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- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 11:55pm (USA Central)
In what could have been a classic episode turns instead into a touching but inconsistent one with very nice character moments interspersed with a well done, albeit unnecessary action subplot.
This isn't a good start in learning of the Hirogen. The idea of them being a hunter species is interesting, if not fresh. But as it's displayed here, they come across as simply the big bad tough guys that will be around for some time.
The scenes involving the Voyager crew receiving the letters from home fared way better, despite the par for the course continuity issues. Some really great dialogue and performances sold it with heart and poignancy.
Neelix prodding Tuvok as he normally does is just Neelix being himself. He doesn't do it thinking he's going to make Tuvok suddenly change. He does it because it's probably his way of showing affinity for him. In the case of this episode, Neelix is utilizing his Morale officer position to encourage Tuvok to take two minutes from what he's doing to read what his family has to say. I think anyone in that position, even Janeway, would encourage that. But since it's Neelix, bring on the hate rhetoric.
I would be lying if I said this episode wasn't a disappointment. It was. However, it does mostly work on its own terms and, overall, is still pretty solid.
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 10:05pm (USA Central)
I meant: kill one person or destroy one ship, not kill one ship...
it would be great if we could edit our posts, oh well
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 10:03pm (USA Central)
Re: azcats: the conspirator element is actually more unnerving when you think about it than the characters (other than Kim perhaps) seem to think it is in the show. Boston marathon is one recent example of what could happen in real life if a terrorist used a sporting event to hurt people.
This does leave me conflicted because it is the one element in the show that could potentially topple the other elements. That's why the situation should have been addressed in the show's ending.
Ultimately, I think it is, after all, a TV show, and the fact that the woman appeared to be relatively independent in her actions does soften some of the horror of the situation.
Perhaps the fact that the writers took that element of the story quite that far is the biggest flaw in the episode. (That is to say, the writers decided that the conspirator not only wanted to kill one ship, but also many innocent bystanders.) This theme, therefore, risks being too serious to be an afterthought.
But I still hold that it is a very solid episode in that so many ingredients were effective. Every cultural work is flawed somehow. I guess that's why the subjective nature of our tastes is important to our views. We all chose to tolerate some things and not others.
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 9:56pm (USA Central)
"What am I supposed to be convinced by peer pressure, here?"
-lesigh- No. Of course not. Peer pressure is not a good basis for believing something. If you had finished reading what I wrote, I said that everyone hates this episode precisely because it is so radically different from normal Trek morality. Indeed, that was my main point in that post.
"The episode is NOT saying that an entire species ought to die, it's saying that one human captain and one Denobulan doctor don't have the right to make that determination for an entire species."
And that's not a bad thing to say. And it's completely fine. If the episode had ended with Phlox and Archer going back to Starfleet or to the Vulcans or to the Interspecies Medical Exchange or whatever other medical authority and asking them to decide, it would have been salvageable. But that is not what the episode is trying to say. The episode is trying to say that we shouldn't give these people the cure because... evolution and destiny and we can't alter the DNA. Any excuse to justify not curing a disease, the anti-thesis of what being a doctor is all about. It is very much so saying that an entire species should die because evolution.
"You're being completely myopic about the issue. To your point of view, the debate begins and ends at the loss of life. What a terribly narrow vision."
Yes, that's correct. And what else would a debate on morality begin and end with? What's the point of having morality or having laws in place if we aren't ultimately protecting people's lives? And what does it say about a society that doesn't think lives are where the debate should begin and end?
This particular episode has the rather important point that these people asked for help.
The Federation believes in the preservation of life as its highest moral. That is why they do answer distress calls and cure diseases when asked.
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 9:55pm (USA Central)
Why are relationship based romantic comedy type episodes fluff? Relationships can be just as deep as anything else. And the occasional levity or gentle competition in the episode does not prevent the show from having substance. "Depth" is an inherently subjective term anyway. Does a substantial show have to be dark and cynical?
Further, on a side note, I like that characters like Quark and Neelix that provide humor and contrast to the show. In my view, Neelix is not as interesting as Quark, but he's a fine addition to the cast of characters.
Overall, I thought the show had a good balance of romance, humor, competition, diplomacy and mystery. I think those elements complement each other rather than undermine each other.
I'd give the show at least 3.5 stars.
My only quibbles: 1) the romantic scenes could have have been a little more direct and therefore could have had a little bit more of a payoff. I feel like the writers and the actors were terrified of coming across as corny. But, you have to "go for it" in romance at some point. You have to take a leap of faith that the audience will support your sincerity and go along with it.
2) I know the show is only around 40 minutes, but they completely sidestepped the handling of the punishment of the conspirator. The ending, as a whole, was rushed.
Very good episode.
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 9:38pm (USA Central)
I think people are being way too hard on Beverly. For one, her persona has always been that of a Doctor and humanist first, and a military officer second. She never really stood on protocol nor on caring about Starfleet philosophy; she always did what she felt was best. Thus, it's not outside of her characterization to ignore the distance of command. For that matter, even in modern militaries specialized areas like medicine see a more relaxed chain of command.
And we've already seen Beverly be friendly with Ogawa in the past. Heck, they were close enough that Alyssa risked her career for Bev in Suspicions. Given that Beverly is not one to stand on protocol, and has worked with her head nurse for years (she first showed up in Season 4), why wouldn't she be friendly with her?It doesn't strike me as being unrealistic or sexist at all.
Would you also complain that Worf was having a friendly chat with Sito in Ten-Forrward? Or was singling her out to give her special advice? And do you also complain that Kirk was so chummy with Bones and Spock, despite being their superior officer?
Really, the biggest unrealistic part of that is that Ogawa has been an ensign for 3 years, especially since she seemed to be the head nurse for a significant chunk of that time.
Besides that, I think this episode is somewhat overrated, although it's still very good. I guess I just see the switch to the junior officer's perspective as being an interesting and worthy change of pace, but not some mindblowingly brilliant idea. And while Sito's death was tragic, I didn't see it as a brilliant piece of storytelling that was the crux of the story.
But that said, there was plenty that was good here. Each of the relationships between the juniors and their superiors (except Lavelle, ugh...) was good to see. The Taurik/Geordi subplot doesn't get much attention, but I thought it was pleasant. As a Vulcan, obviously Taurik is rather intelligent and engaged in his work. But, of course, he comes off as pushy, arrogant, and unlikeable due to his inexperience with working with humans. And given Geordi's relative lack of tact and empathy, his demeanor towards Taurik initially comes off as rather off-putting. He basically looks like the bad guy here by brushing off Taurik's offers for improvements, putting down his speculations, and so forth. And yet, in the end, it's just because of the way Geordi works. He actually does go through Taurik's list of suggestions and does help implement them. It shows that, despite a difficult working relationship due to some personal problems on each of their ends, they are still professional. And Taurik, the wise Vulcan, was incorrect in his initial assumptions about Geordi, and shows that he still has room to grow despite his obvious engineering ability.
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 8:46pm (USA Central)
Some memorable character moments are the sole bright spot in an otherwise trite and tired haze of mundane plot mechanics. I would be able to work with the high-concept idea of the aliens themselves if they weren't written as so severely one-dimensional and lacking in any form of motivation whatsoever. Since the character moments are so directly effected by the plot; they in turn unfortunately lose their luster. However, there is entertainment value to be had here and the direction ably moves things along.
Watchable enough overall but also lacking.
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 8:26pm (USA Central)
Barge of the Dead
I meant: On the other hand, if we are to interpret the Klingon after life as only a fabrication of her mind...
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 8:23pm (USA Central)
Barge of the Dead
I have to join the dissenters on this one. The Klingon after life appears unambiguously real to a maddeningly literal degree. Also, the ending does not benefit the episode in any way.
On the other hand, we are to interpret the Klingon after life as only a fabrication of her mind, we are given very little information with which to find any meaning in the episode.
For the record, I am usually a big fan of Klingon episodes.
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 7:39pm (USA Central)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
...Therefore, anyone who cites that (or similar tangible details) must either 1) have other, unexpressed reasons for holding that opinion or 2) does not sincerely hold that opinion at all. Thus, trolling. But it inspired me to revisit the "tangible details" essay, so it's not all bad.
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 7:27pm (USA Central)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Obviously some world-class trolling there. I mean, not everyone has to agree what's good or bad, so when criticism crosses into "anyone who likes this is unsophisticated," there's no other word for it. Trolling. And trolls must not be fed.
I'm reminded of Film Crit Hulk's essay about "tangible details." filmcrithulk.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/hulk-essay-your-ass-tangible-details-and-the-nature-of-criticism/
The point being that lists of reasons for an opinion are usually post-hoc rationalizations. A clue is when the reasons come from outside the text. For instance, "Star Trek II sucks because it ignores Saavik's Romulan heritage" is not an opinion anyone could form while watching the movie.
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 6:07pm (USA Central)
And they went a bit overboard on aging some of the characters, particularly Harry Kim. He'd only be 55 here, they made him pretty shriveled for 55. B'ehlanna, Tom, and Harry all look older than Janeway does. They all got wrinkly, rubbery faces, all Janeway got is gray hair.
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 5:28pm (USA Central)
After all the distance they travelled in 7 years (by my reckoning by the events of "Renaissance Man" they had to be virtually to the Beta Quadrant border, and even nearing the outermost fringes of the Klingon Empire), it's hard to believe it took another 16 years to get the rest of the way.
STEVEN LYLE JORDAN
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 4:38pm (USA Central)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
We know that Wrath was developed from the original series episode Space Seed, in which Khan and his followers, products of the Eugenics Wars, were discovered in a stolen sleeper ship hundreds of years after they (take note) lost their war to rule Earth. These so-called physical and intellectual supermen then tried to take over the Enterprise, but (again) lost, and were banished by Captain Kirk to a small uninhabited planet “to rule.”
Which should tell you right off that these guys weren't the great s#!+s they thought they were.
Fast-forward about 25 years, to a movie that depicts the Enterprise being used as a training vessel (yeah… for the most celebrated ship in the Federation fleet, and recently refit to-boot, that makes sense), and the Reliant, a survey vessel from the same Federation that is apparently not smart enough to notice that the solar system they’ve entered, which has been mapped by Federation ships before (including the Enterprise) is now missing a planet. In fact, another planet has supposedly been moved out of its original orbit (something else the crew of the Reliant should have noticed), but instead of changing the temperature severely, the planet gets stoopid dust storms. Naturally, they find the surviving members of Khan’s group, but can’t say the words “Beam us out!” fast enough to avoid being captured.
Khan—the leader of “superior intellect”—has responded to the decaying quality of “his” planet, and the death of his non-genetically-improved wife, by apparently going insane, caring about nothing save the death of the man who bested him, James T. Kirk… even if it means the death of the last of his followers in the process. Instead of accepting change and hardship, he’s gone from super-intelligent leader to vengeful sociopath despot.
A great deal of my angst over this movie is in its bad story and sloppy editing, leaving characters hollow and pointless, and diminishing any salient story points to utter twaddle:
- Saavik has her part Romulan heritage left on the cutting room floor (yeah, didn’t know she was supposed to be half-Romulan… did ya?);
- Characters like Scotty’s nephew become nameless footnotes, lessening the impact of their later death scenes and wasting perfectly good pathos;
- Chekov and Terrell can’t just beam out of Khan’s world before Khan’s guys can cross a few dozen yards of sand to catch them;
- Khan “remembers” Chekov, despite the fact that they never met in the original Trek episode;
- Khan, the man of “superior intellect,” apparently responded to the loss of his wife and the change in his planet by going insane with thoughts of revenge on Kirk… but none of his “superior” followers, including his son, have the stones to explain his obsession to him, or take steps to prevent their all being destroyed by the man;
- “Superior intellect” Khan on the Reliant could have had earworm-controlled Captain Terrell greet Enterprise and bring them within transporter range; whereupon Khan could have beamed over with his crew, taken over a superior starship and killed Kirk and crew personally. Instead, he pulls a sneak attack with a science vessel against a heavy cruiser, which he doesn’t know isn’t staffed by a shipful of professionals. The man exhibits the plotting ability of Daffy Duck.
- Khan’s son is the only one of the baddies group, other than Khan, who utters a word through the entire movie (besides “Aaugh!” when the Reliant is attacked—apparently genetic supermen make great redshirts);
- Khan’s followers are no better than slabs of meat (even the women), and in the end, we feel nothing about their being blown up… even Khan’s son’s death elicits no more than a yawn from the audience;
- We discover Kirk had fathered a son and never met him, nor kept in touch with him or his mother… and we’re supposed to actually care;
- The scientists are smart enough to hide the Genesis device on what appears to be a lifeless moon. The scientists then demonstrate they are not smart enough to hide with the device;
- One of the worms Khan dropped in Chekov’s ear could have been dropped into the ear of just one of the scientists in order to find the genesis device, preventing the need to torture the rest of them.
At the end, Starfleet-hater David tells Kirk that he’s “proud to be your son.” Why? All Kirk did was show up too late to save his scientist friends, beat up his son upon their first meeting, best Khan by conning him into making bad strategic decisions, get his ship beat to hell and a few random trainees killed or traumatized for life, and lose his best friend while saving his own skin. What’s to be so proud of?
And let’s face it, the whole Moby Dick theme (with lines from Melville’s book intentionally altered to use celestial references that Khan couldn’t possibly know) is just mondo lame… even when it’s presented by Ricardo Montalban, the one man in the universe who seems to be able to out-overact William Shatner.
Throughout, we suffer through cheap cinematic gags, like the radio dialog obviously written to make sure the slower viewers can follow the action from one scene to another; horror-movie shtick like Bones being distracted by a loose lab rat (Federation scientists still use lab rats?), then backing into the bloody dangling arms of a scientist, accompanied by a bloody close-up and embarrassingly-cliche “boo!” musical cue; the (eww!) worm-in-the-ear bit; the big ancient book and granny-glasses as elephant-obvious metaphors for how old Kirk and crew are getting; and the ridiculous new Star Fleet uniforms, obviously designed to look good in technicolor, maybe in a dress parade, and when a cadet wants to leave a bloody handprint on the breast, but not good for much else.
And I don’t even want to get into the most blatant sci-fi gag, the only thing more predictable than a death of a Star Trek redshirt: The death of a Black man in a science fiction movie; not to mention that Black man being Paul Winfield, the single most doomed Black man in SF movie history! The only cinematic gag I appreciated was James Horner’s music, which was tailor-made for dramatic presentations like this (all the same, you could make a drinking game out of the signature musical elements Horner loves to reuse, in every SF and adventure movie he does).
So, we come to the part that everyone says is the best part of the movie: The starship fights. Okay, considering this is the first time in the history of the franchise that we see the Enterprise (or any other starship in the Trek franchise) taking serious modern-special-effects battle damage, the battles were notable and memorable. Beyond that… meh. We see two starships close enough to spit at each other, but which still miss each other with regularity. We see those ships in a nebula, in reality a collection of mass and gasses that are spaced light-years apart… but here, a nebula is depicted like a technicolor fog bank a few miles wide. We get the whole “Khan displays two-dimensional thinking” bit, and we’re supposed to buy the premise that a “superior intellect” leader who could rule a world (albeit temporarily), steal away on a sleeper ship, steal a starship, who has presumably thought about attacking and killing Kirk for many moons, who knows how space works, and who’s probably heard of submarines, has never figured out three-dimensional warfare. We see the old TV-series holdover of having bridge equipment blow up when a piece of ship dozens of decks away gets hit with a phaser blast… so you know they’re connected.
And finally, we have the Tech-Of-The-Day, a device the size of a man that can change the life-potential of entire planets; and the stereotypical “countdown to disaster” when the genesis device is started—but they never just go off, do they? No, we have to suffer a melodramatic countdown for it to happen. But the Enterprise is crippled… oh noes! Will they die? No, because Spock manages to get the engines fixed mere seconds before it’s too late. Whew. And oh, yeah, Spock is now going to die of radiation poisoning. On a ship that runs on antimatter, in which everyone in engineering is dressed like the Michelin Man to protect them from something, but no one goes where Spock dares to tread without a suit, and after we’ve seen radiation sicknesses cured with hyposprays in episodes of the original series…
You see where this is going, I’m sure. Khan isn’t consistent to Star Trek, not the original series et al nor the particular episode in which it was birthed. It’s not consistent with science fiction, not even the Trek brand of sci-fi. And on top of that, it’s just not well put-together cinematically. Everything in this movie just comes off as being contrived in order to push some incredibly obvious emotional buttons, while ignoring how much (or little) sense they make. It’s showy, it’s pretty, it has more colorful Star Fleet uniforms… and it’s stupid. It’s about as realistic as The Blues Brothers, complete with stupid Nazis.
And this is the movie that fans declare is the best Trek film ever.
IqnaH QaD. (Go look it up.)
It’s funny how Trek fans, who like to proclaim the intellectual superiority of their program of choice, are amazingly unsophisticated when it comes to their preferred Trek movies. The even-numbered movies that most cite as “the best” are in fact the worst when it comes to science fiction realism, Trek continuity and downright story quality. And Khan leads the pack of guilty movies (okay, it’s second, right after The Voyage Home, and barely preceding the disaster right after that, The Final Frontier… but it has the virtue of being iconic of all of them).
The Wrath of Khan was a redshirts movie: Let’s do stupid stuff and beat up on each other, yargh! It was designed to impress Star Wars fans, who (let’s face it) weren’t nearly that concerned with trifles like science and storylines. It was fluff… pure, unadulterated fluff. It was designed to sell tickets and T-shirts (which it did, and very well).
You want good Trek movies? Star Trek: Generations is probably the best, in my opinion; followed by Star Trek: Insurrection. These movies had action, but they also had stories consistent with Trek continuity and the pseudo-science fiction universe that Trek was based within, paid close attention to the established behavior of Trek characters and didn’t go in any phenomenally stupid plot directions. Were they perfect? No; but let’s face it, Star Trek has never been a “perfect” show. But Star Trek has (almost) always had a way to look at the future that was thoughtful, humble and optimistic, and both Generations and Insurrection embodied that attitude.
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 4:22pm (USA Central)
Children of Time
Good point. REALLY good point. It makes Odo seem very self serving here doesn't it?
That's an interesting thought. If I understand you if the Defiant stays "again", they the 8000 disappear anyway?
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 4:13pm (USA Central)
I enjoy reading your reviews.
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 4:08pm (USA Central)
Tacking into the Wind
I thought Robert O did well being a Klingon, but it was easy to not like Gowron.
Loved the eyes :-)
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 2:58pm (USA Central)
Deep, probing, prescient, relevant, heartbreaking. Outstanding episode on every level highlighted even further because of Ethan Phillips. Highly recommended.
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 2:50pm (USA Central)
They describe San Francisco as "cold and rainy as usual", but every single time any Star Trek show has gone back to San Francisco it's been sunny. What luck.
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 2:32pm (USA Central)
"Can you eject the core?"
"No, emergency systems are offline."
Man, how crappy are all the safety functions in Trek's version of the future? You've got what amounts to antimatter warheads zipping about the galaxy getting into precarious situations with no reliable way to avoid catastrophic failure.
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 2:05pm (USA Central)
Tacking into the Wind
It was hard for me not to eventually warm up to Robert O'Reilly's character :) But I suppose I shouldn't speak for the fan base! I was a little sad that he didn't have a happier ending.
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 1:53pm (USA Central)
So this holographic system simulates illness (assuming they have any), pregnancy and childbirth, including presumably all the er, messiness, that goes with it...very thorough.
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 1:50pm (USA Central)
Tacking into the Wind
Well actually I never "liked Gowron for awhile", but you're right about K'mpek too.
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 1:43pm (USA Central)
So the Enterprise D, "our" Enterpise shifts into another timline. But the people on board are still of the same age. Wesley Crusher wears a Starfleet uniform, so that means a underage kid is a full member of a warship? Who would have thought Starfleet would make military use of children....
- Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 1:27pm (USA Central)
I also very much like John Rhys-Davies and really enjoy what he brings to the da Vinci character. Unfortunately, this is not how I wanted to see him utilized. This is the first true clunker of this season (at least the utterly frustrating "The Raven" consisted of 50% awesome) as it serves absolutely no purpose other than seemingly being in love with itself and the aforementioned titular character. A few nice pieces of dialogue and reliable performances can't save this one.
Concerning flight? Ah...no thanks. I'll take the boat.
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