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  #10741  
Old 03-19-2019, 07:26 PM
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That's the twist everyone hates. I don't mind the twist in theory, or that particular episode, but they do some truly awful stuff with it later. Particularly "Statistical Probabilities" in season six, an episode which approaches a delicate subject and handles it with all the nuance of a bigoted uncle at Thanksgiving.
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  #10742  
Old 03-19-2019, 07:30 PM
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Ah, that makes sense. I could definitely see it being used for some very bad stories.
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  #10743  
Old 03-19-2019, 07:32 PM
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Yeah, that's the one. It's not the idea of retcons themselves that are bad, but this one in particular undermines most of the established characterization of Bashir just in a misguided attempt to make him more interesting and it didn't work at making him more interesting either.
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  #10744  
Old 03-20-2019, 03:53 AM
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The Circle and The Siege are much better than the table setting and forgettable first third of an otherwise solid adventure. I will say the arc of the war hero character whose name I forget didn't work much for me, as I didn't find him to completely gel as a character and feel the show tried to hard to sell his messianic intents. Frank Langella is great at playing his character, not treating as "I am a bad guy" but just as some guy who assumes his own righteousness. Also, I didn't mention this before but casting Louise Fletcher (best known as Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) as Winn Adami is a stroke of genius and even more than her previous episodes, plays her insidious "piousness" to a tea. Good stuff.
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  #10745  
Old 03-20-2019, 06:58 AM
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I enjoyed one of the two brothers from Wings playing a jerk lieutenant. Completely one-note character, but a fun jerk to hate!
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  #10746  
Old 03-20-2019, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by paxclara View Post
you are correct in that i should not have said fired, but according to terry farrell in the fifty year mission, she did not leave for that reason:

retrieved from here
It makes a sick sort of sense that Rick Berman was the one to take up the executive producer mantle from Gene Roddenberry, when you consider how their opinions of women corresponded.
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  #10747  
Old 03-20-2019, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnny Unusual View Post
Also, I didn't mention this before but casting Louise Fletcher (best known as Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) as Winn Adami is a stroke of genius and even more than her previous episodes, plays her insidious "piousness" to a tea. Good stuff.
I hope you keep liking her because she's not going anywhere!
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  #10748  
Old 03-20-2019, 12:17 PM
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Neelix and Kes are much better characters after they break up.
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  #10749  
Old 03-21-2019, 10:40 PM
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This is pretty neat, the same guy who used some fancy tricks and machine learning or whatnot to upscale Final Fantasy VII has started working on Deep Space Nine and has posted some proof of concept videos demonstrating his technique.
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  #10750  
Old 03-24-2019, 02:01 AM
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I realized that, in my quest to rewatch all Star Trek, I'd forgotten about the Kelvin movies! Oops!

I'm kinda surprised how much I enjoyed them all again? Like, the writing is a mess in the first two movies, and none of the villains in any of them work. But I enjoyed them for what they were a lot more after a bunch of time and distance. And I think already knowing what they are helped me to enjoy them for what they are, rather than watching them with a critical eye and obsessing over what they weren't when I first watched.

Star Trek Beyond in particular, is actually just legitimately good rather than being a fun spectacle. Definitely an upper echelon Star Trek movie. It managed to find its own voice, tell its own story, and help its characters become their own rather than just being parodies of the original. It probably does the best job of any Star Trek film of finding things for every crew member to do, including any of the TOS & TNG movies. And at its core, it's thesis is a pretty resounding reaffirmation of what Star Trek is and what it means. I'm now more bummed than ever that a bad Chinese partnership, the audience being burned from Into Darkness, and Paramount being too cheap to pay everyone has meant the premature death of this film franchise. I need more Star Trek movies like Beyond.
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  #10751  
Old 03-25-2019, 01:34 PM
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I watched a bunch of Voyager Season 5 over the weekend and one episode that kept standing out to me was The Fight, so I did a search ITT to see if other people talked about it and found some older impressions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpoonyBardOL View Post
Season 5 of Voyager started strong, but the middle gets a bit bland. The Disease, The Fight, Juggernaut and 11:59 are mostly forgettable, with the exception of Chakotay's boxing scenes in The Fight.
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Originally Posted by zonetrope View Post
Wow, just reached "The Fight." It starts out as the Ur-shitty Chakotay episode and then rapidly becomes ... uh ... what the hell did I just watch?
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Originally Posted by Wolfgang View Post
The Fight: was the writing staff determined to make every Chakotay episode as dumb and boring as possible? The only reason I didn't skip this one entirely was because it was in the background and I didn't think it was worth bothering to.
So the reason this episode stood out was because it does a Star Trek thing where a person's "disability," for lack of a better term, provides a unique advantage to the crew. For some reason this episode was about Chakotay and his apparent genetic predisposition to some kind of neurological disorder that causes hallucinations. Voyager enters "chaotic space," which, uh, sure let's go with that, and it's inhabited by aliens who can only communicate to the crew via Chakotay's hallucinations.

Unlike the episodes in DS9 that deal with mental disorders, this one definitely feels respectful without crossing the line into exploitative glorification. The editing is pretty outstanding for an episode of Star Trek, and I think its treatment of a mental disorder is neat, but it still falls short because a) it's about Chakotay and b) apparently Chakotay has a family history with this condition?? It would just have way more resonance if Chakotay was a better developed character, or if it was about another character with the same plot.
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  #10752  
Old 03-25-2019, 02:13 PM
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I think it's also partially because nobody would let anyone with a predisposition towards hallucinations close to command authority of a starship.
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  #10753  
Old 03-25-2019, 04:54 PM
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I actually liked that episode a lot Yangus. And I similarly found its maligned status among fans confusing. Part of it I assume is the natural Voyager-bias. Part of it is the claims that the concepts don't make sense/that-isn't-how-it-works-irl. (MB's line above is just one of many arguments along these lines.) Part of it is it ties into Chakotay's problematic portrayal of his heritage. But for the reasons you stated, I enjoyed it. Also, dude is BOXING. This episode, and the one where he goes on a space-archaeological mission I thought were honest attempts to round out Chakotay as a character and make him more interesting that largely worked. It's just too bad that the show didn't try some of this earlier and instead kept at the caricature Indian mysticism angle.
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  #10754  
Old 03-27-2019, 02:25 PM
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Season 5 Voyager is finished -- Equinox Parts 1 and 2. The finale was... well, it was okay-to-decent. I said on Twitter that it felt like a Mirror Universe episode except without actually involving the Mirror Universe (which probably means I liked it more tbh). I really appreciated the amount of pushback Chakotay was throwing at Janeway throughout the finale, and their final exchange at the end was very sweet in a way wholly specific to their relationship, which is just good writing. The actual plot of the thing just wasn't executed in an interesting or compelling way.

The premise had potential: what if Voyager happened again except to a different crew of looser morals? It hits on all the strong Star Trek themes about adhering to Starfleet principles and human goodness even in the face of desperate odds, but I think the key failure was that I don't really care about the creatures the Equinox was killing for their warp engine. I mean, beyond the nominal reason of why you should care about a Starfleet crew enslaving an alien species and harvesting them for fuel. I should've cared more! That's a pretty fucked up thing to do in Starfleet! *coughs in the direction of Discovery*
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  #10755  
Old 03-28-2019, 06:59 PM
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Two DS9 episodes!

"Invasive Procedures" is an episode that, I think, was supposed to make me more interested in the symbiote mythos and Jadzia Dax character but doesn't really. Its a run of the mill "cast is taken hostage" episode and Quark should have 100% been arrested by the end of it, though I suspect that's going to be a recurring complaint of mine given the nature of the character and how long the show goes on and how in this one they didn't even bother to do much explaining about why he is around the next week. Speaking of.

"Cardassians" was a much better episode that ends with a big flaw. That said, the big flaw doesn't retroactively ruin the really solid episode that came before so much as throw up its hands and say "OK, we're done here." So much of it works. Garik is finally back and fulfills the promise of his first appearance to be a really good, interesting character. He feels like a weird mix of a John La Carre character and Doctor Who (in the way he's sort of eccentric, mysterious and a teacher figure to Bashir).

He also improves the Bashir character greatly. It's clear that Bashir seems to come from wealth (although this thread keeps saying LOOK OUT! EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT BASHIR IS WRONG! WAIT FOR THAT EPISODE! EVERYTHING CHANGES AND IT MAKES NO SENSE!, so, I guess maybe not?) and is kind of a well meaning grown up brat. While this often makes the character unlikable (and not in a way that serves the character well), its sort of perfect for a spy story, the kind where characters are in over their head in a world they barely understand. In fact, if there's one flaw in this outing, it's that Bashir is too safe when he should be finding the "adventure" he's seeking has lead him down a dangerous road. Hopefully, we'll get those kinds of stories later.

I really like the concept of the war orphans. Though there's a good chance they aren't being physically abused, the fact of where they are and what their new parents tell them about themselves and the Cardassians is really a form of emotional abuse, even if it isn't intended. I think that one guy probably loves his Cardassian kid and treats him well, as far as he can tell, unaware of the damage he is doing to the kids sense of self.

The spy plot is pretty solid two, and I like the way this plot bounces up against the more emotional plot, showing how all the political intrigue comes at a very human cost.

The problem is the ending, which reminds me of the end of season one ("In the Hands of the Prophets" or something like that?), where the more human story is basically jettisoned by the espionage story and the set up involving a complicated dilemma is never resolved in an interesting way. But this time, it's a little more confounding. After Bashir embarrasses Dukat (I love that he asks, very pointedly and with extremely obvious subtext asks him who was running the station at the time and then, after he leaves, takes time to say "That man, for the record, was Gul Dukat" smugly, a scene that shockingly doesn't end with an exasperated Sisko saying "Well, duh!" and then everyone else saying "no, we figured it out, it's fine"). Then the episode ends with Sisko's decision, barely explained, of who gets to keep the kid. It's not a satisfying end to that arc.
I know you ran out of screen time but you could have at least saved yourself seven precious seconds by not having Bashir thinking he just blew everyone's minds with his revelation about Dukat.
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  #10756  
Old 03-30-2019, 07:24 PM
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Three more episodes. Two of them are very very good.

First is "Melora". This wasn't the good one. It was forgettable. Also, Bashir's procedure had the side effect of making someone phaser resistant. Which will never, ever come up again.

Then we have "Rules of Acquisition". It's a Quark caper episode and this is one of the stronger ones so far. We hear often about how Quark is still on the ship because he is good at what he does but this is the first time we really get to see it outside of some smaller scenes. I think it is one of the better Trek episodes where characters deal with mysoginy, showing Quark being in line with his culture's line of thinking on the topic and finding himself changing, if just a little, through personal experience. Some slight hints of the show's upcoming mythology are put into place but mainly, the episode sticks with Quark doing deals, figuring some stuff out and some broad humour (um, no pun intended).

But "Necessary Evil" was an episode I wanted for a while and was exactly what I wanted. 1) It is a noir episode. Which is what I wanted. And while I might have been satisfied with a campy noir episode, this one is a dark, serious story that doesn't wink at the audience and while there are a few nods to the genre (the very arch opening to the episode, Odo's hardboiled mission log) it doesn't steer too far into it. 2) Even the lighting is very good. It would have been an easy decision to have most of the episode take place in the dark, as the second scene does (even with set up), but using cold blues (a trick that would eventually get REALLY old in movies) in the flashbacks work really well in setting the tone. 3) Most importantly, it digs into something I wanted since the beginning of the series dig into Odo's time as an investigator for the Cardassians. And it does a really good job of it while setting up a compelling story. The femme fatale and the heavy take a back seat in the episode mostly to this, and it really works in the episodes favour and brings the mystery element back to its characters in a great way.

I really hope the show keeps this streak a while longer. This is the kind of Star Trek show I've wanted for a while, because this is great.
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  #10757  
Old 03-31-2019, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnny Unusual View Post
But "Necessary Evil" was an episode I wanted for a while and was exactly what I wanted. 1) It is a noir episode. Which is what I wanted. And while I might have been satisfied with a campy noir episode, this one is a dark, serious story that doesn't wink at the audience and while there are a few nods to the genre (the very arch opening to the episode, Odo's hardboiled mission log) it doesn't steer too far into it. 2) Even the lighting is very good. It would have been an easy decision to have most of the episode take place in the dark, as the second scene does (even with set up), but using cold blues (a trick that would eventually get REALLY old in movies) in the flashbacks work really well in setting the tone. 3) Most importantly, it digs into something I wanted since the beginning of the series dig into Odo's time as an investigator for the Cardassians. And it does a really good job of it while setting up a compelling story. The femme fatale and the heavy take a back seat in the episode mostly to this, and it really works in the episodes favour and brings the mystery element back to its characters in a great way.
I'd like to add that Rom's performance brings a touch of much-needed levity to balance out the overly serious parts of the episode. And he screams like Fay Wray!
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  #10758  
Old 04-02-2019, 11:48 AM
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I'd like to add that Rom's performance brings a touch of much-needed levity to balance out the overly serious parts of the episode. And he screams like Fay Wray!
I agree. That scene is all fine and good on paper, but it wouldn't have worked nearly as well without that scream.
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  #10759  
Old 04-02-2019, 07:28 PM
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Well, after a streak of good episodes, we get some weak ones with questionable approaches to their narratives.

Second Sight starts promising with a romantic mystery but it doesn't take long for it to get sort of dull, leading to a final act where I have NO IDEA what my takeaway is. So, that one guy commits suicide so his wife can move on and Sisko seems sort of... cool with it? Its tonally really weird and I have no idea what it is trying to say but that probably isn't the solution to a bad relationship.

Sanctuary, on the other hand, has good intentions on approaching immigration and handles it in a really problematic way. A lot of the immigrant aliens are cartoonishly dumb ("we're looking for a duh-duh idiot") and belligerent, which is probably not the approach with your metaphors for the immigrant experience. The last back and fourth between Kira and her alien friend is actually good (though it feels like the tone, while appropriately sober, lacks some somberness considering the outcome of the climax) and the climax is quite good on paper (and not bad in practice, though I feel it doesn't live up to its full potential) but I wish the episode wasn't undercut by a lot of the stuff that preceded it.
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  #10760  
Old 04-02-2019, 11:08 PM
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I don't mind the twist in theory, or that particular episode, but they do some truly awful stuff with it later.
It's probably not near anything you're referring to as truly awful yet, but yeah I'm not a fan of how they're writing in "our chance of survival is .00009734 percent" type lines for Bashir now. They're probably doing it because Spock and Data did so it's a beloved Star Trek trope, but . . . it seems like a weird way to take that twist. I thought the twist already basically made sense with how he was already being portrayed, so it just feels unnecessary. I know they want ways to remind the audience (or tell audience members who missed that episode for the first time), but this feels like a weird way to do it. He's . . . he's not a robot. He has extra good genes.
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  #10761  
Old 04-03-2019, 09:14 PM
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Something's been bugging me about Voyager lately and it's that a lot of the crew are now using the word "ma'am" to address Janeway, but I seem to remember a somewhat early episode where Janeway specifically says she doesn't want to be addressed with "ma'am" and I was hoping someone ITT could confirm this? I have no idea what that episode would have been or which season.
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  #10762  
Old 04-04-2019, 04:03 AM
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Yeah, that’s a thing. Tbh I don’t know if there’s really a reason for it beyond writers forgetting.

In my head canon though, it’s because Janeway significantly mellows out as a character during the course of the show.

Voyager begins with the character taking on her first command and being an uptight, by the book, Prime Directive zealot. All her crew are strangers to her. And as the voyage continues, and she risks life and limb with them, the artificial barriers she puts up between her and the crew begins to come down. By the show’s end, she’s not just their captain and they’re not just her crew. They’re her family and she’s like everyone’s space-mom.
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  #10763  
Old 04-04-2019, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
KIM: Thank you, sir.

JANEWAY: Mister Kim, at ease before you sprain something. Ensign, despite Starfleet protocol, I don't like being addressed as sir.

KIM: I'm sorry, ma'am.

JANEWAY: Ma'am is acceptable in a crunch, but I prefer Captain. We're getting ready to leave. Let me show you to the bridge.
Sounds like she's fine with it?
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  #10764  
Old 04-04-2019, 07:31 AM
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Yeah my impression of that scene was that she's just kind of gently ribbing Kim, rather than making a serious rejection of the word "ma'am."
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  #10765  
Old 04-04-2019, 11:42 AM
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Hmmm, okay, I suppose my memory was mis-characterizing what she said. Still, I do think everyone is saying it a lot more often than they used to and it just seems like such an odd minor shift for the show to make.
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  #10766  
Old 04-04-2019, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WisteriaHysteria View Post
Voyager begins with the character taking on her first command and being an uptight, by the book, Prime Directive zealot. All her crew are strangers to her. And as the voyage continues, and she risks life and limb with them, the artificial barriers she puts up between her and the crew begins to come down. By the show’s end, she’s not just their captain and they’re not just her crew. They’re her family and she’s like everyone’s space-mom.
It's hard for me to tell if early TNG writers were trying to pull off a similar character arc with Picard because a) a lot of the early TNG eps were hamstrung by awkward scripts/direction and b) Patrick Stewart has so much goddamned charisma that it's really difficult to hate his on-screen characters, even while he's delivering wooden dialogue that would make anyone else sound like the douche-iest officer in Starfleet. It's generally accepted that the cast of TNG perfected their chemistry somewhere around season 3, and I'd wager a lot of it hinged on Stewart getting comfortable with his own role, but it never really felt like the writers were trying to shine a light on Picard's character growth in regards to his interactions with the rest of the main crew (except for maybe refraining from dunking on Wesley so much in later seasons).
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  #10767  
Old 04-05-2019, 07:41 AM
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It's hard for me to tell if early TNG writers were trying to pull off a similar character arc with Picard
I think they absolutely were, but it wasn't like, the central thrust of the show's overarching theme and flies under the radar among most fans. One of Picard's defining features at the beginning of the show is that he's this strict guy who keeps his crew at arm's length and is intensely uncomfortable around children. And the juxtoposition that he was given a ship with facilities full of families is supposed to put him in an uncomfortable position. As the show goes on, he markedly warms up to Wesley, the other children onboard, and begins to socialize with his crew. There's a big difference between the Picard of Encounter at Farpoint who is asking Riker to be his go between with the crew, and the Picard sitting down at the officer's poker table musing he should have done this long ago. And that's to say nothing of stern Picard at the beginning of TNG who would lay into an officer for something like insubordination, but towards the end where he would take a more measured and "I'm disappointed" fatherly approach to discipline.
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  #10768  
Old 04-07-2019, 09:27 PM
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There is some extremely Voyager hair design going on for this member of the telepathic thought police.

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  #10769  
Old 04-08-2019, 08:34 AM
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I extremely did not expect that episode to take a hard turn toward Tuvok gay cruising for Bad Thoughts in dimly lit alleys.
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  #10770  
Old 04-08-2019, 10:46 AM
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Back to DS9

Rivals is a dumb, messy episode that I still couldn't not like. The title would have you believe that Quark and the mysterious newcomer will be rivals and I guess they are but the characters rarely interact and it barely matters. The sci-fi nonsense feels much more like a Red Dwarf plot (not surprisingly, that show did an episode with a luck virus). Quark's incredibly dumb moneymaking scheme feels much more like something that would air on TGIF in the early 90s. I'm shocked we didn't get closing credits with a freeze frame of O'Brien lying on the floor in a sweat with Bashir standing over him and an instrumental version of "Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Know" with yellow credits and then a Lorimar production company logo.

"The Alternate" on the other hand... was fine. It never made far past OKish. There are some decent scenes between Odo and his father figure, but the main plot/mystery was a bit weak and I feel like the CGI shapeshifting effects were much worse than usual and they were already obviously on a mid-90s TV budget. It works best towards the end when Odo's not-daddy's advice turns from annoying to kind of unsettling. I think it helps that we see Odo, usually confident if socially awkward, being turned into a scared kid for a moment and it works really well (sort of in the same way that Odo's episode with Lwaxana gets much stronger when Odo is pushed to his limit and Lwaxana goes from an annoyance (and sexual predator) to a source of comfort.
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