Comment Stream

Search and bookmark options Close
Search for:
Search by:
Clear bookmark | How bookmarks work
Note: Bookmarks are ignored for all search results

Total Found: 40 (Showing 1-25)

Next ►Page 1 of 2
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Mon, Aug 16, 2021, 8:36pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: Transfigurations

@ Peter G.

I've got nothing but respect for you (for what it's worth), but I do disagree here.
Describing certain sects of Christianity as "Bible-bashing fundamentalist nut jobs" and the foundational text of monotheism as "dreamed up by the primitive Israelites to explain what they didn’t yet have the science to understand" comes pretty close to advocating against the religious beliefs of quite a few people. It's fine to disagree with the tenets of religion (and organized religion has always been an easy target, often justifiably so), but to deliberately choose degrading language to do so, in the context of dredging up a single line from a five-year old post clearly written by a non-native English speaker, is what I find crosses the line into something more vindictive and agenda-driven.

But I think I've said my piece.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Mon, Aug 16, 2021, 7:17pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: Transfigurations

@ Rahul

Couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, you're dealing with someone who has a predetermined agenda, as you correctly pointed out at the outset.

@ Tidd

You've tried to pretty it up, but at heart you seem not so much an atheist as an anti-theist. Your animus toward of religion and its adherents, specifically of the Judeo-Christian variety, bleeds through everything you say, and is sometimes quite explicit. You couldn't even let it go that today is Monday because, many thousands of weeks ago, it was also Monday in ancient Israel (the horror!!!) You needed to quote Eastern philosophy to "do me one better."

The irony is that even the philosophy you quote -- "living in the present moment" -- which you say originates from Tai Chi and Advaita Yoga (dating back to the 12th and 4th centuries respectively), is right there in the Hebrew Bible, in Ecclesiastes. For example: "I saw that there is nothing better for man than to enjoy his possessions, since that is his portion. For who can enable him to see what will happen afterward?" or the famous "There is nothing worthwhile for a man but to eat and drink and afford himself enjoyment with his means." In other words, "Live in the present moment."

Perhaps you can (and will) come across an example of even older Eastern philosophy. Fair play if you do. But it's not a question of one system being superior to the other, but rather that, at every opportunity, you either ignore or cast aspersions at anything that smacks of Western religion, or its foundations. That is apparently your cross to bear, but I mean, your politico-religious diatribes do feel out-of-step with Star Trek's ethos of tolerance. On the other hand, you've got a damned good eye for Trek, and your Trek-centric posts are a joy to read. (That's an olive branch.)

As for the source of my argument about the polemical objective behind Genesis 1, it's a pretty mainstream theory in biblical studies, so it's ingrained in my neurons having spent quite a bit of time on that topic. But just for you, I pulled this from http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192015000300021:

"[T]he Genesis references to the creation of 'large sea creatures' as well as the heavenly 'luminaries' may be construed as a polemic against ANE [Ancient Near Eastern] beliefs about their deities (p. 45). Finally, 'the biblical account has as its chief purpose to glorify the one Creator God who is the sole God of all reality' (p. 46)."

It's no different than Jesus walking on water. You might argue, "It's scientifically impossible for a person to walk on water! What kind of idiot dreamt up this nonsense?" But that's precisely the point. The writers of the Gospels knew that "scientifically" it was impossible. Sure, they may not have understood buoyancy at a molecular level, but through empirical evidence they knew that people, sadly, cannot walk on water. That's precisely why Jesus doing it was significant -- it was a miracle, the subjugation of nature by divine forces. You can believe it happened, or not, but for the believers, there is no disjuncture between believing in the laws of nature and simultaneously believing that a super-natural power can suspend or transcend those laws.

I remember a pictogram in a psychology textbook that had all the emotions laid out on a grid and connected to each other by various lines. Then, way outside the grid was the final emotion -- "awe," with no lines connecting it to anything. Awe is what you feel when you lay on your back and stare up at a starry sky on a pitch-black night. It is a uniquely human emotion, primordial and very powerful. Tapping into that drives the impulse toward religion (or other forms of exploring the unknown). It may also drive us to explore the cosmos, and even here to this website. We all can, indeed, coexist.

@ Booming

I forgive you.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Mon, Aug 16, 2021, 2:46pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: Transfigurations

@ Booming

Um, okay. It's been a while since I heard someone actually say -- joking or not -- "I have friends who are [X] so that means I'm not anti-[X]." Hopefully it'll be another decade before I hear it again. Cheers to old times, I guess.

You're entitled to your opinions, whatever they might be. My opinion is that whatever you define as "Western education" sure as hell sure wouldn't help you, or me, fend for ourselves in a pastoral/agricultural society. I've had some of the best education out there, and the fancy degrees hanging on my wall wouldn't give me a clue.

I'll stick with the plain-Jane definition of "science" in Merriam-Webster: "the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding." Although your fancy Cambridge definition makes my point even better: Genesis 1 was never intended to be scientific, and deriding it for NOT being scientific is the ultimate strawman argument.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Mon, Aug 16, 2021, 1:35pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: Transfigurations

@Tidd

"The ancient Israelites did not have a scientific knowledge of the world but there is nothing wrong with their writing a poetic story to account for the creation of the universe."

This is a strange comment. First, there is the parternalistic/ colonialistic mentality inherent in saying, "there is nothing wrong" with the Israelites of 3000 years ago (or so) developing a particular creation story. I don't think they require your approval, nor do the ancient Sumerians need your approval for Gilgamesh, the ancient Greeks for Zeus, or the ancient Ashanti for Anansi.

Second, on the concept of "scientific knowledge," your point is only true if you define scientific knowledge as that which can only be obtained through a microscope or a telescope. But these societies that you debase as "primitive" (or is it only the ancient Israelites that you debase?) would have a far greater WORKING knowledge of science than any one of us, through their constant interaction with the natural world. The survival of their crops, livestock, and themselves depended on that knowledge.

Take a look at Genesis 30, the detailed account Jacob's cross-breeding of sheep and goats to build a larger flock. Can anyone say that the "ancient Israelites" did not believe in evolution, or at least the ability to intentionally produce desired physical characteristics through breeding?

Now take the creation story. The ancient Israelites naturally UNDERSTOOD that light comes from the sun, and that flowers/trees require the sun for growth. For that reason many ancient peoples had sun gods, including the Ancient Egyptians, who exerted a heavy influence on the Israelites.

The creation story is a polemic against these idolatrous tendencies. It therefore INTENTIONALLY makes everything backwards, so that in that first day, there is no sun yet there is still light, and on the third day there is still no sun but there are trees and plants. Finally on the fourth day we get the sun and moon, which are purposefully "demoted" to merely being "signs for sets times, the days and the years," i.e., for us to know when days and years (and implicitly months) begin and end, in order to worship God at His appointed times.

That's not a reflection of lack of scientific knowledge -- it's the whole point, to assume the reader's/listener's knowledge and then challenge it with an anti-science litmus test requiring faith and the suspension of disbelief. Those hearing this account for the first time may have had the same problems that modern readers do, as it required them to believe something that conflicted with their observations of and interactions with natural phenomena.

Incidentally, for that same reason I have a problem with fundamentalists who twist themselves into knots to "reconcile" the creation story with science. It cannot be reconciled. It was designed not to be reconciled.

There was also a second goal in mind -- to create a precedent in God Himself resting on the seventh day, so that people would do the same. We can thank the ancient Israelites for the universally accepted seven-day week, and the concept of a "weekend." Not too bad for a primitive hill-people.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 8:47am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

This may be the only Star Trek episode which ended with a lump in my throat. Truly magnificent.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Thu, Jul 22, 2021, 1:49pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

**shuttle down, not beam down***
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Thu, Jul 22, 2021, 1:42pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

I want to like this episode, and I do like parts of it, especially the Picard/Sheliak interactions, but the gaping plot holes ultimately sink it.

1. How did the settlers learn to adapt to the planet's radiation -- is it technological or biological? The obvious thing for Data to do would be to see if that "adaptation" could be replicated for a full Away team to beam down. Regardless, why doesn't the Enterprise have a stock of anti-radiation/hazmat suits?

2. Why did the vastly superior Sheliak (who seem to be an evolved form of the Skin of Evil tar monster) need to enter into treaties with the Federation, which they consider inferior vermin (as mentioned by one of the comments)?

3. Why did the (apparently) vastly superior Sheliak have anything to fear from being "blocked" by the Enterprise? And how can a single ship "block" a single other ship in 3-dimensional space?

4. Why did the planet's inhabitants believe Data was who he said he was, and why did even SOME of those inhabitants believe that what he was saying must be true? I mean, some random shuttle lands on your planet, an android steps out, tells you that you are doomed and everyone must evacuate, and you just believe him? Of course, WE know that Data is right, but there should have been someone who wanted to see proof. As it turned out, both the pro-Gosheven contingent and the pro-Data contingent were ultimately guided purely by blind faith.

5. Why didn't Picard get more people involved in reviewing the Sheliak treaty than just Troi? Also, how is Picard capable of reading tiny print from six feet away with Data-like speed?

But we did at least get some great lines. My favorite, which may be subject to interpretation, is that one of the early dialogues between Picard and the Sheliak, Picard is saying something like "A trieaty is not supposed to be a straightjacket." But the Sheliak abruptly close the transmission after "straight." Picard then says, "jacket" in a manner that sounds very much like "jackass." I do believe that's what was intended.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Tue, Jul 20, 2021, 10:02pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

Although never referenced, I wonder if the death of this space creature -- and btw I thought Picard's mortified reaction was in character -- influenced his vehement objections to killing the far more aggressive and ruthless Crystalline Entity in Season 5's Silicon Avatar. Probably just me connecting the dots that the writers didn't bother doing themselves, but that was my first thought, anyways.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Mon, Jul 19, 2021, 6:06am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S4: The Loss

This episode is insufferable. I feel for Marina Sirtis that the writers gave her such trash to work with. Her crazy reactions would only have been explainable if the neutrino things had taken over her brain but aside from them being responsible for the initial loss of psychic power, they had no role in her having a different meltdown every five minutes. Just atrocious writing. A little more subtlety could have made a lot of difference.

Crusher: "The results of the scan are inconclusive."
Troi: "What does THAT mean?"

We also have this episode to thank for the visual of Geordi going skin-diving, presumably wearing nothing but his visor. Lordy.

I did like Picard and Riker's convo about horse riding in the holodeck Himalayas. Picard's line about programming Riker a "suitably docile steed" was hilarious.

Actually the episode was only watchable because of Frakes, whose acting i have really come to admire. His delivery is so natural and unforced, that he alone salvaged a number of the Troi scenes which were otherwise dreadful. Sometimes it's just the look in his eyes, where Frakes can effectively onvey concern, impatience, confusion, compassion, etc.

The directors must have recognized that because there are a lot of "Riker reaction shots" in this and many other episodes that bring things back from the brink. Also in this episode we have his classic stance of putting one leg up and crossing his arms over his knees while chatting with whatever ensign is navigating the ship.

Nevertheless 1.5 stars is all this episode deserves.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Fri, Jul 16, 2021, 1:30am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S4: Legacy

Lol... when Tashara first appeared, I was like, "Whoa! Since when was Linda Hamilton on TNG?" I mean, the face, the hair, the mannerisms, the dystopian society surrounding her, it was all Sarah Connor. Except for Beth Touissant being much hotter, as mentioned. And that kiss she gave Data, in blue spandex...

Okay, so looks may have been part of it, but Tashara also had a real magnetism about her that carried the episode, which is an unsung gem in the TNG canon (especially on this page). There is a real tragedy here involving Data and the first true betrayal of his trust. We see laid bare the fact that while Data doesn't feel human emotions, he feels his own brand of emotions that are just as tangible. His rapport with Tashara, the organic (and believable) growth of their relationship, the way he said "energize" while she was on the transporter rather than giving her a final word of consolation, and the look of desolation on his face as he gripped her homing beacon implant at the end, were very moving to me.

This was a magnificent, understated acting performance by Brent Spiner, matched step by step by Toissant, and I can't believe that this episode seems so easily dismissed. This is not the nostalgia of a rewatch either, as I have no recollection of ever seeing this episode. There was also a poker game AND a Riker card trick in the intro, which should alone be enough for a bonus star.

They spent some money on this, too -- we also had some excellent set designs with smoky and relatively elaborate underground tunnels, and good costume design for the hostiles to boot. Speaking of, the Federation needs to seriously invest in camouflage for its away teams -- that red shirt Riker's got on ain't gonna blend in too well for guerilla warfare (@ James G -- on the money there).

Of course, Legacy has some contrived aspects to it, as all TNG episodes do, but this wasn't a tenth as contrived as Remember Me, what with an imaginary Enterprise constructed by Dr. Crusher's mind inside some warp bubble, which she can only escape by taking an imaginary lift to imaginary deck 36, while the Traveler of all people helps Wesley "Skywalker" Crusher rescue her through use of the Force.

This one is the 3.5. Remember Me can get 2.5, maybe. It all balances out.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Thu, Jul 15, 2021, 10:26am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S4: The Best of Both Worlds, Part II

I feel that Part II comes very close to matching Part I in suspense and attention to detail, right up until the last 5 minutes when simply a bit more care in exposition and pacing would have made a big difference. For example, assuming that the feedback loop malfunction was caused by Data constantly sending a "sleep" message to the collective and the Cube constantly attempting to counteract it, I'd have liked an additional 10-second scene with Data where he says something like, "Captain, the Cube has recognized the malfunction and is attempting to reawaken the collective -- however I have been able to embed a continual loop containing the sleep function into the Cube's neutral network." Then we have Shelby and Worf on the Cube where after Worf says that the collective's power readings are "wildly fluctuating," Shelby explains that what's happening is like turning a switch on and off simultaneously, over and over. And maybe you start to see sparks flying from the Borg cranial implants.

Although I'm not one for excessive exposition, in this case the audience had no idea what the connection was between the seemingly "normal" regeneration cycle and the Cube's sudden Death Star like explosion. And just like in Star Wars part of the success of the Death Star scene was that the audience understood what the weakness was and how it was being exploited, here too that would have made a big difference for an episode that until that moment was operating at a very high level.

The second thing is that, after the Cube explodes, there are basically no reaction shots and no pause to let it set in. Compounding that, one nanosecond later, Beverly is noting that Picard's DNA is already "returning to normal." Uh, what?

Much better would be lingering for a few seconds on the crew's umspoken reactions to the news of the explosiom, maybe with the Enterprise being rocked a bit, while Picard collapsing to the floor. Then it's some indeterminate time later that Picard awakens in sick bay, bandaged, and we get confirmation that his DNA is returning to normal.

I'm not saying that it has to be rewritten in the way i want it, but that it would maybe take an additional 20 seconds (which could be cut elsewhere in the episode) to improve the comprehension of the Cube's explosion and also imply more of a delay in things getting back to normal, which you want considering how much the crew and the audience have endured.

Regardless, Part Ii is still very nearly 4 stars. It's epic stuff.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Tue, Jul 13, 2021, 3:11pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

@ Top Hat

That's funny -- no, wasn't me, and I haven't seen the documentary. I think I will now, so thank you for bringing it up. And as I also see from Startrekwatcher's post a few years back (among others), I wasn't alone in being impacted by this episode. It's fascinating how being imprinted with something at a young age can retain its effect through life.

BTW I still do identify with my childhood experience -- Tasha's death still surprised me (because I didn't remember it happened so early in the episode) and the funeral scene is still effective. I still think Armus is a very dark and complex character by Trek villain standards, and the Troi scenes with him are well done. Obviously, though, there are other aspects that could have been better-executed. But like I said, those quibbles are all in retrospect and don't dilute the power of the original experience.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Tue, Jul 13, 2021, 2:20pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

So this episode is a lesson in the subjectivity of ratings and the importance of each person's unique relationship with art, be it TV, film, or music.

My father was a product of the Depression, came from a working class family, and was nearly 50 when I was born. He believed in hard work and self-discipline and despised the very idea of television. We never had one except for a very brief experiment, and that TV quickly ended up in the garage (I dreaded when teachers would assign "fun" homework like a report on a TV show).

My dad died after a long and dehumanizing fight with cancer when I was 12, in 1987. My mom then got us a TV, and a dog. There were 5 of us and one of her -- she needed the help. And let's not underestimate the therapeutic value of either...

So because of the timing, Star Trek TNG was certainly one of the first shows that I started watching religiously. I hadn't yet been jaded by years of TV, and the TNG crew was, to me, like an extended family that I could join week after week. They still are to some extent, and every five years or so I find myself craving a revisit to the past.

When Skin of Evil first aired, it was so shocking that Tasha Yar not only died, but STAYED DEAD, that to this day it's perhaps the only early episode from the first season that i distinctly recall watching. In those days, too, major characters NEVER got killed off. I don't think there's any way to convey that impression on someone watching 30+ years later (certainly not post-GOT), and definitely not if you already knew Yar would die. As a boy, I felt that the Armus character was full of menace, terrifying, and believable, I remember being moved deeply by Yar's farewell holographic speeches.

I would have thought that Skin of Evil would be considered one of the "great" TNG episodes, and yet everyone pans it. I've avoided rewatching it for that reason, but finally gave in. It's like there were two people watching -- the innocent little boy still coming to grips with the death of his father, and the man who is now nearly as old as his father was when he was born.

Suffice it to say, although I now see all the flaws in the Skin of Evil, and there are many, it doesn't matter what I think of the episode now. It was a 4 star episode for me when it aired, and in the story of MY life, the objective quality of the episode viewed in 2021 is completely irrelevant.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Tue, Jul 13, 2021, 10:00am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S5: The Perfect Mate

Does anyone else think that Geoege Lucas was watching some Ferengi episode on Star Trek one day, and thought to himself, "Fascinating creatures! That gives me an idea!" And then created Jar Jar Binks.

Speaking of Star Wars, the emergence of Kamala from the melted cargo had some kinship to Han Solo in carbonite after Leia flipped the switch.

Agree with the "other" Ben above (and others) that Picard succumbed that last night.

@Trish

"There is dignity in accepting who you are, but sometimes there is tragedy, too. Real life is too often like that."

That is very beautiful.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Mon, Jul 12, 2021, 10:51pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Hunted

This is, for once, a well-executed action-oriented episode of Trek that kept me engaged -- I wouldn't agree with Jammer that it was a "routine" action episode. Most of TNG's attempts to do action were godawful. No this one.

Honestly, I couldn't help but enjoy watching Danar out-smart Data and out-muscle Worf (after being given the ultimate compliment -- "you must have Klingon blood"). I also liked that in a sort of in-joke, the Enterprise's security staff was proven to be as inept as I always felt they looked.

I knew where the episode was headed but didn't mind the ride. The writers did a better than usual job of misdirection (like Danar himself). It's true that a society advanced enough to program people to be able to render themselves invisible and weaponize a transporter beam should probably be more advanced in other areas. But suspension of disbelief is easier when the entertainment is good.

The acting by Jeff McCarthy was very credible, and he did a very good job of depicting a conflicted and troubled, yet dangerous former soldier.

It seems that no one has noted that the episode is thematically reliant on the Bourne series (there was a TV movie in 1988 based on the books). A pre-programmed warrior with heightened sensory/physical capabilities who is at the mercy of this programming and reflexes. Perhaps with a bit of Robocop mixed in.

I'd give it a solid 3 stars, let's say 3.25. Would be higher without Picard's and Troi's lecturing, but what can you do.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Sat, Jul 10, 2021, 9:51pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Hunted

@ Trish

Exactly right.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Fri, Jul 9, 2021, 8:37pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

@ Nesendrea

Lol -- yeah I was totally thinking about a giant red button like in the cartoons. Your other analogy with computer chip is a very good one. But still, as long as I intended to press that button, or think the thought that triggered the computer chip, it's still second degree murder, which by definition is NOT premeditated. Crimes of passion are split second impulses, but it's still second degree murder (just that a lot of juries will refuse to convict someone for crimes of passion even if it's technically the law).

You're of course right about Hitler, I was only using his name as the paradigm of genocide, not to equate him and Kevin.

I can see your points and I think we just have a difference of opinion about whether it's still worth it to require (or in Kevin's case, ask politely) someone to go through the legal process where a crime MAY have been committed, even if ultimately it perhaps won't result in a conviction or even a charge. I say yes, you say no. That's quite alright by me.

This has been a great and surprising debate with a lot of fascinating viewpoints. I think we all owe Jammer a big debt of gratitude for this very magical site that he has diligently maintained for so many years.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Fri, Jul 9, 2021, 12:36pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

@ Jason

It's a fair point about lack of evidence. And of course it's innocent until proven guilty. But certainly if Kevin was a willing participant in the process, the Federation investigator could ask Kevin to assist in locating the evidence, e.g. the location of the Husnock homeworld, the identities of other species who had interacted with them before their disappearance, etc. After gathering and assessing the evidence, the Federation could decide whether to press charges and seek a trial. Maybe he would be exonerated after all, who knows. All I'm saying is that the writers were wrong to vest Picard with so much power on deciding there would be no legal process.

We could of course further desconstruct the episode and wonder whether we can really assume that Kevin was telling the truth about ANYTHING. He had already shown the ability to lie for his own interest. Maybe the Husnock were just a hoax -- is it reasonable to believe that the Federation had really never encountered or even anecdotally heard of a warlike race of 50 billion who were close enough to Federation space to be able to send battle cruisers to wipe out a Federation planet? Maybe Kevin wiped out the colony because he wanted Rishon all for himself, accidentally killing Rishon in the process, and then invented this whole Husnock story. Or maybe they were actually a peace-loving race and this was a rogue ship. Obviously there's no evidence for that either, but that's why it's so problematic for Picard to (1) just take Kevin at his word and (2) be the self-appointed Federatiion legal czar.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Fri, Jul 9, 2021, 1:31am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S4: Clues

So for the rest of their lives, did everyone on the Enterprise think that they were one day younger than they actually were? Would be kind of funny if that was the case. But wait, there's more. What about the *first* missing day? Did the computer get unwiped? Or now will they be two days behind where they were supposed to be? Or even three days, considering the day that they were conscious again and solved the mystery.

Right--better not to think too much about it... but it was a good mystery, and the reveal of "You gave the order, sir" was pretty cool if you hadn't seen it before. Somehow reminds me of that old anti-drug commercial with the kid and his dad -- "You! I learned it from watching you!" They don't make 'em like that anymore, do they?

The opening scene was one of Guinan's few good moments in the show. I'll never know why they put a comic actress in a role where she was so drearily serious 99% of the time.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Thu, Jul 8, 2021, 7:05pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

@ Nesendrea

Very thoughtful comments. I would just offer a slightly different perspective, which is that since Kevin was living in a Federation colony, by choice no less, he is under the jurisdiction of Federation laws, no matter that he's of a different species. Therefore the Federation is by definition qualified to be his judge, and it is entitled to judge him according to the same laws that would have applied to any of the other colonists.

I'd say it's not for us (or Picard) to decide what the "point" would be of charging a particular person with a particular crime. Also, Picard is not the Federation's overlord or an Attorney General. Perhaps ultimately it would be pointless as you say, and obviously would require Kevin's willing participation as we both agree. But it was Picard's duty to at least determine whether Kevin was willing to stand trial for his crimes and if so, deliver him to the authorities (which would of course require that genocide actually be considered a crime, bringing us back to the original problem).

Let's say someone born in Foreign Country X killed a member of my immediate family (God forbid), and I happen to have a secret nuclear missile silo in my backyard, which I then use to obliterate that entire country. I then become immediately remorseful for what I have done. Should I not still be tried in a court of law for my crime? Even though it may not have any effect on me, since I am already remorseful, nor would it bring back the dead, who will remain dead, nor deter others in such a situation, because presumably there (presumably) aren't other civilians with nuclear silos in their backyards. But there's still something important to humanity as a whole about the process occurring and for there to have been an official verdict that what I did was wrong.

But it's gotta start with genocide (or any murder of innocent life) being a crime, which is where I think we all agree that this episode really stumbled badly.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Thu, Jul 8, 2021, 6:10pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S6: Schisms

@ Beany (and others)

"The Holodeck reconstruction's spookiness was completely undermined by the computer's ridiculous leaps of logic in moving from conference table to weird blocky inclined table to metal operating table."

I think that the average TV audience of the time wouldn't really have noted or been bothered by the sudden "jump" to an extremely detailed metal operating table. Now that we have streaming services and all and can break everything down for discontinuities, these things do become more jarring but I think it's forgivable and outweighed by the mounting tension, general eeriness, and truly excellent acting (particularly by Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis) during that scene.

I could also argue that when it comes to tables that are (1) rectangular, (2) built low to the ground, (3) inclined, and (4) metallic, how many types of such tables are there? I mean, do any of us encounter reclining metal tables in our daily lives? Or in the future -- have we seen any reclining metal tables onboard the Enterprise?

Rather, the only place we might see a table with that description is in a medical setting. I mean, this particular model not exactly the type I'd want to have surgery done on -- rather uncomfortable, to say the least. But you could argue that the Holodeck pulled the only table in its database that met these specifications: a medical/dental operating table from some period in human history.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Thu, Jul 8, 2021, 5:02pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

This was a really top-notch performance by Ellen Geer, who plays a broken, grieving mother as well as anyone I've seen on film. No exaggeration. It's one of those episodes that I distinctly remember watching during the first run, and I remember being disturbed by the scene between Dr. Marr and Data where he reads the poem, and that final scene where she destroys the entity.

On rewatch, I had the same feeling. The look in Dr. Marr's eyes watching the CE's death spasms, her tone of voice when she says "I did it for you, Renny," and the way she clutches at Data's shoulder, are bone-chilling. Same with the slowly unfolding desolation on Dr. Marr's face when Data gives her the ultimate sucker-punch by saying, "I don't believe your son would be happy right now." Brent Spiner does a really outstanding job in that final scene as well. There's some great camerawork as well, with the long ISO shots on Dr. Marr as she listens to Data. Brilliant acting all around.

I don't agree with some earlier comments that Data would not be able to extrapolate how Renny would react to his mother's actions. Even if Data himself does not have human emotions, he understands human emotions and it is not difficult to predict an expected emotional response from a particular stimulus, if provided enough background information.

I won't get into the morality debate. In this case, I liked how the writers raised some very provocative questions without fully resolving the moral ambiguity, even if they did ultimately plant their flag on the side of letting the entity survive. But it was not heavy-handed. It was a nice touch and more effective for Data to have given the final speech, as it were, rather than Picard.

My main quibble on re-watch is the inability of ANYONE to override Dr. Marr's program, including the Captain, who is supposed to be able to override anything. I mean, how easy would it be for the Enterprise to be highjacked altogether? What if Dr. Marr had decided to go out in a blaze of glory and crash the Enterprise into the entity using that same non-override code? And seriously, how did she get to be a world-class (galaxy-class?) hacker? But i don't think most viewers would have been keyed into that in 1991, when home computing was still in its infancy, and even the writers may not have thought the conceit to be far-fetched.

I'd give this at least 3.5 stars. A really haunting episode.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Thu, Jul 8, 2021, 4:04pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

@ Top Hat

The Usain Bolt analogy is poor. Kevin has already proved he has the power to recreate (1) people, (2) their habitations, and (3) complex machines, i.e., star ships. It's a question of scale -- why can't he recreate MORE people and MORE habitations -- not a question of ability to do it in the first place.

I suppose that to given an in-universe answer my own question above, Kevin may have concluded that his stock explanation ("We were spared and we don't know why, but we just count ourselves lucky"), and the lack of any evidence of foul play, would be satisfactory to any investigator, who would then just leave him and Rishon alone. In other words, the typical overconfidence of omnipotent beings dismissing human powers of observation and detection, which as with Q, Picard proves to be wrong.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Thu, Jul 8, 2021, 3:37pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S4: Identity Crisis

I liked this episode quite a bit. The special effects were surprisingly good, particularly the "invisible" Geordi, even though the concept did seem indebted to Predator. The mystery was a good one, with Geordi doing some good sleuthing, and the unfolding discoveries happened at the right pace for me as the viewer. The episode didn't drag the way Night Terrors did. I thought that making the "eureka moment" involving the unaccounted-for shadow was a subtle and brilliant touch.

In fact, it is an unusual Geordi-centric episode that wasn't annoying or sappy, or annoyingly sappy. Levar Burton for once did a very nice job carrying it and reacting authentically to what he was encountering. I liked the relationship between Susannah and Geordi, and to get a bit of a decent backstory on Geordi.

I don't have a problem with the genetic mutations reversing themselves once the parasite is removed because of the immutable law of the episodic format where everything must return to the way it was.

I agree that it defies logic to send an away team -- apparently unprotected -- to the surface of a planet where everyone who goes there turns into an alien. I guess the justification would be that at that point they had identified the source and could presumably scan everyone for the parasite and destroy it. But in general, the lack of protection when beaming to a planet's surface is a constant head-scratcher in Star Trek, as is the computer's failure to immediately detect when anyone on board has randomly disappeared (a la Geordi here). Shouldn't the computer always automatically know these things and alert the crew?

The use of the holodeck to solve the mystery was effective and eerie. A concept revisited in Schisms, which is a personal favorite. I also liked the Enterprise's sensors being useless for the entire episode.

On the negative side, I don't really understand how this species can realistically avoid extinction as the number of available hosts would necessarily dwindle down to zero. I'd also have liked some sort of explanation as to how the parasite gets produced in the first place.

@O'Brien, agree that it was bizarre that they didn't just end the program on the Holodeck.

Overall, an engaging mystery episode that kept my attention. 3/4.
Set Bookmark
Ben D.
Wed, Jul 7, 2021, 6:10pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S4: Night Terrors

Well, we can thank this episode for introducing the "single simple message" concept that was employed far more effectively in Cause and Effect.

This wasn't a bad episode. But it was a SLOOOOOOW episode. I liked the premise with the grisly remains on the Brittain, and the idea of a gradually building mystery usually appeals to me, but somehow it was too slow here. The hallucinations and other symptoms were somewhat random, and didn't seem to be getting "worse" in a tangible way (compare with Schisms, for example). For example, O'Brien's menacing behavior toward Keiko happened almost immediately.

For this to be effective, you'd want more benign hallucinations at first, and then more terrifying or deadly, and more frequent, hallucinations/paranoia scenes later on. Of course, there was the attempted "mutiny" in 10 Forward, but it was very poorly executed and as the viewer I didn't feel any sense of impending chaos. especially when everyone calmed out immediately just because Guinan fired a shot from that ridiculous weapon. In real life, I suspect a large group of delusional/paranoid people would have simply become more enraged.

After about half an hour, it really started to fizzle out and I just wanted to get to the resolution already, and didn't really care what it was.

I will say that although Troi's dream-flying was hokey, the visuals around the voice and also the lines that were delivered by the alien -- "Eyes in the dark" and "A moon circling," etc. -- were effectively spooky. Almost reminded me of the deadlights from "IT."

Maybe two stars.
Next ►Page 1 of 2
▲Top of Page | Menu | Copyright © 1994-2021 Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication or distribution of any content is prohibited. This site is an independent publication and is not affiliated with or authorized by any entity or company referenced herein. Terms of use.