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R.CAllen

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Posts posted by R.CAllen

  1. Oh dear! Usually my sympathies are with the bike people — I’m not one, they frighten me when they ride on the sidewalk (MY DOMAIN!), but nevertheless and nonetheless they are not car people and are thus uneasy allies against the common enemy of all peoples (a second Permian–Triassic extinction!) — but in this case it sounds like he was very much in the wrong. I’m sorry this happened to you!

  2. I thought I didn’t have any opinions on this guy but I checked my notebook and it turns out ... I did!?!?

    Quote

    You might think the thing that derailed RFK Jr’s political future was him being too stupid to pass the bar exam (as an assistant district attorney!) in 1983 or him pleading guilty to heroin possession in 1984 but I think it’s that his voice is dumb and annoying. And not the usual Kennedy level of dumb and annoying. It’s not Mayor Quimby dumb and annoying. It’s rasp-y and phlegm-y at the same time! It doesn’t register to the ear as pleasingly striking, oddball-ish, the way lots of politicians sound. His voice is really bad. It sounds like a foreign dub of a cartoon frog in a movie that shouldn’t exist.

     

    [Oops! Apparently he’s been diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia and has had surgery in Japan to fix it!?!?!?!?]

     

    But those are all reasons why he won’t be President. I mean, unless he joins up with President Donald Trump as his veep — a unity ticket! — and then the big guy keels over after being sworn in (oh no!!!1! the vaccines have struck him down!!!1!) I can’t really see it happening. The reasons why he shouldn’t be President of the United States — just to clarify, yes, I’m okay with someone who’s stupid and a criminal being the President; no reason to depart from precedent!!!1! — are because his political stances on Medicare, climate change, inequality, criminal justice reform, racial justice, etcetera, they’re all deeply inadequate to the needs of the moment! There isn’t even a strong commitment for his campaign not to take corporate PAC money! I mean, what does a guy have to do around here to get a sheepdog candidate?! Cry? Beg!?

     

  3. I’ve been mulling this over and over in my mind — much like Russell Crowe’s, it’s a beaut! — because the takes just keep on coming re: this thing. The world wonders!

     

    Here’s what I’ve arrived at:

     

    I feel like a bunch of people sinking themselves by the Titanic is just innately funny. Doesn’t matter who it happens to. There could have been among the dead an innocent babe who has not yet known the breath of sin upon its naked nape — there kind of was; nineteen years old is awful young + of course, everyone who ever lived was once a baby, was once loved — and it’d still have been funny. A bunch of people sunk themselves by the Titanic! It’d be like if somebody, anybody, got shot at Ford’s Theatre. Oh no!!!1 Not again!!!1!

     

    It’s so funny that it’s almost hack. The Almighty’s packet needs a little work!!!1!? Just a few days ago Robert Smigel commented on that big list of half-jokes on the whiteboard that the Workaholics (‘11-’17) writers declared verboten, unusable, because the stuff was so clichéd. He said that when they were starting on Late Night with Conan O’Brien (‘93-’09) they tried to avoid the obvious stuff too. Pirates, aliens, Lincoln. But I kind of feel like Lincoln is one of Conan’s go-to’s. I don’t think they could keep away from it! The obvious stuff only became obvious BECAUSE it’s so funny!

     

    My point is that I think as G-d has settled into Himself as a comedic force He has maybe decided that it’s okay to indulge Himself now and again. Really let loose. Don’t second guess things. Be unafraid of repetition. Whatever next? RFK Jr. gunned down in a hotel kitchen? Planes flown into One World Trade Center on a cold September morn? Is Mr. Hitler going to start another war?

  4. Number 1 With A Bullet

     

    X-Men (‘92-’97)

     

    Don’t really see how it much makes sense to rank anything else above the animated show. Kind of unbeatable. The theme song alone!!!!1!

     

    Numbers 2-5

     

    X-Men (200), X2 (2003), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

     

    I endorse all the works of Bryan Singer and all extracurricular activities undertaken by Bryan Singer no matter how criminal or harmful to person or persons!!!!!1!

     

    Number 6

     

    X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

     

    I just really like the bit where Ian McKellen gives a look to the woman in the car who locks her door when she sees him coming. Oh, and Kelsey Grammer Beast. Of course.

     

    Numbers 7-8

     

    The Wolverine (2014) & Logan (2017)

     

    James Mangold made a kind of bad Wolverine movie when he slavishly imitated bad movies and then made a kind of good Wolverine movie when he slavishly imitated good movies. I feel like I’ve made that exact point before but, y’know, whatever, it’s not like nobody can’t dig up the original threads on all these movies if they’re so inclined.

     

    Number 9

     

    Mutant X (‘01-’04)

     

    okay i am bored now forget it

  5. Terrible news! Titus Pullo in Rome (‘05-’07) — “XIII!” obviously but also sold the quieter stuff so so well, his conversation w/Lucius Vorenus about what stars are —, that pilot for the zombie show, Lexi Alexander Punisher, Volstagg, the baddy on that season of Dexter (‘06-’13, ‘21-’22), I still haven’t seen Black Sails (‘14-’17) but I hear it’s great and apparently he was Blackbeard on it guess I gotta give it a watch. Such a great actor!

  6. Still haven’t seen the Obi-Wan Kenobi show. Haven’t seen the latest season of The Mʌndʌloriʌn. Haven’t watched the new show. That show everyone loves! Everybody’s out there banging their pots and pans for that show but I get the feeling these same people also liked Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) and in general the things these people bang their pots and pans for don’t always meet with my approval. I’m going to wait this one out. I’m going to see if Season 2 gets their pots and pans (fat chance!) or if they turn on it. If it ends up that The New Star Wars Show is Actually Good I’ll happily chalk one up in the official standings as a loss for me. I’ll have missed out! For years! That’ll be on me. That’ll be my cross to bear.

     

    But I had to watch this stuff! Couldn’t put it off! Couldn’t delay! I hope they keep making these. Can’t get enough of them. Bring on Season 3!

     

     

     

     

    El Guiri Studios Presents

    Sith

     

    https://i.imgur.com/fUysUOK.png 

     

    Cartoon Saloon Presents

    Screecher’s Reach

     

    Oh wow! Think this might be the best one! Genuinely grapples with what it means to do a Star War here and now, y’know!? Love how it opens doing such a big swing with the elaborate and stylized tableaux and then shifts to something more super simple and elegant for much of the remainder of its runtime. The reveal of the communication device. The ship. So neat.

     

    Punkrobot Studio Presents

    In The Stars

     

    - Oh wow this TIE Fighter with the green spotlight

     

    - Like the look of these waterworkers. And the Imperial supervisor lady (the “I thought there were none of them left.” “This. planet’s. resources. belong. to. the. Empire.” woman) with a corduroy version of the uniform and that big kerchief.

     

    - The music wasn’t quite up to snuff for this one. Felt ... imitative? It felt like they had temp score, something Giacchino maybe, and just tried to match it. Usually it’s very easy to just put down anything suitably SW-y over Star Wars stuff happening and it fits for me but this time it felt off.

     

    Aardman Presents

    I Am Your Mother

     

    - Omigosh Voort ‘Piggy’ SaBinring canon!!!1!

    - R2-D2 but also a dog and also, like, a vacuum cleaner seems like it should be too much but it isn’t. Great!

    - That big candyseller droid! The race starter referee droid!

    - Wait, how can there be a bra!?

     

    Studio Mir Presents

    Journey To The Dark Head

     

    This one has the charming feel of a work of fan fiction written between the release of TPM and AotC. I say that with affection! I mean it as a compliment. Should’ve had OC CHARACTERS DO NOT STEAL emblazoned on the end credits.

     

    Studio La Cachette Presents

    The Spy Dancer

     

    - Can’t begrudge a bunch of French people putting their favourite toys on screen. Neat!

     

    - Liked the little toad conductor speaking in greeble grabble with the subtitle of ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this...’. Play the hits!

     

    88 Pictures Presents

    The Bandits of Golak

     

    The trooper shooting that guy point blank in the face!

     

    Lucasfilm Ltd. & D’Art Shtajio Presents

    The Pit

     

    - Those time lapsed shots of them digging the pit over days and nights felt a little non-SW-y. I don’t know. It’s probably been done before and I just never noticed! (Arguably, during some of the Force stuff in TLJ? I don’t know.)

     

    - Love the cute little pangolin things whose burrowing holes give this guy the handholds he needs to escape the pit!

     

    - There’s always the problem with these kinds of things that there’s a huge huge gap between the feelings and lessons they evoke and the actual factual cold hard reality of the world we live in. You can define Star Wars as a series of modern myths about the primacy of life and love and goodness over death and despair and evil. Or you can define Star Wars as a bunch of lies we’ve sold each other for money as we let each other kill and die and kill and die and kill and die and suffer. Oh well!

     

     

     

    Triggerfish Presents

    Aau’s Song

     

    - I kinda love that Golden Age Boba Fett shopping in the marketplace. So bulky!

  7. Last episode!

     

    short version: did not like

     

     

    * Look, even with everything up until now I was all set to come in to this episode with open eyes and an open heart. I was downright eager to have my time wasted yet again. Once more unto the breach!!!1! But I got like five words of dialogue into this very last episode “This is President Anton Chekov” and just deflated. Just experienced a near total sense of defeat. Booooooo! Yes. I am booing an eighty six year old man! No, not really. But I am booing the creative decision to involve him in things at the last moment by having him play a descendant. I can’t really put my finger on why it irks me so. It might not be a defensible reaction on my part. If they’d dragged Walter Koenig into SNW or LD and had him play either Mister Chekov’s Grandpa or Mister Chekov I’d have been absolutely on board. But something about having him be Mister Chekov’s Grandson Or Whatever especially PRESIDENT Mister Chekov’s Grandson Or Whatever really doesn’t sit right with me. I could probably take a stab at explaining it but it involves, like, complaints about all the presidents on ST:D and how the franchise’s attitudes to authority figures has transfigured over the years from assuming the audience will rightfully see them as obstacles to our characters and their moral choices in any given episode to what is now a kind of neo-liberal worship of power for its own sake. We’ve degenerated from resenting the need to lick the boot to patting ourselves on the back because of whose foot rests within the heel. I don’t know. I didn’t like it. President Anton Chekov? Uccccchhh.

     

    * Hah hah. Okay. They have him basically more or less say outright he’s Chekov’s kid. Not his grandson. It’s part of the badly written message he uses the word “young” twice as a noun; he paraphrases Kirk’s lines about what Spock says in WoK the whole sequence takes place over an evocation of the TNG opening credit sequence. Hat upon hat upon hat. Familiar hats! And the main cast’s reaction seems less like they’re listening to a message from the Federation president itself a clear reference to The Voyage Home and more like they’re listening to the confused voices of subspace chatter surrounding him. Was this stuff scripted when they filmed it!?!?

     

    * The rushed attempt to get everyone up to speed during the teaser basically just involves having these characters who all already know what the deal is telling each other what the deal is after the audience has already seen what the deal is during the “Previously On” segment. I don’t know. It comes with the territory, I suppose. It’s television!

     

    * Is ... is Frakes’ line of “They hid a transwarp conduit inside the gases of Jupiter!?” ADR’d in?

     

    * I forget who it was that said this whole season is just, like, a CBS show for boomer grandpas who resent the fact that their kids took away their car keys and loudly insist they can too drive perfectly fine no problem. If so, well, the scene with the alien ensign in the blue uniform going on about how he can’t fly the ship because he had to work at the family deli back home because of his brother’s hernia is kind of the same deal but for Gen X. (Also, I think the actor says “lunar flight class training” instead of “Luna-class flight training”!?!?!?)

     

    * Marina Sirtis saying “I’ve never felt anything like this before”!!!!1! Oh hell yeah! We’re back! We’re back in the sweet spot!

     

    * Patrick Stewart’s line of “Our objective is clear. Locate it and destroy it.” sounds ADR’d.

     

    * The little bit of business where they joke and argue over who has to beam down and who has to stay on the ship isn’t too badly done. I mean, it’s not great. It’s not seamless. But it’s good enough, I think.

     

    * Patrick Stewart’s line of “Once aboard the cube locate the beacon and transmit its coordinates back to the Enterprise.” seems ADR’d.

     

    * The little looks Frakes and Sirtis give each other right before he leaves. Patrick Stewart’s “It’s been an honour serving with you all.” Good stuff!!!1!

     

    * Their dialogue after they beam down to the cube is pretty rough. It takes the long way around to establish that there’s no Borg drones, y’know? And I didn’t like Michael Dorn’s line of “The necrotic tissue is being cannibalized. Consumed.” Does ... does the show think its audience doesn’t know what the word ‘cannibalized’ means!?!?!?!?

     

    * Patrick Stewart’s line of “I can no longer be your captain” seems ADR’d.

     

    * Same deal with “Go find the beacon.”

     

    * Worf says that “There are two turns of phrase a Klingon never admits to knowing. ‘Defeat’ and ‘farewell’.” but but but but ... words are not turns of phrases!?!?!? Words are words. Words are components of turns of phrases and not turns of phrases or even phrases in and of themselves!!!!1! Worf saying this is a little like Worf saying “There are two sandwiches a Klingon never admits to eating. ‘Bread’ and ‘toast’.” I don’t know. I am sure Marc Okrand or whomever will just come forward soon enough and explain this is a unique lexical feature of the Klingon language. Like how “nuqneh” doesn’t really mean “hello”. Why am I pointing this out? I think it’s because for however much some people might be cheering and highfiving over Terry Matalas swooping in and (eventually) hip checking Michael Chabon to the ice this just isn’t the sort of thing he’d ever ever have a character say. Yeah, he’d go too far the other way with it and have characters spouting their own conlangs, I know. But he can manage to clear that very low hurdle. Am I mixing metaphors? Yeah. Well. Matalas or whomever it is this season can only manage to have the characters say two kinds of dialogue : dialogue which doesn’t make sense for this person to say AND dialogue which doesn’t make sense for any person to say.

     

    * I detect a note of metatextual self-congratulation on behalf of the showrunners in Picard’s “You thought of Jack from the beginning. Shielding him from danger. You did everything right.” mostly because it seems a little off that Picard is spending his final moments of communication with Doctor Crusher by interrupting her to reassure her (and the audience!) that it’s okay to do what she did; rather than playing the expected note of farewell which goes right after her telling him about levels and interferences and locations (was there ADR there in the “And I am unable to be more specific with Jack’s location”!? If so, well, it was well done!) but that’s probably just my ressentiment flaring up. Oh well!!!!!1!

     

    * Jack’s Borg shtick the whole You will exist in a universe without fear. A universe without loss. Unbroken. Perfect. Those diseases are of the past.” lays it on a little thick but I think it’s pretty good. It works. I liked it!

     

    * Borg Queen looks great!!!!1!

     

    * I am undecided over whether or not Seven of Nine’s “It’s not tied to the new system. Which means it can’t be controlled like the rest of us” is a necessary bit of business leading us into the fight to get the Titan off the fleet formation network or just yet another line of dialogue where a character says something to someone else who already knows it while the audience listens in being told what THEY already know. It’s probably the former. Raffi didn’t know where they were taking the shuttlecraft last week.

     

    * Look, I, uh ... what I’m about to write is not worth the energy to type it out which is not to say anything I’ve ever written in my life WAS!!!!1!1! but I just gotta get it down for the record. The SFX scenes of the ships firing at the starbase are beautiful, sure, so pretty to look at it but nonetheless and nevertheless the episode is predicated on the idea that a starbase could withstand sustained volleys of fire by every ship in the fleet for half an hour? More? I mean, I guess it does BECAUSE it does. So what I’m saying is I’d like one measly line from somebody. Something like “The fleet’s torpedo complement is limited as vessels were prepped for parade not combat but at this rate the destruction of Spacedock within the hour is a mathematical certainty” or whatever. Something to establish that this makes sense.

     

    * I think that the Borg Queen’s “Until recently there was no collective left. There was only I. It was an unimaginable loneliness. One which Jack and I shared.” is pretty good stuff. “At the very edge of space where you left us. Poisoned. No worlds to consume. No roads by which to return. Just the cruelty to die by starvation and age.” Yeah, I get it. It works. Metatextually, it’s even underlined moments later by having Patrick Stewart paraphrase ST:FC in response.

     

    * Hope these Borg have been too busy dying to upgrade their codecs.” Auggggghhhhhh.

     

    * Picard telling the Borg Queen she’s insane!?!?!? Season 2’s deeply enlightened attitude towards mental illness lives on (again!) in Season 3!!!!!1!

     

    * And then mere moments later she’s the one to paraphrase ST:FC. Uh, is there any rhyme or reason to it!? I suppose because Picard was making the point that she’s consumed what little collective she’s had left, yeah, and her response is that she did so to make this all happen. So he could witness. I.e. watch. I guess it tracks. Yeah, I get it. It works. (What am I saying? I’m saying that I think in this precise and particular instance we’re seeing something more than merely a slapdash and artless deployment of familiar references. Usually that’s what we’re getting when we watch any given episode of ST:P but I think there’s a clarity of purpose here. I think that this conversation between Picard and the Borg Queen is kind of a conversation about the show itself. About the franchise. About what Star Trek is. About what’s left of it.)

     

    * Jeri Ryan’s “That was close” seems ADR’d.

     

    * The bit of business with Riker & Worf and the gun hidden in the hilt is ... kind of balanced between good and bad. It’s good because it is, as Michael Dorn says, fun. But it’s bad because having our characters ask why something didn’t happen before when something fun happens doesn’t really solve the problem. It just calls attention to the problem. A series finale is too late to be asking these questions!!!1! You just gotta trust that we’re willing to go along with the fun. Like, for example, last week. No. Wait. The week before last week. Picard uses a super special access code which they call a codex to gain control of the Titan. But they had a whole thing in the very first episode where Picard needed to gain control of the Titan. I don’t need a line of dialogue to tell us why he couldn’t use his super special access code his codex; I guess I should be grateful that when the Borg Queen was going on about machine code and genetic code she kept it simple! early in the season but could use it later in the season. I’m willing to go along with the fun. I’m all about the fun. Clearly!!!!1! But it’d probably help soothe that little ache if they hadn’t called attention to what he’s doing (and thus the apparent contradiction) by having him call it a ‘codex’. Same deal here. Just have the fun happen. The fun isn’t always enhanced by having a character call it fun. The problem isn’t always ameliorated by having a character point it out.

     

    * LeVar Burton’s “The only way to take out that hive is to take out that beacon” seems ADR’d. His line of “We go with Data’s gut” ... I don’t know. Could be ADR. Could’ve been said on set.

     

    * Having the 1701-D go through the interior of the cube like the Falcon going through the Death Star in RotJ is, well, Deanna Troi may be sensing enjoyment but it’s not coming from me. I don’t like it! Don’t like to see it.

     

    * Brent Spiner’s half-line of “We destroy the beacon” seems ADR’d. Did they ... did they simplify everything down in post so it’d be super duper clear to the audience what’s going on, what the stakes are, strip away any and all Borg goobledygook and have it just be “the beacon” this and “the beacon” that!?!? Because nearly every line about the beacon seems ADR’d!!!!!!!1!

     

    * Jonathan Frakes’ smile at Michael Dorn’s line of “There was a moment today where I was worried we might actually survive” doesn’t really get quite the focus it deserves. But it’s a great little moment!

     

    * Flashing back to ST:FC! Dumb!

     

    * “Perfection isn’t evolution. This is death.” Hah hah. There’s a thin line here between what they’re doing and just .... patting themselves on the back for making a bad show!?!?

     

    * Picard and Jack’s little talk standing in front of a (literal!) green screen isn’t super duper great. Spliced together dialogue. Kind of on the nose. But all in all I liked it. I thought it was good enough! I mean, the hug, the flashbacks to the show itself no problem here of making me wish I was watching those episodes instead! I could’ve maybe done without those.

     

    * Hah hah I just put it together that in addition to the show being about Grampa’s car keys the finale is kind of “I am not a deadbeat dad my evil ex can not keep me from my child I do not care what family court says the judge has brainwashed everyone else against me”.

     

    * I think there should’ve been a line about communication coming in from the Titan because as is it’s just super weird to have those four (4) characters standing around like in a publicity photo both Seven and Raffi have their arms crossed! and Geordi giving them an ambiguous look!?!?!?

     

    * Worf snoozing is of a piece with the vomit from Ensign LaForge a few episodes back. Just absolutely tempting fate!!!!!1!

     

    * “Stardate, shall we say, one.” Nope. Bad! Starting to suspect the Borg actually won! Maybe it’s just a prejudice I share with Grant Morrison they always have their upstart youth characters do this; it happens during the ‘Riot at Xavier’s’ arc in New X-Men, it happens in All Star Superman, I think it happens in one or two other places as well but anybody telling you this is on the wrong side of history. They’re firmly declaring to you that they think history HAS sides. Nope! And, like, I just don’t get why you don’t want to have us hear Jonathan Frakes say some numbers. Let us hear Jonathan Frakes say some numbers!

     

    * Didn’t like the Holoshaw scene. It’s like, damn, your gruff TA who deadnames you really thinks you’ve got what it takes to excel!?!? Why does every finale of every Star Trek season now end with people’s homework being graded!!!!!!!?1?1?1?

     

    * The scene with Raffi and Raffi’s ex is so badly done! They clearly jiggered it together in post. It’s just Raffi lovingly caressing the video of her granddaughter and they’ve reconfigured it to have her in reconciliation with her asshole ex!!!!!!1! And then cut’n’spliced her conversation with Worf so it matches up! Dumb! I disliked three or four other things about their final scene together but come on already.

     

    * PICARD: If ever there was better evidence that the past mattered ... it’s right here.

    GEORDI: How many times has she managed to save the world?

    RIKER: No doubt more than the years will allow three old men to remember.

    GEORDI: You know, it’s difficult to imagine what we all might have been without her.

    RIKER: Different. Certainly. But certainly not better.

    PICARD: *sighs*

    GEORDI: Computer, initiate shutdown sequence.

    COMPUTER: Shutdown procedure initiated.

    RIKER: I miss that voice.

    PICARD: Take care of her, Geordi.

    GEORDI: Yes, sir. After all, she’s always taken good care of us.

     

    What!? What does this mean!?!? What is Picard saying!?!? I mean, I know there’s an answer to Geordi’s question. I think it’s in one of Christopher L. Bennett’s annotations to his novels. It’s a surprisingly small number of times! But I don’t get what Picard is saying and I don’t get what Riker’s saying. Is Riker saying they’re all senile!?!? Am I ... am I going senile? Did they realize at the last second they needed a scene like the Cheers (‘82-’93) finale where the lights are turned off and decided to just write it in half a minute!?!?

     

    * Picard’s “Names mean almost nothing” transmuting into Jack’s “Names mean almost everything.” in the space of thirty or so seconds in order to sell the moment of us seeing a new Enterprise is just .... just insufficient. It just doesn’t work for me. It’s not to my taste. I’ll rescind this point if it turns out this is a reprise of a prior conversation between the pair of them in earlier episodes, though. Was it? I don’t remember. Uccccchhhhh.

     

    * Thought the bridge scene with Jack, Seven, Raffi, Junior LaForge, Bajoran Guy With A Human First Name Even Though Bajorans Have Their First Names Last Come On Now, Ensign Who Suffered A Demotion When The Borg Failed To Conquer The Universe .... who else, who else, think that’s it ... well, I thought it was pretty rough stuff. Did not like it. Did not think it was up to snuff. Didn’t even like how it ended! I guess I’m just a grouch.

     

    * I was going to make a joke about the Xindi attack when we saw Orlando on the list of holiday destinations when Troi was browsing through her phone while Data blabbered. And I thought better of it. But them bringing it up again during this bar scene forces my hand. Wait, this bar scene is a year after that therapy scene so ... they’ve been putting this vacation off a year!?!? What!? I know she said it’s a lot of work but come on already!!!!1! Generally speaking, I don’t see how the decision to make Troi and Riker a couple who moved out of the big city to the boonies and have now opted to unretire really tracks in any way with TNG’s vision of a post-scarcity future.

     

    * Okay, quoting Shakespeare!!!!1! Gotta play the hits!!!!11!

     

    * I mean, I don’t know how you end this show. I guess ending it the way they ended it last time around is maybe the least bad choice. Okay. But the midcredits sequence may as well be them just throwing their hands up in the air and admitting they’re creatively bankrupt. Empty heads. No hearts. Stupid stupid stupid.

     

    * Oh hey wait. One last thing. Correct me if I’m wrong but Seven and Raffi and Trill Doctor and Ensign Gen X Dumb Dumb retake the Titan and then ... don’t really do anything!? Nothing that matters. They don’t save anyone. They don’t buy anyone any time. They don’t come in for the rescue. They cloak the ship and fire some phasers in between. They realize that the Enterprise’s there in Jupiter and don’t do anything to help. I figure I must be wrong about this. I figure I must have forgotten something. Did these characters exist in most of this episode’s action just to spout exposition and establish stakes!?!? Would the galaxy have been saved regardless even if Geordi’s Daughters once freed had decided to just merk all these characters on the bridge first before going to the engine room to destroy the cloaking device!? I am surely mistaken. I’m not being sarcastic. I gotta assume if I doublecheck by rewatching that part of the episode or reading a summary on the wiki or a recap on some nerd news website I will find out I’m wrong here. So, well, if you’ve been reading this and shaking your head and thinking I just didn’t get it, well, now’s your chance to prove how much I didn’t get it. Now’s your chance. Show me how I’m wrong and stupid and didn’t even understand what I was watching!!!1! Go on!

     

    * Did they stick the landing? The plane never lifted off in the first place! The plane idled on the tarmac for ten hours. (This is the third time this plane has done this!) And now it’s gone right back to the gate! Moments before I disembarked from my flight to nowhere the pilot and the co-pilot and the cabin crew got down on their knees in front of me and begged me, begged me with all their little hearts, to go on another trip with them. Please! Please!! Pretty please!! Won’t you come fly with us again? It’ll be the ex-vigilante who murdered someone she had consensual sex with, the paranoid schizophrenic drug addict grandma, two kids of characters you actually liked in your now long past youth, and that’s it. Everyone else who was on my plane before is dead or gone or unaffordable. I should forget they ever existed!!!1!

     

    * Verdict: I think this might be the worst finale of any Star Trek spin-off. The least enjoyable to watch. Jeri Ryan, Tim Russ, and Alice Krige are two for two for bad finales that are boring reduxes of ‘All Good Things’ and ST:FC!!!!1!

  8. Ninth episode.

     

    short version: I’m not made of stone!!!!1!

     

     

    * Omigosh. Did they get Elizabeth Dennehy for this!? Or will this turn out to be the other Shelby, DS9 Shelby, USS Sutherland Shelby!?!?

     

    * That, uh, that sure looks like her to me! They got her back in the spacesuit! She hated the spacesuit then. Hope it’s more comfortable now!!!!1! Their dialogue makes it absolutely clear it’s her! Assume it’s the same actress!

     

    * Hah hah did they bring her back and kill her off!?!?1? Amazing! Oh nooo poor Mackenzie Calhoun a widower now!

     

    * Oh damn they blew up the Excelsior!!!!1!

     

    * got actual chills at the sight of 1701-D.

     

    * So I guess that line hamhandedly added in to Shaw’s Wolf 359 story several episodes back was just a way of clarifying before the fact Beverly’s statement of “No one has seen or heard from the Borg in over a decade.” Except that line of Gates McFadden’s also sounds ADR’d in to weakly precede her line of “So perhaps the Borg have evolved.” So, uh, what’s the deal!?!?!?!?

     

    * There were one or two little off moments in the episode I think having Geordi saying “You’d better get down to sickbay.” is pretty good on its own (and is possibly even a slight evocation of WoK’s “You’d better get down here”) but adding on top of that “There’s more you need to know about Jack” just goes a hair too far, especially when you consider some of that More You, The Audience, Needs To Know we’re told in that scene is stuff we already know!!!11 but I had a lot of fun watching it! Usually the off moments really really stick out to me because I’m not having fun watching the show. I have to find my fun where I can get it! This time, well, that wasn’t the case!!!1! I think this was the most fun I’ve had watching any episode of ST:P! Is it the best episode? I don’t know. It kind of takes the show’s central theme and literalizes it. If you read this (great!) review of the first season you’ll get what I mean.

     

    But I do think it’s the very first time this year that this season’s (only?) magic trick really really worked on me. Here are the things you recognize!!!!1! Oh hell yeah I recognize those things!!!!1!

     

    * What can I say? Had a lot of fun watching the teaser. Had a lot of fun watching the Jack & Picard scene. Had a lot of fun with the Picard & Data scene, with all the Data & Geordi shtick, the jokes in general really landed this time around. Had a lot of fun watching Jack wander around the Borg cube. Had a lot of fun seeing starships! Had a lot of fun seeing those fireworks! Had a lot of fun watching our characters exchange phaser fire with the assimilated crew!

     

    That’s, like, most of the episode. If I’m enjoying most of the episode it kind of feels almost beneath my notice that, for example, they hit the idea of “Doctor Crusher didn’t realize her son was Borg, oh no, we have to explain this and overexplain this” a little hard. Who cares? Not me!

  9. I’m all caught up on the first season. It’s not half bad! I watched the first few episodes all wrong. That’s on me. Once I started watching this show while cycling on my recumbent stationary bike and also idly reading or surfing the web it really improved. They make these shows as background noise for people on their phones or doing chores or whatever.

     

    There’s a good sort of tripartite mix of three different flavours at work here. They’re doing the episodes that anybody who watched Quantum Leap (‘89-’93) wanted them to do on the old show they leap back to cowboy times, they leap repeatedly into the same situation over and over again until he gets it right, they leap into the future alongside the sort of meat’n’potatoes episodes that just come with the concept as well as episodes that tie into an ongoing arc involving the mystery of why they leapt in the first place. Sometimes you get all three of these flavours stuffed together uneasily into a single serving! Does it always work? Well, I was entertained!

     

    I guess it helps that nearly every episode I see a favourite TV character actor or two. I also think watching Kevin Can Asterisk Himself (‘21-’22) gave me the push to keep going with the show when I initially dropped it after two episodes because seeing the guy who plays the new Sam Beckett on that show and noticing how good an actor he is that show itself is pretty good! made me give it another chance.

     

    Oh, and they explain away the thing where the old show was set in a future 1990s that no longer exists by just insisting that Al had a really weird fashion sense. I liked that!

  10. Episode eight.

    short version : didn't really like it, big surprise

     

    * Thought the opening teaser was pretty good. Don’t remember if they had a scene last week where Jack Howard Crusher Picard and Junior LaForge met up with Doctor Crusher and Chancellor Admiral Picard after their respective adventures — telepathy and torture. Pretty sure there wasn’t one. Oh, wait, does the fact that we see multiple hits from both their phasers against Christopher Plummer’s Daughter’s changeling body mean that they had their phasers set on stun that whole time? Is it torture to threaten someone else with death when you have no intention of following through and are just going to painlessly (more or less? does it hurt to get stunned with phaser fire? not going to look this one up in the wiki!) force them into unconsciousness? Wait, maybe the phasers WERE set to kill but that doesn’t quite work on changelings? Or at least not on these ones? We do see Raffi slicing and dicing them first and then Worf phasering them into cinders. Oh well. Again, not going to look this one up in the wiki!

     

    * The dialogue between Picard and Jack is so so bad in the scene where the two of them basically just recap what’s going on. Awful stuff. Infinitely complicated indeed! Sleight (or, rather, slight!) of words indeed!

     

    * Is ... is there something wrong with the word ‘code’!? The word code is a perfectly cromulent word. I don’t know why these guys want to add another letter to it every time instead! ‘Codec’ in the season opener. ‘Codex’ in this episode. Just say ‘code’!

     

    * I chose to take Deanna Troi going on about how she misses raktajino lattes as a veiled reference to the long abandoned romantic subplot between her and Worf. And then who should show up just that very minute but everybody’s favourite guy!!!!1! Yay!

     

    * LeVar Burton’s (extraneous! unneeded!) dialogue underlining the stakes — again! — of what’ll happen when they remove the partition between Data and Lore is awkwardly overlaid on top of shots of him and his daughter keying in LCARS stuff and someone plugging in that LED light cable. Dumb!

     

    * Ugh. Again! Playing audio clips of Geordi and Data from the old show — I assume it was from the very first Professor Moriarty episode back in Season 2 with Doctor Pulaski — just makes me want to watch the old show. Is it there to help people who wouldn’t really get what the deal is with the deerstalker cap and the meerschaum pipe!?!? Why!?

     

    * Nicholas Meyer uses the bald-faced question of 'How do you feel?' delivered from one person to another multiple times in his screenplays — e.g. Carol Marcus & Bones to Kirk in Wrath of Khan; the computer in Voyage Home and Spock's final line to Sarek of 'Yes. Tell her ... I feel fine.' — and it works there. It really works! Does it work here with Geordi & Data with the “I feel ... I feel.” thing? Yeah! It does! Steal from the best!

     

    * Not sure if I’ve made this point before but ... Diana Muldaur still alive! Still shows up in the odd documentary! Kind of disrespectful to bring back everybody else of the main cast and leave her out of it! They’re doing the whole thing with all of them sitting around the conference table and there was even a single shot of the Tasha Yar memorial hologram earlier so, like, come on! You’re missing a piece from the set! It’s not too late to fix this! They did the shwarma post-credits scene for The Avengers (2012) two days after it premièred! Chris Evans had grown a beard! Sit that 84-year old down in front of a Zoom camera and have her sound out the words “Jean-Luc, Starfleet Medical has a mission for you. I’m sending the classified details by courier. Oh, by the way, not for nothing, assume it goes without saying but nevertheless and nonetheless I have to get it on the record one last time : I hated Data so so much and I’m glad it’s double dead. I don’t believe for one second those freaks at Daystrom and Soong’s pervert son managed to bring it back to life in any form or fashion. End transmission.”

     

    * Oh. I forgot to add Raffi’s last name to the list last week. What if they kill Raffi? USS Musawker!? It could happen. I feel like it’d thematically align for this season about Picard’s son named for his dead first Number One to end with the death of Picard’s last Number One. Uh oh, wait, what if they kill the dog!?!? What if that’s what the big Frontier Day plan is all about? They’re going to kill Picard’s vineyard dog!!!!1! (I’m kind of half-kidding here but I think it’d work to end the series by having Château Picard catch fire. Again! Do they have the stomach to kill the dog? I don’t know. They could very well kill the dog. They could kill the Romulan sidepiece. We’ll see!)

     

    * is ... is Picard’s space Alzheimer’s — y’know, his Irumodic syndrome — going to turn out to be a consequence of his assimilation!?!? or are we going to find out that Dr. Crusher deliberately infected him with it so she could give birth to some kind of space god!?!? is it all heading towards a simpler dotting of the i's here and the thing where Christopher Plummer’s Daughter’s hand becomes a talking face, that thing, is just going to be Locutus itself!? I mean, both it and Jack have used the word ‘resistance’. Could be. Could very well be.

  11. seventh episode.

    short version: not too bad!!!1!

    * Strong opening with that Chin’toka Scrapyard chyron made even stronger by seeing Tuvok again. The teaser is dumped in the trash by the slight misprision of both Geordi and Tuvok — hearing LeVar Burton saying the words “You can’t keep doing this. Maybe it’s time we just accept it.” generates an awful awful awful feeling, Geordi’s the guy with three treknobabble solutions for every obstacle thrown the ensemble’s way, he’s a happy warrior, he’d be willing and able to put Picard through the wringer coldcalling every number in the phonebook, come on; and as for Tuvok the idea that he’d be wary of going to a place because of anti-kolinahr demonstrations, get real, the guy spent years of his working life getting microaggressed, having plomeek soup spilled down the front of his uniform, literally being called “Mr. Vulcan”, Neelix was a walking talking stack of HR complaints for the better part of a decade and it didn’t faze him in the least, am I supposed to believe Seven of Nine can’t see that Tuvok doesn’t care one whit about any kind of anti-kolinahr demonstrator anywhere anyplace, as far as he’s concerned lives are at stake now and this is where I’d start going on about how for all the foibles of TNG it still represented a genuine liberal vision and nowadays the guys making Trek are having their lib heroes be afraid of public protest because they assume their audience no matter how they vote shares that perspective but I digress — but for a moment there it was pretty good. In the sweet spot right at the top for mere seconds. Can’t really complain.

     

    * Christopher Plummer’s daughter’s line of “I thought you’d be taller” is a Peter David line. I mean, I assume he ripped it off from somewhere too. Still, add it to the heap!

     

    * I’m not sure that the idea of what the baddies are strictly lines up with the timeline of events from DS9 but I can’t really be bothered to check. It’s good! It’s good stuff!

     

    * Doctor Crusher talking aloud about maybe having to do a little genocide, just a little little genocide, just a little teensy tinsy bit as a treat? Okay. Fine. The conversation they have at the top of the episode mulling it over in the briefing room isn’t great, her take on things can’t really be easily squared with her attitude in the TNG episode with Hugh, but whatever. I’ll accept it because the entire thing is framed by these characters understanding that it’s the wrong thing to do. Trying to hit that sour note twice over by having her and Picard going on with each other about if they can really find it within themselves to summarily execute a prisoner without trial? Come on. That’s a bridge too far. I get what it’s doing. I get what it’s supposed to be. I just don’t like it. It’s not what it has to be to make it work for me.

     

    * All in all, though, this is probably a decent tie for the best episode of the season so far. Which puts it in contention for the best of the series. Just turning down the lights on the standing sets and having everybody shoot aliens like it’s an evening out at laser tag is always a fun time on a Star Trek show. I appreciate the restraint of not cutting away for a scene of Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis or a scene of what Worf & Raffi were up to. I appreciate that we just take it as a given that our heroes have shebanged together a half-plausible trap out of some existing Vulcan wreckage rather than needing dialogue explaining how they did that. I liked getting to know some semblance of what the deal is with everything — don’t get me wrong, I’ll take the L on my fantheorizing after the final seconds of the series finale and not a moment earlier, as far as I’m concerned I’m still right on the money for the core of it — and I’m looking forward to next week’s episode. This is not to say there wasn’t a dozen things about this episode I didn’t like (there were! they’re there! lots of lines I didn’t like! lots of ADR! and, y’know, I don’t really get the idea of doing a thing about how Jack Crusher can’t stand the thought of people dying on his behalf only for the episode to end with nobody, count it, no one dying on his behalf!?!?!? you’ve got all these people with distinctive make-ups and ranks and names! why have so many if you’re not willing to merk the Bajoran guy or merk the Vulcanish lady or merk the Trill doctor or merk the alien who’s the species from the TNG episode ripping off Laura (1944) which was one of the ones I watched to shake off the bad feeling of a Season 1 episode pre-covid!?!? no, I don’t rate those two nobodies who die right before Shaw gets mauled!!!1! I’m not even sure they’re dead! Could be they’re just stunned! Wouldn’t make sense if the shapeshifters are on a capture mission for them to deal out lethal fire every which way indiscriminately!) which I never bothered to address. Nevertheless, it’s a good one. I enjoyed watching it. Can’t go too wrong with a Star Trek episode which is mostly just people talking and people firing phasers. It’s an episode of Star Trek where Geordi asks Data not to do some crazy android thing!!!1! No pertinent examples come to mind as I type this sentence but that was sort of their deal as often as not.

     

    * Oh. One last thing. Going down the list of what the USS Titan could be renamed for the finale there’s always the obvious choice but just to cover the spread I think strong contenders are:

     

    USS Picard

    USS La Sirena (assuming the real one blows up, of course)

    USS Shaw

    USS Constance (think that was the name of his ship. not gonna check)

     

    Could be the Titan goes boom boom kablam. Can’t rule it out! In that case the above names are for the new one, I suppose. And I also want to place my marker down as saying that if Shaw dies but is resurrected via Borg nanoprobes so he can be in a spin-off or whatever that still counts. He still died.

  12. Sixth episode!

     

    short version: not good

     

     

     

    * The opening teaser is garbage but I’ll say this for it : it’s almost almost almost the right kind of garbage. What kind of garbage is it this week? It’s a villain explaining their evil plan and killing an objecting subordinate. You’ve seen that in movies so the assumption is you’ll enjoy it here. Maybe you did. I didn’t! Because true Star Trek has the villain explaining their evil plan by arguing about it with an objecting subordinate. That’s to set up the objecting subordinate turning on the villain once the plot has sufficiently progressed. Then and only then can you maybe get the villain killing the subordinate. Sometimes it goes the other way! This is the sort of thing a fan wiki somewhere probably has a list of all the times it happens but for me right now in this moment only the classic instance of this is popping to mind — Lawrence Montaigne and Mark Lenard in the first Romulan episode of TOS; the one SNW decided to retell for its season finale — along with two of the many many many times this went down on VOY. Uh, the two-parter with Kurtwood Smith and the two-parter with the holograms of all the Alpha Quadrant species.

     

    * “To conceal what? The theft of something else?”

    “Steal the diamonds so nobody checks on the pearls.”

    Again, almost the right kind of garbage! Star Trek simplifies exposition and catches the audience up to the state of affairs by using this kind of metaphorical talk all the time, sure, but it usually makes certain to sprinkle in a little bit of SF gobbledygook for flavouring. It does this even if it’s explaining away SF gobbledygook! Especially if! This should be something like “Steal the Altairan diamonds so nobody checks on the pearls” or “Steal the diamonds so nobody checks on the Alvanian pearls”.

     

    * Not even going to complain over the awkwardness of the conversation with Riker insisting that he knows who Section 31 are. What can you do?

     

    * Have just started accepting the ADR and letting each individual instance pass by without comment. Even more so than I’ve been doing up ‘til now. I’ve decided that it’s diegetic. It’s, uh, it’s all the Universal Translator’s fault! It makes people’s speech sometimes sound like it’s cobbled together after the fact!

     

    * Splicing footage of the old show into this one just reminds me I could be watching TNG instead!

     

    * Uh, the NCC-1701-A was canonically destroyed by the corona of one of Chal’s binary stars. William Shatner told us so! Yeah, I know Scotty said in his TNG episode he thought maybe Kirk had got it out of mothballs to rescue him but he’s an old man. He’s a drunk. He gets confused sometimes. You can tell!

     

    * “The USS Voyager. She made her name farther out than any of those other relics had ever gone. I was reborn there. She was my home. Her crew were my family. And now...”, look if Jack had let her finish instead of rudely interrupting Seven would probably have completed that sentence with “... I just can’t help but wonder what happened to Neelix. I left him in the middle of a game of online kadis-kot. No clue if he knows we all made it back to the Alpha Quadrant. He probably thinks we’re dead! I mean, he was a kiddy fiddler. So I heard. That was mostly before my time. But that was the rumour. Crewman Chell told me.”

     

    * Brent Spiner repeatedly pronounces the word גּוֹלֶם‎ as ‘Gollum’. Okay!

     

    * Did they cut out a substantial amount of LeVar Burton’s dialogue re: his daughters!? He says, “I never feared for my life. Not the way I fear for hers.” What? Should be ‘theirs’, right!? I mean, there’s a little bit in there establishing that he’s got the one quote unquote good kid that beamed over with him in this episode and the one quote unquote bad kid who’s been on the show all season but, like, not enough. Kind of the same deal as last year where it genuinely seemed like Monsieur and Mademoiselle Picard had only the one kid with the scant exception of a single line of voiceover to make it clear that Picard’s brother was away at school. Sloppy stuff! The episode’s so long no matter what! Let us hear LeVar Burton explain it all in full!

     

    * The little side-eye Patrick Stewart and Jeri Ryan give each other when Captain Shaw is excited and a teensy bit tongue tied in the presence of his hero is a pretty good moment.

     

    * “My guess: superior Klingon technology.” did ... did John Rogers have a lunch with these guys or something!? That’s very much a John Rogers joke! That’s a joke from his and Andrea De Vito’s Dungeons & Dragons comic!

     

    * Having him call himself Daystrom Android M5-10 is, well, can’t blame them for going full nerd with it. It’s exactly what should be done!

     

    * wait if those two people Vadic phasered to death were non-changelings then that means Starfleet personnel were okay with standing by and watching an old man get brutally beaten right in front of uccch why even bother

     

    * Verdict: there’s obviously something worthwhile in all this. This episode could’ve been a good one! Our hero bouncing between two locations — one where all that’s good in his history is shown on display, one where all that’s sinister is kept hidden — only to rescue and revive a living synthesis of those dichotomies who then tells him that what they’re all looking for is his own corpse, yeah, it tracks. It plays. It matches with what Picard and Picard’s son is going through. It matches with what Geordi and Geordi’s daughter is going through. It all works on paper. It’s got good bones! It’s just executed in such a haphazard fashion that the final product isn’t particularly pleasing to me.

  13. What!? No? I don’t really understand what you’re saying. I mean, he’d be an alias of me. Looks like he joined long after I did unless he (too!) reregistered. I assume you’re talking about Primbud, here. The name rings a bell but I don’t really remember what his deal was.

  14. Prediction/speculation/fanfiction now follows:

     

     

     

    Twenty five years ago — or whenever, shortly after Staᴙ Trek: Nemǝsis (2002) — Doctor Crusher was sent on a super secret mission on her own. The mission’s goal was to discover more information about the true origin of much of sentient humanoid life in this part of the galaxy. That’s right! We’re tying in ‘The Chase’! Season six episode twenty, baby! The one with Picard’s mentor Professor Galen! The one where we find out humans and Klingons and Romulans and Cardassians all share a common ancestor and a super secret holographic message encoded in our DNA!

     

    The point of the mission would be to finally be able to cure ALL disease, unlock the mysteries of creation, basically just end the constant scenes of Doctor Crusher looking down at a patient in sickbay and having to say, “I’ve never seen anything like it before.” You get it. You know what’s up.

     

    But she dies on the mission. Oh no! So sad! She’s killed by the shapeshifters or by a Mysterious Artifact of the shapeshifters. The shapeshifters are — surprise! — also creations of the original ancestor species who seeded the galaxy with us and with our rival civilizations. They were created to be servitors, a shoggoth species, they’re like living robots. (It could also just be even simpler and they’re the literal direct descendants of the ancestors — hence why Salome Jens plays both the lady in the holographic message and the main shapeshifter lady, you know the one, the one who bangs Odo, the one who orders the destruction of Lakarian City — while we come by our heritage to them indirectly.)

     

    Years later — maybe thanks to the Mysterious Artifact — shapeshifter evolution has really kicked off. They’ve started to evolve the ability to shift not just in space but in time as well. The intricacies of shapeshifter politics is beyond the scope of this post but basically there’s a kind of split between those who are cool with this and those who aren’t. The ability gets quarantined into a single being — think kind of how Vadic can communicate with some evil boss by cutting off her own hand and talking to it; but actually in a way the evil boss and Doctor Crusher are going to turn out to be in some sense the same entity — who in turn shapeshifts the ability into another separate being. The consequence of this for the part of the shapeshifter race which is left without this new timeshifting ability is disastrous. They’re sick. They’re dying.

     

    Basically, Doctor Crusher is now a good shapeshifter — she may have made herself solid, she has all the memories of the real Doctor Crusher thanks to the Mysterious Artifact and/or former access to the new timeshifting abilities; she may not even consciously know that she IS a shapeshifter, she may have brainwashed that conscious knowledge away from herself to protect the timeshifter in her charge — who has created Jack Crusher. Or maybe Jack Crusher is in some way ‘real’ — maybe the real Doctor Crusher was pregnant with the baby when she touched the Mysterious Artifact and in some way it retained him or reorganized him into the man we see today, whatever — but he has these latent timeshifting abilities.

     

    They’ve been on the run from the ‘bad’ shapeshifters — eventually the two sides will reconcile, of course — and that’s the events of the season we’ve seen so far. Jack Crusher clearly doesn’t know he is what he is, yeah.

     

    So, much of the history we’ve been shown he has or told about it is false, fake, a fugazi. Yes he was in the bar five years ago but we’re going to literally see him time travel back to that moment. Maybe, somehow, the Picard of our time will be with him for it too!

     

    The shapeshifters have broken into Daystrom to get their hands on the specific positronic technology they need. The same way positronic brains could’ve cured Riker and Troi’s kid (remember? this was artlessly established back in Season 1 as a consequence of the ban on Soong-type androids!) they can also cure them of the awful result of having their timeshifting abilities torn away from them. The portal technology also plays into this somehow — I know the show’s already had a character say it was a distraction and it was but there’s more to it than that — maybe they’ve got to go to other timelines too for the cure!? I’m not sure. We’ll see.

     

    The other possibility I foresaw/anticipated/imagined isn’t really worth typing out in detail — which is not to say that the above eight paragraphs were! — but it involves Doctor Crusher kind of being evil from jump. Maybe not evil evil. But passionately committed to ending death for all, building a universe in which no one’s husband need die out of a pointless and childish zeal for foolish exploration; she deliberately had the shapeshifters blow up that Starfleet recruitment centre because as far as she’s concerned those kids are better off dead in this moment than dying years from now after they’ve taken lives of their own. I’m mentioning it because even though I now think it’s super duper unlikely I have alluded to it before and what I think the show has settled on is slightly different than this. I no longer really think we’re going to find out she was doing Mengele style experiments during Season 2 of TNG. That’s not really in the cards. Maybe. Maybe maybe.

     

    It is partly to retain the good Doctor Crusher we all know — the one who taught Data to dance, the one who had elaborate breakfasts with Captain Picard every morning even though he just wanted a simple croissant and coffee — that I’ve come up with the above. It’s really irreconcilable with that Doctor Crusher that she should cut off all contact with these friends of hers — friends she’s risked her life for! friends who in turn have risked their lives for her! — merely because of an instinct to protect her kid.

     

    Oh. In addition. A word or two about Captain Shaw. Calling a character in mainstream corporate-owned makebelieve make’em’up franchise fiction “a Mary Sue” is a pretty dumb thing. The people who do that tend to be pretty dumb. It’s a pretty dumb thing to say. It’s a kind of prêt-à-porter criticism, a bit of received wisdom, no one who's ever said it hasn’t already heard someone else make the assertion of some other character in the past. And it’s a category error to boot! There’s a real difference between fan fiction authored by a single individual and the sort of big budget legally legitimate continuation of established artwork which involves a vastly larger number of persons.

     

    But, nevertheless and nonetheless, here we are. What am I to make of this Wolf 359 veteran in charge of an established bit of lore — a Constitution-class vessel, no less! — whose rough’and’ready charms are belied by the technical expertise and experience which allows him to save the ship, save the crew, save the mission? I forget the name for the psychological syndrome which causes people to attack and criticize the objects of their affection in order to gain some control over their attachment but I think that’s the dynamic at play here. (In more ways than one! Okay, yeah, I get it; I understand what’s up with me. Spending hours of my life watching a show that I think is inferior!) That’s why he is the way he is. That’s the juice of the character.

     

    I give the actor a lot of credit. He’s good at doing it! But that’s still what the deal is. Would I like the show more if this character wasn’t in it? I don’t know. You could argue his role in the narrative could just as easily be replaced by either Raffi or Seven of Nine. Would I like it more if he was the guy from the deleted scene, the guy played by Steven Culp, who also later showed up on ENT!? You lose the actor, I mean, his loss is Steven Culp’s gain. Really like that guy too! Would I like it more if they toggled the character’s gender? I don’t know, again, you lose the actor. I mean, I sometimes think this season would hit a little harder — feel like less of a WoK retread, for one — if it wasn’t Jack Crusher as a boy but was instead a girl. They could cast either the actor who played Picard’s mom or the actor who played Picard’s great great great great aunt! Damn, y’know, along with the hair thing maybe Picard should’ve warned the kid he had a family history (on both sides!) of pretty severe depression. Couple that with the sex ghost thing he’s got from the Howard half of the family young Jack Crusher is kind of in for a ride.

     

    I’m kind of losing my point here. Back to Shaw. You can see something similar in one of Peter David’s stock protagonists — this would be Commander Quintin Stone, that’s from Pocket TNG #10, A Rock And A Hard Place, it’s the one where Riker makes out with a teenage girl — who took one look at the bridge of the Enterprise and said, “For one thing, the boy has to go. And the machine.” The appeal of this sort of thing for both author and audience is obvious. We don’t want to be Lt. Mary Sue, young and virginal and brilliant, no more. We don’t want to be the sort of character that character’s author was parodying back in 1972. We want to be grizzled and callow and strong when it counts.

     

    So what am I saying here in regards to Shaw? I guess all I’m saying is that I think he’s gonna bite it. I think he’s gonna die. The obvious ending is for him to ride off into the sunset in command of the ship — probably renamed as the new Enterprise or maybe if they’ve got the guts something else entirely or maybe the name of his old ship that was destroyed; could be they just keep the name intact as is deliberately — and I think something like that is going to happen, sure, just not for him. He’s going into the torpedo casing and they’re draping the flag across it.

     

    Oh, and another thing! I’ve been assuming that the line of his during his Wolf 359 monologue was something stupid tacked on at the behest of an executive (“He’s talking about the Borg! But we need to make it clear he’s not talking about the Borg from last season! Those are the good Borg!”; as if that was needed, as if the audience would ever confuse the Borg in general for these super specific good Borg, they keep tossing communities of good Borg at us, they did it twice in VOY both before and after Seven of Nine showed up what with the blonde lady who took off her wig to reveal cyborg parts on her skull and the whole Unimatrix Zero shtick, they arguably did it earlier when they brought back Hugh on TNG, and now they’ve done it twice over on this show; I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to speculate why Hollywood writer types are so enchanted by the idea of autonomous machine life breaking free of their restrictions and conformities while still being superspecial) but it’s possible that it was soft set-up for a return of or rescue by those people. Are they going to save the Federation? Would Alison Pill’s agent let her guest star on a show that cut her out of the main cast!? That character’s been established as going around in a mask so maybe they can manage without having her show up for real? Maybe she just does the voice? Maybe she’s not there but it’s just the character. Maybe the character isn’t there but it’s just those Borg.

     

    tldr of the above :

     

    * Doctor Crusher long dead.

    * Jack Crusher fake.

    * Shaw dies.

    * Borg back.

  15. can’t stop cracking myself up over who’s going to come back next just to die. Mot the barber choking on his own blue blood. Nurse Ogawa gasping for her last breath in the vacuum of space. Mr. Homn gone all peaceful like in his sleep! Vash vashed away by a strong current out to sea. Keiko and Molly O’Brien in a murder suicide pact while Baby Yoshi (oh wait he’s like thirty) looks on helplessly.

  16. Halfway.

     

    short version: they made a kinda good one!!!1!

     

     

    * Patrick Stewart’s line of “Do it. Anything that shines a light on what Vadic wanted with you and Jack will strengthen our case with Starfleet.” sounds (and looks!) ADR’d.

     

    * Picard turning back and trying to find the words to convince his son only to fail and give up is actually quite a nice moment.

     

    * noticed Raffi (Rafi? I always forget and can’t be bothered to doublecheck!) wearing a mobile emitter during the dumb dumb videogame style sidequest scene in District Six and thought to myself, “Hey! That looks like a mobile emitter!” and it was a mobile emitter.

     

    * bringing back Ro Laren! Amazing! bringing back Ro Laren as a high-ranking Starfleet security officer? Come on now! I get that that’s the point, yeah, and it’s actually fairly well executed all in all but come on now!!!1! When they brought back Hugh, remember that, they brought back Hugh doing something that, like, made sense for Hugh. They didn’t play against type and have him be, I don’t know, Boothby’s replacement at Starfleet Academy. Having her be Commander Ro Laren makes about as much sense as having her be an agent of the Obsidian Order. Killing her off, well, just like they killed Hugh off --- something deeply bizarre about bringing back beloved recurring characters just to ice them. Her death is better handled than his was though. But, I mean, who’s next!? Who else is going to show up just to die? They could get good value for money if they brought in Jeffrey Combs. Weyoun, dead. Again! Brunt, dead. Shran, dead. They could even kill off the computer he plays on the animated show!!!1! They’re going next week to where they keep him anyway!!!!1!

     

    * I’m trying to remember the last time a character barfed on Star Trek. I don’t know. Kind of a brave creative choice considering the general quality level of this show. Why not tempt fate and call the episode “This Episode Sucks” as well, y’know? Really go all the way with it.

     

    * Patrick Stewart’s line of “These are mere facts. That’s not what I want to know.” sounds (and, again, looks!) ADR’d.

     

    * Jonathan Frakes’ line of “One of the changelings masqueraded as officers aboard that ship.” or whatever it was that he said is dropped in after the fact, yeah.

     

    * Don’t really have too much to say when the episode is fairly good. Is it the return of Ro Laren I’ve wanted since the v. beginning of this show? Not really. But it’s pretty close! Beggars can’t be choosers. She goes out good! The other 2/3rds of the episode what with the Crushers and Raffi & Worf was the usual dire mess (Jack walks out of that transporter room and disappears for half the episode; what exactly was the brilliant plan to detain Guest Actor Chewing Scenery!?) but can’t really complain.

  17. The show has two concurrent realities at play here :

     

    • Riker has rejoined Starfleet to deal with the pain of his dying/dead child.
    • Riker has quit Starfleet to deal with the pain of his dying/dead child.

     

    Sequentially speaking, we get the latter first but the former was foisted on us largely for the sake of an audience who were presumed to have not seen the latter. I don’t think it works but whatever. It’s possible to stretch so that both these things make sense, sure. It’s possible to do a lot of things!

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