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The River Temarc
Sat, Aug 24, 2019, 1:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

The problem with this episode is not that it presents a moral dilemma. Done well, moral dilemmas make great fodder for Star Trek. The issue is the execution.

First, the crew never really pinpointed the heart of the matter: whether the Crystalline Entity was sentient, and thus could be not only communicated with but reasoned with, or whether it really was (1) sentient but evil, or (2) a sperm whale instinctually feeding on cuttlefish.

If you're in the former territory, Picard has a justifiable stance. If you're in the latter territory, killing the Crystalline Entity is justified. Planets with intelligent life aren't cuttlefish. And park rangers kill bears that have mauled humans. (To be clear, Picard explicitly stated that "it may be necessary to kill" the Crystalline Entity, so clearly he's contemplated the latter territory.)

Second, Marr's character came off as a mustache-twirler from the get-go with her threats to disassemble Data. Moral dilemmas work well when each side can make a credible case (see "Ethics" for a good example), even if one viewpoint ultimately prevails (e.g., "Drumhead"). That's the opposite of mustache-twirling.

If we wanted someone to truly critique Picard, either Marr or another character needed to delve into the heart of the matter above. (Troi would have been the obvious choice; in "I, Borg," she observed that there were no civilians among the Borg. And Guinan did the same thing.) The inexplicable choice to focus the first third of the episode on boring scenes set in caves left no time to cut to the chase.

Third, you can't ignore the fact that "Silicon Avatar" is a sequel to "Datalore," and that ultimately is what undercuts Picard's position here; "Datalore" strongly suggests that the entity knows what it's doing.

So in sum: potentially interesting dilemmas spoiled by poor execution and a one-sided antagonist. "Silicon Avatar" is no hidden gem.
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The River Temarc
Sat, Aug 24, 2019, 1:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

"I rather suspect that if you or your family had had dealings with a rampaging killer, you wouldn't be here defending this thing."

I actually was prompted to re-watch "Silicon Avatar" this evening after re-watching PATRIOT GAMES and vaguely remembering that the actress who played Mary Pat Foley was in a TNG episode.

FWIW, in PATRIOT GAMES, the Deputy Director of CIA, a guy named Marty, tells Jack Ryan -- whose family had been attacked by an IRA splinter group -- that "you are a victim of terrorism, and that does not make for the best analysis." The movie never followed up on this point (it wouldn't be Jack Ryan if he doesn't work at CIA!) but Marty had a point.

We do not, in Western judicial systems, let victims determine punishments -- yes, we take them into account, admit victim impact statements into the record at sentencing, and so on. But we ultimately recognize that victims do not always offer an objective prescription for the appropriate course of action going forward.

I mean, in real life, should victims of IRA terrorism have been able to scuttle the Good Friday Accords?
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The River Temarc
Sat, Aug 24, 2019, 12:43am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: You Are Cordially Invited

In a bit of retroactive continuity, it's clear that Sirella had some sympathies for T'Kuvma from Discovery Season 1. Sirella subscribes to an idealized version of Klingon history and worries that aliens are adulterating Klingon bloodlines. This sounds exactly like someone who would get seduced by T'Kuvma's ideology.

And despite 100 years' worth of changes to Klingon society between the two series, I doubt T'Kuvma's ideology has completely disappeared. (We know that there are still Molor worshippers in Kronos, for instance.)

All of this makes Sirella a lot less likeable than she already was.

All in all, I think this episode suffered from way too may cliches: the angry mother-in-law; calling off the wedding at the last moment; the caricatured Klingon bachelor party. It had its moments, and I enjoyed Jadzia's scene with Sisko and her Polynesian-themed party. And yes, I do think Worf and Dax had some chemistry; but the execution was still poor.
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The River Temarc
Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 10:12pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

"However, that again does not explain the blame everybody keeps placing on her. She was attacked, that is, the Klingon was hostile first. Not much she, or anyone else in that situation, could do to prevent it. "

1.^I agree that by and large, Burnham isn't responsible for the war. But that doesn't necessarily stop people from looking for a scapegoat.

2. It is possible that without the death of the Torchbearer, the 24 Klingon houses would not have rallied around T'Kuvma.
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The River Temarc
Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 9:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Context Is for Kings

>The first mention of Spock is of his mother reading him Alice in Wonderland with a sister we (and apparently he) never knew he had?

Please tell us where Spock said he never had a sister.

>Tilly is the best theoretical physicist in star fleet?

Why is this so unbelievable to you? Because she's a woman? A redhead?

>Quantum fungus and biology=physics instantaneous space travel 10 years before Kirk's 5-year mission? Forget astrometrics. Seven should have grown some special shrooms in hydroponics. Poof! Back home in no time.

Assuming that the experiment works. Which we've no proof it will. Remember the "soliton wave" episode of TNG?

>If Burnham was raised Vulcan, why is she not even remotely embracing logic? Her moods and rationale change as quickly as the temperature in the Vulcan desert.

Because she's a human with post-traumatic stress syndrome of a terrible incident in her youth. It's the same reason why in BATMAN, a sophisticated, business-savvy scion of high society dresses up as a bat by night, rather than mingling at the country club.
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The River Temarc, in Winter
Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 7:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

With the exception of the Klingon makeover, pretty much every objection I've seen as to why DSC contradicts "continuity" is bunk. To take a few examples:

>Why give Spock a new step-sister? This really stretches credibility unless we're assuming the show is a hard reboot.

Hardly. We've seen plenty of examples where Vulcans don't talk about their family as much as humans. Kirk didn't know that Sarek (who was apparently already famous as a Vulcan diplomat) and Amanda were Spock's parents. This despite the fact that Kirk attended Spock's *wedding* only a few episodes before. Kirk didn't know about Sybok, either.

And not every conversation between Kirk and Spock takes place onscreen. We don't know what Michael Burnham's fate will be, but I suspect history will ultimately remember her for something bigger than being The Mutineer.

>Why do we have an android serving on the starship of the 2250's, when the whole Data story arc from TNG pretty much precludes this possibility?

We've had androids in the Trek universe since, what, the third episode of TOS with Richard Korby? And an entire planet full of them in "Mudd's Women"? The point isn't that Data was the first android that Starfleet ever encountered. It was that he was the first *sentient* android (and frankly, in light of Mudd's Women, even that is stretching it), thanks to the positronic brain. If you want to blame a Trek series for breaching continuity, blame TNG, not DSC.

>Why have mind-melds that operate over thousands of years and ships that can traverse the entire federation in a couple of hours?

This wasn't a mind meld. It was an imagined conversation, perhaps guided by an echo of Sarek's katra. That's consistent with the whole idea of a katra. And remember the Intrepid, the Vulcan ship in TOS? Spock sensed its destruction light-years away. Spock sensed V'ger light-years away, too. Again: if you've got a problem with that, blame TOS, not DSC.

>Why do the ships in Discovery look completely different than anything we would expect from the 2250's?

They don't. We haven't seen ships from the 2250s. You're extrapolating from what a Hollywood designer in the mid-1960s *thought* ships jwould look like in Kirk's era.

>What about the design of the bridge? Are you seriously claiming that the bridge of the NCC-1701 (or something in the same style) cannot be updated to modern sensibilities?

With cardboard walls and analog buttons? Seriously? Those became dated when the iPhone keyboard came out, at best -- and likely a lot earlier. I have no desire to see a 1960s aesthetic on a modern show, or even a 1990s aesthetic.
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The River Temarc
Tue, Sep 5, 2017, 3:05am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Regeneration

This episode sheds some light on one of the theories about Q: that the continuum is humanity of the far future (the secret that Q was about to tell Picard in "All Good Things," but backed off with the cryptic, "you'll find out"). As such, Q was doing Picard a favor by alerting him to the Borg's presence in "Q-Who."

I can buy the fact that this incident may well have been forgotten 200-plus years later. Certainly the much harder continuity error to stomach is why no one in "Q-Who" knew about the Borg in light of the events of ST: Generations, where the Ent-B encountered the El-Aurian refugees fleeting from a Borg attack.
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The River Temarc
Tue, Sep 5, 2017, 2:01am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Carbon Creek

Love your captcha, BTW, although it doesn't respond to the word "Jellico." :)
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The River Temarc
Tue, Sep 5, 2017, 2:00am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Carbon Creek

It seems to me that the people who say T'Mir was too much like T'Pol are missing the point. Carbon Creek was T'Mir's story *as T'Pol told it.* She was imagining herself in T'Mir's place, since her fascination with Earth clearly owed a debt to T'Mir and, like T'Mir, she was living among humans.

I've been rewatching key ENT episodes in anticipation of DISCOVERY. Blalock is one of Trek's more underrated actors. Her performance is much more subtle than Tim Russ', and it's up there with Nimoy and Lenard. In fact, in terms of expressing Vulcan kinethestics, I think she tops them.
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The River Temarc
Wed, Oct 19, 2016, 6:07am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: A Matter of Honor

"Also, that Bensite(?)... No space faring race would come to the conclusion that waiting until a solution has been found was beneficial to safety."

You know, I had always thought of that bit as being implausible. And yet: consider the fact that Korean Air Lines CRASHED a 747 because the first officer, who realized the plane was about to do controlled flight into terrain, said nothing, because that would involve contradicting a superior. And much the same thing happened aobut 15 years later, when Asiana crashed that 777 at SFO and again the first officer was hesitant at contradicting his captain.

In commercial aviation, these incidents led to a lot of discussion about the role of Asian culture in cockpit management. Malcolm Gladwell famously discussed this issue in OUTLIERS, although he was not the first to raise it.

If this theory is to be believed, I don't see the portrayal of the Benzites as so far-fetched. To be sure, I wouldn't want to get on a Benzite starship, and my hope is that the Starfleet way ended up changing procedures on Benzite ships, rather like KAL cockpit culture changed after the airline brough in foreigeners for a thorough safety culture overhaul.
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The River Temarc
Wed, Oct 19, 2016, 3:06am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

Sleeper prediction for the "major event": the Vulcanian expedition, referenced in TOS "Court Martial." Which would also explain the idea that Amanda Grayson may make an appearance.
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