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Star Trek: Voyager – Warlord (Review)

Warlord is another example of Star Trek: Voyager pitching itself as the most generic iteration of Star Trek.

At its core, Warlord is an example of the old Star Trek staple, the body-swapping personality-swap episode. There are dozens of examples from across the length and breadth of the franchise, asking regular performers to play different characters. The loosest definition would include William Shatner’s work in The Enemy Within or Roxann Dawson’s work in Faces. A more narrow sampling would include episodes like The Turnabout Intruder or The Schizoid Man. There were plenty of these episodes before Warlord, and there will be plenty after.

"A toast, to that most reliable of plot devices..."

“A toast, to that most reliable of plot devices…”

It is not a bad device, in theory. After all, playing the same character for twenty-odd episodes a year can be exhausting for a performer. Many actors relish the opportunity to shake things up, to put a new spin on an old role. (Chris Pine has only played Kirk three times, but already relishes the opportunity to see the character “go dark.”) It can be refreshing for the audience as well, giving them the opportunity to see exciting new sides of familiar characters. Warlord certainly has an intriguing enough hook in that regard: casting Jennifer Lien as a psychotic dictator.

The extent to which a given possession episode work is largely a matter of execution rather than concept. By that measure, Warlord comes up very short.

Make love, not Warlord.

Make love, not Warlord.

Earlier in this broadcast season, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine offered up its own possession story in The Assignment. That episode was one of the weakest installments of the show’s otherwise stellar fifth season, in no small part down to how generic it felt. While the production team made a point to tailor their possession narrative to the world of Deep Space Nine, the story felt very much like a stock Star Trek episode slotted into the franchise’s most unconventional show. It felt generic.

Perhaps the best thing that can be said about Warlord is that it makes The Assignment look like a compelling piece of television. While there are any number of valid criticisms that could be leveled at Voyager for its decision to pitch itself as the most generic Star Trek show, from the betrayal of its unique premise to the entropy that it brought to the franchise, the most crushing and depressing flaws with any given Voyager episode typically lay in the execution rather than the concept.

A "groovy" escape plan.

A “groovy” escape plan.

Indeed, a lot of the strongest episodes of Voyager suffer from the same conceptual issues that haunted the series at large. Deadlock uses technobabble pseudo-science to allow the production team to blow the ship (and crew) to pieces without worrying about it next week. Future’s End, Part I and Future’s End, Part II relied on lazy time travel clichés. Year of Hell, Part I and Year of Hell, Part II hinge on a pretty impressive “reset button” to avoid any lasting consequences. When Voyager was good, it was so good that the systemic flaws did not matter so much.

At the risk of being blunt, the problem was that Voyager was not good enough on a regular basis. Warlord is a prime example of this. The Assignment had taken a similarly goofy body-swapping premise and turned it into a mediocre episode that largely suffers in comparison to the season around it; The Assignment is a disappointment because it is merely adequate in a season that is spectacular. Warlord is a terrible piece of television that feels ill-judged on just about every level, ironically suffering by comparison to Deep Space Nine‘s weaker episodes.

Stopping to smell the roses.

Stopping to smell the… whatever they are.

The plot device of having a dying character project their consciousness into the medic treating them evokes The Passenger, an early episode of Deep Space Nine in which Rao Vantaka takes possession of Bashir. The Passenger is one of the weakest episodes of that show’s first season, but it at least benefits from some half-decent red herrings. In contrast, the plot of Warlord is as straightforward as it comes. Tieran’s final hop from Kes to Ameron feels obligatory, handled so quickly that it is interesting to wonder why the sequence was included at all.

Clad in a black skintight jumpsuit with a pixie haircut, her sexuality turned way up, the portrayal of Tieran!Kes in Warlord also evokes the later portrayals of the Intendent as a hypersexual monster in episodes like Through the Looking Glass and Shattered Mirror. This aspect of the character is a distortion of her sexual narcissism in Crossover, where it was heavily implied the Intendent was sexually interested in Kira because Kira reminded her alternate self of the one person she truly loved.

"This leather catsuit and choker combo didn't look nearly as good on me when I was Tieran."

“This leather catsuit and choker combo didn’t look nearly as good on me when I was Tieran.”

Warlord heavily sexualises Kes, which is accomplishes the desired affect; it is deeply perverse and uncomfortable to see such an innocent character vamping it up, particularly a character who is still rather young in an emotional and physical sense. “I can help you release your own strength, and give you what you’ve always secretly desired,” Tieran!Kes teases Tuvok. “All those hours you spent alone together, all those intimate moments touching each other’s minds, you’ve never even wondered what it might be like?”

Even in the confrontations between Tieran and Kes, the former is portrayed as a highly sexual actor. As with the mirror universe on Deep Space Nine, there is a conscious queering of Tieran!Kes. At one point, the dictator flirts with his (or his previous host’s) beloved wife. Nori is deeply uncomfortable with this flirtation. “I’m happy that we’ve accomplished our goal, but there have been some unexpected changes and I don’t know how they’ll affect our future together. I don’t even know if I’m still your wife.”

"We'll keep these. We can play with them later."

“We’ll keep these. We can play with them later.”

This is a potentially interesting dynamic, given how reluctant Star Trek has been to explore issues like gender identity and sexuality. Of course, anchoring these questions to a deprived body-hopping alien dictator does not lend itself to particularly nuanced commentary. Later Tieran!Kes seems to suggest a possible three-way with Nori and Ameron. Clasping their hands together, she observes, “You have both been essential to my success, and I want you to be close friends. I want us all to be very, very close.” The implication seems quite clear.

As with the Intendent, there is a deeply uncomfortable subtext to all this. There is a sense Star Trek is primarily interested in non-conventional non-heteronormative relationships when they serve to mark a character as degenerate or depraved. Tieran!Kes’ sexuality is presented as something dangerous because it is so abnormal. Indeed, the episode seems more horrified by Tieran’s sexual appetites than by any of the violence and death that he inflicts. It is quite cringe-inducing.

"And you're sure the Intendent said I could borrow this?"

“And you’re sure the Intendent said I could borrow this?”

However, the Deep Space Nine body-swapping and alternate personality episodes have one key advantage that Warlord lacks; a phenomenal cast. While the Intendent is nowhere near as interesting as Kira, Nana Visitor is a superb performer who does an excellent job with atrocious material. While the Intendent ultimately devolves to camp, Visitor owns the role. For all the flaws with The Assignment, Rosalind Chao relishes the opportunity to craft a subtly menacing version of Keiko O’Brien.

Warlord hinges on Jennifer Lien playing strongly against type. While the absurdity of “Kes as a psychotic alien dictator” carries the performance a long way, Lien struggles to make Tieran!Kes seem intimidating and scary. More often than not, Tieran!Kes sounds like a spoiled child rather than a feared despot. “If you can’t do anything about this pain, then leave me alone,” she warns a doctor. The doctor warns her that she needs sleep and she sulks, “No.” Later she throws a tantrum, “I don’t have to explain myself to you. Get out! Everyone! Clear the room now!”

Alone with herself.

Alone with herself.

In an interview with Dreamwatch, Lien acknowledged that the episode presented her with some unique challenges and was an obvious departure from her earlier work:

Her performance earlier in the season in Warlord brought major recognition for her acting talents, as demure Kes was possessed by the aggressive, domineering spirit of a dying would-be despot determined to use her body to continue his plan to regain control of his home world.

The resulting performance was new territory for Lien. “I’ve never played any role quite like that before,” she says, “But I enjoyed being so strong and determined.”

She got quite a bit of teasing that week about her new demeanour, especially when it came time to have a fight scene with Tuvok in which Warlord Kes beats the Vulcan with the aid of Kes’ still-developing psychic powers. Staging that scene “was a lot of fun and we all made suggestions about how to do it.”

To be fair to Lien, there are several members of the Voyager ensemble that would have done a much worse job with the material. It is also hard to tell just how much of the fault lies with Lien and how much is down to the script.

Portrait of the dictator as a young Ocampan.

Portrait of the dictator as a young Ocampan.

Warlord is written by Lisa Klink, working from a story idea by Andrew Shepard Price and Mark Gaberman. Klink is a relatively strong writer, having done sterling work on Hippocratic Oath and turning in one of the stronger scripts of the early second season with Resistance. Unfortunately, Warlord is just terrible. The script is clunky, hinging on exposition and technobabble. Some of this is down to simple production logistics; it is hard to tell a big planetary war story after doing an epic two-parter with lots of location work. But a lot of it is in the writing.

The characters in Warlord do not have any sense of depth or motivation. There is no sense of subtext or development. When the script wants to convey information to the audience, it simply has characters come out and say it, with no regard for whether it is material to the scene at hand. The result is a script that feels incredibly slow and talky, which would not be an issue if there were anything of substance to the plot. Warlord feels like it would make a diverting runaround, but instead puts a bunch of characters talking at each other in conference rooms.

More like terrorvision, amirite?

More like terrorvision, amirite?

This is notable when it comes to character development. Tieran’s back story is not discussed or fleshed out. It is delivered via bullet point monologue. “Do you really think a child like this poses any threat to me?” rails Tieran!Kes. “I’ve been fighting worse battles since the day I was born. When the doctor said I wouldn’t live past my first year I proved them wrong. Even when my parents thought I was too sickly to be worth caring for, I survived on the streets. Even when my own ungrateful subjects forced me into exile I refused to accept defeat.”

That is virtually everything that the audience could need to know about Tieran, but it is not delivered organically. Instead, it is just casually thrown out with little regard for the nuances of storytelling. Warlord is plagued with problems like this, with huge battles unfolding off-screen so as to minimise cost, but with countless references to hundreds upon hundreds of troops while the plot of the episode seems to boil down to about a dozen people (most of them silent) sitting in a ruling chamber that seems curiously empty.

He nose a leader when he sees one.

He nose a leader when he sees one.

The same is true of the episode’s attempts to build tension. To be fair, this is a risk with stories that hinge on abstract concepts like telepathy. A large part of the plot of Warlord concerns Tieran attempting to harness Kes’ latent telepathic abilities for his own benefit, which is both logical and entirely consistent with how Voyager has portrayed Kes to this point. However, Warlord lacks either the imagination or the budget to realise these telepathic clashes. Instead, this leads to sequences of sinister music playing over characters staring intensely and monologuing.

“Do you really think you can keep me away from your innermost thoughts?” states Tieran!Kes to Tuvok. “Your fears and insecurities? Your feelings? I sense an embarrassment at being captured, worry about how strong I really am, and of course there’s anger. That’s the emotion that really threatens your control. So you try even harder to hide from me. I feel those mental barriers going up. Do you notice that it doesn’t seem to be working? As if someone were disrupting your ability to concentrate.”

Show, don't tele(path).

Show, don’t tele(path).

This hardly makes for the most exciting television. Hearing characters talk about exciting and threatening events is never as compelling as actually seeing those events, or trusting the actors to convey them through a performance. Warlord suffers from a chronic weakness of the Voyager writing staff, a desperate need to over-explain and over-state in the clumsiest manner possible. It would be better if these ideas could be incorporated organically into stories, but it would also be more rewarding if the writers trusted the audience.

There are quite a few small examples of Warlord over-explaining its plotting. When Tieran!Kes seizes the throne, Tuvok actually asks, Whom does the law recognise as Autarch?” The answer is thunderingly obvious for plotting purposes; not the person who just murdered their way to it. However, the episode still feels the need to inform viewers that they have not witnessed a lawful transition of power. “Officially, I inherited my father’s title upon his death,” Demmas explains, even though any half-televisually literate viewer would understand that.

"I am not sure we've explained why a dictator seizing control of my society and executing the recognised head of state is a bad thing. Shall we go over it one more time?"

“I am not sure we’ve explained why a dictator seizing control of my society and executing the recognised head of state is a bad thing. Shall we go over it one more time?”

The script for Warlord is curiously patronising for a body-hijack thriller about a hypersexed telepathic pixie. Just in case the audience at home thought that Tuvok had brilliantly settled the crisis by pointing out that Tieran had no right to sit on the throne, Demma actually pauses to explain how the concept of a political coup actually works. But this isn’t a matter of law, it’s about loyalty. Some people will follow whoever has more power and right now that’s Tieran.” Compared to the political wrangling of Deep Space Nine, this is just insulting.

The scripting issues extend even beyond dialogue. Consider the opening scene, which fades in on the sight of Neelix deriving a lot of pleasure from a foot massage. Like a lot. It is perhaps the most horrific thing that the audience will see all season, and Deep Space Nine recently revealed Worf’s swimming trunks. More than that, the entire teaser is spent introducing the Talaxian Paxau resort that will serve as the recurring leisure environment for the third season. (It feature prominently in episodes like Alter Ego and Darkling.)

Welcome to the new and improved Voyager!

Welcome to the new and improved Voyager!

It is customary for Star Trek episodes to open on a small character-building scene before seguing into the actual plot before the opening credits. In many ways, this was the legacy of Michael Piller, who had developed the habit of fleshing out episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation with small moments of character-driven “Piller Filler.” Great examples include Data and Picard studying Shakespeare in The Defector or discussing painting in A Matter of Perspective. These small character beats served to flesh out the crew between action beats.

However, the opening of Warlord could in many ways be seen as a rejection of “Piller Filler”, in that it not only ignores the characters but it also refuses to dovetail into the plot. It would make sense for the teaser to open with the Paxau resort and segue into the destruction of Tieran’s craft. Instead, the teaser chooses to end on the sight of Neelix dancing with a bunch of beautiful women. It is an image that has nothing to do with the episode as a whole, and which certainly does little to entice the audience at home to keep watching.

"I call this one the Neelix-usi!"

“I call this one the Neelix-usi!”

It is tempting to read the teaser as an extension of the closing scenes of Future’s End, Part II. The final scene of that two-parter featured the crew cracking open the champagne in the mess hall. It was a celebratory scene, and one that perhaps reflected a sense of relief behind the scenes. Voyager seemed to have found itself in that two-part time travel story, and was more comfortable in its own skin. The show’s troubled second season was long past, with the Kazon and serialised storytelling consigned to history.

The final scene of Future’s End, Part II seemed to suggest that Voyager had received a well-earned break. The production team had been drained by the in-fighting that plagued the first two seasons, and were now ready to just relax. That sense bleeds over into the teaser of Warlord. Neelix, apparently not satisfied with a champagne reception, remarks of his new holodeck programme, “I’d say if anyone deserves and needs a little pampering, it’s this crew.” It almost feels like an act of hubris, the show resting on its laurels.

"... and it will be this good forever! I can see no change in our circumstances!"

“… and it will be this good forever! I can see no change in our circumstances!”

The sequence might also be read as a firm rejection of former producer Michael Piller. Piller had been forced to step aside at the end of the second season after some of the writers presented Rick Berman with an ultimatum, ending a seven-year association with the franchise that had seen the launch of two new spin-offs and the first time that the Star Trek franchise had broadcast two separate television series overlapping with one another. Piller’s final year on the franchise had been fraught, and it did not end well.

The Paxau resort is very clearly introduced as a replacement for Chez Sandríne, the French bar that Piller had introduced in The Cloud and had hoped to position as a social hub. Chez Sandríne had never worked quite as well as intended, never capturing the tone and feeling of the poker games on The Next Generation. It does not help matters that the location was heavily featured in some of the weakest episodes of those first two seasons (like Twisted) or that its continued presence emphasised how little Voyager’s crew were actually “roughing it.”

"I find these moments are much more relaxing if we don't have to worry about character development."

“I find these moments are much more relaxing if we don’t have to worry about character development.”

(The teaser’s complete and brutal subversion of “Piller Filler” might be read as another parting shot at a departing producer. Piller’s small character-centric scenes were always intended to dovetail neatly into the episodes in question, often linking up quite neatly with the actual action beats and reflecting the themes of the story. The Paxau resort sequence does neither. Of course, it could also be argued – based on the evidence – that Warlord is simply a terribly-written piece of television.)

As with the preceding two-parter, there is a sense that Warlord is working through a list of tweaks that the writing staff want to make to the underlying status quo of the show. However, these changes are not rooted in character development or growth, but in clumsy plotting and contrivance. Future’s End, Part II gets away with this, applying a technical fix to a technical problem when it introduces the mobile emitter to allow the EMH to leave Sickbay. Warlord runs into trouble when it decides to use its central plot beat to radically change an interpersonal relationship.

"This is the transporter. It is a great way to escape possessive ex-boyfriends."

“This is the transporter. It is a great way to escape possessive ex-boyfriends. Alternatively, you could elevate yourself to a higher plane of existence.”

Warlord opts to dissolve the relationship between Neelix and Kes. This is undoubtedly a good decision, given how incredibly creepy and toxic that relationship is. There are any number of reasons for this, right off the bat. Neelix is a veteran space-traveler, but Kes is a young woman who had never left home before being captured into slavery. Neelix is a fully-grown adult, while Kes is less than two years old when she is introduced in Caretaker. There is an imbalance inherent in the relationship, even before the writing staff began writing to it.

Even beyond all those red flags around the very idea of the relationship, the Voyager writing staff found a way to make it even creepier. Neelix is incredibly possessive, as demonstrated by episodes like Parturition. He seems upset that Kes should happen to know where particular people (men) live on Voyager in Twisted. He rants and raves at Kes in The Cloud. His behaviour is incredibly manipulative in Phage, in which he essentially tries to guilt trip her into remaining with him after his lungs are stolen. This is not a healthy dynamic.

Tieran's kinky, but he probably has nothing on Neelix.

Tieran’s kinky, but he probably has nothing on Neelix.

By this point in the show, the writing staff have well and truly poisoned that particular well. Indeed, Warlord even has Kes call Neelix out on his toxic behaviour. When Kes states that she wants to spend time with her own friends, Neelix refuses to accept that. “This is typical of you, Neelix,” Kes states. “It bothers you that I’m making friends of my own. You always have to involve yourself somehow.” It is perhaps the kindest (but by no means the only) criticism that could be leveled at Neelix.

Kes acknowledges the deeply creepy nature of the relationship, hinting at the power and experience imbalance that long existed between the two characters. “If you feel this way, why haven’t you said so before?” Neelix asks. Kes, responds, “Maybe I never realised a relationship could be any different. I’ve never been with anyone but you.” It is, in theory, not a bad break-up scene. There is just one slight problem. The entire premise of the episode is that Kes has been possessed by an evil alien dictator.

"But I can still stay broken up with Neelix, right?"

“But I can still stay broken up with Neelix, right?”

This somewhat undercuts the whole interpersonal dynamic. It also serves to undermine Kes’ (entirely valid) criticisms of Neelix’s behaviour. It becomes easier for the audience to fob the sequence off by reference to the fact that this is a version of Kes who likes to dress in black skintight jumpsuits and casually suggest threesomes. Of course, it also suggests that there is something even more fundamentally wrong with the Neelix and Kes dynamic in that Kes apparently needed to be possessed by an evil alien dictator to find the courage to break up with Neelix.

The closing scene rather half-heartedly acknowledges that this break-up is meant to last. “Everything seems so different now,” Kes explains to Tuvok. “My thoughts and perceptions, even my relationships with my closest friends. You, the Doctor, Neelix. How can I go back to my normal life as if nothing ever happened?” However, it still feels like the kind of thing that Neelix and Kes should probably talk about at one point. It speaks to Voyager‘s complete disinterest in anything resembling grounded interpersonal relationships.

Boy is his face red.

Boy is his face red.

Indeed, Ethan Phillips acknowledged this issue in The Star Trek: Voyager Companion:

In Warlord, when we broke up, there was not any kind of an acknowledgment by the writers of that. And I remember approaching them and saying I really think that they deserve their closure. And their feeling was, ‘No, let’s just drop it, let’s move on.’

There was a scene written to provide closure in Fair Trade, but it never made it to broadcast.

"Nice choker. I wanted something that said 'authoritative, but playful'."

“Nice choker. I wanted something that said ‘authoritative, but playful’.”

This is very much indicative of how Voyager treats character development. Character growth is not something that happens organically over time. There are very few character arcs of Voyager that could measure against the arcs afforded to minor characters like Garak or Rom on Deep Space Nine. Even the show’s most successfully romantic relationship, between Tom Paris and B’Elanna Torres, began under the influence of pon’farr in Blood Fever. There is a clumsiness to how Voyager manages its interpersonal dynamics. Warlord is a great example.

There is a sense that the writers had decided that they wanted to end the romance between Neelix and Kes, but were unwilling to commit to the character work necessary to make that happen organically. As a result, they seized upon the first opportunity provided by way of plot contrivance that would allow them to retire the relationship without having to deal with anything resembling character development. This leads to the rather bizarre character arcs that are often spurred by the weird plot logic of the Star Trek universe.

Kes is more.

Kes is more.

Once again, Warlord demonstrates that Voyager is growing quite comfortable in its own skin.

You might be interested in our other reviews from the third season of Star Trek: Voyager:

12 Responses

  1. “Lien struggles to make Tieran!Kes seem intimidating and scary. More often than not, Tieran!Kes sounds like a spoiled child rather than a feared despot.” Just another reason why it was the height of idiocy to bring Kes back as a maniac gunning for revenge in Fury. Jenifer Lien just cannot pull off evil very well. I’ll save my other thoughts about that episode until we actually get to it, but safe to say I found it truly awful.

    “Klink is a relatively strong writer.” I would have to respectfully disagree with that assertion. In my opinion, she turned in some of the worst episode in Voyagers history with Innocence in the second season, and Sacred Ground, this episode, Blood Fever, and Favorite Son, in this season. I know you are kinder to Innocence and Sacred Ground than I am, however, so perhaps you are more charitable to her. To be fair, she did write one of my favorite Voyager episodes in Message in a Bottle.

    I find this episode derivative and a waste of time, as you do, but there are some superficial traits that I do like. One is David Livingston’s direction when Tieran!Kes storms into the council room. It looks as if there is some handheld camera work, which gives the scene a more visceral impact. The other thing I like is the scene that depicts the mental battle between Kes and Tieran, and how Kes’ side is her quarters on Voyager, while Tieran’s side is his palace room. At the end, however, Tieran’s side has turned into Kes’ quarters, which reflects that Kes is going to win this battle. These elements do not make a good episode, but at least they provide a slightly more visceral experience.

    • That’s fair. I’ll acknowledge my Star Trek preferences are esoteric. (Just wait until I eventually get around to the seventh season of TNG!) I have issues with both Blood Fever and Favourite Son, but I’d still consider Klink a much stronger writer than Kenneth Biller.

      And, yeah. Fury’s gonna be fun for all involved.

      • Oh, well in contrast to Kenneth Biller she is light years ahead. For me, though that is like saying Paul Ryan is better than Donald Trump. Yes, but that does not mean Paul Ryan isn’t awful too.

  2. I agree the hyper-sexualisation of Kes was a mistake but I have to admit I otherwise thought Tiernan-in-Kes was kind of a fun character otherwise, certainly more than the god awful Intendant.

    I think it does show, as I’ve said with ‘Turnabout Intruder’, why these kind of magical/technological gender swaps are more usually played as fish out of water comedy or comedy-dramas (as Voyager will later do so with Seven and the EMH.)

    • Oh yeah, the Intendant is awful, with the exception of Crossover and maybe Resurrection. But Nana Visitor vamping it up is more fun to watch than Jennifer Lien, I’d argue.

  3. I hadn’t realised that Kes as Tieran is like Kira as the Intendant right down to the leather catsuit (perhaps this is to make up for the absence of a Mirror episode this year?). Jennifer Lien certainly throws herself into the role and relishes the chance to trash Kes’s wholesome image but does she have to shout quite so much? Maybe she’s the Hitler of Ilari and that’s the reason. I felt Warlord was much too rushed and the story wasn’t given the time it needed to breathe especially with the potentially interesting things it brings up.

    We’ve already seen in episodes like Cold Fire that Kes has an attraction to the dark side, and with Tieran in control of her body it’s given free reign. Kes does appear to be visibly tempted in the scene when they’re minds touch and he tries to entice her with the perks that her powers afford her. But I agree that too much of Warlord is telling rather than showing (“20 ships and Voyager”).

    What happens to Kes is as serious as Picard’s assimilation or LaForge’s brainwashing and I did like that the episode ends on a scene with Tuvok telling Kes that this will be with her for the rest of her life (Robert said as much to Picard in Family). It’s interesting that Kes never reverses Tieran’s decision to break up with Neelix but like the inclusion of the Doctor’s mobile emitter it was one of S3’s better ideas. Kes gets to be more of her own woman now (even if she’s still underused) and that will culminate in Before and After before her departure in The Gift.

    • I like the idea that there’s a finite amount of questionable Star Trek in a given television season, and that those involved essentially have to allocate carefully. “No DS9 mirror episode? Okay, get Jennifer Lien fitted for a catsuit!”

      • Which she starts wearing towards the end of the season starting with Darkling, which may be another residual of Tieran’s influence.

  4. Unfortunately, having evil characters be bisexual seems to be a popular trope. It’s like writers have said we get called out too much for using homosexuality as an indication of being evil, but we can get away with using bisexuality that way because bisexuality makes both a lot of heterosexual and homosexual people uncomfortable.

    • And there’s even, unfortunately, traces of that in the otherwise progressive and inclusive first season of Discovery with mirror!Georgiou in the finale.

  5. Rom and Garak minor characters? Supporting yes. Recurring yes. But not minor.

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