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Robert
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Flip

"A narrative is not the same as real life, and what's narratively satisfying goes beyond simple plausibility."

They aren't setting up a narrative. At least, not yet. It's a small scene that will almost certainly be followed up next season. The comparison to Chakotay/Seven was given already, but this is actually better than that because there's time to write a Seven/Raffi story still.

Generally I agree with you all that it was out of the blue, but it's hardly important for this episode and maybe that's just the way it should be.

@Tim:

"They got pushback for the heterosexual coupling too! There were pages and pages of comments here complaining about Jurati and Rios. Some called it a pander to the primal instincts of the audience"

One thing is for certain, even in the off-chance that some writer from the show is reading such comments, they wouldn't take such criticism seriously. Trek's always been bad at setting up romantic relationships, but I think DISCO at least got that right. Hopefully, Jurati/Rios will get some more relationship time together next season, but I won't be upset if they just move on and find other people. Not everything has to be huge episode-long or arc-long story, There just wouldn't be time.
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Robert
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 11:17am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Supposedly, Seven's sexuality is brought up originally with the Byazl character where she said something ambiguous about a relationship the two women shared. When the episode aired, people here did bring up that Seven might be at least bisexual, so it must've resonated with some viewers.

The studio's in an awkward position where it wants to portray more homosexuals but it knows it will get push back no matter how its done. To be sure, this show isn't expressly about sexuality, so there's no reason why they should go in depth about anyone's sex life. They chose to do play lesbian characters subtly. Yes, they could have gone at the topic from another angle, but at least they're moving.
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Robert
Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 6:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

Just in case anyone still wants to see this, they're giving away a month of free All-Access due to the corona virus until April 23rd. Just run a search for this offer (I think you need a promo code). Hope this helps some people. Stay well, all!
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Robert
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Again with the Keiko jokes. I see we've hit a new low in the comedy department.

I'm looking forward to Jammer's review.
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Robert
Tue, Mar 24, 2020, 8:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Reunion

Nice try, but Klingons aren't "black" nor is Alexander ever played by a black actor.
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Robert
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 11:07am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

"Mr. Plinkett’s ST/SW reviews are essentially expressions of that Inner Old Man"

That's not really true. They liked ST: 2009, after all. Most of it's critical analysis for the sake of critical analysis, but to say "RLM hates all the new stuff and loves the old stuff like an old man" is misunderstanding their content.
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Robert
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

Yanks said:

"Because [Arik Soong] is Lore?"

It's true we don't know what happened to Lore (though it's likely he was terminated) and Arik does seem by all accounts a sketchy character, but Arik's need to finish the golem in order to keep on living seems genuine. It's also hard to imagine what Lore would want with an android that can carry a biological's thoughts, as he himself said that biological beings are inferior to synthetics.

My real question is will Picard and the Romulan fleet really be on opposing sides next episode? It seems like the Romulans have been vindicated by Sutra's actions, so it wouldn't be surprising if we see an alliance, even if a temporary one, between the Picard's crew and the Zhat Vash. It would also be a shame to throw away characters like Narrek and Rizzo who have gotten so much screen-time this series, for better or worse.
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Robert
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 6:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

@Dom

Don't forget bouncing green CG Yoda who gives up after a single fight! My poor childhood nearly died that day. When I watch A New Hope I just pretend that Obi-Won was waxing sentimental about a different set of adventures we never got a movie for.

Then I realized that if Jar-Jar didn't kill Star Wars, it must truly be immortal.
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Robert
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

Exactly, Gerontius. You can't kill off good art that easily.

For me, the original Star Wars trilogy was the best, then they released the prequels which were just horrible, and now there's three new movies that range from interesting to extremely underwhelming. However, none of that hurts my enjoyment of the original Star Wars movies.

I suppose if someone's a perfectionist to the extent that any blemish on any part of a series they love destroys the whole thing for them, it's a problem. But by the same token, it's impossible for a practically eternal franchise like Star Trek to continue making something that caters to a single scrutinizing fan's interests.
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Robert
Fri, Mar 20, 2020, 5:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

@Lee B

Don't listen to the critics who lump everything together as "Nu-Trek" or "Kurtzman's work". You never see Jammer doing that because it's a sure sign of lazy critical analysis that doesn't consider the moving parts of production vis-a-vis other staff members.

To put this into perspective, try calling TNG, DS9, VOY, and ENT "Berman Trek". Is Berman's influence so strong that those four shows seem the same? No one would with any familiarity of those shows would make that claim in good faith.
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Robert
Thu, Mar 19, 2020, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

I really enjoyed this, although the caveat is our enjoyment hinges on the next episode paying off all these setups. The best material for me were people paying their respects to Picard which works as a sort of proxy for the audience paying its respects to the real world Picard, Patrick Stewart. Of course we know he's going to somehow survive next episode, but we don't know the form of survival and whether he'll be the same key figure he was this season. I suspect Soji will gain the most from Picard's passing, as this show seems to setting up Soji as the next enlightened person (akin to Picard and Data) who really understands how the Federation works.

On that note, I love how anti-violence and anti-murder Soji was in this episode. She has clear motivations that we can sympathize with for wanting to kill Narrek and maybe other organics, but she has a higher ethical reasoning than most others which won't allow her to become a killer. That's what makes Soji special, and I think that's going to play a big part in the next episode.

Spiner was a treat to see. Although he wasn't pitch-perfect, he did well playing this sort of desperate yet passionate scientist very concerned with mortality. The way he jokes about his lifespan and admonishes Jurati for killing Maddox shows he really fears for the end of life, or perhaps just the end of the Soong legacy. It seems pretty obvious to me that he will not be able to use the "golem" to keep himself alive, though.

Finally, it looks like orchids are going to back in fighting form next episode and maybe we'll see the Borg Cube get in on the action destroying the enormous Romulan fleet. If the bloodshed foreshadowed here takes a backseat to a more elegant and Trekkian solution, I will be satisfied.
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Robert
Mon, Mar 16, 2020, 10:46am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Nepenthe

@Walrus1701D

"A friend of mine, after we both watched the early-TNG episode, "Conspiracy," said it would be crazy if the parasitic creatures in that episode were behind the evil plot in this series. While it is off-putting that TNG never followed up on an adversary that was clearly set up to be an ongoing threat, I immediately tried to curtail his excitement. Such an outcome would cheapen the entire story of this new show based on character development and complex themes. Those pink,spiny-gilled, stop-motion creatures can stay dead for all I care."

Your friend was right on the money. TNG did follow up "Conspiracy" - with the Borg. The Borg is basically the same type of threat as those parasitic creatures but with a robotic design over an insectoid one. If you read some of concept information behind the Borg, it's been revealed that Berman and company planned the Borg to be insects originally, but it was visually too expensive.

The stop-motion animation was a good product for its time. They didn't have CG or the like, yet the odd jerky movements of the clay substance they use in Conspiracy are reminiscent of bugs.
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Rob
Sun, Mar 8, 2020, 5:24am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Friendship One

This episode is outstanding. Exactly why I like Trek. I didn’t over analyze and just enjoyed the great acting and plot. The premise is very interesting- a hand of friendship inadvertently causes destruction. 10 out of 10
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David Strobel
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Nepenthe

Marco,

Yes, exactly! Niven's Kizinti only appeared in the animated series in the Trek universe as far as I know. But I'd love to see them in more than a throwaway line and tip 'o the hat to TAS. Still, nice detail.
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Robert
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Nepenthe

“Does this show ever explain why Picard doesn't just take the pile of dead Romulan bodies in his chateau to a Federation official?”

I think that’s what this episode addressed using Riker. Picard didn’t hand this mission over to Starfleet, or even his old crew, because he was still arrogant enough to think he could handle Dahj’s dilemma on his own terms. We also get part of the reasoning for Picard’s decision here. His life was saved by Data and thus he has a personal stake - similar to Kirk over Spock - in Data’s legacy.
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Robert
Wed, Mar 4, 2020, 5:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

@Mike

Great point. Where’s the fun of exploring the unknown if Big Brother is watching your every move? *If* this were a Starfleet ship, there would probably be an extensive investigation, but La Sirena is just a civilian ship with whatever random tech the captain feels like using.
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Robert
Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 6:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Jammer, I've been on your site for awhile now and I really appreciate your reviews and discussions here. I think a few points in your review are worth discussing this week so I'd like to go ahead and respond to those.

"About that [amputation] scene: It's the most gruesome and off-putting scene in the annals of filmed Star Trek. A scene in which an unidentified man — ultimately revealed to be poor Icheb, who was "like a son" to Seven — has his eyeball drilled and then pulled out of his head with a metal claw as he lies strapped to a table screaming. We're spared only the worst of the worst sights with just-barely-merciful camera framing. So, yes, you have my attention, but for all the wrong reasons."

Much of the Borg assimilation threat, tracing back to The Best of Both Worlds, is the body horror associated with the assimilation process. We've seen Picard face a similar drill to eye, a circular saw to the head, and multiple amputations of various appendages. Granted, that body horror was made for daytime television, but we need to take into account that STP is a sequel to TNG for the audience who grew up on it. It seems natural that they'd have to up the graphic detail for adult eyes to get the same shock of the original Borg assimilation. If they copied the 90s effects verbatim, the now saturated audience would not perceive the process with its original fear factor.

Admittedly, we aren't dealing with Borg assimilation in this scene exactly, rather the fallout from the assimilation process with hungry harvesters in search of Borg parts. Nevertheless, it's all connected to the Borg/synth legacy which this series seeks to explore. To understand the pain of what these ex-Borg are going through here, it helps to see some of that assimilation body horror again.

"(Can someone explain to me why Picard isn't instantly recognized by people who should know who he is, given he's the famous former Locutus of Borg, whom ex-Borg-hunters might be interested in?)"

As far as I know, this is Romulan space, so that should explain why they wouldn't immediately recognize the now recluse Picard. As for why they aren't after Picard generally, the story specifies that Bjayzl is interested not in former Borg, but specifically the parts from former Borg. Seeing as how Picard had all those parts removed, he's not a target, and therefore unimportant.

"But what we get here is depressingly rote. Revenge. Frontier justice. Alien sin cities. Undercover operations with precious little wit and lots of bland scumbags. Stupid nonlinear shifts in the narrative that exist for no reason except to exist."

It's an attempt to capture the frontier aspect of Trek again. DS9 was on the fringes as well and put up with black markets, slave trading, organ harvesting, and rogue Starfleet agents turned Marquis. I agree what we see here is grizzly in a sense, but there's a romantic side to the whole thing that hearkens back to cowboys fighting bandits on the frontier. This all takes place in a collapsed Neutral Zone, not the Federation proper, so there's no reason why this hotbed of space can't be full of unsavory characters who aren't keen on the Starfleet way.

"Then as quickly as we learn Raffi has an estranged family, the scene is over and we're done with it, and she goes back to be with Picard. It's quite the journey for such a tepid, single-scene payoff. (And I realize this may be revisited, but that still doesn't make the strange rhythm of these character beats any better.)"

Here I agree with you 100%. Raffi's scenes with her family don't seem to add up to the dramatic weight foreshadowed in previous episodes. Raffi's story should have been given at least a B plot level of screen time. Maybe they could have trimmed some of the fat from earlier episodes to make it so.

Anyway, for the most part, I'm enjoying this series and have no problem with those who don't. Agree or disagree, I'm looking forward to more STP reviews!
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Robert
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 7:15am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

I don’t think Roddenberry’s vision is gone, it’s just being approached from a different angle. The writers are taking concepts and characters from the past and rolling them in the mud to see if they can still dust themselves off and be that better person Roddenberry envisioned. I honestly get why some people don’t like it, the approach almost seems like a reversal of TNG. But on the other hand, Trek stagnated for awhile after Enterprise failed and it seems like it needed something to inject some new life into it.

As long as we have characters challenged with huge moral stakes, challenging them to go beyond the human condition in the future, Gene’s work is very much alive.
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Robert
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 6:09am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Tim C

Well put. Though, I’m afraid the battle over which Star Trek is “The One True Star Trek” will never end. This happened during DS9 and happened again in Voyager. In 20 years when another Trek series is produced, there will be those outraged at it being so different from DISC and PIC. Go figure.
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Robert
Sun, Jan 19, 2020, 2:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: The Gift

The character of Kes had been backed into a corner by seasons of myopic writing and poor priorities. She had amazing mental abilities, was young and compassionate, and had a short lived life with a unique perspective. Also, Lien was just a great actor. We saw that in War Lord. So much range.

Unfortunately, after seasons of neglect, she became little more than a Nurse Betty, and that was a huge mistake on the part of the writers.

Keeping Neelix or Harry over Kes was a huge mistake. Neelix was the most useless character in the history of Trek, and Kim was the most utterly mundane and boring. Kim really served no crucial purpose on the cast. And I'm sorry but he's hardly one of the most attractive men in Hollywood... bleh.

I was sad to see Kes go and be replaced by the Seven of Nine pin-up model. She was dating Branan Bragga and got an instant in. In reality, Seven and Kes could've co-existed together, at least for a few more episodes. Kes' insane abilities that were transforming her into an evolved form a consciousness deserved more explaining before she was cast out into the universe.

There could have been so many interesting interactions between Kes and Seven while the two were still on board. Instead, their only major interaction with Kes using her mental abilities to remove some malfunctioning hardware from Seven's brain. Whoop-dee-doo.

Much like how Jadzia was written out in DS9, it was a very sour moment when Kes was written out and replaced with another female lead, with no proper transition time to really integrate what was happening. It just made no sense.
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David Strobel
Sun, Jan 19, 2020, 1:28am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Way to Eden

A little 60's sci fi TV trivia: this episode wasn't the only one with space hippies. Lost in Space did it at least twice. First was a bit over a year before "Eden" with "Collision of Planets," then a few months later in "The Promised Planet."
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Robert
Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 2:35am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Thirty Days

Most people have said it already. I just wanted to add that Tom Paris' character brought down the entire likeability and decorum of this series. He is so mundane, so boring, so staunchly 20th century (cars, grease monkey, television, black and white film non-sense), that he just brought the sophistication level way down. The actor is so white bread and annoyingly all-American that it's hard to take any of his plot involvements seriously. And this episode was no different.

Harry Kim is probably the only worse character, so the fact that he and Tom are close friends just makes it all the more mundane. There is absolutely nothing endearing about either of these characters and I couldn't really care less if they lived or died. Tom never really evolves or matures as a character. His romantic status changes and he has a kid, but he himself is pretty much the same from day one.
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Robert
Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 1:56am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Fair Haven

My main problem with this episode, like most Voyager episodes that reference human history, is that they are very white-bread Eurocentric. It makes the senior staff seem utterly uncultured and mundane. United Earth means that humans can go anywhere on the planet they want, at all times. Presumably, any Star Fleet officer in that century has been all over Earth. Yet all we hear about is people reminiscing about "good old Indiana", or Paris, or Ireland. We never see any portrayals of interest in Asian, African, or South American culture for example. It's all white European, and it's all Hollywood's version of those European places.

So naturally, their 24/7 holodeck program that "everyone wants" is of a white, 19th century Irish village, complete with the crew dressing in period costumes like bar maids and priests. It can't get more white bread than that.

Star Trek: Enterprise continued this problem. Most of the senior staff are white, into meat and potatoes, water polo and other boring crap. Who knew that the future centuries would basically be 'Merica in space? There's no sense at all that Earth has united and that its cultures are widely distributed, known, and available to everybody. The only thing we get is a very serious Vulcan, and a native American character who is distinguished by having a facial tattoo. Wow, big whoop.

The problem goes on in other episodes. Tom Paris and his fascination with hot rod vehicles, juke boxes, and being a grease monkey. Harry Kim and playing the clarinet. Neelix making a holodeck version of Hawaii.

You can tell that this entire show is under a white male gaze and there is no attempt to even manifest one inkling of Roddenberry's dream of a highly diverse, accepting society that is deeply self-reflective. It basically just looks like Americans in space.

Look at how much effort Roddenberry put into casting TNG. It was painstaking. Picard is from Europe, Geordie from the Moon, Worf a Klingon, Troi a Betazoid, Riker from Alakaska, and later Ro Laren from Bajour. They made a real effort to make the ship cosmopolitan. Later Trek iterations were basically white 'Merica and it only got worse from Voyager onward.
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Robbie
Fri, Sep 27, 2019, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Sins of the Father

I must have only seen this episode once before, years ago. Since then, I’ve seen the other TNG and DS9 episodes more often and was a little burnt out over the Klingons (especially in DS9). In retrospect, it was stupid to watch Reunion and Redemption without understanding what Worf’s discommendation actually meant!

This was a lot fresher than I expected and is a great episode.
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Robbie
Tue, Sep 10, 2019, 10:35am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Immunity Syndrome

@Trek Fan: I think you nailed it for me what this episode drags on. It should be more interesting based on the ideas, but seeing everyone slowly drain and fainting over and over gets old and puts the viewer to sleep. Yo

@Trish: Yeah, this definitely stood out, not in a good way. *Of course* they made Uhura faint first, of the line of crew members outside sickbay was all women. Sigh ... On the general topic, Kirk is not usually the womanizer he has the popular reputation of being, but his glancing at the yeoman twice in this episode is pretty slimy. “I could definitely do with some rest and relaxation on some ....... lovely ...... planet.”
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