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dipads
Tue, May 24, 2016, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: The Raven

One piece of trivia we now know about the Borg. During the meal with Neelix and Seven, she states "I am unaccustomed to being sit"
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navamske
Tue, May 24, 2016, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Let That Be Your Last Battlefield

Kirk: "Cheron? That's in the southernmost part of the galaxy, isn't it?"

Wow, subtle.
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navamske
Tue, May 24, 2016, 3:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Wink of an Eye

Just a small nit: When Kirk reappears in the transporter room, Scott asks him, "Where in the blazes did you come from?" and Kirk answers, "Out of the nowhere, into the here." Scott then says, "And Mr. Spock, is he comin' too?" But Scott left the bridge before Spock drank the Scalosian water, so he shouldn't know that Spock has also been accelerated.
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David Greven
Tue, May 24, 2016, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts

Tom, this is one of the episodes I discuss in my book "Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek." I agree with you that the exchange between Tuvok and Guill is very homoerotically charged.

Mr. Jammer, I must disagree with you: "I only wish Wayne Pere (who played Guill) had been a little more effective; his performance is a tad bland." I think Pere is great here. It's his very smooth, affable demeanor that makes his black market dealings and willingness to hurt Tuvok so chilling. Pere performs the scenes of the meld with feverish intensity.

This was certainly a terrific Tuvok episode despite the wobbly premise.
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William B
Tue, May 24, 2016, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Behind the Lines

For Odo in particular, his belief, which everyone who knew him seemed convinced of, was that he had an innate sense of justice, possibly left over from his people ("Necessary Evil") which allowed him to be neutral and entirely fair and a true man of his word who respected all life while in the middle of a brutal regime with fights going on constantly. Despite working for the Cardassians, he somehow managed to earn respect from Bajorans like Kira because he stood above the fray (Kira even saw him as being above people like her, I suspect, based on her dialogue at the end of "Things Past"). Quark insisted in "A Man Alone" that Odo was *not* a collaborator. But this is all kind of suspicious; as Rusot and his flunkie rhetorically ask in "When It Rains," what exactly did Odo *think* was going to happen to the people he turned in? Odo certainly believes his own myth, as does everyone else, at the beginning of the series, and the people who don't are racist lunatics like those we see in "A Man Alone." But in "Vortex" Odo comes to realize that he can have respect for a criminal; in "Necessary Evil" we see that Odo was wrong on his *very first case*, that he is only just now learning what Kira was trying to tell him all those years ago about the impossibility of not choosing sides; in "The Alternate" Odo's buried rage is exposed. And then the Founders tell him that his love of justice is just love of order. Eventually we get to "Things Past" and it's revealed that his judgment was flawed but also that he was sloppy, for reasons which Odo-as-Thrax articulates: the Bajorans shouldn't be waging this pointless, disorderly resistance in the first place; Odo did not deliberately sell the Bajorans out knowing they were innocent, but he was already predisposed to look at them unkindly because he did not believe that any Bajorans' cause had any practical meaning or use.

So this episode throws another wrench into the proceedings, and something of the definite one: Odo breaks his word and doesn't even care once he links with the Female Founder, which particularly underscores that his ability to seek justice from a position of "neutrality" relied on the fact that he *was unable to form sufficiently close connections to threaten his objectivity*. Odo viewed romance as suspect and perhaps even something of a prelude to criminality early in the series. Now he gives himself over to interpersonal intimacy fully, which for the first time makes sense to him -- and which he places over everything else in his life. His code gets discarded because it was only a flimsy way to make sense of a world where he could not connect to anyone anyway.

Where I think this development weakens is over the next few episodes. (SPOILER) As is hardly a surprise, what brings Odo around is his feelings for Kira, which we have already learned stay him from the Link ("Heart of Stone"), lead him to personal depression and ruin ("Crossfire") and given enough time can warp him into caring about no lives but Kira's ("Children of Time"). And I think this development makes sense, but watching these episodes I still don't quite understand what changes from Odo's attitude at the end of this episode, his total serenity, and his anxious attempts to get Kira to like him again even in the following episode. I think some of it is simply time and the novelty wearing off -- the Link grows a little stale once he and the Founder start resorting to having humanoid sex and talking about how much Odo wants to do that with Kira -- and I do think that, given enough time, Odo's feelings for Kira would resurface. "Chimera" clarifies some of this by looking at different types of love; ultimately Odo recognizes in Kira a selfless/self-sacrificing dimension to love which is much less present in the Founders. In fact, I think that the key element really is faith -- without the actual intermingling provided by the Link, we have to rely on faith that our emotional understanding of other humanoid beings is an adequate reflection of what goes on with them within. Kira is defined by her faith, not just religious faith but faith in general, and I think it is that quality that Odo ends up falling in love with (he is much more of an empiricist), to the point where the comparatively tiny amounts of communication of affection he and Kira can share are enough to be worth more than the overwhelming sensory/spiritual experience of the Link, which nevertheless lacks the faith in goodness outside the Link which Kira represents.

The difference between Odo in these episodes and Odo in "What You Leave Behind," next time he and the Founder link, comes down mostly to his experience with Kira -- though I like to believe that Bashir and O'Brien risking their lives to cure him and his frienemiship with Quark matter too -- and his confidence in actually going for it, which requires a big leap of faith that is difficult for him given his various bad experiences over the years. In fact we could say that a lack of faith in anything they cannot directly feel is the *central* flaw of the Founders -- they are unable to believe that solids have good intentions since they cannot link with them, and they only trust solids whom they can manufacture as a result. So I do believe Odo coming around despite the overwhelming sensations from the Link to view Kira as being a person worth preserving, and finally to affirm most of the values that he had claimed to have before, but in terms of episode-to-episode execution I still find the transition from the Odo at the end of this episode to the one in "FtB" and "SoA" to be rocky.
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William B
Tue, May 24, 2016, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Behind the Lines

By "all of them find themselves on the opposite side" I should qualify that at some point or another during the second occupation they are in a position very unfamiliar to where they were during the first occupation, but certainly not always or even most of the time. (E.g. Kira mostly works for the Resistance but only after realizing she sees herself as a Collaborator; Quark tries to play neutral like he did before but this time he cannot; Odo tries to be for justice but collapses into his personal/spiritual connection with the Founder until his love for Kira brings his moral feeling for solids back. Just a summary, not meant to be exhaustive.)
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Yanks
Tue, May 24, 2016, 1:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Timeless

OK, I do enjoy this episode but to think Harry develops at all is a little off the mark.

Think about it. He failed, Voyager crashes, everyone dies.

He makes it, grumbles for 15 and calculate for 10 years and....

He screws it up again!!! Good god, all Harry "I can't get a lock" Kim can do is fuck up!

Then, instead of realizing he's got to buckle down and fix his calculations, he whine like a little kid! Doc has to slap him upside the head!!

"KIM: Great, just great! It took me ten years to make these corrections. I can't fix it in three minutes!
EMH: You've got to try.
KIM: I can't! It's not working. Why won't it work? I killed them!
EMH: Control yourself!
KIM: They trusted me, and I killed them!
EMH: Mister Kim! I didn't spend all those years in an ice bucket so I could listen to you berate yourself. If you want to wallow in self-pity, fine! Do it on your own time.
KIM: Don't you see? History's repeating itself! I destroyed Voyager once, and I'm doing it again!
EMH: Somebody has got to knuckle down and change history, and that somebody is you.
KIM: It can't be done, Doc. I told you."

So, 15 years of grumbling, 10 years of calculations and it takes DOC to have the obvious Einstein moment and figure out ....

"EMH: No, you told me you can't correct their phase variance. All right, we have to accept that. But what about sending Voyager a warning? Is there a way to get them to abort the Slipstream flight?
KIM: Yes. Yes! I could send a phase correction which would disperse the Slipstream entirely.
EMH: If we can't get the crew home, at least we can save their lives."

That was never a consideration? The brilliant Harry Kim can't even come up with that? How can that NOT be a contingency?

The only difference between our new Harry and Ensign Kim is he's 15 year's older and has long hair.

Good lord. I'm surprised he didn't bring the frakin clarinet along.

He figured out a way to send himself a text message but can't send one that say DON'T DO IT!!! I'm a loser!

....and Wang's acting wasn't any better than the other "Harry episodes"... he just had better direction this time.

Tessa: ... I don't think her coming along is a problem at all.

This is one of those episodes for me that gets WAY too much love. I don't skip it, it's a fun ride, but it's really more of the same for Harry.

3 out of 4 from me.
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Skywalker
Tue, May 24, 2016, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Through the Looking Glass

JENNIFER: "I still hate you."
BEN: "I know."

This reminds me a bit of Empire Strikes Back! haha

Go Sisko! Both Dax and Kira? Nicely done. No reunion, exactly, with Jennifer, but by then I'm sure he was tired. When Jake complains to his father a couple episodes later in "Explorers" that Ben hasn't been on a date in over a year, he had this look on his face: "True, if you don't count mirror-Jadzia and mirror-Nerys. I need some time to get over that weirdness."

I love seeing Tuvok! Haha. Too bad he didn't have a goatee and act like mirror-Spock.

"PURSUE!!!!!!" That's right up there with, "It's a faaaaake!" / "It's real!"
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William B
Tue, May 24, 2016, 1:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Behind the Lines

I sort of agree with Peter G. on this regarding Odo/Kira, though I go back and forth. I think ultimately I can't quite parse the way they get together in "His Way" after this series of episodes, but for them to reestablish a kind of stability through private dialogue is sort of okay. Re: Luke's point that Odo should not be Chief of Security after this, I agree that in-universe a reassessment of his position would be prudent. However I always got the impression that Sisko et al. did not find out about what happened with Odo here. That Odo linked with the female changeling seems to be a matter of record, at least for Bashir (as his doctor), but the Dominion records do not show that Odo was supposed to be working for the Resistance and it would be up to the Resistance whether or not to talk about what Odo did. I tended to assume that there was a kind of agreement not to talk about it. Certainly I don't think Kira or Odo would want to talk about it.

That does, though, leave Quark, Rom, Leeta and Jake. Odo's non-action basically guarantees a death sentence for Rom (unless, of course, Odo intervenes to save him later), and his redemptive act is enough to go some way to redressing the consequences of his inaction, but is it everything? While Rom and Odo are not close, Quark's relationship with Odo should IMO have been impacted here too. I think we do see some impact, in that I think that Odo's relationship with Quark does seem to be less hostile and more recognizing that the two are both flawed individuals in "Who Mourns for Morn," "His Way" and "The Sound of Her Voice." Quark's knowledge of Odo's years-long pining for Kira and his overt loneliness is maybe how he understands/contextualizes Odo's betrayal.

All that said, in rewatching I was mostly more okay than I thought I would be with the aftermath of Odo's losing himself in the Link. There is a real sense that what happened in the Occupation really tested and transformed all the characters on the station. It reminds me a bit of the speed with which Odo forgives Garak's going over to Tain and even torturing him in "Improbable Cause"/"The Die Is Cast," to the point of even inviting Garak to have lunch sometime at the end of the episode. In addition to the religious experience Peter G. mentions, Kira has just for the first time felt the sting of feeling that she *herself* has perhaps become a collaborator in "Rocks and Shoals," and so she identifies with Odo even as she despises what he did, and in that "what about the Link?" moment in "Sacrifice of Angels" she also shows she recognizes what it is Odo has given up.

A lot of what I really like about this Occupation arc is that it is essentially a way for the show to reprise the Cardassian Occupation with some of the roles shifted and characters learning some unpleasant truths about themselves. After all, the lineup includes Kira, Odo, Dukat, Quark, and Rom, all of whom eventually find themselves on the opposite side of where they were before. And while "it is order you believe in, not justice" has been hanging over Odo since season three, I think this episode in particular is what finally demolishes the idea that Odo is some sort of incorruptible figure, while still allowing him to make a "real" choice to pick a side in the next few episodes.
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Chrome
Tue, May 24, 2016, 12:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Sacrifice of Angels

@Peter G. and William B.

It's still odd that after this episode, there will still people who doubted the existence of the prophets, or doubted their powers when this episode basically makes them scientific fact. William B. actually made a really good critique of this on his comment on "Covenant" the other day.

And even the faithful sound off talking about faith after this episode. Kira can't claim she's acting solely on faith; the "miracles" are right in front of everyone's faces. The Klingons can even plan meticulous plots using the Founder's miracles with a high degree of certainty (See "Trials and Tribulations").
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Skywalker
Tue, May 24, 2016, 12:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Distant Voices

@Luke,

"I suppose you could say we learn how Bashir views his crew-mates. Well, okay, how does he see them? He thinks Quark is a coward, Garak is a villain, Odo is a paranoid, Dax is a hot-headed lunatic, O'Brien is also a coward, Kira is a control freak and Sisko is boring. This doesn't really speak well for Bashir, does it?"

I wouldn't say that at all. It's just a dream! I think that's where a lot of people commenting here take this all a bit too seriously. Everything about this episode is dream-like. Who among us hasn't had a dream in which there were people from our lives acting strangely, for no apparent reason? This premise in the episode is perfectly acceptable to me.

As are all the other weird things that appear in "Distant Voices." The aging is especially interesting. I think Siddig does a great job of playing the part to the point of comedy, except that we know it's actually quite sad and horrifying given the context. And that's the thing about this episode: pretty much everything about what we see is laughable, especially the doddering old Bashir, except that we realize that these events are representing Julian's dying before our eyes. Can you remember having a dream in whose story and outcome you were seriously invested, only to wake up and realize the whole premise with its imagery was ridiculous? So what seems to put off everyone else about "Distant Voices" is exactly what I find so interesting: from the tennis balls, to the happy birthday Ops, to Sisko representing Bashir's professionalism, every bit of the symbolism is intentionally ludicrous, just like a real dream, and we *would* laugh, except that we know that our hero is close to death. I think it's a brilliant dichotomy of emotions.

...I'm also a fan of "Masks." :-D

@William B,

"In order to have meaning, these "parts of Bashir" have to have some impact on Bashir, which largely does not happen; I *think* that after Dax and Sisko disappear, Bashir is supposed to be less confident and less professional, hence why he stumbles around a lot at that stage in the episode. Maybe Bashir's aging is supposed to be connected to the way parts of him are captured by the Lethian -- aging as the process by which parts of oneself die? But I dunno. Bashir does not seem all that aggressive either when Kira is there or not, and if anything he gets much more suspicious after Odo leaves. Or maybe he is supposed to discover that he had it all within him all along. Or, uh...."

That's reading way too much into this. Dreams are seldom so logical.

I liked the episode. I'd put my score at Jammer's or slightly higher.
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Peter G.
Tue, May 24, 2016, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Behind the Lines

@ Luke,

"If he's that vulnerable to the enemy's wiles then he has no business being in such a critically important post! But, much like with "Hard Time" and its lack of follow-up, that is a problem of later episodes, so I really can't hold it against "Behind the Lines", because the material actually presented here is top-notch. In fact, it's really a problem with "You Are Cordially Invited", as this issue is basically resolved by a single off-screen conversation between Kira and Odo.... in a closet."

I'm going to be a rebel here and go on record saying that I believe Odo and Kira resolving their issues off-screen in a closet was not only a good way to handle it, but was the best way they could have handled it. It seems like Odo's betrayal was so beyond the pale that we'd need to hear a really good argument from him to make up for it. Or maybe some people think there should have been no coming back from that. But what he had was basically a religious experience; the kind that changes your life in an instant. Of all people Kira would understand that, since she's said the same thing happens in an orb experience. In fact, Kira has even experienced this without an orb experience. When Akorem instructed the Bajorans to change their lives on a dime Kira went right along with it, giving up her responsibilities and quitting her job. Not out of malice, but because she saw a new calling; the same way Odo no doubt saw it when he felt called to the life of a Changeling in the link.

But about the resolution in the closet, I think a picture says more than words. For anyone who's been up all night bearing their heart to someone they're interested in or developing a relationship with, that feeling of intimacy where time goes away and even loud noises like the music don't matter - that's a real image that the sight of them in the closet conjured. At least, it did for me. Seeing them having a heart-to-heart in the closet always struck me close to the heart, because I know what sorts of difficult things they might have had to admit (both of them). Those things aren't our business to hear! It would almost be embarrassing to have to hear it. Just because the audience feels entitled to know everything as the ultimate voyeur doesn't mean it's what's best for the audience. The job of a storyteller is to get the audience to a destination, not to let them in on every possible detail. I, for one, am very pleased that what Odo and Kira said to each other remained between them, just as things should be between potential lovers.

I know the actors didn't like having these issues resolved in that way, but I think they're wrong as well. They're biased because they want the chance to act out those delicious scenes, but desire can conflict with understanding.
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Peter G.
Tue, May 24, 2016, 11:56am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Sacrifice of Angels

@ William B, to add to your comment, not only was the intervention a legitimate writing choice, it was a necessary one because it was about time that certain biased preconceptions were slapped right in the face.

Both Starfleet and the Cardassians had habitually viewed the prophets as being at best some weird aliens, and at worst a myth not worth taking seriously. This might have been warranted before discovering the wormhole, but after realizing that an advanced race actually designed and maintained an artificial wormhole and could see the future only a fool would fail to take them seriously. Since the prophets were the subject of a 'primitive religion' I think both powers were fooled into being fools. It's quite pathetic that the only non-Bajoran who took the prophets seriously in terms of being a power was Zek.

And then there is the matter of the writing team, supposedly under the thumb of Pillar and Berman to keep the religious stuff about the prophets to a minimum. Well they could have written sci-fi stuff about them instead, but I guess they decided to stay away for the greater part of a few seasons instead. Even the viewer was probably tempted to ignore the prophets as a power and to treat them as a weird story element instead that recurs every now and then.

After this episode no one (audience, writers, Cardassians, Dominion or Federation) would be able to take the wormhole aliens lightly again.
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Chrome
Tue, May 24, 2016, 11:11am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Conundrum

@Michal Wallis

"Absurd episode. MacDuff's race can easily defeat the mighty flagship of Starfleet but is unable to take down a tenth rate adversary."

Not necessarily absurd. We assume that technology should develop in a certain manner and at a certain rate. Indeed, players of Sid Meier's Civilization know that eventually everyone gets the same science no matter what path they take.

However, *alien* species should work differently. You can have this really fancy mental wipe device but still have really lousy impulse engines and rocket-based weaponry. Fans of the Foundation Series know this theory well, as one of the big concept's in Asimov's novel is that one Foundation specializes in physical sciences while the other specializes in mentalics. If either side is caught off guard, they are vulnerable.

So yes, you need to buy into the idea that the Federation flagship can be taken over by a species with low-tech weaponry. But that's only because they have presumably high-tech devices in areas the Federation does not yet understand.
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Yanks
Tue, May 24, 2016, 11:02am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Once Upon a Time

Jammer hit all the key points.

I enjoyed the Naomi/mom stuff and the 7 Naomi interaction etc.... but the treehead dudes were old about 5 seconds before they were on TV. Good god, Neelix went from "yeah, he's an adult now" to "I want to shoot him" all in one episode.

I'm glad Naomi's mom didn't die.

2.5 stars from me because Voyager tugs at heartstrings better than all the rest.
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Yanks
Tue, May 24, 2016, 10:37am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: In the Flesh

This is one of those "the episode is pretty cool, but" episodes.

For the love of pete.... they neutered the most fearsome awesome alien species since the Borg.

Damn it. They could have just left them on the shelf for a new trek series in the future to bump into.

Kate Vernon is one sexy lady....

I believe this was Ray Walston's last appearance on Star Trek.

I'll go 2.5 stars.

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Michal Wallis
Tue, May 24, 2016, 10:32am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Conundrum

Absurd episode. MacDuff's race can easily defeat the mighty flagship of Starfleet but is unable to take down a tenth rate adversary.
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William B
Tue, May 24, 2016, 10:29am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Sacrifice of Angels

I'm not ready to write about WYLB yet so I'm jumping back here. For what it's worth, I'm on the side of Jammer's original review (I know he's said that he would bump it up to 4 now) and say about 3 stars. Anyway, I just wanted to respond to the point some have made that the Prophets entrance wasn't a Deus Ex Machina because the writers didn't actually write themselves into the corner -- they clearly had the option of having Rom deactivate the power before the minefield was destroyed, and thus avoid the whole Prophet intervention. And this is true to an extent and a good point. Certainly I think the writers did want to go where they did with the Prophet intervention. That said, I don't agree that the writers could have easily ran with Rom turning off the station power and the minefield remaining in place. For this episode in particular, yes they could have had the Federation alliance fleet retake the station, but at that point Weyoun et al. would flee the station...and then try to retake it, and try to retake it, and so on. As long as the Dominion fleet was waiting on the other side of the wormhole, the Dominion-Cardassian alliance would try to retake the station and the whole series would become about defending the station (and that minefield), especially now that a way of destroying the mines was known. That might be interesting but it would remove some of the satisfaction of this ending knowing that DS9 was still THE number one target and could be retaken at any time, and once it was ALL IS LOST. Here, Sisko's plea to the Prophets turns the temporary tech minefield into a permanent Wormhole Alien minefield which has the same function, but which is apparently impossible for the Dominion to take down, except maybe through destroying the Prophets (see "Tears of the Prophets"). That isn't necessarily to say that the Prophet intervention was the "wrong" story choice -- I think it may have been for other reasons -- but it was one that the writers sort of had to do if they didn't want to have the Gamma Quadrant fleet and the need of the Dominion to retake the station as a permanent shadow over the series.
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Yanks
Tue, May 24, 2016, 9:56am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Extreme Risk

I don't think this is quite as bad as Jammer indicates. I will say this could have been a couple episode arc...

I will agree that this episode really started strong, then someone like me took over the writing. It's so apparent watching this.

At least we get a Torres centered episode where Roxann can once again show her acting chops. Sadly they don't do enough of these. She's awesome.

I'll go 2.5 stars.
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Yanks
Tue, May 24, 2016, 9:43am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Drone

Just watched this one again last night.

If I may, .... on little nit pick?

You'd think that the creation of Borg technology on board in a science lab might set off some sort of alarm? :-)

But this one was a gem.

Couple thoughts from this one.

Seven goes from "We can still terminate it, but we must act quickly." to "You are hurting me" .... powerful stuff.

I just love when One meets Janeway... "One?" :-)

I thought the Torres meeting in Engineering was funny too. "You get a gold star" :-)

SEVEN: You have assimilated enough for one day. :-)


I'm a sap for the ending... it gets me every time. Jeri's performance throughout is awesome and J. Paul Boehmer was outstanding as our futuristic Borg Drone as well.

Do we ever hear about Mulcahey again? I can't remember.

One of Voyager's finest. Punn intended :-)

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Luke
Tue, May 24, 2016, 5:04am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Behind the Lines

"Behind the Lines" is very successful at moving the plot forward and addressing relevant characterization. The main problem, sadly, is the ending. This is an absolutely chilling cliffhanger! Odo has gone over to the enemy, Rom has been arrested by the Cardassians and is being interrogated, Kira's plans are completely screwed, the minefield is being brought down and the Female Shapeshifter knows about the resistance. However, Odo's "defection" (it's probably not a coincidence that Quark misremembers "deflector" for "defector" earlier - nice bit of writing there!) never gets the payoff it virtually demands. After this he should have NEVER been reinstated as DS9's Chief of Security. If he's that vulnerable to the enemy's wiles then he has no business being in such a critically important post! But, much like with "Hard Time" and its lack of follow-up, that is a problem of later episodes, so I really can't hold it against "Behind the Lines", because the material actually presented here is top-notch. In fact, it's really a problem with "You Are Cordially Invited", as this issue is basically resolved by a single off-screen conversation between Kira and Odo.... in a closet.

The A-plot also offers some other really great material. Quark moving away from a neutral position to one aligned with Kira and the resistance, Rom showing that he can be a real winner of a character (despite what Jammer has said about him in the past) and the continued showing of cracks in the relationship between Dukat and Weyoun. I especially love the use of Quark here. Clearly the writers are finally using him as something more than the "comic" relief and treating him with respect. In fact, by the time the Occupation Arc is finished, he'll come away looking more like a hero than Odo. Beautiful!

The B-plot involving Sisko being made Admiral Ross's adjutant isn't anywhere near as compelling, but still enjoyable. It's nice to see the more low-level effects of the war like this while we focus on more large picture stuff in the A-plot (something "Sons and Daughters" failed at). And it's enjoyable to see Sisko attempt to adjust to this new position. I've heard through the grapevine that it was originally planned to make Sisko an Admiral after the Occupation Arc for his actions in retaking the station. That would have been a great change to the series! But it was scuttled at the last minute because the powers that be felt that nobody would accept the "main" character of a Star Trek series being something other than a Captain (pretty stupid when you remember that Sisko was a Commander for three years!). If there is a single problem with the episode, it's Dax's reenactment of the phaser cell ceremony in the Defiant's mess hall. Terry Farrell was simply not as convincing as Avery Brooks was with that material. You have to be more than a little manic to pull off a speech like that, and nobody on "Deep Space Nine" does that better than Avery Brooks.

9/10
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Luke
Tue, May 24, 2016, 4:27am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Sons and Daughters

Almost universally considered the weak link in the six episode Dominion Occupation arc, "Sons and Daughters" is a definite step down from the previous episodes. However, that is only because it suffered the misfortune of being placed where it was, as it is still an above-average episode. Coming on the heels of four consecutive episodes that I personally would consider examples of "classic Trek", there was no way a story focused on something other than the large-scale happenings of the war wasn't going to be something of a let-down.

The biggest problem is that the episode is little more than set-up for future ones. Alexander seems to have only been brought back in order to have him in "You Are Cordially Invited", because the writers appeared to think that they couldn't have Worf and Dax get married (which was planned for the episode immediately following the Occupation arc, after all) without Alexander present. Ziyal is only brought back to set-up her tragic death three episodes from now. And Ziyal provides further set-up by acknowledging that Sisko is the Emissary of the Prophets - foreshadowing his momentous actions in the Wormhole in "Sacrifice of Angels". Therein lays the episode's greatest weakness - it provides critical foreshadowing but offers little else.

It is good to see Alexander come back, as I never disliked the character as so many other fans seem to. In fact, I've always had a great deal of sympathy for him because, let's fact it, Worf was indeed a pretty lousy father. And given that Alexander's existence hasn't even been acknowledged by "Deep Space Nine" since.... when.... "Rules of Engagement"?.... almost two seasons ago at this point.... it's nice to see them finally bringing Worf's status as a parent into the mix. And it's nice to see him and Worf finally come to some sort of understanding, even if it does require a bit of continuity stretching (at the ripe old of NINE, Alexander is ready to join the Klingon Defense Forces?). This story of reconciliation just needed to happen sometime in Season Five.

The Kira/Ziyal plot is better. Ziyal is just a much more likable character than Alexander (even I'll admit that though I'm something of an Alexander apologist). Dukat's sleazy charm is also entertaining to watch. Watching him present Kira's gift to Ziyal like nothing is wrong about it really does make the skin crawl. Kira's bluntness in rejecting him displays some of the qualities that make her the badass we all love. The episode could have done with a bit more of Kira and Odo organizing the "new resistance" in the background to keep the arc moving, but I suppose it's okay without that.

7/10
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Luke
Tue, May 24, 2016, 1:06am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Rocks and Shoals

If "A Time to Stand" was 10/10 worthy, "Rocks and Shoals" takes that 10 point scale, sets it on fire, dynamites it, builds a new scale from the ashes and then blows "A Time to Stand" completely out of the water! OH MY GOD, was this good!

Before I discuss the A and B plots, I want to focus quickly on the acting, because everyone involved delivered absolutely top-notch performances. Avery Brooks, Andrew Robinson, Christopher Shea (Keevan).... hell, pretty much everyone in the Sisko plot.... was very much up to the task of taking a brilliant script and adding brilliant acting to it. Brooks' final scene where he shows his complete contempt for Keevan was a thing to behold, especially since Brooks has a reputation (often undeserved, I think) for somewhat below-average acting. And Nana Visitor.... well, she should have won a fucking Emmy for this episode! The fact that she wasn't even nominated is just one more proof for me that the Emmys (like the Oscars) are mostly a load of bullshit and a waste of time.

As for the Sisko A-plot.... First, it's nice to see writers that actually understand the concept of gallows humor. "I tore my pants!" cracks me up every time. :-) Second, we actually have an "honorable" Jem'Hadar used correctly here, unlike previous attempts in "The Abandoned" and "Hippocratic Oath". Remata'klan is honorable not because he rebels against the Dominion, not because he wants to be free from their control, but because he has a code of honor that he follows religiously. That's a wonderful message, as soldiers on both sides of a war can be honorable people and find some common ground between them, even if they hold completely opposing philosophies. Third, Sisko's decisions here are wonderfully executed. Yes, he is right to declare that the decision is his call and not a debate; yes, he's right to try to turn the Jem'hadar against Keevan; yes, he's right to offer them a chance to survive; and yes, he's right, sadly, to ultimately gun them all down when left with no other choice - because he's right that in a choice between them and his crew there is no choice. Beautifully done!

As for the Kira B-plot.... I don't often comment on the directing, because that's just not in my wheelhouse, but even I can see some mastery at work here. Whereas the A-plot is shot almost entirely with grand, sweeping panoramas to convey Sisko feeling like the weight of the world is on his shoulders, the B-plot is shot almost entirely in tight, close angles. You really get the sense of the walls closing in around the characters.

If you put a frog in hot water, it will jump out; but gradually bring it to a boil and it will sit there and die. That's exactly what is happening to Kira in "Rocks and Shoals" - she's slowly being brought to a boil. Weyoun, just like he was doing in "A Time to Stand", is using a pleasant face to conceal the Dominion's true purposes. And it works so well that even Kira starts to fall for it. It takes Vedek Yassim's suicide to violently yank her out of her stupor and force her to see what is happening to her. Speaking of Yassim's suicide, that was a thing of story-telling/narrative/dramatic beauty! It's very minimalist, but ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATING!! I remember when I first watched this episode, it made me quite literally gasp in shock! It works so well because it not only forces Kira to see what is going on (that she's already on the slippery slope to becoming a collaborator) but also violently yanks the audience back to reality. You almost get the sense that Kira is right to comply with the Dominion (to keep Bajor out of the fighting) and that Yassim is wrong. Well, that certainly changes once you see Yassim drop from the second floor of the Promenade and her religious hat go flying, doesn't it?! I only wish I had the eloquence to adequately describe just how intensely powerful this scene is, in an episode that was already quite emotionally powerful.

"Evil must be opposed." As Bryan Cranston would say.... "You're god-damn right!"

10/10
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Luke
Tue, May 24, 2016, 12:15am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: A Time to Stand

The Starfleet A-plot in "A Time to Stand" is all well and good. Garak as a true fish out of water now forced to help the people he was trained to despise. Bashir as the newly formed grim-faced harbinger of doom concerning the Federation's chances for victory. Sisko having to explain to his father why he left Jake on the station (in a truly dangerous situation) while then having to go on possibly an even more dangerous mission himself. All great stuff. And there is a true sense of overhanging doom that saturates the episode. This war is NOT going well for our Federation heroes and that weighs extremely heavily on all their souls and minds. And we FINALLY get a recurring admiral character (Ross) who isn't another tired, cliched "evil admiral" stereotype.

But what really draws my attention is the B-plot concerning Kira and Odo on the station. First, you have to love the conflict between Weyoun and Dukat. Dukat really is out for revenge, so naturally he tries to screw the Bajorans in every way possible. Weyoun, on the other hand, is thinking more long term. He knows that putting on a cooperative face is likely to get him better results - you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar and all that. Both are ultimately seeking the same goals, but have very different means of achieving them. Both try to manipulate and control the other, but we see crystal clearly who is the real "master among the servants" when Odo asks for his Bajoran deputies to be reinstated. Very nicely handled.

Then there is the hands down very best scene of the episode - the one that is sheer brilliance from start to finish, the one between Kira and Dukat in the captain's office. This scene literally had me on the edge of my seat, it was so riveting. Even though she handles his rather scummy arrogance and flirtatious attitude with her usual wit (making a joke about Dukat's breath? LOL!) and aggressiveness, you still get the unmistakable sense of fear that runs underneath everything the two of them say. The tension in the scene is so thick you could literally cut it with a knife! The difference in this two characters' power is so extraordinarily intense at the moment Dukat "lovingly" touches Kira's cheek that you can honestly find yourself worrying that he might actually go *that* far to satisfy his delusions. Let me be blunt here - you honestly can find yourself worrying that he might in fact rape Kira. When she slams his hand away from her face you can't help but cheer for her. This might be the best acted scene in the entire series thus far. It was that amazing! You want to talk about how the episode makes it VERY clear that our heroes are feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders? Look no further than this scene!

As if all of this wasn't enough to earn the episode high marks, "A Time to Stand" then goes on to do something I honestly thought I would never see in Trek - deliver a firmly pro-Second Amendment message! Dukat is purposefully keeping the Bajorans (at least the ones on the station) unarmed, even going so far as to not allow them to serve as unarmed security officers on the Promenade. I don't think anybody can argue that the episode makes it very clear that this is one thing that makes the Dominion Occupation "Not A Good Thing" [TM]. Any government that forcibly keeps its population disarmed is usually doing so because it either is up to no good or has other reasons to fear the public. Given Trek's rather open liberal/leftist stance on many (not all mind you, but many) issues, this open declaration that free people have a right to bear arms was rather surprising and very welcome.

WTF HAIR - 34 (+1)

10/10
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dipads
Mon, May 23, 2016, 7:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Day of Honor

Jeri Ryan is an excellent addition to the series and yes, her costume does get toned down to an acceptable attire. Her presence provides new story arcs that save the series and she IS a great actress. My best characters on VOY are the Doctor, Seven, and Torres.
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