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Luke
Tue, May 24, 2016, 1:06am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Rocks and Shoals

If "A Time to Stand" was 10/10 worthy, "Rocks and Shoals" takes that 10 point scale, sets it on fire, dynamites it, builds a new scale from the ashes and then blows "A Time to Stand" completely out of the water! OH MY GOD, was this good!

Before I discuss the A and B plots, I want to focus quickly on the acting, because everyone involved delivered absolutely top-notch performances. Avery Brooks, Andrew Robinson, Christopher Shea (Keevan).... hell, pretty much everyone in the Sisko plot.... was very much up to the task of taking a brilliant script and adding brilliant acting to it. Brooks' final scene where he shows his complete contempt for Keevan was a thing to behold, especially since Brooks has a reputation (often undeserved, I think) for somewhat below-average acting. And Nana Visitor.... well, she should have won a fucking Emmy for this episode! The fact that she wasn't even nominated is just one more proof for me that the Emmys (like the Oscars) are mostly a load of bullshit and a waste of time.

As for the Sisko A-plot.... First, it's nice to see writers that actually understand the concept of gallows humor. "I tore my pants!" cracks me up every time. :-) Second, we actually have an "honorable" Jem'Hadar used correctly here, unlike previous attempts in "The Abandoned" and "Hippocratic Oath". Remata'klan is honorable not because he rebels against the Dominion, not because he wants to be free from their control, but because he has a code of honor that he follows religiously. That's a wonderful message, as soldiers on both sides of a war can be honorable people and find some common ground between them, even if they hold completely opposing philosophies. Third, Sisko's decisions here are wonderfully executed. Yes, he is right to declare that the decision is his call and not a debate; yes, he's right to try to turn the Jem'hadar against Keevan; yes, he's right to offer them a chance to survive; and yes, he's right, sadly, to ultimately gun them all down when left with no other choice - because he's right that in a choice between them and his crew there is no choice. Beautifully done!

As for the Kira B-plot.... I don't often comment on the directing, because that's just not in my wheelhouse, but even I can see some mastery at work here. Whereas the A-plot is shot almost entirely with grand, sweeping panoramas to convey Sisko feeling like the weight of the world is on his shoulders, the B-plot is shot almost entirely in tight, close angles. You really get the sense of the walls closing in around the characters.

If you put a frog in hot water, it will jump out; but gradually bring it to a boil and it will sit there and die. That's exactly what is happening to Kira in "Rocks and Shoals" - she's slowly being brought to a boil. Weyoun, just like he was doing in "A Time to Stand", is using a pleasant face to conceal the Dominion's true purposes. And it works so well that even Kira starts to fall for it. It takes Vedek Yassim's suicide to violently yank her out of her stupor and force her to see what is happening to her. Speaking of Yassim's suicide, that was a thing of story-telling/narrative/dramatic beauty! It's very minimalist, but ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATING!! I remember when I first watched this episode, it made me quite literally gasp in shock! It works so well because it not only forces Kira to see what is going on (that she's already on the slippery slope to becoming a collaborator) but also violently yanks the audience back to reality. You almost get the sense that Kira is right to comply with the Dominion (to keep Bajor out of the fighting) and that Yassim is wrong. Well, that certainly changes once you see Yassim drop from the second floor of the Promenade and her religious hat go flying, doesn't it?! I only wish I had the eloquence to adequately describe just how intensely powerful this scene is, in an episode that was already quite emotionally powerful.

"Evil must be opposed." As Bryan Cranston would say.... "You're god-damn right!"

10/10
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Luke
Tue, May 24, 2016, 12:15am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: A Time to Stand

The Starfleet A-plot in "A Time to Stand" is all well and good. Garak as a true fish out of water now forced to help the people he was trained to despise. Bashir as the newly formed grim-faced harbinger of doom concerning the Federation's chances for victory. Sisko having to explain to his father why he left Jake on the station (in a truly dangerous situation) while then having to go on possibly an even more dangerous mission himself. All great stuff. And there is a true sense of overhanging doom that saturates the episode. This war is NOT going well for our Federation heroes and that weighs extremely heavily on all their souls and minds. And we FINALLY get a recurring admiral character (Ross) who isn't another tired, cliched "evil admiral" stereotype.

But what really draws my attention is the B-plot concerning Kira and Odo on the station. First, you have to love the conflict between Weyoun and Dukat. Dukat really is out for revenge, so naturally he tries to screw the Bajorans in every way possible. Weyoun, on the other hand, is thinking more long term. He knows that putting on a cooperative face is likely to get him better results - you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar and all that. Both are ultimately seeking the same goals, but have very different means of achieving them. Both try to manipulate and control the other, but we see crystal clearly who is the real "master among the servants" when Odo asks for his Bajoran deputies to be reinstated. Very nicely handled.

Then there is the hands down very best scene of the episode - the one that is sheer brilliance from start to finish, the one between Kira and Dukat in the captain's office. This scene literally had me on the edge of my seat, it was so riveting. Even though she handles his rather scummy arrogance and flirtatious attitude with her usual wit (making a joke about Dukat's breath? LOL!) and aggressiveness, you still get the unmistakable sense of fear that runs underneath everything the two of them say. The tension in the scene is so thick you could literally cut it with a knife! The difference in this two characters' power is so extraordinarily intense at the moment Dukat "lovingly" touches Kira's cheek that you can honestly find yourself worrying that he might actually go *that* far to satisfy his delusions. Let me be blunt here - you honestly can find yourself worrying that he might in fact rape Kira. When she slams his hand away from her face you can't help but cheer for her. This might be the best acted scene in the entire series thus far. It was that amazing! You want to talk about how the episode makes it VERY clear that our heroes are feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders? Look no further than this scene!

As if all of this wasn't enough to earn the episode high marks, "A Time to Stand" then goes on to do something I honestly thought I would never see in Trek - deliver a firmly pro-Second Amendment message! Dukat is purposefully keeping the Bajorans (at least the ones on the station) unarmed, even going so far as to not allow them to serve as unarmed security officers on the Promenade. I don't think anybody can argue that the episode makes it very clear that this is one thing that makes the Dominion Occupation "Not A Good Thing" [TM]. Any government that forcibly keeps its population disarmed is usually doing so because it either is up to no good or has other reasons to fear the public. Given Trek's rather open liberal/leftist stance on many (not all mind you, but many) issues, this open declaration that free people have a right to bear arms was rather surprising and very welcome.

WTF HAIR - 34 (+1)

10/10
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dipads
Mon, May 23, 2016, 7:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Day of Honor

Jeri Ryan is an excellent addition to the series and yes, her costume does get toned down to an acceptable attire. Her presence provides new story arcs that save the series and she IS a great actress. My best characters on VOY are the Doctor, Seven, and Torres.
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Latex Zebra
Mon, May 23, 2016, 6:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

@Yanks

lol - Said much the same on the comments for that. New film coming out soon as well... That may end up being reviewed before STID.

A shame. I really want to know Jammer's thoughts on this.
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Yanks
Mon, May 23, 2016, 1:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Night

T'Paul
Mon, Sep 16, 2013, 7:56pm (UTC -5)

I think that this rating is really unfair.

Here you have a new concept, character moments, original aliens... and basically Voyager gets bashed for not being DS9.

So Janeway hasn't been gnashing her teeth about her decision in front of us for the last few years- as she herself says, she's had other things to do, now she's in pure blackness.

I wish that Voyager had been rated on its merits, not as a comparison with "the Sisko".
===============================================================
^^ So much this...

This episode was wonderful.

It isn't about the technobabble that plan "B" was it was the fact that Janeway was to the point of just sacrificing herself.

This situation, nothing for months, was probably the toughest situation for our always on the hop doing things coffee slamming Captain. She actually had time to stop and reflect. then of course with that comes questioning ones self and decisions. Aside from the fact she is bored to tears, now blame creeps in because it was her choice that landed them here. At least the crew had their daily routine and each other to keep the mundane at arms length... Janeway just shut everything out. She really has no peer.

I thought the dark aliens were just fantastic. Probably one of trek's finest. The Malon ship and Emck were cool as well.

I just loved how the crew banded together and disobeyed their Captain.

3.5 star episode for me. Very good season opener.
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david g
Mon, May 23, 2016, 1:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Elogium

Although it's sad she's having such problems in her personal life. Hope she gets help and gets better soon.
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david g
Mon, May 23, 2016, 1:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Elogium

Jennifer Lien's acting in this was embarrassing at times.
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Skywalker
Mon, May 23, 2016, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S1: State of Flux

"Do not mistake composure for ease." Tuvok is an awesome Vulcan! For some reason I remembered people criticizing his Vulcanness, and had it in my mind he wasn't a good character. 15 years sure makes a difference in perspective! Tuvok rocks. "How may I be honest with you today?" That whole scene was a real highlight.

But I'm bothered that Tuvok wears lieutenant commander pips while he is constantly referred to as "Lieutenant Tuvok," and later gets promoted to LDCR. WTF, costume people?! Basics.

I also think it's odd when Voyager gets the new type of fancy shuttle in later seasons (though let's not get started on shuttle anomalies!), as well as the new type of STFC tricorders with the slanted front face. I guess they were just using the old ones until they wore out! Or maybe they replicated the prototype in the ship's computer?
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Yanks
Mon, May 23, 2016, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

Jammer.... time to review a reboot of a video game but no STiD?
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Yanks
Mon, May 23, 2016, 12:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Sacred Ground

dipads,

I don't think Kes' powers worked like that.
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dipads
Mon, May 23, 2016, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Sacred Ground

I presume Kes mental abilities was turned off for this episode. Normally she would have been aware of the danger.
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Chrome
Mon, May 23, 2016, 10:46am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Return to Grace

"I have to wonder why the tactic of "bring down enemy shields then beam their crew into space" isn't used more often in the Trek universe."

I think it's because generally a ship would have to lower its shields to get through the transporter. Even if you'd disabled the enemies' shields, one lucky shot from them with your shields down for transport would be disastrous.

Of course, there's episodes like "Relics" where people forget about shields and transporters, but that's likely a script error.
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Yanks
Mon, May 23, 2016, 8:43am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Fourth Season Recap

Here are my Voyager Season 4 rankings.

Episode Name / Rating
Scorpion Part 2 / 3.50
The Gift / 3.50
Day of Honor / 3.50
Nemesis / 3.50
Revulsion / 3.00
The Raven / 3.00
Scientific Method / 4.00
Year of Hell / 3.50
Random Thoughts / 2.50
Concerning Flight / 1.50
Mortal Coil / 1.00
Waking Moments / 2.50
Message in a Bottle / 3.00
Hunters / 3.00
Prey / 4.00
Retrospect / 2.00
The Killing Game / 1.00
Vis a Vis / 2.50
The Omega Directive / 3.50
Unforgettable / 2.50
Living Witness / 4.00
Demon / 1.50
One / 3.00
Hope and Fear / 3.00

Average: 2.84

One of Voyager's (if not trek's) best seasons. The addition of Seven of Nine was huge and while I didn't really want to see Kes go (should have been Harry) - it was the right decision. Jeri nails the part and they seem to really enjoy giving her great stuff.

Only three 4-star episodes, but only four stinkers. Overall quality of this season was outstanding. Some truly great trek in there.

I rated DS9 S5 a 2.88 which I thought was DS9's finest.

I know Voyager S5 is good, it will be interesting to see how it ranks out.
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Yanks
Mon, May 23, 2016, 8:28am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Hope and Fear

I guess I don't dig the story as much as Jammer does. Although it was miiiiiighty convenient this super language dude shows up when they needed him to decipher the message. I think Janway or maybe Tuvok should have been a little more suspicious.

There were great touching moments in this one. Especially between Janeway and Seven.

"SEVEN: You were correct. My desire to remain in the Delta Quadrant was based on fear. I am no longer Borg, but the prospect of becoming human is unsettling. I don't know where I belong.
JANEWAY: You belong with us."

snif, snif.... I know, I'm a sap.

I'm glad Jammer mentioned we got a little smile out of Seven in this one... I'm always looking for pics of Seven and her beautiful smile.

I think if I was Janeway I'd do some more research on this "quantum slip drive" thingy... :-)

Not a classic season closer by any stretch, but our guest star was a very good performer and I felt for his people.

3 stars from me.
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Yanks
Mon, May 23, 2016, 8:04am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Vis A Vis

I caught this one the other night just to post this little tidbit.

Not all thaaaaaaat bad...

Nothing great either.

Jammer said it all.

Darn, I could have spared myself and just wrote this without watching it :-)

I'll go a little higher than Jammer with a 2.5 stars.
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dipads
Mon, May 23, 2016, 7:33am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Blood Fever

T'Paul's presence (all of Vulcan in one package) during the pon farr in Amok Time made for a spectacular episode. VOY episode is lame in comparison. I give it a failing grade.
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William H
Mon, May 23, 2016, 5:55am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Covenant

I think my biggest problem with DS9's treatment of faith was that it often did a bad job of adjusting to the fact that the Prophets obviously are out there and doing things. Which means that a lot of the time the "sceptic" characters look like wilfully blind fools, because they're not making the right arguments when the wormhole aliens are an obvious fact, and a lot of the rest of the time the "believer" characters look like the wilfully blind fools because they seem to be bizarrely oblivious to the reality of the things they claim to follow.

Well, that or just that making "spiritual" the Bajoran's sole hat besides the occupation made them kind of boring. Particularly because it's a rather generic spirituality.

As for this episode, I feel like it could be good without Dukat, but Dukat is so dominant that this is basically saying it could have been good if it was a whole different episode.

The problem for me is that Dukat has no real credibility, so too much of the episode is just listening to him talk rubbish while Kira makes boring and obvious responses that do nothing really to develop her character.

I thought the Vedek could have been interesting if he had been given time to develop.
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Nolan
Mon, May 23, 2016, 4:54am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: North Star

I've been going through Enterprise in its entirety for the first time the past couple of weeks, and despite it's apparent mediocraty (Season 2 being a slog at points) I'm enjoying it. Not great Trek, better than VOY.

For all those complaining about the lack of advancement over 300 years, it's important to realize several things.

1) the rail/mail system we had on earth in the period these humans were abducted from was integral to the spread of ideas and scientific discovery. By all accounts, each human settlement here is relativly isolated.

2) The number of people here. There's not many, and that cuts down on the number of people able to have big ideas.

3) At that time, science and research was something the higher social class did. It was in vogue to experiment and discover things. The higher classes would though tea parties to discuss the results of some nuts attempt to sew one dog's head on another's body, and what was learned.

4) Not being high-class, instead only farmers and the like, these people probably are to busy toiling with the day to day, just trying to survive. They don't have time for discovery or big ideas. It probably took them a hundred years to wrap their heads around aliens and being on another planet.

5) I still don't know where they got horses or the means to make meaningless money. Now THAT doesn't make sense.
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Ojiwah O'Ghannon
Mon, May 23, 2016, 1:31am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: False Profits

Seems to me that simply beaming the Ferengis' replicator onto Voyager would have solved everyone's problem. But no, let's beam the Ferengis away instead and LEAVE THE TECHNOLOGY for the nice pre-Iron age people to use.

Smart. Real smart.
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NCC-1701-Z
Mon, May 23, 2016, 12:31am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Have to agree, this is my favorite of the Trek films and still the one to beat to this day.

It's hard to pick my single favorite moment in all of Trek canon, but the moment when Kirk sends the prefix code to lower the Reliant's shields is a truly delicious, fist-pumping "YES!" moment even if only a momentary victory. It definitely belongs in the top 5.
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NCC-1701-Z
Mon, May 23, 2016, 12:24am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Return to Grace

I have to wonder why the tactic of "bring down enemy shields then beam their crew into space" isn't used more often in the Trek universe. Seems a lot more efficient to me than bombarding them with phasers till something blows up.

Perhaps ships have some kind of offscreen transporter jamming tech to prevent this sort of thing? (Apparently this particular BOP didn't or Kira's knowledge of Klingon transporter codes allowed said jammers to be bypassed) Well, as Garak once said, it's best not to dwell on such minutae.
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Norvo
Mon, May 23, 2016, 12:11am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

Such a silly, plothole filled episode that tries its darndest to make a philosophical point about (medical) ethics.

Watching this back in my teens, I already felt B'elanna was off her meds to refuse treatment. Entire societies are built on breakthroughs made during wartime. World War I kicked off aviation and modern reconstructive surgery, for instance. Heck, even Zefram Cochrane's warp ship was a refitted nuclear missile.

What did make me snicker when I rewatched it recently was the little conversation between the Doctor and Moset with Doc lamenting none of his peers ever hear of his accomplishments as he toils away in obscurity only for Crel to offer to read them.

When a computer tries to calm itself by offering to read part of its own database, now thát's comedy.
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Ivanov
Sun, May 22, 2016, 11:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Tribunal

I sort of want to see how Sisko got the fake human to the courtroom on Cardassia prime. Think about it, Someone in the Cardassian central command had to allow Sisko to travel to the heart of the Cardassian Union(and he probably needed a reason good from Sisko) and another person Probably from the Obsidian order (who most likely planned this infiltration mission) had to give him permission to beam himself down to the planet with his prisoner and probably pass dozens of armed Cardassian soldiers in the building. Of course maybe just a glare from The Sisko was enough to frighten them into submission.

Good episode for Odo and O'brien 3 stars.
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Ivanov
Sun, May 22, 2016, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: False Profits

Here you can really tell the difference between the Ferengi of Voyager and the ones on Deep space Nine. The writers of Ds9 tried really hard to turn make the Ferengi into likeable and even sympathetic characters. They had their own motives that didn't solely focus on "profit" and I didn't immediately sigh when one came on screen. Here on Voyager and later Enterprise the writers decide to regulate them to comic relief just like on TNG when they failed to be intimidating villains.

I do wonder why they chose to make Neelix the Grand proxy when until now he probably didn't know what one even looked like.(before anyone tells me I know the actor played ferengi on TNG)and wouldn't know how one would even behave. I don't think a day of Improv and reading could prepare you to impersonate another species.
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dipads
Sun, May 22, 2016, 9:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Coda

I agree that the Torres speech was well written by paying homage to Janeway, but I believe that deep inside her , now that the captain is dead, she is beaming with optimism knowing that finally the ship can resume a course directly for home without all the useless pit stops.
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