Archive for May, 2012

Trekathon 391: Tattoo (VOY)

May 31st, 2012

Chakotay meets his ancestors’ sky spirits.

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like the ‘native american spirituality’ stuff here. It just doesn’t feel real or deep enough, it’s a very simplistic approach to a culture. I’m also not a big fan of ‘ancient astronaut’ stuff in science fiction, so the combination of the two was particularly annoying. For the premise it’s delivered pretty well, but I just can’t get past the premise.

The B-story, of the Doctor learning some empathy about being sick, was much better handled. Importantly, it was only as long as the story required, so we don’t have act after act of the doctor whining – one scene makes the point, and the script holds it to that. Well done.

391 down, 346 to go.

Trekathon 390: Starship Down (DS9)

May 30th, 2012

The crew of the Defiant performs a tribute to the great submarine movies.

With the exception of three quibbles, this was a pretty well put together episode. There was good action, good tension, good character development, and a resolution that depended on brains rather than on technobabble. The initial setup required to get into the situation was a little strained, but it managed to hold together.

The three quibbles: the ‘Worf learns to command better’ plot is silly – he’s been a command officer for 9 years, ever since Tasha died, and mostly commanding non-Bridge officers. They had to make him dumb to make the plot work. The ‘Quark and his customer work out their differences through gambling’ was silly. And the wrap-up at the end screamed ‘this episode is 3 minutes short’, and just served to undermine some of what had been done in the episode.

390 down, 347 to go.

Trekathon 389: Persistence of Vision (VOY)

May 29th, 2012

A new alien species gives everyone nightmares.

Finally, a decent use for the terrible holo-novel that Janeway has used several times. Here it finally pays off as it gives a good segue into the general horror theme of the episode. Horror is tricky to pull off, particularly when you know that (a) everyone;’s going to be OK at the end and (b) it goes against the general tone of your show. But other than some slightly dodgy makeup effects at the end this built nicely and paid off well.

Two discordant notes, though. First, B’Elanna’s willingness to jump into bed with the not-Chakotay. Too quick, didn’t make sense in her character. And then the very non-Starfleet ‘let’s just bury our feelings’ ending coda with the Captain. Just didn’t seem like the usual ‘Star Trek’ way of doing things.

389 down, 348 to go.

Trekathon 388: Rejoined (DS9)

May 28th, 2012

A past lover returns to Dax’s life.

It’s almost hard to believe that this episode was incredibly controversial back when it first aired, due to the same-sex kiss between Jadzia and Lenara. A lot has changed since then, and it simply doesn’t have the shock value it once did. Fortunately the episode never really relied on shock value, but was trying to tell a genuine story about breaking through barriers and dealing with the restrictions of society.

But without that little bit extra the episode loses some of its punch, and what’s left is perfectly good, but not that memorable. The acting doesn’t quite carry the relationships – I was getting more ‘lovestruck teen’ than ‘eternal love’.

388 down, 349 to go.

Trekathon 387: Indiscretion (DS9)

May 27th, 2012

Kira and Dukat go looking for a ship that crashed during the Occupation.

Let’s get the bad out of the way first – the Sisko/Kassidy plot was such by-the-numbers sitcom rubbish I was surprised. GIrl wants to move in, guy has problems with things moving too fast. It’s an old story, and there’s absolutely nothing interesting done with it here. It doesn’t even advance character, as it requires Ben Sisko to behave differently to he has in the past.

The Kira/Dukat part of the episode was a lot better, but I still felt something was missing. The idea of a hidden past, with consequences for the future, is an interesting addition to Dukat. And the relationship between the two of them works quite well. But rather than take some time with the resolution it gets folded up into a pointless action sequence, none of which adds much to the story.

387 down, 350 to go.

Trekathon 386: Hippocratic Oath (DS9)

May 26th, 2012

O’Brien and Bashir are captured by Jem’Hadar looking for a way to escape their addiction.

The setup takes a while, but the final conflict between Bashir’s desire to heal and O’Brien’s pragmatic survival plan is a nice piece of conflict. The Jem’Hadar setting doesn’t work quite as well as we don’t know them well enough, so it’s hard to even know how much the commander of the unit is changing. I fear this will get quickly swept under the carpet, rather than represent a more interesting medium-term challenge for the two character’s relationship.

As for the B-plot – the entire plot rests on Odo being so annoyed that he chooses to let his case get ruined rather than simply tell Worf ‘I’m doing undercover work, please stay away’. It’s infuriating, as it relies on the cast being idiots rather than, as in the main story, building conflict out of character.

386 down, 351 to go.

Trekathon 385: Parturition (VOY)

May 25th, 2012

Paris and Neelix work out their problems with each other while on an away mission.

Another episode that is largely based on Neelix’s insane jealousy. Oh goody. That’s worked well so far.

Well, I suppose it isn’t that bad. It’s very low calorie, just not much substance to it. And the puppet for the baby alien they discover is so very obviously a puppet. But there are worse ways to spend an hour. Also better ways, though.

385 down, 352 to go.

Trekathon 384: The Visitor (DS9)

May 24th, 2012

Sisko dies, and Jake is obsessed with bringing him home.

This is the best episode of Star Trek I’ve seen in a very long time. Quite possibly ever. It’s not a big, galaxy wide story. It’s a small, personal story, but a deeply affecting and incredibly well written one.

The performance of the adult Jake is a huge part of the episode’s success. It’s a brilliant performance, that builds on the young Jake in a very clear way.

Anyone who watches this episode without a tear in their eye at the end is dead inside.

384 down, 353 to go.

Trekathon 383: Twisted (VOY)

May 23rd, 2012

Voyager becomes a lot harder to navigate.

So, a quick summary of the episode: weird things start happening, weird things get worse, everyone turns maudlin and despairs, then everything turns out all right without any intervention.

So, this one jumped off the rails for me when Torres ended up in the Transporter room, but never even thought of using the transporter. That was about 11 minutes in. But the added ‘Neelix jealousy’ stuff was another turnoff. In all, not a good episode, but not the worst thing ever made either.

383 down, 354 to go.

Trekathon 382: The Way of the Warrior (2) (DS9)

May 22nd, 2012

The Klingons go to war, and Sisko is in the middle.

This episode moves so fast I got whiplash. We go from everything happening at a safe remove to Klingons invading the station inside of about 20 minutes, adding on to the Klingons only having been the bad guys for about 20 minutes more. It’s simply too quick. I think things would have been far better served by stretching this story out over a much longer period. As it is, we get what is probably the largest battle/action sequence ever in Star Trek, but it doesn’t have any resonance as we don’t know why it’s happening.

I thought the second half was pretty good overall, though, despite this quibble. There are some nice ‘quiet’ moments, particularly the one between Quark and Garak. And while Worf’s initial ‘I want to quite Starfleet’ comes out of left field, it develops and resolves fairly well.

382 down, 355 to go.