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Picard Maneuver
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 1:21am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Crossover

The awkward opening scene is amusing in the context that Saddig and Visitor eventually married. Visitor looked great in this episode. DS9's costume designer(s) was one of the biggest upgrades over TNG.

Love the camerawork in this episode. Great FX shot of Odo exploding. That said, reusing the same stock footage over and over again for "runabout goes in the wormhole" and "slow pan of the runabout" is beyond old by now. It's not because I'm watching these more than one per week; it was an annoyance when the show was originally airing. TNG didn't have the problem to this extent.

I don't know if it was intentional, but the terrans are like the caricature of the soulless, decadent atheists proffered by evangelical preachers.

I was expecting Mirror Odo's Rules of Obedience to encounter the Ferengi's Rules of Acquisition, but the two never met--and Odo and Quark strangely never shared a scene. I have a feeling it might have been planned but cut for time reasons.

Good episode, but everyone was missing their goatees.
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Picard Maneuver
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 4:26am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Maquis, Part II

Props to Bernie Casey for helping a bro out and making Avery Brooks look like a competent actor by comparison. I was confused when they were talking as if they were the same age. Casey is nearly a decade older and looks even older than that.

I liked Sisko's ranting to Kira about earth's ivory tower. Ironically he sold the Maquis' plight better than any of the actual Maquis did over the span of three shows.

It was weird hearing O'Brien talking about stashing sensors in the system's Oort cloud to detect incoming vessels. That makes perfect sense but since Oort cloud is a real (well theoretical) phenomenon it made me think about the seemingly impossible logistics of doing such a thing--and how casual O'Brien was about doing it. The Voyager 1 probe would reach our Oort cloud at about the same time of Star Trek TOS' setting.

The Federation treating DS9 like a random outpost rather than one of the most strategically important and unstable locations under their control was always an annoyance. First there is the wormhole. Then on Bajor there is deteriorating government, factionalizing, and outright terrorism that destabilizes the Federation relationship and thus stewardship over the wormhole.

Now you've got a lukewarm conflict situation that jeopardizes a totally different treaty with another planet. If that's not bad enough, it escalates into a hot war during these episodes and all the Federation can come up with are three modded shuttlecraft, one of which is manned by the IT guy and a doctor who was still in med school a few months ago. And why is Sisko piloting one? And with Dukat?

And when the Federation does take an interest, all they care about is Odo, who is effectively a mall cop in the grand scheme of things. Replacing him will do wonders to shore up these disintegrating treaties. Keep those suggestions coming. How about the window treatments? Do you think replacing them will help us defeat the Borg?

Trek usually has good, distinct sound design, but this episode conspicuously utilizes overused stock effects, the kind that were on those sound effects CDs everyone had in the early 90s. I half expected to hear a Wilhelm Scream.

On a bright note the dogfighting FX shots might have been the best to date. Usually Trek fights are along the lines of "gentlemen" wars where both sides line up and shoot at each other while remaining otherwise motionless. Here ships fire at each other as they roll and weave, with the camera panning and realistic light sourcing applied as well. I don't recall seeing a third person view before like with the Maquis fighter. Definitely a step up from what we've seen before.
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Picard Maneuver
Sat, Dec 5, 2020, 3:20am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Profit and Loss

I struggled to pay attention in parts of this episode but did Lang say Quark's unforgivable act was shaving a bit off the top in an already illegal enterprise? What's the problem? This woman would be mortified if she found out what was acceptable at Earth's charities and non-profits.

Mary Crosby looked good. Definitely the better Crosby acting wise as well. That other Carsassian woman, though, sheesh. Supposedly it's Susan from Seinfeld. It's hard to believe the quality drop between the two roles.

So what happens when the Cardassian crew learn their leader was vaporized? That the prisoners were given a cloaking device, which is a violation of Federation Law, and set free? Do they just ago "aw shucks" and head home? Seems like the episode ended right before it got interesting.
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Picard Maneuver
Fri, Dec 4, 2020, 3:28am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Playing God

It would have been a real shame if Jadzia had to eject Arjin in the Gamma Quadrant in order to reduce mass to make it home safely with the damaged runabout. That'd free up time for Kira to continue making the most sense of anyone on the station.

I think this is the point where the writers realized they made a critical error with Dax's character. It wasn't a good idea to create a wallflower who lives in the legacy of a larger than life personality that we never get to see. This sort of idea worked in the TOS movies because in a manner of speaking we knew Spock for decades and, very importantly, Nimoy knew Spock even better. So it was interesting when Spock was reincarnated as a colder version. But I think all we see from Curzon is the one scene with the old man on the operating table.

I get the impression that they were close to finalizing the characters when someone piped up with, "Wait! We don't have Spock! We don't have Data! Who's going to be the cold logical one?" And then they tried unsuccessfully retrofitting Dax into the role, thereby reducing her to a bland, barely there presence who can only make connections based on her physical appearance and nostalgic appeals to another lifetime. I actually like that she gets annoyed when everyone expects her to be Curzon but the unfortunate thing is that even in death he's more interesting than what Jadzia has to offer. This episode reeks of overcompensation, all the way into Auntie Mame territory.

What's funny is the Trill who stole the symbiant made for a better Dax and had way better old friendship chemistry with Sisko than I think Jadzia ever did. When that episode aired I kinda wished they kept him because we'd get to see the character with a bunch of negative character traits that's still ultimately likable. Jadzia seems like she's there because she graduated from an old money name brand school and her grandmother is a Space Senator or something.

I never understood precision flying in Trek. It's always one character slowly relaying information and another equally slowly tapping half a dozen commands on the worst UI ever to make the ship do anything. I would think the future would yield something like a VR suit, maybe with a direct synapse link, along with a dynamic, contextual HUD. As is, it's like tabulation machines existed for hundreds of years before space flight and were adapted for the purpose.
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Picard Maneuver
Thu, Dec 3, 2020, 4:20am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Shadowplay

It seems like nearly every episode this season is a raffle of which two characters get to map a Gamma Quadrant nebula or whatever in a runabout. Kira and Bereil don't have much chemistry. They come across more like brother and sister with an arm's length relationship or childhood friends who only somewhat keep in touch. As a result it feels a little wrong when they kiss.

I feel like there are some mental health implications when the old man accepts he's been living a delusion and the other two do all they can to prevent him from resuming his previous life. They acted like druggie friends when someone in the group decides it's time to take a shower and look for a job. Odo's sudden leap into a reverse psychology bit was especially weird.
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Picard Maneuver
Wed, Dec 2, 2020, 5:16am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Paradise

I remembered the outcome about 10 minutes in when they were reading about mankind being soft in the the crazy lady's diary, though I probably figured it out at that point the first time, too. Her character made it difficult to invest in the episode because it was too obvious that she was insane and formed a primitivist cult out of the rest of the colony. At least Cisco figured it out quickly enough. It'd have been a real drag if it took him until the last five minutes of the episode to realize he was dealing with a psychopath.

While traditional/alternative medicine has some merit, what merit it has is based on centuries of (anecdotal) observation. It's just wacko to suggest the most reliable way to cure unknown illnesses is to go into the woods and gather random leaves, and it's difficult to believe 24th century scientists would go along with such a thing, even with a domineering bully involved.

I mean, I wanted to punch her, Sisco wanted to, also, and O'Brien almost did. And he also probably thought about shooting her, too; he had a "just give me an excuse" aura about him at the end. The rest of these people are like, sure, I'll get into the box, your wish is my command. You can't force everybody into willing submission. Some of them are going to pretend and stab you in the back the moment it's safe to do so. Though I wouldn't be surprised if some of the more disagreeable colonists had unfortunate accidents over the years. Meg was feeling a lot better before her sudden demise, just saying.

In the scene where Cisco confronts the leader about trying to win him over with sexual favors, it'd have been funny if he stole one of the candles as he left.

Why is stopping the unmanned runabout so complicated? Can't they just use the prefix code to remote control it? We had remote control in the mid-90s, you know. I'm sure at least one person on the staff used pcAnywhere. And it was a major plot point in Wrath of Khan and the 25th Anniversary video game. It came up in a few TNG episodes, too. I guess that's less exciting than forgetting this stuff exists and hyping up the lasso method, which was really more like arresting gear, like on an aircraft carrier.
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Picard Maneuver
Tue, Dec 1, 2020, 4:11am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Whispers

Plot twist: Keiko had no idea Miles was a clone and actually wanted to poison the original. They should have let the clone live, had him go by his (lame) middle name, and given him a trombone.

Anyway, if they can copy consciousness and program memories, why not skip the first step and just program the original O'Brien? Does it only work during the copy process? How did O'Brien get free anyway? Surely the rebels were planning on killing him the moment they verified the clone worked. Pretty silly to leave a loose end like that in your intricate assassination plot.
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Picard Maneuver
Sun, Nov 29, 2020, 3:14am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Armageddon Game

I like how Starfleet sends one random 20-something year old junior doctor who is basically a general practitioner rather than a staff of epidemiologists and virologists to solve the harvester virus problem. Well, at least that makes more sense than sending the recently promoted transporter chief as well.

I have fond memories of the bunker scenes. It's good that they work so well because I forgot literally everything else about this episode, and for good reason, apparently.

On the topic of the Defiant, it's a little unrealistic that they didn't get a real ship the moment the wormhole was discovered, either through their direct use or through a permanent attaché. There probably should be at least one starship in visible range at all times and another half dozen or so a Space 911 call away.

I always got the impression that Miles loved Keiko while she mostly tolerated his presence.

Regarding the clumsy manner in which they tried to destroy knowledge of the virus, I guess they've found a solution for the Streisand Effect as well in the 24th century.
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Picard Maneuver
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 3:46am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Rivals

Pretty careless to fire at the probability machines. And there was an obstacle with the last shot. Given how the things work, what if Sisko hit the equipment and the phaser ricocheted into his eye? Also, I'm sure Starfleet Command might have some interest in developing the things into weapons or at least furthering scientific research.
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Picard Maneuver
Wed, Nov 25, 2020, 4:24am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Sanctuary

When Jake and Nog were discussing entomology, I wondered if the universal translator would translate the concept but then Nog asked what entomology was. It's hard to believe a technology like this would leave gaps similar to how a child naturally learns language. That said, the earlier scenes with the alien race is how I'd expect the technology to work: the most common concepts are translated quickly while more obscure and technical language takes longer and doesn't seem to translate exactly. It's a little too fast, though. I think even a super advanced AI would need at least hundreds or thousands of sentences to make sense of things.

I agree with above comments that this episode has a season 1 TNG or TOS script leftover feel. Or someone cribbed some Space Mormon ideas from Battlestar Galactica.

Also, why does future music suck so much? it's very often tranquil and sonically boring.

The drama with the Space Lepers wasn't very compelling. The Bajorians really dodged a bullet on this one, for a change. Actually, the big brain move would have been to move Bajor to Draylon II and stick the overly demanding aliens with Bajor's withered husk.
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Picard Maneuver
Tue, Nov 24, 2020, 3:20am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Second Sight

I also noticed the production quality issues pointed out by Dave in NC. There were multiple scenes that while it was clear they were on sets looked like they were set up for green screen/FX shots due to flat angles and lighting. I agree that just about everything in this episode seems to be off. While Alexander Singer was a Trek veteran, apparently this was the first DS9 episode he directed. Maybe that's it.

According to Memory Alpha this is a most hated episode because of Seyetik, the terraformer character. Huh? He's the most entertaining part of this episode. The only other good thing I have to say about it is Salli Richardson looked great and I'm glad DS9 has better costume design than TNG, well at least for the Feena character. Nidell looked like she grabbed unfinished Vulkan garb from the Paramount storeroom.

Also, apparently physicists in the future have forgotten how stars work.
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Picard Maneuver
Sat, May 9, 2020, 2:06am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: The Pegasus

This episode is worth it just for Frakes' impression of Stewart for Captain Picard Day.

Something with the admirals in this show, they always seem to just order ships around on their own. Blackwell says she's postponing the quasar study. Um, okay. Just you? Does your boss know about this? Then later Riker is shocked when Pressman tells him higher ups are aware of the mission parameters. I realize that we're supposed to be surprised that some sort of rogue attache is forming but honestly I can't tell the difference from normal Starfleet Command behavior.

I've always wondered if there was a Starfleet Command hierarchy or once you reach some kind of admiral, eh, it doesn't really matter, just contact any ship and tell them to do whatever. It seems the Enterprise should only hear from one or, at most, two admirals: their regional rear admiral and maybe a higher rank when something major is going down, like a Borg invasion. It's strange that they're bossed around by what seems like at least half a dozen of these guys. It's like Office Space of the 24th century.

Also, I think it's funny that a handful of episodes since the space ecology one, Picard is authorized to exceed mandated warp speed limits.

Ensign Gates speaks! Finally! And doesn't get paid for it! At least she has a name now.

Finally, a S7 episode that doesn't feel cheap. I liked the effects with Riker's rib healing and the interaction with the asteroid. The asteroids outside the ship's windows in the interior shots don't stand the test of time but probably looked fine on NTSC.

Anyway, this is a good episode and has the kind of stuff I previously mentioned other recent episodes lacking: quandaries and arguments. Finally there is something to weigh and having good reasons for both sides. The biggest flaw is not giving Pressman's side more credence: it makes a lot of sense to develop such a technology. It'd make a lot of sense for Picard to never make admiral as a result of this incident, despite doing the "right" thing. If war happens, the Klingons are always up for killing Romulans. They'd probably be grateful the Federation made space less boring.

It kinda feels like this episode was backported from DS9. Except if it were there Pressman would be played by Sisko. He's be the good guy and punch the Picard character, who was obviously wrong. That's why he was punched.

It seems a stretch that the Enterprise could be so easily retrofitted to do the phase cloaking thing. I'd have to imagine that's something a ship would need to be designed for from top to bottom, not just sticking a plastic tube into the engine. Speaking of DS9, I like the aspect that the Defiant wasn't specifically designed for cloaking having consequences, e.g. its dense power output leaking out of the cloak.
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Picard Maneuver
Sat, May 2, 2020, 3:55am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Parallels

The continuity staff must have breathed easy with this one. "Hey wasn't Sirtis previously wearing boots and not heels? And didn't she have more rouge?"

"Nah, that was in an alternate universe, boss."

Speaking of Troi, I always felt there was more chemistry between Sirtis and Dorn in this episode than there was with the entirety of scenes with Frakes. I'm not saying it's the greatest thing ever, just that Sirtis X Frakes isn't just cold as ice; it's heat death of the universe. On Riker, glad to see a cameo of the version form "Genesis" on the Borg-beaten Enterprise.

I forgot there was a Wil Wheaton episode left before he returned to being Perfect Boy and becoming Literal Space Jesus. Good thing Alexander was gone. The universe may have imploded having both of them on simultaneously.

Regarding the other Worfs, it seemed obvious to me they were also sliding around. That's why Data and Picard of the "correct" universe knew exactly what was going on when they answered the "current" universe's hail 30 seconds after the fact. Also, we see two sickbays investigating the same thing, so we know there were at least two misplaced Worfs. Otherwise he would warped to a different location and would have to track down Geordi again. Of course, this also meant at least two Worfs dropped the ball at the tactical station. I think they never explained why the visor made him quantum leap.

It'd be funny if in one of the parallel universes, Worf gets so startled by the surprise party he goes into fight-or-flight mode and bat'leths the party-goers. I guess he can't kill that lady helmsman who is in every episode, though. By virtue of not being paid to shout "Surprise!" she should be spared.
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Picard Maneuver
Sat, May 2, 2020, 1:33am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Inheritance

I like how Data can just pull medical records. I guess they don't have HIPPA in the 24th century.

Totally agree with the above suggestion that Data's mother be played by Spiner in drag. Why not? He already did it a season ago in "A Fistful of Datas".

I think a reason this episode and so many of the "out of gas" later episodes don't resonate is that they're so one-sided with just-so decision storytelling. The more fondly remembered Trek has quandaries and arguments. It's why people like "Measure of a Man" so much. Even "Best of Both Worlds", which is primarily an action-packed special effects extravaganza, has a bunch of arguing where everyone has a good point. In S7 TNG, everyone just goes along with whoever is talking at the moment. It wouldn't surprise me if Data proposed shutting down Android Mom for study and Picard and Crusher said, "Whatever you say, Data. It's your choice." It'd be funny if that happened, though.

It's a good thing that the cast became very comfortable with each other over time, but I think it bled into the scripts and made them too homey. This episode feels like it belonged on something like Highway to Heaven, Touched by an Angel, or Quantum Leap.
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Picard Maneuver
Thu, Apr 30, 2020, 2:40am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Force of Nature

I guess it makes for a better shot, but boy does it look awkward when two people crawl through the Jefferies tubes side-by-side; Burton was crammed into the wall. Spiner was having some difficulty supporting himself as he crawled in the final shots; I'm wondering how long the filming was for these scenes. I think I'd rather not have them than to be reminded that Data is not an actual android. Otherwise, I didn't mind the Spot subplot. Sometimes TNG does humor well, and I thought this was one of them. "This is down. Down is good. This is up. Up is no."

This episode checks a number of TNG standards: starts off with a meeting almost immediately, something is considered an act of waaarrr, and something will fail in some hours (though no minutes and seconds this time). All that's really missing is an alien threat that they're given a long, arbitrary amount of "your earth hours" to consider.

Continuing on the trend of cheaping out, we never see the Fleming or anyone who was on board it. These levels of cutbacks make it difficult to invest in the tension of the rescue mission. The guest stars' heavily compressed screen time was also conspicuous. Effectively the episode's climax was the rift's creation. It's possible this episode would have been better off with more Spot footage instead of a soulless (literally) rescue.

Despite the simplistic and heavy-handed political messaging, I liked this episode's (attempted) contribution to the lore. I believe Roddenbery's mandate that technology basically be magic is a mistake. I love the concept of "equivalent exchange" in fictional systems, where even mundane actions have consequences of some sort. It's just too bad after paying lip service, no one really cares and they just continue warp 9ing everywhere all the time.

Actually, this episode's implications are rather realistic, if ironic. Despite the attempt, they actually indict themselves more than their targets of criticism. The opposition don't actually believe the claims; the most you can go for is to accuse them of willful ignorance or self-delusion. These guys on the other hand do buy into the claims and keep on regardless. Which, again, is ironically realistic.
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Picard Maneuver
Wed, Apr 29, 2020, 11:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Attached

I definitely agree that the characterization was likely ad hoc. There is also this phenomenon with late stage TV shows to start romantically pairing characters together, often out of the blue.

I don't hold Gates McFadden responsible. Even if her input did affect the character it's up to the show runners to keep things on track. I have a feeling she just did what the script told her to, but I dunno. I don't know why they didn't do what they will do with Worf and Troi and just have Picard break out some of his brother's champagne and have Crusher not refuse the invitation.
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Picard Maneuver
Wed, Apr 29, 2020, 2:49am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Attached

The Federation requiring the elimination of all uncooperative assholes before joining must have produced some rather undesired results by this point. It'd be a problem especially when the "assholes" are 33% of the population and the other 67% want "unification". Add futuristic weaponry to the mix and it just gets worse. It's not even an illogical course of action. Access to the Federation or similar entity would increase a planet's prosperity multiple fold. It'd be an easy decision for an ambitious leader to make "the future" happen by any means necessary. We don't even need a crystal ball to know this.

I feel like the nerfing of Worf continues. Now he's filling in for Chief O'Brien. It's hard to believe such a low position is possible! He's not very good at the job, either. You'd think it would be standard procedure to verify the transport but Worf figures, eh, it probably worked, and walks away in the middle.

I like how Picard just chucks his coat the moment it temporarily gets hot. Things like that are pretty handy in survivalist situations. Even if not for him, surely the skinny, middle-aged doctor might get cold at night.

So Picard and Crusher can suddenly communicate telepathically and Troi is nowhere to be found.

Every episode the music merges more with DS9's.

They turned Crusher into a real cocktease in this episode. There are the increasingly extravagant breakfast dates (that aren't really dates). She plays coy when Picard lays out his feelings (at her insistence!) and then admits, oh yeah, I guess I did notice you were pining over me for two decades. In the final scene she dresses sexy (by Trek standards) and eggs Picard on some more with the "Penny for your thoughts". Picard finally takes the bait after so much prodding and lays out a full confession. Then she rejects him and flees his quarters. LOL! I guess they wanted to keep the will-they-won't-they alive but to do it they turned Crusher into the kind of manipulative, soul-crushing woman that men are warned about.
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Picard Maneuver
Tue, Apr 28, 2020, 3:01am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Dark Page

Auntie Mame has a sad.

I dreaded this episode but it's actually not as bad as I remembered. However, it's very cheap feeling in that they obviously didn't want to construct new sets, utilize the "rocky planet" set, or film on location. As a result, we see Lwaxana's memories from the perspective of the Enterprise, which makes absolutely no sense. The scene with Deanna's father was the only scene that looked remotely different and all they did was use a standard crew quarters, put some toys in it, and replace the starfield background with some trees. It's downright confusing when they reuse the arboretum set and claim it's a different place. It's not like I'm remembering the set from a different episode, it was 20 minutes ago! It looks like a mini-golf course to boot, which really doesn't set the mood they're going for.

What happened to Kestra, anyway? The dog gets away and then what? She drowns? With no screaming or thrashing or the dog yelping? She can't swim at all? How long was Lwaxana distracted? An hour? The girl was like 11 years old. You generally need a credible threat to explain the loss of a child that age. SIDS doesn't cut it.

Marina Sirtis is a terrible actress but she actually hit the right notes in this episode. The bit about her thinking her dead dad would be mad at her mom for packing his things away is one of her better performances. She was also convincing when conversing with her father's apparition. I was impressed she did her own jumping stunt.

I've always wondered, is it normal for adults to keep journals/personal logs? Everyone in this show does it, but otherwise it seems something little girls do and grow out of by the time they start dating. It also seems weird that Captain Picard would just sit down and start reading Troi's logs, even if her life depended on it.

They went backwards with the telepathic alien guy: they introduced him as a character and then turned him into a MacGuffin by the middle of the episode.

The turbolift extra in the beginning should have gotten a credit. He was great.

Thanks to these comments I can't unsee Mitt Romney.

It's a solid meh from me. I actually think there was something here but it needed script work and better production. People use the term "out of gas" to describe S7 but episodes like this make me think they were actually skating by on the show's reputation and cheaping out on production costs. At the very least clearly the competence-lacking B-team was in charge.
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Picard Maneuver
Sun, Apr 26, 2020, 2:20am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Phantasms

I always called this "the cellular peptide cake episode". It looks like I'm not alone.

The ensign hitting on LaForge is very cute. Don't know why he isn't interested, especially since he strikes out at every other opportunity with more boring women who aren't as attractive. She's even perceptive and runs interference with Picard. She's a keeper. You suck, LaForge.

Great atmosphere in this one. The far above comment about it being "Lynchian" is spot on. Also, regarding the comment directly above mine, I don't think Ten Forward ever looked more interesting. Usually it's shot so flat and bland. The direction (and lighting) was actually pretty good in general.
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Picard Maneuver
Sat, Apr 25, 2020, 1:22am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Gambit

In which we see why Riker doesn't have his own ship. It's pretty obvious it's his job to give the eulogy but instead he whines and pouts. We need Tom back. Mirina Sirtis delivers a performance of a lifetime here. I didn't say it was a good performance.

I love in the phaser fight while they're abducting the unconscious Riker, they just stand there out in the open while Worf and the others look absolutely baffled. That is the time for everybody to shoot at the same spot all at once.

Sondra Huxtable is a worse actress than I remember.

I wonder if they gave Picard a goatee then would Riker be convinced he was evil mirror universe Picard? You can tell Patrick Stewart had fun as Galen. Richard Lynch was great, too. Someone like James Worthy should have played Kahless instead of the pudgy dwarf.

I realize the setup is a little forced--Worf is being unrealistically petulant--but Data's dressing down is a favorite of mine from the series.

Loved the ragdoll physics with the Vulkan weapon. 10/10 would Havok Engine again.

Anyway, loved these episodes as a kid and feel they hold up pretty well. And that's on their own. In the context of the closing of season 6 and season 7 so far this is a masterpiece.

LOL @ Jay's comment about Baran looking like the Lion heading to Oz. Not sure I'll be able to unsee from now on. Richard Lynch could probably do a decent "wuuuuff" too.
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Picard Maneuver
Wed, Apr 22, 2020, 2:15am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Interface

P.S. James Earl Jones as Father LaForge would have been great, too, but that would have been a big get even for the last season of TNG.
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Picard Maneuver
Wed, Apr 22, 2020, 2:07am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Interface

Three stars, huh? I remember detesting this episode, even more than the season 1 schlock people tend to bring up. With the unexpectedly high rating, I figure I'd go in with an open mind.

As much as I rag on the wardrobe in this show, Geordi's VR suit is cool despite its cheap construction and holds up much better in high definition than most of the costumes. The bright color tubing is a little much, though. They probably looked more muted on the NTSC broadcast. Geordi looked looked good with the milky eyes and the VR-visor interconnect prop. So what does he see, anyway? If it's conventional vision, it's gotta be rather alien to him given his visor's vision is like an LSD trip.

How'd his hands get burned, anyway? How'd they get burned?! HOW'D THEY GET BURNED?!

Riker looks weird sitting at the science console. It's like he's having a time out or something.

I don't know why, but I get a kick out of the main engineering seats being average office chairs.

Well, open mind and all, I guess this isn't the worst episode in the catalog, but it's in the ballpark. Terrible pacing and lame, unsatisfying mystery. 1.5 stars at best from me and probably worse than that. After crapping on the past few episodes, I'm looking forward to Gambit. I remember liking that one a lot.

It's funny to see Kunta Kinte's wife play his mother in this episode. Points deducted for not casting John Amos as Father LaForge instead of Ben Vereen.

"Why Geordi/probe doesn't have a visor makes no sense, BTW."

From what I understand, LaVar Burton was really bitching about wearing the visor by this point, especially since it had no storytelling purpose. It's kind of ironic that when his vision is finally a relevant plot point the visor has almost nothing to do with it. Not sure he thought it out that far but it'd a nice passive-aggressive middle finger if he did when (likely) insisting his avatar have real sight.
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Picard Maneuver
Tue, Apr 21, 2020, 2:02am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Liaisons

I have trouble suspending disbelief with this episode. It feels like a prank show where the audience is supposed to be in on it, like we're supposed to be laughing at the Enterprise crew for buying into everything. Picard's segments are like the Yandere Simulator of the early 90s.

You'd think by season 7 they'd be able to hire an actual wardrobe person but, no, the producer's cat lady aunt is still dressing everybody. Just as well, this feels like a season 1 episode, so I guess nothing is out of place.

I love the look the kid gives his mother (or whoever it is) when the alien is manhandling him. Also loved the glutinous alien contentedly munching away as his masochistic co-worker and Worf slug it out.
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Picard Maneuver
Mon, Apr 20, 2020, 2:49am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Descent, Part II

Where this episode fails is returning Lore to the mustache-twirling "muahaha" cartoon villain he started as. It's a total regression from his hostile, unstable, yet vulnerable--and ultimately relatable--performance in "Brothers". As a result, he has little impact as an antagonist as there is no reason for the audience to consider his position. He's just the "bad guy of the week". These Borg really suck. Picard sucks, too. He just stands there and does nothing as he waits for the Deus Ex Machina to happen. I never noticed the fading pupil effect when Lore deactivates.

Along with the Borg, this episode marks the death of Data. Besides being already irredeemable after this, he just gets worse and worse from this point on, from being taken over yet again in Masks, to becoming a psychotic clown in the movies. I'm pretty sure I was laughing at the end of Nemesis.

Why do they always fly toward the Borg ship when trying to evade it? That said, Crusher is still an upgrade from Janeway. I like how no one noticed the guy who tried to steal the metaphasic shields took off his makeup, became a bridge officer, and had a suspicious level of knowledge of the technology. Then he probably shacked up with the cute ensign after their argumentative flirting. Maybe that's why Crusher kicked him. Sorry, hon, he's just not into MILFs, but I've got great news: there's a certain Space Candle in your future, you lucky girl.

Regarding the comment above about the sun's light being blinding when that close, it'd be well beyond that. Things would be igniting, the ship included if we're being realistic. Remember in physics class using a concave mirror to focus the sun's light to burn things? Imagine that but times a billion or trillion or whatever.
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Picard Maneuver
Mon, Apr 20, 2020, 1:16am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Descent, Part I

Eh, it probably didn't matter. I'll bet the "individuality virus" caused more damage than that stupid geometry puzzle would, anyway.
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