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Ben Franklin
Wed, Aug 31, 2016, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Hope and Fear

There are a few things that attempt to salvage this episode. However, as to the plot, this dead horse has been beaten so badly, it's bones have been pulverized to a fine powder. Enough already with the "close calls". It's unoriginal. It's boring. It's insulting to the audience. This is the one major reason why I feel Voyager could never measure up to the other series that came before. They could have done anything with this ship but instead, it turned into this "plodding our way home" ordeal. As Jammer said, enough with the teasers. If they aren't going to get home until the series finale, then let's stop with the false hopes BS and get on with other themes. Frankly, I don't care if others don't find the Gilligan's Island plot repetition to be obnoxious. This is bush league writing and fodder for the all-but-discerning viewer.

It's especially insulting that the encrypted Star Fleet message from several episodes past was just a "Sorry, no go on any help from us... but good luck!" What a complete waste of a plot device.

-2 for yet-another-we-came-close-to-getting-home-but-sorry-not-this-time plot
+1 for good dialog and performances from the Voyager crew
+1 for great character interactions between Janeway & Seven
-0.5 for Ray Wise's lackluster performance
-1 for absurd revenge plot and associated contrivances
+2 for exploring the effects of Janeway's decision from Scorpion
-1 for making us wait for the Star Fleet message decryption for nothing except another Gilligan-in-Space spiel

Episode gets a -0.5 stars in my book. Call me picky, but Gilligan's Island barely worked as a serialized sitcom. Stop using its themes in Star Trek.
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Ben Franklin
Thu, Aug 18, 2016, 12:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Death Wish

2 stars from me. Good philosophical episode with some decent performances. I like the gratuitous appearance of Riker and DeLancie's performance is, as always, superb. However:

-1 (Canon violation) for the fact that I can hardly believe the Q would allow a human to determine the fate of one of their own.

-1 (basic series plot hole) for the fact that the Q could easily (and without moral issue) send Voyager back home and this should have been the immediate instinct for Janeway upon seeing any of the Q.

Frankly, I was taken aback by this episode. As soon as it was apparent that there was a Q in it, I discounted the episode's validity. The fact that the Q are in Voyager at all is insulting to the viewer's intelligence unless the writers were prepared to have Voyager return home early. But I always like a Q episode and [series-defining plot holes aside] the philosophical view in question was interesting.
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Ben Franklin
Sun, Mar 6, 2016, 7:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Yesterday's Enterprise

I'm not sure why people have a hard time with Guinan's ability to consciously transcend space-time and to have a glimpse of a parallel universe. The writers have consciously chosen to keep Guinan a mystery... a special character if you will... instead of giving her a proper backstory and character arc of her own. She is not a primary character, after all. The Q are able to do things that no one in the Trek universe can comprehend, yet we all love the Q episodes (most of them) and Q in general. The fact that Q and Guinan seem to have a very adversarial stance towards each other coupled with the fact that Q considers her to be "a very dangerous creature" tells me that Guinan simply has abilities that we, and the Enterprise crew, cannot readily comprehend.

I love this episode. We get a little more Tasha, we get some play with dimensions and time. We get some moral ambiguity. And we get some great performances. The one thing that always irked me is the fact that Guinan was on the alternate-universe Enterprise *at all*. What was a bartender doing on a warship? They didn't even have access to the replicators (eating rations etc), what use would they have for a bartender? I was in the Navy and you better believe if there was a civilian on our boat, it wasn't a bartender... more likely to be CIA or something like that. Guinan should not have been on board the alternate-universe Enterprise at all. The story could've moved forward with Picard and Data's usual deference to logic and logical thought. As some posters have mentioned previously, Picard had already alluded to the possibility that the presence of Enterprise-C could have messed up their time line. Data could've assuaged any moral dilemma that Picard was dealing with.

Again, I'd give this episode a solid 4 stars but I am definitely irked by the very presence of Guinan on a Federation warship during wartime when things are so bad that they have shut down replicators and are living on rations.
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Ben Franklin
Fri, Mar 4, 2016, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: A Matter of Perspective

This episode is one that could've been awesome but was made meh by the whole "rape is a perspective" thing.

Anyone defending the writing of this and saying that a person could alter their memory so badly that they could actually invent a rape inside their mind can be accurately labeled an imbecile. Go talk to a rape victim. Go speak with people who have escaped rape. You don't forget that shit. The tidal wave of fear, terror, and depression that follows such events can cripple some people for years. Others can recover significantly faster but no one can just conjure up an attempted rape in their mind and actually believe it unless they were HEAVILY under the influence of some very strong psychoactive drug.

You really have to do some mental gyrations to actual defend the idea that an attempted rape is a point of perspective. No way, jack. It is a direct insult to rape victims to even try arguing that point. Maybe Mrs. Apgar might have remembered Riker being a little overly forward in his comments and gestures towards her but to completely invent him trying to force fuck her is absolutely loony toons. The writers should've just left the rape bit out completely. It comes close to ruining the episode for me.

Luckily, the rest of the episode is solid enough for it to get a 3 star from me.
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Ben Franklin
Thu, Sep 24, 2015, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Indiscretion

I get where you're coming from, but at the end of the day, it's not her decision to make but she nearly made it for him. I have several friends that know me extremely well (one even better than my wife). If they ever pulled that kind of crap, I'd have given them what-for.

I don't even think she was doing it for the sake of her amusement and I actually agree with your headcanon. That still doesn't change the fact that she, in classic Jadzia Dax fashion, shoves herself into a place she doesn't belong.
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Ben Franklin
Thu, Sep 24, 2015, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Meridian

@Robert:

I said "effectively killed" meaning that Jadzia removing the Dax symbiont from the Trill rotation would eventually mean the symbiont's death when she dies.

And, yeah, I'm not a huge Dax fan. She just pisses me off. Especially in the later seasons when she's clearly flirting and getting all touchy with Lieutenant Atoa when she was supposed to be marrying Worf (not to mention impressing his future mother-in-law). God-forbid a guy acted that way even in this day and age, you'd never hear the end of it! But not Dax, oh no. Those 7 lifetimes have taught her to act in such a way.

Dax = thumbs down for me. Not Terry Farrell, though, she did a fine job with the crap she was dealt.
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Ben Franklin
Thu, Sep 24, 2015, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Invasive Procedures

@Darjan:

I agree 100%! Too many people review shows from the 90s and earlier expecting the same production quality as TV from the last 10 years. It's like someone reviewing a movie from 1970 and saying "the pacing is bad". lol
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Ben Franklin
Thu, Sep 24, 2015, 3:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Shattered Mirror

*suspend my disbelief for.
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Ben Franklin
Thu, Sep 24, 2015, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Shattered Mirror

The episode on its own is solid, entertaining, touching at points, and interesting given the mirror universe politics.

That being said, the mirror universe, itself, is a hard swallow for me. Even in TOS. The "butterfly effect" may be a bit exaggerated, but certainly a universe with THAT much different about it would produce entirely different people altogether. Space stations, tech advances, etc etc would be so entirely different. I guess that doesn't make good for using the same actors, though. I like the idea of a parallel universe (within the ST universe) but the idea that generations of families would still have children at the same exact points in time is just... a little much for me to my suspend disbelief for.
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Ben Franklin
Thu, Sep 24, 2015, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Muse

This episode was painful when it first aired, it was painful when I rewatched the series beginning to end in 2009, and it is still painful as I am rewatching the series again. I should have skipped it! I can't even put into proper words why I hate it. Jammer covers it well.

The Jake Sisko storyline was okay (muse who tortures artists). The execution was just plain bad, though. The acting was nothing to write home about but the writing was boring and stale.

I used to hate Lwaxana, then I grew to love her, but in the last few episodes over the course of her character I found her to be weak and whiny. This episode was just plain wierd. I guess it could be a bit amusing.

1/4 star.
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Ben Franklin
Thu, Sep 24, 2015, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Hard Time

A masterpiece of an episode.

People discussing the whole "reset button" trope became popular in the last 10-12 years since the internet blew up and a majority of TV dramas became really long movies with continuous story arcs. TV in the 90s and previous often only partially had story arcs (if they had them at all) and would focus on the arcs only briefly. Thus, TV writers and producers were used to having the characters remain generally the same over the course of the show's run.

I write off most people complaining about "reset button" because they are generally tainted by modern TV story arcs and production/writing techniques. Back in the 90's, the term "reset button" would generally be unknown.

And why is everyone going ape-s**t over Craig Wasson? Sure his performance was good, but what's with all the genuflecting?
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Ben Franklin
Thu, Sep 24, 2015, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Rules of Engagement

Oh.. and it's total BS that O'Brien says he WOULDN'T fire on the decloaking ship. Of course he would! They were in the middle of a firefight with cloaking and uncloaking ships! Properly written for his character, if O'Brien is asked "During a firefight with cloaking ships, a tachyon surge in front of you is closing in, do you fire?" the answer is YES OF COURSE!

This just adds to my ire towards this episode. And I usually love Klingon episodes...
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Ben Franklin
Thu, Sep 24, 2015, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Rules of Engagement

@Yanks:

No, they weren't convicting Worf in a Starfleet court, they were in an extradition hearing which means the exact opposite of what you are saying. The actual court case would be in a Klingon court, therefore, that is where the "conviction" would take place. So Teejay's original point is actually quite correct.

The whole episode is dampened by the fact that it should never really have taken place at all. First of all, the Federation & Klingons currently have no diplomatic relations (previously mentioned "The Way of the Warrior"). Second, there is absolutely no precedent for Starfleet to consider collateral damage during a battle to be indictable as murder. Thirdly, the fact that the Klingons would try to bring someone to trial for collateral damage is hugely laughable! This isn't "innocent schools getting bombed" collateral damage, they're in the middle of nowhere in space FFS!

To complete my rant about this episode, there really isn't any character development throughout the episode since Worf is still the honorable, honest, Starfleet-rooted Klingon he's always been. It's just been proven in an unnecessary extradition hearing. However, I love Klingons and the good direction from Burton and performance from Canada saves this tragedy of an episode.

2/4 from me.
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Ben Franklin
Wed, Sep 23, 2015, 9:06am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Sword of Kahless

I'm not sure how anyone who has seen TNG and episodes of DS9 with Worf could ever believe that he could do something so dishonorable as to try to trick a Dahar master to falling to his death. I'm completely blown away that anyone would actually LIKE the idea that the sword lacked any kind of special power over the mind (like the One Ring as another poster mentioned).

Vylora mentioned that the Dahar master insulted Worf's honor and that (combined with some psychological effect of having the sword) would be enough for him to completely turn on over 7 years of character development. Absolutely RIDICULOUS. A dishonorable murder (tricking the Dahar master to fall off the cliff) is, in and of itself, a total betrayal of the Worf character no matter how much "dishonor" the Dahar master committed. If it was really that bad, Worf would have challenged him immediately upon being dishonored (as seen many times throughout his character's existence).

Furthermore, it is clear that Worf's reasoning is much more along the lines of a messiah complex than of being dishonored and over-revering the sword. The fact that both the Dahar master AND Worf both have the same exact Christ-complex upon obtaining the sword nearly proves the fact that the sword has some sort of direct "magical" effect on its Klingon possessors.

I'm sorry, but if you really think that 7 years of character development could be suddenly upended in half of an episode WITHOUT any real external influence is a little naive. Additionally, (SPOILER ALERT) let's visit further into the series where Worf has several opportunities to seize power in the Klingon empire and DOES NOT. This is because he doesn't really have any political ambitions and is primarily motivated by a personal code of honor. A code that this episode clearly violates in a very direct and obvious way.

I can usually excuse consistency violations of the Trek universe, but after growing with Worf's character for 7 years, this kind of infraction is near inexcusable. I'll give an extra 1/2 star for decent action sequences and the fact that I enjoy Klingon lore.

1.5 stars
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Ben Franklin
Tue, Sep 22, 2015, 2:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Indiscretion

For me, the biggest annoyance of this episode was Dax butting her way into Sisko and Cassidy's relationship. When Dax jumped in and suggested Cassidy move to the station, her smirk betrays the fact that she was doing this specifically because of her conversation with Sisko about their relationship. How obnoxious. It was probably the turning point for me regarding Dax. At first I just didn't really have a feel for Dax but after this little move, I just have a dislike for her character.

The rest of the episode was pretty good (except for the thorn scene). Whether or not it was meant to be comedic, it just didn't jive. The laughter seemed disingenuous which is rare for Visitor and Alaimo. Gotta agree with Jammer, though, in that the confrontation between Kira and Dukat wasn't really as powerful as the writers intended it to be.

2.5 stars is probably a fair judgement. But I'll admit Dax's stupid little relationship manipulation was worse than the rest of the issues lol.
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Ben Franklin
Fri, Sep 18, 2015, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Emergence

"The concept of the ship's computer being so complex as to become alive is not interesting on any level. Our brains are made to be alive. Ships' computers are not."

Won't Jovet be kicking himself when Skynet becomes sentient in computers that are 300 years older than Enterprise-D's computer :)

My Rating 2. Jammer basically said it all, but I do like an ensemble episode. Also, I never can be too hard on TNG... the crew is like a second family to me lol.
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Ben Franklin
Thu, Sep 17, 2015, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Meridian

* sorry, -2 for violating ST universe
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Ben Franklin
Thu, Sep 17, 2015, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Meridian

-1 star because Dax episode
-1 star because lame/uninspired Trek "romance" main plot
-1 star because of violating ST universe understood truths (Dax symbiont effectively killed for a rushed/teenage-style romance)
-1 star because of stale score and non-emotive acting
+1 star because of Dax/Sisko scene
+1 star because of halfway decent side-plot with Quark

1 star episode.
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Ben Franklin
Wed, Sep 16, 2015, 1:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Jem'Hadar

I, too, liked this episode a great deal especially when I first saw it. It was a great introduction to the Dominion and Jem'Hadar. However, there are several gripes I had upon seeing the episode after watching the rest of the DS9 series (where the Dominion's abilities aren't so blown out of proportion).

Upon subsequent viewings, I found myself disappointed in the over-exaggeration of the Jem'Hadar's abilities. The Dominion clearly have much bigger and more powerful ships (as displayed many times in future episodes), however, a Galaxy class starship isn't even able to do damage to a couple of scout-class Jem'Hadar ships before being completely destroyed. Additionally, a Jem'Hadar was able to walk through a containment field after beaming through Federation shields. Both of these acts were performed without even blinking an eye. In other words, the Dominion is basically impossible to stop given current Federation technology and abilities. If this kind of overpowering technology were applied equally across subsequent seasons, there would never have been a long drawn out war... there would have been a short-lived slaughter.

I would rather have seen the Galaxy class ship horribly damaged than fully destroyed or at least able to damage ONE of the Jem'Hadar scout-class ships. Perhaps if a larger Dominion ship were involved in the battle, the complete destruction of the Galaxy-class ship without dealing any damage wouldn't have seemed so ridiculous. Yeah, yeah, it was really emotive watching a ship that looks like the Enterprise being destroyed so easily. But I'm not a fan of contriving emotional response while violating the continuity of the universe the story is set in.

But, once again, beyond those hyper-fan nitpicks, the episode is a great intro to the Dominion/Jem'Hadar.

First viewing 3.5/4 stars
Subsequent viewing 3/4 stars
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Ben Franklin
Mon, Sep 14, 2015, 8:30am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Invasive Procedures

The episode was pretty solid ala Jammer's review. That being said, I'm really tired of these contrived situations with the senior staff being held hostage (this happens in many Star Trek episodes across series). In this episode, despite Mareel's fighting experience only being gained from being "in a bad situation", she's able to easily overcome Kira who spent most of her life fighting in a resistance cell against the Cardassians and who has already shown her superior abilities in hand-to-hand combat. This nearly ruined the episode for me. I would have preferred they skipped this little attempt at physical resistance rather than show Kira getting her ass handed to her by some random chick who was "in a bad situation".

2/4 for me for the contrivances. The 2 stars are awarded for good performances and a generally good story line. The contrivances, however, are a little too much for me to give a 3rd star. Particularly for having to watch Kira (my fav character) get whooped up by some floozy in order to maintain the story line.
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Ben Franklin
Tue, Sep 8, 2015, 8:19am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Emissary

I love this series and thought the first episode was a perfect introduction to it. That being said, is it not a glaring plot hole that the Cardassians never seemed to stumble upon the wormhole before this point? It could be explained in-universe that Sisko was required in order to unlock the wormhole but this is never outlined in universe.

Despite this unanswered question, I love this episode and this series in general. It's a great juxtaposition from the rest of Gene Roddenberry's near-Utopia as presented in the predecessor series.
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