The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Sub Rosa

When Beverly’s grandmother passes away, the Enterprise heads to Caldos II so that she can attend the funeral. But when she goes through her grandmother’s effects, Crusher discovers that her grandmother had a much younger lover – and when he shows up and starts seducing Crusher, she finds she cannot resist his charms.

There are still some good episodes to come on this disk, but to get to them, we have to endure the pile of shite that is Sub Rosa. The only reason that it isn’t the worst ever episode of TNG is because we were forced to watch The Child in season two, and as it turns out, Troi’s space rape is that much worse than Crusher’s. This episode is a blow for women’s rights and good writing everywhere, featuring a creepy ghost who essentially rapes Crusher into blissed-out submission, just as he had done with umpteen generations of her female ancestors before her. So Crusher ups and leaves Starfleet on a moment’s notice to go and live with him and enjoys mind-blowing orgasms – bitches, eh? This is obviously A Bad Thing, but even so, I felt annoyed with Picard for coming to rescue her by basically saying “you’re being a crazy woman, come on, let’s get you back to the Enterprise”. At least she gets to destroy Ronin herself at the end, a small mercy in an otherwise dreadful episode filled with Mills and Boon quality romance and terrible Scottish stereotypes.

Previously unseen family members who show up in season 7

  • Geordi’s parents, leading to the disappearance of his mother.
  • Worf’s adoptive brother, leading to his permanently going native on the Boraalans’ new home.
  • Data’s “mother”, who turns out to secretly be an android.
  • Crusher’s much-loved grandmother, upon her death.
  • Troi’s father appears in a dream sequence for the first time, plus we learn she had an older sister who died as a child.
  • Picard’s apparent son, who isn’t actually his son in the end (we’ll get to this one shortly).

Sub Rosa, sub par

  • Unusually, the ‘Howard women’ haven’t changed their surnames for generations. I mean, I’m all for women keeping their name upon marriage if they want to, but this wasn’t the norm when TNG was filmed, and would not have been for Jessel Howard and her descendants in the 17th century. If it’s a Howard family tradition for the family name to be passed down through its women, did Beverly take the Crusher name just to be rebellious? It seems unlikely, given how much she honoured her grandmother.
  • If the governor of the Caldos colony loved the original Scotland so much, why didn’t he settle there? Is it too exclusive? Too overcrowded?
  • Does Troi basically not help Crusher at all because she doesn’t want to be the only one who gets space-raped? Why isn’t she creeped out that Crusher is essentially masturbating over her grandmother’s diary?
  • How is Beverly able to resign straightaway without working some kind of mandatory notice period?
  • Is changing eye colour just a thing people can do in the 24th century? I guess they are masters of surgical alteration.

Summary – Sub Rosa: Why didn’t Crusher just buy a magic wand vibrator and avoid this whole mess?

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