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jc
Mon, Jul 24, 2017, 2:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

I didn't like this episode very much at first. It's growing on me though. I feel as though this episode is a very self-reflective work. Benny is the proxy of the writers, and Benny's devotion to ds9 and its characters and how it's real to him, is a direct mirror of the writers' own.
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JC
Thu, Aug 18, 2016, 2:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Time's Arrow, Part II

Thomas, I'm with you -- Clemens' voice was nails- on-chalkboard annoying. Took me three tries to get through both episodes for that reason.
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JC
Sat, Apr 2, 2016, 5:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

Along with Inner Light, this was some of the finest Science Fiction ever produced for television. An absolute timeless classic that gets better with age, like fine wine. It's inconceivable that this episode doesn't get any notoriety for all-time best series finales. You always hear about Newhart, St. Elsewhere, Cheers, etc., but this is never, ever in the conversation, and that is a shame.

What's hard for me to comprehend is how the writers of AGT are the same folks who brought us "Sub Rosa." I wish there was someone I could see to get that hour of my life back. Pure crap, but I digress.

If there were two issues I had with the AGT, one is major and one is to a lesser extent. The lesser one is that while Beverly said early on, "He's Jean-Luc Picard, and if he wants to go on one final mission then that's what we'll do," the others seemed to have a hard time giving the captain that respect. Given all of the experiences the crew encountered, they seemed closed-minded that Picard could be telling the truth. They made him work for it, in my opinion. Which is OK and understandable because it seems like there is quite a bit going on in the future and it's been 25 years and he sick....but he had to earn the benefit of the doubt. They all came around (naturally, or there would have been no episode!!) but I think they could have played up Picard's illness a little more and showed that the crew had reason to believe he was delirious, such as using bad judgement prior.

I think the biggest issue with the episode should be the final takeaway. Q had some great lines and was an asset for the entire run, and it was awesome that the series ended with him, as it began. But his line about what awaits Picard: "...That is the exploration that awaits you. Not mapping stars and studying Nebula, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence." Great line, but it is also the same storyline that was written for Wesley Crusher in Journey's End...to visit new planes of existence that transcend space and time. The Traveler delivered that message and is guiding Wesley (assuming Wesley kept the Traveler around as his guide) on his journey. So it was a little odd to see that very same lesson being taught to Picard, plus I kind of thought that Picard was open to this kind of thinking all along anyway.

Still, the great acting and the action were wonderful enough to make these issues more a talking point than a roadblock. I could watch this episode over and over and not get tired of it.
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JC
Sat, Apr 2, 2016, 5:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Lower Decks

While I like this episode, I do not put in my top 10. I feels to me that the junior officers were forced on the viewer as part of a bid to introduce a spinoff, sort of like Married With Children did way back when introducing Matt LeBlanc as a failed boxer... It's interesting, but it just doesn't seem to fit.

I understand this is hard to do in an hour, but every scene to me stands alone and doesn't seem related (other than the plot designed for Sito), so it jumps around a lot with no real resolution at the end for the other characters that we just learned about (Sito notwithstanding.) It comes across a just a bunch of scenes sewn together. To echo someone's earlier post, the main problem is that we have a group of characters that are mostly unknown and I just don't care about them. For example, I would have loved to have seen more on Ensign Taurik. I don't think there were a lot of Vulcan crew members on this show prior to this episode. That could have been a fascinating storyline.

In fact, I feel Worf's brief appearance in this episode cemented his loyalty to his people and showed how honorable a man he really is. I think he shined the most.
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JC
Sun, Mar 20, 2016, 12:32am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Deadlock

Oh I guess there was one thing that I think this episode could've done better (in all fairness I should mention it instead of just vomiting praise a over this comment page). I think it could have had certain characters be a bit more affected by what they experienced. In particular:

- Wildman saw her baby die.
- Torres watched Harry slip from her fingertips and die.
- Harry watched pretty much the entire crew have their organs snatched.
- Janeway empathized with her other self facing death by self destruction.
- Kes visited the other ship and at least had direct personal contact with an entire crew that died minutes later.

But the only one who seemed even mildly traumatized by all this was Harry, and he was still rather chipper about it.
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JC
Sun, Mar 20, 2016, 12:16am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Deadlock

I *really* liked this episode.

The "splitting" plots, for some reasons always affect me very deeply. I find them highly disturbing and unsettlong (and I love being disturbed and unsettled), thought provoking and intense. I won't attempt to explain why I love this particular plot element so much, I don't even think I can. Episodes like DS9's "Whispers" (my favorite DS9 episode) and Miles' fate in "Visionary", TNG's "Second Chances", Farscape's "Eat Me" (the scene where chiana watched herself die was particularly intense for me), etc.

I also find the Vidiians ruthlessness and tactics extremely disturbing. They are fast becoming one of my favorite sci fi species of all time. I hope they don't get nerfed like the Borg, Jem'Hadar, and so many other species in the Trek universe.

So these two things combined - duplication plots and Vidiians - make this my favorite episode yet. I didn't mind the technobabble or plot holes or continuity problems, none of that is what this episode is really about. I found the problems easy to overlook.

So yeah, this one gets 3.5 stars from me (4, minus a half just to spite braga).

On the other hand I wonder if this was really just part of Tuvok and Janeways plan to catch Jonas. I'm sure they intentionally went into the plasma cloud knowing they would be duplicated. Of course, the entire crew was in on it except Chakotay (to make it feel authentic).
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JC
Sat, Mar 19, 2016, 11:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Investigations

Oh, and the entire crew is in on it. Except for Chakotay. You know, to make it look authentic.
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JC
Sat, Mar 19, 2016, 11:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Investigations

@Robert Or the extreme: Janeway and Tuvok suspected that if they were in the Delta quadrant, they'd end up having a mole. So to find him, they planted Tuvok on a Maquis ship, got Paris on the Voyager (knowing that he would want to leave eventually), arranged for the Caretaker to send them and Tuvoks ship to the Delta quadrant, knowing that the Kazon would attack them and that Chakotay would sacrifice his ship and end up on the Voyager. They knew there was a high probability of finding a Talaxian, and were already aware that Seska was Cardassians. They knew she'd defect and ultimately the mole would be uncovered.

It's been a setup since day one! All part of Tuvok and Janeways brilliant master plan to catch the future mole.

Now they're stuck in the Delta quadrant, although I'm assuming the next 5 seasons spent getting home are just the final part of their plan to catch Jonas. They really thought it through!
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JC
Sat, Mar 19, 2016, 8:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Investigations

Ugh, and the way this totally retroactively nullified all of Tom's recent character development (his disgruntledness was totally in line with his character, his regression to his old ways and his loss of drive had so much potential)...

And re: this looking like an afterthought... Hell, based on janeway and Tuvoks reaction to Neelixs tribute to Tom, and Janeways captains log entry after he left, it almost looked like an afterthought that took place half way through this very script.

My disappointment knows no bounds. I better watch the next episode quick before I leave any more comments here.
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JC
Sat, Mar 19, 2016, 8:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Investigations

"filled" = "tipped" + autocorrect
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JC
Sat, Mar 19, 2016, 8:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Investigations

Plus they didn't even need Tom on the Kazon ship to find the mole. Neelix just did it. Sure there were indirect Tom-related events that filled Neelix off at the end (they wouldve had to find some other early end to the conflict besides the transporter thing), but they could've left Tom on the Talaxian ship, left his story interesting and independent of Jonas, and resolved it properly later. The whole thing was just... whack.
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JC
Sat, Mar 19, 2016, 8:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Investigations

When Voyager started experiencing engine problems identical to what Seska suggested to Jonas, I nodded at the welcome continuity and mini story arc.

When Paris wanted to leave, I bought that. I knew he'd be back but I didn't know how it would happen.

When he was kidnapped from the Talaxian ship I didn't know why. I enjoyed the thickening plot.

When he pulled that device out of his sleeve on the Kazon ship I suspected he was undercover, but was still open to the possibility that he was just being prepared like a good boy scout. I enjoyed this.

When it was revealed that he was undercover because Janeway and Tuvok suspected a mole, I enjoyed that as well. I was fully engaged up to that point.

But they shouldve stopped ther. In that same conversation when it was also "revealed" that all of Tom's erratic behavior was part of this overly elaborate scheme to put on a "convincing" act, I couldn't believe what I just heard. It completely destroyed all the enjoyment and tension up to that point. I literally said "oh come ON" out loud by myself when watching that.

Some truly awful and lazy writing was afoot here. One of two things happened: Either the writers weaselled their way out of closing Tom's recent story by adding this as some halfassed afterthought, or the entire plan was poorly executed from the start and could've benefited from even a small hint to us viewers about what was going on a few episodes ago. Either way, no good. Something went very wrong in the writing here.

Plus Jonas' ultimate end was a huge letdown. All those scenes of him feeding infonto Seska for what... An uneventful end to the Kazons elaborate plan and a death at the hands of *Neelix*. Come ON.

A strong start with a let down so big that it kind of takes a half star off the episodes leading up to this point, too. What a dud of an arc.
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JC
Sat, Mar 19, 2016, 6:42pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Lifesigns

One of the things I appreciated the most about this episode is the lack of technobabble transferring dinaras consciousness to the computer. It just happened. Which was great - how it happened or its implications elsewhere wasn't important to the actual story, and the writers really nailed that.

So many times plot points are mired down in technobabble and incomplete explanations, which invite all sorts of distracting overanalysis. Here, we were spared distraction and allowed to focus on the story at hand and the meanings behind it.

So many episodes in so many Trek series could benefit from this modest level of storytelling sanity.
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JC
Fri, Mar 18, 2016, 5:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Death Wish

I'm sure all of my thoughts were stated by some commenter or another above, but a couple of big downsides to this episode for me that I think take off at least another half star:

1. I did find the court case ultimately compelling, but it took too long to get there. It took a couple of acts for me to even figure out what they were actually conflicted about. Also for a while it appeared to be trying to state some message about assisted suicide but that never really came through clearly. So I think it came together well in the end, but flailed around a bit at first, and took too long to come into focus.

2. Janeway once again failed to do "everything in her power" to get home. I think by now we can accept that she places an insane weight on her principals so I don't have an issue with her final judgment. What I *do* have an issue with is that the moment at the end in sickbay, where TNG Q seemed to open up to her, would have been a great time to at least *try* to ask one more time for him to send them home. But she didn't even ask. I didn't like that at all.

Also, a minor thing: The Riker appearance was a bit gratuitous, and so I don't think it was used to its fullest potential. I would have liked to have seen Janeway perhaps ask him as an aside for a bit of news from home (assuming he came from the present, of course). Slight bummer, but no big deal.

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JC
Fri, Mar 18, 2016, 5:01pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Threshold

@Robert Lol... Let our denial bring us comfort.

This is my first run through of Voyager but I was aware of this episode's existence for a while. I always wished one of the writers would have disowned it from canon. Or even written a later episode in any series that referred back to this one and somehow invalidated it in universe.

But no. Really, though, I think we can at least take some comfort in knowing that the only *real* long term damage this episode did outside of Voyager was complicate the already inconsistent definitions of warp speeds. Even without Threshold, it was still pretty much nonsense.
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JC
Fri, Mar 18, 2016, 10:02am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Dreadnought

Nice weapon. Guess the Cardassians didn't need Dominion help after all.
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JC
Fri, Mar 18, 2016, 4:40am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Threshold

Also, how was Janeway OK with leaving a new generation of fast breeding, weird evolved lizard humans on a planet in the Delta quadrant? Talk about "upsetting the balance".
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JC
Thu, Mar 17, 2016, 9:53am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Prototype

Frakes seems to have a knack for breathing life into even the most mundane of stories.
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JC
Thu, Mar 17, 2016, 9:22am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Prototype

I can't really figure out why Torres is so obsessed with the robot.

Also, Janeway *really* needs to be more on top of those quick transporter overrides. I think that's twice now that she could've saved Voyager a hell of a lot of trouble. (And really, shouldn't that be Tuvoks job anyways? Guess they never looked over those security protocol reports he was supposed to put together in the last espisode.)

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JC
Wed, Mar 16, 2016, 6:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Maneuvers

"It's as if they know our access codes! By which I mean, it's as if we forgot to change our access codes after the universe's ugliest Bajoran turned out to be our old enemy - a Cardassian - and defected to our new enemy - the Kazon, because we're competing with DS9 for the title of the Alpha Quadrant's most inept crew."

Why does a low level engineer have an access code for the widely useful "Open a 4 Meter Hole In The Shields" command, anyways?

Tuvok: "I am trying to establish a containment field on deck 4 but the power is out."
Kim: "Hold on let me make the power not be out."
Tuvok: "OK now I have established the containment field. Thanks Kim, guess the power wasn't really out after all, and our advanced bio neural computer doesn't automatically provide containment field power in a hull breach emergency, and my console doesn't let me do the things I need to do to do my job. Who designed this system anyways?"
Kim: "Wait. Why did we establish a containment field, again? Wanna drop it for a second, vent the intruders out into space, and end this?"
Tuvok: "Lol nah"

Later, in the cargo bay, Tuvok watches the Kazon blow through a door (was it even locked?) by shooting the keypad (it's a feature, not a bug) and makes a mental note for the next time he's trapped in a room with 4 irritable Maquis cadets.

Chakotay: "There may be intruders in transporter room 2."
Janeway: "I know there's a way to lock out transporter controls or set up a few force fields along the way, if only I remembered how my ship worked or... Doh! They beamed out."

Tuvok runs into the transporter room just in time to catch the disappearing silhouette of the Kazon flipping him the bird on the way out.

I rewatched the raid sequence with https://youtu.be/zjedLeVGcfE playing in the background. Highly recommended.

Seska notes that Janeway's idea to use a tractor beam was a classic Chakotay move. That crazy Chakotay, using his Jedi mind tricks to get Janeway to order him to use the tractor beam. Typical!

Anyways, it's a general triumph for Starfleet security engineers as a single defector from engineering makes stealing a transporter module look like child's play. The raid completes with buttery smoothness and Seska peaces out. It's too bad they didn't spray Voyager with plasma residue on their way out, or spell out a giant "PWNED" in space. Ha ha Voyager, suckaaaaaz.

As Voyager sits, humiliated and disabled in space, I couldn't help but think that this would be the perfect time for the space worms to take advantage of it. They seemed like the type to go after black-out-drunk chicks at a party anyways, didn't they?

Tuvok: "Excuse me, great insight here. Remember that time five minutes ago when Seska f**ked with us? Well... bear with me here... what if Chakotay totes f**ks with Seska right back! Like, that thing that just happened, but the opposite!"
-- Camera closes in on Chakotay's mind being blown. --

I did like Beltran nearly breaking character and giggling as Torres pointed out his poor taste in women.

In a brilliantly written bit of Kazon dialog, we learn a little more about the relation between opposing sects. "So you desire our help to defeat Voyager? Why not do it yourself oh wait it's cause U SUK, LOL."

I kinda hope the Kazon get replicator technology. Maybe then they can replicate some shampoo.

Janeway: "What I want to know Mr Tuvok is how he was able to get a shuttle craft off the ship without anybody knowing about it."
Tuvok: "Apparently pretty much everybody can. Whatever, we have at least 1000 more. I assure you captain, it won't happen again, until it does."
Janeway: "I want a complete review of all security procedures on this ship."
Tuvok: "Wait, I think just realized something... have I been the chief of security all this time?"

Meanwhile, on the Kazon ship, Seska discusses taking control of other Kazon sects and promptly has an orgasm. And, scene.

Back on Voyager, Janeway hears Torres out and comes to the conclusion that they should bring Chakotay back *before* disciplining him, as opposed to... the other way around, I guess? Or something.

On the shuttlecraft, Chakotay fails because he spoke too slowly to the computer. He makes a mental note to save time between sentences with an "and" or two in the future.

Voyager detects the beacon. Kim confirms it's definitely theirs, which he knows because it said so in the script.

We get some key character development for Seska when we learn she's more of a cognac girl than the kanar type.

In a single sentence, Torres convinces Janeway that a dead crew is better than a sad crew, and I guess their "morale officer" is too busy giving the ship's computer food poisoning to cheer anybody up, so away they go.

While Chakotay is talking about Seska's mole and tripping balls on the Kazon ship, Torres hatches a plan to rescue him with yet another plan that would be completely impossible if not for the fact that it is easily possible (I.e. the standard cheap plan to insert risk without putting in the effort to write an actual risk). Tuvok counters with something irrelevant, Torres doesn't care, neither do we.

Tuvok says something else that nobody cares about on the bridge. Today the Voyagers computer remembers that it can scan for individual life signs, and Torres discovers that Seska has ye olde dampening field in place. Good thinking Seska, way easier than just removing Chakotays communicator (although you never know when that whacky ship will decide that the transporter will work just fine without one on the target).

I was surprised Janeway chose evasive pattern omega 2. I wouldve picked omega 3 or even beta 8 myself but what do I know?

Anyways the episode ends when Voyager suddenly gains the ability to transport through everybody's shields. Janeway writes "next time, transport Seska and the enem captain off the ship *before* the raid ends" on a post it note and sticks it to the picture of that guy and her dog.

Janeway puts Chakotay on report, because that makes sense for a Maquis officer. Wait until Starfleet here's about this, Chakotay. So Chakotay learns a lesson, and that's that.

Oh yeah, PS Seska raped Chakotay. Just thought we'd squeeze that one in real quick. And, the end.

I actually didn't mind this episode. There was just a lot of contrived situations. I think the lesson learned is to just watch these for the general stories, not the details. The more I watch Voyager in the same way I watched TOS, the more I enjoy it. There's a lot of good stuff in this series, but it does demand a forgiving audience.

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JC
Tue, Mar 15, 2016, 11:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Tattoo

I do wish there wouldve been some closure to the doctors story line though.
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JC
Tue, Mar 15, 2016, 11:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Tattoo

I couldnt stop giggling every time Chakotay said "rubber people".

I guess Chakotay finally found Gumby.
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JC
Tue, Mar 15, 2016, 1:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Persistence of Vision

I have a hunch that the *real* purpose of this episode was to give a little boost to everybody's character development, and that illustrating Delta quadrant weirdness was secondary. We've got a bit of Paris and his father, Janeways struggle with loneliness and feelings for her husband, Torres' crush on Chakotay, a little glimpse into Tuvoks relationship and desires (which he otherwise can't reply express as a Vulcan), etc.

The quick ending and lack of explanation for the aliens, as well as Janeway and torres' final conversation (focusing on their feelings rather than the aliens), is evidence for this intent. Same with the mostly faceless alien. It's as if the alien was written to be as non distracting as possible, and specifically set up to not have the potential to become a memorable recurring species.

But if that's the case, it still wasn't well done. The problem was that too much time was spent building up the encounter and the hallucinations. The consultations with Neelix were irrelevant as was the aliens policies towards outsiders. We didn't need screen time for that. We didn't need half the episode of the captain in sickbay trying to figure out what was wrong, we didnt need the extended build up, we didn't need kes' dragged out attempt to thwart the aliens. This was all a waste of screen time when it *should* have been dedicated almost entirely to various characters hallucinations and their effects.

Either that or the episode should have dropped the character development completely and gone the direction of developing a new Delta quadrant species instead.

Either way, it didn't do justice to any purpose. Jammer was spot on with the observation that the writing was all over the map.

I didn't dislike this episode, but I do think it was a wasted opportunity because of its lack of commitment to any specific direction.
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JC
Tue, Mar 15, 2016, 12:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Once More Unto the Breach

@Jason R I think kang and koloth vs. the albino was about the best ds9 could muster for klingon deaths. Klingons didn't get the greatest treatment in this series.

It wouldve been awesome if kor died in like, a lone run on foot through a Jem'Hadar base while saving the day or something.
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JC
Tue, Mar 15, 2016, 10:30am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Non Sequitur

(As an aside, it's definitely interesting to imagine how things in the Delta quadrant wouldve played out differently if Voyager didn't have one of their own crew sent to the ocampa to motivate their search, though, and if nobody was there to calm Torres down).
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