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Sleeper Agent
Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 9:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: A Taste of Armageddon

It doesn't matter what the Prime directive says explicitly, it's its core message and how it is lived by, that ultimately defines it. To this definition one clearly must include the idea of souverenity; because there is no way Starfleet would tolerate outside-alien intermingling in earthly affairs.

With that said, "Taste of Armageddon" would be a lot less fun if Kirk would have just beamed away at first best chance. One of its highlights being Scotty in command of the bridge, "The best diplomat I know is a fully activated phaser bank!" =]

A real treat of an episode, one of the finest of season 1.
IV of IV
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Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 7:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Sacred Ground

Wowza this might be my favorite Trek episode. My only issue is that going forward the Captain wasn't changed more by it.
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William B
Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 2:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

And in particular, Uxbridge was not planning on using *any* "force," even the threat of force. I think his pacifism was so strong that even depowering them directly would seem to violate his extreme, inflexible code -- only deception and illusion were allowed. Threatening them would be right out. The problem is that Uxbridge didn't really anticipate he would fail, and so didn't consider any intermediate options (threatening the Husnock, un-weaponizing them, destroying the particular attacking ship) between extreme pacifism with some deception and overt genocide. If he had known that Rishon would die and how he'd react, of course he would have taken more steps, but he didn't.
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Peter G.
Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 1:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Tin Man

@ Chayton,

Yep, I agree. This is a top episode for me. Maybe not in the "classics" category like some myth-level episodes are (BoBW, Chain of Command, etc) but among regular episode it's top-tier.
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Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 1:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Alice

By “script” in my penultimate paragraph above, I more specifically meant “dialogue.”

(Sure wish these posts could be edited. By habit I’m a relentless self-editor.)
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Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 12:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Demon

We have literally another series about a threatening species of changelings that can mimic human beings and it's considered a total threat and they WILLINGLY let themselves be cloned by a liquid species they know nothing about? Call me whatever, but VOY is lame and should be embarrassed of itself.
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Top Hat
Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 12:22pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

Uxbridge says "I tried to fool the Husnock as I tried to fool you. It only made them angrier. More cruel." So apparently he is not infallible, and misplayed his cards. And then: "I went insane. My hatred exploded, and in an instant of grief I destroyed the Husnock." He killed them all because he wanted to, not because he didn't have other options, and presumably doesn't have the power to simply undo that act.
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Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 12:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Lessons

Inner Light the prequel is on almost every top 10 list of STNG episodes - and to see this story resurface is poignant. The role of Nella, the casting is near perfect - a 100% believable Picard romantic interest (she is European in fact and does a great job of hiding her accent and RIP died of cancer in 2014). Back to the episode - I will never forget Picard's line (paraphrasing) - I wanted you to know what my music means to me - and what it means to be able to share it with someone and then she touches his face so tenderly with understanding as Nella is a serious musical person. And then at the end - Picard saying how it was like 'the day the music died' when he thought she was dead - the risk of merging yourself - and not being able to take that risk again. A great episode on its own - and cannot be appreciated or really understood without seeing the epic Inner Light first - enjoy both!
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Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 12:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Tin Man

This episode epitomizes for me what made the entire Star Trek concept work - that the exploration of space is not simply a scientific journey - but rather an exploration of meaning, purpose, and connection - after the question has been answered Are We Alone? comes even deeper questions. I thought Tam was played exquisitely in this episode - his pain and his loss so easy to feel, his interaction with Picard like a teacher/student in both directions, his relationship with Troi illuminating Troi's struggles with empathy too - Star Trek's own Tin Man Data - recovering from loosing his 'child' Lal - struck by Tam's statement that the purpose of life is caring for someone which validates Data's sense of loss. Data taking a huge step towards humanity in 'witnessing' the miracle of healing that Tam/Tin Man's union created. And you add to that one of the most beautiful musical scores in Star Trek history (perhaps right after the flute folk melody of Inner Light/Lessons) and you have a nearly perfect episode - and not only is purpose & meaning explored - also the right to life and the right to die - even species extinction - I read every comment on this page and I cannot understand how someone would not see Tin Man as one of the great Star Trek episodes of all time.
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Latex Zebra
Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 3:48am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

Watched this last night for the first time in absolutely ages and I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. Light and breezy, I think the humour works and doesn't feel too forced apart from a couple of jokes. A decent story, cool bad guys, a funky space battle.
Yeah, not the best but not the worst. I reckon this is a 3.
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Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 2:27am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

With such unlimited power- and one presumes an intellect to match - could he not simply have deweaponised their ships and sent them straight back home to Planet Husnock with a strong warning?
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Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 1:05am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Bounty

@ Quibbles
Hahaha. Thanks for the description. I laughed quite a bit. I hope your mother recovered and is fine and in good health. :)

Yeah sex (and violence) in American television or media in general is a topic for itself. The only thing you couldn't show in German TV in the 90s was hardcore pornography, softcore was fine after 10pm. In Europe violence is seen more as a problem, sex less so (UK being the outlier). I think that is why sex in American shows is often so awkward and often seems somewhat prude and Star Trek is no exception here. Even though DS9 was fairly relaxed there too. Jadzia and Worf were doing really rough SM and nobody seemed to mind. Curzon's stories, Quark and his porn adventures, the Risa episode where everybody was just boning away.
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Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 11:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy

A fine-tuned comic delight, chock full of delicious details and delightful character turns. You couldn’t take your eyes off the screen for fear of missing something.

Voyager does loopy comedy amazingly well. I was entertained from git to go.
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Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 11:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Alice

Yep, nope.

Obvious Christine nod, appropriate for Tom the Car Guy...but left under-developed. The menace never felt visceral. Ehh.

Moderately interesting concept in the neural interface of man and machine, but it’s been done better, and this brought nothing new. Ehh.

The tease that the “particle fountain” (quasar?) was “home” to the AI piqued my maybe a sister race to the wormhole aliens was doing business in the DQ, and one of the energy beings had somehow run out of motive capacity far from his vortex and so had infiltrated/taken over/possessed an innocent little space runabout (I imagined it sounding like George Jetson’s coupe), but needed to socially engineer a meatbag pilot into pairing up to get it home. But the story did nothing with that notion, so I was left to imagine it on my own.

Ehh again.

And the rote, pot-boiling, by-the-numbers script proceeded via an endless string of the hoariest cliches. Sometimes Voyager attains such sublime heights...and then there are pedestrian messes like this, putting the dopiest lines in the mouths of actors we know are capable of so much better. It must have made them wonder sometimes why they even came to work.

Overall, a simply inane episode.

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Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 11:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: The Expanse

I’m surprised at the cynicism of some of the comments above. I always thought this episode was well-paced, entertaining, emotionally involving, and set the stage for Enterprise’s best season. There’s nothing about the Xindi arc that violates canon. The Russo-Japanese War probably seemed like a big deal at the time, until it was completely blown away by World War I ten years later. Similarly, Earth is about to experience the Romulan War, then form a galaxy-spanning Federation. In Picard’s day, the Xindi attack is probably taught in history classes as the precursor to a very violent, eventful period. No one’s walking around saying, “Remember the Xindi attack” because they’re saying, “Remember when we formed a Federation that lasted for 200 years.”

After two seasons that I mostly enjoyed but generally found sleepy, listless, and rudderless, “The Expanse” delivers a real sense of urgency, drive, and stakes for the first time. I appreciate the 9/11 allegory too. It feels very truthful to how America and much of pop culture reacted at the time: a sudden, jarring shift into darkness. All of Star Trek up until Discovery was made in America, after all. It led to a myopic perspective at times, but it’s inevitable that every movie / TV show bears the imprint of the time and place that it was made.

I’d give it ***1/2 stars. Knock off half a star for the silliness of the Klingons hanging around for months just to get their asses kicked at the last second.
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Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 10:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

Dr. Marr's choice to kill the creature basically saves the crew from any tough ethical decisions they might have to make on establishing communication. Feels like a bit of a cop-out, honestly.
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Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 9:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Ensign Ro

I've been looking forward to seeing Ro's proper introduction. I started watching TNG over the shoulder of my partner making their way through Season 5 (picking whichever episodes sounded interesting from their Netflix descriptions!) and as such I've already seen quite a bit of her.

I was struck by how good her introductiory episode was -- both for her and for the Bajorans as a whole. She's an interesting depiction of a member of a minority group -- her resistance to assimilation in "distorting" her name for Federation norms was an early standout moment, and her insistence on wearing her earring continues in that vein. And of course they've gone and laid the ongoing mystery of the eight deaths on that away team, which has sufficiently piqued my interest (I can't imagine it *not* coming up again).

But yes, consider me thoroughly interested by what we see of the Bajorans here. I do plan on watching DS9 when it "starts airing" on my TNG watchthrough, and I know there's a lot more going on with them there -- looking forward to it.

And I do think it's good to have another female member of the regular cast, one who isn't in a traditionally "caring" role. Tasha was basically their original attempt at that, but barely got any characterisation; Ro is well-characterised right off the bat. Promising start, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of her -- in the proper series context, this time!
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Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 7:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Bounty

I had just turned 13 when this episode came out, so I was right in that “horny teenage boy” demographic they were obviously aiming for. I have a vivid memory of watching this episode. Why? Because oh Lord, it was one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life up to that point.

I was used to Star Trek as something the whole family could watch. My parents would regularly stop by the background of Enterprise episodes, plus my sisters, at the time age 11 and 6. So when a sweaty, horny T’Pol started slinking around in that blue light, holy shit, I wanted to crawl under a rock and die. Imagine being 13 and just discovering that girls were kinda interesting, and then watching this episode with your MOM.

This was my first time seeing it since then. Boy does it look different at age 29. The issue isn’t that there’s sex. It’s that the PG-rated “sex” is so fake and the writers had to twist the Trek universe in knots to get there. I actually differ with Jammer somewhat. I don’t know if Gene would’ve been proud of this episode specifically, but that man was decisively not afraid of sex, and of trying to get sexual content on TV. The Original Series is PACKED with sex, as much as they could get past the censors. Gene always named “Mudd’s Women” as a favorite episode and bragged that he was able to get a plot about “space hookers” on TV. Hell, after Trek, he wrote and produced Pretty Maids All in a Row, which is basically softcore porn mixed with trademark Roddenberry speeches. (I wouldn’t call it good, but it’s… something.) He created the character of Ilia, who was so sexually hypercharged that she had to take an Oath of Celibacy to serve in Starfleet. As for Season 1 of TNG… “Justice.” ‘Nuff said.

The problem is the way it’s depicted here: embarrassing, and frankly degrading. Fun tidbit from the DVD extras: John Billingsley actually asked the writers, “Why wouldn’t Phlox do it? He’s a doctor. She’s a patient. It’s a medical issue. He’d be professional about it.” Not that I wanted to see that, but it would’ve made more sense, at least.

On to “The Expanse” with a sigh of relief. It’s like they had to get this BS out of their system before finally reinventing Enterprise as something fresh and exciting.
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Top Hat
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 4:12pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Redemption, Part II

There's part of me that wishes that they had heard Crosby's idea and said, "That's a bad idea. We'll figure out another way to bring you back" and left it all the way to "All Good Things." I get that "Yesterday's Enterprise" probably restored a lot of goodwill, but evil-daughter-who-ends-up-not-mattering is one of the sillier conceits in all of Star Trek.
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James G
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 3:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The High Ground

Not a big fan of this one but I do like it. Thematically quite similar to 'The Hunted' which precedes it and quite a lot less silly in some ways. It works on a crude level to explore the old "one man's terrorist" chestnut.

I smiled at the notion of a united Ireland by 2024, about four years from now as I type, as casually mentioned by Data. In the Star Trek universe the republican terrorist campaign ultimately won peace and unification in Ireland apparently. That's not what happened in the real world where it set those causes back at least a generation.

I quite like the way that it's a bit dark. People get killed and ultimately there's no happy ending, despite Riker's optimistic parting shot. Kirk would have solved all of that society's problems in half an hour.
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Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 1:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Redemption, Part II


That would be Denise Crosby. Well, at least, it was her idea to come back via the character of Yar's daughter. Although I think she was thinking Yar and the officer fron the Ent-C would be the parents. I think it was Ron Moore, who overall I like as awriter, though he can lose perspective when he starts getting too creative and into it.

Sela is another reason I wish the writers coulda wrapped their heads around the Romulans. I think they were perfect for classic political thriller type stories, given their duplicitous nature, they're history with the Vulcans, the Tal Shiar and the constantly shifting nature of their relationship with the Fenderation. Then J.J. made Star Trek '09, and made that way more complicated.

(I'm aware STO deals with, and has some well regarded storylines involving Romulous and Sela, but I can't really get into that game. And I'm sure there are novels, but that's not the same)
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Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 1:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: In Theory

I could barely get through this one. I love Data and I like his episodes (for example, Data's Day not too long before this), but every part of this attempted relationship just comes off as too awkward for me to stomach. You'd forgive them for lack of chemistry given how Spiner's playing an android, but nothing in the performance feels like Jenna's even into him at all. And then the B plot does nothing, and barely takes up any space in the episode anyway. Not sure I'll ever be able to bear rewatching this one.

(For what it's worth though, I did pick up on the "torpedo bay" line mentioned by the commenters above. Oh, is *that* what they're calling it in the 24th century...?)
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Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 11:50am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Redemption, Part II

Who the hell looked at Tasha "Rape Gangs" Yar and decided "hmm, yes, this character could do with some more rape"?? I'm neutral on how Sela is played here, but the character herself just seems so damn pointless. They should've finished their retroactive messing with Tasha after Yesterday's Enterprise and Legacy.

Good Worf development in the final scene. Android Racist Guy annoys me. Most of all, though, this episode's too busy trying to pack too much in for me to have much of a strong opinion about any part of it. It's just kind of a frustrating mess.
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Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 6:45am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: False Profits

Rewatching this in 2019 makes me hope the new show Picard will not fall victim to the same biggest two problems of ST:

1) Lack of plausible Federation security measures and combat skills (it would only be half as ridiculous if we were not constantly reminded of the quality of security teams and Academy combat training)

2) Using all their resources at hand to choose the most logical and easiest solution to a problem (instead of constantly forgetting they have better options in store).
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Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 2:03am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Barge of the Dead

Ehh. Mediocre episode. 2+. I could have lived with a 3, but I’m in indignant reaction to Jammer rating it so highly.

And yet, while rating it so highly, he couldn’t even notice that it COULD be a payoff for the bitchy, confrontational bad B’Elanna mood he’s so frequently objected to over the past half season? Could it POSSIBLY be the writers were planting hints ahead of time that something’s wrong with B’Elanna? I guess the proof of that pudding won’t be known till we see if there’s a kinder, gentler B’Elanna in subsequent episodes, but I’m willing until then to give the writers some credit for gradual character development.

And I do think the episode provides significant - and convincing, well-supported - character development.

It’s just that the means of getting there are so very transparent, the “symbolism” so transparent - and fergawdsake (so to speak), Tuvok even TELLS us we’re to interpret the visions symbolically, metaphorically. That it’s NOT literal. Given that orientation, the episode leads us by the hand, does all the interpretation for us.

Is B’Elanna human, Klingon, Starfleet, Maquis, daughter, lover, engineer, believer, blah blah blah? Well, clearly, like all of us, she’s a mixture of identities and roles, DUH, she’s ALL of them.

Her problem, for whatever reason (and who are we to judge her right to inner conflict?), is that she hasn’t successfully reconciled and integrated the roles. She’s a psychological battleground. So what does she learn as she flings her weapon in frustration into the monster-writhing chaos of the storm-tossed deeps?

Why, to STOP FIGHTING. Enough with the inner turmoil. Accept all her roles.

So I like where she goes psychologically, and even that she gets there through the metaphoric agency of mythopoeic symbolism - it’s just that it’s all about as subtle as Pilgrim’s Progress. I guess I like my mythic tales a little more ambiguous, even a bit vague and mysterious - not so slavishly, by-the-numbers allegorical.

It’s just not a surprise to me that psychological processes can dress in symbols and proceed as mythic role-playing. The execution and the production were all defy enough - and it was great to see B’El in full Klingon raiment - but the dream sequence itself just seemed ploddingly sophomoric.

I don’t object that B’Elanna worked out her conflicts in Klingon religious terms; I don’t think her scientific bent and overt hostility to her Klingon-ity makes that unrealistic. On the contrary, it seems appropriate. It doesn’t matter that she has consciously and rationally rejected belief in the literal reality of Klingon mythology; she was inculcated into the true religion as a child - sent to religion school, as it were - so those images are burned into her subconscious. She can’t escape them.

And both of her “near-death” experiences can be fit into a rigidly scientific and materialist context - if we can accept that the entire episode, from her bang-up shuttle landing at the beginning clear through to her waking up at the very end, are all part of the same near-death/coma fever dream. (This gets Janeway and the Doc off the hook for idiotically trying to recreate such an experience, and fits in with several other ST episodes where characters are subjected to multiple levels of sleep/dream, during some of which they believe they’re really awake - and during which the audience is intentionally deceived.)

In such a reading, there is no debate about whether the Klingon afterlife is “real.” It’s simply that B’Elanna is “dreaming” the whole thing. We don’t need clues that it isn’t real, because we all know what it is to have dreams which seem to us, at the time, to be perfectly real. We’re experiencing everything from her perspective - including the interactions with other crew members toward the middle of the episode, when we believe (with B’Elanna) that we’re “awake” in Voyager’s literal reality. It’s during these interactions that B’Elanna’s rational, engineering mind comes to the fore, and she presents arguments with herself about varying interpretations and roles of religion and its relationship to reality. (And they’re only mildly interesting observations, fairly pedestrian questions.)

So...during her extended vacation from reality, her unconscious mind works up a little psychodrama for her, in the guise of the mythology imprinted on her as a child, wherein she works out internal conflicts relating to identity, her relationship with her mother, etc.

And all that sounds pretty good, really - a pretty strong brief for a prime-time TV show to illustrate the common grounding of myth and religion in the deep psychology of the human mind, and put it all in a defensibly scientific comtext. I feel like I ought to have liked the episode better than I did...

I just keep coming back to the transparent, predictable, color-by-numbers imagery, symbols, and plotting employed for the dream sequences - which take up most of the running time, and are the focus of the episode. The Wizard of Oz is more entertaining.

I’m not a Klingon-hater, but maybe the reason the episode falls flat for me is that Klingon religion is good with retribution, guilt, shame, stalwart discipline and honor - but low on grace, freedom, and transcendence. One feels no sense of the divine. There’s no mystery, no at-one-ment. By comparison, the Great Link seems a better metaphor for spirituality.

The most affecting theme of the episode for me is actually the opening-up and surrender to vulnerability demonstrated at the end when B’Elanna embraces Janeway. It suggests the resolution of one of her deepest issues, the one which pre-dates the Starfleet/Maquis conflict - which is that she was rejected (or at least abandoned, and to a child what’s the difference?) by her father, then resented and pulled away from her mother till both of them rejected each other.

Psychologically, she’s a motherless child - and the scene suggests to me that she’s both come to terms with own mother, and now accepts Janeway as her spiritual (or at least substitute) mother. Thus her first emotional opening is to Janeway - before even Tom. I liked that.

But I have a question. If the bargemaster killed the Klingon gods...who then had the power to condemn him to an eternity running the River Styx ferry?
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