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Jamie Mann
Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 5:03am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: You Are Cordially Invited

tl;dr: a fluff episode featuring some pointlessly OTT Klingon quasi-religious rituals, a bunch of wedding cliches and a couple who's relationship generally falls flatter than a Romulan pancake.

Or to put it another way: not an episode I found particularly fun or interesting.

Once more, Klingon culture is hugely stylised and masochistic; if they spend so much time being obsessed with these kinds of rituals, it's a miracle they ever found time to bootstrap themselves up into a space faring culture.

And then there's Worf and Dax. While it did start to become more plausible as Worf loosened up towards the end of season six, at this point, his humorless obsession with honour meshed very badly with Jadzia's freewheeling attitude to life.

(Which isn't to say that "quiet" people can't have strong relationships with extroverted people; I've got many friends with similar partner dynamics. But Worf and Dax simply never seemed to have enough commonalities beyond the fact that they both like martial arts and BDSM sex...)

I dunno. If I ever feel like watching through DS9 again, this is one of the episodes I'll probably skip!
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 4:51am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

Just because people always claimed that stuff "isn't Star Trek" for the stupidest of reasons, doesn't mean that those who say the same thing about NuTrek don't have a point. :-)
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Nolan
Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 2:33am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Regeneration

@Frank

It's interesting you say this, because I've been taking my friend through Trek for his first time in an abbreviated chronological order, and though he knew *of* the borg, and Seven and that they were the bad guys (of Voyager), he doesn't know much else than that. So it was supremely interesting watching this one with him.

At first he wasn't even sure it was the Borg, though he heavily suspected it. By the end of the episode it was all but confirmed. He said it was a good introduction for them, and I might agree because it makes for a ramping up of suspense from this to 'Q Who'. We'll see what effect, if any this has on 'The Best of Both Worlds' when we get there.

Something else my friend noticed was how this episode tied in with the episode 'Judgement' somewhat. In that episode there was a lot of talk about Archer's character of naivete, and trying to save everyone and kinda bending over backwards to be good (excepting Dear Doctor which I skipped cause of it's murky attempts at PD discourse.) Here in this episode though, as my friend noted, Archer was getting a touch more ruthless, spacing the Borg onboard the Enterprise instead of taking whatever risk he could to save them and his ship.

This was likely unintended, but it was fascinating to me given what happens in Season Three, and it certainly made it so that Archer's actions in one of the early episodes of that season were less jarring for my buddy.

To be honest, I've always suspected Enterprise might work better an an introduction to Trek than a prequel end-capper, excepting a number of episodes that are sub-par retellings of earlier, later stories. For one, all the 'Trek-tropes' built up over the TNG/DS9/VOY run are new instead of tired, and much as I hate the contemporariness of dialogue and behaviour showcased by humanity in more recent series, here being so early, it makes sense that some of that type of thing would still exist here, though it's blended well with the culture established by those shows, allowing to act both as a stepping stone in the development of humanity into how it was in previous series while also providing a more grounded starting point for any new (and especially wary) fans
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Frank
Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 1:27am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Regeneration

I watched this last night thought it was a great episode. The combination of naivete and then pending dread was terrific. If you redacted your knowledge of the Borg prior to watching this, it would have played out like any vanilla Star Trek episode I think that's the thing I liked most about it. You get something that might be a threat, it gets the benefit of the doubt, then either becomes or is perceived as an aggressor later in the episode. The gimmick in this instance is the audience is in on it. It was a very clever episode for me.
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Phillip
Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 1:03am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

I thought androids couldn't use contractions. I guess they figured out how to fix that?
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Peter G.
Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 12:34am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Maps and Legends

Amazingly I liked this one more than the premiere. I think it's because it felt more like we were in the Trek universe, notwithstanding the magic tech exposition forensics scene where they might as well have been waving a wand around and wearing Hogwarts scarves.

One thing I like about this episode is that we're seeing Starfleet Command again, although I agree with Jammer that the hard-headed Admiral cliche is wearing a bit thin. Would they seriously speak to Picard this way, even if pissed off at him? I mean he did literally save the entire Federation several times. You'd figure he could be as annoying as he wanted and still get grudging respect. I know they were playing on the whole "What's your name, sir?" thing to show that he had made himself irrelevant, but I believe that about as much as I believe that Kirk was forgotten 20 years after he vanished into the Nexus. It's the dude who led the Borg into Earth's orbit to assimilate it; that sort of event would have to be so outrageously infamous that for better or worse his face would be as burned into the minds of Earthers as Hitler's is and will continue to be. So I don't really buy the whole "you don't matter any more" speech, especially when his big sin was trying to save refugees. Yeah, what an asshole. The Starfleet I know might reprimand him for going against their policy but they would do so with respect since they'd understand his humanitarian concerns. This felt more like "you betrayed us!" which is really not fitting what the backstory we're being told.

I found the part funny where Picard goes out of his way to say he didn't want to ask his old crew to help him. I was remembering back to All Good Things when being a bother was really the last thing on his mind. Granted on that occasion he was trying to save all life...in the universe, I guess. But still, no thought of Captain Beverly Picard and her neato medical ship? I noticed her name perhaps conspicuously missing from the list of crew mates who would have helped him.

My favorite thing about this show is probably the casting, as so far I have yet to really see a weak link, and that is really rare on TV. So kudos to them on that. Also they did nicely keeping the suspense up considering this was a setup episode. The other nice thing that especially accentuates this one over the premiere is that it's beginning to feel like a sci-fi show, in that they are showing us a society without *showing off* their fancy CGI. The more nonchalant the tech and effects are the more it feels like a real place, and this episode is getting closer at hitting that. Much closer than I would have expected, actually. I would say the directing work is overall quite nice, much better than the sloppy and often thoughtless jobs we were getting on DISC.

I ended up wanting to watch more when this one ended, a very positive sign.
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Sarjenka's Brother
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 11:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Maneuvers

While the Kazon will never be epics, I'm upping my evaluation of them. I was pretty entertained.

Whatever the plot holes in Cold Fire before and this episode Manuevers, at least they both work off and advance previous stories (Caretaker/Ocompa and Kazons/Seska) instead of another episode spacial distortions and such.

Any Seska episode is worth a viewing.
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Peter G.
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 11:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

I finally got around to watching this. I sort of lost patience and wanted to be able to read the threads here. I'll mention offhand that this was the only reason I made it all the way through S1 of DISC. Anyhow, having seen this one it has the hallmarks of the Kurtzman clan but it's not as bad as I feared. I'd say overall it was decent, nothing great but not bad. Stewart seems to not quite capture my attention as PIcard so far, and I guess I have to agree with the comments about Spiner really looking different now than how he did before. I am sort of content that they didn't CGI this since that would be worse, so overall I don't see how they could have dealt with it differently. My one comment about Data is that I feel like Spiner has actually lost to an extent how to perform him, because it felt forced, almost like an impersonation.

Regarding the plot the difficulty with these mystery-box shows is that (a) the mystery needs to be really good, and (b) it all they're doing is hooking you in for the next episode then as some have mentioned that feels vaguely hollow. I do like resolutions, even though there's a "to be continued" implied. DS9's S7 final arc accomplished this nearly perfectly, in keeping the threads going but making each episode feel separate. B5 likewise accomplished this when it chose to.

In this episode it took the Picard interview about synthetics, following the first fight scene, for me to assume that Dahj was a "replicant", which is what I assume they are going for in this show (i.e. a Blade Runner story line). Beyond this easily solved plot element, and the screen time it took for Picard to explain it to us, I can be added to the group that isn't really fascinated by flashy fight scenes in Trek. I don't agree with some that fight scenes aren't right in Trek: as a TOS person that is clearly not the case. DS9 also featured many nice combat scenes. But what has mostly characterized Trek combat so far is a sort of steampunk or perhaps Wild West tone, which is that ranged weapons exist and yet hand-to-hand combat is most often what happens. And the hand combat tends to be choreographed either in the style of a Western (TOS) or else in a sort of elevated style such as the Klingon "Viking style" combat or Worf's martial arts style of combat. Basically the fighting tended to either be dramatic (pinned down, what do we do) or else stylized in a sort of genre manner. But what we get here is more like a typical film-style fighting choreo with CGI and crazy powers. It's generic, is basically what I'm saying, and doesn't feel like 'Trek fighting'.

I have to say that the rather rushed backstory about the Romulan supernova caught me off guard. Not because I can't handle new information, but because I was actually confused about whether I was supposed to know this already. My memory of ST: Nemesis is dim as I can't bear to sit through it again after seeing it in the cinema, so just now I had to go read a synopsis to make sure I wasn't remembering its plot incorrectly. So no, there was no supernova in that, just a coup and the death of the senate. Then I remembered that something had been amok with Romulus in ST 2009, so I had to go read a synopsis of that, and found the backstory about the supernova. Ok, at least I knew which canon they were using. The Romulans seem to have a lot of problems lately. Anyhow, then I wondered whether this was the Kelvin timeline, which I expect it couldn't be since TNG couldn't have occurred in it as we know it. So it must be the Prime timeline except one in which that supernova also happens. I guess at this point we don't know if Prime Spock was involved. But at least I know which film they're alluding to here.

One interesting point, since presumably the Romulans are no longer an implacable foe of the Federation, they still managed to get bad guy music playing when we see them on the Borg ship. Ah well, I suppose they earned that reputation. So predictably treacherous. I will also note something else I'm wondering about: In ST 2009 Nero is upset because I guess his planet got blown up and family died. But since the Empire was presumably massive I can't imagine the Romulans were disrupted all that much overall, despite Nero's personal gripes. But in Picard it feels like the Romulans have been turned into the rabble Earth became in Battlestar Galactica. Shouldn't the loss of their homeworld have hurt a little but otherwise barely dented them? We could imagine the Federation losing Earth and barely losing stride in terms of rebuilding and establishing a new command structure. Maybe we'll learn more in the next episode.

I'll just throw in a prediction while I have the chance: I expect that the synthetics destroying the shipyards will somehow end up being shown to be a noble act in some capacity, perhaps due to Bad People (TM) in Starfleet about to do something terrible to the weakened Romulans. I am getting a sense of "refugee issues" here and I expect there will be some "some see them as the enemy but really they just need our help" sent our way. I guess I'll find out!
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Sarjenka's Brother
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 11:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Cold Fire

There's this Caretaker that's been on my mind
All the time, Sus-Sus-peria
Oh oh
Now she don't even know my name
But I think she'll send me to the Alpha Quadrant just the same
Sus-Sus-peria
Woah oh


(And as usual, I liked the episode more than the rest of you. 3 stars from Sarjenka and me).
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Hank
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 10:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

I have to admit: It warmed my heart to see Seven again. Guess I'm just another fanboy. Might have helped that she didn't speak much yet, so, lets see how her character has changed before coming to any hopeful conclusions.

Turns out trying and failing is worse than never trying at all, given by the reaction Picard gets. Or rather, stopping to try is the worst sin. And we don't even know if he did try to do something after his resignation. Or if he could have in the first place.

I constantly get the feeling that the writers wanted to create a fantasy story instead of sci-fi, with all the hero+party travelling the land to rescue the princess, the swashbuckling and the mysteries. And now the mysterious warrior (that assassin dude) has entered the picture, together with the sorceress (Seven - if we replace magic with "borg stuff"), after we got the genki-girl (the ditzy scientist lady (didn't we have one of those before, in another series?)), the grizzled veteran and the deadpan snarker (Ruffy). Time to enter hell (the borg cube) and slay the dragon, defy the prophecy and return order to the world.
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sarah francis-maidstone
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 9:22pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

(Stupid phone) ..VOY we're actually being aired B&B were being blamed for killing Star Trek. So I guess what does that leave? Just ToS and TNG?

PIC feels like the closest to the version of Trek i like since ds9 and tng. I'm liking the slower pace and it all looks so damn good too which is a bonus.

At least we don't have to read moaning about reset buttons yet.

I'm sure people would find something to moan about.
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skye francis-maidstone
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 9:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

@trekjoy except you can't because what is or isn't Trek is subjective.

Personally i'm enjoying PIC more than ENT. DIS looks great but needs some actual stories and actors. I loathe the JJ films but I know people who think they're great.

Some people even think my beloved DS9 isn't trek.

I do believe someone actually praised Berman a few posts back. When VOY and EN
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Dom
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 8:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

@Itavsh, yeah, that's the core of the problem. If you go back through the entire library of Star Trek episodes, there are definitely a bunch of cringe-worthy, one-note villains. I'm not a huge fan of Lursa and B'Etor. But those types of villains had a few over-the-top scenes, stayed around for an episode or at most two, before the show moved on to something else. When DS9 had recurring villains, it gave us complex personalities like Gul Dukat or entertaining, quirky characters like Weyoun. By contrast, we've had Narek-Rizzo "deceit and plotting" scenes for several weeks now and without any real insights into the characters or forward momentum in the plot. The scenes just aren't fun the way that the Damar-Weyoun bickering was.
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TrekJoy
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 8:24pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

I can sum up all the episodes and undoubtedly future ones in four words and spare everyone time: THIS IS NOT TREK!
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Itavsh
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 7:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

It is becoming a tale of two Star Treks re: the Picard scenes vs. the Narek/Rizzo and Narek/anyone scenes. How can the former, generally so sharp and focused, occupy the same space as the latter, which are so tiresome I forgot to groan at them?

Jammer, you are correct about “deceit and plotting” with no emotional core. I keep thinking of Voyager’s “Counterpoint” with Janeway and Kashyk. That episode was a wind-up toy, but the gears were well-oiled, and the narrative was juuuust beyond complete contrivance so as to make us believe that even with the deceit and plotting, the characters had feelings for each other... to a degree. And we cared, of course, since the Captain was one of the characters. Narek/ Rizzo and Narek/Soji were introduced as chess pieces. Not many Trek episodes in which two characters other than a regular or recurring guest were the focus of so much of the story’s “intrigue” (Assignment: Earth, maybe?). The “relationship” scenes, including the “edgy incestuous” ones) do not work on an emotional level. That might be OK if the scenes had a wild-card, like memorable dialogue or good performances. None of these things are present. If these scenes are part of slow burn, that burn better arrive scalding
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Sarjenka's Brother
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 6:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Tattoo

Three stars? Not a fan of this episode, and I'm frequently in the role of defending a "Voyager" episode as being better than given credit. Here, credit is too generous.

(And I like Chakotay -- so no issues with a Chakotay/Native American storyline).

Another observation:

Earth was a VERY busy place for alien visitations according to canonical "Trek," going all the way back to "Who Mourns for Adonis?"
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Drea
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 1:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

Spot on, Jammer.

Here's a bright spot: the show so far seems built primarily by good scenes that drive the story forward along with bad scenes that don't. As far as I can tell, the silly or boring scenes (every single shot of Rizzo so far, for example) could be excised with no loss. Removing Rizzo would make the Narek/Soji scenes *better* because it would add ambiguity to Narek's intentions. An editor could easily trim the fat and leave a first season that feels consistently strong.

This is a different situation from Discovery, whose problems are in the guts of its primary stories rather than in boring or silly parts that could be removed without consequence to the main story or character arcs.
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I’m With Reg
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 11:54am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Despite Yourself

Discovery really is Trek for the Scandi Noir generation.

Question: where is Admiral Cornwell in this episode? Wasn’t she rescued from the Ship of the Dead?
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Black winter day
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 10:56am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

I really really miss the standalone episodes format of Star Trek with the mysteries to be solved, aliens of the week etc. Yes, it had its flaws, but i enjoyed it far more than the nu-Trek.

My english isnt sufficient to fully expess what i am feeling when i watch STD and STP - Its ok, i dong hate it, but i am never excited about it. The thrill is gone, its just an ok tv, nothing more. I rewatched many brilliant episodes of Trek many times, but never feklt the urge to rewatch any of the Nu Trek.

Even ST-Ent seems brilliant compared to what we get now...

Tv in general got much better in the last decade or so. Star trek has gotten considerably worse.
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Dom
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 9:52am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

@Nic, I agree about Dahj, but to be fair it's a lot easier to sympathize with someone who's a victim being chased and frightened for her life than a cold scientist working on the Borg cube. It does make me hope they do something with Soji to give her more depth and make her more than a MacGuffin mystery box.
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Yanks
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 9:46am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

Sorry, timestamp 22:20
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Yanks
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 9:45am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

Well, I completely missed this little tidbit.

Go to timestamp 20:20 in this episode and watch Soji closely.

You see a familiar Data twitch.... could be revealing with regard to her origins.
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Nic
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 8:27am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

Best episode since the first, but it still has some problems, most notably any scene involving Narek. I find it interesting that I felt a much greater attachment to Dahj, even though she appeared in only one episode, than Soji. Since they're both played by the same actress, it has to be the writing.

I also thought the bar scene was very good, but I hope we eventually find out why Picard just gave up on the evacuation after resigning from Starfleet. I'm sure there was something he could have done. It doesn't seem like him. I also found it quite laughable that the "Romulans only" sign would be in English. It's kind of like if an American town in the 50s had a "Whites only" sign in Swahili.
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Latex Zebra
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 8:22am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Sarek

Great episode but another bloody classical concert. Constant laziness (in the writing) that the boldly going, forward thinking Federation just live in the past culturally.
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Yanks
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 8:06am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

@ Andy's Friend

Long time no see!!

"Yanks — ‘Yeah that is kind of the running joke of Star Trek. The moment you become an admiral you want to do nasty stuff.‘"

This wasn't me, but that's OK.

"As always, we must know to differentiate, and to recognise when the ‘big speech’ is being directed primarily at the in-universe characters (say, ‘The First Duty’), and when it is being directed primarily at the audience as commentary, as here. TNG generally stroke a balance between the two deliveries, and did so masterfully. Unfortunately, in the case of ‘The Drumhead’, this is not understood by most fans. Picard is not speaking to his fellow officers: he is speaking to us."

IMO this is Picard's finest moment.

I tear up every time I here this.

"You know, there some words I've known since I was a school boy. With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably. Those words were uttered by Judge Aaron Satie as wisdom and warning. The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. I fear that today"

So apt is this to today's political climate.

Another point Picard makes during this episode:

PICARD: We think we've come so far. The torture of heretics, the burning of witches, it's all ancient history. Then, before you can blink an eye, it suddenly threatens to start all over again.
WORF: I believed her. I helped her. I did not see what she was.
PICARD: Mister Worf, villains who wear twirl their moustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well camouflaged.
WORF: I think after yesterday, people will not be as ready to trust her.
PICARD: Maybe. But she, or someone like her, will always be with us, waiting for the right climate in which to flourish, spreading fear in the name of righteousness. Vigilance, Mister Worf, that is the price we have to continually pay.

You are absolutely correct. This is directed at us.

Makes you wonder why "Civics" hasn't been taught in High Schools since the 70's.

Sorry, I know I'm off topic here.... but it's so damn good.
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