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Gerontius
Tue, Jul 14, 2020, 6:03am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ensign Ro

I quite agree with Focksbot in seeing the stuff about a kind of holy war between adherents of one series of StarTrek or another as being an irritating waste of time. All versions of StarTrek shine at times and slump at others, and on balance I find all of them pretty enjoyable - even Discovery, which I bailed out of after the first series, while I catch up on earlier series. (For me, though there was much in what I see that I liked, the proportion that I found annoying was much higher than in any of the other series. I'll get round to watching it in time, and I look forward to it getting better, as generally happened in all the StarTreks.)

This was an episode I liked. Ro Laren added something which the Next Generation really needed. I'm one of those who much preferred Pulaski as ship's doctor. Crusher is a bit wet at times - I was glad to see Ro put her down over her trivialising contribution to the discussion. And Troi is a bit ineffectual. (Guynan is a far better counsellor.)

It's customary for TV series of all sorts that, when a new continuing character is introduced, they are going to be somewhat irritating to start with, to get noticed. If someone who is going to be a regular comes in all friendly and pleasant, there's a high chance they are going to turn out to be evil. Ro matched that, and it's clear she'll mellow over a few episodes - I hope not too much. I like a touch of temper on occasion - I was quite pleased to see Picard showing the harshier side at points in this episode, as well as his almost insulting meek and mild diplomatic face when dealing with the Cardassian captain.

Looking through the posts it was interesting to note that there were posts about how the Bajoran situation was seen as coded comments on either the Palestinians and the Israelis. As I read it, both are correct. After all there are aspects of both people's histories that slot them neatly enough into the role of Bajorans. Both sides share the common experience of exile from their homeland and a struggle to be able to return to it which has involved acts of terrorism.
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Gerontius
Sat, Jul 11, 2020, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Half a Life

I can remember when sixty sounded really old. Now it sounds more like the last flush of youth. But then I'm the Patrick Stewart generation. (Which is why I react quite strongly about to some of the things said in the Comments section of Jammer's reviews of Picard...)

Happy Birthday, James! And many more of them, young man.
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Gerontius
Sat, Jul 11, 2020, 8:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

I liked the suggestion someone made, way up the thread, hthat a way to get round the paradox could be to see the Children of Tama as a breakaway cult from a culture with a more obviously functional language.

Imagine a bunch of fanatical Trekkies, with the Trek opus as its Holy Book - or rather it's Holy Canon of Trek episodes and films, forming an isolated civilization on a remote planet. Look at the way people in this site constantly use references to different episodes to express ideas. Even using initials rather than words to point to the episodes.

After all, consider how many cultures do work in some ways like that - some kinds of Christians use the Bible in very much the same way, and that happens in other religions, there are Jewish, Muslim and Hindu contexts. (And look how the arguments about what true Trek and what is not Trekverges on a nascent Holy War about what is orthodox and what is heresy. After all the word "canon", so casually thrown about has its roots in religious usage.)

As for technology, that could have been brought along with them breaking away from the mother culture. And anyway mathematicians and technicians communicate in ways no-one else can understand.

That's a good enough botched up explanation for me. Though in fact I don't need it, because this is essentially a fable about how people can learn to relate. Like lots of Star Trek episodes are fables (the best of them, for me). And it was a very effective fable, and a tour de force for the two captains.

Of course getting back to nitpicking, the same lesson could have been achieved without the monster, just by having the two if them marooned together. But it wouldn't have made such a powerful myth to pass on.
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Gerontius
Tue, Jul 7, 2020, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

Quite right, we differ in our views. I think neither of them did anything blameworthy, and that we were given to understand that, having got to know each other better, they both accept that to be the case. Booming disagrees. We can't let the protagonists adjudicate, since they are fictional, so we agree to differ.
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Gerontius
Sat, Jul 4, 2020, 8:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: In Theory

The problem is, Data is a totally honest android. Ask him what he is thinking about, and he tells you. When he tries to act romantic it is completely obvious that it's an act. (Though that was a bit at odds with the way that in a previous aspect it was shown that, under the guidance of his mentor, Picard, he had become a very accomplished actor.)

Hunan relationships sometimes require an ability to be deceptive about how we feel at any time - deceptive to other people, and also deceptive to ourselves.

Actually that needn't mean someone else might be quite capable of getting along with him pretty well as a partner. If gay relationships had been allowed to exist in the Next Generation I think it would have been perfectly possible for the relationship with Geordi to be developed in that direction.

Plenty of people, especially men, go through life without indicating much emotion, and manage well enough. That's more especially true in some cultures and some countries. (The stiff upper lip...) The differences in how Data behaves is not really more extreme than that which can characterise some people on the spectrum.

Very reasonable that Jenna could be attracted by these very qualities. They imply a kind of safety, which could be appealing in a condition of emotional turmoil - and as was noted, there's a pattern of behaviour wanted. It's not what she really wants. She was definitely the wrong person for Data.

Fortunately, he's got Spot, who accepts him as he is, and has trained him to provide whatever is required in the way of food or comfort. Data just needs to find a human who is a bit more like Spot.
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Gerontius
Sat, Jul 4, 2020, 7:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

Correction - The preceding episode with a plot about symbionts, treated in a rather different fashion, was of course not Contagion, it was Conspiracy.
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Gerontius
Sat, Jul 4, 2020, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

"I think the clash where Leah finds out would have been far better if Geordi would have confessed everything and admitted that he is lonely and fell for that hologram in a high pressure situation, that he made a mistake and is deeply sorry. AND then Leah warms to his honesty."

I rather took it that that was pretty well what we are meant to assume actually happened, after the initial spat, in the light of the eventual rapprochement. Though I can't see "deeply sorry" as the appropriate level of penitence for Geordi any more than for Leah. Both made errors of judgement which were perfectly understandable.
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Gerontius
Fri, Jul 3, 2020, 8:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

"Computer FREEZE program!

Computer - stop this holographic Leah acting like this! Don't let her touch me, or say such suggestive things. It's not proper.

In fact, could you provide a chaperone who can sit in the corner."

That should have sorted things out perhaps?
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Gerontius
Fri, Jul 3, 2020, 7:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

Having people act as if they know you when they've never actually met you I believe is a pretty common thing that happens to TV actors and presenters. It's a natural enough kind of misunderstanding. It isn't generally seen in itself as any kind of sexual harassment, unless that is what actually takes place in the course of the interaction.
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Gerontius
Fri, Jul 3, 2020, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

Why run to the holodeck? Because he realises that however innocent everything was, Leah is going to jump to the wrong conclusion. He wanrts to get there before that happens and explain what happened and put it in context.

And remember, Geordi didn't "create" the hologram, the ships computer did that without him intending to, and it came up with the holographic Leah's script, and with any and all of Leah's actions. Which were presumably based on its understanding of the way she would have been likely to behave with a trusted colleague she liked. The trouble was that, for the real Leah, Geordi wasn't a trusted colleague she liked. Not until later in the episode.

And if his delving into her personal history didn't go beyond finding out a favourite food and didn't even tell him that she was married, it couldn't have been that intrusive.
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Gerontius
Fri, Jul 3, 2020, 9:24am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

It was perfectly reasonable of Leah to misunderstand what Geordi had done, and object to what she thought he had, and it was perfectly natural that he should protest at being misjudged. And it was perfectly in character that when the misunderstanding was cleared up she should say sorry. It would have been better perhaps if they'd included him saying sorry as well, rather than leaving it to be taken as understood. Patching up a quarrel generally means you both indicate you're sorry, in my experience.

As for failing to avoid all this by explaining in advance, yes that was a mistake, but the kind of mistake anyone might make, especially an awkward young man probably wary of things being misinterpreted (as they were).

And trying to find out what food someone likes before setting up a meal amounts to invading their personal space....?
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Gerontius
Thu, Jul 2, 2020, 7:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Mind's Eye

So Data didn't need a pipe and deerstalker to exercise his Sherlockian skills!

I think the comments about poor old Bochra are unfair, even if his experience with Geordi's visor was the source of their knowing about it's possibilities. Both him and Geordi would automatically have been debriefed about what happened after returning home, and there'd have been no reason for him to treat that information as anything to conceal, or to fail to include it in the report he would have given about the episode. In no sense would that have felt like betraying his Federation friend.

As for knowing about Geordi's trip to Risa, I'd assume the Romulans would have a spy presence there, and a hotel booking clerk could have supplied the information.

A well crafted episode - though I prefer Startrek when there's an element of some ethical or interpersonal dilemma.
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Gerontius
Thu, Jul 2, 2020, 5:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

An interesting contrast between the way the reaction of the cast to the indwelling symbiont in The Host and the way they responded to the analogous creatures in The Contagion back in the first series. No question back then of responding to it as a strange new lifeform which needed to cautiously investigated , but instead destroyed sight as a filthy alien monster.

I agree that the Deep Space version of The Trill was far more interesting. There was a hint that the Next Generation version might not be quite as nasty a set-up as has been assumed here, and that was when Picard commented that the updated combination seemed to have retained some characteristics of Riker. If they had wanted to reconcile the two versions they could have made it that, while the symbiont's personality was overwhelmingly stronger initially, the hosts was still potentially present, and needed a little time to make itself evident, or even in time equal of even dominant.
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Gerontius
Thu, Jul 2, 2020, 3:48am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

It's easy enough to produce perfectly reasonable counters to all those points. But the crucial one is the last one; I don't think the episode is very much about awarding points as to who is more in the right or who is in the wrong, it's more bout about misunderstandings arising between two likeable people which set them at odds, and which get resolved. That's what I meant by "comedy of errors".

(For example I'd question whether it's right to assume Geordi is "physically superior" just because he's a male. Knock his viewer off and he's much more the vulnerable one.)
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Gerontius
Wed, Jul 1, 2020, 6:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

" he has her at a disadvantage the whole time". I can't see how that is the case. He is in no sense in any kind of superior position to Leah - possibly even the reverse. He is a senior figure within the Enterprise, but in the context of StarTrek it seems likely that she, if anything, is more senior than him, as a distinguished scientist and well-regarded designer of starships.

It strikes me that much of the criticism of Geordi is based on an unexamined assumption that he is dealing with someone with less clout than himself, a kind of superior intern, and, even, that by virtue of the fact that she is female, her position is more vulnerable. But we are surely intended to accept that in 24th century Federation culture, that kind of assumption is no more relevant than it would be to see Geordi's colour as putting him in a more vulnerable position.

I think it is a fallacy to see Geordi's actions as "creepy" or as some kind of sexual abuse. The episode is a sardonic comedy of errors.

For excellent reasons Geordi inadvertently caused the holographic Leah to come into existence and cooperated with her in saving the ship. The ship's computer adjusted her personality to assist in that, leading to greater closeness between the holograph and Geordi.

When the real Leah arrived Geordi instinctively, and perfectly understandably fell into assuming the real Leah was more similar to the holograph than was the case, and acted in a way that reflected that. And he also failed to advise her of the fact that he had already met with a holographic version of her, which was a mistake, but not a ethical fault on his part. And when Leah saw the computerised version of herself she quite reasonably misunderstood the whole situation.

And when all the misunderstandings were sorted out, it ended in their establishing a friendship on a different and more real basis.

Nothing "creepy", nothing "abusive" - as I said, a comedy of errors.
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Gerontius
Tue, Jun 30, 2020, 8:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Half a Life

I rate this as a pretty good episode, Luxwana and all. (She's annoying all right, but that's her shtick, and you laugh while you cringe - and in this episode it was good to see a glimpse of another side in the final scene.

Unlike a lot of people, I don't see the idea of a culture that imposes a deadline on its members as at all absurd. In fact a central argument against a move towards legalising euthanasia is that it could lead to a culture in which old people could be encouraged or manipulated, into choosing to die, for the benefit of their children - or indeed might themselves make that choice because they see continuing to love as a burden on those children.

No need to have a law code compelling it if the social pressure and expectation become strong enough. Look at all the parents who freely offer their infants, female and male, for genital mutilation in cultures across the world.

And in fact there was never any indication that The Resolution was a legally
imposed requirement, rather than a universally accepted practice, underpinned by strong family pressures.

And as with infant genital mutilation, other cultures may disapprove (more notably of the female version) but can do little about it. Even without a Prime Directive.

And rightly so, because the principle behind the Prime Directive is undoubtedly correct - all human history seems to bear out the fact that forced interference with the cultures of other societies, however well intended, invariably damages those societies, and can even end in effectively destroying the people of those societies. Change comes, and contact can help shape that change - but ensuring that the change is for the good is a very tricky enterprise, even an impossible one.
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Gerontius
Sat, Jun 20, 2020, 8:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

It is true enough that the medium can well present the actions of a character in a way that encourages the viewer or reader to see it in a particular light, and this can open it to criticism. But that is a different matter.

For example behaviour that is sexist or racist could be presented in a way tat made it seem acceptable or sympathetic, and it would be very fair to comment critically on this or object to it, but that is a different thing from objecting to the fact of the character behaving in that way. It could be quite possible for the medium to give the reverse emphasis - or even to seek to avoid loading things either way and aim to invite viewers or readers to make up their own minds, as in real life. And again, as in real life situations, there are liable to be unconscious biases involved one way and another, even where neutrality might be the conscious aim.

And all those things are reasonable areas for discussion.
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Gerontius
Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 8:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

It always seems strange how many people seem to see criticising the behaviour of a fictional character we the same thing as identifying a fault in the writing and portrayal of that character.

People are imperfect. It is right that that should be represented in the characters as shown in a dramatic work.

Geordi's character is seen as behaving in a way that invites criticism (maybe more). But it is consistent with the character we have been shown, and in its way realistic (and in the context of the narrative, understandable and even excusable). The job of drama isn't to photoshop the way real people behave , and when we express disapproval of the actions of a fictional character we shot not slip into seeing that as indicating a failure on the part of the writer/ director/actor.
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Gerontius
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 10:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Dropped to see if this thread was still going strong. Well, at leadt it's still going...

But that last post by Eamon - "STP? If it tries to say anything it’s that foreigners actually are bad, progress actually is dangerous, and exploration of the world or of the self are too mundane to matter. "

I can't make any sense of that as coming out of Picard. Bad foreigners? Some are, some aren't. Progress is dangerous? Everything is dangerous, obviously. Living is dangerous, but saying that doesn't imply you want to Give up living. As for exploration outer and inner being mundane, where does that come from?

I enjoyed the season, and look forward to the next. It compared very favourably to other first sesson incarnations of StarTrek. We've only had 12 episodes after all. There'll be some crackers yet to measure up to the best if what we've had before.
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Gerontius
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 10:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Neutral Zone

Who knows? My body was, by some legal definitions dead for a while. Then I was alive by all legal definitions. I'm not sure that "here" is a appropriate term for whether I am alive or not. Is a car less here when it is switched off? Is a Television programme here when the TV is turned on. Am I here on this website when someone else reads what I have just written? In 30 seconds or five years?
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Gerontius
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 9:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: First Contact

The normal practice might well be to make First Contact formally after a planet had actually made an initial trip - but the special circumstances of Riker being missing was specifically given as the reason things needed to be speeded up this time ( in fact in a sense first contact had already occurred by that time, when Riker's alien identity had been revealed).

And a strict reading of the Prime Directive would have provided legal coverage for Picard's action. And given the element of xenophobia in the planet's culture which was evident, making an early preliminary contact would have been very wise, given the possible risks in leaving it all to chance encounters, which could have been disastrous.

As for the stuff about Federation membership, an early indication that it was potentially on offer would have made sense. No doubt there'd be likely to be long negotiations about that. We've seen in other episodes of the Federation is not automatic. And it appears that the Federation is probably rather more analogous to the United Nations than to the European Union, let alone the USA. Minimal or zero loss of sovereignty, and relatively modest requirements for membership.

By necessity any narrative has to greatly simplify the real world, especially when it comes to political matters. StarTrek is hardly exceptional in that - think of the White House in the West Wing, consisting of a President and half a dozen companions, much the same as Enterprise. There's a literary convention of simplifying reality to enable an intelligible story. (And in The Next Generation that story has to told in 45 minutes...)
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Gerontius
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 9:44am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due

The opening fragment with Data as Scrooge on its own is enough to make this an outstanding episode.

The rest was pretty enjoyable. I'm with the posters above who liked Ardra the vamp. And I got the impression that Patrick Stewart played it as Picard being considerably more taken by her than he admitted - he's a pretty sensitive actor at getting those kind of hints into a performance.

Most of the posts focusing on the issue of religion strike me as pretty much beside the point. The threat of the Devil returning to claim on a debt is a pretty classic theme in folklore, but so far as the Ventaxians were concerned Ardra was essentially a powerful alien invader with. A back story. She could have been a Q or a Borg Queen - the point was she was in a position to destroy and dominate them.

As for the business of Picard forcing the Ventaxian chief to recognise that the necessary changes to the planet's society and environment had been achieved by human action, there was nothing of an attack on religion there - St Theresa of Avila's words "Christ has no body now on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours" express what is a pretty standard assumption of how things work in most religious contexts, not just Christian. (That doesn't mean that there aren't some quite powerful quasi-religious cults that would correctly recognize that as an attack.)
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Gerontius
Tue, Jun 16, 2020, 8:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: First Contact

The idea of the episode was excellent, but the execution was a bit clumsy, basically because the format meant everything had to be rushed. Krona was especially clumsily written and portrayed. I think it could have been done better with a more realistic interrogation not involving Riker's near death. Perhaps waterboarding to be plausible, if it was done today? And I'd have thought it would have been much more plausible to have had Krona set up for someone else to be "killed" by Riker, with himself as a witness he did it. After all with him dead, who could be relied on to manage Security? Sacrificial deaths for the cause are for gallant underlings as every leader knows.

And the decision that these people weren't ready for further contact really needed to have been taken by Picard, because they weren't.

The coercion of Riker by the nurse was a bit distasteful, but it can reasonably be seen as a critical comment on the cliche setup in Erroll Flynn/James Bond style stories, still typical at that time, where the Riker-like hero is the manipulative sexual exploiter in that kind of situation. Sort of "what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander".
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Gerontius
Tue, Jun 9, 2020, 7:05am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Final Mission

Patrick Stewart gave us a first rate dying Picard scene. Which was what the whole episode was for.

The rest was pretty clunky. The castaway on a desert planet scenario, and Picard dying in Wesley's arms didn't need the stuff with Dirgo or the magic fountain, and would have worked better without them.

The garbage-scow business needed slow up Enterprise coming to the rescue should have been replaced by something else, pretty well anything else. People have pointed out the gaping flaws in it - notably the idea there would have been any reason to keep towing it once it's moving in the right direction at the right speed.

But Picard deserved a good death scene just for once.
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Gerontius
Sat, May 23, 2020, 7:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Neutral Zone

Nothing improbable about reviving someone who has died. Depends on what you mean by death. When I had a cardiac arrest a few years ago, my heart stopped for some time, and that has generally be seen as defining the moment of death. But I¡m still here ten years later thanks to two strangers who gave me CPR until the paramedics arrived.

I'm not sure what definition of death the cryonics people use, but they must use one in order to freeze people, because otherwise they'd be shut down.
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