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Thu, Dec 26, 2019, 10:45am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Blood Oath

I enjoyed this on both the philosophical level and the "old Klingon warriors reclaiming a bit of old glory" level. I hadn't known till reading up afterwards that these were TOS characters -- I suppose that for some viewers, this really would have been like seeing an old friend.

I don't see any hypocrisy in Jadzia deciding when she does or does not want to be Curzon. She's got centuries of past lives to draw upon, but she's forging herself as an individual in spite of that, and she has every right to use her own judgement in deciding which elements of her symbiont's past she wants to live up to. When reminded of Curzon's history of being harsh or even abusive to potential joined Trill, she makes the choice to reject that, and confidently states "I'm not Curzon". And when she feels honour-bound to help old Klingon friends for the sake of Curzon's blood oath and Curzon's godson, she makes her own choice to follow through on that -- to be Curzon when she feels that it's right.

I don't see any contradiction in this. After all, the episode Dax argued from both sides on the extent to which she was Curzon, and didn't (or couldn't, or even shouldn't) come to a conclusion. I think the conclusion is clear: she isn't Curzon, and yet she *is* Curzon. That's simply the nature of her being.
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Wed, Dec 25, 2019, 10:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Shadowplay

I really enjoyed this one as a character-based episode. Like Jammer, I'm glad they didn't linger too long on the town's "OMG WE'RE NOT REAL" -- as with whenever someone brings up "OMG WHAT IF OUR WHOLE UNIVERSE WAS A SIMULATION" in real life, it's not like this makes their lives different from exactly how they were living them before.

So yes, focusing on Odo and Taya was a wise move. I've come to love the Odo Has An Emotion episodes -- I've found him the most consistently well-acted character of the main cast, and there's something about his moments of showing feelings under the gruff exterior that make my heart melt (but not liquefy). With a genuinely adorable li'l kid in the mix (who's doing very well here by Star Trek child actor standards!), their story's all the sweeter.

I love his goodbye scene where he finally turns into a top for her. It's a development from what he revealed to Lwaxana in her episode: he's built up a bitterness about shapeshifting "for show" because of how everyone treated him as a performing monkey with no worth on top of that, but when he builds up a bond with this kid? He genuinely cares about her -- enough to have just defended the worth of her existence to creator! And he genuinely wants to make her happy, and she knows that she sees the worth in him beyond the tricks he can do. I love that. I've decided Odo needs to adopt a grandkid now -- he'd make a great granddad.

Side note: I remember thinking "I *swear* I've seen this child actor in Trek before", and oh hey, Imaginary Friend. I definitely prefer this one to that one.

As for the other plots going on here... I'm gonna talk about the Kira/Bareil one first so I can get it out of the way. It *did* feel unfinished. It felt like "eh, we've been telegraphing the Kira/Bareil thing ever since that weird naked orb scene, it's gotta start Officially at *some* point so we may as well throw it in here". And the way it was done felt awkward, especially with the "uhhh can we talk about Anything Else other than how much you hated my speech". I'm gonna give this relationship a "not feeling it" out of 10 at this stage in the game. Points to Bareil though for somehow managing to talk out a turning point for the plot while in the midst of some intense Kira-kissing, because that got a laugh outta me.

As much as I didn't like the content of that storyline, I feel like it could/should have been put into another episode, rather than tacked onto an episode that already *had* two. That's for the sake of both of the subplots in this ep: for the Kira/Bareil subplot to get a non-rushed start (I mean the start of an ongoing romantic thing for a major character could probably do with something bigger), and for the Jake/Sisko plot, which I felt could've done with even more focal time.

I *did* like the Jake plot though. I've liked Jake consistently, as a teen character who's consistently proven himself to be a lot more fun (and worthy of caring about, in terms of audience investment) than Wesley did. And I'm glad for all the scenes we get between him and Sisko, because they really are building up a fantastic father-son relationship here. The scene where he tells Sisko he *doesn't* want to join Starfleet is some of the best of this we've had so far, and that's when what we've already had has been good.

But man, that plot was pretty much covered in what, three scenes? Sisko encourages Jake to get a job; Jake tells O'Brien he doesn't actually want to be in Starfleet; finally, he tells Sisko and gets his father's support. That's it. I feel like I'd have appreciated something slower here -- more with O'Brien, even, with Jake trying even more for his father's sake, getting frustrated, being encouraged until it comes out that his heart isn't in it, and being taught that it doesn't have to be. As it stands, I feel the strength of that last scene does the job for me, but it does feel a bit quick to get there.

(Final note: maybe I'm just in a teary mood from a big happy Christmas, but the endings to both the Odo plot and the Jake plot got happy waterworks out of me. In case we needed more proof that this one worked emotionally for me!)
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Wed, Dec 25, 2019, 8:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Thine Own Self

Oh thank goodness, I wasn't the only one who thought naming him "Jayden" seemed like a weird break from tone. It's such a jarringly modern-sounding name in a Renaissance But With Standard Trek Forehead Aliens society.

I enjoyed this as a way to pass 45 minutes, but it's no standout (not even by S7 standards, given the run of good ones not long before this). Amnesiac Data having to work things out when isolated from his usual surroundings is interesting, as was the doctor he worked with (I expected her to be annoying when she started her pompous pontificating on rejecting superstition, then named Data as an "iceman" which apparently nobody's ever seen before; she got better and more open-minded to Data's scientific mind over the course of the episode though, which was a pleasant surprise).

One more gripe: I did raise an eyebrow at the fact that he was clueless regarding radiation specifically, but went on to reveal perfectly fine knowledge of various other things -- it had me expecting the cause to have been a deliberate, targeted memory wipe. Nope. Just arbitrary plot-causing coincidence.

B-plot was too thin to really have anything to comment on (apart from how little of it there was).
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Tue, Dec 24, 2019, 12:00am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Homeward

Quoth Jammer: "(For that matter, why not just put the whole village to sleep for the duration of the journey instead of using the holodeck at all?)"

Agh, I'm glad I wasn't the only one thinking that. Pump the holodeck full of anesthatine gas or whatever they call it on the show, and instead of villagers becoming increasingly doubtful from the glitches they keep seeing, they sleep through it all and wake up on their home planet. They already used the "I beamed them over while they were sleeping" once in the episode, why not a second time?

But I put that aside. I enjoyed this, honestly. My partner did too, and told me this would be one to look forward to. I appreciated the dilemma... even if I could see easier ways out of it than they could... and was particularly concerned by the plight of the lone holodeck escapee. His ritual suicide might have been an easy way out for the episode, but I do think it brings home how there really were no good options for the man.

Also it's fantastic (and also somewhat surreal, to someone who's definitely seen more of the characters than the cast members) to see Michael Dorn in comparatively light facial prosthetics for once.
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Mon, Dec 23, 2019, 11:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Sub Rosa

Dammit, I *liked* the last few episodes. Inheritance, Parallels, Pegasus -- hell, I even liked Homeward, more than Jammer did at least. I really thought we had a good thing going here, Season 7. I thought you might not be as bad as they all said, that this viewer-season relationship might be working out after all.

*This* is how you repay me, huh?

Whatever the hell this was, it's definitely provoked a strong reaction from me. A thousand emotions stir within my heaving Harlequin bosom (that I just spontaneously have now): among them are "what are they DOING", "oh my god REALLY", and most powerfully of all, *"WHY"*.

Don't get me wrong, I had some laughs here -- mostly born from despair, but y'know, you gotta take what you can get. Among the most cackle-sob-inducing moments were Picard going "WOW BEVERLEY your HUNDRED-YEAR-OLD NAN sure could FUCK LIKE A CHAMP", not to mention Crusher regaling Troi with how uncontrollably turned on she is from reading... her aforementioned hundred-year-old nan's excessively detailed erotic recollections of her phantasmal sexcapades...

And yeah. The scene where Picard walks in on her when she's mid-getting off on ghost. My expectations had already plunged *below* rock bottom by that point, and yet. And yet. Good lord WHY.

Y'know, this is one of the times I'm glad TNG returns to the status quo every time the credits have rolled. If not? Well, I'm sure this would be the end for our dear Doctor Crusher, who has proven beyond a doubt that hot Scottish ghost action clearly outweighs every other petty concern that might exist in her life. Y'know, like career, duty of care, family (family that hasn't already been "ghosted"), et cetera. Her medical career goes down the drain from here on out; she spends the rest of her life chasing that ghostgasm high, but not even the deepest of sexual depravities can compare to the pure ecstasy that comes of being covered in green 90s CGI. How anyone thought this was even passable writing or that anything that happens here was a sensible character decision, I don't have a ghost of a clue. Ha ha.

I've written a lot more about this episode than I have about some of my favourites -- hell, a lot of the best ones I simply pass over without commenting, because the show and its reviews have already said all there is to be said -- but this one? Only up to a point could I take refuge in contemplating combinations of the words "Scot" and "erotica" (they *sound* like they should make a good portmanteau but they *don't*). I'm fairly sure something must've snapped in my brain, and if that didn't happen while watching the episode, it must've happened while reading that comment up above saying "Crusher doesn't have any daughters, so would the ghost have moved onto Wesley next".

Lord give me strength
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Sun, Dec 22, 2019, 1:43am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Parallels

Well, looks like S7's hit a little run of good eps here!

As much as I've loved how so many of the Worf episodes have built up their own arc -- both his own character arc with how he relates to Klingon society, and the civil war arc in some of the earlier seasons -- it really is refreshing to see him released from all those trappings and given a bizarro sci-fi plot episode.

I have heard about Troi/Worf being a thing in this season, and am... reserving judgement. Not much to "accurately" judge here, given that they're both confused (but confused in very different stages of the relationship, which is always an interesting contrast). What a way for it to start though. "Hey, guess it worked out for a bunch of alt Worfs!" (On a serious note, though, trying it for the sake of that one Troi who felt heartbroken by a Worf who didn't love her? Actually pretty sweet. Let's just see how well it actually works.)

And finally... when they had all those hundreds of thousands of Enterprises popping up all around them, I couldn't help but imagine them playing a game of 20 Questions to sort out which ship was our Worf's ship. Picture this: the captain of Enterprise-D number 4700 gets a hail instructing them to answer a list of questions, starting with...

"Is Picard alive?"
Ensign Picard? That guy is the first one they ask about??
Well... yes. Still alive, still annoying, as always. What's the next one?

Is Crusher the doctor?
Well, Wesley does have six doctorates, and only two of those are honorary. We could answer "yes" to this one, right?

Are Worf and Troi married?
Ouch, bit of a loaded question for us right now. No one's gonna forget the aftermath of that divorce in a hurry. Oh well, Looks like we're the wrong Enterprise, folks!

... (seriously though. imagine a klingon-betazoid divorce. emotional fireworks to rival new year's)
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Sun, Dec 22, 2019, 1:31am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Rivals

Fun ep, and dammit, I really did get into the intense raquetball rivalry (or at least intense on O'Brien's side. "please don't have a heart attack on me" on Bashir's). I definitely felt the missing resolution on that, though.

Good lord it's really hitting home what a skinny vertical line of a man Siddig is in that silver whatever jumpsuit.
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Sat, Dec 21, 2019, 9:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Inheritance

My overwhelming impression of S7's episodes has been "alright, when does this one end so I can watch my next DS9". Fortunately, this one's proven itself to be a lot more interesting than I've come to expect from this era.

The discussion over Data's painting of Lal honestly affected me more than The Offspring did. What a whiplash -- finding out that you have a granddaughter and that you have a *dead* granddaughter. Finding out that you even *could* have a granddaughter, for that matter, and that your son-slash-magnum opus (but emphasis on the "son") could even create one.

I was wondering how the hologram of Dr. Soong was even capable of knowing that Juliana had left him, given that the chip was presumably implanted during the android Juliana's creation (and presumably couldn't have been implanted after she left). Maybe it was something of an AI version of Soong that also had access to Juliana's memories, so that he'd know who he was speaking to (presuming that the person knew Juliana). Given how realistic it seemed to be, I almost wonder why there was no question of Data taking the chip with him... though given that Data decided to hide her identity from her, I guess it'd presumably serve the function it was implanted for, should her nature ever be discovered. Additionally, having a Soong capable of sapient interaction hanging around raises the same sort of questions regarding "hologram rights" that gets raised by the Moriarty episodes.

As for Data's decision...

I think people have a right to know the truth about themselves if they want to. The problem here is knowing whether Juliana wants to, because even trying to consult her in a roundabout way risks revealing there's a question about her identity that was never a question before. (The whole episode, she's known more about Data than he does about her. Even mentioning that Data knows something about her that might be difficult to swallow would be an uncomfortable reversal, and one that would no doubt be cause for questioning.) I know that I, for one, can't stand people making decisions on what's "best" for me, and not only when I happen to disagree.

I worry that Data's overcompensates in making his decision -- he mentions his opinion that revealing the truth would be selfish of *him*, in that he doesn't want to be alone in the universe. It's a very Data move to "ensure" no selfishness in his decision by eliminating the option he suspects to be selfish, and thereby going with the other one.
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Fri, Dec 20, 2019, 7:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Necessary Evil

Addendum: I've just read William B's excellent analysis, and I particularly like the observation regarding film noir's origins in the emotional impact of WW2 given all the subtext to the Cardassian occupation.

I'm also intrigued to hear about the deleted scene confirming Pallra to have had an affair with Dukat. I do think the episode can stand without it; one can fill in the gaps after what we're shown of Odo's investigation regardless, after all.
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Fri, Dec 20, 2019, 7:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Necessary Evil

This was fantastic. Best episode of DS9 yet IMO.

Agreed with Jammer on the excellent direction; the same sets seem so different and so hostile in the flashback scenes. And I love how those scenes are used -- both to give us some backstory on Odo and his first meetings with various prominent characters, and to draw together threads of the ongoing mystery.

A thought: given that he let Kira run free, how *did* Odo "conclude" his investigation for Dukat? It's made clear that he's generally thought the wife did it, up to this point -- at least, that's what she tells us at the beginning. Maybe she's one of the few possible perpetrators that doesn't have to fear execution: while her husband's the main collaborator, she definitely seems to have her own involvement. Perhaps her purpose was more important than her punishment.

Brave move to have the resolution weaken Odo and Kira's friendship. Can't imagine TNG ever pulling something like that.
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Fri, Dec 20, 2019, 12:36am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Wounded

@ Springy, I just want to say I've been loving seeing your thoughts as you go! Fun little overview of the episode.
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Fri, Dec 20, 2019, 12:30am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Rules of Acquisition

Shame to hear the Pel reveal was spoilt by trailers. I came to this episode knowing nothing of the character, and so the scene that revealed it took me slowly by surprise.

She takes her prosthetic ears off, and I'm thinking "honestly, I'm not surprised there are Ferengi who wear fake ears -- they're always boasting about their lobes, and naturally there's gotta be some on the smaller side with a hell of a lot of insecurity about them..."

Then she took the jacket off, and okay, yeah, I see now.

(I wouldn't be too surprised if there were male Ferengi that wore fake ears too, though... and guarding the secret for their life -- or their latinum. Also, it amuses me in an out-of-universe way that they had this actor wearing prosthetic ears on top of prosthetic ears.)
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Fri, Dec 20, 2019, 12:19am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Phantasms

Gotta say, everything in the weird dreamland Ten Forward got a bigger reaction from me than anything in TNG S7 so far (hell, potentially *everything* in S7 so far put together). I remember the thought process as that first Ten Forward scene progressed -- the first thing you're shown is Worf and his cellular peptide cake (With Mint Frosting), which made me go "hah, it's like a Troi cake".

Needless to say, when I saw that it actually *was* a Troi cake...

I think I had to pause for a bit to process that.

(I then sent a screenshot to my partner, who skipped this episode in his own TNG watch, and the exact words of his reaction were "WHAT THE HOLY JESUS".)

To be honest, I don't think there's too much that's memorable about the actual story here. The dreams could've served any purpose or no purpose at all and I think I'd have come away with my reaction pretty much unchanged. Suffice to say, those visuals aren't gonna be something I'm forgetting any time soon.

(And I see people quote the "cellular peptide cake... with mint frosting" line all the time. Now I know. NOW I KNOW.)
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Tue, Dec 17, 2019, 6:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: The Forsaken

Ahh, the rare good Lwaxana episode! She may be on her usual behaviour for the initial portion of the episode, but by the end you reach a new understanding of her -- as does Odo. With such an aggressively mile-a-minute character, it's the moments where she slows down that she shines the best.

(... I spent a few of those turbolift scenes wondering where exactly she was gonna hold the Odo juice when he inevitably melted. Hands? Wig cap? Bra cup? Nope, we've gone for the dress instead. Good thing she chose to wear a waterproof dress today, huh?)

I wasn't too attached to the probe/pup storyline, though O'Brien acting affectionate towards it in the end was actually played in a rather cute manner. Fun bit of computer trivia: "PUP" can stand for "potentially unwanted program", which the probe certainly is to start off with. But then they make it feel wanted. D'aw.
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Tue, Dec 17, 2019, 4:24pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: If Wishes Were Horses

@Chrome: ahh yes. Can't REALLY be true to Gene Roddenberry's Vision(tm) till we've busted out the skintight spandex!
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Tue, Dec 17, 2019, 3:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: If Wishes Were Horses

When my partner was getting into TNG originally, he *tried* going through every episode from the very beginning; one of the things that made him give up on that was the fact that he kept coming across what he'd call "horny episodes". You know -- The Naked Now, Justice, etc. Episodes that run on gratuitous sexuality and not much else.

I'm relieved to not be experiencing the same with DS9 (we've had horny *scenes*, and Fake Jadzia in this ep threatens to take it into Horny Episode territory, but I'm yet to encounter an episode completely dominated by dubious sexiness). Regardless: as of this episode, I think I've realised what the equivalent type of episode in DS9 S1 is. I can't think of a better name than "silly episodes": episodes based around a central conceit that's nonsensical, quirky, or otherwise bizarre.

Compare The Naked Now and Babel, for instance. Both among the earliest episodes of their respective series, both featuring the familiar plot of "some uncontrollable contagion starts infecting everyone on board". In TNG's episode, this is an excuse to get everyone super horny and establish one vitally important detail: yes, the android can fuck. In DS9's version of this plot, it's an excuse to have the regulars start delivering nonsense lines like "ankle try sound. Reset gleaming. Dinner to bug."

As for other "silly episodes", Move Along Home speaks for itself. (Allamaraine! Count to four!) And okay, maybe I'll finally start talking about the episode I'm actually commenting on. One minute it's a normal episode and the next we've got Rumpelstiltskin on a space station. And a long-dead baseball player. And sci-fi emus. And snow. And, uh, horny Jadzia. It's quite a cocktail of strangeness they're serving up here, and its enjoyability really seems to depend on how well you take to all that, because there's not really much else on offer here.

Fortunately, I like it well enough. Hell, I was entertained by the weird holodeck land that Lwaxana and Alexander visit in TNG's Cost of Living, so maybe I just have low standards. But for anyone who doesn't? Not really much substance here, and I see how it's not going to do much for anyone who doesn't buy in on the nonsense.
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Tue, Dec 17, 2019, 11:51am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Progress

I'm not sure how I feel about the A-plot here, but I definitely find it uncomfortable. Again, not sure if that's in a good way or a bad way.

The B-plot, though -- I know I like that. I could happily watch Jake and Nog's trading shenanigans for years. "Self-sealing stem bolts" stops sounding like a real phrase after a while, and is also a fun tongue twister to try saying ten times fast (I keep coming up with "self-stealing"). I don't envy the actors having to say it so often...!
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Tue, Dec 17, 2019, 10:05am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: The Storyteller

This is a good episode to take less seriously, I feel. Oatmeal Odo and O'Brien's "storytelling" were definitely the best moments. Strong character dynamics here -- I'm growing to really rather like the Nog and Jake double act, and I know the Bashir/O'Brien relationship grows to something far stronger over the years, so I'm enjoying watching the foundations laid for it here.
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Tue, Dec 17, 2019, 10:02am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Battle Lines

... disregard that last comment, wrong episode. And now I feel obliged to say something about this one.

I gotta say, I feel sorry for Kai Opaka, stuck on a moon where not even the meaninglesness of death will stop people killing each other. It came off as a bit of a tiresome conceit to me. But it's a good way to kill someone off without killing them off (well, not more than permanently). The consequences of her death are effectively preserved, because the Bajorans are still losing their spiritual leader (I'd be interested to see the consequences of that for Bajor), but you don't lose the use of the character. Bit of a crappy place to be bound to, though.

Kira and her scenes with Opaka were the highlights here, no doubt.
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Tue, Dec 17, 2019, 9:54am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Battle Lines

This is a good episode to take less seriously, I feel. Oatmeal Odo and O'Brien's "storytelling" were definitely the best moments.
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Tue, Dec 17, 2019, 9:51am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Frame of Mind

This definitely isn't a four star episode to me. I was surprised to see that rating on coming to this page. Strong performance, for sure, and as a viewer who's currently damn near the point of hallucination (tl;dr: severe insomnia exacerbated by being expected to work both night shifts and day shifts at unpredictable times; it ain't fun), I can't say Riker didn't ring true. But it got tedious at a point. Yeah, yeah, enough of the reality switches. Cut to the point already.

The lasting impression I got from the episode wasn't helped by its final scene, which struck me as being *really* bad in its direction. We get Riker destroying the asylum set, and I'm all ready for this to be a cathartic explosion of destructive energy focused squarely on him -- but instead we get a wide shot of him ripping some panelling off, and that's it. Come onnnn.

(... also, while I'm not usually one to rag on decades-old TV for less-than-optimal effects -- hell, I grew up with bubble-wrap monsters on Doctor Who -- the "glass shattering" on the various settings/people looked like a bad PowerPoint slide transition. Took me out of the scenes.)
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Tue, Dec 17, 2019, 1:36am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: The Chase

I loved the final scene with the Romulan captain contacting Picard. So few words spoken, but there's a great promise in the thought of "one day".

Also, re: Craig's comment:

"Am I the only one who winced at the thought of giving Picard a 12 thousand year old item that belongs in a museum? The thought of something that old getting jostled about every week is just...*facepalm* "

Yes, good lord, I felt uneasy seeing him even touching the thing! Utterly unique historical artefact? Please put that in a museum, not a starship that's gonna be under attack every other episode! Ancient items of inconceivable historical value are not as good at shaky acting as the actors are!
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Mon, Dec 16, 2019, 3:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

I love how Q's just had his little holiday over on DS9, where he complains about Sisko punching him and proclaims that Picard would NEVER punch him...

... and then he comes here and proceeds to preside over an episode where the happy ending is Picard punching someone.
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Mon, Dec 16, 2019, 2:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Move Along Home

I enjoyed this in the same sort of way I enjoy The Crystal Maze. Only thing it's missing is Richard O'Brien (or even Miles O'Brien).
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Mon, Dec 16, 2019, 2:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Birthright, Part I

Man, I liked this one -- both the Data and the Worf stories -- but yeah, they coulda done so much more with a DS9 crossover. Instead we get pointless Bashir and also the food on the Promenade sucks, what else is new.
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