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Mon, Sep 28, 2020, 7:26am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

I watched "Insurrection" this weekend. It was the first time I had seen it in years, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I'm not sure why this film gets so much grief, because there's a lot to enjoy and very little to dislike. It's a fun adventure for the TNG crew, with some nice moments for most of the characters (though poor Dr. Crusher gets nothing to do once again). 3 stars.
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Top Hat
Mon, Sep 28, 2020, 6:51am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: A Night in Sickbay

I'll confess I haven't seen this one since it first aired but my feeling then was little more than: "Kinds of funny. A bit padded."
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Jason R.
Mon, Sep 28, 2020, 5:41am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ship

"That's like saying you'd take the French killing 15 million in the Congo, or the Brits killing hundreds of millions elsewhere, over 6 million slaughtered Jews."

If you can prove Great Britain murdered 100,000,000 people anywhere in its entire history then I will happily concede that they have Japan and Germany beat.
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Mon, Sep 28, 2020, 1:31am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: One

The fatal radiation nonsense is too contrived, but otherwise, it is a nice episode. I agree with Jammer that the fake alien is a bad idea.
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Mon, Sep 28, 2020, 1:21am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Retrospect

Is Kovin’s rifle a Dyson vacuum cleaner?
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Sun, Sep 27, 2020, 8:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: A Night in Sickbay

I honestly can't understand the hatred for this episode. We never really believe that the showrunners intend to kill the dog, which lets us focus on Archer's touching relationship with his dog. The interplay between Archer, Phlox, and T'pol is well-observed, and the sight gags are too numerous to acknowledge. I do have to say that I laughed out loud when I saw Archer with the chainsaw. The whole thing is reminiscent of the demands of Monty Python's Knights of Ni.

Overall, a charming comic interlude that eschews space opera for character drama; it is among the stronger outings thus far.
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Tommy Tutone
Sun, Sep 27, 2020, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

Note: For those who have read Michael Piller's book, the whole point of the book wasn't "My script got ruined by meddling from executives and actors." The point of the book is "This is how a typical script gets made in Hollywood."

I'm not sure if any of Pillar's script ideas would've worked, but eventually they had a deadline to meet and did the best with what they had. There's not much I can say to add that hasn't been said already, from the lame villain and muddled moral dilemma to the inconsistent tone and bland guest stars.

I can sum up the movie in one word: Boring.

And it's a shame that this movie essentially killed the franchise. After doing a movie written and directed by two Trek veterans (Piller and Frakes) which flopped, they went with outsiders for Nemesis which was even worse. RIP TNG
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James G
Sun, Sep 27, 2020, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Man of the People

There are some obvious cliches in this one. I'm not a fan of the mystic voodoo empathic nonsense, but a lot of Trek episodes are plagued by that. Also - this notion of rapid ageing and unageing, quite popular in science-fiction but especially the Star Trek franchise - is very silly. It's doubly silly when you see a woman's hair not only restored to the previous colour but also the previous style, over a few minutes.

But if you can get over all that - it's very watchable.

Many male viewers will have appreciated seeing a somewhat different side of Deanna in this one.

There's a hint of darkness in Beverley's demeanour when she appears to take a small measure of satisfaction from Alkar's death.

I found the story adequately coherent, and there were solid performances all round. After an awful start with part two of the dire mess that is Time's Arrow, another winner for series six.
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Sun, Sep 27, 2020, 12:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Year of Hell, Part I

I used to hate alternative timeline stuff, but then I realized that it was just a way to reset things at the end of the day. Wow isn’t it exacting we beat up the ship with fires and spectacles and get a lot of important regulars killed, except we reset everything at the end by resetting the timeline. It is a modern day Deux ex machina.
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Sun, Sep 27, 2020, 7:07am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Sword of Kahless

Elliot said: "I should have proofread that post. A bit rushed today, sorry. "

I think I beat you to most typos on this page. Sorry for the bad grammar above, this episode had me in a rush to get my thoughts down while the episode was fresh in my mind.
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Sun, Sep 27, 2020, 7:01am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Sword of Kahless

I think this episode's tonal shift, which begins after the sword is discovered, puts people off. This episode starts off as an expansive adventure and then abruptly turns into a claustrophobic two-man show, which can be jarring.

But think if you prepare yourself for this - watch the episode and come back to it some years later - "Sword of Kahless" plays better, and I would tend to lean toward Jammer's positive review of the episode (though I wouldn't call it great), and the user "Truth Be Told", who I think left an interesting review here in 2016.

Some complain that Worf behaves out of character, but there are TOS episodes where Kirk acts a bit out of character too. You just treat them as little standalone allegories. I think you can cut Worf some slack here too.

But I don't think you need to. Worf started becoming a jerk midway in TNG. He turns into a kind of hyper-conservative Klingon traditionalist, believing in various quasi-religious stuff and increasingly obsessed with restoring the Empire to his ideal conception. And so when faced with Kor, a man who brags, who exaggerates everything, who's always drunk, who slays lowly cave rats, who doesn't embody what Worf, a kid who spent his life outside the Empire and idealizes his People, believes A True Klingon Should Be, he naturally lashes out.

Worf doesn't just have a sword, he has the power to choose what the future of the Klingon Empire looks like. He has the power to reshape and redefine his people. And so when seeing that he may be putting a drunken oaf on the throne, I think it's natural that, in his mind - a mind perverted by Klingon superstition and myth and tales of personal honor - he becomes obsessed with putting forth himself as The Ideal Klingon. Who else knows what's best for a nation that one who resents a nation for not being what he envisions it should be?

I thought the second half of this episode had many interesting scenes. I liked the ledge scene, for example, and its ambiguity; was the ledge too small, or was Kor exaggerating yet again? Don't both Klingon's see in the ledge what they want to see?

I also liked Worf's revelation that he intends to bring the sword to the Emperor. I found that quite chilling and deliciously dark. Having always viewed Worf as a bit of a dope, I thought drawing out this twisted side of him worked well.

I thought Jax was excellent throughout. Terry's acting chops aren't the best, but the character's always fun, and I liked seeing her bash Klingon's about.

She also, in this episode, embodies the Federation's role as galactic peacekeeper. She comes across two Alien Factions threatening to kill one another, and solves the problem like some kind of Trekkian King Soloman. Stun both of them with a phaser and throw the sword away: no toys for anybody!

I thought this episode missed a big trick by discussing who might actually be worthy of the sword, leading the Empire, and worthy of the political backing this entails. Who would the Federation as a political body want to install? Who would the Federation give the sword too? If Sisko was on that runabout, he'd probably secretly beam that sword back aboard and then give it to Starfleet Intelligence or Section 31. But the sword is never treated as useful political capital in this episode, it's never discussed tactically by the Feds as something that might be used for the galactic good, or peace.

Part of this is because a very specific type of tale is being told (a parable about the corruption influence of power; "Lord of the Rings" on a microbudget, or a retelling of the John Houston classic, "Treasure of the Sierra Madre"), which is fine, but a more interesting angle would have included the Federation's opinions on the matter. And is it right for the Federation to meddle in this way for the greater good?

That's a future Trek script for you right there; a Federation ship finds the floating sword and debates about how to use it to install a pro-Federation Klingon regime.
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Sun, Sep 27, 2020, 6:07am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Prey

Oh, by the end of the show, I reached the conclusion that Janeway was unfit for command and that the Hirogens were nice guys. I mean they let Voyager go. Or perhaps they thought humans were so dumb and unworthy to be their preys.
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Sun, Sep 27, 2020, 5:59am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Prey

Seven makes far more sense than Janeway in this situation. By the end of the show, I began to wonder how these people lasted so long. It is even more puzzling that the rest of the crew doesn't challenge Janeway while she makes not just one, but a series of real bad decisions over time.

Okay, so this is fantasy TV show, but I still hope for a slim of realism: the universe runs on utterly impersonal mathematical laws without mercy. You are one ship on the run and with a very slim margin of survival.
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Sun, Sep 27, 2020, 5:18am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: And the Children Shall Lead

The first 3 minutes sets the level of this episode - worse than anything ever made with the Star Trek brand.

Kirk and McCoy take a receptacle out of a dead woman' mouth and examine it with....their own noses. Well done geniuses; you just died from the same poison. Except you didn't because this episode is fucking trash.
Fist pumping ginger and that stupid instrument parp made me want to beam into space like a redshirt.
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Tommy D.
Sat, Sep 26, 2020, 11:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

I'm sorry but thats an awful comment not in the spirit of IDIC.
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Peter G.
Sat, Sep 26, 2020, 11:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ship

I guess I should at least quickly bring this back to DS9, because what we're shown isn't merely a clash of cultures like Klingons loving conquest up against egalitarian humans, or even Cardassians thinking they're better than everyone in the degree of their achievements and advances. With the Founders we're dealing with a point of view about life that cannot be explained merely as a result of aggression by their neighbors, whatever they occasionally claim about having been hunted. The Dominion doesn't merely want to bring others to their knees in order to create "breathing room" or to ensure their own protection. Like Walt in Breaking Bad (SPOILERS) they do it because at bottom they just want to. It's not that the Federation is a threat to them, it's that humanoids are like bugs to them, insects to step on. Inasmuch as early Cardassians are portrayed as Nazi-esque and Orwellian, they are actually not quite the real deal in terms of that cultural superiority mentality. Oh, they're in the running, but they do know that Humans are crafty, Klingons good fighters, and all that. But the Founders really believe everyone else is just nothing, to be stamped on, and there is really no way to reason with that. Whatever may have originally caused the Dominion to become expansionist, nothing ever made them develop this idea that the life of one Founder is worth more than the entire Alpha Quadrant. That is entirely on them and (IMO) their lack of awareness. Want to blame a tense atmosphere partly on the Federation? I guess I can buy that. But blaming the Federation for the actual events that take place, which in their pre-history include planets such as we see in The Quickening, no; no one except the Founders is responsible for that.
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Sat, Sep 26, 2020, 11:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

If you watched Disco or Picard and liked them, then this series is 100% your fault. Do you feel ashamed yet?
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Peter G.
Sat, Sep 26, 2020, 11:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ship

@ Trent,

I think you're misconstruing the general tenor of my argument. The point of your recent post is something along the lines of the momentum and ecology of large forces shape adaptations and behavior on a large scale, and can't be ascribed to individual will. I will in fact be a top proponent of this theory of history. I never said that you were wrong about how major powers caused aggressive changes in the Axis powers. I certainly believe that about Germany. What I think Jason R is saying, and what I am definitely saying, is that nothing the allies ever did caused them to resort to such monstrosity that it would take a skilled horror writer to come up with it. Did Versailles make the people angry and want (in so many words) to see the scapegoats hauled down the streets? Maybe so. Did it mentally arm them for a war machine that would leave the enemy dead at their feet? That is easy to accept. It's not easy to accept that the economic vise they were in, coupled with the humiliation of going from winning the Franco-Prussian war to being reduced to a vassal, should then translate into acts that Dracula would shy away from. The popped balloon of Africa may translate into a military explosion, but does not explain the wholesale attempt at a genocide of a people currently irrelevant to the war effort. Now we may say that there are other genocides on record; true enough. What seems to separate the Nazi one is the brutal efficiency - industrially planned - of the genocide, the coldness of it. And what also separates it is the experiments. Which leads us back to the Japanese, who even exceeded the excesses of the Nazis, to the point where Nazi reports back about certain Japanese activities had them saying that, uh, I know we're badass but this is really crazy. You can say all you want about how Japanese militarism was basically inevitable; but there was nothing inevitable (on the side of allied actions) about their atrocities. It's not just about deaths, it's about thinking of the victims as literally not the same species. And unlike the British and French, which may be guilty of plenty (and I am not about to defend the American war efforts of the 20th century), here we're dealing with - in both cases - Master Race mentalities that go further back than the allied interference you mention. Already by the mid-1800's the proto-Nazi movement was afoot, capped up in their victory against France (which they deemed a cultural victory), and even prior to America's actions with Japan there was the idea that all other peoples were inferior. No one made the Germans and Japanese that way, unless you want to trace all things back to, I dunno, the first molecules of the formation of the Earth. But if you're looking for proximate causes, the Americans and British did not cause those mentalities in the Japanese and Germans, and these are the requisite factors in what I'm describing. Not the militarism, which I agree is easy to explain and predictable, but in the other stuff and the excesses. I think if you read detailed accounts you'll see that this was like nothing the British or later Americans were doing.
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Sat, Sep 26, 2020, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ship

Jason R said: "I think I will take the British Empire over the Nazis particularly speaking as a Jew but we will have to agree to disagree buddy."

That's like saying you'd take the French killing 15 million in the Congo, or the Brits killing hundreds of millions elsewhere, over 6 million slaughtered Jews.

Regardless, my point was that you can't make that choice. The Empire's were inextricably bound, and the entrenchment of the successful Empires over long periods of time (the British Empire controlled a quarter of all land on Earth at this point) influenced the logic and brutality of Imperial Germany in a condensed period of time. Each influenced the behaviors of the other. Protracted violence breeds explosive counter violence. In this regard the historian Adam Tooze once described Imperial Germany as a balloon trying to expand into Africa. It gets barred from expanding, gets squeezed back upwards and explodes against its neighbors.

Peter said: "what the Nazis did was so unbelievable to the allies that they literally did not imagine it was going on"

Why would you expect the Allies, who couldn't imagine the crimes committed in their own colonies, in their own names, whose citizens had no idea of the blood spilled to produce their sugar, coffee and silk, to conceive of Hitler's crimes?

History teaches us a big lesson about human psychology. Cycles of violence don't happen because people fail to learn from history, rather, people repress history because they perpetuate cycles of violence. Behavior tends to precede belief, belief tends to be a post hoc rationalization of what you already do, and both limit what you allow yourself to know.

Peter said: "and a view of accepted values as they shifted between the early 1800's and the mid 1900's."

You seem to be arguing that "Germany's Imperialism is worse" because it "occurred at a time when everyone knew Imperialism was bad". I was arguing, however, that it is hypocritical to condemn Germany's Imperialism and not the Imperialism which preceded it, and which it was reacting against, and it is dangerous to offer "more Imperialism" as the solution to the Imperialists we don't like.

Regardless, the Allies did not really "shift their values". In the mid 1950s in Kenya, for example, well after Hitler's camps were exposed, the Brits put the entire civilian population in "work camps"; one and a half million people locked up and surrounded by troops. Meanwhile, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the French were massacring one and a half million in Algeria, and displacing about 2 million. And of course then there's America's record.

So the idea that the Allies were "bad in the 1800s", but "changed their ways", "became forces of good", "defeated the nasty Hitler" and "continued being good" is silly. They seemed good 'cos they had nothing more to conquer. They reverted to type when those they conquered tried to break free.

Peter said: "but NO ONE could have made them what they were other than themselves."

IMO like James you're ascribing a kind of autonomy and free-will to people and nations that doesn't exist in the real world.

Japan was highly cloistered and isolationist from about the 1600s to the 1850s. They minded their own business. The Americans rolled up with gunboats and soldiers and forcibly opened it up for trade. They installed a central bank, debt based currencies, a bureaucratic class, signed trade treaties, opened up ports and kick-started severe reforms. Only then did Japan have its industrial revolution, and in the space of a generation become super Westernized. Feudal workers turned into wage laborers.

The rapid social and cultural changes caused by this - a rapid transition from feudalism to capitalism, subsistence crops to export goods, traditional roles and customs obliterated by a new economy - caused a big backlash. This directly led to the "Showa Restoration" of the 1890s, a kind of hyper-conservative, hyper-nationalist movement which stressed Tradition (Trump in a kimono). All social ills were blamed on the West. Americans were deemed a corrupting parasite. Then a major Great Depression hit, Japan's debts piled up (mass banking collapses in the 20s), and it had no markets to expand into (the big Empires placed trade strictures, barred it from trade deals with China etc). Because its market had been transformed - once self sufficient, now reliant on imports of raw materials that now never came - it started to suffer. Then in the mid 1920s the US made it sign treaties limiting its military power - which the Japanese viewed as an insult and attack, like the Germans and Versailles - and American expansion began to ramp up in the Asia-Pacific, coinciding with increasingly stricter sanctions.

So like Germany you had a country feeling surrounded, feeling dictated to, feeling torn from its past, impoverished, locked into a grow-or-die economy that struggled to access even its nearest markets, and turning to a hyper-nationalistic leader or ideology. The Japanese didn't choose these conditions.

Now you can say Germany and Japan "choose militarism" instead of shrinking back down and kowtowing to the bigger fish. Sure. But the point of this discussion is that nobody ever asks the bigger fish to do the same; to act more like the Federation. And in DS9, even the Federation doesn't first act like the Federation.
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Sat, Sep 26, 2020, 8:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Assignment

I thought "The Assignment" was an excellent episode, and the most fun and briskly paced episode since the season's premiere.

I think it helps if you view the episode as a trashy 1980s Brian De Palma psycho-thriller, or one of those cheesy early 90s Hollywood potboilers about crazy wives. It's pure bombastic schlock and knows it.

And so Keiko arrives on DS9 and IMMEDIATELY REVEALS SHE IS AN ALIEN DEMON!!! Any other Trek episode would slowly drop hints and draw this out, but no, "The Assignment" leaps straight into absolutely over-the-top mayhem, the possessed Keiko falling to the deck and foaming at the mouth.

She then quickly gives Miles an ultimatum - "Do as I say or I kill myself and so your wife!" - and we're off. The episode spends the next 40 minutes watching as poor Miles is tortured yet again. The alien threatens him, threatens his wife and even their innocent little daughter. It's so devilishly twisted, so proudly ridiculous. And I enjoyed reading on Memory Alpha that the writers dubbed this another "Miles Must Suffer!" episode; DS9 created it's own Trek subgenre dedicated to abusing poor Miles.

The direction is taut and tight by DS9 standards, and Miles is given one very good scene after the other. Rosalind Chao's acting as Keiko's is a revelation, and this episode arguably contains her best acting in the franchise.

As a bonus, the episode contains a touching subplot involving Rom. One of DS9's more interesting arcs continues here, Rom revealed to be a gifted engineer and promising Starfleet officer. Of all DS9's subversive jabs at TNG, its handling of the Ferrengi probably worked out best; DS9 sympathizes with the big-earred aliens and turns most of its key Ferrengi into characters loyal to Starfleet. In this regard, I thought the parallels between Miles devotion to Keiko, and Rom's devotion to Miles, were touching.

I would say the episode has three flaws. Firstly, a brief but goofy scene where Miles knocks out Odo, and secondly, the resolution in which the villain is hastily dispatched by lightning. Luckily the episode is so brisk, these silly bits fly past fast. The more lingering problem is the nature of the episode's villain: she's a Pah-Wraith from the Firecaves of Bajor. That's a can of worms that should have never been unlocked, and it's unlocked here.
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Sat, Sep 26, 2020, 8:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Riddles

To clarify slightly, it’s possible Tuvok fully remembers his experiences as Tuvix deeply misses them, and wished Janeway hadn’t separated Tuvix. He sure as hell wouldn’t bring it up in his normal state of mind, but he definitely would in this state.

Aside from the potential murder angle, Tuvok might believe that she took something from him and deeply hurt him. Given that he would be “fixed” by the end of the episode, Janeway would remain saddled with this knowledge. It would be similar to the (not bad) actual ending, with Neelix wondering if Tuvok still liked him, but quite a bit thornier.
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Gail Jaitin
Sat, Sep 26, 2020, 6:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Anomaly

The special effects and action sequences of this episode were surprisingly well done, but I wish Bakula's portrayal of Archer were a little more nuanced. He's either all GeeWhizIsn'tSpaceGreat?! or ANGRY!Archer. There seems to be nothing in between, and I wish the change had been more gradual and not so sudden. That would have made it more believable.

This is a very different show from seasons 1 and 2.
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Peter G.
Sat, Sep 26, 2020, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ship

The comparison between GB/USA and Nazi Germany is so odious that a simple reductio ad absurdum is in order: what the Nazis did was so unbelievable to the allies that they literally did not imagine it was going on. And as Han Solo put it, they could imagine a lot. The very fact that they couldn't conceive the the barbarity and conditions the Nazis created is proof enough that they did not ever use methods like this. That should be enough for that argument.

If you are trying to create an equivalence in damage done over time, etc etc, this requires a broader view of history, a definition of what "damage" is, and a view of accepted values as they shifted between the early 1800's and the mid 1900's. Citing old British Imperialism in comparison to acts committed after the advent of TV is just crazy.

I'll address one particular in the flurry of statements. Trent said:

" The Japanese wouldn't have become techno-fascists if not for the forced market reforms of the Americans."

Don't know if you know much about Japanese society now, or how it was in the 1800's, and I am by no means highly knowledgeable in it myself, but NO ONE could have made them what they were other than themselves. They were utterly isolated and unique leading up to the opening of the technological and cultural floodgates, and what happened after that was not forced on them. No one 'caused them' to become, during WWII, a military culture that made the Nazis look gentle in comparison. That they did all on their own.
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Sat, Sep 26, 2020, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ship

Yeah I'm somewhat with Jason here. The Nazi totalitarianism was way worse than GB or the USA. Sure empires were killing millions left and right but Nazi Germany was doing things on a whole different level.
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James G
Sat, Sep 26, 2020, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Realm of Fear

I do like a Reg story, and I really enjoyed this one. The techno-nonsense aspect of the plot is really just a vehicle for the main plot trajectory of Reg being neurotic, conquering his fear, then solving the puzzle and saving lives - and I think it works really well. Dwight Schultz is a very effective performer in this role.

Of course there are problems with it. Deanna doesn't seem to have her empathic abilities in this one; she comes across as having no more insight than a human. How could Reg keep what he describes as "mortal terror" from her? She even asks "is there something you're not telling me?"

And how can you be sentient enough to recognise bizarre space creatures while your brain molecules are being dispersed?

Reg's hair style is more or less a combover. Surely if you're sufficiently bothered about being bald, there must be some sort of cheap and easy hair transplant technique by the 24th Century?

I was interested that the dead burns victim was shown so graphically; surprising for family TV in the early '90s, or even now.

Anyway, very good. After an awful start, this episode gives me hope for the sixth series.
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