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Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 4:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: The Changing Face of Evil

I've been enjoying reading each review and many comments as I've re-watched this series - so I guess you can call me a "long time reader, first time commenter."

There are some thoughtful commenters out there over the past few years. I've learned a lot about the scenes I've watched, their deeper meaning, and implications behind the scenes (in-story) that I hadn't considered. I've also learned about some of the flaws in what's been done in some episodes. I've found the majority of both pro and con comments to be valid and worth listening to.

But there are some who are constantly writing to try and get confirmation of their own disdain for scenes, characters, or entire plotlines. I don't think they're by definition trolls - they just love the sound of their own voice. They crave confirmation. I think Elliot is one of those. He's even spent countless time on Jammer's review site doing his own episode reviews. For pete's sake, it's called "Jammer's Reviews." Go start your own site, with your own reviews. Find your own audience, who agrees with you, if that's what you really want.

Thanks to all the rest, and to Jammer, for a great companion to DS9 and several other Trek and other shows.

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Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 10:57am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Equilibrium

I thought this was a great episode and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Jeff Magnus McBride as Joran Dax. S7's Field of Fire should have brought him back to reprise the role, not the weirdo they ended up recasting.

As Andy's Friend and Yanks have mentioned above this episodes paints a very chilling portrait of the Trill socio-political backdrop. Once again we have a society which is willing to sacrifice individuals to maintain general order. Remind you of any other home worlds? And the fact that the Trills hide this cold ruthlessness and disregard of life, behind a smiling, kumbaya Federation mask somehow makes it even more unsettling. At least the Cardassians and the Dominion were direct about it.

All in all I can say for sure that Trill is not a place I would want to live in. They seem to produce a higher-than-usual ratio of repressed maniacs - off the top of my head there's Verad, Joran and Ezri's younger brother.
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Jason R.
Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 10:49am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Arsenal of Freedom

Looks like to planet's inhabitants preferred extermination to purchasing such shoddy merchandise and giving that holographic a-hole the satisfaction.

Which got me thinking, did they ever bill Picard for his purchase? Too bad he skipped out because a few of those drones might have come in handy against the borg.
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Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 10:43am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Arsenal of Freedom

I too, like J, was confused about a supposed planet killing weapon that could never hit its target. It missed every shot, except the stupid energy field that trapped Riker. And they just guess that it's saving him for questioning later or was that just the writer's way of saying it could actually hit something? Was the thing programmed to fire warning shots first? Did it intentionally miss so it could give chase, for fun? Not a very efficient demonstration of a weapon you're trying to sell people.
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The Cisco
Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 9:36am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: The Andorian Incident

Vulcans may be portrayed as insufferable snobs, but (at least during these initial episodes) Archer and Trip treat T'Pol just like you would expect any ignorant, entitled crew of high school jocks to treat anyone they consider inferior.

They allegedly reset being treated with derision and condescension by the Vulcans, but their boorish, sarcastic banter fares no better, in my opinion... I would expect senior military personnel to act in a much more professional, detached manner.
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Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 8:28am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The High Ground

To clarify: (thought it was clear but okay): When I referred to black Americans migrating from south to north to escape Jim Crow and rural poverty, I was not speaking of escaping slaves but their descendants who had been Americans for generations and called Ameroca, not Africa, their home and homeland.

Most of us have very recent ancestors who were chased off their land by war, cruelty, discrimination - don't we? (I surely do.) it's happening today all over the world. Whether you're a Christian from Mosul or a south Sudanese running from war, you're losing your land and it isn't fair.

What makes the Palestinian situation unique is that they wee forbidden by the surrounding Arabs to start over like normal refugees and migrants. The other thing that makes them unique is that - due to the political machinations of the surrounding Arab nations - they have been manipulated to still seek Israel's destruction. Obviously this prevents peace. Israel could wipe out GaZa in five minutes but doesn't. GaA's government would wipe it Israel in five minutes if they ever found the means. They are quite up front about it! The regular folk just want decent lives but are constantly trained to see Israel and Jews as the problem . It's a useful tactic for Arab governments, including Hamas, but it hasn't helped anyone except the Arab dictator-class and imam-class at the top of the food chain.
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Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 7:55am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

Outsider65: Your point is interesting and worth debating. Yes, Soren is more content after her corrective treatment than she was before it. All her angst at being different and all her longings for things she is denied have been erased. If citizens' happiness is the goal, forced corrective therapy is the act of a loving government.

On the other hand, the message I (and I think most viewers) take from the ending is that Soren was robbed of her individuality by the heavy hand of a State that had no respect for her right to be different. This is also the message of the glorious Twilight Zone ep referenced by William B above: "Number Twelve Looks Just Like You". ("Number Twelve" made it a bit more clear that the government's interest was to erase dissent. It's never clear to me what Soren's government is trying to do: enforce a religious ideal? Erase dissent? Or make their Sorens happy?)

Lots of stories center on this theme.

For example: I haven't seen "Stepford Wives" but I imagine it's the same idea. Would you rather be you and be full of usual human angst, or be a happy slave? One can fairly argue whether the majority of (middle class) women weren't happier when female roles were defined and limited and the prescribed feminine goals were achievable to many: marry, cook, have babies, get the laundry superclean. (A subset of middle class women were of course miserable because they had squelched dreams or abusive husbands/fathers, but perhaps the sum total of female middle class happiness was greater pre feminism? It's certainly possible.)

The various memory-wipe episodes can be debated in the same way. When Kern is mind wiped in some episode "for his own good", is it right or wrong? The same plot device occurs on Babylon Five - personality-wipe is a punishment/rehabilitation technique used on convicted murderers. And on "Angel," a beloved, suffering teen boy has his whole life rewritten and is inserted into a loving family - ensuring a better shot at happiness but robbing him of all his memories of two father-figures and everything he'd built, accomplished, striven for in his natural existence. In all cases, the individuals are happier - but is it ethical to change a person against her will? Is it ethical promised that she wants it? Is it ethical if she wants it solely because society discriminates and shames her current self?

I think most of us feel horrified at the idea of being robbed of our true selves. It's like the fear of death or of dementia. But maybe we shouldn't?

If you could be guaranteed, say, a hapoy lifelong stint of dementia or insanity (all your worries gone, cared for forever while living in an upbeat fantasy world of delusion), would you choose it?

I might, but only if my life were miserable - because I am too attached to my current dreams and goals and happy moments. On the other hand, if I were forced over the line into that upbeat fantasy world, would I want to return to my checkered and fraught current one? Probably not.

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Jason R.
Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 6:32am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Where No Man Has Gone Before

Peter wasn't STV about a journey to the centre of the galaxy, not to its edge? I presumed it was a different energy barrier.
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Lt. Yarko
Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 6:01am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Shattered Mirror

Oh, some of you people just aren't any fun!
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Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 1:40am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Dauphin

I don't know I kinda liked Anya overpowering Worf as some disgusting screeching monster then trash talking him as a small older lady.

"You underestimated me in your sickbay. That is usually fatal." I like this line and how she delivers it, It doesn't sound like she's bluffing. I do agree though that there's little chance the Enterprise would put up with such dangerous behaviour
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Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 1:37am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Children of Time

It's very interesting to me to see the disparate opinions on this episode.

I have to say personally, I always thought the episode was decent, but my reaction to it has varied. Watching it today, I'm brought to a very emotional place by old Odo's scenes with Kira as well as by a handful of scenes towards the final day of the colonists - scenes like the Klingons asking Worf to kill them, and the planting scene; particularly where O'Brien speaks to Molly, and the senior staff meeting where they each voice their opinion on leaving. Auberjonois's performance as old Odo was picture perfect and completely empathetic. And realizing that all these people and their families were all going to die choked me up.

Then, the ultimate moment comes and the ship misses the anomaly and... everything just sort of went cold. I didn't get the sense that the bridge crew was as paniced and saddened and as they should have been in that moment. I also felt the score lacked a big swell of emotion underscoring the tragedy and significance of what had just happened.

The moments KNOWING what was going to happen to the colonists brought literal tears to my eyes, but the actual moment it happened almost alleviated the emotions. So perhaps this episode is more poignant on subsequent viewings (where you can appreciate the sadness knowing what is going to happen) than on the initial view. I don't think there's quite enough emotional reflection of the fate of the colonists. No one speaking of specific people who are now gone. No Worf lamenting those people having an unwarrior-like death or Molly never getting to see the crops reach 3 feet, etc.

Finally, I felt that as well as Auberjonois did as old Odo, young Odo's final scene just feels a bit off. As if he expects Kira to react positively to the news that old Odo was behind it. Perhaps it's an attempt to show how inexperienced and naive young Odo was compared to how mature old Odo seemed. I'm not sure. I just felt that that shot was the sole attempt to really put an emotional bent on the close of the episode, but it could have done more.

Still, 40 great minutes leading up to the ending.
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Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 1:19am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Tuvix

I was reminded of the 1950’s movie The Fly, about a scientist working on a transportation device, trying it out himself, not knowing that a fly had flown into the chamber. Forty years later I still remember one of the final scenes: a fly with a small “white” (human) head, stuck in a spider’s web, screaming for help.

That ST Voyager would set up this kind of situation, and not opt for the easy answer, that “Mr. Tuvix” is not agreeable to the reversing procedure, very unexpected. After the transporter mishap, Mr. Tuvix reassembled the very best of Tuvok and Neelix into one unique individual—though one would have thought he would have been a very much larger individual, since he combined two people.

When ultimately the doctor and company find a way to restore the two from the one, it’s hard to believe that the doctor can declare that this newly invented, never before tried procedure entails absolutely no risks at all. But that, of course, is to take away a valid objection to the procedure.

Tuvix, with dignity and intelligence, spoke a brilliant defense for his life. But I think Janeway was right: if we could hear them, Tuvok and Neelix would have spoken with equal eloquence for their lives as well. That the crew did not speak up for Tuvix was in my view understandable: they would have had mixed emotions, they would not have wanted to lose Tuvix, but also did not want to lose Tuvok or Neelix either. No matter what they said or did or didn’t say or do, they were in a sense betraying a friend. In a way, I think the doctor spoke the dissenting voice that the crew felt but could not utter. And it didn’t matter what the doctor said or did, because it was Janeway’s decision anyway. And from the look on her face, it looked like the decision took its toll on her, one she was likely to remember, perhaps especially anytime she partook of any of Neelix’s over-seasoned meals or received a report from Tuvok.

Many times there are stories ST tells that mirror those in the present day world. As did this one: the terrible price a commanding officer must pay for difficult decisions, decisions made with the full knowledge that their command will send good people to their certain deaths. Kudos to ST Voyager for not taking the easy out. (Never ever thought I’d say or think or type that.)

After seeing only a few Voyager episodes in the first year of its original run, I opted not to watch the series. Recently I’ve starting watching a few. And this is the first episode I’ve seen that made me question my original decision.

So I don't know what the future holds. But if neither Tuvok or Neelix ever acknowledge what happened in this episode, how sad. For Tuvix had their memories, and surely both Tuvok and Neelix shared his.

And Neelix, how stupid is he? He does all that research on Vulcans and still can’t get it through his head that his behavior toward Tuvok is obnoxious and will not win his friendship? And the relationship continues in this manner, even after this episode? Without irony, without humor, without—? If so, wow, beyond sad. But that’s the kind of show that I decided not to invest time in all those years ago, one that hits the reset button and never looks back.

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Peter G.
Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 11:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Where No Man Has Gone Before

@ Cloudane,

"Interesting in that it's very much fantasy rather than sci-fi, with the magical powers and such, laying the foundations for what would be a show that mixed the two quite a lot."

I would call this episode unequivocally a sci-fi outing. It's stated early on that the onset of powers is correlated to the ESP rating of the person struck (a matter of scientific interest to many in the 60's, both Soviet and American), and additionally, it explores a theme roughly in line with what the series would late say about the Eugenics Wars, where men who become "superior" to others run the risk of beginning to believe they're gods.

Of side interest to the setting of this ep is the barrier at the edge of the galaxy, which both here and, ironically, in ST: V, involves what seems like the suggestion that the barrier is not merely a natural phenomenon but has an intelligence behind it. Whether this means the barrier is, itself, some kind of intelligence, or maybe has properties 'like' intelligence, I don't know. Maybe it was put there by an advanced being and has traces of their energy patterns inside. Who knows.

Overall I would class this in with the Arthur C. Clarke principle of sci-fi, where things appear to be magical only because they're too advanced for us to understand. TOS, as you imply, does involve many encounters that are meant to show how primitive man still is in the 23rd century. TNG hold back on this for the most part, only occasionally presenting characters like Q and Kevin Uxbridge.
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Dark Kirk
Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 11:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Survival Instinct

If we worried too much about coincidences, there wouldn't have been a show at all. Putting the pretty ridiculous circumstances of right-time-and-right-place aside, it was well done and the Seven-Doctor dialogue at the end was great.
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Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Change of Heart

To slightly amend my last post - 'In this respect, she was always portrayed as someone who would gladly put the lives of the many before that of her own.' "Needs" is a bit too broad for the point I was trying to make.
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Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 10:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Change of Heart

Peter G, you make a good point about how Jadzia had supposedly mellowed Worf, and that this was a focus of the episode. I think my problem with Worf 2.0 is that his change was a bit forced, especially in this episode, where it felt like it had been shoehorned in because they needed to justify his actions. This was a man who had basically abandoned his first love, his brother by birth and his family name for duty and honour. In that context his Klingon values should have told him that he would dishonour her by denying her the chance to die in the line of duty. The fact that she did not do so is indeed the underlying premise of 'Shadows and Symbols.'

Re your second point, I think it depended on which and how many lives were at stake. Jadzia was usually more cavalier when it was just her life on the line, which was the case in 'Rejoined.' (And that of Lenara Kahn's, but once Lenara had made it clear she couldn't go through with it Jadzia stopped pressing the point.) When it was for a selfless cause, however, Jadzia would have had no hesitation in sacrificing herself so that many others could be saved. In this respect, she was always portrayed as someone who would put the needs of the many before that of her own. The same goes for Worf. The beginning of the episode made it abundantly clear that the Cardassian defector's information would have tipped the war in their favour and saved countless lives. Therefore I find it unbelievable that they technically bought Jadzia's life at the expense of so many others, and showed no regrets whatsoever in doing so.

For the record though I really enjoyed this episode. The Jadzia/Worf banter was hilarious and so was the snarky, doomed Cardassian. The tongo plot was fun, though I half expected the doctor to win.
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Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 10:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Where No Man Has Gone Before

Very astute analysis of the episode. I too noticed the religious overtones of Mitchel creating the garden, and then completely missed the significance of him being the one that hands the apple to Dehner. And no, I, like you, can't believe for a minute that is was unintentional.
I also find it interesting that you postulate that Mitchell may not have been a really good person from the beginning and that Dehner was, and this might have been the thing that allowed her to hold onto her humanity long enough to realize that Mitchell had to die. I had always assumed that it was simply because she was not as far along in the process as Mitchell and that eventually she would also succumb to the temptation to be amoral. We do apparently both agree that Kellerman turned in a great performance as Dehner.
In any event you had some great insights about the episode that I had never considered.
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Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Retrospect

Claudio - Your students are "almost universally appalled by it"?

If the concept of "innocent until proven guilty" appalls them, then there is something seriously wrong with your students.
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Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 7:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Enemy Within

Brilliant, a very important acknowledgement of the uncomfortable part of ourselves being actually very useful, and I think present day people could learn a lot from this.

I apologise if this is insulting or something but I think the two Kirks can be argued as similar to "the left" and "the right" - the carer/nurturer and the red blooded go getter, and rather than being at each other's throats we need each other. We're living in a time when we're pretty much Kirk vs Kirk right now.
Similar with Spock and the battles he shows between his Human and Vulcan sides.

I feel sorry for Yeoman Rand - constantly the subject of sexual harassment in I think every episode she's appeared in so far!
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Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 7:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Naked Time

Bloomin' awful, much like the TNG remake. Maybe I'm being uncharitable because I watched it after a few drinks, which normally helps this sort of thing! Perhaps a revisit sometime...
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Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 7:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Where No Man Has Gone Before

3 years later another rewatch. Not as good a pilot as The Cage, but not bad. Mitchell just has one of those "if I started hitting it, I'd not want to stop" kind of smug faces :)

Interesting in that it's very much fantasy rather than sci-fi, with the magical powers and such, laying the foundations for what would be a show that mixed the two quite a lot.

Hard to say how I'd rate it.. it does seem to hold up decently.
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Jason R.
Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Retrospect

Claudio as others noted the episode wasn't about false rape allegations, it was about false molestation allegations due to "recovered memories", a topic that was current when the episode aired in the 90s.

Don't get me wrong: the topics are related as present moral panic over rape is very similar to moral panic over molestation, just as it was for Satanic ritual abuse before it.

But if you're intent on projecting contemporary obsessions on 90s television, then I'd argue the false rape narrative is even more germane. Given the push to reverse the burden of proof for sex assault (believe women) and the hysteria trumped up by man-haters and their apologists, I'm quite pleased with the end product. We need more stories about false allegations, not fewer.
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Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 3:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Retrospect

Everyone here arguing whether Kovin may or may not have been guilty, while that's of no consequence. The problem isn't that the story as written makes no sense: it does. The problem is that they should have written a different story.

What about writing an episode where a woman's TRUE rape accusations are not taken seriously, which is not only more realistic (unreported rapes are far, far, far more frequent than false accusations) but also more in line with Voyager's ethos as a whole?

For all its great emphasis on social and political justice, the show has a truly bad track record about violence against women. (Blood Fever is another offender, though to a lesser degree than this mess of an episode).

I often use "Retrospect" in my ethics classes, and students are almost universally appalled by it.
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Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Friendship One

These people (this week's "heard-headed aliens") are really hard to sympathize with. Not even the almost-still-born baby or the supposedly cute kid move the meter in any significant way. Let's examine: you have aliens coming in and offering to help you out of a mess of your ***own*** making, a mess that you have refused to take responsibility for by concocting a weird conspiracy theory, and the best you can do is take them hostage and needlessly kill one of them when they offer you food and medical supplies? I mean screw you and your ugly-ass radiation-poisoned people.

Also, Janeway's line at the end: I guess it's time for her to retire captaining and go back to being a repressed governess, Leonardo's apprentice, or whatever the heck her fantasy life is.
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Peter G
Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Change of Heart

@ Vii,

"I thought it was pretty out of character for Worf to go back for Dax, and then for Dax to just go along with it like that. She would have been furious. "

Are you talking about the same Trill that was willing to throw her life away in order to rekindle a relationship from a previous host?

As for Worf, the fact that it's out of character is not a weakness of the episode but rather is it's point. This is not something the old Worf would have done, and we are meant to understand that he's shifted his values as of right now.
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