21 July 2011

jumbled thoughts

I've been trying to figure out how to write this post for hours. I don't want to let too much of my geek out, but at the same time it's really been affecting me today. I guess I'll just go for it. Anyone who knows me is well aware of my geekier tendencies anyway.

I was raised on Star Trek. There was some good old Captain Kirk mixed in, but mostly it was The Next Generation ("the one with the bald guy" in Kim's understanding; I'm slowly working with him on that). Later Voyager would play a role, but when I think of Star Trek I first think of Captain Picard and his crew.

So when I learned a couple weeks ago that Star Trek, The Next Generation (TNG), and Voyager are now on instant streaming with Netflix, I naturally began making my way through TNG.

Most of the episodes I haven't seen since I was very young, and I've realized I remember surprisingly little: the feel of situations, small character impressions, and random facts for which I can't give solid evidence to. Then there are two episodes that fill me with dread.

Most mysteriously (until recently), "Skin of Evil": I have always loved Tasha Yar, but up until that first week of instant streaming I had no clue why. She was simply a name, but I felt a deep sadness and grief when remembering her death - the only thing I actually remember about her from my childhood. Now I can completely understand the attraction that character held for me. Her loss stings just as much as the emptiness I experienced losing Data in the movie Nemesis; the only difference is that I could understand Data's sacrifice, while Tasha's death was meaningless.

The other, unsurprisingly, is the first part of "Best of Both Worlds". Locutus of Borg is, at least in my estimation, the best twist in television history. (Admittedly, nostalgia may have something to do with this.) The complete horror I felt when I was first introduced to him is something I will never be able to completely shake off. It wasn't just due to the fact that he is Borg, either. It was the devastation of losing a beloved hero. It is the episode I remember most clearly, though my child's mind had muted out concepts I could not understand: the initial struggle between Riker and Shelby, the thousands of deaths Locutus was responsible for.

The latter has been on my mind all day. I'm not even sure I can correctly express what all I am thinking and feeling: good vs. evil, technology unchecked, morality, fear, the essentials of humanity, a child's memories, purpose, people who fight evil against all odds (otherwise known as heroes)... All jumbled up into a big knot. Impossible to unravel one strand without bringing all the others because everything is connected.

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