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John Harmon
Mon, Jul 16, 2018, 3:10am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

I keep checking the sure every few days hoping Jammer will have begun his limited review project. I can't wait to find out what it is
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Elliott
Mon, Jul 16, 2018, 1:49am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Shadowplay

Teaser : **, 5%

Dax and Odo are on a scientific mission in the Gamma Quadrant. Well, scratch that. Dax is on a mission, whereas Odo is “looking for clues to his origin.” Okay, Odo, you realise that a quadrant of space is like, really, really big, right? You're going to have to play an awful lot of Blue's Clues before you just stumble across a completely mysterious back-story. Dax is giving us our nearly weekly dose of DBI (DS9 Banality Indulgence), prattling on about some pointless station gossip. Sigh...this tiresome conversation trudges through a host of tropes; Odo apparently identifies as a heterosexual man, yet has zero interest in women (and thinks they have no interest in him); people in the future still play absurd little mind games in pursuit of romance; and you can always count on busybody Jadzia Dax to document said banalities for discourse on long shuttle missions. Mercifully, this snoozefest is interrupted by the exciting discovery of Dax' scientific expedition. Some particles are coming from a planet, so Queen Gossip and Just-How-Many-Exasperated-Huffs-Can-Auberjonois-Make Odo decide to beam down.

Turns out they're coming from a village with a large generator in the centre of town. While Dax is trying figure out the technobabble, an old fart sneaks up on the pair holding a gun, and end of teaser.

Act 1 : **, 17%

Kira enters a frustrated Quark's place after hours. She's taken up Odo's duties it seems—God knows why—but anyway, Quark's erm cousin was apparently trying to smuggle stolen merchandise to the bartender. The confrontation ends with Kira admitting that she “despises” Quark, delivered with delightful sincerity.

Meanwhile, the man who -insisted- Quark remain on DS9 in the first place is -insisting- to his son that he get a job. Here we go again. Jake has to get a job because he's a teenager and this is 1990s television. Nevermind that the Federation has no money, people work out a sense of labour-value and Jake lives on a diplomatic outpost, as far as the DS9 writers are concerned, we should just accept that humanity has not changed at all in 400 years.

SISKO: You're 15 years old. It's time you took a little responsibility.

Responsibility FOR WHAT? Jake never ever has to make a living in the contemporary sense. His obligation as a human being in the 24th century is to better himself, to find work that fulfils him. He does not have, nor will he ever have bills to pay. God this is aggravating.

Further depleting my tolerance for this stupid conversation is the return of the Sisko Family Sound Effects method of acting, with every sentence preambled or punctured by some whoop or sigh or other overly theatrical expulsion of carbon dioxide. It's like watching a cereal commercial or low-budget life-insurance advertisement. Whatever. Sisko still thinks Jake is applying to Starfleet, so Jake will shadow Miles.

Back on Planet Particles, Odo and Dax are being...erm...interrogated by the old fart. To prove their innocence of whatever crime they're being accused of, Odo demonstrates that they can beam away at any time. Old Fart flails about in surprise when the transporter is activated like a cartoon chipmunk. Dax maintains a sardonic demeanour until Odo comes back. What emerges is a mystery—people are disappearing from the village, and this old fart is really just worn down, desperate for an answer, but mostly abject at the futility of it all. The mood created between the fact that our heroes don't really seem to be in danger, Dax' bemusement and the resigned hopelessness of the alien is actually kind of welcome. These people, this problem and this episode cannot support a heavy drama, so the choices here are spot on. In the end, our heroes offer to help solve the mystery. They meet and even OLDER fart (Rurigan) whose daughter was the latest to disappear. While Dax tries some technobabble work, Odo meets Rurigan's granddaughter, Teya, who is playing with a spinning top—exactly the kind of toy you'd expect a society that understands matter transportation, warp drive and omicron particles to provide its children. Teya seems hopeful (and she's awfully cute), but doesn't have any answers.

Act 2 : **, 17%

Back to the Jake plot (long sigh...). Sisko (retaining his unexplained affection for Starfleet stuff from “Paradise”) gives Jake his My First Combadge and sets him off to shadow Miles.

And then right back to the Quark/Kira plot. For whatever reason, Kira asks Bashir to spy on Quark for her. I bet Odo's deputies feel really useful right now. Sisko calls to complicate this little subplot with the announcement that Vedek Driftwood Berail is about to dock. In case we forgot (we try to forget these things), the last we saw of that dweeb was rescuing Kira during the dubious infiltration mission in “The Siege.” The two had received Orb visions of each other making out and such, so Kira seems happy to see him. Driftwood is apparently trying an innovative twist on date-rape, by boring Kira (and us) to sleep with his incredibly dull delivery. Meanwhile, Quark is lurking around being creepy.

Back to Teya and her spinning top. We get an interesting dimension for Odo here. He's doing his usual interrogator bit, but his tone in dealing with the potentially orphaned girl has a softness that is new. Well wouldn't you know it? Teya brings up the “myth” of the Changelings. Good thing Dax set up the fact that Odo was explicitly looking for clues about his origin in her log or this would have been an untelegraphed bit of intrigue instead of a happy coincidence. Anyway, we get a rehash of Odo's backstory from “The Forsaken,” which was the best part of that episode, and proves equally effective here. Odo has a habit of being emotionally vulnerable like this at odd times. What emerges is the “nobody ever leaves the valley” trope, paired with an interesting (and effectively-delivered for a child actor) tidbit: she doesn't believe her mother will ever return, and she believes this because her mother's father told her so. There's some good grandparenting, “Hope is a lie, sweetie. Maybe you'll die in your sleep!” What hurts the scene somewhat is the incredibly saccharine and vacuous score, but that's par for the course in this era.

Act 3 : **, 17%

So, Miles is quizzing Jake on some engineering technobabble, which Jake seems unable (mostly unwilling) to grasp. Unfortunately, the script-writer has made it so Jake is apparently unable to remember the corresponding functions and colours of like four different doohickies. It kind of makes me question that scene where he taught Nog to read when the boy can't seem to master a matching game a toddler could figure out. Finally, mercifully, Jake tells Miles that he doesn't really want to join Starfleet. Good. Maybe he can find work with his Pakled buddy. Anyone remember “The Ensigns of Command”? Well congratulations, because you get to eat the Easter egg: Miles was supposed to play the 'cello. Anyway, Miles give the expected after school special advice: be yourself, your dad will come around, yadda yadda. Moving on.

Kira and Driftwood emerge from a spiritual lecture (sermon?) he has just given, and, while it's meant as a bit of fluffy character interplay to show that the two have intellectual disagreements (theoretically giving depth to their relationship...we'll come back to that), I have to pause and comment on the slight-of-hand bullshit the writers are again taking with the Bajoran religion (again):

DRIFTWOOD: You disagree with my interpretation of the Eighth Prophecy?
KIRA: “Disagree” is a bit of an understatement. “Passionately disagree” is more like it. The way you have of taking a prophecy and showing that it can mean exactly the opposite of the accepted interpretation is...
DRIFTWOOD: ...it's brilliant...uh...insightful!
KIRA: ...[through a smile] infuriating!

Now, it's been established that Kira is (or at least was) a member of the same conservative Orthodox order as Bitchwhore (Winn for those who've forgotten my nicknames), so it makes sense that she would adhere to conservative (or “accepted”) interpretations of their holy texts. The Bajoran religion borrows liberally (and often contradictorily) from many real religions, but is culturally most akin to modern Judaism. Be they Jew, Christian, Muslim or Shinto, however, an ORTHODOX person of faith does not abide wishy-washy, New Age, listen to your heart soft-peddling of the sort the writers are clearly intending Driftwood to be advocating for. I'm not saying Kira should be intolerant of his views. After all, it is acknowledged that different orders co-exist in Bajoran society. But that she would enter into a—spoiler here—sexual relationship with a person, let alone a priest whose religious advocacy is directly in conflict with tenants of the Orthodoxy she claims to ascribe to is utter bullshit. Kira's faith isn't really as strong or as absolute as she claims, but whenever the writers want to get on their soapbox about how the Federation's atheism isn't really so great, they trot out Major True Believer as an example of piety. But of course, the writers want to have their cake and eat it, too. So this allegedly devout and rigid person of faith is free to fuck someone whose philosophy and vocation her own faith should condemn as heresy. Sure.

This issue isn't an egregious sin in this particular episode, but much of what comes later on for these two begins with this scene, so I need to get my objections to the very premise of their relationship out now.

Getting back, I won't hold the issue of Kira's badly-written faith against this scene, but I will point out how distracting it is that Nana Visitor has to keep jerking her head around during this conversation. Hmm. Maybe Bajorans lay eggs like chickens.

Meanwhile (I think), Odo has moved on to interrogating the really old fart (Rurigan). Odo can't understand his seeming total resignation to the demise of his entire family and village, but Rurigan is adamant that the situation is indeed hopeless, and even now is preparing to tuck in his granddaughter, “Just stop breathing, pumpkin. Life is pain.”

Speaking of pain, Odo notices that Rurigan is in physical pain—because he's dying, it turns out. Rurigan remains oddly enigmatic about the townspeople's (and his own) certainty that none of the missing people have Left the Valley, registered trademark.

Odo and Dax are obviously not convinced as Teya takes them to the outskirts of the valley. While they travel, she recounts more of the Changeling legend to the pair. The myth she tells him is very reminiscent of a scene in “Das Rheingold,” but we've had enough tangents for one review I think, so I'll leave it at that. Odo has Teya hold back. He and Dax cross some sort of perimeter and her scanner (loaned from the villagers) vanishes (like, dare I say it, a shadow!!!). When Teya comes near the pair, her arm vanishes as well (and comes back—thankfully it doesn't seem to cause her any pain...or even much surprise). Odo and Dax seem to have solved the mystery as they give each other knowing looks. Well that's kind of early. Oh god, does that mean have to sit through more subplot?

Act 4 : *.5, 17%

Dax is futzing with the generator in the centre of town and demonstrates to the old fart that she can make objects (and people) disappear and appear—because the entire village is holographic. Now, Dax being a 300-year-old former diplomat and Starfleet Officer well-versed in the Prime Directive is naturally very cautious with this information, reflecting carefully on whether there is a moral justification for breaking such a protocol that could drastically impact this society in funda---psh, what am I saying? No, she just blurts it out in the middle of the square. Great. Good job, guys. Oh my god.

On DS9, Kira and Driftwood have moved on from talking about religion to talking about sports, and food, and the holocaust of their people. Ahem. Sexy times ahead. Once the making out ensues, Driftwood knows that the best way to up the foreplay is to drop some important plot points. Whoops. So, maybe less sexy times and more Kira strangling Quark (that's the pastime right), since he has apparently orchestrated Driftwood's visit to the station in order to distract Kira from his blackmailing of whatever money Ferengi thing. So, she runs out on Vedek Blueballs.

On Planet Particles, the townspeople are shouting, and telling each other what they already know (and we don't), that Dax has already shown them all the limits of the holographic field. There's some daft exposition for you. The mood of the Old Fart and the villagers is almost too absurd to be hilarious, as he and they have pretty much just accepted that they're all projections of light instead of flesh and blood. Now, we can be generous and say that this can be somewhat mitigated by the fact that it's possible that in the society from which the holograms come, holographic life is seen as equally valid as organic life. We can infer that much, but that isn't true in the society from which Dax and Odo come, yet they still refer to the holograms as people. All questions of sapience and the meaning of life (what was Odo on this mission for again?) are totally sidestepped, but this is compounded by the villagers' nonplussed attitude. Even if they view holographic life as equal to organic life (which they all believed themselves to be), are you telling me it would cause NO crisis of identity in ANY of these people? They just accept that their lives have been a lie for ever. Okay.

The best part is summed up when Dax warns, “Then, this village will cease to exist,” and one of the extras lets out an annoyed “aww.” Yeah guys. Stakes.

So Dax shuts down the hologram and, it turns out Rurigan is still there. Dun dun dun?

Act 5 : *, 17%

Rurigan lays out the backstory. The Dominion gets name-dropped as the cause of his self-imposed exile. He created himself an holographic village to live and die in. He asks Dax and Odo to take him back to his planet and abandon the village. And then, Odo pisses me off.

NOW he has the debate about the definition of life, whose interpretation of life is valid, it doesn't matter what you're made of, etc. Yeah, this belonged in the PREVIOUS act when the villagers were being told their very existence was a simulation. Putting it here just shines a spotlight on how poorly constructed this story is. It would have been much stronger to just gloss over the philosophical implications and discussions and focus upon the characters, but nope. They keep throwing further idiocies upon this scene with ideas like Teya's personality “is a combination of her parents' personalities. Just like a real child.” What? Is that what the DS9 writers think people are? Our lives are just...mitosis and meosis? Well, no wonder the villagers were so unbothered; being a projection of light run by software is much more exciting than that!

Oh dear god, and we have to wrap up the other plots. Jake tells Sisko he doesn't want to join Starfleet. Sisko is completely understanding—which is good parenting, but pretty anticlimactic given all the setup.

Kira confronts Quark. She thwarted whatever his scheme was and...actually thanks him for essentially pimping Driftwood onto her. Well, if that isn't the mark of a conservative Orthodox Bajoran of faith, I don't know what is.

Before Dax turns the holograms back on, Rurigan asks her to keep one aspect of the fiction in tact, that he is one of them. She turns it on, the people are all back, Teya tells Odo she'll miss him and he turns himself into a spinning top (the universal object of joy) as a parting gift, and we're done.

Episode as Functionary : *.5, 10%

The subplots are light as a marshmallow and often pretty irritating, but they are nonetheless necessary components to the continuity of the series. Damn it. Both plots, despite being so light, remind us that the DS9 writers are inept as ever in trying to subvert the Star Trek ethos. Jake's subplot takes a jab at the Federation economy without actually thinking through the implications of using the tired tropes it relies upon, and Kira's plot continues to show that the writers want to defend religiosity without bothering to understand it.

The main plot is almost totally botched, unfortunately. Rurigan's attitude is no different from how someone from the Federation would view a hologram (even someone like Geordi), yet it's the Alpha Quadrant people who have to convince HIM that a hologram could be alive? That's just stupid writing. Dax states unequivocally that Teya loves her grandfather, with absolutely no foundation for making such a claim. Rurigan has admitted that he KNOWS holograms aren't really people, but he's old and tired and lonely so he's become attached to them. And that's perfectly understandable, but trying to parse out the philosophy of this issue in the final 3 minutes of the story is just dreadful. Oh, and Dax violates the Prime Directive in one of the most egregious ways one can, without even mentioning the directive by name. This plot completely falls apart, but what rescues it somewhat is the chemistry between Odo and Teya, which is effective and cute.

As a whole, the performances aren't awful the way they often are in the bad DS9 episodes we've seen so far, but that makes the whole thing in some ways worse. It's a slog to get through, but it's not bad enough to laugh at like in “Move Along Home,” so mostly it's just boring. And because of the subplots, you can't really skip it. It's like eating over-steamed broccoli.

Final Score : *.5
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Nolan Campbell
Mon, Jul 16, 2018, 12:28am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Fascination

lwaxana Troi, Keiko O’Brian, A 16 year old boy going after someone nearly twice his age, and a whole lot of Bajoran ritual bullshit. A perfect combo for a loser episode. Cringeworthy at every turn. Particularly Keiko. Did the writers intentially want us to hate her? If so it’s working. This is half a star at most. Maybe the worst episode so far.
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Edward
Sun, Jul 15, 2018, 9:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: A Measure of Salvation

wow, across 10 years and this episode evokes so much emotion
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Ken
Sun, Jul 15, 2018, 8:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Redemption, Part II

@borusa
You might want tro translate that apparent diatribe....do you get drunk and THEN post?
I agrre with a lot of those who posted earlier that Pert 2 is trash compared to Part 1...a real let down! 2.5 stars at best!
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Peter
Sun, Jul 15, 2018, 3:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Similitude

PS:
Archer can be pretty amoral when it suits him. Not good for a Star Trek captain.
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Peter
Sun, Jul 15, 2018, 3:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Similitude

I was worried that clone would act according to his biological age rather than his chronological age ... and when the episode indeed went that route it lost all credibility for me. Memory from DNA or super fast learning? ABSURD!
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wolfstar
Sun, Jul 15, 2018, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Equilibrium

Thanks for your touching and considered comment Nolan, and all the best for your continued recovery. That's what's great about Star Trek - it'll always be there for you.
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JerJer
Sun, Jul 15, 2018, 10:35am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: First Contact

As soon as Nerdy Nurse walked in the room, I could see where that scene was going.

All she needed was to have double D's, and a shirt unbuttoned halfway down.

Bow chicka bow bow
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Nolan Campbell
Sun, Jul 15, 2018, 7:52am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Equilibrium

I just want to tell this community... I was in a motorcycle accident three weeks ago. In my recovery I’ve binge watched all of TNG and this far in DS9. After each episode I love reading this review and the comments. I have so much respect for the cordial discourse and dialogue that occurs here. Sometimes people don’t agree, but they don’t resort to ad hominem assault. I find the discussions intellectually stimulating. Thanks for being here! Keep on Trekking!
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Jason R.
Sun, Jul 15, 2018, 6:28am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Jammer, I have generally respected your viewpoint and refrained from calling you out when I have disagreed, but your reviews of the new SW movies seem... unbalanced. 3.5 stars for this drek? Really?

I finally got around to watching this on Netflix and it was as bad as everyone said. I mean there was an entire section of the movie that was utterly pointless. I can only describe it as a level from a video game. That's what it was. And in the end it came to... nothing.

I can say more about the movie, but I just can't bring myself to believe that you believe this is a 3.5 star movie. I have never before felt this way.
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Prince of Space
Sun, Jul 15, 2018, 3:37am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The High Ground

All I can say is... I hope Jammer gets full credit for having managed the website that solved the Jewish-Palestinian issue.

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Joshua
Sat, Jul 14, 2018, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Armageddon Game

I don't really understand all of the complaints I see here about Bashir 'easily' being able to cure the effects of the Harvesters. The guy literally spent nearly 400 attempts to neutralize the weapon and succeeded. I don't really see how it's impossible that, in knowing how to neutralize them from the experiments, he could cure it as easily as a flu. It's like knowing exactly how to cure a disease, and the Harvesters are chalked up as another one.
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theBgt
Sat, Jul 14, 2018, 5:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Shattered

This episode made me realize how much annoying Beltran's voice is..
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Kyle
Sat, Jul 14, 2018, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Extinction

I actually was okay with this one at least in the second half.

Threshold just made me laugh: Paris and Janeway have lizard babies will forever be a bad joke in my house.

This one at least attempted some meaning and made some sense. I appreciated the ending and the moment Archer finds the ruins was played well.

Not the best episode but certainly not the worst
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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Sat, Jul 14, 2018, 9:31am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Encounter at Farpoint

@ NCC-1701-Z

I like it! Sounds like a better Voyager!

You know, I had actually thought of setting half a season or a whole season there myself. Another thing I had thought about but didn't put in my post:

I think once the Federation/Klingon/Romulan dynamic had been set up, I'd eventually want a more alien threat, and I actually thought of the Kelvans from Andromeda as a possibility -- along with introducing race that built the Doomsday machine.

Thanks for your reply!
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SouthofNorth
Sat, Jul 14, 2018, 9:05am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Renaissance Man

And another episode where a character evades voyager's laughable security protocols.

In a way, I'm glad there wasn't an eighth season, so I could be spared the episode where Naomi Wildeman takes over the ship, leaving Tuvok stunned and confused.
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Dark Kirk
Sat, Jul 14, 2018, 8:44am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Alice

Trigollius - fun idea about the origin of the Borg. Maybe Alice and the Borg area related in the same way Tosk and Jem Hadar are related in DS9.
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Gul Densho-Ar
Sat, Jul 14, 2018, 8:04am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Most Toys

This is one of those episodes that leave me puzzled about where the high ratings are coming from.

Fajo's over-the-top cartoon behaviour is something I expect in a SpongeBob episode and don't appreciate in Star Trek. That he turns out to be pretty evil doesn't change anything, I don't understand why that would make everything different.

How Varria quickly reveals to Data that Fajo once severely punished her for disloyalty is just too cheap and convenient for decent story development.

Also, we're back to TOS style costume/effects work. That guy who Fajo shows Data just looks stupid, as does that last-of-its-kind space lizard insect whatever thing.

Then of course Picard and Data acting out of character. Picard is bemusingly insistent on leaving it all behind and not wasting more time investigating the incident, and Data of course attempting to murder an unarmed man (and then lying about it).

Now I'm all for learning a different side to characters if it's well told and to some extent understandable. Here it's just random, implausible, unexplained, and forgotten afterwards in best VOY fashion (like Janeway's attempt to murder a prisoner). Apparently this was the writer's first Star Trek story, maybe that's why she messed with well-established characters.

And finally, reading one sentence of Shakespeare doesn't make your show smart. But to be fair, that's a general issue in Star Trek, and TNG in particular.
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Dark Kirk
Sat, Jul 14, 2018, 7:47am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Infinite Regress

'Borg Multiple Personality Disorder' would have worked better as a well-thought-out multi-episode story arc. But that's not how most television worked at the time.
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Dark Kirk
Sat, Jul 14, 2018, 7:40am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Infinite Regress

Grumpy_otter - great review. I think this was a 'high-concept' episode that was written as a rush-job, and that's why there were all the plot holes and gimmicks mentioned in the previous reviews. I would add to plot holes that Naomi should have immediately known something was wrong with Seven, not spent an hour with her playing a game. I'll bet Jeri Ryan relished the range the episode offered, and I"ll bet she enjoyed playing the Ferengi most.
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kyle
Sat, Jul 14, 2018, 3:34am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

The problem that makes this episode well intentioned but lame in execution is that the writers have confused sex with gender. Sex/sex organs are biological. Presumably the Jnaii are hemaphrodites and have none? Or do they have both male and female sex organs? The writers don't explain that. Gender is the cultural roles, behaviors, social norms and expectations that are attached to biological, sexual differences that make us male or female. You can be biologically male but choose the female gender. You can then change your biology to match your chosen gender. Another problem is that the episode doesn;t acknowlege any of that in our history. Like this is the first time this type of species or problem has ever been encountered. Last problem: Riker would risk his carreer and fall madly in love with a person he only met three days ago? Yeah right.
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Prince of Space
Sat, Jul 14, 2018, 2:40am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Hunted

So many of these comments are hilarious. People all excited to point out an inconsistency or a bad plot-point.

Woo hoo! You did it! haha

I mean, don’t get me wrong... I can be as anal-retentive OCD as the best of you. I guess I just know when it’s worth it to be. ;-)

An enjoyable episode. Interesting, some action, some thought-provoking elements. Certainly far better than watching paint....... er, most of your all’s comments dry. haha
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SouthofNorth
Fri, Jul 13, 2018, 10:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Renaissance Man

Not consequential or qwirky enough to like or hate. Just a meh episode to be quickly forgotten. 2 stars.
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Dave in MN
Fri, Jul 13, 2018, 9:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Rules of Acquisition

I'm sure Merkel could arrange it.
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