Tuesday, July 31, 2012


*** (3 stars out of 5)

Figuratively prying Miles O'Brien off his workstation and sending him on vacation isn't easy. But it's not much of a vacation. 

Like Scotty, O'Brien might almost rather read Tech Manuals than kiss his wife (if Scotty had a wife, which is by no means certain. Maybe he kissed Tech Manuals?) Miles won't be doing either. Gul Evek, on the wrong side of the DMZ, arrests O'Brien with no explanation. 

On Cardassia Prime Miles is stripped, filed, briefed, debriefed, scanned, and pummeled as necessary. Plus a standardized molar plucking for ID purposes. Also dressed in a studded pleather catsuit because they liked it on Evil Kira so much.

Chief Archon Makbar assigns him the venerable Korvat as public conservator. A lawyer, by any other name, except that Korvat's job is to help the defendant concede the infallible wisdom of the state. He's never won a case, but then "Winning isn't everything."

Odo, still technically an officer of the Cardassian court, volunteers to serve as 'Nestor'. He begins gathering twigs and twine in which to lay his eggs... no, I guess 'nestor' means 'advisor'.

Lordy, how I love O'Brien! "No one in my entire life has ever had cause to ask: 'Miles O'Brien, are you a criminal?' I took an oath to defend the Federation and what it stands for. I don't steal from them, I don't lie to them. I'm no angel, but I try to live every day as the best human being I know how to be." 

Because of Odo's efforts, the televised trial extends into a second day- the longest trial in the history of the planet. Miles is pre-sentenced to death for attempting to smuggle photon warheads to the Maquis.

Makbar goads Miles with his vocal history of distrusting Cardassians. But surely this Kafka-esque ordeal will turn THAT attitude right around!

The true culprit turned out to be Raymond Boone, the good old friend Miles never mentioned who was replaced by a Cardie lookalike eight years ago. The instant Sisko arrives with "Boone", Kovat's won his first trial. "They'll kill me," he gasps.

"Tribunal" reveals how everyone has a good chuckle at the guy who won't take a holiday... but LOOK WHAT HAPPENS! If Geordi got snatched and brainwashed by Romulans in his way to Risa in 'The Mind's Eye', how much MORE risky is a runabout ride along the Demilitarized Zone? 'C'mon, sweetie, let's pack a picnic lunch out by the shooting war between the Lizard-Men and the cast of 'Deliverance'!

May your vacations always be more pleasant!

Monday, July 30, 2012

All Good Things...

***** (5 stars out of 5)

If my reviews went to 6 stars, I'm not sure what Star Trek would earn it more. As Tasha Yar says tonight: 'You're in for a treat."

It's a temporal tossed salad or utter madness (is there a difference?) as Captain Picard becomes unstuck in time, leaping from the launch of the Enterprise-D seven years ago to his retirement a quarter century hence.  And while you're delving into the fragments of a man's life, could you also take a look at the total annihilation of all humankind? When you get a second...

Is Picard off his rocker or is there something more sinister at work? No sooner do we wonder when Geordi installed those cool blue eyes and ended up father to Leah's kids, when we're back in the past admiring Troi's cheerleader skirt once again.

And while pondering what Paul Rice was doing lurking eerily behind Beardless Stud Riker at Farpoint, we're suddenly staring down the gob of Tomalak the Romulan, acting curiously Narn-ish. And when we've scarfed our Narn bread it's back to the future with Data the Crazy Cat Lady of Cambridge, and Captain Beverly Picard who got the starship Pasteur in the divorce.

Why is Picard seeing filthy shrieking hobbits? How many anti-time tachyon beams make three? Is there any possible way to stop Worf and Troi from kissing?

We know his crew in the present love Captain Picard, (and not just on Captain Picard Day, the annually mandated holiday of enforced merriment). We know they would follow him into the very maw of death, but was that always the case? And will it always be so?

Perhaps the top-notch writing and Emmy-nabbing visual effects have the answer. Boy, howdy, did I cheer when Admiral Riker flew the old D (sporting a snazzy third nacelle) right up those thug Klingon patoots with some massive frag cannon and jumps to Warp 13! Can you spell Nerdgasm?

I'd say SPOILERS, but this story is 18 years old, just slightly older than I was when I first saw it, more's the pity. So when I tell you the villain of the piece spells his name with a 'Q' you won't be exactly gobsmacked. The trial of humanity has reached a verdict. Paradox will be the death of us... unless the chicken and the egg that is Picard's noggin can fry us up a more satisfying denouement.

"All Good Things..." won a 1995 Hugo Award, so you can read a reserved but entirely excellent review from Ryan at Blogging The Hugos now that you've absorbed all my nonsense.

We've come to the end of the first Star Trek that was mine, all mine. So howl with me at the afterlife to let them know what to watch out for.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Collaborator

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Bareil has all the fun. Vedeks see more of the vision-inducing Orbs than a lay Bajoran. He gets to dream of Kira in skin-tight workout clothes playing springball and what-not (speaking of laying Bajorans). Of course, this trip turns bad for the non-celibate monk: it features the grisly hanging corpse of some specter called Prylor Bek.  Maybe Bek was a termite who choked on the splinters?

The Kai election is in two days. Bareil is an option for Space Pope, so too is Vedek Winn. You remember Winn? She preaches the conditional love of the Prophets to good little children. But do the disobedient get coal in their stockings... or a disruptor in the face?

Secretary Kubus Oak from the New Yawk area of Bajor, when recognized, is quickly arrested. He was exiled with the other mooks (surviving Occupational Government AKA Sell-Outs). Kira is not inclined to change that ruling.

Winn is more forgiving since Oak can be tapped for delicious, maple syrup-like blackmail.

In the Kendra Valley Massacre, you'll be delighted to learn, 43 freedom fighters including the son of the last Good Space Pope, Opaka, were, well, massacred. Collaborator Bek confessed to giving their location to the Cardassians in his suicide note. Winn declares Bek was merely the pawn... of Bareil. Da-da-daaaam!

Did Kira's boyfriend do the nasty? So to speak? Odo has learned one thing about humanoids: "In extreme situations even the best of you are capable of doing terrible things." So he's seen 'Dance Moms', then.

Bareil's having visions of kissing on Winn and getting stabbed to death by Kira. Only you can decide which is more horrifying. He withdraws... from the election, that is.

Bariel admits Opaka was "The Collaborator": sold out her son to save a thousand lives. He helped sweep it under the rug. So I hope you like Kai Winn! Speaking of dusty old rugs, check out the official Kai garb. Made from old curtains like the Von Trapp kids' play clothes in 'The Sound of Music'.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Preemptive Strike

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Advanced Tactical Training School is tough: half the class washes out every year. That's what Ro Laren was not doing all year: failing. She's now returned to Enterprise with a lieutenant pip. Also, the training is so hard she lost her uppermost nose ridge.

The DMZ is still a frakking felker-storm, as the kids say. Or, more probably, have never said.

Maquis ships of Federation and Bajoran design are shooting Gul Evek's warship. Why can't anybody just leave a perfectly innocent giant Cardassian warship in peace? Picard has Worf separate them with a precise torpedo blast. Explosions are the perfect way to calm people down, don't you think?

Admiral 'Never-A-Good-Sign' Necheyev has Picard send Ro undercover to gain intelligence on the Maquis. This infiltration is the easiest thing anyone's done since the Federation botched the treaty in the first place! Ro really does hate Cardassians, she really does have a bad rep, and her tactics instructor just resigned to join the resistance. (This was meant to reference a character soon to be introduced in Star Trek: Voyager. Due to short memories and dodgy writing, this former fleet tactical lieutenant commander from the DMZ will disconnect that back-story possibility in dialogue years from now. Grumble damn continuity nerd snarf consistency grousing hobgoblins...)

Ro wins the trust of a Maquis cell leader, Macias, by "stealing" medical supplies from Enterprise. Then Picard has her lead the rebels into a trap. (It's in the Honest, Brave, and True Starfleet Manual under the heading New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, Subsection: The Terra Maneuver. If it would help, Ro is encouraged to talk like a 1930's gangster, take up smoking, and bed a much older man.)

But she can't go through with any of it. Striking from ambush one evening, Cardassians disguised as monks slaughter her good-hearted Maquis mentor. And Starfleet's trickery is of such a dishonourable nature today that, yes, she saves the freedom fighters by turning on Riker and Picard. Who fly back to safety feeling betrayed, irked, and slightly disgruntled. Possibly even miffed!

In "Preemptive Strike" Ro finds a new daddy, dropping Picard like a hot potato for a martyr to a lost cause who liked spicy food. But darn it, Michelle Forbes is a great performer. She didn't make the transfer to DS9, she missed the boat to Voyager, and in both cases it was Star Trek's loss.

Friday, July 27, 2012


***** (5 stars out of 5)
Admit it, haven't you wanted to re-visit the evil Mirror Universe from Mirror, Mirror? O.K., so it's evil, but then again it's sexy, dangerous, and sexy.

Returning from The New Bajor colony in the Gamma Quadrant, Bashir and Kira are hitting it off as well as Bashir ever seems to hit it off with anyone. That is to say, he's being obnoxious. (Except if he's actually hitting on her, in which case he should be prepared for her to hit back.)

Something goes wrong in the wormhole crossing. Camera angles are wonky, we're staring up Kira's... nose, and now the station is awash with Klingons (well, I say awash, but I doubt Klingons bathe MORE in this dimension!). Gul Garak works for Catsuit Kira, because she's the Intendant of Bajor in the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance. Bashir is tossed into ore processing with Slappy Odo. Not Happy Odo, not Slapper Odo, I mean the man doles out a lot of slaps.

Catsuit Kira is a history buff: she knows how Crossover Kirk influenced Goatee Spock to become Commander-In-Chief of the Terran Empire. The Vulcan Bearded One successfully reformed the humans by preaching disarmament and peace. Which was all very well until the Klingons and Cardassians rolled right over them for slave labour. Bajor, freed from Earth's tyranny, has become an influential power with their own humans to kick around. They have a policy of killing any crossovers. (They've got their eye on you, X-Men. Just in case... mumble, grumble, Days of Future Past indeed!)

Poorhouse Quark has never heard of latinum but he was running an underground railroad for Terran slave escapees. And he's never heard of railroads, either.

Pirate Sisko named O'Brien the miserable fix-it drone "Smiley". Milkbath Kira (same one as Catsuit Kira, but the catsuit comes off, as it transpires) seems willing to trade her Bad-Boy Benjamin in for our Kira.  'She's in love with you.' smarms Garak. 'You're the perfect gift for the girl who has everything!"

Nice Quark is executed for freeing Terrans. Bashir shoots Slappy and tries to rescue Smiley. Pirate Sisko turns on the Intendant and frees our heroes from death, and a fate kinkier than death. They make it home just ahead of the guns.
Never to return again... see you for sweeps!

"Crossover" boasts a Sinister Sisko on the prowl, the Evil Expl-Odo, and the Pleather-clad Posterior of a bi-curious dominatrix who combines campy with creep-tacular. What's not to like?
(Sigh. I wonder if my wife would like a catsuit for her birthday? Sorry, MY birthday.)

Thursday, July 26, 2012


** (2 stars out of 5)

Prospero Data, or possibly pasty Johnny Depp as Wizard Gandalf, rehearses The Tempest for Picard. "One final creative act before giving up his art forever." But the Captain and the android narrowly avoid being run over by the Orient Express. Wouldn't you know it? The holodeck's broken again...

A magnascopic storm in the Mekorda sector, for lack of a more delicate term, knocked up the Enterprise. It has become fruitful and is great with child.

The ship suddenly jumps to warp 'luckily' avoiding a theta explosion the sensors weren't designed to detect, but then did somehow. SCIENCE! The circuitry is full of brightly coloured crazy straws, perhaps appropriate to the drunken way the ship is behaving...

Holodeck gunslingers and medieval knights are doing jigsaw puzzles on the train. All in all, a mobster delivers another brick to a wall. Worf shovels coal to get them to Jeffery Tambor Beta VI and all the vertion particles the ship can eat. We've never heard of vertion before, but clearly it's the cosmic equivalent of pickles and ice cream.

The replicators and transporters created a brightly coloured hairball in the cargo bay, then coughed it up. There is much rejoicing... while D Jr. wanders off by itself. Deejur? Nobody names it.

Picard hopes that whatever the hell got built from their fantasies will be honourable. But, really, isn't it more likely to suffer from the Living Spaceship equivalent of fetal alcohol syndrome?

It might be the writers of "Emergence" who were inebriated. Let me get this straight: Enterprise spontaneously grew an imagination, reproduced, and reverted to normal function so it conveniently cannot take any responsibility. The carbon units infesting Enterprise are unable or unwilling to investigate the Strange New Life because uh... it ran away really fast or something. That looks pretty bad in a report, so what are they celebrating? That even their ship is a terrible parent?

It's the unfunny version of the episode 'The Practical Joker' with an unsettling dash of 'I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant'. If instead of dropping infants into toilets you dropped them into outer space. (In case you didn't guess, yes, I feel sorry for the Little Lamp. That is because I am crazy.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Wire

**** (4 stars out of 5)
No, before you ask, this has nothing to do with that Drugs & Detectives Drama my fine friends at Wisdom of Bookmonkey and Scotch & Comics don't go a week without enthusing about. Which I'd better see sometime soon when I'm not watching men in lizard masks pontificate...

The Cardassian novel 'The Never-ending Sacrifice' (in which seven generations of one family devote long lives to state service and then die) is a towering achievement of the 'Repetitive Epic'. By this time next year, if I survive, this blog will be one, too.

Dax picked up a truly vulgar-looking plant on Lidonia III. Although Dr. Bashir finds a cure for that horrific thing, he can't get "tailor" Garak the help he needs for his appalling headaches.

Using Odo's illegal tap in Quark's, Bashir uncovers Garak has requested a biomechanism classified by the Obsidian Order. That's the Cardassian intelligence agency, more efficient even than the Romulan Tal Shiar and fully ready to disappear people for eating the wrong mayonnaise with their pop-tarts.

Enabran Tain, Head of the Order, gave Garak a brain implant for resisting torture with vast amounts of endorphins. The self-medicating spy turned it on to endure his exile 2 years ago and never shut it off. It's all fun and games until someone has a cerebral hemorrhage! But no matter how ill he gets, Garak never stops spinning elaborate Lie Webs like some fat cat with his tentacles in every pie.

To impress upon "smug" Bashir just who it is he's trying to save, Garak claims he ordered 100 of his own people (including his friend Elim) blown up just to kill a handful of Bajoran prisoners. While suffering withdrawal, he claims instead to have freed five children from torture. And while dying he claims to have been exiled only because Elim betrayed him before he could betray Elim.

Brash Bashir seeks out Tain in retirement, somehow managing to saunter into heavily patrolled space and beam into the man's living room. (Maybe Bashir masqueraded as a Take-Out guy. Tain will gladly pay him Tuesday for a hamburger today!) He gives Bashir the cure, because, as he says "I want him to live a long, miserable life." The creepy old monster reveals that 'Elim' is really only Garak's first name.

"The Wire" begs the question: were there ever such surprisingly wonderful villains as Andrew Robinson and Paul Dooley? They're so slimy they make me want to disinfect my TV screen. And how about that Bashir? The diligent, devoted doctor's deeds of derring-do earned his poster a place of pride on my bedroom wall as a teen. (Although Dax's poster was much, MUCH bigger.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


*** (3 stars out of 5)
The Wrath of Bok! Picard's greatest nemesis re-emerges after six years, having paid his debt to society. And apparently paid to have his brain transferred into the body of Gral (last seen in DS9's 'The Nagus').

Bok sends a hologram to taunt Picard with a threat to the life of the son he never knew he had: Jason Vigo. Picard did have a dalliance with Miranda Vigo 24 years ago. Her son by a Starfleeter is living on a hardscrabble world called Camor V.

Bev's DNA test confirms Jason's parentage. Jean-Luc takes him into protective custody and shows off his proud collection of tedious artifacts. Not the best plan: Jason has a criminal record for petty theft. Jason hits on Troi, his golden shadow security lieutenant Sandra Rhodes, and anyone he happens across. We're sure Riker's not the father?

Jason is dying of something genetic. He tells Jean-Luc the tale of his selfless, determined mother Miranda who worked her butt off to educate and feed orphans, until she was killed in the street for her groceries.

15 years to the day after the Battle of Maxia, Bok abducts Jason by subspace transporter over 300 BILLION kilometres away. (Oh, transporters can do that, now. Well, today they can.) Picard risks following with the experimental new process. Seems Bok messed with Jason's DNA to make him pass as a Picard, giving him a deadly disorder to boot. Bok is turned over to the Ferengi authorities again and Crusher cures Jason.

I think we can all assume his real father was Thadiun "The Outrageous" Okona. Or Riker. So what if they were too young? Apparently nobody cares enough to investigate, least of all Jason. In fact, I think his real dad was Jason "The Red Hood" Todd. PROVE ME WRONG, INTERNET!

"Bloodlines" made me notice how much of this final season is devoted to parenthood. And no bad thing: the series is called The Next Generation, after all. Yet a disappointing pattern is emerging: that  these mighty heroes don't make good parents. Just as the Federation apparently fails developing worlds like Camor, Turkana, Bajor and so on, so do starship captains fail their kids, biological or otherwise. So far, anyway. PROVE ME WRONG, STAR TREK!

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Maquis, Part II

 **** (4 stars out of 5)

Kira's sympathies are with the Maquis, as you might imagine. But Ben can't accept Cal's impromptu army of guerrilla settlers. Won't see any Maquis ships stopping at DS9 for their repairs.  Maybe the drive-through window at Quark's...

Cardassian Big-Wig Legate Parn and Starfleet Brass-hole Necheyev stop by to bluster, bark, and throw their weight around. In Parn's case, literally. Too many Taspar Egg McMuffins?

Necheyev wants the Maquis to behave and she says it twice: "they're still Federation citizens." But... but... the whole point of this was THEY'RE NOT! They're human-types who woke up one morning on the wrong side of the fence as Cardassian citizens. THAT'S WHY THEY'RE PISSED.

Sisko blames it all on that wonderful, oblivious, paradise: Earth. When you look out a window on Earth and everything's hunky dory, you forget that it's still terrible elsewhere. "It's easy to be a saint in paradise," Sisko figures.

If only Earth still sucked, eh?!

Sakonna can't bring herself to torture Dukat for information when her mind meld fails, and winds up arrested. Sisko's team saves the former evil dictator. Hooray?

Dukat puts them on the trail of Xepolites smuggling weapons into the DMZ. Hetman Drofo Awa, Lost Fish Prince of Atlantis, crumples under Dukat's death threats. And now Dukat and Sisko are BFFs! Hooray?!

I love Quark lecturing Sakonna on the logic of 'peace at a bargain price', but what's Odo thinking putting them in the same cell? He's got like three empty ones. Maybe he was hoping the Vulcan might finally snap and kill Quark. Hooray?!?

Sisko can't talk Hudson into a puff on the peace pipe, and Ben's Brigade must shoot Hudson's ships to drive them off. "I said I'd stop the Maquis and I have, but I won't kill a good man for defending his home." Even this doesn't satisfy Dukat. Ben probably thinks satisfying Dukat is the unenviable task of Mrs. Dukat.

"The Maquis, Part II" brought my fanboy buddies and me some cool combat effects, as runabouts dogfight with space crop dusters. It also brought forward a schism that might be one of Star Trek's biggest hypocrisies: Come for the utopia, Stay for the violence.

Whatever became of Cal Hudson? Tune in tomorrow, same Maquis time, same Maquis channel.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


*** (3 stars out of 5)
For some reason, Alexander's school chum is afraid of Worf. Maybe it was last month when everyone who'd turned into capering monkeys had to hide from him or get eaten...

In any event, Alexander's not exactly a chip off the old block: the kid doesn't even want to kill people when he grows up! Worf's eager that Alexander not miss out on the First Rite of Ascension, which must be accomplished before one's 13th birthday. (Is Worf jumping the gun here? Alexander could only be, at best, SEVEN YEARS OLD.)

Alex does love the festival of Kot'baval on Maranga IV. It's Klingon Disneyland! Along with stylized dance fighting, they sing about Kirok (who brought irrigation to the locals back in 'The Paradise Syndrome')

That night, Worf and son are saved from non-dance fighters by K'mtar, apparently a trusted advisor who has 'become part of the family'. He even has the family forehead!

K'mtar's dubious that the House of Mogh has pinned its future on a boy who knows more about water balloon warfare than actual warfare. And he blames the muggers on the Duras sisters.

CROSSOVER! Riker returns his Quark Vouchers for the location of the sisters. They were claim jumping a Pakled mine, stranding a Dopterian whose "personal code of conduct prohibits sharing".

K'mtar pushes for Alex to go to Klingon school. Alex pushes back owing to Alexander having a brain between his ears which he doesn't want some jerk scooping out with a bat'leth.

When Riker catches the Duras sisters, it seems their knife used against Worf includes a symbol for Lursa's as-yet-unborn son. Which is because K'mtar is really Alexander from 40 years in the future! Given the chance to change the past, he hoped to alter his young destiny or commit retroactive suicide. (Wait, Paradox much?) In his future, Alexander became a peacemaker, leading the House of Mogh away from feuding, and for his trouble, Worf got killed.

Worf tells his son to stay true to what he believes. 'The cause of peace IS a just cause."

"Firstborn" shows us that Alexander grew up to look a lot like his REAL father, Dr. Mora Pol of Bajor. Assuming K'Ehleyr was slumming. I'm kidding! James Sloyan brought top quality to this show no matter what make-up they slapped on him. (Or what story they crib from the Animated Series.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Maquis, Part I

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Hey, nerds, guess what? Dax likes to date guys with big brains! Even if she can see it through their skulls, or it's four-lobed and crammed full of latinum.

Before we find out who Kira might go out with, the Cardassian freighter Bok'nor implodes just outside. (Although my guess is, she'd date whoever set the bomb.)

Commander Calvin Hudson, Starfleet's attaché to the DMZ last seen yesterday on TNG, comes by to check it out. He's an old friend of Ben Sisko's. Nothing says double date fun like beer and sausage on the moon!

Speaking of weird dates, Sakonna of Vulcan opens negotiations with Quark. It's your first clue that something is wrong with her. She's buying guns. Lots and lots of guns. And speaking of things that are just plain wrong, Gul Dukat is sitting in the dark on Sisko's couch when Ben gets home. (It's a trick he learned from DC Comics' Darkseid.)

The Volon colonies in the Not-So-Demilatarized Zone are locked in skirmishes with their new Cardassian landlords. (If it were VORLON colonies, the fight would be over by now!)

Dukat has seven children, and his culture conducts intense mental training to bestow photographic memories on its four year olds. "Education is Power. Joy is Vulnerability." is probably what it says on their state-issued nap-time blankies. After the kids embroider it themselves in the sweat shops.

Farmer Bill Samuels confessed to the bombing before his convenient suicide by Cardassian disruptor in the back.

Sakonna and her peeps kidnap Dukat in retaliation. Odo grouses that under Federation rules he can't set a curfew, search the incoming passengers, or have 50 more deputies. Poor Odo! Those darn trains to the death camps don't run on time anymore, either.

Dukat's kidnappers operate in and around an area of the Cardassian border called "The Badlands". (Famous for its plasma storms, missing ships, and scrumptious Indian food.) Those wacky, desperately violent human-types call themselves: The Maquis.

Were you as unsurprised as I was that Cal was one of them?

"The Maquis, Part I" kicks off all the fall-out from 'Journey's End' which will last for years. DS9 can't just fly away from consequences, so when things go wrong they tend to stay wrong or get wronger.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Journey's End

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Approaching graduation but feeling miserable, Wesley discovers that, for a Helm Boy, he has done a poor job at choosing his own course.

Remember how Admiral Nechayev never shows up with GOOD news? Dorvan V, a North American Indian colony world, has been given to the Cardassians in that horrible treaty. The Federation Council has found it necessary to fuck them over for the greater good.

Picard is ordered to play Evil Eviction Landlord. Chief Anthwara understandably does not want to condemn his group to a nomadic existence again. Also, pemmican from the replicator just sucks.

Wes meets kindly Tom Jackson, of course. Dorvan V is, after all, way, WAY North of 60. The soft-spoken man tells the cadet that all life is sacred, and suggests a vision quest: "If you are sacred, then you must treat yourself with respect."

Anthwara feels Jean-luc is here to make up for his Spanish ancestor Javier Picard, who was on the wrong end of the bayonets in 1690.

In a vision, Jack Crusher's spirit tells Wesley to stop following a path not his own. Wes stands with the colonists against Worf's evacuation goons.

As the red men open fire on the grey men, Wesley simply WILLS time to stop... and it does. An altogether different grey man appears: Wes' Indian guide in a more familiar form. Wizard, angel, or just a guy marching to a different drum, the Traveler stopped by to help a friend.

Anthwara's people avert full-on war by choosing to stay under Cardassian jurisdiction. And only good will come of it forever!

(Most kids just backpack across Deneb for a summer, but when you're a space/time savant like Wes, you're going to have to figure out exchange rates for other dimensions.)

"Journey's End" matters a lot to me. It's tangled up in my feelings of confusion at that time. The Next Generation really was coming to an end, and I was discovering that I was not much good at growing up. I was troubled in spirit and I needed a friend.

Spiritualism is often ignored or comes to no good in the world of Star Trek. The Traveller seems like a much better choice to follow into the mystic than Sybok or Dr. Severin. But writer Ron Moore found an important truth here about Wesley: 'Starfleet's cool, but it's not for everybody.'
Where Wes drops out of a life of science for one of mysticism, I would soon be making the opposite journey, and less bravely. Either way, for best results, befriend a Native Canadian!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blood Oath

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Today's episode of Deep Space Nine is brought to you by the letter 'K'.

Three Klingons well into their dotage arrive in search of Curzon Dax. They'll be somewhat familiar to long-time viewers: Kor, Koloth, and Kang all matched wits with Captain Kirk over a hundred years ago. As everyone will be quick to point out, their Klingon foreheads grew in at some point. What most people don't notice is that Kor and Koloth aren't wearing their purple vests from their previous on-screen appearances... in the Animated Series. Why does no one raise a stink about that?!

Round about 2290, the triple K's firstborn sons died of a virus engineered by an albino pirate called 'The Albino'. Before you ask, it's the 24th Century, so yes, he IS the only Albino ANYWHERE.  It's not an offensive slur to the differently pigmented NOW, is it?

Curzon and his drinking buddies swore among themselves to cut the heart from this villain and eat it in front of him. But he had an unlisted number, and Kang's wife Mara made him clean the rain gutters instead, and one thing led to another until 80 years went by.

Will Jadzia fulfill Curzon's murderous oath? Will the chauvinistic Klingons permit her to come along if she makes them coffee? Will Sisko give her Starfleet's maximum allowable penalty for running off on a vigilante justice killing spree: a disappointed look?

Fortunately, the weatherman declared it would be a good day to die, because even with Dax's sneaky peeky science trickery Koloth and Kang meet their end just after the 'killer of children'.

(Since Kor is Klingon Orthodox, he sings for the dead instead of howling a warning to the afterlife.)

"Blood Oath" is a treat for fans and rip-snorting action for all. Colicos, Campbell, and Ansara originated the role of Klingons and update themselves well for the latest generation.
Have fun stormin' the castle!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


**** (4 stars out of 5)
Reg Barclay comes to sickbay for Terellian Death Syndrome, which he does not have, while Riker comes in for cactus butt, which he DOES have.

It seems there's a downside to the magical meds of 2370, and this time it's not Pulaski's fault. Barclay's life expectancy of merely another 80 years (and everyone else's too) is jeopardized when Dr. Moreau, sorry, I mean Crusher makes a tiny, unprecedented error with a synthetic T-Cell.

Data's Spot and Nurse Ogawa are pregnant, by different fathers, one assumes. At least, "Andrew Powell" doesn't sound like a Catian name...

Speaking of embarrassing screw-ups, Worf suffers from wandering torpedo syndrome. Leaving Spot in Barclay's care, Data and Picard chase down the wayward bomb.

Worf's eating like a pig and Troi's drinking like a fish, which turns out not to be an expression.

By the time Picard and Data get back with Slurpees for the whole gang, somebody has wrecked up the power transfer grid and left the ship drifting in darkness. And the answer to the question:
Are we not men? is A: We are Devo.

It's a blast from the past as obsolete DNA springs to life and mutates everyone into mindless creatures. (Pants were the first thing to go, so it's a darn good thing the ship cleans itself.) 1,011 individual life forms (if Data is not counting himself and Picard) may mean that the dead guy with the claw marks and broken spine is the only one. Maybe. (Shudder)

Spot's kittens were safe from the virus that turned her into an iguana. Yes, I know cats were never iguanas. Since when has Spot done anything normal?

Similarly, Monkey Ogawa's amniotic fluid contains the necessary cure. Data creates a retro virus while Picard (himself morphing towards lemurhood) lures a very literally Horny Worf away with the fishy pheromones of Frog Troi. I'm not making this up. I'm not sure how anyone DID! (Seek help, Brannon Braga, you magnificent bastard.)

Beverly (her face quickly reconstructed after a brush with Rock Lobster Worf's ACID VENOM CHEEKS) is in questionably high spirits.  It's a big 'laugh on the bridge' when Troi says she'll have to clear her schedule. Apparently nobody liked Dern. (You know, the redshirt Worf or maybe Riker ripped up. To shreds, you say?)

The ghoulish and multifarious make-up effects of "Genesis" still somehow lost their Emmy to a fairly standard episode of Babylon 5. But despite Star Trek Magazine's wild claim that this is the worst episode of the season, it sure works for me. Ever since I saw Disney's Pinocchio, where naughty boys are turned into donkeys, I had a terror of being turned into a beast. Which the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had only partly cured me of by the time I saw this in 1994. Very Scary. And yes, it's also silly. The lack of dignity is itself kind of horrible.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Profit and Loss

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Of all the synthehol spots on all the stations in the quadrant, she has to walk into mine.

The 'she' in question is Natima Lang, political ethics professor. Natima got romantic with Quark seven years ago, when she was a correspondent for the Cardassian Information Service. She apparently was willing to overlook his buttocks-like cranium if he overlooked her scaly cleavage.

I kid, I kid. Lang saw a side of Quark few ever see: he was courageous enough to sell food to the Bajorans when it would have got him executed. He was also greedy enough to steal from her employers at Cardie Pravda, with predictable catastrophe. The barkeep professes his love for the professor, and the professor tells him to piss off.

Garak relays a message/threat to Sisko: Lang's 'students' Hogue and Rekelen are wanted by the Cardassian Central Command.  Quark will actually GIVE the activists his fist-sized cloaking device if they get gone- and make Natima stay with him. (Cloaking devices are highly illegal under Bajoran Law: possession gets you 50 years digging trenches in a penal colony. Interesting... but not just yet.)

The Bajoran government orders the trio of radicals given over to the Cardassians in exchange for 6 Bajoran prisoners. (Oh, you wacky tyrant lizards: only six new prisoners since you swore you didn't have any six months ago?) Which is all very horrible enough except hateful Gul Toran orders Garak to kill the radicals first.

Quark pleads with Odo for Natima's release. "Don't allow my greed to keep you from doing the right thing." In fact, Odo DOES free them... for justice. Yet, somehow Odo keeps his job.  He must have incriminating holograms of the Provisional Government with a pronghorn moose or something...

Garak rather casually disintegrates Toran, allowing the rebels to escape.

Lang will return to Quark.. but only when Cardassia has become a free and democratic society. So don't hold your breath. But if Quark and Garak can be believed or trusted, that's a day they both look forward to. When they walk out alone together it's not the beginning of a beautiful anything (unless you believe the Fan Fic).

Play it, Rom. Play "Profit and Loss" again. If she can take it, I can.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Eye of the Beholder

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Lt. Dan Kwan becomes suddenly, uncharacteristically miserable and throws himself into the nacelle plasma stream. Why would he do it? Did he look ahead in the script?

Troi and Worf investigate the tragic suicide, and is usually the case in these matters, things get steamy!

I knew some girls back then who LOVED the idea of 'Beauty and the Beast' on the Enterprise. I WAS NOT amused. Then (as now) I was convinced there was a right guy for Troi (Mr. Riker) and a wrong guy (Mr. Worf). I'm all for Betazoid jungle fever, but years of set up with Will seemed for naught when Troi suddenly gets her some Klingon Nookie. Granted it's marginally safer than Wookie Nookie, but Worf's not exactly Troi's speed, is he?

Then again, maybe she's started "the phase" early. No, not the mid-life increase in Betazoid sex drive. The 'Twilight' phase.

Troi's visions lead her to creepy Walter Pierce, and Geordi finds a skellington! It's poor Marla Finn, missing since the Enterprise was built.

Worf, who once regarded mating with a deep sense of duty, now casts his eye on some cheap tart in blue... and it's NOT Troi!

When Deanna catches Worf and Ensign Tart in each other's arms, they just laugh at her.  Enraged, Troi grabs up a phaser and shoots Worf dead. She races to the nacelle... but before she can throw herself in, Worf wakes her up. That's right, it was all in Troi's imagination!

Pierce had a Betazoid grandmother, you see, and thus he left some ghost imprint behind when he killed Finn, her boy-toy and himself. An imprint that (until it killed Dan) no one empathic had ever noticed before... in eight years. Likely story.  Sorry, I sometimes forget to type "wildly un" before I type "likely".

"Eye of the Beholder" Not a dream! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary... oh wait.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Playing God

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Dax in a towel! There IS a god!

5000 host candidates per year, and only 300 Trill symbionts available. This creates a lot of resentment, a fair amount of disgruntlement, and occasional violent fruit-loops. Initiate Arjin is on the works hard, eats his greens, never has any fun side of the Trill spectrum.

Curzon Dax had a well-deserved reputation for being extra hard on initiates. He was mean to Initiate Jadzia, for example. Since nobody tells us what the guidelines are, it's tough to say whether Curzon was toughening up the candidates or just mean for kicks.

Jadzia Dax plays the outrageous field supervisor. She's overly familiar with Flex Metallo, her "wrestling" partner. She makes it seem as though if Arjin wants a worm, he's going to have to look into a lot of tequila glasses.

Meanwhile, O'Brien is hunting wascaway wabbits, I mean Cardassian voles. My lovely wife Trish wondered whether the vole would make a good cat-copter...

The Trills accidentally drag home some subspace 'seaweed' that turns out to be a baby universe. In the grand tradition of 'Horton Hears a Who' the potential itsy-bitsy civilization(s) within must be protected and returned to safety. Except the Who Village wasn't rapidly expanding.

Kira, whose regular-size civilization will be the first to vanish if they fail, considers simply stepping on these ants.

Odo disagrees. "I don't step on ants, Major. Just because we don't understand a life-form doesn't mean we can destroy it." It's hard to hear him over the slurps of people eating live Klingon food and shovelling heaps of dead voles out the airlocks.

"Playing God" has something important to say.  A vivacious, well-rounded message. But I can't figure out what it is because it started with damp Dax in a skimpy towel.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


**** (4 stars out of 5)
Moussaka is waking!

Yes, the Greek food I had for lunch is angry, and planning a vengeful return.

What could be lurking under the accumulated comet dust of the ages? Why, it's the Lost Library of Someplace other than Alexandria. And in Soviet Someplace, LIBRARY READS YOU!

Our starship begins to transmute into Quasi-South American temples and arcane symbols as Mr. Data provides the voices for a cast of mythological misfits. All of them have a beef with something called Masaka. (Apparently, she's hot stuff.)

One minute Data's a devout worshipper, the next a frightened child, and often he's the capering trickster Ihat. (By the way, Apple is due to release the iHat next year. With four cardinal points on its Masaka-Proof brim, all of your multiple personalities will want to wear one!)

Data dons the mask he made in art class and sits on a throne to oversee the final change of his vessel into the Transformer Aztekimus Prime.
Picard uses the improv skills he learned in archeology class to don the mask of the moon man Korganu and coax Musaka down from the sky. (I wish he'd do that now, this is one bloody hot summer for us roasty-toasty Canadians.)

"Masks" is Brent Spiner's show and he's amazing, though I've read how difficult a time he had making sense of multiple roles from an unexplained alien mythos. My favorite is his 'old man by the fire', kind of the D'Arsay alien version of the Chronos archetype. He's still so captivating.

Re-enact the episode with your loved ones HERE! (Click for hilarious comic strip link. Will not transform your couch into a stone Olmec head. Probably.)

Friday, July 13, 2012


**** (4 stars out of 5)
Odo and Dax encounter a welcoming, sleepy village with a mystery. Other than the mystery of how a village populated exclusively by white people in white sheets is so welcoming.

While job shadowing O'Brien, Jake admits that he doesn't want to join Starfleet. Turns out O'Brien's dad wanted him to be a cello player. "You've got to live your own life," says the Chief. O'Brien doesn't fiddle around.

Speaking of fiddling, (or was that diddling?) Vedek Bariel stops by to see Kira. They have opposing religious views, but, boy, do they enjoy a game of springball. It's just like she used to play with her brothers, only hopefully without the smooching. Bariel is worth her while! So when she finds out Quark did the matchmaking only to keep her ridged nose out of his nefarious schemes she only beats him up a little bit.

Back in the Gamma Quadrant, Odo and Dax match their Footy Pajamas against the Village of Nightshirts.  Protector Colyus is a regular Sheriff Andy meets Wee Willy Winkie! Which is not to say he's asleep at the switch, although broken switches do enter into it.

Do the missing villagers have something to do with the big matter-antimatter reactor in the town square? Why does no one ever leave the valley? How did local girl Taya become the identical cousin of little Clara Sutter from the Enterprise? Why do Data and Odo avoid romance in favor of spending time amusing prepubescent girls?

Taya's Grandpa Rurigan is miserable at the loss of his daughter, but utterly fatalistic. Turns out he built everyone and everything in this valley: he's the only non-hologram here. It's a re-make of the world he lost to the Dominion. There's no phone, no lights, no motor-cars. There's no holo-dogs leaving holo-poops on the holo-lawn. But with his fantasy disrupted, he's ready to pack it all in.

Odo's impassioned plea to fix and reactivate the village always makes me misty: our fantasies are important, and the characters in them are real. Because they're real to us.

 "Shadowplay" would be a lesser work without Kenneth Mars as good-natured Colyus. Ken Mars died last year, but you probably saw him in something (maybe The Producers or Young Frankenstein) since he had a 45 year long career. Personally, I found him endearing as the addled Dr. Hunterhanker in my beloved cartoon 'Freakazoid!' Which kind of proves the point: the characters we love live forever.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thine Own Self

*** (3 stars out of 5)

Troi returns from a class reunion with a greater desire to pursue her career, by which she means bossing people around and shooting at bad guys, apparently. You, know, like a psychologist. She notices Beverly sitting in the big chair on night shift and takes the courses to move up to Commander rank herself.

Deanna has a particularly hard time with the engineering emergency portion. She fails it three times and Riker tells her she's just not qualified. As Malibu Stacy once giggled: Thinking Gives You Wrinkles! Troi earns some Thinkles today and beats the test by sending her simulated friend Geordi to his simulated demise. Like a boss!

The pre-industrial civilization on Barkon IV gets a shock when a Federation probe crashes there, and a strange pale monster with amnesia wanders into town with a suitcase full of radioactive death.

Garvin the magistrate befriends the odd ice man, and Garvin's daughter Gia names him 'Jayden'. Gia says her mother has gone to "a beautiful place where everything is peaceful and everyone loves each other and no one ever gets sick." Although he cannot remember why, Jayden also believes there is such a place.

Unable to remember what his valise contains, Jayden passes the contents out like rock candy.
Hair begins to fall out and skin to burn. Local sage Talar treats with rest and fresh air.

Jayden believes his shiny metal fragments caused the sickness, but before he can cure it the locals attack him and tear half his face off.  Icepick for the Ice Man! His head is full of lights and shiny metal which they don't find reassuring.

You know the rest. Monster saves village, angry mob spears and buries monster. Act in haste, repent... oh, sometime.

"Thine Own Self" raises the question: if there was a ST:TNG season 8, would Data have made a better vampire or a werewolf?  Second rumination: this is not the last time half of Data's face will be torn off. Fortunately, Geordi must have a vat of Data Spackle somewhere.

(And many thanks to my amazing wife for the portmanteau word 'Thinkles'.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


*** (3 stars out of 5)
Miles and Commander Sisko encounter a cult of personality on Orellius. A bunch of trapped dupes went back-to-nature under the charismatic granola-munching dictator, Alixus. Stranded for ten years after their colony ship crashed, none of their technology more advanced than shovels works. Alixus is happy to force Ben and Miles into her killing fields. Did I say...! Ho ho, no, I meant Happy Fold!

Alixus believes man's recent quest for self-improvement is ludicrous: rather than evolved she feels humanity has become "fat, lazy, and dull". Modern technology is ruining the classic community! Tie sticks to your iPads and start tilling the soil, kids!

Sisko's dad was a chef, so Ben and his brothers worked in his vegetable garden. What a coincidence! Alixus punishes dissent by cooking people in a metal box out in the sun!

Trying to figure out where the men have gone, Dax and Kira catch the missing runabout at warp with no one behind the wheel. Kira recklessly plans to beam over on the fly, but asks if Dax has a better idea. Dax responds,"I'm the science officer. It's my job to have a better idea."

Rather than the better idea of remote controlling it with prefix codes (like even backwards Alixus apparently did) Dax uses a reckless tractor beam rope trick that barely works without getting them killed but DOES fills time with special effects. Just the way I likes it!

Ben is hot boxed, (and not in the good way), for Miles' "crime" of wasting time attempting to fix his wretched technology instead of filling rusty replicators with hog slops or whatever the hell. Meanwhile, a local woman dies from lack of modern medicine, and she wasn't the first. Curse you, technology, for taunting us by still existing!

When Miles uncovers Alixus' hypocrisy-powered Technology-Stopping Technology, her son Vinod tries to directly explain the virtues of the primitive arrow-in-the-back process.

Sisko takes Alixus & son in to the authorities but nobody, THAT'S RIGHT, NOBODY speaks up to go back to the Federation with them. They claim they'd rather keep living in this crap-hole, I mean... community.

"Paradise" was apparently written as a subtle reference to the lovable antics of the Khmer Rogue. In case (like me) you didn't pay enough attention to Cambodian atrocities of the 1970's, Pol Pot and Friends used some Alixus-like tactics and rhetoric (plus genocide) in pursuit of utopia but only the elite benefitted while the people slaved in the fields, sweatshops, sex dens, and government torture chambers. The 80% of them that survived did, anyway. Three cheers for humanity, ladies and gentlemen! (Sorry. It's been really hot all week, I'm a little punchy.)

In case the episode's (ambiguous?) attempt to present Alixus as reasonable and her disciples as laudable caused any confusion, let me offer my own tirade. Technology does not stop people having communities! We've had both since long before the shovel and the arrow. And while I'm ranting, are you telling me NOBODY abandoned Alixus' principles?!? EVEN when it became clear she'd been lying the whole time? Letting her followers starve, puke, stroke out and die for ten years? I would find this story easier to believe if these "fat, lazy, and dull" but otherwise perfectly decent people had decently shoveled her self-righteous head off.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lower Decks

**** (4 stars out of 5)
The senior staff seem to keep the underlings out of all the interesting stuff when an injured Cardassian beams aboard.

Ensigns Sam Lavelle and Sito Jaxa are chums, and up for the same promotion.  They also hang out with Nurse Alyssa Ogawa, a gossipy Ten-Forward waiter called Ben, and Vulcan straight man (aren't they all?) Ensign Taurik.

Despite her Nova Squadron mis-step, (back in 'The First Duty') Sito's doing well as Worf's security protege, although Picard tells her flat out that he doubts her character. After that body blow to her confidence, Sam looks a little ridiculous when he says Riker's too mean. And Taurik charts new frontiers in Ridiculousity when he can't get his mean boss (yes, Geordi, apparently) to notice him. Teacher's pet Alyssa loves her boss, gets a promotion, and her boyfriend proposes to her. Ben beats The Peons and The Opening Credits alike at poker. What, me worry?

Worf keeps Sito after martial arts class to blindfold her and beat her up. She only passes this "gik'tal challenge" by finally telling him off. Pointing out that gik'tal is Klingon for "to the death", Sito asks if it was even a real challenge. Worf admits he can't speak Klingon. Just kidding. He actually says: "Perhaps next time you are judged unfairly it will not take so many bruises for you to protest."

Sito gathers the courage to face Picard again: which is what the Captain wanted in the first place. He needs her bravery on maximum for a dangerous mission. She's got to help smuggle Cardie double agent Joret Dal back into enemy space, while posing as his bounty. It works all the time in 'Star Wars'...

Two days later, the Cardassians celebrate the death of their 'One Millionth Escaping Terrorist', good for one free round of war reparations and a medium-sized muffin basket. Hooray...? For the good guys...? No? Oh... just sadness.

"Lower Decks" brings slice of Enterprise life from an outside perspective, which was a such a good idea they made it a TV Trope. The ugly uncertainty of the ending is most effective, as it still bums me out. 'Killed during escape' might actually be the best case scenario but they've left me feeling it might be worse. Sito's 'Tee Hee, Dr. Crusher gave me fake bruises' exchange with Worf now seems just awful. Is it better drama to get to know a security guard before they die? I felt just as bad about Sito dying for a cause as I did about Yar dying at random.

Monday, July 9, 2012


*** (3 stars out of 5)
Spoiler alert factor 7. There's virtually nothing I can say about this episode that is NOT a spoiler. I am therefore going anyway.

Know this about me: I love Miles O'Brien. He's a great character. Hard worker, genial friend, good husband, some personality flaws, but overall a good egg. Now you get to spend 43 minutes watching him fight and flight with a world that's quietly turned against him. FOR NO RAISIN!

Why is it that everyone's so cagey? His daughter's avoiding his affection. His team won't let him check their work. Sisko keeps sending him away from the secure area for the upcoming Paradan peace talks, and he's talking behind O'Brien's back.

Bashir seems extra nosey about every little detail, while Quark seems fuzzy on the details of his beloved Rules of Acquisition. The computer is also playing its cards close to its computer vest: beyond a certain date it won't let Miles look at any station logs.

To quote the great Goof: "Sumpin Wrong here!"

Keiko has no desire to get frisky, but makes Miles his favourite stew. She won't touch it herself, eating only salad. WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THE STEW? Miles can't stop stewing over it.

Odo gets back from a trip and quickly sides with increasingly suspicious O'Brien. Normally, Odo is a touch too paranoid, but now he's EXACTLY THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF PARANOID. The shapeshifting lawman is his only hope- until Odo comes back changed after a meeting with Sisko.

Who else has been changed? And why?

"Whispers" is very clever. The mystery is ruined after the first viewing, but the performances are still worth it.