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- Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 7:40am (USA Central)
A very bi-polar episode that somehow manages to have both plots mirror and clash at the same time. The two stories, with some quality writing, could have been separate episodes by themselves. As it is, it's pretty good, albeit a bit rushed.
The plot concerning Seven's slow reintegration into humanity was excellently handled with fantastic performances and pitch-perfect dialogue. Right off the bat, Jeri Ryan proves a formidable addition to the cast in her ability to convey her character's obvious inner turmoil. The loss of safety and security from losing her connection to the collective is understandably a near impossible internal struggle between extreme loneliness and her emerging childhood memories. Very good stuff indeed.
The oft under utilized Kes also has some great parts concerning her final moments on Voyager. The scenes between her and Janeway were especially poignant and handled admirably. Unfortunately, this is also where the episode shows most where the dual-plotted nature hurts it. The idea of her rapidly improving psionic powers didn't bother me in the slightest. It was mentioned in "Scorpion, Part 1" and this all may have been related to the Undine's influence. But some additional screen time may have, and should have, allowed for some further explanation of what's happening plus some more interplay with others concerning her departure. However, as it is with real life, we don't always get opportunities to say goodbye to loved ones.
Bi-polar or no, it's a quality addition to the series that I seemingly enjoyed more than most on here and, behind-the-scenes politics aside, the episode works on its own merits.
- Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 6:51am (USA Central)
Shadows and Symbols
OK, no answer means their is no answer.
- Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 5:57am (USA Central)
Scorpion, Part II
Despite a couple of minor contrivances, this easily stands toe to toe with the previous episode.
I agree that Kim's recovery was a little too quick but I don't agree that the cure itself was "magical" or felt "the Doctor can cure anything". It was well-established what the cure was and what it entailed in part one. It wasn't as if he just whipped out a hypospray with a sudden announcement of a cure. As it is, though, he would've been better off staying in sickbay as his fresh-faced appearance on the bridge was nothing but a distraction. Especially as there was no point of him being in the episode. A simple acknowledgement that the cure was working and he was in recovery for a period of time would have been much better.
The Voyager being able to withstand attacks by the Undine is understandable given the nature of the situation. Having been at war with the Borg and been able to learn more about their defenses lends credibility that, at this point, the Undine would have more of an edge to say the least. Voyager, on the other hand, is a new element and therefore something new to adapt to. It may sound like I am reaching but it makes sense in my head. That being said, however, i do agree with the notion that Voyager got off a little too easy combat-wise. Although the modified torpedoes all hitting their targets in fluidic space made sense given the nature of the modifications. They were meant to disrupt the biology at a cellular level and were likely adapted to lock on to targets in the same way.
A continuation of the great dialogue from the previous episode along with some expected and some unexpected turns of plot makes this a standout Voyager two-parter. I think everything came together really well here and is very nearly as good as part one.
As an added bonus, we get Seven of Nine whom, despite the tired "VOY gets a babe" rhetoric, turns out to become one of the best characters on the series and will have potential that actually becomes utilized with some great stories and character growth.
- Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 4:17am (USA Central)
Scorpion, Part I
By far the best episode of Voyager up to this point. Every aspect of it is top-notch and completely unexpected compared to what came before. Great pacing, direction, performances, music, effects, and also some very nicely realized thought provoking moments.
I really never found any flaw with this episode. Even with Janeway's decision to make a deal with the Borg. After all, if the crew went in search of a new home it would only be a matter of time before the Undine got to them after they were done with the Borg. It's also a decision that has consequences bigger than the crew itself.
Very compelling installment thematically, dramatically, and visually. A classic in every sense of the word.
- Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 3:43am (USA Central)
Did Keiko tell Molly that Obrien wasn't her real dad? Molly is so rude to him at breakfast and I don't believe she could just tell. Colm obviously played this obrien exactly the same.
- Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 2:48am (USA Central)
Worst Case Scenario
The problem with using a plot-device (such as Holodecks Go Awry) too often in a series is it causes the few that actually work to be overlooked. Actually, in this case the holodeck didn't even malfunction. It did exactly as intended due to Seska's programming. As to the above comment, I saw no indication that the holodeck became "alive". It was simply programmed to do certain tasks under certain circumstances. Nothing more.
Ironic how the one time the holodeck actually runs smoothly it STILL translates into chaos for the crew. Can't win for trying.
Their was a lot of the writers obviously poking fun at themselves through some of the dialogue. I especially enjoyed how the logical Tuvok was standing for organic flow of character choices where the emotional Paris opted for plot twists for the sake of having them. Eventually, that is what this episode boils down to, but, in the end, comes to stand as a whole that is better than the sum of its parts.
Jammer mentioned one of my favorite scenes in perhaps all of VOY. The holographic sickbay where the Doctor tortures poor Paris and then literally throws him and Tuvok out on there ass like a bouncer on a 100 pound drunk. The scene was short, hilarious, and nothing short of perfect thanks to Picardo's dry wit and understated delivery.
Overall, it's a fun showing with a great setup and is just pure entertainment through and through. Could have the last fifteen minutes been written differently? Absolutely. However, I don't see what we did get as a negative impact. I feel almost as if the writers were speaking to us through the characters dialogue and then delivered what they intended based on those talking points. Whether they were serious with what they delivered or they were intentionally poking more fun at themselves is the mystery.
Perhaps I read too much into it. (:
- Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 1:37am (USA Central)
I liked the way the episode ended with young Rene lying under a tree gazing up at the stars, dreaming about one day commanding his own starship. The shot reminded me of the scene in Star Wars when Luke Skywalker was out in the field staring up at the two moons, dreaming of similar things.
- Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 1:06am (USA Central)
A few nice moments of dialogue and the closing scene are highlights in what is otherwise an inoffensive, pedestrian, and, frankly, boring episode. Both the Nyrians and the wayward crew are made to look inept more often than not.
Watchable, but ultimately forgettable.
Dave in NC
- Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 1:01am (USA Central)
Wow, I just watched this and it is a really good episode! In many ways, perhaps the bravest story I've seen Trek do. I could go into philosophical specifics, but sufficed to say, I think what is portrayed here may very likely be the truth. If only more people realized that, there would be a lot of re-prioritizing going on in our lives.
I can't believe I'm about to type this, but Neelix was actually compelling in this episode! Add to that some wonderful direction, innovative cinematography (for Trek) and a haunting orchestral underscore and you've got a winner here.
A **** installment for any free-thinking sci-fi fan.
Side note: by the way it was written, it was implied that Neelix's vision was a result of his subconscious trying to say what he was repressing. It would have been interesting if they'd used the same psychological microscope when it came to scripting Chakotay's spirit quests (or the one Janeway took with George Costanza's mom).
- Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 10:47pm (USA Central)
@Josh Yeah I totally agree. I had the same thought watching this episode. It also struck me as odd that B'Elanna would try to strike a hologram. I guess it sort of makes sense since it's possible for a hologram to be struck in some combat simulations...
Overall I liked this episode, some interesting ideas and good performances all around.
- Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 10:16pm (USA Central)
Wait a second...Data dismisses blowing the moon up because the thousands of fragments would "spread destruction over a wider area", but then the next moment they say that the impact destruction be "insignificant compared to the seismic repercussions, massive landquakes and tsunami", which seems to directly contradict that it would be worse to blow it up. Thousands of fragments aren't going to have little, if any, "seismic repercussions, massive landquakes, and tsunami". Both would be destructive, but by their own reckoning, blowing it up seems by far the lesser of two evils.
- Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 10:09pm (USA Central)
Absolutely incredible episode that mirrors the seemingly eternal struggle of holding illogically and stubbornly fast to tradition despite the reality of any given situation. Great direction and pacing with some of the best technical work on Voyager. Believable performances across the board by the guest cast and one of the best Chakotay scenes ever written.
The idea of Voyager running into yet another race or whatever from the Alpha Quadrant here is a complete non-issue. For one thing, Voth space is apparently vast. For another thing, Gegen and his assistant had been actively searching for Voyager at trans-warp speeds.
Also, the idea of the Voth evolving on our planet, developing space travel, and escaping before a cataclysmic event is a bit of a stretch, but not any more than anything else in sci-fi and Star Trek. I thought it to be quite a neat idea when it came down to it.
As it stands, I honestly believe this is hands down a classic.
- Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 8:59pm (USA Central)
Whatever point you're making, William B, I get it. Even anthologies can center on a theme, though obviously in the case of TOS (and Twilight Zone, which I've recently watched, as well) the theme emerged without conscious design. Roddenberry didn't set out, as far as I know, to make a show that consistently illustrated how, for instance, humans are not ready for paradise (or, in Rod Serling's case, how you can't go home again). But toss out stories that don't service that through-line, you've got a coherent package of episodes.
With Voyager, though, the premise was clear from the get-go (though Elliott might still disagree about what constitutes a "premise"). Therefore, it's immediately obvious which episodes are germane and which are time-fillers, put into production because there were no other ideas for scripts that week. It's not a matter of retroactively recognizing quality or serendipity of execution, or capitalizing on unforeseen potential. Voyager (more so than DS9) had a story from the beginning, which becomes more evident when 5/7 of its episodes are stripped away.
I'm tempted to post my list, but I don't know where. It would be lengthy and deserves much debate (as I am not uniquely qualified as curator). I considered "Eye of the Needle," since that's what inspired the list, but I dunno.
- Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 8:27pm (USA Central)
"Dammit Smithers! This isn't rocket science! It's brain surgery!" -C.M. Burns, The Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror II"
"Brain and brain! What is BRAIN?" -Kara, Star Trek episode "Spock's Brain"
"Can you PROVE it didn't happen?" -Criswell, Plan 9 From Outer Space
I actually thought I was prepared to rewatch this! I saw it once as a kid (I've seen every TOS episode at least once -- and this was *not* one of the few I'd rewatched). I remembered the tick-tick-tick of Spock slowly walking about, the episode's glacial pace once they get to the glacial planet, the endless goofy jokes which fail completely, the extreme close-up of McCoy's sweaty face when he suddenly "forgets" how to do brain surgery. And then, somehow, the episode just outdid itself with Kirk's log entry where he mentions that they have now placed priority on reconnecting Spock's vocal chords so that Spock can help with the surgery! I guess it's bizarre to find *this* more overtly ridiculous than the rest of the episode up until now, but something about that just pushed it over the edge.
I will say in the episode's defense that its anti-logic is so bizarre that it kind of loops around to dream-logic -- it has the same magnetic appeal, particularly toward the end, that an Ed Wood movie has, a kind of jolt that *this is actually happening*. The episode's various "ideas" forming the basis of the "plot" suggest some kind of dark fairy tale (or, maybe, dork fairy tale). The episode steals from ghoul body-snatcher stories (like Frankenstein), but the biggest influence seems to be the (excellent) Forbidden Planet, which according to the Wikipedia article for that film was an influence on Star Trek (it's kind of obvious that it was), which also includes a long elevator ride into a high-tech area below the surface in which there is a device that leads to radical (and dangerous) brain boosts. This episode's (presumably accidental? subconscious?) subtext is something about having to split mind and body apart, use lots and lots brain power in order to run a society that keeps the sexual energies of men and women from expression out of a futile effort to control, turning women into idiots and men into brutes and idiots...I guess? I mean, I don't even know what the hell was going on here, this episode defies rational explanation or interpretation.
0.5 stars, yeah, but wow.
- Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 8:25pm (USA Central)
First Season Recap
Damn Elliot, you rated it higher than I did. :-)
- Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 7:26pm (USA Central)
Islanded in a Stream of Stars
"It might seem expected that Galactica could be destroyed in the series' final episodes. But what seems more natural — and, paradoxically, less expected — is the notion that Galactica might die a gradual death before our eyes — one that is foreseen and gives the characters the time and forethought to put up an effort to (futilely) stop it from happening ... much like Laura Roslin the cancer patient."
I agree that the slow death of the Galactica would be an intriguing way to end it's journey. However, with all the investment plot wise into the use of living cylon material to repair the ship, and having Anders plug into the ship as a hybrid (even taking control of some of the ships functions), is too much of a giveaway as to the ship's role for the remaining episodes. It is a very transparent setup, IMO. That said, I am very excited to see how everything comes together for the finale.
Thanks for all the company during my journey through this phenomenal series, Jammer. You are awesome! Reading your reviews as a companion to each episode has certainly enriched the experience!
- Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 7:17pm (USA Central)
First Season Recap
Well, here are my totals for DS9's first season. For the record, I consider stars to equate thusly :
**** = exceptional (You have to watch this)
***.5 = excellent (Truly enjoyable to watch)
*** = good (A solid instalment)
**.5 = okay (Problems, but worth watching)
** = watchable (You won't want your hour back, but it's nothing good)
*.5 = poor (You will be annoyed)
* = terrible (Don't watch this)
.5 = horrendous (Don't watch this unless you do so ironically)
0 = worthless (Don't watch this unless someone pays you)
Rank Title Stars Score Difference from Jammer
1. Duet **** (3.83) [=]
2. The Nagus ***.5 (3.72) [+.5]
3. Dax ***.5 (3.39) [=]
4. Progress *** (3.0) [=]
5. Captive Pursuit *** (2.89) [=]
6. Vortex *** (2.755) [-.5]
7. The Forsaken **.5 (2.72) [=]
8. (tie) Past Prologue **.5 (2.525) [-.5]
8. (tie) In the Hands of the Prophets **.5 (2.525) [-1]
9. A Man Alone **.5 (2.365) [+.5]
10. Emissary ** (2.03) [-1.5]
11. Battle Lines ** (2.195) [-1]
12. Dramatis Personæ ** (1.855) [-.5]
13. The Storyteller *.5 (1.66) [-1.5]
14. The Passenger *.5 (1.62) [-1]
15. Babel *.5 (1.525) [-1]
16. Q-less * (1.025) [-1.5]
17. If Wishes Were Horses * (.78) [-1]
18. Move Along Home .5 (.685) [-2]
Average **.5 2.268 [-12]
So, overall, it was an okay season. “Dax” and “The Nagus” were two totally different standout episodes, one classic Trek, the other freshly DS9, while “Duet” will prove to be one of the best episodes in the entire franchise, in spite of its being a bottle show to make up for expensive episodes like “Emissary” and “The Storyteller.” With the exception of the Bajoran faith episodes which are rife with poorly-thought-out apologist crap (“Emissary,” “Battle Lines,” The Storyteller,” “In the Hands of the Prophets”), Jammer and I seem to concur on the good episodes. The real disparity is in the middling and poor episodes. Jammer was willing to grant generous “okay” scores to really terrible episodes like “Q-less” and “Move Along Home,” bolstering up the overall impression of the season. It was undoubtedly better than TNG's or Enterprise's first seasons, but not better than Voyager's, and certainly not better than TOS's, which remains the best first season of any Trek.
I noticed that many of the episodes, especially in the first half of the season, dropped off in quality in the last act, with rushed or contrived resolutions and really poor, upsetting characterisations (like Sisko's cowardly turn in “Captive Pursuit”). One of DS9's strength as a series, its secondary cast, is only embryonic at this point (2 appearances of Dukat, 1 of Garak, 2 of Neela, who's gone after this, and a fair few of Nog), so that will help in following seasons.
The bookeneding episodes seem to want to suggest the thematic direction for the series: politics and spirituality as they pertain to Bajor. That's all well and good, but the spiritual side of the equation is incredibly weak. It does both believers and non-believers a disservice to write such pandering wishy-washy dialogue concerning so serious a topic. The political issues fair better, but I have serious doubts about the Bajorans' ability to recover from the Occupation.
Characters (in order from best to worst):
O'Brien : In Colm Meaney's skilful hands, this character has really shone brightly this season, stepping out from his TNG supporting-rôle into a rounded character in his own right. Smart, family-oriented, loyal, brave, cunning and with a bit of an impatient streak, he's always a pleasure to have on screen.
Odo : Again, Auberjonois is a tremendous actor and his classic sci-fi character begins to fill out nicely; there's some good mystery about his origins in “Vortex” and a competent display of his skills and underlying motivations throughout the season as a keen investigator and sometimes overly diligent crime-fighter.
Quark : As your not-the-average-Ferengi, he's proved to be quite charming and noble in his own way. Several comedic bits from Shimmerman work wonders, and I submit “The Nagus” as being amongst the most under-appreciated episodes of the series. One of Trek's best comedies.
Jake : Although there's little to say about him at this point, his interactions with Ben have proved mostly quite good and I thought his friendship with Nog proved rather touching in “The Nagus.”
Kira : Two episodes saved her from being the worst character in the bunch, “Progress” and of course “Duet” which both added chasms of depth to a previously shallow and irritating character as well as showcased the better sides of Visitor's skill (which was dubious in the beginning). Unfortunately, what we see in the finale makes it seem like this change won't stick.
Bashir : There's not a lot to say about him and he's kind of a blank slate. He's smart and eager and young and horny. Not much else to add, I'm afraid. His only starring rôle, “The Passenger” did little to ingratiate the character to us.
Sisko : This blustering idiot gets a few decent moments here and there, but over all, I find the character to be a self-serving, temperamental, cowardly ass who has no business running such a strategically important post. Brooks acting is less aggravating in this season than it will prove to be later on, but it's still not what I'd call “good.” A disappointing face to the series.
Dax : In theory, she's the most “Trek” character, but aside from “Dax,” where she barely speaks and “Duet” where she acts like she should for, like the only time, she's this weird, under-acted, self-centred brat with 300 years of memories which are hardly utilised outside of Kurzon's memories of Sisko.
- Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 6:34pm (USA Central)
In the Hands of the Prophets
Teaser : ***, 5%
Keiko feigns the jealous wife bit, delivering a cute little scene with Miles (point for innuendo “be careful whom you share your Jum-Ja with”). She goes on to teach her class (about the same size as we saw it last in “The Nagus.” She's teaching them about the wormhole and its socio-political importance.
A Bajoran nun enters her room unannounced to “observe” and proceeds to interrupt her, insisting she use Bajoran mystical labels for the wormhole and the aliens who built it (“Celestial Temple” and “Prophets”). I wrote back in “Battle Lines” and “Progress” about how the Bajorans' faith is understandable given their history during the Occupation. One can appreciate the comfort it offers to a brutalised people. Understanding this however, does not excuse it. Just as we saw in “Duet,” understanding the Bajoran need for vengeance and hatred is also not an excuse for that behaviour. And here to remind us why is Louis Fletcher, AKA Vedek Bitchwhore.
Showing amazing restraint, Keiko acknowledges the Bajoran faith without negating it or embarrassing the Vedek. Bitchwhore continues to press and actually uses a Bajoran child as a kind of debate shield, holding his arm in that patronising, precious, holier-than-thou way while grinning through her teeth. Maintaining commendable composure (although, I think some anger is more than warranted, Mrs O'Brien), she suggests discussing the matter outside of the classroom. Ignoring her, Bitchwhore flat out asks her if she's accept the Prophets into her heart as her personal Lords and Saviours. Uck. Like all fundamentalists, Bitchwhore resorts to accusing Keiko of “blasphemy” and vows to shut down her school.
Although the substance of this scene is not sitting well, dramatically, this is well-focused and introduces a recurring villain with a credible charisma.
Act 1 : *, 17%
O'Brien and Neela demonstrate some cross-cultural comradeship and O'Brien notes that he's missing a tool, which is unusual for the usually meticulous tinkerer.
Meanwhile, Keiko meets with Sisko, who describes Bitchwhore's attitude as “inevitable.” Really? I don't recall you giving such a warning in “A Man Alone,” commander. He then goes on to lament the lack of “common ground” necessary to admit Bajor into the Federation. Huh? Common ground? We have always seen alien worlds eager and anxious to join the Federation (except for those that don't want to of course). The Federation has never attempted to realign or re-message itself in order to appeal to reluctant potential members. If the Bajorans don't want to give up their religious beliefs and allow their culture to evolve (one would think this would take a hell of a lot longer than the few months since you got here, Sisko), then they can remain independent.
Kira enters the conversation to undo the goodwill she built up in “Progress” and “Duet,” telling Keiko in that condescending know-it-all tone that betrays a singular close-mindedness that her curriculum should be “revised.” The director or someone has decided to stage this scene with Keiko showing hostility and anger while Kira keeps her calm and composure, thus artificially propping up Kira's more-or-less unjustifiable position as somehow reasonable, while making Keiko look hysterical just for adhering to the principle that a school is not the place to prosthelytise children into believing in magic. Kira suggests segregating the school (“a lot of Bajoran and Federation interests are separate”). Thanks, John Howard Ferguson.
And cue the strawman :
KEIKO : “I'm not teaching any philosophy!...”
KIRA : “Some would say teaching pure science without a spiritual context IS a philosophy, Mrs O'Brien.” [read with dripping condescension].
“Philosophy” is not the issue here; “agenda” is. Keiko's philosophy is to present ideas without a social or political bias, which in not way conflicts with Bajoran spirituality (if it did, then how could Neela work for O'Brien?). What Bitchwhore and Kira are suggesting is that science (and other disciplines) be taught with an *agenda* that promotes faith in the Prophets rather than leaving spiritual matters open for other contexts. If the writers had been honest, they would have put words to that effect in someone's mouth (Keiko, Sisko?), but no, we get more one-sided, pro-credulity, anti-Roddenberry bullshit in its stead.
Sisko has a chat with Bitchwhore in the Bajoran temple (we know it's a temple because there are candles and incense, duh). Let's flash back to “Who Watches the Watchers” and Picard's attitude towards being deified by the Mentakans, as Sisko has been deified by the Bajorans. In that episode, Picard was certainly horrified at the prospect of being a god, and expressed outrage in the company of his crew and the palaeontologist, but to the Mentakans themselves he was kind, but firm in his insistence that they not worship him. He did everything in his power to change that perception of himself including risk his own life. Compare that to Sisko's tepid “I wish you wouldn't call me that.” Grow a pair, Commander!
Opaka once commented to Bitchwhore, “One should never look into the eyes of one's own gods.” Okay, why not? What is the theological justification for this? From an in-Universe perspective, the “gods” have no trouble mucking around with people and covering Sisko in their cream of mushroom soup, or shipping Dax off in an hourglass. I'll tell you where this bullshit comes from; in real religions, this is a deflectionary tactic commonly used to explain the disparity between the apparently conversational and physically present deities in holy books and the absence of such presence in contemporary life. Oh, no it isn't that the people who wrote these books imagined these things or made them up, it's that *you* want to see them too badly! How dare you want things! Go say a prayer! And no masturbating!
Bitchwhore is nothing if unsympathetic, but her desire to see her own flipping gods should not be considered evidence to poor character. On the contrary, one should wish to see evidence for the things one believes in.
Wait a minute, Bitchwhore just said she had never seen nor spoken to the prophets, yet she claims that they “spoke to her through the Orbs” about her mission to disrupt Keiko's school. This isn't even a philosophical question of faith, but which the fuck is it? Have you spoken to them or not?
To me, Bitchwhore is portrayed rather complexly—her political ambition and dormant ruthlessness is apparent, but her skeptical and inquisitive mind are GOOD things. But the episode takes the side of baseless credulity, and thus she's “a bad guy.” She claims not to take responsibility for anything tragic which “might” happen to Keiko's school, because, you know, God did it.
Act 2 : ***, 17%
Meanwhile, O'Brien and Neela are on the hunt for his missing tool which is apparently some sort of skeleton key to every critical system on the station. Geez. Dax reports that an ensign is missing, while O'Brien and Neela discover an errant titanium signature which turns out to be O'Brien's missing tool and some “cooked” organic material. Uh-oh.
So, the O'Briens take a stroll for some Jum-ja sticks discussing the poor ensign's “accident” and the Bajoran merchant reveals that patented Bajoran idiocy last seen in “The Storyteller,” refusing to sell to the blasphemer or her husband. Odo gets the best line to the assbagging “Seek the prophets” the merchant calls out after them saying, “Seek them yourself.”
Bitchwhore has called forth a mob in front of her school, where she pulls a Mommy Dearest pointing to Keiko's holding to her convictions as unreasonable anti-faith stubbornness.
Keiko, in turn, becomes my hero in the line “I'm a teacher. My responsibility is to expose my students to knowledge, not hide it from them.” You go, girl. And like lemmings, ALL the Bajoran parents and their children leave the school en masse. Good riddance, I say.
Act 3 : **, 17%
The Ensign's odd accident points to evidence that something is amiss, and O'Brien suggests his death may not have been an accident at all. Jake arrives in Ops, for I think the first time. Keiko, ever my hero, taught the remaining students about Galileo and humanity's own troubled past in wriggling its way out from under the thumb of religion. With a beautiful simplicity, Jake notes the similarity between that case and the current drama between Keiko and Bitchwhore (if not for the massive bias the episode has against skeptical disbelief, I would point out that it's a bit presumptuous for Keiko to martyr herself this way). Jake points out that the whole thing is “dumb.”
SISKO : “No it's not. You've got to realise something, Jake. For over 50 years, the one thing that allowed the Bajorans to survive the Cardassian Occupation was their faith. The prophets were their only source of hope and courage.”
Granted, commander, but that doesn't change the fact the Bitchwhore's tirade against Keiko is fucking stupid. Well, actually, her motivations are laid bare later on and aren't so much stupid as manipulative, but what allows her manipulation to work is Bajoran stupidity, isn't it?
Sisko tries to cover his apologist ass by pointing out the the Prophets can see the future. First of all, writers, a prophet does not predict the future, that's an oracle. A prophet proclaims what is happening right now and how it fits a divine plan. Second of all, if that's all it takes to be considered a god, you'd better starting nailing statues of John de Lancie to wooden crosses right now.
“It may not be what you believe, but that doesn't make it wrong.” So, are we claiming that Galileo's issue was that he had a different belief from the church authorities? That it was a matter of interpretation that the earth revolves around the sun? Great lesson, there!
“If you start to act that way, you'll be just like Vedek Winn, only from the other side.” That is the other deflectionary tactic that is often employed; all ideas are equally valid, therefore defending one or promoting one or deriding others is automatically wrong. Don't stop to think, folks, just drink the feel-good Koolaid. Kumbayah....
Sisko travels to Bajor (which looks surprisingly pristine for having been occupied so recently) to meet with a Vedek from a rival, less right-wing order of Wormholism, or whatever the Bajoran faith is called. We are introduced to Barail, who is supposed to allegorise the understanding, progressive spiritual leader. As someone who has several priests as close friends, let me be the first to say, that they certainly do exist. They are in fact the only tolerable form of religious people I have encountered, those who have enough *actual* faith in their beliefs not to feel pressed to force others to think as they do. In spite of this, they have to build Barail up as the most clichéd anti-Winn possible—all he wants is to plant flowers! He has absolutely *no* ambition and thus is the perfect candidate for Kai to challenge Bitchwhore. Luckily, they do rectify this sugary nonsense by revealing his political ambition preventing him from befriending Sisko. He does get this very honest line, however, “Oh, we're all very good at conjuring up enough fear to justify whatever we want to do.”
Bajoran idiocy is further demonstrated when Sisko returns to the station to find many of those officers absent from their posts, feigning illness. As much crap as I give Sisko, I have to empathise with him here; after all the Federation has done to help Bajor, including discovering their damned temple, rebuilding their world, protecting their borders and all while offering friendship and community, the first troublemaker to show up and start banging her bible has nearly all the Bajorans on DS9 cowering away from Sisko and his team.
And, it turns out Ensign hotpocket was killed by a phaser before being deposited in the conduit where O'Brien and Neela found him. Shocker.
Act 4 : ***.5, 17%
Odo reveals that Ensign hotpocket was murdered in a runabout the night before he was discovered in the conduit (Notice Kira has regressed to her ornery self-righteous self, interrupting Bashir and jumping to conclusions). In said runabout, O'Brien and Neela have a nice little scene which makes me wish they had been given a little more screentime. She's wonderfully disarming and sweet, while alluding to Starfleet-Bajoran tensions that have never been shown up to this point (psst, that's an historical revision, or retcon if you prefer).
Odo questions Quark about hotpocket's murder to little avail, and O'Brien shows up to offer some additional evidence; a piece of technology which points to a possible motivation to the killer's plan. In a thrilling moment, Keiko's school blows up right in the middle of the day, and poor O'Brien desperately screams for his wife. Luckily, she's fine, but imagine the impact of the tragedy if they had actually killed her. It's a visceral scene and quite powerful.
Act 5 : ***, 17%
Bitchwhore shows up at the site of the school and Sisko accuses her of motivating the terrorism against the school and she in turn accuses Sisko of conspiring to destroy the Bajoran people.
WINN : “You and your Federation live in Universe of darkness, and you would drag us in there with you.”
Oh, yeah. So much darkness, where we don't want for food or shelter, where we pursue careers that better ourselves and, oh yeah, are the reason you and your people aren't toiling away in mines or being raped by Cardassians!
Sisko's actual response is more diplomatic and is followed by Bitchwhore giving Neela a covert signal. Uh-oh.
Barail arrives unexpectedly in light of the explosion. He's obviously seen a political opportunity in befriending Sisko in light of the terrorism. Neela goes to Bitchwhore noting that O'Brien's and Odo's discovery will prevent her escape after she does whatever it is she's been asked to do. Bitchwhore responds that her 72 virgins will be waiting for her.
Meanwhile, O'Brien and Dax discover an anomalous programme which they begin to decode and Barail steps onto the promenade to adoring, um, fans, I guess. As the Smart People work to discover the secret, Barail pulls his own diplomatic overture, offering to resolve the differences between Bitchwhore and the Federations. O'Brien is winded when he discovers that Neela is the culprit. He warns Sisko who, in a bit of hammy slow-motion (complete with “Nooooooo!!!!”), throws himself over Neela, preventing her from assassinating Barail.
Kira and Sisko have a reasonable scene where they reconcile somewhat “I don't think you're the devil.” Gee, thanks, Major.
Episode as Functionary : **.5, 10%
The really shoddy strawman nonsense in the first few acts gives way to an action-mystery plot and a decent appraisal of the Bajoran-Federation alliance at this point. The O'Briens save a lot of face for this episode, offering smart dialogue and some strong characterisations. Sisko is all over the map, spouting stupid new-age crap on the one hand and smart political speech on the other. Kira is regressed about half a season. Bitchwhore proves to be a fun villain, but the episode completely drops its faith arguments in lieu of the action stuff. It's a mixed bag, for sure, but an okay end to the season.
Final Score : **.5
- Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 6:06pm (USA Central)
One of my favorite episodes of ANY Trek ever.
I loved the concept of seeing things through the Junior Officers eyes, so simple, yet never been done before. This give a real "life" to the Trek universe, that there is so much happening on a Starship we don't see.
How cool would it be to see (or even hear mentioned) one of the Characters again someday? Can you imagine a line of dialogue like "Captain Worf, Captain Navelle of the Archangel is hailing us" A man can dream.
- Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 5:59pm (USA Central)
Worf's brother is ok, but other than that this was a painful episode. I had the same thought that Kevin had a year ago. After Picard gave his little speech, I would have loved it if Q appeared and reminded Picard about that whole "superior morality" thing from True Q. This is about the most disgusted I have been with Picard's actions since season 1.
If the Prime Directive exists because you don't want to harm a society's development, then so be it. Whether or not I agree with that idea, at least it's a consistent philosophy. But I'm pretty sure planetary extinction rates as a greater harm than any meddling might do. So to stand there and say it's honorable to sit back and watch a intelligent species undergo extinction is just bizarre. So if a society doesn't have exactly enough technology, it's not worth saving? We've seen Picard et al do everything they can to save more technologically advanced species, so why are they more special than this primitive one?
If tomorrow we discovered that the Sun is dying, and we blasted a message into space begging any aliens to help us, would we be ok if an alien race looked at it and ignored it? Or if you think that we're technologically advanced enough to merit help under the Prime Directive, what if it happened 100 years ago?
What if instead of the crystalline entity being destroyed, it had made contact with Picard, and declared that from now on it would only eat planets with primitive societies on them. Would Picard have happily let it go to produce dozens of genocides just because the Prime Directive said so?
But besides the ethical issue, there are a lot of things to swallow here. So we are to believe Nikolai can hack into the computers and use the transporters without anyone noticing? So we are to believe that no one will notice his son doesn't look like the rest of the aliens? So this village of what looks like 20 people is enough to produce a stable gene pool? (I would have assumed Nikolai would want the aliens saved permanently). So after telling us the importance of maintaining these history scrolls for generations, they just up and give it to Worf? So none of the aliens feel the transporter beam?
And the subplot of the kid leaving the holodeck was just boring. We've seen similar things before, in Who Watches, First Contact, Pen Pals, and so forth. Did we need to see another person frightened of all the amazing technology? I found it hard to feel his suicide as a tragedy (wait, he was just randomly carrying a suicide pill with him?) when I didn't care about it in the first place.
And I guess that's the key takeaway here. Perhaps I'd be more forgiving of the episode if I cared for its central idea, or if I cared about the characters, but I didn't. The aliens were bland, the main characters were weak, and the idea frustrating. So good riddance to the whole thing.
- Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 5:57pm (USA Central)
People are saying that the Treaty is one-sided, that the Federation gave up too much, etc. But how do you know? We don't know the full treaty, nor do we know what caused it to come into place (at least from my understanding). All we know is that it has limitations on what the Federation can do, but no information on what limitations are on Romulus.
I read an interesting theory that I like due to its simplicity: the treaty was signed in response to the Genesis project. After discovering that the Federation had, in the name of scientific progress, created a weapon of mass destruction, one can understand why Romulans would be nervous. Mutually assured destruction worked between the US and the USSR because both sides had nukes ready to go at all times, and neither side could ensure that they could prevent a retaliatory attack. But if the Federation had cloaked Genesis devices hidden throughout the Romulan empire? They could wipe them out in 5 minutes. Even better, instead of leaving a huge chunk of the galaxy barren, the destroyed planets would be ripe for colonization. With relative parity between the Romulan and Federation fleet, the Federation could prevent the remains of the Romulan fleet from launching suicide missions on Earth and Vulcan and the like.
How would the Klingons, Cardassians (depending on if the Fed knew of them yet), Tholians, etc react to the Genesis device? Would they try to build their own? Or another planet-busting device? Perhaps that is what the treaty is about. The Federation, as the only group with such a devastating weapon, would be prohibited from building a cloaking device to prevent it from being used on Romulus. Likewise, Romulans and Klingons and the like would be prohibited from creating their own planet destroyers (presumably there is sufficient technology to stop conventional weapons from destroying a planet). And thus, the peace is maintained.
Or maybe its something else. Whatever it is, it's hard to judge the treaty when we know nothing about it.
As for the episode itself, its probably the best of Season 7 outside AGT. Normally I don't like the sudden event from a character's past that we never heard about but that is a huge event in their life, since it tends to be rather contrived. But it makes sense in this case. Of course Riker would never talk about it and would try to forget about it. And it does seem to have changed his way of thinking, of being willing to defy orders if he believes himself to be right. Perhaps even his initial rush to command was due in part to this sort of thing, so that he doesn't have to worry as much about being stuck in a similar situation. And maybe that is partially why he slowed down on the Enterprise, as he recognized that he wouldn't have to make such a decision with someone like Picard. Maybe that's why he became comfortable.
But whatever the case, the interplay between Picard, Riker, and Pressman was a lot of fun to watch. Pressman had enough charisma that you can imagine a young Riker being completely taken by him. Picard being forced out of the inner circle was great, and seeing him fume was fun to watch. And Riker being torn between his loyalty to Picard and being forced to follow the orders of his admiral, not to mention wrestling with his conscience. Even if the sickbay scene was too unsubtle, it did show Riker being angry and feeling helpless, which I imagine is exactly right.
The dressing down Picard gave Riker in his room was absolutely chilling. It wasn't entirely fair for Picard, but I think he knew what effect it would have on Riker. That Picard suspected something was up way back when is natural, that Picard suspected Riker would put the Enterprise in danger was a bit too much to expect. However, by pretending to suspect that, he may have pushed Riker into the position of finally coming clean about what happened. That dressing down had to have been devastating to Riker. I'm surprised he didn't tell Picard off right there, but he was probably to shocked to say anything. Either way, it was a great scene.
And seeing Riker go along with everything until the last moment was good to see as well. Like he said, he had the luxury of time. He probably suspected he was ending his career one way or the other, and thus was naturally putting this off as long as possible. Unfortunately for him, the cloak was still there.
Meanwhile, the Romulan side plot was pretty fun. About the only disappointment was that it wasn't Tomalak in the warbird. So while the actor was fairly low-key in his presentation, the lines themselves were done. It was nice to see the blatant lying (that was such a big part of The Enemy) resurfacing once again. Even though it wasn't the focus of the story, the chessgame between Picard and the Romulans was good to see.
- Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 5:55pm (USA Central)
Star Trek: Generations
Of all the things I remember about this movie, I recall that it is pretty fun right up to (and including) the destruction of Enterprise D. After that, it is plain boring.
- Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 5:38pm (USA Central)
What You Leave Behind
Jammer: “Well, if there's one thing Weyoun and the Dominion haven't learned, it's that their attitude of absolute totalitarian control over such "Dominion puppets" isn't as easy in the Alpha Quadrant as it may have been in the Gamma Quadrant.”
It’s only not “as easy in the Alpha Quadrant” because their gamma quadrant “help” can’t help. The AQ would have been crushed if 2500 dominion ships as associated troops flooded through the wormhole. It wasn’t their plan; it ended up being a lack of resources.
Jammer: “There's a well-conceived but not well-executed gallows humor scene where Our Resistance Fighters laugh at the prospect of their suicide mission not even having the capability to get off the ground, let alone end in a blaze of glory.”
I thought Garak’s line here was outstanding! “Isn't it obvious? Here we are, ready to storm the castle, willing to sacrifice our lives in a noble effort to slay the Dominion beast in its lair and we can't even get inside the gate.” Then Kira seeing the irony… losing it… then all the others joining in. Only Garak could have delivered that line successfully.
The space battle was visually pretty good, but kind of unsatisfying I thought. One of the best parts was:
“EZRI: They've switched sides.
Star Trek reuses everything so reusing battle footage is no surprise.
Not sure why the writers thought they had to kill off Damar. His turn for the better I thought was a great character bit in DS9. Maybe they thought that he was stupid enough to follow Dukat, maybe he isn’t the right guy to start a new Cardassia.
Martok, Sisko, Ross toast. Not sure how to read this one. Martok wants to drink to the victory over the Dominion and the end of the war, not to all the Cardassian’s under their feet. I felt this was kind of…. Well pretty poor taste and the writers forcing something down our throats. You know, this whole war thing wasn’t very “trek”, so we have to give something to those fans…
Once they get into the DOM HQ, Garak’s description of Cardassia to Bashir and his people was amazing. “I’m going to miss our lunches together” beckons back to early DS9 as did “Please, Doctor. Spare me your insufferable Federation optimism”. Nice touch there I thought.
Then Sisko and Worf foresee what’s going to happen if the Founder doesn’t order the Dominion forces to cease and desist. They send Odo down to “talk with her”. Odo cures her and she makes the only decision she can to save her race, she surrenders and agrees to trial. Fitting I thought. (section 31 did win the war it seems) I thought the Founder signing the treaty and Ross reading from MacArthur’s historic speech on the Missouri.
The Dukat and Winn “thing”. I was OK with Winn turning the table on Dukat and poisoning him. But it was also fitting that the Paghwraiths chose Dukat over Winn. Poor Winn, no one wants her. Remember the prophets chose Kira over her earlier.
I liked them all meeting in Vic’s and I liked the toast, but then Sisko tells Kassidy he understands and has to go. Then everything just goes to hell in a hand basket. Sisko arrives in the Caves, Dukat is possessed by the Paghwraiths, he does some verbal jousting with Sisko, he kills Winn, then Sisko just pushes him over the cliff, the book and Dukat burn and Sisko is saved by the prophets.
I think that is just a steaming pile of crap. I was fine with Sisko interacting and being influenced by the wormhole aliens throughout the show for the most part, but because Ira Steven “I wear my sunglasses at night” Behr wants to make Sisko a “GOD” we get this shit.
How about this. Everything happens the way it did until the battle between Dukat and Sisko. How about the wormhole aliens “inhabit” Sisko and we get the “final battle” that got cut short in ‘The Reckoning’? Now the players are Sisko & Dukat we get some great eyeball lightning stuff and Sisko/prophets win, Dukat/PW’s loose. Sisko stands up, gazes over a burnt dead Dukat corpse, picks up the book and tosses it into the flames. Poof, the book is engulfed in flames and once the book (Kosst Amojan) is gone, so are all the flames. Bajor enters the “Golden Age”. CAPTAIN Sisko returns to DS9 and his family. The “Emissary” is no longer needed. KIA’s and Vedeks are no longer needed, so Bajor gets past itself and enters the Federation. Sisko’s mission is complete.
Make’s sense to me, much better that the turd we got.
While the montages were moving. The Worf one was blood boiling. No Jadzia? Are they CRAZY?!?!? I know all the “excuses” and I don’t buy one of them. She left a year prior to this, I can’t think of one reason this trivial shit couldn’t have been worked out. This smells to me like “she chose to leave so…”
Odo going back was the right thing. Kira let him go once before, so I have no problem with her supporting him here. When he popped on the tux for her I choked up. While I’m not a huge fan of their romantic relationship I always thought their “moments” were real.
It’s soooooooooo bad that Jake couldn’t say goodbye or anything to his father. What were they thinking?
The Bashir/Obrien snippets were good, but missing Bashir/Jadzia clips was a detriment.
Jake/Nog moments were moving to me. Remembering Jake as that little kid was touching.
I thought this was a unique closer as we see heroes like O’Brien and Worf moving on to do other things. (who is going to fix DS9? Rom is the Negus now… lol)
Kira was the logical one to take over the station. One wonders of the Federation will last there.
Sisko living with the wormhole aliens…. Well, you already know what I think about that tripe.
The series ending with Jake and Kira in the window looking out brought a tear to my eye. The series I enjoyed so much was coming to an end and Jake is wondering if he’ll ever see his father again. Very moving.
I can’t give this more than 3 stars. They killed it with the Sisko/Dukat thing. They could have done so much better. I’ll blab more in the S7 summary.
Jammer, I have really enjoyed reading all your reviews. This is the first series I have read each one of them. I think you are incredibly talented and to not have you reviewing something here is a shame and a loss for us all.
- Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 5:33pm (USA Central)
The Siege of AR-558
This is where ST really started to tank...
The same pro-military, anti-trek issues dogging this ep as did on much of ENT.
Nog has been completely brainwashed by military dogma. And everyone is ok with it? (Except Quark to some extension)
Did he have his mind completely wiped by some wicked starfleet computer system? He doesn't even act like a ferengi anymore at all, more the opposite. The character is so changed now the ferengi makeup has become an annoyance. Parrallel to the real world as of now, Starfleet has made Nog the perfect suicidebomber/kamikazepilot/nazi soldier. But hey, in the new Trek, military brainwashing is fine!
- Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 4:38pm (USA Central)
Daybreak, Part 2
Nice to see I'm not alone Kahryl.
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