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William B - Tue, Jul 28, 2015, 12:18am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

"Melora," take one: The difficulties faced by, um, everyone when a disabled woman comes to use the non-accessible station, and her rough experience thusfar makes her misinterpret everything that everyone says as a mark against her. She swings wildly between HOW DARE YOU EXPECT THAT I NEED SPECIAL TREATMENT and YOU JUST TRY BEING IN THIS CHAIR THEN YOU'D UNDERSTAND, and comes across as passive-aggressive. Of course, Bashir is already smitten before she arrives, responding to Dax' comment that it sounds as if he already knows her with "I FEEL AS IF I ALREADY DO," arrogantly believing that having read a person's files allows him to peer into that person's soul. (Actually the teaser-setup is especially reminiscent of "Galaxy's Child," with Bashir as Geordi and Melora as Leah.)

These two are at odds until the following exchange happens in Melora's quarters:

BASHIR: Julian. I'm no longer your doctor.
MELORA: I see. You've decided I need a friend.
BASHIR: Was that an attack? You see, you do it so well, with such charm, it's hard to tell.
MELORA: I really don't mean to --
BASHIR: Sure you do.
MELORA: I beg your pardon?
BASHIR: Of course, you mean to. All of these broad shots you fire it's your way of keeping the rest of the universe on the defensive. Has to be. You're too good at it.
MELORA: Well, it always seemed to work pretty well. Until now.

Ah. So, Julian is the first person ever to identify Melora's conversational pattern, and, as happens with all defensive people, the first time someone identifies that they are defensive, the defenses drop and they are primed to fall in love for the first time! No, that is not how this works. "Until now" presupposes both that Bashir is the first person *ever* to call Melora on her behaviour, or even to push back at all, and further her new openness to him implies that he really cut through years of personal barriers with one pointed remark. And, you know, no.

In any case, the drama about a person dealing with accessibility, and the question of what she can/cannot do, sort of dissolves. This is a romance now.

"Melora," take two: Now they go to dinner, and it turns out isolationist, angry Melora who keeps everyone at a distance speaks fluent Klingon and knows exactly how to argue her way into getting quality racht. The Klingon restauranteur laughs and they share a knowing smile and rapport. It's not even that Melora's aggressive arguing with the Klingon is an extension of her prickliness in act one, which endeared her (deliberately) to no one, it actually comes across as a practiced, carefully honed ability to negotiate with Klingons. The main function here is to undermine Bashir's conception of Melora as "wheelchair lady," for him to start thinking of her as an exceptional person in her own right rather than being defined as her own person, and I do think her having very specific individualized interests fits with this -- but her cosmopolitanism does rather run counter to her entire personality as established up to this point, which the episode was fairly careful to establish is how she acts all the time.

Time for her to show him her world! OK so it's been established that she comes from a low-gravity planet, which is why she has weaker muscles than the class-M humanoids and has trouble with Earth-style gravity. Fine. Which means that in her quarters, designed presumably to emulate her home planet, it should be about half gravity and she should be walking around norm -- NOPE SHE FLOATS AROUND IN ZERO-G. Wait, so, why does she not ever want to experience her own planet's gravity in her inner sanctum, rather than the artificial zero-g? Or is her planet actually, like, near zero gravity, and everyone...floats around until they float off into space? What? And Melora and Bashir seem to have equal strength in zero-g. Bashir, a Starfleet officer going out into space, has never been in zero-g? What if he has to perform surgery and the gravity goes out?

The "low-gravity planet" thing started as an excuse to do a show about disabilities from a Space perspective. The problem is that there is no "planet of disabled people," but, fine -- until they disregard the premise they've established. Anyway, one way to interpret things, though, is that Melora is a somewhat prickly woman with some significant impairments that make it hard for her to function on others' terms, but she has a rich, complex inner life which she largely does not let others into. In this sense, the Melora story is basically similar to Sarina's in "Chrysalis." So she is maybe something like an autism-spectrum person, ill suited in some senses to traditional interactions but still capable, and coming fully into her own in her own space. That's interesting, if a bit at odds with the wheelchair-WHY IS THE STATION NOT MORE ACCESSIBLE very clearly physical-disability-focused stuff. But okay.

But CAN PEOPLE FROM TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS MAKE IT WORK? Dax's answer: maybe!

Anyway, of course, Bashir dates a woman for like two minutes before he decides he can change her into a completely different person, which leads us to:

"Melora," phase three: CAN MELORA BE CURED?

It is pretty funny that the reaction everyone has to Melora walking on the bridge and handing her report to Sisko is excited back-patting for Bashir along with comments about how this project of his will earn him some great papers in prestigious journals. I may give her flak, but Melora's concern that people look at her and only see her Otherness/"disability" seem pretty accurate. Anyway, in this section Bashir cures her life-long genetic condition in ten minutes, but then does Melora really want to be "cured"? Because, you know, disability blah blah but isn't she denying who she is if she gets out of the chair and -- stop.

The episode's radical course-corrections really do feel odd, because, yes, it is true that the episode sets up the Bashir/Melora romance early on, and it is plausible that Bashir might work on "the Melora problem," and so it's not as if they are completely disjoint. But there are such huge shifts in tone and personalities of the players that the episode can never gain full focus. Bashir was attracted to Melora specifically because she could show him how to fly, which makes little sense but let's go with it, and so he knows he is depriving her of that, but only half-registers it. Didn't Bashir say he's her friend, not her doctor? What exactly is it that Bashir and Melora have to build a romance on, when they stop interacting except as doctor-patient soon? Is the issue of accessibility of the station, and how people treat the disabled, still on the table or is it gone?

Anyway, as a physical disability metaphor, the idea that she must give up zero-g flying and ever visiting her family for an extended period again pretty much trashes real-world counterparts. Maybe one could argue that a deaf person regaining their hearing fully might lose touch with the deaf community and so lose something fundamental, and certainly "curing" *psychological* "disabilities" is tricky business. It may be that the often-present trope of the person with physical impairments not wanting those impairments to be cured magically does have particular resonance and means something, so I don't want to dismiss it entirely. But, you know, if being in a wheelchair is part of who someone is, that is *still* not the same as Melora's home-planet/family issue.

Also, like, exactly how cumbersome is her antigrav equipment that works literally everywhere except DS9 and apparently the Runabouts? That's an important question because Melora's probably only going to be here for a week, "Mapping the Gamma Quadrant" or no.

What is interesting about this is what the Melora problem says about Bashir -- he falls for her because of her determination and then her openness to experience and her rich internal life, then finally settles on totally fixing her/rebuilding her from the ground up. The mixture of affection for who she is and desire to remake her into who he thinks she should be gets repeated in "Chrysalis," which by hitting on a better metaphor (the genetically engineered-autistic thing) manages to suck less (though I don't think it's a good episode). And I guess, to get into extra spoilery territory, in a lot of ways these go beyond just immature male romantic worship issues and into something specific to the formative event of Bashir's life. In this episode he talks about the time where he saw a woman dying and found out he *could* have saved her, and that no doubt is part of his zeal to solve all problems when they appear. But I think the reveal that he was genetically engineered does explain some of his behaviour. Jules Bashir was "defective," and out of "love" (?) his parents "fixed" him. As long as Bashir keeps that secret close to his chest and also remains grateful for it, he must believe that the truest act of love is to "fix" people. There's an inability to leave well enough alone that comes down, in part, to his own feelings of inadequacy as the guy he was before his IQ was tripled.

So that's interesting in retrospect -- but it hardly comes out much here. And so Melora decides, ultimately, that she is going to stop the treatments, because The Little Mermaid. But wait!

"Melora," take four: HOSTAGE CRISIS! Angry guy shoots Melora for some reason, because he's mad at Quark, etc., I can't be bothered to focus on this much. She's dead! Wait, she's not dead, because the treatment saved her, which, uh, I guess it is good that she got those treatments, right? Or, wait, does that *mean* anything or is that a pure plot contrivance to wring small amounts of excitement in a flagging script? And then Melora gets the big heroic moment of, ha ha ha, turning off the gravity and then, like, ramming into the guy, because, you know, that is not going to look ridiculous and also make the guy seem really pathetic and thus everyone else look awful for not being able to stop him. It is not so much that Melora *couldn't* use her skill set to her advantage, but the way it happens is so silly in look that it's hard to deal with.

And on a matter of teleplay construction: if you are going to have Melora save her day with her (still wrong, because her planet was low gravity and she should be able to walk in low gravity rather than fly in zero-gravity which anyone can do anyway but I digress) zero-g skills, thus proving that it's best to have a physical impairment, shouldn't that be the climax of the personal plotline as well -- i.e., shouldn't Melora have realized at *that point* that she absolutely needed to "stay true to herself" or whatever, rather than a few minutes before so that this whole unfortunate incident could be excised entirely? I mean, it's not that I require strict adherence to teleplay structure but it usually is best to break it only for a good reason, and this episode is already doing badly.

Anyway now that Melora has decided not to get any more treatments, the show is over, because, you know, those other parts about the difficulty of Starfleet romances and the Bashir/Melora love connection and also accessibility issues are no longer relevant. The episode ends without so much as a postscript that she's never coming back, though we maybe could have expected that.

I really have next to nothing to say about the Quark subplot; it is largely somewhat painful until it intersects with the Melora plot, until it becomes *very* painful.

1 star.
John G - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 9:58pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S5: In the Cards

Seems that a 1951 Willie Mays rookie card just like Sisko's was recently stolen from Rob Schneider's home.

Could this be the work of the Soulless Minions of Orthodoxy?

www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Rare-Willie-Mays-Baseball-Card-Stolen-From-Rob-Schneiders-Encino-Home-318717251.html
John G - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 7:58pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S3: Extinction

Terrible episode. The virus was not the remnant of a lost species, but that species attempt to preserve itself through an unprecedented genocide that would spread all across the galaxy.

As others have mentioned, the only practical reason to preserve it would be to use it as a weapon; probably against the Xindi, since those smug, control freak Vulcans are pretty much immune. :)

It could be a very effective threat. Innoculate our friends and then infect enemies and only give them the antivirus if they submit to our demands.

Of course that seems way too immoral for Starfleet and even for me.
oddmusic - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 6:50pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

Alright, I guess I'm going to be a contrarion on this one.

Now just to be clear I don't like this episode. I don't dislike it.

I think I love this episode and I hate it at the same time.

I love Picard's bits. They started off a little hard to get into, but once it got going, it was one of the best character pieces that Trek has ever done. I think the bits on the ship were pretty solid.

Unfortunately I worked out what was going on about halfway through this episode, and from that moment on my brain went into overdrive asking one question over and over again: "WHY!?"

(For the record, I'm not going to go too in depth on the ethics of this episode, but yeah I'm not exactly thrilled with them. Even if your opinion is that the probe is not mind raping them, the probe still makes the person it latches onto think they're crazy, then gives them a life on a dying planet with a family, only to reveal that it wasn't real at all so the family you thought you had was fake. That's…cruel. That's really cruel).

Why would this be the method chosen by the people on the planet to preserve their culture – a noble goal to be sure? They clearly have very advanced computer technology to store all that data – essentially a holodeck program in your head – so why not just store a bunch of information on a computer. If you really think it's important that the aliens who may not even speak your language experience your planet, create it as a computer program or – here's a thought – ask the recipient of your mind program for their consent to experience your culture BEFORE making them live a life on your planet so you don't have to spend time convincing them that their former life wasn't real.

That's the basics of it. To be clear this was all stuff that was going through my head while I was watching the episode, and that probably hurt my experience of it. And to be clear, I don't think this is a bad episode. I just can't justify, for myself, the explanation for what was going on.
Jeff - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 5:44pm (USA Central)
Re: TOS S3: The Empath

@William B. Not at all meant to be argumentative, but merely to express my own opinion: Your idea that the Vians are going to sacrifice themselves is an intriguing one, but anytime I've watched this episode I've always thought that the Vians are saying they have the ability to save one "other" species. I could very well be wrong. Your idea puts a very interesting spin on things.
John G - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 5:29pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S3: Anomaly

I really don't get the outrage over threatening to kill one murdering pirate to help prevent the deaths of billions of innocent people and the destruction of their planet.

I think this quote from DS9 about a similar situation sums it up quite well:


Elim Garak: That's why you came to me, isn't it, Captain? Because you knew I could do those things that you weren't capable of doing? Well, it worked. And you'll get what you want: a war between the Romulans and the Dominion. And if your conscience is bothering you, you should soothe it with the knowledge that you may have just saved the entire Alpha Quadrant. And all it cost was the life of one Romulan senator, one criminal, and the self-respect of one Starfleet officer. I don't know about you, but I'd call that a bargain.

Troy - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 3:30pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part I

Jellico is so well done, and a great contrast to Picard. You're along as a member of the crew in despising him. He does the "new Sheriff in town" routine very nicely. In reality nothing he calls for is out of line and he's even has a soft side hanging up his kid's drawings.
The weak point in the episode is the absurdity of sending Picard on the commando mission with Crusher. I suspect Crusher would quit before she'd do this, and keep in mind when she was off the Enterprise in season 2 she was head of Star Fleet medical.
I always thought Riker was overrated, but while exaggerated his tangles with the new captain are a good indication of how relationships are interactions and Riker wasn't a good match for Jellico.
Troi's uniform: My wife and I had a debate: I had seen an interview with Sirtis (on Arsenio Hall) that she liked being the designated sex kitten as she had an akward adolescence. She had met her at a trek convention and Sirtis complained about the uniforms. So was this a way to get Troi into a uniform to please Sirtis? I'm not convinced she was being polite about it on the talk show. If you notice she is in uniform in many of the episodes following this one.
Yanks - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 1:48pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Once More Unto the Breach

Teejay,

Interesting idea, but I would have been epically disappointed with that.
Luke - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 10:08am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

"Fair enough, but we're not talking about shellfish being consumed in mass quantities; we're talking about people's lives and entire M-class worlds being laid to waste. At some point, a line must be drawn."

THE LINE MUST BE DRAWN HERE! THIS FAR, NO FURTHER!!

Seriously, how am I the first one to think of that joke?


Okay, I'm torn on this one. "Silicon Avatar" has a lot of good going for it and a lot of bad going against it.

First, the good. The Data-Marr relationship is wonderful. First, Dr. Marr can only see Data as Lore. But, once she emotionally invests in Data and is then hit over the head with her dead son's journals and voice, she can only see Data as Renny. Great stuff. And I have to disagree with the people in these comments who say that Marr is clearly supposed to be seen as the villain and nothing else. I think she's a very sympathetic character, at least once we get to know her. Sure, she starts out as very unlikeable, but that quickly changes. The scene where she almost bursts into tears while Data recites in her son's voice proves that. Seriously, what else are we supposed to be feeling in that scene other than sympathy for her? Also of note is the scene between Riker and Picard when they discuss destroying the Entity. What I like so much about it is that the two characters are clearly holding opposing viewpoints and yet the issue is not resolved. The scene ends with Riker obviously upset that Picard might, in fact, not destroy the Entity. And, of course, I have to give credit to the writers for once more trying to use a Season One idea effectively.

Now the bad. All right, just go ahead and count me in the group that thinks Picard was dead wrong on this one. Why the hell does this episode expect us to spend so much time wondering if communication with the Crystalline Entity is possible? We know it's possible. The characters themselves know it's possible. Lore communicated with it - TWICE! He lured it to Omicron Theta with the promise of life to absorb. He then lured it to the Enterprise with the same promise. Obviously communication is possible! Also, why does the episode expect us to question whether the Entity is a sapient life-form or not? It obviously is! It obviously is capable of communication and therefore obviously knows that humanoid life-forms are also sapient. It just doesn't give a shit! It's still content to feed off them!

Picard's analogy to a whale feeding off cuttlefish is particularly bad. If the Entity was indeed a non-sapient life-form like a whale, then the only solution would be to kill it. After all, it's not feeding on non-sapient life like cuttlefish; it's feeding off people. If a whale was killing people, especially on this scale, would anybody seriously hesitate to kill it? If the Entity is indeed sapient, which we've already established that it is, then again the only solution is to kill it because it knows that it's murdering sapient life-forms but doesn't care. Killing it wouldn't be murder; it would be nothing more than self-defense - not to mention the defense of the two inhabited worlds it was heading toward when the Enterprise located it.

Was Dr. Marr wrong in what she did? Absolutely not. I really could have done without the whole "I did it for you, Renny" craziness, but she was absolutely right to kill the Entity. This isn't a case of live-and-let-live. She just saved the lives of countless people on those two planets. But you say, "Come on now Luke, Picard and company would have communicated with it and convinced it not to kill anymore." Okay, I say. How? What exactly would they have said to the Crystalline Entity to convince it to stop? It already isn't bothered by murdering people for it's own needs. So, again, how would have Picard stopped it? SFDebris said it best once about the Crystalline Entity - this thing is a Lovecraftian nightmare. It has just as much right to exist as anything else? Not at the cost of the billions of people it's killing! Sometimes, sadly, killing is required for self-defense. To quote Picard himself from "Peak Performance" - "That is not a weakness. That is life."

Also, one minor little nitpick - why weren't we ever given an answer as to why the Entity spared the group in the cave? Simply saying, "maybe it mistook Data for Lore" would have sufficed.

So, the good stuff somewhat buoys it up, but it could have been SO much better if they had 1.) remembered the events of "Datalore" and 2.) not given us this claptrap of co-existence with a murderous Lovecraftian monster.

6/10
Mallory R. - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 9:48am (USA Central)
Re: Star Trek: First Contact

I adored Generations but was initially appalled by this film. My friends and I agreed this was material belonging in STNG season 5. The characters seemed to have to un-developed for the film(s). Clearly this was all meant to attract a larger audience into the cinema (I recall a lot of TV ads, too). The fuzzy thinking Hollywood script treatment made this barely tolerable, and I remain baffled by minor characters like the handsome Lt. and Lily, both given importance but contributing almost nothing.
I just re-watched this as part of watching all of Enterprise, and the best I can say is that it's a boring film. An intelligent, dramatic prologue to Enterprise would have been my preference; all that tacked on Borg junk prevented an interesting story.
Mallory R. - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 9:28am (USA Central)
Re: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Painful to watch. I remember thinking I'd wasted an afternoon at the cinema. Shatner says that this is his favorite. I like the guy, but...what? Only thing I can think of this mess is that someone wanted to punish the fans or the studio.
Teejay - Mon, Jul 27, 2015, 4:51am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Once More Unto the Breach

Although I am ususally not a fan of Klingon-centric episodes, I do enjoy this one quite a lot.


In regards to the ending:

What if they had shown what appeared to be Kor's glorious victory, but it turns out that it's just Worf(or Martok) retelling the "legend" back on the station at Quark's, or something similar?
johng - Sun, Jul 26, 2015, 11:27pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S2: Regeneration

Great episode. I enjoyed the nod to "First Contact". I don't think it busted the Trek timeline, though I do get the point about no 24th century pre knowledge of the Borg. But it is always fuzzy to me what people affected by timeline shift would and wouldn't know, especially when it has been altered so many times.

Anyway, the time travel episodes are all pure fantasy as opposed to sci fi to me as I concur with the determination of the Vulcan Science Directorate that time travel is impossible. There is no past to go back to because it only existed when it was the present. Same goes for the future.
sticky steve - Sun, Jul 26, 2015, 10:12pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S7: Masks

give me episodes like this over any episode with the badly and overacted Q character. 5/5
Nathan B. - Sun, Jul 26, 2015, 10:07pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S5: In the Cards

"In the Cards" is a great episode, Jammer's review was absolutely spot-on, and Elliot isn't a troll-just dead wrong on pretty much everything he wrote here. I say that as someone who does appreciate many of Elliot's comments.

Many people collect things. Some businesspeople spends millions of dollars on art. Sports fans collect baseball cards. In the previous episode, Michael Eddington treasured his 300 year old "lucky looney" [sic].* Kids passionately acquire sets of provincial and state quarters. Collecting is a passion for many, and as someone who enjoys collecting things myself, I've always been unhappy that the only Trek show in any depth about the passions of collecting was one that focused on its negative side: the unethical collector (TNG's memorable, and--to be sure--good episode "The Most Toys."

In "In the Cards," DS 9 gives us ordinary mortals who still need money and still see value in collecting a celebration of collecting, of the motivations of buying something special for others, of the thrill of the hunt, of the disappointment at the auction, of the willingness to do whatever it takes (within reason and ethics) to get it.

The fact that "In the Cards" manages to so naturally and authentically situate itself in so many things DS 9 has been working on--the feeling of doom regarding the long-awaited Federation-Dominion war, the lovely father and son relationship between Sisko and Jake, the friendship of the romantic Jake and the practical Nog, the diplomatic overtures between the Bajorans and the Dominion--is remarkable. It makes for very pleasant, interesting viewing.

Like a few of the above commenters, I didn't find the episode particularly hilarious--though it had humorous aspects and parts--but I did find it touching, uplifting, and deeply worthwhile.

--
*In the previous episode, Eddington talked about his "lucky looney" [sic], a reference to the Canadian one dollar coin. I find it odd that his character successfully predicted what is officially known as the "lucky loonie" on the Royal Canadian Mint's own website. Basically, the story is that at the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2004, someone buried a loonie (the nickname of the $1 coin) under the ice in one of the ice rinks. Canada went on to earn gold medals in men's and women's hockey. The Mint went on to issue bronze circulation loonies and proof silver non-circulating loonies called "lucky loonies" every Olympic year from then on. Some of these coins wouldn't actually have a loon on them, but many would.
Nic - Sun, Jul 26, 2015, 9:11pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S3: Transfigurations

There's a bit of comedy in this episode that I'd completely forgotten from my first viewing. When Geordi first walks up to Christy and asks her out, Worf turns to Data and says "I've been tutoring him." My girlfriend and I were laughing hard on that one.
Shannon - Sun, Jul 26, 2015, 9:01pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S2: Contagion

Definitely a solid episode, and combined with The Measure of a Man and Matter of Honor, Season 2 at this point is starting to turn a corner with original, solid storytelling... I like bringing the Romulans into this plot, and the pace was just right. Yeah, the "reboot" solution was a bit simplistic, but whatever. 3.5 stars for me.
Shannon - Sun, Jul 26, 2015, 8:51pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S2: The Dauphin

I have mixed feelings about this episode. I like the originality of the story, but the execution is a bit rough. Yes, yes, Wesley can be quite annoying at times, but he's older now and bit more mature, and his storylines in Season 2 definitely improved, along with his acting... Some good moments in this episode. I laughed at Worf's telling Wesley to "go to quarters, beg like a human." Too funny. And the scene in Ten Forward with Riker and Guinan was well written and acted as well. Anya was a bit much to swallow, as she was way too overprotective... All in all, not a bad episode. 2.5 stars.
Nathan B. - Sun, Jul 26, 2015, 8:29pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S5: Empok Nor

Great review by Jammer. I thought this episode was a bit like a DS9 equivalent to TNG's "Schisms"--it was an episode with an overall horror feel, although this one was much more like a conventional B-horror-movie, what with all our red-shirt extras being killed off. That was bad writing, in a way, and not only because it was incredibly predictable, both by the canons of horror and of Trek. I don't like horror as a genre, but every now and then it's interesting to see something really different from the usual Trek fare.
MPS - Sun, Jul 26, 2015, 8:26pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S2: Canamar

I guess Jammer missed the part where Kuroda talked about how he entered the prison system as a child for a crime he didn't commit? It was short, but it went a long way for me in developing the character. I thought this was a decent "corrupt-justice-system" story, nearly as good as Detained (and with better acting and a much more satisfying ending).
Andrew - Sun, Jul 26, 2015, 12:16pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S2: Manhunt

The plot was extremely thin and somewhat dumb but Stewart was very enjoyable and Barrett also pretty funny.
Luke - Sat, Jul 25, 2015, 11:30pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: Ensign Ro

This episode has a lot of things working against it but one element that absolves nearly all it's sins.

While I appreciate the fact that it lays a lot of groundwork for DS9 (as a huge DS9 fan, how could I not enjoy that?) and while I absolutely adore Ro as a character, Jammer is absolutely right that the plot is nothing special. I also don't care for the way the Bajorans are portrayed here. The Cardassian Occupation of Bajor is shown in several different styles before the writers finally settled on a more Nazi style occupation. Here, it's clear that they're using the Cardassians and Bajorans as an Israeli-Palestinian allegory. I don't like that symbolism because it really paints Israel in a rather unfavorable light. Now, I'm not one of those guys who support Israel come hell or high water. They've done their fair share of bad stuff, but comparing them with fictional oppressors who torture people to death in front of their seven-year-old children is going too far. I also didn't care for the fact that the writers went for the cliche of the "evil admiral" (a tired Trek device). But, at least here he's more of a naive dope and not outright evil. Finally, what is up with the crew's reactions to Ro? Okay, she refused to follow orders and some people died. Well, didn't Data refuse to follow orders just two episodes ago? I guess that's okay because everything worked out in the end that time and.... the ends justify the means?

But, all that being said, "Ensign Ro" is definitely an above average episode. And the reason for that is, obviously, Ro herself. Whether you agree that she brings some much needed interpersonal conflict to the show or not, I don't see how anybody could argue that Michelle Forbes doesn't steal this entire episode. Ro is electrifying whenever she's on screen. I love the fact that she isn't willing to take any shit from anybody, either the Enterprise crew or the Bajoran leader in the camp. She's acerbic but likeable. I can see why Forbes was offered the role that would later become Kira because she literally lights up the screen here. Take the scene where Ro tells Picard about her father. As I was watching it I was thinking "damn, this woman is tearing this shit up!; why can't we have more scenes like this instead of the plodding "find the terrorists" plot."

All in all, an integral component for the larger Star Trek landscape and mythos, but not a classic.

7/10
Shannon - Sat, Jul 25, 2015, 11:24pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S2: A Matter of Honor

FINALLY!!! I was losing hope after 4 mediocre to bad episodes in a row, then along comes this gem. A great concept, well written and acted, and it was fun to watch. A great character development episode for Riker, and we get to see the inner workings of a Klingon ship... Agree with Jammer, nice to see an episode where the story is trying to bridge the gap between two very different cultures. I could have done without the Benzite b-story, but I get why it was there.
Shannon - Sat, Jul 25, 2015, 11:17pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S2: The Schizoid Man

Alas, a fourth terrible episode in a row, and by this point I had but all but written off this series. After a promising start to the season, it just seemed by this episode that we were getting the same garbage from the old TOS writers, very outdated stories with beyond obvious plot lines. No originality at all, and the show had become quite boring.
Shannon - Sat, Jul 25, 2015, 11:13pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S2: Loud as a Whisper

Season 2 started off on a bit of a promising note with The Child and Where Silence Has Lease, after a rather dismal Season 1. Then along comes what I thought was a bad episode about the holodeck going haywire with one of its characters threatening the ship (yawn), followed by that utter disaster The Outrageous Okona (which should have been called The Beyond Annoying You Just Want To Freaking Beat The Sh*t Out Of Him Okona), and then finally this extremely boring, not creative thought whatsoever episode, replete with a bad plot, bad writing, bad acting, and bad directing... I remember by this point in Season 2 I was starting to believe there would be no Season 3, no matter how many letters Trekkers might send in. It was so bad.
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