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Tim C
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 9:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

You're missing my point, and deliberately so, I suspect. The fact that you *can* fanwank away a plot hole or nitpick doesn't always excuse having to do it in the first place, and DSC leaves quite a few of these logic gaps in its wake. Now that we've got 29 episodes in the can, it's starting to look like a habit.

I'm not particularly interested in having a last-word Internet fight with someone as eagerly combative and quick to make things personal as yourself; when it comes to entertainment value, everything is ultimately subjective so there's not much point. So I'll leave it at that.
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Tim C
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Alan, when the viewer has to do as many mental contortions as you've been valiantly performing over the course of this season in order to backfill gaps in storytelling logic, I wouldn't call it successful storytelling. This doesn't mean the show can't be *entertaining*, or even thought-provoking; just that when the writers have left it up to us to fanwank away some relatively glaring contradictions, they're not doing their job properly.

I like the show. I applaud that it has had the creative courage to forge its own distinct identity as Epic Action Trek, as opposed to following the VOY/early ENT/Orville route of just duplicating the TNG model. But far too often, when a reasonable audience member might ask "Huh?", the show just reaches over and cranks the volume to 11 and pretends it can't hear you. I would hold up the conclusion to "The Sound Of Thunder" as a prime example of this phenomenon, where the spectacle was very impressive but just left me in the audience going "wait wait wait wait!"

This overlong and overindulgent two-part finale has been the ultimate expression of the problem, and people are dinging it accordingly. I wouldn't go as far as some in calling it awful; I feel that there's been a lot to like, primarily in the acting department, and the spectacle is on a ridiculously sumptuous visual scale.

But at a certain point, you can't just keep giving a pass to all these logical nitpicks. They stack up. Especially in a serialised narrative like this one, the damage to one's suspension of disbelief is cumulative, and leaving reasonable questions unanswered (like, "Why do nanobots have to be delivered into the eye?" or "How are these shuttles getting around so quick?" or "How exactly do those red signals that kicked off the entire season's storyline work?") doesn't make me think the writers are encouraging us to come up with the answers ourselves. It makes me think they never bothered to ask the question. It's either an insult to our intelligence, or an indictment of theirs.

This show has all the tools at its disposal to make something great. It has excellent actors, amazing production values, and a generous budget. The only missing ingredient is tighter writing. I hope that in season three, they can deliver it.
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Tim C
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

TBH Brandon Adams, I was on the fence myself for awhile, but I figured it would just be *too* shamelessly fan service, even for this show.
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Tim C
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 4:35am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Booming: "I guess people were crying all the time out of happiness during season 2."

I think the biggest moment of pure optimism and happiness in season two of Disco for me was when Michael Burnham was strapped to a chair screaming in pain as her skin burned off and she choked to death on poison fumes, while everyone else stood around watching without anyone even asking if maybe they could turn the volume down. ☺☻

Okay, in all seriousness, there was the occasional flash of traditional Trek spirit this year. The science mission in "Brother", deciding to trust the sphere in "Obol". I don't need that all the time, but I would hope that season three can move us away from galaxy-destroying threats to something a bit smaller scale.

I bet you five hundred quatloos that it won't though!
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Tim C
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 6:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

I cringed at a couple of those quotes in the interview too. Kurtzman's heart genuinely seems to be in the right place, and I don't doubt his credentials as a Trek fan, but the lack of self-awareness is sometimes utterly baffling. Hopefully with a new (co) showrunner next year, some of those less desirable creative impulses will be reined in.

The one that really got me was:

"We will definitely be exploring who inherits that chair. Obviously, there's a very loaded look between Saru and Burnham. They're both qualified in very different ways, and that's something we'll explore."

No exploration needed. That's Saru's damn chair! He's earned it.
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Tim C
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 4:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Just in case anybody missed it (some of the commenters seem to have): yes, the show was renewed for season three, and yes, it's taking place in the future with the Discovery crew.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/star-trek-discovery-season-2-finale-time-jump-explained-1203166
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Tim C
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 6:33am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Not a terrible episode, but nothing to write home about it either, which is disappointing after last week's terrific entry. I'm more intrigued about what the consequences of that ending will be when we get to next week's season finale.

I did enjoy Kelly and Dr. Finn's conversation about what it means to get older. I turned 35 this year, and I'm the most comfortable I've ever been with regards to myself and my ambitions and how they're working out. That was definitely not the case ten years ago, and when I reflect on how I would deal with my younger self were we ever to cross paths, I feel like my feelings would be exactly like Our Kelly: I'd more than likely just be driven up the wall by my younger self's completely different view of the world and I don't think there's any way young me would listen to a word I had to say.

So even though the episode wasn't great, there was some interesting food for thought.
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Tim C
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 4:00am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

2.5 stars. It's the opposite of the first season finale`, which was insanely rushed; this was too padded and felt a bit flaccid. When we started getting "2001: A Clip Show Odyssey" in the middle of our Ultimate Space Battle To The Death, I was actively irritated. I've been watching all year, show; I don't need to go on a greatest hits tour. (That said, the trippy visuals were awesome.)

Additionally, the entire subplot with the torpedo and Admiral Cornwell felt completely unnecessary and could have been deleted entirely with no loss to the episode. And I don't buy the denouement, where it's revealed the reason we never hear of the spore drive again is because Starfleet are keeping it hush hush: it makes no sense at all for them to abandon such incredible technology, especially when it had nothing to do with the threat from Control in the first place!

I was also confused by the logistics of the space battle, which is a consequence of filling the screen with a billion fighters, I think. This episode could have been greatly improved with some more restraint, but I think we've learned that's not a word this show is familiar with, for better AND worse.

There was plenty of good on display here though. The opening minutes with the frantic rush to assemble the suit under a ticking clock were excellent, and appropriately heart-pounding. All the performances were on point, as usual, and the battle certainly looked fantastic, if not particularly logically depicted.

Season 2 as a whole? 2.5 stars also. It's probably not going to be the majority opinion, but I think that season 1 was a more ambitious and memorable story, for all its flaws, and it also had the virtue of novelty, being the first new TV Trek in over a decade. Season 1's central mysteries were built around characters, whereas Season 2 gave us a more traditional sci-fi conundrum, and felt more ho-hum as a result. I was far more invested in learning more about Captain Lorca than I ever was in how they were going to technobabble their way out of a fight against Star Trek's version of the Terminator, a story whose facets we've seen in many prior episodes, from all those TOS "AI gone wrong" plots, to the Borg, to ENT's Temporal Cold War.

On an individual level, season 2's episodes were of a higher quality, I think: "Brother", "An Obol for Charon", "If Memory Serves", "The Sound of Thunder" and "Project Daedalus" were all standouts, and the mid-tier stuff like "New Eden", "Light and Shadows" and "Saints of Imperfection" were also quite enjoyable in spite of their flaws. But taken as a whole, it's a bit more of a damp squib.

All of that said, I'm very keen to see what they're cooking up for season 3. I'll see you all here at the end of the year for the Picard show, nerds!

P.S. There's a commenter here named Brandon Adams who owes $10 to the World Wildlife Fund. I won our bet! No Borgs to be found here. ;)
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Tim C
Thu, Apr 18, 2019, 10:19am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

I don't know about the rest of you, but anytime an argument devolves into back-and-forths over terms like "Mary Sue", I switch off. As with other pejorative labels like "SJW", it's lazy criticism and the frequent abuse of it by online shitheads* has tainted it by association.

That said, I will confess that I find it mystifying how anyone could apply it to Burnham, the character who has first billing in the credits. Of course she's involved in everything; she's the main character of a heavily serialised narrative.

The question of whether or not this blows out your suspension of disbelief in a narrative sense is another matter. (As Jammer mentions in this review, the show has pushed it to the limit with Burnham-worship in the first half of this finale.) Personally, I like SMG's performance, and I find the idea of her character - a human raised by Vulcans - to be an intriguing one, but after this season I'm ready for the show to broaden its scope beyond Burnham, purely for variety's sake and because this show has a talented cast and other interesting characters that aren't being tapped to their full potential.

*Not specifically aiming THAT pejorative at anyone here ;)
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Tim C
Fri, Apr 12, 2019, 7:29am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Sanctuary

A few episodes ago, I said that I thought The Orville had hit its ceiling rank. I was wrong. This was a perfect episode that didn't feel like it hit any wrong notes. This feels like what the show has wanted to be all along. I'm really impressed and hope they can maintain this level of quality through to the end of the season.
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Tim C
Fri, Apr 12, 2019, 5:47am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

I'm totally reserving judgement on this until we see how things play out next week.

If the show follows through on disconnecting the Disco and Burnham from its current setting, then that's a bold storytelling choice that would justify all of the teary goodbyes, which is largely what this episode largely consisted of. (And they were well done, too!)

But if the show pulls the rug out from under all this build-up, and resolves everything with a Reset Button... well. That would be make this entire episode a colossal waste of time and be a very crass exercise in audience manipulation.

Let's not take door #2, please.

P.S. The Enterprise bridge looked great, albeit too glossy. Much better than the Kelvin-verse variant. The rest of it looked a bit too much like redresses of the Disco sets for my tastes, although that's likely a budgetary decision. And the great teleporting shuttles return! Maybe Vulcan and Xahea are just close neighbours... *eye roll*
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Tim
Thu, Apr 11, 2019, 2:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

@Dom: Agreed.

Picard's speech to Tomalak in "The Defector" commands respect. Perfectly normal tone of voice, "Are you prepared to die today, Tomalak?" "Shall we die together?"

The action shlock in the movies, or the few episodes that "went there," yawn. Some of it is entertaining, in the way a popcorn flick is entertaining, but it's out of character for Jean-Luc Picard.
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Tim
Thu, Apr 11, 2019, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

@Booming: "I always thought that Patrick Stewart is somebody who understands life and is at peace with himself."

I would concur 110% with both of those statements. Sadly I'm not convinced that he actually understands that made the character of Jean-Luc Picard great. The TNG movies from First Contact onward essentially made him into an action hero. Gone was the intellectualism, commitment to duty, and concern for his crew.

You can blame most of that on the writers but he -- the one actor on the cast with enough gravitas to push back -- went along with them. The commentary track for Nemesis reveals that the dune buggy chase -- the worst part of the worst movie in the entire franchise -- was his idea, inserted because he loves to drive and wanted a car chase in a Star Trek movie.

Keeping my fingers crossed, I never expected to like The Orville as much as I do, and Sir Patrick Stewart can't be casually dismissed....
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Tim
Thu, Apr 11, 2019, 12:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

@ Booming "That Discovery is so dark is also my biggest complaint."

Mine too. It's disappointing to see this remarked upon again for Season 2. I have yet to watch Season 2, the little bit of free time I have for TV has gone to The Orville and my Game of Thrones rewatch, and reading comments along these lines further discourages me from devoting my scant free time to STD.

I don't mind dark television -- hard to beat GoT in the "dark" department -- but it's antithetical to Star Trek. The whole point of Star Trek is to imagine a better future for humanity. I really hope the production with Picard takes this lesson to heart, I'm going to give that a chance because Patrick Stewart, but I'm skeptical. Hope for the best but steel yourself for the worst.....
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Tim C
Thu, Apr 11, 2019, 5:23am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

Agreed on almost everything, Jammer, except Tig Notaro; Jett Reno reminds me of some of the funniest people I've ever worked with. Maybe I'm just a sucker for snide assholes. (I also liked Stamets in season 1.)

Paul M, I don't think season 1's issue was necessarily the serialisation so much as the pacing and the ideas. Those last two episodes of S1 had a lot of heavy lifting to do, and some of the ideas that we were asked to accept were just dumb (Starfleet are OK with blowing up planets, the Klingons are on Earth's doorstep but turn around at the drop of a hat, L'Rell is able to take over the Empire with an iPad, etc). It also rendered the Disco crew's heroics in "Into The Forest I Go" meaningless to the big picture.

I still have hope that season 2 manages to stick the landing. I think they've done alright so far, and unlike season 1, they're not abruptly changing gears from another universe and another time with only two episodes to go.

As Jammer says, though, this feels like it's dragged on long enough. I still think a better idea for the third season might be smaller arcs, like Enterprise S4 or Agents of Shield's season 4.
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Tim C
Wed, Apr 10, 2019, 4:43am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Bread and Circuses

hifijohn, you should check out the TOS novel "First Frontier". It has all the alternate-timeline Kirk vs. Dinosaurs action you could ever want. :)
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Tim
Tue, Apr 9, 2019, 3:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Jem'Hadar

"We're supposed to be siding with Riker (although in large part I don't) when he's outraged that nothing will be done for Captain Picard."

Jellico is an asshat, undeserving of the following he has on a lot of forums (Riker's takedown of him after they "drop ranks" is spot on, in my opinion) but in this respect he was 100% correct.

Jellico: I know you were close to him, Will, but we don't even know if he's still alive. Under the circumstances, a rescue mission would be foolhardy.

The same applies here, with the added caveat that we literally know almost nothing about Dominion capabilities, motivations, and objectives. At least Riker wanted to charge in against an enemy whose capabilities are known to us, an enemy the Federation enjoyed at least some level of superiority over (reference the dialogue in "The Wounded" and the ease with which the Enterprise and Phoenix dispatched Cardassian warships, hell, the Phoenix did it without shields.....)

"That by sending the Odyssey the Federation also showed teeth is only common sense as far as I'm concerned."

The Odyssey is the equivalent of a super-carrier in modern times, or at least she was at this point in time, before the huge CGI fleets of later seasons, a topic I've discussed elsewhere. You don't risk a priceless asset like that with zero intelligence of enemy capabilities for the sake of one man. You don't risk war with a potentially superior force for one man.

"I'm pretty sure the tone and teleplay suggest it was a rescue mission and never anything else, using a powerful starship to command respect and if at all possible to avoid conflict."

I'll concede this point; it's not as though the Odyssey went in to kick ass and take names, it was ostensibly a rescue/intelligence gathering mission, but it still makes zero sense to risk a Galaxy Class Starship on a mission like this with the information available to our heroes.

It just comes across like lazy action movie writing to me. It works if you turn your brain off and absorb the emotional gut punch of a GCS being defeated with apparent ease by these newcomers but it falls apart if you think critically about it, as does so much of the Dominion Arc in DS9.

I like many of the character focused episodes they set in the war -- Rocks and Shoals, Inquisition, Treachery Faith and the Great River, etc. -- but the episodes about the lead up to the war, the fleet engagements, and the politics, they haven't aged well in my mind. I can find redeeming moments in these episodes (the destruction of the Odyssey works well on an emotional level, "The Die is Cast" is a Top Notch Garak episode) but as an exploration of geopolitics and the reality of war they come up short. Battlestar Galactica and Babylon 5 did it better, IMHO.
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Tim
Tue, Apr 9, 2019, 2:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Jem'Hadar

"I like your Minbari reference, actually, because the main feature of first contact with them was (a) the humans firing first, and (b) the strange Minbari refusal to ever learn anything about humans despite having the chance. So the fault lay on both sides to an extent"

The point that I was trying to make wasn't to assign blame (in Babylon 5 it's on both sides; in this particular DS9 episode 90+% of it lies with the Dominion) but rather to consider the consequences of trying to stage a "Show of Force" against an adversary of as yet undetermined power.

In the case of Babylon 5, well, Jankowski is clearly and unequivocally in the wrong. It doesn't matter that the Minbari screwed up. You don't get to fire first in a first contact scenario. Not when the potential consequence of that action is the extermination of the human race. Jankowski, his ship, the whole task force, they should be regarded as expendable if that's what's required to avoid war.

There are numerous episodes of TOS and TNG where our heroes state that they themselves are expendable in such a scenario, if their death is required to avoid war and/or preserve the Prime Directive. There are examples of the Federation turning the other cheek to inferior powers (e.g., the Talarians) they could easily curb stomp rather than risk all out war. This makes sense in a universe where a single ship is said to be capable of laying waste to an entire planet. Modern day weaponry is significantly less powerful and yet we've still achieved a level of mutually assured destruction that makes open warfare between great powers too terrible to contemplate.

Sinclair: "When I looked at those ships, I didn't just see my death, I saw the death of the human race."

That's potentially what's at stake in a first contact scenario gone wrong. This is a first contact scenario. Sisko's life is small potatoes; if he was Commander Nobody instead of Main Cast I doubt we'd even be having this discussion.
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Tim
Tue, Apr 9, 2019, 1:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Jem'Hadar

"it's not clear to me that their mission to was to go and fight the Dominion"

KEOGH: Starfleet's orders are simple. Traffic through the wormhole will be suspended until the Odyssey can investigate the Jem'Hadar's threat.
DAX: What about Benjamin and the others?
KEOGH: Don't worry, Lieutenant. Commander Sisko's return is a top priority.
DAX: If you're going to try to rescue them, then we're coming with you.
KEOGH: Are you sure that's wise? With the exception of Major Kira and Mister O'Brien, none of you have had much combat experience.
BASHIR: We fought the Maquis.
KEOGH: All the Maquis had were a pair of lightly armed shuttlecraft. I expect the Dominion to have sharper teeth.
KIRA: Well then you're going to need all the help you can get.
KEOGH: Mister O'Brien, can you equip the two remaining runabouts with extra banks of photon torpedoes?

It's presented as a combat mission from the very get-go.

The analogy with Picard and the Romulans doesn't work in my mind, because the Romulans are known to us; it was never a first contact scenario when he was dealing with them.

At the time of this episode, it's within the realm of possibility that the Dominion outclasses the Federation as badly as the Minbari outclassed the Earth Alliance in Babylon 5. How well did that first contact work out for humanity? The point here is that the Federation just doesn't know what they're dealing with and you don't commit a major capital ship with a crew of one thousand -- risking all out war in the process -- to the rescue of one man when you don't even know what you're up against. It flies in the face of established Star Trek continuity and basic common sense.

In the real world nation-states don't risk war with less powerful nation-states over a single man. They certainly don't risk war with their peers or superiors over one man.
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Tim
Tue, Apr 9, 2019, 11:31am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Jem'Hadar

@ William:

Two simple ideas that would have been effective:

1. Have Sisko & Co. try to warn the Founders about the impeding genocide attempt in "The Die is Cast," as they did in "The Way of the Warrior," only to be fired upon/attacked for their troubles. Make it clear that the Founders don't actually see a difference between the Federation and Romulans/Cardassians, a solid is a solid in their eyes.

2. Have Sisko actually try and TALK to the O'Brien Changeling in "Paradise Lost" rather than posture and thump his chest. To his credit, he tries to talk to the Jem'Hadar in this episode, as a Starfleet Officer should; I would have liked to have seen something like that in "Paradise Lost."
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Tim
Tue, Apr 9, 2019, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Jem'Hadar

@ Peter G:

"The whole question of whether the Federation should have done X or Y, or tried harder for diplomacy, or etc etc, really hinges on whether these actions would have plausibly worked. When assuming that the Odyssey's expedition was an aggressive one, consider how foolish it would have been to send smaller ships on diplomatic missions with no ability at all to defend themselves, against a foe already clearly hostile. If we worry about whether Picard would have been able to negotiate a treaty when Sisko was more willing to fight, we get into Neville Chamberlaine territory (the meme version, not the real version of him) where appeasement is the best strategy against an intractable enemy hell-bent on conquest."

The point I'm making is that the Federation had no way of knowing they were dealing with an intractable enemy hell-bent on conquest during the events of this episode. What "actionable intelligence" does Keogh take with him on his mission? Next to none. He knows nothing about Dominion technology, biology, politics, or objectives, yet he and our heroes behave as you describe, as though they know they're dealing with an intractable enemy. It makes no sense, not by Star Trek rules, nor by real world ones.

"The point here is clear: if it's that hard for a Starfleet human and a Ferengi to be able to get along, how much harder would it be for a human and a species so distant from them that they can scarcely find anything in common? I am almost certain that the intent here was to show that it is actually impossible - not merely difficult - for the Federation to be able to get along with the Founders."

I think you're giving the writers too much credit. The Dominion was originally written as a sort of anti-Federation, but eventually it devolved into just three races, the Founders, the Vorta, and the Jem'Hadar. I doubt very much that Quark's dialogue had any (intended) meaning vis-à-vis the Federation and Dominion; it seemed more like a statement of his own ethics and values, in line with his exchanges with Garak in "The Way of the Warrior" and Nog in "The Siege of AR-558."
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Tim
Tue, Apr 9, 2019, 11:04am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Jem'Hadar

"The changelings had already explicitly declared their intentions following the events of The Die is Cast where they orchestrated an attack on their own home world as a trap for the Tal'Shiar and the Obsidian Order and then told the Feds "you're next". "

The dialogue in that episode specifically states that the plan was originated by Tain:

ODO: Of course. This whole plan was the Founders' idea in the first place. You wanted the Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order to combine forces and come into the Gamma Quadrant so you could wipe them out.

LOVOK: Not exactly. Tain originated the plan, and when we learned of it we did everything we could to carry it forward. The Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order are both ruthless, efficient organizations. A definite threat to us.

This is a legitimate act of self-defense on the part of the Founders, in response to an existential threat, i.e., genocide, a plan the Federation learns about and quietly hopes will be successful. Again, completely out of character for the Federation, as well as our on screen heroes, who took it upon themselves to warn the Cardassians about the Klingons in "The Way of the Warrior."

Side note: As much as I love that two-parter, it personifies DS9's tendency to put action ahead of common sense. You can delete the Defiant's rescue mission and the episode loses nothing while remaining true to DS9's story, e.g., "No Changeling has ever harmed another." That subplot served no purpose other than to show the Defiant kicking ass.

"I happen to think that taking the changelings at face value there was no real prospect for peace at the outset."

That's the way it was written, zero prospect for peace, but that doesn't justify the way the Federation behaves in the "Cold War" part of the story. It would have made for a more compelling story if our heroes had actually attempted to find some common ground and failed rather than assuming the Dominion are Space Nazis from the outset because that's what was dictated by the invisible hand of the plot.

Another side note: If the writers wanted to shamelessly rip off WW2, well, here's an idea: The Federation remains neutral/isolationist while The Dominion picks off neighboring powers one by one. Make the Klingons the British and the Romulans the Soviets. There's a compelling geopolitical story that eventually gets you to the end goal, while making the Federation in-character dicks (reference Picard's dialogue in "Ensign Ro," where he essentially says, "Sucks to be you" to a Bajorian refugee) rather than out-of-character dicks who attempt to commit genocide.
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Tim
Tue, Apr 9, 2019, 1:59am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Jem'Hadar

@Trent

It’s not even a good WW2 narrative; it’s a weak Hollywood take on WW2, which was plastered on top of Star Trek because that’s what came to mind when the writers asked themselves what war looks like.

What’s sad is the “pig-headed” humans of the World War II era would’ve been smarter than the Federation is shown to be here. Imagine if FDR responded to the Panay Incident by sailing an unescorted aircraft carrier into Tokyo Bay. That’s essentially what the Federation does in this episode.

It’s even more stupid than that, because at least FDR has a decent idea of the military, economic, and technological strength of the Japanese; the Federation knows virtually nothing about the Dominion by this point in the story.
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Tim C
Tue, Apr 9, 2019, 12:23am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Jem'Hadar

I think you can interpret the Federation's actions after season 2, where they still continue to conduct exploration, scientific, and trade missions in the Gamma Quadrant, as the equivalent of the freedom-of-navigation exercises that are conducted in today's times in the South China Sea (amongst other places).

Such missions accomplish two tasks:

* They let the opposing power know that you don't recognise an over-reaching claim on what is recognised to be international waters. In this case, the Dominion appear to be unilaterally asserting ownership of the entire GQ, and the Federation would be unwise to let that stand.

* They demonstrate to your allies that you haven't abandoned them, and you won't. Recall that by the time "The Jem'Hadar" happens, trade and diplomatic relations have already been established with the GQ by a number of AQ species. If the Federation were to just roll over and cancel these alliances on the basis of the Dominion's threats, then what message does that send to your own members, not to mention the other belligerent powers in the AQ?

Section 31's covert effort to infect the Link is obviously unsanctioned, at least as far as the Federation's civilian leadership is concerned. How many Starfleet higher-ups (like Admiral Ross) knew about it ahead of time is another matter, but given that the virus was the final trigger for a Dominion surrender, was it really the wrong call? (Personally I'd fall on the side of "yes" - pre-emptive strikes are rarely justified - but I don't think it's a black-and-white argument.)
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Tim
Mon, Apr 8, 2019, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Jem'Hadar

Not to diminish an episode that has moments I genuinely love -- the destruction of the Odyssey is one of the true "gut punch" moments in Trek, on par with the graveyard scene in BoBW -- but am I the only one that thinks the Federation is completely out of character here?

From the Federation's perspective this is essentially a first contact scenario. We have very little information about The Dominion but what we do know is bad; they're extremely xenophobic and appear to outclass us technologically. I don't know how you respond to Sisko's abduction and the destruction of New Bajor if you're Starfleet Command but wouldn't the prudent course of action have been to attempt to gather more intelligence about this new threat? The Federation has turned the other cheek in prior episodes over the destruction of minor/newly established colonies. It has always been stipulated that no one officer is worth a starship. Yet here they risk open warfare with an advanced race we know next to nothing about. A ship with a crew of over a thousand is sent into a hostile situation with no actionable intelligence about enemy capabilities, to attempt a rescue of one man, a man who may well already have been moved or executed for all our heroes know. It makes no sense, not in the real world, and not in the Star Trek Universe. It's a means to an end, the Dominion is coming, they're scary, and we need the audience to know this.

Perhaps not the best analogy, but in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 it took the United States the better part of a month to respond militarily, against a ragtag force that could not possibly hope to stand up to the US and her Allies. In this episode the Federation commits a Galaxy Class Starship -- the equivalent of an American Supercarrier in terms of national prestige and economic/military power -- to the rescue of one man, against an adversary of as yet undetermined power, with scant debate, and seemingly zero consideration of the long term consequences.
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