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Peter H
Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 11:56am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

This is the first episode that I can think of in the series run that has invoked the Prime Directive in a way that really engaged me. Since re-watching the show previous uses have left me baffled (most notably in Justice, where good sense was abandoned to satisfy, what at the time, was a rather fuzzy Federation ideal).

Tellingly the emotional argument overcame the intellectual one in this episode; Picard hearing Sarjenka's cries for help is what ultimately sways him. As an audience member I was similarly convinced. I don't see anything intrinsically wrong with this, particularly in a show that so explicitly seeks to examine the human condition.

At this point I'm not wholly convinced about the ethics of the Prime Directive. I understand what it's for and what it seeks to prevent, but I'm still not sure that such rigid adherence to it in the face of great suffering is at all moral. This of course will be debated in further episodes, and I look forward to its examination from other angles, particularly in cases where breaking it have negative consequences.
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Peter H
Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 7:12am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Time Squared

This episode was technically competent, and really sold the sense of mystery and dread in a way I don't think any other time travel episode did.

Unfortunately the end was beyond the pale; Picard killing himself completely pulled the episode over the edge. I suppose you could say that phaser was on stun, and that in his fragile state Picard-2 simply couldn't take it, but I'm not convinced.

As others have stated this episode would make far more sense tied to Q Who, but as it is presented to us there is no such explanation and therefore feels completely arbitrary. I prefer to think of this episode as something that never even happened.

2 stars from me.
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Peter H
Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 3:00am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Royale

I will never understand Trek's obsession with "period" episodes and Earth trivia (I'm looking at you Tom Paris). I'm interested in the future, not bland attempts to recreate the past.

However... against all odds I rather like this episode. I think it's something about the idea of being trapped for eternity in such a surreal but cheesy kind of purgatory that really tickles me.
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Peter G.
Thu, Apr 19, 2018, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: The House of Quark

Just watched this one again to refresh my memory, and it occurs to me that there's more here than 'Ferengi hijinx.' I think the mistake here would be to chortle early on when Quark says "It's not about profits any more, it's about respect." Maybe we're prone to roll our eyes here at how self-deluded Quark is about something he's lying about anyhow. But in fact this is probably the most honest he's ever been. What we see in House of Quark is a story about a man whose religion is money and even he admits that respect is simply something he *needs*. No one can only care about money, even if they protest to the contrary. Having him take over a Klingon Great House is a funny way of showing us how even the least valorous of us probably has inner fantasies or even a self-image of heroism, or of being larger-than-life, or of being acclaimed. Klingon culture is basically a extreme version of that thing we need, which is to be shown respect and "honored".

Seen in this way this is probably the most important Quark episode of the series, insofar as it's a defining moment where we see that either he really isn't a regular Ferengi, or else if he is that they are full of self-deceit in general. And not only do we get a Ferengi who realizes he needs what Klingons call honor, but likewise we see a Klingon who craves what Ferengi do - seizing lands and power using economic trickery. It's a funny juxtapose to be sure, and I think there's some IDIC in there about even the most hardened cultures having something to learn or gain from others even that are very different from them.
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Peter G.
Wed, Apr 18, 2018, 11:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due

"Religion is merely the backdrop of this episode, but the meat of the story lies in catching a fraud in the act."

I agree with Chrome entirely. However, Trent, I like your write-up as it's an interesting perspective on literary device in order to present heretical view in a palatable manner. Actually, to reply to your rhetorical question, I actually never did consider Planet of the Apes to be about black/white inversion! I always took it to be about the sheer idiocy of man thinking he's the supreme intelligence, since what sort of "intelligence" would ever take steps to destroy itself? My impression was that the film was about the danger of thinking we're so smart; sort of shades of Trek in terms of Eugenics Wars, WWIII, etc. It never occurred to me that the apes were meant to be black masters in a sociological reversal, and to be frank I'm not sure that's what was intended, but maybe I have to watch it again to see if I get that vibe. An interesting hypothesis, however.

About Devil's Due, one of the critical points is that Picard explains how the people achieved their society 'without Ardra's help', in the sense of having physically taken the steps themselves. You see, these people were keen to ascribe *all* of their progress to their deity/devil, and Picard's point is that it's ridiculous to literally take no credit at all for their accomplishments. The fact that Ardra lifted not a single stone to help is an a fortiori argument that it's impossible for these people to ascribe to themselves zero participation, but I don't think it likewise means that they should consider zero credit to go to Ardra. It would be idle to deny, for instance, that their original deal (whatever it was) inspired them to do what they did. Imagine for a moment that an Apollo-type being (like in Who Mourns for Adonis) did come to their planet, make some silly promises, then go away. That interaction may have impacted their development considerably. While they ought to take credit for the work, likewise the Prime Directive seems to tell us that the cultural interference was 'responsible' for them being on that path in the first place. So at worst, assuming there literally was a real Ardra in the past, that they owe her some credit, even though they should be proud of themselves as well. But as it was they were fanatically going to give her *all* credit and do whatever she said, and this kind of blind faith (i.e. dumb faith) as Chrome put it was the problem here.

The reason I think it seems easy to see this episode as being a knock on religion is that if you go in assuming religion is stupid then the con artist can seem like a way of saying "haha! look at these religious idiots!" But reverse your premise and assume religion is correct (or at least worthwhile) and then you can have an alternate read, which is "if not for con artists these people could have gone very far on the power of their faith, but now perhaps it's been shattered." Think about the Federation itself, where belief in its tenets requires very strong faith. Can you imagine the faith it takes to follow the Prime Directive when common sense would often suggest to reject it and help people who need it? Now *that* is an act of faith, and the Federation is founded on it. It likewise takes faith to believe that IDIC as a cultural policy is actually a solid firmament for a Federation and that the Klingons won't eventually run them over like a steamroller. They need to believe that their values will carry them through their difficulties.

If anything I would say the critique of the people of faith here isn't so much about the fact that they have beliefs that are hard to prove, but rather the fact that they are generally unaware of how their progress came to be. They've made achievements and don't have the self-awareness to realize what steps they've taken and what they mean. *That* is a dangerous situation, because if you don't know why you've come to be the way you are then you won't have the vigilance to maintain it. The Federation knew how it got where it got: horrible wars, hatred, and death. Its advances were made with self-awareness and deliberation, and its values were based on conscious choices. For a culture like this one, though, their choices seem to have been driven by a kind of sense that they just had to, but without having ever decided what the foundation of their society should be. Picard's speech to them is important not because they were foolish idiots to have faith, but rather because they needed to be able to take note of why their advanced worked for them and how to repeat that good progress. I think the Trekkian moral here isn't that you should or shouldn't believe in some deity; rather it's that you need to be able to state your principles clearly and know the foundation you stand on. That foundation can be religion, IDIC, or whatever else. You need to know who you are and how you got there.
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Debra Petersen
Wed, Apr 18, 2018, 10:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Amok Time

I love this episode, but there is one thing I've wondered about that I don't think I've ever really seen addressed. Maybe it's been missed because people are so taken with T'Pau's presence and impressive air of authority. The fact is that she allows Kirk to make his decision about accepting the challenge KNOWING he doesn't understand that the fight is to be to the death. Spock had broken through a condition that should have made him incapable of speech to tell her so and to plead with her to "forbid", but she dismisses him. Even when that fact comes out and Kirk and McCoy start to object, she basically just cuts them off and tells them to shut up. So what's going on with her? Is it simply that, if someone is going to die, she would rather have it be a human than a Vulcan? That would seem to be an objectionable attitude, and it would make her statement to McCoy that "I grieve with thee" hypocritical. But then there's the fact that she seems to have forced Starfleet to accept the diversion of the Enterprise to Vulcan. And there is never any later indication that Kirk's still being alive is a surprise to anyone on Vulcan. So did she somehow know what McCoy would do, or even influence that in some way? In any case, Spock's reaction on discovering that Kirk isn't dead after all is a truly classic Trek moment.
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Peter H
Wed, Apr 18, 2018, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Outrageous Okona

I took one look at the title, which told me everything I needed to know, and skipped this one.
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Peter G.
Wed, Apr 18, 2018, 10:59am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due

@ William H,

Why do you think this episode has anything at all to say about religion? It's about a con artist, not about the validity of the religion that the con artist abused.

There could literally be a deity and a second coming that is literally true and will come to pass for these people, and that fact wouldn't at all prevent some thief from pretending to the their god and taking advantage of them. It doesn't speak at all to their beliefs that this can happen; on the contrary, it means that con artists try to prey on people who are looking for something and pretend to give it to them. That doesn't mean people shouldn't be looking for things...it just means that bad people are bad.
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Peter
Tue, Apr 17, 2018, 5:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Where Silence Has Lease

I have little to say about this episode, except to note that I'm getting rather tired of humanity being judged by "superior" beings as being arrogant and agressive, particularly when they themselves threaten and kill the crew.
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Peter Swinkels
Tue, Apr 17, 2018, 1:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Half a Life

I actually found myself agreeing and sympathizing with Lwaxana.
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Peter
Tue, Apr 17, 2018, 5:01am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Child

I'm heartened by the warm reception that Pulaski has received from above commenters; I thought she was a great character and far superior to Dr Crusher, who I always thought rather bland.

Again, I must carry the torch for unloved counsellor Troi. I loved all her scenes and was genuinely touched by her grief at Ian's moving on.

One other thing I noticed about this episode is just how well directed and framed each shot is. The show has moved on a long way from Season 1 and is increasingly looking like the prestige sci fi drama most people remember TNG to be.
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Peter
Mon, Apr 16, 2018, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

This was a much better episode than I had expected. I remember being quite shocked when I saw it as a kid, expecting Yar to be revived by the end of an episode. A sudden main character death really wasn't to ever be expected at the time.

I admire the decision to make her death sudden and senseless. In a realistic Trek universe a bridge officer's death of this nature would not be an uncommon event.

I don't share Jammer's weariness at the Troi scenes, and to me they proved to be the real strength of the episode, highlighting what an essential part of the ensemble Troi is.

As I've re-watched the series I've noticed that Troi's contribution has been more significant than I remember. It's clear that Roddenberry considered that the exploration of the inner world (superficial as it often seems to be) should carry great weight. *Yes*, she does make rather a lot of obvious remarks, but her opinion is clearly important to Picard's decision making process. It's actually quite remarkable that, considering bridge seating arrangements, she seems to carry as much significance as the First Officer. I wonder if other ships have a similar set up? We certainly never see it in any other series of Trek.

@BobT : that is my new favourite bit of Trek trivia; I can't wait to show it to someone else!
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Peter G.
Mon, Apr 16, 2018, 8:39am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Cost of Living

@ Sean Hagins,

"So, I should say our system of dating is scriptural, which makes it very good as we get God's view of how we behave"

Out of curiosity, where in scripture does it specify how to date?
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Peter Swinkels
Sun, Apr 15, 2018, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Identity Crisis

Where did the connectors (blinking red lights) go while Geordi was a mutant/alien? Could he see? The usual DNA = magic nonsense...
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Peter G.
Sat, Apr 14, 2018, 10:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Best of Both Worlds, Part II

@ Trent,

I like your write-up, but have to wonder at this bit:

"It also occurs to me that Riker is a fat dude, and I think this makes him interesting."

Is that, uh, metaphorical? Or do you literally mean he had put on weight? He definitely had by the time of Nemesis, but as far as I know in the main stretch of TNG he was in outstanding physical shape and was into martial arts.
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Peter G.
Sat, Apr 14, 2018, 9:17am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Cost of Living

@ Sean Hagins,

"I believe in marrying people who are fellow Christians only. This is one reason we do not date online."

You can speak for yourself, but not for others. I say this because I literally know Christians who do date online, and in fact married from meeting as a result of that. There are Christian dating sites, FYI, and although I wouldn't make the claim that this is *the* ideal way to meet people, it is a way. I suppose you don't live in a big city with many millions of people in it? I've spoken to Christians who do who say that it's essentially impossible to meet Christian singles in the daily course of their regular life, and that unless online dating produced some results they'd probably have to be resigned to being single for the rest of their lives.

I'll grant it's not absolutely impossible that the writers were somehow thinking of online dating, but I doubt it. When assessing authorial intent the task is to use the text given and the tone to determine what the author was trying to get across. Sometimes we can even glean what they wanted to say and failed to say, but in the case of Cost of Living I think they achieved their purpose. The episode isn't about blind dating, it's about blind marriage, so shoehorning in online dating as a meta-narrative seems like a bad fit.
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Debra Petersen
Fri, Apr 13, 2018, 8:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The City on the Edge of Forever

My favorite TOS episode (with Amok Time being second). The moment that just gets me every time comes right after Kirk has stopped McCoy from trying to save Edith. McCoy unbelievingly and harshly demands of Kirk "Do you know what you just did?". And Spock responds "He knows, doctor...he knows"...as Kirk stands there trembling with pain and grief. One of the most moving moments in Trek.

The developing relationship between Kirk and Edith was beautifully done. When Edith first encountered Kirk and Spock she could easily have dismissed them as common thieves. But she seemed to instinctively recognize that they were much more than that, and to understand their closeness, even though there were things about them that puzzled her,

There is one thing I wonder about. The whole premise behind Kirk's dilemma is the idea that Edith's pacifist movement would delay the entrance of the United States into WWII, allowing Germany to win and conquer the world. But the entrance of the U. S. into the war was directly triggered by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and the original declaration of war was against Japan. The alliance that Japan had with Germany and Italy then quickly brought them in against the U.S. Given the devastating direct attack by Japan, I doubt that any pacifist movement could have kept the U. S. from responding and being drawn into the war both in the Pacific and in Europe. The premise has to be accepted for the story to work, but it does seem questionable in light of the actual history.
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Peter G.
Thu, Apr 12, 2018, 10:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: The House of Quark

@ Rahul,

Your review seems rather harsh on what is generally seen as a light and fun episode about an unlikely friendship between a Ferengi and a Klingon woman,

"Whether this is meant to be a satire of Klingon society or not, it paints the Klingon beliefs/system in a bad light although their whole honor thing is wishy-washy anyway -- depends on the intent of the Klingon in question. D'Ghor tries to use the honor BS to his benefit at every turn, yet was sucking his brother dry financially. "

Are you sure about that? Perhaps if you think that the Klingons are meant to represent an actual system of government then I could see your point. But overall, since TNG-era Trek where they weren't the USSR any more, they seem to be to embody old honor-society values and a sort of Samurai/Viking temperament. It's more about the attitude than anything else. I think that a great many people would look at TNG Federation people and say that what's missing in them is fire, spirit, a sort of rugged or raw side of humanity. It's all very polished and...well, sometimes boring. The Klingons give us that sense of adventure, thrill, blood-churning passion, that Feds seem to usually lack. Also, the Federation runs the risk of coming off as rules-heavy where there's a regulation for everything, very cut and dried, whereas the Klingons care more about doing things honorably than about sticking to the letter of the law and being a 'good citizen.' There's something to be said for both. It is a problem in our times that it seems that you can't compel people to behave honorably or with charitable intention; if you give them an inch they take a mile and take advantage of something or of the system. So we instead employ laws that strictly prohibit basically everything abusive (other than in commerce) to make sure that some jackass or other doesn't do it, because if not for threat of punishment they'd do any manner of things without regard for the nobility (or lack thereof) of the act. So Klingon society also shows us a people who in theory care so much about honor that the social aspect of that alone compels them to behave in certain ways, and the civil laws aren't required to prohibit them.

And that brings us back to this episode, which shows us clearly that an honor system requires people who want to participate. But in reality there will always be outliers, or sociopaths, or people who are users and don't care; they will abuse the system if they can, and so it seems inescapable that an honor system is doomed to fail in big matters, and strict regulation and oversight is needed. And I do say that this is a really sad thing, and even sadder to see in a society that (naively) is trying to go based on honor. This episode gives us that contrast, where even the thought that someone would do that is so horrible that Grilka is just stunned. And to be honest I think this is the reaction most people would have. "Who would do that??" Well, people would, and the Klingon society is an outstanding avenue of showing us just how ridiculous it is that people would stoop to that. Who better than a Ferengi to point this out? And it's great because he, himself holds up his business acumen as a badge of honor of a different sort.

But even putting aside the implications or interpretation of the story, I think that while there's no accounting for taste, it's pretty harsh to give 2 stars to an episode that have innovative ideas, moves the story right along with new locales and a return of Gowron, is directed in a snappy energetic way, and has an intelligent and witty resolution that captures the best of both the Ferengi and the Klingons and what we can admire about them. This may not be to everyone's liking, but it is a *well-made* episode. And honestly Gowron's face when he throws the PADD away should be worth 4 stars by itself.
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Peter G.
Thu, Apr 12, 2018, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Counterpoint

@ Chrome,

"or by how they would address someone in a civilian context (men: sir, women: ma'am)."

I wonder if even this makes sense. In a civilian context "ma'am" is short for madame, and is part of a modern tradition of addressing everyone as if they're gentry or nobles. It's akin to "ladies and gentlemen", which literally means "rich people and nobles". And yet I'd find it awfully rich for a female military officer to be addressed as "Madame." Can you imagine that? "Yes, Madame! Of course, Madame!" But that's what ma'am means. I wonder, especially in this modern age, if it wouldn't just be more convenient for any officer to be a "sir" and for it be be gender non-specific.
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Peter G.
Thu, Apr 12, 2018, 9:58am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Cost of Living

Yeah, I see no resemblance here to online dating. If anything it's a statement about the folly of marrying for money or status.
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Peter Swinkels
Thu, Apr 12, 2018, 2:00am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Reunion

Not much to say, except that Gowron’s crazed eyes give him a highly recognizable appearance.
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Peter G.
Wed, Apr 11, 2018, 9:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Lower Decks

@ Trent,

I agree with what SpaceCadet said. Your basic premise here seems to be that sending Sito on a suicide mission is an abuse of some sort. You don't quite say that but I sort of detect it in the mix. If we interpret the mission as merely 'throwing her life away' then I would see the argument behind saying that luring her into that is manipulative. But I think that premise is problematic, because the fact of the matter is that dying to protect Starfleet *is* a noble end, and it's no worse or less dignified than someone who lives to a ripe old age working in exobiology, Starfleet does need this kind of service, as brief as it might be for the people who don't come back. It's just as important as anything else and isn't a throw-away. Sito wanted to serve Starfleet and she got to do exactly that. No more, and no less. You seem to believe that no one who joins Starfleet believes they'll be sent to their deaths soon after joining; on an individual level I can see how we might be tempted to think that. However I think this view comes with the cynical view we may have towards the practice of luring in young people today to the military to serve masters that send them to die for dubious (or nefarious) reasons. Plenty of Vietnam material is all about that, how people with no skin in the game who live in safety send others in to die, often for their personal gain. But Starfleet isn't like that, or it isn't supposed to be.

So maybe the issue here is more with whether we should really buy into the premise that Starfleet is a noble institution, in an age when humans don't abuse each other as a rule, and where joining Starfleet is generally an act of full cognizance and willingness to follow orders and die if need be. In today's world we would likely obscure that fact from the screening process, but in TNG's world it's probably the opposite, especially as we saw (for better or worse) in Coming of Age, where you basically have to beg to join and know the risks all too well. So while I can understand cynicism about a chain of command, if we take TNG's premise at face value then I cannot see anything dubious about giving Sito a chance to redeem herself. Picard sending her on a mission from which she might not return is exactly what it's made out to be: her redeeming her past wrongdoing by serving Starfleet. It's not a punishment or a trick; it's an honor that she was chosen to go. Rejecting that means more or less rejecting the value of service in Starfleet in the first place. Just imagine a world so good, a people so united, a service so noble, that you literally would want to go die for it to serve your people, knowing it was actually for the good of all. I can see many people, especially a Bajoran who grew up in refugee camps, wanting to sign up for that and to submit themselves for whatever is needed of them. So yes, I think that allowing Sito to serve on the Enterprise, and then to represent the Federations interests as an agent on this mission, was very good of Picard to bestow on her.

The temptation here, I think, is to see Starfleet in a negative light when it wants to conduct covert missions against the Cardassians. I suppose we could debate the ethics of conducting 'illegal' like using spies and so forth. But this episode isn't really about that, and unlike DS9 where different kinds of questions are raised, in TNG I think we have to take it at face value that Starfleet is a good organization that doesn't abuse people just because they need bodies. Likewise, if a person is sent on a suicide mission I think we have to take it as a given that (a) this mission was necessary, and (b) that the highest respect and consideration is given to crew members who go on dangerous missions like this. It seems to me quite a leap to suppose that this isn't what Sito signed up for. What did she sign up for, cushy guard duty?

Now, to answer your direct question about why they had to test her like that, consider for a moment what the mission was going to be: she was going to be treated like a Bajoran whore by a Cardassian. This would potentially involve interactions with other Cardassians which could include humiliation, being treated like garbage, having her species insulted, being physically beaten or raped, and so forth. She needed to be able to take abuse and stay on her feet. For Picard to tell her initially that she had no business being on the Enterprise and was a disgrace was to see how she'd deal with humiliation and disrespect, and whether her sense of duty and need to serve outweighed her difficulty with self-esteem or feeling incapable. She needed to have that drive deep within her, because the way Cardassians might treat her she's be possibly stripped down to nothing but her sense of duty. If that was going to be strong enough to withstand that it had to be strong enough to withstand some berating from a superior officer. You're framing the issue of what Picard should have done in terms of what would give Sito's choice the most weight; but you're jumping the gun on that. It wasn't her choice at all until she had already proved herself. If she crumbled under the abuse they never would have sent her. As it was, when she proved herself, they could have just ordered her to go but Picard was nice enough to offer her the choice. Granted, it was a lopsided one, in the realm of "go or you will look like a coward who can't redeem herself". But to be honest that would have been the truth. To me it seems like his offer for her to volunteer was less about the fact that it was a volunteer-only mission, and more about the fact that her strong sense of duty *ought to make her want to go.* If she refused the assignment then it was very likely that she quite honestly didn't belong in Starfleet in the first place. So it was a very real redemption. For Picard to tell her that there's no such thing as redemption, and she could do it or not without consequence - that would be a lie. Someone who doesn't want to go into harm shouldn't be there, as they're just condemning someone else to go anyhow. If he was absolutely certain about her I think Picard might have just ordered her to go. But as it was she needed to want to serve badly enough that she'd put her life on the line for it, just like she agreed to put Josh's life on the line at the Academy to make her squad look good.
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Peter G.
Wed, Apr 11, 2018, 2:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Lower Decks

@ Trent,

Giving Picard full benefit of doubt, consider why he might have put Sito through that. They needed someone fitting her profile for the mission, who was a good pilot. It was established from The First Duty that she's an outstanding pilot so that isn't out of the blue.

But also necessary for the mission, and not entirely clear to Picard, is that she can take a physical and emotional beating and still keep her head on straight. The fact that she was potentially vulnerable is exactly why he needed to put her through that. If she was going to break down and lose her will to succeed then he'd know she wasn't the right person. It was all about the mission in that sense, and that was Picard's duty as Captain. It had nothing to do with grooming vulnerable people to take on dangerous missions, because we've seen Picard send people to their deaths before. Any Starfleet officer knows they might die, or even go on suicidal missions for the greater good. But Picard didn't just need an officer, but someone who was tough enough for the assignment, and she proved she was. The fact that it was an unpleasant test and her "prize" was death does not reflect poorly on Picard, because there is nothing untoward about fully assessing the qualifications of personnel for dangerous missions.
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Peter Swinkels
Wed, Apr 11, 2018, 2:45am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Best of Both Worlds, Part I

Why do the Borg let people beam on to their ships without raising the alarm? As becomes clearer and clearer they must be complete idiots regarding that policy because beings seemingly infior to them can be a threat to them. As I see it you don't let ANYONE on your ship without permission. Never.

Beyond that I do enjoy the Borg and this episode.
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Peter G.
Fri, Apr 6, 2018, 12:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

@ Rahul,

Another takeaway we can make about The Never-Ending Sacrifice is that its repetition no doubt takes on a relentless quality. Garak describes it as a work of art in how it portrays repeatedly that the state comes first and that your duty is to be ground under its wheels. I think there's some very subtle subtext here that the book is government-sponsored propaganda and that Cardassians are basically required to claim they love it regardless of their actual inner feelings. It's not so much clear to me that Garak actually enjoys the book, so much as recognizes it as being a masterpiece in Cardassian statesmanship. It serves its purpose (in cowing the populace) better than other works do, and so functionally it is a "masterpiece". This is the evaluation as coming from a member of the Obsidian Order, not an art critic.

Also I have to wonder whether the writers were deliberately riffing on The Neverending Story when they named it, which was very popular in the 80's. That story, which is about the little guy using the power of hope of positive spirit, to overcome overwhelming oppressive forces. It's pretty much the diametric opposite of what The Neverending Sacrifice sounds like, so it might be deliberate satire.
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