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Sat, Apr 21, 2018, 11:49am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Thirty Days

"In short, he disobeyed orders for a reason. That to me is somewhat interesting, because it reveals a "real" Tom Paris. Not one who is watered down to brainless compliance, resulting in the token Lt. One-Liner we've often seen."

I agree with what Jammers says here, but unfortunately we've had 4 seasons of Lt. One-Liner now. At this point, THAT is his character. So this sudden love of the ocean making him willing to disobey orders is a big character flip. Not as bad as if they made Harry or Neelix suddenly go rogue, because at least there is SOMETHING is Tom's backstory that foreshadows it.

I feel like these new character traits, ie Tom's love of all things oceanic, seem to be conjured up to serve one episode's plot, so it is hard to take seriously. Does it ever come up again in future episodes? At least his Hot Rod fetish, and Holodeck programming is consistent enough.
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Sat, Apr 21, 2018, 10:21am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due


I actually didn’t start watching broadcast TNG until season 5. But the local Fox affiliate reran two episodes of TNG every weeknight. This one, “Code of Honor” and “Up the Long Ladder” weren’t in the rerun rotation. I saw all the others, including “Conspiracy” in full gore though.
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William B
Sat, Apr 21, 2018, 5:54am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Seventh Season Recap

You know what, I'm going to do the season-end thing EXCEPT FOR ENDGAME now. Endgame is its own kettle o' fish.

Ratings, with difference from Jammer's rating in parentheses:

Unimatrix Zero Part 2: 1.5 (-1)
Imperfection: 3 (=)
Drive: 2.5 (=)
Repression: 1 (-0.5)
Critical Care: 2.5 (-0.5)
Inside Man: 1.5 (-0.5)
Body and Soul: 2.5 (-0.5)
Nightingale: 1.5 (-0.5)
Flesh and Blood: 3.5 (=)
Shattered: 2 (=)
Lineage: 4 (+0.5) (yes really -- it resonates with me in a personal way)
Prophesy: 1.5 (-0.5)
The Void: 3 (=)
Workforce Part 1: 3.5 (=)
Workforce Part 2: 3 (=)
Human Error: 2.5 (+0.5)
Q2: 1 (-0.5)
Author, Author: 4 (=)
Friendship One: 1.5 (-1)
Natural Law: 1 (-1)
Homestead: 2.5 (-0.5)
Renaissance Man: 2.5 (=)

So this averages to 2.4 or so, which isn't terrible, and there are a number of very good shows. The season also has something like arcs in the Holographic Rights material, the Paris/Torres story and in the crew's increasing connection to home, and both the midseason two-parters are good. Neelix gets a mostly good send-off, as well. On the minus side: Tuvok is pretty badly neglected and his one show, Repression, is particularly bad; the Seven material seems to mostly dry up after Imperfection, with Human Error not quite working and Natural Law being a near-total waste, losing out on one of the usually strong links; and some of the characters have either no final statements or a limp, almost pointless one (Nightingale for Kim, Shattered for Chakotay). The movement toward slightly greater serialization happens a bit too late to have a lot of impact except in terms of the Doctor and Paris/Torres (especially Torres) and there is an awful lot of chaff or sleepwalking shows. I'd say that overall, I'd recommend Imperfection, Flesh and Blood, Lineage, The Void, Workforce, and Author, Author, and that's only 7 stories, though admittedly it amounts to 9 when we count two of them as two-parters; there are, however, a lot of semi-successful eps in the 2.5-star range, including eps like Homestead, which is basically successful in its primary goal and it's just the material around it that brings it down. It's Voyager, I guess, which means it's consistently inconsistent and disappointing, with glimmers of the better show it could have been -- but enough to keep me interested, despite the negative tone I get when talking about it. We'll see how Endgame plays for me this time around.
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William B
Sat, Apr 21, 2018, 5:28am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Renaissance Man

Oh right -- it also occurred to me when watching this that the Doctor defying the captain's direct order in order to protect her is the same thing that Riker had done and that made Picard interested in him as a first officer, as discussed in Encounter at Farpoint. I'm sure it's not an intentional echo, but I think it's kind of neat to have some callbacks to the beginning of the TNG TV era as it's about to close. (DS9 was much more explicit in having direct call backs to TOS' Where No Man Has Gone Before in its finale.)
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William B
Sat, Apr 21, 2018, 5:18am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Renaissance Man

Since I'm in a ranking mood, my overall take on how the characters were handled (both writing and acting) -- not counting Janeway, who is a separate, difficult case -- from best to worst:

The Doctor
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William B
Sat, Apr 21, 2018, 5:18am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Renaissance Man

Doctor episode rankings (by quality and Doctor-ness):

Latent Image
Living Witness
Author, Author
Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy
Flesh and Blood
Someone to Watch Over Me
Message in a Bottle
Life Line
Critical Care
The Swarm
Real Life
One (basically a two-hander with Seven for a while)
Renaissance Man
Body and Soul
Heroes and Demons
Nothing Human

So overall a pretty good set of episodes, with only a few losers -- and even them not terrible -- and several real winners among the series' best. Definitely the best character arc of the series, even if it comes from humble beginnings (e.g. Heroes and Demons ain't much to speak of, IMO).

And thus ends my "character ep rankings". I'm not doing one for Janeway -- too many to sift through (since the default episode is "about Janeway" insofar as being about the captain). For other characters see: Fury (Kes), Drive (Paris), Repression (Tuvok), Nightingale (Kim), Prophesy (Torres), Natural Law (Seven, Chakotay), Homestead (Neelix).
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William B
Sat, Apr 21, 2018, 5:12am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Renaissance Man

I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. I agree that it's not great as a penultimate episode and is full of holes -- for example, how long exactly was B'Elanna repairing Janeway's replicator, without noticing that Janeway was not there, for the Doctor to impersonate her for so long? did he break Janeway's replicator? -- and that the villains are obviously stock characters. Nor do I think it's as good as Tinker, Tenor, or even The Game in terms of one-crew-member-against-the-crew, let alone the bravura opening act of Brothers.

*However*, I think it's a bit better than the thread generally gives it credit for. The episode opens with the Doctor fully embracing his non-human-ness and technological mastery, but also emphasizes that what he really wants is for he and Janeway to be better friends. Then as the episode goes on, we see his technical wizardly and mastery as he impersonates a number of the crew and keeps the crew on their toes, and it's all to the end of saving Janeway. Then he has that infamous "the crew can survive without its warp core...but not without its captain!" line, which -- if we take it literally -- means that the Doctor, despite his embracing his technological nature, at the same time still holds life as primary over tech, thus fulfilling his original nature as "do no harm" doctor even above all the other things he adds. Renaissance Man or no, he's still a doctor, and will do anything to save his patient. However, while that line is justly derided if taken literally -- no, the ship can't "survive without a warp core," they'll be stranded, etc. -- what the Doctor actually does is find a way to save both. Janeway suggests that the Doctor has command subroutines that will mean he's concocting some sort of plan to fool the ex-Hierarchies, and at the moment she's mostly BS-ing, but actually she's right, in that the Doctor is working on a way to alert Voyager to his real location in a way that relies on the crew's detailed knowledge of the Doctor's personality (he wouldn't get Blue Danube so wrong). His risky, maybe hubristic plan is to bring the warp core so that Janeway doesn't get killed and then bring a Voyager shuttle so that the warp core and Janeway (and himself) get recovered, validating both the human and the technical as essential parts of the ship -- and thus validating, indirectly, himself as both versatile technology and life form. His betrayal of the crew to carry out this mad-dash plan is on a shipwide scale and involves various technical tricks, but then at his "deathbed" gives way to various personal confessions, and those are the ones he's actually embarrassed about, again emphasizing the primacy of his personhood over his technological wizardry. And the very end is Janeway offering to go spend time with him as a person. I'm put in mind of the end of All Good Things with the poker game. So the episode actually seems to me to be thematically sound about balancing technological and personal, within the Doctor and within Voyager, and doing so within the context of a fun (if kind of stupid) romp, and it seems to me to be continuing the Doctor's character arc. I mean, yes, I'd probably prefer Author Author as a final statement on the character too, but this isn't bad and actually does seem to me to have some things to say.

I mean, it still is pretty dumb in plot stuff, but with some fun elements -- I like how Tuvok doesn't let the Doctor hypospray him, and the bit with the dozens of Doctors in the holodeck -- so I won't exactly fully recommend it, but I think it earns a sold-to-high 2.5 stars.
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Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 11:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Ashes to Ashes

Pretty lame episode for the most part that gets mildly interesting when we really start to understand Ballard's quandary -- but there's too much here that doesn't really inspire, not to mention continuity issues and just recreating stuff in retrospect (minor nitpick, for me).

Neat idea these Kobali who procreate by salvaging the dead. What's the probability that they'd come across Ballard's body in space -- and what's the probability that Kobali Ballard would find Voyager 6 month's later? Absolutely minuscule -- another minor nitpick.

The B-plot with 7 taking charge of the Borg kids was also predictable and uninspiring -- so she finally lets up on being a hard-ass after Chakotay denies her request to stop having to supervise the kids. No big deal here. But I like her line: "Fun will now commence." And the kids are lousy actors -- like when Icheb swipes the tokens off the stiff.

Paris had a good line about the women Harry Kim tries to hook up with -- this time with the "dearly departed". Kim's growing love for Ballard was supposed to be one theme of this episode but it wasn't compelling and Kim's always going to be at best a mediocre character that never "achieves" anything.

It would have been good to see a returning character that we knew instead of Ballard who we didn't know so that we could feel more implicated in the conflict in the mind of the transformed individual -- like why not the Federation engineer who became subordinate to Torres for example? Here, Ballard lashing out, talking weird etc. was just mostly frustrating to watch.

2 stars for "Ashes to Ashes" -- the whole idea of Kim's lost love and more importantly the inner struggle of Ballard -- the wrong characters/actors for an episode that could have been emotionally riveting. Maybe the Kobali father potentially losing a daughter was the most moving, albeit not very. Pretty lame/tame stuff from a decent idea, just not executed well.
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Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 9:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Warhead

I'm glad I'm watching on Amazon. I swore Jenkins looked familiar so I was able to quickly look it up. It's Mackenzie Westmore of 'Face Off' fame. She was so adorable back then. She really needs to slow down the plastic surgery. So-so episode.
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Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Counterpoint

Janeway was hot in this episode! Genuine on-screen chemistry between her and the inspector! And she outsmarted him in the end! Bravo Janeway!
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Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Broken Bow

A solid premiere for ENT that does what a premiere should do and distinguishes itself from TNG, DS9, and VOY. It's a pretty basic story/plot but it establishes a number of things for the series to follow up on, so there are a number of interesting questions (like how did the Klingon/Suliban get to Earth, why are the Vulcans such assholes, what is this temporal cold war etc.). But for me, "Broken Bow" is the 2nd best Trek premiere (not counting TOS): clearly superior to "Encounter at Farpoint", a tad better than "Caretaker" and "The Vulcan Hello/Battle at the Binary Stars", but not quite as good as "Emissary".

The first part is better than the second part and that's due to its freshness and setting the background. The second part is largely action and tech focused. Right off the bat, Archer makes an impression threatening to knock T'Pol on her ass -- he's a good, interesting character for me.

The first part also benefits from scenes like departing for the first time, the Zefram Cochrane speech -- all the awe-inspiring Trek stuff. Not to mention the visuals, technology, filming are better than DS9/VOY. The idea of a prequel is great -- I like how this series doesn't take transporters for granted and the universal translator can't even handle Klingonese yet. So there are some very real challenges for Enterprise and so far that seems appropriately handled. The crew is naive but super curious, as it should be.

The problem from the start with ENT is that, other than Archer and Trip, the other crewmembers are dull. Not a fan of how the Vulcans are portrayed and have to wonder how/why they've been allowed to hold back Earth's development for nearly a century -- ridiculous. Archer knows what his dad went through and that nags at him. At least at the end he grows and admits his grudges to T'Pol after she proves her worth.

The Suliban are interesting villains here -- the quest for genetical enhancement is intriguing and the orders from the future is a good twist. I liked the idea of their pods, but the "time chamber" was weird and Silik comes across as supremely confident -- which is good for the recurring enemy. We can deal with having questions at this stage of the series. Not sure at what stage the Klingons are at in their technological development and it's not clear what exactly Klaang had in his blood that had to get to Kronos.

Of course, Part II could have done without the decontamination scene -- completely pointless and stupid but it could signal there will be more gratuitous skin in future episodes. Turns out this sort of foreshadowing applies to plenty of "gunfight" scenes in future episodes. Here it wasn't bad, but the series did get repetitive with these kinds of action scenes, which quickly lose their effectiveness.

3 stars for "Broken Bow" -- sets a high bar for ENT with some interesting background and, for now, decent action scenes but the characters really need to blossom -- only so much Archer and Trip can do. And finally "Faith of the Heart" was hard to get used to at the start (untraditional for sci-fi), but it has grown on me and I think it's a decent theme song for what ENT is all about -- the first real exploration of outer space.
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Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 4:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

I see everything. :)

Thanks, Katie. I didn't know any of that. Interesting.
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Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due

"Another thing, when I was growing up in Seattle (not a small city by any means) the local broadcasters refused to air this episode because it depicted the devil."

What?? In Seattle? Are you sure it wasn't preempted for baseball or something?
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Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

Four stars for this drizzle? So transparent. That end speech of Sisko as writer. So terrible. I just couldn't watch it. Made me sick and wanted to turn of the tv. Absolute pulp.
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Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Where Silence Has Lease

@damien , like others before me, I couldn’ Agree more! I would expect this to be the second episode of the first season and even then, maybe a star or a half. A high school junior could have written this for an English class!
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Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

Hi Jammer,

I know I'm very late to the party here and you probably won't see this, but I'm rewatching the series on Amazon and had to comment. I'm old enough to have been a fan of the original series, and I think Kara is a Seraph. If you've never seen the original series, the Seraphs are wingless angels who travel around in a spaceship called The Ship of Light in which Apollo (Richard Hatch) is resurrected (War of the Gods). This is the ship that Kara paints throughout the series, and is IMO also the basis for the Resurrection Ship. The Seraph are also the basis for the Final Five. The giving up technology at the very end of the new series also has its basis in the original. In fact, if you watch the original series, there are many, many inferences to the original.

Just my two cents. I'm about 10 years late, but that's okay!
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Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Thirty Days

The main issue in this episode is an allegory for the current climate-change debate so it was kind of ahead of its time for 1998.
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Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 12:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due

NoPoet wrote:

"This is a hugely underrated episode. Ardra is incredibly appealing. She does not lack for charisma. She's unpredictable, with a sense of humour, and is wrathful when denied. this, combined with brilliant writing and brilliant acting, along with an urgent sense of pace and a suitable atmosphere of "crazed wtf", is why I love this episode."

Sorry to let this comment get ignored in the other discussion, but I am with you here. I think what works with this show is that the con artist is an appealing and attractive woman who in another episode or series would likely be the hero. That's the thing with con artists, they aren't thick-mustached Gambinos you can spot from a mile away; they're often charismatic and likable people.

Another thing, when I was growing up in Seattle (not a small city by any means) the local broadcasters refused to air this episode because it depicted the devil. So, I didn't get to see this until at least 15 years later when I found it on Netflix. Needless to say, I think the broadcasters were pretty uptight in hindsight. If you can look past all the surface with religious icons and whatnot, there's a pretty good detective story that balances humor and weighty issues at same time (Peter G. described this well above). Data as judge alone is worth the price of admission.

It's also worth noting that DS9 puts way more controversial religious themes out there with episodes like "Rapture", so either that slipped past the sensors, or they just stopped censoring Trek sometime in the 90s. :-)
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Peter H
Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 11:56am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

This is the first episode that I can think of in the series run that has invoked the Prime Directive in a way that really engaged me. Since re-watching the show previous uses have left me baffled (most notably in Justice, where good sense was abandoned to satisfy, what at the time, was a rather fuzzy Federation ideal).

Tellingly the emotional argument overcame the intellectual one in this episode; Picard hearing Sarjenka's cries for help is what ultimately sways him. As an audience member I was similarly convinced. I don't see anything intrinsically wrong with this, particularly in a show that so explicitly seeks to examine the human condition.

At this point I'm not wholly convinced about the ethics of the Prime Directive. I understand what it's for and what it seeks to prevent, but I'm still not sure that such rigid adherence to it in the face of great suffering is at all moral. This of course will be debated in further episodes, and I look forward to its examination from other angles, particularly in cases where breaking it have negative consequences.
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Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 11:17am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

How did the alien just jump through the force field in sickbay? And does that force field in sick bay also hold in pathogens and stuff so they don’t infect the crew, like a quarantine chamber? I’m guessing yes.
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Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 7:14am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Homeward

Possibly one of the worst TNG episodes ever.

Look, Picard and the Enterprise crew here are guilty of gross moral cowardice. The argument that if they do something to save the planet it could work out badly in the future can be applied to literally ANY situation where you have the power to intervene, so that's just crap.

Even worse is the fact that the crew here shows horrifying technological prejudice. Had the aliens been able to ask for help, it would have been rendered. Because they lack technological sophistication, millions die horribly while the bridge crew watch. UGH!

Agree with Worf's brother - there is no honor in this. It makes it look like the Federation are hypocrites who will act save the far more dangerous Klingons but leave these helpless farmers to their miserable fate simply because there is nothing in it for the Federation.
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Peter H
Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 7:12am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Time Squared

This episode was technically competent, and really sold the sense of mystery and dread in a way I don't think any other time travel episode did.

Unfortunately the end was beyond the pale; Picard killing himself completely pulled the episode over the edge. I suppose you could say that phaser was on stun, and that in his fragile state Picard-2 simply couldn't take it, but I'm not convinced.

As others have stated this episode would make far more sense tied to Q Who, but as it is presented to us there is no such explanation and therefore feels completely arbitrary. I prefer to think of this episode as something that never even happened.

2 stars from me.
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Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 6:05am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The War Without, The War Within

Contra Jammer, I found this one of the two or three best episodes of the season (that is, one of the only ones that was any good).

But shouldn’t Burnham go back to prison now that we know the guy who freed her was an evil Terran impostor?

Putting Georgiu back in the captain’s chair is risky for sure, but at least Saru and Burnham are on the bridge to keep an eye on her.
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Cody B
Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 4:43am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Hollow Pursuits

Loved it. One of the highlights of S3 for me. I don’t know why a lot of people seem to hate holodeck episodes. I love them. Can’t get enough.
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Peter H
Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 3:00am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Royale

I will never understand Trek's obsession with "period" episodes and Earth trivia (I'm looking at you Tom Paris). I'm interested in the future, not bland attempts to recreate the past.

However... against all odds I rather like this episode. I think it's something about the idea of being trapped for eternity in such a surreal but cheesy kind of purgatory that really tickles me.
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