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Booming
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 4:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

If you are already at the clinic why not pimp that little bugger up to 11?!
More ways to brag at parties!
The father was obviously insecure, so turning his son into a super human is quite understandable. Maybe he is a loser but he produces super children.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 3:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

Three excellent questions.
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Top Hat
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 2:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

Here's an interview in which Siddig expresses his discontent: https://tv.avclub.com/alexander-siddig-on-being-bashir-quitting-24-and-gett-1798282506

What annoys me the most is that they decide that Bashir was not only brought up to normal or even prodigy levels of intelligence by the genetic treatment, but also that it turned him into a god among men physically too. What why what?
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Peter G.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 2:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

@ Fenn,

You'll get the most bang for your buck in retroactively taking a look at Whispers from S2. The whole episode reads differently when seen in hindsight. I highly doubt they had any of what was coming in mind when they wrote it, which makes it all the more mysterious that they did write it. Maybe they wanted to leave Whispers vague enough to suit various options for "surprise" without having to settle on one just yet. I mean, why else write in that Julian deliberately failed to get 1st in his class? Why insert that into his past, and have it take a Lethian to draw it out of him, unless it's Something Important? Almost puts Bashir on the same level as Garak in terms of it implying he's hiding something. That said most of the writers probably either didn't pick up on that or else dropped it, since there are no other allusions in the series to Julian having some kind of secret reason to fail.
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Fenn
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 2:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

(One note I forgot to mention in my initial comment: it's fascinating to read Jammer's contemporary reviews, I had no idea that Dolly the sheep happened around the same time as this.)

Anyway, Peter G: thanks for the background info! Yeah, this really does seem like the wrong time to pull a "surprise" like this. Episodes like 'The Wire', 'The Quickening', 'Nor The Battle' etc have already done far more than enough to depict a natural flow of character development... and then to suddenly introduce this (AND in such close proximity to Changeling Bashir, as you say) feels inorganic as well as unnecessary. Less an arc, more a loop-the-loop.

Ouch, speaking of which. After a month of no one knowing Changeling Bashir was any different from the regular one, now his own parents can't tell an incomplete hologram from their actual son.

As for how Siddig's playing it from now on, I'll have to keep an eye on him in upcoming episodes. Delving back into the history of the show in light of this twist may not be all that useful, but no doubt this is going to inform future choices.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 2:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

@ Fenn.

There were two parallel issues with this Bashir development. The first is that according to Michael Pillar they had decided pre-pilot to run a number on Bashir's character, making him deliberately unlikeable for a few seasons in order to then spring some kind of surprise and have him turn around to become a fan favorite. I have no idea why they wanted to do an experiment like this, but maybe it was due to everyone on TNG just being so damn nice and friendly. For Bashir they actually wanted to fans not to like him initially! Ironically I like early Bashir the best because he's such a dork.

So this character retcon may well be what they settled on for Bashir's 'big surprise'. The issue for me is they had already had one big surprise - the Changeling situation. And what's more, Bashir had already been toned way down by this time and wasn't the aggravating nuisance that Kira wanted to swat every time he spoke. So any kind of sudden reversal at this stage in the game wasn't really that much of a reversal. He was probably a middle of the road fan favorite originally, and would remain so after this. It basically changed nothing. At least, nothing in terms of ratings.

The second issue was how the writers took to Bashir's new identity, which Siddig apparently feared would have them turn him into The Human Computer and take away any humanity from him. So maybe this last scene was Julian sort of playing a bit of Mr. Computer. I wonder whether the actor was trying to portray that he didn't quite forgive his parents yet, or whether it was more of a "I have to try to look normal in social situations but really I am a human calculator with a stony face in private." And the last scene may be him letting down his social face. I guess you'd have to ask Siddig himself about that one.
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Fenn
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 1:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

Not sure how to feel about the Bashir revelation. As usual, I knew vaguely what the deal was with him, but was basically trying not to think about it until I actually saw it on screen. I wonder if we'll be perceiving much of a change in the character from here on out. It's probably one of those things that'll have you rewatching old content and going "hmm, was this because of this?", but it's a bit retcon-like for my tastes. Overall, it doesn't quite feel *necessary* for Bashir, and I worry that it might cheapen some of what he's been -- but I welcome the late-game addition of this theme into the story, of parents' "best intentions" not always being the best for the child. And often being for their sake instead of the child's.

I've been talking in the comments for 'The Begotten' about Odo's forgiveness of Dr. Mora, and there's definitely more to talk about on the "forgiving your parents" theme here. I really don't feel enough is done here to merit complete forgiveness. Comparing this with the script, I'd say there's a definite difference between how it was written and the eventual performance.

Stage directions for Bashir watching his parents leave in the script:

Bashir smiles back at him and then Richard and Amsha
EXIT to the transport ship. Bashir watches them go and
then he heads off down the Corridor.

But you watch the scene as it plays out, and Bashir's only smiling for the length of time that they can see him -- the moment they're gone, he's stony-faced. I like that touch. Makes it feel less like a lifetime of resentment has been paved over in a few conversations.

I've heard that Alexander Siddig hated this development for his character and made deliberate efforts to put in as little effort into the acting as possible. He must be a *really* good actor then, because if he's doing that here, it doesn't show!
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Fenn
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 1:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: By Inferno's Light

Well. When writing up my comment for the last ep, the first thing I wrote was a rant about Dukat and how he's never really been "redeemed" at all in my view. I wrote the rest, looked back at my Dukat rant that didn't fit too well into the rest of the comment, and thought "man, is this really relevant? Dukat's barely in this one. Should I even include this?"

Glad I included it now, because oh boy, that was basically the last chance I had to rant about Dukat before the guy went and proved me very, very right. I'm shocked, but I really can't say I'm surprised.

Cardassia's taken us on a rollercoaster over the course of DS9. We had hostile Cardassia always lurking uncomfortably close to Bajor, we had weak and defanged Cardassia minus the Obsidian Order, and now we've got Dukat's Cardassia that's gleefully skipping right over to the baddies' side. Yeah, how long's that gonna last until Dukat gets tired of being harangued by Vorta and co? There goes Cardassian self-determination --they're Founder lackeys now. No coming back from this, not with the Dominion as the nigh-unbeatable threat they are.

I have surprisingly little else to say, but I loved the prison scenes -- both Worf fighting damn near to the death (the Jem'Hadar are just big ol' Klingon fanboys aren't they) and Garak having panic attacks in the wall (the pressure of finishing his father's work, as if the claustrophobia wasn't enough). Made for some intense stuff. Doesn't feel as well-constructed as last ep, but I loved this anyway.

Time for the bullet points, then:

- I liked Ziyal's little interaction with Quark... who's casually planning for all eventualities. The station's owner may change, but Quark is eternal. Reminds me of the "Welcome, Klingons!" banner that got rolled out in 'Rapture'.
- I'll be very happy to see more of Martok, as a wiser type of Klingon. He's a fixture on the station now, huh? I'll take him over Eddington any day!
- I'm getting a little tired of that "Cardassians on a rooftop watching a broadcast" stock footage they keep using (this is at *least* the third time). It looked unnatural and kinda silly the first time they used it, and it looks unnatural and kinda silly now.
- "By Inferno's Light" (excellent title, I love linked two-parter titles) could very well refer to the nova of the Bajoran sun.
- I'll never get tired of Sisko effortlessly wreaking verbal destruction on Dukat. "Funny, I thought it was built by Bajoran slave labour."
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Atomguy
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 12:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: A Piece of the Action

Please don't use emojis in a comment
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Chrome
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 11:55am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Message in a Bottle

I don't really understand Jammer's criticism about this episode when he says its missing its aspirations. It's a straight-forward comedy and it should be reviewed on those terms. I suppose there's some major (but really minor) series' plot-progression of Voyager contacting the AQ, but all the details about the impact of the contact don't need to be explained here.

Judging by comedy, I think this works really well. Voyager is often at it's best when it's not trying to be serious. Picardo is great, and the Romulan cast was well-performed (there's a TWoK veteran playing the Romulan Commander). Andy Dick is okay, but a bit grating for me. I do tend to agree with Jammer that we get one too many self-congratulatory doctor monologues from the pair.

The ship itself, the Prometheus - which likely is using a touched up Enterprise E set - is an incredibly beautiful backdrop. I liked the tri-body attack pattern which beckons memories of the saucer separation maneuver Riker attempted in "The Best of Both Worlds" -- only more effective. The prototype Starfleet ship oozes with a sense of a post-TNG Starfleet that we didn't get enough of in DS9. Speaking of DS9, the Dominion got named dropped, and they also had those weird commando-type Starfleet officers we see abundantly in "The Siege of AR-558".

There's probably a message here that AQ is not doing much better than the DQ. Like William B mentions there's something about The Doctor that symbolizes that being in the DQ really is making him - and more broadly - the Voyager crew better people. That speaks to the show's theme and I like that. I won't get into the plausibility of the Romulan scheme, although admittedly convoluted, it was just nice to see the Romulans who weren't around very much post-TNG.

I'll go 3.5 stars.
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Fenn
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 10:45am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

Speaking of the baby changeling's absorption back into Odo: while watching, I expected that action to come with a full "download" of the baby's small amount of life experience and memories, and for Odo to come to an understanding of his li'l goobaby through that. Maybe that did happen -- if what we saw *is* anything like a changeling link, then it most likely did. But the show's too preoccupied with Odo getting his shapeshifting back to go into any detail on that.
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Fenn
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 10:42am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

There's definitely a lot to consider in a situation like this. Odo definitely acted as a tempering influence to an extent, and I don't doubt that Mora had much nastier changeling-changer machines.

From the changeling's side of things, though, I don't think anything in that early a developmental stage would be able to consider the motive behind whatever's happening to it. Only just beginning to develop reactions to stimuli -- understanding would likely be a way off still. That's all well and good for forgiveness later in life, as with Odo, but the negative impressions get formed in the first place.

I feel one limitation when talking about what's going on here is that we can't fully know what babyling thinks. The upper limit of the self-expression that ever gets developed is that one beautiful moment of shapeshifting Odo's face -- clearly there's at least enough of an affinity developed there for that. Like baby's first word being "dad"! I'm not sure how to interpret the final action of absorption back into Odo's body -- maybe involuntary, maybe intentional. Baby's first link. And last. :(
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R.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 9:46am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Deflectors

I watched this episode for the first time last night and I was surprised at how much of a gut punch the ending was. Especially for a show that is marketed as a comedy.

What a topsy turvy world we live in when a Seth MacFarlane show of all things channels the core values of Trek infinitely better than the actual Trek CBS is airing.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 9:40am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

I agree with Omicron that Mora was probably not pulling any punches, especially as the Cardassians wanted results. But I'd say the major difference between Odo and Mora is that Mora did what he did because he liked it; he wanted to succeed in his science experiment. In Odo's case even if he took exactly the same steps he'd have been doing it out of caring. I think the motive and attitude may be what this is about. Odo may well have recognized by the end that Mora's methods were sound, even while still knowing that making the child stronger has to be for its own sake, not yours.
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Booming
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 9:30am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Majority Rule

The black mirror episode I mean is "Nosedive"
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Booming
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 9:07am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Majority Rule

- I have a shitty day. Guys *grrrr*... anyways I thought this would be a great day to watch some Orville.
- After 5 minutes I thought that I must have clicked on a bad black mirror episode (so all black mirror episodes after season 3)
- Uhh a cloaking device, did they ever use that before. Would have been useful, wouldn't it?
- "It was a dark time" I laughed. Thanks Orville.
- For a second even became interesting. Total democracy can easily devolve into mob rule (Ochlocracy).
- Does any women in the future have to wear shiny lipstick?
- Ok so this is a black mirror episode (with a happy ending)
- Lamarr (token black) is kind of a dumbass and the most "urban" person evah... maybe give him a personality that has more than 0.5 dimensions.

Apart from the popcultural references, which are still fairly annoying, it was ok.

2 1/2 upvotes.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 7:37am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

To be fair, we don't know how bad this treatment is from a changeling's perspective. All the talk of electric shocks gives us a visceral reaction of "this is horrible physical abuse", but that's a humanoid point-of-view. Perhaps a changeling would see it differently, if those methods were used with proper moderation and tempered with a genuine show of affection.

It is interesting to note that the baby-ling wasn't adversely affected by what Odo did. He (it?) didn't seem to harbor any kind of resentment, nor was there any psychological damage. So it does seem like Odo did strike the right balance here.

I'm also quite sure that Mora did *not* strike any kind of balance when using these methods on Odo. He probably went to higher and higher voltages whenever poor Odo refused to cooperate. That's Classic Mora, right there.
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Top Hat
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 7:25am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

One thing I always liked about this episode is that it's fairly technobabble light. We're told that the radiation is such that nobody but Data can go to the planet, and that phasers won't work for the same reason. Reasonable. Picard has O'Brien and Geordi seek a technical solution but this just supplies a comic sub-subplot, with exchanges like this:

RIKER: Gentlemen, we're giving you an assignment. One thing we don't want to hear is that it is impossible.
PICARD: I need the transporters to function despite the hyperonic radiation.
LAFORGE: Yeah, but that's im... Yes, sir.

The stakes are clarified with a minimum of dialogue. Later, Data rigs a phaser and the explanation for how he can do it is pretty short and clear.

I feel like a few seasons later there'd be a full act of tehnobabble in there.
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Chuck
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 7:09am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

Fast forward to 2020 — still love STNG and BSG. That said, watching the “Bluey” episode “Camping” with my kids. This episode takes the Heeler family camping. Bluey meets a black lab puppy who speaks only French. They must overcome a language barrier, build shelter, and defeat a common enemy (a wild pig, who’s really a playful daddy Heeler).

“Darmok” anyone?

Yeah, maybe I’m stretching things a bit.

Oh, did I mention the lab puppy’s name?

Jean-Luc.

Hmmmm.
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Caz
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 6:09am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Neutral Zone

I'm shocked to see that there are other watchers of this show who actually liked Offenhouse. I did, too, but I have little in common with the usual Trek fanbase.

I don't think the writers meant to make him as interesting of a character as they did, but the positive characteristics he brings - aggression, some measure of self-awareness, a talent for analyzing the motivations and strategic positions of an opponent - are very realistic for a successful investor-class guy from the 20th century. His negatives, particularly the sense of entitlement, are understandable as well.

I think Picard was a bit oblivious to his point of view, which means the writers were oblivious to some of their own material, but I love the irony: Picard basically dismisses the drive for empowerment and control, even as he commands a ship and engages in high-stakes talks with a rival. The men are very similar. If Offenhouse wanted a challenge, the next step would be for him to head off to Starfleet Academy.
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Fenn
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 5:51am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

Odo definitely cared, and clearly never stopped caring (him talking to the baby changeling as it dies is heartbreaking). It just feels somewhat off that he even allowed Mora to begin using his methods in the first place, *even* under pressure. One mention from Sisko of Starfleet Command is all it takes for him to begrudgingly let Mora have a go. It doesn't quite feel like enough to erode Odo's bitter resistance.

I *would* agree on the forgiveness, and that definitely crossed my mind after my first viewing... but I've just now seen someone talking about the ep 'The Die Is Cast', and it's reminded me of how quickly and effortlessly Odo forgave Garak for outright torturing him. There are differences, of course: Mora experimented on Odo for the formative years(?) of his life; Garak only had one short session torturing Odo. But then Mora didn't know what he was doing to Odo, whereas Garak knew *exactly* what he was doing. And there's also the fact that Odo seems to take a good while longer to forgive Mora than he ever did with Garak. Proportionate for how protracted the suffering they each caused him was.

So, in the bigger picture: I think the forgiveness could work, given the greater context of Odo's character. But I'd still agree that it clashes with the rest of the episode. I don't doubt that Odo could have forgiven Mora -- but I don't think he *should* have forgiven Mora.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 3:35am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

I wouldn't say that Odo capitulated to Mora's methods.

Superficially, maybe, it might seem like it. But Odo's approach his quite different than Mora's. Odo showed genuine care for the baby. Even as he was forced to use coercion he never stopped showing that genuine care. They even point to this fact directly in dialogue:

"MORA: The changeling is developing far faster than you did. I didn't mean that as a criticism. If anything, it's a compliment. I mean, I was wrong. Your approach to communicating to the changeling was sound. I mean, don't you see? It's reaching out to you. It's curious about you."

Mora originally treated Odo as a specimen to experiment with. A favorite experiment, perhaps, but an experiment nevertheless. Odo treated the baby changeling as his child, and that makes a huge difference.

The only thing that irks me, is how quickly Odo managed to forgive Mora. After all the nice subtleties and mature dialogue, that ending *does* seem to endorse the notion that Odo realized Mora's approach to be right. It's a shame, really, because that vibe goes completely against the rest of the episode.
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P'kard
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 12:20am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

The funeral scene at the end is way too long. I just had to rewatch with my mom (her first viewing so i have to suffer through shows like this again.) and i was just cringing the entire time. It seemed like she had a "personal message" for everyone on the ship. Why did she not have one for Ben or the tea drinking transporter guy?
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HC
Thu, Jan 16, 2020, 9:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Gravity

Tuvok and Noss' farewell is very effective though. Just a nicely restrained scene that favours subtlety over any kind of grand gesture. Good stuff.
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HC
Thu, Jan 16, 2020, 9:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Gravity

I did enjoy the 'Tuvok dealing with his emotions' business, but the story surrounding it is about as pedestrian as it gets. Never really got the sense that they were truly stranded, the romance is undercooked and the fact that they've been there for months wasn't even particularly well communicated. Perfectly watchable, but largely unremarkable. 2 stars.

Also, I am wondering why they keep sending Doc on these away missions, especially after reading this line:

"if being stranded forever really were to be the outcome here, Voyager would find itself in dire straits the next time there were a medical emergency."
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