Comments on Jammer's Reviews RSS feed for comments posted on Jammer's Reviews en-us Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:54:39 PDT Comment by William B on DS9 S2: Rivals A bit more on Julian-Miles: The Bashir-O'Brien friendship is between awkward supergenius and skilled everyman, and so one of the recurring elements is the way any competition between the two of them will go to Bashir, if it's actually something that requires pure physical or mental aptitude. So given the "luck" theme here, it might be worth considering that Bashir happens to have "won" a certain genetic crapshoot that O'Brien didn't. O'Brien is very smart and talented, but is not the kind of physical/mental prodigy that Julian was/is, and has several years on him to boot. O'Brien has experience, Bashir has "talent" in its rawest form, and O'Brien tries to beat Bashir head-on through sheer force of will in spite of the fact that Bashir has every physical advantage, plus training. Bashir did work hard to become an expert racquetball player and, for that matter, briefly wanted to be a great tennis player before going the "easier" route of medical student. But it is hard for O'Brien not to see him, on some level, as having on his side things which have nothing to do with how hard they worked -- Bashir is younger and happens to have been some kind of genius prodigy. It's another instance where the retcon about Bashir's genetic engineering works wonders. The reason Bashir is so talented is that his parents rigged the game, secretly. And so this brings Bashir into parallel with Martus, and O'Brien into parallel with Quark -- Bashir's genetically enhanced mega-talent gave him an artificial leg-up which amounts to "luck," not in terms of probability but in terms of him happening to have an advantage unrelated to the effort he put in. And then when Martus starts losing, Bashir loses badly. The episode's comedy and the reversal of fortunes perhaps implies that even accidents of birth (or deliberate choices by parents to give their children an Advantage) are just as ephemeral as any other random-number-generator -- even if these accidents of birth end up determining a whole lot of what happens in a person's life. Pretty interesting, if not fully fleshed-out (and I might be imagining things, more so than usual). Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:54:39 PDT William B Comment by Mallory R. on ENT S3: Similitude Perfect science fiction story. Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:37:30 PDT Mallory R. Comment by Luke on TNG S5: The Game Wesley Wesley Crusher, Where are you? We've got some work to do now. Wesley Wesley Crusher, Where are you? We need some help from you now. Come on, Wesley Crusher, I see you pretending you've got a game. But you're not foolin' me, cause I can see the way you fake that shiver. You know we've got a mystery to solve so Wesley Crusher be ready for your act. Don't hold back! And Wesley Crusher if you come through you're gonna have yourself a Lefler Snack! That's a fact! Wesley Wesley Crusher, here are you. You're ready and you're willing. If we can count on you, Wesley Crusher, I know we'll catch that villain! --------------------------------------- Seriously folks, this is a "Scooby Doo" episode masquerading as a "Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode. It might as well of ended with an exchange like - "Why, it's Etana! The woman Riker was awkwardly frolicking with on Risa." "That's right! And I would have conquered the Federation if it wasn't for you meddling kids!" Good grief, did we honestly need yet another "Wesley saves the day" episode? This time it's so bad that they literally have the entire rest of the crew brainwashed and villainous in order to make Wesley look good. Even the love interest character succumbs to the "make-Wesley-AWESOME!-at-everyone's-expense" cliche. I said it my comments on "Final Mission" and I'll say it again - "We get it, Wesley is awesome. But people, it is of paramount importance that as you feverishly fellate this character until he leaves a gland-shaped impression on your tonsils, you occasionally come up for god-damn air!" I'm just going to skip over the technical problems with how the game works because, quite frankly, I don't care. Instead, I going to focus on something this episode does make me care about - why the hell is Robin Lefler interested in Wesley Freakin' Crusher?! Not only is she played by Ashley Judd (which means on a scale of 1 to 10 in the beauty department she's OVER FUCKING 9000!!!!!) but she's also warm, outgoing, intelligent, compassionate, self-less, etc. This woman is the catch of the millennium! And she's so interested in Wesley (who, by the way, has to be at least five years YOUNGER than her) that she's got friends at the Academy keeping tabs on him?! I just don't get it. I mean, for crying out loud, his idea of a first date is to show up late and then take her to a science lab to perform experiments on a new video game. But, hey, she's into it all, for some reason. I guess there's no accounting for taste. Where the hell can I find a woman like this?! There are some intriguing moments on display here, but that's all they are - moments. They're moments like when we see Picard put on the game and when Data first emerges from the the turbolift (that is, before he starts with his strobe light nonsense). Okay, good attention grabbing moments, even if they only last for a few seconds. The problem is that what they're surrounded with is rather.... well.... boring. I was shocked when the first act ended and so little had actually happened. The only legitimately enjoyable part is the final chase through the Enterprise sequence. There is an true sense of suspense to it. But, I can honestly say the same thing about most "Scooby Doo" episodes. Other than that and those few, brief moments, "The Game" never really held my interest. They should have left well-enough alone and kept Wesley off the show. *sigh* 4/10 Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:20:26 PDT Luke Comment by John G on ENT S3: Chosen Realm The action parts of the episode were pretty good, but the allegory was cliched and shallow. I loved Phlox scaring his guard with his bat. "There's no cure for the venom!" I totally believed D'Jamat falling for the transporter trick. He thought that he and Archer were alike and "understood" each other. He also would be apt to believe in any sort of religious custom. At first I thought there must be a backup for the deleted database, but then Hillary Clinton and Lois Lerner's emails came to mind. If there are still Democrats in the 22nd century, anything is possible. :) Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:01:28 PDT John G Comment by William B on DS9 S2: Rivals This is an episode which examines the theme of luck, in that sometimes people have good luck and sometimes they have bad luck. It also examines the theme of rivalry, in that there are two sets of people -- Quark and Martus, Julian and Miles -- who are competing with each other, who are "rivals" if you will. ... ... OK, that's it. I've got nothing more to say. ... OK, OK, I'll try a bit more. The episode's depictions of the ups and downs of fortune makes it feel a bit like some kind of genie story, or some such, and the idea of a device that artificially makes one's luck good or bad has a certain appeal as a fantasy idea. The episode's attempt at a SF explanation is pretty painful, so I won't belabour that. The episode doesn't do much interesting with it, except that it does get something of the charge that the compulsive gambler feels. The real issue with those luck spheres for Martus, and for the previous owner, is that the initial run of good luck creates an artificial high which then makes the person restless and unhappy until they have that again, which is why it's often said that the worst possible thing that can happen to someone is to win big the first time they gamble, since it creates a thrill and a set of expectations that can't really be matched. Making unknown character Martus the person whose luck changes so radically was a weird choice; while, yes, it's nice to see Chris "Prince Humperdink" Sarandon in the role, there's no indication why we should care about this guy aside from the most general "all human[oid]s deserve our empathy" sense of it. The one advantage of making Martus the luck-holder is that it helps establish Quark as the real underdog hero of the episode; while Quark allows gambling at his place, and is a gambler of sorts himself, he judges each deal as it comes and uses his wits, cunning, and interpersonal skills to profit, while "listener" Martus, despite his rep as a con man, mostly ends up a passive individual, at the whim of The Fates splashing him to and fro. The passive man who bets on luck may briefly overtake the canny individual who focuses on skill, but fortunes change and eventually skill tends to win out. Comparing the way Quark makes the O'Brien/Bashir feud into a big source of profits, using the carrot of charity to lure the two in, makes Martus' "a random guy gave me a luck generator which I used to make more luck generators" approach seem even more pathetic. The Bashir/O'Brien rivalry is pretty fun, actually, though it takes up less of the episode's runtime than I had remembered; I also think that their not resolving their rivalry in episode -- no tag, even! -- is a bit of a shame. It's a comedy plot, yes, but comedy plots still (mostly) work best as plots. Anyway, I find their scenes, along with the related ones (Julian's telling Dax that he's afraid Miles is going to have a heart attack, Miles' venting to Keiko) pretty enjoyable throughout. The personality clash/buddy cop formula is obvious but it does work here, and much better than in "The Storyteller," and I like that Julian is both much more enthusiastic about the friendship and also tries very hard to put an end to the matches while leaving Miles' dignity intact; Miles' desire to beat Julian and wipe that smug smile off his face as a way for Miles to (willingly!) choose to spend more time with the guy is a neat way to push their development without resetting Miles' fundamental attitude, nor putting them in a big life-death situation. I get something of a kick out of the image of the ball bouncing around the room and O'Brien catching it. I don't quite know what it is, but I like it. Comedy or no, I do think it's a bad sign when the "main plot" essentially gets resolved because, EVENTUALLY, the main cast notice something, then pick up their tricorder, and then shoot spheres with phasers, end of story, taking all of like one minute. 2-2.5 stars. Probably a high 2 -- enjoyable fluff in the B-plot, somewhat dull and very silly, but with some redeeming elements, A-plot. Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 14:01:29 PDT William B Comment by William B on DS9 S2: Sanctuary Wow, what a mess. Setting aside the real-world analogues this episode is attempting to allegorize, the episode makes wrong turns in basically every scene. In attempting to represent the whole breadth of the refugee experience, from language barrier to being bullied to religious prophesy, the episode never stays on any topic long enough to come to any satisfying point, and further is ridiculous on basically every point. The Universal Translator material wastes time and is forgotten the moment it is no longer a problem, with the sole impact that we find out that the Skrreeans are matriarchal and only want to talk to Kira. The matriarchy stuff with the Skrreeans is at least *not* "Angel One," and for a culture to be matriarchal is not that big a departure from the Trek norm (given the number of patriarchal cultures we encounter), but it's not used to any effect except to present, and never dispel, the idea that the Skrreean men are a bunch of foolish, aggressive dolts who wander around getting into fights, which, ahem, undermines Haneek's arguments about how wonderful Skrreean society is. The friendship between Haneek and Kira, solidified over their shared dislike of a dress and unfunny laughter afterwards, comes across as affected and false (and why did Haneek stare at that dress so long? did she really spend all that time saying "LOOK AT THIS STUPID DRESS!"). The Nog/Skrreean boys plot is supposed to, I guess, demonstrate that conflicts arise due to the native people's non-acceptance of the refugees, but since the episode is all building toward the Bajorans turning the Skrreeans down, why even bother involving juvenile delinquent Nog, a Ferengi who just escaped being jailed because Sisko blackmailed his uncle, rather than showing some possible BAJORAN-SKREEAN culture clash? Haneek's son taking a ship to Bajor because he's an idiot and being shot down, because he's an idiot, is manipulative, artificial "tragedy" at its worst, especially since his motivation is so badly sketched in. The real question of import here *should be* the question of how refugees should be housed, and what it means to deny refugees entry to an already battered land. The episode begins with Kira neglecting her duties by arguing all the time with the Provisional Government, followed by her strongarming Quark into taking a Bajoran musician, to reestablish her bona fides in terms of her desire to preserve and help the Bajoran people, so that when she ultimately does not extend this to the Skrreeans we understand that Kira's broad desire to help her struggling people ultimately ends and cannot extend to all oppressed peoples -- which is not, by the way, me criticizing Kira, just stating the sad fact that resources are finite and we have to choose, and people tend to choose their own family, tribe, people above another even if the other suffers just as much and is equally "deserving." And, fine, but the post-scarcity world means that there's no reason they can't just settle on Dralon II, instead of a planet in a system they stumbled upon like a week ago. With every indication that Dralon II is habitable and indeed is *better* for farming and building a life than the burned-to-the-ground peninsula they are eying on Bajor, there is no reason to see Haneek as being shut out; Bajor turning refugees away because they quite literally have a galaxy of other options which are brought straight to them leaves us with no reason to criticize Bajor, and makes Haneek et al. just seem ungrateful, especially when Haneek suggests that Kira is her friend only as long as Kira doesn't have to do anything for her, after Kira saved her and her family's life, spent hours working on communicating with them, bought her a present, and then let her and hundreds of her people use the station and its food resources for days (?) or weeks (?). Jeez. The ONE argument Haneek has in her favour is "God said so," where she has some mythological reason to believe that the first planet they happen upon on the other side of the "eye" will be their new home. And, you know, it does make some sense that Bajorans in particular would be sympathetic to "BECAUSE THERE'S A VAGUE PROPHESY" as a justification. But there is not, to my recollection, a single scene of Kira or the Bajoran government actually responding to the religious reasons Haneek gives, and so this is not even discussed. First Haneek suggests that it will be good because that's where they're supposed to go, and then at the *very* end, right after her son stole a ship because Skrreean males are apparently lunatics, says that it's Kira/Bajor's fault for not recognizing that the Skrreeans can help cure Bajor of its ills, an argument which she had not explicitly pointed out previously in the episode (though, to be fair, it is in the myth and she did make a point of saying she didn't want Bajor's help). So, no. I don't think we are "forced" to side with Haneek, but Kira's inability to come up with a good riposte suggests we're supposed to feel that Haneek at least had a good point, which, you know, she didn't -- in that it's hardly the Bajorans' fault that neither Haneek nor any other Skrreean pointed out that they would very likely be able to help Bajor, and so could not give any counterargument. And, you know, putting all that aside, why would all the Skrreeans need to settle on one place anyway? Could not someone have suggested maybe letting a few hundred or thousand Skrreeans settle on the northern peninsula of Bajor, so that if the drought continues and no food is grown it is *not* going to be an unmanageable amount of aid necessary to keep them alive, and, if no aid comes, it won't be a full species extinction? It seems likely Haneek would reject this suggestion out of hand, but there is no reason the Bajoran provisional government couldn't *suggest* it. I find this episode pretty painful to get through -- and while there are bits of interesting content, they are very scattered about. 1.5 stars at the most, probably 1 star. Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 13:41:15 PDT William B Comment by William B on DS9 S2: Rules of Acquisition @Yanks, thanks for the kind words. I was talking more about Pel's initially going to show up Zek to begin with -- ripping off the lobes and so forth. Reviewing the transcript, she explicitly says "I'm sorry, but it's time he learned that when it comes to accumulating profit, women are as capable as men." So her motivation is not officially love-based after all...and yet, her going to the Nagus only *after* Quark rejects her and asks her to leave the station does suggest that she's motivated partly by heartbreak, which she then turns into a desire to bring on massive social change. Which...I don't know. It's noble and I don't want to dismiss it entirely, but Pel has surely gone incognito for years and I'm not sure if the episode totally justifies her showing off her female-ness at *this* moment. Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 13:16:55 PDT William B Comment by John G on ENT S3: Similitude When I saw Tucker dead in the operating scene, I cringed thinking, "Not another reset button episode!" When Phlox explained the cloning procedure I cringed again at the ridiculous science. But despite that I got pulled into the episode and enjoyed it a lot. I don't think Sim finally volunteering to give his life took away from the moral dilemma aspect, as Archer had already decided he was going to die. It did put a much happier spin on the ending, making Sim a hero rather than making Archer a possible villain. What did sort of dilute the moral dilemma is that the entire population of Earth would likely perish if they did not sacrifice Sim's last few days or a small chance at a longer life. If it had merely been Sim's life vs Trip's or Sim's life vs. Enterprise and the lives of its crew the decision might have gone the other way or been more difficult . But 5 days of life for one clone vs the survival of humanity made it much easier to rationalize. Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 12:59:06 PDT John G Comment by DLPB on DS9 S5: Blaze of Glory The writers seem to be completely oblivious to real life. Here we are presented with a situation where a renegade terrorist faction wants to commit mass murder against A CURRENT GENOCIDAL ENEMY, and the allies are upset that this may case the said genocidal enemy to become... genocidal. It makes absolutely no sense. Let's take WWII (always a good example): Churchill gave the order to bomb German civilians by the thousands. Hitler was furious, so he intensified the bombing of English cities. This actually ended up being a good thing because the Nazis were having great success with their military targets. But Hitler could do nothing except carry on what he was doing anyway - conquering. In the same way, that's all the Cardassian's and the Dominion could have done. This also brings up a further HUGE plot problem: The allies would be using any and all means to obliterate their enemies, and vice versa; yet, for the duration of this war, no weapons of mass destruction are ever deployed. Let's take DS9 - all you'd need to destroy that thing would be one major weapon. You wouldn't send a fleet. But the writers suspend all logic and all reason simply to peddle this unrealistically written war. The B story isn't any better as it concerns Nog trying to be a bad-ass. Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:39:14 PDT DLPB Comment by Aine on DS9 S6: Change of Heart I have consistently disliked the Worf-Dax scenes - until now. It's so strange though, and makes me wonder if the writers actually did that controlling/abusive/disrespectful/sexist Worf on purpose. Given what was possible here, AND the fact that Worf clearly recognizes this as a drastically different (accepting, loving) way to be - I'm just baffled with why the writers wanted to depict their relationship in that stupid way all this time. It's not just that Worf 'lightened up'. The first scene, I kind of expected Worf to be watching from afar. After all, he has shown himself to be Exactly the kind of husband who will be glowering and disapproving that his wife is out late at night having fun and doing 'independent' things. Instead, and very happily surprised I was, Worf was taking pride in her ability in the game. The absolute FIRST romantic thing that came out of his mouth that wasn't cliche, wasn't un-Klingon, wasn't completely stupid - was when he said he would back a losing Jadzia over a winning anyone else. THANK YOU. At least now it makes sense for someone to marry this guy. Worf's character really showed in this episode that he IS capable of following her lead, respecting her decisions, adjusting around her as well, and recognizing that his universe isn't the only universe. Even the ending where he says he would want the same from her and she jokingly/half-jokingly implies she'd put her career first - his response is GOOD. He doesn't start frowning and questioning her love/loyalty even for a half-joke. So this was great in terms of these two, and I am so happy to have this one episode of sanity for an otherwise almost disturbing relationship (and Worf characterization). IN fact, I think it WAS very deliberate because Worf mentions how he was on TNG, and that's also a hint that they really did change his character a lot on this one. In terms of the plot and stuff - I totally agree that it was stupid to have NO major plot impact with all that, with absolutely NOTHING taken back from the mission. It seemed really thin that Worf wasn't immediately facing any consequences. That's kind of standard Trek stuff - a lot of major characters can do unacceptable things and get some kind of 'censure' which is so in the future that by the next episode it's vanished. That was pretty unbelievable, there should have been some consequence. Worf can easily use a few episodes of glory to reaffirm his case for why he should be a commander. Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:24:55 PDT Aine Comment by Yanks on DS9 S4: Rules of Engagement I'll agree with you there Teejay. ...but he was a lawyer :-) Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:16:08 PDT Yanks Comment by Yanks on ENT S3: North Star Wow, what interesting comments on this one. A break from the Xindi storyline is a huge problem here I guess... wonder what those same folks thought about all the diversions in seasons 6 & 7 of DS9? Somehow the countless "holodeck" episodes throughout Trek are acceptable (with some pretty much universal duds for sure), but when Enterprise takes break and gives us a holodeck episode without the holodeck it's rubbish. How dare an episode mention the word slavery without paying homage to the black slaves of America. ... as if slavery was an American "thing", as if blacks didn't sell their own into slavery, as if there weren't black slave owners, as if America was the last despite of slavery left on earth. Jesus... slavery was a human problem, not an exclusively American one. They probably left Travis out of most of this episode because they didn't want to have to relate slavery to just an American problem. Although I wouldn't have minded including him as long as the conversation/reference was done properly, not like was done in TNG: MOM. See 'The Savage Curtain' from TOS for an appropriate context. These folks weren't plucked out of Boston or New York, they were plucked out of the Midwest somewhere... somewhere that didn't even have running water or plumbing or the steam engine or even electricity. Folks forget how big a societal gap there was between the cities and the mid-west during that time frame. They were swooped up. I'm sure they didn't grab their history or science books or bring along Benjamin Franklin for the ride. It's really not too much of a stretch that they hadn't progressed technologically at all noting their lack of resources, initial enslavement and education level upon abduction - unless of course you're looking for a reason to dis Enterprise. Archer did the right thing here. I'm not sure what else someone could have expected. The episode was good fun, while illustrating the huge differences between folks of that time and now. Seeing T'Pol get up on that horse was a riot. The shoot-out at the end was good fun too. My only issue with this episode is the Skagarans and stranded humans were never addressed again in the series [I think]. (so I guess the Illyrians never had a chance :-) ) Good acting all around except the deputy was pretty hammy. 4.0 classic? No, but a solid 3.0 for sure. Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:03:08 PDT Yanks Comment by John G on ENT S3: North Star It is absurd to think that humans from the late 19th Century would still only have 19th Century technology, 300 years later. Also, it seems unlikely that a species so far advanced that they were capable of interstellar travel could be overcome and subjugated by 19th century humans. Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 08:05:49 PDT John G Comment by Nathan B. on DS9 S3: Explorers Fantastic episode in every way--a worthy successor to TNG's "Family." Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 07:51:58 PDT Nathan B. Comment by DG on DS9 S3: The Search, Part II Erm. Does that mean Garak is Julian Bashir's idealized version of him? O.o? Their first conversation almost seems like it in retrospect. Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 04:44:29 PDT DG Comment by Aine on DS9 S6: You Are Cordially Invited Agree so much with Elliot's comments above. Also loved the point someone made about Odo's regeneration. It's also strange that the lady of Martok's house could come, but not Enterprise crew. I'm watching this for the first time and while the earlier Dax was one of my favourite (if not THE favourite) character, I'm just waiting for the character to die and leave the show. This episode had so much potential (EVEN accepting the ridiculous couple these two make). Actually let me just point out that marriages like these are the ones that a lot of people in less democratic and egalitarian situations feel they 'have' to stick on with, and lead to endless unhappy days full of discontent and verbal violence. Le sigh. Worf and Dax should have had an affair, to satisfy Dax's curiousity. That is ALL that could possibly exist between them. If Worf had been at his best, he would have been amused with Dax, but not interested at all. He and K'ehlar worked so well precisely because she stood up to him. Sisko telling Dax that Worf was like a kid who had to be indulged, the wedding vows where she is the 'stronger heart and wiser' - thereby giving the male heart to be less wise, do what he likes, etc. All that is patriarchal rubbish, sadly. But the episode DID have potential as scenes with Klingon women and secure Klingon men (like Martok) always do. On a side note, all Worf has done so far is feel 'ashamed' of and 'look down' at who someone connected with him really is (Alexander and Dax). Surely, it's more 'honorable' to be true to who you are, even if the world disapproves? Now there were glimpses of that in the TNG Worf. Worf here is like the most annoying, conservative parent who cares WAY too much about every random bigoted stranger's opinion. Married life would have been hell for them both. Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 01:24:52 PDT Aine Comment by Teejay on DS9 S4: Rules of Engagement @ Yanks: Yes, what you say is true, it just seems to be a very sneaky, non-Klingon way to handle the situation. Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 00:53:32 PDT Teejay Comment by Teejay on DS9 S7: Once More Unto the Breach @Yanks: Yeah not crazy about the idea myself(although in the right hands it could've been done well), was just trying to think of something that could possibly pleased both sides of the aisle, so to speak :) Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 00:41:05 PDT Teejay Comment by Teejay on DS9 S7: Chimera A few things: 1) Has it actually been stated in the show that Odo is infected yet? If it has, I missed it. 2)Not sure if I buy the Changeling's ability to shape-shift into fire, mainly due to the nature of how fire exists. 3)I don't think I could've turned down Laas' offer if I were I Odo's shoes. As for the episode: I could've done without the whole murder/escape parts(to me, they kinda felt like they were put in just to make the episode's running time), but otherwise enjoyable. Comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 00:35:56 PDT Teejay Comment by Mallory R. on ENT S3: Twilight Compelling episode. Sigh...all the creativity thwarted by the 42 minute / 26 episode format. I wish this show had been done outside of Hollywood, with a European approach of a short set of very strong hour plus episodes (like HBO is doing). Comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 19:08:31 PDT Mallory R. Comment by John G on ENT S3: Twilight I am surprised how much so many people loved this "reset button" episode. Someone made a good point that Archer could have recorded his new memories into a log instead of wasting T'Pol's time and depriving Starfleet of a valuable officer. Even Dana Carvey figured out that trick in "Clean Slate". Comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 18:59:47 PDT John G Comment by Nathan B. on DS9 S3: Improbable Cause What a phenomenally good double episode! It easily bests BOBW, and ranks as my favourite DS9 outing thus far in the series. Comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 18:03:25 PDT Nathan B. Comment by John G on DS9 S6: Valiant @Ashton Withers Well I guess they were sort of like the Nazis, without the racism, anti-Semitism, concentration camps, gas chambers, desire for global domination etc, etc. Come on, they weren't anything like Nazis. They were generally good, very courageous young people fighting for a noble cause under extremely difficult circumstances. Their fatal flaws were that they became arrogant and overestimated their own abilities and that they allowed their undestandable admiration of Watters to cloud their judgement and lead them to follow him blindly. Comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:48:04 PDT John G Comment by Cosette on VOY S5: Nothing Human Also, they have a freaking exobiologist on board. Poor Samantha Wildman. Comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:41:11 PDT Cosette Comment by Cosette on VOY S5: Thirty Days I have to agree with Robert. We are uncovering information now that indicates solitary confinement might be akin to torture. At the very least, many people currently consider it inhumane. I have a very hard time believing that Janeway would consider it an appropriate punishment for a member of her crew. They have encountered many cultures with innovative means of punishment. Why would they ever use one which is of questionable ethics? Comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:38:49 PDT Cosette Comment by Ashton Withers on DS9 S6: Valiant I found this episode very well played. I think 'Red Squad' is supposed to be akin to naziism. Think about the big picture. All the cadets thinks Red Squad is superior to everyone else. They even have certain rules. 'Don't talk about emotional things...blah blah' They have a symbol, the Red Squad badge. And I really started feeling the nazi vibe when everyone started chanting 'RED SQUAD! RED SQUAD!' Everyone took orders from the cadet captain blindly. Even to their death. I like this episode's metaphors. Comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 13:10:24 PDT Ashton Withers Comment by Troy on TNG S1: Lonely Among Us I did like the dog and snake aliens in this one. Really some of the best aliens in the entire series where "alien" usually just meant spots, bumps, or just plain ordinary human. The "dog" alien is also reused in the episode "Tapestry" in the bar scene. Comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 13:10:02 PDT Troy Comment by Ashton Withers on DS9 S6: His Way Sometimes I wish I had an Uncle Vic... Comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 12:55:43 PDT Ashton Withers Comment by Riker's Beard on TNG S4: The Loss This was a pretty lame episode. I did however appreciate the exchange at the very beginning between Riker and Data when Riker notices that Data didn't relay the time in milliseconds. This is great continuity from two episodes ago when Riker was questioning his reality by challenging Data's processing speed. Riker questioning Data in this episode shows how deeply Riker was effected by his experience and perhaps now he will always be looking out for indications that he is not part of normal reality. Also Data's reason for not supplying the information showed good character development. Thank you Michael Piller! Comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 12:41:28 PDT Riker's Beard Comment by Troy on TNG S1: Code of Honor Never understoody why some people say it is racist. I used to joke they went to planet Africa, but thought it was a good venue for black actors and also it made them bad guys rather than patronize them. That said it is rather weak (1-1/2 stars for me), but ok when judged in the context of 1st season. In regards to Adara's point about Tasha dodging rape gangs wouldn't be attracted to an abducter...while her planet HAD rape gangs it is never asserted that a rape gang actually caught her. Comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 12:28:00 PDT Troy Comment by Troy on TNG S6: Timescape I'd give this 2-3/4 stars, as it is well done but doesn't quite rise to the top of my favorite episodes. The smiley face in the warp breach smoke was very cute. I also liked the multiple instances of misdirection. Everything is made to look like a Romulan attack when in fact it wasn't even them. The blow up and rewind didn't work as well as "Cause and Effect" and this is just a less enganging episode overall. Comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 11:26:09 PDT Troy Comment by Corey on ENT S3: Carpenter Street I hate Daniels. The last thing Enterprise needs is temporal cold wars and time leaping Federation space police. This episode had some good direction, some nice music, some atypically dark atmosphere. Unfortunately, it's all in the service of a lazy script. With episodes like this, Enterprise seems to be chasing ratings and attempting to be hip. It's cringe-worthy to watch. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:45:53 PDT Corey Comment by Corey on ENT S3: Chosen Realm Contrary to what "capitalist" says, the Sunni/Shia conflict has always spawned, not from religious doctrinal disputes, but issues of power, politics, resources and land. Religious mumbo jumbo comes after. Chelsea, it's a reach to read this episode as a comment on Israel's colonisation of Palestine. The Palestinian terrorists, again, blow themselves and others up not for religious issues, but for territorial issues. What this episode is really doing is presenting the common post-9/11 view of terrorists: nutty religious fundamentalists who are mad at others for vague, nutty religious reasons. In the real world, though, most major studies show that terrorists primarily act, not for religious reasons, but for issues of political/national autonomy. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:42:11 PDT Corey Comment by Nathan B. on DS9 S3: Fascination I chuckled along when reading this review, because most of what Jammer criticised in this episode, I enjoyed. And I love Lwaxana Troi, who is my favourite minor character.* I like all the Ferengi episodes I've seen, too. The episodes I don't care for are most of the Mirror Universe episodes, and--the worst: Meridian. I don't hate the last with passion. I just really dislike it. -- *TNG's Half a Life is probably my favourite episode in that series. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:00:50 PDT Nathan B. Comment by Yanks on DS9 S3: Second Skin Jack, Sorry so long to reply. Good point. Garak must have had a past with Entek. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 16:32:49 PDT Yanks Comment by Nathan B. on DS9 S3: Meridian Sorry, auto-correct on my phone garbled that last word, which should have been "re-watch." Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:11:49 PDT Nathan B. Comment by Nathan B. on DS9 S3: Meridian Absolutely spot-on review by Jammer. But I'd give this 1.5 stars, and without the B-story, I'd go down to one or even zero. I don't ever intend a research. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:10:21 PDT Nathan B. Comment by Nathan B. on DS9 S3: Civil Defense Who can forget Dukat bellowing, Bajoran workers!" I loved this episode's take on TNG's very enjoyable equivalent. It was by turns dark and funny, and nearly always quite clever. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:00:32 PDT Nathan B. Comment by Troy on TNG S6: Second Chances I like this episode 3 stars worth. One issue, and Jammer points this out is how little differentiation there is between the two Rikers--just the yellow vs. red uniform. And while it is startling and give a great heads up I think a better actor like Patrick Stewart might have been able to give a more nuance performance on the Riker that spent 8 years in isolation, and yes no holodeck or anything would allow that to be anything less than a traumatic experience. I actually had more belief in the kids in "Rascals" than I did in believeing two different Rikers, one in solitude for 8 years. Some suggestions: It was near the end of the season they could have had Lt. Riker with a bushy beard, then shaved after getting to the Enterprise. They also could have made him bit pudgier, why? Replicated food but living in a hole with little exercise. I like that it was considered to kill off Cmdr. Riker. They could have went another way, promote Cmdr. Riker and keep Lt. Riker on the ship. A less note, I loved that Lt. Riker almost died, because you think they're hitting the reset switch, but nope there's going to be two of them. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:01:58 PDT Troy Comment by Robert on TNG S5: Disaster If the viewer has no idea what's going on in Engineering I think it makes the bridge story more suspenseful. Data/Riker can fix it off screen. And then you genuinely don't know if everyone in Engineering is dead! Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:54:37 PDT Robert Comment by Robert on VOY S2: Non Sequitur :) Totally agree with you about poverty, but the wealth gap is more about the demise of the middle class than fixing poverty. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:52:23 PDT Robert Comment by Steve on DS9 S6: Sixth Season Recap I always figured that they quickly built another one or were already in the process of doing it. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:23:41 PDT Steve Comment by Steve on DS9 S5: The Ascent What's also really great here is the camera work and music. I think they used a light blue filter. Really makes it seem more cold and lifeless. Music-wise this has some of my favorite short pieces in the series. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:19:25 PDT Steve Comment by Troy on TNG S6: Rightful Heir This is one of the better Klingon episodes. I like how it exposed how the Klingon clergy would pull a stunt to get butts in the pews (so to speak). I like how technology proved Kahless, and then later proved that technology created Kahless (I also like the cleric's protest, "maybe this is the way Kahless is supposed to return!" Very astute. I also like the subtle posturing between Gowron (political power) and the clergy. While it does work well during first viewing, it wasn't great in the rewatching so 2-3/4 stars for me. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:47:28 PDT Troy Comment by Yanks on VOY S3: Scorpion, Part I Chakotay's best line of the series... "My God" Can't wait to watch this one again! Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:46:05 PDT Yanks Comment by Troy on TNG S6: Suspicions The episode doesn't work very well 1.75 stars for me. I can't imagine Dr. Crusher geeking out over an engineering marvel like corona shielding. As a dialog between the Doc and Guinan was probably the best vehicle to present it but also falls a little flat. I also thought the alien Jabrill was sooo incredibly alien his body had multiple organs and so forth, yet his chest hair and nipples suggest a typical human male painted green. A few things I liked: Alyssa defying the doctor by saying, "you're not my boss anymore" and I did like the idea of flying into a star's coronna. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:29:03 PDT Troy Comment by Troy on TNG S6: The Chase I have a strong aversion to the payoff in this episode, echoed by others because of the wide spread implications on the Trek universe and its implied alien intelligent design. Normally in Star Trek we can forget that the Trek universe isn't our own, so we can vicariously fly through the galaxy. This squelches that notion. I agree with the Klingon, if she wasn't dead I'd kill her! While the episode would explain a lot, like why all denizons of the nearby galaxy are humanoid and how you can get a Vulcan-Human hybrid, putting this implausible scenerio front an center is a loser for me. Before seeing it I was thinking it was a two parter...glad I was wrong on that. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:11:07 PDT Troy Comment by Troy on TNG S6: Lessons 3-1/2 stars for me, always liked it. Especially playing from the center of the ship and the kiss. It does work off of Inner Light's coattails, but those are great coattails to follow. I agree with grumpyotter, it would have been nice to have her appear in another episode, the finale, movie or something. Especially since they didn't break up, though it is likely she moved on. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 09:00:24 PDT Troy Comment by Yanks on VOY S2: Meld BEst line of the episode: "TUVOK: It would be safer for the crew if I were to remain in these quarters. I remind you, I am trained in the martial arts of many Alpha quadrant cultures. Sitting here, attempting to meditate, I have counted the number of ways I know of killing someone using just a finger, a hand, a foot. I had reached ninety four when you entered." I'm reading ahead while rewatching Voyager. I'll be back in a couple weeks with my cut. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 08:52:07 PDT Yanks Comment by Grumpy on TNG S6: Starship Mine Troy: "...if all the power was off on the ship and people weren't supposed to be on board, why is there still artificial gravity on board the Enterprise?" Ahem. According to Sternbach & Okuda's technical manual, the gravity generators take hours to spin down. Because of course they do. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 08:18:09 PDT Grumpy Comment by Nathan B. on DS9 S3: Second Skin Double M, Nick M, and J: I am so with you! Cardassian women are not only incredibly hot, they are also amazingly interesting! More seriously, I loved how this episode drew from and elaborated on TNG's wonderful Face of the Enemy. But DS9 does it even better, thanks to more character work and Visitor's great acting. Great, great episode! Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 08:16:54 PDT Nathan B. Comment by Luke on TNG S5: Disaster @Robert: "The Data/Riker story honestly did nothing for me either (you seem to agree)." I do agree. Three of these five stories left me cold, but I can't see getting rid of this one because the whole plot depends on it. Unless you're going to have Picard and the kids emerge from the turbolift shaft in Main Engineering and have Picard be the one who fixes the problem, I can't see how you can cut it. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 07:25:09 PDT Luke Comment by Yanks on DS9 S2: Rules of Acquisition William B, Great observations. I only have one point. I believe that Pel breaking down into tears in front of Zek was not just because of her eventual place in Ferengi society, but I think she feared what could happen to Quark. Just my cut. Great post. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 06:56:17 PDT Yanks Comment by Yanks on VOY S2: Non Sequitur Robert, Good to chat with you again. It's been awhile. :-) I will say that our economy is a mixture, but we all see where that's going. No one was punished for the 2008 bubble burst (just how the hell can that happen?) and we just go deeper and deeper into debt. My argument is that while a safety net should be provided for those that actually NEED it, to say that the government should provide all basic needs is what got us into this mess. The "wealth gap" is trumpeted all around, but our poverty percentages were no better when the gap was smaller. That argument is just class warfare in my view. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 06:46:20 PDT Yanks Comment by Troy on TNG S6: Starship Mine If you don't think about this episode it is very good, maybe up to 3-1/2 stars. This is probably nit-picky, and isn't meant as a serious criticism of the episode but if all the power was off on the ship and people weren't supposed to be on board, why is there still artificial gravity on board the Enterprise? The episode would have been super sweet if they lost gravity as well. Yes and the aversion to killing main characters in this episode both on the ship and at the station is a bit unrealistic. I've never made any connection to this and Die Hard, though if you do and it bothers you what about Die Hard 2,3,etc? I'd much rather see Patrick Stewart than Bruce Willis fighting off terrorists. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 05:30:41 PDT Troy Comment by Robert on VOY S2: Non Sequitur "Wow, this episode is so gripping that all we can do is argue about economics :-)" Truer words were never spoken, this conversation may be more interesting than the episode! "Gene's money free utopia is impossible without replicator" While I will agree with that, in a post scarcity economy (enough land/food for everyone), everyone should have all basic needs met by the government and work should be for luxuries. I take the mid-way approach whereby the free market is good but what people should be working for are improvements to their free time, not basic needs. IE free market encourages innovation, but it's not acceptable to say that you don't deserve food/shelter/clothing because you can't find a good enough job. For me the socialism vs free market is a cocktail... the thing to argue about is the percentages. The only thing that'd fail as hard as 100% socialism is 100% free market (although you do admit you want regulation, so you clearly agree with me). As China gets bigger on the world stage it loses some % of socialism too. I don't know what the "correct" mix is, but due to the wealth gap in this country I don't think we currently have it. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 05:28:59 PDT Robert Comment by Robert on TNG S5: Disaster Also, to expand on my comment above. Those 3 stories flow together as "fish out of water" stories. The Counselor in command, the Captain in command of daycare and the soldier as a midwife. The other 3 stories were filler, the fish out of water stories were the ones I liked. Data's story existed entirely for the cool factor of removing his head. It was empty. Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 05:12:59 PDT Robert Comment by Robert on TNG S5: Disaster @Luke - I'll mostly agree with you, but come to a slightly different conclusion. The Data/Riker story honestly did nothing for me either (you seem to agree). But your solution would be to jettison 2 other stories and expand that. I disagree. This episode was more about Troi/Picard than anything else. I'd have jettisoned the Data/Riker story to add more suspense to the Troi story. Troi may be second guessing herself, but WE know Riker/Data are going to make it in the nick of time... we're watching them do it. And honestly... Worf's plotline provided a decent humorous C plot to a heavy episode. I'd have gotten rid of Crusher/LaForge and Data/Riker. Then I'd have refocused Troi's story to make IT the A plot, left Picard's story entirely alone and kept Worf for the comic relief. I think I'd still rate this higher than you though. 7/10 Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 05:10:33 PDT Robert Comment by Luke on TNG S5: Disaster Five stories in one episode? That's pushing it a little far for my tastes. The main problem with "Disaster" is, like Jammer said, it's "a collection of half-baked C-stories." Taken on their own, most of the stories could legitimately be good, but forcing them together like this harms each one. What we end up with is a situation where there are too many dishes in the fire so none of them are properly cooked. At least two of the five needed to be jettisoned and the time spent on them used to better develop the remaining three. The first one that really needed to go was the LaForge/Crusher story. Aside from the novelty of putting two characters who rarely do much together in the same story, what did this one actually add to the mix? Nothing. The story connects in no way to the others. Not only that, but it really adds no character development to either Crusher or LaForge. It was a nice little diversion, but a needless one. The second that needed to be dropped was the Worf/Keiko story in Ten Forward. The only element this story added to any others was a moment's concern from Chief O'Brien on the bridge when he wants to know what happened to Ten Forward because that's where Keiko was. The story did provide some good humor to the episode with Worf, of all people, having to be the midwife. But, did we really need a whole sub-plot focused on Molly's birth? Good grief, she's not even named in the episode! (And, as an aside, given that "Disaster" aired less than ten months after "Data's Day," where the O'Brien wedding took place, and given that Keiko directly tells Worf that she still had another month before her due date, she and Miles sure didn't waste much time, did they?! LOL!) This was another nice diversion, but another needless one. The three remaining stories - Troi/O'Brien/Ro, Riker/Data, Picard/kids - are what this episode should have focused on exclusively. Even without the compression the first two stories are forcing on them, only one of these remaining three is handled properly. Let's start with the Troi/O'Brien/Ro story. I'm most likely in the minority here, but I actually like the idea of putting Troi in command, even if it makes absolutely no sense. (Seriously, the character who "should" have been put in command once the Conn Officer was killed was Ensign No-Name at Ops, but we all know that wouldn't happen. One of the main or recurring characters would be placed in command, not some random nobody. But of the three characters we focus on, Troi is the last person in line for the job. O'Brien obviously would be a better choice since he's clearly the most competent of the three. But, he's an enlisted man, not an officer, which has been established by this point. Ro should have been placed in command. Once she climbed out of the turbolift shaft, she should have immediately assumed command. She, unlike O'Brien, is an officer. And, unlike Troi, is a Bridge Officer. Troi may in fact vastly outrank Ro, but the Bridge Officer status should be the determining factor. Ro is trained for situations like this; Troi isn't. And, really, how interesting would it have been to have Ensign Ro in command, especially so soon after joining the show?) But, despite all of that, I'm willing with roll with the idea of Troi in command because it actually gives her something constructive to do that doesn't involve her ill-defined empathic abilities and isn't a romance plot. As for her initial indecision giving way too quickly to decisiveness - that's exactly why this story needed more time to be properly fleshed out. Cut out the "pregnant woman antics" and give us more character development for Troi! Now the Riker/Data story. This one is essential for the episode because it's the one that ultimately solves the main dilemma - the warp core breach. (Another aside - how the hell does Troi not know what a containment breach is?!) However, of all the stories, this one is the one that absolutely begs to be developed further. It's ultimately nothing but Riker and Data crawling through some Jefferies Tubes, nothing else. Good Lord, give them something to actually do! Finally, the Picard/kids story. The one, and only, story of the five that's properly developed and utilized. What a wonderful situation to put Picard in. It has no relevance to the other stories, but I don't care because it gives us some marvelous character growth for Picard. It's quite possibly the most humanizing story he's had thus far. And, we actually get kids acting like kids! That's something Trek has really struggled with. I have no problems with this one. So, what is "Disaster"? Well, it's not a disaster of an episode. Each of the five stories are enjoyable in their own way. They just didn't need to be crammed together like this. "Disaster" is a perfect example of something not being greater than the sum of its parts. 5/10 Comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 03:44:57 PDT Luke Comment by William B on DS9 S2: Second Sight A bit of "Brief Encounter" meets "Forbidden Planet," as a woman finds herself so suffocated in her marriage to a well-meaning egomaniac that her mind creates a psychic double to flirt with local space commanders. The unreality of "Fenna," the alternate version of Nidell, works to some degree as a metaphor for the unstable emotions that are often formed in affairs (in real life) -- can an affair which is essentially a desperate attempt to find some comfort and feeling as an escape from a loveless marriage actually let you see the "real" person? And what of the person who gets involved with this person having an affair, who is likely to "disappear" frequently? And, fine, it's not a bad idea for an episode. But really, the episode then lives or dies on how the Benjamin/Fenna romance goes, and, no. No. Sorry, but no. It doesn't help that unlike most Trek romances, we cannot even "fill in the blanks" with extra scenes between the two (except for their picnic, where I think we're meant to gather that they had a longer time together), and only have to rely on the scant few meetings that happened on screen. Sisko's falling for Fenna on so little is false, especially since we see very little to indicate what he sees in her besides her obvious attractiveness and the thrill of the chase of a mysterious woman who speaks cryptically and then disappears. This would make a lot of sense if Ben were a teenager, but as an adult, well.... I get that he is just barely starting to be able to feel again after his wife's death, I get it because Sisko pointed it out several times, but I really don't feel it. The lack of connection between Fenna and Nidell is also frustrating -- Nidell is such a blank that we have no real indication of how much Fenna actually represents of her, making Sisko's final remark that Fenna was JUST LIKE HER come across as totally bizarre. I can't even tell if we're supposed to think Sisko's being honest or lying, and if he is lying why. There are many odd details in this episode that also make it seem unfinished, like there was an extra draft thrown out; the relative disinterest in this mysterious disappearing woman from anyone but Dax; the fact that no one bothered to call Bashir while Nidell lied dying for hours; that Fenna sometimes seems to know she can't stay long and other times can't which is totally at the mercy of the plot; that Nidell, we are told by Seyetik, is both supposed to have these projections under control and has no knowledge of them nor control of them, and that Nidell doesn't tell anyone that OH SISKO MUST HAVE SEEN HER PROJECTION when it comes up (what, embarrassment?). As far as Brooks' acting, my favourite weird mannerism in this episode is when, partway through his conversation with Seyetik where Seyetik reveals the Truth about Nidell, Brooks puts his head on his fist as if making something between an "I'm listening" face and nodding off to sleep, rather than, you know, the emotion of a guy who is losing a woman he cares about. The episode's saving grace *is* Seyetik and I find him amusing, but he does seem like a small doses person and I feel like even this episode could have used smaller doses of him. I find it amusing that there is no suggestion whatsoever of Seyetik being abusive; we are just meant to understand that after three or four years of being married to this guy, a person's subconscious would basically choose suicide by psychic projection over listening to him reading any more excerpts from his autobiography. Seyetik kills himself because it's the only way to free her, and there is some sense in which it's a matter of atonement for the foolishness of *him* marrying someone from a species that mates for life when no one can stand him; he does end up something of a tragic figure, all big gestures and works of art and incapable of providing day-to-day emotional nurturance. Anyway, Seyetik is entertaining and interesting enough (while still a bit grating, even so) that I think this episode can maybe hold onto 1.5 stars. Comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 22:51:53 PDT William B Comment by William B on DS9 S2: Rules of Acquisition Incidentally, I don't think the episode implies that Quark has fallen in love with Pel. Rather, I think he has become very fond of Pel, and then, once he realizes she is a woman in love with him, and once he comes to her rescue, and puts everything together, he recognizes *some* attraction to her, which could very well have become something more given time. But liking her and loving her are two different things, and I don't think either Quark coming to her defense or Quark giving her a somewhat chaste kiss before sending her off qualify as a reach. Quark's refusing to go with Pel, relatedly, I don't think is just Quark having attachment to Ferengi culture and being a traditionalist, though that is some of it. He also has a whole life on the station. He doesn't actually want to leave his brother and nephew or his business he has spent time building or Odo. Comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 22:31:06 PDT William B Comment by William B on DS9 S2: Rules of Acquisition OK, so, the Ferengi's sexism (as a people) has already been established before this episode, and I think it's fair to say that most of the audience believes that women should be allowed to have jobs rather than being kept barefoot and pregnant, or, I guess, completely bare and pregnant. However, you know, it is true that much of the world is still deeply repressive in terms of gender norms, and it can still be hard for women in more egalitarian parts of the world who find their skill set matched to fields which are traditionally male-dominated, to say nothing of how *very recently* stark divisions of gender roles were enforced in the West. The way the episode broaches the topic of oppressive gender roles is by focusing small -- this woman, this man -- and letting the impact of an unfair society be felt by the characters. Open on Ferengi guys (or so it seems!) playing Tongo, eventually revealing, all eyes on her, "cool girl," "one of the guys" Jadzia, who as a non-Ferengi gets to be in their boys' club of gambling despite her gender. Rom, whose masculinity is constantly called into question on Ferengi standards, is insecure and suggests their (his) losing to Dax is only because they are "really" losing to Curzon. Quark feels both camaraderie and lust for Dax. And so the episode hits the ground running in terms of establishing what the relevant character bits of this small Ferengi gender story is. Pel is the most obvious tragic figure here, and the reveal early on of her true gender identity is not really a mistake but rather helps us get into her head early. The difficulty of living this double life obviously weighs on her. We know she's right, and she knows she's right, but she has to live a lie; she is not particularly comfortable *as a man* except insofar as it is necessary in order to succeed. Pel's initial value to Quark comes in her ability to make profits -- she is a shrewd businesswoman, in ways demonstrated regularly throughout the episode (not just talked about). She and Quark bond, and there is the sense that Quark finds a kindred spirit in his new friend -- his brother is terrible at acquiring, Quark is a slight outcast as a Ferengi, living so far out on the frontier. That a woman can be good at acquisition is no real revelation to the audience, and indeed shouldn't even be to Quark, who knows Dax and does not particularly seem to view Ferengi as so very different from other humanoids. The thing that gets depicted, though, is that it's not just women, but society as a whole who loses because of the oppression of women. Even if naked self-interest is the only goal of society, as it is for the Ferengi, it is *still* better to have the most competent people available to make the most profits -- and that includes women. On a professional level, Pel is essential to Zek and Quark's schemes to make money. On a personal level, we find what Quark is missing out on by being pushed into a Ferengi value system he doesn't *particularly* believe in. It's not that Quark is free of sexism, and his come-ons are frequently offensive, without even going into the overt forced-prostitution-clause at the beginning of "Profit and Lace." But he likes women and likes women to be involved in his life. With Ferengi women, though, he holds to tradition because he has deep respect and some bits of fear for Ferengi Culture as a whole, with Zek as its representative. That he forms a friendship to Pel which is soon cut short, and even finds himself attracted to her when he knows who she is, highlights the possibilities of life which are cut off for *him* as well as for her -- he loses out on the possibility of a real companion, his speed, who matches him. Quark tells Pel off and indicates that he genuinely believes she has no place in business, etc., but the sneaking suspicion that he is at least partly doing this to make her leave turns out to be well-fonuded when he comes to Pel's defense. The loyalty Quark demonstrates is (almost) always local, personal -- he treats his family badly, is pretty gross to Dax in his come-ons, etc., but he really does side with them and demonstrate that he cares about them. Pel makes it into this category, and his willingness to rush to defend her even if it means losing profits both reveals something important about Quark's character, and the way prejudice works -- when it's someone he cares about, Quark cannot toe the party line the same way. What actually impresses me is the way the episode even presents an argument, and allows sympathy, for the reactionary position. Rom seeks to expose Pel because his masculinity is threatened by her success; Quark neglects and abuses him and treats Pel like the (business-savvy) brother he never had. Rom's jealousy is rendered sympathetic because we see the abuse Quark heaps on Rom for not being the "true Ferengi" he is supposed to be, which is really a way of saying that he is not the true Ferengi *male* Rom is supposed to be. Rom's desire to see Pel taken down, exposed, and perhaps charged criminally is petty and cruel, but it is also the effect of a value system which punished anyone who deviates from the expected standard. Rom becomes a better person (whether he is easier for the audience to watch is a matter of some debate) when he accepts that he need never be the True Ferengi businessman he is required to be. Zek -- capital, the patriarch(y), etc. -- is "revealed" as a hypocrite, willing to agree to conceal Pel's identity to protect his own image and his own position of dominance. What does not quite work for me, oddly, is just how far Pel falls for Quark. Her kissing him and then trying to insist on the topic and her anger at Quark's sending her away I can get behind -- but Pel running up and tearing her lobes off before the Nagus out of frustration seems to imply *such* an intense devotion to Quark and the proportionate heartache that comes with it. Why should she be that invested in showing up/embarrassing Quark (and the Nagus) that she will go to prison and have her whole life stripped away? I gather that the point is that she cannot hide the truth of herself any longer, and Quark's sending her away pushed her over the edge, but there is also the suggestion that she is just made so crazy by love that she can't control herself -- which doesn't quite sit well with the gender politics the episode is overall kind of trying to convey. It is a farce, and so I can let that go to a degree. Of note -- I like that Dax catches on to Pel being in love with Quark before catching on to her being a woman. Smooth. Also this is the introduction of the Dominion. This episode is not nearly as funny as "The Nagus" and the theatrics of Pel revealing herself in the climactic scene hurt the final product for me. I was set to say this was a 2.5 star show, but I might have talked myself up to a low 3 stars. Ferengi episodes eventually start being awful, but I don't think that this episode is the start of the more and more severe decline. Comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 22:28:07 PDT William B Comment by james42519 on TNG S1: The Naked Now i am glad gene Roddenberry didn't have as much control in later ep like he did with session 1 and 2 if he did the show wouldn't have been as good was it was. sure he came up with tos but he also had a lot of bad idea and most weren't done it seems. should say i hatted tos too btw. Comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 17:15:05 PDT james42519 Comment by methane on DS9 S3: Equilibrium I liked this one...and yet I wanted to like it even more. It could have been sharper, with some sections trimmed, leaving space for more story. I would have been interested in exploring more what the killer Dax had been like; they also could have added a "B story" by taking the opportunity to introduce someone who knew Jadzia before her joining. Comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 16:34:54 PDT methane Comment by Troy on TNG S6: Birthright, Part II I'd give it 2-1/2 stars. I've often thought Worf had a somewhat realistic of what an ex-pat Klingon from a young age might turn out like. In particular I'm sure the Rozhenkos would have a guilt complex and encourage him to research Klingon ways. Like most things the abstract understaning of how Klingons are supposed to behave and how they actually do could easily be missed by Worf turning him into a purist. Reminds me of a friend who studied Buddhism and ended up finding out when he went to find a community they naturally didn't live up to the tennets of their religion (because no one does). As for Worf dating a younger Klingon, they were considered the "young" but they were Worf's peers (their parents were the same generation as Worf's father), though younger, I don't see an issue with romance and being the only game in town for both Worf and Ba'el, I'm sure sparks would be flying. The one thing I'm conflicted about should Worf's father have been there (or been there and died)? I'm not sure. Overall this part was a bit slow paced and a bit of a yawner. A bit more of Mogh would have spiced it up. Comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:36:04 PDT Troy Comment by Yanks on VOY S2: Parturition Enter the first episode where Jennifer's acting made me cringe. Tom and Neelix's little excursion was enjoyable and needed. I was really tiring of the Neelix jealousy thing. But damn... Kes's little rant with Harry was.... well .... searching for words here. Best line? DOC: "Hmm. Your world must have very dry literature" Haha, isn't that the truth... no distrust, no jealousy, no envy, no betrayal... no Shakespeare I guess :-) 2.5 stars. Comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:34:55 PDT Yanks Comment by Yanks on VOY S2: Twisted Jammer, one star? ... come on man... it's not a classic by any stretch, but one star? I don't know what sci-fi technobabble is "plausible" or not, so I'm willing to accept the what if's... etc. The writers have to be given some credit for the ending. Nothing the Voyager crew, Janeway or the captain-less crew could do, dream up, execute, etc. could do anything to stop anything here. I think it's a pretty cool having our heroes realize they are helpless... and even to some degree - accept it. Folks complain all the time about technobabble saving the day etc... here it didn't and folks are still up in arms. I'm not sure how you can portray these affects better. I actually thought their ramblings etc. were kind of humorous. With all the Tom/Kes gift brouhaha, what I noticed was some serious chemistry between Tom and B'Elanna when they were paired off. Very telling. Touching moments in the holo-deck as our heroes await their fate. Tuvok's little hand gesture was touching as was B'Elanna's opening up to Chakotay. Was this huge data dump ever used or provide any benefit later in the series? I can't remember. I'll go 2.5 stars here. Comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 10:50:51 PDT Yanks Comment by Yanks on VOY S2: Non Sequitur Wow, this episode is so gripping that all we can do is argue about economics :-) Free markets are the answer... BUT, before all you commies hit your head on the ceiling... the banking system does need regulation. Especially since it's all numbers now. Communism, Socialism. dictatorships never work, never have. It's a pipe dream promulgated by those in power to justify confiscating other people's property and to maintain their power. Then of course, as history tells us, when the "subjects" under a dictatorship become vocal, they are just eliminated. Gene's money free utopia is impossible without replicator technology and not even practiced between members of the almighty Federation. But back to this episode, the only redeeming factor, or character building part, is that Harry gets to learn more about Tom's character without the real Tom knowing about it. Other than that this is a snooze fest. 1.5 stars. Comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 10:33:42 PDT Yanks Comment by Troy on TNG S6: Tapestry Best use of Q, and never finding out if it was a dream or the actual Q is a nice touch. Good moral and great Picard back story. I wondered about the old vs young Picard. He is old for the benefit of the audience, you're correct Jammer a necessary tactic. Comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 08:50:15 PDT Troy Comment by Troy on TNG S6: Face of the Enemy I agree Troi speaking Romulan was an issue for me, sometimes you have to sigh and remember it is just a television show. I did think it was very well done, and found it odd I had no rememberence of this episode (possibly one of the few I hadn't seen) Comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 08:29:25 PDT Troy Comment by Troy on TNG S6: Aquiel I'd give it 1-1/2 stars. I thought the cute pooch is enough misdirection to possibly fool some in the audience. I also liked that Geordi redeemed himself from the mistake of the Leia Brahms episode, here he tells her he was snooping in her logs and why. Ah honesty is great Geordi. Some have suggested Aquiel gives him the brush off, and yes the actors don't have much chemistry so one might think that. In reality she just wasn't a recurring character so they had to do the reset button. The whole crystal ritual is the writers saying it is serious, though the actors say otherwise. Comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 07:40:46 PDT Troy Comment by Robert on ENT S2: A Night in Sickbay Neelix > Livingston? Really? And what about Martok's unseen pet Targ that was the source of a really good story? Comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 05:42:18 PDT Robert Comment by Eddie Ballard on VOY S3: Distant Origin This was a great episode- but ultimately I found myself distracted by the opportunity for transwarp tech. How many times can Voyger encounter a Q or an ally with superior tech (a friendly Saurian scientist for example) and not get a boost? Doesn't make any sense!! Comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 00:46:03 PDT Eddie Ballard Comment by William B on DS9 S2: Melora "Melora," take one: The difficulties faced by, um, everyone when a disabled woman comes to use the non-accessible station, and her rough experience thusfar makes her misinterpret everything that everyone says as a mark against her. She swings wildly between HOW DARE YOU EXPECT THAT I NEED SPECIAL TREATMENT and YOU JUST TRY BEING IN THIS CHAIR THEN YOU'D UNDERSTAND, and comes across as passive-aggressive. Of course, Bashir is already smitten before she arrives, responding to Dax' comment that it sounds as if he already knows her with "I FEEL AS IF I ALREADY DO," arrogantly believing that having read a person's files allows him to peer into that person's soul. (Actually the teaser-setup is especially reminiscent of "Galaxy's Child," with Bashir as Geordi and Melora as Leah.) These two are at odds until the following exchange happens in Melora's quarters: BASHIR: Julian. I'm no longer your doctor. MELORA: I see. You've decided I need a friend. BASHIR: Was that an attack? You see, you do it so well, with such charm, it's hard to tell. MELORA: I really don't mean to -- BASHIR: Sure you do. MELORA: I beg your pardon? BASHIR: Of course, you mean to. All of these broad shots you fire it's your way of keeping the rest of the universe on the defensive. Has to be. You're too good at it. MELORA: Well, it always seemed to work pretty well. Until now. Ah. So, Julian is the first person ever to identify Melora's conversational pattern, and, as happens with all defensive people, the first time someone identifies that they are defensive, the defenses drop and they are primed to fall in love for the first time! No, that is not how this works. "Until now" presupposes both that Bashir is the first person *ever* to call Melora on her behaviour, or even to push back at all, and further her new openness to him implies that he really cut through years of personal barriers with one pointed remark. And, you know, no. In any case, the drama about a person dealing with accessibility, and the question of what she can/cannot do, sort of dissolves. This is a romance now. "Melora," take two: Now they go to dinner, and it turns out isolationist, angry Melora who keeps everyone at a distance speaks fluent Klingon and knows exactly how to argue her way into getting quality racht. The Klingon restauranteur laughs and they share a knowing smile and rapport. It's not even that Melora's aggressive arguing with the Klingon is an extension of her prickliness in act one, which endeared her (deliberately) to no one, it actually comes across as a practiced, carefully honed ability to negotiate with Klingons. The main function here is to undermine Bashir's conception of Melora as "wheelchair lady," for him to start thinking of her as an exceptional person in her own right rather than being defined as her own person, and I do think her having very specific individualized interests fits with this -- but her cosmopolitanism does rather run counter to her entire personality as established up to this point, which the episode was fairly careful to establish is how she acts all the time. Time for her to show him her world! OK so it's been established that she comes from a low-gravity planet, which is why she has weaker muscles than the class-M humanoids and has trouble with Earth-style gravity. Fine. Which means that in her quarters, designed presumably to emulate her home planet, it should be about half gravity and she should be walking around norm -- NOPE SHE FLOATS AROUND IN ZERO-G. Wait, so, why does she not ever want to experience her own planet's gravity in her inner sanctum, rather than the artificial zero-g? Or is her planet actually, like, near zero gravity, and everyone...floats around until they float off into space? What? And Melora and Bashir seem to have equal strength in zero-g. Bashir, a Starfleet officer going out into space, has never been in zero-g? What if he has to perform surgery and the gravity goes out? The "low-gravity planet" thing started as an excuse to do a show about disabilities from a Space perspective. The problem is that there is no "planet of disabled people," but, fine -- until they disregard the premise they've established. Anyway, one way to interpret things, though, is that Melora is a somewhat prickly woman with some significant impairments that make it hard for her to function on others' terms, but she has a rich, complex inner life which she largely does not let others into. In this sense, the Melora story is basically similar to Sarina's in "Chrysalis." So she is maybe something like an autism-spectrum person, ill suited in some senses to traditional interactions but still capable, and coming fully into her own in her own space. That's interesting, if a bit at odds with the wheelchair-WHY IS THE STATION NOT MORE ACCESSIBLE very clearly physical-disability-focused stuff. But okay. But CAN PEOPLE FROM TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS MAKE IT WORK? Dax's answer: maybe! Anyway, of course, Bashir dates a woman for like two minutes before he decides he can change her into a completely different person, which leads us to: "Melora," phase three: CAN MELORA BE CURED? It is pretty funny that the reaction everyone has to Melora walking on the bridge and handing her report to Sisko is excited back-patting for Bashir along with comments about how this project of his will earn him some great papers in prestigious journals. I may give her flak, but Melora's concern that people look at her and only see her Otherness/"disability" seem pretty accurate. Anyway, in this section Bashir cures her life-long genetic condition in ten minutes, but then does Melora really want to be "cured"? Because, you know, disability blah blah but isn't she denying who she is if she gets out of the chair and -- stop. The episode's radical course-corrections really do feel odd, because, yes, it is true that the episode sets up the Bashir/Melora romance early on, and it is plausible that Bashir might work on "the Melora problem," and so it's not as if they are completely disjoint. But there are such huge shifts in tone and personalities of the players that the episode can never gain full focus. Bashir was attracted to Melora specifically because she could show him how to fly, which makes little sense but let's go with it, and so he knows he is depriving her of that, but only half-registers it. Didn't Bashir say he's her friend, not her doctor? What exactly is it that Bashir and Melora have to build a romance on, when they stop interacting except as doctor-patient soon? Is the issue of accessibility of the station, and how people treat the disabled, still on the table or is it gone? Anyway, as a physical disability metaphor, the idea that she must give up zero-g flying and ever visiting her family for an extended period again pretty much trashes real-world counterparts. Maybe one could argue that a deaf person regaining their hearing fully might lose touch with the deaf community and so lose something fundamental, and certainly "curing" *psychological* "disabilities" is tricky business. It may be that the often-present trope of the person with physical impairments not wanting those impairments to be cured magically does have particular resonance and means something, so I don't want to dismiss it entirely. But, you know, if being in a wheelchair is part of who someone is, that is *still* not the same as Melora's home-planet/family issue. Also, like, exactly how cumbersome is her antigrav equipment that works literally everywhere except DS9 and apparently the Runabouts? That's an important question because Melora's probably only going to be here for a week, "Mapping the Gamma Quadrant" or no. What is interesting about this is what the Melora problem says about Bashir -- he falls for her because of her determination and then her openness to experience and her rich internal life, then finally settles on totally fixing her/rebuilding her from the ground up. The mixture of affection for who she is and desire to remake her into who he thinks she should be gets repeated in "Chrysalis," which by hitting on a better metaphor (the genetically engineered-autistic thing) manages to suck less (though I don't think it's a good episode). And I guess, to get into extra spoilery territory, in a lot of ways these go beyond just immature male romantic worship issues and into something specific to the formative event of Bashir's life. In this episode he talks about the time where he saw a woman dying and found out he *could* have saved her, and that no doubt is part of his zeal to solve all problems when they appear. But I think the reveal that he was genetically engineered does explain some of his behaviour. Jules Bashir was "defective," and out of "love" (?) his parents "fixed" him. As long as Bashir keeps that secret close to his chest and also remains grateful for it, he must believe that the truest act of love is to "fix" people. There's an inability to leave well enough alone that comes down, in part, to his own feelings of inadequacy as the guy he was before his IQ was tripled. So that's interesting in retrospect -- but it hardly comes out much here. And so Melora decides, ultimately, that she is going to stop the treatments, because The Little Mermaid. But wait! "Melora," take four: HOSTAGE CRISIS! Angry guy shoots Melora for some reason, because he's mad at Quark, etc., I can't be bothered to focus on this much. She's dead! Wait, she's not dead, because the treatment saved her, which, uh, I guess it is good that she got those treatments, right? Or, wait, does that *mean* anything or is that a pure plot contrivance to wring small amounts of excitement in a flagging script? And then Melora gets the big heroic moment of, ha ha ha, turning off the gravity and then, like, ramming into the guy, because, you know, that is not going to look ridiculous and also make the guy seem really pathetic and thus everyone else look awful for not being able to stop him. It is not so much that Melora *couldn't* use her skill set to her advantage, but the way it happens is so silly in look that it's hard to deal with. And on a matter of teleplay construction: if you are going to have Melora save her day with her (still wrong, because her planet was low gravity and she should be able to walk in low gravity rather than fly in zero-gravity which anyone can do anyway but I digress) zero-g skills, thus proving that it's best to have a physical impairment, shouldn't that be the climax of the personal plotline as well -- i.e., shouldn't Melora have realized at *that point* that she absolutely needed to "stay true to herself" or whatever, rather than a few minutes before so that this whole unfortunate incident could be excised entirely? I mean, it's not that I require strict adherence to teleplay structure but it usually is best to break it only for a good reason, and this episode is already doing badly. Anyway now that Melora has decided not to get any more treatments, the show is over, because, you know, those other parts about the difficulty of Starfleet romances and the Bashir/Melora love connection and also accessibility issues are no longer relevant. The episode ends without so much as a postscript that she's never coming back, though we maybe could have expected that. I really have next to nothing to say about the Quark subplot; it is largely somewhat painful until it intersects with the Melora plot, until it becomes *very* painful. 1 star. Comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 22:18:19 PDT William B Comment by John G on DS9 S5: In the Cards Seems that a 1951 Willie Mays rookie card just like Sisko's was recently stolen from Rob Schneider's home. Could this be the work of the Soulless Minions of Orthodoxy? Comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 19:58:10 PDT John G Comment by John G on ENT S3: Extinction Terrible episode. The virus was not the remnant of a lost species, but that species attempt to preserve itself through an unprecedented genocide that would spread all across the galaxy. As others have mentioned, the only practical reason to preserve it would be to use it as a weapon; probably against the Xindi, since those smug, control freak Vulcans are pretty much immune. :) It could be a very effective threat. Innoculate our friends and then infect enemies and only give them the antivirus if they submit to our demands. Of course that seems way too immoral for Starfleet and even for me. Comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:58:10 PDT John G Comment by oddmusic on TNG S5: The Inner Light Alright, I guess I'm going to be a contrarion on this one. Now just to be clear I don't like this episode. I don't dislike it. I think I love this episode and I hate it at the same time. I love Picard's bits. They started off a little hard to get into, but once it got going, it was one of the best character pieces that Trek has ever done. I think the bits on the ship were pretty solid. Unfortunately I worked out what was going on about halfway through this episode, and from that moment on my brain went into overdrive asking one question over and over again: "WHY!?" (For the record, I'm not going to go too in depth on the ethics of this episode, but yeah I'm not exactly thrilled with them. Even if your opinion is that the probe is not mind raping them, the probe still makes the person it latches onto think they're crazy, then gives them a life on a dying planet with a family, only to reveal that it wasn't real at all so the family you thought you had was fake. That's…cruel. That's really cruel). Why would this be the method chosen by the people on the planet to preserve their culture – a noble goal to be sure? They clearly have very advanced computer technology to store all that data – essentially a holodeck program in your head – so why not just store a bunch of information on a computer. If you really think it's important that the aliens who may not even speak your language experience your planet, create it as a computer program or – here's a thought – ask the recipient of your mind program for their consent to experience your culture BEFORE making them live a life on your planet so you don't have to spend time convincing them that their former life wasn't real. That's the basics of it. To be clear this was all stuff that was going through my head while I was watching the episode, and that probably hurt my experience of it. And to be clear, I don't think this is a bad episode. I just can't justify, for myself, the explanation for what was going on. Comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:50:22 PDT oddmusic Comment by Jeff on TOS S3: The Empath @William B. Not at all meant to be argumentative, but merely to express my own opinion: Your idea that the Vians are going to sacrifice themselves is an intriguing one, but anytime I've watched this episode I've always thought that the Vians are saying they have the ability to save one "other" species. I could very well be wrong. Your idea puts a very interesting spin on things. Comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:44:29 PDT Jeff Comment by John G on ENT S3: Anomaly I really don't get the outrage over threatening to kill one murdering pirate to help prevent the deaths of billions of innocent people and the destruction of their planet. I think this quote from DS9 about a similar situation sums it up quite well: Elim Garak: That's why you came to me, isn't it, Captain? Because you knew I could do those things that you weren't capable of doing? Well, it worked. And you'll get what you want: a war between the Romulans and the Dominion. And if your conscience is bothering you, you should soothe it with the knowledge that you may have just saved the entire Alpha Quadrant. And all it cost was the life of one Romulan senator, one criminal, and the self-respect of one Starfleet officer. I don't know about you, but I'd call that a bargain. Comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:29:57 PDT John G Comment by Troy on TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part I Jellico is so well done, and a great contrast to Picard. You're along as a member of the crew in despising him. He does the "new Sheriff in town" routine very nicely. In reality nothing he calls for is out of line and he's even has a soft side hanging up his kid's drawings. The weak point in the episode is the absurdity of sending Picard on the commando mission with Crusher. I suspect Crusher would quit before she'd do this, and keep in mind when she was off the Enterprise in season 2 she was head of Star Fleet medical. I always thought Riker was overrated, but while exaggerated his tangles with the new captain are a good indication of how relationships are interactions and Riker wasn't a good match for Jellico. Troi's uniform: My wife and I had a debate: I had seen an interview with Sirtis (on Arsenio Hall) that she liked being the designated sex kitten as she had an akward adolescence. She had met her at a trek convention and Sirtis complained about the uniforms. So was this a way to get Troi into a uniform to please Sirtis? I'm not convinced she was being polite about it on the talk show. If you notice she is in uniform in many of the episodes following this one. Comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:30:05 PDT Troy Comment by Yanks on DS9 S7: Once More Unto the Breach Teejay, Interesting idea, but I would have been epically disappointed with that. Comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 11:48:13 PDT Yanks Comment by Luke on TNG S5: Silicon Avatar "Fair enough, but we're not talking about shellfish being consumed in mass quantities; we're talking about people's lives and entire M-class worlds being laid to waste. At some point, a line must be drawn." THE LINE MUST BE DRAWN HERE! THIS FAR, NO FURTHER!! Seriously, how am I the first one to think of that joke? Okay, I'm torn on this one. "Silicon Avatar" has a lot of good going for it and a lot of bad going against it. First, the good. The Data-Marr relationship is wonderful. First, Dr. Marr can only see Data as Lore. But, once she emotionally invests in Data and is then hit over the head with her dead son's journals and voice, she can only see Data as Renny. Great stuff. And I have to disagree with the people in these comments who say that Marr is clearly supposed to be seen as the villain and nothing else. I think she's a very sympathetic character, at least once we get to know her. Sure, she starts out as very unlikeable, but that quickly changes. The scene where she almost bursts into tears while Data recites in her son's voice proves that. Seriously, what else are we supposed to be feeling in that scene other than sympathy for her? Also of note is the scene between Riker and Picard when they discuss destroying the Entity. What I like so much about it is that the two characters are clearly holding opposing viewpoints and yet the issue is not resolved. The scene ends with Riker obviously upset that Picard might, in fact, not destroy the Entity. And, of course, I have to give credit to the writers for once more trying to use a Season One idea effectively. Now the bad. All right, just go ahead and count me in the group that thinks Picard was dead wrong on this one. Why the hell does this episode expect us to spend so much time wondering if communication with the Crystalline Entity is possible? We know it's possible. The characters themselves know it's possible. Lore communicated with it - TWICE! He lured it to Omicron Theta with the promise of life to absorb. He then lured it to the Enterprise with the same promise. Obviously communication is possible! Also, why does the episode expect us to question whether the Entity is a sapient life-form or not? It obviously is! It obviously is capable of communication and therefore obviously knows that humanoid life-forms are also sapient. It just doesn't give a shit! It's still content to feed off them! Picard's analogy to a whale feeding off cuttlefish is particularly bad. If the Entity was indeed a non-sapient life-form like a whale, then the only solution would be to kill it. After all, it's not feeding on non-sapient life like cuttlefish; it's feeding off people. If a whale was killing people, especially on this scale, would anybody seriously hesitate to kill it? If the Entity is indeed sapient, which we've already established that it is, then again the only solution is to kill it because it knows that it's murdering sapient life-forms but doesn't care. Killing it wouldn't be murder; it would be nothing more than self-defense - not to mention the defense of the two inhabited worlds it was heading toward when the Enterprise located it. Was Dr. Marr wrong in what she did? Absolutely not. I really could have done without the whole "I did it for you, Renny" craziness, but she was absolutely right to kill the Entity. This isn't a case of live-and-let-live. She just saved the lives of countless people on those two planets. But you say, "Come on now Luke, Picard and company would have communicated with it and convinced it not to kill anymore." Okay, I say. How? What exactly would they have said to the Crystalline Entity to convince it to stop? It already isn't bothered by murdering people for it's own needs. So, again, how would have Picard stopped it? SFDebris said it best once about the Crystalline Entity - this thing is a Lovecraftian nightmare. It has just as much right to exist as anything else? Not at the cost of the billions of people it's killing! Sometimes, sadly, killing is required for self-defense. To quote Picard himself from "Peak Performance" - "That is not a weakness. That is life." Also, one minor little nitpick - why weren't we ever given an answer as to why the Entity spared the group in the cave? Simply saying, "maybe it mistook Data for Lore" would have sufficed. So, the good stuff somewhat buoys it up, but it could have been SO much better if they had 1.) remembered the events of "Datalore" and 2.) not given us this claptrap of co-existence with a murderous Lovecraftian monster. 6/10 Comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 08:08:32 PDT Luke Comment by Mallory R. on Star Trek: First Contact I adored Generations but was initially appalled by this film. My friends and I agreed this was material belonging in STNG season 5. The characters seemed to have to un-developed for the film(s). Clearly this was all meant to attract a larger audience into the cinema (I recall a lot of TV ads, too). The fuzzy thinking Hollywood script treatment made this barely tolerable, and I remain baffled by minor characters like the handsome Lt. and Lily, both given importance but contributing almost nothing. I just re-watched this as part of watching all of Enterprise, and the best I can say is that it's a boring film. An intelligent, dramatic prologue to Enterprise would have been my preference; all that tacked on Borg junk prevented an interesting story. Comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 07:48:35 PDT Mallory R. Comment by Mallory R. on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Painful to watch. I remember thinking I'd wasted an afternoon at the cinema. Shatner says that this is his favorite. I like the guy, but...what? Only thing I can think of this mess is that someone wanted to punish the fans or the studio. Comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 07:28:29 PDT Mallory R. Comment by Teejay on DS9 S7: Once More Unto the Breach Although I am ususally not a fan of Klingon-centric episodes, I do enjoy this one quite a lot. In regards to the ending: What if they had shown what appeared to be Kor's glorious victory, but it turns out that it's just Worf(or Martok) retelling the "legend" back on the station at Quark's, or something similar? Comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 02:51:19 PDT Teejay Comment by johng on ENT S2: Regeneration Great episode. I enjoyed the nod to "First Contact". I don't think it busted the Trek timeline, though I do get the point about no 24th century pre knowledge of the Borg. But it is always fuzzy to me what people affected by timeline shift would and wouldn't know, especially when it has been altered so many times. Anyway, the time travel episodes are all pure fantasy as opposed to sci fi to me as I concur with the determination of the Vulcan Science Directorate that time travel is impossible. There is no past to go back to because it only existed when it was the present. Same goes for the future. Comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 21:27:58 PDT johng Comment by sticky steve on TNG S7: Masks give me episodes like this over any episode with the badly and overacted Q character. 5/5 Comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 20:12:50 PDT sticky steve Comment by Nathan B. on DS9 S5: In the Cards "In the Cards" is a great episode, Jammer's review was absolutely spot-on, and Elliot isn't a troll-just dead wrong on pretty much everything he wrote here. I say that as someone who does appreciate many of Elliot's comments. Many people collect things. Some businesspeople spends millions of dollars on art. Sports fans collect baseball cards. In the previous episode, Michael Eddington treasured his 300 year old "lucky looney" [sic].* Kids passionately acquire sets of provincial and state quarters. Collecting is a passion for many, and as someone who enjoys collecting things myself, I've always been unhappy that the only Trek show in any depth about the passions of collecting was one that focused on its negative side: the unethical collector (TNG's memorable, and--to be sure--good episode "The Most Toys." In "In the Cards," DS 9 gives us ordinary mortals who still need money and still see value in collecting a celebration of collecting, of the motivations of buying something special for others, of the thrill of the hunt, of the disappointment at the auction, of the willingness to do whatever it takes (within reason and ethics) to get it. The fact that "In the Cards" manages to so naturally and authentically situate itself in so many things DS 9 has been working on--the feeling of doom regarding the long-awaited Federation-Dominion war, the lovely father and son relationship between Sisko and Jake, the friendship of the romantic Jake and the practical Nog, the diplomatic overtures between the Bajorans and the Dominion--is remarkable. It makes for very pleasant, interesting viewing. Like a few of the above commenters, I didn't find the episode particularly hilarious--though it had humorous aspects and parts--but I did find it touching, uplifting, and deeply worthwhile. -- *In the previous episode, Eddington talked about his "lucky looney" [sic], a reference to the Canadian one dollar coin. I find it odd that his character successfully predicted what is officially known as the "lucky loonie" on the Royal Canadian Mint's own website. Basically, the story is that at the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2004, someone buried a loonie (the nickname of the $1 coin) under the ice in one of the ice rinks. Canada went on to earn gold medals in men's and women's hockey. The Mint went on to issue bronze circulation loonies and proof silver non-circulating loonies called "lucky loonies" every Olympic year from then on. Some of these coins wouldn't actually have a loon on them, but many would. Comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 20:07:26 PDT Nathan B. Comment by Nic on TNG S3: Transfigurations There's a bit of comedy in this episode that I'd completely forgotten from my first viewing. When Geordi first walks up to Christy and asks her out, Worf turns to Data and says "I've been tutoring him." My girlfriend and I were laughing hard on that one. Comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 19:11:53 PDT Nic Comment by Shannon on TNG S2: Contagion Definitely a solid episode, and combined with The Measure of a Man and Matter of Honor, Season 2 at this point is starting to turn a corner with original, solid storytelling... I like bringing the Romulans into this plot, and the pace was just right. Yeah, the "reboot" solution was a bit simplistic, but whatever. 3.5 stars for me. Comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 19:01:16 PDT Shannon Comment by Shannon on TNG S2: The Dauphin I have mixed feelings about this episode. I like the originality of the story, but the execution is a bit rough. Yes, yes, Wesley can be quite annoying at times, but he's older now and bit more mature, and his storylines in Season 2 definitely improved, along with his acting... Some good moments in this episode. I laughed at Worf's telling Wesley to "go to quarters, beg like a human." Too funny. And the scene in Ten Forward with Riker and Guinan was well written and acted as well. Anya was a bit much to swallow, as she was way too overprotective... All in all, not a bad episode. 2.5 stars. Comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 18:51:54 PDT Shannon Comment by Nathan B. on DS9 S5: Empok Nor Great review by Jammer. I thought this episode was a bit like a DS9 equivalent to TNG's "Schisms"--it was an episode with an overall horror feel, although this one was much more like a conventional B-horror-movie, what with all our red-shirt extras being killed off. That was bad writing, in a way, and not only because it was incredibly predictable, both by the canons of horror and of Trek. I don't like horror as a genre, but every now and then it's interesting to see something really different from the usual Trek fare. Comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 18:29:23 PDT Nathan B. Comment by MPS on ENT S2: Canamar I guess Jammer missed the part where Kuroda talked about how he entered the prison system as a child for a crime he didn't commit? It was short, but it went a long way for me in developing the character. I thought this was a decent "corrupt-justice-system" story, nearly as good as Detained (and with better acting and a much more satisfying ending). Comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 18:26:55 PDT MPS Comment by Andrew on TNG S2: Manhunt The plot was extremely thin and somewhat dumb but Stewart was very enjoyable and Barrett also pretty funny. Comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 10:16:26 PDT Andrew Comment by Luke on TNG S5: Ensign Ro This episode has a lot of things working against it but one element that absolves nearly all it's sins. While I appreciate the fact that it lays a lot of groundwork for DS9 (as a huge DS9 fan, how could I not enjoy that?) and while I absolutely adore Ro as a character, Jammer is absolutely right that the plot is nothing special. I also don't care for the way the Bajorans are portrayed here. The Cardassian Occupation of Bajor is shown in several different styles before the writers finally settled on a more Nazi style occupation. Here, it's clear that they're using the Cardassians and Bajorans as an Israeli-Palestinian allegory. I don't like that symbolism because it really paints Israel in a rather unfavorable light. Now, I'm not one of those guys who support Israel come hell or high water. They've done their fair share of bad stuff, but comparing them with fictional oppressors who torture people to death in front of their seven-year-old children is going too far. I also didn't care for the fact that the writers went for the cliche of the "evil admiral" (a tired Trek device). But, at least here he's more of a naive dope and not outright evil. Finally, what is up with the crew's reactions to Ro? Okay, she refused to follow orders and some people died. Well, didn't Data refuse to follow orders just two episodes ago? I guess that's okay because everything worked out in the end that time and.... the ends justify the means? But, all that being said, "Ensign Ro" is definitely an above average episode. And the reason for that is, obviously, Ro herself. Whether you agree that she brings some much needed interpersonal conflict to the show or not, I don't see how anybody could argue that Michelle Forbes doesn't steal this entire episode. Ro is electrifying whenever she's on screen. I love the fact that she isn't willing to take any shit from anybody, either the Enterprise crew or the Bajoran leader in the camp. She's acerbic but likeable. I can see why Forbes was offered the role that would later become Kira because she literally lights up the screen here. Take the scene where Ro tells Picard about her father. As I was watching it I was thinking "damn, this woman is tearing this shit up!; why can't we have more scenes like this instead of the plodding "find the terrorists" plot." All in all, an integral component for the larger Star Trek landscape and mythos, but not a classic. 7/10 Comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 21:30:30 PDT Luke Comment by Shannon on TNG S2: A Matter of Honor FINALLY!!! I was losing hope after 4 mediocre to bad episodes in a row, then along comes this gem. A great concept, well written and acted, and it was fun to watch. A great character development episode for Riker, and we get to see the inner workings of a Klingon ship... Agree with Jammer, nice to see an episode where the story is trying to bridge the gap between two very different cultures. I could have done without the Benzite b-story, but I get why it was there. Comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 21:24:33 PDT Shannon Comment by Shannon on TNG S2: The Schizoid Man Alas, a fourth terrible episode in a row, and by this point I had but all but written off this series. After a promising start to the season, it just seemed by this episode that we were getting the same garbage from the old TOS writers, very outdated stories with beyond obvious plot lines. No originality at all, and the show had become quite boring. Comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 21:17:10 PDT Shannon Comment by Shannon on TNG S2: Loud as a Whisper Season 2 started off on a bit of a promising note with The Child and Where Silence Has Lease, after a rather dismal Season 1. Then along comes what I thought was a bad episode about the holodeck going haywire with one of its characters threatening the ship (yawn), followed by that utter disaster The Outrageous Okona (which should have been called The Beyond Annoying You Just Want To Freaking Beat The Sh*t Out Of Him Okona), and then finally this extremely boring, not creative thought whatsoever episode, replete with a bad plot, bad writing, bad acting, and bad directing... I remember by this point in Season 2 I was starting to believe there would be no Season 3, no matter how many letters Trekkers might send in. It was so bad. Comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 21:13:00 PDT Shannon Comment by Shannon on TNG S2: The Outrageous Okona Oh where to start... This episode was awful, right up there (or more like "down there") with Code of Honor. Okona wasn't outrageous, the plot was. He was just beyond annoying. And why all of the sudden do all these aliens we run across conveniently look just like us??? Was the budget for make-up that bad? Ugh, just plain awful. I can't make it through 10 minutes of this episode without turning it off and going outside to watch flies you know what... far more interesting than this episode. Comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 21:05:24 PDT Shannon Comment by Shannon on TNG S2: Elementary, Dear Data I've tried re-watching this episode, and I just can't bring myself to like it. I really can't stand these "holodeck goes haywire" episodes, where computer generated characters made up of photons and forcefields all of the sudden became "aware" and are a threat. Ridiculous. Comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 21:00:30 PDT Shannon