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Fri, Jun 12, 2015, 1:22pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S7: Emergence

I absolutely loathe this episode. -1.5 stars.

One of the major problems with Star Trek (and other sci-fi, I suppose) is that things happen. Thing happen that should shatter the lives of the characters we watch and alter their lives forevermore. But, then, they don't. The Enterprise's travels with The Traveler, and Computer-Barclay. The engineered humans that aged Pulaski. The soliton wave. The somehow deflection of half of a transporter beam to create an instant clone of Cmdr. Riker. All of these things should have drastically and forever altered the Star Trek universe, but they did not. And now the Enterprise's computer becomes alive on some level, and the ramifications of that are lost on everyone in the universe. Give me a break.

This is utter garbage. The concept of the ship's computer being so complex as to become alive is not interesting on any level. Our brains are made to be alive. Ships' computers are not. Bizarre alien influences (perhaps tech, but not influences) cannot cause that to be. The alive ship, then wanting to create progeny, turns a cargo bay into a womb. After "giving birth" (to what we'll never know, but it must be good, because human nature is never evil, right?) the ship instantly reverts to the dumb tool it used to be. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief. "Whew! That was cool, but I hope it never happens again."

The worst part of this episode's premise is that it elevates humans to the realms of gods. Unwitting gods who unwittingly engineer new life, just as their ancestors' lives may have been created eons earlier. And yet, the philosophical consequences of this alone are lost on the crew and on all subsequent Trek. The second-worst part of this episode is that Geordi knows how to turn everything off--we've seen him do it. But he doesn't. And the ship runs amok, flying wherever it wants. The whole crew humbly assumes no peril can come to them should the ship accidentally fly somewhere on its instinctive mission that might accidentally kill them all.

If there's any possible good that can come from this episode--besides a solid demonstration of how not to philosophize and write science fiction--is that somewhere there is some fan fiction with the story of what would have happened if the ship got randy and desired to reproduce sexually.
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Fri, Jun 12, 2015, 11:51am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: Yesterday's Enterprise

I still remember when I first saw this episode. I remember being completely and utterly confused. Apparently I wasn't paying very close attention; I missed the start, the setup for it. And then the whole thing was lost on me. But I remembered it for being "very different" and not boring.

Years later I got to see it again, and I was able to absorb all the subtleties of the plot in context. This is one of my favorite episodes of the series, namely because it was ballsy. It was ambitious and risky, and generally well written. I agree with a few commentator, few moments of screen time were wasted. But I strongly disagree in calling this a "time travel" episode. There was no time travel, just a giant, universal paradigm shift.

I admit I'm easy to please. I tend to take the shows like STTNG that I watch at face value. As a viewer, the show is dictating the canon, and up to me to take it and interpret it for what it is. Over-thinking entertainment seems self-defeating to me. It's pretty hard for a plotline to "jump the shark" for me, or otherwise sever my suspension of disbelief and common sense. My least favorite episodes (e.g. Emergence) are few but demonstrate crossing that line. This episode never gets close. I even found the the "instant" return of Yar a delightful surprise (shock?), though I was never one to hate her character as others have. I think she was expertly weaved into the plot.

In hindsight, is it logical that things would be so similar to how they were in the "normal" timeline? Probably not. But with all the strange things I've seen in my life, it doesn't press its luck with me. The only thing, in hindsight, that bothers me is that (in the "normal" timeline) it sets up Star Fleet going without a ship named Enterprise for nearly 20 years. That strikes me as grossly unlikely.

The other-timeline Yar being captured by the Romulans is an intriguing concept in the context of the physics of universe and time. Unfortunately, I see it as in vain as Crosby's subsequent appearances didn't bold well with me. I guess that suggests to me she should have not traveled back wtih "C" to begin wtih.
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Fri, Jun 12, 2015, 5:07am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: Who Watches the Watchers

I have always really liked this episode. I like watching the situation devolve and get worse and worse. The scientist's proposal that Picard go to the planet and start issuing decrees is decidedly ludicrous. That doesn't mean, to me, that he was wrong in believing this whole situation could kernel a religion. Of course it wouldn't happen overnight, but it certainly could. Picard's dialogue to the woman about caves to huts was very well written, even if it put the boom mic operator to sleep.

Some of the recent debate here about the merits and status of religions in the world is interesting, too. I can see how dlpb believes that all religions promote intolerance by their very existence; those who believe and follow the religion pit themselves against those who do not--at least on some level--no matter how much those people profess to be indifferent to non-believers. It's the assumed smug "I believe in this and you don't, so I'm secretly saved/better/safer/wiser than you!" mentality. At the same time, dlpb cannot see that his personally-comfortable limits on religions not his own are his own form of intolerance. It is for this reason that atheism is often seen as its own religion, because atheists can also profess the same smug "I don't believe in God and you do, so I'm secretly better/smarter/more-advanced than you!" mentality.

It seems to me the best way to NOT be intolerant is to worry solely about one's own affairs, and not care to or meddle in the affairs of others. But, then, I also believe that true religious faith cannot exist without skepticism and can only truly have faith while acknowledging those doubts. This works both ways, whether you choose to believe in supreme being(s) or choose not to believe.
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