This week the Shuttle Pod crew examine Dr. Kate Pulaski, perhaps one of Trek’s least-loved major characters. She was mean to Data (“Dahta”), was condescending, and even dissed Picard her first day on the job. But, did Pulaski’s drama and conflict provide a missing aspect of the Enterprise crew that was sorely needed?
Taking another look at Dr. Pulaski meant revisiting The Next Generation‘s second season. To prep for the show, we watched several key Pulaski-sodes: “The Child” (Pulaski’s first episode, and Guinan’s), “Elementary Dear Data”, “Unnatural Selection” (the only episode where Pulaski is the lead), “Icarus Factor”, and “Peak Performance” (where Pulaski finally comes around for Data).
One thing we all seemed to agree on: Pulaski’s character deserves a second look. Doing a rewatch of TNG’s second season from a modern perspective really made all of us feel a new appreciation for the character, who is sometimes described as a “Bones clone”. Although she doesn’t seem to nail the grumpy doctor the way De Kelley did (Kayla can’t forgive her for treating Data so poorly), she does infuse the otherwise conflict-free Enterprise-D crew with some interesting inner tension. She challenges them, and ultimately makes them better.
It’s actually quite a nuanced debate, and perhaps the jury is still out on Kate Pulaski. Have a listen to the podcast, and then share your thoughts — how do you feel about Dr. Pulaski?