Archive for June, 2012

Trekathon 421: Tuvix (VOY)

June 30th, 2012

Harry Kim’s incompetence maims Tuvok and Neelix.

This could have been a lot, lot worse. The concept of merging Tuvok and Neelix into a single person could have been played for comedy. Instead this episode takes a much more difficult philosophical path.

Unfortunately the decision made at the end rings false. No matter how justified, it’s hard to believe that Janeway would ever commit murder, or the crew would sit by as it was done.

421 down, 316 to go.

Trekathon 420: For the Cause (DS9)

June 29th, 2012

Sisko’s girlfriend could be an agent for the Maquis.

Did not see this one coming. OK, the Eddington thing I saw a mile off. But the Kassidy Yates thing was out of left field. And, honestly, it still feels a little arbitrary – we’ve never had a reason to suspect she might be on the side of the Maquis.

This whole season has been a bit off kilter though. We see episodes like this which rely on the tension of the existing war situation. But then we have other episodes which don’t seem to notice that the war exists at all, like the previous DS9. It’s a show without a clear direction – but I’d like more like this one.

420 down, 317 to go.

Trekathon 419: The Thaw (VOY)

June 28th, 2012

Voyager tries to rescue some people from a bizarre virtual reality.

Not since The Royale have we had to put up with such an annoying, pointless ‘allegorical’ world. I have never understood the Comedia dell’arte obsession that American writers have, it’s incredibly obscure and yet comes up all the time in shows like Studio 60.

Here it’s just a waste of an hour, as stupid characters behave in stupid ways. We learn nothing about anyone. And then there’s a particularly stupid bit at the end to just say ‘Janeway is awesome’. Yuck from start to finish.

“When your only reality is an illusion then illusion is reality”? Dear oh dear.

419 down, 318 to go.

Trekathon 418: The Muse (DS9)

June 27th, 2012

Lwaxana Troi again. Excuse me, I just need to go get my nail gun.

OK, that’s probably a little harsh. This is more a story about Odo than Lwaxana, and making the story about a character care about rather than hate makes things much more palatable. For once the relationship Lwaxana is thrown into during the episode seems real, and not forced. Ironic, given that the plot suggests the reverse for once.

As for the B-plot, with Jake ‘seduced’ by a predatory alien? Yuck. The subtext was too blatant, and the acting of the alien was creepy without a hint of attractive. Possibly a good story with the right delivery, but it does not work here.

418 down, 319 to go.

Trekathon 417: Shattered Mirror (DS9)

June 26th, 2012

Back to the mirror universe again.

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. The mirror universe started out as interesting and refreshing. But by now it’s just silly. The only new element is the mirror universe Worf, and frankly that gives us absolutely nothing interesting at all. Other than that, it just raises more questions than it answers about the apparent ease of moving between the dimensions.

They were trying to do something a bit bolder with the Jake/Jennifer thing. But it doesn’t have real depth or feeling – we don’t have enough time to really appreciate what this situation must be like for Jake. And so it falls flat, taking what little hope for quality the episode had with it.

417 down, 320 to go.

Trekathon 416: Hard Time (DS9)

June 25th, 2012

O’Brien tries to recover from 20 years of implanted memories of a prison sentence.

Most of the time Star Trek is a pretty B-grade show. It does some fun action, but it’s not that deep or special. And that can make this Trekathon a bit of a grind at times.

But every now and then, about once every 50 episodes, it does something really special. This is an absolutely riveting episode. Difficult to watch, but also compelling. Fantastic performances. And it rests on a science fiction premise such that the story could only really be told in something like Star Trek. Right up there with the best 4 or 5 ever for Trek.

416 down, 321 to go.

Trekathon 415: Innocence (VOY)

June 24th, 2012

Tuvok crash lands on a moon, and finds a small group of children also recently crashed.

They say there are only seven basic plots. So it seems, as Star Trek has a lot of ‘Die Hard in a …’ episodes, so why not ‘Kindergarten Cop with a Vulcan’. It’s entirely by the numbers, with the exception of a last minute twist that makes no sense at all in the context of everyone’s actions.

As is depressingly common for Voyager, it’s not bad. It just misses the mark in a very frustrating way.

415 down, 322 to go.

Trekathon 414: Rules of Engagement (DS9)

June 23rd, 2012

Worf goes on trial for destroying a civilian transport

It’s nice to see some narrative courage. The ‘turn to the side and answer during flashbacks’ was a bold thing to try. I found it clunky and annoying, but hey, they tried something at least.

On the other hand, there was a Klingon culture thing here that worked really well. The idea of Klingon lawyers is a bit strange initially, but once we see the lawyer treat the court as a substitute form of one-on-one combat, it really works.

414 down, 323 to go.

Trekathon 413: Deadlock (VOY)

June 22nd, 2012

A spatial anomaly creates another Voyager. But only of them can survive.

This is a good example of what Voyager does best. There’s a fantastic action sequence in the opening sequence, taking advantage of the two ships to kill off quite a few people in surprising fashions. The remainder of the episode takes full advantage of the uncertainty in having two of everyone around, adding up to just about the highest ‘featured cast’ death toll ever seen in Star Trek.

Two things bugged me – firstly, Janeway (and really the whole crew) are so quick to go the self-sacrifice route that it suggests suicidal tendencies. And secondly, the philosophical implications of the ending are pretty weird, and I think get short shrift. I’d love to see a future episode that looked into that a bit more.

413 down, 324 to go.

Trekathon 412: Investigations (VOY)

June 21st, 2012

Neelix uncovers a spy on board as he tries to do the “Good Morning Vietnam” thing.

All that careful plot laying of the last few episodes gets used up all at once, as we find up what Paris was up to, and the traitorous crewmen is discovered. The main payoff is in the misdirect, where Paris’ recent behaviour makes the first half story of his leaving the ship at least a little more plausible than it otherwise would be.

The main problem here is the choice of protagonist. Neelix is annoying and dull, and his over-enthusiasm grates. He has the potential to be a much deeper character, but he just can’t escape the comic character event horizon.

412 down, 325 to go.