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Andy's Friend - Wed, Nov 25, 2015, 11:05am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Bar Association


"when a klingon episode shows up I accept that their values matter to them and look at the characters as part of that culture. And the writers do the same. When a Ferengi episode comes up I still try to understand their point of view but the writers don't."

William B is right: you hit the nail on the head here.
Andy's Friend - Wed, Nov 25, 2015, 10:51am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Bar Association

William B,

"The thing is, I can imagine ways in which Worf could start siding with Quark -- for example, if we push the episode's class stuff further, maybe with his House stripped, Worf pines for his aristocratic status within the Empire and projects this onto Quark's attempt to hold onto what is "his" by Ferengi tradition."

I think you're quite right:

A traditional, aristocratic warrior ethos values honour, tradition, law, and order, and will therefore almost always side with authority. Almost any authority.

The only exception to this is the importance given to *justice* in a given ethos. To a mediaeval, chivalrous, Christian knight, for instance, the notion of justice was much more important than to a Roman patrician, or a Japanese samurai. While all three would expect servants to obey their masters, the Christian knight would also expect the masters to treat their servants with a certain minimum of fair treatment as good Christians, and might even go so far as to support a revolt against a tyrannous lord as a just cause. This is indeed at the very core of the mediaeval Christian concept of 'bellum iustum, or 'just war'.

We know that the Klingon ethos also values justice; in fact, it is at the very heart of Klingon mythology: Kahless the Unforgettable rose to fight the tyrant Molor. But would this be enough to make Worf support Quark's workers?

I don't believe so. Unlike the Roman patricians, who had little or no regard for human life but were often undistinguishable from great merchants, always involved in trading, the Klingon ethos seems to much more resemble the Japanese one, with a much more profound divide between land and commerce, nobility and money. In a Roman perspective, much more pragmatic, a pennyless patrician would no longer be a patrician. In the Japanese worldview, utterly dogmatic, all a samurai needed was his sword, and his word, to be noble.

In "The House of Quark" we see hints of the economic workings of a Klingon noble house. And unlike the Romans, it is clear that the Klingons have little or no respect for that part of the administration of noble estates: it is a necessary evil, best to be avoided by the lords themselves. This is again consistent with the administration of Japanese noble houses, in which the lords would be expected to master calligraphy, and poetry, and would spend their time in other such noble occupations: not accounting.

So while I can imagine a Klingon warrior supporting a rebellion against a tyrannous lord, the rebellion must *not* be about... money. The workers' cause at Quark's, in the eyes of a samurai or a Klingon warrior, would seem dishonorable: they are not beaten, raped, or otherwise mistreated by their master. All they want is more money, and other trivial things. To a Ferengi this is of course of great importance; but to a Klingon, the importance is next to none: a Klingon would not recognize the workers' claims.

So it makes sense that Worf wouldn't really be interested in Quark's and the workers' quarrels over trivial matters; but must he take sides, it would be with Quark: not out of sympathy for his cause, but as a natural, visceral defence of tradition. Because in the eyes of his ethos, tradition is inherently good. Klingon tradition is good for Klingons; Cardassian tradition is good for Cardassians; Romulan tradition is good for Romulans; and Ferengi tradition is good for the Ferengi. As a Jem'Hadar would say: "It is the order of things".
James - Wed, Nov 25, 2015, 7:10am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S1: Progress

I don't care so much about the implausibility of consuming a whole moon an its breathable atmosphere for energy. Star Trek has always been implausible. But the ethical stance the episode takes is troubling. Kira is not nearly conflicted enough, and the ending is an awful resolution.

What would have been better (and I thought the writers may have had this in mind when I first watched it) is if the kiln they were building was actually a crematorium for Mullibok. At the end he could have asked Kira to end his life to remain at his home, and she could have refused. Or he could have taken his own life with Kira regretting that she couldn't help him. Perhaps this would have been all too gory for the producers, but it would have added the extra shades of grey I think the episode needed.
Dimpy - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 11:03pm (USA Central)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

I liked this episode. For its time, its a liberal portrayal of women, to even suggest a women can be a captain is a big step forward. Its also Roddenberry's revenge, because he wanted a female second in command, so that if Kirk is out of commission, the women would take over. The network nixed the idea, hence this production.
Wilt - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 10:02pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S5: Gravity

lol Rosario! I was just about to comment on Tuvok not putting Paris's face thru those rocks when Tom was in his face about Noss being upset and I read your (3 year old) comment. It wouldn't be a fair fight tho when you think about it. Remember Vulcans have a lot more strength for their size than the average human. It's probably that security that allowed Tuvok to retain control knowing he COULD do that to Tommy boy. I'm sure his old man Owen Paris must have felt the same way from time to time about him when we was a little bugger. We know he was always a willful guy. Look at his life's history (or better yet check out his star trek wiki page).

I'm guessing this was all about showing how excellent Vulcans' emotional control is. And I must agree that he still showed incredible restraint. Considering how little he had when he was younger as we saw in the opening the writers probably had Tom put on a show to demonstrate how resilient Tuvok had become since then.

But the title still doesn't quite gel with that aspect of the story. If a fellow trekkie has a moment or two please enlighten me me on that one, because I just don't see the connection.
navamske - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 7:18pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S7: Author, Author


"And BanotherW, they couldnt install holoemiters on Voyager but they have them in dilithium mines!?!"

Good point. I had a similar thought about "Message in a Bottle," wherein the Prometheus had "holo-emitters on every deck." OK, but even in the Jeffries tubes?
Grumpy - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 7:13pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Demon

JC: "Demon class planets don't really sound out of the ordinary. If anything I'd think there would be more of them out there. ...I give the writers credit for trying to be original. Means their thinking caps are on..."

I agree with your first point, which is why I disagree with your second. The writers deserve no credit for originality when they congratulate themselves for something they should've been doing all along.
Latex Zebra - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 4:16pm (USA Central)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

JJ Abrams "We got in trouble on the second Star Trek film with some of the fans. There were too many nods to The Wrath of Khan. I'll cop to that."

No shit.

William B - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 2:43pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Bar Association

Ah, that sounds likely. I did think that it may be that Worf had no opinion, but I think I was sort of hoping that Worf did have an opinion, because I somewhat liked that Odo sided with the management in that it started allowing me to imagine an alternate version of the episode in which the whole of the main cast started taking sides for very particular, personal reasons (Odo sides with management because he likes order, O'Brien sides with labour because he favours the underdog, is nostalgic, and his NCO status means he identifies with the workers, Worf sides with management because ???), which may have been more interesting to explore than what we got. The thing is, I can imagine ways in which Worf could start siding with Quark -- for example, if we push the episode's class stuff further, maybe with his House stripped, Worf pines for his aristocratic status within the Empire and projects this onto Quark's attempt to hold onto what is "his" by Ferengi tradition.

In fact, the episode sort of gestures (interestingly) to this idea -- to some degree, basically Quark and Rom's *personal* dispute, as siblings, and the labour dispute between Quark's employees and Quark, as workers and employer, get taken over by conflicting interests who get involved to defend one or two principles and then promptly lose interest. Bashir suggests unionizing and then after Rom actually unionizes, half-assedly back-pedals and suggest he didn't actually tell Rom to do that. O'Brien gets passionate about the idea of unions from his family history and gets in brawls over it, but does not do all that much to help the workers. Sisko intervenes when his officers get into a relatively minor (if inappropriate) fight, which has little to do with Quark or Rom or anyone, and then is noitceably absent when Nausicaans beat Quark badly while he no doubt begs for mercy. Brunt swoops in to protect Ferengi values, has the one person on Brunt's "side" beats up and inadvertently forces management to capitulate to *all* the union's demands. Worf has no opinion about the union at all but is in a bad mood so gets into a fight. That read strikes me as pretty funny and entertaining, particularly against the backdrop of Bajoran Space Lent starting everything up, which means that basically every element of this episode is created by conflicting ideological and quasi-religious motivations, mixed in with decades-old family resentments, to the point where it becomes basically impossible for any of the characters to deal with the conflict rationally. That is *maybe* what they were going for, and I think aspects of it are definitely in the final product, but it is pretty confused.
Pike - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 2:38pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S2: Tuvix

I rarely watch this one either. His creation was an accident. His death was on purpose. It may not have been his fault any more than Tuvok and Neelix who were also victims. But trivializing it into "someone must die and its a good example of whatever" doesn't begin to explain what just happened here.

It sure does fall under genocide. There had never been a hybrid of a talaxian and a Vulcan before. And now there never will be again. No one from the Alpha Quadrant will even be in the Delta Quadrant. At least not for another 100+ years according to Q.

Seeing a man plead for his life while everyone just stands around like borg drones isn't Starfleet at all. How is this different from When Hitler led Jews to their deaths whilst they pleaded for their lives? Or watching those sick terrorists behead a man while he's pleading for his life while they record it? Does it really matter how they got into the situation? The fact is it's someone's life and they are taking it. And They thought their motives were as noble as Janeway's too.

This is another ep I think of when I watch Equinox, in particular the briefing room scene she had with Capt Ransom and how she sits there judging him with her demeanor. What he did was wrong, no question. And what she did here was perfectly ok? Let's not forget how she threw crewman Lessing to the dogs as well. The only reason he is still alive is because chuckles intervened. Murder is murder. And again it sure wasn't Tuvix's fault anymore than it was Tuvok's or Neelix's. The ends do not justify the means in this case. Or in Lessing's case either.

Too adamant on living? I don't get that line. No one who isn't wearing a military, police or fireman's uniform is going to willing sacrifice himself when he has no say so in the matter. I don't find that argument compelling in the least. He didn't want to die! Hell, would you?

I don't know. Maybe the only way to understand it is to be the victim who has to die. Then it becomes clear as crystal.

And I thought Threshold was unwatchable. Actually it was, but for different reasons. I'm not sure what they were hoping to accomplish by showing this. Then again I doubt they could have left Tuvix as is. It still would have been problematic for some unforeseen reason. Either way can't be undone now. So all I can do is not rate it. I don't find a so-called enlightened crew killing a man whom is pleading for his life to be very entertaining. I gave it a watch once or twice and that's about it. I am curious as to how Gene Roddenberry would have felt about it tho.
JC - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 2:26pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Demon

This got rated lower than False Prophets? Natural Law? The Chute? Non-Sequitur?? I must have been the only one who enjoyed this ep. Certainly more than the aforementioned eps. Its follow-up Course: Oblivion was downright ghastly. Why would we need to see something like that?

Anyways Demon class planets don't really sound out of the ordinary. If anything I'd think there would be more of them out there. We can't even settle in any of the other planets in our galaxy so technically wouldn't they fall under Demon class too? Guess I can google it sometime.

Why so harsh on Tuvok? Geez...Janeway didn't catch this much flak when killing Tuvix. And let's face it, she did. Anyways Tuvok wasn't doing anything more than what his job entailed.

The doctor did seem to be a bit testy with the whole staying in sick bay thing. But I'd be lying if I said I would have changed the scene. I still enjoyed it. Still get a good laugh after all these years at the part when Neelix is just about to go into (off-key) chorus and the Doc suddenly gives in. Followed up by a doc and a gleeful "computer lights, maximum illumination". Classic.

I can't keep track of the number of times I've had to suspend disbelief when watching any of the series. I didn't find this any more farfetched than anything else they've shown in the ST mythos. (Ok, Threshold was one glaring exception.)

I would have given it 2-2.5 stars since I had never even heard the designation Demon-class before. If this is the first time they've mentioned it then I give the writers credit for trying to be original. Means their thinking caps are on and they're not just rehashing some concept that was already done millions of times and better.
Easter - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 1:59pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Bar Association

I kind of feel it was implied from the lead in scene that the Worf thing was a case of Worf not caring about the strike one way or the other and O'Brien getting up in his face about it. something like
*Worf Goes in*
*O'Brien and Bashir follow*
O'Brien: What the hell do you think you're doing?
Worf: I am getting a drink. I am thirsty.
O'Brien: There is a strike going on! You can't eat here.
Worf: That is none of my concern, and you can not tell me where I can and cannot eat.
O'Brien: Stop being such an asshole *grabs Worf's sleeve and starts trying to lead him away*
And then the fight starts.

I never got the sense that the fight was because Worf passionately SUPPORTED the strike so much as he opposed whatever O'Brien said or did to try to shame him out of getting a drink there.
Diamond Dave - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 1:53pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Fascination

Well that was a desperate, desperate misfire. All we needed was a vicar with his trousers falling down for the full farce experience. And you have to say that after an episode full of unlikely hook-ups that to say they were underpinned by a level of latent attraction....? You say what now? Justifying the unjustifiable!

Ironically, the Keiko/O'Brien story felt much more grounded in reality. Indeed, on such a farcical episode as this it almost seemed too grounded. Neither of them come out of it looking good, which really makes you wonder what the point was.

Best moment - when Dax punches out Bareil. But still only 1 star...
Billy Bob - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 1:51pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S2: Vanishing Point

Great, a Hoshi episode. 45 mins of watching a bad actress whine and pout.

This character makes Troi seem useful and watchable.

1 star.
45 RPM - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 1:02pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Year of Hell, Part II

The ep wasn't terribly thought provoking. Time related ep's have as many probabilities as improbabilities you could literally spend a lifetime deciphering them and still barely scratch the surface. I only had two things to say, though they are both towards Jammer's interesting reviews.

As one reviewer already noted, Tasha's daughter was indeed an after effect of TNG's Yesterday's Enterprise. Small wonder it wasn't mentioned. The story went nowhere. Denise Crosby wanted to return to the show once it had achieved success that was tentative at best during its first season.

The writers came up with the ambiguous 'Tasha's daughter' concept. One that they really couldn't sustain. How could they? The way the events folded out had me scratching my head as well. When the timelines were restored they'd naturally have no memory of Tasha being sent to the previous enterprise. Even that decision was odd by Picard's standards. I think her last appearance was in the S5 two parter Unification. After which we never heard from her again...well, regarding the daughter storyline anyways.

Regarding the 2nd comment. This one I've been mulling over. This is in regards to the Krenim. In S3's Before and After they were never seen. Their actions on the other hand were certainly felt. From this two parter we learn quite a bit about them. (Has anyone wondered how these aliens from the delta quadrant can still look and act human, speak flawless English and have the exact specifications for sustaining life as humans? I guess I had my own expectations of them after S3 as well and humanoid wasn't one of the expectations. I know that's how ST has always been but I long for more Species 8472 types that are so alien to us. But even they defaulted in S5's In the Flesh, didn't they?)

In regards to the Krenim I guess there was something about them that despite what had happened to Voyager I didn't find them to be the ruthless monsters the way B&A seemed to set them up to be, either. Not exactly a Stockholm Syndrome effect but it's a lot harder to hate them when you see real emotions as the source of their motivation. In this case, loss of a loved one and guilt because your own actions caused it. Being driven to do anything and everything in your power and beyond to get them back. Playing God with time is excessive, to say the least. But at least there is a solid motive. The means was certainly there. Still in spite of all those calculations Keana Prime was never to be restored. 200 years of incompetence? Or was there some other force at hand really punishing him? Maybe the Q? (Unlikely. The lesson wouldn't be complete without Q to appear and show him the true meaning of Christmas after the fact. But amusing thought.)

In B&A we never saw them. They remained faceless. All we saw were the repercussions of their actions. Which were pretty reprehensible. So our imaginations were left to fill in the gaps. We perceived them to be the lowest levels of {inhuman}scum our imaginations could conceive of. Things were a lot simpler I would say in B&A regarding them. Still, I wonder if the sympathy vote would have been there if it were revealed that they looked like giant insectoids or something? Probably not. If anything they'd be demonized even further.

Should they have remained faceless? For some viewers I'm sure it wouldn't have made a difference one way or the other, they'd hate em just the same. But jammer's review doesn't seem to hold the Krenim with the same contempt it did in B&A. It changes things when the enemy looks like you and has the same motives doesn't it? Especially guilt. As for this reviewer I don't think it mattered much since everything would be undone. Now if they hadn't reset the clock and the longterm effects of their actions were a permanent part of the series it'd be easier to say. I'd either hate them or respect them. Maybe both.

Reminds me vaguely of DC Comics' Green Lantern back in the mid-90's (few years prior to this ep). Hal had lost his home city and it drove him to the point of amassing as much power as he could to restore it, going so far as to reset all of time. If it were Brainiac then the situation would have been cut and dry. Instead it was a founding member of the JLA that did this. It certainly changed the way the heroes acted didn't it?

Anyways I enjoyed the ep nonetheless. Kurtwood Smith always seems to have an underlying intensity to everything he does. Tho it didn't make me like him much as a lad when I first saw him in Robocop :)

Solid performance from Tim Russ as always. Not enough scenes between he and Jeri Ryan. Seemed a natural match. Borg perfection meets Vulcan precision. Emotion is irrelevant in both instances. Except during Pon Farr. lol.

Moderate 3 stars works.
William B - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 12:24pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Accession

This is an effective dramatic work when it's zeroed in on Sisko's POV, and to an extent when it focuses on Kira, though there is something crucial missing from the Kira side of things. Zoom out, and this is actually a pretty damning portrait of Bajoran society at large, which goes mostly unacknowledged by a misleading ending.

To recap, here is what the ending says: the Prophets, seeing that Sisko was not taking his Emissary status seriously enough, sends him an ancient poet to go take over the Emissary position, and so to sow chaos through his attempt to heal Bajor through bigoted classism. Then after a guy gets MURDERED by the episode's main Vedek for being an unclean undertaker and not showing enough respect, Sisko realizes he has to take charge, prove he's the real Emissary and then set things right by telling the Bajorans to ignore what Akorem had just said. The episode basically has the Wormhole Aliens, who now declare themselves to be Of Bajor (which they hadn't before), causing havoc on Bajor until Sisko agrees to toe the line; it has the Bajorans basically agreeing to whatever their religious leader who claims he is the Emissary says, to the point of self-destruction; and it has Sisko deciding it is his responsibility to be full-on a religious icon for the Bajorans, partly because apparently it's Who He Is now, but also because if Sisko doesn't embrace his Emissary role, some other rube will come along, fill that role, and lead the lemminglike Bajorans off a cliff. That Sisko basically has to act as religious figurehead to prevent the Bajorans in general, and Kira in particular, from screwing up their lives, is maybe an ending that needed a little more ambivalence than we got; Sisko now likes doing blessings, yay, but basically Bajorans were willing to change their entire lives based on the supposition that Akoren must have been sent by the Prophets to tell them what to do, which as we see is false. I mentioned The Simpsons' "Last Exit to Springfield" when talking about "Bar Association"; now I'm reminded of Homer's reaction to Gabbo's upcoming first appearance after he had been affected by weeks of content-free advertising: "HE'LL tell us what to do!"

It does make sense to me that the Bajorans are a fragile people, because if nothing else this series (and TNG too, in "The Drumhead" e.g.) reinforces that all society is essentially fragile and requires constant vigilance; Sisko narrowly stopped a Starfleet coup on Earth a few episodes before, the Klingons have flipped recently, Tain brought the Obsidian Order to ruin, etc. But the episode has the Bajorans really just do everything that This Guy says, because he disappeared into the wormhole and came out of it; he was not told he was the Emissary, but inferred it from having spoken to the Wormhole Aliens, and that is good enough for Bajorans. That the Wormhole Aliens actually exist means that the Bajorans *AND SISKO* should think hard about whether they should actually reorder their lives based on the W.A.'s teachings, let alone that they already know that their ability to interpret what the Word of the Prophets actually is is very suspect. Really, there is something condescending, paternalistic, and frightening about the way the Prophets engineer Sisko into taking on the superior role as their puppet/intermediary by sending an alternate Emissary to show not why it's crazy for Bajorans to follow their Emissary wherever he goes, but that it's crazy for them to follow the "wrong" Emissary.

The thing is, I don't mind this as a story...IF the series as a whole allowed for how unsettling this all is. In some ways, of course, Sisko becoming a religious icon specifically so that he can *not* force Bajorans to follow him blindly is far preferable to the alternative presented by Akorem, and Sisko seems to have basically the role that Clone-Kahless has in the Klingon Empire -- a religious figure who has no actual political power. However, the point of "Rightful Heir" is that Clone-Kahless did actually have things to teach about what being a real Klingon is; Sisko, at this point in time, has nothing to teach the Bajorans AS THE EMISSARY, and indeed there is the implication (i.e. from Opaka) that this is why Sisko was chosen -- because he is a blank slate when it comes to Bajoran spiritual life. This actually makes me quite cynically think that he is a convenient tool for the Prophets because he can be, over the long run, manipulated into being their instrument with none of his own (religious) biases, which, well, more on that when we get to "Rapture." But that Bajor "needs" "the Sisko," and needs the Prophets and needs some intermediary, even if it is just to placate them with blessings, is basically unavoidable as of this episode. And Sisko really shouldn't be so happy about it as he is at the episode's end. If Sisko is being set up by the Prophets to interfere directly in Bajor, it is problematic for all the reason that the Prophets interfering in Bajor is problematic, and if he is being set up by the Prophets simply to be there and be a lightning rod for religious devotion, this is a problem too. Ultimately, within the context of this episode, the Prophets have no real message for Sisko or Bajor besides that Sisko should be the Emissary willingly, and not what he should do with that title (besides, not impose classist structures).

I will say that I don't mind the "retcon" of Kira saying that they would have done anything Sisko asked of them. I do think it contradicts the whole way Kira carried herself around Sisko pre-"Destiny," to say nothing of weirdos like Col. Day who tried to murder Sisko for no reason in "The Siege" (and killed Li instead). But Sisko kept his Emissary and Commander Of Deep Space Nine roles separate, in particular distancing himself from Emissary all the time, which means that I think it's pretty plausible that the Bajorans would have done whatever he said if he had claimed the Emissary title...or, at least, THAT KIRA WOULD, and that Kira assumes the rest of Bajor would have followed suit. In reality I think large sectors of Bajor would have opposed the idea of an outsider as religious icon had Sisko tried to do anything with it, but that Kira's particular kind of devotion would mean she would follow Sisko strikes me as plausible.

I think that part of what episodes like this help establish is that DS9's model in telling religious stories really has something to do with epic tradition; methane's last (spoiler) point is a very good example of what the show seems to be trying to do. And that very abstract Epic story of the Joseph Campbellian hero having to accept his destiny is a good story and in that sense the episode mostly works...except that within the context of the Trek universe, the Wormhole Aliens cannot quite function as Greek/Roman gods but are aliens. More to the point, even in that Epic mode, the consequences of Sisko's Destiny have to be examined on their own terms, and that the whole of Bajor would do whatever he wanted if he told them to is pretty weird/screwed up and needs further elaboration even if Sisko will restrain himself from using that power -- which considering he is the guy who cannot have a labour dispute on his station without starting to issue threats is something I find hard to believe. Sisko is maybe a T.E. Lawrence figure, an Outsider who takes on quasi-mythic status (or Paul Atreides in "Dune"), and that is very interesting, potentially, if the series would examine it more closely, and, most importantly, allowed the more worrisome aspects of Sisko being in this position, not as inconvenience for Sisko but for its implications about the Bajoran psyche, to breathe. This episode brings up the problems and then the end of the episode promptly drops them -- which would be okay if it weren't that the series largely drops them as well.

End of part 1 of my comment. Part 2 will be shorter and will talk more about the smaller-scale effectiveness of the story, and the B-plot.
Chris - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 11:01am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S1: Datalore

The final "I'm fine" was intentional according to, I believe, the Star Trek TNG companion. Brent Spiner and Rob Bowman slipped it in to see if the Paramount execs were paying attention to the dailies before approving them for air. They weren't.
William B - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 10:40am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Bar Association

I should have mentioned, I do agree that the wait staff of holographic Quarks was cute (though it maybe makes the big to-do about the Doctor's holo-emitter being So Advanced a bit silly -- not blaming either series, it's just mildly unfortunate) and that the Nausicaans playing a game of throwing darts at each other was great. The episode has its moments.
Andrew - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 9:46am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S7: Flesh and Blood

On seeing some more from Season 7, I think "Thirty Days" was maybe indeed the exception.
William B - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 8:09am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Bar Association

I think Easter hits the nail on the head here. If we are going to take Ferengi culture seriously, it cannot just be expected that not just Rom but the entire Ferengi wait staff will drop their values instantaneously and that Quark is entirely the bad guy for continuing to hold those values. In some ways the episode's implicit siding with Rom is a corrective to cultural relativism, a statement that just because something is culturally approved does not mean it is right. But things get messy once you recognize that Quark is not just being a greedy boss, but is literally in danger of being exiled, beaten up, or worse if he allows his workers to unionized, because the FCA is all-powerful. That Rom has zero qualms about continuing the strike after Quark gets badly beaten does not say particularly nice things about Rom; it is not that I think that he should capitulate immediately, but he should at least acknowledge that the FCA situation is untenable and that they have to come to some sort of solution immediately, and tell the Guild that they are *not safe*, and nor are others on the station.

The weird thing is that the episode even has multiple advocates for Quark's side among the main cast: Odo's propensity for order means he instinctively sides with the status quo and sees protests as unseemly and too-busy, and apparently Worf sided with management enough to get into a fight with O'Brien, though what his reasons are were never explained. The way the supporting characters react suggests that the episode is attempting to depict a split where there are reasonable differences of opinion, which means that having Quark capitulate to every one of Rom's demands, no negotiation, nothing, with the Guild remaining in all but title, after having been beaten up, is pretty odd. In fact Quark suffers indignity after indignity here; after Worf and O'Brien inexplicably get into a big brawl and Bashir gets thrown over a table somehow, Sisko blames Quark rather than his own officers, and then starts blackmailing him into settling the dispute, whereas he is noticeably absent when Quark is badly beaten later in the episode. Ha ha.

I hasten to say that even if Quark declines to press charges, having strikebreakers on the station whose sole purpose is to intimidate through violence, and even intimidating Bajoran citizens like Leeta (directly or indirectly) is probably a sign that Sisko, Kira and/or Odo should get involved. In general, just because Ferengi business practices forbid unions does not mean that unions should be banned on Federation-Bajoran joint space stations with lots of non-Ferengi employees. The whole episode relies on the idea that Big Capital from Ferenginar is so anti-union that it will start beating up managers to send a message on little bars out of Ferengi space and jurisdiction, which is dubious to begin with, though I can maybe concede that they would apply economic pressure back home (seizing people's wages). Still, once the FCA starts using violent intimidation on the Fed/Bajoran station, this starts becoming an intergovernmental issue. That Quark, Rom et al. have to balance Ferengi values with the reality of life on a Fed/Bajoran station is/should be part of the issue here, and this aspect is acknowledged (in Brunt's "we forgive you because you're away from home, but don't expect this to go too far" speech) and largely dropped. Brunt's alacrity on the station is just difficult to believe, and feels largely like a desperate dramatic advice to prevent the episode from just resolving due to the fact that ordinary economic pressures (e.g. the boycott) would probably force Quark to capitulating earlier, given that Rom went full-on union pretty early in the show.

To some degree the external FCA pressure is meant to represent the internal pressures; Quark cannot allow unionization partly because he feels sick at the idea because of his values from home. But Quark is ultimately more pragmatic than ideological, and would basically agree to whatever gave *him* the most profit in the long run; if the bar would have to close down because of the strike, he would negotiate. As a metaphor, then, the FCA exaggerates the extent to which Quark is a traditioalist. Meanwhile, Rom for whatever reason holds one of the Ferengi traditions to heart. Rom is close to his final form in the series by now, and the comic lunkhead thing is in place where he fixates on one phrase as a guiding principle ("SEAN O'BRIEN!") and we are largely meant to buy it. Nah. The episode also is sure to endear us to Rom by the episode beginning with him having an ear infection which apparently resulted from too much oo-max, because we all know that you can get an STI from too much masturbation. That said, I did find some of Quark and Rom's moments together a little moving, because I kind of like their brotherly bond, even if it's a fairly abusive one in both directions. Rom's carelessness about Quark's having been beaten actually is consistent with "The Nagus," so maybe we should view Rom as someone who loves his brother but can turn on ruthlessness rather suddenly when he becomes fixated on an idea, and when he is particularly angry at Quark's treatment of him. In that sense, Rom quitting the bar and going into engineering is a nice resolution -- Rom recognizes that the bar will always be a battlefield for him and Quark, and that they can only really be brothers once they are not locked in competition. Leeta is fairly blank; it is noteworthy that Rom/Leeta is set up pretty hard here even though she is officially with Julian, a relationship that is given no development.

Somewhat better is the Worf subplot; I know that most of it is just "Worf is grumpy," which gets old quickly when it is not accompanied by good jokes, as it was in, say, "The Icarus Factor." And there is that brawl with O'Brien which still makes no sense to me. But overall it's kind of cute and it makes sense to me that Worf would find a starship more comfortable than a station, especially a warship. I like his scene with O'Brien talking about the Enterprise, and his scene with Odo talking about Worf's security failures (and Odo's glee), and Dax's thoughtful gift of opera, along with the final exchange: will he finally adapt to them, or they to him? It is lightweight (and probably needs even fewer scenes than the handful it has), but it's fine.

So the episode has a few elements I like but its basic structure relies on a bizarre series of assumptions, the FCA contrivance, setting up a conflict in which one side totally capitulates while twisting supporting characters into (off-screen) defending the other side, and so on, and has basically nothing to say about unions. For a far superior comic treatment, check out The Simpsons' classic "Last Exit to Springfield." 1.5 stars.
Diamond Dave - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 7:31am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Defiant

DS9 does The Hunt For Red October. And does it well too.

The Tom Riker twist is a good one and gives Frakes the opportunity to have some fun with the Riker character. But in the end he's just too honourable to be a good terrorist, as Kira memorably points out.

We also get to see the fascinating depth of Cardassian intrigue as the Obsidian Order and Central Command duke it out. The Dukat and Sisko scenes are a highlight, particularly as Dukat comes to realise they might have common cause. 3.5 stars.
Ben - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 2:38am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Life Support

@ Ian and comp625: You are both wrong. In TNG it is made clear that datas positronic brain is unique and that nobody could recreate it. So, whatever Bashir could have used would have been far less complex than data. In the context of the story it probably meant turning Bareil into a computer.
SJD - Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 12:30am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: Change of Heart

This is a great episode if you just like seeing good conversation between two characters. The fact that is between Worf and Dax is a breath of fresh air.....But...

The fact a married couple is sent on a very dangerous mission, when we see in the same episode capable people like O'Brien occupied with card games, is an insult to any viewer that has a brain!

You can say non-star fleet Kira assigned them or Star Fleet is not predominately not a military force. However, my first rebuttal is while Kira was part of a unorganised fighting force she would still have the common sense not to do this. She would not send two people who have a romantic connection when she has the choice of so many others!

Secondly, even in non-military missions it isn't a smart idea to send a married couple as the only two people. It's common sense and I agree with others here if this rule was only just made by Sisko I am not surprised that Star Fleet are falling behind in the dominion war!

I really wish I could give this episode more but it really bugged me. Even when Kira gave the mission I was raising eyebrows, then when it came to the end I was almost flipping the desk. Just so forced, the writers must think the audience is stupid.

2/4 stars.
Skeptical - Mon, Nov 23, 2015, 10:34pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Retrospect

Aw geez T'Paul, does every single episode have to have a message? Does it need to conform to your worldview? The episode itself was nice and messy, leaving everyone feeling a bit unsettled and uncomfortable. And in the end, it made the episode that much better and that much more meaningful. If there was any message, it was that life is complicated and messy and sometimes there are no easy answers. That's far better than some trite anvilicious show that tries to twist reality to suit an agenda. And I for one applaud them for not taking the easy way out here.

While it is certainly true that there is no proof that the random alien of the week didn't do it, there is no reason to assume that Voyager didn't finish the investigation. Presumably, they could fully examine the compound. Seven remembered a bed with restraints; surely they could search for that. After all, since the supposed attack was quick, so it almost certainly happened in the same building. Easy enough to investigate and conclude the innocence/guilt once and for all.

For that matter, his initial interrogation gave me the impression that he was innocent. Sure, he's an alien, but generally speaking people tend to get angry and upset when accused while innocent, and defensive when accused while guilty. So my impression is that he was innocent. But, while it may matter to the crew in general and Seven in particular, it doesn't really matter to the story. All we need is enough real doubt to make it clear that the Doctor overstepped his bounds.

And that's really what the story is about: the Doctor. I was surprised and, quite honestly, a bit appalled at his unprofessionalism. It wasn't just that he was encouraging Seven to become angry (watch out Doc, the last time Deanna said that to Data, he nearly killed her and Geordi...). It was that he was being blatantly biased during the investigation. While he almost certainly didn't know what Kovin said about demanding a completely impartial investigation, it probably didn't help. The Doctor's attitude probably helped in making him flee. Not entirely his fault, but still pretty freaking unprofessional. The only thing that can excuse it is that this is the first time he had to deal with it.

So while I was surprised by the Doctor's actions, I must admit I was very pleasantly surprised by the ending, when it was actually brought up. And I am always fond of components of these shows that highlight the AI's inhumanity. The Doctor, once again, shows that he cares more about other people than his own program, offering to eliminate his self-improvement given his screw up. It seems perfectly natural thing for him to do, and I loved this episode for it. In many ways, he is still a child, still lacking in experience. That he would overreact and be overconfident in his first bit as a psychiatrist (losing his objectivity in the process) is a natural plot point, as is the fact that he would overreact at the end. Like I said earlier, this episode didn't take the easy way out, didn't just provide mindless action. We get a hard look at one of our characters, and it wasn't a flattering look either. A perfectly meaty episode.

The fact that it was an ensemble show as well, with Janeway, Tuvok, and Seven playing significant roles as well, helped greatly. As was seeing them recognize that the Delta Quadrant is a dangerous place and trying to upgrade their weaponry. And seeing a race that wasn't pure evil! Based on the description, I came in with low expectations, but ended up thoroughly impressed. Bravo.
Skeptical - Mon, Nov 23, 2015, 10:31pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Prey

I feel rather chagrined; I didn't even realize that was Tony Todd. I did notice that he was a whole lot better than the two Hirogen from the previous episode, and he was certainly intimidating enough. The Hirogen were rather derivative in the last episode, but I think they're starting to become a bit more rounded. Yeah, one note culture and all that. But they're starting to sell it some more.

Meanwhile, I find it interesting to note how many commentators would throw an innocent man to the wolves in order to save themselves. Is it logical? Perhaps, in a utilitarian sense. But it certainly isn't honorable, nor is it consistent with the ideals that have been consistently shown throughout the many series. Picard wouldn't even let the Calamarain go after Q, after all. If the Hirogen boarded, held Janeway and crew at gunpoint, and grabbed 8472, that would be one thing. But to just fork him over just like that? Kirk would be ashamed...

Although it would have been nice if there was at least some possibility of Voyager fighting back. Having it be so one-sided was a bit of a copout. By now we are well aware of the artificial danger portion in the final act of any Voyager episode. If the crew had a chance to escape, or fight back, then there would be a bit more tension of wondering how this battle would end. Instead, we're simply left wondering what the shields get down to before the deus ex machina occurs.

But whatever, its a minor complaint. Regardless of whether or not it was honorable, Seven's decision was perfectly rational in her view, and I don't blame her for making it. And it brought some well-needed tension to the ship. While the Maquis never should have started a mutiny or anything silly like that, questioning Starfleet philosophy would have been a legitimate use of them. Sadly, other than Seska and the occasional whimpering from Chakotay, they never used that angle much. Seven's existence allows us to bring some of that conflict back into the show. Janeway didn't do a great job of defending herself here, but she is certainly within her rights to punish Seven for her actions. And it is certainly a delight to see some consequences for Seven's actions, even if they start to disappear quickly...

Meanwhile, the tension throughout much of the episode is real, and made for an enjoyable episode overall. In fact, it's been quite a run of good episodes of late.
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