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Just another fan
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 11:41am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Mudd's Women

I thought Skeptical and Trek Fan raised very interesting points. Today, people object to Eve offering to cook and clean. But I think the chores weren't the point. The man was lonely and looking for a partner--a real partner, and so was she. Eve soon proved she had real contributions to make. And the miner showed he wasn't that narrow-minded, considering Harry tried to pull a fast one on him.

But if the drug just enhances what you already have, then the effect on the men in the crew didn't make much sense. McCoy asks Kirk about it, Are they really more beautiful than any other women you've ever seen, or do they just act beautiful? But there it is. I think most agree that the message is inconsistent, even though it does make some strong points in the end.

I have more problems with later Trek episodes, which should be progressing in their portrayal of women given that decades have passed between shows, but are falling woefully short. I have commented on this in Enterprise. In TNG, The Perfect Mate claimed that male metamorphs (aliens who could change their personality and mannerisms to suit their partners) were common but a female was born only once in 7 generations (if I remember correctly). But of course we see only a female metamorph in the episode because that's what the writers or the higher ups want to show us. I might have liked to see a male metamorph! That would have seemed truly alien to us. :)

Trying to address relationships between the sexes is a topic filled with potential landmines, so I have to give them props for even trying. The actors portraying Eve and Harry Mudd were particularly strong, but because of the inconsistencies in the story/direction, I reduce it to 2.5 stars.
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Just another fan
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 1:36am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Enemy Within

Whatever people want to say about Bill Shatner's acting, he does know how to hold the screen, right from his first appearance in this series.

I did find the scenes with Yeoman Rand unnerving. What would you do if your boss basically attacked you in your bedroom? Even if you were attracted to him, you wouldn't want to be jumped like that. And her recounting of the story afterwards to Spock and Kirk was also troubling, with Kirk just saying over and over that it wasn't him. And she adds she wouldn't have told anyone that he attacked her! Considering the time period when this was written, it does seem to explain the mindset at the time and why we are just now hearing all these reports of women coming forward with incidents that happened 40 years ago. In this episode, no one believed Yeoman Rand until her male colleague confirmed her story. And this was supposed to be on the enlightened, forward-thinking starship. Afterwards, Spock dismisses her as though she had just fallen and scraped her knee. Sigh, some things never change.
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Just another fan
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 1:14am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Where No Man Has Gone Before

I saw this episode as a child, and it has stayed with me all my life.

I relate to Kirk's philosophy of man, which he declares to Dr. Dehner as he warns her about Mitchell: "Let's talk about humans, about our frailties...You know the ugly, savage things we all keep buried, that none of us dare expose. But he'll dare. Who's to stop him? He doesn't need to care." It stands in sharp contrast to later philosophy on Star Trek, that by the time of Picard, famine, war, poverty have all been wiped out on earth.

The little story that Mitchell tells when he is first recuperating on the Enterprise is key foreshadowing of what's to come. Mitchell tells Kirk he wasn't going to be able to do well in Kirk's class, so Mitchell "aimed" a blonde at Kirk to distract him, scripted the entire encounter. Did it so well that Kirk almost married the woman and was unaware that he had been manipulated until Mitchell told him. So we have a clue there of the kind of person that Mitchell is. And when he later acquires his godlike powers they serve to amplify this aspect of his character.

But I agree with others who said Sally Kellerman's character really makes this episode work. If the episode had been just a fight between Kirk and Mitchell, it would not have been as rich. The doctor's character tells us that there is more than one way to view/respond to what has happened to Mitchell. We also get a clue on how she thinks when she advocates for the compassionate treatment of Mitchell. She keeps her own counsel. She trusts in her own knowledge and abilities to make decisions and act on them--she doesn't tell the captain when she first observes Mitchell's unusual abilities. Her tendency is toward hope and giving people the benefit of the doubt. She sees the promise of a grand future in Mitchell's abilities and she wants to support him, rather than stifle him. When she, too, develops godlike powers, these aspects of her character are also magnified. I wish I had seen more characters like hers throughout the years on Star Trek, an intelligent, compassionate, moral, brave and, yes, beautiful woman. Note that her uniform is not a short skirt, but pants like the men, which doesn't make her less feminine, just more practical imho. (If you're going to run around on planets with less than hospitable environments, it makes more sense to wear pants than skirts.)

But the scene at the end, where Mitchell finally falls into the grave that he dug for Kirk and is sealed in with a huge stone Kirk knocks down on him, is the stuff of childhood nightmares. That's twice in two episodes that we have the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few philosophy. Perhaps that's why the episode remained etched in my brain for 40 years. 3.5 stars from me.
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Just another fan
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 12:18am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Charlie X

Wow. Nice review, Trek fan. I'm re-watching TOS on Netflix from the beginning for the first time in many years. And so far I'm finding that despite the hokey sets that look like they're made of paper mache, they're still gripping. I forgot that TOS is much more like the Twilight Zone than it is like later Trek series -- happy endings are not guaranteed, and it's not only the red shirts who meet untimely ends.

This episode had a real atmosphere of dread that continued to build throughout. Here, I felt sympathy for Charlie as he tried to navigate the rough seas of adolescence. Without human guidance during his prepubescent years, he had poorer social skills than most young people and no sense of how to control himself. Yet I never felt that he was "bad," only that he had never been taught. So I understood the dilemna the crew faced. I remember being a teenager with all those feelings of insecurity and angst. Even if it meant I could be younger, I wouldn't go through that stage of life again. So I could only imagine the pressure on a young person facing all of those painful rites of passage without an adequate support system.

At the end, when Charlie begged not to be sent back with the aliens, the camera panned the faces of the crew and you could see that no one but Janice and Kirk felt they could even advocate for the boy to stay. A true, Trekkian dilemna, where there was no comfortable choice to make.

I've also been taking note of how the women are treated in these episodes, and so far, it's not too bad for the time period. As usual on Star Trek, there's the odd mixture of an interest in looking at women and commenting on their appearance -- in skirts so short, women couldn't comfortably wear them today, in their nightgowns, sometimes with carefully torn clothing strategically placed, with green skin, with elaborate hair styles, and blue and silver nail polish -- but no real understanding of how to speak to women or relate to them, as if women also were aliens. Witness how Kirk cannot articulate to Charlie why he shouldn't slap a woman on the rear end. In the unaired pilot, the Cage, Captain Pike says he can't get used to having women on the bridge. So given that time period, where women were just beginning to join certain professions, some of the discomfort makes sense. But oddly enough, I see the same treatment of women in Enterprise, as though the people who write Star Trek haven't learned anything about how to relate to women in 40 years. It's a little funny, but while it was somewhat amusing in the sixties, by the 21st century it's more than a little sad.

One thing they got right pretty fast with this series was the distinctive characters. It's early on in the show, and already most of the series regulars are establishing clearly differentiated personalities. It's fun to watch that come together.
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Just another fan
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 6:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: These Are the Voyages...

Yeah, if I thought this were the last episode of Star Trek forever, I'm not sure I would have done it this way. If they wanted to connect it to something, they should have found a way to connect it to TOS, and they could have waited until the end of the episode to do that. It would have had more impact.

The episode before this one felt like the real end of the series. They needed an Archer speech here, but they had already given it, so what else were they going to say? It just felt like they ran out of steam, or budget, or just gave up. Maybe they were upset at being cancelled when they had put all that work into season 4. Even the montage at the end seemed odd to me -- why pick only those 3 voices, and why not in chronological order? If they'd spent another hour working on it, I believe they could have done something that would have tied the series together better and felt like a tighter wrap up--there's so much footage over the years. They could have showed all the captains adjusting their uniforms, or somehow overlapped the change from "where no man has gone" to "where no one has gone before" or something equally silly but they would have gotten the aw, shucks from all of us in the community.

I'm sorry they cancelled the series at this juncture. I feel like they had just started to find their footing with the 4th season. Can you imagine if they had cancelled TNG at this stage? The 1st two seasons of TNG were mostly horrible. They started to find their way in season 3, then they really hit their stride in season 4. If no season 5, then no Darmok, no I, Borg, and no Inner Light. What a crime that would have been! So although many of us are complaining about what a poor job they did on Enterprise, I think the real culprit here is the network with the short attention span that didn't give them a chance to finish growing. Over the entire course of the series, I probably did find a good dozen episodes that I would rate at three or better. It's like shopping for a record album, if you find 3 or 4 good songs out of 10, you buy it. So overall, I'll take it although they perhaps didn't achieve the potential I think they could have done.

I'm not sure there will ever be a complete end to Star Trek. Here we are in 2017 with another iteration. Not sure how long this new one will last, and since CBS wants me to pay for it in addition to all the services I'm already paying for, I probably won't see it until it, too, arrives on Netflix. But at least they're back with a network who understands its culture and value. So hopefully they'll take the lessons they learned here and build a better Trek.
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Just another fan
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Bound

I'm not going to comment on the episode at all. I find it interesting that folks on this board cannot agree on whether the episode is sexist or not. Here's a thought. It's pretty easy to tell whether something is racist. So try this test on this episode: Imagine all the female characters are black and all the male characters are white. Do you have the same reaction?
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Just another fan
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 12:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: The Aenar

I, too, enjoyed these 3 episodes. Yes, there were plot holes and you do have to suspend belief with some of the technology, but I thought bringing the Aenar in solved one of the bigger ones -- that the Romulans have this advanced technology this early in the canon. Without the Aenar they cannot make this drone technology work and apparently it's also susceptible to being hacked so perhaps they abandoned the idea and chose other development pathways.

I will say I have seen a marked improvement in the treatment of romantic liaisons and relationships in the series. More than half of the series featured gratuitous, meaningless pursuits that seemed flat, without basis and engineered for commercial reasons. But in recent episodes, development has been more thoughtful, with a basis on shared experiences, shared viewpoints, common interests--in other words, how grown people behave, not adolescents. Here I'm referring to Archer and Hernandez, Shran and Talas, and Trip and T'Pol.

I rate this arc a solid 3 and maybe an extra half star for Mr. Combs.
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Just another fan
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 11:30am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Babel One

Continuity with the Romulans and this advanced technology does seem to be a problem, but I was willing to suspend my disbelief because I enjoyed the story arc.

Loved the your-mama-style insults at the beginning of the episode.

It does feel like Shran is almost another member of the crew. He certainly gets more lines than some of the series regulars. Fortunately for me, I enjoy Combs performances.

I rate this 3 stars.
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Just another fan
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 9:23am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Observer Effect

I found it interesting that the two alien beings inhabited Reed and Mayweather, the two main cast characters with the least developed personalities. If they had inhabited other characters and caused them to act out character, perhaps the crew could have caught on to what they were doing. And Archer's big noble speech doesn't match his past actions, which I've found very disturbing at least once. But I can make allowances that as he gains more experience, perhaps his ideas about first contact are evolving.

Very interesting episode. This type of exploration is exactly why I watch Star Trek. For me , 3 1/2 stars.
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Just another fan
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 2:09am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Borderland

I'm watching the series on Netflix. When it was on television, I caught maybe one or two of the beginning episodes and then didn't stick with it. I felt like I had outgrown Star Trek.

But now in 2017, here I am returning to Star Trek. So many series on television and online have turned very dark and depressing. I find that I miss it. And Bakula, Trineer and others have grown on me.

As for this episode, whoever had to follow after Ricardo Montalban had big shoes to fill. So I feel sorry for Alex Newman here. I didn't think his performance was bad, but sometimes an original cannot be improved. Not as bad as having Britney Spears cover the Rolling Stones' I Can't Get No Satisfaction, but along those lines.

The fight sequences on Enterprise aren't always convincing, but they were here. And the Orion scenes were fun. But it bothers me that they have robbed T'Pol of the strength she should have as a Vulcan. She should be stronger than human beings at the very least.

And watching Brent Spiner was a joy. It's true that he has played similar roles over the years, but I remember his performances as Lore and Dr. Soong, and I would argue that his performance in this story is better and more subtle than his past performances--less sneering and more range and genuine emotion. And he's been given a complex character to play. It was like watching him come home.
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Just another fan
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Harbinger

Are there any women commenting in this forum? Am I the only one who thinks it is utterly and completely degrading to give a woman an acting job with the seeming prerequisite that she be willing to disrobe partially or completely every few episodes? Not all the cast, nor even all the women, just her?
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Just another fan
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 12:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Cease Fire

I agree that the action sequences don't do much for this episode, and the plot is somewhat predictable. But tell the truth now, are you every truly surprised by any plot these days? For my part, not since the Sixth Sense.

I enjoyed the performances by the guest stars -- Mr. Combs (always a treat), Tall Tarah (always a treat, in any incarnation) and Gary Graham. Mr. Graham is very believable as the irritable but reasonable Ambassador Soval. And the exchanges between T'Pol and Soval and Archer and Phlox helped move the characters along.

For the performances, I rate it 3 stars.
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Just another fan
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 9:21am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Proving Ground

Had so much fun watching this episode. Hope Mr. Combs gets many more opportunities to go and chew the scenery elsewhere. So, which came first--that Mr. Combs breathes life into a character that was well written or the writers find that Mr. Combs has a certain sensibility and they write toward it? I have a theory that writers find it easier to write for an actor who has a personality. They can "hear" his voice and picture how he will deliver the lines. Then it ends up being a symbiotic relationship between him and them. I also liked his acerbic engineer (Molly Brink). Good job by the cast all around on this episode.

And I also have to say, watching on Netflix with headphones, even though I don't love the opening theme (Diane Warren maybe not the right person for that assignment, though in general I love her stuff), the score for this show is very good.
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Just another fan
Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Cogenitor

I was so upset watching this episode that I had to come here to Jammer's Review to see how other people responded. At first, I was horrified by the number of people who agreed with the outcome and the way it was handled. Then I began to calm down after reading some dissenters.

As a Star Trek fan, I'm very familiar with the Prime Directive. Not sure I agree with it, but I understand it.

Truth be told I was completely engrossed in the episode, right up to the last scene. I even understood why the captain made the decision to send Charles back, although I vehemently disagreed it. The episode did what good science fiction is supposed to do--cause us to question the basic tenets of our society, examine our consciences, think, ask questions and have thoughtful and intense discussions. It looks at alien cultures, but really the questions are always directed back at ourselves. What would YOU do in this situation?

What sent me over the edge was the tirade at the end where Captain Archer completely ignores that there is any keeping-you-up-at-night moral issue to be faced here, pretends that there could be only one way of addressing Charles' situation, and refuses to take any responsibility for his part in Charles' death. And pouring salt on the wound, the writers decided to have Chip be silent and shoulder the full weight of responsibility instead of pushing back and making the captain think a little harder about whether the prime directive gives you the right to ignore issues of basic rights, instead of dismissing it as an easy decision that a junior officer could have made. Chip's viewpoint should have been articulated. Then it would have been clearer that each person was right in his own eyes, and that would have been a much more provocative, instead of insulting, ending.

Even in a prior episode when T'Pol told a story about Vulcans visiting earth, they found a way to be compassionate and alleviate human suffering without disrupting history. I'm sure people will disagree with me, but in my view some things are worse than death and subjecting someone to continual sexual abuse and slavery falls in that category. Trip's actions may been impulsive and undisciplined, but his moral compass was spot on, and for his captain to expect him to ignore it was gross and disgusting. Archer should have been guiding Trip to come to him in the future and discuss such issues as soon as he becomes aware of them so that they could decide how to handle it together.

As for our discussion on this board, if we cannot agree that slavery under any name anywhere any time by any species is wrong and is not subject to "cultural" dissonance, then we have a much bigger problem than whether or not we like the writing on this show.
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