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Samantha Bradley
Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 3:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Meld

I just watched this episode for the first time and I thought the main part was awesome. About Suder, what I got was: You know Deanna Troi lost her empathic powers only temporarily. Now imagine the Betazoid who never had any empathic powers, who perpetually sees other beings (including, even, himself) as flat, with no dimension whatsoever. (This is what I get when asked if he had any feelings on the matter, Suder says, "Nothing.")

Being as such, I think that for Tuvok to have experienced the extra impact of the meld (struggling even more than usual for a Vulcan to suppress those violent thoughts), Ensign Suder had to have just enough telepathic ability to imprint (or trade) that violent tendency for more self-control. Also, thinking about Suder's punishment makes me think that executing him would have been too easy, so just keep him in isolation under armed guard would be more of a real punishment for him.
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Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 3:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Conundrum

FFS, I said this before. Cause and Effect.
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Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 3:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Conundrum

The only aspect that I find ridiculous is that Troi would even come close to beating Data at chess.
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Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 2:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Carbon Creek

Heartfelt engaging episode....loved it!
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Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 1:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Future's End, Part I

I was surprised at how well-paced this one is. Fun from start to finish.

I gotta question the time police dude's plan tho. He thinks them just happening to be present means they are responsible, no further investigation needed? Also, "no time"? Dude, nothing was stopping you from just appearing earlier. Did you really think you could just tell them to suck it up and they would let you kill them?
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Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 9:05am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Elementary, Dear Data

Because, BC--that would be a different experience, for a different person. Would you want part of your brain temporarily wiped, to increase the edited-version-of-you's appreciation of, say, a movie you've already seen?
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Peter G.
Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 8:36am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

@ William,

I wonder whether Daystrom going insane might be intended to mean something more than merely that the machine had a faulty programmer. One of the classic sci-fi elements to an AI dystopia is not that the machines fail, but that they entirely succeed in fulfilling their role. What happens is that instead of machines helping man to achieve his dreams instead they serve as an excuse to stop pursuing them altogether. Instead of helping man to think, they give him an excuse to stop thinking and to turn over his free will and volition to them. From the start I think we get the impression that Daystrom is not only excited about the technology itself, but seems to actually be excited at the prospect of humans being replaced by computers; it's almost a self-destructive fantasy coming to life. As he goes mad towards the end, almost in tandem with the AI, my sense is that this might mean not that he was always flawed, but rather that he had by this time placed all of his hopes into the AI and was dependent on it. When it began to fail he began to fail. We don't know his backstory here and can only guess, but what if he had already been using AI to help guide him? What if the computer itself had assisted his research and maybe even given him the idea to put it in command of a starship? The idea that he had become a servant to a machine could indeed make him become unhinged. Of course this is my own imagining, but broadly speaking I think the sci-fi world was already becoming acquainted with the notion that letting machines take over out thinking for us not only poses a danger due to the machines themselves, but also in allowing us to become dependent on them for everything.

As a complete aside, I'm not sure that the correct interpretation of 2001: A Space Odyssey is that HAL malfunctioned. True, that's the prevailing understanding, but my suspicion, especially knowing how Kubrick thought, is that HAL was programmed to deliberately turn on the crew so that it could contact the aliens by itself and report directly to whomever programmed it, without the crew blabbing.
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Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 8:27am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: The Swarm

It would also help if the doctor didn't immediately recontaminate himself by touching everything.
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Peter G.
Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 8:22am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Profit and Loss

@ Vii,

I would consider the possibility that Garak engineered the entire affair with the sole intention of using the "escaping dissidents" as a pretext to kill Toran and get away with it. If he had eliminated him without pretext his safety on DS9 might be in question, but in the presence of Natima and the others he created his smokescreen so that Central Command could never be sure exactly under what circumstances Toran died. From the minute Toran walked into Garak's shop it was clear they had been enemies before, and after the two of them 'agree' to capture the dissidents Toran walks out, and you can see a little smile appear on Garak's face. One can perhaps interpret this as him hoping to go home, but my guess is that he had just come up with a way to eliminate one of his enemies safely. From what we later see in the series (SPOILER) between him and Tain, eliminating enemies seems to be a premium pleasure for them. I don't think Garak would have trusted Toran for a moment anyhow to follow up on his offer to help him get home. I do think the initially Garak notified the Central Command to curry some favor with them, and also to effect a prisoner exchange in order to curry favor with Bajor, Sisko and Kira. But once Toran came on board his plan changed altogether.
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Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 6:55am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Profit and Loss

Regarding all the former posters who have speculated on Garak's motives - I thought that it was pretty obvious that he'd wanted to curry favour with Cardassian Central Command and was even under the impression that his turning in Natima and her students, could buy him out of exile. When Toran laughed scornfully at him and told him that this 'favour' was still woefully insufficient and that he still wouldn't be able to return to Cardassia, he changed his mind immediately and killed Toran, and allowed Natima and co. to escape.

It was rather clear that Garak harboured no ill will towards Natima and her students, indeed his dismay when Toran instructs him to assassinate them is very much evident. More interesting I thought was the fact that he specially arranged to have the Cardassian government turn over the Bajoran prisoners in return for Natima. When I compare this action with his behaviour towards Kira in the S7 episode arc (ie jumping to her defence whenever Rusot and the other Cardassians start goading her, and then in the final showdown when he draws a phaser on Rusot and threatens to shoot the latter if he doesn't desist from trying to kill Kira), it strikes me how he alone, out of all the Cardassians we've ever seen, has consistently tried, in his own covert manner, to keep the Bajorans from harm, without asking for anything in return. He was even the one to suggest to Sisko that Kira get her Starfleet commission as commander!

Under different circumstances I even think that he and Natima would have made a charming couple, but I digress.
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Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 5:56am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Remember

@Yanks I probably shouldn't continue the political discussion, but I can't help but laugh at how harsher in hindsight your defense of Trump has been. Although, even back then, you should have known better than to think wasting billions to stop imigration now that is all time low (even before it turned out it doesn't increase crime) and think TRUMP somehow had more experience than Obama and calling his opponents fascist, when he was the one to openly argue in favor of war crimes.
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William B
Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 5:18am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

Skeptical, it's a good point that the M-6 could be imprinted with Kirk's brain. In my interpretation, the episode erred by having Daystrom go bonkers at the end, because I don't think the point was even that Daystrom was a particularly crazy or bad individual, so much that any computer created by humans (let's narrow the focus from aliens here, this is TOS and pretty human-centric) will inherit human flaws. The issue then is lack of balance. No individual human would be capable of running the Enterprise not just because of the physical or even computational demands, but because humans need constant checks and balances to keep from losing perspective. Kirk is in command, but he has Spock and Bones to constantly play off, and Kirk listens to them. But even if it weren't for that, Kirk has humility not to expect that he can run everything by himself -- or, indeed, the humility to recognize he's not perfect. Actually since Kirk sometimes has mild megalomanic traits, kept in check largely by his close attachment to Spock and McCoy, an M-6 designed on Kirk would also run into the same problems. The delusion is not that the M-5 is capable of running the ship's systems, but that it should and that its "judgment" will remain superior to humans', when it is still based on humans and so will likely not be a magic way of evading well-known human flaws. I think this is part of the point in 2001, as well -- HAL is a tool crafted by humans, and so his programming is still susceptible to "human error," just at a different point and level than human mistakes. Or, rather, HAL works perfectly according to the code as designed by its/his human programmers, and the underlying flaws in their thinking only become exposed once it runs its course, similar to (say) the underlying logic of the doomsday machine system (including both the tech circuitry and also the loyal soldiers following orders) in Dr. Strangelove.

I do see what you mean that it's a strawman because Kirk doesn't actually face The Ultimate Computer. But...I think the episode's point is that there *is* no "Ultimate Computer," or at least it's far further away than people think. If we define the Ultimate Computer as a computer capable of running a starship *technically*, then Kirk could outthink it with lateral thinking as is the case with most of the computers he faces; if the Ultimate Computer is a computer capable of human-style lateral thinking and creativity, as seems to be the case here, then it inherits human flaws along the way and so it is necessary to install the usual checks and balances, which really comes down to wanting a human making the final shots anyway. That Kirk outsmarts the computer in the traditional way here is, I agree, another flaw in the episode -- this computer should be smart enough not to fall for it, or else it *is* just another Nomad or whatever.

The other element, which the episode does talk about, and which I think would be better to look at squarely, is the question of whether computers running things, even if they could be entirely trusted, would be whether human dignity would be removed/ruined by giving power to the machine. And I think most stories still use the idea that computer-run societies will end up being some kind of dystopia to avoid the issue of whether a fully pleasant computer-run world would really be so bad. I still think that the dystopia argument has value because I think that there are lots of reasons to suspect that any system designed by humans will eventually run into human-like problems, but, still, it is hypothetically possible that this is not the case, and then there is still an issue of whether humans should avoid over-reliance on machines for their decision-making, even if those machines are genuinely able to make those decisions better. That's what this episode seems to be about for a time, and I value what it "turns out" to be about...but, yeah, I would also like to see that other story.
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Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 3:10am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: The Way of the Warrior

I've always found the visual BJ the camera gives Worf amusing. Reminds me of the way Steven Seagal's characters were treated. But if any character deserves it, it's Worf. He spent years as the most interesting jobber in Next-Gen. He earned star status the hard way. :-)
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Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 1:02am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Starship Down

Given that this whole episode was indirectly Quark's fault, shouldn't Sisko have given him a talking to at the very least once they got back to the station?
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Sat, Feb 25, 2017, 12:22am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Elementary, Dear Data

Instead of asking Mr. Computer to create a Holmes-LIKE mystery with an adversary capable of defeating Data, why not just (have Data?) wipe Data's memory clean of all knowledge of Holmes' undertakings? Then he and Geordi could've had their fun, and, afterward, it would've taken, what, thirty seconds for Data to re-capture all of the novels?
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Fri, Feb 24, 2017, 11:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Generations

Did Geordi have the Captain's and Starfleet's permission to install the chip?? If .not, he should have been court-martialed!!
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Fri, Feb 24, 2017, 10:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Corbomite Maneuver

I always thought this episode had a certain charm. It is somewhat hokey and dated, but everybody knows this is a story from the 1960s, so I just give a pass to the cheesiness of the props and sets, the overly-dramatic musical score, and the histrionics and over-acting at times by the cast. I thought Bailey was an incompetent moron, and was surprised that he got the plum assignment to stay on Balok's ship and learn about the culture...but at least we got rid of him that way. Three stars.
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Fri, Feb 24, 2017, 8:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Naked Now

Have to agree with all of the criticisms (and kudos) that have been stated so far.

Perhaps I'm re-watching the series through a different lens than most. I remember watching them for the first time when they came out in the late 80s. I was in college and my Geek friends and I would get together each week to eat, drink, and watch the new episode. I had grown up on reruns of TOS and was giddy with a new series all my own! In both the pilot and the first few episodes, all of us just gobbled up the throw backs to TOS like candy! They were just what we needed to get hooked! I can see if I were watching this for the first time today how bad the episode would seem, but at the time we loved it.

It's also interesting watching it today and realizing that the cast is still new to each other and settling into their roles.
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Fri, Feb 24, 2017, 8:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Homeward

I have to disagree with you, Diana. Put yourself in Nikolai's shoes for a moment.....think about if it was you watching these people for several years, becoming very attached to them. Would it be such an easy decision to simply follow the Prime Directive?

I liked that you pointed out the potential future problems of mixing DNA from two species - obviously the baby will have features from both parents, one of whom is obviously not Boraalan.

Picard certainly has had his share of "living in the gray zone" in regard to following orders and rules, which is why I found it somewhat hypocritical for him to get so angry at Nikolai. Remember "A Matter of Time", where he gives an entire speech on 'bending the rules' when the circumstances justify it and lives are on the line?
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Fri, Feb 24, 2017, 7:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Ship in a Bottle

Sean, are you commenting on the wrong episode? This one was about Moriarty and his attempt to leave the holodeck as a sequel to his initial introduction.

Were you implying that the doctor could have given his holographic family consciousness the same way Moriarty was given it?
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Fri, Feb 24, 2017, 7:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

Well, I still stand by my statement, that the implementation of the episode to complement the theme was not done well at all.

William, you seem to state that the theme shows by comparing Daystrom erraticness to the M-5's going cuckoo. And yes, perhaps that is the reason the M-5 did poorly, since it was his brainwaves that he used to create the M-5. And therefore, you say, the theme is that the people who want to supplant humans have their own problems that preclude them from being the best judge of humans. Well, ok. But still... well, it's obvious the theme the episode wanted to show was that humans are not going to be obsolete by this computer, what with the whole "dunsel" bit. And if William's interpretation is true, then I, like Garak and the Boy Who Cried Wolf, see a different moral. If the importance is to show the connectivity between Dyson and the M-5, then the moral of the story isn't that computers are inferior, but rather that better humans should be used as the template for computers.

After all, if the fault of the M-5 is just that Dyson was erratic, why not try the M-6 with Kirk's brain? Will that computer be perfect enough to replace human captains? I don't think the episode answered that. Which is why it's a bit of a straw man story - it's not really Kirk vs The Ultimate Computer. It's Kirk vs the Insane Computer. And that's not a fair comparison.

Peter, I don't really disagree with what you say. But I just feel a bit more strongly on the fact that it's weak than you. Yes, computers will follow their logic to the bitter end, which can seem horrifying. And yes, it does mean that there should be some human oversight. Which honestly should have been obvious, but of course they didn't show it. Naturally our superintelligent future means people will test a complex new computer by giving it complete control of a freaking battleship that has enough firepower to exterminate a planet, and make the only kill switch an electronic one that the computer can hack.Perhaps it should be Starfleet command that should be seen as insane...

But I digress. My problem is that I, Robot came out in 1950. The Three Laws were first introduced in 1942. While Trek may have been blazing a trail for television sci-fi, this episode feels 25 years behind the times when it comes to sci-fi in general. There should have been safeguards put in place on that computer. There should have been better logic programmed into it. But apparently, Dyson didn't think of it. And apparently, Starfleet didn't demand it before thinking about putting it in one of their ships. It just wasn't very intelligent plotting, and so it's tough for me to care about the theme when it relies on dumb plotting.

(With that said, I will point out that this episode came out about a month or so before 2001, so it's not the only visual medium showering murderous AI. But HAL is a lot more memorable, so I'll let that one slide...)
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Fri, Feb 24, 2017, 7:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: The First Duty

Thanks, Diana. That's a very plausible explanation and one I would be comfortable with.

I think it's a joke for them to tell us that (in canon) that these two characters are different people who just happen to both be master pilots. Give me a break.

Locarno IS Paris, who made a mistake, got sent to the penal colony, and was then recruited by Janeway because of his incredible piloting skills.

I thought Locarno's plea for leniency for the others on his team was a noble thing to do...unfortuately, Wesley left Starfleet, Sito was sent on a rotten mission that she didn't return from by Picard, and we're never told what happened to the fourth member of the team (Jean Hajar).
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Fri, Feb 24, 2017, 3:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Apple

This is a goofy episode - have to agree with @dgalvan. Also very similar to "The Return of the Archons" and also "That Which Survives" (from Season 3) to some extent. That being said, I didn't mind it and don't consider it anywhere near TOS's worst episodes.
The highlight is the philosophical debate between the Big 3 on the prime directive. The fact that the Enterprise is threatened dictates the crew's actions.
Chekov, for having appeared at the start of Season 2, has already played significant roles - more so than Uhura (absent in this one) and rivalling Scott and Sulu. His character as a bit of a ladies man has now been established.
Some inconsistencies - Spock should/could have died twice (once from the spores, the other being struck directly by lightning). He also ran into Vaal's forcefield. Thought Scotty threw the kitchen sink at the impulse engines to break free, yet they have phaser power to destroy Vaal.
Other than the prime directive dialogue, the rest of the dialogue is mostly silly.
I'd give it 2/4 stars - a well-worn plot which would have been more interesting if some story of how Vaal was created, how his people got there was found out.
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John Harmon
Fri, Feb 24, 2017, 2:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

"The law has been hijacked by an overzealous individual whose judgment is suspect."

Ain't it the truth...
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Stuart M
Fri, Feb 24, 2017, 2:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: The Breach

I'm currently rewatching Enterprise on Netflix, in anticipation of Discovery later in the year.

Some of the episodes are truly dire, I don't recall think they were so poor back when they forst aired.

As for this episode, its better than the average for season 2 - but not great in its own right.

I agree with other comments re Travis' climbing skills, I noticed this before and was hoping during Horizon they'd show some sort of recreational climbing wall/simulator to at least add some plausibility.

The tribble was a nice touch, anything that links into TOS reminds me that this is meant to be a prequel series.
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