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Tue, Feb 19, 2019, 12:12pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

@Yanks

Well, that would depend on whether you think being manly, or competing for manliness is insulting. Personally, I don't! :-)

@John Harmon

I didn't watch Enterprise, but from reading up on it, it looks like they elaborated on a specific Article and Section of the Federation charter that created section 31. Now, I guess we could be pedantic and say the charter doesn't specifically mention creating a group to help carry out the extreme measures of the article, but if you know anything about the U.S. constitution, you would understand that a lot of the ways that the U.S. government branches were not outlined in specifics . They have been interpreted over the years to create a functioning government. The FBI, as mentioned above, isn't anywhere at all in the constitution, but derives power through the judicial branch (stemming from Article III, s2) who created it as a policing force to help the objectives of the DOJ.
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Tue, Feb 19, 2019, 11:50am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: The Changing Face of Evil

@Springy

Ah, interesting question. Bashir uses the phrase "never say die" in Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges, now that you mention it. I don't think Julian's a good fit for the role either, but Travis was a Lt. Colonel so maybe Bashir can relate to Travis on that level. Bashir too gets a huge amount of responsibility on the station, but he's not really calling the shots. I can't speak to your last questions without spoiling things, of course! :-)

One point of interest is that the Female shapeshifter allows the Federation escape pods to go to "spread the word" of the crushing defeat at Chin'toka. Santa Anna did something very similar, where he captured American non-combatants and even adopted a young girl and released them back to the U.S. to spread word of the crushing defeat of U.S. forces at the Alamo. However, that didn't work out so well for Santa Anna, at least...
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Tue, Feb 19, 2019, 10:41am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

@Yanks

I like the "manlier-than-thou" ribbing Cornwell gives because it accents the point that Pike and Leland know each other, and have something of a personal rivalry which motivates each captain's reasons for being in Starfleet.

I wonder if from here on out we're going to see how each man's philosophy shapes the Federation. My understanding is that the Federation of Archer's era was rugged and unrefined with its dealings with other species but they learned to better themselves throughout the series which led to a more enlightened era we see under Kirk.

Kirk himself was a bit of a cowboy who bucked the rules, but he always held a certain decorum and respect for other species - especially Spock who was his best friend. Then of course, we get to the Picard era where the Federation seems to operate like a well-oiled machine and personal conflict itself doesn't exist. But when you really think about it, there's so much mystery in the question of how each era got to be how it was. It's good to see that they're attempting to fill in the holes.
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Tue, Feb 19, 2019, 10:02am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: The Changing Face of Evil

I'm just surprised that nobody's mentioned that the Battle of Chin'toka is based on the battle of the Alamo. Although I didn't pick up on it either until rewatching DS9 a few years back. One hint: General Santa Anna is the female shapeshifter.
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Mon, Feb 18, 2019, 11:35am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Justice

@Peter G.

“That's good storytelling...or at least it would be if the episode was much fun to watch.”

It’s fun to watch in a sort of “laugh at this episode with some friends” way. It’s a really good concept but there’s two major execution problems: 1) The story doesn’t make you sympathetic to Wesley, 2) Picard and Riker’s solution seems too simplistic. Like you say, real justice should be decided by a dialogue, but this episode solves it with a monologue.
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Mon, Feb 18, 2019, 11:27am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Justice

Criticism of the Prime Directive is actually central to the story. The godlike alien learns of the PD, and decides to judge the Fedration based on its own rules of non-interference by insisting Edo’s punishment is enforced. It takes Picard and Riker’s insight of rules being meant to be adjusted to circumstance to solve the problem. If the PD is applied inflexibly, it will lead to *injustice*, just like the Edo’s death penalty rule.
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Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 6:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

@Peter G.

I kind of saw the conversation was going to go this way which why I mentioned “canjoling Sisko into desperation” above. For the sake of not rehasing an old discussion, I ask this: does Garak utilize any contacts on Cardassia in following episodes (barring the housekeeper, which we can assume isn’t useful here)? Is there any evidence in following episodes Garak is lying about dead contacts?
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Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 4:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

@Iceman

“Since no one else knows who Garak's contacts on Cardassia are, so it's not really verifiable at all. It does serve a purpose because he avoids risking his only connections to his beloved homeland.”

I think Lior’s point is there’s no real reason for him to lie to Sisko in the first place if he already had a plan that didn’t involve his contacts whatsoever. I mean you could argue that he was trying to cajole Sisko into desperation but nothing in the story suggests Sisko wouldn’t agree to Garak’s initial plan. Also, what’s wrong with Garak saying to Sisko “Sorry, my contacts wouldn’t even respond to me, security must be tight.” if he’s lying anyway.
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Fri, Feb 15, 2019, 9:45am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

The monologue at the beginning doesn't bother me, it's just an episode framing device like the Captain's Log, and I'd prefer that stayed around as a Trek tradition.

Based on the preview, I had low expectations for this one and rightfully so, perhaps, as none of the spore science was very enjoyable or believable. Yet, I'll give one aspect of it some praise - when the Discovery was intersected with the mycelial network, the image and effects looked gorgeous, like watching a 3D attraction at Universal Studios or Disney Parks. It was a technically brilliant scene, but admittedly a dramatic yawn.

The Section 31 portion of the episode was the most engaging part. What's interesting here is we see, like in DS9's "Extreme Measures", that Section 31 is also made up of normal people with everyday lives who may have been on the command track. It's nice that there's the moral question of why one would decide to join Section 31 like Leland, while other people who prefer shinier and noble values would prefer proper Starfleet channels like Pike.

I find the situation politically poignant because there's a big question of border security (in the U.S., but I think in the UK as well) going around and there's two sides to the story. For the U.S., there's the open "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" aspect of the country while at the same time there needs to be an elusive and secure office trying to weed problems among those masses. Thus, like the U.S., the Federation has a certain duality of purpose where it needs to follow the Captain's oath but at the same time someone has to do the less glamorous job of securing the path for the oath to work. These sides often seem in conflict, but they have both have patriotism at heart.

So, yes, I didn't like mycelial conflict and resurrection story but this episode had its moments. The least I can say is that it kept a good slow and concerted pacing which had been a problem throughout season 1 and the lousy Klingon story in "Point of Light".
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Thu, Feb 14, 2019, 12:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Encounter at Farpoint

@Trent

I agree that this episode is actually very good barring some unfortunately awkward dialogue in some areas and I appreciate your detailed accounting of why it's good.

The thing is, with TNG versus DISC it's an incredibly difficult comparison because TNG was in the works for nearly a decade in different forms and had none other than the creator at the helm voicing extremely strict demands on the show. Interviews reveal that this was the show GR wanted - the one he couldn't make with the budget and low profile of TOS. And, I don't think there is anyone in Star Trek currently that could ever make the sort of demands GR did. One might argue Berman could, but he has basically retired, so they need to work with what they have.

At least that's my assessment; that you can never go home again. Not everything works on Discovery, but I can appreciate its brash creativity. It will never be TNG or like TNG. Does it need to be? I don't think the fanbase will ever agree on that.
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Thu, Feb 14, 2019, 10:56am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

Basically Michael is Han and T’Kuvma is Greedo.
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Thu, Feb 14, 2019, 10:51am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: The Emperor's New Cloak

This one's certainly leagues ahead of Meridian in terms of pure entertainment. Although you need to divorce yourself from the concept that the MU has deep insights into the original Trekverse, as here it's more of a magical door to a Trek funhouse.
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Thu, Feb 14, 2019, 10:14am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

This one certainly hits some of the same beats as "Family" which begins with Picard stating how all his wounds have been healed and feels better physically, but Counselor Troi is quick to point out that he may have psychological trauma (boy, does he ever!). The odd point here is that Nog himself won't admit he's physically better because he knows that nursing his wound will prevent him from a catastrophe the likes of "The Siege of AR-C3PO" which in the end is its own sort of psychological condition. But like Picard in "Family", there's a thematic similarity where someone close with more emotionally sound reasoning (Robert) can pick up that the wounded protagonist is denying their own passions by avoiding the associated risks with those passions.

To that end, I agree with Springy, that this one isn't a standout in the psychological trauma front on the face of it. I think the key detail of interest here is that we're dealing with a future with technology so advanced that all your wants and desires can be solved by simple pleasures like the holodeck. Nog's got a job he's good at, he's got buddies who help make him confident, and he even gets to hang around friendly humans like the ones who inspired him to enter Starfleet. Why should he risk his life and go fight for Starfleet? Isn't giving his leg enough? He can have his cake and eat it too in the holodeck.

So, there's an element of holo-addiction here (see TNG's "Hollow Pursuits"). Nog's got it good in the holodeck, but wha'st he losing by staying there? To tack on to William B's point the answer to what Nog's missing is precisely in the cast. He's missing Sisko his mentor, Rom and his mother Leeta who have been rooting for him in Starfleet, and - he's even missing Jake to some degree because he can only be with the Jake Sisko who pretends along with him in the holodeck. So the success in this one may not be it's uniqueness as much as its marriage of two winning concepts from other shows being performed by two minor characters the show hasn't deeply explored yet.
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Wed, Feb 13, 2019, 9:32am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Treachery, Faith, and the Great River

@Springy

Good points, I'd never thought of uniqueness in this episode but since scarcity is part of the Nog story, it's definitely a big issue.

Of course, Weyoun 7 insists there's a defect, but do we really take him at his word? Come to think of it, we should ask if Weyoun 6 and 7 were really different. That Vorta are capable of imprinting on different Founders seems to suggest that the Vorta are not only genetically programmed to be loyal to the Founders, but programmed to be loyal to the Founders who best served the Dominon's interest. In a sense, Odo is actually a more suitable leader for the Founders since he's found a peaceful way to coexist in the Alpha Quadrant and become an influential figure without needless harm to any Vorta or Jem'Hadar.
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Tue, Feb 12, 2019, 10:08am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

Out of all of these, the only thing that bothers me is that we are to assume Vreenak boarded his shuttle without any communication with Romulus and Garak's plan *depended* on that. It may be because this episode was a product of its time, while nowadays you can imagine Vreenak hopping on his mobile and texting "Dominion plan to attack us? FAKE NEWS! You should've seen Sisko's face, LOL!"

Or - it was such sensitive information that Vreenak wasn't 100% sure it was a fake and didn't want to leak anything about it and risk someone tapping his line. I guess they could've tidied that bit up, but you know, the limitations of a 42 minute runtime.
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Tue, Feb 12, 2019, 9:31am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

@MadManMUC

I blame the writers for "Journey's End", but "First Duty" is top notch. It's easy to say Patrick Stewart is a great actor, but I think he needed a childish foil like Wesley to break his pompous image, and Wil Wheaton can play a childish character.
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Tue, Feb 12, 2019, 8:55am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

Say what you will, but I think Wesley’s a great character :-)
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Mon, Feb 11, 2019, 11:58am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

@Charles J

Fascinating discussion. One point that's interesting about Kirk is he's absolutely willing to buck the system if he thinks it's in the best interests of everyone. I remember one of the solid critiques of TNG in its early days was that Picard and Riker were too "goody two shoes" and spent more time laboring to follow protocol than actually solving problems. Of course, I think Picard and Riker come into their own and fans have come to accept that, but it's always been a creative battle in Star Trek. It's funny, because I think you could argue they went too far in trying to correct Picard to be more like Kirk where you start getting these weird mischaracterizations in the movies. The plot of Star Trek: Insurrection seems downright crazy compared to the series proper, and it might just be that they wanted to capture more of the TOS era.

"To hell with our orders!" Was that really Data talking?
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Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 11:00am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Price

"Fifth, no one would ever make a deal with the Ferengi, ever, because they are obvious scum. In fact the Ferengi could not possibly have ever achieved space flight in the first place because they are dumb idiots who could never pull together to push the boundaries of science and engineering. They would never have bothered doing something that had no chance of producing profit, and they never could have produced spacecraft as it is impossible that the Ferengi produce goods which don't breakdown after two seconds of use."

I think you're looking at the Ferengi too much from a Federation point of view. Sure, it's obvious to us what the Ferengi are like, but in a diverse universe there must be many a species who think the Ferengi are fine or prefer the Ferengi because at least they're honest and open about their greed. Also, the Ferengi are supposed to be as advanced as the Federation, they just got there through different methods. Maybe they really are just that good at negotiating and bargained their way into space travel, replicators, and weapons. Certainly, Earth's history is full of ultra-capitalistic groups who have taken advantage of free trade to establish power over others (I'm not naming names, you know which country you are ;-) ).

I agree with some of your other points there, and I'm scratching my head over the poker analogy too. It seems like it works in theory, but when you stop and think about it, negotiating an ongoing trade deal is nothing like poker.
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Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 10:57am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Point of Light

Dragon Ball Z. Seriously!
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Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 9:41am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: An Obol for Charon

The UT scene in the beginning was great. First Burnham was speaking Klingon, then she started speaking Spanish, I saw Arabic in the subtitles... I wonder how many other languages there were? Sure, UT issues have been done before, but never in such a creative and captivating way. I wonder how many takes it took to get that scene right.

I loved the Saru material. His one weak point as a character had always been his timidness in the face of authority even when he should've spoken up (i.e. Lorca). So it's nice to see a story about why and what it meant for him being the only Kelpian to make it out into space and explore. And his species hasn't made First Contact yet? That sounds like an interesting story thread and I liked the idea that a false notion about death was holding his whole species back.

You know, I like Tig Notaro's standup and she was fine in the opener but she didn't do anything for me here. She started to remind me of Dr. Polaski as she insulted a beloved character in her first major scene. Maybe she'll grow on us, who knows.

Very solid episode, 3 stars seems right.
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Thu, Feb 7, 2019, 1:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: You Are Cordially Invited

Oh, but I hasten to point out that Worf was slouched over, perhaps drunk, and miserable in Nemesis over Riker and Troi's wedding. So if we're going to stick all the events together coherently, Worf having lost Dax must have longed for his next closest relationship with Troi whom he also lost. That's why I wanted to point out that regardless of how close Worf and Dax got, Worf needed to harbor a flame for Troi.
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Thu, Feb 7, 2019, 11:43am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: You Are Cordially Invited

@William B

You may be right, because in fact the movies must have been geared to the extremely casual continuity fan (Wesley, of all people is back in Starfleet!). So maybe the TNG filmmakers were just playing fast and loose with canon and didn't really care what happened on DS9.
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Thu, Feb 7, 2019, 9:57am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: You Are Cordially Invited

Sometimes I wonder if it isn't partially the movies' fault that Worf couldn't really develop as a character on DS9, especially in the romantic department. At the end of the day on DS9, Worf still needed to go back to the Enterprise-E (or whichever) as a security officer and be the same character longing for Troi he'd always been. That may have been a mandate by Paramount realizing that DS9 and TNG didn't share the same scope of an audience and they didn't want the original or casual TNG audience to get lost.
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Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 9:42am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Statistical Probabilities

@Jason R.

I don't know if just having vast resources is enough to ensure success of psychohistory. After all, the Galactic Empire controlled the entire galaxy and its resources and couldn't use psychohistory to save itself. Then too, I think Trek (and The Foundation series as well) is trying to posit that it takes a certain human ingenuity to develop psychohistory.

Though I agree with you that Earth was used to give the audience a punch of the significance of the events, I also think Peter is correct that the rebellion didn't need to happen on Earth. Psychohistory only predicts *probable* outcomes of individual events. So, it could be said that there's a 40% chance for Earth to survive Dominion occupation and if it does, it will be the source of a rebellion against the Dominion. However, in the other 60% where Earth doesn't survive, the rebellion will occur on Vulcan instead and the result of Federation resurgence is the same regardless of the origin.

Of course we could get into details about why the Trek universe and Foundation universe are different and how the episode had to work within certain limitations to fit one model into the other, but I think the writers did tease us into believing Julian and co.'s methods were correct to some degree. After all, the initial predictions Julian & co. had about the Romulan entrance and rebellion and Cardassia are indeed in line with future events of the series.
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