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wolfstar
Fri, Jun 12, 2020, 3:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

Yeah, Elliott has not espoused literal communism here, and "socialist" is a very open term that can include things like social democracy. It's not useful to pigeon-hole someone or assume a specific set of motives because they described themselves using this general term on a totally different comment thread. As to "if not, then the 9 years is irrelevant" - that depends how worthwhile or incisive we consider offence archaeology to be. I think most of us had opinions in the past that we might now either disavow or express in a milder or more balanced form today.

I think a lot of people's feelings are heightened at the moment (mine certainly are) and it's almost like people are keen to form themselves into tribes and assume the worst of those they see as being on the opposing side. I think this whole issue was dredged up unnecessarily, but as Peter G outlines, I can understand how Michael and Rahul found Elliott's old post provocative, particularly if they've had previous experience regarding inflationary "Thing X is racist" discourse (as Peter touches on with the Pocahontas example). I don't think Elliott either now or then was trying to deliberately push people's buttons on this thread or being disingenious, but just expressing his own perspective, and I think Michael misinterpreted the place his views were coming from. I'd decided I was going to ignore the whole debate and just scroll past it in the comments stream until petrol was poured on the flames and I didn't want those kind of below-the-belt comments being made to Rahul without anyone drawing a line, which is why I briefly stepped in. I apologise if my responding to Booming's comment made things worse. I think most of us agree this is a great episode.

Somewhere in the midst of this there's probably a whole debate to be had on how modern Trek (presumably as part of a diverse casting approach) handles Earth ethnicities in relation to alien species, especially since Picard gave us white, black, Asian and Irish(!) Romulans...
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wolfstar
Thu, Jun 11, 2020, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

Elliott is right, but for the record, when I said "Why does every major argument on this site in the past year or two always involve the same person?", I didn't mean him.

As to the discussion, I don't think casting black actresses as future Jake's wife and Tuvok's wife is offensive or racist. Neither were ever paired exclusively with black characters - Jake dated a white Bajoran dabo girl in season 2/3 then is shown as married to a mixed-race Bajoran woman in The Visitor. I don't read anything into either of those things. And as Elliott also points out, Tuvok was later paired with Lori Petty in one episode.
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wolfstar
Thu, Jun 11, 2020, 1:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

I agree with Rahul. And I think Booming's reply to him is abhorrent. Telling someone (who clearly isn't white) that they've "probably never [been] discriminated [against] apart from women not wanting him" - give it a break, dude. Lass es doch. Why does every major argument on this site in the past year or two always involve the same person?
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wolfstar
Tue, Jun 2, 2020, 4:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S1: Ex Post Facto

Really agree with Andersonh1, always felt this one was unfairly maligned. The kitschy things like the dog and the vampy woman are part of the package, and it works and is fun.
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wolfstar
Sun, May 31, 2020, 11:24am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Year of Hell, Part II

https://trekmovie.com/2020/05/29/bryan-fuller-describes-star-trek-voyager-serialized-year-of-hell-season-rejected-by-rick-berman/
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wolfstar
Sat, May 30, 2020, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Similitude

Nailed it.
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wolfstar
Sat, May 16, 2020, 6:46am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

They can launch as many new series as they want, the writing won't improve if they're all written by the same people. This sounded promising at first, but the pilot is written by Akiva Goldsman based on a story by Akiva Goldsman, Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet (I didn't recognise the last name, but she wrote that dreadful Short Trek where Tilly meets the magical space queen). They all have a terrible track record. It's not about whether they are or aren't good at writing Star Trek or whether or not they get Star Trek - they are bad at writing drama.

TNG was awful for the first 2 seasons and only became a beloved high-quality show and pop-cultural behemoth because it was totally overhauled by Michael Piller and the writers he hired. (This in turn is the only reason we ever got DS9 and VOY.) Current Star Trek needs a similar complete overhaul of this kind, because it's jut not working, it's as bad as or worse than those first two TNG seasons. Instead, they keep launching new shows. Imagine if at the end of season 2 of TNG, instead of doing that overhaul that gave us season 3 and everything that followed, they'd instead launched various spinoffs and side series with the same level of quality as S1-2 TNG, in the hope that one of them would take off. That's what's happening with Trek at the moment.

Fix the writing first. It's the foundation on which everything else rests.
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wolfstar
Fri, May 1, 2020, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Renaissance Man

I go back on my above comment from 2017 - I was right the first time, this is a clever, funny and engaging episode.
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wolfstar
Fri, May 1, 2020, 6:40am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Re: The Mandalorian - I thought it was good, but it should have been a 6-episode season... the quality took an unexpected heavy dip with the filler episodes in the middle of the season. (And when your season is only 8 episodes, you really shouldn't need filler.) Only the excellent final two episodes saved the show really, because the goodwill, trust and consistency built up in the first three episodes was pretty much squandered by the next three. I'm not as hard on episode 4 as some people are - yes, it was cliched and sentimental, and felt like an old Xena or Stargate episode, but it was still fun, warm and likable. However, episode 5 and in particular the near-unwatchable episode 6 were absolutely wretched. Because of this, it took me until the finale to really care about the show and its characters. If the season had just been 1-2-3-4-7-8 I'd easily be giving it an A- grade. As it is, I'd have to give the season a B grade overall. I am very much looking forward to season 2 though.
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wolfstar
Wed, Apr 22, 2020, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Coda

Really enjoying your reviews, Andersonh1 - glad you picked up Voyager again!
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wolfstar
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 3:29am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

What would I consider "essential" sci-fi TV? Black Mirror series 1-3, and The OA.
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wolfstar
Tue, Apr 7, 2020, 3:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Inside Man

Everything about this episode is very stupid. I agree with William B's review. One of Voyager's bottom 10. The only good thing is Dwight Schultz's dual performance, and the fact Commander Harkins's character has been softened silghtly since Pathfinder. He's fair and understanding with Barclay here, yet still firm.

The early-TNG-style Ferengi are nails on a chalkboard. Harry is out of character - maybe he was this credulous in S1, but not since. Tom and B'Elanna's mean teasing of him is also out of character. Admiral Paris and Troi are wasted. The score is really annoying - the episode seems to think it's much funnier than it is, and many scenes are scored cloyingly whimsically despite the fact that nothing funny or interesting is happening. (It's the worst Voyager score since the awful fake-Irish whimsy overkill of Fair Haven/Spirit Folk.) The beach scene is incredibly stilted, so singularly bizarre that it reminded me of the Crusher/Troi aerobics scene in TNG's The Price - the dialog, direction, performances and costuming are all weirdly off. And Troi is shot more exploitatively here than Seven ever was.

I always mix up this one and Repression, because they're just two episodes apart, both remarkably bad, and both based on the monthly Starfleet data stream being hijacked and repurposed by a dire unconvincing one-off villain from the Alpha Quadrant. But this one is worse - it's the different between 1.5 stars and 0.5 stars. Repression at least has Tim Russ's fantastic performance, and an engaging mystery/thriller tone that sustains interest - it only totally falls apart in the final third. By contrast, this episode starts well but falls to pieces less than halfway through, then somehow keeps getting worse and worse.
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wolfstar
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

I don't know whether this has been discussed here before, but a friend is saying STP is ripped off from this Star Trek short story:

https://memory-beta.fandom.com/wiki/Brave_New_World
https://them0vieblog.com/2014/01/06/star-trek-myriad-universes-echoes-and-refractions-brave-new-world-by-chris-roberson-review/

Plot description: "Picard struggles to resolve a crisis including a rogue colony of androids and an aggressive Romulan Empire in a way that will prevent full-scale war."

Has anyone read it?
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wolfstar
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 6:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

"Earth: Final Conflict season 1", that was supposed to say...
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wolfstar
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

The Orville feels more like late Voyager than TNG in terms of its tone and sensibility. I enjoyed season 2 a lot, it was much more character-driven and there were only 3-4 bad eps. I felt in season 1 that the human characters didn't work as well as the alien characters, but by S2 the whole ensemble is an enjoyable group of people to spend time with. Gordon irritated me in S1 but I mostly loved him in S2 - they rounded his character out a lot more.

While we're discussing other sci-fi
- Love B5, but it's only really solid for a year and a half: from halfway through S3 to the end of S4. Seasons 1 and 5 are a write-off, and season 2 is good but inessential.
- BSG... though I liked many individual episodes and watched it avidly through to the end, I don't like it as much as most people seem to. I think the first half of S2 was its high point. I enjoyed the increased experimentation in S3, but really, this is a show that presaged the modern tendency for constant Big Twists for twists' sake. The show pulled the rug out from under itself three times - at the end of S2, the end of S3 and the end of S4. S4 had a lot of strong individual episodes, and I adored Katee Sackhoff's performances and Starbuck's plotlines throughout the series (Maelstrom speaks to me hugely to this day), but by the final season the arc writing was all over the place. I haven't rewatched it since it finished. Another thing about it was the tendency to have characters constantly pull guns on each other, and it sometimes felt like the show was written from a perspective of "what's the most shocking thing that could happen in this situation?". The cast was AWESOME, though, across the board.
- Farscape: I saw most of the first season as a teenager and never got past it because it was really bad. I'm told it gets better later? Certainly lots of people I respect seem to love it.
- The Expanse: I loved seasons 1 and 2 but lost interest during season 3. Part of the reason for this is, as others have pointed out, the weak main character. The worldbuilding and plotting was so engrossing and well-done in seasons 1 and 2 that it didn't bother me that none of the Rocinante characters were that strong. And Alex and Amos are more compelling (and better performed) than Jim and Naomi, the two leads. The second half of season 3 fell flat for me in terms of the plot and characters, and got worse when they brought a season 1 character back as a head-character like Six in BSG. I missed characters like Avasarala and Fred Johnson. I haven't watched S4 because I don't have Amazon Prime anymore.
- Earth: Final Conflict is indeed great. After that I believe it gets very choppy; only seen a handful of episodes from S2-5.
- I haven't seen Westworld, Altered Carbon or The Man In The High Castle.
- Firefly is another sacred cow I'm happy to slaughter. I though the characters were fantastic, all of them. The concept was pretty good too. But season 1 was two-thirds filler, which was a terrible choice. It has a great pilot, a couple of good episodes in the middle, and a good finale. But there are a ton of fluff episodes padding the rest of the season out which sank the show for me. The "Mrs Reynolds" episodes in particular are diabolical. I'm continually surprised people rate it so highly. And I thought the film was a mess.
- I haven't watched all of The Mandalorian yet but I really like its economy and grace. It tells a story in a classic filmic way that I thought modern shows had forgotten how to do. The score and editing are great, the whole thing just feels sincere and cohesive, and like there's an actual consistent creative vision behind it.
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wolfstar
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 4:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

*half of
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wolfstar
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Yeah, Voyager hits the ground running more than any other Trek series post-TOS - there are no episodes as good as In The Hands Of The Prophets, Duet and Emissary, but none as bad as The Naked Now, Haven, Symbiosis etc.

I actually like TNG S1 more than S2 though. S2 only has 8 episodes I like, whereas S1 has 13, mostly in the latter half (it really kind of turns a corner halfway through). I adore Conspiracy and Skin Of Evil, they have a rawness and unique tone that has only been occasionally present in Trek before or since. The Neutral Zone and Coming Of Age are strong, ditto The Arsenal Of Freedom and Heart Of Glory; We'll Always Have Paris and Too Short A Season are engaging and ultimately work despite flaws and production limitations along the way. Where No One Has Gone Before, Lonely Among Us and The Battle are the series's first three halfway competent episodes. Datalore is good, and 11001001 is enjoyable and engaging throughout. I find all of the above eps rewatchable. The characters are enjoyable to spend time with and you know where you stand with them all.

DS9's first season has a lot of eps that feel like modified leftover TNG scripts, but there are only about 7 duds out of 20. I think the first 6 episodes of DS9 are an excellent run - Babel and Captive Pursuit are underrated. Babel uses the nascent ensemble really well and has some great Odo-Quark stuff, and Captive Pursuit is stronger still, a meaty O'Brien episode with a fascinating guest star. Vortex is a really good Odo ep, and The Forsaken does more for Lwaxana's character than any TNG ep did hitherto. Of the duds (The Passenger, If Wishes Were Horses, Dramatis Personae), I don't even mind the lightweight ones like Move Along Home so much, it's Battle Lines that I consider the season's worst misfire on many fronts. But it's a good season and at least have of the characters - Sisko, Kira, Odo, Quark and O'Brien - totally work straight out of the gate and have fantastic interplay with each other. One thing I like about early DS9 is it uses the Kira-O'Brien character pairing slightly more (as well as Kira-Sisko, Sisko-O'Brien and Kira-Jadzia).
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wolfstar
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 12:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

My top 3 is the same as Rahul's, then TNG, ENT, DIS, PIC.
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wolfstar
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 6:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Exactly Brian.
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wolfstar
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 11:30am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

I'm gay, and the Seven thing just feels like a shallow box-tick to me. And she's one of my all-time favorite Trek characters (or was on Voyager). I would love nothing more than a serious, well-written exploration of her life and relationships since arriving in the Alpha Quadrant. The Picard version of the character is dreadful. I would be up for Seven having a relationship with any gender or species if it was maturely, sensitively and realistically written - like, say, Sisko and Kasidy, Picard and Neela Daren, Jadzia and Lenara, Kira and Bareil, B'Elanna and Tom etc. I don't think these modern incarnations of Star Trek are interested in writing relationships like that though, or that the writers are able to. These shows aren't about people or ideas.

But I don't think the Seven/Raffi thing is even in the top 10 or top 20 things wrong with STP. It's just one more thing that's indicative of how nothing in these shows develops naturally. And I think some of the "they made Seven a lesbian!" backlash that I've seen on other sites is a distraction, and is getting the wrong end of the stick. (Let's bear in mind that the Seven/Chakotay thing at the end of Voyager also had no development and came out of nowhere, and was rightly criticized for that; I see this a similar way.) I'm more concerned about everything else they made her - a hard-bitten murderer and vigilante who talks in mock-Whedon snark like most of the other characters on the show, because the writers don't have the skill to give different characters distinct voices and authentic dialog. And they don't have the craft or patience to actually build up, grow and explore relationships - it's just suddenly "Rios and Jurati are sleeping together" or "Raffi loves Picard" or "Data loved Picard"; relationship developments don't emerge organically from the characters or situation, instead we're directly told them out of the blue as pieces of information. The same as how on Discovery we hardly saw any character development in the gay relationship or spent much time with them as people. The show just wanted to go "look, some gays" without wanting to put any of the work in of showing an actual relationship. That applies to all the straight characters too.
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wolfstar
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 12:58am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Todd, I don't think that's the main fault that many find with the series - it's bad drama. It's not that it's "not Star Trek", it's that it's very poor drama in its own right. I guarantee you that if it was still non-Trekkian in its values, sensibility and aesthetic but as good as, say, BSG, Firefly, Farscape, The Expanse, Westworld etc. (all shows it has cribbed elements from), it would have been pretty rapturously received. People want good storytelling.
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wolfstar
Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 9:39am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

- Why can't Romulans be assimilated?
- Why is Soji shown to have Borg knowledge she can't explain in "The End Is The Beginning" and "The Impossible Box"?
- Why is Soji in the ancient Zhat Vash prophecy, if the Admonition is a message from the distant past?

Among everything else, I think one of the messiest things here is the way the Soji character has been treated (particularly in the final third of the season). Isa Briones is good, with better writing she could have been the breakout character. Her actions in the final episodes seem poorly motivated. In the show's chronology, she spends an episode with Kestra, the Riker-Trois and Picard being treated with kindness and learning to trust again, then *subsequently* makes her decision to construct the beacon and eradicate #allorganiclife. It would have worked much better if Sutra had been the prophesized "Destroyer" and Soji the one who makes the decision to stop her because of what she'd learned and experienced with Picard, Kestra and the others.

I think the entire Borg side of the plot is a leftover from an earlier version of the show before they retooled it. There's a clear break between E1-6 and E8-10, with Nepenthe as an interstitial non-plot-driven episode.

The whole thing feels like "OK, we want two leads who kinda look like Jim Holden and Naomi from The Expanse... people seem to like that show. And a ship that's like the Rocinante or Serenity... let's call it La Sirena. Plus an elf from LOTR, and maybe a ditzy science girl like on Discovery. Except, twist, she's actually a murderer! And throw in the Borg, people like the Borg. We can bring that chick from Voyager back and make her a bad-ass killer... throw in some hinted lesbianism - not as a meaningful development of the character or a serious exploration of her life and relationships since Voyager, but for edginess points. Everyone loves a cool bad-ass lesbian. Plus we can bring back that Borg kid Hugh from Next Gen and the Borg kid from Voyager and kill them gruesomely - no-one will be expecting that, it'll really drive online discussion of the show! Oh yeah, Picard. Get this: What if Picard... but robot?"

For me it's actually worse than Discovery. Discovery has Saru, who was an anchor of Starfleet values throughout (as well as being brilliantly played), and it handled Pike, Spock and Number One relatively well. Discovery also had the excuse of the repeated changes in showrunners for its messiness, as well as the fact it was the first new Trek show in 15 years. And because it feels like its own universe unrelated to the rest of Trek, it can kind of be mentally siloed - even before everything that happens in the first 2 seasons is literally siloed. Discovery is not a good show. Until now it was the worst of the Trek series. But my god, this Picard thing is a clusterfuck.
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wolfstar
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

This whole discussion is ridiculous and splitting heirs over nothing. Lynos's original comment was that in the Picard series, "he's portrayed as a doddering old man fighting windmills". This is a legitimate opinion whether you agree or disagree with it. It in no way equates to Lynos personally calling Picard "doddering" - he's describing his perception of how Picard is presented in the series. Gerontius's repeated assertion that this is "highly offensive" is ridiculous. Even if Lynos were personally calling Picard that, it still wouldn't be offensive. But he isn't.
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wolfstar
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

*But no-one in the Alpha Quadrant
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wolfstar
Sun, Mar 22, 2020, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

So, I have a theory - apologies if anyone else came up with this first and I didn't see it.

What if the advanced machine civilization is the same one that created/adapted V'Ger?

A few parallels:

- When Spock tries to mind-meld with V'Ger in TMP, he quickly experiences a sensory overload and is knocked unconscious. This is similar to what happened when the Romulans telepathically viewed the "Admonition" message (created by the machine civilization), which overloaded them as it was designed to be viewed by synthetic minds.
- Voyager 6 fell through an anomaly and emerged at (according to Memory Alpha) "what was believed to have been the far side of the galaxy", where it fell into the gravitational field of a planet populated by living machines. They greatly enhanced it and sent it back out into space. So the machine civilization views itself as a kind of custodian towards less advanced machines and (potential) machine life.
- V'ger was reprogrammed to such an extent that it saw biological lifeforms as an "infestation", and destroyed any that it encountered. This is similar to the idea in PIC of an advanced machine civilization prepared to wipe out organic life to protect synthetic life.
- Memory Alpha: "Gene Roddenberry, in an interview shortly after 'Q Who', said that the machine planet seen by Spock might have been the Borg homeworld." - this could provide a route for tying the Borg into the overall Picard storyline. We know from VOY that the Borg are a lot younger (several thousand years) than the machine civilization that created the Admonition (200,000-300,000 years old). Perhaps the Borg were organic humanoids experimenting with synthetic technology who were "upgraded" by the machine civilization just as V'Ger was. Their modus operandi is the same - V'Ger absorbs and consumes, destroying in the process but absorbing all of the knowledge of that which it takes, and replicating it perfectly within itself.

There is some distant past connection to the Borg here.
- If, according to Picard, Romulans can't be assimilated (ignoring the oversight of the guy in Unity), the Zhat Vash must have introduced some kind of protective element into Romulan biology (akin to the Brunali cube-disabling pathogen from Child's Play) a long time ago. But in the Alpha Quadrant knew about the Borg then as far as we know.
- Similarly, why does Soji have Borg knowledge she can't explain in "The End Is The Beginning" (during her meeting with Ramdha) and "The Impossible Box" (when she inexplicably knows the range of the Borg-assimilated Sikarian spatial trajector)?
- If Soji was only created 3 years ago by Maddox and Soong (which we know to be the case), why is she in the ancient Zhat Vash prophecy?

I don't know quite how this ties together but it's worth thinking over.

A couple more thoughts:
- If Dahj and Soji were created by positronic cloning from Data, could Jana and Sutra have been created by positronic cloning from Lore? I'm here for the theory that Altan Soong is actually Lore, but I think it's also possible that Sutra is Lore.
- Though never linked to either the Borg or V'Ger, there was another inorganic lifeform that existed to wipe out organic life, and that Lore was in communication with: the Crystalline Entity. Could it have been an envoy or leftover of the synthetic civilization? There are certainly analogies between Sutra summoning the machine civilization to kill the organics and Lore summoning the entity for the same reason.
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