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Robert
Sat, Nov 28, 2020, 11:16am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: Unification III

This has got to be a difficult episode for Jammer to review. I wonder if he’ll break out his old VHS tapes of “Unification” from season 5 TNG and really dig into it.
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Robert M.
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 8:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: Unification III

Tilly being First officer seems weird at first but I think it makes sense. She pretty much faked being a full Captain under Lorca in the mirror fleet. Saru has dealt with leading a displaced crew that would probably be spending lots of downtime in therapy IRL. Tilly was the one that helped everyone during the staff dinner. Saru is a fabulous captain but he obviously sucks at the emotional side of leadership. Tilly fills that spot and it may not be permanent.
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Robert H
Fri, Jul 24, 2020, 4:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

Thinking about it some more, there is another powerful similarity between this episode and political events now in July 2020. In the final scene, Picard quotes a noble statement from Satie's father, which infuriates her and causes her to melt down. This is much like the radical leftists today, who, when confronted with the words of their noble spiritual father Martin Luther King, that one should "judge a man not by the colour of his skin but by the content of his character", also have a melt down, in a similar way to Satie.
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Robert H
Fri, Jul 24, 2020, 3:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

This episode eerily captures the current political situation in the world, today in July 2020. The Black Lives Matter movement started as a quest for righteousness, but as time went on it morphed into a witchhunt, brutally sniffing out racism under every rock and greatly stirring up division. Even the race theme of this episode (the Romulan grandfather) mirror's today's ultraracial categories of "white supremacy" and that it is racist to say that "all lives matter". How sad that an episode like this could never be made today, tv producers would run a million miles from it, it cuts too close to the bone, it is not politically correct. Accusations are the order of the day - they are telling us we should accuse more, more, MORE, not less! J'Accuse!!

It is a stark and sober revelation that our society was stronger and more advanced thirty years ago than today. We could tackle these issues squarely then my friends, but we cannot today.
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Robert
Mon, Jun 8, 2020, 3:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Q2

@Mark - VOY had some great episodes, no doubt. But people feel that VOY ruined things because they fleshed things out that maybe worked better without being fleshed out.

I would argue that the Borg and the Q worked better when you knew less about them, even if Death Wish was clearly far better than Encounter at Farpoint.
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Robert
Wed, May 13, 2020, 4:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Parallax

For those unfamiliar, that's a Christian lectern in Booming's picture:

https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/640x360/p07vnjl1.jpg

Guess this muddies the waters a bit.
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Robert
Wed, May 13, 2020, 2:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Parallax

The Enterprise had a chapel with a cross in it. Just sayin'
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Robert
Wed, Apr 29, 2020, 6:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

"Who needs large space fleets when Michael Burnham can solve every problem for you."

Or Wesley Crusher. ;-)
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Robert
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 1:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Sorry, GarretH. The point still stands. I don't know where I'd rank all these Treks. I try to find something I like in all of them despite their shortcomings.
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Robert
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 12:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

"It seemed to me a little self-centered of Picard to constantly say that Data gave his life to save his. Data gave his life to save Picard *and* the lives of everyone on the Enterprise."

That's true, Data and Picard were working together to stop Nero and more broadly save the Enterprise (and the Earth!!). The key difference between Data's sacrifice and Spock's sacrifice in The Wrath of Khan, for instance, is that either Data or Picard could have made the sacrifice of their own life, but Data unilaterally decided that the best decision was for him to die and Picard to live. Naturally, the result is that the Enterprise is saved as you say, but Picard alone is understandably left with the feeling that it could have or should have been him who made the sacrifice instead of Data.
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Robert
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 12:36pm (UTC -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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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Robert
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 12:34pm (UTC -6)
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 -6)
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 -6)
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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