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Wainscoting
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 4:32am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Startrekwatcher Just as with Discovery, the writers spend their time layering mystery boxes upon an already creaking foundation of mystery boxes and then with a few minutes left, elect to tear them all open at once. A lone, random box in the pile will contain a flashbang grenade that blinds you and leaves your brain smarting in a concerted effort to distract you from the fact that the rest of the boxes were either empty or at best released a small asthmatic wheeze.

I recall one of The Expanse S4 B-plots which stretched over quite literally half that season, and consisted of *MINOR SPOILER* a portion of the crew of the Rocinante solving the problem of a decaying orbit in order to attempt a rescue of 3 people. That's it. All the high-concept sci-fi stuff was left to the A-plot and it WORKED. It was focused, meaningful and entertained us without damaging that world.

In Picard, there came that moment when Kurtzman and co. realised they didn't have any ideas about how to manage the hundreds/thousands of Borg on the cube awaiting reclamation; so their solution? Jettison them all into space! (presumably to slowly and painfully deteriorate as we know Borg can survive in a vacuum). They seem to expect us to marvel at this scene of countless living beings being tossed away as refuse, when a little while earlier we were invited to empathise with them as victims of a great crime, now being righted. "NOO" yells Seven in her super awesome, distorted Borg Queen voice. Cognitive dissonance for mine.

I didn't love everything Chabon said in that Variety interview and I'm by no means convinced he is built for TV writing, but one of his answers made me wish he had full creative control from the outset of this show.

"You know, personally speaking, my own tastes and inclination, I always said when we were in the earliest versions of the room for this show, if we could have just done a whole show about Picard and the dog on the vineyard in France, with no starships, no phasers, the only Romulans would be those two Romulans who work for him on the vineyard, and no politics — just, like, there’s a funfair down in the village and they all go, and maybe Picard solves a very low stakes mystery in the village, like, someone has stolen the antique bell out of the bell tower, or something like that? I would have loved to write that show."

I think I would have been into that, actually. As it is this is where I'll completely sign off from Trek, at least while it's in the hands of Kurtzman. Should have done so earlier, but it's hard to tear yourself away from something culturally significant to you I guess.

Stay safe everyone!
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Scott
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 10:40am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

"My review got lost in the posting so I will try and remember. I think this was a 4/10. The only value was the Geordie conversation about a society pre judging someone's value. "

This was my only problem with it. The idea that destroying some cells with a genetic defect is pre-judging people isn't right to me. It seems more correct to say in their society that Geordie would be born without those and other defects.


>Troi feeling shame for having sex? I guess Riker's one night stands were never with other societies as part of his away missions? Troi didn't breach the Prime Directive and only professionalism.

Riker's sex usually wouldn't potentially undermine their entire society and growth. The only time I can think that was a problem is that odd scene where he pretty much got blackmailed into being raped by alien doctor in the First Contact episode. The society in this episode requires isolation. They were already disturbing that isolation, but out of pure necessity. Troy went way too far past that. It's only not a Prime Directive failure because of the technicality that they are human.

"After all in the next episode he has sex with Ro, a fellow crew member, who reported to him?? Didn't they know their ranks at that time? "

One of the areas were TNG shows its age. Sex with crew members down the chain of command wasn't frowned upon as it should have been.

"The so called Masterpiece society was lame : a few people leave and 1000s are at risk? Haven't they heard of redundancy? "

They address this in the episode. The society is perfectly planned. They do have the redundancy to handle a few unexpected accidental deaths but many more than a few were intrigued by the outsiders with more advanced technology that were different and wanted to leave.

Honestly I think this is a great episode that makes one think about these values. Would you rather a tightly controlled society where everyone's needs are met and everyone has a purpose to fill to help the greater good (probably a not so subtle allegory to communism) or would you rather have a life where things are far more uncertain, where people have far more direction and certainty in life and have to compete with each other, but where that leads to faster growth and advancement at the expense of many not having a fulfilling life? Personally, give me the former.
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Scott
Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Broken Pieces

Picard took the conn on two occasions that I can remember - 11001001 which was mentioned above, and then Booby Trap when he relieved Wesley and piloted the Enterprise out of the asteroid field

Riker did something similar when he relieved the helmsman in ST: Insurrection.
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Wainscoting
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 10:28am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

I genuinely enjoyed those moments between Picard and Hugh. When they interacted there was none of the passive aggressive snark or vacuous, tropey melodrama; just a calm, rational discussion between two good people with implicit trust in the motivations of the other. There are perhaps slight liberties taken concerning the depth of their relationship (as with Data, Geordi was Hugh's main contact and friend onboard the Enterprise as Picard learned to tolerate him from a certain emotional distance) but it effectively delivered some exposition about the 'ex-b' community, which for me is the most narratively interesting fragment produced by STP's patchy efforts at world building. I slowed down from 1.5x speed for that whole sequence. It was nice.

Then one of our heroes coldly murders three security guards from behind by hacking into their necks with a samurai sword, despite their having clearly announced an intent to apprehend rather than attack the 3 ostensible criminals. Picard chides him for not staying on the ship and then chuckles gratefully at his homicidal friend's forthright reply. Ah, the magic's gone again.

Hugh was also being threatened with a knife in the next episode's preview. Yay.
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Wainscoting
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 2:25am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Booming
"Do you really believe that the show is constructed around a philosophical framework created in mid 20th century France about how all societal narratives are constructed to reinforce societal power structures? "

I'm not saying it was intentional but kind of. I mean essentially everything in media we consume is to some extent no?

A fair disclaimer: my philosophy is high school level really and even I know the folly of throwing that nebulous P word around, especially without providing an explicit definition. My understanding of the premise of postmodernism is that our mythologies contain dangerous foundational assumptions born of a narrow set of cultural parameters that irrevocably dictate our reality and what we’re able to think. It says that the very concept of ‘reasoning’ is itself the product of Western cultural bias. There is no objective Truth with a capital T etc.

I think it's very useful for pointing out the flaws in power structures and exposing privilege but when unchecked, people descend into moral relativism, irony and nihilism. See @Guiding Light higher in the comments for a prime example ;)

I'm sure I've totally misrepresented postmodern thinkers, so let me just say that I find that nu-trek lacks the sincerity I appreciated in older Star Trek shows. That will do for now.

Thanks for the video! I'll watch it when I get a chance tonight.
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Wainscoting
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

I love that people are mentioning Mass Effect 2! Garrus, Tali, Mordin, Wrex...there were some fantastic characters there. The interesting thing about that game when it came to the story beats is that it frequently gave you the option to align with a humanist, Trekkian view of the world or a cynical, nihilistic one. For instance, on Garrus Vakarian's 'loyalty mission' you discover that Garrus ran a vigilante mercenary group undermining various crime syndicates that was betrayed by a member, resulting in the deaths of all but him. Anyway, you spend some time hunting the traitor down and having discussed his underlying motivations along the way Garrus ultimately asks Shepard to draw the traitor into the open so he can kill him from range. You can either aid in this person's death or at the last second to step into the line of fire and explore the circumstances leading to the betrayal as well as the guilt and suffering it is causing this person. Garrus may be dissuaded from vengeance and is fundamentally changed for the rest of the story. Incidentally, no eyes were horrifically yanked from sockets by metal claws in order to evoke emotional response.

Basically, Mass Effect 2 (specifically in those moments where you aren't shooting thousands of bad guys) did Trek better than this nu-Trek can.

That aside, although Jammer's apathy towards the "What is Star Trek?" question is justly earned, most Trek fans will draw a philosophical line somewhere. It seems undeniable that TNG and DS9 largely emerged from their predecessors shadow because they necessarily supplemented the humanist, modernist core of Star Trek with more postmodern spheres of thought. Yet, while challenging themselves, they remained sincerely devoted to the idea that all sentient beings possess moral value and despite our myriad differences, by embracing a 'sovereignty of reason' we can overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges and perhaps in some small way strive meaningfully towards one day solving the epistemological, metaphysical and ontological questions we all share.

This new, truly postmodern trek has replaced all that sincerity with irony. We see that intelligent life is disposable, people are vain, self-obsessed and eschew the idea of a duty to the common good, society is destined to remain fragmented with people always finding a way to exploit one other. In other words, the pursuit of any truth greater than ourselves is simply a futile attempt to escape the historical and cultural discourses that run our lives.

Q: “You just don't get it, do you, Jean-Luc? The trial never ends. We wanted to see if you had the ability to expand your mind and your horizons. And for one brief moment, you did.”

Sorry Q, it seems you were wrong. 'Picard' believes in nothing and says nothing, simply taking pleasure in unravelling all that the character represented in TNG to the pleasure of some and the despair of the rest of us.
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Scott Gordon
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 6:16am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

I was worried about young Kelly's rejection at first, but then I remembered that we were told only that he called her at 9:00 AM the next day. It was also implied that this was not an appropriate time to call and was probably a little off putting to most people. So, since Kelly's memory was wiped (Dr. Finn usually knows what she is doing), I convinced my self that in the original timeline, young Kelly probably react by saying that she didn't see it working out, Ed Mercer is very strong willed and probably got her to come around after the initial reaction. Oh well, at least I was able to satisfy myself with this, but I am not very hard to convince.
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Scott B
Wed, Mar 27, 2019, 5:52am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

Admiral Cornwell’s background as a counselor was a major plot point last season in one or two episodes as she was analyzing Lorca’s fitness to command and then herself becoming a POW
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Scot
Thu, Feb 21, 2019, 9:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part I

God damn! I was already loving this episode because of all of the emotional contentit. I was genuinely moved by all of Isaac's goodbyes. But then, the pivet! What was already a fantastic character episode transformed into downright terror. I was hoping this would become a two-parter. I just can't wait for the conclusion next week. Four stars, by far.
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Scot
Thu, Feb 14, 2019, 9:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Deflectors

I haven't been able to catch the last few episodes of the Orville but I did manage to watch tonight's episode. I really miss this show. After watching this episode, I kind of have to sit back and calm myself. I found the ending so profoundly emotional. All I can say is, wow. Star Trek was actually never this good.
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Scot Myers
Thu, Jan 3, 2019, 9:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Ja'loja

After a long hiatus, the return of the Orville was a welcome sight. I was not disappointed in any way. I genuinely enjoyed reconnecting with all of the characters in this way. This was much more of a day in the life episode aboard the ship. It was a fantastic way to reintroduce us to all of the characters and get us back on common footing for the show. I can appreciate that every episode doesn't need to be an adventure. In fact, spending time with this crew is entertainment enough on its own.
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Scot Myers
Thu, Jan 3, 2019, 9:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Primal Urges

I am simply Blown Away by the visual effects of tonight's episode. Every single shot was simply beautiful. And I don't just mean the space shots. The sets this season, the production design, all of it is simply a Wonder to behold. As for the episode, I found it shockingly moving. Bortus really is the standout character of this show. At first, I thought this was a variation of the holodiction concept from TNG. I actually found it far more relevant than that, however. Internet porn obsession is far more prevalent in modern culture than simple escapism. I found their handling of the subject to be both tasteful and relevant. And, of course, the show's signature humor was still present. I genuinely consider this show to be must see TV. I can't wait until next week!
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Scot
Mon, Oct 8, 2018, 8:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: And the Children Shall Lead

I don't seem to hate this episode as much as the general consensus here. True, it's certainly not my favorite. But, there are affecting moments in it for me. Especially when the children finally get their breakdown. Yes, I wish the story was better. I wish the alien was better. I wish the pacing was better. But, I can say that about a variety of episodes throughout the franchise. For me, the Alternative Factor will always be my least favorite original Trek. This one, for me, is a 2-star episode. Certainly nothing great, but nothing as atrocious as some others I can think of. I'm not arguing the point. I certainly can understand and see why people feel the way they do about this episode. I'm just saying that, for me, it's just one to get through. But not one to banish.
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Scot
Wed, Sep 26, 2018, 7:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Return to Tomorrow

This has always been one of my favorite episodes. And, for me, the ending never unraveled even a little bit. Thalassa explained to McCoy quite clearly that they had powers Sargon wished them to never use. That would include the powers of life and death. When their consciousness inhabited the Enterprise, that would have been no different than their android bodies. I never had any trouble with it at all. This was a wonderful morality tale steeped in genuine science fiction. And the "risk is our business" speech will forever be the most inspiring words Trek has ever produced for me.
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scott
Sun, Sep 16, 2018, 4:09am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: The Siege of AR-558

Social evolution, as referenced in many comments above, MAY reduce underlying primal survival and aggressive traits. Primarily due to preferential breeding choices, but only to a very limited extent. The prevalance and intensity MAY be reduced. However to act as though those underlying traits wont exist in the future is ludicrous. Quarks speech though perhaps not fully realized, from the 20th/21st century perspective, is certainly realized within the 24th century federation ideal.

as to the "robot/drone army" arguments, such would violate the 24th century ideal far more than ground troops. Not to mention any such soldiers/weapons would almost certainly violate any number of internal/external federation treaties.

No SOCIALLY advanced civilization would use such weapons/soldiers. Because weaponry of such a type diminishes the cost of war. The less war costs the more viable a solution it is.

That likely seems insane to most readers, however consider this, the defiant is the FIRST federation WARSHIP. Though most federation starships are really just mobile military (civil defense if you prefer) research bases (they have less defenses and weapons, but are more powerful). This is in keeping with the defensive militarism of a socially evolved culture. The federation clearly has weapons of mass destruction or technologies easily adapted as such (genesis device) and STANDARD (okay relatively standard) torpedos that can be made into planet killers (Omega-VOY). Not to mention they can replicate bioweapons, if they choose, pretty much on demand. Notably, with the exception of the section 31 virus, those tactics are never used even when losing.

Federation questionable tactics/technologies are used by individuals and organizations as the war progresses, but not adopted to any further extent (shipyards and ketracel white facility come to mind). those actions should be judged keeping in mind that the founders/dominion attempted to supernova bajor's sun, using a federation proto matter technology before the war actually began.

Yes of course the technologically advanced federation COULD deploy a drone and robot army, much like the dominion deploys the biological equivalent Jem'Hadar. But they wouldnt. at least not until their bellies were empty ... really empty .. and a least a fortnight sans sonic showering.. minimum.

its intimated that the federation could (but never would) wipe out the klingons and romulans and definitely the cardassians, but as an enlightened civilization they prefer peace treaties allowing for the eventual and inevitable root beer infiltration. The federation is like the vulcans of ST: first contact, but with hugs though still kinda condescending.
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scott
Tue, Sep 11, 2018, 7:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Field of Fire

While the technology of the TR-116 rifle and targeting system may or may not be sound , the discontinuation and non use of such a weapon is sound. Its a weapon of assassination and murder, its only purpose is to kill, in complete violation of the tenets of the federation. One would also assume it violates one of the many treaties of the federation, both internal and external treaties.

Beaming and replicator technology could be used to decimate almost any enemy, since a biogenic weapon beamed onto ds9 could have wiped out everyone, as could beaming a bomb onboard. instead soldiers are beamed in. even klingons, cardacians and romulans (the less enlightened, so to speak, confederations never use such methods). notably this is overlooked when a bomb is beamed onto the ketracel white facility (as gamma quadrant invaders seem to be unprotected by Alpha quadrant treaties..)the destabilization of a suns core to destroy the jem h'dar ship yards. The same goes for the section 31 changeling virus, though predicated on threat of dominion and considerably further away from federation tenets.

Even starfleet controlled replicators seem to have extreme restrictions, and require clearance and command approval for even replicating substrates for biogenic weapons (bashir- bio mimetic gel). The TR 116 seemed to have similar but less stringent restrictions on replication.

of course, lesser civilizations seem to use such methods and weaponry with frequency against their enemies and their own people. (quark as arms dealer).

Clearly very effective and highly destructive weapons are available, "genesis device" but they are not used, partly because of enlightenment but also probably because of treaty bans. This applies more for the Federation, take for instance the Defiant (even sans cloak) which is viewed pretty unfavorably within starfleet as a "ship of war", created in response to the "borg threat". That even at the height of the war with the dominion its the only one of its kind, discounting the "valiant". War takes its toll on enlightenment though and perceptions of the defiant shift quite dramatically though not enough to commission more of them.

basically, its very reasonable that the TR 116 was not used, regardless of situation.

as far as the vulcan issue there is a strong argument to be made that this is realism, not revisionism. Vulcans are physically and mentally superior to humans. arrogance is not an emotion it is a conclusion of logic. Logic as stated frequently in the commentary can be used to justify almost anything, including superiority of logical beings. They use logic to restrain an underlying violent and highly emotional psyche , to deny who they are at the core. All of the series depict them as a superior race that has reached THEIR peak, in part because of this compromise. They are a stagnant civilization , they are not particularly adaptive. Reliance on logic alone has to some extent assured this. the flaws of the vulcans, like all god like figures, become more apparent as their "children" surpass or outgrow them. This is perhaps most strongly portrayed in ENT as the children seek to step out from the "benevolent" shadow of the "parents". While this is a simplification, it is also reasonable justification for a greater depiction of limitations and even flaws of the "highly evolved" vulcans. Tempering emotion with logic is a great concept, one that should be striven for in our own development, however logic not tempered by emotion is not an evolutionary path to aspire to. one of the themes that runs through ENT, DS9 and VOY is that moderation/acceptance of emotion rather than near complete suppression of emotions is path out of stagnation for vulcans.

of course thats just my meandering thoughts on the topic
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Scotch Eltringham
Sun, Jun 10, 2018, 5:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Reading all these very knowledgeable Star Trek fans comments,I think this series should be renewed now! No two year wait. I agree that this story is amazing. The federation are not acting like our federation we have known and loved for 40 years. The Klingons are not the Klingons we hate/love/respect. (no way would they have walked away from destroying the federation if they were that close to achieving that at time of war) The liberties these writers have made are a refreshing shakeup over star trek history. It's reminding me how I felt after the last episode of DS9....engaged. Time well invested. Don't keep us waiting any more. Go!
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Scott Eltringham
Sun, Jun 10, 2018, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Reading all these very knowledgeable Star Trek fans comments,I think this series should be stopped now! No second series. I agree that this story is a mess. The federation are not acting like our federation we have known and loved for 40 years. The Klingons are not the Klingons we hate/love/respect. (no way would they have walked away from destroying the federation if they were that close to achieving that at time of war) The liberties these writers have made running rough shod over star trek history is un-forgivable. It's reminding me how I felt after the last episode of Lost....betrayed. Time wasted. Dont mess with the star trek universe any more. Stop!
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Scot
Wed, Nov 15, 2017, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Heart of Stone

I found the Odo / Keira story line boring and repetitive. No great revelations at all and, ultimately, irrelevant. It was actually the Nog storyline that I found the most compelling in this episode. I found his desire to be genuine and his explanation quite moving. It changed the entire character for me for the rest of the show's run.
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Scotty from Detroit
Mon, Nov 13, 2017, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Mind's Eye

Was anyone else really bothered that when Data and Geordi were testing the phaser rifle that they took it to main engineering just mere feet from the warp core? If I needed a shooting range on the Enterprise I would NOT make one right in front of the thing that can blow the whole ship up.
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Scot
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 10:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Into the Fold

I forgot to mention how much I especially liked the resourcefulness of the doctor and her genuinely cutthroat attitude when it came to getting back to her children. That is a mother on a mission! Very impressive and violent. Lastly, I loved the endnote commentary about providing a cure for the people of the planet. That was a detail that could have easily been omitted but I think genuinely sealed the episode with some Star Trek type closure.
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Scot
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 10:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Into the Fold

Jammer is usually my go-to opinion for all things Trek. However, in this case, I have to respectfully disagree. I really enjoyed this episode. I thought it was some great character work and gave me a lot of insight into people that, up until now, I hadn't really cared for very much. By the end of the episode, not only did I like the doctor much more but I liked Isaac for the first time ever. I found this to be a very affecting story. I would have given it a solid 3 stars myself.
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Scot
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, 9:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Majority Rule

I loved it. Today, it was the most socially relevant. I also enjoyed the fact that it is finally evened out in tone. The human did not seem out of place or jarring. And the commentary was, while not subtle, extremely topical. A very solid 3 stars.
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Scotty from Detroit
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 11:22am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

Jammer, THANK YOU for rocking out both Discovery and The Orville. I really enjoy reading your reviews.

I'm writing this after watching the first four episodes, and so far "Context is King" is my favorite. A new Star Trek TV series is exciting, and there's a lot to adjust to. I don't get why they didn't just put the series 20 years after TNG, it would have explained a lot of the new look and feel, but I'm willing to give them a lot of leeway. I don't expect a TOS prequel to look like TOS. Klingons don't have to look like TOS or TNG Klingons and I'll give them some space there for having Star Trek be "fresh" and modern.

I don't like that I have to buy a streaming service. As of right now I plan to keep up-to-date with Season 1, but if there is a Season 2 I will consider just getting the streaming service when ALL the episodes are out and binge it.
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Scotty from Detroit
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 10:57am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: First Contact

I thought this episode was great. I've probably seen it a few times, but watching it in 2017 was the first time that I picked up that the alien Riker nailed was Lilith from Fraser. I really liked that they didn't end it all clean. Basically, they failed their mission by f-ing up first contact, but came to an understanding and planted the seeds for a better future, but an imperfect now.
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