Could you imagine if someone ever tried to do a Star Trek/bodice ripper romance novel crossover? I wonder what something like that would look like.
Probably something like this…
Yeah, that looks about right to me. And by “right” I mean “Omigod, the horror that has been seen can never be unseen right up until my very last breath.”
I’m still not sure how “Sub Rosa” even made it into the queue of “Viable Options” for TNG scripts, let alone how it actually made it to the screen. Yes, denizens, as much as it pains me to say this, I’m going to have to ping this episode as one of the worst TNG episodes ever made…possibly even one of the worst Trek episodes ever made (although I couldn’t sleep well for a week after watching evolved/devolved Janeway and Paris doing things that captains should never do with their pilots o_O).
The fact that this was probably the one episode from all seven seasons of TNG that dealt the most with Dr. Crusher makes this realization even worse.
This is what I waited seven years for?
I’m not going to review the actual episode. I’m instead going to link you to this review, which pretty much covers the awfulness in a very honest and amusing way (this review is also from where I paraphrased the quote on the “cover” of my trashy novel). I will, of course, note that I do disagree with this reviewer’s supposition that this episode was so craptacular in part because Gates McFadden was lacking in acting ability. As I’ve pointed out in previous posts about her performance in “The Naked Now” and “The Big Goodbye,” I think she was more than capable of handling an episode by herself. Just not this episode. Seriously, I don’t even think Meryl Streep could have made this episode anything less than awful.
The author of the previously linked review describes “Sub Rosa” as “the nadir of Girlie Trek.” I think that’s pretty on-target. This episode offended me on several levels, least of which was the fact that when finally they decide to give Dr. Crusher an episode, it’s one of the least sci-fi and one of the least meaningful episodes ever written for TNG. Honestly, many Trek episodes are nothing more than morality tales (often rather thinly) disguised as science fiction. This one doesn’t even make it that high up the subtlety ladder…unless, of course, the moral of this one is “If a strange green gas starts coming out of a candle toward you, it’s probably best that you don’t let it sex you up.”
I can assure you, denizens, I didn’t need Trek to teach me this lesson.
I’ve asked this question numerous times, but I’ll ask it again here: Would this have ever passed as an episode idea for any of the other CMOs from any of the other shows? Would Dr. McCoy have ever been asked to writhe around on a bed as he’s pleasured by an “anaphasic energy” entity? What about Dr. Bashir? Not seeing it?
Neither am I.
For all its praise as a forward-thinking, progressive show, Trek was staunchly misogynistic in undeniable ways, and episodes like “Sub Rosa” reveal this truth in ugly and demeaning ways. Yes, women were allowed to do more than bring the captain his coffee in TNG, but if this is what you think passes as good sci-fi for women viewers, then perhaps you should head on over to Caprica and see if they need writers.
Beyond these issues, the bottom line is, “Sub Rosa” is just bad. What makes this even worse is that it didn’t have to be awful. This could have been a cracking “ghost” story. It also could have been a more thorough examination of all the questions surrounding Dr. Crusher’s past: What happened to her parents? What happened on Arvada II? Why did they recreate Scotland on another planet? Did they recreate Nessie as well? Why is there a pig-face alien running a Scottish colony? Why is Deanna wandering around in the background after she leaves the cemetery with Dr. Crusher? Why was Dr. Crusher’s maiden name Howard when it’s obviously a name from her maternal grandmother? Did her mother not take her father’s last name? How, then, did Beverly get the name Howard? Was it tradition in that family for the husband to take the wife’s name and pass it on their children? Then why didn’t she keep the name Howard? Why is she now a Crusher? Have I made your eyes cross yet?
Again I say, sigh.
So, there you have it denizens: I don’t love everything related to Dr. Crusher. But I don’t hold it against her that we saw way more of her bedroom proclivities than I think any of us ever wanted to see. And she’s still my favorite TNG character.
Oh, one more thing: At least the set designers had a bit of fun on this episode. Check the names on the tombstones behind Ronin:
I love geeky inside jokes.