Episode 2.6: Melora

What fascinates me about this episode, Melora, is that the theme isn’t really about disability. It’s about independence and interdependence. I do think there is a sense of appreciation for Melora as she is, and her “disability” is of critical importance to saving the day at the end of the episode. But I think the appreciation and care the crew has for Melora is already baked in; it isn’t some central moral that crew members learn through the episode. The transformation that Melora goes through from an independent woman to an interdependent woman is the central theme this episode tries to communicate. The second storyline with Quark is mostly just to add some spice to the plot.

Melora comes to the station a justifiably proud woman who has truly overcome a lot in her life. She is an independent woman, demanding to work by herself and pushing herself into areas of the station that were never intended to accommodate her. This independence is a strength for her. But interdependence is stronger, and this is how the crew expects her to operate. As Bashir points out, in space, they all depend on each other. What will it take for Melora to realize that she can depend on her crew as well? It is one of the pillars of Roddenberry’s utopia that humanity is communal and dependent on each other; I find it utterly ironic then that most of humanity I encounter would not desire an interdependent community. This is intensely cultural to the United States, but most would agree with Melora’s attitude. They find independence a strength and interdependence a weakness. I can’t really blame them; dependence on others often leads to disappointment (absent fathers, backstabbing at work, etc). However, independence at its best will be worse than interdependence at its best. I think this is key to how Roddenberry saw the world; he hoped humanity always strived to be at its best. Being given the ability to walk is actually an act of interdependence for Melora. Had she gone through with it, she would have come to rely more fully on the crew because her heritage would have been lost to her; that emotional rock would have washed away. She didn’t wish to lose that (the cane symbolizes her fierce pride in her heritage), so she chose to stay a full Elaysian. But she is changed for it, and transitions from an independent person to an interdependent person.

Bashir. His search for love throughout the series is an extremely poignant element for me. I like how he explores different relationships by simply wanting to meet people. Yes, his intentions are always clearly toward romance (he starts out infatuated with the mere idea of her), but he genuinely seeks to enjoy the people he dates beyond “finding his soulmate”. He isn’t self-centered and always looking for the girl who fits his needs (see how that is self-centered?). However, Melora is a fleeting relationship in his romantic journey, and that’s ok. Life is beautifully complex, and short relationships are excellent parts of our life story. He will eventually find Ezri, but he equally enjoys the journey through life to her.

Random Thoughts: 1) This is wicked. The actress who plays Melora, Daphne Ashbrook, will go on to play Doctor Who companion Grace Holloway in the 1996 movie. She must have a thing for doctors. 2) Bashir continues to show his keen and astute mind when pointing out Melora’s verbal attacks. 3) The Hans Christian Andersen ending to The Little Mermaid turned out pretty bad for her. Good call, Melora. 4) Two Bashir-centric episodes in a row? What’s a fanboi to do? 5) The Klingon restaurant is a fun staple on the promenade. 6) Rule of Acquisition #16! 7) Bashir reveals his original intentions to become a tennis player before a doctor. 8) I’m not sure if Melora’s comment about the absurdity of the Cardassian design with raised lips at every entryway is an inside joke, but it sure had the ring of one. 9) They maintain the Old West feel with Odo asking Kot into his office just to let him know Odo is watching. 10) The wormhole shots look amazing.

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~ by Joshua Black on October 5, 2015.

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