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Luke Matrix
Sun, Nov 19, 2017, 5:24am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Inquisition

I think it's a neat episode with great acting by both Siddig and William Sadler. Like a few commenters have already said I think the inclusion of Section 31 is an interesting story element because of how they clash with the Federation ideals. I don't think having a secret cabal doing what they think is best for the Federation changes anything about our characters and the rest of Starfleet, because while our hero characters have been by necessity good blokes we've seen plenty of bad or misguided eggs like Ronald Tracy, John Gill, Janice Lester, Garth of Izar, Admiral Cartwright, Eric Pressman, Norah Satie, Vice-Admiral Kennelly, Admiral Leyton and Admiral Doherty. Section 31 is just a bunch of pricks who've been doing it longer.
My only quibble with the episode is having Section 31 be in the shadows for over 200 (or 300) years. Now on the one hand I think it's a cool story idea that around the time of First Contact a bunch of people got together to further Earth's agenda as they ventured into the stars. I like seeing different factions played off one another, like seeing SG1 vs the NID, or the Machine team vs Samaritan, and it was fun seeing them back in Enterprise. But on the other hand I feel like it diminishes the individual if they retcon that S31 had a hand in every major plot in Star Trek. Cartwright was just a disillusioned guy who made a deal with his counterpart Chang. Doherty was just a dumb idiot suckered in by whatsisstretchyface. Not everything needs to be connected.
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Luke
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 2:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Third Season Recap

@WilliamB - I'd say Season Three is a slight improvement over Season Two on the whole. Though that is almost entirely due to the rather strong set episodes it ends on. It's mostly, like almost all of VOY, just average. Even the much-despised "Trilogy of Terror" isn't really that bad, in my humble opinion. I actually kind of like "Darkling", "Rise" is also just average and "Favorite Son".... well, okay, that one is pretty bad. ;-P

But, it does have more stand-outs than Season Two offered - "Fair Trade", "Unity", "Before and After" and "Scorpion, Part I". Whereas Season Two's only real stand-out episode was "Meld". Maybe "The Thaw" qualifies, but I think it falls just shy.

Season Four, however, is indeed a drastic improvement, almost right from the get-go. It's easily the best of the bunch. If memory serves it's the only season of VOY where I would award two ten of ten scores to separate episodes. One of these days I really ought to get back to my reviews of Trek, I'd love to finish up DS9 and then move on to VOY and ENT eventually. God, I can't believe it's been almost seventeen months since I last reviewed DS9: "Valiant"!
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Luke
Thu, Sep 7, 2017, 3:26am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

Well, I count no less than five different logical fallacies in that brief comment alone. "Slippery slope", "black or white", "false cause", "composition/division" and "anecdotal".

Well done.
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Luke
Mon, Jun 19, 2017, 2:21am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

What is going on in these comments?
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Luke
Sat, May 27, 2017, 8:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

Ah, yes.... because all of us "pearl clutching" conservatives really had a problem when, say, Worf (played by a black man) ended up with Dax (played by a white woman). Or when Worf and Ezri hooked up. Or when Bashir and Ezri ultimately ended up together. Or when Worf and Troi had a relationship. Or when Paris (a white guy) married Torres (played by a Hispanic woman) on VOY. Or when LaForge over on TNG only expressed interest in white women. Or when Mayweather ended up having a past relationship with a white woman over on ENT.

But put two black people together in a realtionship and people actually start pearl clutching.

Funny how that works.
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Luke
Mon, May 8, 2017, 4:45am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Let He Who Is Without Sin...

Yeah, Worf is the controlling one in this relationship. Sure.

Dax, to paraphrase William B from upthread, ....
1.) Chooses the vacation they go on.
2.) Chooses to tell everyone why Worf is upset (regarding her dinner with Captain Boday) when Worf wanted it to be private, in front of Worf no less.
3.) Constantly talks about Worf behind his back.
4.) Repeatedly tells Worf to get out of his uniform.
5.) Instructs Worf to put on his swimsuit, which seemingly she got him and is clearly *not* the type of swimsuit he would be comfortable wearing on what is, let's remember, his body.
6.) Tells him to stop reading the Essentialist pamphlet.
7.) Tells him that it's none of his business what Leeta does as if she was not frequently gossiping.
8.) Criticizes him for attending the Essentialists' rally.

So, he went where she wanted to go, did what she wanted to do and was okay with her bad-mouthing him. All while she was telling him what he should wear, what he should read, what he should say and who he should time with. But he's the controlling one because he would prefer it if she didn't engage in clearly sexualized pastimes with a former lover (which she has no problem doing - pretty odd thing for such a *controlled* woman to do).

We must have watched different episodes.
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Luke
Thu, Mar 30, 2017, 2:28am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Bounty

@ Jason R - "What people don't like is when Trek uses sex appeal as a substitute for good story or to distract from poor quality. It's not about being offended by female nudity - it's being offended by the notion that putting an actress in her underwear can distract us from a terrible episode. "

Then why does this subset of Trek fans complain every single time any kind of nudity, or sexuality, appears on screen. Every. Single. Time. They even complain when it happens in an otherwise good, or at least decent, episode. Going back to SFDebris and his obsession with it, look no further than his review of DS9: "Distant Voices". At one point, after we've realized everything is taking place in Bashir's imagination, there's a Dabo Girl who sings "Happy Birthday". SFDebris complains that she's wearing a skin-tight costume even though it fits perfectly in the story as Bashir is fantasizing about having a sexy woman singing to him. Or how about VOY: "Warlord", when Torres shows up in a swimsuit at one point. They complain about that as well, even though it makes perfect sense story-wise as she's taking part in a beach resort holo-program (and it's not even a very revealing swimsuit - it's a one-piece). Like I said.... Every. Single. Time.

@ Peter G - "But I suspect the reason Trek fans are displeased at the sexualization (of a Vulcan, no less) on ENT is because Trek is supposed to be representative of a future that is beyond racism and sexism, and certainly part of that vision should be avoiding sexualizing people for profit."

If that's the case then why don't these sex-negative fans get anywhere near as outraged when a man is shown without his shirt on, or with even less clothes on. I don't remember anybody getting as outraged as Jammer does in this very review whenever William Shatner appeared topless. In fact, TOS may have shown more male than female skin.

@ William B - "I am also reminded of Ron Moore's comment in his famous Voyager rant about Seven's outfit -- if you want her to be sexualized, have her be interested in sex."

Then the sex-negative Trek fans shouldn't have a problem this episode, as T'Pol's entire plot revolves solely around her intense interest in having sex. And yet, here we are.

@ Chrome - "The best I could hope is that the actress and maybe some of the female writers have some input as to whether they think a woman in the 23 - 24th century would wear a particular costume. "

Nobody ever forced Marina Sirtis to wear those body hugging costumes Troi almost always wore. Nobody ever forced Jeri Ryan to wear those catsuits. Nobody ever forced Terry Farrell to wear a swimsuit in DS9: "Let He Who Is Without Sin...". Nobody ever forced Roxann Dawson to wear a swimsuit in VOY: "Warlord". Nobody ever forced Jeri Ryan to wear catsuits. Nobody ever forced Linda Park to appear in her underwear. And nobody ever forced Jolene Blalock to wear catsuits or to appear in semi-naked scenes. Every single one of those women chose, of her own free will, to do those things. Each one said something along the lines of "yes, I'm comfortable with my body and I'm happy to show it off." They all could have simply put their feet down and refused to do it. I find it odd that as you advocate for women's agency you're willing to strip these women of that very agency and portray them as simply being acted upon by the powers that be.

@ Jason R - "In the 90s it was sleazy, phony and lame all in the same package. The irony with Jeri Ryan was that she was really a talented actress and the writing for her character was good..."

Indeed it is a shame that the sex-negative fans can't seem to look past her physical appearance. You're right: Ryan is a very good actress. I even think that Jolene Blalock is a better actress than most people give her credit for. I'd rather focus on their characters. However, the sex-negative fans always say: "We shouldn't focus on their bodies! Now shut up while I do nothing but focus on their bodies!"

@ William B - "... they read as purely adolescent fantasies partly *because* it seems inconceivable that they could actually have sex or be so interested -- to appeal to teens who are hormonal but also threatened by sex (and especially by female desire, as opposed to desirable females). And that genuinely seems to be part of the design -- as if people being sex objects for audience purposes is what they want, in order to sell the shows, but for them to be sexual beings with their own desires would be a bridge too far and might alienate people. "

And yet, again, in this very episode T'Pol has an overwhelmingly intense desire to do just that - actually have sex. It gets to the point where she's willing to jump both Phlox's and Reed's bones on the spot because she desires it so badly. And yet, Jammer and quite a few commenters still lambast the episode for daring to show Blalock in a state of semi-undress.
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Luke
Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 6:03am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Bounty

Okay, can someone please explain to me what it is about a certain subsection of Trek fans and their obsessive disdain for sexuality (especially female sexuality)?

"OMG, Jolene Blalock's belly button is showing?! WHY ISN'T SHE IN A BURQA?!?!?!?! WHERE'S MY FAINTING COUCH?!?!?!?! GET ME MY SMELLING SALTS!!!!! Clearly this is only meant to appeal to those disgusting, teenaged, horndog boys - people who I'm naturally better than because I'm above such filthy things as titillation. Not that I'm opposed to sexuality, mind you; I just howl with indignation every single time it's presented in any fashion."

Seriously, for a fanbase that so prides itself on being open-minded, there is a remarkable streak of sex-negativity among us. Just look at SFDebris, for example. The man descends into apoplectic rage every time a female character wears something even remotely skin-tight, let alone when she's *GASP* scantily-clad. I just don't get it. I'd say a lot of Trek fans are awfully Victorian when it comes to sex, but that's an insult to Victorian era people. They're more like modern day Puritans.
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Luke
Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 8:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Retrospect

Claudio - Your students are "almost universally appalled by it"?

If the concept of "innocent until proven guilty" appalls them, then there is something seriously wrong with your students.
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Luke
Sat, Mar 25, 2017, 6:07am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: A Night in Sickbay

Damn, I'm something of an ENT apologist, even an Archer apologist, but this is absolutely dire. I've never understood the hatred most people have toward Archer as a character. In fact, I often fail to see why so many see him as a complete incompetent. But this time the writers seemed intent on making him just that.

Let's review that major - and I stress "major" because there are plenty more - problems with this episode....
1.) Why the hell should I care about Porthos? First off, I'm a cat person not a dog person. But you know what? If there was an episode that focused on Data taking Spot to some planet and Spot getting sick, I still wouldn't care. Because a character's pet shouldn't be the damn focus of an entire episode! They actually did have Spot be the focus of half an episode - "Force of Nature" - and it was crap too!
2.) Why does Archer even take Porthos to the planet in the first place? Here he is, faced with visiting a planet of people he knows, from first-hand experience, that are more easily offended than even the most out-there, lunatic, trigger-warning-happy, modern Progressive Social Justice Warriors and he takes his freaking dog on the visit! Yeah, Jon, there's simply no way that could cause trouble. *facepalm*
3.) ARCHER: "Well, maybe if they'd bothered to read the genetic profile we sent..." Are you freaking kidding me?! Dipshit, a genetic profile isn't going to tell these people that dogs like to piss on trees!
4.) So, apparently Archer is a trained diplomat. I think this is the first time that's ever been revealed. How does he handle this diplomatic situation? By acting like a petulant jerk. Brilliant! Here's a quick tip for the writers - if you want us to believe a character is diplomatic, don't have him respond to a diplomatic situation by acting like a blowhard and a moron. You don't barge into someone else's house, start throwing your weight around, tell them what's what, act like a prideful buffoon and call it "diplomacy".
5.) So apparently Archer really, really wants to get into T'Pol's Vulcan panties. And, apparently, T'Pol might - possibly - want to let him unlock that achievement. Where in the actual fuck did this come from?! Jammer is right in that there has been precisely ZERO sexual tension or subtext between these two characters up until now. Even when T'Pol's breasts accidentally ended up in Archer's face back in "Shadows of P'Jem" there was no hint of sexual tension from either of them! Damn, and I thought the sexual subtext between Janeway and Chakotay was limited. This is practically non-existent.
6.) The Kreetassans. There's being humorously arrogant and then there's this. These people are so uptight and offense-prone that even if the episode was capable of being funny they would suck it all down the drain. If you're going to crank something up to 11 and beyond, make sure it's worth it.

Wow, even as a fan of ENT and of Archer as a character, this crap is awful. God bless John Billingsley, because Phlox is the only legitimately worthwhile part of this train wreck. His discussion with Archer about his family was easily the diamond in this sea of shit.

But, is this the worst of the franchise? Hardly. At least they didn't openly advocate for eugenics like TOS did in "The Mark of Gideon" or outright promote religious fanaticism to the point of murder like TNG did in "Homeward". Hell, it's not even the worst of ENT thus far. At least it didn't say "rape is funny.... as long as it happens to a man" like they did in "Unexpected". So, at least it doesn't promote murder or rape. Hardly high praise.
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Luke
Sun, Feb 12, 2017, 11:41am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Retrospect

@Paul Allen

"No conclusive evidence, so his word against hers? Really uneasy about how easily everyonw turned to flat out disbelieving her."

What should they have done, then? Just listened and believed her?

There was no evidence against him. Isn't there still such a thing as innocent until proven guilty? A case of "he said/she said" isn't enough to justify simply believing her.
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Luke S
Fri, Feb 3, 2017, 1:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

Obviously this episode has something, because I wanted to comment on it right after watching it instead of after watching the whole series. But I was shocked to see the 4-star rating. I did not like this one at all.

I didn't think this was a reset button episode until we got to the point where they turn the station over to the Kligons, and even then it didn't really stick. At the start of the episode I felt like we were doing a flash forward episode to see how Jake had been a writer and to have him tell us a DS9 story from his perspective. He's a secondary cast member, so it made sense that they could show his life in old age without spoiling much else about the cast. His stinger about "the day my father died" didn't phase me. I figured it was going to be one of those fake out where Sisko died for a moment and then was brought back with magic powers or because of some alien influence on Jake.

When that theory was out of the way, I thought they were using the opportunity to skip us forward a year in the DS9 timeline. Sisko would be brought back in time when he reappears almost a year later, and the rest of the episode will show us how things have progressed with the Dominion, Cardassia, and the Klingons over the course of the year Sisko was missing. It also would allow Nog's Starfleet career thing to progress a bit. But then they left the station, so that definitely wasn't it.

At this point, I knew they were either going to snap us back to the beginning OR I had an alternate theory where the story we were seeing wasn't reality but rather Jake's story that he had written in universe. It'd end with the elder Jake wasting his life on obsession and then we'd cut away to young Jake and Sisko in their home with Sisko reading the book.

And I would have been more fine with all that. But no, it' s a pure reset button. And that's why I don't think you can compare it to "The Inner Light".

Everything that happened in TIL happened to the character who went back to the "old timeline". Even though those people were long dead and Picard was really just lying on the floor of the bridge the whole time, Picard lived through the whole 30+ years. He has those memories and experiences, as we see with the flute. It's
"reset" but still carries forward. The people accomplished their goal of telling their story, and Picard is left with a lifetime of memories to boot.

And that's probably why "The Visitor"s ending undermines it so much fro me. I think I'd think better of this if Jake was the one who retained those memories, at least partially. But he doesn't. Sisko is the one sent back in time, and while he has memories of the old timeline, they're meaningless

I think the problem that reset button episodes like this have is not just that what happens doesn't matter, it's that so often they play out in such radically different futures as to not even let us get insight into the characters involved. They act the way they do to further this one plot, because they're going to be undone by the end anyway, who care about furthering their characterization.

All that plus, it seems like the Galaxy fared way better with Sisko dead, all things considered. Not an implication I'm particularly fond of.
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Luke
Tue, Jan 31, 2017, 6:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: CNN Is a Joke

Oh, believe me, I saw them on election night.

It was like the violins playing as the Titanic went down. LOL.
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Luke S.
Thu, Jan 26, 2017, 6:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Frame of Mind

I like this episode a lot more than I normally enjoy these trick episodes, but am still quite surprised to see it earn full marks. I was annoyed with it half way through and just wanted the crew to show up in the "real" world already, as by that point you got the basic idea of what was going on.

But the show managed to fool me with EVERYTHING being a dream in an inception like dream within a dream situation, so I think that's the source for me having a more fond reaction to this than normal.
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Luke S.
Thu, Jan 26, 2017, 5:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

I really liked Tapestry with the exception of the Blue Shirt scenes. I just don't buy that this near death experience was necessary for him to continue to take risks. It feels forced or a bit of a cheat, where they really want to use the Butterfly effect but have to stretch the logic to make it work. It's still not terrible in those scenes, but it feels like that's his situation because that's the most humiliating thing they can do to him rather than what he'd actually be like. I mean, we see Picard take a grand interest in Archaeology several times over the series, I think it'd be much more likely for the "timid" Picard to end up surveying some planet rather than still on the Enterprise as a Science officer.
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Luke S.
Thu, Jan 26, 2017, 12:20am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Aquiel

Though not very good, I don't hate this episode as much as everyone else, apparently. But honestly?

I liked the Dog twist. =p
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Luke S.
Thu, Jan 26, 2017, 12:14am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part II

I always enjoy reading these comment threads for episodes I particularly liked or hated. This thing has been talked to death over the last five years, which awesome, but there's one point I don't think people have talked about.

I don't believe Picard.

In the last scene, of course, he reveals to Troi that he would have told Madred anything, but I don't believe him. He believes himself, because he's back safe and reflecting and thinking about how horrible it was and how there's no way he could have endured further. But Picard is a hero, and heroes have to show virtuous traits, including humilty. And part of that humility is his belief he wasn't strong enough to endure, but he was. He demonstrates that all through the episode, and all through the whole series. When it comes to what is easy and what is principled, Picard always goes with what's principled, even when that may cost him his life. It wouldn't have been any different.

Fortunately, he ran out the clock quite literally, and so got to have one of the most satisfying lines in all of TV history.
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Luke
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 3:32am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Favorite Son

KIM: Take care of yourself.
TORRES: See you later, Spot.

This already horrible episode is now even more terrible for having the audacity to compare Harry Kim to a much more three-dimensional and better written Star Trek character.
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Luke S.
Mon, Jan 2, 2017, 9:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Tribunal

The issue I have with episode is the abduction and specifically the Federation and Sisko's reaction to that abduction.

The Cardassians have no authority or jurisdiction over O'Brien. Period. That the federation, Sisko, and O'Brien doesn't spend every second screaming this at the Cardassians is the real farce of the episode. I get that its fun to see the joke that is the Cardassian legal system, but you could do that while the rest of the cast are fighting the concept of the system and not respecting their ridiculous ways.

I also don't like how most of the Cardassians are portrayed here. I don't mind them acting out the show trial, but their continued reference to Cardassian law in private rings hollow when they know they are framing him and when they illegally abducted him from an area they have no legal authority in.

And the ending, while it resolves the situation, kinda makes the whole thing pointless. Like the only point of the episode was the show off the Cardassian system. There's no justice or satisfaction in the ending. Just ONCE I want the Enterprise to warp into a system and just empty the photon torpedoes into everything that moves. I know that's not very trek like, but a man needs satisfaction every once in a while.
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Luke
Wed, Sep 28, 2016, 11:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

But there are a lot of black Bajoran characters - they just tend not to have speaking roles.

Right off the top of my head, I know there are black Bajorans in "The Siege" (when the Bajoran Militia takes control of the station the General enters with black militia members), "Rapture" (during Sisko's prophetic walk through the Promenade he tells one couple, who are both black, that their harvest will be better this year), "Duet" (one of the Bajorans waiting outside Odo's office to see justice done is black) and "Wrongs Darker than Death or Night" (one of the Bajoran "comfort women" is black).

I'm pretty sure I remember numerous other black background characters like that as well.
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Luke
Fri, Jun 3, 2016, 3:51am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Valiant

Wow! I've disagreed with Jammer before many times on episodes, but this has to take the cake.

William B and Peter G. have basically said everything that needs to be said here, but I'll still ramble on. :-P There is absolutely no ambiguity here at all. Red Squad was indeed a group of "delusional fanatics looking for martyrdom." Or, maybe better put, they were fanatics with delusions of godhood. About the only thing "Valiant" has going in it's favor (aside from the acting by Lofton, Eisenberg and McDonogh - Collins), which I will give it credit for, is that it shows the utter failings of AbramsTrek and it's desire to have cadets running the show with next to no problems.

I will say that I'm glad the original idea for the episode was scraped in favor of what we ended up getting. At first, it was planned for this to be a Jake and Kira story, not a Jake and Nog one. Jake would be the one to be taken in by Watters and his Red Squad crew while Kira served as the voice of reason. Having Nog be the one taken in makes little sense as it is (shouldn't he know better since he's, you know, an actual officer?!), but having Jake be taken in by these fools makes no sense at all. And can you imagine Watters and Farris (the XO with a stick shoved so fully up her ass that the tip must be behind her breasts) trying to pull that nonsense in the Ready Room on Kira? The moment these little pipsqueaks pulled phasers on her and tried to put her in the brig, you know what would happen? I'll tell you what would happen - they would all very quickly find those phasers wedged firmly up their urethrae as they sat crowded with the rest of Red Squad in that tiny brig while Kira single-handedly piloted the ship back to DS9 with Watters crying in a corner like the little bitch he was.

As an aside - exactly how did Red Squad manage to stay in the academy in the first place? Aren't these the same people who helped Admiral Leyton commit acts of treason against the Federation?! I suppose you could say that Leyton took the fall alone in order to protect everyone else involved, but it would have been nice to have some explanation. This is what makes Nog being taken in by Watters so easily so absurd. Nog knows they were involved in Leyton's attempted coup. What the hell is he doing working with these people?!

But what really blows my mind about "Valiant" is that we spend the entire episode seeing EXACTLY how Red Squad is off the reservation. The crew isn't allowed to talk about home, they aren't allowed to cry, they aren't allowed to dissent, Watters is a clear dictator who likes to have his second-in-command play bad-cop so he can be the good-cop (remind anybody of someone else, like - oh, I don't know - DUKAT?!), Watters spies on the crew, they tell Jake to watch events unfold and then get pissy when he does, Watters is a damn drug addict (who gets aggressive even someone dares to even fucking notice his habit), etc. But then we end the episode with the sole surviving member of Red Squad, Collins, saying that Watters was a great man and fully drinking the Kool Aid. Huh?! I suppose you could say she was suffering from some kind of PTSD, but we get no indication of that. We even have Nog continuing to give credence to Watters and his delusional idiocy by telling Jake to put the Red Squad view in his story. *facepalm*

Oh, and of course there's the opening scene in Quark's Bar which serves no other purpose than to shit on Quark again. I honestly thought we were done doing this - at least outside of Ferengi "comedy" episodes. They have been treating Quark with a fair amount of respect this season, even having him be instrumental in saving the Alpha Quadrant in "Sacrifice of Angels". Now, when Odo realizes that Quark is in love with Dax, what do we get? Quark's face rubbed in shit for no reason. Anybody remember episodes like "Crossfire" and "His Way", when Quark went out of his way to help Odo with his feelings for Kira. While, in order to repay those kindnesses, the writers have Odo just laugh in Quark's face about his romantic problems concerning Dax. *groan!*

And so ends another record-breaking stretch of above-average episodes. We haven't had an episode that wasn't above-average since Season Five's "Children of Time". That's 26 episodes! A full season's worth! Talk about impressive. It's a shame it had to end, especially with such a dud as "Valiant". And it only gets worse with the next episode, doesn't it?!

2/10
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Luke
Fri, Jun 3, 2016, 2:45am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: The Reckoning

If "Masks" was my guilty pleasure of TNG, then "The Reckoning" is easily my "Deep Space Nine" guilty pleasure. The light show "showdown" is rather silly and absurd and there is a massive, glaring flaw (more on that in a minute), but there's just something about it that makes me enjoy it every time I watch it.

As another "Sisko as Emissary" episode, it's nowhere near as effective as previous entries like "Destiny", "Accession", "Rapture" and "Sacrifice of Angels". However, I do absolutely love that it tells an obviously very biblically based story. Whereas "Sacrifice of Angels" worked hard to portray Sisko as a Bajoran version of Moses, "The Reckoning" goes gangbusters to paint him as a Bajoran Abraham (offering his own son as a sign of his faith and so forth). Winn is somewhat used effectively even if her motivation for driving away the Prophet and Pah-wraith is unclear. It's nice that the groundwork for her ultimate betrayal of the Prophets is already being laid - she says at one point that the Prophets have never spoken to her, which is one of the tools Dukat uses to influence her into accepting the Pah-wraiths. And I also love that Sisko's spiritual journey is now basically complete. If "Call to Arms" made it clear that Sisko identified himself as a Bajoran (in a temporal sense), he is now a firmly a full believer in the Bajoran religion.

The problem - and this is probably going to sound really strange coming from me - is the portrayal of the atheist characters. I savaged TNG: "Who Watches the Watchers?" and TNG: "Devil's Due" for their depictions of theists - basically as nothing but simple minded morons. Well, oddly enough, this time around it is the atheists that come across looking really, really stupid. If I'm going to be fair, I have to call this out. The atheists among the Senior Staff (mostly Dax but Bashir to a lessor extent) really need to start fucking paying attention! What the hell is all this talk about "good grief, guys, this is absurd; nothing is going to happen!" People, this isn't some random religion that exists solely on faith. The Prophets (and Pah-wraiths) are scientifically provable entities. They can be called Wormhole Aliens all day long, but that isn't going to change the fact that they do exist. Why are they treating any discussion of them as meaningless unscientific faith/dogma?! Dax's attitude is most unbelievable. When Sisko decides to let the battle take place on the station she simply can't believe it, instead wanting to force the Prophet and Pah-wraith off the station because, apparently, all this religious stuff is just silly. WTF! Did she just forget that the Prophets are the only thing standing between them and the Dominion's full strength from the Gamma Quadrant?! Oh, the Prophets want something from us? Well, fuck them, am I right! Let's just tell them to piss off! After it's not them and their abilities that are protecting our asses at this very moment - the only thing keeping the Dominion on their side of the Wormhole is the soul-chilling existential terror they must be feeling at the prospect of facing the magnificent Jadzia Dax in personal combat, am I right?! If you're going to make the atheists look this fucking stupid, then I'm going to call you out on it just like I did when you were doing it in the reverse. They even go so far as to have Worf, of all people, side with the atheist contingent. Given that he is himself a man of faith and firmly sided with the theists in "Rapture", this makes next to no sense. Then, just to throw a monkey wrench into the system, the writers have the most ardent atheist in the main cast - Odo - show true tolerance and respect for the faithful by sticking up for Kira's decision to help the Prophet - which, I should point out, required an act of faith of his part as he had no direct evidence that Kira was willing. What is going on here?!

So, "The Reckoning" is an enjoyable, but deeply flawed episode.

6/10
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Luke
Fri, Jun 3, 2016, 2:02am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: His Way

I'll admit - the first time I saw "His Way" I could not stand the character of Vic Fontaine. I hated him. When Ezri was brought onto the show at the start of Season Seven and it was revealed that she was a counselor, my first thought was "Thank God, now we can get rid of that stupid lounge singer!". However, my attitude toward the character has since undergone a rather significant change. It wasn't until "It's Only a Paper Moon" that I finally began to appreciate the character in any remote way. Looking back on him now, all these years later, I think I can safely say that he was an enjoyable, if ultimately unnecessary, addition to the series.

As a fan of the Kira/Odo relationship (again.... I ship them, sue me!), I have no complaints about this aspect of the episode. In fact, I'm extremely happy that the powers that be FINALLY decided to just go ahead put the two of them together at long last instead of continuing to drag out the "will they, won't they" nonsense. The problem is the overindulgence in 60s era lounge music. I may have grown somewhat fond of the Vic Fontaine character and the humor he brings to the episode really does work, but did we honestly need FOUR separate music numbers in this episode?! One sequence to introduce Vic, I can get behind that. Two sequences, it's pushing it but I can still accept it. Four? That's just too damn much and feels like little more than padding to me. I'm sorry, but I don't watch Star Trek to hear lounge music anymore than I watch it to listen to gansta rap.

Pick an adjective? Okay, I'll pick.... amusing and shallow. "His Way" is entertaining, sure, and Vic is a lot better than I originally gave him credit for. It's another competently executed piece of fluff ("Deep Space Nine" seems to have a knack for this kind of episode) but I really could have done with slightly less fluffiness.

HOLODECK TOYS - 24 (+1)

7/10
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Luke
Fri, Jun 3, 2016, 1:26am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

"At 0800 hours, station time, the Romulan Empire formally declared war against the Dominion." I'll admit, the very first time I saw this episode, that statement left me with my jaw on the floor in shock and awe. To this day it still sends a chill down my spine. Beautiful!

There is something that really bothers me about "In the Pale Moonlight", however. Among the episode's detractors there exists a very vocal subset (not all the detractors, mind you, just a subset) who while decrying it as being a complete betrayal of Roddenberry's vision also fawn over AbramsTrek. Apparently, when somebody takes Kirk and turns him into a petulant, little, narcissistic man-child, Spock into a whiny momma's boy and a creepy perv who sleeps with his students while he's teaching at the Academy, Scotty into little more than comedic relief, Uhura into a foul-mouthed whore who literally sleeps her way to the top and Sulu and Chevok into cliched caricatures of themselves, (not to mention obliterating a HUGE part of the mythology by destroying Vulcan), that's apparently okay. But, craft a story that is a vital arc episode, an honest moral dilemma and a powerful character piece while simultaneously gluing you to your seat in rapt attention from the opening teaser to literally the final fade and that's a completely unacceptable sell-out and sheer treason against our one true Lord and Savior's blessed vision of what Trek is supposed to be? Call me crazy, but I think turning beloved characters on their heads is a worse offense than actually using Trek to examine a powerful aspect of the Human condition - our desire to quash evil wherever we find it.

Which is better - to keep your high-minded principles intact but go down to inglorious defeat and/or slavery or live in a peaceful world where mutual respect, tolerance and understanding reign but which is all based on a lie? Personally, while I do agree that principles are important and a person should hold true to them (as long as they're moral principles), when faced with such an existential crisis like the Federation is facing here, maybe (just maybe), the ends can justify the means. After all, principles are nice, but if you aren't alive or free to practice them then they aren't of much use, are they? So, count me firmly in the camp that thinks Sisko made the right call here in doing what was necessary to bring the Romulans into the war. The very survival of the Federation (hell, the whole Alpha Quadrant) was at stake. Maybe that means that I'm also predisposed to agree with some of the tactics of Section 31 as well. If that's so, then like Sisko, I think I can live with it.

This episode, unlike any other, shows just why Sisko is the man to be on the front lines of a total war - and why none of the other Trek captains could've possibly done the job he does. Kirk may have been willing to entertain the idea but would probably have ultimately decided not to go ahead with it. Picard would have undoubtedly rejected the idea completely out-of-hand. Janeway.... well, hell, I don't know how Janeway would respond; she's so inconsistently written. Archer might have done it (at least post-Xindi Archer), but I'm not sure. Sisko, however, is more than willing to get his hands dirty in order to get the job done. And unlike in "For the Uniform", here he is doing it for a legitimate reason, not just to satisfy a personal vendetta.

Finally, the fall of Betazed shows just why I love world-building so much in my Trek. If this had been another planet-of-the-week, or even a lessor-known Federation world, it wouldn't have been anywhere near as impactful for the audience. Making the conquered world be a well-known location gives the audience an "oh shit" feeling in the pit of the stomach as well as the ability to really sympathize with what Sisko is both going through and doing. And for those who criticize the choice of Betazed over the original idea of having Vulcan be the planet to fall, that just proves my point - we need more world-building! What other planet could they have chosen? Aside from Earth itself, I'm hard pressed to see an alternative. Vulcan was rejected as it would carry "too much" weight for the viewers. If Earth was conquered, even the most ardent detractors of the episode would probably have been screaming for Sisko to not only lie to the Romulans but for the Federation to launch full-scale WMDs at Cardassia!

BEST! EPISODE! YET!

10/10
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Luke
Mon, May 30, 2016, 3:35am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Inquisition

Is Section 31 anti-Roddenberry? You're damn right it is?! And know what? I really don't care. In fact, I applaud "Inquisition" for just that reason. Sorry, Gene was a phenomenal story-teller who cooked up a wonderful universe for us all to play in, but he was also quite a fucking loon most of the time. No interpersonal conflict? No medium of exchange? "Love counselors" instead of marriage vows? Ferengi with gargantuan cod-pieces? The entirety of TNG: "The Neutral Zone"? Yeah, he could be a real hack sometimes. It's nice to know that "Deep Space Nine" was written and produced by actual adults who understand the concept of "moral grey areas" instead of starry eyed Roddenberry-esque children.

For the first few acts, the episode plays like a remake of TNG:" The Drumhead". That's not a bad thing, as "The Drumhead" was one of the best episodes of that series. However, it ends as the complete opposite of that episode, which I also don't think is a bad thing. Both plots appear to be the same, someone from Starfleet shows up and is driven by personal reasons to uncover a conspiracy that most likely isn't there. The differences set in at around the half-way point, because while Admiral Satie used outrageous arguments to justify herself - thereby making herself the obvious villain - Sloan offers arguments that are, at least, plausible. In fact, they are so plausible (even using direct continuity with several previous episodes) that the audience honestly can begin to wonder if he may be correct - especially when you remember that something very similar was done to LaForge in "The Mind's Eye" (he was abducted by the Romulans, mentally broken and turned into a Romulan agent without his knowledge) and even more so once Bashir is kidnapped by Weyoun. The major difference is that "The Drumhead" ended with a Picard Speech concerning due process and "Inquisition" ends with Sloan saying such a position is naive.

Let me make one thing crystal clear, this is an interesting moral argument and it absolutely has to be discussed. The problem with Roddenberry's vision of the future is that for it to work you have to pretend a lot of things simply don't exist (like basic Human nature and needs). If Star Trek really is supposed to be a franchise about exploring the Human Condition then Gene's rules are simply counter-productive or outright in the way. In the real world there are organizations like Section 31 that act in very similar ways. How are we supposed to move past the obvious need for these groups if we're not allowed to have a mature conversation about them?

And speaking of mature conversations.... that's exactly what this episode is. Sloan is actually allowed to make reasonable arguments. He is not just a delusional madman or someone who is clearly the villain (like Satie). He is allowed to hold his own against Bashir and, at times, even comes across as the more sophisticated of the two. But what makes this so mature and adult is that the writers, while clearly coming down on the side of "Section 31 is bad" (see the episode's coda), allow the audience to make up their own minds. Nothing is force-fed to the audience here. Another wonderful example of this same type of argument is the movie "Captain America: Civil War", which makes really strong and compelling arguments in favor of an organization somewhat similar to Section 31.

Given that "Inquisition", VOY: "The Omega Directive" and "In the Pale Moonlight" all aired within two weeks of each other, I'd say Trek writers were really ready to abandon the "Roddenberry Box".

HOLODECK TOYS - 23 (+1)

10/10
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