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Peter G.
Tue, Dec 10, 2019, 2:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Time's Arrow, Part II

" I was talking more about the period near the end of the episode, where most of the Enterprise crew have returned to their time but Picard's stayed to look after Guinan. She's not trapped there, but he definitely is."

Yeah, I took this to basically be "where is that so-called deeper-than-family relationship they're supposed to develop?" And I totally agree. I have no idea if the showrunners were actually trying to show that backstory here (in which case they FAILED) or whether this was just a teaser for what was to come. They did in fact later try to fill this gap in Generations, and as it happens they FAILED again (or maybe for the first time). I guess we'll never know!
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Tue, Dec 10, 2019, 1:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Time's Arrow, Part II

@Chrome: ooh, thanks for the mini history lesson! I'm not American and didn't grow up learning their history -- always interesting to learn now.

@Jason R: Mhm, but to clarify, I was talking more about the period near the end of the episode, where most of the Enterprise crew have returned to their time but Picard's stayed to look after Guinan. She's not trapped there, but he definitely is.
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Jason R.
Tue, Dec 10, 2019, 11:29am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Time's Arrow, Part II

"I sort of expected more with Picard and younger Guinan trapped in the 19th century"

She wasn't trapped in the 19 century I.e. time travelling. She was simply alive then and visiting earth or so I understood.
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Tue, Dec 10, 2019, 11:09am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Time's Arrow, Part II


I’m with you on not being overly nitpicky on historical accuracy, especially in this case when it’s kind of out-of-universe issue. Even so, historically California was a free state before the Civil War and there were always a small handful of well-read free blacks who had money and political clout to do things other blacks could not. Given Guinan’s attire and the circle she’s rubbing elbows with, we can only assume she was posing as an ultra-elite black. I would just keep in mind this was an extremely rare exception back then and we can see Clemens’ intellectual relationship with a black woman as more about the historical fact that Clemens was an influential abolitionist of the time.
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Tue, Dec 10, 2019, 9:50am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Time's Arrow, Part II

Actually found myself enjoying this rather a lot. I felt it was too short, though. I sort of expected more with Picard and younger Guinan trapped in the 19th century. And I could watch days of mucking about in the past. Loved Geordi switching from VISOR to dark glasses every time there were people about.

I am the type to love holodeck episodes, so I guess this appeals to me in the same sort of way. I found Twain a bit annoying, though.

RE: comments above questioning Guinan having no trouble in in the 19thC as a black woman, I'm fine with excusing things like this: we excuse a lot of "unrealistic" things about the future in fiction, so why not the past? Lets us do more in past-based stories with less bogging down in societal issues (not to say there shouldn't be stories involving that, even specifically time travel stories, but not *every* one has to. Sometimes we can just have fun.)
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Tue, Dec 10, 2019, 12:57am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Repression

It wasn’t a GOOD installment, but a combination of several elements made it “fun” and entertaining. It was a decent whodunit up front, though I guessed Tuvok before it was revealed. So I liked that the writers gave that away early, undercutting our self-satisfaction for having “got it.”

Which means something else is going on, and we have to figure out what. Then we got the ol’ split personality hustle, and could enjoy Tuvok being both the culprit and the detective, playing both roles earnestly.

Next it became a question of motivation which churned on for a few minutes, asking us to figure out why Tuvok would seemingly be attacking the Maquis, and what did it have to do with Bajoran extremysticism. Maybe Tuvok had suppressed a burning hate for the Maquis (after all, he’d been planted as a spy by Starfleet), and something had triggered his bloodlust at this late date.

But no...he’s not ANTI-Maquis, he’s activating them for a mutiny, and the crew injuries are just unfortunate side-effects. Well, whyever would he do that? And when we learn his function was engineered via remote control by the Bajoran cleric...well, okaaaaaay, but as Jammer asks about the cleric,

“What can he possibly get out of it? What purpose does it serve that helps any Maquis or former Maquis in any way?”

Three options work for me. As mentioned upthread, maybe he’s one of the South American Nazis who plotted a deluded return to power for decades after WW.II, and thinks Maquis with an Intrepid-class ship hi-jacked from the Feds would be a powerful (eventual) gathering point for a renewal of the cause.

Or maybe he just hates the Federation for what they allowed to happen to the Maquis, and finds some malicious joy in this belated act of revenge.

Or MAYBE he hated Tuvok, personally and for his undercover role, and took particularly malicious glee in breaking the vaunted Vulcan discipline - never mind how long the interval between offense and retribution. Along with this, he likely had some pride in his mind-control craft.

After the final twist that Tuvok was a remote-control agent, the plot descends into sheer lunacy, working out a mutiny played as farce. You couldn’t take it seriously, but you could enjoy the spectacle of our players in betrayals and shifts of allegiance.

Thus far I found it a suitably convoluted mind game for the viewer, with the successive reveals well paced.

The ending was simply lame, and I’d find it hard to accept that Janeway would forgive everyone so blithely. But ... all’s well that ends well, huh?

I enjoyed this romp.

I wish we’d had more Vulcans as core characters in the various ST series. We’ve really only gotten to know three well, but I’ve found them all well-written and compelling.

It’s hard not to consider Spock the greatest of them all, just for dignity and gravitas his example lent the race.

But then I don’t know where to rank Tuvok or T’Pol. I’m one of those freaks who thinks Jolene Blalock was fabulous in her role, and brought a lot of depth and dimension to our understanding of the Vulcan soul.

And I also think Tim Russ briiiantly portrays perhaps the most conflicted and complex Vulcan of them all. And one has to point out that, for all his seriousness and probity, he’s the Vulcan we’ve seen most often fail to maintain the discipline, often with serious consequences. Meld, Unimatrix Zero, and this episode are the ones that come first to mind - but, paradoxically, this most serious of Vulcans is also the most unreliable.

I like that.
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Tue, Dec 10, 2019, 12:19am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

Until we meet again. Farewell Odo.
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Mon, Dec 9, 2019, 9:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

I was re-watching this episode right when I got a phone news notification Auberjonois died :( I couldn't finish it and had to watch it later. This episode is one of his best imo.

Really phenomenal acting in this episode. The scene where the baby changeling (changelet?) tries to make a face, and Odo is beaming ear to ear-- it's one of my favorite scenes on Star Trek. Really, really touching.

I agree with Jammer's assessment the Kira birth scenes and the cop-out ending. I wish Odo had either gotten his abilities back far later in the season, or through some other mechanism.

Fuck Shakaar. That guy's such a whiny jerk. Kira deserves better.

I did like the nice touch at the end where Kira is missing the baby, though. I like that they didn't make it a whole thing, or even give it more than a couple lines, but it makes sense to me that a surrogate mom would at least spend a little bit of time missing the life she carried with her for nine months.
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Top Hat
Mon, Dec 9, 2019, 4:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Inheritance

He does, if only by name:

DATA: Doctor, I have scanned the journals of the colonists. There is only one Juliana mentioned in them. Her last name was O'Donnell.
JULIANA: That's me.
DATA: But there was no mention that my father was married to you.
JULIANA: Because of my mother. She thought that Noonian was an eccentric scientist who was too old for me. We decided to marry secretly to give her a chance to get used to our being together.
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Peter G.
Mon, Dec 9, 2019, 2:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

This guy Auberjonois is a brilliant so-and-so. He was always marvelously inventive and nuanced as Odo, and as Garak pointed out, had a flair for sarcasm. He's worked for years in many projects including MASH and even Frasier, and I've lately been watching him on Boston Legal. I don't even care for the show that much but his scenes are gold, as are those of 1-2 others on the show. Feeble as it is, I watched another episode last night with my wife to commemorate him.

When I saw him on Broadway in a silly musical, I was amazed at how much his graceful motions and perfect timing translated into a movement-based piece of theatre, because on DS9 his movements, body positions, and even head angle often help determine what the view is meant to understand. He was just that good of a storyteller.

I don't know how it happens, but the tour de force performance seems to come in the odd roles on Trek, like Spock, Data, and now Odo, all of which are the outsider trying to make sense of humans. Funny how we relate to them the best. Voyager had their outsider begin as Doc, although that didn't really seem to gel as the person trying to learn about humanity sort of role, and so although Picardo is endlessly entertaining I don't know how much we identified with him as a person. Seven probably occupied that niche when she came on the show. But out of all of the above characters, you could be sure of one thing: Auberjonois' scenes were never going to be boring.
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Dan Bolger
Mon, Dec 9, 2019, 1:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Charlie X

Great early episode. Sad to read of Robert Walker jr 's passing on. Played an excellent role in this show.
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Mon, Dec 9, 2019, 1:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Inheritance

Trainer herself wasn't in hiding, though, so Data still should have at least recognized her as one of the Omicron Theta colonists if he had the logs of anyone who knew her there.
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William B
Mon, Dec 9, 2019, 11:59am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

Jeez, I meant The Little Mermaid, not Beauty and the Beast (thanks Chrome). Les Poissons is great.
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Mon, Dec 9, 2019, 10:51am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

Looking over Auberjonois's bio, it was surprising to see that I first saw him perform through MASH and "The Little Mermaid" before he was cast here as Odo. DS9 really gives Auberjonois plenty of time to show us his true ability in playing many parts. I mean, he's a shapeshifter; he can literally be anything and somehow he pulled off that complicated role beautifully. Many thanks to him for all these years of entertainment!
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Mon, Dec 9, 2019, 7:52am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Cost of Living

I did genuinely enjoy this one, at least a little. The "free spirit" world to which Lwaxana takes Alexander does appeal to my inner kid.

Weird marriage of A and B plots, though. I love how everyone's on the verge of dying aboard the ship and Lwaxana/Alexander/royal fiancé family get conveniently forgotten about until that's all cleaned up.
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Mon, Dec 9, 2019, 1:07am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: The Haunting of Deck Twelve

I thought this episode, like the much meatier “Muse,” was primarily a meta riff on storytelling itself - particularly a self-referential and self-deprecating bit of Voyager-mocking by the writers themselves - with secondarily a (mostly unresolved) inquiry into a minor aspect of child psychological development.

The misunderstood-intelligent-energy-alien-trying-to-communicate has been done so many times in ST that you really have to accept it more as recurring genre exercise than accuse it of redundancy. Given that, I thought this outing was executed amiably enough.

But not for a minute did I think it was to be taken seriously. The framing as a scary campfire tale told by a guardian of children - a camp counselor or fun uncle, more or less - allows for all manner of inconsistency, embellishment, and fabrication on the part of the story-teller. So I didn’t care about plot holes or improbability in Neelix’s narration.

What I wondered as he told the story was whether it was the right way to entertain, distract, and comfort children in an already spooky situation. Neelix went into the assignment more worried than anyone else that the kids would be scared by the shutdown/blackout - and I expected him to be more comforting and reassuring.

It surprised me that he went with this narration of a recent harrowIng episode on Voyager. But maybe it’s a truism that kids don’t mind beIng scared if they feel safe in the protective custody of a sympathetic adult - and maybe Neelix rightly understood that Borg kids would be more objective and analytical than scared. That THEY understood the events of the tale as a series of science problems to be worked out, and NOT a supernatural ghost story, and that it would keep them occupied during the shipwide reboot.

What caught me by surprise when the lights came back on - and what I’m surprised neither Jammer nor most commenters have mentioned - was that Neelix said at the end that it was all a complete fabrication. When all was said and done, the alien intrusion never happened!

And since the blackout shutdown condition was never explained, aren’t we left with what Voyager’s most persistently negative critics accuse the series of turning out - that is, a hackneyed and derivative incoherent tale with an abandoned premise and lots of goofy action, which means nothing in the end because it wasn’t even “true” in its fictional setting? Kinda no need for a reset, because in this episode, LITERALLY NOTHING HAPPENED.

Plot synopsis: all power and lights on the ship are shut down for no reason, and Neelix tells a fictional and meaningless campfire tale to some kids. The End.

It’s like Voyager gives its audience a literal version of what the audience complains about - and no one seems even to notice. I thought the joke was on us.

Besides which, it was entertaining enough, with a fair amount of amusing camp - and, withal, fine characterization and an engaging depiction of the REAL action. That is, Neelix telling a story: when we’re in the cargo bay with the kids and Uncle Neelix, everything rings true, and is even endearing.

Also, while the pitch black of an unpowered spacecraft drifting in the void of space has to be about the loneliest, most nullifying environment I can imagine...I’m kinda with Neelix in being more disturbed by inpenetrable fog.
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Sun, Dec 8, 2019, 10:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Violations

This was one of the first Star Trek episodes I watched, when dropping in on my partner's half-complete first viewing of the series. Trying to remember this from about a month ago -- it couldn't have been more than about the third or fourth episode I saw.

Suffice to say, not an episode I recommend as an intro to Star Trek. It was uncomfortable viewing, and while that's perfectly valid as something TV can aim to make you feel, a lot of it was uncomfortable in the wrong ways -- at least for me as someone brand new to this show.

William B commented here in 2013 about how the episode's internal logic might lead you to believe that, given that Riker and Crusher's memory invasion scenes concerned real events, Troi's memory invasion would *also* be a real event. Complete with actually being raped by Riker.

Well, sit a new viewer down in front of Violations, and there's a damn good chance that they'll actually be on the verge of believing that. I wasn't familiar with the characters or their relationship at all, and reaching that scene -- when it's already been established through faulty internal logic that the Ullians enter Real Memories of Actual Things That Happened -- I didn't have much reason to conclude anything other than "oh god, did Riker actually rape Troi at some point?"

And let me tell you, I didn't *want* to believe that. It made for a hell of an uncomfortable undertone when watching the rest of the episode, trying to gauge Riker so that I could confirm whether he'd genuinely done what I'd just watched him do or whether the memory was a fabrication (which, again, would defy what the episode had established and would continue to establish). The scene where Riker comes to Troi's bedside to talk to her through her coma did reassure me somewhat, but that's still not "proof", is it?

In hindsight, now having the experience of multiple seasons of TNG to fall back on, I agree that they *of course* wouldn't genuinely have had this memory be true. I even knew at the time that it *probably* wasn't what they were going for (though "probably" is less than "of course"). What was it even for, then? As per Jammer's review, the episode's rape metaphor is already secure without *actual* rape. William B saying it's a matter of gratuitous sexualisation and violence seems to be on the money. But why give the rapist Riker's face? Maybe it was the easiest shortcut they could think of to slot in something sexual from Troi's history. Maybe it was an intentional attempt to bait audiences into thinking -- no matter how briefly -- that this genuinely did happen, and reap the emotional response from that. The latter would be one hell of a cheap attempt at drama.

I'm not doing a lot of talking about the rest of the episode here. But then this did overshadow the rest of the episode for me. It's not like they did anything to help with that, not by showing variations on that same damn scene three bloody times. Riker's crew death memories and Picard with hair only get one showing a[hair]piece. Troi's memory invasion unfortunately forms the core of this episode. And it's a rotten one.

(Alternate Troi memory suggestion: Lwaxana having one of her *particularly* obnoxious moments, and then gasp! Suddenly it's Jev being mortifying in an outrageous dress. Troi goes into a coma from embarrassment.)

[Final note: I'd originally intended to say all this on the end of my comment on A Matter of Perspective, an episode which internally accuses Riker of attempted rape -- and which, in-universe, I don't think does enough to exonerate him. But I figured it'd be more appropriate to comment all this on the episode I'm actually talking about.]
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Sun, Dec 8, 2019, 9:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

RIP, Rene' .

A wonderful actor who added so much to this series, and seemed very well loved.

I've been trying to think of my favorite Odo moment, and though I can't narrow it down, I enjoyed his banter with Quark the most. Shimerman tweeted a nice message in remembrance and it wasn't surprising to read he considered him a close friend. They had great chemistry.

I did love when they were stuck in Odo 's office together:

QUARK : Should've listened to my father. He always warned me this was gonna happen.

ODO : What? That you'd spend your final hours in jail? I could have told you that.
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William B
Sun, Dec 8, 2019, 6:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

I just saw the news about René as well. A wonderful performer, whose work in Altman movies, Beauty and the Beast, Frasier, etc. I enjoyed. His A-game, terrific work as Odo, having the most expansive, complex and demanding arc of the series (possibly of the franchise?), playing a character who was a shapeshifter, grump, cynic, romantic, pillar of integrity, near-fascist, traitor, collaborator, freedom fighter, prodigal son, hermit, friend, lover, and self-sacrificial redeemer of his fallen god people, and keeping these disparate elements balanced within a believable whole, could never have worked without this man's dedication, talent, and soul. RIP.
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Sun, Dec 8, 2019, 6:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

Just saw the sad news that René Auberjonois has passed away. Very sad and unexpected. I've been watching a lot of DS9 of late and this feels like such a loss.
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Sun, Dec 8, 2019, 12:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Corbomite Maneuver

Brilliant episode that really plays out the Trek ethos. There’s a nice scene right in the beginning where McCoy ignores the red alert signal emphasizing that danger shouldn’t always be met with panic and fear. I really like the idea that both sides wanted to get to know each other, but the two peoples were so different that First Contact came down to a series of bluffs and upping the ante. One doesn’t need to think too hard to allegorize this story to many conflicts and wars in human history.

Lt. Baley had a great arc going from being a green officer we might associate with the military of our time, while Kirk and company sharply contrasted that by being the military (or non-military) of the future. This reminds me much of TNG’s “Darmok” with Riker being the naively aggressive officer and Picard navigating real cross-cultural alien understanding. I think I’ll go 4 stars.
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Sun, Dec 8, 2019, 12:20am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Dragon's Teeth

Said someone, years ago: “What would REALLY be interesting is to have a harmless-looking race turn out to be the fiercest and more war-like. Thoughts?”

My thought: mean humans?

Episodic Epigram: a good deed never goes unpunished.

Why did the good bad guy turn against the bad bad guys, and sacrifice himself so others might survive? I don’t demonstrate that no culture is homogenous or inherently evil - and that Voyager ISN’T all black and white? (Also note that good bad guy acknowledged that his race fit both his first innocent characterization of it, AND the darker, more historically nuanced interpretation Neelix uncovered. And hey - that sounds like MOST cultures.)

Why did Janeway switch allegiances at the end? The answer comes in an upcoming episode: there’s no difference between victors and survivors. All the protocols, directives, and nice moral perspectives pale before the sheer necessity of staying alive. We might take survival as a base biological instinct, and we might take it as a moral imperative - but if we have a choice, we take it over the alternative.

To be cynical, she (with Seven) had done their good deed by awakening the dragon’s teeth (oops...I meant “giving a destroyed civilization another shot at survival”), leaving them in at least as good a position 900 years ago. She really just restores the status quo in the land of You Can’t Save People From Themselves.

Main thing is, she gets to leave. It’s certainly not the first time Voyager has left turbulence in its wake.

I felt sure when I saw so many elaborate neckridge alien suits that we would be seeing this species in several more episodes. You mean we won’t?

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Sat, Dec 7, 2019, 10:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: A Matter of Time

My god, Rasmussen's voice sounded like a dead ringer for Kermit the Frog to me. I could've closed my eyes and enjoyed the time travelling Muppet Show crossover.

As it stands, though, bit of a middle-of-the-road shrug episode for me. I was amused by all the talk of questionnaires though.
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Sat, Dec 7, 2019, 4:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Agreed Jason - any issues with the character aside, she isn't a good actress. John Boyega and Adam Driver are the strongest actors in these films, but Boyega's material in TLJ was a waste of his abilities.
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Sat, Dec 7, 2019, 12:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Reacting to the theatrical cut ...
It's very ambition, kind of enjoyably majestic, weighty (the best part was the crew both being different and close enough to how they were before and reuniting), deep/thought-provoking, impressively so different from rather than trying to be Star Wars, but a bit too weighty rather than dynamic or fun and even in its deep themes at times a bit too awkward, abrupt and/or repetitive. It's interesting both in itself and in retrospect how much this film seems like a precursor to the Borg and to TNG-style generally but not really doing it well, TNG definitely did both the style and some of the specific themes much better.
The Kirk/Decker conflict is good but a bit too overdone, the idea of Spock maybe not being loyal way too awkward (McCoy quickly becoming suspicious too out-of-character), too much of the Decker/Ilia relationship, before and after she is replaced, feels too just there to be there and overfocused on. The crew in general, though seeing them reunite was fun, is too often too lacking in energy or warmth/chemistry and does get too overshadowed by the effects (which are strong but too often feel excessive).
A lot of Jerry Goldsmith's music is really good but a lot of it, though mostly with regard to the Decker & Ilia relationship, also feels a little too obvious and clearly-present and repetitive.
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