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Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 11:55am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

Kinematic said: "The mine scene was awful."

What I specifically liked about this, was that it forced the show to produce a relatively slow and protracted action sequence, and one which involved all the bridge crewmen. Thus far, similar sequences have been pretty manic.

John said: "As a positive, I really enjoyed Spock telling Burnham the whole universe doesn’t revolve around her, but then Airiam literally told her the whole universe revolves around her so, yeah."

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Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 11:42am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

Mr Man said: "DSC's great weakness is the diminished number of episodes in a season to flesh out the minor characters."

14 episodes a season is a lot of time to flesh out characters. Most Trek pilots get that work done and out of the way pretty efficiently and cleanly.

Discovery's approach to "character development" seems to be to ignore characters, and then suddenly shove them into hugely dramatic/elaborate subplots.
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Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 11:33am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

Dave said: "The so-called Golden Age writers had completely different talents"

Sure, but that all taxonomy eventually breaks down, doesn't negate the existence of actual periods and movements, artistic or otherwise. Babylon 5 made in the Golden Age wouldn't be anything like Babylon 5 made in the 1990s, and I doubt many of its key traits (like a multicultural melting pot) would have been of interest to its hypothetical born-in-the-1920s/30s author.

Alan Roi: " Including that in Babylon 5 was not postmodernism"

It's one of the core tenets of postmodernism.

Alan Roi: "FYI, The Buck Rogers Radio Series in its first run (1932-36) "

I specifically said, and was referring to, 1950s magazines and their editors. And the Golden Age was a reaction to serials like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, which are typically categorized as belonging to the SF's Radium Age, which editors and the big authors rebelled against; they thought them camp and trashy, and themselves above such things. Ironically, these guys probably looked the same way to Roddenberry in the 60s. Today's fad is tomorrow's joke.

Omicron said: "I think our era is in a desperate need for a TOS-like show."

Me too. SF tends to appear in a nation when a nation becomes heavily industrialized and begins to project itself on the international stage (which is why the movement moves from England to France to America to Russia and now to China) and begins to start imagining its future. Nations which don't, tend not to develop SF movements, but magic realism instead. What we're seeing in contemporary, western print SF is a move away from grimdark stuff to more utopian SF, ecological SF, optimistic post-capitalist visions and solarpunk SF. Insofar as TV/films are generally decades behind print fiction, Orville might be an unconscious product of this movement.
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Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 10:08am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Symbiosis

Nobody's mentioned this episode's great opening scenes. We open with the crew all hyped up and happily exploring a sun and various solar anomaly, complete with neat "solar flare" special effects. We then get a fairly good rescue sequence, as Picard tries to save a doomed ship. No flashy FX, no strained attempts to drum up drama; just Picard standing and speaking to a static-filled screen whilst dropping some beautifully banal, methodical dialogue.

The episode also ends on a great scene, Picard and the crew randomly picking a segment of the universe to boldly explore. These bookends really convey a sense of science and exploration as a giddy, fun impulse.

Another thing: I believe no episode in TNG is more packed with extras and darting about background characters. The bridge and Enterprise is far more busy than usual in this episode, crewman and women always zipping about in droves. I like this, as it really conveys the idea that this is a huge vessel.

I've noticed that the comments on this site, particularly for TOS and s1 of TNG, get less harsh as time goes on; people seem to become more forgiving and/or begin to find several dated aspects to be kind of charming and retro. The new HD transfers of TOS and TNG may also be an influence; this episode, with the twin planets, and sunlight glinting off the Enterprise's hull, looks great.

Beyond this, I thought the core storyline of this episode was good, at least in theory. The idea of a simbiotic/parasitic relationship between a planet of addicts and drug dealers is a great concept, and still relevant (such parasitic relationships apply to goods/products/trade-deals far outside the realm of narcotics). But as Jammer mentions, several sanctimonious, on-the-nose speeches tarnish the episode badly.

In a comment above, Elliot praises Picard's elevator speech. It always rubbed me the wrong way. It's wonderfully acted and staged, and I tend to defend the Prime Directive's non-interference policies in some other episodes, but here it's surely wrong (?). You have a planet of drug dealers essentially going into a community, lying to a group of people, getting them addicted, and then exploiting them for profit. Surely one has a moral duty to stop this, and explain to the victims what's going on. To me it just seems like one of Trek's more stark and clear dilemmas, and something that demands swift action.

On the flip side, what I always like about these early PD episodes (there've been at least 3 so far in season 1), is how Picard "always finds a way". He kowtows to the PD, but manages to find a loophole in which (what I believe to be) the moral is never-less arrived upon. It's a kind of intellectual game of chess, and Picard shines as a character when he's asked to navigate these dilemmas.
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Sat, Mar 16, 2019, 4:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

Alan Roi: "If you had watched B5 you would have recognized JMS's earnest call back to Forbidden Planet among many other earnest references to 30's entertainment"

The sheer act of "calling back" is a postmodern gesture implicitly at odds with the modernism of the Golden Age. It's like calling Star Wars a classic samurai movie because it borrows from pre-war Kurosawa. I don't think any serious person would classify B5 as "Golden Age SF", especially since its serialized form is at odds with the mandates of the early SF editors ("Cook up a Big Idea, push it to its wackiest limit, get in, and get out fast- 8000-12000 words. Go!").

Regardless, I can't think of any other show running now that, like Orville, taps into the same vibe as 1950s anthologized SF, especially with its sense of wide-eyed, homespun, farm boy awww shucks earnestness, of the kind you found in a lot of early juvenilia (before SF novels were a thing). And actual SF writers are saying this as well, not just me. Whether it does this well or not, is another issue.
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Sat, Mar 16, 2019, 3:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

Alan Roi said: "If someone is listening to what Spock is saying..."

I don't think I've "missed what the conversation about". I just think the conversation stops being excellent the moment Spock begins his "let me be clear" rant, and Michael responds in kind. It's very blunt and obvious. You already have a "we need to introduce chaos!" scene in the minefield to hammer Spock's point home and to hammer home Michael's realization that she needs to relinquish control. Had both actors underplayed and slowed down the back-end of this conversation, it might also play better. Not that it's a bad scene - far from it - it just sticks out given how weak the line reading and dialogue usually is, and how uniformly excellent they are in this episode.

Booming said: "Season 2 could be called Course correction and I think that is another correction."

Someone above mentioned that Paradise is show-running season 3. If this is true, we might get lucky. She might Piller the series.

I think season 2 is still making most of the same mistakes season 1 did, but I agree that episodes like this point toward how little needs to be changed for everything to click. A bit stronger writing, a bit more care in how you juggle the crew, and dial down the manic tone, and all these characters work well.

Alan Roi said: "Its made very clear and repeatedly that Control is a threat assessment system and that it is not sentient"

Sure, but we don't know yet if contemporary Control (ie Control in this episode) has already begun integrating itself with the wider Federation network/computers*, has begun transcending its original programming, or if this is all a Terminator scenario (future advanced Control going back in time to give birth to itself, defend itself, or enhance itself, or speed up its inevitable enhancement etc).

*this is all from the Trek Wikipedia, which claims that Control, as portrayed in novels, eventually oversees chunks of the Federation.

Alan Roi said: "I kind of doubt Trent has siblings, based on his behavior."

I have 18 siblings and am a young women with one child and am an award winning, internationally recognized expert in childcare, rearing and child psychology (Vulcan and human).
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Sat, Mar 16, 2019, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

Robert said: "Now if you were comparing The Orville to Independence Day in its audacious comedy-meets-sci-fi, I’d be right along with you."

I'd say that's a much better comparison. My chief point, though, was simply that a lack of "realism" is not inherently a bad thing, and that "realism" is not inherently a needed thing. Episodes work or don't work for a range of more nuanced reasons.

Alan Roi said: "Star Trek, Babylon 5 and even the rebooted BSG are old school Space Opera."

Babylon 5 isn't. There are clear distinctions between the politics, tone and handling of the station in Babylon 5, and Golden Age space stations, which were influenced by entirely different socio-cultural factors, and aesthetic movements. The rocket-ship aesthetic of something like "The Conquest of Space", for example, is itself a world away from "Babylon 5".

Bert said: "Somehow during this entire conversation it has been determined by echolalia that Orville is now 'a 50's type pulp SF series'."

You're not reading correctly. I said the Orville taps into 1950s pulp SF via 90s Trek. TOS, like "The Forbidden Planet", took the SF of the Golden Age, and publications like Astounding, Weird Tales and Amazing Stories, and brought them to TV in a way which allowed the anthology format of magazines to be told using a single, consistent cast. The entire franchise itself borrowed hugely from "The Voyage of the Space Beagle", one of the classics of the 1950s.

Orville taps back into these magazines, via tropes common in 1990s Trek.

Bert said: "is now 'a 50's type pulp SF series'. And thus by classification has lease to introduce as many illogical, unrealistic or outright loony..."

Watching you try to reconcile floating Abe Lincolns, human aliens, English speaking aliens, Gangster Planets, Greek deity aliens, interspecies sex etc etc, all common in TOS, must be hilarious. All those incongruities and deviations from realism, must be so confusing.

Bert said: "As for sending an ex-alcoholic loser to such an important event..."

It makes perfect sense in a frat-boy comedy about likeable losers and oddballs who quote Top Gun and get high on marijuana brownies. Juggling and blurring genres seems to confuse you. I suggest loosening up, or watching this series with others or while getting high. I would also say you severely misunderstand how people who enjoy this show view it, categorize it, and the esteem they place it in.

Bert said: "And 30 days is enough for people to forget that wholesale death and destruction happened?"

Ignoring that this is routine in such shows, even Trek, and ignoring that this is a dopey comedy, and ignoring that 30 days is ample time to stop walking about in a state of Ingmar Bergmanesque depression, the episode is clearly, thematically, about the inability to get past wholesale suffering and destruction.

And once again, you're critiques are irrelevant and have very little to do with the generic writing in this episode. Nobody cared that nobody but Picard was in a post-Borg-invasion funk in "Family", because it was a well written and reasonably original episode. "Blood of Patriots" problems have nothing to do with your specific appeals to "realism".

Bert said: "the show effectively dishonours their deaths."

Oh, the people who died during a battle in which the chief firing pattern was "eenie meenie miney mo", are being dishonored?

I too find Donald Duck's lack of pants highly distressing.

Bert said: "A world where collaborators are welcomed back with open arms, given their old spot, never go to trial, never face real consequences and every person just accepts this."

I too never forgave Data and 7of9 for similar betrayals and transgressions. And don't get me started on the Enterprise taking back Picard after that whole Locutus thing. Grrrr! Grrrr! Fidelity to quotidian reality! Only documentary no make head hurt! Grrr!

Bert said: "Personally I think that is an insult to the many people who died on this show even if they are fictional."

It is indeed a tragedy of Holocaust proportions.
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Sat, Mar 16, 2019, 2:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

Judging from reviews and comments across the net, it seems like those hooked by the season are viewing this episode a bit negatively. Meanwhile, those with problems with the series seem to enjoy this episode precisely because of its deviations.

Personally, I found this to be best episode of the season thus far, and the most gripping one since segments of season 1's pilot. And it's gripping throughout, not just in isolated sequences.

I think the chief reason this episode works well is because it's extremely conventional. This is an archetypal Goodies vs Baddies plot, and one in which a Trek cast function as a wide ensemble. Michael, who mostly hasn't worked as a series lead, is here revealed to be excellent when part of a larger group, when on the margins, or when viewed through another character's perspective.

The rest of the cast are also constantly bouncing off one another, granted little vignettes and shown interacting whilst off-duty and on. It's one of the few episodes to portray these guys as people, as people with off-duty relationships (shades of “Lower Decks”), and as something other than dehumanized mouthpieces to utter rapid-fire exclamatory or expository dialogue.

Another reason the episode works well is because it stresses crew hierarchy. The command staff – Pike and Cornwell – exude gravity, discuss things, make decisions, and direct their subordinates. Previous episodes relegate Pike to the background, treat Pike as "buddy" figure, or have his underlings running about doing stuff and solving things themselves. In this episode, you finally get the sense that this is a nautical vessel with a clean command structure.

There are other subtle differences between this episode and others. For example the uptight characters (Michael, Spock, Airiam) are balanced by their opposites. Data, Spock, Worf, 7of9, Tuvok etc work, and engender sympathy, precisely because they're not the focus, but are constantly bouncing up against “regular” people; Yin and Yang. We get to know them via loving juxtapositions.

In this episode, you have the uptight, mechanical Spock, Michael and Airiam, balanced with the rest of the crew. In contrast, previous episodes touted Michael as an uptight outsider, but she never felt like an outsider largely because there was nothing she was meaningfully outside of, the wider world and crew sidelined as mere plot-propulsion mouthpieces. Which is not to say that a series can't focus primarily on a character like Michael – an outcast, isolated and ostracized – but such things require the series to be a far more intimate, patient and careful thing, especially in how it creates the world and crew around Michael. A Michael Bayesque action vehicle with lots of flash and dash, can't quite do this.

This episode was directed by Frakes, who directed episode 2, the first (relatively) low-key episode of the season. Here - aside from two dumb camera spins - he gives scenes time to breathe, maintains a good sense of geography within the mis-en-scene, slows things down, and lets his action scenes ramp-up incrementally and gradually (the whole script is structured classically well by first-timer Michelle Paradise). These action scenes include a trek through a minefield, which includes lingering shots of the (still ugly and boxy, but at least not spinning) Discovery, marred only by some cartoonish “saw-blade” mines. The second action sequence features some low-gravity fisticuffs between Michael and Airiam, which conveys an amazing sense of pain and anguish, Michael's Vulcan-jit-zu overwhelmed by Airiam's enhanced strength. Aside from the fleet stand-off in the season 1 pilot, I can't think of a more tense sequence in “Discovery”, and all done with a simple set and glass door, no garish FX spam needed.

Aroundabout now in season 1, “Discovery” introduced the Mirror Universe. Lorca was suddenly “not a bad Starfleet officer corrupted by war” but a literal baddie outside the Federation and from a Mirror Universe. Fans complained about this, but I always liked it. Though that Mirror Universe arc sucked, it preserved the symbolic sanctity of the Federation. The bad captain was literally from a bad universe.

At the same point in season 2, Section 31 is now “no longer a body corrupted by war”, but an unhinged baddie outside Federation oversight. It's run by Control, a super powerful AI which either runs Section 31 and wants it eliminated because its corrupt, or runs large chunks of the Federation and, like Skynet, seems to want to either destroy whole planets to preserve itself, or destroy elements of the Federation (ie Section 31) to preserve its idealized conception of how the Federation should be. This stuff isn't clear yet.

This twist is a familiar Man vs Machine Overlord narrative, and it eradicates all issues of complicity, culpability, and political critique that the concept of Section 31 raises, but it also does something which I like: it preserves the symbolic purity of the Federation. Section 31 and its jerks are literally being purged by a Fed AI which thinks they're dicks. Delving into all of this was unnecessary, tedious, and forced us to watch boring pantomime villains for 2 seasons, but at least it seems to be resolving in a way that protects future Trek from going down this generic route again. At least that's what one hopes. The existence of an upcoming Section 31 TV series will potentially destroy any good vibes this episode may or may not contain.

Beyond this, the episode is elevated by being reasonably self-contained: there's no goofy spore network here, no spore jumping, no Culber histrionics (a good subplot, but distracting given how busy the series is), no Klingon politics, no Ash, no Tilly meltdowns, no manic Stamets, no Mirror Empress, no Leland, no Section 31 humans, no Michael's “parents” etc etc. Even the “Red Angel” is a bit beside the point; this is a straight up Man vs Machine adventure, humans entering the Monster's techno lair to slay the beast.

In terms of flaws, it's a bit unbelievable that the Federation has access to an organization-running AI, with remarkable powers, when in Kirk's era the M-5 computer can barely run a single starship (“The Ultimate Computer”). The episode also continues the trend of veering off into wild sub-arcs, and bringing things up suddenly only to get rid of them suddenly (Airiam introduced then dispatched- though the character is revealed to be so good, so elegantly acted, so touching, and so aesthetically well designed, that she'll probably be resurrected; at least she should be). And while Michael and Spock have good rapport in this episode, their dialogue reasonably well written, their chess game does degenerate into overcooked, soapy writing (not content to psychoanalyse his sister, Spock then goes and incredulously drops some Freud on Stamets).

The episode also conveniently forgets about the transporter device (Airiam could surely have been saved and held in suspension), and seems to point in a direction many feared: Michael is again the Center of the Universe, the Red Angel specifically intervening in her life. If she ends up saving the Universe, future Trek timelines seem to thus exist specifically because of her.

Incidentally, Airiam "dies" to prevent Control getting access to information on Discovery's computer. Given that Control is a vast network which governs a lot of the Federation sub-networks, and given that the data on the Discovery belongs to the Federation, you'd think Control could simply get that data fairly easily. It simply needs to order Discovery to send the data to another ship or starbase or Federation database, thus sending it directly to Control. But this series always seems to sacrifice plausibility in the name of forcing "dramatic" puzzle pieces into place.
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Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 10:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

Alan Roi said: "Essentially he's saying The Orville get a passing mark by attending class and that's all we should grade it for, showing up."

No, I'm saying a lack of "verisimilitude" or "realism" is not inherently a problem. Sometimes an episode suffers because its unrealistic wackiness doesn't work. Sometimes it's precisely the unrealistic wackiness which saves or lifts sub-par straight drama. It's a constant juggling act.

Alan Roi said: "Even some of the most highly regarded series, Bablyon 5, and the reboot of Battlestar Galactica, are about 40s-50s level pulp scifi"

Babylon 5 and the rebooted Galactica aren't in the vein of Golden Age pulp.

Alan Roi: "Jerry Lewis didn't get a break when he tried writing drama, why should Seth MacFarlane?"

He shouldn't. But you're literally commenting on an episode which virtually everyone has criticized for being cliched drama, talking to a person who - scroll up - called this the worst episode of the franchise, and complaining about the one guy, Dave, who took the time to point out some interesting themes that nobody else picked up on.

Surely if your concern is "people giving Orville a free pass", you should be debating on the episode pages you believe have too high a rating (Jammer's only given one episode a high rating, if I recall), or where you believe the commenters are being unduly favorable to the episode.

I do agree with you that it's become a cult show, though. Its connecting with a very specific niche, and creating rabid fans - a bit like Firefly and the original TOS.

Alan Roi: "Nightflyers, Origin, Impulse, Killjoys, Krypton, Lost in Space, Legends of Tomorrow and recently, 12 Monkeys, Dark Matter, Defiance, Z-Nation, Reverie, Extinct, Stitchers, Time after Time, Falling Skies etc."

I don't think you understand what Golden Age pulp is and was. None of those remotely resemble Golden Age pulp, though I cant speak for Krypton and Time after Time, and I abandoned the rebooted Lost in Space after the second episode.
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Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 9:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

Booming said: "I guess we know the answer to that question in two, three episodes tops."

If it follows the season 1 template, it suddenly introduces a new sub-arc now (this is when we went Mirror Universe), deep dives it for 3 action episodes, then goes off the rails 5 eps from now.

Alan Roi said: "Oh sorry, Kurtzman was one of the writers on 3 scripts for Bay ten years ago."

He has a track record for writing and producing very bad stuff, mostly SF, both on TV and the big screen. You may want to watch his critically derided "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen", it shares many similarities and ideas with this season of Disco.

Alan Roi said: "he's just going it's silly"

I mean, there's no other way to describe a guy being resurrected by a tear as a mushroom clone and protecting himself via covering himself with tree bark in a trans-dimensional plane while his buddies learn of galaxy destroying squid drones sent out by a time traveling robot. I know the Transformers movies made a lot of money with this plot, but that's because they dressed it up in lots of CGI, shaky cam, violence and 2 second snap-editing and...OHHHHHHHHHHHH, NOW I GET IT..
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Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 6:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

Gerontius: "50s pulp SciFi is not by any means always "dumb-ass". It's a sub-genre which can very effectively deal with serious issues in an accessible and enjoyable way. It's simplified, with no pretensions to be realistic. Attacking it for that is a bit like putting down classicism animation for not achieving or even aiming for the pseudo-realism of some current styles of animation. "

Exactly. Fare like "Rocketship X", "Invaders from Mars", "Destination Moon", "When Worlds Collide", the original "The Thing", "Forbidden Planet", "TOS", the 1950s version of "Space Command" etc exist in the same tonal universe as Orville.

I suspect those who aren't put off by the tone are more familiar with and/or fond of classic pulp SF (it's probably why a lot of SF writers, intimately familiar with the genre, are coming out of the woodwork and praising the show; the writer of "Trouble with Tribbles", for example, recently called it the only thing since TOS to correctly do TOS episodes).

I'm struggling to think of modern stuff which taps into 1950s pulp SF. Brian De Palma's critically derided "Mission to Mars" - a kind of pastiche of Hitchcock and 1950s SF - was one. "Futurama" on the small screen. Maybe "Tomorrowland". It's not something you see a lot of. In Orville's case, it tries to be simultaneously retro, aww-shucks earnest, high-brow/smart, and edgy/transgressive enough to be cool with stoners. If Jules Verne wrote Trek while inserting sex gags so as not to alienate his frat boy buddies, you'd probably have Orville.
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Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 6:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

Roi said: "And that does suggest that to the Admiralty has little interest in rescuing Bortus and Kelly. "

No, that line doesn't suggest that at all. Perry allows the Orville to spend a month negotiating for Bortus and Kelly, and then dispatches a special diplomatic/negotiating team to replace them when they're needed elsewhere.

Roi said: "So now your argument..."

No. I'm saying that a sensible person would critique this episode for being derivative of at least 4 Trek episodes, adding little to them, its jokes which fall flat, its "Orrin dies cliche", and for neglecting the more interesting question of negotiations with the Krill. When the Orville works, it's avoiding most of the cliches this episode wades into.

But to criticize the episode for "not being realistic" is to believe that "realism" is defacto an important or necessary thing. It's not. It's like criticizing Dr Strangelove, one of the greatest "realistic" political comedies, for having a silly scene with a guy riding a bomb. Or criticizing 2001 a Space Odyssey, one of the greatest hard SF flicks, for its giant floating baby.

All the purportedly "unrealistic" things in this episode work fine in better Orville episode's, because the good episodes are not working by dint of being devoid of things which are unrealistic.
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Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

Alan Roi said: "Many people are actually interested in seeing how the threads actually play out before making their pronouncements."

Sure. The show has people excited to find out "how and why Leland killed Michael's family!", "How Michael is related to Spock!", "What the Enterprise is doing on screen!", "What the Red Angel is!", "How Culber will return!", "Why Michael and Spock had a feud!", "What Section 31 is up to!", "Is Ash still a threat!", "Why are time travelers meddling in the past?", "Did Spock commit murder!?", "Will Tilly die?", "Will Saru die?", "What does the Red Angel want!", "Why's the spore network attacking!" etc etc.

Season 1 relentlessly employed a series of similar hooks. None of these trite questions will be resolved well, or have been resolved well, because they're cynically rolled out for very trite purposes in the first place.

Alan Roi said: "Jett Reno, for instance, was not given a 'massive introduction'."

She was. I was referring to the huge and costly action/flight/rescue sequence employed to get our heroes to her, and save her.

Alan Roi said: "The spore drive never caused an eco-disaster, as what was going on in that ep was something else entirely."

It did. It is initially said that the spore drive damages the mycelial network, which is alive, or filled with living things. When Culber died, a tear filled with his "life essence" traveled into the network. This caused "Culber to be sucked into the network" and be "resurrected as an entity made of spore/mushroom substance". The JahSepp then attack Spore Culber because he is "foreign" - this doesn't make sense, as he can't return to Stamets precisely because he is made of native mycelial stuff - but find it difficult because he is "hiding himself in mycelial tree bark". Once Culber is removed, the series vaguely tells us that spore jumps now "don't damage the network", only "jumps which leave stuff behind" (this contradicts season 1, where the Discovery can spent a long time in the network, whilst it takes an hour for the ship to entirely dissolve in season 2, when in the network).

Maybe you think this is good writing. I don't know. IMO it's the silly handling of a silly problem that only a silly writer boxed in by silly producers would have introduced in the first place.

Alan Roi said: "I also get that people want their TNG style stories that offer a simple direct plot that is wrapped up in a bow at the end of each 45 minutes. And that they can't wrap their heads around a far more complex narrative"

In TNG et al, when a ship uses the warp drive, it stretches "horizontally" and warps away. In "Discovery", the ship simultaneously spins horizontally, vertically (doing a 360 numerous times), and leaps/hops along the Y axis. The latter is more complex. It is also silly. And it is complex for the sake of difference, of overkill (more is better!), rather than substance or good aesthetic sense.

Look at season 1. It was very complex, but only in the sense that it was convoluted, shapeless, poorly structured and paced, and resorted to gimmicks or short-hand rather than good writing; shallow complexity. More "Lost" via Michael Bay, than "The Wire"*. Nobody dislikes season 1 because they couldn't follow it, they dislike it because the storytelling was comicbook level stuff.

*it's worth remembering that this series itself has connections to "Lost", and that Kurtzman spearhead many of Michael Bay's films. Bay is himself one of most financially popular directors in the history of cinema. Everyone is hooked by his "Transformer" movies, "Pearl Harbor" etc. But these are also glitzy junk.

Alan Roi said: "But dismissing it as 30's serial or soap opera level storytelling"

The raisen-detre of soap writing is to perpetuate the plot for the sake of perpetuating the plot, using very base "shocks". Virtually every Discovery episode has tossed in a new soap hook, usually in the last act.

Alan Roi said: "are unable to offer the degree of attention this series requires from its audience."

You're talking about a show by a show-runner who has never made something that requires anything from its audience. Most of the time, I would say "Disco" requires attention in the way your phone, or social media, requires attention, which is to say it is written primarily not to say something, but to monetize attention; to co-opt and hijack your nervous system with a kinda corporate mandated gimmickry ("stay tuned for the next piece of the puzzle!"). It's aggressively exploitative, though of course most TV is like this (using torture, nudity, rape, hookers, murder, last act-twists/shocks, mystery box plots etc to generate jolts).

Booming said: "I would say that they dwell on the red lights quite a bit."

They fail at making the Red Lights seem mysterious, alien, wonderful, scary, sublime and interesting, and fail to convey its size, location, and effect on the Federation and other civilizations. This was a great concept, and was potentially a great concept up until season 3, but it's not been handled with any sense of skill or weight or patience. Compare to how the monolith is handled in "2001: A Space Odyssey".

Booming said: "And the religious debates continued."

I didn't say it didn't continue, but that the show is bored of such debates. In the same way season 1 "continued" to be a "nuanced and interesting" look at imperialism, fascism, morality, racism etc etc, whilst constantly going off on tangents.

Booming said: "And they trace and find Spocks shuttle and then continue to search for him and then..."

Did you think that "arc" was good writing? Instead of a gripping and sustained chase of Spock, a tense cat and mouse game, Spock evading them at every turn with his superior brain skills, an uninterrupted, masterful chase between a lowly shuttle and a giant star-ship, you get snippets of an idea. You could write a better and more gripping "search for Spock" or "track that shuttle" arc, than that. That the show didn't is probably because the writers only loosely know what the other is doing.

Booming said: "certainly no soap opera which most prominent feature is that nothing ever changes"

The trait of soaps is that ridiculous things are constantly injected to shake things up. A is suddenly sleeping with B. C suddenly finds out that D is A's father. B learns that A is actually his son. B murdered A's family and forget to tell C that she doesn't actually hate him. Tune in tomorrow for the SHOCKING CONCLUSION TO TONIGHT'S SHOCKING REVELATION!

I know I sound annoying, but I keep seeing a repeat of Season 1's patterns (cool/intriguing pilot, a degeneration into alternate reality silliness [sporeland, mirror universe etc], the reappearance of characters from the past (Mudd etc), sporeland affecting a character psychologically [Stamets/Culber], the revelation that "the galaxy is under threat", the 8th/9th episode receiving Jammer's "best rating" etc). I don't believe the writers know what they're doing, and that the various subplots will eventually be revealed to have been hollow.
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Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

Jammer said: "When it comes to bureaucratic decrees that seem to have no moral conviction for protecting its own, the Union really is the worst. Or maybe it's Admiral Ted Danson who is the worst. First he orders Mercer to leave Grayson and Bortus to rot in an alien concentration camp in "All the World Is Birthday Cake. [...] This is a morally bankrupt move."

The Admiralty do not abandon Grayson and Bortus in "Birthday Cake". Admiral Perry simply refuses, quote, to "retrieve the officers by force" because for now "diplomacy will be our only recourse." The Orville is allowed to spend months over the planet, and when assigned elsewhere, the Admiralty specifically says that they are only leaving orbit because they are being replaced by "a diplomatic envoy sent for further extended negotiations". The Union is not abandoning anyone, and is acting with extreme common sense.

If an American civilian accidentally breaks a law (nutty or otherwise) in Singapore, and is detained or arrested, you don't send in the armed forces and violate a nation's customs and laws and run the risk of sabotaging future relations. You respect their beliefs, laws, and negotiate, as long as possible.

And in this episode, Admiral Perry does not "abandon Orrin". He specifically says that the Union is only "considering" extraditing Orrin "if he is proven guilty". They've not settled upon a answer to this question. They have not abandoned anyone.

And the episode's issue isn't whether extradition is wrong - because it makes sense to give up a criminal if it means wider peace, especially one like Orinn, who has killed over 1200 Krill after a ceasefire - but rather whether Orrin's suffering and trauma make him exempt, and whether or not he knew of the cease fire. The final test proves that he did: he was bent on revenge regardless.

In both episodes, the Union are doing precisely the correct thing. The only flaw is that the script takes the easy route and makes Orinn a suicidal avenger. Better to leave him alive and give him over, though I feel a better writer would have omitted the character and subplot entirely.

Bert said: "Look at this episode. It is set just a little time after a devastating attack by an alien entity. But it is just business as usual, no consequences. "

It's over a month after the attack. The Orville's been in dry-dock repairing.

Bert said: "And these extremists would sign a goddamn peace-treaty? For ONE PLANET OF ROBOTS? WHO JUST GOT THEIR ASS KICKED? Are you insane? "

They don't sign a peace treaty. They sign a, quote, "prelude to a peace treaty" that simply "indicates that both parties will approach the future table in good faith." And they don't sign solely because of the Kaylon, but (the admiralty offers) because of pressures from progressive Kaylon movements who exploit the conflict to usurp traditionalists.

Bert said: "And the crew would just accept this? After these robots killed their crewmen, most of their navy?"

The episode before last ended with Claire telling Isaac that he'll be alone for a while because forgiveness takes time. In the next episode, Isaac doesn't have a speaking role and is clearly still ostracized. That he will be eventually accepted itself makes sense: he acted against his entire civilization to side with the Union. He picked their side. He pulled a Han Solo, showed loyalty to the Union and picked his "identity".

Bert said: "Then I remembered that this is now supposed to be a bonafide Big Drama."

It's 1950s pulp SF, tapped into via 90s Trek, written by dudes who like stoner comedy and who have inserted minor contemporary issues. Nobody thinks its "big drama" (though episodes like "Deflectors" work very well as allegorical dramas).

Alan Roi said: " what I am mostly seeing is people defending an episode just because they need to like it."

You are commenting on an episode which most commenters here have criticized as being one of the weakest episodes in the franchise. And the roughly two people praising it (Dave et al), have taken the time to make interesting points.

Bert said: "I think that I have already given ample evidence of piss poor writing. Here's another one. Why in the hell would this Union send an ex-alcoholic captain to be their emissary?"

Admiral Perry explicitly answers your question in the episode (which Ed poses to him): because only the Orville and its crew have had intimate dealings with the Krill.

But that's besides the point: this is a show where dude's parody Val Kilmer in Top Gun, do diplomatic cavity searches, go undercover as Häagen-Dazs and hang out with talking sunflowers and giant penis aliens. It's like complaining about the lack of realism in Futurama (one of the writers on which, incidentally, produces Orville, as well as having written for past Trek).

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Tue, Mar 12, 2019, 6:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

BZ said: "As of season 1 on TNG, I'd say only Picard and Data were established"

I just finished rewatching TNG season 1; all the characters are locked down and cleanly established. Riker and Picard have great rapport, Data and Geordi's friendship begins, its Troi's best season, and Worf gets one great episode. Even Tasha "rape gangs" Yar is cleanly sketched as an archetype.

In "Discovery", characters exist to hurriedly connect the dots a writer's room laid out before any script was written. The result is a serialized show in which episodes, always feeling the need to move forward, are constantly dropping or hurtling away from past ideas and issues. Witness how the Red Lights are introduced but their awesomeness and mysteriousness never dwelt upon, or artistically conveyed or captured. How Tig Notaro is given a massive introduction, but then jettisoned. How the second episode introduces themes of religion and churches, but then gets bored with it. How the Enterprise teasingly pops up, then disappears. How L'rell finds herself in the middle of a civil war, then vanishes. How Ash's baby appears, then is exiled. How the spore drive eco-catastrophe is a big issue, then is averted by removing naked dudes covered in tree bark. How a big deal is made of tracking and chasing Spock's shuttle, only to abandon the chase and then randomly find him on Vulcan. How Mirror Empress seems interested in playing Klingon politics, only to get bored and start chasing Spock. How Kaminar's entire socio-bio-political order is upended by the Federation, and then forgotten about. How Vina pops out of nowhere, as though this overstuffed season has time for Pike's love life, and then disappears.

Airiam will turn up in the next episode, wow fans with her "awesomeness" for a few hours, and then similarly be forgotten about. Because "Discovery" exists in the moment. It doesn't want you lingering, but overwhelmed and rushing to the next episode, which rolls out the same baits and gimmicks. And like season 1, all of the little "things" and "stories" and "arcs" it pretends to be about will most likely have cartoonish and silly resolutions. Resolutions so bad, that just describing them will be laughable.

You can see this already happening, with the revelations about spore space, about Michael/Spock's childhood conflict, with the Section31 Killed My Parents revelations, with the Galaxy Destroying Squid Drones, and now with the Red Angel revealed to be a time traveler. "Discovery" has never landed any big "idea" its ever had, it just tricks you into thinking it knows what its doing. It takes advantage of audience faith.

But audiences love that. All this baiting is why serialization became popular, first in the Victorian era when modern technologies allowed for cheaply printed disposable pamphlets/papers with serialized, cliff-hangered tales which never ended and kept interrupting themselves, and then with TV soap operas, where endless banal "twists" and cliff-hangers were used to sell detergent to hooked housewives. The science fiction equivalent of this would be the SF/fantasy serials of the 1930s (Flash Gordon et al) and mid century comic-books, the amalgamation of which is essentially Discovery (a Marvel show with aspirations of being science fiction). Serialization which transcends all this is probably something like The Wire, or the Bajor/Cardassia/Federation arcs in early DS9, all of which feel like something out of Balzac, or a novel.
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Mon, Mar 11, 2019, 5:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

Joseph said: "It's the same shallow and unthinkingly biased treatment that we got of astrology in "Birthday Cake"."

"Birthday Cake" wasn't about "astrology" - nobody would waste time critiquing astrology - but class, race and gender existentialism; putting people in boxes based on where they come from, and essentializing them based on the conditions of their birth (the notion that the poor are poor because they're "predestined" to be, that blacks are "predisposed" to crime, Muslims destined for terrorism, women naturally hysterical and disagreeable etc etc, all of which have social Darwinist overtones). It's why the episode goes to lengths to put the Union's politics and economic system on the other side of the alien table.

The "astrology" is just the frame to hang the allegory on.
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Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

Regarding "Seth's work ethic", it just occurred to me that Ed's problem is also that he's a workaholic. His work caused his marriage to break up, and Claire broke up with Cassius a few episodes ago for the same reasons (she can't juggle command, work and settling down). So there may be something autobiographical about the character's love life.
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Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 7:12am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

I agree with you on that "Krill" episode, Erik. I found it the funniest, most outlandish episode, but the series seems to be moving away from such sustained comedy. Or perhaps the pairing of Ed and Gordon - IMO the two funniest characters - simply resulted in that stuff naturally.

Chris said: "I believe it would improve if Seth McFarlane would step back and do less. Let better writers take the characters and see what they can do."

He seems to be a workaholic. To juggle so many shows, spearhead this, act in it, direct several episodes, and write so many scripts in such a short time - all of which have been decent, even if they've never quite tipped over into top tier territory - is staggering. And while it's probably a good idea to let him take a step back, its paradoxically this single-mindedness which gives Orville some street-cred. It feels like a personal work by an auteur, rather than a faceless assemblage of corporate directives.

Dave said: "The episode title was obviously chosen because of the double meaning (both metaphorical and literal)"

That's an interesting post, and touched upon a layer of subtext I've not seen mentioned in other reviews. I also like your point about the episode's title; the combustible blood of the terrorists/patriots, and the patriotic blood bond between Gordon and Ed.
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Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 9:13am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

Bill said: "Trent said the episode ended with them trying to use the spore drive"

Yeah, Airiam the cyborg most likely disabled the spore drive.

The spore drive which is needed to help defeat the Galaxy Destroying Squid Drones is now "not an environmental threat" because it "only destroyed ecosystems because Culber, who was revived by a tear, covered himself in wood chippings".

Every conclusion to every arc in this season, just like season 1, gets sillier and sillier.
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Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 4:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: When the Bough Breaks

IMO this is the worst episode of season 1. I also feel that, in this episode, the Federation comes off looking worse than the child-abducting aliens.

Picard and the crew are adamant that "no human parent will give up its offspring", but surely in a galaxy spanning organization like the Federation, there are thousands of orphans, or parents with children, who if asked, would give their consent to being raised on this planet, or live on this planet alongside their dispossessed kids.

Picard, in never bringing this option up, escalates the situation.
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Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Arsenal of Freedom

As others have said, this is a heavily flawed but fun episode, and arguably one whose title is a jab at warmongers who associated military hardware with freedom.

Picard's choice to beam down to the planet full of unhinged weapons, always seemed silly to me. What could he possibly hope to offer the away team?
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Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 4:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

Booming said: "the anti-discovery crowds always has to point out that everybody who likes this show is either stupid or brain damaged."

Art is a kind of neural masturbation, so its always intimately tied to biology.

Capitalism functions by simultaneously eradicating the past and promising to resurrect it better, faster and harder. In the 1980s Guy Debord was predicting what he called a blip-time aesthetic. Shorter and shorter moments and sensations, each saleable only if the consumer hyperbolically believed them the BEST EVER. What's new, what's now, is always FOUR STARS! The GREATEST THING EVER, the system continually transgressing its own limits, and promising the subject the ability to do the same.

You'll notice the Disco bashers are always talking about the thing being overstimulating, overwhelming, producing feelings of anxiety, or being needlessly overstuffed. The Disco lovers, meanwhile, love the rush, and don't engage in silly things like comparison or context. That's not brain damage, that's a kind of pragmatism, or unconscious survival mechanism.

Debord, meanwhile, advocated withdrawal; disconnection to prevent being swallowed up. And you see that happening with the cutting edge of contemporary print science fiction, which is moving toward pastoral, solar punk, eco-fiction stuff.

This is the kind of pretentious crap I think about when watching "Discovery". I still can't believe it took 7 episodes to reveal that WE ONCE AGAIN HAVE TO SAVE THE GALAXY FROM BEING DESTROYED!!!!
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Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

SlackerInc said: "This was most definitely NOT better than "All the World is Birthday Cake", a four star episode that is the best of the series thus far. :P"

I rewatched "Birthday Cake" two days ago. IMO it's a clever and politically quite radical episode, and the "out of place" violence/action in the second half works well if you pretend its an episode of "Black Mirror" or some other dark, broad, SF satire.

I would say "Blood of Patriots" is the first Orville episode without at least that one great scene. This season alone we've had: the Singing in the Rain orchestra scene, Ed's shuttle fly-by stalking, Billy Joel's Always a Woman, Alara dreaming of riding the alien-horse on the beach, the thrill/rush of first contact in "Birthday Cake" etc etc. Every episode's had a really powerful/magical moment thus far. "Blood of Patriots" doesn't quite have that, though I suppose the zero G space walk comes close.
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Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 2:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

Look at the structure of this script. Look how much contempt the writers have for you.

"If Memory Serves" opens with actual footage from TOS' "The Cage", designed to bring us up to speed on the events of a 50 year old Trek episode.

After this info-dump, we immediately get another info-dump; a terribly acted Vulcan spews terribly written dialogue designed to catch us up on the motivations, locations and even health statuses of our heroes. This is a show which doesn't even have faith in you remembering its last episode. Our post-literate audience, raised on constant informational overloads, absorbs this with relish: Info! Info! Info! Dopamine zap! Zap! Zap!

More infodumps abound: Ash catches us up (via catching Pike up) on his romantic relationship with Michael, followed by a shuttle computer bizarrely violating Starfleet hush-orders by catching us up with Talos IV's Trek lore. Hilariously, six minutes into the show, after literally 4 sequences informing us that "we're heading to Talos IV", Michael brings Spock to consciousness and informs him that "We're approaching Talos IV". Just in case you forgot.

"We're really on the other side of the looking glass now, aren't we?" Michael cheesily says, as she and Ninja Spock "break through an illusion" and land on Talos IV. But there's no "looking" in this show, no beauty, no lingering, no space for feeling or thought, only lots and lots of explaining.

This is the aesthetic of a post-cinematic generation; TV as twitter feed. Zap! Zap! Zap!

Meanwhile, we learn that "Spock has been suffering because he experiences time as a fluid rather than linear construct". This doesn't bother Sisko and the wormhole aliens in DS9, but apparently it is enough to "drive Spock mad". In an effort to cure himself, Spock thus seeks the medical help of the Talosians. In return for this help, the Talosians want Michael to infodump her memories of her and Spock's relationship into them. Michael agrees, but only if the Talosians infodump Spock's mind into hers. Everyone agrees to the mutal info-dump orgy, in which we ultimately learn that "the red angel has guided Spock and Michael's life through childhood" and "provided Spock with information regarding a future galactic Armageddon!".

Dwell on that for a moment.

It took this show 7 convoluted, poorly written, poorly paced episodes to tell you that A BADDIE WANTS TO BLOW UP THE UNIVERSE.

Remember when "Discovery" introduced those stakes mid-way into its first season as well? No. Of course you don't. Now. Now. Now. Consume. Consume. Consume. Liner time is for idiots. Behold the Infinite Now! Zap! Zap! Zap!

Meanwhile, Stamets and Culber are doing stuff, all of which involves Culber out-acting everyone on screen, especially Stamets, who always seems like he's tripping on LSD.

Later we learn that the Talosians can project images halfway across the galaxy and into Pike's office on board the Discovery. This seems far too powerful, making them on par with Trek super-races like the Organians, but actually, no, this is a series with Insta-Spore Drives and trans-galactic transporter devices. Screw limitations! Excess! Excess! Excess!

And what images are the Talosians projecting into Pike's office? Turns out they're projecting the character of Vina from a 50 year old TOS episode. But who cares about Vina? Who cares about the Talosians? Who cares about Spock and Michael's childhood? Who cares about Section 31? Who cares about the Mirror Empress? Who cares about the Klingon Civil War? Why is so much of this show dedicated to fundamentally ill-conceived subplots?

Think about it: this is a show which shoe-horned Talos and Vina into its narrative, all so that a simple memory can be yanked out of Spock. All this plot, just to yank a memory out of Spock. It's so obvious that this is not good writing, but gimmicks shoe-horned and reverse engineered into a plot because of wacky corporate types.

The episode ends with Pike trying to use the Spore Drive, which apparently is no longer off-limits, a health risk to Stamets, or an environmental risk to the universe. Meanwhile Spock has begun to transition from Edgy Spock - wouldn't it be cool if the ordinarily calm and composed Spock were unhinged and insane! nobody but Kurtzman wonders - into Old School Spock.

Finally, the episode reveals the HORRIBLE THING which Michael did to Spock as a child all those years ago. Turns out - and the series thinks this is a SHOCKING REVELATION! - she WHITE FANGED him. Yes, the famous scene in the classic novel, "White Fang", in which a guy pretends to hate his wolf so that it returns to the forest and re-joins its pack, a scene which has resulted in countless memes and parodies in sitcoms and romantic comedies ("You have to white fang the girl so that she breaks up with you, bro!"), is what this show believes is the worthy culmination of what it believes is a GRIPPING and SUSPENSEFUL arc.

When I watch "Discovery", I keep seeing philosopher Frederic Jameson's predictions about the next stage art and techno-consumerism: future man will be beholden to the ecstatic over-proximiy of all things. The brain of the future doesn't experience a loss of touch with reality, but its opposite: a schizophrenic collapse between body and worldly spam, the body perpetually suffering the instantaneous incursion of, and over-exposure to, heaps and heaps of tacky stuff. With this comes the worship of the now, and the inability to understand history, the past, or any sort of context. "Discovery's" itself is the kind of show you watch upside down on your tablet while dissing your granny on Twitter and scrolling through YouTube comments discussing the first 5 minutes of that other show you plan to binge after you figure out how to download adblocker and increase the frame-rate on your VR googles so you can speed-watch it during lunch break at your job down at the sugar factory while ingesting slow-release toothpaste so you can save chew time in the bathroom and use the temporal profits to play the stock market on your ipod and reinvest the winnings on pheromone sensitive advertising pioneered by a llama factory startup in Peru.

Zap! Zap! Scroll, scroll, scroll.

One thing I like about this episode is its literal using of TOS footage. "Discovery's" gone from namedropping and fan-service ("Oh, I recognize that ship/word/character! Gimme dopamine!") to literally injecting past footage. This show is like weird-ass necrophilia. An unintentional Cronenbergian, Baudrillardian meta-comment on its own zeitgeist, or something.
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Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 8:13am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

As others have mentioned, this is "Orville" doing TNG's "The Wounded". It also evokes "The Undiscovered Country" and DS9's ""For the Cause"/"For the Uniform".

Unfortunately, though its last 20 or so minutes are pretty exciting, I'd call this the weakest episode so far of both season 1 and 2. Positives include Yaphit's medal ceremony, a nice sense of continuity (after "Identity", an episode about Krill/Union diplomacy is just what the franchise needed), some good "detective scenes" with Talla, one good "Gordon wrestling with heavy issues" scene and a great scene where Talla and Gordon bond over some booze. Philosophically/politically, the episode's stance is also nice.

But the negatives are too much: the jokes don't land, feel awkward and cringey, and the first 30 or so minutes are strangely off-kilter, lifeless and flat. The episode also relegates its most interesting material - the Union and Krill negotiating - to nothingness. Such a momentous occasional should have pomp and ceremony and be made a big deal of.

The episode also needlessly mimic's Trek's tired "character of the week" format; a better writer would eject all this stuff, give the racist/warmongering attitudes to a different character (an admiral or ambassador) rather than Gordon's shoe-horned buddy, or jettisoned the idea entirely. That nobody mentions to Gordon's buddy that the peace treaty is needed to stave off attacks by the genocidal Kaylon, is also strange.

Still, its interesting how the episode contrasts Gordon's militant buddy with the militancy of Janel a few episodes earlier:

Janel: Your own scientists claim your species is just another kind of animal. Animals have no souls!
Ed: Look, from what we've seen, when planets first achieve space travel, and they venture out into the galaxy, and discover that they're just one single species among a vast diversity of life-forms, they usually react in one of two ways. They embrace and adapt to the fact that they're no longer the center of the universe, or they ratchet up their xenophobia. Now, from what I've learned of your history, the Krill were a lot less fanatical before you left your home world-
Janel: You know nothing of our history.
Ed: I know fear when I see it. You're afraid to accept the fact that your superiority may just be a comforting myth.
Janel: Who are you to lecture me about myths? You fell in love with a woman who did not exist.

Gordon's buddy is locked in a similar kind of hateful nostalgia, unwilling to move on, fanatical and xenophobic. Gordon, meanwhile, is in love with a myth; his buddy as hero, savior and patriot.
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