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Mertov
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 7:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Drea:
"The Romulan evacuation world (established as not particularly lawful) is in the same area of space as Freehold, policed by the same vigilante force. Part of the reason that they visit the Romulan colony is that it's en route to Freehold, and Picard's aware they may not come that way again. It's entirely plausible that Seven would join the Rangers, the only group devoted to protecting this territory, and the plot nearly screams for the Sirena to meet a Ranger. If we add that Seven certainly could've seen the planet's social media blow up with the famous Admiral Picard, a former Borg with politics sympathetic to hers, we even have a reason that she would go out specifically, and not some other Ranger."
(Freehold: Freecloud)

I agree Drea. Seven joining the Fenris Rangers, a group that tries to maintain peace in the more lawless parts of the galaxy albeit via vigilante-like behavior, is perfectly believable. Even when Voyager ended, Seven was still not even close to a human, still in the early stages of adapting to human behavior, and as she and Picard discussed, you never fully gain humanity (not to mention there are mountains of difference between her decades long life as a Borg and Picard's short capture by them). It is not a stretch to think that she would find her purpose in the Rangers instead of a peaceful dont-rock-the-boat type of life of monotony (or research behind a desk) on earth, although I must admit, that is how Voyager felt like in its late seasons, like the modern-day "safe space."
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Mertov
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 7:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

One more note:
"Too bad they could not get Brian Brophy to play Maddox but there is probably a valid reason behind it. As far as I know, he is teaching at some university."

Now that I think more of it, John Ales, who played Maddox this episode, was actually pretty good. Brophy came across a bit wooden in "The Measure of a Man."
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Mertov
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 7:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

What a great ride! Jerri Ryan is the queen. All her scenes were maximum fun and the ones with Picard had meaningful undertones. There is a substantial amount of backstory filling here and most of it is useful. Fenris Rangers and Seven connection works, Maddox's past activities are revealed for the most part, and Jurati's ending behavior fits considering what happened in an earlier episode (I had my doubt how she showed up from behind to kill the Romulan in Picard's chateau anyway, after talking with Commodore Oh (we don't know about what). I am not sure that Jurati is a mole in the sense that she is there to simply betray Picard and ruin his mission. She could have already done if she had wanted to. There must be more to it, probably killing Soji because of what she knows (some big secret).

Raffi is gaining so much more depth in the last two episodes and the Michelle Hurd is selling the character well (as I expected). Her talk with her son and his pregnant wife was gut-wrenching. Great B story within captivating A story involving a lot of nods to previous Trek (Icheb, Quark, Maddox). I was just thinking a week or two ago how I wish once in a while we got to see our protagonists visit these off-the-wall places where people dressed in quirky ways and behaved outlandishly (TOS and early TNG had a lot of this) and allowed the main characters to do so too for the sake of fitting in. My wish came true with Freecloud. Picard and Rios were superb in those scenes.

Too bad they could not get Brian Brophy to play Maddox but there is probably a valid reason behind it. As far as I know, he is teaching at some university.

Best episode to date (even slightly above the premiere and the last one) with good pacing. Narek and Soji's stories taking the sideline may have had something to do with it, as well as Frakes camera work.

Bring on the second half of the season!
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PM
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 6:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Also, ALL Romulans are synthetic frankenVulcans

Something the Vulcans created and that Vulcan and the Jat Vash have covered up

(what else would be a truth so insane it would drive every Romulan mad...like Daj, they dont even know it).

Callin' it...
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PM
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 6:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

said in heavy JFK accent, done only as The Simpsons can:

Mayor Quimby: "Aw! You people don't know what you want!"

Random person in angry mob: "He's right! Give us hell, Quimby!"
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Loud Morn
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 4:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Thirty Days

well yeah, this episode certainly aged well... nowadays, fascists like Bolsonaro and Trump do have that sort of rhetoric like "respect our borders don't meddle in our internal affairs". Janeway demonstrates just how outdated mainstream liberalism is with the non-meddling policy in case of an environmental catastrophy. Of course Paris, the romantic eco-anarchist is going to get all the bashing. Who cares about orders and military fetishism when the planet is in danger?
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William B
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 3:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Trent,

"Kurtzman's resume is literally an unending line of absolute crap. He's like Ed Wood, Uwe Boll and Michael Bays all rolled up into one."

Ed Wood (sometimes) made intensely personal movies he wanted to make, like Glen or Glenda. To call the finished work confused would be an understatement, and it's not exactly easy for anyone to tell exactly what it was he was trying to say, but he definitely seemed to be trying to say something. Tim Burton could make a celebratory picture about him and link him to Orson Welles as a man of titanic vision and passion for moviemaking -- he just happens to be completely bonkers and inattentive to the most basic elements of craft or taste. I don't see anyone making that kind of biopic about Kurtzman. Uwe Boll is also a bizarre character IRL and Michael Bay was reportedly a prodigy filmmaker as a student, who quickly channeled everything into soulless moneymaking. They are all kind of more interesting figures than Kurtzman IMO, who strikes me as a middle management type more so than either mad creative, outsider failure or even talent-turned-abject-sellout, though maybe there's an artist in there somewhere. (I haven't watched PICARD yet, so I'm not talking about this show right now!)
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Bold Helmsman
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 2:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Trent

Don't you think it's a little quick to say Seven won't be involved in the Borg plot?
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skye francis-maidstone
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 1:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

Agreed. I feel like the brother and sister thing is trying way too hard be Jamie and Cersei Lannister. She even talks very much like her. Their whole plot is dull.

I don't mind him and the data daughter so much though. Even the sliding scene was tolerable. I guess they haven't installed a holosuite on the cube so maybe sliding on wet floors will have to do.
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Mike W
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 1:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

What an episode. Was i the only one who clued at the beginning, when evil lady said “where’s that cortical node?” Icheb didn’t have one, because Seven now has it.
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Tommy D.
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 1:24pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Loved it. Except for that opening scene. I'm just not into gore at all, no matter what show. Not my thing.

@Norvo I thought so too all the way down to the hair and outfit. Thought she was awesome.

Loved the last scene between Picard and Seven. Great moment.
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Chrome
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 11:07am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

No one’s mentioned this yet, but it looks like they were telling us that Jurati and Maddox used to be a couple. Killing someone that close to you seems a bit of a stretch, even if it’s a matter of duty to Starfleet. So, we’re pretty sure Jurati is being controlled like the way Geordi was in “The Mind’s Eye”, right?
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Big Pimpin'
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 10:01am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Also did they recast Icheb too? I think they did...
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Helmus
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 10:00am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

For me the best episode so far. I enjoyed it very much. Looking forward to next week!
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Big Pimpin'
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 9:59am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

I agree with Richard that Picard and Seven's exchange made the episode worth the price of admission. Jeri Ryan is a great actress.

I liked the rest of the episode a lot, even though Patrick Stewart seems to have a somewhat loose grip on the Picard character these days.
I also think that the Maddox Agnes final scene was one "shocking" moment too many.

Also why recast Maddox????
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Richard James
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 8:57am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

It's moving in the right direction, but still bogged down by slow movements to an end goal, rather than telling individual stories.

The Seven of Nine plot worked the best and that opening scene was pretty horrific. Jeri Ryan's has such screen presence and her character is just a million times more interesting than others, especially with her new viligante background. The poor man's oceans 11 scene on Freecloud a were a little pointless, but fun enough.

But honestly, any reservations I had for this episode melted away when Picard and Seven had that brief exchange on the transporter pad;
"Did you honestly feel you regained your humanity?"
"Yes"
"All of it?"
"No. But we're both working on it, arent we"
"Every damn day of my life"

More like this please!
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Booming
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 8:14am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

It's going against Borg so bringing a sharp something is maybe not a bad idea. I guess a machine gun would be even more effective against Borg. Hmmm
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 7:39am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Don't have a lot of time this morning, but I wanted to give my two cents in.

I liked it, but I didn't think it was better than last week's episode. I thought it was - in most ways - a step back.

The episode was well shot, acted, and plotted, but the really clunky infodumps of the first three episodes reappeared (like Picard's initial dialogue with Seven). Worse, this episode had a lot of corny overly-broad melodrama. The characters didn't actually act like real human beings would across most of the episode, which was disappointing after the much more natural flow of dialogue last week.

At the same time, there was no glacial borg cube scenes this week, which was a welcome respite. I wish I could have said the same last week. Thus even though the main plot was a lot weaker, the lack of the tedious "B plot" made the episode of roughly equal quality.

I still think Rios could be a hologram, though if he is, Raffi is "in on it." That device that Raffi handed him could have really been a mobile emitter. Notice Seven stole it before she left? This will be important later on.

2.5 stars. Meh.
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Tim C
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 7:03am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Damn. They were obviously going for shock value with that opening flashback, but it sure worked on me! (Cue the "oh gosh, that isn't Star Trek" crowd...)

"Fridging" Icheb is a cheap way to give Seven her new, even harder edge. That said, cheap doesn't necessarily mean bad or ineffective. I totally buy it, and Icheb was never that interesting a character that I'm going to mourn his loss. I wonder if the writers are coming for Naomi Wildman next...

Icheb isn't the only minor character to meet the executioner: on the non-Seven side of things, Maddox is introduced and summarily dismissed, and Jurati's double-agent status is confirmed way earlier than I thought it would be. And it looks like we're getting to the cube next week! After four episodes of setup, they're sure wasting no time knocking the dominos over.

As far as chapters of a novel go, this one is my favourite so far. The Trek universe feels bigger than it ever has, with all kinds of unexplored corners and institutions. And no pointless Soji/Narek/Rizzo scenes, either. Nice!
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KMC
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 6:06am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Children of Time

Boring as hell. Season 5 is all over the place.
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Dave in MN
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 3:32am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

THEY KILLED ICHEB!!!!

Why???? No!!!!!

That was awful watching him get tortured. His eyeball getting yanked out was just for audience titillation. And yet ANOTHER flashback to open the show?! This is wasted screentime since the dialogue summarizes these events later anyways.

I also disliked the oral sex joke as well as the continued casual cursing amongst the cast.

Recasting Bruce Maddox probably was a mistake. The original actor probably would've done better.

Agnes acting doofy, clueless and hysterical is getting irritatng. Her "make-cute" with Rios was rom-com cringe and her freaking out over pushing one button on the transporter controls was ridiculous. And that last scene in sickbay? Yeah, another person with a secret agenda .... ugh. (Also, more characters speaking in unnecessary and verbise riddles/obtusely just to keep the audience on a IV drip of plot .... this show has very soapish pacing problems).

Freecloud looks cool, but (nitpick ahead) how does that square with the way Ferengi are discussed in previous shows? The Trek writers (in the past) have certainly presented gambling and other vices as a thing 99% of humanity had outgrown.

The scene where Picard's landing party is putting on their silly outfits reminded me of when The Orville did this (better). The line Picard had in French seemed to written solely to go viral. Are we going to have a Commander Oh No Sunglasses Moment every week?!

Jeri Ryan did a good job (although how she went from being an integral part of the Voyager crew to a ranger wasn't really explained to my satisfaction. ) Still, her acting made her backstory and personality changes believable. Really, she should be a part of Picard's ragtag crew instead of people like Elnor and Agnes. She's just a better caliber actress and her character is way more interesting than almost anyone on the Millennial Falcon.

Raffi's actress also has talent, I was hoping she wasn't leaving the crew (until she wasn't). Her scene with her son was touching and I appreciated that they showed us their connection in real time (using inference and setting) vs another clunky exposition dump.

I also liked how Elnor is already getting the Neelix treatment by the writers ... I wonder how much this character was forced on them by corporate bean counters/Kurtzmann. He's still very annoying, but I don't
won't mind him as much if he's used as a punching bag for well-deserved jokes.

Thankfully, no Borg cube moustache-twirling incest scenes this week. I thought the borg harvesting woman was well acted and mostly written competently .... although what's the point of extracting borg implants without anesthetic?! It's the 25th Century, it is barbaric and cruel for no reason! She would've been a more effective villian if she'd showed some mercy to her victims instead of cracking jokes as she murdered someone ... but this is simplistic scripting and the very good actress who played the villainess shouldn't be blamed for that.)

This was the best looking episode of Picard, it was better directed than previously, the actors seem a bit more comfortable in their roles, the soundtrack was the least intrusive it's ever been, the cinematography was sufficiently otherworldly.... there was actually quite a bit to like in this episode.

But again, I really REALLY hated that they killed off Icheb just to give 7's character motivation! Totally unnecessary.

So, what kind of rating do I give this roller-coaster of sn episode?

1 star more than last week seems fair: 2.5 stars
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Chrome
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 3:29am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Genuinely very good. This week they finally told a self-contained story in a single hour while furthering the overarching plot.

Jeri Ryan really seems to know her character and it helped me to like Seven in spite of the despicable thing she does this week. Heck, it sounds cliche that Seven would become a vigilante, but Ryan really sells it by how driven she appears. Like Picard, she seems like a very different character than the one we saw in her last appearance.

Cabrera is also great in the first away mission we see him on. He slides easily from undercover pimp to rogue pilot with a sense of duty. When I saw Mr. Vup about to pull his weapon, I thought for sure Seven would kill him, but Rios shows us he’s not slow on the uptake (hopefully just stunning him).

The mystery with Maddox appears to be deepening with not only the Zhat Vash involved, but apparently some part of the Federation. Of course, Jurati ends that explanation prematurely in what many predicted as her mole status.

I’m sure many will be happy not to see NareI and Rizzo this week. And - it looks like they’ll finally engage Picard next week.
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Mads Leonard Holvik
Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 11:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Transfigurations

I agree with what Marshal wrote. This is about Jesus, transdescending and being reborn. The episode has humor also and a story of connection between the doctor and the humanoid transdescending.
A thoughtful and nice episode. Me and my brother watched it yesterday and he made the remark: why can't they make Star Trek like this today?
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Jamie Mann
Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 5:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: The Magnificent Ferengi

A Ferengi fluff episode. Some mildly entertaining bits, though it's a shame that Keevan's character was discarded purely for a brief comedy moment; I still think he played a better diplomat than Weyoun.

Could be worse. At least it wasn't a Ferengi meets Mirror Universe episode...

(Be careful what you wish for - Mostly Spoiler-free Ed)
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Jamie Mann
Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 4:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Statistical Probabilities

Another episode which isn't particularly strong.

The idea that we finally get to meet some more genetically engineered humans is an interesting one in theory, but the people they introduce are an odd mix; emotionally immature and yet intelligent enough to be classed as weakly godlike (to use a phrase Charles Stross introduced).

What they end up being is characters which are more mythical than damaged. Im many ways, they remind me of a more classical interpretation of elves (or Eldar, if you're into WH40k); beings following their own paths according to whimsies we understand little about, and uncaring about the effects of their actions on other species. They're just as likely to leave a changling in a baby's crib as they are to provide gifts or advice...

Truth be told, the results are a little too bizarre; they're able to perform mental feats which would challenge even a Federation supercomputer operated by Vulkans, which includes the ability to extrapolate psychological information from even a brief inspection of a VR clip.

But at the same time: one has the emotional maturity of a toddler, one is arguably full-blown sociopathic and the third is something of a nyphomaniac.

(Quite why the latter is considered dangerous enough to deserve long term imprisonment is an odd one, unless she's prone to psychopathic or stalker tendencies when rebuffed...)

And from there, they come up with a grand theory; a prediction that the Federation's war with the Dominion is doomed to failure.

This idea appears to have been lifted wholesale from Asimov's Foundation, but the DS9 writers failed to take several things into account - which is all the more ironic because Asimov himself raised these points in his later Foundation books.

The first is that the Second Foundation was only able to maintain Hari Seldon's plan through constant manipulation behind the scenes, to ensure that things stayed on the right track. The second is that their attempts very nearly failed because of the intervention of The Mule - a mutant, with the ability to emotionally control other humans.

Or to put it another way: the plan was almost derailed because of a variable which could be neither predicted nor controlled.

And Star Trek is full of such variables. Not only do you have dozens of alien races, many of whom the Federation has little or no information on (e.g. the Breen), but you also have lots of godlike alien beings such as the Prophets and Q, who can - and often do - intervene with just as much whimsy as the genetically engineered characters in this episode. And then there's other factors, ranging from time travel to parallel universes.

As such, the idea that this motley group of characters could confidently claim to model events decades into the future strikes a very false note indeed.

Beyond that, there's not really much else to say about this episode. Though it does perhaps raise an interesting question about Bashir.

If he's just as super-intelligent as the other elves in this episode, what is he doing hanging around with baseline humans? It must be like spending time with children - or perhaps even babies or animals - beings unable to comprehend even a fraction of what he does, and just as predictable and manipulable...
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