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The Human Adventure Continues: Talking About Star Trek

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Finally watched another DS9

Inquisition

I feel like DS9 and TNG has hit the note of this episode before but nonetheless this is a very strong episode. It helps a lot that through all the twists and turns it smartly keeps almost exclusively to Bashir's POV, something that I remember could have goose some previous episodes of DS9 and TNG that were also about messing with a character's mind. This also feels heavily influenced by the Prisoner, which is always a good thing. Mind games, cruelty and reality itself being questioned. That's the good stuff. It is also leading to a larger story in the series, which I'm a bit indifferent to but if it leads to more "what's real" Prisoner-esque stories, I'm in.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
I'm nearly done with season 3 of ENT, so I will wait for that, to write about it. But before I forget, I sort of love the weirdly pointless dialogue, where we learn that, yes, it IS impossible for Humans and Vulcans to make children. Except that we have this Mad Doctor right here, who can totally make it possible.

I totally believe that Phlox can do that, and everything else.

I know that there will be some Mirror Universe stuff. I can't help but imagine Phlox meeting his equally nice and good-humored counterpart and do some fun experiments together. Until Phlox realizes that they do awful stuff to living people, when he does some Mad Science and saves the day.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Well, I'm done with S3 of Enterprise. I enjoyed it a lot. Definitely can see, why so many people think it's better than the first two seasons, with a lot of really good episodes, that ask hard questions and have harder answers.

I liked that the overarching story was mainly used as a framework, while having still many episodes that felt episodic. It's by now my favourite kind of setup for continuous storytelling within a single season.

also went to really dark places. Archer has a hard job here, and the stress makes him do pretty horrible things. Even at the start, when he torments the guy by nearly killing him in the airlock. Wouldn't have thought he had it in him to do stuff like that. And stuff like creating a clone, just to sacrifice him or stealing the warp thingie is pretty hard to take.

One of the most fascinating moments was, when Archer had one of the council and his crew as prisoners, and gaslighted him. This is normally something that our main characters have to deal with from the other side, as prisoners. Seeing it being done BY them was just weird and off, but also very interesting.


I liked Malcolms storyline with the soldiers, the few episodes it came up. That was a nice, little mini-arc for him, and I found it pretty funny, when he and the soldier guy had a fight, and Archer chewed them out.

The Xindi are a cool race, and I would love to see more of them. I don't think I ever will, but the idea of having five different species get to high intelligence is a cool idea, and would offer more opportunities for interesting stories. I think my favourite are the aquatic ones.

The way the conflict was solved was nice. With all the things Archer has done here, the show still remembered that it was Trek, and provided enemies that aren't just evil, but could be swayed to stop the aggression. I mean, I'm not sure that I think Archer didn't step over the line, but it is also very hard to say. He had a very hard and stressful job, and in the end, the Federation doesn't exist yet. Maybe that means it is built on slightly shaky grounds, but he just is the first one, who is out there.

Something I really liked was seeing old T'Pol. She seemed calmer, more relaxed, and just plain satisfied and maybe a bit happy. Something we never see T'Pol normally be, because she controls her emotions. It was just nice, seeing her having emotions and dealing with them in a healthy way. I mean, maybe I'm reading her older self wrong, but it just seemed to me like she was in a better place on the whole..

All that said, I still think I prefer the first two seasons. This one was well done, but it isn't really what I want to see when I watch Star Trek. Which is fair, and I won't critizice Enterprise not for going that route. But watching Star Trek, when the captains are there to actually explore, makes me happy. I always fall back on comparing it with DS9, because that, too, went into very dark places. But I think the crew there helps a lot with this. And while the characters really came into their own, they just aren't as well done as DS9s crew. Which is ok, ENTs crew is fine, and I enjoy seeing them by now. It's just not enough to get me over the darkness, we go through here. At one point, Archer says something like "Remember, when we were explorers?", which is pretty similar to what Sisko says, at some point (I think. Or was it Picard, in the new show?).

Also, before I forget to mention, I do realize that I'm unfair against Trip. I know that he is a very good guy, and does his best to help his colleagues. It's a purely personal thing, I think the actor just reminds me too much of a dudebro guy. Which is unfair of me, but sometimes, there are just antipathies, for no good reason. I know that he is a fine guy.

I want to end this by saying that I think I have a crush on Phlox. I'm just always happy to see him, and I would love to sit down and eating something with him, while he tells me about stuff from his homeplanet or some discovery of his, and just cheer me up by being so positively upbeat.

And, considering how much joy I get out of seeing the Andorian captain, I guess I have a crush on him too, or something. It makes me absurdly happy to see him on screen. No idea why, I just love him. I mean, I do think he is a pretty well realized character, and even if he is not to be trusted completely, he does help when he is needed. Dunno, it seems like he takes joy in being kind of a jerk.

I'm looking forward to season 4, and I am sure the Gorn will disappoint me. Because, for whatever reason, since I read that a (the?) Gorn appear in S4, I wanted to see it, and I don't even know why. But I'm here for setting up the Federation (which is always nice to hear, when the guy from the future mentions it) and also learning about that weird Klingon nonsense.

That said, I hope the first mini-arc doesn't take too long. I just don't care for a storyline that plays during WW2. Just don't care at all about that setting, and I'm getting a bit tired of time travel shenanigans. But I'm sure it will still be fun, so whatever.
 
I largely support all of your takes Felix, glad you ended up having a good time with Season 3. It is dark, but I think within context it was appropriate and also something the show needed to do. Season 3 happened a year or so removed from 9/11, and both that event, and the US's degenerate response to it hung over the world as the 900lb gorilla in every room. By my money, ENT S3 was the best post-9/11 reaction and it's a shame the rest of the world didn't heed the lessons of it and were instead obsessed with revenge porn like 24.

At one point, Archer says something like "Remember, when we were explorers?", which is pretty similar to what Sisko says, at some point (I think. Or was it Picard, in the new show?).
Picard said it in Star Trek: Insurrection. The context was that they were in the middle of the Dominion War and he was doing diplomatic busywork to support the war effort.

And, considering how much joy I get out of seeing the Andorian captain, I guess I have a crush on him too, or something. It makes me absurdly happy to see him on screen. No idea why, I just love him. I mean, I do think he is a pretty well realized character, and even if he is not to be trusted completely, he does help when he is needed. Dunno, it seems like he takes joy in being kind of a jerk.
He's a big personal fave, and I feel pretty confident in saying that we're not alone. Jeffery Combs is a great character actor who can chew at the scenery like no other. He played the Vorta commander Weyoun and the Ferengi Liquidator Brunt in DS9 as well. And his B-horror movies in the 80s are freaking insane.

That said, I hope the first mini-arc doesn't take too long. I just don't care for a storyline that plays during WW2. Just don't care at all about that setting, and I'm getting a bit tired of time travel shenanigans. But I'm sure it will still be fun, so whatever.
It's only 2 episodes. And it's also
a good bookend to the Temporal Cold War, and after that you'll never hear of time travel shenanigans in ENT again

What's fun with the MACOs is that Idris Elba in Beyond would have likely served on the NX Enterprise
FUN
Imagine being a MACO and watching a man of principle like Jonathan Archer save the galaxy through understanding and diplomacy, only to decide eff that, let's blow everything up.
 
He broke bread with the enemy!

As for Shran - oh MAN do I love Combs in all his myriad Trek roles, and frankly, any movie he has been in. He is so great at this smarmy, polite yet condescending superiority. Weyoun's last scene in ds9 is chef kiss.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
I think Shran is actually my favorite Combs Star Trek role. Feels like he just gets more to do in Enterprise than anything in DS9.
 

Fredde

Citizen of Gotham
Shran is a great character, but I'm relieved that someone who refers to humans as "pinkskins" never interacted with Mayweather.
 
Shran is a great character, but I'm relieved that someone who refers to humans as "pinkskins" never interacted with Mayweather.
Good point, but it honestly could have been a really good learning moment about intolerance and prejudice to have Shran confront the diversity of humanity and that there are relatable people with valid emotions and perspectives behind skin tones he fixates on.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
In the Pale Moonlight - All I knew going in was that is was one of the highest regarded episodes and now I know why. This is definitely among my favourite episodes and do what I think the show does best: challenge the values that the franchise was built on why still finding importance in those values. In this case, it makes the episode a nuanced and complex tragedy and while some episodes come down hard on one side of ends v. means, this one says that it can be really hard to know at times, especially when the stakes are so high. Its the darkest that the show has ever pushed Sisko, a character who has managed to compartmentalize a lot of stuff and now makes him both directly and indirectly responsible for horrible stuff with results that give hope to the Federation. A+.

His Way - Ooh, this is kind of a let down after that. Its not even a completely "bad" episode, just a very silly one that isn't particularly strong and also feels like characters should be taking a 1960s lounge singer's ability to hijack communication channels and manipulate people on board more seriously. It also doesn't help that I never was really interested in pairing Odo and Kira romantically, but even beyond that, the holo-cupid aspect of the episode didn't work for me.

The Reckoning - This episode was pretty good. I mean, you watch "In the Pale Moonlight" in the same evening, its hard to compete. But still, a strong episode. Its also a lot to take in that it was Kai Winn's lack of faith and ambition that "saved the day" at the cost of a golden age for the planet. I think, though not as pointedly as the episode where Sisko almost let himself die, shows that Sisko's new faith is both kind of scary in an "Abraham almost kills his son" kind of way. It also brings up what I feel Sisko should be mentioning more: its kind of hard to say how much the Prophets do or do not care about people. They give them messages but any encounter is met with alien understanding and while they want to, there seems to be either a lack of empathy or at least difficult emotional understanding.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
I largely support all of your takes Felix, glad you ended up having a good time with Season 3. It is dark, but I think within context it was appropriate and also something the show needed to do. Season 3 happened a year or so removed from 9/11, and both that event, and the US's degenerate response to it hung over the world as the 900lb gorilla in every room. By my money, ENT S3 was the best post-9/11 reaction and it's a shame the rest of the world didn't heed the lessons of it and were instead obsessed with revenge porn like 24.

With that context, it sounds pretty good, and very much in the spirit of Star Trek, as I understand it. Have never watched 24, except for an episode that I caught at random at a friends flat. Never was interested in it, and I only remember not liking it, because of a vague memory of someone being tortured for information. Never liked that stuff.

I do remember that media in general went bleak and grimdark during the 00s, and I guess that is all a result of 9/11. Which, again, makes it nice that Enterprise kept up its spirit.

He's a big personal fave, and I feel pretty confident in saying that we're not alone. Jeffery Combs is a great character actor who can chew at the scenery like no other. He played the Vorta commander Weyoun and the Ferengi Liquidator Brunt in DS9 as well. And his B-horror movies in the 80s are freaking insane.

I didn't realize that he also played Brunt and Weyoun! Two other roles that I like a lot, but Shrant is clearly my favourite. Here is the scene that made me fall in love with him.


It's completely ridiculous. "Our scanners are omni-directional!" "The Andorian Mining Consortium runs from noone." Amazing stuff.

My favourite Brunt appearance is probably, where he appears in Quarks closet and introduces himself like always. Combs plays a delightful jerk.

It's only 2 episodes. And it's also
a good bookend to the Temporal Cold War, and after that you'll never hear of time travel shenanigans in ENT again

Thank god.
Time travel stuff
was responsible for some really good episodes during S3. But, like the season as a whole, I'm very ready for it to go away. It's so damn confusing.

The arc isn't that bad, I have to say. Despite the situation being somewhat dire, it already feels more light-hearted than during the last season. It all feels kind of goofy, to be honest. Still, can't wait to get back into Space afterwards.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
I finished Season 5 of Deep Space 9. I feel really bad saying this, but while I think the show is really good, I don't really like watching it. Maybe I would like it more if I was watching it in tandem with a 'normal' Star Trek show; it somehow feels like a companion piece. I know it aired with another Trek going during its entire run. Maybe it is just that the shows setting is static, so the trek aspect of Star Trek is largely absent. Maybe I am just not in the mood for the darker tone. It is a very well made and thoughtfully considered science fiction show; I think I might leave it for a while and see if I like it more after a break.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
I just watched the episodes about the Augments. That was a fun one! I always was intersted in the Augment Wars (or whatever they are called), so I enjoyed a storyline with these jerks. Even though they looked like Mad Max rejects. It was also nice, that they made the connection with Data.

In the next episode, which the Vulcan embassador essentially made a critizism of Trek canon. "Well, Vulcans are logical, Klingons are emotional, and so on, except for Humans, who are everything!" I mean, it fit with the Vulcans, but it still made me laugh.

Also, there was a little thing that was mentioned in S3: At some point in the future, the Klingons will be part of the Federation. Which is just a little throwaway line (mentioned when we learn who will fight together), but it is mentioned. Which means that the Klingon empire will, as expected, fall apart, in one way or another. But the Klingons will survive, and become better and healthier than before. That makes me really happy.

This show is good, guys, and S4 has been fun for now.
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
I've noticed something... in TNG, Picard has a little white crystal in his ready room that he (and others) are sometimes playing with. I'm sure it's just a bit of stage business, because I don't recall it ever being significant, but is there a story behind that crystal anywhere?
 

Fredde

Citizen of Gotham
I just watched the episodes about the AugmentsI always was intersted in the Augment Wars (or whatever they are called), so I enjoyed a storyline with these jerks.

It's called "The Eugenics Wars", and is a source of a lot of historical awkwardness in later Star Trek, since it canonically took place during the 1990s, as stated in the 60s show. Some later books have tried to get around this by depicting it as kind of a "secret war" with spies and secret agents, that took place in the 90s without any of us noticing it. It has also been stated that due to the Eugenics Wars, genetic science was banned, which seems kind of awkward in retrospect considering how important genetic science is to our current medicine.

My favourite fact is that in one episode of Enterprise they time travel to 2004, and someone mentions "I don't want to miss Conan". So canonically, Conan O'Brien survived the Eugenics Wars.
 

Mommi

Miss or be made.
(She/Her)
Considering the numerous genocides in the 90s and the ban on human cloning, I don't find it super out of character for that time period.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
I'm done with Enterprise, which means I have now seen all of Old Trek.

Season 4 of Enterprise is as good as many people said. It's fun, it's goofy, it's a blast, and they really had figured out the characters at this point. Honestly, this might be one of my favourite seasons of Trek, in general. Really a shame, that it ended right there. But than, I wouldn't have liked to get into yet another war, with more DARK, so maybe it's for the best. At least the show ended on a high note.

I didn't even mind the final too much, except for killing Trip, I mean, seriously? The framing device with Riker and Dianna was weird, but it immediately reminded me of the last episode of season 4 of Babylon 5. Which was executed way better, but it was fine. And considering that 90 % of the time is spent on this Enterprise, and not TNGs, it feels a bit silly to call it a TNG episode. But I get why people dislike it, and it was, for me, the weakest part of the season.

Favourite parts were the episodes that dealt with the founding of the Federation. This was really interesting stuff. And, while I would have liked more of this from the start, it also feels more natural this way. A first-season Enterprise crew just wouldn't have had the possibility to deal with all the problems the other races had. These were age-old conflicts, and only now, after three years where Archer and his crew has made clear that they are a trustworthy, neutral party, does it make real sense for them to play indermediaries.

I didn't even mind the Klingon augment story. It was fine, I had fun with it. The single episode that I couldn't stand was the one with the Orions, where we find out how their society really works. The twist seemed cool at first, but it pretty soon became clear that it is highly problematic in and of itself. Also, just this stupid, old, boring chlichee of men becoming drooling idiots, just because there are half-naked women around. At the very least you could have some women starting to drool too, or something. Whatever, bad episode, everything else was great.

Highly enjoyed the episode with Q, too.

I will miss this crew, and it will be probably a long time before I rewatch this show, just because there is so much other Old Trek that I have to rewatch. I have rewatched TNG and DS9 over the last two years, and Voyager was a few years back, so I guess next up is TOS. That should be fun! Last and only time I really watched the whole thing, instead of single episodes, was 2013, or so.

But first, Discovery, S3.
 

Fredde

Citizen of Gotham
I didn't even mind the final too much, except for killing Trip, I mean, seriously?

Hillariously, the very first book-sequel to Enterprise is all about retconning Trip's death. Apparently, it only happened in the history holodeck program, not in reality.
 
Really a shame, that it ended right there. But than, I wouldn't have liked to get into yet another war, with more DARK, so maybe it's for the best.
I'd always come at possible ENT extensions as optimistically as possible, I never really thought much about how wearisome Yet Another War Story would be. You're probably right. The Romulan War happening off screen is probably for the best. Especially when fundamentally, it would have been difficult to pull off while remaining faithful to canon. (We have to have this giant, interstellar war, with liberally employed nukes, and we somehow have to avoid ever allowing the good guys to even know what the bad guys look like.) Still, can't help but wonder. Especially when ENT writers/show runners have gone on the record saying stuff like, "We wanted to make Shran a permanent crew member in Season ," and, "Trip and T'Pol's baby would have survived." There's no way of telling if that's actually true or not, but god damn that's some extremely red meat right there.

I didn't even mind the final too much, except for killing Trip, I mean, seriously?
Yeah, I think this is the one that sticks in most people's craw. I've actually grown to like the final episode and personally have come to terms with this long ago, but it's still upsetting to watch. It's very much the classic narrative dilemma of cheaply killing off a character to make the other characters feel things. But I rationalize it as both 1) being very in-character, and 2) the payoff being mostly worth it:

1) One of the things that stood out to me in recent ENT rewatches is just how blatantly suicidal Trip is. Not that he wants to die or anything, but he keeps thrusting himself into extremely dangerous, life-ending scenarios to help save his ship and crew at an alarming rate. Way more than any other character I can think of in Star Trek. Like, not just "this is a gamble, but I'm a gambler," situations, but, "I will probably die, but this has to be done," situations. Like Trip insisting on killing himself to give Malcom more air in the shuttle, or him scrambling up the Warp Reactor like a monkey despite its imminent detonation, or him telling the captain to leave him in the desert. One of the reasons why I like Similitude as an episode so much, is that it's essentially the Tuvix scenario, but Trip accepts his fate with dignity because he cares that much about his crew and the mission. It's a shitty situation, and poorly planned out/executed imo. But the fundamental decision of Trip sacrificing himself to save his Captain is something that is 100% in character. Especially with how their relationship transformed over the course of the show from being best friends, to Trip slowly realizing both the greatness of the man he serves as well as his role in history. It's actually a pretty affecting story of male bonding.

2) And as hurtful as the event was, the payoff is mostly worth it. Especially when looking at it as a framing device for showing how much the other main characters have evolved. Archer's transformation from Glorified Astronaut to Archetype (Archer-type?) Starfleet Captain is one of my favorite character growth arcs in the franchise. And Archer having to keep his composure and deliver the greatest speech in human history despite having just lost his best friend, shows his complete transformation from a captain to a stateman. T'Pol likewise is similarly affected. She goes from being the cold, emotionless, Vulcan who is physically revolted by humans, to someone who is so fundamentally and profoundly affected by the loss of a companion that she retreats from public life during this very public moment for her ship and crew. She experiences Spock's whole quest of finding greater logic and purpose by embracing emotions/humanity, but in a much more focused and well executed arc, and it really works for me. And the final scene where Archer drops rank and just gives her a big ole hug before heading out is just some top tier chef's kiss moment to me. Like, sum culmination of the entire show, top 5 greatest moments in Star Trek. Because it's just so perfect, and really encapsulates Archer's character so well, before he strides off into history. As a history buff, it gives the same tingles as say, reading about Churchill addressing Parliament, or Lincoln giving the Emancipation Proclamation.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Since I'm rewatching DISCO s2 to catch my gf up before watching s3, and we're just getting to the Talos IV epsiode, we decided to go back and watch the TOS two-parter The Menagerie that is its previous appearance. That was fun! Even if the pacing and blocking of that era is pretty jarring coming right off something modern like DISCO. Been ages since I'd seen any TOS at all, and the frame story bits with the current crew seem particularly low-action and cheap to make (I mean, it's basically a clip show of the pilot and my understanding is it was in fact designed to be made quickly and cheaply) but for a clip show the story is ingenious. Seeing Spock do things that initially seem wildly out of character is fun.
 
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