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Mon, Sep 4, 2017, 9:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: Crossroads, Part 1

Just a quick thought: a few eps back Jammer (I think) brought up the question of whether, by now, people ought to be aware of Baltar having conversations with an invisible friend. Isn't this the episode where he has a conversation with Caprica, alone in his cell? Given that the cell is presumably still bugged, this ought to have put it beyond doubt.
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Sat, Jun 17, 2017, 8:31am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Genesis

One of the most monumentally idiotic moments in Trek history (thus far). This time I have no problems with your 1 star rating. I wonder if Gates McFadden volunteered to direct this, or if they bribed her because nobody ekse would touch it?
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Sat, Jun 17, 2017, 7:17am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Masks

Wow, normally when you dole out 1 star I can understand why, but I'm on another page altogether on this one. It wasn't great, but I enjoyed it, and found it memorable, unlike most of the other eps from this era.
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Thu, Jun 15, 2017, 7:02am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Gambit

Well I watched all of both parts, which is more than I can say for some other season 6 and 7 episodes. It's tolerable, but not much more. However I'm amazed that nobody has picked on the most obviously absurd thing about this two-parter.

It's utterly ridiculous to think that Baran could subjugate an entire crew indefinitely with that preposterous pain-inflicting device. Someone would have found a way to disable him and smash it within the first day. Plus, apparently he has seperate pain level settings for every member of the crew, which must be really easy to access quickly if two or three of them were to come at him from different directions at the same time. And why wouldn't someone just take it from him when he was asleep? It's a shambles of an idea.

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Sat, Jun 10, 2017, 10:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: True Q

If Crusher is an Irish setter, which dog breeds are other Trek characters?
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Mon, Jun 5, 2017, 10:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The First Duty

Whereas this is a fairly strong episode dramatically, I can't get on board with four stars. I'm not sure why: perhaps it's because I'm not certain where the science fiction is. I've probably given other episodes a pass where the same thing is true, so it must be something else. I quite like it; for me it merely falls short of the greatness everyone else seems to see in it. I didn't warm to any of the cadets; that doesnt help, I guess.
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Mon, May 29, 2017, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Beyond

I can't see the clip, but my heart sunk when I saw Jj Abrams name beside it. I just don't like the reboot movie franchise, and had been holding out hope the new series wouldn't be more of the same. Actually I'm sure that when I first read about the new series, the studio expressly stated that Abrams wasn't involved.

Ah, well.

BTW, I was thinking. Something the new series could cover, which no episode of any series has explained, but merely glossed over - at least as far as I can recall. Something I'd love to see explained:

exactly how and when the human race collectively agreed to abandon money.

And while they're at it, how anyone in Starfleet pays their bar tab at Quarks (except Dax, who has enough Tongo winnings), what anyone's motivation is for Poker Night in TNG, basically how the whole economy works and anything like trade, making spaceships and or so forth actually gets done.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a bit of a leftie, but it does seem to be one of the underpinnings of Trek which nobody wants to go near: the elephant in the galaxy.. It must have sounded groovy in the 60's but jeez, I mean we're really hurtling towards that particular vision of the future at the moment, right.
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Mon, May 29, 2017, 8:14am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Data's Day

I wonder who first use the 'letter to whomever' format as a framing device for TV episodes. I always trace it back to Hawkeye's letters to his father in the early seasons of M*A*S*H*, but perhaps there is some earlier antecedent I'm not thinking of. Trek would use this device again, as late as Enterprise, with Phlox's letters to his human colleague.

It all works reasonably well, and manages to avoid being corny, though it strays close now and then. At at least one point Data seems to casually mention some pretty high security Starfleet matters to his pal, but perhaps this was edited out, or he simply never ended up sending it.

One of the comparatively rare times when Trek manages to combine comedy (or at least something approaching it) and drama in a single episode fairly successfully.

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Sun, May 21, 2017, 10:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Deja Q

It's funny - I remember seeing the first episode of TNG - possibly a year after it came out - and finding the whole thing rather rather silly, and subsequently finding Q irritating whenever he turned up. Not Troi's mother or The Grand Negus irritating, but not all that far off. Then something odd happened and I started warming to him, and now I think he's great!

Perhaps it hasn't hurt that I've just come off re-watching Breaking Bad, where John de Lancie puts in such a memorable and sympathetic performance, but this is one character and actor who I've certainly done a 180' on over the decades. Not to say he hasn't been in a few clangers (wanting to mate with Janeway, for example. Was that before or after Tom Paris mated with her while they were newts? I can't remember? Still he was probably the best thing about that episode).

Worf's monosyllabic existential suggestion, 'Die', as the only acceptable evidence of being mortal is possibly the funniest one second of dialog in ST history (well, it's debatable, but it'll do until someone can point me to something obviously better, consisting of no more than three letters. Maybe there's a really funny phoneme out there?)

Seriously though, this episode is one of the rare moments when Star Trek manage to a generally funny episode without it being a disaster involving something like the aforementioned Negus and Troi's mother. Babylon 5, for instance, managed to weave humorous dialog into a regular dramatic episode, but usually Trek gives me the impression of having decided that they've had a run of deep and serious eps, and it must therefore be time for a comedy episode, and then playing the whole 44:30 minutes for laughs. This episode manages to be lighthearted without being disposable - though the Mariachi Band was maybe a bridge too far, and the cigar in the last shot might have been ok if they'd have left that awful SFX head out, or waited a few years til they could have CG'd it.

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Sun, May 21, 2017, 8:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: When the Bough Breaks

So long since I've seen season one of TNG that I'll refrain from commenting, other than having just noticed that this is the single Trek directorial outing by Kim Manners, who would famously go on to produce and direct X-Files and Supernatural, and to whom Vince Gilligan dedicated the Breaking Bad episode 'Breakage', on his death in 2009. I wonder how that one-off involvement came about.
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Sun, May 21, 2017, 7:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Yesterday's Enterprise

I should mention thatI I (re)watched this episode as part of an unbroken binge which lasted into season four, without pausing to review each episode while it was fresh in my mind. Therefore I won't go into too much detail. Except this one, because for some reason it really stuck in my head:

They carry rocks in the ceiling!

Really, in the scene where Garrett's bridge is blown up, the ceiling gives way and out tumbles an avalanche of various sized rocks. I watched in slow-mo just to check, and I can't imagine what else they could reasonably be construed to be. It always seemed kinda ridiculous to me that every time they get in a firefight things blow up all over the bridge in showers of sparks and flames and smoke, as if the whole place was running on old radio vacuum tubes, but now a bunch of obviously heavy, irregularly sized but basically rock shaped rocks tumble out of the ceiling and cause grievous injury to the Captain. Did they position the Captain's chair directly beneath the ship's collection of small boulders? It's a spaceship - everything should be as light as possible without sacrificing strength, and by the 24th Century I should think that would be very light indeed, so don't tell me these things are inexplicably broken up bits of iron girders or concrete or something.

Anyway, there's my main contribution to the analysis of this episode. I don't think it really needs much else from me by now, but I'll give it a fling:

I guess I'm in the good, probably very good, but not an instant classic group. I'd be willing to buy that it was an instant classic in 1989 in terms of what had preceded it on TNG, but in the bigger picture of what came out over the following 15 or 16 years of uninterrupted TV Trek, I can think of enough episodes which are markedly better that if I give this my highest accolade, I have no room left at the top for them (1989 was, BTW, around when I started regularly watching the series. I'd been aware of it before then, but it didn't start to click with me til around this point).

My biggest problem while watching this episode is really probably my own fault more than the episode's. I guess I'm insufficiently versed in Trek history, but I wasn't clear that there was an ENT-C captained by someone called Garrett, which had existed between Kirk's and Picard's Enterprise, and it therefore seemed to me as if there weren't one but TWO alternate timelines going on. I couldn't understand which universe this other ship had come from. This distracted me quite a bit, and if it's something I should have known about, or I'm missing something obvious, the fault, as I said, is mine.

Apart from that I enjoyed the episode a lot, though it did seem at times to be a bit too contrived or vague. I think the arguments about Guinan's hunch dictating Picard's decision are very valid. I'd thought it a little atypical of Picard while I was watching it, but one tends to get caught up by the creepy atmospherics of this quite effective performance, and to not overanalyse it at the time. As has been observed, this is probably as much Twilight Zone or Fantasy as SF, but ST has never really been the sort of Hard SF which John W. Campbell would have approved of. It does wander into other genres fairly regularly (that's if you even consider SF a genre to begin with). All the same it's inevitable and probably not unfair that it is going to attract the sort of viewership who expect it to cross its T's and dot its I's at least where commonsense is concerned.

All in all, not much to complain about here, and a good but not great episode. They should do something about that ceiling insulation, though.
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Fri, May 19, 2017, 10:14am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

Agree with Luke's comment about it being easier to talk at length about an episode you don't like. Although if I find myself at a loss for words when I eventually review something like DS9's 'The Visitor' I'll know for sure.

I can't quite join the 'best TNG' or 'Top 10 Trek' episodes bandwagon. The real stand-out episodes of any season, for me at least, usually have some very personal, character-driven stories or drama, which nonetheless qualify as SF. This steers close with Jarok, but doesn't quite possess whatever enables that emotional charge. For me at least.

Ironically the problem could probably have been solved if we were able to develop more empathy for Jarok early on, and the obvious way to enable this would be for us to knowm from the outset, that he is on the level. Unfortunately this would completely disarm the main device of the plot. Anyway as a well-plotted and tense thriller this is close to the top of its class.
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Fri, May 19, 2017, 9:41am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Price

*minor future series spoiler*

BTW is what Troi gets up to in this episode (among others) essentially different to what Harry Kim practically gets crucified for in an ep of VOY? I thought that Kirk had established, and Troi (and perhaps Riker) had cemented that if it's sentient and bipedal it's all good. Should probably have said this in the appropriate Voyager review, but I wasn't reviewing while watching that series. Anyway this is more or less contemporaneous with Voyager, so I don't get the difference, unless there's a different rulebook for first contact species, which would make the Delta Quadrant even more difficult.
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Fri, May 19, 2017, 9:29am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Booby Trap

I wrote


I do appreciate the irony of this typo.
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Fri, May 19, 2017, 9:27am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Who Watches the Watchers


"They could call it a Directive of some kind... "

Like the 'Stop it - or they'll end up using it in a feature film" directive?
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Thu, May 18, 2017, 1:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Price

**WARNING** This review contains spoilers for later episodes/series.

Difficult to believe, but an episode which contains both Ferengi AND a Troi romantic B story still manages to be watchable.

May as well get the latter out of the way first. From the moment Rai appears, casts that 'look' at Troi, and the music swells a half second later, you know you're in for another ridiculous Troi/romance/alien episode. Christ, Gates got upset because in season one they limited Beverley to behaving like a doctor. At least that was germane to her function as a member of the crew. The less said the better, probably.

Two interesting things happen in this episode, in hindsight. The creators of 'Voyager' use it to set a timeline for returning from the Delta Quadrant - and, an in an ironic twist, the two Ferengi who disappear in this ep become the main characters in one of Voyager's very worst episodes.

Despite all of this, the episode wasn't a total loss by any means, though it's definately a bit of a stumble at this point in season three.
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Thu, May 18, 2017, 1:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Enemy

Very solid episode. Season 3 is now living up to the hype.

Really not a lot to add to what has been said. I too suspect the dying Romulan's outburst was meant to be for Worf only, and that even if it were overheard, a medical professional making a decision on that basis would be shabby ethically. It's also pretty obvious that apart from the ethics of it, Beverley makes a tactical blunder by insisting Worf see the dying patient.

I couldn't shake the feeling that Picard was at least as much in the wrong as Tomalak - at least as far as Tomalak knew, and Picard's aggression in these scenes took me a little by surprise, but I think I'd forgotten would a hard case he could be sometimes in this mid TNG seasons. After watching Janeway and Archer (at least in the first two ENT seasons) this was surprisingly confrontational.

Three and a half seems about right. Falls short of being a classic, but no real complaints.
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Wed, May 17, 2017, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Booby Trap

Much better. This is the first Ep from season three I've thoroughly enjoyed. Not a classic, but at the moment good solid SF with solid performances from the main cast will do fine. It reinforces my impression that so far this season they do best when they stay on the ship, and don't get involved with clunkily written locals.

The Geordi romance thing could have become really lame, but didn't. Guinan mercifully appears only briefly. The ensemble cast used are all in good form, and nothing here bothered me. Good solid episode. Outings like this should be the average though, not the stand-outs. Looking forward to further improvement and condistency, which I suspect is coming.
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Tue, May 16, 2017, 9:32am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Who Watches the Watchers

I plead guilty right away to not reading all 257 comments so far . Usually when an ep has anywhere near that many responses there'll be some squabble going on over some political point. I'm going to guess that's the case here, and just make the points I wanted to make originally.

Like I've said, I've just returned to TNG after cycling through the whole franchise finishing with Enterprise, and am back at season 3 of TNG. Not the first time I've done this, but I don't remember suffering this culture shock going from 2005 to 1989 before. This is the season of TNG which I am used to thinking of as where it found its feet, and yet here is the second out of three episodes which just often seems really immature, poorly written and executed.

It's been a bugbear with me for ages that whenever away teams arrive on some pre-warp planet, everyone seems to live in a sort of perfect model village, where all the good citizens are terribly civic minded, usually wear clothes that seem like the uniform for that planet, and speak without using contractions, like some cross between 'noble savages' and The Brady bunch. Ok, these guys are 'proto-Vulcan humanoids', whatever that really means, so perhaps they get a pass.

Moving on, we get an early instance of the godalmighty Prime directive trumping basic decency. This exchange:

Crusher: It was bring him aboard or let him die.
Picard: Then why didn't you let him die?

And you wonder where Phlox gets his ability to rationalise genocide as evolution in 'Dear doctor'.

And you get awful expository dialog like this:

Liko: I believe I've seen the Overseer... He is called the Picard.
Troi: His memory is intact
Riker: The procedure didn't work

Who are they - a Greek chorus? We get it!

Sorry, I'm cherry-nitpicking, but all of this just seems so wooden and obvious and like it was written for nine year-olds.

And here's another nitpick, while I'm at it - and really, it's a bit more than a nitpick:

Troi: According to Doctor Barron's preliminary reports, the Mintakans are proto-Vulcan humanoids at the Bronze Age level. Quite peaceful and highly rational.

Picard: Not surprising, considering how closely their evolution has paralleled Vulcan.

Sorry - I thought early Vulcans nearly destroyed themselves because they were crazy violent maniacs.


There's nothing wrong with the overall concept here, of a pre-warp race being accidentally exposed to observers (though, oh, Lord how many times did it happen over the years in Trek?) . The act of letting Nuria see Warren's death might have been a suitable resolution to the Picard is God thing, too - except it isn't allowed to be. Picard still has to be shot with a crossbow by a disbelieving Liko.

I don't know why these episodes just seem so deeply flawed and carelessly knocked-off to me. If nothing else, I take it as evidence that we were too hard on late Enterprise. In the meantime I'll persist, because I have watched this stuff several times over the decades and I'm hoping it'll grow on me again.
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Sun, May 14, 2017, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

A huge improvement over last week's effort, though I can't go along with four stars.

You may have read that I'm just starting to rewatch TNG starting with season 3, after having worked my way through all the other series, finishing with the 2005 season of Enterprise. Last week's 'Ensigns of Command', to me, showed how Enterprise at its best outshone TNG at its weakest. Inferior, half-baked writing and dialog, and utterly inept acting from guest stars. 'Survivors' OTOH shows a crucial area where TNG and DS9 outshone ENT (and Voyager): a solid performance from an ensemble cast. In TNG everyone pretty much pulls their weight. Troi might be a weak link at times (BTW as someone with catastrophic tinnitus I can sympathise with her having a noise in her head driving her mad), but even Wesley, who everyone loves to hate, can't really be accused of being a character who didn't work. He was shuffled off for long stretches at a time, but at least he didn't become a non-entity like Mayweather.

Anyway I'm rambling. I think there were substantial problems which kept this from being a classic. As has beeen noted, Kevin could surely have found some method of dealing with the Husnock. As Zg noted, if he had the ability to wipe out 50 billion people just by thinking about it, surely he could have just moved their ship away, or turned their weapons into cauliflowers, or made them just decide to go to Risa instead. And yes, of course Picard is 'qualified' to judge genocide as a crime. A more appropriate statement might have been "We're not capable of doing anything about you."

I'm not sure what I think about the whole Gods mating with humans business. It's certainly well-worn territory: Zeus made a career of it. Aphrodite, too, come to think of it. But this was more of an unpremeditated thing. Kevin,s wandering about being all omnipotent and immortal, and suddenly falls in love with an Earth woman. This would probably be a bit like one of us falling in love with an anteater, but I suppose such things do happen.

I enjoyed this ep. The acting was generally of a high standard, and notwithstanding the few problems I had with it, the writing was leagues ahead of last week's effort. I just remembered one thing which annoyed me a little: Picard's figuring out what was going on, but not letting anyone, even his First Officer, in on it. I suppose it was nescessarily for dramatic purposes, but it seemed odd behaviour on a starship. I suppose you just live with it, the same way nobody in any of these series can ever be bothered explaining things over the com. It's always, "I'm in sickbay, Captain. There's something here you'd better see", or "Riker to Picard. I'm in engineering. There's something here you're going to want to look at". "What is it?" "Oh, it's a stick insect." "I thought so. Number One, stop bothering me with this entomological trivia."
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Wed, May 10, 2017, 2:36am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

Over the past however many months, I've rewatched TOS, DS9, VOY and ENT, in that order. When I decided to go back to TNG I started with season 3 (I never bought the first two seasons, as I recall how slow it was to find its feet.) I skipped the first episode, since I caught most of it recently on TV, and began my binge with Ensigns of. Ommand.

I was prepared for the effects to be primitive, having just stepped back 16 years from the final season of Enterprise. What really surprised me was how superficial, naive, and generally poorly executed the whole episode was. This is the show I'd imagined ENT to be so inferior to? Hell's Bells, it'd better pick up quickly, because the better, later episodes of ENT make this episode seem horribly dated and silly.

The fact that the writers and producers still hadn't settled the show down was flagged almost straight away when we see O'Brien playing Cello. I suppose you could argue that at this point they had no inkling or intention of developing him into the fully fleshed out character he would become, but it does seem a bit emblematic of the series as a whole at this point.

Broadly I agree with most of what has been said: the shipboard moments generally worked much better than the planet-bound ones, though even they faltered, and most of the time were just decent. The whole way the plot unfolded from the moment Data landed was borderline embarrassing. "We saw your ship", says one of the colonists to Data. He might have added "In fact, I'm still seeing it. It's about four feet away." The dialog and planetside plot doesn't improve. As pointed out, Data should have made his point about the Sheliak's firepower as soon as it became apparent that the colonists were too stupid to figure it out themselves. The lady scientist with the android fetish (who looks and behaves like she just wandered in from 'Mork and Mindy') was pathetic.

Picard saves the episode (and you know it needs saving when Troi's performance is one of the stronger supporting moments).

This was a serious shock to the system after returning from the future. Perhaps it's largely an effect of my dislocation, but either I need to re-adjust to 1989 Trek, or it needs to lift it's game pretty quickly.
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Tue, Apr 25, 2017, 6:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: These Are the Voyages...

Everything's been said. It was a wretched way to end the series, and Trip's death was utterly pointless. It almost seemed spiteful.

To anyone who feels bad for ragging on this episode, I read an interview recently which Braga gave in 2012, I think, where he referred to it as 'idiotic', noting that 'the cast hated it' and that it was the 'only time Scott Bakula was pissed with me'.

(before I get too forgiving of Braga, I've also read him say there was 'nothing wrong' with the writing in Enterprise, that it didn't kill the franchise, and oh yeah, pretty sure he claimed Voyager was better than TNG. But never mind.

I've just finished watching Voyager and Enterprise back to back, and to be absolutely honest, I think I actually preferred Enterprise. It was hamstrung by the least memorable or well developed cast of characters in Trek, but in certain respects it tried harder than Voyager. Voyager was allowed to just coast under its own inertia when it had become terribly disappointing, perhaps because (inexplicably) at the time it was more popular than DS9. At least on Enterprise the producers got the message and by the end of season two told B&B to pull their fingers out and do something to make the show interesting! To their credit the second half of season three was pretty damn solid, and better than most seasons of Voyager IMO.

So a dismal end to a series which just never really gelled, but could have been so much more, if the writing hadn't been so unadventerous and lazy, til it was to late to matter.

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Tue, Apr 25, 2017, 1:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II

Sorry, but apart from not liking mirror universe episodes anyway, this one is just impossible for me to get interested in. The only potentially interesting development was the alien rebellion, but that went nowhere.

While I'm at it, do I have the premise of this two-parter right? The. Vulcams land on Earth, get shot by hillbillies, and the whole Vulcan empire collapses to humans?
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Tue, Apr 25, 2017, 11:16am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: In a Mirror, Darkly, Part I

I personally find 'mirror universe' episodes an annoying waste of time, and although I suppose you could just argue for the fun aspects of this one, I found it hard to take filling the entire cast with psychopaths and sadists, and then in the final act putting them in danger and presumably expecting us to root for them.

With only a few episodes left, I'm bummed that there's a part two to this.
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Tue, Apr 25, 2017, 10:02am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Affliction

I find myself picking one episode to comment on with from these trilogies, for some reason. As it is, I don't really have a lot to add. This is the best episode of a trilogy which is weaker than the previous ones (though stronger than the silly damned two-parter that kicked off the season).

One question: during their mind-meld, how does T'Pol manage to see things that happened AFTER Hoshi was either unconscious, or at very least lying on the ground face-down, away from the action? I suppose it would be possible if she were sharing reconstructed memories (if you can see yourself in a memory, it's a reconstructed, not a true memory, unless you're looking in a mirror) but then I thought the whole point of mind melds was that they were precise and not reconstructive.

Also thought Malcolm got back in Archer's good books too easily (this wasn't proven til the start of that slave-girl episode, but it was implied) and can you just walk away from Section 31 like that? For that matter, Malcolm's walking away also seemed a bit of a sudden change after his obdurately refusing to reveal a thing to Archer for so long. At least we got to see a bit more of him. He got some really solid episodes in the latter part of season three and has been rather underused again since.

Agree with Cloudane about Trip and T'Pol. Enough, already. Of course we went through this with Kira and Odo, and I guess that did pay off eventually, but if this is going anywhere, I wish it'd arrive.
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