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Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 9:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

Hello Everyone!

@Kned and others...

Yeah, the thing that bothered me about this episode (that I actually enjoy), is their communications between themselves. If one of them needs a "spanner" from another crewperson, to fix the engine, they'd have to come up with a metaphor for that eventually. And, there'd have to be millions of them for what they need to do. And what if they forget, or don't know a particular metaphor?

First Crewperson: Rigandalo, in the puddle, at Wizant.
Second Crewperson: Grabs sandwich, tries to give it to First.
First Crewperson: *annoyed* RIGANDALO, in the PUDDLE, at WIZANT! *points down at spanner*
Second Crewperson: *nods in comprehension* Takes off shoes.

If they mis-remembered even one time, it could be catastophic. :)

Regards... RT
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Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 8:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Omega Glory

The absurdity of the parallel Earth aside, this episode had some serious promise, and then just tossed it all away in favor of silliness. Just look at all the possibly interesting plotlines that were thrown at us in the first act or so. The Enterprise discovers a mysterious virus that killed an entire starship crew, save for the captain. They learn they too may be infected, and their only hope is to go to the planet. There, they get caught in a war between two sides by the natives, only to discover the captain is assisting one of the sides in clear violation of the Prime Directive. But the captain says it is for a noble cause, that these people have the Fountain of Youth. So Kirk must resist the temptation to join him and to fix the damage he has done, all while McCoy races to find a cure. That's good stuff. Needs of the many (Fountain of Youth) vs the needs of the few (Prime Directive) vs the needs of the very few (the danger to our heroes) vs the needs of the one (Captain's desire to survive on a planet he is exiled to). Honestly, the setup is better than Insurrection, which had a similar premise. If they could have focused on that instead, we might have had a dramatic, tense, engaging episode. Instead, they dropped the ball on every single one of those possible storylines.

McCoy searching for the cure or the Fountain of Youth? Just one or two scenes of him working. I know, it's hard to make that dramatic or interesting, but they managed to do it before. McCoy actually has something to do for once on the away team rather than being irascible and insulting Spock, and they don't let him do it!

The potential danger to the away team? Bones doesn't even have to work to find a cure, it's already there! Actually, that could have been a nice twist, perhaps adding to the guilt of the captain knowing that he could have saved his entire crew and left at any time. But we barely see his reaction to the news. The twist has no dramatic impact. We hear about it, and that's it. No angst at all.

A villain with a reason to do what he does, who can argue for a position besides the prime directive? A villain, perhaps, trapped in a scenario in which there are no good choices? Ha, forget that! He just went into full evil mode, fighting Kirk for no reason even after learning that his dreams of eternal life were just dreams.

Weighing the values of the Prime Directive? Kirk declares he must do everything to stop him, then just up and interferes himself. They even lampshaded it with Spock! After all the posturing Kirk does about the seriousness of the PD, he just up and reinterprets the Constitution for the Yangs. And after waxing poetic about the sacredness of the PD, his response to Spock at the end was just flippant. I know, lighthearted endings were the style at the time, but if you're going to claim the PD is a serious topic, you need to treat it seriously!

So even ignoring the absurdity of the ending, the episode managed to fail. Good riddance.

OK, I can't ignore the absurdity entirely... Wasn't it just two episodes ago that Spock was claiming the odds of another planet creating Nazis was completely astronomical? What about the odds of not only creating America, but also having the exact same handwriting for the Constitution?
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Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 8:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Critical Care

Sorry Quincy, I disagree.

Oh sure, perhaps you have a point that an ethical person, seeing a situation like that, would do whatever to escape. Heck, we just had a lengthy discussion on that various topic over with The Most Toys. I'm not arguing that part. There are two specific aspects I argue: that this is a doctor doing harm under medical conditions and that this is an AI doctor doing those things.

Let's deal with the first one. You gave an example from Dr Strange. Note that he struggled mightily with simply using violence as self defense completely outside of his medical ethics. And eventually, he became more used to it. Whatever. Again, it's outside of the medical sphere. No one is saying a doctor can't engage in self defense, and no one would expect that. Dr Crusher had no qualms with firing phasers at various Borg or at a bug-controlled admiral, for example. But that's because it's not in her professional realm. The Hippocratic Oath is applied to the medical realm. If Hitler gets wheeled in on an operating table, you do your best to heal him. It doesn't matter that it's Hitler. Again, using Crusher as an example, I believe she still did her best to help the terrorists who kidnapped her in The High Ground. Bashir worked to help the Jem'Hadar. It doesn't matter what outside ethics means once you have a medical kit in your hand; you do no harm. The Doctor violated that. So if the Doc wanted to take a pipe and smack the evil guy upside the head, that makes more sense than deliberately poisoning him and then withholding medication.

Secondly, this isn't a person. Maybe the Hippocratic Oath says that you give Hitler the best treatment you can, but it's certainly possible that a human doctor would "accidentally" mess up a surgery there. This was a plot point in a MASH episode, for example. But the important thing, the thing the Voyager writers forgot about so often, is that the Doctor is not human. In fact, he's not even Data. Data was programmed to be like a human, to emulate humans. Thus, Soong programmed him to be able to make his own choices and his own ethical decisions. Obviously this backfired horribly with Lore, but it was still the way Soong programmed them. But the Doc? He was not programmed to emulate humanity, he was programmed to be a tool. A highly complex tool, but a tool nonetheless. His sentience is accidental in nature rather than designed like Data's. So why would Zimmerman program the Doc to be able to make ethical decisions outside the standard accepted medical practices? It shouldn't happen. The episode even lampshades the fact that it shouldn't happen, yet did it anyway! Why? How?

Keep in mind that less than 2 years ago, it was revealed that a simple triage decision outside standard medical standards caused catastrophic errors the likes of which we haven't seen since a good old fashioned Kirk Logic Bomb! How could he have evolved so fast such that he couldn't make that decision then, but could violate his own personal Prime Directive just a few years later? And again, all without a conscience decision on his part to overwrite his programming, which again is at odds with multiple other Voyager episodes.

So the idea violated continuity, and violated common sense. And it failed to use the Doctor's unique position of being an AI creatively, preferring instead to have him act like yet another boring human. Tis a waste.
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Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 4:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: False Profits

Wow, not even one person? I thought this one was pretty funny. Yes, it's in many ways dumb, but when doing a goofy comedy, I think it's allowed to have higher suspension of disbelief, if it makes up with fun factor. For me, it mostly did.
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Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 3:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Behind the Lines

Actually the show was correct. "Aye, captain" would work in the scenario shown. Disregard above comment.
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Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 3:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Behind the Lines

Since O'Brien is talking about naval traditions I think it's funny that Dax gives an order that is responded with "Aye, captain". The correct response would be "Aye, Aye, Captain" which means that the order was understood and will be carried out at once. A response of "Aye" is simple agreement and does not mean that the command was understood as an order.

(Someone correct me if this is wrong. I just got curious and did some very preliminary reading.)
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Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 3:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Amok Time

Truly one of the best Trek episodes. So much to admire about this episode including an outstanding soundtrack - classic/iconic fight music but also the music portraying various emotions/scenes (Spock brooding, the processional) - really encourage any serious Trek fans to buy the soundtrack (comes with The Doomsday Machine soundtrack which is excellent too).
Loved the moments when Spock tries to explain to Kirk "Vulcan biology" to which the captain responds "...the biology of Vulcans..." and "the birds and the bees are not Vulcans..."
Very cool how they showed the aerial view of Vulcan and the place of Spock's ancestors. Chapel's emotional caring for Spock is also touching - how happy she is to make a bowl of soup for him. Really can't find any flaws with this episode.
I have a few disagreements with Jammer's review and I wholeheartedly agree with @Mike and @kerry's comments. This is essential Trek and goes far beyond being "fun".
It's an easy 4/4 stars for me - as much as "The City on the Edge..." is widely regarded as the best episode of all, for me, I'd rank "Amok Time" ahead of it. Spock the Vulcan is so critical to TOS and this episode really gives a good background to the species which would have been very important for the understanding of the show back when it was made and nobody knew what to make of Vulcans.
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Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 11:37am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: The Passenger

Thanks RT.
The outfit is in good shape too and came with the tag "Durg - Worn by Chris Collins, DS8" or something like that (can't look it up now). The only problem --> it does not have a zipper and it's a one-piece costume. I better not have to go to the bathroom much during conventions! :)
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Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 11:25am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Flashback

I have to agree with Brannon Braga, this one is just a good okay. I think it suffers similarly like Generations, in that it spends way too much time focusing on its plot device rather than why they made it in the first place. The resolution mystery upon rewatching, seem rather lame to me as well. There is no foreshadowing to the final revelation. It's just standart Voyager episode with the anniversary stuff written in.

The most interesting thing about the story to me is the good-natured criticism of the TOS era works, with Janeway commenting how they would probably get their asses kicked out of Starfleet (hard to buy with the stuff they were getting away over on DS9 or even back in TNG), Tuvok objecting to Sulu and that talk with Voltane about humans wanting everybody to be like them. Pretty shocking given how unambiguously celebratory DS-freaking-9's anniversary ep was. And I'm... not sure how to feel about it. It is certainly braver than just going "YAY, Kirk and spol. KICK ASS!!!" but at the same time, this IS a celebration. Perhaps I am just reading way too much into it-it could just be them trying to compare the two eras and the differences between them.

Also, I take issue with the Excelsior plot. Sulu violating his orders and risking war with Klngons to go save Kirk is treated as just another thing they did back then. And I'm not sure it is? In Amok Time, they say Kirk going to Vulcan wouldn't affect his mission, it was just a formality. And they were risking nothing but their own careers when they went to retrive Spock's body in the third movie and only got away with it because they saved the Earth on their way back. I mean yeah, it's pretty safe bet Kirk and McCoy were innocent, but even the Enteprise crew IIRC, were only investigating and went to save them after they had evidence.
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Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 10:35am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap

Janmer, first of all, thank you very much for your engaging, detailed reviews. As a long-time Trekkie and fan of DS9, coming back and reading your reviews from time to time is the best part of revisiting the show.

I believe the most glaring shortcoming of DS9 (and this is coming from someone who also sees DS9 as his favorite Trek series) was Avery Brooks's acting and he played the leading role unfortunately. I would say this is one area where Voyager and TNG had a leg up on DS9. He behaved for the most part as a stage actir thrown in the big screen. For example, "Waltz" happens to be one of my favorite episodes (your episode review is a reference as to why) and yet, Sisko's frenetic lines kept it from being my all-time favorite.

Otherwise, your season and series reviews pretty much sum everything up nicely. Once again, thanks a lot for your effort and wisdom.

I will soon begin a re-run of Voyager from beginning to end (my second go-round after watching it when it aired) and will make sure to read your reviews after each episode. In fact, I am looking forward to reading them.
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Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 6:33am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

This episode was silly. The humans efforts to demonstrate english was absurd and unrealistic. I laughed when picard began communications with them by spouting out a big long string of gobbelty gook, instead of something like... *points to self* "PICARD". But its not all the humans fault, did the tamarians make any effort to understand all?
Also agree with jammer, it took wayy too long for picard to figure out it wasnt a death match, and it seemed out of character to me that he spent his time sulking around his pathetic attempt at a campfire, and not being all olive-branchy picard.

Lastly, although its an interesting concept, lets be honest....a civilization that communicates only in metaphors would still be living in mud huts, not building starships. Its too restrictive, and not nearly detailed enough for that level of technology

Id give it maybe 2.5 stars for a couple touching scenes and an interesting concept.

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Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 4:34am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Hunters

@milica: 'How come the Maquis want to go back? There's noone there to wait for them now except for jail-time. I just dislike the fact that going back home is never questioned by anyone on board.How come the Maquis want to go back? There's noone there to wait for them now except for jail-time. I just dislike the fact that going back home is never questioned by anyone on board.'

Thankfully, this would be addressed in a later episode, Hope and Fear:

SEVEN: You were a member of the Maquis. Starfleet Command will no doubt hold you responsible for a multitude of crimes. You will find nothing on Earth but adversity.
TORRES: Well, that's looking on the bright side. Let's put it this way: I'd rather face the music at home than spend the rest of my life in the Delta Quadrant.

Though I agree with you that it would probably have contributed more to both the characters and the plot if the Maquis had been shown to agonise some more over this.

I, too, think that Torres destroyed Tom's message, or at the very least, put it at the back of the downloading queue, so to speak. I thought the final bridge scene where she delivered the last batch of letters implied that she had decided to prioritise Harry's letter over Tom's, because she knew how much that meant to Harry, and that he'd probably appreciate his letter more than Tom would.

As for the final scene between Janeway and Chakotay - HA! I'm glad I wasn't the only one who saw that Chakotay was basically thinking, 'Great, now she's single and has no reason (or safety net) to rebuff me anymore - time to move in for the kill!' And then Janeway immediately manouevring him back into the friendzone. I found a whole lot funnier than I probably should have..
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Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 3:42am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Once Upon a Time

The absence of seat belts on shuttles has made countless episodes like this possible. Thanks!
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Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 11:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

One aspect of the story that I think goes unfairly unremarked, is that the episode doesn't act as if caution and suspicion aren't needed in times of danger. The klingon guy really was an enemy spy and he even used the race card. So while Sate may have been a bit too evil and not well argued, the episode is even handed enough in its approach to the situation. Yes, there IS danger-doesn't mean it's worth to let it destroy what and who we are protecting.
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Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 8:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: A Taste of Armageddon

One of the reasons I love this episode, is that subordinate crewmen/actors are given dialogue, etc.
Such as when Spock leaves the female yeoman with a weapon ( a 1st ? ) and instructs her to kick the other girl,s ass if need be !
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Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 8:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: A Taste of Armageddon

One of the reasons I love this episode, is that subordinate crewmen/actors are given dialogue, etc.
Such as when Spock leaves the female yeoman with a weapon ( a 1st ? ) and instructs her to kick the other girl,s ass if need be !
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Orion Slave Guy
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 5:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Who Watches the Watchers

I call on someone to clean up the comments. These kinds of debates belong somewhere else. Besides, I doubt anyone in the course of humanity has ever been convinced by someone else on a message board. "Gee, you make a good point, I'm a Republican now."
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Orion Slave Guy
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 5:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

I agree 100% with the four stars. Fantastic episode. Someone who has never seen this episode is unlikely to be able to figure out the mystery. As someone mentioned, it's like a Twilight Zone episode. Sirtis's performance was way better than normal. I felt bad for the pain the music was causing.

That being said, what was with the trap on the lawn? The odds of anyone visiting were remote, and it's blind luck that someone stepped just on the right spot.
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Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 5:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

Totally agree with Jammer on this one. Weak episode with boring dialogue and monologue. The talk they had in the shuttle was just as obvious and long winded as the mediocre Shakespearian speech (do we not bleed?). And the ending is actually offensive. What is the point the writers want to make? In the future we are able to correct silly things like different sexual preferences?
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Orion Slave Guy
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 5:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

I liked the way Data gets trapped in an impossible situation, being pushed way beyond his comfort zone. The other story lines all play out well. Troi seems to be Picard's top advisory now, though I don't think that's what the producers had in mind when they created her character.

It's also nice there's a race that lives on non-Class M planets. What I don't like is how Data blows up the aqueduct. It looked like it was still working afterward. I also don't like how Picard always assumes colonists are willing to re-locate on a whim.

Still, 3 stars for me.
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Orion Slave Guy
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 4:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Evolution

I'm watching every episode on Blu-Ray and I'm absolutely love it. The vivid colors and details really add a lot.

I do think Evolution is a stinker, and not a good way to start off the season. The progression of the "beings" happens way too fast. I may have missed it, but I don't recall hearing details about what the "egg" does, and how it works. This would have helped solidify would have further helped Dr. Stubb's argument for no abandoning the experiment.

As far as the doctors, I'm not a big fan of either one, but Crusher brings more empathy to the role than the forced, hard-edged personality of Pulaski.
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Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 4:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Tattoo

I see a couple of missed opportunities by the writers.
The natives back on 24th century earth have standard aliwn ridges on their foreheads, but are somehow Chakotay's ancestors. They could have written so that the tatoos marked on the forehead be a way for this culture to mimic and remember the sky spirits. This could have been used to enhance the storyline, and give sense to that distict Iron Mike marking by the ship's commander.

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Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 2:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: The Sword of Kahless

Wow what a crock! Beaming the sword into space is the equivalent of destroying it. Either is will float into a star and be annihilated or simply never be found again since no future sword-hunters will have a handy shroud to lead them to it or a treasure room to preserve it. For Worf and Kor to toss something they claim to be so precious seems just a way of exonerating themselves for their own terrible behavior - as if they were compelled to try and kill each other by an object. I was surprised that Dax let them go through with it. She should have zapped them again and left them unconscious til they were at home. If any Klingon were to hear of this wouldn't they consider this a horrible dishonor to Kehless? Basically they decided to cut the baby in half.
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The Man
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 1:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Prototype

@Yanks Actually Data is recognized as a sentient being, the TNG did an episode confirming this when an attempt was made to dismantle him.
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Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 1:12pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

Tara: "I do not think Troi got another normal conversation during the entire run of the show."

Troi's chocolate sundae bit in "The Game" always seemed a little odd, and now you've explained why.
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