Archive for August, 2012

Trekathon 475: Blaze of Glory (DS9)

August 23rd, 2012

Eddington helps Sisko stop a final revenge attack by the Maquis.

Last season we had a great Sisko/Eddington episode, followed up by an even better one earlier this year. Fortunately someone was taking notes about what works, because while this is really just more of the same it works really well. It’s a great pity that they didn’t discover the relationship here until after the changed direction made it academic, because this time it’s farewell to Eddington.

Everything fits together well – there’s a nice twist, and there’s even a fairly decent Nog B-plot. There’s a bit too much time spent in mechanics rather than the real meat of the episode to keep it from being great, but overall this is pretty strong.

475 down, 262 to go.

Trekathon 474: Displaced (VOY)

August 22nd, 2012

The crew of Voyager is kidnapped one-by-one, to be replaced by aliens.

Just didn’t make sense. Either this is a situation that should have been easily dealt with by Voyager security, or the alien race is so advanced that the elaborate plan was a complete waste of effort. Mind you, the theme of the day seems to be ‘incompetent security’, given the ease the crew has wandering around the alien’s ship.

Other than that, we get some terrible flirting between Paris and B’Elanna, and not much else.

474 down, 263 to go.

Trekathon 473: Children of Time (DS9)

August 21st, 2012

The Defiant finds a planet made up of their descendants.

Helpful hint to the writes of this episode: a happy pastoral scene with the community helping to plant crops does not provide a basis for all of the characters to suddenly decide to act differently.

The core moral dilemma was nicely presented here, but the crew is initially too willing to let everyone die, and then too willing to sacrifice themselves. Things swing violently from one pole to the other, with not enough backing. The plot is well done, particularly the way to avoid anyone in the crew being effectively a mass murderer. But the lack of heart stops it from being great.

473 down, 264 to go.

Trekathon 472: Distant Origin (VOY)

August 20th, 2012

A link between Humanity and a Delta Quadrant race is discovered by an alien researcher.

This is a very brave episode. It’s about a third of the way into the episode before we even hear the name ‘Voyager’. The majority of the screen time is given over to a non-regular alien in heavy makeup. And then on top of that the plot is philosophy heavy, with very little action.

The main fault of the episode is that the Galileo/Evolution analogy is a bit too heavy handed. Maybe we could have had a bit more uncertainty in the claims, or maybe we could have had a bit more balance in the way the establishment was presented. The result of this is that I felt a bit beaten over the head by the ‘message’ by the end of the episode.

472 down, 265 to go.

Trekathon 471: Soldiers of the Empire (DS9)

August 19th, 2012

Worf goes on a mission with General Martok.

Star Trek has always had fairly clear ideas about Klingon society (well, since TNG at least), but has always struggled to present them on screen in a way that makes sense. This episode goes a long way towards making it work. Sure, there’s a brutal hierarchy to a Klingon ship – but it’s also formalised, in a way that makes it workable. Concerns about ‘cowardice’ and ‘honor’ also make a lot more sense here than usual.

The episode still has a lot flaws – Jadzia is a better Klingon than Worf, Worf can just run off at a moments notice, that kind of thing. But it’s one of the better Klingon stories that the series has told so far.

471 down, 266 to go.

Trekathon 470: Real Life (VOY)

August 18th, 2012

The Doctor decides to simulate a family for himself.

A strong finish doesn’t make up for a weak start. This story starts off in very predictable and dull territory – oh, the Doctor has made a family that’s far too happy and nice, but let’s make it more realistic. There’s nothing new here, it’s been done a hundred times before. The ending slightly redeems the story by heading into actual tragedy, but it’s too little too late.

There’s also one of the weakest attempts at a B-story ever seen. It’s been only a few minutes since the episode finished, and I can barely recall any details of it. Laden with technobabble, devoid of any interesting conflict. Just not worth the screen time it’s given.

470 down, 267 to go.

Trekathon 469: Ferengi Love Songs (DS9)

August 17th, 2012

Quark goes home to find his mother starting a relationship with the Grand Nagus.

Remember a couple of episodes ago when there was a half decent Ferengi episode? It wasn’t a trend, it was an attempt to lull you into a false sense of complacency. So that this piece of absolute garbage can hit you right between the nose. There is not a single redeeming feature of this episode. It’s awful from start to finish. It’s a strong contender for worst Trek episode of all time.

But enough ranting – what on earth is the Ferengi economic system? How can the Grand Nagus having bad memory for one day cause a stock market crash? Has anyone thought about this? At all? Because for all we’re told about the Ferengi being robust capitalists, it looks like there’s a lot of central control going on.

479 down, 268 to go.

Trekathon 468: Ties of Blood and Water (DS9)

August 16th, 2012

Kira works out her daddy issues with her Cardassian ‘father’.

Meh. Tried for deep and moving, just didn’t quite work. The Kira part of the episode just had some missing element, nothing I can put my finger on, that kept things from coming together properly. The more interesting part of the episode was Dukat and his Dominion handler, even if it was a bit incongruous that the head of a planetary government could drop everything and head to DS9 at short notice.

Something struck me while watching this episode – we get a lot of flashbacks in DS9, particularly to events before the start of the show. Two this season (Things Past was the other). TNG, Voyager and TOS had hardly any, and those they did tend to be ‘within episode’ flashbacks. It’s a revealing difference, because it reflects how much hidden background there is on this show, and how much it informs the story.

468 down, 269 to go.

Trekathon 467: Before and After (VOY)

August 15th, 2012

Kes becomes unstuck in time, from her death back to birth.

After 3 seasons and 63 episodes Voyager finally pulls a really episode together. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good story well told with good Science Fiction elements. It even gives us some hints about things that will be happening fairly soon.

The main weakness is that we miss out on any of the darker side of Kes. They’ve been setting Kes up as a more complex character under the surface for some time now, but we don’t see any of that here.

467 down, 270 to go.

Trekathon 466: Business as Usual (DS9)

August 14th, 2012

Quark becomes a weapons dealer to get himself out of debt.

This is really pretty dark stuff. Quark gets into the business of selling weapons across the quadrant, and then in order to get out of it sets up a trap to kill his boss, his cousin, and two warring leaders from another planet, because they want to kill too many people. Oh, and then all is forgiven because Quark found a line he didn’t want to cross.

It’s an improvement on the comic dreck that normally passes for a Ferengi episode in DS9, but the tone really doesn’t quite work. It’s a bad fit for the show, but most especially for Quark’s character.

466 down, 271 to go.