Friday’s Child – Episode 41

Rachel and Chris watch McCoy slap a pregnant woman, on Friday’s Child!

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8 thoughts on “Friday’s Child – Episode 41”

  1. Love the show, but in this case, I think you got the meaning of Friday’s child mixed up with Wednesday’s child.

    At least in the States, the poem runs:

    “Monday’s child is fair of face,
    Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
    Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
    Thursday’s child has far to go.
    Friday’s child is loving and giving,
    Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
    But the child born on the Sabbath Day,
    Is fair and wise and good and gay.”

    So, when viewed through the prism of the child’s rule as emblematic of a “loving and giving”future, the episode’s inconsistencies, non-sequitirs, and offensive cultural miscues disappear, leaving a terrific, thought-provoking episode.

    Just kidding. It’s awful.

    Interestingly, “Wednesday’s child is full of woe” is allegedly the source of the name “Wednesday,” for the morbid little girl in the Addams family TV series, where the character was first named.

    Not sure if Addams coined the name, or if TV show producer David Levy did.

  2. It’s an interesting episode from a political point of view.

    Kirk claims that the difference between The Federation and the Klingons is that the Federation does not interfere with a culture’s sovereign rights. Kirk then immediately does exactly that. What will happen to Capellan society after joining? Should we assume that the Federation has no Universal ‘Human’ Rights policy? Will they tolerate infanticide and female subjugation in exchange for the expensive natural resources of Capella?

    Current events (Oct, 2018) involving murder, women’s rights abuses, and tyranny, being tolerated with a certain trade ally make this episode more thought provoking than intended by the writers.

    The “Magneson Nitride” tablets bursting into flames seemed far fetched until I learned about Potasium Permanganate in old medical kits. It’s a disinfectant that can be used to start a fire in a similar way.

    The costumes of the Male Capellans made them look slightly ‘horsey’. It made me think of the Dothraki from GoT. Another wife-beater culture.

  3. As you mentioned, whilst this was a D.C. Fontana script, changes by Roddenberry and others meant that the final story was very different to the original, to the extent that Roddenberry had to convince Fontana not to remove her name from it.

    Originally it was a much darker story; rather than the change of heart where Eleen’s motherly instincts kick in, in Fontana’s original she offers the child to Maab to kill so that she can live. Almost all of the humour elements (Chekov’s Russia joke, oochy-koochy-koo) were added by Roddenberry – as was the slap scene.

    I wonder how a version that kept with Fontana’s original vision would have been received at the time, and if it might have been better regarded in the current day?

    1. Slight amendment – mixed up my Genes, it was the other Gene (Coon) who added a lot of the humour in an effort to lighten Fontana’s dark script. The change of Eleen’s attitude to the child and the slap were both Roddenberry though.

  4. I never liked this episode, but I have a deeper appreciation for it now that you’ve discussed it.

    The slap is a terrible pivot, and yet now, after your podcast, I understand it for what it is… language. The Capellan’s language may often be spoken, but its roots are actually violence. Their truths an politics are settled only in might and combat. Of the Enterprise three, only McCoy sees that, and to our shock, he speaks it when necessary. That is why they brought him to the meeting in the first place.

    There is a next generation episode that deals with a language not translatable by the universal translator for both different, yet remarkably similar reasons.

  5. On the other hand… Why do the Capellans stop Kirk and the Klingon from fighting during the coup? That was a serious internal logic flaw.

    I get the impression that the Klingons didn’t really want the Topaline that badly. They didn’t exactly send their best man.

  6. I’m going to be buried in hate comments for saying this, but I think you’ve missed the point on “the slap”. She was taunting McCoy by hitting him twice, smirking, thinking he wasn’t strong enough to oppose her, perhaps that his “weak” culture meant he wasn’t worthy of respect. He realized he needed to speak “their language” and slapped her to show that he was the boss in this situation.
    Later when she announces the baby is hungry, McCoy glares at Kirk until he turns around so she can breastfeed it. I really think this episode intended to show that McCoy could go outside of his comfort zone when needed to treat a reluctant patient. There is no other scene in all of TOS that I can think of where McCoy is comfortable mistreating a woman.
    That said, it is indeed dreadful for all the other reasons mentioned…but I think “the slap”

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