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Thu, Jul 19, 2018, 9:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

I really liked the dynamic between Sisko and Eddington here -- good acting job by both. The episode turns into their personal vendetta and Eddington is an intelligent and philosophical terrorist. The "Les Miserables" was a nice analogy to add to the plot.

This is one of those episodes where Avery Brooks' style of overacting works as well. It doesn't address the bigger issue of the Maquis -- something I've always struggled to understand is how they could possibly put up much of a fight vs. the Federation and Cardassians (thinking of how costly space travel and making biogenic weapons should be). The other thing that bothered me is where were the Cardies in this episode?? Should we not have heard from Dukat or some offer to help Sisko? (Am I missing something?)

The holo-transporter was neat -- it served to make the barbs traded between Sisko and Eddington that much more meaty.

I was a bit surprised that Eddington gave himself up after Sisko poisoned the planet -- I guess he truly does care for the Maquis (martyr) and is really doesn't have anything against Sisko primarily. Sisko shows he has balls and maybe that seed planted here blooms in "In the Pale Moonlight".

I thought it was great to see how Sisko reacted to having been fooled / his bad judgment of Eddington. He won't let it go -- it's his obsession just as Kirk had his obsessions ("The Conscience of the King" and of course "Obsession"). I like the personal vendetta here as a premise and we finally get the follow up to "For the Cause".

The manual launching (all the verbalizations) of the Defiant didn't do anything for me -- it did seem like a dumb move for Sisko to try to take on Eddington again with the ship in the sorry state it was in (nearly ran into the station!). I also thought transporters weren't working on the Defiant but apparently they were working when dealing with the Cardassian transport. Convenient that the tractor beam would work when so many other things weren't apparently.

Good enough for 3 stars for "For the Uniform" -- So Sisko surmises that Eddington is re-enacting Les Miz and that him being the villain is the right approach. Not bad, I must say. But again, there are no repercussions -- I find this slightly anti-Trekkian that Sisko would poison a whole world. I quite liked Eddington getting under Sisko's skin but trying to emphasize his beef is not with the captain. Nice to tie up this Eddington loose end although what of the Maquis? I liked the personal vendetta thing for Sisko.
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Thu, Jul 19, 2018, 8:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

Some nice moments for Odo who goes through the range of emotions with the baby changeling and Mora -- Auberjonois does a solid job portraying all of this -- but overall it's a tad too sappy and somewhat predictable that the baby changeling would die or get reintegrated into Odo. Also the episode spent plenty of time going through in great detail Odo teaching the baby changeling to do this, that etc. -- that part wasn't all that enthralling. The Kira baby B-plot was mildly amusing, although the schtick got repetitive just like parts of the main plot.

I liked the Dr. Mora character here -- him and Odo made a good duet: going from being at each other's throats to developing an understanding of each other and then celebrating when the baby changeling does something.

What bugged me was how did Quark come across the baby changeling in the first place? There was no reasonably explanation given. So these baby changelings were put all over the place by the Founders untold many years ago and only when they are somehow found do they begin to grow etc. And then they have to get back to the Gamma Quadrant to the Founders world to say what's been up for so long? Seems rather inefficient to learn about the universe that way.

I was a bit put off by Shakaar's attitude toward Miles O'Brien -- but this served to turn this subplot into some kind of standard comedy with the men fighting as the woman gives birth. At first it was decent but then it became a bit of a drag -- of course they'd get along better in the end. There were some good parallels between the A and B plots for Odo and Kira's experiences (as Golina states in the above comment) and I like how the two come together in the end to discuss it.

I kept thinking of "The Offspring" as it's pretty similar -- Star Fleet has an interest in the baby changeling and of course it basically dies just as Odo's happiness starts growing. That it integrates into Odo -- well, so much for the human experience -- lasted maybe half a season.

Barely 2.5 stars for "The Begotten" -- good character story for Odo who we learn a lot more about, although these aspects of his personality aren't that important (not like his love for Kira, for example). There were plenty of parts that were a bit cheesy like when Odo is talking to the baby changeling etc. Yes, that's part of him developing his bond for it, but it's hard to really care much about -- what are we to expect from the baby changeling? The sappier parts didn't work for me and "The Offspring" worked a bit better in that respect.
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Thu, Jul 19, 2018, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Darkness and the Light

To me this is a bit of DS9 does "The Silence of the Lambs" -- it really picks up once Kira goes on her personal mission and confronts the deranged and disfigured Prin. But the first 3/4 of the episode is at best decent enough -- Visitor's acting is solid as the toll it takes on Major Kira is palpable. It makes the point about blurred lines between guilty by association and innocence during war/the Occupation -- darkness and the light -- depends from whose perspective it is.

The episode has some flaws -- like what about Shakaar in all of this? And the herbs Kira takes just happens to counteract the sedative that Prin injects her with? And Kira just happens to rule out the 1st 3 suspects on Odo's list and the 4th one turns out to be the right one? Also wasn't very clear how Prin was killing all these people given the different parts of the quadrant they were in at the time of killing.

It's definitely a good premise and one that makes sense -- a Cardassian nobody with vengeance on his mind vs. Kira who rediscovers the fire in her character. Previously she was telling her 2 Bajoran resistance cell friends to let the authorities deal with it, but after their deaths, things really change for her.

Wasn't sure what exactly happened to Kira when, after the O'Briens' quarters blew up, she got knocked out (after knocking out a few people in her way). Then she self-transports and steels the list from Odo's office. I suppose this is the progression in her determination to take matters into her own hands. The episode doesn't have time to go into any reprimand for her actions -- just leaves it with some Kira waxing poetic about darkness/light and guilt/innocence, which was OK although nothing special.

A strong 2.5 stars for "The Darkness and the Light" -- DS9's twist on the serial killer tale is good and draws on the great background provided by the Occupation. It gets a bit convenient at times although that's not a huge knock. Kira trading verbal barbs with Prin was good and I actually thought some of the Cardassian's ramblings seemed to almost make sense. I don't think this episode does much for the greater Bajoran/Federation arc -- doesn't seem to build off "Rapture" and maybe it could have been done earlier in the series.
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Wed, Jul 18, 2018, 9:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Juggernaut

Mostly basic action adventure here with Dawson/Torres putting on a decent show given what she had to work with. She affirms Janeway's faith in her as Tuvok's faith in her wavered. The idea of disgruntled laborer wasn't bad either, otherwise the plot would have been razor thin.

I get this is a Torres episode and it's about time. Dawson is a good actress and the fiery personality just comes naturally for her. She's supposed to get her anger tested here and maybe develop some control over it. Who knows if she improved in any way. What the writers intended for her character is fine -- for me, they didn't quite pull it off. But it seems they also wanted to play up this notion of "G.I. Torres" as also some kind of sex symbol -- this is where it gets dumb. Why was Torres in a tank-top while all the men were more fully clothed? And then there the shower scene at the end -- gratuitous. She could have her remorse etc. without disrobing...but ratings etc.

As for the Malon again, I see it as a quandary for VOY: if it's like every week a new alien species comes along, it gets harder to care, some groundwork needs to be re-laid, different forehead/nose ridges need to be invented etc. It makes no sense that Voyager should be encountering the Malon here but at least there's some familiarity to build on. OK, so they're the toxic waste dumpers but there was an opportunity to do more with them here. Unfortunately, the episode is another twist on their toxic waste dumping.

Why wouldn't the Voyager away team have protective suits when they go aboard the freighter? The whole idea seemed ridiculous at first -- the Malon themselves admit they can't deal with the sabotaged freighter but Voyager boards it believing it can do something about it. So there's plenty of fumbling around the vessel, giving Torres a chance to control her temper.

As for the core laborer, this is like the worker going postal -- so that's all well and good as the unexpected element. Decent suspense with 7 saying he's approaching the team in the control room. Torres has her hero scene when she hits him with the metal rod and saves the day -- she's done this kind of thing before ("Revulsion" and even "Dreadnought"). I don't think she should have too much introspection to do for sending the core laborer to his death.

Barely 2.5 stars for "Juggernaut" -- Dawson does everything that is asked of her well. It's just that the emphasis was excessively on action/adventure instead of character development. Didn't feel like there was very much to this episode. Have to also question this radiation dumping by the Malon, although they do develop a bit more as aliens here as we understand the core laborer phenomenon and a tad more about their homeworld.
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Wed, Jul 18, 2018, 8:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: The Fight

Really not a fan of this kind of pointless excess -- took so long for this episode to have any discernible direction as far as Chakotay's issues. Far too arbitrary with nothing really concrete to take away. I wasn't impressed with the acting from either Beltran or Picardo who just seemed to think that yelling a lot is what's needed. And ultimately, the plot is paper thin -- Chakotay has to face his fears so these aliens can talk to him enough to get him to guide Voyager out of chaotic space. And there's the DNA altering aspect, which is one of the worst Trek cliches.

I feel that given how simple this episode really is, it tries to make it into something big with the special effects, weirdness etc. In fact, the overall impression for me is one of arrogance. It's a shitty premise and the writers/direction are pompous in trying to make it look impressive.

Chakotay does his vision quest -- and we see his crazy grandfather. Are we to understand that his grandfather wasn't crazy and something was trying to speak with him? Or what? Did Chakotay learn anything from his grandfather? We know family and spirituality is important for Chakotay and that this is clearly a "Chakotay episode" -- but it's just unfocused nonsense for the most part. Even the whole confronting the fear or the unknown or whatever isn't instructive.

Not even 1.5 stars for "The Fight" -- so 1 star it is for this mess. Maybe it could have included a B-plot. The whole idea of aliens communicating through a boxing match (altering senses) is too much of a stretch -- TNG has done this kind of thing better, as has DS9 with Sisko's prophet visions. Plenty of weird filler material in here that gets tiring to care about. Just not a good VOY viewing experience.

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Tue, Jul 17, 2018, 11:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Clues

I enjoyed this one -- the Picard/Data interactions were great and the resolution of what happened is ticks all the boxes -- the Enterprise was under threat of destruction and Data was trying to prevent this; however the ending is a bit hokey (to try the suspended animation again and not leave clues this time). Still, it's a pretty good hour of Trek and an interesting one. The mystery slowly builds, the clues are intriguing, and Data's strange behavior gets justified.

I think humans should admire the qualities Spiner gives Data -- the calm unflappability in the face of human emotion. Picard threatens Data with a court martial but it's great (albeit frustrating) to see how Data dodges these questions. I also enjoyed Data bullshitting everybody about his theory in the senior staff meeting -- of course, nobody fell for it (it was plenty obvious) -- but it set the wheels in motion for unraveling the mystery.

Maybe the xenophobic aliens and the lengths they go to defend their world are a bit farfetched as the resolution to the mystery but I won't complain about it. The way it worked through Troi and having to deal with the challenge Data presented made for a fairly creative episode.

Whether humans love a mystery or not -- maybe the Enterprise crew does. Certainly Picard does as evidenced by his "fun" playing Dixon Hill. Thought that opener went on for way too long if only to hint at Picard's love for a mystery. But TNG has plenty of episodes trying to solve mysteries methodically and this is a decent example of one.

3 stars for "Clues" -- liked how all the unknowns were tied together (Worf's broken wrist, and how Picard gave an order to erase the memories etc. that Data tried his best to follow). Many times the resolution of an episode just isn't satisfying, is lame etc. but here it was decent -- if only the end result wasn't to have to get a 2nd chance at erasing the memories of the encounter. Great episode for Picard and Data, decent sci-fi and plays to the strengths of TNG.
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Tue, Jul 17, 2018, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Violations

Not an episode I enjoyed watching -- not because of the subject matter per se but I'm not sure what it accomplishes other than just simply being a matter of deduction/investigation by Data/Geordi and nabbing the rapist as he's about to do it for real. Mind rape is substituted for physical violence with telepathic aliens.

There is the issue of Jev being belittled by his father which plays into his antagonistic behavior -- it seems people in today's society who commit violent crimes sometimes have experienced similar emotions or rejection. Certainly doesn't condone their actions. Jev aims to get back at his father. He does. But he's already a sick "man" and makes another mistake is finally stopped.

There's not that much to this episode for me. Plenty of time doing boring investigations, watching Troi, Crusher, Riker getting memory raped, Picard trying to play nice with the Ullians.

Picard's speech at the end about putting violence behind them is BS -- this is trying to show how humans have evolved in the Trek paradigm but at least he admits the seed of violence is still there. Perhaps the proportion of criminals is down, but the whole evolution/advancement of society such that it has put violence behind it seems hollow/unrealistic/naively utopian to me.

2 stars for "Violations" -- a different take on rape, but what does this episode say about it that hasn't already been said? It actually says nothing, for me. Doesn't go into the consequences for the victim or anything. As an investigative episode, the whole thing is pretty arbitrary as the crew go through standard procedures. Jev comes back to really rape Troi and is apprehended -- as he would have been eventually. There's just not enough here to even call this a decent episode.
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Fri, Jul 13, 2018, 2:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Rajiin

Revising my earlier comments after a re-watch -- there's little more than the usual ENT fare of phaser fights with aliens and some subterfuge in this episode. It benefits slightly from the connection to the greater arc but not quite satisfying enough.

I also realize how ridiculous at this stage the council comes across -- little more than cardboard cartoon villains, although it gets better.

Re-rating this to 2.5 stars. It's barely a decent episode in truth.
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Thu, Jul 12, 2018, 9:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Let He Who Is Without Sin...

No question one of DS9's weakest episodes -- annoyingly stupid, severely flawed premise, poor characterizations and acting, but all that said, DS9 has come up with even more putrid efforts ("Fascination", "Ferengi Love Songs", "Profit and Lace" to name 3). I'd say Jammer's review is overly harsh (but entertaining).

Have to admit I'm surprised at how much discussion this episode generated...why I'm not sure.

So I think the intent is to follow up "Looking for Par'mach..." with something of a romantic comedy (which historically Trek struggles mightily to pull off) but also throw in a moral question from the Essentialists as a plot so that it's not just Worf and Jadzia at each others throats for an hour + some filler stupidity from Quark/Leeta/Bashir.

As for Worf's soccer (or football as I prefer) story (as a footballer myself) -- I liked this little anecdote and how it was told, but if this is the reason why Worf is so restrained (read: a hardass the whole episode) -- isn't it hypocritical/duplicitous that he will still make love to Dax Klingon-style causing her to get bruised, injured etc.? Basically, Worf siding with these Essentialists as a way to somehow send a message to Jadzia really makes no sense. Worf was totally off in this episode. The Worf/Jadzia dynamic was tedious to get through -- each having their criticisms of each other felt forced.

As for Risa itself, the world makes zero sense. The whole idea of those statues to attract a lover, that the natives don't have the courage to prosecute, etc.

Getting Leeta and Quark involved only added to the stupidity. And here we learn Leeta's interested in Rom... Did not need to see Bashir's skinny body in some kind of tight swimming outfit. And Vanessa Williams' character killed Curzon with sex?? Was that really needed as a detail?

As for the Essentialists -- I think there's a valid analogy to be made with between this group and puritanical thought in our world, but also restoring the principles and morals of the Federation (from their own perspective). Where Fullerton's argument falters big time is in comparing Federation citizens dislike of bad weather to a Dominion attack. Also, Risa is a paradise planet -- it's hardly representative of the Federation. Do the Essentialists take their cause to normal Federation worlds? The final scene where Fullerton attacks Worf and then gets his ass kicked was pretty lame.

1 star for "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." -- managed to turn the Worf/Jadzia romance into something super-annoying in a forgettable episode. Plenty of inane filler material. The Risa planet concept doesn't work for me -- or at least it was poorly fleshed out here and combining that with an extremist group is a poor choice for premise. Character assassination for Worf. Just a bad day at the office for DS9.
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Wed, Jul 11, 2018, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: The Disease

Usually Harry Kim episodes aren't great and this one is no exception -- it's basically been done before. A lot of the usual negatives about VOY episodes are present here (random wooden aliens and their conflict which no one gives AF about, arbitrary explosions but things work out for Voyager in the end, some rules never heard of before get trotted out, a poorly constructed romance etc.) But this time Janeway has to recant her steps, which adds to her character weakening. And in the end, has Harry Kim's character really developed? And what about the hypocrisy with Harry reprimanded for falling in love while others crew members have also fallen in love with aliens and gotten off without even a slap on the wrist?

Have to admit I shook my head after the opener with Harry and some alien female who looks far too human getting it on. Not exactly a promising episode.

But as for Harry, it's fine if he's a play-it-by-the-book guy and has an inner conflict. We have to take the alien bonding thing as powerful enough to break down what he's lived by for practically all his adult life. Might as well be a body-snatching premise, except that it acts out the sore point of Harry's life which we all know about already -- struggles with women.

It just seems that Janeway's initial reprimand goes nowhere -- she's just basically reading the riot act for adding something weighty to this mediocrity. Instead, her authority and decisions go nowhere. It's such nonsense the thing about Harry now being a man and not a boy -- he's always supposed to have been a man FFS. That Janeway finally realizes this after 5 years makes her look like an idiot.

Given that, once again, the female Harry's interested in is shady and is a lousy actress that couldn't act to show the interest in Harry that he showed in her, the romance comes off as artificial. So seeing Harry trying to get over love lost fell flat for me. The alien race's leader was a major stiff. And of course these are supposed to be xenophobic aliens.

1.5 stars for "The Disease" -- Harry Kim wasn't the weakness in this episode for me. It was the premise, the guest actors, the writing, and the overall concept. I didn't mind Harry standing up to Janeway, but in the end, this is a very bad episode for her character. Wang isn't the actor to turn this mediocrity into something half-decent. Neat review Jammer!
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Tue, Jul 10, 2018, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Disaster

Barely a decent episode for me -- just seemed like everything that could go wrong did with some of the most contrived situations imaginable. Quite slow paced/boring at times but the later acts were better. Some good performances from Stewart, Dorn, and Chao as Keiko. I liked that Troi felt completely useless but that she tried to do her best and kept it together -- even though I'd question why she'd be in charge just based on rank instead of function.

We know Ensign Ro is very driven and extremely pragmatic but her belief that a bunch of people are dead and to take drastic action (saucer separation) was ridiculous. Perhaps the writers put this in there just to have Troi exercise her authority.

There were also some cool shots/moments like looking up the turbolift shaft -- get an idea of how massive the ship must be. Also liked Geordi/Crusher sending the cargo out into space -- although I have to wonder why the bay door was able to function perfectly but none of the other doors on the ship could... Also pretty cool was Data's head separated and still functioning (managed to contain the anti-matter). I always wonder why the gravity plating never fails in these situations -- probably too costly to create zero gravity...

Worf helping Keiko give birth was an entertaining scene -- I guess she prematurely gave birth but this was also a bit cliche/contrived along with all the other vignettes. Worf had some good lines here and Keiko wasn't annoying, for a change.

And like magic the ship is functioning in the end so we get a reset albeit after an arbitrary cosmic phenomenon damaging the ship in the first place.

Barely 2.5 stars for "Disaster" -- not a disaster of an episode by any stretch but with plenty of flaws, contrivances, arbitrary situations. Not sure what has been gained from this episode -- Troi gets a taste of command and takes a jab at Riker since he doesn't have to command, maybe Picard gets a better understanding of kids? Should be some lasting damage from this episode but a quick trip to the star base will make everything perfect again.
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Fri, Jul 6, 2018, 12:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Looking for Par'mach in All the Wrong Places

@ Peter G.,

Given my own criteria, I think a 2.5* episode is definitely not a bad one (like 6 or 6.5 out of 10). It's a decent episode, watchable hour. Some episodes Jammer has rated as 3* really shouldn't be rated as such for me ("Shore Leave", "I, Mudd", "Take Me Out to the Holosuite")

Incidentally, I think my ratings would yield a distribution that is more centrally weighted than Jammer's. In other words, Jammer's distribution has "fatter tails" (i.e. more 4* and 0.5* and 0* episodes than me).

Obviously, most episodes would fall into that 2.5* (decent) and 2* (mediocre) rating. So maybe qualitatively I'd say (for what it's worth):
3* -- great
3.5* -- excellent
4* -- exceptional: leaves a lasting impression, thoroughly impressive, riveting
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Fri, Jul 6, 2018, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Looking for Par'mach in All the Wrong Places

@ Peter G.,

Regarding your comment and thinking about it a bit more, yes, it comes down to Worf's pride in proving he can court a Klingon woman -- even vicariously through Quark (of all people) -- as greater motivation than preventing Quark from being with a "glorious" female like Grilka. An interesting premise for sure.

And I guess Dax had to step up her game (both her and Worf injured at the end of the episode) since she felt Worf didn't really see what was staring him in the face.

Regarding the ratings -- I think a 2.5* episode is a decent outing -- and will definitely have some strong points, which are worth highlighting (as this one has). But such episodes don't strike me as great (3* and higher). They either aren't ambitious enough or have some flaws (perhaps too much suspension of disbelief, poor premise/writing/acting etc.) I don't think I'd have too many "excellent" comments for a 2* episode as it is largely bordering on mediocrity with enough flaws creeping in and I'm sure I'd have enough criticisms leveled at it.
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Thu, Jul 5, 2018, 8:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Looking for Par'mach in All the Wrong Places

Definitely a different kind of DS9 episode but one that shows the writers can use the characters in comedic ways while still keeping their integrity -- for the most part (Worf's behavior was a tad odd). It's a nice change of pace, whimsical -- just enjoy the characters do their thing given their motivations.

One thing I don't get is why Worf would go to such great extent to help Quark impress Grilka. Worf can barely tolerate the Ferengi and just because of his beaten down status can't court Grilka -- seems quite forced to me that he should go to extraordinary lengths to help Quark. But I think a good point is made about Worf's inability to court a Klingon woman. When has he really done it? K'Ehleyr from TNG was different. So maybe that's his motivation here.

The O'Brien/Kira/Keiko triangle was getting quite weird -- like Keiko is encouraging Kira and O'Brien to get closer but the 2 know they shouldn't based on Odo chiding Kira and Miles coming to the right realization of what could potentially happen. Great acting/writing in their final scene when they realize they shouldn't go to Bajor together.

And at the end Dax basically throws herself at Worf -- maybe there have been some subtle hints regarding her crush for the Klingon. But this was a good episode with 2 similar subplots about love / desire -- one 1 hand Dax has the hots for Worf but Kira and O'Brien have to cool down whatever has been developing between them. And Grilka pummels Quark in Klingonese love-making. Pretty fun dynamic.

This is a better episode than "The House of Quark" -- one reason being Quark is not just being a profiteering Ferengi. This episode is, for me, one of the best uses of him I've seen -- great when he is used in comedic roles that don't involve belittling Rom or trying to dupe people. His right of proclamation speech was funny as was his attempt to spout Klingonese.

2.5 stars for "Looking for Par'Mach in All the Wrong Places" -- not an episode to be taken seriously but the way the humor was done is far superior to the DFCs (dumb Ferengi comedies) even with Quark being a principal actor. Some things seem a bit of a stretch like Grilka coming back for Quark, Worf helping Quark, Keiko encouraging Miles/Kira, but it did play out like a romantic comedy Trek-style and it shows the series has the depth to pull it off.
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Wed, Jul 4, 2018, 10:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Bride of Chaotica!

I'm not familiar with 40s and 50s sci-fi but can believe that this was a good recreation of it -- of course, not an episode to be taken seriously but certainly better than some of the DS9 Ferengi comedies and I also prefer it over "Our Man Bashir" slightly. It is also like "Trials and Tribble-ations" in that it is an exercise in technique with a near paper-thin plot (although there's more here than in that DS9 episode's plot).

I really liked Janeway going to town as Arachnia -- yes it's all hokey and contrived and I didn't really laugh at any of the gags, but it didn't totally suck. The novelty had worn off pretty quickly since it wasn't the first Captain Proton on VOY, but getting Janeway and Doc involved helped greatly.

What was a bit weird was seeing the holographic aliens manifesting themselves as human characters from the 40s/50s. Seems a bit of a stretch to me but ultimately, it's a pretty simplistic plot -- aside from the needless technobabble of the ship being stuck in subspace. Was it firmly established that the "5th dimensional" aliens were behind Voyager being trapped in subspace? Because it also seemed quite coincidental to me. Of course the holodeck malfunction is one of the oldest tricks in the Trek canon.

I liked how the transition from scene to scene was done when in the holodeck program -- not just abrupt switches but different styles of transition. I admire the attention to detail in really trying to make it feel like those ancient sci-fi shows.

At one point, Janeway/Arachnia gets "phasered" but is not affected -- how is this to be explained? Also was curious why she seemed to have some feelings for Chaotica after he got zapped when the death ray was destroyed. I suppose this is a throwback to the typical endings of those ancient sci-fi stories -- yes the bad guy never truly dies and will be back somehow.

2 stars for "Bride of Chaotica!" -- enjoyed Mulgrew as Arachnia and some of her facial expressions even when just playing Janeway. Not sure why Harry Kim would want to take part in this Captain Proton stuff with Paris -- does he just want to get with holodeck girls in this program? But overall, I give credit to the tribute attempt here, although it's farfetched. The problems the ship faced were underwhelming and boring.
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Wed, Jul 4, 2018, 9:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Latent Image

I thought this was a really good episode with Picardo putting on a terrific performance showing how his programming would struggle with the decision of which person to save. That's a good problem to examine for a doctor -- no matter the kind. It's pretty well conceived as we're wondering what could have happened such that Janeway would decide to erase Doc's memory -- and sure enough, it was an event that caused Doc to malfunction (i.e. not some lame payoff). So Janeway kicked the can down the road and now has to deal with the issue -- or really, Doc has to deal with the issue.

Some heavy issues about Doc's sentience here and the extent of his personality subroutines etc. I've gone on the assumption that Doc has some pretty advanced subroutines and his AI has gone to new levels. So I didn't have any hangups as far as the self-questioning of making decisions, the existential questions etc. The fact that he looks at things in a very algorithmic way added some good logic to the struggle he went through. I was impressed with the writing.

The scene where Doc decides to perform surgery on Harry (and let Jetal die) -- the music for this was so inappropriate. What a massive oversight! I'm really glad Jammer also points this out as well. WTF?? Aside from this blunder, I'm again reminded by how shit soundtracks from the later Trek series (TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT) all are compared to the excellent soundtracks from TOS. [I don't think I could bring myself to purchase any TNG, DS9, VOY soundtracks, yet I have purchased many TOS ones.]

Good episode for Janeway too -- nice to see that she doesn't have all the answers and doesn't pretend to. She comes to 7 for a philosophical discussion after 7 had earlier said she was unsettled -- after all Janeway had given her her humanity. It struck me as wrong for Janeway to say Doc was more like a replicator than human -- so maybe that suggests this episode should have come in S1 or S2.

The ending scene with Doc reading Janeway's poetry book and the line "Here begins a new life" was spot on for me. This is a turning point for Doc -- wonder what his AI will learn about this.

Solid 3 stars for "Latent Image" -- good examination of Doc's crisis and Picardo really delivers. His scene with Neelix trying to understand decisions using the fruit and nuts was excellent. Didn't seem to me that there was any excessive suspension of disbelief required -- just decent writing, great acting and a pretty compelling story for a very likeable character.
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Wed, Jul 4, 2018, 8:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Thirty Days

Good episode with a number of strong points. Gotta start with the underwater visuals and VOY being a series of exploration getting to do some underwater stuff is pretty cool. But most importantly, I thought Paris' rebellion was believable and even if we never knew he gave a shit about oceans before, that popping up did not seem out of character. Now he's rebelling for a cause.

Not every episode we see Janeway really having to discipline a senior staff member -- I think this is one thing Mulgrew acts well doing. Paris explains himself -- he comes across as very passionate and not somebody who is just immature. So this was also a good scene. Paris has clearly grown and had an exemplary record with Voyager so this had to be pretty tough on Janeway.

Another cool thing was seeing the Voyager torpedo hit the one the Delta Flyer was shooting at the oxygen refineries -- was it meant to do this or meant to hit the DF? I thought Janeway was firing at the Delta Flyer.

There are some valid allegories to pollution and its effect on the ocean and diplomats trying to save their political careers instead of spending money to fix an environmental problem. There was a line early in the episode about how the ocean was created -- whether by the divine or naturally. Of course, the big reactor at the bottom of the ocean solves that issue -- some interesting sci-fi here.

The flashbacks also worked well -- little updates on Paris' solitary confinement like Harry telling him to write to his dad provided good breaks from the story that got him in trouble.

3 stars for "Thirty Days" -- was good to see how far Paris would go and how far Janeway would go to stop him. A good setup to test this aspect of her command and Paris' character to get back to what makes it tick. Something new and original here -- the underwater scenes were cool.
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Tue, Jul 3, 2018, 8:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Captain's Holiday

A highly flawed episode that, for me, can't figure out if it is a serious action/adventure or a light-hearted adventure or a comedic romance or something else. Picard never seemed to feel he's in real danger. Hetrick's a decent guest actress and Vash is an interesting character. The element of the 27th century Vogons was dumb and introduces a whole layer of questions / plot holes. Remove them and the episode becomes a tad more focused.

Risa at first reminded me of the "Justice" episode and I can only shake my head at the existence of such a place. There must be a shady underbelly to it, but that's not the focus of the episode. I wish it would at least be acknowledged by somebody. So Picard has nothing to worry about going there?

And then to make matters worse we get a TNG version of Rom. Just what you need to dampen an episode -- a Ferengi. The character is too stupid to take seriously.

So the Indiana Jones style quest -- just a small part of the episode to get Picard/Vash doing something together. The artifact sounds powerful and valuable enough -- they should have made it something more believable and reasonable (and again, gotten rid of the Vogons). But this is all about Picard finding Vash and being interested in her -- she does provide a good foil for him.

1.5 stars for "Captain's Holiday" -- kind of a mess of an episode, ultimately comes off as silly but well-meaning in a somewhat feel-good kind of way. The typical vacation adventure episode where nothing too threatening or intelligent should happen. Pretty much a guaranteed sub-par episode given the premise.
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Tue, Jul 3, 2018, 8:52am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Allegiance

Struggle to find anything original here, only moderately interesting at times and often repetitive with a payoff that is hugely lame and leaves a lot of holes/WTFs. The whole idea of "more advanced" aliens observing/kidnapping other aliens (including humans) in different situations has been done before and with more purpose. This episode really adds nothing and is inconsequential.

Thought the scenes with the real Picard and the 2 other captives + the manipulative alien were OK at first as they tried to figure out what the hell was going on but after a while it just got repetitive. It was a somewhat interesting study of different approaches/attitudes but when the captive alien slips (quite badly and stupidly) it goes downhill from there. Of course this one was very easy for Picard to catch (unlike unraveling the mystery in "The Survivors").

The alien just gives up on the game, there's no threats etc. as these aliens seem to just purely be observers. So it's strictly an examination of behavior but it ends before things could get really interesting (like if it had been a few days and the monstrous alien wants to eat the annoying pacifist).

Better were the scenes on the Enterprise with Picard just a tad off -- so he tries testing Crusher with the intimate dinner, etc. Thought McFadden acted well here -- she's intrigued, interested, involved. But ultimately Picard ends the dinner abruptly. Not bad how Riker goes about with the restrained mutiny etc. But again, the aliens controling things aren't aggressive so it all turns out to be a pretty tame ending.

2 stars for "Allegiance" -- dragged on repetitively with some mildly interesting moments but the payoff sucked. So these aliens want to study leadership and authority by imprisoning other sentient beings? Shouldn't they be advanced enough to know this isn't right and will skew their experiments? I don't buy the whole premise. The episode never took off, the threats were never really serious enough and Picard gives a morality lesson to the abductors by putting them in a forcefield without verbal communication -- ho hum.
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Fri, Jun 29, 2018, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Horizon

Nothing special here although there were a few nice moments. Montgomery's acting holds things back and it turns into a pretty formulaic hour. I liked the idea of revisiting life on the cargo ship and giving Montgomery a chance to shine, but the latter didn't happen. There's also the definite sense that the cargo ship folks want to take care of themselves, they see StarFleet almost as the enemy -- resentment toward Travis for joining the Enterprise (although his father gave him a strong endorsement to Archer).

I liked the B-plot with life onboard Enterprise, movie night and T'Pol's take on Frankenstein. This was decent light-hearted stuff with an interesting twist, although it's just decent filler material.

The scenes between Paul and Travis just didn't resonate -- so Paul initially is fairly cold because one of their own left. Travis has his guilt, but I'm somewhat surprised he just does the upgrades without even telling Paul or his mother. Didn't the chain of command in StarFleet teach him anything? And of course, they turn out to work -- the Horizon fights off the pirates and Paul/Travis are on good terms again. Predictable.

2 stars for "Horizon" -- didn't push the envelope enough with this story, Montgomery's acting is a let down. The episode is not horrible but just not good enough. One does get the sense of the difference between the Enterprise and the Horizon and a bit more of an idea of who these freight runners are but "Fortunate Son" was a much better episode for these themes.
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Thu, Jun 28, 2018, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

As DS9 season-ending episodes go, this one's a tad below average but on it's own, I liked it. Getting the Founders directly involved, the visuals of their world & CGI, Garak's deceit and a couple of big revelations make it a good episode. There is some padding (Kira sneezing, the Bajoran cafe owner who has the hots for Odo, some Garak) but it's not like the Rom/Quark nonsense (i.e. it is acceptable/good padding).

We circle back to Gowron being belligerent and the big reveal that he's a changeling now makes sense for his warmongering in "The Way of the Warrior". The writers have a ton of freedom for what they can do with changelings -- they can be anywhere and know anything and the viewer just has to accept it, and it isn't implausible.

Garak is a terrific character and perhaps my favorite on DS9. He's outstanding in "In the Pale Moonlight" but here he adds a good edge. The fight/argument with Worf is great as his sabotage is averted -- especially coming after what the head Founder told him -- great stuff here. Bottom line: Don't f*ck with Garak. And I guess I shouldn't be surprised that he gets off scot free for attempted genocide + killing Sisko/Bashir.

Interesting punishment for Odo being turned into a human. This is also convenient as his adaptation should provide plenty of material to work with. The bit about Odo being the first changeling to kill one of his own kind and then the judgment also gives the Founders some texture -- they're clearly not cardboard villains. Far from it. I like the head Founder's pragmatism and I think the punishment is a good one that makes sense.

The other thing I like is the unconditional support Odo gets from the DS9 crew -- this is a common theme with VOY and the other Treks. Sisko/Bashir waiting on the Founders world -- who knows how long they were there. I don't know about the part where Bashir wants to skim a rock across the Great Link!

3 stars for "Broken Link" -- pretty interesting stuff that tees you up for Season 5 and makes you wonder about a few things (like how/where did Odo get infected by the Founders, how they infiltrate the Klingons etc.) Just a good story with some good writing and interactions -- no need for phaser or starship battles.
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Thu, Jun 28, 2018, 7:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Body Parts

An examination of Quark's character in the guise of comedy because Ferengi society is so utterly stupid -- I struggled to find anything that wasn't trite, cliche, or inane in this episode to be a strong point. Not the worst Ferengi episode but still one that I didn't like. The B-plot with Kira pregnant with the O'Briens' baby, while clever for the series, was just kind of there -- some nice moments but nothing special.

Starts off with too much Quark/Rom stupidity -- it's not funny to see Rom act like an idiot and Quark scheme and berate him. What is more interesting is how Quark sees himself as a businessman first and foremost and the code that he must live by (however ridiculous the code is). That he's the victim of Brunt's scheme is also fine (characteristically Ferengi). But stuff like selling his corpse -- I just have to shake my head (I assume Brunt knew Quark would do this with his body -- as it must be a stupid Ferengi thing). And whatever came of Quark suing the Ferengi doctor for malpractice?

So Quark is accused of being a philanthropist by Brunt -- all of this to show how he's not living up to the idiotic standards of a Ferengi businessman. Is this supposed to be relevant somehow? Hard to care about this at all.

Getting Garak involved did add some genuine humor, but the premise underlying it is too ridiculous.

The dream was also more silliness -- so Quark questions his faith, the RofA are a marketing ploy and he breaks his contract. Does Quark really change in some way after this? The epilogue is too short although it was nice to see him realize his friends are his assets and that they pitched in to get his bar up and running.

1.5 stars for "Body Parts" -- good idea to have a secondary character go through a self-examination and of his faith, but it falls apart when you can't take it seriously as it's the Ferengi. "Gates of the Divine Treasury" and giving a bribe to get in -- the whole thing is a joke. Brunt is a cartoon character, as is Rom. I'm at odds with Jammer's review. I can see how DS9 has episodes where it doesn't take itself too seriously but the Ferengi culture is just too ridiculous to provide anything of substance.

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Wed, Jun 27, 2018, 8:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Once Upon a Time

I say the episode "Timeless" has a visceral quality to it. This episode has the exact opposite quality and it rubbed me the wrong way with the opener going on and on about Naomi's holonovel. Too much time was spent on that silliness and the episode was predictable in its ending. Far more interesting would have been Naomi's mom dying and as Jammer says Neelix would have to take on a parental role, which would add more meat to his character. But VOY can be very G-rated at times and this is one of those episodes. But I did think at one point the mom might die...

But I did like the interactions between Janeway and Neelix who has an interesting backstory that makes him go through the ringer here. That much was decent and gave the story some tension. The Naomi character did well -- came across as intelligent but naive which is how kids are -- and it created some of the potential parental challenges for Neelix.

But I think the idea of Trek doing a parent dying thing isn't a promising premise. It worked poorly in TNG's "The Bonding".

Naomi forgives Neelix pretty quickly for "lying" to her as well. This could have been really tough on Neelix after she found out for herself what the deal was. But this episode is meant to be a feel-good episode.

The episode tries to milk the purported last minutes of the shuttlecrash survivors -- this totally didn't work. It was like it was just randomly thrown in. The focus is Neelix/Naomi/Janeway but there isn't enough to that dynamic so they have to fill it with holonovel crap and final messages, which came across as particularly lame.

2 stars for "Once Upon A Time" -- not a complete waste but definitely not what I'd call a decent episode. The premise isn't great for Trek and there's too much fluff here. I guess we do get an idea of what a child's life is like on Voyager -- if we cared for that kind of thing.
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Wed, Jun 27, 2018, 6:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Timeless

After another re-watch I like this one a tad more -- there's a visceral quality to it that is absent from almost all VOY episodes. It's clear a great deal (far more than average) of thought and special effects were put in here -- the ship's crash on the icy world, DF explosion etc.

Also, Harry Kim's performance is great here and that's refreshing to see.

What works is that the questions left unanswered -- sending messages back in time, how Harry/Chakotay retrieve the Delta Flyer and get as far as they did etc. etc. don't drag down the episode, nor does the technobabble.

There is a renewed and genuine sense of hope after the ship makes up 10 years even with the failed experiment -- and this is different from some of the BS prior episodes that directly address Voyager getting home put forth.

"Timeless" is good enough for 3.5 stars -- drawbacks are minor with Chakotay and his girlfriend's motives, a fairly lame performance from Burton as Geordi. The change of perspective from the start of the episode is highly intriguing as is the flashbacks between the future and present day (or 15 yrs ago) Voyager. Terrific, gripping episode. Poignant ending with Harry getting a message from himself in the future -- ended on the perfect note.
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Tue, Jun 26, 2018, 7:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

Felt like half an episode -- just not enough plot/tension here. Crusher is put through the ringer to examine romance and love and how it affects somebody depending on what happens to the one they love. I wasn't sold although McFadden doesn't do a bad job.

So TNG introduces the Trill concept here although I don't know why Riker would volunteer and why the RIker part of the combination is like non-existent. If Riker is to be completely subjugated, why not get some no-name to do it? Guess the writers give Trills more thought by the time of DS9. So the Enterprise loses a 1st officer while a war could break out. This didn't seem like a smart thing for Picard to accept and for Riker to offer to do -- nobody knew what they were getting into. I must say Frakes did a good job portraying somebody who seemed like he was about to die for nearly a whole episode.

The initial romance between Crusher and Odan looked believable but it's just in your face right at the start so it was off-putting. And then it just gets weird when it's Riker who is in love with Crusher and finally some alien woman. Odan wasn't forthcoming at first either -- the line about him being a Trill just as Beverly is one person is nowhere near good enough for the lack of transparency.

And of course, this episode has everything work out perfectly. In no way did it seem like Riker/Odan could carry on 6 hours of negotiations, but he did and they were successful and then so was the surgery to remove the symbiont from Riker and get it to the new host -- don't you just love how all these things work out so perfectly? Those guys on the Enterprise are so damn good. Too much arbitrary crap for me.

Barely 2 stars for "The Host" -- barely enough here for an episode, plenty of filler as we explore Crusher in love and being put through an emotional ringer. Nobody gives a crap about the alpha-moon and beta-moon aliens at war. Odan is deceptive, Riker/Picard come across as foolish for me. And ultimately where does it leave Crusher -- she can't deal with the changing appearance of a lover. That's perfectly normal. Nothing special here.
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