When the Enterprise discovers a ruined freighter with no survivors and some missing escape pods, they trace the route of the possible survivors to the planet Angel One. Angel One’s society is at a mid-twentieth century level of development, but with one important difference – women are the dominant gender, whilst men are considered weak and inferior. Will the women of Angel One cooperate with Commander Riker and his away team?
It’s time for another of Star Trek’s morality tales, this time a sideways look at inequality and the patriarchy – by mirroring it with a matriarchal society. How backwards to have a world where men can’t vote, are considered inferior and unable to do the same jobs as women! We would never do that in our society…would we? If treating men like that is stupid and even ridiculous, isn’t our own largely patriarchal society equally foolish?
I’d like to look at this episode in that manner, as a blow for equality, but unfortunately it also carries a secondary message. Look at all those silly women, doing ruling a planet wrong. Look how they disdain their weak, effeminate men, but are quick to want the touch of a decisive, dominant male like Commander Riker, or the freighter survivors? Thank god the commander was there to show those silly women the error of their ways!
Oh, and there’s also a B-story about an infection aboard the Enterprise, but it’s not very interesting.
The Prime Directive and other concerns
When does the Prime Directive apply, and how? According to this episode, only starships are bound by the non-interference directive, which means that freighter crews and others are not, and are free to interfere how they wish. Surely every member of the Federation effectively signs up to non-interference? Also, as the society of Angel One is pre-warp, what are the Enterprise crew even doing contacting them (and how do the inhabitants have the technology with which to reply?). Riker says they are allowed to interact but not interfere, and the people of Angel One are aware of Starfleet and that the Enterprise is a flagship, but how? Maybe they initiated first contact with Starfleet, and so interactions are allowed.
- Picard says Angel One could be a strategically important planet in this quadrant, by which he presumably means sector. Moments later, it is described as an unimportant, out of the way planet, although admittedly this is by the leader of the planet, who may not understand its greater importance on the galactic stage.
- The Enterprise is due to head to the Neutral Zone to head off a Romulan attack, even though the Romulans are supposed to be quiet until the events of The Neutral Zone at the end of this season.
- Both Picard and Riker get their chests out in this episode.
- Riker says he must obey planetary customs when negotiating (when in Rome…), and hence is happy to dress in traditional Angel One male dress. Would this be acceptable if they went to a planet where women are chattel? Would the female crewmembers have to act subservient and go naked?
Summary – Angel One: A planet of women needs the guiding, dominant influence of Riker’s cock.