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Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

Overall I enjoy ST: Picard. Not to say I don't have some quibbles. I would think the EMH would be able to sound an alarm if it sees medical abuse in any form. I found that Jerati being able to dismiss the EMH so handily was just too easy. I find the relationship (sexual) between Rios and Jerati as unimportant and wish the writers had not gone there. Does there always NEED to be a sexual encounter when it is not needed or required? If that was to make me sympathetic to this character, it's not working. I also find the characters casual acceptance of her murder very disconcerting. I find it hard to believe that Jerati is a scientist and the character is not a favorite (she is jarring and grating to me) and not sure if that is how she is supposed to be portrayed. There has to be a suspension of belief, but you would have to be dullard. Overall, I still enjoy it and want it to continue, but I do cringe. I hope the writers step up and write the best Trek they can. First seasons are an exploration and hopefully the next season and/or seasons, will be great! I have hope and that's Star Trek.
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Fri, Feb 7, 2020, 1:37am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The End Is the Beginning

Ha ha ha ha ha. Reading some the critiques of all episodes so far is pretty entertaining. Your takes are very amusing. Armchair critics, the lot of you. I love it!
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Fri, Jan 31, 2020, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Maps and Legends

I am enjoying this Trek with Picard. There are some things I do not understand, even though I have watched every incarnation (except Discovery) since it began in 1966 . I am a Trekker/Trekkie although I have not committed every bit to memory as some have, and some are upset when there are changes. Life is constant change and favorites are held to a high standard. I have had some quibbles with J.J. Abrams who is very good with first tries and then hands over with less than stellar results. I myself did not mind the cursing in this episode as I felt it was handled appropriately as humans will always be, well "human." Star Trek was very hopeful that we would change. Well, that ain't happening . . . Sigh. I do not feel the need pick the episodes apart as I really do not see any negatives. It's new and I am enjoying it. I love it's movie-style look and the $$$ that they have put into it. I want to see where it goes and I am ready. Engage.
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Mon, Sep 25, 2017, 10:35am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Tears of the Prophets

How did Gul Dukat manage to get close enough to transport undetected to DS9? If it was so easy, they would have taken the station in no time.
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Tue, Feb 21, 2017, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Homeward

On the one hand, I largely agree with Nikolai's position on the "Putting lives before abstract philosophy" thing. While, granted, there's a possibility that you save a race that goes on to become the next Space-Hitlers, the people who are living now matter now. And if you're really concerned about them developing in a dangerous way, you have the superior position from which to help adjust their development in a positive direction.

Nikolai really is a jackass, though. What is he thinking? The villagers stated outright they were ready to die when the storms hit-- they couldn't make the Prime Directive easier for him to follow if they tried. He had to fight to convince them to try to escape their fate. And impregnating a local with an alien baby? He doesn't think *that* will freak them out? Unless he's already genetically modified his own sperm, or the baby in the womb somehow-- or intends to perform surgery on it as soon as it's born, and then follow-up surgery on any children that baby has in future.

Not sure what I'm trying to say, really. I largely side with the ultimate decision Nikolai made? But almost every aspect of how he made it was the worst it could be? And the episode seemed kind of a mess in terms of not really laying out the best case it could on both sides?
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Tue, Feb 7, 2017, 10:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: I, Borg

Sorry, I really do not find this episode impressive.

Injecting the borg with a brief instant of Hugh's individuality, as a substitute 'virus', is just... an utterly ridiculous notion, and a line they didn't need to throw in. Literally every single individual the Borg have ever assimilated shared the same 'experience' of individuality, so that notion has been plenty shared amongst the Borg, and is evidently consistently rejected (or at least, suppressed and pushed into Unimatrix Zero).

And like others have pointed out, the Borg are *not* a race. I'm really surprised Beverley even said such a silly thing. The Borg are a twisted collection of unwilling victims from multiple races, whose identities are stolen from them and whose minds and bodies are repurposed against their will. Mourn them if you will, even spare them if you must-- but don't mischaracterize the notion of eliminating the Borg threat as some sort of 'genocide'. With the Borg gone, there's no loss of 'continuation of species'-- because all the people they would have used to 'continue' themselves are still alive and go on living, just much happier in their unique lives of personal choice and freedom among their families and friends and home planets.

Granted, if the Borg would keep to themselves and just live out the lives they've already assimilated (no new conquests), I'd be open to hearing arguments about leaving them alone. But we (and Starfleet) know they won't do that; the Borg at all times are a collective of conquerors; every missed opportunity to cripple the Borg is an extra allowance of time and resources enabling the Borg to move forward with their next assimilation of innocent and terrified people.

I'm personally curious of what Hugh would have thought if they let him decide whether or not to knowingly introduce the virus to the Borg. For all we know, he would have been game; he already didn't want to return to or assist the collective, and he was already sacrificing his life for them by returning; maybe he would have been happy to save future lives by delivering the virus.
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Tue, Feb 7, 2017, 5:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The First Duty

I personally choose to watch this one with the fantasy backstory in my head that Tom Paris somehow got away with using a fake name (Locarno) at school, to avoid being identified as Admiral Paris's son (since he hated being in his shadow so much). Then, after being expelled, he continued to spiral (into the Maquis, etc) until eventually ending up on the penal colony, then Voyager.

That's literally the only way I can watch his Locarno scenes without my brain screeching to a halt, haha. It's not just the same actor-- it's the same CHARACTER, in basically every detail but name.
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Mon, Feb 6, 2017, 10:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Conundrum

Luke, the Riker/Troi/Ro problem has nothing to do with gendered double standards. It'd be equally perturbing if a female knowingly pulled a 'Riker', in this context.

Over-exaggeration suggests that you believe your point is not supported by the actual facts, and you over-exaggerate when you say: "[Riker] finds out that [he] might, maybe, possibly have had some slight romantic interest in some other [woman] at some ill-defined point in the past."

That is WAY more tentative than the reality the show presented. The seriousness of Riker/Troi's relationship is underscored in front of both of them, post-memory-loss. The emotional memory of their relationship is literally the only memory that was retained by anyone on the ship (indicating significance), and Riker himself brought up the book with the "All My Love" inscription.

Riker understood perfectly well that whatever was between him and Troi was somehow serious. And he chose to keep flirting with Troi to her face, while snogging Ro as soon as Troi was out of the room. No one blames Ro for pursuing Riker, because she didn't know what he knew. The point isn't "Casual sex is wrong"; it's "Don't lead on two people at once, and especially don't have casual sex with one person when you're pretty sure you're more deeply emotionally involved with another."

Anyway, they gave him only a very *light* chastening, at the end. And he mostly chastened himself, by his obvious awareness that he was the one in a position to feel embarrassed. Neither lady actually gave him much crap about it. But we're perfectly within our rights as the audience to feel a little grossed out when Riker flips from showing Troi the "All My Love" book to: "She's out of the room! Come here, dear Ro-- let's fiddle again."
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Sun, Feb 5, 2017, 1:09am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: In Theory

I appreciate the ambiguity the writers leave us with.

It's good to be reminded that Data is genuinely different from us, genuinely 'alien', as another commenter here pointed out.

When Jenna expresses to Data her concern that she doesn't really "matter" to him... He agrees with her. That part's not really up for debate, at least if Data's self-assessment is correct.

On the other hand, Data clearly experiences (or at least expresses) motivations and goals, which we project onto him as "desires". His primary personal motivation is to become more human (and his experimentation with Jenna is intended to further that cause); his primary professional motivation is to perform his duties for Star Fleet. Who knows what combination of circuits and chain-of-logic commands lead to the ultimate 'motivations' for Data's behaviour?

As the writers brilliantly point out at other times: we genuinely *don't know* if Data counts as a 'real person'. We, and the crew, want to believe he does-- and he certainly produces output that gives the appearance that he is-- but for the most part we're treading on the safe side (because the risk of offending against a sentient being, if we're wrong, is unacceptable). Whereas with biological humans, we know because we each *are* humans that there's a soul behind our eyes (or whatever you want to call sentient consciousness; the 'eyes behind the eyes'; the self-reflecting, observational entity we call "I", "Myself", "Me")... we will never really know if this very complex non-biological machine houses a soul or consciousness in the way we do.

I think the biggest trick here is, we will always *want* to project intelligence and humanity, intent and emotions, onto non-human things. We can almost trick ourselves that a toaster secretly has motivation and burns our toast on purpose. How much more with each stage of a machine specifically programmed to speak to us in case-sensitive English sentences, to refer to itself as "I" and "Me", to vary its responses in seemingly organic (but carefully contrived) ways; to adapt its programming on the fly to more and more closely emulate human behaviour and responses? And how much more when you fit a human face on it? Remember, Data was built by a fallible human who fiercely wanted to believe he could make machines that were really alive and conscious. It seems at least within the realm of possibility that, consciously or unconsciously, Dr. Soong programmed Data to be inclined to claim to to alive and conscious, and to exhibit as many traits as possible that give the appearance of sentience, whether or not it was ever achieved.

Again, of course, we will always want to believe Data is, really, alive and a proper person (I certainly do, and always watch him that way). But it's always interesting (if tragic) to reflect on the fact that, as appallingly empty as the thought is, it is certainly *possible* that a machine could be constructed that conducts itself exactly as Data does, proclaiming its 'life' and 'consciousness' via its audible voice through its human face, while never actually experiencing one iota of consciousness.
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Sat, Feb 4, 2017, 10:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

This episode was interesting if problematic, for reasons others have largely discussed.

Setting aside the 'humanoids=empty shell' early iteration of the Trill concept, and setting aside (though not ignoring) the creep factor of Riker's body being used for sex with Beverly when another host body was already on its way (it was perfectly legit for Beverly to find it awkward to engage in romance with the body of her friend and commanding officer; and Riker agreed to the use of his body to prevent a war, not have sex), and looking at just the Trill/Romance angle:

On the one hand, yes, the ending is a little jarring upon review in 2017; that Beverly had clearly acclimatized to the idea of a new host, and then rejected Odan solely on the basis that Odan's new body was female, comes off as... well, potentially homophobic from a screenwriting perspective.

But then on the other hand, being 100% heterosexual is as legitimate an orientation as being 100% homosexual; as another commenter pointed out, if Beverly were a lesbian in love with Odan's female form, and Odan switched to a male, would it be 'wrong' for Beverly to no longer feel attracted?

I think this is partly the crux of the matter. The idea that 'Who We Are', and 'Who We Fall in Love With', is NOT solely a matter of some internal 'soul to soul' match up of the minds. We are bodily beings, and love and attraction have very physical, chemical elements. Heaven knows, I've had friends I've wished I could be 'In Love' with because the mind-to-mind match-up was so good-- and I've been in love when the minds had virtually no common ground at all. If a person you don't love recites the same words to you, with the same expression, as your loved one does-- if they express the very same ideas and feelings-- it just doesn't have the same effect as experiencing those expressions from the whole person (including the body) of the one you're 'in love' with.

If anything, I'm impressed that Beverly was able to transfer her feelings of romantic love to Riker. I guess the presumption is there's some latent capacity for at least sexual attraction there (what with Riker being a handsome lady-killer and all), so both mind and body were still covered to some degree. And that was fundamentally missing for her in the follow-up host.
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Sat, Feb 4, 2017, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Identity Crisis

Actually, David: You've just given me the very happy thought that Trekky ladies should start competing for the "Miss Universe" title in Bajoran and other alien costumes. That would be hilarious if done in the right way. Really underline the point that "Miss Universe" should be open to all the humanoids out there ^_^
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Sat, Feb 4, 2017, 3:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

Geordi is definitely Creep #2 in this episode: Creep #1 is the writer who decided to end the episode by making *Leah* apologize to *Geordi*.

As others here have stated, Geordi had multiple opportunities to come clean about the holodeck program, in a way that would have lessened the creep-factor of his ensuing bizarre behaviour with Leah. She asked him more than once how he knew things about her she never told him-- it would have been perfectly acceptable for him to tell her honestly about the crisis where her hologram was needed, and ease that into a more friendly and transparent camaraderie.

The fact that he lied to her (pretending he's just studied her professional file, and just happens to guess her favourite food etc) makes the hologram bit creepier because it's like he himself believes it's creepy (why else would he conceal it from her and race to try to stop her from seeing it). That he compounds that lie with basically trying to bring a fantasy relationship to life (inviting her to dinner, dimming the lights, playing soft guitar music), creates an incredibly weird and uncomfortable situation for Leah, that she knows is slightly 'off' in real-time, and can only really interpret one way even in retrospect.

That he then turned around and yelled at her once she found out what he was hiding, and that the writers ended the episode with HER APOLOGIZING TO HIM, and him 'magnanimously' FORGIVING her... left a sour taste in my mouth.


Also, and only going here because Star Trek has always been about making us look at our own behaviour in contemporary society, and inspiring future developments...

Add me to the list of people who thinks simulating real people (in holodecks or VR) should be banned, except in the strictest and most regulated circumstances (with the approval of the person whose image is in use). Otherwise, it really is a disrespect and violation, and with the way today's technology is going... I think the real-life implications are not too far away. Considering the potential of Virtual Reality (and let's be realistic, a huge subset of people are interested in VR for the pornographic possibilities), and the increasingly customizable nature of video game images.... whether you're a man or a woman, how would you feel about knowing that the creepiest, meanest, least attractive (to you) person you know is programming an image of YOU to perform whatever sex act or degrading activity they want for them? I mean, seriously... theoretically people could use images of you, your daughter, your son, your sister, your mother, your father--- and not only interact with them however they want, but probably record the simulated encounter and share it. Absent regulation, I bet there are already people out there who would claim "Artistic License" or "Free Speech" about that sort of thing.

Not to tangent too far away from this TNG episode. But there's a reason Leah used the word "Violated" about her feelings seeing her own image used to speak suggestively to Geordi. And we all know it could be a lot worse-- both in the world of Trek, and here in our own world.
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Mon, Jan 16, 2017, 11:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Brothers

And Dr. Soong is supposed to be a genius…?

“Data! My favourite son! Glad you got my invitation.”

“Oh, Lore. Uh… how did you know I was here? No, no— I totes would have invited you too, if I’d realized you weren’t still stuffed in a box unconscious the way I left you. And had intended to leave you forever.

How are those dark and twisted emotions going, by the way? Still malevolently jealous and ambitious? Perfect, perfect— you should definitely stay and listen to the conversation I plan to have with Data.”

“Oh, Data— don’t be silly, with all that ‘Lore is evil and we should be afraid of him’ stuff. I can’t imagine where you’d get that from— except the detailed story you just told me, which I’m going to disregard. What’s that, Lore told you the villagers hated hated him because he was 'too human'? No, they thought he was evil and were afraid of him. No idea why everyone keeps thinking that. Except for all those reasons that led me to deactivate him.”

“Lore, what do you mean you think I love Data more? I love you both equally! Now, Data, I have a gift that’s only for you and not for Lore. It’s really quick and easy to install but I’m gonna let you both think about the disparity while I go have a nap, first."

Like, come on, man. Also, the pain factor of the writers inventing a precious 'emotions' chip for the *sole purpose* of having it ripped out of Data's hands in the same episode... foul play. I can't even bring myself to re-watch past the family reunion scene.
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Sun, Jan 15, 2017, 1:57am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: A Matter of Perspective

PS: to 'DLPB', just to reiterate-- I think you may have forgotten what happened in this actual TNG episode. Nobody was 'Raped', or even *claimed* to be raped, in this episode. Riker was on trial for murder, and Manua was called only as a witness to preceding events; there was never a suggestion that she, or anyone, planned to prosecute for a sexual assault. Riker was the only one who used the word 'Rape', when describing what he felt her holodeck-projected memory made it look like he was TRYING to do.

All Manua recalled was that Riker held her by the upper arms and talked to her about how lonely she must be, while she protested that she loved her husband. Then her husband walked in.

Riker's memory agreed that they talked about Manua's loneliness, but recalls only a comment of hers about it, not his own. He also recalls her hands on his chest, but not his own on her arms (but who knows-- maybe he reflexively put his hands on her arms to keep her at bay, and that's also why she recalls him holding her firmly, not gently).

If you want a TV example of a false rape accusation, or aftermath, try SVU. They've got plenty of examples of that kind of thing. But the conversation just doesn't apply to this episode of TNG.

Plus, the other commenters here are right-- it's a very rare case when someone would be prosecuted for a false rape accusation, because it's *very* hard to prove, and theoretically devastating for the likely effect it would have on the already-low willingness of actual rape victims to come forward.
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Sun, Jan 15, 2017, 1:32am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: A Matter of Perspective

I'm finding it fascinating to read the anger in the comments here, embedded in the accusations that Manua was guilty of intentional "perjury" in a "rape accusation". Keep in mind, no one actually accused Riker of rape— the investigator never even implies that 'attempted rape' might be a crime Riker may face extradition for, and Manua shows no inclination to press any kind of charges. Riker depicted Manua as being an unfaithful wife, and Manua depicted Riker as sexually aggressive, but the only one who suggested Manua’s depiction looked like he was setting up to "TRY to rape" her was Riker himself (and after that comment the subject was dropped and they went back to the actual alleged crime: the murder).

Beyond that, my two cents:

As others pointed out, scientific studies confirm serious flaws with human memory. A grieving widow and her husband’s accused murderer would have different emotional/psychological twists to how they would retroactively retrieve and interpret memories about each other, while still believing their memories ‘correct'.

Also, keep in mind that what we 'see' in the holodeck simulation has a technobabble "8%" or so error rate re: what actually happened; the holodeck is recreating an approximation based on verbal recollections from the witnesses, and we've seen before how the holodeck can exaggerate or 'riff' on an intended voice command. This would be a big enough problem if the witnesses just narrated to an empty room or data pad, for the holograms to be generated later-- but it's also a problem if they see the holograms act out what they suggest in real time.

Consider the suggestibility of human memory— in real-life, researchers once convinced study participants via minor visual/written stimuli that they genuinely remembered shaking Bugs Bunny's hand at Disneyland (impossible, since Bugs isn't a Disney character). Now imagine the greater impact it might have to say to a computer: "We were standing by the touchpad", then vividly see a visually perfect copy of yourselves standing somewhere near a touchpad (but certainly NOT exactly where or how you were; unless the computer is a psychic or you have android-style recall, your arms and hands will be held slightly differently, your weight on a different foot, your head tilted a different way, your body closer or further from the wall, etc). Nonetheless, the vividness of the visual stimuli may override your own vague memory of what had been a fast-moving series of events at the time (plus you'll be seeing yourself from the outside, rather than from the inside where you were at the time), and you will probably say, "Yeah, that looks right." What you see overwrites and becomes your memory. The impact of the interaction of the witnesses with the vividly impressive medium they were using to record their memories cannot be discounted.

From there...

1.) Different memories of meeting:

We know (despite Riker's sanitized holodeck version of himself) that Riker almost definitely flirted with Manua upon meeting, because he's... Riker, haha. However he may see himself from the inside (probably 'proper', 'gentlemanly', 'professional', etc), we see him from the outside and we know from extended observation that he's a compulsive flirt and womanizer. Manua is depicted as a beautiful woman, so Riker probably does what he usually does with beautiful women: stares unblinking into their eyes and smiles at them more than at men. Which women (and jealous older husbands) notice. Manua would almost certainly have been sensitive to her husband’s (established) belief that Riker was flirting with her, which only would have reinforced her own.

So Manua starts off believing that Riker, a stranger, is attracted to her.

2.) Different memories of who suggested Riker stay the night:

This one's pretty straightforward. Any number of perfectly normal twists in conversation could have led each party to believe that the other implied/made the suggestion that Riker should stay, and that they were the one awkwardly accommodating the suggestion.

Now still playing Devil's Advocate, from Manua's perspective at this point it could be that a strange man is attracted to her, and has used his influence over her husband's work success to manoeuvre himself into staying the night.

3.) Different memories of who closed the door:

Riker remembers that Manua was showing him how to use the touchpad: he recalls that she showed him the environmental controls, and then she showed him how to close the door. Manua recalls that she did indeed show him the environmental controls, but that Riker touched the button that closed the door. It seems perfectly plausible that they were both standing close to the touchpad, maybe each with a hand on or over it; Riker may indeed have accidentally closed the door while thinking Manua did it (it was an unfamiliar touchpad to him), while Manua may have been flustered and thought he closed the door on purpose (continuing her interpretation of his actions as aggressive).

So now Manua is alone in a room with a strange man who she believes is attracted to her, who used influence over her husband's work success to manoeuvre himself into staying the night with them, and now has closed the door on a room with them alone together.

3.) Different memories of events in the room:

Let’s be real here. While the physical aggressiveness in Manua’s retroactive memory doesn’t seem Riker-esque, most of his words do— and both agree there was some physical element. Chances are, there was plenty of conversation that just wasn’t remembered word for word, and we’re only getting the ‘gist’ of what each took away from it.

We already know from Riker’s version that he believes there’s a mismatch between Manua and her husband; both accounts agree that Riker perceives the husband as work-focused and wife-ignoring; and both accounts agree that Manua referred to the guest room as her “sanctuary”. It seems perfectly ‘Riker-esque’ that, when he believes a beautiful woman has closed the door with them in a bedroom, he would (in accordance with Manua’s memory) ask her what she needs a sanctuary from, ask “How is it possible” that her husband is more interested in Kieger waves than in her, and speculate that she “Must be very lonely”. (Riker recalls that Manua said she is “Left alone… for hours.” One way or the other, they both recall having a conversation about Manua’s loneliness, whoever said what first.)

At this point, Manua’s memory has Riker holding her by the upper arms as he says these things to her (her hands at his chest). In Riker’s account, they are chest to chest, with her hands up at his chest, and he doesn’t seem to recall doing anything with his arms (but perhaps he was holding her upper arms to keep her at bay). Riker recalls Manua intentionally slipping her shawl off her shoulders, and him reaching to pull it back up; Manua recalls Riker reaching for her shawl and believes he is pulling it down. Either way, both accounts confirm that Riker did touch Manua, and went for her shawl, which was realized to be off her shoulders at some point.

Manua recalls saying positive things about her husband, which she may well have done while acting coy or seductive (as a sort of “Oh no, no, we mustn’t— but go on.”) Riker may have selectively remembered only the seductive things, while Manua (with the encounter having been interrupted before anything actually happened, and in the wake of her grief over her husband’s death) may have selectively remembered only the positive and praise-worthy things she said about her husband.

Anyway. From that point on, it's pretty much agreed upon that the husband enters, there’s a scuffle, etc etc. And shortly after, her husband dies (a shocking and affecting experience for her), and Riker is accused of murder by the investigator (a shocking and affecting experience for him), and… it’s really no surprise that Riker and Manua both sanitize their own behaviour in their memories in retrospect. Which necessarily makes the other out to be probably worse than they were, in retrospect… as each will remember that SOMETHING happened, but neither can believe it’s their fault, therefore each exaggerates the other's fault.

The point is— I think the writers actually did a fabulous job at demonstrating just how shocking it can be to be confronted with someone else’s memory of a situation we were part of (and the deep fallibility of eyewitness ‘evidence’ in criminal trials). And it’s good that Troi was there to verify for the TV audience that no one was “lying”, and that we never get to see the ‘real’ events, because that means we have to reflect on this ambiguity as the point of the episode.

There we go. My looooooooong two cents :P
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