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Roger Dalton
Sat, Sep 27, 2014, 12:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S1: Prime Factors

@Elliott:

I'm happy there are better episodes coming down the pipe.

You make several good points. I've actually enjoyed some of the episodes this season much more than the average reviewer and commenter here, so I hold out hope that I'll enjoy the show more than average as well. Perhapse Janeway's principles will end up seeming endearing like Picard's, rather than stupid like they seem right now. It can be hard to enjoy a show where every time there is a big moral question of consequence, the implied "better choice" is contrary to one's opinion. If doing morality right were as easy as having simple, firm principles and sticking to them, that would be very nice, but out here in the real world, deontology is probably best thought of as a heuristic for consequentialism that works most of the time, but not all the time.

I have enjoyed your comments on the latter episodes of DS9, when I started following Jammer's reviews. Although I disagreed with you as often as not, your comments always had a rational basis and were well-argued.
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Roger Dalton
Fri, Sep 26, 2014, 3:22am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S1: Prime Factors

I'm watching all the way through Voyager for the first time, essentially (I saw a handful of the episodes when it was airing, but not since), and I just finished a rewatch of TOS, TNG and DS9. It is very sad that this is apparently considered a high water mark for the series, because I found this episode really, really annoying. I may be an unusual Trek watcher, because I think the Prime Directive is morally bankrupt, but I found the position promoted by this episode to be pretty deplorable. If your crew is willing to do this, including the officer you use to act as a moral compass, doesn't that mean that you, Captain Janeway, might be in the wrong on this ethical issue? If the leader of the planet was Hitler, and there was a subjugated underclass of slaves, would Janeway be talking about how only dealing with the official power structures of this clearly warp-drive capable civilization is the appropriate form of action, because that's their law? Janeway isn't being "Lawful Good" she's being "Lawful Stupid" to crib some tabletop RPG terminology.

Between that and the meta-issue of me thinking "There's no way the authors are going to let this work" the entire time, I was annoyed through most of the episode so I can't say it was enjoyable.

So there's two issues of trust here. First, the crew didn't trust Janeway to make the right ethical choice in this situation (and this lack of trust was well-founded), and she doesn't even have enough ACTUAL introspection to think she might have been wrong, no matter how many scenes they show of her struggling over the issue. The struggling they showed is more of an indication of the pain she felt about being given two unpleasant choices rather than actually examining her choices and questioning them, which would have implied a real possibility of going either way (there was never a credible consideration of the choice she didn't like). She knew her bottom-line before she did the math, and she just didn't like what the bottom-line was.

And second, I didn't trust the authors to deal fairly with the issues at hand. That lack of trust was also well-founded.
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