming feature of the episode was Scotty, who once again takes a role far in excess of the usual parody of his ‘the engines cannae take it’ job.

79 down, 658 to go. And that’s it, The Original Series completed.