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Jason R.
Tue, Aug 15, 2017, 7:21am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Paradise Lost

Well Peter I don't doubt that there were Soviet spies running around in the 50s up to no good. The question I have is whether McCarthy's purges were very good at rooting them out or if it was just political theatre and virtue signalling.

If I believed witches were real and truly possessed dark magic I'd be equally skeptical that too many were actually killed in Salem.

I just don't think "witch hunts" are likely very good at catching witches. Maybe I'm wrong. But the changelings didn't seem all that worried about it.
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Jason R.
Mon, Aug 14, 2017, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Paradise Lost

Peter, I am content to conclude that the Founders likely had little or nothing to do with the planned coup or the events leading up to it. In a way it's not unlike the 1950s when real Soviet agents were almost certainly present, but McCarthy's purge was mostly just skapegoating sympathizers rather than rooting out real spies and probably had little to do with their activities.

Indeed, That's actually changeling O'Brien's point, although Sisko probably didn't fully understand it at the time: we don't need to do anything much to cause havoc - our being here is enough! What Sisko didn't realize is that the Changeling was literally saying that they could do *nothing* and still provoke the Federation into destroying itself.

Incidentally, where did you get the idea that the overthrow of Central Command was due to changeling influence? This may have been Gow'Ron's pretext for invasion (no doubt spurred by fake Martok) but we know the D'Tappa council members were not changelings and as is even mentioned in the episode with the Obsidian Order wiped out, it was reasonable to assume that the power vaccum would destabilize Carsassin society opening the door to a coup.
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Jason R.
Sat, Aug 12, 2017, 9:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

"it's absurd to think that all injustice is forgotten four centuries hence. I'm sure some people would react negatively to a Medieval Spanish theme park that completely airbrushed out the inquisition."

Funny you mention the inquisition, because Mel Brooks (a jew) turned it into a song and dance number which included orthodox Jewish men getting thrown into pools with smiling nuns. And no, I wasn't remotely offended, nor was any Jewish person I ever met who saw the movie. Because the Spanish Inquisition is ancient history.

But that said I do think that the Benny Russell character and Sisko's experience gives him a unique perspective beyond the ordinary 24th century black man's. It's just a shame that the episode fails to tie his reaction in with that. Unfortunately, it just seems to come out of left field.
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Jason R.
Thu, Aug 3, 2017, 9:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Sons of Mogh

I have always enjoyed Tony Todd's performance as Kurn, going back to TNG in Sins of the Father where he had to pretend to enjoy roast turkey. He really nailed that scene and provided one of the few examples of Trek seriously addressing an alien culture on its own terms in an authentic way. Yeah, the roast turkey scene - who would have thought?

Here I do think Todd pulls off a similar feat as we see the fundamental difference between Klingon notions of honour and those of humans. Kurn is resentful of his brother's decision, to say the least, but in the end he can only look up to his older brother and trust him to do what is best, even if he bitterly resents his brother's sacrifice.

I do enjoy how the episode does not pull its punches, showing that for Kurn, there simply isn't a good resolution. I like how Worf's decision has real consequences, that when Gowron promised to strip his house of its lands and its seat on the high council, this was not just some words. Indeed, Kurn is absolutely right - for Worf this was, in some respects, a profoundly selfish act, as while Worf protected his own personal integrity, he was not the one who had to experience the consequences of that decision. Worf could always fall back on his career in Starfleet, but for Kurn once he was ejected from Klingon society he was left with nothing.

That's the strength and weakness of the story, because while it works well, it also boxes the writers in and makes a satisfactory resolution nearly impossible. I think the mind wipe was a very weak resolution, but almost unavoidable. The really ballsy thing to do of course would have been some manner of suicide, or even having Worf finally complete the ritual, Sisko's blustering be damned.

One additional plot annoyance for me: Kurn is hardly some anonymous nobody in Klingon society. He comes from a noble house with a seat on the high council. He personally came to Gowron's rescue during the civil war and as Worf's brother, would have been personally elbow to elbow with the highest levels of Klingon society.

It's just hard to accept that he could just join some other house and live out the rest of his life in obscurity without anyone recognizing him. If we're to accept that the house he joined had any nobility, one would think that he'd sooner or later be noticed by someone!
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Jason R.
Tue, Jul 25, 2017, 5:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Final Mission

If tossing the garbage ship into the sun was always a viable option, why didn't the people who made the garbage just find a sun and do it. Duh.

And seriously? Drinking whiskey in 50 degree heat under direct sun without water? There's raging alcoholic and then there's this guy.
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Jason R.
Tue, Jul 25, 2017, 12:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

Especially in light of the events of In the Pale Moonlight. "The Ends don't justify the Means" has to be one of those idioms that is universally agreed with in theory but almost never in practice. There is no question Section 31 saved the Alpha Quadrant, none. And given the chance to rectify their evil act the Federation unequivocally stood by it.
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Jason R.
Sat, Jul 22, 2017, 9:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Savage Curtain

I didn't hate this episode as much as I had remembered it. I think the guest performance by the Lincoln actor and some of the dialogue with Surak elevated it a bit for me. Where the episode falls flat on its face of course is in the conclusion. Obviously as others have noted, attempting to discern the nature of good and evil through physical combat is just silly. But beyond that, it's apparent the writers just haven't the foggiest clue how to resolve things at the end, so they just have Kirk and Spock flat out beat up the four villains in a fist fight. That's right - after Lincoln and Surak die Spock and Kirk just straight up kick the asses of the bad guys despite 2:1 odds. No cleverness, no twist (a la Kirk outwitting the Gorn) they're just better fighters.
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Jason R.
Tue, Jul 18, 2017, 5:41am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Valiant

Maybe I am forgetting some details about this episode but weren't the cadets supposed to be in their 20s? Young but hardly child soldiers.
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Jason R.
Sat, Jul 8, 2017, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Code of Honor

MMM you sort of touch on the catch 22. If they refrain from making any alien race dark skinned it comes across as arbitrary and conspicuous in of itself. If they do choose to make an alien race dark skinned then any perceived negative trait attributed to that race, either overt or implied, would inevitably be considered evidence of racism.

This means that the only option is to assiduously avoid ascribing negative traits to a dark skinned alien race - which is again an arbitrary decision and arguably one that denies dark skinned actors the full range of roles white actors enjoy. Or more likely, to simply never present a dark skinned alien race, which leads to the accusation that black actors are being unfairly shut out in favour of white ones.

For the record, I found nothing particularly villainous about the Ligonians as they were portrayed. I suppose much of the criticism of the episode centres on the sense of primitiveness they exude, which isn't really valid either since they clearly have transporters and other advanced technology. Or perhaps it's their culture of honour? Is that a black stereotype? I'm not sure it is. Is it because they are male dominant and black people are perceived as male dominant? Again, unclear since the women are stated to own the property in their society. It is all rather fuzzy to me.

On the balance, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint a cogent explanation of the episode's supposed obvious "racism".

My personal view is that this conclusion is actually a reflexive response to the fact that the alien race is dark skinned and not portrayed in a uniformly and unambiguously positive light.
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Jason R.
Thu, Jul 6, 2017, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

Love the Sphinx metaphor. The future enterprise even has a third warp nacel, like the old man's cane in the riddle.
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Jason R.
Tue, Jul 4, 2017, 7:03am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Endgame

Matt totally agreed. Indeed, imagine how impactful it would have been if no one even knew about the Voyager and they just showed up, this ship out of the past, sort of like Tom Hanks in castaway or the Flying Dutchman. I imagine this transformed ship, modified and gerrymandered, but built as a generation ship with a crew of Maquis and Starfleet young adults borne from the original crews intermingled.

But I guess I'm thinking of a very different STV, the one I wanted, not the one I got.
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Jason R.
Sat, Jul 1, 2017, 6:57am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Fourth Season Recap

Nopoet, TNG and TOS could get away with a reset button every week because they took place in the Federation where resources were unlimited and dead crew, smashed shuttles, holes in the hull and other detritus could be swept clean without consequence to the story. Not so with Voyager, stranded 70,000 light years from the nearest starbase or gas station.

Voyager's premise was incompatible with a reset button. Contrary to what you said, it was a show that needed continuity. Seeing the Voyager, shiny and perfect, sailing through space with its professional starfleet crew each week was an insult to the audience's intelligence and a waste of the premise. If all they wanted to do was have an alien / anomaly of the week they could have just done it in the alpha quadrant, a la TNG.
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Jason R.
Thu, Jun 29, 2017, 5:47am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Scorpion, Part I

Watching this again reminded me how utterly gobsmacked I was at Janeway's betrayal of Federation values, the Prime Directive and all sense. Chakotay was bang on: her decision to help the Borg was utterly unprincipled and I would add cowardly. She did it because she did not want to have to give the order to turn around and take true responsibility for the other bad decision she made in Caretaker.

She knew almost nothing about Species 8472 apart from some stray telepathic transmissions Kes picked up that, for all we know, could have been coming from 8472 jarheads or religious fanatics. She had zero idea even how the war started. Yet she was willing to help the Borg (a race who just a couple days before she was describing as "evil") assimilate them?

Hey Janeway, what happens when the Borg get planet killers on top of their existing arsenal?

This is the most unambiguously wrong choice a starfleet captain has ever made in a Trek series to date.

Holy Prime Directive Captain.
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Jason R.
Tue, Jun 27, 2017, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Sins of the Father

How come it is still known as the House of Mogh? Is it still Mogh's house even to Alexander or does it become Worf's house to him? And if so, how come it is still Martok's house and not his father's house? For that matter, what sense does it make that Martok's wife, who we learn has some hoity toity imperial blood line, joins Martok's house, when Martok is some shlub from the Klingon Ozarks?
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Jason R.
Mon, Jun 26, 2017, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Dear Doctor

Strejda I am using "fails" in the sense of "does not" and "stranger" in the sense of someone who is not connected to another by some recognised relationship (family, employment, contract etc...)

So if you see a man about to be hit by a car, can save him, but choose not to, it is certainly not murder. Absent a special relationship, it is not even illegal, unless there is some good Samaritan law on the books a la Seinfeld - but even in the latter case, you are not a "murderer".

I haven't seen the episode, but based on the facts described, Flox and Archer had 0 obligation to the aliens and are in no conceivable way "murderers" for failing to help them, period not up for discussion.
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Jason R.
Fri, Jun 23, 2017, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: I, Borg

"The Borg obviously have very very easy ways to do away with that. There is nothing that suggests even remotely plausibly that it won't happen again here the second "Hughes" is reconnected to the Hive. "

In BOBW the Borg "interdependency" was described as their achilles heel. It was stated that if one jumped off a cliff so too would all of them, which is how Data defeated them.

I infer from this that there is a distinction to be made between being "assimilated" by the Borg and *being* a borg. The assimilation process purges individuality and makes you a borg. Once you are a borg, you are, by definition, *all* borg hence the use of "we" rather than "I".

The point being, when Hugh rejoined the collective, he was not "assimilated" - rather he became the borg (and the borg became him) once more. So his individuality became part of the collective. To the extent Hugh was now an individual, so too was the collective and all Borg within it.

Of course I agree with others that there is something a little too easy about this, and indeed, the whole computer virus plan. It defies belief that the borg could have such an obvious weakness. Yet to be fair, the way in which Data defeated the Borg in BOBW was itself unbelievable. Heck it was even stated that subsystems like defence and power were protected by firewalls but the borg did not bother protecting their regeneration subsystem? Ridiculous.

I know this isn't the point of the episode and we are meant to presume that the virus would succeed but come on!

In any event I do agree with Picard's ethical decision. Funny enough it reminds me of the movie "It Comes at Night" which I just saw. Without providing a spoiler that movie, in my view, poses a similar ethical dilemma at the end which poses the very real question of whether or not survival can really be enough if it compromises our humanity. By the end of that movie, suffice it to say, I came to the conclusion that sometimes survival isn't the be all end all.

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Jason R.
Wed, Jun 21, 2017, 9:15am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: The Thaw

I was watching the Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul recently with my wife and noticed something intensely familiar about the Charles McGill character. Holy shit, he's Fear!
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Jason R.
Mon, Jun 19, 2017, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Dear Doctor

"Instead the writers use bullshit science and totally misinterpret the PD to make Amber and Phlox look like idiots at best, mass murderers at worst. "

Alot of commenters throwing around words like "murder" and "genocide" without knowing what they mean. And no, if a stranger fails to save another stranger's life that is not "murder" in any jurisdiction anywhere. Outside of a special relationship (parent child, doctor patient, teacher student...) it isn't even illegal.
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Jason R.
Mon, Jun 19, 2017, 6:27am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Emissary

"The whole wormhole sequence was silly. It didn't need the wormhole aliens, they just seemed like pointless filler asking stupid questions. I can't remember if they crop up again, let's hope not! "

No worries, they don't appear again in the series. You won't have to see that Gul Duwhatshisface again either. Alot of silly elements of the story were jettisoned to make room for better things, like lots of Q and mirror universe episodes.
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Jason R.
Fri, Jun 16, 2017, 8:28am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Best of Both Worlds, Part II

"We were told originally that once you were assimilated, that was it"

To my knowledge BOBW was the first time we were introduced to even the concept of "assimilation". In fact in Q Who we were told explicitly that the Borg were not interested in life forms, but technology. So no idea where you are getting that from.

And calling BOBW a "battle of the week" is a bit silly when the cube literally wipes out the entire Federation fleet. What would be a worthy battle in your view, the Federation being completely destroyed? There were budgetary constraints you know. Even in a feature film I doubt they could have shown a full scale battle between a 39 ship fleet and a borg cube back then, not in the pre cgi days to be sure. I think for the time, what we got was amazing. I didn't need to see the fleet being destroyed - watching the ship graveyard scene was just great and maybe more impactful.

That said I agree this episode was hyped to an extreme level. The ending of BOBW part 1 is the stuff of parody, what with the over the top music and melodrama. But you know what, it was AWESOME. For me it was the greatest TV I had ever watched. Pure magic.
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Jason R.
Wed, Jun 14, 2017, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

To be fair there was nobody really left to rein in Picard by the time he goes unhinged. Worf already tried and failed, Data was down in engineering having kinky sex with the Borg Queen, and Riker / Geordi / Deanna were down on the surface. Who was left, Beverly? (Please)

Regarding the decision to keep the Enterprise out of the fight it was ludicrous. Sure in other circumstances I could see Starfleet wanting to keep Picard out of a situation where he could be unhinged, but seriously, sidelining the most powerful ship in the fleet while a Borg cube hangs over earth? Seriously?
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Jason R.
Wed, Jun 14, 2017, 9:31am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Well Peter one point about why it may take a person from the 21st century to diagnose Picard - it's not because she's better, it's because (as she states explicitly) she sees it all the time - the people of the 24th century don't. It takes a person from a savage time to more easily recognize the savage for what it is.

I like to look at the fact that Picard read Moby Dick (and Lily didn't) as more a metaphor than merely a comment on Picard happening to be a literature buff or an amusing quip. Lily talked the talk in that she could pay lip service to certain ideas (the futility of revenge, for instance) but Picard was the real deal - when faced with that ugliness, he mastered it. Everyone in the 21st century can spout platitudes about peace and forgiveness and the futility of hate, the same way Lily could cite a book she never read, but only the evolved (Picard as a standin for them) could surpass this savagery.

Regarding the rest of what you said, I honestly don't see the movie glorifying the 21st century humans. Indeed, one if its weaknesses is we don't see much of those humans beyond Cochrane and Lily, and there just isn't much meat on those characters. The story gives us one side (Picard) but we get very little of the other, which is a shame.
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Jason R.
Wed, Jun 14, 2017, 7:56am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

"In FC we get Picard who is damaged goods and bent on vengeance, where a decent chunk of the story is about how he's just as primitive as the humans who nearly destroyed themselves with violence. We even get a 21st century woman educating him on the finer points of obsession and objectivity. The story hear isn't any longer one of the superiority of 24th century man, but about the arrogance of 24th century man in judging man of the past (as Picard did in "Encounter at Farpoint") as being lesser in some way. Even 21st century people have something to teach the Federation, apparently."

I don't think that reading gives enough credit to the writing nor to the nuances of Patrick Stewart's performance. The climax of the story is of course the "The line must be drawn here!" speech where Picard loses control and exposes his thirst for revenge. But the best moment of that scene isn't that line and Picard smashing his display case but what comes immediately after when Lily again taunts Picard as Captain Ahab. You see this change wash over him as he recites the lines from Moby Dick and suddenly he's Jean Luc Picard again. His violence was not a reflection of his true self bubbling up but an *aberration*, which the real Picard conquers. Yes Lily helps him restore himself but what's great about it is that we learn he read the book and she didn't. That to me is significant - Picard understands the past better than a person from the past. He is the evolved man - she is the work in progress, glimpsing the truth but not quite there.

I don't think it's ever been suggested that man would be beyond experiencing feelings like revenge in the 24th century, certainly not in TOS or even TNG. Rather it is how we respond to these feelings that defines our evolution. In Arena Kirk initially seeks revenge on the Gorn but eventually chooses mercy. He is then called "half savage" which might be praise from the point of view of the Melkorans, given their earlier assessment. That is what we are seeing with Picard.
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Jason R.
Tue, Jun 13, 2017, 8:17am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Way to Eden

I'm confused - if Frank Herbert wrote about and cautioned of the dangers of modern technology wouldn't the space hippies want to be "Herberts".
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Jason R.
Sat, Jun 10, 2017, 5:41am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

I would also note that the destruction of the mining drone was utterly pointless and even lacks the BS explanation of "self defence" because the drone was just minding its own business when M5 torpedoed it.

Did Khan just knife random hobos on the street for no reason? Well maybe he did for all we know, but I'd suggest his actions indicate a more purposeful intellect. And if M5 is "amplified" and therefore ahead of the curve, random slaughter for no reason seems out of character.
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