Comments on Jammer's Reviews RSS feed for comments posted on Jammer's Reviews en-us Sun, 30 Aug 2015 23:01:39 PDT Comment by Dougie on VOY S2: The Thaw Lenny did it, he allowed a real TOS episode to appear in VOY. This is what Star Trek was always about. A good story not just techno it's way out of everything. Picardo and Lenny stole the show. (Lenny is from Lenny and Squiggy of Laverne & Shirley fame) Comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 23:01:39 PDT Dougie Comment by Thorlief on VOY S4: The Gift Coincidentally, Bob, you referred to this episode as the show's "shark-jumping moment"--the phrase "jump the shark" was coined from a moment in the show "Happy Days" when a water-skiing Fonzie jumps over a shark. This episode of Voyager was directed by Anson Williams, who played Potsie on "Happy Days." Comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 22:11:23 PDT Thorlief Comment by methane on DS9 S4: Rejoined Random comments: -A good plot, but imperfectly executed. I would agree that it gets overwrought at times, and the scene at the beginning (explaining Trills to all the viewers at home who are only tuning in to see one of the first lesbian kisses) drags on. In fact, many of the scenes seem to drag on a bit too long; this could have used a short "B story" to let them sharpen some of those scenes in editing. -You can tell Lenara will be gone at the end of the episode (the relationship was moving way too fast to be anything but a one-episode romance), which removes some of the drama. We all know the 2 characters will end apart; we're just wondering how they will end apart. It would have been better if Lenara had spent multiple episodes at DS9, with her relationship with Dax building up in the background until finally coming to a head with Lenara deciding she should leave the station. -Nobody's mentioned Avery Brooks' direction; there are several choices with the camera that I thought were well chosen. I wonder if he got a bit more freedom than the "normal" directors. -there certainly does seem to be good reasons for a taboo against "reassociations" for Trills, as others have discussed above. It might have been interesting to see this discussed more than it was in season 7. I'd suppose I'd give the episode 2.5 stars. Comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 20:30:04 PDT methane Comment by methane on DS9 S3: The Adversary For most Star Trek episodes with ambassadors, I would agree. But at the end of this episode, we find out the real ambassador was supposed to be on vacation, and the Tzenkethi coup that was the cause of their alleged mission never happened. The impression those revelations give is that the changeling showed up at DS9 right after kidnapping the real ambassador, gave a mission, and nobody checked with Starfleet or the Federation, as they would have quickly found out something was wrong. The alternative, of course, was that the Changeling had spent some time at Starfleet or the higher levels of the Federation bureaucracy, impersonating multiple people to fake intelligence about a coup and set up the mission. But 1) that doesn't seem to be how the writers were presenting it and 2) that would have immediately sent up alarm bells at DS9 and in Starfleet, because they would have started searching for what else the changeling could have done while there. They would have no reason to believe the only thing the changeling did while at the Federation and/or Starfleet was set up this mission. Our DS9 characters certainly don't seem specifically concerned about this possibility. Comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 19:20:52 PDT methane Comment by Roman on TNG S3: Yesterday's Enterprise I think this episode would have made a great two-parter WITHOUT GUINAN. I'm probably one of the few Trekkies who never liked Guinan. But this episode would have been decidedly better without her. Picard is already speculating that a Federation starship being destroyed in the defense of a Klingon outpost could have prevented the war BEFORE the second confrontation with Guinan. And Data is making that observation as well in the briefing. What Guinan effectively does it not so much advance the story by telling Picard something is wrong, rather she is ultimately giving him the moral cover he needs to make the decision to send the Enterprise-C back. I would have loved a more pacing revelation of things. While they're getting the Enterprise-C ready for battle in the 24th Century -- which is futile, they already mention that if the Enterprise-D went back to the battle with 4 Romulan warbirds they'd have no chance against her weapons - so how is the Enterprise-C doing to make a dent into a modern Klingon warship?! -- they begin to discuss the possibility that escaping the battle caused an alternate history. Picard and Captain Garret will then have to make a truly brave decision to go back - not because some supernatural bartender tells them it's the right thing to do, but because logic dictates it. And logic is a cold mistress. Comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 18:13:57 PDT Roman Comment by William B on DS9 S3: Second Skin I like "Second Skin." I love the set design in Kira's Cardassian quarters, and the way the music score is allowed to carry certain scenes, like Kira staring at herself in the mirror, searchingly. I like Visitor's performance, and also agree with Garak that she looks ravishing. I think the episode effectively gets across how shocking and painful it is to have the foundations of one's reality questioned, especially with an idea as shocking as that one is one's own enemy. I like "Second Skin." This episode demonstrates some of Kira's better qualities and continues her development. I like that she is snarky and funny when interrogated, and that she quickly unravels Entek's plot once she has the missing piece of the puzzle (Ghemour's dissidence). That Kira hates the idea of herself as a Cardassian does not make her unable to perceive the genuine love that Ghemour has for Iliana. While it takes some time for her to see Ghemour as genuine, that revelation is not treated with the fireworks that we had in "Duet"; an honourable Cardassian is not a surprise for her anymore, it's just that it took some time for her to recognize that her apparent kidnapper was as duped as her. Kira's willingness to accept the role of Iliana substitute as put upon her by Ghemour shows her recognition that Cardassian ties mean as much as her own family ties. I like "Second Skin." Garak returns for some witty bons mots; an early scene has him telling Bashir how desperately he wants to travel, and he gets to do some traveling later in this episode. He gets the best lines, as ever, and he gets to play the hero role in rescuing Kira. The development of Cardassian culture continues and I like that we have three distinct factions that are clearly delineated -- Central Command, Obsidian Order, Dissident Movement. I don't love "Second Skin." When I start trying to write about the episode more deeply, I keep coming up to reasons that the episode falls short for me. There are numerous impressive things about Kira and Visitor here, but I feel like there is something missing in her arc. The pile-on of evidence that Entek provides, some of which is never explained (how *did* they find out about that mother animal she killed?), makes Kira question herself but does not totally undo her, which is fine but does mean we don't get the same sense of Kira losing her grip on reality and fighting back for it as we do in something like "Frame of Mind" (which others have noted). Kira does figure out Entek's plan at the last minute, but she is rescued by others, which means that she is largely passive as far as the episode's plot is concerned. More importantly, the horror of becoming a Cardassian is somewhat well explored, but the natural place to go with this is to examine how it would be possible for Kira's essential self to be a Cardassian? Kira watches Iliana's video, and the big, central question should be: Iliana seems like a person of conscience, an idealist like Kira -- how could she view the Bajoran resistance as a terrorist threat that must be quelled? And could that have been Kira, in some other life? The interesting question is not whether Kira was Iliana -- which is something of a foregone conclusion -- but whether she could have been her, and what that means for Kira's foundational worldview, not to mention the Cardassians that she killed. It is not that Iliana, the real Iliana, was *right* in believing that the Order infiltrating the Resistance would be a good thing -- I'm on board with the Occupation being wrong and the Resistance being ultimately a worthwhile pursuit, though I disagree with some means they used. But Iliana clearly believed in what she was doing, and was also enough like Kira in personality for the deception to take effect on Ghemour. Kira has the opportunity to see things from the Cardassian perspective, and we don't really learn much about how that affects her view, or whether she lets it at all. It is maybe bad form to criticize an episode for what it wasn't rather than for what it was, but the episode keeps almost going there and holding back. Kira can care about Cardassians who were too afraid to fight for what is right (Marritza) and who are secret dissidents (Ghemour); what of the young idealists, roped into an evil machine (Iliana, her double)? While Garak is amusing, the show is sometimes verging on giving him too many superpowers. The scene where he talks down a Cardassian Gul is very similar to the Dukat scene with the freighter in "The Maquis," and is nearly as entertaining, but having Garak hold such influence at all times makes him seem much more invincible than I think is desired. Going to Cardassia, trashing an Obsidian Order operation and shooting an operative should probably have consequences, non? And we do get something like it, in "Improbable Cause," but Tain's reasons there have little to do with Garak's actions here, so that he's somewhat rendered a person who can just Do Anything (a problem in "Profit and Loss" as well). As for Sisko's blackmailing Garak only a few episodes after he blackmailed Quark, well, I guess they are consistent in their characterization.... In general, that the Defiant can be taken to Cardassia undetected *without* the cloak on is also rather much. Probably 3 stars. Comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 16:26:43 PDT William B Comment by Bill on TOS S1: Where No Man Has Gone Before Difficult for me to expand significantly on any of the excellent comments, particularly those of Paul's and William's. I enjoyed William's isolation of "compassion" as the significant quality that became inversely proportional to the growth of Gary Mitchell's god-like persona. The only aspect I would add is to give an enthusiastic nod to the direction of Gary and Elizabeth as portraying their evolving characters with a pronounced physical stiffness. Such is often the case in real psychological armor (review historical records of totalitarian dictators or any extremist today, Left or Right). It's often most prevalent in their "frozen" faces. I didn't know about this as a boy in the 1960's, of course, but I do now, having studied these phenomena in depth. When Gary briefly transforms back to human in the holding cell on the planet, his softness returns and he utters, "Jim," before losing the empathy and compassion of his humanity again, in effect, re-armoring. A similar scene can be studied in Spielberg's "Schindler's List" when Amon Goeth has pardoned a few prisoners, then looks in his bedroom mirror and says to himself, "I pardon you." The outstanding acting by Fiennes shows clearly the armor returning and, a few seconds later, he goes to his balcony and shoots a prisoner dead. The portrayal was also perfect in hooking into the kinesiology of another well-known monster: Frankenstein's. I mean, c'mon, they can create beautiful gardens out of nothing, destroy force fields, move cups of water, strangle unsuspecting Kelso's with a cable, and on and on... but they can't lubricate their knee joints? So yeah, while I thought it was just creepy as a boy, I find this peculiarity brilliant today. Comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 15:32:02 PDT Bill Comment by W Smith on ENT S4: These Are the Voyages... I agree with Jammer's review and two stars. I felt the episode was well-intentioned but with some obvious missteps and off-notes. I loved the recreated TNG sets (my favorite Trek by far), and the last 30 seconds brought a tear to my eye. But Trip's death was utterly ridiculous. It felt so off and rushed, like let's just tape this and get it done. How the aliens got on board? Where was security? It was absurd. Too much Riker playing chef. No character development for the Ent principals in 6 years. It could have been much better with a few more rewrites and plot tightening. I also think it would have been better received as a regular season episode with Riker and Troi commenting on history through the holodeck (minus Trip's death). That would have been a real love letter to the fans, and allowed Ent to have a more rewarding finale. In any case, 10 years later and still not Trek series... just a rather poor alternative universe film reboot. I hope the 50th anniversary next year persuades the suits at CBS to do a new Trek TV series that continues in the prime universe. Comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 11:45:14 PDT W Smith Comment by Luke on TNG S5: Time's Arrow, Part I Well, that certainly was no "The Best of Both Worlds" or "Redemption." For an episode that deals with Data's possible death, time travel, soul-consuming aliens from the future, a look into Picard and Guinan's backstory and Mark Twain and is a season ending cliffhanger, there's a rather surprising lack of energy and excitement to "Time's Arrow, Part I." Let me just say that I don't mind time travel stories in Trek. I don't even mind holodeck malfunction stories. So, I'm not going to hold that against the episode. In fact, most times when people start complaining about the overuse of time travel and/or the holodeck, it seems (to me anyway) to be nothing more than whining. Time travel isn't the problem here. Jammer said it better than I could with this - "'Time's Arrow, Part I' is all setup and absolutely no payoff." Really, what else is there to say about it? It isn't bad, but it isn't good either. It's just another episode like "Hero Worship" and "Imaginary Friend" - mind-numbingly average, average, average. It really does seem like this was a one-part episode that was stretched almost beyond the breaking point to become a two-parter. Nothing really amounts to anything. I suppose I could point out how ridiculous the crew's reaction to Data's severed head was. Why are they so off-put by Data's matter-of-factness about the whole situation? He's an android people; you know he doesn't have emotions! Thankfully those scenes don't last long. I suppose I could point out how enjoyable Picard's statement of "Then I'll be irrational!" was. But when that truly brief moment is the highlight of the episode - well, you see the problem. Even the alien antagonists come across as fairly uninteresting, though the episode seemed hell-bent on making me think they were terrifying. The problem here (once again, just like with "Hero Worship" and "Imaginary Friend") is that I'm nitpicking. And that should probably be a major hint as to the score I'm going to give the episode. As for the Twain character - well, a lot of people appear to either love him or hate him. For me, he was just like everything else in "Time's Arrow, Part I." I didn't think he was particularly bad (Twain was a rather larger-than-life guy in real life after all). But, I didn't think he was particularly good either. Nothing about the performance or the character himself made me hope to see more of him in Part II. In the end, he was probably an unnecessary addition to the story that really added nothing either way and could have been cut without, therefore, losing anything either way. Just another average piece in an average puzzle. I feel kind of bad not having anything else to say about a season finale, but there it is. 5/10 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Time for some more post-season number crunching.... "THE NEXT GENERATION" SEASON FIVE 7 - Redemption, Part II 8 - Darmok 7 - Ensign Ro 6 - Silicon Avatar 5 - Disaster 4 - The Game 6 - Unification, Part I 7 - Unification, Part II 3 - A Matter of Time 7 - New Ground 5 - Hero Worship 3 - Violations 1 - The Masterpiece Society 3 - Conundrum 4 - Power Play 8 - Ethics 5 - The Outcast 6 - Cause and Effect 8 - The First Duty 7 - Cost of Living 6 - The Perfect Mate 5 - Imaginary Friend 9 - I, Borg 8 - The Next Phase 6 - The Inner Light 5 - Time's Arrow, Part I Average Season Score: 5.731 Average Series Score: 4.936 Final TOS Average Score: 5.150 Best Episode: I, Borg Worst Episode: The Masterpiece Society This season was something of a mixed bag. It's the first season since the abysmal depths of Season One to not give us any 10 out of 10 episodes. In fact, it only managed to deliver one classic episode (which I consider to be episodes with scores of 9 or 10) - "I, Borg." But, it's also the very first season of TNG (and the first since TOS Season Two) to not give us any 0 out of 10 episodes either. While it's a slight step down in overall quality from the previous season, that's not by much - Season Four had a score of 5.885 and Season Five gets a score of 5.731 - and it still managed to exactly tie (with 149 total points out of 260) the single best season of TOS (Season Two). TNG is slowly but surely crawling its way out of the basement it dug for itself in its first two years and is slowly closing in on TOS's final average score. I've seen a lot of people saying that TNG was really past its prime after Season Four. Well, that might be the case. I doubt Seasons Six and Seven will be able to match Season Four's high score. But, if this is TNG past its prime, I'll gladly take it. Because it is still damn fine entertainment overall. Comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 10:48:56 PDT Luke Comment by Feefingirl on VOY S7: Repression I agree with this being a lame episode. The two things that drove me nuts were..Janeway is so incredibly smart so why the hell didn't she immediately suspect that the comatose crew were dangerous and do something about that. For that matter Tuvok would have had them under high security (despite being brainwashed). How stupid!? Also, would have been a small consolation for giving us a shitty episode if at the end when they were watching the 3D flick, we got to see them all jump back in their seats from the attack of the lobster!!! Right? Comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 10:26:00 PDT Feefingirl Comment by Michael on BSG S3: Rapture Helo: "She [Athena] won't betray us. She says she can resist [Cylons torturing her to extract intel]; she wouldn't let it happen. She'll get Hera and she'll come back." Roslin:"That's quite a leap of faith you've made there, Captain. And if it involved your family only, I'd say t was brave. But you've put the entire Fleet in jeopardy. Are you aware of that?" My irony meter just blew up. Is that the same Roslin who nary but a few episodes ago usurped the Fleet's scarce and sorely-needed resources at a crucial time to pursue some cockamamie facocta religious hallucination of hers? Can this creature GET any more "antipatica"?!? Comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 07:05:22 PDT Michael Comment by Mythic on DS9 S4: The Muse The notion of a vapiric muses is not new. See the Celtic Leanan Sidhe for example.ídhe Comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 04:55:59 PDT Mythic Comment by NoPoet on ENT S2: Regeneration This is, by far, one of the best episodes of Enterprise. It is also, by far, one of the best Borg episodes. The Borg here are even more terrifying than in Q Who and as frightening as in First Contact. This episode says a lot about the Trek fandom. Those who like Enterprise will see this as one if the cleverest, most intimidating episodes ever, easily on a par with DS9's finest hours. It provides a clever tie-in to TNG. Those who don't like Enterprise will whine about a broken timeline, ignoring the fact that the Borg timeline is already a total mess (7 of 9's parents were evidently looking for them before Picard encountered them) - the Federation was clearly aware of the Borg before TNG started. The only issues - and I mean the ONLY issues - I've got with Regeneration are that Reed manages to batter his way through the Borg ship's crew without too much trouble and Phlox irradiating himself shows there's a cure for assimilation that nobody else in the galaxy will think of 200 years later. The music, action, writing and directing are utterly first class. The music is beyond the atonal shash Berman decreed Trek episodes must use (just one of the many ways he prevented Trek from being truly competitive against cooler, more modern Sci fi in terms of popular appeal. Only the extras who appear at the beginning are wooden and lifeless. Again, this is Berman's ridiculous decree that no humans must ever show emotion -- because showing emotion might give Trek a wider appeal and make its human characters more interesting and more relevant to modern audiences. Comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 04:47:16 PDT NoPoet Comment by S. Kennedy on DS9 S3: Fascination Awful. Reminds me of an extremely bad Season One Next Gen episode. Comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 04:19:56 PDT S. Kennedy Comment by Eeqmcsq on TNG S5: Cause and Effect WyldRykers, during the meeting, they weren't 100% sure that Data was the cause of all of the 3's. All they knew was there were a bunch of unexplained 3's, and that there was some modulation in Data's subprocessors. They did guess that the number 3 was a message from themselves, but they didn't know how the message was actually received from the previous loop. Separate question: In this episode, the Enterprise explodes 4 times - teaser, act 1, 2, 4. At the end of act 2, the explosion is different than the other 3 explosions. In the other 3 explosions, the Enterprise turns and then explodes. But in act 2, the Enterprise flies straight forward into the explosion. Anyone know why that explosion is different? Comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 02:35:24 PDT Eeqmcsq Comment by Baron Samedi on ANDR S2: Second Season Recap Why did I watch the Season Four of Andromeda, you may ask? Because of the sunk-cost fallacy, mostly. Given the time I’ve spent on this show, I may as well finish it (I tell myself). I am still mildly invested in seeing in where all of this is going, even if my instincts have been telling me to jump ship for quite some time. Because no matter how deeply I search, almost no critical feedback whatsoever exists about Seasons 3-5 of Andromeda, and I’d like to at least collect some comprehensive thoughts for anybody considering continuing to watch after Season 2. It took me almost a year to do this, because it’s rare that I’m in the mood to watch something that is almost guaranteed to be bad. Occasionally, late at night, I’d be half-drunk and/or unable to go to sleep, and I’d think to myself “How about I watch another of those Andromeda episodes?” And here are the results. Season 4 felt like the product of a lot more effort than Season 3, but it was worse. Season 3 gave up on continuity, whereas Season 4 was driven by several season-long arcs. The problem was that the execution, no doubt the result of rushed shooting schedules and budgetary limitations, prevented any of these stories from developing into anything meaningful or impactful. Season 4 felt like what it probably is: the product of a bunch of overworked, underpaid employees glad to have a job, even if that job is to churn out enough inevitably bad episodes for the show to reach syndication. The fact that the writers even tried to tell (somewhat) complicated stories in this context is admirable. But, as with Season 3, the episode-by-episode quality is so low that criticizing it just feels like picking on a mentally handicapped person. Watching the late seasons of Andromeda makes me value good shows far more than I did before, and it helps me understand why so many people enjoyed making fun of the awful later seasons of a high-budgeted show like Dexter that at least could have (or should have) been good. With the studio pressures and budgetary limitations facing the Andromeda crew, there’s just no way this season could have been decent. At least that’s what I’d like to think. Still, there were some positive qualities. Although his character (like all others) stopped developing long ago, Gordon Michael Woolvett at least brings a lot of energy and commitment to his performances. When Harper is on-screen, I can at least feel like I’m watching an actual character in the actual Andromeda universe. There were a couple decent episodes (described below) and a general sense of dread brought about by the approaching Magog threat. I also found myself laughing a lot at the unintentionally hilarious dialogue, which is a good quality at least in some sense. But the episodes continue to be overwhelmingly Dylan-centric, and Sorbo’s acting is barely passable. He seems bored with the material, with only the finale bringing out a multifaceted performance. The rest of the cast (aside from Woolvett) isn’t much better. The guy playing Rhade (who joins the main cast, as the genetic reincarnation from Season 2’s “Home Fires”), in particular, seems to have a difficult time delivering his lines and ends up being a very poor replacement for Tyr. Beka and Rommie get to be the focus of one episode each, but outside of that they continue to be annoying and underdeveloped, usually acting as a interchangeable cyphers. Trance says her usual pseudo-profound lines but never gets to do anything important until the finale. Dylan saves the day and flirts with the attractive young female guest star of the week. The villains within the New Commonwealth, the Collectors, are united mostly by their bad acting. None of the characters show any consistent growth or development. The episodes lean excessively on unnecessary flashbacks, which usually are only tangentially to what’s occurring on-screen. Reaction shots often don’t quite match the actions preceding them. The same musical cues occur again and again. The evil-looking characters who are nice at the beginning of the episode end up as the antagonist. Something like three episodes in a row feature a character’s voice dropping several octaves as soon as they are revealed as villains. And so on. I know that the later seasons of this show actually have fans, but I don’t know why. Is there a point in my continuing to review a show that so long ago became unwatchable? You decide. Classic Episodes: Great Episodes: Good Episodes: 1. Abridging the Devil's Divide By far the best episode of the season, despite opening with the entire show’s worst line of dialogue (“Insulting a Nietzschean is unhealthy for a human’s health,” mumbled by Rhade). Michael Ironside (reprising his role from last season as a resurrected Old Commonwealth general) is a terrific villain. He breathes life into material that could have easily come across as stock and stale. The story has a proper sense of mystery, buildup and slow reveal, leading to a devilishly morbid plot twist at the end. Harper betrays Dylan to support in the name of scientific discovery, which is about the most interesting character moment all season. A lot of the action is burdened by typically atrocious editing and derring-do dialogue, but some of it’s actually entertaining and effective. About as good as a standalone episode of post-Wolfe Andromeda is capable of being. (8/10) 2. The Dissonant Interval: Part Two According to the review by SF Debris, this episode was conceived as a possible finale to the show. That’s kind of hilarious to think about, as it would just be a giant middle finger to all the fans and to Dylan Hunt’s entire journey. But that’s kind of fitting, too, considering what the show became. Visually, this episode is definitely impressive by late-Andromeda’s standards, and there’s a lot going on in terms of character and plot development, including the only genuinely interesting conversations all season about Dylan’s quest and the consequences it’s had for his crew. Still, it could have been a lot better, and there’s no more obnoxious way to end an already excessively Dylan-centric season on a Dylan-centric show than with Sorbo stumbling upon a godlike image of himself. I’ll call it “good”, though. (7/10) 3. Soon the Nearing Vortex The first in a two-parter for which Keith Hamilton Cobb returned to conclude Tyr’s storyline. I admire that the writers went all-in with making Tyr a complete antagonist in this story instead of giving him a carny last-minute redemption. Everything he does feels true to his character, especially his scenes with Beka. The episode is a continuity goldmine, too, for anyone paying attention, with a story touching on Tarazed, Tyr himself, the Abyss, the Rhade clone from “Home Fires” and the Route of Ages. The mystical elements are campy and insufferable, though, burdening an otherwise solid character episode. (7/10) Mediocre Episodes: 4. The World Turns All Around Her The conclusion to Tyr’s storyline, cleverly worked into the first real appearance of the Spirit of the Abyss in quite a while. The reveal that Beka is only a pawn in Tyr’s scheme is wonderfully in-character. The episode has some smart visual ideas, and there’s definitely something poetic about Tyr’s attempt to strike a bargain with the devil only to find that evil is uncompromising and uncontrollable. Still, the episode is poorly executed, with a crucial death scene never even addressed by the characters in its aftermath. And after all the buildup, the climax takes place in (drum role please)…the recurring cave set. In theory , the ideas here are quite strong, but in practice, the filmmaking is so clunky that I can’t fully recommend it - which is a generous way of describing Season 4 as a whole. (6/10) 5. Harper/Delete An adventure episode filmed mostly outdoors, which made for a fun variation to the usual cramped soundstages/cave sets. Harper got a lot to do and the action is better directed and more entertaining than in a typical Andromeda episode, though still quite cheesy. (6/10) 6. The Dissonant Interval: Part One There’s an actual story here, with ideas, themes and everything. The execution is lackluster, but there’s enough going on to make it stand out a bit. The storyline reminds me of “The Mission”. There’s a lot of untapped potential, but the concept at least presents an intriguing ethical dilemma (should Andromeda attempt to defend a colony of pacifists willing to die for their beliefs) with symbolic overtones. (6/10) 7. The Torment, the Release The Collectors (New Commonwealth officials controlled by the Spirit of the Abyss) interrogate Dylan and accuse him of treason. It’s the entire season in a nutshell: an excessive use of flashbacks (are we supposed to believe that the Commonwealth officials have hidden cameras all over the place in a way that matches footage from older episodes?) mixed with noble attempts at building a long-term story off of old continuity that fall flat due to abysmal execution. I’ll give this a 5/10 for effort, but it’s honestly pretty bad. (5/10) Pulitzer-worthy the dialogue of the week: Collector to Hunt: “Do you care to make an opening statement?” Hunt: “Yeah, I think you’re an idiot.” Beka to Collector: “You’ve got to know about jokes. You are one.” Bad Episodes: 8. Machinery of the Mind The New Commonwealth holds a conference about preparing for the Magog invasion, which provides plenty of opportunities to reuse footage from earlier episodes. Sharon/Number 8 from Battlestar Galactica shows up. Harper’s Magog eggs somehow made it through the most-Wolfe script simplification filter. Meanwhile, Dylan gets pushed towards evil by agents of the Collects by proposals as tantalizing as “We offer riches and power, Captain”. Shockingly, he turns them down. (4/10) 9. The Warmth of an Invisible Light An alternate reality episode that needs a much higher budget to capture the scope of the universe where it takes place - instead, the episode plays like the regular cast trying out different power dynamics as part of an acting exercise than a legitimate look at another existence. Still, it’s fun seeing Woolvett as an evil genius and there’s some nice foreshadowing for the season finale when Trance offers to go supernova to sacrifice herself to save everyone else. Not good, but not bad for a Season 4 Andromeda episode. (4/10) 10. Double or Nothingness Dylan is forced into an incredibly unconvincing virtual reality game run by two awful guest actors. Sorbo fights a clone of himself, which actually kind of results in him losing a fight for the first time in the show. Yawn. (4/10) 11. A Symmetry of Imperfection The show delivers on the promise of an impending Magog invasion that’s been around since the first season finale, with an advance force arriving and facing off against the Andromeda. The action is all pretty forgettable, but the context is at least interesting. (4/10) 12. The Others A bad TNG story pretty much on autopilot, as the Andromeda tries to reconcile two warring cultures. Dee from Battlestar Galactica plays the leader of one of the sides. (3/10) 13. Fear Burns Down to Ashes Rev Bem returns with a changed costume style, which is in turn applied all the Magog. Having Rev Bem initially ambush Dylan provided some nice shock value, but the dialogue in their many scenes together was lacking. Some noble ideas here, but it’s too cheesy overall. (3/10) 14. Time Out of Mind I honestly wasn’t able to focus on this episode. We get to see our lovely cast playing alternative versions of themselves, agents of the Abyss assassinate someone, and a brief nod to “Double or Nothingness” from earlier in the season that’s kind of clever. Still, it’s pretty dumb. (3/10) Terrible Episodes: 15. Lost in a Space That Isn't There Beka’s only lead episode, dealing with the aftereffects of the Abyss taking over her body earlier in the season. Tons of unnecessary flashbacks ensue, all leading up to a physical fight within Beka’s subconscious against Dylan. (2/10) 16. The Spider's Stratagem Bad costumes. Rhade stumbles over his lines even more than usual. Dylan literally rescues a princess from a tower in a swashbuckling Rapunzel story. Yuck. (2/10) 17. Trusting the Gordian Maze An entire episode of characters walking slowly so that they won’t run out of set. Powerful stuff. (2/10) 18. Answers Given to Questions Never Asked The disappointing follow-up to the superb Season 3 cliffhanger. The first third of the episode, showing the cast debating how to address the destruction of most of the Commonwealth fleet in the previous finale, is fine. But it only takes 25 minutes into the PREMIERE episode for the recurring cave set to show up, where an endless and laughably ineptly filmed showdown takes place between Dylan and a cranky old guy. Like the Enterprise finale, it cuts away right before a crucial speech that would have actually been interesting to see. (2/10) 19. Pieces of Eight Andromeda gets retro-fitted by “Citizen Eight”, who gives the most grating acting performance so far in the show. The special effects are terrible, although at least they’re unique to the episode. (1/10) 20. Conduit to Destiny An Incredibly evil looking prison warden asks for the Andromeda’s help in containing a riot and catching a young attractive female escapee. You’ll never guess what happens next. What’s the only thing more fun than Andromeda kung fu fights? Kung fu fights in Andromeda’s cave set, of course. The line “I guess you could say that our work here is done.” is a actually said unironically in this episode’s conclusion. Dylan discovers that he is “The Conduit”, which I guess makes up the lack of a gratuitous Dylan sex/makeout scene this week. (1/10) 21. Exalted Reason, Resplendent Daughter Yes, that’s the actual name of the episode. A creepy old guy asks Dylan for help catching a dangerous criminal who happens to be a young attractive woman blah blah. I can’t say any more, as I don’t want to spoil any of the twists and turns of this episode’s intricate and unpredictable mystery. (1/10) 22. Waking the Tyrant's Device Everything you love about Andromeda, all wrapped into a single episode! I laughed more at this episode than any other. The villain pronounces “I am Kroton” and “With the help of the Magog, I will lead a revolt of androids and the Commonwealth will fall.” Dylan retorts “Not on my watch” before diving into the air and setting off several spark-squibs with his laser gun. Later, Kroton declares “I am not finished with you, Captain Hunt”, to which Dylan responds ““Well that’s too bad, cause I’m finished with you!” before making out with the young guest star of the week. Great stuff. This episode makes “Dance of the Mayflies” look masterful. (1/10) I honestly have no idea if I’ll ever watch Season 5. I may just skim through it and give general impressions. Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 23:05:41 PDT Baron Samedi Comment by Shannon on VOY S6: Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy This episode was fantastic! Brilliantly written, acted, and directed, to as Jammer said give us a rare comedic gem you don't often find in the Star Trek universe. That wink that Seven gives Doc had me busting a gut, it was so subtle yet so damn funny since it's out of character for Seven. Love how at the end she kisses him on the cheek that qualifies it by saying "that was strictly platonic"... Great stuff, a 4-star episode for me. Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 21:31:35 PDT Shannon Comment by William B on TNG S5: The Inner Light Ah, okay, I just realized one flaw in my first paragraph -- the family (sans Eline and Batai Sr.) were going to "the launching" excitedly and so presumably knew what was being launched. So, okay, that part of my argument is not so solid -- Kamin's family, within the probe's simulated universe, presumably approved of the probe. But the way in which Kamin's family are "good people" is personal, local -- rather than on a larger scale of the Kataan civilization. I think the episode encourages a rosy picture of Kamin's-family-as-community rather than Kataanians-as-probe-makers, is my point. Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 17:47:41 PDT William B Comment by William B on TNG S5: The Inner Light I'm not so sure that we are expected to think the Kataanian probe-makers are unquestionably good guys. Despite Eline being the voice of the probe's purpose at the end of the simulation, Eline, Meribor, Batai etc. seemingly had no involvement in the probe's construction, and so the parts of Kataan that Picard-as-Kamin comes to love are not necessarily the same part of the civilization that decided on the probe itself. The guy who says that they do have a plan is the commissioner fellow that Kamin has a somewhat chilly, distant relationship with. The Enterprise crew spend their whole time trying to stop what the probe is doing and just disagree on how. Riker gives Picard information at the end, but does not comment on it. Picard is *not* objective, but even he does not state that he approves of the probe. Picard-as-Kamin states that he understands, Eline et al. explain the probe's purpose, and that ends. There is no dialogue where Riker states that he now understands of the probe's purpose and that he approves of it, and is sorry for having tried to stop it. There is no dialogue where Picard explains to Riker the probe's meaning and its importance and why that justifies what it did to him. The crew's suspicion of the probe is never repudiated by their changing their behaviour, and Picard makes no steps to comment on it to the crew on screen. TNG's talkiness is sometimes overstated, but most episodes end with some sort of debrief where the position of the episode's protagonist and perhaps opposing opinions are reiterated. It is not that I think that the episode is presenting arguments *against* the Kataan probe. There are ways the episode argues in favour of it indirectly -- by having Picard-as-Kamin insist on the need for some way to save the civilization, for example, and of course by the fact that Picard *does* feel an attachment to Kataan and Ressik via the flute. But I don't take his emotional reaction purely as *approval* or as some statement on the goodness of the probe manufacturers. Rather, I think Picard is humbled, dazed and moved by what has happened to him and has not the emotional context to evaluate the actions of a whole civilization which was dying -- nor does he feel the need to. Maybe that would come eventually, and I have no doubt that Picard has had something happen to him that is bigger than his ability to handle -- which means that the Stockholm Syndrome experience of loving his tormentors is a possible interpretation. But this strikes me as a particularly non-didactic episode of this show. This is how a planet responds to its destruction; this is what happens to Picard; this is how he feels. Responses to this obviously vary. The episode may manipulate in terms of getting the audience to *feel* what Picard feels, but that is distinct from a moral approval of the planet's last message into the darkness, which is left almost entirely unexamined, neither approved nor condemned but simply let to be as an imaginative experiment. Whether the lack of debate over the justness of what the Kataan probe does is a serious flaw in this episode or the result of this episode's focus being understandably elsewhere is a point about which people can disagree, though I am pretty firmly in the camp that the episode's focus being elsewhere is very much justified. Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 17:40:52 PDT William B Comment by Bill on TOS S1: The Man Trap "He's dead, Jim." Classic line, first reel before the first commercial of the first episode. Other than that... :-D Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 13:49:09 PDT Bill Comment by Luke on TNG S5: The Inner Light Good point. I'll admit that I forgot about those people who die in "Q Who?". Given the choice between death and a lifetime forced on you, I'd gladly chose the lifetime of experience. Still, Q wasn't directly responsible for those deaths. Indirectly, he was absolutely responsible. But he, himself, didn't pull the trigger, so to speak; the Borg did. All he did was set the stage. To hold him accountable, we'd also have to hold Picard accountable since he also helped set the stage by refusing to follow Guinan's advice of "get out of Dodge as quickly as possible." In fact, to be honest, we don't even know what exactly happened to those people. They could be dead or they could have been assimilated; we just don't know. The episode itself, if I'm remembering correctly, only says they are "missing." And, I don't think that "Q Who?" expects the audience to think that Q is unquestionably the good guy like we're expected to think the Kataanians are. He's not presented as clearly a bad guy but not as clearly the good guy either. Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 12:29:28 PDT Luke Comment by William B on TNG S5: The Inner Light I mean, Tapestry maybe, but eighteen people die in Q Who. Maybe a quick death is preferable to a lifetime positive experience, but I very much don't personally think that's true in this case. Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 11:39:13 PDT William B Comment by Luke on TNG S5: The Inner Light "The probe would be less ethically dubious if it got his permission..." You know, that's something I never considered but now that I think about it, it would have eliminated so many of the problems I have with the episode. If the writers had re-worked the script so that Picard agreed to it instead of having it forced on him, I would find the story much more moving. Instead of having the probe simply lock onto whoever it encounters, it instead comes with an automated greeting - something along the lines of "we offer you a chance to experience our world as it was, come aboard our probe for further instructions if you're interested." Picard then decides that any archaeologist worth his salt would never refuse such an opportunity and so beams over with Crusher (to monitor him during the "procedure") and Worf (for possible protection). That would solve the problem of the mind-rape. It could also solve the problem I have with the coda. Instead of Picard's playing of the flute being disturbing (or bittersweet as the show-runners intended) it's now something more triumphant and I could buy his deep connection to it since it wouldn't be burdened by the bad subtext. Also, a simple line toward the end about it being possible for others to now experience the same "procedure" would solve the problem of "all your eggs in one basket." There would still be the problem of the over-the-top schmaltz. But, it would be a drastic improvement none-the-less because I do agree that the Kataanians do have something worthwhile to impart - it's just the method of delivery that really kills it for me. I don't think you're comparison with Q in "Q Who?" and "Tapestry" quite works, however. Q indeed forced some experiences on them in "Q Who?" but he didn't make them live entire lives as Borg drones. And in "Tapestry," he didn't force Picard to live another life with his new altered past. Q was trying to teach a lesson in both instances, just like the Kataanians are trying to do, but his methods don't strike me as quite as morally reprehensible as theirs do. Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 11:21:24 PDT Luke Comment by S, Kenendy on DS9 S3: Equilibrium I think this is the first episode where you really see the crew coming together. It had been in development for some time, with Bashir-Miles's friendship and Odo repudiating the Changelings in The Search Part 2. Now you see they have really developed into a team reminiscent of TNG. I would have liked to have seen more of the Trill homeworld but that is only a minor point. Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 08:57:22 PDT S, Kenendy Comment by S. Kennedy on DS9 S3: Meridian I agree in your review about Trek love stories. This is not a good episode. It reminds me of a lot of flimsy TNG mid-season Troi episodes: ''Troi falls in love with a member of an alien specie. It does not work because he devotes himself to his life's work (the sub plot) or dies or something or other. There is a Crusher love story involving a Trill which also is similar. Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 08:53:26 PDT S. Kennedy Comment by S. Kennedy on DS9 S3: The Abandoned Good episode. There is an episode in TNG which this is a virtual remake of, 'Suddenly Human' (S4) with the exception that here the Jem Hader is a Jem Hader whereas in Suddenly Human it is a human boy who has been brought up as a member of an obscure hostile alien race. It is the same premise, an (ultimately doomed) attempt to teach someone inherently hostile (because of their upbringing) the merits of peace, civility, humour, etc, - there is even a scene in which they try to make him laugh in both episodes. The ending is a bit different though. There is more than a bit of I, Borg also thrown into The Abandoned. Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 08:48:20 PDT S. Kennedy Comment by Sandwichbar on VOY S7: Nightingale Voyager looks so small compared to the people standing on it. I don't think it's big enough. Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 08:39:33 PDT Sandwichbar Comment by S. Kennedy on DS9 S3: The House of Quark It is a nice comic interlude episode, what I call a typical Trek 'coasting' episode where there is a bit of comedy and character development but nothing is that tense or politically charged. I do wish they would revise that matte of the Klingon home world - is that the only viewpoint? Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 08:37:49 PDT S. Kennedy Comment by S. Kennedy on DS9 S3: Second Skin Great episode, even if it does borrow a lot from TNG's 'Face of the Enemy', that one where Troi wakes up and finds herself a Romulan. I suppose in someways both episodes owe a lot to TOS's Enterprise Incident, the whole plastic surgery thing (although there it was intentional). Good episode though. Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 08:34:29 PDT S. Kennedy Comment by S. Kennedy on DS9 S3: Civil Defense I thought it was an alright episode. Bit too heavy handed on lazy techno babble resolutions. What I did like about it was, it shows how paranoid a state the Cardassians are, as each attempt uncovers another protected layer, finally snaring Dukat. It was quite clever. Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 08:31:34 PDT S. Kennedy Comment by S. Kennedy on DS9 S3: The Search, Part II I completely agree with your review Jammer. It is as if the writers did not know what to do after the Defiant was captured and Odo met his specie and fell back on lazy plotting. I would also like to add that you see the 'twist' coming really early, as soon as O' Brian and Dax reappear. It is also a typical Trek plot trope, the whole ''Ship in a Bottle'' - false continuity - thing. Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 08:27:34 PDT S. Kennedy Comment by William B on TNG S5: The Inner Light To be clear, I think the Kataan arrogance is justified in that they DO have something worthwhile to communicate, and Picard ultimately would not trade this experience away. That is not me condoning the decision to launch the probe itself, about which I find myself ambivalent, an ambivalence I think the episode's elegiatic tone absolutely encourages. Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 08:20:03 PDT William B Comment by William B on TNG S5: The Inner Light @Luke, I don't hate you for your mixed review of a favourite episode, so rest easy on that score :) There is more to say, but I tend to view the morality of the Kataan probe on a similar level to the way I view the morality of Q in "Q Who" or "Tapestry" -- under normal circumstances, *AND PERHAPS EVEN IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES*, I would describe what is done here as wrong. However, the message that is communicated is extremely important, and Q/the Kataan people are not themselves Picard-like figures we should necessarily admire. I very much agree with a point made by Lewikee earlier: 'I rationalize that aspect as the probe doing what life does to everyone of us. We didn't ask to live and yet here we are, whether we like it or not. Then we deal with it as best we can. I think the probe is as unethical as life itself. We all got hit with the "like it or not, live a life" directive. Picard just got hit with it twice.' It is likely different for theists for whom life is a divine decision, but for me and many others simply *being here* is a fact that we have not had control over. Bringing a person into this world is a guarantee that they will suffer, at some point or another, and the people can hardly be asked permission before they are born. The hope is that their life will ultimately have more joys than sorrows, and that they will exit their lives having been glad they lived it. O'Brien's lifetime in "Hard Time" was *specifically* designed to torture and break him. Picard's here is something different. And, yes, much of the goal of the Kataan civilization is the stated goal -- to preserve something of their culture, for someone in the future. AND YET -- it also imparts to Picard (and vicariously, the audience) something even greater. What is special about Kataan, for me, is not that they lived, but that they died, and Picard is given a chance to see into a dead civilization, and live through that death and still continue his life. He has seen his whole civilization die, and returns to his own world with fresh eyes. The probe would be less ethically dubious if it got his permission, but the full-immersion is what makes the probe's experience a kind of second life, including death. I am glad that this episode happened, and thus I am "glad" the probe did what it did to Picard, just as Picard himself is on some level happy that the experience happened, but it is a particular kind of happy, of the kind of someone who nears the end of their life and realizes that they are glad to have lived, but are not sure that they would have chosen to do so. That the Kataan people have no *right* is plain, but then I rather think that of all parents. The "arrogance" of the Kataan people is that they have something to share with their probe, and on the balance I would say that this is justified; they are not imposing torture but the experience of what it is like for an individual lifetime and for a civilization to meet its end. It is an incredible gift, one which is also painful and unwanted. Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 08:04:46 PDT William B Comment by Luke on TNG S5: The Inner Light ****Disclaimer - I honestly thought about not posting this review and have spent several days now debating with myself whether or not to do so. I thought about just skipping it outright or simply posting my score and hoping it would slip by unnoticed because I'm probably go to stir up some ruckus with this one. But, since one of the main messages of Star Trek has always been about being tolerant of others even if you don't agree with them, I've decided to go ahead and post it. So, here goes nothing.**** Well, ladies and gentlemen, we come to it at last - the show-stopper. I tend to run against the grain with a lot of episodes around here (especially well-loved episodes). I thought that "The City on the Edge of Forever" was over-rated. I thought that "Yesterday's Enterprise" was also over-rated. I stirred up some controversy with my thoughts on "Who Watches the Watchers?" and "First Contact." I even thought that "The Best of Both Worlds" was slightly over-rated. And I doubt it's going to be any different here with "The Inner Light." So, strap your seat-belts on, we're going in. Is "The Inner Light" the single best episode of the entire Trek franchise? Is it the single best episode of TNG? Is it the best episode of Season Five of TNG? Is it even 10 out of 10 worthy? I can honestly answer each one of those questions with a resounding "absolutely not!" This, folks, is undoubtedly the single most over-rated episode of Trek I have ever seen. In some cases, I would go so far as to say that it is the single most over-rated "anything" I've ever seen. That's because, and I'm not joking or using hyperbole here, I have actually encountered people who have said that "The Inner Light" is hands-down the most poignant, moving, touching, heart-warming and emotionally satisfying piece of fiction they have ever consumed. Give me a break! Is it good? I can answer question with a "yes." But to listen to so many people, you would think that it doesn't just deserve a 10 out of 10 but an infinity to the infinity power out of 10. It's not that good. Sorry. So, let's just get to the overall problem I have with "The Inner Light," shall we? The fact of the matter is that what the Kataanians do to Picard here is evil, pure and simple. Let me be as clear as I possibly can about this - they violated him, in about the worst way imaginable. What happens to Picard here is the exact same thing that happens later to O'Brien in the DS9 episode "Hard Time." But, at least that episode was willing to take the time to explore the emotional implications of what happened to the character. And yes, I know that in "Hard Time" O'Brien was forced to endure a lifetime of unpleasant memories while Picard here got to experience rather pleasant ones. But, that's a difference of degree, not of kind. They both still had a lifetime of experiences literally forced upon them against their wills. Who the FUCK did the Kataanians think they were to do that to another person? If this was the only way they could think to save their civilization, then I'm just going to say it - maybe their civilization wasn't worth saving! They apparently had the option of doing something like preserving genetic samples, or setting up a library or launching a traditional time capsule. Instead, they actively choose to go with the option that involved the mind-rape of an innocent bystander. And I don't use that term (mind-rape) lightly here. If we're going to accept what was done to Troi, Crusher and Riker in "Violations" as a form of rape, then what the hell else am I supposed to call this?! The fact that they provided Picard with a pleasing setting for his rape doesn't negate the fact that it is still rape! And the episode never addresses this issue. Not once! We're just supposed to accept what happened, think of it as moving beyond belief and then move on. Now, let's get to a second huge problem I have - the fact that "The Inner Light" is so damn schmaltzy. Jesus Christ, apparently the show-runners decided to cover up the fact that Picard is being thoroughly violated by making the story as sickeningly, sugary sweet as possible. It's like they thought "if we just crank up the sweetness factor to a factor of about 1000 it will distract everyone from the subtext." God Almighty, this story is so damn sugary that I feel like I need an insulin injection! If I had to come up with a single word to describe this episode with, that word would undoubtedly be "schmaltz." Now, with all that said, there's a much more practical problem I have with this story. Jammer is willing to skim over it in his review, but I'm going to focus on it because I think it is a rather significant plot element - the method the Kataanians used to preserve their culture/civilization. Leaving aside all the subtext and rather barbaric implications of the method, I'm still left thinking "talk about putting all of your eggs in one basket!". What exactly was their plan for the long-term here? They implant a lifetime of memories into a passing alien's mind and.... then what? Okay, so the Kataanian civilization now exists in one person's memory, but what happens when that person dies. Given that at it's heart this story is ultimately about mortality I really don't think the Kataanians were planning very far ahead. All they achieve is a momentary remembrance in the grand scheme of things. Once Picard eventually dies, their civilization dies with him. If I haven't lost you or you're not angry with me yet, prepare yourselves, because that is probably about to happen. If the Kataanians were really serious about preserving their culture and civilization in an actually tangible way, they should have done something similar to what the aliens in the future episode "Masks" did - create a moving library that actually materially recreates elements of their world. That's right, I'm going there. In at least one way, the much derided "Masks" does a better job than "The Inner Light." Also, talk about lucky that the probe managed to find a Human on a Federation ship to do this to. Just imagine if it was a Klingon, or a Romulan, or (God forbid) a Cardassian ship that stumbled onto the probe. It would have been destroyed the moment it locked onto any member of the crew, let alone the captain. Then the Kataanians would really have been up the creek without a paddle. Finally, one last problem I have with the episode - the coda. I'm sorry, but I do not find the scene with Picard playing the flute in his quarters touching in any way whatsoever. Not. At. All. You know what the scene strikes me as? I strikes me as a man who has been so completely and thoroughly abused that he has come to identify with his abusers in a way. I'm probably going to lose anybody who stayed through the "Masks" comparison - but ,essentially, when he starts playing that flute and the episode fades to black he's basically displaying Stockholm Syndrome. The Kataanians have so thoroughly indoctrinated him that he now misses the mind-rape. And, once again, the episode doesn't focus on this and instead expects the audience to think it's sweet. It's not! To me, that damn flute is nothing but a symbol of Picard's torture and I simply don't understand why so many people both think the scene is touching and why so many people are so attached to the actual flute. (I mean, I've said it before and I'll say it again, to each their own, but I simply cannot wrap my mind around it.) The actual prop of the flute even once sold at auction for close to $50,000. WHY?!! Even Brannon Braga and Patrick Stewart himself have been known to laugh at that, through probably for different reasons than I would. Okay, so I did say that I thought that the episode was good, so what did I like about it. Well, I can only point to one thing that I thought was good - the acting, because it seriously is top notch. Patrick Stewart, even though he was given some rather disturbing and not very well-thought-through material to work with here really knocks it out of the park. I really don't think much else needs to be said about that because it's one area that everyone agrees on that I'm more than willing to go along with. I also really liked the dynamics back on the Enterprise bridge. Not so much with the Kataanian characters (that's where the schmaltz comes in). I really liked that there was something of a tension with Riker and Worf on one side and Crusher on the other. All three had the same goal in mind - protecting Picard - but they had vastly different ways of going about it. And Frakes, Dorn and McFadden handled that tension rather nice I thought. I suppose I can also like the fact that the show-runners were trying to tell a story about the acceptance of mortality. If they had just turned the sugar quotient down by a factor of about 1000% it could have been much better. So, there it all is - my thoughts on the most over-rated Trek (not just TNG) episode ever. If anybody is still reading this, this is the moment when you probably come to hate me, but.... 6/10 Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 07:02:11 PDT Luke Comment by William B on DS9 S3: The Abandoned The A-plot here has two main functions: provide exposition on the Jem'Hadar and to further Odo's character. On that level, the episode is pretty much successful. What this episode does not do with The Nameless Jem'Hadar -- give him some individuality apart from his species, show ways in which he might be partially reachable (and enhance the tragedy when he cannot be reached) -- is later done in "Hippocratic Oath," "To the Death," "Rocks and Shoals" and "Treachery, Faith and the Great River" (admittedly with a Vorta instead of Jem'Hadar), and so I cannot really complain that this episode does not do it. This is the baseline for who Jem'Hadar are, which is: programmed killing machines loyal to and dependent on the Founders. That's it. That the crew immediately jumps on this improbably accelerated aging process and genetic engineering as probable proof that the Nameless Jem'Hadar is definitely unreachable is a bit unreasonable given that they have no real information about how deep this programming goes. But I don't mind, exactly, that it turns out that the Jem'Hadar really has no interest in becoming an independent person who is something other than a killing machine for the Founders' will. He is programmed with that, after all, and he is also isolated on a station with a bunch of people scared of him, knowing that his own people are out there to provide him with a life exactly along the lines of the one he wants. The problem I do have is that the episode is kind of falt dramatically -- it's an exercise in futility. More to the point, Odo's attempts to get through to the Jem'Hadar are hobbled by Odo's limitations, and the episode would probably have been stronger if there were someone to point out those limitations beyond Kira tongue-wagging that he's wrong to try at all. It's worth remembering that this punk kid is also three weeks old. That he was programmed with rudimentary quick-forming language and whatever is one thing, but Odo keeps seeming to expect the Jem'Hadar to have spontaneously formed his own hobbies. I'm not sure I want a repeat of that banana cream split scene in "Suddenly Human," but without *some* scene of Odo at least attempting to get the Jem'Hadar to bond with others the episode's defeatism about the Jem'Hadar is a little hollow. What works is that Odo's desire to help the Jem'Hadar hits several points of comparison with Odo himself and is clearly both a matter of Odo having guilt for what His People have done, and Odo projecting his own story onto the boy. Odo's moving out of his bucket and into a set of quarters, which he describes with Kira with an almost unsettling enthusiasm, is the backdrop against which this is presented, and his attempts to convince the boy that he *can* "fight his nature" and find satisfying alternatives to his fundamental urges is Odo's way of trying to tell himself that he is satisfied with the play structure he's made for himself as an alternative to his people and the Link. His insistence that the boy no doubt has his own desire to be a moral being, coexisting peacefully in spite of his violent instincts, probably also comes from Odo's attempt to affirm that his loyalty to "solids" comes from his sense of justice which is real and fundamental, and not at all just his self-deception about his desire for order, as the Female Changeling insisted. This all plays out while Odo is also telling everyone he is not trying to *control* the boy, and insisting that he is only giving him options, when, in the end, *of course* he is trying to control him. Odo's belief system requires that justice and goodness are external values that only need to be "discovered," that once he imparts the value of nonviolence the boy will immediately see things Odo's way, but it is more complicated than that, especially when someone's programmed nature runs counter to it. Odo's attempt to step in and prevent the boy from either being the Founder's slave or an experiment leads to him somewhat becoming both Founder and Dr. Mora in his effort to use whatever resources he has to force free will on a boy who does not want it. But ultimately, for Odo's flaws he did want to try to help the boy escape from the Founders' clutches, and it does hurt him that he fails. That he lets the boy go makes sense to me -- the Jem'Hadar has not hurt anyone, and he can hardly be locked up, and Odo's identification is such that on some level he would rather this analogue be with his people, whatever that means, rather than be a test subject (and one who genuinely may have to be killed in order for that to last). The B-plot with Sisko, Jake and Marta bugs me a little in that there is some weird classism around Sisko's bringing up that she's a DABO GIRL every few minutes; he is called on this, indirectly, by Marta, who points out that her Dabo Girl job is a way to survive as an orphan Occupation survivor, so that helps, but I sort of wish he were less explicit about it, especially since Sisko has the advantage of coming from a post-money society where people don't have to take whatever jobs they need to in order to survive. I do agree with Ben that the age difference seems to be a problem, and I get why it bothers him on a visceral level that her job involves flirting with people. I have got to say, my reaction is pretty similar to O'Brien's mixture of confusion and suppressed disgust when Sisko reveals that he's mainly inviting Jake's girlfriend over for retcon so that he'll be better able to break them up. I'm not a father though, so who knows? Maybe this is one of those things people like me can't get. The turnaround that he realizes that the situation is not so much innocent-Jake and vamp-Marta but that both of them are a mixture of idealistic and worldly does work for me, for one thing because it ties in with the A-plot, where Sisko seems to recognize that the limits to his understanding of Jake mean that his attempts to control his son's life are bound to fail, or at least are bound to be a little on the misguided side. It's smaller-scale than the Odo/Jem'Hadar plot, of course, but Sisko reluctantly lets Jake go just a little bit. The foregone conclusion feeling to the A-plot makes it drag in spots but it's a pretty decent Odo story. 2.5 stars for me, I think. Comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 05:57:33 PDT William B Comment by William B on DS9 S2: Melora @Elliott, well, I may have had my own Melora-esque chip on my shoulder when I wrote about that episode. I suppose that picture demonstrates that Melora is supposed to be able to fly on her own planet -- and that this is the mythological background. This is all still very weird and crazy, because the whole idea is that her planet has LOW gravity led to her having, you know, humanoid limbs for walking which are too weak for Earth-style gravity, which goes against the whole zero-g thing in her quarters, and why -- well, okay, I'll stop. This still runs weird interference with the disability story. It was her easy rapport with the Klingon restauranteur more so than her knowledge of different cultures that bothered me. Her social isolation leading to her having very particular tastes in alien composers and Klingon *food*, and even knowing Klingon language, is one thing, but there is something so easy and casual about her interaction with the restauranteur that really does suggest that she has near-magic ability to deal with others socially, which is absent the rest of the time. It bothers me a little because it did feel like the teleplay was stitched together -- and we end with the Klingon serenade because that's how close she is with the restauranteur. However, there are lots of people who deal with social isolation or difference by cultivating certain personality traits and not others -- like she's akin to the precocious child who can wow adults but struggles with connecting to other children. (Wesley, basically.) Viewing things as more purely metaphorical, the Little Mermaid stuff sort of works, and especially if we view her zero-g chamber as her ultra-introverted inner life, which she lets Bashir into, and Bashir's excitement at being granted entry into her private life naturally leads to him trying to change her entirely -- which, yes, socially isolated brilliant scientists, likely autism spectrum. That being the case, the episode does have a lot going for it, except that the wires get so *very* crossed because of the several different contradictory stories the episode is telling. For what it's worth, this is a much better Bashir story than The Passenger, which amounted to nothing, and this does tell us a fair amount about how he thinks, even if it doesn't really gel here. I guess 1 star was pretty harsh, when the episode is more like a confused but well-intentioned and interesting episode like The Outcast than a plodding waste of time like If Wishes Were Horses. Comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:10:54 PDT William B Comment by Elliott on DS9 S2: Melora Teaser : **, 5% So, those Cardassian “incompatibilities” with Starfleet's antigrav tech have created a dilemma for a new officer about to be stationed at DS9. The officer, Ensign Melora Pazlar, is severely immobilised due to the relative strong gravity on the station. This issue raises a few technical nitpicks which should be gotten out of the way. First, shouldn't the gravitational stress on Melora's circulatory system and vital organs be of some concern? If the gravity is so strong that her voluntary skeletal muscles can't get stand her up straight, how in the world can her heart pump blood to her brain? Second, so is every M-class planet the same size and shape as Earth or do all aliens just put up with a higher or lower gravity when on Federation starbases/ships? Best not to burrow too far down that rabbit hole I suppose. On the other hand, there is a subtle touch that I do like about this situation: Cardassian technology does not make accommodation for the disabled, just as I imagine Cardassian society does not either. Anyway, Bashir has apparently studied up on her (in his typically creepy fashion) in his preparation for her medial needs. The remainder of the teaser establishes two things: Melora is kind of a bitch (“chip on her shoulder” is a little more generous) and portraying practical technology in futuristic settings is dangerous. Melora's wheelchair is as advanced a wheelchair I have ever 1993. Next to technology which warps the fabric of reality, dematerialises whole people safely and creates objects (including, ironically, this very chair) out of thin air, the device really feels like a prop instead of a part of the Universe we're observing. Act 1 : ***, 17% Plot B: A Yuridian customer of Quark's buys a lost relic from the barkeep (nice to see him in action again). Interrupting Quark's capitalistic exploits is a menacing visitor with one of those impractical nose prosthetics who announces he's come to kill Quark. Of note here is an above-average musical score, unafraid to delve a bit into the emotional depth of the scene. Very welcome. Plot A : Melora is introduced to Sisko. The camera chooses to make the most of the height differentials between the chaired ensign and her upright superior. She brings up the “Melora problem,” indicating she has a history of being defensive about her “condition.” In Melora's quarters, Bashir picks up a photo of her and a man, and if you look, indeed it's a photo of them *flying in the clouds.* So sorry, William B., apparently that is exactly what her planet is like. It's damned stupid from a scientific perspective, but I'm willing (at this point) to be generous and point to the Little Mermaid source material as a justification for this idea—Elysians “swim” around their planet like fish in the sea, not to mention Elysium is the Greek equivalent of heaven, free and wistful fields of paradise. I'm glad that Bashir calls out Melora's bullshit early on rather than forcing us to endure it for a few acts. I'm actually going to disagree somewhat with my esteemed colleague, William B., regarding the conceit that Bashir was the first person to notice her behaviour. I don't think that is what we are to infer here; I think rather that Bashir's attraction to her (based on a genuine psychological predisposition which you elaborated on) supersedes the more common “I won't insult you because you're in a wheelchair and I feel sorry for you” reaction that most people exhibit. Calling out someone's bullshit is a sign of emotional investment, something it seems clear that Melora has been very careful to avoid. Alternately, her line “it's always seemed to work...until now,” doesn't need to be taken at face value. It's entirely possible if not probable that she says this on purpose, because the attraction to Bashir is mutual. It's a very classic flirtation tactic, really. Act 2 : ***, 17% Plot B : Quark lays out a table for his would-be assassin in an attempt to mollify (his word) him. That's pretty much it. Plot A : Bashir takes Melora to the new Klingon restaurant so we can get that painful scene where Melora tries to impress us by how many times she can roll her 'r's. I don't have much to add to what's been said already other than to point out that the restaurant's only adornment is a giant symbol of the Klingon Empire. In other words, this is the Klingon equivalent of one of those restaurants whose primary decoration is an overstated and garish American flag. Make of that what you will. Retcon notice : Bashir mentions that his father had been a Federation diplomat, which, if I'm not mistaken flies directly in the face of “Doctor Bashir, I presume.” Oh my god, bad continuity! Call the media! Anyway, Bashir shares a little of his backstory and, feeling feelings, Melora calls it a night. Melora has a little accident, prompted by her own unwillingness to be dependent. Intellectually, I realise that a lot of this “we must depend on each other” stuff is pretty shallow, but Ashbrook and Siddig do a very good job at making this all seem very human and gentle. The chemistry they demonstrate (not easy for a guest character) warms up and shapes the straight-forward philosophical issues to make them palatable. William B. is completely right that no Starfleet officer should be “astonished” by the feeling of zero g, but again, I'm generally moved by three things, the convincing acting, the stylish cinematography and the invested score. Melora chooses this moment to point out that her fellow merman in the photo is her brother and she and Bashir share a first kiss. Act 3 : **.5, 17% I feel really guilty disagreeing so often with William B in this review, but this seems like the right spot to address Melora's cosmopolitanism. It seems very clear to me that her borderline savant-like knowledge of other cultures is a natural characteristic of someone who is very intelligent but socially isolated. I do object to the ease with which she bartered with the restauranteur because knowledge of a thing is no the same as practice, but it makes sense that she would fill the void in her life left by a lack of personal relationships with many hobbies and interests. The runabout scene with Dax and Melora is actually pretty okay; nothing groundbreaking, but Ferrell does an unusually good job at balancing her “I've been alive for 7 lifetimes” with “I'm a goofy party girl” shtick. Typically in Trek romances, the romance itself feels incredibly rushed because it's squeezed into the space of a 45-minute TV show with ray guns, and here is no different, except that a rushed, exceedingly premature assessment of romantic feelings actually fits in perfectly with these characters. Both Melora and Bashir are socially awkward, brilliant and naïve. The story has cleverly taken an inherent weakness in Trek tropes and carefully adapted it to serve a particular narrative by being very wise about its character interplay. Kudos. Plot B : Quark reports his assassin to Odo (what's his name? Phallic Cock? eesh), who knows all he needs to know about how Quark sold the man out for his freedom, even if “justice was served.” This plot maybe going nowhere, but best exchange of the episode has to be: QUARK : He threatened to kill me! ODO : [bemused smile] QUARK : What? ODO : Nothing. Just a passing thought. QUARK : Odo he means it!...You've got to do something. ODO : I'll do my job, Quark...unfortunately. Plot A : Regarding Bashir's 10-minute “cure,” it should be borne in mind that Melora is the only Elysian in Starfleet. Bashir says he simply dusted off an old theory from 30 years prior that probably just didn't hold interest for any medical researchers until this situation. It's a little flimsy, but not unreasonable. Melora is delighted at the prospect of shedding her prosthetics (aren't we all) and chair. Act 4 : **, 17% Plot B : Phallic Cock is brought in for questioning by Odo. Bearing in mind I'm writing this during 2015, when the scandal of police brutality and other social relics from the Bush/Clinton era of crime-crackdown is of primary focus in the USA, I have to say that Odo's remark, “you can tell a man's intentions by the way he walks,” to be very unnerving. Then again his hilarious line to Quark, “You people sell pieces of yourself after your dead...I'll buy one,” to mitigate this well enough. Plot A : Julian is technobabbling his freaking ass off and has bestowed on Melora her first treatment, allowing her to move just a little bit. Music swells, closeup on Melora's smile. And jumpcut to Sisko, “How's the upgrade coming?” Very clever, Mr Somers. Very clever. Mobile Melora steps onto the bridge and she is immediately treated like an object of curiosity and speculation—again. This is where the episode begins to sink a bit...we can already tell where this is heading. They may have been able to mitigate the romance cliché thus far, but one can already see the obligatory breakup being built. Plot B : Phallic Cock ambushes Quark to kill him and Quark actually manages to save himself by promising to pay “199 bars of gold-pressed latinum.” Eh...this completely undermines what made the assassin at all interesting. That he can be bribed out of his revenge is really disappointing. Act 5 : *.5, 17% Bashir is continuing the treatments on Melora. To his credit, the moment she expresses any doubt about her treatment, he immediately tries to understand and discuss her concerns, like a good doctor should. Back to the runabout for girlchat round 2: mythology trumps science again, I'm afraid. Melora apparently can't return to her home planet after she's treated which makes no sense at all, since Bashir was perfectly capable of flying around with her in her quarters, but like Dax says, “The Little Mermaid.” This will unfortunately be the episode's ultimate undoing, I'm afraid. Plot B & A : Quark introduces Phallic Cock to his Yuridian friend who gets himself shot. On the way the plots collide. PC takes Quark, Dax and Melora hostage on a runabout and kills Melora to “make himself clear” to Sisko that he isn't fucking around. Sisko and co. follow them through the wormhole and ensue chase. Meanwhile, Melora wakes up...and shuts off the gravity so she get the jump on Phallic Cock and save the day. Horray? So, as expected, Melora decides not to go through the treatments because she “wouldn't be Elaysian anymore.” So, if an Elaysian were born unable to fly around due to an actual disability, would he or she also not be Elaysian. What a crap ending. Oh and pile on that Klingon serenade which comes out of nowhere...Ach, get me out of here! Episode as Functionary : **, 10% “The little mermaid parted the purple curtains of the tent and saw the beautiful bride asleep with her head on the Prince's breast. The mermaid bent down and kissed his shapely forehead. She looked at the sky, fast reddening for the break of day. She looked at the sharp knife and again turned her eyes toward the Prince, who in his sleep murmured the name of his bride. His thoughts were all for her, and the knife blade trembled in the mermaid's hand. But then she flung it from her, far out over the waves. Where it fell the waves were red, as if bubbles of blood seethed in the water. With eyes already glazing she looked once more at the Prince, hurled herself over the bulwarks into the sea, and felt her body dissolve in foam.” If the writers had had a little more courage we could have had this ending, a real ending wherein Melora kills herself for the sake of her Prince (Bashir). Alas, they chickened out and gave us this vague Deus ex Machina with her treatments somehow making her phaser-proof. Up until the ending I was enjoying “Melora,” but it totally falls on its face, abandons its mythical origins, abandons its social commentary, abandons its intrigue with the B plot, abandons the surprisingly successful romance. Everything just jumps ship and dissolves into seafoam... Final Score : **.5 Comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 14:37:19 PDT Elliott Comment by NoPoet on DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume Not sure if anyone said this, but this is the only episode of Trek where characters from three different series appear on screen at the same time or in the Sam episode. It's also one of the only VOY and DS9 crossovers. I always wondered why no episodes of DS9 mentioned Voyager's disappearance. Comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 14:30:55 PDT NoPoet Comment by William B on DS9 S2: Playing God I guess one other thing to add is that Jadzia finding it in her to break out of Curzon Dax patterns assures that she is correct that she is strong enough not to be overwhelmed by the Dax personality entirely, which means that she has to relearn the lesson she teaches Arjin, which is a pleasing structure. Comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 13:44:53 PDT William B Comment by FlyingSquirrel on TNG S1: Symbiosis It's been a long time since I've seen the episode, but from the review and from what I do remember, this, for me, represents one of the cases where the Prime Directive just starts to seem stupid and counterproductive. For starters, it's not as if the Ornarans are a completely isolated society - they have space travel, and they clearly know that other species exist besides themselves and the Brekkians. Maybe their quality of life is below the level of most Federation worlds, but why does that preclude Starfleet from offering them a cure from drug addiction? That's like saying it's wrong for groups like Doctors Without Borders to go to an impoverished society to provide medical care that the residents couldn't otherwise get because it "interferes" with their civilization's development. And even if you assume that the Ornarans would be better off in the long run if they devised a cure themselves, why does the Prime Directive prevent Picard or anyone else from at least *telling* them that the Brekkians are scamming them? The Brekkians are essentially committing a crime here. If the Brekkians were planning to nuke an Ornaran city, would it be "interference" to warn the Ornarans to evacuate? Comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 11:33:57 PDT FlyingSquirrel Comment by Diamond Dave on TNG S2: Shades of Gray So, that was the way they did season finales back then! Way to get people to come back next year... OK, so it's a clip show, and we all know that because they blew the budget on early episodes they were told to bring one in quickly and cheaply. But you can bring a sense of style to a clip show, and this doesn't. For the new scenes this actually starts OK, I guess there's no real sense of peril as Riker is clearly not going to die, but up until they start stimulating his dreams it's not too bad. But from then, the constant Troi and Pulaski "let's do this" interspersed with the clips is the lazy man's way out. We do get to see the exploding head again, so that's something, and Data's character progression is clear for all to see. But there's not much else to see here. 1 star. --- Overall my scores for this series average out at 2.3, coming in a hair under average and a hair up on season 1. Indeed, it was heading for a better score until the abysmal end to the series, which saw 4 of 6 score under 2. Ironically that came straight after the triumph that was Q Who, the only 4 star episode of the first 2 seasons. Overall, the characters are now starting to blossom and back story being filled in. Data and Worf continue to star, Geordi is assuming greater prominence, and Chief O'Brien is now on regualar show. Wesley was even a bit less annoying. Personally, I was not unhappy with Pulaski - she brought a spiky quality which actually served as a nice counterpoint to some of the other main characters. Good groundwork for sure. Comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 10:22:48 PDT Diamond Dave Comment by William B on DS9 S2: Cardassians I remember enjoying Fair Haven when it aired and then agreeing when I read the negative reviews a few days later, actually (I have not revisited it any time recently), so I can see that as another example. I was curious a while back when an episode might have an "Episode Functionary" rating significantly different than an act-by-act rating, and this seems like a good example. It really is, to me, a very good episode hampered by a frustrating non-ending -- but it's not as simple as that, because it's not like one could really fix the episode's problems by rewriting the last few minutes. Actually, what may have helped the episode is simply to have the decision be taken out of Sisko's hands for some reason. The Prime Directive causes a lot of headaches for fans and the series, but one advantage of it narratively (in addition to its various other advantages) is that it also allows tragedies to unfold without (necessarily) forcing our heroes into making bad decisions (or glossing over the ambiguous decisions they make). It wouldn't remove the episode's problems, but having Rugal unhappily go off with his father, uncertain of what lies in store for him, would be a more satisfying ending if this was *also* the result of the larger sociopolitical machine that unscrupulous characters like Dukat manipulate for their gain, rather than because Sisko decided it offscreen for some reason. Comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 10:18:42 PDT William B Comment by William B on DS9 S2: Playing God One thing I want to add, while I'm on the subject of Dax episodes, is that part of this episode is about fully demonstrating what a capital-P Personality Jadzia Dax is, all tongo and gagh and possibly-naked morning wrestling. And so some of the episode's success or failure resides on whether this personality seems convincing or merely grating. Some of the episode plays almost from Arjin's perspective, with Jadzia's off-the-wall-ness functioning like Lwaxana Troi's or something -- that the story is about how she's intimidating because she's nearly too much to handle -- and the first few acts almost ask us to be SHOCKED over and over again by how much personality she has, as if we didn't already know Jadzia. It's a pretty similar structure, too, to "Melora," with Jadzia in the Melora role and Arjin in the Julian one, minus romance. It makes me think a little of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl stereotype. It's mostly annoying in both places, for me personally. I enjoy Jadzia's personality when it's part of the story rather than the whole subject of the scene, as if LOOK SHE HANGS OUT WITH KLINGONS AND FERENGI! is everything we need to know. Knowing that Jadzia used to be shy and was presumably intimidated by Curzon Dax's forceful personality, it does seem as if she is unconsciously repeating the Curzon/Jadzia dynamic with herself and Arjin, intimidating Arjin and finding his shyness to be proof of his lack of direction in life, and so part of her arc here I guess is realizing that throwing a Trill who has *had* to make his whole life be about duty in order to get into the Initiate program (which has its parallels to women who devote themselves to landing a man, as methane points out) into situations where he has to feel at ease with Ferengi and Klingons and then criticizing him for not speaking up about his discomfort might not be entirely fair. It sort of works, but is not enough to sustain the episode. Comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 10:08:17 PDT William B Comment by William B on DS9 S3: Equilibrium I should say, Sisko articulating how much he cares for Jadzia as opposed to Curzon is another moment that works for me, and also emphasizes that hosts are not truly replaceable; they are a part of each other, on a continuum, but Joran being a killer does not make Jadzia a killer any more than Sisko having lost Curzon means he is prepared to lose Jadzia. There have been five Dax episodes up to this point -- "Dax," "Invasive Procedures," "Playing God," "Blood Oath" and "Equilibrium." "Dax" and "Blood Oath" dealt specifically with Jadzia's tricky relationship to actions and oaths taken by Curzon and were pretty successful; the other three have left me somewhat cold, I think, because they keep trying to clarify what the Trill joining is like and what it means, and yet somehow don't quite do so. Where is Dax in Verad Dax, and why was he so willing to let Jadzia die? What qualities does a potential host really have to have to be successfully joined, and if it is mostly a matter of having one's own well-defined personality, what does the symbiont actually add there anyway? What is it like to have a killer as one of one's past lives and how much does that change one's personality in the present? It's possible I'm just wanting something from these episodes that is not really that reasonable to ask. The joining is hard to pin down because it's a difficult idea to get across. That being the case, it may be that I'm underrating all three of these episodes -- I could, I suppose, see going up to 2.5 for this and for "IP," and up to 2 for "Playing God" (which still has the ridiculous subplot to deal with). Overall, I think I am going to say this episode maybe earns a 2.5 stars, since it's a mystery with a good clip and forward momentum even if I find it incomplete and frustrating. Comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 09:36:40 PDT William B Comment by William B on DS9 S3: Equilibrium The Trill host selection process looks worse and worse with each passing Trill-focused episode. In this episode we learn that unsuitable hosts are *supposed to* reject the symbiont to the point of death, but that this is a lie by the Symbiosis Commission to prevent "chaos," i.e. for them to maintain control by telling anyone they decide to blackball that they would *die* if they joined. This seems to contradict "Invasive Procedures," in which Jadzia says that an improper joining could cause permanent PSYCHOLOGICAL damage to host and symbiont, and "Playing God," in which it seemed like the big risk was not that Arjin would die if he misjoined but that he would be overwhelmed by his symbiont. I do find it funny to imagine, though, that the Symbiosis Commission's weeding through candidates, presumably with the scientific methodology akin to Jadzia's "weird vibes" feelings in "Playing God" is meant to be their determination of whether or not someone will die if they get a symbiont. Anyway, retcon or not, the basic philosophy seems to fit with the impression I got from those two season two episodes, which is that the Trill symbiocracy is unstable, placing JOINING as a kind of ultimate fulfillment goal to the point where their whole society seems to be built around it, while making excuses why most people just AREN'T GOOD ENOUGH in order to justify the vast majority of their population being left out. Here, the Symbiosis Commission is willing to kill Jadzia in order to cover up not even the fact that they have a killer skeleton in their closet, but the fundamental idea that just because someone is successfully joined does not mean they are a psychologically stable, or even non-murderous, person -- which to me seems once again about power and influence. If there is no *physical* guarantee that people who are joined are Good People, then not only are more people going to be banging down the doors demanding to be Joined, but -- perhaps even worse! -- joined Trills might actually be deeply flawed individuals who don't automatically earn awed hushes wherever they walk, and the Symbiosis Commission no longer holds sway over the whole planet. As in most previous Dax episodes, Jadzia herself is sidelined partway through the episode, which is especially frustrating here; the big reveal about the Symbiosis Commission's essentially being willing to kill in order to hide their secret ends with them *still* keeping their secret anyway, so any changes in the Trill have to happen on the individual level, in the one Trill we know well. Jadzia does dominate the first few acts, but soon is comatose. The question of what it actually means to have the memories of a cold-blooded, psychotic murderer living inside oneself is largely ignored, or, generously, left to future episodes; and, yes, it is brought up again, though I'm not so sure if "Field of Fire" is a worthwhile exploration of this. The initial mystery is interesting, though, and the impact is something between a repressed memory coming to light and the revelation of a dark secret in one's family tree. Since Joran is A Part Of Jadzia but also a family member of sorts, maybe the best analogy is for someone to discover that they have a particular mental illness, which has largely laid dormant, and which has caused previous family members to violent tendencies and breaks from reality -- a genuinely scary idea, which this episode gets to a little bit in its early acts and weird masked dreams. But it's an incomplete idea, and there is no real discussion of what Jadzia does before taking her trauma-relieving pool visit, nor do I think Jadzia humming a lot and accusing Ben of cheating at their 2D chess game constitutes murderousness. Aside: the pool stuff with the symbionts is interesting, but wow, Trill don't even let the Guardians go out and see the sun? Also, given that the electrical impulses are symbionts communicating with each other, how exactly is Jadzia Dax having some electrical zaps supposed to help relieve her trauma -- are other symbionts who talked to Dax about the whole Joran thing between joinings present there to remind Dax about it or something? ("Hey Dax! It's me, Odan. I heard they told you about the whole Joran thing. Sorry bro, they told us not to say anything." "It's cool, dude.") Sisko and Bashir doing everything they can for Jadzia is good to see -- particularly evidence of Bashir's being a good friend to her, and whom she can trust, without pressing to sleep with her or trying to take advantage of her vulnerability. Thankfully he's not that much of a jerk, but it occurs to me that Jadzia might not have known beforehand exactly how much he cares about her *absent* the lust. That said, it's hard to imagine what could have possessed them to take their WARSHIP over to Trill, seemingly with more people milling about on the bridge than there were during their Gamma Quadrant trip, and who presumably weren't doing anything. Take a Runabout! What is wrong with you? Were you planning on blowing up the Symbiosis Commission if you didn't like what you heard? The episode isn't bad exactly, but Jadzia's emotional arc is stunted and the revelations about the Trill rely on retconned information and don't go anywhere, either. 2 stars. Comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 08:42:00 PDT William B Comment by Elliott on DS9 S2: Cardassians @William B. : Episodes like this are exactly why I chose to do the act by act reviews. I think I enjoyed the episode as much as you did, but, as the "Episode as Functionary" paragraph points out, I do think the episode failed at what it had set out to do overall. Sometimes that's just the way these things go--I have similar feelings about VOY episodes like "Fair Haven." Unlike many, I generally enjoy the interaction of the characters there and find the story understated but pleasant. I do agree with most however who say the premise of the episode is completely flawed. I suspect my review when we get there will be similar to this one. "I also feel frustrated with DS9 sometimes because I can't quite tell if what I'm seeing is ambiguity or sloppiness -- which makes episodes like this hard to rate." I have gone on the record about this before--I don't really think it's either most of the time. Or rather, it *is* ambiguity over sloppiness, but the ambiguity is there for its own sake rather than because it makes any sense. It's a kind of slight-of-hand magic trick meant to mimic depth or complexity, but too often it's really just a bit of audience pandering or writers' righteousness. The early seasons aren't so egregious in these tricks but it starts to get really frustrating during S5-7. Comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 08:20:30 PDT Elliott Comment by Del_Duio on VOY S1: Caretaker Just saw this again for the first time since it was first run. Actually, it was pretty awesome! Man they had so many angles to work and just left the majority of them behind though. All the great Marquis / Starfleet friction could have been mined for more than half an episode IMO. One thing that bothered me though was when Janeway and the Kazon were on the planet in the middle of negotiations (that looked like they were going to be successful) and then out of nowhere Neelix jumps the head Kazon and holds a phaser on him for no reason. And then he destroys the 2 water tanks. I mean here you had a chance to make more allies and this new guy you just met totally blows it for you. When they got back to Voyager I was expecting Janeway to go of on Neelix for jeapordizing everything like that and THEY NEVER MENTIONED IT AGAIN. Not only that, later in the episode when the Kazon ship appears (and that same Kazon guy is commanding it, no less) and nobody mentions the double-cross?? Couldn't they have made a line or two like "Captain Janeway- You had your chance back on the surface, but destroyed our water.. and your chances of making out of here alive now!" OK, that was stupid too but you get the idea haha. So using the Voyager standard, This would easily be a 4 star episode for me. It's not as good as "The Emissary" was for an opener, but extremely strong with some, eh, stupid bits mixed in. Comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 08:19:13 PDT Del_Duio Comment by William B on DS9 S3: The House of Quark Yep, that is a lot of fun. I think it satirizes Klingon culture while also being affectionate of it, with Grilka in particular being a largely sympathetic and admirable heroine (and one for whom Quark's growing attraction to is very believable). It's an unusual Quark episode and the better for it. I've talked before about how Quark's lack of "pride" compared to someone like Sisko works as a strength sometimes. The Klingons are much more intensely proud, and so the contrast with Quark pops all the more. The episode then is about Quark's gradually taking on the mantle of courage and honour, while being uniquely himself. This really is an episode about a Klingon-Ferengi wedding, insofar as we get a merging of Klingon and Ferengi values in Quark and in Grilka: He starts by claiming he defeated the Klingon in one-on-one combat because it's convenient for him to make money; then starts to realize that he actually values the respect that comes with it, in addition to the money; then because his lie had hurt Grilka she forces him to marry her to continue with the charade he has created; and finally he saves they day by risking his life for the House of Quark/House of Grilka, eventually creating a true story that earns him respect and admiration from Rom even if it no longer earns him the money he thought he wanted. The fake marriage with Grilka becomes real feeling along the same lines -- the lie of his nobility creates the fake marriage, and his real nobility brings him a real kiss. And he manages his heroic feats in his own way -- identifying D'Ghor's economic warfare against the House of Kozak (his demonstrating the economic warfare in the High Council in front of a bunch of confused, angry Klingons, especially Gowron, is one of the episode's highlights), and recognizing that his real chance to "win" combat with D'Ghor is to stand before him defenseless to prove his enemy's cravenness for all to see. Grilka learns to appreciate the value of Quark's pragmatism as he gets a bit of her nobility, and the romantic comedy is complete. For the most part, Grilka does seem like a woman of honour who goes into duplicity because she needs to earn back what is rightfully hers and was taken away through Quark's lie and D'Ghor's treachery. Her initial reluctance to look over FILTHY LEDGERS, like Quark's initial unwillingness to believe that he really cares about nobility and honour, demonstrates that she is not initially willing to admit that she is engaging in some underhanded tactics to get what is rightfully hers, and her growing respect for Quark demonstrates her willingness to acknowledge that a bit of pragmatism in fighting for what's right, and in fighting against craven opportunists and liars at their own game, is not so bad. I guess I should say that I find Grilka's argument that Quark should face D'Ghor because of *honour* to be particularly rich, since of course D'Ghor's accusation that Quark is a liar is completely true. The real reason for Quark to fight is to protect Grilka's House, status and property, which Quark endangered by his lie. Fortunately, Quark makes clear that this is his real priority ("Who cares if some Klingon female loses her house?"). The Klingon wedding and divorce is very funny, and the use of the discommendation is so silly as to be a scream. Robert O'Reilly's face is also amazing. The subplot with Keiko is handled well and touchingly; after a sense that their relationship was on the rocks for a while in season two, seeing Miles and Keiko really trying to make it work is refreshing. Removing the school from the show at a point where its role in the narrative has been unneeded for a year is a wise choice, and recognizing that Keiko needs her own job as purpose in life is a good step forward for both Miles and, well, the show. As a mostly-dramatic counterpart to the comic main plot this has a nice, small scale, but is nevertheless also about people recognizing the consequences of their actions and trying to correct it -- as the person who brought them to this station where Keiko's work has become irrelevant, it is up to Miles to fix it. At least 3 stars, and...oh well, why not 3.5? It's definitely on the higher end of Trek comedies. Comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 08:09:43 PDT William B Comment by Diamond Dave on TNG S2: Peak Performance Well that above escalated quickly... A solid but ultimately unsatisfying episode. We spend the whole hour building up to the Picard-Riker confrontation and then it is snatched away from us by an entirely random intervention from the Ferengi. You can see why the writers did not want to see who would win between the two - any conclusion would set up probably unwanted character dynamics. But to avoid that confrontation by introducing a conclusion so contrived it beggars belief is an unsatisfactory way out. On the positive side, the familiarity with the characters is now completely coming through in their interactions, which are increasingly fleshed out and realistic. And if you can argue about the likelihood Data's crisis of confidence, there's little to argue about in his triumphant "I busted him up" finale. 2.5 stars. Comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 07:39:22 PDT Diamond Dave Comment by William B on DS9 S3: The Search, Part I Also, while it seems plausible that Sisko would feel much more for Bajor than he did a while back, it is a development that has mostly occurred offscreen over the past year -- since The Siege, Sisko has either had minor functionary roles in episodes that involved Bajoran issues (Cardassians mostly, Sanctuary) or has stayed out altogether (The Collaborator -- except for Winn's appeal, which would hardly endear him to the planet). It's a development that's largely occurred off screen over s2, despite it being an important one. Comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 07:38:49 PDT William B Comment by Diamond Dave on TNG S2: The Emissary A climb back to respectability after a series of below par episodes. The chemistry between the dour, honourable Worf and the sardonic, wisecracking K'Ehleyr is memorable, and gives both a chance to shine. The conclusion is effective, giving Worf an opportunity for command ("comfortable chair") and showing he is more than simply rigid inflexibility. 2.5 stars. Comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 05:53:29 PDT Diamond Dave Comment by Robert on DS9 S6: Waltz @Nathan - Voldemort was always an evil caricature. If anything they made him less so as the books went on. I will say that I agree with you though, DS9's biggest misstep wasn't magic, or even associating Dukat with the Pagh Wraiths, it was making him (and them) not gray enough. It actually ALMOST looked like they were going to redeem it in Covenant. Imagine how cool it would have been if after totally snapping he actually found the love of the Pagh Wraiths and their crime was that they wanted to violate the Prime Directive and directly help Bajor? If instead of caricature evil they represented the temptation of getting everything the easy way. I think for a show that is so gray, they definitely did a disservice going black and white with their most interesting villain. Comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 05:40:06 PDT Robert Comment by Jon on DS9 S2: Paradise Sisko should have pimp handed her like he did to Garak. I would have. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:26:26 PDT Jon Comment by Dunsel on TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer Hello, My name is Captain Dunsel. I'm sorry my command of the Enterprise did not go well. I've been demoted to ship's junior cook, under some dude named Neelix. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:02:52 PDT Dunsel Comment by William B on DS9 S3: Equilibrium More comments to come but before I forget: in the scene where Dax trashes the chess set and storms out of Sisko's office, you can spot a second, fully-set up chess set in the background on Sisko's desk just as Dax is leaving. I presume it is a gaffe, and that multiple boards were set up to reduce waiting times between takes, but in universe it looks like not only has Sisko asked Dax to play a game of (2D, bizarrely) chess in his office but has set up multiple boards for the occasion. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 19:49:56 PDT William B Comment by William B on DS9 S2: Cardassians @Elliott, it's funny that I agree with most of your review and still rate the episode more highly. Your post (and MsV's comment to me) did make me realize that I gave a bit of the short shrift (originally) in talking about why I think Rugal's desire to stay with his parents probably should be respected. First point: I assumed that the Rugal was adopted before the end of the Occupation. We know he was dropped off by Dukat's lackey eight years ago, at the Bajoran orphanage. We know that the Bajorans ran some functions in the Occupation, and this is probably one of them. That Rugal bit another Cardassian is a big, neon sign pointing at big self-hatred, and it's hard to believe his parents did not indoctrinate him with race-hatred, especially when they say things like YOU CAN TRUST THEM, THEY'RE HUMANS, NOT CARDASSIANS -- which does make it very much seem like he is in need of some real counseling, and maybe even some stable foster care, maybe part time. However, the choice is still kind of between Bajoran parents who do seem to love him, with big blinders, and a Cardassian father he has not seen in years, and who was an active, high-level political participant in a huge machine of destruction, i.e. the Occupation. That his Bajoran parents are unconcerned about his hatred of Cardassians is a huge red flag that they are not fully fit parents, but I am not sure that it's cause to take Rugal away against his wishes -- and especially not to remove him to Cardassia which is itself repressive, anti-orphan, and to Pa'Dar who we also know has little interest in helping the Cardassian orphans beyond his son, and so is also likely to send his son signals that he dislikes him for his Bajoran-ness. It's a bad situation, and short of letting Keiko or another enlightened (?) neutral person with no cause to hate or disrespect Cardassians or Bajorans or orpahns raise him, nowhere will result in the best outcome for Rugal, which means that his preferences rule even though those preferences are obviously going to be dominated by some of the unhealthy things he's been told. Rugal, and those he represents, are in quite a bad spot -- despised by Bajorans as Cardassians, despised by Cardassians as orphans. I do think that the writing and acting around Rugal is strong enough to get to some of these complexities -- though I'd have to rewatch to talk about this closely. I mean, Rugal biting Garak is a very weird, off-putting way to start the episode, and makes his more nuanced, reasonable response later a bit odd -- so it's not like it's perfect. However, neither his Bajoran parents nor Pa'Dar are particularly well developed, so that his character exists somewhat in isolation and it is a bit hard to evaluate the larger social forces at work that act to squeeze the kid out to an unhappy place. "I have no idea what to think about Rugal or the issue of wartime orphans other than what I might care to make up in my mind (or observe as speculated by others)." And that's the crux of it. I feel that the episode did give enough for Rugal to come alive in the ways I articulte here, for me -- but I also know I'm bringing my own baggage and history to it, and the episode's running off for fun times with Garak and Bashir, while I'm certainly not complaining in those scenes in and of themselves, do mean that I can't say with much certainty what is actually going on. I also feel frustrated with DS9 sometimes because I can't quite tell if what I'm seeing is ambiguity or sloppiness -- which makes episodes like this hard to rate. (For the record, Blood Oath comes to mind as another where I can't quite tell what to think about the ostensible central character -- Jadzia, there -- but I like the episode so much that I am tempted to overlook it, and mostly do, provisionally.) I really agree about O'Brien. O'Brien's casual racism is so bizarre, especially because he wasn't even like that in the beginning of The Wounded, where he was understandably wary and standoffish with Cardassian soldiers rather than using racial epithets about teenagers -- and there he had already gotten to "It's not you I hate, Cardassian" within about a day. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 18:22:20 PDT William B Comment by methane on DS9 S4: Hippocratic Oath We have commenters saying O'Brien is clearly right and Bashir is an idiot; we also have commenters saying Bashir is totally correct and O'Brien is all in the wrong. Clearly the writers did a good job; this is a real dilemma with both sides having points in their favor. With the stakes so high, the characters were willing to risk their friendship to do what they believe in. If Bashir was right, curing the addiction could lead to peace, saving countless lives. If O'Brien was right, curing the addiction could lead to never-ending war (perhaps Jem'Hadar never make peace once freed from control) that would cost countless lives. We don't know which one is truly correct. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 18:06:11 PDT methane Comment by methane on DS9 S4: The Visitor A strong episode, though I wouldn't rank it as high as most here (I would say the same thing about "Inner Light"). I do think the acting is strong from everyone involved. We often have dramas where a parent is willing to give everything up for his child; here we have a child giving everything up for his parent. One thing noone has brought up yet: Captain Sisko's recurring appearances in Jake's life plays into his characterization as a man out of time. From his problems getting over the death of his wife in the pilot, to his devotion to the "dead" sport of baseball, to events that happen later in the episode "Far Beyond the Stars", Sisko is consistently out of step with time. What does he do when he gets possessed by an alien consciousness? Well in "Dramatis Personae" we find out he builds a cool-looking clock! Time is a recurring theme with Benjamin Sisko. Cail Corishev above said "This story could have been told on any show with an established father/son pairing and a sci-fi/fantasy way to setup the situation". While that is true, I think it resonates more strongly when Ben Sisko is the one dislodged from time; it fits the DNA of the character. Some (maybe all?) of the elder Sisko's ties to time trace back to the wormhole aliens. Junuxx above compared this episode to "Tapestry". I couldn't help but wonder if the wormhole aliens are playing a role here, just as Q did in that episode. The technobabble starts with the "inversion" of wormhole, so they're present, even if unseen. If they are playing a role, I'm unsure what it is. They could be presenting the whole thing as a vision to the father, showing him how much his son still cares for him even as an 18 year old. Or perhaps they didn't cause the event, but they're somehow helping the son get his father back. Ultimately, there's nothing here proving the wormhole aliens are involved, but it would fit them. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 17:43:27 PDT methane Comment by Elliott on DS9 S2: Cardassians Teaser : ***, 5% Hark! What do I see, but the return of Garak! Rejoice! Garak toys a bit with Bashir (come on boys, hook up already!), while the latter tries to get Garak to confess his [former] status as a spy. Amid their conversation about lingering distrust between Cardassians and Bajorans, a Cardassian child (a rare sight on DS9 to be sure) arrives accompanied by a Bajoran guardian. The boy is wearing a Bajoran earring (because they ALL practise exactly the same religion, don't be stupid) and gives Garak a cold stare. Garak attempts to make, erm, conversation (“What a handsome young man you have here.”) The boy bites Garak severely on the hand. At this point, we have to assume that the boy was raised in the Catholic sect of the Bajoran uni-religion and has been conditioned to react this way to pædophilic advances... Act 1 : **.5, 17% Kira deduces that the boy is an orphan left behind after the Cardassians pulled out of Bajor. Apparently, many Bajorans chose to raise the orphans as their own children. Cue a message from Dukat, who learned of the “assault” on Garak before Bashir even made it up to Ops. Dukat naturally uses the event to justify his own opinion that the war-orphans are being raised to “hate their own kind.” His next bit, “Why would he attack poor Garak, an amiable fellow if ever there was one?” is difficult to scrutinise as a viewer who knows the later exploration of their history and relationship, but I'm going to try in the context of what we know at this point; Garak is the only Cardassian who chose to remain on DS9 after the Occupation; the only Cardassian we have seen arrive on DS9 so far was murdered by a Bajoran; the Cardassians actively tried to oust the Federation from Bajor by supplying the rebels in the Circle. So, Dukat finds his fellow Cardassian Garak amiable but is willing to risk his being murdered by vengeful Bajorans and makes no mention of his involvement in or collusion with the takeover of DS9 just a few episodes prior? That should be a big red flag to Sisko, but he seems to miss it entirely. Question: Bajor has been a free nation for about a year now correct? So it's safe to assume that Rugal (the boy) was adopted by his foster parents around that time as well. Rugal is at *least* ten years old, I'd say, so how did his intense hatred for Cardassians arise in just a year's time? Rugal's foster father makes a good case for why trauma victims like the entire Bajoran population might not make the best parents for trauma victims like the war-orphans; he made no attempt to curtail his son's hatred for his people. Now of course, no one really had a choice, but the Bajorans continue to be presented in this series like battered wives or soldiers with PTSD, in other words, not as people who should be making the kinds of decisions with which they are entrusted. Bashir strikes up a conversation with Rugal's foster father's travelling companion trying to learn more. The companion reveals the other side to his foster parents' attitude of acceptance—the constant abuse by other traumatised Bajorans who view his as “Cardassian scum...Rugal is their revenge, their revenge against all Cardassians.” And again, I'm stumped by legal questions: Sisko insists (nay, demands) that Rugal be kept under Keiko's watch while they investigate claims about Rugal's mistreatment. Okay, surely the treatment of foster children is entirely a civil matter and thus the purview of the civilian (Bajoran) government, meaning whoever replaced Jarro should be making this call, correct, or at least Kira? It seems highly unlikely that the Bajoran government, such as it is, would sanction the separation of child and parent on the grounds that the Bajorans are brutalising a Cardassain! So, is this a Federation initiative? Is Sisko doing this to appease Dukat? How does the Bajoran government feel about that? They've had a say every other time Sisko has stepped in during civil matters haven't they? Remember this kind of thing when criticising Voyager's issues with addressing the Maquis... Act 2 : **.5, 17% Bashir it seems has completely accepted the premise that Rugal's life was in jeopardy while he remained on Bajor, disclosing to Garak his feelings that “a wounded hand is certainly worth saving a boy's life.” A priceless moment follows when Garak bursts out laughing at the suggestion that he and Dukat were friends. Garak points out the obvious to Bashir : “Do you think we simply forgot about those poor orphans when we left Bajor?” It turns out Dukat was in charge of the Cardassian withdrawal; the same man who is so eager to bring home the war-orphans is the one who purposefully left them behind. Dukat and Sisko are discussing the details of determining Rugal's parentage when Bashir pipes in and directly addresses Dukat, prompting an hilarious grimace from Sisko. Dukat claims that he was ordered to withdraw and to leave the orphans behind. William B's quote above follows, and I fully concur that it's a golden moment in this episode. And the writers decide to remind us they hate us by continuing to present Miles as the regressed trauma victim he was in the first part of “The Wounded:” by having him utter a statement so baldly racist that Keiko has to point out how “ugly” it was. I have made statements before alluding to the ineptitude of DS9's writers in questioning the Star Trek ethos and this is a prime example. It's one thing to say, “The Roddenberry human seems too perfect. I'm going to use our show to expose cracks in the veneer that reveal a more complex truth to this Universe,” and quite another to say, “The Roddenberry human seems too perfect. I'm going to have one of them exhibit a racism on par with your average Klan member.” Subtlety, thy name is DS9. Anyway, at least Keiko continues to be my hero on this series, having absolutely no tolerance for Miles' character assassination, I mean character growth. Ah, but we get this great moment where both Rugal and O'Brien push away their Cardassian meal which Keiko thoughtfully prepared and lock eyes, creating a bond between them. Nothing like blind, hateful bigotry to bring people together! I apologise that this act seems to keep inviting digressions, but I can't help myself. Later that night, O'Brien comments to Rugal that it must be hard living amongst Bajorans as a Cardassian, to which the boy responds, “It's not my fault! I was born that way.” The immediate association this brings to mind is, of course, homosexuality. O'Brien uncomfortably responds that there's “nothing wrong with being Cardassian,” (rather tepidly, but at least he says it). Rugal is convinced (by his adopted parents) that there *is* something wrong with it. After all, Cardassians occupied Bajor and all but destroyed their society. The allegorical translation is that Rugal's parents have told him that the way he is is wrong, but not his fault, akin to “you didn't ask to be born as a sinful homosexual, but you are.” I can't think of anything more damaging to a child's psyche than this kind of taught self-hatred. Bear this in mind. Act 3 : ***.5, 17% “Come doctor. Get dressed. We need to be going,” cooed the mischievous tailor to his sleeping companion... Bashir, unsure, but titillated, awakens his commander. Benjamin greets the young doctor in his velvet, barely-there robes. He is clearly unhappy with the young man. He might need to be punished. “I'm waiting,” he says. Commence the fan fiction! Dukat, who is apparently content to sit dressed in his military uniform at his desk during every waking and unwaking hour, calls Commander Naughty Robes to inform him that he has discovered Rugal's biological parentage. Dukat has sent the boy's bio father to DS9 to collect him. In light of this mysterious behaviour, Sisko authorises Bashir and Garak to travel (alone) to Bajor. Ahem. At the orphanage, Garak is his usual magnanimous self, making's all pretty hilarious stuff. During the humorous search, a few Cardassian orphans emerge and ask if Garak is going to return them to Cardassia, jack-knifing a bit of pathos into the mix. Quite a different take from Rugal's, I see. Act 4 : ***, 17% Bashir has had enough work for the day. He orders the computer shut down all engines, dims the lights and turns his heavy gaze to Garak... Actually, he's angry with Garak for “playing games” with the lives of the abandoned children on Bajor and Garak returns to his Socratic method. His “I believe in coincidences. Coincidences happen every day. But I don't trust coincidences,” is worth the price of admission here. It turns out Rugal's father is a political enemy of Dukat's and thus, it appears that Dukat has been manipulating the situation with Rugal since before the Cardassian withdrawal. Pa'dar (the biodad) arrives and, for not the first time, Sisko has sent O'Brien, his engineer, to greet a foreign visitor. Geez. O'Brien warns Biodad about Rugal's prejudices, and Biodad is clearly a social conservative when it comes to Cardassian culture, disgraced that he has not been able to raise his son. Rugal is brought in by Keiko, who tries to facilitate the beginnings of a bond between Biodad and his son. Alas, Rugal has been too indoctrinated against his people to allow himself to be open to his father's overtures. Sisko agrees to arbitrate the dispute between the dads as to Rugal's custody. Aren't there any lawyers in the Federation? Why is it that command officers end up fighting legal disputes in civilian cases so often? Odo calls in to inform Sisko that Dukat has arrived on DS9. Duhn duhn dunn!!!!! Act 5 : *.5, 17% Dukat does his best Helen Lovejoy “What about the children!?” while Garak makes a realisation: Dukat must have purged Rugal's adoption file. Bashir contacts Rugal's adopting agent, who reports that Rugal was brought to the orphange by a female Cardassian solider serving on Tarak Nor (DS9 before it was DS9, of course). Considering Sisko's, “don't do it again,” from before, he sure takes Bashir's interruption of the trial rather easily...Bashir begins to unravel Dukat's scheme: he had Rugal stolen from Biodad and planted as an orphan on Bajor in order to “someday humiliate” Biodad (there's a hearing taking place on Cardassia and apparently Dukat would benefit from Biodad's career ending). Except, the only real evidence Bashir has in the testimony of the social worker. Anyone ever heard of circumstantial evidence? Eh, whatever. Dukat leaves in a huff, so we can assume it's all true. As William B. pointed out, Sisko's decision regarding Rugal's custody is not even glossed over, it's just skipped entirely. There's a little coda with Bashir and Garak. Something about crumbs... Episode as Functionary : **, 10% I actually find this episode very difficult to rate. As William B. rightfully complained, the meatier, emotionally complex story of Rugal is sacrificed to the political story with Dukat, Bashir and Garak. But the latter story is so much better executed and enjoyable, I almost want to forgive them. I'm reminded of Star Trek IX, where complex issues are brought up, glossed over and basically forgotten in order to have a “fun and sexy” romp in space. In the end though, too much of the story here is devoted to the meatier issues and the better B story (though it's technically not a separate story) is not nearly as amusing as it thinks it is, though it does have some notably brilliant moments. For me this story's value is in furthering my own Bashir/Garak fanfic and for reminding me that Keiko is awesome. But really, as intended, the episode is actually and tragically a failure. I have no idea what to think about Rugal or the issue of wartime orphans other than what I might care to make up in my mind (or observe as speculated by others). Dukat's political duplicity is nothing new. The real success here is introducing us more fully to Garak, which earns this episode its points. Final Score : **.5 Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 14:56:00 PDT Elliott Comment by phaedon on TNG S7: Lower Decks Brilliant episode. Death. One of our own. Sacrifice. Friendship versus command. The wisdom of Starfleet leadership. What makes the Enterprise special in cold space is that it has a beating heart. The Gik'tal really touched me. "But perhaps the next time you are judged unfairly, it will not take so many bruises for you protest." Stand up for yourself. And give people second chances. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 14:44:16 PDT phaedon Comment by Dimpy on VOY S7: Endgame @ Robert Kazon Space: They were going through Kazon space to gather supplies, because with a less advanced species they were safer, and knew there could be bigger problems, like cy-borgs, space dino and the WWE Rock, Dwayne Johnson. Getting Home: Barclay invented a hyper fast ship, going at Dr Crusher's Warp 14, and went to get them. Voyager was towed back home by this ship. Sisko gave them the info for the fast ship, by coming back from the wormhole with new info from the prophets. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:59:40 PDT Dimpy Comment by Dimpy on TNG S1: Skin of Evil Dax's death should have been more like this, she should have just died with one of those sparky computers going off, rather then the big villain killing her in church. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:53:26 PDT Dimpy Comment by dlpb on Star Trek: First Contact And that's to "Mr Data", not Robert :) Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:49:07 PDT dlpb Comment by dlpb on Star Trek: First Contact A troll for bringing up the fact that Trek and the writing is heavily Left Wing? What planet are you on? It's called discussion. Sci-fi often gets involved in politics by the very nature of the storytelling. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:48:14 PDT dlpb Comment by Nathan B. on DS9 S6: Waltz Frankly, I *love* watching Dukat, and I have enormous sympathy for him, though not for his unethical actions themselves. DS9 did him a great disservice here, and probably harmed the series, too. It's something that's been bothering me for some time: remember how fun "The Hobbit" was? It got turned into a strict good vs. evil plotline in the Lord of the Rings. I enjoyed the LOTR, of course, but that set the stage for Harry Potter. Again, a fun, multi-faceted story with evil in it ended up getting turned into another epic good vs. evil story. And DS9 goes the same way. Star Wars, too, is a strict good vs. evil affair. Just because there's war or conflict involved in a story doesn't mean the writers have to go for a heavy-handed morality play. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:46:34 PDT Nathan B. Comment by Diamond Dave on TNG S2: Manhunt Lwaxana episode and holodeck episode all rolled up into one? Hallelujah! I suppose this was planned as an out and out comedy extravaganza, and to be fair there are some laughs in here (Worf's admiration of the "handsome" Antedeans in particular). But overall it's completely inconsequential, the holodeck sequences are utterly irrelevant (and worse that that, boring), and the conclusion comes completely out of left field. 3 stinkers in a row then. 1 star. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:43:04 PDT Diamond Dave Comment by Diamond Dave on TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder Funnily enough, I was also about to start this with something along the lines of ""Sometimes you just have to bow to the absurd," says Picard. Not me." This is a horror show of epic proportions, and smacks to me of two ideas not strong enough for their own show being rammed together. From the broad humour and brazen caricatures of the first half, to the more serious and disturbing elements of the second half, to the morally questionable conclusion, this hits all the wrong beats. The tea ceremony offers some redemption - including a welcome call back for Klingon love poetry - but it can't save it. A shocker. 1 star. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 11:58:18 PDT Diamond Dave Comment by Robert on TNG S2: Samaritan Snare @Dave - "Picard getting stabbed through the heart by a Nausicaan seems a stretch" Are you watching the series for the first time by chance? I really did like the reveal that the man that Wesley idolizes and wants to be like was absolutely NOTHING like him at his age. That was pretty fascinating. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 10:44:29 PDT Robert Comment by Diamond Dave on TNG S2: Samaritan Snare I suppose there had to be come down from Q Who, and boy was this it. This would be all well and good if the Pakleds were played for laughs - but they're not. And if you're laughing at a story and not with it, that's never a good sign. The B-story is decent enough, and it's fun to see Picard wrestle with his vanity. But the scenes in the shuttle are a bit of a struggle, and Picard getting stabbed through the heart by a Nausicaan seems a stretch. 1.5 stars. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 10:08:20 PDT Diamond Dave Comment by Diamond Dave on TNG S2: Q Who A classic episode by any criteria. The introduction of the Borg as a new existential threat is extremely well handled - especially compared to the introduction of the Romulans earlier on in the series. As a harbinger of doom this is also nicely done - we now know the Borg are out there, know they are coming, but know it will be a while before they arrive. The seriousness of the threat is nailed home by having the crew fail to overcome the problem - and Picard forced to beg to Q to get them out of trouble subverts our expectations of the series. Elsewhere, the back story for Guinan gives sudden and unexpected depth to that character. The score, as noted above, is excellent. The character design - while it will be still improved in the future - is right there, and the Borg cube design is genius. These are not beings who care about form - just brutal, efficient functionality. You also have to wonder why Gomez was introduced and not the first to be assimilated - perhaps a further clever twist on our expectations? A worthy 4 stars. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 08:54:28 PDT Diamond Dave Comment by William B on DS9 S3: The Search, Part II @Grumpy, Yeah, I should say that the simulation was weird and disappointing while it was going on, so I don't know what to say about that. The ending is pretty bad but the first few acts get harder and harder to take, so I am not sure what to say about it. And ha, for some reason while writing that I was thinking you could use "orphan" to describe any child who has lost a parent, even if the other parent is still alive, which now that I think about it is clearly wrong. My brain just slipped, I guess! Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 06:55:42 PDT William B Comment by Yanks on DS9 S3: The Adversary methane, we are saying the same thing. since we don't ever see a power battle between Sisko and the ambassador I think it's fair to assume that the arrangements you mention happened off screen. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 06:04:43 PDT Yanks Comment by Diamond Dave on TNG S2: Pen Pals This episode does indeed give an interesting spin on two issues - the philosophical imperative of the Prime Directive, and the nature of command and authority. I agree with others that Data's behaviour seems odd from the start - if his curiosity is overriding his programming it would suggest he's pretty human already... But this behaviour is required in story terms to effectively present Picard with a fait accompli - everyone recognises it's the wrong choice, if the morally right one. Telling O'Brien that "this never happened" suggests to me that the command staff are indeed up to their necks, and then over their heads. But the fact there is no consequence to their actions acts to deflate the conclusion - although I can't help feeling that Data, by leaving the stone, pretty much spits in the face of his superiors. The Wesley B-story is handled well, and by not making his team the usual reject everything protagonists it reaches a much more grounded resolution. 2.5 stars. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 05:12:49 PDT Diamond Dave Comment by Diamond Dave on TNG S2: The Icarus Factor A welcome character piece, that is happy to hang its hat on the strength of those characters and let them lead the plot. The further insight into Riker's, Worf's and to a lesser extent Pulaski's back story continue to enrich the characters. In terms of delivery it starts well, but the Riker story tails off badly to the end, and the final martial arts combat of him and his father facing off in spandex and chasing each other round like a piñata is, frankly, risible. It does, however, at least address the issue early of why, if Riker is so competent as a number one, he doesn't have his own command. "BE GONE..! Sir" is another great Worf line though. 2.5 stars. Comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 03:41:31 PDT Diamond Dave Comment by Grumpy on DS9 S3: The Search, Part II William B: "Sisko et al. are left completely passive, and their actions of rebellion come to naught..." Right there, you may have put your finger on why I never liked this episode. At least, you've elaborated on what Jammer said "torpedoed" the story. Actually, I wasn't liking this episode even before the twist ending, so that can't be it. I dunno; I should rewatch Season 3 just for this. Tangentially, one other thing: "(Barash being an orphan like Riker was)" Riker had a tense relationship with his father, but I didn't think he was dead to him! Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 21:43:25 PDT Grumpy Comment by methane on DS9 S3: The Adversary Robert - I always assumed ambassadors for the Federation either resigned/retired from Starfleet or were on an indefinite leave of absence. I suppose that could be different in the Federation. Yanks - "The civilians are above the military. Ambassadors many times are put in positions in charge of military assets". Ambassadors don't put themselves in charge of military assets; the civilian leader (President, Prime Minister, etc.) can assign military assets to ambassadors. This episode gives a good reason why random civilians (even those with titles like ambassadors) can't go in an just order the military assets around. They could be trying to start a war! In a situation like this, you'd expect the Federation diplomatic corps to ask the Federation President (or whichever official runs Starfleet) to officially order Starfleet to take the ambassador out (this could be the Presidential underlings making the arrangement, with him just signing orders), and even follow the ambassador's commands to an extent. Starfleet Command would then issue their orders to Sisko (or to an Admiral who would then order Sisko), detailing the mission, which Sisko would then carry out. Yanks - "my point is, why should Sisko get promoted if he hasn't completed his mission?" Well, I think Federation membership is a long-term goal, not something they expected to happen in a few years. To use real world examples, the Berlin Wall fell in 1989; other than Eastern Germany, the first nations from the Communist block didn't join NATO until 1999; they didn't join the EU until 2004! Sisko can be doing his job well (worthy of promotion) even if he hasn't completed that long-term mission. Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 20:40:59 PDT methane Comment by Kolmashekidim on TNG S4: The Mind's Eye Thanks everyone - I'm almost as impressed by the quality of your comments as I was by this episode, which does deserve 4 stars I think. Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 18:04:34 PDT Kolmashekidim Comment by Robert on VOY S7: Workforce I must of watched Voyager all the way though at least 7 times now and I always look forward two this two parter, It feels almost like a movie at times, really interesting seeing some the characters playing different lives, especially Janeway. Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 17:02:12 PDT Robert Comment by Dylan on TNG S7: Genesis Good lord, I came here after talking to a friend about the worst Trek episodes and looking what this one was called. We were *both* dead sure that this was a Season One episode. I mean, come on!!! Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 15:23:50 PDT Dylan Comment by William B on DS9 S3: The Search, Part II The very weird choice to have the entire Starfleet-crew (plus T'Rul) plot be a simulation has some justification: as with Eris' deception in The Jem'Hadar, the Dominion is being set up as placing big emphasis on trickery (particularly with their shapeshifting leaders) s a way to gauge and undermine their opponents. On that level, I like that the simulation essentially tells us what the Dominion is like by showing what types of events the Founders expect if they set foot into the AQ. If Sisko et al. can't stand a little random exclusion of nations, random violence against citizens, and being asked to fight wars against their neighbours, then they are probably not the type of people worth "conquering" and seem more like the type that will require special subjugation. That they bother to program in Jem'Hadar -- who, remember, are completely loyal -- accosting O'Brien more or less sets that as their baseline: they want people to be willing to put up with random, pointless bullying without a fight. That Sisko rebels against this, and that people even tell him that the "peace" that is created is his fault, plays out like a mini-version of his arc up to Call to Arms, with the moral being that even making peace overtures is stupid appeasement which will eventually lead to everyone you love being threatened. Which, more on that argument at a later time, maybe. I think the reason that the simulation is more frustrating to me in this episode than in, say, Future Imperfect or Frame of Mind, is that the key thing is that Riker works his way out of those simulations. Frame of Mind is *about* questioning reality from start to finish, in different ways. Future Imperfect, with its weird fake-peace that is somehow lightly unsettling, is the closest analogue. But the episode is mostly about Riker finding himself out of place and out of time, and eventually finding the reason why -- a reason which turns out to resonate with Riker's own experience (Barash being an orphan like Riker was). Future Imperfect would hardly be satisfying if essentially Riker spent the whole time debating the merits of the treaty with Tomalak without ever guessing that there is something wrong with this picture, and then Data or whoever happened to unplug him at the end and reveal that it was fake. Sisko et al. are left completely passive, and their actions of rebellion come to naught -- which may be the point, except, well, that we don't even get their reaction once they get out of the simulation, besides momentary confusion. It really would be a lot more satisfying for Sisko et al. to figure things out themselves, too, especially since keeping in the dark leads them to ignoring key facts (e.g. not bothering to wonder where Kira and Odo are after the first couple of minutes). The big problem with playing out this big simulation as part two of this two-parter is that it distracts from the fact that the whole point of them going to the GQ in the first place was to talk to the Founders and try to communicate to them about peace, and so when they wake up, dazed from being inside a simulation, it is pretty counterproductive that Odo just shoves them off on the Defiant with words about how he'll explain later, and there is no real chance for them to say much else. It's not really that I expect the Founders are going to respond well to peace overtures, because they clearly aren't, but it does also mean that this episode does indeed end with Sisko et al. knowing the location of the Founders' homeworld and how to talk to them, but...WITHOUT any of that whole talking thing happening now or for quite a while. It sidesteps, and the simulation forms a substitute for the dramatic question of what trying to avoid war with the Dominion would actually be like. For that matter, given that it ends with the collapsing of the wormhole, it should be clear that collapsing the wormhole *should* be on the table as an option, starting now, and I can't quite remember when it is brought up again as an option. What this episode lacks, I guess, is a scene between Sisko and the Dominion leader, given that he is *right there*. The stronger story here is the Odo and Kira material, obviously. I like that Kira is torn between being supportive of Odo and going to defy orders to look for Sisko and to follow her suspicions that all is not as it seems with the Founders. The character work for Odo over the rest of the series will do quite a lot with what the Link means, so I don't really need to talk about all of it here, but I do like that the temptation that is dangled before Odo of *THE LINK* is the ultimate answer to Odo's feelings of loneliness. I like, too, that Odo's somewhat restricted, imagination-deprived view of what his shapeshifting can mean is challenged. One irony is that for all the Female Shapeshifter's concerns that Odo's time in the solids has ruined him, his time as a solid really *has* brought him some understanding for what it means to be a humanoid, on a much deeper level perhaps than the "what it's like to be a rock" type of thing that the FS instructs him in. She seems to get the idea of empathy without the essence of it. The somewhat isolating way they treat Odo, insisting he train alone for hours at a time before he can pass their test when they have caused is misery by setting him off as an orphan to spend centuries by himself, further indicates the moral rot at the core of the Founder philosophy, which they remain unaware of. Anyway, the dialogue at the end as Odo rushes off and the Female Shapeshifter explains why they need to subjugate the galaxy does bring up some interesting points, most of all the idea (to be explored later) that Odo's desire for justice is actually his instinctive desire for order, instead -- which is an awesome choice for the character. However, the dialogue is so rushed that there is little chance to examine these ideas, either to try to get through to her that subjugating the galaxy is not necessary or desirable or for Odo to express his inner conflict. Fortunately, as with the other plot (with the simulation), the frustrating and rushed non-ending is not truly the end of the story, and Odo's division between His People and those humanoids he cares about remains. A low 2 stars is probably fair. Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 14:51:18 PDT William B Comment by Michael on BSG S3: A Measure of Salvation Rewatching the show and I couldn't help myself commenting on this again. Man, I'm fracking FURIOUS!!! I loved Helo up until this point but, I tell you what, I'd rip his godsdamn head off myself if I could! Yes, the question is: Does a civilization that is based on genocide "deserve" to survive? Answer: If the alternative is a certain death of that civilization at the hands of the target, then yes, it does. The alternative is to be "the bigger man" and allow yourself to be exterminated. There's no third option. What does being "the bigger man" accomplish, exactly? That history will look upon you favorably? Which history? Whose history? Without you there will be no history. Oh, this is just too stupid for any kind of rationalization! Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 14:18:23 PDT Michael Comment by Nathan B. on DS9 S6: You Are Cordially Invited Re the part of Elliot's comment on Bashir and Garak as a couple: a thunderous "Amen!" Re the chemistry between Worf and Dax: it is there, but I would so much prefer K'Ehleyr. I also really liked Deanna and Worf in the alternate timeline TNG episode. Worf and Dax do love each other, but they aren't even remotely compatible. Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 13:18:54 PDT Nathan B. Comment by Diamond Dave on TNG S2: The Royale "None of this makes any sense" says Riker at the end, and he's not wrong. This is just a desperate mess, a fundamentally boring hour in which there is no peril and a vast amount of time is spent wandering around a single set waiting for something to happen. It's kind of like the worst holodeck episode ever - and it's not even on the holodeck. The only things to be rescued out of this are an effective pre-title sequence and the discovery of the astronaut, which suggests there was the guts of a decent story in there but that the delivery was fundamentally flawed. I agree though that there is something in the delivery of Worf's "No!" to the room service phone call that approaches genius. 1 star. Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 12:15:57 PDT Diamond Dave Comment by William B on DS9 S3: The Search, Part I ...T'Rul's point that they must leave Dax and O'Brien behind -- which for me is more shocking than the Defiant being attacked and boarded, for one thing because the Defiant was *just introduced* and so we have little idea of what it being taken over means. A good way to demonstrate that the Dominion really is the priority here. Is sending a ship that is so overpowered it almost is tearing itself apart the best way to communicate to the Dominion that they have peaceful intentions, though? I get that they want to communicate two things -- "we are peaceful, but don't mess with us," though. The two big character threads in this episode are Sisko's and Odo's. For Sisko, we are told a few times (by Dax and by Jake, as well as by Sisko himself) that the Dominion situation and Sisko's visit to Starfleet Headquarters have made him come to realize how passionate he has become about protecting Bajor and how much he now values DS9 as his home. As a development overall, this makes sense, and the symbolic actions of 1) unpacking his Earth-storage stuff and 2) preferring to be out in the field rather than back at HQ do seem to be meaningful; but rather than let us discover how this all affects Sisko, we have Jake and Dax spell it out for us, in rather a lot of words. For Odo, the episode's two main elements are his anger at Eddington being brought onto the station and his being drawn to his people. Odo's interpreting Eddington's appointment as being a racial thing (don't trust the shapeshifter!) is part of the setup for his obsession about the nebula where he eventually finds his people. I should say here that while Odo being annoyed at having an officer posted to head up Starfleet security is logical, his reaction is way overblown, particularly since they already went through this in this show with the Odo/Primmin thing in season one (which was quickly dropped). There and here, I think Odo's prickly, angry reaction to any threat to his position and authority is partly the result of his insecurity, and here his assuming that it's a racial decision seems to indicate that Odo still has very little trust that anyone sees him as anything other than The Shapeshifter. Sisko's not wrong in telling Kira that Odo brings this type of thing on himself, though, since Odo's regular attempts to distance himself from humanoids and his continual desire to skirt basic freedoms in the pursuit of justice do just as much to alienate him from others as humanoids' isolation of him. Still, while Odo's fit in this episode has some precedent, it does seem overblown and inconsistent with Odo's ability to -- after a bit of reassurance from Sisko -- take the Primmin thing in stride, to say nothing of his bizarre outburst of threatening Quark. I'm not sure why Odo's reaction in this episode is as extreme as it is, beyond that it's necessary to re-emphasize how little Odo feels he fits in in order to bring us to the end revelations. On the other hand, Odo's feeling the pull to the Nebula, to the point where he abandons the Defiant to its possible destruction, fits in with his character, and what the series generally presents -- which is that Odo's instinctual pull toward his own people is stronger than most of the ties that he forms in his everyday life. Odo rescuing Kira but dragging her along to the trip is a lovely encapsulation of their dynamic, with Kira as both Odo's greatest champion and as his sometimes reluctant tether to the humanoid world; Odo brings her along unconscious because he cares so about her, even though he leaves the rest of the Defiant to be destroyed, but his instinctual pull is strong enough that he *only* thinks about Kira enough to save her and (selfishly?) keeping her with him. Odo's insistence that Starfleet doesn't trust the shapeshifter maybe is for good reason; Odo may recognize on some level, even if he doesn't want to admit it, that his loyalties to the humanoids he lives with is somewhat provisional on his having none of his own people. Given that I thought Quark's complaints in The Jem'Hadar were a little much given that he wasn't that badly treated there by Sisko, it's worth noting that he is treated *horribly* in this episode by Sisko and Odo. Odo at least we are meant to see is unstable. But what is up with that Sisko scene where he brings in the Nagus' sceptre? Even if we presume that Sisko is in the right to make appeals to Quark the private citizen's head of state for him to risk his life, Sisko making Quark kiss the Nagus' sceptre while Sisko holds it and has a maniacal gleam in his eye makes him seem like a psychopathic supervillain. I don't know what they were thinking. The later scene of Sisko and Quark wishing each other luck is nicely done, for what it's worth. So the character work is mixed, and it's hard to evaluate the plot halfway through (and spoilers, the plot in part 2 is not great), so I'd say a high 2.5 stars. Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 12:08:04 PDT William B Comment by William B on DS9 S3: The Search, Part I That wasn't supposed to post. Odd. OK, continuing... Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 11:34:57 PDT William B Comment by William B on DS9 S3: The Search, Part I Here we start season three. This is Ron Moore's first script and the first appearance of the Defiant, and of course it ends with the first we see of Odo's people (Salome Jens). The grand scheme changes to the show's focus is, as Jammer said in his review, a somewhat more action/adventure-oriented story, with more battles and explosions. The idea here of tracking down the Founders seems reasonable-ish, though I do somewhat wish that they could discuss more openly whether this is actually a good idea, given that the Founders certainly want to be kept a secret based on their behaviour. Is there any other way that the Federation, Romulans et al. could try to negotiate with the Dominion? Anyway, the biggest indicator of the new stakes are the way Sisko does acceede to T'Rul's Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 11:34:26 PDT William B Comment by Sammi on TNG S3: Who Watches the Watchers What I would have like to seen was more mention of the Vulcans or Romulans. The should have been shown to the Mintakan leader as an example of where their race could go. Furthermore, why weren't there any Vulcans with the scientists in the begining of the episode. Wouldn't the Vulcans have some curiosity concerning an offshoot of their race? Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 11:10:30 PDT Sammi Comment by Sammi on DS9 S2: Paradise She was a cult leader point blank, she was evil to the core. There's no difference between her or any other Trek villian. She's a cold hearted murderer. It's reasonable that some of the colonists did nothing, they're still under the control of Alixus. However, some of them wouldn't be angered to the point of killing her. Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 11:04:51 PDT Sammi Comment by William B on DS9 S2: Cardassians @MsV, thank you. I understand and respect what you say here -- but I disagree and I come about it from a very different perspective. I am not sure what to say about my not explaining my stance well enough or emotionally enough regarding Rugal. My personal take is that it seems as if Rugal's adopted parents raised him and gave him love, and Rugal clearly wants to stay with them. Rugal seems to me to be well old enough to make his own decisions. I do think his adopted parents told him awful things about Cardassians, and that has affected Rugal's psyche, but that doesn't mean that his adoptive parents are wrong. Given that Pa'Dar had no responsibility for his son being taken from him, I don't hold Pa'Dar in any contempt and nor is there any reason he should *not* want to recover his son. But Rugal's wishes should come first, unless he truly has been brainwashed by the Bajorans -- which is, yes, a possibility worth examining, but which I object. Here is my *personal* perspective, and maybe this will help explain things: my parents divorced when I was very young. My father was very abusive. My mother took me away in the middle of the night. My father very much believed that she had no right to take me away. Now, I *did* continue seeing him (visitation) for several years, but eventually he and I lost contact. Nowadays, I am told he tells other people that my mother denied him visitation. My mother did not deny him visitation, but she did tell me enough about what he was like for me to not want to see him. I would say that this has had some negative impacts on me; that my mother hates my father for what he has done to her is not always easy for me, particularly when I see some of his traits in me. I think she could have dealt with the emotional dynamics much more delicately with me than she did. But the bottom line is that she was trying her best to be honest with me about a very difficult situation, and she is the person who gave me the greatest care. My father may well have loved me, and may still do so, but he is/was also a dangerous person, who treated my primary caregiver very badly. There are many key differences in our situations, and I am not claiming that they are the same. But I sympathize most with Rugal and I think his right to make the decision about where to go trumps other concerns. His having developed self-hatred of a sort as a result of what his parents told him, truthfully, about the Cardassians is tragic, but it does not mean that his parents should have told the truth either. Rugal cannot automatically be shipped off to his biological relative just because that biological relative wants to have a relationship with him, and removing him from the people who cared for him for years and years without his approval is about the worst thing I can imagine happening to him. That Rugal has some ambivalence -- with O'Brien he seems to recognize that maybe there are things about Cardassians he might want to learn more about -- complicates matters, maybe, but it doesn't change the fundamental balance. I didn't go into this because, well, it's personal, but also because I think it's more a flaw of the episode that Sisko's reasoning isn't discussed, and thus Rugal's character arc is left floating in the wind. The episode doesn't fully deal with what this decision means for Rugal, so I skimmed over that besides pointing out what the episode was failing to do. This is all, of course, my own personal opinion, influenced by my own experiences, and I do not claim to hold the absolute truth or to know that I am right. Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 10:13:38 PDT William B Comment by MsV on DS9 S2: Cardassians To William B, I enjoyed reading your lengthy but well expressed post. I have found it very difficult to understand how you didn't take a personal stance on the Rugal portion of your post. I'll tell you why I looked at this from a personal view point; I am a mother, if someone stole my baby from me and stuck him in an orphanage, allowing my enemy to raise him, I would have been crushed. While adding insult to injury, my child thinks I am a butcher, and hates who he is. I will assume I still had some sanity left and reluctantly allowed Sisko to intervene, there would be nothing he could say but take your child home. I would not share him with anyone. I would try everything I could to get those 8 years back. We would have extensive counseling, I would introduce him to "good" Cardassians. I would find a priest to cast those demons out of him. I am saying Aint no mountain high enough to keep him from me and to teach him to love himself. That Bajoran father was so full of hate, he poisoned Rugal's view of himself. In my opinion, that's worse than a beating. PaDar should not have been on Bajor, but since he was there was no reason for Dukat to do this to the man or his son. Personally, the show would have ended because Dukat would be dead. Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 09:58:35 PDT MsV Comment by Mallory R. on ENT S4: Daedalus Ridiculous, total waste of an episode. Some of Enterprise's best episodes illustrate the hard decisions faced by command. This shows the opposite: the scientist is a liar and murderer, and his daughter was an accomplice. Both belonged in the brig and on the way back to Earth. Really got the impression that the writers weren't all that familiar with the show Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 08:03:43 PDT Mallory R. Comment by Robert on VOY S7: Endgame "What I would like to know is how Voyager got home in the original, unaltered timeline. We know it was 16 years after 'Endgame', so it couldn't have been by conventional warp travel, the ship was still about 30 years from Earth by the finale. Was it quantum slipstream or another form of propulsion technology, a wormhole, another transwarp hub in the Beta Quadrant? Even a handwave would have been nice!" They managed to go 36 years in the first 7 (via several shortcuts). The fact that it took another 16 to go 30 means they seriously slowed down. Even just a couple of little shortcuts (2 or 3 little boosts of 3 years) plus some better stellar cartography would make this believable. Their biggest jumps were Kes (10 years), slipstream (10 year), and the transwarp conduit (20 years). But they constantly had little boosts like the Vadwaur's corridors and the catapult. Of course some of that just balances the time we went backwards through Kazon space, but w/e. Nobody's perfect. Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 05:28:29 PDT Robert Comment by MsV on DS9 S6: Rocks and Shoals I am glad Kira's Resistance plans never really got off the ground, except for getting the jem hedar and Cardassians fighting and getting Rom in trouble, it was over before it started. I watched Season 7 and realized how vicious the Dominion was when Damar's resistance was taking place. They leveled entire cities as a response. They would have did the same to Bajor. The Gamma Quadrant was terrified of the Dominion because they destroyed generations of people (The Quickening) when they resisted them. Vedek Yasim's suicide meant nothing to me. Still a great episode. Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 03:09:10 PDT MsV Comment by Pam on TOS S1: The Devil in the Dark I couldn't help but think that the Horta greatly resembled Pizza the Hut, and I kept thinking that they probably could have healed her faster if they had just put her pepperoni back on. Spock's initial attempt at the mind meld was highly reminiscent of Troi's little performance in "Encounter at Far Point," when she taps into the creature that basically IS Farpoint Station. I wonder if they told Marina Sirtis to study that scene in preparation. The wailing of "Pain!" over and over again was no more attractive from Spock than from her. All that having been said, I did enjoy the episode, and the spirit of the message they were attempting to convey. One little nit, though... Shouldn't Bones have said, "Dammit, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a stonemason!" instead of "bricklayer"? Whatever. I agree with Jammer, three and a half stars. Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 03:04:11 PDT Pam Comment by Garth on VOY S7: Endgame That finale was underwhelming. So was Michael's trolling on this one. He was never great at it, but he seemed to get worse at it as time went on. Kinda fitting, really. Comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 02:22:23 PDT Garth Comment by Shannon on VOY S5: Relativity Loved it, 3.5 stars for me! Yes, totally agree, the plot is ludicrous IF you try to take it seriously. The story does not, so neither should any of us. It's just plain fun. Sit back, crack open a cold one, and enjoy an hour of pure Star Trek bliss! Comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 21:11:51 PDT Shannon Comment by William B on DS9 S2: The Jem'Hadar Y'know, I think the episode largely does succeed in its goal of stoking interest for the next season, and going from field trip and interpersonal squabble to mass destruction drives the change in scale at this point home. My annoyance at aspects of the Sisko/Quark story doesn't erase the parts of that story I liked, too. The episode is funny and exciting. And I think the Eris reveal maybe works if we assume that she is more or less accurately relating a cover story -- that her claim about Kurill Prime was a true story, only it did not happen to her; this preserves the Dominion-boogeyman element while also demonstrating the Dominion's using fear as a tool. So I am upping to 3 stars -- which also has the effect that the run from Blood Oath onward only has one episode below 3, which is indeed an impressive run. Comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 19:33:23 PDT William B Comment by Mallory R. on ENT S4: Kir'Shara Very good triplet of episodes, probably the best thus far. It makes me more sad that this show suffered and died by Paramount's attempts to compete with prime time TV and the prime time show-advert combo (which is rapidly loosing its dominace). By today's standards, competing with shows like Game of Thrones, we'd no doubt be treated to a solid hour with conflicts which could play out fully. And hopefully with writing to tell a story...which poor Enterprise is just now getting a little breathing room to do so. I was fine with what they did, but like Picard in The Inner Light, I think Archer should have experienced a lasting effect. (A more Vulcan Archer would be a good compliment to a more human T'Pol.) And Porthos....what the heck!? I can't believe his lack of scenes. Sigh. It's neat to see I'm not the only one on these boards currently watching the show. I'd seen most of it before - perhaps all - but long ago in a very different life. I'll be curious about other fan reactions as the show winds down. Comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 17:40:49 PDT Mallory R. Comment by Yanks on DS9 S3: The Adversary I believe Spock is unique in that regard. Good point about the Bajoran government. I guess one could consider that success. Comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 17:24:17 PDT Yanks Comment by Diamond Dave on TNG S2: Contagion A decent enough episode, but not one containing many standout moments - that the first "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot." is a highlight reflects that. However, it's a well paced and well constructed story, it's always good to see the Romulans back, and Geordi's turbolift adventure gives us a physical performance that's highly unusual for the series. We do barely get enough time to mourn Data's 'death' before he is resurrected, but he does still get the best line - "that is not a manual override". 2.5 stars. Comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 12:51:32 PDT Diamond Dave