Comments on Jammer's Reviews RSS feed for comments posted on Jammer's Reviews en-us Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:29:42 PST Comment by methane on DS9 S4: Body Parts "FCA somehow has jurisdiction over a bar on a Federation station" Quark probably has all of his assets not currently on the station in Ferengi assets (banks, stock funds, or whatever). You might also believe that his Ferengi employee salaries somehow go through Ferenginar. Just as the Obama administration has enforced US laws on overseas banks that use dollars (leading to large disagreements with US allies), the Ferengi could claim that Quark's accounts give them the right to enforce all sorts of laws on his financial activities. Quark could likely shield his station-based assets (like his furniture) if he renounced his citizenship, but that would likely cause problems for his family back home, as 2piix pointed out. Regardless, his accounts on Ferengenar being confiscated would have been a far bigger financial loss than whatever they took from the bar. Comments Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:29:42 PST methane Comment by Chrome on DS9 S4: Rules of Engagement The Sisko scene at the end was completely unnecessary. Sisko has sufficient evidence to show that the whole trial is a farce. Why would Sisko or the JAG waste any more time, or poor Worf's time with such a circus? Comments Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:05:12 PST Chrome Comment by Diamond Dave on DS9 S3: Improbable Cause I'm a big fan of episodes that start small and end big. This is perhaps one of the best examples - each twist spiraling up and out until we get to the biggest reveal yet as the Obsidian Order and Tal Shiar plot to launch a first strike on the Dominion. And of course we have Odo and Garak butting heads throughout, which is a joy. It's also good to finally start seeing some hard facts about Garak - "plain, simple" can only go so far - and his evident glee about being invited back to the fold by Tain at the end makes perfect sense. Downside, well it isn't the fastest paced and you can see how some filler could have been excised had this been a standard episode, but top quality nonetheless. 3.5 stars. Comments Mon, 30 Nov 2015 11:29:31 PST Diamond Dave Comment by Del_Duio on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 "The ability to watch out-of-order is a key part of preserving rewatchability. If the series compels you to watch it in order it will lose something as a series. " See, this guy gets it. You develop your characters throughout (mostly) standalone episodes, with occasional unifying themes when it calls for it. P.S: I think even if CBS could do 26 episodes no way in hell they would, it would cost them way too much money. I think the day of the 26 episode season is long gone. Sad to say, but hey I still have my TNG / DS9 DVDs so it's not a total loss. Comments Mon, 30 Nov 2015 08:55:04 PST Del_Duio Comment by CPUFP on TOS S2: The Omega Glory Oh, almost forgot: Didn't you just love Spock's comment on the parallel Earth trope? "Kohms? Communists? The parallel is almost too close, Captain." Comments Mon, 30 Nov 2015 07:29:14 PST CPUFP Comment by CPUFP on TOS S2: The Omega Glory I agree with the few positive remarks Dan A. and William B made. To me, the episode's message was that even a society which prides itself on being built on democracy and personal liberty can devolve into barbarism in the course of war if it treats its own civic symbols and texts as religious artifacts, dehumanizes its enemies and stops seeing them as worthy of the same liberties as its own citizens. So at its core, the episode actually had a few points going for it as a comment on the US's role in the Cold War, and that actually was enough to make me forgive the whole flag-waving, parallel Earth nonsense and plot inconsistencies. One detail I found funny, in addition to all that has been said above by other commenters, is the return of the "trapped in a cell without guards" trope, which has saved the skin of a lot of Starfleet officers in the 23rd and 24th centuries (though it is not exclusively used in the Star Trek franchise). After being beaten unconscious by the Yangs, Kirk is lying in his cell for seven hours without anybody checking on him. But granted, there was only one Kohm guard in the whole facility, and he had his hands full with stopping McCoy from flirting with the meal delivery lady! Comments Mon, 30 Nov 2015 07:19:55 PST CPUFP Comment by John on VOY S4: Scorpion, Part II So the Borg were speaking in Seven's head about casualties and the need to take Voyager into the alien realm, and Seven responded "we understand" VERBALLY! Um, did she think the Collective would hear her voice or something? Comments Mon, 30 Nov 2015 01:45:54 PST John Comment by Wilt on VOY S6: Barge of the Dead Mixed feelings about this one. The whole point of the ST mythos was not just showing cooperation of other alien races and their overall role in Starfleet. It was also to show acceptance of those other races' cultures' values, mindsets and spirituality. I really detest the way the show continues to trivialize and satirize any way of life that isn't consistent with middle America (or more specifically it seems, the writer's values). B'elanna's whole attitude towards her Klingon half displays a self loathing that K'Ehleyr herself never showed. All that in spite of the fact her Klingon half had already changed lives in the delta quadrant for the better exclusively because she was Klingon. (Faces, Lifesigns, and Prophecy sort of). We know that contempt stems from her human half, whom clearly shows a lot more intolerance and contempt. Just watch S1's Faces and you will see what I mean. She still wanted her father's acceptance while rejecting both her mother and her Klingon half. keep in mind her mother at least stayed with her thru all of it in spite of her headstrong ways. But her mother is Klingon and it seems to be par for the course for them. Ironic that the human half is what made her push them all away yet that's the half she desperately wants to embrace. I suppose the one thing about this we can take from it is humans really have low to zero tolerance for others. At times it borders on outright xenophobia, at least from watching Voyager (and ENT). Runs contrary to the whole point of ST and Gene Roddenberry's vision of a utopian future. With that being said, I enjoy the heel face turn in the story we get not too long after the ceremony in the mess hall. Things take a decidedly different route. And then we are thrust head first into a scenario that no one saw coming. I know I sure didn't. Didn't see how the title of the ep fit in until that moment. Speaking of which in spite of her vehement denials of her Klingon side it seems there was a part of her that very much believed in it. After all, she wouldn't have appeared on the barge of the dead otherwise. The Klingon in her runs deeper than she likes to admit, even to herself. And just as things get suddenly comes to an end and she finds herself awakened startlingly in sick bay. I'll skip over her sudden deep belief in Klingon lore. Those scrolls she looked at in engineering must have been poured over throughout her childhood up until she left home. I guess she didn't accept it until it happened and had to look up the details to see if there were a way to undo it. Like a good engineer, I suppose. Anyways after some pleading convictions to the Captain she's recreating the shuttle accident's environmental conditions and abra ka dabra, she's back on the barge of the dead. She does indeed get to confront her mother. And it seems the conversation begins where it left off 10 years ago for both of them. I mentioned in the S7 Lineage review how this paralleled Jean-Luc Picard and his older brother, Remy. And apparently their father as well. Except it would take him 20 years and a forced borg assimilation before he returned to his roots. In any case She gets to lift her mother's dishonor and take her place in klingon's Hell. As surprised as I was I'm sure no one was more surprised than she was as to where exactly that Hell would be located. The rest was more of an awakening of sorts for her to just accept who she is and stop running away. (Still can't imagine any Klingon saying to forget any part of their lore, especially when she flagellated the point to death in B'elanna's youth. Enough to drive her father away and eventually B'elanna herself. Writers needed to reword that some.) This ep is a companion piece to S7's Lineage. Which I will admit I found a bit more fascinating and almost as infuriating. (Wasn't quite as meticulously executed, tho.) Because it found B'elanna right back at her seeds of contempt regarding her Klingon nature. It wasn't as if she had a monopoly on Klingon temperament and ridges (that weren't even that pronounced). But at least that episode had a reason for her to be that way. The pregnancy triggered that dormant self loathing she still had about being Klingon. I'm guessing it mirrored how her father had felt at the time about it all. And she didn't want her child to have to go thru that as well. Seems with Klingons it always comes down to the sins of the father doesn't it? This one was very well paced and executed with pinpoint precision. I was definitely riveted to the screen till the end. At least it tried to restore a respectability to Klingon beliefs. In spite of B'elanna's misgivings (not to mention serious patronizing from a few members of the crew) it's hard not to give it a perfect 4. Except the show had an annoying tendency to belittle all the nonhuman species' beliefs far too often (glares at the doctor). Klingons just got hit the hardest. Gotta dock it half a star. Still, In spite those flaws this is nonetheless an outstanding one this late in the series. Comments Sun, 29 Nov 2015 17:49:05 PST Wilt Comment by Maq on TOS S1: Dagger of the Mind Good episode. Mccoy have concerns and Kirk fulfils his task. Regarding Dr Noels skirt, Well we are in two different times late 1960 and 23 Century. Obviously the length was appropriate in those times. Comments Sun, 29 Nov 2015 13:11:57 PST Maq Comment by Robert on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 "The ability to watch out-of-order is a key part of preserving rewatchability. If the series compels you to watch it in order it will lose something as a series." Yes and no. If the plot line of episode 18 can't be enjoyed without watching episode 19 you lose the quality you are referring to. It shouldn't ruin anything for REwatchability that Captain Sisko gets married, Worf had a child or Tasha dies. And if any character goes the same 7 years without development as INTERMINABLE ENSIGN Kim for a show in 2017 the show is a failure. Our views are not incompatible. Comments Sun, 29 Nov 2015 12:09:17 PST Robert Comment by Diamond Dave on DS9 S3: Through the Looking Glass I think the episode survives much better if you treat it as a romp rather than something worthy of a university dissertation. Essentially these are designed to be comic book capers, and this delivers in spades. I'd much rather see the cast play off character in this way - ie madly chewing the scenery - than the highbrow rubbish in Distant Voices. For heaven's sake, Rom gets staked to a door! And if there is a finer delivery of a word than Garak's "Pursue!" in the whole of Trek than I've yet to hear it. 3 stars. PS I'm not sure why anyone would have a problem with the unlikely nature of the mirror universe taking the form it has when "Parallels" clearly shows that every possible combination of events is being played out in an infinite number of universes. It then becomes a certainty that this mirror universe HAS to exist in the form it does. It might be a story-writing cop out, but it seems internally consistent to me. Comments Sun, 29 Nov 2015 11:37:49 PST Diamond Dave Comment by John on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 Back to the premise for the new series, I suspect that it will not be anything that we are discussing here, but I hope that it is nonetheless something interesting. As for what it would include if I were God-Emperor for a day (sorry mixing SF universes there...): - Need to get it out of the Alpha Quadrant. I've seen enough of the Klingons, etc. Keep them in the series as background races and have them occasionally show up and get referenced... but we need new blood for new stories. - A problem with the old Trek series was that the Federation was too large and technologically strong. There weren't enough challenges to the protagonists short of vast alien empires attacking the Federation. I say send it to another galaxy. Say, a wormhole to the Magellanic Clouds? The protagonists need to work under material and technological limitations. - I would like to see the Klingon and Romulan Empires overthrown by their subject peoples between the end of the old series and the beginning of the new. I mean really, these empires probably brutally suppressed a lot of races that should be free. - It would be very surprising if the series was not serialized. All the best new series are, and that is a good thing. - The crew of the new ship should have some interior conflict. I would hope for a conflict that made sense and that would never be completely resolved. Call it Spock and McCoy II, albeit with a 21st Century Twist. Comments Sun, 29 Nov 2015 10:51:54 PST John Comment by Dom on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 I think the question isn't serialization vs. episodic, but rather how much do you want character development and larger plot lines. It's extremely hard to tell a big story in a 1 hour TV episode. When DS9 initially introduced the Dominion War, Berman wanted it to be a six-episode arc, but the DS9 writing team insisted that you can't have a war of that magnitude in just 6 episodes. And they were right. The Dominion War is a richer story because it had time to breath and had time to allow characters to react to events over time. That's the benefit of serialization. The drawback of serialization is that it loses focus. It's much easier to focus on a particular theme, idea, or character in a 1 hour chunk than it is over 10-20 separate episodes. TNG was at its greatest when an episode focused on a particular Big Idea and really ran with it (Darmok, I Borg, etc). Sometimes, I feel that in heavily serialized shows like Game of Thrones, individual characters and ideas get sacrificed to the overarching story. Each episode is more about moving pieces on the board than focusing on something important. Something like the first 4 seasons of the new Doctor Who might work well, which generally has standalone episodes, but a larger theme or plot thread throughout each season. Comments Sun, 29 Nov 2015 10:41:30 PST Dom Comment by Lord Garth on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 I'm going to go back to "Mad Men" as an example. Never mind the "glacial pace" (I don't agree with that, I think it's more of a slow burn, but that's neither here nor there). A typical season would have an overriding story arc with a beginning, middle, and end. BUT... Each individual episode had its own beginning, middle, and end. It had its own integrity. So, if you watched just one episode and just that one episode ever, you'd get a complete story. A story within a larger story, for sure, but still a complete story. I'll be honest. I prefer DS9 but I'm more likely to watch VOY on Netflix when I'm looking for any old episode to watch. So, yes, I see the value of still doing self-contained shows. I just like the idea of if you put together each episode, you'll see something larger. Comments Sun, 29 Nov 2015 09:05:15 PST Lord Garth Comment by BigDTBone on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 @Robert - The ability to watch out-of-order is a key part of preserving rewatchability. If the series compels you to watch it in order it will lose something as a series. Shows that you watch through in order can be a great first time experience but the return dimenishes sharply on rewatch. Whereas shows that are comprised of more stand alone episodes (even if they are contained within a larger arc) can be enjoyed many times without losing much value. Basically, I'm looking for a series that will hold up in the long run and I would be willing to sacrifice some initial enthralment (but not much) for the cause. Comments Sun, 29 Nov 2015 08:31:17 PST BigDTBone Comment by Dusty on DS9 S6: Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night You know an episode is great when the inclusion of time travel seems not only unimportant, but almost incidental. This is a deep and harrowing journey for Kira--to the past, yes, but more importantly to the truth. Most episodes about Kira are outstanding; episodes depicting the Occupation, even more so. This one is both. I understand Meru. Everything. She had one opportunity to get out of that hell and have her family taken care of at the same time, and she accepted it. As Kira said that doesn't make it right--not at all. But Kira did benefit from this arrangement as a child, however little. Perhaps that's why an increasingly unhinged Dukat finally revealed this to her. Out of some twisted desire for her respect and gratitude (which he will never have). Clearly Dukat was a highly polished manipulator even a generation ago, with his good cop/bad act with Basso and calculated winning over of Meru. One of my favorite episodes. Comments Sun, 29 Nov 2015 05:58:21 PST Dusty Comment by Diamond Dave on DS9 S3: Distant Voices Intriguing premise - poor execution. We spend half the episode wandering through the station talking, get the big reveal, then spend the next half wandering through the station talking. However interesting the concept it just gets tedious. Excellent make up and a decent performance though. 1.5 stars. Comments Sun, 29 Nov 2015 04:51:06 PST Diamond Dave Comment by Kiamau on TOS S3: The Enterprise Incident Did I miss something? When Kirk and Spock were aboard the Romulan ship, why didn't the Romulans put up their shields? Or at least, once they picked up the alien transmission, why didn't they put them up? Or after the cloaking device was stolen? Surely they would have thought the Enterprise would beam out Spock. I always thought the Romulans were more clever. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 21:50:51 PST Kiamau Comment by Shannon on VOY S3: Remember Absolutely brilliant episode, 4 stars all the way! Voyager was at its best when great writing, directing, and acting all came together to, as Patrick Stewart always used to say, "tell a good story". Roxanne Dawson is amazing, and I only wish the writers could have found more ways to show her amazing range of acting. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 21:34:06 PST Shannon Comment by Samaritan on ANDR S2: Second Season Recap Season 5 Episode 3 "Decay of the Angel" 2 out of 5 stars. "Dylan, Dylan, Dylan. What is the point of this? Are we pretending we're a crew again?" ~ Beka "Oh, believe me. I won't make that mistake five times." ~ Dylan This episode appears to be a hidden continuation of "Waking the Tyrant's Device" from last season. At some point in the future, Kroton's android rebellion appears to be going on and for some reason, the androids want Andromeda. Its not make clear why. Fortunately, it appears that in the future, they don't make androids like they use too, as the present day models are far superior. In this episode we learn, for the few who haven't guess it already, that Doyle is an android. But she's not just any android, she is in fact the Rommy avatar. Harper wasn't able to get her personality just right (she was apparently obsessed with "finding Dylan") and so created a new personality for her and programmed her to think of herself as human. Its a nice continuity nod to find out that Rommy is obsessed with getting back to Dylan, in the 1st season Andromeda was in love with her captain, but this was forgotten in later seasons. Here we see that she still in love with him and being reunited with him is what she wants most. Doyle saves a man named Argent who quickly finds out that Doyle is an android, even though Doyle herself is unaware of this. He quickly attaches himself to her, despite Harper's obvious dismay and eventually manipulates things to both reveal to her that she isn't human and to get her to an asteroid with a Tesseract Generator. This same generator is responsible for teleporting the Andromeda, Dylan, Rhade and Beka to an empty area of space. Here they are attacked and captured by armed men. Argent reveals that he is working with these men and that they in fact are all androids from the future. They have some plan for the Andromeda, although it is not reveal what, only that the Andromeda will play an important roll in their android revolution. Fortunately Harper hacks the generator and destroys are beam out into space all the androids. Doyle takes many of them down, but despite the fact that these androids are supposedly from the future, they easily go down with one hit while Doyle takes several with apparently ill effect. This episode gets only 2 out of 5 stars as the story doesn't make much sense and does nothing to move the season arc along. Doyle is a breath of fresh air and its uncanny how Rommy-like the actress can be at times. Rhade is more like his original character in this one, but still angry. Beka is Beka and Dylan is about average. Harper and Argent have some pretty funny dialogue with each other and some amusing scenes. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 21:15:50 PST Samaritan Comment by Robert on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 @David - My frustration with episodic TV is the old standby requirement that came with old TV that said it could be watched out of order with no problem and treated that as a good thing. It's not (IMHO). It was a business limitation that has been lifted by DVDs and Netflix. That said, the fix is not necessarily a 26 part episode. I agree that the Freshman season should not be serialized, but that doesn't mean we should have 26 standalone episodes. I want character arcs. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 18:38:27 PST Robert Comment by Dusty on DS9 S6: Who Mourns for Morn? This one was okay. I couldn't really get into it, though. Morn doesn't do anything for me and while I like Quark a lot, seeing him in "fluff" episodes where he tries to get his hands on a fortune is just getting old. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 17:09:10 PST Dusty Comment by Dusty on DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars It was all right. Not my favorite "Trek in 20th century" episode, but I found it fairly enjoyable. I enjoyed the novelty of seeing actors like Rene and Armin out of makeup inhabiting totally different characters. But it raises a lot of questions that are never answered. Much is made of the Prophets in this one, but if this is another of Sisko's visions (or even a flashback to a previous life), what is its relevance to the story of DS9? Why do Sisko and the audience need to see this? It's a thought-provoking diversion, but plot-wise it has no payoff other than Sisko resolving to fulfill his role, and who doubted that he would? What the writers really wanted to talk about was 1950s racism in writing and general society. They (and Avery Brooks especially) wanted to make a statement. DS9's loyal viewing audience ensured that it would be seen, and they gambled--successfully--on the emotional impact it would leave on 1990s audiences. If it fails to leave that impact, the entire episode begins to collapse. Obviously it left that impact on some viewers more than others. Did it impact me? Yes, but only to a point. I care a lot about social issues, but at the end of the day I'm still watching this for entertainment. If this episode had more relevance to the world of DS9 itself, I might call it great. As it is, Brian S' criticisms above are completely (and devastatingly) accurate. Ambitious but flawed. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 16:40:54 PST Dusty Comment by Dusty on DS9 S6: One Little Ship I didn't have high hopes after seeing the title and the premise, but this one really surprised me. It's a very solid episode of action/comedy with some convincing visual effects and good production values; the giant circuit relay O'Brien and Bashir beamed onto was a great set. It's funny, but the stakes are serious, and fans who watch purely for the ongoing storyline will enjoy the growing tension between Alpha and Gamma Jem'Hadar. The finale was far more thrilling than I expected, with a very well done fight scene. I enjoyed every minute. I'm with Jammer: 3 stars. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 15:46:14 PST Dusty Comment by Dusty on DS9 S6: Honor Among Thieves I liked it. True, it's hard to believe that Starfleet Intelligence would turn to a guy like O'Brien for something like this. Since when does he have the skill set to be an undercover agent? At the very least, he's too straight-laced and honorable for that sort of work--which the episode didn't hesitate to confirm. He was unable to gain someone's trust and then betray them as the assignment called for, even though that someone was a criminal and a murderer. But when I see O'Brien and Bilby onscreen together, it doesn't matter so much. Their performances are strong enough to carry the entire thing. Yanks is right; in this case, good acting holds together a shaky story and make it an enjoyable hour of Trek. Still, I hope more is made of the Dominion/Orion connection to give this episode more long-term relevance. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 15:29:47 PST Dusty Comment by David on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 I just don't think it's wise to launch into a serialized freshman season. Standalones are the way to go. And I know it's popular to bash episodic storytelling these days but when the standalones are entertaining and fresh nothing wrong with that. In fact. The two most popular Trek series were nothing but standalones done well. The problem I think a lot of people have with standalones is the formulaic nature that shows like CSI or NCIS or Law and Order have or with Voyager and the first two seasons of Enterprise were they were boring or awful. But TNG was episodic but not formulaic. It provided a whole range of story types from morality plays one week to straight up high concept sci fi the next to character episodes or mysteries I really think standalones in the first season would help establish the characters first THEN in subsequent seasons adopt pure serialization. BUT NOT the type of serialization as shows such as Game of Thrones, Lost or BSG did. No, I'm talking about the serialization of primetime dramas of yesteryear did like Hill Street Blues and Dallas, falcon crest, knots landing, the original melrose place namely breaking down the modest ensemble cast and paring them off into three or four arcs that develop and span a single season whereby the set up, development and pay off occur in a single season and the arcs are self contained within that season with no spill over into the next seasons arcs. Then the next season has it's own new arcs While I enjoyed DS9s arcs I hated that it wasn't full on serialization. Nothing more frustrating than getting caught up in the arc then the next episode drops it for several weeks. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 14:41:18 PST David Comment by Maq on ENT S3: North Star Ok story and playing. I liked it. The only really irritating thing was when T'Pol was held by the villain. Is she not a Vulcan , stronger than a human man and good in material arts? But she just hangs there. Poor not to show some Vulcan feminism. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 13:34:17 PST Maq Comment by Diamond Dave on DS9 S3: Visionary File this one in the increasing list of episodes where "bad things happen to Chief O'Brien". Definitely a feel of TNG here, and where they blew up the Enterprise, here we get to have the fun of seeing DS9 destroyed. I suppose it had to happen sooner or later. Nevertheless, this is a fun episode in many ways and has an intriguing undercurrent, what with 3 dead O'Brien's and one coming back from the future to live his own dead life. Or something. Obviously though we get to this point via the standard set of contrivances. But it's never boring. 3 stars. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 12:11:07 PST Diamond Dave Comment by Samaritan on ANDR S2: Second Season Recap Season 5 Episode 3 "Phear Phactor Phenom" 1/2 out of 5 stars. "He didn't insult me, not once. That's not right." ~ Rhade Unfortunately this episode isn't really better then the last. Here we learn that there is apparently a "ban" on technology over the whole system. Who exactly in forces this ban is unclear as if also exactly what level of technology is okay and what isn't and who makes that decision. Harper is alive but has been in the Seefra System for 3 years. Apparently the parts from Rommy avatar came with him but he hasn't been able to repair her. This hasn't stopped him from building over androids however. He has also teamed up with the resident mad scientist who is trying to recreate (and failing) the Vedrans. At least there is someone here who thinks the Vedrans should be in Tarn Vedran. Why is she doing this? Well because the new Vedran will naturally be able to save everyone . . . because, you know, Vedrans. Dylan and crew aren't happy with him, but they don't make it clear exactly what they're aren't happy with. Harper has also been stealing, but its not clear what or why he is stealing. But it won't matter anymore, because they "neutralize" the mad scientist and Harper is now back with Dylan. The episode suffers from too little Rhade and too much Beka. Dylan here is just classic Dylan, but it is nice to see Harper is still his usal entertaining hyperactive self. Doyle is a character with a lot of potential and its obvious to everyone but the main characters that she is another android built by Harper. At this point, I'm getting a little tired of being shown how messed up the Seefra System is. Let's move on to the mystery of WHY is this way and WAY it should be fixed and HOW they are going to go about doing that. And where are the VENDRANS? Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 12:09:11 PST Samaritan Comment by Wilt on VOY S4: Mortal Coil Nic, I know your post is 4 years old but that has been an argument for me as well. A concept pops up suddenly to help the storyline limp along only for it to disappear without a trace and never mentioned again. Where to begin? Let's see... S2's Alliances where that race the Trabe had been the ones to scatter the Ka-zon into the nomads they are and never once shown again. After Basics neither were the Ka-zon for that matter. I suppose they could say they were leaving their region of space and it was played off as such. Fair enough. But what about those tricobalt missles they used in the pilot to destroy the caretaker array that we never heard from again except in S6's Voyager Conspiracy ep... Or the Malons that were so fond of their toxic waste dump sites in S5... Or the Vaadwaur that were hyped to have been a new threat to the quadrant in S6's Dragon's Teeth that Seven awakened yet somehow we never heard from them again either... We never learned what happened to the remainder of the Equinox crew that survived and were subsequently demoted. Not to mention it would have been nice to see Lessing's reaction to serving under a captain that was very willing to feed a Starfleet officer to the wolves... Come to think of it we never even learned the fate of Ocampa either after the Caretaker's passing. Keep in mind they were the reason Janeway destroyed the array which stranded the crew in the Delta Quadrant in the first place. All to help a race with an 8 year life span. I'm sure there are others I missed that you or other fellow trekkies could think of. These were just off-the-cuff ones I remembered. Truthfully I'm surprised some of the Starfleet crew didn't mutiny before (or after) that fateful decision. The Maquis it should have been without saying. It certainly would have made for a more interesting journey home to see this. Was it against Starfleet ideals? Of course. But the Maquis had little use for those ideals to begin with. That's partly the reason they formed. And with the decision the Captain made to strand them there it sure gave their cause a bit more credibility. But I digress. Between this one and Jetrel it's nice to see Neelix was not just an annoyance at the worst of times. He can be deadly earnest when he wants to be but that would be quite a downer to see that all the time. And I know Ethan Phillips wasn't looking to be Clint Eastwood. I remembered him as a kid in the sitcom Benson and surprisingly in the movie Lean On Me. Comic relief even in that. But did anyone really believe for one minute he was going to succeed in beaming out to space? There can only be suspense when you don't know the outcome, at least for me. The best we could hope for is the reason why he decides not to beam out into space is good enough to raise it from standard fare. Now for a good twist as he was beaming out our trusty can't-get-a-lock kim would live up to his namesake and cause the tricorder scattering field to displace itself, thereby saving Neelix but instead it's shifted itself around chuckles beaming HIM out into space with no chance of retrieval. Now that would have been must-see TV! As it is 1.5 stars is all I can give this, despite this yahoo serious side of Neelix we only got from time to time. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 10:44:27 PST Wilt Comment by Samaritan on ANDR S2: Second Season Recap Season 5 Episode 2 "The Weight" (part 2) 1 out of 5 stars. "You know, this seems like a bad deal because, apparently, I die either way." ~ Dylan Once again, this episode leaves more question then answers, not about the plot, but about the entire set up. We learn here that no one knowns about Slipstream in the Seefra System. In fact no has even heard the term "Slipstream" and faster-then-light travel is thought to be a myth. (This despite the fact that Seefra periodically get new arrivals and the that fact that if this really is Tarn Vedran - it would only be a mere 300 hundred years cut off from the rest of the galaxy, not nearly long enough to completely forget the existence of Slipstream on all nine planets.) We also learn that water is in short supply on all nine planets, not just Seefra-1. Beka has been in the Seefra System for several months, aboard the Maru, she can't leave the system but keeps trying until she runs out of food, water and power. Why she doesn't land a planet before that point? She never bothers to explain. Just because, I guess. She finds the Andromeda, intact (so much for the theory that Seefra-1 is the Andromeda), but without power and so sets of a distress signal. At some point she gets captured and tortured for about a month, including being threatened to be burned alive by a creature imaginatively called the "Core", a name which it sounds more like a machine then a creature. She then makes a deal with the leader of her captors, Jonah, and "fall in love" with him . . . apparently getting captured and tortured are the roads to a girl's heart. At this point Dylan and Rhade show up to answer the distress call and we play the same old tired game, is Beka loyal to Dylan? Cause we haven't found out the answer that before, in like a dozen previous episodes. Jonah doesn't trust Beka not to be loyal to her old captain and devises perhaps the weirdest test in any science fiction episode. He presents Beka with two buttons. One unleashes the "Core" who will kill Dylan; the other fires a missile which will destroy the Andromeda. The test doesn't work as Dylan as figured out, along with the audience, that the "Core" is actually Trance and that Jonah isn't really going to destroy the Andromeda - both buttons unleash the "Core". When the "Core" comes out, Dylan addresses her by name and Trance, naturally, doesn't hurt him, even though she looks like a miniature sun with little tentacles. After Dylan reveals Jonah's trick to Beka, Jonah, apparently in a sudden fit of insanity, decides to shoot a missile at the Andromeda after all, purely out of spite with Dylan. This doesn't really sound like someone who managed to create the largest commercial cargo fleet in the system, but hey, who cares about consistent character representation? He and Beka split ways, with Beka telling him that she "really did love him" - because, you know, torture and stuff. Beka frees Dylan and they are joined by Rhade, who has spent the entire time wandering the corridors. Yeah, former Admiral here people. They use Trance to power the ship and shoot down the missile, which also conveniently destroys Jonah's ship with splash damage from the warhead. The "Core" turns back into Trance's humanoid form, but she has no memories and only vaguely recognizes Dylan and none of the others. Rommy comes back online as well and informs everyone that it was Trance who saved them all by tesseract-ing them through the Route of Ages and into the Seefra System and that doing so cost her physical form and memories. Why and how Rommy knows all this is anybody's guess along with how she lost power. The crew then mention that all they are missing is Harper and "Rommy" even though Rommy is right there because she is the slagging ship itself! But presumably they mean her Avatar (which as you recall was destroyed last season) and who the bad Andromeda writers keep acting like is a complete separate character from Rommy, even though we all know that the Ship and the Avatar are one and the same (that's the whole point of the Avatar in the first place). This episode only rates 1 out of 5 (proper) stars. The new Rhade is still fun to watch and listen too and sounds less like Tyr this time around. Dylan anger at yet another person trying to claim his ship is well done, especially the scene where he see the company logo painted on the Andromeda's hull. Unfortunately everything else is pretty lackluster. Beka has always been a rather boring character with really no function on the Andromeda, here she is running her "I'm a pointless character" in full tilt. While Dylan has is gathering the crew back together and getting his ship back and Rhade has connections, work, money and knowledge about the Seefra System; Beka on the other hand as been avoiding planets, getting captured, beat up, threatened and then "falling in love" with the man responsible for her troubles. The whole plot is actually rather boing and doesn't really do anything to advance the story arc or make Beka interesting. The only good scenes are those with Dylan and Rhade together, as their dialogue is still pretty entertaining. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 10:33:57 PST Samaritan Comment by William B on DS9 S4: The Muse As with many commenters here, I think that the Lwaxana story is fine and indeed has some very good moments. There is something very half-hearted and perfunctory about the plot, which I do think is a weakness, and might be worth discussing more if it weren't that the plot of the Jake story is so terrible that it seems hard to get too up in arms about the Lwaxana story. What impressed me the more I thought about it is the following: (episode appearance spoilers) I don't think I'm giving too much away in saying that this is Lwaxana Troi's last appearance after having made one annual appearance in Trek since TNG's first season. This means that this episode has the honour/burden of closing out a *nine-year* annual tradition, which is especially difficult considering that the majority of the episodes featuring Lwaxana over the years have been terrible. However, despite the poor execution of most Lwaxana stories, and perhaps because of the repetitive nature of those stories over the years, this episode manages to provide something of a capstone for most of the recurring themes that have followed Lwaxana through her appearances on both series while also wrapping up her role in Deep Space Nine in what is to me a satisfying way. While I dislike most Lwaxana episodes, I don't (usually) dislike Lwaxana herself; I think it is more the way she is frequently used that is grating, problematic, and often sexist. Zooming out, though, the key elements of this episode have to do with Lwaxana's pregnancy/motherhood, marriage and dissolution thereof, and loneliness and her relationship to distant, lonely men. Deanna's role in TNG is largely to highlight the emotional side of life, and Lwaxana's story zeroes in even more closely on family and to some degree on traditional mother-hen assumptions about the goal of life being familial, as well as a boundary-defying unwillingness to let people be alone (or lonely). That she is largely a nuisance to the TNG crew comments to some degree on the individualism that the starfleet explorer life produces. Lwaxana, caught between tradition and modernity, is both an aristocrat and a shameless breaker of rules, obsessed with coupling and wanting badly to avoid any compromises of herself, and her stories all come down to variations on a handful of conflicts -- the desire to be in a relationship versus the desire to be oneself, the importance of one's children becoming independent versus the gap left when they leave and the parent continues aging. And so, in order: 1. Lwaxana's first appearance heralds her association with tradition and marriage ("Haven") where she paradoxically is present partly to enforce tradition and partly to flaunt it, ending with her giving Wyatt the push he needs to leave Deanna. 2. "Manhunt" introduces Lwaxana's desire and her menopause-metaphor The Phase fixation on Picard as a man of her age who refuses to let her interrupt his lonely life. 3. "Menage a Troi" (i.e. "menage a trois") whose title evokes the weird and perhaps inappropriate way Lwaxana throws herself into her daughter's romantic life, features Lwaxana's attempts to escape the clutches of an unwanted suitor and Picard's necessarily play-acting Lwaxana's lover to save her. 4. "Half a Life" gives Lwaxana the chance at a happy relationship with a quiet, lonely man who reciprocates her advances, only to have it cut short by the recognition that others in the galaxy place far less value on the possibilities of life for the elderly than she does, and signals tragedy that Lwaxana is not ready to give up on her life, but cannot change that others with whom she could are unwilling to break with societal pressure to stop being inconvenient. 5. "Cost of Living" has Lwaxana teaching Alexander how to have fun while she plans to marry herself off to a stultifying bore out of desperation, until she finally rejects him -- with the recognition that she is partly giving up on marriage as a way of happiness. Her bond with Alexander suggests rebirth. 6. "The Forsaken" has Lwaxana bond with Odo, who over the course of the episode moves from Picard-solidity to falling into her lap; unlike Picard, Odo needs her, and unlike Timicin, she is able to help him. 7. "Dark Page" suggests that Lwaxana has suffered a huge loss of a child (loss of innocence, etc.) which underscores the tragedy and death and loss that follows Lwaxana around, and has her recovering only when she is able to face her problems. 8. "Fascination" has Lwaxana's feelings for Odo boiling over and causing chaos throughout the station, and has her able to recognize Odo's own lonely, unrequited feelings for Kira. So this episode in some ways refers to all of the above in some sense or another. Lwaxana refers to "Dark Page" explicitly, of course. Odo's declaration of love to free Lwaxana recalls Picard in "Menage a Troi"; the marriaged ended after-the-fact recalls the near misses (for Lwaxana and for her daughter) in "Haven" and "Cost of Living"; Lwaxana's mood being infectious with negative, disruptive results, which is to some degree always true and was most true in TNG in "Manhunt" and had its most literal form in "Fascination," is suggested when she recounts her life tragedy to Kira, Dax and Worf in Quark's. Her falling asleep in Odo's arms/lap and Odo putting his arm around her as a blanket is a repayment of her gesture, allowing him to take his liquid form in her lap, in "The Forsaken." And the death/rebirth issues (from all episodes, and especially "Half a Life") come to the fore, as Lwaxana unexpectedly has a child, and there is the suggestion that this child represents a future lonely, sad Lwaxana did not particularly know she had. The Odo/Lwaxana material in the episode generally works for me both for Lwaxana's character and (more importantly, for this series) for Odo's. I do agree with Jammer's assessment that Odo gets a little too cute in characterization for the usual portrayal of him, but I think that his growing enthusiasm for having someone to take care of makes sense. In particular, Odo is on some level more strongly looking for a way to connect to the world without getting hurt; "Crossfire" eliminated Kira (for now) as the person he could connect with, but his recognition that he can do something for Lwaxana shows how eager he actually is not to be so totally alone. I do think that the awareness of what he has lost in discovering that there is no place for him among his people (first by choice, and then because of what he had done) has changed things for Odo pretty significantly, but in a way that had not quite settled in even by "Fascination." And moreover, Odo really *did* bond with Lwaxana in "The Forsaken" (and to a lesser extent "Fascination") and with Kira somewhat out of the picture for now he is more willing to explore what that means, and more willing to try, on some level, to live vicariously through her. He gets to play the hero for a little while, using his legal knowledge to help another person connect to the stream of life with which he feels permanently disconnected. The reversal at the episode's end -- that after declaring his (fake) love for her he declares his real (platonic) love for her, and that his finally embracing the idea of Lwaxana in his life is what means that Lwaxana must finally leave, is also pretty touching, I think. In some ways it is a reversal of "Crossfire" for Odo, in that he now finds himself as the best friend who will not become a lover, and Lwaxana is able to be honest with Odo about her reasons for breaking with him, in a way that Odo cannot be to Kira. I do agree though with the criticisms of this plot as a *plot*. I don't know if I am that concerned about Lwaxana using shams to escape from her marriage. To the comments above to the effect that Lwaxana should not have taken the child away from the father, I think that the idea here is that Lwaxana would be willing to raise a child together with the father, and would be willing to raise a child with the father being involved in the child's life, but is not willing to be cut out of the child's life because of Tavnian rules, which Lwaxana did *not* agree to. Presumably neither expected child-rearing to become an issue when they walked into marriage, and cultural differences suddenly became not just important but essential. But in any case, whatever the legal issues are, Lwaxana obviously (to me) has the same right she did within Federation/Betazoid culture, especially if that was the original marriage agreement, and the marriage does not actually nullify Lwaxana's rights. The various hoops that are introduced into Tavnian marriage laws are clearly contrivances to get to Odo's (platonic posing as romantic) love declaration, and as such seem increasingly ridiculous, as does the Tavnian father's willingness to drop out of his child's life entirely when even he doesn't seem to believe Lwaxana will give all the child-rearing responsibilities to Odo (though he apparently believes the wedding is real). It's a pretty stupid plot taken literally, and is mostly there to get to the emotional beats, which to me actually work pretty well. Anyway, right, there's the Jake plot. The Jake plot in some ways works as commentary on the Lwaxana-Odo plot, in that Onaya extracts what was actually inside Jake, in a way that Lwaxana brings something out of Odo that he was not fully aware was there, but in a less predatory way (this time, at least). And the metaphor is fine, as far as it goes -- that creative expression can become a destructive obsession that can destroy a person all while they make something of beauty is a reasonable theme to explore. But yeah, the plot goes nowhere very slowly, and because the episode never gives us any taste of the actual quality of Jake's work we just have to sit around and believe that he's writing the great space station novel through endless variations on the same scene. And then the way Sisko shoots her and she zaps out of the station! The cheese! It feels honestly like "Sub Rosa" with, admittedly, less sex, but has even less entertainment value. Anyway 2-2.5 for the Odo-Lwaxana plot (I like it, but serious contrivances) and 0.5-1 for the Jake plot, which comes to about 1.5 stars. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 08:42:09 PST William B Comment by TJ on VOY S2: Tattoo Another chuckles-centric ep. Yawn. Didn't find it interesting in the least. Still thought the tattoo looked better in S4's Living Witness. Best part of this ep was the always-reliable Robert Picardo's performance as the Doctor. Here Kes gives him a lesson in empathy. One that I'm sure his adaptive programming algorithms quickly took to heart. 1 star is all I could muster for it. And only because of that silly but entertaining subplot. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 08:37:20 PST TJ Comment by Gin on VOY S2: Resistance I wasn't particularly enamored with this episode. I didn't find the plight or the people particularly memorable. No moreso anyways than those wanderlust stricken people in S3's Darkling. At least Robert Picardo's performance in that saved it from the snorefest it otherwise was. In this I really can't find any redeeming virtues about it. S3's Remember was in similar territory but I guess the devil is in the details. I actually found that ep to be more fascinating than this one, too. The people and their history were a bit more fascinating for me. that and the way it unfolded. There was a certain mystery to it because I didn't know what direction it would go in. In this ep I have to say I was nonplussed about the way of life on that planet for better or worse. It could only end one way, which it pretty much did. Kate Mulgrew's performance in it was tender, a paradigm shift from the usual half taskmaster half mommy that normally accompanies her Captain persona. I don't know what kind of torture tactics they could have possibly used to make a Vulcan scream like he just saw Bea Arthur naked but it was jarring, to say the least. The self control he retained when dragged back into the holding cell was a testament to a man who knew how to quickly regain and retain it, though. I respect that in anyone nowadays, let alone a Vulcan. B'elanna's reaction to it all was what we would expect from her. The Klingon/human battle still rages on within. You can practically see her halves warring internally just like they did externally in S1's Faces. I'll give her that much. But I know she desperately tries to deny her Klingon half as much as possible. No surprise she opted to suppress those feelings while she tried to help a colleague whom had just been tortured moments earlier, yet retained a controlled demeanor once the session ended. For him the solution was rather simple. For her not so much. In this situation a Klingon reaction would have been pointless in any event. Just conserve your strength. Any level headed leader would have told her that, not just a Vulcan. Interesting that these two polar opposites in emotional control would be paired up. No matter how many buddy cop movies that get put out where the protagonists are polar opposites the concept just doesn't seem to get old. But the only time we'd see them in any scenes together were in meditation. Not out in the field. Then again Tim Russ was far too underutilized in the show anyways. Which would be one thing if he weren't such a outstanding actor. In spite of their scenes, however, I still can't give this more than 1.5 to two stars at best. I just didn't find the premise all that interesting. It didn't exactly bear repeated viewings for me. Other than the Tuvok/Torres scenes I barely remember the rest of it. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 08:26:33 PST Gin Comment by Lord Garth on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 I like "Mad Men" and its spiritual successor "Halt and Catch Fire". So, I'm also in favor of a major arc per season where the characters all have their own story. Unless it's done *really* well, I'm definitely not interested in nothing but disposable in-and-out, one-and-dones. TOS, TNG, VOY, the first two seasons of ENT. We have 19 seasons of Starship Trek done in that style. Nothing will make the New Trek series look stale and outdated right off the bat faster than that. And how long could they keep up a string of episodes that are so that well done that it would off-set the staleness of the formula? Especially when most of it's already been done and that's not how the Non-CBS Demographic watches TV. The first season would be the strongest, then it would drop off. I'm not saying it should follow the path of DS9, because I don't want to see another series escalating into an all-out quadrant-spanning war, but, structurally, the way DS9 was set up in its later seasons is the closest example of what a Star Trek series should be like in the Binge Generation. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 07:28:58 PST Lord Garth Comment by Dom on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 @David, I agree with you dislike of the way that many serialized shows use gimmicks and "mysteries" to string viewers along without ever delivering a payoff. I think when we look back, most of us like Trek because of the great standalone episodes that hit upon profound social or philosophical points. I'd hate for that to be sacrificed on the alter of some greater "mythology." That said, you do have to realize that making a TV show is a lot of work and there's just a tradeoff in quality if you shoot for quantity. It's possible to have 18-22 episodes per season, but it's a lot harder. If we got 18-22 excellent episodes, I'd say go for it, but we all know that even the best Trek had a lot of low quality filler episodes because the writers were so exhausted that they just filmed half-baked ideas. I actually thought the first two seasons BSG provide a good example of a middle ground. They're not overly serialized and there are some important overarching story arcs, but also enough room for good standalone episodes. You get the sense that the ship has an overall mission and the show has a sense of purpose, but the show can also take the time to explore other interesting issues. I've also been impressed by the earlier seasons of the new Doctor Who and how they have standalone episodes but build up to a finales using pieces scattered throughout the season (the later seasons under Moffat are unfortunately more of a mess). In terms of cast, maybe 5-6 leads, but it's nice to have a stable recurring cast as well. Even something as simple as having the same person play the same bridge officer would be a nice attempt to build realism into the show (unlike TNG, where the helm officer changed every few episodes). I think the number of leads and storylines has to be relatively small though with fewer episodes per season. I would hate something like the later seasons of Game of Thrones, where you have 20 different characters and plot threads, and each one gets 5 minutes per episodes to move forward. I think Trek really needs more time to breath and let each episode be about something more than just moving the chess pieces to their next positions. @Lord Garth, remember that even though there has always been diversity in the US and the world, it's certainly gotten MORE diverse since the 1980s. Just in terms of demographics, whites went from something like 80% to less than two-thirds of the population. Also, issues of diversity are in some ways more prominent in our national discourse and debates. With all of our involvement in the Middle East, Americans have been forced to understand other cultures in a way we really haven't for much of our history. So it's increasingly important for pop culture franchises like Trek to help us think about how we do that. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 07:22:10 PST Dom Comment by David on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 Was going to add but apparently can't edit a post once posted--that this notion that thirteen episode seasons is a good idea. Let me point out that a lot of shortened season shows are crap(salem, under the dome, extant, heroes reborn, caprica, V 2.0 , the strain, American horror story, scream queens, sleepy hollow etc). I'd much rather have a traditional sized season in the range of 18-22 episodes. It can be done. It has been done and most pre 21st century shows churned out pretty consistently good large seasons Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 01:55:36 PST David Comment by David on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 And I don't know about anyone else but frankly I'm not a fan of the style that every tv series nowadays has adopted. Namely I wouldn't want this new trek series to have a massive cast, some mystery puzzle format with lots of unanswered questions inside of some unwieldy series spanning convoluted mythology featuring flashbacks or flash forwards, interconnected collision storytelling with a breakneck pace and an over reliance of jerking the audience around with a lot of cutesy gimmicks Frankly tv in general but this new series specifically really should get back to basics. A modest ensemble of seven or eight main cast members. No overarching mythology but rather start off with standalone episodes--and I'll point out standalone isn't the same thing as procedural. Then once the characters are established then towards the end of the first season going into the second season start being a purely serialized series featuring a few season spanning arcs that result each year in being a self contained season long arc as opposed to something like Lost where the arcs span the life of the series. Slow down the pace. You know there is a happy medium between glacially paced shows like Mad Men or ADHD paced shows like BSG or Losf for instance. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 01:49:29 PST David Comment by David on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 I have zero faith it'll be any good. If you look at orci kurtzman and their track record their shows are pretty abysmal with lots of fast paced action, plenty of plot holes and recycled storylines plus bland characters. And the rebooted trek films were mediocre at best. So I fear the new series will be just as empty and unsatisfying even more so if it takes place in the Abrams timeline as opposed to the original Trek universe As much as I would be looking forward to a new trek series I'm under no illusions that sometimes you might think you want something then when you get it you realize you would have been better off letting it alone and enjoying the nostalgic memories--case in point all the reboots or sequels of older series from the 80s and 90s that have come out over the last fifteen years. Besides I still watch television on my big bulky old school television from the. 90s and have zero interest in watching a tv series on a laptop or phone from a streaming service. Comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 00:19:20 PST David Comment by Samaritan on ANDR S2: Second Season Recap Season 5 Episode 1 "The Weight" 2 out of 5 stars. "There are three types of people. Those who can count, and those who can't." ~ Flavin "'You can't get there from here' should be this place's motto." ~ Dylan In Season 5, Andromeda returns to its space opera roots, setting up a season long story arc. However this arc appears to have little to do with the original storyline. After the rather anti-climatic showdown with the Magog "World" Ship (actually several worlds with an artificial sun) Captain Dylan Hunt flies through the Route of Ages and somehow looses his slipfighter without explanation, manifesting in a dark corridor where he comes face-to-face with himself. Baron Samedi, above, describes this second Dylan Hunt as "godlike", but in actually this Dylan is exactly identical to the first Dylan, except he is wearing a jacket. (Why Baron Samedi thinks this Dylan is godlike, I don't know, maybe he is a closest Sorbo fan?) The two Dylans smile as if to say "of course I'd run into myself here" and then turn away from each other. This scene is never explained, or commented on, for the rest of the episode. What was it about? What did it mean? Why did it happen? Who the slag knows? Is this Dylan's "paradine" self? Is this Dylan from another time zone (such as when he existed the Route of Ages in a later episode)? This is Dylan from another universe? Is the scene a visual joke on the old saying "If you travel long and far enough you will eventually meet yourself."? This question, and more, will not be answered. Dylan finally escapes the corridor/Route of Ages only to suddenly ended up wearing the jacket the other Dylan was wearing. Have the Dylans swapped places? Is this in fact the other Dylan we are now following? Or is this writers'/director's error? We may never know. Dylan is now on a planet (still no slipfighter) and is found by the Trance stand-in for this episode. Flavin. Flavin in fact is about this episode's only redeeming quality as he actually makes for an interesting and fun (if predictable) character. We are then introduced to this planet's/system's rather farfetched premise. Its 12 planets, all identical, all of which everyone finds familiar, which is suppose to be Tarn Vedran or the Andromeda. Why everyone find this familiar when only Dylan has been to Tarn Vedran and the denizens of the planet are not the Andromeda's crew is not explained, like pretty much everything else in this episode. We also meet Schwarzenegger's little brother, who apparently runs this planet. Its unclear if the entire planet's population consists of this one little town or not. But its a population of idiots. Also working for the Arnold's little bro is Rhade. Rhade's character has received a makeover. While the new Rhade is a lot more fun then the old, one can't help but feel that this part was originally written for Tyr and has been adapted for Rhade's character. He also comes off as slightly unhinged and angry at Dylan for . . . well no good reason really, just because mostly. Where would this episode been without some conflict between the main characters. It seems the writers have totally forgotten that Rhade use to an Admiral, as he in no way acts like one would expect a former Admiral to behave. After what seems like several bar fights, Dylan and Rhade are finally reconciled, Flavin does his Obi-Won thing and dies and the bad guys are driven off. No question are answered, including the pink elephant in the room which none of the characters even address. If this is Tarn Vedran, then where are the Vedrans? This episode rates 2 stars mostly because of some fun characters. The new Rhade is a little weird, but its fun to see him less wooden and a little more Nietzschean. Flavin's character too is a lot of fun and Thomas' impersonation of a priest-like Schwarzenegger is fun to make fun of. A lot of things aren't explained, but then again, it is the first episode of a season-long story arc and it does a fair just of setting up the premise, as awkward as that premise is. Comments Fri, 27 Nov 2015 23:57:27 PST Samaritan Comment by Petetong on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 Thank you Lord Garth for your feedback. I didn't mean to suggest that society wasn't multicultural in the 1980s, just that it is even more so now. I also didn't mean to suggest that the alien races on Star Trek were stand-ins for non-white Americans, but rather non-white, non-Americans. Maybe it's wrong of me to want Star Trek to evolve to meet my current needs. Perhaps I have just outgrown Star Trek. I'm not interested in watching a show about 7 senior members of a star ship with a hundred extras in the background, interacting with 2-3 guest stars of the week from a mixed bag of talent, shot on a sound stage of maybe 3 or 4 sets. I'm definitely not interested in stories where the transporters cause two crew members to switch bodies, or the holodeck takes over the ship, or DNA does something wacky, or the crew travels back in time to 2016 Minneapolis (with LA as a stand-in), or an 8th dimensional develops a parasitic relationship with the warp core... Comments Fri, 27 Nov 2015 22:02:03 PST Petetong Comment by JC on VOY S6: The Voyager Conspiracy This ep was completely displaced. Firstly I tend to agree with others that in spite of Seven's rapid-fire delivery of facts she is trying to arrange in some kind of order in her now disorganized mind the suggestion that a conspiracy at this point was even remotely plausible required a bit too much suspension of disbelief on the part of the viewer. I keep forgetting about the tricobalt missles that were used to destroy the caretaker's array in the pilot. Not that it matters since they were never mentioned again except in this. And forgotten again soon afterwards. Now this would have been perfect in say, Season 1. It would have made for a better episode than Learning Curve. It was in any event, surprisingly. Which was about the only episode that even dealt with the displaced and disgruntled Maquis. I was rather nonplussed with that episode despite Tim Russ' kickass portrayal of Tuvok as always. The ending felt too simple and the premise was meh. Anyways regarding this ep the way the story laid out was doable. And it would have fit in perfectly with the tension of the Maquis/Starfleet S1. The 6th season is way too late for any kind of talk about conspiracies on that miniscule ship. That's what made it so implausible. Now with that being said I won't lie. I loved the scene w/ Janeway and chuckles going to Seven's alcove to determine the source of those power fluctuations. You could slice the tension in that room with a butter knife. Even the way it ended was solid entertainment to me. Couldn't stop smiling thru the whole scene. Now if this level of acting was the norm rather than the exception at this point in the series I could see the viewers begging for at least 1 more season. I might have even written a letter or two to the execs myself. "Have a heart guys, leave em stranded just one more season, please!" Still, one great scene doesn't make up for its shortcomings. The greatest being it's 5 seasons too late for talk about conspiracies. The Maquis conflict was a thing of the past just before DS9's cancellation and at this point Voyager was the only ST show in town. Not to mention the crew was working side-by-side with each other during the whole conflict to begin with. I'm guessing it was riding on the coattails of the X-files which was a network superpower around this time. Regardless, I don't think I could have given this one more than 1.5 stars. Comments Fri, 27 Nov 2015 20:03:48 PST JC Comment by navamske on VOY S7: Friendship One "Once upon a time, Captain James Kirk gave a famous and rousing (if hammy and portentous) speech where he exclaimed, 'Risk is our business'." "Riiiiiiiisk is our business!" FIFY Comments Fri, 27 Nov 2015 16:42:47 PST navamske Comment by Diamond Dave on DS9 S3: Prophet Motive An archetypal piece of lightweight fluff. Nothing wrong with that per se, and there are some nice moments (particularly Rom's parting revelation), but overall it falls very much into the "so what?" category. The B-story you have to wonder about - Bashir tells everyone he doesn't expect to win an award that he doesn't win but secretly wanted to. Hmmm. 2 stars. Comments Fri, 27 Nov 2015 11:42:51 PST Diamond Dave Comment by 45 RPM on VOY S2: Lifesigns A story with a simmering subplot, tho at the time we had no clue where it was going. Next episode deals with that. As for the main story I didn't realize just how awesome an actress Susan Diol is. The chemistry between she and the Doctor was natural, unrushed and flowed perfectly. And the good doc still had time for quips (both intended and unintended). I had seen her before, but prior to this ep I didn't make the connection. Admittedly I wouldn't until I googled her. Not sure if anyone would know this but she was in two particular episodes of Quantum Leap. She was Rear Admiral "Al" Calavicci's first wife, Beth. There was in fact an episode that dealt (indirectly) with that. I remembered it because I thought she was adorable then, too. (well, that and after he returned from Vietnam he would be plagued by failed marriages and alimony, bit of a running gag on the series. But it was clear Beth remained the only one he loved unconditionally). And the final leap for Dr Beckett was in fact, to her to give her some good news. Nice touch to give at least Al a happy ending if not Sam. And she was in one TNG episode briefly. Anyone care to take a guess which one? I'll let you good folks know later if you don't already know... Which brings us to this awesome ep. Whod've thunk that she would be as charming as she was? I might have to watch other films/shows she's done. She has screen presence no doubt. It's subtle but its there. She seemed to establish a rapport with practically everyone. Too bad she didn't become a regular on the show. It would have been a perfect addition to what Jennifer Lien was as Kes. This is what I miss about the earlier seasons. They flowed more organically and not so by the numbers as the last few seasons would become far too often. Maybe this was another changing of the guard. Later seasons felt as if the writers' attention spans began to narrow in pursuit of multitasking and cramming too much into an ep. And here we are, some 20 years later. Multitasking has become par for the course in life. Doesn't seem like life is getting any better for most of us. Is it any surprise the earlier seasons stand the test of time better than the later seasons? (Ok, S4's Witness is classic trek in any ST mythos, let alone any season. I liked it more than even S5's Timeless.) Sometimes it's just better to let things flow naturally instead of rushing it. I know we all have a limited amount of time on this earth but cutting corners just to get a product out doesn't make for a quality product. This ep was near perfect because it didn't rush itself. Indeed it paced itself quite well. Yet at the same time those 45 minutes went by wayyyyyy too fast for me! That's how immersed I was in this ep. It kind of felt as it could have been some kind of romantic comedy with just the right touch of drama. Which is a testament to the acting chops of both Picardo and the lovely Ms. Diol. It also showed that the Vidiians were capable of humanity and great acts of kindness. And yet their condition had forced them to take draconian measures just to survive. We've seen them at their best-and worst. Deadlock clearly juxtaposes what we see here. I almost forgot about S5's Think Tank, which I have not watched yet. I think it was mentioned a cure was found for the phage in that ep. Nice, but we already knew Klingon DNA was resistant to the phage. It would have been better to actually show an ep showing the steps it took to create a cure rather than just write it off. It would have been even more awesome to have seen it involve B'elanna one more time too. Another reason I can't understand why she hated her Klingon side so much. It clearly gave her advantages a normal human would not have. Like oh, say, immunity to a disease that has killed millions of a race for how long? 2 centuries? Can't remember the exact timeframe. I just hate the way they make her sidestep that fact in that scene with Dinara. She is literally a cure for the phage but they never pursued her again? Talk about missed opportunity. In S6's Fury all they needed was to kidnap B'elanna and BAM! instant cure. And at this point in time they must have known about her Klingon DNA being the cure since it was discovered back in S1. Shame on you writers... I know Klingons don't honor being a lab rat per se but a savior is a savior. How in the world did they develop any kind of technology given their mindsets, let alone space travel? Voyager's writers treated them like intellectually challenged primitives who barely discovered fire. Which is practically a slap in the face to the pains TNG took to show them to be more than that. Much more. In the midst of all this Dinara remained strong and resolute without losing any of her easy charm. She even seemed to allay B'elanna's fears and suspicions with her calm but reassuring demeanor. It never once felt forced. The writers should have had her be the one to create the cure for the phage rather than the lip service we got in Think Tank. By then the show was too rough around the edges. Her appearance would have been much appreciated. The rating jammer gave it speaks for itself. Why, we even got to see Seska ever so briefly. Icing on the cake! It ended just as it was beginning. A heartfelt episode with a developing sinister subplot. Comments Fri, 27 Nov 2015 08:44:41 PST 45 RPM Comment by SlackerInc on VOY S3: Real Life I emphatically cosign the last two comments. What the people who hate this are looking for, I don't know. I would be curious to know what they would submit as an example of a very strong episode. As a side note, it was genius to have the rebellious son hanging out with Klingons and trying to emulate them. Kind of like a white suburban teen who identifies with inner-city black culture. Comments Thu, 26 Nov 2015 23:52:47 PST SlackerInc Comment by Dan on TNG S3: The Defector Nic, I'm with you: when the story hinges on trusting someone, it should be Troi front and center in the episode. Instead, she only gets like one line. That says a lot, unfortunately, about how they value her character. (I don't think it's impossible to write stories about possible liars with Troi heavily involved -- there are limits to what she can do. But she should have a lot to say, even on a deeper thematic level, about trust.) Two other minor things that bug me: - If ever there's a time to separate the saucer section and leave behind hundreds of unnecessary passengers, it's when you enter the Neutral Zone. - The dialogue should at least acknowledge that the Romulans have violated the Neutral Zone too, right? It is presented as if the Enterprise going into the Neutral Zone is as serious a violation as the Romulans' encroachment on *Federation Space* in "The Enemy". Comments Thu, 26 Nov 2015 23:02:18 PST Dan Comment by Lord Garth on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 I'm cautiously optimistic about the new series. Here are my reasons: I'm not familiar with Alex Kurtzman's TV work but this *is* a TV series, so it doesn't have a film budget which means they can't afford to have nothing but constant "BLAM! BLAM! POW! POW!" Even if they tried, it wouldn't look as good as in the movies. They have to do something else. If it's written the way most modern series are now, and it's available for streaming, there's going to be a continuing story line and the necessary character development and character arcs to go along with it. That's what made DS9 so interesting to follow. Blockbuster Movies have to play it safe and conservative to make the most profit. With TV, you can get away with taking more time to explore relevant issues in-depth like Star Trek at its best did. The ONLY time important social issues were addressed in any of the films was TUC with the end of the Cold War. TVH to a lesser extent with "Hunting a species to extinction is wrong!" but TUC was harder hitting. The movies can be big, dumb fun. I don't care. As long as the TV series has more substance. It was the same way in the '90s. The TNG movies were already heading in the direction the JJ Abrams films have gone. I like to say the best TNG movie technically wasn't a movie, it was "The Best of Both Worlds". Comments Thu, 26 Nov 2015 22:34:02 PST Lord Garth Comment by Gin on VOY S3: Warlord Skeptical I agree about him not wanting to switch bodies. It sure was causing him headaches trying to fight Kes off but the reward was like you said the ability to kill people with his mind. For some reason I was reminded of that 1984 movie Firestarter with a very young Drew Barrymore. More specifically her old man who had the ability to influence others too, only for him to deal with heaps of nosebleeds afterwards. As far as the Kes/Neelix relationship, I felt Neelix became a good deal more annoying to watch after Kes' departure, to be honest. I'm not sure if he was meant to be comic relief or what but even so I'd say the Doctor already had a lock on that. The drama bit I'd say B'elanna already took first place with that. Maybe Paris too. Nothing against Ethan Phillips directly, I just thought Neelix was not one of his better roles. Speaking of locks I was just about to give can't-get-a-lock kim the benefit of the doubt at the beginning of the ep...till a few moments later when he defaulted. Oops-yer-gone cuz I couldn't get a lock. I liked seeing this side of Jennifer Lien. She could certainly act it up when she wanted to. Kinda wished Roxann had done that more often too (she looked dern good in that blue bikini btw :)). The only time we got to see that side of her was when she was literally split into her Klingon/human halves. Anyways Kes still showed more acting range than chuckles and kim. Even if you were nonplussed by her hamming it up I can't say I was bored watching the ep. The old mind swap concept is hardly new, but then again neither is time travel. Variations on a theme is the closest thing to originality we'll ever get, especially nowadays. So I can't say I've seen it done quite this way before. And to that end it held my attention. Who says resistance is futile? (Well, aside from the Borg, whom Voyager all but neutered by the end of the show's run) Kes was fighting back against Tieran throughout his possession of her. She continuously showed deeper conviction than the writers ever gave her. It never once came off as inauthentic. I know some reviewers here would say otherwise but I must admit I was thoroughly impressed. Can you imagine what she would have been like in S4's 'Witness'? This ep gave us a minor taste of an "Evil Kes" if you will. Oh, and don't get me started on what that ep would have done if Seska stayed a part of the crew. Damn, wish I could go back in time to rewrite history myself to have the best of all worlds just to see them in action in that ep. Yep, I'd keep Jeri Ryan. How could you not? But I would also have kept Ms Lien and most def Ms. Hackett as well. I agree the ep was easily 4 stars as it stands. Just saying with the other two ladies in it the ep probably would have been THE episode of the series! Back to this ep. Creeped out by her affair w/ Neelix? Didn't give it a thought to be honest. Everybody needs somebody, why discriminate based on age? They are both adults and like Kes said in Darkling she can spend her time with whomever she chooses. As long as they are happy together (and not faking the chemistry just to secure a paycheck and ratings) I don't really mind. Nasty way to breakup, tho. Her advances toward Tieran's wife was something different. I get he possessed her. But something about that scene and seeing her slink around in black Tres kinky. Still, since Jennifer rarely got to extend her acting chops I didn't mind the leather prancing just to see if she could hold her own. I'm guessing the writers didn't mind, either. She couldn't go back to the way things were, even before her departure. That's why I rate it ever so slightly higher. It would have forced the writers to show a maturing young lady. In that sense it raises it slightly above the standard alien of the week fare. 2.5 to a low 3 is what I'd rate it. Comments Thu, 26 Nov 2015 22:27:22 PST Gin Comment by Lord Garth on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 Responding to some of Petetong's points. "Transporters - clearly a gimmick to avoid costly special effect sequences with shuttles. The technology makes no sense and it looks cheesy." Interesting because the Delft University of Technology is actually researching how to make teleportation possible. "Society is also a lot more multicultural now than it was in the 1980s. Using aliens as stand-ins for non-white humans / non-American humans is offensive." What's offensive to me is that you think society wasn't just as multi-cultural in the 1980s. As a half-Iranian who's not religious, isn't straight, and who was a kid back then, I was fully aware that our society was not largely homogenous. Though, I will agree with you -- to an extent -- that having other cultures stand-in for non-white Americans can be offensive, it can work if the stand-ins are not intended to be derogatory and if the point of view for why they think the way they do is explained. I also think that the Federation, at least in TNG, has more in common with the European Union than the United States. When Star Trek returns on TV, what I hope is that if the Federation is a stand-in for America, it's not a stand-in for Red America, like ENT Season 3 was. That was a _major_ turn-off. The Red State / Blue State Divide we now have would actually make for a great episode. Not for the Federation but, if the Enterprise, or whatever the ship it is, runs into a planet like this. That would be Star Trek commenting on our society as it currently is. Using another planet to make indirect commentary. "Ship design - the saucer, two nacelle, bridge on the top is boring. That design was dreamed up in the 1960s and has been played with over time but I think in 2015 we can come up with a more interesting and realistic design for a ship." It has to be recognizable as Star Trek or the audience will think its something else. Also, how are ships, shuttles, or craft designs in general that different between the 1960s and 2010s? And how does the concept a design being from 50 years ago mean that it shouldn't be the design for a ship in the future? I know of no ships in 1966 that looked like the Enterprise. I know of no ships in 1987 that looked like the Enterprise-D. When it was designed doesn't have to have anything to do with how much it's tied to that time. If I didn't know, I could probably tell the original Enterprise was designed in the '60s. But, I wouldn't be able to pin down the refit Enterprise to 1979 or the Enterprise-D to 1987. Those designs are timeless. The Enterprise-E not so much. I liked in 1996 but the more time passes, the less I do. Some of those designs have stood the test of time, others haven't as much. Comments Thu, 26 Nov 2015 21:06:04 PST Lord Garth Comment by BigDTBone on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 I agree with the idea of sprawling, cohesive, story arcs. And I agree 10 meta-plot episodes a season is a good number. But I would still like 26 episodes a season because it allows for the very trek-important stand out episodes, character study episodes, political parallel episodes, and playful episodes. Without those in the mix it won't feel like a trek series. Also, having those episodes in the mix preserves rewatchability of the series which is a huge part of trek also. Comments Thu, 26 Nov 2015 14:39:11 PST BigDTBone Comment by Diamond Dave on DS9 S3: Destiny One of those episodes that has its cake and eats it in the discussion of the ancient prophecy. But nevertheless it does neatly skewer Sisko's avoidance of the Emissary question when Odo asks points out his agenda. And while Kira might believe the prophecy because of her faith, she also provides a cogent scientific reason that the Prophets/wormhole aliens might have foreseen events given they exist outside of time and communicated that. But at the end it was all a misunderstanding, and actually it wasn't a prophecy of doom but one of glad tidings and just as well we got all that sorted out for the good then. Seems like a bit of a cop out. It was also good to see some interplay with Cardassians who are not military dictators, just for a change. 3 stars. Comments Thu, 26 Nov 2015 13:58:47 PST Diamond Dave Comment by William B on DS9 S4: Shattered Mirror Yeah, Sisko does indeed adjust pretty easily to Smiley and Jennifer kidnapping Jake to get his attention. Of course, part of that is because Jake is completely unaware he was kidnapped...right? Because Jake went willingly and is unaware there is a problem? Which, uh...Sisko initially believed that Jake would not leave the universe without letting him know first, but that seems to have been false. Of course, for Jake to leave without telling Sisko he's universe-hopping strains credibility, but I guess we are to assume that Jennifer bowled him over and he went anyway. Regardless, whether Jake went willingly or not, the intent was there to kidnap him to get to Sisko, and the implicit threat that they will not return Jake until Sisko has helped them, and that Jake will die on the station if Sisko does not help them defend it. That is pretty beyond the pale; for Sisko to agree to this hostage situation is one thing, but for him to stay and command the Defiant again because he just can't help loving this plucky band is another. The big emotional core of this episode is Jake and how the Mirror Universe taps into his nostalgia and grief. The episode opens with Jake missing Nog, only for have an even more importnt person who is even more permanently gone from his life reenter it through the mirorr. I like how his eventual encounter with Mirror Nog is unpleasant and Mirror-Nog is absolutely insistent on breaking any of Jake's sentimental desire to recreate his friendship with the real Nog with this guy. Depending on one's perspective, this could either establish the way in which Jake's close bond with Jennifer really is a Real Thing, since it is not automatically true that Jake will get along with mirror versions of his loved ones; or it could be the commentary on what the truth of Jake and Jennifer is, under it all, and Jake is able to see clearly how Mirror-Nog is *not* Nog because Mirror-Nog, unlike (Mirror) Jennifer, has no interest in deceiving him. The parallel between M-Nog and M-Jennifer is strengthened by having these be the (only) two people gunned down by the Intendant in this episode, as if the Intendant were intent on, ahem, shattering Jake's illusions, whether they are idealized or not. It's something of a statement against the MU as a place for wish fulfillment, which plays in with Jake's material in "The Visitor" (as methane pointed out) where Jake destroys himself to restore his father, as well as commenting on Sisko's fantasy role-playing his dead wife as alive again in "Through the Looking Glass." The death of Nog is mostly a comic beat, playing off Quark and Rom's deaths in the last two MU eps (I'm surprised Ishka or Gaila weren't offed next to ensure that the one-Quark-family-member-dies-per-episode pattern remained), but Jennifer's death is played out as tragedy. To some degree, it feels like inevitable quasi-punishment for the Siskos for wanting to play house with her; their wanting to slot Jennifer in to where our universe's Jennifer had been, and MU Jennifer wanting to slip into another convenient identity, leads directly to the encounter with the Intendant and her recognition that Jennifer's death can be a message to Sisko, though what that message is who can say. ("I'm evil," presumably.) The episode feels a little more honest than "Through the Looking Glass," then, in suggesting that there are negative consequences to this kind of role playing. In both episodes Sisko plays pirate and gets to cozy up to a woman who looks just like his ex-wife, and here Sisko goes as far as to command the Defiant on a probably suicidal mission because, um, well, I guess he likes their cause, but I can't help but feel that Sisko could only possibly think he should risk his life for this MU Terran cause without even bothering to tell his son (who is right there) if on some level he accepts the MU is some sort of wacky fantasy land, as if Sisko actually has the metaknowledge that of course nothing bad is going to happen to him over there. That does hurt the tension in the episode and also hits the internal integrity of the story, when we know that Sisko is probably not actually behaving like he gets that this is ostensibly real, just in another universe. But the turnaround that Jennifer dies to teach Sisko (and Jake) a lesson somehow earns the episode's previous bloodlessness. The further you delve into fantasy, the worse the consequences emotionally; even if Sisko and Jake come away undamaged physically, they are hurt to the degree that they had invested in that world. The payback Sisko gets for punching Bashir and sleeping with Dax on his last visit is effective as foreshadowing of the final result (though Sisko's weird statement to Dax is pretty inappropriate; he should have been apologetic, or at least said that he had no choice as Smiley had kidnapped him). As far as the episode's overall value, I agree with Easter's point that it's particularly ridiculous that the Terrans have taken over Terok Nor which is *still orbiting Alliance world Bajor* and holding it for who knows what reason; it is an illogical base, because the main strategic advantage to the station in the main universe is its proximity to the wormhole, and before that its main value was either in helping rebuild Bajor or in ore processing, neither of which are going on. The episode is a bit tedious, and the Jake-Jennifer stuff is sappy in practice even if there are some interesting things about the idea. What I do enjoy in this episode are the energetic performances on the Klingon ship, with a particularly great chemistry between Robinson and Dorn (the first Worf-Garak material is in the MU, huh?) and with a pretty good handling of The Intendant Mark 3. While the complex character from "Crossover" is basically gone, Visitor hits a better mixture of camp with seductiveness with glee to make the Intendant amusing while in her cage and believably dangerous when out. So overall I am not sold on this episode, but I like it better than "Through the Looking Glass," which makes it (to me) the only exception to the monotonic decrease in quality in MU stories from "Mirror, Mirror" through "The Emperor's New Cloak." 2.5 stars. Comments Thu, 26 Nov 2015 13:10:18 PST William B Comment by Patrick D on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 ^^ Get rid of the transporters? They're one of the most iconic things about Star Trek? And why does Star Trek have to be like EVERYTHING else? Can it eschew the mainstream ethos of hate/revenge/violence and be its own thing? Star Trek was a special phenomenon that appealed to a broad base of people. (I actually said "was"--thanks for ruining the magic, J.J.) Comments Thu, 26 Nov 2015 12:44:37 PST Patrick D Comment by Diamond Dave on DS9 S3: Heart of Stone The basic A-story seemed almost like a TOS idea - trapped in an expanding crystal! - but clearly in retrospect it is just a contrivance to get the Odo/Kira story moving. For me it doesn't really work, even without the surprise twist at the end (which was a decent one), and especially with the reset button push. The Nog story line works far better, and has a minor character ever played a scene better than when he finally reveals to Sisko why he wants to join Starfleet? Marvelous stuff. When Rom stands up to Quark at the end it puts the cap on a nicely played story that trumps the A-story. 2.5 stars. Comments Thu, 26 Nov 2015 11:08:58 PST Diamond Dave Comment by Kiamau on TOS S2: Bread and Circuses "They threw me a few curves" - brilliant. Comments Thu, 26 Nov 2015 08:06:46 PST Kiamau Comment by Petetong on New Trek Series Coming in 2017 I'd like to see an even bigger reboot of the franchise than what the movies have offered. As much as I love TNG and DS9 and the TOS movies, there are some fundamental things about the Star Trek universe that just don't cut it anymore: 1. Transporters - clearly a gimmick to avoid costly special effect sequences with shuttles. The technology makes no sense and it looks cheesy. 2. Humanoid Aliens with forehead ridges - doesn't need explained. Society is also a lot more multicultural now than it was in the 1980s. Using aliens as stand-ins for non-white humans / non-American humans is offensive. 3. The cave interior on a sound stage - we're not idiots, we know it's the same set redressed over and over again. Pretty much every good drama on TV does substantial location shooting; Star Trek must as well. And when they go on location, a campground, park or quarry outside of LA is not going to cut it either. 4. Ship design - the saucer, two nacelle, bridge on the top is boring. That design was dreamed up in the 1960s and has been played with over time but I think in 2015 we can come up with a more interesting and realistic design for a ship. 5. I think the success of Game of Thrones should inspire the new Star Trek series to do 10 episodes/season (not 26), to have multiple characters/story threads spread across a universe (the show doesn't need to be fixated on the 7 most senior members of crew on one ship), and to kill of main characters All.The.Time. Comments Thu, 26 Nov 2015 07:50:52 PST Petetong Comment by Diamond Dave on DS9 S3: Life Support Everything in this episode seems just a little overblown to me. Bareil's self sacrifice, Winn's machinations, Kira's desire to keep Bareil functioning, Bashir's devotion to his patient - it just seems like the volume has been turned up 20% above normal and it leaves the episode feeling a little overwrought. The B-story is eminently forgettable and dovetails poorly with the more serious tone of the main story. 2 stars. Comments Thu, 26 Nov 2015 05:41:18 PST Diamond Dave Comment by Mike on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country I wasn't surprised that Brock Peters, a black actor, said the most overtly racist line. Trek directors love using that bit of irony. They did the same thing in Enterprise when they made black Terra Prime members who were as vile as Klansmen about Vulcans. This is my favorite Trek movie but the script had way too much exposition in the dialogue. And forgive me but I'm really tired of how Trek ignores basic astrophysics. 1. If Rura Penthe is just an asteroid then it wouldn't have enough mass for Earth like gravity let alone an atmosphere. 2. How did the Excelsior feel the way shock of the explosion of Praxis from several light years away? My problem with the plot was how they CONVENIENTLY find the two crewmen who wore the gravity boots right there dead in the hallway. Took them half the damn movie to find the boots and zero seconds to figure out who wore them because, hello, two dead bodies are right here where the dialogue needs them. Comments Thu, 26 Nov 2015 05:17:44 PST Mike Comment by John on VOY S3: Displaced The reason Chakotay didn't arm the self destruct is because he can't. The computer only accepts Janeway's "Janeway Pie 110" code and voice authorization for auto-destruct. The computer wouldn't have recognized Chakotay's authority to do that. Only the captain can. Comments Thu, 26 Nov 2015 01:49:10 PST John Comment by Andrew on ENT S1: Acquisition And Archer complaining of T'Pol was also sort of OK but T'Pol, Archer and Trip were also generally bad. Comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 23:03:59 PST Andrew Comment by Andrew on ENT S1: Acquisition One of the worst episodes ever and I often like the Ferengi; they were just so stupid here, especially Krem who never got around to actually being sympathetic. The only sort of OK part was Archer and Trip pretending to fight. Comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 22:54:10 PST Andrew Comment by William B on DS9 S4: Hard Time As ever I find episodes I really like to be intimidating, so I'll keep this short for now. This is my favourite of the season. Comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 22:00:36 PST William B Comment by William B on DS9 S4: Rules of Engagement So, I agree that Worf should not have fired on the decloaking ship without verifying that it was an enemy vessel. As improbable as it seems for a civilian ship to decloak in the middle of a battle, Sisko's statement that Starfleet prioritizes civilian lives above their own ships' security and (especially) that this was an area known to be used by civilians. That said, the situation is so contrived that I cannot quite understand how the court case went on as long as it did. Yes, Worf acted inappropriately, to some degree, according to Starfleet protocol, but it was such an obvious accident and an obvious mistake to make, and, more to the point, it is impossible to understand how the Klingon rules of engagement would view firing on a decloaking ship in the middle of an ongoing battle as a beyond-the-pale act of murder instead of an accident. In fact, it seems pretty possible that Klingon rules of engagement don't have anything against firing on civilians accidentally, because Ch'Pok cannot seem to keep straight from one minute to the next whether it's a good thing or a bad thing to fire on civilians in battle. In order to corner Worf, Ch'Pok bounces back and forth between "any Klingon would have fired on that ship with intent to kill" and "you are the ultimate un-Klingon coward for firing on those civilians," with endless variations designed to vex Worf until Worf finally loses his cool, which proves that he totally fired on those civilians because he lost his cool, I guess, which shows he should be extradited because his heart is Klingon, and only the Klingons can prosecute a person whose heart is Klingon, and by extraditing Worf for being a Klingon in his heart the Klingon Empire will embarrass the Federation for having such cowardly officers that act like Klingons, which, uh, wait, let me start over. Ch'Pok's irrational baiting could maybe play in lower court circuit, but surely a Vulcan admiral JAG would be able to recognize that none of what he is saying holds together. When Kurn put Worf through his paces, basically snarling at Worf about how Worf's actions have ruined his life and then attacking him for Worf's weakness in criticizing him, this made sense because Kurn was angry, broken, and also ambivalent about what Worf had done and how he should respond. Ch'Pok is attempting some sort of legal trickery which really does not work. I don't know what extradition between the Federation and the Klingons look like -- actually probably at the moment there *is* no formal extradition -- but it seems to me that whether or not a person is Klingon by birth doesn't matter, especially since Worf's Klingon citizenship has presumably been revoked; Kirk and Bones were extradited in STVI not because they were Klingon, but because they committed a crime against the Klingons, whereas Ch'Pok really does seem to be arguing that Worf's actions are only a crime if he is Klingon (which he is, unless he's not enough of a Klingon and then...). Anyway, the episode's dubious legal hoops are largely there to examine what motivates Worf at this stage in the game, and how much he is truly a Klingon, and what that means now that Klingons are once again something like adversaries (or, neither allies nor adversaries but maybe both, as Ch'Pok suggests). The episode-long question of whether Worf behaved wrong on the bridge does basically come down to his intent, and his intent is a mixture of several factors, including Klingon blood-lust, his desire to prove himself to his people, his desire for revenge, and his relative inexperience in command. As with "Dax," the episode zags in court and avoids answering the "question" of the episode, but "Dax" had a somewhat better-posed and less answerable question ("is a Trill responsible for the actions of their symbiont's previous hosts?") and the twist that let Dax off the hook on the stand also said something about her (and Curzon's) character. The question that the court case sort of poses is something like, "Is Worf's heart Klingon, but, like, Klingon in a bad way, I mean, or not Klingon enough but overcompensating Klingon," so that the irresolution in court is not quite as satisfying. Really, there's no reason Worf couldn't have accidentally killed some civilians in battle, in a way where he was genuinely not criminally responsible but still made what ends up being a bad command decision -- there are all kinds of military mistakes that are the result of bad judgment but are not reprimandable offenses. And until the twist, this episode did seem to be portraying a case where Worf was in a situation he was not entirely prepared for and made some decisions that maybe were just a fraction off, leading to lots of deaths, because, you know, *command*, in which charges should probably have been dismissed no matter whether Worf said he was hoping he'd go into battle at Quark's the day before or not. That the Klingons actually faked the -- it's too stupid, I'm not even going to say it -- feels like a cheat and even an unnecessary one. The last scene between Sisko and Worf is pretty good though, and in particular because Sisko does seem to get through what the episode has really been suggesting: Worf made several errors in judgment, none of which were deserving of major charges or for him to be extradited, but all of which could potentially have resulted in loss of life which would have been catastrophic and would have been on Worf's conscience. That Worf could lose his cool in court and play Ch'Pok's dumb game, that Worf was excited at the prospect of battle and even shared that publicly, and that Worf did not check the ship before firing are signs that the transition from tactical, where his battle-readiness was appropriate and was also kept in check by Picard/Riker/Data, to command. But he is learning. That Worf's loneliness and resentment are coming out in his command decisions -- that he may have been taking out his anger over his loss of status and loss of his brother on the ships he was fighting -- is an interesting wrinkle for the character, and I do not think it is particularly damning at all given that it seems to me that other than not checking the decloaking ship -- i.e. his not considering the pretty remote possibility that a civilian ship would decloak in the middle of a battle -- his behaviour in battle was entirely appropriate. The episode is pretty dull, really, and very by-the-numbers as a court case. The theatrical talking-in-flashbacks device is neat, though is not enough to save the episode. There is some good current-state material for Worf, but not really enough to sustain this episode. 1.5 stars. Comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 21:57:51 PST William B Comment by William B on DS9 S4: Accession Summary: Jammer is right when he says the first four acts are much better than the last. The first four could have been a part of a great story, if the story were allowed to continue on. And even if the episode's material were largely dropped, the Sisko character development could go very interesting places...if the full implications of the Wormhole Aliens putting him through his paces to make him toe the line were examined. The series never quite points out how screwed up the way the Prophets treat Sisko and Bajor as a whole is. Comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 21:19:31 PST William B Comment by William B on DS9 S4: Accession Part 2 of comment, which alas is not shorter at all: I talked this episode over with my girlfriend a bit, and we discussed how the Bajorans' total eschewing of personal responsibility in letting the Emissary and tradition dictate their lives to them really does seem realistic. While Akorem having that much personal power and instituting changes so suddenly is implausible, the overall idea that big changes in opinion can happen very quickly, even on large scales, does seem valid. Given that it seems likely that a conservative/reactionary contingent of Bajorans, probably represented by Kai Winn, might have been stoking the fires regarding what has been lost in discarding d'jarras, it also seems as if Akorem may have been something of a figurehead for this change; he remains on the station, no doubt to be closer to the Prophets, but it also means that he does not set foot on Bajor. In that sense, what happens on DS9 seems to be Vedek Porta's trial run for what will become widespread on Bajor. That Bajor is damaged by the Occupation and is searching for a planetary identity in the wake of massive destruction means that returning to a caste system for religious reasons has got to be tempting to a lot of people. So really it's not quite *what* happens that is my problem with the episode, though maybe aspects of it do bother me. The episode also obviously has the d'jarras be a Bad Idea, and so it is not as if the episode is advocating the instituting of a massive caste system for religious reasons. The issue I have is that the episode drops a bomb here -- the Bajoran social fabric is on the verge of being torn apart by an instability that zeroes in on the intersection of trauma, tradition and faith -- and then the episode just resolves it with "Prophets work in mysterious ways" material. Most particularly, that the Prophets set this in motion to force Sisko into taking on his role means that Sisko basically does come to accept responsibility for a whole planet of people, and while there no doubt are Bajorans out there able to see the problem of Akorem's social changes and the problem of Akorem having that much power just as much as Sisko is, it is ultimately only Sisko who can affect change, and within the episode it is only Sisko who is able to stand up for Bajor against Akorem's (sort of) well-meaning tyranny, and he can only do so by getting the gold star from the Wormhole Aliens who dictate who it is who gets to dictate social policy. Some of this is valuable to help Sisko recognize how much he cares about Bajor, but it leaves a pretty big gap in the story. The episode shows the Bajoran perspective largely through Kira, who is ambivalent about Akorem's d'jarra policy, seems not to like the idea very much, does not particularly believe she has artistic talent and would have no interest in following that path, left to her own devices. But she is willing to try, and, eventually, willing to resign her commission and essentially give up her life on the station, which has become most of what her life *is*, because she would see herself giving up without devoting herself fully to her d'jarra as a failure of faith. Kira fights hard against external oppression, but her instincts telling her that this is not her path and not what she wants to do are helpless against commands from Above. Her scene with Odo as Akorem announces his Emissarydom officially highlights that the rapidly shifting Absolute Faith in individuals and how confusing this is to someone who is not locked within that faith; Sisko's word *as Emissary* was infallible and she would follow him to the ends of the galaxy, until Akorem, who says completely different and even opposite words, comes in and has the new infallibility, until Sisko gets it back, and we learn that Akorem didn't have all the answers after all. Kira mostly shrugs it off, and then the last scene she laughs about her sculpture and then gets weirded out by the (pretty unnecessary in this episode) time paradox and that's it. That Kira was willing to give up her self-direction entirely because Akorem insisted this was the way and he seemed to be the holiest of men, until he wasn't, goes mostly uncommented on. Anyway, I realize that my biases are colouring my reaction here, so let me step back a moment: it is not Sisko's place to impose a set of values on Bajor, and to some degree it is not the place of the audience to fully judge them. As the discussion has been going in the "Bar Association" thread, to some degree we are meant to get into the minds of other societies and to take those values on their own terms. I am not exactly doing that here, and that suggests the ways the episode is both more and less complex than it seems: maybe Bajor has some sort of symbiotic relationship with its "gods" which is too precious for the Federation (or the Klingons or Cardassians or Ferengi or...) to mess with, and as long as it's possible that the Prophets really did intend for Akorem to be The Emissary, and that he would thus have the place to dictate what is and is not a holy manner of living, it may be hard to say for certain that the Bajorans are "wrong" to institute their caste system. The thing is, TOS explored what it meant for there to be powerful beings worshipped by humanoids all the time, and the powerful beings usually turned out to be computers that Kirk decided he should destroy to force people into freedom. Here, there are powerful beings who may or may not be "of Bajor," who may or may not have an actual hand in Bajoran history, especially since they have previously claimed total disinterest in corporeal life forms. It's all very messy. In any case, if Jaro succeeded in taking over the Bajoran government and instituted the d'jarra system, Bajor's admittance into the Federation would be off the table, and the Federation and probably Ferengi and maybe even modern Klingons would recoil a little at the caste system being imposed on the Bajoran people. The Federation philosophy would oppose the restrictions on personal freedom, the Ferengi would oppose the idea that a person is limited in what they can acquire (though they have gender discrimination), and while the Klingons had a caste system there are implications that this is slowly dissolving and that people can succeed coming "from nothing." (Spoilerish: see some of the discussion in s7's "Once More Unto the Breach.") However, Bajorans are the only ones who should boss around Bajorans is the general rule here, and the Prime Directive does and should apply -- Sisko could make an impassioned argument against Jaro or Winn or Shakaar or Bareil or Kira or whatever other Bajoran political or military leader's decision about Bajoran people, but ultimately internal matters are internal. And hey, maybe the d'jarras work for Bajorans. We hear about the possible advantages of the d'jarra system, and it is consistent with the picture of a Bajor which is an artistic haven, that there really was an artisan class who *could* produce art and things of beauty without "having to" put up with the stuff of mere survival. I am not advocating for such a system, any more than I advocate for Klingon warrior ethos or Ferengi uber capitalism, but it makes sense to allow the Bajorans to decide what system works for them. And on that level for me to blithely suggest that Bajoran society is imploding because they are instituting a caste system is silly. HOWEVER, we have never heard of the d'jarras before this episode, and Kira is basically our entire picture of the Bajoran reaction. Vedek Porta is part of the religious authority and he fully supports the Emissary, to the point where he later murders a guy. But Kira is the "everyBajoran," and mostly what we learn is that the d'jarra sucks for her and she would not be considering it at all if she didn't believe that the d'jarra suggestion had divine providence. Now, the necessity of Kira being the whole of Bajor in this episode is part of the problem with one-episode stories, and with the episode's introducing and removing it. If the d'jarras maybe could be "good" for Bajor -- or, more to the point, if a large proportion of Bajorans agree with Akorem that the d'jarras are a good idea, and the possibility has just not come up recently -- then that is interesting and should be taken on and weighed appropriately, and then the primary problems become whether or not the d'jarras are good for Bajorans as a whole, how they affect individual Bajorans, and how they affect Bajorans' relations with other cultures. However, if Kira is representative and it seems largely as if the d'jarras are taken for granted as an antiquated notion which has no place in modern Bajor and which are wholly inconvenient, BUT WE'LL REORGANIZE OUR LIVES TO FOLLOW THEM IF THE EMISSARY TELLS US TO, then the primary problems have to do with whether it makes sense for Bajorans to follow the Emissary wherever he tells them. I have largely been assuming the latter case -- that the d'jarras are far in the rear-view mirror for most Bajorans and that for the most part only remnants of the former aristocracy would want it to be reinstated, and even relatively few of those, Kira for one being much happier where she is. Moreover, I tend to assume that Sisko did not actually tell Bajorans as the Emissary to stop with this d'jarra stuff, which means that the fact that the d'jarra issue instantly disappears, at least from our perspective as audience members, suggest that the d'jarra enthusiasm was primarily based on the presumption of Akorem's divine inspiration and nothing else. And so it does seem that the issue is then all about how Bajorans relate to their Emissary. So that being the case, the big questions that always come up come up here. Bajorans having a religion that dictates a lot of their spiritual life is an internal matter, if their Gods don't actually exist. Once they do exist, and communicate with them, then there are verifiable/non-verifiable claims, and moreover the noninterference becomes tricky because suddenly there is no "internal to Bajor" anymore, and the Prophets are as external to Bajor as the Cardassians (more so, in many ways), and so the question of how exactly Federation interlopers like Sisko are supposed to respond, particularly when they drag him into things as their Emissary. And again, it is really important to note that there are multiple levels here: Bajorans presume that the Wormhole Aliens are morally infallible and sit in judgment, etc., etc., and they also presume that they can interpret what the Prophets say, and then they also presume that if some guy saw the Prophets in the wormhole and then went through time, that they have to do everything he says because they presume that that is what the Prophets wanted. This episode resolve the telescoping issues by having it made clear that, no, Sisko is the real Emissary, which only scratches the surface of the issues here. Sisko is the Real Emissary, and Akorem is not, and that's great, but whether Bajorans should give the power to the Emissary that they do, or to the Prophets that they do, or that Sisko as Emissary should give himself over to the Prophets as much as he does here, are questions that remain unanswered and almost unexamined. Of course, this is an episode in an ongoing narrative, and that helps and harms it: it helps it because not everything has to be dealt with now, but it harms it because it may be that the issues are never really examined closely enough to disentangle them. Oh and also, Bashir and O'Brien are friends. I actually like the subplot and I think that Keiko does indeed come across better than in other episodes (I agree with methane that Jane Espenson's good humour and perhaps female perspective helps). I agree with, eg., Elliott above that this seems unnecessary, especially in the middle of this particular episode. However I am inclined to think that more work to solidify the Bashir/O'Brien bond may be in order a few episodes before "Hard Time," and so I don't mind the subplot for itself, even though this is probably not an episode that should have housed it. It is interesting that O'Brien's joy at Keiko's return and his realization that he's going to be a father a second time is very shortly eclipsed by how he misses Bashir and Molly is not as fun a darts player, but I digress. Best moment of the episode probably is Worf's panicked reaction to finding out about Keiko's pregnancy. I maybe make it sound like I don't like the episode, but that is not the issue exactly. I think that what it does, it does fairly well, but it is very difficult to ignore what the rushed ending leaves unsaid. 2.5 stars, I guess. Comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 21:15:28 PST William B Comment by Diamond Dave on DS9 S3: Past Tense, Part II This basically boils down to a hostage drama and why it's OK to far as it goes - it's good to see Sisko kicking ass and taking names - but given we already know from Pt1 how the end will play out, if not the exact mechanism, then there isn't really a whole lot of suspense. Add to that a number of irritating hostage cliches, some blatant moralising, and some somewhat misplaced humour it's OK but not much more than that. 2.5 stars. Comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 14:31:56 PST Diamond Dave Comment by Chrome on TNG S1: Conspiracy @William Good review, but minor nitpick. The doctor in this episode is Crusher, not Pulaski. Pulaski would never have been able to pull off the fake bluegill so well. Comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 13:37:57 PST Chrome Comment by Diamond Dave on DS9 S3: Past Tense, Part I Not sold on this as much as many others. For me the social commentary is about as heavy handed as it gets - lets have Sisko and Bashir see how the poor live and Dax see how the rich live, and compare and contrast. The contrived nature of how we arrive at this point is my other big problem with the episode - it relies on too many outrageous coincidences. The transporter malfunction is highly unlikey in universe. The time travel is to the place and time of a critical event in world history. Gabriel Bell happens to be the guy killed saving our heroes. The Defiant evades the timeline change because of the same contrivance as the transporter malfunction. And so on... Now that said, this is pretty atmospheric and the out of time world is nicely realised. But really, this is a bit overblown. 2.5 stars. Comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 11:45:09 PST Diamond Dave Comment by Andy's Friend on DS9 S4: Bar Association Easter, "when a klingon episode shows up I accept that their values matter to them and look at the characters as part of that culture. And the writers do the same. When a Ferengi episode comes up I still try to understand their point of view but the writers don't." William B is right: you hit the nail on the head here. Comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 09:05:55 PST Andy's Friend Comment by Andy's Friend on DS9 S4: Bar Association William B, "The thing is, I can imagine ways in which Worf could start siding with Quark -- for example, if we push the episode's class stuff further, maybe with his House stripped, Worf pines for his aristocratic status within the Empire and projects this onto Quark's attempt to hold onto what is "his" by Ferengi tradition." I think you're quite right: A traditional, aristocratic warrior ethos values honour, tradition, law, and order, and will therefore almost always side with authority. Almost any authority. The only exception to this is the importance given to *justice* in a given ethos. To a mediaeval, chivalrous, Christian knight, for instance, the notion of justice was much more important than to a Roman patrician, or a Japanese samurai. While all three would expect servants to obey their masters, the Christian knight would also expect the masters to treat their servants with a certain minimum of fair treatment as good Christians, and might even go so far as to support a revolt against a tyrannous lord as a just cause. This is indeed at the very core of the mediaeval Christian concept of 'bellum iustum, or 'just war'. We know that the Klingon ethos also values justice; in fact, it is at the very heart of Klingon mythology: Kahless the Unforgettable rose to fight the tyrant Molor. But would this be enough to make Worf support Quark's workers? I don't believe so. Unlike the Roman patricians, who had little or no regard for human life but were often undistinguishable from great merchants, always involved in trading, the Klingon ethos seems to much more resemble the Japanese one, with a much more profound divide between land and commerce, nobility and money. In a Roman perspective, much more pragmatic, a pennyless patrician would no longer be a patrician. In the Japanese worldview, utterly dogmatic, all a samurai needed was his sword, and his word, to be noble. In "The House of Quark" we see hints of the economic workings of a Klingon noble house. And unlike the Romans, it is clear that the Klingons have little or no respect for that part of the administration of noble estates: it is a necessary evil, best to be avoided by the lords themselves. This is again consistent with the administration of Japanese noble houses, in which the lords would be expected to master calligraphy, and poetry, and would spend their time in other such noble occupations: not accounting. So while I can imagine a Klingon warrior supporting a rebellion against a tyrannous lord, the rebellion must *not* be about... money. The workers' cause at Quark's, in the eyes of a samurai or a Klingon warrior, would seem dishonorable: they are not beaten, raped, or otherwise mistreated by their master. All they want is more money, and other trivial things. To a Ferengi this is of course of great importance; but to a Klingon, the importance is next to none: a Klingon would not recognize the workers' claims. So it makes sense that Worf wouldn't really be interested in Quark's and the workers' quarrels over trivial matters; but must he take sides, it would be with Quark: not out of sympathy for his cause, but as a natural, visceral defence of tradition. Because in the eyes of his ethos, tradition is inherently good. Klingon tradition is good for Klingons; Cardassian tradition is good for Cardassians; Romulan tradition is good for Romulans; and Ferengi tradition is good for the Ferengi. As a Jem'Hadar would say: "It is the order of things". Comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 08:51:34 PST Andy's Friend Comment by James on DS9 S1: Progress I don't care so much about the implausibility of consuming a whole moon an its breathable atmosphere for energy. Star Trek has always been implausible. But the ethical stance the episode takes is troubling. Kira is not nearly conflicted enough, and the ending is an awful resolution. What would have been better (and I thought the writers may have had this in mind when I first watched it) is if the kiln they were building was actually a crematorium for Mullibok. At the end he could have asked Kira to end his life to remain at his home, and she could have refused. Or he could have taken his own life with Kira regretting that she couldn't help him. Perhaps this would have been all too gory for the producers, but it would have added the extra shades of grey I think the episode needed. Comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 05:10:57 PST James Comment by Dimpy on TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder I liked this episode. For its time, its a liberal portrayal of women, to even suggest a women can be a captain is a big step forward. Its also Roddenberry's revenge, because he wanted a female second in command, so that if Kirk is out of commission, the women would take over. The network nixed the idea, hence this production. Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 21:03:16 PST Dimpy Comment by Wilt on VOY S5: Gravity lol Rosario! I was just about to comment on Tuvok not putting Paris's face thru those rocks when Tom was in his face about Noss being upset and I read your (3 year old) comment. It wouldn't be a fair fight tho when you think about it. Remember Vulcans have a lot more strength for their size than the average human. It's probably that security that allowed Tuvok to retain control knowing he COULD do that to Tommy boy. I'm sure his old man Owen Paris must have felt the same way from time to time about him when we was a little bugger. We know he was always a willful guy. Look at his life's history (or better yet check out his star trek wiki page). I'm guessing this was all about showing how excellent Vulcans' emotional control is. And I must agree that he still showed incredible restraint. Considering how little he had when he was younger as we saw in the opening the writers probably had Tom put on a show to demonstrate how resilient Tuvok had become since then. But the title still doesn't quite gel with that aspect of the story. If a fellow trekkie has a moment or two please enlighten me me on that one, because I just don't see the connection. Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 20:02:53 PST Wilt Comment by navamske on VOY S7: Author, Author @Michael "And BanotherW, they couldnt install holoemiters on Voyager but they have them in dilithium mines!?!" Good point. I had a similar thought about "Message in a Bottle," wherein the Prometheus had "holo-emitters on every deck." OK, but even in the Jeffries tubes? Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 17:18:22 PST navamske Comment by Grumpy on VOY S4: Demon JC: "Demon class planets don't really sound out of the ordinary. If anything I'd think there would be more of them out there. ...I give the writers credit for trying to be original. Means their thinking caps are on..." I agree with your first point, which is why I disagree with your second. The writers deserve no credit for originality when they congratulate themselves for something they should've been doing all along. Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 17:13:51 PST Grumpy Comment by Latex Zebra on Star Trek Into Darkness JJ Abrams "We got in trouble on the second Star Trek film with some of the fans. There were too many nods to The Wrath of Khan. I'll cop to that." No shit. Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 14:16:15 PST Latex Zebra Comment by William B on DS9 S4: Bar Association Ah, that sounds likely. I did think that it may be that Worf had no opinion, but I think I was sort of hoping that Worf did have an opinion, because I somewhat liked that Odo sided with the management in that it started allowing me to imagine an alternate version of the episode in which the whole of the main cast started taking sides for very particular, personal reasons (Odo sides with management because he likes order, O'Brien sides with labour because he favours the underdog, is nostalgic, and his NCO status means he identifies with the workers, Worf sides with management because ???), which may have been more interesting to explore than what we got. The thing is, I can imagine ways in which Worf could start siding with Quark -- for example, if we push the episode's class stuff further, maybe with his House stripped, Worf pines for his aristocratic status within the Empire and projects this onto Quark's attempt to hold onto what is "his" by Ferengi tradition. In fact, the episode sort of gestures (interestingly) to this idea -- to some degree, basically Quark and Rom's *personal* dispute, as siblings, and the labour dispute between Quark's employees and Quark, as workers and employer, get taken over by conflicting interests who get involved to defend one or two principles and then promptly lose interest. Bashir suggests unionizing and then after Rom actually unionizes, half-assedly back-pedals and suggest he didn't actually tell Rom to do that. O'Brien gets passionate about the idea of unions from his family history and gets in brawls over it, but does not do all that much to help the workers. Sisko intervenes when his officers get into a relatively minor (if inappropriate) fight, which has little to do with Quark or Rom or anyone, and then is noitceably absent when Nausicaans beat Quark badly while he no doubt begs for mercy. Brunt swoops in to protect Ferengi values, has the one person on Brunt's "side" beats up and inadvertently forces management to capitulate to *all* the union's demands. Worf has no opinion about the union at all but is in a bad mood so gets into a fight. That read strikes me as pretty funny and entertaining, particularly against the backdrop of Bajoran Space Lent starting everything up, which means that basically every element of this episode is created by conflicting ideological and quasi-religious motivations, mixed in with decades-old family resentments, to the point where it becomes basically impossible for any of the characters to deal with the conflict rationally. That is *maybe* what they were going for, and I think aspects of it are definitely in the final product, but it is pretty confused. Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:43:31 PST William B Comment by Pike on VOY S2: Tuvix I rarely watch this one either. His creation was an accident. His death was on purpose. It may not have been his fault any more than Tuvok and Neelix who were also victims. But trivializing it into "someone must die and its a good example of whatever" doesn't begin to explain what just happened here. It sure does fall under genocide. There had never been a hybrid of a talaxian and a Vulcan before. And now there never will be again. No one from the Alpha Quadrant will even be in the Delta Quadrant. At least not for another 100+ years according to Q. Seeing a man plead for his life while everyone just stands around like borg drones isn't Starfleet at all. How is this different from When Hitler led Jews to their deaths whilst they pleaded for their lives? Or watching those sick terrorists behead a man while he's pleading for his life while they record it? Does it really matter how they got into the situation? The fact is it's someone's life and they are taking it. And They thought their motives were as noble as Janeway's too. This is another ep I think of when I watch Equinox, in particular the briefing room scene she had with Capt Ransom and how she sits there judging him with her demeanor. What he did was wrong, no question. And what she did here was perfectly ok? Let's not forget how she threw crewman Lessing to the dogs as well. The only reason he is still alive is because chuckles intervened. Murder is murder. And again it sure wasn't Tuvix's fault anymore than it was Tuvok's or Neelix's. The ends do not justify the means in this case. Or in Lessing's case either. Too adamant on living? I don't get that line. No one who isn't wearing a military, police or fireman's uniform is going to willing sacrifice himself when he has no say so in the matter. I don't find that argument compelling in the least. He didn't want to die! Hell, would you? I don't know. Maybe the only way to understand it is to be the victim who has to die. Then it becomes clear as crystal. And I thought Threshold was unwatchable. Actually it was, but for different reasons. I'm not sure what they were hoping to accomplish by showing this. Then again I doubt they could have left Tuvix as is. It still would have been problematic for some unforeseen reason. Either way can't be undone now. So all I can do is not rate it. I don't find a so-called enlightened crew killing a man whom is pleading for his life to be very entertaining. I gave it a watch once or twice and that's about it. I am curious as to how Gene Roddenberry would have felt about it tho. Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:38:49 PST Pike Comment by JC on VOY S4: Demon This got rated lower than False Prophets? Natural Law? The Chute? Non-Sequitur?? I must have been the only one who enjoyed this ep. Certainly more than the aforementioned eps. Its follow-up Course: Oblivion was downright ghastly. Why would we need to see something like that? Anyways Demon class planets don't really sound out of the ordinary. If anything I'd think there would be more of them out there. We can't even settle in any of the other planets in our galaxy so technically wouldn't they fall under Demon class too? Guess I can google it sometime. Why so harsh on Tuvok? Geez...Janeway didn't catch this much flak when killing Tuvix. And let's face it, she did. Anyways Tuvok wasn't doing anything more than what his job entailed. The doctor did seem to be a bit testy with the whole staying in sick bay thing. But I'd be lying if I said I would have changed the scene. I still enjoyed it. Still get a good laugh after all these years at the part when Neelix is just about to go into (off-key) chorus and the Doc suddenly gives in. Followed up by a doc and a gleeful "computer lights, maximum illumination". Classic. I can't keep track of the number of times I've had to suspend disbelief when watching any of the series. I didn't find this any more farfetched than anything else they've shown in the ST mythos. (Ok, Threshold was one glaring exception.) I would have given it 2-2.5 stars since I had never even heard the designation Demon-class before. If this is the first time they've mentioned it then I give the writers credit for trying to be original. Means their thinking caps are on and they're not just rehashing some concept that was already done millions of times and better. Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:26:09 PST JC Comment by Easter on DS9 S4: Bar Association I kind of feel it was implied from the lead in scene that the Worf thing was a case of Worf not caring about the strike one way or the other and O'Brien getting up in his face about it. something like *Worf Goes in* *O'Brien and Bashir follow* O'Brien: What the hell do you think you're doing? Worf: I am getting a drink. I am thirsty. O'Brien: There is a strike going on! You can't eat here. Worf: That is none of my concern, and you can not tell me where I can and cannot eat. O'Brien: Stop being such an asshole *grabs Worf's sleeve and starts trying to lead him away* And then the fight starts. I never got the sense that the fight was because Worf passionately SUPPORTED the strike so much as he opposed whatever O'Brien said or did to try to shame him out of getting a drink there. Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 11:59:26 PST Easter Comment by Diamond Dave on DS9 S3: Fascination Well that was a desperate, desperate misfire. All we needed was a vicar with his trousers falling down for the full farce experience. And you have to say that after an episode full of unlikely hook-ups that to say they were underpinned by a level of latent attraction....? You say what now? Justifying the unjustifiable! Ironically, the Keiko/O'Brien story felt much more grounded in reality. Indeed, on such a farcical episode as this it almost seemed too grounded. Neither of them come out of it looking good, which really makes you wonder what the point was. Best moment - when Dax punches out Bareil. But still only 1 star... Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 11:53:39 PST Diamond Dave Comment by Billy Bob on ENT S2: Vanishing Point Great, a Hoshi episode. 45 mins of watching a bad actress whine and pout. This character makes Troi seem useful and watchable. 1 star. Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 11:51:28 PST Billy Bob Comment by 45 RPM on VOY S4: Year of Hell, Part II The ep wasn't terribly thought provoking. Time related ep's have as many probabilities as improbabilities you could literally spend a lifetime deciphering them and still barely scratch the surface. I only had two things to say, though they are both towards Jammer's interesting reviews. As one reviewer already noted, Tasha's daughter was indeed an after effect of TNG's Yesterday's Enterprise. Small wonder it wasn't mentioned. The story went nowhere. Denise Crosby wanted to return to the show once it had achieved success that was tentative at best during its first season. The writers came up with the ambiguous 'Tasha's daughter' concept. One that they really couldn't sustain. How could they? The way the events folded out had me scratching my head as well. When the timelines were restored they'd naturally have no memory of Tasha being sent to the previous enterprise. Even that decision was odd by Picard's standards. I think her last appearance was in the S5 two parter Unification. After which we never heard from her again...well, regarding the daughter storyline anyways. Regarding the 2nd comment. This one I've been mulling over. This is in regards to the Krenim. In S3's Before and After they were never seen. Their actions on the other hand were certainly felt. From this two parter we learn quite a bit about them. (Has anyone wondered how these aliens from the delta quadrant can still look and act human, speak flawless English and have the exact specifications for sustaining life as humans? I guess I had my own expectations of them after S3 as well and humanoid wasn't one of the expectations. I know that's how ST has always been but I long for more Species 8472 types that are so alien to us. But even they defaulted in S5's In the Flesh, didn't they?) In regards to the Krenim I guess there was something about them that despite what had happened to Voyager I didn't find them to be the ruthless monsters the way B&A seemed to set them up to be, either. Not exactly a Stockholm Syndrome effect but it's a lot harder to hate them when you see real emotions as the source of their motivation. In this case, loss of a loved one and guilt because your own actions caused it. Being driven to do anything and everything in your power and beyond to get them back. Playing God with time is excessive, to say the least. But at least there is a solid motive. The means was certainly there. Still in spite of all those calculations Keana Prime was never to be restored. 200 years of incompetence? Or was there some other force at hand really punishing him? Maybe the Q? (Unlikely. The lesson wouldn't be complete without Q to appear and show him the true meaning of Christmas after the fact. But amusing thought.) In B&A we never saw them. They remained faceless. All we saw were the repercussions of their actions. Which were pretty reprehensible. So our imaginations were left to fill in the gaps. We perceived them to be the lowest levels of {inhuman}scum our imaginations could conceive of. Things were a lot simpler I would say in B&A regarding them. Still, I wonder if the sympathy vote would have been there if it were revealed that they looked like giant insectoids or something? Probably not. If anything they'd be demonized even further. Should they have remained faceless? For some viewers I'm sure it wouldn't have made a difference one way or the other, they'd hate em just the same. But jammer's review doesn't seem to hold the Krenim with the same contempt it did in B&A. It changes things when the enemy looks like you and has the same motives doesn't it? Especially guilt. As for this reviewer I don't think it mattered much since everything would be undone. Now if they hadn't reset the clock and the longterm effects of their actions were a permanent part of the series it'd be easier to say. I'd either hate them or respect them. Maybe both. Reminds me vaguely of DC Comics' Green Lantern back in the mid-90's (few years prior to this ep). Hal had lost his home city and it drove him to the point of amassing as much power as he could to restore it, going so far as to reset all of time. If it were Brainiac then the situation would have been cut and dry. Instead it was a founding member of the JLA that did this. It certainly changed the way the heroes acted didn't it? Anyways I enjoyed the ep nonetheless. Kurtwood Smith always seems to have an underlying intensity to everything he does. Tho it didn't make me like him much as a lad when I first saw him in Robocop :) Solid performance from Tim Russ as always. Not enough scenes between he and Jeri Ryan. Seemed a natural match. Borg perfection meets Vulcan precision. Emotion is irrelevant in both instances. Except during Pon Farr. lol. Moderate 3 stars works. Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 11:02:04 PST 45 RPM Comment by William B on DS9 S4: Accession This is an effective dramatic work when it's zeroed in on Sisko's POV, and to an extent when it focuses on Kira, though there is something crucial missing from the Kira side of things. Zoom out, and this is actually a pretty damning portrait of Bajoran society at large, which goes mostly unacknowledged by a misleading ending. To recap, here is what the ending says: the Prophets, seeing that Sisko was not taking his Emissary status seriously enough, sends him an ancient poet to go take over the Emissary position, and so to sow chaos through his attempt to heal Bajor through bigoted classism. Then after a guy gets MURDERED by the episode's main Vedek for being an unclean undertaker and not showing enough respect, Sisko realizes he has to take charge, prove he's the real Emissary and then set things right by telling the Bajorans to ignore what Akorem had just said. The episode basically has the Wormhole Aliens, who now declare themselves to be Of Bajor (which they hadn't before), causing havoc on Bajor until Sisko agrees to toe the line; it has the Bajorans basically agreeing to whatever their religious leader who claims he is the Emissary says, to the point of self-destruction; and it has Sisko deciding it is his responsibility to be full-on a religious icon for the Bajorans, partly because apparently it's Who He Is now, but also because if Sisko doesn't embrace his Emissary role, some other rube will come along, fill that role, and lead the lemminglike Bajorans off a cliff. That Sisko basically has to act as religious figurehead to prevent the Bajorans in general, and Kira in particular, from screwing up their lives, is maybe an ending that needed a little more ambivalence than we got; Sisko now likes doing blessings, yay, but basically Bajorans were willing to change their entire lives based on the supposition that Akoren must have been sent by the Prophets to tell them what to do, which as we see is false. I mentioned The Simpsons' "Last Exit to Springfield" when talking about "Bar Association"; now I'm reminded of Homer's reaction to Gabbo's upcoming first appearance after he had been affected by weeks of content-free advertising: "HE'LL tell us what to do!" It does make sense to me that the Bajorans are a fragile people, because if nothing else this series (and TNG too, in "The Drumhead" e.g.) reinforces that all society is essentially fragile and requires constant vigilance; Sisko narrowly stopped a Starfleet coup on Earth a few episodes before, the Klingons have flipped recently, Tain brought the Obsidian Order to ruin, etc. But the episode has the Bajorans really just do everything that This Guy says, because he disappeared into the wormhole and came out of it; he was not told he was the Emissary, but inferred it from having spoken to the Wormhole Aliens, and that is good enough for Bajorans. That the Wormhole Aliens actually exist means that the Bajorans *AND SISKO* should think hard about whether they should actually reorder their lives based on the W.A.'s teachings, let alone that they already know that their ability to interpret what the Word of the Prophets actually is is very suspect. Really, there is something condescending, paternalistic, and frightening about the way the Prophets engineer Sisko into taking on the superior role as their puppet/intermediary by sending an alternate Emissary to show not why it's crazy for Bajorans to follow their Emissary wherever he goes, but that it's crazy for them to follow the "wrong" Emissary. The thing is, I don't mind this as a story...IF the series as a whole allowed for how unsettling this all is. In some ways, of course, Sisko becoming a religious icon specifically so that he can *not* force Bajorans to follow him blindly is far preferable to the alternative presented by Akorem, and Sisko seems to have basically the role that Clone-Kahless has in the Klingon Empire -- a religious figure who has no actual political power. However, the point of "Rightful Heir" is that Clone-Kahless did actually have things to teach about what being a real Klingon is; Sisko, at this point in time, has nothing to teach the Bajorans AS THE EMISSARY, and indeed there is the implication (i.e. from Opaka) that this is why Sisko was chosen -- because he is a blank slate when it comes to Bajoran spiritual life. This actually makes me quite cynically think that he is a convenient tool for the Prophets because he can be, over the long run, manipulated into being their instrument with none of his own (religious) biases, which, well, more on that when we get to "Rapture." But that Bajor "needs" "the Sisko," and needs the Prophets and needs some intermediary, even if it is just to placate them with blessings, is basically unavoidable as of this episode. And Sisko really shouldn't be so happy about it as he is at the episode's end. If Sisko is being set up by the Prophets to interfere directly in Bajor, it is problematic for all the reason that the Prophets interfering in Bajor is problematic, and if he is being set up by the Prophets simply to be there and be a lightning rod for religious devotion, this is a problem too. Ultimately, within the context of this episode, the Prophets have no real message for Sisko or Bajor besides that Sisko should be the Emissary willingly, and not what he should do with that title (besides, not impose classist structures). I will say that I don't mind the "retcon" of Kira saying that they would have done anything Sisko asked of them. I do think it contradicts the whole way Kira carried herself around Sisko pre-"Destiny," to say nothing of weirdos like Col. Day who tried to murder Sisko for no reason in "The Siege" (and killed Li instead). But Sisko kept his Emissary and Commander Of Deep Space Nine roles separate, in particular distancing himself from Emissary all the time, which means that I think it's pretty plausible that the Bajorans would have done whatever he said if he had claimed the Emissary title...or, at least, THAT KIRA WOULD, and that Kira assumes the rest of Bajor would have followed suit. In reality I think large sectors of Bajor would have opposed the idea of an outsider as religious icon had Sisko tried to do anything with it, but that Kira's particular kind of devotion would mean she would follow Sisko strikes me as plausible. I think that part of what episodes like this help establish is that DS9's model in telling religious stories really has something to do with epic tradition; methane's last (spoiler) point is a very good example of what the show seems to be trying to do. And that very abstract Epic story of the Joseph Campbellian hero having to accept his destiny is a good story and in that sense the episode mostly works...except that within the context of the Trek universe, the Wormhole Aliens cannot quite function as Greek/Roman gods but are aliens. More to the point, even in that Epic mode, the consequences of Sisko's Destiny have to be examined on their own terms, and that the whole of Bajor would do whatever he wanted if he told them to is pretty weird/screwed up and needs further elaboration even if Sisko will restrain himself from using that power -- which considering he is the guy who cannot have a labour dispute on his station without starting to issue threats is something I find hard to believe. Sisko is maybe a T.E. Lawrence figure, an Outsider who takes on quasi-mythic status (or Paul Atreides in "Dune"), and that is very interesting, potentially, if the series would examine it more closely, and, most importantly, allowed the more worrisome aspects of Sisko being in this position, not as inconvenience for Sisko but for its implications about the Bajoran psyche, to breathe. This episode brings up the problems and then the end of the episode promptly drops them -- which would be okay if it weren't that the series largely drops them as well. End of part 1 of my comment. Part 2 will be shorter and will talk more about the smaller-scale effectiveness of the story, and the B-plot. Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 10:24:09 PST William B Comment by Chris on TNG S1: Datalore The final "I'm fine" was intentional according to, I believe, the Star Trek TNG companion. Brent Spiner and Rob Bowman slipped it in to see if the Paramount execs were paying attention to the dailies before approving them for air. They weren't. Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 09:01:17 PST Chris Comment by William B on DS9 S4: Bar Association I should have mentioned, I do agree that the wait staff of holographic Quarks was cute (though it maybe makes the big to-do about the Doctor's holo-emitter being So Advanced a bit silly -- not blaming either series, it's just mildly unfortunate) and that the Nausicaans playing a game of throwing darts at each other was great. The episode has its moments. Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 08:40:03 PST William B Comment by Andrew on VOY S7: Flesh and Blood On seeing some more from Season 7, I think "Thirty Days" was maybe indeed the exception. Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 07:46:54 PST Andrew Comment by William B on DS9 S4: Bar Association I think Easter hits the nail on the head here. If we are going to take Ferengi culture seriously, it cannot just be expected that not just Rom but the entire Ferengi wait staff will drop their values instantaneously and that Quark is entirely the bad guy for continuing to hold those values. In some ways the episode's implicit siding with Rom is a corrective to cultural relativism, a statement that just because something is culturally approved does not mean it is right. But things get messy once you recognize that Quark is not just being a greedy boss, but is literally in danger of being exiled, beaten up, or worse if he allows his workers to unionized, because the FCA is all-powerful. That Rom has zero qualms about continuing the strike after Quark gets badly beaten does not say particularly nice things about Rom; it is not that I think that he should capitulate immediately, but he should at least acknowledge that the FCA situation is untenable and that they have to come to some sort of solution immediately, and tell the Guild that they are *not safe*, and nor are others on the station. The weird thing is that the episode even has multiple advocates for Quark's side among the main cast: Odo's propensity for order means he instinctively sides with the status quo and sees protests as unseemly and too-busy, and apparently Worf sided with management enough to get into a fight with O'Brien, though what his reasons are were never explained. The way the supporting characters react suggests that the episode is attempting to depict a split where there are reasonable differences of opinion, which means that having Quark capitulate to every one of Rom's demands, no negotiation, nothing, with the Guild remaining in all but title, after having been beaten up, is pretty odd. In fact Quark suffers indignity after indignity here; after Worf and O'Brien inexplicably get into a big brawl and Bashir gets thrown over a table somehow, Sisko blames Quark rather than his own officers, and then starts blackmailing him into settling the dispute, whereas he is noticeably absent when Quark is badly beaten later in the episode. Ha ha. I hasten to say that even if Quark declines to press charges, having strikebreakers on the station whose sole purpose is to intimidate through violence, and even intimidating Bajoran citizens like Leeta (directly or indirectly) is probably a sign that Sisko, Kira and/or Odo should get involved. In general, just because Ferengi business practices forbid unions does not mean that unions should be banned on Federation-Bajoran joint space stations with lots of non-Ferengi employees. The whole episode relies on the idea that Big Capital from Ferenginar is so anti-union that it will start beating up managers to send a message on little bars out of Ferengi space and jurisdiction, which is dubious to begin with, though I can maybe concede that they would apply economic pressure back home (seizing people's wages). Still, once the FCA starts using violent intimidation on the Fed/Bajoran station, this starts becoming an intergovernmental issue. That Quark, Rom et al. have to balance Ferengi values with the reality of life on a Fed/Bajoran station is/should be part of the issue here, and this aspect is acknowledged (in Brunt's "we forgive you because you're away from home, but don't expect this to go too far" speech) and largely dropped. Brunt's alacrity on the station is just difficult to believe, and feels largely like a desperate dramatic advice to prevent the episode from just resolving due to the fact that ordinary economic pressures (e.g. the boycott) would probably force Quark to capitulating earlier, given that Rom went full-on union pretty early in the show. To some degree the external FCA pressure is meant to represent the internal pressures; Quark cannot allow unionization partly because he feels sick at the idea because of his values from home. But Quark is ultimately more pragmatic than ideological, and would basically agree to whatever gave *him* the most profit in the long run; if the bar would have to close down because of the strike, he would negotiate. As a metaphor, then, the FCA exaggerates the extent to which Quark is a traditioalist. Meanwhile, Rom for whatever reason holds one of the Ferengi traditions to heart. Rom is close to his final form in the series by now, and the comic lunkhead thing is in place where he fixates on one phrase as a guiding principle ("SEAN O'BRIEN!") and we are largely meant to buy it. Nah. The episode also is sure to endear us to Rom by the episode beginning with him having an ear infection which apparently resulted from too much oo-max, because we all know that you can get an STI from too much masturbation. That said, I did find some of Quark and Rom's moments together a little moving, because I kind of like their brotherly bond, even if it's a fairly abusive one in both directions. Rom's carelessness about Quark's having been beaten actually is consistent with "The Nagus," so maybe we should view Rom as someone who loves his brother but can turn on ruthlessness rather suddenly when he becomes fixated on an idea, and when he is particularly angry at Quark's treatment of him. In that sense, Rom quitting the bar and going into engineering is a nice resolution -- Rom recognizes that the bar will always be a battlefield for him and Quark, and that they can only really be brothers once they are not locked in competition. Leeta is fairly blank; it is noteworthy that Rom/Leeta is set up pretty hard here even though she is officially with Julian, a relationship that is given no development. Somewhat better is the Worf subplot; I know that most of it is just "Worf is grumpy," which gets old quickly when it is not accompanied by good jokes, as it was in, say, "The Icarus Factor." And there is that brawl with O'Brien which still makes no sense to me. But overall it's kind of cute and it makes sense to me that Worf would find a starship more comfortable than a station, especially a warship. I like his scene with O'Brien talking about the Enterprise, and his scene with Odo talking about Worf's security failures (and Odo's glee), and Dax's thoughtful gift of opera, along with the final exchange: will he finally adapt to them, or they to him? It is lightweight (and probably needs even fewer scenes than the handful it has), but it's fine. So the episode has a few elements I like but its basic structure relies on a bizarre series of assumptions, the FCA contrivance, setting up a conflict in which one side totally capitulates while twisting supporting characters into (off-screen) defending the other side, and so on, and has basically nothing to say about unions. For a far superior comic treatment, check out The Simpsons' classic "Last Exit to Springfield." 1.5 stars. Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 06:09:00 PST William B Comment by Diamond Dave on DS9 S3: Defiant DS9 does The Hunt For Red October. And does it well too. The Tom Riker twist is a good one and gives Frakes the opportunity to have some fun with the Riker character. But in the end he's just too honourable to be a good terrorist, as Kira memorably points out. We also get to see the fascinating depth of Cardassian intrigue as the Obsidian Order and Central Command duke it out. The Dukat and Sisko scenes are a highlight, particularly as Dukat comes to realise they might have common cause. 3.5 stars. Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 05:31:07 PST Diamond Dave Comment by Ben on DS9 S3: Life Support @ Ian and comp625: You are both wrong. In TNG it is made clear that datas positronic brain is unique and that nobody could recreate it. So, whatever Bashir could have used would have been far less complex than data. In the context of the story it probably meant turning Bareil into a computer. Comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 00:38:41 PST Ben Comment by SJD on DS9 S6: Change of Heart This is a great episode if you just like seeing good conversation between two characters. The fact that is between Worf and Dax is a breath of fresh air.....But... The fact a married couple is sent on a very dangerous mission, when we see in the same episode capable people like O'Brien occupied with card games, is an insult to any viewer that has a brain! You can say non-star fleet Kira assigned them or Star Fleet is not predominately not a military force. However, my first rebuttal is while Kira was part of a unorganised fighting force she would still have the common sense not to do this. She would not send two people who have a romantic connection when she has the choice of so many others! Secondly, even in non-military missions it isn't a smart idea to send a married couple as the only two people. It's common sense and I agree with others here if this rule was only just made by Sisko I am not surprised that Star Fleet are falling behind in the dominion war! I really wish I could give this episode more but it really bugged me. Even when Kira gave the mission I was raising eyebrows, then when it came to the end I was almost flipping the desk. Just so forced, the writers must think the audience is stupid. 2/4 stars. Comments Mon, 23 Nov 2015 22:30:58 PST SJD Comment by Skeptical on VOY S4: Retrospect Aw geez T'Paul, does every single episode have to have a message? Does it need to conform to your worldview? The episode itself was nice and messy, leaving everyone feeling a bit unsettled and uncomfortable. And in the end, it made the episode that much better and that much more meaningful. If there was any message, it was that life is complicated and messy and sometimes there are no easy answers. That's far better than some trite anvilicious show that tries to twist reality to suit an agenda. And I for one applaud them for not taking the easy way out here. While it is certainly true that there is no proof that the random alien of the week didn't do it, there is no reason to assume that Voyager didn't finish the investigation. Presumably, they could fully examine the compound. Seven remembered a bed with restraints; surely they could search for that. After all, since the supposed attack was quick, so it almost certainly happened in the same building. Easy enough to investigate and conclude the innocence/guilt once and for all. For that matter, his initial interrogation gave me the impression that he was innocent. Sure, he's an alien, but generally speaking people tend to get angry and upset when accused while innocent, and defensive when accused while guilty. So my impression is that he was innocent. But, while it may matter to the crew in general and Seven in particular, it doesn't really matter to the story. All we need is enough real doubt to make it clear that the Doctor overstepped his bounds. And that's really what the story is about: the Doctor. I was surprised and, quite honestly, a bit appalled at his unprofessionalism. It wasn't just that he was encouraging Seven to become angry (watch out Doc, the last time Deanna said that to Data, he nearly killed her and Geordi...). It was that he was being blatantly biased during the investigation. While he almost certainly didn't know what Kovin said about demanding a completely impartial investigation, it probably didn't help. The Doctor's attitude probably helped in making him flee. Not entirely his fault, but still pretty freaking unprofessional. The only thing that can excuse it is that this is the first time he had to deal with it. So while I was surprised by the Doctor's actions, I must admit I was very pleasantly surprised by the ending, when it was actually brought up. And I am always fond of components of these shows that highlight the AI's inhumanity. The Doctor, once again, shows that he cares more about other people than his own program, offering to eliminate his self-improvement given his screw up. It seems perfectly natural thing for him to do, and I loved this episode for it. In many ways, he is still a child, still lacking in experience. That he would overreact and be overconfident in his first bit as a psychiatrist (losing his objectivity in the process) is a natural plot point, as is the fact that he would overreact at the end. Like I said earlier, this episode didn't take the easy way out, didn't just provide mindless action. We get a hard look at one of our characters, and it wasn't a flattering look either. A perfectly meaty episode. The fact that it was an ensemble show as well, with Janeway, Tuvok, and Seven playing significant roles as well, helped greatly. As was seeing them recognize that the Delta Quadrant is a dangerous place and trying to upgrade their weaponry. And seeing a race that wasn't pure evil! Based on the description, I came in with low expectations, but ended up thoroughly impressed. Bravo. Comments Mon, 23 Nov 2015 20:34:13 PST Skeptical Comment by Skeptical on VOY S4: Prey I feel rather chagrined; I didn't even realize that was Tony Todd. I did notice that he was a whole lot better than the two Hirogen from the previous episode, and he was certainly intimidating enough. The Hirogen were rather derivative in the last episode, but I think they're starting to become a bit more rounded. Yeah, one note culture and all that. But they're starting to sell it some more. Meanwhile, I find it interesting to note how many commentators would throw an innocent man to the wolves in order to save themselves. Is it logical? Perhaps, in a utilitarian sense. But it certainly isn't honorable, nor is it consistent with the ideals that have been consistently shown throughout the many series. Picard wouldn't even let the Calamarain go after Q, after all. If the Hirogen boarded, held Janeway and crew at gunpoint, and grabbed 8472, that would be one thing. But to just fork him over just like that? Kirk would be ashamed... Although it would have been nice if there was at least some possibility of Voyager fighting back. Having it be so one-sided was a bit of a copout. By now we are well aware of the artificial danger portion in the final act of any Voyager episode. If the crew had a chance to escape, or fight back, then there would be a bit more tension of wondering how this battle would end. Instead, we're simply left wondering what the shields get down to before the deus ex machina occurs. But whatever, its a minor complaint. Regardless of whether or not it was honorable, Seven's decision was perfectly rational in her view, and I don't blame her for making it. And it brought some well-needed tension to the ship. While the Maquis never should have started a mutiny or anything silly like that, questioning Starfleet philosophy would have been a legitimate use of them. Sadly, other than Seska and the occasional whimpering from Chakotay, they never used that angle much. Seven's existence allows us to bring some of that conflict back into the show. Janeway didn't do a great job of defending herself here, but she is certainly within her rights to punish Seven for her actions. And it is certainly a delight to see some consequences for Seven's actions, even if they start to disappear quickly... Meanwhile, the tension throughout much of the episode is real, and made for an enjoyable episode overall. In fact, it's been quite a run of good episodes of late. Comments Mon, 23 Nov 2015 20:31:55 PST Skeptical Comment by djgylend on TNG S2: Samaritan Snare This episode is an all time family favorite. The scene midway through I could watch over and over and over. La Forge: The Pakleds seem pretty sincere. Pakled Captain: We want what we want. Riker: Our computer banks are non-negotiable. Pakled Captain: We want them. La Forge: Believe me, they're nothing if not persistent. Pakled Captain: We want to be nothing if not persistent. La Forge: Nobody ever said they were great conversationalists. Comments Mon, 23 Nov 2015 12:40:35 PST djgylend Comment by Diamond Dave on DS9 S3: Meridian Wow, something of a rarity in that what we have here is a genuine clunker as DS9 does Brigadoon. It's interesting that having the Defiant means that DS9 can now do forgettable early TNG episodes, as that's what this feel like. The Dax story feels rushed, doesn't make a lot of sense, and is presented in such a 'soft focus' style as to invite ridicule. We know she isn't staying, so there's no drama to it either. The B-story provides one big laugh - the Quark/Kira hybrid - but otherwise is eminently forgettable, and not a little sleazy with it. 1.5 stars. Comments Mon, 23 Nov 2015 12:03:11 PST Diamond Dave Comment by James on VOY S2: Innocence Gonna go with Lt. Yarko on this one. Interesting concept, poor execution. Would've been better to spend more time on the concept of reverse aging instead of creating a mystery that relies on incompetence. By the end of the episode, Alcia explicitly proves that she knows the crew of Voyager age differently... so why didn't she point that out earlier when Tuvok told Janeway about the endangered children? Much like with Star Trek Generations, this episode has such a huge plot hole it seems like the writers gave less thought and more irrational emotion to it. Comments Mon, 23 Nov 2015 10:25:20 PST James Comment by Jason R. on TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder I am a big fan of Pulowski, but I found her reflexive bigotry toward the clone society distasteful. Although saying this means looking behind the plot (which I try not to do) I actually got the feeling that Pulowski wasn't interesting in finding a solution to the genetic degradation problem (and wouldn't have helped them even if she could have!), because of her prejudice against cloning. In a Star Trek context, I just found that baffling and unworthy of her character. Also noteworthy in this episode was the flagrant murder of several clones by Riker, which was precipitated by Picard's flippant dismissal of the notion of ANY Enterprise crew donating genetic material. Again, it was not Riker and Pulowski's refusal to voluntarily donate their material that troubled me, but Picard's casual presumption that nobody of the 1,000 crew members would agree to this that bugged me. If he had cited the Prime Directive that would have been one thing - but I just wasn't on the same page with this anti cloning attitude. It just seemed out of place. Riker's notion that something would be lost in the universe if he was cloned (an ironic comment considering what ultimately happened with his character and the Thomas Riker character) came across as superstitious, again out of place in the Star Trek universe and unworthy of a Starfleet officer. For the record, I would have been fine with the donation myself! The episode ends with yet another baffling point where Picard more or less orders the two societies to merge, even prescribing polygamy as a solution to their problem. As others noted, this was yet another dubious decision that just felt out of place and totally inconsistent with the setting and character. It's like the writers were just on another frequency from the rest of us with this episode. Comments Mon, 23 Nov 2015 09:28:42 PST Jason R. Comment by Sanders on VOY S2: The Thaw "This ship was built for combat performance." No it wasn't. Intrepid-class ships are science vessels; that's been stated since episode 1. Top notch writers keeping up with their own continuity right there! TOS's over-the-top characters and colorful settings are definitely in full force here. If it wasn't for the meaningful plot, I'd have laughed and turned off the TV a long time ago. At least we didn't have to see Kirk in this one. Comments Mon, 23 Nov 2015 07:26:55 PST Sanders Comment by Max on VOY S6: Ashes to Ashes I'm also wondering how she caught up with Voyager? Aside from the distance they would have traveled in 2 years at warp, didn't they also use the subspace slingshot device during that time? Comments Mon, 23 Nov 2015 07:12:17 PST Max