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Bob Ray
Mon, May 18, 2020, 10:55am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Endgame

C'mon, you missed the best line.

Doctor - Be'lanna

"I hope you don't intend to kiss your baby with that mouth!"
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CuriousBob
Thu, Apr 9, 2020, 6:53am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@ Andy's Friend

I am curious, what episode of Space: 1999 do you consider as among the best episodes of science-fiction ever made? I watched its original run dubbed in French when I was around 10 years old.
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Dr. Bob
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 10:27am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

While Satie was near the end of her diatribe, It bothered me that admiral Henry just walked out of the room instead of ending the hearing right then!
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bobbington mcbob
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

This was the one where I checked out. I loved older star trek because of the way it made me feel. Awe, wonder, "what if" ... episodes like "Measure of A Man" brought both tears and "woah I never thought of it that way" in equal measure (pardon the pun). DS9, TNG and TOS, even ENT, had plenty of such moments, and that's why I could happily sit through seasons and seasons despite the occasional clanger / ferengi / mirror-universe-but-from-ENT / Troi or Tasha or T'Pol get violated or perved on again / Sisko is Jesus episode.

But disco and now Picard have none of this at all, they just feel like standard sci-fi plots hung around a scaffolding of familiar sets and Federation badges, with vacuous characters introduced alongside beloved old regulars, implying we should somehow feel the same about the new guys. I am just bored. Kurtzman's signature on everything - the unearned familiarity, the soap opera, the lack of meaningful character development, the identity politics that would be fine if it wasn't so clumsy - is just the final shit icing on the cake.

Enough. Seth MacFarlane, please buy the rights. Star Trek needs you.
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Bob Bobness
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Rules of Acquisition

@William B
I'm five years late to the party, but I just want to express my appreciation for your excellent analysis of what is possibly my favourite episode in -- obviously (I mean, let's get real) -- the best Star Trek. And before all y'all get your knickers in a twist, that's *favourite* episode, not greatest (similarly, my favourite Buffy is Beer Bad).

The only significant refinement to your argument that I would suggest is that frailty and -- from the point of view of the writers -- vulnerability play an even bigger role in how the characters behave than you give credit for.

Let's go down the list:

Odo -- Odo's self-image is essentially as the uncorruptible lawman, but he tends to break his own self-defined character pretty easily if it's Kira or -- as it turns out here -- family. And his comment about his imaginary brother is a BFD, because it's that part of him that's going to be tested to the limit. I draw a straight line from this first spur-of-the-moment, possibly-not-even-previously-considered notion of family by Odo to his finest moment (and I'd say *the* most powerful moment) in the entire series, in The Die Is Cast): "I want to go home."

Inglatu/Zyree -- Why doesn't Inglatu just try to set himself up as a go-between and skim off the middle? Why does Zyree have to go behind the scenes to get a one-time score, instead of getting in on the action on a permanent basis? Answer: the Dosi aren't just serious about profit like the Ferengi, they're also serious about their entrenched gender bias. Inglatu lets his toxic masculinity get in the way of his capitalism. He's too damn proud to be the middle man! He's got to be the big man.


Quark -- Why does Quark kiss Pel? Please. Quark is seriously sex-deprived. He is already getting turned on by her way early in the episode (I'm betting his sense of smell is telling him things the rest of him doesn't want to hear). And while he doesn't appear to be particularly bothered by the *idea* of homosexuality, he is still VERY uncomfortable when supposedly-male Pel comes on to him. Why?

He's straight, that's all. If you want a really good analogue to this episode, it's Black Adder II: Bells (and yes, @Diamond Dave, you're damned right that DS9 is Shakespearean). And I suspect that -- just like in England -- it's common knowledge on Ferenginar that half the elite is on the down-low. What else do you expect is gonna happen if you deprive the whole female population of education?


Pel -- One of the absolute best characters to only appear once. If she were just a 2-D shoulder-padded super-capitalist, her once-in-a-generation business acumen would be the same sort of facile hand-waving that makes (all that I could stomach of) Voyager and most of Pepsi Generation so unwatchable. No, the reason she is so impressive is that she is totally believable. So strong, so determined, so amazingly talented, and consequently so completely isolated. She knows what she wants, and crucially, it's not really that much -- a thriving business, and a sexual partner that she can respect.

The scene with the Grand Nagus is only unrealistic if you expect her to have limitless ambition. She is in a very good position to infiltrate his circle and make some serious latinum. But that would mean a hell of a lot more stress, and much more dangerous consequences if she is exposed: palace intrigues, blackmail opportunities, and -- remember, this stuff is filmed in LA -- sexual exploitation.

That's too much. That's not what she's after. She just wants a normal middle-class existence like your average Joe Ferengi. And she came to DS9 in the first place because there was a business that would hire Ferengis, but not so many of them that she'd have to spend all her energy worrying about being outed. Unfortunately for her, Odo's vigilance has already impelled Quark to force Nog to take that locksmithing course.

So she gets there and she gets hot for Quark. She calls it love, but is it? Maybe, maybe not. But then, something extraordinary happens at the Dosi market: Quark dumps the vat of wine.

***
Think about it. Under normal circumstances, that would be laughably out of character. Quark just does not have the stones for that sort of thing. But what if this isn't just a throwaway episode to slyly introduce the Dominion, but a real labour of love, meticulously- and brilliantly-written. I said Rules wasn't the greatest; I didn't say that it wasn't great.
***

Quark is used to living on the fringes, and being denigrated for not being man enough, in a commercial sense by his own people, and otherwise for lack of height. Pel gives him a shot of confidence, and also models really effective -- frankly, ballsy -- negotiating technique. And Quark picks up on it! After being embarrassingly obsequious to Zek, and needing Pel to rescue him every damn time, he handles the (massive, violent) Dosi like a pro. He is a total badass.

And I don't think that it's just that he's learning from Pel, and encouraged by her confidence in him. I think he's got that new relationship energy going. He might not know what's happening to him, but his nose does. And it's not a one-off either. When her gets back to DS9, he handles Zek easily. Twice.

But getting back to Pel:

How encouraging must this all be? Maybe it was a crush at first, but now it's an intoxicating mix of hormones, respect and opportunism (she is still Ferengi). If she can seduce him before they get back to DS9, she's won. In fact, she has hit the jackpot: just the right amount more than exactly what she wanted, with the unexpected bonus being that her partner is the shit, and she *makes* him the shit.

That's about as much as anyone could or should ask from life.

And then it doesn't work out. Thankfully, this *isn't* Shakespeare, so there aren't any corpses. But how should she proceed? Back to nudity and subservience? No effing way. Become Zek's grand vizier? Like I said above, a very bad move, and Pel has already shown that she just doesn't make those. What's left? Exile. She's already gone to the back of beyond by coming to DS9, and that wasn't far enough. Now she'll have to go further.

Is she pissed? Damn right she's pissed. But she is also in a position that she will never be in again. She's got personal access to the Grand Nagus (and it may be that she has already gamed out exactly what happens; remember, she's good at this). So she makes a scene, because it is the best opportunity that she is ever likely to have to influence Ferengi politics and culture. She's not going to see the change, but she just might plant that little seed, that will one day be the change.

Now maybe if she were a different person, she would have taken a different path. Gotten married, exerted indirect influence, maybe even found herself recruited into a crypto-feminist cell. But she isn't. She is an adventurer, an intrepid.

Good on her.


Zek: Unlike the people above, the Grand Nagus is completely secure in his position. When he puts the moves on Kira, he probably rates his chances at an optimistic 1%. But what's the downside? It doesn't work, he gets in a pinch for fun, but he knows exactly how far to push his luck -- he is the Nagus for a reason.

But his last line, that's different. It's not just funny because Wallace Shawn has a silly voice. He's really shocked, and it's that moment where he is both a ludicrous old letch and the supreme leader of his people that let's us glimpse the profound wrongness and disconnect that lurks at the heart of all the best jokes.

His job isn't just to be the richest Ferengi. The Nagus must also be the paragon of Ferengi virtue. Pel strikes at the heart of his identity, both personally and as head of state. It's a moment he is going to remember, one way or the other. I think that if Quark wasn't standing right there, Pel would be smirking with satisfaction once Zek left the room.

As it is, she just has to be content with mercilessly lifting Quark's latinum, and
YES YOU BET YOUR SWEET BOOTS THAT'S A DOUBLE-ENTENDRE.

***

There is only one character who really doesn't have these issues, and that's Dax. And since she is not susceptible to the main driver of the whole damn episode, that means that she can stand outside it all, and see what's going on. To go back to the Shakespeare comparison, she is the herald, and -- solidly in that tradition -- she is given the last word: "Nice try, Quark, but I know you better than that."

So, to conclude:
If you look at the characters' weaknesses, you end up further elucidating the writers' stance on the corrosive effects of societal gender imparity. Neat, huh?

+++++

Finally, a side point to the general viewership round these parts: quit your hating on the Dosi. Inglatu and Zyee are awesome, in the true DS9 way. Why do we all like Weyoun ? It's not just that he's funny, it's that he's indestructibly, looney-tune-cartoony funny ("My, that really is toxic!").


Booyah.
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Bob
Tue, Feb 18, 2020, 5:43am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Empok Nor

If it had just been the 'Cardies' in this episode it wouldn't have been up to much, but like everyone else here I feel Garak's presence definately elevated the episode, and ends up enjoyable because of his performance.

One thing always annoyed me about this ep though.. no external communications and no shuttlecraft.. How long did it actually take for them to get off the station?
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bobbington mcbob
Sun, Nov 24, 2019, 12:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Dear Doctor

One word: Amazing
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bobbington mcbob
Sun, Nov 24, 2019, 11:49am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Silent Enemy

This is my second run through of ENT and I have to say I am finding it a real blast so far. Plenty of first contact scenes to give me trek tingles, loads of cute and funny moments, likeable characters and some pretty meaningful threats.

Being British I could relate a lot to Malcolm in this one. Though my family are nowhere near as cold fish as Malcolm's folks, I have known a good many brits who are like that from the upper classes.

I really enjoy seeing the development of the tech and the slow morph into TOS. The sets are gorgeous and as an engineer I like to just pause the action and check out the gauges and screens, which feel so much more interesting than LCARS.

Don't know if anyone noticed, but just after the scary alien vessel started venting drive plasma and scuttled off.... they played the Deep Space Nine theme! SUPER TINGLES!
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Dr Bob
Thu, Nov 21, 2019, 8:58am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: The Fight

Yes, a modern day Twilight Zone episode similar to the Lee Marvin epi about the boxing robot. I stand with those who enjoyed a good Chakotay storyline. Always a pleasure to see “my favorite Martian “ Ray Walton in a Star Trek episode!
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Bobbington Mc Bob
Sat, Oct 26, 2019, 12:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Immunity Syndrome

With episodes like this in existence, why does everyone always say that Roddenberry never allowed conflict between the crew? If Spock were human McCoy would just about have pushed him to a fist fight. The spock / mccoy dynamic seems to be becoming more antagonistic every episode. I like it, but it doesn't fit with the dogma at all
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Bobbington Mc Bob
Wed, Oct 23, 2019, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: A Piece of the Action

A lot of TOS is a real chore to watch, and sometimes it seems like its formidable reputation was created on the back of a handful of standout episodes. This outing does little to change my mind about that. About the only good thing to come from "A Piece of The Action" is the inclusion some 40 years later of Vic in DS9, leading to the incredible "Its Only a Paper Moon". After the Scooby Doo / TOS crossover that came before this one, I am struggling to keep up my enthusiasm.
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Bobbington Mc Bob
Sat, Oct 12, 2019, 11:33am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Friday's Child

Crappy episode but loved Spock's line at the end
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Bobbington Mc Bob
Sun, Oct 6, 2019, 12:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Metamorphosis

Cochrane: "What? That alien thing loves me? Gross. Screw that"

Companion: "Hey its ok, I possessed the body of a woman whose deterioration I was primarily responsible for, who found you repulsive and immoral but was hot, a bit lonely and on the verge of death, so now we can bone forever"

Cochrane: "Cool Imma plant a fig tree"

Senior crew: "Oh lol"
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Bobbington Mc Bob
Sat, Oct 5, 2019, 11:29am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Apple

Kirk: "Formation L"

* everyone forms a line *

Formation "Line" is entered into Star Trek canon
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Bobbington Mc Bob
Sat, Oct 5, 2019, 11:18am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Changeling

Ah the original Star Trek "Unrecoverable change, remedied by next week" reset episode. This must surely have been the model for the entire series run of Voyager :D

I liked this one, the sense of foreboding from Nomad felt very real, and I could see the seeds for V-ger in this too. Watching TOS for the first time having seen everything that came after first can be a really fun exercise in deja-vu like a-ha moments.
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Bobbington Mc Bob
Sat, Oct 5, 2019, 5:27am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Who Mourns for Adonais?

I've not much to add that hasnt already been said, other than man I really hate the sound design of TOS. "Drama = ear damaging screeching sound effects and booming tubas and xylophones". Depressing to see the recycled "lady in soft focus immediately abandons her principles because hot powerful man has his shirt off a bit" plotline from the Khan episode.
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Bobbington Mc Bob
Wed, Sep 25, 2019, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Alternative Factor

Agree with all the criticisms above. The scenery chewing acting from Lazarus was as headache-inducing as the constant ear splitting sound effects and music. The long-lived sci-fi plot device of intelligent characters doing stupid things to make plot happen seems to have been invented here. He's the most dangerous man in the universe and 1701 is the only ship within hundreds of light years specifically tasked with stopping him. But Bones is just "IDGAF where he is captain, I'm from Texas" and dudes in the bar grin at him inanely like its a rough pub in Ireland where you expect injured people with torn clothes to just wander about whilst in the most severe alert condition Starfleet ships have. Then there's the "fight" scenes, which are a huge step back from previous episodes.

When Lazarus made his plummet off the cliff, I prayed he was dead so we didn't have to see any more of what has to be the worst acting by a supporting cast member in Trek. Then, still wandering about the ship rather than being in the brig where by now he absolutely should be, we have a fire in not-engineering affecting two characters we give zero shits about. Presumably Scotty was attending a warp drive symposium during the gravest threat the universe has ever known. Everyone just abandons any semblance of intelligence from this point on to make the ending happen.

KIRK: (fighting mad Lazarus) "Stand back!"
Redshirts: * nowhere near Kirk, do not move at all *
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Dr Bob
Mon, Sep 23, 2019, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Wounded

Some have commented that O’Brien was demoted. This was probably correct since a tactical officer had to be at least an ensign.
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Bobbington Mc Bob
Thu, Sep 19, 2019, 7:46am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Spock's Brain

I am fascinated with the idea of being one of those star trek hipsters that tries to argue that dreadful episodes are actually good for reasons you all missed, but with material this bad everyone would be able to tell I was lying to myself. This is TOS' equivalent of TNG "Conspiracy", an episode so off kilter that it feels like its being shuttled in from another, inferior, sci-fi show. Maybe they accidentally switched the scripts between Lost In Space for this one. Was there originally a character called Dr Zachary Smith?
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Bobbington Mc Bob
Thu, Sep 19, 2019, 6:29am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: A Taste of Armageddon

I honestly thought General Order 24 was going to be revealed to be "Keep hallways clear of mop buckets at all times to avoid trip hazards" - a huge Kirkian bluff. Turns out Starfleet really does have an Armageddon Order.

Nice episode, I liked the tone of the acting, which was a lot more measured than some of the hamminess of "Court Martial". You can feel star trek gradually becoming Star Trek, and laying the foundation for hundreds of future episodes of TNG, DS9 and siblings. Not VOY though, whose quality control procedure was lifted directly from the making of "Spock's Brain".

Just kidding. Well, only a bit.
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Bobbington Mc Bob
Wed, Sep 18, 2019, 4:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: A Taste of Armageddon

DEPLOY THE SILLY HATS
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Bobbington Mc Bob
Wed, Sep 11, 2019, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Arena

Though not the best episode, its main conceit that humans are "promising" and will evolve into something wonderful is one that was recycled heavily throughout TNG
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Bobbington Mc Bob
Sun, Aug 18, 2019, 3:48am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

Dr Bashir to Ops, medical emergency: Bobbington McBob has sustained a serious case netflix binge watch end-mourning. 300 ml of tarkalian tea, stat
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Bobbington Mc Bob
Mon, Aug 12, 2019, 5:13am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Chimera

"Mine's bigger"

Best line of the episode. Good old General Laastok :)
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Bobbington Mc Bob
Thu, Aug 8, 2019, 3:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: The Siege of AR-558

Clever use of the Ferenghi wail scream. Usually its for something daft like an ear infection, but this time, well Nog just lost his leg. That initial rush of cringe, followed by "hang on, that really means something this time".
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