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Rahul
Fri, Dec 15, 2017, 6:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: First Flight

Enjoyed this history lesson and really appreciate the backstory told the way it was by Archer through the flashbacks. This is a good technique -- nothing special about it -- but just reliving those early days of Star Fleet back on Earth worked well. Nice also to get the backstory for Trip and how he got his nickname -- and that back then he was always willing to speak his mind and go to bat for what he thinks is right. And of course, the Vulcans and their modus operandi is further emphasized.

The actor for A.G. did a good job -- you could really get a sense of their competitive spirit. Yes, the bar brawl was silly but it could realistically happen between 2 testosterone-fuelled competitors. Why it took so long to get broken up is another valid question. Armstrong acting as then Commodore Forrest was also good -- some nice subtle facial expressions when he realizes that the rogue flight was a success.

The one gripe is being able to get around whatever security there may have been to undertake the rogue flight. Just the 3 of them pull it off seems a bit of a stretch to me. What's easier to buy is that Archer/A.G. get off with a slap on the wrist.

In the end the tie-in with the beauty of the nebula illustrated why A.G. and Archer both wanted so badly to get out into deep space. Good part when Archer just told T'Pol to observe the nebula.

As far as lessons like taking risks -- can't argue with that although, a fair bit of calculation has to go into taking these risks. That always gets seems to get glossed over.

3 stars for "First Flight" -- this is what ENT is for: to fill in the details leading up to TOS and there's plenty more of this kind of work to do. Plenty of good details here although we know things end up working out given that Archer captains the NX-01 so there was never any real tension here, but this is a different kind of episode.
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Rahul
Thu, Dec 14, 2017, 7:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

Enough with Vic Fontaine already -- I've said before: make him a real character as some kind of station entertainment (perhaps even traveling) but making him some kind of super-holodeck character is a bit much. Anyhow, now we've got to care about this holodeck character in this inconsequential, light-hearted and even stupid episode. Not an episode to be taken seriously.

I guess the DS9 cast like acting out different eras/themes whether it's James Bond or now characters in a mobster movie. The only time it worked for me was "Far Beyond the Stars" where there were serious implications for the main story arc. Here, I found it hard to care and was barely entertained. Maybe the most important thing was Ben and Kassidy talking about racism during that mobster era -- but that got quickly swept under the rug given the inane nature of this episode.

Not a fan of Kira in her role here (or her role in the Mirror Universe) -- she's a good looking woman but not a fan of the complete change in character. Kind of insulting...

TOS did the mobster theme way better with "A Piece of the Action" -- that was humorous and provided a much better premise for Kirk/Spock acting as mobsters. This episode wasn't meant to be a comedy but it just turned out to be silly even though the cast is serious about helping Vic.

Basically the only tension here is how the plan adjusts to some bumps in the road. The DS9 cast gets creative and pulls it off -- I guess it's different to actually know what each person's role is and seeing how they adjust to the curveballs that are thrown their way. I think usually we'd just see the plan "live" and not know what was supposed to happen. Nice that most of the cast got involved -- but why were Quark and Jake excluded??

If you like mobster cliches, plenty of that here -- I don't personally care for them, although I would say the portrayals of Frankie Eyes, the big goon etc. were as you'd expect.

1.5 stars for "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang" -- just not something that I can care about after a strong episode like "Chimera" or even regardless. It's just supposed to be hollow entertainment and, of course, DS9 needs filler episodes. At least it wasn't as bad as a Ferengi episode.
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Rahul
Thu, Dec 14, 2017, 5:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Chimera

I think this episode does more for the Odo/Kira romance than any other -- both characters are extremely well acted and really demonstrate what love means and that it does conquer all. And it isn't done in a cliche or cheesy way. A very strong episode that had me thinking a bit about TNG's "I Borg" for some related thoughts. There's a lot of good stuff here about what makes humans what they are vs. what Changelings are purported to be.

In a way, the Laas character comes across similar to the female Founder who was always trying to convince Odo to join the link -- but I like how Odo has to juggle going off to find the other Founders vs. staying with Kira. But Laas provides some interesting commentary on humanoids that Odo's friends don't like but one that I think is very valid -- how are species meant to exist without ruining others' existence. (Laas should tell that to the Founders!)

Quark's little speech to Odo about instincts and fear turning to hate when faced with the unknown also rings true about humanoids. The Ferengi doesn't have much of a role but every now and then they insert him in to make an important point.

Where the episode falters a bit for me is the discussion of putting Laas in front of the magistrate -- here it didn't seem like Ben Sisko was all that serious and that he basically let Kira off the hook for letting Laas escape. Was it supposed to be a "wink-wink, nod-nod" kind of thing? (And I also have to wonder if Laas could escape if he really wanted to). And what about the security officer who let Kira speak alone to Laas? Don't they check with him? So the episode basically covers this up to ensure the proper Odo/Kira payoff.

3.5 stars for "Chimera" -- quality DS9 here that takes Odo/Kira to a new level as well as exploring human traits in a way that's not heavy-handed. A lot of the writing is perfect and the delivery of it works really well. Also about time we hear about another one of those 100 Changelings sent out into the universe aeons ago.
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Rahul
Wed, Dec 13, 2017, 9:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Workforce

Pretty good 2-parter - felt like a full-fledged Voyager movie. I actually prefered the 2nd part over the 1st part as the 1st part seemed like something more familiar for the Voyager crew to be undergoing -- just happy in their different jobs ("Bliss" came to mind) whereas the 2nd part had more conflict and a good wrap-up.

I liked the idea of the Voyager crew in a different setting and how their individual characteristics get reflected in how they do different work (7 as some QC officer, Paris tending a bar, Janeway hooking up with a credible dude). Good episode for Chakotay who did a convincing job as the main man on the ground.

Big production here as well, plenty of decent guest actors, sets etc. That's refreshing to see -- a budget being put to good use.

I actually wasn't a fan of the start of the episode as it's pretty clear Voyager's crew has been kidnapped and then you know we'll get the backstory from somebody left on board the ship -- haven't we seen this kind of trick before?

Would also have been good to know what motivated the doctor who was pulling off this job -- odd that it seemed he was the head guy running this crime. So some of the operation could have been made to appear more believable for me.

I enjoyed the bit of humor with Harry Kim and Doc vying for command while Chakotay was gone -- we know both of these 2 have ambitions of bigger and better things.

Part I 2.5 stars, Part II 3 stars -- Part I had some padding in it, Part II had none and really got to the gravity of the problem and the difficulty in solving it. Nice moments at the end for Janeway and Torres/Paris. Good ambitious episode here, but not particularly creative.

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Rahul
Wed, Dec 13, 2017, 3:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: The Void

A decent but overly idealistic episode that illustrates the Trekkian themes of cooperation, non-discrimination, not giving up. Perhaps something like this is needed now and then but I still liked the idea of a spatial void and ships having to do whatever it takes to survive.

The idealistic part is Janeway immediately resorting to Federation principles to try and work together to escape given what the immediate experience was with Valen. It's worth trying I suppose and the episode challenges her principles a bit but not as much as it should have given the really dire circumstances.

There's the incident with the bigoted alien who proves Janeway's first instincts about him right. I guess Janeway needed more of a challenge to her ideals than Tuvok/Chakotay providing some initial resistance for the episode to have enough teeth.

We also see the potato people again who join the alliance -- and as I recall, they're quite good at surveillance. Plenty of oddball aliens in this one which made the episode a bit goofy at times. Janeway had a good line about feeling like she's back in the Federation again given all these alliances Voyager's making .

What's also nice and Trekkian is Voyager adopting the alien vermin who live in the void and then they come in handy by disabling Valen's ship and an bigot's. This works out too conveniently and in the nick of time.

There's the usual ending with Voyager and the alliance ships getting fired upon but managing to escape as Torres pulls off what should be understood as something of a miracle although it doesn't get played up that much.

2.5 stars -- thought the episode could have been grittier, but not a bad premise overall. This kind of reminds me of how a TOS episode might have unfolded -- trying to exemplify some key themes without being dark or sinister.
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Rahul
Tue, Dec 12, 2017, 6:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Sub Rosa

Definitely one of the dumber TNG episodes. The premise of it is all wrong -- it's not good sci-fi -- it's something that belongs on some other show about the supernatural. The idea of some anaphasic life form in some kind of symbiotic relationship with the Howard women isn't bad, but the idea that it turns into the perfect lover gets beyond ridiculous.

And what does it say about Beverly's character -- that she falls for a ghost after experiencing something like sex and resigns her commission in Star Fleet?? Not a good message by Trek standards of empowering women.

I would say, comparing it with some other turkeys in the Trek cannon, that I wasn't bored by the episode. It wasn't as stupid as "Spock's Brain" or "And the Children Shall Lead" and it was no where near as bad as "Profit and Lace". It started off ok for the 1st 20 or so mins. when I was just wondering what the plot's going to be. Also not a bad idea for a colony to be created based on Scotland and the setup/house/scene wasn't bad.

Also, I thought McFadden put on a decent acting performance -- her anticipation of Ronin on the Enterprise, her orgasm in the house -- it's just that the whole premise for the acting is pretty stupid.

The ending is a shitshow with your typical cliches: of course the grandma pops up in the coffin, Crusher phasers Ronin as he approaches her. There was also the seriously Scottish dude warning about the haunted house and the heirloom light. It's not good when Trek resorts to portraying stuff typically associated with other shows and then tries to wrap it up in sci-fi (anaphasic energy).

1 star for "Sub Rosa" -- poorly conceived and actually a bad character episode for Beverly Crusher. Ronin was annoying as well. This is a major gaffe for the writer(s) though as I think they thought they had something worthy here, but it turns out to be an insult to Trek fans.
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Rahul
Tue, Dec 12, 2017, 3:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Parallels

Pretty good episode with a slow-building mystery and great ending. I liked that it was centered on Worf and not Picard or Riker and that it wasn't a "Klingon episode". Interesting to see Worf in a situation where he confronts doubts and how the character reacts to it -- so that part was well done including how he deals with finding out he was married to Troi.

So it's a cool concept that Geordi's visor triggers a different reality for Worf after going through the rift. The downside is the technobabble and solution to fixing the rift -- sure we'll accept that what Data/Wesley say works perfectly (those 2 never get it wrong). The idea that parallel universes exist with all kinds of different realities and switching between them is good creative sci-fi.

The ending is what made this episode for me. Seeing the rift get messed with and all those Enterprises popping up each living their own reality including 1 where an Enterprise with Riker in control is getting kicked by the Borg was awesome. I wish they had spent more time on that -- it was done too quickly. With all those Enterprises, locating the right one and then having to fire on the damaged Enterprise, it played out too quickly and conveniently for me.

3 stars for "Parallels" -- the strongest episode of a crap TNG S7 so far. Braga has come up with a winner here. What's also well thought out is that as the episode wore on, when Worf would shift realities, the changes would become bigger and bigger -- he'd be further along the timeline so more realities have had time to unfold, just like a tree branching off. Entertaining ending after a somewhat typical mysterious TNG beginning.
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Rahul
Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 6:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S3: The Savage Curtain

Definitely a goofy episode that fails to achieve the lofty goals its premise lays out. Gene Roddenberry himself with another ultimately below-average episode that attempts to come up with some kind of reasonable examination of good and evil. Along with "The Omega Glory" that's at least 2 weak episodes for the creator of Star Trek.

Some padding here -- spent way too much time on Lincoln's veracity, his arrival on the Enterprise, and the prelude to the confrontation. And we have another all-powerful alien with undefined powers that can twist and turn the episode to whatever the writer needs. Kirk and Spock need motivation to fight -- so why not set the Enterprise to blow up in 4 hours?

In terms of an experiment for an alien race to understand good vs. evil, it's is stupidly conceived. The alien rock creature doesn't seem to consider the peace motive of the good guys and thinks it can learn which is stronger -- good or evil -- in a fight with primitive weapons.

I suppose maybe 1 lesson is that evil disperses when faced with a strong opposition although, in the final battle, 2 of the bad guys didn't even try and just gave up. So the whole thing was pretty poorly executed as well as conceived.

Still, seeing Kahless, Surak -- and touching on the backstory of 2 of the most famous Trek races is cool. Some interesting philosophical debates among the good guys whereas 2 of the bad guys, aside from Col. Green and Kahless, don't do anything. The rock creature says it has the right to dish out life and death as Kirk has the right to explore the planet...OK then.

Barely 2 stars for "The Savage Curtain" -- compare the experiment Kirk/Spock are subjected to here with that of "The Empath", which was a much stronger episode in which the live laboratory actually taught Gem self-sacrifice, loyalty etc. "Arena" is another episode that comes to mind that is similar but much stronger for the actual "fight" and the mercy shown by Kirk at the end. Here, a potentially interesting examination of good vs. evil just fizzles out.
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Rahul
Thu, Dec 7, 2017, 5:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

No question the Nog character has come a long way from being an annoying kid to a war veteran facing psychological issues. Maybe a stretch for me how he could react to the loss of his leg -- the scene near the end when he's in tears with Vic saying that he couldn't believe he got injured in war was the best part of this episode.

However, there's a ton of suspension of disbelief for Vic required here, although it makes sense that one could regain a purpose etc. through the holodeck. But for me, it was a long slog to see Nog evolve from shutting everything out to wanting to build a new casino for Vic etc. Way too much Vic singing and just watching the basic stuff happen (Nog greeting guests or hanging out with Vic, doing accounting etc.) I suppose this is needed to show Nog's evolution, but I was slightly bored by it.

As for Ezri, I wouldn't say she proved herself or anything here. I don't chalk up this episode as a win for her character -- she just basically prodded Vic to cut Nog off but it was really Vic doing the therapy. Her own efforts yielded no fruits. Starting to think Ezri Dax is pretty much useless.

It's good for DS9 to follow up Nog's leg injury and shine a light on wartime injuries, although Nog's basic duty is not in front line combat. Not like he'll go back to the front lines, presumably anytime soon. He assists Chief O'Brien, so the need to avoid reality is a bit of a stretch -- I think the episode should have played up a bit more flashbacks of being shot. Nog's always been very responsible so I would think he'd like to get back to helping O'Brien...anyhow.

A high 2 stars -- good character piece for Nog, but not very interesting and somewhat questionable, too much Vic Fontaine fantasy world for me. Was not a fan of Odo/Kira in "His Way" although "It's Only a Paper Moon" is much more serious in making use of Vic Fontaine, who should be a real character -- can't DS9 have an entertainment staff?
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Rahul
Thu, Dec 7, 2017, 4:22pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Covenant

So good ol' Dukat's back as leader of a cult...ugh.

Was not a fan of this episode -- slow paced, plenty of meaningless/mindless worshipping -- but at least we get to catch up on Dukat, which is necessary. The portrayal of a cult is just as you think it would be (brainless followers and megalomaniacal leader) although what the episode doesn't touch upon is why all these Bajorans came to worship Paghwraiths and Dukat as the master. Even if, to them, maybe the Prophets haven't done enough, it seems like a longshot for them to side with the evil that their history books have described (presumably) extensively.

Not sure what to make of Dukat's transformation -- or what his next move is. But Alaimo is a solid actor and the character still has his charisma and thing for Kira. He has his weaknesses as a ladies man but is an amoral and evil SOB. He tries to kill Mika but then I was expecting another attempt on her life instead of immediately going to the mass suicide/escape plan.

Whether or not he actually got a vision from the Paghwraiths to order the mass suicide, he knew his time had run out with this cult after the half-Cardassian baby was born and Kira started unraveling the mystery. It's just a bit hard to see how so many of his worshippers could be so stupid but then again it happens in real life...

A high 2 stars for "Covenant" -- kind of a bizarre episode, but then again DS9 is very different Trek. Dukat -- "more dangerous than ever" as Kira puts it in the end is where we want DS9 to be going with the character, so at least that's a good thing to come out of this episode. But of course we could gather that much. Just don't know what Dukat's next move is.
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Rahul
Thu, Dec 7, 2017, 3:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: The Siege of AR-558

Really strong war episode that ultimately helps makes the casualty list more meaningful for Ben Sisko who goes to fight on the front lines. The message is clear that after such a long war where the casualty list was turning into a blur, the names now have more meaning when people you were fighting beside turn up on it. Overall the atmosphere and tension of the war and waiting for combat was on point.

This one reminds me of "Nor the Battle to the Strong" except with Nog taking on Jake's role on the front lines of the war (and of course Jem'Hadar instead of Klingons).

Again I'm wondering what Quark is doing on the away mission. He doesn't seem to have any role to play other than emphasizing the human cost/tragedy of the situation. He has no business challenging Ben Sisko who orders Nog to go on the scouting mission. But his role also brings out the dedication in Nog who (albeit a bit cliche) apologizes to Ben Sisko after getting shot and questioning if he completed his mission.

This one's even a bit surreal for a Trek episode in its great portrayal of the war on the ground. The 3 guest actors were good as hardened front-line warriors -- they've been defending AR-558 much longer than anticipated with no end in sight. The episode managed to create a the right weight -- an excellent musical score really helped.

The actual battle breaking out was typical heroic stuff and it seemed like Sisko was a goner but then he blacks out and wakes up and finds out they held the base...somehow. Looked like there were more than enough Jem'Hadar who had broken the lines -- so not sure how the battle was won.

3.5 stars -- terrific episode, gripping, realistic and impressed that DS9 could depart from typical Trek to pull it off. There are the usual cliches (including Ezri Dax and an engineer striking up a good working relationship and then the engineer gets killed, etc.) Nevertheless, I think DS9 needed an episode like this with an actual ground war as opposed to more spaceship battles. Easily the best episode of DS9 S7 so far.
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Rahul
Wed, Dec 6, 2017, 6:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Repentance

I liked this episode for its balanced examination of the death penalty and, once again, 7's role in providing the counterpoint. Decent guest performances for Iko, the reformed murderer, and Yediq the hardened "cop". The start of the episode was a bit abrupt but there was no padding in this episode.

Thought it was creatively written to produce the scenario under which Iko is reformed and feels guilt. I can live with the nanoprobes doing this kind of thing. Yediq needed to believe Iko was reformed so the scene where the reformed prisoner hands over his phaser was good -- I thought Iko might phaser himself as he wanted to die for his guilt.

But the one gripe with the scene in which Voyager is attacked is why did Janeway take so long to react? There should have been no reason to allow the enemy fire to cause the prisoners to escape -- ultimately, this is a plot device I suppose.

I think the strength of the episode is 7 (once again) with her emotions "learning". The ending with Iko being taken away to die hits the right notes. Janeway have their usual "mother/daughter" talk which worked better than in some prior episodes.

7 being a Borg and "killing" so many innocent people and then feeling guilt and something in common with Iko -- I thought that part was a bit manufactured since it is an entirely different situation than Iko and his brain condition. But in the end, she's a great character and maybe her feelings aren't so unrealistic or unjustified.

Neelix had a role to play here that is well-suited for him -- taken advantage of by a true criminal even though his race is discriminated against. It was another dynamic that surely rings true for some cases of criminal and "sympathizer".

3 stars for "Repentance" -- somewhat predictable (you knew there would be a prison break or revolt) and that Iko and 7 would develop some kind of bond. But it's a good episode for sure -- Voyager is capable of producing these meaningful dramas (like "Lineage") well. Looking at the death penalty through sci-fi and alien cultures is perfect for Trek.
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Rahul
Wed, Dec 6, 2017, 4:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Lineage

Well done episode about Torres' painful childhood and how it affects how she wants to modify her pregnancy -- really well acted from the entire cast, and especially the Paris and Torres characters.

The whole part about Torres hijacking the Doc is ridiculous though -- going to that extent (calling it a criminal act) to get the genetic modifications done to the baby. Surprising that Torres could violate Doc's program, erect force fields, shut out the security officer etc. What a pregnant woman can do... But that's a fairly minor flaw in a very strong character episode for Paris and Torres.

Paris and Torres do the husband and wife bickering thing pretty credibly for me. Paris does the reassuring husband role really well -- says all the right things, while Torres does the pregnant woman moodiness fantastically. And you could see it in Torres' eyes how she wanted to remove all the Klingon components of the baby based on her painful childhood memories.

This is one of those episodes where all the crew members had some role to play and all their parts were well acted and written -- even minor little things like Tuvok's dialog with Paris, Harry Kim letting Paris stay with him and Janeway not overruling the Doc.

The flashbacks were kind of heavy-handed but not bad for Trek guest actors -- the point was made and credibly so. It's a technique that works here for supporting what Torres thinks could happen to her baby and marriage. Important backstory for her father as well after we learned about her mother ("Barge of the Dead").

3 stars for "Lineage" -- a real Trek drama that could be a typical credible episode on some other show. Genetic modifications to fix a spine get ramped up into a whole bunch of what-ifs -- pretty interesting stuff that poses a good ethical questions. The writers have something good going with Paris and Torres as a couple.
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Rahul
Tue, Dec 5, 2017, 6:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Inheritance

Another episode about the Data creation/family story arc. Now the writers have created a defacto mom for Data (wasn't thrilled about this new twist) and in the end the android that she is is allowed to continue believing she's a human. Definitely a nice human touch shown by Data to the even more advanced android that is his mom (able to fool medical scanners, age, shed tears etc.) to let her "live her life" believing she's a human. A decent Data (and Spiner) episode for sure.

There's the sappy stuff at the beginning which didn't do it for me, although it is decent sci-fi -- the backstory of how Dr. Soong's wife actually created Data and the "love" they had for the androids, the pain they felt when they had to dismantle Lore, not taking Data even though they had room to do so. We even get the typical childhood stories about Data like not wanting to wear clothes etc.

The more interesting part comes when Data's mom is found to be an android and the discussion Data has with the hologram of Dr. Soong. I have to say it seemed odd that when Data's mom jumps to get the beam-out site, her arm just severs and she turns out to be an android. I liked how Data suspected his mom was an android to Riker and then is on some kind of personal quest to prove it.

As for Dr. Soong, shady character for me -- creating an android to replace his wife, but making the android terminate if it ever found out it wasn't human etc. I guess the writers put some thought into setting up the decision for Data to make, but it's impact isn't monumental on the viewer.

2.5 stars for "Inheritance". I guess in the end Data maybe "envies" his android mom who is a more advanced android and truly believes she's human. TNG has done a good job creating a story arc revolving around Data's creation and desire to be human, I suppose it was coming that there had to be a mother somehow.
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Rahul
Tue, Dec 5, 2017, 5:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Force of Nature

Overall dull episode with 2 wooden aliens, the usual TNG problem solving, and some fairly arbitrary scenes with the Enterprise dealing with the subspace rift. There's the usual technobabble but it isn't that onerous. Feels like trying to stick to a tried and true formula except with added filler material. There is a prescient message here about environmental damage but it's too fleeting.

Problem with this episode is it took forever for anything meaningful to start happening (the teaser was all about Geordi trying to get Data to train Spot). And then there's the almost needless Ferengi thrown in. The Ferengi Damon comes across as a stupid jerk (surprise, surprise). And what about the Enterprise team on board fixing the damaged Ferengi ship? We never find out how that little subplot ended up.

As far as the aliens, the female alien is kind of like Green Peace fighting for her cause although the poor acting never gave the impression that she'd be someone who was about to commit suicide for the cause. Gotta make these performances more credible.

Geordi and Data have the somewhat entertaining dialog about training Spot. This is the kind of thing a show that's comfortable in its own skin can try and get away with -- entirely meaningless stuff dependent on the characters in their time off. Filler material here.

I guess after all this the Federation decides warp 5 is the speed limit? Talk about kicking the can down the road but I suppose it is symptomatic of the approach to global warming or the environment -- it takes time... Probably the best part of the episode is Picard reflecting on how space travel is causing damage to other worlds. Wish the episode spent more time examining that aspect instead of Spot.

A weak 2 stars for "Force of Nature" -- poorly executed, bland but an interesting idea of residual effects of warp travel on a certain region of space. Could have been much better with better guest actors and omitting the silliness of the ship dealing with the rift. Rather unsatisfying.
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Rahul
Thu, Nov 30, 2017, 8:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Once More Unto the Breach

If you've seen 1 Klingon combat mission episode, you've pretty much seen them all but the insertion of Kor is cool, as we get a solid actor/character with a well-known background. The story is fairly typical of the main character screwing up and then redeeming himself. Of course, Kor has to go out a hero.

Kor is the first Klingon Trek fans got to know from "Errand of Mercy" and it seems he's carried on in the same vein as that character, which has somehow led to falling out of favor in the Klingon empire. That's fine -- it creates a subplot of old generation vs. new generation Klingons which is applicable to any situation where the old lament at how the young do stuff while trying to remain pertinent. "Relics" is another example of this interesting theme.

What I don't get is why Kor has to have some kind of dementia or forgetfulness such that he thinks he's fighting alongside Kang and trying to take down the Federation. So he's lost a few marbles, got the tactics wrong, nearly gets the Ch'Tang destroyed -- but somehow he's able to handle several Jem'Hadar ships and go out in a blaze of glory (supposedly, since we don't see it and only get verbal commentary). It's a tad too idealistic and contrived for me.

How the other young Klingons turn on Kor so quickly -- going from revering him to ridiculing him was also a bit strange to me. Martok's reaction is more measured and more suitable and having the other elder Klingon (who has been reduced to administrative work but still has a warrior heart) was helpful for really contrasting the old vs. young. Kor has a great line to the younger crew about the bitter taste that was once sweet.

As for the B-plot revolving around Ezri -- just more chance to figure something out (or not) on the romantic side for her. Still not sure what she is going to meaningfully contribute on DS9 -- hope it's not just love triangle BS. The idiot Quark thinks Ezri's in love with him -- whatever. I actually thought it was refreshing to not just have the whole episode dedicated to the Klingons and their mission and to insert some light-hearted Ezri stuff.

2.5 stars for "Once More Unto the Breach" -- decent entertaining hour of DS9, really liked Colicos's acting as Kor in this episode that is basically a sending off for the character. It is heavy-handed in how it deals with the treatment of the elderly -- of course Klingons wouldn't do it compassionately. But then again Kor got what he asked for.

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Rahul
Thu, Nov 30, 2017, 5:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Treachery, Faith, and the Great River

Pretty good episode here with plenty of deep meaning and taking the core story forward with another twist. The Weyoun/Odo dialog really works even if the Vorta's worship of the Changeling gets to be a bit much.

Also gotta love the scenes with Weyoun and Damar -- clearly something is simmering beneath the surface here even though the 2 weren't really butting heads here. Damar loves his Kanar!

What I appreciated was getting the backstory on how the Vorta became associated with the Founders - Weyoun 6 told a good little tale, leading to the revelation that the Founders are dying. This is where Odo's character shined as you could see the pain in his face. The ending scene with Kira and Odo is also good as Odo says he can only lose no matter which side wins the war -- good line there.

The B-plot of Nog/O'Brien trying to get gravity stabilizers -- a bit tiresome with all the horse-trading, but moderately entertaining. Kind of like an abbreviated and worse version of "In the Cards". No idea how Nog pulls off the trade -- chalk it up to the 1 thing Ferengi are good at -- but that all works out in the end despite it turning into a shitshow mid-episode.

3 stars for "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River" -- the faith aspect with Weyoun dying and getting Odo's blessing was moving -- well-portrayed; and Kira being Bajoran relates to this. Some important groundwork laid for the continuation of the Dominion War arc; an intriguing character episode for Odo.
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Rahul
Thu, Nov 30, 2017, 4:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Chrysalis

I think I know what DS9 was hoping to achieve with this episode but it didn't work for me. Really slow paced with some seemingly arbitrary condition/behavior from Serena to move the plot along. I think it works that Serena could be the right companion for Bashir given the genetic enhancement etc. At some times, she did come across as nearly perfectly "normal" and a suitable girlfriend.

But if the episode just comes down to Bashir trying to move a relationship along too fast and that spooks Serena -- it sure took a long buildup and it's not really interesting stuff ultimately. Not really moving or poignant either.

Serena's transformation is pretty miraculous considering how beyond help the other genetically enhanced people are. It's basically creating some kind of moral/selfish dilemma Bashir. But if we're supposed to learn something new about Bashir, then the episode fails. We know he's a compassionate doctor but who also is very lonely, which can impair his judgment.

I could tolerate the characters in "Statistical Probabilities" but here they were starting to get annoying -- Serena being the exception, of course. I'm shaking my head as the genetically enhanced people sing "Do Re Mi..." Just went on for too long as Bashir began to develop feelings for Serena -- an example of the poor pacing in this episode.

1.5 stars for "Chrysalis" -- just kind of meh as an episode. I would have liked to have seen some improvement in the condition of the genetically enhanced people, but at least Serena is not going to be spending anymore time with the "Jack Pack" -- sort of a happy ending even if ultimately she realizes she doesn't know how to love or whatever. I guess this episode is pretty inconsequential in the end -- a different kind of fluff piece than "Take Me Out to the Holosuite".

5 episodes into DS9 S7 and my average rating is 1.8 stars -- not a great start to the final season.
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Rahul
Thu, Nov 30, 2017, 3:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Take Me Out to the Holosuite

This one was dreary to watch; I fully understand this is a fluff piece. Another one of those episodes where the DS9 cast enacts something completely unrelated to real business. Would have been better for my liking if they played football (soccer) but we know Ben Sisko has his thing for baseball...not one of my favorite sports regardless.

This is a waste of a DS9 hour -- if they had played up the team building aspect more, maybe some newly developed friendships or Ezri Dax taking on some important contribution as a newcomer, the episode would be much better. There's just more meaning that the writers should have tried to infuse into this episode.

As far as somewhat comparable episodes, the James Bond episode also didn't work but "Far Beyond the Stars" did as it had plenty of deeper meaning and a connection to the overall arc. As a comedy, there was nothing funny here -- the injuries from training, getting their asses kicked by the Vulcans and then ridiculing Solok in the end as they manufacture a celebration for Rom's bunt. None of it worked and I can't call this charming.

This one's full of the obvious cliches with an asshole Vulcan belittling Sisko being the seed for this nonsense. Why would Vulcans take an interest in baseball in the first place given Solok's disdain for humans and his going on about Vulcan superiority? Might be more interesting if it was Weyoun and the Cardassians challenging Sisko's gang -- at least those guys have personality. A random Vulcan like Solok is not going to be a very engaging character.

1 star for "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" -- not quite as bad as a couple of the "Ferengi episodes" but I don't think the episode achieved anything. Sure some baseball lovers might get a kick out of seeing the cast enact a game but the episode is inconsequential and pure filler in Season 7.
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Rahul
Wed, Nov 29, 2017, 9:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Flesh and Blood

Typical good Trek entertainment here in this decent 2-parter -- now it's holograms who are fighting for independence/liberation. Other Trek episodes have seen space hippies and genetically engineered super-humans to name a couple. But this one clearly has the moral/philosophical side to it that comes up in a handful of good discussions. The biggest gripe for me is how far Voyager is taking the hologram idea -- a tad too far for me -- as a new sentient race acting somewhat like a cult with a leader etc.

As for the Hirogen, I thought we'd seen the last of them. I've always thought them to be a dumb, 1-dimensional race so the story of the coward/engineer is another twist in this episode. Some similarities with "Prey", one of the best VOY episodes for me. But it's good to revisit a decision Janeway made to give the Hirogen holodeck technology and how it comes back to bite Voyager's ass.

Even if there are some decent moral/philosophical debates, it's a hard to care about sentient holograms, and even harder to care about the Hirogen. As far as Doc's evolution, it seems odd to me that his sense of loyalty to Voyager and duty as the property of Star Fleet isn't like hardcoded or something.

As for some of those good debates, I wasn't a fan of Janeway in the 1st part where she shuts down Tuvok/Chakotay about getting involved in this mess. Between Torres and the female Cardassian hologram about stereotypes, here's the most compelling argument about helping the Holograms in the episode. The talk of stereotypes was excellent. Iden always came across as untrustworthy in his dealings with Doc.

Iden's messiah complex is really taking the hologram "enhancements" to the next level if it wasn't there already -- but Torres/Doc needed something to get their heads straight about the situation -- killing the 2 "organics" was pretty much all they needed to see. This part plays out very much as if Iden is actually human for all intents and purposes. I'd like to see what would happen with these holograms if they stayed on the barren planet -- I imagine they'd rebel against Iden and be like WTF are we doing here?

A strong 3 stars here -- the biggest detractor is that these are holograms fighting for independence. They might as well be any other race and it would be more realistic. With 2 hours, there's plenty of credible battle scenes, conflicts -- very watchable and well-paced and not just all action without substance.
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Rahul
Wed, Nov 29, 2017, 4:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Nightingale

Whoa! A Harry Kim episode -- those don't come around too often and when they do, they typically aren't very good. This one's not bad, not too good either. So Kim's captain here and it doesn't go well...surprise, surprise. Kim's been one of the neglected characters on Voyager (like Neelix, Tuvok, and even Chakotay) but we do get an idea of his ambition here.

I didn't think 7 needed to be used as the one pointing out to Kim where he's failing as a captain but everybody else outranks him -- just that 7 is overused on Voyager, but she's become a great character since her intro. Perhaps Neelix could have played this role?

The episode is idealistic in terms of showing Kim the challenges of command and he's way too eager to get involved in this situation. But he does have good points about still being an ensign after 7 years on Voyager. So Janeway lets him run with the command -- which immediately goes to his head. I think the episode did a decent job showing the micromanaging part which makes sense for someone who is a worker bee but gets elevated to queen bee.

Some random thoughts: Nice visual of Voyager landed on the planet and people walking on it for repairs etc. Gives an idea of how big the ship is, which is nice for a change. But really not a fan of the Icheb scenes with B'Elanna. That B-plot was pretty lame.

Barely 2.5 stars for "Nightingale" -- good to get Harry Kim a reasonable episode that focuses on his character, even if ultimately he realizes he's where he is for a reason. Nothing wrong with that. Some deceptive aliens and the cloaking technology and the ever-present Voyager spaceship battle scenes, but the B-plot kinda sucked.
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Rahul
Wed, Nov 29, 2017, 3:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Body and Soul

Enjoyable and somewhat hilarious hour of Voyager -- Ryan is a capable actress and pulls off the doctor character amazingly. That makes this episode a success.

Interesting that given what's going in today's world with so many examples of sexually inappropriate behavior, we get the inappropriate sort of sexual innuendos between the Lokirrim captain and 7. But all that's in a comedic sense - I doubt "Body and Soul" is meant to be prescient. There's plenty of misplaced romances going on in this episode but it all works out in a nice package.

As for the B-plot of Tuvok and the blood fever -- that proved to have a bit of a comedic flavour to it in the end with the joke about Tuvok's wife's ears. But the holodeck usage was another plot device to get the Lokirrim pissed at Voyager and move the plot along.

As for the Lokirrim -- another humanoid species but purely created to serve the comedic purposes here; can't really take them seriously. And that's the reason they can't be less humanoid in appearance, which would be more realistic, for me.

A strong 2.5 stars for "Body and Soul" -- good episode for 7 to let loose and conveniently worked out in the end which is in keeping with the light-hearted nature of this episode. Voyager does pull off some decent comedies.

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Rahul
Tue, Nov 28, 2017, 6:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Phantasms

Didn't enjoy this episode and can see how it's a bit polarizing. For me, it only got interesting in the last part once the interphasic parasites were discovered. Up to that point, the buildup with Data's bizarre dreams (which of course are tied to the warp core not working) was slow and not particularly interesting for me. The weird imagery just didn't do it for me.

Some comedic moments were inserted like Picard's running gag with the admiral. I liked the part when he was hovering over Geordi in engineering. It's just entertaining watching Stewart do almost anything -- sign of a good actor. Worf's cake icing line was good, but Ensign Tyler's crush on Geordi didn't go anywhere.

This is another one of the TNG creative sci-fi problem-solving episodes -- not sure how any viewer could catch on (or is supposed to catch on) to what Data's dreams mean and what Freud is telling him to do. I'm asking myself, why doesn't Data just turn off the damn dream program? But then they wouldn't find the interphasic creatures, I suppose. But they don't know that until much later, and certainly after Troi's already been stabbed Norman Bates-style.

2 stars for "Phantasms" -- plenty of filler to create some kind of weird atmosphere, perhaps creepy which left me slightly bored. The explanation at the end was interesting from a creative sci-fi standpoint but it's ultimately pointless and is just another outing where Data gets to do some unusual things.

I think by this stage in the game, having already made its mark, TNG is coasting. There are some interesting ideas here and there. The show basically has carte blanche and is firing mostly blanks so far in Season 7. Think I'd easily prefer TOS S3 over TNG S7.
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Rahul
Mon, Nov 27, 2017, 5:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S3: Elaan of Troyius

After another viewing, I think my initial rating was a tad generous. This is a pretty good episode with a solid performance from Nuyen (helps that she naturally has an accent). It becomes easier to understand Elaan's behavior when understanding she's being married against her wishes and all the "responsibilities and obligations" she has to deal with. She didn't want the role she was chosen for and this comes out in the end in her love for Kirk (reasonably well portrayed).

The ending battle scene was one of the better ones from TOS although I wonder why the Enterprise didn't fire photon torpedoes until after the dilithium crystals were replaced. I didn't think you'd need the crystals to fire torpedoes. It's easier to understand why phasers wouldn't be an option without the crystals.

3 stars for "Elaan of Troyius" -- seems to me to be one of the TOS S3 episodes with a bigger budget and it is used reasonably well with a number of guest actors, costumes, battle scenes (which are much better in the enhanced video version).
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Rahul
Mon, Nov 27, 2017, 5:31pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S3: The Empath

Just re-watched this episode -- a really under-rated masterpiece.

The Vians clearly aren't sadists though one has to wonder what the 2 researchers did not do such that they died from the torture. The Vians mentioned their own fears killed them. Were they not able to engender the feeling of empathy for each other or "teach" Gem this trait? I would assume so and thus the experiment on them was a failure. Then along came the Big 3.

To William B. and Jason R. -- the Vians do indeed say they can save only 1 species so they are implying they will sacrifice themselves. I wish the episode had played this implication up a bit more. It would portray the Vians in a better light. I like the insights in your comments.

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