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Jason R.
Fri, Mar 24, 2017, 7:02am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Homeward

K9T let me say that I agree with you in this case that upholding the prime directive where doing so results in a race's extinction seems dubious - especially considering that the Federation will happily consider lending aid to more advanced cultures. So if your culture has warp drive, like say the colony on Penthara IV, Picard will go to the wall for you, but if not - so long so sad! It is just arbitrary in some ways.

But to play devil's advocate, I'd say the PD is about more than just protecting others. The purpose of the PD is also to protect the Federation and its peoples from themselves and their own best (and worst) intentions.

TOS had several episodes where even Starfleet officers were corrupted by the impulse to play god before less advanced races. In this case they were not just averting a natural disaster like in Pen Pals but taking custody of an entire species. That kind of power could be corrupting. We know Picard et al. would behave ethically but there is a sense that the Federation does not wish to take responsibility for entire races.

What happens if the Boraalans don't thrive in their new home or suffer an even worse fate? Is the Federation hooked into becoming their guardians, like the Caretaker in Voyager?

Remember that the seed of Rodenberry's vision is not technology but a better human being. One has to believe that the only way to cultivate and maintain that better state of man is to curb the lust for power and dominance. In an inherently unequal relationship of dependancy between a less advanced race and the Federation there is too great a risk of power corrupting and sliding into domination. Cardassia"s relationship with Baajor offers a hint of where such a path could lead less stalwart men than Picard. The Prime Directive is a firewall against this dark path.
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Jason R.
Sun, Mar 19, 2017, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Sacrifice of Angels

"Consider the possibility that Sisko had lost all hope by the time he entered the wormhole and his decision to attack the enemy fleet alone was simply an intentional suicide run rather than be captured by the Dominion. The reason the prophets interrupted wasn't to 'help' Sisko win but rather because he had decided to die and they still had plans for him. You will note that they accuse him of deciding to "end the game", which of course means they foresee his decision to die."

That is of course the most likely explanation of his actions, given the dialogue. My problem though is that this makes Sisko something of a nutcase when you think about it. Even against 4,000 Dominion ships, the Federation has not actually lost the war - so why would Sisko, a Starfleet captain, needlessly blow up his own ship? He's really going to throw away his ship and his crew in some futile suicide run on a Dominion armada before the war / invasion has even started?! WTF?

This would be akin to Riker or Picard ordering a suicide run on the Borg Cube in BOBW right at the start of the episode (instead of at the end of Part 2, with the Cube already hovering over earth).

In fact, having just watched the Doomsday Machine, I'd suggest that Sisko intentionally sacrificing his own ship is not unlike Commodore Decker choosing to Kamikazi his shuttle against the doomsday machine - crazy.
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Jason R.
Sun, Mar 19, 2017, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Sacrifice of Angels

"So what was Sisko's plan exactly up to the point where he thought, "Huh, I'll just ask the wormhole aliens?"

Unless that was his plan all along once they were the only ones to break through the lines? I guess that makes more sense. The Emissary thing had to pay off at some point, I guess. "

I don't get the sense that it occurred to Sisko on a conscious level to call out to the wormhole aliens for help. Indeed, quite the opposite - when they take him from the Defiant he angrily decries their interference in his affairs and only grudgingly asks their assistance as an alternative to his death.

Of course what we're left with is the presumption that Sisko actually intended to confront a Dominion fleet with just the Defiant - kind of crazy, even accepting that the Federation would very likely lose the war once that fleet came through.

It's kind of ironic that Sisko too seems to have dismissed or simply forgotten about the prophets in all this. As Dukat was casually dismissing the Defiant as it approached the wormhole, I wanted to yell out to him "remember the last time you were in the wormhole what happened?!!". You'd think that Dukat, of all people, would remember his ship getting stranded in the Delta Quadrant after the Prophets shut down the wormhole the first time in Emissary!

"Also... how do you get 'warp signatures in a wormhole? Careless writing."

I could be wrong, but I don't think a ship needs to be travelling at warp speed in order to have a "warp signature". I presume this refers to the warp core itself, which we know to be the only component on 24th century ships powered by antimatter (at least on Federation ships).
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Jason R.
Sun, Mar 19, 2017, 8:32am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

"Beverly was very unethical here, wanting to hide the experimental procedure from Worf and force him to accept her less risky but less effective alternative. What gives her the right to make that call for him? As a patient it is his right to decide on what treatment he is given and he should be given all the options. I've never been a huge fan of "doctor" Crusher but this is a little much even for her. Why did no other character call her out on behaving so unethically?"

I strongly disagree. A doctor's ethical duty is not simply to present every "option" and let the patient decide while washing her hands of the consequences. The Hippocratic oath is no lightly satisfied.

While we, the audience, of course know that Dr. Russell's procedure was going to be successful (due to the fact that it was inconceivable that they'd kill of Worf), Dr. Crusher didn't know that - indeed, based on her assessment, it was basically an untested, highly experimental procedure with an unacceptably high risk of death being proposed by a doctor who had demonstrated a willingness to gamble with her patients' lives for personal glory.

Keep in mind Worf was not some terminal patient facing certain death. He was stable and with time could have regained much of his prior function. Again, we know that he was committed to suicide should he not regain his functioning, but Beverley didn't. Lots of human patients undoubtedly would have threatened suicide as well and yet changed their minds in time.

Even in countries where assisted suicide is legal, I doubt the procedure is simply to hand someone a needle (or a dagger) the instant they profess the desire to off themselves, within a couple days of suffering a catastrophic (but non life threatening) injury. This is the kind of thing that would probably require extensive psychiatric consultation over many months!

It takes Picard's unique insight into Klingon culture to convince Dr. Crusher that Worf likely cannot be swayed from his decision, and even then it's a borderline call for her since this procedure was extremely likely to kill him, notwithstanding Kilingon ex machina.
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Jason R.
Mon, Mar 6, 2017, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: The Q and the Grey

Ivanov I fully agree. It makes you wonder why they didn't go with a revolutionary war backdrop with the rebel Q as Americans and the establishment Q as the red coats.

The Civil War analogy with the the rebels as Union soldiers is complete rubbish - zero logic there. I understand why they felt they could not cast the "good" Q as the Confederates but still - rubbish. If they couldn't make the Civil War work then do something else!
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Jason R.
Thu, Mar 2, 2017, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

I greatly enjoyed this episode and in light of the Eugenics War I think the rule against enhancement was a necessary evil.

I thought Julian's father was a great character that I found well done and refreshing. So much of Trek revolves exclusively around humanity's cream of the crop, the Picards and Kirks of the universe, it's just refreshing to run into someone who would probably be selling used cars in our time. Even Barclay, for all his faults, was still a genius - this guy is a mediocrity, a real loser, and somehow there isn't enough of that in Trek.

I did find the father's deal a little too pat - if that was a likely option all along, why not just say so? If I had to explain it in a more sensible way, Sisko was Captain of one of the most important outposts in the Federation and he used his influence to convince Starfleet to bend the rules to salvage his officer. At least, that is how I would have written it.

Regarding the mother, I don't object to her husband falling on his sword for her and her not going to jail. But it seemed like the episode just didn't have the time or inclination to really address her character in a serious way. It isn't even that she seems particularly submissive to her husband - rather she's just kind of ignored for most of the episode. If they had jettisoned the idiot Leeta / Rom subplot maybe we could have dealt with mom more seriously. Or if they weren't prepared to address that, maybe they should have just said she left Julian's father or died in a transporter accident.
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Jason R.
Thu, Mar 2, 2017, 11:55am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: A Matter of Honor

Lol Robert. You got me - I would lose in a fight to a female mixed martial arts champion.

But the real question is: how would she fare against an elderly obese Klingon suffering a hangover?
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Jason R.
Thu, Mar 2, 2017, 11:14am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: A Matter of Honor

It is curious that only with respect to Vulcans was the notion of one species having greater strength than humans taken seriously (well that and maybe the Gorn). In no Trek that I can recall would a human stand a chance against a Vulcan in a fist fight.

Yet humans can fight Romulans, Klingons, and even genetically engineered races like the Jem Hadar, toe to toe.

Having said that, even the idea of a woman beating a man in a fist fight is kind of silly - yet it's a pretty well worn Hollywood and TV trope for the 130 lbs woman to punch out some 200 lbs man. So Trek is hardly alone in fudging things to prevent its protagonists from being pasted in situations where it makes little sense for them to prevail.

I think it would have been pretty cool if Trek had tried to play this straight rather than cheating. I liked TOS battles most when Kirk was being creative (gunpowder against the Gorn, a crowbar against Khan). And seriously, it's not like hand to hand combat should be any kind of serious issue in the 24th century!!

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Jason R.
Tue, Feb 28, 2017, 9:59am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: The Omega Directive

Peter I'd agree the concept of an impossible to synthesize compound is strange in a universe with replicators. But it is hardly unprecedented in Trek. Materials like Latinum, Dilithium crystals, for instance, were always established as rare or difficult to synthesize. I presume our unobtanium is just like that, only orders if magnitude rarer. And I see no illogic in presupposing that some pre warp civilzation could be blessed with the quadrant's only supply - maybe their planet is near a black hole that sucked in an ancient Indian burial ground seeded with cosmic fairy dust. Who cares? They have it.
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Jason R.
Tue, Feb 28, 2017, 8:28am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: The Omega Directive

To those questioning why the particle wasn't popping up all over the place if even a pre warp species could create it, this was answered in the episode. Seven described how the borg exhausted their supply of whatever resources were needed to synthesize omega. Given the vastness of the borg collective, we can presume this compound would have been exceedingly rare in the universe. The implication is that omega isn't necessarily hard to synthesize, *if* you have a supply of unobtanium to do so. The pre warp species may have just happened to possess a rare supply of this unobtanium.
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Jason R.
Tue, Feb 28, 2017, 4:31am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Conundrum

Having re-watched this episode, it's pretty clear to me that the only logical explanation of how the Sutterans took over the Enterprise was that this was a carefully planned, well-orchestrated black op on the part of Sutteran intelligence. Consider the way that MacDuff was alone on his ship - no crew, no support, just one man in one ship which intercepts the Enterprise and then destroys itself immediately after taking control.

MacDuff had to have known where the Enterprise was going to be; this did not seem like a random encounter. Also consider that Data is literally the first crewman disabled by the Sutteran weapon, even before Troi or anyone else is affected - which suggests the Sutterans were using a two-phase weapon, the first to disable Data and the second to disable the rest of the crew. They must have known about Data, and much like the plot in The Game, completing their mission required them to deal with Data at the outset.

My assumption watching this episode is that while the Federation may not have been familiar with species in this part of the Galaxy, the Sutterans were well aware of the Federation and had studied its patterns and may even have obtained inside information on its technology and the design of its starships.

Could the Sutteran military have defeated the Enterprise in a normal military engagement? No. But with careful planning and maybe a little inside intelligence about where and when the Enterprise was going to be, and the element of surprise, it stands to reason that a carefully executed "heist" (on par with Voyager's plan to steal a transwarp coil from a Borg Sphere in Dark Frontier) could have succeeded.

MacDuff was pulling Section 31 stuff with this episode. He was probably the Sutteran equivalent of Garek or Sloan.
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Jason R.
Thu, Feb 23, 2017, 7:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: A Matter of Time

Tara we can only imagine what might have been had they written better stories for her. A little less mewling psychobabble and more hard edged psi cop might have done wonders. The irony as you alluded to was that Sirtis actually had it in her to play that kind of role! We saw hints of it when Troi was possessed by aliens (on two occasions I think) and played a Romulan agent. She was even goid as the voice of the Demona character in the Gargoyles tv show, a morally ambiguous sometimes vilainous character (as the name implies). Sirtis can't be blamed for this.

My personal view is this somehow comes back to Rodenberry. I cannot remember where I read this, but I recall someone suggesting that he had a fetish for psychotherapy and this may explain the prominence of Troi's character and why she was featured so prominently in earlier episodes. Yet I can imagine his utopian vision of the future short-circuiting any impulse to explore the darker aspects of her powers. This basically forced the writing to wallow in sacharrine mediocrity and neutralizing her as a meaningful character. If you are not going to use her empathic powers for anything dark (which covers almost any use against even aliens, let alone the crew) what else is left but "I feeeeeel PAAAIN!". It may also be why Lwaxana was always played as a joke - any serious examination of her telepathic powers would force us to confront questions of personal privacy, violation and other things at odds with Rodenberry's idealized, sterile view of the Federation and its people.
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Jason R.
Thu, Feb 23, 2017, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: A Matter of Time

As an aside it is of interest to me what Rodenberry's original intention might have been for the Troi character. I know part of her reason for being there was prurient given her outfit in season 1. Yet there is no doubt she was placed to the Captain's right and from her centrality in many of the earlier stories you get a sense that she was intended to play a very central role and wasn't just put there for sex appeal. Yes her contributions are inane, yet the gravitas accorded her, particularly in season one, suggests that something far more substantive was intended. So it begs the question: what happened? Was it just a failure in the writing? Could no one imagine a use for an empath on a starship? Was this just another example like the Ferengi of the writing and acting just falling on its face?
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Jason R.
Thu, Feb 23, 2017, 5:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: A Matter of Time

It occurred to me that having a full telepath like Lwaxana on board would have been equally useless. Her entire power set consisted of knowing who wanted to have sex with her and how - that was the full extent of her telepathic ability. Don't get me wrong - uncovering Picard's hidden lust was at least as impressive a feat as anything Tam did in Tin Man. Just slightly limited in its overall practical application to shipboard operations.
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Jason R.
Thu, Feb 23, 2017, 12:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: A Matter of Time

Chrome all Troi knew about him (that she stated) was that she didn't trust him. Well Duh. She doesn't trust the obvious flim flam man? Well I'll at least give her credit - that was greater insight than she had for Ardra, the woman claiming to be *the devil* in Devil's Due.

As always, her empathic abilities were utterly useless at divining anything but the most obvious points. Outside of, say, Skin of Evil and maybe one or two episodes, did Troi's empathic powers accomplish the slightest thing in 7 seasons?

Can you imagine if the writers had actually talen Troi's abilities seriously?
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Jason R.
Tue, Feb 21, 2017, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: A Matter of Time

I always liked this episode but on rewatch it really annoyed me how the crew humors the professor who is so obviously a flim flam artist. I mean even if he were genuine, what gives him the right to waltz around the bridge like he owns the place? The guy was insufferable and it was impossible to believe the crew would be so accomodating.

Picard's speech was laughable given that he strenuously argued to allow entire civilizations die (on more than one occasion) rather than violate the prime directive, but now suddenly he is going to the wall for this one little colony? Pffff.

And by the way, another con artist impervious to Troi's empathic powers? Was his mind too "focused" for her to read? And where was Guinan? Naturally the one person who would have seen through this guy instantly was nowhere to be seen!
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Jason R.
Wed, Feb 15, 2017, 8:34am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Most Toys

Peter you forget Fajo had the forcefield so physically attacking him was not an option. He was alone on Fajo's ship, surrounded by Fajo's men. He had one clear chance to neutralize his kidnapper and every reason to believe doing so would end his captivity.

I agree that in the context of Data's ethical programming, this was probably more an execution, than self defence. But keep in mind Data has a different set of priorities and a more altruistic frame if reference. Data, by his nature, would be inclined to self sacrifice rather than kill, but that is not necessarily a legal requirement.

To put this in perspective, if Data was just some person (say a 20 year old woman) and had a chance to kill her kidnapper and escape, even if her life was in no immediate danger, I have little doubt the killing would be legally justified. Kidnapping and forcible confinement is an extreme attack on someone that frankly would justify almost any degree of violence.

Now I will agree that Data is an Android and a Starfleet officer, not some random person, so the context is a little different. But even so, if Data has an opportunity to end his captivity through deadly force, is he required to refrain, knowing that he might never get another chance?

And Fajo did just commit a brutal murder - and vowed to commit more if Data attempted to escape again. Legally speaking, I wonder if you could even stretch these facts into some form of "necessity" defence - not that you'd need to - as noted, killing to escape indefinite captivity must be legal!
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Jason R.
Tue, Feb 14, 2017, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Most Toys

Would Data have been kicked out of Starfleet? Was shooting Fajo even a murder? Data had no way of knowing the Enterprise had just cone. He was alone on Fajo's ship, a prisoner. I think it was self defence - justified to escape from captivity.
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Jason R.
Tue, Feb 14, 2017, 10:42am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Most Toys

The wounding theory doesn't make much sense given the nature of the weapon - we clearly see it consume and vaporize the entire body, regardless of the point of impact. We must also reject the idea that Data didn't fire - it is unambiguous in the episode that he did.

I was also thinking of the zeroith law from Asimov when Peter commented on this. Yet the problem isn't the decision to kill but the decision to lie about it after the fact.

The lie is gratuitous, or serves a selfish purpose antithetical to Data's ethical nature. I simply don't see an easy way to reconcile this with who and what Data is.
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Jason R.
Tue, Feb 14, 2017, 8:58am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Game

I liked this episode. It is a brainless bit of fun. Of course the premise is laughable - if the device can instantly brainwash someone on the first go (as it clearly does given how immediately Judd turns on Wesley) then what is the point of the narcotic effect? Why bother addicting the crew to it if it takes absolute control of them on the first use?

And yeah, bullshit on Picard, let alone Worf ever picking up this doodad.
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Jason R.
Sun, Feb 12, 2017, 7:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

"The day may come soon when I'm forced to treat a new Trek series as non-canon..."

I'm already there with the vile Abrams movies. They are not Star Trek. End of story. The sooner they are forgotten the better.
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Jason R.
Sun, Feb 12, 2017, 7:25am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Critical Care

Just to add some additional perspective on the Canadian system: yes, basic emergency, diagnostic and necessary surgical care is covered by the Provincial health plans (there is no universal care in Canada - each Province has its own health plan).

But the idea that this eliminates the need for private health plans or that it covers all necessary healthcare is something of a fiction.

In Ontario, for example, medications (outside of what is administered in the hospital as part of surgical or emergency care) are not covered. Dental care is not covered. Physio and psycho therapies and rehab treatments (outside of perhaps a narrow very limited hospital based treatment for very serious injuries - and only at the outset) are not covered. Basic assistive devices are not covered. So for instance, my daughter's club foot brace (about $500 at the outset and then again as we get larger braces as she grows) was not covered, despite it being necessary for her not to be crippled. Her emergency anti seizure medication would not be covered. If you got into an accident and needed physio for an injury, most of that would not be covered.

People in Canada do have private health insurance. And you can still end up paying thousands of dollars for healthcare expenses notwithstanding "free" care.

That said I am conservative and I would not take the US system. When I travel to the US the first call is to my health insurer to verify coverage - I am not interested in having to pay a $500,000 bill if God forbid my daughter has a seizure in Florida or my wife needs her appendix out.

The price for healthcare in the US is ludicrous.
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Jason R.
Sat, Feb 11, 2017, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ensign Ro

I also got the sense that there was alot of self hatred with Ro. In the scene where she describes her father's death, you really feel that she hates what he became - that she hated her people (and therefore herself).

Regarding Guinan, I guess my beef is more with her in general than in this one instance. I mean is there the slightest doubt that she is going to be Ro's instant friend though barely trying? She isn't a telepath or empath (see how Troi gets rebuffed almost immediately) yet she can just magically become whatever the story needs - it's almost meta. Even Picard is powerless before her spell.
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Jason R.
Sat, Feb 11, 2017, 10:13am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ensign Ro

Peremensoe that is probably how the writers justified it retroactively for DS9, but I don't think that was what was really intended. In the episode it was explicitly stated the Bajorans were forced off their world which had been colonized (not "occupied") by the Cardassians and had become drifters and nomads. Basically it was like Titan A.E. with the Bajorans being a homeless race of scavengers.
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Jason R.
Fri, Feb 10, 2017, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ensign Ro

Just watched this episode again. I really really liked the Ro character. The scene with Crusher was perfect - I enjoyed how she made a mockery of Federation moral superiority and rubbed it in everyone's face (even Picard)

I am frankly puzzled at the complaints about Ro being some kind of "badass" or "terminator". She didn't so much as throw a punch the whole episode.

The two things that keep me from loving this episode were Guinan and the Admiral. Regarding the Admiral, I thought the performance was just off kilter - very inconsistent. His motivation was not clear or convincing and he just came across as a dunce to me

Regarding Guinan, I just did not buy the ease with which she befriended Ro. Yes, she had something in common with Ro being an exile too, but it just seemed forced to me. I felt like Guinan was just using voodoo or something on her. It was almost meta how Guinan could just get to her with instant success. Who is this sorceress? Maybe they should fire Troi at this point and let Guinan take over.

By the way, one little tidbit I noticed was how the Bajorans were showed to be exiles and wanderers. The implication is that the Bajoran home world was empty of Bajorans.

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