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Amtep
Sat, Jan 18, 2020, 8:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Future Tense

I spent most of this episode being angry at how stupid they're being. They've dealt with any number of weird contagions and mysterious gases in their explorations, so they should know to be careful. They even have that whole decontamination chamber.

But when they find a derelict pod, they just take it into Enterprise and open it up. The hull even blocked them from sscaninginside! They have no idea what's in there. Could be a chlorine armosphere or something. Could be that whatever made it go derelict is still lurking inside, too. But no, they just stand around it with no protective gear and open it up.

Then later with the Trip and Malcolm scenes, they're not even wearing gloves. They're just touching everything (including objects covered in strange fluids) with their bare hands. It was icky to watch.

But I guess the writers had told them that this was not a "mysterious disease" episode so they had nothing to worry about.
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Amtep
Sat, Jan 18, 2020, 8:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Stigma

I had to roll my eyes when Archer was upset that the Vulcans wouldn't cure the disease because of political reasons. Archer did exactly that to an entire species!

But now the shoe is on the other foot. Protagonist-centered morality at its finest.
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Patrick
Sat, Jan 18, 2020, 7:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Vis A Vis

The discussion here about B’lanna being raped is interesting. There was an episode of Law and Order SVU where, basically, a bunch of rich moms were sleeping with some guy that misrepresented himself as some person of influence of a fancy pants school everyone wanted to get into, and they were deciding if that was rape, because the women didn’t say no. I forgot how they ended the episode (sorry). So if you lie about who you are and someone sleeps with you based on this identity, is that rape? People lie all the time. There was also an episode in DS9 where Sisko represented himself as Dark Universe Sisko, and was with Dark Universe Dax, which I also thought was messed up.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sat, Jan 18, 2020, 12:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

@Fenn

"There's definitely a lot to consider in a situation like this. Odo definitely acted as a tempering influence to an extent, and I don't doubt that Mora had much nastier changeling-changer machines."

He did.

In this very episode (I just rewatched it) Odo mentions that Mora used a vacuum chamber and a protein decompiler. Yikes! It's like he had an entire torture chamber or something.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 8:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

Yep, I meant DIstant Voices. I mean, they both involve whispers...
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P'kard
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 6:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Course: Oblivion

It always cracks me up to see people treat Trek as this "hard sci fi" show that rests within our laws of physics and understanding. The whole point is to leave those normal constraints behind and use that freedom to explore interesting ideas. That's what this show exemplifies for me. No, it doesn't make sense but it is an INTERESTING story imo. Therefore this show is a success in my book even if it's too "cynical"??? for some.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 3:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

Three excellent questions.
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Top Hat
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 2:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

Here's an interview in which Siddig expresses his discontent: https://tv.avclub.com/alexander-siddig-on-being-bashir-quitting-24-and-gett-1798282506

What annoys me the most is that they decide that Bashir was not only brought up to normal or even prodigy levels of intelligence by the genetic treatment, but also that it turned him into a god among men physically too. What why what?
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Peter G.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 2:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

@ Fenn,

You'll get the most bang for your buck in retroactively taking a look at Whispers from S2. The whole episode reads differently when seen in hindsight. I highly doubt they had any of what was coming in mind when they wrote it, which makes it all the more mysterious that they did write it. Maybe they wanted to leave Whispers vague enough to suit various options for "surprise" without having to settle on one just yet. I mean, why else write in that Julian deliberately failed to get 1st in his class? Why insert that into his past, and have it take a Lethian to draw it out of him, unless it's Something Important? Almost puts Bashir on the same level as Garak in terms of it implying he's hiding something. That said most of the writers probably either didn't pick up on that or else dropped it, since there are no other allusions in the series to Julian having some kind of secret reason to fail.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 2:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

@ Fenn.

There were two parallel issues with this Bashir development. The first is that according to Michael Pillar they had decided pre-pilot to run a number on Bashir's character, making him deliberately unlikeable for a few seasons in order to then spring some kind of surprise and have him turn around to become a fan favorite. I have no idea why they wanted to do an experiment like this, but maybe it was due to everyone on TNG just being so damn nice and friendly. For Bashir they actually wanted to fans not to like him initially! Ironically I like early Bashir the best because he's such a dork.

So this character retcon may well be what they settled on for Bashir's 'big surprise'. The issue for me is they had already had one big surprise - the Changeling situation. And what's more, Bashir had already been toned way down by this time and wasn't the aggravating nuisance that Kira wanted to swat every time he spoke. So any kind of sudden reversal at this stage in the game wasn't really that much of a reversal. He was probably a middle of the road fan favorite originally, and would remain so after this. It basically changed nothing. At least, nothing in terms of ratings.

The second issue was how the writers took to Bashir's new identity, which Siddig apparently feared would have them turn him into The Human Computer and take away any humanity from him. So maybe this last scene was Julian sort of playing a bit of Mr. Computer. I wonder whether the actor was trying to portray that he didn't quite forgive his parents yet, or whether it was more of a "I have to try to look normal in social situations but really I am a human calculator with a stony face in private." And the last scene may be him letting down his social face. I guess you'd have to ask Siddig himself about that one.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 9:40am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

I agree with Omicron that Mora was probably not pulling any punches, especially as the Cardassians wanted results. But I'd say the major difference between Odo and Mora is that Mora did what he did because he liked it; he wanted to succeed in his science experiment. In Odo's case even if he took exactly the same steps he'd have been doing it out of caring. I think the motive and attitude may be what this is about. Odo may well have recognized by the end that Mora's methods were sound, even while still knowing that making the child stronger has to be for its own sake, not yours.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 7:37am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

To be fair, we don't know how bad this treatment is from a changeling's perspective. All the talk of electric shocks gives us a visceral reaction of "this is horrible physical abuse", but that's a humanoid point-of-view. Perhaps a changeling would see it differently, if those methods were used with proper moderation and tempered with a genuine show of affection.

It is interesting to note that the baby-ling wasn't adversely affected by what Odo did. He (it?) didn't seem to harbor any kind of resentment, nor was there any psychological damage. So it does seem like Odo did strike the right balance here.

I'm also quite sure that Mora did *not* strike any kind of balance when using these methods on Odo. He probably went to higher and higher voltages whenever poor Odo refused to cooperate. That's Classic Mora, right there.
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Top Hat
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 7:25am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

One thing I always liked about this episode is that it's fairly technobabble light. We're told that the radiation is such that nobody but Data can go to the planet, and that phasers won't work for the same reason. Reasonable. Picard has O'Brien and Geordi seek a technical solution but this just supplies a comic sub-subplot, with exchanges like this:

RIKER: Gentlemen, we're giving you an assignment. One thing we don't want to hear is that it is impossible.
PICARD: I need the transporters to function despite the hyperonic radiation.
LAFORGE: Yeah, but that's im... Yes, sir.

The stakes are clarified with a minimum of dialogue. Later, Data rigs a phaser and the explanation for how he can do it is pretty short and clear.

I feel like a few seasons later there'd be a full act of tehnobabble in there.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 3:35am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

I wouldn't say that Odo capitulated to Mora's methods.

Superficially, maybe, it might seem like it. But Odo's approach his quite different than Mora's. Odo showed genuine care for the baby. Even as he was forced to use coercion he never stopped showing that genuine care. They even point to this fact directly in dialogue:

"MORA: The changeling is developing far faster than you did. I didn't mean that as a criticism. If anything, it's a compliment. I mean, I was wrong. Your approach to communicating to the changeling was sound. I mean, don't you see? It's reaching out to you. It's curious about you."

Mora originally treated Odo as a specimen to experiment with. A favorite experiment, perhaps, but an experiment nevertheless. Odo treated the baby changeling as his child, and that makes a huge difference.

The only thing that irks me, is how quickly Odo managed to forgive Mora. After all the nice subtleties and mature dialogue, that ending *does* seem to endorse the notion that Odo realized Mora's approach to be right. It's a shame, really, because that vibe goes completely against the rest of the episode.
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P'kard
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 12:20am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

The funeral scene at the end is way too long. I just had to rewatch with my mom (her first viewing so i have to suffer through shows like this again.) and i was just cringing the entire time. It seemed like she had a "personal message" for everyone on the ship. Why did she not have one for Ben or the tea drinking transporter guy?
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Pedant
Thu, Jan 16, 2020, 7:29am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Contrary to popular belief, there's no such thing as the Star Wars Christmas Special. It was the Star Wars Holiday Special, and the holiday in reference was Thanksgiving.
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Top Hat
Thu, Jan 16, 2020, 7:16am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Force of Nature

Yeah, "the cat thing is the best part of this episode" is less about how good the cat part is than how bad the rest is.
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Peter Swinkels
Thu, Jan 16, 2020, 4:55am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

This movie has the lowest rating here. You should review the christmas special and rip it to shreds. :-)
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P'kard
Thu, Jan 16, 2020, 12:41am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Whispers

Really interesting to me how all the people complaining about "bias" against Voyager can't name a single VOY mystery episode better than "Whispers." This is because there really are no better mystery episodes than this! I love Voyager but it never really did mystery episodes of this quality.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Jan 15, 2020, 11:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Force of Nature

Come on... the cat thing is the best part of this episode (though this doesn't say much). I particularly loved how Data, the super-advanced logical android, was not immune to the spell that cats cast on their owners. I thought it was funny and cute.

That's more then we can say about the disastrous A-plot, isn't it? So that's something, at least.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jan 15, 2020, 2:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Past Prologue

To be fair, I always interpreted that particular scene as Garak being a bit selfless for once and suggesting that it was a bad idea to get mixed up with an ex-assassin and Dukat's enemy. Her naivete would lead her to judge him based on what she sees and how he treats her, and he knows that you shouldn't necessarily believe those things. I think in this scene he's putting himself down in a sense, and trying to give her good advice despite the fact that he does like being with her.
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Top Hat
Wed, Jan 15, 2020, 2:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Past Prologue

So the lack antagonism between them makes romance less likely? Ziyal not being particularly socialized with other Cardassians?
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Top Hat
Wed, Jan 15, 2020, 1:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Past Prologue

Yes, I think there's space to push against the idea that Garak was sexually or romantically interested in Ziyal at all. There's exchange in "In Purgatory's Shadow":

Ziyal: You’re intelligent, and cultured… and kind…
Garak: My dear, you’re young, so I realize that you’re a poor judge of character—
Ziyal: Why do you always make fun of my feelings for you?
Garak: Perhaps because I find them a bit… misguided?
Ziyal: Well, if that’s what you think, why do you spend so much time with me?
Garak: Because I’m exiled, and alone, and a long way from home, and when I’m with you, it doesn’t feel so bad.

It sounds like he's trying to politely to deflate any romantic interest on her part.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jan 15, 2020, 12:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Past Prologue

SPOILERS

Frankly I don't think I ever got a vibe that Garak was 'into' Ziyal, just that he cared for her. Maybe even felt bad for her. That even comes across in the script, and he was never given lines that showed overly romantic overtones. Granted he's not into sentimentalism, but still their relationship was about as warmly platonic as you can get onscreen. It makes perfect sense that she'd be lonely, and maybe even respect Garak for his sense of assuredness and calm. On Garak's side it was a perfect chance to cross Dukat and bewitch his daughter. At least at first. And he would have never felt the need to make a distinction between spending time with someone nice, and continuing his 'private work'. His association with Julian very much had that character, where he was enjoying Julian's company but also working him.

I'm not exactly fighting for the pan-sexual Garak intepretation, but on the other hand I could see a case where Robinson was resisting portraying being overtly attracted to Ziyal. It did sort of seem more like he was curious about her, rather than drawn to her.
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Top Hat
Wed, Jan 15, 2020, 9:21am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Past Prologue

Adding to some of the interviews cited above, here's another interview (undated but presumably around 2000, when A Stitch in Time came out) where Robinson talked about Garak as sexually ambiguous: http://www.littlereview.com/getcritical/trektalk/robinson.htm. He also expresses disenchantment with the Ziyal arc:

"Was the romance with Ziyal an attempt to heterosexualize Garak because the writers got nervous about the Bashir/Garak dynamic? "Probably," admits Robinson. "It never really developed. There was never really any investment on their part.""
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