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- Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 10:20am (USA Central)
Fifth Season Recap
To me, Voyager's 5th season continued the very good trend that season 4 started - as Jammer said way back then: season 5 feels like season 4 part II.
I think that's a good thing. Season 4 turned Voyager into "The 7 of 9 Show" with recurring characters The Doctor and Captain Janeway - introducing Naomi Wildman. All the rest of the cast seemed like background noise.
I liked that. Now the show suddenly revolved (more or less) around 7 of 9 and her struggle with, and discovery of, becoming human (especially in terms of being an individual AND an integral part of a "collectiive" such as the crew of Voyager). The writers seemed to pour all the care into the 7 of 9 scripts that they didn't pour into scripts about other charatcers. 7 simply got a very good characterization through and through, which we hadn't seen much of on this show up until that point.
Since most of season 4 and 5 revolved around 7 of 9, we mostly see the other characters in relation to her. Sure, there are lots of episodes not centered around 7 of 9, but almost every single one of them seemed quite clearly inferior to episodes centered on (or at least heavily featuring) 7 of 9. That's my impression, anyway.
It seems that the writers all finally agreed on a favorite character to love when they created 7 of 9, and the show changed, getting a lot better in season 4 and 5 than the previous seasons (while still suffering from huge plotholes and all that jazz).
I'm hoping that season 6 will continue the trend, focusing on 7 of 9's "journey towards rediscovering her humanity" (I'm watching the show from A to Z for the first time these days).
- Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 5:17am (USA Central)
Past Tense, Part I
I have to agree with Elliot here... It's hardly up there with The Wire in its execution.
I think this is my main problem with Star Trek... I don't mind when they talk back about human's muddled past, but when they insist on SHOWING it to you in episodes like this it always feels incredibly heavy handed and somewhat contrived.
This episode was fun, but it still comes across like a cliche ridden b-film from the 80s. It's like a Robocop fuelled yuppie nightmare about their fears regarding the underclasses of our cities (as perfectly demonstrated by that idiot above, Ian).
I didn't hate this episode as I've learnt to live with the Star Trek way now and can enjoy it for what it is, but I certainly wouldn't be heralding it as a masterpiece of social commentary.
- Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 5:14am (USA Central)
The discussion in this comments section is far more entertaining than the episode or its review. Sexpun's post is quite remarkable. It is true that many of the races in Trek are portrayed as a mono-culture (even humanity when you think about it) and there could have been a lot more depth to the Vulcans, Romulans and Klingons.
I like the Cardassians, they are as a race mistrustful and hostile, but we see how their society conditions them this way and they are clearly a military society who are perhaps forced into new conquests in order to provide resources for a struggling empire.
As for the Ferengi, I love Quark, Rom and Nog, they embody different characteristics of their species and therefore I feel the Ferengi are well-handled. It's only when other Ferengi come into it behaving like cartoon characters that I would admit their race isn't brilliantly protrayed; however the Grand Nagus is always hilarious and Quark gets some of the best lines in DS9. If only the human characters had been allowed more freedom of expression.
After that rambling discourse, I am always wary of Ferengi episodes as I like stuff that is intense such as the war episodes and the galactic politics. "The House of Quark" is the best Ferengi episode I can think of, it was really funny and very well-acted, but it is not what I'd like to see every episode.
- Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 5:00am (USA Central)
"I'm going to build a Bajoran ship and sail it to Cardassia. What can I do to make this idea even more brilliant? Oh I know! I'll bring my son!" I need to watch this episode again (with reluctance, I'd rather be watching the more intense episodes), but it seems like such a silly idea. I mainly know DS9 from the later seasons so it seems weird for a Starfleet officer to fly a Bajoran ship right into the solar system of Bajor's deadliest enemy. But I guess these things will make more sense in the 24th century.
- Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 4:51am (USA Central)
The Die Is Cast
Nick P's comments hit closest for me. The music has always been a sticking point for me in early Trek, a discordant series of notes that detract from the action and do not enhance it at all. In the later seasons of DS9 and Voyager, the music became very good. Balls to Rick Berman for his stupid directives.
I think this is one of the best episodes of Trek ever. People miss the point that this story was about the Romulans and Cardassians taking matters into their own hands by flattening the Founders. If there are three species who think committing genocide is the answer to all problems, it's these three. So why isn't DS9 Star Trek? Star Trek is about bare-fist fights, phaser battles and people breaking the Prime Directive.
DS9 actually sums up Trek's supposed ethos more than the others do: the Defiant doesn't mess with primitive species, the DS9 tream don't battle every alien race they encounter and we see humans co-existing with a variety of alien species. No other Trek shows us humans who have lives beyond their uniform; every alien who sets foot aboard the E-D or Voyager is up to no good; Janeway was forced by hostile aliens to use Voyager as a battering ram through the Delta Quadrant every week.
DS9 built a rich tapestry of galactic politics; events and decisions had repercussions; characters moved on with their lives; we got recurring heroes and villains; there was little buggering about with the Prime Directive. If DS9 isn't Trek, then Trek was doing something seriously wrong.
- Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 1:45am (USA Central)
I didn't mind the premise, and I thought Janeway made a pretty good badass. There were a few incongruities that bothered me though. First, why don't their transporter buffers automatically purge themselves when a virus is detected? Isn't that the point of the buffer? Second - why do the virus's only try to impale the Captain and the Doctor? If anyone else had been impaled there would be blood everywhere, and people in the mess hall would have severe injuries. Third - why aren't there any patients in sickbay? I know deck 2 was quarantined, but why wouldn't anyone else go there? The doctor didn't have one single patient, not even Kes.
I actually liked the flashback scenes, it was more interesting than just having the doctor describe what happened. And it was good to see the doctor expanding his horizons.
- Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 1:36am (USA Central)
@Jons: The flip-side of your observation is the Star Trek creation of the "padd" 15-20 years before the iPad.
- Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 1:27am (USA Central)
Oh, just realized Fred the Jerk is Tackleberry! The aliens invaded Police Academy!
- Sun, Dec 8, 2013, 9:22pm (USA Central)
^ yeah, some of the cultural thing seem to be showstoppers. When the other Emissary came back and tried to reinstate Bajoran djarras, Sisko indicated that that would be an impediment to Federation qualifications. I would think that the Vulcan arranged marriages would be a showstopper to Federation membership too (like the djarras, it takes away free will froma fundametal life aspect), but they were founding members, so maybe they got a grandfather clause. It's possible they cut that custom loose after the Enterpeise timeframe...since I rather doubt that Sarek's marriage to Amanda was arranged in childhood.
- Sun, Dec 8, 2013, 2:33pm (USA Central)
Call me crazy, I really enjoyed this episode. I liked the idea of a sentient fluid. Although I must say I am now officially sick of Paris. Cracking a joke everytime he's dying, ugh. Drama please!
- Sun, Dec 8, 2013, 1:47pm (USA Central)
Doctor Bashir, I Presume
@William B: I agree with your general reasoning. This Bashir situation is not the worst case of non-consequential misbehavior this season. In fact, it makes sense that the one to be punished is his father, as Bashir himself was too young when the genetic enhancing happened. Similarly, not letting Bashir entry into Starfleet would of course have been unfair (but who said the opposite?). Would be sort of a prejudice.
The issue is to not have any consequence, not even a small one (in fact not even a reprimand) for his life-time lies to the Starfleet. He chose to hide an important fact from Starfleet, not to mention to conceal a crime evidence to protect his father, obliterating justice. It is quite a lot for no consequence.
- Sun, Dec 8, 2013, 12:04pm (USA Central)
I suggest doing an addendum to each review, episode by episode of how the extras are handled in TNG. Call it 'Extra Lense'. I love this show but the general direction of their behaviour and responses is preposterous. In this episode Worf primal screams on the brudge and nobody even turns to look. Classic.
- Sun, Dec 8, 2013, 1:19am (USA Central)
Elementary, Dear Data
Actually, according to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion by Larry Nemecek, it was an element of the original ending.
- Sun, Dec 8, 2013, 12:38am (USA Central)
Elementary, Dear Data
The removing of the paper from the holodeck by Data proves that Moriarty could leave the environment. I assumed this was an inconsistency, not part of a deleted plot-line.
- Sun, Dec 8, 2013, 12:26am (USA Central)
Ro Laren had been in prison for years before she was assigned to the Enterprise D. It's wholly realistic for her to have a chip on her shoulder. Her character was in part for not being a model officer that led to the deaths of crew members. In fact the evolution of her character in this single episode is bloody brilliant from beginning to end. Even the part with Geordi expressing his misgivings towards her was a subtle jumping off point for Guinan to be worked into the narrative--since she was the one Geordi was expressing his misgivings to.
And I refer you to DS9's pilot episode, "Emissary" with Kira behaving like an "ANGRY WOMAN" on steroids chewing out everyone around her and shouting every other line. Thankfully, they made her more three dimensional as the series progressed.
- Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 10:04pm (USA Central)
Flesh and Blood
I just watched this one. Enjoyed this episode a lot. Good morality play, good action, nice to see some familiar Alpha Quadrant faces, the Jem 'Hadar, the Breen, the Bajorans, etc. The scenes between the Doctor and Iden, B'Elanna and the Cardassian Kejal, were great. I really liked the scene between the Doctor and Janeway at the end.
Voyager had its problems, but it seemed to do the two part epics quite well most of the time. I agree with Jammer's review of this.
- Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 7:58pm (USA Central)
Year of Hell, Part I
The Krenim have supposedly been at this for two centuries, but it only now occurred to them to aim their weapon at the Zahl homeworld, right when Voyager is coming into the situation?
- Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 6:45pm (USA Central)
Interesting about the music and applause. I was listening to this episode on Netflix the other day (something weird I do, listen to movies on Netflix at work). The applause and music threw me, I never remembered that.
I just put the DVD I have of voyager season two and the applause and music isn't there. Wonder if somebody at netflix with a sense of humor added that
- Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 6:32pm (USA Central)
While I don't agree with Nick on the DS9 characters (which were superb), I'm gonna back him up on the Ro issue from a feminist perspective. When a bunch of male writers try and spice up a show that's low on conflict by adding a two-dimensional "ANGRY WOMAN", it's insulting and outright anti-feminist. The difference between Kira and Ro couldn't be clearer; Kira experienced trauma but is not defined by it - she's a three-dimensional character, emotionally available, and interacts with others normally and without hangups. As critic Abigail Nussbaum writes, "What I like best about Kira's strength is that it doesn't undermine her femininity or her ability to relate to others. [...] Kira is damaged, but that damage doesn't render her incapable of functioning normally, nor is it used as a justification or apology for her toughness, though both originate in the same circumstances. Neither is Kira's rage--her default reaction when she's frustrated or confronted with injustice--treated as an illness or a symptom of dysfunction. [...] All of which is to say that I like Kira because she's an adult. It's all too often the case that female characters--even the strong, kickass ones--are portrayed as girlish or immature. Kira is a grown up--in her professional conduct, in her personal relationships, in her moral behavior." By contrast, Ro as written and performed in this episode is immature, childish, petulant, completely defined by her past, and far too clear an example of male writers thinking "let's add a bitch". Thankfully, she develops more over the course of the episode - the turning point being her second discussion with Guinan and her confessional scene in Picard's ready room - but all of her scenes up to this point are far too pantomime and one-note, with Forbes playing Ro as cartoonishly hostile without reason to all around her. Add to that the poor writing, which breaks the "show, don't tell" rule: in the first half of the episode, we mostly experience Ro's abrasiveness through other characters telling us about it. Witness Riker, Worf and Geordi - a bunch of male characters - all venting off about how Ro shouldn't be on the ship or wearing the uniform. Not only does it beggar belief that one ensign would be so notorious beyond her own ship, it also seems out of character, particularly in Geordi's case. It's characters transparently acting as narrators for the audience's benefit by repeatedly telling us "Ro is bad" instead of showing us evidence.
Aside from that, pretty good episode.
- Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 6:07pm (USA Central)
I concur pretty much totally with your review. Colm Meaney is OK, Marc Alaimo steals the whole episode (no wonder they brought him back as Dukat), but Maxwell didn't really work for me, certainly not as the character was performed in this episode. His motivation for going rogue seemed insufficient and the performance was underwhelming, passionless and phoned-in. It also strained belief that Maxwell would be able to do what he did without his crew rebelling, and it thus harmed the episode that we never saw any of them. And it was awfully convenient that O'Brien was able beam over like that, plus ridiculous that Picard would allow Maxwell to retain command of his ship for the return journey after he'd just murdered 650 people. Maxwell is given far too much benefit of the doubt by O'Brien and Picard throughout the episode.
Often when TNG tried to do conflict, it came over as forced and inauthentic, and we this problem again here. A couple of O'Brien's scenes are too unsubtle and stagy, and I also didn't like how absurdly offhand Picard is with Macet at the end, even going as far as to turn his back on Macet by demonstratively rotating his chair. After everything that had just happened - a rogue Federation ship violating Cardassian space and causing massive casualties, then Picard almost letting the situation escalate even more through basic negligence and lack of discipline - it seemed totally out of character and incredibly crass for Picard to behave this way. Basically, this episode makes the Federation look like the dicks, not the Cardassians.
Also, yeah, O'Brien going from being tactical officer under Maxwell to transporter dude under Picard? What's with that? And why were they only chasing Maxwell at warp 4 for most of the way?
- Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 5:36pm (USA Central)
A Matter of Perspective
One plot hole that has always annoyed me about this episode is why nobody ever checked Riker's phaser to see if it had been fired.
- Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 2:53pm (USA Central)
Business as Usual
A nice character development for Quark, as he got one of the few serious episodes so far. Also, nice acting from the guest actors. Overall, good episode.
The only serious flaws, for me, are those that have become quite constant this season: the lack of consequence for misconduct of characters and the Federation/Starfleet looking not the Federation/Starfleet that exists in the standard Trek reality.
Not only is irritating to see, as someone recalled here, Dex playing with Quark just so fast as if he didn`t have helped killing thousands of people with the already sold weapons. It strikes me as dramatically stupid to the point of infuriating that is just that easy to Bajor (and the Federation next) to accept a guy smuggling illegal weapons in the DS9 just because he was the one who sold most of weapons for the Bajorian resistance during the occupation.
But let me put this right. Of course it is understandable that Bajor feel in debt with such smuggler and asks him not to be arrested after Odo finds out the illegal weapons dealing. It is credible. But really giving a free pass for the guy to keep negotiating the illegal weapons indefinitely in DS9? Common! So with they had kept with small business, not finding a 28million-death deal, would DS9 have become a well-known spot for illegal weapons?
This is ridiculous. And Federation accepting in easily and pacificly as with Bajor had just asked to paint the station wall with a different color, is preposterous.
- Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 12:08pm (USA Central)
I'd really like all these "he's just a computer program!" people to define what they think sentience is.
The dictionary defines is as such: "responsive to or conscious of sense impressions". Then the doctor is definitely sentient. And if it's "to be aware of one's self", then the doctor is also perfectly sentient.
The fact is, most humans don't like to be reminded they're just animals, and like animals they're "programmed" by their genes. A human will never do something that their genes don't allow them to do. Never. Just like the doctor cannot do something his programming doesn't allow him to do. What is the difference, except that we know how to modulate technology better than we know how to modulate our genes?
- Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 2:58am (USA Central)
What You Leave Behind
*Ric I meant to write
- Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 2:57am (USA Central)
What You Leave Behind
Thinking a little about what @Rif said in the "Doctor Bashir, I Presume?" thread:
I do think that Starfleet's never really punishing Sisko is a bigger problem than, say, not punishing Bashir over DBIP. Sisko is un-Roddenberryan in two major ways: the religious, nationalistic side with respect to Bajor, and the unethical, "getting his hands dirty" side with respect to things like "For the Uniform," "In the Pale Moonlight," or the "whatever it takes" to Worf in "Tacking Into the Wind." Now, Starfleet at least, or some representative of Roddenberryan philosophy like Bashir maybe, should go after Sisko on both counts, and Starfleet almost never does. Ross sometimes pushes back against Sisko on the Bajor thing, but inconsistently (and he pins a medal to him in "Tears of the Prophets," undermining the whole episode's argument as Confused Matthew pointed out), and no one ever really pushes back against Sisko on the moral stuff. The irony of course is that even if you take Starfleet out of the picture, those two should contradict each other. Sisko ending the show as a self-sacrificing messiah paints him as a saint, rather than the Complex Shades Of Grey guy. That there is no attempt to resolve the contradiction between Sisko as Space Jesus for Bajor and Sisko as poisoner of planets, perpetrator of a massive deception to trick the Romulans into a war, encourager of Worf to assassinate a Klingon head of state who is inconvenient, presents the scary possibility that the show is putting forth the argument that these types of things are the things messiah figures *should* do.
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