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First off, the Enterprise refit/Enterprise-A has been and probably always will be my favorite of all time.  I totally agree that models filmed in the way you described still make the ships feel real more than CGI can.  I think modern Trek, has some awful designs.  I was not a fan of Trek 09's Enterprise, and the Enterprise-A was hideous.  I hate the Discovery, and La Sirena.  The Enterprise in SNW looks cool, probably because I think John Eaves helped design it. Not to be a canonista, though, I just can't wrap my brain around the Enterprise from The Cage going from that, to SNW, and then back again to what it looked like in Where No Man Has Gone Before. 

As for the Enterprise F, I too think it is odd they are decommissioning it.  It could mean they have a Enterprise-G waiting in the wings (for a new show, that would be awesome), or maybe they are going to refit it.  I've never played STO, so I don't know for sure, but I have seen some buzz online about how the E-F from STO looks different.  I have to wonder if they are just refitting the E-F, or retiring it altogether.  

In the ending credits, the LCARS display the Enterprise-A does indeed show up and so does Voyager (Speaking of Voyager, did you catch the model of the Voyager in Seven's quarters?).  In another shot in the ending credits,  they have space dock in the LCARS display with ships flying around it. One looks like a Connie.  I think these are teasers to come, and I hope they have these in the parade for Frontier day they seem to be teasing.  I will also totally geek out if we see the Enterprise A as a museum ship, and hope we see Voyager, and maybe even Enterprises B and E.  I also would love to see a Galaxy class ship.  We know it can't be the Enterprise-D, but how cool would it be if it were the Challenger that Alternate Future Geordi was captaining in the Voyager episode Timeless?  


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Third episode.


short version: still don’t like it but as always can’t help but hope for better




* Love to pay a random guy real $$$ to say a line, “This is your fault”, because you have no other way to underline the situation for the audience. People would work on the show(s) all the way from 1987-2005 playing random crewmembers and they’d get maybe one or two lines during all that time because that costs real $$$. Why not have Jack Crusher say something like this about himself to his mother only for her to correct him? Why spend that $$$? How does this random crewmember even know what’s going on!?!? Did I miss a scene where Captain Shaw broadcasts to the entire ship what the deal is with Jack Crusher? This random crewmember — I rescind my complaint if it turns out this guy was on the show before or was even the guy Crusher assaulted to get out of the brig, pretty sure it wasn’t him but the ol’ noggin ain’t what it used to be and I can’t say for certain, pretty sure we see that guy again outside Seven’s quarters and once again Jack attacks him, Seven calls him insane for it, kind of ableist but okay, sure, whatever; he also maybe could’ve been one of the people lined up in the hallway when Picard & Riker came aboard — heard Picard order lockdowns of the transporters and shuttlecraft and then the ship came under attack and he’s out there accusing some random guy every which way. That’s not very Starfleet of him! That’s not what Star Trek’s all about! The appeal of these shows is somewhat rooted in the fact that the people on the ship are by and large nice people, they’re nice guys, you tune in and suddenly every lonely child has an imaginary place where nobody’s bullied and they can think of themselves as walking down those corridors free of adolescent pain. What’s going on here? Why? Why once again do we have to see how the show just doesn’t get what Star Trek is at its core!? I get that the episode is trying to show us the cost in terms of the lives of these people, yeah, so it makes sense for some of them to say words aloud but it takes a little more than just having some random ensign say “Thank you” to Jack Crusher. This is all just monkey see monkey do with Wrath of Khan’s thing with “Is the word given?” without any understanding of why that moment and moments like it actually worked in that movie!


* The flashback isn’t too bad — doesn’t quite make sense in terms of what the show has established as the timing of when Picard became an admiral (he’s supposed to have left the Enterprise-E to go on a mission to save the Romulans with Rafi) vis-à-vis the timing of Riker and Troi’s kid being born but whatever, who cares, it makes emotional sense in context so it’s fine, it works, not worth complaining about —but the de-aging stuff on this show always make these people look like they’ve had their faces retouched with Kai’s Power Goo. When we see them in the darkened shadows of the bar it’s fit to purpose but any time we get a good look at Patrick Stewart or Jonathan Frakes head on it just doesn’t do the job.


* The scene with Seven and Junior LaForge (“This sounds rehearsed”) is pretty good stuff!


* The scene with Picard and Beverly is pretty good too! Still assuming that Jack Crusher #2 is a clone or an android or made of bio-mimetic gel or a hologram or an isomorphic projection. Casparia (sp?) Prime — which I think is one of the franchise’s occasional vacation planets, pretty sure multiple Daxes considered it for honeymoons, not going to go to the wiki to check — must have the same magic restorative energy field that Riker & Troi’s planet Nepenthe has been established as having or whatever. Honestly, if they’d juggled the timeline properly in the first place and had the forethought to lay the groundwork for this in Season 1 they could’ve just had Picard & Crusher boink after the dead Riker kid’s funeral which would really connect the dots here on every level.


* “It seems accusatory stares are contagious.”

“People have a right to know who or what they’re putting their lives on the line for.” Ugh! Don’t much like this scene w/Riker and Jack.


* Explaining the accent is ... well, can’t fault the show for doing that. Always a question why the most British man alive is supposedly French — something the show’s addressed in the past by having Picard’s ancestors leave France for England because of WWII — but bringing any attention to the question of what these people sound like inevitably raises problems with what the Universal Translator is, how it functions, et cetera et cetera ad nauseam. Feels to me like I’ve made this exact point before! Uh oh!


* “Our survival is the only thing that matters. I’ve placed the crew of this ship under unnecessary danger.”

Honestly, it kind of hurts to hear Jean-Luc Picard — liberal society’s ultimate exemplar of patrician values, a man genuinely committed to the greater good (but at what cost!? oh no if only there were dozens upon dozens of episodes of television where Jean-Luc Picard has to answer that very question!), someone who has demonstrated over so many stories that he just does not believe these things — say this stuff. Jean-Luc Picard saying the words “We can not allow it to make us weak”?! I mean, awful! Maybe I’m just being a baby over it. It’s obviously going to hurt more to watch the guy die. And, yeah, of course, this is just him going through his arc. At the end of the season he’s going to realize how survival isn’t the ONLY thing that matters and how all the dangers were necessary, how we don’t have a choice about our fear of loss making us weak or strong or whatever but it’s a matter of what we choose to do with that fear, with that weakness, with that strength, yeah, I get it. It’s still dumb to have to hear Sherlock Holmes or whomever talk about how little mysteries mean to him. How many times did the Enterprise and all its crew put their lives on the line — not just their own, but the lives of all the civilians on board! mostly they wouldn’t even separate the saucer section and would just plow straight through towards the danger! — for one or two people? A lot, right? Do the people on the Titan just hate doctors? Hey, kids, you know who it makes sense for these idealized future people to despise merely in order for Jack to have some measly meagre conflict this week --- foreign aid workers! Médecins Sans Frontières!


* Anybody het up over Jonathan Frakes dropping in a “God knows” — assume it maybe wasn’t in the script, these dumb dumbs tend to keep that out, I think there’s an anecdote about Jason Isaacs on STD where he said something like “Oh my god” and one of them told him not to, this was before the character was established as coming from the Mirror Universe which would actually have made his momentary departure from Federation quasi-atheism kind of neat in retrospect — ought to remember Riker’s classic line. Something like “God protects fools, little children, and ships named Enterprise” if memory serves. From an early season. Might even have been Season 1. Not going to check.


* I like that prop gun!


* Between the unnecessary flashbacks and the (dumb!) need to assuage an audience completely unfamiliar with Worf’s whole deal — seems like Michelle Hurd’s “You’re Starfleet!?” line and the stuff surrounding it is there to let elderly baby boomers who never saw a single TNG episode or movie slowly ease themselves into the idea of a Klingon being a good guy — this scene with Worf & Rafi is pretty bad!


* “There is something coming. I have known it for a while.” Can’t find the Tweet of the guy making a joke about how every kids’ movie has a guy saying something like this but that’s the level we’re at here. That’s the quality of the dialogue. Yes, I know it’s deliberately undercut moments later. I hear the music too. That’s what this whole dumb scene is doing, over and over again! For all that, it still doesn’t even bother to properly sell the moment when Worf decides to keep Raffi on! There’s a teeny tiny smirk from Michael Dorn mid-conversation and that’s it!?!? It goes by so fast it’s barely noticeable! And then later on they do the Predator (1987) handshake and he calls them partners? Dumb! Not well executed in total!


* “Imaging doesn’t always pick up delayed bleeding from concussive injuries.” Kind of feel that what with the LCARS screens fritzing from the Nebula it’d have been slightly better to directly address this as an aftereffect of the environment but whatever. It’s good enough that she’s showing up that Trill doctor (parenthetically, this show thinking that it can make the whole thing feel more like Star Trek just by occasionally throwing some familiar make-ups at the audience like it’s that episode of VOY where they put a bunch of Alpha Quadrant species on screen for the hologram two-parter is something that just doesn’t work for me; I can understand why they’d try it and it’s a good effort but it’s not having the intended result for me, could be I’m alone in this though) who was putting down her inexperience with modern sickbay technology in their previous scene together.


* Patrick Stewart’s “Now is the time to fight” line sounds ADR’d.


* We don’t get the M’talas Prime chyron the first time we see the planet this episode, we didn’t get it when we saw the planet last episode, but we do get it again for the second time this season once we’re back there for the second time in this episode. Okay? Why?


* Okay, the “Connect the branches” stuff combined with the portal technology is setting us all up for a dumb dumb multiverse thing. This is how they’re going to get to drag in every jot and tittle of TNG into the season. Dumb!


* omigosh are we getting a new Dominion story? I don’t think we are, yeah, I think they’ve just larded in that stuff (Thomas Dekker spitting out the word ‘solids’ sounded ADR’d; most of Worf’s big speech referencing Odo and the like was voiceover) after they had a big brainwave to put shapeshifters — also from Nicholas Meyer stuff! Rebbetzin Bowie in VI! — into the story, Jack’s probably a changeling, Beverly’s a changeling, the instinct to have the aliens be shapeshifters comes from a similar indeterminacy which makes the multiverse stuff such a temptation for these people. And yet, nevertheless and nonetheless, I am honestly tempted to retract any and all criticisms both prior and future if they actually do tell a story about a revanchist Dominion faction.


* Jonathan Frakes’ final line of “Remove yourself from the bridge. You’ve just killed us all.” is ADR’d and is there because they didn’t properly lay out the stakes of what falling into the gravity well would mean earlier in the episode during the conversation with the bald Vulcan-ish lady regarding it. Like, really!? Riker’s going to tell Geordi’s kid that she’s going to die? He’s going to tell this entire bridge full of kids that they’re dead! Come on!


* I think there’s maybe something there in trying to work out how tell a spaceship battle story that isn’t the same thing we’ve seen a thousand times before — the thing with using the tractor beam to throw the ship last week, the thing with using the portal to have the fired torpedoes hit the Titan, yeah, I get it — but it never really hits home. These aren’t models. This isn’t the eighties. It takes the same amount of effort to do this as it takes to do anything else. Who cares? Not me!


* Yeah, I’m sure all these people love Star Trek. They love Star Trek so much!!!1! It brings tears to their eyes how much they love it! A bloo bloo bloo!!!!1! Like the glutton loves his lunch and like Lennie loves his rabbit these people love Star Trek. None of them loved Star Trek enough to ever crack open one of the pieces of licensed expanded universe prose fiction — whichever specific one doesn’t really matter, just grab one off the shelf at random, Kirsten Beyer could’ve just taken a look at her own work or shared it with the rest of ‘em — and take notice of the fact that Star Trek stuff kind of falls apart if you remove it from the confines of existing as a sequence of self-contained yet subtly interlinked workplace dramedies (or, yeah, the very very very occasional movie) and instead try to tell a long long long loooong Star Trek story with the aid of an infinite canvas.


You’d think doing that would make Star Trek better but it makes it worse. Is there a direct one-to-one comparison between jumping mediums and jumping formats? Maybe not. Yet I can’t help but think the show would be a lot better if the people who made it were forced — forced! — at gunpoint to read A Time To Be Born by John Vornholt and then had to read A Time To Die also by John Vornholt and then had to read A Time To Sow by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore and then had to read A Time To Harvest also by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore and then had to read A Time To Love by Robert Greenberger and then had to read A Time To Hate also by Robert Greenberger and then had to read A Time To Kill by David Mack and then had to read A Time To Heal also by David Mack and then had to read A Time For War, A Time For Peace by Keith R.A. DeCandido. And then had to do it again.


These characters exist in interrelationship to one another and to the circumstances of the story that’s being told with them in it. Trying to tell a solo Jean-Luc Picard thing is a hard thing. Trying to tell three solo Jean-Luc Picard stories each of which takes place over 10+ hours — like it’s Sátántangó (1994)! like it’s co-directed by Jacques Rivette! — is a really really hard thing.


Generally speaking, that sort of thing is not an out and out impossibility. You can tell a solo Jean-Luc Picard story! It just has to be about how there’s no such thing as a solo Jean-Luc Picard story. You can read the first few issues of Hickman & Eaglesham’s Fantastic Four run as them telling a solo Reed Richards story all about how there’s no such thing as a solo Reed Richards story. It was three issues long. It wasn’t thirty issues long! You can watch an episode of STD where the Jean-Luc Picard of that show spends the whole episode isolated from the main cast/crew and it works okay enough. But it’s a single episode — actually, hold the fort, it might have been two, not going to check — and not a whole season.


The more room you have to manoeuvre — you have a series of novels! you can do anything! you have a whole ten episodes of TV with a huge budget and modern SFX possibilities at play! you can do anything! — the worse Star Trek is. It sounds freeing but all that freedom just gives you a mess. References don’t land, semantic interconnection doesn’t cohere, you think you’re so cool for dropping a hint or a homage and it just muddies the waters and makes the whole thing bad.


Some of the best episodes of Star Trek (also, uh, some of the worst too, not gonna lie) came about because there wasn’t enough money for them to do their usual tricks and they had to fix up something on the fly. Oh no! No money for sets this week! Okay, just use the money we have for costumes and have it all take place on the ship and bring in a guest star we know is good to play Spock’s dad! Done! And, yeah, the best episodes of Star Trek weren’t really about elbowing me in the ribs and trying to remind me of better bits and pieces of Star Trek. The best episodes of Star Trek had their limits and worked within them. That episode of VOY where there’s a suicidal Q and they have to decide whether or not he has the right to die doesn’t get any better because they roped Jonathan Frakes in for a pointless cameo! That made the episode worse!


Do I have a point? Not sure. Do these people love Star Trek? They say they do and I have no choice but to take them at their word. But do these people love television? I watch this show on Thursdays and also watch the new Poker Face too. It’s an awful thing to watch an hour of this show and then watch an hour of Poker Face. Terrible! Sometimes there’s even a Star Trek connection — Tim Russ was in one, it’s one of the great ones, the fourth episode was great, the sixth episode was great, he was in the eighth episode — and that really highlights the difference in quality between these two shows. I ask again, do these people love television? Well, what is it your Bible says about knowing people by their fruits? If this is the fruit of your love for Star Trek and the fruit of your love for television then what is your love worth? Oh well. I suppose everybody has to get the bills paid somehow!!!1!

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Kai's Power goo? DEEP CUT to 90s era photoshop.

20 hours ago, Zathras said:

 I just can't wrap my brain around the Enterprise from The Cage going from that, to SNW, and then back again to what it looked like in Where No Man Has Gone Before. 

I think we're supposed to assume that Disco and SNW are what it always looked like, and that they are  just a visual update with modern sensibilities. Of course, that doesn't hold up to scrutiny given that DS9 and ENT both showed the TOS era as it was originally seen. 

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1 hour ago, Tank said:

Kai's Power goo? DEEP CUT to 90s era photoshop.

I think we're supposed to assume that Disco and SNW are what it always looked like, and that they just a visual update with modern sensibilities. Of course, that doesn't hold up to scrutiny given that DS9 and ENT both showed the TOS era as it was originally seen. 

1 hour ago, Darth Krawlie said:

Yeah that goes a bridge too far for me to worry about though. As you said, it's a visual update with modern sensibilities. Sometimes you just gotta let things go, things can't always line up perfectly.

To each their own but I take my Star Trek seriously, though.  I don't mind visual updates, but just call it a different timeline/reality/dimension/continuity or whatever.  That would not bother me in the least.  I just don't like it when they double down and insist it is the same continuity as TOS.  

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On 3/3/2023 at 3:45 PM, Zathras said:

To each their own but I take my Star Trek seriously, though.  I don't mind visual updates, but just call it a different timeline/reality/dimension/continuity or whatever.  That would not bother me in the least.  I just don't like it when they double down and insist it is the same continuity as TOS.  

Disco is going away, and after Picard3 I am guessing they are going to recognize what people want is a continuation of the prime Trek universe. So hopefully all will feel right for you.

Though I won't lie, the Lower Decks SNW crossover is something I am looking forward to.

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Fourth episode.


short version : still bad but got good toward the end




* “Deanna, as you know, feels everything. But she couldn’t live with me feeling nothing. And neither could I. Which is why I left. And I came here. I was running from this - <gestures> - only to find it again.” Jonathan Frakes is world class but not even he can sell this garbage. Riker was hanging out making pizza with his daughter for years and then just decided to up sticks and leave because he was feeling nothing that whole time!? He seemed pretty happy with the pizza! So did Deanna who, AS YOU KNOW, feels everything! They’re trying to sell it as a consequence of their son’s death!?!? Wait, is Riker going to turn out to be evil too? Is he a changeling? I mean, why can’t they just keep it simple and have him say something halfway normal, like, “Sorry I snapped at you earlier boss man but I guess on some level I blame you for showing up on my doorstep in Season 1. That was the catalyst for putting me back in the chair on the Zheng He, the new flagship, and living that Starfleet life once more. Disagreements over that with my wife, you know my wife, you’ve met my wife, my wife used to sit next to you at work, well, it all kind of ended up bringing out a lot of stuff in my marriage which I thought was long resolved. My wife was kind of going through that thing Betazoid women do in late middle age — this is canon — where her sex drive ramps into overdrive and she needed me around. She needed that Riker loving! She had to have it. Look, long story short, dead kid, yeah, but my wife banged my transporter clone. My wife’s been banging my transporter clone for years! Turns out Kestra’s a Riker but she’s not even mine. I’m cool with it, you know how I do, I’m a total freak, but why couldn’t she have let me know about it? My wife, Deanna, as you know, she feels everything. Why couldn’t she feel that I’d be down? Many questions. In any case, boss man, you should probably talk to your kid. No, not the Tom Hardy clone. No, not Jason Vigo. You should talk to the kid Beverly made. You remember Beverly. Beverly, as you know, is a doctor.” Okay, maybe it should be a lot more normal than that. But my point is that the show can’t seem to find a happy medium between the need to respect established source material — I’m not just talking about the minutiae of what happened when to who decades ago, I’m talking about the core of who these people are AND what we’ve seen happen to them on this very show itself — and the need to keep things emotionally grounded. We’ve already had Riker return to us after years and years and they’ve shown us what his deal is! You can’t go switching up the deal because it’s convenient, because it’s cleaner, because it plays a little straighter. Not when doing so means you’ve inadvertently turned Riker into a guy who’ll duck out on his living kid and his living wife because his dead kid died fifteen years before. I mean, I wasn’t sitting here hankering for more explanation of why Riker and Troi had a falling out. They addressed it in the first episode! That was all that was necessary! I don’t know. I thought the thing with him trying to leave her a message and their final conversation was fairly good, fairly on point, it was just the beginning that felt real sloppy.


* I don’t really buy that Picard in his dotage would regularly make the trip from France to Los Angeles to hang around in Guinan’s bar but all he says is, “This is a place of real significance for me”, so maybe it’s just that the last time he really let his guard down a fraction of an inch with young stranger(s) is when he dished during the flashbacks!? Or on a subconscious level he knew all along why he had to choose this place!? Perhaps it’s all the fun times we’ve seen him have in this dumb bar, finding out how Cristóbal Rios met his death in this dumb bar, I don’t know. Everything they go through in this scene to justify the setting is pretty dumb. I thought the final twist towards the very end of the episode was pretty dumb! Could’ve just had someone turn to the camera and say aloud the words, “We love shooting in this dumb bar. We hope you’ll go to Star Trek Wines Dot Com and buy some of the very fine products seen on screen being imbibed in this dumb bar. If you live in the state of Colorado or the state of Mississippi or the state of Missouri or the state of Texas you need to move quick quick quick because we can not ship these fine products to you due to state regulations. But before you move please go to Star Trek Spirits Dot Com and buy some Romulan Ale Rye Whiskey or some Romulan Ale Vodka! And you may ask yourself : does it make sense for an ale to be a whiskey or a vodka? Well, buddy, it makes as much sense as having a twenty six episodes per season procedural dramedy be reconfigured into a ten episodes per season prestige show! Shhhhhh! Drink your ale whiskey and your ale vodka and pretend it’s a movie! It’s a movie that’s ten hours long!” Ucccch. What can I say? I liked the wine bit, liked the hair bit, liked how we saw Jack avoiding the question of why he chose not to reach out to his father and instead telling a stupid story — number appropriate showrunner namedrop included! — which trails away into silence.


* Seven of Nine saying she’s never encountered changelings before, uh, well, I suppose it makes a little sense. Usually her character would’ve rattled off something like “Species 4814” with accompanying exposition but I get it, she didn’t fight in the Dominion War, that wasn’t her show, it’s been a long time and the character’s been established as really changed since the VOY days, sure she’s had plenty of involvement with Species 8472 and the like but obviously that’s different and I suppose we’re just going to push all of that by the wayside and have her be who she is now. Okay, fine. I mean, little of what was described this week or last week of changeling modus operandi actually really fits exactly with what was on DS9 but who cares? Not me.


* “Ten fucking gruelling hours.” Hah!


* Shaw’s Wolf 359 diatribe is pretty good on a lot of different levels (not the least of them being that it’s ten lives in the lifepod which is a kind of metatextual statement; this story being the successor for the previous story, the ten fucking gruelling hour story) and all in all is pretty well done — you could argue DS9 did it better in the series premiere but whatever, plenty of meat on that bone; it works really well here partly because it makes it clear that Picard’s guilt over the beginning of this series is just sublimated pain from Wolf 359 which is of course just Picard’s original sin writ large, the death of Jack Crusher, the deaths of all those under Picard’s command or wearing Picard’s uniform — yet it’s nearly ruined by awkwardly dropping in a dumb line referencing last season and closing with him ... completely not getting the deal with what Locutus was!?!?


* having Jack Crusher quote Jack Sparrow!? Come on!!!!1!


* did they ... did they take the inspirational speech to convince Riker and split it unevenly between Beverly and Picard?


* Can’t fault ‘em for doing an act break on the final line from “City on the Edge of Forever”. They maybe owe Peter David a cheque — for a lot of reasons, sure, the rock monster girl from the kids' show is from a species he invented — because he had Riker reuse that line in one of his books so I can sort of fault them for not paying out that money. But not for doing it in the first place. That’s a temptation which can’t really be avoided. (Oops! I did a Google Books search through that book from — uh oh — 1992 and actually Data is the one who says it. But he’s just finishing Riker’s sentence when he does so. I still think it counts.) I do think once you’re doing this it’s then too much to have Riker do the whole “boldly get the hell away from here” afterwards once they’ve cleared the Nebula. Give that line to someone else instead!


* wait, did Riker know there’s a changeling aboard when he made that shipwide address to the entire crew!? Either he did and it was part of the plan all along — which would make the scene with Shaw and Seven where Seven commbadges Riker superfluous — or he didn’t and everybody who knew kept this information from him!? Or he knew and just ... forgot about it until Seven commbadged him!? Put people in danger for no reason? You know what : I’m going to err on the side of caution and guess this complaint isn’t valid. I’m the one who’s forgetting what was and wasn’t established last week, after all.


* With the exception of the dumb dumb “omg Jack Crusher was in that bar the whole time” thing I thought the episode’s final piece came together okay enough. Don’t want to damn it with faint praise, though, it was probably the best fifteen minutes all season. Love to watch people in a spaceship fix a problem and fly away! Even in bad episodes of VOY and ENT and sometimes on STD you get to watch people in a spaceship fix a problem and fly away!!!!!1! The kids on the animated show for kids and the kids — I guess I think of Boimler and the rest as kids since they’re only a few years out of Starfleet Academy and I’m oh no oh no oh no I’m so old I’m only going to keep getting older how did this happen — on the animated show for grups all fix problems in their spaceships and fly away! A lot of the fun of SNW is they’re people in THE spaceship fixing the problem and flying away. Can’t get enough of it.

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I just knew Shaw must have been at Wolf 359.  Unlike TOS where things get hand-waved or forgotten, I like how ST Picard in particular, but Star Trek as a whole, has always reminded us that Picard was Locutus. I also like that while a hero to most, there are still people who remember Locutus none-to-fondly, like Sisko and Shaw.   Man did Picard really look ashamed when Shaw went off on him.  This scene worked because Shaw had a legit beef with Picard, unlike Admiral Sheer-Fucking-Hubris from season 1, where you didn't know what her problem was. 

I also like what they did with Jack Crusher asking Picard if he had ever had a family, and Picard smugly (and not knowing it was his own son) said Starfleet was the only family he needed.  That is somewhat of a callback to Q Who when Q forces Picard to admit his smugness in that he needed Q before the Borg caught up to the Enterprise-D.  I like that because it shows Picard has an ego and can be wrong sometimes. 


It is so good to be looking forward to Star Trek every week again!  SNW notwithstanding (I like that show just fine), I haven't felt this way about Star Trek since the early 2000s!

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Regarding Riker in Picard Season 1 compared to Season 3. I think Riker and Troi were putting on a brave face when Picard came to visit at their home. Even in Season 1 Riker quickly up and leaves his family and shows up in the finale to help Picard. I think it fits with Season 3 pretty well. 

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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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Ro! That was awesome. If she came back, who else might we get? Barclay? Pulaski? I’m not serious of course but that was a really nice surprise. 

I really hope Shaw, the best new Star Trek character in forever, doesn’t end up being a changeling. Same with Jack or any of the original TNG characters.

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That was an awesome episode, Jacob!  More Starship porn! Ro!  Mutated Changelings! A Vulcan gangster! I guess being logical doesn't always mean you are good.  

I am calling it right now....Jack has super borg blood from Picard, which is causing him to see bloody spiderwebs and kick ass.  

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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.

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If the end credit easter eggs continue to pay off-- my guess is that the next move after hearing the whole fleet could be compromised-- they need ships and people they can trust. They're going to go to Geordi's museum and get the Enterprise-A, The Voyager, and the Excelsior and stack up more cameos to throw a fleet together.

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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.

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I think they missed an opportunity to make the Titan's doc Alyssa. That would have been cool.

My guesses as to who will show up:

Janeway (she's been referenced multiple times)



Hologram Sulu

A recast younger/hotter Dax.

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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.

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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.

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