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Tue, Jul 6, 2021, 8:00pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S5: A Matter of Time

Eh. This ep felt like it was marking time until the big reveal of Rasmussen not being what he claimed to be. Everything before that reveal felt like jarringly incongruous filler. Many good points have been made in this now-decade-long comment thread, but I'll just focus on the three biggest problems.

First, there is no way that a future historian traveling to the past to observe any historical event would ever reveal his/her/its presence to any natives of that time. Given that Federation xenoanthropologists study pre-warp civilizations technologically, under cover, or from holographic/cloaked "duck blinds" to prevent the natives from knowing they're being watched, I'd think Rasmussen materializing right in front of the Enterprise, beaming himself onto the bridge and announcing himself as a historian from the 26th century there to observe them would have set off every red flag in Picard's head. That blew up my sense of disbelieve in the first five minutes.

Second, I simply cannot believe that a Starfleet captain as straight-laced and by-the-book as Picard was on TNG (he didn't become a bald Jim Kirk until the follow-up movies) would ever have channeled Kathryn Janeway ("What about the temporal prime directive?" "To hell with it!"; or, "I don't care if all of history comes unraveled, I want to know who you are and why you're on my ship!") like he did to Rasmussen. He cannot possibly not know about the Temporal Prime Directive, or the Department of Temporal Investigations. Sure, neither was created yet in Trek cannon until DS9 and Voyager, but if I had still been invested in the story until that scene, Picard's Janeway-esque rant would have completely taken me out of it. It was completely out of character.

Now of course, Rasmussen didn't care about the Penthara IV colony, and his not actually being from the 26th century gave him the perfect excuse for deflecting all the crew's questions about the future, including Picard's about what to do to save, or possibly destroy, the colony. But the captain's trademark eloquence (though overacted passion) did appear to wear down the con-man's shallow glibness and get to him, at least in the sense that his final reply to Picard - "I'm sorry, Captain, I can't help you" - was, until the final scene when he misses his trip back to 22nd century New Jersey, the only honest thing he said in the entire episode.

If anybody is interested, this link summarizes a novel in which Rasmussen's fate is detailed through 2383.
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Wed, Apr 4, 2018, 4:43pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S3: Blood Fever

One would think that such a logical race as Vulcans would have discovered the biological necessity of masturbation given their physiological compulsion to "get it on" every seven years when a partner might not be available. That's what makes Vorik's employment of the euphemism "intense meditation" so snicker-inducing. If the Doctor had acknowledged that obvious reality with a chuckle or leer, the episode might have been worthy of a recommendation.
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Wed, Mar 28, 2018, 1:49pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: Deja Q

"Deja Q" is worth the three and a half stars you gave it. But lost in all the accolades is the plot hole that if an "omnipotent" being can be stripped of his powers, than he really isn't "omnipotent," and neither are his fellows. "Extremelypotent," yes, but not OMNIpotent. It's more than a nitpick to me, because words still have meaning. Another example is the Borg rhetoric about "adding to/enhancing our perfection". Perfection is an inherent trait; either you are or you aren't. The imperfect cannot become perfect by their own efforts, whereas the perfect can become imperfect that way. But when they do, they can't become perfect again. The Borg are not and never would have been "perfect" by the very admission that they were pursuing it.
It evokes Data's remark to the Borg Queen in "First Contact" about "believing oneself to be perfect is often the sign of a delusional mind."
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Wed, Mar 28, 2018, 1:34pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The High Ground

What surprised me about "High Ground" is that this was an Earth colony populated by humans in this much balley-hooed "utopian" future that had all the same problems that the Federation claims have been purged from Earth itself. In other words, the former gave the lie to the latter. It's astonishing that this script was allowed to make the airwaves given that Gene Roddenberry was still living at the time. Perhaps his health had already begun deteriorating at that point to let this nod to reality slip by him.
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Mon, Mar 26, 2018, 8:34pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S6: One Small Step

I've always been a big space exploration enthusiast. It's why I became a Trekker all the way back in TOS's original network television run. Watching the Apollo XI landing - seeing a man actually set foot on another world in real time - was as mind-blowing for kids as it was for adults. You couldn't help but get the same silly grin on your face that Walter Cronkite did on that afternoon of July 20th, 1969. It's what makes the desert of manned space exploration the past forty-six years, and the death of the American manned space program a decade ago, depressing. Clarke and Kubric had us going to Jupiter by 2001, and instead all we got was 9/11. What a monumental cheat.

However, there is taking reasonable risks for exploration, and taking unreasonable ones. The Ares IV mission was the former, and Chakotay's stubborness about bringing back the Ares IV orbiter despite the slim chances of getting out of the graviton elipse in time was the latter. Especially since it eventually put not just the lives of the away team, but Voyager itself in danger. Seven was completely justified in being pissed at Chakotay for putting a historical novelty ahead of their lives. And her unique status made her just the person who would tear him a new one for doing so, insubordination be damned. I very much liked that part.

That, in turn, was why it didn't make sense for her to soften and come over to Chakotay's point of view. Far from her earlier dismissal of history as "irrelevant," *this* was the thing that was out of character for her. Listening to Lieutenant Kelly's logs might have been of some interest to her, but it would not have believably altered her conviction that Chakotay had royally screwed up - which was at least acknowledged by Janeway herself.

I cannot help but notice the similarities and contrasts of this episode to 2015's "The Martian". Both Mars missions had the same name, and it was the "MAV" of the Ares IV mission that was used to save Matt Damon's Mark Whatney character. And yet instead of the crew being marooned on Mars and one man being mysteriously swept away, it was the crew that escaped and one man that was left behind on the red planet. I don't know if the makers of the movie were "Voyager" fans, but I like to think that they were.
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Mon, Mar 26, 2018, 7:16pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S6: Barge of the Dead

Actually, very little about this story made any sense. That's not B'Lanna Torres' fault, of course. The complete illogic of Klingon spirituality long predates the creation of her character. To wit: How can mortals kill "gods" if they're truly "gods"? Obviously some progenitor race created the Klingon "species," and the latter killed the former in Klingon prehistory, and that fell into legends that recast said creators as "gods". The only other possibility - that Kortar actually "killed God" - isn't possible, let alone believable.

But even if one allows that impossibility for the sake of argument, if the Klingons really did "kill their gods," what entity decreed the creation of Sto'vo'kor and Gre'thor, the criteria of what determines which Klingons wind up in each, and the mode of how each works? If honorable Klingons wind up in Sto'vo'kor, who judges that? Ditto those who wind up on the Barge of the Dead? And how is it just that Torres' life sticks not just herself, on the Gre'thor Express, but her mother, Miral, as well? What if Miral lived an honorable life? How can the actions of her daughter, completely out of her control, pluck her away from Sto'vo'kor?

That Klingon spirituality is such an inexplicable mess is what persuades me that Torres was never dead in the first place. It simply cannot exist as depicted. Then, there's the matter of there being no such thing as increments of death; it's binary. Either you are or you aren't. "Afterlife" means just that - after. If the Barge (or wherever) is where Torres is truly headed, and she showed up there, she wouldn't be able to "go back", because *she would be dead*. So the whole episode did, after all, take place in Torres' own subconscious and her soul never went anyplace. Kinda makes all that well-crafted symbolism and character development awfully pyrrhic, if you ask me.
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Mon, Mar 26, 2018, 6:28pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S6: Equinox, Part II

"Quite simply, the sight of Janeway standing ice cold in her place — having locked Lessing alone in the cargo bay with some none-too-happy aliens, and now firmly reassuring Chakotay (none too sympathetically) that "he'll break" — is downright frightening." Actually, it's simpler than all that: It's Janeway doing to one of the Equinox crew what was essentially the equivalent of what Ransom had done to the nucleogenic lifeforms: using him to get what she wanted. It was only when Chakotay flouted her orders and saved Crewman Lessing that she relented, because she couldn't "otherize" her own first officer as she had her intended victim.

But then again, the argument can be made that it was Janeway's self-righteous vendetta that drove Ransom to the extreme actions he took in this conclusion, and made his arbitrary reemergence of conscience more than a little implausible. Extreme circumstances had led to his extreme actions in the first place; now his circumstances are even more extreme, but he has a change of heart and agrees to give up? How did that make any sense? What was the practical difference between the Haakonian Order and Voyager? Both were utterly determined to wipe out the Equinox with comparable levels of bloodlust. If Janeway had taken a more conciliatory approach to Ransom, there'd never have been any shooting at all.

And as to the shooting, how is it, even with the Equinox EMH stooging Voyager's shield modulation frequencies, that a gutted little science vessel was able to fight toe-to-toe with an Intrepid-class starship that has battled on an equally absurd even footing with everything up to a Borg tactical cube? If the two Starfleet vessels were going to go to war, Ransom's wouldn't have lasted thirty seconds, and both he and Janeway would have known it. Hence, the whole action premise of the conclusion is a ridiculous, unworkable non-starter. Once Janeway found the Equinox again, that would have been it - unless Ransom dared her to destroy his ship and crew.

That would have been an intriguing position to put Janeway in - not with a single Equinox crewmember, but with all of them. Could she have been Ransom's judge, jury, AND executioner? In for a penny, in for a pound? If the writers wanted conflict in this two-parter, this is where it should have ended: with Ransom self-destructing with all hands before Janeway could give the order to fire. To have seen Janeway wrestle with the guilt of what she'd driven her fellow Starfleet captain to do (after coming down from her red-hazed insanity) would have been worth the price of admission. And it would have put a lot darker spin on whatever captured Equinox crewpeople remained on Voyager. How would they have reacted to being required to serve what could only be described as their own captain's murderer? Definitely seeds of subversive conflict for future episodes, much like the Michael Hogan character from season two selling out Voyager to the Kazon.

Alas, none of that was to be. Most regrettable.
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Mon, Mar 26, 2018, 5:37pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Equinox, Part I

This is as good a place as any to make this point: "Technobabble" is a *good* thing. Nothing is more distracting to me as a sci-fi viewer than for things to "magically" happen in a story with no attempt made to plausibly explain them within the context of the program's mythos. Maybe you don't want to know the "why" of an episode's events, but not all of us are so incurious, and Trek does us that courtesy. The more 'technobabble,' the better, I say.

Now, on to my other point about "Equinox" itself. Janeway came across as insufferably self-righteous when she confronted Ransom about his crew's experimentation on the nucleogenic life forms. Also hypocritical; if anybody should be able to empathize with Ransom, it's Janeway. Sure, if you still want to write her as objecting to what the Equinox's crew did in order to maintain some level of moral conflict, fine, but the way she came down on Ransom was more belligerent than even her confrontations with the Borg Queen. The Equinox wasn't the black heart of pure evil; they were a path that Voyager had been spared (by Berman and Braga, but still....). Ransom had a point: If Janeway had been Equinox's captain, and her ship had been shattered, her crew starving and dying, what might she have been driven to do? We all know how obsessed she's always been with getting her crew home, after all. Maybe she would have followed Ransom's example, maybe she wouldn't, but she wouldn't even acknowledge the question; almost as if she didn't want to think about the possibility that Ransom was right. The survival of her crew versus high-falutin' Starfleet principles - it really is a pity the writers never forced that choice on her, as they did Ransom.

Perhaps Janeway's vehemence was meant to be an implicit indication that yes, she would have done what Ransom had in his place, and that buried acknowledgement to herself so horrified her that she lashed out at its external symbol: the Equinox's C.O. But I would have preferred a more open admission of same, and perhaps, ironically, a more Roddenberryian solution where both crews tried to communicate with the extradimensional aliens and work with them to arrive at a mutually beneficial compromise. That would have been a better plot direction than having Voyager and Equinox wind up senselessly shooting at each other. Indeed, the idea of a two-ship fleet led by Commodore Janeway would have been a nice way to shake up the show, even for a season.
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Thu, Mar 22, 2018, 2:18am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S1: Time and Again

The ending couldn't have been anything else. Basically the show was a closed paracausal loop, much like "Cause & Effect". Voyager detects the polaric ion explosion, investigates, Janeway and Paris get pulled back in time a day, and the crew's rescue attempt triggers the explosion. It happens, as the episode title suggests, "time and again". And again and again and again. The only difference with "C&E" is that we don't see the multiple iterations of the same sequence of events. It (implicitly) keeps happening until Janeway breaks the loop by preventing the rescue attempt. Since there was no explosion, Voyager doesn't divert to the planet because it has no reason to do so, since sensors indicate it's a pre-warp civilization protected by the Prime Directive. The crew has no memory of the events of the time loop because its effects went backwards in time, whereas those in "Cause & Effect" went forward in time.

That's not to say that "Time & Again" was a good story. But the time travel element of it does make sense. What would have helped it is if, just after Voyager moved out of scanning range, there'd been another explosion on that planet brought about by the native ecoterrorists - an outcome quite likely given how their zealotry was portrayed in the plot. Something to give the viewer a little food for thought, or at least to disrupt the episode's nice, neat "happy ending" and provide a foreboding note of what the Delta Quadrant was going to be like for our "intrepid" heroes.
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Thu, Mar 22, 2018, 1:50am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S7: The Pegasus

A couple of thoughts:

1) I liked Riker's telling Pressman when they beamed over to the Pegasus that (paraphrased0 "I was hoping the ship had been destroyed. But it hasn't, I've run out of time, and I have to make a choice". That's likely what enabled Riker to live with his actions over the previous twelve years: that Pressman's phasing cloak experiment had been vaporized when (so he thought) the Pegasus exploded, and the whole incident had died with it. A skeleton comfortably buried in his closet where nobody would ever find it. And then Pressman shows up on the Enterprise, resurrects it, and it bites Riker in the ass. And twelve years of experience and perspective and reflection prompted him to make a different decision - but only when he couldn't kick the phasing cloak down the road anymore. Very nicely nuanced, even if Picard's - and Starfleet's - apparent leniency detracts from it more than a smidge.

2) I disagree that Pressman was the villain of the story. That doesn't give him enough credit for his character's depth. The fact is, Pressman was right, policy-wise. The Federation's eschewing of cloaking technology in the Treaty of Algeron WAS a strategic blunder. It was unilateral disarmament that gave the Romulans a huge tactical advantage over Starfleet that should have enabled the former to overrun the latter with ease. But it didn't because Gene Roddenberry. Pressman, to his credit, recognized that gaping vulnerability and tried to address it. He just did so the wrong way; his problem was twofold: (a) he didn't have the authority to abrogate the Treaty all by himself, which guaranteed that if he got caught, it would discredit his policy position, and (2) he inhabits a quantum history where strategic lunacy isn't punished by reality.

In short, Pressman will have to take his medicine for his failed policy end-around, but Riker ought to suffer some penalty - demotion, reassigment - as well. Good thing his name was in the opening credits.
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Wed, Mar 21, 2018, 5:17pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S2: Peak Performance

Picard's dismissive remark about Starfleet not being a military organization at a time when the Romulans have reemerged as a major threat, the Federation is at war with the Cardassians, and even after the first encounter with the Borg, came across as insufferably smug Roddenberryism, and precisely the utopian arrogance that prompted Q to throw the Enterprise into the path of the Borg cube in system J25 in the first place. Almost makes Picard deserve his Borg assimilation into Locutus a year later, given that the Federation is entering fifteen years of constant warfare culminating in the Borg Invasion. "Starfleet is not a military organization" my ass.

As to this episode's plot, it would have been much more interesting to use the Romulans here instead of the Ferengi, the latter of whom never came across as serious antagonists even at the time. It would have stated, unequivocally, that Starfleet IS a military organization, and one that is going to be doing little else for years to come.
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Wed, Mar 21, 2018, 4:47pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S2: The Emissary

I had no issues with the Worf-K'Ehleyr story thread. They hooked up six years earlier, he wanted to "take the oath," she didn't, he got pissed off at the rejection of both him and his values, and walked out. Pretty straightforward. And given how this ep was followed up two seasons later in "Reunion", when K'Ehleyr WAS willing to take the oath but Worf turned her down because of his discommendation, makes this beginning tale quite satisfactory.

The "rouge Klingon sleeper ship" thread didn't make sense for one fundamental, underlying reason: It was a century less advanced than the Enterprise. Why would the latter have had to destroy the Klingon vessel? Could they not have just taken out the Klingons' weapons and engines and towed the ship to Q'onos for the present-day Klingons to deal with? Yes. But this thread had to be linked to the other one so that Worf and K'Ehleyr got their scene on the bridge, posing as the commanders of the Enterprise. A case of two decent story threads that were not quite compatible.
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Wed, Mar 21, 2018, 4:19pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S2: Manhunt

The "Manhunt" lasts all of thirty seconds in the final scene where Lwaxana, er, "fingers" the Antedean terrorists planning to blow up the diplomatic conference. Unfortunately, the term is also a double entendre also applying to her raging, rampaging lust quest that she curiously attaches to getting married, which can only limit its chances for success. If Betazoid women actually experience a quadrupling of their sex drives in middle age, why isn't Mrs. Troi humping every male on the ship? That would have been far more humorous than her roaringly presumptuous matrimony impositions. To say nothing of far more arousing to her male prey than being shotgunned to an alter without so much as their consent being sought. It came across to me as relentlessly annoying.
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Mon, Mar 19, 2018, 11:27pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S7: Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

You really wanted this episode to be "Black Lives Matter" in the 24th century? if it had been written now, almost twenty years later, it probably - almost certainly - would have been. Thank God it was written twenty years ago, before "social justice" leftism permeated everything.
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Mon, Mar 19, 2018, 11:01pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Course: Oblivion

1) It seems odd that in an episode that was a sequel to "Demon," continuity would be so completely disregarded. The core of that previous episode was that the copies of Paris and Kim were compelled to return to the "Demon" planet's surface. Almost as if there was a symbiotic relationship between the two. So after Janeway allowed her entire crew to be copied and left them behind on the planet, why would the copied crew ever want to leave it, even if they could? Who cares how they managed to completely duplicate Voyager itself when all the "silver blood" directly contacted of the ship was its landing struts and lower two decks? They should have wanted to stay put. Period.

2) But let's grant that gaping continuity chasm and get to the meat of "Oblivion". It would have been far more interesting AND entertaining if the real Voyager had encountered the fake one. Picture the real crew trying to figure out where their doppelgangers had come from (Parallel universe? Time travel? Alien deception?), then learning that they were their "demon" duplicates, and then learning about their "illness". Janeway would have had to confront the inexplicable and highly questionable decision she made at the end of "Demon" to allow her crew to be copied in the first place (not unlike her giving the Hirogen holodeck technology in "The Killing Game" and then having the consequences of that decision come back to bite her in "Flesh & Blood"). In this case, she would be ultimately responsible for the fake crew's demise by allowing them to exist in the first place. And consider that that guilt would be amplified by, first, acquiring the quantum slipstream drive technology that the fake crew had successfully developed (Yay! We can go home!) and then being unable to risk using it when it's connected with the fake crew's mass deaths. The story consequence trifecta.

The bottom line of "Oblivion" was that there wasn't any point to it. It wasn't the real characters, so what happened to the fake crew was meaningless. And the real crew never even knew they existed. It evokes the expression, "If a tree falls over in a forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?" In this case, the answer is a depressing "no" - except for the unfortunate audience.
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Sat, Mar 17, 2018, 12:10am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TOS S2: By Any Other Name

A few thoughts....

* Always loved Scotty drinking Tomar under the table and his line, "It'''s green". When Data paid it homage in "Relics," I cheered.

* It's a pity that the remastered TOS episodes couldn't ret-con in subsequent technological developments into the dialog. The Kelvans upgrading the Enterprise's engines could have been mentioned as adding a quantum slipstream drive (which, per the dialogue in Voyager's "Hope & Fear," would have made the trip to M31 - Andromeda - take a little over ten years, not three hundred). Ditto that no subsequent Trek series ever revisited the Kelvan story.

* Given what a horndog Kirk was, it would have brought the house down if in the final scene where Rojan walks in on Kirk and Kelinda necking, Rojan had instead found them, shall we say, fully involved. The sight of Jim Kirk engaging in a fistfight stark naked and still, shall we say, "at attention" would have been hilarious, particularly since we all know it wouldn't have been the first time.
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Fri, Mar 16, 2018, 11:32pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S7: Dark Page

I'd sum this episode up as good story substance, bad performances. I like the addition to the Troi's backstories, and how this helps explain Lwaxana's pushily ebullient personality (i.e. she's subconciously compensating for that heartache). I can buy that Lwanxana suppressed the memory of Kestra's tragic death rather than deal with it. She's an Alpha-type personality who likes to be in control, and losing a child would, among other things, make her feel helpless, and she couldn't tolerate that. I can also buy that seeing Maques' daughter, who looked a lot like Kestra, would cause that suppressed memory to surface. I can even buy that she would be paralyzed by that suppressed memory. What's difficult to swallow is that Lwaxana would almost instinctively suppress the rest of her psyche rather than the same memory again and render herself a mental vegetable, necessitating all that telepathy hokiness where Maques activates his mind links by deep scowling accompanied by that goofy TOS-esque crescendoing sound effect (in addition to the camera-rushes and Troi staring into the camera like Cindy Brady in the quiz show episode. And that was the on-ramp to the late Majel Roddenberry's overacted blubbering. Losing a child is any parent's worst nightmare, and I get that she never processed her grief when it happened, but good grief, we get the point, Lwaxana. Between those two factors, what would have been a touching episode became giggle-inducing. Not the effect for which I imagine Hilary Bader was going.
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Fri, Mar 16, 2018, 10:49pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TOS S2: I, Mudd

For all the above commenters denouncing this episode as being sexist (kudos to the one who pointed out that what else would you expect a dirtbag like Harry Mudd to do but turn a bunch of the androids into animatronic blowup dolls), I must make an additional evidently needed observation, and I think the late George Carlin said it best that if he could autofellate himself, he'd never leave his house. Apply that principle to a lone man marooned on a planet full of androids capable of the right modifications and I ask you: What would y'all do? Although I concede that this argument would be a lot more sympathetic if Mudd has only sexed up one of them, not unlike Flynt did in "Requiem for Methuselah".
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Fri, Mar 16, 2018, 10:36pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TOS S2: The Deadly Years

Spock declining command on the grounds that he had the same affliction as Kirk was silly, because Vulcans have twice the lifespan humans do, and there was nothing in the dialogue that indicated that the disease was progressing at twice the rate it was in humans, as evidenced by Lieutenant Galway shriveling up completely before the end of Act II. Even if you split the difference on Spock's life expectancy given his human half - which isn't how genetics works - Spock was still in possession of all his mental faculties and had no reason not to take command at least through the resolution of the immediate crisis. Certainly Commodore Stocker commanded the ship as if he'd been lobotomized. Exit question: Did Kirk have Irrumodic Syndrome (24th century Altzheimers)? Because if he did, Starfleet Medical must have lost McCoy's cure for it by a century later.
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Wed, Apr 1, 2009, 4:42pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2 (April Fools Version)

I'll be writing my own review ( in due course, but allow me to toss off a couple of insider-esque observations.

1) If I was listening correctly, didn't Chief Tyrol in essence tell the Tighs that he was moving to Scotland? Might that not make him Montgomery Scott's 6008x great grandfather?

2) In the very last words of dialogue between the Six and Baltar angels (or whatever), Six speculates that our civilization might not repeat the mistakes of its predecessors. Baltar replies, "Since when did you become an optimist?" Six answers by citing the statistical inevitabilities of the "cycle" breaking eventually, and adds, "That, too, is God's plan."

Baltar snorts. "You KNOW he doesn't like to be called that."

My reaction: The Cylon "god" is....Ronald D. Moore. A subtle "world as myth" page taken from Robert Heinlein's last "Future History" novel, "To Sail Beyond The Sunset".

Kind of a nice, quiet, little self-satirical wave to all the BSG fans who came to take the show WAY too seriously over the course of its run as it, too, "sails beyond the sunset."
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