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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Fri, Sep 21, 2018, 6:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Peak Performance

The Strategema game didn't bother me at all. I always figured that there was a certain amount of creativity, bluffing, and back-and-forth move/countermove going on that it wasn't the type of thing that could really be brute forced. Data even said that he passed up opportunities for advancement in order to prolong the game. That suggests Kolrami would've had better countermoves to make if Data had taken the "short path to victory." It's similar to how the starship Vico in Hero Worship (and almost the Enterprise as well) was nearly destroyed by its own shields amplifying the force of the approaching gravitational wave fronts, or how the aceton assimilators in Booby Trap fed on energy to produce deadly radiation. In both instances, shutting down or coasting was the way out, the opposite of "playing hard." Either way, Strategema seem more like poker than chess, with a lot of variables and reactions that I assume can't all be predicted.

Anyway, what really bothered me about this episode was why the hell didn't Picard just tell the Ferengi that they were doing battle simulations??? I mean, training exercises, drills, war games, these are all standard practice, and the Ferengi should've been able to tell no damage was actually being done to either ship. Plus, where were they doing this that the Ferengi would just be happening by? You'd think they'd be deep in the heart of the Federation, preferably with a fully-armed escort to monitor the situation. Of course, Starfleet seems to be spread awfully thin as even a huge starbase didn't have any other operative ships to go after the Enterprise in 11001001. You'd think they'd at least have some runabouts or other small ships around. Worf tricking the Ferengi with the sensors is also a total flub, just like "all the equipment we're carrying to catalogue gaseous anomalies" Uhura mentions in The Undiscovered Country despite it being established at the beginning of the film that Excelsior is the ship that was on that mission. Oh well, it's still a fun episode.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, Sep 19, 2018, 5:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

I like the quiet and easy pacing of this episode. It takes place over the course of at least two months, if not a bit longer, though that could've been made a bit clearer. Anyway, I think the Prime Directive debate is important from a narrative point of view, but there should already be established precedent and extensive documentation of how to handle such situations. The Prime Directive has existed for roughly 200 years by the time of TNG, but they're debating it as if it was brand new and wasn't the subject of intensive coursework at Starfleet Academy and innumerable debates and incidents throughout Starfleet's history. Again, I realize it wouldn't work as well narratively, but as soon as Data explained what he did, they should have immediately looked up the most similar incidents in The Big Book of Prime Directive Precedents, and/or immediately contacted Starfleet Command for an interpretation on the situation.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, Sep 18, 2018, 9:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Time Squared

I too am baffled by the praise this episode gets. The plot is so incoherent and nonsensical, and yet it still manages to be boring. There's no explanation or payoff for the reversed polarity of the shuttle and Alternate Picard's reactions to medication, which should be part of what's going on, but instead it's just padding. Also, what was that energy beam that zapped both Picards after they get partially sucked into the vortex? Why does going through the center of the anomaly work? Why is Alternate Picard even there in the first place? The Q theory doesn't explain any of it either. Normal Picard's intransigence and hostility also feels very misplaced. It makes this feel like a season 1 episode, in fact it reminds me of Lonely Among Us in a lot of ways.

I think what bothers me most is that Alternate Picard is a completely outside influence. If he wasn't killed, then he would go into the shuttle and record the logs and then show up in the next iteration. That means the "real" Picard stays on the ship in all instances, so where did Alternate Picard come from? I'll admit I'm having a hard time explaining this, but it's like Alternate Picard is just an interloper hopping around the multiverse but not really doing anything other than being there. If Normal Picard tried to get on the shuttle and Alternate Picard took his place, then I think that would make at least a little more sense as Twisty Necco suggested.

I don't think this is an awful episode, it's just meh. I do really enjoy the teaser in Riker's quarters. Worf's initial suspicion of the eggs and then ravenous eating are great, as is Pulaski's genuine attempt to give the meal the benefit of the doubt which ultimately fails when she takes a bite. I didn't think the music stood out all that much, except when they were watching the shuttle's recovered visual logs in the observation lounge, that was great. The vortex itself is quite beautiful as well, especially in HD.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 6:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: A Matter of Honor

So Ensign Mendon is not actually Starfleet. He doesn't know the first thing about proper procedures, as he's an officer in the Benzite fleet and is only here because of the exchange program. Also, as mentioned in "Coming of Age," Mordock is the first Benzite in Starfleet, and he only enrolled a year ago. That's all fine, but then why is Mendon wearing a Starfleet uniform, and why did Riker not change into a Klingon uniform? I guess it's a production budget thing, not having to make an expensive Klingon uniform for Riker (apparently Brian Thompson who plays Lieutenant Klag almost didn't get the part because he wouldn't fit in Christopher Lloyd's costume from Star Trek III), and there's lots of Starfleet uniforms for extras and other background characters, but it's kind of confusing. It makes Mendon seem like a clueless new graduate rather than an exchange officer from a different culture. It even tripped up Wesley, after all.

I do love Riker's feast in Ten Forward, and the follow-up meal in the Pagh's mess hall.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Thu, Sep 13, 2018, 8:22pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: When the Bough Breaks

A hunger strike? That has Gene's nonsense "kids are just tiny adults" philosophy written all over it. These Aldean's are so inept the kids should've just been kids. Running around screaming, crying, breaking furniture, then the Aldeans would be begging to give them back.

What really irritates me, aside from the absurdity that six or seven kids can repopulate a planet, is that the plot requires the Aldeans to be deliberately obtuse. Benjamin S mentioned adoption, colonization, and any number of other solutions that would be more palatable. This could've been solved in five minutes but the plot requires them to be morons for it to work.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Mar 18, 2018, 7:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Force of Nature

I think I have an explanation for what happened after actually paying attention to this episode (one of the "benefits" of being sick on the couch). Part of it is corroborated by "Formerly known as Artisan's" comment from five years ago, as well as some of the production commentary on Memory Alpha. Namely, the story originally had a different message. It's like they had the script dealing with a local phenomenon but a hastily done staff rewrite tried to shoehorn in the larger global warming allegory without sufficiently modifying the dialogue.

I mentioned in my comment from 2012 that I didn't see any indication of this warp drive damage applying anywhere but in this particular isolated corridor of space. After watching closely, I can still say that's the case, at least as far as what's spoken in the dialogue. The exception is how everyone reacts, specifically Geordi. It's as if his dialogue was rewritten to make the problem bigger than actually presented. The same goes for the final scene. It fits the localized nature of the problem when Picard reads Starfleet's directive "...areas of space found susceptible to warp fields will be restricted to essential travel only." However the next line "Effective immediately, all Federation vessels will be limited to a speed of warp five, except in cases of extreme emergency" comes out of nowhere, since as I've said only the Hekaras Corridor has been identified as a place that's "susceptible to warp fields."

The one and only possible counter to this is a scene with Geordi, Data, and Rabal in Stellar Cartography. They're looking at the rift trying to find a way to get to the Fleming. At the end of the scene they notice something. "It's a subspace instability outside the rift. That should not be possible." Could this be nugget of information that's supposed to indicate damage to all of space? If so, the dialogue is wrong. It should be "It's a subspace instability outside the CORRIDOR," which is what the graphic indicates. Even so, just like Spot, the Ferengi, and Geordi's tinkering with the engines, it's never followed up on and forgotten despite being what could be the critical element of the story.

Also, coasting at warp? Come on. They also said after the Fleming engaged their warp engines that they no longer have sufficient velocity to escape. Just a short while before however they said "It would take weeks to reach them at impulse." Ok that would suck, but it's not like they'd be trapped. This is just so sloppy.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Feb 25, 2018, 3:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: The First Duty

I never noticed this before, but Picard didn't reveal to Wesley that he in fact had evidence of their attempt at the Kolvoord Starburst. In his panicked conversation with Locarno, Wesley even says there's no evidence. So had Wesley not confessed, Picard would have shown that the Saturn NavCon image matches the animation of the maneuver (which wouldn't necessarily stand on its own merits), but they also know from the flight data recorder that Wesley opened his ship's coolant interlock, which is necessary to "ignite the plasma." Just imagine how that scene would have played out!
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, Feb 21, 2018, 8:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

I never really liked this episode, but I don't hate it either. Airing it right after New Ground definitely drags it down.

Regarding the school, the model building scene, and the way Timothy is behaving, it seems to me he was supposed to be younger, but they probably couldn't find an actor who could handle the part. With such an aggressive production schedule they wouldn't have had the time to redo the writing, sets, or much else. The other kids in the school look at least a couple years younger, but we don't see a lot of them so it's hard to tell.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, Feb 20, 2018, 9:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: A Matter of Time

I agree there's a lot of flaws in the episode, but I still enjoy it. Nevertheless, I do think it was incredibly irresponsible of the crew to just let the time ship go back to Jersey all by itself. Data knew it was about to leave and could have stayed with it to figure out how to use it and bring it back. As it is, I picture it reappearing in Rasmussen's garage and quickly becoming a curiosity that gets snatched by the authorities. In 200 years someone could've figured out how to get into the thing. Aside from that, wouldn't someone like Captain Braxton from Voyager come looking for it after its first captain failed to return? Maybe they were a bit more relaxed about their time travel in the 26th century.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 7:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Contagion

When Geordi is shocked by the control panel in engineering, and Data throws him back with enough force for Geordi to crumple to the ground, you see a noticeable "oh crap" expression on Data's face. I have to wonder if that was scripted/directed or if it was actually Brent Spiner reacting to LeVar Burton's "flight."
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sat, May 20, 2017, 4:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Alternate

That planet was one of the most fakey sound stages with matte painting backdrops I've seen since first season TNG.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, May 9, 2017, 7:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Dramatis Personae

This episode was quite middling, and would've been greatly helped by a strong musical score (think TNG's Booby Trap or Night Terrors). Sadly, we get the usual bland brass wallpaper music, which just highlights the banality of the episode. Thanks a lot Rick Berman >_<
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sat, Dec 10, 2016, 1:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: 11:59

I don't dislike this episode, and I applaud them for trying something different. I also don't agree that it's just filler because it isn't sci-fi. TNG's "Family" is similar, and it's an outstanding character piece. DS9's "Past Tense" is also a very similar story, and an important one.

That said, speaking of "Past Tense" there is a similar kind of artificiality I feel in both of these episodes. Maybe it's the studio backlot setting which is almost real but not quite, or the strangely quiet and somewhat stilted acting which might be a symptom of being outside the actors' comfort zones, but both these episodes have something of a Truman Show feel to them that doesn't sit quite right with me.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sat, Dec 3, 2016, 6:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Thirty Days

Thank you Mikey for bringing up the hull breach issue. It's not even that the stream of water would slice Tom in half, but the tiniest breach would instantly crush everyone inside to pink goo. Futurama made this same mistake (though probably deliberately) after conceding that a spaceship's design considerations are completely opposite that of a submarine.

LEELA: Depth at 45 hundred feet, 48 hundred, 50 hundred! 5000 feet!
FARNSWORTH: Dear Lord, that's over 150 atmospheres of pressure.
FRY: How many atmospheres can this ship withstand?
FARNSWORTH: Well it's a spaceship, so I'd say anywhere between zero and one.

Assuming the gravitational field holding this planet together is similar to the gravity we experience on Earth, at 600km in depth, they'd be subjected to nearly 60,000 atmospheres of pressure, or 875,000 pounds per square inch. And they were able to survive without the shields? Then there's the question of how exactly they can propel and maneuver the Delta Flyer underwater. I can see them technobabbling a way out of it, but firing phasers too? The science makes me sad.

I do think the overall idea of the planet needing an artificial gravity generator to maintain containment is sound though. At 600km in radius, this ball of water is only 1/3 the size of our moon. That's no gas giant. An all-water planet of this size wouldn't generate enough of its own gravity to prevent atmospheric escape losses. Basically the planet would evaporate away, or be blown away by solar winds without a magnetic field and other help.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sat, Nov 26, 2016, 6:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: The Omega Directive

I do like this episode, but the idea that a pre-warp civilization could come up with this technology is quite a stretch, like Leonardo da Vinci building a functional nuclear reactor. I can understand them being a space-faring but still pre-warp species, but that being the case, why would their ships even have weapons at all, let alone weapons that could damage Voyager? Unless there are multiple space-faring species in this planetary system, or they're routinely raided by warp-capable civilizations, weapons make no more sense than NASA arming the Space Shuttle or International Space Station. They don't seem surprised to run into aliens, so either they have a very non-typical history and relationship with the rest of the galaxy, or it's just a case of sloppy writing. Regardless, if they haven't developed warp drive, then it seems highly unlikely that they would have antimatter weapons capable of fending off warp capable species. Transporting the molecules and their extremely sensitive containment technology also makes no sense.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Nov 13, 2016, 11:00am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Macrocosm

Near the beginning after Neelix was sprayed with mucus, Janeway notes that he has fluid in his lungs, and Neelix corrects her with "lung." A small bit of quality continuity there.

Otherwise, yeah, a silly rehash of Genesis, which was a pretty bad TNG episode too. Lots of dark corridors though.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sat, Apr 2, 2016, 9:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: The Pegasus

I'm a little miffed at all of the "the Federation would never agree to such a restrictive treaty" comments. Granted there's a lot of non-canon information about it out there, but the general situation seems to be that the Federation accepted that clause in the treaty in exchange for the Romulans retreating to their side of the Neutral Zone (I believe the Neutral Zone was established prior to that, but I'm not sure), essentially cutting off all contact with the rest of the quadrant. That actually sounds worse for the Romulans, if not for their reclusive bordering on xenophobic tendencies.

Also (and again, it's difficult to separate what little actual canon exists versus fanfic or just speculation) it's entirely possible that the Federation LOST whatever conflict spurned this treaty. Maintaining that treaty could very well be the only thing preventing an all out war with the Romulans that the Federation knows they would lose, again. That's all speculation on my part yes, but it does show how something like this could come up.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, Nov 19, 2014, 5:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Rules of Engagement

For some reason, that bell the arbitrator rings irritates me to no end. It's being gently rapped by a soft rubber mallet. You call that ringing a bell?
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Oct 26, 2014, 7:42pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Lower Decks

I was always struck by just how much bigger the regulars are compared to the junior officers, both literally and figuratively. Sito and Ogawa are physically quite petite, but even Lavelle and Taurik are small compared to the senior officers, if not in height (Taurik is taller than Geordi) then in build and mannerisms.

Seeing Sito and Picard walking down the hallway or in a turbo lift is quite a striking contrast. Even so, the presence of the regular cast is so "big" compared to these kids that Picard can come across as frightening even while sitting behind his desk.

I just find the dynamic very interesting, and extremely effective. Kudos to the director for using many low angle shots when the junior officers are with their elders, reinforcing the contrast and especially making Picard, Worf, and Riker all that much more imposing.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, Sep 24, 2014, 7:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: A Matter of Perspective

Before this hearing/deposition/whatever you call it on the holodeck, shouldn't someone have contacted the hotel on the planet to verify that they'd made reservations to stay the night, even if they canceled or didn't show up? Irrespective of the whole eye witness and faulty memory arguments, that's one easily verifiable piece of testimony that's pretty critical to the he said/she said arguments being made.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sat, Apr 6, 2013, 6:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Faces

For whatever reason I never liked how Dawson portrayed her human self. I realize she's conflicted and understandably out of sorts, but she's just so timid I want her Klingon self to give her a good smack upside the head. It's not as if all her confidence and strength has to come from her Klingon side.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, Apr 2, 2013, 6:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

A great end to the series, and to your reviews Jammer, it's all very much appreciated.

There's lots of great details in this finale, but my favorite has to be that Data's house in the future timeline is overflowing with cats. Beautiful.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, Mar 27, 2013, 8:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

The only thing that kinda irked me about this episode (aside from the long-term ramifications for Picard, which have been discussed to death already) is the way the resurrected Eline says "my darling" at the very end. The way she smirks while saying it is really creepy, and I always read it as a sort of "haha it was all fake, you're not really my darling at all!" insincere and sarcastic jab. It's still a brilliant hour of TV, one of the greatest moments in TNG, Trek, and science fiction in general.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, Dec 12, 2012, 2:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Lower Decks

I can see how Ben is basically a lame Guinan ripoff, but could you really see Guinan playing poker? Maybe with the senior staff, MAYBE, but not with these kids. I'm guessing the writers originally had her in mind for the part, but just couldn't make it work with her character.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, Nov 7, 2012, 6:01pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Force of Nature

I'm glad Jammer brings up the ambiguity of just how far-reaching this damage is. I've watched this episode a few times (though I admit it's difficult to pay attention to as it's so plodding), but I've never noticed anything to suggest that this damage applies anywhere but in this one particular corridor of space. It's a problem for anyone going through that corridor sure, but does it affect anyone near Earth, or Bajor, or anywhere else of much importance?

On the other hand, the discussion about warp speed limits and Voyager's special nacelles would seem to suggest otherwise. I just always felt like people blew this issue way out of proportion because it seemed (at least to me) to be fairly minor. To use the pollution analogy, this would be more like a problem with smog or heavy metals in a river, local concerns, not something with global implications like carbon dioxide or CFCs.
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