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Rahul
Mon, May 13, 2019, 5:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Deadly Years

@Baron Samedi and @Jason R.

Have to completely disagree with your thinking this is one of the worst TOS episodes of all time -- it's not even close and I don't think I've ever seen it mentioned as such. As I said in my initial comment, I think Jammer's rating is harsh at 2 stars and I see it as a 3-star (7/10) episode.

While it has its flaws, TOS shows that it can do a good job of focusing on a human condition like aging / Alzheimer's. That much is done effectively in showing how Kirk struggles with being duty-bound as a starship captain yet losing his faculties and bearing the embarrassment, seeing younger officers concerned about him etc. Kirk put on one of his better performances in showing his stubborn nature. The episode does evoke a feeling of sympathy for Kirk.

The slow pacing is a drag on the episode but I think that also is an experience in dealing with the elderly. But I would say TNG's "Sarek" is a better episode for shining a light on the human condition of aging and losing one's sense of usefulness.

As for the miracle Trek medical cure, we've seen this on numerous episodes across all the series. That's part of the suspension of disbelief of Trek -- almost as accepted as warp speed and transporters.

Some of the earlier comments also point to what makes this a pretty good episode.
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Rahul
Thu, May 9, 2019, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Inquisition

Some terrific writing / lines in this episode at the end between Sloan/Bashir after the holodeck simulation ends and then with Sisko/Kira/Odo/Bashir about the grey areas Section 31 operates in, how it is like the Obsidian Order to the Cardassians, etc.

Have to give credit for how this episode picks up on the various dubious decisions Bashir has made, none the least of which is his hiding his genetic engineering. And yes it makes perfect sense for Section 31 to recruit him.

Definitely adds a nice wrinkle to DS9 which already has a ton of moving parts providing intriguing interactions. Introducing a Section 31 to Star Trek on DS9 absolutely makes sense and especially just before "In the Pale Moonlight" when Sisko feels he has to cross the line.

Upgrading my rating to 3 stars for "Inquisition" -- the fact that most of the episode is a simulation for Bashir is a drawback but for the end-product of unwrapping Section 31, it's worth it. This episode also feels more significant in light of DSC Season 2 -- the last act had more intelligence about motivations/operations for Section 31 than did the entire 2nd season of DSC.
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Rahul
Fri, May 3, 2019, 7:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Extinction

Hadn't seen this episode in some time and found that it didn't hold up as well to what my initial thoughts were nearly 2 years ago. The 2nd half gets better but there is too much stupidity in the early part of the episode. It's also a fairly boring hour of ENT that really does remind one of some of the weaker VOY episodes -- has little tie-in to the season-long arc.

Yes, "Threshold" and "Genesis" are two forefathers of this episode but this is much better given the idea of an extinct civilization's master plan to re-perpetuate its race. I liked the scene of morphed Archer looking over his ancient, damaged city. But despite Bakula's and Park's efforts to act like aliens, the overall effect was annoying and definitely a stretch.

It's also like a weaker VOY episode since we have the hard-headed aliens of the week cliche who won't be seen again on the series.

I also have to take issue with Archer wanting to store the pathogen, although the rationale @Jamie posits makes some sense. I would also say that the more pragmatic Season 3 Archer who just tortured an alien in "Anomaly" should probably want this pathogen destroyed.

In my first comment I said: "And not liking the opening music in S1 and S2, it even bothers me more in S3 with the beat added - are we preparing ourselves to watch Mr. Rogers or Star Trek?" I've long since done a 180 re. ENT's theme song and having gone thru the series 3 or 4 times, I'm a huge fan of "Faith of the Heart". (I've said that before in this forum).

1.5 stars for "Extinction" -- not a fan of messing-with-DNA episodes. This one isn't a total turkey but it's not good enough to even be called mediocre. Seems like a filler to make up the numbers, something DSC has avoided having to do since it's going with 14-15 episodes a season. If ENT did that with Season 3, "Extinction" would never have been produced.
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Rahul
Thu, Apr 25, 2019, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Another great review from Jammer — but more importantly, one that I think is very fair to this episode and the issues with the series. There is no question in my mind that this is a very good episode with a shit ton of flaws but it’s about having the pros outweigh the cons and telling a good story. And that has been achieved with all the reverse engineering.

I also thought this episode could have been a series finale. Oddly enough, I watched parts of “Endgame” yesterday and feel these 2 episodes have a lot in common. They both spared no expense with the visuals but are highly flawed. Just like “Endgame” had to bring in the Borg one last time, SSS Pt. 2 had to bring in the Klingons/Kelpiens. I won’t get into the time travel analogies with Admiral Janeway/Captain Janeway vs. Burnham.

Couldn’t agree more with Jammer here:

“And that's kind of the lesson of the season, if not the series. Disappointing to middling ideas beget some truly impressive visceral experiences. Insofar that Discovery works as a piece of mainstream entertainment, it does so on those sensory terms — whereas the vision of its storytelling is less compelling because it's an exercise in mechanics rather than an engagement of ideas or philosophies. If previous Treks were about ideas, this one is about experiences. And this episode has some good ones.”

I don’t like the fact that DSC is about experiences — but isn’t that what people (stereotyping millennials here) are after these days in general? But I would hope to see more substance from DSC in Season 3. Go episodic!

And let’s face it: the writers/showrunners fucked up with the arc but they made it come good in the end and despite the flaws, this particular episode told a decent story. Now they have Burnham and Discovery where it should have been in the first place — in the distant future. And Pike/Spock can go on their not-so-merry way.

@ Chrome:

Thanks. Yes, I guess I mostly do see things the same way Jammer does (or vice-versa!). I think me and him are both impressed with DSC’s ability to generate a visceral emotion and I couldn’t really penalize any episodes (other than SSS Pt. 1) in the way some other Trek episodes deserve to get hit ratings-wise by my criteria.
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Rahul
Thu, Apr 18, 2019, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

DSC had its cake and ate it too -- I think the finale provided closure on many fronts and has the timeline back to normal: The Discovery with all the newly introduced crew is some 900 years in the future and the Enterprise has Pike/Spock (clean-shaven)/No. 1 where they're supposed to be. The spore drive has been destroyed along with Control and nobody is to speak of this whole thing again unless they want to be charged with treason. I think Spock even established some kind of temporal directive. Overall, a satisfying conclusion to an up-and-down season -- although one has to realize we've essentially gone in 1 big circle with DSC's 1st 2 seasons. It's been superficial entertainment mostly.

Some great sci-fi visuals in this episode along with a good soundtrack for the battle scenes helped -- back in the days of 90s Trek they didn't have drones like they do here, which now makes those battles seem dated to me. The firing between ships/drones takes place much faster and overall I liked these battle scenes more than the ones from DS9's later seasons, for example. Good strategies set forth by Pike, Saru. The Sick Bay situation looked genuine and Stamets gets put into a coma by Culber who makes up with him -- not that I cared.

Of course a fair bit of handwaving needed to take in this episode like believing Discovery's crew could build the Red Angel suit so quickly, Burnham could be escorted by the convoy successfully, Leland can't quickly subdue Nhan/Georgiou etc. But a lot of things tied together and did appear lucky like the Kelpiens/Baul/Klingons showing up on time -- but that's typical for Trek. The 1st 5 signals were for helping the "good guys" team up to beat Section 31 in the Big Battle, the 6th was for guiding Discovery, and the 7th was to let Spock know they made it. I guess Burnham going back and revisiting the 1st 5 signals is a way to tie the whole season together -- not really necessary for me.

I think every cast member got to do something here -- some good, some bad, some odd. Adm. Cornwell sacrificing herself to contain the torpedo blast was weird -- couldn't they get a robot to hold the door shut or something? Tilly having to fix the shields on Discovery also seemed out of place -- bugs me that the ship has no formal chief engineer. Jet Reno tells Saru to get off her ass -- what else would you expect from this clown?

Liked the fight scene with gravity off-line between Leland and Nhan/Georgiou although this was just superficial entertainment -- that Georgiou is able to get Leland into the spore drive chamber and magnetize it is the kind of heroics you see in movies -- totally unrealistic but whatever. Hand-waving.

And it wouldn't be DSC if Burnham wasn't glorified. Spock pours it on pretty thick saying he was lost and Burnham found him blah blah blah. These 2 are on good terms already but a season finale has to have more syrup so we get their good-bye scene.

Burnham going thru the wormhole reminded me a bit of 2001: A Space Odyssey -- wonder if that was intentional. I liked this sci-fi visual.

3 stars for "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2" -- much, much better than Part 1, which really seems like fluff now. Nothing profound here but the story for the episode is decent, the actions scenes top notch and I liked the resolutions. Only minor gripes now -- probably more to come as I ponder everything. I suppose DSC Season 3 can focus on Discovery/Burnham in the future and/or follow the adventures of Pike/Spock on Enterprise. But at least all the new stuff DSC introduced is in the distant future where it should have been in the first place.
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Rahul
Wed, Apr 17, 2019, 8:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Q2

Here's an episode that never should have been made. I could barely make it through the hour. What has VOY done to the Q?? Far worse than what it did to the Borg. This takes it to an all-time low. Nothing funny in this idiotic episode that loosely seems like a beggar's version of "Charlie X". The whole premise makes no sense -- that omnipotent beings would come to Janeway to straighten out their offspring. This is not sci-fi -- it's garbage. Just an attempt to get one more de Lancie / Mulgrew outing (since they are both good actors) -- not that that helped "The Q and the Grey" work well.

What really bugs me about the episode is that just when there might be some albeit trite lesson for Q Jr. and therefore some kind of moral or real consequence, the episode basically resets. In the end, Q Jr. isn't stuck being a human, he gets all his powers back and the Q Continuum is made to look like a farce. What was the point? Did Q Jr. really grasp the self-sacrifice thing?

Also, the usual stupid Q tricks are very old. And making 7 naked is just "Threshold" -level bad. The first half hour was cringeworthy and the second half hour wasn't much better. The Icheb character had a chance to act outside its box but it was more stiff acting.

0.5 stars for "Q2" -- like I said, this episode never should have been made. The only redeemable thing here for me was Mulgrew/Janeway acting the right way given the terrible script -- she was convincing in trying to do her part to help Q Jr. even though the whole premise is ludicrous. What has the Q Continuum become... There are good Q episodes, bad ones, and this ugly one.
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Rahul
Mon, Apr 15, 2019, 10:40am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

@Trent, yes "realpolitik" is the right term and is quite different from "swashbuckling" for sure.

Kirk had his realpolitik moments as well: "A Taste of Armageddon" (making the 2 warring planets fight a real war instead of via computers) and "A Private Little War" (arming Tyree's people with a 100 "serpents" or flintlocks).

So while TOS had its "swashbuckling" moments (which some will mock -- not saying Trent is), it's realpolitik episodes were terrific.
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Rahul
Mon, Apr 15, 2019, 9:58am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

@Trent,

Interesting argument re. swashbuckling TOS and more diplomatic TNG.

"I associate the post TNG era with bureaucracy, protocols and order. I just can't see a post-TNG captain/crew doing stuff Kirk gets away with."

But I think DS9 muddied the waters on that -- Sisko's actions in "For the Uniform" and "In the Pale Moonlight" show a swashbuckling nature of sorts (although this is far beyond what Kirk ever did). Maybe there's a better word than "swashbuckling" to describe Sisko's deeds...
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Rahul
Mon, Apr 15, 2019, 9:47am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

@Artymiss,

I agree with what you're saying -- and you made me think I should clarify my point about Season 3 hopefully going episodic and not just leaving my point as glib or something.

I guess it comes down to trusting these DSC writers but I find that S2 episodes that just serve to advance the arc (typically juggling 2 or more subplots) have not worked out as well as episodes that are more "standalone" in nature with the overall arc firmly in the background. So it makes almost think that it would be easier for these writers to produce better episodes without having to move several plot pieces along and just worry about 1 story. I think the writers need to make their own jobs easier.
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Rahul
Mon, Apr 15, 2019, 8:43am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

I think wolfstar makes some good arguments on what has gone wrong in DSC S2. No question there are inconsistencies in the writers' logic but I completely agree with this:

"If the storytelling isn't good, if the characters haven't been well-developed enough for us to care about them, if people have lost faith in the writing over the course of the series (or if they've thrown their hands in the air and stopped trying to make sense of the show in the face of constant twists, shock moments and rug-pulls, not to mention characters coming back from the dead and the ship being able to travel anywhere in space and now time), they're not going to care enough or trust the show enough to muse over the finer details of an episode's plotting."

Here's always been the problem for Trek writers and I think a very good example is dealing with ENT's temporal cold war. Exposition and creating a canvas is the easy part and, at the start of a season, the viewer is not looking for resolutions and thus those kinds of episodes are more satisfying. It's like the typical 2-part Trek episode where the 1st part usually (but not always) winds up being "better" than the 2nd part.

The harder part for the writers is coming up with a logical conclusion to what they've set up. While ENT's temporal cold war started out with some promising episodes, its wrap-up was disappointing. The writers could not dig themselves out of the hole they created. Same thing is happening with DSC S2 although the exposition was not as good as ENT's temporal cold war. It is a credit to them that they came up with "If Memory Serves", "Project Daedalus", and "Perpetual Infinity" (for me the 3 strongest episodes of the season/series) -- but we've now had 2 underwhelming episodes ("Such Sweet Sorrow" was downright embarrassing for me) as we reach resolution. I'm not holding my breath for the finale as it has an awful lot of loose ends to tie up and I have no reason to have faith in these writers.

Hopefully Season 3 is episodic. I've had enough of arcs, whether they be short or season-long.
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Rahul
Sat, Apr 13, 2019, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Great review from Jammer -- really nails what's so wrong about this episode and how the writers are trying to shoehorn plot to get to a certain end. Yes, this episode layered on the melodrama pretty thick, as I previously mentioned, but that's not the biggest problem.

This is key from Jammer's review: "Let's call it a problution: Something that moves the plot forward by creating a problem X that must be solved with solution Y in order to get us to destination Z. Except that Z was obviously conceived first, so X and Y are improvised by the writers to justify the utter insanity of going to Z."

It's the "problution" that is killing these writers -- not that they have consistently proven themselves to be capable -- and the choice of starting DSC in the Trek canon roughly a decade before TOS. This series needed to start sometime in the future after VOY finished and come up with new ideas and not be constrained by canon and trying to pay lip-service to TOS -- though "If Memory Serves" was terrific (but that's just 1 episode).

The other thing is the Short Trek "Calypso" is an end that needs to be reached -- so the Discover with fully functional AI (sphere data) is supposed to end up 1,000 years in the future. Where Burnham is etc. who knows -- I guess we find out next week along with a Big Battle. But yes, next week's episode either knocks it out of the park or falls flat. I'm banking on something closer to the latter.
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Rahul
Thu, Apr 11, 2019, 9:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

Good grief ... just turn up the melodrama to 11. Can this series glorify Michael Burnham any more?? This episode really lathered on the anticipation for the big finale far more than it should have. Not much of a plot. Honestly, I think this was the worst DSC episode has ever produced.

So these Short Treks are somewhat relevant. The Tilly ST was one of the worst and this Queen of Xahea character was just another disaster we didn't need to see. No surprise she hit it off with Reno. She's here for some technobabble which somehow concludes Burnham has to take Discovery to the future and stay there. Now the reason for getting the time crystals in the prior episode become clear. (Wasn't totally clear to me until now.)

But overwhelmingly I was disappointed with how much time was spent glorifying Burnham, the soon-to-be martyr. And she's like a catalyst for everybody making up, tying loose ends (Sarek/Amanda, Culber/Stamets, and worst of all her and Tyler - the worst actor/character on the show). It just sucked watching all this garbage.

I was also pissed off at how the bridge of the Enterprise looked -- so flashy. Why could it not have looked like how ENT re-created it in "In a Mirror, Darkly"?? Anyhow, that's not a huge gripe.

I'd also have to question the plan to take the Discovery ship into the future. If the sphere's data is now protecting it from self-destruction and photon torpedoes, how should Burnham be able to take it through a wormhole to the future? Maybe because she's Michael Burnham and the plot demands it.

I guess the other thing the episode focuses on is preparation for a big battle -- Burnham and Reno get visions of this from touching the time crystal. It was fine to see the secondary and tertiary cast members sending messages to their loved ones.

Stuff that should have a great deal of meaning and be very "Star Trek" like Pike thanking his Discovery crew and vice versa -- that fell kind of flat to me. It was just too much given all the glorifying the episode did of Burnham and the buildup to the grand finale.

1.5 stars for "Such Sweet Sorrow" -- this is what I indeed felt after watching the episode. Really seems like the writers are trying to set things back on track with the Trek canon/timeline (Discovery ship into the future, spore drive gone because it is used for the technobabble to go to the future). But no way Burnham's completely out of the picture for Season 3. So I guess we've seen parts of the next episode thanks to Burnham's visions from touching the time crystal. Meh. Somebody needs to slap these writers upside the head. Or they have to get their heads out of their asses.
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Rahul
Tue, Apr 9, 2019, 4:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Masks

Terrible episode and I think Jammer sums it up well here: " It's conceptually ambitious but ultimately an epic failure of an episode." What's good is the concept of some ancient alien race presumably trying to preserve or recreate some aspect of its society (vaguely analogous to the magnificent "The Inner Light"). That "high concept" Menosky stuff is interesting but how it's executed is just abysmal. I can see why "Masks" makes up part of Jammers' TNG S7 Trio of Terrible along with "Sub Rosa" and "Genesis".

Picard loves archeology so there's a chance to tap into that -- but the main upshot of this is Picard figuring out the sun/moon dynamic, putting on a mask and voila! we get the perfect resolution like waving a magic wand -- sort of like in "Genesis". Spiner is good at playing multiple characters so throw in some of that, but that ends up being a failure. The multiple personalities Data portrays are nothing to care for and the "Ihat" character was really stupid/annoying.

This is bad sci-fi. Far too wacko, far-fetched, and arbitrary. So the ancient archive is able to transform parts of the ship into an ancient city without regard for the needs of the ship's crew (presumably) just so the crew can re-enact Korgano (the moon) chasing Masaka (the sun)? And why should Masaka terrorize/sacrifice people like Ihat? Makes far too little sense. It was just laughable watching Picard with his Korgano mask making Data in the Masaka mask fall asleep and then the ship is back to normal. Just poor all around.

One interesting thing is that it's Troi and Worf together with Picard in Masaka's temple trying to figure out the 2 symbols -- even though there's no romance between the 2 here, this episode (I think) tries to provide some continuity for these 2 as being together at this point in the canon.

Barely 1 star for "Masks" -- a real meaningless mess. TNG shouldn't have been putting out this kind of garbage in its seventh season, but this episode isn't an exception. I think Menosky tried to capture some elements of ancient civilizations but ultimately had no idea what he wanted to convey. If it's just that day follows night, then that's nowhere near acceptable. Quite a boring episode to watch as well.
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Rahul
Fri, Apr 5, 2019, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Precious Cargo

What's interesting -- or rather disappointing and probably not coincidental -- is that ENT's "showrunners" Berman and Braga are responsible for some of the worst episodes of the first 2 seasons: this one, "Marauders", "A Night in Sickbay", "Acquisition", "Bounty" -- all of which I rate as 1* or worse.

Tough start for this series when the brains behind it ran out of ideas and have to look in the wastepaper basket for more of them.
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Rahul
Fri, Apr 5, 2019, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Singularity

I don't think the main cast members (minus Travis) get the credit they deserve -- and while there's nothing really original here in terms of how they go crazy, their interactions and monomania are very entertaining -- a very well-acted episode. Even if the plot is uber-thin and some things seem farfetched (a zombie-like Archer navigating the ship through an asteroid field and not to mention the "unique" effects of the radiation), "Singularity" is a decent episode.

Have to upgrade my rating to 2.5 stars. It's inconsequential but for putting T'Pol's capabilities on display and, of course, seeing some basic traits exaggerated from the main cast members. Once one gets quite familiar with the series, an episode like this can be appreciated a lot more.
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Rahul
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 8:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

Not a bad episode but definitely for me the weakest one since “Light and Shadows”. Basically 2 equally “important” plots that don’t knock it out of the park and some crew interactions. The 2 main plots seem to make the rules up as they go. Again Burnham comes across as some kind of super-genius — always has the solution (like the boy wonder Wesley Crusher) and Control sees her as some kind of variable it can’t control?!? And then she comes up with the idea in the end for the Discovery to destroy itself, which Pike starts implementing. But at least this is supposed to get the crew back on the Enterprise where Pike and Spock belong.

The Klingons have always been a disappointment on DSC and revisiting the whole Tyler/L’Rell child saga was something I didn’t want. Not a fan of the whole time crystal thing (felt too much like fantasy and not sci-fi) — and of course the Klingon sacred moon Boreth is where they’re guarded. Lots of Klingon fluff about the keepers of the crystals — but the one thing I liked was Pike seeing his future and himself in as he’d look in “The Menagerie”. He knows he has no choice but to take the crystal and be damned with that terrible future — or he could refuse them and let all sentient life in the galaxy be wiped out…

Better (but not great) was Spock and Burnham on the Section 31 ship after Control had taken over and took the form of a former Shenzhou tactical officer. There’s some technobabble for a plan to contain Control but of course there has to be an all-action phaser fight. Neat effect with all the nano probes coming out of Control’s embodiment and Spock in the nick of time magnetizing the floor! This is all arbitrary stuff purely for entertainment — gotta expect this kind of thing in every DSC episode.

We get a Jet Reno sighting — and she’s as annoying as ever but means well in trying to get Culber and Stamets back together. And we find out she’s a lesbian whose partner died in the Klingon war and so she can tell Culber he’s got a 2nd chance. But at least there was a scene with the secondary characters having dinner in the mess hall and they played some word game. Nice to see an actual crew with some personalities and not just Burnham saving the galaxy.

I think Tyler winds up saying "I'm sorry" at least once an episode. He's 1 of my least favorite characters. Every scene with him in it falls flat.

A low 2.5 stars for “Through the Valley of Shadows” -- felt like one of the earlier Season 2 episodes with a multi-plot structure, although not as frenetic as "Point of Light". Some of the annoying elements (L'Rell/Tyler, Jet Reno, fantasy feel of time crystals keepers) detract from my enjoyment. But ultimately this episode just moves the overall plot forward -- nothing insightful here. Pretty typical DSC.
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Rahul
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

@ Peter G.,

Aren't you forgetting about the temporal cold war from ENT? That started with the series premiere and ended with "Storm Front" at the beginning of the fourth season. So a whole timeline manipulation arc has been done before on Trek.

But what I was really get at was not the length of a time travel arc on Trek but rather the whole paradigm (for lack of a better term) of time travel on DSC not coming across as being particularly ludicrous relative to what's come before it. It's the same paradoxes that always come up upon closer examination. It seems to me that in Jammer's review, he's taking a harsher stance on those paradoxes.

And I'm glad "Year of Hell" was limited to 2 episodes and not for an entire season. I thought that 2-parter worked quite well as it was presented.
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Rahul
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 9:18am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

Intriguing review from Jammer -- I got the impression he looked more favorably upon time travel/paradox episodes from prior Treks but I detect a greater cynicism now -- or he's had his fill of them. I'm not really sure DSC is doing anything particularly farfetched with time travel paradoxes that other Treks haven't done but maybe it's becoming for him what Mirror Universe episodes became for me during DS9 (and when DSC did it, I had long since had enough). Just my $0.02 but I thought Jammer would get to 3* on this one.

One thing I didn't mention in my initial post and I agree with Jammer on is the acting for Dr. Burnham -- a bonus to this episode and another example of a superior actor than SMG.
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Rahul
Tue, Apr 2, 2019, 8:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Thine Own Self

This episode just falls into the terrible category for me -- both plots suck. The premises for both are annoying and very flawed. That Data loses his memory (contrived) so that he can't understand what "radioactive" means yet he can obviously understand plenty of other things so as to find a cure that humanoids ingest is simply not good enough. And the B-plot with Troi wanting to take the bridge officer's test, struggling with the technical components, but then figuring out she has to order someone to their death to put the ship first -- and then she gets a promotion ... just abject TNG here.

I don't buy Crusher taking the bridge officer's test and doing the night shift. She should have plenty of medical stuff to keep her busy. Not a fan of the writers making her ambitions bleed over into command -- just not realistic. And Troi wanting to move in this direction makes almost as little sense to me.

I suppose some interest could be generated by how Data goes about proving radioactivity -- but how he knows to come up with an ingestible antidote is farfetched to say the least. I don't know anything about radiation poisoning. Shouldn't all these natives have cancer?

The lynch mob made sense to me, but that was also a cliche. Data gets impaled, but he's beamed back onto the ship and appears to be perfectly functional at the end. I also thought it was highly fortuitous that Crusher and Riker show up on the planet and the first person they talk to is the little girl who named Data "Jayden" -- give me a break.

Yes, TNG S7 was running on fumes with episodes like this one and "Homeward" -- the writers are surfing a wave created by some memorable episodes from seasons past. Maybe the best things about these latter episodes is the relationships between the senior staff (Troi/Riker, Troi/Crusher) which come across more naturally. TNG S7 is highly uneven but overall very weak.

1 star for "Thine Own Self" -- lame, boring, highly dubious and flawed. Might this be one of the few/only episodes where there was no Picard? Could have used him here in some form. One redeemable quality here is watching Data being methodical about trying to help the people -- he's an android but what comes out through and through is he is a kindred soul. The Troi character has had better outings -- she should not have been promoted just for being able to order a holo version of Geordi to his death. Too much to shake my head/fist at here.
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Rahul
Tue, Apr 2, 2019, 5:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Homeward

A few old ideas recycled in a weak and frankly boring episode -- felt like a mix of "Up the Long Ladder" and "Who Watches the Watchers". Inadequate Prime Directive examination, artificially constructed relationship between Worf and his brother (Paul Sorvino being the great actor he is could not save these parts), poor writing for Picard's actions, unsatisfying conclusions (no punishment for Nikolai's actions) are all drags on this episode. Would appear TNG S7 is running on fumes and threw this one together pretty quickly.

One had to know one of the natives would find his way out of the holodeck and onto the ship -- so predictable. That he kills himself is interesting, but I agree with Jammer about Picard's idea of that native bridging the gap between the 2 cultures as ridiculous. Troi had an annoying moment with that native when he gets to 10-Forward: "He is my friend. That means you are too." Almost cringeworthy.

As for the Nikolai/Worf dynamic -- this just isn't anywhere near good enough. Nikolai the loose canon and Worf the duty-bound responsible one -- of course in the end they make up. Picard was initially very upset with Nikolai for what he did (Worf was too), but there's no discipline for him. Guess you can screw with the Federation all you want but if the outcome ends up luckily being good, all is cool.

One redeeming part is the respect for the past that the native who makes it out of the holodeck has. Of course, it's not elaborated upon but I think it's worthy to note the point of a people's traditions/record of the past are key to their futures. His "village chronicle" is so important to him.

Also have to think the Prime Directive needs a reworking if Picard is perfectly prepared to let the natives all die as their atmosphere gets wiped out. In principle, Nikolai's plan could actually be something close to recommended procedure. But the way Nikolai springs it on the Enterprise, of course, is not good -- but then we wouldn't have an episode.

1.5 stars for "Homeward" -- another one of TNG's bland, forgettable episodes. Interesting that Paul Sorvino acted in this one -- couldn't TNG come up with something like TOS's "A Piece of the Action" for him to act in? Some contrivances to try to generate something interesting here (holodeck going on the fritz, Nikolai's total lack of professionalism, etc.) Felt like TNG had done this episode a few times already.
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Rahul
Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 8:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

Couple of other things to add after a re-watch:

Dr. Culber appears to be totally back to normal like he was in Season 1 (in terms of his professional work). In my first viewing I didn't think much of it but now I think this is a bit sloppy on the writers' part as it's almost like a reset. Did his "counselling session" with Cornwell in "The Red Angel" make everything OK? Find it hard to believe it could be like an on/off switch. In any case, it's not a big deal -- but what about the black female doctor who was treating Saru? Maybe DSC likes to go through some effort to introduce characters and then forget about them more than the other Treks (Jet Reno).

One thing that is nebulous is the working relationship between Discovery and Section 31. Georgiou and Tyler have free passage with the Discovery ship, its crew and access to the compound where the Red Angel is being held. Leland prefers to get Georgiou/Tyler to do his dirty work instead of doing it himself, until they let him down toward the end of this episode. I just think Pike is too complacent about Section 31, regardless of what Cornwell might think/want.

Nevertheless, this was a very good episode. It's hard not to compare this season of DSC with ENT's third season which had some high-level flaws in terms of things like the Xindi test attack and then plan to build the full-power weapon etc. but it still managed to crank of some of the series' best episodes and the season was a winner overall. It comes down to having an established bigger picture plot and within those confines some great self-contained stories can be told. DSC has managed to pull that off so far.
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Rahul
Fri, Mar 29, 2019, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

@Lt. Broccoli

Thanks for clearing that up. But folks gotta admit the 2 look very much alike. And it got me thinking that somehow her dad would have some mysterious role to play in a future episode. Maybe not, now.
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Rahul
Thu, Mar 28, 2019, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

Very good action-oriented episode with the Red Angel’s and Control’s motivations laid bare. That brought more meaning and weight to the usual frenzied ending sequence. Now Control has taken over Leland in a rather Borg-like way and I liked how he tried to trick Georgiou and Tyler into doing his dirty work but they wised up and fought back — a good plot here on a couple of fronts.

All about getting the sphere’s data — Leland/Section 31 get 54% of it and warps away. I take it the next episode might be about a pursuit of some kind?

Leland was pretty cool in this episode as the now flesh and blood of Control. It was a WTF in “The Red Angel” when he gets zapped in the eyes, but now it all makes sense. What I don’t get is how Georgiou is able to fight him for so long, but may be he actually takes it easier on her? He attempts to kill Tyler. It would seem he has Borg-like strength.

DSC loves its flashbacks to childhood — was helpful to get Burnham reliving the time when her parents were attacked/killed. So her dad is the guy who starred in the Short Trek “Calypso”... interesting. Also instructive was reliving the Red Angel’s logs -- certainly clears up a lot of questions about the sphere encounter, childhood etc.

There was the eventual sappy mother / daughter stuff here — didn’t really mean much given how little we know of who her mother really was, but I think that will win points with some folks. What is more intriguing is the life Dr. Burnham has as the Red Angel — it’s a pretty tough/lonely life trying to save all sentient life in the galaxy, unable to stay in past times for very long, and she initially didn’t want to see Burnham.

I’ll give DSC credit for thinking of time unlike other Treks have done: “Time is savage, it always wins,” says Dr. Burnham. And there is this temporal technobabble about the push and pull like in physics. It’s interesting although it just served as the ticking clock for them to figure out what to do with the Red Angel.

There was some decent strategizing about what to do with the sphere's data, how to keep Dr. Burnham in this time (dark matter transport) so I liked the problem solving aspects again as in “The Red Angel” — at least it’s consistent with this Trek’s paradigm IMHO and didn't come across as ridiculously farfetched.

3 stars for “Perpetual Infinity” — getting a lot of resolution upped my enjoyment, Leland was devious and single-minded as the embodiment of Control, and pretty much all the important characters had decent outings. The scene with Burnham initially begging to see her mother was a bit annoying — but that’s par for the course for the character who doesn’t easily follow orders she doesn’t like. Best episode for the Georgiou character.
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Rahul
Wed, Mar 27, 2019, 10:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: The Haunting of Deck Twelve

Very little quality material here, quite similar to "Twisted" from Season 2 and that's not a good thing. I did like Neelix with how he comes across as a natural handling the kids, his interaction with Tuvok isn't as annoying as in other episodes. But really this episode is a turd -- just a poorly done version of a bizarro alien trying to communicate with the ship, return home (reminded me also of "Lonely Among Us"), a bunch of disjointed boring scenes, ship-wide problems and arbitrary plotting.

I liked the different filming techniques for when it was Neelix telling the story, but unfortunately the story isn't so good. It got ridiculous at several times but when Janeway is pleading with the entity that it needs the crew to maintain the tech, I was grimacing. I suppose I should appreciate the continuity of seeing the young Bajoran woman from "Good Shepherd" again except that she's super-annoying with her paranoia.

Thought Neelix made an intriguing argument about fear and that it keeps you alert. Not that this episode was meant to somewhat analyze fear like "The Thaw". Also annoying are the ex-Borg kids -- either they're interrupting Neelix all the time or trying to show they're smarter than him (which they probably are).

1 star for "The Haunting of Deck Twelve" -- boring, mostly stupid filler of an episode. VOY can come up with feel-good episodes that have good character work but Neelix has had better episodes structured for him "Mortal Coil" and "Fair Trade" come to mind. He isn't bad in this episode but the concept and plot really are. Why does the ship have to shut down all its power at the start of the episode? Just a totally forgettable hour of Trek.
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Rahul
Wed, Mar 27, 2019, 9:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Fury

Here's an episode with so many flaws and stuff that makes no sense but there are plenty of VOY episodes that are worse to watch. Ultimately it's pointless and lacks substance, but benefits from bringing an old character back and it not just being another hard-headed alien that nobody gives a shit about. Too bad it doesn't add anything to Kes's character and actually makes little sense given what we know from "The Gift". Kes helped the Voyager crew then but a few years later, she's back older and bitter.

What bugged me (in addition to the nonsensical use of time travel) is Kes's arbitrary powers (which also bugged me big time in "The Gift"). These power just do whatever the writers want them to. Like how many times was Janeway stunned by Kes' powers, yet she still gets up and phasers Kes?? What a stupid scene.

But I also liked the Vidiians who are a good, original enemy VOY created (much better than the Kazon) getting back into the mix. That added some needed threat in addition to old Kes getting vengeful. Kes and the Vidiians reminded me of Seska and the Kazon -- it was as if VOY had gone back to S1/S2 to remind us in S6 how things used to be.

A lot of handwaving is needed to enjoy this episode and I wasn't prepared to do all that's needed. The writers are sloppy here and given that it's Berman & Braga, one would expect much better. How we get to Janeway in the present time knowing how to react to Kes's approaching shuttle made no sense. And then when all is said and done Kes is supposed to go back like 40K light years back to Ocampa in her shuttle again? Not buying it.

A low 2 stars for "Fury" -- too much nonsense here and a poor use of a returning character, but the episode had its moments. You gotta shut off your mind to get something out of it. Think too hard and this one's a dud. I thought Tuvok's premonitions were interesting but also unjustified. Overall sloppy and poorly conceived but not terrible.
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