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philadlj
Tue, Feb 19, 2019, 9:16am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

Starfleet isn't "openly" condoning anything; Cornwell's chat with Pike and Leland was private, not live-streamed over the Federation News Service.

As for S31 running counter to Federation ideals, large monolithic governments circumvent or outright ignore their stated ideals, either in order to survive, or to gain an advantage over rivals.

That practice would not change in the cutthroat reaches of interstellar space. Gene's vague Utopian vision rarely passed muster even in TOS.

"Ideals" are a standard of perfection, and even the Borg haven't figured out how to achieve perfection.

*Ideally*, the Federation doesn't need S31 to survive, and operates under that high standard.

*Realistically*, S31 will always be a check against threats to the Federation, and if the Federation continues to survive, it's all gravy.

This is why I have no problem the DIS iteration of S31.
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philadlj
Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 7:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Deflectors

Wonderful, affecting episode that respected all parties involved. Lots of realistic flawed characterizations and questions with no easy answers. And I'm officially on board with Kiyala. A nice little nod to the fact than not ALL Xeleyans are ashamed of their kids in the military.

The second straight 3.5 in my book.
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philadlj
Fri, Feb 15, 2019, 8:38am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

Regarding Burnham and Giorgiou: I really like what they’re doing with these two. Of course the former doesn’t trust the latter, and probably never will. But she’s still...Giorgiou, ya know? In the same matter, Giorgiou may always be underwhelmed by this nerdy, stoic version of Burnham rather than the apparently savage badass she knew and loved. But she’s still...Burnham, ya know?

Burnham lost Giorgiou, while Mirror Giorgiou lost Mirror Burnham. Now all they have is the mirror version of the person they knew and loved, but that’s better than nothing. It’s a very cool dynamic. I especially like how Giorgiou remains a wild card, like she could kill Leland and take over his ship at any time...or just remain in her nebulous and arguably enjoy more freedom than being a fugitive on the run.
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philadlj
Fri, Feb 15, 2019, 8:18am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

Well now, that was exciting! Gripping would be another word I'd use. I've grown a bit weary of Disco bringing up technologies in season 1 that are then withdrawn season 2 in order to preserve almighty "continuity" with TOS (I am not as strict about all Treks having to connect perfectly, even in the Prime Universe, and like Jammer I don't really mind how high-tech the Disco and Enterprise look in this show compared to TOS because TOS was on a shoestring budget and Disco isn't). But...if you have to eliminate the spore drive from Starfleet use for the rest of its history, this was a satisfying way to do it.

Even Stamets was at one point so caught up in how cool the Mycelial Network was, it didn't occur to him or anyone else until now that it wasn't streets they were traversing, but cities, with the Discovery plowing through them like a bulldozer. Their convenient mode of transportation is the spores' apocalypse. One of their own managed to interface with Tilly in the form of a friend in order to explain that predicament. Like all good Trek (I'm thinking of Darmok) this is an episode that boils down to profound differences in perspective between lifeforms that must be overcome with communication and cooperation, not shooting.

It also all but makes official the unofficial policy of all Trek captains to risk the ship for the sake of a single crewmember, as long as that crewmember is a regular cast member. Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, and Archer have all done this. Space sucks, and Starfleet officers know what they signed up for may lead to their deaths. Who can forget Sito Jaxa's cruel fate, or (in a simulation) Troi sending Geordi on a suicide mission to save the ship. But Tilly has saved the Discovery more than once, and now it's the Discovery's turn to save her.

In this case, even a dyed-in-the-wool Starfleet Man like Pike is willing to be a little hypocritical on this point: Starfleet leaves no one behind, provided that someone means something to them, or more imporantly the audience. If Pike was always blithely sending major characters to their deaths one after the other in order to save everyone else, it would get pretty old, and we'd think he was a pretty cold dude! Trek has always tried to balance the delicate discrepancy between the characters with red shirts or only last names going through the grinder so the people we know can make it out safe and sound. In this, Disco is keeping that practice consistent.

So! Tilly is in trouble. She's been pulled into SporeWorld(TM) by Spore-May in human form, who also seems to be protecting her there, but also brought her there so she'd have no choice but to help her "people" with their current crisis. But while Spore-May is in human form, she has yet to adjust her perspective. She, and the rest of the spores, believe they are under attack by a literal monster. She warns Tilly not to touch the dark tree-like forms, telling her they're highly toxic. But it's clear that a human like Tilly and a Mycelial lifeform like May have very different ideas of what is and isn't harmful to their existence.

Tilly is also extremely freaked out by what has just happened: the cocoon in Engineering basically served as a kind of Mycelial transporter, dissassembling her atoms in one place and reassembling them in the SporeWorld. But once Discovery half-jumps into the Network (something they've never done before and is both incredibly risky and incredibly cool-looking), the sciency types start to realize what's going on here: the two realms are at odds with each other; they never should have met. Once they do, the competing systems start to fight one another instinctively. This isnt good-vs-evil, it's just two very different kinds of life that go together like oil and water.

This is why the spores start to decompose the Disco's hull, and why the reconstituted Culber and the bark with which he's covered his body are harmful to the spores. tl;dr: This Spore Drive think ain't gonna work out, at least not without further considerable damage to a sentient civilization, albeit one in a form the crew did not immediately recognize. Life too weird to be initially identified as life; it's a staple of Trek, and the misunderstandings between such groups of life can be as compelling as its varoius political humanoid entanglements, because it gets to the primary crux of Starfleet's mission of exploration.

While I was spoiled by the somewhat confusing real world news that Culber Would Definitely Be Back and Not Just As A Ghost, that lack of surprise was largely offset by three factors for me: One, I liked the character, was sad to see him disposed of so quickly and needlessly, and wanted him back. Two, the actual moment he returns was a surprise. Seeing him cowering there, in terrible shape, the very environment trying to eat away at him, was truly shocking and appalling. The place seemed inhospitable enough for Tilly for those first few minutes; I couldn't imagine a human having to be there for days, weeks, months on end.

Third, while it involves a lot of technobabble, my suspense of disbelief held up regarding the explanation of his resurrection. The explanation worked for me. His case is certainly unique under these specific circumstances, but hey, if an ancicent Vulcan ritual can bring Spock back to life, I'm game for it happening in a more sci-fi way. The law of conservation of matter ties into this servicably, if imperfectly. Broken down to its elements, Dead Culber + Stamets + Spores = Live Spore-Culber, via a process similar to what "May" used to appear in both Tilly's head and to the others in the SporeWorld.

This led to the almost heart-rending moment when Culber tries to cross the mycelial barrier, only for his arm to disappear, but like Saru almost dying last week, I could not believe the show would mess with us to that extent by killing off a character they JUST brought back through virtual magic. Thankfully, May tells them she'll figure it out, and that big hunk of matter in Engineering eventually transmuted into a Culber who can exist in regular space. Execution-wise, there was a lot of standing around explaining things that undermined the urgency going on with the Discovery--either take your time OR have a ticking clock; you can't do both!--but all's well that ends well. I still can't imagine being on that bridge sitting on my hands waiting for the all-clear as long as the crew had to.

Ultimately, this was presented as a kind of swan song to the network (at least in the way Stamets and the Disco has been interfacing with it), as well as a means of bringing back the good doctor, who I'm sure will have to deal with some measure of PTSD. That brings us to Ash Tyler, Section 31 Agent, as well as Section 31 itself. Let me start here by saying that I don't consider what DS9 said and didn't say about S31 to be the end-all-be-all gospel. DS9 took place nearly a century after Disco, so who knows what S31 is up to in this time? Well, Disco is going to show us. The Glenn and Discovery were themselves secret, being highly-experimental propulsion platforms, so S31 participation in the project, both for logistical support (as we see here) and keeping everything under wraps, makes practical sense.

Does Section 31 seem to be awfully..."out in the open" and "official" in this Disco depiction? Perhaps, but let's look at who and what they're interacting with. Only a handful of people have a remote idea what Spock is up to. Pike and Leland have a past. Georgiou is Mirror Georgiou, who met Ash and recruited him when the whole Klingon thing didn't work out. And then there's the good Admiral, who naturally is going to know things most Starfleet Captains wouldn't. We're still very much dealing with a small group of people who know S31 is involved, forming a closed, secure bubble. Sure, WE know now that S31 has ships and officers and uniforms and special long-range communicators and other tech. But WE aren't everyone. We are privileged like all the oter characters involved.

We may now be aware of these things, but the VAST majority of Starfleet and the Federation probably aren't. That's good enough for me. And again, if S31 means we can have interactions with Ash and Giorgiou, then so much the better. The S31 we see here may be very different and far less "secretive"-seeming than what Sloan described and Bashir dug so deep to uncover (literally going into Sloan's head). But let's not forget that not everything we, Sisko, Bashir, and even Admiral Ross, showed the whole picture of what S31 was, either in their timeline or, more importantly, nearly a century ago. They're Black Ops, and I'm on board with it.

So I think I've said about enough...I'll end by assigning a score of 3.5 out of 4 stars. This episode had a lot to accomplish, but I think it succeeded admirably, and I and my friend were on the edge of our seats for most of its runtime. I'm looking forward to seeing Culber recover and rejoin the crew, and the next instance of the crew believing they're about to see Spock, only for Spock to still be a step or two ahead ;)
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philadlj
Fri, Feb 1, 2019, 9:20am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: A Happy Refrain

The Orville went full Character this week, as the ship is at warp the whole time except for a rendezvous with the touring Union Symphony, which is a fantastic idea, BTW, and also served to recognize the excellent—and real—full orchestra The Orville uses for its scores. I imagine it must’ve been fun/challenging for some of those musicians to perform in alien makeup!

With the A-plot of Dr. Finn exploring a romantic relationship with Isaac, this show would seem to owe a lot to “In Theory”, the TNG episode where a woman tries to date Data with results that were “sub-optimal” for her but sometimes cringey and sometimes hilarious for the audience. But for once (though this may not be the first time), The Orville actually takes that basic idea and improves upon it. Despite there not being an alien world involved in the plot, there’s plenty of sci-fi ideas to be had.

First, there wasn’t anything sudden or out-of-left-field about Finn’s decision to ask Isaac out. Their friendship has been carefully developed over the last season and change, with a lot of that development coming when Finn was stranded on a planet with her kids and Isaac. Isaac may be an unfeeling robot but there’s been a lot of chemistry between these two. It’s a great example of a Trek-like show actually showing its work.

Of course, your mileage may vary when it comes to whether or not you particularly cared about this relationship ever evolving into something more romantic, just as the very concept of “romance” is something Isaac just kinda has to go with on faith (or, well, data). If you’re not a fan of Finn and/or Isaac, then Finn x Isaac is probably not going to make your day. Personally, I like both characters.

The central concept of “In Theory” was that, tragically, Data will never be able to return the love anyone shows him, at least not in the way a human can, because he has no emotions. Perhaps, with sufficient time, research, and practice, he could do better than he did with his hokey “honey I’m home” act, but it would still feel artificial because humans are pretty good at sniffing out insincerity, even if it’s “sincere.”

Where “Happy Refrain” refines that concept is that Finn enters the next stage of her relationship with Isaac with open eyes. She hasn’t been admiring him from afar, and knows who she’s dealing with. If she were to stop and think about things, she could also probably predict each and every one of his reactions to her romantic gestures, since he’s basically a human behavior encyclopedia/sponge.

But this isn’t about whether Isaac can perfectly simulate romantic love. It’s whether he can be a worthy, present, and servicable companion to Dr. Finn, who is lonely and for a variety of reasons has gravitated towards Isaac. In many ways he’s the perfect man, but in many other ways he’s the exact opposite, so this will take some work. This all works because it all makes sense.

Like any relationship, it’s pretty fun and exciting in the beginning, but once it’s clear Isaac is treating this like another cold experiment in human observation (Lamarr’s first round of advice is harmless, telling him to dress snazzy and bring non-rose flowers.) But Isaac fails to understand that part of what makes the beginning of a “coupling” so exciting is the mystery of that other person. “Isaac’s literal turning of the table, followed by the quick holo-reset of said table, had me in stitches.”

He eliminated any mystery by uploading all data he could find on Finn and just starts listing it all (always great to hear my mid-level hometown mentioned; The Expanse’s Miller is also from B-More!). When he sees she’s not responding well to this, he overcompensates, as Data did. Then he creates a simulated human body in the holodeck to more naturally interact with Finn, and more importantly, deletes the data from his memory so he doen’t know everything there is to know about her.

As usual, I don’t care how some kind of basically magical tech in a Trek-like show works as long as it effectively serves the narrative without feeling like a cheat. It’s also great to see Mark Jackson outside of the goofy 1950's robot suit and hear his distinctive voice without electronic modulation. And then, of course, Isaac and Finn bone.

That’s the end of things as far as Isaac is concerned, because he and Finn had very different ideas about what that meant, and he’s still new to the whole conventions of romantic relationships (i.e. they don’t end on a dime just because THE SEXUAL EVENT has taken place). Worse, Lamarr takes Isaac’s desire to break up with Finn the same way he would any non-artificial life form friend, and his advice for him to turn heel ham it up in tighty-whities is missing a LOT of context.

The crew also treats Isaac like an asshole—or rather more of an asshole than usual—because, like Finn, they’re projecting human/oid emotions and ideals upon him. Surely someone that intellectually advanced would have read the entire database of romantic ficiton, for instance, and learned that he’s quite clearly done her wrong. But like Finn wanting and hoping for something to come out of her fling with Isaac, Isaac holds true to his engrained directives: once there’s no further data to be collected, the experiment ends. Q.E.D. It’s not personal, and that’s the whole problem.

Except, there is a lot more “data to be collected”, clearly, because Finn’s and the crew’s reaction to his actions suggest he’s missing something in the equation. Furthermore, his efforts to make things more spontaneous with Finn by deleting parts of his memory starts causing internal malfunctions he did not anticipate.

The final scene with the raining, while a bit rushed, was another example of MacFarlane being an old softie to the core (like the Billy Joel a couple episodes back) and your mileage may vary once again. I’ve never even watched “Singin in the Rain” but like Finn I’ve always thought of rain as a good and happy thing (especially those sudden summer storms in Baltimore of my youth).

Also, ever since I watched the scene in The Matrix Revolutions when Neo and Trinity take the ship above the clouds (IMO the most hopeful moment of the trilogy, however fleeting), I’ve always seen rainy clouds as just one layer; that the skies are clear and the sun is shining just above them. That’s always given me comfort, and the rain itself is cleansing and nourishing. So the rain-on-the-bridge scene worked for me.

Finally, unlike “In Theory” and so many other Trek romance episodes, there’s no reset button to “A Happy Refrain.” Things aren’t going to be perfect, and they may not work out at all in the long term, but Finn and Isaac are still together, and have something here and now, and they’re going to keep working on it. Isaac has discovered that there is something of value in continuing their “coupling”, while Finn’s original optimism about there being merit in trying to date a robot is validated.
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philadlj
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 8:29am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: New Eden

- Frakes is well known as a consummate professional in the directing department, and he did some nice work here.

- FURNITURE is back in the ready room and I am HERE for it.

- All the intrigue surrounding Spock reminds me of the buildup to Kurtz in Apocolypse Now. Let’s hope the payoff is more Brando and less J. Peterman.

- I loved the little beat where Tilly runs out of Sickbay but then runs in the opposite direction.

- That said...there really should have been someone in the shuttlebay when her accident happened. And she probably should have been wearing some kind of safety equipment. Like, at least goggles (or space googles)?

- I wish May was a real Disco crewmember!

- In any case, I think the reason Tilly has been acting more erratically than usual (even for her) is that she's got the same "spore madness" that inflicted Stamets last season and still influences his demeanor.

- Owosekun, Airiam, Bryce, Rhys and Dr. Holland all...say things. Progress! But I still want more, particularly slice of off-duty life. I shouldn’t forget, initially Scotty, Sulu, Uhura and Chekhov didn’t have a ton of stuff to do either.

- I really liked how Pike differentiated himself from Kirk as someone a bit more by-the-book. He hewed close to the Prime Directive here without urging of his officers.

- I thought Saru would’ve made a fine full-time captain, but Pike is clearly the more experienced CO here, and they have a good dynamic.

- I like how Burnham still consistently does that thing where she tilts her head slightly, as Spock (or another Vulcan) would do. Like Saru’s hypnotic arm waving as he walks, it’s a subtle but neat character quirk.

- I too hope Jet Reno wasn’t just a cameo last week.

- While I agree that things were pretty surface-y overall, I did like the homage to the TOS theme planet.

- On that note, Orville and Disco continue to “rhyme, like poetry” (George Lucas’ words, not mine) with their episodes. This week Disco echoed Orville with a pre-warp civilization (combined with the imminent destruction of a planet), but strangely enough there was a lot more killing in the Orville episode!
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philadlj
Tue, Jan 22, 2019, 11:04am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Nothing Left on Earth Excepting Fishes

"It's yet another example of the awkward tonal swings on this series"

This is what The Orville has been, is, and will be.
I watch The Orville for the awkward tonal swings.
I wouldn't hold out hope it's going to change.

"It's also another example of this show feeling like warmed-over second-generation Trek leftovers"

Again, this is what The Orville has been, is, and will be.
I also watch The Orville for warmed-over TNG leftovers.
I still wouldn't hold out hope it's going to change.
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philadlj
Fri, Jan 18, 2019, 2:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Brother

For reference, here are the names, ranks, and positions of the main crew of the Discovery as of this week:

Captain Christopher PIKE - Acting Commanding Officer
Commander SARU - Executive Officer
Commander Michael BURNHAM - Science Officer
Lt. Commander Paul STAMETS - Chief Engineer
Ensign Sylvia TILLY - Command Trainee
Lt. Commander AIRIAM - Spore Drive Operations Officer
Lt. Keyla DETMER - Helm/Conn Officer
Lt. Gen RHYS - Tactical Officer
Lt. J. G. Joann OWOSEKUN - Operations Officer
Lt. J. G. R. A. BRYCE - Communications Officer
Lt. J. G. Dr Tracy POLLARD - Ship's Physician

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Philadlj
Sun, Jan 13, 2019, 5:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: Home

I will add my voice to those who thought this was definitely one of the better episodes of The Orville to date, a 3.5 at least. I will just add that I didn't mind the new Security officer that much, but I don't mind ANY of the "contemporary"-sounding dialogue in the show, and I happen to think it's one of the elements that make The Orville unique and fun among Trek-esque shows. It portrays the ship as an office, and who the scenario of that coworker who makes a big production of eating lunch at their desk was very relatable. I hope Macfarlane can coax H Jon Benjamin onto the show sometime, preferably as another weird looking alien....because why not?!
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philadlj
Mon, Oct 22, 2018, 1:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Jem'Hadar

When Quark lectures Sisko about all of the barbarism in Earth's history compared to that of the Ferengi, he conveniently leaves out the fact that Ferengi men still forbid women from wearing clothes or earning profit.

So yeah...the Ferengi: Not all perfect!
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philadlj
Wed, Feb 21, 2018, 10:49am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: The Killing Game

An obviously silly question considering the larger problems with this two-parter...but how did the (presumably drunk) Klingons know who the heck to kill and who to NOT kill when they arrived in St. Clair? I would think they'd just go after everyone, including the Americans, Chakotay, Paris, etc.
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philadlj
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 9:01am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: You Are Cordially Invited

Just re-watched the war/occupation arc concurrently with the final weeks of Discovery, and this is a nice palate cleanser

Unsurprisingly, the best parts of this episode have nothing to do with Worf or Dax, in order of precedence:

1. Martok's repartee with his illustrious wife is one of the best (hell, ONLY) depictions of a Klingon marriage. The fact that she immediately starts out with insults and wonders why the hell he hasn't frikkin' died already, followed by him jovially promising he'll try to die "this year, if possible", is a hilarious exchange I will never tire of. I do hope Hertzler lands a role of some kind on Discovery, he's second only to Andrew Robinson as my favorite supporting actor in Trek, and Hertz has played a LOT more characters.

2. Martok telling Worf he can't interfere in his wife's domain, then discouraging Worf from talking to her either because she doesn't really like him either - more comedy gold with a firm foundation in Klingon culture. Like meeting his wife at the airlock, Hertzler's line delivery is PERFECT. Martok brough Worf into the house against his wife's wishes, and she's accepted the fact "there's nothing she can do about it!"...but Martok dare not push her farther when it comes to new family members. Worf's "how comforting" is his best line in the episode.

3. Some great O'Brian-Bashir interactions this week, with the added dynamic of Sisko and Alexander, none of whom know what they're getting into. But at the same time, all of them stick with it (until of course they learn the wedding is off, then anything goes), because despite Martok saying no one would think any less of them if they gave up, they know better.

4. Quark and Dax's friendship showing in their shared suggestion that they simply hold the wedding at the bar...which doesn't sound so great, but it's more than a bar, it's a great space to hold a wedding! I also enjoy the irony of Dax getting married in the same place she had an arbitration hearing a few years back ;)

5. As quickly and cleanly as Odo's betrayal was swept under the rug with a single act of redemption (bailing Kira and Rom out with his security forces) left a bad taste in the mouth, Kira and Odo finally deciding to find someplace quiet (Dax's closet) to talk felt like a very realistic and relatable way to try to mend fences. I especially liked Odo telling his deputies they could join the party...Odo's a great boss!

6. Nog's bizarre werewolf(?) dancing/growling at Dax's party. I'll admit I dance like that sometimes at parties...and I those who know what I'm referencing are truly worthy of my friendship.
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philadlj
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 10:29am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

My main problem with how L'Rell manages to convince the Klingon fleet (though we only see a small handful of ships) to return home is how much trust they put in her claim that she has a weapon that will destroy their homeworld. Why do they decide, as a SINGLE entity, to just go along with that claim from hundreds of light years away? I just wasn't convinced L'Rell had enough "on the ground" (or rather "in space") leverage. Also, for months we've had 24 houses trying to out-kill one another, and this vague threat from Qo'noS just happens to unite them in retreat? Not ONE house said "this is BS, let's do this (i.e. attack Earth)." Just very hard to swallow.

I was also very irritated by the VERY LOUD and mechanical delivery of Burnham's voiceover early in the episode. There was a slight "aha" when we learned that was actually a speech being delivered at UFP HQ, but it just didn't work early on, and was yet another example of Discovery's need to "tell, not show" that not only insults the audience's intelligence but doesn't feel like anything other than narrative laziness. I realize some of Kirk's logs sometimes got a bit philosophical (his Lights of Zetar log about Scotty probably takes the cake) but there was simply too much Burnham voiceover this season.

Everything about that stolid scene in UFP HQ is extremely awkwardly staged, and the actual content of Burnham's speech, from the patronizing fable to the apparent lack of consequences on the part of every UFP/Starfleet official who sanctioned genoicde, just felt flat and unsatisfying. That being said, the ends DO justify the means if the ends put Discovery back on a course of exploration and away from war, political intrigue, MU camp and hidden identities. Perhaps the appearance of the Enterprise serves as a herald to a more conventional exploratory narrative next season. Disco's first season took a lot of risks, and not all of them paid off, but overall I came away happy, despite the qualms above.

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philadlj
Wed, Feb 7, 2018, 9:08am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The War Without, The War Within

Maybe Cornwell should have consulted with Sarek, who surely knows about The Vulcan Hello: Klingons (as a monolithic people, individuals are more nuanced) basically only understand two things: Strength and honor.

If they defeat you, it's because you were too weak to resist them. If you retreat from the field of battle rather than face your fate, you lack honor, and they won't bat an eye at conquering more of you.

Starfleet has no doubt developed a defensive posture, but they just keep having outposts and bases chipped away by the various competing houses. What they need to do is act like a house themselves; to stop defending and go on the offense.

It's not the Federation Way, but to paraphrase Ben Sisko, when the peace is being lost, war could be their only hope. If the Federation wants to completely fall holding true to their principles, well, keep on doing what they've been doing.

Looking forward to seeing where this goes. I just hope whatever cliffhanger comes at the end of the finale comes AFTER there's been a turning point in the war in the Feds' favor.

And for crap's sake, give the secondary crew members more lines and stories next season!
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philadlj
Thu, Feb 1, 2018, 9:32am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: What's Past Is Prologue

"this episode plays out pretty much the worst-case scenario regarding "Captain" Lorca"

"destroys what was once an intriguing and potentially complicated character"

"it feels like an act of arson against much of the season"

"thinking about afterward is pretty deflating"

See, I feel entirely differently about the Lorca heel turn. I believe the deflating "worst-case scenario" is EXACTLY what Discovery had been trying to pull all along. Burnham, Saru, and the rest of the crew had likely formed the idea in their mind that Lorca was this "intriguing and potentially complicated character"...BUT HE WASN'T. That was precisely the illusion he tried to cultivate, and it worked on everyone, including much of the audience, and me!

This wasn't an "act of arson", like someone throwing a match into a dry forest. I like to think of it more of a naturally-occuring forest fire, such as those caused by lightning. Such fires are crucial to the species that live within them to spur regrowth and reproduciton. In the case of Disco, Lorca had to go so that the rest of the crew could step out of his shadow and shine. And that's exactly what happened; I agree the most enjoyable scenes were those of Saru leading and working with his crew to get home.

Yes, it sucks that Lorca was just a boring, evil MU bastard. But we have to take responsibility for the grayer conclusions we drew from his behavior, just as the crew of Discovery will have to do. This disappointment works on many levels - the writers, our affection for the actor and his talents, and the fictional crew who had let themselves be led by a wolf in "somewha-less wolfish" clothing.

I think I actually would have been MORE disappointed if Lorca had turned out to be some kind of revolutionary antihero who fights against the Terran Empire. For one thing, we already know his rebellion won't last, as ten years later when the Enterprise shows up in the MU the empire is still very much in power. But mostly it just doesn't matter how Lorca met his end; now, an evil bastard through the Charon's moon door, or later, when he and his band of rebels is wiped out.

Because we never actually knew Lorca; only MU Lorca. And for Discovery to live, he had to die.

Here's hoping Prime Lorca shows up at some point.

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philadlj
Thu, Jan 25, 2018, 10:31am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

My rankings (after recently finishing TOS):

Rankings:

1) DS9
2) TNG
3) VOY
4) TOS
5) DSC
6) ENT

Captains:

1) Picard
2) Sisko
3) Kirk
4) Janeway
5) Lorca
6) Archer
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philadlj
Tue, Jan 23, 2018, 8:55am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

I liked this episode, and was on the fence about Lorca until the reveal. I will say that Emperor Georgiou's rotating throne reminded me of The Price is Right. "IT'S A NEW EMPEROR!!!"

The Flagship Charon has what looks like a mini-star as a power source. this is similar to Romulan Warbirds using a miniature quantum singularity. The smallest star we know of in 2018 still has a slightly larger radius than Saturn, so not sure how that works, but it was definitely cool.
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philadlj
Tue, Jan 16, 2018, 10:27am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

It's high time Tilly got a receive a field commission of ensign.
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Philadlj
Mon, Jan 8, 2018, 3:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S3: Requiem for Methuselah

This episode also reminded me of TNG's The Survivors", as Flint has a very Kevin Uxbroge vibe about him, both in his crankiness and his immense power, what with the planet consisting of just his house. Heck, there's even a scene where they dance a waltz! I almost wish Flint had revealed himself to be a Douwd...though he's not immortal and clearly can't perish a civilization with a thought...
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philadlj
Mon, Jan 8, 2018, 9:31am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Despite Yourself

Remembering Tyler drinking what looked like iced coffee (out of a stemless wine glass for some reason) in the mess hall, I suddenly realized...that was a nod to the Raktajino nearly everyone on DS9 got hooked on, right?
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philadlj
Mon, Jan 8, 2018, 9:24am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Despite Yourself

Hmm, pretty solid, bold resumption of the first season last night. We're finally learning more about who Tyler really is, and I appreciate how even L'Rell's Grand Evil Plan(TM) isn't quite going off without a hitch.

Shazad Latif did some nice work here trying and sometimes failing to conceal all of the built-up trauma and confusion stewing within Tyler/Voq.

As Dr. Venkman said, he's "got at least two or three people in there already," and that really comes through in the performance, not to mention the flashes back not necessarily to torture sessions but of a particularly grisly and invasive surgical procedure.

My first reaction to Tyler snapping Dr. Culber's neck, (well, second reaction; first was WTF?!!1) was "well, he's not really dead."

Not only is there likely another Culber in the Mirror U, but I wouldn't rule out Stamets' latent abilities/state of being being used to resurrect the doc. There's too much invested in his character for me accept the shock death.

Finally, I loved how Lorca decided "okay, time to cosplay as our Mirror counterparts"...not to mention how he roughs himself up on a bulkhead (conveniently precluding the need to visit sickbay where poor Dr. Culber could still lying dead where he stood).

I also liked how not only was Tilly not particularly jazzed to play her evil counterpart ("Killy", LOL), she wasn't suddenly *really good* at the act. Put on the spot, she started out a little rough before finding her rhythm. She also seemed genuinely disturbed at the prospect of a murderous version of her out there.

At the same time, we saw that while she was responsible for thousands of deaths and also took out a few Klingons, having to take out a former crewmate in the turbolift (albeit his Mirror version) took a lot out of her in turn.

That wasn't some abstract casualty; she grappled and struggled and twisted the knife, and if she hadn't, it would have been her lying dead in the lift when it reached the bridge. Having to immediately hide her very normal human reaction to having just killed someone was more great work from SMG.

Finally, going in knowing this was a Frakes-directed episode, I loved how swiftly and efficiently things moved, but without wrapping everything up by episode's end.

I'm not opposed to the remainder of the season (or a good chunk of it) being devoted to foiling L'Rell (if her plan ever gets off the ground) and getting back home (preferably with some form of Culber and Stamets still among the crew).

But if it only takes two or three more eps, I won't complain either, as I wouldn't mind the season ending with some kind of resolution to one or more of the arcs rather than another Big Cliffhanger.
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philadlj
Fri, Dec 1, 2017, 10:13am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: New Dimensions

Throughout Ed's crisis of confidence, we kept saying "OMG stop being a whiny little bitch and get over it!"

By the end of the episode, Ed says "I've been a whiny little bitch, but I'm over it."

Good job, Orville!

Also liked the idea that John is actually quite a bright fellow, but CHOOSES not to employ that intelligence in favor of a more comfortable existence.

That being said, glad he got the opportunity to show himself (as well as others) the leadership potential, and look forward to him as the new chief engineer (though I wonder who will replace him at the navigator post? Elevator music guy?)

Kelly came off as a little pushy and meddle-y after looking through John's file and discovering, essentially, his hidden genius, but I actually thought that was appropriate for an XO; as she herself says, it's her job to field the best possible crew for her captain...which segues nicely into her motivation for getting Ed a command - he IS a good captain, it's just that no one, including Ed, was giving him a chance.

Not sure it will happen, but it would be nice to see the "Plant Guy" in action!
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philadlj
Thu, Nov 30, 2017, 9:46am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Firestorm

I know he's working over at DISCO, but this felt like a Joe Menosky story. They could be good, they could be bad...but they were always WEIRD.
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philadlj
Mon, Nov 20, 2017, 11:54am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Firestorm

Another fun episode. 3 stars. I like Alara so I appreciated another episode that developed her character further. Picardo was underutilized, but I'll assume a suppose a cameo is all he was available for/wanted to do, so fine.

Though I'm in the middle of TOS Season 2 parallel to this show (Chekov's wig...WOOF!) I felt compelled to watch one of my favorite TNG episodes: "Remember Me."

While there's definitely a palpably creepy nature to the crew disappearing bit by bit, at the same time I enjoyed seeing and hearing the Enterprise without any crew. It's the same thrill one gets from "Starship Mine" or the beginning of "Brothers" when it's just Data on the bridge.

You really get a feel for how big the Enterprise is once it starts emptying out (even though the universe around it is shrinking).
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philadlj
Tue, Nov 14, 2017, 9:21am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go

A final report on the "Season 1, Chapter One" CBS All Access Experience

We watched all nine episodes on a laptop with Chrome through CBSAA's streaming service, plugged into our TV with an HDMI cord.

Every episode played perfectly from start to finish in HD quality with no audio or visual studder/stagger or any other distortions.

Needless to say, the quality of the streaming, even on my antiquated Toshiba laptop, came as a pleasant surprise.

My only criticism is that I hated how every episode would cut to black without any kind of closing credit(s), going from the black straight to the previews.

Since I don't like watching previews, it was annoying to have to suddenly avert my eyes and stop the player/close the browser.

I'd prefer if they went straight to the credits THEN show a preview for the next episode. Ah well.

One more nitpick: While the spacebar pauses video for both Amazon and Netflix, neither CBS nor FOX's browser streams have that feature; you have to use the mouse to press the pause button. Again, not a huge deal, but annoying all the same.
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