We went into watching “Miri” fairly lightly, expecting to be mostly entertainment – this was based on past viewings of the episode and the knowledge of the plot. However, as it progressed, we found there was a lot more to it than we had expected, or absorbed in the past. Let’s scratch that surface, shall we?
THE EPIDEMIC OF ADULTHOOD
After watching this episode, Ando pointed out that it seemed unusual that after 300 years, these children still acted like children rather than showing 300 years’ worth of wisdom and maturation. I think this suggests that there is some essential, biological difference between children and adults that the episode is trying to examine. It’s no wonder that the children on this planet are so prototypically childlike; on our Earth, maturity and wisdom gained on the journey to adulthood are obviously characteristics that favor survival. As the episode states pretty explicitly, the onset of puberty is a death sentence for the children on this planet. Remaining a child is essential for survival in Miri’s society, so childlike traits have been repeated and distilled for 300 years, meaning the comically obnoxious chants that we see the children do are actually displays of survival of the fittest.
Despite a supporting cast full of children, this episode is not exactly a family-friendly romp. It deals head-on with the impending death of dozens of children. But a little investigation suggests this episode is even darker than it first appears. The youngest children that we see are maybe 2 or 3 years old. Since this is a parallel Earth, we can safely assume society would follow the same patterns of age distribution. So where are the babies? The episode does not address this point at all, and I propose that is because the truth was too dark for television at the time (and may still be today). I believe infants too young to possess basic survival skills died – or were killed off – in the traumatic time period in which the “grups” destroyed themselves.
Miri explains that the “onlies” all hid while the “grups” killed themselves off. The same rage that killed the adults probably caused rampant infanticide as well. Any babies that survived the initial disaster surely died when their shellshocked older siblings were mentally and/or physically incapable of caring for them. Every one of the children seen in this episode has survived unspeakable horrors, which leads me to my next point.
Stress can cause early onset puberty. The horrific events that occurred as the virus spread probably triggered puberty in many of the older children, which of course only served to compound the disaster. In a similar vein, as the “onlies” succumbed over the years, rather than happening one by one, I imagine they probably turned in groups, as the stress of one “only” turning could have easily led to their friends turning as well, in a snowball effect of early onset puberty.
Going into watching “Miri”, the most memorable moment we could think of was Kirk shouting “NO BLAH BLAH BLAH!”. Laughing about this together, we went into the episode not expecting much. Once we more closely examined the children-only society that we see, we realized the macabre implications behind it. The same grime-covered kids that we originally thought needed a spanking or a time-out are actually in great need of therapy due to the horrible things they have seen for the past 300 years.