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Sonya
Sun, May 17, 2015, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Critical Care

Rosario said, "And the Doctor was no more ethical than he claimed the administrators were. His actions in Act 4 completely kicked the soap box he was standing on the rest of the episode right out from under him."

I'm surprised more people haven't commented on this. I thought the Doctor's decision to poison the administrator was clearly unethical with respect to his profession. I appreciated the final scene with Seven. Being willing to sacrifice an individual (the "bad" administrator) for the sake of a collective (the sick Level Red patients) does fit with a certain type of ethics. It's interesting to note that this was essentially the logic of Chellick. One subgroup was being sacrificed for another subgroup of society.

I initially saw this episode as an allegory for the U.S. health care system, and an indictment against allowing principles of capitalism to apply to health care. I'm also persuaded by Thomas, above. The episode does seem to assert that rationing of health care based on socioeconomic status is wrong. It also made the same point about rationing of education based on socioeconomic status - another problem in the U.S. 15 years after the air date.
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Sonya
Tue, May 5, 2015, 9:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Tsunkatse

How depressing that Starfleet officers in 2377 would enjoy arena fighting. I appreciated the relationship between Seven and the Hirogen, as well as the quiet dialogue between Seven and Tuvok at the end. I couldn't believe how enthusiastic Chakotay, B'Elana, Tom, Harry, and Neelix were about seeing the fighters kick one another and throw each other around. I don't think they even winced. Maybe this was heavy handed writing, but it made me dislike their characters. I may be in the minority on this one, but I would hope that the deliberate damage of organs such as the brain, liver, etc. would not be a sport to "advanced" civilizations in the future.
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Sonya
Tue, Apr 21, 2015, 8:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Warhead

I seem to be in the minority on this one, but I enjoyed Warhead. It is easily my favorite Harry Kim episode so far. If Harry would have felt more confident in his leadership position, he might have argued against transporting the unknown technology onto the ship. Whereas B'Elana has become a caricature of herself (always angry, always suspicious), the writers allowed Harry to engage in some smart dialogue to convince the Doctor/Warhead to abandon the original mission of destruction. It was also wonderful to see Harry *not* be lovesick for once, and *not* be flustered or irritated by 7 of 9. Maybe the Doctor/Warhead character bore some similarities to the real Doctor, but the menacing look after the transfer of the sentient being was pretty good!
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Sonya
Sun, Apr 19, 2015, 11:59am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: The Fight

In my opinion, the show had a good premise and poor execution.

I like the idea of Chakotay confronting his fear of mental illness. (As an aside, how impressive that a treatment could turn off a single gene and prevent mental illness, presumably without having other unintended consequences.) I like the idea of showing the potential value of being insane by other people's standards. Here, the value is that the aliens could communicate with Chakotay and save Voyager in the process. (Usually, the "value" of insanity is portrayed as enhanced creativity or productivity.)

I did not like boxing and Boothby as mediums for conveying Chakotay's struggle. Why couldn't the struggle have been portrayed solely through Chakotay's flashbacks of his grandfather? Or perhaps flashbacks of other times in Chakotay's life when he was concerned about being vulnerable to mental illness. I couldn't wait for this episode to be over, which is too bad. More could have been said or implied about the nature of mental illness and what constitutes lucidity.
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Sonya
Sat, Apr 4, 2015, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Retrospect

It was validating to read the comments below...

Nic - Thu, Jul 21, 2011 - 8:58am (USA Central)
Am I the only one who still thinks Kovin might have been guilty? They weren't able to prove his guilt, but that doesn't necessarily make him innocent. Maybe he did it, maybe he didn't...

SamB - Wed, Jan 23, 2013 - 6:50am (USA Central)
I find it interesting how many viewers, Jammer included, read the episode as defining that Kovin was innocent...

Lt. Yarko - Mon, Jul 1, 2013 - 1:31am (USA Central)
I, too, was a bit annoyed that it seemed that everyone had decided he was innocent simply because they couldn't build an airtight case against him...

Nancy - Wed, Jul 31, 2013 - 3:37am (USA Central)
I still believe he could've been guilty... If the memories were real and he was guilty, the message is apparently "Don't accuse people of assault even if you're sure they're guilty because they might get upset and accidentally blow themselves up." It makes me uncomfortable because it reminds me of how date rapes are often handled: "you'll destroy his life if you accuse him.... Are you SURE it was REALLY rape? You were drinking after all....isn't it possible you just imagined telling him no and the sex got rough so you panicked..." Etc etc.

T'Paul - Mon, Sep 16, 2013 - 7:43am (USA Central)
I must admit I find this one quite disturbing. What is the message supposed to be? That we should doubt rape victims?

Caine - Wed, Nov 13, 2013 - 3:11am (USA Central)
...The story and the actions of most of the characters completely lost all credibility to me, when the Voayager crew turned on a plate. When they discovered that their one solid piece of evidence against Kovin wasn't valid after all, they went directly from "let's try to stay objective and find solid evidence against Kovin to prove his guilt before we accuse him" to "this piece of evidence didn't point towards Kovin's guilt, so 7 of 9 was wrong and imagined it all". What?! That doesn't make any sense!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I was watching the end of the episode thinking, did I miss something? We are still left not knowing what really happened.

The Doctor's behavior was not professional - he asked leading questions and tried to elicit emotions in 7 that she did not report feeling (including a desire for vengeance)- risky under any circumstance, but especially so in the context of an ongoing investigation. Nor was Janeway's behavior professional. I don't believe that 7's consent was actually obtained to conduct the experiment to see if the rifle blast caused her nanoprobes to regenerate. Because 7's story was not supported or refuted, the tradesman's story is now supported? Janeway's glare at the doctor I understand, but the glare at 7?

It bothers me that 7 feels remorse. It's not her fault that people around her made mistakes, and there was no evidence to support or refute her story. If the writers were trying to show that women who accuse men of violating them are both supported and punished, mission accomplished.
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Sonya
Sat, Jan 3, 2015, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Waltz

I, too, was annoyed by the final scene. Even if Dukat had not been exhibiting symptoms of mental illness, it is far too simplistic to characterize him as "evil." It also made me irritated with Sisko as a character (i.e., irritated with the writer). Whenever a leader uses the word "evil" to describe another person or group, I wonder... (a) Is the leader simple-minded? (b) Does the leader think *I* am simple-minded?

On the upside, I appreciated this depiction of mental illness much better than the depictions in Statistical Probabilities. Arguably, Kira was Dukat's (brutal) link to reality even in the midst of his hallucinations. ("He's [referring to Sisko] just humoring you...") Damar served to justify Dukat's past actions. ("The Bajorans understand a clenched fist, not an open hand.") Weyoun served to reassure Dukat's conscience. ("The Dominion would have killed them all.") The implication is that Dukat was temperate in his actions. So even in his hallucinations, Dukat is desperately trying to prove to himself - and the viewer - that he is not immoral. Are these the hallucinations of an evil man?

A wise person once told me, "to understand is not to agree." We don't have to agree with Dukat's actions in order to understand his beliefs and motives. In fact, understanding is the pathway by which Sisko might have deescalated the situation. But that's not what we saw. Sisko, a man whom Dukat respects and admires, refused to concede throughout most of the episode that Dukat's actions were understandable. (When Sisko briefly appeared to concede this point, the hallucination of Kira - Dukat's reality-check - jeered to Dukat that Sisko was being disingenuous - as he was.) The "injustice" of being misunderstood whipped Dukat up into a frenzy. After listening to Dukat's litany of complaints against the Bajorans (including unyielding, stubborn pride), Sisko taunted, "You should have killed them." Dukat exploded in frustration, "That's right! I should have killed every last one of them!"

What if Sisko had genuinely acknowledged that Dukat's early "concessions" to the Bajorans, when met with a resistance that appeared emboldened and ungrateful, damaged his standing with his own Cardassian leaders? In his role, a harsh and measured response seemed like the only option. After such an acknowledgement, I wonder if Dukat would have then been receptive to being asked how Cardassians might have responded to an occupying force if they had been in a position similar to the Bajorans. Is there a part of Dukat that admired the Bajorans' "unyielding, stubborn pride" - that understood and respected it? (Of course we know the answer is "yes.")

Dukat is likely a war criminal. This is not incompatible with the idea that deep down, Dukat also wants to be moral. The tragedy is that Dukat does not understand that morality comes from within, not from the approval of others, such as Benjamin Sisko. If Dukat had cared less about being respected, admired, and feared by others, he might have had the strength to leave his position of power - the one from which he felt compelled to inflict violence on the Bajorans.
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Sonya
Sat, Nov 29, 2014, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

Leah said, "If you wanna see creepy go watch ds9 where quark actually tries to film Kira to replicate her so someone who paid him could have sex with her image."

Agreed. But I still maintain that Geordi's behavior towards Leah, when he actually did meet her in person, was creepy - and this is why I am coming to the defense of anyone who has made that point on this thread. While I love Star Trek, I have been dismayed by some of the writing on TNG and DS9 (I haven't started Voyager yet; I only saw a few episodes of that show here and there when it was on air.) I blame the predominantly male writing team. There weren't enough checks and balances for some of the questionable story lines that involved male/female relationships. (As a counterpoint, I've gained a lot of insights/enjoyment from viewing relationships between fathers/sons, mentors/mentees, and 'brothers' in arms.) Re: Geordi/Leah and other questionable story lines, I'm heartened by the large number of men on this website who have come out to acknowledge the problems. It makes me feel better about how we're doing as a society.
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Sonya
Thu, Nov 27, 2014, 8:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Let He Who Is Without Sin...

Do you remember Worf's relationship with K'Ehleyr in TNG? Now *that* was chemistry. I just don't find his relationship with Dax to be plausible in any way. And how idiotic was it for Dax to propose vacationing with Worf in Risa anyway? (But by this point, I'm pretty much resigned to the writers turning Dax into an idiot. I'm glad so many people enjoyed her in a swimsuit. I can't remember the last episode in which she was allowed to display her character's formidable intellect. It's like the writers are turning her into Kelly LeBrock from Weird Science. They seem to be working out their adolescent fantasies through Dax's character. K'Ehleyr was strong and sexy. Dax's character has become vapid.)
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Sonya
Sun, Nov 23, 2014, 9:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Trials and Tribble-ations

I know I'm in the minority, but I couldn't wait for this episode to be over. I wasn't really a fan of TOS, though. Dax was particularly annoying during this episode, but I suppose they had to dumb her down and sex her up to make her fit the TOS female standard.
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Sonya
Sat, Nov 15, 2014, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: For the Cause

I loved this episode! It had surprising plot twists, and I thought the writing and acting ranked among the best for the show so far.

I was hoping that Garak would turn out to be more like a father figure to Ziyal. Judging from other people's comments, I'm assuming the writers will make her a love interest instead. *sigh*
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Sonya
Sat, Nov 15, 2014, 2:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Muse

Toraya said, "My objection to the Lwaxana eps is that her shtick of sad-middle-aged-woman-desperate-for love is boring, cliche and somewhat insulting . How many times have we seen this? Does she ever do anything besides chase men or cry over men? Is it meant to be amusing? Maybe it was...for about two minutes, the first time. Though not really."

I completely agree! Although I would add, it *is* insulting. I blame the writers for the annoying aspects of Luaxana Troi's personality. The fact that she could get on so many viewers' nerves over the years is a testament to her solid acting ability.

The "sad desperation" plot lines also undermined one of the things I initially liked best about Luaxana - she had a healthy attitude towards sexuality and her own body. I wish the writers would not have made her chase after men who clearly had no interest in her. I wish they hadn't made her seem so self-absorbed, just as a device to later show how thoughtful and supportive she really could be. There weren't enough older women in the show to counter the portrayal of Luaxana. (My favorite was Dr. Pulaski, and sadly, she was only on TNG for 1 season.)

I also agree with Jammer that the show's portrayal of how to resolve marital problems was not good. Why couldn't Luaxana ask for asylum and obtain competent legal counsel? (Oh, it's a device to foist Luaxana on Odo, who isn't romantically interested in her. "Won't you protect me, Odo?" - that alone is insulting.)

Re: Jake's story line, I found it disturbing that the writer paired Onaya, an older woman, with Jake, a teenaged boy. Why did the writer even need themes of sexuality and seduction for Onaya to accomplish her objective? I suppose Onaya had to touch Jake's head to steal his life force, and the writer thought sexuality was the most plausible way to achieve that end.
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Sonya
Tue, Oct 21, 2014, 9:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Explorers

I loved the father/son plot, and I loved Gul Dukat's grudging yet gracious congratulations and display of fireworks. One of the things I value about this show is Sisko and Jake's relationship. Aside from a few comedies (e.g., the Cosby Show), how often do we see strong, positive relationships between African American fathers and sons in the media?
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Sonya
Sun, Oct 5, 2014, 12:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Meridian

Jammer wrote: "Keeping the episode lively is a humorous (albeit forgettable) B-story taking place on DS9 as Quark tries to fill a "special order" for a holosuite program. It's an enjoyably unimportant comedy involving an obsessed visitor (Jeffrey Combs) who requests a sexed-up holosuite image of Major Kira. The results are entertaining, with a deliciously hilarious—and equally unconventional—payoff. Though completely unrelated to the main plot, it adds an acceleration boost to the episode."

I don't know how I would have viewed this plot in 1994, but in 2014, I think it's important to talk about whether this is a violation. We all know what the obsessed visitor would have done with Kira's character/body in the holosuite. We know that Kira did not want her image/psychology used for that purpose or any other. If the visitor would have succeeded, would this have been a type of sexual assault and/or ethical transgression? Remember how creepy Geordie in TNG was to Leah? Isn't it possible (and perhaps likely) that holosuite fantasies with non-consenting "real people" would lead to blurring the lines in the real world? What recourse, if any, would Kira have had if the visitor had succeeded with his objective? Bad enough that her body was shown with Quark's head.
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Sonya
Sun, Oct 5, 2014, 12:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Civil Defense

I loved this episode. As I watched, I kept thinking of how dispensable the Bajorans were to the Cardassians, and the forced labor and gassing made me think of concentration camps and gas chambers. Kira's silent looks of outrage and grim determination underscored this. (I think this was the source of Dukat's attraction to Kira - her willingness to sacrifice the lives on the station before acceding to his 'deal' for there to be a Cardassian presence on the station.) This episode more effectively conveyed what it was like for Bajor to be occupied by the Cardassians than any other I've watched so far. And despite how awful the Cardassians were, don't we like Dukat and Garak? They're two of my favorite characters. I value this episode, in part, because of the dissonance I felt by being entertained.
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Sonya
Tue, Jul 29, 2014, 8:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Eye of the Beholder

During the scene where Geordi and Data have a conversation about suicide, Data observes Geordi sigh, lean back, and cross his arms to prepare for discussing a heavy topic. Data crosses his arms in the same way while checking Geordi's form to make sure he gets the gesture correct. It's like you can see the wheels turning in his positronic brain. Brent Spiner really did make small scenes a joy to watch.

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Sonya
Sun, Jul 27, 2014, 11:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

Here is a link to a helpful site re: definitions of gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.

http: //www.hrc.org/resources/entry/sexual-orientation-and-gender-identity-terminology-and-definitions (omit the space between the colon and the first two backslashes)

In the past (including recently), I've used the term sexual identity, but I think gender identity is closer to the intended meaning. Using these definitions, I think gender expression is a choice, but not gender identity or sexual orientation. (Also note that sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior... just because someone has sex with a person of a specific biological sex, it doesn't mean he or she necessary gravitates towards that sex in terms of attraction.)

Again, part of what makes this episode a good one is that it prompts these types of questions, and hopefully promotes greater acceptance of diversity and empathy for others among viewers.
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Sonya
Sun, Jul 27, 2014, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Lower Decks

proportion = promotion
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Sonya
Sun, Jul 27, 2014, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Lower Decks


grumpy_otter said, "Is it just me, because I hate Beverly, or was her relationship with Alyssa cloying? That's your BOSS acting like a silly schoolgirl over your romance! Just struck me as false." Yes! I found this inappropriate, especially woven into conversations that involved clearly professional issues such as proportion. Beverly could be accused of favoritism. I don't mind when Beverly and Troi talk about their social lives, but I do mind when scenes perpetuate an inaccurate stereotype that women cannot be professional.

I also appreciated Jammer's observation that Picard's harsh treatment of Sito just before recruiting her into a dangerous mission could be viewed as manipulative. (He even said, while referencing the mission, that he needed to 'test' her.) I thought this was just shy of unethical, but I may be giving Picard the benefit of the doubt because I like his character so much.

There was much to love about this episode. I particularly found Worf's mentorship of Sito enjoyable to watch, the look on his face when Sito showed up with the pseudo-bruised face, and the look on everyone's faces when the Cardassian observed, "I did not think she would be so young." How did I reconcile the seemingly out of character joining of the table at the end of the episode? Worf is big on honoring tradition and ritual, and perhaps he recognized that joining Sito's friends was a way of honoring her memory. (I don't think he did it with the thought that it would make him feel better, even if that might have been the end result.)
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Sonya
Sat, Jun 21, 2014, 6:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

I agree that this episode was ahead of its time. I think others make a convincing argument that the episode was meant to stimulate support for the gay rights movement. What's so great is that one can easily see the application to equality for transgendered people. One can even tease apart issues of sexual identity (Soren identifies as female) and sexual orientation (Soren is a female attracted to a male). Implications of Soren's and Riker's speeches are that any person has a right to identify as male or female (or androgynous) and that any person has a right to develop a relationship with any other person, regardless of that person's gender. Very progressive, even if the writers chose to depict the least controversial pairing.

As an aside, I missed having a compelling music score in this episode. Others have commented on this drawback to Season 5. Now that I'm conscious of it, the silence is deafening.
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Sonya
Sat, Jun 14, 2014, 9:10am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

The amount of debate over this show demonstrates what a good premise the writers had, even if it is difficult to reconcile some elements with previous episodes (e.g., why couldn't Data communicate with the crystalline entity as Lore did)? There are two aspects upon which I wish to comment:

(1) I agree with Jammer and others that the Dr. Marr storyline is a little heavy-handed, and that it was contrived for Dr. Marr to flip from rational to crazy as she enacted her decision to kill the entity. Couldn't her act be viewed and depicted as rational? What upset me more, however, was Data's statement that based on his review of Renny's logs, he thinks Renny would have been saddened by Dr. Marr's action. Oh? Are we to believe that Data, who has struggled so much in understanding human emotions, would be able to review someone's records, *extrapolate* from the records to determine their feelings in a new situation, and state with confidence what their feelings would be? This is not the Data I know. This was the writer issuing a verdict and twisting a knife into Dr. Marr... for what purpose? We didn't need that scene to have our debate over whether the crystalline entity should have been given a chance to live.

(2) Great literature, theater, and TV can always be interpreted in different ways, depending on the point in life at which we are processing the material. Was anyone else struck by the "bad mommy" narrative? I'm reading Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead." Dr. Marr is understandably torn up for not being present when her son faced the crystalline entity and died. She regrets missing out on different experiences her son was having. Does it follow that a "good" parent would never have take the opportunity to do science across the galaxy? (In fact, we don't know *when* Dr. Marr left her son with trusted friends. It could have happened when we was an older teen - his logs show he was romantically involved.) I appreciated that the writer made Renny proud of his mother's work.
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Sonya
Thu, Jun 5, 2014, 10:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

Geordi's behavior is consistent with sexual harassment in the workplace, plain and simple. I'd hate to have to work with anyone who can't see that. It was also galling to have to watch Leah apologize to Geordi at the end of the show. "I'm sorry I overreacted when I saw your holo-sex-deck version of me say that when you're touching the Enterprise, you're touching me." This show comes off so differently as I re-watch it at age 39! Come on... if you have a daughter, would you want her to experience what Leah experienced in the workplace? I like Geordi's character, but the writer made his behavior consistent with a perpetrator in this episode.
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