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Real Human Robot
Tue, Oct 24, 2017, 11:00am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Lethe

And I'm done. After this episode was over, I canceled my subscription to CBS All Access so I wouldn't be charged for another month. I've watched every episode and movie of Star Trek (except TAS), but I just can't do it anymore. I can't pay for a show that I don't enjoy and that doesn't make me feel like Star Trek used to.

A few parting thoughts...

So this episode highlighted that Discovery has created a story in which the Vulcan Science Academy is more racist in its admission policies than public US Southern universities and colleges were in the 1960s. So much for Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.

I'm surprised at the amount of praise -- coupled with intolerance for dissent -- there is lately for Discovery on the Star Trek subreddit. It seems like a lot of people have adopted a Star Trek: Love It or Leave It attitude. Which I suppose sort of mirrors the lack of choice CBS, by only making the show available through All Access, is giving those of us in the US.

Lastly, I first started to really feel this way about the franchise with the reboot movies, and so it's interesting to see how many people connected with JJ Abrams and friends there are working on Discovery: Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman, Heather Kadin, and Jesse Alexander, as well as Craig Sweeny and Aaron Baiers (the last two via Kurtzman and Orci on Limitless).

Thanks to Jammer for hosting this site and providing a forum in which to discuss so many episodes of Star Trek. Agree or disagree, I've enjoyed reading the diverse range of thoughts, opinions, and analysis that so many people have shared here.
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Real Human Robot
Sat, Sep 30, 2017, 10:38am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: If the Stars Should Appear

@Darren, hear, hear. My wife and I are also enjoying The Orville as a fun romp down memory lane which is often laugh-out-loud funny. I think the fact it doesn't take itself so seriously is quite refreshing, especially conpared with the tone of Discovery so far, which projects a sanctimony I'm just not buying yet. Maybe after 50 years of canon, it's more fun to see homages done in its spirit (even if they smack a bit of fan-fiction), than it is to see shoe-horned-in additions to it (especially when they try to "modernize" its spirit).

By the way, the premise of "For the World Is Hollow..." is hardly original when compared to the set up of the 1963 book Orphans of the Sky by Robert Heinlein. And actually, David Mack even pointed out that "For the World..." cribbed many of its plot points from the previous Star Trek episode "The Paradise Syndrome." I mean, TOS could be accused of repeating others and itself. At least so far, The Orville can only be accused of repeating others.

@Jammer, is it really worthwhile for you to continue reviewing this series if nearly every episode is going to be "two stars/too much like Star Trek/too not funny?"
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Real Human Robot
Tue, May 23, 2017, 7:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Cogenitor

I think the reason that this episode has resulted in such divisive (not to mention lengthy) commentary is because not one, but two officers can be seen as dropping the ball in the way that they relate to the Vissians.

Although I empathize with Trip's desire to help the Cogenitor (Charles from now on), I can also understand how many commenters here believe he was wrong to interfere. After all, considering the likely practical consequences of Trip's actions, he wasn't ultimately doing a very good job of advancing the cause of the Cogenitors. The establishing of normalized diplomatic and cultural relations would have gone a long way towards allowing the two species to understand and influence one another. And that relationship would have allowed for the human concept of individual rights – for all – to permeate the Vissian society and hopefully help to liberate the three percent of their race being currently oppressed. But Trip severely damaged what could have been an otherwise successful first contact through duplicitous meddling (including lying about where he was and visiting the quarters of the chief engineer without permission). As a result, the Vissians, fearing and mistrusting the influence of humanity, may go to great lengths to avoid them in the future. And since Charles is dead, it's not as though they – I think that's the best pronoun to refer to the Cogenitor sex – will be able to inspire any revolutions at home. So if Trip really wanted to help these people, he's not done so in a very effective way, and he probably should have just kept his nose out of their business. It also wasn't as though anyone had come to him asking for help. Not to mention, rushing off to play the White Knight can often be dangerous. Oftentimes a person can become emotionally invested in a cause about which he knows just enough to be dangerous.

However, once Trip had interfered and had opened Charles' eyes to the possibilities of life, Archer absolutely had an obligation to honor their request for asylum, whether it was politically inconvenient or not. I understand his confusion about what was “right” at this point. He's enjoyed his time with the Vissian captain. He wants to try to salvage what he can of a first contact which, up unto this point, had been one of the shining stars of their mission. He's hearing T'Pol argue strongly for Charles' return. But all of that is made irrelevant by the very clear path which millennia of human international law and tradition have laid out for him regarding asylum. As far back as ancient Greece, slaves had the acknowledged right to flee abusive masters and, reaching a temple or altar, demand to be transferred to a more benevolent person. And our own twentieth and twenty-first century law lays out the framework for asylum quite distinctly: refugees fleeing persecution have the right to be granted asylum. That Charles' predicament constitutes persecution is quite clear, given its definition within, for example, the United States' court system, which lists numerous types of harm that apply here: forced labor (and possibly sexual abuse), slavery, unlawful detention, intimidation, interference with privacy, deliberate deprivation of employment and other life essentials, and restrictions on access to education. The United Nations definition of a refugee (from the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees amended by the 1967 Protocol) specifically mentions membership in a caste or social group as one of the protected grounds – and Charles' Cogenitor status obviously qualifies. Finally, what completes the UN definition of a refugee is that he is outside the country of his nationality. Once Charles is on board Enterprise (a ship flying the flag of Earth, so to speak), they are no longer in Vissian territory. Archer can ream out Trip all he wants for getting him into this predicament, but his failure to accept the asylum claim flies in the face of every legal and moral human tradition he claims to uphold. In fact, returning Charles is a violation of the central doctrine of refugee protection: non-refoulement.

Archer seems stuck in the sort of emotionally-based logic common to borderline personality, rather than dealing with the situation as it is now. He wishes Trip had never interfered. Sending back Charles is an attempt to make it as though Trip had never interfered. Ergo he sends them back. But that's not the reality. Charles is a different person now. Charles is asking for his help now. And in my opinion, it's far more wrong for him to deny Charles their right to self-determination than it ever was for Trip to stick his nose in where it didn't belong. What matters here is that Charles is a person with desires and rights – and seeing not only their own culture willing to trample on them but also this new alien one would be more than many people could take: it might just seem like the whole universe was unjust.

I don't think Picard would have answered the question this way. In “The Outcast,” although he can't officially sanction Riker's rescue of Soren, he doesn't stop him from acting independently, and it's hard to believe that Riker would have made the attempt if he didn't believe that, once Soren was liberated from detention, her request for asylum from the Federation would have been granted.
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