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Quincy
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 12:57am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

@Gerontius

No. Racism in its basic form is simply one person hating or dehumanizing another person based on race. What you're talking about is institutionalized racism. In order for racism to become institutionalized, it has to already be present in some critical number of individuals. Then those individuals begin working together to spread their beliefs. Only then does institutionalized racism form. Institutional racism doesn't just magically appear one day.

As I posted above, there are biological components to prejudice. One component is the tendency of people to position themselves into ingroups and outgroups. Threat perception of outgroups is a primary contributor in dehumanization, which is a necessary component for many evils such as war, violence, hostility towards outgroups, etc. Prejudice is a primary component of racism. Individual racism is a primary component of institutionalized racism. There is a pathway of progression from the former to the latter. You don't just wake up one day in Apartheid. It has to come from somewhere and individuals with stupid beliefs are the ones making it happen.

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
"No Trek series ever could be called "rainbows and butterflies".

The optimistic vision of Star Trek slowly evolved and matured over 40 years, from the first baby steps of TOS to the impressive-yet-somewhat-naive view of TNG to the coming-of-age inspection of DS9 to the "let's show an intermediate step between present day and our vision" of ENT. It was a wonderful and complicated process, and it most certainly had room for varying degrees of "grittiness" (as long as this was in a proper context). People who confuse Trek's general optimism and idealism with "rainbows and butterflies" simply don't understand what Trek used to be about."

Certainly, not, which makes statements like Trent, where he champions the notion that the Federation is supposed to be incorruptible, quite strange.

You may or may not suffer from his delusion, but you don't seem to recognize that "rainbows and butterflies" refers to fans' idealistic views on what Trek is or isn't, not to Trek itself.

Trek managed its idealism; it was more often reasonable than not. People like you and Trent don't seem to be managing yours very well. Hence your problems with Discovery and now Picard.
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Quincy
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 12:30am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

@Booming
"I know that you think social science is witch craft but saying that racism comes from instincts is so far off it is basically wrong. For example. Most of European history dark skinned people weren't considered less valuable Humans. The Romans didn't consider black skinned people less and used them in almost all ranks. One of the holy wise men in the bible was described as black (Balthazar). Racism towards black people developed during the last 400 years which has certain reasons but it has nothing to do with instincts."


Since we're making assertions about each other, I know you think that social science is the be-all and end-all of reality, but neuroscience and genetic research, which some might mistake for witchcraft, might just have something to say about this topic. Environment, including socio-economic environment, is only one component of ANY type of prejudice, despite your claims. Genetics and the way our brains actually work form another component, whether you acknowledge it or not.

"Every culture names the “us” and the “not-us.” It appears to be human nature, and many studies have shown how easy it is to provoke this kind of psychological distinction between our “in-groups” and “out-groups.”"
https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/look_twice

https://psmag.com/social-justice/theres-a-distinct-brain-function-behind-prejudice

Effects of intergroup threat on mind, brain, and behavior, "...recent discoveries extend existing models, which mainly emphasize effects of intergroup threat on attitudes. Critically, these shifts in empathy, perceptual judgments, and representations interact with INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN SENSITIVITY to threat and fuel discrimination and hostility toward threatening outgroups"
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/54238bf2e4b068090a9b54bb/t/576d4de459cc68764643c784/1466781156390/Chang+et+al.%2C+2016+-+COPSY.pdf

https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/cambridge-handbook-of-the-psychology-of-prejudice/is-prejudice-heritable-evidence-from-twin-studies/08EA6E647AF4E74A51EB37D5C70F231B

"The Great Debate: XENOPHOBIA - Why do we fear others?"
"Is our instinct to form in-groups and out-groups, such an important part of our evolutionary history, now maladaptive as we face a future increasingly dependent upon cooperation and shared responsibilities toward limited resources?"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZLlvc9rviM
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Quincy
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 2:22pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

Gerontius
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 8:54am (UTC -6)
"You can't abolish having headaches. But you can stop giving yourself a headache by banging your head on the wall.

There's nothing inevitable about stuff like racism. It gets drummed into people by the society in which they live."

But you'd have to have brain damage from banging your head on a wall for you to then make the claim that the fact that you quit banging your head on a wall magically made you immune to headaches.

The basis of racism is just prejudice. Prejudice exists because human beings categorize as a natural function of the way our brains evolved to deal with 1) the uncertainty and 2) the danger inherent in LIVING. If I evolved in a jungle, I wouldn't live long enough to pass on my genes if I sat around wondering if the big creature that kind of looks like the panther that tried to eat me last week were going to try to eat me, as opposed to automatically just running or hiding or fighting if necessary. The people alive today all descended from ancestors who didn't bother asking if a leopard was different than a panther or a lion. Nuance to a large degree doesn't matter in the wild.

We all have the instincts of our forebears. We don't magically lose those instincts just because we invent better socio-economic structures to live in. And since racism is derived from our instinct to trust that which is familiar and distrust that which is not, then unless you have something continuously fighting against it/ keeping it in check, then yes it would inevitably pop up somewhere in your society.
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Quincy
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 1:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

@Brad Hinds
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 11:25pm (UTC -6)
"Has anyone actually posited a serious argument that the Federation is or should be "rainbows and butterflies"? I find this questionable at best and reminds me of Sisko's equally specious remark in DS9 that Earth in the 24th century is a paradise.

I find it strange how some of you are quite hostile to even the faintest sense of optimism or idealism, especially the kind exemplified throughout Trek. What is it about it that triggers you so?"

Well, Trent just made this claim:

"The choice to veer away from Roddenberry's hyper-idealistic vision has always been a choice by individual writers who philosophically, politically or artistically hated or felt strangled by the vision. And its always been an unnecessary choice; any episode can make its same point without the Federation being portrayed as corruptible or corrupted."

According to Trent, a writer portraying the Federation as something that is "corruptible" is "an unnecessary choice." Corruptible simply means capable of being corrupted. We are to believe from Trent that the Federation is incapable of even the possibility of being corrupted, presumably because they have achieved that perfect socio-economic structure you mentioned.

How is that not properly described as "rainbows and butterflies"?

Hostile to optimism? No. Idealism? It depends. Is every Federation character on screen an idealist? Which ideals? Are there no variations left in Federation ideals? How do we even have conflict under such conditions and therefore a story? Federation vs. the Universe? Really?!?
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Quincy
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 1:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

@Brad Hinds said:
"How dismissive and myopic. Human failings are not immutable. They are not fundamentally encoded in our DNA - they emerge from the many inadequacies and imperfections of our socio-economic structures. Who are you to say that in a future as depicted in Star Trek where the nature of those structures has shifted radically would not also radically change humans and for the better?"


Such a straw man. If I reference evolution that is the very definition of mutable. In any case, human failings are the TENDENCY to engage in vice and are derived from human nature. Pretty sure that if you look close enough at the DNA you'll the find root cause of every one of our tendencies. This has to be the case, because vices were around BEFORE the invention of socio-economic structures. What of socio-economic structure exists in a caveman that knocks a cave woman over the head and drags her back to his cave to rape her? What else is driving that caveman besides his instincts, which are dependent on his nature? Can we rise above it? Certainly. Why the hell would I post a Trekian quote that says:

"Vigilance, Mr. Worf. THAT IS THE PRICE WE HAVE TO CONTINUALLY PAY."

If that weren't the case? What the hell would vigilance do to something that was "immutable"? Will vigilance cure you of sickle cell? Cystic fibrosis?

So when I say "these DANGERS of xenophobic hysteria and other stupidities will ALWAYS be with us. " What exactly am I talking about? Well lets look up the definition of "danger" and it will immediately be clear that I'm talking about the same thing Picard was talking about:

dan·ger /ˈdānjər/ noun: the POSSIBILITY of suffering harm or injury.
Usage: "his life was in danger"
Synonyms: peril, hazard, RISK, jeopardy, endangerment, imperilment

Human failings will always be with us. The tendency of humans to succumb to vices will always be with us, unless we become something more than human. Better socio-economic structures can provide a framework to produce better humans, who fall victim less to human failings, but "Vigilance, Mr. Worf. THAT IS THE PRICE WE HAVE TO CONTINUALLY PAY" if we are to stave off the dangers that we WILL CONTINUALLY face.

So here "Who are you to say that in a future as depicted in Star Trek where the nature of those structures has shifted radically would not also radically change humans and for the better?" PICARD was the one who said it best. You need to go ask Picard this question, not me.

If you were correct, once you had your so-called perfect socio-economic structure, you could throw vigilance in the toilet and forget about it, because "radically changed" humans don't require any vigilance to keep them in check. It would be smooth sailing from then on. Tell me you don't really believe that. Picard sure as hell didn't.
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Quincy
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 8:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

@Bold Helmsman

Glad someone else referred back to this. This absurd notion that the Federation is supposed to be all rainbows and butterflies and any story that deviates from that rosy picture is somehow bankrupt needs to stop.

Unless humans change fundamentally into something other than human by way of either genetic evolution or genetic engineering then these dangers of xenophobic hysteria and other stupidities will ALWAYS be with us.

Only ETERNAL vigilance as Picard indicates in TNG's Drumhead will keep it in check and prevent opportunists from taking control. It's an ongoing struggle that will never end, until humans end. Anybody claiming anything else is full of it.
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Quincy
Mon, Jan 27, 2020, 2:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

I'll just leave this here:

"Am I bothering you, captain?"
"No, please Mr. Worf, come in."
"It is over. Admiral Henry has called an end to any more hearings on this matter."
"That's good."
"Admiral Satie has left the Enterprise."
"We think we've come so far. Torture of heretics, burning of witches, it's all ancient history. And then, before you can blink an eye, suddenly, it threatens to start all over again."
"I believed her. I-I HELPED her! I did not see what she was."
"Mr. Worf, villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well-camouflaged."
"I think, after yesterday, people will not be so ready to trust her."
"Maybe. But she or someone like her will always be with us, waiting for the right climate in which to flourish – spreading fear in the name of righteousness. Vigilance, Mr. Worf. THAT IS THE PRICE WE HAVE TO CONTINUALLY PAY."

- Worf and Picard, The Drumhead
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Quincy
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 12:47am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

@Nolan

I originally thought she exploded too, but watching it at 1/4 speed all of the explosion appears to me to be from the disruptor or phaser or whatever it was.
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Quincy
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 10:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

@Ian

Yeah, it was the phaser that caused the explosion. Dahj did look like the compound he spit up was eating her alive. It was dissolving both her clothing and her flesh and she screamed in extreme pain, so she was probably dead either way, unless they could've beamed her straight into a medical bay or stasis chamber.
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Quincy
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 11:33am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

Booming said: "How did he know a 30 year old painting that Picard kept at the archives and that nobody accessed (Picard asked the computer)."

IMO the Data connection is too strongly foreshadowed and too well emphasized by Picard himself for these two new androids not to be directly descended from the work of Data himself. Even if Data isn't the one who rolled these off the assembly line, somebody with access to his work definitely did. If Data knew what he wanted his daughter to look like 30 years ago, anybody directly copying his work would also know. As has been pointed out, Maddox was in continued contact with Data over the years. I wouldn't be shocked if Data willed him his technological inheritance after his death.
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Quincy
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 10:42am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

'@Jason R.

Aside from the fact that I love Picard and yet still recognize that an objective person should acknowledge that cringe worthy is cringe worthy wherever you find it, you made a great "rebuttal." Fail more entertainingly next time.
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Quincy
Sat, Jan 25, 2020, 2:49am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

I really enjoyed this pilot episode of STP (still hate that name, but what are you gonna do?). Looking at Picard's aging had me feeling my own. Time overcomes all challengers as Jammer indicates. Still, even with the bright shiny sheen, though, I got that old familiar Star Trek vibe from the episode. It was like a hybrid of the old and the new. Which makes this next post all the more hilarious:

@ OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
"Am I the only person here who is bothered by the fact that the Trekverse has been turned into some kind dystopia? It seems that the same people who had this exact same problem with Discovery, suddenly accept it now without any problem."

LMAO! Kind of illustrates exactly what I've been talking about. All of Discovery's sins become virtues when you thrust Jean-Luc into the forefront. People groaning and eye-rolling about too much Burnham don't even bat an eyelash at the absolutely CRINGE WORTHY title, Star Trek Picard. The ridiculosity is hilarious. Perhaps now you'll recognize that many (not all, but many) of those detractors came in bad faith anyway and held merely capricious and arbitrary objections in the first place. But perhaps you won't. In any case, I won't hold my breath. Any charges of "dystopia, dystopia," is overblown. Picard doesn't live in a dystopia; he lives in a more believable future than one exclusively made of rainbows and butterflies. As someone said above, "$#!% happens." If anything is to be expected of the future, it is that.
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Q
Tue, Jan 14, 2020, 9:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Armageddon Game

Lesson to be learned - when undertaking a covert activity, don't add any extras that don't absolutely need to be there (e.g. Miles drinking coffee). Rusty said it well to Linus in Ocean's Eleven, "Don't use seven words when four will do."
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Q
Fri, Jan 3, 2020, 10:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

Happy 2020 to all of the Trek and Jammer fans! I love that we are still discussing these stories after 30 years and that they are still relevant!

I also love the leadership example that Picard provides in this episode; it should be held up as an example for corporate managers as to how to interact with staff on a non-emergency basis.

Data, one of his trusted senior officers, comes to him and says " Eight weeks ago I received a transmission, a simple four word message, 'Is anybody out there?' I answered it." Picard could have chastised him or questioned him but instead shows understanding and compassion, "There is a loneliness inherent in that whisper from the darkness."

Data then advises that the species is not aware of interstellar life. Again, Picard does not chastise his officer. All he said was "Oops. Just where does she think you're calling from?" assuming the best about the way his officer handled the situation.

When Data ultimately suggests violating the Prime Directive, Picard does not immediately dismiss the idea but instead convenes a conference (informal hearing) to hear opinions (arguments) prior to rendering a judgment, while concurrently ordering Data to cease the communications (putting a gag order in place). Very judicial and wise. He does not presume to have all the answers and initially wields only a prudent amount of authority.

(Side thought - this episode may have transpired differently if there were a JAG officer on-board. It's probably best they were kept on starbases/planets.)

Discussion points if anyone is interested? Do you agree with my assessment of Picard's leadership style or do you think he should have just summarily made a decision? For those of you who have managers, how do you think they would react in the same situation? (I asked my wife, she said her boss would freak out and scream. Conversely, I am considering leaving private practice and working for someone; I know he would respond very much like PIcard. )
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Quibbles
Wed, Jan 1, 2020, 9:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: The Forgotten

Most of what I have to say has already been said above. Outstanding episode and Trip dealing with his sister’s death is one of the most well-acted, moving storylines in all of Trek. Some thoughts:

- It’s hilarious to see Seth MacFarlane as some random crewmember who gets yelled at by Trip. His cameo could’ve come in any episode and it was just luck that landed him in such a great one! Today he’s much more recognizable thanks to the Orville and his movies, but back then, none but the biggest geeks would’ve noticed. I remember there being a small amount of hype about him at the time. And wouldn’t you know, today Brannon Braga works for *him*!

- Among the many standout scenes, I also have to commend the excellent way that Trip’s dream sequence is staged: Taylor’s darkened, smashed-up quarters, a ghostly light across her face. It’s eerie and powerful. Kudos to LeVar Burton, whose directing chops are IMO underrated. (He also directed another one of Trek’s finest, Voyager’s “Timeless.”)

- I think part of the reason most of us love this trilogy of episodes so much comes down to screenplay structure. If you think of the entire Xindi arc as one long story, we’re at the end of Act 2, the “all-hope-is-lost” moment, the gearing up for the final confrontation. “Damage” showed the crew at their lowest point, while “The Forgotten” shows Degra’s crucial moment of character change and sends the Enterprise toward the season’s climax: the meeting with the council. Of course, these episodes are really well done on their own, but they get a huge boost from being at such a crucial part of the story. If the creative team nails it, “all-hope-is-lost” moments can make for the most effective, powerful portions of any serialized story. See: The Empire Strikes Back.
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Quibbles
Tue, Dec 24, 2019, 1:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: Proving Ground

Excellent episode! Everything seemed taken up a notch. There was just more energy to the directing, acting, and score, plus the script was solid.

Don’t believe anyone has mentioned this, but they actually were planning to bring on Shran as a series regular if ENT had gotten a fifth season. Now that I would’ve loved to see. Who knows? It might’ve given ENT the same jolt of energy that Seven of Nine gave Voyager in S4. An entertaining frenemy relationship with Archer, friction with T’Pol, his likely respect for Reed as a fellow military man… Ah, we can dream.

I enjoyed the B-plot between Reed and the Andorian officer. The writers walked a perfect balance between building genuine respect between them, playing understated notes of sexual tension (I was reminded of Reed hooking up with ANOTHER visiting alien in “Cogenitor”), and keeping Reed smart and vigilant. He’s clearly enjoying his time with her, but he still keeps his head about him and doesn’t trust her completely. In a season where the supporting characters are getting swamped by the main arc (except for Hoshi in “Exile”), Reed is getting some good screentime.

This is all I want from good space opera. Bombastic acting, energetic music, a zippy, adventurous tone, solid drama, and intergalactic politics. Heck, I’m even enjoying the scenery-chewing, comic-book Xindi council scenes because they’re so over-the-top. (It helps that I remember the concluding stretch of S3 is so strong.) 3.5 stars.
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Quibbles
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 11:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: The Expanse

I’m surprised at the cynicism of some of the comments above. I always thought this episode was well-paced, entertaining, emotionally involving, and set the stage for Enterprise’s best season. There’s nothing about the Xindi arc that violates canon. The Russo-Japanese War probably seemed like a big deal at the time, until it was completely blown away by World War I ten years later. Similarly, Earth is about to experience the Romulan War, then form a galaxy-spanning Federation. In Picard’s day, the Xindi attack is probably taught in history classes as the precursor to a very violent, eventful period. No one’s walking around saying, “Remember the Xindi attack” because they’re saying, “Remember when we formed a Federation that lasted for 200 years.”

After two seasons that I mostly enjoyed but generally found sleepy, listless, and rudderless, “The Expanse” delivers a real sense of urgency, drive, and stakes for the first time. I appreciate the 9/11 allegory too. It feels very truthful to how America and much of pop culture reacted at the time: a sudden, jarring shift into darkness. All of Star Trek up until Discovery was made in America, after all. It led to a myopic perspective at times, but it’s inevitable that every movie / TV show bears the imprint of the time and place that it was made.

I’d give it ***1/2 stars. Knock off half a star for the silliness of the Klingons hanging around for months just to get their asses kicked at the last second.
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Quibbles
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 7:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Bounty

I had just turned 13 when this episode came out, so I was right in that “horny teenage boy” demographic they were obviously aiming for. I have a vivid memory of watching this episode. Why? Because oh Lord, it was one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life up to that point.

I was used to Star Trek as something the whole family could watch. My parents would regularly stop by the background of Enterprise episodes, plus my sisters, at the time age 11 and 6. So when a sweaty, horny T’Pol started slinking around in that blue light, holy shit, I wanted to crawl under a rock and die. Imagine being 13 and just discovering that girls were kinda interesting, and then watching this episode with your MOM.

This was my first time seeing it since then. Boy does it look different at age 29. The issue isn’t that there’s sex. It’s that the PG-rated “sex” is so fake and the writers had to twist the Trek universe in knots to get there. I actually differ with Jammer somewhat. I don’t know if Gene would’ve been proud of this episode specifically, but that man was decisively not afraid of sex, and of trying to get sexual content on TV. The Original Series is PACKED with sex, as much as they could get past the censors. Gene always named “Mudd’s Women” as a favorite episode and bragged that he was able to get a plot about “space hookers” on TV. Hell, after Trek, he wrote and produced Pretty Maids All in a Row, which is basically softcore porn mixed with trademark Roddenberry speeches. (I wouldn’t call it good, but it’s… something.) He created the character of Ilia, who was so sexually hypercharged that she had to take an Oath of Celibacy to serve in Starfleet. As for Season 1 of TNG… “Justice.” ‘Nuff said.

The problem is the way it’s depicted here: embarrassing, and frankly degrading. Fun tidbit from the DVD extras: John Billingsley actually asked the writers, “Why wouldn’t Phlox do it? He’s a doctor. She’s a patient. It’s a medical issue. He’d be professional about it.” Not that I wanted to see that, but it would’ve made more sense, at least.

On to “The Expanse” with a sigh of relief. It’s like they had to get this BS out of their system before finally reinventing Enterprise as something fresh and exciting.
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Quibbles
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 9:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Regeneration

Kick. Ass.

- Loved the sense of creeping dread in the first act, as we know from the first minute that these researchers are dead meat.
- Loved that Admiral Forrest showed up, even as a cameo. He and Admiral Ross are in a perpetual dead heat for Trek’s best admiral.
- Loved the thought of a possibly drunk Zefram Cochrane going on a conspiratorial rant about cybernetic creatures from the future at a *college commencement speech*. LOL.
- Loved John Billingsley, who played the body horror aspects of assimilation perfectly and gave a great sense of tension to all his scenes.
- Loved the direction, music, effects, everything technical.
- Loved the idea that when Q threw the Enterprise-D into the path of the Borg cube in “Q Who?” he knew that the Borg invasion was already coming. So he was both teaching an abstract lesson about the dangers of the unknown AND likely saving humanity from annihilation by giving us a heads up.

As commenters above have said, what makes this one of the best Borg episodes is that it strips them down to their basics. No cubes, no Queen, not even the word Borg, just mindless drones advancing ever forward at a sinister walking pace. One of my favorite Enterprise episodes and an easy 4 stars.
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Quibbles
Sat, Nov 30, 2019, 4:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Horizon

^^ Love this analysis of T’Pol in this episode. I have a soft spot for these lightweight, “just another day in space” subplots. They humanize the Trek universe and make it feel real. It’s the exact opposite of Star Wars, which is epic space action all the time. Not a complaint about Star Wars; it usually succeeds on that level. But I don’t buy into the Wars universe as much as Trek, because part of me craves funny, warm, everyday plots about movie night on a starship. I got a great chuckle out of imagining Soval sitting down with intense Vulcan meditative focus to watch Frankenstein!

The episode, though, is awkwardly written on a basic structural level. There’s the mention of lifeforms on the erupting planet which goes nowhere. There’s the one scene featuring Travis’ childhood buddy (girlfriend??) who we just start to get interested in before she disappears into oblivion. Though I really enjoyed the B-plot, it’s like they shoved it in because they were afraid that Mayweather couldn’t carry an episode on his own. Anthony is… fine. Merely fine. Though I do enjoy the understated mentor / mentee relationship between Archer and Mayweather. Feels very much like an experienced actor (Bakula) showing the ropes to a newbie (Montgomery).

*** stars from me. Nothing too special, but I appreciate the insight into Mayweather’s background and how the episode makes the Horizon a believable world.
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Quibbles
Thu, Nov 28, 2019, 2:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: The Crossing

Ugh. IMO, this is one of Trek’s worst episodes. Stuff like “Spock’s Brain,” “Threshold,” and “Sub Rosa” may be bad, but at least it’s entertaining and you can have a good time laughing through it. After the first act, which had a great sense of wonder and eeriness, this was just dull, flat, and lifeless. I can pinpoint the exact moment it went bad; a creature appears in the launch bay, and Reed IMMEDIATELY starts shooting and ducking and dodging like he’s in a video game. WTF?? There was no indication before this scene that the aliens had hostile intent. This scene comes out of nowhere.

Also, didn’t we see in “Marauders” that T’Pol is a butt-kicking martial-arts badass? The entire time Reed is in her quarters, they’re trying to play it like she’s in danger, and I’m thinking, “Seriously? Come on!” Based on what we saw in that episode, she could pin him to the floor in two seconds. It’s like Berman and Braga 1) forgot that moment or 2) chose to shove it under the rug for the sake of one scene.

As for the infamous “Phlox turns valves to save the ship” scene… I couldn’t help thinking that those people got paid to write pages and pages of dialog like, “Turn the valve 90 degrees. Set the panel on the floor.” It is pure filler depicted in the most lifeless, soul-sucking way possible, with monotone music straight out of latter-day TNG.

It’s a miracle that the actors mostly make it watchable. Connor Trinner is spot-on, both as the alien and as Trip in awe at his out-of-body experience. Poor Travis has nothing to do except look for Trip and get punched in the face; par for the course. This gets one star from me BECAUSE it starts out so well and goes so very wrong.
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Quibbles
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 12:40am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Future Tense

“Entertaining but meaningless” sounds about right. What was the ship’s purpose? Why did it end up in the 22nd century? Why do the Suliban and Tholians want it? *shrug* The point here is to deliver sci-fi weirdness, and the episode succeeds on that level. Plus, it’s fun to see the Enterprise caught in the middle of a shootout where we have no idea what anyone wants or why it’s happening. Fitting for a show about humanity taking our first steps into a broader world far beyond our understanding.

What pushes this into three-star territory for me is the low-key, enjoyable Trip / Malcolm friendship. As Jammer points out, their dynamic is just like “Dead Stop,” fitting because both episodes are written by Sussman / Strong. I’m sure the nod to “Minefield” with Archer and Malcolm defusing the bomb is deliberate too.

And I personally didn’t mind the winking references to future human / Vulcan coupling (i.e. Spock). I like that T’Pol shows some resistance to the idea biologically and philosophically. That way, there’s room for growth and showing T’Pol / the Vulcans reaching a more enlightened perspective. I personally have always appreciated Enterprise’s take on the Vulcans, in theory if not always in practice. The point is to show them at an earlier stage than we’re used to in the 23rd and 24th centuries, just like humanity, and demonstrate that all societies grow and change. If they’re enlightened already, where’s the story?
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Quibbles
Mon, Nov 25, 2019, 9:01pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Cease Fire

This is one episode that really improves when considered in the context of the series. I can see how, watching these episodes weekly in 2003, “Cease Fire” would’ve come off as slight and inconsequential, especially with how neatly the situation is tied up in the end. But watching the whole series on Blu-Ray, I’ve been impressed with how well certain story arcs are building subtly and gradually. Mainly T’Pol’s growing acceptance of humans and the bond of trust between her and Archer (let’s pretend “A Night in Sickbay” never happened). Enterprise needed MUCH more world-building in its first two seasons, and this episode is exactly what they should’ve been doing. When you know how well the Vulcan / Andorian plot is handled going forward, episodes like this come off as important stepping stones.

Like Jammer, I really appreciated certain scenes such as the Soval / T’Pol conversation and Archer’s speech to Phlox about humans joining the broader community. It’s exactly what I wanted to see from a Star Trek prequel: showing the beginnings of cooperation between humans and Vulcans, and how the Federation was founded. Trip literally flying the Enterprise in the middle of the Vulcan / Andorian conflict is a great visual metaphor for this latter theme. But unlike Jammer, I enjoyed the rest of the episode too. Jeffrey Combs, Suzie Plakson, and Gary Graham are all great. That’s one of the Rick Berman era’s greatest strengths; they found excellent character actors and brought back the best ones again and again. Even if the plot elements are familiar, the episode is directed with enough zip that it kept me entertained. And though I’m normally down for a great negotiation scene, I was OK with skipping it in this episode. That’s part of the point: getting to the table is an ordeal in itself. ***1/2 stars
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Sat, Nov 16, 2019, 3:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Singularity

Personally, I judge these “crew going insane” episodes on one basis only: was it entertaining? That’s why I actually love “The Naked Now.” It’s insane, over-the-top, and ill-advised, but damn is it fun to watch. “Singularity” doesn’t hit those heights of lunacy, but it delivers. To this day, I still crack up when I think of Reed’s annoying alarm sounds. Hoshi’s “CARROTS!!” is a close second. I also thought Jolene Blalock was quite good. As the series goes on, she seems to be getting better at modulating that Vulcan reserve. In this ep, she picks the right moments to push for urgency, and her reactions to the crew’s crazy behavior are spot-on.

I also enjoyed the low-tech way T’Pol snaps Archer back to reality: just a cold shower and a cup of coffee! It makes for a more engaging scene than engineering some arbitrary injection or serum consisting of “X particle, which specifically counters the effects of Y radiation,” which is what Voyager would’ve done. A solid *** from me.
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Mon, Nov 4, 2019, 9:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S1: Fallen Hero

Funny - I WAS in the seventh grade when this episode came out, and even then I thought Hoshi’s shirt getting ripped off was completely lame and unfunny. Not to mention embarrassing - I was watching these with my parents! The decon scenes always made me want to crawl under a rock.

IMO T’Pol’s character arc is the one of the best things about ENT. It’s done subtly and believably. In “Breaking the Ice” last season, we saw her make the choice to stay on Enterprise and open herself up to her surroundings a bit more. Here we see her completely go to bat for Archer and stand up to Soval with quite a bit of barely repressed anger about the P’Jem affair. Blalock is hit-and-miss for me, but I think she’s great in this and the final scene. I’m not sure if the writers planned an arc for T’Pol; considering how loose and improvised ENT’s long-term story arcs are in the first two seasons, probably not. But as much as they failed in other areas, they did a great job at letting T’Pol evolve naturally from episode to episode. Trineer is my favorite actor in ENT, but T’Pol is my favorite character.
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