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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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Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 10:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Mind's Eye

(addendum: I do appreciate the fact that some time is devoted to the psychological consequences though)
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Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 10:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Mind's Eye

This was intense, and the last scene is definitely a standout. I get the impression Geordi's not gonna get his own equivalent of Family to recover like Picard did though.

I gotta admit, though, I was amused by the simulated "kill O'Brien" scene, where brainwashed Geordi sits down to have a drink and casually moves aside O'Brien's dead body in the process...!
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Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 8:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Trials and Tribble-ations

" there is no such thing as female sexual liberation in capitalist society,"

This is utter nonsense. Capitalism implies people control their own lives, not others. The further away you move from that, the further EVERYONE is from liberation of any kind.
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Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 7:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Body and Soul

Loved it. loved it. loved it!

This may be among the best episodes all-time of all shows.

The look the Doctor gave Seven in the final seconds....priceless!
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Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 7:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Half a Life

This one seems to split opinion, huh? I enjoyed it, personally. A Lwaxana episode I *liked*, rather than one that made me mutter "oh lord kill me now" every two seconds (Menage a Troi being the worst of those IMO). There's a lot of her usual self on display for the first half, so I appreciate that she calms down and becomes more thoughtful for the second. It's a relief to finally see her be more than one-dimensional.

Aside from the clear theme of how elderly people are (mis)treated by their society, hardly mentioned in this thread is the discussion of how difficult it is to change or even challenge long-standing traditions and beliefs -- painfully difficult for Timicin and seemingly impossible for everyone else on his planet. It's a poignant, well-acted piece. Excellent work from a great actor.

There's an inherent frustration here: Timicin's planet would rather have him die than allow him to continue saving his planet -- something he's on the brink of managing to do. But there's also a sad acknowledgement that the circumstances make his success impossible. If he survives, his only possible fate is to be blocked from access to his work and live out the rest of his days lightyears from home, while leaving his planet to die. To be able to survive and remain on speaking terms with his planet would require years of social change -- years that can't be suppressed into the few days he has remaining. It's a lament on how we often need more time than we have: society still fails many different groups of people, and many of those suffering die long before the changes that might have had them survive.

In that respect, dying a dignified death surrounded by friends and family really is the best plausible outcome for Timicin. He'd been prepared for it all his life, even if those last few days shook his faith. I'm not against euthanasia -- people should be able to choose their own death and prepare for it accordingly, rather than being left in the constant uncertainty of not knowing which day will be their last, or what state they might be in when they die. I personally know people who wish that -- when the time comes -- they'd be able to plan their own death, for their own sake. It wouldn't be for me, though. So I can see something appealing about the concept of the Resolution, at least the event of it -- but having it forced upon you at a defined date, with no option to choose otherwise, is unconscionable.
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Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 5:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Prime Factors


You seriously need to give this ep a second chance -- I think it's phenomenal. Really picks up around the mid-way point and just gets everything right (including Gath).

One of the very rare 4-star VOY episodes for me.

Also think Yvonne Suhor who played the girl that showed Kim the transportation device is one of the prettiest in all of Trek. Really tragic she died at just 56.
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Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 4:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Prime Factors

Wow, I need to give this ep a second chance. Last time I attempted to watch Voyager was in between either Stargate, Farscape, or DS9 and I didn't get very far in the series, however I got to this episode, watched enough that I remembered what happened, and skipped it. Really, really disliked the lead alien - it was bad enough they he was creepy but I got the impression he was almost trying to force them to stay (the kind of character I wouldn't have been surprised if he sabotaged the ship to stop them leaving) and I just couldn't make it through the episode, so in my proper rewatch this time skipped it again. I'll have to come back to it when I can cope with Gath a bit better, and try to see the episode beyond him.
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Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 4:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Phage

"It's just beyond silly to think a disease that eats their cellular structures physically can be overcome by grafting harvested organs from aliens. Yikes. Total turn off."

It's not overcome, they have to keep replacing organs as the Phage attacks them - I thought that was the point? As for how the species survived, it's clear they even harvest skin (or so I thought from the patchwork grafts, unless that's the remnants of their skin instead?) so surely they just kept replacing every organ system as it fails.

The stored organs could have been spare from when they harvested from corpses.

Janeway made the moral choice, but she should have decided to hold them on principle until a resolution to Neelix' situation was found - she would have shown there would be at least some consequences rather than just allowing them to go free.
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Lars Tarkas
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 2:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Patterns of Force

Actually, it's not so unusual for Jewish actors to play Nazis. The actors who played Colonel Klink, Sergeant Shultz, General Burkhalter and Major Hoffstader on Hogan's Heroes were Jewish. There have been a great many Jewish actors who have played Nazis in order to mock them, or to remind people that Nazis are bad. It seems like the most obvious thing in the world that Nazis are bad, but unfortunately, people seem to need to be reminded of this every now and then.
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James G
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 12:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Hunted

Not a big fan of this one. The plot takes a few liberties. How did Danar come to have such expert knowledge of Starfleet technology, even knowing how to power a transporter with a phaser? The hide & seek part of the story is overlong. The whole thing is reminiscent of '60s sci-fi, with stunt doubles engaging in punch-ups (Mission Impossible, Land of the Giants, and (yes) Star Trek).

Danar is just a bit too unconvincingly invincible. He leaves trails of unconscious security personnel in his wake, like an alien Jack Bauer. Despite this he looks more like a geography teacher, though he acts well.

Still - not bad. I was entertained but it's not a classic.
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Jason R.
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 11:36am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Future's End, Part II

Sebastian, the ship certainly had a computer of its own, likely one capable of pretty well telling him how to do all those things. I didn't presume he reverse engineered all those things - he just asked the computer to do it for him.

Frankly, given the premise of a ship from the 29th century in the Trek universe, it's plainly unrealistic that he wasn't able to accomplish *more* with what he had.
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John Paul
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 9:23am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Let He Who Is Without Sin...

Not a good episode but the Essentialists are absolutely right and if I were unlucky enough to live in the 24th century (though it's already pretty unlucky being born in the late 20th UK, rather than the 2nd century BC Rome or 17th century France ) I'd certainly join them.
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Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 9:00am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Trials and Tribble-ations

Love this episode, but noticed something in the comments from the posters Mad and Paul Allen. Of course you're so concerned about *slut shaming*, or maybe you get your rocks off on the idea of sexed women unrealistically drooling over men. As a feminist, let me let you in on a secret, there is no such thing as female sexual liberation in capitalist society, it's a way that men reframe treating us like pieces of meat, sexual objects, by pretending that it is liberating instead of humiliating, and it's a lie that many women convince themselves of to cope with the constant degradation of being viewed sexually by men.
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Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 5:57am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Future's End, Part II

The main plot lives off the idea that a 20th century guy/hippie can reconstruct 29th century technology superior to 24th century technology within the confines of the 20th SL century. Just by examining the ship, he (alone or with an invisible army of scientists), Over the course of 1-2 decades, can build transporter tech, force fields, scanning jammers, hack into Voyager from an Earth computer, etc. Why even the best of Starfleet's engineers in the 24th century need years of study to build on 24th century knowledge, this guy learns it all from a crashed 29th century 1-person ship.
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 10:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

I love how the pacing's done here. The investigations reach full throttle in practically the last five minutes of the episode, and it's the very force of Satie's blind passion that brings them to a halt.

It's established that the explosion was an accident early on, and so the tension of the episode is not in whether Tarses is guilty, but in how Satie -- in such a position of power, and determination to use it -- can be stopped. It's a relief that the crew of the Enterprise are clear enough of mind to see through her in the end, and do not get further caught up in her viciousness for its own sake. Forcefulness and strong stances, whether substantiated or not, can be terrifyingly persuasive.

Also I have to say I was mildly amused by the extent of Admiral Thomas Henry's role in this episode: to sit in a chair, and then leave the room. Is that all you have to do as an admiral? Sign me up!
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 9:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Regeneration

Kick. Ass.

- Loved the sense of creeping dread in the first act, as we know from the first minute that these researchers are dead meat.
- Loved that Admiral Forrest showed up, even as a cameo. He and Admiral Ross are in a perpetual dead heat for Trek’s best admiral.
- Loved the thought of a possibly drunk Zefram Cochrane going on a conspiratorial rant about cybernetic creatures from the future at a *college commencement speech*. LOL.
- Loved John Billingsley, who played the body horror aspects of assimilation perfectly and gave a great sense of tension to all his scenes.
- Loved the direction, music, effects, everything technical.
- Loved the idea that when Q threw the Enterprise-D into the path of the Borg cube in “Q Who?” he knew that the Borg invasion was already coming. So he was both teaching an abstract lesson about the dangers of the unknown AND likely saving humanity from annihilation by giving us a heads up.

As commenters above have said, what makes this one of the best Borg episodes is that it strips them down to their basics. No cubes, no Queen, not even the word Borg, just mindless drones advancing ever forward at a sinister walking pace. One of my favorite Enterprise episodes and an easy 4 stars.
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 8:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: Return of the Anykey

Ditto on all above. Another Lefty - I swear by mine, in use everyday continuously since windows for workgroups came out. Never touched, special ordered with "Safeskin" cover installed. Now the 4th one is wearing through & I can no longer find a replacement. I will never understand how others can live without the diagonal arrow keys, an editors blessing. I use mine through a Belkin KVM.
I can think of no other device that has had that kind of longevity since the copper phase-out obsoleted my Practical Peripherals PMT144 modem half a decade ago.
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Top Hat
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 8:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: I, Borg

Whether Hugh is a "born" or "assimilated" Borg seems to have little consequence thematically -- if it's the former, he's analogous to a person born into a cult.
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 8:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: I, Borg

Hello Everyone!

My thought was if, for example, the Borg assimilated an entire planet or species, some of the ladies would be with child. The maturation chambers would then be used to bring up the children.

Oh, and they'd assimilate children as well, down to the wee bairns.

I don't figure they'd bother with making their own babies, unless they were stranded without enough drones, or something...

Regards... RT
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 5:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

Booming, that's fine. Incidentally, I don't think the women's role comparisons to DS9 and VOY are really that insightful because it's kind of like saying "The Cosby Show was no where near as progressive as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air which showed black people in even more successful and respectable jobs." First maybe we should ask if DS9 could've even gotten on the air if TNG wasn't as successful with its progressive views.


Auto-correct. I post on mobile sometimes and it makes my already clumsy spelling worse. :*(
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 5:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

@ William B.
That one gets it. :)

@ Omicron
Sorry, too tired to react in the way your comment deserves.

"whether you're just arguing for the sake of arguing to elevate your boredom."
It's not boredom. It is worry.
This is a nice diversion and I appreciate the input of most people here. I really do and I hope none of this comes off as condescending.

"It’s fine that you think Crusher’s bland, but *the show* does presents her as intelligent and capable in more ways than just motherhood. "
That is why I at this point am able to say that I always say that TNG was fairly ahead of it's time but not much more. ;)
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William B
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 4:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

I hope I'm not being a busybody, but I think Booming meant those "more debate, silly!" "will this madness never end" with emoticons comments in a tongue in cheek, "It's fun to talk about this" kind of way, OTDP, which is to say I think it's not meant to be aggressive or insulting. Not that you have to agree with Booming's arguments or conclusions, of course.
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 4:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Inside Man

I am with some who felt the ending was somewhat unsatisfying.
For example, I like my characters in a story to have any hoax, deceptions, or naughty things done to them explained and cleared up at the end.
Nor do I like loose ends not covered in some way. I suppose we can always use the rule of assumptions to cover such things but if there are too many holes...the story gets too piecemmeally (is that a word?). Gotta check on that.

Not too bad. it had some good moments. Seven is so gorgeous!
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