I spent this whole arc worried about misogynistic bullshit happening, but you know what? It was actually surprisingly okay! Shelby was a badass the whole time, Riker DIDNT HIT ON HER and she was fierce! I wish she was always on the show, engineering is such a sausage fest most of the time.
Why do you hate Riker so much? Also, are the Titan books any good?
He’s a misogynist.
He places women into one of two categories–women to sleep with (such as Troi and the majority of women he meets), and women to out-compete because they pose threat to his position (like Lieutenant Commander Shelby from The Best of Both Worlds). He handles high-ranking female officers abysmally unprofessionally to the point that it’s maladaptive for the purposes of his job.
The only two women who are exempt from his dichotomous classification system are Tasha Yar (because she’d beat his ass if he ever got near her and her security chief position doesn’t pose threat to his being first officer) and Dr. Crusher (because she’s too old for him and her being CMO once again doesn’t threaten his position. A security chief and a doctor are not gonna get promoted to captain before he will). I think they’re exceptions because they’re somewhat family figures to him–Tasha being his little sister and Dr. Crusher being his mom–and therefore he looks out for them more than he does with other women.
And then there’s Deanna. He constantly conveys intense, toxic jealousy whenever she shows the slightest bit of interest in another guy, and yet when he wants to sleep around with other women, suddenly he’s “single again” and free to do as he pleases. He doesn’t even consider the impact it may have on her, because of course he doesn’t. All the emotional labor of the relationship is up to her, which is terribly unbalanced and unhealthy. I don’t blame Lwaxana for any of the things she says to Riker in regards to his relationship with Deanna. She’s just looking out for her daughter, who she knows is too good for this scumbag.
If anyone else from the bridge crew were in Riker’s position when Deanna was testing to get full commander status, they would’ve done everything they could to help her, because she’s a valued crew member and their friend. They wouldn’t have played self-esteem games and told her they were cancelling the test because she wasn’t adequate enough to pass. Riker doesn’t want her to succeed in getting promoted, because that threatens to break his dichotomy of how he categorizes women. She can’t be both a woman he sleeps with and a woman he’s competing with for promotions. She can’t be both a nonthreatening love interest and his equal on the bridge.
That would force him to see her holistically, and furthermore, as a person.
Background: Alternate universe where the Borg successfully invaded Earth. Prior to this event there were already divergent events between this universe and ours. Doctor Crusher remained at Starfleet Medical and O'Brien married Keiko prior to the invasion. Chief Argyle also remained on the Enterprise. Elizabeth Shelby was brought aboard as the Borg expert. After Picard was captured by the Borg, Riker was promoted to Captain. An attempt was made to rescue Picard using a strategy that involved separating the ship and going in via shuttle (with Worf and Data aboard), but Riker felt that using the Antimatter spread suggested by Commander Shelby would be too risky. The rescue attempt failed as the Borg concentrated first on the shuttle. They were only able to rescue Worf before the shuttle was destroyed. The saucer section itself too massive damage in the ensuing battle and Doctor Pulaski, Counselor Troi and Keiko O'Brien were among the casualties. The Borg proceeded unimpeded to Earth where they systematically began assimilating the population. It was a slow process that would go on for the next 2 ½ years, the Enterprise stardrive section making a nuisance of itself but never really slowing down the process.
In 2369 their sensors picked up a ship near Mardion Three, a dead world. It was another Galaxy-class starship, another Enterprise from a parallel universe. Riker decided to have the entire bridge crew of that ship beamed to the cargo bay. After a fight, the other crew stood down when they recognized their counterparts. Captain Riker explained to Captain Picard the situation and that it wasn’t long until Earth itself was dismantled and destroyed. Riker wanted them to help him snatch Locutus, as they had done once before on their side. It took convincing but Picard eventually agreed to help them - they had days before the rift that sent them there collapsed. They would use a variation of the same plan, with Picard’s Enterprise (now under Commander Shelby’s control) would fire the antimatter spread while Riker’s Enterprise would draw their fire, allowing Picard and Data to use a shuttle to penetrate the Borg shields and beam aboard the cube. The plan went without a hitch, aside from the fact that Locutus was no longer aboard the cube. Both Enterprises withdrew from Earth. Long-range scans revealed Locutus was likely in the Starfleet Command Complex in San Francisco. Picard’s Enterprise once again engaged the cube while Riker’s ship approached from a different angle and beamed down an away team consisting of Picard, Riker, Data, and both Worfs. They successfully retrieved Locutus, but the native Worf was killed. The Cube lost all interest in Picard’s ship and went after Riker’s vessel. Shelby gave up on trying to damage the cube and veered off back towards Earth. Riker’s Enterprise took a heavy beating while they tried to find a way to access the Borg central net, its command structure varied on the one from the other universe. They lost all their shuttles in a last-ditch attempt to score damage on the cube and then cutting beams began tearing into the hull. The other Enterprise, now under O'Brien’s command, returned and briefly took the pressure off, but then both ships were snared. Picard was able to tap into the Picard trapped inside Locutus, and the “Eat” command was sent to the Borg. The Cube shut down as all Borg attempted to feed at the same time, overtaxing the cube and effectively killing it. Repair teams from both ships patched up Riker’s Enterprise and Picard found out from his freed counterpart that he’d been the one who created the rifts and they were closing faster than they thought. The other Enterprise, capable of faster speeds than Riker’s ship, soon left the other one in the dust, but had to stop when Riker found that his O'Brien had attempted to switch places with theirs. His O'Brien returned without a fight, and the other Enterprise sped away back to the rift and their own universe.
Appeared in Star Trek: TNG #47-50, DC-V2. There’s some continuity issue as Riker lists Guinan as one of the casualties early on but later when her name is brought up he has no idea who she is.