Action Girls have been around as long as people have told each other stories; from the goddess Ishtar to the legendary Princess Fantaghirò to Buffy Summers. But they were all heroes (or villains). I haven’t come across many female supportive characters whose arc is questioning society’s ethics. But that’s what Ro Laren was all about. She might not have been human, but she joined the human-dominated Starfleet and was expected to follow their rules. Yet she disobeyed them, leading Picard – her captain and mentor – to threaten her with a court martial if she doesn’t follow orders. Eventually her betrayal seemed inevitable; but it was remarkable that she stayed a sympathetic character because the audience was shown her struggle and her ultimate decision to be true to her beliefs.
All in all the character of Ro Laren might not have radically changed science fiction forever, but she did introduce a new type of female anti-hero and without her we might never have had Farscape’s Aeryn Sun or Battlestar Galactica’s Kara Thrace.
Ro Laren - a template for SciFi Heroines