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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Fri, Oct 2, 2020, 3:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part I

"Captain Jellico really shines and shows how the lax, intergalactic pleasure cruise style of Picard is an embarrassment to the Federation. It's surreal that the flagship would be so unprepared."

How were they actually lax and unprepared? Jellico merely saying so doesn't make it true.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Fri, Oct 2, 2020, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Offspring

"...why the hell is any business of Starfleet to confiscate a man’s property..."

I think this is actually an even more difficult one to answer. In many jobs, especially tech jobs like programming and such, you tend to see contracts with this sort of language in them:

"The Company will own any inventions, trade secrets, ideas, original works of authorship or confidential information that Employee conceives, develops, discovers or makes in whole or in part during Employee's employment by the Company that relate to the Company's business or the Company's actual or demonstrably anticipated research or development..."

I.E. anything you invent/develop/produce that's similar to your company's business belongs to them even if you do it on your own time with your own resources. If you assume Data and Starfleet are not really in an employer/employee relationship, Data is definitely using the ship's resources even if he's doing it all on his own time. One could argue that nothing isn't Starfleet's "business" so anything their officers do is under the purview of Starfleet. Plus being in a pseudo-military organization, and living on a ship, the line between duties and personal time are blurred even more. On the other hand this being a post-scarcity, arguably communist society, the notion of personal ownership could be completely different than ours. See how many different angles there are here?
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, Sep 29, 2020, 3:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Offspring

"Why the hell is it any business of Starfleet to remove a child from their parent?"

I think Starfleet's argument would be that she's not a "child" she's an invention/creation. That's why Picard was so flustered by Data in their first meeting in his ready room. Data looks at Lal as a child, as if he has procreated, and he likens Lal to any child birthed by a member of the crew. The difference is that giving birth to children is an innate part of a human's nature. The same cannot be said for Data. He may have the desire, and the ability to build another android like himself, but that doesn't automatically make Lal his child. The implication of Lal's creation that Picard finds so dismaying is the fact that it's so difficult to do and not something that happens naturally. Yet now that Lal exists, and she's both sentient and sapient, her rights become a factor, but they're still quite tentative.

This is where Picard takes something of a 180. Because Lal is a thinking intelligent being, her rights must be respected. Data thinks of Lal as his child, which is made more plausible given that he transferred his thoughts to her, so even if Picard considers that's irrational or sentimental, he must respect those beliefs and do what he can to protect them. Lal is not the property of Starfleet any more than Data is, and that's what Picard is trying to convey to Haftel when he references The Measure of a Man. While that case did not establish whether Data is a person, or necessarily even sentient, it did establish that he's not the property of Starfleet, and he has the freedom to make choices on his own behalf. If Lal does not want to be separated from Data she should not be compelled to.

We as viewers, having spent so much time with Data already, are perhaps too quick to relate to him and take his side. This episode shows us that Starfleet's position is wrong, but considering how uncharted this territory is, I don't think they came into it from a position of malice or bigotry, because they looked at her as an invention, not procreation.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Sep 13, 2020, 5:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Chimera

"...humans alter everything around them to acclimatize the environment to themselves, where as Changelings only alter themselves to acclimatize to the environment around them..." Except for conquering and subjugating every species they come across through oppressive militaristic domination. It shows Laas' (and by extension all of the Changeling's) bias and lack of critical self reflection.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Fri, Sep 11, 2020, 8:33am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The First Duty

Just because Melinda Snodgrass hasn't been paid doesn't mean she isn't entitled, so she can send CBS an invoice or sue them. According to her (and she is an attorney after all) “Yes, yes. In fact I am owed a character creation payment by CBS according to the Writer’s Guild rules for the use of my character since he has now appeared on screen.”

Now, according to a very quick read of the Writers Guild schedule of minimums, we're talking about something like $633 per episode where a recurring character appears. There could be higher fees in her original contract but we have no way of knowing. As for Paris/Locarno, if the series sequel or spin-off rules apply, then those fees could be a couple thousand dollars per episode at a minimum (at least today, not sure what they were like 20 years ago), but that's getting into a gray area that would require negotiation and interpretation etc.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Thu, Sep 10, 2020, 10:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Cause and Effect

"...probably Braga didn't even go this far in his reasoning. Based on his track record it was a high concept 'timey-wimey' episode more about atmosphere than science, so it's probably a small miracle that you could come up with a technical explanation of what was going on."

Indeed, this is Braga's achilles heel. He made a name for himself with this kind of stuff on TNG, but just kept going back to the same well over and over on Voyager to the point that his flaws really started to show through. It's just luck that we're able to cobble together some technobabble in-universe explanation after the fact, because I suspect you're right, he didn't think it through all the way. The timey-wimey, all just a dream/hallucination/simulation/implanted memory/telepathic stuff gives him an out for everything that doesn't make sense, but many times he still manages to screw up the wrapper around the situation that interfaces with the real world. SFDebris does a good job explaining all this in his review of Projections on Voyager. https://sfdebris.com/videos/startrek/v817.php

"Maybe the collision itself provides the energy it requires to restart the sequence, or that some element in the ships (such as antimatter) interacting with it creates a weird result." Makes sense, there's been no shortage of anomalies caused by ship explosions and battles. At first I was getting ready to say the explosion may not mark the end of the loop, just the end of what we see of it. For all we know the Bozeman could keep puttering along for minutes, hours, or days after the Enterprise blows up and then they're just thrown back to the beginning at some random point. After all, the loop starts at a totally random point in the poker game, with no indication that they encountered anything at that moment either. The distortion doesn't show up until the very end after all. However, that doesn't really work if avoiding the explosion throws them out of the loop.

Another possibility is that maybe there are TWO anomalies at play here. One is the time loop, which is completely invisible, and the other is the (highly localized) distortion (in the spacetime continuum) that throws the Bozeman ahead in time. As if the loop anomaly captured the distortion and folded it into its time game. Then when the Enterprise doesn't explode they just wandered out of it, and for all we know it could still be there looping while the distortion has nothing from the last century to suck forward in time. Hmm. That's delving so deep into speculation on an imagined phenomenon that we come back to "Braga just wanted to do his repeating loop story and can't someone else just make it seem plausible enough to hang the rest of the plot on?"

I like the idea that the echos and deja vu could be bouncing around inside the anomaly. If the crew was stuck in it for a lot longer there would be such a buildup of information that they would be going nuts, practically reading each others minds. That could very well guarantee that they'd find a way out of it one way or another given enough iterations, even without Data. How this would look to an observer from outside is getting into special relativity and theoretical physics which is beyond my ability to postulate, at least at this time of the night :-P
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, Sep 9, 2020, 10:15am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Cause and Effect

No no no no no! The Bozeman has NOT been looping for 90 years. I don't see why this is so hard to understand. They've been looping for the same 17 days as the Enterprise, it's just that their loop ALSO includes being thrown into the 24th century. When the loop resets they're back in 2278, they get sucked into the temporal anomaly and are thrown into the 24th century, they hit the Enterprise (maybe they blow up too off screen?), and are then thrown back to 2278 to start their day over again. It's also possible that the Bozeman's time in the loop is only the minute or two after they exit the anomaly, so they wouldn't have enough time to feel deja vu.

As to not being a time loop, it's really more of a time bubble. Since they've been looping, the rest of the universe is going about its merry way. That's why they're 17.4 days behind on their chronometer after they check a time beacon. It's like the time anomalies in We'll Always Have Paris, with discrete pockets of space where time is doing odd things, but not the whole universe. So I think that's the reason for the deja vu, the echos of each iteration are coming from outside the bubble, from the rest of the universe, such as it is. That may explain the audio better than the actual deja vu, but this is a universe with telepaths and transporters and FTL travel so there's weird brainy brain technobabble as well.

Regarding chaos theory in each loop, yes, but the point here is that DATA is the only one who could shuffle the cards the same every time since he's a "perfect" android and would actually be capable of that. I wouldn't expect a human to be able to do that unless perhaps the loop started immediately when they were shuffling the cards such that no variation had time to creep in yet. After all, it takes some time for the differences to manifest, and we see that they do manifest eventually, like whether Beverly calls sickbay before Geordi comes in, or if they call a staff meeting in the middle of the night, or whatever.

SFDebris talked about the idea of the subliminal message, and it makes sense. It had to be a message that Data would be able to interpret AT THE CORRECT TIME without also affecting the events leading up to that critical moment. If his message was just "Riker" he'd have stalked him around the ship the whole time. Or the "evacuate shuttle bay" message would come way too early for it to be useful. It's that chaos theory again, those actions earlier on in the loop could put Riker (or whatever) in the wrong place at the wrong time for the critical decision.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Fri, Sep 4, 2020, 10:10am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: 11001001

"Both Riker and Picard were so fascinated the Minuet was so real, and that the Holodeck is a millions times more improved than before, except it was exactly the same."

Was it though? The only prior episode with any actual people in the holodeck was The Big Goodbye, where the holodeck had been recently upgraded. Prior to that we did see a sparring partner for Tasha in Code of Honor, but that wasn't really a person. The characters in The Big Goodbye were certainly fleshed out, but until their discovery of the real world, caused by a malfunction I might add, they were mostly just acting out a script. They were characters in a novel, only really able to understand the situation as those characters. The hologram of Cyrus Redblock still thought he was Cyrus Redblock after walking out into the hall, so he wasn't particularly self-aware. Lieutenant McNary is the more intriguing character, wondering if his family will be waiting for him after the program shuts down. Maybe that's some legitimate emergent awareness, or it could be a side effect of the malfunction.

Minuet on the other hand was fully self-aware as a computer program. She wasn't playing a part so much as she was adapting on the fly. I suppose that may seem subtle to the observer, but Riker's and Picard's awe seems legit to me. The malfunction from The Big Goodbye may have been noted as a simple anomaly and forgotten about, in much the way Moriarty would be later. It's possible that since the holodeck was so new nobody had yet conceived of trying to create a self-aware adaptable character. So even if it was possible and somewhat self-emergent in The Big Goodbye, it wasn't until 11001001 that this was even tried out. I do wonder why Minuet had to be "lost" at the end. Was she somehow dependent on the Binars' huge data store to function? I don't think that was given a satisfactory explanation.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 4:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Thine Own Self

"I just want to say that if I were in Geordi's position, and someone like Troi did that "icy b****" routine ordering me to certain death... I would laugh in her face on principle. How you gonna throw me in the brig when we're all a dispersing cloud of ions?"

I'll give it a pass since it's a test with a fake holodeck Geordi, so she doesn't need to be polite/empathetic. But yes, if that were a real situation, I'd hope she'd respond more along the lines of "This is the only option we have, Geordi. I'm sorry, but our lives depend on it, and I'm confident you can do what needs to be done."
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sat, Jul 4, 2020, 11:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Eye of the Beholder

I have a bit of a soft spot for this episode because I'm pretty sure I missed it during its first run and only caught it after the series ended. So as far as I can recall this was my last "new" episode of TNG. Since I had to watch the reruns starting at Encounter at Farpoint, it took quite a while to get back to this point.

That said, this episode just screams Season 7. The cold open (without any sort of establishing shot or Captain's log), strangely empty ship, wallpaper music, actors phoning in their performances, it's as Season 7 as it gets. This is also Voyager-level Brannon Braga with yet more mind screwing, which theoretically allows him to botch intra-episode continuity without repercussions, but which still tends to bite him in the ass since plot threads manage to unravel due to the incoherent story. His complete misunderstanding of science, even in a fictional universe, isn't as egregious as in Genesis or Voyager's Threshold (among others), but telepathic residue? Come on. It's technobabble and psychobabble rolled into one. Psychnobabble? I'd agree though that this is a perfectly OK episode, and it manages to stand out due to where it's located in the series' run.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sat, Jul 4, 2020, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Attached

@P'kard, yes they beamed her directly to the Observation Lounge after she hung up. Riker set up that with Worf before calling:

LORIN [on viewscreen]: Enterprise, I have warned you about these unauthorised communications.
RIKER: Yes, I know, but I think it's about time we all sat down together and tried to work this out. I have Ambassador Mauric here...
LORIN [on viewscreen]: That is your misfortune. We have nothing to say to either of you.
(transmission ends)
MAURIC: Commander, you're working with the Prytt. Putting on this little show for my benefit does neither of us any good.
RIKER: We'll see. Mister Worf.
(Worf works his panel)
RIKER: I believe there's someone waiting for us in the Observation Lounge.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Jun 28, 2020, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Sub Rosa

Normally when I rewatch TNG I only skip Shades of Grey, for obvious reasons. I can enjoy the bad episodes for their badness, and even for some of the goodness they contain (I've said something similar in another review as well). This time, I also dozed off through Aquiel and Interface, but I couldn't stomach watching Force of Nature or Homeward since they're so plodding and insipid.

I can still watch Sub Rosa though, I don't even think it's "so bad it's good" but it's at least not boring, and the atmosphere is interesting. That doesn't mean it's not a turd. Troi was beyond useless, and I prefer to give her the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. Her conversations with Beverly were totally unprofessional and inappropriate, and her alarm bells should've been going off from the get-go.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Tue, Jun 23, 2020, 1:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: The Pegasus

Four years on and everyone harping on the treaty still assumes the Federation won whatever conflict propagated it. I said before, not developing cloaking technology could very well have been the only way to stop a war they were losing.

I do find it a stretch that something the size of a vacuum cleaner could phase the whole Enterprise flawlessly with just a couple of cables connecting it to some random engineering console. Also, why did nobody suggest separating the saucer section to go into the asteroid in the first place?

I'm bummed we never got to see Commander Riker Day.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Jun 21, 2020, 6:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Parallels

This is such a fun romp you can just hold your nose at the technobabble nonsense at the end. Yes it would've been nice to see Tasha, Pulaski, and Guinan too, but that would require an episode with a bit more substance and significance.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Fri, Jun 19, 2020, 7:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Attached

I do like this episode, but some of the plot contrivances are a bit beyond the pale. Like the Kes operative giving Picard and Crusher a map and codes to escape the jail, a jail with no security personnel apparently. They just wandered out and nobody was the wiser. Plus, I find it odd that the Kes and the Prytt can be so at odds that they don't have any formal means of communication, while at the same time they have operatives controlling entire cities and infiltrating high security prisons.

I guess the rampant paranoia and subterfuge just validates Picard's concerns from the teaser. Being so divided and hostile, neither society is ready for admission to the Federation. Nevertheless, the questions that arise about a divided planet are ripe for exploration, which they don't bother with here.

Picard and crusher running through the caves with the fire bursts reminded me of the "chompers" scene in Galaxy Quest. Mark beat me to it, but we can't be the only ones to notice the similarities.

The brain implants are the sort of throwaway plot element (device?) that should be making significant waves in society after its discovery. Imagine the possibilities, yet it's never mentioned again. I guess it's super secret Prytt technology that can't be reverse engineered. Yeah let's go with that.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Jun 14, 2020, 1:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Descent, Part I

The music is SO BAD in this episode it actually makes watching it worse. SFDebris even called this out (specifically part 2, but it's all the same) as compared to the brilliant music in Booby Trap. There's no difference in this score between neutral, creepy, action, scary, or emotional scenes, except for a couple of cliché dun-dun-dun moments. Despite that, it's also surprisingly in your face, exactly the kind of thing Rick Berman didn't want. It's just a fail on every level.

Data's "can you describe how you feel when you're angry" stuff feels like season 1 or season 2 Data. He knows better by now. The way he's being manipulated by Lore with the emotion is kind of...gross. Data's vulnerability in this case, along with Soong's homing device, the Borg Queen's temptations, and similar situations with The Doctor in Voyager and his ethical subroutines (or lack thereof) begs the question, why do they always have to turn eeeeeevul?

Admiral Nechayev comes across as deliberately obtuse and intransigent. I'm sure Picard's report of the I Borg situation was extremely thorough, but Nechayev stripped away the nuances of the situation to the level of a Fox News soundbite just to posture and beat down Picard. No thanks.

I did just notice that after the two Borg were beamed onto the bridge as a diversion and were quickly dispatched (Riker: Franklin's dead sir), another security officer comes out of the toilet to the left of the door to the Observation Lounge. Nice. There's some really bad shaky cam moments that are worthy of TOS or the Galaxy Quest show-within-a-show and are quite eye-rolling in their absurdity.

Similarly, why the hell is the whole senior staff, including Picard (!) beaming down for this silly on-foot search? Because the script wants Picard to be there when Lore reveals himself for dramatic effect and nothing else. There's no in-universe rationale for it whatsoever. Crashing the ship isn't an in-universe reason either, so it's still clumsy. At least they did some actual on-location shooting, rather than just going to Planet Soundstage, but the yellow filter they put over everything was oddly distracting.

I do really enjoy the teaser in the holodeck. The rest of the episode, not so much.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Jun 7, 2020, 7:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Thine Own Self

Blast, I knew I forgot something. As to Troi being promoted before Data, Riker said in The Best of Both Worlds "Commander Data, I realise your very nature omits ambition. Nevertheless, I want you to know I seriously considered you first officer." So Data may not want a promotion. He'll take it when and if it comes, but he's not going to seek it out because he has no ego.

I'll concede that this is contradicted in Redemption when Data wonders why he's not being assigned a ship in the blockade fleet. Nonetheless, his experience with Commander Hobson may have shown Data that even if he's ready to be a commander, not everyone else is ready to accept him in that position. So maybe he's just biding his time to limit potential conflicts.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Jun 7, 2020, 7:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Thine Own Self

"This was the 1st TNG episode that showed shift work, well other than the Lower Decks episode when all the ensigns all had to work shifts on the Bridge. Every other episode shows the main characters on the Bridge 24/7, including Crusher. How can she be Chief Medical Officer, always hanging out on the Bridge with the gang, and find time to pull night shift as a Commander?"

Data was in command of the night shift at the start and end of Data's Day (season 4). In season 6, at the beginning of Lessons, Data is also manning the night shift when Picard comes in at 3:00 am ("no need to report, I'm just here to do some work on my own"). A few episodes later in Rightful Heir, Riker relieves Data of the night shift. I think those are the only three previous instances. It makes sense that Data would be the preferred commander for the night shift since he doesn't sleep. Nevertheless, with three 8-hour shifts, it's certainly plausible for someone like Crusher to do two shifts in a day, one in sickbay and the other on the bridge. If the four-shift rotation implemented by Captain Jellico was still in place, then it would be even easier to do two 6-hour shifts. Her "hanging out on the bridge" which I don't recall happening all that often honestly, would be when she's on duty in sickbay, but nothing is going on down there, so no need for her to just sit in her office.

As for Troi's promotion, I think William B (Jul 15, 2015) put it best. There's more to rank than just the pips on their collars. There's other qualifications and assignments and levels of hierarchy behind it. I would imagine that Crusher and now Troi probably only do the night shift duty a couple times a year, or at most once a month. They'd still call in the senior staff if something truly important happened after all. I agree that becoming both a commander AND a bridge officer in one fell swoop is a bit much. I'm not sure what the timeframe of this episode is, but I can't imagine it's more than a week or two. That's not really long enough, and I agree it would've been better had this been a recurring B plot throughout a couple of episodes.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, Jun 7, 2020, 6:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Suspicions

I agree with most of the criticisms of this episode: the bad acting, hollow characters, waste of Guinan, Worf's disinterest in the situation, Crusher playing investigator, the absurd logistics of every single aspect of Jo'Bril's "plot," the completely unnecessary need for someone else to pilot the shuttle, of the need for ANYONE to pilot the shuttle, Crusher violating medical ethics without repercussions, and her ability to launch the shuttle and lock out the controls, but I have no problem with Crusher's motivations in engaging Reyga and the other scientists in the first place. She was never really interested in the metaphasic shield technology in itself, she just recognized it as the breakthrough it is, and she saw that it wasn't getting proper attention due to...racism against the Ferengi I guess. I suppose Crusher's motivation to attend this conference in the first place could be questioned, but beyond that she just wanted to make sure Reyga got an audience so this breakthrough technology could come to light.

Speaking of the acting, there's one line that always really bugged me. It's Crusher's "I'm sorry I know I shouldn't have done it" when she tells Picard that she performed an autopsy on Reyga. She came off like a 10 year old who was just told by her parents to apologize to the kid she pushed over on the playground, but doesn't really mean it. That's totally the wrong read. It should project the emotional conflict she's feeling over her medical ethics, the disappointment in herself, and the fear for her future. We're told about that struggle in the dialog, and some of the other lines work ok, but it doesn't come through in the delivery of this one.

A few other notes. I don't have a problem with Reyga's lack of sexism, since he's portrayed as rather unorthodox (for a Ferengi) due to his profession and his jovial attitude. I'll grant that this can just as well be the writers still not having a good grasp of the species, and forgetting some of the precedents set forth in Ménage à Troi. Either way I can look past it.

As for sexism, I find the feminist complaints kind of bizarre. How is having female characters grow and develop some sort of leftist woke feminist plot? Troi realizing after Disaster that she needs to up her game is a good thing, hence her taking the commander test in Thine Own Self. She learned a good deal about the workings of Romulan ships in Face of the Enemy, so why shouldn't she use that knowledge in Timescape? Do we call it masculinism when Riker or Geordi or Wesley solve problems others can't figure out or when their characters grow and change? I just don't see why this makes some guys so upset.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, Jun 3, 2020, 10:33am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

That's an interesting idea re: Pulaski. You're right that it wouldn't really work with the story as told. I can totally see Crusher and Pulaski butting heads over personality and other more trivial matters, but the circumstances would need to be different. Pulaski tends to be rather flippant when it comes to protocol, but not when it comes to her patients. Dr. Russell puts her *patients* at risk ostensibly to further her research, but more likely as a means of self aggrandizement. Pulaski on the other hand puts her *self* at risk for her patients and even seems to be embarrassed by her accomplishments and acclaim, as evidenced in Unnatural Selection. She's a bit of a hothead and even said that she tends to leap before looking, but that's still pretty different than Dr. Russell.

So I think for the story to work with Pulaski, you'd have to get rid of the questionable medical ethics. Maybe replace that with Pulaski mirroring Picard's viewpoint in the same way that Crusher mirrors Riker's. Pulaski would be pro-suicide, but maybe she's the one who brings knowledge of Klingon ceremonies to Riker and realizes that neither of them can help Worf go through with it. Worf's obstinance can still lead to Pulaski suggesting a risky treatment, just not one that's her own pet project. After all, there's plenty of medical procedures that are well established and vetted but still dangerous. The only problem is that half the conflict in the episode has been removed, leaving only the suicide question. Is there enough meat left? I can't think off the top of my head of a way to fold in the USS Denver triage to the story since that was used only for the medical ethics drama.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, Jun 1, 2020, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

I can totally see the once-driven young Picard faltering and ending up as a blue-shirt lieutenant (junior grade, *assistant* astrophysics officer no less). I've had classmates and friends who were valedictorians, international sports competitors, the top of the top, and whether due to burnout, a moment of self-realization, injury, illness, or what have you, they ended up abandoning those goals and moving on to something else. Realizing what you've been striving for isn't what you really want, or you can't keep pursuing it, without having a Plan B, can really throw a wrench into what looks like a slam dunk life.

Another way to look at it is that Picard's stabbing wasn't so much a turning point as a one of many inflections. The butterfly effect needs to be in full force, but that incident (or the lack thereof) simply shifted his next decision left or right ever so slightly such that over a couple of decades it led to a completely different path, because subsequent decisions build on the ones previous. It would be interesting to know what sort of life he was leading beyond his career as a blue-shirt, but since he's thrown into it head-first without any memories of it, we don't know if he was getting fulfillment in some other way.

I have to shake my head at everyone who thinks this episode glorifies violence or says that fighting is the answer. That's comically missing the point. Keep in mind Picard lost that fight, and hard. I don't need to belabor the point as previous commenters have also tried to dispel that myth. It's just that *Picard* needed that brush with death not to put his life on track, but to *keep* his life on track, to the satisfaction of his red-shirt self. While he was driven before this, he was also kind of a screw up too. He failed his Starfleet entrance exams the first time, and he did something at the academy that nearly got him expelled. Imagine what changing those outcomes could've done.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, Jun 1, 2020, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Aquiel

I'm always surprised when this one shows up because it feels like such a season 7 episode, similar in scope and pacing to Eye of the Beholder. I think the reasons is because season 7 has a sort of sterility that's hard to quantify. It kind of parallels the downturn of Mythbusters in its later seasons, even before it became the Adam and Jamie cinematographer wank fest following the dismissal of the build team.

The first season of Mythbusters was also just Adam and Jamie, but they brought in random helpers as needed, and they had interviews with experts. They also documented the difficulties of tracking down the materials and supplies they needed. In the shop, there'd be random people milling about in the background working on other things, and overall there was an active bustling atmosphere about everything. By later seasons, it was much more focused on only the hosts and special guests, and I noticed that the hustle and bustle was gone. It felt less like filming some guys in their workshop, and more like filming two TV stars on a set. They stopped documenting most of their acquisition process too because, frankly, they could call up anyone and get just about anything they wanted by then. Adam even commented once that while driving down the highway with a bunch of pig carcasses in the bed of his truck someone looked over quizzically until they realized "oh, it's the Mythbusters guy."

TNG seems to have gone down a similar path. The early seasons seemed much more active, lived-in, and experimental. There were more people milling about on the Enterprise (especially notable in season 1), they visited planets with more than just three or four high-level government officials, and random characters would get a little bit of screen time, if not some lines. By late season 6 and season 7 though, it all seems much quieter. In a way there's more bottle (or near bottle) shows. That in and of itself isn't necessarily a problem, but it seems like there's nobody around except the people directly part of the story. Yes there's always some extras manning the rear stations on the bridge or lounging in ten-forward, but it still feels strangely empty. It's as if their budget was cut and they couldn't get enough extras to properly populate the sets. On the other hand, after 6+ years, the production crew had built up plenty of sets, props, and construction experience, so they could bang out some nice sets with less resources.

Of course there's exceptions through to the end of each series, but the overall pattern seems to be pretty evident. Aquiel feels very much in this late-stage mold to me.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Fri, May 29, 2020, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Rascals

I'm fascinated by the disparate and contradictory opinions on the child actors' performances. They're all terrible, they're all great, Little Picard is the best, Little Picard is the worst, etc. Personally I think they all did pretty well, though I find Picard and Ro better than Keiko and Guinan.

Changes in speech inflections and whatnot can be excused by having smaller/younger vocal cords. I bet if you were really de-aged like this, you wouldn't sound like yourself now, or like yourself when you were really that age, because your brain is driving the vocal cords differently. It does sound like Little Guinan was dubbed/ADR'd, which is never a good thing.

I do love Little Picard running his hand through his hair and then at the end Real Picard disappointingly feeling his bald head. Boothby came down hard on him for that back in The First Duty.

I think the B plot with the Ferengi would've worked OK even if it was exactly the same plot, just not with the Ferengi. Maybe rogue Klingons (the whole mining part could be left out since that's not really their thing...ok except for Lursa and B'etor apparently), or some other species.
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, May 27, 2020, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Relics

Like Nibbler from Futurama. His dark matter poop "weighs as much as a thousand suns."
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Jeffrey Jakucyk
Wed, May 27, 2020, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Schisms

I love the absurdity of the sloped wooden table. They could've just shortened two of the legs of the last table, but instead they had a carpenter build this bespoke folly for all of five seconds of screen time. That then led to the even more jarring jump to the metal "table" after it.

I think what would've worked better is to start with the same conference table, then shorten it as shown, then change it to a metal table which would look like a typical stainless steel prep table in a commercial kitchen, then after discussion one of them would say "make this a medical exam table" at which point we get something more like what was shown. That's still kind of over-the-top, but at least the progression is more believable.

It is interesting that they fixated on the sloped part, because the tables we saw in the actual alien lab were flat. That doesn't mean they don't tilt or that some of the experiments that were done on the people didn't make them feel like they were inclined in some way, so I can give that a pass. Still, it led to the weird sloped wood table and crazy jump to the tricked out exam table. I'm glad that the actual tables looked quite a bit different than what they came up with on the holodeck, which helps with the realism.
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