Episode #117: The Outcast

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Episode #117: The Outcast

Post  BoG on Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:14 pm

THE OUTCAST - episode #117 / Air Date: 3/16/92
written by Jeri Taylor; Directed by Robert Scheerer

Riker falls for a member of an androgynous race called the J'naii... Riker, Riker! Why, man? On the face of it, this may just be another case of Riker getting it on with an alien female, a plot that goes back to the old days of Kirk and his gallivanting ways. The story does show that Riker quickly grows to care for his new friend, Soren (Melinda Culea), as they work together on a rescue mission into "null space" and it's a bit similar to the TOS episode Requiem For Methuselah, when Kirk swiftly fell in love with a female android. Soren is considered a deviant on her world because she leans female; the vast majority of the J'naii lean neither way - there is no gender among them, hard as that may be to grasp. Soren hides her true nature; if Soren is found out by her society, "she" would be brainwashed (psychotectic therapy) to conform.
This was obviously - very obviously - a commentary on homosexuality on our world and the persecution / ostracism suffered by the gay populace, which this episode condemns. Of course, our culture - the civilized western culture, at least - doesn't forcibly adjust the brains of its gay population, but this episode points out that if we did, it would be a horrid situation, even if done with supposedly kind intentions, under the banner of healing the "sick." This is mostly an episode of interesting conversations, with a couple of humorous moments when Soren inquires about the details of a race with two sexes. Actress Culea gives a good performance, gaining our sympathies readily. It ends, however, rather abruptly after a standard rescue fails and Riker resolutely goes back to basics - that psychotectic stuff really works fast! BoG's Score: 7 out of 10
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