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Matt B
Sat, Feb 20, 2021, 2:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

Really enjoyed this episode. But then I always love Q (even though all Q episodes aren't great), especially with Picard.
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Matt B
Sat, Feb 20, 2021, 1:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Face of the Enemy

I agree with those that say Sirtis did a great job here. Inf fact Every time she has been given a decent script she has done well. The problem has always been that she has been given terrible scripts.

And I love Seymour here (and in other roles).
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Matt B
Sat, Feb 20, 2021, 12:31pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part I

Jellico is the character you love to hate. Ronny Cox is a great actor, and really plays Jellico well.

But I agree with the anti-Jellico contingent. He is not a good leader. Being strong doesn't mean demeaning your followers nor demanding unreasonable actions. Riker was correct in the way he behaved, and especially the words he had for Jellico at the end.

The real problem of leadership though is Admiral Nechayev. She unreasonably passed over Riker. I get it for the story reasons, but in universe it doesn't make sense. I would have much rather had Riker off on a separate mission instead of how they did this.
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Matt B
Sat, Feb 20, 2021, 10:55am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

I remember this film being not that good, and of course hearing about just how terrible it is. However, after watching all the TOS movies, this is underrated and not as bad as its made out to be. I certainly enjoyed it more than STI and STIII. It's not a great move by any means, and has its bad moments, but I enjoyed watching it. It has a decent story at its core, and for the most part doesn't drag on.
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Peridotty
Mon, Feb 15, 2021, 9:12am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Obsession

This ep is just kinda annoying, he should have just stuck a warning buoy on it, gone the 8 hours or less to the rendevouz point, saved the hundreds of thousands of people very much dying and then gone back to deal with his obsession. I feel like Kirk also very much underprepared his crewmen, if the cloud was that dangerous wouldn't you have a dozen beam down, tight circle facing outwards, fully briefed on what it can do and how fast, really drilled in to fire straight away... Why send 3 guys down to bumble cluelessly around and then get annoyed when they fuck up? Or better yet, study it from afar so you'd know the phasers did f all without losing crewmen to test the theory.
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Sxottlan
Wed, Jan 27, 2021, 11:12pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

Blech. You know what would be a good pallet cleanser after this, Jammer? Reviewing Lower Decks! 😉
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Peridotty
Wed, Jan 27, 2021, 2:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: Impulse

I suppose I'm enjoying this season so far well enough, but can't help thinking 'hang on, didn't we just have seven seasons of star trek about travelling somewhere no-one else has before'. I loved voyager a lot, so no dissing here, but I was hoping to lose the 'alien of the week' and 'here be dragons' tropes for at least a series, seems like enterprise is just continuing it with this season. Obviously the point of the series is about humans exploring like they never have before, but I was kinda hoping we'd see more of the species we've met before but haven't seen since at least ds9, their earlier days and first contacts with humans. Maybe I'm just too much of a history nerd but what's the point of a series set in the past if they're just gonna jet off somewhere new anyway, may as well be set in the 24th century again.
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Peridotty
Mon, Jan 25, 2021, 9:59am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: A Night in Sickbay

Christ, I was indifferent throughout that whole episode (leaning towards vague annoyance at how ridiculously unprofessional Archer was acting the whole time) but the bit that really got my goat up was at the end. T: "Friction is to be expected whenever people work in close quarters for extended periods of time" A: "Guess that's always been true, especially when the people are of the opposite sex". I'm sorry Archer, do gay people not exist in your century, have we all died out?! I'm bisexual, by Archer's logic I should have rampant sexual tension with absoutley everyone in my work place! Can't believe he uses the fact that she has different bits than him as an excuse for his cruddy behaviour and sudden inability to keep it in his pants.
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Matt B
Sun, Jan 24, 2021, 8:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: The Quality of Life

An enjoyable episode. Three stars. While Data's move was ridiculous, how it ended was awesome
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Elliott
Thu, Jan 21, 2021, 11:30am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: In Purgatory's Shadow

@William B

Yeah, Garak's story doesn't seem like a flaw to me either. I'll make a final evaluation after BIF, but I'm thinking this was a contender for a 3-parter. Move some things around and have part 1 be primarily about Worf and Garak, ending with the reveal of Bashir. Part 2 can focus upon Dukat and Ziyal, with the "B-plot" spending much more time with Tain and Garak (and maybe more carefully establishing that certain issue of his).
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Elliott
Wed, Jan 20, 2021, 11:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: In Purgatory's Shadow

Teaser : ***.5, 5% 

Transforming “Improbable Cause” into a two-parter was a last-minute decision, but it did establish a firm direction for the series, away from Bajor and the Prophets and towards the looming conflict between the Dominion and the AQ. The addition of Worf and the Klingons was a massive interruption in this direction. I still think S4 was more successful than any of the previous seasons (and this one, at least so far), but the forward momentum that high watermark episode established has all but dissipated in the wake of “The Adversary.” It is appropriate, then, that we should begin this new realignment of the series by casting off the vestiges of extraneous plot developments. Odo is literally casting off the artefacts of his time as a solid, trading in his human furniture for his old Changeling mimicry sculpture. And he’s furthering the romantic subplot with Kira by...making her recently un-pregnanted humanoid back break with the strain of hauling his shit up to his quarters. Always the charmer. The charm offensive can be explained by the pile of self-help pads on his desk. Of all the bleak dark corners DS9 has explored, the idea that the self-help industry survived into the 24th century might be the most depressing.

ODO: Romance is for solids.
KIRA: You are a solid, eighteen hours a day. I'm sure there are plenty of woman on this station who would be very interested in you if you gave them a chance.

Prophets forbid that a creature who turns into butterscotch pudding 8 hours a day seek romance with anything besides a female humanoid. I know this a throwaway line, but I’m reminded of “The Offspring,” when Whoopi Goldberg managed to salvage a bit from the producers’ cowardice, I mean bigotry, I mean concerned Family Values™ by having her line changed from “when a man and a woman love each other” to “when two people love each other...” Yet here we are 8 years later and a bucket of goo that only appears male because the person who discovered them is played by James Sloyan has reduced their already desperate search for love by at least half. I guess we can just chalk it up to the fact that Kira belongs to the fundamentalist/creationist sect of Wormholeism.

Anyway, Dax calls for “Kira and Odo” on the comm because...shut up. Did Dax set up a monitoring programme or something that would alert her when they were in the same room? The pair are summoned to Ops to view a message coming through the wormhole. The transmission is definitely Cardassian but the encryption is foreign to all parties, including Odo. Sisko decides to have Garak brought in to the proceedings. Odo looks a touch guilty that it doesn’t seem like he and Garak ever followed up on their plans for post “Die is Cast” brunch-bonding.

We find the good tailor on the replimat where he joins his true love. Oh, and Ziyal, who’s been aged up yet again in order to force her mandated romance into actress Melanie Smith, is there too. He explains that he proved a rather unhelpful Cardassian expert to the command crew as the message he decoded for them was an old survey or some such nothing.

BASHIR: I would have thought you'd be a little disappointed, too. After all, it could have been from one of the survivors of the Cardassian fleet that was lost in the Gamma Quadrant.

Thanks for the retcon. Dr Exposition. Garak excuses himself, making typically self-deprecating remarks and...high-fiving Ziyal. Okay... Of course, Garak has no intentions of mending trousers today, as we find him, stony faced and packed, breaking his way onto a runabout. If there’s one constant in the Star Trek universe, after all, it’s that it’s a very easy thing to steal a starship. His plan is unexpectedly thwarted, however, as Bashir is waiting for him, phaser in hand.

Act 1 : ***, 17%

Garak is duly impressed with Julian’s insight and, well, lack of blind trust.

BASHIR: I had a good teacher. What did the message really say, Garak?
GARAK: It was a call for help from Enabran Tain.
BASHIR: Tain? But you said you'd seen his ship destroyed by the Dominion.
GARAK: I did. But Enabran Tain was the head of the Obsidian order for twenty years. If he can survive that, he can survive anything.

Uh, yeah okay. DS9 does like to fall back on its comic book logic, doesn’t it. So, just like the Joker, Tain has somehow survived an explosion by monologuing to himself on the bridge! Actually, I can imagine Lovok, the fake Tal-Shiar operative, may have decided Tain would make a valuable hostage and rescued him after setting Garak and Odo free. Anyway, Garak feels he owes his mentor a rescue attempt. He tries to woo Bashir into letting him proceed by turning his solo mission into a romantic getaway. But Bashir must sublimate his desires by pulling out the phaser once again. We will come back to this.

Cut to Sisko’s office in medias res, and the captain is fondling his ball. Garak convinces him that the message is definitely from the real Tain and that it should be “easy” to triangulate the signal’s source. He sweetens the pot by indicating their may be additional survivors, including Romulans, Bajorans and Federation members. Bashir steps in to advise against the mission, convinced it would be “too dangerous.” Mhm. Rather than sending the lovebirds off together, Sisko has decided to send Worf. And we learn this because, yet again, the scene jump cuts to Worf’s quarters on the Defiant, where he’s sharpening his swords in preparation for the mission.

I do have to say that this scripting/directing choice is a little...gimmicky. It feels more like a heist film than an intriguing episode of Star Trek at this point. It’s not awful or anything, just shallow. Anyway, Dax is on hand to berate Worf for his choices, per her idiom. The conversation suggests that the mission was voluntary for Worf--although you could argue that giving a Klingon the option to “face danger,” as he puts it, is a pretty safe bet. She has come to hold his opera collection hostage...eh, at least she isn’t making him wear that gold speedo again. You’d think O’Brien would have installed Spotify on the station by now. She wishes him a glorious death (or not) and leaves him and his Klingon boner behind.

We then learn that Garak and Ziyal have been dining together the way he and Bashir used to, I assume specifically to draw attention to the fact that Robinson played Garak as gay and how much the producers hated it.

ZIYAL: Why do you always make fun of my feelings for you?
GARAK: Perhaps because I find them a but misguided.

Indeed. This ignominious moment is blissfully interrupted by the return of Dukat, who throws Garak out of his seat, grabs him by the collar and threatens to kill him if he doesn’t stay away from his daughter. I’m sorry Dukat, but this episode has already over-clocked on clichés; you’ll have to do better. Quark makes his appearance to break up the fight and Garak rubs Ziyal’s infatuation with him in her father’s face.

Anyway enough of that bullshit. Dukat is back, baby! He lets Ziyal know that he’s moseyed back to town, so to speak, to repair his vessel. The Klingons and Cardassians are still at war somehow, and he’s taken a little damage. Like I said, we’re bringing up all the new plot threads so we can cast them off. Worf gets his patented comedy moment outside the airlock when he punctures Sisko with this line:

WORF: At the first sign of betrayal, I will kill [Garak]. But I promise to return the body intact.
SISKO: I assume that's a joke.
WORF: We'll see.

Act 2 : ***.5, 17%

The first thing we learn about the odd couple aboard the runabout is that Garak has wasted no time in fucking with Worf. He’s drawn up an application to Starfleet academy and asked Worf to sponsor him, the way Sisko did with Nog. Either because Worf sincerely believes people can be redeemed (unless of course they’re Romulan), or because he was once out-smarted by a door (c.f. “Where Silence Has Lease”), Worf buys Garak’s little subterfuge right up unto:

GARAK: With my extensive experience I could skip the lower ranks entirely and begin my career as a Commander. Maybe you should suggest that in your letter? Tell them you'd be honoured to serve under me.
WORF: Do not play games with me...Why all of this deception?
GARAK: Because lying is a skill like any other, and if you want to maintain a level of excellence, you have to practise constantly.

Meanwhile, Dukat confronts Kira, blaming her for letting his daughter become corrupted by the good tailor. Dukat continues to display empathy:

KIRA: Listen, if this is about taking Ziyal to services at the Bajoran shrine...
DUKAT: I'm not talking about exposing her to your backward superstitions. She's half-Bajoran. That's part of her cultural heritage. I understand that.

Hysterical. I must again point out that the only people allowed to voice criticism of Bajoran credulity are the bad guys, but we will move along. Kira gets her barbs in, too.

KIRA: She was lonely. The last time I checked, he's the only other Cardassian living on the station.
DUKAT: The man is a heartless, cold-blooded killer.
KIRA: Like I said, he's a Cardassian.

A good zinger. But also...great to see Kira has learnt absolutely nothing in the last 5 years. I would sure like to see her say that line to Marritza or Ghemor. Dukat isn’t having any of Kira’s “sapient adults are allowed to choose their own friends” excuses, however. He blames her outright for *betraying* him and her vow to look after Ziyal. He goes further and accuses her of doing this specifically to undermine Dukat personally. The ego is an amazing thing. Remember he managed to frame Kira’s aid to him in “Return to Grace” as a sublimation of her own attraction to him.

KIRA: I knew it'd be better for her to be here than being a soldier fighting in your private little war with the Klingons.

*name drop*

DUKAT: Save your excuses, Major. You've betrayed me, and I promise I won't forget it.
KIRA: If that's a threat, I'm not impressed.
DUKAT: There was a time when Bajorans took Cardassian threats very seriously.

Pretty chilling. And a skilful reorientation of established character traits. Dukat’s fundamental characteristics, narcissism, racism, ambition, paternalism, and nationalism, made him an uneasy ally to the DS9 crew over the course of Season 4 because their material interests were in alignment. Ironically, that alignment was contrived by the Founders, having instigated the Klingon uprising specifically to undermine the relationship between AQ powers. And by breaking that alliance here, at a personal rather than political level, our focus is drawn to character over plot. That was the strategy which made “Improbable Cause” such a success, so I’m glad to see it repeated here.

Meanwhile, Garak is saying disparaging things about replicated Earl Grey because...DS9. Worf drops them out of warp and decides they’re going to turn around, noting that he was ordered not to take unnecessary risks. You see, only now for some reason, Worf is able to triangulate Tain’s signal, which is emanating deep from within Dominion space. I mean...what did you expect? The hologram people? The Quickening people? Gamma Quadrant Risa? Garak manages to convince his companion to continue the search, once again attenuating his speech to Worf’s malleable psyche, noting all the “warriors” after whom they’re seeking.

GARAK: It's the honourable thing to do.
WORF: You use that word, but you have no idea what it means.

From my write-up of “The Die Is Cast”:

“In “Improbable Cause,” Odo told Garak that it remained to be seen whether he had a sense of honour. Despite the dark corners this story pushes him to, I think the answer to this looming question is ‘yes.’ Despite his irrational affection and loyalty to Tain, despite his clear intents throughout the series to present himself to the world as a duplicate of of his mentor, as ruthless and as self-assured as Julius himself, Garak could not bring himself to betray Tain, nor could he bring himself to betray Odo. Garak does have a sense of honour. And in the end, it saved his life. It remains to be seen how that small comfort will serve him as he too returns to a lonely life, with perhaps only one person he can be honest with.”

The runabout the enters the Mutara Nebula, I mean the nebula from “Best of Both Worlds,” I mean a completely new nebula here in the GQ to avoid Dominion sensors. Before long, they find themselves facing an enormous squadron of Jem’Hadar warships. Whoopsie.

Act 3 : ***, 17% 

The unshielded runabout takes several weapons hits from the Jem’Hadar vessels which...would be like Worf’s and Data’s shuttle from “Best of Both Worlds” taking several sustained hits from the Borg Cube, but whatever. Worf is adamant that they escape the nebula and warn the AQ of the obviously impending Dominion invasion. Before they can be sure if his message is successfully transmitted, the runabout is caught in a tractor beam and boarded by half a dozen Jem’Hadar. Garak squeezes in ***one*** last zinger before his head is smashed by the butt of a rifle and we *again* jump-cut to the next scene.

Kira and Dax are discussing Kirayoshi, the O’Brien baby who definitely exists. True to character, Dax the scientist points out that human babies at that age haven’t developed object permanence, let alone affection, while Kira the zealot is convinced that she and he are intimately connected.

Worf’s message makes it through, at least enough of it that, with the silencing of two of their GQ listening posts, makes it clear to Sisko and co. what they ought to expect. Sisko calls HQ, puts the station on alert and sends Kira in the Defiant after Worf. Oh, isn’t that always the way? Don’t send the cloakable ship on the covert mission, send it on after the tiny visible runabout only after it’s been lost.

We catch up with Worf and Garak beaming into an asteroidal prison. Their captor Jem’Hadar labels them “enemies of the Dominion” and informs them that their only escape will be death. What did I tell you about overloading on the clichés, episode? You’re going to break the scale if you aren’t careful.

Act 4 : ***.5, 17% 

In the AQ, Kira and the Defiant return to report on the “trouble” they found on the other side of the wormhole. Dukat is taking the opportunity to tell Ziyal that he’s sending her to live on Cardassia. For the moment, it seems like a promising sign for his development as a father that he would rather endure the shame and social punishment having her revealed to Cardassian society would create than see her face the danger of DS9’s proximity to the GQ. It probably makes his decision easier to realise he has no allies on DS9, from his point of view, while one of his direct enemies has captured her heart.

On Ruru Penthe Dos or whatever it’s called, Worf and Garak are led to their cell. Surprisingly, the prisoners are allowed to roam the complex, such minor freedom as that permits. Amazing. Even genetically-bred super soldier wartime prisoner camps are more human than the American penal system. More surprises are in store, however. The lead Jem’Hadar, Iwannakitkat or whatever, is looking forward to having another Klingon to play with. This brings us to the reveal of a scrappy one-eyed Klingon fighting (and losing to) a Jem’Hadar in some sort of ring. It’s General Martok--the real Martok. After being beaten down, Worf and Garak attend to him where it’s confirmed that the general has been captive since before “Broken Link.”

GARAK: Aren't you Klingons supposed to kill yourselves when you're taken prisoner?
WORF: Not when there are still enemies to fight.
MARTOK: Or hope of escape.

Klingon Honour® is really more of a fragrance or casual accessory at this point. Amazingly, Martok not only recognises Worf by name, but knows who Garak must be. This leads us to our next big reveal, though hardly surprising, of the one and only Enabran Tain within the barracks. Garak makes himself known to the sick old man.

TAIN: You allowed yourselves to be taken prisoner? I taught you better than that. Living on that station has dulled your wits.
GARAK: That's it? After I've come all this way, after all I've been through, that's all you have to say to me?
TAIN: What do you want me to say?
GARAK: I want you to say ‘thank you, Elim. Your loyalty is most gratifying. I knew I could count on you.’
TAIN: But I couldn't count on you, could I? All you've done is to doom us both.

Tough, but fair, you crusty old bastard.

Speaking of less-than-kind Cardassians, we pick up with Dukat in the Wardroom, by Sisko’s invitation. The captain is ex-positing on the, erm, obvious problems Kira’s reconnaissance has uncovered. He mentions the “recent Borg attack” and of course the somehow-never-seen Klingon war as reasons why Starfleet isn’t really prepared for a Dominion invasion. In a moment of surprising lucidity, Sisko has concluded that, with reinforcements from the Federation days away and the Cardassian help pretty much non-existent (save Dukat and his windmill tilting bird of prey), he’s going to close the wormhole and cut the GQ off completely. Kira objects to murdering her gods and, religious silliness aside, I have to agree that killing an entire group of sentient beings to protect yourself would be reprehensible. But Sisko says that Lenara Kahn (remember her?) has a way to seal the wormhole without harming its inhabitants.

KIRA: But Bajor will be cut off from the Celestial Temple.
SISKO: History has shown whenever the Prophets want to communicate with Bajor, they find a way.
KIRA: But--
SISKO: It's either that or Bajor becomes the first Dominion target.

Yes, captain. Also, you know, until 5 years ago, no one knew that the wormhole even existed. There has been no effort to exploit its existence vis-à-vis the Bajoran “faith,” so what exactly is the problem, here? Anyway, O’Brien and Dax are assigned to tech the tech and make it happen. And the crew accept the fact that Garak and Worf are almost certain to be stuck in the GQ for the rest of their lives.

We return to said lives amidst a conversation with Martok, who explains how Tain was able to send his signal to Garak in the first place. There is a small crawl space behind the bunks containing wires and tubes, which naturally can be futzed with until one can send a coded message across the galaxy. Sure. Martok believes that Tain has only days left to live in these conditions. But the episode has another surprise to foist upon us. Martok mentions “a friend” who is being released from solitary confinement. And of course, it’s Bashir, in the pre-FC uniform.

Okay, so, great reveal. Definitely unexpected and effective. It’s also incredibly contrived that every single Dominion prisoner is apparently being held on this one asteroid. It’s not entirely immersion-breaking, but it is another example of the comic book logic at work under the surface, here.

Act 5 : ***.5, 17%

Bashir cuts his finger open to prove his identity (as well as they can hope to do). He says he was abducted in his sleep about a month ago. This of course explains why he’s in his old uniform. Yeah, yeah, moving on. Bashir wonders aloud what his Changeling counterpart is up to.

And so we are treated to ANOTHER jump cut where C-Bashir smirks for the camera, now that the cat is out of the bag. Like I said, some pretty gimmicky directing choices for such an ostensibly serious story. C-Bashir, with Siddig now fully embracing the **evil clone*** genre in his performance (blegh), delivers the tech tech pair some sandwiches while they prepare the deflector dish. Side note, and I may have asked this question before, but why in the world would a space station need a deflector dish? Oh, that’s right. To do plot things. And how wonderfully out of character for Bashir, too! No suspicions to be found here.

Meanwhile, Dukat greets Ziyal at the airlock to their transport to Cardassia. But Ziyal insists she’s staying behind.

DUKAT: It's him, isn't it? That despicable tailor. You don't want to leave because you're waiting for him?

Despite the...melodrama, Alaimo really makes the scene work, shifting easily between genuine love and concern for his daughter, wounded pride, and military stratagems . It all flows together in a believable character complex. Smith doesn’t have much to work with beyond the starry-eyed maiden thing, but she also manages to hold her own. Interestingly, although he could and would, I think, force her to come along, he commands her to stay “and be damned.” Loyalty to sacred institutions (we know how Cardassians regard family) is Dukat’s Achilles Heel, and his anger over Ziyal’s choice to abandon her blood for her chosen family, such as it is, overrides whatever else he may be thinking or feeling in this moment. His delivery and dismissal manages to be even more cold and cutting than the first time he saw her alive in that Breen prison, when he was about to vaporise her.

Bashir and Garak are taking a romantic stroll around their own prison. Isn’t that sweet? Garak is seemingly completely forthright with Bashir about his regrets at having chosen to honour his own loyalty to Tain. I’m sensing a connection here. Martok emerges and tells Garak that Tain is at death’s doorstep. And so, accompanied by a viola, Garak makes his way to Tain’s side.

TAIN: Everything's gone dark. I can't see you. Are you alone?
GARAK: Yes [glances at Bashir across the room]. There's no one else but you and me.

Now there’s some intimacy. I sure wish their relationship hadn’t been sandbagged. Having the chance to see it develop from its roots in “The Wire” to this point would have been compelling. Tain has started to go “Time’s Arrow” on us and rambles a bit about seeming unfinished OO business, questions of broken loyalties long laid to rest. Tain demands that Garak escape and avenge himself on the Dominion rather than die its prisoner.

GARAK: I'll do as you ask on one condition. That you don't ask me this favour as a mentor, or a superior officer, but as a father asking his son.

¡Que sorpresa! Yes, there’s one more twist in this catacomb of an episode, but Tain at first denies the truth.

TAIN: I should have killed your mother before you were born. You have always been a weakness I can't afford.
GARAK: So you've told me, many times.

Too bad Worf isn’t in the room. He could feel pretty good about his own shitty parenting skills right about now. Tain and Garak share a memory very similar to a story we heard in “Suddenly Human.” Tain confesses that he was proud of his son on that day, when he fell off a horse. Then he dies. It’s a moving exchange and the actors are more than up to the task of selling the thin dialogue. And we have wanted to delve into Garak’s vulnerabilities for many years, so it is satisfying to see him open up like this, and in front of Bashir. This kind of catharsis isn’t something I think I realised I wanted for Garak. They definitely saved the best reveal for last as it carries with it the most meaning, even if it qualifies as another melodramatic cliché for the episode. Reminding us in the earlier dialogue between Dukat and his daughter of the Cardassian philosophy on familial loyalty was a subtle touch that enriches this final scene between father and son.

Sisko and co. prepare for the invasion. With signs that the Dominion fleet is about to enter the wormhole, O’Brien is ordered to seal it shut. But some sparks fly in Ops and the deflector goes offline. Miles immediately identifies a sabotage to his work, just in time for the fleet to emerge like...you know, a swarm of locusts or something. And that admittedly intimidating image is where we hang the cliff.

Episode as Functionary : ***, 10%

Considering this is only half a story, this episode covers a tremendous amount of ground. It feels very much like the similarly-styled “The Way of the Warrior” in that regard especially. The story is very deliberate in confirming the status quo of all the relevant plot points that happened between “The Die Is Cast” and here:

1.Kira is no longer pregnant.
2.Odo is a shape-shifter again.
3.Dax and Worf are together.
4.Ziyal is around and crushing on Garak.
5.Dukat fell from grace.
6.Martok is a person who exists.

There’s a lot crammed in here, and it feels crammed. They did put effort into each of character beats so they at least feel fairly lived-in and natural. But these scenes are little more than exposition dumps for information we already had. And the result is that a number of these moments border on the excessively clichéd.

Adding to that feeling is the sequence of plot twists that I would say enter fully into the realm of the clichéd. All of these are significant, it’s true, but I feel like someone keeps dangling their keys in front of my face to hold my interest. It’s a bit condescending. The Bashir-reveal is a double-edged sword. I really wish they hadn’t made Siddig give that evil smirk because there’s something very unsettling about re-evaluating C-Bashir’s behaviour over the last month. What’s terrifying is the fact that we couldn’t tell the difference any better than the characters. So now when he twirls his moustache in their faces, the other characters look like idiots for not noticing something amiss. Take the scene where C-Bashir thwarts Garak’s plan to steal the runabout. It seemed like a perfectly natural thing for Bashir to do *at this point,* because he has changed over the last few years. It’s extremely nuanced and the fact that this behaviour--which was actually motivated by the Founders’ desire not to have their fleet discovered--managed to fool even Garak, demonstrates the Changelings’ terrifying skill. But showing up with sandwiches during a looming invasion? Yeah...

On top of that, the coincidence of having all the twist-folks together in one cell at the story’s end feels childish, and the editing/scripting choice to keep cutting to the reveals gets silly and repetitive.

So this episode is far from perfect, but that doesn’t mean it’s all bad. Not at all. Dukat and Garak are both given a reasonable amount of excellent development here (one might say even too much in the latter’s case), especially considering how crammed the story is. It’s particularly great to see Alaimo shine again like we didn’t really get to see in “Apocalypse Rising.” It’s risky to hang your hat on characters who aren’t in the main cast like this, but these two Cardassian bastards are better developed in their limited screentime than many of our leads anyway.

It’s a silly and over-the-top episode, but it certainly provides a tantalising set-up for what’s to come. Let’s just hope the conclusion is less stuffed with plot to allow the characterisation to breathe a little bit.

Final Score : ***
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Matt B
Sat, Jan 16, 2021, 2:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Oh and the death of Spock was so well done. Just all around great writing and acting for that scene.
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Matt B
Sat, Jan 16, 2021, 2:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

I just watched this and was blown away how well it stood up and how tight the whole movie is.

I'm a TNG fan first and foremost but this is my favorite movie.

Khan is such a great villain, but I love Kirk and Spock outsmart him as a TEAM. And they use his arrogance and ignorance on modern actions (IE that ships can really go 3D and the regulations) to defeat him.
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Matt B
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 12:23am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Time's Arrow, Part II

I was greatly awaiting this episode in my rewatching. I remember it fondly from my first viewing 20 years ago. I did not disappoint. This is just behind BoBW in my rating of TNG 2 parters. I absolutely love these two episodes.

Love how the wrapped everything up here. As someone said I love how there already we established at the start and we didn't have to see them do that.

4 stars absolutely.
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Matt B
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 12:13am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Time's Arrow, Part I

Forgot to say 4 stars absolutely.
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Matt B
Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 12:13am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Time's Arrow, Part I

I was greatly awaiting this episode in my rewatching. I remember it fondly from my first viewing 20 years ago. I did not disappoint. This is just behind BoBW in my rating of TNG 2 parters. I absolutely love these two episodes.

Yes this one is world building but the cliffhanger was good. Lotta good parts in this.
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Matthew L. Martin
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 11:46am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

Man, I loved Angel more than Buffy. I might be the only person on earth who did.

Angel was darker, yes, but that just made it's goofier moments more hilarious. Shame it never got the finale it deserved.
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Matthew L. Martin
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:52am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

@Bob

That's for sure true.

I only used the star ratings as a quick and easy barometer to show one man's trend.
Everyone is free to do their own honest evaluation of past shows. A few of us have, I'm sure.

I know that the shows with the most 3.5/4 star ratings for me are DS9, TNG, TOS, VOY, ENT, and DISCO.

Only two episodes of Discovery are rated 3.5 or better in my view, both from season two: New Eden and If Memory Serves.

But, like Booming said, picking out ratings is not about determining which season was better. It was used to show if a series is putting out high quality content at least some of the time.

And even when looking at seasons as a whole, as I said I'd rather have a season that had a few total stinkers but also a few 4 star gems, as opposed to one that flatlined with every episode being "just good."
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Matthew L. Martin
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:25am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

@ Chrome,

well I added the math in just to clarify the results of the poll.

The fact is Discovery has failed to reach a standard expected of past shows. It's had three years to do it (considered the barometer by most fans) and all it has to show for it are three wildly different half-baked ideas in three wildly, tonally different seasons.
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Matthew L. Martin
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:23am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

I don't think it's fair to call Star Trek Discovery a science fiction show. It's more like a melodramatic action show masquerading as a sci-fi show. It's as much a sci-fi show as Community is educational television because it's set at a school.

Discovery doesn't challenge the viewer. It doesn't examine big questions about the human condition. It doesn't examine the role of technology in the lives of the people who use it. It doesn't do any of the things we expect a sci-fi show to do.

It's not about anything.
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Matthew L. Martin
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 10:20am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

@Chrome

Maybe I'm misunderstanding,

but if next season of Discovery was fifteen episodes all rated 3 stars I would not consider that the best season ever. Not by a long shot. I'd call it the most cromulent season ever.

How could I call it the best when previous seasons had episodes that reached so much higher than 3 stars? In fact I'd rather have a season that had, say, five 3.5 or better episodes even if it also had five that were rated 1.5 or worse. I'd rather have that than one that never reaches the next level of greatness, even if it also never dips below what is considered acceptable.

But that's just me
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Matthew L. Martin
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 8:56am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

Discovery is not getting better. It's different, sure. Every season feels like it belongs to a totally different show, but it's not improving. It's doing different things okay and different things wrong, but it's not getting any better.

For fun I went back to look at the number of 3.5 or higher ratings that Jammer gave in the first three seasons of past Star Trek shows, and compared them to Disco.

A few caveats: Star ratings are subjective, but since these ratings are all by the same person it's good for seeing trends. Also, past Star Trek shows had more episodes per season, but that's actually a handicap in Disco's favor since the whole reason TV shows have fewer seasons is to increase the quality per episode.

That being said:

The Original Series had seventeen episodes rated either 3.5 or 4 stars
The Next Generation had fourteen episodes rated either 3.5 or 4 stars
DS9 had a whopping twenty-three episodes rated either 3.5 or 4 stars
Voyager had twelve episodes rated either 3.5 or 4 stars
Enterprise had twelve episodes rated either 3.5 or 4 stars

Discovery has had four episodes rated either 3.5 or 4 stars

21% of TOS is rated 3.5 or higher
19% of TNG's first three seasons are rated 3.5 or higher
32% of DS9's first three seasons are rated 3.5 or higher
18% of VOY's first three seasons are rated 3.5 or higher
16% of ENT's first three seasons are rated 3.5 or higher

.09% of DISCO's first three seasons are rated 3.5 or higher. That's not counting the last episode which, as of writing, is not yet rated.

Tastes vary and everyone is different, I know, but I think the trend is clear that Discovery is not improving nor is it all in all a better show in terms of quality episodes than its predecessors.

For the record

TOS had nine episodes rate 1.5 stars or lower
TNG had fourteen episodes rate 1.5 stars or lower
DS9 had one episode rate 1.5 stars or lower
VOY had nine episodes rate 1.5 stars or lower
ENT had six episodes rate 1.5 stars or lower

DISCO has had zero episodes rate 1.5 stars or lower

So I guess Disco's best is nowhere close as good as the previous shows, but it's also not as bad as those shows could be, either. But when there are fewer episodes per season, that's hardly worth crowing about.
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Matt
Fri, Jan 8, 2021, 8:48am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

"Booming nailed it when saying this show is aimed at making people feel instead of think. There is absolutely nothing in this show that is thought provoking. "

Darmok and Tapestry and The Inner Light and It's Only a Paper Moon were also aimed at making people feel. I don't see anything wrong with that. It's just that the most that those same attempts by Discovery has elicited from me so far has been eye-rolls.
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Elliott
Thu, Jan 7, 2021, 2:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: The Sanctuary

@Snitch

Thanks for your kind words. Getting older is not all bad.

@Peter G

"It's not reasonable to compare this to a brand new terms that is IMO predominantly used to insinuate some combination of lack of understanding and privilege. As I mentioned, it is a reference to something that needs to be referred to, so obviously this is a niche that must be filled. My point was that in my fairly broad experience of reading views on both sides, it's not a term that is typically used in a neutral fashion."

I can't argue with your experience, but I do think it's presumptuous to think that whatever you've read, however diverse, gives you a perspective so broad as to be able to arbitrate language in this way. The trans community, as an activist group, is pushing for the normalisation of the prefixes for specific sociological reasons that I support. It's reasonable to ask a trans person why they believe (again, as a group) that these options are better than what might seem like reasonable alternatives to you, but it's not okay to police the debate. This issue is extremely asymmetric, as is always the case with minority rights; you would have to demonstrate that the harm inflicted on cisgendered folks for having a new term applied to us is in any way comparable to the systemic oppression faced by trans folks. I'm nearly certain you can't.

@Dave in MN

"I didn't go through all of that struggle so a straight 'ally' can affix modifiers to my gender and orientation. Frankly, you don't have the right to redefine me or dilute my experience to make others comfortable.

I think human language already possessed all the language necessary to discuss these topics, and I don't believe it's fair to dismiss my viewpoint as ignorance because I won't adhere to some third wave talking point."

1. This isn't the identity oppression olympics. You and I are both gay men and have faced discrimination that folks of other orientations have not, but we don't get to minimise the experience of other people with our own.

2. "Cis" is not a modifier to your identity or experience, it describes the experience and identity you have in a way that is more complete. You were born male and identify as male, correct? No one has changed that or called it into question. "Cis" simply describes a truth about yourself that you don't dispute, as far as I understand what you've described.

3. "Human language," as you put it, already expanded and adapted a few different times to accommodate our sexual orientations. The words "homosexual" didn't exist until the mid 19th century, even though gay people have existed, you know, for ever. It seems pretty selfish to deny a further expansion on behalf of a community facing marginalisation that we have largely overcome over the last several decades.
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Elliott
Wed, Jan 6, 2021, 7:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: The Sanctuary

@Dave in MN

You and I, as Cis-males, don't face systemic persecution on the basis of our gender. It is not up to us to curate language discourse on behalf of the trans community or anyone else.

"The term "male" has a built-in assumption about biology behind it."

Yes, exactly. Until those assumptions disappear, we must work towards anti-discrimination. The thing is, trans people do not want to pretend that their transition never happened, to "fool" people into believing they were born the same gender as they currently identify as. The whole point is that "male" and "female" are insufficient terms based on our current understanding of what gender is *for everybody*, cis and trans. Cis and trans are more accurate because they tell a more complete story.

@Peter G

"because as we know many terms are frequently used in derogatory ways even while the users claim that they're merely descriptive"

Well of course, there are many spaces where labelling someone as racially white is an automatic negative. And there are reasons for that, but that has nothing to do with the necessity or accuracy of identifying someone as white. The term is neutral, regardless of how it might be used by certain people or in certain spaces.
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