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Greg
Thu, May 26, 2016, 8:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Lower Decks

I have to agree with Jammer on this one. It is a 4 star episode. But my take on this is that it's the most anti-military episode of Star Trek. It aptly illustrates to what extent the military uses psychological manipulation of its personnel to achieve its ends.
First of all we are shown 3 ensigns that are up for promotion. Sito, Lavelle, and Ogawa. Sito and Lavelle find out that they are competing for the same promotion.
Now it just so happens, un be known to the audience or the ensigns, that someone needs to volunteer for a secret and very dangerous mission. And it is further stipulated that the mission has no chance to work unless the volunteer is Bajorin. And Sito is the only Bajorin in sight.
So what happens? Picard calls Sito in his ready room and rips her a new ass by telling her that because of an earlier incident at Starfleet Academy that she participated in that resulted in the death of a cadet that he considers her unfit to serve on the Enterprise. Since she was expecting a possible promotion this blow was doubly hard on her and she leaves his presence feeling about one inch tall.
Later Worf invites her to participate in a rather unfair martial arts test. When she finally realizes the test is unfair and says so to Worf he tells her she passed the test and suggests indirectly that she has been judged unfairly by Picard.
Sito, encouraged by Worf, confronts Picard and tells him that she thinks he has judged her too harshly and asks for a transfer. Picard then tells her that his initial ass ripping was just a test to see if she would stand up for herself and that he himself asked for her personally to be posted to the Enterprise. Sito is no doubt overjoyed to hear this and leaves Picard's ready room feeling ten feet tall and bullet proof.
Shortly there after Sito is ordered to the ready room to discover that there is a mission that she is requested to volunteer for that has a high probability of her not returning. Does she volunteer for the mission? Hell yes! She knows she is up for promotion. And she just got torn down and then told it was all a test ,so her ego is all built up again better than new. Hell she would probably volunteer to eat anti-matter rather than disappoint the Captain. And the Captain knows this and uses it to his advantage.
Finally when we are on the bridge and are waiting for her overdue escape pod the jr. Officers wonder what the hell is going on. So once again we are shown military tactics in the handling of their own personnel.
For the jr. Officers, they are treated like mushrooms. Feed bullshit and kept in the dark.
For Sito. First she is torn down. Then she has "smoke blown up her ass" to build her back up again and then she is invited to die.
And finally we are shown the 3 ways to be promoted. Ogawa is promoted because she is liked by her superior. Sito would have been promoted because she volunteered for a dangerous mission. And Levelle is promoted by default. Because Sito didn't come back.
All in all I took this as a rather scathing look at military life. And it's spot on.
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Void
Thu, May 26, 2016, 6:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Sanctuary

On the Ferengi:

No, the Ferengi are not a racist clicheƩ, they are a carricature of rampant capitalism, as Caroline said above. If you think that that also fits the Jews, or clearly only them, maybe YOU are the racist.

Second, Quark was not racist against the Skreeans. He didn't say "No, I won't serve them because they are different", he said "They have no money, I don't like them". How is that racist? I bet you anything, if they were the most obnoxious hateful people in the Universe, if they had money, Quark would love them. I think people need to get their definition of racism right. Bajorans are racists against Cardassians, for example. Quark hates poor people - because it's all about the profit. That is not racist, is it? It may not be very nice though.

Lastly, a point about something raised very early in the comments, the notion that the Palestinians "occupy" Israel, and that it is the rightfull land of the Jews - well, then Danzig still belongs to Germany, Romania to Austria, Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, the Baltic Countries to Russia, America to England, Spain and France, or the Indians for that Matter, Tibet to China, and so on and so forth. There is a point where you have lost your claim on a strip of Land and have to accept that it is no longer yours. If you say it ain't so, I dare you to fight for the return of all lands of the Holy Roman Empire to Germany, because if your premise is true, that is all still theirs, and the Germans are an oppressed people, conquered by evil Imperialists from East and West, who suffered untold tragedy in exterminations and mass expulsions.

I think this episode is meant to deal with the question how we deal with refugees. From my point of view, the Bajorans were right. Trust has to be earned. Would you give a Stranger a part of your house, knowing that he may never leave again? I guess not. So if the Skrreeans had a little more sense, they could have formed an alliance with Bajor: They settle on that other M class planet, and give Bajor food in exchange for industrial help. Both sides profit, and trust can be built, and then, someday, both people may combine. Even though there is no need, since apparently, land is plenty, and the only thing that drives refugees is that there is not enough land (or resources) for everyone. Wars are also mostly driven by this. And Religion of course, but thats a can of worms best left unopened.
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Nolan
Thu, May 26, 2016, 4:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Azati Prime

I will add that, I appreciate those scenes when they're rare, and go all out. Voyagers typical last act pyrotechnics did less and less for me as the show dragged on.
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Nolan
Thu, May 26, 2016, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Azati Prime

Well, they certainly made up for not having any crew deaths for two seasons, that's for sure. Bodies flying outta hull breaches, and that one guy at the back of the bridge not only gets blown back from an exploding console, but a ceiling support then falls on him as he's trying to crawl away. Poor bridge extra guy. Meanwhile Phlox in sickbay must have a zoo going on. Good chaos for all them casualties that'll be coming in.

Yes, I always enjoy a good 'wreck the set' scene. It's the lowest common denominator in me coming out. Haha.
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William B
Thu, May 26, 2016, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Extreme Measures

I will add that using already-placed resentment against shadowy organizations are probably part of the Dominion's expansionist strategy anyway. I can imagine the pitch to Cardassia: the Obsidian Order ruled your lives without your say, and then they tried to destroy us without cause. We had the Obsidian Order as a common enemy. More subtly, they could even add (though doing so in a way that does not ruffle Cardassian pride would take some doing): You saw what happened when you ruled yourselves; you were slaves to others in your society, to secrets. Join with us and we can protect you from yourselves. With Romulus it's different because the Tal Shiar was not wholly destroyed, but they might have been able to identify the destroyed Tal Shiar with a subsection that could be blamed for Romulan woes. Perhaps eventually they would make a similar pitch to the Klingons about the High Council, after eventually Changeling Martok had led them to something of a ruin (never being exposed, of course).
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William B
Thu, May 26, 2016, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Extreme Measures

If we are going into full speculation mode, it is also even possible that this was a Founder plot which went badly awry -- we know that the Founders were willing to stir up/respond to and exaggerate *genocidal leanings* within enemy nations in order to cripple them and possibly even co-opt them, regarding the Tal Shiar/Obsidian Order plot. One of the most fascinating and relatively uncommented on elements there is the multiple levels of self-fulfilling prophesy that go on there (which is also a theme in "The Ship," though I think rearranging elements of that plot might have made it more effective) and indeed the whole war arc. Whether the Founders first planted the idea of a secret organization push to genocide the Founders or they were merely responding to Tain, they created conditions where enemies were attempting to destroy them purely as a way to manipulate them...which also justifies the level of force that the Founders use on them. It seems unlikely that the Founders make particular distinctions between "rebellion" and "want to destroy us," but it seems that Founder policy is not only built on protecting against the assumed genocide, but in using that against their enemies, as if they have no idea how to fight a war against solids who don't want to destroy them and so recreate those conditions. The Founders make themselves targets for hatred so that they are under threat so that they use the force, and for most of the series everyone else plays this (possibly even unconscious on their part) game along with them.

Oddly -- and obviously this is veering into fanfic-level speculation -- I could imagine a Founder working in Section 31 (or, more likely, a satellite organization with some ties) on a readily curable disease and on an overthrow of Federation democratic institutions into marshal law by shadowy organization. Perhaps someone closely working in the Federation would recognize how much the Federation's loose (relative to the Empires surrounding it) affiliation of member states depends on faith in Federation values, and showing that member states were not safe from threats within the Federation would lead to dissolution into scattered individual states which would be easy to conquer. It would be along the same lines as the Obsidian Order/Tal Shiar attack -- it takes the form of a genocidal attack against the Founders which is turned against the attackers, "solidifies" (hardy har) the Founders' "moral position" to themselves and probably to the Dominion member states, some of whom probably do believe in the propaganda (certainly it is important to keep the Jem'Hadar and Vorta convinced in the Founders' rightness even beyond being Gods) and demonstrates the futility of going after the Dominion. But then at some point something went wrong, the Founder died too soon, and word never got out to the other Founders that there was a simple cure, nor was the plan to break up the Federation from the inside ever implemented. How independently do the Founders operate when they are in the field?
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Peter G.
Thu, May 26, 2016, 2:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Extreme Measures

"Second, given that Odo was apparently infected in Homefront/Paradise Lost, while all-out war looked likely but may in principle have been preventable, it makes some sense to have a sort of reset button available in the event that peace is possible "

Yes, and let's take this even further. At the time of Homefront a faction within the Federation clearly believed that war was inevitable and that the Federation must be prepared for battle. Even the preachers on Risa in "Let He Who Is Without Sin" shared this sentiment, more or less. Admiral Leyton was going to usurp Starfleet and then the Federation via a coup, and he obviously wasn't working alone all by himself. So we have him, who was already planning for war, and Section 31, which was doing likewise. What are the odds that the two plots were unrelated? This is doubly so since Odo was on Earth at Leyton's invitation, and any visit to Starfleet Medical would likely have been either authorized or even requested by Leyton himself.

Could Leyton have been working directly with Section 31? Or could they have been manipulating him as they later tried to do with Bashir? Could his coup have possibly been a Section 31 operation where they were finally going to assert themselves more overtly than ever before? As crazy as that sounds, it's no more extreme than attempting genocide before war has even been declared.
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William B
Thu, May 26, 2016, 2:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: The Dogs of War

@Peter G., I enjoy this episode much more than "Let He Who Is Without Sin," but I agree that there is something off and disappointing about it. I mentioned that I like the Quark/Rom resolution on the very, very close personal level (and even there, mostly just that their last scene together gets the "you're an idiot but I love you" part right, if a little obviously), but it doesn't make any sense more broadly and feels unnecessary. And the Julian/Ezri resolution really *is* bad.

Another problem I have with this episode -- which may or may not be shared by others -- is that I think the Founder's decision to retreat to Cardassian space seems really forced in order to get us to the big battle next episode. She does it *right after* the Cardassian rebellion was apparently crushed. They still have the Breen, and even if they suspect the Breen weapon was a one-shot deal, don't they suddenly have all these new resources from an ally? This may be a matter of the Founder making bad decisions because she is under strain from the disease, but it makes the arc feel very jumpy to me -- the total, shocking victory in "Changing Face" gets reversed and suddenly the Dominion is retreating. While presumably they keep the Chin'toka system, there is a lot of tone whiplash from before. Some part of me almost wonders if actually, Gowron's offensive actually *did* get the Dominion jittery, which goes counter to the interpretation we are supposed to have but might be a nice irony.
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William B
Thu, May 26, 2016, 1:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Extreme Measures

@Peter G.,

It would make a lot of sense for Section 31 to be holding the cure out until such time as it could be used as a bargaining chip. This would actually resolve some of the *practical* concerns I have about this plotline, too -- first of all, why they *have* a cure so readily (rather than, say, merely information on how the virus was created which could maybe lead to a cure). Second, given that Odo was apparently infected in Homefront/Paradise Lost, while all-out war looked likely but may in principle have been preventable, it makes some sense to have a sort of reset button available in the event that peace is possible (which would be disrupted if the Founders found out that they were infected and, more to the point, somehow found some evidence of who infected them). I'm not sure how much stock to put it in given what evidence is on screen, though at least the existence of a cure somewhat supports that interpretation.

"However what I do agree with is that while the Founder did finally agree to accept the cure and surrender, it was only because it came with Odo's assurances, which she trusted. I think that no matter what Section 31 or the Federation said to her the female Changeling would never have trusted them, even to her own detriment, and would have allowed her race to die rather than accepting their terms. If there's any truth to this then the reality is that Section 31 did give Odo the tools he needed to convince the Founders to surrender (the survival of the Link), but what they wouldn't have realized was that only Nixon...I mean, Odo, could be the one to offer it to them. In terms of Extreme Measures I think the moral would be that both Sloan and Julian are right, in different ways, and that the Federation needs both kinds of men. They need the Siskos as well as the Picards."

I agree that that's probably the overall message of the text, and a good way to put it.

"Agreed. Bashir has a strong Human sense at the end of the day, but his fixation on his intelligence and success constantly blind him. I think you said it best when you suggested that by altering who he was at a young age be basically became his genetic modifications, since the old Jules was deemed unacceptable to his parents. His identity would afterward be rooted in a combination of hiding who he was while also going to excess in trying to get others to recognize his gifts. His early scene with Kira in a runabout telling her she should be impressed with him, that he impresses himself; that has always been DS9 gold to me."

It's a tough life. I love that Kira/Bashir scene. And I think that high-wire act would wear a person down after a while (as Bashir seems to fall into a real depression as the series goes on, and not, I think, just because of the war); he cannot let anyone know that he was genetically enhanced, but he must justify his worth by using his genetic enhancement or be deemed unacceptable again.

I also wanted to mention that I like that it is O'Brien who reminds Bashir of his more pressing humanist commitment to his friend/acquaintance both because it works in-story and also because it nicely reprises the end of "Inquisition," where it was Bashir's knowledge of O'Brien's shoulder that was his way of exiting Sloan's simulation -- which itself happened because Bashir reached out for Miles as a personal plea.

I like the comparison with "Family." I think it's notable that Picard's experience with the Nausicaans did teach Picard a kind of humility, but it was specifically humility about his youthful daring-do and gave him particular incentive to keep himself (and in particular his emotions) under control at all times, which is another thing that the Borg assaulted and took away from him. While devoting oneself to self-control and sublimating one's passions into one's work are not exactly "easy," they are at least possible, whereas it's unclear what "lessons" Picard can take from his Borg experience that can be implemented directly; mostly what he learns is that there are limits to his power and values even over himself, without any clear indication how to implement this through action. That he is mortal and fallible, not just in an abstract way (which he has surely known) but in a visceral, personal way, is mainly a lesson in worldview rather than in how to behave on a day to day basis, which is much harder.
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Yanks
Thu, May 26, 2016, 1:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

Robert,

"My point though was that this was a real thing that has been really debated by real scientists for a long time. There's a lot out there about it. It's not a bad idea of something to make an episode on but it's no Jetrel."

Agree.

"The idea is a slippery slope. IE if we allow this data to be used after the person creating it did horrible things to get it, what's to stop others from doing horrible things in the future secure in knowing their contribution to science will be secure."

Don't agree with this though. What's to stop others? Law. You can't do much more than that.
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Yanks
Thu, May 26, 2016, 1:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: Trailer: Star Trek Beyond

Well, this trailer has my interest peaked for sure.

Can't wait. It appears we have an original story that isn't going to rip-off TWoK!! :-)

Nice to see what appears to be an NX Class at the end. I'm guessing that is the Franklin.
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Yanks
Thu, May 26, 2016, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Dark Frontier

OK, 'First Contact' diminished the effects of the Borg in Q-Who... everything after that just piles on, along with the Hansen's and Regeneration etc.

This is probably my favorite Voyager 2-parter (and that's saying something). Visually stunning, music was awesome and something that I don't think has been mentioned yet.... pace. Dark Frontier kept pounding at you... very, very good.

The scenes where we actually see assimilation of civilians was gut-wrenching. they succeeded in driving the point home that the Borg have no morals.

Hard to add to what Jammer wrote. I'll just give my cut on why the Borg Queen probably was so interested in 7. Seven is of course "unique", maybe, just maybe, Seven was looked upon as the next Borg Queen? Who knows, my one knock on this episode is they didn't elaborate enough on that revelation.

As to why everyone doesn't know about the Borg? ... section 31 anyone? We know of a "race" of being that can't be stopped... I can see S31 snuffing that for the betterment of Star Fleet and the Federation.

Easy 4-star episode for me.

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Skywalker
Thu, May 26, 2016, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Family Business

@Sexpun, I think you're right about your characterization of Jammer's prejudice against Ferengi episodes.

I really like Ferengi episodes. I do think they're funny. Rom and Quark are a hilarious Abbot and Costello routine. I also think a lot of people are delusional if they feel Ferengi don't aptly represent an aspect of the human condition and aren't relatable. Good god, even today in Iran women are treated horribly, and in Saudi Arabia they still can't drive cars! This is *2016*! In the Ferengi we have some of the worst of human misogynism, avarice, and amorality. And Star Trek takes such horrid sorts of people and belittles them for our enjoyment, as a way for us to laugh at our worst traits and see them for the ridiculousness that they are.

In response to Jammer and others, I would cite Quark to Sisko from end of last season, and I'm paraphrasing here, "You know why you don't like Ferengi, Commander? Because we remind you of how you used to be, of parts of your history you would rather forget." Something to that effect.

@Luke, I think your analysis of Ishka is great! But I think your ire is misplaced, in that you interpret the episode wanting us to conclude that Ishka is a moral hero. Hell no she is not! The point to be gathered is that Ferengi females can be just as mean, selfish, and thoughtless as the males. Quark is the hero! Just as you have determined. He saves the day and he doesn't like it one bit. Dumb as Rom his, he is a savant, and gets Quark and Ishka back together because he doesn't want either of them to suffer. Does Rom criticize his mother in that scene? No, he *loves* his moogie! haha. He criticizes Quark, who is always a jerk to Rom. It makes perfect sense.

"Why would any capitalist society so severely cripple a full half of their population?" Watching Mad Men helped me to appreciate just how sexist America was just 50 years ago. And you're right, of course; in fact, the Nagus and the Ferengi come to the same conclusion by the end of the series! The Ferengi aren't perfectly capitalist either; free market and open society is what leads to the utopian Federation anyway. The Ferengi are additionally affected by extreme self-interest and therefore paranoia, causing them to make bad business decisions that do not increase the wealth of their nation.

"Because there is no societies (even the most patriarchal ones) that come even remotely close to this in their treatment of women." I cite again the Iranian and Saudi examples, and add pre-2001 Taliban-run Afghanistan. And you're right, it is a reductio ad absurdum. That's the essence of the comedy. "Or are they just saying that capitalism is inherently sexist? If that's the case then why are capitalist societies often the very best ones when it comes to gender equality?" I never thought there was any intended connexion, other than these being traits associated with pre-Federation humanity.

Ferengi comedy works for big-picture reasons because it puts many of our worst human qualities in one race, and instead of making them a dire and cruel foe (such as with the Cardassians), they are an object of pity and derision. I think that's genius.
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Peter G.
Thu, May 26, 2016, 12:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Extreme Measures

@ William B,

"Surely if this was the case, then we must credit Bashir and O'Brien as being correct in curing Odo, since Section 31 seemed intent on letting him die rather than using him as a bargaining chip/overture."

Section 13 may well have been planning on holding the cure over their heads once they were in a more vulnerable situation. Odo, after all, didn't offer it until the end either. However what I do agree with is that while the Founder did finally agree to accept the cure and surrender, it was only because it came with Odo's assurances, which she trusted. I think that no matter what Section 31 or the Federation said to her the female Changeling would never have trusted them, even to her own detriment, and would have allowed her race to die rather than accepting their terms. If there's any truth to this then the reality is that Section 31 did give Odo the tools he needed to convince the Founders to surrender (the survival of the Link), but what they wouldn't have realized was that only Nixon...I mean, Odo, could be the one to offer it to them. In terms of Extreme Measures I think the moral would be that both Sloan and Julian are right, in different ways, and that the Federation needs both kinds of men. They need the Siskos as well as the Picards.

"while his natural inclination is to give up on his patient for the broader goal he ultimately does believe that saving Odo is a higher calling, even if it has to be O'Brien who reminds him of it."

Agreed. Bashir has a strong Human sense at the end of the day, but his fixation on his intelligence and success constantly blind him. I think you said it best when you suggested that by altering who he was at a young age be basically became his genetic modifications, since the old Jules was deemed unacceptable to his parents. His identity would afterward be rooted in a combination of hiding who he was while also going to excess in trying to get others to recognize his gifts. His early scene with Kira in a runabout telling her she should be impressed with him, that he impresses himself; that has always been DS9 gold to me.

"To me the story overall is about the importance of tempering idealism and abstract principles with a pragmatic recognition of reality and to recognize which part of one's "idealism" is actually a kind of egotism."

This is good. It reminds me of a point made in TNG's Family, where Robert correctly points out that Picard didn't merely suffer a defeat but was humbled in a way he never had been before. Even despite having been changed by being stabbed by a Nausicaan, Picard's moral sense still seemed to be wrapped up in his ego, and it's telling that after having his ego shattered he briefly begins to contemplate working on the undersea project back on Earth. The Borg represented not only the antithesis of his values, but of his sense of his own superiority. He was helpless before them. In Bashir's case it's different, since Bashir's ego going to excess isn't merely an issue of stubborn pigheaded pride but, as Sloan mentions, is legitimately dangerous both for Bashir and his friends, and even for the Federation.



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Skywalker
Thu, May 26, 2016, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Explorers

The Beard! The Sisko has arrived!

I believe this episode is the real turning point of DS9 as it finally comes into its own -- symbolized beautifully in Commander Sisko's growing of The Beard! Once he shaves his head, the transformation will have been complete, haha. In my opinion, this is the true birth of *The Sisko.* He has accepted Bajor into his life and resonated with it, ensuring the eventual fulfillment of his role as the Emissary of the Prophets, seems calm and filled with joy, and literally sets sail with his son onto the adventures ahead. (It's also the time when Kassidy Yates is first introduced, who remains integral to the end of the series' run. Also Leeta, one of my favorite minor characters.)

I absolutely love this episode. I liked it as a kid, and even more now (particularly the romantic and fascinating quality of the light ship). I thought Ben and Jake's civilian clothes looked a little too Cosby Show, but maybe that was part of the point, especially with the above-mentioned "hammer time" joke they threw in at the hammock, which I thought was great. Further comparing DS9 to the contemporary Cosby Show, Sisko is the first leading captain on Star Trek who is black, and expertly fills the role as just another awesome Starfleet officer -- that is to say, the actor being African-American has almost no effect on his role in the series (except for the brilliant "Far Beyond the Stars"). Similarly, Cosby's Heathcliff Huxtable and his family were a joy to watch because they were simply relatable *people*, and served as great role models for everyone who saw the show, white or black or any other race. I am white, and grew up enjoying reruns of The Cosby Show and DS9 long before I had any sense of what racial tensions could be like, and looked up to Heathcliff and Theo as well as Ben and Jake, finding relatable similarities with my own father. I'm sure one day I'll resonate with these stories again with my own children.

And *that's* the power of the futurism of Star Trek! to optimistically depict our own reality free of its prejudices, and to show exceptionally talented yet still flawed and human people working together to explore the unknown.


@Luke, I also enjoyed O'Brien saying he didn't hate Bashir anymore, and Bashir being so touched. It reminded my of "Friendship Test" by Tenacious D.
I like your analysis of Dax, but this was a plus for me. She can have flaws like that, and it's a very human trait. I loved the writing of "GO AWAY" on the PADD in the Starfleet font.
As for the lack of inertial dampers, that's actually not how warp drive is supposed to work. The most important thing a subspace field does is lower the mass of a ship, to the point of it having negative mass (just like the hypothetical tachyons that are cited as the mechanism for the FTL in "Explorers"). So when a ship, even the light ship, goes to warp, its forward velocity has already been achieved; the subspace field just amplifies that velocity to faster than light. One mistake the effects department made was to put streaking lights around the light ship while it was in warp -- those are not in fact stars, but micrometeoroids and other particles energized by the field produced by the main deflector dish (which, if not deflected, might impact the starship and damage it) -- and the light ship does not have one of those.
Inertial damper are especially useful for unexpected jolts or bumps while in motion, like during an attack, and even then have a delay of reaction time.
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Yanks
Thu, May 26, 2016, 11:58am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Bliss

Love W. Morgan Sheppard. Loved him in BAB5, Star Trek 2009, The Undiscovered Country, Seaquest and probably 100 other things I've failed to type here. Very unique voice and he can ham it up with the best of them.

Someone above asked why Samantha was not effected by this monster. My answer is she has never been to Earth so Voyager is her home. Where they are going isn't nearly as important to her as the rest of the crew.

Once again we get the 7/Sub-Unit pairing. Very enjoyable once again. This little gal can sell a part.

I always think of Farscape's "escape the belly of the beast" episode 'Green Eyed Monster' when I watch this one. Not the emotional punch though.

I agree with Jammer. This episode does what it does well.

3 stars from me.
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Peter G.
Thu, May 26, 2016, 11:47am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: The Dogs of War

I never realized before how bad this episode is. It's out of place and...just kind of bad. And I'm not so quick to blame Brooks' direction, either, since I've liked some of his previous work, including the much-derided Fascination, which I rather enjoy.

To put my comment in context, I don't really agree with Jammer's reviews of the end-of-series arc in ascribing to the episodes ratings based on the content of each episode. Yes, that is how you do reviews, but I think there is a bit of a lack of perspective in terms of what the audience is really getting. If you go back and watch mediocre DS9 from Season 2, let's say, and compare it back to back with ANY of the episodes from Penumbra to Tacking into the Wind, I think the reaction would be something like "whoa, the latter are like feature film quality in comparison." It's kind of like if you go to the best restaurant in the city and sample some of their dishes you'll start to think about which you like better than others while forgetting than any of them is better than the best you'd get at another restaurant. For this reason I'd be content to basically assign 3.5-4 stars to all of the above closer episodes regardless of which of them were setup and which of them payoff. They all had excellent plotting, ideas, characterization, and were compelling. Even though, in particular, I think the direction was more powerful in The Changing Face of Evil compared with the others which would bump it up to a solid 4/4.

Extreme Measures was a change of pace so I won't count it, but The Dogs of War is supposedly a return to major plot arcs, even if that includes the Ferengi. To be honest I had completely forgotten this subplot existed, and I was not pleased to be reminded this time around. I actually found most of this episode to be...well, embarrassing if anything, and most especially so the Ezri/Julian scenes. I usually don't bother addressing what I liked or didn't like in an episode but...man, these scenes were painful. I kind of want to blame Avery Brooks, but the script is really at fault. I watched most of this episode with my head in my hands, afraid of what would happen next, and that never happens to me in DS9. I feel no shame mildly enjoying Let He Who Is Without Sin, but only this one and Profit and Lace made me physically uncomfortable. I would been less disturbed if this episode appeared somewhere earlier in the series, but as the penultimate episode...ugh.

As others above mention, it's simply not logical for Rom to be Nagus no matter the larger moral character now being ascribed to Ferenginar. It's been firmly established that he's a genius when allowed to find his own path, and so it seems like doubling down on the mistakes of his past to bind him to a task that doesn't utilize his gifts. I could have understood if the Nagus position was reimagined as of some kind of moral leader, like the way Emperor Kahless is a figurehead on Kronos. *That* would have been a job perfect for Rom. But as a business leader...no. Too pat.

But getting back to the real disappointment here, this is not the resolution we deserved to the individual tensions between Ezri and Julian. This is not the way to conclude a 7 year arc of Julian chasing Dax and her keeping his at bay, only to have the tables turned when she realizes she wants to go after him. Worf's expression saved the ass of the scene in OPS when they kiss, but their banter was otherwise telegraphed and sophomoric. I swear it was like watching a 1980's teen romance movie. When Julian says he normally isn't like this, he's right; he isn't. Then how about giving us a reason why he might be? For instance, how about showing him terrified that he might actually have a chance and could lose it? With Jadzia he had no fear because he knew if he ever won her it would be due to her and not any success or failure on his part. But here he could legitimately fail on his own terms, and Julian cannot stand losing. I wonder whether the Alamo "I just want to win once!" line isn't some dark allusion to the fact that he's adopted a defeatist attitude towards his own life, and playing out failure over and over in the holodeck doesn't ring true to him in some sense. But I digress; they gave no backbone to Julian's nervousness here when in fact that should have been the entire basis of the story. Similarly, why is Dax so scared? Has Ezri never been in a relationship before? Is it her guilt over how Jadzia treated Julian and worry that she'll hurt him again? Is it feeling inferior to Jadzia and wondering whether she's good enough for him? All of these would have been good questions to explore but instead she's basically just a silly teenager. If I could choose one element in all of DS9 to rewrite I swear it would be this subplot even above any of the Ferengi episodes.

I was also a bit sad that Garak couldn't find a way to subtly insult the Jem'hadar when they held him up, but I suppose he didn't want to be randomly shot.
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Yanks
Thu, May 26, 2016, 11:24am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Gravity

OK, how did this episode spark "my trek is better than your trek" crap?

I really enjoy Lori Petty. She's in one of my favorite movies of all time "A League of Their Own" and the reason I like her in that and this is that she IS different. I thought she played a fine alien here and due to the nature of this story she was a great choice for the part. They needed someone to be a little over the top emotionally to play against our beloved stoic unemotional Vulcan.

I will say Voyager, while at times deserves the daggers it receives, receives far to many. This is a wonderful little story and a great character piece for Tuvok.

I agree, that kid that played the young Tuvok nailed it. I love it when they are able to nail casting like that. I also love the casting with a young Trip in 'Similitude'. That really adds to the believability of the story.

Someone above asked about the title. I thought it had to do with the temporal differential that gravity causes here. (and in real life) As plausible as all the other trek sci-fi stuff. And as Robert says, it was a pretty smart story telling device too.

I loved the spider stuff :-)

I don't mind that Tom "got in Tuvok's face" concerning Noss. For all they knew they were stuck here. It fit's Tom personality to push Tuvok like that.

I thought Noss' affection for Tuvok was real and they way Tuvok dealt with her was very Vulcan and with the back-story this episode provided very fitting.

Very enjoyable each time I watch it. I tear up each time Noss is beamed off Voyager.

3.5 stars for me.
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E2
Thu, May 26, 2016, 10:35am (UTC -5)
Re: Trailer: Star Trek Beyond

Well, this newer trailer does look better. But it still seems much closer to Bay's Transformer movies than anything identifiable as Trek.
I'm excited to see Idris Elba, I've liked him in pretty much everything (except Prometheus, though that was clearly not his fault,) but, I remember feeling the same way about Eric Bana and Benedict Cumberbatch. Just as with the main cast, having great talent in front of the camera cannot make-up for a poor script. First and foremost, the story you're trying to tell has to be worth telling. Will they have a passable plot this time? From the trailer, I have no idea. We know they did major last-minute rewrites, usually a very bad sign, and with the previous two efforts being so muddled, it becomes harder to remain optimistic.
At this point, "The Force Awakens" has the Fantasy-Space-Explosions/Nostalgia genre covered pretty well- This movie doesn't appear to be trying to do anything the Star Wars one didn't.
Will I see 'Beyond'? I have seen every Trek film so far in the theater- recent ones on opening night. But the last two movies have really made me feel pretty foolish for doing so. Of course I will see this; eventually. I suspect I'll wait until we've had a least a week or two of reviews, and if they are, well, like 2009 or "Into Darkness", I'll catch it on DVD at some point down the road.
Perhaps with this installment I'll finally be "Beyond" Star Trek. (At least Paramount's current concept of it.) I hope my predictions are off-base, and Pegg & Lin have put together something worthy of the name. If not, well there is always CBS's upcoming attempt on TV/Internet Streaming...
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Robert
Thu, May 26, 2016, 9:38am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

The idea is a slippery slope. IE if we allow this data to be used after the person creating it did horrible things to get it, what's to stop others from doing horrible things in the future secure in knowing their contribution to science will be secure.

The answer is hopefully "so that you don't end up in jail or executed". Here's a quote from biology professor John Hayward - "I don't want to have to use the Nazi data, but there is no other and will be no other in an ethical world. I've rationalized it a bit. But not to use it would be equally bad. I'm trying to make something constructive out of it. I use it with my guard up, but it's useful."

And a quote from the article h t t p : / / www.jlaw.com/Articles/NaziMedEx.html "Since a better knowledge of survival in cold water has direct and immediate practical benefits for education in cold water safety, and in the planning of naval rescue missions at sea, Pozos and Hayward see it criminal not to use the available data, no matter how tainted it may be."

I actually am sort of sorry this became Janeway's decision to be honest. If you develop Torres' hatred of Moset more (maybe she actually had a friend in the maquis who was experimented on) you could actually have made this entirely a Tom & B'Elanna episode. An allegory of a "Jewish" person struggling with whether or not to be treated by "Nazi" data would have been more interesting. As it is, you are correct... Janeway's choice is plainly ridiculous. Let her chief engineer die so that they don't have to use data they don't like or don't. Die in the middle of the damned Delta Quadrant. Well, we can always pick up a new engineer at the next starbas..... oh.... :-(

My point though was that this was a real thing that has been really debated by real scientists for a long time. There's a lot out there about it. It's not a bad idea of something to make an episode on but it's no Jetrel.
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Chrome
Thu, May 26, 2016, 9:26am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

One of the best things about this episode is that it shows something the audience rarely sees, and that's things not going so well for Data. Data is an extremely powerful tool, an asset to the Enterprise and particularly to Picard. But here, we see that Data, without anyone to guide him through social nuances, struggles. Riker's line to Data shows the frustration, "I don't KNOW these people, Data. Use that fancy positronic brain of yours and get the job done!"

It's also nice to see a piece where Picard fumbles a little in diplomacy. Usually we're treated to these grand speeches, but the Sheliak markedly cut Picard off before he has a chance to finish any. So basically we have Data in a situation where Picard's ethos would've been better, and Picard in a situation where Data's logic would be better. So this deserves at least 3 stars for that.

There are parts of this episode that are slow, and were well into season 3 so timing shouldn't be an excuse for TNG here. At least there is some good dry humor, like the bit at the beginning where Picard gets called out of Ten-Forward, and Data thinks Picard is walking out on his poor performance.
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Chrome
Thu, May 26, 2016, 9:17am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Sacrifice of Angels

Q actually claims to be God in "Hide and Q" and also in "Tapestry". I think the Prophets and Q's powers are similar, it's just that, opposed to the Prophets, we see Q actively tormenting a lot more than helping.
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Yanks
Thu, May 26, 2016, 8:51am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Bride of Chaotica!

@ Skeptical
Mon, Jan 25, 2016, 9:05pm (UTC -5)

Agree on all counts. (although I can't speak to the writer's/UPN thing)

I loved this episode. The hammy-ness and how they merged it with a real-time dilemma.

Good lord people, lighten up and have some fun. I enjoyed this as much as the hammy "Our Man Bashir" or any other "lets have some fun" Star Trek episode.

The set folks should have won something here. Amazing work.

I too noticed and enjoyed the old music.

I just can't really knock this thing. It was fun and well done.

4 stars.
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Yanks
Thu, May 26, 2016, 8:29am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

Robert,

I scanned the article and just find it hard to believe intelligent people can still have that opinion.

Let's say the knowledge required to sure a plague was obtained by questionable means. Should it not be administered based on how it was obtained?

Ridiculous.... and even more ridiculous that occurrence could happen in the 24th century, or on Voyager.
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Yanks
Thu, May 26, 2016, 8:26am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

The only reason this episode is watchable and notable.

"You know, there some words I've known since I was a school boy. With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably. Those words were uttered by Judge Aaron Satie as wisdom and warning. The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. I fear that today"

Captain Picard
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