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Peter G.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

Well I'll disagree with Jammer on this one, but I do maintain that we really need to get away from seeing this as a tech plot for it to work. Hero Worship does the two quintessential TNG things that work so well: 1) Has a story focused on Data, and 2) tells a 'tech plot' that is actually about character on a meta level. Booby Trap is an example of this same thing, a character-driven story where the tech plot tells us about the person's character. In Booby Trap the issue was Geordi as he relates to people, and how the technology gets him stuck. Here the tech plot is about how raising the shields (iirc) is what's causing the problem, and how counter-intuitively one needs to lower the shields to protect oneself from the crisis. That maps on Timothy's trauma, where eventually the shields must be lowered in order to face his problem. It makes sense to raise them initially, but after some time and reasoning is applied, must be lowered again lest the increasing shield power fuel your own destruction. I find this tidy and efficient as a tech plot, but works nicely with Timothy's meta-narrative.

The one sticking point I can sympathize with is the reliance on a young guest star for any TV series - a risk at the best of times. In this case because he was tethered to Spiner for most of it I think that they were able to work with each other nicely. If it was more of an Imaginary Friend type episode it would have suffered far more for it, trying to have multiple scenes only with the child.
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Peter G.
Thu, Aug 6, 2020, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

@ Booming,

"I saw it a as a psychosis. That the kid actually believes to be an android. I guess the borders between psychosis and very elevated make believe are fuzzy."

I think it might be more accurate to say that in regards to a TV show like TNG, which combines some degree of verisimilitude with some degree of meta-theme or mythical content, you need to pick your axis of examination before getting too literal about what is being portrayed on-screen. If the show is giving us a 'mythical' case of hero-worship, contrasting the desire to be human with the desire to be emotionless after a trauma, then what we have is an allegorical tale about different aspects of what we'd wish in different circumstances. If you wanted to look at it as, say, hard sci-fi, then you'd want the tech to make sense; and if you wanted to look at it as a realistic portrayal of trauma management, then you'd want the details to be accurate and the therapy to be sensible.

It sounds to me like you want to read the episode literally, that this is a portrayal of trauma and how it's being handled. Ok, if we're going down that road then you need to really stick to what's on-screen and not add anything. If this is meant to be a literal portrayal of psychosis (notwithstanding Omicron's opinion that this actually could be realistic as portrayed) then we would expect a delusional or psychotic person to be treated *for that*. You don't handle a schizophrenic person as if he's just depressed or upset, for example. If you are looking for signs of delusion or other psychosis then I would expect the therapy to match that in some way, shape, or form. This may be the realm of a therapist, but it strikes me as being unreasonable also to suppose this is an actually delusional or psychotic person who 'gets over it' in a few days of playing at being an android. Does a delusion go away that easily? I don't know, honestly, but supposing the literal content on-screen to be a bona fide delusion seems like quite a stretch to me.

I know your response seems to be something to the effect that the therapy doesn't match psychosis situation because it's bad therapy; but this seems a bit circular to me. It should be more likely to conclude that it doesn't match the therapy for a psychosis because it isn't a psychosis. And that's if we're being literal. I think this incongruity seems even more strongly to suggest that we shouldn't be going for a literalist interpretation of the episode. You may note that people with an interest or specialty will often tend to stick its nose into matters that don't relate to it; for instance someone in real estate will watch Seinfeld's first season and will want to criticize how Costanza is portrayed as a realtor, notwithstanding the fact that the show isn't about realty and doesn't even take him seriously as a realtor, even though it does contain scenes of him showing off homes. And of course we have plenty of shows with courtroom episodes where the lawyer in the room will boast that they got XYZ wrong, even though narratively it's beside the point. It's at least worth asking yourself whether you're doing that here.
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Peter G.
Wed, Aug 5, 2020, 10:37am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

@ Booming,

Since there is no sign here of a psychosis I'm not sure that any of that applies. It is never stated that Timothy is having an actual delusion that he is an android, nor is any emotional content in the episode indicative of a psychotic break. He's just hiding behind roleplay and imitating his hero, you know, just like the title of the episode says. It's not called hero psychosis, it's called hero worship. So no, it's not dangerous to allow him to explore being calm and at peace while he gives himself time to come to terms with what's happened. It's also not bad to let him develop a bond with someone he trusts (Data) so that he doesn't have to live the trauma alone.

It's a very nice episode, and I agree it's typically underrated. This is one of the 'watch anytime' ones.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jul 30, 2020, 1:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

Upon reflection, this episode ages well, it's even prophetic:

https://i.imgur.com/c2meXJO.gifv
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Peter G.
Thu, Jul 30, 2020, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: The Reckoning

@ Booming.

"Yeah but this episode stands for a lot of the bad stuff DS9 started, like GOOD vs EVIIIIIL religious stuff."

I know this is a new flavor of storytelling even for DS9, but I have to say I think despite what some accuse DS9 of, Trek always was (until recently) a good vs evil show. The Federation was good, full stop, and humanity was living in an enlightened future, full stop. Any challenging of the Federation by foreign powers, be it Romulan, Dominion, Klingon at times, bottom line is they are wrong and Federation are the good guys. That Sisko should end up aligned with good guy wormhole aliens doesn't strike me as being off-brand, other than they're really Vorlon energy-beings. But I think Trek has always been a sort of retooled Western, cowboys vs Indians, where the heroes are not just protagonists but also morally and culturally superior. That's the franchise. Contrary to the opinions of some, I don't think DS9 changed that a jot. It's the new series that would love to portray the Federation as the bad guys, which makes them contemporary rather than progressive.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jul 23, 2020, 10:18am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Way of the Warrior

I don't normally post links, but I thought this stupid s***-post was funny:

https://i.imgur.com/1bbnWCH.gifv
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Peter Swinkels
Tue, Jul 21, 2020, 3:16am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

A new Star Trek cartoon for the first time in over 40 years? Interesting. A third season for Star Trek Discovery? I gave up on that garbage pretending to be Star Trek related after season two and thought it had been canceled.
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Peter G.
Mon, Jul 20, 2020, 10:19am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Breaking the Ice

@ Jason R,

Heck, we can go even further than that. If attraction is based on things like pheromones, DNA markers, biochemistry, and other such things (as data seems to suggest) then it makes complete sense that Vulcans would 'have it down to a science'. With enough data it might be completely doable to predict based on behavioral and biochemical data which person is a good match for you. And if experts can do that better that you can, you'd be most pleased for the harsh difficulties of the dating game to be taken away. So forget Vulcans, I bet you the vast majority of *humans* would opt in for matchmaking if the result was a better matched partner than they could find themselves. For a logical people it would be a no-brainer.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jul 17, 2020, 6:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Emissary

@ Mr Peepers,

Worf is a full Klingon, he's just an orphan raised by humans.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jul 10, 2020, 10:43am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Yesterday's Enterprise

Maybe there's some kind of Nietzsche 101 going on in that argument; master vs slave morality. Except for one thing: slave morality in that sense is about taking a bad thing that you can't change and pretending it's good because you can't change it. But that's not what's happening here: Enterprise C had a decision to make and chose what they saw as the best future for the Federation. That is not a 'slave' role, and any idea that sacrificing yourself makes you some kind of slave has the notion of leadership backwards. Being in charge is supposed to mean that *you* are the one who has to take responsibility for those under you. Sacrifice to protect your people is the sign of a leader; it's the slave's move to let your own people go to the wolves and save only yourself (PS - I wouldn't actually use that term, but in context I'm retaining it to make a point).
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Peter G.
Thu, Jul 9, 2020, 1:26am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Brothers

@ james04,

"If Reg Barclay, or any other member of the crew, had done what Data did, they would have been thrown off the Enterprise & out of Starfleet"

Except for the fact that Reg Barclay *does* do almost exactly what Data did in The Nth Degree...and they don't throw him out.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jul 8, 2020, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: 'Til Death Do Us Part

@ Dave in MN,

"They should've killed off the symbiote and not bothered introducing a whole new main cast character this late in the game. What a waste."

Problem is if you do that Benjamin is lacking a significant relationship on the show other than Kasidy. Dax is his main 'friend' in the cast, and without her his scenes are relegated to professional briefings or else family scenes, which is a bit limiting.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jul 8, 2020, 10:02am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Yesterday's Enterprise

@ Jakob,

"There is a weird sort of Christian morality underpinning this episode, this idea that it’s good and right to be a sacrificial lamb, to put yourself “on the cross” so to speak and spill your blood to save others, but that’s kind of ridiculous."

While I wouldn't want to comment on why you do or don't like Christian-type morality, you really don't see how it would be a good thing to go to the defense of people being attacked by Romulans and die trying to save them? Having served, you would really argue that there is literally no point in participating in a rescue or defense action even if there is little chance of success? You don't see the value - both for morale and for honor - in finding it unacceptable to let defenseless people be gunned down, Klingon or otherwise? Because that's what this is about: how when the Klingons see Enterprise-C die fighting for them it cements the Khitomer Accords into a real alliance, because they realize it's not just a detente but that they're dealing with people with values.
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Peter G.
Mon, Jul 6, 2020, 9:56am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Lower Decks

@ Mr Peepers,

"And if it isn't military, why are members putting their lives at risk on missions? Also, if the current society is not based on the accumulation of things, but to better ones self and not get paid, why would anyone want to join Star Fleet, and fight like the devil to keep from getting kicked out?

Sito, almost got kicked out of the Academy after covering up a classmates death. She was almost in tears as she told Picard how she no longer had no friends, and almost quit. What would actually happen to her if she did? It seems like you would live an easy life if you weren't in Star Fleet."

I think you need to give a lot of thought to these questions, more than I suspect you did when you wrote the post. If you're a Trek fan, try to answer for yourself why someone would want to make enormous sacrifice if there was no personal material gain involved. Ask yourself why someone would want to join an elite organization if it's not easy and carries risk. Why do anything at all unless you're paid for it, once we're on the subject? These are pretty central questions to Trek's vision of the future. It is *not* supposed to represent how our lives are now.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jul 3, 2020, 5:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

Haha, the firestorm has begun again! I love it. This is TNG's For the Uniform.

For what it's worth I think it's pretty indisputable that Geordi did nothing wrong in Booby Trap. The entire episode is about how technology can be your undoing without you realize it, and it makes Geordi have a tough time with people. It's no accident he got it on with the computer, he knows computers!

To me the 'wrong' stuff is all in this episode. He needn't have had any guilt about the holoimage *if not for the fact* that in this episode he was acting entitled to a relationship with the real Leah on account of his encounter with the hologram. Not only that, in so many words he flat out tells Guinan that they're totally gonna get it on when they meet, and she rolls her eyes. That is the problem.
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Peter G.
Mon, Jun 29, 2020, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Innocence

@ Top Hat,

"Are there any indications that Vulcans believe in an afterlife? Clearly a kind of transmogrification of the soul is possible but that's extremely rare. So is it generally assumed that a Vulcan's katra dies with its bearer?"

We don't know anything about what they do with katras after they're saved. Maybe it's better we don't know! Now that I think about it, putting katras in jars reminds me of the Soul Hunters in B5.

Sarek seemed clear that without someone being present at a Vulcan's death the katra is lost, so it doesn't just (according to them) go to the afterlife by itself. That being said, the fact that intervention is required to continue the katra past death doesn't imply it isn't an afterlife, it just means conditions must be fulfilled in order for that to happen.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jun 19, 2020, 11:03am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part II

@ Cameron,

"I never understood this episode. Was the ending supposed to be a homage to 1984? Shamelessly ripping off a classic book? "

How can something be a shameless ripoff if you need to ask what the ending is supposed to be? Seems pretty questionable that you "never understood the episode" but are still pretty sure it's a shameless ripoff.

The answer, btw, is yes this is pointing towards 1984. But other than the torture scenes it doesn't bear much resemblance. It might therefore be more relevant to suggest that this is a reference to a real phenomenon, which 1984 was describing but which is only meant as an example in that book.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jun 19, 2020, 8:03am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

There is even already a precursor to the 2-minute hate, it just doesn't happen all in the same two minutes for everyone; it's more of a tune-in-when-you-can 2 minute hate.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 7:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: First Contact

"There was one episode in all of Trek that seriously attempted to address the allure of collective consciousness (rather than portray it as unmitigated horror) and that was Voyager's Unity."

Yep. The Borg are not a collective consciousness in any sense of unity (that is, bringing people together). What the Borg do is destroy your individuality, not connect it to others. Picard didn't come out marveling at what it was like to share thoughts with others; he was effectively submerged and nearly destroyed, and replaced essentially by a machine running his body. In VOY's Unity we got a little look at a *real* collective consciousness, i.e. where all members are actually conscious. I wouldn't have minded some exploration in Trek of how the one might lead to the other, but as I see it these are separate technological phenomena.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 3:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

@ William B,

"A right wing friend of mine (with whom I disagree politically on nearly every point) opposes *peaceful* protests he disagrees with, for instance."

If you believe Jordan Peterson about it, this may be due to people who are 'naturally conservative' having a predisposition towards order and hierarchies, and that they inherently feel threatened by any attack on either structure or order. So a protest may come across as simultaneously disorderly (on an aesthetic and communal level) as well as designed by its nature to undo systems (so disorderly in the sense of trying to release fixed systems). Your anecdote sounds actually quite typical, but is not the same phenomenon as cancel culture. The right-winger you describe most likely also believes strongly in free speech, but just doesn't like protests (if I'm guessing), and so the issue may boil down there (if I'm right) to chaotic forms of civil disorder and disobedience as being seen as unacceptable. But the left-winger cancel-culture type comes from a different place, where they do not in fact believe in the inherent right to free speech; or if they do it might be formulated as "you can say what you want, and I can punish you for it", which is a sidestep but still effectively is a non-belief in the value of opposing ideas. Fundamentally the right and left winger here are diametrically opposed, even though as you point out "I want a stop to things I don't like" may well be common to both sides as you head out towards the fringes. The issue I think Jason R is bringing up is that the fringes have bled into the mainstream, so that even major media publications are supporting - or even fomenting - belief in what would have been seen as radical partisanship 30 years ago.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 7:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: First Contact

Detailed review, Elliott! Giving backstory to a review certainly helps see where your individual reflections come from.

Too much to comment on, but in particular I'll mention that I think Data's arc is probably the least significant and thought-through here. Moore wanted something engaging and maybe tantalizing, but what he came up with for Data is inexplicable other than "stuff happening". I mean, he wasn't offered humanity in any intelligible sense, was offered 'superior' out layer, I guess you could call it, but fundamentally what she was offering didn't come across as even particularly related to the things about humanity that Data is always intrigued by. It was more like a BDSM funhouse to entice him with...thrill? I couldn't even tell at any moment whether he liked it or not. Or what he supposed to be liking! For all that Moore wanted these scenes to be, the Queen might as well have been a Klingon dominatrix for all the subtlety she showed. And hey, we know that Moore knows Klingons. Maybe this is a "everything looks like a nail (or Klingon)" situation for him. That may even spill over into Picard going in for blood vengeance. When Data says he considered complying for a microsecond or whatever, it got a laugh in the cinema because it shows just how ridiculous the Queen's "temptation" really was, even though it might have been an 'eternity' for an android.

Regarding the Borg:

"Finally, the Borg. I don't dismiss those criticisms of the film or especially the Queen for making the Borg less scary. It's certainly true that they will never hold power over the audience again they way they did in “Q Who” or “The Best of Both Worlds.” But that is simply the inevitable end of exploring an alien culture through a Trek lens. Whether friend or foe, the Trek way is to develop mutual understanding."

I think this statement basically demonstrates why some (such as myself) think this movie initiated the neutering of the Borg. The reason they were scary wasn't because we didn't understand them, it was because we did. There is no "them" to get to know, no beliefs such as we could understand them, no culture, only a directive for which any objection or comment is meaningless to them. It's not that they consider their objective to be more important than you; they don't consider it at all. There is no one to dialogue with because there is "no one" there, only some vague collective, but no "one". That's why they used Locutus, just so the humans could speak to something tangible, because without him there was nothing but a network. No person in sight. So what made them scary was there was nothing to learn about them other than how to defeat their technology; by their nature they were not aliens, because they had no individuals. No one to speak with, only a wall of repetition about their directive. It's like (loosely speaking) trying to have a "dialogue" with a raging mob. All you will get is a repetition of their directive, and if you're in the way you'll get torn apart; not because they don't like you, but because you were insignificant. You matter no more to them than a rock in the way, so "negotiation is irrelevant." That's what VOY got wrong to the extent that it gave them even more of a 'personality' than FC did; VOY portrayed it as being relevant, but only if you have something they want. But that misses the point: in BoBW it was truly "irrelevant", as in, not a consideration that *could* exist for them. And yeah, that's scary, knowing that you have nothing in common with them as a 'race.'

Some here have even posited that they aren't a race, but just a group of prisoners, and that may not be far off. That actually makes I, Borg have more impact, since killing all the prisoners is surely questionable. But what they are not, is supremacists who just think they're better than you. They have no opinion of themselves at all. Or at least, not until this film. It truly did alter them and make them into just mean aliens with gadgets.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 11:58am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

Elliott,

One thing that is abundantly clear to me, to the point of it being startling, is that on both the right and the left in America you will find massive alignment on seemingly disparate issues that correspond to one "team" or the other. You are simply not going to run into many liberals, for example, who are supporters of BLM and also pro-life. And anyone who took such a position would be ostracized and probably threatened. And you are not going to find many conservatives who believe in limited government and supply side economics, and who also believe strongly in gay/trans rights.

I can make a quite extensive list of policies, beliefs, and causes, and I can all but guarantee that the majority of 'activist' types will support every single one of them, and will be opposed to zero of them. That's not a stereotype; in fact learning this fact quite surprised me because I would have expected more divergence. But it's on both sides of the spectrum, as I think we can find this on the other side as well. There are of course variations, as no two people are the same, but we're not talking temperament but rather causes that someone would check off as "support" or "don't support". The boxes will line up pretty darn closely, and I don't think you need a fancy definition of "the left" or "the right" to speak about these things intelligibly.

That being said we're also probably talking about those further to the left and right than would have been normal 30 years ago. Centrists get little attention these days, and there are of course centrist liberals and centrist conservatives. But their voice is minimal, I think in part because the media creates narratives around those further out and ignores the center. So I suspect, at least, that Jason R is not talking about centrists as he says these things, but about those who are more vocal and covered in media.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 12:01am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Emissary

Haha, Chaotica! You know, Jason R, there are more 3+ players than are on that list, not that it vastly changes your calculations. On VOY there's Admiral Paris, Borg Queen, Vorik, Suder, and more (check the IMDB). I mean, I don't personally think 3 episodes should be "supporting" anyhow, more like recurring if we want to be pedantic. On DS9 for example you might as well include Morn as supporting since he's there all the time, but Moogie and Zek would be recurring since you see them once in a while, maybe a couple of times a season at most.

That said, scanning your numbers I realize one thing that strikes me, putting aside the fact that you observe the DS9 talent is spread more evenly than TNG but fewer highs and lows. I think DS9's cast overcame occasional weak scripting with better acting to come to a similar 'final result' whereas even players on TNG like Troi and Crusher often had very nice scenes or episodes despite IMO them not quite carrying them off of their own powers. But the cast was so tight (another factor not accounted for) and the show's design to streamlined at a point that the show virtually carried itself at times with its own energy. Since DS9 was darker, not as sleek, not as 'fun', I think the onus was much more on the actors to "make it work" or else it would fail. I don't know if this is a writing flaw or just a result of the show's design, but a badly acted DS9 is basically dead in the water, whereas a badly acted TNG scene could still work much of the time. I think often when I'm rewatching TNG more than DS9 it's because it's 'easier on the eyes' and generally more sprightly, whereas DS9 is a bit more work for me but also more rewarding. I space out my DS9 rewatches much more than TNG, until I'm 'ready' to put in the focus it needs. TNG is more like I can be tired and it will carry me, so that's an issue directly impacting how much the actors needed (or didn't need) to do to make it work.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jun 16, 2020, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Best of Both Worlds, Part II

@ Jonathan Hardy,

While your ideas for pt 2 are not at all illogical, where it loses out is in the meta-story department, an oft forgotten part of good scripting (of which TNG excelled). The essence of Riker vs Picard is that Riker had to go up against everything the Enterprise ever had going for it, knowing he *could not* beat Picard on the terms Picard would normally employ. Anything Picard would have ever come up with was had to be off the table, or else this narrative fails and it becomes a technobabble deux ex machina about who wins when. Only when everything Picard ever thought or came up with was scrubbed as compromised, and Riker gave up on being #1 and truly became the Captain, could he win. So I believe the deflector weapon had to utterly fail for this arc to be realized properly. There is no 'halfway' for knowing you really are your own man, and he had to come all the way in knowing Shelby was no threat to him, and that he could rise to the top if he chose to (the "his own command" arc). It has to be completely his choice that he both overcomes Picard and yet chooses to remain under him. If he can succeed using Picard's own tactic then he can't know he had it all inside himself.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jun 16, 2020, 8:59am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

@ Trent,

I don't want to engage too much by taking sides on this particular topic, but I do want to mention that in my view almost every statement in your last post has factual errors in it, including what you say the recent SC ruling means and how it applies. I tend to enjoy when you wax poetic about Trek and generalized metaphor, but I feel like you're doing it here in regard to actual history, and that doesn't work. These vast sweeping statements do not correspond to "what happened" or what it meant.
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