Second Union

Second Union

STAR TREK REWIND: “Cupid’s Errant Arrow”

“Brad, when a Starfleet relationship seems too good to be true, then– red alert, man! It probably is.”

Did you ever notice how there always seems to be one character that suffers the most in any given Star Trek series? Let’s say in the Original Recipe run, it had to be Spock. The second season episode, “The Apple” alone saw Spock hit with poisonous flower stamen, get zapped by an invisible force field, and struck by a bolt of lightning. I’d have to nominate Worf for The Next Generation, with Riker possibly a distant second. Miles Edward O’Brien on Deep Space Nine is the reason we have these running tallies. The man suffered grandly at least three times a season.

Voyager’s a tough one because it seemed the entire crew suffered under the reign of the “Jane.” Cute, huh? But no, it’s got to be one particular breed of cat. Two cats in this case: Paris and Kim. As buddies, they often suffered together (“The Chute”). Enterprise is an easy one. “Trip” Tucker suffered as much as O’Brien. He got pregnant. He nearly died of exhaustion. He almost burned up as a sun was rising on a desert planet. I could go on.

So why am I going on about this? I think it’s time to nominate a new chump: Boimler. Brad(ward) Boimler (Jack Quaid) MUST SUFFER! This has nothing to do with bravery and heroics. It’s kind-of just making fun of his “manhood” and natural zeal for his job. Something about him gets under Beckett Mariner’s (Tawny Newsome) skin. She can’t seem to understand that he has a girlfriend (Gillian Jacobs). She comes up with all manner of Star Trek reference-laden reasons for their relationship. She’s a shape-shifting salt vampire. She has a parasite. She’s a hologram. It goes on.

For a while, I thought Mariner was using her suspicion as a cover for her attraction to Boimler, but boy was I wrong. This isn’t a show about loving people. It’s a show about bizarre hostility and hatred for people; personal hang-ups and fetishes. Boimler is to be the whipping boy of the Cerritos for, I think, obvious reasons. The backdrop of this rather personal piece is the destruction of a moon that puts an entire star system in danger.

As in the previous episode I reviewed, this adventure takes a backseat to the characters. There is a third subplot involving Rutherford and D’Vana and their envy of sister ship Vancouver, but I frankly don’t care. Why do we have three stories in a twenty-four-minute episode? Mariner confronts Barbara. Not once does it ever come up that these girls even care about Boimler. This is all about some strange territoriality.

Mariner desires only complete control over Boimler, and, as it turns out, there is a parasite, but it is creature that exudes pheromones that make Boimler attractive. It is never explained why no other females find him attractive, but I suppose I’m asking too much for the story to make sense. When Mariner removes the parasite from Boimler’s head, Barbara breaks up with him.

This actually wasn’t a terrible episode, mainly because it presents Mariner in a different (albeit twisted) light, or possibly because I’m getting used to this kind of storytelling for a Star Trek series. I felt I was getting off easy with a (for once) quality product such as Star Trek: Prodigy last week, but as they say, all good things… Either way, Boimler joins an exclusive club and maybe he’ll become a more interesting character for it. As McCoy would say: “A little suffering is good for the soul.”

Star Trek Rewind explores the Star Trek universe. From Archer to Janeway, Kirk to Picard, and Georgiou to Sisko — boldly read what no one has read before!

Related Articles