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Mon, Jan 4, 2021, 9:22pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

@ReaperX- thank you for the historical context! People scrolling in the comments, I highly suggest you read their remarks :)
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Mon, Jan 4, 2021, 9:18pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

Really liked this episode! With our present notions of gender, this episode comes across as quite radical for 1992. It's a quiet one-- I loved the first half, Soren's discussions with Riker and Crusher were enlightening. Her coming-out speech and courtroom diatribe made me get a little teary-eyed, what with the bias still facing so many trans and nb people today. This episode aged so well... except for when it didn't. The gender roles makeup comments were a bit cringe (although Candace Owens would disagree), but I think overall the episode reflected both common and radical views of its time regarding gender. Imagine the trans/nb kids who heard that speech as kids... powerful to think about. The actress was also really good.

Also, the sexist poker scene with Worf was a biiit unnecessary, I guess the in-universe explanation being that Klingon women have less rights, like not being able to serve on the High Council (but come on, no Starfleet bias training?). But I love Troi's pointed lines towards him during that scene. Also, the scene between Will and Deanna in her quarters felt very realistic and comforting. They're role models of how amicable exes could be. When he teased her with the teddy bear, it reminded me a lot of how boyfriends often childishly rib their girlfriends. Don't exactly know why they decided to make her look through a chest, but it was a nice break in storytelling. Little moments like that help flesh out the characters, show that they live lives outside of The Plot.

Would been interesting to see this episode remade with better production value, thereby making the species actually androgynous and cutting the filler parts. One could say we got that with the Orville's Mocklin episodes, but the Orville just isn't as thoughtful a program, ya know?
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Sun, Jan 3, 2021, 11:45pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S3: There Is a Tide...

So I guess Michael's mom will come in and kick ass next episode. I don't care that much about her character, and they made it super obvious that that was gonna happen- she should've just outright asked for help, there's no way she would just 'forget' that her mother is compelled to aid in lost causes.

Book/Burnham love story- it's cute. Book's a really attractive guy, and an animal lover, so I love seeing him on-screen. But so much of their relationship development happened off-screen, the 'last kiss' moment didn't tug at the heartstrings.

I really liked Aurellio! Complex character- disabled, an example of who the Emerald Chain helped survive in a time when resources are stretched so thin. The Federation is totally wicked for not sharing the spore drive tech with everyone immediately, Osyrra is right! But Aurellio... disabled, married to an Andorian with kids, evidently brilliant. Clearly upset by seeing Ryn blasted into nothingness (god, Book, you're so stupid!), so I guess we should expect a super predictable betrayal.

Fleshing out the Emerald Chain! They should've done this from E1. Imagine an episode from entirely the Emerald Chain perspective, to show how their government works and how villains like Osyrra are just trying to help their people.

I thought the scene with Stamets was... really sad. That actually made me feel for him. And recognizing Adira as his surrogate child is great. See, writers, how things can have emotional resonance when you plant seeds in the episodes before? Should've done this with the Emerald Chain.

Vance is still pretty bland to me, but he had some great lines (apple scene funny!) Lie detector robot was weird. I feel like they drew a lot of attention to it with no payoff- I expected Osyrra to be hacking it somehow.

Overall, this episode didn't bore or confuse me! I knew when I saw 'directed by Johnathan Frakes' that it couldn't be that bad, and I was right!
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Sun, Dec 27, 2020, 5:24pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DSC S3: Su'Kal

I want to like Discovery so bad. But like... what is NuTrek even doing? I just... it's so schmaltzy and inorganic. None of the dialogue feels real. None of the funny moments make me even smile. Watching Discovery back-to-back with Mandalorian has been brutal. The writing quality, innovation, and use of canon that went into that show versus this one...
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Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 2:05pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: MAND S2: Chapter 15: The Believer

The taunt had me squealing. Mando is so BADASS. I started working out again because of this show.

But yeah. The line about "they think they want freedom, but what they really want is order" takes me back to high school history class, when our teacher asked us, as a mind experiment, to defend fascism.

Mayfeld and Mando's discussion about malleable ethics was amazing, enhanced by the fact that Mando wouldn't even engage and explain that swapping helmets isn't actually a betrayal of his code.

Mando took off his helmet! But this was cheapened for me. The whole point of Mando logging in instead of Mayfeld was that Mayfeld didn't want to get recognized. Then he... immediately stepped in and wasn't recognized. So Mando was seen by other living beings for the first time for... literally no reason. Wish it was more crucial.

Interesting point about the natives on all these planets being under someone's thumb. Reminds me of Kira's speech at the beginning of DS9. Fun watching Mando kick ass even without his precious beskar.

Also, been thinking about how Mando's faith compares with Earth religions. Excited to see a huge exploration of Mandalorian lore (heehee) in season 3... and there's an opening for the Return of the Mayfeld!
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Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 1:53pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: MAND S2: Chapter 14: The Tragedy

Seriously, the casting director! Mulan and Jango Fett? Princess Carolyn and Cory Booker's girlfriend? Gus Fring and Starbuck? Fantastic.
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Sat, Dec 26, 2020, 1:45pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: MAND S2: Chapter 13: The Jedi

Great review, Jammer! Star Wars was my gateway into sci-fi, and it's great to see Favreau, Filoni, & co carry the spirit of the original trilogy after the sequel movies had the wrong emphasis.

Really didn't like the makeup design on Ahsoka- the Togruta makeup design from the prequels is so much better. The wrinkling might have been included to show aging, but to me it just made her look like a cheap prosthetic.

When comparing Mandalorian and Discovery, of course Discovery comes out negatively. The sparse dialogue in Mandalorian feels rich and realistic, whereas Discovery feels schmaltzy and try-hard. The Mandalorian has some insane worldbuilding, including grazing animals and bustling marketplaces every episode, keeping its characters on the periphery of authority. It all comes down the the writing room, the ideas being bounced off the wall. It's so hard for me to get through an episode at this point, whereas I binged Mandalorian in a few days over the holidays. I want Discovery to be this good so bad but it just... isn't...
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Fri, Dec 25, 2020, 4:35am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: MAND S2: Chapter 16: The Rescue

God. Damn. I'm more of a Star Trek fan, but The Mandalorian is 1000% times more satisfying than Discovery or Picard. It's just... really, really good. Merry Christmas.
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Sun, Jul 19, 2020, 12:13am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S4: Data's Day

This is one of my favorite episodes in all of TNG, and probably Star Trek.
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Fri, May 15, 2020, 3:01am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S6: Sixth Season Recap

You know the drill! Here are my rankings, out of five, in order of preference. I feel there's a big gap between 'Step' and 'Tinker,' by far my favorites, just as 'Timeless' and 'Somebody' were last season- but 'Barge' and 'Pathfinder' are simply too delicious not to give a perfect score. 'Muse' is borderline four stars, while 'Survival Instinct' is borderline two. It surprises me how much of the two-star episodes ('Riddles' and 'Dragon's Teeth,' for instance) were great until the final act, when everything went to heck. About 'Fury': I have not recently rewatched the first season, and as a standalone episode, I think it makes sense, even if the logic is skewed. 'Collective' was boring, but borderline competent. 'Live Fast and Prosper' was unwatchable. I was waiting for the title to click and make sense, but it was just another strange and poorly executed detail in that mess of an episode. I think there are more really really good episodes in S6 than S5, but also a lot more meh episodes. The good is good, the bad is bad.

One Small Step: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
Barge of the Dead: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
Pathfinder: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
Blink of an Eye: ⋆⋆⋆⋆
Life Line: ⋆⋆⋆⋆
Equinox Part 2: ⋆⋆⋆⋆
Muse: ⋆⋆⋆
Good Shepherd: ⋆⋆⋆
The Haunting of Deck Twelve: ⋆⋆⋆
Fair Haven: ⋆⋆⋆
Survival Instinct: ⋆⋆⋆
Ashes to Ashes: ⋆⋆
Unimatrix Zero Part I: ⋆⋆
Memorial: ⋆⋆
Child’s Play: ⋆⋆
Alice: ⋆⋆
Dragon’s Teeth: ⋆⋆
The Voyager Conspiracy: ⋆⋆
Tsunkatse: ⋆⋆
Riddles: ⋆⋆
Fury: ⋆⋆
Collective: ⋆
Virtuoso: ⋆
Spirit Folk: ⋆
Live Fast and Prosper: ⋆
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Mon, Apr 13, 2020, 8:57pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

Utterly brilliant episode, with oh-so-many layers.

Bennie derives his inspiration for Odo, a security officer, from his boss, Douglas Pabst, who is obsessed with another type of security- the status quo. We've seen Odo before as someone who prioritizes order over morality- Odo obeyed the Cardassians in the same manner he obeys the Federation now. People like Douglas, the passive in society, walk the line they have been socialized to walk without thinking about why this line, or where they're going. "It's not about what's right, it's about what is."

His inspiration for Worf comes from Willie Hawkins (read: Willie Mays), one of the first African American baseball players. As is implied the episode, black Americans in this time were criminalized and portrayed as violent, just as they are (more covertly) today. Worf is the first Klingon is Starfleet, proving that his species, stereotyped as violent and bloodthirsty, can do the same job as his human counterparts.

The Father becomes his father. That one's simple enough.

Bennie wants to help Jimmy dream beyond his immediate circumstances and guide him down the right path. Bennie changes Jimmy into Jake Sisko, making the kid he sees as his son his real son. The fictionalized version of Jimmy is somebody that Bennie can mold, his fantasy version of how Jimmy would turn out under his guidance.

I cried watching the scene where Weyoun and Dukat beat Bennie. Great choices there by Brooks as actor and director there, as well as throughout. Watching episodes like these makes me want to study film in college, to be honest. I loved the shot panning from the Langston Hughes to the space station drawing to Bennie's typewriter, and so the story began. I don't find Bennie's breakdown unbelievable or over-acting on Brooks' part. Definitely in my top 10 DS9 episodes.

Could've gone with a more interesting adaptation of Dax. I feel like they didn't know where to fit her, so just made her a secretary. Good choice not to overcrowd the episode with more of the supporting cast, so that the episode didn't feel like a series of gimmicks. Nice, albeit strange choice to make the conniving Quark the morally upstanding one- although maybe this was just to put him at odds with Odo. The reimagined Bashir and O'Brien were more boring to me. I know that K.C. Hunter is probably in honor of D.C. Fontana, but I still didn't quite buy that Hunter, who remained passive, was Bennie's inspiration for a resistance fighter.

Meta re-telling of the power of Star Trek. You cannot destroy an idea. When Gene Roddenberry put Nichelle Nichols onscreen as Uhura, whose blackness is a non-issue much like Sisko's is, it changed the lives of thousands of young black kids. Think about Mae Jemison- a little black girl dreaming about being like Uhura then becoming an astronaut, becoming the idol of the next generation of little black girls. The dreamer and the dream. Bennie knows that the creation of Sisko will inspire even more people to see beyond the stars and technobabble on the screen and see themselves in those symbolic roles of power historically denied to marginalized groups. Replace the name 'Bennie' with 'Roddenberry' and you have a brilliant homage to the uncrushable ideas driving Star Trek to go where no one has gone before.
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Mon, Apr 13, 2020, 7:00pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Fifth Season Recap

Second time watching VOY S5, first time thinking about it through the lens of critical analysis. Since COVID-19 cancelled the rest of senior year, this is my new education. It's been rewarding reading through your reviews and these comments after writing up my own episode notes, seeing where my perspectives are similar and different to those of other Trek superfans. Just as I feel Jammer marked some episodes low for some trivial things, I also had certain episodes that rubbed me the wrong way, and others that appealed to my own taste- I could not stand Juggernaut, but loved Think Tank. I typed up my notes on Google Drive (25 pages, single spaced!) but I don't think I can share the link without revealing my e-mail.

My rankings, out of five:

Timeless: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
Someone to Watch Over Me: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
Nothing Human: ⋆⋆⋆⋆
Drone: ⋆⋆⋆⋆
Think Tank: ⋆⋆⋆⋆
Equinox Part I: ⋆⋆⋆⋆
Gravity: ⋆⋆⋆
Counterpoint: ⋆⋆⋆
Night: ⋆⋆⋆
Relativity: ⋆⋆⋆
11:59: ⋆⋆⋆
Warhead: ⋆⋆
Course: Oblivion: ⋆⋆
Infinite Regress: ⋆⋆
Bride of Chaotica!: ⋆⋆
Extreme Risk: ⋆⋆
Latent Image: ⋆⋆
The Fight: ⋆⋆
Thirty Days: ⋆⋆
Dark Frontier: Parts 1 and 2: ⋆
Bliss: ⋆
Once Upon a Time: ⋆
In the Flesh: ⋆
The Disease: ⋆
Juggernaut: ⋆
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Tue, Apr 7, 2020, 3:35pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Gravity

Tuvok has control, and never lost it. The episode doesn’t condemn or make a farce of Vulcans for being unfeeling like so many TOS episodes do, no- it embraces “infinite diversity… in infinite combinations." The Vulcans are different from Noss, from Paris, and this episode reminds us that’s how it’s supposed to be. Embracing diversity doesn’t always feel right or natural, because nature comes differently to each of us, but through that difficulty, we find truth. This episode emphasizes the beauty of being Vulcan, the richness of difference, and I love that.
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