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Thu, Jan 17, 2019, 8:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Brother

Different flavor to start Season 2 -- some humorous moments were notable (mostly Tilly's schtick) as a change from Season 1 -- but there were the usual great visuals and action sequences albeit short on depth and meaning as it seems we're on a potentially lengthy arc with just some exposition for now. Overall I thought "Brother" was watchable but not enthralling with the resolution of Burnham and Spock's relationship to be one of the focuses. Also felt like DSC was borrowing from The Orville at times (alien sneezes on Connolly) with the humor and some of the character interactions.

Pike comes across as a very laid-back captain. An extreme situation gives him command of Discovery -- felt a bit bad for Saru, who I thought was showing himself to be an able captain (can certainly give a decent motivational speech). But he seems to be one to get his hands dirty -- could never see Picard flying through an asteroid belt on TNG. He eventually returns the favor and rescues Burnham after she has a vision of this red angel - looked a bit like Sauron from "The Hobbit".

Interesting that the episode ran for an hour and 20 minutes (including commercials) -- plenty of filler material (as far as I'm concerned, although some might consider it exciting - like flying through the asteroid field). For me, this really seemed like pushing it just for the sake of thrills. The Enterprise science officer (Connolly) who came across as very cocky, jawing at Burnham, gets killed -- and yet the episode just moves on as if nothing had happened. So it seems loss of life isn't a big deal.

But there were some slower paced moments revolving around Burnham and childhood visions, the discussion with Sarek -- so what went down between her and Spock? Their introduction as kids didn't go so well. Sarek admits he hasn't spoken to Spock in some time but even after all this is over they should still be on difficult terms leading up to "Journey to Babel". I didn't find this whole bit that interesting as Star Trek tries to shoe-horn Burnham into Spock's earlier life.

The part with engineer Reno was weird -- how she and those bodies survived for months on that asteroid sounds farfetched. Wasn't impressed with the character or the actor or how her lines were written. But she's part of the mystery.

Some other weird odds & ends: the asteroid that they take into the cargo bay -- some strange properties that has Tilly curious; that the Enterprise was ordered to stay away from the Klingon war; Spock is onto something with these 7 red signals and it's messing with him.

2.5 stars for "Brother" -- mainly style over substance, not too much of a plot other than mechanical operations (dealing with the asteroid, change in ship's command) and setting up the arc. The Burnham/Spock thing starts out dubiously and it seems the resolution of their relationship is going to be goal of the arc. Not much learned about the threat of the red signals for now. Certainly watchable but not what I'd call great stuff -- the basics are somewhat accomplished but the outlook isn't intriguing enough for me.
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Tue, Jan 15, 2019, 1:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Wounded

Startrekwatcher writes:

"2.5 stars.

This was kind of a slow episode. Lethargic almost. The scenes weren’t as involving or thoughtful as I’d have come to expect from TNG. Overall just very “there”"

Does Startrekwatcher actually watch Star Trek??

Seem to find too many of his/her comments/ratings that are way off the mark. Should just go back to ignoring them.
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Mon, Jan 14, 2019, 11:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Survival Instinct

This is very much a VOY episode that arrives at a powerful dialog between Doc and 7 about the fate of 3 ex-Borg through a lot of arbitrary Borg sci-fi that doesn't come across as ridiculously far-fetched. So I'd call it a winner for sure. The ideals of individuality and family are touched on and I'm surprised Jammer doesn't mention Naomi in his recap -- her and 7 admit to being family and 7 has the friendship/company/support in Naomi in a way that the Borg collective used to give her.

I liked how the mystery built up about what happened with the missing memories from the campfire crash to before the 3 were re-assimilated. That 7 did something she would later regret was intriguing -- and that it came about from seeing another drone die and her not wanting to die alone. I like how the story tied this with her being assimilated as a kid and not understanding individuality yet -- some good elements working well together here.

One flashback scene made me chuckle -- when the Borg had a campfire BBQ as their individual memories resurfaced! As for the lighthearted part - the space station and all the friendly aliens + Tom/Harry's brawl -- it was a nice bit of levity to the episode. I would not be so harsh on Harry here as Jammer is.

But it's good that the episode builds to the Doc/7 discussion about "survival is insufficient" -- Doc talks about 7's guilt and his duty to preserve life as long as possible but 7 convinces him that he would not want to go back to being like a drone. This is intelligent well-conceived dialog and a big decision has to be made about the fate of the 3. Nice that it has a little epilogue with the 3 going their separate ways to live out their month of individuality.

3 stars for "Survival Instinct" -- liked how the Borg were used here and the Borg-babble was definitely sci-fi interesting - that it is arbitrary is fine in this instance. Good to use it to force a main character to deal with guilt/making a tough decision etc. The episode made sense from the standpoint of using 7's past, her initial devotion to the collective, and then her desire to keep the 3 from rejoining the collective.
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Sun, Jan 13, 2019, 4:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: What's Past Is Prologue

Just going thru a re-watch of DSC S1 -- some of the reasons I praised this episode (Saru's speech, the musical score when riding the spore blast wave, getting some resolutions) didn't hold up as well for me this time.

While I think Lorca as a straight-forward bad guy works (Isaacs is the best actor in the series), it also undermines much from prior episodes -- not so much a fan of that. But he puts forth a rather fascist doctrine which gives a vision to his plans -- that much is more than enough to not make him more than a cardboard bad guy, which is good.

The DSC episodes are watchable but parts of them do piss me off at times. And this episode fits that mold too -- there's enough here to bother me (Burnham / Mirror Georgiou overwhelming Lorca's forces, massive suspension of disbelief with how they escape the Mirror Universe) that I don't think this is a 3* episode as I initially decided.

2.5 stars for "What's Past is Prologue" -- Generally feel there isn't too much to distinguish the quality from 1 DSC episode to another. While the escape from the Mirror Universe is a huge stretch, the visuals are nice and we do finally get a real (albeit fleeting) feeling of science fiction which has been sorely lacking in DSC S1.
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Fri, Jan 11, 2019, 7:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: The Council

Much of what made ENT S3 a success is showcased in this episode -- good story, good action scenes, great production, visuals and character moments. Definitely one of the best of the season and the whole ENT series. The plot has enough moving parts so that it is not overly simplistic and it all fits well for a riveting hour.

Degra as a guest character is excellent here and the scene where he gets killed is a powerful one. One could see it coming like in mafia movies where he's all alone in a dimly lit room and the assassin pays him a visit, accuses him of something and then does the dirty deed. The Dolum character is just one bad dude -- nothing more than that. But this episode certainly benefits from all the groundwork laid in prior episodes this season such that Degra's death is poignant.

"The Council" also gives the impression of grandeur when the shuttle approaches the location of the council meeting and all of a sudden, the somewhat paper-thin council takes on more depth and importance. Liked how Degra characterized the various Xindi species to Archer. He was put through the wringer by the sphere builder who accused him of treason and while it is a bit foggy why the Xindi treat the sphere builder as Gods (Guardians), it becomes clearer how much Degra is departing from the norm to help Archer & co. when he stands up for what he believes in that goes against what the Guardian tells him.

Degra also makes peace with Trip (or is it the other way around?) -- this was a good scene for both of them. Degra's also told by Archer that humans and Xindi will work together in the Federation and that that's worth fighting for -- so we get some Trekkian ideals thrown in too.

Nothing too special with the B-plot breaking into the sphere but what came out of Hawkins' death between the major and Reed was great -- the 2 have an understanding for each other and respect. And of course T'Pol getting to use the "needs of the many..." line as Reed takes the death pretty badly. All good stuff.

3.5 stars for "The Council" -- in terms of structure a lot of plot was going on, a lot gets accomplished and the setup for the next episode is clear, but it doesn't lose sight of the characters' development. In a way it reminds me of "Tacking Into the Wind" which is a superior example of tons of awesome things going on but also with plenty of depth and implications for characters and the overall arc.
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Thu, Jan 3, 2019, 8:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

Re: "The Escape Artist" Short Trek

I enjoyed this light-hearted comedic short trek -- Harry Mudd gets the last laugh here in a somewhat clever scheme of creating androids of himself and collecting ransoms from various bounty hunters (Orions, Klingons, Tellarites). Not something to scrutinize carefully, one just has to sit back and let Mudd employ his smooth-talking, propositioning, threatening etc. Wilson does a decent job as an actor (and director). But realistically, for his schemes and existence to last as long as they do is pushing it.

I didn't mind the DSC Harry Mudd character in Season 1 but I liked Roger C. Carmel's portrayal from TOS far more. These are largely inconsequential episodes but just use the Trek framework for some inter-stellar crime drama/comedy.

However, bigger picture -- I hope that's it for Harry Mudd. Hopefully DSC can focus on much more important things. If DSC is intent on filling backstories from TOS, there are more worthy things to focus on.

These Short Treks are really short -- just 2 acts and 14 minutes of actual content. Not a good ratio given 25 minutes of elapsed time.
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Fri, Dec 28, 2018, 12:07am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

@Circus Man,

I wanted to end this discussion because it had gotten away from Star Trek but I can't permit what is essentially dismissing the suffering of the millions directly due to communism and socialism.

I'm not operating in good faith?? Try telling that to the millions who have had their lives destroyed by socialism/communism. I think you are being horribly insensitive with your snide and ignorant remarks Circus Man. You know -- they have memorials for victims of communism? It is hardly sophistry -- it is plain fact. I urge you to reconsider your argument -- tens of millions have been killed in the name of communism. That is indisputable history.

And to Paul M. -- I had to take objection to your misplaced use of hyperbole with calling neoliberalism "unbridled monstrosity" when you have just that in socialism/communism. I bring up the tens of millions of dead precisely because you brought up unbridled monstrosity. Why don't you say socialism/communism is an unbridled monstrosity? That's where I had to draw the line between what was a civil convo and what I thought was degenerating into left-wing fanaticism. I fully admit neoliberalism has its flaws.
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Tue, Dec 25, 2018, 2:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

so 45,000 deaths every year due to neoliberal capitalism -- (not sure where this figure comes from but assume it's right for the purpose of argument) vs. tens of millions from socialism/communism.

I think it's clear what the "unbridled monstrosity" is here even with 100 years of NC.

Anyhow nothing more to be said here. I'd prefer to discuss Star Trek instead of proving how misguided some left-wing fanatics are.
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Tue, Dec 25, 2018, 12:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

I can see the similarities between "The Visitor" and "The Inner Light" in terms of living an alternate reality but I do think the father/son dynamic is truly noteworthy here. The first time I saw it, I was nearly moved to tears and I can't think of too many other Trek episodes that have managed to do that. So even if it achieves its emotional impact with some smoke & mirrors and suffers from the big reset, it still deserves a ton of credit.

The acting performance that really takes this episode to the 4* level for me is Lofton's. Never thought much of him as an actor until "The Visitor". He really captured so well the loss of a father to a son. This is really a story about him (Jake) mainly and Sisko secondarily as far as what perspective to examine the father/son relationship from. Todd and Robinson also put in solid guest performances, which is essential to an episode like this.

As for "The Inner Light" -- I'd say 2 episodes that are more similar to it are "The Paradise Syndrome" and "Far Beyond the Stars".
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Tue, Dec 25, 2018, 12:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

"unbridled monstrosity that is neoliberal capitalism" -- what a joke.

How many deaths are directly attributable to neoliberal capitalism? If NC is an unbridled monstrosity, what would you call socialism/communism where literally tens of millions are dead due to it and many millions more suffered tragically under it?
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Sun, Dec 23, 2018, 4:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

@ Paul M.

I know what you're saying -- that the predominant force on the left is this democratic socialism, and traditional socialism doesn't have a "serious force" behind it. And I'd agree with that - thankfully. But what I don't know is the risk of democratic socialism moving further to the left and turning into full-blown socialism and, even worse, communism. Maybe that risk is small in today's world.

But to clarify, the Eastern European voices (small as they may be) are warning America more so about traditional socialism as that is what they lived through. They get concerned when younger Americans embrace socialism (in whatever form) without recognizing its history -- and rightly so, IMHO. It's a valid warning.
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Sun, Dec 23, 2018, 10:51am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

@ wolfstar

Yes that's exactly how I see it as well. The Soviet occupation of Poland/Czechoslovakia etc. is very much like the Cardies occupying Bajor and imposing communism. It's an ideological battle in one sense that the Bajorans are highly religious while the Cardies are all about the supremacy of the state (atheists).

And many Poles/Czechs who lived through the communism imposed upon them by the Soviets decry it and warn Americans not to embrace socialism -- for they've lived through the destruction it wrought. Some of them still harbour concerns about Russia just as it was always uneasy between Bajorans and Cardassians post-occupation.

As for fascism's allegory on Trek, I think the Klingons most closely resemble it although it's not perfect. They treat Kahless like a god. They have their power struggles / corruption and seek conquest. I think DSC tried to pick up on their racism / purity of race concept as well (albeit poorly) with the lighter-skinned Voq the outcast.
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Sat, Dec 22, 2018, 5:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Wire

Couple of things: I think it is more appropriate to compare Cardassia with communism rather than fascism. Some observations: They have a central committee not 1 main leader (like a Fuhrer). I think people might say it's closer to fascism because the Obsidian Order is more like the Nazi SS but communism has its KGB (USSR) and China has a 610 office to persecute various groups.

As for Garak, personally I'd stay TF away from him. While he's probably my favorite character on DS9, we know what he's capable of. In "In the Pale Moonlight" Sisko knows what road he's going down -- so who does he align himself with? Garak.

Garak, having been an important member of the OO -- he's forever lost his sense morals, decency. But he loves his Cardassia and would do anything for the betterment of the state. He loves his "Neverending Sacrifice". He's a communist henchman through and through, although he masks his capabilities well at times.
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Sat, Dec 22, 2018, 9:44am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Friday's Child

@Yams, Luthor, Peter G. --

McCoy is the expert on the Capellans -- it was established at the start of the episode that he had spent some time among them and was briefing the senior officers on their customs, warlike behavior etc.

As for his interaction with Eleen - as I said before their interaction was one of the better points of this episode. One should assume he knows how to deal with a pregnant Capellan female and doing what is best for the baby's survival. Above all else he puts his hippocratic oath.

The Capellans are a more primitive society and Eleen feels very duty bound but McCoy is, I believe, toeing the line between treating her as she might be treated by a Capellan male and trying to save the baby.

Specific to Yams' comments re. "hideous costume design, and the goofy fight scenes, and the absolutely perplexing character writing, it's all just so delightfully terrible and campy" -- you miss the point completely about TOS, though you're entitled to your opinions.

TOS didn't have the budgets other Treks did -- the costumes for an alien warrior tribe, I thought, were appropriate. The fight scenes were excessive in this episode, but reasonably enacted for the 60s - and I'm not disappointed in them today. The important thing is that the viewer understands what is going on.

And I certainly don't think this episode is "delightfully terrible and campy". It isn't a very strong episode for sure but it's definitely not terrible ("Spock's Brain" is terrible) and it's not campy like so many VOY episodes are, for example.

I think "Friday's Child" does a better-than-mediocre job of portraying tribal warfare/treachery and not to mention the theme of a superior power (Klingons/Federation) trying to win their allegiance/mining rights through different tactics. It's an entertaining hour of Trek but not a particularly profound one.
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Tue, Dec 18, 2018, 5:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Best of Both Worlds, Part I

Feel compelled to say something after watching BoBW Part I once again. It is just one of the finest hours of TV I've ever seen -- still get shivers as Picard goes "We have engaged the Borg" and of course the ending with Riker ordering Worf to fire.

And what an episode for Riker's character. Being bombarded from all sides -- questions from Picard about why he's not taking another captain's chair, the pissing match he gets into with Shelby in the turbo-lift, being forced into taking command of the Enterprise and firing on Picard/Locutus.

Frakes puts in one of his best performances -- really like his little acknowledgements to Geordi and others about Shelby "she's a real head of steam". I think this is RIker's best episode.

BoBW benefits hugely from a stellar guest performance from Dennehy -- normally TOS guest actors suck but her performance delivered everything it needed to.

Nothing held back in BoBW Part I. Everything is spot on about this episode from the writing, plot and to the score.

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Tue, Dec 18, 2018, 3:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Menage a Troi

This episode is far more revolting than I initially thought (and rated). Parts of the A-plot with Lwaxana, Deanna, and Riker captured were almost "Profit and Lace" bad. I just found nothing redeemable here.

Nice touch at the end with Picard making Wesley a full ensign after the only legit humor in the episode when he spouts poetry to win Lwaxana back.

But this episode also features genius boy Wesley figuring out Riker's signal before anybody else did -- one of the big drawbacks of a Season 1 episode where everybody else looks dumb compared to him.

The Ferengi, as usual, are terrible to watch. And they get away scot free despite the kidnapping.

0.5 star for "Menage à Troi" -- just one of those episodes that gets into the utter trash category and is easily the worst of TNG S3.
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Thu, Dec 13, 2018, 3:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Playing God

Really didn't enjoy this episode. 3 of the things I least like on DS9 are Trill episodes (there aren't many), Farrell as an actress, and half-assed attempts at sci-fi with heavy technobabble. The Ferengi are another I least like but at least they're not part of the mediocre episode that is "Playing God", which features 3 of my DS9 pet peeves.

Found it hard to care about Arjin the initiate and how he has to stand up for himself etc. There were some good heart-to-heart talks like between Sisko and Jadzia after which she gets a bit more confrontational with Arjin -- thought this was necessary. Also Quark has a useful heart-to-heart talk with Arjin that pulls him out of drinking his future away. But the overall plot of Arjin the initiate was dull.

The proto-universe things was weak -- the flight scene for its disposal in the wormhole had some interesting visuals but was it ever arbitrary -- of course it works out for a happy ending. And so Jadzia and Arjin just dump the proto-universe in the Gamma Quadrant and return to DS9? Is that how to solve the problem? Make it somebody else's? And what BS about Sisko having an hour to "play god". Also couldn't stand the technobabble about the proto-universe's expansion, destruction, containment etc. TNG would have handled this type of subplot/plot better.

There were some loose ends like the Cardassian voles and Jake's interest in a Dabo girl. Just symptomatic of a poorly thought out episode.

There was a bit of backstory on Jadzia and Curzon, a character that sounds quite interesting. The episode did give Arjin enough time to show his character as well -- wasn't that convincingly acted though. Just really hard to care.

2 stars for "Playing God" -- started out seemingly as a light-hearted almost whimsical episode but then came the imminent crisis part. Arjin's flight skills were successful in an arbitrary way and of course he gets a good sendoff from Jadzia. Some useful tidbits about Trills and a few good dialogs but overall a mess of an episode, uninteresting, and ultimately maybe even irresponsible with disposing of the proto-universe and maybe even Jadzia's assessment of Arjin.
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Wed, Dec 12, 2018, 11:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: In the Flesh

I like the ideas behind this episode but it's just seems too much of a stretch given what we know of Species 8472. One can understand their fear of the Federation after "Scorpion" but the whole bit of recreating Star Fleet and humans etc. seems like an overly elaborate way of preparing to destroy the Federation. I guess in a way it is somewhat like the Dominion planting shapeshifters among Star Fleet officers, but for 8472 to establish several bases in the DQ to master being human and then travel 60K light years to attack Earth seems a stretch to me.

We know 8472 as being extremely powerful with all kinds of telepathic abilities etc. But they were 1-dimensional and VOY wanted to give them another dimension, so here we are.

But this was an interesting episode -- good use of Chakotay here although it was very confusing at first. Was he in a holodeck or something in the opener? And how did the 8472 get such detailed info on the Federation anyway -- this should really concern Janeway. Her gambit is unrealistic to me, and this is supposed to be another bit of education for 7, who admits if she had her way, it would be all-out war. But at least Voyager knows 8472 still fear the Borg nano-probe weapons.

Good to have Boothby as a reliable guest character -- that helps the episode a fair bit. I guess the negotiations and diffusion of paranoia is handled well -- it's just the whole premise that is shaky, for me. But the tried-and-true Trek ideals of coming to a peaceful and mutually beneficial understanding between 2 very different species is somewhat sensibly portrayed here.

There was enough tension as both Voyager and the 8472 were prepared to fight. And there was enough tension with Chakotay on his date. Definitely an episode that holds the interest and I'm glad it didn't descend into the usual action sequences.

One line cracked me up -- when one of the 8472 said "pon farr night at the Vulcan night club" -- Anyhow, the weakness of the episode is the lack of credibility of the 8472's plan to impersonate Star Fleet to such a degree from like 60,000 light years away.

2.5 stars for "In the Flesh" -- decent, interesting episode but one that strains credibility even for VOY. For me, the 8472 episodes have been among VOY's best ("Scorpion" and "Prey") but here it's not really the 8472 and it destroys what mythos they had when they can morph into humans exactly and recreate Earth etc. But there are some worthy scenes with Chakotay and Boothby and of course the standoff and a nice, happy ending in TOS style.
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Wed, Dec 12, 2018, 8:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: The Q and the Grey

Not much to like in this one. The comedic aspects wore thin quickly and as a follow-up to "Death Wish" -- one of the better VOY episodes -- this one's a failure as it lacks any semblance of intelligence and, even worse, violates some of things that should be characteristic of Q the omnipotent species it is. The episode didn't know if it wanted to be a comedy or something serious. It was also structurally flawed.

The whole concept of de Lancie Q thinking human DNA can be like a messiah in the Q continuum is just ridiculous. But I liked the idea that there was dissension in the Continuum after the events of "Death Wish". But I didn't like that it basically took the form of physical war -- the Q are supposed to be far more advanced than humans and cognizant of the effects of their war on the universe. And then even less did I like that Voyager crew were armed with Q weapons and were somehow on level terms with other Q in the Continuum! The idea of Voyager modulating shields and technobabble to enter the Continuum via a supernova was also unacceptable to me. Just too much to shake my head at here.

I think Plakson as an actress is OK -- she's kind of a 1-trick pony. Not talking about her height but her snarky way of delivering lines. It worked as K'Ehleyr on TNG, but here her superiority complex wears out awful quickly and she just becomes annoying with her constant belittling of Voyager's crew.

It was a cool concept with a civil war among omnipotent beings causing supernovae with, really, the universe at their mercy. Why not a line or 2 about the destruction their civil war was creating in the universe as a means for a truce/peace? I think there was an opportunity lost here, but the writers were too focused on dumb Q tricks and one-liners. The episode also took an awful long time to get to the meat of the issue -- civil war in the Continuum. Way too much time spent on Janeway trying to evade de Lancie Q's "puerile attempt at seduction". But ultimately, maybe one of the redeeming parts is Janeway telling de Lancie Q about humanity's compassion, etc. But those handful of Trekkian ideological lines got lost in the stupidity quickly.

1.5 stars for "The Q and the Grey" -- closer to 1 star than 2 stars for sure. Just a mess of an episode and I don't like how the childish inner workings of the Q Continuum come across -- Trek should do much better with Q. This goes down as one of the handful of "bad Q episodes" in Trek's canon. Just too much here that doesn't make sense.
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Fri, Dec 7, 2018, 11:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Demon

Not sure where to begin on this one... There are so many stupid things about it, stuff that makes no sense, stuff that comes out of left field. It dragged for periods, went for comedy in the B-plot that came off slightly worse than usual. It gets to be a real head-scratcher upon further scrutiny -- but make no mistake, it's one of VOY's weakest hours.

The first couple of acts weren't that bad -- yes, it is odd that the ship all of a sudden is in dire straits for deuterium - some poor planning here. But I found it interesting that the show would actually look at a demon (Class Y) planet as a solution. Problem is they are very sloppy about it. I don't see how envirosuits should be able to protect humans at 500 Kelvin (like 440F) -- or has science already come this far? And yes, Tom and Harry leave the shuttle door open...

Interesting episode for Harry in that he gets some confidence all of a sudden -- and in the end he negotiates with Janeway on behalf of the silver fluid. It's a poor way to throw the neglected character a bone -- let him act some really stupid lines...

Where the episode goes south is the silver blood gaining sentience by duplicating Tom and Harry perfectly. This is too much suspension of disbelief even for VOY. Cloning seems more "reasonable" but this type of DNA re-write is pushing it. Of course Janeway won't hurt a sentient life (even if it wasn't sentient before duplicating Tom and Harry) -- but leaving a duplicate crew stranded on a planet? Talk about another controversial decision... But since the duplicates like that environment ... but then what about their memories for family etc.?? We haven't heard the last of this decision...

The padding with Neelix and Doc was lighthearted and fairly typical for these 2 -- it certainly wasn't awful but VOY has done much better humor. The 2 just tried to push each other's buttons. Just a fairly easy situation for humor with the crew quarters being reduced (low-hanging fruit).

Barely 1 star for "Demon" -- terrible episode but not as bad as "Threshold" or "Favorite Son" for me -- those episodes were worse in terms of outright stupidity. Just overall poor planning, a general sloppiness, and way too much suspension of disbelief required.
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Thu, Dec 6, 2018, 8:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

Re. The Brightest Star - Short Trek

So we get the story of the Kelpian Saru joining Star Fleet -- nice little tale. Seems like the perfect guy to join Star Fleet -- always been curious about the stars and questioning his pre-warp civilization's philosophies of "balance". I liked how Captain Georgiou handled the Prime Directive -- she tells Saru he can never come back to visit his people.

I guess Saru got the technology to make a communicator from a previously crashed space vessel on his planet.

Kelpian society seems awfully dreary -- periodic self-sacrifices en masse. But given only about 15 mins. of actual show time, can hardly get into any kind of serious exposition of the culture. But at least it makes its point.

Thing that's annoying about these Short Treks is that it seems there's as much time for commercials as for the Trek!
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Thu, Dec 6, 2018, 3:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Alternate

There really is very little here other than Dr. Mora and Odo making up and a bit of potential about Odo's beginnings but it's mostly slow-paced with a sci-fi monster terrorizing the station. Sloyan is a reliable Trek guest actor, often-used and rarely disappoints. I just think more time should have been spent on what went wrong between Odo and Mora instead of the technobabble and monster plot. Could have gotten a lot more character development about Odo here.

Plenty of padding with stuff like O'Brien crawling around, Dax/Mora checking DNA samples -- at times "The Alternate" really dragged.

There is Mora who acts like the detective and pins it all down to Odo -- I wouldn't call these scenes "fantastic" like Jammer does but they are the strength of the episode and are reasonably strong. I like how Mora is always trying to humanize and praise Odo for the job he does but Odo is very pragmatic. But Odo breaks down when Mora says he'll be imprisoned for the criminal acts the creature does. That part seemed hard to explain. Later Mora has plenty of regret and they make up -- this whole thing wasn't nearly as powerful as it could have been.

A low point (and typical for Trek) is the resolution -- Bashir has no explanation but after taking down the forcefield, they are able to conveniently extract the creature from Odo. But where is it? Is it dead somehow? I think some things are glossed over arbitrarily here.

There were some weird odds and ends thrown in like Jake having to study Klingon opera and the stone obelisk. No idea wha the obelisk means -- I think that's a loose end. Or is it simply that transporting it triggered the earthquakes and gas that poisons everybody "except" Odo?

A low 2.5 stars for "The Alternate" -- main takeaway for me is the wasted potential of learning about Odo's history and more about his backstory with Mora. This one was fairly boring for stretches, but Mora in future episodes holds decent potential.
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Sat, Dec 1, 2018, 10:50am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Necessary Evil

Springy’s post got me thinking of a couple of things since I re-watched both “Necessary Evil” and “Duet” in the last couple of weeks. I think they are the 2 best episodes of the first 2 seasons of DS9. But if I were to split hairs, I’d rate “Duet” higher. To be a geek: Duet (4*, 10/10, 98/100) vs. NE (3.5*, 9.5/10, 93/100). A couple of minor things bugged me about NE: the cliche that is the femme fatale and the idiot that is Rom.

IMHO “Duet” is a masterpiece and I’m prepared to call it the 2nd best DS9 episode. NE does have overall better production with the excellent flashbacks in black and white, but “Duet” doesn’t require that and Harris Yulin’s performance is probably the best guest actor performance I can think of on DS9. He is a TOS-style guest actor.

I’ve been critical of guest actors from the later Treks but Yulin’s command performance in “Duet” is the type that would welcomed on TOS. How he goes through the range of emotions, his various postures, etc. -- it’s riveting. I don’t know if he appeared in any other Treks as a guest actor. He should have if he didn’t. “Duet” elicited more of an emotional response from me than did NE.

One other opinion I have relating to Springy’s comment is that (not to give any spoilers) the arc that really takes shape in Season 3 and beyond is a lot more interesting/compelling than the Bajor/Cardassia/Federation largely political arc in Seasons 1-2 for me. I also have to concur that Sisko is pretty “uncompelling” at this point in the series. He’s overshadowed by Kira mostly but also by Odo who have had the best episodes focusing on them like “Duet” and “Necessary Evil”.
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Fri, Nov 30, 2018, 11:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Message in a Bottle

Fun, action-packed episode that is somewhat important for the rest of the series although I think it definitely could have been a lot more. There is an awful lot going on here -- too much I think, such as the Tom/Harry plot trying to re-create Doc -- so I'd call this episode unfocused. But the highlight is definitely the 2 EMHs -- Picardo and Andy Dick make a great combination. The episode gets farfetched in some respects but that's VOY for you. Comedy is the name of the game here -- and on that basis, it's a success.

I think the Mark II EMH on the Prometheus was a bit too much of an exaggeration, critically speaking, but it made for an entertaining hour. I did think back to "Projections" for Doc to have someone to trade barbs with. The adventure in re-taking the Prometheus was fun but I do wish the episode had been able to spend more time on relaying news of VOY to Star Fleet and getting more about news in the AQ (Dominion War etc.) back to VOY -- instead of Doc's 2-minute recap at the end. Janeway's line at the end was a nice cap on the episode that gives the crew hope, which is what we want after all.

Good that the episode kept up the theme of 7's difficult integration in to the VOY crew -- little bits like this about inter-relationships within the crew should be sprinkled into episodes frequently and not be regarded as frivolous. But the Tom/Harry comedy routine recreating Doc went on for too long. We can certainly appreciate the special relationships between certain members of the crew, but I think this episode is meant to be a pivot point, planting some seeds for new arcs (including the Hirogen) so episode time has to be used more judiciously.

Thought the Prometheus "concept ship" was cool -- but the farfetched part is how the separation takes place and Doc just says attack pattern alpha and that drives away the Romulans. The ending had to be resolved and so the writers waived their magic wands... Poor overall planning in writing this episode.

2.5 stars for "Message in a Bottle" -- Doc is one of the stars of the show and it's rare to have a bad Doc episode ("Darkling" not withstanding). This one was largely an excuse to get Picard and Dick to do a schtick but there's plenty of meaningful stuff here that isn't given enough time to ponder (message from crew to home and back, news about AQ etc.)
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Thu, Nov 29, 2018, 7:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Sanctuary

Here's another heavy-handed allegorical Trek episode with plenty of filler material due to a very basic plot. It tries to hammer home the point with a meaningless death in the end as a refugee makes a break for it. I think what is relevant is Bajor's ongoing instability with the provisional government frustrating Kira and the planet turning xenophobic after years of Cardassian occupation.

Liked the 1 mention of the Dominion as conquering the conquerers of the refugee farmers looking for a home. There was also a brief mention of the Dominion in "Rules of Acquisition" -- so early in Season 2, DS9 is dropping hints at something potentially big.

Thought it was interesting to see the Universal Translator not working initially and then gradually starting to work. There are a number of things taken for granted in Trek with first contacts but I thought it was refreshing to go through the process with these Skrreean refugees on DS9, although it dragged on a bit with the kids picking up stuff etc.

Plenty of filler in this episode -- like with the Bajoran musician, the nonsense with the refugee kids and Nog. Should have had more of a B-plot with perhaps Kira and the Bajoran provisional government or more about the Skrreean beliefs/travails could have been explored.

So we can understand how the Skrreeans don't take well to being rejected by the Bajorans. The whole Bajoran decision is understandable from their point-of-view. But the Bajorans clearly don't have the full story of the persecution of the Skrreeans like 1st world countries do today of the refugee crisis or caravan. They are dealing with a world in the GQ, whereas we on Earth are just dealing with another country and have good knowledge of the situation. So without full information, the Bajorans take a decision that is understandable. And the Skrreeans are hard-headed in their belief that Bajor is the planet they must go to instead of Sisko's suggestion. This is one of the heavy-handed parts. So no subtlety here in manufacturing conflict.

Barely 2 stars for "Sanctuary" -- just not enough happening for long stretches and the ending with the Skrreean ship destroyed by the Bajorans had no impact (was quite predictable). The main plot wasn't interesting but some of the details of the situation on Bajor are more relevant. This type of story is not original for Trek.
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