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Daniel
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 10:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

Also, re: talk about what Picard experienced as NOT being PTSD, as one who has suffered from it in the past (you never fully recover), the way it was depicted in the episode does somewhat ring true, at least to me.

The Borg kidnapped him, stripped every bit of his humanity away from him, and made him watch helplessly as the voice of the collective made him command the attack at Wolf 359--where something like 40 ships were destroyed; tens of thousands of Starfleet lives snuffed out.

The fact that he recovered to be able to command again in as short period of time as it was depicted is a testament to 24th Federation psychotherapeutic advancement (and the narrative realities of an "alien of the week" non- serialzed 20th century TV show)

What First Contact, and now ST:P is showing is that he never did fully recover from that trauma. In First Contact, he at least had relative youth and phaser rifles. In this episode, he's old, and unarmed, and placed in the middle of a cube. If that doesn't trigger someone I don't know what will.

The director takes some creative license with the visuals of the flashback and the attempt to show something that is largely experienced in one's mind, but the broad strokes of the effect--the sudden debility, spike in respiratory and pulse rate--that all squares with what I've experienced before.
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Daniel
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 9:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

Just listened to the podcast on Deadline with Akiva Goldsman and Jonathan Frakes--apparently Narek and Narissa were written as "Brother-Sister-Lovers", but that got toned down/changed in the editing, though more than enough of the subtext still remains.
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DANIEL PRATES
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 7:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

Have anyone thought of this? Maybe Narek and Narissa call eachother brother/sister not because they are siblings, but because the Jhat Vash is a "brotherhood" of sorts.... a secret society within the Tal Shiar. It would explain all the sexual tension between them, or at least, make it waaaaay less creepy.

Hence, maybe the dead brother Narek mentions on episode one was indeed a sibling - so, totally unrelated to Narissa. Or maybe he too was one of the "brethren", who died in service (maybe killed by Dajh in those early brawls!).

It sure makes things fall together huh?
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Daniel
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 9:18am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

You'd think that with all of the other holograms, there'd be an emergency counselor hologram in the system somewhere that's avoided and loathed by Rios.
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Daniel
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 6:59am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

I wish we could edit our own posts, but I guess when the platform originated in the 90's it's not easy to retrofit.

I forgot to add on the Raffi scene--the thing that seemed most disjointed was actually the Star Trek fanfare that closed out the scene. Dramatic, yes. Well-acted, yes. Solved the problem and advanced the plot, yes. But the content of the scene, the laying bare of one's flaws and vices probably wasn't the best venue to apply a sound cue that evoked the traditions of Star Trek. This one I'll blame on post-production, and the limited library of music cues the sound director was working with. Also, poor judgement.

@Rimmit

Valid point. They could've beamed back, I suppose, but it looks like from the previews of the next episode they're going to address the matter. (There's a slight flash frame of Narek in some sort of shuttlecraft) My guess is that La Sirena is too close to the cube and no match for all of the Romulan patrol ships that are guarding it.
I was a little more confused as to how Elnor was able to beam himself over to Picard's position on the cube. Didn't know the Quwat Milat trained the nuns on how to use Federation transporters and targeting scanners.
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Daniel
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 6:40am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

@Tim C

From the tie-in book, which so far has not conflicted with the stuff we're learning with each successive episode, Jurati is actually a medical doctor by training, and did her post-doc work at Daystrom to cross-train as a synth researcher.

I am a little heartbroken for her as a character, however. Unless there's something wacky going on like the Maddox they had was a synth replicant instead of the real person, I can't see of any way she could ever be fully redeemed. It's a murder of a kind that's quite different from Seven's revenge killing.

The Raffi and alcohol/drugs thing I don't think tonally was handled the best way possible--I think that's more direction than the writing. I think it was written to show that she relapsed at abit, but that despite being a bit incapacitated, she was still able to do her job incredibly well and snag that diplomatic letter. Picard clapping and then leaving her alone to stumble back to her quarters just felt odd. If he was trying to make amends with her, he should've been the one to see her to bed instead of Rios.

At first, I thought Picard's fearful reaction to being on the Artifact seemed out of place, but then I realized he hadn't been on a cube since he was rescued as Locutus. His last contact with the Borg was in First Contact, but he had the benefit of being on his own ship, and all of the familiarity and comfort that that engendered.
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Daniel
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 4:03am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

Also, that Gath character who denied Voyager access to the trajector always struck me as smug and creepy, so a tiny part of me was happy to hear they were assimilated. A tiny part.
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Daniel
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 4:00am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

@wolfstar

Plot point definitely, but not necessarily a plot hole with enough tech hand waiving. It's conceivable that the Borg was able to overcome the quartz mantle requirement and was able to use artifical means to amplify, focus the field, and fold space. Folded space transport has made multiple appearances throughout Trek canon, though it was usually mentioned with the caveat that the method was harmful to living tissue.
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Daniel
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 3:53am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

Another callback I noticed on the rewatch--when Soji searches her quarters for evidence of her past, she opens a plastic lunchbox full of photographs. The plastic lunchbox has a picture on the front, with the title "The Adventures of Flotter".

A lot of Voyager callbacks for a show that's a TNG follow-up.
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Daniel
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 3:20am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

Interesting callback to Voyager (Season 1 - Prime Factors). The spatial trajector that Hugh used to send Picard and Soji away was a piece of technology that Voyager attempted to acquire from Sikaris but couldn't because of the Prime Directive (and tech incompatibilites with Starfleet systems). The Sikarians were a somewhat hedonistic people who craved new experiences and especially new stories.

I suppose assimilation would make for an interesting story.
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DANIEL PRATES
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 6:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Trent I agree with your remarks. But actually, I was saying that the first reviews of 'this episode' were all positive (maybe the first few dozens or so), then all the sudden, people started trashing it. Is it because we got to think it over?
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DANIEL PRATES
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 5:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

I think we can all agree that eye-patch, cartoon french Picard was pretty lame. It is right there with strip-teasing uhura from "the final frontier". The review is correct, those are ex-borg hunters and they don't know Picard, locu-freaking-tus?
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DANIEL PRATES
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 5:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Sven,

That is what I think too. I guess most of us are torn by this series. We want to like it, we have high expectations towards it... for me at least it feels that I can't decide whether I am liking it or not. I kinda am ... I think. This episode felt good to me. Then I read Jammer'a review and it got me thinking.
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DANIEL PRATES
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 4:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Funny how the reviews started on a very positive tone, only to veer off towards bas reviews after a while.
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Daniel
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 3:19am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

whoa.
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Daniel
Sun, Feb 16, 2020, 2:00am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

Vashti, the planet where the Qowat Milat and Elnor live, was originally a human Federation colony planet on the edge of the old Neutral Zone--one that uncharacteristically accepted mass numbers of Romulan refugees with open arms. They helped with the construction of habitats, supported with the resources of the Federation ("archi-printers" and replicators). When the Federation decided to cancel the resettlement efforts at the behest of the member planets threatening to secede because their needs were seemingly neglected, all of that was yanked and Vashti crumbled, needing the qalankhkai and the Fenris Rangers to assist with the problems that neglect and power vacuumns engender.

If you look at the establishing shot of the refugee colony in the opening shot and the shot when Picard returns, the buildings that were under construction were never completed. If you came from a modern 24th century city, with modern amenities and fourteen years later, you're still dealing with infrastructure that looks like something from the mid 1800's western frontier because of promises unfulfilled, you'd be forgiven if you were upset.

I agree with Richard that the story about the Romulan refugee crisis would've made for an incredibly compelling series. Between the show and the book, we finally get to see a side of the Romulans that isn't some robotic functionary wearing boxy silver insulation, and it's kinda great.
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Daniel
Sun, Feb 16, 2020, 1:30am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

@DaveinMN
According to the preview clip for next week's episode (the one from the Ready Room show), the ship is a Kaplan F17 Speed Freighter.

Evidently in the 24th/25th century you still get personalized pop-up ads, except these are holographic and has animation that responds to when you flick it away.

That part of 21st century reference I could've done without--hopefully we could've eradicated SPAM by the time we invent warp drive.
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DANIEL PRATES
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 7:40am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

So the series have now introduced a romulanesque Bene Gesserit of sorts, with a romulanesque tolkien elf of sorts. Hmmmm.
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Daniel
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 4:18am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

And then they sang another song in Sickbay:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VFB70KL89g
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Daniel
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 4:16am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

Okay, to those complaining that other Trek series didn't succumb to the culture of the time of its airing, I present to you the TOS episode: The Way to Eden, the flower power jam session aboard the Enterprise:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pNQYHvhnms
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Daniel
Fri, Feb 14, 2020, 8:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

I know that the Star Trek novels are *technically* not canon, and even the official novelizations can veer into Memory Beta territory. However, I'm about halfway through the Star Trek Picard: The Last Best Hope book written by Una McCormack. According to an interview, the author was supplied with the Picard scripts as they were written.

A couple interesting notes to perhaps color in the background--it doesn't excuse the show from omitting details or using clunky means of exposition:

The prospect of having to evacuate just under a billion people from the blast radius of the supernova to worlds light years away within a short period of time (the book says that Romulan reluctance to provide accurate data meant that they underestimated the time they had to do the job) meant that the very fabric of Starfleet's mission would have had to be changed. Refitting existing ships, constructing an armada of over 10K Wallenberg class transports was only a fraction of the problem. The Dunkirk example that Picard made in the interview was actually kind of apt--every bit of available resource would have had to been recruited, regardless of original mission. This eclipsed the scale of the Qo'nos-Praxis crisis by orders of magnitude. (I think according to ST VI the Klingon's main ask of Starfleet was to dismantle the starbases along the border so they didn't need to expend as much of their economy on the military)

That meant that much of the exploratory and scientific missions (the core purpose of Starfleet) would have had to been put on hold for years. If you were doing research in some field that required resources that needed to be reallocated, your research was effectively mothballed.

Manpower was a major consideration--a simple back of the envelope calculation of just the newly-built transport vessels: 10,000 ships x 100 crewmembers (If Enterprise D had 500-600 Starfleet crew members out of a complement of 1014, and Voyager had 160ish, let's figure they found some ways to automate tasks), we're looking at a million Starfleet officers and enlisted crew. Factor in support personnel to maintain supply chains, maintenance, etc... and you can double or triple that. You couldn't just transport and drop off the Romulan refugees at the new planets, you needed to provide resettlement support and construction assistance. (Assume that the 24th Century version of Starfleet learned from our experience and didn't simply dump the refugees into massive tent cities a la the Syrians). Millions of personnel who were originally trained at Starfleet Academy and the other service academies for one purpose, dedicating a big chunk of their career for another.

Raw resources and materiel were another major consideration--the Federation may officially operate a post-scarcity economy, but that doesn't mean that the basic fundamentals of economy are obviated. Economics, in short, is the study of "unlimited needs and wants, and limited resources". The tritanium used to build the hulls and superstructures had to be mined and processed from somewhere. In the 24th century, they're able to recrystallize dilithium to extend its life, but the vast amounts of dilithium needed had to be mined from somewhere. Tremendous amounts of antimatter and deuterium fuel needed to be spun up. Federation member worlds would be contributing the resources, and evolved society or not, you'd be forgiven if you were miffed if vital resources from your home world were being diverted to aid a species that only grudgingly accepted assistance when confronted with the information that Starfleet found out.

The Federation membership and political structure according to all of previous Trek history doesn't appear to be a federalized structure--strong central government that can override much of the decisions of the individual states (e.g., United States). It's more along the lines of the government under the Articles of Confederation, or more recently, the EU. Member states join and contribute resources and combine their political and economic clout, but each state more or less maintains most of their autonomy and sovereignty. Vulcan as a Federation founding member state did not subsume its identity and remake itself to be more like Earth. It kept its own traditions, maintained their own science academies and fleets, and internally, oftentimes looked down on individuals who decided to join Starfleet instead of the Vulcan Science Academy (e.g., Spock) Take a look at how hard it is for the EU to even decide on fairly uncontrovertial issues and get legislation passed, and now scale that up to a governing system of hundreds of billions of people with different cultural histories, values, and patterns of thought.

Yet, the Federation did agree to take on the rescue. They committed the resources and spun up the transport ships while all available existing ships were refitted. A500 synths were manufactured (according to the novel they were not of the positronic type that supported Data-like sentience), and then the attack on Mars happened.

Significant loss of life, destruction of your primary ship yard, the loss of viability of a key planet in the heart of the Federation, and the loss of all of the resources that had been committed. To start over would mean having to find some other place to not only build a shipyard, but also all of the destroyed ships. The worlds that had contributed their manpower and wealth would have to be asked to give again.

The novel depicts the election of Federation council members who ran on more isolationist platforms--supported by Federation citizens unhappy with the decisions they made.

Is it believable then, that 14 planets would be indignant to the point of threatining withdrawal if forced to contribute again? I think so. Ethically and morally indefensible, but understandable nonetheless.

Could Picard's continuing mission under Starfleet's aegis after the synth attack have been managing the resettlement efforts of the Romulans that were saved? I think the admiralty would have been happy to have him do that, since it was by no means a small task. But as he said, quoting Voltaire, he let the perfect be the enemy of the good and walked away.

Time and time again during TNG and the movies, we saw Picard apply his exacting sense of morality and standards to Starfleet and the Federation. And he usually got his way, emboldening him for the next challenge. That's Gene Roddenberry's imprint on the character and the franchise. Garrett Wang tells a story at the conventions and in interviews that at the beginning, Rick Berman assembled the new cast and told those who were depicting humans that they were to underplay their human aspects and deliver their lines more military so as to make the aliens more real. There's nothing wrong with a perfect society and perfect group of people exploring strange new worlds of imperfect species. The problem is you quickly run out of stories that aren't Starfleet officers telling alien species how backward their society is, because the Federation is society evolved. The reality is there will always be some conflict, some difference in opinions and values, differences in priorities. If there weren't, they would essentially be the Borg.

The purpose of Picard and the rethink of the Star Trek universe is to show what happens when one is perhaps too rigid when you need to build consensus and trust. What happens when your hero is actually found to be a real human being and is actually fallible? How do people who depend on him react when he makes promises he can't keep? The parallel lesson of the 21st century vs the 20th century is that you can't simply solve your problem simply with advanced technology. In our century, the optimism of the Internet and AI has been shaded by social media and problematic implementation of AI algorithms. The massive move towards battery production has raised the ugly realities of sourcing rare earth elements and lithium from regions that exploit human labor. Decomissioned wind turbines have massive blades made of resin and fiber composite that can't be recycled. One could imagine that you can't simply install a bunch of industrial replicators at a colony and say job complete. Trying to automate labor by having synths in key facilities introduced a critical unanticipated vulnerability.

The interesting story here is one about understanding your limitations yet not giving up. The Federation and Starfleet is depicted in less than flattering light at the beginning so as to show its resiliency and what it could be when the mission is restored. DS9 used the Dominion war to highlight optimism and acts of heroism from humans, Klingons, Bajorans, Ferrengi, and even Cardassians in the face of unremitting hostilities. Aron Eisenberg, who portrayed Nog, told how much he was affected by the stories from war veterans who saw themselves in the storyline where Nog lost his leg in a battle (DS9: The Siege of AR-558/It's Only a Paper Moon) and had to deal with PTSD and recovery. Kira's arc throughout the series is one of recovery and self-actualization as well. That's the virtue of serialized storytelling--you get to show growth- but you have to start at some lower point, and you can't expect it to happen in 44 minutes.

People who watch Picard expecting TNG with its "alien of the week" format are naturally going to be disappointed. It's been done already, and to a certain extent, the mantle has been taken up by the Orville. Picard is supposed to be a human drama set in the Star Trek universe, and is about the optimism and heroism of a man who knows he's not long for the world, and is trying to right the wrongs and fulfill the promises he made, in a mission with such unfavorable odds, he won the sword of a Qowat Milat. Maybe he gets to save the universe and the soul of Starfleet as well.
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Daniel
Thu, Feb 13, 2020, 4:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

@Dave in MN

The motion during transport thing always bugged me too--and they've done it in all of the series and most of the movies. Then again, I have to suspend my disbelief about that tech in general, since I still think the massive amount of energy required to dissasociate your molecules means you're technically "killed" at the transport site and then duplicated at the destination.

Also, remember how they used the transporter on the Doctor in Voyager when he was on his mobile emitter? The transporter effect focused on the body rather than the emitter. How would a transporter dissasociate a hologram, when it's not composed of matter? Sigh.


@Drea

I thought the same as you too, re: Picard's behavior at the social club and trying to draw out Elnor. But I'm starting to think that it's more to do with his degraded ability to suppress his impulses--like the FNN interview. Picard was upset and disappointed that he failed to convince Elnor to join his quest, and then saw the sign as he was waiting for transport. A younger Picard without the incipeint stages of his syndrome would have suppressed the impulse to not make a bad situation worse. But one that has moved closer to absolute candor chose not to walk it off.

Dunno, just a theory.
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John Daniels
Thu, Feb 13, 2020, 1:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S1: Fortunate Son

Bored and needed something to watch and found this series. The first episodes were awesome, until this one.

The writers must had a vacation and let the interns losse writing this one. If this was the Klingons the captain would not be giving them his dumb pacifist speech.

Any way were the other guys so afraid of them having a prisoner? They have every right to take them prisoner and judge him. If these people attacked me and hurt my family I would have done far worse to them. This episode is just embarrassing. I have not finished it but I may tried to get through it.
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Daniel
Thu, Feb 13, 2020, 9:43am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

@Karl Z (re: #5)

Actually, at the beginning of the holodeck scene in a "blink and you'll miss-it" moment, the emergency hospitality hologram (EHH?) said that the re-creation was part of a care package sent along by Zhaban.

Yet another reason why the two Romulans in Le Barre are my favorite characters in the new series. Every little scene shows just how much they love and care about JL.
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Daniel
Thu, Feb 13, 2020, 6:55am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

Slightly off-topic to the episode, but I'm really liking the faster transporter beam effect.

I suppose in the TOS/TNG era, it was a pretty novel visual effect, so they milked it for time--something like 7-8 seconds to do one side of the beam in or out.

By now, we all know what a transporter does in Star Trek, and as long as we get a cool shimmering effect, the production doesn't need to spend more than a second on it.
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