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SamSimon
Tue, Nov 5, 2019, 4:39am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Infinite Regress

I actually sympathised a lot with the aliens... but is Borg genocide justified? According to Picard in I, Borg: no, it's not. But if you witness your quadrant slowly and relentlessly eaten out by the Borg... well, I thought about it a lot!
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Baron Samedi
Sun, Oct 27, 2019, 8:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Suspicions

Just watched this episode for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was surprised at the identity of the saboteur, too. All that said, all of Jammer's critiques are valid. This isn't great drama and has a lot of holes. But I did have a good time with it all the same.
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LisaM
Tue, Oct 15, 2019, 5:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Course: Oblivion

Regardless of how people feel about this episode (it was just on TV today), I kind of wished the crew managed to get the time capsule off safely and that Voyager, upon arriving at the spot where they found only odd debris, did find that capsule. Seeing them find out that the duplicate ship and crew managed to leave their home world and experience adventures different from our crew and ship would have been interesting to me.
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LisaM
Sat, Oct 5, 2019, 9:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Muse

I thoroughly enjoyed "Muse". I liked watching the play within a play, and how Kelis used the Flyer's records to write his plays. (Why is some of that information in the records anyway?) Kim's part may have been unnecessary, but seeing B'Lanna happily greet him by name made me think back to when she was calling him "starfleet". Quite a change after all they've been through as one crew. And the fact that B'Lanna found the kissing extraneous, when it was she who wanted more romance in Tuvok's holonovel from "Worst Case Scenario". And Kelis' last lines, talking about Earth as a place where hate had no home, almost moved me to tears, wishing it were so. Sometimes Trek writers really know how to touch my heart, schmaltzy as it is.
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LisaM
Wed, Oct 2, 2019, 6:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Children of Time

I guess I'm one of a few people who believe time is made up of many lanes on a vast freeway. If the Defiant crew went back to their own time, why couldn't the colony still exist in a lane of their own, while the DS9 crew headed back to their own lane. I just don't think that once matter is created, it can be so easily dispatched. It will always exist, somewhere.
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LisaM
Sat, Sep 21, 2019, 10:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Apple

These people just lost their god, yet laugh at the end as if strangers killing your god is no big deal.
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Sam
Sat, Jun 22, 2019, 6:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Menage a Troi

Great fun little episode. I don't know why everyone is so hard on Lwaxana, she is funny and looks amazing especially for her age. I first saw this episode when I was about 5 or 6 way back when it first aired. I always loved the fun costumes when I was a kid and the alien makeup. Troi was my fave ( Now as an adult I tend to like Picard, Data or Bev) I loved Troi's outfits and hair and had the action figure. There were not many great female role models for kids my age.
I tend to like the comedy or the romance episodes a lot. I enjoyed them as a child, so it brings me back to that innocent time in my life.
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Sam Mickle
Sat, Jun 15, 2019, 1:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

Everyone is thinking way too hard about this episode. It was about the most simple issue that everyone seems to overlook in this episode. Penis size. Don't believe me? ok think about this. Odan must have had THE BIG ONE. So he dies right and the host swap out happens. Then oh look Riker is the new host. Well guess what? Bev is his doctor so guess what she knows? That's right his peepee size. And then at the end of the episode that lady doesn't have one at all. Bet that makes you think huh.
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Sam
Fri, Jun 7, 2019, 6:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Schisms

I watched this episode when it first aired, I was probably about 6 years old. I really have a soft spot for this episode. It really creeped me out, and it is just an all around fun episode. I am probably in the minority but I really love when Star trek does horror. Some of my favorite scenes from Star trek: In Identity crisis, geordi is recreating the scene of the holodeck, and he discovers a shadow in the scence. Another is the scene I believe in phantasms where Beverly is in the morgue and the corpses are covered in sheets and sit upright. I also love the episode Sub Rosa. Great atmosphere. Genesis was a lot of fun as well, It was a dumb episode but it was fun and creepy to see the ship in such a disarray.
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Baron Samedi
Mon, May 13, 2019, 3:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Deadly Years

@Jason R. I completely agree and always found it odd that this episode even had a lukewarm reception among fans, when nothing that happens in it makes even the most minimal amount of sense. Even as a little kid, I always found this episode completely ludicrous on every level. The slow and repetitive execution stops it from even being goofy/campy fun.
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Sam
Sat, May 11, 2019, 4:50am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S4: Terra Prime

So, there's a super weapon on Mars that can destroy anything in the solar system, and it's just sitting around completely unguarded? Who buys this nonsense?
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Sam
Fri, May 10, 2019, 10:08am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S4: Observer Effect

Maybe aliens should refrain from dissing chess if they're capable of losing a game in 7 moves with the white pieces.
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Sam
Mon, May 6, 2019, 1:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: Carpenter Street

The entire concept of time travel as presented in this episode (and in Star Trek in general) makes no sense whatsoever. They've been in the past for two months? What does that even mean? Drivel like this is why I hate time travel stories. It is impossible for them to make sense, because time travel itself makes no sense.
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Sam
Mon, May 6, 2019, 10:08am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: North Star

Of course they wouldn't have remained at a 19th century level for 200 years. Instead, they would have regressed to an even more primitive level. With only 6000 people and no infrastructure, they would never have been able to maintain the level of an early industrial civilisation.
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Sam
Sun, May 5, 2019, 6:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I thought this movie was decent, especially after the rather milquetoast Force Awakens. My only real complaint was the length - it went on for about an hour after I thought it was going to finish.

Most of the fan objections seem utterly idiotic to me, if not downright misogynistic.
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Sam
Sun, May 5, 2019, 6:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: BSG S4: The Plan

My retrospective on this series is that, for most of its first two seasons, it was the best thing on TV in a decade, but after that it went downhill. Its fatal flaw was a serious lack of forethought and planning, to the point that even after it ended, nobody knows what the cylon plan was. The whole notion of the final five was a terrible idea. Making any of the long established human characters, especially Saul and Ellen Tigh, into cylons was a terrible idea that undermined all that went before. Zarek and Gaeta's mutiny was pretty much the only good thing about the final season.

Shows like this just shouldn't be commissioned unless the writers actually have a clue where they're going with it.
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Sam
Sun, May 5, 2019, 5:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Despite Yourself

This is where Discovery lost me.

I hate hate HATE the stupid, retarded, cartoonishly moronic mirror universe with an all-consuming passion. It's the dumbest, lamest, most idiotic thing Star Trek ever did, and why they keep doing it is a mystery to me. Every episode to feature it has been irredeemably putrid.

In most Trek series, I can ignore the wretched mirror universe episodes because they have no place in continuity. Discovery is designed so that I can't. The knowledge that this drivel is going to infest the show is too much for me. You lot are welcome to pick the peanuts out of this poop, but I'm out.
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Sam
Sun, May 5, 2019, 4:12am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Cogenitor

It looks like a lot of commenters here would make the same mistake as Trip were they in this situation. The problem isn't that Trip is morally wrong, because he isn't, but that his actions were reckless and destructive and led pretty much directly to the Cogenitor's death. You can't change a culture by barging in single-handed like that - the way to do it would have been by prolonged cultural exchange between humans and Vissians.

To those blaming Archer for not granting asylum, I think this is a case of Western viewers showing their entitlement when it comes to international relations. Americans and Europeans are accustomed to using their economic, diplomatic and military hegemony to bully whatever outcome they desire from other cultures. Earth in ENT is not Space America, it is more like Space Cuba. Small, undeveloped, and weak both militarily and diplomatically. Small, weak, non-powers do not have the luxury of picking fights with superpowers over such matters, even when they are morally in the right. Archer simply does not have the power to engage in gunboat diplomacy with massively superior civilisations like this. Of course, ENT as usual undermines itself by having him do exactly that with the Klingons in "Judgment" a few episodes previously.

As for the Cogenitors, there is a problem of cultural values dissonance when regarding their role as sexual slavery. Nature has effectively dictated this role to them by making them only 3% of their species' population - each Cogenitor must be involved in reproduction with probably at least a dozen different couples to maintain their population. As a human, I can't even imagine the sexual mechanics of this (which the episode even lampshades for jokes with Phlox's "pictures"), so it's facile to assume that there aren't extremely complicated social dynamics involved and that the Cogenitor's role can merely be summarised from a human perspective of sexual subservience.

Also, something doesn't sit right with the idea that Cogenitors have always been a managed resource that is 'assigned' to couples - this requires too much organisational effort for it to have evolved this way. I don't think 3-gendered species are plausible for a number of reasons, but in this specific case with a 3rd gender making up 3% of the population, I think historically the power would naturally have been in the hands of the Cogenitors and not the other two genders. The only way for this reproductive system to have worked in a primitive society would have been for Cogenitors to be the dominant gender, with each Cogenitor having a harem of males and females. Their rarity and importance should realistically given them disproportionate cultural power in a primitive setting.

So, what if Cogenitors were, since prehistory, the oppressive ruling class of this society, but were later overthrown and reduced to their current status? It doesn't excuse their current subjugation, but it would put it in context and indicate that this situation is far too complicated for the simple resolution attempted by Trip and apparently advocated by many commenters here.
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Sam
Sat, May 4, 2019, 8:32am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Stigma

Does anyone ever finish a meal in Star Trek? The number of scenes where people just get up and leave whole plates of food uneaten is really starting to grate on my nerves.
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Sam
Thu, May 2, 2019, 2:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S1: Two Days and Two Nights

Tedious and pointless filler, with bugger all sci-fi content. Zero stars. Trek writers should have been banned from going back to Risa after TNG demonstrated that nothing of interest was likely to happen there.
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SamSimon
Thu, Apr 25, 2019, 9:10am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: False Profits

I honestly expected zero stars for this mess. Ferengi episode = :--(
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Baron Samedi
Sun, Apr 21, 2019, 4:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@Dom - that article was a great read, thanks for posting it.
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Baron Samedi
Thu, Apr 18, 2019, 9:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

This'll be my first comment on Season 2 of Discovery. In my latest effort to beat the system, I started watching a month ago and breezed through the whole thing within a single CBS All Access pay period. It is a bit of a blur to me as a result, and maybe that's affecting me to some extent, but I don't think that altered my experience very much.

The episode-by-episode quality was definitely up from the first season in terms of consistency. There were no outright flops like Season 1's finale or "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum". The cast was quite good, though I still don't think Ash works as a character (certainly not as a romantic interest of Michael) and the new characters were great (except Leland, who I never found to be an interesting antagonist before or after Control took him over).

But despite Season 2's consistency, I liked Season 1 more. When I look back on it, I can discern a dozen or so interesting character and story arcs in Season 1. Some of them fell totally flat, but many were fun and interesting, and most at least tried to have coherent parameters and a discernible point. I enjoyed getting to know the new characters and the whole romp through the mirror universe was a blast.

Season 2 had some great qualities. Central to them was Anson Mount, who was really superb as Pike. I didn't expect Discovery to portray Pike as effectively as it did, and Anson added depth and grace to the role, helping to fill the void of Trekkian idealism that Season 1's wartime setting lacked. Also, the more standalone episodes, including the episodes with strong standalone components, worked quite well. Saru had some fascinating storylines. The return to Talos IV (which was admittedly heavily intertwined with the larger story) was clever and well-executed. I found the scene between Pike and Vina genuinely moving.

The central problem is that the second half of the season went all-in with a plot I could never bring myself to care about. I never bought that the personal character journey of Michael would be so heavily intertwined with Control destroying "all sentient life," which itself is absurd. The show tried to convince us that the overriding plot was driven by the characters, but it wasn't. It was just about itself.

There's a charming humility, at least by comparison, with the writing approach taken by other Trek series. I've chided Enterprise a fair amount in the past, but in Season 3, the writers knew better than to link the Xindi weapon storyline with some intimate secret from Archer's past. I feel like the Discovery writers would have made the head Xindi scientist Archer's long-lost alien stepfather and intertwined scenes of Archer dealing with childhood trauma with the Enterprise's efforts to stop Earth from being destroyed, and that would obviously have been insufferable.

I just had to lose interest in this storyline as the connections between the fate of "all sentient life" and Michael Burnham piled up. I really like Sonequa Martin-Green's performances - more than most people here, it seems - but constantly bringing Michael's personal issues into the story usually felt unnecessary. These connections probably felt clever in the writing room, but most of these personal journeys intruded on the crew's duty and felt out of place, because the fate of "all sentient life" is way more important than whatever personal issues the show wants to explore about Michael's past or any of the other characters. There were so many emotional scenes (all over-dramatized and over-scored) where I yearned for the urgency with which the Star Trek: Enterprise crew treated their mission to destroy the Xindi weapon - and that was just to save all life on Earth, rather than the whole universe. These characters on Discovery should have been freaking out constantly at the prospect of all sentient life, everywhere, dying. Since the writers clearly didn't want to portray the crew acting this way, they should have lowered the stakes.

I lost track of the plot at a certain point, because I stopped trusting the show to handle the plot in a coherent, worthwhile, or satisfying manner. A recurring issue was that the music, editing, and flashy visuals put everything on the same level of high dramatic urgency, muddling the narrative further. It's too bad, because there was a lot of talent and competence always on display. And in fairness, the first half of the season was quite solid, even if it wasted a fair amount of effort on a fundamentally flawed long-term story.

I tried putting together an episode-by-episode list of ratings, but it's not very interesting this time around. I gave everything a 5-7 out of 10, except for "If Memory Serves," which deserves a 9 or a maybe even a 10. By comparison, Season 1 ran the gauntlet between scores of 1 and 9, which made for an often frustrating but ultimately more memorable experience.

At the end of the previous season, I wrote, "If the writers can focus on delivering a smaller amount of plot in a satisfying manner, then Discovery could end up being a great show. My primary worry is that some CBS ratings data analysts have resolutely determined that Discovery will lose a significant portion of its audience if the plot isn't always moving at a breakneck pace, so these changes won't actually happen." While the first half of this season showed some promise on that front, the second half succumbed to it, and I'm more pessimistic than before about Discovery ever becoming a show that people, years from now, will want to revisit.
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Baron Samedi
Wed, Apr 3, 2019, 10:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Cogenitor

As someone who has praised this episode heavily twice here already and continues to see it as the best entry in the whole Enterprise series, I want to describe one element of it that I think several commenters from the last 6 months or so seem to be missing.

As a backdrop, it's fair criticism that Archer's attitude here contradicts his earlier behavior. I like this episode precisely because Archer enforces ideas that he failed to live up to earlier, as, in my view, the way Archer acts here fits with how he should generally have been acting all along. If you want to hold that against this episode, go ahead, but I'd rather the series take actions to right its course than continuously present its crew as hotheads eager to jump into conflicts they doesn't understand.

Anyway, the key problem within the episode doesn't really have to do with cultural relativism, but with Trip acting unilaterally with limited information. The episode cleverly provides no understandable moral justification for the oppressive treatment of the cogenitors by the Vissians, but that doesn't mean that no moral justification could possibly exist (though I can't come up with one), nor does it mean that Trip's actions are necessarily beneficial to the cogenitors (even if Archer had granted asylum to the cogenitor we meet in the episode). One of the Vissians states how the Enterprise crew knows nothing about their culture, and the point isn't that their culture is inherently deserving of unwaivering respect, but that the crew knows *almost* nothing about it and isn't yet qualified to make a judgment, much less act on that judgment.

Even if it's true (which the evidence identified in the episode certainly supports) that the Vissians are oppressing the cogenitors, and even if it's also true that Starfleet has a right to try to end that oppression, doing so effectively requires immense research, resources, and time. Just look at interventionist regime change policies, social welfare programs, attempts at democratization through international aid, or any other number of similar efforts on Earth, among humans, motivated to at least some degree by a desire to remedy problems within a complex culture, to get an idea of how difficult it is to produce positive change through such efforts.

There's plenty on Earth today that's just as appalling as what the Vissians are doing to the cogenitors, but that goes unacknowledged by its perpetrators who turn around and condemn other cultures. For example, the treatment of the animals in the factory farming industry (though I'm not interested in arguing the merits of animal rights or vegetarianism/veganism here), especially when adjusted for the scale of death and destruction that industry entails, is (or at least can reasonably be construed as being) a far worse moral crime than the Vissians' treatment of the cogenitors. Yet, I doubt many would be comfortable with an alien race interfering with our society to take action in response to that problem within days of making first contact with humans and while in possession of little information about us.

As Archer describes it, "We're out here to meet new species, not to tell them what to do." I could imagine, after years of diplomatic overtures and the establishment of positive relationships, humans attempting to encourage reformation within Vissian culture so as to bring about equal rights and respect for the cogenitors. Someday, humans may even have a moral duty to attempt to combat the oppression within VIssian culture that they first encounter in this episode, and maybe action akin to what Trip did will at that point be justified. But such an effort should only be undertaken after thoroughly researching and understanding the problem, as well as the impact any such actions would have on Vissian culture.
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Sam
Sat, Mar 23, 2019, 6:03am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Vortex

Going back through 1st season, recently tried re-watching this episode and still couldn't get into it. Even re-watched it a second time after reading this review and thinking I must be missing something. The aliens seem very uninspired in their prosthetics. I grew tired of Miradorn's childishly condescending "My pain is twice what yours would be because you don't know my species" routine, and of Croden's manipulative insinuations (not to mention the outfit he wears). Croden's reunion with his daughter was also as cloying as I remembered. At the end Odo deadpans "Home. Where is it. Someday we'll know. Cousin." Berman Trek rarely seemed to figure out that sometimes one doesn't need to say anything at all. I agree with Jammer's reviews more often than not, but upon this re-watch Q-Less and Storyteller both stuck with me better than this did.
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