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Chris Q
Thu, Sep 13, 2018, 9:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

"If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that bad news invariably comes in the middle of the night." So, so true.
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Chris P
Thu, Sep 13, 2018, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Collective

That 1 / 44,437th number is an actual calculation and not made up. Probably worth pointing out since the size disparity is hard to believe.
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Chris P
Thu, Sep 13, 2018, 3:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: The Haunting of Deck Twelve

I enjoy the episodes whose plot spans the entire ship. It's a good and important opportunity for the directors to remind us of how big Starfleet's ships are. I was reminded of TNG's 'Starship Mine'.

Speaking of big ships, I thought it was interesting that Neelix noted the creature dwelling in an "isolated section of deck 12". A subtle reminder that it a vast enough vessel that there are entire portions of decks that none of the ~144 crew members have use for. Imagine being the person with the quarters closest to this dead zone and learning that they're housing an alien that just tried to kill you....somewhere in the dark. That's scarier than Neelix's story.

I found the episode to be very charming. A nice mix of characters doing what they do best during another horrifying Lovecraftian space incident.

The one plot issue was Voyager not detecting the life form right after leaving the nebula. They have sensors that can detect gravimetric/electromagnetic data across light years but we're to believe that they can't detect it on their hull and crawling around within their walls? Oh well. It's a sign that I enjoyed an episode when I'm interested enough that the lazy reality distortion used to set up the plot is cloaked behind something good.
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Chris P
Fri, Sep 7, 2018, 12:21am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Collective

To the conversation about defanging the borg I want to add the absolutely insane dialogue sequence from the beginning of the episode:

__________________________________________
"Their ion trail ends directly ahead."

"I'm detecting another vessel, bearing 30 mark 112. It's a borg cube."

"Red Alert. Alter course to intercept."
__________________________________________


So this is what the borg have become. The captain of a technologically inferior ship 1/44737th the volume of a cube just says those words. How was there nobody involved in the production to prevent this script from airing in this state?
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Chris P
Mon, Sep 3, 2018, 8:20am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Memorial

Voyager's traumatized crewman are forced to repair the object that raped their minds. I couldn't believe that that specific group was chosen by Janeway: Not only do you passionately wish it destroyed, but now you must come down to repair it.

So this technology was quickly deciphered. Isn't this one of the more dangerous WMDs we ever see in Voyager, behind only the Omega Particle and the Malon dump truck? The Delta quadrant is rife with aggressive aliens and I cannot believe that this device was operating after sitting unguarded.

If I were an ambitious captain from a morally flexible fledgling race I would scoop up this weapon of mind control and formulate explicitly nefarious ways to use it. This is an amazing blackmail weapon: put it into a fast ship and fly by (RACE)'s colony at full speed. 40,000 people are now eating each other because they're now cannibals. Skype the (RACE) homeworld and ask if they can spare, perhaps, all of the technology and a small fleet of ships. And don't come near me with your fleet because I'll make your crews think they're territorial wolverines.

So Janeway has to answer not just for refusing to destroy it - and not just for repowering it to inflict its misery upon the next toddler transport ship that flies by (after the Federation-grade buoy inevitably fails...think of how fragile their shuttlecraft are) - but for leaving one of the most dangerous pieces of technology she has ever encountered out for any pirate to scoop up.

Only my mindfulness meditations and my realization that this is a puppet show not worth getting immersed into prevent me from raging at this episode like I did in past viewings. Now it's just a well-made curiosity: a 3 star episode with 0 star morality, reprehensible enough to gross out even pathologically Deontological Trek fans.
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Chris P
Sat, Sep 1, 2018, 9:26am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Rules of Acquisition

Loki: this isn't a name calling forum. I'd imagine behavior like this ultimately makes Jammer's life more difficult if he has to start worrying about moderating the comments. Have more respect for yourself and others while here.

This is a fairly political episode and it should not be surprising that people are discussing political issues.
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Chris P
Fri, Aug 31, 2018, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Virtuoso

I enjoyed these aliens because they're actually alien. I like to ask: "Would I be able to live amongst those people?" 99% of the time the answer is yes because the Voyager aliens are just humans, sometimes with a few attributes turned up and a few turned down, often meaner than average, but with human attributes. These people were legitimately horrifying in a delightful way. They seem to have almost no empathy. They think in a different way. They have no interest in the things that would interest me to the point that I don't think they'd even notice a beautiful camp fire or the joy of making someone smile. I could not live amongst these people. I would be truly alone and that makes them scary.

The wooden acting by Tincoo and some other Qomar worked as storytelling shorthand for how weird these people are. We knew that they weren't empathetic but, through their awkward acting, we also knew that they were *weird as hell* and we could assume that this extended into other areas that the episode did not explore. Actual aliens. On Voyager!

I recommend watching Voyager without attempting to immerse yourself. Don't take the stories or science seriously. Turn your brain off and the show works pretty well with and those aforementioned storytelling cheats float by without impacting your brain shields.

No, the doctor would not want to leave Voyager. And no, Janeway would not allow it. If you try to take these characters seriously as part of a serial then you're going to be miserable. They are puppets and this week's puppet story is another "what if..." As with most Voyager episodes, it's expendable. I'm on my third Voyager viewing and this time I'm trying not to take continuity seriously. I say enjoy the goofiness and story for their own sake.

The episode kind of brushed up against the grass is greener principle. Do we appreciate what we have? Do we notice what we have? What could make us abandon it? For the doctor, it seems to be adoration.
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Chris P
Mon, Aug 27, 2018, 5:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Dragon's Teeth

Voyager too often feels like a show written by people telling a story that will be filmed, edited, and broadcasted.

"We need C to happen. Figure out A and B and I don't care how ya do it."

I appreciate episodes where I don't sense cynical production. This is a season 6 favorite of mine. I felt like I was watching a real crew deal with a real situation rooted in real history and I was immersed for 35+ minutes. There is a mythology behind the alien races and the myths have roots. Both alien races have reasons for their behavior. Voyager's people come off as true: beneficent intent, honest mistakes, and wise precautions.

The ending becomes uncomfortably contrived but I wonder if it contrasts so harshly with the rest of the episode that it seems worse than usual. We got 35 minutes of fairly believable storytelling in a Voyager episode. This is cause for festivities. 3.5* for being interesting. I even enjoyed the warts.
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Chris P
Fri, Aug 24, 2018, 9:55am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: 11:59

My three sins of Star Trek:

1.) Boring
2.) Contrived
3.) Irrelevant
...actually there's a fourth sin:
4.) Midwest in winter. There are few things so depressing.

This episode seems to enthusiastically commit all three (four) sins with the knobs turned way up. I've watched every episode of Star Trek and might say that this is as bad as it ever got. At least the cheesy holodeck episodes have interesting sets and goofy actors. At least 'Maneuvers' has good special effects and acting. At least the babe episodes have hot babes and take place on the actual ship. I'm off to memory alpha to read the behind the scenes about the production, curious to learn how this happened.
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Chris P
Tue, Aug 21, 2018, 12:26am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Bride of Chaotica!

This episode is fun as part of a binge session but was kind of brutal back in 2000 when I sat down, hungry for sci-fi at 11:00 PM, to watch the nightly CBS Star Trek episode. Perhaps that's where that 2009-2012 anger was coming from. It seems that people lightened up on this episode once Star Trek began streaming online.

Very little sympathy for the aliens. The only victim was the one who got shot during the initial interrogation. Chaotica explicitly told the pair that he believed they had invaded his planet and he wondered if they were alone or part of an invading army. The alien stated that contact should be terminated. But after the first alien was killed, an invasion commenced. Chaotica was proven right.

"You have killed 53 of my people (...who were invading your territory, intent to kill you, revenge in their photonic hearts)." The purest vintage of dipshits, these aliens. Their only danger was when they chose to invade someone else's territory and fly in front of the death ray. Hard to mourn. I think the Voyager crew realized this and decided to enjoy themselves, dragging out their scenes. Why cry over moths in a bug zapper when the party is so much fun?

Wild power move by Janeway to put her hands on Neelix and bark "COFFEE. BLACK." eight inches from his face and make him use the replicator for her. The writers wrote such a wonderfully insane, unstable, and bipolar character.

Harry ducking under the robot's arm as it clumsily turned to walk across the room was hilarious.
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Chris P
Mon, Aug 20, 2018, 5:29am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Counterpoint

I wonder if the conflict proves that the bad guys were actually the heroes in this episode. Were these telepaths so powerful that they hijacked Voyager without its crew even noticing and used them to infiltrate Devore territory? There is a line in the episode that says that the Devore patrolmen have years of practice learning to resist telepaths.

The Devore are what a race might need to become if people who looked exactly like regular people had mind powers and an intent to use them. If that conflict escalated far enough then, at the end, either the telepaths or the normals would be hunting down the last few...and for very different reasons.

We're kind of indoctrinated by Star Trek to believe that telepaths are beneficent but I can't help but think of the Psi Corps from Babylon 5 as a route that telepaths could take. What if some of the telepaths in this episode were calling normal people "mundanes" and intent on ruling over them just a few years prior? What if this group of refugees are actually infiltrators intent on gaining access to civilian population centers and turning them?
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Chris P
Sat, Aug 18, 2018, 10:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

If this was a long-suffering crewman whose body was falling apart it would be a much more interesting debate but this is a healthy and important member of the crew who, in the previous episode, revealed suicidal depression. Pierced, penetrated, and underneath an alien organism flooding her body with chemicals was not the time to have a debate about suicide or right to treatment. Is there ever a better time to say "You are not your normal self" than this?
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Chris P
Sat, Aug 18, 2018, 9:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

@Chrome

I thought about preemptively addressing the Maquis angle but hoped that nobody would deign to use it. The crew of the USS Voyager operate as a Starfleet crew, with Maquis promoted to positions of authority. And it's safe to assume that Starfleet crew are not allowed to commit suicide due to the mutual reliance they have on one-another. A crewman's right to deny treatment ends when it puts other lives at risk. Military law and rules are different from civilian law and rules because civilian morality doesn't work in a military context.
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Chris P
Sat, Aug 18, 2018, 12:39am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

"If B'elanna's rights can just be ordered away so simply, what's going to stop the next captain from doing the same thing?"
______________________________________________

Perhaps there's an analogy to throwing in the towel in combat sports. The rule says that the combatants will battle until the referee deems the bout over but, sometimes, the referees allow things to go too far and allow excessive damage. At that point a cornerman can get their fighter disqualified by throwing something into the ring/cage. Usually a towel.

In a similar manner, assume that any Starfleet officer serving aboard a vessel to abides by their captain's medical decisions but, if the guilt of survival is too much, they can, at a later date, choose to disqualify themself with a phaser. Until then they are part of a group and responsible to their crewmates and officers with whom they share a profoundly powerful mutual agreement of cooperation and survival.
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Chris P
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Timeless

Rahul nails it: the look and feel of this episode sets it above most of the others. The visual production and the dynamic nature of the story allowed people to overlook the incredible cavalcade of plot problems. This is Threshold/Maneuvers level writing in that regard.

3 stars. There's a perfect episode here from the everybody except the writers, whose story badly needed a rewrite to smooth out the bumps: there's a massive list of contrivances, plot holes, and unusual behavior from the characters.
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Chris P
Mon, Aug 13, 2018, 7:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Unforgettable

I found the Ramurans to be a very interesting race. They should have been portrayed not as conventional humanoids but more as a prey species whose evolutionary pressures turned them into something very unique in the galaxy. Sort of like the creature that Geordi morphed into. It's hard to imagine why a human-like, predator race would develop these abilities.

Regarding their insular policies: I can think of a few reasons why it is wise to prevent people from leaving. The obvious reason is that they do not want other races to be aware of them. They have tempting technology and some tech-hungry cybernetic neighbors.

Another, more interesting reason, is that they do not want to cause harm to others. Think of what Kellin's presence means to the people she is around: they forget everything about her and, very likely, everything they were doing while in her presence. That's akin to being in a coma or being so concussed that portions of those days are simply gone. Such a species may very wisely recognize the invasive nature of their abilities and somberly seclude themselves to an isolated existence. It must be a heavy thing to cause temporary brain damage to everybody just by their presence, not just for the guilt but for the isolation.
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Chris P
Sun, Aug 12, 2018, 3:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Retrospect

Since my comment 4 1/2 years ago I've had a family member falsely accused. When reading the debate between then and now - and the reports from people who know someone falsely accused - it's sad to say that I'm now part of the that group.

I still don't believe that this episode is about specifically about rape though. It's about repressed memories and how the system can be used by opportunists who have motives other than justice to convince people that something that didn't happen happened. I suppose false rape allegation fall under that umbrella but let's not lose the initial message about the larger problem, lest we forget history.

In my personal case, there was an overzealous, young district attorney just shotgunning accusations throughout our community hoping for some to stick. Sucks for the people who, in the eyes of the community, were perfect family men Tuesday and potential criminals Wednesday (fortunately for my family member nobody believes it so he is not suffering the usual social ostracization). Our society needs to talk about removing the incentive for parties to play this game with peoples' lives: mainly career advancement on behalf of the "professionals" and gender prejudice on behalf of other "professionals". That they can take advantage of young, naive people to convince them to ruin the lives of others is just the latest version of the same old story: witch hunts, the red scare, satanic panic, repressed memories, and now all men are apparently potential rapists. It always ends up hurting actual victims and the falsely accused way, way more than it helps anybody.

Let's return to innocent until PROVEN guilty and pressure our system to protect the names of those accused until something is proven.
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Chris from Canada
Sat, Jun 23, 2018, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I'm just going to leave this here:

https://youtu.be/5ECwhB21Pnk

Jammer, please watch; it just might change your opinion haha

Terrible movie and first time I disagree with one of your insightful reviews in probably over 15 years lol. Still love reading your work though!
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Chris P
Fri, Jun 8, 2018, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Maneuvers

There's just too little verisimilitude in this episode for me. Almost nothing that happened could have happened. What's the word for the opposite of verisimilitude? Where everything that happens reminds you that what you're seeing the work of someone who got a plot outline and didn't even bother trying to justify any of it?

This is one of my least favorite Trek episodes. It's insulting and prompts flares of rage and frustration every few minutes. An actively unpleasant experience. Neither this nor the upcoming Kazon content make it into my head canon. The species strained credulity early but were acceptable but have now become the toys of a lazy, obstinate game master.

0.5*
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Chris P
Fri, Jun 8, 2018, 2:06am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Birthright, Part II

"Worf fired on the birds of prey but they had enhanced shielding and in the Generations case, the ships had a huge edge and first shot on the Enterprise."

I can't assassinate a character who changes from episode to episode. *That* version of Worf was shown only firing once in each episode. Apparently this was sufficient such that nobody turned to look at him askance as they did in "Parallels" but it was not enough to challenge the BoPs that were raining hell upon his ship. All we have to go on is what we saw and what we saw is very suspicious.

The behavior of that version of Riker is also suspicious. If space battles were the subject of Vegas betting there would be a major federal investigation after "Rascals" Enterprise vs. 2 BoP scout ships and "Generations" Enterprise vs. 1 BoP.
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Chris P
Thu, Jun 7, 2018, 1:45am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Twisted

This episode evoked more fascinating reactions on Jammer's board than did its story. Once in a while I wonder if Jammer wishes he could redo a review and this is such a case. I wonder too if his scathing words about a decent episode influenced some people in the comments. Then I wonder how independent the comments are and how colored they might be by herd mentality. Way, way, way too harsh for a middling anomaly of the week that ends with a bashed reset button.

Star Trek: Voyager relies on Janeway or whoever is on the bridge flying into anomalies/nebulas/trouble, technobabbling, and then bashing the reset button. If we're grading on a scale then this formula must be accommodated for half of Voyager's episodes, not used as a demerit when convenient. The only explicit flaw that I saw was the map. That was a visual lie and should not have been shown unless they were willing to get very funky with it. All of the rest of the things (ship rearranging itself, how does the ship functions when twisted, how does it envelop the ship) are better off assumed to be the work of a sentient anomaly messing with the crew.

This episode deserves credit for serving the characters well at a time when they badly needed it. Arguably the first episode since Cathexis to show the crew working together and interacting for a prolonged period of time. The creepy atmosphere and fun crew interactions (which is one of Voyager's strong points) supersede my desire to nitpick.

2.5
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Chris P
Mon, May 21, 2018, 6:45am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Birthright, Part II

Worf's complicated. I'm not sure that the writers agreed on who he was.

He's a Klingon supremacist who exclusively dates non-Klingons.

A guy who learned everything he knows about karate from the strip mall dojo and Hollywood / learned everything he knows about Klingon society from literature and fanciful sources, but who effortlessly navigates the actual culture.

A guy who retains his fanciful notions despite having seen how none of it is actually true...but who is constantly flummoxed by Federation principles....but wishes to remain with Starfleet and spend his days looking at his crewmates in befuddlement.

A guy who twice sacrifices the Enterprise through his refusal to fire twice upon Birds of Prey (Rascals, ST:Generations) while later slaughtering them in DS9.

I don't know who he is. Maybe that's why I've never liked the character. He's a living contradiction of the arbitrary sort.
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Chris P
Sun, May 20, 2018, 9:21am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part II

What a wonderful convergence of quality writing with three great actors taking up 90% of the screen time. Filmed fiction flourishes when it allows the viewer to believe that they're watching real events transpire. This was rarely accomplished better in Star Trek than in these two episodes.
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Chris
Fri, May 4, 2018, 7:23am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Thanks Jammer, it's good you took your time. This was probably the best review I've read on The Last Jedi.
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Chris
Sun, Feb 25, 2018, 6:41am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Who Watches the Watchers

I have to confess, this one bothered me to the point where I couldn't make it through the whole episode.
If you're so concerned about cultural contamination and the Prime Directive, why go through the trouble of building a sizeable modern "watchpost" inside a hollowed-out cliff face within walking distance of the planet's inhabitants? Why add insult to injury and make it so fallible and dependent on advanced power sources that the cloak effect drops when they malfunction? If this is what's considered a safe way to study a pre-warp culture, then perhaps the takeaway is to *not* study pre-warp cultures, at the very least not in person. It makes the crew come off reckless and inconsistent to the point of derision.
This isn't the only time the crew's solipsism has bugged me (the episode where you're supposed to think Jellico is the antagonist because he doesn't babysit the crew comes to mind) but it's certainly the most frustrating one.
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