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Peter G.
Sat, Oct 19, 2019, 10:08am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Equinox, Part II

@ Sleeper Agent,

I'm quite happy to read people defending characters they like, but just for the sake of balance I'd like to point out that For the Uniform has probably taken more flack from users here than any other Trek episode. In fact I might even wager that there have been more complaints about it than an entire season of Voyager...or maybe even the entire series combined. I guess I'm not going to go and do a complaint count but it's quite a lot anyhow. It's totally fair if you think Janeway has been treated unfairly in Equinox reviews, but it's a day at the spa compared to the examinations of Sisko in For the Uniform, or even the cross-references to it in other threads.
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Peter G.
Mon, Oct 14, 2019, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Return of the Archons

@ Chrome,

"However, the episode isn't consistently anti-Christian as the solution to beating the machine is telling them how important soul and human spirit are (which is a message aligned with Christian values)."

Yeah, I would say that the message seems to be against what I would call 'fake Christianity', i.e. the sort of society that forces a bunch of conduct and for everyone to walk around pretending to be happy all the time. It's the Christian-shaped tyranny that I think is being criticized, which to be fair many Americans probably equate with Christianity as a whole anyhow. But I think Kirk and co. are effectively operating as "real Christians" here insofar as they see it as their obvious goal to save people who are in trouble and to help them start thinking for themselves.

I also agree that this is another "look for a better structure" type episode, and it's probably most like The Apple in that a happy-seeming people are told it's not good enough. The difference here is that the people aren't really happy, they're just forced into a mode of conduct that in reality leads to explosions. So basically the episode is saying this model doesn't work at all. In The Apple that type of society actually does work, but at the expense of keeping the people like children for all time. The Side of Paradise is actually a funny one and I'm not even sure where that one lands in Trek ethics. Basically it's a strange case of mutualistic parasitism where the spores get what they need and give the humans everything they need, albeit also at the expense of their ambitions. I feel like that one is closer to really asking "do people really need their ambitions, or are those just a means to get to the pleasure they want?"
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Peter G.
Sun, Oct 13, 2019, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: And the Children Shall Lead

@ Trish,

"What happened to the Chief Medical Officer's authority in matters of health? Shouldn't he be ordering the captain to take the kids to the starbase for the treatment he believes, in his expert medical opinion, they require? Or at the very least ordering him not to play psychotherapist with them?"

That's a very reasonable question and really does impact on how we read some of these Trek stories (by no means just this episode). Maybe someone who knows officer regs in the current military will comment too, but from what I can gather from Trek itself the CMO has medical authority with regard to the fitness of the Captain and crew only, and does not have any mission authority nor authority over the Captain's decisions so long as the Captain is fit for command. If the Captain gives an order that's that, although the CMO can file a protest if they wish. So the CMO can order the Captain to take leave or dismiss the Captain from duty if the Captain is medically unfit, but other than that cannot issue orders to a superior officer.
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Peter G.
Thu, Oct 10, 2019, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

@ MusicalTurtle,

I respect that your position on this comes from personal experience and it's interesting to read your take on it. But I would like to comment on this specifically:

"But not only is she the central character, her disability IS the story - so it HAD to be done right. That's the responsibility they chose to take on and I'm not sure they get a pass just because it was the 90s."

I know you already prefaced this with that it doesn't get a pass just because it was in the 90's, but I think that detail really does matter. At that time certain shows like DS9 (and Frasier, as recently discussed) tried to make a big deal about representing certain lifestyles in a positive way, or at least as being viable. And yet, being the era it was, it was going to come with a sort of cheery and sometimes simplified tone that IMO is highly indicative of TV and film from 1985-1995. The optimism of the time sometimes wiped away ugly details. That may be called a flaw, but I'm not sure it's quite fair to blame DS9 itself for it.

In this ep we are given the usual scenario: some unpleasant situation walks in the door. In this case it's a disabled person with a bad attitude, but I think that allegorically it means that for all the positive talk many people in the early 90's still had a sort of disdain for disabled stuff, like making places accessible and that sort of thing. So there was likely a clash in the culture between being increasingly understanding, versus the whole "ugh why do we have to be inconvenienced by this crap" self-serving attitude. So yes, they give Melora a bad attitude here, but I think it's sort of like us getting the POV of someone having to annoyingly cater to a disabled person when all they see is the wheelchair. Sort of like "well I guess we have to treat this person special but it's aggravating to go through all that." What I think the episode is doing is saying that, no, actually it's a real person and not a wheelchair, and that the 'annoyance' that comes with the handicap will go away when you get to know her and see her as a person rather than a disability. In terms of the structure of the episode Julian warming to her is roughly on par with him seeing her more as a person and less as a project. And actually that's a good place for him to be as a character too, since he tends to objectify people in terms of "hot woman, should pursue", or "patient, should heal".

Where the episode may be lacking, and maybe what you're picking up on, is that it doesn't really give us her POV at all. What we see is *other people* experiencing the initial annoyance, then learning stuff, then warming to her, with a happy ending where understanding is achieved. So it's all from their side of things, and we don't get her side to much of an extent other than when we refuses to change her lifestyle to suit them. But even then it's sort of showed as how they would receive the refusal, not so much her perception of all these things. Maybe that is a failure on its part, and maybe it's a 90's style failure, but I do think the spirit of the thing was to show that their initial annoyance was due mostly to not knowing her better, even though it certainly might come off as her having an attitude problem. That's sort of an issue in general with using a scenario as a placeholder for a social situation.

Not that I'm greatly defending this ep, it's one of my least favorite ones. I'd just sort of at least give them credit for trying.
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Peter G.
Thu, Oct 10, 2019, 11:30am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: In the Cards

@ Lew Stone,

It's interesting you suggest that Jake should have written a sonnet for Ben as part of your critique of the episode. Your general tone seems to indicate you know better than everyone else. Well ok, let's put that detail on hold for the moment. Then you suggest that you also know better than the writers of the episode what would cheer up Ben most, and that it's not an antique baseball card but rather a piece of literature. Let's examine that. Have you seen any evidence in the series that Ben is a fan of high literature? Sonnets? Sure, I guess maybe people in the Federation may read more than people today do, but have we seen anything in DS9 to show he's an avid reader, or lover of poetry, like Picard was? If not, why should that gift make him happy? Because you think it's thematically more appropriate to Jake's characterization?

So let me ask this: when you're getting a gift for someone, do you get them something according to what would maximally demonstrate "your characterization", or do you get them something you think they'd like, based on their tastes? Do you think of creative ways to fulfll what they would like, or do you get thems something *you think they ought to like*? From your suggestion it's sounding like you think Jake should get Ben something you approve of rather than something Ben would actually like. You say that poetry or whatever is better for getting over war doldrums. Is that a fact? Show me the study where the test cases prefer poetry to sentimental shows of affection and I'll be quite interested. On the fact of it your argument seems to make no sense, and I have no reason to believe Ben would be interested in poetry or that it would lift his spirits, other than it's from Jake. But since it has that in common with a baseball card that point is moot. The card is something peculiar to Ben's tastes, so it does seem like the clear choice over something we have no way to know if he'd care for. So are you sure your attitude on this plot point isn't another case of thinking you know better, in this case knowing better than someone what their own likes are?

I mention all this as sort of a parenthesis, because harping on the choice of gift is actually missing the point of the episode entirely. What Jake and Nog needed was a quest, to be able to do something. The fact that it ended up being an immense treasure hunt is exactly the point of the episode, and in some way the card turns into the holy grail in that it was the focal point of a huge exertion whose pursuit brought out the best in Jake, to the point of standing right up to Weyoun. *That* is what Ben would have been most proud of, and although Ben doesn't actually see all this we do, and that's why it's a good episode.
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Peter G.
Wed, Oct 9, 2019, 4:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Strange Bedfellows

@ Toony,

That's not an impossible read on her, but in a way it's the easy (for us) explanation. Far more menacing might be to consider that she really is a believer in greater powers, is bitter towards them and on some level believes she should be the real object of worship, ideally *by them*.
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Peter G.
Tue, Oct 8, 2019, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Maquis, Part I

@ Eddie,

I tend to agree that the way in which the *origin* of the colonists' problems is shown here doesn't make much sense. I get the scenario they wanted to write about, but they didn't know how to get there. It was at its clearest in TNG's Journey's End, where at least the argument was that the Federation in its grand scale diplomacy was still not beyond displacing "the little guy" for reasons that always make sense but also take into account "the current of the future" over individual choice. We might ask whether individual communities could really avoid being Federationized even if they wanted to, although that's never really asked. Instead we hear talk of potatoes and such.

That said I think we're supposed to understand that Cardassia somehow manipulated the treaty *so that* they would have ex-Federation colonies to harass...or maybe at least. I'm not quite sure about this point, as the idea seems to be they militarily support their own people in the DMZ. But what I'm not sure of is whether they like this situation (since it lets them prove to their people what a problem the Federation is) or whether this situation really is an annoyance to them. Given how quickly the Cardassians were looking to attack again in Chain of Command I find it hard to believe that a situation like this arose just because of some stupidity of colonists being stubborn.
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Peter G.
Mon, Oct 7, 2019, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Apocalypse Rising

I think the premise of this episode should be taken in the same spirit as Dramatis Personae, the alternate universe episodes, Our Man Bashir, and Fascination: it's a chance for the crew to have an adventure under strange circumstances, and mainly for the actors to have some fun they normally wouldn't. I consider them to sort of be corporate bonding seminars, but also between cast and audience, as if saying "hey, we're here to have a good time with the audience, so let's let loose and do that." Maybe it's good to think of these occasions as being a little cast party. I'm not sure it's entirely fair to ask of any of them to realistically justify why these events need to go as they do, although there may still be something to be gleaned from them. The funny thing about the ones I named in particular is that they seem to generate a lot of controversy, and even hostility, from certain fans. A lot of people seem to dislike these, and it's funny, because for me they're among the more fun ones to watch. Maybe it all depends on whether you enjoy watching actors shake it loose a little, versus insisting on the characters to never deviate from their weekly stuff.

In the case of Apocalypse Rising they wanted to do a rough-and tumble adventure of the week to wrap up the Klingon stuff so they could move on to other elements of the Dominion arc. In a meta sense they took a season to introduce Worf to the show, and now that he's an accepted regular we can get back to our regular scheduled program. I'm on board with that, even though it does seem the Changeling problem here gets resolved awfully fast. In terms of the details in the episode, I think they can be better understood under the auspices of "this is a fun adventure" rather than "this is a serious mission." I mean, think about it: we have them going in on Dukat's ship, which is already halfway to Alice and Wonderland in terms of being out there and fantastical, we have O'Brien in the most ridiculous situation, almost certainly for comic relief (and/or to continue the torture O'Brien/Meany festival), Odo getting a fire under his ass to still be his courageous self even though he feels weak now (using an overblown scenario to do that).

I think Elliott is right on the money about Sisko. It really does suit him being a Klingon; the only way in which I differ from Elliott on this is that he takes the position that any human whose instinct is to punch aggravating people in the face is a psychopath, whereas I personally think that our current urban society is bent on suppressing natural human reactions and calling people bad for having them. There's something actually uplifting of Sisko being in an environment where his worse impulses when among humans could actually be seen as a virtue in different circumstances. That doesn't mean I endorse punching people in the face exactly, but I think the energy behind that desire, aggravation, not willing to tolerate people giving you crap, and also suffering from loss, can all be strengths *in the right circumstances* and if channeled in the right way. Sometimes we get the feeling these days that if you ever get riled up or express animosity there's something wrong with you, and I think there's something wrong with that. Someone like Sisko might not be suited for a tea party, but he is suited for being in a situation where it takes a bit of a tougher person to get the job done. This isn't always good, as we see in the case of Captain Maxwell. Captain Jellico is probably a bad Captain in many kinds of situations, assuming he handles them all like he did in Chain of Command (which we actually don't know). Sisko isn't much good, or at least not since the loss of his wife, being a Picard-type Captain. What DS9 seems to be about is that there's a place for the 'losers' in society; those who have lost, or aren't ok, or have failed dreams, or can't get over things. They have help build each other up, as in the specific case of Bajor and their Emissary, who needed help as much as they did. So when we see Sisko in an element like this one, I'm actually happy for him, at least to be able to feel for an hour or two that his temper isn't seen as a blight but can actually be of use to him. Doesn't mean we want him punching everyone in the face normally, but what the Klingons give us at least is the chance to celebrate those more primitive aspects of ourselves that want a chance to bust loose. *How* they should be allowed to do so is another question.
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Peter G.
Mon, Oct 7, 2019, 12:42am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Second Season Recap

@ Elliott,

"As I alluded to, I disagree with the framing of this idea. The show's "direction" didn't have to be substantially different from TOS' or TNG's, except with this ongoing plot to get back home. The writers chose to attempt a semi-serialised arc, but their subject could hardly have been worse. That's a creative failure, yes, but it's not for a lack of ambition or ideas--the Trek ideas are there, evident in those good episodes. It was all just...unfortunate."

Ah, just to clarify, I didn't mean by "show's direction" that it should have been more long-arc driven. I meant just in terms sort of everyday sense of "hey, what are we excited to do with our show?" Like, if you had a show like this one I imagine you'd be busting with all this cool stuff you'd love to portray, especially with a new crew, a new unexplored region of space where you can introduce anything without violating canon, and so forth. All of the objections we've heard writers make about the canon being a shackles virtually wouldn't apply. You're right that as a basic show concept making it like TOS or TNG isn't a wrong decision in itself, format-wise. But if that was the extent of their vision in terms of *actual content* then that is certainly a creative failure.
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Peter G.
Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 10:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Second Season Recap

@ Skeptical,

I'm not so sure we disagree as it may boil down to what we mean by "having ideas'. I would consider having a bunch of mediocre notions as "not having ideas" even though strictly speaking they may be unique or deltra-quadrant specific in some manner. Like, the 'Kazon arc' is unique and deliberate, I guess, but it sucks. And it didn't just suck in execution, it sucked by definition. That was never going to bear fruit and never could, because the Kazon are garbage. Right from the pilot, which by the way I liked when it first aired, I knew I never wanted to see them again. My opinion on this is much like Elliott's about the Maquis: a largely abortive idea that it was best dispensed with sooner rather than later. So while you're right that spending some of S2 on them was 'innovative' in a kind of abstract way I don't consider that to be a sign of having ideas. It's more like "well we already began developing this so I guess we'll do more of it." I can't think of a single thing the Kazon did in any episode that was remotely interesting (or plausible, at a certain point). Aside from Seska, who I liked *despite* the Kazon - not because of them - they had nothing going for them story-wise. I personally call that "no ideas".

One thing I like that posters here do is to ask about whether an episode is show-specific, or more Trek-specific (William B just did this, and Elliott has done in the past), and if you look at VOY S2 episodes I don't know how many I would qualify as even being VOY-specific in that way. I could go through a list quickly:

-The 37's: definitely VOY specific, but frankly a dumb idea.
-Initiations: Kazon (by definition a bad idea, and henceforth to be implied)
-Projections: a great idea, and a good use of a VOY-specific holographic character.
-Elogium: Kes-specific, I guess? Not a good idea. Similar to The Child, maybe, but without asking as many questions.
-Non Sequitur: VOY-specific in that it had to be about lost people. I guess I could call this one a good high-concept idea that just failed in execution, as you say.
-Twisted: a Trek idea, could have been on TNG; not that interesting and objectively a bit silly and gimmicky.
-Parturition: Boring idea
-Persistence of Vision: A TNG-ish idea but kind of neat, I guess. Not sure I'd call it 'interesting' but it's something.
-Tattoo: terrible idea.
-Cold Fire: Actually a throwback to the pilot is a good idea. So I'd agree this one is botched execution.
-Maneuvers: Kazon.
-Resistance: a boring idea, actually, whose execution far exceeded the premise.
-Prototype: Not VOY-specific but I actually like the premise in the abstract. I'd call it a good Trek idea.
-Alliances: Kazon
-Threshhold: !
-Meld: Perfect VOY episode concept-wise
-Dreadnought: Don't know how this idea makes any sense or why it should have been done; the execution is probably middling.
-Death Wish: let's face it, it was reaching for a Q episode like DS9 did, but just doing it much better. "Let's bust out Q" is an early version of what later became "let's bring in the Borg". We debated on that thread a lot but although I like the episode a lot I think its premise is terrible.
-Lifesigns: I guess it's a nifty sci-fi idea, other than it's not really about holographic existence vis a vis what does the body contribute that photons can't. Not sure how I feel about this one in terms of my premise.
-Investigations: Not interesting
-Deadlock: an episode that if it was on TNG would be a "I guess I'll watch this one since I haven't done in 3 years" kind of episode.
-Innocence: Whoever pitched this and sold it must have been crafty.
-The Thaw: awesome weird concept.
-Tuvix: good concept, medium execution.
-Resolutions: Actually a better premise than its play-through would suggest. Sort of like TNG's Attached, maybe.
-Basics part 1: Kazon.

Putting aside their execution, I'd say out of all of these, purely on paper, I'd say 9-10 actually sound like interesting ideas (even though some failed in execution). The others sound like bad ideas on paper, even though a few turned out much better than they ought to have. Out of those 9-10, probably only 3-4 (Like The Thaw, and Projections) sound like "wow! neat idea!" ideas; the others are 'hm, kind of cool, I guess." This isn't strictly a fair comparison, but if we're comparing 'trying nifty ideas and failing' I think TNG S1 is a good guide for how to try neat stuff and often fail. Episodes like Where No One Has Gone Before, The Last Outpost, Justice, The Battle, Datalore, 11001001, When the Bough Breaks, Coming of Age, Heart of Glory, and even The Arsenal of Freedom, are all really great sci-fi ideas. I don't just mean pretty neat; I mean worthy of great TV. The fact that many of these were weak in writing and execution is too bad, but even Justice (a great prime directive attempt at an episode) has a fantastic idea in there that just turns out to be anemic in execution, although not terrible by any means. I know I don't like it, but I can see how the idea has lots of merit. In VOY S2 I really don't see the merit in many or even most of the concepts. They are even bad on paper. That's sort of what I mean.

I probably agree with you that my objection fits even better to S3, but I think it was already evident to me when the series first aired that S2 was really have a problem giving me a concept I was excited about. Take TNG's Disaster, by no means hailed as a great one, but look at the concept: a plot contrivance causes the crew to be split up into unlikely teams, and we have unusual people in leadership (or child-birthing) situations and get to see how they act under pressure. Great idea, actually! On paper it's a perfect recipe for fun new stuff, just like Conundrum also was. The execution of both is also very good IMO but that's not really the point. You could tell the writers knew how neat their concept was; I never really got that from many of the VOY S2 eps. Just my opinion, anyhow.
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Peter G.
Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 6:36am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Children of Time

It's completely irrelevant anyhow because any difficulty to do with genetic disorders or bad breeding could be dealt with by using gene resequencing and other 24th century techniques if needed. That's one of the most whack objections I've ever heard about a Trek episode.
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Peter G.
Wed, Oct 2, 2019, 2:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Second Season Recap

I think my big problem with VOY S2 is that it's still a very new series and it seemed like they just didn't have any good ideas. You figure, running a newish show, newish characters, a vast unexplored region, you'd have been going nuts all summer or whatever with all these nifty things you could never do on TNG because of Federation laws or whatever, and here you could do it because they're stranded. But no, it's more like they were sitting there each week grinding way, doing the "uh, so do we have anything for next week guys?" Not that the episodes were all bad, but overall there is really very little inspiration. I mean, the Kazon alone aren't just misplayed; that would be understandable. But they are actually *boring*, which is unforgiveable. Why do a new show - just because you've got a hit franchise on your hands and why not? Commerically I understand that, but artistically it's a bust. If you don't have amazing concepts to try out then just don't.

And to be fair I could levy the same criticism of DS9 S2, which is that the episodic concepts are often really lacking. As others have mentioned, what DS9 at least capitalizes on is that even in the weakest episode they are moving forward on several fronts, building up the world, teasing about the Dominion, giving us encounters with Dukat, and so forth. So at least parts of even the bad episodes feel like you're getting value, especially so on a rewatch where you see how those pieces are going to fit in later. That's a good writing technique, even if sometimes the actual writing didn't work out very well.

By the time of VOY S2-3 I think it was clear to me that they basically had nothing to say. When the series first aired, I viewed bringing on Seven of Nine as a cry for help, like "we need a shakeup, something to bring in new ideas!" And we could easily tell that she basically supplanted everyone else as the series lead. As fate would have it that was a good thing, but still, you could sort of tell they knew something was very wrong, hence the need to fire someone and switch things up. That they would change their minds based on a People Magazine article sort of clues us in on the level of 4D chess they were[n't] playing.

So Elliott, you may well be right that the reason it's hard to like VOY S2 is how the good episodes fit into the season's structure. I think that's a really good detail pickup, actually. But I think your observation that the best episodes (Meld, The Thaw, Death Wish) aren't part of the main arc is more than just coincidence; they were uttlery uninspired in terms of the show's direction and had to pray for random good ideas to come along. They sometimes did, but not enough. I'll also point out that these three in particular were written by Michael Pillar and Joe Menosky, rather than the brunt of the episodes which were written by Braga, Jeri Taylor, and a few others. Pillar's scripts are just better (although not always his ideas), and Menosky is a long-tested Trek writer. So sure, the guy who wrote Best of Both Worlds may occasionally be able to write you a great one, but that's a really bad foundation for a series that needs to be able to run on its own steam.
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Peter G.
Mon, Sep 30, 2019, 10:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: A Private Little War

@ Trish,

It's easy to read sexism in an episode like this. After all, why not? A woman is in it who's told she can't lead because she's a woman. But hold on - it also shows her outrage at this and makes it clear that she's been the one with the power all along, stringing along the men. She is also personally the one who changes the stakes at a certain point. Sure, she may be a 'villain' in a plot-driven sense, but is her wiley way a bad trait, or one forced on her by those who wouldn't give her any other avenue? I think these questions need to be asked. The overt plot is about a proxy war - two sides, Klingon and Federation - with the local population doing the fighting basically on behalf of the greater powers. Those who actually 'do the war' are the weak ones in the schema. Maybe that's just like how the men fight Nona's battle for them. If that comparison is intended between the Klingons/Federation and Nona, who are the ones behind the scenes pulling strings because they don't have permission to engage directly, then Nona is actually portrayed as the powerful one. And that would indeed be a feminist message.

All depends on the interpretation, no?
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Peter G.
Mon, Sep 30, 2019, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Booby Trap

Another tie-in with the ship in a bottle theme is that Geordi was trying to 'capture' romance in a way that he could manage, set inside some place like a holodeck, where everything would be 'just right'. He was going for some kind of abstract idea rather than getting to know a person. So yes, as William B mentioned he was setting a trap in a sense, But also what he was trying to do was to bottle romance, to create it in miniature and own it. What's actually supposed to happen is that something is mutually shared by two parties that are discovering what will happen; it can't be controlled by one of the two as a private possession, just as Picard was seeing the alien ship as a potential acquisition to study. But the crisis with the booby trap exemplified what was wrong with Geordi's approach to women: he was trying to do all the right things to succeed, personally, and by contrast the crisis was such that the Enterprise got only what it gave, in equal proportion. It was going to get a reciprocal feedback based on its output, but nothing 'for free', which is what Geordi was going for. He succeeded better with fake Leah (putting aside the potential creep issue) because he was there to work, not to woo, but as a team. He basically realized he couldn't get it done alone, which is exactly what he was trying to do at the start of the episode, to create romance by himself. So the booby trap is also realizing you're in a two-way street; in the case of the Enterprise it was a deadly one, but in both Geordi's and the Enterprise's case the danger was failing to recognize the two-way relationship.
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Peter G.
Mon, Sep 30, 2019, 4:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Qpid

Just watched this one, and I wonder if there isn't something in Q's lesson to Picard that goes beyond "admit it! your weakness is women!" Although to be fair I hadn't noticed before how right Q probably is, if we're taking Picard's comments from The Samaritan Snare seriously. Maybe that's true and part of why he creates distance now. But I can see more in Q's message now also because of that repeated motif of "The Captain's a very private person." He doesn't just keep himself away from women, but away from everyone other than professionally. This would eventually be revisited in full in All Good Things, but for now there may be a message to be found in terms of Picard's whole life even here.

I hadn't considered before the possible connection between the dry archaeology hobby and Picard's keeping everyone at a distance. Perhaps he treats humanity as something to be studied, but as if it was an interesting relic from the past rather than a living breathing entity. Or at least I might think so if it wasn't for his Shakespeare addiction; but even then I think love of Shakespeare could just as easily be a taste for incredible old stuff rather than living, breathing material. I can tell you that it very often is treated that way. So let's say there's intended irony in Picard starting a dry archaeology speech with talk of mystery and adventure. Certainly the Indiana Jones films are a perpetual wink and nod at how archaeology sound like it might be an adventure whereas in real life it's academic work and no adventure in the James Bond sense at all. So is the episode poking pun at Picard admiring "adventure" while cautiously avoiding the biggest adventure for him on the ship, Vash? I think so. And I think this is saying something about his regard for humanity as a whole: that his love of human values, culture, and integrity, is pursued in a studied and yet abstract manner, distanced from actual humanity and rather treating it as a sort of fantasy story that he admires. Actual humanity is all around him, and yet he keeps it at a distance to protect himself from it. So I think Q's lesson (or his lesson plus Vash's interjections) goes far deeper than "watch out for ladies!" and begins to feel more like "your love of humanity cannot be fulfilled without humanity."
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Peter G.
Mon, Sep 30, 2019, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: A Matter of Perspective

Just started watching this one again for the first time in quite a while. I had totally forgotten about the teaser, which I'm sure I never understood when it first aired. Data's cautious description of Picard's painting is hilarious, and in no uncertain terms basically says "it sucks." Hah! At first glance the teaser is a jokey reference to the episode's title about perspective; a study in perspective, etc, where the episode is about perspective's about Riker's interactions. However what might it mean if the teaser wasn't a joke after all?

One of the biggest critiques of this episode, which we've gone over, is that a serious case is never made against Riker, and that if the writers wanted to show that interpretations of an actual event could be seen differently from different perspectives then they failed miserably in the writing. But hold on: Picard was excited in the teaser to know what perspective he was showing in his painting, and Data's answer (reading between the lines) was that perspective requires technique, and that you can't reveal a perspective in painting if you can't paint. Does that mean that Manua's 'perspective' is also a non-perspective because she...I dunno...incompetent at remembering things? I'm trying to 'draw' an analogy between her recollection of events and Picard's painting. At least, if I'm being accurate about the teaser, this is what we should be seeing: that her perspective is just crap because she hasn't got the right tools (either of lying or of recollection). I say it's crap not to gaslight someone who may have been aggressed on, but as discussed above because we know objectively that her recounting of events is patently ridiculous. If Riker did cross a line, which isn't beyond the realm of possibility, it was certainly not in the way she said, and so her 'rendering' of what he did is surely a mess like Picard's painting was. No credit can be given to the details of her story if its presentation is that distorted.

Is the episode subtly trying to tell us that everyone is entitled to a perspective, but that you need to earn for it to be taken seriously? If so that would be interesting, but I may be giving them too much credit. Basically I just liked the teaser more than the rest of the episode. I guess that's my review.
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Peter G.
Sun, Sep 29, 2019, 11:18am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: A Simple Investigation

@ Lew Stone,

If you're going to throw around vitriol at least have the decency to know what you're talking about. You've picked on the one regular poster here who typically brings discussions back to the episode's facts and often resists far-flung fanboy interpretations, at least as far as I can tell. He is a DS9 fan, true, but making up stuff to justify an episode isn't his deal. So what's your deal?
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Peter G.
Sat, Sep 28, 2019, 12:04am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Whispers

HAHA! That's a really funny write-up, Mike. I probably like it more than the episode, but that's only because I really like the write-up. I also still like the episode, even though as far as high-concept goes it's a bit out there. O'Brien sells it big-time, and the atmosphere is pretty cool.

On a serious note, I think the justification for killing the 'fake' O'Brien would have to be something to the effect that he's different from the real one in a dangerous way (which they do claim) and which can't be fixed without endangering everyone. Like, at the end, why can't they lock him up and try to repair his homicidal programming or something? But then we sort of get into the clone debate, and there seem to be some people who take the position that "you have a right to kill a clone you didn't authorize" (see the comment section for Up the Long Ladder). I personally don't agree with that, but anyhow.

PS - glad to see there's another Unification fan out there!
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Peter G.
Fri, Sep 27, 2019, 10:30am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: A Simple Investigation

@ Lew Stone,

"The lack of credibility comes from the character I know of as Odo actually falling for this lady."

Don't mean to sound harsh, but I think you missed the point of the episode, then. It's a noir-style episode about a guy who reads noir detective fiction. Those stories are literally about hard-boiled guys who don't fall for women, and in a given story the unlikely happens and they meet a woman that they fall for and it gets them in over their head. The episode is a genre reference to this. Now I can understand critiquing the actual chemistry between Odo and Arissa, which I think is probably a bit meh, and frankly they could have gone further with the noir atmosphere in terms of lighting and sound, but the premise is straight out of these kinds of stories. The implausibility of Odo falling for her is a feature, not a bug, in a detective story. That's how it's supposed to be structured.
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Peter G.
Wed, Sep 25, 2019, 12:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Masks

Well-put, Top Hat.
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Peter G.
Tue, Sep 24, 2019, 2:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Where No Man Has Gone Before

@ MaraCass,

You've got the names mixed up. The Cage was the pilot with Captain Pike, and The Menagerie is the mid-1st season episode with Kirk, showing flashbacks of The Cage.
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Peter G.
Mon, Sep 23, 2019, 9:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

@ Lew Stone,

From what I recall of the novel Valjean is convicted not only of breaking and entering, and theft, but even more specifically of damaging the window pane to get in, so property damage as well, for which I assume he had no money to pay restitution. And unless I'm mistaken that was back in the age where debtors went to prison as well for inability to pay.
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Peter G.
Mon, Sep 23, 2019, 10:20am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

@ Lew Stone,

"When reading Les Mis I could not suspend my disbelief that Jean Valjean would be imprisoned for 5 years for stealing a loaf of bread (another 14 years for trying to escape)."

As Booming mentioned, you don't have to suspend your disbelief about this, because it isn't science fiction: it's a depiction of how law was actually enforced. The book is literally about an extremely punitive legal system and its lack of mercy towards those trod underfoot. Disbelieving this one premise basically undermines the entire book, because you'd essentially be saying "naw, the government couldn't have been that harsh" and you end up missing the point: Valjean had a *right* to be angry, and yet still had to let go of anger.
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Peter G.
Sun, Sep 22, 2019, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: The Nagus

This isn't a Nog episode per se, but I'll give my tribute to Nog with this one, which contains my favorite Nog scene, and maybe one of the subtly sadder ones, which is the scene when he claims that Vulcans stole his homework, possibly because "they have no ethics". It's kind of sad to me because the class clown thing is a sort of cover for the fact that he's struggling and that a Ferengi in a human school is out of his element. It's great that even before they started developing Nog more Eisenberg manged to make a big impression in a scene like this which could have just played for laughs.
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Peter G.
Fri, Sep 20, 2019, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The First Duty

Watching this one now. A couple of details stood out to me more than they had before.

1) When Picard confronts Wesley, it seems like he's giving Wesley the chance to partially redeem himself by coming clean, but it's more than just urging him forward. I believe Picard was definitely going forward if Wesley didn't, so it was just going to be a question of which of them did it. I sort of think that Picard was condemning him either way, and that it would just be even worse if Wesley kept lying. Rather than 'Picard helping Wesley do the right thing', it felt a bit more like "this is your last chance before I completely lose all respect for you."

2) When Nick is talking to Wesley alone after this conversation with Picard, and Wesley says he can't live with the lie, Locarno tells him "who the hell are you?" Many in this thread have taken Locarno's general position to be that of a leader-figure placing the team first, but I have to be honest, I'm getting more of a sense now that it was all about him and that 'the team' was just a fig leaf for his personal glory. Picard's theory from earlier in the episode, that Locarno planned the whole thing to graduate in a personal blaze of glory, should probably be taken as a given, which means it was always about Nick looking amazing, and not about the others on the team. The "who the hell are you" is a total Hitler Youth kind of thing, where the implication is "you are nobody" and that an individual's conscience is irrelevant. I don't think he was being honest when he told Wesley he'd totally be willing to screw himself over the help the team; it was just a convenient thing for him to say. Wesley's comment at the end, that Locarno did exactly as he said he would protecting the team, rings hollow to me because by that point he was dead to rights and the only question was going to be whether everyone saw him for being a scumbag or for salvaging what remained of his public dignity. If I'm right, that he was basically a narcissistic opportunist, his last act wouldn't contradict that and would still fit the mold.
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