Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Make No Mistake: It WILL Happen

There will be a series but not for years.

It will be less than a seven-year run.

On purpose.

This will not happen tomorrow.

No one will work on it for years.

It may not be JJ.

But it will come.

I say so.

Yes, we did. Sorry, Chris.

Chris Pine gave a new interview. It's mostly supposed to be about the Jack Ryan movie but he also talks about Star Trek, and our negative reactions to him in Star Trek. And yeah, we could have been nicer, I guess, but did you see Princess Diaries 2? Really?

And no, that isn't his fault. Just look at Shatner's early work. The bottom line is that Kirk had to be an unknown because using an unknown bought them a whole week of "Chris Pine? Who's Chris Pine?" And then the storm hit, after we watched Just My Luck and realized he'd actually done a Lohan film.

The truth is that we would have been upset with anyone. Using Chris bought them some time before the backash.

But no, he didn't deserve that.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Looking back, I wish time had frozen... here.

TNG Season 6 Episode 25
Written by Brannon Braga
Directed by Adam Nimoy

Okay, so this was before the psychotic break is the only thing I can come up with. It's a little farfetched, but not nearly to the point of later Voyager. And besides that, it's fun. Should have quit while you're ahead, Brannon.

Easily one of the funniest scenes in TNG - not a series known for it's humor.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Perspective on a Human Life

DS9: Facets
This episode is one of the few of DS9's that seems to suffer from the Voyager problem of, well, ADHD. They move through at least three potential episode plots by the time they finish the episode. Sigh.

Field Trip

The Jem Hadar
DS9 #446 Season 2 Episode 26
Aired 6/12/94
Stardate Unknown

Sisko gets home and finds Jake preparing his science project. He is growing Bajoran Katterpods to see which will grow faster. Awesome. Even in the 24th century, we still have the classic BS science project. Ben very diplomatically calls it "low tech".  He tells Jake to pick his favorite project. Jake picks piloting a runabout. Not science. Visit the gamma quadrant? Okay. What would you do when you got there? A planetary survey.

Okay. Jake is super excited.

Ben is excted to go on a trip with Jake. He tells Kira and Dax all about it. Jake comes in and asks if Nog can go with them because otherwise he will do bad on his project and if he does bad he will drop out of school. Ben sighs and agrees.

Nog tells Quark he can't work his next shift right as Odo tells quark he can't use the screens on the promenade to sell merchandise. Quark sees an opportunity...


They board the runabout. Quark shows up too, and says he is coming to supervise Nog. They leave. Ben is not happy.

They beam down to the planet and it is all woodsy woods. Quark is allergic to woodsy woods and therefore annoying.

A camp is set up and Jake and Nog start working. Quark is undeterred after Ben says the answer is still no about the monitors.

Jake and Nog keep working.

Ben makes jambalaya for dinner and Nog likes it. Quark dos not. He is cnvinced that Ben is anti Ferengi. Ben and Jake have a slight bonding moment. Quark catches fire. Ben yells at him. Nog hisses and runs off, and Jake chases him, which turns out lucky because that's when Quark calls Ben a bigot and a woman comes running into camp. She flashes some energy at Ben, which knocks him over, and asks how many "Jem'hadar" there are. Ben's all, huh? We're not you're enemy.  She tells them to run. But 6 or so lizard dudes (jem'hadar) appear out of thin air and they have scary guns.


Jake and Nog return to an empty camp. Nog wants to beam up but Jake doesn't. They track Ben and Quark with a tricorder.

Quark is pissed. Ben and Quark are imprisoned in a force field with the woman and worried about the boys. The woman tells them the Jem'hadar are the soldiers of something called the Dominion, a name we've heard a couple of times before. Her name is Eris. They plan an escape.

Jake and Nog find Jem'Hadar in the woods.


The Jem'Hadar get annoyed with Quark's yelling and they learn that the "Founders" don't want them released.

The Dominion doesn't want any more "Alpha Quadrant" incursions. The Jem'Hadar says he wanted a Klingon to come though so he could meet one. He doesn't like Cardasians. Interesting. And scary how much he knows about the Alpha Quadrant.

Jake and Nog make it to the runabout but they can't beam Ben or Quark up. They can't disegage autopilot to return to the wormhole. A vessel leaves the planet. And so they decide to shut off autopilot.

In OPS, a ship coms through the wormhole and a Jem'Hadar caling itself "Third Talak'talan" comes to tell them they can't use the wormhole anymore. He hands them a list of destroyed vessels that is written on a Bajoran pad... from the Bajoran colony on the Gamma side of the wormhole. All dead.


Ben wants to remove Eris's collar and so Quark gets to work on that.

Jake manages to disable the autopilot after almost blowing up the ship. Only problem: now they can't fly the ship.

Back in OPS, they plan a rescue with the captain of the Odyssey, Captain Keough, Dax's arch-rival. The Odyssey, BTW, is a galaxy-class ship. Keough wants to leave the crew of DS9 behind, but they manage to argue their way in. Even Odo wants to go because he wants to be there for Quark. They make it through the wormhole and worry about cloaked ships.

Jake is trying to fly. Badly. He makes it a little way when the other runabouts get there and Miles beams over to help him, so that's a relief.

Quark continues picking Eris's lock on her telepathic surpressor device. He comments on how sophistocated it is, because it's so tiny. He does get it off, and she uses her telekinetic powers to escape. Quark saves Ben during the escape, which is a neat turnaround.

The Jem'Hadar attack, and Miles flies in to beam Ben and co. up to a nice reunion. The Jem'Hadar can cut right through the Odyssey's shields, and when they are retreating they actually do a kamikaze run that hits the engineering hull just behind the saucer section. And then the Enterprise blows up. I mean the Odyssey.

So they make it back to DS9 and as they leave the runabout, Quark stops Ben. He has something to tell him.

There was no telepathic supressor in the collar. Eris is a spy. But she denies being a Founder. She beams out, presumably to a cloaked ship. Ben vows to be ready for the Dominion when they come.

And they will.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Descent into Madness, pt. 1

Data has decided a poker game between himself, Stephen Hawking, Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein would be interesting. Once again, I'd like to point out that Data has emotions - he just doesn't have human emotions. In this case, he finds this entertaining in the andriod sense.

That's the real Stephen Hawking, by the way.

When great minds collide.

And just so you know, Stephen Hawking kicks butt at poker. So don't mess with him.

Puh-puh-puh poker face.

Red alert.

No, seriously.


So this scary-looking ship has just attacked Ohniaka III, a planet we've never heard of before and never will again, again. To be fair, it is a scary-looking ship.
What.... is that?
It also doesn't respond to hails. Riker takes an away team and beams down to the station on Ohniaka III, because that's what he does best. But everyone's dead. Looks like a science facility, maybe? They start searching for survivors, which doesn't look promising.

And then Data opens a door, and there is a Borg behind it.

These days, when you say the word "Borg" in a post-TNG context, that only means pain and agony and some nausea. But this was June of 1993 and the Borg were still scary then, you have to remember this.

What's interesting, though, is that the Borg are not ignoring them like normal. They actually attack. They killed the station crew, they didn't just assimilate them. They go on the offensive and they actually seem kind of angry.

Based on the picture of the ship, I did not see
that coming.
So, presumably, that scary-looking thing in orbit was their ship, which was not a cube.


And something seems to have riled it, because, well,

Awwww... shabanga.

So Will, Data, and Worf are in this fight with the Borg on the planet. And the Borg do not fight like normal Borg. They don't adapt, for starters. They're also faster and more agressive.

But here's the really interesting part.

Riker kills one, and another one goes, "You have killed Torsus. I will make you suffer." Torsus? I?

Uh oh.

Data kills one of the Borg and the other Borg recognize him, and beam away.

"You won't like me when I'm angry."

The Borg ship just up and vanishes.

Hey, look, it's the upsidey-down pyramid ship!
It's just like a wrinkle in time.

"What happened," says Riker?
"I got angry," says Data.

Data reacts got his cell phone bill with trans-galactic
roaming charges.

Understandably, this is upsetting news to everyone, especially when you drag Hugh into it, because in that case, it would sorta kinda be their fault that the Borg have gone completely psycho.

Picard searches for the off-ramp to avoid the plot 
potholes coming up ahead.

Meanwhile, Data and Geordi have a cute heart-to-heart in which they try to decide if Data got angry or if he just had a power surge.
Gerodi tries to explain anger without using other emotions.
Sadly, this is not a humorous caption. Rather, this
is what actually happens in the episode.

Admiral Nechayev, who remember as that cranky lady who had the bright idea to put Jellico in command, comes on board and rips Picard a new one. She is NOT HAPPY with the Hugh situation, and who can blame her, although, to be fair we don't actually know that Hugh is the cause. Yet.

Some-bo-dy's in trooouble.

Data has decided that he is a "bad person" because he can only feel "negative emotions". Deanna uses her 90s psychobabble powers to persuade him that this is not the case, because no emotions are really bad, it's how you act on them.

I do so miss the 90s.

Data puzzles over which emotions are good and 
which are bad. Sadly, this is a serious caption as well.

There is a colony under attack. Or not. Someone forgot to read the instructions on their sensors. Also serious.
In space, no one can hear you cry wolf.

Picard retreats to his ready room to watch the security video of Hugh and beat himself up inside, because that's the responsible, mature thing to do.
Picard worries that he may have chosen poorly.

Data, meanwhile, is trying to piss himself off. You notice a definite lack of success:

Not angry.

They finally do find the Borg, and they are conveniently the closest ship again. It's so obvious that it's written into the script that we're supposed to notice this.

The Borg are using some kind of energy matrix to get around, which we will later learn is a transwarp conduit.
This is unfortunate, because all through Voyager 
we'll wish we'd never heard the words "Borg" 
in conjunction with "Transwarp Conduit".


They follow the Borg into a conduit and on the other side the Borg beam a couple of soldiers onto the bridge, presumably as a distraction while they run away.

A big fight ensuses.
The Borg almost seem like they're trying to get caught or something.

And one of the Borg is left alive at the end. They take him to the brig, where he wakes and reveals that he is a giant jerk. First he lists ways to kill them all, and then Picard makes a really stupid move and leaves the prisoner alone with Data.

So we know Data isn't doing so great with Borg lately. Maybe don't leave him alone with one? Or at least watch from the camera down the hall?

Alas, no.

My friend Tim: Don't let her out! Don't let her out!
Data learns the meaning of the term "crisis of conscience."

So Data liberates the Borg prisoner and they leave the ship together.

They have no choice but to follow them and do so, through another conduit and to....
Oh, boy, it's the last act of the last season finale!
Go, Enterprise go!

Google Galaxy, version 5300.

A planet. Riker and Worf will beam down to have a look, since sensors, predictably, don't work that well here. Why do they even bother having sensors?

For once, decisions are made in the command center,
not the observation lounge.

So they get to the planet, and that's when Riker makes his fantastically dumb move:

Yes, Riker, stick your head into a confined space
with an emotionally unstable machine that just 
choked someone to death. Good job.

Luckily for Riker, Data isn't in there. I don't even have a word for the magnitude of how dumb that is.

So Picard, meanwhile, has decided to beam everyone down to this planet to search for Data.

I get there's no sensors.

I get that you need to find Data.

But for crying out loud, maybe take a picture of the planet with really good resolution, scan it into the computer, and see if it can see any buildings first!

And the whole crew, practically? Really?

Picard, having just been taken to task for a questionable
command decision, decides to make another 
questionable command decision.

So he decides to beam down too, and search for Data himself.

Ship needs a captain.

According to Starfleet reguations, the person in command
of a starship is always referred to as "Captain" regardless
of rank. Ergo, we will be referring to Beverly as "Captain Crusher".
If she fails as a Captain, she can always move on to a career
with the WWE.

Neither Riker nor Worf objects to this.

You know how Riker doesn't let the Captain beam
into dangerous situations?

Nor does anyone, when they find a structure that they probably could have seen looking out the window, call for backup before storming the castle.

Go, go Power Rangers!
Sorry, guys, wrong turn. I thought this was the headquarters
of the Illuminati? Anyone seen Tom Hanks?
So, that's how that ends I guess. This can't possibly 
get any worse, right?
Maybe for him.
At least we found Data!

I'd say that sums everything up rather nicely.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Whose Hands are You In?

In the Hands of the Prophets
DS9 #421 Season 1 Episode 19
Aired 6/2/1993
Stardate Unknown
Written by Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by David Livingston

Miles and Keiko stop for a jumja stick, those glop-on-a-stick things Nog likes to eat. Keiko is teasing him about Neela, his assistant, who introduced him to jumja in the first place. "It's a natural sweet," says O'Brien. For crying out loud.

I know a lot of people don't like Keiko much, but I enjoy her in this episode, at least, mostly because at no point does she say "Miles Edward O'Brien!"

There is a component of this episode that is relevant today (otherwise known as Type 3 on Roddenberry's list) in which Keiko is teaching about the Wormhole. As a point of controversy, she is teaching that the wormhole is a wormhole, and that it is stable, and that the beings in the wormhole are keeping it stable with their verterons, and that the Bajorans worship those beings as gods.

Now, none of this is untrue. The Celestial Temple is a wormhole, there are beings inside it powerful enough to keep it stabilized which is certainly beyond the comprehension of Federation science (and therefore, by Spock's definition, magical) and these beings have brought great gifts to Bajor that take them on spiritual journeys and also they know everything because they exist outside of time, so one might say they even fit the definition of a god, or at least a higher being of some kind. However, Keiko, being Keiko, is not inclined to take that approach and instead is coming at it from a purely scientific philosophy.

Which is also fine, except at that exact moment, almost like she planned it, this really cranky Vedek named Winn comes into the room and objects to Keiko's teaching in front of the students, going so far as to refer to it as blasphemy.
And she's really simperingly sweet about it too. Personally, I would punch her.

Act One
Neela is very efficient at her repairing of things. She and Miles are working in the Security office. Or, I should say, she is working - she is done by the time he gets there. Miles is very impressed with her abilities and her attitude - not romantically, but think of her as his protege.

And then Miles notices his EJ-7 interlock is missing. What is an EJ-7 interlock you ask? A good question. It's a security seal maker or some such. Basically, it's not something you would want to lose.

Keiko, of course, complains to Sisko, because he's what? The principal? How many thousand people live on this station again? And he's here to, what, oversee Starfleet's presence in Bajoran space? Does the school even fall under his jurisdiction? On the flip side, who else does she have to go to? Anyway, in the course of Keiko's whining, it turns out that Kira is on Winn's side, and maybe there should be a separate school for the Bajoran kids, since their beliefs are different.

Ben responds to this with, and I quote, "My philosophy is... there's room for all philosophies." Okay, great. I'm actually good with that. Now, if Keiko could see that. She could use this opportunity to have the children teach each other about their cultures' religions, or start the lesson with having them each explain their view of the wormhole and the aliens it contains. She could use this chance to open a dialogue that would expand the understanding of everyone in the room, including herself. But I guess Keiko's decided not to stretch her boundaries today.
So Sisko goes to Winn and tells her essentially the same thing but without the whole "room for all philosophies" thing since Kira wasn't particularly receptive to it. It doesn't help the situation that Winn sees him as the Emissary, not the station commander, and Ben doesn't really believe in this whole "Emissary" business anyway. (Yet.) Winn even drags Opaka's name into it for no particular reason.

Does not work. Yeah, instead Winn threatens him. The Emissary of her Prophets. Whatever, don't like her.

Act Two
So now, not only is Mile's EJ-7 interlock missing, so is Ensign Aquino. The tool is made of tritanium, and thy find some weird tritanium in a power conduit, so they decide to go check that out.

What Miles and Neela find is a melted EJ-7 interlock and what is presumably a melted ensign. Looks like an accidental death.

So Miles goes to get his jumja only I guess he can't buy his jumja because the Bajoran who sells it won't sell to him because his wife is anti-Prophets. There's an obvious parallel we're supposed to draw here, with the teaching of Evolution and Creation in public schools, and this is another example of extreme overreaction. Did this guy seriously think that Miles believed in the same gods he does yesterday when he sold him his last jumja? Does he not sell to Starfleet anymore? This is ridiculous. And Miles is offering to leave the station over this? Why? It's crazy to leave when there's still six seasons left and he hates the Cardassians. What's not to love?

Then, as if the jumja thing isn't enough, Kai Winn meets them at the school with a crowd of Bajoran children, and she flat out asks Keiko "Is there a place for the Prophets in your school?"

"No," says Keiko, and then Winn leaves, and she takes the Bajoran kids with her, which leaves about four people. And Neela, watching, for some reason.

As Kai Winn leads the children away, Neela is the only Bajoran who stays behind. But what's interesting here is that Winn is the one disallowing the Bajoran children to remain in school, not their parents. The parents, apparently, are being socially pressured - if they were all right with what Keiko is teaching (which I have to say, I wouldn't be - not because I believe the Prophets are gods but because I believe that "room for all philosophies" means there is room for the Prophets in school and that Separation of Church and State does not mean you ignore the fact that God exists to the people you are governing when you govern) then there would be no point in keeping the kids out of school, and Kira made it plain that Winn is from an "orthodox order" which implies that not all Bajoran religious figures agree with her, and therefore not all Bajorans agree with her, and what are the odds that all Bajorans on the station of thousands of people believe in the exact same thing? Not very high.

Act Three
Everything about Aquino's death makes sense, except "He touched my tools," says Miles, and I guess you don't do that without asking. He wants to keep looking into it.

And in the middle of all that, Jake comes to Ben and asks how everyone can be so dumb. Ben points out what I said earlier, that in this case we know the Prophets really do exist and they certainly have abilities beyond our comprehension and a desire to work for the good of Bajor, so why not ask them for help if you live on Bajor and also, don't judge others if you don't want to be judged.

He also decides to get some help.

Winn is from an orthodox order, you recall, so Ben decides to visit one a little less orthodox. Basically, he's been battling Catholics all day so he's decided to take a break and visit the United Church of Christ in Oregon or something (I was trying to think of something pretty liberal). In fact, he goes to see the guy who is the frontrunner to become the Kai, Vedek Bariel. Bariel seems nice enough. For starters, he doesn't immediately grab Sisko's ear when they meet, an act that Sisko is so used to that he's started flinching subconsciously when he meets a Vedek. He's actually looking for permission to see the Vedek Assembly and get the whole thing sorted out, but they won't see him.

Three of the Bajoran crewmen don't show up for work when Ben returns to the Station. He is not happy.

Julian has established that Aquino died by phaser before being melted or whatever, so clearly not an accident. Thank God you thought to check that before almost ruling it an accident. Oh, wait. *sigh*

Act Four
No one has a clue what the motive would be, but they do have a log that shows he took a turbolift to Runabout pad C before he died. Also, you get this great screen capture from Ben's office:

Miles and Neela go check out the Runabout pad, but they don't find anything there. It all looks normal. Neela sends Miles off to get some rest.

The Bajorans begin to protest the school on the Promenade, and then someone actually blows it up.

Luckily, Keiko is okay.

Act Five
They move school into a cargo bay. The bomb was homemade, and keeping in mind that this was a planet full of terrorists a year ago, that tells you nothing.

And at that moment, Winn decides to rear her annoying pointy-hatted head again and accuse Ben of trying to destroy Bajor, which he's pretty sure the Bajorans on the station won't buy into, but it's the principle of the thing.


I really hate this woman and yet we have six more years of her at this point.

Oh, well. Awesome villain.

And at that moment, Vedek Bariel decides to come take a tour of the station. You get this sense that he's there to save the day, and Thank God. He'll talk some sense into Winn.
We were so naive in Season 1.

Miles found a security bypass module at Runabout Pad A, so they figure out the killer knew Aquino could be traced to C, and therefore moved to A to avoid detection.

He or she must have wanted to steal a runabout.

Neela goes to Winn and tells her the escape route won't work, and she will be caught. Winn, the rat, tells her that if she wants to please the Prophets she has to "do it," despite the fear that she would be executed.

I think we can guess what "it" is.

Lovely woman, that Kai Winn.

Miles secures the runabout pads, and while he's doing that, he finds a file that seems odd, so after a tense decryption scene (only in Star Trek can file decryption seem intense) he opens it and finds a systematic force field override program from the Promenade to Runabout pad A.

Oh my.

Neela follows Bariel through the Promenade, not nearly as excited as everyone else. And they are excited. Clearly they like this guy much better than Vedek Winn. Maybe there should be a regular Vedek on the station so these people don't do whatever whatever Vedek who comes along says.

There is a subspace relay in the security office, in the panel Neela repaired. The one with the weapon detectors in it - to sabotage them. You know how Odo doesn't like weapons on the Promenade? Yeah, he does now.

Miles has to call Sisko and tell him Neela has a weapon on the Promenade.

Bariel and Winn begin a public debate in front of the school. Neela pulls out her phaser and points it at Bariel. Sisko takes her down, but they know she'll never confess to not acting alone.

But Nerys knows it was Winn who planned it. She can't prove it, but she's figured it out- Winn was trying to lure Bariel out of hiding and into the public light so she could assassinate him. That's just... mean. Why? So she could be the next Kai? Because she didn't like him? Who knows?

But the point is, she's a mean, evil, manipulative person who uses the trappings of religion to get what she wants, which may or may not be in the best interest of the people following her.

Wow, I told you this episode was relevant today.

And the best news, after all that, we have won a victory: Nerys doesn't think Ben is the devil.

That's something, I guess.

And that's Season 1, ladies and gentlemen.

Also, a little Winn tribute, if you want a recap of what she is later. (Purely awesomely evil.)