Archive for October, 2012

Trekathon 544: Once Upon a Time (VOY)

October 31st, 2012

Voyager’s only child is kept in the dark as her mother is missing on an away mission.

A Holodeck episode and a small child? What can possibly go wrong? Well, to be honest, nothing particularly goes wrong here. It’s just a bad idea, and nothing is added to make it interesting. The children’s story is dull and boring – I hope the children of the future have better fiction available than that. Neelix wanders around like a complete idiot. And there’s an implausible lack of supervision given to a child who is around 4 years old.

What little suspense there might be about whether the mother will survive or not is completely undermined by not one, but two of the main cast being on the ship with her. Given the situation she’s pretty much safe. So there’s no suspense, and the main plot has such a simple moral (‘be honest’) that nothing in the episode recommends itself.

544 down, 193 to go.

Trekathon 543: Once More Unto the Breach (DS9)

October 30th, 2012

Old Klingon warriors never die, they just fade away.

Another strong Klingon story. It’s strange – these used to be pretty dreadful episodes in the main, but now there’s a war to fight there’s a lot more to like about them. It doesn’t hurt that the model is pretty explicitly ‘submarine movie’.

The basis of the story here is a bit difficult, as it introduces a new element of Klingon culture (a kind of warrior class snobbery) that we’ve never heard about before. Once past that it was a good look at what happens when your time has past. And it nicely underlines the changes to Klingon culture that have been happening.

543 down, 194 to go.

Trekathon 542: In the Flesh (VOY)

October 29th, 2012

Voyager finds an alien replica of Starfleet in San Francisco.

OK, but not great. The setup is good – the mysterious start, trying to work out what’s going on, Chakotay’s ‘date’. It all contributes to a sense of not knowing very well what’s going on, and being a bit worried by it. And it was good to see some elementary security precautions being taken for once on the ship.

But the back half just didn’t work as well. Janeway starts off in her cranky mode, heading towards blowing them up with (barely) a second glance. The diplomacy scenes don’t come off very well, as the conflicts aren’t clear enough, and too much time is spent recapitulating plot from episodes past. And the ending feels forced, rather than earned.

542 down, 195 to go.

Trekathon 541: Treachery, Faith and the Great River (DS9)

October 28th, 2012

Weyoun defects to the Federation.

Strangely uninteresting for an episode with a strong premise (and title). We haven’t done very much with the complicated relationship between the Vorta and the Founders, or Odo’s place in all of that. There’s also the serial clones that allow familiar faces to stick around. But with all of that material, we don’t get much in the way of an interesting conversation, and spend way too much time on a dull chase sequence.

The B-Plot was easier – it was just a bad, bad idea. Nog basically engages on a crime spree involving identity theft, actual theft, and more. All simply because everyone is uncharacteristically unwilling to tell Sisko about the problems his request for a part for the Defiant.

The only positive to come out of it was the ‘Changeling disease’, clearly a setup for the rest of the season.

541 down, 196 to go.

Trekathon 540: Extreme Risk (VOY)

October 27th, 2012

Tom builds a shuttle, B’Elanna finds a black dog.

The crew of Voyager have a lot to learn about dealing with depression. The Doctor has absolutely no idea about how to treat it, even with his massive medical database. Janeway thinks the answer is to elevate the stakes and take her off duty. And Chakotay seems to be a student of TV Freudian psychoanalysis, because the ‘once you’ve talked about it everything will be OK’ trope I complained about five episodes ago pops up again. Depression just isn’t like that. It’s not a logical or rational approach to anything. Oh, and then it’s entirely cured at the end of the episode.

Still, apart from the cure it’s pretty good. B’Elanna is basically engaging in a sophisticated form of cutting, which is quite consistent with her mental state. I’m not entirely sure why the holodeck even has an option to allow turning the safety protocols off, though. Seems like a risky thing to allow for no good reason.

(I did like the Macgyver-esque sequence in the shuttle at the end though).

540 down, 197 to go.

Trekathon 539: Chrysalis (DS9)

October 26th, 2012

Doctor Bashir’s rag-tag group of genetically enhanced misfits returns.

Flowers for Algernon with a bit of a creepy vibe. It makes sense for Bashir’s character that he falls so head over heels in love with this girl. But what doesn’t make sense is that he can’t consider how difficult it might be for someone who has suffered a lifetime of her condition to adjust to a new world, and new attentions. Put simply, he’s a jerk and should feel bad.

Once again there’s far too much packaging. It takes half the episode to get to the ‘cure’ reveal, with a whole bunch of technobabble on the way. This leaves little time for the real story of the episode. And then we spend too little of the second half of the episode worrying about Serena, and too much with Bashir trying to work out what’s going on.

539 down, 198 to go.