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Elizabeth
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 9:00am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Trials and Tribble-ations

Love this episode, but noticed something in the comments from the posters Mad and Paul Allen. Of course you're so concerned about *slut shaming*, or maybe you get your rocks off on the idea of sexed women unrealistically drooling over men. As a feminist, let me let you in on a secret, there is no such thing as female sexual liberation in capitalist society, it's a way that men reframe treating us like pieces of meat, sexual objects, by pretending that it is liberating instead of humiliating, and it's a lie that many women convince themselves of to cope with the constant degradation of being viewed sexually by men.
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Eli
Tue, Jul 30, 2019, 3:45am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Behind the Lines

This episode illustrates an issue that bothers me about the Jem'Hadar and the Changelings: neither alien seems to require a source of energy. In my view, this creates at least two problems. One, it's extraordinarily implausible that any life form wouldn't require a source of energy for growth, maintenance and reproduction. Two, neither alien has problems to solve that define their existence. This is a dead end creatively, as both aliens seem to sit around doing nothing when not antagonizing the Federation or their other enemies. This issue specifically arises in this episode when Quark complains that the Jem'Hadar are bad customers because they simply stare at the walls, and when the Female Changeling explains to Odo that Changelings spend most of their time simply chilling in the Great Link. If the writers wanted to think outside the box they could have given either species a different source of energy other than food, like sunlight or some other chemical source. Learning about how they solve their day to day problems could have informed their respective cultures.

I should say I enjoy Deep Space Nine and think the Jem'Hadar and the Changelings can be interesting aliens in various episodes. However, I felt the need to point out this deficit (in my view) in their development as characters.
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Eli
Tue, Jul 30, 2019, 3:03am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Who Mourns for Morn?

For me, this episode is hilarious. The premise is beguiling and the preposterous plot twists are clever and entertaining.
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Eli
Tue, Jul 30, 2019, 2:53am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: You Are Cordially Invited

I enjoyed this episode very much. I thought there were a number of humorous lines and it built nicely to a charming climax.
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Eli
Sun, Jun 30, 2019, 3:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Tears of the Prophets

I don't understand why Worf wasn't taking care of the symbiont to ensure it survives. Even according to Trill rules, Worf should have felt responsible to take of it until it was safely inside a new host. This way it would have never been uncomfortable between him and Ezri. He would have continued with Dax just as with Jadzia. Instead it came as a shock to him when Ezri arrived at the station. "Worf we need to talk" in "Shadows and Symbols" was totally inappropriate. That's way too casual of a way to treat a grieving widower .
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Elise Kehle
Wed, Apr 24, 2019, 12:30am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

Rahul called it- I just squealed "Armus!" when we saw the Ba'ul. And did anyone catch the stilt city rising out of the water on Kaminar? Looked almost Kaminoan -rimshot-
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Melissa
Sun, Feb 10, 2019, 6:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

Jammer:

Thanks so much for your extremely thoughtful reviews of BSG. I watched BSG in its original airing, and I've just gone through the series again for the maybe 8th time (?) and always follow up watching an episode with reading your review.

I'm commenting at the very end just to say that after so many re-watchings, this series holds up better than pretty much any of my other favorite SF: TNG, B5, SG1. Maybe the only series I love as much is TOS, but honestly comparing TOS and BSG would be like comparing apples and oranges - they come from such different places and eras.

The finale of BSG may have some flaws, as have been exhaustively argued above, but the more times I re-watch, the less I care about them. The finale ends everything in such a true-to-form way - as you say, it is bittersweet. I am re-watching on Amazon Prime this time, and they have Daybreak split into three parts. I think I cried through most of it, as much for what I knew was coming for the characters as for the fact that I had ended another trip through the series.

Thanks again!
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NowThisIsMoreLikeIt
Thu, Jan 17, 2019, 11:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Brother

"Now this is more like it." Those were the opening words of Janet Maslin's review of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. She, like many others, found Star Trek: The Motion Picture to be an unsatisfying movie.

And Discovery last year (in its first year, which, if one tries to be objective about it, was still much better than TNG season 1) certainly had unsatisfying components: a plot that yanked the viewer around like a rag doll (the viewer is the rag doll here, not the plot), little mini-arc storylines for indiividual members of the crew that did not connect to the bigger picture (what bigger picutre? is a good question), or even to what their own pictures appeared to first look like; and bucketsfull of moments in each episode when the music, the special effects, the editing, the urgency of the actors' voices, were pitched at a tone that oozed the vibe of "Either it's the end of the universe of this moment or it's not." When every moment comes down Broadway sold as if the fate of nations depended on it, no moment is actually really urgent.

Most significant in the dissatisfaction column, for this viewer anyway, is not that Discovery did not "feel like Star Trek" (I still don't know what that means) - but that the show did not feel like it was chronicling the adventures of a group of people working as a team or as a group of souls working toward a common end (Season 1 sure used the word "souls" and "team" a lot, perhaps a product of the writers' crutch, "If you can't show, just tell." Stories were populated by individuals (and a very small group of them, as well), who weren't discovering. They were speechifying, killing, then contradicting themselves by saying killing is wrong - they were being moved as pieces on the writers' chessboard - a board which, if rumor is to believed, was smashed and then hastily glued back together more than once, with the departure of producers and writers (and can anyone tell me what happened to Nicholas Meyer?)

No one is going to mistake Alex Kurtzman the producer for Irving Thalberg; Kurtzman the director for Orson Welles; or Kurtzman the writer for Ben Hecht (and all of the people who think he is the worst kind of hack who then claimed to be SHOCKED that he turned out what these people call "garbage," please get a grip) - just as no one did at the relevant time mistake Gene Roddenberry the producer for Thalberg or Rick Berman for Francis Ford Coppola. These men were mortals too - perhaps sometimes highly competent hacks, but hacks. (Having real sf writers write for TOS was a great thing, but real sf authors - as in authors of published literature - have not graced the writers of a Star Trek room since.... I don't know when).

So, viewed through the lens of sane expectations and a history that actually took place, how did the first episode of Season 2 hold up? Pretty well. The amorphous, can't be proven right, can't be proven wrong refrain of, "This doesn't feel like Star Trek," when drilled down to its basic components, I think, comes to 3 components: Are we watching 1) a group of people all with their specific flaws and strengths 2) working together in pursuit of a shared goal 3) as they are traveling through space?

"Brother" was a winner because the answer is yes to all three.

This episode was the first in which I felt I was watching a group of people whom one would expect to behave and communciate with each other as if they'd actually been in each other's presence for any length of time. Characters talked to each other non-expositorily, finally. When Stamets told Tilly to recite, "I will speak less," and told her about his job offer, and how he missed Hugh, what I saw was not any of these points being fed to us for the sake of estabishing a character, finally (that was the problem with the 2012 Les Miserables movie; each character would essentially get on screen and have his or his own song, consisting of "This is who I am and this is what I do," and would essentlally sing that one note for the rest of the movie). I saw less "dialogue" and quite simply, more interaction, that did not keep announcing itself as such. I saw building upon prior events and characters reflecting on those prior events, without (the screenwriters) having to tell us yet again exactly what those events were and why they were so important. Even the new characters were given things to say that one would expect to be actually said in a workplace undergoing a particuar point in its development (Pike having each member of the crew announce his or her last name. if this was a writers' mea culpa, I'll take it). The new characters, including a certain comic, also seemed to have a sense of humor. The lines reflecting the humor did not feel forced. These lines were said at the tail end of other lines, or in the middle of them, not as their own punchlines because the writers couldn't show humor and humanity as one, at the same time. Nice.

2) There was a sense of actual working to pursue a shared goal. And unlike last year, the goal was articulated clearly to the audience, and did not vanish in favor of a different A-story or wilt on the vine to die (like the planet Pahvo, with respect to which Episode 8 promised a certain centraility in episode 9 - only to have it and its inhabitants ignored in favor of the latest zap arbitray crisis of the moment forced us to make us forget about how contrived the last one was). When the word "Starfleet" was uttered, what we were shown was a recognizably Starfleet crew, with "Starfleet" actually meaning something as opposed to being a writers' pawn that one day stood for peace and another for genocide. There was no narrative fixed Star in season 1 through which events and actions could be evaluated by the viewer; "Brother," in contrast, had a definable, coherent beginning, middle, and end, and if it were a train ride, it felt at the end as if it had reached a destination that was on the same branch as the initial stop (as opposed to making you wonder if the station had at some point been obliterated and replaced by a town without a train).

3) Finally, we saw actual travel through space, from point A, to B, to C, where the viewer could spatially/logistically follow the travel. Discovery felt like it was... discovering, and the show did not play as if the characters were ahead of the plot, behind it, or just plain dumbfounded. The plot played at the same "speed" as the characters' actions. Last season (take episode 8, for example, where L'Rell pretends to kill the Admiral then pledges allegiance to Kol and then is identified as a traitor - a sequence of events which must have actually required a thought process but felt as if it played out in confusingly real time) suffered from a lack of rhythm, lack of pitch, proper dynamics, you name it. Someone attempted to make "Brother" not only to be watched, but to be understood. Thank goodness
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Eli
Sun, Jan 13, 2019, 12:30am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Rules of Acquisition

I want to chime in to say I really liked Jason B's comments from July 2015. He wrote a well argued defense of Ferengi episodes. I also appreciate Ferengi episodes and think they have merits for both their humor and the manner in which they flesh out an alien culture rife with social commentary.
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Eli
Sat, Jan 12, 2019, 11:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Invasive Procedures

I agree with Daniel B (from July 2017). It's odd that the Verad Dax character is not more conflicted about the potential death of Jadzia. I think the Dax symbiont should have been given more agency in this episode.
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Eli
Sat, Jan 12, 2019, 11:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

I think "Melora" is beautifully done; it's one of my favorites of the series. The writers merge science fiction, romance and social commentary very well and the result is enchanting. The interactions between Bashir and Melora are engaging, funny and disarming. The delicate presentation of Melora's struggles with her disabilities is sincere and heartfelt. The scenes of Bashir and Melora "flying" are charming and uplifting. I also think the final scene in which the Klingon plays music near the table where Bashir and Melora are seated is both emotionally resonant and humorous.

I read above a number of others disliked the episode and I found that surprising. But, to each his own. I loved the episode.
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Eli
Sat, Jan 12, 2019, 11:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Cardassians

"Cardassians" is a fascinating episode. The writers paint a complex conflict worth exploring, and the actors communicate that conflict convincingly. The dialogue, particularly between Garak and Bashir, and Bashir and Sisko (as others have mentioned above), is excellent.

I'm not sure Sisko did the right thing at the end, but I understood his logic. I don't believe there was one right answer here.

While some might have felt that either the family theme or political theme should have taken priority over the other, I think the writers did a marvelous job of balancing both.

Bravo.
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Sabatoi Elim
Mon, Nov 5, 2018, 11:41am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I'm late discovering your reviews and I've been binging on them--and getting little sleep because of it, thanks! I agree with most of your reviews and when I don't agree I find your point of view entirely reasonable and cause me to re-consider certain angles. Delicious brain candy!

As for The Force Awakens, I feel like it was a huge missed opportunity. I mean, if you're going to get rid of the EU why not really break out with something unexpected that goes in an entirely different direction than we've seen before--and at the same time, make sure that our beloved heroes Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie are all together again?

Instead we have this entertaining but highly derivative, coincidental, and ludicrously contrived episode to kickstart a sequel trilogy.

Why not make a REAL sequel trilogy? As in, have it take place only a year after the events of Return of the Jedi. Say that the destruction of the original Death Star had an unintended side effect--everyone within the blast radius at the time contracted a rapid-aging disease. The heroes of the rebellion are all aging and dying, leaving the fragile new peace at risk.

Surely a competent screenwriter could use this premise to kick start one last terrific adventure with our main heroes searching the galaxy for new talent before dying heroically at the end of the first episode, letting the new characters take over?

Besides being a wasted opportunity to get our main heroes all together again before they died, my main problem with this sequel trilogy is that it comes across more like television than film--the episodes are serial and can't stand alone on their own, unlike the original trilogy, or even the prequels. J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson both have television mentalities that don't do a huge cinematic experience like Star Wars many favors.
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Elise
Thu, Oct 25, 2018, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: The Dogs of War

On the topic of Garak's cliched "stilted" shouting of "for freedom!", I actually think it works perfectly, precisely because Garak is the least idealistic one on the team. If Damar had done it, it would be stilted, whereas if Kira had done it, we'd wonder how passionate she could be about Cardassian liberation. But Garak is dedicated to Cardassia in a more somber way. He's deliberately using a hokey line to rally the people, and it works the way he wanted it to.
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Unbelievable
Tue, Aug 14, 2018, 11:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: ANDR S2: Lava and Rockets

I've been watching every episode of Andromeda in order (for the first time), and there have been highs and lows, but nothing as bad as this putrid turd of an episode.

If this becomes the new norm I expect I will shortly be an ex-Andromeda watcher.
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Elise
Fri, Jul 27, 2018, 8:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: BSG S2: The Captain's Hand

If they wanted to increase the birth rate, they could restructure the fleet around giving extra resources to couples who conceive and reducing workload for expectant mothers and trans fathers. Instead, they choose to endanger vulnerable people for the crime of being in a bad situation.

Unless the plan is to load the newborn into a cannon and launch it immediately as ordnance, they will need a system to care for children. Rather than set one up, of course, they repeat the cycle of societies depending on the compulsory, unpaid labor of women.

I've loved Star Wars since I was 8 years old. I've been a Trekkie for 16 years. When I got to college way back when, I was shocked to see how the sci-fi club was uniformly white supremacist and sexist. As I continue to rematch my favorite shows, it's less of a mystery. Sure, it's common for someone like Card, Heinlein or Berman to shill for their bigotry, or better yet, create a world without the people they hate, but that's not all that happens. Sometimes, even the best, most enlightened artists like Ron Moore have blind spots, and these can result in stories that end up supporting the Far Right. I am glad he wasn't personally involved in this one though.

I will say that Jammer himself does a pretty good job of giving me hope for my beloved nerd community. These bloody comments do not.
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Elise
Sun, Jul 1, 2018, 12:31am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Barge of the Dead

Gotta say, the episode had merit, but the continuity damage of making Klingon hell and associated deities real and accessible is significant enough that I would not give this above a 2.5, at best.
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Elise
Thu, May 24, 2018, 3:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Symbiosis

Really, Dr. Lazarus? rape fantasies?

It is with regard to Tasha that I want to speak up for this episode because for the first act she is suddenly competent, rather than being a helpless bridge bunny, and that was long overdue. Still too little, too late.
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Elise
Thu, May 24, 2018, 3:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Too Short a Season

Honestly, I like this a lot.

The acting doesn't bother me, I like the camp factor of the old age effect- it reminds me of an over the top D/D npc.

Sure it's primitive, but it's still an Iran-contra allegory, and we needed that. I like how they were able to update the theme in the light of Reagan-administration atrocities.

Let's also point out that this is one of very few times where Tasha is allowed to be competent and effective rather than being used as a captive. that alone makes me want to watch it. By my count she has the following moments of efficacy: downing some mooks here, getting the drop on the Ferengi in Outpost, and stunning the aliens in Symbiosis with the followup conversation with Riker about how to address their shocking grasp powers. Compare this to being held captive in racist bullshit scenario Code of Honor, being depicted as unstable and provoking Q, being held prisoner by Q, failing to act against Korris in Heart of Glory... I relish the small moments when she can be showcased as successful and competent, rather than just being a pretty helpless face with informed abilities.
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Eliot
Sat, May 19, 2018, 3:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

I think this episode has a few things that I've personally noticed but no one had mentioned.

I was rather unsettled about how I felt about Armus. I should have felt utter disgust and hatred but instead I felt pity for it. The reason why I didn't hate it, is because it is more human than it liked to think of itself. It did not act cruelly and viciously just for pure enjoyment but because of it is hurt and angry, these are emotions that humans feel which might cause them to act cruelly towards someone else.

Secondly, those who said that Troi is saying psychobabble nonsense, clearly have no idea about psychology. I was skeptical of Troi at the beginning of season 1 but then I realized the importance of her role in the team. The team of the spaceship Enterprise undergo through many situations which are stressful and tricky. Troi is there as a mediator, she can understand how her team mates feel and respond to certain difficult incidents as well as reading the enemies' intentions, and that is why she is very important. Moreover she had said herself that she is a training psychologist and she has shown her expertise when she dealt with Armus.

The death of LT Yar was anticlimactic but it makes sense, when you're on duty and fully knowing you're going to undertake dangerous missions, the possibility of dying during action is very real. My only complaint about this episode is the holograph Lt Yar making her speech is rather convenient.

I also love the interaction at the end between Captain Picard and Commander Data. CMD Data is so far my favourite character and I just love the theme about him an android who is trying to understand what's like to be human.
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Elizabeth
Sun, May 13, 2018, 3:07am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Cardassians

I agree with the decision to return Rugal to his biological father. He needs to spend time with his bio father before he can make a fair decision about who he prefers. In a few years, he will be old enough to leave the bio father again if he chooses.
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Eli
Wed, May 2, 2018, 7:45pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Rejoined

I agree with those who praised the episode. It was a dazzling love story. The acting was sincere and the writing was convincing. The writers skillfully employ the science fiction genre to enhance the overarching social taboo theme. It's a story with broad application. Well done.
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Eli
Tue, Apr 17, 2018, 2:52am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: The Sound of Her Voice

I liked the episode very much. Subtle and sweet.
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Elise Kehle
Mon, Feb 5, 2018, 9:23am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The War Without, The War Within

Just a quick line to say that I really like SMG's acting. some of it is just that Trek is more comfortable with the touchy-feely stuff now, so she has more to work with than previous roles have offered, but she's still the accomplished actor playing the most humanized Trek lead to date. My favorite thing about her scene with Tyler though, was her clarification that regardless of his responsibility for Voq's crimes, the first and biggest crime was breaking her trust.

Ash's belief that I MUST DO THIS MYSELF, shared by so many Trek characters, most irritatingly Janeway, finally caught up to him here. His performance of self-sufficiency and independence, Kirkishness kept him from getting help, and contributed to the murder of Dr. Culber. THAT is what makes his crimes possible, and THAT is the part that could have been avoided if he had been less proud. I see this as similar to, but more successful than what was done with Poe Dameron in Last Jedi.
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Neliz
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 4:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@Mertov

I haven’t seen TOS and I mainly know the mirror universe from DS9, the last episode of which (something about the grand Angus) i didn’t even watch because I had grown so tired of the use of the MU. I was highly sceptical of DISCO going down the MU path, but so far I’m enjoying it a lot and actually think it’s a credit to the series.

The way I see this playing out is that episode 3 of chapter 2 will be in the MU in its entirety, and the USS Discovery will make it back to Prime in episode 4, so there are 2 episodes left to finish the Klingon war arc in the Prime universe. Unless the last episode is 90 minutes or so, in which case discovery might make it back to Prime in episode 5.
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