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William B
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 10:34am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@wolfstar, that makes sense to me re: Voyager. I think that viewing the show as a Sirkish self-aware melodrama enhances it. It reminds me that Angel/Firefly writer Tim Minear has said that he and Whedon had discussed the Mutant Enemy (Buffy/Angel/Firefly/etc.) house style as being Sirkish, stylized, colourful, grandiose, a bit cheeky, and that's another set of shows with a big queer following.

In terms of classic Hollywood movies with a queer following, I was just thinking about Suddenly, Last Summer and I can somewhat imagine the Voyager-era Melgrew, Ryan and Picardo in the Hepburn, Taylor and Clift roles. I'd sure like to see that.

It will probably come up at some point in the discussions surrounding Elliott's commentary (when he gets back to it), but the differing responses to Voyager are probably worthwhile to check into. I feel like I'm kind of on the edge of appreciating Voyager's pleasures and being put off by its numerous, well-documented (c.f. Jammer's reviews, Ron Moore essay, etc.) flaws.

@James,

"In the first episode of Lower Decks, we have a disease turning people into bile-spewing zombies, and a giant spider which attacks a crew member. For what purpose? Presumably to acquaint us with the crew. That doesn't make it a good use of the sci-fi premise. There's no reason it couldn't have been done in the Stargate or Firefly or Battlestar universe, or any other fictional universe."

I don't know about Stargate, but I can't see this happening in Firefly or Battlestar (at least the modern iteration), at least not in the way it sounds. I guess if it's a specifically engineered virus (by the Alliance or by the Cylons) and a...robot giant spider, maybe, but both of those universes were deliberately excavated of alien elements and tended not to do the "wacky disease" trope too much. Both are precedentedly Trekkish though, which is not to say that they are good Trek tropes.
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William N.
Tue, Aug 4, 2020, 10:03am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: No Exit

I was under the impression the overarching mythology was pretty much consolidated throughout the show. However, given this was the last series, they had to cram it all in one exposition episode. It would be fascinating to see all these bits of mythology to be slowly revealed in the show, but alas there was not enough time to do that. Brilliant world creating and one of the best shows I've ever seen.
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William B
Wed, Jul 22, 2020, 11:03am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Fortunate Son

@Jason, Focksbot:

FWIW, the species Picard describes as anarchists in Allegiance are not Nausicaans but the Chalnoth, who do look like Nausicaans but are distinct. I think it's in Tapestry that Nausicaans proper are introduced.

Anyway I think you both make good points. Here's my take. Generally speaking, when a species is *introduced* to be a long-running, sympathetic species (or specifically for a long-running, sympathetic *character*), they are usually made up to be mostly friendly, like the Bajorans, Betazoids (their irises are black), Ocampa or Trill when their appearance was rebooted for DS9. Notably in all four cases I just referenced, the reason is partly not to hide the recurring female actor's attractiveness (more specifically Michelle Forbes than Nana Visitor when Bajorans were introduced). With Denobulans and Talaxians, there is a kind of friendly clownishness to the makeup, befitting weirdo quasi-comic relief types (Phlox are more varied character than Neelix though). Data and Odo are characters with Outsider-y limited makeup that marks their difference but I'm not sure if it makes them *ugly* exactly, though maybe with Odo somewhat.

Spock/Vulcans are a special case because TOS makeup was so limited that although the Vulcan ears and eyebrows seem pretty tame now, I think Spock was being made to look almost devilish within the confines of what was plausible to do for a regular. Really I don't think Vulcan make-up is any less off-putting in TOS than Klingon makeup, and most of the species just looked either like regular humans or like disembodied props. And when they looked ugly it was often a case like the Gorn or the Horta where the eventual point is that the humans misjudged them. TOS is probably the least guilty of this type of thing, in conclusion.

What is interesting to me is that Trek does eventually uphold the values where "ugly" alien makeup eventually does not interfere with supporting characters, but it's usually in "second generation" versions. The Klingons (makeup introduced in TMP), Cardassians, Ferengi, and Borg were introduced as adversaries and have frightening appearances. But then eventually Worf, Garak, Quark, and Hugh (Seven's full Borg makeup is ditched almost immediately so I'm not counting her) come along with the same makeup and become essentially lovable figures who are largely aligned with (or *are*) our heroes, if not on every point. I do think that some effort was made to keep adjusting Worf's makeup to make him look a bit better, but I don't think his fundamental non-human-ness was taken away from his appearance. So Trek kind of falls down when these races are introduced, but the effort to eventually rehabilitate at least individuals (and sometimes whole societies) means that eventually we look past their off-putting appearance.
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William B
Wed, Jul 22, 2020, 10:38am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@ONTP, sure. It's good to talk about things, respectfully. I just meant that it's expecting a lot for someone to explain others' reactions, or a lot for a Discovery fan to explain why Discovery non-fans dislike it so much. But I think anything is largely fair game to discuss.
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William B
Tue, Jul 21, 2020, 11:09am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@OTDP,

"I'm serious about this. I would really love to know how Nu Trek fans explain this situation. I mean, what, do they *really* believe that these fans are just a bunch of grumpy narcissist ninnies?"

Without getting into the specifics of your conversation with Tim C, I wanted to comment on this point. I understand your concern about fans of the current Trek era who dismiss all fans who reject the current era as wrong. That said, personally, I think it is asking a lot for anyone to "explain" these huge demographic trends. I've been fans of unpopular things before (of seasons etc. that turned many, possibly a plurality of fans off) and putting the burden on the proponent to *explain* why everyone else dislikes it (and, by extension, why they like it) is not that pleasant for the proponent, in my experience. Probably some are up to the challenge of finding a judicious way to explain why the work they like has pissed so many people off, but it's a tall order IMO. While it'd be good to find out if someone *does* have an explanation, I think in general fans of something aren't the best people to talk to about why other people don't like it, and (again IMO) that's okay.

For what it's worth, I'm not a "Nu Trek" fan. I haven't seen much of the Kurtzmann era and I didn't much enjoy what I saw. (I also didn't make it far into Enterprise back in the day.)
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William B
Fri, Jul 17, 2020, 10:08am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

"when they decided to name a black female lead character Michael"

IIRC, Bryan Fuller said about his lead female character Jaye in Wonderfalls something to the effect that he deliberately gave his female leads male names because he found that it was too difficult to get into a female character's head if she had a female name (?). I think BF gave his female Discovery lead the male name Michael for a similar reason, before parachuting out of the show. I guess it's sort of a compromise position because it suggests that on some level Fuller has to trick himself into thinking he's writing a male lead, but also wants to have more female leads.
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William B
Fri, Jul 17, 2020, 10:00am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

"Kurtzman has said his favorite TOS episode of all is “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” which I don’t see how that could genuinely be someone’s favorite episode but I could see why some people would want others to THINK it was their favorite"

I'm not exactly trying to defend Kurtzmann's Trek bona fides here too much but FWIW a friend of mine, one of the first people I talked to about Star Trek back in the day, and a kind of weirdo not overly concerned with appearing conventional or woke, identified that as his favourite TOS episode. No accounting for taste and all, it's certainly not my favourite but I think it's an episode with some striking and memorable images and moments.
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William B
Thu, Jul 16, 2020, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

@Jason, agreed. And your examples, Whedon and Breaking Bad (Vince Gilligan in general), some Marvel, are pretty much what I was thinking. I agree that it's unlikely this will be those things.
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William B
Thu, Jul 16, 2020, 11:40am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

For what it's worth, the Lower Decks animated series idea does have potential, IMO. It's a good opportunity to imagine everyday life in the Trek future while dealing with smaller scale problems. The lighter tone also seems appropriate. What I think the show should be would be to emphasize diversity of being, philosophy, and problem solving approaches while doing Trekky research. The emphasis would be on what different people value in Starfleet, why they joined, what they hope to get out of it, how they solve small scale problems and conflicts in more enlightened ways, and how they manage being in an environment where crazy and dangerous things happen over which they have very little decision making power, but, presumably, still some input. I think it could be helpful to explore what it means to be an everyday person in a sometimes bewildering time, and having a limited but important role to play rather than being one of the decision makers. And tech going haywire, etc. can be part of the fun. I'm, to be clear, not optimistic that this will be the focus.
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William B
Thu, Jul 16, 2020, 11:26am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

Trailers are sometimes misleading - Jammer frequently discussed the episodic trailers for Voyager as being wild misrepresentations, for example. That said yeah. A person can't watch everything and a trailer is the best bet to find out what the content of this show is going to be like, for now.

I wouldn't feel comfortable calling the series bad without watching it, but I am comfortable not watching it based on the impression that I probably wouldn't like it or find it worthwhile, even if I know that's going to be a guess. If the series ends up getting rave reviews or whatever, I *might* check it out, but it's very low priority for me.

I was planning on watching Picard, but the negative reception did sap my enthusiasm. I will maybe still watch it at some point due to my attachment to the cast, and go in with an expectation that it is a kind of "what if" story rather than let it define how I imagine these characters' future. I like Frakes as a director too, and so there's a certain connecting there. But I think (my preferred kind of) Trek is mostly writer-driven. Honestly the last work associated with the TNG main cast I feel genuinely invested in is the end of DS9 for Worf and the Barclay Voyager episodes for Troi, and Insurrection (which I don't particularly like, but at least has some TNG-ishness) have more relationship to TNG in terms of writing staff history than Nemesis, let alone the Kurtzmann era.
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William B
Tue, Jul 14, 2020, 12:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Extreme Risk

The pancakes moment in this episode reminds me of that moment in Melancholia when badly depressed Justine has her childhood favourite food, French toast, and exclaims "It tastes like ashes."

Sometimes the simple things help and sometimes they don't, in conclusion.
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William Smith
Sat, Jul 4, 2020, 2:58am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Lonely Among Us

I found it unsettling that assistant engineer Singh dies and everyone is generally OK with it. No one was upset about their crew mate dying?
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William B
Sun, Jun 21, 2020, 7:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: First Contact

@Elliott, re Cochrane, you mention the booze and rock music as signifiers of the time he was created and also alluded to MLK as a real life figure whose heroic legacy is...complicated by aspects of his real life history. It occurs to me that Cochrane wanting cash to enable his skirt-chasing, but brought Vulcans to the human race, seems like he's maybe an analogue of Roddenberry. He even hits on a Troi, though it's Deanna rather than Lwaxana.
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William B
Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

@Peter,

I don't really think my friend is a passionate advocate of free speech. He's argued that suggesting defunding the military is treasonous and emphasized that the penalty for treason should be death, for instance. I think he was being hyperbolic there but he largely seems to favour quite authoritarian means of control including on the issue of speech when it comes to military.
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William B
Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

(By opposes I means he thinks they should be criminalized, I mean.)
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William B
Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 12:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

I'm in Canada too.

FWIW I don't think it's exclusively a left/liberal thing at all. A right wing friend of mine (with whom I disagree politically on nearly every point) opposes *peaceful* protests he disagrees with, for instance.
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William B
Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 11:46am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: First Contact

@Elliott, Great review! My feelings about the film are similar to yours, I think.

The advantage of the scene-by-scene analysis is how you can really pick up on and explore the themes winding through the film, especially the role touch plays. I hadn't ever connected that scene where Picard and Data touch the Phoenix. The sex joke of Troi saying "Do you three want to be alone?" actually foreshadows the, er, climax with the Queen.

Anyway I agree with Peter's point that the Queen as dominatrix is a bit silly, but I think that it does work in concert with the movie's themes. It's about (First) Contact, and I think the schema is that trauma isolates a person, and then the options are to continue perpetuating that trauma through destruction, to be subsumed into a false oneness where individual consent is completely obliterated, or to enter into an imperfect but clear-eyed world of closeness and understanding with others. Cochrane wants to be [on an] island (John Donne) with beautiful women, which *is* where he ends up, as you point out, but Metamorphosis goes to some lengths to argue that it's a meaningful relationship of equals (heteronormative because this is a chick gas cloud), and only once he's "retired" from his responsibility to others.

The Borg's two-stage assimilation then seems to be the way cults (down to college hazing) work in general: first traumatize to break the person, and then offer them intimacy and togetherness. And I think structurally then the episode plays out this on several levels, with Picard's PTSD and unresolved trauma, and the eventual reveal that the Borg wanted something else from him other than total obliteration, in one stream, the Last Temptation of Data, and the attempt to destroy humanity's peaceful, non-cultish first contact with the Vulcans and the eventual foundation of the non-totalitarian Federation (and Riker and Geordi's efforts to patch things up) on the other.

The movie is a bit of a paradox. On the one hand, it is, as you say, *about* Star Trek, and is inseparable from the core of what Trek is about, and is really closely intertwined with Trek history in general and character arcs from TNG in particular. On the other, in order to make a blockbuster movie about those traits, it simplifies and streamlines character stories. I think both the film's defenders and detractors are correct. You allude to the story as having its cake and eating it too with the action elements, and it does, where the violence represents destruction. The kinky sex in the movie is a metaphor for the offer of obliteration of self. Picard being an action hero and Data being a sex toy are both weird fantasy plays on the wrong way to respond to trauma, and the movie *literally time travels to before the formation of the Federation* in order to make it seem like these are the only options available. In that sense it owes something to All Our Yesterdays too, where Spock's psychology is apparently influenced by the raging collective untamed id of Vulcans of the time.

Anyway, as I alluded to in a previous comment, I think that the Picard/Data/Queen climax is actually pretty effective, but, like, in a weird, kind of dumb, mythic way, character arcs filtered through psychoanalysis, action movie language and porn without plot fanfic. Picard needing to go rescue Data himself after having agreed to blow up the ship is kind of dumb literally -- action hero nonsense -- but is also psychologically about him recognizing that he has to go down and deal with his own trauma, to rescue Data from the fate he himself suffered, which is another way of saying he needs to rescue the part of himself that was lost as Locutus all those years ago. And it's only then that he finds out the missing piece of the puzzle, which is that the Queen wanted him as a counterpart, a willing companion, and that failing that the Borg destroyed his will and subsumed him entirely. That actually does relieve Picard's guilt because it suggests that even though he was eventually taken over by the Borg, he did manage to resist giving himself over willingly, and that Data appears to give into temptation only to turn around represents Picard's "iron" will fighting back and demonstrating its imperfect humanity.

I actually do like the Data material in the movie, SORT OF, and I think it actually does need Descent to work properly. I agree with many of the problems of Data's emotion chip, but my argument in defense of the concept has been that it's been a part of the character since Datalore, albeit indirectly. Lore said outright in Datalore that Soong chose to create a "less perfect" android ("Believing oneself to be perfect is often the sign of a delusional mind") and while we know Lore is partly wrong, he is also correct that Soong chose to *not* give Data emotions, because he didn't know how to do so without making Data evil, rather than that it was not possible for him to do so. From there we can either believe that Data is fine without emotions or that he needs to eventually find a way to integrate emotions without going Lore. Now Datalore might have been a bad idea, but overall I'm inclined to think that the failure of Lore and that Data is apparently stuck longing for something that will probably corrupt him if he achieves it in the wrong way adds a welcome tragic dimension to the character. That Brothers suggests that Soong has found a way he *thinks* to allow Data to experience emotions without going full psycho means that it really has to be addressed somehow. I think that Data's "First Contact" by itself and Descent by itself don't work, but put together it more or less works as a story: Data is completely unable to deal with emotions when first given to him, but that experience and his subsequent period in which he temporarily gives up on his future humanity (first by almost blowing the chip up, then by self-sacrificially choosing not to tell Juliana she's an android, which is an implicit recognition that the android/human gap is impossible to bridge) is what allows him to approach wholeness anew in Generations and then finally resist temptation while whole here. The sex as metaphor for intimacy, of touch, of actually being partly human rather than always looking in, is what makes the scenes basically work for me in spite of the silliness. That Tasha is implicitly referenced (in Data's "eight years" bit) reminds us of not just The Naked Now but The Measure of a Man and thus how deeply *lonely* Data's being trapped outside of a fleshy body is. I don't really think Data was *that* tempted, but I do believe that giving up his flesh (and having it be burned off in a gnarly way) really did hurt, and him passing through that pleasure and pain to be able to genuinely feel in a human way without betraying his ethics or android-ness feels like a good place to stop his arc and hint at the positive future for him in All Good Things. In any case Data's actually going through the process of becoming the counterpart Picard was able to resist being, and maintaining enough selfhood to be able to turn on the Queen at the right moment, completes a kind of loop for Picard and gives him closure.

Picard breaking the Queen's...spinal cord thing?...which is now disconnected from the rest of her, really does seem to be a kind of breaking of an umbilical cord. Again there's lots of weird imagery. I just watched Dead Ringers and I do wonder if the writers and Frakes had Cronenberg on mind (I could see Moore being attracted to the psychosexual elements and Braga to the body horror). Your pointing out the importance of Family and Picard's loss of his brother and Rene in Generations as a kind of background point out what it actually means for Picard to have to revisit his "family" of the Borg Collective, with the Queen as perverse devouring mother/lover (ew), the most frightening and enticing form of the family he'll never have. His rage is guilt -- for having been subsumed, but also for maybe wanting to be a part of something where he's less alone. That he forms an adult (and platonic) relationship with Lily in the film is quite wonderful.

It's not quite a standout moment but I do like Beverly recommending the EMH dance and hope it was an intentional "Dancing Doctor" reference. I like that Gates was given a brief moment to be funny even if it's mostly to hand off to a cameo.

Overall I'd give First Contact 3 stars myself, though it's one of those situations where it's kind of a 2 and kind of a 4. I'm pretty into it and I think it's silly; it reframes cerebral character arcs as pulpy splash pages. I think most of the bad and good things people say about the film are true.
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William B
Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 11:22am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

I'm hesitant to wade too deeply into this, but I think a few points are worth mentioning.

1. The way Elliott is using "left" is not the same as "liberal." Liberalism and leftism are distinct traditions. In some areas they overlap but they are sufficiently distinct that they can't be treated as synonymous. Now this is a controversial point but I guess it's clear to me anyway that Elliott is specifically not talking about liberals, particularly given his (largely justified IMO) attacks on neoliberalism.

2. Along similar lines, the Democratic Party in the US is not a "Left" party in the way he is using left. They are left of the Republicans, to be sure. Within many self-described Left circles the Democrats are viewed as at best a necessary evil. Even Bernie Sanders is not a member of the party but runs as one due to the US' two-party system.

3. My impression is that many self-described liberals and leftists "support" cancel culture in various forms, whether it be deplatforming or whatever. I don't have a good sense on what the percentages are here.

4. Along those lines, when it comes to the protests, I have seen from left or liberals both the arguments that the *looting* within the protests are 1) not really representative of the core message of the protests or 2) justified because peaceful protests don't achieve anything. Of course these two points contradict each other, and I think the explanation is simple: the left and liberals are not monolithic.

5. Re CEOs. I could change my mind if evidence were offered to the contrary, but I cannot believe that highers up at Procter and Gamble were showing their own radical left agenda with that Gillette ad. I think that they believed that there was a lot about #MeToo or bullying or whatever in the zeitgeist, particularly among young people, and then put out an ad with the aim of saying they're against "bad models of masculinity," in the hopes of getting credit for being on a social vanguard, in order to win support and get brand loyalty, especially from young people. I thought the ad was not intended to be anti-men but to try to be "pro-good men" so that men would buy their products. The ad was incompetent and didn't say anything, but IMO the motivation was still profit. And Procter and Gamble's stock has still gone up even if Gillette sales have gone down. Similarly for Hobby Lobby, I think those in charge of the brand recognized that there is a loyal audience in people who support its politics.

Okay that's my thoughts for now.
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William B
Tue, Jun 16, 2020, 2:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Emissary

@Jason, I see what you mean. With Spiner, like, it basically got to the point that one of the recurring players they'd pair him with was...Spiner (Datalore, Brothers, Birthright, Descent, Inheritance). That said, De Lancie definitely needs to be added to the list of recurring players with whom Stewart (and Spiner though that was a less frequent pairing) had bigtime chemistry.
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William B
Mon, Jun 15, 2020, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Warlord

The "similar feelings," lol, are about how the sci-fi/possession/alien interference stuff means it's hard for us to know what actually happened (or at least "counted"). Playing some "how much was real?" ambiguity is fine and often good but it just sort of muddies things. However as I say Violations is worse on this front.
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William B
Mon, Jun 15, 2020, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Warlord

@Elliott,

I like the Riker/Troi comparison. Regarding R/T themselves, my feeling is that from Encounter at Farpoint through to All Good Things, Riker/Troi seem to be in an ambiguous state, where "Imzadi"-but-not-a-full-item is an ill-defined grey area for them, where they're constantly a few steps from being an item and a few steps from being "just friends." I'm not even positive they do have any off-screen conversations that we don't see (except in and after Insurrection). I think my favourite occasion of this is in The Loss (I think?) when Riker tries to play the Imzadi card and Troi dismisses it with "Oh please." When Past-Picard assured Troi that he's sure they'll find a way to work out their awkward situation, my spouse (who I had been watching things with) said "No, they won't" in an affectionate joking tone. As you say I think it's fine that it's not spelled out to the audience exactly what they did or didn't work out.

OTOH, I do have similar feelings about that scene in Violations as I do about the breakup in this episode. To be clear, I think that the ambiguity in Violations is worse because it throws a sexual assault in there, when the rest of the memories seem to be traumas that plausibly happened (Beverly seeing Jack's corpse, Riker having to evacuate Engineering and lose a person), which implies that Riker/Troi thing did happen. Given that the show has already raised the spectre of Riker being a potential rapist in A Matter of Perspective I think it's a bad choice to muddy the waters like that. It's also worse in Violations because I like Riker/Troi (as friends or as a couple) whereas I guess we can all just be relieved that Neelix/Kes is over as a romantic thing.
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William B
Mon, Jun 15, 2020, 8:43am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Warlord

To pivot from the heated discussions of the past few days (which I haven't been participating in):

@Elliott,

"Voyager is almost never given the benefit of the doubt with character development it seems. I notice in many comments that Kes' and Neelix' breakup, for example, is treated as though it doesn't really matter because the mind control invalidates the behaviour (it's not really her). But then (spoiler) in “Darkling,” the complaint is that, because the audience apparently decided the breakup didn't really happen, it's cheating to say that it did. So, what the hell? Tieran could have broken up with Neelix for any number of reasons, but he used Kes' insight into their relationship and his behaviour, informed by his own experience and motivations. Deep down, Kes knew and felt the things he said. That's why they rang as true to *us* before it was revealed that she had been mind-nabbed. She simply didn't posses the courage or the impetus to express them. That's what she means when she tells Tuvok that everything has changed."

I see what you're saying and I agree that Voyager is frequently not given the benefit of the doubt (including even by me in the past -- I'd say more before my recent viewing, more so than during). However, I think that in this case at least what we're seeing isn't so much that people are biased against Voyager -- in the sense that if another series had done the same thing that series would be forgiven -- as that the way Voyager goes about its character development is unusual by Trek (...and, well, other genre show) standards. Generally, mind control, body swap, mistaken identity etc. do invalidate behaviour. It's true that Tieran dumping Neelix is based on Kes' own insight and feelings, but from what we can tell it's still Tieran running the show, which means that Kes didn't decide to do it. Why *would* Neelix assume that they're still broken up if Kes didn't do it? Why should we? Kes isn't responsible for Tieran's actions later in the show. No one expects that Kirk's order to execute the senior staff should hold once Lester is exposed in Turnabout Intruder. And even in cases like Shattered Mirror, the fact that Sisko behaved *plausibly* as his MU counterpart doesn't mean that MU Jadzia and Bashir just accept his behaviour: they're (justifiably) upset at his deception, and don't count his actions as MU Sisko's. Now that the breakup "counts" because Tieran was expressing something real about Kes is hinted at by Kes saying that things have changed for her, sure. It's a plausible read and one that the series bears out. But I don't think it's purely anti-Voyager bias for people to be confused by this point.

For my part, I think that most likely Neelix and Kes would have had to have *a* conversation where she says that they're still broken up, because otherwise I don't see how Neelix would "know" that it counted. It's possible though he just intuits that he should give Kes space and then eventually just sort of realizes that they're over. Based on their dialogue in The Gift, it seems likely that Neelix is bewildered by this and doesn't really know which parts of their on screen breakup conversation he should take to heart. This confusion and despondency makes sense also of where Neelix is by the time we get to Fair Trade, and that neither Neelix nor Kes have the courage to delve deeper makes sense to me.
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William B
Sat, Jun 13, 2020, 8:57am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

@Elliott you'd better not try writing about Riker then!
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William B
Thu, Jun 11, 2020, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

Without wading too deep here, Elliott you seem to have put the decimal in the wrong place: 5/85 *is* (approx) 6%.
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William B
Thu, Jun 11, 2020, 9:57am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

Burton did deserve better, but I think there is something interesting about having Geordi struggle with connecting with people except when mediated through technology -- which is what the original Booby Trap episode was about, and which is related to his closeness with Data. It's tied in with his engineering work, his disability and VISOR, his unique way of seeing the world, it's part of what makes him exploited (The Mind's Eye) etc. Galaxy's Child, Aquiel, Interface, and Force of Nature were also on this theme but were not exactly good at it. Maybe The Next Phase (which I generally like) can be added to the list. To be clear, I'm not saying that engineers or people with disabilities in general always struggle with the same things as Geordi, but I guess the ways in which he was somewhat alienated felt believable to me most of the time, even if most of the episodes about it didn't work. I often feel like the writers were on the verge of a breakthrough with Geordi in terms of his relationship with technology, friendliness but slight alienation from others, VISOR as "seeing" differently from most and the pros/cons of that, maybe connected with both mild ASD and disability, but only sort of danced around it. Interesting still but incomplete.
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