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$G
Sun, Nov 23, 2014, 9:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Heart of Glory

Reasonable and competent. This is an all right episode that introduces us to a slice of 24th-century Klingon culture. It also (kind of) works as a real introduction to Worf, who has otherwise been a speaking extra up to this point. I think the three other Klingons in this episode did a solid job - more believable than the average meathead Klingons that show up in later TNG and DS9.

One point already raised by William B is that the other Klingons tend to have more lines than Worf. While the character now has something like 11 seasons of development under his belt, I can see how Worf would have felt a bit distant in 1988 even after the airing of this episode. A notable moment comes at the end when the bridge crew seem to not be able to figure Worf out. Interesting (or out-of-character?) considering Remmick described that Enterprise crew as family at the end of the previous episode.

I haven't seen this one in a long, LONG time. It's one of the episodes I used to re-watch a lot on VHS when I was a young'un. When the episode started, I thought I'd misremembered the episode title because the rescue on the freighter took such a large portion of the episode. It's neat how they managed to fit in some Geordi moments (with the visor camera) but ultimately I wish a few of those minutes could have gone towards the Klingon story.

Anyway, this is a pretty decent one. It has some of the standard S1 problems of being a bit stilted, but unlike most of the rest of the first 25 episodes it's paced and written reasonably well. I want to agree with the 3 star assessment, but I don't want to recommend on that big of a curve. It's one of the better S1 outings but I think it plays more like a 2-1/2 star show. I recommend it nonetheless.
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$G
Tue, Nov 18, 2014, 11:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Lonely Among Us

Terrible, but not completely without some interesting moments. The first 20 minutes or so aren't utterly unwatchable, and the bits with the senior staff discussing relieving Picard of command is interesting.

Other than that, the energy cloud, body snatching, and immature delegates are all elements that - on their own - would drive a terrible episode of Trek. Together, they ultimately have nothing going for them and even interfere with each other. What was the point of the two rival races? Comic relief? Good lord. It's not even the camp factor that sinks this one - it's the utter incompetence of the writing. There's no reason for this show to be THIS bad. 1-1/2 stars, and I'm probably being generous.

So, no, "Lonely" isn't utterly unwatchable. But that's only because it's surrounded by some absolute trash by comparison. "The Naked Now", "The Last Outpost", and "Code of Honor" come before it while "Justice" comes right after. All four are legit contenders for the worst episode of TNG and would rightfully be at the bottom of probably the whole franchise.
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$G
Mon, Nov 3, 2014, 9:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: The Changing Face of Evil

I forgot to mention my favourite little moment in this one in the above post:

That little sneer of disgust that passes over Dukat's face before he wakes up Winn at her desk. So good. Was it in the script? A great touch by Alaimo, if not.
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$G
Mon, Nov 3, 2014, 9:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: The Changing Face of Evil

This one is very, very strong. A perfect payoff of the previous three episodes.

Even though this is the much-vaunted "9-part" finale arc, I see "Penumbra" through to "Changing Face" as the first, 4-part act. This episode is very, very satisfying and pays off each story well (Damar-Weyoun, Sisko-Kasidy, Worf-Ezri, and Winn-Dukat). The ending sequence with Damar's announcement is very well done and the destruction of the Defiant hits pretty dang hard. The stakes have gone up significantly since the introduction of the Breen alliance. Yes, they're clearly the cheesiest performers on the set at any given time, but their presence impacts the heroes AND the villains in such a fundamental way that makes arguably the most *pivotal* twist in the whole series. Some fans want to know more about them, but I think they quietly fill their role and are handled perfectly (and the bit about their planet not actually being cold is fitting and hilarious).

If there's a weak spot to be found at all in these first four episodes, it's probably the Winn-Dukat stuff. Don't get me wrong, it's well performed and sensibly written. I just can't shake a feeling of dissatisfaction with it, though. I love that Winn is getting a chance to have her own final, nasty arc in the series. But I'm just not all that huge on the pah wraiths. Everything else is so much more interesting. Oh, and the drops of blood scene made me roll my eyes a bit. Not a good thing when the rest of the hour had me on the edge of the seat.

3-1/2 stars. Almost a 4, but not quite. Quality from beginning to end, and an amazing wrap up of the first act of the arc while kick-starting the next.
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$G
Mon, Nov 3, 2014, 9:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Strange Bedfellows

Another strong hour. Jammer covers it pretty well, I think.

Though I completely agree on the final line by Winn about "dead leaves being swept away" (or some such). Corny as hell, and a little bit out of character. I know Winn is as much of a snake as Dukat, but that line might as well have been written "muahahahaha". It felt completely incongruous to the rest of the episode.

Memory Alpha says this, which may explain it:

"During the composition of this episode, Ron Moore's wife went into labor a month earlier than expected, and Moore had to take a week off. This threw the writing schedule into chaos, and forced Ira Behr and Hans Beimler (who were working on "The Changing Face of Evil") and René Echevarria (who was working on "Penumbra") to abandon their own episodes and complete the writing of this one. As Behr says, 'It got very hectic.'"

One of my favourite moments from this one is the introduction of "Septimus III". It starts off with Damar talking to Weyoun about getting reinforcements there to fend off the Klingons. Damar - the villain - murderer on-screen of an innocent girl - is now sympathetic to the audience in his concern for the lives of his countrymen (who, by the way, have been more or less villains from the beginning). The scene transitions and Martok - a good guy - is proclaiming success on the Septimus III maneuvers, a victory for our heroes. Yet, somehow, I just felt bitter towards it all. Brilliant writing. One of the best sequences in the whole series, encapsulating the cliched 'shades of grey' compliment everyone throws at the show. Completely earned and beautifully done.

What else to say? The tension in this one remains at a nice simmer the whole time. High end of 3 stars. A quality hour.
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$G
Sat, Nov 1, 2014, 2:45am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: 'Til Death Do Us Part

What's neat about the Final Chapter arc vs. the Occupation arc is how much more of a slowburn it is. This is because how many seemingly unrelated threads are going on. In the Occupation arc, nearly everything that happened involved angst over DS9 as a location. Our heroes wanted to take it back and the baddies wanted to hold their position. The Final Chapter, however, is cleaning up character relationships, wartime politics, etc. It's not focused on any single element of the show, so it needs time to simmer.

"'Til Death" is a stronger episode than "Penumbra". One reason being that it has quite a bit more tension. When Sarah interrupted Sisko's vows, it might be the most anxiety I've felt during a wedding scene. Sisko's decision to say "I do" - just the look on his face as he tries to keep from destroying the moment for Kasidy - is genuinely moving.

Is it a little surprising that Sisko would willingly "defy" the Prophets' warnings again? A bit, yeah. But this episode really sells how tough that decision is for Sisko. I imagine it's difficult to allow vague warnings (no matter how reliable the source) to dictate your whole life, especially when it involves breaking the heart of your fiancee.

Another reason why this ep is a solid entry is the Breen twist. It's a great way to up the stakes of the War one last time (seriously, how many elements are at play in this war? Think about it - there are probably more than you can name). It's also a neat bit of continuity if you remember the Breen prisoner from "By Inferno's Light". The Dominion were working on convincing/tricking the Breen to join way back then, too! Scary.

I really like the title of this episode. The obvious reference is to Sisko-Kasidy, but there's also Ezri-Worf. While their conflict isn't exactly the most compelling stuff DS9 has done (not terrible either, but... there) the undercurrent of Worf being unable to let go of his semi-reincarnated wife is... sad. The vow is being played out in sci-fi literalness here, a relationship severed by the death of a spouse. Worf is having some understandable difficulty realizing that the parting is and should be permanent.

Winn is also treated well in this one. Chalk up another supporting character storyline that I didn't know I wanted to see! It's nice to see Sisko's two rivals teaming up like this. It's wonderfully pathetic.

Nothing in this episode is *wonderful* but it's all entertaining and offers some nice payoffs. High end of 3 stars for me.
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$G
Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 9:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Penumbra

This is a reasonable stepping stone episode. It's more about setting up questions for the last stretch of shows, but it does so well enough. The nicest moments involve Sisko and his plans to get married, asking Jake to be his best man, etc.

The Damar and Weyoun bickering is nicely reintroduced, as is the disease in the Great Link.

When Dukat showed up, I couldn't help but think, "I forgot you're still around". It's always nice to see Alaimo back, but I still can't shake the feeling that his character is now so far removed from the meat of the series.

The Ezri/Worf stuff is fine. Jammer's bang-on about how it really is a lot of break up-and-reconnecting cliches. I wished we'd have gotten something a bit more... weighty? It's nice to see Ezri call out Worf for never being around, but it doesn't seem like it's going much farther than that.

Like I said, it's a reasonable show with some good character moments. Hard to judge on its own, but it's a fairly well done hour. 3 stars, I guess.
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$G
Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 1:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges

Excellent hour. It slides in a notch under "In the Pale Moonlight" but only because that episode's frame narrative was so compelling. I agree with everything Jammer says (except that the plot may be too complex for its own good). I never even considered that Sisko would have been aware of the plot, but given what we already know, it's not an unsupported conclusion.

Things that are awesome:

-Every beat of the episode works and builds into a legitimately high stakes mystery. (I especially enjoyed the call-back to "The Quickening". It's not a big deal, but continuity always makes a series that much more realistic.)

-The episode is necessary in that it shows DS9 is a show that recognizes the precariousness of political alliances. It's been going on the entire series, and it takes care not to suggest everything will be resolved just because the good guys (inevitably) are victorious. This episode suggests its own future without being able to explore it, and I think that's a pretty effective device. The Wire's (excellent) finale is an example of this, too.

-I love the sobering portrayal of the Federation trying to hold itself together in a region of political upheaval, which is a legitimate question to pose when one is working with a future utopia. "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost" effectively utilized the "rogue admiral" cliche, but it's done even more effectively because, A), we already know Ross to be a reasonable man, and, B), his rationale is completely understandable given the last two seasons of war and especially episodes like "AR-558". It was a smart move to only have Ross collude with Sloan rather than be a part of Section 31 completely.

-Even though I've seen this show in its entirety, I forgot that Admiral Ross gets this much development in S7. I've made comments on other S7 episodes that this season is the year of the secondary characters. I forgot how true that continues to be. As much as I miss the routine of our main cast doing their jobs every week, it just goes to show how big and unpredictable DS9 has become. The canvas just keeps widening.

This episode has one flaw, I think, though it's pretty minor and really pretty subjective: the new actress playing Cretak. She's actually really quite good, but the new face kind of weakens the punch that this is the same (reasonable and likable) woman we know from "Shadows and Symbols". She works perfectly within the story but, y'know, that visual continuity just isn't there.

Other than that, this is not only an easy 4-star episode but it's a top 10 episode of the series. Essential. Do not skip.
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$G
Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 12:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

I found Sisko's objection interesting and I think it would have made a pretty good episode all on its own. (That is, period-piece entertainment and whether or not the entertainment can be divorced from problematic inspirations). The episode doesn't go anywhere with it, really. But I also think not having Sisko say anything would have been out of character. Not only is Sisko a history buff, but he personally visited a rough period in the 21st century ("Past Tense") AND experienced first-hand the pre-civil rights prejudice through Benny Russell.

Anyway, I still think this is a fun episode. A lot of people tend not to like this one, but I don't know why. Its closest sibling episode is "Our Man Bashir", which everyone drools over, even though "Badda-Bing" is way, WAY better. The plot doesn't needlessly threaten anyone (except Vic) and plays out creatively, showing off the plan beforehand so that each setback has stakes and purpose when it DOES play out. "Our Man Bashir" basically just used each character for the sake of seeing the actors in cliched roles, which got old for me.

You know what might have made this episode a bit cooler? If the mob takeover of Vic's was foreshadowed beforehand instead of just popping up in the programming. Since Nog made it so Vic can live a "real", uninterrupted existence it would have been neat to see Vic deal with inevitable problems raised by that. Of course, that would be giving way too much screentime to Vic, really for the only purpose of paying off a holosuite heist episode. Ah well.

3 stars for me. This is a legitimately enjoyable episode. Weird that S7 has more holosuite episodes than the rest of the series combined (I think). Weirder is that I think they're all successful!
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$G
Mon, Oct 27, 2014, 12:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Chimera

"Racism" is a loaded term, and maybe doesn't merit use given the variety of different aliens on the show. I can go without the word.

But I disagree with Laas looking at solids as the same thing as us looking at fish. There's very clearly a narrow-minded prejudice at work. Humanoids have vastly different opinions and motivations in vast numbers of combinations, and Laas is comfortable making galaxy-sized generalizations about them.

Changelings may be completely unique in their physical abilities, but I've yet to see one whose intellect is clearly beyond that of our heroes. The difference in physiology is much wider than the difference (if there is any) in cognition and rational capacities. Not even close to people vs. fish. While maybe not racism as we define it today, I'd argue Laas' opinions are driven by the same sorts of prejudice.
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$G
Sun, Oct 26, 2014, 11:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Chimera

I'll get it out of the way quick:

The only thing that holds this episode back from being a 4-star for me are the murder and jailbreak bits. There's nothing wrong with them, but we've seen jailbreak several times on the show and I kind of wish we'd have had more scenes with Laas and Odo without a race-against-the-clock element, small though it may be.

Other than that, this is a very well written and performed episode.

Since there's so much to mention, I'll just break down a few things:

-Wicked shapeshifting. A poorer episode would simply have Laas harping about Odo's mediocrity without really putting his money where his mouth is, but within the first minute of the show it's clear the difference between the two. Here's Odo worrying about bringing little rocks and sweets back to his girlfriend (with O'Brien whining about yet another marital gaffe) while Laas is exploring the galaxy as a space dolphin.

-The episode doesn't take a stance on either Laas or Odo's lifestyles. It's all about choices - which is what makes it all the more moving. There's nothing WRONG with Laas' life. In fact, it's incredible. Odo doesn't turn away because he finds a flaw in Laas' plan, or Laas turns out to be violent or some such generic twist like that. No, Odo stands in the face of one of his people - specifically one who ISN'T waging war on the solids - and still turns him down.

-I don't want to damn the show with too much faint praise (because it deserves for-real praise!), but I liked the scene with Laas meeting Odo's friends. They were amiable, but they didn't become saints in the face of Laas' racism by trying to win him over with tolerance. They apologized for any previous misunderstandings and then understandably called him out when he insisted on being racist still.

-I didn't appreciate it when I was a teenager, but Odo and Kira are really nice together. I took issue with how they paired up in "His Way" but here it's very sweet. There's something about the way Odo tells Kira he loves her, too (notice she doesn't reciprocate, which would feel forced at this point).

-Jammer makes the point that he thinks Quark's "genetic" point is slightly off, but I take his lines to mean that humanoids still psychologically fear that which is different (two legs, two arms, etc., which is mentioned by both Laas *and* Quark, as a matter of fact). Prejudices develop but there's still survival instinct that makes humanoids anxious around something so clearly alien. I can see why some may interpret the line differently, though.

There's a lot more to say, but I think everyone's already been chatting about the good stuff!

3-1/2 stars from me. Just under four, but not by much. This one is essential. Totally recommended. It's sad knowing that this is the second last serious "regular" episode of the series. The final arc is great IIRC, but I'm going to miss the low stakes day-in-the-life hours...
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$G
Sun, Oct 26, 2014, 7:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Field of Fire

Just watched this one. It worked, I suppose, but I didn't find it all that compelling either as a mystery or as an(other) Ezri episode. Not sure we need more of her at this point anyway.

I'm with Jammer in that I thought Joran had only killed his teacher, not two others. In "Facets" Joran was played as a crazy man, so I guess with this episode the Crazy-Joran evidence outnumbers the Eccentric-Joran from "Equilibrium".

I wasn't big on the episode's solution either. The jump to determining the killer was Vulcan seemed contrived in that This-Alien-Race-Represents-This kind of way. Painfully obvious but ultimately nothing is even done with it outside of TV show motivations. And why did that ensign hit Ezri? Isn't it better to just go with Odo and let them find you innocent (which they do) instead of risking court martial by striking another officer? They aren't on Cardassia ffs. Ugh.

I did like the scene on the darkened promenade with Worf and Ezri. He seems protective in a way. Some could read it as creepy but I think we know Worf well enough that that isn't the case.

2-1/2 stars. The extra star being there just because it's all forgettable rather than terrible. I don't recommend this one but I won't actively suggest skipping it, either.
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$G
Sat, Oct 25, 2014, 7:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: The Emperor's New Cloak

Terrible from beginning to end. Not a single redeemable moment. This doesn't have any of the charm previous MU episodes had. Everyone is just a colossal moron, especially Worf, and all for the sake of nothing. Jammer's right - it wasn't even Zek who ruined this one this time.

Garak's death was absolutely the laziest kill I've ever seen on this show. He might as well have been hyposprayed. Not that I want to see someone's insides melt, but they already established how painful it would have been. Just... why to any of it?

An absolute waste of an hour. Zero stars. The only solace from this one is that it has no consequences or worthwhile character moments whatsoever so it's totally skippable. You won't even need to hit up a wiki (unless you need to know about Julian and Ezri holding hands).
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$G
Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 11:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Prodigal Daughter

I like this one. This is yet another episode that focuses on a new character with lots of guest actors, and I'm surprisingly fine with it. Yes, the main cast hasn't had a whole lot to do this season but I'm surprisingly okay with that. It doesn't feel like episodes focus on them for the sake of it, which is what a lot of late-series shows end up doing. I also don't feel like the stars are getting short changed, either. S7 gives the expanded roster a lot of meat and I'm really liking it. (Granted, watching it on DVD makes the waits between episodes non-existent. I can see why texture episodes like this grated on people back during week-to-week-to-hiatus airing.

This one's good because, like Jammer says, there are no family histrionics. No shouting, no predictable murder scenes, no overt Orion Syndicate mafia cliches. Just a nice, pleasant little drama with a mystery that wraps it up (and a mystery I had no idea would be this neat).

Also, New Sydney is a cool location, just like that cyberpunk hell in "Honor Among Thieves".

The Memory Alpha post about this ep makes it sound like it was an absolute production mess. I like it, though. Understated, quiet, enjoyable. 3 stars. Recommended.
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$G
Wed, Oct 22, 2014, 3:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Field of Fire

Elliott:

"Races/species in Star Trek are "hat races" on purpose because aliens were always meant to represent different facets of humanity, politically, ethically, historically. "Bad guys" (Klingons, Romulans, the Borg, Cardassians) possess, as a people, qualities which should be repudiated, whereas the "good guys" (Vulcans) possess, again as a people, qualities which should be emulated. The majority of Trek races are given this one note, usually bad, to stage the Morality Play. A few, like the Klingons and the Vulcans, are given enough development to explore the issues in more complex ways. There are indeed good and bad sides to Honour and Logic which are worth exploring."

This is a pretty succinct explanation of why alien races (and the stories based on them) in most of Trek are simplistic slush. DS9 is the strongest show overall because it recognizes and avoids these storytelling gaffes.
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$G
Tue, Oct 21, 2014, 11:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

I like this episode quite a bit. Nog has had a hell of a story. He's one of my favourite characters on the show, and, like everyone's said, it's awesome that DS9 got to the point that it can swing an episode like this. I'd argue that Nog ISN'T just a recurring character, but it may only seem like he's been around more than he has because he's gotten such rich material. (Serious question: outside of some first season shenanigans, has there ever been a bad Nog plot?)

"Paper Moon" is also the best Vic appearance so far (and maybe even moving forward too). I like to think that when Nog asks Vic if he dreams, he evades answering because the answer is... well, "no". A dream is only a dream if it isn't just an extension of the program and thus under Vic's control. The answer would have shattered both characters' illusions at that point and was better left unsaid. In the end, when Nog sets up 26/7 activation for Vic, Vic gets to live a "regular" life now too. Yeah it raises a lot of questions about Vic's nature, but it's a sweet moment in and of itself.

This is quite a strong episode and nails exactly what it's trying to accomplish. Though 45 minutes might be a *bit* pat for this story, Ron Moore is really, really good at crafting unique scenes that don't revert to perfunctory cliches to move the story to its 45-minute deadline. All his episodes seem to have a vitality that puts them above a lot of other episodes.

On top of that, Eisenberg nails all of his scenes - especially the climactic one. Awesome!

I only really have two minor nitpicks: The party for Rom's promotion. There's no reason why someone couldn't have called on Nog. Wouldn't Rom have tried to stop by and invite him personally? And Jake, whom I've really begun to dislike. He has nothing to add to the show anymore, and it just feels like a waste for that to be the case. He seemed particularly insensitive in this episode, and it didn't reflect well on him IMO.

Other than those gripes, 3-1/2 stars from me!

---

On another note:

You know what I like so far about Season 7? It's probably the same thing that puts a lot of people off. But it's that S7 is pretty dedicated to fleshing out its recurring and brand new characters before the end. In S7's first 10 episodes, we've seen entire episodes given to Weyoun, Damar, Nog, Vic, Ezri, Garak, Martok and Dukat. Even "AR-558" had a heavy contingent of guest characters. This has relegated Kira, Worf, Odo, etc, to merely being pieces of episodes rather than the focuses. I understand why such a concentrated amount of secondary character episodes rubs people wrong, but to me it just makes the series feel alive.

At this point the show now feels very different than it did a couple of seasons prior. The formula of the regulars just doing their jobs and encountering new problems is pretty much non-existent. Ops doesn't get a lot of screen time, and there's hardly been any anomalies or station crises in what seems like forever. I've never NOT seen S7 on DVD, so I've never had to endure week-long waits between episodes. That probably colours my opinion of it all, but what can I say? I'm really digging this.
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$G
Mon, Oct 20, 2014, 9:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Covenant

This isn't a good episode. I think Dukat's belief in the pah wraiths is... kind of interesting, but it also strains my patience. Yes, I believe that he'd do all the things he does here. But does it really supply any storytelling value? It's always fascinating to watch Dukat panic when things go south ("Sacrifice of Angels" and "Waltz") but I'm not really satisfied by this arc he's on. I think his story value reached its peak in "Waltz".

But even if I did buy into Dukat's direction, this episode would still feel rushed and hollow. Too many scenes rely on characters trying to talk Kira into the cult while Kira (and the audience) are calling BS. Too many miracles are left unquestioned which makes the Bajorans stupid rather than interesting. I know that this kind of thing happens, but it also has to be treated just so as to actually be interesting and not infuriating to watch.

Oh, and Dukat can talk an alien baby into being a miracle on the spot, but he couldn't have talked his way out of the pill scam? He already had a captive audience willing to sacrifice themselves (and their babies!). It wouldn't have been hard.

I suppose he didn't have time, though, because of his own contrivance of calling the dang Defiant to pick Kira up.

I'm still reserving judgement on S7 Dukat until it's over. I'm still erring on the side of giving it all the benefit of the doubt, but it's all hard for me swallow. Especially so when the episode is as poorly realized as this.

There are moments I like, though:

-The Bajoran woman giving birth puts the conception around the three-month season gap, which is right after Dukat's experience with the wraith. This makes sense because, IIRC, Bajoran gestation is only 5 months. I forget which episode mentions this, though. If I'm right, that's some eagle eye continuity, writers!

-Kira's vedek friend probably started the cult. As mentioned above, Dukat only worked his way to the top. How very in character.

-I like that this cult is partially based on outrage that the Prophets never intervened during the Occupation. I also like the implication (along with other things we know) that being "of Bajor" doesn't mean the Prophets care about the lifeforms on the planet. Do I care about lower lifeforms on Earth, or even in my own city? Only in so far as they taste good in sauce.

-Kira calls out Dukat on his BS from "Wrongs". He suggested then that Meru left Taban for him. As Kira saw - not the case! Nice try, Dukat.

Still, "Covenant" is poorly realized on its own merits. 1-1/2 stars from me. 2 if I were feeling charitable (but I'm not).
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$G
Mon, Oct 20, 2014, 12:23am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: The Siege of AR-558

Reading the comments in this thread reminds me why so many Trek species come from Planets of Hats. Humans who lose sight of their values while trapped on a war-torn moon? A Ferengi who isn't greedy for profit? A Jem'Hadar who isn't completely loyal to the Changelings? A Cardassian who opposed the Bajoran occupation? A vedek who doesn't believe in grabbing earlobes?

It's almost as if DS9 has been suggesting since day one that a population is made up of individuals and not pieces of a one-note hive mind.

Snark aside, this is a fantastic Dominion war episode - maybe the best the show has ever done. Also, like Jammer said, the hidden star may be Quark. He works so well because of how much we've seen of his values to this point. Could any parent (or uncle in this case) watch their child casually go to battle like this without saying what Quark said? I really, really love the scene with Quark watching over Nog and then shooting that Jem'Hadar. Nog would have died if he was alone, but he never would be alone as long as his uncle was there. Also, notice how Quark doesn't even mention whatever purpose Zek gave him. Awesome Quark story here, of all things. Shimerman plays the hell out of it.

4 stars easy. Top 10 episode of the series easy.
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$G
Sun, Oct 19, 2014, 11:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Once More Unto the Breach

I'm with Jammer on this one. I wish we could have seen something of the battle. Maybe the crew sees Kor's ship approaching the fleet before the viewscreen fizzles out of proximity? I don't know if that would have worked either, though...

Like another poster above said, I'm not going to armchair direct this one. I like everything that happened in this one... but I just wish it didn't end with the crew just standing on the bridge like that.

Anyway, this is a solid episode. The standout scene is Martok and crew mocking Kor in the mess hall. I found it tough to watch, but in an effective way. I like how Darok simply has none of it (Darok is a nice addition to this episode, actually), and I love Kor's reply.

Also, kudos to the FX team once again. For a show that's been giving us lots of inventive battle encounters, we get yet another gem. In the last 10 or so episodes, we've had a Defiant-class ship getting destroyed by a Dominion supership, an epic three-fleet battle at Chin'toka, a bird of prey inducing a solar flare to take out a Dominion shipyard, a chase through an icy asteroid belt, and now a Klingon assault on a Cardassian ground base. And, of course, we all knpw what's coming next. It's awesome.

Anyway, a solid 3 stars for this one.
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$G
Sun, Oct 19, 2014, 9:25am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Treachery, Faith, and the Great River

@K'elvis:

Great post. Agree on the defective Weyoun 7. That Damar convinced him to do it is proof of that. I have doubts about Damar tampering with cloning process (as you suggest), but it's ironic that 7 here is exactly what Damar wants: a more malleable Weyoun. 5 was the one who was always squeezing the leash. "Imagination can be dangerous" indeed.

And the Vorta origin story? Awesome. It all reads like a primitive foundation-myth meant to assert its own goodness. We have the persecuted and misunderstood noble race, the inherently evil rival (Weyoun's answer to Odo's question is perfect here), and the warm-hearted primitives who are promised an anachronism that only the story's audience can understand (apes would have no idea what a space empire is). It's really well done. I love every scrap of Dominion mythology we get.

You know what's great about the Nog plot, despite it being flat out entertaining? That Nog is barely in it, and O'Brien keeps getting his forged signature thrown in his face. Whatever metaphysical force the Ferengi believe in, Nog and his trades are just like it: a force of nature! It turns out Ferengi myths are pretty neat too!

Oh, and one last thing that I love. That runabout chase in the asteroid belt! I love when Trek treats space travel with the quirks it deserves. It's way better than the (admittedly budget saving) point A to B transit.

What an inventive episode. This one slides into 4 star territory for being so damn creative on top of being fantastically written.
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$G
Sun, Oct 19, 2014, 8:44am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Chrysalis

So this poor girl breaks out of her shell and Bashir asks her to stay aboard crappy DS9? Let her go, man. Despite Sarina not understanding love, she still seems to socialize pretty well. That kills it for me entirely, and all so Bashir can have an uncreepy romance that still ends up uncomfortable. Another 40-minute romance that goes nowhere and affects nothing.

1 star. Maybe worse than either "Resurrection" or "Meridian".
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$G
Fri, Oct 17, 2014, 3:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Afterimage

Cretak showing up in a couple more episodes would have been neat. In fact, it would have been a cool subplot to have her live on the station and eventually butt heads mid-season with her "hospital" stunt. It would have felt like more of a betrayal, too. That was my favourite storyline from the premiere episodes.

I do agree that Jadzia should have been written off earlier in the show if a Trill storyline like this was in the cards (it clearly wasn't though). It would give us more time to get to know the replacement Trill.

That said, I think having Jadzia getting re-assigned would have been a waste of the whole Trill concept. I don't think it's worth keeping Jadzia alive just for the sake of it only to have her just be a recurring character.

They get some good stuff out of Ezri, IIRC. It's just that the writers felt the need to go overboard with it in terms of how many episodes she gets. One day I'll watch S7 and skip a couple of the mid-season Ezri shows. I have a feeling the season will hold together just as well *and* still have given Ezri enough development.
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$G
Fri, Oct 17, 2014, 2:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Afterimage

@Robert:

I haven't gotten to the Ezri-heavy mid-S7 on my rewatch, but I seem to remember a bit too much of her as well. I didn't mean my last comment to come off that Ezri's story is perfectly integrated in the show. It's just that it works conceptually for me and, up this point, is one of the better character moves on DS9.

The writers on this show have a tendency of being really clever but also surprisingly negligent (see also: "bad"). Odo's one of my favorite characters on the show and has a lot of great development over the series even though there are at least two enormous gaping missed opportunities that the writers seemingly just didn't feel like writing.
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$G
Fri, Oct 17, 2014, 1:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Take Me Out to the Holosuite

@Skeptical:

Thanks for that post. It saved me doing it. I'd have put Bashir in CF, but you make a good point about his reflexes making him a good middle infielder. Sisko and Kasidy should be 3B and 2B. Leeta at 1B, although Quark didn't look terrible so maybe him too. The OF from left to fight could be Kira, Ezri, and Worf. Nog and Jake make a good battery.

Phew.

Yeah I love baseball, so I love this episode. This episode is more fun on rewatch because there's no anxiety about will-they-have-enough-time-left-to-finish-the-story that contemporary fans sweated about.

And yeah, "scotch" is legitimately one of the funniest lines from the whole series.
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$G
Fri, Oct 17, 2014, 1:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Afterimage

I'm pretty shocked at the comments in here. I had no idea Ezri was so disliked. I suppose it depends on how people enjoy their TV narratives. Do they value the evolving narrative of the series or prefer the reliability of the characters they've grown accustomed to doing new things each week? DS9 is kind of caught in limbo between week-to-week adventures and serialized narratives, so some of the writer's choices are always going to service one aspect of the show while being incompatible with the other.

But here's the thing: Ezri is the best thing to happen to Jadzia's story in the whole series. She was literally a character who would reincarnate after every life. How could the series *NOT* eventually utilize this element in its own narrative? A Trill character is pretty much designed to have this function.

I realize the writers, still boxed in by Trek restrictions, were probably happy to keep the crew together for the whole series (despite that series being about war). After all, Jadzia's death was due to business rather than writing. But even though they were backed into the move, the writers did the right thing - more so that Ezri is almost an anti-Jadzia. For once the viewer gets to feel the same shock at the Trill-symbiont life cycle that we've been watching the characters go through the whole series. "Rejoined" and "Facets" were both great Trill episodes, but Ezri is the Trill story in Trek.

One's enjoyment of this episode pretty much depends on how much one agrees with that, I think. If you object to Ezri in principle then you've already made up your mind.

Anyway I agree with Jammer that "Afterimage" itself is pretty well handled as an episode and has a couple of stand out moments. It's predictable but still works well. 3 stars from me.
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