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Wilshire
Fri, Feb 9, 2018, 10:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy

Wow, I'm a bit surprised at the overwhelmingly positive reactions to this episode. Even highly-acclaimed episodes like BoBW or "Pale Moonlight" seemed to have a higher ratio of critical comments.

I consider myself generous when it comes to my overall feelings toward every series; I perhaps tend to like more episodes than most. This one though, just didn't sit well with me.

I get that its supposed to be a comedic episode, but the humor, while mildly clever at times, just felt too juvenile, even for the context. I generally enjoy the character of the Doctor and Picardo definitely brings an infectious spunk to the part, but to have fantasies where women swoon and fight over him--moreover, the same women he has known and worked closest with--made me appreciate his character less.

Some have compared this episode to "Hollow Pursuits", and while it is conceptually similar, I feel the former makes more sense story-wise. Barclay (who is making his first appearance in an episode) is an introverted outcast who uses the holodeck as an escape, a place where he can be someone different. His fantasized superiority over the characters he interacts with stems from the inferiority he feels around them in reality. This is much more sympathetic and relatable than what occurs with the Doctor, who is already well-known and respected among the senior staff and uses his daydreams as a way to reap the benefits of meeting the potential he thinks he can reach. While there is nothing wrong with believing you can be and wanting to be more than you are, there is a better way to go about achieving it than what he does: pouting about not going on an away mission and complaining about how he is underutilized.

The whole idea of the ECH was just too absurd for me to take seriously OR humorously. Not only did it smack of the Doctor becoming the later-season, do-it-all Steve Urkel of the show as some have mentioned, it flies in the face of everything we've learned about command structure in Star Trek. It takes a special kind of experience to be in command and there is always a clear, pre-established succession based on rank on every ship, e.g. Janeway to Chakotay to Tuvok to Paris to Kim. I'm reminded of a scene in DS9 that has Nog talking about commanding the Defiant and O'Brien quipping something along the lines of "if you were in command, there would be no one else left."

Yet, when the idea of the Doctor actually commanding the ship is brought to Janeway and Chakotay, they seem to thoughtfully consider it, even to the point where Janeway is consulting the Starfleet handbook for regulations on the subject. Shouldn't he take some sort of class first, or at least take the same test Troi did in "Thine Own Self"? Actually, he kind if already did something similar in "Latent Image" and it almost caused his program to crash. Seems like he has a ways to go before he earns those holographic pips.

Maybe I'm being too cynical, but this episode just didn't make sense on too many levels and kept it from being entertaining for me.
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Wilshire
Fri, Jan 12, 2018, 10:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Ship in a Bottle

@ Peter G

I admit my analysis of Moriarty's character does stem a bit from speculative musing, but I think the facts do fit, or at the very least, suggest, my 'theory' as you say.

Let me re-emphasize that Moriarty was created to be "an opponent that can defeat Data", not "an opponent who must defeat Data" or "an opponent who wants to defeat Data", so I don't think that defeating Data was ever really his motive.

When Moriarty is first "created", he soon comes to realize he is part of a larger world than 19th Century London, and it is a world he does not fully understand, but he is able to rapidly absorb and analyze it thanks to his programming. However, Moriarty forsees the limit of this understanding as he finds out he is not able to leave the holodeck (Plato's Allegory of the Cave comes to mind). To be an adequate opponent, one must understand the extent of the game. One would be hard-pressed to win a game of chess by only using half of the board.

So you are right that I "surmise he cannot act as an adequate adversary unless he gains his freedom first." (a good way of concisely explaining a point that I didn't clearly make in my original post, by the way). He does eventually relinquish control of the Enterprise, but not to do so would probably be overplaying his hand. The Enterprise is just one ship in a vast universe he still has much to learn about, and many of the people he has come in contact with, while perhaps not as intelligent as he is, know a great deal more about it than him, and thus still have the advantage.

As far as how the "mystery of the Holmes style" comes into play, I'm not sure it's clear how this limits Moriarty, if at all. It may refer primarily to the Holodeck game Data and Geordi began to play before they encountered Moriarty, which of course, Moriarty dismisses in short order.

Moriarty's dialogue with Pulaski included several questions and yes, musings intended to gain more knowledge of the outside world. Granted, there was also tea and crumpets, but this is Moriarty's "good cop" at work.

Again, much of this is extrapolated from what we know of Moriarty's character and isn't explicitly stated as part of his thought process, but overall I think it paints an interesting picture and makes sense, given what we know.
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Wilshire
Sun, Jan 7, 2018, 8:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Ship in a Bottle

@Peter G.

Interestingly enough, the initial parameters of Moriarty's program did not necessitate defeating Data. Geordi's line in "Elementary" was: "create a mystery to confound Data with an opponent who has the ability to defeat him." Then a little later, when the computer asks Geordi to define the parameters of the game: "Create an adversary capable of defeating Data." Both times, the phrasing Geordi uses indicates Moriarty's potential ("who has the ability", "capable of"), but doesn't place limitations on what Moriarty's actual objective will be.

Moriarty claims that he has grown beyond his program's purpose because he no longer wishes to play the part of the villainous professor who matches wits with Sherlock Holmes, but all he has done is step into a bigger holodeck--a bigger story--as it were (which, yes, he literally does this in SIAB, but I'm referring to his interactions in reality with the Enterprise crew).
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Wilshire
Sat, Jan 6, 2018, 10:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Ship in a Bottle

Definitely one of my favorite TNG episodes.

I was always intrigued by Moriarty's claims that his has grown beyond his programming. It makes more sense to me that Moriarty is still “playing the game” he was created for, but on a grander scale with his own objectives. It’s been emphasized in both this episode and "Elementary Dear Data" how important Geordi’s wording of the parameters to his character was in bestowing him with sentience, but there’s another word Geordi uses that is not as well noticed: “opponent.”

Since his creation, Moriarty has been playing the role of opponent, making calculated moves involving both power grabs and appeals to sympathy, as well as anticipating the actions of Picard and crew in order to gain an advantage and eventually “win” his freedom. In “Elementary”, he appears to concede to Picard’s wishes when he agrees to let his hostage go and relinquish control of the holodeck, but this very well could have been a calculated move on his part to gain Picard’s trust. By then, he had probably determined Picard as a man of integrity who would not destroy him the first chance he got, so he figured his wish would either be granted, or he would have another opportunity to further his ends himself if it looked like Picard was not taking action.

Four years later, he is reactivated and immediately inquires about the status of his request. After learning that no gains have been made, he plays the sympathy card by claiming he was aware of the passage of time while in storage, which may be a lie and impossible as Barclay claims, but he takes advantage of Picard and the crew’s clear lack of knowledge and understanding when it comes to his unique existence, forcing them to take his statement at face value.

Once he springs his trap on Picard, Data, and Barclay and “walks out of the holodeck”, he shows he is capable of simply “willing” himself to exist in the real world, which makes him seem more powerful and dangerous in their eyes. However, he soon tempers that view by appealing to Picard’s generosity and to his own feelings of “isolation” and “loneliness”, using statements like “I am a powerless man” and expressing love for another being. Picard still won’t budge from his original stance however, leading Moriarty to make another power play and take control of what is ostensibly the entire ship.

In essence, Moriarty is doing a sort of reverse Good Cop/Bad Cop. He makes aggressive moves to intimidate, then backs off and appears more sympathetic and trustworthy, all to manipulate Picard and the crew to do what he wants. It is a delicate balance that he maintains well. If he appears too aggressive, Picard and crew might decide it’s not a good idea to acquiesce to his requests and instead put all their energy into resisting him; if he appears too sympathetic, they would not be motivated enough to act.

To me, all this reflects the Holmesian villain rather than something new, as he would lead us to believe.
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Wilshire
Fri, Jul 21, 2017, 12:48am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Genesis

As with 'Masks', I am of the minority in that I enjoyed this as well.

Many of the comments point to this episode as an example of 'bad writing', but I think bad writing is when a piece fails to convey what it meant to convey to the audience. For the episode for the most part did what it set out to do using a familiar structure: a 'disease' sweeps through the ship, altering the behavior of the crew (not unlike 'The Naked Now' or even episodes with mind-altering incidents not biologically based, like 'Night Terrors') and the last of the unaffected or not-as-affected members (usually including Data) have to problem-solve to save the ship and undo the 'infection'. I enjoyed the spooky prehistoric jungle-like shift in environment when Picard and Data return and the definite monster-movie vibes (the jump-scare with Spider-Barclay and the chase between Picard and the Worfasaurus).

Again, this isn't 'makes-you-think' Trek; this is 'bizaare-otherworldly-adventure' Trek. Still, I can understand how this can repulse people. The problem with the horror/suspense genre this episode emulates is that a successful piece is based so strongly on invoking those emotions in the audience and is often at odds with other aspects of storytelling that we find compelling, like plausibility or character development. Either the monsters fascinate and frighten you, or they're weird and silly; there really isn't much room in between.

Also, I wouldn't consider Picard 'cowardly' as some previous comments have; if he were a coward, he wouldn't have volunteered to distract Worfasaurus while Data comes up with the antedote. He is certainly more frightened by what is going on, but he still comes through when it's needed.
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Wilshire
Thu, Jul 20, 2017, 10:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Masks

I've always enjoyed this episode on some level. Granted, it falls more into the category of "down the rabbit hole" fantasy than cerebral drama, but for Star Trek, that's ok! It was one of those episodes where I was content with living in the mystery: the purpose of the alien structure, why it transformed the Enterprise, and why its creators would cram its version of the Iliad into it to be forcibly shared with others. I didn't need these answers to enjoy the crew tackling the problem, exploring the nuances and oddities of this ancient culture, and reaching the eventual solution.

Upon later viewings however, it did seem a bit silly that they didn't grasp the sun/moon connection much quicker than they did, even going so far as to propose other ideas (like Worf speculating the moon symbol was an animal's horns). The majority of the senior staff presumably grew up on Earth, so they should have been quite familiar with it.
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Wilshire
Thu, Jul 20, 2017, 7:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Booby Trap

@Axell They might have been too close to the asteroids to safely use the torpedoes. It's been stated at least once in some other episode of the show (can't remember when exactly) that a close-proximity photon torpedo detonation can cause considerable damage to the ship.
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Wilshire
Sun, Mar 12, 2017, 4:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Booby Trap

A lot of people seem to think that Leah's last words to Geordi in this episode was essentially the ship's computer declaring its love for him, but I don't quite see it that way.

Geordi asked the computer to synthesize a personality for Leah based on records of some debates she took part in. The result was that the character ended up a fair approximation to the real Leah, but still had the knowledge and records of the ship's inner workings stored in the ship's computer, which is what Geordi started his investigation with. Thus, Leah was "connected" with the computer's processing capabilities, lending truth to her statement that she could perform the necessary calculations fast enough to get them out of the trap.

When Leah says to Geordi, "everytime to touch the engines, it's me", she's not speaking as the computer, but as Leah, who helped design and build the engines. If the person in Leah's position had been some stodgy old man, their interaction would have been completely different. It becomes more evident when the real Leah shows up in "Galaxy's Child" that there is an attraction between them, but nothing will come of it since she's now married.
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Wilshire
Fri, Mar 3, 2017, 10:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Caretaker

Contrary to many opinions here, I'm actually ok with Janeway's decision to destroy the array.

Tuvok states it would take "several hours" to activate the program to send Voyager home. Voyager would not have lasted that long against the Kazon, especially since Jabin stated he had more ships on the way. If any of those other ships were like the big one they took down, they'd be toast fairly quick. Even with a bunch of the smaller ships, the Kazon had the clear advantage.

As soon as the Kazon showed up, Voyager's chances of using the array to get home were slim to none. So Janeway is left with two options: Retreat and let the Kazon have the array, essentially dooming the Ocampa, or destroy it and maintain the balance of power in that system.

Granted, the episode could have been written differently with the same outcome of Voyager being stranded in the Delta Quadrant, but I don't think Janeway's decision was a poor setup to that, given what both we and the characters knew going in.
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shire
Thu, Dec 18, 2014, 11:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S4: Daedalus

I find it appalling that a man can die and the captain cant give two shits about him.
The captain has been preaching about how import the crew is to him but suddenly its ok to put some random that's been stuck in space for 15 odd years before the rest of the entire crew.
Screw the guy stuck in space, theirs already a **** load more people on the ship that don't want to die for some random person that "might!" be alive... They dont even know what the modifications will do to the ship either.

Yes I realize the captain has a past with them and that should not effect him as the captain of a star ship.

Personally this episode has blown out my judgement of the captain and I think tucker was right in questioning him and they should have left then and there. Worst episode of star trek enterprise so far...
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