Monday, January 29, 2018

Episode Review - The Sound of Her Voice (Deep Space Nine, Season 6)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here

Overview – The Defiant is on its way home after a successful escort mission when they receive a distress call from Captain Lisa Cusak of the USS Olympia, which was on an eight year long exploration mission of the Beta Quadrant. The Defiant is able to open communications with her, and while they travel at the highest speed possible, the crew take turns talking to her to keep her company. Meanwhile, back on Deep Space Nine, Quark concocts a plan that will keep Odo distracted while he arranges a highly profitable (and illegal) venture for him.

Score: 8/10 – Leading up to the Season 6 finale, we have a strong character-driven episode that is all about heart and friendship while being very light on the action. No problem with that for me, as there needs to be a balance of these things. We are given a real treat in the main story as Captain Sisko and his crew rush to save Captain Cusak. Cusak is a very unique character in that for the entire episode we only hear her voice. This makes for a unique and special experience that only adds to the story. Captain Cusak starts to bond with the crew, and is instrumental in helping the likes of Sisko, Bashir, and O’Brien deal with the impact that the Dominion War has been having on them personally. For Sisko, it is dealing with the mixing of his professional and personal life with Kassidy Yates. Bashir is isolating himself from his friends with his work, and O’Brien is feeling distanced from his friends because of the war. She quickly becomes close to the crew, which makes the ending that much more bitter sweet. When the Defiant finally reaches the planet she is stranded on, she has succumbed to the inhospitable atmosphere and is unconscious. When they arrive at her location, they learn that she has been dead for several years. The energy barrier around the planet threw her communications forward into time and when the Defiant responded, it sent their messages back in time. This leads to a very emotional wake that gives some foreshadowing to the tragedy that will take place in the next episode. The secondary story is much more light-hearted, and while it has nothing to do with the main plot, it is still entertaining and gives the characters left on the station (Quark, Odo, Kira, and Jake) something to do. It has humor and fun while furthering Odo and Kira’s relationship. Jake is mostly a way of Quark explaining his actions, but it still works for his character. The side story adds some levity to the tone of the episode and provides some nice balance.

Relevance – 3 points. A point scored here for referring to how Odo and Kira’s relationship started. Quark tries to convince Odo to celebrate the one month anniversary of their first date to help distract the security chief so he can score a big deal. We also reference the episode where Quark comforted Odo when Kira was together with Shakaar, giving Quark a reason to be upset over Odo once again ruing his plans. I am also scoring a point for the foreshadowing of Jadzia’s death. During the funeral service for Captain Cusak we have O’Brien mentioning that the day will come when one of them will no longer be around. The scene cuts to Worf and Jadzia at this point. A nice (or sad) omen of things to come.

Continuity – 2 points. Character continuity is solid here. I get seeing Odo, in his own way, giving Quark this one (and only one) victory as a way of thanking Quark for helping him get together with Kira. The reasons that everyone had for being disconnected are legit and make sense. Universe continuity also checks out here. I do think I will have to deduct a point in story continuity here. It struck me as odd that when Sisko learned that Cusak was the captain of the USS Olympia that somebody would have done some research into the ship and figured out that the ship left on its mission more than 8 years ago, which could have added a whole new dimension to the story. Still, it’s a minor oversight that does not diminish the impact of the story, just takes a point away.

Character Development – 3 points. It’s hard not to give full marks here, even though most people are just getting a bit of polish. Sisko and Kassidy go through a bit of a rough patch, O’Brien realises that the war has caused him to push his friends away and rectifies it. Much of the development, however, is in the secondary story with Quark and Odo. While Quark is about to make the biggest deal in his life, Odo finds out about it. Normally, Odo would use that as an excuse to arrest Quark. This time, however, he recognizes that Quark has assisted Odo a lot, and so he allows Quark this one victory. It adds a new layer to this rivalry/relationship.

Social Commentary – 2 points. Hard times can gradually cause even the best of relationships to falter and erode. The Dominion War has done this to our crew, and Cusak helps them to see this. It is hard to see it at times, and usually happens as an unintended coping or survival strategy. Learning how to reconnect with those around you is important, and it was very fitting that Lisa Cusak, in her last act, is able to help our heroes do this.

Cool Stuff – 1 point. As good as this episode is, I really don’t see a whole lot of “cool” stuff in it. Yes, it is entertaining and really gives us a lot to think about, but there is little that really wows us. Again, this is not a knock on how good this episode is. I do want to give a point to the character of Captain Lisa Cusak who we never see but know her by the sound of her voice. She worked her way into the hearts of the Defiant’s crew and into the fans and was an impactful character.

Rank – Captain (19 points). Such a unique episode that tells a fascinating story. Not seeing Captain Cusak is an effective story-telling tool. We also have an entertaining side story that gives us another fun chapter in the Odo-Quark feud. Definitely a special episode.

If you would like to read other reviews from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, please click the following link.

If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Episode Review - Time and Again (Voyager, Season 1)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here

Overview – A shockwave gets Voyager’s attention. As the crew searches for its source, they find themselves orbiting a planet that until the shockwave had a fully developed civilization, but is now a desolate wasteland. They discover that the inhabitants of the planet had developed polaric energy as a power source. Polaric energy was a very dangerous energy source that was banned in the Federation due to its destructive nature. As Janeway and some of her officers explore a ruined city, believed to be the center of the explosion, she and Tom Paris find themselves caught in a temporal fissure that places them back in time about one day before the accident. As Janeway and Paris search for a way to prevent the accident from happening, Chakotay and the rest of the crew search for their missing friends. They are assisted by Kes, who seems to have a telepathic ability that allows her to sense the events of the past. As both groups seek to achieve their objectives, Janeway makes an eerie discovery about the cause of the explosion.

Score: 6/10 – As far as first season episodes go, this one is not too bad. We are still trying to learn about the characters (this is only the third episode of the series), and the disaster on the planet serves as a backdrop for this purpose. We see Tom Paris continue to bond with Harry Kim, to the point where he is trying to set them up on a double date. We also see Tom’s relationship with the Captain progress. We see the beginning of the powers that develop within Kes throughout her seasons on the show. We even see the Doctor continue to come to grips with the situation he is in as the sole medical officer on the ship. Added to this is an interesting time travel story, throwing Janeway and Paris into the past and trying to prevent a disaster that they know will happen. While the story itself is fairly generic, it is still fairly good. The idea that Chakotay’s attempt at saving the captain is the ultimate cause of the explosion is an interesting twist. The only thing that is a little off-putting about this is that it is the first of multiple stories where in resolving the issue, they clean the slate of what had happened. In essence, nobody on Voyager will have any memory of this story as by Janeway stopping the rescue attempt she in essence prevents the explosion, which means that the ship doesn’t feel a shockwave and stop to investigate, which means that Janeway and Paris don’t end up back in time and need to be rescued…it gets dizzying trying to follow it. So while the ending can leave people feel a bit lost, overall the show is quite good. Also, the kid in the episode is a bit annoying at times.

Relevance – 2 points. A point scored for giving us the first glimpses of Kes’ extraordinary powers that will continue to develop throughout the series. It might be a bit for naught, however, as all we see in the end is Kes wanting to see the planet and knowing that all is well, though she may not quite understand why she feels that way (which is getting us back to the confusing time-travel logic, so I’ll leave it there). Another point is scored for the first mention of the Delaney sisters. Tom and Harry talk about them quite a lot throughout the series. They almost gain Captain Boday status (he was a character in DS9 that was often mentioned but never seen), but we do eventually see them in season 5.

Continuity – 3 points. Story continuity is a little tough to score. In any time travel episode where we see actions of the future impacting the past (just like we see in the previous Voyager episode “Parallax”), it makes it a little difficult to figure out what is going on and why they don’t remember the events of the episode because they didn’t actually happen, even though they did…OK, this time stuff is making it hard for me to focus. Suffice it to say, even though the time travel stuff makes it hard to follow, the story seems to be intact here, so I will give it a point. Character development is good as well. Neelix tries to help Kes figure out what is affecting her, even though he seems to not believe her. Tom lying to the Delaney sisters about Harry to get a date with them really fits the character. The one thing that raises some questions is Janeway leading the away team. In order to build that character of the captain, it is necessary to have her do this. Having said that, it was established in TNG that the captain usually doesn’t lead away teams anymore, so one could have expected Chakotay to object and insist he lead the team. I do think that ultimately this is very much in line with Janeway’s character. First, there does not seem to be a major threat as there is no longer any life on the planet. Second, Janeway is a scientist, and this sort of away mission is right up her alley. Finally, as we saw in “Caretaker”, Janeway seems to be the type of character that will treat the idea that the first officer should lead most away teams as a suggestion and would rather be on the front line. Finally, universe continuity is intact here, so full marks in this category.

Character Development – 3 points. Lots of character development, even though some of it may not stick due to the nature of time tra…uh, let’s just stop that there. Kes makes some very significant progression with the revelation and foreshadowing that she will develop these psychic powers. This is huge for her character, and fans of hers should see this episode for that reason. Janeway and Paris continue to build upon the groundwork of their professional relationship, and Tom shows some great signs of nobility as he throws himself in the trajectory of a bullet to save a kid. The Doctor also has some great, albeit brief scenes that add some great color to his character. His line about being on the ship of the damned is one of his funniest Season 1 lines. Full points here.

Social Commentary – 1 point. Here is where it becomes as muddied as the trying to figure out the time travel quandary (did they actually go down to the planet?). There is definitely an environmental aspect to the story, which still brings debate as to which forms of energy are harmful to our society. There is also the conundrum of what you would do if you knew a disaster was about to happen. While all these things are interesting to ponder, it is hard to say one way or another what this episode says about us, so I can only justify a single point here.

Cool Stuff – 1 point. The idea that their rescue attempt caused the explosion that drew them to the planet in the first place. Wow, I think I might actually be understanding this time travel paradox here. See, if they hadn’t had been in the Delta quadrant then they wouldn’t have initiated the explosion which Janeway undid by not allowing the rescue attempt to happen, so there was no explosion, and…Ok, I’m stuck again. Well, still a cool, albeit confusing, story ending. Not enough to be cool? OK, the timepiece was original.

Rank – Captain (16 points). Don’t get caught up in the time travel issues that have been plaguing this review, and you might actually find this episode very enjoyable. It sets up Kes’ special abilities and has some clever plot twists.

 If you would like to read other reviews from Star Trek: Voyager, click on the link here.

If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Episode Review - Little Green Men (Deep Space Nine, Season 4)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here

Overview – Nog is selling all his childhood possessions and is heading to Starfleet Academy. While Rom is proud of his son, Quark continues to be disappointed by his nephew’s choice. When Quark receives a ship from is cousin Gaila, however, he decides to transport Nog to Earth himself (with a ship load of contraband to make the trip profitable). When it turns out that Gaila has sabotaged the shuttle, the trio of Ferengi find themselves stranded in Earth’s past. Captured by the US military in 1947, Quark, Rom, and Nog must try to find their way back home, unless Quark gets his way and is able to make some financial inroads in Earth’s barbaric past.

Score: 9/10 – There are fans of the Ferengi stories, and there are those that despise them, but it is hard to argue the appeal of this episode. It is on par with “The Trouble with Tribbles” as far as great Trek comedic episodes go. It is also a touching tribute to the B-movies of the 1950s, complete with the standard and fun archetype characters, ranging from the paranoid officer to the idealistic nurse to the cigar-chomping general (played by Charles Napier, who guest starred as a much different character in a much less enjoyable TOS episode “The Way to Eden”). We not only get to see a lot of Ferengi culture but they also serve in an observer role of the human (or should I say “hew-man”) condition. It is almost akin to how Spock was able to observe humanity from a Vulcan viewpoint, but with the Ferengi we get to have some fun along with it. Odo, unbeknownst to Quark and Rom, happened to come along for the ride, is able to help the hapless trio escape from the military. Overall, the episode is pure fun and extremely enjoyable. Even those who hate Ferengi episodes have to concede that this episode is good.

Relevance – 3 points. A point is scored for a sort of ending for one part of the relationship of Jake and Nog. Before he leaves, they meet at their usual hangout overlooking the promenade and reflect back on how far the two have come. When Nog comes back to the station they don’t often go back there, so this scene has a bit of finality to it. Another point is scored for the infamous cousin Gaila. Quark reveals that he is responsible for loaning his cousin the money to start his weapons consortium, and it is nice to see that Gaila has finally given Quark the ship he promised him (with a little surprise for him, of course). Finally, there is a fun nod to a great two-part episode from season three, “Past Tense”. As Nog is reading up on Earth’s history, he comes across a reference to the Bell Riots of 2024 and remarks that Gabriel Bell looks a lot like Captain Sisko (who, of course, had to be Bell in that episode to preserve the timeline). That fun little bit is enough to score a third point in this category.

Continuity – 2 points. Character continuity gets a great reception here. The three Ferengi all act the way that they should. Of particular note is when the soldiers are about to start using physical violence to get the Ferengi to talk, each one has a reaction that is just perfect for their character. Quark admits that he just wants to sell them stuff, clever Nog invents an elaborate invasion story that gives the soldiers exactly what they want, and Rom just starts wailing for his Moogie. Story continuity is also good here. Where I have to deduct a point is when Quark says that if they can give the humans of 1947 warp technology then they would have it centuries before anyone else, even the Vulcans, had it. There are many episodes that contradict that statement, so I have to take a point from them here.

Character Development – 2 points. As fun as this episode is in giving Quark some attention, it really doesn’t give us much advancement to his character. He basically tries to con his way to fame and fortune in the past, only to have it blow up in his face. He really doesn’t learn any valuable lesson either. Since Odo is the only one who goes back in time with the Ferengi, the rest of the cast get hardly any air time (I believe Captain Sisko only has two lines in this episode). Nog and Rom also get some attention, but again little is done in the way of advancing their characters much. While this category is usually reserved for the main cast members, Rom and Nog have become so familiar to the show that their development can be seen as significant as well.

Social Commentary – 1 point. This is where the episode can come up a bit short. They give us a fairly obvious knock on the hazard of smoking, a none-to-subtle reminder as to how dangerous A-bombs are, and generally tells us that humans have come a long way in the 24th Century. They are none too subtle about those messages, even in 1995. Still, they don’t really give us anything to think about. I have yet to meet one person who watched this episode and be able to give me anything solid about how this episode made them think about their lives. So yes, this episode is a lot of fun. It has the right mix of silliness and light-heartedness and is cleverly written. Quark makes some great observations about humans of the past (“If they’ll buy poison they’ll buy anything”). When the episode is done, it really doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know or in a way that was profound to us.

Cool Stuff – 3 points. I have to score a point for the insights into the Ferengi culture. It was great hearing all the dialogue in the Ferengi language. It was also quite clever of the writers to come up with the idea of putting the Ferengi universal translator in their ears instead of on a combadge like everyone else seems to do. The scene where the humans are smacking the sides of their heads mimicking Quark trying to reboot his translator is one of the great funny moments. I am also going to score a point for the irony of how they got back home. After telling us again and again how stupid humans were for making such destructive weapons like atom bombs, it is the explosion of an atom bomb that provides them the energy needed to ignite what was left of the kemocite and send them back home. What they thought was man’s folly proved to be Quark’s salvation. Finally, I have to score a point for the casting of the guest stars in this episode. Charles Napier, as I mentioned, plays a much different character from his space hippie he did in the Original series, and it is much better. I was glad that he was able to have a better role to be remembered by in the franchise, and it shows how great an actor he was. Megan Gallagher plays her second of three Trek roles (she had previously been in the DS9 episode “Invasive Procedures” and will go on to be in Voyager’s “Body and Soul”). She is a very talented and delightful actress with an impressive acting resume, and she shines here as the idealistic nurse that sees the reality of people far more clearly than anyone else.

Rank – Captain (20 points). So close to being the score of Admiral, but I can’t recommend this episode more. It is definitely a fun ride and I would argue the best Ferengi episode of all the series. The multiple nods to the B-movies of the 1950s, the great script, near-perfect casting among the guest stars, and just a great performance by all three of the Ferengi actors makes this a great episode that should not be missed.

If you would like to read other reviews from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, please click the following link.

If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Episode Review - Unexpected (Enterprise, Season 1)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here

Overview – The Enterprise is suddenly affected by a series of unexplained malfunctions, including loss of gravity. As they search for the cause of the problems, they discover a cloaked ship trailing the Enterprise. When they contact the ship, they meet the Xyrillians, an advanced alien species. They are using the plasma exhaust to help them power their ship so they can return home. Tucker agrees to go over to their ship to help them make repairs. While he is there, he befriends Ah’len, a female Xyrillian engineer, who shows him some of their technologies. During his encounter, Ah’len showed Tucker a game which connected them telepathically. After the Xyrillian ship was repaired, Tucker returns to Enterprise, having enjoyed his visit. Shortly after the Xyrillians leave, Tucker notices a strange growth on his arm. Phlox examines Tucker and announces that Tucker is pregnant. The Enterprise then tries to find their new friends to figure out what happened. When they find the Xyrillians following a Klingon ship, they must convince the Klingons to assist them without destroying their new friends.

Score: 7/10 – This episode is a nice way of giving the viewers an in-depth look at Tucker, plus give us some entertaining moments. As I re-read the overview I just wrote, I have to admit that I really do not do the episode justice. On paper, it looks like a bad comedy plotline, but it actually works very well. The story flows fairly well and while it may not be terribly ground-breaking it is a fun story. From the introduction we are given some moments that we often thought about in Star Trek. In this case, we not only see how they shower, but what happens when the gravity cuts out. It’s interesting to see a holodeck, and we cannot help but wonder if this is the inspiration for the holodecks we see in TNG or Discovery. There are some funny moments, although some of the jokes written in seem a bit stale and cliché (thinking specifically of the “When in Fellebia” line from Phlox and the Klingon captain, when on the Xyrillian holodeck looking at his homeworld, exclaims “I can see my house from here”). The concept of having Tucker be the one who gets pregnant (OK, technically he is a host to the developing embryo) is an interesting twist, especially since nothing sexual happens between him and Ah’len, or at least that is what it seems at the beginning. Connor Trineer does a great job at making the most out of pregnant Trip, showing typical mood swings common in pregnant women from a man’s perspective. The story doesn’t have a whole lot of real risk or threat to it, and when it is resolved it doesn’t seem to have a big send off, but the viewer is left with a sense of satisfaction of having been entertained.

Relevance – 3 points. One point scored for the reference to Archer’s experience on the Klingon home world during the pilot episode. They use his experience to convince the Klingons to cooperate with them. Of course, the pregnancy will be brought up again by T’Pol later in the season, adding fuel to the fire between these two characters. There is also the part in the mind reading sequence that has Trip retelling how Archer saved his life in the Omega training mission. This story was established in the previous episode, “Strange New World”.

Continuity – 3 points. Character continuity works here. Trip is his usual laid-back self, but when the situation starts to develop, his reaction is spot on. I also liked how T’Pol, as is typical for her early Season 1 self, is highly skeptical that Trip didn’t intentionally get romantically involved with Ah’len. Of course, there is also Phlox who is curious but unshaken by this medical anomaly. Storyline works out as well. Universe continuity is also kept intact here.

Character Development – 2 points. Naturally, this is a good Tucker episode, and it is the first one that really focuses on him in the series. Having said that, it really doesn’t do much to advance his character, but it is important to give him a solid introduction to the fans. Nobody else is heavily featured in the episode, and that’s OK. I did feel that Trip’s character became much more rounded out with this story, and it showcased Connor Trineer’s abilities as an actor.

Social Commentary – 1 point. Don’t put your hands in an alien bead game without wearing gloves. OK, seriously, there is not much to say in this episode, other than the importance of getting to know a different culture through experience and keeping an open-mind. Even though the story is fun, there is not much that it offers us as a glimpse into our own world.

Cool Stuff – 2 points. A point for finally (on television, at least) showing us what happens when the gravity goes out on the ship. I am also giving a point for the Xyrillians here. They have a sleek look and the episode shows us a great look into their culture. We learn a lot about them quickly, and it’s fascinating.

Rank – Captain (18 points). A fun story that takes a potentially hokey topic and turns it into a fun romp. A cool new alien species with some neat technology and some humorous moments. 

If you would like to check out my other episode reviews for Enterprise, simply click here.

If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Episode Review - Duet (Deep Space Nine, Season 1)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here

Overview – A Cardassian arrives on the station seeking medical attention. When it is revealed that he has Kalla-Nohra Syndrome, Kira has him arrested on suspicion of being a war criminal. As Kira interrogates the man, identified as Aamin Marritza, suspicions arise on the true nature of his identity. He is identified as Gul Darhe’el, commander of an infamous labor camp that Kira had helped liberate. In spite of this revelation, the evidence does not fully add up, and as Kira discovers the truth of the man they have in custody, she is forced to examine the truth of her feelings towards Cardassians.

Score: 9/10 – This is arguably the strongest episode of the entire first season. We are given a remarkable character story that provides us an in-depth study of the effects of war and genocide from both the perspective of the oppressed and the oppressor. The aftermath of the occupation of Bajor is a common theme in the early seasons of DS9, and “Duet” shows us how we got great television out of it. Kudos to Nana Visitor and guest star Harris Yulin for a tour de force in their roles. The writing was just as strong as the acting, and when superior acting is given an amazing script, the result is a brilliant story. There is little in the way of physical action, but it is the intrigue and dialogue that gives us the dramatic power that fuels this superior episode.

Relevance - 2 points. One point is scored for the first mention of the Shakaar resistance cell. We would eventually meet Shakaar and other members of the cell in future Kira-centered episodes. Another point is scored for introducing the character of Neela, the Bajoran engineer that would play an important part in the season finale.

Continuity – 3 points. Story and universe continuity are both maintained here. For universe continuity, there is definitely a pattern that is respected with the verbose nature of Cardassians. Marritza makes monologue after compelling monologue, much like Dukat and Garak were famous for. Where we have a possible issue is in character continuity. In the previous episode, “Dramatis Personae”, Kira and Sisko seemed to have come to an understanding and respect for each other. In this, the very next episode, Kira goes behind Sisko’s back to get her way in dealing with Marritza. In spite of the new-found respect for Sisko, I do not see this action as going against Kira’s character. Some habits are hard to break, and the effects of the Cardassian occupation on Kira are difficult to overcome overnight. Besides, the power of the story would have been diminished if she hadn’t acted the way she did.

Character Development – 2 points. This is one of the strongest episodes for Kira’s character. She had a deep hatred towards Cardassians at the start of the series, and though she mellowed somewhat during the season, the reality of how the occupation affected her hits her with full force. The most important part of her journey in this episode is when she sees that some of the Cardassians showed true remorse and guilt over the actions of their people. To see Kira’s demeanour change from suspicion to realisation to sympathy for Marritza. Then, in the final scene, a Bajoran fatally stabs Marritza. As Kira asks the Bajoran why when Marritza was innocent, the killer states that him being Cardassian was enough of a reason to kill him. Kira, in a brilliantly acted and written line, admits that it is not enough anymore. This is a huge leap for Kira and continues to grow throughout the series.

Social Commentary – 3 points. This episode is an example of not only how relevant DS9 was in its time, but it was ahead of its time. When this episode was first aired, it served as a reminder of tragic and horrible events such as the Holocaust. There were some obvious parallels for us to follow. We were also witnessing the then current ethnic war in the former Yugoslavia. Since that time, we have seen similar conflicts in Rwanda and several places in the Middle East. We still, to this day, see racial unrest in America. With all of this, it is very likely for all of us to see one group of people as the enemy where everyone is guilty for the sins of some in the group. The trick is realising that not all who look like those who wronged you are guilty of their sins. Even if we may be the victims of oppression, we should not make the mistake in hating everyone who look like those who harmed us. There is also a great message in the character of Marritza. We see a man that truly feels responsible for the sins of his people, even though he himself was innocent. His desire to sacrifice himself was not only motivated by a desire to right the wrongs that his people committed against Bajor, but he recognizes that while Cardassia refuses to accept responsibility for their actions, they cannot truly move forward as a people.

Cool Stuff – 2 points. Definitely a point scored for the performances of Nana Visitor and Harris Yulin. Kira goes on an emotional roller coaster ride as Yulin pulls off an almost perfect deception for the most noble of reasons. I also score a point for the final scene. I was in high school then, and twenty-five years later I still remember the power of seeing Kira crying over a dying Cardassian that was willing to sacrifice his life to help both the Bajorans and the Cardassians emerge as better people.

Rank – Admiral (21 points). This episode shows the strength of DS9 and Star Trek in general when it comes to exploring the human condition in a science fiction setting. We have a powerful journey of one of the main characters learn to care and even forgive a member of a species that oppressed her people for decades while at the same time give us something to think about with respect to our own situation. More than ever we need this type of television.

 If you would like to read other reviews from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, please click the following link.

If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Episode Review - Twisted (Voyager, Season 2)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here.

Overview – The crew throw Kes a surprise birthday party (she is turning two years old) on the holodeck. On the bridge, Tuvok and Ensign Kim discover an energy field that ultimately envelops Voyager. The field not only starts to disrupt ship systems such as communications, but it seems to be reorganizing the layout of the ship. Captain Janeway and her crew try to figure out the puzzle that has become Voyager, hoping to figure out what is happening and protect the ship from the unknown energy field.

Score: 6/10 – This is a twisted little episode that gives us a bit of a sampler of each character. This is good in that everybody has a little something to do, but bad in that nobody is really a focus. The pacing is a bit slow at times, as it seems that a significant portion shows various crew members wandering the hallways. Neelix disappears part way through, which at the time seemed odd that he would just nonchalantly wander away from Chakotay when there was something strange happening to the ship. Some of the humor works, and some of it doesn't. Some of the scenes are a bit clunky, but there are some fairly good momentsas well. To contrast this, there is one part where Janeway, after emerging from a sort of catatonic state, exclaims “It’s talking to me!”. It was done in a way that seemed off to me. In contrast, there is a touching scene where the senior officers are in the holodeck, awaiting the arrival of the mysterious and ominous field. Each crewmember (minus Neelix, who was missing) pairs up with someone. Tom and Harry, Torres and Chakotay, and the Doctor and Kes. The captain is unconscious during this, and Tuvok, in a very touching way, places his hand close to Janeway’s shoulder. While it is a simple gesture, it was a powerful one to me. The ending seems a little anti-climatic at first, but when we learn that the anomaly actually both added and copied information from the ship’s database, it added a little mystery to the story. Sadly, the mystery of where the anomaly came from and the information it gave them was never solved.

Relevance – 1 point. Neelix is still showing signs of jealously towards Tom’s interest in Kes. This started in the episode “Phage” and will finally be resolved in the next episode “Parturition”.

Continuity – 2 points. Character continuity is going to take a hit here. I found it odd that Torres, who was the only person Chakotay had met that had tried to kill their spirit guide, would seek this moment to try to contact her guide again. Story wise, everything adds up. Universe continuity is also good here.

Character Development – 1 point. As I mentioned previously, everybody gets some attention, but there is very little in the way of actual development. Neelix is becoming a bit of an annoyance with his jealousy. Kes has a birthday. The Doctor has some “fun” with the holographic Sandrine. Tuvok seems to lighten up a bit when he finds a way to allow Ensign Kim to go to the holodeck. We get a glimpse as to how each of the main characters faces the unknown. Yet with all of this happening, there is really nothing significant that happens to anyone, so we can’t really score higher than a “1” in this category.

Social Commentary – 0 points. I really tried to find something in this episode that was relevant to the being some sort of social commentary. Sadly, I got nothing.

Cool Stuff – 1 point. I did find the banter between the Doctor and Sandrine to be quite entertaining and fun. Robert Picardo has a great talent at making the Doctor funny without making him look like a total goof. Some of the dialogue between these two holograms, while brief, is just pure gold.

Rank – Lieutenant (11 points). Not a horrible episode, but not a very memorable one either. I just really think they could have done a better job with the pacing. Having said that, it can be fairly enjoyable to watch, so you should give it at least one viewing. After that, if it isn’t your preference, you can skip over it next time you binge-watch the series.

If you would like to read other reviews from Star Trek: Voyager, click on the link here.

If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do.