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Dreubarik
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 8:34am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Statistical Probabilities

I asolutely LOVE this episode. Beyond how well it is used to analyze one of the show's protagonists, it is a wonderful devastating commentary on technocracy, the rule of the sage elites and the false promise of social science (appropiately dissecting the difference between "risk," as portrayed by games of chance, and the "epistemic uncertainty" that characterizes the real world and foils attempts to make predictions about human societies). An incredibly relevant episode from the perspective of political commentary and one that many in academia should be compelled to watch. In the Top 5 DS9 episodes for me. Bravo.
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Dreubarik
Sun, Sep 20, 2020, 8:53am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Sacrifice of Angels

Actually, the fact that the Dominion fleet engages the Allied fleet a few light years away from DS9 makes sense within the premise of the show: Sisko's main goal is to disable DS9's anti-graviton emitter to prevent the Dominion fleet from deactivating the minefield. It is stated that he wants to reach DS9 with enough ships to do so even if the overall battle doesn't go well. So it would make no sense for the Dominion to wage battle at a location where any potshot from a random enemy vessel could have disabled the emitter.

What DOESN'T quite make sense about this premise is the fact that DS9's deflector is made to be so special because it can be turned into an anti-graviton emitter. Surely, any large vessel's deflector array could do the same, or an appropiate device could be shipped from Cardassia. At no point is there any reason to believe that Terok Nor's deflector technology is somehow special.
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Dreubarik
Sat, Sep 19, 2020, 6:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Rocks and Shoals

One of the best DS9 episodes ever made. Perhaps a scene that doesn't get noticed enough but is key for the story's thematic undertone is when Sisko first meets the Jem'Hadar Third and tries to manipulate him to serve his own ends (a fact Dax them comments on). The core of the episode seems to be about how war is fundamentally about manipulating the troops to do the bidding of the higher echelons without regard for their own lives. This is what "the order of things" inevitably is, and Sisko isn't above it either. In the end, however, Sisko's actions do show that there is indeed more to war than that.
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Dreubarik
Thu, Sep 10, 2020, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Things Past

Another for the "much stronger than I remembered category." A lot of interesting thoughts about the nature of imperialism are present in this episode, mostly through Garak's dialogue. The core of the story is of course examining Odo's character and his guilt about allowing his love of "order" to go too far, but a second viewing reveals how this is very neatly integrated into an analysis of how the rule of law is fundamentally unfair in context of opression, in which a nation's right to self-determination is being supressed by an invader.

The teaser in the runabout is actually very relevant to the theme: Garak is discussing how he was annoyed that, at a symposium about the Cardassian occupation, his attempts to rationally analyze the occupation were irately shot down by a crown of over-emotional Bajorans--and later reveals his distaste about the Bajorans being fundamentally uncivilized for creating chaos. All in all, a wonderful examination of imperialism and how the high-minded concepts of dispassionate social analysis, including "justice" and the "rule of law," tend to be a luxury of the opressors.
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Dreubarik
Sun, Sep 6, 2020, 7:28am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: For the Cause

I agree with the comment above and I think people like Elliott are missing the point. On rewatch, it is a stronger episode than I remembered it to be, even though the B-plot (while not bad) absorbs needed time to make the A-story even stronger.

This is a story about how the Federation, which is in essence a socialist utopia, deals with libertarianism (using both the maquis in general as represented by Eddington and the Sisko-Yates relationship more specifically), and how there is value to personal freedom even after all your material needs have been met. Reducing it to "the maquis are adolescent idiots because everything would be provided for them in the Federation" makes the common mistake of seeing people as "homo economicus", rather than recognizing that some people legitimately search for meaning outside of societal rules, even when those rules are close to the ideal.

Of course, DS9 ultimately sides with the Federation: Warmongering is indeed a step too far for the defense of those values. But highlighting the imperialist tension that comes with an imposition of "modernity," even when that modernity is an idealized roddenberrian paradise, is a great thing for Star Trek to do.

The episode (and generally the maquis plot) should make the point about economic needs having already been met more explictly. But I think this is more a case of Star Trek writers in the 1990s assuming that it was already very implicit in how the Federation is presented than a result of them not having it in mind.
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Dreubarik
Fri, Jul 24, 2020, 5:50am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Masks

How times have changed! Back in the day this was just a bad episode. It hasn't become good in hindsight, but it does make me miss the days in which Star Trek was a sandbox for these sorts of high level ideas to be tested out. Misses like "Masks" were the price to pay for a unique kind of show that allowed for scripts that tried to work at an intellectual level. Current Star Trek is all cliched nonsense written for and by extremely dumb people.
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Dreubarik
Sun, Jul 5, 2020, 4:25am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Perfect Mate

On rewatch, this is a much, MUCH stronger episode than I remembered it to be. Riffing off some of the comments made here, I read the story as a scathing criticism of the "male gaze" and a deeply pessimistic take on how men can ultimately only process relationships as a satisfaction of their own ego.

While it is true that what happened on the last night is left ambiguous, to me it is clear that the writers wanted to imply that Picard did sleep with her. Not that it is necessary to assume so to make this read of the episode: He convinces himself that the metamorph has truly become independent of thought thanks to him, and that therefore she would belong with him if it weren't for duty and obligation. Picard epitomizes the enlightened man, who does not succumb to the base instincts of less evolved males (and we see the contrast being drawn directly with the "lower class" men on Ten Forward) and can in theory establish a deeper connection with the woman, based on their mutual desires and intellectual interests.

But the story shows us that it is all a lie: As many have pointed out here, the metamorph is designed to satisfy the desires of the partner and always tell tem what they want to hear, and in Picard's case this means stating how she has now outgrown what she was and has bonded with him forever, on a deeper level. The script has Picard (whom we could define for story purposes as "the best among men") falling for his own egotistical conceptions of relationships just like anyone less evolved would. It thus tells us that, ultimately, men are doomed to seek out egotistical validation from their partners, and whatever intellectual justifications are built on top of that are lies.

Of course, the message need not be gendered, as it could in any number of ways. But the scenes with Crusher and Picard's initial justification of relationships being used as political contracts in many cultures leads me to believe that it was meant as an examination of the male psyche in particular. At any rate, a deeply thoughtful piece of writing hiding under the guise of a TOS-like episode. Kudos.
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