Archive for November, 2012

Trekathon 574: The Changing Face of Evil (4) (DS9)

November 30th, 2012

Worf and Ezri return, and the Breen attack Earth.

Here’s a useful measure of how well this serial story is working – I was annoyed that there was an episode of Voyager getting in the way here. And I’m even more annoyed about the fact there’s another one. I said before that it’s hard to describe the episodes, as they’re part of a serial plot. But that’s not to say that things aren’t being set up and resolved – Worf and Ezri have returned to DS9, the Breen have attacked. More is being set up, but there is a real sense of motion in the plot, not just soap opera delay.

The final scene, with Damar’s real betrayal, is electrifying. We’ve seen him go from a nearly nameless offsider of Dukat to lackey of the Dominion. And now he’s finally strong enough to be his own Cardassian. What particularly works is that it all makes sense in terms of what has gone before – it’s not a sudden development, it’s the logical place for his character to go. And that’s also the case for Kai Winn, and her betrayal of the prophets.

A memo to the Pah Wraiths – if you’d like us to believe you’re not evil, can I suggest a name change? ‘Wraith’ just doesn’t work. Can I suggest ‘spirit’?

574 down, 163 to go.

Trekathon 573: Juggernaut (VOY)

November 29th, 2012

Can we be done with the Malon now? They’re a one-note “evil polluting capitalist” species who have no interesting stories to tell.

Star Fleet has never had of radiation suits? The best response to radiation is running around the ship in singlets? But I think this was about setting up expectations. By halfway through the episode B’Elanna has gone full Ripley, so you’re expecting a climactic battle against the hidden alien. Which would actually have been better than the didactic ‘people who pollute are the real monsters’ rubbish.

As for the principal character plot – haven’t we seen this before? B’Elanna has been wandering around like a ball of rage since the very early days of Voyager, and it’s been ‘dealt with’ several times already. It’s good to have some connection between the main plot and development of the characters, but it would be better still if it was character development that didn’t feel like it had happened already.

573 down, 164 to go.

Trekathon 572: Strange Bedfellows (3) (DS9)

November 28th, 2012

Sisko gets used to married life, Ezri and Worf get sentenced to Death, Damar gets sick of his deal with the devil, Kai Winn has a crisis of faith, and the Breen ally with the Dominion.

Or, to put it another way, all of the plots move forward again a little bit. It’s pretty hard to describe the plot of the episode succinctly – this is a step on the path, not a story on its own. Fortunately all of the stories are working well, unlike the previous serial story at the start of Season 6, which had some distinctly dodgy parts.

Weyoun should really give some serious thought to ‘if you undermine subordinates, they tend to betray you’. It would be fair to call Damar’s betrayal ‘inevitable’ now.

(As an aside – the Breen look a lot like they should be threatening Jabba with a thermal detonator. And it does bug me that the major threat is a race only mentioned in about four previous episodes out of 571…)

572 down, 165 to go.

Trekathon 571: ‘Til Death Do Us Part (2) (DS9)

November 27th, 2012

Dukat has an evil plan, and Kai Winn is falling for it. And him.

I was a bit surprised to see Dukat move towards literal seduction of Kai Winn. I hope that this moves along a little bit quicker, as while tricking Winn into believing him is interesting, it’s not going to sustain things for very long.

The Sisko plot moves forward, with him finally deciding to ignore the prophets, and go ahead and marry Kassidy. Married and he’s bought the farm? If he starts talking about ‘one more day until retirement’, no one stand near him, OK? More seriously, it would have been good to see more struggle between his acceptance of the Bajoran prophets and his love for Kassidy.

Compared to the previous long sequence this is much more serial – the individual episodes so far are barely even trying to tell an independent story.

571 down, 166 to go.

Trekathon 570: Penumbra (1) (DS9)

November 26th, 2012

The beginning of the end for DS9, with the first episode in the 10-part finale. Worf goes missing, and Ezri tries to find him.

There’s a sharp turn in structure here, with very little set up in this episode resolved. We get back to the Bajoran Prophets plot, and get some more cryptic threats about Sisko having to stay on his ‘path’. That makes his sudden literal purchase of a farm a bit worrying – standard rules of foreshadowing suggest this will not end well for him.

I liked the other half of the episode quite a bit. Ezri and Worf have never really dealt with the Dax issues, and they start to unravel the problems here. So far it’s just landed them back in the same ‘fighting, then kissing’ framework beloved of movies, and never present in real life. But it honestly works better than when it was Jadzia Dax, rather than Ezri Dax.

570 down, 167 to go.

Trekathon 569: Think Tank (VOY)

November 25th, 2012

Voyager meets an unusual group of aliens who go around solving problems.

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire them. They don’t have a cool van though. Oh, and if you don’t mind being blackmailed or outright manipulated.

The ‘twist’ in this episode is so predictable it barely counts as such. But what really puzzles me is the stakes offered. If you have a highly advanced alien race, surely ‘help you get home’ is a more plausible bit of bait than ‘escape from the aliens we’ve set on you’. Especially as the ‘trap’ Voyager is put into makes almost no sense. But it was nice to see some continuity, with references to several past guest aliens.

569 down, 168 to go.