2 comments on “Up the Long Ladder

  1. “Up the Long Ladder” should refer to the Mariposan DNA helix, which makes “Down the Short Rope” a reference to their genetic deterioration.

    It’s weird that the complaint about women not having choice over their own bodies comes from the pro-sex villagers instead of the anti-sex clone women. (I wonder if the script revisions had anything to do with the episode’s resemblance to the two TOS Mudd episodes, and to the Irishman as an iteration on Mudd, and his blustering, posturing daughter as Fem Mudd.) If Fem Mudd were trying to wrangle the clone women into sleeping with genetically diverse Enterprise crew before the Enterprise left, that opens a lot of angles on the issue, and lets you broach the values of immigration by asking why the Mariposans abducted Starfleet genes instead of Bringloidy (or Klingon) ones.

    The charming “Klingons are Japanese” scene with Pulaski builds on… dangit, there’s an episode where Worf scoffs at (I think) Pulaski’s suggestion that “some Earth women will surprise you,” but I can’t find it. It *is* weird that they didn’t continue the disease subplot into the cloning subplot; maybe the loss of that plot is why Worf wasn’t on the away team.

    “I can’t compete with another Riker” is top-shelf.

    If I haven’t said it before, I kind of like the bizarre and apparently fleet-wide aversion to cloning. Kirk-era transporter accidents provide a precedent for duplicates being dangerous and identities unstable when separated, and it plays into TNG’s Darwinian expansion on the Prime Directive.

  2. That DNA take on the name makes a lot of sense. I wouldn’t actually put it past this episode to be that clever.

    I don’t think that conversation is with Pulaski, I think it’s with Guinan when she introduces him to prune juice. Research says that’s “Yesterday’s Enterprise.” Which is something I’m looking forward to.

    That Riker line works on a lot of levels.

    I get folks comparing The Federation to Ian Bank’s Culture, with The Federation being more stuffy, regressive, and traditional. The restrictions on AI, on cloning, on genetic experimentation, etc. are all great examples of that. I mean, Star Trek straddles “relatable cast” and “advanced people from a better future,” pretty well, but it’s still a hard gap to bridge. I’ve always attributed that, in character, to a somewhat conservative, irrational humanism.

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