Sunday, August 5, 2012

When Janice Lost Jim: A little musing on Yeoman Rand's last appearance on TOS Star Trek

I remember the scene from the TOS episode The Conscience of the King, where Yeoman Rand steps off the turbolift and onto the deck of the bridge at the same time that a character named Lenore Karidian is heading into the opposite direction.  They are like passing ships, if you will.

To clarify things, Lenore Karidian is a new love interest for Captain Kirk-- in  much the same way that Yeoman Rand was, up to this point.

While the two young women pass one another, Rand gives Karidian a pronounced look that clearly depicts jealousy.  Karidian, on the other hand, her head cast downward from the yeoman's gaze, doesn't even give her a passing glance.

What's also interesting about this scene is that Captain Kirk is not looking in Rand's direction as she steps onto the bridge, but in Karidian's direction as she enters the turbolift.

Apparently, Janice Rand had every reason to feel threatened, for that was the moment she lost Kirk, and, sadly enough, The Conscience of the King was the last TOS episode that she would appear in.

The Conscience of the King was episode #13 of the first season of TOS Star Trek, while the first season actually had 29 episodes.  The character of Janice Rand didn't even make it through the whole first season.  Talk about being kicked to the curb!

Rand lost Kirk, and Lenore Karidian was the beginning of a string of either failed or shallow brief romances for Jim Kirk.

Rand, for sure, was always a constant presence for Kirk.  While it is duly noted that these two characters could never become an item due to Starfleet Regulations, Kirk could, at least, see the admiring and glowing presence of Rand in his vicinity--whether she was standing next to his chair on the bridge, working on the logs at the back-room desk in his quarters, or beaming down with him on a mission that he was leading.  These two characters could always ( at least theoretically ) glance at each other, exchange smiles, even brush up against each other in passing. True, it's not a relationship, but it's something reassuring and mutual.

It is interesting to note how the producers chose to drop the character of Janice Rand.  They didn't have her transferred to another ship, nor did they have her quit Starfleet for other pursuits.  Whether it was done on purpose or not, the producers picked a final exit for Rand that played out rather symbolically; the original love interest threatened and pushed aside by one of a long line of new romantic interests.

In with the new, out with the old.

Perhaps I'm reading a bit too deeply into this particular scene. Honestly, I really don't care, because the meaning of that scene was not only glaring, but sad.

I've always hated the way that Rand's last appearance played out on the show.  It was a shitty exit, and I didn't like the fact that Rand lost Kirk.

The more that I looked at that particular scene, the more I wanted to see a situation where Kirk lost Rand.  He got off a bit too easily for my taste, quite frankly.

On second thought, maybe not.  Kirk's heart was badly broken at the end of that episode when his new love interest, Lenore Karidian, ended up being a psychopathic murderess.

Ouch!  Talk about having bad luck with the ladies!

Not only did I want Kirk to lose Rand, I wanted him to lose Rand to a man who would be able to give her the steady, dependable love that was her right.

Didn't Rand deserve that kind of love?  After all the unrequited love for Kirk( sort of ), the often dismissive glances, the barked orders, and the overall hiding of tender feelings for Rand ( think back to the tepid hug from the episode Miri ).  Hey, let's not forget the attempted rape in the episode The Enemy Within!

It is true that I could have written yet another Kirk/Rand story where the captain and yeoman do manage to get together, but as one can clearly see that prospect didn't really excite me.  I honestly never even considered it, because it wouldn't exactly be Janice Rand moving on in love, would it?

There was another thing that I definitely didn't want to do with Rand, and that was to pair her with another familiar character in the canon, like Sulu or McCoy.  I wanted to pair Rand with someone new, fresh, and, if you will, exotic.

What is it about us fan fiction writers that compel us to see our favorite characters happy in a new situation, whether it be in a love relationship or a job promotion?  Is it a psychological inadequacy on our part?  Maybe it is.

Frankly, I really don't give a shit.  I'm having way too much fun here!

Now that I've established Starfleet's Ultimate Blonde with this young virile alien man, I can gleefully say that I'm looking forward to writing many stories with this couple.  Their journey should be an interesting one, and I hope you'll be taking the trip with them.

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