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Luke - Sun, Aug 2, 2015, 1:07pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: Unification

Oh, also, here's some general nitpicks I noticed....

Why the hell do Picard and Data change back into their Starfleet uniforms on the Klingon ship after they've met up with Spock. It wouldn't be so bad if they didn't then transport back to the surface of Romulus (the capital city no less) while still wearing them! That's like a Russian spy, at the height of the Cold War, going on an undercover mission in Washington D.C. and still wearing his Soviet military uniform. Why to really blend in there, guys!

Two thousand troops on the Vulcan ships?! Only 2,000?! They were going to invade, occupy and conquer the entire planet Vulcan with only 2,000 troops?! Even with the Warbird accompanying them, I find that a little hard to believe. This had to be a misprint in the script or something. Damn, Revolutionary War armies were bigger than that!
Luke - Sun, Aug 2, 2015, 1:00pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: Unification

Okay, I got to admit, "Unification" in its entirety, and when broken into its two component episodes, has always left me rather underwhelmed. I'm the guy who LOVES political intrigue and world-building, so I should adore these ones, right? Well, sorry to say, but I don't. There's a lot good stuff going on, but it's all ultimately dragged down by some major missteps.


The problem with this first part is that it feels like it's almost nothing but padding. I don't often say this, but this two parter could really have benefited from being collapsed into a single episode. Usually I'm the one who calls for stories to be spread out over even more episodes, but this one really feels bloated. Almost all of the good stuff is in Part II. The only legitimately good scenes in Part I are the ones with Sarek and Perrin.

Just ask yourself - "was there any point to the junkyard administrator sub-plot?" or "what was the point of the whole 'Gowron won't answer us' idea?" or "did we really need all the stuff on the Klingon ship?" All three of these sub-plots are only there to fill out time. We could have went straight from the briefing with the Fleet Admiral to the meetings with Perrin and Sarek to the arrival on Romulus with Klingon help and had a much more efficient and smoothly flowing story. Though, I will give the episode credit for showing life on a Klingon ship much more effectively than "A Matter of Honor" ever did - at least the Captain wasn't a complete moron.

In the end, the episode feels like nothing more than a massive set-up for the final reveal of Spock. And that's the episode's really fatal flaw - Spock not showing up until the closing five seconds. The number one draw for this episode was the chance to see Spock back in action on TNG. And we have to wait until literally the end of the episode to even lay eyes on him?! If any TOS fans who weren't fans of TNG were watching this back in 1991 hoping to see if TNG was worth their time, I wouldn't be surprised if they were rather pissed off about this. It almost ends up being a waste of time.

The only thing that keeps this one above-average is Mark Lenard's wonderful final performance as Sarek.



I'll disagree with Jammer and say that Part II is easily the better episode, but it still has massive problems.

First the good. Obviously the biggest point in this episode's favor is Leonard Nimoy himself. I love the fact that Spock just up and decides to take matters into his own hands because he knows that he alone could do a better job than all of Starfleet's and the Federation's bureaucrats combined. Cowboy diplomacy at its finest! And, of course, Nimoy shines in the role, as he always does. And we're treated to much less padding this time. Even the storyline on the Enterprise doesn't feel unnecessary anymore. Maybe the bar scenes with the fat Ferengi were a little trite, but at least they added in some good humor and actually helped advance the story. And, finally, there's the world-building. I love that they took the time to develop Romulan society and the Romulan underground at the same time. We also get to meet the head of the Romulan government, which is always a plus in my book. Seriously, besides Gowron, how often do we see the leaders of the Alpha Quadrant superpowers? We almost never even see the President of the Federation for crying out loud!

So, what ultimately harms "Unification Part II"? Well, I hate to say it, but it's Sela. Again, I'll disagree with Jammer and say that I liked how the story was resolved. I just don't understand why Sela, of all characters, was brought into this story. What the hell were the powers-that-be thinking with this woman?! Sela is, too borrow Spock's favorite word, a fascinating character. She just needed to be used properly. In my opinion, Sela is one of Trek's greatest missed opportunities. She had the potential to be a wonderful recurring character/villain. But, instead of actually giving her the development she needed, they instead chose to throw her into stories haphazardly and then drop her like a bad potato. First, they injected her into what was essentially a Worf story. Then they injected her into what was essentially a Spock story. Why did they keep doing this? Why? Why?! GOD-DAMMIT, WHY?!! I mean, shit, her entire appearance here doesn't even revolve around her story in any way, shape or form. This role could have been filled by any random Romulan. In fact, it would have been infinitely better if it had been Tomalak. Then, the story wouldn't have been burdened by the viewers (especially me) wanting to spend time on her backstory instead of the Spock story we were watching.

And, just as a nitpick, exactly how old is Sela supposed to be? Denise Crosby was in her early-to-mid thirties when she played the role. However, the character Sela can't be any more than 22 (possibly 23) years old. How has she not only achieved the rank of Commander (making her Picard's equivalent in rank) but also managed to be placed in charge of toppling the Klingon government in a coup and then overseeing the invasion and conquest of a founding member planet of the Federation? Either she's an absolute military genius of the highest possible order or her Romulan general father was extraordinarily influential.

It is such a shame that this is Sela's final appearance. The character definitely deserved at least one episode devoted to her. Does anybody out there know if she appears in any novels (I don't have much knowledge of the Expanded Trek Universe) because if she does, I would definitely be interested in reading them!

So, in the final analysis, you know what the quintessentially defining feature of "Unification" is? It's the fact that here we have Spock on "The Next Generation" and I'm much more focused on Sela. That, I think, alone shows what's wrong with this episode.

Steve - Sun, Aug 2, 2015, 9:12am (USA Central)
Re: Trek's Musical Problems

I don't ENT music is much better. Louder and more noticeable yes, but it still wasn't good. Especially not the action music. Completely and utterly predictable and repetitive. At some point it just got annoying. Especially since the show overused action resolutions and often had unnecessary space battles.

Individiually, TNG, DS9 and VOY still managed to break out of the mediocrity now and then though. DS9 has for example "The Visitor", "The Ascent", "The Siege of AR-558" which really excellent scores. And there are some nice small pieces here and there that are great like in "Children of Time", "Field of Fire", "One Little Ship", "In the Cards" or "Badda-Bing Badda-Bang". Another thing I love is the use of 'The Minstrel Boy" in the finale when O'Brien picks up the soldier figurine, harkening back to the TNG episode.

Or as mention VOY's "Night". Or the use of classical music in "Counterpoint". "Scorpion" also has a great score overall.

It's just all too little and too rare in the grand scheme of things. Maybe that's why those even stand out so much.
Steve - Sun, Aug 2, 2015, 8:08am (USA Central)
Re: ENT S2: Marauders

There is another glaring idiocy in this episode: deuterium mining. In the desert!

The writers obviously had no clue that deuterium is heavy hydrogen. They thought of it as starship fuel, so they treated it like oil. *headdesk*

On Earth, heavy water (deuterium oxide) is produced by the distillation (or a similar process) of sea water, which can then by separated into deuterium and oxygen.
Deuterium is also a gas then. In space, another source might be a gas giant.

I suppose you can handwave it away by saying that they found some underground deposit of heavy water or gaseous deuterium. But that's not how it was portrayed as. Instead the liquid (!) deuterium somehow came out of the ground. Like oil.
Yanks - Sun, Aug 2, 2015, 6:59am (USA Central)
Re: ENT S3: Zero Hour

John G,

I was fuming when our heros didn't get home and less than enthusiastic when they ended up in an alien infested WWII as well.

But don't cheat yourself, Season 4 is certainly worth your time and even the WWII episodes are pretty good. (the best WWII eps in trek)
Taylor - Sun, Aug 2, 2015, 3:07am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S1: Symbiosis

Ahh, TNG's Just Say No episode. So in the 24th century, Romulan Ale is in but any other drug is still out. Suspiciously like the USA of our time, although that is changing as I write this.

Something tells me this hypocrisy will be long buried by the 24th century, however drugs - including alcohol - are viewed by then.
Taylor - Sun, Aug 2, 2015, 2:33am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S1: The Arsenal of Freedom

I like the episode, although both of thackerzod's points are spot-on.

Also, Troi accosts Geordi with her typically useless sh-t at the worst possible moment. Yes, it's a minor footnote in this particular episode - but it just reminds me that when the series was in its first run, Trekkers loved bitching about Wesley. But watching the re-runs, I'm far more irritated by Troi. Her character is just useless.
Matias - Sun, Aug 2, 2015, 12:40am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Rascals

What a garbage episode.
Ryan - Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 11:28pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S6: Spirit Folk

The layed an egg and told you it was hardboiled. You smelt it and discovered they have really laid out a turd. Kudos. But me thinks you were too hard on the turd. There's a cow in it. And I think Michael wears suspenders. It's a lot better than "Threshold" too. I wouldn't eat a turd either, but I might at least offer it to someone else. If they were really hungry I mean.
Pat - Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 11:01pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

DS9's biggest weakness was always Avery Brooks. Scenes between him and Kassidy or Jake, when he lets out that little giggle of his, are near unwatchable. So the fact that his arc is the least satisfying isn't at all surprising. But this episode is still able to be great because the other actors do such terrific jobs. As usual, Andrew Robinson is a cut above the rest as Garak. He way always able to convey so much while saying so little, which is difficult for any actor, let alone one in pounds of makeup and prosthetics on his face. 4 outta 4 stars
Pat - Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 10:31pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Frame of Mind

I always felt that when Riker is in the fantasy, the scenes on the ship feel different in someway from normal scenes. I always wondered if they used different lighting for those scenes but I've never been able to see anything specific. Maybe the music is enough to produce that eerie feeling. In any case, it all came together with a great performance by Frakes. 4 outta 4 stars for sure.
John G - Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 10:28pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S3: Zero Hour

Good episode ruined by the idiotic ending. The Xindi story arc has already been way too long. Finally the war is won and Earth is safe and then suddenly the crew is in the middle of WWII?

I don't know if I will bother watching season 4 after this garbage.
Pat - Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 10:26pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Game

You all are being too tough on Wesley. I'm not a fan of him saving the day (who is?) but in this particular case, it actually works pretty well. The things he does when he's running from the entire crew are all very Wesley Crusher type things, like the site to site transporters and the phaser pulse into force field. Ashley Judd being cute as hell definitely helped too. To me the episode is pretty fun. I give this episode 2.5 outta 4 stars.
jason - Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 10:09pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Fascination

is it just me or does this have a lot in common with the naked and the naked now, especially with the crew losing their minds and trying to have sex with each other?
Damian - Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 9:47pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap

I miss DS9. Thank the Prophets for Netflix. I would have LOVED to have seen an eighth season - the Federation rebuilding from the war; Bajor adjusting to all the changes it's been through in the last few years; the aftermath of the Pagh-Wraith cult; the reconstruction of Cardassia; what happened with the Fed/Romulan alliance post-war; etc. etc... Sigh!
William B - Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 7:59pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S2: The Alternate

Re: Sisko's father:

This reminds me of a joke on "Frasier." On "Cheers," Frasier had told Sam that his father was dead, long before the idea of Frasier starring in his own spin-off had come up. When his spin-off did happen, Frasier's father was introduced as a living cast member. So when Sam visited Frasier on his own series and was introduced to his father, he immediately said that he thought Frasier had said that his father was dead. Martin (Frasier's father): "You said I was dead?" Frasier: "I was mad at you!" A good way to turn a continuity error into a joke by confronting it directly. (Somewhat similar to the famous "we do not discuss it with outsiders" joke from "Trials and Tribble-ations.")
William B - Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 7:57pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S2: The Alternate

Enter Dr. Mora Pol. The Mora/Odo relationship is the focus of this episode, including what initially appears to be an unrelated monster movie B-plot but turns out to be explicitly about Odo's feelings about Dr. Mora. The plot itself is nothing much to speak of, and it is indeed pretty weak. However, while both this and, say, "Armageddon Game" have weak plotting elements and good character development, I ultimately prefer this because the plot really is integrated into the character work, making the stakes high in ways specific to the characters rather than as a purely external device. "Alien gas has weird effects" is a dumb idea, but fundamentally the problem is created because of deeply buried feelings Odo has, and the problem is resolved through Mora's familiarity with Odo and his opening his mind to what he does *not* know.

James Sloyan -- excellent in all his various Trek roles -- is wonderful in his interactions with Auberjonois, and creates a portrait of a man who has just the right set of contradictions. He sees Odo as a son and a science project; he knows Odo better than anyone in some respects and is blind to some of the most obvious signals Odo gives off; his words of encouragement have the natural effect of pushing Odo back into his shell. I love how Mora correctly recognizes more clearly than Odo does that Odo sets himself apart from others because he feels he has to and only retroactively justifies it as "what he wants", and yet at the same time is totally unable to see how his needling Odo about this just makes Odo grind his heels more. I think that one of the most telling moments in the episode for where Odo's distrust of others (and himself?) comes from is toward the end, when Mora secretly informs Odo that Mora knows that Odo is his sample, and then makes the argument that Odo's friends on the station would *never* accept him knowing this. In many ways this is an exaggeration of a particularly anxious parent's response -- "I want to protect you by poisoning your ability to trust others, because I know that none of them can love you as I do" -- which has the secondary effect of ensuring that the child comes back with them. Mora, who was a scientist during the Occupation and very likely had to work hard to keep Odo out of the Cardassians' hands (I wonder if part of the reason he insisted on Odo doing the Cardassian Neck Trick was a recognition that being a lovable clown is the best way to reassure the Cardassians that Odo was neither a threat, nor a creature they can [ab]use for their own purposes), distrusts everyone but himself when it comes to Odo, while also criticizing Odo for failing to open up to others. His desire to see Odo blossom makes him critical -- or, worse, surprised at every indication of Odo's success; his desire to see Odo safe makes him try to make Odo afraid. And he is completely unaware of these behaviours.

Mora's little speech on the similarities between scientists and lawmen also serves to highlight the ways in which Odo, overall, takes after Mora. Despite his frustrations, we know that Odo values Mora because he patterned his physical appearance after him (though he couldn't get the ears right!) and shrinks in Mora's presence. Mora's cluelessness about how his "friendly" advice about what is best for Odo would actually affect Odo comes down, in part of course, to being a parent, but also in part to being a *scientist*. Just as Odo falls into the trap of believing that his desire for JUSTICE gives him some sort of superpower of objectivity (which he even attributes, in the "Necessary Evil" logs, to perhaps his species), Mora's training as a scientist makes him see himself primarily as an observer, and an objective and dispassionate one at that. He is not quite depicted as the type of scientist like, say, Bashir, who lacks social skills altogether, but Mora's background of viewing himself as an investigator into Odo's nature makes him unable to turn the microscope back on himself and recognize how many of Odo's "flaws" are the result of his own behaviour -- his own stubbornness and certainty of his own objectivity and infallibility -- as *well* as to what extent their mutual desire for the truth and their dedication to hard work means that Odo has learned some of his surrogate father's best traits as well.

While we don't actually get much information about Odo's origins here -- a bit of a disappointment, though people who have watched ahead know what's coming -- I do think the idea that Odo would subconsciously desperately want to destroy the lab very cool. Odo's inability to get through to Mora exactly how traumatic his upbringing was, and (more to the point) how lonely he still felt even around Mora, culminates when the id-Odo essentially tries to murder Mora. Mora's recognition that Odo *wants him*, and his rejection of "RF power"-type tech solutions in favour of the personal, emotional one also signals Mora's full willingness to regard Odo as a person as well as, well, an "unknown sample" to be treated scientifically; and his willingness to risk his life so that Odo can be trapped (and hopefully not killed) is real proof of his feelings for Odo which Odo can actually see and understand. And I like the idea that once Odo expresses his anger the only way that is possible -- through alien gas, ha -- there is the possibility open for real communication between these two.

That Odo actually does turn out to be the killer monster and is still forgiven also helps address one of Odo's big fears -- that he will, if he steps too far afield of what the solids approve of, be destroyed. Mora's fears, which he somewhat projected onto Odo, are wrong -- at least with the station personnel. Odo is regarded as a sick, lonely person affected by alien material, rather than an evil maniac/monster to be destroyed. And in a lot of ways I think that it's good for Odo's rigid moral code for him to find out that he has some destructive urges that he didn't quite recognize. I think Odo knew he was angry at Mora, but I don't think he fully knew *how* angry, and his guilt over having hurt Mora, and Mora's *forgiveness* of Odo, probably help Odo along in understanding that there are grey areas in "justice."

The monster stuff is indeed a bit silly and has a B-movie quality, but it doesn't take up much of the episode, and it is used to good effect to spur a change in the relationship between Odo and Mora, which also helps move Odo along further on his series long arc. 3 stars.
Bill - Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 5:07pm (USA Central)
Re: TOS S1: Balance of Terror

Yep, 4 stars for me. I give it that for all the little things, too, like after the briefing the way Sulu tracks just behind Kirk, both faces grim set in determination--it lasts only a few seconds by I found it captivating both in its effortlessness and its portrayal of a war-time commander with his tactical officer on their way to battle. Or McCoy's counsel to Kirk in his quarters, even as he enters the room maintaining a smile in the midst of the possible horror about to unfold. I guess I was more focused on those aspects than on what hats the Romulans were wearing.
Eli - Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 1:21pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S1: Caretaker

After re-watching this original episode, I still enjoyed it thoroughly. The show offers an interesting, morally ambiguous conflict that provides the crew with good opportunities for personal growth and heroism.

Re: criticisms

I completely agree with Tim (Nov. 2014). It's not fair to suggest that Voyager leave a time delayed bomb. As he pointed out 1) The technology is complicated and time consuming to set up, and 2) they are under attack. I would add 3) Voyager is not familiar with the technology and 4) it would be extremely tricky and complicated to ensure the bombs and the space travel machine were perfectly in sync. After all, they would have to be careful to delay the detonation of the bombs very soon after they left, otherwise the Kazon could disable them.

Also, Janeway's decision to destroy the array adds moral and intellectual complexity to the story. Take that decision away and the conflict is less interesting.

I do think, however, that the reason for blowing up the array could have better explained. In my view the Voyager crew should blow up the array because otherwise the gangster Kazon (or another threatening group) would be in control of the most powerful technology in the galaxy and be a threat to everyone. Destroying the array is not simply a matter of saving the Ocampa; it is also necessary for the safety of the galaxy.
navamske - Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 12:26pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S7: The Pegasus

@Dave in NC

"Not to be specie-ist, but if the Klingons understand cloaking technology, how hard can it be to master? Why would the Federation allow itself to be hamstrung this way?"

Because the script demanded it. No other explanation is plausible, especially "Well the Feds were taking the high road."
Aine - Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 8:48am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: Profit and Lace

I thought the sexism was nightmarish, but I still wouldn't have given this zero stars. In fact, I thought it was given zero stars as disapproval against the blatant endorsement of workplace sexual harassment by the writers (it's one thing for the Quark character to do/say what he does, it's another thing for the writers to endorse that completely).

Nancy and others covered the main problems with this. I think the redeeming points for this episode are:

1) Lumba kisses a man and there's no revulsion etc around it. The romance is also not something Quark-Lumba regrests or is homophobic about. (Although the rape-as-love trope continues in both storylines.)

2) Quark arguing the case for females to earn profit (though again, with very stupid logic that should have been self-evident on Day 2 of Ferenginar, but still)

3) Odo-Quark hug was kind of fun to watch, even though Quark is basically hyper-stereotyping 'female emotions' etc.

4) While the transgender scenes are FAR from what we could easily expect from Trek (Consider Dax as a transgender character for instance), it's still 'something' to have that on screen (and I felt the review's absolute hatred for watching this - while tolerating other similarly bad stories might have been fed by this :p)

I didn't like Worf's line or any of those Ferengi-hating lines that randomly show up as a normal thing, as if it's 'funny' to be dismissive and derogatory of an entire race. The best counter-scene to this is in one of the early episodes of one of the seasons when Quark tells Sisko that humans only hate on Ferengi's because they remind them of what humans used to care about, and yet Ferengis NEVER DID all the terrible things humans did, historically.

The amount of hatred directed at Ferengis is pretty nauseating. You won't see that kind of dismissive hatred directed at the tall, white, changelings now, would you? :p
Aine - Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 7:43am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: Valiant

This was such a weird episode - it seemed to have a lot of dramatic potential and nothing much happened. All the interesting stuff seemed to have already happened - had they been captured or something then there could have been something.

The plot also. What happened to that message to the Grand Nagus? Why that opening montage? What happened to the 8 month's mission results? It's all a waste? So what's the contribution of this 'dramatic' episode to the storyline? Absolutely nothing!
Aine - Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 6:24am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: His Way

Sad to hear that Vic ever comes back - way too much complacent, annoying screen time.

The Odo/Kira kiss looked so painful to watch - almost like some clamp was being shoved on something.

Odo had some pretty nice moments (the Sisko office singing), but I completely agree with the review that said that they had a complex comrade/siblingy dynamic which was way more moving than the Trek romances ever seem to get. It was such a great contrast to the way some of the characters would sexualize Kira, while Odo always appreciated her for her strength etc. It honestly just felt as if because a 'male' (haha changeling gender by the way!) and a female are friends, the story has to spin them into a romance. Look at Sisko and Dax - works so much better as friends.
DG - Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 6:23am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Sons of Mogh

Noggra's face when he says "Your name is Rodek... So don't worry!!!" he just seems so freaking happy about it tot he point where I almost want a whole episode just about what the heck Noggra's life is like that he's THAT happy to have another kid.
romemmy - Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 2:33am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Return to Grace

Um.. is it just me or is no one wondering how they are operating the bird of prey without its command codes? Sure, the computers may be unlocked (since they were using them), but being a military vessel it's highly unlikely you don't need codes/passwords to access a significant number of functions on board! Without the codes (and thus the ability to change them) the Klingons should be able to override the computers and take the ship back.

None of them were, as far as we know, capable of hacking the computers (stands to reason that the Cardassians wouldn't waste a valuable technical resource on a freighter, and neither Kira, Ducat or Damar are engineers).

Of course it's another example of rules (and common sense) going out the window to enable the plot, but it's annoying some times! I love Star Trek, and they at least do usually consult scientists to make things plausible (with the exception of the Abrams stuff), but these plot holes are annoying some times ;)


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