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- Sat, Oct 10, 2015, 12:40pm (USA Central)
****Disclaimer**** I haven't read Jammer's review yet since he seems to have treated these two episode as one. I'll wait to read it until after I see Part II.
"Gambit, Part I"
Well, I will be. A two-part episode where one part doesn't feel stretched almost to the breaking point. I had almost thought that they had forgotten how to do these.
What we have here, essentially, is TNG attempting, not quite perfectly, to do a DS9 episode. Given that this episode aired around the same time as the three-parter that opened DS9 Season Two ("The Homecoming," "The Circle," "The Siege") and most likely was in production around the same time as well, I think it's safe to say that DS9 had a huge influence here. And all for the best, because this is easily the best episode of Season Seven thus far. It doesn't quite capture that DS9 feel (TNG just isn't tailored to this kind of storytelling like DS9 is), but all the elements are there and they work surprisingly well - wheels within wheels, outlaws, shadowy dealings in darkly lit bars, strong-arm intimidation of unwilling witnesses/accomplices, everybody engaging in deception (either to a few people or to everyone else), undercover work, shoot-outs, actual location shooting, etc.). It's refreshing to see an episode with so much energy (even if it ultimately has nothing significant to say) after sitting through a string of tedious episodes. Maybe this is all TNG has to offer here in its final season, but I'm okay with that. If they aren't going to be offering any more episodes with weighty philosophical or religious or political messages any more, than I'm perfectly willing to take something that's merely intended to be entertaining - because "Gambit, Part I" is definitely that.
Some quick thoughts....
1.) It's nice to see Robin Curtis back on Trek. I always preferred her as Saavik.
2.) Data as captain was nice and it definitely shows that he's matured as a commanding officer since "Redemption, Part II." There, when faced with a bigoted First Officer, he did exactly the wrong thing and kept him around. Here, he exudes confidence and authority. Even though the rest of the senior staff don't quite understand what he's up to, they still follow him without question. Nicely done.
3.) It's about damn time we got a space pirate episode! The last time we got something similar was with Harry Mudd back in TOS. I suppose you could classify "The Outrageous Okana" as a pirate episode, but the less that train-wreck is remembered the better. But even Harry Mudd was a somewhat likable rogue, here we actually have pirates that are up to no good and aren't a kind of Han Solo clone. Given that this is, ultimately, a show about a space navy we should have had stories like this long before now.
- Sat, Oct 10, 2015, 11:51am (USA Central)
Another rather colorless episode to start out Season Seven, only this time it's ever so slightly elevated by some good character moments.
The two problems with "Interface," aside from its lack of energy and tension, are that it relies almost exclusively on LaForge's family dynamics to carry the story and its unnecessary fascination with the virtual reality technology. The use of the LaForge family to drive an episode focusing on the nature of loss and acceptance thereof could work, but it just falls so flat here. That's because this is literally the first time we've been introduced to any member of LaForge's family (it may even be the first mention of his sister). If we had met these people beforehand, that would be one thing. But, we can't just have these characters thrown into a situation like this and then emotionally connect with them just because the writers say we should. If we had known anything about Captain LaForge before this, her loss would have meant something. But, up to this point, we have been given virtually no information on her. Actually, aside from the facts that both of LaForge's parents are in Starfleet ("Imaginary Friend") and that they didn't kill him as a newborn for being blind ("The Enemy"), what have we been told about them?! Add to that the fact that both Madge Sinclair and Ben Vereen seemed to be sleep-walking through their roles and it doesn't really work. And, of course, there's the fact that LaForge is one of the least developed characters on TNG (which is even more reason for us to not emotionally invest in the story). It's nice that they tried to throw him a bone here, but Levar Burton, unfortunately, didn't step up to the plate and knock it out of the park like Marina Sirtis did in "Face of the Enemy."
Then there's the over-use of the VR suit and probe. The fictional tech should be a means to an end, a way to further the story, not a focus of the story itself. It's not important how the holodeck works, or how the transporters work or how the Bussard Collectors work. Those concepts simply advance the story in one way or another. But here, the VR tech is front and center and it detracts from the story instead of aiding it. Let's compare this to a LaForge episode that not only worked, but was one of the best of TNG - "The Mind's Eye." There you have a fictional technology - the Romulan brain-washing - which serves an absolutely pivotal role in the story. But, it never once becomes a centerpiece. The focus is where it should be - on the drama, political intrigue and character work. "The Mind's Eye" also works as a LaForge story because it doesn't exclusively rely on the LaForge character alone to carry the day. It also has a wonderful evocative atmosphere, great camera work, good direction, world-building and a rich, well-layered story in addition to LaForge's character drama. "Interface" has none of that.
But, there are some nice character moments thrown into the mix. The scene where Riker takes LaForge aside and tells him about how it was when his mother died was nicely handled (and it was nice to see them actually addressing this connection between the characters instead of just ignoring the elephant in the room - something they did too often toward the end of Season Six). I also like that LaForge was willing to straight up disobey Picard's direct orders because he felt it was the right thing to do (that's some good character development). It was also nice to see the bond between LaForge and Data shown as so strong that Data would be willing to put his friend above his duty (one of the most Human things he's ever done)(it's especially nice since not three episodes previously LaForge was unwilling to do something similar for Data - maybe Data is just a better friend).
Here's something funny I noticed and just wanted to point out....
LAFORGE: Maybe they got stuck in a warp funnel and sent back here.
EVERYONE ELSE: Oh, that's impossible. Don't be absurd.
LAFORGE: Oh wait, it wasn't a warp funnel, it was intelligent beings made out of fire that live in the atmosphere and who are completely undetectable by our sensors. They were communicating telepathically with me via the probe and VR suit and just took the form of my mother out of my mind without me even knowing it.
EVERYONE ELSE: Oh, well, why didn't you just so?! Proceed then.
So, despite "Interface" not being a particularly noteworthy outing, it's still something of a step up from the last few episodes.
- Sat, Oct 10, 2015, 8:47am (USA Central)
Blaze of Glory
Firstly, I don't like the premise. Our ever-scheming Eddington let's his lovely wife send out a fake message and obviously knows a) the Klingons will pick it up b) will relay it to Sisko and c) Sisko comes to him for help. Yeah, I believe that.
Secondly, the Dominion and the Federation ARE AT WAR already. They have repeatedly shot at each other, the Jem Hadar have repeatedly captured and imprisoned Federation personnel, changelings have repeatedly infiltrated Federation organizations. And yet for several episodes Sisko and the others are acting like it isn't a war.
Thirdly, the sarcastic back-and-forth between Eddington and Sisko gets old, quickly. When did Eddington turn so smug?
Fourthly, blaming the Maquis for the Cardassia-Dominon-alliance is stupid. The Maquis was never portrayed as anything but a thorn in Cardassia's side, it was the Klingon War that almost annihilated Cardassia and that forge the alliance.
- Sat, Oct 10, 2015, 7:02am (USA Central)
Again, Dr. Crusher's ever-changing hair...
- Sat, Oct 10, 2015, 6:29am (USA Central)
Chain of Command, Part I
I really didn't rate this episode at all. First of all, you can't order Starfleet officers to do what they don't want to do with no limits, we've been through that with Data in The Measure of a Man. (They can resign at any time and that Data wasn't allowed to was supposed to be very shocking.) If Jellico had pushed too hard, and he very nearly did, he would have been in a big empty high-value target. The Enterprise is full of families for goodness's sake - even if some would have been okay with them messing around on the Cardassian border under Picard's command it doesn't mean they would have been okay with anyone telling them to.
Secondly, he was rubbish. So pathetic. Troi was right about him from the start, putting on a tough front but being weak inside. All it took was for that Cardassian to have one piece of info Jellico didn't expect him to have and that's it, he completely and visibly crumbled. As if it required knowing the whole mission to notice that this is normally Picard's ship anyway? As if that meant that obviously everyone including your own mother is a Cardassian spy and omg we've all failed aaaahhhh!!!? Of course, it WAS all a trap, but Jellico didn't know that, he didn't know that Cardassian knew it or even that he knew of the mission. All he did was note Picard's absence and Jellico was about to start crying and hand over the whole Federation. Even if Picard had been hit with horrible dread he still wouldn't have SHOWN it for crying out loud!
Picard is soft on the outside, true, but almost unbreakable inside. No-one can intimidate him. He would have been much better suited to the job but we were supposed to believe and a lot of the commenters here did believe that Jellico was not only not the worst choice possible but the best man for the job. Even super soft-seeming Troi could have done better because she's not an idiot. We've seen her in tough situations and at the poker table and she doesn't show her hand like that or back down easily.
I also don't agree with those who've said Data wasn't reacting the same way as the rest of the crew. He doesn't lie to people for no reason, that's all (and we saw only a few episodes ago that Geordi also would never exaggerate how long an engineering task takes, and he didn't here, either). He was practically rolling his eyes at Geordi as he followed Jellico out of engineering - as much as Data ever would, anyway. Data is also fully aware that he's the only one on board who doesn't need to sleep - Jellico apparently isn't.
But mainly I hate him for doing the Captain's Log. That belongs to Picard only!! Do it off screen but I don't want to hear it! You're not the captain!
- Sat, Oct 10, 2015, 6:10am (USA Central)
For the Uniform
Although the episode presents the planet switching as "his plan" I will at least accept your problem with he. Even if he was 100% sure that they could have evacuated before succumbing to the poison somebody could have been trampled in the confusion or whatever and he'd be responsible. I'd accept the interpretation that he was reckless and got lucky. I'm going to rewatch with that in mind and consider.
- Sat, Oct 10, 2015, 5:06am (USA Central)
Children of Time
Oh yeah, one thing I found EXTREMELY annoying was Sisko's "I can't ask Kira to sacrifice her life for 8000 people, or 8.000.000"
It happens all. the. time.
Closing the wormhole to prevent the Dominion fleet from coming through, thereby stranding Worf et al. in the Gamma Quadrant is the exact same thing as stranding the Defiant's crew inside the barrier. With the difference that he knows the people inside the barrier have great lives.
Sending the Defiant to meet a hundred Jem Hadar ships in battle is nothing but asking them to die. If Sisko wasn't in the business of doing that, he should have sent them away when the fleet came though the wormhole.
For a time, all the philosophic discussion revolved around not letting Kira die. What a load of crap.
- Sat, Oct 10, 2015, 4:58am (USA Central)
Children of Time
I'm torn on the ending.
At first, I wanted to call it a character assassination of Odo. I found it unbelievable that he would not have found new love, forgotten Kira. It happens all the time. I found it unbelievable that Mr. D&D Judge character would sacrifice 8000 people he has known for all their lives for the vague *chance* that he and Kira might hit it off.
But then I remembered that they made it a point - repeatedly! - that Odo would have joined the Founders if it weren't for Kira. So he seems to be a tad obsessed with her.
So perhaps it's less of a character assassination than it is a character affirmation. I now assume Odo is a selfish bastard. Who knows how much of his "honorable" behavior is just pretense to make Kira like him. If you remember, he was a straight up Cardassian collaborator until he met her.
- Sat, Oct 10, 2015, 12:17am (USA Central)
Fear of female sexuality makes fools of men, especially writers.
- Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 10:54pm (USA Central)
For the Uniform
The episode said they evacuated so it's true and Sisko is not a mass murderer.
Even if we accept the absurd premise that they could, there is no way he could have known that at the time. And he was going to do it regardless. For that and breaking the law, he would find himself in jail.
- Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 8:52pm (USA Central)
Dr. Crusher's hair! So long.
- Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 4:51pm (USA Central)
"Trekkian take on the Prime Directive"
Hurr yase, that was a very Star Warsian take on the Force
Proper from Gunnerkrigg
- Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 4:43pm (USA Central)
I'm a jerk but frankly I like what Kevin did to Troi. About time someone pushed the pushy snoop back a bit.
- Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 1:30pm (USA Central)
I think one of this episodes big failings is that it assumes we know a lot (as it was at this point in the series) and therefore feels it can leave a lot unsaid and just assume we'll fill in the blanks with stuff that honestly shouldn't be left to that. Like, the show never really says or even properly implies that Winn used underhanded dealings to get the First Minister position and be in a situation where nobody is running against her, but since every time we've seen her thus far she's been using underhanded tactics to get power we're supposed to assume that this was no different and just treat her ascension to first minister as the result of illegal maneuvering and duplicity and her lack of competition is from the same kind of stuff she pulled to get Bareil out of the runnig for Kai. We never see her actively lie to the people of Bajor but again based on who she is I think we're supposed to just infer that she didn't tell them the whole story which is something Shakkar can leverage and most importantly, we never actually see or learn the specifics of the contract Shakaar has with the government, we never know if it says "You have use of this equipment for X time" or if it says "you have provisional use of this equipment for X time unless we ask for it back" but since Kira believes Shakaar is justified we're supposed to assume it's in his favour since we're on her side rather than Winn's and Winn is OBVIOUSLY acting inappropriately, because that's what she does. We also never see Shakaar act reluctant about being first minister but since he was, up to this point, a farmer with no interest in politics and we have a definite Li Nalaas parallel I think we're supposed to assume he's doing it for the good of Bajor even though all he really wants to do is farm some space-rutabaga or whatever.
These are all really important plot/character points that the show just kinda assumes we'll infer from past behaviour and how the character's we're supposed to like act. Which is a major failing of the episode and how those blanks get instinctively filled or not filled by our respective brains probably plays a huge part in how we initially react to the episode.
I actually just went back and read the script and I was misremembering the scene in the valley. I thought shakaar initially gave up. Having reread it I take it more as him accepting that this situation is out of control. Even if he gets arrested and the Kai "Win"s, even if his entire cell gets taken down, it won't stop the civil war from coming. The fuse is too close to lit. Once one side fires at the other it's over. The government will have their justification and/or the resistance will have their martyr. The only way to end this is to find a way to have both sides "Win" which is by making Shakaar, the face of the resistance, and Winn, the face of those opposing them, publicly making good together and getting on equal footing. The solution then is to make Shakaar the First Minister and official head of Bajor and leave Winn the Kai and spiritual head of Bajor so that the people can feel like this has been resolved to everyone's satisfaction.
I get the feeling this episode was planned as a two parter and then when it didn't get it had to try to cut details everywhere it could and hope we would fill in the blanks. So yeah, as much as it's visceraly enjoyable for me to watch I'm gonna have to agree that this was a pretty poorly written episode which requires almost fanfic levels of headcannon from implied scenes to work.
- Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 1:07pm (USA Central)
I think they made a point that it isn't a proper override and can be fought against by the host so you couldn't use it to possess enemy soldiers and convert them. Also, yes, you could split a trill with dozens of soldiers' memories among a dozen newly enlisted privates. But the main host now lacks the combined force of all that experience so you're trading one supersoldier for a dozen normal ones and if any of those privates dies in battle you lose the memory with them so you're giving up 80 or so years of experience each time making it of limited tactical value AND requiring one Symbiont to have been a soldier for centuries to use even once.
The idea in your second post is an awesome one that I wish they'd explored. I really wanted to get to know the other Dax's better and that would have been a great way to let us do that and make the Dax character more than just a relatively normal person with a disproportionately long backstory.
- Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 10:00am (USA Central)
In the Flesh
All fiction requires suspension of disbelief to some degree or other. A good fiction won't challenge it much, if at all. This episode was so preposterous to me that I was being reminded at every turn that fallible writers were at the helm. That's not a good thing for any fiction. Species 8472 was supposed to be a race unlike any we had every seen before. But then they get them creating a Starfleet Academy in the middle of nowhere and morph into humans. It takes an INCREDIBLE leap of faith to take that seriously.
I think it's a missed opportunity because 8472 (despite the shoe-horned excuse to be as bad-ass as the Borg) had potential to have a good arc.
- Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 6:25am (USA Central)
For the Uniform
"It's also doubtful that the Maquis could have mounted any kind of meaningful evacuation in just one hour."
That doubt is your problem. The episode said they evacuated so it's true and Sisko is not a mass murderer.
That said your final comment is problematic. Sort of makes you wonder why the Dominion doesn't just do this to Earth...
- Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 6:20am (USA Central)
In the Flesh
I will say in DLPB's defense that while that is an impressive effort, the vast majority of reviewers for TV, movies, books, etc. are not writers... and we as a society are ok with that.
If the only people that liked your episode are other screen writers you are going off the air. I thought the episode had charm and some good acting... but let's be honest here and also say it also had a major retcon, some serious fun with DNA and required suspension of disbelief in the premise.
I didn't hate it, but the haters have a point. Seriously.
- Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 6:12am (USA Central)
In the Flesh
- Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 5:33am (USA Central)
For the Uniform
Horrible episode! The overacting on Brooks' part is getting ridiculous. And Sisko has to be classified as a fanatic. He's always been religious about Star Fleet, the oath, the uniform. Not only do I find it implausible that Sisko wouldn't get reprimanded for using WMDs, I find it implausible that NO-ONE aboard the Defiant objects to their use. Worf, first and foremost, should have refused to comply. Dax too. She was totally out of character, esp. at the end. It's also doubtful that the Maquis could have mounted any kind of meaningful evacuation in just one hour. And the WMDs themselves are ridiculous. Attaching a container with trilithium to a photon torpedo is all it takes to kill off all humans on a planet. And apparently that's common knowledge. Sure...
- Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 12:07am (USA Central)
Profit and Lace
Wow, the hate for this one is really strong...and, in my opinion, *not all* undeserved. I found most parts of the episode hilarious, and I enjoyed it very much. I agree with the point, too: that men would greatly benefit and grow as people if they empathized with women. "Profit and Lace" was a solid comedy in the tradition of Menander and Shakespeare.
Like the (barely extant) plays of Menander, though, there is a massive blindspot, and that is the willingness to overlook sexual harrassment/assault. The opening scene with Quark was very painful to watch. I kept thinking, "have the writers learned nothing from their last outing all the way back in Season One?" And I hoped that by the end of the episode, we'd see that they had--only to watch them undermine it all by having the dabo girl want to perform Oomox for Quark.
There are plays in both Euripides and Shakespeare that appear to confirm the prejudices of their audiences while actually undermining them. Menander could get away with this in the fourth century BCE. Shakespeare could get away with this in the 16th century CE. But the writers of Deep Space 9 in the twentieth century should have known better. The problem is that instead of presenting something with traditional Ferengi chauvinistic values and undermining them, the episode appears to undermine the new Ferengi value of equality.
I think that the writers would counter that they were trying to say that an empathetic male is one who is also truly happier. Consent is not only required for sex to be non-criminal, it's also sexy. That's why Quark gets his "happy ending." And in a way, it also mirrors the last episode, "Valiant." In that episode, the only member of the regular Red Squad cadets who had the wisest attitude--a yearning for home--survived. Put militarism before your humanity, the writers are saying, and you've given up what makes you actually alive. It's not subtle, but the point is a good one.
As for the episode itself, Quark would have been out of character to refuse Oomox once offered freely--but there's no way his employee would have freely offered that after being harassed. The closing scene as written should have never made it onto the printed page, let alone the screen.
- Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 11:05pm (USA Central)
The Sword of Kahless
I'll join the haters. Worf was at his worst here. Plus, it was all dreary. If you'll notice, DS9 tends to do better with races that aren't the traditional pillars of Trek. Their Klingons are especially weak and cliche-ridden. This is just more of the same silliness, and I couldn't get through the episode.
- Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 10:57pm (USA Central)
In the Flesh
I am not being paid thousands, Shannon. If it were my job to script-write, I would do a much better job than this. However, I have relocalized Final Fantasy VII, which has been downloaded by thousands of people (well over 10,000):
I would like to note it did not take 5 years :P It was more like 6 months with huge gaps in between. FF7 has over 150,000 words.
- Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 10:43pm (USA Central)
I think the point of this story is that the death penalty removes permanently any potential for rehabilitation.
But interestingly the angle of never re-offending never comes up ;)
- Thu, Oct 8, 2015, 9:59pm (USA Central)
I'd have liked to see how Bones handled her. I can imagine is anger.
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