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Mon, Nov 11, 2019, 9:40am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Endgame

The discourse is much enriched.
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Sun, Nov 3, 2019, 6:31pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Trials and Tribble-ations

Wonderful fun! I've not seen any of TOS so I genuinely have no idea where the original footage starts and stops, other than scenes with the original main characters are obviously original. Maybe I'd have enjoyed it even more if I were a TOS fan but as it was, I *thoroughly* enjoyed it.

Memory Alpha mentions O'Brien mistakes Shatner's stunt double for Kirk :D it also explains how meticulous they were with recreating the sets, even down to examining parts with a magnifying glass! A labour of love on the entire technical side too, such as using the same type of film as the original for the scenes set in the past. I already loved it from my previous watch-through but finding out the background elevated it even further in my estimation.
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Sat, Nov 2, 2019, 10:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Dreadnought

I skimmed some but not all of the above comments, so I likely am repeating: I think the episode would be more plausible if they encountered a debris field, found evidence of a weapon built by gamma aliens, and then proceeded with the episode. The odds of finding this stealthy, intelligent weapon of mass destruction in the a quadrant of the galaxy they are in is just not believable. Torres was good, I agree that this might have suited her better in the later seasons. Average episode for me.
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Sat, Nov 2, 2019, 10:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Meld

I enjoyed this one, the main guest star was believable and entertaining. I usually cringe in the "Vulcans gone bad episodes," but this one was better than most.
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Wed, Oct 30, 2019, 3:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Man of the People

I don't care about how JFK will be remembered, but I do take issue with Rebecca's claim that this episode deserves to be praised just because it brought up an important issue or whatever. I've said it before, but if all you're looking for in fiction is to present issues important to you, I'd be happy to prostitute myself out to whatever position you want and write a book for you. Of course, my skills in writing fiction approach zero, so these would be terrible books, but hey, who cares? "Sure, it has its problems, but it tackles a much more interesting human problem than the usual “attacked by aliens” or “warp core breach” plot. " So 3 stars for my crappy fiction!

I mean, take Jackie for instance (as an aside, I find it humorous that Rebecca didn't choose the more recent Hillary Clinton as an example, since it's MUCH more obvious she's power-obsessed and thus doesn't really fit as a "victim"). She COULD have exposed JFK's infidelities and filed for divorce, but didn't. Oh, Rebecca might say, there was societal pressure and blah blah blah, fine, whatever. But the 24th century DOESN'T have that pressure (especially since Betazed is generally presented as at least slightly matriarchal). Troi is SUPPOSED to be a strong, independent woman. So doesn't analogizing her to other people ruin her character? Besides, this isn't even a marriage, Troi knew this guy for, like, a week; how much societal pressure can build up in that time frame?

That's the sort of reason why most of us call this a bad episode regardless of how important the message is. There's only 3 options here:

1) Troi was too weak or cowed to defend herself against Alkar's assault. This would fit the analogy Rebecca wants, but goes against her character that's been built up for 6 years. So it's inconsistent writing of character, which is a flaw in the story.

2) Troi was unable to comprehend what happened to her. This is rather incredulous, since you think you would notice aging 20 years in a day. And she is clearly in a strong enough mental state to perform her therapist duties, even if her persona has changed. Since it strains credibility that she can function semi-normally without noticing the rapid aging, this is poor plotting, ie, a flaw in the story.

3) Troi was physically powerless to stop Alkar's assault. Again, this is somewhat incredulous given her ability to do other stuff, but let's say that Alkar was basically controlling her mind. This does not gel with what we are told, meaning it too is inconsistent and a flaw in the story. But just as importantly, JFK was NOT controlling Jackie's mind, so even if this is the case then the episode fails as an analogy. As I said previously, I have no love for JFK or Clinton, and thus might be predisposed to accepting a story critical of them, but even I think mental slavery is a bridge too far in comparing their sins. So if the intent is to draw attention to real-world issues, then this becomes a flawed analogy, and thus also a flaw in the story.

Regardless of what happened, the story as presented was flawed! Hence why most of us criticize it. Heck, I agree with Rebecca that watching Troi dress down Janeway was a "highlight" of the show. But that was meant to show something was WRONG with Troi. And yet for people like me, it came off as Troi becoming a BETTER character, meaning it didn't do it's job. So it TOO was flawed!

And that's not even touching the magic de-aging at the end, which is extremely lazy. I mean, yes, character or plotting flaws are more important flaws than technobabble flaws, and you have to be willing to take stuff with a huge grain of salt in the Trek world, but they didn't even TRY to paper over how absurd that is!

Given the very real flaws of the story as presented, what good is it if it raises issues?
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Fri, Oct 25, 2019, 5:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Yesterday's Enterprise

A quick and perhaps not well thought out counterpoint, Peter:

Perhaps it is actually S1 Tasha that is what her true nature should be, someone who can be prone to emotional moments (not as bad as S1 portrayed since S1 was terrible, character-wise, all around). I could see the cold, serious, "heavily on her guard" nature from YE as simply being a continuation of her life from the failed colony instead. In YE, she moved from one war zone to another. Thus, her cold demeanor is simply her being in survival mode, and she never grew out of it.

One could even argue that, combining S1 emotional Tasha to YE cold Tasha, we have an argument that the Trek utopia had a positive impact on her. In S1, she is no longer cold and weary, but rather can relax and act naturally due to her new and improved environment. Perhaps she is able to still take her skills learned on her planet and use them for security (ignoring how incompetent Starfleet security is in general...) but without the crippling fear of home can do it without repressing herself.

Enh, or it's just bad writing in S1... Hard to say what Tasha's true character would have been based off how bad it was. Remember, Picard was a grumpy old man throughout the entire season!
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Fri, Oct 25, 2019, 5:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Sons and Daughters

I think it's even simpler than that. Not that I've done an exhaustive sampling or anything, but I think the general trend in fiction is that men have strife with their fathers and women have strife with their mothers. Men in conflict with mothers is much more rare, and women in conflict with fathers occurs, but usually with more serious conflict (ie, abandonment or physical abuse rather than "emotionally distant" or something like that). I won't try to explain why that's the case, but it does seem prevalent from my perspective. And since there's more male Star Trek characters, that means more daddy issues rather than mommy issues.

(Of course, my above assumption only works with adults and their parents. Kids can be in conflict with either parent pretty regularly I think).

In fact, this is almost universally the trend in Star Trek. Ignoring Enterprise and Discovery since I don't watch those, here are all the main characters with family problems:

Spock - Dad
Picard - Dad
Riker - Dad
Troi - Mom
Worf - Son
Quark - Mom (the exception!)
Bashir - Both for the same reason (although I think Dad was more?)
Odo - "Dad" (The scientist who studied him)
Ezri - Mom (although in fairness, her brother also had a problem with Mom, but would it still be with Mom if he was the main character?)
Paris - Dad
Torres - Both for different reasons (probably moreso Mom than Dad)

So other than Quark and the two characters that had problems with both parents, the pattern seems clear to me. Also, for being a utopia, family life seems pretty terrible in the future...
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Wed, Oct 23, 2019, 10:10am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Little Green Men

@Dave I don't know if you'll see this but it's explained that the Universal Translators malfunction due to beta radiation, from the nuclear fission in atom bombs.

Thank goodness for the reset button and hairpins ;) interesting that such a basic, relatively low-tech solution is still incorporated in 24th Century commodities.
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Sun, Oct 20, 2019, 12:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

@Omicron They do sometimes reference accommodating different species; at the beginning of 'Improbable Cause' they altered the atmospheric gaseous mix (which corroded the carpets in the quarters! But they were happy to keep the atmosphere, and just replace the carpets with something else), and the Breen have their refrigeration suits. However I agree with the overall sentiment of your comment; one really would expect accommodations for various differences to be mentioned much more often as a normal part of the daily operations of a space station.

The most common mention is of Cardassians' preference of warmer temperatures; it certainly doesn't count as an extreme difference but it is a difference that is casually mentioned fairly often. I think one of the Weyouns said the Breen homeworld ('frozen wasteland') sounded quite comfortable, but the Vorta evidently function fine in ordinary humanoid temperatures anyway. Maybe they have a tolerance for an extreme range of temperatures - useful, actually, to visit all sorts of planets as Dominion representatives!
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Sun, Oct 20, 2019, 11:50am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

@Booming They said in-episode that hover-whateveritwas wasn't compatible with Cardassian tech

@Top Hat "The phrase "differently abled" might help reshape the language, since "disabled" has an edge of "there's something wrong with you," rather than that society and your environment fails to accommodate your needs."
That's actually why the disabled community are generally trying to reframe disability as the social model (disabled due to lack of accommodation) rather than the medical model (your body doesn't work, with a side order of 'you are inferior'-connotations).
BTW, "differently abled" is *generally* a phrase used by abled people trying to skirt the word 'disabled' because they're uncomfortable with it, and it's therefore not a phrase that sits well with most disabled people. However I appreciate your thinking behind it and am not accusing you personally of skirting the issue, just explaining why that phrase is problematic :)

"This episode seems like wants to make a statement about the way we construct disability, but it's too muddled to say anything coherent." - After coming to terms with how the episode made me feel, I think I agree with you there. The remark about the station being inherently inaccessible and the flying scene certainly show glimmers of that.

I watched the whole episode some time after commenting and processing the discussion, and noted they did do some things well, e.g. offering help, respecting Melora's answer to the offer, not being condescending, etc. Maybe I should go through and note all the good things at some point in the interests of balance!
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Sun, Oct 20, 2019, 11:12am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: Distant Voices

Perhaps I should also say I did enjoy Masks, if nothing else for a great Brent Spiner performance. The story was odd for sure, but I don't mind that.

In fairness, if I'd been watching it as broadcast I probably would have been disappointed, and the same goes for other episodes that are widely regarded as clunkers. Having entire series available to watch whenever I like probably helps me enjoy the off-beat episodes, rather than feeling cheated or that my time was wasted.
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Sun, Oct 20, 2019, 11:01am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: Distant Voices

On first watch I really enjoyed this episode, although I did think the labels given to each of the others representing part of Bashir were slightly off and lacking nuance. Dax seemed to be impulsive along with the confidence, and I don't think Kira was necessarily aggressive, but assertive and forthright. I would not have thought aggression was particularly part of Bashir's personality anyway, although he is assertive. And no curiosity mentioned? Quite the oversight - Odo at points filled that role but I mean it was an oversight to not mention curiosity in the episode.

The episode doesn't hold up quite so well on the second viewing for me, as most of the intrigue was in what exactly was happening and how he'd survive. Once we know that, there wasn't much else in the story to carry it - although the self-sabotage with the pre-/post-ganglionic nerve/fibre was unexpected and hints at undefined character facets we haven't seen yet up to this point. It's a shame they didn't *actually* explore his character in what would have been a perfect setting for it though.

I did enjoy Siddig's performance and the gradual ageing; I noticed his hands were well done at his oldest (ageing make-up for hands is often forgotten or done terribly in TV).
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Wed, Oct 16, 2019, 4:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: The Search, Part II

Whether it was intentional or not, the scene when Bashir/Sisko and Dax/O'Brien were reunited felt a bit off to me - it was the big grins and everybody seeming just strangely light-hearted, but I can't quite put my finger on exactly *why* or really justify it. If it was intentional, well done to them giving a subtle tip-off. If it wasn't ... heh, maybe a happy accident? After that everything seemed to be happening too quickly with our main characters almost a bit out of the loop, so I was wondering what the twist was right up until the reveal.
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Tue, Oct 15, 2019, 4:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Shadowplay

The Odo storyline actually made me cry the first time round! The rest of it was fluff but enjoyable - apart from Bareil. I never understood what Kira saw in him, until we got Mirror-verse Bareil - and then I felt cheated that Prime-verse Bareil was so wooden and uninteresting. Very strange.

I'm glad they didn't delve into the issue of sentience/life for holograms. It was sufficient that they were real and worth restarting, worth continuing their existence.
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Mon, Oct 14, 2019, 6:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

I like it. Before I get bogged down in complaints, I’ll start with that. The overarching plot - a twisted version of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, with Q as a snarky and slightly sadistic Clarence - is a delight. Too bad the script used to maneuver our hero through his paces are so transparently manipulative.
This is an episode where, just behind the screen, I can the writers jerking every characters’ strings.

Jean-Luc as a womanizer in his youth? I have a hard time buying it. Wasn’t he a driven, ambitious cadet with a serious personality? But, okay: it wa along ago, and I’ll grant the possibility.

But: the plot point that Jean-Luc never went to bed with the smitten Marta when he was a reckless young womanizer, but then did go to bed with her when he was his “older and wiser” self (on the eve of their permanent separation, no less) seems out of place. The Wise Old Picard is shown taking a risk with Marta’s friendship, flying in the face of the rest of his characterization.

There’s also a distinct ick factor in their coupling. Picard feels himself to be 55 years old. He sees 55 year old Picard in the mirror. He’s been in a young man’s body for less than a day - and he’s using the opportunity to bed an unsuspecting 21-year-old - one that he hasn’t seen in 30 years. It’s grotesque, and not what Captain Picard would do. But the writers yank the strings, and their puppets dance.

To serve the further needs of the plot, the character of Marta is terribly underwritten. Because the writers needed a manufactured fight between Jean-Luc and Corey, Marta is kept out of every discussion about the Nausicans. She sits silent at every table, seeming having no opinion on whether Corey should play them, whether the friends should attempt revenge, and even whether she minds being raped, as the Nausican eventually suggests (her passivity in that scene leads Corey and Picard to come to blows, finalizing their schism). Her lack of opinions comes across as simply bizarre - and calls further attention to the machinations of the writers behind the scenes.

On first viewing, these clunky elements were bothersome but tolerable. On rewatching, they are nearly ruinous.

But no matter the episode’s flaws, it will always be a classic in my book. I will never get enough of Lieutenant Picard in a blue uniform, raging to Q that he’d rather die than live a less-than-remarkable life.
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Mon, Oct 14, 2019, 5:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Armageddon Game

Hated the way the ending just had to undermine Keiko. She was believable for me in this episode and I wish they'd left it at 'she really does know her husband'.

@Michael I like the revisions!

I did wonder if it was easily curable and less contagious because they were human, and the aliens' physiology was different. I don't think the writers had that in mind though, otherwise they should have mentioned it and not left it to look like a plot hole.

Also, I could be wrong but wasn't altering memory engrams still risky in the 24th C? It's been a while since watching any other Trek though so I may have forgotten or be confused with something else.
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Mon, Oct 14, 2019, 5:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Rivals

Enjoyable fluff, for me. I would love to know if Bashir's bizarre warm-up was directed or improvised. Rom made me laugh, and I loved Keiko in this. They're not very consistent writing for her throughout the series and it's nice to see her like this (I also thought she was very believable in the Harvesters episode).

This is one I'll happily rewatch - for me the best part of it is Bashir/O'Brien, but the rest is quite fun too.
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Sun, Oct 13, 2019, 9:58am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Dramatis Personae

@Leif I agree.

Could the ep have been better? Yes. I'd have liked to have seen more of the real characters, but at this point in the series they are still getting established so we don't know whether these are amplified traits, or just completely out of character.

For sci-fi there are stock plots and ideas, but the details in how it's executed are generally what interest me. So this episode,the question was 'they are out of character - why?'. That's what kept me watching, and of course the answer to that also determines whether the station and/or characters are in danger.

Not the best episode, but interesting enough for me - the the first time round, anyway, and again after enough time has passed to forget how it turns out. Certainly not a favourite to regularly revisit.
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Fri, Oct 11, 2019, 11:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Carbon Creek

Great episode. I am watching it now.

Jammer’s reviews are pretty much hit and miss. This was a big miss.
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Fri, Oct 11, 2019, 9:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Conscience of the King

I didn't read the ending that way at all. I understood McCoy's line as referring to the idea that her breakdown on the stage was so complete that she had no memory of the events that precipitated and surrounded it.

It didn't sound like Lenore was going to be released, rather that she was going to exist in some kind of facility where she believed that her father was still alive. ("She'll receive the best of care.") If anything, his description made her sound delusional - not generally the kind of thing that leads to being released after seven murders.

Lenore most likely met the criteria for "not guilty by reason of mental defect," which usually leads to secure commitment, and meshes with the line quoted above. I rewatched the ending again, just to see if I could find what might have prompted your reaction, but I don't see it.

There were a few heavy-handed moments in the first acts, which can probably be chalked up to it being an early episode where character patterns hadn't yet been established. Those knock it down a little, but still eminently watchable. A solid three, if not three and a half stars.
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Fri, Oct 11, 2019, 2:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

Trying to write this through brainfog right now so apologies if some of it doesn't make sense or it goes off on tangents and not actually addressing the comments to which I'm responding.

@Peter G. Very good points, and regarding POV I think that's probably the overarching problem with it. If it had been written by able-bodied people I think I *would* have given it a pass because it was the 90s. Learning that it was co-written by a disabled person (he's credited with the story and on the teleplay) is what aggravated me so much. But as I said, nobody is immune from internalised ableism, and many disabled people today, even of the younger generations, still struggle with it. It's just frustrating that they blew such a potentially great opportunity.

People feeling inconvenienced by making accommodations is unfortunately still something we come up against a lot. Anything more than a token ramp (which may or may not even be useable) is usually questioned at least, refused at worst. I suppose that is one good point for the episode - they did willingly do everything she needed to the station before her arrival, Julian's unauthorised specs change notwithstanding.

@Booming I think Melora not actually being disabled is why I felt so conflicted back when I first saw it, not sure if it was supposed to be about disability or what. But seeing it so very obviously depicted with medical devices (all the bracing, the wheelchair, the cane) this time around I knew it was definitely intended to portray a sci-fi version of disability.

I have no idea what other representation was or wasn't around at the time so can't really comment on anything else (though I agree Quark in drag was truly terrible, but I have no idea what level of offensive that was).

@OmicronDeltaThetaPhi "Representation done wrong is worse than no representation at all" - indeed. Bad representation does give opportunity to discuss why it was terrible, but only in certain circles. The rest of the viewership only see the bad representation and hear nothing to dispute it.

@TopHat interesting questions! Your first paragraph kind of aligns with the real-world social model of disability, which is what I was hinting at re: deaf and autistic people, and disabled people with purely physical disabilities - in a fully accessible world, many disabled people would genuinely have no problem. It's people like me who are disabled through chronic illness with inherently unreliable bodies that muddy those waters ;)

Re: straying too far out of her lane, historically and even still today (though it is better now than it was) disabled people have struggled with having very low expectations put on them*, which feeds the problem of inspiration p*rn. Not expected to be able to learn, to love, to live independently, to work, to make useful contributions to society. So in my view, Melora working so hard to leave her planet and do beyond what was expected of her is possibly one thing they actually got right!

*Either that or having excessively high expectations - able-bodied people using para-athletes or other well-known disabled people and saying 'they can do it so you should be able to as well'. Or seeing all disabled people as the same, 'my friend's disabled aunt can do this that and the other so you should too' even though they don't have the same disability (although even the same disability will affect everybody differently anyway).

I will have a look at that essay. I'm not usually involved particularly with politics around identity and representation (although my initial rant might call that statement into question).

DS9: still inspiring debate more than quarter of a century later! Thank goodness most of the rest of it was better ;)
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Thu, Oct 10, 2019, 3:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

Me again. Y'know, I've just realised why this is such a big deal to me. Sloppy representation might have been okay if she were a supporting character, and/or her disability were incidental. But not only is she the central character, her disability IS the story - so it HAD to be done right. That's the responsibility they chose to take on and I'm not sure they get a pass just because it was the 90s.
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Thu, Oct 10, 2019, 1:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

Urgh. This episode was uncomfortable while I was able-bodied, when I watched all through DS9 a few years ago. I couldn't bear it as a now disabled person; it's the only episode I skipped after the teaser. From what I remember, based on the reviews -

'CMO's log, We've been working overtime':
AM: didn't pick up on it
DM: Oh great, of course making accommodations is such a burden on the able-bodied people *rolls eyes*

Julian likes Melora after just reading about her:
Able-bodied me: Julian's immature woman-chasing strikes again, sappy
Disabled me: the embodiment of inspiration p*rn (the entire foundation of his admiration is 'she's so inspiring to overcome her challenges, isn't she amazing?!') blech.

Why doesn't she use the transporter?:
AM: Huh, I don't know
DM: It's about independance and the freedom to go where you want without having to rely on others. Unless she had her own transporter device? [I would find that cool, but that doesn't mean every disabled person would.]

Julian alters her wheelchair specs:
AM: arrogant, obviously that's not what she wanted but his intentions were good
DM: WOW how dare he presume to know better than the disabled person what she needs?! Modifying someone's wheelchair without permission is awful. His intentions may have been good but HE SHOULD HAVE ASKED

Melora is defensive, hostile:
AM: that's not called for
DM: that's still not called for. If there are backstory reasons*, they really need to explain them; if not then their only portrayal of a disabled person is insulting because it plays right into the perception of 'I was only trying to help but that ungrateful disabled person bit my head off'.

[Actually, in the real world most of us will only get defensive if unwanted 'help' is *forced* on us, usually because the abled 'helper' just wants to feel good about themselves, isn't actually thinking about us and genuinely helping, and their actions are neither wanted, needed, or even safe sometimes. If someone *offers* to help, most of us will appreciate the offer and politely decline if we don't need assistance. #JustAskDontGrab]

*Just read Memory Alpha, and there are some feeble reasons. I don't buy them as being any justification - I understand frustration and the weariness of going over the same things again and again, and the 'talking about me without me' - but this was a new group of people, a clean slate, and it's still uncalled for. There are ways of comminicating one's needs assertively without being horrible.

Some nice little bits about accessibility (the Cardassians didn't have Melora in mind, and the world doesn't have disabled people in mind. Legislation has been in place in much of the Western world for years now, and still the majority of places aren't accessible. Just putting in a ramp does not make a building accessible)

Overall the teaser can be summed up in one word: Ableism.
So, so much ableism.

The flying scene:
AM: Huh ... it's kinda sweet? Not sure what to make of it
DM: Still not sure what to make of it? If you squint reeeeeally hard, they *might* be making a point about removing barriers and getting to know the person, not the disability? Maaaaybe? Or that disabled people might have struggles in everyday life but that doesn't mean our entire lives are hopeless and tragic?

Someone mentioned in the comments Julian getting praised in Ops as Melora walks for basically 'curing' her - in isolation it could be taken as okay, but in the context of what I remember from the episode, it's basically 'yay abled saviour well done you for rescuing this tragic person and giving them the opportunity of a normal life' - blech, again.

I also seem to recall Melora really only spent her free time with the Dr. That just strikes me as so lazy, so 'medical model' - she's disabled so of course(!) she spends time with the doctor - !!! as if a disabled person's identity revolves around their disability. (and URGH I still can't get past how he fell for her initially because of her disability),
- In-universe I understand that it was a character episode for Bashir, it's just unfortunate he was also the doctor. It might have felt less unsettling if the character falling for her and spending time with her were, say, an engineer, but with the established characters that wasn't really possible. An unfortunate situation with a result that just didn't sit well with me.

The conclusion, again I don't know what to make of it. Perhaps I might have to watch it to see how well her decision was explained.

Maybe it's a good thing the episode didn't go with the abled/'normal' saviour conclusion? After all, any 'cures' in the real world come with a huge price and are extremely rare (think, exoskeleton suits, wheelchairs that can climb stairs - all prohibitively expensive) and for some people such as in the Deaf community, autistic people, their disabilities are an integral part of their identities and they wouldn't change it. If the world were made truly, fully accessible, they would have zero problems.
But then, those of us disabled by chronic illness - despite fully embracing our disabled identity - would very happily have our health back given the chance! The most that the majority of us can hope for, however, is increased accessibility and understanding.


Having read Memory Alpha and seeing how it ends - and having sorted my feelings out - I might be able to watch it again. I'll have to see. I just remember feeling profoundly unsettled through the entire episode before, because I really felt it had the potential to say something but completely missed that opportunity.

I didn't mean for my first comment (I think?) to be an SJW tirade; this episode was the only one to leave me feeling so conflicted and so deeply uncomfortable (even though I was watching it at the time as an able-bodied person). And I do like Julian as a character overall, by the end he's certainly one of my favourites; just the writers unfortunately chose to play the VERY long game with him. Underneath the initial arrogance and lusting after women though, there are glimmers of a good heart - I remember him making me cringe a bit early on when I first watched DS9 through, but not hating him.

Just remembered - did someone mention this was written by a disabled writer?! Oh yes, @Andrea did. My heart just sank again. I mean, it might not have been completely ableist, but for a disabled writer to completely miss the mark is really disappointing. Many of us do have to struggle with internalised ableism but one would hope before putting something out so publicly, it would have been scrutinised a bit more carefully. *sigh*

My final niggle is that Of Course the disabled person was played by an able-bodied person - however, as it was way back in 1993 I can forgive them. (House M.D. on the other hand ... !! I can only recall three disabled actors in the entire eight years. That's disgraceful for a medical show.)

End rant. Thank you Jammer for both your thoughtful reviews and hosting space for our varying opinions, and debate. I haven't read all of TNG, DS9 and VOY yet but it is so interesting to come and read analyses of certain episodes - really adds an extra layer for me as someone who doesn't usually have the brainpower to think too much about what I'm watching! I hope to get through the three sets of reviews some day.
[If Farscape had been your thing, I imagine your reviews and the comments from regulars here would have been fascinating!]
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Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 5:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Second Season Recap

Peter, I'd actually disagree that S2 of Voyager was one of being out of ideas, or just doing a show for the sake of doing a show (S3 of Voyager, on the other hand, I think definitely fits that pattern). For what it's worth, I think they were trying to be bold or to use the conceit of the show for new ideas, but the problem was usually in the execution.

They did try their hand at a season-long arc with the Kazon and the mysterious traitor. It may not have been a good showing (the traitor part in particular felt completely awful to me), but they were experimenting there.

As William said, Meld does fit with the unique concept of being away from any other support from the Federation. Other episodes that work with the Voyager conceit include Resolutions, Alliances, 37s, the Samantha part of Elogium, and (sigh...) Threshold. And after mentioning the last one, needless to say they weren't all winners...

The writers did try some bold ideas I think, including Tuvix, Deadlock, and, ugh, again... Threshold. It wasn't just uniform blandness and making episodes via checklist, they were trying to come up with something to say! Or at least the premise of some of them seemed that way.

The writers did seem to go for one last push at setting up the characters according to the bible they were given. Chakotay got one strong push with the Indian nonsense in Tattoo. Paris being a flirt and a rogue gets brought up with his spat with Neelix. They tried to make the Ocampa more interesting than just a little pixie girl with Cold Fire. They pushed Kim's youthfulness and homesickness front and center with Non Sequitur. Of course, the main theme of all of these is that they ALL failed. And seemed to be part of why characterization essentially stalled for most people on the show afterward, since everything they started with ended up crashing and burning so spectacularly. But they were still trying here.

Essentially, I'd say S2's fault is a lack of execution, not a lack of attempt. This seemed to lead to an aimless S3 before the show got retooled into Star Trek: Seven of Nine (guest starring Janeway and the Doctor).
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Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 4:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Enemy

Springy, I definitely agree that it was an excellent choice to have Worf stay firm. From what I understand, one of Roddenberry's rules for the show was that there would be no internal conflict among the crew, which if kept would have made for a very boring series. I know Piller tried to keep things within the Roddenberry box, but it works so much better when you flat out break it at times that it makes sense, and Worf sticking with his Klingon side in this case is one of them.

I think I'm just happy whenever an alien actually acts like an alien rather than a human with one exaggerated characteristic and some silly putty on their forehead. What's the point of a space opera if everyone acts all the same?

I was actually thinking of this situation a few days ago randomly. I know the writers probably didn't put more thought into it than "Worf hates Romulans, so he refuses to help them." But I was wondering if a plausible case could be made that it is more than that.

I've been becoming very receptive to the idea that one alien aspect of Klingons is that they are more in-tune with their animalistic bodies and instincts than we are. When we think of who we are, our self, we usually think of our minds, our personalities. But to Klingons, their Klingon-ness is a key part of who they are. I think this is most clear in Birthright [Spoilers Alert!]. The Klingon kids were curious about Klingon traditions and cultures, yes, but that wasn't what made them rebel. It was simply that one kid going on a hunt. Not honor. Not war. Not anything we normally associate with being Klingon. But an instinctual, physical, animalesque endeavor. It gave him a purely biological high, something he had never experienced before. And it made him feel more alive than he had ever felt before, awakening his sense of self to the point that he couldn't go back to the half-life he was living without his animal side. It was a purely physical response; no culture needed.

Or consider K'Ehleyr, who has absolutely zero respect for Klingon culture or civilization. And yet, IIRC, she got just as involved in Worf's calisthenics program as Worf did. Became just as in-tune with her animal side. Whereas when Riker went through it, he clearly wasn't feeling it like that. To hunt, to be hunted, it's a part of Klingon life at a more basic, fundamental level than even honor or glory. That is the trapping civilization uses to codify and redirect the Klingon's animalistic, adrenaline-seeking ways. But it is biologically ingrained into them.

(Even B'Elanna, when she started suffering from depression, self-medicated by seeking an adrenaline high).

OK, so I'm pretty convinced of that, that a pure instinctual response is part of Klingon biology and way of living. And admittedly, this next part may be a stretch. If they feel that their bodies are more important to who they are than we humans do, perhaps they also think of their precious bodily fluids as being a greater part of themselves than we do?

I'm not saying intellectually they don't understand how the body works, but simply that the body (at least while alive) is more sacred to them than it is to us, for lack of a better word. We use blood as a symbol or metaphor for life, of course, but perhaps they take it deeper?

In Sins of the Father [More Spoiler! Weird writing that when it's 30 years old...], Kurn taunts Worf by saying that his blood has been thinned, and is not true Klingon blood. It's the clearest evidence of my hypothesis here, using blood as a symbol for Worf's personality, his life. Worf's physical blood is equivalent to who he is. If he is no longer Klingon, then his blood is diluted.

I know, I know, we use the heart as a metaphor for emotional state, and have no problems with understanding that it is just a metaphor. I'm sure they understand that too, intellectually. But if their instincts and animalistic ways and adrenaline are a key part of their personhood, then they may see that being pumped through their veins as a key part as well.

(Also, I know this is about a ribosome transplant and not a blood transfusion, but the idea of a ribosome transplant is stupid so we're going with the obvious analogy).

Meanwhile, we also know that Klingon culture is very ritualistic in many respects. We've seen some of the rituals. Let's look at two important ones [La-dee-da, Spoilers Away! I hope someone who reads this hasn't actually seen the rest of TNG and thus justifies these warnings....] 1) in Redemption, Gowron returns Worf's honor by letting Worf grasp his knife, spilling his blood, and 2) When Worf and K'Ehleyr were about to take the oath on the holodeck, Worf pushed her fingernails into her own palm, spilling her blood.

See, two intense rituals, one dealing with honor and the other dealing with love, both involve the willing donation of blood. Showing your physical blood to the tribe or to your mate, showing your true personality. The blood is a part of who they are.

Basically, what I'm saying is that if you or I go down to the Red Cross and drop off a pint of blood, we don't think of it. It was our blood, now its out there, and who cares that it's going inside some random person we'll never meet? But for a Klingon, who sees themselves inside their blood, the sharing of precious bodily fluids or ribosomes is an intensely sacred and personal act. Even outside the body, it is still theirs. Their being is still present in the blood.

Thus, demanding that one's blood (or ribosomes) be placed inside a stranger could be considered a deep violation of Worf's body and personhood, and even worse if it is given to an enemy. If so, it would be no suprise that Worf refused to see the human side of the issue, even if he 100% understood it. One cannot choose to violate oneself in such a way.

Again, I know this wasn't the intent. But I'd like to think that there was a deeper meaning here than just "look at the stupid racist security chief who can't get over daddy dying, what a loser!"
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