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Thu, May 26, 2016, 1:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: Trailer: Star Trek Beyond

Well, this trailer has my interest peaked for sure.

Can't wait. It appears we have an original story that isn't going to rip-off TWoK!! :-)

Nice to see what appears to be an NX Class at the end. I'm guessing that is the Franklin.
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Thu, May 26, 2016, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Dark Frontier

OK, 'First Contact' diminished the effects of the Borg in Q-Who... everything after that just piles on, along with the Hansen's and Regeneration etc.

This is probably my favorite Voyager 2-parter (and that's saying something). Visually stunning, music was awesome and something that I don't think has been mentioned yet.... pace. Dark Frontier kept pounding at you... very, very good.

The scenes where we actually see assimilation of civilians was gut-wrenching. they succeeded in driving the point home that the Borg have no morals.

Hard to add to what Jammer wrote. I'll just give my cut on why the Borg Queen probably was so interested in 7. Seven is of course "unique", maybe, just maybe, Seven was looked upon as the next Borg Queen? Who knows, my one knock on this episode is they didn't elaborate enough on that revelation.

As to why everyone doesn't know about the Borg? ... section 31 anyone? We know of a "race" of being that can't be stopped... I can see S31 snuffing that for the betterment of Star Fleet and the Federation.

Easy 4-star episode for me.

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Thu, May 26, 2016, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Family Business

@Sexpun, I think you're right about your characterization of Jammer's prejudice against Ferengi episodes.

I really like Ferengi episodes. I do think they're funny. Rom and Quark are a hilarious Abbot and Costello routine. I also think a lot of people are delusional if they feel Ferengi don't aptly represent an aspect of the human condition and aren't relatable. Good god, even today in Iran women are treated horribly, and in Saudi Arabia they still can't drive cars! This is *2016*! In the Ferengi we have some of the worst of human misogynism, avarice, and amorality. And Star Trek takes such horrid sorts of people and belittles them for our enjoyment, as a way for us to laugh at our worst traits and see them for the ridiculousness that they are.

In response to Jammer and others, I would cite Quark to Sisko from end of last season, and I'm paraphrasing here, "You know why you don't like Ferengi, Commander? Because we remind you of how you used to be, of parts of your history you would rather forget." Something to that effect.

@Luke, I think your analysis of Ishka is great! But I think your ire is misplaced, in that you interpret the episode wanting us to conclude that Ishka is a moral hero. Hell no she is not! The point to be gathered is that Ferengi females can be just as mean, selfish, and thoughtless as the males. Quark is the hero! Just as you have determined. He saves the day and he doesn't like it one bit. Dumb as Rom his, he is a savant, and gets Quark and Ishka back together because he doesn't want either of them to suffer. Does Rom criticize his mother in that scene? No, he *loves* his moogie! haha. He criticizes Quark, who is always a jerk to Rom. It makes perfect sense.

"Why would any capitalist society so severely cripple a full half of their population?" Watching Mad Men helped me to appreciate just how sexist America was just 50 years ago. And you're right, of course; in fact, the Nagus and the Ferengi come to the same conclusion by the end of the series! The Ferengi aren't perfectly capitalist either; free market and open society is what leads to the utopian Federation anyway. The Ferengi are additionally affected by extreme self-interest and therefore paranoia, causing them to make bad business decisions that do not increase the wealth of their nation.

"Because there is no societies (even the most patriarchal ones) that come even remotely close to this in their treatment of women." I cite again the Iranian and Saudi examples, and add pre-2001 Taliban-run Afghanistan. And you're right, it is a reductio ad absurdum. That's the essence of the comedy. "Or are they just saying that capitalism is inherently sexist? If that's the case then why are capitalist societies often the very best ones when it comes to gender equality?" I never thought there was any intended connexion, other than these being traits associated with pre-Federation humanity.

Ferengi comedy works for big-picture reasons because it puts many of our worst human qualities in one race, and instead of making them a dire and cruel foe (such as with the Cardassians), they are an object of pity and derision. I think that's genius.
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Peter G.
Thu, May 26, 2016, 12:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Extreme Measures

@ William B,

"Surely if this was the case, then we must credit Bashir and O'Brien as being correct in curing Odo, since Section 31 seemed intent on letting him die rather than using him as a bargaining chip/overture."

Section 13 may well have been planning on holding the cure over their heads once they were in a more vulnerable situation. Odo, after all, didn't offer it until the end either. However what I do agree with is that while the Founder did finally agree to accept the cure and surrender, it was only because it came with Odo's assurances, which she trusted. I think that no matter what Section 31 or the Federation said to her the female Changeling would never have trusted them, even to her own detriment, and would have allowed her race to die rather than accepting their terms. If there's any truth to this then the reality is that Section 31 did give Odo the tools he needed to convince the Founders to surrender (the survival of the Link), but what they wouldn't have realized was that only Nixon...I mean, Odo, could be the one to offer it to them. In terms of Extreme Measures I think the moral would be that both Sloan and Julian are right, in different ways, and that the Federation needs both kinds of men. They need the Siskos as well as the Picards.

"while his natural inclination is to give up on his patient for the broader goal he ultimately does believe that saving Odo is a higher calling, even if it has to be O'Brien who reminds him of it."

Agreed. Bashir has a strong Human sense at the end of the day, but his fixation on his intelligence and success constantly blind him. I think you said it best when you suggested that by altering who he was at a young age be basically became his genetic modifications, since the old Jules was deemed unacceptable to his parents. His identity would afterward be rooted in a combination of hiding who he was while also going to excess in trying to get others to recognize his gifts. His early scene with Kira in a runabout telling her she should be impressed with him, that he impresses himself; that has always been DS9 gold to me.

"To me the story overall is about the importance of tempering idealism and abstract principles with a pragmatic recognition of reality and to recognize which part of one's "idealism" is actually a kind of egotism."

This is good. It reminds me of a point made in TNG's Family, where Robert correctly points out that Picard didn't merely suffer a defeat but was humbled in a way he never had been before. Even despite having been changed by being stabbed by a Nausicaan, Picard's moral sense still seemed to be wrapped up in his ego, and it's telling that after having his ego shattered he briefly begins to contemplate working on the undersea project back on Earth. The Borg represented not only the antithesis of his values, but of his sense of his own superiority. He was helpless before them. In Bashir's case it's different, since Bashir's ego going to excess isn't merely an issue of stubborn pigheaded pride but, as Sloan mentions, is legitimately dangerous both for Bashir and his friends, and even for the Federation.

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Thu, May 26, 2016, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Explorers

The Beard! The Sisko has arrived!

I believe this episode is the real turning point of DS9 as it finally comes into its own -- symbolized beautifully in Commander Sisko's growing of The Beard! Once he shaves his head, the transformation will have been complete, haha. In my opinion, this is the true birth of *The Sisko.* He has accepted Bajor into his life and resonated with it, ensuring the eventual fulfillment of his role as the Emissary of the Prophets, seems calm and filled with joy, and literally sets sail with his son onto the adventures ahead. (It's also the time when Kassidy Yates is first introduced, who remains integral to the end of the series' run. Also Leeta, one of my favorite minor characters.)

I absolutely love this episode. I liked it as a kid, and even more now (particularly the romantic and fascinating quality of the light ship). I thought Ben and Jake's civilian clothes looked a little too Cosby Show, but maybe that was part of the point, especially with the above-mentioned "hammer time" joke they threw in at the hammock, which I thought was great. Further comparing DS9 to the contemporary Cosby Show, Sisko is the first leading captain on Star Trek who is black, and expertly fills the role as just another awesome Starfleet officer -- that is to say, the actor being African-American has almost no effect on his role in the series (except for the brilliant "Far Beyond the Stars"). Similarly, Cosby's Heathcliff Huxtable and his family were a joy to watch because they were simply relatable *people*, and served as great role models for everyone who saw the show, white or black or any other race. I am white, and grew up enjoying reruns of The Cosby Show and DS9 long before I had any sense of what racial tensions could be like, and looked up to Heathcliff and Theo as well as Ben and Jake, finding relatable similarities with my own father. I'm sure one day I'll resonate with these stories again with my own children.

And *that's* the power of the futurism of Star Trek! to optimistically depict our own reality free of its prejudices, and to show exceptionally talented yet still flawed and human people working together to explore the unknown.

@Luke, I also enjoyed O'Brien saying he didn't hate Bashir anymore, and Bashir being so touched. It reminded my of "Friendship Test" by Tenacious D.
I like your analysis of Dax, but this was a plus for me. She can have flaws like that, and it's a very human trait. I loved the writing of "GO AWAY" on the PADD in the Starfleet font.
As for the lack of inertial dampers, that's actually not how warp drive is supposed to work. The most important thing a subspace field does is lower the mass of a ship, to the point of it having negative mass (just like the hypothetical tachyons that are cited as the mechanism for the FTL in "Explorers"). So when a ship, even the light ship, goes to warp, its forward velocity has already been achieved; the subspace field just amplifies that velocity to faster than light. One mistake the effects department made was to put streaking lights around the light ship while it was in warp -- those are not in fact stars, but micrometeoroids and other particles energized by the field produced by the main deflector dish (which, if not deflected, might impact the starship and damage it) -- and the light ship does not have one of those.
Inertial damper are especially useful for unexpected jolts or bumps while in motion, like during an attack, and even then have a delay of reaction time.
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Thu, May 26, 2016, 11:58am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Bliss

Love W. Morgan Sheppard. Loved him in BAB5, Star Trek 2009, The Undiscovered Country, Seaquest and probably 100 other things I've failed to type here. Very unique voice and he can ham it up with the best of them.

Someone above asked why Samantha was not effected by this monster. My answer is she has never been to Earth so Voyager is her home. Where they are going isn't nearly as important to her as the rest of the crew.

Once again we get the 7/Sub-Unit pairing. Very enjoyable once again. This little gal can sell a part.

I always think of Farscape's "escape the belly of the beast" episode 'Green Eyed Monster' when I watch this one. Not the emotional punch though.

I agree with Jammer. This episode does what it does well.

3 stars from me.
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Peter G.
Thu, May 26, 2016, 11:47am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: The Dogs of War

I never realized before how bad this episode is. It's out of place and...just kind of bad. And I'm not so quick to blame Brooks' direction, either, since I've liked some of his previous work, including the much-derided Fascination, which I rather enjoy.

To put my comment in context, I don't really agree with Jammer's reviews of the end-of-series arc in ascribing to the episodes ratings based on the content of each episode. Yes, that is how you do reviews, but I think there is a bit of a lack of perspective in terms of what the audience is really getting. If you go back and watch mediocre DS9 from Season 2, let's say, and compare it back to back with ANY of the episodes from Penumbra to Tacking into the Wind, I think the reaction would be something like "whoa, the latter are like feature film quality in comparison." It's kind of like if you go to the best restaurant in the city and sample some of their dishes you'll start to think about which you like better than others while forgetting than any of them is better than the best you'd get at another restaurant. For this reason I'd be content to basically assign 3.5-4 stars to all of the above closer episodes regardless of which of them were setup and which of them payoff. They all had excellent plotting, ideas, characterization, and were compelling. Even though, in particular, I think the direction was more powerful in The Changing Face of Evil compared with the others which would bump it up to a solid 4/4.

Extreme Measures was a change of pace so I won't count it, but The Dogs of War is supposedly a return to major plot arcs, even if that includes the Ferengi. To be honest I had completely forgotten this subplot existed, and I was not pleased to be reminded this time around. I actually found most of this episode to be...well, embarrassing if anything, and most especially so the Ezri/Julian scenes. I usually don't bother addressing what I liked or didn't like in an episode, these scenes were painful. I kind of want to blame Avery Brooks, but the script is really at fault. I watched most of this episode with my head in my hands, afraid of what would happen next, and that never happens to me in DS9. I feel no shame mildly enjoying Let He Who Is Without Sin, but only this one and Profit and Lace made me physically uncomfortable. I would been less disturbed if this episode appeared somewhere earlier in the series, but as the penultimate episode...ugh.

As others above mention, it's simply not logical for Rom to be Nagus no matter the larger moral character now being ascribed to Ferenginar. It's been firmly established that he's a genius when allowed to find his own path, and so it seems like doubling down on the mistakes of his past to bind him to a task that doesn't utilize his gifts. I could have understood if the Nagus position was reimagined as of some kind of moral leader, like the way Emperor Kahless is a figurehead on Kronos. *That* would have been a job perfect for Rom. But as a business Too pat.

But getting back to the real disappointment here, this is not the resolution we deserved to the individual tensions between Ezri and Julian. This is not the way to conclude a 7 year arc of Julian chasing Dax and her keeping his at bay, only to have the tables turned when she realizes she wants to go after him. Worf's expression saved the ass of the scene in OPS when they kiss, but their banter was otherwise telegraphed and sophomoric. I swear it was like watching a 1980's teen romance movie. When Julian says he normally isn't like this, he's right; he isn't. Then how about giving us a reason why he might be? For instance, how about showing him terrified that he might actually have a chance and could lose it? With Jadzia he had no fear because he knew if he ever won her it would be due to her and not any success or failure on his part. But here he could legitimately fail on his own terms, and Julian cannot stand losing. I wonder whether the Alamo "I just want to win once!" line isn't some dark allusion to the fact that he's adopted a defeatist attitude towards his own life, and playing out failure over and over in the holodeck doesn't ring true to him in some sense. But I digress; they gave no backbone to Julian's nervousness here when in fact that should have been the entire basis of the story. Similarly, why is Dax so scared? Has Ezri never been in a relationship before? Is it her guilt over how Jadzia treated Julian and worry that she'll hurt him again? Is it feeling inferior to Jadzia and wondering whether she's good enough for him? All of these would have been good questions to explore but instead she's basically just a silly teenager. If I could choose one element in all of DS9 to rewrite I swear it would be this subplot even above any of the Ferengi episodes.

I was also a bit sad that Garak couldn't find a way to subtly insult the Jem'hadar when they held him up, but I suppose he didn't want to be randomly shot.
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Thu, May 26, 2016, 11:24am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Gravity

OK, how did this episode spark "my trek is better than your trek" crap?

I really enjoy Lori Petty. She's in one of my favorite movies of all time "A League of Their Own" and the reason I like her in that and this is that she IS different. I thought she played a fine alien here and due to the nature of this story she was a great choice for the part. They needed someone to be a little over the top emotionally to play against our beloved stoic unemotional Vulcan.

I will say Voyager, while at times deserves the daggers it receives, receives far to many. This is a wonderful little story and a great character piece for Tuvok.

I agree, that kid that played the young Tuvok nailed it. I love it when they are able to nail casting like that. I also love the casting with a young Trip in 'Similitude'. That really adds to the believability of the story.

Someone above asked about the title. I thought it had to do with the temporal differential that gravity causes here. (and in real life) As plausible as all the other trek sci-fi stuff. And as Robert says, it was a pretty smart story telling device too.

I loved the spider stuff :-)

I don't mind that Tom "got in Tuvok's face" concerning Noss. For all they knew they were stuck here. It fit's Tom personality to push Tuvok like that.

I thought Noss' affection for Tuvok was real and they way Tuvok dealt with her was very Vulcan and with the back-story this episode provided very fitting.

Very enjoyable each time I watch it. I tear up each time Noss is beamed off Voyager.

3.5 stars for me.
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Thu, May 26, 2016, 10:35am (UTC -5)
Re: Trailer: Star Trek Beyond

Well, this newer trailer does look better. But it still seems much closer to Bay's Transformer movies than anything identifiable as Trek.
I'm excited to see Idris Elba, I've liked him in pretty much everything (except Prometheus, though that was clearly not his fault,) but, I remember feeling the same way about Eric Bana and Benedict Cumberbatch. Just as with the main cast, having great talent in front of the camera cannot make-up for a poor script. First and foremost, the story you're trying to tell has to be worth telling. Will they have a passable plot this time? From the trailer, I have no idea. We know they did major last-minute rewrites, usually a very bad sign, and with the previous two efforts being so muddled, it becomes harder to remain optimistic.
At this point, "The Force Awakens" has the Fantasy-Space-Explosions/Nostalgia genre covered pretty well- This movie doesn't appear to be trying to do anything the Star Wars one didn't.
Will I see 'Beyond'? I have seen every Trek film so far in the theater- recent ones on opening night. But the last two movies have really made me feel pretty foolish for doing so. Of course I will see this; eventually. I suspect I'll wait until we've had a least a week or two of reviews, and if they are, well, like 2009 or "Into Darkness", I'll catch it on DVD at some point down the road.
Perhaps with this installment I'll finally be "Beyond" Star Trek. (At least Paramount's current concept of it.) I hope my predictions are off-base, and Pegg & Lin have put together something worthy of the name. If not, well there is always CBS's upcoming attempt on TV/Internet Streaming...
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Thu, May 26, 2016, 9:38am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

The idea is a slippery slope. IE if we allow this data to be used after the person creating it did horrible things to get it, what's to stop others from doing horrible things in the future secure in knowing their contribution to science will be secure.

The answer is hopefully "so that you don't end up in jail or executed". Here's a quote from biology professor John Hayward - "I don't want to have to use the Nazi data, but there is no other and will be no other in an ethical world. I've rationalized it a bit. But not to use it would be equally bad. I'm trying to make something constructive out of it. I use it with my guard up, but it's useful."

And a quote from the article h t t p : / / "Since a better knowledge of survival in cold water has direct and immediate practical benefits for education in cold water safety, and in the planning of naval rescue missions at sea, Pozos and Hayward see it criminal not to use the available data, no matter how tainted it may be."

I actually am sort of sorry this became Janeway's decision to be honest. If you develop Torres' hatred of Moset more (maybe she actually had a friend in the maquis who was experimented on) you could actually have made this entirely a Tom & B'Elanna episode. An allegory of a "Jewish" person struggling with whether or not to be treated by "Nazi" data would have been more interesting. As it is, you are correct... Janeway's choice is plainly ridiculous. Let her chief engineer die so that they don't have to use data they don't like or don't. Die in the middle of the damned Delta Quadrant. Well, we can always pick up a new engineer at the next starbas..... oh.... :-(

My point though was that this was a real thing that has been really debated by real scientists for a long time. There's a lot out there about it. It's not a bad idea of something to make an episode on but it's no Jetrel.
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Thu, May 26, 2016, 9:26am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

One of the best things about this episode is that it shows something the audience rarely sees, and that's things not going so well for Data. Data is an extremely powerful tool, an asset to the Enterprise and particularly to Picard. But here, we see that Data, without anyone to guide him through social nuances, struggles. Riker's line to Data shows the frustration, "I don't KNOW these people, Data. Use that fancy positronic brain of yours and get the job done!"

It's also nice to see a piece where Picard fumbles a little in diplomacy. Usually we're treated to these grand speeches, but the Sheliak markedly cut Picard off before he has a chance to finish any. So basically we have Data in a situation where Picard's ethos would've been better, and Picard in a situation where Data's logic would be better. So this deserves at least 3 stars for that.

There are parts of this episode that are slow, and were well into season 3 so timing shouldn't be an excuse for TNG here. At least there is some good dry humor, like the bit at the beginning where Picard gets called out of Ten-Forward, and Data thinks Picard is walking out on his poor performance.
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Thu, May 26, 2016, 9:17am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Sacrifice of Angels

Q actually claims to be God in "Hide and Q" and also in "Tapestry". I think the Prophets and Q's powers are similar, it's just that, opposed to the Prophets, we see Q actively tormenting a lot more than helping.
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Thu, May 26, 2016, 8:51am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Bride of Chaotica!

@ Skeptical
Mon, Jan 25, 2016, 9:05pm (UTC -5)

Agree on all counts. (although I can't speak to the writer's/UPN thing)

I loved this episode. The hammy-ness and how they merged it with a real-time dilemma.

Good lord people, lighten up and have some fun. I enjoyed this as much as the hammy "Our Man Bashir" or any other "lets have some fun" Star Trek episode.

The set folks should have won something here. Amazing work.

I too noticed and enjoyed the old music.

I just can't really knock this thing. It was fun and well done.

4 stars.
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Thu, May 26, 2016, 8:29am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human


I scanned the article and just find it hard to believe intelligent people can still have that opinion.

Let's say the knowledge required to sure a plague was obtained by questionable means. Should it not be administered based on how it was obtained?

Ridiculous.... and even more ridiculous that occurrence could happen in the 24th century, or on Voyager.
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Thu, May 26, 2016, 8:26am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

The only reason this episode is watchable and notable.

"You know, there some words I've known since I was a school boy. With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably. Those words were uttered by Judge Aaron Satie as wisdom and warning. The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. I fear that today"

Captain Picard
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Thu, May 26, 2016, 3:19am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Resurrection

I've said before that the defining characteristic of the Mirror Universe episodes is "diminishing returns." With each trip we take into the MU the episodes get steadily worse and worse. "Resurrection", however, is the one that bucks that trend.

It is true that this is no masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but it's still a fairly enjoyable and entertaining outgoing. Credit for that needs to be placed in no small part on Philip Anglim. He does something here as Mirror Bareil that he either never or almost never did as Vedek Bareil - actually emote! I get that Vedek Bareil was supposed to be a very calm, centered person, but Anglim always came across as overly and needlessly stiff in his delivery. His performance as Mirror Bareil proves that he's capable of delivering a fine performance. So, I can only lay the blame for that on the directors of those earlier episodes, not the actor himself.

We also get a nice examination of Mirror Bareil's character - his strengths, his weaknesses, his doubts and his ultimate nobility - something that was decidedly lacking in the previous two Mirror Universe episodes. And that can probably be attributed to the number one praiseworthy element of "Resurrection" - the fact that it doesn't take place in the MU. Since the action takes place entirely in the "normal" universe, we are oh so thankfully spared all the silliness that has come to define the MU. There is no nonsense like the attempted titillation of virtually all women being either lesbians or bi-sexual, no unfunny running gag of a Ferengi character being killed and (thank the Lord!) no creepy homo-erotic BDSM role-playing between Mirrors Garak and Worf. Everything is allowed to be taken at least reasonably seriously. Even the Intendant is toned down considerably from her previous two appearances, although the over-the-top nature of the character is still present (did anybody else notice that when she gets stunned that she falls in a "sexy" manner?).

Finally, there's the wonderful scene between Kira and Quark where Quark informs her about Mirror Bareil's intentions. My, oh my... how long a way these two characters have come since the early seasons! In the first few seasons, I complained about virtually every scene these two shared together. But here, instead of Kira throwing her weight and authority in Quark's face for no good reason (or just outright threatening him for shits and giggles), they actually display a relationship of mutual respect. I guess all it took to finally fix that problem was throwing the two of them into the middle of a totalitarian occupation and having Quark save Kira's life, but I'll gladly take it. :-)

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Latex Zebra
Thu, May 26, 2016, 2:54am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Sacrifice of Angels

I do laugh that people get stressed by the godlike behavior of the prophets... who are aliens, not gods. But never bat an eyelid when Q freezes time, makes people vanish, flings things across the galaxy, sends Voyager back to the creation of the cosmos!

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Thu, May 26, 2016, 2:36am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: You Are Cordially Invited

After the rather intense seven episode war arc, this is exactly what "Deep Space Nine" needed - a lightweight comedy episode that actually delivers on its humor. After everything that has happened, the characters (and audience) deserve a chance to relax.

First off, I love the character of Sirella, or at least her interactions with Dax. God, it was so refreshing to see Dax have to deal with someone as stubborn and demanding as herself. Worf is generally hard-headed, but usually whenever he and Dax find themselves in a disagreement it ends with Dax getting her way (yeah, I'm looking directly at "Let He Who Is Without Sin..."!). Watching Sirella not put up with any of Dax's arrogant, valley-girl nonsense was so refreshing! And, having Sisko talk some sense into her was refreshing as well. I haven't made a secret of my dislike for Dax before, so this probably shouldn't come as a shock to anybody.

Second, I simply adore how extravagant the wedding ends up being. Trek often has a tendency to do weddings that are really small in scale. In TOS: "Balance of Terror" there's a wedding, but it's done in the ship's chapel with Kirk presiding and practically no frills. TNG: "Data's Day" has the O'Brien's getting married, but it's also a fairly low-key affair. Rom and Leeta exchange vows with few frills. Sisko and Yates will end up getting married in the Wardroom on the spur of the moment with absolutely no frills. Over on VOY, Paris and Torres will get married in "Drive", but OFF-SCREEN! Small weddings are something I've simply never understood. This is supposed to be one of the pivotal moments of your entire life, treat it so! I mean, to each their own, but a small wedding is definitely not the way I would go - give me a huge Catholic wedding with all the trimmings! So, it's nice to see the franchise FINALLY doing something like this.

Third, like I said, the humor actually works. Given that Ron Moore isn't exactly known as a comedic writer - and, in fact, shares some of the blame for the horrible Ferengi "comedy" episodes - I have to give massive credit where it's due here. Everyone backing away from Bashir so he'll have to endure the next test first creaks me up every time. LOL!

I used to think there were two major problems with the episode. First was how Kira and Odo resolve their difficulties in a closet. But, the comments in the "Behind the Lines" thread have convinced me that this isn't as bad as I originally thought, so I won't hold that against the episode anymore. Second, however, is Martok and Sirella's relationship. While I love that Sirella throws Dax's bullshit right back in her face, I have to ask myself "what does Martok see in this woman?". Worf and Dax show little chemistry together? Hell, their chemistry is off the charts compared to this couple. For all intents and purposes, Sirella treats Martok like shit! He even says... "She is a prideful, arrogant, mercurial woman who shares my bed far too infrequently for my taste. And yet I love her deeply." Umm.... .... .... .... why?! Seriously, give me at least some reason for why this man loves this woman so much. Unfortunately, we get nothing like that, so it's really the only flaw I can find in this otherwise excellent episode.


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Thu, May 26, 2016, 2:00am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Sacrifice of Angels

Yes, yes, yes - I am fully well aware of all the problems in this episode. Yes, the Defiant being the only Federation ship to break through the Dominion's lines for several hours was insanely contrived. Yes, I too wonder why Kira and Rom focused on disabling the stations weapons when there were other Dominion ships nearby. Yes, it was weird that the Female Changeling seemed to know that Odo would betray her and yet didn't tell anyone. Yes, the Klingons showing up in the nick of time was also very, very contrived. But you know what? I really don't give a damn about any of that. Because "Sacrifice of Angels" grabbed me hook, line and sinker from beginning to end with its story, action and characters. If I may tell a personal story for a moment.... When I introduced my parents to "Deep Space Nine" a couple of years ago and we got to this episode, my father was literally sitting on the edge of the couch when the minefield was detonated. He was quite honestly that engrossed in the story. Given that he's not a very sci-fi kind of guy, that says all I need to know about how awesome this episode is!

Let's just get to the biggest controversy with the episode, shall we? You all know which one I'm talking about - the intervention of the Prophets. I can understand why there is a rather vocal subset of Trek fans that absolutely hate this. It does indeed come across as something of an anti-climax after the previous episodes. Also, average Trek fans tend to be left-leaning agnostics/atheists (I don't think that's a very controversial thing to point out), so it's really not surprising that they would be uncomfortable with a divine intervention being what ultimately saves the day. But I think calling the ending a "cop-out" or a "deus ex machina" completely misses the point of the whole story. What the writers are doing here is very deliberate, not a sign of incompetence or of painting themselves into a corner and needing "heavenly" assistance to get out of it. I think their intentions are made extremely clear throughout the arc. Sisko giving his speech in front of the Bajoran shrine in "Call to Arms", Ziyal reminding the audience that Sisko is the Emissary in "Sons and Daughters", Sisko reading ancient Bajoran texts on the eve of battle in "Favor the Bold" and Sisko's stated desire to Ross to build a house on Bajor - all of that points to how the writers were foreshadowing the role of the Prophets in resolving the story. In fact, I think "Call to Arms", "Favor the Bold" and this episode make it clear that the writers are trying to make Sisko into something like a Bajoran version of Moses, someone who stands as an intermediary between mortals and the gods (that's not really surprising as the writers will later employ much more direct comparisons to biblical figures like Abraham and Jesus for Sisko). Now, you can like that or you can hate it. You can think its bad storytelling if you wish. But, you can't call it a deus ex machina, because it simply isn't one. In fact, in my opinion, given how heavily we're reminded in this arc that the Founders portray themselves as gods, it's only fitting that they should ultimately be thwarted by the "real" gods of Bajor. Like I said, I can understand why atheistic fans absolutely hate it, but as a theistic Trek fan, this is something I absolutely love!

As for the rest of the episode, the real standout scene is when Quark and Ziyal break the resistance cell out of jail. I've often criticized "Deep Space Nine" for it use and treatment of Quark, but this was phenomenally good! If only the character could be treated like this all the time. And, given how if the jail break had never happened, Rom wouldn't have been able to shut the weapons down and the Defiant would have been destroyed, that means the entire Alpha Quadrant owes its very survival to Quark!

The action sequences and special effects are indeed absolutely stunning. This is easily the best action episode Trek has given us thus far, possibly will ever give us. The music is wonderful, not quite as memorable as the score for "The Best of Both Worlds" but it's up there. The storytelling is top-notch. What more could I ask for in an episode?!

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Thu, May 26, 2016, 1:46am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Paradise

Interesting ideas but, oy, that ending...

I watched this one ep at random after watching a lot of TOS. On one hand, it's refreshing to see a Trek that's more nuanced. Kirk would have overturned this society and punished the leader, no problem, simple and predictable.

On the other hand, this ep goes beyond nuanced to completely passive. Sisko doesn't fight, he gets in the box. The lying, abusive cult leader gets no comeuppance. Not a single villager wants to leave. Neither Sisko nor OBrien even try to explain to these people the extent to which they've been psychologically abused.

I get that defeating the "baddie" wasn't the point of the episode, but the viewer is expected to play as dead as Sisko and as dumb as the villagers. All DS9 had to do to sell it was have at least one villager ready to leave (believable) and have one protagonist at least decry Alexus as a tortuous cult leader before beaming away (satisfying). But no, she makes a huge speech, and our heroes don't even rebut. At that point, even I'm like "At least Kirk would have told someone off!" Hell, Picard would have.

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Thu, May 26, 2016, 1:13am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Favor the Bold

Indeed another powerhouse episode. "Favor the Bold" has wonderful special effects - the sight of the Federation fleet was really something to behold, possibly the biggest fleet we've seen on Trek thus far - great character work, a wonderful use of a wordless background character, Morn, to help save the day, splendid use of both Quark and Rom and a rather noticeable shift for Odo.

One thing that really struck me with this viewing, however, was Damar. Here we have a character who is clearly among the villains, but is revealing an awful lot of truly top secret information to Quark even though he has know that Quark's loyalties are at least divided. I used to think that was simply because of his overconfidence, but is it possible that this is the first sign that Damar's conscience is bothering him and he subconsciously told Quark in the hope that the Dominion would be stopped? Or simply to unburden himself with information that deep down he knew was wrong? The writers have, after all, said that they had him have a drinking problem at this point as a prelude to his eventual turn against the Dominion, so it's possible. Or am I just crazy?

Jammer is right about the scene where Kira and Quark "recruit" Morn into their plans - a real highlight of the episode. This war arc has shown an amazing ability to showcase wordless (or almost wordless) scenes that are both absolutely essential in terms of plot and character development while also being simply magnificent scenes in and of themselves. Yassim's suicide in "Rocks and Shoals", Kira's second going-to-work sequence in that same episode and now this one. My hat goes off to this writers and directors!

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Wed, May 25, 2016, 11:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Dear Doctor

I really like the theory that the Valakians later found a cure and became the Breen developing a hatred of Humanity. It would explain why they wanted to own Earth when they joined the Dominion war.
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Wed, May 25, 2016, 11:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

@Luke Maybe his grandfather was a Romulan defector who made it safely to federation space. at least that's the only logical explanation of why he is half Romulan.

I do find it strange that Starfleet will except Klingons Bajorans and even Ferengi(albeit several years after this incident) But Tarses is worried(and rightly considering the way the Betazoid treats him) that being part Romulan will automatically hurt his chances of being accepted into Starfleet. sounds like some good old fashioned discrimination!
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Wed, May 25, 2016, 9:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

@Yanks - I wasn't making a point. If you read that part of the wiki article they discuss that doctors had differing opinions as to if the actual knowledge should be thrown out. They even link to an article that talks about the Jewish community thinking it heretical to find any value in the data at all. Your question was "is this the big dilemma". The answer is yes. I wasn't giving an opinion :-)
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Wed, May 25, 2016, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S1: Faces

@JC, good point about Farscape! Hey, there's another series Jammer should review... That and Stargate! That would be awesome.

I have a better appreciation for this episode having read the above. But I actually wasn't that thrilled with Dawson's Klingon impression. It seemed way over the top. The reason that Klingons speak the way they do is (notionally) because they are actually speaking English, not being dubbed by a universal translator. This notion comes from The Klingon Dictionary by Marc Okrand, creator of the Klingon language for STIII and later, whose hilarious sense of humor in retroactively reverse-engineering explanations for on-screen Klingon speech tells us that well educated Klingons will speak in English amongst one another to separate themselves from the lower classes who are unable (comparable to French as the official language of the court of Catherine the Great of Russia, for example).

Klingon or human, B'Elanna grew up speaking English natively. As did Worf's mate K'Ehleyr (another half-Klingon-human hybrid), and even more so Alexander son of Worf. Worf has a bit of an accent since he was between 5 or 10 years old when he started learning English, enough time to affect his speech slightly (assuming Klingons mature faster, which they do).

So why would B'Elanna the Klingon have such a pronounced Klingon accent? To me it looked like Roxann Dawson watched a couple TNG Klingon episodes and immitated that, and also that she was having a problem speaking around the false teeth. I'm a linguist, so this sort of stuff stands out ot me, and really took me out of the episode.

But what *did* impress me was Dawson's take of the fully human B'Elanna. Her voice was the same, but quieter, meaker, gentler. Normal B'Elanna has soft moments like that throughout the series. It was a really nice touch. B'Elanna the Klingon should have just sounded like the normal B'Elanna was she was furious and fighting, which happened often. That would have seemed natural, less forced.
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