Episode 30: Paging Dr. Pulaski: Revisiting Trek’s Least-Loved Ship’s Surgeon

Doctor Kate Pulaski - Deal with it

This week the TrekMovie 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 forgiver her for treating Data so poorly), she does infuse the Enterprise-D’s otherwise conflict free 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?

1 Comment on "Episode 30: Paging Dr. Pulaski: Revisiting Trek’s Least-Loved Ship’s Surgeon"

  1. I just listened to this episode and kept hoping someone would bring up Samaritan Snare. My dad and I have long felt this episode was a missed opportunity for Pulaski – and given Pulaski’s interest in Picard’s medical record it would have closed that loop. The reveal: Pulaski should have been the Doctor to have originally performed the surgery, when Picard was younger. Perhaps he blames her because it is flawed, or somehow connects her to this embarassing event, but either way – THAT’s why he doesn’t want her doing the operation.

    Oh, and that would have given a reason to have her make a guest appearance again in Tapestry. What do you think?

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