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SouthofNorth
Wed, Jun 6, 2018, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Relativity

Geez you would have thought that the Borg would have assimilated at least one species that knew how to play ping pong. Seven's form was atrocious!
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SouthofNorth
Mon, Jun 4, 2018, 10:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: 11:59

Nice enough episode. Would've enjoyed it more if they had a different actress playing Shannon O'Donnell.
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SouthofNorth
Fri, May 25, 2018, 1:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Latent Image

Voyager does "Sophie's Choice"

And did it very well. The best dramas are not the action-packed battles in which we're left wondering whether the crew will DIE (here's a spoiler: they won't) but rather putting the characters where they have to make a decision and usually a question that challenges their complacency and beliefs. This is just that kind of an episode for both the Doctor and Janeway. I'm glad they didn't pull any rabbits out of the hat and for the Doctor to grow beyond his programming, he has to resolve the conflicts that will arise between the rules that govern his medical decisions and those that he built for himself in forming friendships. And those two parts of his programming are going to come into conflict as they did for Meryl Streep's character in Sophie's Choice where she has to make an impossible decision.

So kudos. 4 - stars.

Now they just have to build upon it like Babylon 5 did when they would put their characters through the ringer. The future episodes in which the Doctor finally resolves this issue should be fascinating. Oh wait, this is Voyager ... well, it was good while it lasted.
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SouthofNorth
Wed, May 23, 2018, 9:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Timeless

Pity that the Doctor wasn't able to send his own message to Seven. It would be something like this:

"Harry Kim is a total screw up. His stupid calculations will destroy the ship. And then he'll spend 15 years trying to correct his error and still destroy the ship. Whatever you do, don't listen to a word that drooling moron says."

Still a 4-star episode and one of the best of the series or any Trek series.

FF rating: No fast-forwarding. Just let it play.

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SouthofNorth
Tue, May 22, 2018, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: In the Flesh

An episode that manages to be pedantic, sermonizing, smug, pretentious and boring within 50 minutes of running time. 1 star.

FF Rating: Watch the stuff at the beginning which is kind of fun and then FF over all of the ridiculous romance scenes. In fact just keep that FF button pressed until it's mercifully over.
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SouthofNorth
Thu, May 17, 2018, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Hope and Fear

Pity that Janeway didn't have the ability to beam Arturis directly into the Voyager brig and interrogate him there. Oh wait, she did ...
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SouthofNorth
Sun, May 13, 2018, 9:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Living Witness

2 stars maybe 2.5 stars.

Not really much to keep one's interest in this episode. I suppose there's the fun of watching the Voyager crew go 'gangsta but really since we all knew that telling of the story was bullsh**, it's not any different than the Voyager crew playing make-believe.

Didn't really care about the society because they have no relevance to the series (and disappear for good when the episode is over) and as for the larger "message" that history is often inaccurate, well, actually the story undercuts that message because we are given the true events as dictated by the Doctor. So history is knowable if you have a hologram that was there and can accurately replay the history for you.

It would have been so much more interesting if the story had followed the Rashomon movie in which several competing narratives are presented of this historical event and by the end, you're not quite sure which one is the real story.
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SouthofNorth
Fri, May 11, 2018, 10:52am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Retrospect

As someone with a family member that was false accused of sexual abuse (and it was proven to be false), I'll just say that, no you can't always believe the "victim" and that anyone who even suggests doing away with the presumption of innocence because certain people "never" lie is playing with fire and doing a great disservice to our society.
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SouthofNorth
Mon, May 7, 2018, 7:48am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Concerning Flight

1-star.

Look, everything in this episode is a plot contrivance designed for only one purpose, to get us to the scene where daVinci gets to experience his dream of flight. Nothing else before that is relevant or dramatic or makes a lick of sense. For example, the ineffectual baddie who stole the all important critical essential computer core is rendered unconscious. So? Beam him up to the ship and make him BARGAIN for his freedom!

And we discover that the all important critical essential computer core is housed in this guarded warehouse. So? Beam down a full security contingent armed with phaser rifles and enough firepower to conquer Paris (okay, bad example) and seize it. But no, let's not do that. Let's send ONE person and a 15th century hologram to try to get it back.

Fast Forward rating: Keep your finger on the FF button until you get to the scene where daVinci flies. Play that scene and then press End and go onto the next episode. You won't be missing anything.
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SouthofNorth
Mon, Apr 30, 2018, 9:06am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Real Life

I want to add to my previous post that there are few things the writer could have done to make the emotional impact of the story “real”. One is to have the Doctor’s family be around for several episodes - or a season - so we get to know them as real characters. After all, if the Doctor had “died” in Voyager’s first episode, it would not have any impact on the audience; but now if he dies, that would be an emotional event. In retrospect, the fact that the family is NEVER seen again, shows that there was never anything real about them and thus the daughter’s death is meaningless.

The other thing would be to give the characters so sense of being different after the change (other than simply become more angry, angsty, and unhappy.) Show that the girl has begun to become sentient and inquisitive about who she is and what she is. Have her ask the Doctor to take her out of the holo-novel (“Take your daughter to work day”) and enter into Voyager. Have him lend her his mobile holo-emitter so she can walk among and converse with the other Voyager characters on the ship. As with Lal in “The Offspring” we will accept his daughter as a real person if we see the other Voyager characters accept her as a real person.

Then you could tie in the Family story with the spatial anomaly story. Have the daughter be on the bridge when a navigation panel explodes (darn that lack of fuses!) and then her holo-whateveritis is seriously damaged and cannot be repaired. So now the Doctor (and the crew) deal with a real and meaningful death and we have a truly meaningful story.

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SouthofNorth
Mon, Apr 30, 2018, 8:45am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Real Life

Star Trek could never figure out what to do with holodeck people: Are they merely automatons, part of a holo-novel and can be easily done away with, or are they sentient beings whose existence matters to us?

If they’re merely characters in a holo-novel, then the girl’s death has no more meaning and emotional impact than would come from watching the Doctor watching a movie in which a character he likes, dies. Within the context of that double-layered story, no one real has died so why should we care?

On other hand, maybe the girl is sentient, so that her death has the same emotional impact as the death of Data’s daughter in “The Offspring”.

But that interpretation is undermined by the initial behavior of the characters as a weirdly comical 50’s family who sappily adore their father. After all, one could imagine Torres pulling out a gun and putting a bullet in that girl’s head to get her to shut up about the Doctor and if she did, we might all laugh about it. But wait, the girl is dead! Isn’t that terrible? How could you heartless monsters possible laugh?

So this episode tries to have it both ways and it doesn’t work.

Regarding the B-story: I for one am sick of instrument panels blowing up all the time. I keep imagining this conversation:
==========
Torres: Captain, you remember last week when we flew through that spatial vortex anomaly and the navigation panel exploded and killed Ensign DuJour?

Janeway: Do I remember? Tell me about it. We’ve haven’t gotten rid of the stench on the bridge yet.

Torres: Well, I’ve been doing some research and there’s this amazing 20th century device that would prevent our instrument panels from exploding ...

Janeway: Really? Tell me about this miracle invention!

Torres: It’s called a “fuse” and …
========

Fast-Forward Rating: Keep your finger on the FF button and don’t stop till it’s over …

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SouthofNorth
Wed, Apr 25, 2018, 9:08am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Coda

1 and half stars.

This one felt like it was hurriedly written in one draft with no edits as the writer put down the plot in a stream of consciousness ...

"okay, let's redo 'Cause and Effect', nah ... let's turn it into ... a remake of 'The Tholian Web', yeah that's the ticket ... nah ... that's too obvious ... let's instead make it a redo of 'Tapestry' but this time with an evil alien that wants to take over Janeway's soul ... errr ... no strike that ... life force .... no ... consciousness. Yeah! Oops ... I've just reached my word count limit for the script. Well, that's a wrap. Onto the next script."
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SouthofNorth
Tue, Apr 24, 2018, 4:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Fair Trade

3 and 1/2 stars. An excellent episode. And highlights an important principle: good drama involves placing your characters in positions where they have to make a DECISION and it's best if that decision is a difficult one that goes against their beliefs or nature. Episodes like "In the Pale Moonlight" and "City on the Edge of Forever" are great because of the challenges they present for their characters.

On the other hand, an episode in which the only question is "Will Voyager survive?" or "Will Janeway die?" are of limited value if that is the only thing going on. We know that Voyager will not be destroyed and we know that Janeway will not die, so don't waste our time. If that is all you have to say, don't waste our time.

Fast Forward Rating: Let it play and be ready to rewind the closing the scene between Janeway and Neelix.
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SouthofNorth
Tue, Apr 24, 2018, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Alter Ego

If Neelix is Voyager's Jar-Jar Binks, then Harry is Voyager's Wesley Crusher. The 3/4ths of this episode was darn-near unwatchable. Do the writers understand nothing about these characters? We've already seen that Kim has a hot girlfriend back on Earth that he's living with, so why is he acting like a 14-year boy who just fell in love for the first time? It was all sophomoric and completely insulting.

The last five minutes of the episode were very nice and almost redeemed the nonsense the preceded it.

Rating: 2 stars
Fast Forward Rating: Fast foward through the first 40 minutes and then enjoy the last five.
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SouthofNorth
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 9:14am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Macrocosm

Am I the only one who spent the entire episode wondering how a Tic Tak was supposed to eat with that flap of flesh attached between their chin and their nose?
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SouthofNorth
Sun, Apr 22, 2018, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: The Q and the Grey

WTF was that????

I would rate that as 1 star. I might even rank it below "Threshold". At least, "Threshold" didn't ruin a beloved ST character.

Fast Forward Rating: 10 (keep your thumb on the FF button, zip through it quickly, do NOT pause.)
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SouthofNorth
Thu, Apr 19, 2018, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Remember

Don’t understand the enthusiasm for this episode. Really, what happened? We spent most of the hour watching Torres watch a story involving genocide. She confronts the aliens about it and they deny it and … well, that’s about it. The moral lesson is “Don’t do genocide and if your ancestors did it, don’t lie about.” Fine. Well, I guess we’re all feeling pretty morally uplifted right about now.

But as a drama? It falls flat. It involves characters for whom we have no attachment and who will disappear as soon as the episode ends. The story has no impact on any of the Voyager characters, whom I’m pretty sure have long adopted the “don’t do genocide” standard of behavior. It doesn’t involve a threat to any crew member (putting aside the rather lame plot point that these dreams were going to fry Torres’ brain - which, we knew that wasn’t going to happen, so why bother?)

These story needed to engage the characters to make choice, because choice is the essence of conflict and good drama. Imagine this was different scenario, one which Voyager needed the help of the aliens because they were going to run out of dilithium in 6 months and these aliens had a ready supply of it. And then in the middle of concluding delicate negotiations, Torres starts accusing the aliens of genocide. Janeway is p*ssed. And now we have genuine conflict. What does Janeway do? Does she reprimand Torres for screwing up the negotiations? Does she support Torres? Does Voyager still deal with an alien race that committed genocide years ago or do they tell them to take a hike - at the possible cost of being stranded in 6 months?

Muddle it up even more. Are the memories real? Or they created memories as has happened with people who create false memories of child abuse? Maybe Tuvok takes the logical approach as says that since we can’t know the truth and anything will do can have no impact on a race that has long since been exterminated, Voyager should make the deal and go on its way. Torres vehemently argues against that, claiming that would make Voyager part of the atrocity. What does Janeway do?

Now THAT would be drama and I think it would be gripping because both sides have a legitimate point. As it is, this episode was little more than virtue signaling: “Don’t do Genocide”. Yeah, thanks for the tip.
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SouthofNorth
Wed, Apr 18, 2018, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: The Swarm

Tuvok: If we use the array we can be home in 1 hour, otherwise we won't make it home for 70 years.
Janeway: I won't violate Starfleet regulations. Destroy the array!!

... 2 years later ...

Tuvok: If we got through their territory, we can be beyond it in 2 days, otherwise it will take 15 months.
Janeway: Screw Starfleet regulations. We're going in!!!!
Tuvok: (to himself) Humans, oy!
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SouthofNorth
Sun, Apr 15, 2018, 11:09am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Lifesigns

The last scene was beautifully understated. Props to Kenneth Biller for understanding that powerful scenes don't require histrionics and deathbed speeches. Respect.
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SouthofNorth
Tue, Apr 10, 2018, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Prototype

So the Builders can create sophisticated robots that baffle Torres, but can't create faces that don't look like cheap Halloween masks from the discount bin at Walmart.
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SouthofNorth
Tue, Apr 10, 2018, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Meld

I love the fact that Tuvok has a "Kill Neelix" hologram program, though I suspect it's part of the ship's general library for any crew member to use.
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SouthofNorth
Mon, Apr 9, 2018, 8:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Alliances

2-stars, perhaps it was 3 until that ridiculous closing speech by Janeway.

This is one of those episodes where it could have been so much better if some more foresight and real-politik had been applied to the situation.

First of all, Voyager is at war with the Kazon and since we're constantly reminded that Voyage represents the Federation in the quadrant it means that the Federation is at war with the Kazon. So all of this nonsense about the the Prime Directive doesn't apply.

Second: If you want the attacks to stop, you don't go hat-in-hand to the Kazons begging for peace. That will only send the signal that the attacks are working and all the Kazons have to do is keep up the pressure because obviously Voyager is starting to crack.

How much better would this episode have been if Janeway's conference with Tuvok had been something like this:

----
Janeway: Tuvok some on this ship want us to negotiate with the Kazon in violation of all federation principles. What do you think?
Tuvok: I think that would be very unwise
Janeway: I agree
Tuvok: But not for the reasons you have stated. We need to send a message to the Kazon and I suggest that the message be written with phasers and photon torpedoes.
Janeway: But we're not at war with the Kazon
Tuvok: Perhaps not, but the Kazon are at war with us and I do not believe the principles of the Federation negate the right of self defense. In any case, opening negotiations would be unwise without a show of strength.
Janeway: Tuvok, how many battles do you think we can fight until we can no longer make it home?
Tuvok: Captain this ship has fought three battles in the last 2 weeks and it today it has cost the life of a valuable member of the crew not to mention severe damange to the ship itself. The current course of action is unsustainable without a change of tactics.
Janeway: I'll take it under advisement. Your logic is - as always - difficult and persuasive Tuvok.
----
From there the episode should have moved forward with the conference without it being clear what Janeway had decided to do. The conference is punctuated with Janeway destroying some important water treatement plant (without the loss of life) with severe repercussions to the Kazon.
----
Kazon: You have made an enemy today Captain Janeway
Janeway: Really? By the way you've been attacking my ship, I didn't think we had been friends. But know this. We could have fried your entire planet if we wanted to. These attacks stop NOW! Or maybe next time I won't be able to restrain my crew. You have NO IDEA what Voyager can do. Be thankful that we're leaving this sector soon. You tell the rest of the Kazon to back off. We won't bother you if you don't bother us.

Janeway out.
-----
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SouthofNorth
Tue, Apr 3, 2018, 7:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Homestead

Neelix is gone? Four star episode!
What? He didn't die in a pool of his own vomit and blood?
Subtract 2 stars ...
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SouthofNorth
Sat, Sep 10, 2016, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Frame of Mind

2 Stars.

Frankly, halfway through the episode I no longer cared what was real and what wasn't.
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SouthofNorth
Sun, Aug 28, 2016, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Cause and Effect

Great episode and one of my favorites. One little nick pick: When they're discussing what to do about the time loop and Geordi suggests reversing course, he's overruled and they decide to act as everything is normal.

But that would have been what they were doing the FIRST time into the loop! They should have said: "well, let's do something completely unpredictable. Reverse course. Set course for Earth. Stop dead in space and have a ship-wide barn dance.
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