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- Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 4:44pm (USA Central)
Chain of Command, Part II
This pair of episodes arguably throw an interesting light on Star Fleet Command's view of Jean Luc Picard by this stage in his career.
The fact is that - although the Enterprise was clearly pre-assigned to lead the Federation response in the event of a Cardassian attack in this sector (a fact the Cardassians learnt, leading to the ruse to capture Picard) - Picard was apparently NOT scheduled to be its captain in these circumstances. As a result, he has no knowledge of any contingency plans, which of course disrupts the Cardassian's plans.
Why ? Jeliico's behaviour gives us clues. Jellico assumes that the Enterprise crew has become slack - and the evidence suggests he may be right. Perhaps the crew's lack of edge reflects a going-off-the-boil of its captain ?
Personally, I think Picard's experience in The Inner Light DID have a profound effect on his character and that this change is reflected in (i) the tenor of all subsequent episodes (even the best ones), (ii) a more pronounced "softness" in Picard's character, and (iii) a resulting loss of edge among its crew. Maybe Ryker can sense it too which is why he keeps getting so antsy the whole time.
Whatever the reasons, by this stage Starfleet apparently don't see Picard as the right captain for the Enterprise in a time of war.
A counter-argument to this is that Picard is only relieved of the captaincy so he can run off to do spec-ops making use of his theta band experience (as per the Cardassian plot). This is probably the case but I rather like the idea that all Picard's escapades have lead to some serious re-evaluation at higher levels in Starfleet.
- Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 3:46pm (USA Central)
-Marc Alaimo was excellent as Gul Macet. (He later played Gul Dukat in DS9).
-The writers decided pretty quickly to abandon that weird Cardassian headgear that we see in the first couple scenes. We don't see them wearing it ever again.
-Colm Meany has already shown by this point in the series that he is an EXCELLENT actor. His delivery is always subtle and pitch perfect. So glad he got the opportunity for more depth in this episode.
- Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 3:44pm (USA Central)
A Night in Sickbay
Someone once commented that he wants to punch Archer in the face.
If this is the "breast" Enterprise has to offer, the lineup to punch Archer will just get longer.
- Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 3:35pm (USA Central)
I actually really liked this episode. Great example of scientific debunking of snake-oil salesmen. Also Ardra is played in a very charismatic way. Surprised it is so disliked by so many.
I can see that it may have been more appropriate in TOS than in TNG, but still: good stuff.
- Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 3:02pm (USA Central)
It was strange that Trip and T'Pol fretted about the mining vessel going to warp inside the system, since just a few episodes prior when Columbia launched it went to warp the moment it cleared the dock.
- Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 2:24pm (USA Central)
@Clint the Cool Guy: You're right, TNG never did school well. Ideas about 24th Century education seem to contradict each other within the series.
In Season One (the episode where the kids are abducted by the Aldeans) there's a father scolding his perhaps 8 year-old son for not doing well on (or not completing) his calculus assignments. This fits in well with the notion that somehow mathematical or other school subjects of today will be "child's play" to the children of tomorrow - although I strongly disagree with this idea. I don't think the 12-16 hours, 6 days a week of Grammar School that Shakespeare endured - which was largely lessons on Latin and the Classical authors, such as Ovid - would be tolerable in the slightest to today's generation of kids. And I doubt that calculus will ever be "easy" for kids to learn, unless we genetically engineer future generations, or make learning by osmosis (computer-to-brain link up) possible.
But nor do I agree with the Montessori pre-school setup that passes for "school" on TNG. Or maybe they only meet up to have play time together, and learn the core subjects on their own in their quarters? I don't get it.
- Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 1:56pm (USA Central)
The episode showcases Picard and Vash's relationship dynamics, which are incredibly powerful and lovely. The Robin Hood story only enhances their differences, as they play the story according to their personalities - Picard the noble, and Vash the rogue. I love how neither Picard nor Vash will change themselves for the other, yet their natural rhythms lead them to appreciate the other. They don't need to be together for long; their relationship seem perfect for the two of them.
- Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 1:17pm (USA Central)
Six Degrees of Separation
There were two scenes in this episode that managed to pull off the very rare trick of being pulse-poundingly suspenseful, yet ROFL hilarious:
--When Baltar walks into the bridge and remarks "oh, there you are", casually flipping Shelly's little shirt doohickey (Tricia Helfer's reaction of surprise and indignation at his familiarity was a great little acting moment) and then engages in a "where is she"/"she's standing right next to you"/"you can all see her?!?" dance with Adama and Tigh.
--When Baltar is trying unsuccessfully to first delete the enhanced image and then to just destroy the computers it is on.
Four stars from me for those two scenes alone. Bonus points for the Starbuck-Tigh interaction (another neat trick: when you know someone is making a reverse psychology move on you, but they get your dander up so much, it works anyway), and the scenes with both Boomers, on Caprica and in the Galactica (Grace Park is so frackin' hawt--it was nice to see her get her own "glowing backbone" moment, and her loving caresses of the Cylon raider were sexy as well).
- Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 11:51am (USA Central)
The line is intriguing, but I hear it as saying that the process is simply incomplete. He *doesn't* have certain memories but he 'sees' where they should be, recalls references to them in other memories.
- Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 11:43am (USA Central)
Remember, all of the Doc's initial medical knowledge, and his basic functions like sensory intake and language ability, were all "uploaded" to begin with. *He* never learned English (or Fed-standard, or whatever). *He* never went to medical school. He 'knew' the feel of a hypospray in his hand before he ever touched one.
If all of that can be integrated to create the basis for his existence in the first place, I'm not sure that there should be any difference when later memories, that he did make for himself, are broken off and then restored.
- Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 9:31am (USA Central)
No particular comment other than the fact that I was reading these comments on my smartphone before the episode was even finished. I didn't have the stomac to go through another round of cliché Klingon philosophy.
Except maybe, one more comment: before I started reading the comments I was looking for the name of the actor who played the leader of the Special K's. What do I know him from? Which series did he play in for me to recognise his voice. I was suprised to find a completely unfamiliar name and no series or movie to link him to. And then came the answer in Jammer's review. Funny how many people thought the same thing.
- Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 8:47am (USA Central)
What's interesting about the phrasing "apparently on a few occasions I have been projected into other locations" is that it sounds like some of his memories were not perfectly reintegrated, but instead more uploaded like they were someone else's, but he knows they happened to him.
I wonder if he remembers the events of important Doc episodes like "Lifesigns" in that manner, or if at some point they were able to integrate them in such a way that he actually remembers them.
- Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 7:36am (USA Central)
As someone who loves diversity among humans, I'm a little exasperated by how latter-day Trek so often depicts nonhuman peoples as having *remarkably similar* phenotypic variety to humans. "Justice" and "Code of Honor" may not be great but at least they don't make that mistake.
Dave in NC
- Mon, Sep 29, 2014, 9:35pm (USA Central)
I was about to post the sane thing.
My interpretatiohn was it took a few months for B'Elanna to track down the files and it happened "between" episodes.
- Mon, Sep 29, 2014, 4:11pm (USA Central)
T'Pol has recovered 99% from the epidermis cracking, and only visits Phlox about the remaining 1% left on her wrist. Then she asks how to treat it, when 99% of it healed without treatment.
- Mon, Sep 29, 2014, 3:19pm (USA Central)
@Petrus The first major issue that I had, was the fact that everyone visible on the planet, was white and blonde. Given Gene Roddenberry's usual commitment to diversity in Trek series, (and he was presumably still alive at the time this show was made) I find that surprising, and disappointing. Beauty can and does exist among other human phenotypes.
First of all white blonde people are attractive and this planet just happens to only have white people on it. The writers shouldn't change their story to fit our human percentage of races. Look at the episode code of honor. I'm pretty sure everyone on that planet was black and I'm sure you wouldn't say they were ugly.
- Mon, Sep 29, 2014, 12:33pm (USA Central)
Another perfect example of Janeway being an idiot and the prime directive not working. Even though Paris had already gone through with it she decides to condemn the entire planet to death, perhaps some of the humanoids would evacuate but it doesn't even look like they're prepared to do that.
I don't buy the argument that the prime directive prevents them from saving that planet, who is to say that the oceans belongs to that humanoid species that is destroying it? There was mention of other lifeforms in that ocean and since they weren't even aware of anything below 1000ft or so then who's to judge the intelligence of other the animals in the ocean? In essence a Federation vessel has caused the death of countless species by allowing one to be reckless.
- Mon, Sep 29, 2014, 10:02am (USA Central)
The Dogs of War
As for fundamental issues being returned too....
I pretty much disagree with Kira's character being re-hashed. We DID keep going back to basics with her, but I feel like each time she was different and she learned something NEW from it.
One thing I DID like about Kira working with Damar was that for her, I didn't feel like she was out to reform him (at first). She'd have to TRULY hate him to say what she did after his family was killed. And she didn't even do it for a good reason, it was Garak that pointed out to her that it might do some good... she had just shot her mouth off. Her hostility was right beneath the surface.
It wasn't until the were all beaten, stripped away of everything, living in a basement with all their comrades killed that I think she finally saw what Damar COULD be. And THEN she thought about trying to shape him into it. I think she does some of her best acting of the entire show (and so does he) as their 2 characters subtlety change over 10 episodes.
But even little things about Kira change a lot over 7 years. The woman who felt stupid about wearing the costumes in "Way of the Warrior" still felt silly in a holosuite in "His Way" but much less so (and was playing along in S7 in "Take Me Out..." and "Badda Bing...") Her relationship with Sisko, Bashir, O'Brien, Dax they all subtlety change over 7 years. It's really nicely done when you look at it.
But Torres? She just never seems to learn from her uneasiness with her Klingon past. It just always seems to come back to bite her. She never totally makes peace with it.
- Mon, Sep 29, 2014, 9:45am (USA Central)
The Dogs of War
"You didn't find episodes like Night, Extreme Risk, Timeless, Infinite Regress, Nothing Human, Counterpoint, Latent Image, Dark Frontier, Course: Oblivion, Juggernaut, Equinox, Dragon's Teeth, Memorial, Unimatrix Zero, Flesh and Blood, The Void, Workforce, Friendship One and Endgame to showcase darkness of tone? "
Of course there were dark episodes, but I only rarely got the feeling Janeway was beaten down by the world the way the DS9 crew were supposed to be by the war. Things like Flesh and Blood, Dark Frontier, and The Void (all among my favorites) showcased an optimistic Janeway. Not the Janeway from Night, Equinox and Friendship One.
For me the "Janeway Problem" is a lot like DS9's "The Sound of Her Voice". A serviceable episode in a bubble... but Sisko's problems with Kassidy and Miles/Julian's isolation all seemed to be really brought up at random. And then never addressed again. I felt that way about Janeway. She went totally emo in Night, then it popped up again in Equinox and then again in Friendship One through the end of the series.
If she wasn't participating in the fun because she was beating herself up about stranding them and all the people that died under her command instead of that she was the captain (Picard skipped a lot of "the fun" too)... I just wish they had been more explicit. In a lot of ways her arc (and characterization) feels yo-yo like.
Again though, I'd like to point out that I'm not faulting Mulgrew. She sure as held sold every single one of those emotions in Equinox, even if I didn't care for the characterization.
- Mon, Sep 29, 2014, 9:26am (USA Central)
@Tricia - No argument about the lack of followup, but he DOES mention it again in Future's End.
"STARLING: Try to be a little more grateful, Doc. The schematics I downloaded from your ship indicate you were stuck in the sickbay twenty four hours a day.
EMH: I recently suffered a severe programme loss and I'm still in the process of retrieving my memory files, but apparently on a few occasions I have been projected into other locations. Undoubtedly you're using a similar procedure. "
- Mon, Sep 29, 2014, 6:28am (USA Central)
Sonya Gomez should have died. Too much makeup and not enough acting skills. Rest of episode was great.
- Mon, Sep 29, 2014, 4:42am (USA Central)
The ending bothered me too. Having seen the rest of the series, we know that his memory loss never really comes up again in any meaningful way. It also never happens again, even though he continues to expand his program. I don't think he shows up at all in the next episode, 'False Profits', so maybe he was recovering. (i.e. B'lana or Harry was recovering his memories and downloading them back into his file). It would have been nice if they had mentioned it though. I actually think it would have wrapped things up better if he had winked at Kes and B'lana at the end, and let them know he was joking.
- Mon, Sep 29, 2014, 12:56am (USA Central)
Change of Heart
At the very least, Worf should be reassigned. You can't leave him on the same station with Dax -- how do you know a similar situation won't arise again?
And I think you have to demote him as well. The word *will* get out -- you can't appear to do anything but come down harshly on his behavoir.
"You won't make command" sounds like a real consequence, but in the context of a TV series, it's far off and nebulous... and they didn't even stick with it....
As for Klingon morals -- wife vs. military necessity. He's a Klingon warrior, not a Klingon farmer. I think the choice would be pretty clear.....
- Sun, Sep 28, 2014, 11:53pm (USA Central)
This is a really, really great hour of DS9. Without repeating the good points everyone already mentioned, I want to point out a couple of things that bother me about the comments here:
"What bothers me here is that Sisko literally steered Dukat to his end. Dukat was vulnerable, emotional, and more or less putty in Sisko's hands. What does Sisko do? Make Dukat face his worst side of himself, without offering alternate perspectives or even so much as telling Dukat he needs to own up to his actions."
I'm not sure what alternate perspectives Sisko could or should have offered here. He eventually plays Dukat's game (after being beaten with a pipe, don't forget) and Dukat reveals himself as a racist, narrow-minded monster. He isn't looking for a new perspective on his conscience or a new way to see the world; he wants Sisko's approval for what he already is. The terrifying thing about Dukat is that he genuinely believes he was benevolent. His frustration all comes from being unable to articulate it so that others can see it as he does. Problem is, Dukat's views are too twisted and, yes, evil to make others agree.
"Dukat has always had this darkness inside of him ever since the occupation, but it's Sisko's behavior here that makes this darkness come forward, in the worst way."
Dukat has darkness inside of him, and so does every other Cardassian military officer who's been indoctrinated with the Central Command's propaganda. The Bajoran occupation had already been running for 40 years before Dukat took over - so what does that say about Dukat? What does that say about the type of person who would seek out that position? Certainly the occupation took its toll on him, and regardless of his efforts to run a "kinder, gentler" occupation, his view of Cardassians and Bajorans was one of racial supremacy. Like Jammer pointed out, the Cardassians shouldn't have been there at all. Full stop. His inability to even see this as a possibility damns him and entire generations of his people. A philosophy can be evil and those who both act on it and BELIEVE IT should be called out as evil as well, excuses be damned.
"When Sisko starts calling him "evil" I was thrown - since Sisko's assessment was clearly wrong. Was the episode intending to show Sisko as a merciless judge, stripped of empathy by the hardships of war and the burden of command? That would have been understandable and an interesting development of the character! But by the last scene it seemed that viewers were meant to actually agree with Sisko and consider Dukat evil rather than sick."
I just don't understand this interpretation. What sympathy does Dukat deserve from Sisko? This is a man who climbed the career ladder into becoming the prefect of an enslaved world. Before he even committed any atrocities, he was *already* a racial supremacist. Despite years of opportunity to reflect, he still doesn't see the problem that makes all of his reform excuses moot: superiority (however one defines it) does not justify slavery. His version of Kira doesn't even bring this up, instead saying only what he is able to understand about the situation: "we hated you and didn't want peace!" He doesn't understand why the Bajorans hate him, though, or why fighting was what they felt was their only option. That's what's damning.
Dukat is clearly mentally ill in "Waltz". I am not going to dispute that. But his mental state is not an unsympathetic or misguided portrayal of evil on the part of Moore. It's simply the dramatic breaking point that causes him to open up and reveal his true colours. The "shades of grey" that everyone trots out about pre-"Waltz" Dukat shouldn't be misunderstood as ambiguity in his belief system. Dukat's "grey" comes from the fact that he was charming and witty, and that his character arc occasionally brought his goals into alignment with our heroes'. His stories were rarely 'good guys vs. Dukat'.
But don't fall into the trap that “greyness” means his brutal, racist beliefs are up for ethical debate, because they are straight up black as night. The writers and Alaimo's performances did such a good job giving personality to Dukat up to this point in the series that they created a monster who the viewer doesn't hate, and probably even likes. But for some viewers “not hating” ends up as sympathy, which then usually ends up as approval or apologism. The number of internet posts I've seen over the years that glorify characters like Walter White, Tony Soprano, or Vic Mackey is pretty immense. It's a really bizarre halo effect that takes place.
tl;dr: Dukat is mentally ill, but he is also evil and has been for far longer than he's been ill. Don't confuse the two.
Anyway, my own review of this episode would be pretty glowing and I'm not going to write it all since I've already written enough. I love “Waltz” for Alaimo's performance and for Sisko's characterization. At the beginning of the hour, our hero chastises himself in his log for wishing death on Dukat – it's all very Star Trek and to be expected. By the end, he's been forced to unload both barrels on the man and suddenly that Federation party line for procedure and tolerance gives way to the raw passion of a man whose belief in utopian values goes far deeper than a simple oath-taking.
My only real issue with “Waltz” is Dukat's escape. I understand the character is too valuable to be killed, and I wouldn't presume to out and out say that killing him would have been “better”, but “Waltz” feels like such a natural conclusion to Dukat's story that having him live to fight another day almost makes me feel like the episode pulled its last punch.
I know where the story goes from here, though I won't judge it until I finish my re-watch. A lot of commenters seem to see this as the beginning of the end, but any failures on the part of future episodes to interpret what should move forward from “Waltz” shouldn't be blamed on “Waltz” itself.
3-1/2 stars, though “Waltz” probably contains enough excellent material to make it a full 4 star gem. Regardless of star ratings, this is a DS9 classic and my close-second favourite Dukat show after S4's secretly excellent “Return to Grace.”
- Sun, Sep 28, 2014, 10:45pm (USA Central)
@ skadoo...if those were all the same spherebuilder she sure changed her clothes a lot.
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