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SkepticalMI - Mon, Sep 1, 2014, 11:39am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S7: Masks

Aw nertz, I had my comments for this episode all planned a week or so ago, but got sidetracked by that annoying thing known as life. And now I'm going to look like a copycat of Y'know Somebody. Because that's the exact same thought I had. Well, not the same thought, but basically I felt that this episode's largest flaw was in ignoring its source material.

Fluffysheap compared the episode to Darmok, and I like that comparison. In my comments on that episode, I mentioned that I felt the story did a great job of presenting a truly alien community. It wasn't just the language, but their decisions, their rituals, everything pointed well to a people who had a low sense of identity and focused more on narratives. I liked that about Darmok. And it would have been nice to see it here. Rather than the somewhat generic plot we got, it would have been nice if the plot focused more on learning and discovering who this lost civilization is. After all, that would fit more with the Trek ethos of seeking out new life and new civilizations. And it would have made the symbolism more pronounced, more impressive than a simple sun/moon story. As it stands, what we got was a jumble.

I like mythology. I like sci-fi. I like examining alien cultures. So why couldn't we really delve into it here? With Picard as an archaeologist, this could have been an episode tailor made for him. But anything interesting about these people was dropped and ignored without a single sideways glance to us. I noticed three main issues that were worth exploring, which I think would have greatly improved the episode.

1) Masaka was a bad guy! The sun-goddess was feared rather than worshipped and celebrated! This is hardly consistent with Earth mythologies. Ra, Sol, Shamesh, Utu, Apollo, and probably all the ones I don't know tend to be associated with positive imagery like truth and justice and so forth. Which, of course, makes perfect sense for ancient human cultures. The sun brings out light and warmth and drives predators away. The sun allows crops to grow. Of course we would celebrate and not fear the sun. So why do all the characters fear Masaka?

Here's one interesting sci-fi answer that took all of 10 seconds to think up. I'm not an expert on orbital mechanics, but what if this planet was in a binary star system? It orbits one star similarly to Earth orbiting the Sun, but the second star is in an eccentric orbit. This orbit brings the second star close to the planet every 100-200 years or so, and wrecks havoc on the climate for a few years during that time. Thus, the inhabitants called the second star Masaka, and would have a reason to truly fear her return. And maybe the solution to the plot here involved Picard and company finding out something about this civilization, and thus required Picard to make this logical leap. Now, the symbolism present would be a key aspect to the plot itself, as well as relating to the sci-fi nature of the TV show.

2) All the characters suggested that Korgano was no longer chasing Masaka. Isn't that weird? The plot suggests that's only because the Korgano symbol hadn't been downloaded yet, but that's just silly. Isn't it more interesting to think that something actually happened? If Korgano is the moon, then why did the moon stop chasing Masaka? Was it destroyed? Just how would that impact this society? Maybe that's why they all fear Masaka now. Or maybe that's why the civilization itself was lost. Again, this is something weird in the symbolism itself that the story ignored, and I think it would have been much better to embrace this symbolism rather than just move on with the plot. Again, a destroyed moon would have been an interesting story to deal with.

3) On a meta-example, why did this civilization take so much effort to preserve their mythology? They are undoubtedly an incredibly advanced civilization, and undoubtedly would have discovered the principles of orbital mechanics and the likes. So there is no longer any need for myths to state how the stars and moons and suns move across the sky. And yet, that seemed to be the primary thing that this civilization preserved. If we could recreate part of our society in space, would we recreate Mt. Olympus? Or would we recreate New York or London or whatever? Undoubtedly the latter. Heck, we'd probably be more likely to preserve Marvel's Thor than the Norse Thor... We keep our mythology, but our interest in it is very shallow and doesn't impact our day to day lives.

So why is this civilization different? Like with Darmok, the unique plot aspect (speaking in metaphors, preserving a mythology) should speak to the alienness of the culture. But while TNG succeeds with the Children of Tama, we don't really get a chance to understand the Mask people at all. Why are they so interested in preserving their mythology? Do they still talk like that?

I'm reminded of a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. Calvin asks his dad how wind appears, and his dad says the answer is trees sneezing. Calvin asks "really?" and the dad responds no, but the truth is more complicated. The last panel has Calvin walking outside on a windy day and commenting that the trees are really sneezing today.

So is that the answer? Do the people not care about truth, but only care about convenient answers? Leave the actual science to the scientists, but we'll just choose to believe the easy answer? Or maybe they just like anthropomorphization? And if so, how would that impact the rest of society?

Maybe this would have been better as a novel than a 43 minute episode. Maybe its impossible to really delve into a culture in a plot like this. But it would have been more interesting than what was given. I know most people look at this episode and just declare it to be a waste, but I think of it mostly as a lost opportunity.
Peremensoe - Mon, Sep 1, 2014, 10:17am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Message in a Bottle

"Rodeo" is a Spanish word, or of Spanish origin. Neelix and Beverly Hills are using the Spanish pronunciation. If there's a joke it's that he's hypercorrecting what is an American vernacular ("rootin'-tootin'") usage.
John TY - Mon, Sep 1, 2014, 9:14am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S6: Pathfinder

Definitely not 4 stars for me. I enjoyed certain aspects: The basic concept and the sentimental touches at the end made it significant. But there were some major flaws.

Firstly, we've seen the holo-addiction plot before. A loooong time before. Reg is a basically the pathetic Trek fan we've all been at some point, finding more comfort in its safe and familiar universe than in our own lives. Fair enough point, but no need to keep reminding us about it! Especially since he doesn't get any actual help for his problems. Troi just shames him, he then runs amok due to his inability to articulate his plans (and his bone-headed superior) and then there are no consequences just a 'Well done Reg, how's the new gal you're seeing'. I kept thinking: What an terrible councillor, Troi is. Same as old TNG times.

And the acting. And some of the inane banter between Red and Deanna. The Admiral was terrible and Troi was as painful to watch as ever. Reg was deliberately bad though handled well by Schultz. But I still had issue with the nature of his character; Shy introvert then feisty risk-taker.

All of it made me think the Voyager writers themselves were the ones pining for the glory days of the Enterprise, not Barclay.
Jack O - Mon, Sep 1, 2014, 7:42am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S3: Captain's Holiday

Vash is HOT. Maybe even the sexiest female ever in TNG.
Katie - Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 8:59pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S2: Tribunal

@DPLB: Chris' analogy between the Sandiford case and this episode, which you dismissed so aggressively above, is actually pretty apt. If you watch the ep again, you'll see that Miles is caught with the warheads in his runabout's cargo hold. Of course, as we discover, they were planted there by a Cardassian agent--but you might well say he was caught red-handed smuggling weapons that could endanger thousands of lives.

In other words, context matters.
Scott - Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 8:44pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S1: The Storyteller

I'm gonna stick up for Bashir here. Now I will admit he comes off forward in the early seasons when he's hitting on women. And I also understand that most trek fans think Obrien can do no wrong. If I have to hear how obrien is the perfect "Everyman" one more time....... Anyways, Bashir has been nothing but nice to obrien the entire series. Even in the early seasons all he wanted was to be friends with obrien. Obrien played it like Bashir was annoying but he really wasn't. Obrien just came off as rude for some reason. He wouldn't have acted that way against anyone on the enterprise. Eventually obrien lightened up and they became friends. I just don't think Bashir ever did anything to make obrien act so rude to him
Evan - Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 6:22pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S2: Paradise

It had a "Cool Hand Luke" feel when Sisko was in the box.
Nic - Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 4:56pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S7: Critical Care

"Tebbis ends up as the episode's thematic equivalent of the proverbial drowned kittens." Best sentence of the review. That is all.

I thought the situations presented in this episode were to extreme to be effective criticism of America’s healthcare (or any other system for that matter). Much too convenient that the same medicine can cure one disease on Level Red and extend lifespans of the healthy on Level Blue. The supposed « moral dilemma » of the Doc deciding to poison the administrator falls flat, because there is no way anyone could defend such an absurdly extreme system.

My two cents on the health care "debate":
What some of you may not know is that the U.S. government spends as much on health care per capita as Canada does. The problem with U.S. health care has nothing to do with socialism or capitalism, it is the influence that large corporations have over the government’s decisions. They finance election campaigns and get very generous subsidies in return, which they use not to help patients but to maximize their profits (by, among other things, finding very complicated ways to avoid paying for treatments, thus increasing the bureaucracy tenfold). To be blunt, a completely free-market system OR a Canada-style system would both be much better than what you have now.
Johnny - Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 3:40pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S2: Tuvix

There were a few small things that could have been written in:

1) The crew would have anticipated Tuvix's will to live. He's trying to start a sexual relationship with Kes and everyone including Janeway (based on her log entry) is aware of it. This is clearly a sign of his plans to start a life.

2) No one, not Harry or the Doctor or anyone mentions even the possibility of using the transporter to somehow keep Tuvix around after they are separated. I understand that the answer would have to be "no", but it would have shown at least some concern on the part of the crew.

3) When Tuvix is begging for his life on the bridge, Paris should have at least spoken on his behalf. The way he just coldly sits back in his chair with a strange stare on his face seemed extremely out of character for him. Chakotay is ineffective and his reaction was not surprising, but Tom is a rebel and usually speaks up. This comes back to point #2, because Tom would have been perfect to propose the idea of somehow preserving Tuvix since his knowledge of the transporter isn't as proficient.

4) Tuvix needed a better escape plan. He is both chief of security and a former scam artist and couldn't come up with one of those classic beam - out plans? I expected him to say "Computer, initiate program Alpha-113" and suddenly materialize in the shuttle bay once they came for him. He is already aware that they're contemplating "killing" him. Watching him scamper up and down the bridge was just pathetic.

5) Janeway seemed to be too much in a rush to get it over with. It reminded me of Sim, Trip Tucker's clone on Enterprise. Except with Sim, they needed to pull out his brain tissue at a certain point of his limited lifespan, so Archer's attitude was understandable. Janeway comes off as overly impulsive and rash.

Peremensoe - Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 2:48pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S3: Third Season Recap

The noun form of "pedantic" is "pedantry."

navamske - Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 2:33pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Message in a Bottle

I believe there was a small "inside joke" in this episode, though not a particularly good one or one that had any relevance to anything. When Neelix mentions the recipe for "Rodeo Red's Red Hot Rootin'-Tootin' Chili" (or whatever it was called), he pronounces "Rodeo" "ro-DAY-oh," like the name of the famous shopping street in Beverly Hills.
navamske - Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 2:03pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S1: Faces


"Durst seemed strangely prominent in the previous episode. Having a character get that much screen time out of the blue in that episode made me wonder if he was the alien presence. It had been so long since I watched the episode that I had forgotten all about Durst. After rewatching Faces, it's clear he was given so much time in order to have a "known" character killed off."

I think that's exactly what happened -- they couldn't kill off a regular (although I would have gladly volunteered Neelix) and they couldn't kill off someone we'd never seen before and had anybody care, so Durst (played by the same actor who played the annoying Vorin in TNG "Homeward") was given a prominent role in the previous episode. And you know that Sulan, even before the face transplant, was played by the Durst actor, right?
navamske - Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 1:49pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S1: Time and Again


"The reset button is only annoying if it removes character DEVELOPMENT. The only character development lost here is that Kes doesn't start to realize her powers yet (instead the audience gets a glimpse into her future)."

I liked Kes, but I didn't like that they tried to make her into Voyager's Counselor Troi (not that she was the local shrink but that she had magical mental powers).

OT: I recently re-read Entertainment Weekly's preview of the forthcoming Voyager series and its characters. For Kes, they wrote, "Think Yeoman Rand, a Keebler elf, and a transporter accident."
navamske - Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 1:44pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S1: Time and Again


"I remember as a little girl, watching 'Dallas' with my parents (apparently they thought that was appropriate viewing for an 8yo) and seeing the scene where JR's death was all a dream. I thought it was the laziest plot twist ever and that the writers should be fired. Lame!"

It was Bobby's death that was revealed to be a dream, when he turned up in Pam's shower. (Also, J.R. was shot, but he didn't die.)
Shaen - Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 1:22pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S5: Course: Oblivion

This was a weird one. The episode itself was pretty well done, but the plot holes and required leaps of logic it takes to follow it are just too huge to ignore. For me, anyway. If you can ignore all that, I can see why you'd enjoy it.
Mashedpotatoe - Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 12:48pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Waking Moments

I really liked this episode. The Only thing I don't understand is why the alians need those stasis chambers. or do they usually live being awake and just use stasis pods now, so they can attack people.
Polly - Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 7:13am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Birthright, Part II

The writers rather backed themselves into a corner with their creation of the Klingon sense of honour. Why the constant whining about the massacre of the Klingon men, women and children on Khitamer if a Klingon's greatest honour is to fall in battle? And how many times has Worf had the opportunity to die honourably in battle yet somehow flubbed it? In Chain of Command we hear Dr Crusher admitting that she doesn't feel proud of her escape, but no mention at all about Worf's view (probably just as well - it would probably take a full 2 parter to work through his need to redeem himself for not perishing in the caves). I'm not really complaining about the failure to kill him off - I like Worf - but I don't care much for Klingons in general. I'd be hard pressed to think of a single one in any episode of TNG who has acted honourably according to anyone's code. Good points made by Andy's Friend - the expat/exile Worf has grown up to be more Klingon than the Klingons.
DLPB - Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 7:00am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S2: Rivals

This episode must rank in as one of the worst episodes in Trek history. The acting is poor, probably because the script is useless. The plot is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. This shouldn't come under "Science Fiction", but "Fiction". There's no science here, folks. The idea that probability works this way is simply insulting the viewer's intelligence.
Y'know Somebody - Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 6:09am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S7: Masks

Yeah, I realize it's not nearly the biggest problem, but I felt it was rather telling to overlook something conspicuous like that.
Worf - Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 2:39am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: You Are Cordially Invited

I feel like the only reason Jadzia got with Worf was because he is klingon. It always annoyed me how Jadzia seemed to want to be a klingon. Just because Curon worked with Klingons she knows all their rituals, songs and beliefs. I never felt any chemistry between them. I was glad they killed her when she quit the show. I know she offered to do part time work the last season but I'm sure the writers felt like if she was gonna leave them with one season left then Jadzia had to die. Ha. And what's with worf thinking she will be in stovokor. She isn't klingon and shouldn't his woman from tng be waiting for him.
Scott - Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 1:59am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Once More Unto the Breach

Those are all good points William. It does seem that both Quark and Bashir saw Ezri as a consolation prize or as some form of Jadzia. I just think it would have been cool to see Quark in a relationship. The show always made Quark into a typical ferengi who was all about profit. But he actually did care about some things above profit. I was always intrigued by how loyal he was to the Nagus. He would have done anything for that man. And he was willing to leave the station and his bar to be with Natima. I think that if Worf had never come on DS9 then Jadzia and Bashir would have gotten together. Maybe that's why they had Ezri and Bashir form a relationship. Now that women can wear clothes and earn profit they could have had Pel come back at the end of the series. That would have been interesting. Not enough time I guess.

I like your idea of Jake and Ezri. That would have been really awkward for Jake every time Sisko called his girlfriend "old man". Ha.

Paul M. - Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 1:38am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S7: Masks

I don't think that is particularly problematic and nowhere near the top of the list of this episode's biggest problems (though I kinda like its wackiness).

Still, you do raise an interesting point. The dualism many older religions and myths ascribe to the Sun and the Moon stem from the fact that the two celestial bodies appear to be of exactly the same size - the Sun's radius is some 400 times greater than the Moon's while it's 400 times farther out from Earth, effectively cancelling each other out where an observer standing on our planet is concerned. It really is a curious turn of events dictated by mere cosmic chance.
Taylor - Sat, Aug 30, 2014, 11:44pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

"Ethics" - aka "Worf gets his spine crushed and Riker, Troi and Crusher give him shit for it for most of an episode."

While the whole Klingon honor thing gets to be a bit much in general, in this case it makes perfect sense to me a Klingon would have no interest in living with a severe physical disability. And thus it shouldn't be such a big surprise to Riker, either.

And Crusher mostly made sense, except that it made no sense she didn't want Worf to even hear about the experimental treatment - wouldn't it be her natural obligation to let him know?

I still liked the episode more than not - I just thought some of the character motivations served more to illustrate the extreme sides if the debate, rather than being so believable.
William B - Sat, Aug 30, 2014, 11:18pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Once More Unto the Breach

I would have been fine with a Quark/Jadzia pairing. However, I would mostly have a problem with Quark/Ezri for the same reason that I do have a problem with Julian/Ezri -- the sense that Ezri is some kind of cosmic consolation prize for the guy who pined after Jadzia. The story even explicitly points out this risk in having Worf and Ezri briefly get together before pointing out that this is wrong, because both of them are just transferring feelings from the Worf/Jadzia marriage onto the new Dax host. For Julian and Quark, who were still spending screentime pining for Jadzia the episode she died, to be interested in Ezri romantically is hard to accept as being above board, and related to Ezri herself and not just Jadzia. I suppose a story could organically arise out of this, with Ezri and Quark both careful to question whether this is all about Jadzia or not.

Once again though, this problem is specific to the idea of the dynamics around Dax switching hosts. NOT Quark himself; if Shimmerman is correct that "no one would accept Quark/Ezri," I object to that, since at least some people accepted Julian/Ezri and that has the same problems. I'd definitely be fine with a Quark romance, provided it's effectively portrayed etc.

In general, IF Ezri (the character) was to be on the show, and IF an Ezri romance needed to happen, it would have been best for it to be a character who hadn't been romantically attached to Jadzia, even if in an unrequited way like Bashir or Quark. Granted, this doesn't leave many in the cast, especially since Sisko, Odo, O'Brien were in relationships already (and Kira for that matter, though it's pretty clear the writers would never have gone there except maybe in a mirror universe episode as a gag). They could have done a Jake/Ezri romance -- which would have given Jake something to do and maybe created an interesting conflict for Ben, and create a scenario where Ben would have to seriously consider the ramifications of his son being an adult and his old friend now being so young. Actually this idea sounds pretty good....
Scott - Sat, Aug 30, 2014, 9:37pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Once More Unto the Breach

I have a question for all ds9/quark fans. Would it have been ok with you if Quark had ended up with ezri? I ask this because I was reading about this epiisode on memory alpha and it says this

Armin Shimerman sees this episode as setting up his character for the rest of the season; "For the most part, the season is about Quark either mourning Jadzia or pursuing Ezri. The audience would never accept them as a couple though, so there was never a chance for that. So I spent most of the season crying into my own drinks, woeing the fact that I was getting nowhere with Ezri. Although everybody else on the show seemed to get somewhere with her!"

I was always upset that Quark never ended up with anyone. I wouldn't have been upset with Quark and Ezri as a couple. They seemed to have some chemistry in the emperors cloak. I know that was an alternate universe episode but I could have seen them end up together. They were about the same height too. Ha I mean even rom got a woman and he was a side character. I look at the episode Rules of acquisition and the episode where quark loves the cardassian woman and I can definitely see quarks desire for a relationship. I don't agree with Armin when he says the audience would never accept that but would accept Bashir and ezri. Am I wrong? Is it better just have quark be alone running the bar forever?
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