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- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 1:54am (USA Central)
Just watched this ep over at streamup.com.
"The Slipstream lets them travel 10,000 in a matter of minutes and Janeway orders the damn thing taken apart! I could almost hear the log entry: "If the crew can't get us home in one big jump, then I'm not interested. Its the principle of the thing!"
This is exactly what I was thinking. Why couldnt they make little jumps at a time? 3 star ep from me.
- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 1:33am (USA Central)
Past Prologue: B+
- Garak is excellent, and I already know that we’ll be seeing more of him. He’s a wonderfully quirky character, and as morally ambiguous as the rest of this episode. I do wonder why he approached Bashir of all people (other than the fact that Bashir is a regular). Perhaps he sees that Bashir is full of enough self-importance to be easily manipulated.
- I’m liking Bashir, though he’s almost too bumbling at points – unlike “Emissary”, this episode didn’t showcase his medical skills to balance out the naïve fluttering. But that first scene with Garak was funny, as was the follow-up where he tries to convince the bridge crew to wire him.
- Odo. His nostalgia for the simpler days under Cardassian occupation, his inability to fake pretense, his basically straightforward way of handling Kira’s indecision – this is a character I’m growing more and more interested in.
- And speaking of Kira, this was a great episode for her. The conversations with Sisko, Tahna, and Odo reveal a certain degree of guilt about working with the provincial government of Bajor and the Federation, but I like the argument she makes about still fighting for her people, just in a new way.
- The whole plot really fit together rather neatly. Tahna is manipulating Kira while working with the Klingons, who are planning on betraying him to the Cardassians. Garak, somewhat fascinatingly, plays both sides of the fence by roping in Bashir, which allows Sisko to apprehend Tahna instead of the Cardassians. Sisko and Odo test Kira, who decides to betray Tahna. I enjoyed guessing who would end up playing who.
- Thematically rich episode, dealing with the delineation between warfare and terrorism, past and present, duty (to one thing) and duty (to another). Going back to “Emissary”, I might argue that Kira’s decisions in this episode validate some of the stuff Sisko says about pursuing the unknown based on our culminated experiences; she knows that the actions of the Kohn-Ma are no longer viable so she chooses to go with the Federation.
- Tahna is pretty good in the earlier parts of the episode, and I like the ways in which he tests Kira. Even his eventual goal of destroying the wormhole is understandable. But it was probably a mistake on the writers’ part to let him start slapping Kira around; that very quickly burned away my sympathy for him and eliminated some of the episode’s moral ambiguity.
- Avery Brooks was better in this episode, although he was given less to do. I’m enjoying Sisko’s relationships with Kira, Odo, and Bashir, but Brooks is just so stiff, physically, in certain scenes, and some of his deliveries are quite wooden.
- The Klingon sisters were pretty goofy and awful, though functional within the plot.
- The chase sequence at the end was weak, and poorly edited to boot. I was confused as to what was happening at the end in regards to the wormhole and the bomb.
- Little follow-up to certain aspects of the pilot, especially the religious ones.
- Jake and Quark were no-shows this week, while Dax and O’Brien were given little to do. This is certainly understandable given the show’s large cast, but it’s still disappointing.
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 11:09pm (USA Central)
Hey all. Not much of a Star Trek fan, but people have been telling me DS9 is up my alley for years, so I've decided to finally give it a go. I thought I'd post some thoughts and a grade for each episode as I go along, since this seems to be a good site for that. Remember, I haven't really seen much other Trek (watched a few TNG episodes and it didn't do much for me), though I have a layman's knowledge of the universe and its characters. Hopefully I'll still be able to enjoy DS9: I'm a sci-fi fan generally, and the serialization and character focus that I've heard this show possesses appeals to me.
These are just my opinions. I'll do bullet points, good, mixed, and bad, although I'm sure some will get lengthy. I won't hold the special effects against the show, as I understand that it's from the early nineties :)
Without further ado,
- Strong introduction to most characters; the ensemble seems diverse and interesting enough to handle many different stories. Standouts include Kira, Odo, and Dax.
- The political situation vis-à-vis Bajor and the Cardassians is immediately compelling, especially as embodied by Dukat. More broadly, the premise of the show has lots of things going for it: Religion, wormhole gods, post-occupation governance, etc. As a Trek virgin, if the religious aspects of this show go against things established in other Treks, it probably won’t really bother me as long as it’s interesting, since I have no frame of reference.
- Much of what occurs between Sisko and the Prophets is interesting; particularly their childlike innocence as to the nature of linear human progression.
- “Domestic inquiry” – some cuteness between Sisko and his wife.
- Kira commanding DS9 against the Cardassians.
- O’Brien and the computer. They’ll have to have a talk.
- Sisko and Dax; nonromantic friendships between male and female (kinda?) characters are cool.
- Kira and Bashir, where the good doctor basically calls the Bajorans provincial – one of the great things about ensemble shows is to see how different characters work when paired together.
- Ben Sisko. There are many times in the episode where Avery Brooks’s acting is less than ideal; he often seems overly mannered in a way that Patrick Stewart – who himself plays an intentionally mannered character very naturally – does not. The prologue was much less affecting than it could have been because of this. A few bizarre moments, especially his little yelp on the beach with Jennifer. Yet there are moments where he transcends, particularly during his talk with the Prophets. I enjoy that he is neither overly brooding nor particularly bitter; rather, he is a good man thrust into a situation he would rather not be in (commanding DS9), and then another (being the titular Emissary).
I was surprised that his arc of overcoming Jennifer’s death was seemingly resolved so quickly, but his final scenes in the wormhole were effective, where he comes to grips with his halted existence, were effective. Also good: His scenes with Picard and Quark, the latter of which shows the character’s pragmatism. Both scenes with Picard worked for me: Sisko’s imprudent anger, Picard’s disgust, and their accord at the end.
I do wish the episode had featured more of his response to being told by the Opaka that he is essentially destined to become the savior of the Bajorans – a people he is not at all acquainted with – via finding the orbs and their holy realm.
- Which leads me to my next point. Bajoran theology is interesting if not jaw-dropping, and I suspect there is more to these eight Orbs than is explained in this episode, but all the information that has been conveyed so far seems a bit rushed, especially because the discovery of the wormhole beings would presumably be an incredible theological milestone for the Bajorans. Also underdeveloped: the Cardassians’ reasons for wanting to make contact with the Bajoran Prophets. Hopefully these things are explored more fully in future installments; follow up is good!
- A lot of pretty boring technobabble, but I knew this was coming.
- That scene where Sisko and Dax experience different realities on the wormhole-god-planet is pretty painful; Avery Brooks is further brought down by bad dialogue and the attempt at humor is lame.
- The Cardassian commander (not Dukat, the other one) is extremely overacted.
- Jennifer is okay when she is a manifestation of the Prophets, but the actress is as stilted as Avery Brooks during his vision of the beach.
- Probably the Sisko-wormhole alien segment drags on longer than was necessary.
In short, some excellent world-building and character introductions, and the initiation of themes that I hope the show continues to explore (I especially like Sisko’s assertion that the crux of human existence is the unknown). Brought down a bit by under-explained aspects of the show’s universe and some mediocre acting on the part of guest stars and, unfortunately, the lead.
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 9:46pm (USA Central)
Treachery, Faith, and the Great River
Fantastic episode. One thing I really, really like here is the Nog storyline. THIS is how the Ferengi should have been portrayed more often, for some balance and so it wasn't always negative caricature. It's one of the rare cases in which Ferengi philosophy and spirituality is shown in a positive manner and with some depth.
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 5:51pm (USA Central)
ROBERT ― “I can see the consequences, but a Duke doesn't earn their title the same way a Trill earns”
Allow me ask: can you see the *long-term* consequences?
Think of what I wrote of selective breeding. Don’t you believe that the children of joined Trills, whose parents were already in the very top percentile of society, will have childhoods with possibilities of learning far above the average children? Don’t you think that when they have reached adulthood, they will have higher probabilities of passing the necessary tests or requirements to join? In time, will their greater ease at passing the tests not raise the bar?
Should the Trills pass laws prohibiting descendants of joined Trills in a number of generations to join themselves?
If not, how many generations will it take before only the children of joined Trills will be able to pass the necessary requirements?
ROBERT ― “these [Vulcan] laws seem to dictate a lot more than "in the eyes of the [Catholic] church".
To you, perhaps. To a Vulcan, most probably. But to a Catholic?
What is more? “your name and your property”? Is this more? To a Vulcan, perhaps. But what if you believe in God?
Is it possible that laws which are of a very different nature and of seemlingly very different importance can feel equally important to very different people?
I’m just giving you food for thought. But this last question is directly related to "Cogenitor".
ROBERT ― “I think perhaps that too, is in the eye of the beholder :)”
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 3:29pm (USA Central)
"I do find it odd that a species that has five different varieties, which would have undoubtedly have had a bajillion wars with each other"
I think you're thinking too geocentrically, that's what us humans would do, perhaps the Xindi all grew up in peace. I believe the Xindi that was in the mine as a forced laborer said something along the lines of 'There are five different species of Xindi, and five different perspectives of which is the dominant species', this doesn't mean they are hostile to each other.
I thought the Xindi civilization was well thought out, just poorly executed and a poor storyline, it had a lot of potential but was crushed.
First off, why the hell would the Xindi tip there hand with the probe attack? If they needed to test it, why not just test it on a uninhabited world or something. Thanks to that Enterprise goes out looking for the attackers and ultimately convinces them to stop what they're doing, come on, I'm sure a civilization advanced enough to build a weapon to destroy an entire planet is smarter then that.
I've watched every series of Star Trek excluding TAS, and frankly I'm a bit disappointed, it kind of feels a lot like a really long JJ Abrams film, a rubbish storyline that doesn't really make sense but a lot of action, and for me the story line is what really makes Star Trek special. There were some good episodes that I did enjoy, Enterprise did have some unique humor that I didn't see it any other series, and the whole threat of genocide was new and with better writing could have been good, personally I think Braga or whatever his name is ruined the series.
Nice review Jammer, I'm not a big reader but that was a pleasure to read.
Live long and prosper!
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 3:00pm (USA Central)
I'm re-watching DS9 for the first time. I barely remembered the pilot but I found it incredibly representative of how the whole series turned out.
I've liked DS9 but there were some major flaws that give me a love/hate relationship with it. And all of the them are very present in this pilot: the ridiculous religious themes which go against everything that is Star Trek, the Ferengi, but most of all, Sisko. I hate Sisko. And I guess that's why DS9 is my second least favourite Star Trek series (after TOS): Each series is so defined by its captain that if you don't like the captain you can't love the series. Sisko is a hot head, way too emotional, always looking angry. The scene with Picard speaks volume. Not only is he resentful (the reasons for which you may or may not agree with him about) but he is incapable of controlling himself. He looks like a caricature of a human in a bad Vulcan parody act. Impatient, emotional, aggressive... I don't like Sisko. Anyway - I've just embarked on 7 seasons of DS9 so I guess I'll just have to bear with him again.
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 2:41pm (USA Central)
"And our good Spanish Duke doesn't even begin to compare with what a joined Trill is. And as I said, only the best and the brightest get to be a joined Trill. So the best and brightest get joined, and have babies. If you cannot see the long-term consequences of this..."
I can see the consequences, but a Duke doesn't earn their title the same way a Trill earns their symbiont. People (for better or worse) think less unkindly of earned privileges than inherited ones.
"Not really. It depends. A billion and a half Catholics and Orthodox on Earth today can’t get a Church divorce."
Ok, but the Catholic Church is a private institution. It's not quite the same as the government saying you cannot separate from someone you are married to!
"What I am saying is, that in spite of William B.’s thourough analyses of minor details in the Vulcan marriage and divorce rituals, we still know next to nothing about them."
In Amok Time "For you would be gone, and I would have your name and your property, and Stonn would still be there." these laws seem to dictate a lot more than "in the eyes of the church".
"Now, there may be little culture in the US"
I think perhaps that too, is in the eye of the beholder :)
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 2:26pm (USA Central)
Robert, and William B.,
ROBERT ― "I actually don't see Trills failing in the way you suggest.
All Trills CAN be joined. If everyone has an equal chance at a symbiont [...] as long as everyone has an equal shot I will argue that equality is achieved."
I never said otherwise. But you seem to miss the point: being joined is far, far more than being admitted to Starfleet Academy. You are actually tranformed. You become some sort of superior being(s). A Starfleet officer, even an Admiral, only has authority with the framework of Starfleet. Out on the street, he is your average Joe. A joined Trill is a joined Trill everywhere.
I actually had a very interesting discussion once about this, trying to describe the differences between what is a Viceroy, and what is a titled noble: ranks, privileges, and such. It boils down to this: a Viceroy represents the Monarch, and rules in his stead. But his power is confined, in space, and in time. Outside his Viceroyalty, he enjoys lesser privileges. After his term has ended, he is what he was before.
A Duke is a Duke, whether he is 8 years old or 88. He enjoys all the privileges of his rank at any time, anywhere within the realm and the empire, and in the good old days in other kingdoms and empires as well. Until a few years ago when Spain joined the European Union, for example, every Spanish Duke held a diplomatic passport as default. He was seen as an old lineage, an embodiment of history, and a representative of the Kingdom of Spain. He was more than a man.
And our good Spanish Duke doesn't even begin to compare with what a joined Trill is. And as I said, only the best and the brightest get to be a joined Trill. So the best and brightest get joined, and have babies. If you cannot see the long-term consequences of this...
ROBERT ― "What troubles me more (and I wished they had touched on it), is who is Dax? What if Dax hates Jadzia? Could it?" etc.
Good question. It really hasn’t been too well described to us, has it? I guess your guess is as good as mine.
Other than that, a few comments on cultural diversity, ever my main topic:
ROBERT ― ”we're discussing self-determination and equality as universal requirements to Federation membership. Being able to have your divorce denied is a serious (IMHO) violation of #1.”
Not really. It depends. A billion and a half Catholics and Orthodox on Earth today can’t get a Church divorce. We will much, much sooner see married priests in the Catholic Church again ― just like in the early Church, something which the Orthodox churches have maintained to this day ― than see Rome abandon the principle of “usque ad mortem”. I see no problem in this whatsoever: it is coherent. If you believe in a god, and promise him in a holy sacrament to stand by your spouse till death does you part, it is the only thing to do. If you take your god or gods seriously, you must also take your promise to him or her or them seriously.
Most Protestant churches have subverted the sacrament of marriage. And they do so because they maintain the “usque ad mortem” ritual, while abandoning it in practice: the far majority of Protestants ― take the Lutherans ― promise unto God “till death does us part” at the altar, and half of them get a divorce within a decade, and then promise it again to enother. There is a name for this practice, and that name is hypocrysy. Where Catholic and Orthodox marriages are events of the utmost solemnity ― a forever binding promise to a spouse and a god ―, many, perhaps even most, Protestant ones are not.
There are many Lutheran priests (about a third) who are against this, just like there are many Lutheran priests who are against women as priests; I happen to know personally a woman priest who, paradoxically, would vote for denying herself and her sex the option, for instance. But historically, all Lutheran churches have been state churches of the northern European states, unlike the independent Roman Catholic Church. So when these states became more democratic and egalitarian a hundred years ago, they simply forced their churches to be the same.
I’ll give you an example: the present government Minister of the Church in Denmark, Manu Sareem, is a Muslim. He’s a kind and well-intentioned young man, but he knows precious little of Christianity. But it doesn’t matter, because the Church of Denmark is a state church run by an elected governnment minister and his bureaucrats, who then appoint clerics to the positions. The Church of Denmark can just as well be run by a Muslim as by a Satanist.
What I am saying is, that in spite of William B.’s thourough analyses of minor details in the Vulcan marriage and divorce rituals, we still know next to nothing about them. The single act of matrimony is a huge question, even contemplating only Christian churches. When you start considering all the fringe movements ― Adventists, Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, and so on and so forth, in an amazing list ― you realise Christian matrimony is quite the complicated thing.
And keeping with the theme of alien cultures in this thread: how can we be sure that Vulcan matrimony isn’t as complicated a thing? Are we to believe that there is just one simple set of rules and vows and rituals that is used throughout Vulcan? Or are there not quite possibly many regional variants, with certain philosophical differences between them? Are we fundamentalists, and believe only and everything that is explained on screen as the Absolute Truth? Or do we understand that we are most likely only being shown a part of that truth?
It is a huge problem on Star Trek that nearly all worlds are treated in such a simplistic way. We see most worlds treated as a single, uniform culture, and end up treating most aliens as caricatures: the Vulcans are thus, the Cardassians are thus. This can be excellent, and indeed quite necessary, when dealing with stories that require archetypes. But it is also dangerously close to saying that the yellow man is silent and diligent, and the negro isn’t very bright, but he can sing and dance.
We don’t want to say such things, do we? This is why I normally dislike very strongly too much focus on specific details, unless it is to answer specific questions. Otherwise, we end up focusing too much on those details. William B. did a great job of going through many minor details of Vulcan ritual; but to me, much less is needed to tell me what I need to know: the Vulcans are qualitatively different.
The details aren’t really important: trying to analyse them makes as much sense as trying to define some remote, exotic community in a mountain valley in India or China by the six days I spent in their company: it’s best avoided. I am content to know of their existence, and to have a vague notion of who they are.
But when this remote, exotic community doesn’t occupy an idyllic mountain valley in the Himalayas, but a whole planet, I *must* presume that they are not only different from us: they must also be different from each other. Why would the Vulcans ever have developed the philosophy of IDIC in the first place if they were a uniform culture?
It is ironic, isn’t it? I’m guessing that most people on this forum have only the vaguest of notions about true Earth diversity. It puzzles me, for instance, to build on my previous comment to William B., as a Western European, to see the Federation so often described here by commenters as “the West”, and not as what it is truly is, “the USA”. Certain subject matters aside, the very earthlings I see in Star Trek aren’t really my West, and how I predict it will develop. A more Eurocentric 24th century Earth would emphasize the IDIC to a much higher degree than Star Trek does, because it is also our nature: we are, in fact, diverse in Europe. The Earth of Star Trek worships the complete opposite, the traditional “melting pot” philosophy of America.
Who, but Keiko Ishikawa and the Token Indian who is far from the bones of his people, shows any sign of an individual cultural heritage? Picard did, in the very beginning; he even said "Merde!" once, such a beautiful word if you know how to pronounce it, in all its nuances. But Picard's Frenchness was never fully developed, and sadly all too soon abandoned. And all the others are absolutely anonymous: they have no culture.
If I didn't love Star Trek so much I'd be insulted: it depicts my native southern European culture(s) as indistinguishable from the northern European culture(s) I now live in, which is preposterous, and will be three hundred years from now. If anything, people in the future will emphasize old, local rituals and traditions in order to affirm their cultural identity. We already see this happening in the European Union today.
But Star Trek has to resort to Keiko the Japanese and the extremes of the Far East in order to show that vestiges of culture still exist. All other characters are virtually cultural blank slates. Now, there may be little culture in the US, but there is plenty of it, and very diverse, in Europe ― not to mention the rest of the world. And I'm guessing that there will be too in 24th century outer space. The writing of Star Trek, and its vision of the future, merely reflects where it was created.
This is at the heart of the matter of "Cogenitor".
ROBERT ― “It would be fascinating to live in another country for a time though. I'm sure I'd get a whole new perspective on many things I take for granted. So perhaps neither of us is right and both of us see it through the lens of our own experiences.”
Amen, my friend.
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 11:56am (USA Central)
"This episode does not support the idea that Trip's conclusion was right. The very opposite is true. His actions directly resulted in "it's" death for goodness sake."
@Yanks - Surely you can concede that one can come to a correct conclusion and still take the wrong course of action.
That's my take on the episode. Trip's findings were correct, his actions were wrong. And I think the episode supports it.
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 11:11am (USA Central)
Whoops! That last bit makes no sense. I meant to say Verad, not Yedrin!!
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 9:37am (USA Central)
Pulaski has all the arrogance and bombast of McCoy with none of the charm. Throughout the season, she persists in condescending, not only to Data, but to everyone around her. She's just an annoying character, and not at all compelling.
The problem is not Diana Muldaur -- she's an excellent actor. It's just this character -- she's never given any depth or humanity. It's like she's only there to lecture and pontificate.
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 9:03am (USA Central)
Tacking into the Wind
Am I the only one who has a problem with the operation to capture the Breen weapon? It's absolutely ridiculous that Damar would not have been recognized. He was the head of the Cardassian military dictatorship and his face was in the public domain. That's like not recognizing George W. Bush or Bill Clinton if they came into the room. It's conceivable that Garak or Kira wouldn't be widely known outside of their circles, but Damar would be known throughout the Quadrant.
It would have been interesting to have seen a scene where Sisko wonders why Gowron is late for a meeting, only to have Worf tell him that he killed him :-)
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 8:13am (USA Central)
Shades of Gray
"One thing i did note was how different Data had become since the clip shown on the episode where Riker calls him 'Pinocchio' in the holo-forest to how he is now at the end of season 2. "
There is a reason why Data/Worf are fan favorites, and their character development is a huge part of that. The actors just did so much with their roles (going from "Pinocchio" and "sit in the corner and scowl" to what they eventually became).
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 7:01am (USA Central)
Shades of Gray
And so to the end of season 2 on the re-run of the entire TNG series im watching currently. I have a distant memory of having seen this years ago, but feared the worst, even warning 'she-who-must-be-obeyed' - who has watched the re-runs with me and is becoming quite an avid 'TNG' and-everything-else-trek fan, that this is probably TNG's worst episode. True to form, its awful.
Even she picked out most of the first few 'clips' originating episodes which suprised me, but i had to use the fast forward button on the Tivo to get to the end. If Picard had asked the Doctor one more time 'what can i do'? or 'What do you want me to do?'.......
TNG is to me, 'STAR TREK' and its such a shame, i can watch any episode over and over, and have done over the years, i always enjoy it but this.....well. I understand about the strike and saving money etc, but no one participating in it seems even bothered. Even Riker couldnt care less that he might die. With Troi almost hysterical and the Doctor constantly shaking her head at her computer screen thing, its one ill avoid in the future like it just doesnt exist!
One thing i did note was how different Data had become since the clip shown on the episode where Riker calls him 'Pinocchio' in the holo-forest to how he is now at the end of season 2.
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 6:44am (USA Central)
I will (surprise) play Devil's Advocate on the Trill issue. Although it's a great point, I don't know that it's valid.
To put quite simply, we're discussing self-determination and equality as universal requirements to Federation membership. Being able to have your divorce denied is a serious (IMHO) violation of #1. Vulcans fail here (although again, it very well could have been the only way to get those first 4 to the table that Earth had to make concessions to them).
I actually don't see Trills failing in the way you suggest.
All Trills CAN be joined. If everyone has an equal chance at a symbiont, but not everyone will get one this is no difference than the aristocracy of being a Starfleet cadet or a starship captain. There are not enough spots/ships/slugs for everyone. But as long as everyone has an equal shot I will argue that equality is achieved.
"Add to that the fact that only the best and the brightest are allowed to join, and given enough time, you have your caste, institutionalized or not, as you point out."
This could quite literally be used as an argument against any of those things (Starfleet academy membership, being a captain, etc.). When something is a rare commodity there needs to be criteria for doling it out. Look at the (very excellent) episode of Enterprise where they look at who was going to get the first space flight/first captain's seat. They were all deserving/qualified/whatever. There was only one NX ship and now Jonathan Archer is the most important person in Starfleet.
If there was actually a caste system where you could inherit a slug or whatever, I could see your point... here I think you are seeing inequality between a Joined Trill and a Trill, but all Trills are born equal (minus their genetic makeup of course).
I see it may trouble you that joining imparts a sort of immortality, but it doesn't bother me. A rare commodity can't be given to everyone.
What troubles me more (and I wished they had touched on it), is who is Dax? What if Dax hates Jadzia? Could it? Could Dax have failed to "serve" Yedrin because he murdered Jadzia? Trills seem to be equal (all have the same shot at a symbiont) and they have self determination (they choose to be joined or not joined... although Ezri's example is troubling there too), but what of the symbionts? Are they willing participants? Controllers? Slaves? Something else?
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 4:52am (USA Central)
The jokes were acceptable. What killed this episode was the "Gilligan's Island ending." It's so unbelievable Voyager wouldn't prioritize getting back to the Alpha Quadrant over these two idiots, over which, any number of paths could have been taken, like jailing them, ignoring them.
In other episodes where they lost an opportunity like this, it was a huge deal. Here, "shit."
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 4:02am (USA Central)
The Changing Face of Evil
God damn, this episode was a tour de force! I particularly liked weyoun's anecdote about the Breen's homeworld being quite moderate in climate. The Breen homeworld being portrayed as a frozen ice planet has been a running gag on the show for multiple seasons now.
- Wed, Nov 19, 2014, 11:08pm (USA Central)
“And here the Trill society, viewed with the discussion on this thread in mind, starts to encounter problems: the joined Trills are likely to become a caste of their own.”
Very good point, this and the following. There can be no doubt whatsoever, for instance, that the joined Trills would always receive preferential treatment in your accident scenario ― other Trills be damned.
One might argue that this would be to save two lives rather than just one ― in a way similar to that of a pregnant woman. Or one might go further, and say that in a way, saving a joined Trill would be saving the lives of all previous hosts also, who in a way can be said to live on in the joined Trill.
But one might also just say it plainly as it is, and is shown on Star Trek: a joined Trill is simply considered more valuable in Trill society than an ordinary Trill. That much seems obvious. Whether that is because of some reverence for a certain embodiment of history they represent, or sheer recognition of their rarity, or excellence is irrelevant: the joined Trill are, to use your word, superior.
The truth is that the very fact that joined Trills exist *IS* preferential treatment, as you hint at: the joined Trill will have every advantage in virtually any situation, with vastly superior knowledge and experience being the most obvious. Add to that the fact that only the best and the brightest are allowed to join, and given enough time, you have your caste, institutionalized or not, as you point out.
All this may seem at odds with our Western, human thought. But again, these are not humans, and certainly belong to the more exotic types on Star Trek. Can we understand the joined Trill at all?
On a purely personal note, I have no problem whatsoever in recognizing all sorts of preferential treatment imaginable (well, almost) to joined Trills. As I tend to see everything as abstractions, I could not care less whether the Trill are blue, have spots, or pointed years. But they have one extraordinary feature: they can be two beings in one, one of which is itself, in a way, many beings.
The true nature of the joined Trill of course exceeds my power of abstraction: I am like a child who is told about lovemaking: I have only the vaguest possible understanding of reality.
But even that vaguest possible understanding tells me that the joined Trill are something more. Much more. This is valuable, and precious, and deserves preferential treatment.
But it all boils down to lovemaking. In the literal sense, William B. wrote of the Vulcans, and pon farr. In a more abstract sense, we have the symbionts, and the cogenitors, and the likes. All these are strange, alien concepts we can only hope to understand as the child understands lovemaking. Unless you’re a fundamentalist who only sees what’s on screen, that is. The fundamentalists are like little boys who mostly care whether the aliens are blue or have spots. They think everything you need to know is on screen; they can tell you precisely how many spots Jadzia Dax has, will believe they fully understand the joined Trill, and will get terribly excited about it and share their profound understanding with anyone who will listen.
As for me, I am the curious child, wanting to know more about lovemaking. I seek out naughty pictures. Perhaps even see a wicked film. But I know that I'll never understand it, never truly know it until I've tried it. And I guess that in Star Trek, there are some things that we humans just can't try.
So this is quite simply the way Trill society has evolved. And in the end, it is either this, or they stop joining and witness the extinction of the symbionts ― and a part of exactly what makes them Trills.
And such are the cultural idiosyncrasies we must accept.
- Wed, Nov 19, 2014, 9:19pm (USA Central)
Exodus, Part 1
Funny thing about turtles, they're so... 'turtle-y'. Strange that.
- Wed, Nov 19, 2014, 8:23pm (USA Central)
According to Memory Alpha, the writers initially wanted the world the backup Doctor "awoke" on to be Romulus, or some other Alpha Quadrant planet. Rick Berman vetoed this idea, sensibly it seems, because it seems a given that Alpha Quadrant species would know from history if, when, and how Voyager reached home. Quite naturally the backup Doctor would ask about that, and so Berman's thought was that the producers didn't want to deal with that issue with three years left to go in the series. Presumably species in the Delta Quadrant wouldn't necessarily have that knowledge. However, it strains credulity a bit, I think, to suggest (even implicitly) that by the thirty-first century space travelers from the Alpha Quadrant wouldn't have explored and perhaps colonized parts of the Delta Quadrant. Even Q said (in "Death Wish"), "Humans aren't supposed to be in this quadrant for another hundred years," meaning the twenty-fifth century. I suppose one could speculate that denizens of the Alpha Quadrant had made it into the Delta Quadrant as far as, say, the Friendship One planet but not as far as Quarren's planet.
Also, who knows how long a year is on Quarren's world? And why do seemingly all the denizens of the Delta Quadrant *know* they're in the Delta Quadrant? The notion of dividing the galaxy into quadrants and giving them names has to be an Alpha Quadrant–centric convention.
- Wed, Nov 19, 2014, 7:55pm (USA Central)
First of all, thank you for your excellent comment.
Second, I'm sorry that you should have read so much about the episode. But you should definitely try and watch it when you have the chance, even if you now have read how the story goes.
Anyway, thank you for mentioning the Vulcans in your excellent example. I've had some of the same thoughts about them myself (it's hard not to), and they are indeed the prime example of what I mean: room must be made for certain cultural idiosyncrasies in Federation member worlds; we can’t expect every alien culture to be just like us. And here we see that the Federation respects native customs and practices very different from the Federation Earth's, as long as the species overall can be said to adhere to the main guiding principles. The only question is of course: how much idiosyncrasy is to be tolerated?
Unfortunately, the reason the Vulcans are the best example of what I mean is because they are perhaps also the only example, or one of very few ones. This is what I meant with:
"This is because the TNG Federation has failed, abysmally, in depicting true alienness within its member planets. How are the Bolians different from humans? They're blue! [...] it is Star Trek's fault that we were never presented such true, cultural diversity"
“I can't recall a single episode of TNG that deals with serious ethical problems arising from the native customs of a member planet.”
The Bolians may have customs that are even more outlandish than the Vulcans: but unfortunately, we simply don't know. So might the Benzite. And, and... But we just have never seen them, or heard of them.
So a fundamentalist might argue that Bolians are essentially just like humans, except that they're blue. A fundamentalist might argue that Benzites are essentially just like humans, except for breathing another atmosphere and having two thumbs on each hand. And so on and so forth. And I cannot truly argue against it: Star Trek has never given me the means to do so. But I can do more than point at the extreme improbability of that scenario: I can point at how petty, and how sad it is to only accept that which is exactly like oneself.
WILLIAM B. ― "That said, I do think Andy's Friend and Paul M have a point about the ethnocentrism of the Federation as we see it. I agree that it's not a very convincing depiction of alien life, though like Elliott I don't really think this was ever the function of alien races in Trek anyway, so I'm not too concerned. However, at least on some level, Humanity really *is* The West, in a sort of overwhelming way."
Two comments: Star Trek is of course mostly social commentary, and deals with the human condition. I understand perfectly that both for that reason and for budgetary reasons, almost all aliens on Star Trek are humanoids, often incredibly so. And in the vast majority of cases, I too, like you, am not concerned: I not only don't mind, but wouldn't have it otherwise. We need these humanoid characters to be able to tell stories about ourselves. But having said that, I believe that the third gender in "Cogenitor" transforms this episode from social commentary to Strange New Worlds. The cogenitors are New Life, akin to the Trill symbionts, or the Kriosian empathic metamorphs: they represent something alien, something we may only ever vaguely understand.
And finally, we must remember that Star Trek, and Roddenberry's vision, betrays itself. Because Star Trek clearly isn't always about a humanity that cares for Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. Star Trek often isn't even about humanity. Star Trek is clearly all too often about what you call a "Humanity [which] really *is* The West".
Consider this: you have discussed the pon farr, and Vulcan arranged marriages. There are many countries in the world today where arranged marriages are still practiced at every level of society. One of them is no small country, and is one in which I have lived: India.
There is very little to suggest that by the 24th century, Indians won't still be practicing arranged marriages. It is perhaps surprising that so many well-educated Indians continue this practice in our day and age, but there you are: they do. I myself, as a European of a suitable family, was offered a considerable number of suitable girls in marriage while in India. Often, an arranged marriage is the solution even for well-off Indians abroad: and it is so overwhelmingly domestically. Why? In a few cases because people are forced to. In the vast majority because they want to: because of a very different mentality.
Where is *this* human diversity in Star Trek?
Why have we never seen, on TNG, a 24th century Indian arranged marriage?
It's funny: I read people who want to see gays on the bridge. I read people who want to see blacks in the captain's chair. But no one here asks to see two Indians professing their undying mutual respect and affection in an arranged marriage.
Lem was right: "We don't need other worlds. We need mirrors. We don't know what to do with other worlds."
- Wed, Nov 19, 2014, 7:06pm (USA Central)
In my opinion, a brilliant two-parter. Everything led up to the scenes between Sisko and Leyton, and the Defiant and the Lakota, which I could watch over and over again.
I just have to add, because of some previous comments, that I am one of those people who enjoy Mr. Brooks' acting.
Both parts - 5/5.
- Wed, Nov 19, 2014, 5:36pm (USA Central)
William B, a great take, as usual.
There's another Federation member that could be an interesting study in this respect: Trills.
We know that there is a great difference between Trills who aren't joined and those who are. The first are essentially humans with spots; we can safely assume that everything that applies to your typical specimen of Homo sapiens, applies to them as well. The latter, however, differ greatly. They are a symbiosis of humanoid and non-humanoid life, each of which contributes to the new gestalt personality. Even more than that, the symbiont serves as some kind repository for personalities, memories, and experiences of all previous hosts. The longer the symbiont survives, going from host to host, the more intricate, more complex does the new gestalt personality become. Jadzia Dax, has 7--strike that--8--wait, is it 9?--"personalities" to juggle inside that body of hers, and Dax only goes back some 300 years. There are probably joined Trills out there that reach back much futher than that. It's almost a form of immortality (while it lasts). I mean, Curzon is not really dead, right? He informs what Jadzia is today. And if we are to argue that he truly died, wouldn't it then mean that Jadzia, such as she was before her joining, in a manner of speaking also died? By most accounts, she's not the same person anymore, nor can her body survive the extraction of the symbiont.
Yet, there are few symbionts available for joining. I forgot the numbers provided, but they're low. Hence, Trills who want to become joined must pass through a rigorous process to determine the best, most intelligent and emotionally stable candidates that will then undergo the joining.
And here the Trill society, viewed with the discussion on this thread in mind, starts to encounter problems: the joined Trills are likely to become a caste of their own. Not necessarily as an institutionalized measure, but as a virtue of their, well, superiority in almost every quantifiable way. On the average, they'll be much more intelligent and rational, in better control of their emotions, with a broader perspective and several lifetimes of experiences to draw on. They'll be more desirable as potential sexual partners, they'll probably always have advantage when applying for jobs because, let's face it, they'll usually be better at them.
It's almost akin to genetic engineering, which we know is forbidden in the Federation (or is it Earth only?) Imagine a whole subrace of humans... or don't; there's Khan for you. Something like this is bound to create a potential for deep rifts in any society, which would then have to come up with measures to counteract or diminish these devastating effects.
There will be "practical applications" of this divide. What if two Trills, one of them joined, suffered life-threatening injuries in a car crash and there isn't enough time to treat both of them? In human society, medical professionals would generally treat the one with greater chances of survival. But would that hold in the Trill example? Does the life of one Trill hold the same weight as the life of a joined host-symbiont, especially if he/she/it has, say, a thousand years of experiences and personalities inside. I can easily imagine such venerable Trills achieving special status in their society, reserved for the rarest of treasures. They may become institutions in their own right, the living bonds that tie those that came before and generations that will follow. Their continued existence and well-being may become one of the society's paramount concerns.
But when all is said and done, is such treatment really fair towards "the ordinary masses"? Why does this one have to die so that "the important one" might live? I can easily imagine such scenarios asserting themselves in different walks of life on Trill every day.
- Wed, Nov 19, 2014, 5:30pm (USA Central)
Rules of Engagement
For some reason, that bell the arbitrator rings irritates me to no end. It's being gently rapped by a soft rubber mallet. You call that ringing a bell?
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