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Jason R.
Wed, May 15, 2019, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

By the way for additonal context there is a scene of Odo being distracted by holographic burlesue dancers in Badda Bing Badda Bang. Doesn't really change the discussion (perhaps it's just another retcon) but obviously Broken Link isn't unique in its portrayal.
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Jason R.
Wed, May 15, 2019, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

I don't disagree with any of the points made so I will leave it be. But just a minor one: Many male characters in fiction portrayed as being in love will claim to have no sexual feelings for anyone but their love. This is, of course, nonsense. Even if the character believes it in the moment, it's physically impossible.

Given Odo's remarkable inexperience in such matters it is fair to say that even his own beliefs about his feelings cannot be taken at face value.
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Jason R.
Wed, May 15, 2019, 12:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

Sorry, meant to say "relatively uncommon one"
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Jason R.
Wed, May 15, 2019, 12:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

William I suppose the way I see it is that emotional attraction and sexual attraction are not separate things. I have never understood the idea of loving a woman for her mind or some abstract idea as separate and distinct from her body i.e. her sexuality. Indeed, if one removes the sexuality from the equation one ends up with nothing more than a nice friendship - which is plainly something different from romantic love. The idea that Odo should love Kira for her mind or something and not care about her physicality and sexuality renders the relationship no longer a romantic one. That is fine, but clearly the writers wanted more for Odo's character.

And if you accept the premise that changelings may have a fixed gender, either by birth or through some force of habit (or combination thereof) then the idea of a male shapeshifter finding a female Bajoran attractive isn't so far fetched.

Of course I am operating within the Trek convention that two beings from separate planets would be essentially identical outside of a wrinkled nose or a ridged forehead, but once you go that far (and in serious scifi that itself would be ludicrous) then the idea of male gendered shapeshifters being sexually attracted to female solids is essentially a trivial leap.

We know Odo isn't just aping the form of a solid - as far as we know he IS what he is imitating while doing so. Why one should be distresses that he appropriates a common sexuality (cis male hetero) and not a relatively common one is beyond me.
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Jason R.
Wed, May 15, 2019, 9:16am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Plato's Stepchildren

This episode is much better than I remembered, especially due to the Alexander character, who really elevates the proceedings. The Platonians really are on a totally different level of villainy from any previous characters in TOS.

The ending, mind you, is laughable. After the grotesqueries inflicted on them by the Platonians, Kirk's admonishment of Parman and the others amounts to little more than a mild scolding. I know that the Federation doesn't make a practice of blowing up anyone that attacks them, but seriously? "see that you do!" That's it? It should be noted that Parman alone was so powerful that he could hold the Enterprise in orbit with just his mind!
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Jason R.
Tue, May 14, 2019, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

I agree Peter and I would add that clearly the changelings are doing more than just imitating the appearance of physical forms a la the T1000 from Terminator. We have to presume that such a facade would easily be unmasked by a simple tricorder scan and other technologies that are standard in the Star Trek universe. Such scans can easily discern even between different humanoid groups, so just goo in a human shape would never fool anyone.

The changelings must be imitating other lifeforms right down to their DNA. So I'd infer that Odo was always "fully functional" down there, although perhaps not schooled in many techniques.
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Jason R.
Tue, May 14, 2019, 2:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

"The humanoid male shape of him is no more real than the LCARS screens and rocks he transforms into"

Apparently not. He is pretty explicitly gendered as male in the series. At no point is it stated otherwise nor is it suggested that Changelings are genderless a la the race from The Outcast.

While it's not the character you may have wanted, it does seem to be the character as was written. And frankly, I see nothing outlandish about Odo being explicitly male gendered.

But I will say the decision to make him Human was rather arbitrary. I would have expected him to be Bajoran if anything. Though perhaps "human" in this case is just proxy for some kind of generic solid i.e. humanoid.
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Jason R.
Tue, May 14, 2019, 10:27am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

"FOUNDER: They're dead. You're dead, Cardassia is dead. Your people were doomed the moment they attacked us. I believe that answers your question. "

I always felt, in retrospect, that this was a promise the Founders always intended to keep, regardless of their subsequent alliance with Cardassia.

Of course they did eventually attempt it after the Cardassian fleet turned against them in WYLB but I feel that affected the timing only, not the end result.

For the Founders, the Obsidian Order's attempted genocide was a capital crime, for all Cardassians.
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Jason R.
Tue, May 14, 2019, 5:45am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Deadly Years

Rahul I get what they were going for in this episode but the *execution* is botched to an almost hilarious degree. Unlike other bad TOS episodes, which are conceptually ludicrous (The Omega Glory, Patterns of Force) or just silly (Onward to Eden) this one kind of disintegrates and fails even on its own outlandish terms. Every scene is wrong. Entire threads make no sense.

We have Kirk's old flame hanging around the whole time having these awkward conversations that go nowhere. At one point Kirk asks her about her husband who she says is 20 yrs older than her and then he makes this strange comment and I could swear he was implying that his old age (from radiation sickness!!) might be attractive to her because she likes older guys?!

You have Scotty just doing nothing standing there looking like the script just forgot about him.

You have this deer in the headlights performance by the Commodore who treats Kirk with respect, even reverence, yet for some unstated reason gets treated with disdain by Kirk in return. I guess Kirk just really hates Commodores.
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Jason R.
Mon, May 13, 2019, 8:30am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Deadly Years

This episode is far worse on rewatch then I remembered. Possibly one of the worst TOS episodes of all time. Jammer's 2 star rating is being exceedingly generous.

First we have to sit through boring scenes of Kirk exhibiting memory loss on the bridge. Over and over. He gives the same order twice to Sulu, then the wrong code to Uhura, then wants to sign the same paper he already signed for some Yeoman - and each time it is this long drawn out reaction of shock like everyone is so surprised - yes we get it, he's losing his memory, enough!

Then if that isn't enough, we have to hear about the same events just ten minutes later in some cockamamee court proceeding Spock conjures up at the instigation of the Commodore guy where Sulu, Uhura and Yeoman who cares are called as witnesses. Really? McCoy just established that they have days if not *hours* to live and their top priority is to go to court and have a hearing? As McCoy is testifying all I can think is: you have what? a day to live? Don't you think there is something more productive you could do with your time such as, say, working on a cure!!

Kirk's behaviour is just ludicrous. He knows he is dying of old age. He knows he is going senile. It has been explained to him. He just witnessed it first hand with the colonists and later with that ensign who dropped dead of old age after going completely senile. This isn't like with Sarek where there was a shred of plausible deniability and some doubt as to what was happening. Kirk is a proud guy, but even with his mind deteriorating is he completely insane by this point?Recall a similar situation in Night Terrors where Picard makes the entirely rational choice to hand over command to Data. Done and done. Would a court proceeding have improved that episode?

Then in one of the weirdest craziest tone shifts in memory (rivalled only by the second half of From Dusk Till Dawn) suddenly the Enterprise is in the Neutral Zone fighting a fleet of Romulum Warbirds! Holy smokes! Did the Commodore pick today as the day to stroll into the neutral zone to get into a space battle? I thought he was intent on returning to the starbase to get help for Kirk and the others. But it's just BAM we're in the neutral zone fighting Romulans. How did we get there? Why? I know I know - the commodore is "green" so by that I guess they mean laughably negligent to the point of strolling into Romulan space and starting an interstellar war for no particular reason on a whim. Yeah he's a green horn alright.

Then Kirk takes a potion and in 90 seconds he goes from senile old man to perfect condition? Just BAM he's on the bridge saving the day. There's the Trek cliche of the magic concoction that rapidly reverses what should be permanent damage and then there's GTFO.

You know I have watched alot of mediocre to terrible TOS episodes over the years like The Children Shall Lead or The Omega Glory but this episode really surprised me. It is just bonkers. If you haven't seen it recently, trust me your memory doesn't do justice to how bad it is.
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Jason R.
Sun, May 12, 2019, 7:48am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

This episode has improved for me in recent reviewing. One nuance I didn't quite appreciate before is Dr. Marr's increasing instability which culminates in what I can only speculate to be some kind of psychotic break. By the end the way she addresses Data on the bridge she seems to truly believe that he's her dead son. You can see she's becoming unhinged throughout the episode especially in the scene where she tells Data she could only think of her son when she heard the screaming of the crew of the ship killed by the entity. Data innocently accedes to her request to speak in her son's voice but unwittingly lights the fuse that sets off her madness.

All this time I could only think: where the F is Troi? I mean really, what good are her empathic powers if she is impotent to detect something as extreme as this? Right before Marr gave the command to increase the resonance wave on the bridge Troi should have been raising an alarm. You can SEE the anxiety in the character's performance just before she enters the final code on the computer. After Marr has already started staring into the abyss with that crazy look on her eye that's when Troi helpfully tells them "something is very wrong here". Bravo counsellor, bravo.

There's a scene at the very start of the episode where Marr is in a briefing and afterward Troi tells Picard "you don't need an empath to sense that woman's feelings". Congratulations to the writing on this line; it's the coda of the episode! Indeed, they don't need an empath (or Troi) at all.
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Jason R.
Fri, May 10, 2019, 8:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Threshold

I always assumed that ships travelling at warp were still propelling themselves conventionally *within warp* so warp 10 would be like achieving light speed within a warp field. That is kind of what I think they were going for in this episode since if you actually reached true light speed in or out of warp you could basically go anywhere in the universe in an arbitrarily short period of time (from your own point of view) even if eons passed for those not in your ship. Kind of sort of like being everywhere at once?

On second thought, no actually not. God this was a stupid episode.
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Jason R.
Thu, May 9, 2019, 6:09am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

"@ Jason R.
For me it actually goes in the opposite direction. Knowing that the universe is so immensely old and gigantic definitely leaves me in awe but that doesn't lead to religion but to nihilism. I think we can be fairly certain that humanity will be gone in 500 million years but the universe will probably still do it's thing. If humanity isn't a constant development until the end of time then what is the point of anything?

Why would a higher being place us on an mid sized planet flying around a mid sized sun in one of the smaller arms of a mid sized spiral galaxy which is part of galaxy group which is part of a super cluster which is part of a super cluster complex. "

@Booming let me try to address this. First, when I use the word "religious" I wasn't talking about Jesus or Odin or some other parochial Earth religion. I was speaking in a much more general sense referring to some cosmic 'purpose' of which we seem to be some small part of.

You look at the cosmos and imagine we don't matter at all and our existence is just a meaningless fluke. And I get that point of view. But then I think: why shouldn't we matter? The fundamental forces of the cosmos exist at the largest levels (like gravity) and at the smallest with the strong nuclear force at the level of the atomic nucleus. Stars, the engines of creation, literally began as diffuse clouds of hydrogen with no discernable order or purpose except to coalesce in denser and denser clouds seemingly at random. But when enough of them clumped together something awesome suddenly happened. Why should something be unimportant merely because it is small or (seemingly) insignificant in isolation?

We have some inkling as to how the universe began but not the foggiest concept of how, let alone why. And science will never ever reveal that to us because it literally can't - our science disintegrates at the moment just before the big bang. Even the universe as it exists today has parts that can never be observed, as their light has red shifted away in the expanding universe, lost forever to any possibility of observation.

You could believe that the genesis of the cosmos is just some random fluke with no purpose at all. But this hypothesis has no greater validity or probability of being true than believing that there is a purpose. And why should that purpose exclude us, any more than it excludes a single hydrogen nucleus that will one day power a star?
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Jason R.
Wed, May 8, 2019, 2:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

"But as long as this possible entity isn't ready to be poked in a lab I'm not ready to build my life around the interpretation of that possible entity."

So much of the cosmos falls into this category - things that not only can't be observed / tested, but literally can't *ever* be without breaking the fundamental laws physics themselves as we know them. At both the microscopic and macroscopic scales our observations are so hilariously small in scope. It's a humbling epiphany to realize that if we had the technology of Star Trek in our hands today, we would be, in cosmic terms, no closer to the truth of existence than a man sitting in his basement is to China.

Not that I would suggest throwing up my hands, casting off science and worshipping Baal. But we shouldn't be too quick to dismiss things that can't be measured in a lab.

It's ironic that the more knowledge I consume about the universe the more religiously inclined I become - though this is more in a very general sense of awe and less about a specific set of beliefs. Call it atheism with humility.
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Jason R.
Thu, May 2, 2019, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

Pyotr Daestrom wasn't in Starfleet - he was a civilian. Not in the military chain of command let alone subject to military justice. And as a genius computer scientist my guess is Starfleet gave him some latitude.
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Jason R.
Thu, May 2, 2019, 7:09am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

"Although there were a few exceptions, several posters responded with a very typical throwaway comment. “If I don’t see the problem, it must not exist.”

Several people stated they disagreed with the way you characterized the posting on this forum.

If someone doesn't see a problem, then they don't see a problem. Or are you suggesting that they shouldn't trust their lying eyes?
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Jason R.
Tue, Apr 30, 2019, 5:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Our Man Bashir

NoPoet let me explain to you why this is better than a typical Voyager episode - Garak. Good actors (playing interesting characters) elevate even mediocre episodes.
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 26, 2019, 9:15am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Jammer does seem to have mellowed a bit over the years. It seems like his baseline centre of gravity has shifted about 1/2 a star or maybe a whole star upward.

I'm not really criticizing him, just making an observation. Not sure why that should be a taboo subject.
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Jason R.
Wed, Apr 24, 2019, 6:04am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: To the Death

It isn't so much a question of whether or not Starfleet is a military organization - clearly it always has been right back to TOS. But we were led to believe that its mission was primarily exploration - even being told as recently as DS9 The Search that it didn't have a single warship before The Defiant. And even in that case, we find out the ship was mothballed after the Borg threat seemed less pressing.

The point is, you have an organization that we are told from at least TNG onward, considers war at best an occasional / part-time endeavor. I mean the Enterprise was flying around with kindergarten facilities onboard!

Yes there was the Cardassian conflict, of which O'Brien we are told was a veteran. And yes Sisko got into at least one space battle with the Borg. But bottom line, these are at best like reserve or part-time soldiers.

How in the heck can they go toe to toe with trained full-time professionals whose entire lives are spent in combat? Not to mention genetically enhanced?! That's the fraud of it. I am saying, military or not, Starfleet officers like Sisko and Dax should be put on their asses by the rawest Jem Hadar recruit. And there should be no shame in that. But the show kind of wants to talk the talk without walking the walk, so our heroes must of course be better or equal soldiers to the supersoldiers.

That's why Weyoun is such a standout character. With him we get sonething genuine. And he still manages to be a very powerful very interesting character - both to the audience and in universe.
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Jason R.
Tue, Apr 23, 2019, 1:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: To the Death

Great review Elliott. You touched on a major problem I have had with this otherwise entertaining episode and with the series generally:

"See, the way Sisko answers creates a slippery slope. Sisko frames his choice not to kill Worf in terms of military tactics. He may or may not be correct in that regard; it is a debatable position, I suppose. But all Sisko had to do was echo Odo's “I am NOT a god,” remark and say, “we are NOT soldiers.” Just like with Eddington's tirade about the Federation being like the Borg and all that crap, Sisko is letting his opponent frame the terms of the argument. Sisko may win his spat with Eddington by capturing him and making him pay for his disloyalty, but in so doing cedes the philosophical ground to the man who compared a benevolent coalition to an insidious force. Sisko may win the argument with Orionaxegrinder here, but in so doing, he cedes the point that Starfleet IS a military organisation, which it fucking is not. "

See it has always bugged me that DS9 on one hand purported to hew to the idealism of Starfleet as "non military" and yet - could never break itself of the need to portray our heroes as badasses in every conflict, as great soldiers in effect.

I mean if Jadzia or Kira or Sisko can beat up rampaging genetically engineered super soldiers in a fist fight - what good are they? Why would the Founders have even bothered to engineer them in the first place? Sisko has no more business brawling Jem Hadar soldiers than he has out-wrestling a vulcan (or beating one in baseball) DS9 plays fast and loose, purporting to show us the "evolved" humanity, but clinging to the old tropes of the heroes having to hold their own in physical combat.

I could never put my finger on what bugged me about this episode until you hit the nail on the head. Sisko has ceded this argument before it even starts by playing the Jem Hadar's game. It's why he and the rest of the crew come across as such whiny brats in the scenes with the Jem Hadar and why their redemption and earning the Jem Hadars' respect in the end is so contrived and hollow.

This should have been like Take me out to the Holosuite, an episode that, despite being a comedy, gives us a far more serious answer to the problem of what happens when coddled 24th century officers go in the trenches with supersoldiers. Weyoun has it right in this episode and Jeffrey Combs is pitch perfect. Here is a character who understands who he is and importantly who he isn't. It's why he comes across so much better than Sisko or any of his other band of pretend badasses.
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Jason R.
Tue, Apr 23, 2019, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

In evaulating relative "success" one also needs to consider the value of the intellectual property on which the show is based. A $500,000,000 net profit could be considered a roaring success for an unknown independent film or a cataclysmic failure for an established franchise.

Star Trek is a major established franchise with a built-in audience. That has a massive dollar value to it which sets the bar at a far higher level for "success" relative to a show like The Orville.

It's like when a baseball team pays a power hitter $20 million a year it is going to be one hell of a disappointment if he hits 250 with 25 hr 50 rbis, even if those woukd otherwise be solid offensive numbers.
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 8:32am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Axiom I apologize for the assumption. I have been trying, of late, to break the habit of defaulting to male pronouns.

In regards to you not wanting to "shut down discourse" I sincerely wish that I could believe that you are the rule, rather than the exception. Too often of late the idea of "conversation" has been code word for "we talk, you listen" on a short road to "we instruct, you obey" - designed it seems to provoke thd most hostile response imaginable and indeed, to "shut down" discourse.

But I have promised myself to listen more and attack less, despite how good it feels (temporarily) to fight fire with fire (as it feels in the moment).
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 7:30am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

"@ Omicron MadManMUC
I think what axiom wants to say is that criticizing Burnhams character is fine, framing it in ways which are often used here is not."

You're not the boss of how people may acceptably frame criticism. And regarding Axiom's point I'm sorry I don't see it on this board beyond rare exceptions and in most cases, coming from troll posters who are just $$$ in regards to everything.

Indeed he (and you) are exactly "tone policing" as he put it. Bang on.

You and him would do well to remember that not everyone yet cowtows to the shibboleths of your particular ideology. Maybe soon, but not yet.
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Jason R.
Thu, Apr 18, 2019, 5:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

I predict Control turns out to be Michael Burnham's father.
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Jason R.
Thu, Apr 18, 2019, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Peter your point is well taken. I am certain history must be littered with the corpses of theories that falsely promised to dig down to the true bedrock of 'human nature' but instead illuminated only the biases of a single culture (or individual).
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