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Stephen
Sun, Jan 7, 2018, 10:51am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Rules of Acquisition

Quark seemed to back down a too easily, over Zek revoking his Gamma Quadrant profits, considering that Quark had leverage with revealing that a female had represented Zek in a business negotiation. This is a guy that later threatened to expose the "drought" on Balancar to the entire quadrant.
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Stephen
Sun, May 21, 2017, 6:56am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Homestead

"though I think the way the episode invokes the Prime Directive is erroneous: If a warp-capable group of people asks for help in defending themselves, I don't see how that's a Prime Directive issue saying Janeway can't be involved."

This is not the only time this happens in the show. Basically every time the writers want an excuse for Janeway to want to stay uninvolved, they trot out the Prime Directive, and everyone nods their head, even though a significant majority of the species they encounter are warp capable. What's worse, there's an episode where they were discussing this and Tuvok makes the point about the Directive not applying because the aliens of the week... are warp capable. It's just another example of sloppy storytelling that persistently made this show infuriating to watch.
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Stephen
Wed, May 17, 2017, 2:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

@STEVEN LYLE JORDAN
"Khan’s son is the only one of the baddies group, other than Khan, who utters a word through the entire movie (besides “Aaugh!” when the Reliant is attacked—apparently genetic supermen make great redshirts);"

FWIW, Joachim is supposed (apocryphally) to be the son of Joaquin, who was one of his only henchmen in Space Seed to have lines as well.
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Stephen
Wed, May 17, 2017, 2:31pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Spirit Folk

When people express their fury at Janeway's haphazard command decisions, this is one of the episodes that best vindicates their position. To endanger three senior bridge officers rather than reboot your hologram boyfriend is a completely indefensible solution.

You can't even chalk this up to a tribble (and/or Ferengi) episode, because everyone is so doggone earnest about it. It doesn't have any of the levity of Tinker Tenor or Virtuoso, and whatever attempts it may be making are overshadowed by Janeway's nigh-neurotic fixation on the Sullivan hologram. The more they treat these like real people, the more it diminishes the Doctor's singular nature and his accomplishments. Even he was endlessly tinkering with his hologram family and ready to dump the whole exercise when it challenged him emotionally (not like we ever saw them after that anyway).

The central conceit of Voyager is to explore truly strange new worlds, tens of thousands of light years from the Vulcans and Klingons and Bajorans and Cardassians that have over time permeated Alpha-quadrant storytelling. And even there you already have cavemen-and-laser-gun stories like Blink of an Eye or Muse to lean on. Having a holo town as the centerpiece for a culture episode grossly violates that core premise.
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Stephen
Wed, May 17, 2017, 2:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Good Shepherd

I liked the episode well enough, and it's nice to see Jay Underwood pop up, but this is the kind of premise that should have happened way earlier in the series. If you've been adrift for five-plus years and only now getting around to these crewmen, then they're way more jaded than the crewmen we got in this episode. If it absolutely had to be Seven that pointed out these three were through the cracks, you still could have done that in Season 4. It might even have been a better fit there, where she's still looking at the ship like a Borg and trying to maximize efficiency. To do it this late in the game - both for Voyager and for Seven - makes me far more sympathetic to Harren's otherwise-jaw-dropping insolence toward the Captain.
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Stephen
Mon, May 15, 2017, 9:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Fair Haven

The premise of destroying Fair Haven infuriates me. Way back in the beginning they said that they couldn't transfer holodeck energy to conserve power because the power systems were not compatible or some crap. Obviously it's wrong for two simple reasons, one canonical, one practical. Holodeck energy was compatible in Next Gen so that's out. Also, the ship in a general sense gets its entry from the warp core, matter/antimatter intermix, however you want to refer to it. They play kind of fast and loose with that since they lose warp power all the time and even ejected the core once or twice. But the point is, if there is a central point of generation for the ship's power, then you don't worry about compatible systems cause you can cut off the holodecks at the source.

I hate that reasoning, especially since they were looking at 75 years to come up with a solution, but I get it, they wanted an excuse to keep the holodecks online without raising questions about power conservation. But other times, like in Night, they make a reference to pulling power from the holodecks. They failed, but for an entirely different reason. And that brings us to this episode, where they DO draw power from the holodecks for the express purpose of provoking catastrophic loss of the Fair Haven program and manufacturing a sentimental moment for the closing scene.

The one thing I hate worse than making up stupid rules for story purposes, that make no sense in the real world, is when they turn around and break their own rules arbitrarily just to serve a different story point later. See also: Sword Art Online.
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Stephen
Mon, May 15, 2017, 6:14am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Riddles

This episode felt more like Tuvix than Rise to me, at least from Tuvok's perspective. Critical event leads to a change in his personality, there is adaptation after growing pains, there is the scene where a cure is available but he likes who he is now and doesn't want to go back, and then the rest button gets hit. The only improvement is that they come up with an argument that allows Tuvok to accept the fix, instead of having a tortured debate about his rights under his new persona before Janeway "murders" him to get the original Tuvok back.

As for the final scene, I recall that Tuvok as an adolescent was someone with intense passions who needed a lot of discipline to overcome them. He won't surrender that easily. We're used to seeing Spock with his emotions a bit closer to the surface, but he's half human. For Tuvok, a moment like this is as big a departure for him as Spock finding Kirk alive at the end of Amok Time. The payoff doesn't feel as good for human viewers, true, but that may mean the flaw is in having a Vulcan main character in the first place, because those kind of restrictions are built into the character.

His character was certainly stronger than T'Pol, who was lying like a rug throughout Enterprise and whose overall character development was a mess.
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Stephen
Fri, May 12, 2017, 6:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Course: Oblivion

This episode is like the anti Inner Light. While we watched Picard age and scale to his new environment, only to have the death if the civilization snatch it all away from us, their probe made Picard the caretaker of their memories. And the last scene with the Ressikan flute is powerful because it shows, centuries after their annihilation, their culture still had an impact, was still remembered.

This episode did everything The Inner Light didn't do: it asked us to invest in this crew and their plight, then killed them all off, and no one knows who they were or what they did. Just a random curious cloud of deuterium vapor. I'm stuck somewhere between being angry and just shaking my head in disbelief.
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Stephen
Tue, Jul 5, 2016, 6:53am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Squire of Gothos

Just watched this episode last night, and it was better than I remember* (*my experience with TOS as a whole so far, really - maybe I've mellowed out, but when I watched TOS last time, and read Jammer's reviews, I thought his scores were too high, now i feel the opposite... but that was like a decade ago?).

Anyway, this time through, having watched the rest of Star Trek canon with me, my wife was apt to point out the similarities with Trelane and Q. Like Q, (in his 2nd appearance), Trelane is dressed as a French Military commander facinated by Napoleonic Era France. Also, later he plays the part of a Judge. I thought these were pretty good observations.

Finally, I would add, that in Voyager we see that the Q do have children. Could Trelane be a young Q (or even, *the* Q, as played by John De Lancie)?

Q de Lancie does, after all pull the same stunts, and is likewise reprimanded by "the Q continuum" - maybe the continuum thought his parents were doing a poor job of raising him, and took him away, or he's an adult and Q societies problem now instead of his parents.
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Stephen
Tue, Jul 5, 2016, 6:41am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Tomorrow Is Yesterday

@Andy's Friend - Actually, in Superman, the intent was that Superman is flying faster than light, and that's why he's going back in time. IIRC, in an interview or DVD commentary I heard that they had him fly around the Earth, because they thought showing the Earth spinning backwards would indicate to the audience that time was flowing backwards.

Of course, we all read it the other way, that is, that superman is causing the Earth to spin backwards to reverse time. :)
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stephen palmer
Thu, Mar 31, 2016, 8:26am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

I'd like to draw attention to Worf's debilitated condition at the end of this episode. It really looks like Worf would take a long time to fully recover from his injury, despite the "miracle cure".
And yet, next episode shows him clobbering aliens as though nothing had happened. What could have been a a tremendous opportunity to show Worf's character and courage in a new light (recovering with dignity, taking the opportunity to further bond with his son etc) is lost.
I guess the story editors felt that episode to episode continuity like that might make Star Trek too soap opera-ish, but it does trivialise the seriousness of Worf's physical crisis in this episode.
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Stephen
Tue, Sep 22, 2015, 4:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Booby Trap

Slightly ironic that the first Star Trek episode directed by a woman is called "Booby" Trap
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Stephen
Tue, Aug 5, 2014, 1:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: The Voyager Conspiracy

Edit to fix a typo above: "...and I suspect that Janeway's comment about mutiny at the end of the episode was NOT entirely out of the realm of possibility."

TLDR: Given what we know about Chakotay and previous betrayals of trust he's been on the receiving end of ... he had more than a little reason to not dismiss Seven's conspiracy theory out of hand.
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Stephen
Tue, Aug 5, 2014, 12:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: The Voyager Conspiracy

It seems I'm in the minority, but I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. Most of the commenters here seem to feel that the credulity shown by Janeway and Chakotay towards Seven's conspiracy theories was out of character. However, I think Chakotay's willingness to fact check Seven's claims would be more likely than would be the case for the Captain.

Consider that Chakotay was already well deceived by both Tuvok and Seska, while still serving as a Maquis. On discovering Seska was a Cardassian spy all along, he commented to Tuvok: "You were working for her [Janeway], Seska was working for them [the Cardassians]... was anyone on that ship working for me?" [State of Flux].

So Chakotay's suspicions were not entirely out of line. Recall also that Chakotay and the Captain had a various serious disagreement in Equinox, Part II not that long ago -- to the degree that Chakotay was ultimately confined to his quarters. He and Janeway have clashed previously, but as far as I can recall this was the most serious breach in their relationship to this point. It didn't appear as if it was entirely resolved, and I suspect that Janeway's comment about mutiny at the end of the episode was entirely out of the realm of possibility.

I'm also surprised that no one pointed out the strong similarity between Seven had to a kind of Sherlock Holmes character. Her (accurate) inductive reasoning about the photonic fleas reminded me of Watson's awe of Holmes (who could infer so much from so little). So Seven's heightened reasoning skills were to a degree already established as credible at the beginning of the episode.

As Seven's behavior and reasoning became more erratic, there was less reason for Janeway and Chakotay to continue the mistrust. And in fact that's what essentially happened. But the underlying tension between Janeway and Chatokay wasn't unreasonable in my opinion -- given their past not insignificant disagreements with each other. I've always wondered what would have happened had they allowed Chatokay to push back harder. His character was never sufficiently developed in my mind, and could have been a much more interesting member of the Voyager ensemble.
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Stephen
Sun, Dec 29, 2013, 12:37am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Equinox, Part I

This was one of the stronger episodes of Star Trek Voyager I've viewed so far. I've been slowly re-watching the entire series on Netflix, and have been comparing it to my perception of the series when it first aired.

One of the biggest problems I had (and still do) with Voyager has been raised many times by Jammer, and also many commenters: the unwillingness of the writers to deeply explore the premise of the show.

I agree with Jammer that the inherent tension of the Federation/Maquis crew in a stranded in a remote part of the galaxy was unfortunately squandered by the writers. Given how much serious dramatic tension *should* exist between the different crews, and the fact that Voyager has taken so much heavy damage (which always magically seems to disappear without a trace) -- the show has often seemed much less realistic than other sci-fi shows that were more willing to explore serious themes in long arcs (e.g. Battlestar Galactica, Space Above and Beyond, Stargate Universe, and DS9).

So I was relieved that the Equinox two-parter is one of the few episodes that seems to take another stab at what it really means for a Federation starship to be well and truly lost in space, with no magic reset buttons.

This episode reminded me also of Battlestar Galactica's similar encounter with the Battlestar Pegasus. Both ship's commanders had taken very different ethical paths in the name of survival, and one had crossed some rather serious ethical lines. In some ways, I feel that Janeway's character was very similar to Commander Adama's -- more high-minded, but sometimes hypocritical (as the Pegasus' Admiral Kaine would later point out).

Janeway's harsh judgment of Ransom is even more ironic, because she more or less follows his example in Year of Hell. While I suppose that timeline never happened, we got to see how Capt. Janeway was willing to bend Starfleet rules to the breaking point and beyond, when her back was up against a wall. Granted, Ransom's actions were hard to justify, but could Janeway so easily say she wouldn't do the same if put in the same position?

Still, I quite enjoyed this episode, and Part 2. I only wish ST Voyager followed this dramatic concept much, much earlier in its series run. And I have to agree with Jo Jo's comment above that a Star Trek: Equinox series would be rather interesting show to watch. While Voyager is a decent show (truthfully better than I remember it), ST: Equinox might be closer to the Voyager I wish we had seen.
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Stephen Belgrave
Sun, Sep 1, 2013, 11:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

Very wow episode! I absolutely admire Avery Brooks for the passion and emotion he brings to the role of Benny Russell.
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Stephen
Sat, Jun 29, 2013, 4:03am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S1: Fallen Hero

The crew is suffering from sexual tension. So nobody on the ship actually masturbates to deal with such problems ....
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Stephen
Wed, Apr 29, 2009, 11:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Dragon's Teeth

I'll admit that VOY definitely had plot problems throughout its run, but I always liked this episode. I think it may be that the special effects, at least for me, sell the "epic" quality that the show is going for. Sure, it fails in the present, but there are just enough establishing shots of the ruins, plus the attack in the teaser, that convince me that, even if the story as presented by the episode itself isn't very deep, there was a much bigger, and definitely much more interesting, story happening in the background. I know what matters onscreen is the only relevant part, of course, but for me what came before helps elevate what is happening now. I guess I'm more lenient to this show than you are because its something that inspires my imagination.
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