Jammer's Reviews

Comment Browser

Clear | RSS for this | Bottom

Total Found: 28,770 (Showing 1-25)

Next »Page 1 of 1,151
SlackerInc - Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 1:52am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S3: Real Life

I emphatically cosign the last two comments. What the people who hate this are looking for, I don't know. I would be curious to know what they would submit as an example of a very strong episode.

As a side note, it was genius to have the rebellious son hanging out with Klingons and trying to emulate them. Kind of like a white suburban teen who identifies with inner-city black culture.
Dan - Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 1:02am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

Nic, I'm with you: when the story hinges on trusting someone, it should be Troi front and center in the episode. Instead, she only gets like one line. That says a lot, unfortunately, about how they value her character. (I don't think it's impossible to write stories about possible liars with Troi heavily involved -- there are limits to what she can do. But she should have a lot to say, even on a deeper thematic level, about trust.)

Two other minor things that bug me:
- If ever there's a time to separate the saucer section and leave behind hundreds of unnecessary passengers, it's when you enter the Neutral Zone.
- The dialogue should at least acknowledge that the Romulans have violated the Neutral Zone too, right? It is presented as if the Enterprise going into the Neutral Zone is as serious a violation as the Romulans' encroachment on *Federation Space* in "The Enemy".
Lord Garth - Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 12:34am (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

I'm cautiously optimistic about the new series. Here are my reasons:

I'm not familiar with Alex Kurtzman's TV work but this *is* a TV series, so it doesn't have a film budget which means they can't afford to have nothing but constant "BLAM! BLAM! POW! POW!" Even if they tried, it wouldn't look as good as in the movies. They have to do something else.

If it's written the way most modern series are now, and it's available for streaming, there's going to be a continuing story line and the necessary character development and character arcs to go along with it. That's what made DS9 so interesting to follow.

Blockbuster Movies have to play it safe and conservative to make the most profit. With TV, you can get away with taking more time to explore relevant issues in-depth like Star Trek at its best did. The ONLY time important social issues were addressed in any of the films was TUC with the end of the Cold War. TVH to a lesser extent with "Hunting a species to extinction is wrong!" but TUC was harder hitting.

The movies can be big, dumb fun. I don't care. As long as the TV series has more substance. It was the same way in the '90s. The TNG movies were already heading in the direction the JJ Abrams films have gone. I like to say the best TNG movie technically wasn't a movie, it was "The Best of Both Worlds".
Gin - Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 12:27am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S3: Warlord

Skeptical I agree about him not wanting to switch bodies. It sure was causing him headaches trying to fight Kes off but the reward was like you said the ability to kill people with his mind. For some reason I was reminded of that 1984 movie Firestarter with a very young Drew Barrymore. More specifically her old man who had the ability to influence others too, only for him to deal with heaps of nosebleeds afterwards.

As far as the Kes/Neelix relationship, I felt Neelix became a good deal more annoying to watch after Kes' departure, to be honest. I'm not sure if he was meant to be comic relief or what but even so I'd say the Doctor already had a lock on that. The drama bit I'd say B'elanna already took first place with that. Maybe Paris too. Nothing against Ethan Phillips directly, I just thought Neelix was not one of his better roles.

Speaking of locks I was just about to give can't-get-a-lock kim the benefit of the doubt at the beginning of the ep...till a few moments later when he defaulted. Oops-yer-gone cuz I couldn't get a lock.

I liked seeing this side of Jennifer Lien. She could certainly act it up when she wanted to. Kinda wished Roxann had done that more often too (she looked dern good in that blue bikini btw :)). The only time we got to see that side of her was when she was literally split into her Klingon/human halves.

Anyways Kes still showed more acting range than chuckles and kim. Even if you were nonplussed by her hamming it up I can't say I was bored watching the ep. The old mind swap concept is hardly new, but then again neither is time travel. Variations on a theme is the closest thing to originality we'll ever get, especially nowadays.

So I can't say I've seen it done quite this way before. And to that end it held my attention.

Who says resistance is futile? (Well, aside from the Borg, whom Voyager all but neutered by the end of the show's run) Kes was fighting back against Tieran throughout his possession of her. She continuously showed deeper conviction than the writers ever gave her. It never once came off as inauthentic. I know some reviewers here would say otherwise but I must admit I was thoroughly impressed. Can you imagine what she would have been like in S4's 'Witness'? This ep gave us a minor taste of an "Evil Kes" if you will.

Oh, and don't get me started on what that ep would have done if Seska stayed a part of the crew. Damn, wish I could go back in time to rewrite history myself to have the best of all worlds just to see them in action in that ep. Yep, I'd keep Jeri Ryan. How could you not? But I would also have kept Ms Lien and most def Ms. Hackett as well. I agree the ep was easily 4 stars as it stands. Just saying with the other two ladies in it the ep probably would have been THE episode of the series!

Back to this ep. Creeped out by her affair w/ Neelix? Didn't give it a thought to be honest. Everybody needs somebody, why discriminate based on age? They are both adults and like Kes said in Darkling she can spend her time with whomever she chooses. As long as they are happy together (and not faking the chemistry just to secure a paycheck and ratings) I don't really mind. Nasty way to breakup, tho.

Her advances toward Tieran's wife was something different. I get he possessed her. But something about that scene and seeing her slink around in black leather...lol. Tres kinky.

Still, since Jennifer rarely got to extend her acting chops I didn't mind the leather prancing just to see if she could hold her own. I'm guessing the writers didn't mind, either.

She couldn't go back to the way things were, even before her departure. That's why I rate it ever so slightly higher. It would have forced the writers to show a maturing young lady. In that sense it raises it slightly above the standard alien of the week fare.

2.5 to a low 3 is what I'd rate it.
Lord Garth - Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 11:06pm (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

Responding to some of Petetong's points.

"Transporters - clearly a gimmick to avoid costly special effect sequences with shuttles. The technology makes no sense and it looks cheesy."

Interesting because the Delft University of Technology is actually researching how to make teleportation possible.

"Society is also a lot more multicultural now than it was in the 1980s. Using aliens as stand-ins for non-white humans / non-American humans is offensive."

What's offensive to me is that you think society wasn't just as multi-cultural in the 1980s. As a half-Iranian who's not religious, isn't straight, and who was a kid back then, I was fully aware that our society was not largely homogenous.

Though, I will agree with you -- to an extent -- that having other cultures stand-in for non-white Americans can be offensive, it can work if the stand-ins are not intended to be derogatory and if the point of view for why they think the way they do is explained.

I also think that the Federation, at least in TNG, has more in common with the European Union than the United States. When Star Trek returns on TV, what I hope is that if the Federation is a stand-in for America, it's not a stand-in for Red America, like ENT Season 3 was. That was a _major_ turn-off.

The Red State / Blue State Divide we now have would actually make for a great episode. Not for the Federation but, if the Enterprise, or whatever the ship it is, runs into a planet like this. That would be Star Trek commenting on our society as it currently is. Using another planet to make indirect commentary.

"Ship design - the saucer, two nacelle, bridge on the top is boring. That design was dreamed up in the 1960s and has been played with over time but I think in 2015 we can come up with a more interesting and realistic design for a ship."

It has to be recognizable as Star Trek or the audience will think its something else.

Also, how are ships, shuttles, or craft designs in general that different between the 1960s and 2010s? And how does the concept a design being from 50 years ago mean that it shouldn't be the design for a ship in the future? I know of no ships in 1966 that looked like the Enterprise. I know of no ships in 1987 that looked like the Enterprise-D.

When it was designed doesn't have to have anything to do with how much it's tied to that time. If I didn't know, I could probably tell the original Enterprise was designed in the '60s. But, I wouldn't be able to pin down the refit Enterprise to 1979 or the Enterprise-D to 1987. Those designs are timeless. The Enterprise-E not so much. I liked in 1996 but the more time passes, the less I do. Some of those designs have stood the test of time, others haven't as much.
BigDTBone - Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 4:39pm (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

I agree with the idea of sprawling, cohesive, story arcs. And I agree 10 meta-plot episodes a season is a good number. But I would still like 26 episodes a season because it allows for the very trek-important stand out episodes, character study episodes, political parallel episodes, and playful episodes. Without those in the mix it won't feel like a trek series. Also, having those episodes in the mix preserves rewatchability of the series which is a huge part of trek also.
Diamond Dave - Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 3:58pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Destiny

One of those episodes that has its cake and eats it in the discussion of the ancient prophecy. But nevertheless it does neatly skewer Sisko's avoidance of the Emissary question when Odo asks points out his agenda. And while Kira might believe the prophecy because of her faith, she also provides a cogent scientific reason that the Prophets/wormhole aliens might have foreseen events given they exist outside of time and communicated that. But at the end it was all a misunderstanding, and actually it wasn't a prophecy of doom but one of glad tidings and just as well we got all that sorted out for the good then. Seems like a bit of a cop out.

It was also good to see some interplay with Cardassians who are not military dictators, just for a change. 3 stars.
William B - Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 3:10pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Shattered Mirror

Yeah, Sisko does indeed adjust pretty easily to Smiley and Jennifer kidnapping Jake to get his attention. Of course, part of that is because Jake is completely unaware he was kidnapped...right? Because Jake went willingly and is unaware there is a problem? Which, uh...Sisko initially believed that Jake would not leave the universe without letting him know first, but that seems to have been false. Of course, for Jake to leave without telling Sisko he's universe-hopping strains credibility, but I guess we are to assume that Jennifer bowled him over and he went anyway. Regardless, whether Jake went willingly or not, the intent was there to kidnap him to get to Sisko, and the implicit threat that they will not return Jake until Sisko has helped them, and that Jake will die on the station if Sisko does not help them defend it. That is pretty beyond the pale; for Sisko to agree to this hostage situation is one thing, but for him to stay and command the Defiant again because he just can't help loving this plucky band is another.

The big emotional core of this episode is Jake and how the Mirror Universe taps into his nostalgia and grief. The episode opens with Jake missing Nog, only for have an even more importnt person who is even more permanently gone from his life reenter it through the mirorr. I like how his eventual encounter with Mirror Nog is unpleasant and Mirror-Nog is absolutely insistent on breaking any of Jake's sentimental desire to recreate his friendship with the real Nog with this guy. Depending on one's perspective, this could either establish the way in which Jake's close bond with Jennifer really is a Real Thing, since it is not automatically true that Jake will get along with mirror versions of his loved ones; or it could be the commentary on what the truth of Jake and Jennifer is, under it all, and Jake is able to see clearly how Mirror-Nog is *not* Nog because Mirror-Nog, unlike (Mirror) Jennifer, has no interest in deceiving him. The parallel between M-Nog and M-Jennifer is strengthened by having these be the (only) two people gunned down by the Intendant in this episode, as if the Intendant were intent on, ahem, shattering Jake's illusions, whether they are idealized or not. It's something of a statement against the MU as a place for wish fulfillment, which plays in with Jake's material in "The Visitor" (as methane pointed out) where Jake destroys himself to restore his father, as well as commenting on Sisko's fantasy role-playing his dead wife as alive again in "Through the Looking Glass." The death of Nog is mostly a comic beat, playing off Quark and Rom's deaths in the last two MU eps (I'm surprised Ishka or Gaila weren't offed next to ensure that the one-Quark-family-member-dies-per-episode pattern remained), but Jennifer's death is played out as tragedy. To some degree, it feels like inevitable quasi-punishment for the Siskos for wanting to play house with her; their wanting to slot Jennifer in to where our universe's Jennifer had been, and MU Jennifer wanting to slip into another convenient identity, leads directly to the encounter with the Intendant and her recognition that Jennifer's death can be a message to Sisko, though what that message is who can say. ("I'm evil," presumably.)

The episode feels a little more honest than "Through the Looking Glass," then, in suggesting that there are negative consequences to this kind of role playing. In both episodes Sisko plays pirate and gets to cozy up to a woman who looks just like his ex-wife, and here Sisko goes as far as to command the Defiant on a probably suicidal mission because, um, well, I guess he likes their cause, but I can't help but feel that Sisko could only possibly think he should risk his life for this MU Terran cause without even bothering to tell his son (who is right there) if on some level he accepts the MU is some sort of wacky fantasy land, as if Sisko actually has the metaknowledge that of course nothing bad is going to happen to him over there. That does hurt the tension in the episode and also hits the internal integrity of the story, when we know that Sisko is probably not actually behaving like he gets that this is ostensibly real, just in another universe. But the turnaround that Jennifer dies to teach Sisko (and Jake) a lesson somehow earns the episode's previous bloodlessness. The further you delve into fantasy, the worse the consequences emotionally; even if Sisko and Jake come away undamaged physically, they are hurt to the degree that they had invested in that world. The payback Sisko gets for punching Bashir and sleeping with Dax on his last visit is effective as foreshadowing of the final result (though Sisko's weird statement to Dax is pretty inappropriate; he should have been apologetic, or at least said that he had no choice as Smiley had kidnapped him).

As far as the episode's overall value, I agree with Easter's point that it's particularly ridiculous that the Terrans have taken over Terok Nor which is *still orbiting Alliance world Bajor* and holding it for who knows what reason; it is an illogical base, because the main strategic advantage to the station in the main universe is its proximity to the wormhole, and before that its main value was either in helping rebuild Bajor or in ore processing, neither of which are going on. The episode is a bit tedious, and the Jake-Jennifer stuff is sappy in practice even if there are some interesting things about the idea. What I do enjoy in this episode are the energetic performances on the Klingon ship, with a particularly great chemistry between Robinson and Dorn (the first Worf-Garak material is in the MU, huh?) and with a pretty good handling of The Intendant Mark 3. While the complex character from "Crossover" is basically gone, Visitor hits a better mixture of camp with seductiveness with glee to make the Intendant amusing while in her cage and believably dangerous when out. So overall I am not sold on this episode, but I like it better than "Through the Looking Glass," which makes it (to me) the only exception to the monotonic decrease in quality in MU stories from "Mirror, Mirror" through "The Emperor's New Cloak." 2.5 stars.
Patrick D - Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 2:44pm (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

Get rid of the transporters? They're one of the most iconic things about Star Trek? And why does Star Trek have to be like EVERYTHING else? Can it eschew the mainstream ethos of hate/revenge/violence and be its own thing?

Star Trek was a special phenomenon that appealed to a broad base of people. (I actually said "was"--thanks for ruining the magic, J.J.)
Diamond Dave - Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 1:08pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Heart of Stone

The basic A-story seemed almost like a TOS idea - trapped in an expanding crystal! - but clearly in retrospect it is just a contrivance to get the Odo/Kira story moving. For me it doesn't really work, even without the surprise twist at the end (which was a decent one), and especially with the reset button push.

The Nog story line works far better, and has a minor character ever played a scene better than when he finally reveals to Sisko why he wants to join Starfleet? Marvelous stuff. When Rom stands up to Quark at the end it puts the cap on a nicely played story that trumps the A-story. 2.5 stars.
Kiamau - Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 10:06am (USA Central)
Re: TOS S2: Bread and Circuses

"They threw me a few curves" - brilliant.
Petetong - Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 9:50am (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

I'd like to see an even bigger reboot of the franchise than what the movies have offered. As much as I love TNG and DS9 and the TOS movies, there are some fundamental things about the Star Trek universe that just don't cut it anymore:
1. Transporters - clearly a gimmick to avoid costly special effect sequences with shuttles. The technology makes no sense and it looks cheesy.
2. Humanoid Aliens with forehead ridges - doesn't need explained. Society is also a lot more multicultural now than it was in the 1980s. Using aliens as stand-ins for non-white humans / non-American humans is offensive.
3. The cave interior on a sound stage - we're not idiots, we know it's the same set redressed over and over again. Pretty much every good drama on TV does substantial location shooting; Star Trek must as well. And when they go on location, a campground, park or quarry outside of LA is not going to cut it either.
4. Ship design - the saucer, two nacelle, bridge on the top is boring. That design was dreamed up in the 1960s and has been played with over time but I think in 2015 we can come up with a more interesting and realistic design for a ship.
5. I think the success of Game of Thrones should inspire the new Star Trek series to do 10 episodes/season (not 26), to have multiple characters/story threads spread across a universe (the show doesn't need to be fixated on the 7 most senior members of crew on one ship), and to kill of main characters All.The.Time.
Diamond Dave - Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 7:41am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Life Support

Everything in this episode seems just a little overblown to me. Bareil's self sacrifice, Winn's machinations, Kira's desire to keep Bareil functioning, Bashir's devotion to his patient - it just seems like the volume has been turned up 20% above normal and it leaves the episode feeling a little overwrought.

The B-story is eminently forgettable and dovetails poorly with the more serious tone of the main story. 2 stars.
Mike - Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 7:17am (USA Central)
Re: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

I wasn't surprised that Brock Peters, a black actor, said the most overtly racist line. Trek directors love using that bit of irony. They did the same thing in Enterprise when they made black Terra Prime members who were as vile as Klansmen about Vulcans.

This is my favorite Trek movie but the script had way too much exposition in the dialogue. And forgive me but I'm really tired of how Trek ignores basic astrophysics. 1. If Rura Penthe is just an asteroid then it wouldn't have enough mass for Earth like gravity let alone an atmosphere. 2. How did the Excelsior feel the way shock of the explosion of Praxis from several light years away?

My problem with the plot was how they CONVENIENTLY find the two crewmen who wore the gravity boots right there dead in the hallway. Took them half the damn movie to find the boots and zero seconds to figure out who wore them because, hello, two dead bodies are right here where the dialogue needs them.

John - Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 3:49am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S3: Displaced

The reason Chakotay didn't arm the self destruct is because he can't. The computer only accepts Janeway's "Janeway Pie 110" code and voice authorization for auto-destruct. The computer wouldn't have recognized Chakotay's authority to do that. Only the captain can.
Andrew - Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 1:03am (USA Central)
Re: ENT S1: Acquisition

And Archer complaining of T'Pol was also sort of OK but T'Pol, Archer and Trip were also generally bad.
Andrew - Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 12:54am (USA Central)
Re: ENT S1: Acquisition

One of the worst episodes ever and I often like the Ferengi; they were just so stupid here, especially Krem who never got around to actually being sympathetic. The only sort of OK part was Archer and Trip pretending to fight.
William B - Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 12:00am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Hard Time

As ever I find episodes I really like to be intimidating, so I'll keep this short for now. This is my favourite of the season.
William B - Wed, Nov 25, 2015, 11:57pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Rules of Engagement

So, I agree that Worf should not have fired on the decloaking ship without verifying that it was an enemy vessel. As improbable as it seems for a civilian ship to decloak in the middle of a battle, Sisko's statement that Starfleet prioritizes civilian lives above their own ships' security and (especially) that this was an area known to be used by civilians. That said, the situation is so contrived that I cannot quite understand how the court case went on as long as it did. Yes, Worf acted inappropriately, to some degree, according to Starfleet protocol, but it was such an obvious accident and an obvious mistake to make, and, more to the point, it is impossible to understand how the Klingon rules of engagement would view firing on a decloaking ship in the middle of an ongoing battle as a beyond-the-pale act of murder instead of an accident. In fact, it seems pretty possible that Klingon rules of engagement don't have anything against firing on civilians accidentally, because Ch'Pok cannot seem to keep straight from one minute to the next whether it's a good thing or a bad thing to fire on civilians in battle. In order to corner Worf, Ch'Pok bounces back and forth between "any Klingon would have fired on that ship with intent to kill" and "you are the ultimate un-Klingon coward for firing on those civilians," with endless variations designed to vex Worf until Worf finally loses his cool, which proves that he totally fired on those civilians because he lost his cool, I guess, which shows he should be extradited because his heart is Klingon, and only the Klingons can prosecute a person whose heart is Klingon, and by extraditing Worf for being a Klingon in his heart the Klingon Empire will embarrass the Federation for having such cowardly officers that act like Klingons, which, uh, wait, let me start over. Ch'Pok's irrational baiting could maybe play in lower court circuit, but surely a Vulcan admiral JAG would be able to recognize that none of what he is saying holds together. When Kurn put Worf through his paces, basically snarling at Worf about how Worf's actions have ruined his life and then attacking him for Worf's weakness in criticizing him, this made sense because Kurn was angry, broken, and also ambivalent about what Worf had done and how he should respond. Ch'Pok is attempting some sort of legal trickery which really does not work. I don't know what extradition between the Federation and the Klingons look like -- actually probably at the moment there *is* no formal extradition -- but it seems to me that whether or not a person is Klingon by birth doesn't matter, especially since Worf's Klingon citizenship has presumably been revoked; Kirk and Bones were extradited in STVI not because they were Klingon, but because they committed a crime against the Klingons, whereas Ch'Pok really does seem to be arguing that Worf's actions are only a crime if he is Klingon (which he is, unless he's not enough of a Klingon and then...).

Anyway, the episode's dubious legal hoops are largely there to examine what motivates Worf at this stage in the game, and how much he is truly a Klingon, and what that means now that Klingons are once again something like adversaries (or, neither allies nor adversaries but maybe both, as Ch'Pok suggests). The episode-long question of whether Worf behaved wrong on the bridge does basically come down to his intent, and his intent is a mixture of several factors, including Klingon blood-lust, his desire to prove himself to his people, his desire for revenge, and his relative inexperience in command. As with "Dax," the episode zags in court and avoids answering the "question" of the episode, but "Dax" had a somewhat better-posed and less answerable question ("is a Trill responsible for the actions of their symbiont's previous hosts?") and the twist that let Dax off the hook on the stand also said something about her (and Curzon's) character. The question that the court case sort of poses is something like, "Is Worf's heart Klingon, but, like, Klingon in a bad way, I mean, or not Klingon enough but overcompensating Klingon," so that the irresolution in court is not quite as satisfying. Really, there's no reason Worf couldn't have accidentally killed some civilians in battle, in a way where he was genuinely not criminally responsible but still made what ends up being a bad command decision -- there are all kinds of military mistakes that are the result of bad judgment but are not reprimandable offenses. And until the twist, this episode did seem to be portraying a case where Worf was in a situation he was not entirely prepared for and made some decisions that maybe were just a fraction off, leading to lots of deaths, because, you know, *command*, in which charges should probably have been dismissed no matter whether Worf said he was hoping he'd go into battle at Quark's the day before or not. That the Klingons actually faked the -- it's too stupid, I'm not even going to say it -- feels like a cheat and even an unnecessary one.

The last scene between Sisko and Worf is pretty good though, and in particular because Sisko does seem to get through what the episode has really been suggesting: Worf made several errors in judgment, none of which were deserving of major charges or for him to be extradited, but all of which could potentially have resulted in loss of life which would have been catastrophic and would have been on Worf's conscience. That Worf could lose his cool in court and play Ch'Pok's dumb game, that Worf was excited at the prospect of battle and even shared that publicly, and that Worf did not check the ship before firing are signs that the transition from tactical, where his battle-readiness was appropriate and was also kept in check by Picard/Riker/Data, to command. But he is learning. That Worf's loneliness and resentment are coming out in his command decisions -- that he may have been taking out his anger over his loss of status and loss of his brother on the ships he was fighting -- is an interesting wrinkle for the character, and I do not think it is particularly damning at all given that it seems to me that other than not checking the decloaking ship -- i.e. his not considering the pretty remote possibility that a civilian ship would decloak in the middle of a battle -- his behaviour in battle was entirely appropriate.

The episode is pretty dull, really, and very by-the-numbers as a court case. The theatrical talking-in-flashbacks device is neat, though is not enough to save the episode. There is some good current-state material for Worf, but not really enough to sustain this episode. 1.5 stars.
William B - Wed, Nov 25, 2015, 11:19pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Accession

Summary: Jammer is right when he says the first four acts are much better than the last. The first four could have been a part of a great story, if the story were allowed to continue on. And even if the episode's material were largely dropped, the Sisko character development could go very interesting places...if the full implications of the Wormhole Aliens putting him through his paces to make him toe the line were examined. The series never quite points out how screwed up the way the Prophets treat Sisko and Bajor as a whole is.
William B - Wed, Nov 25, 2015, 11:15pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Accession

Part 2 of comment, which alas is not shorter at all:

I talked this episode over with my girlfriend a bit, and we discussed how the Bajorans' total eschewing of personal responsibility in letting the Emissary and tradition dictate their lives to them really does seem realistic. While Akorem having that much personal power and instituting changes so suddenly is implausible, the overall idea that big changes in opinion can happen very quickly, even on large scales, does seem valid. Given that it seems likely that a conservative/reactionary contingent of Bajorans, probably represented by Kai Winn, might have been stoking the fires regarding what has been lost in discarding d'jarras, it also seems as if Akorem may have been something of a figurehead for this change; he remains on the station, no doubt to be closer to the Prophets, but it also means that he does not set foot on Bajor. In that sense, what happens on DS9 seems to be Vedek Porta's trial run for what will become widespread on Bajor. That Bajor is damaged by the Occupation and is searching for a planetary identity in the wake of massive destruction means that returning to a caste system for religious reasons has got to be tempting to a lot of people.

So really it's not quite *what* happens that is my problem with the episode, though maybe aspects of it do bother me. The episode also obviously has the d'jarras be a Bad Idea, and so it is not as if the episode is advocating the instituting of a massive caste system for religious reasons. The issue I have is that the episode drops a bomb here -- the Bajoran social fabric is on the verge of being torn apart by an instability that zeroes in on the intersection of trauma, tradition and faith -- and then the episode just resolves it with "Prophets work in mysterious ways" material. Most particularly, that the Prophets set this in motion to force Sisko into taking on his role means that Sisko basically does come to accept responsibility for a whole planet of people, and while there no doubt are Bajorans out there able to see the problem of Akorem's social changes and the problem of Akorem having that much power just as much as Sisko is, it is ultimately only Sisko who can affect change, and within the episode it is only Sisko who is able to stand up for Bajor against Akorem's (sort of) well-meaning tyranny, and he can only do so by getting the gold star from the Wormhole Aliens who dictate who it is who gets to dictate social policy. Some of this is valuable to help Sisko recognize how much he cares about Bajor, but it leaves a pretty big gap in the story.

The episode shows the Bajoran perspective largely through Kira, who is ambivalent about Akorem's d'jarra policy, seems not to like the idea very much, does not particularly believe she has artistic talent and would have no interest in following that path, left to her own devices. But she is willing to try, and, eventually, willing to resign her commission and essentially give up her life on the station, which has become most of what her life *is*, because she would see herself giving up without devoting herself fully to her d'jarra as a failure of faith. Kira fights hard against external oppression, but her instincts telling her that this is not her path and not what she wants to do are helpless against commands from Above. Her scene with Odo as Akorem announces his Emissarydom officially highlights that the rapidly shifting Absolute Faith in individuals and how confusing this is to someone who is not locked within that faith; Sisko's word *as Emissary* was infallible and she would follow him to the ends of the galaxy, until Akorem, who says completely different and even opposite words, comes in and has the new infallibility, until Sisko gets it back, and we learn that Akorem didn't have all the answers after all. Kira mostly shrugs it off, and then the last scene she laughs about her sculpture and then gets weirded out by the (pretty unnecessary in this episode) time paradox and that's it. That Kira was willing to give up her self-direction entirely because Akorem insisted this was the way and he seemed to be the holiest of men, until he wasn't, goes mostly uncommented on.

Anyway, I realize that my biases are colouring my reaction here, so let me step back a moment: it is not Sisko's place to impose a set of values on Bajor, and to some degree it is not the place of the audience to fully judge them. As the discussion has been going in the "Bar Association" thread, to some degree we are meant to get into the minds of other societies and to take those values on their own terms. I am not exactly doing that here, and that suggests the ways the episode is both more and less complex than it seems: maybe Bajor has some sort of symbiotic relationship with its "gods" which is too precious for the Federation (or the Klingons or Cardassians or Ferengi or...) to mess with, and as long as it's possible that the Prophets really did intend for Akorem to be The Emissary, and that he would thus have the place to dictate what is and is not a holy manner of living, it may be hard to say for certain that the Bajorans are "wrong" to institute their caste system. The thing is, TOS explored what it meant for there to be powerful beings worshipped by humanoids all the time, and the powerful beings usually turned out to be computers that Kirk decided he should destroy to force people into freedom. Here, there are powerful beings who may or may not be "of Bajor," who may or may not have an actual hand in Bajoran history, especially since they have previously claimed total disinterest in corporeal life forms.

It's all very messy. In any case, if Jaro succeeded in taking over the Bajoran government and instituted the d'jarra system, Bajor's admittance into the Federation would be off the table, and the Federation and probably Ferengi and maybe even modern Klingons would recoil a little at the caste system being imposed on the Bajoran people. The Federation philosophy would oppose the restrictions on personal freedom, the Ferengi would oppose the idea that a person is limited in what they can acquire (though they have gender discrimination), and while the Klingons had a caste system there are implications that this is slowly dissolving and that people can succeed coming "from nothing." (Spoilerish: see some of the discussion in s7's "Once More Unto the Breach.") However, Bajorans are the only ones who should boss around Bajorans is the general rule here, and the Prime Directive does and should apply -- Sisko could make an impassioned argument against Jaro or Winn or Shakaar or Bareil or Kira or whatever other Bajoran political or military leader's decision about Bajoran people, but ultimately internal matters are internal. And hey, maybe the d'jarras work for Bajorans. We hear about the possible advantages of the d'jarra system, and it is consistent with the picture of a Bajor which is an artistic haven, that there really was an artisan class who *could* produce art and things of beauty without "having to" put up with the stuff of mere survival. I am not advocating for such a system, any more than I advocate for Klingon warrior ethos or Ferengi uber capitalism, but it makes sense to allow the Bajorans to decide what system works for them. And on that level for me to blithely suggest that Bajoran society is imploding because they are instituting a caste system is silly.

HOWEVER, we have never heard of the d'jarras before this episode, and Kira is basically our entire picture of the Bajoran reaction. Vedek Porta is part of the religious authority and he fully supports the Emissary, to the point where he later murders a guy. But Kira is the "everyBajoran," and mostly what we learn is that the d'jarra sucks for her and she would not be considering it at all if she didn't believe that the d'jarra suggestion had divine providence. Now, the necessity of Kira being the whole of Bajor in this episode is part of the problem with one-episode stories, and with the episode's introducing and removing it. If the d'jarras maybe could be "good" for Bajor -- or, more to the point, if a large proportion of Bajorans agree with Akorem that the d'jarras are a good idea, and the possibility has just not come up recently -- then that is interesting and should be taken on and weighed appropriately, and then the primary problems become whether or not the d'jarras are good for Bajorans as a whole, how they affect individual Bajorans, and how they affect Bajorans' relations with other cultures. However, if Kira is representative and it seems largely as if the d'jarras are taken for granted as an antiquated notion which has no place in modern Bajor and which are wholly inconvenient, BUT WE'LL REORGANIZE OUR LIVES TO FOLLOW THEM IF THE EMISSARY TELLS US TO, then the primary problems have to do with whether it makes sense for Bajorans to follow the Emissary wherever he tells them. I have largely been assuming the latter case -- that the d'jarras are far in the rear-view mirror for most Bajorans and that for the most part only remnants of the former aristocracy would want it to be reinstated, and even relatively few of those, Kira for one being much happier where she is. Moreover, I tend to assume that Sisko did not actually tell Bajorans as the Emissary to stop with this d'jarra stuff, which means that the fact that the d'jarra issue instantly disappears, at least from our perspective as audience members, suggest that the d'jarra enthusiasm was primarily based on the presumption of Akorem's divine inspiration and nothing else. And so it does seem that the issue is then all about how Bajorans relate to their Emissary.

So that being the case, the big questions that always come up come up here. Bajorans having a religion that dictates a lot of their spiritual life is an internal matter, if their Gods don't actually exist. Once they do exist, and communicate with them, then there are verifiable/non-verifiable claims, and moreover the noninterference becomes tricky because suddenly there is no "internal to Bajor" anymore, and the Prophets are as external to Bajor as the Cardassians (more so, in many ways), and so the question of how exactly Federation interlopers like Sisko are supposed to respond, particularly when they drag him into things as their Emissary. And again, it is really important to note that there are multiple levels here: Bajorans presume that the Wormhole Aliens are morally infallible and sit in judgment, etc., etc., and they also presume that they can interpret what the Prophets say, and then they also presume that if some guy saw the Prophets in the wormhole and then went through time, that they have to do everything he says because they presume that that is what the Prophets wanted. This episode resolve the telescoping issues by having it made clear that, no, Sisko is the real Emissary, which only scratches the surface of the issues here. Sisko is the Real Emissary, and Akorem is not, and that's great, but whether Bajorans should give the power to the Emissary that they do, or to the Prophets that they do, or that Sisko as Emissary should give himself over to the Prophets as much as he does here, are questions that remain unanswered and almost unexamined. Of course, this is an episode in an ongoing narrative, and that helps and harms it: it helps it because not everything has to be dealt with now, but it harms it because it may be that the issues are never really examined closely enough to disentangle them.

Oh and also, Bashir and O'Brien are friends. I actually like the subplot and I think that Keiko does indeed come across better than in other episodes (I agree with methane that Jane Espenson's good humour and perhaps female perspective helps). I agree with, eg., Elliott above that this seems unnecessary, especially in the middle of this particular episode. However I am inclined to think that more work to solidify the Bashir/O'Brien bond may be in order a few episodes before "Hard Time," and so I don't mind the subplot for itself, even though this is probably not an episode that should have housed it. It is interesting that O'Brien's joy at Keiko's return and his realization that he's going to be a father a second time is very shortly eclipsed by how he misses Bashir and Molly is not as fun a darts player, but I digress. Best moment of the episode probably is Worf's panicked reaction to finding out about Keiko's pregnancy.

I maybe make it sound like I don't like the episode, but that is not the issue exactly. I think that what it does, it does fairly well, but it is very difficult to ignore what the rushed ending leaves unsaid. 2.5 stars, I guess.
Diamond Dave - Wed, Nov 25, 2015, 4:31pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Past Tense, Part II

This basically boils down to a hostage drama and why it's OK to far as it goes - it's good to see Sisko kicking ass and taking names - but given we already know from Pt1 how the end will play out, if not the exact mechanism, then there isn't really a whole lot of suspense.

Add to that a number of irritating hostage cliches, some blatant moralising, and some somewhat misplaced humour it's OK but not much more than that. 2.5 stars.
Chrome - Wed, Nov 25, 2015, 3:37pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S1: Conspiracy


Good review, but minor nitpick. The doctor in this episode is Crusher, not Pulaski. Pulaski would never have been able to pull off the fake bluegill so well.
Diamond Dave - Wed, Nov 25, 2015, 1:45pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Past Tense, Part I

Not sold on this as much as many others. For me the social commentary is about as heavy handed as it gets - lets have Sisko and Bashir see how the poor live and Dax see how the rich live, and compare and contrast.

The contrived nature of how we arrive at this point is my other big problem with the episode - it relies on too many outrageous coincidences. The transporter malfunction is highly unlikey in universe. The time travel is to the place and time of a critical event in world history. Gabriel Bell happens to be the guy killed saving our heroes. The Defiant evades the timeline change because of the same contrivance as the transporter malfunction. And so on...

Now that said, this is pretty atmospheric and the out of time world is nicely realised. But really, this is a bit overblown. 2.5 stars.
Andy's Friend - Wed, Nov 25, 2015, 11:05am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Bar Association


"when a klingon episode shows up I accept that their values matter to them and look at the characters as part of that culture. And the writers do the same. When a Ferengi episode comes up I still try to understand their point of view but the writers don't."

William B is right: you hit the nail on the head here.
Next »Page 1 of 1,151
Copyright © 1994-2015, Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of any review or article on this site is prohibited. Star Trek (in all its myriad forms), Battlestar Galactica, and Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc., NBC Universal, and Tribune Entertainment, respectively. This site is in no way affiliated with or authorized by any of those companies. | Copyright & Disclaimer