The crew takes a look at the 6 new Short Treks we’ve seen this fall: Q&A, The Trouble With Edward, Ask Not, The Girl Who Made The Stars, Ephraim and Dot, and Children of Mars. We discuss each short in detail, and examine the story, themes, and what hints they might provide about more Trek to come…
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Hosts: Jarrah, Andi, and Sue
Hi everyone – As I’m in the UK I haven’t seen this bunch of Short Treks yet, and since I don’t know when I will I decided to listen anyway! I enjoyed your discussion as always, & am now looking forward to seeing the animated ones especially. And Q&A, because it’s by Michael Chabon!
However, I HAVE seen Children of Mars (don’t ask me how, LOL), and thought I’d share a few thoughts.
I share your discomfort with the school uniforms, authoritarian-looking teachers, Orwellian holo signs, etc. I didn’t know it was meant to be a Starfleet prep school, but it makes sense if Starfleet has already begun to drift from its utopian values. Btw, others have mentioned that the school is in San Francisco, as there’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge at the start. I’ll have to look for that next time I watch.
My take on the girls’ feud is that they did not normally behave this way towards each other. They may even have been friends quite recently. My feeling was that Lil was especially unhappy because her dad couldn’t make it home this year for First Contact Day (the Happy First Contact Day signs?). A minor slight (or accident?) escalated tensions between them in a way that at first sight looked like bullying – but I don’t think it was (and like Andi, I was bullied myself at school). It felt like something that just escalated and got out of hand. That would help to explain their reconciliation at the end during the attack on Mars.
Re the 9/11 analogy: seeing 9/11 at school might not make even temporary enemies reach out to each other, but it might if both of them knew that each other’s parents were in the twin towers. Both of the girl’s parents worked at or on Mars. I think that would make a huge difference. Also, since you recorded this episode we’ve all learned in Picard that it wasn’t just Utopia Planitia that was destroyed – the whole planet was (we even saw huge explosions on the surface in Children of Mars, which shocked me even though I knew it was fictional!). This was a MUCH bigger tragedy than 9/11, in terms of the numbers of people killed. The effect on these two children would be huge.
Jarrah, you didn’t know Bowie’s song “Heroes” ? Oh my!! HUGE classic!!! 🙂
I felt the song was meant as an ironic juxtaposition against the girls fighting. As was the situation of a human and an alien fighting on First Contact Day! For me, their holding hands at the end recalled Cochrane and the Vulcan shaking hands in First Contact (possibly a stretch too far, but I do feel there was a lot of symbolism in this little film.)
Like Calypso (my fave Short Trek), I think there was quite a lot packed into a short space of time. I also wonder if some of the ambiguities might become clear when we’ve seen more of Picard. Perhaps we might even see a grown up Lil or Kima in the series – almost certainly we’ll learn more about the Mars attack. I think two of you were at the L.A. premiere? – so you probably know a lot more than I do.
I like Children of Mars quite a bit, though perhaps not as much as some people seem to. I think how one reacts to the music probably makes a big difference, as well as how one reads the girls’ relationship. I do applaud the makers for trying to do something very different here – as they often seem to with the Short Treks.
Agree that an over-obsession with canon and minutiae becomes a canon-jail! Since Picard premiered, I’ve heard complaints about the Romulan character Laris having an Irish accent (more improbable than an American or British one?), and the windows of Ten Forward in Picard’s dream being off centre in the ship’s hull! 🙂
Sending best wishes as always! (Sorry about the length again.)