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Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 11:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: The Expanse

I’m surprised at the cynicism of some of the comments above. I always thought this episode was well-paced, entertaining, emotionally involving, and set the stage for Enterprise’s best season. There’s nothing about the Xindi arc that violates canon. The Russo-Japanese War probably seemed like a big deal at the time, until it was completely blown away by World War I ten years later. Similarly, Earth is about to experience the Romulan War, then form a galaxy-spanning Federation. In Picard’s day, the Xindi attack is probably taught in history classes as the precursor to a very violent, eventful period. No one’s walking around saying, “Remember the Xindi attack” because they’re saying, “Remember when we formed a Federation that lasted for 200 years.”

After two seasons that I mostly enjoyed but generally found sleepy, listless, and rudderless, “The Expanse” delivers a real sense of urgency, drive, and stakes for the first time. I appreciate the 9/11 allegory too. It feels very truthful to how America and much of pop culture reacted at the time: a sudden, jarring shift into darkness. All of Star Trek up until Discovery was made in America, after all. It led to a myopic perspective at times, but it’s inevitable that every movie / TV show bears the imprint of the time and place that it was made.

I’d give it ***1/2 stars. Knock off half a star for the silliness of the Klingons hanging around for months just to get their asses kicked at the last second.
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Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 7:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Bounty

I had just turned 13 when this episode came out, so I was right in that “horny teenage boy” demographic they were obviously aiming for. I have a vivid memory of watching this episode. Why? Because oh Lord, it was one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life up to that point.

I was used to Star Trek as something the whole family could watch. My parents would regularly stop by the background of Enterprise episodes, plus my sisters, at the time age 11 and 6. So when a sweaty, horny T’Pol started slinking around in that blue light, holy shit, I wanted to crawl under a rock and die. Imagine being 13 and just discovering that girls were kinda interesting, and then watching this episode with your MOM.

This was my first time seeing it since then. Boy does it look different at age 29. The issue isn’t that there’s sex. It’s that the PG-rated “sex” is so fake and the writers had to twist the Trek universe in knots to get there. I actually differ with Jammer somewhat. I don’t know if Gene would’ve been proud of this episode specifically, but that man was decisively not afraid of sex, and of trying to get sexual content on TV. The Original Series is PACKED with sex, as much as they could get past the censors. Gene always named “Mudd’s Women” as a favorite episode and bragged that he was able to get a plot about “space hookers” on TV. Hell, after Trek, he wrote and produced Pretty Maids All in a Row, which is basically softcore porn mixed with trademark Roddenberry speeches. (I wouldn’t call it good, but it’s… something.) He created the character of Ilia, who was so sexually hypercharged that she had to take an Oath of Celibacy to serve in Starfleet. As for Season 1 of TNG… “Justice.” ‘Nuff said.

The problem is the way it’s depicted here: embarrassing, and frankly degrading. Fun tidbit from the DVD extras: John Billingsley actually asked the writers, “Why wouldn’t Phlox do it? He’s a doctor. She’s a patient. It’s a medical issue. He’d be professional about it.” Not that I wanted to see that, but it would’ve made more sense, at least.

On to “The Expanse” with a sigh of relief. It’s like they had to get this BS out of their system before finally reinventing Enterprise as something fresh and exciting.
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 9:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Regeneration

Kick. Ass.

- Loved the sense of creeping dread in the first act, as we know from the first minute that these researchers are dead meat.
- Loved that Admiral Forrest showed up, even as a cameo. He and Admiral Ross are in a perpetual dead heat for Trek’s best admiral.
- Loved the thought of a possibly drunk Zefram Cochrane going on a conspiratorial rant about cybernetic creatures from the future at a *college commencement speech*. LOL.
- Loved John Billingsley, who played the body horror aspects of assimilation perfectly and gave a great sense of tension to all his scenes.
- Loved the direction, music, effects, everything technical.
- Loved the idea that when Q threw the Enterprise-D into the path of the Borg cube in “Q Who?” he knew that the Borg invasion was already coming. So he was both teaching an abstract lesson about the dangers of the unknown AND likely saving humanity from annihilation by giving us a heads up.

As commenters above have said, what makes this one of the best Borg episodes is that it strips them down to their basics. No cubes, no Queen, not even the word Borg, just mindless drones advancing ever forward at a sinister walking pace. One of my favorite Enterprise episodes and an easy 4 stars.
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Sat, Nov 30, 2019, 4:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Horizon

^^ Love this analysis of T’Pol in this episode. I have a soft spot for these lightweight, “just another day in space” subplots. They humanize the Trek universe and make it feel real. It’s the exact opposite of Star Wars, which is epic space action all the time. Not a complaint about Star Wars; it usually succeeds on that level. But I don’t buy into the Wars universe as much as Trek, because part of me craves funny, warm, everyday plots about movie night on a starship. I got a great chuckle out of imagining Soval sitting down with intense Vulcan meditative focus to watch Frankenstein!

The episode, though, is awkwardly written on a basic structural level. There’s the mention of lifeforms on the erupting planet which goes nowhere. There’s the one scene featuring Travis’ childhood buddy (girlfriend??) who we just start to get interested in before she disappears into oblivion. Though I really enjoyed the B-plot, it’s like they shoved it in because they were afraid that Mayweather couldn’t carry an episode on his own. Anthony is… fine. Merely fine. Though I do enjoy the understated mentor / mentee relationship between Archer and Mayweather. Feels very much like an experienced actor (Bakula) showing the ropes to a newbie (Montgomery).

*** stars from me. Nothing too special, but I appreciate the insight into Mayweather’s background and how the episode makes the Horizon a believable world.
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Thu, Nov 28, 2019, 2:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: The Crossing

Ugh. IMO, this is one of Trek’s worst episodes. Stuff like “Spock’s Brain,” “Threshold,” and “Sub Rosa” may be bad, but at least it’s entertaining and you can have a good time laughing through it. After the first act, which had a great sense of wonder and eeriness, this was just dull, flat, and lifeless. I can pinpoint the exact moment it went bad; a creature appears in the launch bay, and Reed IMMEDIATELY starts shooting and ducking and dodging like he’s in a video game. WTF?? There was no indication before this scene that the aliens had hostile intent. This scene comes out of nowhere.

Also, didn’t we see in “Marauders” that T’Pol is a butt-kicking martial-arts badass? The entire time Reed is in her quarters, they’re trying to play it like she’s in danger, and I’m thinking, “Seriously? Come on!” Based on what we saw in that episode, she could pin him to the floor in two seconds. It’s like Berman and Braga 1) forgot that moment or 2) chose to shove it under the rug for the sake of one scene.

As for the infamous “Phlox turns valves to save the ship” scene… I couldn’t help thinking that those people got paid to write pages and pages of dialog like, “Turn the valve 90 degrees. Set the panel on the floor.” It is pure filler depicted in the most lifeless, soul-sucking way possible, with monotone music straight out of latter-day TNG.

It’s a miracle that the actors mostly make it watchable. Connor Trinner is spot-on, both as the alien and as Trip in awe at his out-of-body experience. Poor Travis has nothing to do except look for Trip and get punched in the face; par for the course. This gets one star from me BECAUSE it starts out so well and goes so very wrong.
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Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 12:40am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Future Tense

“Entertaining but meaningless” sounds about right. What was the ship’s purpose? Why did it end up in the 22nd century? Why do the Suliban and Tholians want it? *shrug* The point here is to deliver sci-fi weirdness, and the episode succeeds on that level. Plus, it’s fun to see the Enterprise caught in the middle of a shootout where we have no idea what anyone wants or why it’s happening. Fitting for a show about humanity taking our first steps into a broader world far beyond our understanding.

What pushes this into three-star territory for me is the low-key, enjoyable Trip / Malcolm friendship. As Jammer points out, their dynamic is just like “Dead Stop,” fitting because both episodes are written by Sussman / Strong. I’m sure the nod to “Minefield” with Archer and Malcolm defusing the bomb is deliberate too.

And I personally didn’t mind the winking references to future human / Vulcan coupling (i.e. Spock). I like that T’Pol shows some resistance to the idea biologically and philosophically. That way, there’s room for growth and showing T’Pol / the Vulcans reaching a more enlightened perspective. I personally have always appreciated Enterprise’s take on the Vulcans, in theory if not always in practice. The point is to show them at an earlier stage than we’re used to in the 23rd and 24th centuries, just like humanity, and demonstrate that all societies grow and change. If they’re enlightened already, where’s the story?
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Mon, Nov 25, 2019, 9:01pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Cease Fire

This is one episode that really improves when considered in the context of the series. I can see how, watching these episodes weekly in 2003, “Cease Fire” would’ve come off as slight and inconsequential, especially with how neatly the situation is tied up in the end. But watching the whole series on Blu-Ray, I’ve been impressed with how well certain story arcs are building subtly and gradually. Mainly T’Pol’s growing acceptance of humans and the bond of trust between her and Archer (let’s pretend “A Night in Sickbay” never happened). Enterprise needed MUCH more world-building in its first two seasons, and this episode is exactly what they should’ve been doing. When you know how well the Vulcan / Andorian plot is handled going forward, episodes like this come off as important stepping stones.

Like Jammer, I really appreciated certain scenes such as the Soval / T’Pol conversation and Archer’s speech to Phlox about humans joining the broader community. It’s exactly what I wanted to see from a Star Trek prequel: showing the beginnings of cooperation between humans and Vulcans, and how the Federation was founded. Trip literally flying the Enterprise in the middle of the Vulcan / Andorian conflict is a great visual metaphor for this latter theme. But unlike Jammer, I enjoyed the rest of the episode too. Jeffrey Combs, Suzie Plakson, and Gary Graham are all great. That’s one of the Rick Berman era’s greatest strengths; they found excellent character actors and brought back the best ones again and again. Even if the plot elements are familiar, the episode is directed with enough zip that it kept me entertained. And though I’m normally down for a great negotiation scene, I was OK with skipping it in this episode. That’s part of the point: getting to the table is an ordeal in itself. ***1/2 stars
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Sat, Nov 16, 2019, 3:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Singularity

Personally, I judge these “crew going insane” episodes on one basis only: was it entertaining? That’s why I actually love “The Naked Now.” It’s insane, over-the-top, and ill-advised, but damn is it fun to watch. “Singularity” doesn’t hit those heights of lunacy, but it delivers. To this day, I still crack up when I think of Reed’s annoying alarm sounds. Hoshi’s “CARROTS!!” is a close second. I also thought Jolene Blalock was quite good. As the series goes on, she seems to be getting better at modulating that Vulcan reserve. In this ep, she picks the right moments to push for urgency, and her reactions to the crew’s crazy behavior are spot-on.

I also enjoyed the low-tech way T’Pol snaps Archer back to reality: just a cold shower and a cup of coffee! It makes for a more engaging scene than engineering some arbitrary injection or serum consisting of “X particle, which specifically counters the effects of Y radiation,” which is what Voyager would’ve done. A solid *** from me.
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Mon, Nov 4, 2019, 9:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S1: Fallen Hero

Funny - I WAS in the seventh grade when this episode came out, and even then I thought Hoshi’s shirt getting ripped off was completely lame and unfunny. Not to mention embarrassing - I was watching these with my parents! The decon scenes always made me want to crawl under a rock.

IMO T’Pol’s character arc is the one of the best things about ENT. It’s done subtly and believably. In “Breaking the Ice” last season, we saw her make the choice to stay on Enterprise and open herself up to her surroundings a bit more. Here we see her completely go to bat for Archer and stand up to Soval with quite a bit of barely repressed anger about the P’Jem affair. Blalock is hit-and-miss for me, but I think she’s great in this and the final scene. I’m not sure if the writers planned an arc for T’Pol; considering how loose and improvised ENT’s long-term story arcs are in the first two seasons, probably not. But as much as they failed in other areas, they did a great job at letting T’Pol evolve naturally from episode to episode. Trineer is my favorite actor in ENT, but T’Pol is my favorite character.
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Thu, Oct 31, 2019, 7:24pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S1: Desert Crossing

Is it just me, or did I miss why Archer and Trip actually had to cross the desert? So they grab the survival gear from the shuttlepod, take off into the night… and never come back? Wouldn’t they return to see if the shuttlepod was destroyed by the bombardment, and if it was, wouldn’t some of Zobral’s people still be nearby to help them?

I was under the impression that all the events on the planet took place at a single camp; they had dinner, played lacrosse, then hid in a bunker, all in one place. So where are they trying to go? Did they get lost in the desert overnight and are trying to find the camp again? The survival scenario is so unclear, and so overemphasized, that it really sinks the whole thing. Decent Prime Directive stuff and Clancy Brown is a good guest actor, but I can’t get over a large part of the episode making no sense. I’d knock it down to **.
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Mon, Oct 28, 2019, 7:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S1: Detained

I think you’re way too kind to this one, Jammer. This episode REALLY bothers me; it’s so cavalier and uninterested in thinking through the consequences of Archer’s actions that to me it actually becomes unethical.

So Archer doesn’t share his info on the Cabal because, “I don’t like being strong-armed. And I don’t like what they’re doing to these people.” WTF? Of course we’re supposed to feel sorry for the Suliban being herded into internment camps. But did anyone stop to consider that befriending the Tandarans might be a better way of helping the Suliban than, oh say, riding in like cowboys to bust loose 90 people out of potentially millions? That sharing info on the Cabal, *a mutual enemy,* might hasten the demise of the Cabal and end the need for internment in the first place?

There’s an even better real-world analogy today than in 2002 when Jammer wrote this review: China’s internment of the Uighur Muslims. If a team of American Marines parachuted into China and just liberated a single camp, it would be an outrageous, blatant act of war. And it would accomplish nothing for the Uighur Muslims as a whole. The entire world agrees that internment is wrong, but because this is the real world and the great powers all have nuclear weapons, we outside of China can’t do much about it except apply sanctions and diplomatic pressure.

What does Archer think will happen to the rest of the Suliban being held elsewhere? Does he really think the Tandarans won’t crack down on them harder, perhaps hide them away more carefully so other races won’t see what’s going on? Is he that stupid to make a new enemy when the sum total of humanity’s interstellar might is the starship Enterprise? The Suliban he liberated are either going to 1) get shot down immediately, 2) get captured again and probably subjected to much harsher treatment, 3) escape and be used by the Tandarans as symbols that the Suliban can’t be trusted. Assuming the sympathetic Suliban guy doesn’t make a run on the camp holding his wife and make things worse.

But the episode doesn’t care about any of that. We’re supposed to blindly root for the good guys. Hey look, they freed some people. Great job! They might have just ignited a full-blown genocide. Good Star Trek is about sitting down to think, reasoning through the possibilities, thinking through the consequences of your actions. This episode fails on that most basic level. ** from me, hovering on the edge of *1/2.
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Sun, Oct 13, 2019, 1:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Booby Trap

I like this episode but there are a few things that bug me about it. It's not realistic at all that there would still be a breathable atmosphere Promellian battlecruiser. There would have been sub zero temperature conditions. Starfleet doesn't have environmental suits for the boarding parties? Also it's really odd how Picard says, "I think we've seen all there is to see" after being there for a few minutes just on the bridge. You would think he would be more curious and would want to see more of the ship.
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Sat, Oct 5, 2019, 6:42pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ship

The crew member holding the medkit gets killed when the Jem H'dar first attack. So presumably the medkit is laying around somewhere near the ship. So why doesn't Sisko get it for Muniz when he goes outside to speak with the Vorta?
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Mon, Sep 30, 2019, 11:40am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Code of Honor

Been rewatching season of TNG and this episode is not that bad. Obviously the series was still raw and finding is way but Code of Honor is not the monster some people make it out to be.
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Tue, Sep 17, 2019, 1:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Tuvix

I have been giving consideration to the legality of Tuvix's death at the hands of Captain Janeway. In the case of Voyager, there are three legal ways to look at this:

1) The JAG Officer. I do not believe Voyager had a JAG officer appointed, so no legal opinion was available at the time. If this incident took place in the Alpha quadrant, I think the issue would have been taken up by the Starfleet JAG corps, absent an emergency (see #3).

2) From the point-of-view of the Doctor, Tuvix was a sentient life form and he correctly decided he could not forcibly take his life, absent a court-issued death sentence conviction. He may have performed the procedure under protest if the Captain ordered him to anyway, but she did not. The Doctor undoubtedly made a medical log entry documenting the incident.

3) With respect to Peter G., it is a long-standing rule that the Captain is master and commander of their vessel with absolute and unquestioned authority over, and responsibility for, the ship, cargo and crew. It's the privilege of every captain to decide when an emergency warrants the sacrifice of a member of the crew. Who can deny there was an emergency? Voyager was stuck in a remote and hostile part of space and the two members of her crew that were made unavailable by the transporter incident were deemed essential personnel by her captain.

The decision to terminate the life of Tuvix was justified using #3. Janeway's actions (and the Doctor's logs) would of course be reviewed by the Admiralty at a convenient time and place. As we saw both in the first part of Endgame (which occurred after Tuvix and before the timeline change) and in Nemesis (which also occurred after Tuvix and presumably -but not necessarily- after the timeline change), she was promoted to an Admiral rank. If the Admiralty disagreed with her decision about Tuvix (which I personally doubt they did), it was not enough of an error to preclude her from being promoted.

The worse case scenario for Janeway here would be a reprimand for her decision. The probable case scenario is either a decision of justifiable homicide in an emergency situation with no adverse action taken, or no comment or discussion about the incident at all. In either instance, it probably made for a good debate in an ethics of command class at Starfleet Academy.
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Thu, Sep 12, 2019, 9:39am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Critical Care

When I watched this episode, it made me think of what healthcare would be like in a a Nazi-controlled government, as depicted in the Man in the High Castle novel.
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Thu, Aug 22, 2019, 8:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: The Magnificent Ferengi

@Eat at Quark's--- EXACTLY!! I just watched this for the first time in 10 years and that was my conclusion. The lightbulb went off as soon as I opened the review and saw Jammer talking about how implausible it all is. I suspect that's the point. Especially because the episode starts off with one of Quark's fish stories being interrupted by the returning war heroes. I think he went full Spaceman Spiff to make up for it.
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Mon, Aug 19, 2019, 1:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Battle

Wasn't it actually Data who saved the day in this one? I remember liking a scene where Data informs Riker that there is no known defense against the Picard Maneuver, and Riker basically tells him he had better come up with one in the next 30 seconds (and he does!).
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Sat, Jul 27, 2019, 10:30am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

Those who are complaining that Picard was already a driven man before the stabbing event are assuming that (1) this is not a dream, and (2) Q is actually running the time forwards in a fair manner for Picard.

I think it is quite possible that Picard was simply hallucinating/dreaming as his body was fighting to keep alive. And if Q were really involved, he is a mischievous teacher; he could have rigged 'cautious' Picard's life just to remind him his youth. Q clearly prefers the brash young Picard.
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Fri, Jul 5, 2019, 4:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Deadly Years

This doesn't deserve even two stars. What a mess.

The focus should be on the aging problem, but instead we have a random love interest, a courtroom drama, an incompetent commodore, and a gratuitous and easily avoided encounter with Romulans.

How on earth do they have a flag officer, a commodore — who outranks captains — yet has never commanded a ship? If he outranks Kirk, why do they need a competency hearing for him to get command? And surely _someone_ would tell him "hey maybe flying into Romulan territory isn't the greatest idea you've ever had"?

Meanwhile, the solution to the aging problem ends up being _stupidly_ simple — which is good, because they have all of about five minutes to solve it amidst all that mess.

This a complete mishmash of concepts thrown together with awful pacing and no concern for common sense. Just give command to Sulu and get back to work, you nitwits.
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Mon, Jun 17, 2019, 11:14am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Q Who

Wait... If the "history" between Picard and Guinan is that she's a Dauwd and he knows it then that would explain how Picard caught on so fast in "The Survivors". Oy.
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Mon, Jun 17, 2019, 11:08am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Q Who

"Maybe on the ship she adheres to some kind of rule that means she cannot interfere with lesser species"

Q's description of Guinan was reminiscent of Kevin Uxbridge's description of himself. Another Douwd?
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Mon, Jun 17, 2019, 9:59am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Descent, Part II

Maybe I'm being pedantic here, but Lore's Borgetable garden doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Ira Graves and Noonian Soong were human scientists who both managed to carry off a perfect-fidelity mind-transfer on their very first attempt. Later on Bashir, not a cybernetics expert but just a highly gifted human doctor, failed after a fashion but far less spectacularly than Lore did. (I'm pretty sure that a failure of that sort would count as a success in Lore's book.)

How do two super-intelligent androids (one of whom had been on the receiving end of Graves's mind-transfer) with access to Borg magi-tech manage to burn though half-a-dozen living subjects without once even doing at least as well as Bashir? (Or the EMH-1? Or that evil guy in Deep Space Nine who stole Bashir's body. Or that evil guy in Voyager who stole Kes's body. Or that other evil guy in Voyager who stole Tom's body. Or...) And why are they mucking around with creepy nanostuff anyway when they have transporter magic at their disposal? Maybe Lore really is just totally insane.
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Tue, Jun 4, 2019, 9:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

"Everything that happened here is classified. Do not speak of it again."

I'm so effin on board with that.

Gave both seasons a fair shake. I shall (gladly) forget the whole thing.
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Tue, Jun 4, 2019, 5:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Cancel this dreck.

Give Anson Mount his own Pike-led show or put him in the Picard show.
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