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Fri, Jun 23, 2017, 10:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky

Another example of a TOS episode piecing together ideas from prior episodes: "The Paradise Syndrome" as William B. mentioned, but also a bit of "The Return of the Archons" for the computer controlled society. Some interesting twists on those themes but, by and large, nothing new here.
McCoy's romance with Natira doesn't work - it makes sense to have McCoy get this opportunity but Kelley doesn't do the part justice. Natira wasn't too convincing either.
I liked the romantic music for Natira/McCoy which is also used in "The Empath" for Gem. TOS had some wonderful musical scores.
What also doesn't work for me is how McCoy has 1 year to live so I guess he goes along with the idea of marriage and living on Yonada but then a cure is found in the extensive library behind the Oracle and then there's no more romance.
I think the episode has a good premise -- the Creators building Yonada to escape the destruction of their solar system some 10000 years ago. But it goes off course etc.
I don't know why the Oracle decides to heat the room when the Big 3 violate it instead of using electrocution again -- this miscalculation gives Kirk & Co. time to get the book etc. So it's somewhat convenient how this leads to solving the problem as everything else falls into place nicely.
I'd give this a strong 2 stars, nearly 2.5 -- seems like this episode dropped the ball a few times, unused potential.
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Fri, Jun 23, 2017, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Day of the Dove

"Day of the Dove" is an OK episode - some non-corporeal alien that feeds on hatred and violence creates situations for Klingons and the Enterprise crew to fight. Kind of reminds me of "Wolf in the Fold" where an alien feeds on fear.
Hard to know where to draw the boundaries between what the alien can conjure up and what it can't. It pulled off some pretty incredible feats, but ultimately is defeated once the Enterprise crew and Klingons stop fighting.
In any case, the message behind this episode is the strength of it -- the need to find peace, war can get you nowhere, and how difficult it is come to peace when indoctrinated to be at war.
Ansara as Kang does a solid job - like Colicos doing Koor in "Errand of Mercy" which established the truce between the Klingons and the UFP.
The Enterprise crew (other than Kirk and Spock - for the most part) are forced to act out of character due to the alien - so this actually proves to be a negative to this episode as opposed to one where their character develops -- like Scotty telling Spock "Transfer out. Freak!"
My rating: 2.5 stars -- some interesting situations to demonstrate a simple but difficult message to enact. It is a bit hokey though and heavy-handed in delivering its message.
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Fri, Jun 23, 2017, 2:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Spectre of the Gun

The best part of this episode was the spooky atmosphere - the red skies, half finished buildings, the background hum -- it did an excellent job of putting the crew in a surreal situation where they need to figure out a solution. Whether it is lack of budget (highly likely) or by design -- it worked.
I thought the guest actors playing the Earps etc. were convincing in their steadfast desire to kill Kirk & Co. Chekov acts unprofessionally but his death does give a clue to the solution of mind over matter.
It's always a bit awkward when Kirk & Co. get put into a contrived situation due to the incredible powers of some alien but it's all to tell a story and this one is not a bad one. The pacing is slow and it does drag on a bit, but it ultimately a test from the Melkotians -- as another commenter mentioned, similar to "Arena".
Makes "sense" how Spock arrives at the solution - evaluating how things have happened and how the laws of reality aren't being observed.
Agree with Jammer's 2.5 stars rating - not a bad hour of Trek but not a great one either. A contrived story but one with a reasonable solution that seems to add up.
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Thu, Jun 22, 2017, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Visionary

A good episode for sure - and having just seen VOY's "Before and After" it's interesting to compare the two.
Again, I don't mind the technobabble with the radiation and the singularity to create time jumps for O'Brien -- it's sci-fi, the writers can have their creative licence as long as they make some effort to not be totally ridiculous in the sci-fi paradigm -- and I think they achieve that in this story.
Must say, pretty cool (and tragic) watching DS9 blow up -- that takes a fair bit of work.
Of course, the issue with time travel stories is the inconsistencies/contrivances. Why does O'Brien travel into the future to witness only really important things? Because it makes for a good story.
VOY's "Before and After" was also an interesting episode, but what's becoming clearer to me is that DS9's characters are less wooden.
Pretty ballsy of the Romulans to have such a plan to blow up DS9 and the wormhole -- I don't know if that's a stretch for the writers to write that in but I would expect repercussions from this now that Sisko and Co. have found out. And does this de-frock cloaking technology going forward once and for all? Seems the Romulans giving the Defiant the cloaking device in exchange for info is a win for the Romulans if they can actually get good info.
I'd rate this a solid 3 stars - plenty to digest in this one but all the individual parts of the episode tie together well. The writers came up with a new way to have timeshifts just as was done in VOY's "Before and After" and I'm cool with the technobabble.
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Wed, Jun 21, 2017, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Before and After

Enjoyable episode - and pretty clever, although completely implausible (but we'll wave our hands for the purpose of just enjoying the sci-fi).
The writing/directing leading to the Krenim attack and the special torpedoes was well done. The episode does a good job of setting the stage for the mystery and providing clues along the way and it also tells an interesting story of an alternate timeline. I didn't mind the medi-babble / techno-babble here -- it seemed to make rough sense within the paradigm of Trek sci-fi.
The ending was a bit of a mess because it seems to me Kes was just going through the part of reverse aging to become a child then a baby (without the right ears) and then an embryo in her mind whereas the previous reverse aging was actually really lived. The treatment with the reverse particles took her back all the way to pre-birth and that was taking place in her mind somehow...Anyhow, if Jammer's confused, I'm more than confused.
And what about how Kes's species gives birth -- personally I don't think the writers needed to change that from regular humans but whatever -- just an odd thing to throw in.
Have to wonder if some of what Kes has experienced in the future comes true (not having seen subsequent seasons of VOY) but the episode might serve a good purpose like that.
Pretty good VOY episode - deserves 3 stars. Lien did a decent acting job and carried the creative episode.
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Tue, Jun 20, 2017, 4:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: A Matter of Perspective

I thought this was a clever episode - to use the holodeck to re-enact a crime. I thought it was hilarious how there could be 3 totally different versions of the fight between Riker and Dr. Akbar. But also, it shows (whether it intends to or not) different accounts of how a man (Riker) and a woman (the Dr.'s wife) see rape.
I really liked Frakes' acting in this one - the scene when he's on the bridge sitting beside Picard and not willing to say much given what went down on the station - well done.
And it also helps that the guest actors did a reasonably convincing job - weren't as wooden as usual.
The ending scene that resolves the mystery does tie things together nicely although I'm having to extend my suspension of disbelief for the little delay to accommodate the reflection of the phaser onto the generator that blows up the station and kills Dr. Akbar.
I also liked Picard's role here in maintaining his professionalism regarding Riker being accused of murder. This part was well-written and conceived.
I'd rate this episode 3 stars -- a good way to examine a legal issue through the holodeck showing different perspectives of the lead-up to the crime. Throw in a couple of shady supporting actors as well - that helped.
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Tue, Jun 20, 2017, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Yesterday's Enterprise

Prior to watching YE for the first time just a few minutes ago, I had astronomically high expectations. I was well aware that many consider it one of the best TNG episodes, that it's been called a classic etc. etc.
Having just finished watching "Yesterday's Enterprise", I'm a tad disappointed mostly because my expectations were so high. Time travel stories always have their holes and this one is no exception although it maybe has fewer of them.
I have to agree with Elliott and Kurgan who posted a couple of the initial comments in this thread.
YE does pull out all the stops with a different bridge, different uniforms etc. to reflect the changed timeline. There is also an nice battle scene and some good lines between Picard/Guinan & Picard/Yar & Guinan/Yar. They even threw in a bit of romance (which I didn't give a shit for) with Yar/Castillo.
I found the episode difficult to get a reading on at first -- how did the transformation of the Enterprise-D come about? Then it made sense with Yar back that the Enterprise-C coming into the future changed history etc. Bit of an arbitrary circumstance.
As for the moral dilemma, I didn't see it as so much of a big deal as is made out by folks calling YE a classic. OK, so Guinan has her feelings (I can accept that) but I also feel Picard should tell the Enterprise-C to go through the rift since that is where they belong. Guinan should do better in articulating her feelings re. Enterprise-C as she did re. Yar's meaningless death (which then makes Yar request a transfer to Enterprise-C). Data makes the most valid argument that dying in battle will be seen as honorable by the Klingons and is what turns out to make the timeline the way we all know it to be.
In any case, this is a riveting episode, a well-thought out story with some great action scenes and a bit of moral/ethical stuff. I'd rate it a strong 3.5 stars - I'm not enamored with it and, for me, it is not one of the top 5 TNG episodes (certainly not up there with BoBW, for example).
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Tue, Jun 20, 2017, 2:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Deja Q

This was a fun hour of TNG - have had plenty of heavy, serious episodes so it's nice to have a change of pace. But on it's own, I'd hardly consider "Deja Q" a classic. I don't even think it's a true comedy like "The Trouble With Tribbles" or "A Piece of the Action" - it just that Q is a humorous character but the rest of the crew is dead serious about dealing with the him and the moon. But no question John de Lancie is a terrific actor and does comedy well - plenty of good lines between him and the Enterprise crew. Plenty of good acting all around with the different crew members displaying their reactions to Q.

The thing is the whole while the viewer knows Q will get his powers back in the end and play some gags.

I wasn't too engaged with Geordi's attempts at deflecting the moon - not sure a starship should be able to do this, but who knows in sci-fi. The technobable wasn't particularly interesting.

As for the real point of the episode which I assume is about human qualities being experienced from the standpoint of an alien - the compassion, selflessness issue is dealt with a bit summarily. Data and Q made a good team and the android exemplified the self-sacrifice but it's a bit hard to take seriously given it's hard to know what's really going on with Q's situation.

Bernsen was fine as the 2nd Q, but his judgment about Q's shred of humility is cloaked in humor as well - so a bit hard to give much credence to the story's plot.

"Deja Q" is worth 3 stars for me - not a fan of omnipotent beings but that doesn't factor into the episode except for at the edges but it's a fun episode mainly because of Q's humor and the crew's reactions toward him.
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Mon, Jun 19, 2017, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Chosen Realm

This is pretty standard ENT - token alien race hijacks the ship and one of the Enterprise crew has to lead the charge to re-take it. There's a routine battle scene (which are all too frequent in ENT -- have to agree with Jammer's sentiments here) and finally Archer & Co. successfully re-take the ship.
The episode is cloaked in a religious battle - which is purposely portrayed as being extremely silly (how many days it took the Makers to create the Chosen Realm -- 9 or 10). The leader is a zealot and has a discontent in his camp. Ho-hum.
Like I said, standard ENT, and hard to really get excited about stuff like this after seeing it so often in prior episodes.
What also drags this episode down is when ENT gets guest actors to portray the aliens, they tend to be poor actors -- very wooden. The scene where D'Jamat points a phaser at the black guy's head to pursue the smaller ships is a perfect example, although the actor who played Yarrick was slightly better.
I did think it was clever that Archer got himself transported in order to simulate death -- bit of a risk given D'Jamat had been going over the ships logs.
It's not a bad episode, it's just redundant and pales in comparison to TOS's "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" which had much better guest acting and provided more appreciation of the (racial) conflict. Here we only get one (biased) view of the conflict.
I'd rate this 2 stars -- almost a filler episode but one that's not stupid so not deserving of a lower rating.
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Mon, Jun 19, 2017, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Similitude

This was an interesting hour of ENT - all about ethical debates and weird science. It comes down to how far the suspension of disbelief goes - can DNA bring memory along with it? And having a symbiont sitting in a jar turn into a human if injected with DNA? I don't know much about stem cells but I think this exceeds my suspension of disbelief. But nevertheless, I'll accept it to see what story is to be told.
There are a number of plot holes here - how the ship can't have a replacement for Trip on such a dangerous mission, how Phlox effs up with the idea that transplant won't kill Sim (unacceptable bumbling on his part), how Phlox even has one of these symbionts sitting in a jar in sickbay, and how Sim just agrees in the end because he doesn't want to live his life in a shuttlecraft out in space (why not just run around the ship and force Archer to basically kill him).
Still despite all the flaws in "Similitude" (agree with all the arguments Jammer's review makes) - I found it an engaging hour of sci-fi. It is conveniently resolved at the end - for Archer's benefit - as are many Trek episodes. And it does attempt to push the emotional buttons on love (T'Pol kiss at the end -- which I thought was ridiculous but some may think it's a nice touch I guess) and honoring the sacrifice of Sim (firing him off into space).
For me the episode just gets up to 3 stars. You could see the ethical issues coming and I didn't expect the episode to deal with them well, but it told a good story. I liked Bakula's acting here - his more resolute/pragmatic self which is quite different from S1 and S2.
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Fri, Jun 16, 2017, 9:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: And the Children Shall Lead

No question this is one of the worst TOS episodes. The premise for it is ridiculous - that some evil alien wants to use children to take over a starship and then take over some planets -- and for what purpose? It's not clear how the alien benefits, nor how the children benefit (I guess they don't have to eat veggies with dinner?)
The idea that it plays on one's individual fears might work but it definitely did not in this episode as Kirk/Spock seem to somehow snap out of it. Inconsistent and convenient to suit the poor writing.
And finally the kids snap out of Gorgon's spell by seeing the good times they had playing with their parents -- it's just an insult to the Trek fan who expects better.
Unfortunately a similar theme comes up in "The Way to Eden" except it's not children but space hippies. Too bad TOS didn't learn its lesson from this disaster.
This was a boring episode as well, which I can't say for many of the bad episodes -- I mean, how long do they have to spend showing the kids and their fist-pump inducing mental control/hallucinations in the crew? It was just stupid. The episode could have been done in 30 mins. instead of 1 hour.
I'd give "And the Children Shall Lead" a weak 0.5 stars for the first 15-20 mins. of suspense as to what caused the mass suicides and setting up a potentially decent episode -- after that the episode just fell apart as the kids/Gorgon idiocy took over.
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Fri, Jun 16, 2017, 3:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Paradise Syndrome

An interesting and somewhat touching episode - fairly different in some ways from any prior episode.
Seems to me to be one of the very few TOS episodes with 2 separate plots operating: Spock and the Enterprise trying to deal with the asteroid and Kirk having lost his memory living with the Indians on the planet.
Spock and McCoy have a good dialogue about how to deal with the asteroid - as Season 2 got on and as we go into Season 3, their interaction gets more and more complex. In a way it's like "The Galileo Seven" from S1 with Spock's command decisions being challenged and not working out.
Kirk's time with the Indians is mostly light-hearted although Salish provides a bit of an antagonist. Again Kirk gets the girl and finds true happiness. It's hard to believe he basically spends 2 months with the Indians. The supposed elapsed time for this episode may be the longest of any TOS episode.
I like the concept of the Preservers - a super-race - spreading humanoid species throughout the galaxy.
Spock with the 1st push of a button manages to deflect the asteroid - is he good or what? A bit of a convenient ending -- but the main point of the episode is Kirk finding true love and happiness and the simple life with the Indians.
"I will bear you many strong sons," says Miramanee as she dies -- are daughters no good?
I'd rate this 2.5 stars. Not a bad episode - some nice moments, some silly ones, but a touching ending with Kirk and Miramanee.
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Fri, Jun 16, 2017, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Enterprise Incident

A terrific episode after the dreadful "Spock's Brain" and the end of Season 2 seeming to run out of ideas.
"The Enterprise Incident" is creative and brilliant with the tables turned as to who are the "bad guys vs. the good guys". Almost wind up feeling bad for the Romulans and their cute commander.
Great scenes with Spock playing the Romulan commander. Linville does a great job - getting a good (non-wooden) guest actor is a huge benefit for this episode.
But this is an episode where everything has to go perfectly right for the Enterprise to pull off their secret mission -- and it does without a hitch.
McCoy being allowed to beam over to the Romulan flagship instead of having a Romulan doctor treat Kirk again makes the Romulans look like idiots. Romulan doctors probably aren't too good at their jobs - being fooled by Kirk's "death".
How does Kirk even know what the cloaking device looks like? And how does Scotty hook it in just in time? And Spock allowed to give his statement and buy the Enterprise time (20 minutes!). The Romulan commander is willing to give Spock his rights that she loses sight of the greater espionage situation.
Unfortunately this episode doesn't jive with "Balance of Terror" in that they should have remembered about the Romulan cloaking device.
Easily 3.5 stars - the female Romulan commander is the star of this episode - her dialogue with Spock is great. A highly enjoyable hour of Trek .
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Thu, Jun 15, 2017, 7:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Heart of Stone

This episode benefits from plenty of Odo/Kira -- the 2 best acted characters in DS9. The ending is a surprise but I don't think it's too farfetched for the head female Founder to have gone to such lengths to test Odo given how they tested Sisko in the 2nd part of the 2-part episode at the start of S3. I liked how at the end Odo said it was nothing important to [the real] Kira.
Odo's story about how he god his name was well done and how he found his purpose with the folks on DS9. D
As for the Nog/Star Fleet unrelated B-plot, it was annoying until the end when Nog explains he wants to be somebody -- that is promising for a character I largely find irritating. But I can't see him hacking it at Star Fleet (given what kind of testing Wesley Crusher had to go through) - I hope the writers don't make Nog all of a sudden develop all the right attributes and succeed - that would be totally inconsistent with his past (although I guess doing the inventory of the cargo came out of nowhere).
This is a decent episode although it basically is a contrivance to get Odo to come out of his shell about his feelings for Kira -- it's good for the viewer but it doesn't advance the story between the 2 of them all that much.
Almost good enough to get to 3 stars, but I think 2.5 stars is more appropriate - dragged down by too much Nog.
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Thu, Jun 15, 2017, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Life Support

Not a well conceived episode overall although it does show Bashir facing the medical dilemma and coming across as an honorable doctor doing the right thing. Some good dialogue between Bashir and Kai - challenging each other. Kai's demands are a bit over the top and it's not the first time a Trek episode is heavy-handed to illustrate an ethical dilemma.

I enjoyed Nana Visitor's acting as she loses her boyfriend - good actress showing the grief at the situation and of her loss at the end.

The B-plot with Nog/Jake's cultural differences with women is sort of humorous but I find Nog tremendously annoying. Juxtaposed with the serious A-plot is poor choice the writers made. It's fine to explore the differences between Jake/Nog growing up but pick another episode to insert it.

The episode would have been more credible had it made it seem like all the additional medical work was taking a mental/emotional toll on Bashir - it's like they agree to give Bareil the transplants and then it's done; do the positronic implants and they're done. Is there no difficulty/complications in these things anymore?

And then the treaty is miraculously signed - how did Kai Winn get over the issue of the Cardassian stuff left on Bajor? I guess the negotiations are just a plot device for the medical / ethical dilemma.

I'd rate this 2 stars. Never a big fan of Bareil or Kai - weak actors at the heart of this episode in stubborn roles, poorly juxtaposed B-plot. A good episode for Bashir though.
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Wed, Jun 14, 2017, 8:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Unity

A very good episode - nice to get a different way of dealing with the Borg. How the fear of the Borg -- even when dead -- terrifies Janeway/Torres is well done. The Borg are truly the best Trek villains.
So some natural phenomenon kills this particular cube and some Borg escape and de-assimilate. But then they want to form a new collective, which seems innocent enough to Chakotay at first but then maybe not so much. I thought this was a creative way of examining the Borg (telepathy, healing or regeneration). I found the dead Borg cube to still be very ominous when the Voyager crew went over to examine it - as well as when the Dr. conducts the autopsy and "revives" the Borg -- great stuff.
I don't find Chakotay a very interesting character -- another wooden Voyager actor and I actually thought the ensign who gets killed early was adding a nice dimension to the episode - but of course she gets killed while Chakotay somehow survives the same weapon attack. But his final line is very telling: "I wonder how long their ideals will last in the face of that kind of power."
I'd give this episode 3.5 stars just barely - the Borg really do it for me and the reaction of the Voyager crew to it was well done.
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Tue, Jun 13, 2017, 5:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The High Ground

Another good TNG episode that attempts to address a real-world societal issue - this time terrorism. It takes a balanced approach and it's fine that nothing is accomplished in the end. Good arguments are made on both sides from the police and the terrorist. Data and Picard have a good philosophical debate about when violence should be used and how history regards winners/losers.

The terrorist Finn is a compelling character. This episode pulls no punches and shows what a police state / terrorism is like. With the Enterprise being targeted it takes it to a higher level (some crew are killed).

The episode also gives a good chance to see what McFadden can do as an actress -- she does ok here. It's a bit hard to understand how she can start off as (understandably) very cold to the terrorists but then warms up to Finn somewhat. I'd have to agree strongly with Picard that he should override Crusher's judgment on healing people and just order her to be beamed out. This is responsible for a (obviously) the whole episode and a number of deaths on the Enterprise.

What I don't get is the dimensional shift being deadly yet Finn does it all the time and he seems fine while a whole bunch of others are needing treatment.

The ending with the boy putting down his gun is symbolic but of course we can't believe that anything will seriously change. The usual battle rescue scene is ho-hum -- the kind of thing you see on Trek all the time.

A very credible episode on terrorism, 3 stars out of 4 for me - interesting watching it throughout - no real down time in the episode.
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Tue, Jun 13, 2017, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Hunted

Yes, "The Hunted" gets preachy as do most Trek episodes when trying to focus on a societal issue. The issue of reintegrating war veterans is a difficult one. It doesn't matter that in this case they are engineered to be super-soldiers. Danar's situation is a worthy one for Trek to focus on but this episode doesn't do it all that well.

The Prime Minister comes across as the uncaring politician, trying to sweep an issue under the rug - interesting that the actor who plays him would play Zefram Cochrane in First Contact - immediately noticed how tall he is (clearly taller than Riker).

As others have noted, the fight/chase/action scenes do remind one of TOS episodes - but they dragged on for too long. Also somewhat surprising is how capable Danar is on the Enterprise - like he knows it as if he were a senior crew member. The ability to break through while being transported and cause an explosion - that part seems a bit of a stretch to me.

Picard's handling of the standoff in the end was well done - gives it back to the "bad guy" PM for an earlier exchange.

I'd also rate this episode 2.5 stars - attempts to focus on an important issue in our society in a Trek way - comes across as heavy-handed to emphasize the wrongs against the prisoners as well as how they've been transformed.
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Tue, Jun 13, 2017, 3:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

A really good episode overall with an ending that pays off after considerable buildup of intrigue. Obviously plenty of similarities with "The Enemy" - which I believe is a slightly superior episode.

I agree with "Trek fan" who brings up the pacing problem with "The Defector" - I thought it was quite slow for over 1/2 hour. It really wasn't super-compelling and while the mystery is unfolding, Jarok is just doing random things on the Enterprise. We do get to see how other crew members interact with him but why doesn't Picard deal with him initially and get him to cough up the fake info?

I do enjoy Tomalak's character and the ending stand-off is great just as it was in "The Enemy". Nice to throw in some Shakespeare - and the tie in with how the episode starts with Data learning to act - is logical.

Jarok is a tragic figure - makes me think of DS9's "Duet". HIs suicide gives the episode more weight and leaves the viewer wondering if his daughter ever gets his message.

As for the Romulans, they are building up as being worthy and interesting adversaries. Definitely Tomalak is starting to become an enemy we can identify with - though from reading some of the comments, it doesn't seem like we see him anymore going further - which is a shame. But this episode does set up for more good stuff in future episodes with the Romulans.

Jarok's tale and his being forthcoming/not is an intriguing one but I'm not ready to count "The Defector" as one of TNG's top 10 episodes. I'd rate it a strong 3 stars out of 4.

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Sun, Jun 11, 2017, 11:58am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: First Contact

Just one thing to add - that scene of the first contact with ZC towering over the tall Riker - had to check on James Cromwell's height - listed at 6 feet 6.5 inches, apparently the tallest actor ever nominated for an Academy Award.
Did seem odd in ST:FC that ZC was so tall...
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Sat, Jun 10, 2017, 10:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: First Contact

An excellent Trek film and I'd say it's the 2nd best after WoK.

The Borg are the best villains in Trek - understanding how they operate, their purpose, what they can do - it's only appropriate that a Trek film be made about them. It's also great that ST:FC fills in some history about the first contact and Zefram Cochrane.

I've always felt a good Trek episode manages to tie 2 or 3 subplots well together and ST:FC does that well. Again like in BoBW, Picard and Riker are separated and each has to accomplish a mission.

While the characters, action, story, and numerous scenes are really well done, I do have a few nitpicks. Not particularly pleased with how ZC is portrayed as being an alcoholic - I think greater cohesion with "Metamorphosis" is in order. From what I recall of the S2 TOS episode, ZC just had it with humanity and wanted to leave it behind -- that's inconsistent with wanting a bunch of babes on an island. It's fine for ZC not to want to go down in history as a legend, but the writers went too "Hollywood" to try to spice up the film re. his personality.

I don't think there was a need for Lily -- as Jake mentioned, Crusher should have talked sense into Picard re. Captain Ahab vengeance complex.

As for the Borg Queen adding and her sexualization -- this is another aspect the writers should have left out -- this is purely for Hollywood purposes. Also agree with Jammer re. her vague history. Doesn't it violate the collective nature of the Borg - they all fall as she falls? That part was weak.

And there are the usual qualms with time travel - I had no issue with it until in the end, the Enterprise basically pushes a switch and can get back to the 24th century. It seemed to be too easy to do -- the ending wraps up awful quick. All the escape pods find their way to ZC's area in Montana somehow and then off everybody goes to the Enterprise and back to the 24th century.

But aside from the nitpicks, seeing the first contact with the Vulcans was a nice touch. And the scene I enjoyed most was Picard/Worf/token red shirt with the gravity boots on trying to let unlatch the Borg transmitter - gives a realistic sense of the danger being out in space.

The first contact, ZC's warp flight -- these are some of the most important events in Trek's history and this film does it justice. I'm sure there are some loopholes but overall, ST:FC tells the story well and effectively. I enjoyed the ENT episode "Regeneration" that picks up on this story as well.

As the 2nd best Star Trek film, ST:FC deserves 3.5 stars out of 4. I don't think it is as strong as BoBW but it's a great movie, no question.
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Fri, Jun 9, 2017, 10:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Assignment: Earth


Wholeheartedly agree with you re. "Metamorphosis" - nobody will consider this episode one of the TOS classics or among its very best, but it is one of my favorites. It is the best sci-fi love story I've ever seen. George Duning's terrific soundtrack is perfect for making it a very moving story.

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Fri, Jun 9, 2017, 10:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Assignment: Earth

Now it makes sense to me that "Assignment: Earth" was some kind of pilot for another show - Kirk/Spock aren't close to being the main character(s) and as a TOS episode it comes across as kind of odd.
I was getting a bit bored with all the footage of the rocket launch/control center. Have to also say that the plot is a bit ridiculous - like the Enterprise can just go back in time to whenever no problem. And then the final resolution, Kirk/Spock just have to trust Gary Seven that he intends to detonate the nuclear warhead at the right altitude - since they cannot in time. Not much to it.
It is noteworthy for a young Teri Garr (Tootsie) - her character was sort of ok but makes sense that it's part of a pilot.
I want to know: was the black cat the same as the one in "Catspaw"?
Not a really strong episode but not awful as some other commenters have said. I'd give it 2 stars out of 4.
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Fri, Jun 9, 2017, 3:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Bread and Circuses

While watching this episode I thought of "Patterns of Force" which came out just a few weeks earlier. Substitute a modern day Roman Empire for Nazis and you have a very similar episode. It surprises me that the 2 Genes wrote this one.
Obviously lots of similarities with other TOS episodes and it does seem as Skeptical says that by late S2, TOS was running out of ideas.
Scotty's creativity is good here with the condition green message- not violating the PD. The usual banter between Spock/McCoy is always good as well.
Too bad not much more is made of the Son worshipping and how that transformed Flavius - a lot of time spent on the usual fighting/keeping the Roman message strong etc. The Proconsul is an interesting character - he thinks very poorly of Merik who does as he's told. The whole giving him 1 more day as a man is quite sexist but perhaps consistent with the Roman Empire.
Anyhow, nothing special here - the action sequences weren't that noteworthy.
I'd rate it a weak 2.5 stars out of 4 - the usual interesting Trek ideas recycled in an interesting costume.
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Fri, Jun 9, 2017, 2:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

The ideas I think this episode wants to play up are insightful - machine can never top man for his judgment and that it can only be a servant. The threat of automation is ever-present but there will be things the machines just can't do.

I have a number of issues with this episode. If Star Fleet truly thinks it can replace the crew of a starship with the M5 - at least have some compassion for those who are to lose their jobs. Agree with Mike's comment that it is highly inappropriate for Kirk to be called "Captain Dunsel" by the Lexington captain.

Next, we have Daystrom - he's the mad scientist for this episode - with a "little man" concept, picked on / laughed at and trying to re-capture lost glory for his success as a 24-year old. This characterization is a bit over the top - including his breakdown.

Kirk convinces the M5 to self-destruct - when has that happened before?

Also, I don't get why Kirk/Daystrom don't engage the M-5 tie-in prior to the attack on Excalibur/Lexington. They saw what it did to the oil freighter and knew the M5 was in error. Of course for dramatic effect this is what the writers wrote so that there could be an attack from the M5.

In any case, there is plenty of potential with such an episode like how it could have been shown human superiority in solving some kind of value judgment rather than just boiling it down to an insane man's impressions on a powerful computer.

The best parts of this episode are probably in the first 15 mins. with McCoy/Spock taking opposite sides of the man vs. machine debate and Kirk questioning himself about his usefulness.

Overall, I'd rate it 2.5 stars out of 4 - a lot of potential wasted but some good philosophical debates.
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