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JR
Thu, Oct 24, 2013, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Suspicions

I know this is just a silly little continuity nit, but didn't Worf's ship in Redemption II fly into a sun's corona? It practically landed on the surface - without metaphasic shields.
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JR
Wed, Jul 25, 2012, 9:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

Thanks for your great reviews, Jammer. They made rewatching BSG even more enjoyable.

"Daybreak" was more good than bad - emotionally satisfying despite its plot holes. The moment that choked me up was when Baltar said, "I know about farming." What a remarkable story arc for his character.
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JR
Sun, Jul 22, 2012, 6:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: The Hub

@Michael
I've read plenty of your comments and, boy, your unconditional love really shines through.

Maybe you missed the part where I mentioned that Roslin does not believe in Baltar's God (and we've seen evidence that she doesn't really believe in the Colonial gods either) but she recognizes the importance of love.

You say there is nothing divine about love - that's because you are thinking too narrowly. Have you never heard the expression "to forgive is divine"? You can take it literally or figuratively. Humans are selfish (to keep ourselves alive), and we don't have a natural instinct to forgive. Unconditional love doesn't come naturally to us. You don't naturally love your enemy (cf. Roslin doesn't naturally feel any love for Baltar). You're instinct is to kill your enemy. In order to forgive and show unconditional love to an enemy, we have to overcome our natural instincts. This is why "divine" is a useful way to describe it, whether you use the adjective metaphorically or literally. Essentially, it means it doesn't come naturally to us.

Look, I assume you are a decent person, but there is no need for you to get so defensive and uptight every time someone mentions God/faith/etc. This is part of human storytelling and language, and you cannot expunge all of these words and ideas from discourse, even if they make you feel uncomfortable.
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JR
Sun, Jul 22, 2012, 6:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Faith

@Michael
I'm not defending religion. I'm talking about sci-fi and the concept of God. Star Trek has never actually dealt with the concept of a hypothetical infinite being whose existence cannot be proven or disproven because this infinite being is too large to be comprehended by infinitely smaller, less intelligent beings. BSG, on the other hand, does. The existence of God in BSG's universe is not something that the human and Cylon characters can prove or disprove, so the show is not shying away from the mystery of whether or not God exists. Hope that clarifies for you what I'm saying. No need for knee-jerk reactions, buddy. You don't need to freak out every time the subject comes up, because you'll be freaking out a LOT.
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JR
Sun, Jul 22, 2012, 3:07am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: The Hub

Another wonderful episode with equally wonderful music! And what a beautiful moment between Roslin and Adama - well earned, as Jammer says, and thus very satisfying and believable. Theirs is the best BSG romance - mature and deep and grounded in respect and friendship. The other romances are adolescent by comparison.

The Roslin-Baltar scene stands out to me in this episode because it encapsulates the episode's theme, which is Love. Baltar speaks of the fact that he is loved by God even though he committed a horrendous crime. Unconditional love (forgiveness, redemption) is a divine characteristic, and the only way to have "God in us" is to have that divine love in us. Roslin doesn't believe in Baltar's God, but in her visions she is reminded that love - that divine quality - is what makes a people worth saving. That declaration of love between Roslin and Adama at the end is all the more poignant because of the episode's exploration of love as the most important quality we can possess.
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JR
Fri, Jul 20, 2012, 11:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Faith

I agree with Jammer's analysis. As much as I love DS9, that show's exploration of faith was pretty weak compared to BSG's. DS9 (and Star Trek in general) went the easy route by portraying any and all divinities as technologically advanced aliens, whom our intrepid secular humanist Starfleet explorers could see right through. This is a cop out. The concept of God is that of an infinite being, utterly beyond human comprehension. Think of it in terms of scale: Can an insect comprehend the mind of a human? Can an insect ever possibly understand human emotions or motives or thoughts? Can an insect comprehend the size of the Earth that it lives on? No. Likewise, in theory human beings are similarly small and limited in comparison to God - we are so small and limited that we cannot possibly comprehend who or what God is, his thoughts, motives, emotions, etc., beyond our limited encounters with him. An insect may encounter a human or maybe just feel the rumble of a human walking or get killed by a human - but despite any of these encounters, the insect cannot fathom what a human is or why a human acts the way s/he does. Just thinking in terms of scale, the concept of God (an infinite, omniscient, omnipotent being) is a being far too complex for human intelligence to wrap around. Thus, Star Trek cops out of the whole concept by creating limited "Straw Man" gods that are easily recognized and toppled by the explorers. The closest Trek ever comes to examining a truly god-like being is Q, but Voyager again reduced the Q-continuum to a human level. I'll say it again - this is a cop out. BSG's exploration of faith has many flaws, but at least BSG doesn't take the easy way out by attempting to reduce God to a manageable size. BSG recognizes that if the concept of God is true - if there is an omnipotent, omniscient, infinite being - then we are like insects in comparison to this being. So in BSG it makes perfect sense that the humans and Cylons feel like rats in a lab, being pushed and pulled by some unseen force whose motives and thoughts are beyond their comprehension. Baltar's conversations with Head Six illustrate this very idea - Baltar is often pushed and pulled in different directions (to obey God's will, according to Head Six, supposedly a messenger of God) and Baltar (and the audience) are often wondering "Why?" And that very question acknowledges that, if God exists, we cannot grasp his thoughts or motives without divine revelation. Baltar cannot know why God tells him to do this or do that, unless Head Six chooses to give him an explanation, and even then the explanation has to be simple enough for a limited human mind to grasp. BSG's exploration of faith is impressive because it doesn't cheat or cop out by dumbing everything down so that the show can roll out a pat answer in classic Trek fashion.
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JR
Thu, Jul 19, 2012, 11:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: The Ties That Bind

This was a great episode, even though it made me hate Tory. She turned into one crazy bitch after embracing her Cylon-ness! I guess it makes sense that not all of the Final Five will want to cling to their humanity as Tigh, Tyrol, and Anders do.

I always disliked Cally (for reasons that previous commenters have already listed) and I still disliked her in this episode, and yet I also felt sorry for her. Why didn't she go to Adama with what she found out? I can only guess that she no longer trusted anyone - not even Adama. After all, Tigh and Tyrol were the two resistance leaders on New Caprica, and she probably trusted them more than Adama. Then she finds out that the two most anti-Cylon men she knows are Cylons themselves! That means that anyone - even Adama - might be a Cylon.

The Starbuck storyline is as frustrating as it was upon first viewing. She annoys the hell out of me sometimes. Others have already noted that it's odd that Adama sent so many important officers with her. I was specifically surprised that both Helo and Athena were on board. Come on, there is no way Athena would leave Hera alone on Galactica, knowing that if the Demetrius was lost or destroyed, Hera would be orphaned!

One final observation - it was ironic that Boomer was feeling guilty for helping the Cavills destroy her own line (her sisters, the Eights). It's ironic because Athena similarly has sided with the humans against the Cylons and has opted to help them destroy her own race. The Eights share this common trait - their willingness to "go rogue" against their own kind.
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JR
Thu, Jul 12, 2012, 8:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: Crossroads, Part 2

@Elliot - Well said! I completely agree. ("Darmok" is one of my favorite TNG episodes by the way - go figure.)

I find sci-fi that is devoid of mythology to be unrealistic and shallow. I enjoyed TNG for the characters and the stories, but even so I dislike its two-dimensional portrayal of humanity. It works very well as simple entertainment, but it is not satisfying on a deeper level because it oversimplifies reality. The mysterious cannot always be easily explained away by technology or alien entities. BSG leaves room for the mysterious, which jives well with the reality I know - one that is fraught with unanswerable questions.

I appreciate BSG's attempt to develop a mythology, but since it is a TV show that is, much like LOST, driven by questions (e.g., what is the Island? who are the Final Five?), we as an audience expect some answers that make sense. This is much like reading a mystery novel - by the end, you want some satisfying answers or the story fails. So while I don't have any problem with BSG developing its mythology and leaving some questions unanswered, the real debate is whether the answers we do receive are satisfying.
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JR
Wed, Jul 11, 2012, 11:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: Maelstrom

After rewatching this episode, I like it better than I did the first time, and I came away with 3 observations:

1) When Kara's mom calls her a quitter, it stings even more in light of Kara's tendency to sabotage her relationships. She cheated on Zak and on Lee and on Anders, because she was always afraid of fully committing or "plunging over the precipice" to borrow Leoben's metaphor.

2) Lee's decision not to ground Kara is reminiscent of Kara passing Zak in flight training. In both cases, Lee and Kara made the decision with their hearts instead of their heads, and in both cases they inadvertently killed the loved one whose feelings they wanted to protect.

3) As I watch this knowing Kara's eventual fate, this episode in retrospect feels like her Gethsemane, in which she has to go through the agony of facing death and accepting that it's destined and cannot/must not be avoided.
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JR
Mon, Jul 9, 2012, 5:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: A Measure of Salvation

I'm rewatching BSG and reading these reviews as I go through the series again. I have to say, I'm astonished at the previous commenters' strong condemnation of Helo's choice to prevent genocide. The very existence of Athena, Helo's wife, and the fact that they had a baby together, confirms that the Cylons are 1) more than machines since they are capable of breeding with humans and 2) individuals, capable of making moral decisions. Athena is the living proof that Cylons are capable of living peacefully with humans. Helo knows this better than anyone; therefore, it is completely natural for him to recognize the immorality of exterminating Athena's entire race. On top of that, he doesn't want his wife to live with the regret of having helped to commit genocide against her own people. In a purely "us or them" sense, I can understand the argument for wiping out the Cylons. But to borrow the analogies used by previous commenters, this would be akin to the US wiping out the entire Japanese population - not just two cities but ALL of them. Why wipe out the entire race when you can achieve victory by wiping out just two cities? The goal should be to achieve victory while inflicting the least amount of harm to potential innocents. I think Adama was very uneasy with the idea of genocide against the Cylons because he was so close to Athena and he recognized her personhood; this is why he felt almost a sense of gratitude that Helo basically saved him from having to go through with something he was morally uncomfortable with. If you don't believe in right or wrong, then it's all meaningless. But for me personally, I have always seen Helo as representing the best of humanity, which makes it fitting that he becomes the father of humanity via Hera.
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Duge Butler Jr.
Sun, Apr 1, 2012, 5:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Defiant

Excellent episode and good follow up on TNG's "Second Chances" with Tom Riker. Looking back, I loved how it laid the groundwork for "The Die is Cast" as well. I still can't figure out what Riker was referring to in regards to his brief encounter with O'Brien- though it's entirely possible that it was simply intended to throw O'Brien off guard to prevent his cover from being blown (though if I were O'Brien, I'd be instantly suspicious about his behavior and might have said something). It was disappointing that Riker had to be imprisoned at the end as it could've opened up some more doors in terms of stories with him but it makes sense that the Cardassians could simply not allow him to walk off scot-free after what he had done. It's too bad that there was no follow up on Kira's pledge to find him and rescue him later in the series though that certainly does not, in any way, diminish the stellar quality of this episode.
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Duge Butler Jr.
Sun, Apr 1, 2012, 5:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Meridian

The concept of this episode was kind of interesting but the writers, having given us Equilibrium only a few episodes before highlighting the importance of the Trill symbionts and their need to preserve them- even at the expense of the hosts, seemingly decide to chuck all that out the window with no explanation or consideration. None of the characters, not even Sisko, brought that up as a reason why she can't so easily decide skip off to another dimension for several years. I realize that getting permission from the Symbiosis Commission would've taken up time that they didn't have before the planet phased again but that just makes it more obvious that Jadzia totally suspended all rational thought and placed her love life above her duty to her Symbiont (not even to mention her neglect of her duty to Starfleet). Knowing what we already knew about Jadzia, her characterization in this ep rang horribly false.
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Duge Butler Jr.
Sun, Apr 1, 2012, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Apocalypse Rising

I thought that this was a pretty good episode further highlighting the subversiveness of the Dominion in trying to fool the Federation into assasinating the (non-changling) head of the Klingon Empire- doing their dirty work for them. Although I'm not sure if it was a retcon or not but Martok turning out to be the changling infiltrator helps explain his urging Gowron to be more aggressive and to launch their invasion of Cardassia and attacking DS9, ending the Khitomer Accords with the Federation, etc. My only major disappointment with this episode is that revealing Martok to be a changling and eliminating him doesn't really change anything in regards to the Klingon-Cardassia-Federation conflict begun in WOTW. Gowron, while sparing the lives of the DS9 crew, makes clear that he plans to press ahead with the war against the Cardassians/Federation (or at least feigns a certain helplessness in stopping it). Thankfully, that changes a few episodes later but at the (unnecessary) expense of more lives and conflict.
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Duge Butler Jr.
Sun, Apr 1, 2012, 12:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S1: Caretaker

I thought that this was a pretty good opening/introduction to ST:Voyager but, frankly, I never really got into Voyager until the later seasons and even then remained only casually in the series compared to ST:TNG and ST:DS9. I liked the Voyager/DS9 crossover at the beginning with Quark trying to swindle Harry and Paris thwarting him. ;-) The rest of the episode kept my interest with Voyager being sent light-years away from home and losing some key crewmembers, which, of course necessitated the leading characters to assume their posts. The idea of a holographic doctor was interesting, as well as the merging of the Federation and Maquis crews for survival. My biggest complaint about the episode is the ending and Janeway's decision that stranded them in the DQ when there could have possibly been other solutions- such as sending over a timed explosive that could have gone off after Voyager was on it's way back to the DQ. Of course, had they had managed to successfully get back home, well, of course, there would obviously be no series. It would have been interesting- though not necessarily essential- for there to have been some acknowledgement back in the AQ about Voyager's disappearance- perhaps as a brief status report to SF by Sisko or another Federation official.
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