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Wed, Oct 28, 2020, 9:15pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

You beam aboard on a job. You meet your colleague, who makes weird comments, talks about your hairstyle, invites you to his quarters where you expect a professional meeting, except when you arrive he’s got a fancy ‘date night” dinner ready and is clearly looking to get lucky. You excuse yourself quickly. You go to the holodeck to do some work and there you stumble across a sweet-n-sexy version of yourself - uttering pleasing come-ons (“Every time you touch the engine, you’re touching me”) that you would never ever be caught dead saying. You put it all together and are disgusted. Who would t be?

Then you give the unprofessional creep a piece of your mind. His response: He blocks your path when you try to walk away, and delivers an angry speech that amounts to, “You bitch, you should be grateful I made the effort. You should be nice to me. I did you a favor, trying to be your friend.” Yeah, that would be a winning speech.

We (audience) know Geordi, so we know he meant well and we tend to sympathize with him. All Brahms knows is that this guy is a persistent creeper. And she is not the forgiving type.

I have no idea why she was suddenly so chummy in the very next scene. It was ridiculous writing - a sudden change of her character that got shoehorned in, to create an unearned happy ending.
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Fri, Oct 23, 2020, 9:13am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S5: The Darkness and the Light

I was annoyed that “Par’mach” made Kira’s pregnancy (and consequent frailty and relationship issues) the focus. So here I have to say I’m glad she got a story that involved suspense, action, and her past.

I don’t actually like the episode. First of all, what a downer: every one of Kira’s old comrades dies before her eyes. Second, I have a personal revulsion for the common Hollywood scenes of frightened women trussed up by villains. Kira’s final minute of badassery (which came out of thin air, comic-book style) didn’t remove the lingering bad taste from the protracted scene that came before it. The threat to cut the baby from her uterus, too - just, ugh. ( Like rape, that’s a specific, very gendered form of violence. Which means this episode actually is like “Par’mach” - by the end, Kira’s pregnant body and its vulnerability are the focus. The writers do love to hammer on that theme.)

Mostly, I just didn’t understand what the episode was trying to say. Kira’s last line, “The light can’t exist without the darkness,” meant what? That Bajor’s freedom was won by justifiable bad acts? That Bajoran children now grow up innocent because people like Kira live with silent guilt over what they did? That yin needs yang?

Does Kira feel guilty about the collateral damage her cell inflicted? It’s hard to tell. She hotly justifies it - “I was a soldier!” - but that’s what anyone would do while being held captive by a serial killer. I don’t think there are any easy conclusions to be reached about whether it’s right/wrong for rebels to kill civilians for a just cause,, but the muddled message here just frustrated me. Kira killed and maimed plenty of innocents, a fact worthy of reflection. Most of those people did not become deranged murderers. The episode shows us only the one guy who did. Why?

Favorite scene: Cadet Nog uses his lobes!
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Wed, Oct 21, 2020, 2:14pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S5: Looking for Par'mach in All the Wrong Places


Thanks for the explanation regarding Worf. I didn’t think of that. I did understand that his sense of honor wasn’t shared by all the members of the High Council, and that his self-taught outsider status made him a purist who held himself to the highest standards (similar to Brienne of Tarth in GOT). I just had never related that to Klingon sexual mores. But it makes perfect t sense.

I am going to disagree with you about pregnancy. Throughout human history - and still today in most of the world - women do not have the luxury of taking to their beds or quitting their usual duties for months at a time, every couple years. Women are the people who do most of the grunt work of subsistence farming, lugging the water and last year’s baby on their backs, scrubbing the wash and cooking the meals, and they keep it up until the baby comes. The human race would not have evolved pregnancy as an incapacitating condition, since this would have been terrible for the species’ survival. The same is true for animals: Zebras and cheetahs can’t lie down and moan just because they’re gestating. They have to run for their lives. Other animals have no chivalry toward their delicate condition.

In the 24th century - when medicine is incredibly advanced and a hypospray is all it takes to cure pain - I don’t buy Kira’s situation. I understand she would avoid military action because she doesn’t want Keiko’s fetus to get phasered - but other than that, there should be much less fuss. I could be charitable, I guess, and assume the Kira actor was having problems with her actual pregnancy and asked to be put out of commission for a while and that the writers saw this as an opportunity to display a different side of her. Still, I can’t help gagging a little. Maybe that’s just me.

(On a personal note: I had to work 36- hour days and an eighty-hour week throughout my first pregnancy, mostly on my feet, despite vomiting literally ten times a day and sometimes needing IV fluids to keep me on my feet at work. I kept this up until the day Ibwas induced. Can’t say I enjoyed it -actually it was miserable and exhausting, especially the last couple weeks - but it was my job and I had no choice and I did it. No one ever suggested it was dangerous or too hard for me or that I should be excused. Guess what my position was? I was a medical resident — in OB-GYN..)

Question for everyone: Pregnant women - doctors, nurses, teachers, and I assume soldiers and plumbers too - don’t typically get excused from work or put on light duty prior to delivery, do they? I’ve never worked anywhere but the medical field so perhaps I’m wrong, but I’ve never heard of this being a thing in the modern age, among any of my working female friends.
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Wed, Oct 21, 2020, 1:21pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S3: The House of Quark

A funny episode, with good Quark material.

Given all the sexism discussion above, I’ll weigh in with my own opinion.

ST made a questionable decision to cast females as submissive sidekicks in many races (Klingon, Ferengi, the “Suddenly Human” race), whereas it depicts males in that role never - except “Angel One,”
where male submission was the focus of horror and disgust from not only the characters but the viewers. Perhaps just as bad, ST depicts many women in traditional roles that it refuses to show men in: the self-sacrificing spouse of a Great Person ; the prostitute;; the d’abo girl/dancer, the caring counselor, the parent cradling an infant. So it was refreshing to see a Klingon woman acting, well, very Klingon, and very much her own person. It’s a bit of a salve for the crude use of Klingon women elsewhere, as fodder for bro jokes among male characters.

Regarding Elliot’s comments: I didn’t see any sexism in Miles’ attempts to make his wife happier. I though career-man Julian came off especially well, when he recognized that Keiko had a scientist’s passion just like his own, and matter-of-factly pointed this out.

The final decision of what to do with Mollie did grate. The problem is not that she ended up going with her mother, but that Miles had unilaterally decided to ship her off with Keiko *before asking Keiko.*. Why didn’t the writers see fit to have him say, “She could stay with me or go with you. She could even go back and forth every month or so, depending on your duties and mine. We can make it work.” (I mean, surely there are some people on the station happy to help out or make extra money. Garak in particular strikes me as a fun ‘uncle’ for Mollie. And am I the only one who thinks a botany expedition would be a much trickier place to be raising a child than a space station? She’s going to be literally bushwhacking in the wilderness with a small group of busy scientists on the move and exposed to the elements. Will she lug Mollie on her back?)

Bottom line: No woman would ever dream of informing her husband, “Here - I’ve unilaterally decided you should take care of the baby around the clock for the next six months. I’ll be far away, not helping at all.” When Keiko tells Miles “I couldn’t leave you and Mollie”, the implication is that she couldn’t put all the work of baby-care on Miles. The fact that Miles has no such qualms and doesn’t seem to know how much work a baby is, is crazy. That he presents his plan as not just the obvious (and only) solution, but also as an unmitigated good that isn’t selfish and won’t burden her at all, is jaw-dropping.

(If the show were different and darker, I would suspect Miles was trying to punish and sabotage her. “You’re not happy being a military wife and mother? Fine: see how you like balancing work and motherhood put in the wilds with no Miles O’Brien around. In six months, you’ll come back begging to be a stay-at-home wife.”)
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Wed, Oct 21, 2020, 10:37am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S5: Looking for Par'mach in All the Wrong Places

I’m so glad I rewatched this one. I agree with Jammer for the most part. Quark was funny and refreshing. He had a chance to be sincere and sympathetic (and brave - he could have bailed on Grilka as soon as his life was threatened), as he had been in “House of Quark.” Good character work, and lots of laughs.

I thought Worf’s motivation for helping Quark was more than just a straightforward effort to prove he had the right stuff to win a Klingon woman. There was an element of masochism in it. Worf, the most honorable of men, lives with the shame of public disgrace, and as apparently feels it is his Klingon place to submit to this and even wallow in it (we’ve seen him insulted by Klingons in a number of scenes; he never defends himself). To help a (to him) worthless and craven Ferengi win the heart of a noblewoman he desires is an extension of his chronic self-flagellation. He’s intent on embracing his sorry lot, and believing himself the most disgraced of all disgraced Klingons in the history of Q’onos.

I liked Dax’s pointed comments to Worf, but I got whiplash from Worf’s sudden about-face. One moment he was wracked with pain as Quark walkEd away with Grilka,; the next he was helplessly responding to Dax’s charms. The scene did imply pretty heavily that Worf’s response to Dax was instinctive and sexual, which (among humans at least) is very different from being in love. I was expecting an awkward morning-after scene (as I think Worf had with Kaylahr) and was relieved that they were still together and still on speaking terms when they arrived in Sick Bay.

This is where I’m going to be a spoilsport and count up the number of retcons we’ve seen to Klingon mating and marriage rules. In TNG season one, we saw a fantasy Klingon woman appear in the bridge on all fours (wearing a fetish outfit as I remember), savage and submissive and snarling like a cat. In “Emissary,” it was implied that after a male and female have sex, tradition demands that they “take the oath” - apparently indicating commitment so intense that Keylahr wanted more part of. In “House of Quark,” we learned that Klingon marriage and divorce can be accomplished at the drop of a hat. All of which leaves me puzzled at the end of this episode. Did Quark win himself a wife or a one-night stand? Will Worf insist Dax take the oath? Well, I won’t think too hard or complain too much. It was a great comedy with warm characterizations, from a series that rarely gets comedy right.

The B story is more problematic. Here’s what’s good: I like that Keiko, a 24th-century spouse, has apparently evolved beyond jealousy and suspicion. (Roddenberry would be proud.). I like Miles and Kira developing feelings for each other in a believable, mildly funny way. And I was relieved that the ending didn’t descend into soapy adultery and marital drama.

Now here’s the bad: Doctor Bashir made prurient bro-talk with Miles about a woman who is, among other things, his own patient. I cringed when Miles gave Kira an all-over massage (yes, I know this is more evidence of 24th century liberation so I should like it for that, but I have 21st-century eyes..).

But what bothers me most is the overarching plot of Kira handicapped by pregnancy and unable to travel, function normally, or even live in her own quarters. Maybe I missed something - maybe this is at some point explained as ‘Kira being extra sick and fragile because her fetus is an alien’, and maybe I would mind it less if this point were given more attention. But what comes across is that a formerly tough-minded female character has been reduced to a state of aches and pains and dependency by the vagaries of her female body. If a tough male character were watered down like this, made needy and unfit for duty, I might use the word “neutered” to describe what the show has done to him. Interestingly, since Kira is female, the word doesn’t apply, I would say instead that she has been “feminized” - and while this shouldn’t be an insult, it is one, precisely because the Hollywood trope makes it one. To be feminized is to be made passive, sexual, demoted to the background, and given lightweight relationship stories rather than important action. I miss the old Kira. I hope she has the damn baby soon.

Final note: Thanks to a comment above, I’ve just realized that the Grilka actor is the same woman who played the replacement Na’Toth on Babylon 5. Strange: she was strong and noble as Grilka, but weak as Na’Toth and seemed unable to match the fierce Narn presence of the previous actor. Am I alone in thinking that?
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Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 11:27am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S7: Eye of the Beholder

What’s not to love?

It’s darker than the usual TNG. There’s conflict. There’s an interesting eleventh-hour development between two main characters, which manages to be surprising yet oddly familiar, and not forced. There’s Troi Drama which, for some reason, stirs me to empathy rather than irritation.

Best of all, it’s entirely fresh. No ship-in-jeopardy, no negotiations with aliens, no guest-character-wreaks-havoc. I love TNG, but after seeing it reruns for a hundred years, I crave the episodes that are inventive and singular.
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Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 10:25am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S7: Masks

This episode should be shown to students as an example of how boring it is when a plot is advanced largely through expository dialogue.

Eighty percent of “Masks” is the following cycle, endlessly repeated:

1. Something odd happens.
2. Picard explains to the audience, “Maybe this reflects mythological blah blah other cultures blah blah archeological yada yada.”
3. Another character points something out.
4. Picard explains that, too.

I actually like the weird episodes. (In spite of my critical comment about “Sub Rosa,” I can have fun watching it.). So I’m pretty sure I could have liked an ancient-myth story or a Data-gets-possessed story or an Enterprise-is-hijacked-by-an-alien-culture story - even though I seem to remember all of those being done and done and redone before.

But I don’t like dullness. The writers’ meeting for this one must have been: “Let’s do a Picard episode. He's into anthropology, right? So that’s our plot: some anthropology thingy happens on board and Picard figures it out. Slowly.”
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Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 8:46am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S7: Sub Rosa

There is a worthy theme buried in this episode somewhere. It was touched on in “Hollow Pursuits” and (very shallowly) in “The Bonding”: Isn’t there a universal human tendency to prefer a beautiful fantasy over mundane and often harsh reality? Isn’t it common - especially in romantic relationships - that we delude ourselves and reject the rational evaluation that would derail our bliss? Would Beverly have been happier living as her grandmother apparently did for decades, in the arms of a faithful demon lover? Is there anything wrong with that? Was Picard in the wrong (and perhaps driven by impure motives) when he smashed her illusions?

A well-developed Crusher would have been an interesting vehicle to carry these themes. She is - theoretically - a top-notch scientific mind who should easily see through Ronan’s thin disguise., as well as a human being who loved and lost her spouse and her only child. The conflict between intellect and emotion, cold reality and warm fantasy, could have been terrific.

But TNG has never developed Dr. Crusher the scientist. It has always played up Beverly as mother, caregiver, romance-seeker, worrier and creature of emotion. In this episode she is no different. She abandons reason without a moment’s hesitation - and were any of us surprised when she did? The trite work of rescuing the besotted, irrational damsel in distress falls to Picard. This same besotted-victim-of-love role was played by Troi in a previous episode. She too was rescued through no art or smarts of her own.

The episode ends without poignancy. Beverly is not humiliated by her folly, does not become harder or sadder or more risk-averse. And not for one moment (not even in the final moment when she notes that Ronan gave her grandmother lifelong joy) does she seem to mourn her lost sojourn in a country of passion and bliss, and her lost chance at lifelong love.

Side note: The episode right after this one is “Lower Decks,” which begins with this exchange in Sick Bay.

Ogawa: “My boyfriend seems wonderful... but you know how people in relationships sometimes fail to see things clearly?”
Crusher, puzzled: “No, Alyssa - what do you mean?”
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Thu, Nov 14, 2019, 9:11am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Timeless

Kim, bitterly describing his homecoming: “Admiral McIntyre even wanted me to marry his daughter.” What a stupid anachronism. Since our gloomy, guilt-wracked and obsessed Kim was probably not much fun, the implication is that a 24th century leader has the same worldview - ‘gotta get my girl married off to the nearest bachelor!’ - as Elizabeth Bennet’s mother.

Equally annoying was the Tessa character, a much-younger woman who followed Chakotay into his obsession and his life of crime.... with the knowledge that altering the timeline would erase her lover from her life, and might erase her existence entirely. Such self-abnegation - why? What were the writers thinking - “Chakotay needs a random romance”? The role of “outsider that provides the main characters with a reason to give exposition” should have gone to a mercenary or hired engineer or pretty much anyone but the character they created.

Good episode marred by the usual bafflingly thoughtless script choices.
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Sun, Sep 10, 2017, 9:32pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S4: Half a Life

Thanks, Doug, for the Lwaxana comment. I agree this episode is a high point for her and she deserves credit. The bird-hairdo speech
to Timicin is a favorite of mine.
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Fri, Sep 1, 2017, 10:04am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: BSG S2: Pegasus

@ Jason r,

Fair enough,

but your statement that I "understand sex drive as a woman does but not as a man does" is entirely predicated on your unproven articles of faith that *your* personal sex drive is the same as all men's, and that *mine* (and all women's) is a whole different kettle of fish.

Unless you're a reincarnated human who has lived enough past lives in enough bodies of both genders to possess a suitable N for comparison), your claim is tantamount to saying, "how a rose smells to you is not how a rose smells to me - and how it smells to me is how it smells to all men." You've got exactly one nose. Don't be so presumptuous as imagine you've got mine and 7 billion other people's all figured out. ;)
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Fri, Sep 1, 2017, 8:26am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: BSG S2: Pegasus

@Peter G,

I agree with your whole first paragraph. I don't think we are arguing here. My original comment about rape by Allied soldiers speaks to this point. And as someone else said above, it doesn't take the extreme of war to create rapists.

I don't agree with you about the supposed dangers of saying "rape is a crime of power". As for (a), I know of no one who denies that powerful mates can be sexy or that power games in the bedroom can be sexy... And if someone out there does deny the sexiness of power, their opinion is not dangerous. As for your point (b), I return you to your first paragraph. The statement that "rape is about power" does not carry the implication that "only deviants rape"; in fact quite the opposite. Seeking power is normal; - and seeking sex is normal - hence juries can now accept that even the respectable neighbor or attractive celebrity may indeed be guilty of the crime he is accused of, and parents/educators can work on better socializing people to recognize and turn away from the temptation to victimize others.

I think our debate centers on the vagueness of the statement "rape is about power" .

While I can imagine a few scenarios where power has nothing to do with rape (a bleary drunk sees a passed-out drunk and decides to use his anus because "Hey, free sex!" perhaps?) the vast majority of rapes have power as either an augmenting thrill to the primary drive for sex, or power as the primary motivator. (A "pure" example would be rape of prisoners during interrogation or fraternity pledges during initiation, but more commonly any rape by a man who feels inadequate, enraged, vengeful, is driven to punish or belittle or prove his machismo or show off to his friends.).

As to the preceding commenter: I am an alcoholic and have known many alcoholics; none of whom would rob a liquor store. when obtaining cheap liquor is well within our abilities. (Alcohol, unlike sex, doesn't ever provide a better buzz when taken by force, nor are alcoholics ever angry at liquor stores, nor do we enhance our self-regard/ social status by overpowering liquor stores.). And if you think females just "can't understand" what it feels like to want sex (or to want power), I'm slightly mystified but am gonna assume you were raised in Victorian England.

In the end, all who want to are welcome to argue that the current framing of rape is wrong, bad, or dangerous. I disagree. And with that, boys, I think I've exhausted the topic.
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Thu, Aug 31, 2017, 8:02pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: BSG S2: Pegasus

Ah well, you just lost me there.

The original nonsense was: "Rape is committed by desperate men driven by biological necessity, due to being denied other sexual outlets." It gave rise to the corollaries, "Rapists can't help themselves" and "If you're accusing a respectable man of rape, he's innocent and you're a vindictive lying bitch" and "Women, you better put out because your man will burst - or cheat - or rape - if you ever deny him his demands" and "Date rape isn't rape - the boy just couldn't stop his natural urges."

If you can't see how far these myths fall from reality, and how harmful they are to the cause of justice, I just can't help you. The current somewhat overstated homily about power is not perfect but it does not interfere with justice. It makes a good though blunt primer to understanding rape, just as "an atom looks like a ball with electrons whizzing around it " makes a good though blunt primer to eighth grade chemistry.

Fact: every rapist has the opportunity for nonviolent sexual outlets - be it with a prostitute, a woman in a pickup joint, or a pinup calendar and his own right hand. But all rapists choose coerced or violent sex with an unwilling partner, rather than pursuing any of the many harmless routes to orgasm that won't victimize another human and won't risk landing them in prison. Care to guess why?
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Thu, Aug 31, 2017, 6:43pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: BSG S2: Pegasus

@ Jason R,

Side note about "rape isn't about sex, it's about power."

Originally the canard was that rape was only committed by men who 'needed' sex desperately and couldn't get it - ugly losers, prowling lunatics, shipwrecked sailors. On the other hand, married men, respectable men, rich men, handsome men and powerful men were considered (in courts of law and of public opinion) obviously innocent, and their accusers were dismissed as lying or crazy. "Of course Susan is making it all up. Just look how attractive her boss is. Why would he have to rape anyone?"

Victims and their advocates fought long and hard to overcome this hurdle. "It's all about power" does overstate the matter, but its origins were noble. And it got society and the justice system a big step closer to understanding rape than the nonsense that came before it.
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Thu, Aug 31, 2017, 9:15am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part II

Re TNG's acting:

Some of Crosby's stuff was squirm-worthy: ("This so-called Court should go down on its knees!" comes to mind.). But she was actually pretty awesome in "Skin of Evil" when bantering with Worf, and carried "Yesterday's Enterprise" respectably. So I see growth.

Troi was similar: static and one-note in the uber-Troi episodes, she shone when allowed to break out of her character's emoto-chick fetters. ( See "Face of the Enemy")

Of the TNG crew, I'd pick Geordi and Crusher as the worst. I can't think of any episode where they conveyed their characters in a moving or surprising way. They were simply flat, like generic placeholders for "Doctor/mom" and "the engineer". Crusher brought the same hyperventilating worried-mother routine to all her scenes, whether shrilling about some Wesley danger in season one, or some medical/ethical danger later on. And Geordi just plugged away at the two shticks he was ordered to display: smart engineer-guy and dorky smitten schoolboy.

I'd say Crosby improved even in the brief airtime she was given, whereas Gates and Burton were as stilted and boring in the last episode as in the first. Whether that's due to their acting limitations or to the bland material they were given, I can't decide.
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Wed, Aug 30, 2017, 6:51pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: BSG S2: Pegasus

@Jason R:

Regarding your segue from rape to Nazis and those who abetted them:

The Allied forces did plenty of raping in Germany. In many cases this was winked at by American commanding officers. Commanding men considered rape to be an a-ok reward and stress relief that was owed to our 'Greatest Generation'. While the official policy was "no fraternization with local females", the unofficial motto was "copulation without conversation is not fraternization" - in other words, 'have at it men: rape at will." Very few men were punished. German girls and women were not infrequently found dead in British and American barracks, having presumably been gang raped and then murdered by war heroes of our Greatest Generation... who then came home to their adoring wives and girlfriends.

The Russians were infamous for gang-raping every civilian female they could grab. I met an elderly German-born immigrant who remembered the last months of WW2: "We all fled the Russians, everyone tried to escape them because we knew they always raped all the girls."

My point: don't pin wartime rape on Nazis and other baddies alone. While that position may be morally comfortable, it is not historically accurate. What historic facts say about the men around you, and what they (or any of us) are capable of (or even eager for) when social restraints are released, is a bit chilling.
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Fri, Aug 18, 2017, 5:38pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S7: Prodigal Daughter

Ezri felt protective of her brother. When it turned out he was a vicious murderee, she did what any devoted adolescent sister might do: she told herself, "it's not my poor sensitive brother's fault! It's all my mom's fault!"

I was never an Ezri fan (didn't hate her, just couldn't adjust to her childlike insecurity and anxious tics and newness). This episode made me actively dislike her.

I'm not a trained counselor, but I have a tip for Ezri: The guy who beat the woman to a bloody pulp, the guy you call brother - the villain. He took a life in brutal fashion. He did it of his own free will. He did it because he wanted to impress someone. Your brother is a vicious killer. Being a vicious killer is quite a bit worse than being a driven businesswoman.

I maybe could handle a childish Ezri in this episode, in her childhood home - if I had formerly seen a mature and interesting Ezri on the station. But on the station she had already been shown as childlike and insecure, Doubling down on her little-girl persona didn't improve the character.

Not to mention: the "female ship's counselor is revealed to have issues with her strong willed mommy" was already done to death on ST.
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Sat, Aug 5, 2017, 8:51pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

Well, I love it - but I have always been surprised, actually, that it is so widely adored. It is a sentimental love story rather than the usual sci-fi adventure that I assume most ST fans tune in for.

I think it's loved mostly because Picard is loved by fans. PS made him a strong and believable - and lonely - character. It's a well-crafted episode and the emotional notes are really beautifully sold by the actors - but really, it's my longstanding affection for Picard that makes me tear up over first his love, and then his loss, of home and family.

I think that the same episode transposed into one of the other ST series, featuring Sisko or Janeway for example, would not have been such a hit with fans.

No mockery here.
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Mon, Jul 24, 2017, 10:01pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S1: We'll Always Have Paris

I liked the suspense of the set-up: the Enterprise rocked by strange phenomena caused by a brilliant and reclusive scientist who is learning to mangle time.

The follow-through was weaker than the initial promise, but The A-story was still good enough to hold my interest - and was far.better than most season one plots.

As for the romance stuff: did anyone else find Beverly's yearning and jealousy a bit out of left field? "How can I compete with a ghost?" she says. We've been told she has a strained past with Picard ("Farpoint") and flirts with him while under the influence ("Naked Now"), but I never got any sense in earlier that she was lovelorn and trying to catch his eye.

I also found it surprising that she openly admitted her sense of "competing" to Troi . Competing for the sexual attentions of the ship captain - whether with ghosts of mortals - is unprofessional and disruptive. Shouldn't Crusher have been embarrassed and discomfited when Troi confronted her? And shouldn't Troi have firmly told her that ahe shouldn't be chasing after her commanding officer?
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Tue, Jul 18, 2017, 5:20pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S1: Symbiosis

So: The Ornorans loaded their wobbly freighter with goods to barter for the drug, and flew to Brekka . There, Brekkans loaded the drug onto the freighter but somehow forgot to offload the Ornaran goods. Then the Brekkans climbed aboard the deathtrap ship themselves for a ride to Ornora. We're not given even a throwaway line to explain any of this.

I remain confused also by how the two cultures are portrayed. The Ornorans have spacefaring technology but are dumb as Pacleds about maintaining their ships. They also wear clothes that look rustic and threadbare. What's the message: Are they stupid? Drugged to the point of incompetence? Impoverished by the predatory Brekkans? None of these options make a lot of sense. Meanwhile the Brekkans are wearing the latest in metallic fashions - presumably manufactured in Ornoran factories. And for all their apparent riches and leisure time, they've been content to remain technologically behind the Ornorans they look down on - and are okay with completely dependent on them and their crumbling ships?

I am going to stop thinking too much - and just get back to enjoying the bizarre face of Electric Riker. I could look at that all day.
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Tue, Jul 18, 2017, 3:10pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S6: The Sound of Her Voice

Thanks for an interesting viewpoint. It caught my interest. But on second thought, I don't understand your ideas about feminism etc.

You are cobbling together a lot of different things. Lemme separate them out for you.

"Feminism" is an ideology. In the west it has existed since maybe the late 18thC. It has been almost entirely driven by women themselves, calling for redress of sex-based injustices. It has nothing to do with consumerism... though companies certainly hitched themselves to it for profit (Virginia Slims cigarettes, for example).

Women's suffrage is the pursuit of voting rights for women. This datas to 1900-1920. Again the marches, demands, etc, were nearly all female-driven. Even when women got the vote in England and the US they largely did not have money to burn. (The rich women did - but the vote didn't create that: they already had money and sometimes the freedom to spend it. And after suffrage, working-class women continued to work, as they always had/have - but they were unlikely to buy much beyond the essentials.). So the suffrage movement didn't do anything to benefit salespeople.

You cite the 1950s: as a time of no daycare workers. The 50s did offer other crap jobs to women though: nurse, secretary, teacher. (This was well after women got the vote, so please don't mix up the 50s with suffrage!).

Ads pitched to middle class women were out in force in the 50s and 60s, in magazines and on the new medium of TV. They were ads for cleaning products and glamor/beauty products, and enforced the UN-feminist status quo: "Clean your husband's shirts as well as your pretty neighbor does, so your husband won't wander!" Or, "Wear this face cream and look like Jackie!". Consumerism, yes...feminism, no.

As for the 70s and the opening of work opportunities to half the population: errr yes, I suppose day care jobs were created , Daycare work is all low-paid, and not a great source of taxes! Nor are daycare workers likely to buy much luxury stuff as they scrape by on min wage.

And again, the push for work opportunities was largely driven by women themselves. TV shows and ads lagged behind the demands of feminists, upholding the status quo before wising up and smelling a new opportunity to market themselves to women of the new era. It was and is feminists who protested - still today - at the retro portrayals of themselves in ads and print media. The ads still said "Buy Mr Clean and have a perfect home!" while feminists were saying "Screw that."

Basically, anyone with means (or married to someone of means) is targeted by those with something to sell. It has always been that way. All that's changed is the products pitched to both sexes and the way those products are presented.

So I am puzzled - but interested - by your assessment .
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Sun, Jul 16, 2017, 7:50pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

I am introducing my daughter to TNG.. (She is 12 and not an especially discerning viewer, so she is loving the first season. I tell her it gets even better.)

We just reached "Skin of Evil." I am charmed by a scene I had forgotten: the opener with Yar and Worf discussing her upcoming martial arts competition. Worf expresses respect to her fighting skills, quietly telling her she is favored in the ship's pool. Yar is surprised and pleased - almost girlishly - with his laconic Klingon compliment. She beams at him, and you can kind of see in her the slightly insecure young woman who few up unloved in a brutal colony - a woman who later sought out Data for "tenderness and joy", and who despite her outward toughness is socially uncertain and a bit of an outsider (rather like Worf).

It's a spark of chemistry that Season One generally lacked - and does much to counteract the crying and the sexed-up silliness of Yar's earlier outings. I wish the Worf/Yar friendship could have been developed better - maybe over another season or two. Seems like a wasted opportunity.

Also, when a dead Yar is beamed back to the ship, there's a shot of Worf on the bridge, stoically trying not to show his feelings. That's a nice touch.

Since this is her death episode, I am going to say it: Crosby's face is stunning and she has great hair.
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Sun, Jul 2, 2017, 5:54pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S1: Hide and Q

What a stinker.

The worst aspect is the hideousness of the first half hour: ugly green sky, ugly tricolor costumes, ugly Vicious Animal Things, ugly Q get-ups, and may I add that Worf looks stupid running in that sash. The visual impact made me physically nauseous.

The brief Riker-Picard conversations after R gets his power are desperately underdeveloped: "You must not use your power!" "Okay, I promise!"

Typical for early TNG, the three females embarrass themselves. Crusher reprises her shrill, unprofessional panicked-mother act (perfected in "Justice"); Yar first sobs and then drunkenly gasps, "If you weren't the captain" (reprising "Naked Now"). And the leather-clad Klingon female is some kind of Vicious Animal Thing herself, lacking the power of speech and crawling on hands and knees toward her master. (I'm glad Klingon courtship was later retconned in the Wesley's-crush episode.)

The rejection of gifts leading to a "Riker Learns His Lesson" ending would suit an after-school special.

One star - and that's only because it was great to see Geordi's pretty eyes and his moment of wonder. Keep the gift, Geordi, for the love of God. I'm sick of that dumb visor.
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Sat, Jul 1, 2017, 6:52pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S7: Preemptive Strike

When I first saw the episode, I understood Ro so well - could put myself in her place - and to me it was very clear that the Ro I knew would have to betray Starfleet because she could not bring herself to betray the Maquis.

But I was anxious,, because I was afraid the writers wouldn't be true to the character as I understood her: that they would twist her around and make her be a good loyal Starfleet officer who agrees with Picard in the end.

So I was delighted by the ending because it seemed so right, so totally Ro...and I hadn't really expected the show to let the character go there.
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Thu, Jun 29, 2017, 6:31am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S7: Preemptive Strike

IRo had divided loyalties. The situation required her to betray either the Maquis or Starfleet. She had been portrayed previously as a person who tried hard to do the right thing: for example, at her court martial she didn't defend herself, and when sprung from prison in her intro episode, she didn't blindly do the admiral's bidding in exchange for her get-out-of-jail-free card.

She had sworn loyalty to Starfleet; and she is the kind of person who would take that seriously - more so I think than Tom Riker and Eddington. Even more than that, she took her promises to Picard seriously. How could she betray this man, of all men?

But the Maquis's hardscrabble struggle was similar to the Bajoran's struggle. She watched her father get tortured to death; then she was in a refugee camp like the one seen in "Ensign Ro" - but she didn't stay and fight for her people or her father's memory. She made her way to Starfleet academy where everything was shiny and the replicators gave you any food you dreamed of and you never had to be cold or hungry. She rejected her fellow Bajorans and their miserable lot, but she always felt guilty about it. That's why she was ethically torn in "Ensign Ro" and that's why she is torn here. (The Maguis are not the Bajorans, but their cause and their enemy are the same, and they live the same lifestyle that the Bajoran resistance did.)

In "Ensign Ro", all ended well because the anti-Bajoran mission that Admiral Kennelly sent her on, was illegal; the Bajorans had NOT attacked the Feseration outpost, and with Picard's help she was able to be both a good Starfleet officer and a good Bajoran. In "Preemptive Strike," she has to pick a side.

Someone above commented that her choice seemed like cowardice. I think to her, returning to Starfleet would have been cowardice. A cushy life on a fancy starship, obeying rules, "passing" as a member of the dominant mainstream class with its powerful uniform and all its easy privileges, concerning herself with her next performance review or what drink to order in Ten Forward? That's what she chose when she fled the refugee camp for Starfleet Academy. She abandoned her people once. She's justified it painfully but never forgiven herself for it. She won't do it again, to the Maquis - because that would prove all the worst things she suspects about herself: that at heart she's a weak and treacherous person who sells out her own kind.

("Ensign Ro" explains her reasons for leaving the refugee camp. She was ashamed of the degraded poverty and misery of her fellow Bakorans, just like she was ashamed of her father's weakness under torture. Picard says "I can't believe these people have to live like this" and Ro snaps "I couldn't. And I wouldn't! That's why I got out." But secretly she was really also ashamed of herself, because she'd achieved the good life by rejecting her people. So she flaunted her Bajoran earring and her last-name-first tradition, playing the 'proud indigenous Bajoran who rejects your Starfleet ways'....all ito cover up her secret sense that she's actually a pretty craven traitor of a Bajoran. Basically, Worf's conflict but with more angst and higher stakes.)

The Picard/Ro bar scene was amazing. The "Goodbye, Will" moment was amazing - credit to Frakes for the regret and respect he projects (showing the depth of their relationship, both personal and professional.). And the final Picard moment was amazing.
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