Episode 78: The Baddest Women in the Universe, Part II

Episode art with Ardra, a Sphere-Builder and Valeris
In our second look at Star Trek’s women villains, we examine con-women Ardra (TNG) and Dala (VOY), memorable TOS antagonists Nona and Janice Lester, and heavy-hitters like the Female Changeling, Valeris and the Sphere-Builders.

For Part I, click here.

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Hosts: Jarrah, Sue, Grace

Editor: Jarrah

Transcription: Jarrah

Download Transcript: PDF or Word

Notes and References: 

  • These Are The Voyages: TOS, Season 2 and TOS, Season 3 by Marc Cushman
  • Captain’s Logs: Supplemental by Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross
  • Black Widow Trope at TV Tropes

  3 comments for “Episode 78: The Baddest Women in the Universe, Part II

  1. I just loved Grace’s (and maybe Sue’s?) reference to Joanna Newsom. 🙂 I got it! (Well, she is one of my favourite singer-songwriters).

  2. From an in-universe perspective, it makes absolutely no sense that there would be a “female Changeling.” Even if you rationalize the Odo-style haircut as the female Changeling imitating Odo in order to make him more comfortable, they have no concept of gendered sexuality other than as a weird thing that “solids” make a big deal about.

    Given that this was pre-“Will & Grace,” that same-sex couplings were one-off aberrations in Trek until “Discovery,” and that casting and the writers knew that the head of the Dominion and Odo were going to engage in melding – an act that looks like sex, complete with Rene Auberjonois acting with an orgasm-face – I strongly suspect that the production wasn’t comfortable with a male playing the part.

    As an adult, “Devil’s Due” is very campy and enjoyable in a way that campy Trek can be. Worf’s proclamation of “You are NOT Fek’lhr!” has evolved into a meme. But as a tweenager living in Indiana and growing up in a (liberal) Christian household when this episode first aired, the End Times rhetoric chilled me. I didn’t particularly believe in Satan or Hell but when you grow up in the Bible Belt it’s hard to ignore it. However, Picard’s steadfast skepticism and willingness to call BS on the powers-that-be provided a good lesson on letting facts and logic run their course before reverting to knee-quaking fear. I’m fairly sure this episode influenced my turn towards secular humanism in high-school and college.

    • YES! It irks me to no end that Changelings other than Odo exhibit gender. Retaining a consistent appearance and gender expression seems like it would be distasteful to Changelings, given that they throw so much shade on Odo for the effort he puts into imitating solids.

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