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Steven
Sat, Oct 21, 2017, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

"And as I mentioned in a comment on an earlier episode, why didn't the ripper just leave Discovery? That really really annoys me. It can teleport wherever it wants to in the galaxy supposedly, as long as it has access to spores, which it does, but it can't leave. Why not? Seriously. Someone come up with a reason it couldn't leave either Discovery or Glenn. And it rehydrates itself in outer space at the end with the water it got from where exactly?"

Another thing that was very fishy was the whole interfacing of the tardigrades' brain with the computer. It was said that the star constellations were mapped in his brain; okay, but how comes that you have a computer that can read his brain?

The visualization of the star charts from his brain was cringeworthy.

The ejection of the tardigrade into space was also nothing but a cool visualization of "giving him freedom", without any explanation of why that act would actually set him free and why he couldn't leave before.

These are examples for visualizations that are pure eye-candy but don't really make sense; the scientific explanation is missing.
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Steven
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 1:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

"That said, since we've seen so little about how Klingon society works in DIS thus far, it's too soon to jump to any conclusions."

Fair enough. That is another reason for me to stop reviewing for the time being. What I've written is entirely consistent with the material that we've seen so far - but it's not 100% proven, because the material is simply too thin, as you point out. I may be judging a bit too early.
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Steven
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

"Don't forget that TOS Klingons are the USSR, which means a lot of warlike but also deceptive and corrupt traits may fit them."

Good point. But there are different ways to rape someone: I could imagine the Klingons of this era to use rape as a method of terror, of breaking the enemy's spirits, and of degradation. However, the kind of relationship that is hinted with the Klingon female fits neither of those patterns. It is rather pointless to keep raping someone for half a year, who is already under your control.

And honestly, the whole thing is more embarassing for that woman, I think, than for the prisoner. When they meet in the corridor, one of her parting words are: "We've been through so much together." Wow, she's totally needy. The prisoner is basically Kirk who can make any woman fall for him. This portrayal is far removed from rape being a systematic method of terror, or similar. If it does ANYTHING right, it manages to highlight the corruption, the contradiction between idealogy and realization.
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Steven
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

"Klingons don't torture defenseless people. Klingons don't eat their victims. Klingons don't take sex slaves. Where is the honour in anything these Klingons are doing? Why didn't the writers just make up a new name and call them something else? These are clearly not Klingons."

Similarly as with the swearing or the explicit violence on the show, these characteristics of the "new" Klingons strike me as a simple-minded attempt to make the new show "edgy". But as a byproduct they produce a characterization of the Klingons that is totally off and even contradictory in itself.

To be fair, let's assume that "honour" as a concept is more pronounced in the TNG era's Klingons than in those of the TOS or DIS era. That is entirely possible; the teachings of Kahless may have found a revival in the 24th century. Still, the Klingons of DIS should have a minimum of pride (as a milder, more toned down form of "honour"), AND they particularly seem to believe in their superiority (no surprise there) and cultural purity.

Why would these Klingons be interested in human sex slaves? Of course they wouldn't. It is an embarassment for that Klingon woman to desire a human. The Klingons almost fulfill the trope of the "primitive people" that you can read in 16th century reports of the Spanish and Portuguese about the Africans and the people of the New World. Especially their tendency towards rape and cannibalism was portrayed in the media of the 16th century to justify treating the natives as "savages", as sub-humans, as an enemy that deserved our contempt.

Discovery is doing just the same: It creates an enemy that we love to hate. This is not progress or a more nuanced characterization; on the contrary, it is a plump fallback to tropes that don't belong into 21st century television. Unfortunately, the makers of this TV show don't seem to know much about history.

Here's the thing: If you use these kind of archaic tropes, then at least put a limit on them. The show could've made it explicit that ONLY the female commander had a human sex slave, while the practice is generally not regarded favorably by the majority of Klingons.

But instead, we get a very confused and essentially plump impression of Klingon culture. Another thing is the carrying of dead corpses on the hull of the ship, by the way: Completely wrong! We can often hear on TNG or VOY that dead bodies are an "empty shell", once the soul has left to Stovokor; they can basically be thrown away. And now Discovery comes and tells us the exact opposite: That dead bodies are to be conserved, to be carried on the hull of your ship for centuries. This stinks. This is a dumbed down, incompatible version of the Klingons. Things like these aggravate me about the show. I am with Peter G: Where ENT was often simply boring, DIS is actively aggravating.

I'll probably binge watch the rest of the season because it's a bit exhausting to start ranting after each single episode.
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Steven
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 1:41am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

@Peter G

"In the case of Discovery I tend to think your concern is entirely accurate, though. Kurtzman material has a tendency to underthink, rather than overthink, solutions to problems. They tend to be pat, tidy, and not overly logical. That said I'm somehow finding myself holding out a little hope that there really is an interesting explanation for all this."

That's the thing. I feel that my efforts to think deeply about this show are wasted. On the contrary, the Wachowskis' "Cloud Atlas" had me thinking for days. I need to have trust that the author HAS put coherent logic behind his work, and I feel kind of intellectually insulted by each Discovery episode because they are so underthought.

That may even be the main issue why the more intellectual part of the fandom is not getting warm with this series. Kurtzman is the wrong man for Star Trek.

Actually, Cloud Atlas is an interesting comparison, because that movie was extremely vague in many ways. But that can't be confused with being incoherent or illogical, as Discovery is. You could always feel that the authors put thought behind the scenes, that there was a coherent world behind it. As it USED to be the case for Star Trek, too.
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Steven
Fri, Oct 20, 2017, 1:16am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

"To the comments about swearing: What's the big deal? It's a perfectly natural part of any person's vocabulary, throughout the world. Personally, I hate the fact that swearing is censored by a "beep" on most american TV shows. It's ridiculous."

The point is that some viewers felt, as they have voiced, that it DIDN'T come across natural at all. You say it's a natural thing, but the swearing in Discovery feels so forced, like other parts of the bad dialogue, too. The same with the violence: Every time that I see excessive violence in Discovery, I wonder whether it has some narrative or artistic reason behind it, and I usually get the impression that it doesn't. They're just being violent or vulgar because they can; purely for the sake of novelty.

Another problem is if the swearing sounds exactly the same as people do it today. It takes you out of the immersion and you can't believe it's a 23rd century show any more.

Personally I don't care for censoring swear words, either. But if you do use them, pick the fitting phrases and make them sound natural, not like a forced phrase.
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Steven
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 9:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

Final thought on the spore drive: I just read a possible solution elsewhere, to explain the disappearance of the tech by the end of the series.

And it's pretty much the only explanation that works (see my previous posts for less-than-stellar suggestions how to explain the tech away). Here it goes: The spore network gets infected somehow and then seizes to exist.

Admittedly, such an infection would take some time to spread, but maybe the Klingons distribute it actively as a counter-measure against the drive. Everywhere in their territory. Which would basically make the spore network useless as a weapon against the Klingons. And maybe the spores only cover Federation and Klingon space anyway, and not the whole universe. Maybe the Tardigrade animals, who are said to be "600 million years of evolution apart from humans" (in the episode) started spreading from earth a long time ago, while the network itself was growing. And by today, it covers basically parts of Federation and Klingon space.

Those would actually be workable explanations, but the writers will probably screw it up somehow. I don't have a huge trust in them.
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Steven
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 8:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

"The story about Lorca abandoning his ship and killing his entire crew just made me laugh out loud. For those that are familiar with TNG Recut Picard, Lorca basically IS that person. LOL. Is this real life?"

I know people who were mildly optimistic about the show at first, then slowly started to realize they don't enjoy it and found themselves spending 75% of their time with getting aggravated about the nonsense that we're shown each week, and now by the fifth episode they only see this show as satire, because that's the only way to enjoy it light-heartedly. I'm not that cynical yet, and I think when I reach that point, watching the show will become kind of pointless.

The characters are kind of ridiculous, yes. That Klingon commander has nothing better to do than, erm, keeping a human sex slave for herself for 7 months? Are humans so appealing to Klingons? Shouldn't Klingons, you know, try to follow their ideology of staying pure? So how does that work - fighting the good fight during daytime, and then jumping in bed with the enemy in nighttime? The Klingons come across as little more than gorillas (think King Kong), who find a "liking" to a "tender white woman".

Congrats for re-introducing all the old tropes of the "primitive savage" etc. to this show. No, this isn't Star Trek.
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Steven
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 8:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

Speaking of Voyager, the Warp 10 discovered by Tom Paris had the exact same problem as the new spore drive: It got simply explained away by "yeah, would be the coolest tech ever, but it mutates the pilot... so we're never going to mention it again!"

For good reason, "Threshold" is considered by many as one of the worst Voyager episodes because it introduces this wonder tech and then never mentions it again. Did we need a repeat of this on "Discovery"? Not really.
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Steven
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 8:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

"Steven - We still don't know the consequences of using humans with the drive. Let's wait until we see what happens to Stamets (likely next week). If he turns into a mass murderer and attempts to destroy the ship, that might be enough for them to ban the tech."

I already accounted for that possibility when I wrote the tech would still be used in emergencies - when the sacrifice of a single crewmember is preferrable to the destruction of the whole ship. There are so many TNG and Voyager episodes where they are caught in some anomaly or nebula and lose their warp drive, and the destruction of the ship is imminent. In such a situation, they would surely use the spore drive. Hell, Janeway would probably sacrifice herself as the pilot, in order to get her crew home from the Delta quadrant, or at least cut a significant portion off their journey.

The only good explanation is that the tech gets classified and buried forever. I would actually have enjoyed seeing Discovery being a "Section 31" ship that DOESN'T take any commands from Starfleet and is a completely seperate entity. That might have worked. But now, Starfleet is already crying out for installation of the tech on as many ships as possible. How are they going to solve this believably? I have no idea.
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Steven
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 7:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

Afterthought: I think the only thing that could work would be to classify the whole thing, never use it on another starship and swear the crew to lifelong secrecy. (Solution 1 from my previous post.) But there are currently no indications for this. First of all, the technical description of the technology is surely already in Starfleet headquarters, because they can't risk leaving these military secrets to just one ship which can be destroyed at any time (meaning a possible loss of the technology). So the blueprints are likely already in Starfleet's hands.

Now, what can possibly lead to burying this tech forever? If Starfleet has the blueprints, then the decision is already out of the hands of the Discovery's crew.

I see no satisfying way to resolve this and I think whatever explanations they'll come up with will probably be less-than-believable.
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Steven
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Choose Your Pain

"In the main Gestapory is Trek amateur hour with lots of money thrown at it. The lack of having a real brain on the project shows. It's like having a bunch of eight year olds flying a space shuttle. It looks at first glance like a scientific mission until you observe the piloting and realize it's more like an expensive go-kart."

That's why it's so weird to me that a certain bunch of Trek fans (and I mean intelligent fans, not dummies) still say they like the new show. I see the show as pretty amateurish too, and if we're going to use the same rating scale as for the other Trek shows (0-4 stars), I can't go higher than 1.5 here.

To another topic, one thing I noticed in this episode is that the whole thing with the spore drive will never fit with the rest of the ST universe. So, they've established now that a human, injected with some Tardigrade DNA, can be a substitute "navigator". Then why doesn't Picard, or Janeway, do that as a "last resort", whenever their ship is caught in an anomaly, the warp drive is offline and they somehow need to get out? What could be the downside? I see only three ways to explain this tech away:

1. The tech is never given to other Starfleet ships and generally stays classified/gets buried. Seems unlikely, because there are already plans in place to install the tech on as many ships as possible, as the Admiral said.

2. The moral price is too high: If it turns out that the jumps are somehow hurting sentient lifeforms (who live in that area of subspace), the tech can be forbidden. However, there is one problem with this explanation: Let's say this is revealed by the end of season 1, then in retrospect it'll be clear that the Discovery crew is a bunch of mass murderers. Would do the series too much harm, I think. The re-watch value would be really know, if you already know they are committing mass murder with every jump during season 1.

3. Finally, the spore network could be something like a neural network, an advanced intelligence, capable of allowing or disallowing the use of their realm - like the Prophets on DS9. They could say at some point "Humanoid species will no longer be granted access to our network!" and at this point the spore drive simply becomes unusable. However, this is also highly problematic for a couple of reasons. Assuming such an intelligence that permeates the whole universe is a weird concept to begin with. As problematic is the question why humans would be the first to attempt to use the network; surely there were advanced civilizations millions of years ago, which have been mentioned on Trek, who would have tried out the spore drive at some point. And then the "super-intelligence" decides to shut it down for all eternity, because humanoids can't be trusted... or something like that. On the other hand, if only us humans are explicitly forbidden from using the network, Starfleet could simply use other species as navigators.

None of these explanations would be in any way elegant and they're all somewhat problematic. I think the door to explain this tech away *in an elegant fashion* has already been shut.
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Steven
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 12:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

"Is it any wonder that space Treknology advanced so quickly in the 1990's and the early 21st century?"

If I remember correctly, that was explained in that Voyager episode in which a timeship from the future is stranded in the 1980s-90s on earth and an enterpreneur brings parts of its technology to the market, leading to the "microchip revolution".
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Steven
Sat, Oct 14, 2017, 5:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

Me: "What metric are the ratings even based on? Gut feeling? There are only 4 episodes out so far."

Jamahl: "I kind of acknowledged this with the first paragraph of this very review. Regardless, the star rating has *always* been a gut feeling of whether I think the hour worked or not."

Okay then, if you feel confident that you can already judge the series, I retract my criticism. I know I couldn't do it though. And if I was forced to do it, I'd give very low scores.

I think that your and my overall impression are very different. My impression so far has been rather devastating... I feel that the series has failed in almost every significant way. Paper-thin plots and characters, pointless action and visuals that are more of a distraction than woven into the atmosphere (the designs are all over the place; both the Federation and the Klingons have lost their flair). The new series is little better than my least favorite Star Trek movie, "Nemesis", and reminds me much more of that movie than I'm comfortable with.

My proposal to wait with the ratings is an attempt to save the ratings, because I hope that they'll go up in retrospect. I try to give this new show a chance. Most importantly, I need to get invested in the characters, which I am currently not. I believe that Michael Burnham is incompetent. And I also dislike the barbaric version of Starfleet that we're shown, the one that throws someone into prison for life (!) for a mutiny that was stopped after one minute and failed to do any harm, because Michael never really managed to fire on the Klingon ship.
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Steven
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry

I used to enjoy Jamahl's reviews for TNG and also participated in the discussions for many of the TNG episodes. Usually his rating were rather reliable.

But here? It seems utterly random to give these Discovery episodes 2.5 - 3 stars. Because frankly, we haven't understood enough about this series yet to rate it at all. What metric are the ratings even based on? Gut feeling? There are only 4 episodes out so far.

My gut feeling is 2.5 stars for the first part of the pilot, and 1.5 for everything else (second part of pilot, third and fourth episode). So far the series is very lazily written. But I hesitate to give ratings at all, because it's much better to wait a bit longer and do it in retrospect - after the first season. Until we know which questions will be explained, and which will be left unanswered, it's difficult to rate this thing. If it turns out to be like the TV series "Lost" - creating a hype and then leaving lots of stuff answered in the end - the ratings have to be lowered accordingly.

----

For the current episode "The Butcher's Knife ..." I complety agree to what "Dom" wrote on Oct 11th: Neither the Federation nor the Klingons seem to have ANY idea on how to fight a war. This is really insulting to the intelligence. If the series continues like this, I won't enjoy it much.

The Klingons hanging out at the site of the battle for six months while no other Klingon ship is either helping them or capturing them (?), also apparently in no fear that the Federation could return; all the while being too stupid to salvage the Federation ship or study it for intel (instead they have a dumb discussion on how Federation tech is "impure" for the Klingons). And then in the end, there is a mutiny because they're running out of food (seriously, you can't stock 6 months worth of food on a large spaceship?) This is kindergarten-level writing.

The Federation isn't any brighter. They seem to have no plans in place to defend that strategic outpost. And do they need to show us civilians with families and children... isn't this a military installation? Just to have a little girl ask empathically: "Who saved us?" Also, back to the first battle, why did they leave the Starfleet ship to the Klingons instead of self-destructing it? You know, either with a self-destruct mechanisms or one of the torpedoes that they certainly had, because they intended to use them on the Klingon ship first. Why would they leave the ship behind?

I don't enjoy watching a TV series that gives me the feeling that all the characters and institutions are dumber than us, the audience, because then I can't take them seriously. Both the Federation and the Klingons deserve to lose this war if they're being so pathetic.

The most pathetic character is the main character though - I didn't understand her reasons for mutiny in the pilot, which is why I could never connect to her. She went from "let's shoot and destroy their flagship" (for which she got courtmartialed later) to "no no, we can't destroy that ship because then we'll create a martyr" 15 minutes later, jumping inexplicably in her "logic" of what to do and whether the Klingons will interpret those actions as a sign of strength, or as an insult making a war inevitable. Her decisions are supposedly somehow explained by the "context", which I tried to figure out but failed.

This show needs to improve a lot.
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Steven W.
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 7:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S1: Time and Again

>> If time travel is so easy why not go back and: [...]

The only reproducable, easy-to-use method for time travel that I can remember is indeed the one from TOS (can be seen in a TOS episode, and later in a movie), where they simply fly around the sun. Let's just label this one as a funny idea of the 1960s, when the Star Trek universe wasn't fully developed yet.

When Kira travels back, it only works because the Prophets grant her wish to time-travel. Which they probably won't do for everyone.

What I find a bit difficult to explain though is how the Borg obviously have time-travel technology (the sphere in the 8th movie, and also shown several times on voyager), because such a tech would make the Borg absolutely invincible. They could send themselves messages everytime when they lose a battle, with tactical information about the loss and how to avoid it, and re-try every assault until they get it perfect. It was one of the biggest mistakes surrounding the Borg in "Voyager" to show them having this tech.

I always felt that it makes the "Endgame" finale of Voyager kind of ridiculous, if you consider that in this two-parter the Borg receive a great amount of damage (transwarp hub destroyed or something like that). Why don't the Borg use their time-travel technology to prevent the thing from happening in the first place? So Future-Janeway can travel back in time to bring Voyager home, but the Borg can't simply do the same to undo the whole thing? Yes, giving Borg time travel tech = bad idea.
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Steven
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 11:31am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: About a Girl

The first twenty minutes of that episode were very interesting, but I thought it was odd how it suddenly turned from a rare genetic defect thing into a "why do you hate women?" thing, especially since the Moclans seemed nothing but respectful to the women of other species before this.

It just sort of muddled the message of the episode for me, and I think they'd've been better off either sticking with just the sexism aspect or just the genetic defect aspect alone. I don't think the two sides really fit well together.
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Stevensa128
Thu, Aug 31, 2017, 11:20am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Playing God

Pretty much agree with the review that the protouniverse storyline wasn't up to much, at least as it was executed. However, to clarify something Jammer and a few other commenters missed, the universe came from a "subspace interphase pocket" (whatever that is) so I assumed they returned it to that and didn't just let it expand in the gamma quadrant.
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Steve
Sun, Aug 20, 2017, 2:33am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Human Error

The final shot of Seven walking down the corridor has burned in my memory for years. When I went back to find it, I couldn't even remember what episode it was on. I initially thought it was "Imperfection." But I'll never forget the feeling of that moment - the utter alienation of Seven who couldn't just be normal like everyone else, and the viewer knowing she won't change.

Not my favorite episode. And I also wish there was more character development on Voyager. But I'd be liar if I said this episode didn't stick with me.
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Steve Finlay
Tue, Aug 8, 2017, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

I haven't read all the comments, so I apologize if this has already been noted: The frame of the story is nearly identical to the frame of the opera Billy Budd, by Benjamin Britten. In that opera, the frame is used to show that Captain Vere CANNOT live with the memory. I think it has the same meaning in this episode.
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Steve
Mon, Aug 7, 2017, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II

Like almost all of the "Mirror" episodes, this was just too cute for it's own good and not nearly as clever as it thinks it is. Hated it. Between these two and the Orion episode this season has really gone off the rails.
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Steve
Mon, Aug 7, 2017, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: In a Mirror, Darkly, Part I

No goatees? Shame...
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Steve
Sat, Aug 5, 2017, 5:50am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Crossover

Am I the only one who hates the mirror episodes of DS9 and thinks that they detract from the series?
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Steve
Sat, Aug 5, 2017, 5:46am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

Fully prepared to be mocked and/or hated but I have just never, ever "got" this episode; it just bores me. Am I the only one?
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Steve
Sat, Aug 5, 2017, 5:40am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Zero Hour

Watching Enterprise for the first time and the ending to this episode just made me SO angry. Ruined the entire season. Utter stupidity.
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