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E2
Tue, May 31, 2016, 2:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: Trailer: Star Trek Beyond

@nooffenseintended


I'll admit to having enjoyed both '09 and '11. Nothing wrong with some high-dollar fantasy space explosions!


But I can remember what made me care about Trek in the first place. Sure, I showed up initially for the space explosions. I became attached because of the underlying optimism of the original series, and TNG, and DS9, Voyager and Enterprise as well. (What I don't remember is anytime when admitting to actually liking the original show made you cool- you were better off admitting you played D&D or liked ballet...)


The idea that you could use low-budget camp sci-fi to inspire people- to suggest that all people could work together for a future that would be measurably better than today's realities, while enjoying shirt-tearing fist fights and phaser-gun action- That's what made the show worthy of note. That is why so many people still care so much.


It isn't that the last two films have been bad (although there are certainly arguments to be made!) But that they have consciously chosen to jettison what made Roddenberry's universe special.


Can you squeeze such ‘middle-brow’ stuff into a two hour movie? Meyers & Nimoy sure did. Should you, in 2016? I don’t know. I like having something between the 2001:ASO, Interstellar and the Star Wars, Transformers style films.


Sure, there is plenty of hate & vitriol to go around (Hey- this is the internet!) But I feel what you’re seeing (at least on Jammer’s pages) are merely disappointment for potential wasted, or the mourning of the loss of an old friend.

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Mike
Tue, May 31, 2016, 10:41am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Blink of an Eye

I can ignore all the physics issues but I am unable to get past the fact they left after being freed. Would it not be worth sticking around nearby for a few weeks or a month to see if they can help you get home? They would likely have some sort of safe transwarp type flight within a few centuries of their time and would no doubt figure out a way to communicate with Voyager despite the time shift. I would have stuck around for a bit. What do you really have to lose.

Alternatively, the planet inhabitants really have no reason to go into space as anything they send would be outdated as it reached space and probably overtaken by a new generation of ships minutes later. Also, based on how quickly they procreate compared to the rest of the galaxy, they would own the delta quandrant in short order if desired.
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BobT
Tue, May 31, 2016, 10:38am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Someone to Watch Over Me

@John,

You seem like a well-meaning, albeit embarrassingly inexperienced, young kid, so I advise you to read carefully what Andy's Friend wrote about your comments. You clearly have a lot of maturing to do, but some intelligent words -- from someone who's experienced the real world in a way that you're too young to have done -- may be of help.
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Niall
Tue, May 31, 2016, 10:02am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Afterimage

For me, this episode is a surprising and jarring misfire that damages the characters that appear in it, especially Garak, Ezri and Sisko (perhaps to some extent also Worf, Bashir and Quark). The Worf/Ezri material mostly works (though not as well as it could), but the Garak material doesn't work at all (for the reasons William B outlines), and Sisko and Garak aggressively using reverse psychology on a vulnerable individual comes over as misguided in the extreme (as William B also writes above). Fortunately, Echevarria was able to fix in Penumbra/Til Death what didn't work here in terms of Ezri/Worf - I felt Penumbra did a much better job of handling the two characters and their complex situation.
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Yanks
Tue, May 31, 2016, 9:04am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

Agree Robert. You'd think the "superior" DS9 would have broached that! :-) Seems they were too worried about how to make Sisko a god. (sigh)

This episode always irked me. I'd just sit there, watch it and shake my head.
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Yanks
Tue, May 31, 2016, 8:57am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Fifth Season Recap

Here are my VOY S5 ratings.

Night / 3.50
Drone / 4.00
Extreme Risk / 2.50
In the Flesh / 2.50
Once Upon a Time / 2.50
Timeless / 3.00
Infinite Regress / 4.00
Nothing Human / 1.00
Thirty Days / 3.00
Counterpoint / 4.00
Latent Image / 3.00
Bride of Chaotica / 4.00
Gravity / 3.50
Bliss / 3.00
Dark Frontier / 4.00
The Disease / 1.50
Course: Oblivion / 4.00
The Fight / 0.50
Think Tank / 3.00
Juggernaut / 3.00
Someone to Watch Over Me / 4.00
11:59 / 3.50
Relativity / 3.50
Warhead / 3.00
Equinox Part I / 3.50

Total: 77
Average: 3.08

Wow, my first ST season rated with a average score of over 3! The only other series I have completed is DS9 and it didn't get there.

Voyager really has taken off since 7 joined the crew. The writers have also stepped up their game.

On to season 6!
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Robert
Tue, May 31, 2016, 8:53am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

@Yanks - "Don't agree with this though. What's to stop others? Law. You can't do much more than that. "

I wasn't disagreeing with you. I was just stating the other side basically. I actually think Spock would say that the urge to throw the data away is an illogical emotional response.

How many of us would want to set fire to data that describes how a loved one was painfully frozen just to be thawed later? But on the other hand if your kid fell in a freezing lake are you going to not want everything used to save them?

It's why I still think this episode would have been better with Kira and the real Krell. You could have upped the stakes in all sorts of ways. But either way the episode would have been better if the moral dilemma was ultimately resolved by the loved one and the victim (either Odo/Kira or Tom/B'Elanna. Janeway doing the authoritarian thing didn't really work.

It actually COULD HAVE worked, but the episode didn't even try to be about Janeway/Torres' relationship. They centered it largely around the Doctor, which was an odd mistake. His decision to delete the data at the end was weird.

Or hell, since it's easier to be pigheaded when YOU'RE dying they could have had this be about Ziyal and Kira. Now that would have been perfect. Ziyal is dying, and is in Kira's care, and the only one that can save her is Krell, a current dissident that fled Dominion leadership that Kira has to track down and decide to work with to save Ziyal. There you go, now you have a Jew needing to track down and beg help from Mengele to save her surrogate daughter/sister. That's an interesting moral dilemma.
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Yanks
Tue, May 31, 2016, 8:50am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Equinox, Part I

Why do the EQ crew come off as bad guys?

.... um.... because they ARE bad guys? They all knew they were screwing up. Which seemed to be fine until Mom came home from work, noticed the cookie crumbs and started investigating.

Outstanding episode here. I'm sure we will debate much while reviewing part 2. :-)

Love the "evil doctor", but the BLT stuff was ... well blah. :-)

I won't go 4 stars, but 3.5 here. Apt "cliff-hanger".
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Yanks
Tue, May 31, 2016, 8:30am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Warhead

I will admit, I haven't watched this one in awhile, but I don't remember ever thinking it was a bad episode.

This is a very "trek" episode of Voyager.

Harry gets a leadership challenge, new form of intelligence, pretty good story with Voyager ready to sacrifice itself in an attempt to stop the smart weapon.

I don't think it's a 4 star episode, but a solid 3 star one for sure.
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Yanks
Tue, May 31, 2016, 8:00am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Relativity

Getting ready to start S6 Robert.

I actually think I ranked S4 higher than 5. I'll post numbers soon.

So while I don't dislike S1-3, Voyager really hit her stride in season 4 IMO.
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Yanks
Tue, May 31, 2016, 7:56am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Sacred Ground

Kes hadn't experienced these powered yet. (I believe)
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michael
Tue, May 31, 2016, 3:45am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Perfect Mate

First rule.: Any TNG episode with a Ferengi is going to be bad. That said, I still don't get the appeal of watching one of the most trite plots in TNG -- The Visiting Ambassador. Visiting ambassador comes aboard, shit better not happen or the blah, blah, blah is doomed. Shit happens. Picard steps in. War averted, treaty signed, whatever. bittersweet ending.

The classy whore made it only slightly better
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Nate
Tue, May 31, 2016, 12:37am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Latent Image

And please stop comparing this series to DS9. We do not want to sit here and read about why you think DS9 was a superior show.
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Chrome
Mon, May 30, 2016, 9:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

Oh, and I disagree with Jammer when he says there isn't a line of drama. If Yuta had successfully assassinated Chorgan, the Enterprise's efforts for peace would've fallen apart. The tension was present the whole episode as we were presented with a fragile relationship between the Acamarians and the Gatherers.

Again, Riker had a *chance* to take on a Kirk role in this episode and he passed on it so he could do his job.
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Chrome
Mon, May 30, 2016, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

@Kiamau

"When the away team's on the planet and Riker calls out for them to vaporise the noranium, he, Geordi and Data shoot the noranium but Worf clearly fires up at the Pirates. Classic Worf."

Worf was providing suppressing fire. Riker, Geordi, and Data needed to stand to make their shot at the noranium. If Worf wasn't firing at the Gatherers, the three would've been easy targets.

Also, this one's alright with me. We actually see Riker make some smart command decisions in spite of his libido and it basically saves the mission. 2.5 stars.
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Nate
Mon, May 30, 2016, 8:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Latent Image

@Stefan

Please stop. You are a moron. Everyone pretty much is complaining.

Anyways.

This episode deserves 4 stars in my opinion. Always liked the Doctor and when it comes to the argument about is he a real person or not, well, he is not. But this crew is allowing his program to develop and adapt. End the end, it is still a hologram that is prone to malfunctions. Malfunctions that need to be fixed. I think that the crew took a very humane approach by not completely restoring it to the original EMH software. They did the best they could for it. Very intriguing episode.
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navamske
Mon, May 30, 2016, 8:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Empath

I thought Kathryn Hays did a lovely and convincing job of conveying the character of Gem though facial expressions and body language alone. In particular I liked the scene in which she places her hand on Spock's shoulder, obviously reading his emotional state, then gets a look on her face which clearly communicates that she has found the emotion of caring in the Vulcan.
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William B
Mon, May 30, 2016, 5:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

I was just reminded today that earlier versions of this story focused on Jake uncovering a conspiracy as a reporter, and in particular that an intermediate draft had him uncovering what Sisko was doing. While I think it was the right decision not to have that happen in this episode given the amount of material there is, I can't tell you how much I would have loved to see the show Go There of having Jake uncovering Sisko's actions ala Watergate, maybe in season seven. Granting for the moment that the fact that Sisko succeeds is part of what makes this episode so chilling, the possibilities of another character, especially Jake, finding out about this and how their image of Sisko would adjust really excite me. An interesting might-have-been.
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William B
Mon, May 30, 2016, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges

@William H., I agree.
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William B
Mon, May 30, 2016, 4:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap

Ratings for season seven, some of which differ a little from what I wrote at the time, all of which are (as usual) provisional. In parentheses, the difference between my ratings and Jammer's.

Image in the Sand: 2.5 (-.5)
Shadows and Symbols: 2.5 (-1)
Afterimage: 2 (-.5)
Take Me Out to the Holosuite: 1.5 (-1.5)
Chrysalis: 1.5 (-.5)
Treachery, Faith and the Great River: 3.5 (=)
Once More Unto the Breach: 3 (=)
The Siege of AR-558: 3.5 (-.5)
Covenant: 2 (-.5)
It's Only a Paper Moon: 3.5 (=)
Prodigal Daughter: 1.5 (-1)
The Emperor's New Cloak: .5 (-.5)
Field of Fire: 1.5 (-1)
Chimera: 4 (=)
Badda-Bing Badda-Bang: 2 (-.5)
Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges: 3.5 (-.5)
Penumbra: 2 (-1)
Til Death Do Us Part: 2.5 (-.5)
Strange Bedfellows: 3 (=)
The Changing Face of Evil: 3.5 (-.5)
When It Rains: 3 (=)
Tacking Into the Wind: 4 (=)
Extreme Measures: 2 (=)
The Dogs of War: 2.5 (-.5)
What You Leave Behind: 3 (-.5)

I know that my ratings are on the low side for the "fluff" episodes, and I will think about whether that's fair or not; the ratings are based on my enjoyment combined with some analysis, and in the fluffier episodes my enjoyment level is the biggest barometer, and that's going to be even more subjective than usual. The main place I went up in rating is "Extreme Measures." I...still don't like the way the episode played things, but having thought about what the episode did manage to accomplish with Bashir/Sloan (and Bashir/O'Brien) makes me think that it's ultimately not a failure per se, even though it's still a disappointment to me.

In any case, I'm overall pretty happy with this series, despite having some problems with it. I'd say that the biggest problem I have is that I still feel alienated from Sisko pretty consistently, with a few exceptions. The episodes where I felt most interested in him are probably "Homefront"/"Paradise Lost," "Far Beyond the Stars," and "In the Pale Moonlight." I don't quite know why this is the case. It's ultimately a bit of a weird show, going in many different directions at once, with a lot of threads which don't quite come together and many that do and quite successfully, with many great, memorable characters in its huge extended cast and fantastic episodes. I am sad that this rewatch is over. I might still write some more on some episodes, just as I might go back and write some more on some TOS/TNG episodes.

My girlfriend has expressed some interest in watching Voyager, so I will probably leave a few comments there, depending on how far we go. I did not enjoy Voyager as much as TOS, TNG and DS9 when I was younger, but I will try to keep an open mind; we'll see whether it becomes a full rewatch or just dipping my toe back into the Voyager world.
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Ini
Mon, May 30, 2016, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Silent Enemy

Really Dr. Phlox, you showed a screenful of your patient's medical records to a person who had no business viewing them, while acknowledging it wasn't exactly the right thing to do? For.. pineapple cake?
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William H
Mon, May 30, 2016, 4:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges

I enjoy the episode, but I find the too perfect foresight given to Sloan a problem, and one that pushes the story towards promoting his position, rather than being a balanced look at a moral question.

When the story consistently shows Sloan to judge right, and Bashir to only be able to serve as a helpless patsy, its hard to feel like the story is asking us to believe in Bashir's judgement.
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William B
Mon, May 30, 2016, 4:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Tacking into the Wind

Just one quick note: I like how all three stories here touch on a theme Ron Moore expands upon in BSG, the question of what a society has to do to *justify* continuing to survive. While it is not quite as large-scale in the Bashir/O'Brien plot, there is some degree of Bashir/O'Brien, Worf and Damar all coming up against the difference between the ideals of their civilization and the reality that complicates it, and in all three cases decide that this is the time they must make a stand. The Worf material is a satisfying close to material that goes back to "Heart of Glory," and the big confrontation at the end on the Jem'Hadar warship keeps several threads going at once. It's really wonderful.
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William B
Mon, May 30, 2016, 4:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Inquisition

@Peter G.,

I know I should write more carefully. I actually do think that it's quite likely that Sloan was actually working to recruit Bashir for Section 31 (and unlikely that he only decided to go for that at the episode's very end), and running experiments to test his responses to certain kinds of pressures.

The other read is that I think that the test was, as you suggest in the first, one of Bashir's resolve. It's kind of an entrapment situation -- put someone in a sufficiently difficult situation (in a simulation) until they either:

1) as possible, here, agree that they should go over to the enemy in desperation, with their present life on the line;

2) eventually become convinced that they are a double-agent and sign a false confession; or

3) simply fail to be convincingly patriotic -- behave in a way that is deemed by the investigator to be consistent with how an ordinary person behaves.

However, on 3, I agree that ultimately Sloan is only play-acting the role of the HUAC agent who fails to take into account that innocent people often behave in ways that are consistent with a theory that they are behaving guilty. I just wonder to what extent a sufficiently long session could make someone with a sufficient degree of insecurity agree to a confession, either because they have become convinced of their guilt (or started imagining false memories which they were told were mostly-blocked) or because they come to believe that this is their only option. I think that probably Sloan as presented is too smart to accept a forced confession as any proof, even if the forcing is lighter than the type of false confession we imagine the Cardassians or Romulans might be able to extract. I guess my point is that I think that in duress, people are much more able to be convinced of difficult things and their resolve slips, and I think that being able to distinguish false from true confessions (or judging someone's reaction to a scenario accurately) is something that could still be done wrong. I may, of course, be overstating how breakable people's minds are, but I think that there is the suggestion here (or in "Second Skin," or in "Frame of Mind" for a different example regarding insanity instead of double agentness) that it takes a remarkable strength of will to hold out against psychological assault convincing someone that they have a second buried identity and are mistaken about themselves.

I agree that the episode makes the most sense though if we view Sloan as trying to recruit Bashir, and it is pretty interesting to consider to what extent Section 31 has genetically engineered operatives. That said, given that genetic engineering is not easily detectable -- Bashir went a long time without detection -- I'm not sure that it would be obviously true that Section 31 trained genetically engineered operatives would not be able to be in Starfleet. I wonder how much Bashir was a potential recruit specifically because of his position on DS9 and its centrality to the war...though if that were the case, it becomes odd that the one time Sloan did try to use him was on a mission *away* from the station, albeit one where Cretak was present.
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William B
Mon, May 30, 2016, 3:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

So, I have already started writing a longish thing on this episode (and, by extension, the closing arc, the season, the series...) but it is hard to pull my thoughts together. I think I will write something short for now, just to get some sense of completion for the moment. Overall, I'm okay with the finale. I don't love it, though I love individual scenes; I don't think it's a failure, though there are certain elements that I consider failures. The Odo/Founder rapprochement and her surrender is a good example of my mixed feelings about the finale. I don't find that element incomprehensible at all, ultimately -- I think that the series as a whole has set up Odo's turning the Founder fairly well, and I have already started on what I think it means and its significance. However, I also agree with, e.g., Ric that the moment falls flat emotionally. I agree with Peter G. above that the writers do understand more or less why the Founder changed her mind after Linking with Odo and that it is probably a mistake to believe that the writers simply boxed themselves in on this particular plot point; I don't really have a problem with it on that particular level. However, as with other elements in the finale, I think it is rushed and lacks some of the poetry that the show has elsewhere. Nor do I think it is wrong for fans to feel unsatisfied with that moment and scene. Most of my feelings about the finale are like that -- that I think that things mostly work, but that due to the amount of material that had to be covered (and some of the material that didn't strictly *have* to be, of course), some things fall flatter than they should, are given less justification than they could, and so on.

For the most part, I think the Cardassia material was strong, especially the series of gut-punches delivered to Garak. (Notably, the focus really does shift away from Damar to Garak as far as Cardassian POV goes early on, which is I think a wise choice since Garak is the more central character.) Garak's final scene with Bashir is my favourite in the episode and maybe the most radical development in the show. It occurs to me that to go from the pitch-black despair, covered with a thin layer of vicious irony which can only barely hold him together, to Vic singing and a long shot of the writers hanging out is a kind of tone whiplash that is incredibly hard to take...but I also feel glad they were willing to accept that tone change. I think that the show was never going to end on that extreme a downer note for the central, opening-cast characters, and so to try to have an ending that does *not* jump from such extremes of experience would basically mean reducing the despair shown in the Garak material, rather than bringing a much more sombre tone to the post-war material, and given that choice I'd rather accept the tone mismatch in order to know that we *have* that Garak scene. Cardassia ends up fighting on the same side of the Federation, but *too late*, and the tragedy that they are ruined on all sides, with both Weyoun and Martok indifferent to their fate, is harrowing. I would like to watch some of the scenes again, especially the laughter-before-the-door open scene, which I think is important insofar as it really does sell how intrinsically Kira has become *one of these guys* and the differences have faded (without her actually forgetting what they, Damar in particular, did), though the gallows humour still felt a little forced when I watched it. The Founder's desperation was particularly well-played, and despite my comments about feeling a little unsatisfied by the Odo/Founder scene, I do like the resonances that it includes -- the way, in particular, Odo comes to the Founder when she is isolated in a bunker, surrounded by enemies, mirrors the way the Founder managed to turn Odo's head in "Behind the Lines" once Odo's "side" was something of a minority with less and less chance any moment.

It's interesting that the people who end up having the most to do dramatically in representing the Federation Side at the end are Kira and Odo. I guess in the end I'm not that concerned that Bajor's entry into the Federation was never secured; I would have certainly liked some dialogue about whether or not there were plans for it underway, even dialogue announcing that it was uncertain. But Kira's ability to be both Bajoran and to take on Federation values, and the way that Starfleet uniform is part of the package that allows her to be able to work with former enemies in the Cardassians, satisfies some of the mythological elements of what Bajor's entry into the Federation would mean without actually having to go through the process. For Odo, well, I said I have started writing about it, and I have, but in summary I think it's tremendously important that he can say and believe that the Federation has its flaws but does not believe in conquest, and I think especially the fact that he owes his cure to Bashir and O'Brien risking their lives is a huge factor...though in the end I feel a bit frustrated that after having the Federation complicit in attempted genocide (it's not just that Section 31 did the virus, but that the Federation then refused to consider even talking about curing them until Odo decided to spontaneously) the argument still rests on the Founder finally seeing the light on Federation goodness. I keep going back and forth on this.

The goodbyes mostly work for me; I do think that aspects of it get excessive, and I find both the song and the montage hard to get through. The way characters are all basically sorted into their own species -- O'Brien, the main human character who is neither mutant nor part Prophet, goes to Earth, Worf to Qo'noS, Odo to his Homeworld, Garak to Cardassia, Rom to Ferenginar, Sisko as part Prophet to the Celestial Temple -- suggests to me the implication that DS9 is a kind of intermediate place, where people grew and changed on their way to (eventually) going back "home." It makes sense to me that Ezri, Julian, and Jake are still on the station, as some of the younger Federation types (who are still growing and becoming in a way that others haven't). Of the goodbyes, Kira/Odo is the most touching but Bashir/O'Brien is also quite affecting, the Quark/Odo ending was a little obvious but still a nice counterpoint, and the little moment between Ezri on the Promenade and Worf was a quiet, understated touch ending a dynamic which was not always dealt with in quiet or understated ways. (Bashir/Garak is a different kind of scene -- the other endings can seem bittersweet, but there isn't much sweet there.) The tone of postwar parting reminds me a great deal of the "M*A*S*H" finale, which I like and which has been not unjustifiably accused of being bloated and sentimental. Despite the fact that the Dominion War was not present at the series' beginning, this whole series has been about something like war -- starting with rebuilding Bajor in the immediate aftermath of devastation, after all -- and the mixed feelings about vicious conflict ending but of people scattering now that this is done mostly come across well, albeit largely only in individual one-on-one scenes. (I was left cold by the party at Vic's, for what it's worth.)

Here is what I have positive to say about the end of the Prophets/Paghwraiths plot: I have felt for a while that Sisko's biggest job with respect to Bajor is to prevent them from self-destructing for a couple of years until they can stand to be themselves. "Covenant," for its flaws, pointed out how Bajorans' desperate need to worship someone can lead them straight back to Dukat, and this has been a common theme in the series, not just that there are Bajoran sectarian conflicts but how quick they are to follow any authoritarian leader (Jarro, Winn, Akorem -- Akorem is not evil but they sure changed everything around for him), and also their desire to lionize people like Opaka, Li and Sisko. "Accession" mostly implied that Sisko's primary job as Emissary was to be an object of worship who doesn't tell the Bajorans to ruin their lives, because if he refuses to fill that vacuum someone else will. So the act of Sisko destroying Dukat and himself in the process seems to me to be symbolic of finally ridding Bajor of its need for a dictator (the psychosexual element of Winn sleeping with Dukat being the ultimate metaphor of Bajoran's desire to go back to the simplicity of following blindly some dictatorial figure) or even a figure of worship -- Sisko remains The Emissary, presumably, to Bajorans, but is now just an idea rather than someone whose job it is to use his near-absolute power over Bajoran hearts and minds a moderate rather than excessive amount.

In the end, this was the big risk for Bajor since the beginning -- for Sisko and the Federation to swallow Bajoran identity wholesale. Sisko and the Federation would be benevolent more so than Dukat and Cardassia (who only saw himself as benevolent), but basically it would be impossible in season one for Bajor to join the Federation as an equal member state rather than as a desperate supplicant. For Kira to be both member of Starfleet and member of Cardassian resistance while also maintaining her Bajoran identity is the way to show that Kira, and thus Bajor as a whole, may now be able to enter the Alpha Quadrant as an equal to other powers. Bajor maybe will or maybe won't join the Federation, but hopefully it will be as an equal. And for that to happen Kira needs to be in charge of DS9, Bajor finally in charge of its own fate, though DS9 remains as multinational as it ever was with no contradiction between Kira being in charge (and being Bajoran in a Bajoran uniform) and Starfleet, the Bajorans, neutral agents like Quark etc. still being involved in the upkeep. The last shot of Kira and Jake links the two as "children" of Sisko who are now grown up.

That Kira is, in addition to taking on Sisko's role, also to some degree taking on Odo also suggests what lessons Odo brought her as well; it occurs to me that Kira's dedication to Odo despite his working for Cardassians and seeing him (for a time) as somehow above the fray of the Occupation, and her falling in love with him as her first non-Bajoran true love, maybe indicates that Odo is the key to Kira learning to see things beyond *just* being a Bajoran; he is the first alien she loved, and that includes an eventual recognition of the alienness of his morality, too. (I think by "When it Rains," Kira knows on some level that Odo was sort of a collaborator, despite her statements to the contrary, hence some of the rage after Rusot's dude suggests the point and the way she says "You don't have to answer that"; it's just that her recognition that Odo really was doing his best given how isolated he was is more important to her than that.)

There is presumably more to say about the Sisko/Dukat/Winn story and Sisko's becoming a Prophet and his conversation with Kasidy and his notable ABSENCE of conversation with Jake (or, frankly, Kira), and I want to, I do, but I've said most of what I have nice to say about it. Really, it might just be that I still don't really understand what this story is supposed to be, and I should take some more time for reflection. I do feel very bad for Jake and for Kasidy, especially because the direction and scoring keep referencing "The Visitor," where Sisko learned how devastating his being dead-but-not-quite-dead was on Jake, effectively ruining his life, and so it bothers me a lot that Sisko plays that "maybe a year, maybe yesterday" card (and also fails to say goodbye to his son), in a way I suspect was not actually intended. But I know that some of it is just that I have a hard time understanding what Sisko's ascension to apparent godhood is supposed to mean in the first place, because I still have a hard time telling to what extent this is supposed to be theology, to what extent it's supposed to be weird powerful alien stuff and how much it's a weird mixture of the two and to what extent it's something else entirely. To me the arc just reads as pretty tragic; rather than coming to a greater understanding or something, it seems to me that Sisko just becomes more and more passive in accepting what the Prophets tell him to do, except for his periodic rebellions which don't seem that convincing for some reason; his credulousness seems more and more cultish as time goes on. Whereas Odo is given an ending where he rejoins his people (with pretentions of godhood) and leaves his loved one, it is still clear that there is a two-way exchange -- Odo gets what he has wanted in reconnecting to his people but he also is there to heal his people and to hopefully change them to become less hostile to the whole universe. I guess we know that Sisko convinced the Prophets to wipe out that Dominion fleet that time, so I shouldn't complain, but "Sarah's" cryptic pronouncements read more and more like explicit manipulation as I watch them, which Sisko increasingly consents to. Peter G.'s interpretation ("Shadows and Symbols" thread) that because Sisko is part Prophet the mythological story here is that Sisko's faith in them becomes faith in himself does intrigue me and I will continue to ponder it.

With regards to the Dukat side of things, the main lesson seems to be that deep down, he's super-duper evil, and the Dukat-Paghwraiths combo want to set the Quadrant on fire, and...I don't know guys, I don't even know. I really do feel like much of the Dukat material, starting in "By Inferno's Light" but especially post-"Waltz," is an attempt to remind the audience how evil Dukat is, but, like, okay, got it; what else do you have to say about Dukat besides that he's evil? Aspects of his seduction of Winn were interesting and I already laid out what I think the Sisko/Dukat Holmes/Moriarty self-other destruction were about, but otherwise it still plays out as goofy, especially in the way the dialogue really tries to sell this as the payoff to a series-long Sisko/Dukat arc. At least we didn't get a reveal that Dukat's mother was possessed by a paghwraith. I do like that the episode pays homage to "Where No Man Has Gone Before," for what it's worth. I'm trying to practice a little humility now and again, so I'm willing to admit that there is artistic merit I am not seeing. I did like Winn poisoning Dukat though, that was rad.

So I ended up writing a fair amount anyway. I guess I like this finale more than I don't, but I do find it choppy in tone and with several endings I find quite questionable in execution and, well, concept, too, though I admit that I might just not be able to parse it correctly right now. I was originally going to say 2.5 stars or so, but what it does well it does well enough that I think I can recommend it. I will say 3 stars, I guess. As with all my ratings, it is provisional, etc., etc., I can never make up my mind about anything, but overall I am happy with most of where the characters ended up, think that the melancholy, bittersweet feeling is appropriate to the series, and found several moments to be exceptional.
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