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Rahul
Tue, Jul 27, 2021, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Paradise Lost

Thanks for your comments John Prepuce -- I haven't seen this episode since well before COVID hit but certainly the events in this 2-parter seem even more prescient now and your post is worth amplification.

"DS9 was right; it is very difficult to gain freedoms back once they have been taken away. Very few governments willingly relinquish power. The ending was perfect; We need to live our lives in spite of supposed threats. If everything we love and enjoy about life is taken away, what are we really living for?"

Could not agree more. Lockdowns don't work, they create far more collateral damage and it is painfully obvious how governments have overstepped their bounds, curtailed personal freedoms as we move toward a more authoritarian society. Now the WH is teaming up with big tech to censor views contrary to the administration's. We're not heading to a good place.

I won't elaborate on the Jan. 6 event or the 2020 election theft but those are the kinds of things that this episode warns about. I also think of how "The Drumhead" takes on even stronger meaning given what we've experienced in the past 1.5 yrs.

I wonder who in today's world would be analogous to Adm. Leyton. Not Joe Biden as he's more of a puppet...
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Rahul
Mon, Jul 26, 2021, 11:53am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: The Xindi

For me, what it comes down to is whether something is gratuitous or not. So for ENT, these decon chamber scenes ("Broken Bow", "Sleeping Dogs" etc.) are largely gratuitous and therefore detract from the overall viewing experience. TOS/TNG would not have gone there and this is just a trend in television and in Trek over the past few decades. The way the implied sex, innuendos etc. was handled in TOS/TNG was much more dignified than what ENT was -- whether it be B&B's choice or the network's. I would remind that B&B are the writers responsible for most of the worst ENT episodes in S1 & S2.

Now we got nu Trek and I agree with Ray that you do have to think twice about watching it with kids -- and I'd argue kids should not watch it. Plenty of gratuitous gender-bending, swearing, nihilism. It's what television is these days. But I'd also add that in rare cases, the gender-bending theme that DSC tries so hard to push can be used in a sensible way to tell a good story -- I keep coming back to "Forget Me Not". What a shame it is that you can't watch the Trek that's produced these days with kids, whereas you used to be able to -- TOS was awesome that way.

Now, knowing what the show-runners for nu Trek are like, I'm really thinking "Prodigy" is going to be unsuitable for kids...
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Rahul
Mon, Jul 12, 2021, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

@Peter G.,

I'll save you the trouble. From Memory Alpha: https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Turnabout_Intruder_(episode)

"Coleman knows Lester's plans, and in fact knows both that celebium was the lethal agent and that Lester had caused the deaths by sending the personnel to where the celebium shielding was weak."
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Rahul
Mon, Jul 12, 2021, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

@Peter G.,

You may be going down a slippery slope here. True, Lester is not like Lord Garth in terms of ambition and level of insanity but she is certifiably insane. That she is limiting her ambitions to being a starship captain, I think is basically irrelevant. If memory serves (haven't seen this episode in its entirety in years) I believe she orchestrated the deaths of a number of scientists on the planet -- radiation poisoning or some such. She tries to kill Kirk.

Lester, to me, is very much a lone wolf. She has, for all intents and purposes, gone postal. I would find it very hard to have a shred of sympathy for the cause of a person who guns down a bunch of his co-workers, for example. The cause is selfish. That's why, to me, this episode fails miserably as social commentary and gets reduced, albeit very entertainingly, to a fairly mechanical episode. But since this is television, it can hint at a societal issue.
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Rahul
Mon, Jul 12, 2021, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

@Peter G.,

I think you're actually making my point -- if this episode is meant to shine a light on the "larger trend of women being shut out" then it would be, as I said, "an utter failure (very poorly written and conceived)".

So I agree with what you're saying here:

"One fault I do have with the episode is that since she is such an unreliable source, we don't actually know for sure whether she's just the tip of the iceberg of an entire discontented sex, or whether she's really the only woman who wanted the captaincy this bad."

It comes down to what the primary thrust of the episode becomes but, of course, nothing is just there purely at face value. I can believe Gene wanted a prominent female (as in "The Cage") and was overruled, but then what we got here is a mess of an attempt at social commentary.

So I think that however this episode got reworked, it became more plot-driven primarily and less about making social commentary sledge-hammer-style which Trek is wont to do. That folks like you can think about the larger trend re. women/glass ceiling is more a credit to you than the writers/editors/producers of this episode.
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Rahul
Mon, Jul 12, 2021, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

To add to what I said about continuing Kirk's "if only ..." -- put yourself in his shoes. He is married to the Enterprise. He loves the Enterprise and will be very upset if something tries to come between him and her. As he's walking off with his senior officers, he's not going to end the series on a tirade about Lester -- that he'll keep to himself as a professional and as a captain. But I think, aside from it being cool to have some famous line as way of ending the series and maybe taking a shot at the glass ceiling issue, it's Kirk holding himself back from ripping Lester with some regret that she went bonkers.

I think the most important characteristic about Lester for the purposes of this episode is not that she's female but that she's a vengeful psychopath. So the sexism argument doesn't work for me because the woman in question is written in such a farfetched way -- this is a TV show which doesn't approximate real life very well. I would imagine that if a highly trained and competent female was passed over for a promotion to captain, she keep working hard at her job with the hope of eventually getting there. She wouldn't go psycho and orchestrate deaths and try the kind of shit Lester pulled on Kirk.

I think if we de-construct this episode, it could/would probably have started with a high-level pitch like "Hey, let's get Shatner to chew scenery -- make him act like a vengeful crazy woman". And then they'd tack on the life-entity transfer, mutiny etc. So I don't think it would have started with some kind of examination of sexism / glass ceiling -- otherwise the episode would be an utter failure (very poorly written and conceived). But as a plot-based drama with plenty of scenery chewing, it's pretty good.
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Rahul
Sun, Jul 11, 2021, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

In ENT, there was the NX-02 which had a female captain. Granted, this is technically before the formation of Starfleet and may be a retcon in regards to what is understood to be the circumstances in this episode. But as a series TOS had the female Romulan captain/commander in "The Enterprise Incident" so there should be nothing against female leaders writ large for this era in Trek.

I think Kirk's line "if only..." could be completed by him as "if only you [Lester] weren't a complete psycho, you could have been captain" or "if only you [Lester] weren't going to spend the rest of your life in an institution, you could have been captain." Given that Lester became a total psycho, I think one could assume she was passed over for captain opportunities earlier in her career for not meeting some behavioural/professional standards.
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Rahul
Fri, Jul 9, 2021, 8:45am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

We never got to see the Husnock as Kevin genocided them with a mere thought but might they have been one of the antagonistic races in ENT's "Silent Enemy" or "Fight or Flight"? Wonder if there are any other details that might corroborate or foil my conjecture? Or maybe they are just plot devices and that's it.
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Rahul
Thu, Jul 8, 2021, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Would certainly be cool to have a B5 discussion in this forum. I highly recommend the series. It's like DS9 without the padding. Absolutely blows away nu Trek in sci-fi and just overall. Even Crusade is better than nu Trek. But that should not come at the expense of reviewing nu Trek as this is primarily a Star Trek review site as I understand it. (And occasionally nu Trek can come up with a terrific episode in spite of its ethos.)
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Rahul
Thu, Jul 8, 2021, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Mark of Gideon

@Mal

Japan is a unique country in a number of ways and I think an analogy to Gideon might be the most a propos for what's out there.

But I'm not sure what you are implying by this:

"Now the question is, do the Japanese want to reintroduce death into their population? I have no idea. But let’s take the ongoing global health predicament. How is Japan responding?

In Japan, 15% of the people are fully vaccinated. In America, that number is 47.5%"

Maybe Japan was just not as aggressive as other nations in procuring vaccines and are playing catch-up. I don't know. Or maybe their population doesn't want to get vaccinated.

Oh, and 1 last thing that I could not contain my laughter to:

"Chrome" wrote "... I'm sure a social scientist like @Booming ..."

I assume at some point "Booming" claimed to be a social scientist or whatever -- but leaving that aside, what is a social scientist anyway? Aren't we all social scientists to some extent? Another thing is, with the availability of information, people can get away with claiming they are anything -- especially on an anonymous forum like this one.
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Rahul
Wed, Jun 30, 2021, 8:59am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Mark of Gideon

@Pedro de Quintanilha

I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've seen you post on this site and must say what a pleasure/relief it was to see what you wrote to "Trish". (I didn't read her prior comment so I can't comment on it.) You really laid out a number of problems with today's humanity in comparison with how things were decades or even centuries ago. I would not waste time with the mentally unhinged troll "Booming" and his/her far left agenda, however.

Certainly Marxism's influence on society has grown by leaps and bounds since the late-60s and I think you laid out quite well what the issues are with various cohorts in society.

You wrote:
"And we can no longer cope with anything. Today we need manuals for everything human: we have become like children. People have lost fundamental notions of what it means to be human, and how to deal with other human beings. How to deal with pain, anger, sorrow, envy. How to deal with the profound loneliness of our times. We see ghosts everywhere, get infuriated at every moment, feel offended by everything, and treat every minor inconvenience as a catastrophe. Concomitantly, our vocabulary itself is being fast reduced. We increasingly seem to possess infantile levels of maturity and speech only."

This is so true! There is such a massive dumbing-down of society going on. I don't know where to start... Even think about awarding trophies now just for participating. No winners or losers, no men or women -- gender neutral this and that etc. etc.

I have always been attracted to TOS -- I feel there is an inherent goodness in the show, the characters, the actors. People just hadn't been "affected" yet when that show was conceived. The rest of classic Trek is fine as well, though it did start to get edgier. And now we have DSC/PIC which are morally in the garbage dump.

The one and only thing I'd take issue with is TNG S1-2. Yes there were some interesting ideas on human exploration in a very broad sense but there were too many other execution issues that really hampered the overall experience.

In any case, thanks for taking the time to write. Cheers!
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Rahul
Sat, Jun 26, 2021, 8:46am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Mark of Gideon

Not to beat a dead horse but there's one thing that deeply disturbs/offends me about EventualZen's comment. Folks should have no doubt in their minds about what this lunatic is really up to and we've actually seen it in Trek enough times.

A couple of quick examples are "Alixus" in "Paradise" and "Kodos the Executioner" from "The Conscience of the King". This is not about some better or utopian society for the good of all -- this is a maniac's desire for a power grab. Let's hope psychos like EventualZen never get within sniffing distance of influencing public policy but unfortunately I think there are similar people who already have.

These kinds of sociopaths who have God complexes may appear rational and reasonable at a very superficial level (heck I even interacted with him/her on a couple of occasions), but dig a bit below the surface and some very ugly things are to be found.
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Rahul
Fri, Jun 25, 2021, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Mark of Gideon

Nut job alert! Whacko alert! @EventualZen

Easily one of the absolute stupidest, worst comments I've seen on this site.
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Rahul
Thu, Jun 24, 2021, 9:44am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Proving Ground

@Mal

Interesting comparing the Xindi council with the advisory council & league of non-aligned worlds from B5. I never thought about that, but I don't think that's quite what ENT was going for here. I find it hard to compare the Vorlons, Shadows, or Minbari who are far too advanced (the Minbari less so than the other 2 of course). Maybe if you limit the comparison to just the league of non-aligned worlds (Drazi, Pak'ma'ra etc.) I think all the Xindi council sub-species are of roughly equivalent technological advancement. Maybe the Drakh could be the sphere-builders as they sit behind the scenes and pull the strings?

What I think of the Xindi council is, while I said there are really only 2 characters that are noteworthy, is that, to some extent, the 5 sub-species represent various characteristics of a human being. We know the council is also being manipulated by the external sphere-builders, who can communicate through time etc. And they are particularly favouring the Reptilians at the expense of other council sub-species.

So you have the Arboreals, Primates who are "good" and reasonable -- they eventually side with Archer; obviously the Reptilians represent the "bad" and are backed by the belligerent Insectoids. And the Aquatics are neutral and take forever to decide on any course of action. But we have the sphere-builders who put this council together -- they are revered as Gods, let's not forget. But ultimately, to make things as relatable as possible, the good and bad have to be boiled down to 1 character each -- Degra and Dolum.
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Rahul
Tue, Jun 22, 2021, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Proving Ground

I'll sort of come to ENT's defense here. Re. the Xindi council, there are really only 2 members that are noteworthy and they are reasonably well acted/conceived -- Degra and Dolum, the reptilian. Aside from these 2, the other council members basically side with one or the other. I guess the Aquatics are pretty neutral.

But I totally feel that in the first half of the season, they are basically just thrust upon us and don't come across as anything but cardboard baddies. This was always going to be a problem for the writers to make us feel anything toward the Xindi council without any proper background. But yes, for the most part, the council scenes aren't great Trek.

But Degra eventually becomes a sympathetic figure, works with Archer and has some decent scenes with Trip. He has a family, and he realizes he is caught up in a bigger scheme that he increasingly feels wrong about. The true baddie on the council Dolum kills him in a terrific scene in "The Council" in revenge for Degra destroying a Reptilian ship.

It was always going to be tricky to integrate new recurring characters and make them mean something to the viewer and so the first half of the season upon 1st viewing can have this aspect detract.

@Peter G. -- you must have a bad memory :) -- though I've gone thru ENT several times and quite like Season 3.
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Rahul
Sun, Jun 20, 2021, 4:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: First Contact

@Nesendrea -- spot on. There's a big time double standard here which we just live with.

If it had been Troi or Crusher in Riker's place, the episode never would have been given the go-ahead, certainly not for TNG.
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Rahul
Fri, Jun 11, 2021, 11:21am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Time Squared

I think looking at the average rating for a season relative to another isn't really useful for determining anything. A simple (but perhaps a bit extreme) example is if a Season A has 4 episodes, and all of them are 2.5* but Season B has 2 episodes that are 3.5* and the other 2 are 1*, I'm calling Season B the better season even if its avg. rating is 0.25 less.

I think, in terms of quantitative measures, looking at how many 3.5* and 4* episodes a season has as being more telling. It's like when you rewatch a season, how many episodes do you watch in their entirety? How many do you skip outright? There are qualitative considerations as well of course.

For me, TNG S2 is a pretty weak season -- another one of transition and finding footing with Geordi now the chief engineer and, of course, Pulaski coming in for Crusher. I prefer Pulaski, but there's still need for time to be spent on background etc. Still far too many weak/terrible episodes.

TNG S3 is fantastic and achieving a level of consistency really is when it made its mark.
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Rahul
Wed, Jun 9, 2021, 8:40am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

I re-watched the key scenes in this episode yesterday (quite the coincidence that it just happened to be on TV at a convenient time) and think McFadden does a pretty good acting job here in conveying her dramatic change in sentiment toward Odan now in a female’s body. I generally feel McFadden is a below-average actor amongst the Trek main casts but I liked how she was trying to be polite/considerate toward the woman while also handling the sudden change in emotion within herself.

Crusher is a heterosexual woman and while we now know (thanks to Peter G.) a lot more about the author’s intent (not transphobic but suggesting of an acceptance of relationships that are beyond strictly physically heterosexual), I also think that while Crusher doesn’t have feelings for Odon anymore due to the female appearance, she may (IMHO as my own interpretation, which is likely not the author’s intent) also feel that it is not appropriate for a heterosexual female to feel attracted to another female. What makes me think of this is her reaction to being kissed (on the wrist) and trying to mask her discomfort. I think that came across well in the acting. I think her acting may actually say more than the quote William B. provided: “Perhaps it is a human failing…” Maybe she doesn’t really (deep-down) think it is a human failing if she’s heterosexual to feel uncomfortable when flirted with by somebody of ostensibly the same sex, but is trying to be polite/considerate. So perhaps the episode does hedge its bets.
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Rahul
Mon, Jun 7, 2021, 10:24am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

@Peter G.

The Dr. Crusher scene near the end that is being called transphobic is really the key scene for the whole episode. It is there that Crusher is put to the test after all she's been through in the episode, so to speak. So in a way, how you view that scene is how you essentially view the whole episode IMHO -- I would not extend this to how you view the author necessarily (if there was some confusion in what I previously said).
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Rahul
Mon, Jun 7, 2021, 9:35am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

@Peter G.

To some extent I think your mis-characterizing what my initial argument was re. trans in this episode. As I said, "he didn't envision transgender specifically when writing the episode but it is a reasonable extension from what the episode was really about". So I'm not saying transgender issues are completely foreign to this story.

When I read Deanna's post, I found it was interesting that a trans person found something she could identify with in this episode that was consistent (via a reasonable extension) of the author's intent. Isn't that what Trek is all about?
But then she just blurts out that the episode is transphobic. And so I say to come to that conclusion when it clearly wasn't the author's intent (to be transphobic) is this business of shoehorning your own experience (and perhaps agenda) into something where it doesn't belong and then feeling dissatisfied. But she's free to feel how she wishes. Anybody can assert whatever they want, and people are free to agree or disagree.
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Rahul
Sun, Jun 6, 2021, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

I think it's terrific that "Peter G." got in touch with the writer of this episode. What I find fascinating is that this is (pretty much) the only thing he wrote, as "Mal" pointed out earlier, and his profession is something entirely different. I must say I am envious of him. I think it must be pretty cool for him to see that after some 30 years, people are still thinking about and re-interpreting his TNG episode.

As most of us suspected, he didn't envision transgender specifically when writing the episode but it is a reasonable extension from what the episode was really about for me, which is can you (Dr. Crusher) keep loving somebody given their changing appearance (to put it far too simply given the complexities in this episode). And that is a worthy theme for a Trek episode. It reminds me of "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" -- which had a unique idea to focus on jealousy.

But my issue really was that I didn't agree that "The Host" is transphobic and so this is where I got on my soapbox about some viewers trying to shape an episode according to their personal experience (and maybe even agenda) and then criticizing it when it doesn't make the cut.

It also seems to me now that there are more shows catering to gays, queers etc. like "Wynonna Earp". That crowd goes nuts over this show.

I would finally add that a Trek episode is like an art form and is definitely meant to be interpreted in different ways by different people, but within limits. Those limits come about as it is different than interpreting a painting or a sculpture or a song.
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Rahul
Sat, Jun 5, 2021, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

@Mal, great post (referring to the little novella) -- a few things to digest, along with the response from "Peter G." on good writing. So I would agree with you that there are some Trek fans who are narcissistic -- but both from a purist standpoint (like me, I suppose) and those who want to shoehorn their lived experience into an episode, whether it was the original intent of the writer(s) or not.

From me, since I can't say that I personally have any need to feel included or have an unusual personal experience where I look for some kind of validation or whatever, I generally take Trek at face value. And this has worked pretty well in terms of the enjoyment I get out of it (and other shows). But every now and then when I check out this site, I come across a way in which a particular episode speaks to somebody's experience, matching the writer's intent, and it really makes me think twice about the episode -- a recent case in point was the comment by "ThatsOnYoutube" about "Riddles", a 2* episode for me (and Jammer).

And as you've described, the classic Trek series have provided a number of opportunities for different kinds of people to relate to, where it is the intent of the writer. I suppose nu-Trek is meant to give gays, lesbians, trans etc. as well as recovering junkies something that speaks to their experience, since classic Trek rarely went down that road. But I generally don't think it will be a satisfying experience to try to shoehorn "your narrative" and ignore the writer's intent in a Trek episode.

Regarding the writing, I think one point that needs to be made is that TOS didn't really employ these made-for-television writers, as I understand. Their writers were mostly real sci-fi authors, novelists, and thus the episodes have more of that meta-level message baked in, as "Peter G." said. Even if TOS feverishly cranked out episodes, it still managed that level of intelligence that the other classic Treks didn't achieve quite as consistently.
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Rahul
Fri, Jun 4, 2021, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

What's interesting about Trek is that if you take an episode such as this one that is very much open to interpretation in today's society, you may have 6 or 7 different takes from 10 different people. May not have been quite the case 30 years ago. But I also think that transgender, gay etc. people are on the lookout for stories that speak to them -- can't really blame them. But also many folks from today's generations will apply today's sensibilities to something created 30 or 50 years ago and judge it inappropriately. So to call this episode "transphobic" is not fair as one has to respect the original intent of the writers/producers at the time.

I came across an article on the Start Trek website talking about 7 of 9 being queer. Didn't read it but I'm pretty sure Berman, Braga & co. did not have that in mind. 7 was just another vehicle to look at the human condition. Her romantic interests were with straight men (Chakotay and the male alien in "Unimatrix Zero" come to mind) and presumably as a child pre-assimilation, she was straight.

So I think that's the beauty and danger of Trek with some of these episodes -- there can be plenty of great takes that expand what the creator of the episode was going for ("William B." on "Amok Time" comes to mind re. Spock and his closely guarded sexuality) but there can also be bad takes and misinterpretations.

I think the comment from "Odan's Razor" is pretty much spot on.

I still go back to DSC's "Forget Me Not" as the best Trill vehicle Trek has produced -- it made intelligent use of a non-binary actor and really captured well the quandary that a Trill faces as an allegory to what it might be like to be transgender.
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Rahul
Thu, May 27, 2021, 8:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Best of Both Worlds, Part I

What a dumb comment from O'Brien. Hardly worth responding to, but if anything BoBW was an episode that showed just how capable Riker is and how truly deserving he is of being a captain, let alone 2nd in command. A great deal of depth to his character here. More than anything else, to me, BoBW is a Riker episode.
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Rahul
Fri, May 21, 2021, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Duet

@Peter G.
@Mal

I think it's fair to assume the Cardies left Bajor for a combination of the reasons you've put forth: The resistance was exacting a toll on the Cardies, Dukat's leadership was getting ineffectual, there was likely pressure from the Federation, and also the Cardies were having to deal with the Maquis (an ongoing issue into DS9 S2). And maybe the Prophets somehow got involved though this idea is not given any support..

Regarding the big reveal with B5, I actually think the profound nature of it, that humans and Minbari share DNA and Sinclair/Valen 1000 years ago is hardly underwhelming. The Minbari truly realized how important humans were and that they had to stop what would have been a genocide of humanity (this is discussed in the movie "In the Beginning" -- which is essential B5).
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