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William B - Wed, Jul 29, 2015, 12:51am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S2: Second Sight

A bit of "Brief Encounter" meets "Forbidden Planet," as a woman finds herself so suffocated in her marriage to a well-meaning egomaniac that her mind creates a psychic double to flirt with local space commanders. The unreality of "Fenna," the alternate version of Nidell, works to some degree as a metaphor for the unstable emotions that are often formed in affairs (in real life) -- can an affair which is essentially a desperate attempt to find some comfort and feeling as an escape from a loveless marriage actually let you see the "real" person? And what of the person who gets involved with this person having an affair, who is likely to "disappear" frequently?

And, fine, it's not a bad idea for an episode. But really, the episode then lives or dies on how the Benjamin/Fenna romance goes, and, no. No. Sorry, but no. It doesn't help that unlike most Trek romances, we cannot even "fill in the blanks" with extra scenes between the two (except for their picnic, where I think we're meant to gather that they had a longer time together), and only have to rely on the scant few meetings that happened on screen. Sisko's falling for Fenna on so little is false, especially since we see very little to indicate what he sees in her besides her obvious attractiveness and the thrill of the chase of a mysterious woman who speaks cryptically and then disappears. This would make a lot of sense if Ben were a teenager, but as an adult, well.... I get that he is just barely starting to be able to feel again after his wife's death, I get it because Sisko pointed it out several times, but I really don't feel it.

The lack of connection between Fenna and Nidell is also frustrating -- Nidell is such a blank that we have no real indication of how much Fenna actually represents of her, making Sisko's final remark that Fenna was JUST LIKE HER come across as totally bizarre. I can't even tell if we're supposed to think Sisko's being honest or lying, and if he is lying why.

There are many odd details in this episode that also make it seem unfinished, like there was an extra draft thrown out; the relative disinterest in this mysterious disappearing woman from anyone but Dax; the fact that no one bothered to call Bashir while Nidell lied dying for hours; that Fenna sometimes seems to know she can't stay long and other times can't which is totally at the mercy of the plot; that Nidell, we are told by Seyetik, is both supposed to have these projections under control and has no knowledge of them nor control of them, and that Nidell doesn't tell anyone that OH SISKO MUST HAVE SEEN HER PROJECTION when it comes up (what, embarrassment?). As far as Brooks' acting, my favourite weird mannerism in this episode is when, partway through his conversation with Seyetik where Seyetik reveals the Truth about Nidell, Brooks puts his head on his fist as if making something between an "I'm listening" face and nodding off to sleep, rather than, you know, the emotion of a guy who is losing a woman he cares about.

The episode's saving grace *is* Seyetik and I find him amusing, but he does seem like a small doses person and I feel like even this episode could have used smaller doses of him. I find it amusing that there is no suggestion whatsoever of Seyetik being abusive; we are just meant to understand that after three or four years of being married to this guy, a person's subconscious would basically choose suicide by psychic projection over listening to him reading any more excerpts from his autobiography. Seyetik kills himself because it's the only way to free her, and there is some sense in which it's a matter of atonement for the foolishness of *him* marrying someone from a species that mates for life when no one can stand him; he does end up something of a tragic figure, all big gestures and works of art and incapable of providing day-to-day emotional nurturance.

Anyway, Seyetik is entertaining and interesting enough (while still a bit grating, even so) that I think this episode can maybe hold onto 1.5 stars.
William B - Wed, Jul 29, 2015, 12:31am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S2: Rules of Acquisition

Incidentally, I don't think the episode implies that Quark has fallen in love with Pel. Rather, I think he has become very fond of Pel, and then, once he realizes she is a woman in love with him, and once he comes to her rescue, and puts everything together, he recognizes *some* attraction to her, which could very well have become something more given time. But liking her and loving her are two different things, and I don't think either Quark coming to her defense or Quark giving her a somewhat chaste kiss before sending her off qualify as a reach.

Quark's refusing to go with Pel, relatedly, I don't think is just Quark having attachment to Ferengi culture and being a traditionalist, though that is some of it. He also has a whole life on the station. He doesn't actually want to leave his brother and nephew or his business he has spent time building or Odo.
William B - Wed, Jul 29, 2015, 12:28am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S2: Rules of Acquisition

OK, so, the Ferengi's sexism (as a people) has already been established before this episode, and I think it's fair to say that most of the audience believes that women should be allowed to have jobs rather than being kept barefoot and pregnant, or, I guess, completely bare and pregnant. However, you know, it is true that much of the world is still deeply repressive in terms of gender norms, and it can still be hard for women in more egalitarian parts of the world who find their skill set matched to fields which are traditionally male-dominated, to say nothing of how *very recently* stark divisions of gender roles were enforced in the West. The way the episode broaches the topic of oppressive gender roles is by focusing small -- this woman, this man -- and letting the impact of an unfair society be felt by the characters.

Open on Ferengi guys (or so it seems!) playing Tongo, eventually revealing, all eyes on her, "cool girl," "one of the guys" Jadzia, who as a non-Ferengi gets to be in their boys' club of gambling despite her gender. Rom, whose masculinity is constantly called into question on Ferengi standards, is insecure and suggests their (his) losing to Dax is only because they are "really" losing to Curzon. Quark feels both camaraderie and lust for Dax. And so the episode hits the ground running in terms of establishing what the relevant character bits of this small Ferengi gender story is.

Pel is the most obvious tragic figure here, and the reveal early on of her true gender identity is not really a mistake but rather helps us get into her head early. The difficulty of living this double life obviously weighs on her. We know she's right, and she knows she's right, but she has to live a lie; she is not particularly comfortable *as a man* except insofar as it is necessary in order to succeed.

Pel's initial value to Quark comes in her ability to make profits -- she is a shrewd businesswoman, in ways demonstrated regularly throughout the episode (not just talked about). She and Quark bond, and there is the sense that Quark finds a kindred spirit in his new friend -- his brother is terrible at acquiring, Quark is a slight outcast as a Ferengi, living so far out on the frontier. That a woman can be good at acquisition is no real revelation to the audience, and indeed shouldn't even be to Quark, who knows Dax and does not particularly seem to view Ferengi as so very different from other humanoids. The thing that gets depicted, though, is that it's not just women, but society as a whole who loses because of the oppression of women. Even if naked self-interest is the only goal of society, as it is for the Ferengi, it is *still* better to have the most competent people available to make the most profits -- and that includes women. On a professional level, Pel is essential to Zek and Quark's schemes to make money.

On a personal level, we find what Quark is missing out on by being pushed into a Ferengi value system he doesn't *particularly* believe in. It's not that Quark is free of sexism, and his come-ons are frequently offensive, without even going into the overt forced-prostitution-clause at the beginning of "Profit and Lace." But he likes women and likes women to be involved in his life. With Ferengi women, though, he holds to tradition because he has deep respect and some bits of fear for Ferengi Culture as a whole, with Zek as its representative. That he forms a friendship to Pel which is soon cut short, and even finds himself attracted to her when he knows who she is, highlights the possibilities of life which are cut off for *him* as well as for her -- he loses out on the possibility of a real companion, his speed, who matches him. Quark tells Pel off and indicates that he genuinely believes she has no place in business, etc., but the sneaking suspicion that he is at least partly doing this to make her leave turns out to be well-fonuded when he comes to Pel's defense.

The loyalty Quark demonstrates is (almost) always local, personal -- he treats his family badly, is pretty gross to Dax in his come-ons, etc., but he really does side with them and demonstrate that he cares about them. Pel makes it into this category, and his willingness to rush to defend her even if it means losing profits both reveals something important about Quark's character, and the way prejudice works -- when it's someone he cares about, Quark cannot toe the party line the same way.

What actually impresses me is the way the episode even presents an argument, and allows sympathy, for the reactionary position. Rom seeks to expose Pel because his masculinity is threatened by her success; Quark neglects and abuses him and treats Pel like the (business-savvy) brother he never had. Rom's jealousy is rendered sympathetic because we see the abuse Quark heaps on Rom for not being the "true Ferengi" he is supposed to be, which is really a way of saying that he is not the true Ferengi *male* Rom is supposed to be. Rom's desire to see Pel taken down, exposed, and perhaps charged criminally is petty and cruel, but it is also the effect of a value system which punished anyone who deviates from the expected standard. Rom becomes a better person (whether he is easier for the audience to watch is a matter of some debate) when he accepts that he need never be the True Ferengi businessman he is required to be.

Zek -- capital, the patriarch(y), etc. -- is "revealed" as a hypocrite, willing to agree to conceal Pel's identity to protect his own image and his own position of dominance.

What does not quite work for me, oddly, is just how far Pel falls for Quark. Her kissing him and then trying to insist on the topic and her anger at Quark's sending her away I can get behind -- but Pel running up and tearing her lobes off before the Nagus out of frustration seems to imply *such* an intense devotion to Quark and the proportionate heartache that comes with it. Why should she be that invested in showing up/embarrassing Quark (and the Nagus) that she will go to prison and have her whole life stripped away? I gather that the point is that she cannot hide the truth of herself any longer, and Quark's sending her away pushed her over the edge, but there is also the suggestion that she is just made so crazy by love that she can't control herself -- which doesn't quite sit well with the gender politics the episode is overall kind of trying to convey. It is a farce, and so I can let that go to a degree.

Of note -- I like that Dax catches on to Pel being in love with Quark before catching on to her being a woman. Smooth. Also this is the introduction of the Dominion.

This episode is not nearly as funny as "The Nagus" and the theatrics of Pel revealing herself in the climactic scene hurt the final product for me. I was set to say this was a 2.5 star show, but I might have talked myself up to a low 3 stars. Ferengi episodes eventually start being awful, but I don't think that this episode is the start of the more and more severe decline.
james42519 - Tue, Jul 28, 2015, 7:15pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S1: The Naked Now

i am glad gene Roddenberry didn't have as much control in later ep like he did with session 1 and 2 if he did the show wouldn't have been as good was it was. sure he came up with tos but he also had a lot of bad idea and most weren't done it seems. should say i hatted tos too btw.
methane - Tue, Jul 28, 2015, 6:34pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Equilibrium

I liked this one...and yet I wanted to like it even more. It could have been sharper, with some sections trimmed, leaving space for more story.

I would have been interested in exploring more what the killer Dax had been like; they also could have added a "B story" by taking the opportunity to introduce someone who knew Jadzia before her joining.
Troy - Tue, Jul 28, 2015, 1:36pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Birthright, Part II

I'd give it 2-1/2 stars. I've often thought Worf had a somewhat realistic of what an ex-pat Klingon from a young age might turn out like. In particular I'm sure the Rozhenkos would have a guilt complex and encourage him to research Klingon ways. Like most things the abstract understaning of how Klingons are supposed to behave and how they actually do could easily be missed by Worf turning him into a purist. Reminds me of a friend who studied Buddhism and ended up finding out when he went to find a community they naturally didn't live up to the tennets of their religion (because no one does).
As for Worf dating a younger Klingon, they were considered the "young" but they were Worf's peers (their parents were the same generation as Worf's father), though younger, I don't see an issue with romance and being the only game in town for both Worf and Ba'el, I'm sure sparks would be flying.
The one thing I'm conflicted about should Worf's father have been there (or been there and died)? I'm not sure. Overall this part was a bit slow paced and a bit of a yawner. A bit more of Mogh would have spiced it up.
Yanks - Tue, Jul 28, 2015, 1:34pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S2: Parturition

Enter the first episode where Jennifer's acting made me cringe.

Tom and Neelix's little excursion was enjoyable and needed. I was really tiring of the Neelix jealousy thing.

But damn... Kes's little rant with Harry was.... well .... searching for words here.

Best line? DOC: "Hmm. Your world must have very dry literature"

Haha, isn't that the truth... no distrust, no jealousy, no envy, no betrayal... no Shakespeare I guess :-)

2.5 stars.
Yanks - Tue, Jul 28, 2015, 12:50pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S2: Twisted

Jammer, one star? ... come on man... it's not a classic by any stretch, but one star?

I don't know what sci-fi technobabble is "plausible" or not, so I'm willing to accept the what if's... etc.

The writers have to be given some credit for the ending. Nothing the Voyager crew, Janeway or the captain-less crew could do, dream up, execute, etc. could do anything to stop anything here. I think it's a pretty cool having our heroes realize they are helpless... and even to some degree - accept it. Folks complain all the time about technobabble saving the day etc... here it didn't and folks are still up in arms.

I'm not sure how you can portray these affects better. I actually thought their ramblings etc. were kind of humorous.

With all the Tom/Kes gift brouhaha, what I noticed was some serious chemistry between Tom and B'Elanna when they were paired off. Very telling.

Touching moments in the holo-deck as our heroes await their fate. Tuvok's little hand gesture was touching as was B'Elanna's opening up to Chakotay.

Was this huge data dump ever used or provide any benefit later in the series? I can't remember.

I'll go 2.5 stars here.
Yanks - Tue, Jul 28, 2015, 12:33pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S2: Non Sequitur

Wow, this episode is so gripping that all we can do is argue about economics :-)

Free markets are the answer... BUT, before all you commies hit your head on the ceiling... the banking system does need regulation. Especially since it's all numbers now.

Communism, Socialism. dictatorships never work, never have. It's a pipe dream promulgated by those in power to justify confiscating other people's property and to maintain their power. Then of course, as history tells us, when the "subjects" under a dictatorship become vocal, they are just eliminated.

Gene's money free utopia is impossible without replicator technology and not even practiced between members of the almighty Federation.

But back to this episode, the only redeeming factor, or character building part, is that Harry gets to learn more about Tom's character without the real Tom knowing about it.

Other than that this is a snooze fest.

1.5 stars.
Troy - Tue, Jul 28, 2015, 10:50am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

Best use of Q, and never finding out if it was a dream or the actual Q is a nice touch. Good moral and great Picard back story. I wondered about the old vs young Picard. He is old for the benefit of the audience, you're correct Jammer a necessary tactic.
Troy - Tue, Jul 28, 2015, 10:29am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Face of the Enemy

I agree Troi speaking Romulan was an issue for me, sometimes you have to sigh and remember it is just a television show.
I did think it was very well done, and found it odd I had no rememberence of this episode (possibly one of the few I hadn't seen)
Troy - Tue, Jul 28, 2015, 9:40am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Aquiel

I'd give it 1-1/2 stars. I thought the cute pooch is enough misdirection to possibly fool some in the audience. I also liked that Geordi redeemed himself from the mistake of the Leia Brahms episode, here he tells her he was snooping in her logs and why. Ah honesty is great Geordi.
Some have suggested Aquiel gives him the brush off, and yes the actors don't have much chemistry so one might think that. In reality she just wasn't a recurring character so they had to do the reset button. The whole crystal ritual is the writers saying it is serious, though the actors say otherwise.
Robert - Tue, Jul 28, 2015, 7:42am (USA Central)
Re: ENT S2: A Night in Sickbay

Neelix > Livingston? Really? And what about Martok's unseen pet Targ that was the source of a really good story?
Eddie Ballard - Tue, Jul 28, 2015, 2:46am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S3: Distant Origin

This was a great episode- but ultimately I found myself distracted by the opportunity for transwarp tech.
How many times can Voyger encounter a Q or an ally with superior tech (a friendly Saurian scientist for example) and not get a boost? Doesn't make any sense!!
William B - Tue, Jul 28, 2015, 12:18am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

"Melora," take one: The difficulties faced by, um, everyone when a disabled woman comes to use the non-accessible station, and her rough experience thusfar makes her misinterpret everything that everyone says as a mark against her. She swings wildly between HOW DARE YOU EXPECT THAT I NEED SPECIAL TREATMENT and YOU JUST TRY BEING IN THIS CHAIR THEN YOU'D UNDERSTAND, and comes across as passive-aggressive. Of course, Bashir is already smitten before she arrives, responding to Dax' comment that it sounds as if he already knows her with "I FEEL AS IF I ALREADY DO," arrogantly believing that having read a person's files allows him to peer into that person's soul. (Actually the teaser-setup is especially reminiscent of "Galaxy's Child," with Bashir as Geordi and Melora as Leah.)

These two are at odds until the following exchange happens in Melora's quarters:

BASHIR: Julian. I'm no longer your doctor.
MELORA: I see. You've decided I need a friend.
BASHIR: Was that an attack? You see, you do it so well, with such charm, it's hard to tell.
MELORA: I really don't mean to --
BASHIR: Sure you do.
MELORA: I beg your pardon?
BASHIR: Of course, you mean to. All of these broad shots you fire it's your way of keeping the rest of the universe on the defensive. Has to be. You're too good at it.
MELORA: Well, it always seemed to work pretty well. Until now.

Ah. So, Julian is the first person ever to identify Melora's conversational pattern, and, as happens with all defensive people, the first time someone identifies that they are defensive, the defenses drop and they are primed to fall in love for the first time! No, that is not how this works. "Until now" presupposes both that Bashir is the first person *ever* to call Melora on her behaviour, or even to push back at all, and further her new openness to him implies that he really cut through years of personal barriers with one pointed remark. And, you know, no.

In any case, the drama about a person dealing with accessibility, and the question of what she can/cannot do, sort of dissolves. This is a romance now.

"Melora," take two: Now they go to dinner, and it turns out isolationist, angry Melora who keeps everyone at a distance speaks fluent Klingon and knows exactly how to argue her way into getting quality racht. The Klingon restauranteur laughs and they share a knowing smile and rapport. It's not even that Melora's aggressive arguing with the Klingon is an extension of her prickliness in act one, which endeared her (deliberately) to no one, it actually comes across as a practiced, carefully honed ability to negotiate with Klingons. The main function here is to undermine Bashir's conception of Melora as "wheelchair lady," for him to start thinking of her as an exceptional person in her own right rather than being defined as her own person, and I do think her having very specific individualized interests fits with this -- but her cosmopolitanism does rather run counter to her entire personality as established up to this point, which the episode was fairly careful to establish is how she acts all the time.

Time for her to show him her world! OK so it's been established that she comes from a low-gravity planet, which is why she has weaker muscles than the class-M humanoids and has trouble with Earth-style gravity. Fine. Which means that in her quarters, designed presumably to emulate her home planet, it should be about half gravity and she should be walking around norm -- NOPE SHE FLOATS AROUND IN ZERO-G. Wait, so, why does she not ever want to experience her own planet's gravity in her inner sanctum, rather than the artificial zero-g? Or is her planet actually, like, near zero gravity, and everyone...floats around until they float off into space? What? And Melora and Bashir seem to have equal strength in zero-g. Bashir, a Starfleet officer going out into space, has never been in zero-g? What if he has to perform surgery and the gravity goes out?

The "low-gravity planet" thing started as an excuse to do a show about disabilities from a Space perspective. The problem is that there is no "planet of disabled people," but, fine -- until they disregard the premise they've established. Anyway, one way to interpret things, though, is that Melora is a somewhat prickly woman with some significant impairments that make it hard for her to function on others' terms, but she has a rich, complex inner life which she largely does not let others into. In this sense, the Melora story is basically similar to Sarina's in "Chrysalis." So she is maybe something like an autism-spectrum person, ill suited in some senses to traditional interactions but still capable, and coming fully into her own in her own space. That's interesting, if a bit at odds with the wheelchair-WHY IS THE STATION NOT MORE ACCESSIBLE very clearly physical-disability-focused stuff. But okay.


Anyway, of course, Bashir dates a woman for like two minutes before he decides he can change her into a completely different person, which leads us to:

"Melora," phase three: CAN MELORA BE CURED?

It is pretty funny that the reaction everyone has to Melora walking on the bridge and handing her report to Sisko is excited back-patting for Bashir along with comments about how this project of his will earn him some great papers in prestigious journals. I may give her flak, but Melora's concern that people look at her and only see her Otherness/"disability" seem pretty accurate. Anyway, in this section Bashir cures her life-long genetic condition in ten minutes, but then does Melora really want to be "cured"? Because, you know, disability blah blah but isn't she denying who she is if she gets out of the chair and -- stop.

The episode's radical course-corrections really do feel odd, because, yes, it is true that the episode sets up the Bashir/Melora romance early on, and it is plausible that Bashir might work on "the Melora problem," and so it's not as if they are completely disjoint. But there are such huge shifts in tone and personalities of the players that the episode can never gain full focus. Bashir was attracted to Melora specifically because she could show him how to fly, which makes little sense but let's go with it, and so he knows he is depriving her of that, but only half-registers it. Didn't Bashir say he's her friend, not her doctor? What exactly is it that Bashir and Melora have to build a romance on, when they stop interacting except as doctor-patient soon? Is the issue of accessibility of the station, and how people treat the disabled, still on the table or is it gone?

Anyway, as a physical disability metaphor, the idea that she must give up zero-g flying and ever visiting her family for an extended period again pretty much trashes real-world counterparts. Maybe one could argue that a deaf person regaining their hearing fully might lose touch with the deaf community and so lose something fundamental, and certainly "curing" *psychological* "disabilities" is tricky business. It may be that the often-present trope of the person with physical impairments not wanting those impairments to be cured magically does have particular resonance and means something, so I don't want to dismiss it entirely. But, you know, if being in a wheelchair is part of who someone is, that is *still* not the same as Melora's home-planet/family issue.

Also, like, exactly how cumbersome is her antigrav equipment that works literally everywhere except DS9 and apparently the Runabouts? That's an important question because Melora's probably only going to be here for a week, "Mapping the Gamma Quadrant" or no.

What is interesting about this is what the Melora problem says about Bashir -- he falls for her because of her determination and then her openness to experience and her rich internal life, then finally settles on totally fixing her/rebuilding her from the ground up. The mixture of affection for who she is and desire to remake her into who he thinks she should be gets repeated in "Chrysalis," which by hitting on a better metaphor (the genetically engineered-autistic thing) manages to suck less (though I don't think it's a good episode). And I guess, to get into extra spoilery territory, in a lot of ways these go beyond just immature male romantic worship issues and into something specific to the formative event of Bashir's life. In this episode he talks about the time where he saw a woman dying and found out he *could* have saved her, and that no doubt is part of his zeal to solve all problems when they appear. But I think the reveal that he was genetically engineered does explain some of his behaviour. Jules Bashir was "defective," and out of "love" (?) his parents "fixed" him. As long as Bashir keeps that secret close to his chest and also remains grateful for it, he must believe that the truest act of love is to "fix" people. There's an inability to leave well enough alone that comes down, in part, to his own feelings of inadequacy as the guy he was before his IQ was tripled.

So that's interesting in retrospect -- but it hardly comes out much here. And so Melora decides, ultimately, that she is going to stop the treatments, because The Little Mermaid. But wait!

"Melora," take four: HOSTAGE CRISIS! Angry guy shoots Melora for some reason, because he's mad at Quark, etc., I can't be bothered to focus on this much. She's dead! Wait, she's not dead, because the treatment saved her, which, uh, I guess it is good that she got those treatments, right? Or, wait, does that *mean* anything or is that a pure plot contrivance to wring small amounts of excitement in a flagging script? And then Melora gets the big heroic moment of, ha ha ha, turning off the gravity and then, like, ramming into the guy, because, you know, that is not going to look ridiculous and also make the guy seem really pathetic and thus everyone else look awful for not being able to stop him. It is not so much that Melora *couldn't* use her skill set to her advantage, but the way it happens is so silly in look that it's hard to deal with.

And on a matter of teleplay construction: if you are going to have Melora save her day with her (still wrong, because her planet was low gravity and she should be able to walk in low gravity rather than fly in zero-gravity which anyone can do anyway but I digress) zero-g skills, thus proving that it's best to have a physical impairment, shouldn't that be the climax of the personal plotline as well -- i.e., shouldn't Melora have realized at *that point* that she absolutely needed to "stay true to herself" or whatever, rather than a few minutes before so that this whole unfortunate incident could be excised entirely? I mean, it's not that I require strict adherence to teleplay structure but it usually is best to break it only for a good reason, and this episode is already doing badly.

Anyway now that Melora has decided not to get any more treatments, the show is over, because, you know, those other parts about the difficulty of Starfleet romances and the Bashir/Melora love connection and also accessibility issues are no longer relevant. The episode ends without so much as a postscript that she's never coming back, though we maybe could have expected that.

I really have next to nothing to say about the Quark subplot; it is largely somewhat painful until it intersects with the Melora plot, until it becomes *very* painful.

1 star.
John G - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 9:58pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S5: In the Cards

Seems that a 1951 Willie Mays rookie card just like Sisko's was recently stolen from Rob Schneider's home.

Could this be the work of the Soulless Minions of Orthodoxy?

John G - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 7:58pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S3: Extinction

Terrible episode. The virus was not the remnant of a lost species, but that species attempt to preserve itself through an unprecedented genocide that would spread all across the galaxy.

As others have mentioned, the only practical reason to preserve it would be to use it as a weapon; probably against the Xindi, since those smug, control freak Vulcans are pretty much immune. :)

It could be a very effective threat. Innoculate our friends and then infect enemies and only give them the antivirus if they submit to our demands.

Of course that seems way too immoral for Starfleet and even for me.
oddmusic - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 6:50pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

Alright, I guess I'm going to be a contrarion on this one.

Now just to be clear I don't like this episode. I don't dislike it.

I think I love this episode and I hate it at the same time.

I love Picard's bits. They started off a little hard to get into, but once it got going, it was one of the best character pieces that Trek has ever done. I think the bits on the ship were pretty solid.

Unfortunately I worked out what was going on about halfway through this episode, and from that moment on my brain went into overdrive asking one question over and over again: "WHY!?"

(For the record, I'm not going to go too in depth on the ethics of this episode, but yeah I'm not exactly thrilled with them. Even if your opinion is that the probe is not mind raping them, the probe still makes the person it latches onto think they're crazy, then gives them a life on a dying planet with a family, only to reveal that it wasn't real at all so the family you thought you had was fake. That's…cruel. That's really cruel).

Why would this be the method chosen by the people on the planet to preserve their culture – a noble goal to be sure? They clearly have very advanced computer technology to store all that data – essentially a holodeck program in your head – so why not just store a bunch of information on a computer. If you really think it's important that the aliens who may not even speak your language experience your planet, create it as a computer program or – here's a thought – ask the recipient of your mind program for their consent to experience your culture BEFORE making them live a life on your planet so you don't have to spend time convincing them that their former life wasn't real.

That's the basics of it. To be clear this was all stuff that was going through my head while I was watching the episode, and that probably hurt my experience of it. And to be clear, I don't think this is a bad episode. I just can't justify, for myself, the explanation for what was going on.
Jeff - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 5:44pm (USA Central)
Re: TOS S3: The Empath

@William B. Not at all meant to be argumentative, but merely to express my own opinion: Your idea that the Vians are going to sacrifice themselves is an intriguing one, but anytime I've watched this episode I've always thought that the Vians are saying they have the ability to save one "other" species. I could very well be wrong. Your idea puts a very interesting spin on things.
John G - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 5:29pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S3: Anomaly

I really don't get the outrage over threatening to kill one murdering pirate to help prevent the deaths of billions of innocent people and the destruction of their planet.

I think this quote from DS9 about a similar situation sums it up quite well:

Elim Garak: That's why you came to me, isn't it, Captain? Because you knew I could do those things that you weren't capable of doing? Well, it worked. And you'll get what you want: a war between the Romulans and the Dominion. And if your conscience is bothering you, you should soothe it with the knowledge that you may have just saved the entire Alpha Quadrant. And all it cost was the life of one Romulan senator, one criminal, and the self-respect of one Starfleet officer. I don't know about you, but I'd call that a bargain.

Troy - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 3:30pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part I

Jellico is so well done, and a great contrast to Picard. You're along as a member of the crew in despising him. He does the "new Sheriff in town" routine very nicely. In reality nothing he calls for is out of line and he's even has a soft side hanging up his kid's drawings.
The weak point in the episode is the absurdity of sending Picard on the commando mission with Crusher. I suspect Crusher would quit before she'd do this, and keep in mind when she was off the Enterprise in season 2 she was head of Star Fleet medical.
I always thought Riker was overrated, but while exaggerated his tangles with the new captain are a good indication of how relationships are interactions and Riker wasn't a good match for Jellico.
Troi's uniform: My wife and I had a debate: I had seen an interview with Sirtis (on Arsenio Hall) that she liked being the designated sex kitten as she had an akward adolescence. She had met her at a trek convention and Sirtis complained about the uniforms. So was this a way to get Troi into a uniform to please Sirtis? I'm not convinced she was being polite about it on the talk show. If you notice she is in uniform in many of the episodes following this one.
Yanks - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 1:48pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Once More Unto the Breach


Interesting idea, but I would have been epically disappointed with that.
Luke - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 10:08am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

"Fair enough, but we're not talking about shellfish being consumed in mass quantities; we're talking about people's lives and entire M-class worlds being laid to waste. At some point, a line must be drawn."


Seriously, how am I the first one to think of that joke?

Okay, I'm torn on this one. "Silicon Avatar" has a lot of good going for it and a lot of bad going against it.

First, the good. The Data-Marr relationship is wonderful. First, Dr. Marr can only see Data as Lore. But, once she emotionally invests in Data and is then hit over the head with her dead son's journals and voice, she can only see Data as Renny. Great stuff. And I have to disagree with the people in these comments who say that Marr is clearly supposed to be seen as the villain and nothing else. I think she's a very sympathetic character, at least once we get to know her. Sure, she starts out as very unlikeable, but that quickly changes. The scene where she almost bursts into tears while Data recites in her son's voice proves that. Seriously, what else are we supposed to be feeling in that scene other than sympathy for her? Also of note is the scene between Riker and Picard when they discuss destroying the Entity. What I like so much about it is that the two characters are clearly holding opposing viewpoints and yet the issue is not resolved. The scene ends with Riker obviously upset that Picard might, in fact, not destroy the Entity. And, of course, I have to give credit to the writers for once more trying to use a Season One idea effectively.

Now the bad. All right, just go ahead and count me in the group that thinks Picard was dead wrong on this one. Why the hell does this episode expect us to spend so much time wondering if communication with the Crystalline Entity is possible? We know it's possible. The characters themselves know it's possible. Lore communicated with it - TWICE! He lured it to Omicron Theta with the promise of life to absorb. He then lured it to the Enterprise with the same promise. Obviously communication is possible! Also, why does the episode expect us to question whether the Entity is a sapient life-form or not? It obviously is! It obviously is capable of communication and therefore obviously knows that humanoid life-forms are also sapient. It just doesn't give a shit! It's still content to feed off them!

Picard's analogy to a whale feeding off cuttlefish is particularly bad. If the Entity was indeed a non-sapient life-form like a whale, then the only solution would be to kill it. After all, it's not feeding on non-sapient life like cuttlefish; it's feeding off people. If a whale was killing people, especially on this scale, would anybody seriously hesitate to kill it? If the Entity is indeed sapient, which we've already established that it is, then again the only solution is to kill it because it knows that it's murdering sapient life-forms but doesn't care. Killing it wouldn't be murder; it would be nothing more than self-defense - not to mention the defense of the two inhabited worlds it was heading toward when the Enterprise located it.

Was Dr. Marr wrong in what she did? Absolutely not. I really could have done without the whole "I did it for you, Renny" craziness, but she was absolutely right to kill the Entity. This isn't a case of live-and-let-live. She just saved the lives of countless people on those two planets. But you say, "Come on now Luke, Picard and company would have communicated with it and convinced it not to kill anymore." Okay, I say. How? What exactly would they have said to the Crystalline Entity to convince it to stop? It already isn't bothered by murdering people for it's own needs. So, again, how would have Picard stopped it? SFDebris said it best once about the Crystalline Entity - this thing is a Lovecraftian nightmare. It has just as much right to exist as anything else? Not at the cost of the billions of people it's killing! Sometimes, sadly, killing is required for self-defense. To quote Picard himself from "Peak Performance" - "That is not a weakness. That is life."

Also, one minor little nitpick - why weren't we ever given an answer as to why the Entity spared the group in the cave? Simply saying, "maybe it mistook Data for Lore" would have sufficed.

So, the good stuff somewhat buoys it up, but it could have been SO much better if they had 1.) remembered the events of "Datalore" and 2.) not given us this claptrap of co-existence with a murderous Lovecraftian monster.

Mallory R. - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 9:48am (USA Central)
Re: Star Trek: First Contact

I adored Generations but was initially appalled by this film. My friends and I agreed this was material belonging in STNG season 5. The characters seemed to have to un-developed for the film(s). Clearly this was all meant to attract a larger audience into the cinema (I recall a lot of TV ads, too). The fuzzy thinking Hollywood script treatment made this barely tolerable, and I remain baffled by minor characters like the handsome Lt. and Lily, both given importance but contributing almost nothing.
I just re-watched this as part of watching all of Enterprise, and the best I can say is that it's a boring film. An intelligent, dramatic prologue to Enterprise would have been my preference; all that tacked on Borg junk prevented an interesting story.
Mallory R. - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 9:28am (USA Central)
Re: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Painful to watch. I remember thinking I'd wasted an afternoon at the cinema. Shatner says that this is his favorite. I like the guy, but...what? Only thing I can think of this mess is that someone wanted to punish the fans or the studio.
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