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Rahul
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Quickening

Another solid medical drama but one that didn't resonate with me as much as it seems to have with Jammer or other commenters. I think it's good that Bashir wasn't able to find the cure-all (more realistic) but instead did achieve some progress -- not a perfect solution. My question then becomes, if the only cure is for babies, who will be around to take care of them? The people will still go extinct in all likelihood.

Aside from that grim reality, the episode benefited from some good guest actors like the pregnant woman, the older man doing the euthanizing and the one bald-headed patient. The scene when the bald guy dies was powerful as the others also began dying. Yes, a bit cliche with Bashir trying to resuscitate him but still a powerful scene.

Like Jammer mentions, the shot of Bashir standing on part of the ruins observing the newborn baby and the crowd from afar was also well done.

I felt the episode dragged a bit and I didn't wind up feeling emotionally attached to the dying people -- yes their plight is a terrible one and it generates even more impetus for defeating the Dominion, but I also wonder how Bashir can just decide he needs to help these people without worrying about duties on DS9. We know he is a very dedicated doctor -- "Hippocratic Oath" comes to mind.

I'd rate "The Quickening" 2.5 stars -- didn't think it added much more to Bashir's character although the arrogance/hubris dialogue with Dax was excellent. Some loose ends like how Bashir can spend a few weeks on the planet, what happens to the babies ... it didn't really resonate with me emotionally. Not really an episode to touch on ethics either. Credit deserved for not going beyond the realm of what's believable in terms of the medical part -- kept it grounded with the doctor/patients and desire to help at all costs.
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Rahul
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: To the Death

This episode spent so much time on the great buildup that it left no time for the ending, which turned out to have an underwhelming fight scene but ultimately nothing noteworthy as a concluding stance. So the next time Jem'Hadar meet Sisko they'll be enemies. Nothing new here.

The best part of the episode was seeing the clash of cultures between Jem'Hadar and the DS9 gang. The Jem'Hadar are pure soldiers and it makes sense that now and then there seem to be stories where a renegade gang breaks away. After all the life of no sleep, no food, no women kind of sucks.

It was about time Weyoun got killed by the Jem'Hadar -- he had a particularly annoying character and it seemed highly improbably that the Jem'Hadar would take orders from him. I liked Odo's reaction to him.

I did like the gateway bit and it being a plot device to get the 2 parties to work together. That was an interesting TNG episode when it was introduced, so good to see something following that up.

This episode should get 3 stars but for the ending which was weak with the fight scene that, of course, Sisko & co. manage to succeed. Kind of like in "The Sword of Kahless" where Worf, Kor, Dax are outnumbered but manage to win the fight, the fight really should be won by the bad guys. How do they tell which Jem'Hadar are on their side and which ones aren't?

I'd give "To the Death" 2.5 stars also because I find it highly unlikely that the Jem'Hadar should be able to team up with the DS9 crew -- so it seemed like the writers are trying to force confrontational situations for the dynamics and some character moments for the Jem'Hadar, which don't work given how they're supposed to be mindless warriors.
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Rahul
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: For the Cause

"For the Cause" just left me with a "meh" feeling -- the buildup was really slow to the payoff of Eddington being Maquis and stealing the replicators and his chastising of Ben Sisko for representing the Federation as being worse than the Borg. I did think he was making some sense with the accusation but it was really (as Jammer said) out of left field with him going off and supporting the Maquis. It was a shock but then again, hard to care much given he's a bit part character.

But it is a decent story with Eddington's deception and working in cahoots with Yates, getting Sisko to leave the station on the Defiant so that he could steal the replicators. Sisko was totally fooled and it was neat to see how this played out. Sisko has had been a number of episodes where he leaves the station and somebody else is in charge, you'd think he wouldn't get schooled so badly.

Again, I am not a fan of Brooks' acting. He's just too rigid. There are plenty of chances for him in this episode to show a range of emotions but it all comes across ineffectively.

As for the B-plot with Garak and the Cardassian/Bajoran chick -- somewhat forgettable. It's not supposed to be a romance from either one of them at the start but then it sort of goes down that road and ultimately maybe they're just supposed to be friends?

2.5 stars for this episode -- maybe eliminate the Garak B-plot and focus more on Eddington's character and why the Maquis terrorism is compelling to join. There is a good story here but it gets convoluted. It should be more powerful with Yates and Eddington as traitors but both are very minor characters and Sisko's emotions as he realizes his woman is a traitor isn't well acted.
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Rahul
Wed, Aug 16, 2017, 10:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Drone

Outstanding episode - really great acting by Jeri Ryan for 7 of 9. You can see the emotion in her and how she struggles with it from start to finish. "Drone" made me care despite some wild sci-fi that stretches the realm of believability. In the end, some of the loopholes didn't matter because we have an intensely compelling and poignant story.

The early part of it really reminded me of Frankenstein. I expected the new Borg drone to go on some kind of rampage, maybe get 7 on his side, and that Janeway was being foolish putting 7 in charge. But 7 developed motherly instincts and the Borg drone identified with the crew and its individuality. When the Borg sphere came calling, the episode really picked up. There's a moment of doubt where you wonder if the call of the Borg will convert the new Borg drone. Again, for me, there's no enemy like the Borg -- their presence automatically makes you take notice.

Really great review written by Jammer too, which I wholeheartedly agree with. This is a good episode for the ongoing arc of 7 of 9 learning to be human. There was the early part where the doctor is training her to make conversation with Torres and Kim and that goes wrong, the part with her learning to smile -- all little things that feed into the greater story of her emotions at the end.

As for the Borg drone itself, yes, it is a lot like the TNG terrific episode "I, Borg" but this one still really worked for me. The whole creation of the new Borg drone was quite a stroke of creativity to come up with a way to conceive of a 29th century Borg drone -- but I didn't care about the huge stretch of believability because here we have a compelling and very poignant ending.

4 stars for "Drone". 7 of 9 is such a better character than Kes (and most of the others on the ship). I'd have to assume the 29th century Borg drone has that added dimension to its thinking to realize it's better off dead than alive as far as the Borg threat to the Voyager crew -- so it has empathy and can make the ultimate sacrifice.
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Rahul
Tue, Aug 15, 2017, 5:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Mind's Eye

Excellent episode -- it really picked up when Geordi sets out to kill the Klingon captain while Data races against time in the shuttle to figure out the mystery. That part with Geordi walking down the hallway, the camera angle, the musical score all came together wonderfully to achieve the perfect effect of an assassin about to carry out his grisly deed. And it could have ended with Geordi killing the Klingon captain because he's just a guest character -- and then what would have happened? So I didn't know how it would play out in the end.

Again, the Romulans come across as a deceptive and worthy enemy. This episode makes use of Geordi's previous encounter with the Romulans (which ended well, or so I it seemed) in "The Enemy" -- although there is no reference to that episode, it would explain how the Romulans know of the visor and Geordi. But I guess there's still a fair bit of timing that they needed to get right with planting the Klingon ambassador on board the Enterprise, Geordi in a shuttle etc.

"The Mind's Eye" also mixes in the ongoing Klingon power struggle, corruption arc, which never ceases to provide decent to great episodes.

The only complaint I have is why were those transporter chips not checked for fingerprints? They should have been able to pin down Geordi sooner. Or to avoid this oversight, have Geordi do his bit with gloves on.

I give this episode 3.5 stars -- hard to turn away from it for a second. The normally affable Geordi is a good candidate to become a sleeper assassin. Plenty of suspense here as we wonder what Geordi is going to do (like when he spills his drink on O'Brien) as well as some credible investigative work done by Data. Also one of the notable musical scores for a TNG episode.
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Rahul
Mon, Aug 14, 2017, 5:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Babel One

Not a bad episode but what really bothers me is the Romulans having such advanced technology -- that completely messes with what the Romulans had in "Balance of Terror" from TOS and even the Romulans a couple of seasons earlier in ENT not to mention more advanced Romulans in TNG.

I'm actually getting a little tired of Shran now. Might as well give Coombs a spot in the opening credits. Shran's better parts, as Jammer said, were with Archer going over the loss of his crew etc. Don't need to see more of Shran the warrior captain in gunfights, taking hostages. Actually don't need to see that in ENT period. Just getting old.

What is good about this episode is the link to "Journey to Babel" one of the best TOS episodes with Andorians/Tellarites trying to settle their disputes. But this episode doesn't come close to being as good as that one.

When starting to watch this episode, I had no idea it was the 1st part of a multi-part episode. Looks like S4 of ENT is all about small story arcs which is not a bad plan.

I'd give "Babel One" 2.5 stars -- I admit it was cool and an interesting surprise at the end to see the Romulan ship being commanded remotely , however it is inconsistent with prior Trek episodes. The Tellarites were portrayed in a manner consistent with 60s Trek although the coincidence that it's Shran's ship that got destroyed is one I think could have been avoided, but the producers want more Coombs (is he the only Andorian captain their Imperial Guard?).

Definitely a watchable hour of ENT although nothing particularly noteworthy.
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Rahul
Mon, Aug 14, 2017, 3:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Daedalus

I think of this episode as trying to be something like 60s Trek's "The Ultimate Computer" and DS9's "The Visitor". It doesn't live up to either of those episodes although trying to live up to the latter would be nearly impossible. We don't know Erickson and we certainly don't know his son Quinn so who cares about these characters trying to reunite?

The faint B-plot of T'Pol reading the Kir'Shara and Trip trying to talk to her was boring -- more of T'Pol's complex Vulcan "feelings", being vague about it etc.

With Erickson as inventor of the transporter and trying to retrieve his lost son -- there was bound to be a bunch of technobabble, none of which was interesting or made sense. I was not a huge fan of TOS's "The Ultimate Computer".

The episode was slow paced, involved a lot of boring dialogue that revolved around worshipping/reverence for Erickson. Also was not a fan of Archer in this episode when T'Pol and especially Trip try and reason with him about continuing on Erickson's deceitful and dangerous journey. Archer pulls the command card and puts an end to the argument. T'Pol and Trip should have mutinied like they tried in "Hatchery" (if memory serves).

"Daedalus" barely gets to 2 stars for me. What was the point of showing Erickson's back all covered in bumps etc. and getting injections? There were enough filler moments in this episode. Trip is probably the bright spot here being involved in both the A and B plots. He's the best actor in this series for me.
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Rahul
Mon, Aug 14, 2017, 2:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Kir'Shara

A good conclusion to the 3-part tale -- plenty of stuff going but it's hard to believe Archer/T'Pau make it on foot all the way to the Vulcan high command. Also hard to believe how far V'Las nearly got with his plan. Interesting that he's working with a Romulan operative and the whole pre-reunification thing.

"Kir'Shara" is a good story but I guess I'm still miffed at how the Vulcans were portrayed throughout the whole thing. But it does fill in some Star Trek cannon holes somewhat adequately.

Enjoyed seeing Shran again -- he's got an interesting character in that he is ultimately trying to do the right thing but he can be pretty brutal (pragmatic is a more polite way of saying it) in getting there. The torture scene with Soval was good -- 2 good actors here going at it.

Must say, T'Pol's ongoing skepticism of everything is a bit annoying. Also thought Archer after walking in the desert outfighting Vulcans a definite stretch.

I agree with Jammer's rating of 3 stars for "Kir'Shara" -- it does wrap up awful quickly and conveniently after like 3 or 4 decent subplots come together. Overall a good few episodes for ENT that did have a bit of a DS9 feel to it.
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Rahul
Thu, Aug 10, 2017, 6:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Shattered Mirror

Not a fan of the Mirror Universe episodes - didn't like "Crossover" and scratch my head as to why Jammer rates these 2 episodes so highly. I guess I disagree with his review here big time. 60's Trek got it right with "Mirror, Mirror" and maybe 1 rehash for each series is fine, but DS9 going back a 3rd time is stupid.

Yes, it's an episode taken to the limit but it's meaningless and silly for me. DS9 has a ton of episodes so I guess the producers can throw away a few episodes here and there and have the cast in totally different roles and wild battle scenes just for the fun of it.

I actually think this episode is mish-mash of a ton of stuff that doesn't fit too well together. One should feel the anguish of the Jennifer Sisko at the end but its juxtaposition after the starship battle scene doesn't work for me.

As for the battle scene, it was cool to see but it reminded me too much about Star Wars -- which is a bad thing. I also find it highly unrealistic that Capt. Sisko could fly so closely to a much larger starship with a ship like the Defiant (it's not a warplane for Pete's sake).

Anyhow, I'm not a fan of the premise for this episode and can't care about what's going on in the MU. To the episode's credit, there were some good lines and the actual story (albeit on steroids) does make for a watchable hour of Trek.

I think 2.5 stars is a fair rating here -- the MU provides a convenient excuse for exaggerated action, acting, and characters. But what's supposed to be touching or poignant fails to deliver for me. Just can't take "Shattered Mirror" seriously.
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Rahul
Thu, Aug 10, 2017, 4:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Hard Time

A powerful, poignant episode and really great acting by Meaney. O'Brien is a good character for this type of episode because of his family, because he's down to earth and easy for the average person to relate to.

"Hard Time" does a good job portraying the re-integration of someone who has done hard time for many years. I'd give props to the creativity of the idea of implanting memories of hard time as punishment -- only in Star Trek could some such thing come about. The drawback for me personally is that the episode wasn't particularly riveting and I found it a bit slow.

I was wondering how the show would "reset" but I liked the ending because it didn't reset. Instead O'Brien will have to gradually get over it with the help of some medication. But I think the memories should continue to haunt him from time to time in subsequent episodes, although I doubt they will.

Julian had a very important role to play here to and I'm starting to appreciate his Siddig's acting a lot more now. The idea of convincing O'Brien that he's not an animal because he feels remorse for killing his cellmate was well done. I think this is a credible outcome of 20 years of solitary confinement that it is possible for someone's humanity to get stripped -- although, of course, it's only a supposition on my part. I also liked that O'Brien and Julian see their friendship develop in a deeper way.

Captain Sisko has a brief scene where he reprimands O'Brien -- again, I think Sisko is too stiff and should have shown a bit more compassion here while still sticking to his guns re. his orders to O'Brien. I thought that was a disappointing scene.

This episode is a good drama but, for me, it's not at the same level as "The Visitor" -- not as moving, or interesting, but still very powerful. I'd give it 3 stars mainly because I didn't enjoy the story of the episode that much even with some excellent acting and the creativity behind the idea of memories of incarceration.
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Rahul
Wed, Aug 9, 2017, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Living Witness

Definitely one of the best VOY episodes, really enjoyed the creativity and originality here -- not even seeing the rest of the Voyager crew. The main guest actor did a credible job, was not stiff like so many of them tend to be.

Also liked a lot the "Mirror, Mirror"-like evil crew. Yes, its manufactured according to Quarren's false interpretation but it was done cohesively with each evil crew member having their own take. I laughed when both Paris and Chakotay responded to Janeway with "Yes, sir". Kim, 7, Tuvok all played their parts well but unfortunately there was no Torres.

Picardo deserves credit for an excellent performance here. He longs after his crew as if he saw them yesterday, but now he fears being judged for crimes he did not commit. He had some good dialogue with Quarren too at the end although 1 thing I did not like is how quickly he changes his mind and decides to it's right to prove the Kyrian interpretation is wrong after all. That was definitely odd.

The ending with the whole episode being a history lesson itself after peace has been established worked for me with the doctor and Quarren judged as heros. We sort of see the dilemma Quarren faces as all the history he learned is proved false but we don't have much background on him so it's hard to get too invested.

I'd rate "Living Witness" 3.5 stars -- didn't blow me away like "Prey" or "Scorpion" did but this is still excellent Trek. The whole "revisionist history" theme is a good one and how events from 700 years ago are still affecting the society. A very well-conceived VOY episode.
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Rahul
Tue, Aug 8, 2017, 5:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Qpid

This is a mess of an episode, basically a dumb plot for the 1st half and a worse one for the 2nd half with Picard/Vash relationship the common link. The episode loses any sense of reality with Q manipulating everything, although I do appreciate the humor he brings.

Vash is an interesting character but the dynamic with Picard felt artificial. You'll see "couples" bickering better in other shows. "Qpid" is one of the weaker comedies in the Trek cannon for me. "Deja Q" was much better. Not enough good comedy in this one other than Troi shooting Data with an arrow and Worf smashing Geordi's mandolin.

It just gets ridiculous with the 2nd half of the episode. So Q is trying to prove that Picard has feelings for Vash -- big deal. He was put in an uncomfortable position in the 1st half realizing Vash's less than honest archeological interests, not to mention Crusher's behavior at breakfast. I thought that was out of character for Beverley.

1 star is the right rating for this episode. It was downright silly and even before the Sherwood Forest part, it was uninteresting and insipid. The other members of the crew show no anger at being in the situation, just going along with Q's game. It's a throwaway episode meant to generate some cheap laughs without any real meaning.
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Rahul
Tue, Aug 8, 2017, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Identity Crisis

Another ho-hum episode after "Night Terrors" -- requires considerable suspension of disbelief for the medi-babble that the alien DNA transforms humans and then a quick solution to transform them back. This will be a recurring theme (thinking of the weak ENT S3 episode "Extinction") in Trek.

I didn't buy in to the supposed close friendship between Geordi and Susanna. Clearly the both cared for each other and were able to help each other when needed but it didn't do anything for me. Surely the ending could have had Data or Riker calling to Geordi as they are also very good friends.

There is a decent mystery to be solved here and I liked how the Enterprise crew went about it as well as Geordi figuring it out in the holodeck -- although that scene went on a bit too long. It also isn't clear to me: did other members of the landing party (Riker, Worf etc.) potentially pick up the parasite or what did Geordi, Susanna etc. do years ago to get the parasite?

"Identity Crisis" gets 2 stars for me. Not a really compelling story, somewhat contrived, dubious medi-babble but it did show some good problem solving.
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Rahul
Tue, Aug 8, 2017, 2:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Night Terrors

Pretty dull episode, slow paced with a final solution that seems like a leap of faith.

At first with seeing all the dead people on the Brattain I thought of "The Tholian Web". But TNG is more sci-fi-y than TOS and after a lot of scenes with crew getting irritated and hallucinating, it comes down to not being able to dream/achieve REM sleep.

It was well done with how the crew all appeared as if they hadn't slept in days. But unfortunately, it was a Troi-heavy episode and that means weak and somewhat annoying acting.

Some alien ship or entity is communicating that it wants hydrogen to start an explosion to free themselves from the energy-draining field -- how Troi/Data realize this is a bit of a stretch. The scene where they are looking at various elements involving a text description and then there just happened to be a diagram of a hydrogen atom makes it clear to Troi what her nightmares are all about. I guess this type of realization is fairly typical TNG but I'm not a huge fan of it.

"Night Terrors" gets 2 stars. Episode kind of drags for long stretches, was annoying watching Troi try and communicate with the other Betazoid who was in a catatonic state. Would have been better to spend more time understanding the other alien communicating with Troi through dreams and preventing humans from achieving REM sleep. A ho-hum TNG episode.
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Rahul
Mon, Aug 7, 2017, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: That Which Survives

I don't think this episode is as bad as Jammer's review makes it out to be. For one, I think the premise of it is pretty good and the episode has decent potential, but the execution of it is weak. It's not at all a "shaking-my-head" hour of TOS.

The idea of an artificial planet set up and defended to welcome a supply ship being guarded by a highly advanced computer system is good. That the Enterprise crew has to solve the mystery before getting killed also works. Also, the portrayal of Losira as something of a ghost (spooky music when she disappears) who doesn't want to kill but is defending her planet is fine too. She and her race have an interesting story. The 2-tier plot is a good structure that wasn't used too much in TOS so having Kirk & co. on the planet with Spock etc. on the Enterprise also has potential.

But here's where things break down. What got into Spock in this episode? I agree with Jammer's assessment here -- you just want to strangle him! And what is that gadget he keeps fiddling with while berating Scotty and others? Sulu had some dumb lines but I thought Kirk was an a-hole toward him when he suggested some theories once they first landed on the planet. Poor writing here.

The episode requires a lot of suspension of disbelief for what the planet's defense system can do -- sending the Enterprise 1000 light years away with an earthquake? Projecting Losira that far and sabotaging the engines? If I'm not mistaken, the warp 14.1 the Enterprise travels at is the fastest it ever went in TOS. And they calculate like 11.5 hours at warp 8-ish to cover the distance. So that's like 80+ light years/hour...

I guess cellular disruption requires a bit less suspension of disbelief -- but then again the show would not want to show what a dead body would look like if all its cells were blown up. Thank God for that.

The other problem is the familiar solution of just phasering the computer. And of course Spock and redshirt arrive just as 3 Losiras are created. The crew seem to find some respect, understanding for Losira -- or at least her beauty (Lee Meriwether was a Miss America winner).

There is a good story to tell here and I still enjoyed this episode enough to give it a solid 2 stars. There are much worse TOS S3 episodes but "That Which Survives" feels like a ball dropped.
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Rahul
Mon, Aug 7, 2017, 2:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Is There In Truth No Beauty?

An interesting and different kind of episode for TOS S3 -- and one that I think is pretty cleverly constructed. So I don't see it as some kind of a "ponderous mess" as Jammer does and I think he missed the target badly in his review, which is quite rare for him.

The ideals of beauty, ugliness, truth, jealousy all play out in a whirlwind kind of way here. The episode also benefits from a terrific musical score -- when George Duning gets involved "Metamorphosis", "Return to Tomorrow" it really adds a special dimension to the episode.

Some minor criticisms first: I think Kirk, McCoy went too far with crushing on Dr. Jones. That a plan to distract Dr. Jones involved Kirk hitting on her is silly. And the scene at the end with Kirk in the transporter room as Kollos/Miranda beam out without him wearing a visor as Spock dons one...somebody dropped the ball there. Also, when Marvick goes insane, he's able to fight off 3-4 men, apparently knock out Scotty...a bit much.

But otherwise, it's a very creative episode to have a non-corporeal alien telepath that is supposedly gentle, benign -- we see this when it joins with Spock in an entertaining scene (more great acting from Nimoy in this episode). I liked the scene where Kirk confronts Miranda about her ugliness inside / her jealousy. I think these parts manage to link up well using what Kirk briefly learned about Miranda. Of course, it's great to get Muldaur back as a guest actor to portray the very complex character that is Dr. Jones with her talents and flaws.

I'd rate "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" 3 stars -- pretty interesting episode, weird but in a good way and about topics that are perfect for Trek to take on. A high point in S3.
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Rahul
Fri, Aug 4, 2017, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Spock's Brain

For me, "Spock's Brain" is the worst episode of 60s Trek. I don't think it was intended as a comedy although there is the comedic moment at the end with Spock rambling on about what happened on the planet -- I would actually like to know that!

Anyhow, the premise is just ridiculous -- it is basically sci-fi gone wrong. The only thing I liked was Marj Dusay as "Kara" -- a very attractive woman and one of my top Trek babes. But seriously, this is just such a stupid episode and requiring more than the usual amount of suspension of disbelief.

The part about McCoy doing the surgery with Spock telling him what to do -- give me a break. It is an insult to the intelligence of Trek fans. McCoy forgetting parts of the knowledge he gained -- come on...

Maybe it is so bad it is enjoyable for some folks but, in evaluating it seriously, I give "Spock's Brain" ZERO stars. I have to compare it with "And the Children Shall Lead". That episode at least had some suspense at the start with the suicides of the adults. In this episode, it's just beyond belief and ridiculous right up front. There are some things that could have been explored that are more interesting -- like how the interactions go down between the women and the men, how the society exists etc. "Spock's Brain" is just what sci-fi is not meant to be. Unfortunately somewhat prophetic for TOS S3.
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Rahul
Fri, Aug 4, 2017, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: What Are Little Girls Made Of?

Another re-watch -- I do think this is a pretty important episode in terms of the original idea of creating improved androids (ongoing idea in Trek), solving some of humanities problems (with all the flaws, of course). I do think Corby should be referenced in TNG and later Trek episodes for his work on androids.

I decided to up the rating to 2.5/4 stars because of the interesting philosophical issues posed -- the episode has quite a few flaws as I previously mentioned but it does somewhat create an emotional response with Chapel's loss and how Dr. Corby realizes the flaws in his plans. It's not a totally mediocre outing.
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Rahul
Thu, Aug 3, 2017, 6:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Bar Association

Another "Ferengi comedy" coming fairly soon after "Little Green Men" -- this one's not too bad, about the same as LGM but obviously nothing to be taken as having any kind of impact overall.

That's what the Ferengi are good for -- just about the odd semi-humorous episode now and then. The characters of Rom and Quark are so 1-dimensional, it's hard to see them do anything than Rom coming across as dumb but wanting better and Quark being a shady/exploiting business owner.

I find it hard to believe O'Brien/Worf/Bashir would seriously get involved in a skirmish over the strike. Worf's B-story about feeling uncomfortable on the station was lame -- not sure if anything came out of it.

As for Rom's union, I guess we learn a bit more about Ferengi culture -- but who really cares? Nobody cares about this race anymore after how the writers have turned them into comic figures.

A few zany moments with Brunt's enforcers, the 3 senior officers in the holding cell, and Sisko blackmailing Quark but we get no idea of how conceding to Rom's demands affects Quark's profitability. I guess we come to understand that he must have been doing quite well for himself exploiting everybody + given the good deal he's got on rent etc. from the UFP.

I agree with Jammer's 2-star rating for "Bar Association" -- more exploration on Ferengi culture not meshing with Federation values as it relates to employment. No big deal. OK on the execution but ho-hum episode. Just some light-hearted stuff that doesn't do anything hugely wrong other than being mediocre and, to me, not even comedic.
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Rahul
Thu, Aug 3, 2017, 4:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Sons of Mogh

There have been better "Klingon episodes" focusing on Worf's family, Klingon honor / society like TNG S4 "Sins of the Father" etc.

"Sons of Mogh" is decent but nothing really special. It is good to catch up with Kurn again (through Tony Todd). At first I have a hard time believing Worf would actually kill Kurn (assisted suicide) given he must know it's wrong having been with the Federation for years. Anyhow he goes through with it and this leads to one of Ben Sisko's tirades which still feel forced and overacted. Yes Sisko displays his anger allright, but it's so precise...I feel it should be more edgy or something. Anyhow...

I'm not a fan of the ending -- it's a copout for me, wiping away Kurn's memories. At one point Kurn was the equivalent of Riker in the Klingon empire -- so his dishonor is real/somewhat palpable, but now he picks up as somebody else and appears to have been easily and conveniently accepted as somebody else's son.

But what is good about the episode is the conflict in Worf's mind, not having a family and not to mention realizing his Klingon warrior instincts are weakening. Also Kurn's acting is good, his deep guttural voice is perfect for Klingons. One can sort of empathize as the Klingons are one of the better understood alien races.

I liked the B-plot about the Klingon mines -- that is something that is building the story arc and seems to be a good fit here.

"Sons of Mogh" gets 2.5 stars -- the ending with Kurn basically becoming somebody else (after some medi-babble) is the letdown for me after some decent character moments for Worf.
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Rahul
Thu, Aug 3, 2017, 3:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Return to Grace

Agree with Jammer that "Return to Grace" is good but not great. Good to see most of the episode focused on Gul Dukat, a fascinating character.

Some of the things that bugged me about the episode:

I'm surprised the Klingons didn't initially blow the freighter to bits after being fired upon -- after all, they just wasted an outpost and killed far more people. The freighter did fire on them as well. The episode doesn't shed any more light on what consequences of that act by the Klingons might be -- it becomes too much of a plot device.

Kira's able to transport all the Klingons aboard the freighter and all the Cardassians aboard the bird of prey -- definitely a stretch as far as I'm concerned. Not sure how the Klingons can be so sloppy/stupid/careless.

The best parts about the episodes are the interactions between Kira and Dukat and also with the daughter thrown in there. Does give a good presentation of Dukat's fall from grace and his desire to return to glory and his daughter's plight.

I rate this episode 2.5 stars - basically a set up to get Kira/Dukat together and let the characters go at it. Dukat is a bit nuts with his desire to go after the Klingons all by himself, clearly it should not convince Kira. I liked Kira in this one, did what is "reasonable" to help Dukat but also maintains a logical understanding of the bigger picture.
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Rahul
Wed, Aug 2, 2017, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Vis A Vis

Can't really find anything positive to say about this episode. It was boring, predictable, and if was meant to be some kind of character expose for Paris, it didn't work since we're back at Square 1. Yes, Paris used to be rough around the edges but he's come around and the issue at the start of the episode with not doing the medical training never is resolved. What is the issue?

Also, I don't know how Voyager can just meet an alien (Steth) and allow him to wander around the ship, just get all kinds of help from Paris without doing any kind of background checking on him -- maybe they found nothing, but it seemed rather sloppy of the Voyager crew to not have any kind of suspicion.

It's pretty obvious the whole time Steth is planning some kind of nonsense. The episode was loaded with stupid technobabble and the whole DNA switching thing was silly. Steth is annoying -- not sure what he really wants to do. Part of him envies Paris' life but then gets frustrated with it. The interactions between Paris and B'Elanna were forgettable, forced, poorly acted and in the end meaningless.

The ending with the shuttle craft scene and how it gets disabled didn't make a lot of sense to me. If it was a Voyager shuttle, how could it do the coaxial warp thing before getting disabled? It was just disappointing every step of the way for me.

I'd rate "Vis a Vis" 1 star. Really a forgettable episode, an hour I won't get back.
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Rahul
Wed, Aug 2, 2017, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Retrospect

A good character episode for 7 of 9 and the doctor and Janeway to a lesser extent, but I guess it is a bit contrived in that 7 comes up with these false memories due to the doctor being an untrained psychologist and that leads to false accusations and the accused basically killing himself. A tad extreme but it does make a worthy point about being swayed by a crewmate to rush to judgment and the consequences of that.

I also think Kovin's actions are a bit extreme but I guess you have to understand his alien point of view of being accused is just as bad as being guilty. In our society we see police chases, shootout, suicides in cases where the accused knows he's guilty -- in Kovin's case knowing he's not guilty, he still loses his mind, fires on Voyager and then winds up blowing himself up even after Janeway apologizes. Certainly heavy-handed to make a point.

I'm starting to like Picardo as the doctor more and more -- certainly showing a personality and the desire to pick up new skills. Good to see Janeway learn something here -- she screwed up royally in "Prey" and didn't admit her mistakes. It does feel like VOY S4 is leaning heavily on the "integrating 7 of 9" into the cast but I do think VOY has had a very good run of episodes so far.

I'd rate "Retrospect" 2.5 stars -- got a good guest actor to play Kovin and the dynamics between the crew around 7 are getting better. Definitely heavy-handed though and certain parts were a stretch for me. But good to see the Voyager crew eat some humble pie in this good character development episode.
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Rahul
Tue, Aug 1, 2017, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: First Contact

An excellent episode -- to really understand the nuts and bolts of first contact from the standpoint of a society just about to adopt space travel was a good premise. The society is fairly advanced but also has its traditional elements and resistance to certain new things.

Trek generally sweeps a lot of the details of first contact under the rug in many episodes but if we assume similar procedures are undertaken as in this episode before contact is made, then it sets the stage for the other episode to unfold normally.

I liked the diplomacy and high-level discussions between Picard and Durken. I think Durken and even Krola's apprehension is reasonable -- although Krola goes to an extreme in shooting himself (lucky phaser wasn't on kill even though that's what he wanted. But he gets his wish in the end anyway). Have to assume Krola represents a certain segment of the population.

Have to say, the scene with the alien wanting to make love to Riker in exchange for his escape was totally stupid. Couldn't the writers find another way to have Riker near death again?? That part felt totally out of place in what was a pretty intelligent and creative episode.

At the end, I also liked how the episode said the first contact would eventually be brushed off just as it has been here with our supposed alien visitors. I don't think Picard should have taken Mirasta with them -- while I don't agree with the Malcorians' decision to avoid contact, doesn't mean Mirasta isn't valuable to their society in some other capacity.

As for how the UFP sets up first contact, the idea of on the ground surveillance for years seems a bit excessive. Yes, Picard gave the example of how first contact didn't go well with the Klingons and so they've gone to this new procedure, but it is still super-risky as Riker's case exemplified. But all these details were pretty cool to understand, as well as the reactions of the decent guest actors to the alien presence and what their intentions might be.

"First Contact" gets 3.5 stars for me. Thought it was an intelligent episode, with only some minor flaws. Much of the episode is acted by the alien species, who turn out to be very human like -- but so what? They're pretty typical of what it would be if we were to meet advanced aliens, I think.
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Rahul
Tue, Aug 1, 2017, 2:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due

Thought this was a silly episode -- Ardra reminded me of a cross between Lwaxana Troi and Q. So the Enterprise basically has to find the source of her power and then game over -- yes, very much a 60s Trek plot.

I think it does have an interesting premise in that a society is fearful of a contract with the devil being fulfilled especially when everything in the contract is coming true. So I disagree with Jammer's review on this 1 point: I wouldn't call the head of state as somebody with an IQ below 80, unless he is fully aware of everything a starship is capable of (transporters, holographic images etc.) that can pull off Ardra's tricks. The people could be very superstitious or religious and not as advanced technologically, hence the fear. Jammer is a bit harsh in his review.

I suppose "Devil's Due" could be intended as a comedy episode as most of the Q/Lwaxana Troi episodes are, but it would be a failure if that was its purpose.

Just when Picard is about beaten in the court-room scene (btw, like how Data handled being the judge), Geordi shows up with Ardra's magic tricks debunked. Excellent timing as usual and perfectly convenient.

Anyhow, the premise is interesting: that of an interstellar con game; however, the silliness from Ardra toward Picard, not getting a showdown between her ship and the Enterprise tells me "Devil's Due" is a wasted opportunity.

This episode gets 1.5 stars, nothing much to say here other than it'll go down as one of the weakest efforts for TNG S4 -- never been a fan of Lwaxana Troi and only a moderate fan of Q, so Ardra didn't do it for me either. Episode could have been boiled down to 30 mins.
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