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- Sat, Nov 22, 2014, 3:07am (USA Central)
- “Strike limits flame the dark true salt!” Colm Meaney has fun with those nonsense sentences.
- Quark is pretty great in this episode. His scene in the sickbay is a highlight.
- Odo’s defensiveness – “before I came aboard.”
- I like the Kira/Dax scene. I’m waiting for the first Dax-heavy episode to make final judgments about Farrell, but she’s not bad in small scenes, and the character is conceptually interesting. Sexuality must be a complicated issue for the Trill, what with all the past lives bearing down on the current one. This was touched on a bit in “A Man Alone”, and I like how Dax can’t quite resist male attention in this one.
- I like Odo being recruited to the bridge crew in the absence of anyone else.
- Avery Brooks is still pretty bad, but I did like the moments between Ben and Jake.
- I choose to suspend disbelief and pretend that Kira was reprimanded offscreen for kidnapping a doctor, but that was pretty cool.
- This episode worked really well when it dealt with the light-hearted aphasia stuff, but as the virus spiraled out of control and the tone became more urgent, “Babel” slackened. I’m not sure the show has earned the gravitas yet to tell a compelling medical thriller; the episode might have been on the whole more successful had they stuck with lighthearted filler. The show takes on a darker tone, but can’t fully commit to it. No deaths from the virus? I know it’s network television in the nineties, but come on.
- Characters were affected by the virus in exactly the right order for plot convenience.
- It seems to me that Kira was too quickly able to identify and locate the virus’s creator. Too easy.
- No fallout for Quark (unintentionally) endangering everyone on DS9.
- Not a single member of O’Brien’s staff can deal with the sorts of maintenance issues he was being called upon to fix early in the episode?
I actually liked this episode quite a bit more than the last – it was good fun at a number of different points – but there wasn’t much depth here.
- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 10:57pm (USA Central)
Persistence of Vision
The question of the quality of this little Bronte-esque holodeck novel is irrelevant. It could be the greatest work of literature imaginable, and it still shouldn't be included in the episodes.
Imagine, if you will, that you bought a novel, say, The Adventures of Joe Schmoe. A couple chapters in, the character Joe Schmoe picks up another novel, say, The Tale of Bob Mcgoo, and starts to read it. So for 5-10 pages or so, you are forced to read the fictional Tale of Bob Mcgoo instead of the Adventures of Joe Schmoe like you wanted to. Then Joe Schmoe's phone rings and it goes back to him for a few chapters, but then he starts up Bob McGoo again.
Does this sound like a book you would enjoy? It doesn't matter what the plot of Joe Schmoe or Bob Mcgoo is; it's ridiculous to try to read a story within a story like that. Oh sure, there are ways that it works out: Joe Schmoe is just a framing device and Bob Mcgoo is the real story, the themes of Bob Mcgoo parallel the themes of the real Joe Schmoe story, the plot of Joe Schmoe reading Bob Mcgoo is highly relevent to the story, etc. But if it's just because the author of Joe Schmoe wanted to tell the Bob Mcgoo story at the same time, it won't work.
And that's what we have with Janeway's holonovel. Ask yourself, do you know what the plot of any of Dixon Hill's adventures were? No! TNG just tossed a bunch of film noir cliches together and called it a day. It was used to introduce us to the holodeck (Big Goodbye), comedy (Manhunt), and to provide the theme of the story (Clues). We weren't supposed to care about the plot itself, and Picard certainly didn't carry a mystery novel across multiple episodes just to fill time. For all of TNG's many uses of the holodeck (and DS9 as well), none of them were to tell an alternate story for THAT story's sake. At worst, it told an alternate story using Trek's characters (like Our Man Bashir or Fistful of Datas).
That was why Janeway's holonovel is dumb. If you need to just show her relaxing, fine, do that. But do it quickly with a few cliche scenes, don't try to build up the whole dumb plot. Because we don't care. Nor should we care. If Jeri Taylor wanted to write a story about a British governess and a maybe-ghost mom, then she should have done it on her own time, not shoe-horned it into Trek. And I would feel the same way about any other holodeck storyline that just focused on the crew member acting out a play for its own sake, not for the sake of a greater episode.
But whatever, time to move on.
I'm kinda the opposite of Jammer here. The first part seemed to drag to me, but the latter half was great. Part of the problem is, looking back, the first part doesn't make as much sense as it should have. What was really happening? Was the alien just trying to make Janeway go insane first in order to get her out of the way? Or was he calibrating his psychic abilities? I don't know, I guess either story makes sense. All I know is, the paranoia of Janeway having hallucinations like that feels like something that we've seen before. The latter half, the war of wills, was new.
I like that they showed quite a few of the hallucinations from different members of the crew. It was cool to see Tuvok be one of the first people to succumb; one would expect him to hold out more. But his role as security officer meant he was probably more concerned with what was going on the screen than most, and thus fell first. I liked that Chakotay disappeared off the bridge filled with purpose, but never made it out of the turbolift. I liked seeing how Janeway and Paris tried to avoid their hallucinations, and did well for quite a while. And then Torres... well, that one seemed to come out of nowhere, but everyone else's temptations were fine.
I liked that Janeway ultimately failed. She wasn't telepathic or whatever or any more powerful than anyone else on the ship. The "iron will" idea is hard to believe, and seeing her human works better.
I liked Kes and the Doctor's team up. Seeing two people not used to technobabble have to deal with it was a nice tough, and it was enjoyable watching them awkwardly fuddle their way through it. And while it might get annoying seeing the Doctor constantly save the day, well, that's the price you pay for a character like that. The same thing happened on TNG with Data. And anyways, the back and forth between Kes and the alien was fun. Sure, we could assume that all her visions were not real, but you could see how Kes might be tempted. And the sores... yow! That was well directed. It got me to jump.
I like that nothing got resolved. I like that the crew nearly lost and had nothing to show for it. They are supposed to be isolated, alone, and stuck in a dangerous environment. If they could nearly all turn into zombies by this one person, and can't even catch him at the end, how are they going to survive? I think it fits the tone of the episode, providing even more paranoia. Would he ever come back? Would they have to live in perpetual worry that they will suddenly become zombies again? Of course, it's just a reset button, but still. Ignoring that, the end worked.
That said, the reset button did annoy me a bit. Neelix's comments at the beginning suggest that this was a pretty large expanse of space, and that lots of ships had trouble. So... is this a whole race of troublemakers? Or just one sociopath? If so many people were worried about this area in space, wouldn't this guy try again to prove himself? A part of me wished that this guy would have eventually been revealed as an Ocampa, as that might explain why Kes could reflect it. And it might have made the revelation quite dramatic and shocking. I don't know, it's just an idea. Either way, something more interesting should have happened in a follow up.
- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 10:55pm (USA Central)
The smug sanctimoniousness of first season TNG meets the smug sanctimoniousness of Pocahantas. There's a combination I didn't need. Yeah, I'm with the "this is ridiculously racist" crowd. Combine that with lame flashbacks to a backstory that provided absolutely zero surprises and provided zero drama, and this is probably the worst episode of Voyager so far.
And besides how insulting the plot is, just how stupid is the Voyager crew? So everytime they try to beam down or take a shuttle down, a storm appears, and they never suspect hostile intentions? Any particular reason why Tuvok missed that little logical step? After all, it never happened before, so to claim the transporter is causing the storm is completely absurd. An alien presence watching them is just as logical. Why did it not enter their mind? I guess for the same reason a hawk randomly attacked Neelix. Durn the details, full speed ahead! Who cares if the plot makes sense?
I don't even want to talk about the main plot. I was surprised to see a few people cheer the Doctor subplot. I mean, yes, he's a joy to watch as usual. But didn't everyone see exactly what was going to happen with that plot as soon as it started? It was about as derivative as possible. Of course he would start arrogant about his ability to cope at the beginning. Of course it would get worse over time. Of course by the end he would learn his lesson and be a massive complainer at the end. And of course his friend would be the one to provide a little twist. I mean, as a subplot, it's ok, but I'm not sure why it's so praiseworthy.
On the plus side, I'm starting to get the feeling that Heroes and Demons last year was an aberration. I complained then that the Doctor seemed way too sentient and human in that episode, far more than he should have been. Since then, though, his character has been toned down and feels a lot more like just a program. This is as it should be. I like him feeling like he is fine the way he is, that he isn't human and doesn't feel the need to grow, and has to be pulled into it by Kes. I'm glad to see I was a bit wrong about my rant in H & D.
- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 5:37pm (USA Central)
Little Green Men
Watching all star trek and enjoying it immensely. I watched up to season 3 when it first aired, so glad to pick up not having to wait for the next episode.
I liked this episode overall especially the historical connections.
I did feel that the time travel method was unbelievable taking into account Roms skill and a ship they flew for the first time. I found it even more unlikely they could return to the exact day they desired with absolutely no side effects. Surely if time travel could be controlled so easily, they could simply decide to time travel again to the past and give advanced tech to the Ferengi (or even check gambling numbers like he suggested in a previous episode).
Quark could go back in time and leave himself a sports almanac lol.
- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 1:00pm (USA Central)
A Man Alone
"So Bashir is a forensics expert as well? I guess in the future all doctors are omnidisciplinary."
It's funny that you pick up on that... looking into the future I really get why you think this is weird, but it fits him for multiple reasons. No spoilers though!
"Certainly the weakest episode so far, and a poor first outing for Odo. There were some nice beats, but mostly the story felt lazy. However, I suspect that there are worse DS9 episodes to come, just as I suspect that “Emissary” and “Past Prologue” are not the show at its best."
There are certainly worse this season, but the 2 final episodes this season are in my top 20, and there's a lot more good to come too :)
- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 12:55pm (USA Central)
"And they're just so goofy. "
You probably don't want to watch Star Trek 7 then, the movie where they were one of the primary bad guys :)
In either case, welcome to DS9! If you make it through to episode 19 I guarantee you'll like it!
- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 12:32pm (USA Central)
@Robert - I kind of suspected as much. Understandable on DS9's part, but unlike the Picard appearance in 'Emissary", the sisters didn't add much for me. And they're just so goofy.
- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 12:30pm (USA Central)
- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 12:28pm (USA Central)
A Man Alone
A Man Alone: C-
- Some nice continuity: We know from “Emissary” that DS9 seems to operate mostly under Bajoran law, which would explain why Odo can’t arrest Ibundan, since he’s already been freed on Bajor.
- The domestic stuff between the O’Briens is cool. Keiko isn’t played by the greatest actress in the galaxy, but it was a sweet subplot. Working Quark’s brother was amusing.
- Rene Auberjonois is probably the best actor on the show. Even with a relatively weak script like this one, he makes Odo’s most interesting qualities palpable. Here we see the character’s rigid notion of justice, his loneliness, his sense of purposelessness should he lose his position aboard DS9. Odo is not very nice, which helps to explain why he was an easy scapegoat. Also, he regenerates in a pail.
- Quark and Odo are a fun pairing, and I liked their later scene as well. But having Quark explicitly defend Odo to the Bajorans felt a little out of character from what little I know of Quark at this point.
- Not a flaw of this episode in particular, but I’m beginning to wonder when we’ll hear more information about the Gamma Quadrant. Who lives there? Are there ships passing through the wormhole from that direction? Has trade commenced?
- I’m liking the Sisko-Dax friendship, but these two performances are still the stiffest of the lot. I do want to know more about the life cycle of the Trill, however.
- Jake and Nog’s shenanigans. I know enough about Trek to know how poorly Wesley Crusher was received on TNG, so I’m actually pretty interested in what this show will do with Jake. Since he doesn’t have the same poor reputation as Wesley, presumably they either get things right (in terms of writing for a kid) or he remains a minor character. In any case, I’m glad he has a friend, but the scene where Keiko proposes the school and Sisko confronts Jake ends awkwardly, with Sisko kind of…lurching?...out of the shot.
- Not a fan of the teaser or the subsequent scenes between those two characters. Love-struck Bashir isn’t too interesting yet, and Terry Farrell is still finding her way with Dax. The bubble game irritated me; did you get that it’s from the FUTURE?
- So Bashir is a forensics expert as well? I guess in the future all doctors are omnidisciplinary.
- I don’t like how anyone can access information via computer. For example, when Odo examines Ibundan’s room, he is immediately able to see the murdered man’s personal itinerary. Important, perhaps, to the investigation of his death, but there seems to be poor information control aboard these ships.
- Sisko tells the mob he won’t comply with their demands to remove Odo from office, and then immediately complies with their demands to remove Odo from office. It’s not so much that his reason for doing so doesn’t make sense, he was just inconsistent.
- The whole mob sequence fell pretty flat to me. It makes the civilians aboard DS9 appear medieval that in the span of a few days they are bloodthirsty enough to execute a man only suspected of murder, and the scene had little dramatic tension. People shouting ‘shifter’ and ‘freak’ is more humorous than threatening. I can understand some resentment toward Odo for enforcing Cardassian rule, and it’s certainly a point I want explored, but that was never really brought up during the mob scene. Odo’s isolation among the stations’ denizens is probably a fruitful topic, just not in this episode.
- Bashir figuring out the clone thing and Odo’s final confrontation with Ibundan were rushed and infused with a little too much technobabble for a Trek novice like me. Ibundan is reduced to a very thin antagonist, whose only motivation is revenge on Odo.
Certainly the weakest episode so far, and a poor first outing for Odo. There were some nice beats, but mostly the story felt lazy. However, I suspect that there are worse DS9 episodes to come, just as I suspect that “Emissary” and “Past Prologue” are not the show at its best.
- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 11:11am (USA Central)
Sean - "Also Borg don't trip."
Thank you!! That whole scene took me right out of the episode (not that there was much going on there anyway).
We see Seven tripping, hair all disheveled, falling on her face, dropping the tricorder, sitting on a rock looking all forlorn and shivering...
Is she a teenage valley girl lost in the woods or a freakin' BORG?? They made the best badass on the series look like a damp dishrag. Talk about lack of character consistency.
K, I'm over it now.
- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 9:28am (USA Central)
Welcome Black_Goat. Looking forward to your comments.
- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 9:23am (USA Central)
An interesting concept, however, flawed from the start because of the choice of its protagonist - a series regular.
That being said, it was obvious from the start that O'Brien would fully recover from the experience. I am not saying that the episode was bad, or that Mr. Meaney did a bad job - quite the opposite actually. But it is hard to believe that a person who had the same experience would ever be remotely the same again, the more probable scenario would be that he'd go mad and not be fit for duty or any life in a civilised society at all.
Had it had a guest star as its protagonist, someone who wasn't essential for the series, and made him never recover, it would've made much more sense. But then, who would watch an entire episode about someone who we see for the first and only time?
- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 7:11am (USA Central)
"Think of what I wrote of selective breeding. Don’t you believe that the children of joined Trills, whose parents were already in the very top percentile of society, will have childhoods with possibilities of learning far above the average children? "
I do see your point to some extent. But do all the best and the brightest want a worm? I mean, Ezri's family seemed to slightly disdain the idea of joined Trills. Jadzia and Arjin were incredibly bright and both failed out.
Since having a symbiont put in changes you, I'd hope that some of the best of the best don't want them and still have kids. And regardless our leaders now who earn (instead of inherit) those leadership positions still get the advantage you speak of (like Chelsea Clinton for instance). Not even to mention that Wesley gets to serve on a Galaxy class starship because Captain Picard has the hots for his mommy.... how did THAT look on his resume :)
I just think it makes a difference to me that anybody CAN earn the symbiont, even if they are less likely to.
"What is more? “your name and your property”? Is this more? To a Vulcan, perhaps. But what if you believe in God? "
While I understand your point that losing property is not akin to being shunned in the eyes of your God, unless the planet is a theocracy (like maybe Bajor), one cannot really blame the world government for the actions of individual religions. We'll have to judge the world on the basis of it's laws I'd think.
But yes, to a Bajoran not being allowed to remarry in the eyes of God might be a great deal worse than losing some property.
- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 7:02am (USA Central)
I'm always one to question Janeway's command decisions but....
"KIM: The benamite crystals at the heart of this engine have already started to decay. It could take years to synthesise more. I don't know about the rest of you, but I didn't do all this work just to be stopped by a point four two phase variance. No offence, Captain."
"JANEWAY: It could be our only chance to use the Quantum Drive.
CHAKOTAY: True, but if you showed this data to any Starfleet engineer, they'd think we were out of our minds. We can find another way home. We've waited this long."
The episode seems to establish that the slipstream tech is a limited time opportunity. It's entirely possible they dismantled it and then spent years synthesizing more crystals and reviewing data for another attempt, but that Janeway didn't want to risk it again given what "happened/didn't happen" last time.
I suppose they could try to open up little jumps, but we're not even sure that they can. Maybe they little crystals can't open up 8 little 5 year slipstreams, and the 10 year jump almost got them killed.
I guess my point is that I'm just accepting that there's a good reason they can't make a bunch of little 3 year jumps that they don't have time to discuss on camera.
- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 6:40am (USA Central)
@Black_Goat - You said you were not a Star Trek fan, so I'm not sure how much Next Generation you've watched. In case you were not aware the Duras sisters were recurring antagonists on Next Generation and their inclusion was a marketing ploy to get TNG fans to watch DS9.
Likewise when you see Q and Vash in a few episodes, same deal :)
- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 3:47am (USA Central)
Just watched this episode. I, too, was annoyed by the whole unnecessary "duplicate earth". And also pretty annoyed that the entire crew left their "cell phones" when they walked out of the room. Really?!?!
But other than those two things, I liked it overall. Though there were times they didn't ask questions that I thought they should. Also… seemed like the Doc would have been more involved with things, but perhaps I'm nitpicking now.
That said… I seem to remember running into a bunch of kids like this in Fallout 3 (or maybe New Vegas). Not sure if it was a direct homage to this episode, but I found it interesting.
- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 1:54am (USA Central)
Just watched this ep over at streamup.com.
"The Slipstream lets them travel 10,000 in a matter of minutes and Janeway orders the damn thing taken apart! I could almost hear the log entry: "If the crew can't get us home in one big jump, then I'm not interested. Its the principle of the thing!"
This is exactly what I was thinking. Why couldnt they make little jumps at a time? 3 star ep from me.
- Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 1:33am (USA Central)
Past Prologue: B+
- Garak is excellent, and I already know that we’ll be seeing more of him. He’s a wonderfully quirky character, and as morally ambiguous as the rest of this episode. I do wonder why he approached Bashir of all people (other than the fact that Bashir is a regular). Perhaps he sees that Bashir is full of enough self-importance to be easily manipulated.
- I’m liking Bashir, though he’s almost too bumbling at points – unlike “Emissary”, this episode didn’t showcase his medical skills to balance out the naïve fluttering. But that first scene with Garak was funny, as was the follow-up where he tries to convince the bridge crew to wire him.
- Odo. His nostalgia for the simpler days under Cardassian occupation, his inability to fake pretense, his basically straightforward way of handling Kira’s indecision – this is a character I’m growing more and more interested in.
- And speaking of Kira, this was a great episode for her. The conversations with Sisko, Tahna, and Odo reveal a certain degree of guilt about working with the provincial government of Bajor and the Federation, but I like the argument she makes about still fighting for her people, just in a new way.
- The whole plot really fit together rather neatly. Tahna is manipulating Kira while working with the Klingons, who are planning on betraying him to the Cardassians. Garak, somewhat fascinatingly, plays both sides of the fence by roping in Bashir, which allows Sisko to apprehend Tahna instead of the Cardassians. Sisko and Odo test Kira, who decides to betray Tahna. I enjoyed guessing who would end up playing who.
- Thematically rich episode, dealing with the delineation between warfare and terrorism, past and present, duty (to one thing) and duty (to another). Going back to “Emissary”, I might argue that Kira’s decisions in this episode validate some of the stuff Sisko says about pursuing the unknown based on our culminated experiences; she knows that the actions of the Kohn-Ma are no longer viable so she chooses to go with the Federation.
- Tahna is pretty good in the earlier parts of the episode, and I like the ways in which he tests Kira. Even his eventual goal of destroying the wormhole is understandable. But it was probably a mistake on the writers’ part to let him start slapping Kira around; that very quickly burned away my sympathy for him and eliminated some of the episode’s moral ambiguity.
- Avery Brooks was better in this episode, although he was given less to do. I’m enjoying Sisko’s relationships with Kira, Odo, and Bashir, but Brooks is just so stiff, physically, in certain scenes, and some of his deliveries are quite wooden.
- The Klingon sisters were pretty goofy and awful, though functional within the plot.
- The chase sequence at the end was weak, and poorly edited to boot. I was confused as to what was happening at the end in regards to the wormhole and the bomb.
- Little follow-up to certain aspects of the pilot, especially the religious ones.
- Jake and Quark were no-shows this week, while Dax and O’Brien were given little to do. This is certainly understandable given the show’s large cast, but it’s still disappointing.
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 11:09pm (USA Central)
Hey all. Not much of a Star Trek fan, but people have been telling me DS9 is up my alley for years, so I've decided to finally give it a go. I thought I'd post some thoughts and a grade for each episode as I go along, since this seems to be a good site for that. Remember, I haven't really seen much other Trek (watched a few TNG episodes and it didn't do much for me), though I have a layman's knowledge of the universe and its characters. Hopefully I'll still be able to enjoy DS9: I'm a sci-fi fan generally, and the serialization and character focus that I've heard this show possesses appeals to me.
These are just my opinions. I'll do bullet points, good, mixed, and bad, although I'm sure some will get lengthy. I won't hold the special effects against the show, as I understand that it's from the early nineties :)
Without further ado,
- Strong introduction to most characters; the ensemble seems diverse and interesting enough to handle many different stories. Standouts include Kira, Odo, and Dax.
- The political situation vis-à-vis Bajor and the Cardassians is immediately compelling, especially as embodied by Dukat. More broadly, the premise of the show has lots of things going for it: Religion, wormhole gods, post-occupation governance, etc. As a Trek virgin, if the religious aspects of this show go against things established in other Treks, it probably won’t really bother me as long as it’s interesting, since I have no frame of reference.
- Much of what occurs between Sisko and the Prophets is interesting; particularly their childlike innocence as to the nature of linear human progression.
- “Domestic inquiry” – some cuteness between Sisko and his wife.
- Kira commanding DS9 against the Cardassians.
- O’Brien and the computer. They’ll have to have a talk.
- Sisko and Dax; nonromantic friendships between male and female (kinda?) characters are cool.
- Kira and Bashir, where the good doctor basically calls the Bajorans provincial – one of the great things about ensemble shows is to see how different characters work when paired together.
- Ben Sisko. There are many times in the episode where Avery Brooks’s acting is less than ideal; he often seems overly mannered in a way that Patrick Stewart – who himself plays an intentionally mannered character very naturally – does not. The prologue was much less affecting than it could have been because of this. A few bizarre moments, especially his little yelp on the beach with Jennifer. Yet there are moments where he transcends, particularly during his talk with the Prophets. I enjoy that he is neither overly brooding nor particularly bitter; rather, he is a good man thrust into a situation he would rather not be in (commanding DS9), and then another (being the titular Emissary).
I was surprised that his arc of overcoming Jennifer’s death was seemingly resolved so quickly, but his final scenes in the wormhole were effective, where he comes to grips with his halted existence, were effective. Also good: His scenes with Picard and Quark, the latter of which shows the character’s pragmatism. Both scenes with Picard worked for me: Sisko’s imprudent anger, Picard’s disgust, and their accord at the end.
I do wish the episode had featured more of his response to being told by the Opaka that he is essentially destined to become the savior of the Bajorans – a people he is not at all acquainted with – via finding the orbs and their holy realm.
- Which leads me to my next point. Bajoran theology is interesting if not jaw-dropping, and I suspect there is more to these eight Orbs than is explained in this episode, but all the information that has been conveyed so far seems a bit rushed, especially because the discovery of the wormhole beings would presumably be an incredible theological milestone for the Bajorans. Also underdeveloped: the Cardassians’ reasons for wanting to make contact with the Bajoran Prophets. Hopefully these things are explored more fully in future installments; follow up is good!
- A lot of pretty boring technobabble, but I knew this was coming.
- That scene where Sisko and Dax experience different realities on the wormhole-god-planet is pretty painful; Avery Brooks is further brought down by bad dialogue and the attempt at humor is lame.
- The Cardassian commander (not Dukat, the other one) is extremely overacted.
- Jennifer is okay when she is a manifestation of the Prophets, but the actress is as stilted as Avery Brooks during his vision of the beach.
- Probably the Sisko-wormhole alien segment drags on longer than was necessary.
In short, some excellent world-building and character introductions, and the initiation of themes that I hope the show continues to explore (I especially like Sisko’s assertion that the crux of human existence is the unknown). Brought down a bit by under-explained aspects of the show’s universe and some mediocre acting on the part of guest stars and, unfortunately, the lead.
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 9:46pm (USA Central)
Treachery, Faith, and the Great River
Fantastic episode. One thing I really, really like here is the Nog storyline. THIS is how the Ferengi should have been portrayed more often, for some balance and so it wasn't always negative caricature. It's one of the rare cases in which Ferengi philosophy and spirituality is shown in a positive manner and with some depth.
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 5:51pm (USA Central)
ROBERT ― “I can see the consequences, but a Duke doesn't earn their title the same way a Trill earns”
Allow me ask: can you see the *long-term* consequences?
Think of what I wrote of selective breeding. Don’t you believe that the children of joined Trills, whose parents were already in the very top percentile of society, will have childhoods with possibilities of learning far above the average children? Don’t you think that when they have reached adulthood, they will have higher probabilities of passing the necessary tests or requirements to join? In time, will their greater ease at passing the tests not raise the bar?
Should the Trills pass laws prohibiting descendants of joined Trills in a number of generations to join themselves?
If not, how many generations will it take before only the children of joined Trills will be able to pass the necessary requirements?
ROBERT ― “these [Vulcan] laws seem to dictate a lot more than "in the eyes of the [Catholic] church".
To you, perhaps. To a Vulcan, most probably. But to a Catholic?
What is more? “your name and your property”? Is this more? To a Vulcan, perhaps. But what if you believe in God?
Is it possible that laws which are of a very different nature and of seemlingly very different importance can feel equally important to very different people?
I’m just giving you food for thought. But this last question is directly related to "Cogenitor".
ROBERT ― “I think perhaps that too, is in the eye of the beholder :)”
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 3:29pm (USA Central)
"I do find it odd that a species that has five different varieties, which would have undoubtedly have had a bajillion wars with each other"
I think you're thinking too geocentrically, that's what us humans would do, perhaps the Xindi all grew up in peace. I believe the Xindi that was in the mine as a forced laborer said something along the lines of 'There are five different species of Xindi, and five different perspectives of which is the dominant species', this doesn't mean they are hostile to each other.
I thought the Xindi civilization was well thought out, just poorly executed and a poor storyline, it had a lot of potential but was crushed.
First off, why the hell would the Xindi tip there hand with the probe attack? If they needed to test it, why not just test it on a uninhabited world or something. Thanks to that Enterprise goes out looking for the attackers and ultimately convinces them to stop what they're doing, come on, I'm sure a civilization advanced enough to build a weapon to destroy an entire planet is smarter then that.
I've watched every series of Star Trek excluding TAS, and frankly I'm a bit disappointed, it kind of feels a lot like a really long JJ Abrams film, a rubbish storyline that doesn't really make sense but a lot of action, and for me the story line is what really makes Star Trek special. There were some good episodes that I did enjoy, Enterprise did have some unique humor that I didn't see it any other series, and the whole threat of genocide was new and with better writing could have been good, personally I think Braga or whatever his name is ruined the series.
Nice review Jammer, I'm not a big reader but that was a pleasure to read.
Live long and prosper!
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 3:00pm (USA Central)
I'm re-watching DS9 for the first time. I barely remembered the pilot but I found it incredibly representative of how the whole series turned out.
I've liked DS9 but there were some major flaws that give me a love/hate relationship with it. And all of the them are very present in this pilot: the ridiculous religious themes which go against everything that is Star Trek, the Ferengi, but most of all, Sisko. I hate Sisko. And I guess that's why DS9 is my second least favourite Star Trek series (after TOS): Each series is so defined by its captain that if you don't like the captain you can't love the series. Sisko is a hot head, way too emotional, always looking angry. The scene with Picard speaks volume. Not only is he resentful (the reasons for which you may or may not agree with him about) but he is incapable of controlling himself. He looks like a caricature of a human in a bad Vulcan parody act. Impatient, emotional, aggressive... I don't like Sisko. Anyway - I've just embarked on 7 seasons of DS9 so I guess I'll just have to bear with him again.
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 2:41pm (USA Central)
"And our good Spanish Duke doesn't even begin to compare with what a joined Trill is. And as I said, only the best and the brightest get to be a joined Trill. So the best and brightest get joined, and have babies. If you cannot see the long-term consequences of this..."
I can see the consequences, but a Duke doesn't earn their title the same way a Trill earns their symbiont. People (for better or worse) think less unkindly of earned privileges than inherited ones.
"Not really. It depends. A billion and a half Catholics and Orthodox on Earth today can’t get a Church divorce."
Ok, but the Catholic Church is a private institution. It's not quite the same as the government saying you cannot separate from someone you are married to!
"What I am saying is, that in spite of William B.’s thourough analyses of minor details in the Vulcan marriage and divorce rituals, we still know next to nothing about them."
In Amok Time "For you would be gone, and I would have your name and your property, and Stonn would still be there." these laws seem to dictate a lot more than "in the eyes of the church".
"Now, there may be little culture in the US"
I think perhaps that too, is in the eye of the beholder :)
- Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 2:26pm (USA Central)
Robert, and William B.,
ROBERT ― "I actually don't see Trills failing in the way you suggest.
All Trills CAN be joined. If everyone has an equal chance at a symbiont [...] as long as everyone has an equal shot I will argue that equality is achieved."
I never said otherwise. But you seem to miss the point: being joined is far, far more than being admitted to Starfleet Academy. You are actually tranformed. You become some sort of superior being(s). A Starfleet officer, even an Admiral, only has authority with the framework of Starfleet. Out on the street, he is your average Joe. A joined Trill is a joined Trill everywhere.
I actually had a very interesting discussion once about this, trying to describe the differences between what is a Viceroy, and what is a titled noble: ranks, privileges, and such. It boils down to this: a Viceroy represents the Monarch, and rules in his stead. But his power is confined, in space, and in time. Outside his Viceroyalty, he enjoys lesser privileges. After his term has ended, he is what he was before.
A Duke is a Duke, whether he is 8 years old or 88. He enjoys all the privileges of his rank at any time, anywhere within the realm and the empire, and in the good old days in other kingdoms and empires as well. Until a few years ago when Spain joined the European Union, for example, every Spanish Duke held a diplomatic passport as default. He was seen as an old lineage, an embodiment of history, and a representative of the Kingdom of Spain. He was more than a man.
And our good Spanish Duke doesn't even begin to compare with what a joined Trill is. And as I said, only the best and the brightest get to be a joined Trill. So the best and brightest get joined, and have babies. If you cannot see the long-term consequences of this...
ROBERT ― "What troubles me more (and I wished they had touched on it), is who is Dax? What if Dax hates Jadzia? Could it?" etc.
Good question. It really hasn’t been too well described to us, has it? I guess your guess is as good as mine.
Other than that, a few comments on cultural diversity, ever my main topic:
ROBERT ― ”we're discussing self-determination and equality as universal requirements to Federation membership. Being able to have your divorce denied is a serious (IMHO) violation of #1.”
Not really. It depends. A billion and a half Catholics and Orthodox on Earth today can’t get a Church divorce. We will much, much sooner see married priests in the Catholic Church again ― just like in the early Church, something which the Orthodox churches have maintained to this day ― than see Rome abandon the principle of “usque ad mortem”. I see no problem in this whatsoever: it is coherent. If you believe in a god, and promise him in a holy sacrament to stand by your spouse till death does you part, it is the only thing to do. If you take your god or gods seriously, you must also take your promise to him or her or them seriously.
Most Protestant churches have subverted the sacrament of marriage. And they do so because they maintain the “usque ad mortem” ritual, while abandoning it in practice: the far majority of Protestants ― take the Lutherans ― promise unto God “till death does us part” at the altar, and half of them get a divorce within a decade, and then promise it again to enother. There is a name for this practice, and that name is hypocrysy. Where Catholic and Orthodox marriages are events of the utmost solemnity ― a forever binding promise to a spouse and a god ―, many, perhaps even most, Protestant ones are not.
There are many Lutheran priests (about a third) who are against this, just like there are many Lutheran priests who are against women as priests; I happen to know personally a woman priest who, paradoxically, would vote for denying herself and her sex the option, for instance. But historically, all Lutheran churches have been state churches of the northern European states, unlike the independent Roman Catholic Church. So when these states became more democratic and egalitarian a hundred years ago, they simply forced their churches to be the same.
I’ll give you an example: the present government Minister of the Church in Denmark, Manu Sareem, is a Muslim. He’s a kind and well-intentioned young man, but he knows precious little of Christianity. But it doesn’t matter, because the Church of Denmark is a state church run by an elected governnment minister and his bureaucrats, who then appoint clerics to the positions. The Church of Denmark can just as well be run by a Muslim as by a Satanist.
What I am saying is, that in spite of William B.’s thourough analyses of minor details in the Vulcan marriage and divorce rituals, we still know next to nothing about them. The single act of matrimony is a huge question, even contemplating only Christian churches. When you start considering all the fringe movements ― Adventists, Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, and so on and so forth, in an amazing list ― you realise Christian matrimony is quite the complicated thing.
And keeping with the theme of alien cultures in this thread: how can we be sure that Vulcan matrimony isn’t as complicated a thing? Are we to believe that there is just one simple set of rules and vows and rituals that is used throughout Vulcan? Or are there not quite possibly many regional variants, with certain philosophical differences between them? Are we fundamentalists, and believe only and everything that is explained on screen as the Absolute Truth? Or do we understand that we are most likely only being shown a part of that truth?
It is a huge problem on Star Trek that nearly all worlds are treated in such a simplistic way. We see most worlds treated as a single, uniform culture, and end up treating most aliens as caricatures: the Vulcans are thus, the Cardassians are thus. This can be excellent, and indeed quite necessary, when dealing with stories that require archetypes. But it is also dangerously close to saying that the yellow man is silent and diligent, and the negro isn’t very bright, but he can sing and dance.
We don’t want to say such things, do we? This is why I normally dislike very strongly too much focus on specific details, unless it is to answer specific questions. Otherwise, we end up focusing too much on those details. William B. did a great job of going through many minor details of Vulcan ritual; but to me, much less is needed to tell me what I need to know: the Vulcans are qualitatively different.
The details aren’t really important: trying to analyse them makes as much sense as trying to define some remote, exotic community in a mountain valley in India or China by the six days I spent in their company: it’s best avoided. I am content to know of their existence, and to have a vague notion of who they are.
But when this remote, exotic community doesn’t occupy an idyllic mountain valley in the Himalayas, but a whole planet, I *must* presume that they are not only different from us: they must also be different from each other. Why would the Vulcans ever have developed the philosophy of IDIC in the first place if they were a uniform culture?
It is ironic, isn’t it? I’m guessing that most people on this forum have only the vaguest of notions about true Earth diversity. It puzzles me, for instance, to build on my previous comment to William B., as a Western European, to see the Federation so often described here by commenters as “the West”, and not as what it is truly is, “the USA”. Certain subject matters aside, the very earthlings I see in Star Trek aren’t really my West, and how I predict it will develop. A more Eurocentric 24th century Earth would emphasize the IDIC to a much higher degree than Star Trek does, because it is also our nature: we are, in fact, diverse in Europe. The Earth of Star Trek worships the complete opposite, the traditional “melting pot” philosophy of America.
Who, but Keiko Ishikawa and the Token Indian who is far from the bones of his people, shows any sign of an individual cultural heritage? Picard did, in the very beginning; he even said "Merde!" once, such a beautiful word if you know how to pronounce it, in all its nuances. But Picard's Frenchness was never fully developed, and sadly all too soon abandoned. And all the others are absolutely anonymous: they have no culture.
If I didn't love Star Trek so much I'd be insulted: it depicts my native southern European culture(s) as indistinguishable from the northern European culture(s) I now live in, which is preposterous, and will be three hundred years from now. If anything, people in the future will emphasize old, local rituals and traditions in order to affirm their cultural identity. We already see this happening in the European Union today.
But Star Trek has to resort to Keiko the Japanese and the extremes of the Far East in order to show that vestiges of culture still exist. All other characters are virtually cultural blank slates. Now, there may be little culture in the US, but there is plenty of it, and very diverse, in Europe ― not to mention the rest of the world. And I'm guessing that there will be too in 24th century outer space. The writing of Star Trek, and its vision of the future, merely reflects where it was created.
This is at the heart of the matter of "Cogenitor".
ROBERT ― “It would be fascinating to live in another country for a time though. I'm sure I'd get a whole new perspective on many things I take for granted. So perhaps neither of us is right and both of us see it through the lens of our own experiences.”
Amen, my friend.
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