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William D Wehrs
Fri, Jan 18, 2019, 1:25am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Brother

Let's start with the positive shall we? The visuals are excellent and the music is quite nice. Especially the working in of the two musical themes.

Ok, now that that's over with, let's look at the missteps. What was the point of the character, Connelley who was incredibly obnoxious. Was he just there to die? That's just mean spirited writing. There is also an abundance of jokes, most of which for me at least don't land at all. There is also the ludicrous roll-call scene which the writers clearly thought helped serve to "flesh out" the bridge crew. It doesn't though. We still don't know anything about these people. Also, Discovery had better provide a good reason why Spock is such a petulant brat from the very beginning towards Burnham. Overall, I can see this show is trying to rectify its prior mistakes, but it still has a long way to go.
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William D Wehrs
Fri, Jan 18, 2019, 12:21am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes

Loved this episode with my one quibble being that we could have used a little more time with Lt. Tyler and her romance with Mercer. Nevertheless, teally appreciated the time devoted to humanizing the enemy in a way the first season of Discovery never really did. This was the Orville at its best, and I really hope the ratings improve.
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William B
Thu, Jan 17, 2019, 3:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

@Springy, just curious: any thoughts on the Winn material in the ep? I thought that was one of the interesting things here, and I think Fletcher did a great job.
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William B
Thu, Jan 17, 2019, 3:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Alliances

Hear hear, Jammer!

@Peter, I definitely get what you're saying and I basically agree with you -- both about the necessity of stories being told, and also in your point to Elliott that it's valuable to find ways to state in dramatic terms (either through speeches, or through the other resources available in drama) to communicate the message clearly. I think some what especially works (for me) about the speech in The Great Dictator or Walter's monologue or the Risk Is Our Business speech or Sisko getting into the box in Paradise (an episode I'm not big on overall, but I agree that that sequence with Sisko is great) are

1) it is very important for the characters themselves. This is especially true in your examples for Walt, who spent the whole of his series cycling through various forms of denial before coming to different understandings of himself. It's important for us to know that about him.
2) It is important for an artist to communicate to people that they are understood, and at times to reach out to the audience. In the case of The Great Dictator, in story the barber is trying to reach out to people who are current or potential victims of fascism and to let them know that they are seen, understood, and not alone, and to offer them the hope for a better future. In our world, Chaplin, through his character, is offering the same. The point being drawn is in some senses "bigger" than the story. And while all stories, to some degree, carry a message, I feel like here there is more of a direct link being created between artist and people who genuinely need someone to connect to them.

I guess I'd say with Janeway in particular that I am...agnostic about her arc. I'd say that I still both do and don't see it, I guess. And I don't think that my ability to see it is really the result of great critical insight. Maybe having practiced writing about this type of stuff for a while has given be better tools to articulate it. And I do think that having those tools has sharpened my eye. (I'm mixing metaphors here.) But a lot of what I try to do is to find ways to describe what I am kind of already seeing, and maybe which, if I didn't write it down, I would only semi-consciously perceive. When there's a repeated line of dialogue or a connection to a past episode, I get some sort of charge, and then I try to figure out why. Now there are times when it really does feel, even after trying to parse out why, that the charge might just be a random firing of some neurons; a pattern sprang up but maybe the cigar was just a cigar. Other times though I feel like it's talking about something that does feel authentically like it's *there*, which without some work I wouldn't have been able to describe, but which I maybe "felt" on some level. In cases like that I would say that the story "did its job," at least to a degree. Obviously it's better if more people understand it, and a work of art that doesn't communicate at all (and has something to communicate) is probably a failure. But there are different ways to get an idea across, and some things are going to hit some people harder and others less hard.

This is partly, I guess, so obvious as to be almost not worth saying ("people react differently to different things"), but I think sometimes it's hard to explain why a read just *feels* right to me, whereas another doesn't, even though the same amount of work is needed to explain the two of them, and even if both are on some level "buried."

With Elliott -- well, I think that he's got a lot of insight, and artistic training as a composer. However, and I'm going to take a guess here, I think that a lot of the things he's describing really *are* "obvious" to him, not because he's a fancy artist, but because Janeway's arc (as he sees it) resonates with him, in the sense that the art stirs something within him, which makes it register to him as clear. That Janeway's arc seems not to have affected that many people that way -- and I am kind of on the fence -- is certainly worth discussing.

I'll give a random example that popped into my head: I think I recall Jason R. suggesting that the problem with Lore as a character is that there's no particularly clear explanation of why he went evil. And I agree with him to a point. I think that Brothers is a good episode and I like a lot about Datalore and Descent, but there are problems with most of them. And yet on some level, the fact that Lore is full of resentment and anger at humans seems incredibly natural to me. I don't know if it's because I watched TNG when I was young and just accepted the characterization as presented, but in my mind Lore's various scenes from the episodes blend together and the combination of his *actual, literal* physical and mental superiority with what seems to me to be the obvious isolation and fear he'd suffer at the hands of the Omicron Theta villagers, combined with the insecurity and rage that we see toward Soong at various points, combined with the contrast with Data whose emotionlessness and, I believe, humility were programmed in with him as a deliberate response to Lore, all make Lore's character really "obvious" to me. I think there are scenes where it's spelled out, which are effective to various degrees, and some of it rests on other tropes and archetypes which are not even really spelled out. But on some level, it just makes sense to me. I don't think it's obvious to me because I'm trying harder to gain insight, nor because I'm uniquely insightful even. In that sense, what seems to you a reach that Elliott and I are making (and which I kind of agree with, too, because I never feel entirely sure how much I buy Janeway's arc on an emotional level) is not a reach at all for him.

This is maybe a long way of saying, I'm still trying to figure out what it is that I personally really admire most in a story. I tend to agree with *both* the idea that if something is possible to excavate in a story that it is there and worth admiring, and also that if something requires specialized tools to excavate it's probably a fault of the story.

I think to my mind, the best, most successful kind of story is the one where the broad strokes of what is happening are basically coherently and clearly expressed, but where there are supporting and complicating details, careful stitchwork that supports the main thing. An example of something like that is Far Beyond the Stars, and the recent discussion you and Mal had about it. I didn't take the time to mention it, but I loved Mal's specific character observations, and the way, in particular, he compared (SPOILER up to FBTS) "Bashir's" passing for white to his passing for non-genetically engineered. It's a detail that may or may not have been directly intended, and certainly was not obvious (and I had not ever thought of it before). But the episode certainly does not live or die on that particular detail, and including it adds to the richness of the episode overall. Obviously not everyone on the site agrees on that episode's quality, but I know this is one area where I, as well as you and Elliott, opposed in opinions on a lot of DS9/Voyager (I feel vaguely like I'm in between, though it varies depending on the ep/character/etc.) can agree on. An art work where the *only* attraction is something so subtextual it's hard to know if it's intentional can become intensely frustrating while watching -- fun to write about, maybe, but...and one where the only attraction is what is emblazoned in neon lights doesn't feel particularly rewarding to closer inspection. Something that can cover both of those bases and do both exceptionally well is what's really exciting.
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William B
Thu, Jan 17, 2019, 1:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Alliances

What I like about Elliott's read on the series and Janeway is that it does feel like he connects the dots of her story in a way that generally makes sense to me. I also agree with Peter (and others) that it is something I sometimes (though probably not as consistently or totally) have trouble seeing in the moment while watching. That what we hear from behind the scenes tends to agree with Peter's criticisms of the writers behind the show is a point in favour of his view. But I also basically think that if what ends up on screen works, it works, even if it was either not intended, or was intended in a scattershot way (i.e., if some writers and Melgrew -- perhaps not always even fully consciously, because while a fantastic actress I think she's on the record at not always being able to make total sense of her character -- managed to connect the dots effectively). I'm not a full "the author is dead" type but I also don't think that intention is everything, nor do I think it's necessary for something to be clear (on a first viewing) for it to be effective. There are lots of reasons, some of which are bad but many of which are completely reasonable on the part of the viewers that Voyager is not always given the benefit of the doubt, including by me. I enjoyed it more when I gave it a little more latitude, I guess is what I'm getting at. There were still episodes where the more nuanced and interesting interpretations of the episodes and Janeway's arc just did not reach me, even with a relatively open mind, and I'd put that in part to failures on the part of the creative team (if they were intending it, that week)...but it's also going to be down to the viewer, not in a sense of everything being purely subjective but also partly in terms of what people are interested in and have experienced in their life. To be honest, Janeway *does* make more sense to me now that I'm older and have gone through more periods of having my nerves frayed and being an isolated adult, even if the show's flaws are still obvious to me.
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William B
Wed, Jan 16, 2019, 6:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Nor the Battle to the Strong

@Peter, that's very interesting. I agree that having Jake insecure specifically about his cowardice and how others would react to him would be great, both in terms of giving the episode (and character) a charge that is somewhat lacking at this stage, and also for playing off some of the insecurities that we're seeing in general and especially this season with other characters. Odo afraid of what the others will think of him if they realize the depths of his longing for the Link? Bashir afraid of his Doctor Bashir, I Presume? secret? Even one-offs like O'Brien dealing with Keiko in The Assignment, where SPOILER the possibility is that he or Keiko or both will be punished or, in her case, maybe killed if he doesn't maintain his secrets well. It really gets to the point that even if a person has a rock-solid moral worldview in which that person is in the clear, that they still have to contend with possible massive rejection if they are "found out": if Jake basically thinks he can still be a good person without being brave, he still has to live among others who might not think that way.
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William B
Wed, Jan 16, 2019, 12:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Alliances

@Elliott,

Well, on the "how one can miss" thing --

My take while watching the episode is that it felt like we were being shown that the idea of making alliances itself would inevitably lead to disaster. This was Janeway's initial impression and her final conclusion at the ep's end. So then there are two (rough) ways to read the intervening material:

1. Janeway does an exemplary job attempting to make a faulty premise work. The failure proves that alliances as a whole are bad.

2. Janeway doesn't want to do alliances, and then when she starts trying she fails, often catastrophically. At the end she snaps to "all alliances are bad" because she desperately needs something to cling onto.

Your take seems to me to be closer to #2, with some allowances for the idea that Janeway makes many good points.

The way I tended to read the episode while watching it was that it was closer to #1. The "Neera Tanden feminism" you speak of seemed to me to be possibly the perspective of the series. OK, so, I *know* that the Trabe betrayed them, and so making an alliance with them was the bad move. But somehow the casualness with which Janeway allies herself with the friendly looking white guys who are ex-slavemasters but who are less sexist threw me for a loop and -- for reasons I find difficult to explain -- felt like the series making that mistake, rather than Janeway. I guess I wouldn't entirely put it past Jeri Taylor to think that way, I guess is what I'm saying. The Trabe's betrayal then plays out more like "Well, you can't trust anyone, QED" rather than that they were obviously unsavoury people to make a deal with.

As I'm writing this, I guess I can see the objection really clearly -- the episode basically told us not to trust them, and then showed us that they shouldn't have been trusted. So it is possible that I was just so thrown by how readily Janeway hitches herself to them that I assumed it must be a writing error rather than an in-character mistake, even if the writing is probably giving enough info to say that it's a character mistake. So that is promising.
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William B
Wed, Jan 16, 2019, 12:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Nor the Battle to the Strong

One last point --

Someone above mentioned that there are lots of people who assume, without having been in that situation, that they would be braver than Jake, and thus that the episode is useful for that purpose. And I do think that it's helpful to show that lots of people are not as brave in combat as they'd assume they were, and to try to normalize "cowardice" (self-preservation) in extreme situations. And that's fair. I don't judge Jake for being afraid, and I think the episode might be helpful for someone who would be tempted to. That's part of why I think it does work okay as an ep. But I think if you already expect that people -- especially people without training -- will be really afraid if their life is threatened in war, and not act very heroically, then it doesn't seem like that deep a message, and not *that* revealing about character. The disillusionment arc is not that strong because, again, Jake's belief that he'd have What It Takes seems like a development cooked up just for this story, which is plausible but not fully organic IMO.
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William B
Wed, Jan 16, 2019, 12:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Nor the Battle to the Strong

@Peter, "I don't know what there is to learn about war here, or about the Federation, and I can glean only just a little bit about Jake, which is that he's a normal guy and not a hero like his dad. But so what? Why do I need to know that? "

I already said this a bit above, but I just want to reiterate that it feels weird to do this story at this point in the series because, like, I feel like we already knew that Jake wasn't a hero like Ben, and more importantly Jake already knew that. I know I can sometimes be down on Ben and what he chooses to prioritize, but I do think that he's got a lot of bravery, willingness to self-sacrifice, etc. Jake not only seems to know that he isn't his dad, but seems fine with it.

Maybe a way they could have done this is to reveal that Jake sort of secretly believed all along that he *could* be a hero if he wanted to, and just that he didn't want to because he cared about Art more. Or something. I can see it being interesting, actually, a person believing that their choices were purely about what they cared about the most, and then discovering that they were letting fear guide them without knowing it. That could be interesting. But I don't know -- I feel like "I don't want to be a hero because I don't want to" is sufficient and learning that he also would suck at it because he's afraid isn't a whopping revelation.

This is really more of a Nog, or early Bashir, or Harry Kim, or even a Wesley Crusher or maybe Chekov story than a Jake one.
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William B
Wed, Jan 16, 2019, 12:12pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Nor the Battle to the Strong

SPOILERS for next season:

I did read once about an idea that Jake would, in a journalist way, uncover some of what his father did in In the Pale Moonlight. I still think that would have been a good story -- I mean, I get how undermining the results of that could be bad for plot, but for Jake to discover *something* could be good -- and I think having Jake realize that even his *father*'s ability to succeed was based partly not on moral worth but on chance and underhanded means would be a way to tie back to the "nor the battle to the strong" idea, and gives this episode retroactively even more purpose. Jake does seem to idealize Ben and I do feel like that would have been a good way to use Jake, who flounders around without much happening in the last two seasons.
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William B
Wed, Jan 16, 2019, 12:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Nor the Battle to the Strong

The title "nor the battle to the strong" makes me think of Jake causing the cave in and then becoming a hero. I wonder how much this was *the* animating idea of the episode -- that Jake actually did "win," but he won due to chance rather than because of his virtue. The actual heroism Jake shows in the episode is to renounce the heroism that is thrust upon them and set people straight that he didn't win because he was a hero, but because he was lucky.

However -- that's actually pretty thin. It's thin for a whole episode to lead up to those two events. The series has already addressed the Accidental Heroism thing before -- offhand, I think of Li Nalas shooting the Cardassian in his underwear -- and there they emphasized that a whole mythology had sprung up around Li, and the possibility of that mythology to be used for good or ill. Here, Jake is praised for like two seconds in story time before he comes clean. It's good that he comes clean, but we don't really see any evidence that his getting inappropriately credited was having a big impact. Nor is there much evidence that he is accessing a deep vein of truth that is consistent with the way we see the Starfleet officers behave regularly, as Peter points out.

Not only that, but I feel on some level like the lesson itself that Jake is afraid shouldn't...actually...surprise him that much? I mean, Jake decided not to go into Starfleet already. This journalist thing is, as far as I can tell, a new gig added onto his writing career thing, and the idea that as a reporter he would expect to be fearless feels like a kind of a weird thought to add to Jake, who up to this point in the series has been, IMO, pretty well aware of his limitations. I don't want to speak too strongly about this. I can understand that Jake would know he didn't want to do Starfleet, but could still think he could be an Observer in combat without cowering in a corner or whatever. But I feel like Jake is actually one of the most likely characters to not have to learn a lesson that combat is scary, and to not have to be disillusioned of feelings of invulnerability.

To some extent, I think it's also meant to show that Jake has sympathy for the soldier who self-injures or whatever, because he realizes that lots of "heroes" are not that brave. But I don't know. I don't think it is that well set-up either, for two reasons. One is that Jake doesn't seem all that down on the guy earlier in the episode. The other is that the series basically *does* show that the majority of the characters do tend to win battles because they're strong (physically and/or tactically, sometimes even morally). Accidental heroism is not that big a theme in the series, and the episode basically shows that Jake is less heroic than Bashir, but while Bashir has flaws and all, he really is basically brave and a good officer in this episode.

I guess it feels a bit like the event of Jake accidentally saving the day seems random and unlikely enough, particularly within the Trekverse, that it doesn't feel like he actually accessed a deep insight about those around him. I feel like Jake learned that he, personally, was afraid, and maybe he could extend that to mean that other people were also afraid, but basically I think that despite having many flaws, most of the Starfleet/Bajoran militia/etc. main and supporting cast really are real deal brave in combat. Maybe this is not the way combat really works in the real world, but it is basically how combat works in Trek, as Peter says.

What could work, though, is for Jake to realize that a lot of what's good about his life has been the result of luck. His mother died, of course. He's not lucky in all respects. But he basically has had a lot of opportunities to figure out what he wants to do with his life, rather than being forced to fight in war or to work multiple jobs or to scavenge for resources. In that sense it's good for him to have some humility -- that he has "won" the battle, of being alive and being happy and potentially becoming a good writer -- is partly the result of what he's had in his life. But I feel like this (again) is something that is actually something Jake already knows. Jake has lots of flaws but I don't think that thinking he's intrinsically super awesome is really one of them. This is the guy who taught his illiterate friend to read, who primarily dates people from a formerly ravaged and occupied country. I just am not sure if this was really the right story to tell about Jake.

All that said, I don't think it's a bad ep. It's not so much that I think it's *wrong* to tell it about Jake as that it doesn't feel particularly *right* to tell about him.
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William B
Sat, Jan 12, 2019, 8:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Crossfire

"This should be a clue as to Quark's gifts, not to Kira's deficit."

Yeah, and they do put a lot of emphasis in this episode on Quark's ears, and how minuscule a signal he can pick up with them, IIRC.
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William B
Sat, Jan 12, 2019, 10:04am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Scorpion, Part II

...which actually even adds to Seven's function here. It's not just that their plan incorporates the Borg in the short-term. In the long term, they clip wings off the Borg-hawk, in the form of Seven of Nine herself, and then are able to incorporate her into the ship, to allow them to soar. How many times does Seven's Borg knowledge help the ship in times to come? But the thing that's necessary is Chakotay' accessing her apparently dormant Annika side.
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William B
Sat, Jan 12, 2019, 10:00am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Scorpion, Part II

Oh, right, one more thing:

The difference between the sparrow (??? I forget if this is right) and the hawk is that the sparrow flaps its wings, and it's simply not possible to flap fast enough to keep the large vehicle, carrying so much weight, in the air. At a certain point, repetitive, tedious flapping work will fail, no matter how much effort is put in. What if it is possible to glide, like a hawk? It's "the easy way," expending less overall effort and using other forces of nature -- lift from the air -- to allow one to have passage; to let the Borg sail them across. But this is not merely Janeway attempting to get out of hard work. She is seeing that the actual effort of maintaining the flapping rate that the craft needs to in order to stay in the air is, as it appears, perhaps physically impossible. This fits both the ship in general and Janeway herself, who is wound pretty tight, and who cannot really maintain the level of expenditure she's putting in without burning out and crashing to the ground. So they can either touch down (Chakotay's suggestion), or they can attempt to glide.
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William B
Sat, Jan 12, 2019, 9:56am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Scorpion, Part II

Great thoughts, Peter.

You are maybe alluding to this anyway, but I just wanted to add that implicit in the comparison with Da Vinci is Chakotay's argument that Voyager doesn't *have to* make a deal with the Borg. Chakotay points out that they can find some planet somewhere. They can choose not to fly, in other words. And this also suggests another possible reason for Janeway's decision. She is, at heart, still a scientist, and that means that, like Da Vinci, she is driven to attempt the impossible -- to access some of the secret knowledge of the gods, to see that if something can be done, that there must be a way for her to achieve it. This is low on the list of reasons Janeway pushes for the plan. But I think it's a factor. Chakotay, as someone interested in the past, and dead things, knows something about what it means to run up against the fundamental limits of the universe. Hence, also, Chakotay's insistence upon the Borg's fundamental nature (like the scorpion). Janeway wants nature to be comprehensible, and thus useful; Chakotay believes nature is fundamental, immutable. Both are right and both are wrong, as you say.
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William B
Fri, Jan 11, 2019, 10:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: The Quickening

@Springy, great comments. I really love this ep.
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William B
Wed, Jan 9, 2019, 3:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: General Discussion

I agree with Peter to an extent about the first half of TNG s3, compared to the second half especially, but I rate Who Watches the Watchers and to a lesser extent Booby Trap, The Enemy and The High Ground highly. I also think that Evolution, The Bonding and The Price are interesting failures in that there's a sense that they are attempts to grapple with difficult characters (Wesley, Troi) and issues (gifted people peaking early, death on a starship, what it means to be in charge of a shipload of people's emotional health) at the start of the Piller era. I think The Vengeance Factor is the only ep in that run that I really genuinely dislike. In the later parts of the season, while I think Allegiance isn't a good episode, I sort of like the ideas behind it, and count it as another in the interesting failure category. At some point I will try to see if Transfigurations is worthwhile once you get past its surprising boringness. Menage a Troi I think is bad.

I have always liked TNG s6 a lot and disagree with people who bash it. My understanding is that the people behind the scenes were also very fond of it; I think Ron Moore thought it was their best year on TNG. I think that there are some valid criticisms of it. The music is getting more beige. Some eps like Starship Mine are entertaining but don't seem to have all that much to say. On that note, I feel a little like there are eps in season 6 that show an overall more assured but less experimental show than the one in early s3. At the same time, the season does take a number of risks (like Chain of Command) and knocks lots of them out of the park (even if others, like Birthright II, really backfire).

I have a hard time ranking TNG seasons. 3-6 are my favourites, but they all have different strengths and weaknesses. I think I'd tend to say that season 5 has the most weak episodes of that run, but also some of the show's biggest classics.

I'd place TOS s1 near or perhaps even at the top of a season list, and TOS s2 I'd also rank very highly. I tend to view S2 as being weaker on average than s1, but containing a higher density of the show's absolute best. I'm not as big on TOS s3.

I also have a hard time ranking DS9 seasons. I think my favourite VOY year is season 4.
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William B
Wed, Jan 9, 2019, 1:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: The Muse

The episode doesn't give much focus to Ben, but it occurs to me it's also drawing out a parallel between Ben and Lwaxana, in terms of their concern for their child, and their desire not to lose their child to a force they see as malignant, but which apparently also wants what's best for the child, from their perspective -- Lwaxana's husband, who wants to isolate the male child from Lwaxana, and Onaya who wants to take Jake out of the material world and into the storytelling world (at least to an extent). What's interesting is that Ben and Lwaxana both take actions which necessarily shut the "rival" out of their lives, but it's (arguably) more justified than what the rival is doing, because it's a defensive reaction. Lwaxana would, I think we're meant to understand, be fine with her husband having a role in their child's life, provided that it did not also require Lwaxana to be shut out. She might have a problem with it, but it's her husband's absolutism that means she has to act to isolate him. Ben might struggle with it, but I think he'd probably make peace with Jake being...more into his writing (or more obsessed with a particular "real" muse) than Ben himself would think as normal, provided that it still left some room in Jake's life for other people, including Ben. They both act to isolate their child from an influence which threatens *total* isolation, or at least, an isolation which would preclude them (as parents) and also their values.

This is also, on some level, related to Odo's own experience. Odo, like Lwaxana's unborn child, is sort of the result of a custody battle between his adoptive society (Dr. Mora, Bajor, DS9) and his birth family (the Founders). Kira -- who is his biggest connection within the society he's been raised into -- made it clear in The Search that she would not stand in Odo's way of finding his people, but she realized early that Odo's birth people were going to seek to dominate or destroy Odo's adoptive people. Odo ended up choosing Kira et al because they were the less aggressive, less isolating ones, but he did have to cut his people off *entirely* in order to maintain his ability to maintain connections with the others, because Odo doesn't believe that it's possible for him to be in both worlds. Odo is old enough to basically act in the Lwaxana/Ben role here -- to decide for himself who he'll ally with, and to cut himself off from the force that seeks to isolate him from everyone else.

It's sort of tricky here, because Lwaxana's husband, and Onaya, and even the Founders, are maybe not *malicious* in terms of what they want to give the baby, Jake and Odo. I see no reason to believe that Lwaxana's husband doesn't want what he believes is best for his child, and the Founders seem, in their own way, to want what's best for Odo, despite their rather rough abandonment and manipulation. As Peter says, it's hard to evaluate based on the episode itself whether Onaya is for real in what she says, but she might be. I think it's a little hard to stay on the right side of it; Lwaxana and Ben have to act a little like her husband and Onaya, in making the decision for their child (either unborn in the case of Lwaxana's, or not fully in his right mind in Jake's case) to isolate them. But I think I do read them as reacting to a threat of someone trying to isolate them, rather than attempting to create the isolation, itself.
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William B
Wed, Jan 9, 2019, 11:55am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: The Muse

I do like the Odo/Lwaxana material.

The Jake stuff -- well, I can see what Peter is saying (and what Springy is saying about how it ties into the Odo/Lwaxana plot). I tend to read it as being about Jake becoming obsessed with his writing, to the exclusion of all else (his muse is the thrill of the art itself), and certainly it's consistent with The Visitor to suggest that Jake can become extremely, overwhelmingly obsessive when given a cause. It actually may even help explain why he's as directionless as he is much of the time, because maybe Jake even recognizes on some level that he can easily become overwhelmed if actually given a direction.
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William B
Mon, Jan 7, 2019, 10:35am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Accession

@Iceman, I had forgotten that W&T did The Reckoning. Yeesh. The Bashir/O'Brien stuff in Extreme Measures isn't bad and I do enjoy those two together, it's more just that for me it bites off more than it can chew in terms of wrapping up the 31 thread, and to a lesser extent some danging elements of Bashir's character arc, though the latter is more successful.
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William B
Mon, Jan 7, 2019, 10:26am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Sons of Mogh

@Chrome, it's funny, before seeing your post I checked the transcript for Ethics because I couldn't remember if it was the same ritual or not. The name of the ritual in Ethics is different -- it's the Hegh'bat there. I think it's obviously intended to be a very similar idea, however.
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William B
Sun, Jan 6, 2019, 2:01pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Alliances

@Elliott,

I really like your take on this episode.

I think the..."Neera Tanden feminism" (I don't know that much about Tanden herself, though I have seen criticisms of her for what you mention, so I completely understand your point even if I don't know for sure that I'd share the criticisms of her in particular) aspect of the episode is more or less believable for Janeway, and I'm glad to see your analysis talking about it. I did feel like the readiness to "forgive" the Trabe for their past deeds but unwillingness to look past the Kazon's current state, which we were told even by the Trabe was basically encouraged by them, is really pointed. Watching the episode I found myself taken aback by it, and/but I can see how the Trabe's past crimes seem less dangerous than the Kazon's current thugocracy.

To be honest, overall, this episode reminds me of Shakaar, in that it's a situation which follows up from previous plot threads and in which the female lead (Janeway/Kira) makes a series of reckless, almost crazy choices and things escalate extremely quickly in order to get the story to pass within an episode, and then things are somewhat unstably reset at the end. Both episodes left me bewildered and I don't really like either. However most of the defenses of Shakaar as an ep seem to argue that Kira was more or less acting rationally, if perhaps being hotheaded in a Kira way, whereas your defense of this ep does rely on Janeway's flaws all being intended.
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William B
Sun, Jan 6, 2019, 1:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Accession

@Iceman, yeah, I'm a fan of hers. And I agree about Weddle & Thompson, who had some decent scripts but had some clunkers, sometimes at really bad times (Sons and Daughters, Extreme Measures). I haven't checked their overall output on the show. Though in fairness, I think that both episodes were conceived as standalones in the middle of an arc, with a lot to live up to, and so it's maybe not entirely their fault they didn't really succeed. Interestingly both W&T and Espenson ended up on BSG, and I think there both had somewhat mixed results (I gather that Espenson is disliked within BSG circles).
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William B
Sat, Jan 5, 2019, 1:38am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Accession

@Springy, this episode was a Jane Espenson script. I presume that there are significant rewrites, but I could definitely see her writing that Worf line.
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William D Wehrs
Thu, Jan 3, 2019, 9:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Primal Urges

@SlackerInc. I believe Kelly said something along the lines "God, this ship is gross."
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