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Rahul
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 10:47am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

@Mal,

Entertaining read I must say -- but I think you are like 7-of-9 in "The Voyager Conspiracy". In some cases you've got some "interesting" interpretation of events to sew together your tale.

For example, regarding "Reunion" - Worf kills Duras in revenge for killing K'Ehleyr. He's acting very much on his own here, even if it does set in motion Gowron's ascent. This episode is not a PD issue. Picard never wanted to oblige K'Mpec in finding out who is killing the Klingon leader and who gets to be the one. Picard realized that is an internal Klingon affair, but he gets quasi-blackmailed into getting involved.

I do believe the Federation, through the lens of Picard's Enterprise, suffers some blows but I don't think it's quite as stark as you make it seem. Some of the episodes you mention "Measure of a Man" and "Suddenly Human" just to mention 2 -- I really don't believe they are meant to show a teetering Federation in the context of Alpha/Beta quadrant geopolitics.
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Rahul
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 9:55am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Very intriguing review and take from Jammer that this whole season was about Picard and Data death closure (so to speak). It does make sense; however, what a bizarre way to go about it with 99% subterfuge for 1% of the objective. Is that good writing? I'm not so sure it's advisable to put the viewer through 10 hours of up and down tertiary stuff to entertain for 5 mins. of a nice, meaningfgul coda.

Yes, the final scenes between Picard and Data were the best part of this middling season finale but I feel Jammer overrates them -- but to each his own and I respect his opinion obviously. "It's a true work of art that's the stuff of Star Trek greatness, and I would put it up there with some of the best scenes in the history of the franchise." I don't thin these scenes compare with the ending of "The Inner Light" or when Picard says "We have engaged the Borg" or when he gets tortured and doesn't give in to Madred in CoC II etc.

For me there was too much silliness in this finale, as I've already mentioned, but the final scenes with Picard and Data were touching but as for my viewing experienced, I was already slightly pissed off with what I had to get through to reach this stage, so as I said it didn't really move the needle for me.

Take an episode like "Cogenitor" as an example -- mostly easy-going but there's something afoot building. And then we get an incredible climax when the cogenitor commits suicide and Archer rips into Trip. That is what the point of that episode was but it built beautifully to that clincher. This PIC finale did not do that and so the payoff for me didn't achieve the effect the writers went for.

Nice, touching ending for PIC S1 but largely unsatisfactory for me.
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Rahul
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Chrome,

For me, what makes TNG so good is that, upon re-watches, you can skip all the crap and still enjoy the numerous terrific episodes. That's what the problem will be with DSC, PIC where it's all generally the same quality + or - and very rarely reaches the exceptional. Can't see myself rewatching DSC, PIC to the extent I rewatch TNG (or even VOY, which I don't like near as much as I like TNG).

But even with TNG's 1st season, boiling it down to the top-10, for me, you get a bunch of 2.5* episodes -- so in terms of quality it winds up looking like episodic DSC. Still not good.
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Rahul
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 11:44am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

I don't quite get Nick's ranking of 1st seasons of the various Trek series, but yes as Burke says, to each his own.

Based on my evaluation, I'd rank them as follows:

1. TOS -- and it's not even close as I think this is the best season of any Trek series
2. VOY -- really felt fresh, no real stinkers, introduces the Kazon, Vidiians; pretty solid
Those are what I'd call the only 2 good 1st seasons.
3. DS9 -- worst season of DS9 but it did give us the magnificent "Duet" (top-5 all-time Trek episode for me)
4. ENT -- couple of bright spots depending how you feel about "Dear Doctor" and the initial Temporal Cold War episodes but mostly mediocre/weak
5. PIC -- tons of holes/flaws in S1 arc with 1 terrific episode in "Nepenthe"
6. DSC -- Nu-Trek without anything really terrific
7. TNG -- just way too many weak episodes, poor writing, acting. Worst season Trek ever produced.
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Rahul
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 3:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Walding,

Re. the top 30 Trek episodes of all time, I think "Prime Factors" from VOY's 1st season just barely makes it for me. I think VOY's first season was its best. It is notably shorter though. It also benefited from 90s Trek being a well-oiled machine when it first aired while TNG had to find its footing.

Interesting that I have 4 TOS S1 episodes in my top 30 -- but I truly and objectively think it is the best season Trek ever produced.

With 700+ Trek episodes, to be top-30 is pretty special.
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Rahul
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 10:12am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@James White

No, not quite. "Nepenthe" and "If Memory Serves" are the 2 best episodes of PIC and DSC respectively for me. Both are 8.5/10 for me. Terrific episodes but not good enough for top 25 or top 30 all-time Star Trek episodes.
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Rahul
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 10:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Third Season Recap

For all the crap I've levelled at Berman and Braga for the many weak ENT episodes they wrote, this season-long arc was significantly better than the first two seasons and pretty solid on its own in absolute terms. I do think it is one of the better seasons in all of Trek.

The challenge of coming up with a suitable theme, story, plot for a season-long arc (or an arc of 10-15 episodes) is pretty difficult I think. There are going to be plot holes -- some even significant -- but if the arc can provide solid motivations, make the viewer care and then generate a handful of terrific episodes, then it's mission accomplished. And I'd say ENT S3 definitely achieved that. It's convenient to compare it with PIC S1 which just concluded -- but based on the overall objectives for a season-long arc, I'd say PIC S1 didn't achieve those objectives nearly as well as ENT S3 did.

But in looking back at ENT S3, the idea of trans-dimensional beings (sphere builders) pulling a wool over the eyes of the Xindi to make them want to destroy Earth is a better premise than the usual "rise of the machines" / overly sentient AI from PIC S1 and DSC S2.

Of course, there's the plot hole of testing the weapon on Earth and wiping out 7 million and then building a bigger weapon to destroy Earth. But nevertheless, once we get past that, we can focus on some solid episodes telling a good story.

Of course, 24 episodes aren't needed, but we're still in the classic Trek model of roughly that many episodes a season. If ENT S3 was made under the "nu-Trek" model, it could go something like this:

1. parts of "The Expanse" / "The Xindi" / "Anomaly"
2. "The Shipment"
3. "Twilight" -- strictly speaking, not necessary but it was a terrific episode
4. "Proving Ground" / "Strategem" / "Harbinger" (just the part about the trans-dimensional being in the pod -- definitely not the Hayes/Reed nonsense or the T'Pol/Trip sex stuff)
5. "Azati Prime"
6. "Damage" -- best episode of the season and of a quality nu-Trek hasn't been able to achieve despite trying to be all dark and dystopian
7. "The Forgotten" -- capable of bringing a tear to the eye
8. "The Council"
9. "Countdown"
10. "Zero Hour" -- minus the nonsense at the end that leads into "Storm Front"

Now that would be a pretty awesome little season, I'd say. ENT really hit a home run with the 3 episode sequence of "Azati Prime" / "Damage" / "The Forgotten". And for me, just 1 putrid episode in "Harbinger" though "Extinction" was trying very hard to join the club.
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Rahul
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 10:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Just disappointed at the amount of suspension of disbelief required to digest this season finale, which felt like a series finale given the feel-good moments at the end -- but I guess PIC was never certain of getting a 2nd season until much later... And there's no way Picard would actually die, so there's a bit of a cheap reset here.

The writers aren't very competent and they left a ton of stuff to sort out in this 10th PIC episode. They went for the homerun and hit a single. They went for the melodrama of Picard dying and giving Data closure -- more stuff about being human which didn't move the needle for me.

I will say it's nice to have had a bit of an epilogue after the big conflict, which was a major disappointment on its own. But the epilogue itself is highly contrived -- just not sure of the timing of when Soji/Jurati/Soong decide to use the golum for Picard vs. Elnor crying and Raffi consoling him and 7/Rios reflecting -- did the mourners not believe the technique could revive Picard?

My major gripes with the episode have to do with suspension of disbelief: Jurati all of a sudden being able to be competent on La Sirena, being able to pull off the old trick of replicating the ship all over the place. And then Riker who looked totally washed up in "Nepenthe" is able to summon a massive Federation fleet and arrive exactly when Oh gives the Romulans the order to "sterilize" the synth settlement. This was just too much to let pass for me. And don't even get me started on that imagination tool used to fix La Sirena and enable Jurati to make dozens of replicas of the ship to confuse the Romulans...

I suppose Picard should finally be written as the big-time hero after mostly being criticized and diminished in the prior 9 episodes. So now he convinces Soji to turn off the beacon -- she somehow listens to him -- I would have actually liked to see what this super-synth race could do! It looked like it could be quite over the top. At least the writers didn't let the Irumodic syndrome be a loose end -- it acts up as it should, I suppose. The warnings were there -- way back from Picard's old doctor from the Stargazer.

Some loose ends: What was the deal with Soji's mom? What was the point of showing Raffi's estranged son and pregnant wife? How did the synth ban get lifted so quickly? Did the Federation suddenly believe Picard -- and when? How many times did Jurati flip-flop allegiances and flip-flop from being PIC's version of Tilly to being all fucked up to being Tilly again? And what is this "quantum simulation" after Picard dies that he meets with Data? I just think there's too much nonsense built up over the course of 10 episodes. These writers Chabon etc. can't write proper sci-fi compared to the brilliant writers TOS had, for example.

Anyhow, I knew this is how things would end up -- plenty of early expository episodes that raised interesting ideas and characters, but ultimately the story is an unoriginal house of cards and lacks intelligence.

2.5 stars for "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2" -- more like a 6/10 than a 6.5/10 for me. Lots of contrivances here to get Picard to be heroic. Attempts at generating tugs at the heart strings as Picard dies when we know he can't possibly really die. One cool dynamic was the tenuous allegiance formed with Narek, who is a good character played by a good actor -- but the 1-dimensional Elnor character really sucked. PIC S1 finale had a nearly impossible task to fulfill and it got a half-assed job done.
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Rahul
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 4:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Tin Man

Found a greater appreciation for this episode than at the time I first reviewed it 3 yrs. back. Haven't seen it in its entirety since then but there are a number of special things about it that outweigh its shortcomings.

As a big fan of Star Trek soundtracks, this episode has one of the few standout or at least notable musical scores of Trek post-TOS. The flute is beautiful -- also used on VOY for Chakotay's vision quests and also in "Journey's End" for the Indian Wesley talks to. Too bad 99% of Trek soundtracks post-TOS are so bland.

Really liked the scene in Data's quarters where Tam emphasizes that what the android thinks about existence is relevant -- that he's not just circuits etc. The 2 really have certain things in common and that is well explored here -- ultimately, Data finds where he belongs on the Enterprise and Tam is where he belongs on Tin Man.

One gripe is when Data says no natural phenomenon can travel at warp -- 2 examples from TOS immediately come to mind: the cloud creature from "Obsession" and the aliens in "The Lights of Zetar". Also (if I'm not mistaken) the space particles (tachyons?) in DS9's "Explorers" -- but that would be in the future for Data at this point of time, unless tachyons were already discovered.

3 stars for "Tin Man" -- this is pure Trek and pure TNG. The actor playing Tam does a pretty good job, which was rare in early TNG especially. There's a Season 1 feel to it with bold ideas but what is not Season 1 about it is the execution and writing.
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Rahul
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 5:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Return to Tomorrow

Brundledan's brilliant comment on this episode (from 5/13/14) is worth reading in the context of what I would call "pure Star Trek" vs. modern day sci-fi including "nu-Trek".

"Return to Tomorrow" is a beautiful episode -- not perfect by a long-shot (especially the ending) but it is great sci-fi and Kirk's "risk is our business" speech is so fundamental to what Trek is about.

And by the way, happy 89th birthday Mr. Shatner!
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Rahul
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

@wolfstar, interesting theory and one that I like, except that I hope PIC doesn't conclude that Romulans can't be assimilated (because of "Unity" -- I don't like it when canon gets violated).

But in general nu-Trek would be well served by utilizing prior species/concepts and tweaking them as needed (i.e. rounding them out) to suit the purposes of the series rather than creating new species/concepts. This would also help with old fans who would automatically know the background. For example, I thought it was clever how the Sikarians technology has now been assimilated by the Borg. But if the series ever does come up with something totally original, then that's different. It's just that, for now, it looks like there are no new, original ideas in nu-Trek.

If the super-synth race is something that has never been seen before in Trek, then one has to simply wonder "why not??" or "how could it not have impacted classic Trek?" So if PIC does end up giving some more depth to the inhabitants of that planet that modified V'Ger, then I think that would cool.

But I'm still hoping for answer to my question about how, if the admonition was meant for synths so that they can be summoned, did Oh obtain it? And if these super synths are watching over the synths, and given their apparent incredible capabilities, do they really need to be averted when the synth planet is in danger?
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Rahul
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 6:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

Some additional thoughts after a 2nd viewing...

This is a rather disjointed offering, going off in a few different directions, throwing some new ideas at us. It does place a considerable demand on the finale to make some sense of a lot of things (which is damn near impossible to do).

The logic behind this super-synth race bugs me. The admonition was meant for synths so that they can be summoned. But then how did Oh obtain it? And if these super synths are watching over the synths, and given their apparent incredible capabilities, do they really need to be averted to when the synth planet is in danger? Something doesn't make sense to me.

I take it "Sutra" (shady golden Soji) killed Saga with a mechanical butterfly to the eye, blaming it on Narek and then releasing him as a way of reinforcing what the organics have in store for the synths. And then this leads to Picard being taken away etc.

And what to make of Picard's Irumodic syndrome and reinforcing that he's terminally ill at the start of the episode -- just for the excessive good-byes? I also wonder how "Elfnor" found out about it. I think the writers goofed here, unless I'm missing something.

Also thought Dr. Soong Jr. going from initially scolding Jurati for killing Maddox to apparently forgiving her so she could presumably work on the mind transfer was rather sudden -- guess he has no morals. He's then dissing Picard and supporting Jurati -- and the synths are supposed to make an exception for him as an organic. That aspect was like in the Augments trilogy from ENT. Like I said in my first comments, this character should not have been introduced at this time or at all.

Overall I don't think this is good writing or plotting -- like the writers thrive on sudden changes in motivations to create tension instead of it developing naturally. Everybody has to have a hidden agenda (Sutra is a prime example).

Mediocre episode after 3 decent to excellent ones. Big battle coming up between the synths and their super-ancestors and the Romulans next week. Guess the Borg cube will get involved somehow, maybe even a Federation response? Yippee!!
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Rahul
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 10:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

Kind of disappointed with the 1st part of the finale but I see a pattern (if 2 episodes make a pattern) where like DSC's "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part I", the episode lays on the good-byes pretty heavily -- excess melodrama. Otherwise it's a big set up show for the true finale which will no doubt have a massive battle scene.

Didn't like Spiner's appearance as some kind of retconned Dr. Soong Jr. or whatever -- could not help thinking of ENT's "Augments" trilogy. I just don't think he was needed other than to convince Jurati that she's in the right place and can advocate for the synths (like be their "mother"?) and discredit Picard for his pleas to get the Federation to end the synth ban.

I like the actress playing Jurati but I don't like the Jurati character. So she's supposed to give herself up for murder and maybe has re-acquired her conscience after the admonition's impact but now she's basically corrupted by Dr. Soong Jr. and betrays Picard. She flip-flops too much. Would have been nice to see her develop some conviction. There was also an annoying scene with her having some kind of melodramatic good-bye with Rios.

The Sudra synth character showed that Isa Briones is quite talented. But as far as a different interpretation of the admonition, that's an intriguing development, although where it goes with a higher level synthetic race offering to be summoned is straining my suspension of disbelief a bit.

Narek as a captive was interesting -- but somehow, I guess Sudra kills the synth guarding him with a butterfly to the eye and he is released?? What really went down between these 2? I liked the dynamic between Narek and Soji as I do believe Narek was in love with her but Soji is now disgusted with him.

Only 1 interesting dialog -- and again it's between Picard and Soji -- about the "logic of sacrifice" or the calculus of life and death. But I question the direction of overlapping this discussion with the synth Sudra interacting with Narek. The directors of PIC like this technique of juggling 2 key scenes at the same time -- I've had mixed results watching it and here it didn't work for me.

The main issue that bugged me was the good-byes especially Raffi's character out of nowhere getting overly sentimental toward Picard just before she goes to fix Rios's ship. This was ridiculous for me. I can understand it coming from Elnor (is this forum calling him "Elfnor" now?) toward Picard.

I didn't mind the slower pacing of the episode but it just seems that not much was accomplished. Dr. Soong Jr. was needless -- throwing Spiner a bone. In 24 hours 218 warbirds are to arrive and Picard is apparently a prisoner while Raffi/Rios have to fix La Sirena and the Borg Cube has to prep for battle. But now it seems as if the Romulans are right to wipe out these synths who would see them as they see the Federation -- 100% biological life forms. But are Sudra and Narek in cahoots?

This turn of events with the synths feeling they must fight against all non-artificial life reminded me of VOY's "Flesh and Blood" which was a very good 2-parter and this 1st part feels weaker.

2 stars for "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1" -- nu-Trek is employing a similar plan with this 2-part finale as it did with DSC's "Such Sweet Sorrow" and so we get a weaker 1st part. Hope the 2nd part delivers as the DSC 2nd part did. I continue to like the visuals and most of the acting (Spiner didn't do it for me here, which is rare) but the story/plot fell kinda flat and I'm not impressed with excess melodrama. But we'll have a big shoot-out next week and probably a WTF ending so not much will be remembered from this 1st part, presumably.
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Rahul
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: A Matter of Perspective

Reconsidering this episode and how I don't feel as good about it as I once did. It's fairly cliche with the capable scientist and his good-looking wife and along comes Riker -- throw in the usual TNG technobabble to prove how the murder happened and it's at best a decent hour.

Obviously has to be a bit heavy-handed in terms of the completely different interpretations of the events from Riker to the scientist's wife and even the assistant. Was a bit of an eye-roller sitting through these depositions again.

The motive issue for Riker is unlikely -- can't see him just losing it and killing the scientist.

Re-rating to 2.5 stars -- it is a bit better than "Ex Post Facto" as the most comparable episode, but not by much.
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Rahul
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 2:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Conscience of the King

@Chrome

I don't see anything sexist about Kirk's "woman always remains a woman" line either. He genuinely is falling in love with Lenore, a beautiful woman, in an old fashioned way and acts as a gentleman. I like the quote as well. The dialog is well written as are a number of solid dialogs in this terrific episode.

Of course, we know TOS portrays Kirk as quite the ladies man and that is very much product of that era.

But in today's world (and this goes to comments from Soji/Hirsch) of various sexual orientations and gender-bending, the quote comes across as out of touch. So now if you want to compliment a beautiful woman, you'd have to ascertain a few things... Times were much simpler back in the 60s.
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Rahul
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 10:42am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Broken Pieces

Thanks for the kind words James. Cheers.
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Rahul
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 9:38am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Broken Pieces

@James White

If you don't care what Dougie thinks, I suggest not reading his posts. It's pretty simple. Or you could go away. But I don't think you should tell others to go away.

There are a handful of people on this forum whose thoughts I don't care for so I just scroll past their posts whenever they come up -- it's easy.
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Rahul
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Conscience of the King

@Hirsch

You might also like the lyrics to Uhura's song "Beyond Antares".

I think they're wonderful lyrics for a love song in the context of outer space.
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Rahul
Fri, Mar 13, 2020, 9:26am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Broken Pieces

@wolfstar

Great post. Generally agree with all you say and your analysis. The problem with nu-Trek is the writing and, as you put so well, "ride" shows as opposed to "work" shows. Nu-Trek is about jarring emotional stimulation with little behind the curtains and that is disappointing.

I love TOS->ENT (to varying degrees but I do love all 5 series) but DSC was the first Trek series that I honestly didn't like (even if it didn't rate that poorly by my standards -- but this is due to producing fewer eps and being tied into a broad arc). I'd have to say I like PIC a lot more than DSC (the cast is vastly superior) but still not anywhere to the extent I like TOS->ENT.

You are singling out "Project Daedalus" as a standout DSC episode -- just wondering if you didn't mean "If Memory Serves" which I thought was excellent as the standout DSC S2 episode and best DSC episode overall. "Project Daedalus" was very good as well.
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Rahul
Thu, Mar 12, 2020, 10:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Broken Pieces

Overall a pretty good episode with some hit and miss moments -- some resolution and tying up of loose ends and seemingly setting up the final confrontation on Soji's home world. Characters like Raffi, Rios, and Jurati have good outings but Elnor is still a lost cause character-wise. Narissa who was a cardboard villain gets some much-needed background, as does Oh who appears to be the head baddie.

A general gripe I have is some stuff being farfetched / nonsensical or contrary to what we were told to believe: So the Romulans developed synthetic life like 200,000 years ago?? What were humans doing that long ago -- and yet now they are roughly technologically equal to the Romulans... Also thought Soji and Dahj were just 2 twins but there's a 3rd twin sister "Jana" who was killed by Rios's former captain? And somehow the Romulans lined up 8 suns (who knows how long ago) as a kind of warning to others to not screw around with synths?? That's a bit much.

Another flashback to start the show -- man do the PIC writers love them... So Oh has this admonition that is what the synths did a couple of hundred centuries ago and she forms the Zhat Vash 14 years ago but most of them commit suicide (why were they all female?) after seeing the admonition. Interesting albeit a bit on the brutal side... But we get the link between Narissa and her aunt Ramdha who had previously identified Soji as the destroyer. I liked how these pieces fit together.

The actor playing Rios is obviously very talented -- doing all these accents perfectly. The subplot with Raffi trying to find out what's up with him/Soji and getting the runaround from the various Rios holograms was a bit of a drag -- meant to inject levity, but a bit out of place in this episode for me. Also convenient that she gets exactly what has gone down... OK then.

Rios now has a good backstory with his former captain killing a synth and then killing himself, Rios' cover-up and then exit from Star Fleet. It is another piece that fits in well with the story aside from a 2nd sister for Soji when I thought she only had Dahj. PIC writers love their tortured characters and dark themes.

As for 7 turning into the Borg Queen -- this is excessive (cheap fan service), but I guess it's a last resort to summon the Borg. Still it is a bit farfetched given all the implants removed from 7 but we can waive our hands and accept it, I suppose. Liked the idea of reviving the Borg cube to battle the Romulans and Narissa and her goons trying to kill the drones or sending them out into space -- definitely pragmatic to the extreme. A brief debate between Elnor and 7 re. assimilation and how to control the Borg had some intriguing possibilities I think.

The episode covered a lot of ground -- lots to digest. Nothing particularly deep other than Picard's heart-to-heart with Soji about Data, which was quite welcome as a quiet moment in a whirlwind episode. Jurati looks like hell but that's appropriate given what she's been through. She's ready to give herself up, makes up with the crew -- that's ok enough.

3 stars for "Broken Pieces" -- lots of plot advancement and resolution which is mostly good other than some (minor) head-scratchers. I like that I'm coming around to the characters a bit more (Raffi in particular) and the cast is talented, though the writing is very basic. Definitely a better story to be told here than in DSC S2. Intriguing idea of crossing the threshold of synth evolution as sci-fi -- kind of the same as AI running wild in DSC S2 though it's better done here. Seems like a theme is deception/betrayal - Star Fleet's ban on synths is a betrayal, being duped by the Zhat Vash -- just great when what's supposed to be an upstanding and highly sophisticated organization gets conned by basically 1 person, Commander Oh.
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Rahul
Tue, Mar 10, 2020, 2:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Nepenthe

@Peter G.

I'm curious how you'd characterize Picard's behavior/actions in "The Survivors" -- here he keeps his crew (Riker notably) in the dark about his theory on the Uxbridges. He imposes his will on the apparently elderly couple and there are some leaps of deduction he comes up with which are hard to fathom.

I think he's borderline arrogant in this episode and a tad frustrated with the Uxbridges. But if there's a minor flaw with the Season 3 episode, it would be that he's so far ahead of Riker in terms of deducing what is happening. Riker probably didn't like being kept in the dark. (Of course I'm not saying he's been carrying that grudge with him all these years and it is what drives his chiding of Picard in "Nepenthe").

As for how the PIC writers are seemingly imbuing Picard with some arrogance via Riker/Troi, that's not their biggest mistake by a long shot. I think it's fair to assume that 14 years after the Romulan evacuation takes place and however many years after the last TNG movie, Picard has been stagnating and is a tad over-zealous in wanting to get to the bottom of they synth/Tal Shiar/Federation cover-up mystery. He's not the same measured, near-perfect, uber-cerebral man he was on TNG.
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Rahul
Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 11:35am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Nepenthe

@Eric Jensen

You think maybe the call the series Star Trek: Picardo??
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Rahul
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 10:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Nepenthe

Now this is what I want PIC to be -- "Nepenthe" is hands down the best episode of the series thus far. I was never a fan of the Troi character (or Sirtis as an actress) on TNG but here she's terrific and Riker/Frakes is great too -- just so much better to have 2 mellow characters instead of so much focus on the messed up characters that are part of Picard's motley crew. Good continuation of the plot for Picard/Soji although the rest is just decent at best (space ships, Jurati's inner conflict, fight scenes on the Borg cube).

The 1st act was literally a blur -- so much packed into it and then we switch over to Picard/Soji on Nepenthe which unfolds at a much slower pace.

Too bad Hugh gets killed but at least it's a meaningful death unlike just a typical red shirt dying. Hugh's had a notable role to play and the viewer can empathize with the good he's trying to do. Of course, Narissa is still a 1-dimensional villain but now she's got some serious fighting skills too. Elnor's character doesn't have much more depth - he goes all Legolas on some Romulans -- not totally sure what Hugh tells him as he breathes his last.

As for Jurati, still annoying -- enough with her puking already. So this week's flashback is that idiot Commander Oh, director of SF security, getting her to fight against the synths and undermine Picard's plan. Interesting choice to show this here -- guess they had to fill the viewer in (who is considered too dumb to figure stuff out). Jurati gets to drop this week's f-bomb -- gratuitous, as usual. I think the writers are going overboard with people having inner conflicts (Raffi, Soji, Jurati ) when the only one who matters is Picard.

But truly the best parts are Picard/Soji at Riker/Troi's home. Kestra was a nice addition -- a kid who could act (something not at all seen on prior iterations of Trek). Liked the scenes between Soji and Kestra and of course building a little sister / big sister dynamic.

So Soji can't trust anybody -- this has now been well established and it makes sense. Good scene with Troi as a counselor (I could never say that for TNG) .

Soji doing the head tilt -- never saw her do that before, but she does it here just to reinforce she's Data's offspring. Don't really think it was needed but whatever.

Also liked how Riker challenged Picard -- his arrogance "not sure you're up to it". Good writing and acting for Troi and Riker. Just really enjoyable watching them with Picard...

And what to make of the ending shot of the planet Nepenthe having 2 moons...Is it where Soji was "built"?

3.5 stars for "Nepenthe" -- definitely some very strong Trek here with Picard meeting up with RIker/Troi who were like 2 kindred spirits that the captain could use (not to mention the viewer). Soji and Kestra had a nice dynamic too. The rest of the episode was pretty standard stuff but the action had a bit more gravitas with Hugh getting killed -- hope they can do better with Narissa as a villain going forward. Also important in terms of adding depth to the episode is Troi/RIker guiding Picard, not just laying down and saying they'll do whatever for him -- as they are older/wiser, they are certainly acting that way. Excellent episode.
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Rahul
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 8:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Regeneration

Just re-watched this fantastic episode -- the very best of the ENT series for me. There's so much to like about it and everything that it gets right -- premise, acting, plot, visceral emotion, and even the musical score.

What I had forgotten about (hadn't seen it in a year and a half) was how Hoshi is concerned for Phlox after he's been infected and Phlox's measured response. Can't understate some of the little relationships formed by members of the NX-01 crew.

This is what a 4* Trek episode feels like. I'd encourage anybody who thinks PIC or DSC is knocking it out of the park to check out ENT's "Regeneration".
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Rahul
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

@Drea

Narek and Soji want info from each other but in their last interaction prior to this episode in "Absolute Candor" Soji was upset with/far more suspicious of Narek (after their stupid sliding around the Borg cube) -- so this is why I question why she'd go back to sleeping with him. Thinking rationally about how she'd react going forward, I believe she'd stop sleeping with him. But maybe you know more about "relationships driven by deception and coercion" than I do ;)

The truth of the matter is they are 2 of the better looking actors in PIC and so the writers are making them sleep together -- it's basic lowest-common-denominator stuff and is probably a demand from the show-runners that there be some action between the sheets.
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