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Maq - Sun, Nov 29, 2015, 3:11pm (USA Central)
Re: TOS S1: Dagger of the Mind

Good episode. Mccoy have concerns and Kirk fulfils his task.
Regarding Dr Noels skirt, Well we are in two different times late 1960 and 23 Century. Obviously the length was appropriate in those times.
Robert - Sun, Nov 29, 2015, 2:09pm (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

"The ability to watch out-of-order is a key part of preserving rewatchability. If the series compels you to watch it in order it will lose something as a series."

Yes and no. If the plot line of episode 18 can't be enjoyed without watching episode 19 you lose the quality you are referring to.

It shouldn't ruin anything for REwatchability that Captain Sisko gets married, Worf had a child or Tasha dies. And if any character goes the same 7 years without development as INTERMINABLE ENSIGN Kim for a show in 2017 the show is a failure. Our views are not incompatible.
Diamond Dave - Sun, Nov 29, 2015, 1:37pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Through the Looking Glass

I think the episode survives much better if you treat it as a romp rather than something worthy of a university dissertation. Essentially these are designed to be comic book capers, and this delivers in spades. I'd much rather see the cast play off character in this way - ie madly chewing the scenery - than the highbrow rubbish in Distant Voices. For heaven's sake, Rom gets staked to a door!

And if there is a finer delivery of a word than Garak's "Pursue!" in the whole of Trek than I've yet to hear it. 3 stars.

PS I'm not sure why anyone would have a problem with the unlikely nature of the mirror universe taking the form it has when "Parallels" clearly shows that every possible combination of events is being played out in an infinite number of universes. It then becomes a certainty that this mirror universe HAS to exist in the form it does. It might be a story-writing cop out, but it seems internally consistent to me.
John - Sun, Nov 29, 2015, 12:51pm (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

Back to the premise for the new series, I suspect that it will not be anything that we are discussing here, but I hope that it is nonetheless something interesting.

As for what it would include if I were God-Emperor for a day (sorry mixing SF universes there...):

- Need to get it out of the Alpha Quadrant. I've seen enough of the Klingons, etc. Keep them in the series as background races and have them occasionally show up and get referenced... but we need new blood for new stories.
- A problem with the old Trek series was that the Federation was too large and technologically strong. There weren't enough challenges to the protagonists short of vast alien empires attacking the Federation. I say send it to another galaxy. Say, a wormhole to the Magellanic Clouds? The protagonists need to work under material and technological limitations.
- I would like to see the Klingon and Romulan Empires overthrown by their subject peoples between the end of the old series and the beginning of the new. I mean really, these empires probably brutally suppressed a lot of races that should be free.
- It would be very surprising if the series was not serialized. All the best new series are, and that is a good thing.
- The crew of the new ship should have some interior conflict. I would hope for a conflict that made sense and that would never be completely resolved. Call it Spock and McCoy II, albeit with a 21st Century Twist.
Dom - Sun, Nov 29, 2015, 12:41pm (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

I think the question isn't serialization vs. episodic, but rather how much do you want character development and larger plot lines. It's extremely hard to tell a big story in a 1 hour TV episode. When DS9 initially introduced the Dominion War, Berman wanted it to be a six-episode arc, but the DS9 writing team insisted that you can't have a war of that magnitude in just 6 episodes. And they were right. The Dominion War is a richer story because it had time to breath and had time to allow characters to react to events over time. That's the benefit of serialization.

The drawback of serialization is that it loses focus. It's much easier to focus on a particular theme, idea, or character in a 1 hour chunk than it is over 10-20 separate episodes. TNG was at its greatest when an episode focused on a particular Big Idea and really ran with it (Darmok, I Borg, etc). Sometimes, I feel that in heavily serialized shows like Game of Thrones, individual characters and ideas get sacrificed to the overarching story. Each episode is more about moving pieces on the board than focusing on something important.

Something like the first 4 seasons of the new Doctor Who might work well, which generally has standalone episodes, but a larger theme or plot thread throughout each season.
Lord Garth - Sun, Nov 29, 2015, 11:05am (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

I'm going to go back to "Mad Men" as an example. Never mind the "glacial pace" (I don't agree with that, I think it's more of a slow burn, but that's neither here nor there). A typical season would have an overriding story arc with a beginning, middle, and end.


Each individual episode had its own beginning, middle, and end. It had its own integrity. So, if you watched just one episode and just that one episode ever, you'd get a complete story. A story within a larger story, for sure, but still a complete story.

I'll be honest. I prefer DS9 but I'm more likely to watch VOY on Netflix when I'm looking for any old episode to watch. So, yes, I see the value of still doing self-contained shows. I just like the idea of if you put together each episode, you'll see something larger.
BigDTBone - Sun, Nov 29, 2015, 10:31am (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

@Robert - The ability to watch out-of-order is a key part of preserving rewatchability. If the series compels you to watch it in order it will lose something as a series. Shows that you watch through in order can be a great first time experience but the return dimenishes sharply on rewatch. Whereas shows that are comprised of more stand alone episodes (even if they are contained within a larger arc) can be enjoyed many times without losing much value.

Basically, I'm looking for a series that will hold up in the long run and I would be willing to sacrifice some initial enthralment (but not much) for the cause.
Dusty - Sun, Nov 29, 2015, 7:58am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night

You know an episode is great when the inclusion of time travel seems not only unimportant, but almost incidental. This is a deep and harrowing journey for Kira--to the past, yes, but more importantly to the truth. Most episodes about Kira are outstanding; episodes depicting the Occupation, even more so. This one is both.

I understand Meru. Everything. She had one opportunity to get out of that hell and have her family taken care of at the same time, and she accepted it. As Kira said that doesn't make it right--not at all. But Kira did benefit from this arrangement as a child, however little. Perhaps that's why an increasingly unhinged Dukat finally revealed this to her. Out of some twisted desire for her respect and gratitude (which he will never have).

Clearly Dukat was a highly polished manipulator even a generation ago, with his good cop/bad act with Basso and calculated winning over of Meru. One of my favorite episodes.
Diamond Dave - Sun, Nov 29, 2015, 6:51am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Distant Voices

Intriguing premise - poor execution. We spend half the episode wandering through the station talking, get the big reveal, then spend the next half wandering through the station talking. However interesting the concept it just gets tedious.

Excellent make up and a decent performance though. 1.5 stars.
Kiamau - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 11:50pm (USA Central)
Re: TOS S3: The Enterprise Incident

Did I miss something? When Kirk and Spock were aboard the Romulan ship, why didn't the Romulans put up their shields? Or at least, once they picked up the alien transmission, why didn't they put them up? Or after the cloaking device was stolen? Surely they would have thought the Enterprise would beam out Spock. I always thought the Romulans were more clever.
Shannon - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 11:34pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S3: Remember

Absolutely brilliant episode, 4 stars all the way! Voyager was at its best when great writing, directing, and acting all came together to, as Patrick Stewart always used to say, "tell a good story". Roxanne Dawson is amazing, and I only wish the writers could have found more ways to show her amazing range of acting.
Samaritan - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 11:15pm (USA Central)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

Season 5 Episode 3 "Decay of the Angel"

2 out of 5 stars.

"Dylan, Dylan, Dylan. What is the point of this? Are we pretending we're a crew again?" ~ Beka
"Oh, believe me. I won't make that mistake five times." ~ Dylan

This episode appears to be a hidden continuation of "Waking the Tyrant's Device" from last season. At some point in the future, Kroton's android rebellion appears to be going on and for some reason, the androids want Andromeda. Its not make clear why. Fortunately, it appears that in the future, they don't make androids like they use too, as the present day models are far superior.

In this episode we learn, for the few who haven't guess it already, that Doyle is an android. But she's not just any android, she is in fact the Rommy avatar. Harper wasn't able to get her personality just right (she was apparently obsessed with "finding Dylan") and so created a new personality for her and programmed her to think of herself as human.

Its a nice continuity nod to find out that Rommy is obsessed with getting back to Dylan, in the 1st season Andromeda was in love with her captain, but this was forgotten in later seasons. Here we see that she still in love with him and being reunited with him is what she wants most.

Doyle saves a man named Argent who quickly finds out that Doyle is an android, even though Doyle herself is unaware of this. He quickly attaches himself to her, despite Harper's obvious dismay and eventually manipulates things to both reveal to her that she isn't human and to get her to an asteroid with a Tesseract Generator.

This same generator is responsible for teleporting the Andromeda, Dylan, Rhade and Beka to an empty area of space. Here they are attacked and captured by armed men. Argent reveals that he is working with these men and that they in fact are all androids from the future. They have some plan for the Andromeda, although it is not reveal what, only that the Andromeda will play an important roll in their android revolution.

Fortunately Harper hacks the generator and destroys are beam out into space all the androids. Doyle takes many of them down, but despite the fact that these androids are supposedly from the future, they easily go down with one hit while Doyle takes several with apparently ill effect.

This episode gets only 2 out of 5 stars as the story doesn't make much sense and does nothing to move the season arc along. Doyle is a breath of fresh air and its uncanny how Rommy-like the actress can be at times. Rhade is more like his original character in this one, but still angry. Beka is Beka and Dylan is about average. Harper and Argent have some pretty funny dialogue with each other and some amusing scenes.
Robert - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 8:38pm (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

@David - My frustration with episodic TV is the old standby requirement that came with old TV that said it could be watched out of order with no problem and treated that as a good thing. It's not (IMHO). It was a business limitation that has been lifted by DVDs and Netflix. That said, the fix is not necessarily a 26 part episode.

I agree that the Freshman season should not be serialized, but that doesn't mean we should have 26 standalone episodes. I want character arcs.
Dusty - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 7:09pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: Who Mourns for Morn?

This one was okay. I couldn't really get into it, though. Morn doesn't do anything for me and while I like Quark a lot, seeing him in "fluff" episodes where he tries to get his hands on a fortune is just getting old.
Dusty - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 6:40pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

It was all right. Not my favorite "Trek in 20th century" episode, but I found it fairly enjoyable. I enjoyed the novelty of seeing actors like Rene and Armin out of makeup inhabiting totally different characters. But it raises a lot of questions that are never answered.

Much is made of the Prophets in this one, but if this is another of Sisko's visions (or even a flashback to a previous life), what is its relevance to the story of DS9? Why do Sisko and the audience need to see this? It's a thought-provoking diversion, but plot-wise it has no payoff other than Sisko resolving to fulfill his role, and who doubted that he would? What the writers really wanted to talk about was 1950s racism in writing and general society. They (and Avery Brooks especially) wanted to make a statement. DS9's loyal viewing audience ensured that it would be seen, and they gambled--successfully--on the emotional impact it would leave on 1990s audiences. If it fails to leave that impact, the entire episode begins to collapse.

Obviously it left that impact on some viewers more than others. Did it impact me? Yes, but only to a point. I care a lot about social issues, but at the end of the day I'm still watching this for entertainment. If this episode had more relevance to the world of DS9 itself, I might call it great. As it is, Brian S' criticisms above are completely (and devastatingly) accurate. Ambitious but flawed.
Dusty - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 5:46pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: One Little Ship

I didn't have high hopes after seeing the title and the premise, but this one really surprised me. It's a very solid episode of action/comedy with some convincing visual effects and good production values; the giant circuit relay O'Brien and Bashir beamed onto was a great set. It's funny, but the stakes are serious, and fans who watch purely for the ongoing storyline will enjoy the growing tension between Alpha and Gamma Jem'Hadar.

The finale was far more thrilling than I expected, with a very well done fight scene. I enjoyed every minute. I'm with Jammer: 3 stars.
Dusty - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 5:29pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: Honor Among Thieves

I liked it. True, it's hard to believe that Starfleet Intelligence would turn to a guy like O'Brien for something like this. Since when does he have the skill set to be an undercover agent? At the very least, he's too straight-laced and honorable for that sort of work--which the episode didn't hesitate to confirm. He was unable to gain someone's trust and then betray them as the assignment called for, even though that someone was a criminal and a murderer.

But when I see O'Brien and Bilby onscreen together, it doesn't matter so much. Their performances are strong enough to carry the entire thing. Yanks is right; in this case, good acting holds together a shaky story and make it an enjoyable hour of Trek. Still, I hope more is made of the Dominion/Orion connection to give this episode more long-term relevance.
David - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 4:41pm (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

I just don't think it's wise to launch into a serialized freshman season. Standalones are the way to go. And I know it's popular to bash episodic storytelling these days but when the standalones are entertaining and fresh nothing wrong with that. In fact. The two most popular Trek series were nothing but standalones done well. The problem I think a lot of people have with standalones is the formulaic nature that shows like CSI or NCIS or Law and Order have or with Voyager and the first two seasons of Enterprise were they were boring or awful. But TNG was episodic but not formulaic. It provided a whole range of story types from morality plays one week to straight up high concept sci fi the next to character episodes or mysteries

I really think standalones in the first season would help establish the characters first THEN in subsequent seasons adopt pure serialization. BUT NOT the type of serialization as shows such as Game of Thrones, Lost or BSG did. No, I'm talking about the serialization of primetime dramas of yesteryear did like Hill Street Blues and Dallas, falcon crest, knots landing, the original melrose place namely breaking down the modest ensemble cast and paring them off into three or four arcs that develop and span a single season whereby the set up, development and pay off occur in a single season and the arcs are self contained within that season with no spill over into the next seasons arcs. Then the next season has it's own new arcs

While I enjoyed DS9s arcs I hated that it wasn't full on serialization. Nothing more frustrating than getting caught up in the arc then the next episode drops it for several weeks.
Maq - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 3:34pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S3: North Star

Ok story and playing. I liked it. The only really irritating thing was when T'Pol was held by the villain. Is she not a Vulcan , stronger than a human man and good in material arts? But she just hangs there. Poor not to show some Vulcan feminism.
Diamond Dave - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 2:11pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Visionary

File this one in the increasing list of episodes where "bad things happen to Chief O'Brien". Definitely a feel of TNG here, and where they blew up the Enterprise, here we get to have the fun of seeing DS9 destroyed. I suppose it had to happen sooner or later.

Nevertheless, this is a fun episode in many ways and has an intriguing undercurrent, what with 3 dead O'Brien's and one coming back from the future to live his own dead life. Or something. Obviously though we get to this point via the standard set of contrivances. But it's never boring. 3 stars.
Samaritan - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 2:09pm (USA Central)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

Season 5 Episode 3 "Phear Phactor Phenom"

1/2 out of 5 stars.

"He didn't insult me, not once. That's not right." ~ Rhade

Unfortunately this episode isn't really better then the last. Here we learn that there is apparently a "ban" on technology over the whole system. Who exactly in forces this ban is unclear as if also exactly what level of technology is okay and what isn't and who makes that decision.

Harper is alive but has been in the Seefra System for 3 years. Apparently the parts from Rommy avatar came with him but he hasn't been able to repair her. This hasn't stopped him from building over androids however.

He has also teamed up with the resident mad scientist who is trying to recreate (and failing) the Vedrans. At least there is someone here who thinks the Vedrans should be in Tarn Vedran. Why is she doing this? Well because the new Vedran will naturally be able to save everyone . . . because, you know, Vedrans.

Dylan and crew aren't happy with him, but they don't make it clear exactly what they're aren't happy with. Harper has also been stealing, but its not clear what or why he is stealing. But it won't matter anymore, because they "neutralize" the mad scientist and Harper is now back with Dylan.

The episode suffers from too little Rhade and too much Beka. Dylan here is just classic Dylan, but it is nice to see Harper is still his usal entertaining hyperactive self. Doyle is a character with a lot of potential and its obvious to everyone but the main characters that she is another android built by Harper.

At this point, I'm getting a little tired of being shown how messed up the Seefra System is. Let's move on to the mystery of WHY is this way and WAY it should be fixed and HOW they are going to go about doing that. And where are the VENDRANS?
Wilt - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 12:44pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Mortal Coil

Nic, I know your post is 4 years old but that has been an argument for me as well. A concept pops up suddenly to help the storyline limp along only for it to disappear without a trace and never mentioned again. Where to begin? Let's see...

S2's Alliances where that race the Trabe had been the ones to scatter the Ka-zon into the nomads they are and never once shown again. After Basics neither were the Ka-zon for that matter. I suppose they could say they were leaving their region of space and it was played off as such. Fair enough.

But what about those tricobalt missles they used in the pilot to destroy the caretaker array that we never heard from again except in S6's Voyager Conspiracy ep...

Or the Malons that were so fond of their toxic waste dump sites in S5...

Or the Vaadwaur that were hyped to have been a new threat to the quadrant in S6's Dragon's Teeth that Seven awakened yet somehow we never heard from them again either...

We never learned what happened to the remainder of the Equinox crew that survived and were subsequently demoted. Not to mention it would have been nice to see Lessing's reaction to serving under a captain that was very willing to feed a Starfleet officer to the wolves...

Come to think of it we never even learned the fate of Ocampa either after the Caretaker's passing. Keep in mind they were the reason Janeway destroyed the array which stranded the crew in the Delta Quadrant in the first place. All to help a race with an 8 year life span.

I'm sure there are others I missed that you or other fellow trekkies could think of. These were just off-the-cuff ones I remembered.

Truthfully I'm surprised some of the Starfleet crew didn't mutiny before (or after) that fateful decision. The Maquis it should have been without saying. It certainly would have made for a more interesting journey home to see this.

Was it against Starfleet ideals? Of course. But the Maquis had little use for those ideals to begin with. That's partly the reason they formed. And with the decision the Captain made to strand them there it sure gave their cause a bit more credibility.

But I digress. Between this one and Jetrel it's nice to see Neelix was not just an annoyance at the worst of times. He can be deadly earnest when he wants to be but that would be quite a downer to see that all the time. And I know Ethan Phillips wasn't looking to be Clint Eastwood. I remembered him as a kid in the sitcom Benson and surprisingly in the movie Lean On Me. Comic relief even in that.

But did anyone really believe for one minute he was going to succeed in beaming out to space? There can only be suspense when you don't know the outcome, at least for me. The best we could hope for is the reason why he decides not to beam out into space is good enough to raise it from standard fare.

Now for a good twist as he was beaming out our trusty can't-get-a-lock kim would live up to his namesake and cause the tricorder scattering field to displace itself, thereby saving Neelix but instead it's shifted itself around chuckles beaming HIM out into space with no chance of retrieval. Now that would have been must-see TV!

As it is 1.5 stars is all I can give this, despite this yahoo serious side of Neelix we only got from time to time.
Samaritan - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 12:33pm (USA Central)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

Season 5 Episode 2 "The Weight" (part 2)

1 out of 5 stars.

"You know, this seems like a bad deal because, apparently, I die either way." ~ Dylan

Once again, this episode leaves more question then answers, not about the plot, but about the entire set up. We learn here that no one knowns about Slipstream in the Seefra System. In fact no has even heard the term "Slipstream" and faster-then-light travel is thought to be a myth. (This despite the fact that Seefra periodically get new arrivals and the that fact that if this really is Tarn Vedran - it would only be a mere 300 hundred years cut off from the rest of the galaxy, not nearly long enough to completely forget the existence of Slipstream on all nine planets.) We also learn that water is in short supply on all nine planets, not just Seefra-1.

Beka has been in the Seefra System for several months, aboard the Maru, she can't leave the system but keeps trying until she runs out of food, water and power. Why she doesn't land a planet before that point? She never bothers to explain. Just because, I guess.

She finds the Andromeda, intact (so much for the theory that Seefra-1 is the Andromeda), but without power and so sets of a distress signal. At some point she gets captured and tortured for about a month, including being threatened to be burned alive by a creature imaginatively called the "Core", a name which it sounds more like a machine then a creature. She then makes a deal with the leader of her captors, Jonah, and "fall in love" with him . . . apparently getting captured and tortured are the roads to a girl's heart.

At this point Dylan and Rhade show up to answer the distress call and we play the same old tired game, is Beka loyal to Dylan? Cause we haven't found out the answer that before, in like a dozen previous episodes. Jonah doesn't trust Beka not to be loyal to her old captain and devises perhaps the weirdest test in any science fiction episode. He presents Beka with two buttons. One unleashes the "Core" who will kill Dylan; the other fires a missile which will destroy the Andromeda.

The test doesn't work as Dylan as figured out, along with the audience, that the "Core" is actually Trance and that Jonah isn't really going to destroy the Andromeda - both buttons unleash the "Core". When the "Core" comes out, Dylan addresses her by name and Trance, naturally, doesn't hurt him, even though she looks like a miniature sun with little tentacles.

After Dylan reveals Jonah's trick to Beka, Jonah, apparently in a sudden fit of insanity, decides to shoot a missile at the Andromeda after all, purely out of spite with Dylan. This doesn't really sound like someone who managed to create the largest commercial cargo fleet in the system, but hey, who cares about consistent character representation? He and Beka split ways, with Beka telling him that she "really did love him" - because, you know, torture and stuff.

Beka frees Dylan and they are joined by Rhade, who has spent the entire time wandering the corridors. Yeah, former Admiral here people. They use Trance to power the ship and shoot down the missile, which also conveniently destroys Jonah's ship with splash damage from the warhead. The "Core" turns back into Trance's humanoid form, but she has no memories and only vaguely recognizes Dylan and none of the others. Rommy comes back online as well and informs everyone that it was Trance who saved them all by tesseract-ing them through the Route of Ages and into the Seefra System and that doing so cost her physical form and memories. Why and how Rommy knows all this is anybody's guess along with how she lost power.

The crew then mention that all they are missing is Harper and "Rommy" even though Rommy is right there because she is the slagging ship itself! But presumably they mean her Avatar (which as you recall was destroyed last season) and who the bad Andromeda writers keep acting like is a complete separate character from Rommy, even though we all know that the Ship and the Avatar are one and the same (that's the whole point of the Avatar in the first place).

This episode only rates 1 out of 5 (proper) stars. The new Rhade is still fun to watch and listen too and sounds less like Tyr this time around. Dylan anger at yet another person trying to claim his ship is well done, especially the scene where he see the company logo painted on the Andromeda's hull.

Unfortunately everything else is pretty lackluster. Beka has always been a rather boring character with really no function on the Andromeda, here she is running her "I'm a pointless character" in full tilt. While Dylan has is gathering the crew back together and getting his ship back and Rhade has connections, work, money and knowledge about the Seefra System; Beka on the other hand as been avoiding planets, getting captured, beat up, threatened and then "falling in love" with the man responsible for her troubles.

The whole plot is actually rather boing and doesn't really do anything to advance the story arc or make Beka interesting. The only good scenes are those with Dylan and Rhade together, as their dialogue is still pretty entertaining.
William B - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 10:42am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: The Muse

As with many commenters here, I think that the Lwaxana story is fine and indeed has some very good moments. There is something very half-hearted and perfunctory about the plot, which I do think is a weakness, and might be worth discussing more if it weren't that the plot of the Jake story is so terrible that it seems hard to get too up in arms about the Lwaxana story. What impressed me the more I thought about it is the following: (episode appearance spoilers) I don't think I'm giving too much away in saying that this is Lwaxana Troi's last appearance after having made one annual appearance in Trek since TNG's first season. This means that this episode has the honour/burden of closing out a *nine-year* annual tradition, which is especially difficult considering that the majority of the episodes featuring Lwaxana over the years have been terrible. However, despite the poor execution of most Lwaxana stories, and perhaps because of the repetitive nature of those stories over the years, this episode manages to provide something of a capstone for most of the recurring themes that have followed Lwaxana through her appearances on both series while also wrapping up her role in Deep Space Nine in what is to me a satisfying way.

While I dislike most Lwaxana episodes, I don't (usually) dislike Lwaxana herself; I think it is more the way she is frequently used that is grating, problematic, and often sexist. Zooming out, though, the key elements of this episode have to do with Lwaxana's pregnancy/motherhood, marriage and dissolution thereof, and loneliness and her relationship to distant, lonely men. Deanna's role in TNG is largely to highlight the emotional side of life, and Lwaxana's story zeroes in even more closely on family and to some degree on traditional mother-hen assumptions about the goal of life being familial, as well as a boundary-defying unwillingness to let people be alone (or lonely). That she is largely a nuisance to the TNG crew comments to some degree on the individualism that the starfleet explorer life produces. Lwaxana, caught between tradition and modernity, is both an aristocrat and a shameless breaker of rules, obsessed with coupling and wanting badly to avoid any compromises of herself, and her stories all come down to variations on a handful of conflicts -- the desire to be in a relationship versus the desire to be oneself, the importance of one's children becoming independent versus the gap left when they leave and the parent continues aging.

And so, in order:

1. Lwaxana's first appearance heralds her association with tradition and marriage ("Haven") where she paradoxically is present partly to enforce tradition and partly to flaunt it, ending with her giving Wyatt the push he needs to leave Deanna.
2. "Manhunt" introduces Lwaxana's desire and her menopause-metaphor The Phase fixation on Picard as a man of her age who refuses to let her interrupt his lonely life.
3. "Menage a Troi" (i.e. "menage a trois") whose title evokes the weird and perhaps inappropriate way Lwaxana throws herself into her daughter's romantic life, features Lwaxana's attempts to escape the clutches of an unwanted suitor and Picard's necessarily play-acting Lwaxana's lover to save her.
4. "Half a Life" gives Lwaxana the chance at a happy relationship with a quiet, lonely man who reciprocates her advances, only to have it cut short by the recognition that others in the galaxy place far less value on the possibilities of life for the elderly than she does, and signals tragedy that Lwaxana is not ready to give up on her life, but cannot change that others with whom she could are unwilling to break with societal pressure to stop being inconvenient.
5. "Cost of Living" has Lwaxana teaching Alexander how to have fun while she plans to marry herself off to a stultifying bore out of desperation, until she finally rejects him -- with the recognition that she is partly giving up on marriage as a way of happiness. Her bond with Alexander suggests rebirth.
6. "The Forsaken" has Lwaxana bond with Odo, who over the course of the episode moves from Picard-solidity to falling into her lap; unlike Picard, Odo needs her, and unlike Timicin, she is able to help him.
7. "Dark Page" suggests that Lwaxana has suffered a huge loss of a child (loss of innocence, etc.) which underscores the tragedy and death and loss that follows Lwaxana around, and has her recovering only when she is able to face her problems.
8. "Fascination" has Lwaxana's feelings for Odo boiling over and causing chaos throughout the station, and has her able to recognize Odo's own lonely, unrequited feelings for Kira.

So this episode in some ways refers to all of the above in some sense or another. Lwaxana refers to "Dark Page" explicitly, of course. Odo's declaration of love to free Lwaxana recalls Picard in "Menage a Troi"; the marriaged ended after-the-fact recalls the near misses (for Lwaxana and for her daughter) in "Haven" and "Cost of Living"; Lwaxana's mood being infectious with negative, disruptive results, which is to some degree always true and was most true in TNG in "Manhunt" and had its most literal form in "Fascination," is suggested when she recounts her life tragedy to Kira, Dax and Worf in Quark's. Her falling asleep in Odo's arms/lap and Odo putting his arm around her as a blanket is a repayment of her gesture, allowing him to take his liquid form in her lap, in "The Forsaken." And the death/rebirth issues (from all episodes, and especially "Half a Life") come to the fore, as Lwaxana unexpectedly has a child, and there is the suggestion that this child represents a future lonely, sad Lwaxana did not particularly know she had.

The Odo/Lwaxana material in the episode generally works for me both for Lwaxana's character and (more importantly, for this series) for Odo's. I do agree with Jammer's assessment that Odo gets a little too cute in characterization for the usual portrayal of him, but I think that his growing enthusiasm for having someone to take care of makes sense. In particular, Odo is on some level more strongly looking for a way to connect to the world without getting hurt; "Crossfire" eliminated Kira (for now) as the person he could connect with, but his recognition that he can do something for Lwaxana shows how eager he actually is not to be so totally alone. I do think that the awareness of what he has lost in discovering that there is no place for him among his people (first by choice, and then because of what he had done) has changed things for Odo pretty significantly, but in a way that had not quite settled in even by "Fascination." And moreover, Odo really *did* bond with Lwaxana in "The Forsaken" (and to a lesser extent "Fascination") and with Kira somewhat out of the picture for now he is more willing to explore what that means, and more willing to try, on some level, to live vicariously through her. He gets to play the hero for a little while, using his legal knowledge to help another person connect to the stream of life with which he feels permanently disconnected. The reversal at the episode's end -- that after declaring his (fake) love for her he declares his real (platonic) love for her, and that his finally embracing the idea of Lwaxana in his life is what means that Lwaxana must finally leave, is also pretty touching, I think. In some ways it is a reversal of "Crossfire" for Odo, in that he now finds himself as the best friend who will not become a lover, and Lwaxana is able to be honest with Odo about her reasons for breaking with him, in a way that Odo cannot be to Kira.

I do agree though with the criticisms of this plot as a *plot*. I don't know if I am that concerned about Lwaxana using shams to escape from her marriage. To the comments above to the effect that Lwaxana should not have taken the child away from the father, I think that the idea here is that Lwaxana would be willing to raise a child together with the father, and would be willing to raise a child with the father being involved in the child's life, but is not willing to be cut out of the child's life because of Tavnian rules, which Lwaxana did *not* agree to. Presumably neither expected child-rearing to become an issue when they walked into marriage, and cultural differences suddenly became not just important but essential. But in any case, whatever the legal issues are, Lwaxana obviously (to me) has the same right she did within Federation/Betazoid culture, especially if that was the original marriage agreement, and the marriage does not actually nullify Lwaxana's rights. The various hoops that are introduced into Tavnian marriage laws are clearly contrivances to get to Odo's (platonic posing as romantic) love declaration, and as such seem increasingly ridiculous, as does the Tavnian father's willingness to drop out of his child's life entirely when even he doesn't seem to believe Lwaxana will give all the child-rearing responsibilities to Odo (though he apparently believes the wedding is real). It's a pretty stupid plot taken literally, and is mostly there to get to the emotional beats, which to me actually work pretty well.

Anyway, right, there's the Jake plot. The Jake plot in some ways works as commentary on the Lwaxana-Odo plot, in that Onaya extracts what was actually inside Jake, in a way that Lwaxana brings something out of Odo that he was not fully aware was there, but in a less predatory way (this time, at least). And the metaphor is fine, as far as it goes -- that creative expression can become a destructive obsession that can destroy a person all while they make something of beauty is a reasonable theme to explore. But yeah, the plot goes nowhere very slowly, and because the episode never gives us any taste of the actual quality of Jake's work we just have to sit around and believe that he's writing the great space station novel through endless variations on the same scene. And then the way Sisko shoots her and she zaps out of the station! The cheese! It feels honestly like "Sub Rosa" with, admittedly, less sex, but has even less entertainment value.

Anyway 2-2.5 for the Odo-Lwaxana plot (I like it, but serious contrivances) and 0.5-1 for the Jake plot, which comes to about 1.5 stars.
TJ - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 10:37am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S2: Tattoo

Another chuckles-centric ep. Yawn. Didn't find it interesting in the least. Still thought the tattoo looked better in S4's Living Witness.

Best part of this ep was the always-reliable Robert Picardo's performance as the Doctor. Here Kes gives him a lesson in empathy. One that I'm sure his adaptive programming algorithms quickly took to heart.

1 star is all I could muster for it. And only because of that silly but entertaining subplot.
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