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Daniel
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 8:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

Re: How could Soji/Dahj be 37 months and have gone to school, etc... 29 minutes into the second episode Jurati tells Picard that she did some digging into the background of Dahj and found that their entire backstories were fabricated. Dahj, for instance, had records and transcripts of her time at Regulus-3 Science Academy, but nobody was aware she actually attended. My guess is Soji's backstory was similarly fabricated before her insertion.

It's funny the lengths the writers had to go to please the producers during the TNG era--Yanks reminded me about "Family", an episode I really really liked. They had to bend over backwards not to mention the "incident" at Wolf 359. The word "borg" was only mentioned twice and only during the cold open.

It also got me thinking about Trek being animals of their eras. Not speaking out of judgement here or wading back into the trek/not trek argument, but I know the use of colorful language was limited by FCC regulations for broadcast television, and the depiction of violence (the TV ratings system didn't start until '97) was whatever the Broadcast Standards and Practice department would permit. People being shot with projectile weapons or phasers? Perhaps, as long as you don't see blood. Klingon hand-to-hand battles Bat'leths and Mek'leths? Sure, as long as those sharp things aren't seen to draw blood or dismember extremities on camera. It's that axiom about limitations being fuel for creativity, so I can understand how some people are nostalgic for the way things used to be--especially now that it's been 26 years since it went off-air. The pendulum swinging the other way, an argument could be made that just because you *could* use all the new toys, you don't always have to.
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Rahul
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 8:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Regeneration

Just re-watched this fantastic episode -- the very best of the ENT series for me. There's so much to like about it and everything that it gets right -- premise, acting, plot, visceral emotion, and even the musical score.

What I had forgotten about (hadn't seen it in a year and a half) was how Hoshi is concerned for Phlox after he's been infected and Phlox's measured response. Can't understate some of the little relationships formed by members of the NX-01 crew.

This is what a 4* Trek episode feels like. I'd encourage anybody who thinks PIC or DSC is knocking it out of the park to check out ENT's "Regeneration".
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Tommy D.
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 8:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

I don't have a problem with Elnor and the guards. This has already been established that a fight with his kind is a fight to the death. Romulans know this. Hence, "Choose to live".

"Anyone who threatens him will be choosing to die."

Also consider on Vashtii, a romulan guard threatens Elnor, basically saying a sword is no match for a disruptor, a knife to a gunfight. I'm sure he remembers this.

Elnor isn't human and isn't a part of Starfleet. Picard trying to dress him down and dictate the terms of their bond as if he were still Captain/Admiral Picard to the young boy is his arrogance and ego shining through. Picard thanking Elnor for showing up at the right time and defying him is acknowledging he doesn't have that authority over their bond, or his culture.

And I guess Elnor showing up at the right time saves everyone from Soji becoming "activated", like Dahj.
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Jason R.
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 8:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

"I'm not sure why a sexual act needs a non-sexual motivation. Two people wanting to have sex because it's feels good and it's an escape doesn't qualify as gratuitous. It's 2020, not the 1950s, and it actually felt like a relief to watch something occur on this show not have a panopoly of deeply significant character motivations behind it."

Well in universe certainly two people can choose to have sex for whatever reason so it's not to say the scene is unrealistic.

However, "feels good" (for the characters) is not a reason to portray a sex scene in a tv drama. Indeed, absent "deeply significant character motivations" it's pointless and boring.

I mean we could also have a scene showing Picard using the toilet and no doubt in universe there would be good reason for him to do this. But does it have a reason to take up precious time? That's the question.
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bencanuck
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 8:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

@Booming

"So I guess Raffi brought money with her"

It's pretty much a given, not some wild idea. Raffi has bet latinum with Rios on whether Soji is still alive. One would assume she has access to this latinum on the La Serena. That's a more natural notion than that she is betting money that she has no access to on a one-way trip (she plans to stay behind on Freecloud).

"How did Dajh get into school and then accepted into daystrom?"

We have known since the earth-bound episodes that Dahj didn't actually have any record of being in or at a school. She only had credentials of graduation. She never 'got into school'. She never attended. The limited lifetime/past/history of both sisters was implied much, much earlier. I assume we don't dwell on this fact in this episode, because we have been living with it for half the series at this point.
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Cynic
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 7:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

I found the initial Picard/Hugh reunion strangely moving. Earned? Maybe not; it's not like Picard was pals with Hugh, unlike LaForge for instance. But still, Del Arco and Stewart sold the shit out of that scene. Add to that the fact that it's about the first time in this show that Picard has found someone from his past who didn't take a giant dump on him (however deservedly), and I was sold on Hugh's undying (until next week, maybe) loyalty to Picard.

I keep thinking the Troi hug seen in the trailers and in next week's preview is a feint, a fake scene shot for the trailer, and in fact she punches Picard in the face when he and Soji teleport into her house: "You asshole!"
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Tom
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 7:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

@GreenBoots

"For the characters in-universe, it doesn't. In a meta sense, though, they spent about a minute of screentime on that pointless scene that could have been spent ironing out some of the plot niggles that everyone in the comments seems to have, even those feeling positively towards the episode. It is gratuitous, in that it seemingly exists for no reason other than "modern shows need sex and violence, or people will think we're immature" which is ironically a very immature attitude towards sex and violence. "

Yes, the plot is too overstuffed for random sex. That's true. But even moreso for extended shots of topless Spanish hunks playing football, which was obviously inserted for the sex appeal. Whoever is responsible, it's things like these that make the show seem very insecure. TNG was better because it didn't need them, or feel it needed them.
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Ghosted
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 6:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

A solid episode I thought. I think Stewart's acting was excellent in conveying his fear and apprehension. Even in first contact where he was fit and able, Picard was still in a state of trauma for the most part though he got through it (despite breaking his little ships). He is now an old man with all of the frailties that come with it and i thought Stewart played 'the frightened old man' brilliantly.

The reunion with Hugh was touching and despite Hugh's close friendship with geordi, I think it's natural that Picard embraces him as they have both suffered and have come back from it. In I, Borg Picard is still suffering the after effects more acutely and does not see him as the individual he is initially.

Narek was a plus too this week I thought and some subtle further gelling between the crew, elnor and Picard felt more natural together for instance. Only minor gripe is that the Borg cube looks too modern and pristine, the 'Tron 2.0' alcoves take a little getting used to.
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Lodged Torpedo
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 6:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

In a future where minds can construct starships and create synths with human flesh, why wouldn’t they be able to create fake resumes, records and biographies good enough to get into Daystrom??
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Omar
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 6:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

If you remove the Raffi stuff this would have been a good episode.
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John Harmon
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 6:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

“Another thing nobody mentioned so far (I think). So Soji and Dajh were/are 37 month old? How did Dajh get into school and then accepted into daystrom? How did Soji get whatever references she has as a scientist? Both their biographies had to be constructed and then made so convincing that one could get into the best institute in the Federation and the other on a very sensitive post.”

@Booming the writers were hoping people would forget that. It’s the JJ/Kurtzman way. Nothing matters except what’s happening in that exact moment, whether it makes sense with what came before or what’s to come after. Doesn’t matter. As long as it looks good in the moment.
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Gerontius
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 5:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

At last! It's hit its stride. My trust is repaid.

Now I'll get back to the start of the thread, and see what other people made of it...
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GreenBoots
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 5:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

@Tom
"I'm not sure why a sexual act needs a non-sexual motivation."
For the characters in-universe, it doesn't. In a meta sense, though, they spent about a minute of screentime on that pointless scene that could have been spent ironing out some of the plot niggles that everyone in the comments seems to have, even those feeling positively towards the episode. It is gratuitous, in that it seemingly exists for no reason other than "modern shows need sex and violence, or people will think we're immature" which is ironically a very immature attitude towards sex and violence.
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Tom
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 5:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

@Yanks

"It's gratuitous, sure not exactly the same, but "lacking good reason" fits. The only thing I can think of that might justify it is she is trying to get someone in her corner when someone figures out that Maddox's demise wasn't an accident."

I'm not sure why a sexual act needs a non-sexual motivation. Two people wanting to have sex because it's feels good and it's an escape doesn't qualify as gratuitous. It's 2020, not the 1950s, and it actually felt like a relief to watch something occur on this show not have a panopoly of deeply significant character motivations behind it.
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Descent
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 5:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

@Quincy
I'm possibly being uncharitable to the writers, but I think you and I have probably put more thought into the scene with the guards than the writing staff did. It seems to me like it was transparently there to be "cool" and as a very awkward way to get Elnor onto the Cube. The viewer isn't invited to consider the moral ramifications of stabbing the guards to death in any way, because we're not even meant to care. The characters themselves don't care at all. For me, seeing Picard completely fail to react to his friend killing three people really pushes me away from the show and makes it a lot more difficult to connect with the characters. Even if we accept what the writers probably intended, that they were "forced" to use lethal violence immediately to save themselves, surely it wouldn't hurt just to have someone comment on how regrettable it was and look sad for about 10 seconds. It also doesn't help that the writers seem to want us to see Elnor as funny and endearing, rather than unpredictable and dangerous (which is what he clearly is...).

I criticized The Vengeance Factor because I agree it's crap, both in its general quality and in the behavior of Riker (and the behavior of Picard in not tearing into Riker afterwards). I acknowledge why you gave it as an example - it absolutely is an instance of pointless, glossed-over murder in Star Trek, which is why I criticize it in the same way I'm criticizing the scene from Picard. If anyone really does defend Riker in that one, I'm just as bewildered as you are.

As for BoBW, the Borg are actively attacking en-masse and the Federation don't even know at that point that Borg can be deassimilated, as far as I remember. They're basically space zombies as far as anyone knows. When the situation is less straightforward in "I, Borg", Picard - rightly or wrongly - refuses the opportunity to stop the Borg once and for all on moral grounds.

I always just really liked that the heroes would go to sometimes pretty stupid lengths to avoid lethal violence in a lot of TOS/TNG/VOY episodes. It made it feel distinct from most everything else on television and was a crucial part of Star Trek's character and identity to me. I always think of the end of "The High Ground" when Riker and Worf rush a compound of armed terrorists, and put themselves at incredible risk of being shot by insisting on using knockout syringes and hand-to-hand on everyone. It's slightly absurd to the point of being funny, but for me it's so much more preferable to having a samurai elf ninja behead three people. Elnor knocking the guards out would still have let the show have its mandatory quota of cool ninja mid-air twirling and shots of people getting thrown around like ragdolls that seemingly has to happen once an episode, but wouldn't have made the heroes look oddly sociopathic.
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Yanks
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 5:01pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Wonderful review Jammer.
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Booming
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 4:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

Because nobody has mentioned this. Will we see a single romulan spy op that doesn't go wrong? I guess they got the planet where she was created out of her. That's at least a partial success. Why does that help them I'm not sure.

Another thing nobody mentioned so far (I think). So Soji and Dajh were/are 37 month old? How did Dajh get into school and then accepted into daystrom? How did Soji get whatever references she has as a scientist? Both their biographies had to be constructed and then made so convincing that one could get into the best institute in the Federation and the other on a very sensitive post.
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Yanks
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 4:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

Hey Karl,

"Yanks,

A lot of your nits don't seem like much."

I rated the episode a 3...

"1. The Rios/Jurati thing - although unneeded in terms of story - was pretty much the opposite of gratuitous. Agnes is in a pretty modest tank top. No boobage or butts. Nothing like Enterprise at all."

It's gratuitous, sure not exactly the same, but "lacking good reason" fits. The only thing I can think of that might justify it is she is trying to get someone in her corner when someone figures out that Maddox's demise wasn't an accident.

"2. The XBs are all scarred and shit because they don't have access to top-of-the-like Federation medical facilities like Picard, and to a lesser extent Seven and Hugh. I mean, they don't even have ocular implants."

Not buying it. That med technology was common in Kirk's era. I can understand the shortage of "eyes", but not a simple dermal regenerator. The Borg assimilated countless species that had that technology and the Romulans had it too. Take a shuttle, go to Freecloud and borrow one.

"3. Dahj was programmed to find Picard when she activated because she was sent to Earth, and Picard was on Earth. Programming Soji to find Picard wouldn't be that helpful because she'd still need to get on a ship heading to Earth or something, which isn't easy when you're on the run from killers."

That makes sense, thank you.

"4. Regarding Picard's PTSD: It's well known that the writers wanted to do more with it, but were slipped down by the fully episodic nature of TV at the time. Ron Moore had to fight like hell to even get Family made, because Paramount didn't like having a story which was so referential to what happened the week before. Since First Contact we really only saw Picard twice up until now, so there's no reason to think he's "over it.""

There is 4 years before 'First Contact'... He's been over it for over 20 years. I didn't say nothing should be there and I certainly am not numb to PTSD (as some comments above would suggest), I said they went way overboard with it.
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Quincy
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 4:31pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

@Chris
Yeah. I had a few issues with this episode. But it was definitely better than the last one. One thing that bothers me is that PIC seems to have a bad habit of glossing over important logistics and other issues with the plot. There had better be some mention of the EMH or the political consequences of what happened in this episode in the near future. Otherwise, I call BS.

@bencanuck
Thanks. Anyone who's ever had someone with PTSD in their family or someone they care about, knows how legitimate that scene was. My father was in WW2 and suffered from PTSD for DECADES after he'd come home. I witnessed one episode myself at 5 years old that scared the crap out of me. He and my mother had to explain later what happened.

@Descent
We'll have to agree to disagree. We don't know what the guards know, so we have no method of gauging their relative culpability. In any case, pragmatically Soji is about to be killed. Anyone caught helping are going to be captured, interrogated, tortured, and possibly killed. They know that for a fact. The guards, knowingly or not, are complicit in this act. They absolutely have to escape to avoid this fate. Could they have knocked them out? Certainly. However, Elnor has no reason to knock them out. He already doesn't see the need to completely obey Picard, thankfully for Picard. And he's not inclined to spare them. Picard is simply desperate to save Soji. There was no time for him to argue with Elnor on how Elnor chooses to save his behind. This is a reasonable outcome for the situation they were in.

I gave you an example where death was glossed over. You may not like "Vengeance," but that doesn't mean it does exemplify what I'm talking about. Show me where Picard dresses down Riker the way that he dressed down Worf in "Reunion."

Let's look at "The Best of Both Worlds." Almost every fan loves that episode. They never even discuss not killing Borg drones. The nature of the threat is far to grave to even give consideration to such nonsense. Also, no mention and no reaction is shown when numerous members of the crew are killed by the Borg cutting beam that slices through engineering. It receives exactly one line of dialogue and is thereafter forgotten. Everybody is too busy worrying about the fact they all are likely to die in the next day or so to spare any attention on it.

I'm not talking about defending the quality of the "Vengeance" episode. I'm talking about defending Riker's actions at the end, whether they like the episode or not. I've been on multiple websites and will get people telling me his actions are justified, in the same way a police officer would be "justified" with shooting someone who has a gun today.

@Marvin
Yeah. It's a plot hole. I wasn't too bothered by it at first, but it keeps happening that they gloss over details and move the story as if these things didn't happen, like Agnes shutting off the EMH. And Picard witnessed these Romulan events personally. Any Vulcan or Betazoid could've verified his memories of the event with a mind meld or telepathy. In order to squash the news of these operations, at least three so far, the Romulans would have to have total control over Star Fleet itself, not just a few moles in high places. I hope that's not where they're going with this.
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skye francis-maidstone
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 4:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

Another damn fine episode. They're really building up some momentum without needing endless effects or action scenes.

Still really enjoying the latest version of Star Trek.

Too tired to nit-pick but the small problems with it make it a 3.5 star episode for me.
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Bilbo
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 4:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

This episode was definitely better than the other ones but still not very good, but at least there is at least some positive progress.

This episode: 2 out of 5 stars
All the other episodes: .5 out of 5 stars
The first episode: 1.5 out of 5 stars
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Marg
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 3:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

First view:
Like many above, (Tim C and others), I am disappointed with how the Raffi scene is presented as somehow comic. Her relapse was sadly inevitable after her son's rejection, but the drunken display is insultingly blatant. We don't need public display of bottle and vape to discern her distress. More subtly, the return to her old messy ponytail hairstyle is enough, along with, say, evidence of hangover.
To be honest, the scene angers me in its carelessness.

*How the frak does Agnes get away with murdering Maddox? As @Quinalla asks, "Why the hell hasn't anybody consulted the EMH...?" No kidding!

*At the risk of sounding like a 10 year old, the scene of Agnes and Rios was icky. Surely the swashbuckler Rios doesn't suddenly talk about feelings? Or is that the EMH, which is even ickier.

*I loved the shots of little Soji's big feet. Reminds me of Firefly's Summer.

@Peter G on joy as the core of ST--"the joy of discovery..." Thank you for the reminder. And @William B (nice to read you again)--"the joy of working through a problem together" is what I love about ST. I hope we will see some of this on PIC once this ragtag crew gets their act together.
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Drea
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 3:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

@Rahul
If relationship decisions were rational ones, you'd be predicting Soji's choices correctly.

Yes, as a woman, it's statistically more probable that I have been on the receiving end of a coercive relationship, so that winky face is a little misplaced.

The show--I think by intention of the writers, and if not then thanks to Briones--is evincing awareness of how it feels to be in that position. It's not sexy to see, and I'm glad that the sense of romance or sincerity from the "Borg ritual" scene is now absent.
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Rahul
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 3:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

@Drea

Narek and Soji want info from each other but in their last interaction prior to this episode in "Absolute Candor" Soji was upset with/far more suspicious of Narek (after their stupid sliding around the Borg cube) -- so this is why I question why she'd go back to sleeping with him. Thinking rationally about how she'd react going forward, I believe she'd stop sleeping with him. But maybe you know more about "relationships driven by deception and coercion" than I do ;)

The truth of the matter is they are 2 of the better looking actors in PIC and so the writers are making them sleep together -- it's basic lowest-common-denominator stuff and is probably a demand from the show-runners that there be some action between the sheets.
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Booming
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 3:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

@ Drea
Yeah the Jurati/Rios pairing and Picard PTSDing didn't bother me at all. Jurati isn't drunk, she can obviously reflect on her situation and there is a good chance that they will be killed why not hook up? Sure we know that Jurati is far more traumatized but Rios doesn't know that. Bottom line, they are adults. For a moment I thought Rios would have sex with Raffi.

The scene where Rios played football bothered me. That seemed like a cliche.

And Picard freaking out. During my time I talked with soldiers who came back from warzones. The mind is a maze. Picard's reaction could have been more subtle. I mean why are we seeing what he is seeing. On one hand the story withholds crucial information and then we can literally see the thoughts of somebody.

It is kind of amazing that they let Raffi bring hard drugs on the ship in the first place. They seem somewhat fine with it. So far nobody has talked to her about smoking that stuff. She almost flaunts it.
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