I know everyone has better things to do than think about this episode, so I’ll try to be brief.
The Enterprise is charged with retrieving a medicine from the planet Ligon II, which is entirely populated by extras from old racist Tarzan movies of the 1930s. Lutan, the main guy there, likes Yar because she’s feisty and kidnaps her. When Picard and co. beam down to get Yar back, they have to sit through a tedious meal with the tedious Lutan while he explains his tedious scheme to marry Yar. His other wife gets ticked and she and Yar have to fight each other to earn Lutan’s affection. Yar wins the fight and the first wife is transported to the Enterprise for treatment. Yar lies to Lutan, saying that the first wife died. This breaks the bond between Lutan and his first wife, which allows her to remarry.
This stinks for poor old Lutan because he was only spending his wife’s money; he didn’t have anything on his own. Smile smile, blah blah, warp the heck outta there and end this episode!Brush away the hokey performances, the stereotypes, and the terrible story and you’re left with a typical Yar story…which is defined by those things plus some shoehorned sex comments, because Yar loves sex, as she so subtly states in every episode she’s in.
Let’s take a peek at my original Star Trek: The Next Generation journal. I wrote brief synopses and reviews of each episode when I was too old to be wasting time on such things. Thank God I grew out of that! I offered my dad the chance to be immortalized in this journal by writing the review for this one. He wrote:
“Tashabar Yar had to fight that princess woman with the alien weapons on a alien jungle jim thingy.“
He was right. That’s all there is to this episode.
Yes. This stinks. But it is a story. And if my assertion that all stories can somehow be a reflection of the story of Jesus Christ. Sometimes it’s intentional (Narnia), sometimes it’s obvious (Superman), and sometimes it’s just really hard to see(poorly told stories).
Guess which category this story belongs in.
Let’s see. I think we can imagine Yar in the role of Christ. In this illustration, she is fighting for the right to marry someone. She has to earn the right to enter into this union. But who gets the “prize”? Yar wins, but the other wife gets the reward. Christ does the dirty work of salvation, but we get the reward of it.
Man. I feel really uncertain about this. This is a crummy story and I hate to casually draw my usual comparisons to the story of Christ. But I do believe that stories, even bad ones, reveal our interest in these great themes of the greatest story. Sacrifice, substitution, gods condescending, restoration of broken relationships, joining something bigger than ourselves, etc. These are the great themes of all stories – even crummy ones – and these are the themes at the very center of the Christ story. And we see glimpses of that here. This show reflects the truth like shards of a mirror stuck in your foot might still reflect.