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Mal
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 10:04am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S3: The Enterprise Incident

@Jason R., you're right, good catch! I think I was traveling when First Contact came out, and I didn't get to see it till a few months later, over summer - so I actually saw Scorpion part I before First Contact. Funny how memory plays tricks with you after a quarter century. Thanks dude :)
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Mal
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 9:51am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S3: The Paradise Syndrome

Enjoyable episode, definitely different from the usual TOS alternate-Earth fare.

There are TNG episodes that could easily have been TOS episodes ("The Naked Now"). This is a TOS episode that - with its clear A/B format - could have easily been a TNG episode. It basically is half "Inner Light" (Picard = Kirk) and half "Deja Q" (astroid = astroid).

I'm happy to give The Paradise Syndrome 3 stars, if only because Kirk gets to sleep with a Playboy bunny and for once be happy. That, and they've actually done a pretty good job transposing Paul Gaugin's Tahiti Syndrome from paintings
https://www.google.com/search?q=paul+gauguin+tahiti&tbm=isch
to television.

That said, Farscape did a far more interesting job with the episode "Jeremiah Crichton".

https://youtu.be/a2fSEXbRD8o
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Mal
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 8:33am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S3: The Enterprise Incident

Best of Both Worlds for TNG. Improbable Cause for DS9. Scorpion for VOY. Damage for ENT.

For each iteration of Star Trek there is an episode which defines the series. That shows it at its best. That leaves a indelible memory of what that show was all about, and what it was like when everything just worked.

For Star Trek that episode is "The Enterprise Incident".

Four stars doesn’t even start to do justice to what this hour means for TOS and for Star Trek as a whole.

With "Improbable Cause", DS9 went from an interesting idea to a holy fuck what the fuck is going on, this is awesome!?! That part II ("The Die is Cast") was equally spectacular had frankly never happened in the history of Star Trek two-parters. When DS9 kept up such spectacular outings in later seasons, it cemented its place as the preeminent Star Trek of its time - and for some of us (I’m looking at you @Jammer), the preeminent Star Trek for all time.

BoBW did that for TNG. For anyone who was lucky enough to have watched BoBW in real time on broadcast television - well, it is an experience I don’t expect ever to happen again with any show.

"Damage" showed us that a tired and spent Star Trek (ENT) still had something to say in a post-9/11 world.

"Scorpion" gave us two of the most iconic characters in Star Trek - the Borg queen who later featured in the highest grossing Star Trek movie ever (First Contact), and Seven of Nine, who after Kirk, Picard, and Kira, may have been one of the most charismatic characters on any Star Trek show ever. No one on ENT, DISC, or PIC even comes close. Which makes it even more unbelievable how terrible ST: Picard has turned out to be. I guess neither Patrick Steward nor Jeri Ryan have aged as well as The Shat and Nimoy did back in the day with The Undiscovered Country.

So where were we? As yes, "The Enterprise Incident". First of all, let’s remember, this is a Spock episode. I think we sometimes forget that. Sure Kirk puts on the ears - always fun! But it is Spock, who shall we say, gets all the action ;)

And every great hero needs a great villain. If Kirk had Khan, Picard had the Borg, Sisko had Dukat, then Spock has the Romulan Commander (she whispers her name to Spock, but I didn’t catch it. Did you?).

@William B, in his incredible write up, mentions Voyager’s “Counterpoint,” and I was also thinking of that episode when I watched The Enterprise Incident this evening. “Counterpoint" is - along with “11:59” - one of the few times we get a good partner for Janeway to act across from, and as a result, she really shines. And TPTB did an equally wonderful job for Spock in casting the Romulan Commander. Has there ever been a better guest actor? Even the wonderful Andreas Katsulas as Ambassador Tomolok doesn’t hold a candle. Maybe the iconic Jean Simmons opposite Picard when she played Admiral Satie - making The Drumhead one of TNG’s best?

As a result of the luminous Romulan Commander, Spock too shines at a whole new level.

I’m not going to get into all the socio-political ramifications of this episode, or how the Romulans using Klingon designs reflects a fear of a Chinese/Russian alliance during the Cold War. I touched on all that, including Spock’s fascination with unification, in my write up for Balance of Terror ( https://www.jammersreviews.com/st-tos/s1/balance.php ). Suffice it to say, Spock’s journey with the Romulan people is a long one, and Discovery has added very little to it (just as DISC has added very little to Star Trek as a whole).

It would have been very interesting if a prequel to TOS had actually examined the other half of the alpha quadrant.

We know that Vulcans, logical and cold, allied themselves with the Humans, just as in real life after WWII, the Japanese were defeated and were allied thereafter (and even to this day) with America. But if the Romulans are the cousins of the Vulcans, just as the Chinese are the cousins of the Japanese, then it would have been fascinating to see the alliance of the Romulans and the Klingons during this era. A view from behind the Iron Curtain. That would also have shed real light on the Duras family and the events of Redemption parts I & II, as well as Khitomer.

But alas, we are no longer in an age that gave us DS9 and Babylon 5 and nBSG.

Hoping for such a textured and intricate long-form of story telling from Star Trek in this day and age is a fool’s errand. If you want that today, you’ll have to check out The Expanse.
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Mal
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 3:25am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S3: Spock's Brain

Spock’s Brain

Star Trek season 3 episode 1


"A hunch, Captain?”

- Sulu


2 stars (out of 4)


This final season of Star Trek starts out with a below-average episode, but one not without it’s charms.

“Spock’s Brain" begins on exactly the right note: the crew encounters an obviously superior ship, and instead of immediate hostility or fear, the crew displays that awe and wonder which is the hallmark of Star Trek. As Scotty puts it,

KIRK: Well, Scotty?

SCOTT: It beats me, but isn't she a beauty?

KIRK: Interesting design.

SCOTT: I've never seen anything like her. And ion propulsion at that. They could teach us a thing or two.

The crew is visited by a beautiful female alien who looks just like a human. She has a very similar device on her arm as those Kelvans had back in “By any other Name”, which can immobilize you instantly. Only’s this week’s version is even more powerful - it works throughout the ship, not just in the room where it is, which was the limitation of the Kelvan’s device. Immediately we know that this woman is more powerful than even Rojan had been in that episode.

After she steals Spock’s Brain, the crew is under a ticking clock (Bones gives them 24 hours) to find the organ and find some way to reconnect it to Spock’s body, before he succumbs to his injuries. Instead of panicking, the crew undertakes a most logical analysis of their options.

We are treated to a brand new view of the bridge in what a few folks (@Jeffrey, @Nick P. - belatedly, @Peter G., @Bill, @Peter) have rightly called a genuine highlight of the episode. I don’t think Star Trek had anything like this in its first two seasons. In a lot of ways it reminds me of one of my favorite scenes in all of Star Trek canon: Picard and Data in stellar cartography tracking the nexus ribbon,

https://youtu.be/2ymn8elCvkM?t=101

In this case we get a great from-behind-the-captain’s chair direct shot of Kirk and Chekov systematically going through their three options for where the alien woman might have taken Spock’s Brain.

Time is short, and they will only get one shot.

The rest of the bridge crew chimes in with helpful comments. As @Jeffrey points out, Uhura asks perhaps the most important question of all: why did they take Spock’s brain? Uhura was no cipher on this show - no mere beautiful Nubian in a short shirt. Instead she very much earned her keep. Say what you will about the reboots, but Zoe Saladana did a great job carrying forward that heritage from Nichelle Nichols.

Which brings us to my favorite exchange from the episode, after Kirk makes a decision on which planet to visit,

SULU: A hunch, Captain?

KIRK: A hunch, Mister Sulu.

CHEKOV: What if you guess wrong, Captain?

KIRK: If I guess wrong, Mister Spock is dead.

That’s the thing about being captain - you have to make a choice, and live with the fact that if you are wrong, people will die. Which reminds me of another of my favorite scenes in all of Star Trek canon:

CRUSHER: I'm not sure whether we should go over this hill or that one. The topography on this map is a little vague.

PICARD: Let me see. This way.

CRUSHER: You don't really know, do you?

PICARD: What?

CRUSHER: I mean, you're acting like you know exactly which way to go, but you're only guessing. Do you do this all the time?

PICARD: No, but there are times when it is necessary for a captain to give the appearance of confidence.

Indeed.

I like that the writers gave Sulu a chance to include Kirk’s hunch in his Ship's Log ("Captain Kirk's hunch that Spock's brain is on this planet appears to be correct.”).

Down on the planet we are met with a few interesting ideas, although the execution is a bit weak. I agree with @Peter, when watching the episode, I was immediately reminded of The Time Machine except that the Eloi and Morlochs were inverted - with the more delicate half down underground in this case.

The idea of a separation of the sexes doesn’t quite get the depth it deserves either, as @Rahul points out (“There are some things that could have been explored that are more interesting - like how the interactions go down between the women and the men”). Spock’s last line in the episode is cut off when he is comparing the situation to a time when the Romans were warring with the - who? We never find out. Maybe he was going to say Sparta? Spartan women had a reputation all their own, and quite separate from the formidable reputation of their men. Who knows?

These lost threads remind me of The Omega Glory, which had so many threads largely because it was supposed to originally be a Pilot episode. Spock’s Brain had the job of reintroducing our crew at the top of Season 3, and so you can see why they might have over stuffed it.

Finally, the episode has some silly hijinks which some find hilarious (through obviously @Jammer was not amused).

I love the robotic Spock. In DS9, Nog did a fun job of it with a Vorta rigged up to walk after he had died accidentally. @Peter asks about how this was done ("I kept wondering why the Enterprise would have a device around to remotely control a brainless person.”). But Nog explains in DS9 that it would actually be pretty easy,

NOG: Well, there's no doubt about it. According to these readings, this man is dead.

QUARK: Thank you, Doctor Nog.

NOG: I just wanted to be sure. I thought maybe we could revive him but I guess not.

[Keevan's arm twitches]

GAILA: He's alive!

NOG: No, he isn't. It's just the neural stimulator. It caused a reflexive impulse in his cerebellum.

ROM: I never knew you studied medicine at the Academy.

NOG: I didn't, but if you think about it, medicine isn't that different from engineering. It's all about keeping things running, fixing broken parts.

QUARK: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

NOG: Find me more neural stimulators.

If Nog, an ensign with zero medical knowledge - and certainly no knowledge of Vorta anatomy - could rig something up to get Keevan’s body to walk around (and Keevan was dead!), certainly Bones can do the same for Spock.

Speaking of Bones, I love how this episode continues with his long-term reluctance to operate on Vulcans. All the way back in "Journey to Babel," Bones had been very, very reluctant to operate on Spock’s dad (Sarek). In a "Private Little War,” Spock’s care is turned over the Vulcan expert, Dr. M’Benga. Here too, Bones says again and again that reconnecting a brain is way above his paygrade. Bones is so un-like Bashir. While the episode does give Bones a boost with the “Teacher” matrix-like insta-learning device (as per @SpyTV), the writers are also good enough to let that learning wear off halfway through the operation, so Bones and Spock simply have to figure it out on their own. That’s how you build real lasting confidence.

The episode ends on a happy note. Spock gets his brain back. The men and woman on this planet will again start to enjoy each other’s company. And Star Trek gets one more year on TV!

I have no idea why people insist on dumping on Spock’s Brain. It is below average, sure. But, I agree with @Trek fan, it is not bad at all. Plus, I get a new ring-tone out of the whole thing,

https://youtu.be/6o7UDpn1mKI

:-)
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Mal
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 9:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

@Matthew L. Martin said, "Man, I loved Angel more than Buffy. I might be the only person on earth who did.”

Me too, buddy. Me too!

@William B, "I think Amy Acker is very talented but Fred was not very well executed much of the time.”

Maybe, but I thought Amy Acker killed it as Illyria. She was a goddess!

@William B said, "I think the recurring guest cast in Angel is particularly strong"

Indeed.

https://youtu.be/zN3I7HVNx_c

Indeed.

@William B said, "I think Angel takes a real hit because its first season is such a slog, but I do still like it.”

Let’s not forget that Season 1 had the incredible Elisabeth Röhm playing Angel’s girl friend. I’ll be honest, she’s what got me hooked onto the show.

@Jason R. said, "B5 was another example of a show that was more than the sum of its parts. I mean Claudia Chrostian can't act her way out of a wet paper bag let's be honest.”

LOL. So true!

Babylon 5 had terrible production values, JMS couldn’t write dialogue to save his life, and the actors were mostly third rate (except Londo Mollari - who was epic, G’kar - who people seem to recognize more as Ambassador Tomolok, and Delenn - of course she was a star back in her home country).

And yet, Babylon 5 was one of the best scifi shows ever made. On par (and sometimes even better than) DS9.

How can that be? Because of the grand ideas that Babylon 5 explored.

@Karl Zimmerman said, "The number one flaw with Discovery this season is...there's basically no ideas any longer. Certainly no SF ideas worth mentioning.”

Yup. Discovery is an empty show with nothing to say. Which is the saddest possible thing that could have ever happened to Star Trek.

Empty calories, or as @Jason R. put it, "It is like going to McDonalds versus some brand new high end restaurant. The former will never disappoint but will never surprise or elate either.”

@Chrome said, "Yeah, I eventually did go back (15 years later!) and watched Voyager episodes Jammer rated 3.5 or higher and there are some good ones. … That's ... really gets to the heart of numeric quality being an inaccurate description of fiction.”

That reminds me of the exact point in Voyager where the show stared to lose a lot of us long-time fans. It was Season 3, back in 1997, and DS9 was right smack in the middle of its incredible Season 5.

And that’s when VOY’s “Fortunate Son” aired. @Jammer’s review of that episode starts with these damning words:

"I want to extend my congratulations to the Voyager staff. They have come up with yet another claim to fame: They have created perhaps the longest streak of consecutive bottom-of-barrel episodes”

That, @Chrome, is how I’ve always thought of bad seasons of Star Trek. How many 2 1/2 star or lower episodes are there in a row?

A single one-off 1-star episode (or even zero-star episode) doesn’t kill a show. Even two such episodes in a row, while not ideal, can be tolerated. But when you have three or more 2 1/2 star episodes in a row, it drags the entire enterprise down.

Per @Jammer's count, Voyager writers did that as early as Season 3, and so, despite adding Seven of Nine, VOY never fully recovered from that fall.

Babylon 5 had that long mediocre streak in Season 5 with the telepath arc, and never fully recovered either.

ENT had a string of three mediocre episodes in a row in Season 1, but this is Star Trek, and we always forgive season 1 it’s transgressions ;)

But when it happened again in Season 2 of ENT, @Jammer was not so kind. Here’s what he wrote at the top of his review for ENT S2’s “Cease Fire”,

"Lukewarm indifference can be an awful feeling when experienced for a prolonged period. I look at my last four reviews in a row now: 2.5 stars, 2.5 stars, 2.5 stars, 2.5 stars. I tell myself that at least it means competently constructed television, but somehow that's cold comfort. I want a spark of life and ingenuity in my entertainment, and not simply responsible messages inside bland containers.”

That’s what spelled doom for ENT.

Many of us stuck around with ENT for the start of Season 3.

But the next time we got a string of mediocrity, starting with "North Star”, and on for 4 episodes in a row, through “Carbon Creek” and “Chosen Realm”, we bailed (or at least I bailed).

It wasn’t till now - 16 years later, and forced into an extended stretch of inactivity by this global pandemic, that I finally got around to watching the rest of Enterprise. Such has been the miracle of 2020.

The thing is, “Chosen Realm” wasn’t god awful ENT. That’s not what made people turn off ENT. It was, in @Jammer’s words,

“… as Star Trek message shows go, "Chosen Realm" is ultimately a mediocre one.”

Star Trek is not where we go for extended stretches of mediocrity.

We have all of television for that.

It might seem harsh that three strikes in a row means you’re out. But it is also human nature. Our time and attention is limited. Why would we spend it on a show that fails to deliver, when we have other shows like The Expanse or The Mandalorian that show us much, much, much more is possible.


@Luis Dantas said, "Michael's fate sounds so undeserved that she herself falls just short of pointing out that it is indeed unearned. This Starfleet may well be idealistic, but it is shown to be too lenient with serious breaches of discipline and protocol.”

True. I was remembering what happened with Worf on DS9 with Jadzia. It was a DS9 episode called “Change of Heart."

There, Worf abandoned his mission and his Cardassian contact died, because his love for Jadzia meant he couldn’t just leave her injured and alone. A permanent record went into his Star Fleet file.

As Sisko explained:


SISKO: As your captain, it is my duty to tell you that you made the wrong choice. I don't think Starfleet will file any formal charges. Even a secret court martial would run the risk of revealing too much about their intelligence operations. But this will go into your service record, and to be completely honest, you probably won't be offered a command on your own after this.

WORF: I understand.


That’s what it means to be in command. Sisko knows. He was dragged away from his wife who was dead or dying at Wolf 359.

https://youtu.be/sgAlog2eTEg?t=190

He made Captain. Sisko knows what sacrifice means, and how hard it is to get over a loss. And he’s the right person to tell Worf that from a Star Fleet officer’s perspective, the choice Worf made was the wrong one - for his career. Not wrong as a person. Wrong for his career.


SISKO: And one last thing. As a man who had a wife, if Jennifer had been lying in that clearing I wouldn't have left her either.


Had Sisko not been dragged away at Wolf 359, he wouldn’t have made Captain either. And he would have accepted that. It was his choice to make.

In the end, Worf decides to take up a post as Ambassador to Kronos, since his Star Fleet career will now be stalled for good. In later TNG movies, we see the best Worf can really hope for is his old post back on the Enterprise. He’s not being offered a commander’s promotion. Ever. He chose love over duty. Most of us would do the same. But great drama requires that such choices have consequences.

Discovery is not great drama. Choices have no consequences.

Which brings us back to Michael.

WTF?!

Just a few weeks ago on “Scavengers”, Burnham disobeys direct orders, abandons her post, to go save her boyfriend. As a result, she was removed from her post as First Officer. Because command officers cannot have that failing. It might be the human thing to do (it is!), but it is not the trait of a command officer.

But now you’re making her Captain??

Has Star Fleet really devolved (@MidshipmanNorris) so far in the centuries after Worf, that a failing that should be a court-martial offense, is now just a tiny blip on your way to the Captain’s chair?

What morons are writing this stuff?
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Mal
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 9:32am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Assignment: Earth

Assignment: Earth is the culmination of the central theme of Season 2, the exploration of late-1960’s society. Star Trek finally shows its hand, what it has been building up to all year, starting with Mirror, Mirror, and through all the alternate Earth episodes, and now this: an examination of the central pressing issue for real life 1960’s Earth.

https://youtu.be/-DhkY6d9uqQ

Season 1 had a more personal touch because the theme of the season was Man. Or rather man with increasing powers, up to and including the power of the gods. Whether we had gods as teenagers (Charlie X) or men and women as gods (Where no Man has Gone Before) or man & paradise (This Side of Paradise) or enhanced man (Space Seed), the point of Season 1 was to explore man, especially how man would react to being placed at all levels of power and pleasure up to and including ultimate power and total bliss.

Season 2 was more impersonal by design. So many episodes were thought-experiments that put a slight spin on society - an alternate Earth almost like our own planet, but just different enough to accentuate a particular aspect of society - some aspect the show wanted to explore or highlight for the audience (like public manipulation through television in Bread and Circuses, or the cruelty of a purely intellectual elite in Triskelion).

Assignment: Earth also gives us vivid insight into the mindframe of the 1960’s audience. In that way, it is a model for Star Trek: Voyager episodes like "11:59" and "Future’s End," both of which did a good job exploring the mindset of the 1990’s.

Assignment: Earth's 1960’s audience was obviously a nervous lot - neurotic about all sorts of events transpiring around them. If we have Climate Change today, they had nuclear holocaust to worry about back then. And in all that upheaval, who was there to protect them? Not God. Maybe it gave the audience comfort to think that Kirk and Spock - or Gary Seven - was up there looking down at us - looking out for them, like an Angel.


ROBERTA: Mister Seven, I want to believe you. I do. I know this world needs help. That's why some of my generation are kind of crazy and rebels, you know. We wonder if we're going to be alive when we're thirty.


What were they so worried about?


SPOCK: Current Earth crises would fill a tape bank, Captain. There will be an important assassination today…


5 days after this episode aired, Martin Luther King was killed. He was 39. I wonder what the theme of Season 3 will be?

https://youtu.be/8A_3jqiix0Q
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Mal
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 6:54am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Bread and Circuses

Wow, I really enjoyed this one a lot more than I remember.

A solid 3 stars.

This is TOS operating as a smoothly oiled machine after more than 50 episodes on air.

Of course Kirk is fantastic, as @Strider notes at the top.

And yes, the alternative Earth thing is getting a bit much at this point. But the twist is fantastic. 20th century Earth *if* the Roman Empire never fell. Feels a little like Man in the High Castle. Philip K. Dick, who wrote the novel on which the TV show Man in the High Castle was based (as well as Bladerunner, and many other movies - he was a genius), had a famous line in his novels: The Empire never ended.

Think of “Bread and Circuses” as a thought experiment.

Scifi has the ability to put a tiny spin on things - whether in a Mirror universe, or traveling through time like Doctor Who or Quantum Leap - that allows us to see our selves in a different light.

Later generations of Trek had more tools to create the conditions for their thought experiments (e.g., holodecks). And I suppose just as holodeck-malfunction-episodes got annoying after a while, alternate Earth episodes got tired with TOS. But the set up is so short it doesn’t take much away from the rest of the hour.

In any case, the gold here is what @Trent alludes to: the ideas that Star Trek plays with are very brave.

We of course focus mostly on the “Circuses” part of the episode title. The 1960’s were a time of laugh tracks and television specials and other myriad ways to keep the people entertained, but more than that, to manipulate the audiences’ feelings using specially engineered inputs. I remember watching this episode as a kid, and the image of the dials being adjusted for “Boos” and for “Laughs” and for “Cheers” stuck with me for the rest of my life.

It is hard to take any of television seriously after you’ve seen as a brutal a parody of television as “Bread and Circuses.”

But even more brave is the “Bread” part of the episode title.

There is a Christian prayer that says, “give us this day our daily bread.” One of the most famous stories in the Bible is the fishes and the loaves. Loaves of bread.

And truly bread is integral to controlling the public. The central conversation of the hour takes place between Kirk, Spock, Bones and Flavius,


KIRK: But if there have been slaves for over 2,000 years, hasn't there always been discontent, runaways?

FLAVIUS: Long ago there were rebellions, but they were suppressed. And with each century, the slaves acquired more rights under the law. They received rights to medicine, the right to government payments in their old age, and they slowly learned to be content.

SPOCK: Even more fascinating. Slavery evolving into an institution with guaranteed medical payments, old-age pensions.

MCCOY: Quite logical, I'd say, Mister Spock. Just as it's logical that twentieth-century Rome would use television to show its gladiator contests or name a new car the Jupiter Eight.


They used television - circuses - to distract the population from its troubles. And they used social security - bread - to sooth the brutalities just enough to avoid the rebellions that Kirk was asking about.

Not many shows can ask if socialism might be an opiate for the masses.

So much of this episode is stellar. The proconsul is played with a wonderful callous disdain for ordinary morality. And as @Outsider65 says, Scotty was awesome (I recommend all of @Outsider65’s write up).

Just a very fun hour. With biting social commentary. Are you not entertained?

https://youtu.be/L-l6tHeseDY
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Mal
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 11:56am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

A bunch of comments over in "City on the Edge of Forever" call that the "most overrated" episode of Star Trek. But for my money, that dubious honor should be reserved for "The Ultimate Computer." This episode is good. Even very good. Just not nearly as iconic as people seem to remember it to be.
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Tomalak
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 6:42am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

It says it all that the writers have managed to drop in an attack on capitalism so juvenile that even socialists here think it's dumb.
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Mal
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 5:46am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

That Hope is You part 2

Star Trek: Discovery
Season 3 episode 13

Mal’s Review before Jammer’s


“I was holding my breath for at least 10 minutes by the time I was 8 years old.”

- Owo

“I didn’t know that”

- Detmer


1 1/2 stars (out of 4)


The first 10 minutes of this week's Discovery - the long intro before we go to the intro-credits - is actually pretty damn good. I was impressed. To wit,

- the holo gives Adira some pretty cool facial-tats,
- through the miracle of zero-technobale Gray gets a hug,
- David Cronenberg makes his very brief appearance in the episode,
- there is some cool first-person shooter camera work with our team and those Wall-e bots,
- Stamets is put into cold storage for most of the rest of the season,
- the Navar show up, and
- Michael even has a pretty decent speech for Vance (yes, really!?!)

And then it all went to shit.

The rest of this hour (and it is an extra-special hour-long episode) is essentially a waste of time. Worse, the episode destroys what small bit of interesting story Discovery had managed to build up over this season.

What a shame.

The biggest lost opportunity is Osyraa. Why did Discovery bother building her up, especially with her fascinating negotiations with Admiral Vance, only to return her to a cartoon villain in the finale? When she is fighting Michael at the end of this episode, did anyone (anyone??) think there was any outcome possible other than Osyraa dying and Michael winning.

Pro-tip, if you have an extended fight-scene between the season’s big baddie and the hero of the show, people know how it is going to turn out, so don’t drag it out forever. I hate to say it, but I was actually hoping Osyraa won. That, at least would be interesting.

Next lost opportunity is David Cronenberg. The guy has like two lines this episode - both before the opening credits - and neither of the lines matter. Anyone could have said them. Why bother?

Next lost opportunity is the Navar. Why bother calling these people if we never see them? We get a half second flash of the Navar leader right at the end of the episode. If you blink, you’ll actually miss her.

Next lost opportunity is Jet Reno. Same deal. No lines (just a chuckle). A brief flash on the screen - blink and you’ll miss her too.

The Trill. Evidently telling us they have rejoined in a throw-away line is way more important that showing us the rejoining process. Because showing us might take away from the 30 minutes of utter crap “action” with which they inflate the episode to 60 minutes.

The Burn. The level of let down here just leaves me speechless.

And the greatest lost opportunity is Saru. Here is just about the only good Trekkian character that Discovery has produced. And if they are going to use him to make Michael captain, then - and let me see if I got this right - the writers think the best way to do that is in yet another throw-away line in Michael’s season-closing speech??

God forbid you actually show, not tell.

It's not like Saru and Michael have a long history together spanning a couple ships and a couple captains that, you know, the audience might actually want to see. Oh wait. Jesus Christ, even Baby Yoda got more of an opportunity to say goodbye to the Mandalorian in a very touching (face-touching) scene.

We end the season with a quote from Gene. And then the original series music. Because reasons.

At least the new uniforms are an improvement.

There have been times in the last few decades when I wondered if it was worth spending time on Star Trek. But even then, I didn’t think the show was a waste of time. It is now. How can that be? Star Trek, even bad Trek (even TNG’s Shades of Gray) was never a poor way to spend your time.

In an era when Trek alumni are making such incredible shows as The Expanse, and when that other deep space franchise - Star Wars - has given us some of the best TV of the year, why is Discovery so bad?

I have no idea. What’s worse. I’m starting not to care.
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Mal
Wed, Jan 6, 2021, 8:51am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Omega Glory

@CPUFP, yes, *loved* Spock's comment :-)

I always enjoyed this Constitution Class as a kid, and I have to say, despite the questionably language (KIRK: The yellow civilisation is almost destroyed, the white civilisation is destroyed.), I enjoyed it this time around also.

There are some fantastic themes here that would have served the show well in a longer pilot. The themes are, in no particular order,

- The Prime Directive. TOS had been pretty wishy-washy about the Prime Directive up to this point ("A Private Little War"), especially given what a freaking big deal it is in TNG and beyond. But we see here that it was meant to be a very firm thing for Star Fleet officers from the very beginning.

- The madness caused by losing a ship and her crew. We saw that elsewhere, including with Commodore Decker in The Doomsday Machine.

- Money & Greed. Captain Ron Tracey joins a long line of Trek characters (like Mudd, but remember, Pike had also thought of leaving Star Fleet to make money with the Orions) enticed by the lure of filthy lucre.

- Patriotism. Riker was Canadian (kidding, I swear!). Picard was a proud frenchman ("the French more properly used the same colors in the order blue, white and red").

https://youtu.be/WoOXjwfzopw

Scotty was a... Scottsman??? And Riley - poor Kevin Riley who sang and died in "Conscious of a King" - was an Irishman. We forget how much place mattered before we entered 21st century Trek.

- Sulu in Command. Not just a Star Trek VI thing.

- The fountain of youth. Wait, where else was there a fountain of youth in Star Trek? The Nexus (Generations). That can't be it??? Wow...

- Spock as deus ex machina.

- Red shirt dies.

- And my favorite part of the episode, Kirk gives a speech!

https://youtu.be/3bYkNptOJns?t=68

KIRK: These words and the words that follow were not written only for the Yangs, but for the Kohms as well!

CLOUD: The Kohms?

KIRK: They must apply to everyone or they mean nothing! Do you understand?

CLOUD: I do not fully understand, one named Kirk. But the holy words will be obeyed. I swear it.


Wow.


It reminds me of the speech Martin Luther King gave only a couple years before this episode aired.

MLK said:

MLK: "When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice."

MLK was shot dead at age 39 a few weeks after Kirk gave his speech in "The Omega Glory." He was only 2 years older than William Shatner.

If you don't understand what the Constitution meant to men like MLK and Roddenberry in 1968, when this episode first aired, you won't get what they were trying to do.

These men wanted the United States to live up to it's promise. The promise that starts with those three simple words: "We the People."

That is a struggle that goes on today, but in Star Trek, we see a world where that struggle was successful. Where are men are truly free at last, free at last.

Freedom is a worship word indeed.
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Mal
Wed, Jan 6, 2021, 1:56am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: By Any Other Name

By any other Name

Star Trek season 2 episode 22


"Yes, I know. We've been there.”

- Kirk discovers continuity


2 1/2 stars (out of 4)


There are actually a couple explicit nods to continuity in this episode, the quote above regarding the Galactic Barrier, and the other one is where Kirk recalls the events of “A Taste of Armageddon” when he asks Spock "On Eminiar VII, you were able to trick the guard by a Vulcan mind probe.” Interesting that here, almost at the end of season 2, Star Trek finally decides to embrace continuity.

This episode stands out for two key scenes, the first, with Scotty and his “green” booze; and the second, the very disturbing murder of the red-SKIRT of the week. As @William says, we are convinced it will be the black man who will die, and it is a shock that they actually killed the pretty white girl. Does that ever happen on TV, @Sean Hagins?

I think @Peter G. gets right to the nub of this episode. You can call a human anything you like, even call him a Kelvan. But a human is a human. And these aliens are human now.

Where this episode stands one inch taller than “Return to Tomorrow” (with all due respect to @Rahul), is what the episode says about Kirk and what the episode says about the crew of the Enterprise. While Return to Tomorrow is rightly lauded for its grand “risk is our business” ethos, what “By any other Name” tries to say is maybe a little more subtle, and not exactly obvious at first.

If you treat someone with humanity, then no matter how alien they might be, there is a possibility of peace.

The episode brings to mind an otherwise horrendous episode of Voyager called “Demon”. The details don’t matter, but in my review of VOY’s “Demon," I discuss a landmark 1944 scifi story by Clifford D. Simak called “Desertion” (https://www.jammersreviews.com/st-voy/s4/demon.php). In that story, explorers on Jupiter transform themselves into beings suited to that harsh planet (like in the movie Avatar). After transformation, they find life so pleasurable on Jupiter that, one by one, they desert their old lives. Thus the story’s title, “Desertion.”

"By any other Name" is like “Desertion” in reverse. The aliens - the Kelvans - find value in human existence, in human experience. Whether it is through male bonding over a long night of drinking, or culinary sensations, or fondling and foreplay, they get a taste of what being human has to offer. It is actually quite nice to be a human. It can be annoying too. The episode explores Rojan’s jealously, and poor Hanar grows irritated under Bones’ ministrations. But all in all, these experiences allow Kirk’s crew and Rojan’s crew to understand one another.

Understanding is the first step in peace.

Lastly, one point about auto-destruct sequences in later Trek. It is almost a cliche on TNG. When things start to go wrong, Picard reaches for the self-destruct button.

https://youtu.be/lqe-mr_zBdg?t=460

Now I know that the writers will eventually give Kirk the self-destruct option on TOS as well. But what Kirk says here, to Spock’s "logical option," is telling:


SCOTT: I have opened the control valves to the matter-anti-matter nacelles. On your signal, I will flood them with positive energy.

KIRK: What?

SPOCK: When we engage the barrier, the ship will explode. The Kelvans will be stopped here.

SCOTT: And so will we.

KIRK: Are you mad? I can't just -


Are you mad?! For it is madness of a sort to kill oneself. And while warriors in all ages have understood the need for self-sacrifice (harakiri being only the most extreme example), it is a form of madness nonetheless.

That Kirk decides not to blow up the ship, that he decides to take his chances - that is the life-affirming message of “By any other Name.”

As Shakespeare himself might have said, life as a human is sometimes "wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful! And yet again wonderful, and after that, out of all hooping.”
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Mal
Wed, Jan 6, 2021, 12:26am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Patterns of Force

I agree with @William B, mediocre at best.

This is the only episode of TOS that I think could actually be improved with a laugh track.

Still, lots of BDSM fodder for the slasher set. Nazis whipping our bare-chested heroes in a jail cell must have made some poor fool's day back in 60's. ENT's decontamination scenes were never this indecent.

https://youtu.be/DEwDkZfUYQo?t=5
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Mal
Tue, Jan 5, 2021, 9:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

@Booming, I'm going to agree with @Austin on this one.

Part of the reason I gave the second episode of this season, "Far From Home" such high marks (https://www.jammersreviews.com/st-dsc/s3/far-from-home.php), is because it showed the potential Discovery had if they got rid of Michael and let the rest of the crew actually do their thing.

Of course that was at the start of the season, when hope still, um, *burned* eternal ;)

By now we can safely say that DISCO is what it is. The all hail Michael Burnham mindless action/over-EMOTING hour.

On TOS, Nurse Chapel had more character development than the entire bridge crew of Discovery - put together.

On TNG, even Data and Wesley - put together - didn't save the day as much as Michael does on ST:D.

On DS9, even Rom (fucking night-shift technician ROM!) was more willing to make a nobel sacrifice that whiney bitch Stamets.

On VOY, even terrorist Maquis Chakotay was a more loyal first officer than Burnham.

On ENT, even the Xindi arc tried to show things from the Council's POV, which Discovery didn't bother with in this Emerald Chain arc.

There is not a single positive contribution Discovery has made to the Trek franchise. Except, I assume, getting people to subscribe to CBS All Access.

Even when Star Trek had the benefit of a Picard (Patrick Steward) or a Kira (Nana Visitor), they never relied on just one person to carry the whole show. Even super-woman VOY brought in Seven to compliment Janeway. And the holo-Doctor provided real rounding to the show.

The closest Star Trek has ever come to a Michael Burnham-like situation with the pilot running around doing every single thing, was at the very end of the TNG episode "Remember Me,"

CRUSHER: It's all perfectly logical to you, isn't it? The two of us roaming about the galaxy in the flagship of the Federation. No crew at all.

PICARD: We've never needed a crew before.

It's sad, really.

https://youtu.be/DbSHC7qYzec?t=29
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Mal
Tue, Jan 5, 2021, 6:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

@Austin, RotFLMFAO!!!
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Mal
Tue, Jan 5, 2021, 10:20am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Return to Tomorrow

@Kubershark, yes, watching Spock was lots of fun!

@Rahul is spot on, this is a beautiful episode. Episodes like "Return to Tomorrow" give Trek its soul.

And the touchstone for that is Kirk's incredible "risk is our business" speech. I never get tired of hearing it.

I was reminded of Kirk's speech recently by an equally inspirational speech in the current season 5 of The Expanse.

Call it the "Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers" speech.

Courtesy "The Expanse," a show that in this day and age, seems to have more of Trek's soul than Trek itself.

https://youtu.be/xd26sQ58zHk?t=71
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Mal
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 11:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: Terra Firma, Part 2

@Huh, there are 34 worlds in Discovery’s Federation. And we haven’t seen even one. My guess is the writers didn’t think this through (surprise, surprise) and now don’t know what to do.

Given that the founding worlds seem out of the picture - Earth is out, Vulcan too, the Andorians seem to have sided with the Orions, and we’re almost done with the season, and not a Tellerite in sight - we’re probably left with a bunch of piddly bullshit planets like Kanamar that no one in Trek has ever cared about till (maybe) now.

What gets me is that we haven’t seen any of the other ships, so have no idea about the composition of those crews. And in all the high level briefings we have seen, Saru is the only one clearly non-human. Unless you’re telling me that half the people on screen were actually Betazeds, the composition of beings working at the Federation HQ is absolutely absurd.

People have very legitimately compared this with The Expanse. Even among humans on that show, there is such a huge variation on that show between Belters out in space, Martians, and humans on earth. Their features, their language, their accents, their cultures, their values. I see none of that IDIC in Discovery.

For those who haven’t yet had a chance to dive into The Expanse, remember nBSG? The twelve colonies were so distinct. There is no way anyone would have mistaken Duala for a Caprican or Baltar for a Geminon (in fact his entire origin story being from Aerilon wouldn’t have worked if the colonies hadn’t been so distinct).

On Discovery all I see is human, human, human + Saru. Poor guy, there is only so much one man - even if that man is Captain - can do to prop up a show.

Discovery is so bland and homogenized it almost doesn’t count as Star Trek.

The one decent alien - Nhan, felt so out of place with these pricks that she jumped ship to live alone with her plants - LOL! Even the fucking Trill host is human, cause god forbid you let this show have even the smallest hint of diversity.

What has Star Trek turned into?
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Mal
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 11:11am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: Terra Firma, Part 2

@Booming, how does the new season of The Expanse hold up?

I loved the world building in season 1. And the tech! There is a scene where Miller figures out the trajectory of Julie Mao's ship and is explaining it to his ex-partner. That interface is just amazing. I get what you're saying about the tech on Discovery being so unrelatable. I love the phones on The Expanse. I can totally see them coming to market in a few decades.

I haven't enjoyed The Expanse as much after Miller was lost. I do enjoy Avasarala, and some of the others. But without Anderson Dawes (Mad Men) or Fred Johnson (The Wire) or some of the other big names, the cast is starting to seem a bit light. Even Bobbie in her civies doesn't have quite the weight she used to.

So how is Season 5 working out? Are we still in the churn?
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Mal
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 10:51am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: A Private Little War

A Private Little War

Star Trek season 2 episode 19

"The Cardassians might involve themselves in other people's civil wars, but we don't. The Prime Directive applies, Ben.”

- Admiral Chekote, Starfleet Command, Deep Space Nine’s “The Circle”


2 1/2 stars (out of 4)


Looking back, I gave “The Gamesters Of Triskelion” 2 1/2 stars and called it the inspiration for Discovery; and "The Immunity Syndrome” 2 1/2 stars and called it the inspiration for TNG.

So it seems only fair that I give "A Private Little War” 2 1/2 stars also, and back up my claim that it forms the basis for Deep Space Nine.

The People’s exhibit 1, the quote from The Circle included at the top. To say that Star Fleet was invested in the Bajorans is something of an understatement. The Bajorans were practically the alien-race du jour both towards the end of TNG (including with Ro Laren and Ensign Sato), through all of DS9, and for the first season or two of VOY (before Seska went full Cardi B.).

And yet, when the Cardassians start supplying weapons to one Bajoran faction (through the Kressari, if I recall) precipitating a civil war, Star Fleet orders Sisko not to get involved. Of course, at this point, Sisko is just a Commander. Not a Captain, like Kirk.

That Kirk reaches the opposite conclusion is not surprising. That Captain’s chair is a funny thing. By the time Sisko makes Captain, and is faced with an equally dark dilemma, there seems very little question as to how far he’ll go. Thus “In the Pale Moonlight” - about as murky as Star Trek is likely to get - is the true heir to “A Private Little War”.

Overall, this TOS hour cannot hold candle to that one - one of DS9’s best outings. But A Private Little War did have a few things going for it that DS9 did not.

Nona, for one. Thank you @EventualZen for that link. Nancy Kovack was absolutely dazzling. Her role was incredible. She reminds me of one of the greatest actresses in Europe in that era, Florinda Bolkan, who played a very similar witch-like role in The Last Valley (1971), opposite Michael Caine and Omar Sharif.

https://youtu.be/_EvH7FSigqI?t=395

A six and a five. God, they don’t make movies like that any more!

In that movie too, the Nona-like character ends up dead. But boy-oh-boy did she live. Praise Garak as much as you like, but he’ll never be as sexy as Nona. It is interesting that TPTB chose to include a rape scene for Nona in this episode, so soon after Uhura was raped in “Triskelion”. Then again, the episode is about war, and rape and war go hand in hand.

I agree with everyone who said that Spock and Chapel’s slap-fest was unnecessary. Not unwanted or unappreciated. But maybe this episode could have used a little more focus on the planet, without the cut-backs.

In at least a two Klingon episodes, we were treated to a little more of the Klingon side, notably in "Errand of Mercy” and also, frankly, in "The Trouble with Tribbles”. This episode too could have used a little more focus on the Klingon side of this civil war.

The episode also suffers from some telling-not-showing. Maybe they were running out of money - the whole episode, practically, being shot outdoors. But I would have wanted to see the villagers go on a hunt, and maybe kill their first victim (one of those annoying gorillas?). I would have liked to see what the woman who the Klingon awarded to the man with the highest kill-count felt about her new predicament.

APELLA: A quarrel by my people. A division of some skins and a hill woman taken this morning. It's hard to divide one woman.

KRELL: Give her to the man who killed the most of her people. The others will see the profit in bravery. I'll make a Klingon of you yet.

That scene should have taken place in front of the men. We should have seen how the “hill woman” reacted. That would have put Nona’s rape and murder in a little more perspective when it happens at the end of the hour.

The ending continues to shock us 50 years on, long after the Vietnam war has come to an end. We're now 20 years into the endless war of our era.

We're very tired, Mister Spock. Beam us up home.
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Mal
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 5:58am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: Terra Firma, Part 2

@mosley said, "almost all dialogue is completely exchangable and any line could be pretty much said by anyone. imagine a next generation where worf, deanna troi, crusher or data could exchange lines at random. its absolutely unthinkable and makes clear how big this difference really is"

That's a really good point @mosley.

In TOS, you could never imagine a McCoy line said by Spock, or a Kirk line said by Scotty. Those characters had distinct voices, distinct characters. It added deep layers to the show.

But you're right @mosley, you could give, for example, all of Michael's lines to Hugh - it would probably improve the show! Is there any line that Reese says that Owo couldn't say in exactly the same manner? There is not a single line that Stamets says that Jett Reno couldn't say instead.

Maybe that's why I appreciated Philippa Georgiou. For her many, many flaws, she was one distinct voice. Maybe Admiral Vance is another.

@mosley also said, "that pilot lady is...the pilot. that other lady is...i dont even know what she does. shes the pilot ladys friend."

I completely agree. Compare that with say Paris & Harry on Voyager. For all of VOY's faults - and there are no end to VOY's faults! - at least we knew who Paris was. He had character and a voice. And sure, Harry was his friend, but I'll tell you, that friendship was really enjoyable to watch. Maybe not quite up there with O'Brien and Bashir, but something real.

In 3 seasons of Discovery, have we seen any part of Owo and Detmer's "friendship" other than a couple supporting words - and a hug (but then, everyone is hugging everyone on this show, so that's not really as big a deal).

At this point I would be happy if we could just see Owo and Detmer drinking some cheap wine, painting their nails, and watching some old crappy sitcom on a Friday night. Don't the writers watch anything else on TV?
Even "Two Broke Girls" has better bonding than Discovery.

@mosley said, "the show is clearly way too much in love with its lead."

Yeah. I don't think TNG focused this much on Picard, or VOY on Seven, or DS9 on Sisko. TPTB behind Discovery are ridiculous with their SMG-fest, week after week.

Good post, @mosley, I enjoyed all of it, though I do have to disagree with your take on Phillipa. What can I say, I am totally partial towards her ;)
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Mal01
Sun, Dec 20, 2020, 8:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: MAND S2: Chapter 16: The Rescue

Probably was the same Mal in the past as me. Been visiting Jammer's site for about ten years, since I read along eps as I did a BSG watchthrough. Mostly lurk and very rarely comment.

Glad many enjoyed this. Someone above described it as a masterpiece, but that can only conceivably be possible in my mind if someone has been thirsty for the post-RotJ Star Wars that they conceived in their heads, or was formed from SW books in the 90s. Same crowd that was mad that the interesting turn Luke took in TLJ (a movie I think is trash, but I actually quite like the Luke take) simply because it didn't fit expectations.

I mean...this season had an ep with a character from Clone Wars. Then two eps later, had Ahsoka--also from Clone Wars. The ep immediately following that had Boba Fett in it. Then the final ep has the crescendo of fanservice character inserts in the form of a badass Luke Skywalker meant to mirror the Darth Vader fanservice scene at the end of Rogue One.

I think if the fight choreo was more interesting I'd potentially have found this season more entertaining, but TV fight scenes these days just feels like filler between plot beats--almost obligatory. My favorite ep of the series is still the ep from the first season on the prison ship, because it treated Mando like the invincible, scary predator that he is and showed him to us from the perspective of a bunch of normies.

I realize I'm in the minority here, but The Mandalorian worked best for me when I thought it was part of a small, contained story making the rest of the galaxy feel larger and more full, and would ultimately be totally inconsequential to the stories from the movies and other material. For it to tie in so blatantly to the larger plot--and for the ineffectual villain (Giancarlo Esposito ended up being totally wasted in the role) to outright look at the camera and say that what he's done will help bring the rise of the First Order--undermined the sense of larger scale for me.

As a result, it feels once again like Star Wars is such a tiny world...and that there really just are no new ideas for what to do with it.
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Mal
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 10:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Immunity Syndrome

"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if 400 Vulcans cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.”

- Spock

2 1/2 stars (out of 4)

If the much-maligned "The Gamesters of Triskelion” provides the DNA for Star Trek: Discovery, then I submit, the over-hyped "The Immunity Syndrome” holds the DNA to Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Here we have a crew that is exhausted, limping towards the nearest starbase for vital R&R, when all of a sudden, they are diverted by the Star Fleet (the episode uses “the” in front of the fleet on multiple occasions), to investigate the sudden death of a ship of 400 Vulcans (@Alex & @RT, we see at least one all-Vulcan ship on DS9).

No one is happy about this assignment. You can see the incredulity on their faces. Dude, we’re exhausted!! But no one complains out loud.

They all - the entire crew - march forward to do their duty. Even, as @Trish points out, the women ;)

I do want to disagree with @Peter G. here. Kirk leering is not a tough thing to explain. He is tired and is losing self control. He needs R&R to be a good captain. He is a human, not a robot. The great thing about Kirk - what makes him a great leader - is that he recognizes that without rest, he will no longer be able to do his duty properly, which includes lots of things, including acting appropriately. Loss of good judgment is a normal reaction to fatigue.

Anyway, where were we? Oh yeah, no one complains about the delayed R&R. Not even Chekov.

Just a few weeks ago on “The Deadly Years,” Chekov could he heard complaining about every little inconvenience. His ability to carry out his duty under the harsh condition in "The Immunity Syndrome” will be the hallmark of even the most junior officers on TNG. No Bailey’s freaking out here; no Garrovick’s hesitating before action. No Bones seconding guessing his abilities (as we had in spades just a few weeks ago on "Journey to Babel” when Bones questioned whether he had enough experience to operate on Sarak).

The scene that really hammered home - for me - the roots of TNG in this episode, was between Spock and Bones and Kirk, where they each make their case to Kirk that they should be the one to go. I could easily see that same scene in Picard’s ready room, Data and Beverly, each making their case, that they should be the one sent into the giant Space Amoeba.

Of course Picard too, like Kirk picking Spock, would have sent Data. I love how @Rahul describes it as a “Masterchef” moment :-) I wish TNG had a little of the TOS humor. Maybe the chemistry on TNG just wasn’t up to that level? You have to have real comfort between characters before humor can be friendly, and not the sarcastic, cutting humor we’ve come to expect on modern Trek. Maybe that says more about our uncomfortable age than it does about the show - which after all, is just a reflection of its era.

Here we have a crew working hard under difficult conditions to solve a problem, as professionals. There is still professional rivalry, but there is also deep respect for each other’s competency. In many ways, "The Immunity Syndrome” reminded me (and @Trent) most of TNG’s “Where Silence has Lease.”

I agree with @Jammer and @William B that the music really elevates this hour. I was very happy to hear my favorite Vulcan theme play over the scene of Spock in the shuttle recording his log.

https://youtu.be/57ScjiYwZwQ?t=1045

Just as the theme did in the scene from “Journey to Babel” between Spock and his mother, the music really does wonders to convey that while Vulcans may be stoic on the outside, inside, their feelings run deep.

Bones should have wished Spock good luck. I agree with @Trek fan and @MossBoss, my interest in the episode only picked up here, after the half-way mark.

All in all, a worthwhile, workman-like hour of Star Trek.
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Tomalak
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 3:24pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: Terra Firma, Part 2

I am not a fan of Discovery at all, but I would say three of the last four episodes were decent. I really like the Mirror Universe.

But I agree strongly with Jammer that the schmaltz was silly for all the reasons he gives. Even the schmaltz around Mirror Detmer's death was a bit much. This is a character who has had few lines in our universe. Why would we feel anything about her evil counterpart dying?

I also really didn't like the idea that Georgiou was a "badass" - even said in a jokey way by the bridge crew in our universe. It just doesn't work within the Star Trek universe that the crew would admire a cruel mass murderer and slave owner who constantly talked about butchering people.

Note that it wasn't that they admired her despite these things, or thought that she used to be evil but had changed. No, they think those things mean she was a "bad-ass". It's a bit like saying Dr Mengele or the leader of ISIS or someone is a "bad-ass". If that comparison seems ridiculous, it's only because Georgiou is more like a Marvel villain than a real life evil human being - not something that would have happened back in the days when Star Trek took itself seriously.
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Mal
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 2:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: MAND S2: Chapter 16: The Rescue

@Dave in MN

You know me too well LOL!
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Mal
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 11:38am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: A Piece of the Action

Zero technobabble. Lots of humor. No special effects.

Could it be that The Orville is Star Trek's true heir in the modern era?
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