Self-Worth in Star Trek: “Plato’s Stepchildren”

“Plato’s Stepchildren” is best known for two things. It is the episode with the famous, (almost) first interracial kiss on TV between Kirk and Uhura. It is also hella weird; Kirk slaps himself dramatically (as only Shatner can), spends some time as a horse, and Spock does the flamingo dance, I think.

…This is starting to sound like a Snark Wars recap…

But I digress.

“Plato’s Stepchildren” is also my favorite episode in the Original Series. I unironically love it, because this episode stars the best one-off character in the entire show: Alexander. He’s a rare one-off character who gets a proper arc and agency within said arc.

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A Close Read of Star Wars Rebels “Twin Suns” – Part 6 – Overtime: Sudden Death

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Unmarked The Last Jedi Spoilers in this installment.

No other portion of this episode has been broken down quite as much as the final lightsaber duel. A thousand think pieces and YouTube videos have been made talking about Akira Kurosawa and the parallels to Qui-Gon’s death. As such, there’s not nearly as much that I can add to the conversation beyond what has already been said. Well, not as much in comparison to every other part of this close read. God willing, this installment might actually stay beneath 4,000 words.

So let’s start with a common topic broached when discussing this fight – classic filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.

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To the Dead, Dignity – Sci Fi Flash Fiction

I am officially a published science fiction author!

Read on Splickety’s Lightning blog!

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A Close Read of Star Wars Rebels “Twin Suns” – Part 5 – Fireside Chats

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“I think [sound design] adds so much to your storytelling,” Dave Filoni said in the “Twin Suns” audio commentary, “so I devised these cuts so that we’re going from a feeling of emptiness to very full [with] the sand and the chaos, and [then] we go back to emptiness.”

The cuts he’s speaking of are when Ezra treks out into the desert after Maul, where the sound environment consists of “a very full-sounding shot and an empty-sounding shot.”

“[T]hat’s Ezra’s mind. The chaos in his mind right now as he’s being beaten down… and again just crashing out into a feeling of emptiness. So, y’know, if Ezra was wishing for the storm to stop, well now it has and now the sun is punishing.” (Filoni, audio commentary, 12:00)

These two sound choices evoke an edge to the environment, painting it as unwelcome and harsh. This changes once Ezra wakes up to the campfire. Audibly, the environment is mellow. Not the harsh silence of the wastes or the overwhelming roar of the sandstorm. Instead, it’s a warm sound. The gentle crackle of the fire, the ambient noise of the planet’s night critters, the soft huffing of the dewback, which evokes (sorry, Zeb), the Lasat’s snores from the episode’s beginning. The sound environment is welcoming.

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District 9: Family, Waiting

This was originally written for the online magazine Christ and Pop Culture. My second draft, and the one published by CAPC, was different enough that I now had two, stand-alone articles on District 9. You can read the CAPC article here.

You’ll miss it without subtitles, but the very first line of District 9 is about family.

“Attention, Mr. Hayes, your wife is waiting at the station.”

It’s simple background chatter to establish the atmosphere of the MNU corporate building of the opening shot, and  it’s overshadowed by the protagonist Wikus van de Merwe mentioning his own wife, Tania, just seconds later. However, the mention of family in this specific context, in that of waiting, is a stronger overarching theme of District 9 as a whole.

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The Last Jedi and Living to See the Dawn – Finding Myself in Fiction: The Divine

About the series: Finding Myself in Fiction

This movie connected with me on innumerable levels, and it’s safe to say that The Last Jedi is my favorite film in the Star Wars franchise. We can, of course, talk about the ladies of the movie, but that’s not where I want to go right now. Instead, let’s talk about hope.

Modern parables do exist. And here is why Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is one of mine:

The Last Jedi spoilers, of course, below the cut.

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A Close Read of Star Wars Rebels: “Twin Suns” – Part 4 – Tatooine

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In our last installment, we left off with an in-depth discussion about The Hero’s Journey and a touch of Force theory, and a lot of the past three installments have been analyzing parallels to other pieces of Star Wars media. So, before we dive back into literary theory, parallels, and symbolism, I want to take a step back and just acknowledge “Twin Suns” as a story that stands on its own.

Granted, Rebels is a highly serialized show, but even with Maul and Obi-Wan being “legacy” characters, you don’t need to know the movies or The Clone Wars to understand what’s going on. On the most basic level, you just need to know Rebels in order for the “Twin Suns” story to work. And I think that is significant, especially with all the callbacks and parallels and symbolism.

If you’ll allow me this small librarian metaphor:

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