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Chrome
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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Chrome
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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Yanks
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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Yanks
Thu, May 26, 2016, 8:29am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

Robert,

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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Yanks
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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Luke
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. :-)

7/10
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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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Luke
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.

HOLODECK TOYS - 21 (+3)

9/10
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Luke
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?!

10/10
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Jdole
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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Luke
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!

10/10
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Ivanov
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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Ivanov
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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Robert
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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Skywaler
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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Yanks
Wed, May 25, 2016, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

Don't understand your point Robert. I'm not condoning the experiments, but the knowledge gained shouldn't be suppressed.
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Eli
Wed, May 25, 2016, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Non Sequitur

I don't understand why the guards couldn't just stun Harry right away when they started chasing him.

Also, Harry could have proved he was saying the truth by saying that he didn't know his warp theory. Think he would have embarrassed himself on purpose?
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William B
Wed, May 25, 2016, 5:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Extreme Measures

To be clear, I agree that Bashir was initially primarily concerned with bringing down Section 31 rather than with Odo, and it was O'Brien who had to remind him at several points in the episode (in the initial darts scene and then when Sloan tempted Bashir with information at the end) what their actual priority was. In the end I think it is important that for his flaws and his tendency to abstraction over immediate, interpersonal concerns, Bashir does actually agree with O'Brien and views saving Odo as a more immediate and important goal than Section 31. One could say that even this is just a function of Bashir being convinced that it is better to fight a battle that is possible to win and that curing Odo is itself a way to thumb his nose at Section 31, but I tend to view the two goals -- saving Odo, defeating Section 31 -- as mostly distinct, and 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.

Given that Odo having the cure helps save tremendous lives, I think that the narrative does support Bashir and O'Brien saving Odo, which is on some level what I think is evidence that there is good in Bashir's tenacity and idealism, IF he focuses it on specific and achievable good. He has to give up on destroying Section 31 to save Odo, but he is willing to risk a lot to save Odo partly because he does care about Odo as his patient and his friend/acquaintance and partly because he does think what was done to Odo is wrong and is motivated to do something about it. 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. "The Quickening," IMO, was similar in that Bashir's initial approach was proven wrong, but when confronted with his errors he decided to continue trying to accomplish difficult/impossible feats and eventually succeeded in doing good, albeit on a much different scale than he had originally believed himself capable. So I think that some of Bashir's impersonal abstract principles are still shown to be valuable rather than purely ego-driven. Or at least I hope so. On that level, I think Bashir does adapt; it is Sloan who fails to adapt and not only dies in the process, but dies trying to prevent Odo from getting the cure that allows him to end the war (or, at least, significantly reduce the fatalities).
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William B
Wed, May 25, 2016, 4:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Extreme Measures

I certainly agree that Melora and Sarina were mistakes, professionally and personally...though I think that the implication is that he did actually help Sarina with his treatment, though the relationship was a major error (and conversely, that Melora may have been helped by the relationship in a small way even though his attempts to fix her "condition" were a mistake). I mostly wanted to say that Bashir does want on some level to connect to others, but I think he does not know how and is totally overwhelmed when the prospect presents itself. I will be on the lookout for to what extent his feelings are personal next time in The Wire. I do agree that there is a tendency to want a kind of hero worship in his patients (and anyone he connects to).
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Wiliam B
Wed, May 25, 2016, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Extreme Measures

"When making a strategic assessment I can see why some viewers might feel that cornering the Founders only made them attack sooner and harder, and that this could have hurt the Federation, but based on how the story is told it seems evident to me that the intention was that the virus was the real linchpin in convincing the Founders to surrender, since it gave Odo a reason to go back to them and offer the cure as an olive branch from the Federation."

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. Unless Section 31 planned to let Bashir get the cure from Sloan. Given that the Federation was intent on Odo not curing the others (and it had seemed as if going to speak to the Founder directly was a spur-of-the-moment decision by Odo on the Defiant), at the very least Section 31 and the Federation's judgment must have been wrong in wanting to withhold the cure under all circumstances once the Founders were infected, whether or not it was good judgment or not to infect them in the first place. This is part of what I have a hard time understanding about that moment in WYLB; Odos overture to the Founder relies on convincing her that the solids are not as big a threat as she imagines, but he also presumably carries with him the information that the Federation infected the Founders, before the war started. Presumably within the Link Odo could either omit the information he did not want her to know or, more likely, was able to communicate his ambivalent-positive attitudes (the Federation may have infected us in self-defense but there are Federation solids who have helped me and given an offer of surrender they can be trusted). I like to think that Bashir and O'Brien's willingness to risk their lives to save Odo did help Odo make the case for solids and for the Federation's trustworthiness in not only not invading the Gamma Quadrant Dominion location but apparently in restraining Klingons and Romulans from doing so as well.
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Peter G.
Wed, May 25, 2016, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Extreme Measures

In the cases of Melora and Selina we see what happens when Bashir does actually connect with a patient; it overwhelms him and his idea of what's going on gets way out of control. Maybe part of it has to do with what we normally call overthinking situations, where for a genetically engineered mind might mean the equivalent of eons of ruminating on what small minutiae mean. His relationships with both of these women were clearly mistakes, both professionally and personally.

I agree that his best example of a real relationship with a patient was the woman in The Quickening, but I think part of that had to do with the fact that she was offering herself as his assistant; she was the feeling up support he needed from these people while he was saving them. So although she was not for the most part functioning directly as his patient she was certainly serving up large doses for his ego on a constant basis. The way she made him feel about himself seemed more pronounced than any way he might have felt about her.

It's different, I suppose, with male patients, and on the few occasions when he had a significant male patient (Bareil, Sisko, Odo) his role in helping them was mostly relegated to being a plot point. Even his feelings about Bareil becoming a robot seemed more on principle than anything to do with Bashir's personal feelings about Bareil, whom he didn't really know.

One reason why I think Jadzia and Bashir wouldn't have worked that well is because she was never going to feed into his ego or his sense of being smart. She was always the type to show off and take the superior position socially, and would never give him the satisfaction of him looking smarter than her. I think this situation would have been self-defeating for Bashir in very short order. Contrast with the more humble and meek Ezri, who we could legitimately see as admiring Bashir for his gifts whereas the competitive Jadzia would only rarely, if ever, have done so.
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William B
Wed, May 25, 2016, 3:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Extreme Measures

Anyway, while Bashir is obsessed with finding cures to the point where he fails to see his patients, he also does invest many of his patients with very intense focus and feeling, though intiially it is abstract. That he frequently fails to notice what his patients actually want is a sign that much of this is about him -- Melora, Garak, Goran'agar, the woman in The Quickening, Sarina -- and yet in each case I feel that Bashir does genuinely feel a connection to them. In some cases the connection is mostly in his head, but there is a sort of desperation there for someone to return signals he's putting into the dark. Jadzia remarks on his clinginess and persistence as well, of course. It's possible that Bashir is unwilling to connect to others except on his own terms, of course, in which case his aloneness is "his own fault," and he is certainly egocentric, but I largely think he wants to be able to connect to others but feels constantly isolated and is paranoid of rejection even from his closest friends. Much of this is because he is "closeted" because of his genetically engineered secret, too, though I think part of "Inquisition's" power for me comes from Bashir's fears of everyone abandoning him (and him *deserving* this) persisting after that is revealed. This also links him to Odo, who also to some degree wants to connect to others but does not know how and so settles for problem solving as an attempted substitute for interpersonal connection.
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Peter G.
Wed, May 25, 2016, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Extreme Measures

"I agree that Bashir cares in a more detached abstract way about his patients, though I brought up The Wire specifically because I think he was especially motivated due to his personal connection to Garak, and in particular his willingness to continue to help him regardless of what he had done."

if you watch the episode again and focus on Bashir I'm not sure you'll come out feeling like his main concern was for Garak as a person. There is something about Bashir becoming close with Garak that strikes me as appropriate in hindsight, because both of them are consummate professionals that put their work ethic above their personal feelings. Throughout The Wire Garak tries incessantly to rile Bashir up with various stories about himself, and to make him question his intent to help Garak with characterizations of himself. But Bashir was, if anything, unmoved by Garak's admissions, and remained implacably focused on completing his task, which was to 'fix' Garak. This strikes me as a very Garak-like way to proceed with a task; leave personal feelings out of it and complete the job. It is, in fact, Bashir's *refusal* to connect with the personal stories Garak is telling that enables him to remain so implacably committed to healing Garak, even to the point of flying a runabout right to Tain's house (!!!). I mean, this surely cannot be merely Bashir caring that much about his patient; it's not just above and beyond, it's straight-up driven. Now that I think of it I can see how this aspect of Julian, along with his isolated world of imagination, could appeal to Garak on a personal level since the two of them have these things in common.

For all Garak says of Julian's misguided principles and naive notions, I think he saw a lot of similarity between them in their impersonal approach to their work, their pride in their skills, and their tendency towards isolation.
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William B
Wed, May 25, 2016, 3:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Extreme Measures

I'm sure most people do break under torture, but the issue is the reliability of the information provided--to what extent information is accurate versus what the interrogators want to hear. But that's neither here nor there. Regardless I don't think that it is necessarily wrong to say that an organization can make poor judgement calls even in the future.

I agree that Bashir cares in a more detached abstract way about his patients, though I brought up The Wire specifically because I think he was especially motivated due to his personal connection to Garak, and in particular his willingness to continue to help him regardless of what he had done. I do think that Bashir's reliance on his intellect as his primary source of deriving meaning from his life contributes to his habit of living in his own mind that you mention. I like to think that this is not entirely a matter of some intrinsic difficulty caring about others but partly a product of believing himself worthless except in his intelligence, which he wasn't born with anyway, with early alienation from "Jules" and a life spent regretting the non intellectual pursuits he felt he had to leave behind (tennis etc.). His relationship with Miles is presumably so meaningful because it seems likely he never had "normal" boyhood friendships, being likely isolated from his peers first by being far less and later by being far more intelligent than them.
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Peter G.
Wed, May 25, 2016, 3:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Extreme Measures

@ William B,

Bashir certainly does care about his individual patients, but we may note upon observation that his 'caring' about them tends to be of the more impersonal variety, just as Odo cares about solving crimes but no so much about the individuals he helps when solving them. Contrast Bashir with Dr. McCoy, who had a true human connection to his patients almost invariably, and laughed with them and gave them reason to hope and get through it. Even McCoy's 'tough' attitude was a way to help patients get through the worst of it. But Bashir is more of a technician, where his way of helping is by being smart and succeeding, *knowing* he's done the right thing. The success condition is therefore mostly in Julian's head, rather than in his connection to his patients, and this theme is also focused on intently by the series. We're shown repeatedly that Bashir is far more interested in feeling smart than in connecting with others, and evidence of this is not only his penchant for repeated trips alone to the holodeck (until S7) but his desire to succeed as we see in The Quickening. In that episode we're given a first-hand view of Bashir wanting to be smart rather than humane; he wants to explain away the peoples' fears rather than sympathizing with them. That's why he doesn't understand Trevean and why his resolve is shattered when Trevean has to come in and clean up his mess.

So while Bashir does care about helping, it always seemed like it was more about the idea of helping rather than care for the individuals involved. In Odo's case we know for sure he does care about him, but how much of this cause is purely personal concern for him, and how much is theoretical outrage? Bashir wants his answer and Section 31 is standing in his way, so he's going to best them and get it by any means necessary.

"It is like doing a torture narrative: the most central case against torture, to me, is that it is unacceptable to inflict serious harm on another, but whether or not it is actually effective IS STILL RELEVANT. People do bad *and ineffective* things all the time"

This is true...now. But while some things won't change in the next 300 years some will. I have a hard time believing that the Obsidian Order was wasting its time using "ineffective" interrogation methods. When Garak says that he could have gotten information out of anyone, I believe him. The fact that intelligence agencies currently use methods that are both morally questionable, illegal, and ALSO ineffective just means to me that they are sloppy (like the Tal Shiar). I don't think it should be assumed that techniques like this *need* to be sloppy, it's just that they are right now. I'm also not entirely convinced by claims made that torture is ineffective; this seems like a good line to sell the public but I feel like 99.9% of people would break without much ado under the right conditions. But that's a side issue; the main issue is that I don't really believe that intelligence agencies 400 years from now would be using incompetent methods of extracting information. That being said, the worst of what we see from Section 31 doesn't really involve torture but rather intrigue and the plot to commit genocide, both of which obviously could be effectively executed without the need to discuss whether or not it is possible to do those things (the analogy being whether it is actually possible to forcibly extract information from someone). Whether committing genocide is itself a good strategic move is more akin to discussing military strategy than the effectiveness of methods. Once it's establish that the bomb works, or that the virus works, how to deploy it is another issue entirely. In DS9's case it's counterfactual to suppose what would have happened if the virus had never existed.
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