What are your thoughts on the episode statistical probabilities? You don't have to answer if you don't want to, I was just curious about your opinion
soooo I received this ask when I was at work like a week ago and resolved to answer it when I got home… and then promptly forgot about it. so. sorry, anon.
anyway: I do not care for statistical probabilities but not with the visceral hatred I feel for its sequel, chrysalis. (jesus christ I hate chrysalis so fucking much oh my god but don’t get me started. or do. I’m always willing to yell about chrysalis). statistical probabilities had a lot of potential, but it fell rather disappointingly short of achieving it.
prior to DS9, the federation had generally been portrayed as utopia – with all basic needs met and all prejudices thoroughly overcome, mankind is free to explore the stars for no other reason than the existential betterment of the species. which is fine for what it is and what it allowed tos to say in the 60s and tng to say in the 80s and 90s, but then ds9 came along and said, “well, wait a minute. maybe eradicating hunger and poverty and inequality isn’t enough. maybe a utopia created by people, with their myriad flaws, isn’t quite as perfect as the federation and starfleet would like to think.” so you get more shades of grey, things like section 31 and starfleet as a military institution (which it of course is somewhat in tos and tng, but not nearly to the same degree as in ds9.)
and you also get things like statistical probabilities. saying “infinite diversity in infinite combinations” is one thing, but the reason why quark saying of the federation“they’re worse than the borg” is so striking is because, from a certain point of view, he’s not wrong. the federation has a specific culture that follows from its economy, and member worlds tend to assimilate that culture. to do otherwise would be to chafe at the very nature of what the federation is – and that doesn’t really lend itself to peaceful cooperation. the klingons, for example, could never join the federation. their cultures are too fundamentally different.
so what does that have to do with statistical probabilities? well, the “federation as utopia” has the unfortunate implication of erasing those things that make us different, and that includes people with disabilities and neurodivergences (geordi and his blindness is a whole different post tbh and I’d have to rewatch tng before I could really get into it). ds9 takes rather an opposite tack in this regard by saying “yes, people like you exist in this universe.”
I have said before how much I love that ds9 portrays the federation as imperfect, and this is no exception. the federation may see itself as the epitome of equality, but statistical probabilities is the federation saying “people like you may exist, but they have no place in our society”. I mean, the jack pack is institutionalized for christ’s sake.
there are so many excellent moments in statistical probabilities that just slay me:
Jack: Here it comes. The ‘we can still contribute’ speech. No, no, no, no, no. I will not forget what was done to me. I will not be part of a society that put me away for being too smart.
I love that Julian starts out believing what the federation has told him – that he should be ashamed of what he is, that he should pretend to be “normal”. I mean, what neurodivergent person can’t relate to that kind of kneejerk self hatred? and I love the conversation julian has with miles about “the common people”. pretending to be neurotypical is exhausting, so of course julian should revel in the company of people like him.
so the episode has a lot of really great potential on the heels of dr. bashir I presume: what an opportunity for a scathing critique of how disability and neurodivergence are treated in today’s society, how we’re forced into neat, socially acceptable boxes, regardless of the cost to our soul. How differences are cast out, especially if those differences are inconvenient. and then instead of following through, instead of saying “you are valuable for more than what you accomplish and how well you pretend”, the episode goes back on its word and says “the federation was right about you all along, you are dangerous, you should be fixed or hidden away.”
and I absolutely hate the focus on contribution. “It’s my fault, not theirs,” julian says to miles at the end. “I should never had let things go so far. If I hadn’t been so bent on trying to prove to the world that they had something to contribute.” and of course julian should feel that way – the federation has told him, explicitly, that the only reason his presence in society is acceptable is because of what he contributes as a doctor. but then miles says, “They did contribute.” and the narrative agrees with him! the jack pack is seen as valuable – to miles, to the federation, to the galaxy – because of their contribution. and I hate that. you are not what you contribute to the world. you are inherently valuable because of who you are, not because of what you do. you do not deserve mistreatment because you’re not productive. in a post-scarcity economy, production should be the last marker of worth. you deserve food and shelter and happiness regardless of what you’re capable of, and the federation has the means to provide that. and that all logically follows from the flaws that ds9 portrays in the show, but the narrative doesn’t critique it.
julian, our pov character for this episode, lets the jack pack get shipped back to the institution where the federation says they belong and doesn’t say a word against it. julian spent the first half of the episode unlearning what the federation has been whispering in his ear his whole life, but he winds up exactly where he started. and obviously it’s not his responsibility to effect change (being nd himself), but he’s the narrative opinion proxy and thus bears responsibility for what the show is trying to say. right up until the end when it becomes abruptly clear that no, julian isn’t the narrative opinion proxy, miles is. the audience isn’t supposed to identify with julian and the jack pack – we’re supposed to look at them with pity and fear and discomfort until they start pretending they’re “normal” again.
except I’m not miles. I’m julian and sarina and patrick and jack and lauren; I’m different, and statistical probabilities tells me that’s scary, something to be fixed or hidden away.
i am quietly and unpleasantly baking to death in this heat and i fear that having my pc on would only hasten the end. so no more sims posts from me until satan closes the gates of hell and returns to his fiery domain because i figure that this is what must be happening here on this day
to those who love the heat– i envy you deeply and hope you’re having an awesome time
to those who live in actual hot climates– how do you do that are you superhuman or
Hear me out on this one guys- We get so much Mad King Ryan in this fandom and I love it. Love it to pieces but I’d really like to bring your attention to my new favorite thing-
Master Ryan Haywood, the Mad DAD King!
-The lads breaking into his castle to steal food and Ryan is just pissed at first but when they finally get caught he’s really impressed but worried “You’re really good at thievery and I can’t believe you made it past my guards- wait you did this all for bread? Like you have no food to eat?!” - Ryan giving them positions around the castle and making sure they are fed. -”You dont have a place to stay? Well stay here then of course!”
-Ryan speaking with his adviser Geoff a lot. Not because he needs the advice but because Geoff is funny and kind and honestly Geoff needs the socialization. -Ryan being worried about Geoff drinking too much. So Ryan stays with him or makes sure he gets home safe.
-Ryan slipping extra gold into people’s pockets
-Giving lavish gifts to his court
-Ryan sending all the extra food from the palace into a village or something for less fortunate people to have
-Ryan who BUYS things rather than demand or take from his people “Its helps stimulate the economy, I can’t be a good King if my people live in poverty. Property value is going to be on the rise.”
-Festivals ALL THE TIME!
-Ryan LOVING animals. And he just keeps bring them home and making them his royal cat/wolf/squid/etc. He has a large game preserve that NO ONE is allowed to hunt off of lest they feel is wrath. And he uses it to protect animals and refugees.
-Ryan being a good healer. Honestly, he’s so smart and dorky- if any of his subjects or members of his court come to him, he’s always game to help.
Ryan rules all major wrong doers with an iron and cruel fist. But when the crime isnt that serious or his trusted court members are involved he doesn’t know what to do?! But he feels like he should punish them somehow? Like Disappointed!Dad! Ryan?
Dad! King Ryan who fucking LOVES dad jokes.
Dad! King Ryan who is a literal disney princess when it comes to animals
Dad! King Ryan who takes ruling his kingdom seriously and is very protective
Dad! King Ryan who lives modestly
Dad! King Ryan who makes a family out of his court
What she really means:poor baby Hux had no idea what was coming to him because his dad fucked up and he got the brunt of it and he was probably pushed endlessly to become the best and most powerful in order to "redeem" his father of the action of having him as an illegitimate child and baby hux probably just wanted to have a childhood but he got this shit instead because he's "weak-willed" And "useless" but has "potential" And I am not okay
“Can you please tell me where I’m right now?” the angel asked. He felt that the other was different, however he couldn’t say why. But right now he didn’t care anyway. He was lost and with lost he meant really lost.