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Thu, Sep 16, 2021, 9:34pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Relativity

Relativity had long stretches that were done well and made for enjoyable watching. It was a benign episode that explored some interesting time travel ideas. They made no sense whatsoever....Just have Merlin turn 'Wart' into a fish and have done with it.

I have liked Bruce McGill (Braxton) ever since his excellent performance as lawyer Ron Motley in the film The Insider, done in the same year that Relativity was produced ...he delivers that great speech against the attorneys supporting big tobacco when they tell him that they have rights:

' Boy, you have rights, ....and lefts, ...and Ups and downs and middles....So what? You don't get to instruct anything around here! This is not North Carolina, not South Carolina, nor Kentucky! This is the sovereign State of Mississippi's proceeding. WIPE THAT SMIRK OFF YOUR FACE! Dr. Wigand's deposition will be part of this record! And I'm gonna take my witness' testimony whether the hell you like it or not!'

It's an awesome scene...and by comparison he was a bit underutilized on Voyager in this particular show.
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Thu, Sep 16, 2021, 4:13pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: 11:59

Correction : 'The book should have been about the Pharos lighthouse, mentioned earlier by Seven, which would have given Shannon the idea that the Millennium Gate could have a SETI beacon installed at the top. '
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Thu, Sep 16, 2021, 2:41pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: 11:59

’l agree that Shannon and Henry didn’t have smoldering chemistry. But I think that’s consistent with the tired, second-chance vibe of the episode. At the moment, neither is where they must have thought they’d be in life, and yeah one looks forward and the other looks back (another element tying in with the NY’s eve theme).' (Proteus, Nov. 25, 2019)

Well said Proteus...l really liked your allusion to 'the tired second-chance vibe of the episode.' I especially enjoyed the Henry Janeway casting...precisely because he isn't a great romantic figure to sweep Shannon off her feet.

The last thing the story needed was a Mr. Perfect middle-aged hottie with some carefully thought out strategy for taking on big business. It needed, instead, somebody with no real plan, but some kind of authenticity which, believe it or not, some women do find attractive.

I think the chocolate chip cookie revelation thing came out of nowhere....and would have been better done as a revelation arising out of a book given to Shannon by Henry when she hit-the-road to say no hard feelings. The book should have been about the Pharos lighthouse, mentioned earlier by Seven, which would given Shannon the idea that the Millennium Gate could have a SETI beacon installed at the top. That idea would have captivated Henry, who clearly revered the Hellenistic cultural milieu.

The whole Martian Colony angle was a waste. The writers should have focused on O'donel's supposed role in relation to what was to happen after her death, during First Contact.

Paris could still do a faux pas line bumming Captain Janeway out: 'I never heard about an O'Donel doing anything during First Contact'. We the viewers would know however, that the Pharos beacon had attracted the Vulcans to get close enough to Earth to pick up Cochrane's warp flight at the crucial juncture.

3 stars from me. I also loved the music, as it was well-suited to the message.
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Mon, Sep 13, 2021, 9:31pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Juggernaut

I'm afraid that the bottom fell out of Season 5 with this stinkerooni....I try to see the best sides of every episode, but this one is tough. The meditation scene with Tuvok is fine. The Neelux soup gagging scene with Chakotay is also fine. The core crew monster was revolting...not simply because he followed the worn-out disgusting mutant CHUD-archetype, but because he couldn't be reasoned with-- period. This blunted B'Elanna's attempt to find her better self and instead reinforced her return to anger, accentuated by a new variation-- blunt force trauma. Why no bookend scene with Tuvok you may ask? Using the lead pipe in the library by Miss Peacock is not his cup of tea. For retuning Voyager to early season 1, Juggernaut warrants 1.5 stars max. Did kids under 10 watch this violent garbage?
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Fri, Sep 10, 2021, 9:09pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: The Disease

While watching Voyager-season 5, I have become convinced that a major thrust of the show is crew member misbehavior and discipline by Janeway. This is typified by the episode Disease in two great scenes in which she thrashes poor Harry Kim. In the second of the two scenes he pushes back pretty well....'have you ever been in love captain?' Wang's performance is great.

Chakotay's probing questions about her uncompromising approach is also interesting. Man she's harsh! And in Dark Frontier she was unnecessarily awful to B'Elanna....couldn't let her feel good for 5 seconds, even though she had just solved a major engineering problem of adapting to the Borg technology. Ticked me off....what a morale destroyer! And I feel that way despite liking Janeway on many levels. Morale maintenance should be job one for any leader. Sometimes that means holding one's tongue about perceived infractions.

I liked "Disease" again disagreeing with Jammer. Will enjoy watching it in the future. 4 Stars.
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Thu, Sep 9, 2021, 5:08am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Dark Frontier

Fine episode. Plenty of excitement and thoughtfully written scenes that were well-acted....both kids were good...just different from each other. The Seven - Naomi Wildman connection is worthwhile...from Bliss and into Dark Frontier and I am glad they put all that in there, as well as continuity in the girl's attachment to Neelix.

Perfect continuity cannot be manufactured after the fact unless we ourselves invent a time machine. When "Q Who" was written, no one at Paramount had yet thought of the Hansens, let alone a transwarp conduit.

While I marvel sometimes at the writers' fixations on- and re-use of - certain names and numbers e.g., JP Hanson with an "o" not an "e" (admiral at Wolf 359) and "39" (the number of Starfleet vessels destroyed at Wolf, as well as the number of alien ships attacking the Borg in Dark Frontier) I have to chalk that up to sub-conscious patterning within the writers' minds whenever the word Borg is mentioned. Ranting about it 'may be futile.'

IMO there does seem to be enough room within the standard Trekverse chronology to allow us to smooth over the continuity choppiness so that the fictional timeline is acceptable. We can then get our lives back.

Finally, I am glad the Borg are in theory beatable. They remain sufficiently menacing, just not perfectly impregnable perhaps, and I loved the handling of the closing scenes of the episode. Not spoiling that for new watchers. 4 stars
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Wed, Sep 8, 2021, 8:18pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Gravity

Add me to the choir which liked the episode "Gravity." The setting was great and actress Lori Petty (Noss) with that special voice and those intense huge eyes of hers was a big part of its success. It was not simply a redux of the TOS' All Our Yesterdays plotline where Spock, McCoy and Zarabeth form that toxic triangle.

Noss starts off as a forbidding character, so it was a relief when she lightens up. I particularly liked her cute laugh when she realizes that Paris can't hunt to save his life.

The final attack sequence reminded me of Bogart's Sahara...good energy and left me in suspense as to whether Noss would survive. The emotional scenes with Tuvok and Noss were 'lump in the throat' great. Glad that I took the time. 3 stars.
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Sat, Sep 4, 2021, 9:48pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Thirty Days

A good episode this is, but not thoroughly engaging for some reason.... I'm not hugely into the logic of the Prime Directive and I like the Tom Paris character, but his motivations were alienating because they lacked creativity. The best he could do was become disloyal to a captain who deserved better from him. This is not ultimately positive on any level.

Paris induces Riga to undertake a terrorist attack on a state facility, furnishing the means to do so which Riga would not have had otherwise. The Delta Flyer is not Tom's personal hotrod, but he decided the rules were written differently for him , and that he could 'save the world'. It was noble in a way, but also dangerous, and let's face it, the plan basically was little more than a redux of the Captain Proton holodeck simulation seen at the start of the show.

Net effect of the stunt:
Another irreplaceable photon torpedo is expended to neutralize Riga's attack on the oxygen plant.

Paris is busted in rank and given 30 days in the brig for insubordination and for endangering his crew. It was a pretty light stretch all things considered. Janeway was great as she meted out discipline. Not sure that he's redeemable at this point.
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Sat, Sep 4, 2021, 3:10pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

It is commonly asserted that the unnamed victims will have died in vain unless we go ahead and use the information extracted without their consent. Perhaps this is logical, but IMO, it certainly isn't uncomplicated.

My cynical self thinks that at its worst, this is just another rhetorical device to ignore personhood and unwittingly renew the original violation, to save the next life.....that next life is someone dear to us.

I think that the episode is a good one because it forces the viewer to think about the complexities underlying several different ethical standards.

In the days when even simple extraction of a gall stone was deadly and before effective anaesthetics were available (say before c. 1846), patients regularly underwent the scalpel with a sense of desperate resolution, and consented, knowing that their suffering might contribute to the improvement of the procedure for the next person. They were willing sacrifices.

With Krell, the procedural knowledge in question had its origin in forced experimentation. Does society honor the memory of the victims of such experimentation by overlooking the crime by which the knowledge was gained?

The larger issue in "Nothing Human" relates to the horror that the rights of individuals over their own bodies will be argued away under the notion that the abrogation of the individual's liberties would lead to a greater public good.
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Fri, Sep 3, 2021, 5:48am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Infinite Regress


Man what a noisy episode.....and one that is surely seizure-inducing for photically-sensitive viewers and epileptics.

I had a text exchange with a Voyager-watching friend 45 minutes after I wrote the review and sent up a red flag to warn her off this one. All she wanted to do was to sit back after a hard day's work, watch a good Voyager and have some home-made ice cream. This was definitely not a good ice cream Voyager.
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Thu, Sep 2, 2021, 9:28pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Infinite Regress

"Infinite Regress" had some great performances by Jeri Ryan, but the direction was painful to the ear and to the eye. It definitely over pumped the strobe-lights to the point that it became unwatchable. It takes a First Place ribbon as the episode most effective in compelling the viewer to endure pretty much the same mental torture that the victimized character experiences.....shades of sitting in that chair in Tantalus Colony with Dr. Adams. (TOS Dagger of the Mind).

2 stars....not for the faint-hearted, or the wasily nauseated, and I couldn't help but notice that the other characters really looked awful....weakened and depressed from having been sidelined to cipher-level. Bad vibes.
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Thu, Sep 2, 2021, 6:02am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Timeless

What a range of opinions from the gallery on Timeless....I really liked it, and so did my 'pod', although so many of those commenting lambasted it.

Time travel never fully satisfies....I've tried to unravel it, fight it, hate it, criticize it, but now accept it as a dream device to disturb complacency, and pose a set of problems to be overcome for the characters. To quote Dickens, it is, like Scrooge's dreams "a fragment of an underdone potato" from which issues a nightmare. So many dismiss the nourishment of this episode by citing technical quibbles that, if we are objective about them, do not really sink the boat.

It is, indeed, often fun to criticise things visciously and it does make for laugh-worthy reading. For example, 'I thought Tessa was dumb', or 'Geordi was too nice' Or 'At one quarter impulse, Voyager would have been flattened to the size of a small pizza (without anchovies).' Or 'Chakotay should have just opened a yoga clinic and left Harry to sort things out for himself.'

I accept that this is Harry's nightmare, plain and simple. Enjoyed the story, and liked all of the performances within this underdone potato.

Also liked the ultimate message of the episode: Harry has to give up his original dream to escape from his nightmare. At this point, given all that has happened, I have decided not only to love, but also try to be guided by, the EMH's wonderful exhortation: "Somebody has got to knuckle down and change history and that somebody is you."

Yes! 4 stars unequivocally ....I will admit that 9 million km passes awfully quickly in the episode...I just wish 160 km had gone as quickly for me at age 5 in the back seat on the way to grandma's.
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Sun, Aug 29, 2021, 11:40pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Extreme Risk

​It is also impossible to overlook the quality of the scene (more of a chess game) which takes place between Chakotay and B'Elanna immediately preceding the famous visit to the holodeck when he actually forces her through the door to confront her self-destructive behavior.

Chakotay: "You have been running holodeck programs without safety protocols."

B'Elanna: "A few....But I haven't put anybody else at risk, and it's nothing that I can't handle."

Chakotay: "Tell you what...why don't you and I pay a little visit to the holodeck and you can show me some of the programs you've been running.

B'Elanna: "Right now?"

Chakotay: "Sure." Maybe if I see what you've been up to, I can convince the captain that there's nothing to worry about."

B'Elanna: "She's taken away my holodeck privileges."

Chakotay: (smiling) "Consider them restored."

B'Elanna: (silent dismay...knowing she's been undone).

Robert Beltran just nails it. His grin lasts half a second but it's pure gold....checkmate! Roxann Dawson's reactions are equally effective.

Chakotay (with B'Elanna outside the holodeck) "Computer...Activate holoprogram Torres 801."

It's just a great scene and during the age of the Pandemic, I can't escape the irony of the line "I haven't put anybody else at risk, and it's nothing that I can't handle." .....Sure. Nice try.
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Sun, Aug 29, 2021, 11:23pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Extreme Risk

"Extreme Risks" had much more in it than many of the reviews imply that it had. Great exchanges occur in the episode which are not to be dismissed so casually.

First. There's what I would call a fantastic scene set in Sickbay, which begins when the Doctor says to B'Elanna "The captain asked me to keep you here." I love the sound of the automatic doors opening, immediately afterwards, because I know that Janeway is going to be furious. However, ir's better than that because Mulgrew plays worried anger that's so controlled it sends chills down one's spine. The camera makes excellent use of closeups to allow us to feel how adept Janeway is at projecting authority as those eyes of hers drill directly into B'Elanna's brain.

It may be a "bottom-of-the barrel" Hollywood "absolute dross" American show (NoPoet, Nov. 28, 2017) done in 1998, but that scene is one I can watch again and again. Sorry rest of the world, it just happens to be excellent.

In my opinion, one should focus on scenes with good dialogue and just take in quality portrayals a bit more.
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Sat, Aug 28, 2021, 6:50am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S5: I, Borg

Re. the Thomas - Booming Sept 18, 2020 thread segment: on individuality....

Possibly also useful to include the factor of atavism in the discussion....such as: I may be an individual, but I, in body and in mind, express elements of innumerable predecessors to various degrees. The specific contributions are generally unknown, particularly when it comes to the features and inclinations inherited from remote ancestors.

The implication is that each individual expresses a collective assembly ...this collectivity is the individual's genetic inheritance.
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Sat, Aug 28, 2021, 5:15am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S4: Hope and Fear

"At its fundamental core, a story like "Hope and Fear" strikes me as almost completely pointless." (Jammer...back in the day).

I think the point of the episode was to render homage to the Twilight Zone installment "To Serve Man". This would explain: (1) the gross enlargent of the Ray Wise character's cranium; (2) the 'message decoding' aspect, particularly given the belated revelation that the 'benevolent alien' is actually not all that nice.. AND (3) the entrapment of key figures as the alien shuts the they can be devoured by the Borg. The similarities are stark.

The alternate point of the episode, is to teach a lesson about trust vs. FEAR, HOPE vs. illusion, especially using the idea that when it looks too good to be true, it probably is... which is pretty much stated during the Janeway - Tuvok discussion mid-episode. It also teaches the important lesson that uncompromsing quests for vengence are not that intelligent. It is particularly satisfying that Arturis is "Hoist with his own petard".

I liked the episode a lot on its own terms. Many good scenes within it allow me to recommend it to others, 3.5 stars!
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Fri, Aug 27, 2021, 4:24pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S6: Starship Mine

It is a terrible lapse that nothing is done about Hutch in the episode. It's just another example of the casual attitude to the death of others. Quite possibly it was part of the zeitgeist of the early 90's (at least in America)...."Weekend at Bernie's" dates to the same general period. Mourning went out of fashion.
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Fri, Aug 27, 2021, 12:07pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S4: Living Witness

"Living Witness" had good moments and terrible ones. Gratuitous violence is never a plus for me. The specific instances (Evil Janeway's summary executions and the torture session orchestrated by Evil Chakotay and Evil Harry Kim) were completely beyond the pale. The 'Janeway as Blackbeard' motif was great up to the point at which onscreen violence reached crescendo... Just not necessary to the story.

There's enough nihilism in one day's news to last us for 700 years.
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Thu, Aug 26, 2021, 6:43am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S4: Hunters

If that doofus Mark had really cared about Janeway, he would have gone into suspended animation and just waited....he could have taken the dog into the canister with him!
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Wed, Aug 25, 2021, 11:42pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S4: Demon

With Jammer's half-star rating and words like "unwatchable" and "disaster" in the earlier comments as a guide, I approached "Demon" with incredibly low expectations.

I was pleasantly surprised to find it visually interesting with great planet scenes and quite a few interesting exchanges between the characters. B'Elanna recommending Seven of Nine to Chakotay was a nice switch; Paris' comment about getting to puberty as his life passed before him was funny. The reddish hues of the planetary environment provided an excellent contrastive backdrop to the spacesuits with their blinking lights. I managed to tolerate and even enjoy the implausible and over-the-top bits to get the payoff.

"Demon" was really a tale of 'first contact' with Janeway basically learning to understand the 'silver blood' as a demiurge and feeding it the dna it needed to create a new society. The final scene as Voyager departs reminded me somewhat of Noah's Ark on Ararat, having just deposited the paired creatures of the Earth rescued from the waters of the flood. Actually, as done, it was a pretty memorable image.

As a bonus, I really marvelled at the number of people who jumped to Neelix's defense in the bedding confiscation incident with Tuvok.

Take this gem of an opinion from Random Thoughts (Feb 21, 2018):

"His book and blankie would have been just fine. I wonder where Tuvok threw his stuff?"

LOL ... Although I will admit that given the overall appearance of Neelix's linens, Tuvok likely took the rumpled mass to the laundromat on deck 8 to put it through at least two cycles on hot.
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Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 11:03pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S4: Vis A Vis

Ok...the episode had problems, nearly from the outset. For instance, when Fake Steth beams on board Voyager, he walks a step ahead of Janeway down the corridor....of a ship he's never been on. Where does the director think Fake Steth is going? Why didn't the director cry "cut!" for Pete's sake? I can take "coaxial" blah blah seriously, but how do I accept a character as real, when he's walking as cameras are rolling, like he's sauntering to the studio canteen from Soundstage #6 at Paramount?

Now on to serious matters...Nobody fares particularly well as events move forward.

(1) On instant replay, the body switch imposed on Tom by Fake Steth is a violation of Tom's personhood and qualifies as the introductory rape scene in this episode. I know that violation is a mainstay theme in a lot of (all?) Sci Fi, but I had hoped that just once, things would play out more straightforwardly....where Tom would think he was in a simple bromance with a fellow gearhead and then awaken to the fact that he needed to fight off the advances of an alien female with funny ears before B'Elanna's feelings were hurt. That's naive me, ever hoping for another dose of fanciful relationship high jincks, instead of what we got.

(2) As for the 1st scene between B'Elanna and Fake Tom, viewers might reasonably assume that the kiss which ends the scene culminated in extended canoodling, and possibly miscellaneous naked stuff off screen. Since it isn't really Tom, this qualifies as rape, or ellicit seduction/sex by deception or similar fraud. However, it is remotely possible that in the unwritten part, B'Elanna terminated the kiss and handed Fake Tom the sand wedge and likely told him where it should be used. At least naive me hoped that's what transpired.

The more upsetting scene between B'Elanna and Fake Tom is their 2nd encounter (the one with the picnic lunch in the largest hard plastic picnic basket ever manufactured). In it, B'Elanna is physically abused by Fake Tom , who uses a brutal throat grip against her before being summarily discarded by him. This is a distubing scene. The fact that that event goes unmentioned in a report to the captain is a real lapse (in the script). Seven reported Fake Tom's violent verbal threat and intoxication and we know this because it is called out in the screenplay, but the mistreatment of B'Elanna is dropped entirely.

(3) Finally Janeway herself is attacked and then becomes, you guessed it, Fake Janeway. Her maniacal laugh in the shuttle brought a smile, but the whole thing really wore me down. Although mispronunciation of Camer-O was cute at the end, all I really wanted was, you guessed it, another dose of fanciful relationship high jincks, instead of what we got.

Best scene: Seven putting Fake Steth on the spot after catching him in her cargo bay accessing the computer. Some other good scenes, but not bolted together very well.
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Sat, Aug 21, 2021, 7:00am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

"When I win a case in court I always like to think I can hear the lamentation of the opposing lawyer's woman." (Jason R.)

I'm no expert in cultural programming, but I think we are taught to enjoy total victory from an early age, as a basis for constructive competition. In the controlled contexts of the rule-based tourney, i e., court, total defeat of one's enemy can be intensely satisfying.
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Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 11:29pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S4: The Killing Game

I'm counting myself in with those who liked the episode and feel that it has gotten a bad rap.

"The Killing Game" plays with the subject of identity quite a bit, and I enjoyed that aspect. The main characters, aside from Harry and The Doctor, lose their identities and are conveniently manipulated as warrior pawns for 19 days, and are well on their way to becoming little more than holographic tackling dummies on an indefinite basis to satisfy the Hirogen need for sport. There can be little doubt that the writers meant to recall TOS episode "Day of the Dove."

Like DOTD, The Killing Game is about the retrieval of original identity before all is lost. The key to the underlying argument of the episode is unequivocally expressed, ironically, in relation to the Hirogen, (not Voyager's crew) toward the end of part 2 in an oddly powerful, if disturbing speech by B'elanna's erstwhile German officer beau. This character, who seemed to be a cardboard figure in part 1, delivers a tour-de-force of Nazi rhetoric culminating in the sentence: "We must be faithful to who we are." Hirogen #2 is mesmerized by this faulty logic and persuaded to murder Hirogen #1, literally moments before the inception of a new era for the Hirogen people.

Shades here of Melekon and John Gill. 3 stars
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Thu, Aug 19, 2021, 4:18pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

@Mal excellent essay. Thanks for taking the time to put it all together. Worf's tendencies remind me of that well-known exchange from "Conan The Barbarian" with Worf resembling Conan just a bit.

MONGOL-STYLE WARLORD (from Khitai, I think): " We won again! This is good, but what is best in life?"
WARRIOR: The open steppe, a fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair.
MONGOL-STYLE WARLORD: "Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?"
CONAN (matter of factly) "To crush your enemies; see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women."
MONGOL-STYLE WARLORD: "That is good! That is good."

Pretty simplistic worldview...sounds good eh? Not easy to live with for those over the age of 14, even if on the winning side.
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Tue, Aug 17, 2021, 9:23pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S4: Waking Moments

While not a bad episode by any means, "Waking Moments" was somewhat too layered, and left me lying by the side of the road under the wreckage of my proverbial bicycle, somewhat dazed. It had an odd hypnotic effect on me.... I actually fell asleep during it...four or five times.

However, since I have grown to like the character of Chakotay, it was a pleasant watch, even though I had to start it over several times. I agree with earlier commenters in liking the dream sequences in the teaser and the moon's image as a device to help Chakotay recognize the unreality of a given moment. I think 3 stars seems justfied. It suffered only from the shallow quality of the aliens and their poorly developed motivations.
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