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Peter G.
Tue, Jan 24, 2017, 9:44am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Captain's Holiday

More to the point about whether there are other good female guest stars, it's pretty clear to me that Vash stands apart from the others if for no other reason that she can stand up to Picard as an equal, which practically no other person in the entire series can claim to do. She not only stars in an adventure episode, but in a capacity where she's the one calling the shots. Her not being in Starfleet emphasizes this all the more, since she also stands out as not having to conform to Federation law (something restricting the comportment of most other guest stars).

For me, personally, when inspecting how good a role is for an actress, I tend to think of it in terms of how much there is to chew on in the role. Vash was definitely a prime vehicle for an actress, and on these grounds I would put Lal in this group, as that was an excellent role to portray (whether or not she 'counts' as a child). But yeah, there aren't too many roles like this in TNG, where a guest actress gets to play a kick-ass part that's central to the episode.
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Peter G.
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 10:38am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due

@ Jason R.

"By the way, what was Ardra's plan anyway?"

This is the bit the episode doesn't actually address. I'm not sure whether that's a good or a bad thing. She claims she'll take possession of the Enterprise, but obviously that was another con in order to gain maneuvering room with the locals. To conduct such a massive scam she must have had an endgame in mind, such as them paying her tribute, or maybe they had some rare or powerful artifacts she would have claimed as taxation and then run off with them. Being a con artist she certainly wasn't going to try to actually administer over the entire planet on a full-time basis, so I imagine what she wanted was specific. It's never mentioned so we can only wonder.

Regarding her decision to claim the Enterprise, it's also possible that in addition to being a con artist she was also a megalomaniac and once she was apparently succeeding maybe the feeling of power went to her head and she overstepped. I can imagine her crew listening in and going "Claim the Enterprise??? WTF!"
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Peter G.
Sun, Jan 22, 2017, 10:30am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Soldiers of the Empire

@ Brian,

I might suggest that the premise behind Martok's behavior is that he was broken by his time in the prison camp. A Klingon warrior wouldn't go in for psych treatment after such an ordeal, and he very likely wasn't recovered by this time. Taking that as the premise we might then suggest the converse - that his 'recovery' towards the end is a little pat considering how messed up his mind might be. Probably best to consider that this was the first step towards his recovery, and that the rest occurs offscreen. Nothing of what we see onscreen strikes me as indicating Martok is going mad.
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Peter G.
Sun, Jan 22, 2017, 10:24am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Yesterday's Enterprise

Excellent review, phaedon.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jan 20, 2017, 10:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: 11001001

I kind of agree with Tara that Minuet is something of a 'fail' in terms of actually being what Riker and Picard suggest she is. The actors are selling something that does not really appear on the screen. To be honest I think this was just a writing and directing gaff, because while contextually it appears that it's her comportment that is what's attracting them, I think the intent of the episode is to show how advanced the holodeck is rather than how amazing she in particular is. When they say they could love her I sort of take that to mean "she seems real enough that someone could fall in love with her", i.e. the holodeck's simulation of human beings is very realistic. Contextually it does look like they are admiring her actual traits, but this is the part that I think was directed incorrectly. Riker should have been shown to be into her because she was into him (read: womanizer interested in anything pretty that finds him attractive), while Picard's fascination should have been more with the vividness. It's not that this wasn't there, exactly, but it wasn't highlighted correctly and the whole thing comes off as them being into her because she's a sex toy.

The end of the episode does specifically mention, though, that once the Bynars left she wasn't the same, which does imply something special about her program in particular, but the way it's written it may as well be magic. I don't think a Federation member would be withholding programming technology from Starfleet.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 3:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Darkness and the Light

@ Jason R,

I'll take up this point in particular:

"To address your last point, you have yet to respond to the fact that his "content and tone" in discussing Kira was more or less the same as it was when discussing Nog."

It's unclear whether there is common ground or not between the dislike of them based on what's been said so far. Let's put aside the comments in this thread for the moment and hypothetically suppose someone said that Kira was an emotionally silly woman and should die for it. We might suspect sexism/misogyny, although this is only one data point. Then suppose that same person announces that a man in the same series is pathetic because he's wimpy or maybe emotionally annoying in the same way. While you might take this to mean that since both male and female characters are being disparaged there is therefore no ground to suppose sexism/misogyny, you could be missing that the common ground between both of them is a patriarchal stereotype of how people in general are supposed to be. But if this were so it not only might the view regarding the female character still be sexist, but actually it would mean that it is sexist and that additionally there is another 'ism' at play at the same time being directed as the male character not fitting the chauvinist expectation. You might then categorize both under the general heading of "male supremacist", of which "sexist/misogynist" would be a subset but not distinct from.

I make this hypothetical so that no one here is dragged into this speculation, but my point is that if a patriarchal stereotype is being applied to a female character it doesn't contradict this to also apply that same patriarchal stereotype to a male character. Part of feminist theory is that both men and women are subjected to these overbearing stereotypes, and even though typically this kind of chauvinistic expectation is expressed as being 'sexist' it does not preclude men from being disparaged on the same ground.

In the context of this discussion I therefore don't see disparaging Nog as being particularly germane to undermining a suspicion that a particular view (or way of expressing it) is sexist/misogynist. I agree with you about civility, and also about the fact that there is data lacking here; and even that part of the issue here is probably style. However I don't know that maintaining civility must necessarily involve enforced silence when something actually objectionable is said. Name calling isn't the best way to address these things, but does that mean the content of the objection needs to be dismissed along with the tone?
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Peter G.
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 11:56am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Darkness and the Light

@ Jason R.

Just to play devil's advocate, I think the argument N was trying to make isn't that disparaging Kira makes someone a misogynist in and of itself, nor was it that her particular faults are also the faults of all women. Rather I think the crux of the argument was to suggest that DLPB is using criteria for judging Kira in particular that are quintessentially patriarchal criteria whose employment is based less on objective virtue and more on 'virtues' traditionally held to be male traits, such as emotional control, cold reason, and so forth. By describing her in a negative light on the grounds that she possesses traits traditionally associated with females, one would be by inference perpetuating the sexist double standard of women being assessed based on criteria important to men. Or, put differently, "she's stupid because she doesn't act like a man."

I also think N was reacting to the hyperbole suggesting she should die for being so "stupid" in this sense, which I think is where what might have been a suggestion of sexism instead might suggest misogyny. "She should die for being so emotional" doesn't sound like merely a mistaken bias against one sex. Even if it's just a joke, it's still a misogyny joke.

I'm not taking sides in this, but I don't think you fairly characterized what N was trying to say.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jan 18, 2017, 2:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Extreme Measures

@ Robert,

While I generally agree with your treatment of the topic, the use of genocide to stop Islamic terrorism isn't a good analogy, because in that case one would be using extreme force to annihilate a foe that cannot possibly threaten the existence of the party employing the genocide. In the Trek world, had the Dominion won I'm not sure you're right about how they would have treated their victims. True, overall they prefer to act as the mafia and take their cut while leaving trade to flourish, but Wayoun straight-up says that the first thing to do after winning the war is to eradicate the population of Earth. This is only not genocide by the technicality that there are humans living elsewhere as well. Plus we heard various of how the Dominion would either wipe out populations ("Sanctuary", "Shadowplay") or else punish them so severely that it was equivalent ("The Quickening").

While I agree entirely with your comments about leftism and Trek, I'm not sure I'd be so quick to condemn Section 31's logic. When Sloan says that Bashir is a dangerous man I do find my ears perking up and wondering if he has a point. Genocide surely has to be condemned as unacceptable, however if one is simply given the choice of "millions of Founders die, or billions of Federation citizens die" I'm not sure how picking the former is such an obvious conclusion. The fact of the matter is that the war was only won because of a Section 31-esque gambit ("By the Pale Moonlight") and because the prophets were able to divert the Dominion fleet. There was no way for Section 31 to foresee either of these events. Also many lives were saved because it just so happens that Odo was able to convince the Founder to surrender. Had Odo been randomly killed prior to that event many additional lives would have been lost.

I don't know that there's an easy answer to how to do the moral calculus when billions of lives are on the line no matter what you do.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 2:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Darkness and the Light

I love Kira as a character, and the episode never offended me as it apparently does some. It's not my favorite ever, but I did relish the return of Furel and Lupaza, who are think are so strong that they lend real substance to Kira's past.

Regarding Kira putting the baby in danger, I do think there's reason to believe that if she had stayed put she'd have been very likely killed. He was too good an assassin for her to expect to successfully avoid his attempt(s). Going after him was by far the safer course, all things being equal, although the only thing I'll say is it would have been good to bring backup. For going alone I'll say she was reckless, but it's also possible she wanted to minimize risk to others. Who knows, maybe he'd have blown up his own home with everyone present if given a chance.

My least favorite part of this episode is the actual theme of the darkness and the light; by this time in the series it's a well-worn concept for Kira and merely retreads on old territory. It's certainly a regression in terms of where we expected Kira to go next in her life. There's nothing here that "Duet" didn't say better.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 12:19am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: Civil Defense

I should have known what I was getting into replying to that. At least mephyve was concise...
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Peter G.
Mon, Jan 16, 2017, 8:21am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: Civil Defense

@ DLPB,

"The basics of computing do not change with time. You still deal with binary information that is interpreted however the programmer decided. Again, I am telling you as a programmer that you are wrong. "

Being a programmer, you should recognize that this makes you an authority on computer engineering about as much as driving my car to work makes me an expert on automobile construction. And even computer engineers typically aren't involved in the study of advanced computing methods.

One day maybe you'll look back on your comment here and laugh. Probably not, but let's be optimistic and say you will. Are you aware that you may well see quantum computers within your lifetime? Are you also aware that this is a non-binary computing technology?

Announcing triumphantly what the limits on technology will be like in 300 years must be the very height of folly in a Star Trek review page.
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Peter G.
Sat, Jan 14, 2017, 11:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Offspring

For anyone who rails against DS9 with claims that it warped Roddenberry's vision of Starfleet and the Federation, they should go back to TNG season 3 and watch this episode again. Here we have a Starfleet that is willing to either (a) take a child away from its parent, or (b) steal a research project away from its creator, both on the grounds that the technology is so valuable that they will have it in their own lab with no discussion about it. This sort of raw grab at powerful tech presages Section 31 in DS9, who see the balance of power as being more relevant than Federation principles in how they make decisions.

There is an almost terrifying aspect to how firmly Admiral Haftel is intent on taking Lal away from Data even after having openly admitted that she is a life form with rights. Despite Jammer's conclusion that this was some sort of writing error, I think rather that it was a deliberate sign that regardless of any hearing to grant rights to androids Starfleet was going to prioritize strategic concerns over some minor court decision. I can just see the avarice in their thoughts of having androids on every ship; the temptation to override one person's rights in order to make that happen would be immense. It doesn't betray Trek's vision to portray a Starfleet that is imperfect, because what we get instead is an example of what the Federation is really built on: men like Picard, who won't allow the state to cow them into doing things that go against their conscience. Trek has oft been called a secular humanist show, and as such the centerpiece properly needs to be good individuals, rather than good governments.

I hadn't watched this episode in many years and I'm sad to say I had never taken it that seriously before. I was blown away this time, especially by how affecting some of the scenes were involving two beings who feel nothing. The sort of helplessness and incapability we see from Lal brings to mind not only human children, but even adults who in their 'experience' like to pretend they have overcome fears and concerns from childhood that in reality they have only learned how to ignore. I'll class this among the best episodes in all of Trek.
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Peter G.
Sat, Jan 14, 2017, 4:45pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: I, Mudd

I don't think "I, Mudd" is Shakespeare, but at the same time I do recognize that science fictions writers often use the premise itself to do the talking, rather than shoehorning their message into the actual dialogue so that it's spelled out for the audience. The very fact of a guy wanting an army of slave-robot-vixens at his beck and call and ended up enslaved by it speaks for itself. The style of the piece is more farce than anything, and my family always viewed it as a fun episode. But I guess my point is don't confuse the style with the substance. It can play as silly and not 'address' the issues it contains directly, but that doesn't mean the issues aren't there to be seen.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jan 12, 2017, 10:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: I, Mudd

@ Skeptical,

I believe the point of the episode is this: that paradise for humanity comes as a result of focusing on humanity, not on machines. Mudd's moral 'crime' here is wanting technology to serve him so that he doesn't ever have to do anything for himself, whereas the Trek vision says that technology should free man up so that he can improve himself. Mudd doesn't want to improve himself; he wants to wallow in luxury. To some extent I think this is a real question to be asked of humanity in the face of technological paradise: wouldn't some people prefer, exactly as Mudd does, to be little better than pigs at the trough rather than spend their new leisure productively? This episode doesn't address how to deal with that possibility, but does strongly suggest that there is something inherently dangerous in using technology as a way to surrender our will. This is a theme touched upon in various science fiction stories, such as Dune for instance. Mudd does exactly that, and the episode plays out as a cute display of what happens when human beings take a back seat to machines; it not only renders them powerless, but also makes them more like machines as well.

As for the ending where illogical behavior breaks the computer, I'd like to think that the energetic display is meant to play as a piece of human creativity at work, which serves as a counterpoint to the slovenly Mudd whose greatest desire is to never have to think. Purely logical statements are easy to come up with; to play a mix of logic and illogic requires thinking on your feet and inventing, like a comedian. The power of the creative mind is, indeed, the ultimate refutation for anyone who thinks the greatest joy would be a life of sloth.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jan 12, 2017, 11:53am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: The Next Phase

@ N,

You're seriously going to blame the 'Trek writers' for what happened? I suggest reading Ron Moore's comments about leaving Voyager:

www.lcarscom.net/rdm1000118.htm

Problems of this sort *always* begin at the top in business.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jan 6, 2017, 11:31pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Lessons

@ Ross Carlson,

Ugh, why have you made me do this. But here we go:

"Again for the non-musicians there is but a single note difference between the two cords, in fact it's not even a full note/tone - it's a half tone as an F minor chord would have an A as it's third where a D diminished would have an Ab (A flat) as it's 5th - so in simple terms the difference in sound of those two chords 1 time in a piece would be absolutely indistinguishable to any human ear."

You are incorrect about the structure of these chords.

Here is F minor: F - Ab - C. With an A-natural, as you suggested, it would be F major.

Here is D diminished: D - F - Ab.

So according to the dialogue what Darren did was substitute the D natural for a C natural. And yes, a trained musician would definitely hear the difference if they knew the piece. There is a zero percent chance I would miss a minor chord substituting for a diminished one in a piece I knew very well. It would very likely make me raise my eyebrows and sit up straight in a big hurry. And my ear training is only so-so compared with some people. Some conductors can hear one instrument make an error of one semitone in a 100 piece ensemble. I work with choirs a lot and can certainly pick out a wrong semitone by one person in a choir of 20-30 people. Darren's note change is a full tone, though, and frankly if Picard *didn't* notice it that would likely mean he didn't know the piece all that well in the first place.

As to whether a classical pianist would improvise in a performance, of course they would, even today. Adding ornamentation to Baroque or classical repertoire is quite standard, and while rewriting the piece on the fly would be odd, changing one note in one chord (especially as an ornamental gesture) is not really a big deal depending on the venue. I hear organists mess around with harmonization all the time. That being said the episode takes place more than 300 years in the future, so criticizing someone's performance practice in that era using today's standards would be very strange indeed!

This is all theoretical, so I just went and listened to the musical piece in question. To be honest I'm not 100% sure what Picard means when he says the "second arpeggio", since in the first arpeggio section there are two of them in a row, the second of which is a diminished chord. Shortly after that there is another arpeggio section which does end with an odd-sounding minor chord. Assuming for the moment Picard's comment is accurate I suppose he therefore meant the final arpeggiated chord of the second section. While I incidentally think the minor chord there sounds kind of bad, nevertheless it would mean the comments made are logical and fit what was played. No doubt Dennis McCarthy, the composer, is the one who told the writers what to have Picard say, so in that sense it would probably be unreasonable in and of itself to assume that the composer himself doesn't know what he's talking about with regard to his own piece.

Conclusion: the dialogue makes perfect sense, even though I disagree with Picard's appraisal of the chord choice.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jan 6, 2017, 10:50am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

@ Latex Zebra,

"Chekov wasn't part of the bridge crew when they met Khan..."

That was an oversight on the part of the writers, not an actual reason why Chekhov wouldn't remember the planet. You might notice that Khan also recognized Chekhov, which pretty much means they retconned the cast list in "Space Seed" to include Chekhov. I've heard Walter Koenig say that this was a goof and not a plot point.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jan 5, 2017, 11:35am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

@ Robert,

I know Jammer's site is a spoiler-laden zone, but it strikes me that when joining in on a specific conversation with someone who says he's watching the series for the first time we should probably try to avoid giving spoilers (such as whether or not the Klingons never totally leave DS9).
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Peter G.
Thu, Jan 5, 2017, 11:28am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

@ Jason R.,

Do you think it's plausible to suggest that Chekhov legitimately just forgot all about that incident until he saw the name "Botany Bay" and then realized his history with that system? We have to assume that in his 5-year tour with the Enterprise he visited hundreds and even thousands of worlds, many of which were important and others of which were uninhabited or otherwise routine exploration. He probably never forgot the incident with Khan, but I wouldn't be surprised that he forgot the name of the system long before this. "Ceti Alpha system? Huh, that rings a bell. Anyhow back to work..."

As for the crew not receiving an alert about Khan's presence when they entered the system, that's a question mark. Normally you'd think it would be a big deal to take note of humanoid life when entering any system, especially when they're scouting for potential use of a powerful destructive energy one planet away (supposedly) from where Khan was dropped off. My only conclusion, then, is that Kirk omitted the entire incident from the record and didn't file what happened with Starfleet. On the one hand it would seem bizarre, given the danger the crew faced in "Space Seed", to fail to make any kind of report about the retaking of the ship and so forth.

But on the other hand Kirk had a problem. If Kirk sent Khan back to the Federation for trial he could potentially (a) get off with some kind of insanity plea (cryofreeze effects, etc.), (b) go to prison and be released eventually, (c) escape and wreak havoc elsewhere, or (d) attract too much curiosity from the wrong kinds of people who would have use for such super-powered criminals. On a human level it would be awful in a way to have them sit in a Federation prison because I think Kirk and Spock both recognized that there was a real greatness in Khan even though it had to be opposed, and that it would be somehow shameful to have such a tiger be in a little cage for the rest of his life.

And so they left Khan on Ceti Alpha 5. And yet now there was another problem: If Kirk were to file a report Starfleet would no doubt send a ship immediately to collect the supermen and try them for crimes. Or worse, send ships with the intention of studying them, making public displays of their punishment, or other such humiliating results. Kirk's creative answer of letting them rule their own little planet would not have been accepted by the bureaucrats. And so I must conclude that Kirk never filed any report and probably ordered the crew never to speak of it to anyone, so that Khan and the others could be left alone.
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Peter G.
Tue, Dec 27, 2016, 8:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Things Past

Damn autocorrect. Last message was directed at "N".
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Peter G.
Tue, Dec 27, 2016, 7:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Things Past

@ November,

Remember that the events depicted here aren't objectively factual, but rather are Odo's recollections and even perspective on what happened. If the past version of him appears to be unreasonable I would suggest interpreting that as meaning he has a very negative view of how he behaved back then. Since his view of himself was harsh this episode is in fact the opposite of character assassination.
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Peter G.
Wed, Dec 21, 2016, 11:04am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Emissary

@ Jason R.

"But even if Sisko was chosen by others, it would be out of character for a man like Picard not to know everything there is to know about this new Commander prior to meeting with him for his briefing. I mean sheesh - there were only, what 38 vessels at Wolf 359? I'd presume their names would be tattooed on Picard's brain by this point."

I think the question here isn't whether Picard knew that Sisko was involved in the battle with the Borg. The issue seems to be that Picard wasn't thinking of it in terms of "I killed those people" but rather "The Borg killed those people, *and* violated me as well." No doubt various counselors had also drilled into Picard's head by this time that he was not responsible, the acts were not his, and that he was a victim just like the people who died. For Sisko to throw this in his face might not be something he'd expected, and in fairness to Picard it's a pretty brutal thing to say regardless of whether they mutually shared that information or not. Picard may well have known Sisko was there, but he may have come in thinking more along the lines of "we are both victims of the Borg, we have something in common" and Sisko comes in with "you killed my family." Picard may well have not seen that coming at all.
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Peter G.
Tue, Dec 20, 2016, 4:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: Impulse

@ Bluedylan,

"These reviews are becoming so biased, and I'd even say agenda driven, that they are becoming largely unreadable. The show hasn't been given a fair chance by Jammer from the off in my view, and by now he sounds like somebody operating entirely on confirmation bias."

Someone here is indeed operating on confirmation bias, but I don't believe it's Jammer. His reviews are noteworthy in how fair they are and how they typically refrain from making extreme judgments. In case you think I'm in on his conspiracy to pretend that ENT is a weak show, the vast, vast majority of people I've heard speak of or review ENT seem to agree on a spectrum verging from mediocre down to plain bad. Unlike Voyager, which seems to spawn extreme diverging views (some people thinking it's the best Trek series, others thinking it's dreck), the jury seems to be nearly unanimous that ENT wasn't good and that it was the final nail in the coffin of Roddenberry Trek.

If you like it that's really good for you, no sarcasm intended. But taking a review that more or less falls right in the center of the majority and calling it biased and agenda driven is a bit much.
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Peter G.
Wed, Dec 14, 2016, 6:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Paradise

@ Justin,

"Anyone who doesn't understand why the colonists acted the way they did has never seen a cult at work. These people have been brainwashed by their leader for 10 years, and brutally punished for crimes of individuality or opposition"

This is an entirely rational interpretation of the episode, but to be fair I'm 99% sure this wasn't what the writers intended the ending to mean. I'm fairly certain they intended to show that the colonists were actually mostly in agreement with Alixus in terms of what the 'good life' is despite the despicable tactics she used to force them to realize it. While she's a 'villain' in the sense of being corrupt, duplicitous, even murderous, her theories about how humans would enjoy living should not entirely be sidelined by the fact that it was a person like her saying them, even having done what she did. I believe the colonists earnestly recognized that even though she needed to be punished that they still preferred to live in that fashion than to go back. It does them a disservice in a sense to assume they were merely brainwashed, because to be frank I, too, envy some of the kind of life they had. Not all of it, but some. This ends up being echoed in what people like Eddington say later on, and we get a large dose of how good this kind of life could be in "Children of Time", even though in that case it was a communal life but with some technology.

I think what this episode accomplishes is suggesting that perhaps something is lost to humans living in a technological paradise. The fact that someone like Alixus felt compelled to do what she did may mean that people are so addicted to that lifestyle that nothing short of kidnapping them would get them to put down their iPhones, so to speak. I can sort of sympathize with the desire to rip the Padds out of their hands and get them to wake up, even though obviously it's wholly criminal to do so. Trek doesn't get into how enslaved men can be to technology, partially because Gene envisioned a utopia rather than a dystopia, but DS9 decided to go the route of at least *hinting* that there were potential pitfalls in Federation society.

That being said, although Trek never explored this possibility I do think it more likely that there would be entire colonies dedicated to living with nature rather than with technology. I would predict that many people would feel as Alixus does and go find ways to make communes like that, without having to resort to crashing a ship on a booby-trapped planet.
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Peter G.
Wed, Dec 14, 2016, 2:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part I

@ FlyingSquirrel,

Everything we've seen from the Trek series suggests that the chain of command is strictly maintained. Heck, it's the name of the episode. There may be scientific missions for Starfleet ships, but they're still run by the space navy. The leeway, I think, in how commands are handled is in how the Captain decides to run the ship. Some Captains probably keep a tightly regimented structure, while others are probably more lax or open to discussion. The big thing in Earth's future is that individuals are more evolved than they are now, which is quite a bit different from wondering whether a chain of command is still maintained in the way we think of it. One can have a similar institution but run by more enlightened people, and suddenly its 'feel' would be much different from what we're used to today.
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