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Maxwell Anderson
Thu, Nov 13, 2014, 8:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Course: Oblivion

This stands up there with Tuvix as among the very best of Voyager, and among the best of Star Trek ever. To have these conscious lifeforms struggle with their own identity, their purpose, then to have them die like that at the end, without any record or memory of them ever having existed, it just really struck me emotionally. Its one of the few times that Star Trek dares not have a silver lining or greater meaning, or anything positive that can come out of this story. All there is in the end is space dust. Truly dark, powerful stuff, and very daring writing.
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Maxwell Anderson
Wed, Mar 19, 2014, 1:41am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Dark Frontier

I agree with DLPB. Too many of the comments here focus on the continuity errors. Continuity with TNG is a problem in this episode, however, this pales in comparison to the biggest problem with this episode, which is the Borg's inability to combat Janeway's away teams. It just doesn't make sense that they would be so vulnerable to attack. It makes sense on TNG that they don't consider them a threat when they beam over and look around with their Type 1 phasers in their holsters, but when Janeway sends multiple teams over at once, with Type 3 phasers drawn and Harry Kim planting bombs, they should be responding aggressively. Instead they just carry on with their everyday maintenance.

And why oh why do they not assimilate Seven and Janeway at the end? The queen spends an eternity talking about how Voyager is inferior and they will be defeated, but they are just standing around doing nothing, for ages. It just doesn't make sense.

And why does Janeway have to only blast one node for the Borg to lose their ability to keep shields? The writers do not take basic story logic into account, and the result is a depiction of the Borg as inept idiots.

I could buy a story where they kidnap Seven and try to convince her to stay with the Borg as an individual, for the reasons Joseph B states, and also perhaps because they are trying to win the "hearts and minds" of humans as a way of validating their way of life, which could be quite interesting. But the writers fail to explore this idea at all, instead having the Borg queen try to force Seven to think like a drone even though they refuse to assimilate her. This basic illogic hurt the credibility of the story immeasurably.
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Maxwell Anderson
Wed, Jan 15, 2014, 12:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Someone to Watch Over Me

Best episode of the series. Everything works beautifully.
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Maxwell Anderson
Wed, Jan 15, 2014, 12:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Tuvix

I loved this episode because it ends on a note of real uncertainty. Very rarely has Voyager deliberately left Big Questions unresolved, respecting the audience enough to ask them to hash it for themselves. Another episode that comes to mind is Sacred Ground, where Janeway's unwavering faith in science is seriously questioned and ends on an unresolved note. I also am thinking of Course: Oblivion, because of how dark and complex the show actually gets at the end, and we are left to ponder the value of life and history and memory.
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Maxwell Anderson
Wed, Jan 15, 2014, 12:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Survival Instinct

Of course they are "free" to do whatever they want. But what they did on Voyager was to fundamentally and without explanation reverse the organizational system from bottom up to top down, thus rendering them much much easier to defeat. I don't think I'm alone in criticizing the writers for choosing this path.

And yes, of course they could, "dramatically speaking", take the Borg in a direction that preserved the strength of their collective and that was more consistent with depictions in TNG and First Contact. (As I explained in my original post, the queen in First Contact was a mouthpiece, and nothing in the plot of that movie violated the organizational principles established in TNG. The problem starts in Voyager Dark Frontier.)
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Maxwell Anderson
Sun, Jan 5, 2014, 1:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Survival Instinct

I agree with EP. Voyager just fundamentally misunderstood the Borg in how they characterized them. The biggest thing is about the organization of the hive and of the cubes. It is established in TNG that the technological systems are spread out evenly with many redundancies throughout their cubes, so that if one is damaged, absolutely no vital systems get compromised. This ability to adapt and regenerate is what makes the cubes so scary and why the Borg are so hard to defeat. (I thought it was very clever how Michael Piller wrote the end of Best of Both Worlds - tapping into the mind and telling them it's time to sleep - in part because it does not violate this technological principle). In contrast, this principle is routinely violated in Voyager as the writers would usually end episodes with Janeway targeting some central hub that controlled everything so they could disable the cube. And in First Contact they establish that the queen is simply a mouthpiece for the collective, the billions-of-voices-as-one-voice manifest. However, Voyager constantly describes functions of the Borg as being "controlled" by the queen, or various queens, and if one is killed or disabled this can render the Borg defenseless somehow. This is just a fundamental misunderstanding of how the Borg work. If the queen is killed, the Borg can just make another one. They don't even need a queen. They all think in One Voice, right? The queen is simply there to better communicate with individuals outside the hive.

They also establish in TNG that when disconnected from the hive, drones become totally lost, unable to truly take care of themselves, destined to die without reconnection to the hive. This provides an understandable motivation for each drone's unquestioning devotion to the hive: without it, they will die. Here, however, Ron Moore inexplicably writes that when disconnected from the hive, drones immediately start remembering their former lives and thinking like individuals again. This is not the Borg I know from TNG! I would imagine the Borg drones in such a situation would act as a group to try to rejoin the collective, and not let anyone get in their way. I'm sure disagreement could ensue among the group, given their newly individual natures, and this could be interesting. But this is not at all what Moore writes here.
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Maxwell Anderson
Sat, Jan 4, 2014, 2:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: One Small Step

Nic, I think Grumpy is right with regards to real life, but the point you raise can be applied to Star Trek away mission protocol generally, going back all the way to TOS. Small group away missions routinely involve the entire group beaming down to a strange planet all at once, leaving nobody to man the shuttlecraft. Then, the rest of the episode usually is about trying to back to the shuttlecraft after encountering a hostile force. Just a really bone-headed policy that they never get right.
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Maxwell Anderson
Fri, Jan 3, 2014, 3:42am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Human Error

I agree with Elliott. Excellent episode. I only wish it went on longer and we saw how Seven dealt with this tragic blow to her sense of self. Haven't seen the subsequent episodes yet. I can only hope Voyager does what it usually doesn't do and follows up.
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Maxwell Anderson
Wed, Jan 1, 2014, 5:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Barge of the Dead

I completely agree with Ken and others. The problem with this episode is that for one episode only, B'Elanna suddenly believes in the literal truth of Klingon religious texts, which is completely inconsistent with how her character has been established in earlier episodes. Now, I am willing to believe that her experience and interaction with her mother could force a change in her character, and that is in essence the challenge for the writers to take us on that journey, but they fail miserably. She just starts believing in it. We don't see her doubts slowly erode or her natural skepticism struggle against her need to deal with the guilt she feels for falling out with her mother. Her transformation is just far too fast, unexplained, and easy. This is a recurring problem with the writing on this show. Ronald D. Moore or no Ronald D. Moore, this episode stunk!
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