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Tue, Apr 25, 2017, 9:59am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Rascals

2 out of 4 is just about right, as only 1 out of the 2 plots in this story really worked. The main adults-turned-into-children plot actually raised some interesting questions about how various people would deal with the rather mixed blessing of being so extremely rejuvenated (without any certainty that the effect can be reversed). The "Ferengi take over the ship and the crew have to take it back" secondary plot seems more like filler material than anything else, a ridiculous contrivance just to provide the adults-turned-children a situation that conveniently turns their problematic condition into an advantage.

Really, for all the hokey techno-babble in the explanation of how the transporter turned the adults into children, watching the ways they deal or... fail to deal with their transformation is pretty much the best part of this episode. I really would have liked the whole thing a lot better if the writers had cut out the secondary plot altogether and just focused on the adults-turned-kids trying to adjust to their situation. Yes, watching Riker flim-flam the Ferengi engineer with a lot of technical gibberish was pretty hilarious, but I would gladly trade that for a running gag of teen Picard repeatedly having to explain what happened to him to everyone he knows everywhere he goes. ("You know, Admiral, I am REALLY beginning to get tired of explaining this for the umpteenth time...")

Actually, the real crime the writers committed concerning this episode is that they never thought to bring back the new use for transporter technology they accidentally discovered in this episode for any other Star Trek story ever again. As some other reviewer once pointed out, had Starfleet perfected the rejuvenation technique Picard and his crew discovered here, the whole Star Trek: Insurrection movie need never have happened. To rub the writers' oversight in further, a certain fan fiction writer eventually *did* write a story based on this technology ( that would have made just as good an episode of the show as anything in its actual canon.

With Miles and Keiko, I can understand why the show's writers really wouldn't want to pursue their dilemma any further, as his decision either to stay with his wife and try to make his marriage work (meaning he'd have to try to get over his squeamishness about satisfying her in bed) or take the coward's way out by divorcing her (over a situation that is in no way her fault) would surely have ticked off a lot of the show's viewers either way. Still, just bringing up the O'Briens' dilemma at all surely earns the writers some praise for leaving the viewers a tricky question to ponder. In fact, it inspired at least one author to put the characters in his novel ( in a similar situation and then have them come up with a controversial (but effective) solution.

Then too, as some of your commentators here have pointed out, having Ro Laren keep her youth and try to have a happier childhood the second time around might have taken the whole Star Trek franchise in some more interesting directions and allowed for more character development, especially since her adult actress Michelle Forbes refused to stick around for Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Really, I don't think the franchise's writers ever fully appreciated all the potential material for follow-up stories this episode left them. They must have been too busy trying to forget their severe misfire with the secondary story to realize how successful the primary story of this episode was.
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Sat, Aug 31, 2013, 7:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: The Voyager Conspiracy

What's really funny about this episode is that it aired well BEFORE 9/11, and predicted the manner of lunacy we were to see from the Truthers remarkably well.

Of course, Truthers are hardly the first cranks ever to act that way. Even back before they were trying to claim that the Mossad did a controlled demolition of the WTC towers, a lot of these nutcases were trying to blame Jews and Israel for everything bad that has ever happened in the world ever, EVER, and "debunk" the Holocaust with the very same rapid-fire-random-data-points-and-tie-them-all-together-into-a-conspiracy-theory method Seven uses here.
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Sat, Aug 31, 2013, 6:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Coda

I agree with Ryan on this one. "Coda" was basically a "maybe it's the afterlife, maybe just the alien-of-the-week" plot which is deliberately left unresolved. The initial time-loop sequence, in addition to being a red herring, was there to suggest that whichever it was, this fellow come to claim Janeway did have some control over time and he WAS showing her a possible future.

What nobody seems to notice is what I think is the best part of all: the ending in which Janeway basically tells her log she sure HOPES this was just another one of those bizarre alien anomalies local to the Delta Quadrant and that she's left him behind for good now, but that considering what she's heard of other near-death experiences back in the Alpha Quadrant, there's really no way she can ever be sure. Might Janeway really have met a demon come to drag her to Hell?

Good question, though of course the episode has to close without answering it in order to keep from saying for sure whether Satan or something like him really does exist in the Star Trek universe, which would in turn raise complicated questions of whether that means God is there too and what kind of dealings with each of several million different sentient species in the Milky Way alone such a God would have. (Is the same guy in charge of Sto-Vo-Kor and the Divine Treasury, or are Heaven and Hell franchises or something?)

One reason I like this kind of episode so much is it's the very kind of story that the hopelessly naive humanist Gene Roddenberry never allowed while he was alive for fear of losing his foolish faith in humanity's supposed inherent goodness. "Go back to Hell, coward!" indeed!
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Sat, Aug 31, 2013, 6:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The Alternative Factor

Actually, when I look at this episode, I see a potentially good story somebody was trying to make that obviously didn't quite manage to emerge on the screen. If I understand the technobabble correctly, one Lazarus was from the regular universe and the other from an anti-matter universe. If you put matter and anti-matter together, they'll explode, so obviously mixing one universe with the other would cause both to explode, and one Lazarus was determined to stop this at any cost while the other hated him and was determined to kill him at any cost, including the destruction of all the universe.

The story that this could have been? Had the technobabble been done better, maybe this whole situation would have made more sense. Also, instead of suggesting the whole universe was at stake, simply suggest you'll get a supernova-sized explosion if a planet from the other universe gets through, and worse if more than that does. Suggest also that tragic and disastrous stuff like this has happened before because there wasn't any Enterprise around to intervene (which might even make it a little more justifiable that the Enterprise keeps running across all these world-threatening cosmic events week after week; hey, here's what happened when it was Cyrano Jones who encountered the world-threatening anomaly instead--the whole sector got fried).

But what would have made it the best of all would be if anyone had been looking forward to the revelations of a slightly later episode. Imagine this ending: as the U.S.S. Enterprise goes its merry way after resolving the situation with Lazarus, the scene suddenly flips over--literally--to the anti-matter universe, where a certain other Enterprise is just arriving...

Kirk: "What was that? Spock, what the hell just happened down there?"

Spock: [Strokes his beard.] "I am unable to make any determinations at this time, Captain..."
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Sat, Aug 31, 2013, 5:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Whispers

It was a rather well-done mystery, though given some of what we saw in other episodes, it occurred to me from the start that Sisko might well have good reasons for trying to put something over on O'Brien. After seeing some of Sisko's underhanded dealing with Starfleet and how cleverly he could subvert the spirit of his orders while following them to the letter, that he might arrange some distractions to keep O'Brien busy and out of the loop was entirely believable and consistent with his character.

I do agree that last scene seemed a bit odd. It's tragic enough that O'Brien is dying for basically doing what he believed to be the right thing; having him send his last regards to Keiko seemed a bit strained and over the top, especially considering what would have to be his lingering doubts that she really was the Keiko he knew and loved.

The whole plot, incidentally, is very similar to Philip K. Dick's short story "Imposter" in which it turned out the unwitting imposter's realization that he was an imposter was also the trigger for his hostile programming (which instantly detonated a nuclear explosion on Earth so enormous that the last line of the story says it could be seen all the way to Arcturus). If Sisko or anyone on his staff had ever read that story, it makes sense that everyone would try to avoid tipping the duplicate O'Brien off to his condition until they had him either completely subdued or safely away from the station.
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