Aug. 13th, 2012

ext_2512: ([actors] i am wonderful)
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Overall Reaction: ...Oh, sorry, I just got totally distracted reading about why Wil Wheaton left the show. I guess "wanted to take movie roles" is acceptable, though I also would have accepted a mere, "It really really sucked to be a teenager playing a character everyone in the universe hated."

On that note, I'm going to try and be nice about Wesley now that he's leaving, and not to dance gleefully at his abrupt departure. Much.

All of my notes were actually about him this episode, so there was nothing for me to put above. My notes were even mostly nice! If you ignore the one that says, "why would you want to be in a tiny shuttle with a way too happy Wesley for days," that one was a little harsh. Also the bit where I just wrote "FUUUUUUUU WESLEY."

I'm sorry, this was going to be nice! It will be nice! Here is the nice: I thought this was a not too annoying send-off for Wesley. Yes, he did some mysterious I'm-a-super-genius problem solving, but it was local problem-solving rather than Enterprise-saving, and so I'm going to forgive it. Also, I didn't understand it because they didn't even make an effort to explain what was going on there so I really feel unequipped to judge.

I'll also forgive his slightly whiny snark, because the miner guy was an asshole and deserved the whiny snark.

Wesley also had some nice emotional scenes with Picard, who I'm not convinced really cares about Wesley, but I am convinced that Wesley really cares about him and sees him as a paternal figure, and so Wesley's worry about him and attempts to be brave for his sake and his desire for Picard's approval and all the swirling teenage emotions he went through rang true. UGH, I DON'T KNOW, I DON'T GET WHY ALL THESE ADULTS GIVE THEIR TIME AND ENERGY TO CARING ABOUT THIS TEENAGE BOY, WHY IS HE SO SPECIAL, PLEASE JUST GO GROW UP AT STARFLEET WESLEY. No, wait, that got mean again.

This was a perfectly acceptable episode, and it also means Wesley is henceforth relegated to guest star, so...

Star Rating: ** 1/2 for the episode; * star for my attempts not to be mean, I am so sorry, he just brings out the senseless character basher in me

Quote of the Episode:
"Sir... you don't know this. No one knows this. Because I've never told anyone. All of the things that I've worked for - school, my science projects, getting into the Academy... I've done it all because I want you to be proud of me." (Wesley, I'm pretty sure everyone knew that)
ext_2512: ([tng] deanna is horrified)
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Overall Reactions: Deanna, girl, when you lose your empathic skills you go to hot mess territory fast.

They took "therapists make the worst patients" and ran with it in this episode. Deanna was pretty harsh with everyone after losing her empathic abilities, to the extent that I kind of liked it when Riker -- who'd just been hanging around being supportive -- kind of stone cold shut down Deanna's self-pity party. Although I like Deanna (regardless of any fun I may have had at the expense of the way the show sometimes uses her special senses), she can seem irritatingly composed and understanding from her position of superior understanding, and I think Riker hit the nail on the head with his "aristocratic" comment.

That's actually what I enjoyed in this episode. Not because I like seeing Deanna "brought down," but because I like seeing her get really worked up about something. I like anytime Deanna seems something other than the perfect unflappable therapist, whether she's teasing the Captain or grumping at Will (probably for calling her "aristocratic", shouldn't have done that, buddy) or reverting to petulance when faced with her mother -- or lashing out because she feels scared and powerless. This episode was like the opposite of the hilariously terrible episode "The Child", where Deanna faced an even freakier experience with a blissful doped-out equanimity. I like when Deanna gets to be human, even when she isn't being that likeable. (Though I could have used a little more likeability -- the A.V. Club's review of the episode notes that "'The Loss' requires us to feel both appalled at Troi's behavior and sympathetic at the anguish she's experiencing, and it's so much better at the former that the latter is nearly impossible," which is both harsh and accurate.)

This wasn't a great episode -- or even a terribly good one, I still don't really know what happened in the plot and it was really too brief to deal adequately with the reality of living with disabilities -- but there have been much worse Deanna ones. Maybe some better ones in the future, though?

Star Rating: ** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"Is this how you handle all your personnel problems?"
"Sure. You'd be surprised how far a hug goes with Geordi - or Worf." (Deanna and Will, who is clearly an amazing supervisor)
ext_2512: ([tng] data)
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Episode Notes: Going to the lj-cut and we're going to get married. )

Overall Reaction: Well, this is probably the worst Data episode yet.

Oh, it's not terrible. It's just...flat. I'm used to episodes about him that really illuminate something about his nature, like "Measure of a Man", or show him growing as he learns more about where he comes from and who he is. This is just a fairly standard "Data is comically baffled by human behavior" episode, especially in the Keiko/O'Brien wedding subplot, which -- I'm with you, Data. I am baffled by Keiko's behavior, and when I realize that this is how the show introduced her, I am less than impressed. Even if calling off your wedding the day before were not "childish and selfish," as O'Brien rightly puts it, having an android deliver the message definitely qualifies, and she shouldn't get to laugh it off with no explanation to her utterly perplexed mechanical friend at the end. Sorry, Data.

The learning-to-dance subplot is similarly uninspiring. Data...picks up dancing adequately! By observing and replicating! Okay, then! The surprising highlight was actually Beverly's horror at the possibility of -- once again -- being known as the "Dancing Doctor."

The final subplot, involving a Romulan spy impersonating a Vulcan ambassador, was the most successful, probably because it is the most serious. Rather than merely showing "Data doesn't understand those wacky humans!", it showed how Data's observational and processing skills differ from our own, how makes sense of the world and draws conclusions about the people in it without the benefit of emotional cues. Data, having left the false ambassador's chambers after a tense, suspicious interview, remarks in voice-over that, "I have often wished for the sense that humans call intuition, or instinct. Since Vulcans are incapable of lying, I must accept the Ambassador's explanation as the truth. But I would still prefer a... 'gut feeling' to back up this conclusion." Watching him navigate his chosen world without that "intuition" is interesting.

In the sense of fairness, I will say that I caught this on TV last summer and enjoyed it more then -- for casual viewing, it is an engaging enough episode, as most Data-centric episodes are. At this point in his character arc, though, and during a mostly above average season, it is a little disappointing.

Star Rating: ** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"There are still many human emotions I do not fully comprehend - anger, hatred, revenge. But I am not mystified by the desire to be loved - or the need for friendship. These are things I do understand. " (ILU Data)
ext_2512: ([ds9] awkward first date)
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Episode Notes: I believe in two things: discipline and Star Trek. )

Overall Reaction: Ouch. Ouuuuuuuuch. My heart.

This is a really good episode about the after-effects of war, about what it does to the people who fight. I actually thought that "The Wounded" was a nice poetic title for it, because that is what both Miles and the disturbed Captain Maxwell, his old commanding officer, are -- they are carrying around a wound that does not heal.

Miles, perhaps because he is faced with the worst case scenario of what happens when you don't move on, begins to make some overtures towards dealing with his past in this episode. After initially rebuffing the Cardassian officers who are aboard the Enterprise while they investigate Maxwell's apparently random attack on a peaceful Cardassian outpost, Miles approaches one of the Cardassian men to make amends in Ten Forward. That scene, where he speaks frankly about the horrible things he witnessed during the Federation-Cardassian war and reveals that it is not the Cardassians that he hates, but what he became when fighting them, is incredibly effective.

Captain Maxwell's trauma from his experiences in that war -- the anger and the pain he has lived with for so many years, after the loss of his family, and his profound inability to readjust to peace -- turn him from an admirable Starfleet officer to a vengeful reactionary. His attacks put the new alliance between the two empires in jeopardy, and also have a clear effect on the Cardassians aboard the Enterprise, who seem genuinely shaken by the loss of life. (Well. They had facial expressions and seemed to show real emotion. Cardassians are pretty hard to read.) They're also shocking for the audience -- it is rare to see the kind of body count he racks up on Star Trek, and all before we actually meet the man.

When we do meet Maxwell, his pain is painful to see, but it is also clear how far gone he is in his grief. He seems too far gone for reason...which makes it all the more powerful when Miles is able to beam aboard Maxwell's ship and find some connection with the commander he still deeply respects. Their quiet moment of union, singing the song of a comrade who fell in the war, is a beautiful denouement to the episode.

And then, in the last thirty seconds of the episode, we have the clear-eyed Picard challenge his Cardassian guest on the "harmlessness" of the ships and settlement that Maxwell attacked -- which both sets up the potential for future conflict (which I gather is coming soon on DS9...?) and establishes Picard as a total badass excellent foil for the Cardassians. You know that Cardassian has never respected Picard more than at the moment he revealed that he was onto their machinations all along but did exactly what needed to be done without letting on.

Star Rating: *** 1/2

Quote of the Episode:
"When one has been angry for a very long time, one gets used to it. And it becomes comfortable, like... like old leather. And finally... becomes so familiar that one can't ever remember feeling any other way." (Picard)
ext_2512: ([marvel] objectification)
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All I remember about last night after not falling asleep until almost 9AM: describing "The Wounded" as a poetic title.

I don't...not stand by that?

Episode Notes: Anyway, about this episode. )

Episode Notes: This was fuuuuun. Ardra brought some old school Trek flavor to this -- she's exactly the kind of person Kirk would have run across and probably kissed for the greater good.

Picard manages to resist kissing her, but, honestly, she's kind of his type. Oh, I don't think he's secretly pining for her, but she's just the kind of brash, outrageous figure who really gets under his skin, and that kind of fascination walks a fine line between outrage and attraction. (See: Vash, Q.) Sadly, Ardra ruins her chances by being a touch too "obvious and vulgar" (snap, Picard!), being a total charlatan, and also attempting to enslave an entire civilization.

So instead we just get to see Picard school her in the court of law. (Side note: do Starfleet officers have to pass the bar? I get that Kirk was apparently a giant nerd, but it seems incredible that we've now seen so many crew members serve judicial functions.) It's just as over the top and funny as you could hope, with the added bonus of getting to see Picard try and pep talk the enslaved civilization into self-esteem -- what did Ardra do for them, anyway?

Star Rating: ***

Quote of the Episode:
"Please do not take any offense to these questions, Captain. You know how fond I am of you."
"Sustained. The advocate will refrain from expressing personal affections for her opponent." (Ardra, Picard, and Data, the best judge ever)


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