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William B
Sat, Feb 27, 2021, 9:54am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Unforgettable

To be fair if I got to spend that much time with Virginia Madsen it would probably be one of my favourite episodes too.
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William B
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 10:31am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

omg haha amazing.
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William B
Tue, Feb 23, 2021, 10:49am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Crossfire

That's funny because going by their jobs it's Odo who is Louis. Which I guess fits better than you'd expect. Odo did basically collaborate during the occupation, just Louis had far fewer illusions about his role.
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William B
Fri, Feb 19, 2021, 9:20am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Frame of Mind

I might be misremembering if they revealed it explicitly, but I think I figured that the play did happen but before Riker went on the mission.
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William B
Tue, Feb 9, 2021, 2:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Nemesis

Picard turned down admiralty, too.
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William B
Tue, Feb 9, 2021, 10:10am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

I think it is probably a plot hole, but maybe not that big of one, because I think part of the story is that Uxbridge has a very strict code for himself -- where he'll use deception, but nothing that causes deliberate harm, even non-lethal harm. It's possible the code isn't entirely consistent, but I think turning the Husnok weapons into cotton candy would maybe constitute harming them (by trashing their stuff) in a way that simply deceiving them wouldn't.

I think also probably he wanted to use fairly low-impact techniques to avoid getting noticed. If he started using bigger godlike "you stay away from here or I'll make all your ship's controls work in reverse or turn you into newts" or whatever it would alert both the Husnok and those around him to his true identity. Plus I think maybe he's operating under a kind of Prime Directive of his own, which allows mild deceptions but not more involved interference.

Of course that kind of interference would have been preferable to genocide, but I think we're maybe meant to see him as very powerful but not omniscient, and having really believed his plans would work, and/or not being able to readjust his ethics fast enough to keep up with the destruction.

If it were convenient the episode could maybe have given more details on Uxbridge's code, but I also kind of think that even given a longer running time, it might have interfered with the story dramatically, particularly for a one-off. I think we maybe just have to imagine why Uxbridge might have restrained himself from all but the smallest actions, thinking those would be sufficient, until the reality that they weren't actually settled onto him.
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William B
Mon, Feb 8, 2021, 1:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

@Peter, I agree.

I guess one place we could say is that he should be asked to not impersonate Federation citizens, because it does mean that people are dealing with someone who could massacre them with a thought, without knowing that this is the case. Not that it's enforceable. Of course humans can do second degree crimes impulsively under certain circumstances, but 1) humans are mostly, at least in principle, aware of that, and 2) a human's abilities to do impulsive damage are more limited. It's clear that Uxbridge never anticipated this event, and now that it's occurred he's not going to reenter human society again, but if there were a place to offer "judgment" I guess it would be there. Even there I agree that he genuinely planned to live among humans as a human, and peacefully. I don't have any condemnation for him, all in all.
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William B
Mon, Feb 8, 2021, 11:50am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

I will say it is maybe worth noting that Uxbridge was living on a Federation colony pretending to be human. While it's self-defeating to attempt to police godlike beings, sure, Uxbridge was sort of pretending to be operating within Federation limits. So maybe that's a grey area, and I think if Uxbridge was more like a humanoid in disguise from a species with no formal relations with the Federation who deployed a WMD in a more conventional way (rather than purely by thought), there might have been some attempt to police them, at least enough to declare "Please don't pretend to be human and then do things which would be crimes under Federation law." I think that Picard (correctly) recognizes that this would be pointless for Uxbridge, both because how would they stop him, but also because Uxbridge doesn't seem to be about to move over and pitch his tent in Andor next week.
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William B
Mon, Feb 8, 2021, 10:51am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

@Bob (a different one)

That's a good point about the "You're free to return to the planet." I guess he's just trying to communicate that he's not going to bother Uxbridge anymore. Uxbridge has demonstrated that he'll limit his response to the Enterprise's meddling (primarily trying to use misdirection rather than force) so even if Uxbridge could crush them like a bug, he probably won't.
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William B
Mon, Feb 8, 2021, 10:39am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

I agree with Jason but also I think Picard is referring to the notion that Uxbridge literally committed genocide with a thought. The metaphor/analogy might be to a pacifist who has a nuclear arsenal and impulsively presses the button, but even that doesn't get at how extreme Uxbridge's situation is. It's not even a guy pushing a button; the thought to reality channel is shorter than any law devised by mere mortals is designed to contend with.
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William B
Tue, Feb 2, 2021, 11:44am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

Nice to scratch a Star Wars fanfic within your Star Trek fanfic, and to be honest that the whole universe rests on the Ed/Kelly ship does seem to be a meta statement of the show's central theme. Still, the fun here often comes from just "hey, there's AU Alara!" type stuff which doesn't really sustain the hour. Maybe 2.5.

So season two was indeed a big step up from season 1. I'm pretty much at the point where I enjoy the characters and spending time with them. I would say my top episodes of the series so far are, approximately in order:

Deflectors
Lasting Impressions
A Happy Refrain
Sanctuary
Identity 1
Home
About a Girl
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William B
Tue, Feb 2, 2021, 11:36am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

It's funny that "Sanctuary" had Frakes and Sirtis but this one is the remake of "Second Chances." Anyway as Jammer says, Palicki is excellent and there are some intriguing moments when it focuses in on the Kellys, but the Ed/young Kelly stuff just feels misguided all the way through. I think what makes this play worse than, say, Tom/Deanna, is that Ed's captaincy, age, and years of memories of their marriage give him such a huge advantage; in "Second Chances," she and Will had essentially broken up soon after the transporter duplication, and so she and Tom had the same *romantic* history without the platonic (?)/collegial Enterprise time, and she wasn't in such a position of authority over Tom as Ed is here. That the episode doesn't really go there at all is I guess ok but also feels like it feeds into the shallow take on the relationship; the only time Ed exhibits having learned anything is his lying about how soon he called her back. The emotional blackmail of telling Commander Grayson that he'll date the vulnerable, time-displaced Lieutenant Grayson unless Commander Grayson agrees to date him really does Ed no favours. 2 stars for Palicki.
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William B
Tue, Feb 2, 2021, 11:28am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Sanctuary

Good, and I like the use of Dolly Parton's feminist anthem, though I think it would have been more effective if mentioned a bit less frequently. The Bortus and Klyden battle for Topa on the micro and the battle for the Union's soul on the macro in terms of how they deal with the female Moclans; having Grayson and Keyali in charge during the battle was a nice, understated bit of business. I think the Union court battle happens a bit too quickly to feel real, though the superstar casting (F. Murray Abraham! Tony Todd! All the admirals) gives it real weight. It still feels a little less personal to me than, say, "Deflectors" and the action sequence, while zippy, feels unnecessary (why do the Moclans actually attack?). I think a high 3.
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William B
Mon, Feb 1, 2021, 1:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Deflectors

Thinking a bit more about this one. The use of "The White Cliffs of Dover" and the 1945 UK setting got to me, and I think it fits because it suggests the longing for a time when "the war" is over, and in this case "the war" is the daily conflict that Locar has to go through living his secret. Locar becomes an expert in deflectors; and he let them down long enough to be badly hit. The war continues apace.
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William B
Sun, Jan 31, 2021, 11:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Lasting Impressions

Very good. Named I'm sure after the film Laura (detective falls for apparently dead girl) which was sort of made in TNG as Aquiel, which is bad and all. But this makes a real compare contrast with the last one about how to do a Gordon story, and more generally where the show's strengths lie. Gordon's explanation for why this is distinct from other holo-addiction stories (specifically Bortus' porn thing, though on a meta level we know it's also Barclay etc.) is plausible and also is something of a hook for us to get to know Laura as a person, enhanced by the 2015 elements. But it's also clear that Gordon is a lonely guy who doesn't feel like his life is going anywhere, who doesn't entirely fit in with his crew and whose love life has stalled. It's really poignant to watch him and Laura bond, and while the zag that she goes back to her ex feels slightly adjacent to the story they were telling, it does follow naturally, and really it does make sense that it's part of the central issue: Gordon finds a complete person who is long dead, who would have maybe been right for him, but she's right for him because she's already a complete person, whose life is centuries over. I found it very moving, especially Gordon's doomed attempts to share his discovery with his friends. Bortus subplot a scream. 3.5, sure.
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William B
Sun, Jan 31, 2021, 11:09am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

Yeah, I agree with Jammer's take here. Gordon is okay, but I don't know that saddling him with a "best friend's family killed by Krill" backstory makes sense in terms of what we've seen (eg "Krill") or feels right for this guy's aesthetic. Miles in The Wounded was a minor enough character seen in professional settings before then that having an additional war backstory didn't feel like a stretch at all. Mercer revealing at the end that maybe he was jealous felt all wrong for this story. The Union/Krill stuff is too sketched in for Orrin to feel fully real.

For what it's worth, the Union considering extradition doesn't seem far fetched to me, if indeed Orrin was guilty (which as it turned out he was). I don't approve of extradition to a state that uses torture so it would be wrong. But the Union considering it under the circumstances seems real.

Seems like it would have been easier to throw the blood into space than exit the shuttle. Not sure why bother having Keyali show up at the shuttle bay just to get zapped. I guess prove Gordon's loyalty.

Anyway sure 2 stars.
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William B
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 11:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part II

I really enjoyed the previous three episodes so don't worry, I like The Orville.

That said, alas I agree with our host's cynicism about the material, and while I am willing to indulge the show's various genre pastiches when it's not aiming higher, I think the show really pushed hard with part 1 and practically invites the BOBW comparisons. And sorry, no dice: the Kaylon are so overpowered in part 1 that their being tricked by such strategems as Bortus just shooting them, a gelatinous crew member being unsupervised near some vents, and Mercer being allowed to use a standard code is a problem. I do think it has a real case of Trek "and now the conclusion"-itis where a big setup is followed up with a lot of scenes of characters milling around, crawling through conduits, having sort of irrelevant side quests (Descent, The Siege, Basics) that don't really feel like they have anything to do with the emotional stakes offered by the first part. Did I want to see Yaphit crawl inside a Kaylon and then crawl out weird and grey? Actually turns out I did, but I'm not sure it feels that connected to what part 1 was putting forward. World building wise, getting the Krill is an interesting idea and we'll see where it goes, though the emotional charge wasn't really there for this one.

The main thing here is the Isaac stuff, and here I think the episode comes closest to working, but in a way that feels hollow. Why does it take the Orville denizens being threatened for Isaac to start rebelling when he apparently doesn't object to the plan to eliminate all biological life forms, which will presumably include the Orville crew eventually? I know we are supposed to see how he loves Ty and that's what changes his mind, but the scale of his changed decision feels unearned. We'll see how the show deals with it going forward; the first part was clever in Isaac's heel turn by basically telling us, "What were you expecting? He never pretended he was doing anything but his mission." It certainly gave hints that there was some uncertainty under the surface. But basically he styles himself as entirely on board with the Kaylon plan to kill all bios until it is personalized in the crew, even though they were going to be killed anyway. How Isaac dealt with that conflict before midway through the ep is underwritten, and that's pretty important stuff.

Maybe 2 stars. Not a huge fan of how this was wrapped up.
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William B
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 11:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part I

It's good - there's real visual style in this show, I'm noticing - and I like that it balances the micro and macro with the question of whether Isaac's membership with the Orville and Finn family can last matching with the question of the Kaylon/Union status. But yeah the Kaylon backstory is awfully familiar to hang the first major two parter on. The Finn family material and Orville crew stuff mostly works; Isaac, well...wait for part 2. 3 stars.
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William B
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 11:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Deflectors

Very good. Locar lives his life with deflectors all the way up, and we see what happens when he lets them down. Talla gets a vehicle which felt real to me - okay it's a bit quick, but I understand her visceral objection to injustice and her feeling special at being chosen by Locar. Talla, Bortus, Klyden and Locar have great scenes and moments, different perspectives on a horrifying cultural prejudice and how to live within that. Macon is such a treasure for this series; the way he plays Bortus so close to the chest but with clues under all that makeup in subtle gradations of voice and expressions...such a wonder. Bortus having loved someone with taboo sexuality helps explain also how quickly he was able to break with his cultural programming in About A Girl. The murder investigation ups the stakes and works on its own terms (repeated statements that it must be a great engineer who did this work) and the twist ending didn't feel like a cop out because the emotional stakes are further raised. I'm going to go to 3.5.
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William B
Fri, Jan 29, 2021, 10:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: A Happy Refrain

I liked this one, though I liked In Theory too. This one is maybe better in certain ways, and while Isaac is a little opaque he feels believably so. Claire wanting badly for this to work out despite the obvious obstacles also feels real to me. The casual vibe of the crew is nice to see; one of my favourite scenes is the one in engineering where Isaac calmly shuts down Gordon's attempt at advice and where Yaphit looks on in hilariously animated dismay. And the mustache! I do think it leans a bit too heavily on romantic clich├ęs here and there but it feels lived in. High 3 stars.
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William B
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 6:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Clues

@Peter, yeah, that makes sense too. I will add that while the biological crew members can themselves be compromised in many ways (possession, brainwashing), it's unlikely that taking their body apart is going to solve anything. If Data is having a hardware malfunction then disassembly could well find it.
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William B
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 3:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Clues

The way I read it is that Picard believes that Starfleet's treatment of Data is contingent on Data's good behaviour, under it all, and that Picard will not be able to protect Data if Data continues to stonewall them. I don't think Picard is deliberately threatening Data on his own behalf, or that he thinks it would be correct if Starfleet does disassemble him. It's one of several moments suggesting that Data's rights are more fragile than is usually let on.
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William B
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 10:34am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: All the World Is Birthday Cake

Yeah again agree with Jammer's take, though I might go even lower. I guess Seth is trying to be brave taking on Big Astrology, but come on man. Of course we could in principle analogize the treatment of the Giliac to any number of other ways in which people are discriminated against for accidents of birth, but I don't really think the episode has much to say about that stuff. Anyway, as others have pointed out above, how could Mercer et al. not both pointing out that even if people on this planet are controlled by those star systems, they're from other planets, which means that which constellation is in their heavens at which time of their year are different, their years are different lengths, etc.? I'm not that worried about the technical details of how the crew perform their deception at the end, but it is unbelievable that it would suddenly reverse millennia of discrimination, and it's pretty unjustifiable degree of interference -- and it's unclear what the takeaway is anyway. Is this how we solve astrology (or more "serious" forms of discrimination) on Earth? The sense of wonder at the beginning of the episode was good though. 1.5 stars.
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William B
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 10:00am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes

Yeah I more or less found this one okay while watching it but agree with Jammer's take. I think the main problem here is that it drops this bombshell (that the woman Mercer has been dating for 20 movie nights) is the woman whose brother he killed and whose ship he destroyed last season, and then sort of flounders. How could no one on the whole ship catch on that she's not human? How could Mercer be that stupid? Moreover, the plot contortions required to have Mercer be in Teleya's clutches and then suddenly not are pretty elaborate and hard to swallow. (Even the way the episode has Teleya completely unable to get out into the sunlight until he gives her his jacket once the plot needs her to go out fits into this.) I'd forgive the plot contrivances more readily if there was more about what it actually meant to Teleya to pose as a human for months. If we had seen more of Tyler (and yes it's a cute nod to Discovery) we could maybe ourselves try to piece together what she really felt, which aspects of her personality were similar or whatever. For instance, wouldn't if have been nice to see Teleya interacting with the human classroom at some point, and see whether she makes the connection with her own students?

Ed's "she was real to me" stuff does feel childish when confronted with the person who is actually in front of him telling him that that person didn't really exist. I do think we are meant to see Teleya as partly correct about Ed's blind spot in his personal life, but I also think we're meant to see Ed as partly justified, and it doesn't work because there's no Tyler that we really got to see except as a point for Gordon or Ed to project onto.

The Malloy plot feels really incomplete -- but that's okay for a B-plot, especially if we see it again in some capacity (even if it's an acknowledgement that Gordon wants to expand his horizons in some other way). Fingers crossed.

Anyway yeah 2 stars. Sure.
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William B
Thu, Jan 28, 2021, 9:50am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

Yeah I think some kind of tip jar/Patreon sounds like a good idea, but I wouldn't know the best way to do it.
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