Thursday, February 28, 2013


***** (5 stars out of 5)
A couple of guys in parkas beam down to a Class L planet in Takara sector, on the Alpha Quadrant border. It's 2390 and they're still making Hoth jokes because it helps them to keep warm.

It's Kim and Chakotay, last survivors of Voyager, and they've found the wreck after 15 years frozen in a glacier, Captain America Style. (If they really wanted to ram the homage home, they should have brought a Vulcan in a green speedo and ankle wings to thaw it out for them.)

Chakotay is shagging a descendant of Donnie and/or Marie Osmond. Harry appears not have been shagging. So no change there.

They revive the EMH to have someone to be exposited at, play the cabbage, and dig things out of Seven of Nine's brain. No, NOT figuratively. One of her corpse's frozen doodads is a Chronometric Node, why not? Linked up with a stolen Borg Temporal Transmitter, it will send the right message back to the right time, and the whole calamity might unhappen.

Captain Geordi La Forge of Galaxy-class U.S.S. Challenger is hot on the trail of the selfless renegades, but he cannot be persuaded to overlook the Temporal Prime Directive for just one ship. If 150 people don't become Frozen Entrees, then the next thing you know, all of history might change and finally give them better looking uniforms.

Considering this is the third time the ship has been destroyed, the third time Harry has died, the SIXTH time Janeway has died, and the EIGHTH time they have a chance to get home and failed... it still feels pretty fresh and original. O.K., so it's kind of 'Non Sequitur' again. But I loved Non Sequitur and I love

Even now, Voyager is capable of reminding me that I DO love it. Braga, Berman, and Menosky's time travel story is always enjoyable. And the folks at Foundation Imaging put together a starship crash that still holds up beautifully.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Once More Unto the Breach

*** (3 stars out of 5)
While yesterday's 'Once Upon A Time' urged us all to think like children, "Once More Unto the Breach" is a country for old men. Still, it teaches us to find the inner child: the cruel, teasing, vicious, taunting inner child. In other words, the Klingon child.

Martok's held a grudge ever since his youth in the Ke$ha Lowlands.  It seems Dax's blood brother Kor was the One Percenter who held him back. Martok was forced to wield a janitor's mop before he got to hold a bat'leth for his country, and it was all due to Master Kor's entitled sense of fuckery.

Worf doesn't exactly love Kor, but he figures everyone deserves to die honourably. Worf gets Kor a job on Martok's ship over Martok's more than strenuous objection.  Worf's sympathy caused him to overlook Kor's raging senility. Kor's senility caused him to overlook what century it is. Calling on his dead friends to destroy the Federation in the heat of battle, the drunken master narrowly misses Martok's knife in his face.

With no ice floes handy for Kor's retirement party, Martok mercilessly mocks his despised elder, perhaps in the hope of shaming him into suicide. If that was, indeed, the plan... then they both win. Kor steals Worf's command of a solo mission flying down the gun barrels of a Jem'Hadar fleet and passes from history into legend.

"Savour the fruit of life... But don't live too long. The taste turns bitter after a time." The final performance of John Colicos is indeed most worthy.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Once Upon a Time

**** (4 stars out of 5)

Children's programming, even in the 24th Century, can be deeply heartfelt, engaging, and instructive.

Say, for example, the Hasbro company had an army of toxic plastic horses they needed to push on little girls, who, BY LAW, love horses. Why not build a magical cartoon world and populate it with adorable tiny equines that learn lessons on how to be better friends each week? Would that not be a useful thing to learn, even for crusty old men with hearts made of flint and bitterness?

Perhaps. But a crusty old man with a heart of flint and bitterness might find the teasing difficult to endure. And does he really HAVE to be known as a Brony? Well, yes. Yes, he does.

Back on topic, holodecks aren't just for tommy-guns and tawdry hook-ups. They are full of delightful fantasies for children, too. The Adventures of Flotter T. Water and his elemental chums in the enchanted forest are well-known to former kids Captain Janeway, Ensign Kim, and Ensign Wildman (Picard probably not so much. His dad didn't even approve of replicators, as you'll recall, so Jean-Luc no doubt spent his youth in the ACTUAL outdoors, poor soul). And now Wildman's daughter Naomi learns and grows in the holo-forest, while Neelix holds back the distressing news that her mom may not have survived the latest ubiquitous shuttle crash.

Fiercely protecting Naomi from her worst fears is how Neelix deals. And when the story of the forest fire prompts the memory of his own losses, it is the bravery of the little girl that prevails.

"Once Upon a Time" it seemed there were lessons in so-called kid's stuff that will always matter. Such as: that friendship is magic.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Treachery, Faith and the Great River

**** (4 stars out of 5)

Rushed for time to repair the Defiant, Chief O'Brien enters a bargain with a small orange demon called a Nog. A networking demon who learned more about acquiring needful things in his pre-military life than he ever did at school. Sort of a Radar O'Ferengi, if you will.

Having given Nog his own personal access code out of desperation, Chief O'Brien tries to back-peddle towards a semblance of rationality. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do."

Nog sighs. "Chief, I can't operate under those kind of restrictions."

With a vast network of Starfleet connections, Nog schmoozes and horse-trades and finagles his way toward a replacement gravity generator. As Sisko's desk and Martok's beloved booze go missing, O'Brien begins to wonder if he'll get out of this wheeling-dealing with his skin. The Ensign assures him: the force that binds the universe together in a constantly flowing river called The Great Material Continuum will provide. (That, or they will capsize.)

Elsewhere, a man of strictly regimented behavior has gone off script as well. The Vorta's premier war planner Weyoun 5 dies of natural causes (he's on Cardassia, so naturally he was assassinated). So far, so horrible, but the sixth clone of Weyoun has a slight defect. He's slightly too independent, slightly too pacifistic. Still possessing a genetic bellyfull of Founder worship, Weyoun 6 opts to defect into the personal service of Odo, the least Founder-y Founder around. Rushed into production but fully toeing the party line, Weyoun Clone 7 releases the hounds to kill 6 before he spills all the lokar beans.

We are gifted with a Vorta Origin Story, too. Due to the kindness they showed long ago by sheltering a fugitive shapeshifter, the Founders Uplifted them, David Brin-style, from monkeys to middle-management.

Oh, and incidentally, the Founders have suddenly taken ill.  I can think of at least one galactic quadrant that won't be e-mailing them a "Get Well Soon" card.

"Treachery, Faith and the Great River" has great shuttle-chase effects in the icy wastes of space, but it's in no way a waste of time. Jeffrey Combs as the Weyouns and Aron Eisenberg as Nog carry the whole story on very competent alien shoulders. Character drama! Death scenes! Desk scenes!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

In The Flesh

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Those tripodal space invaders from the dimension as full of green goop as my own lungs are back with a crazy new scheme. Like the pod people of Mill Valley, they've taken the shape of everyone at Starfleet Academy. They've also taken the shapes of Commodore Ross from Space Above and Beyond, Billy Pelzer from Gremlins, and Poopdeck Pappy from Popeye.

To what end? These people, if you'll recall from the first brush of Kes' telepathy, were devoted to the destruction of all life in our galaxy. Now they're so utterly devoted to infiltration that they are willing to sneak in among the humans they hate and fear like a disease. And hang out with them on dates!

In fact, the one pretending to be Valerie Archer (Hmm. Famous family? We'll think more of that name later.) is willing to sneak in really, really close to the specific disease called Commander Chakotay. For smooches!

The pod grown from Gardener Boothby has decided not to believe a thing Janeway says, since her high-minded ideals are clearly "targ manure"... if she'll ally with Borg. Huh. Funny, that. I drew the same conclusion last year.

"In The Flesh" finally, brings up the consequences from Janeway's off-the-rails decision during 'Scorpion'. It's just too bad they weren't as severe as the "good guys" deserved. Instead, with a mild afternoon picnic where they play at being slightly less attack-y, Voyager suddenly has Species 8472 giving them flowers. It's almost as though some writer remembered what Star Trek morals used to be. BUT THEY STILL NEVER ASKED THEM THEIR REAL NAMES! "No, honest, we HATE the Borg. We only harbour one, coat our ship with their technology, and repeatedly call strangers by their Borg names. So why aren't you nicer to us, Species 8472?"

Saturday, February 23, 2013


*** (3 stars out of 5)
Why, look who's back! It's the Mentally Ill Get-A-Long Gang. Hey, Gang, we saved your ugly cavernous cargo bay and single sheet-less bed. Get comfortable!

Say, what's with the costumes? On your way to a Star Trek convention? Oh, I see, you broke out of the asylum and hijacked a starship by impersonating Starfleet Admirals! Next, we'll play vanish forever into a Section 31 prison...

Thankfully, charges are dropped for some reason. Oh, right, because Starfleet is sweet on Dr. Bashir.

And Dr. Bashir is sweet on mute, catatonic Sarina. Plus, there's a cure for that now. Couple of zaps of light to the brain here and there and Bashir has his very own Pygmalion. Thanks, Weird Science! Although her drab, grey Amish costume could learn a thing or two from Kelly LeBrock Lisa Genie Underpants.

The mutants add a new voice to their chorus, but Sarina no longer finds joy in playing Silent Motionless Cheerleader to the boys plotting to prevent the 60-Trillion-Years-Distant universal heat death. Still, she finds no joy in "Doctor" Julian's creepy come-ons either. Physician Heel!

If "Chrysalis" taught me anything, it's that you shouldn't date someone if you shaped their mind and identity. Actually, it didn't. This is much too obvious a lesson.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Extreme Risk

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Tom Paris presents his design for a bigger, badder shuttle called the Delta Flyer. Everyone leaps on this like it wasn't a pointless make-work project to give a nation's Ship Nerds little hard-ons.

Well, except B'Elanna. Not getting her jollies from spaceships, she's turning off the holodeck safeties and risking her life for thrills. Pshh. Girls!

Why does she do this? Oh, in a not-terribly-organic character development, she has survivor's guilt or clinical depression or something vague which wasn't a problem for her before or since. Sort of the death wish equivalent of Sulu suddenly getting a new hobby.

Because Voyager insists on spreading Borg technology on everything (even their breakfast bagels), a modified probe attracts the attention of the Malon. Those Dumpster Divers follow it head-first into the empty swimming pool that is a gas giant's gravity well.

A Suicide Season Late Entry! Can Torres survive where the Malon became runny radioactive smears? Well, they didn't have Ship's Counsellor Chakotay!

"Extreme Risk" casts Tom in a pretty bad light. I mean, his girlfriend is amping up the self-harm and he hasn't noticed because he's giving his warp-speed mistress bigger tail fins? Makes the EMH look pretty ineffective, too. Guy cures DEATH but suddenly he can't handle a chemical imbalance? Complaining out of the way, the performances outshine the writing, so it's not all bad.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Take Me Out to the Holosuite

***** (5 stars out of 5)
From a human perspective, Vulcans can sometimes come across as total assholes. Or, in the case of Sisko's former Academy rival Captain Solok, actually are total assholes. For the right to gloat about human weakness and frailty, Solok pits his baseball team of mighty Vulcanians against Captain Sisko's crack loose assemblage of humans and aliens who've barely heard of the game.

Weakness and frailty are indeed on display, except for the pixie Trill with Olympic-gymnast memories, the doctor with enhanced co-ordination, and the Klingon whose idea of patter is: "DEATH TO THE OPPOSITION!" Still, there's the enormous drag factor of the Ferengi, and I'm not just talking about the wind resistance from their giant caps.

Rom, who joined up mainly to hang out with his son, is a big liability and quickly works Sisko's last nerve. However, the engineer-savant remains a good sport even when kicked off the team, which is more than can be said for the fuming Captain.

The "Niners" throw themselves into the game with all the mad patriotic zeal they've brought to the war effort. Can they help the Captain win back his self-respect? Or win anything?

"Take Me Out to the Holosuite" is made up entirely of great moments. Such as the first and only time we get to hear what can only be the Anthem of the United Federation of Planets! What a wonderful musical touch! I gave this story a full three more stars than their own magazine, but the truth is they had ME actually ENJOYING a sport! That's got to count for something.

Writer Ira Behr felt the "villainous" Vulcans should have featured more prominently, but I disagree. For me, the bad guy in this story is not some bully who picked on Sisko back in school... it's the bully Sisko's become NOW.  The victory is, as the best ones are, a victory over oneself.

In the words of the Niners: "To manufactured triumph!"

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


**** (4 stars out of 5)
Transporter malfunction: Tuvix-class! You got your 29th Century Shoulder Brooch on my Borg Nanoprobes! No, you spilled your nasty nanoprobes on my future dingus! Before you can say "Urk! Ugh! Get it out!" Father Mulchaey's descendant is necked for his DNA stew. Before you can say "unplanned parenthood" Mulchaey, Seven and the EMH have made the original Frankenstein's monster.

He's a Borg, but wireless! He's got no strings to hold him down, make him fret, or make him frown. Future Boy is armoured with poly-dutonic alloy. Tricked out with internal transporter nodes (for when you REALLY have to go). A mobile emitter brain stem. Add a pumpkin for a head and you've got yourself the perfect Halloween.

He's grown too fast to abort, so Janeway assigns expert nurturer Seven of Nine to be his mommy. Uh, really? I'm not sure I'd trust Seven to water a PLANT. And Neelix delivers "schoolbooks" to the Patchwork Borg. Why Neelix? I like the guy, but you have half a hundred first contact specialists, engineers, scientists, and security officers to handle these sorts of things. Well, someone had to name the boy! And what an exciting name it is. One. (If it wasn't already a boring Voyager title, it would be THIS episode's boring title.) One should get a medical degree. Then he'd be Doctor One- Dr. One the Drone. Move over, Dr. Acula.

One's a nice kid, but he's got a lot of identity questions and they'd rather he didn't learn about the Borg on the street like they did. Next thing you know there'd be some terrible unavoidable tragedy with One single innocent life snuffed out.

"Drone" is a heartwarming Pinocchio tale. A Niles Crane Monster created by a mash-up of 'The Child' and 'I, Borg'. And it's so well performed that I find it only slightly hamstrung by having seen it all before.

With the exception of B'Elanna Torres in a Towel. THAT was new! And before she complains that the ship's doctor is a dirty old peeping tom, the real ENGINEERING question should be: Who builds a viewscreen directly opposite the sonic shower? The answer forthcoming... Perverts. Thank you, perverts. You guys make three star episodes into four.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


*** (3 stars out of 5)
Dax continues to ignore Trill tradition by re-associating with all Jadzia's old chums. I wonder how often anyone can enforce re-association taboos? Do the Trill cops hand out the equivalent of parking tickets? Fraternization Violations? Smooching Citations? If they do, Dax's closets must be stuffed with them.

Although Worf coldly dismisses Ezri, he cock-blocks Quark and Bashir when he notices those vultures are circling. Also, Sisko Sr. tells Jake that May-December romances don't work... especially May 2018 and December 2355. Morn is the only one NOT making a pass at Ezri... not yet, anyway.

Ezri Dax has to find herself again: possibly by proving she is a good psychologist and not merely a space-sick girl. Meanwhile, Garak must overcome his crippling claustrophobia which grows worse for some strange reason every time he leaks vital Cardassian secrets to Starfleet Intelligence.

After only a few moments together, Garak and Ezri are falling down choking and barfing all over each other until they die.

Ah, who am I kidding! Shrink with multiple personalities makes good! Irreparably insane Reptile Traitor makes peace with his choices or something! Quark gets a feather stuck in his ear, and not by "falling on it"!

"Afterimage" brings us all up to speed with our twitchy new Dax. Whether she's pitiable or crush-worthy is up to the individual (at the time I thought she was cute as a button!). I found it much easier to adapt to a new Dax than I did to new leads on 'Doctor Who', for instance. But holding her own against a pro like Andrew Robinson proves Nicole de Boer has talent, too. Tune in and see. Same Dax Time, Same Dax Channel!

Monday, February 18, 2013


*** (3 stars out of 5)
I have to give the season opener props. It's not perfect, but I will give it three thumbs up. One: the Flash Gordon homage created in the Captain Proton adventures is my favourite Voyager holodeck hang-out in all the seven seasons. Who could resist ray guns, goggles, jet packs and a fiendish villain called Dr. Chaotica? Beats the hell out of Sandrines.

Two: the Void was long overdue. Any genuine attempt to cross the galaxy would hit the huge starless gaps between the spiral arms at some point. Even though Voyager doesn't quite have the bravery to stick with that lonely emptiness for even half an episode. Gotta find something there to do... or we'd have to see what our characters are really made of.

Three: the Malon are excellent villains. Shades of the Ferengi, but more obviously self-destructive. The Ferengi have thrived for many centuries with their finely honed utter selfishness, but the Malon society really seems to be running out of time. Radioactive Space Trucker Garbagemen, dumping their toxic waste on perfectly nice nameless "Night Aliens" who look like a cross between oil-soaked seabirds and the dancing poops from Flesh Gordon meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders (a movie which, while it makes this episode looks amazing by comparison, I cannot in good conscience recommend. You have been warned!).

While I'm off an a tangent about the design of the Night Aliens, I should mention that since the script claims they evolved in total darkness, it seems ridiculous that they should have EYES. Ordinary, dramatically sympathetic human eyes. C'mon, guys, where's the mad creativity of the Horta? They made me feel sympathy for a lumpy pizza thirty years ago. How about some more of that? Mmm, Pizza.

"Night" is pretty good. If that's damning with faint praise, so be it. I have to calls 'em like I sees 'em.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Shadows and Symbols

**** (4 stars out of 5)
An answer is given at last for why the Prophets arranged for Sisko's conception. Because who else would wander into a desert with his aged father, young son, and mentally unbalanced BFF? And why? Because Prophets don't have HANDS. There was a Prophet buried in a box, and it was needed to turn the tide against the Pah-Wraiths and re-open the wormhole.

You heard right. A Prophet can influence time and space and human minds, rewrite history, traverse a galactic quadrant in moments... but it was stymied by a set of hinged doors and a few feet of sand.

It wasn't an easy journey for the Emissary, either. The Pah-Wraiths re-activated the Benny Russell Visions and tried to convince Sisko that he was a madman scrawling the history of Deep Space Nine on the walls of an asylum. Or DID they?

Yes. They did.

Meanwhile, Ensign Ezri Dax, assistant ship's counsellor from the U.S.S. Destiny struggles to keep track of her eight previous identities... and keep her lunch down. Ezri had no host training, but was the closest Trill around when Dax was dying.  She's coping about as well as one might expect. Plus she's that chipmunk-cheeked lass from Deepwater Black, so she can't be ALL bad.

Also meanwhile, Kira and Odo and a fleet of those rusting venetian-blind Bajoran ships (plus a surplus Karemman canoe) are all that stand between a Romulan fleet and the weaponized hospital on the Bajoran's back doorstep.

Still elsewhere meanwhile, Worf and all the boys that loved Jadzia join Martok's Klingon fleet in a daring assault on the Monac shipyard, setting a giant fire with the local sun. Take that, every other funeral pyre ever!

"Shadows and Symbols" is great fun. This is one tremendous season. Watch it again, won't you?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Image in the Sand

**** (4 stars out of 5)
What with the heavens being closed for business, Bajor's Cult of the Pah-Wraiths is doing better than ever. Red armbands and back alley knifings are very popular with the kids these days!

Three months into their siege with the flaming devils, the Prophets get a message out to their Emissary, who is hiding under bags of oysters in his father's restaurant. Surprises abound for Ben Sisko today: hands up everyone with a human mom... not so fast, Captain Sisko!

It's not exactly a holy virgin birth, but it turns out Ben was raised by Joseph Sisko's second wife. Ben's birth mother had a Prophet hitchhiker in her brain.  Sarah woke up 9 months, 3 weeks into a relationship she never chose- with a "Sarah Sisko" marriage certificate, a necklace engraved "Orb of the Emissary" in ancient Bajoran gibberish, and filled to the brim with gumbo. No wonder she ran off. So that's what people mean when they say they "got religion"!

Colonel Kira's got a new promotion haircut, but there's a pushy Admiral doing her job. Ross has welcomed Romulan Senator Cretak to the station over the concerns of the Bajoran government. 'Good to see you, Romulans! Come on in! Pull up a moon! No, no the Bajoran's won't mind. Just put that pile of torpedos anywhere... sure, right under the hospital.'

Widower Worf can't end his mourning until he finds something to destroy. Only an explosion will blast his dead wife through the gates of Sto-Vo-Kor! No, Quark, he can't just bribe some priests. You're thinking of human faiths.

Speaking of faith, the Sisko boys pack up to follow Ben the Demigod into the desert on planet Tyree. Where will his vision of an "Image in the Sand" lead them?

Oh, and that new Dax you ordered is here!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Tears of The Prophets

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Admiral Ross presents Captain Sisko with the Christopher Pike medal of valour. Not the Christopher Pike medal for creepy young adult fiction. Different Pike.

Perhaps the medal is Starfleet's way of buttering Sisko up for the bad news: they'd like him to organize the joint UFP/Klingon/Romulan attack on the Dominion installations in the Chin'toka system. And if it wouldn't be too much trouble, could he stop being Bajor's religious leader?  It's freaking all the secular humanists out.

But no amount of visually stunning space battles won in the spirit of interstellar co-operation and slightly morally compromised freedom and democracy will make up for the loss of a single life-long friend. Need I add... SPOILERS?

In the enemy camp, drunk Damar and uptight Weyoun are making s'mores when Dukat barges in, raving like a madman. Well, I should say EXACTLY like. He's going to war against Bajor's gods. (Hey, it worked for the Klingons.) And like the Santa of religious artifact looters, Dukat's bearing gifts. Watch out for Bajoran nesting dolls: unlike the Russian kind they have free demons inside. Sisko's nemesis gets a Pah-Wraith as the prize at the bottom.

And while the fleet is off on their big push, the Wraith rides in cold-blooded comfort into church to wreck a Celestial Orb. This carries the outcast wormhole-dwellers back to the roost. Before you can say 'cliffhanger' the Temple of the Prophets is hanging up a "Closed for Jihad" sign.

And there's a new spotted angel in Klingon Heaven.

"Tears of The Prophets" is still terribly exciting. Action and drama. Faith and despair. Victories that taste like failure. Complex storylines paying off in flames and big boom-ba-ba-blam-Michael Bay 'Splosions! This is where the big bucks go, and I dare you to stop now. The final season is going to be amaze-balls!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Sound of Her Voice

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Lovebirds Odo and Kira celebrate their one month anniversary... at Quark's sneaky suggestion. Not only so he can profit from their dinner and holosuite time, but so he can sell Denevan crystal meth or some such thing while the cops' backs are turned.  And Jake came along. (Seriously? Jake? In what dimension should Quark wish to detail all his nefarious schemes to a REPORTER? Still, I guess everyone needs someone.)

For example, Captain Lisa Cusak, who was on her way back from Beta Quadrant and pancaked in on some rain-soaked rock with the wrong kind of air.  The boys from Defiant talk to Lisa's disembodied voice on the Mexcian whoa-oh subspace radio as they race to her rescue. As you might imagine, CUSAK is the upbeat one, even as she runs out of air and air substitutes. In the wise, impatient words of Professor Farnsworth "We ALL miss our loved ones and gases!"

Six years together, and this crew still haven't found happiness. Bashir works too hard to have a girlfriend, Sisko's doing his best to drive his lady love away, and OBrien... well, O'Brien and Cusak both think very poorly of ship's counselors. Can't think why. They could both use a little couch time.

As They Might Be Giants sang "A woman's voice on the radio can convince you you're in love. A woman's voice on the telephone can remind you you're alone."

"The Sound of Her Voice" is an ironically sad and lonely story for Valentine's Day viewing. But so much the better: O'Brien is correct when he says the bleak times remind us to draw our circle of friends closer. So Happy Valentimes, all you Andorians. Keep those antennas up.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Time's Orphan

*** (3 stars out of 5)
If I was Miles O'Brien, I'd long since have a complex that the universe really, really hated me for some reason. At least once a year, some unprecedented awful thing happens to this guy!

What he deserves: nice picnic with the family.

What he GETS: insane gut-wrenching disaster!!!

Today his daughter falls through a time portal of unknown origin. Molly winds up all alone on the habitable but empty planet Golana, 300 years ago.
Thanks to alien litterbugs, when your kid falls down a well she never stops falling.

The crack Starfleet team beam her back: but somehow it's ten years too late. She's now a feral, disturbed 18 year old.

Molly spends a couple of days grunting and swaying like a t'ee inna win'. But Liam Neeson is unavailable to help acclimate Poor Space Nell. Perhaps the O'Brien's cat Chester will help? Well, perhaps not. He's just a cat, after all.

Meanwhile Worf, who has apparently battled Kelvans twice his size, must now face the terrible challenge of babysitting Kira Yoshi O'Brien. (Did the Kelvans turn against the Federation after all? Does Worf just fight them on the holodeck? Maybe some Kelvans are just jerks!)

"Time's Orphan" features the adult saving the child version of themselves, which is a fine thing. See "Yesteryear" for a version of the same story that I personally found more meaningful. Still, it's worth it to see Quark get bitten (he probably deserves it) and to see Worf teaching combat skills with a baby rattle.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Hope and Fear

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Captain Janeway has spent many sleepless nights since the Letters From Home got partly shredded by the Hirogen, trying to piece together the remaining gibberish.

What luck! Tom and Neelix found a friendly talking goiter who speaks over 4000 languages and learns new ones in moments. Would HE mind taking a look? Of course not! Don't even bother to learn his species' own name for themselves, either. Just keep right on using Borg designations, everyone LOVES when you do that.

Quick as a wink, their good chum Arturis has revealed a message from Admiral Windbag. Voyager's not so very far from U.S.S. Dauntless. That's a brand new starship with an unheard-of advancement in speediness called the quantum slipstream drive. Starfleet was kind enough to throw it to them. And it's empty, just in case. Don't ask just in case of what. It came 60 years distance in 3 months. It even has that new starship smell. Everyone hop in!

Thankfully, the crew spends so much time staring deeply into the maw of this particular gift horse that only Seven and Janeway are trapped aboard when Arturis shows his true colours. Can they stop barking at each other long enough for the Captain to jam a hairpin in Seven's eyebrow to open the jail door? (Don't even ask, I have no idea how that worked.)

"Hope and Fear" brings our season of All Borg, All the time to a close. Was it worth it? Perhaps. Are you as sick of Borg as I am? Well, probably not.

And if there is a villain here, maybe it WAS Janeway. Hear me out! Arturis' entire race got shafted mainly thanks to her Deal With the Devil. Does she express a moment of regret? Of course not! Screw them and their goiter heads, anyway! That's what they get for living here. Go Team Borg!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Profit and Lace

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Otherwise known as "Some Like It Hot with Troll Dolls", this episode tests the limits of how much you like Ferengi. Just as Quark is doing with his new employee, Aluura. He gives her a copy of "Oo-mox for Fun and Profit" and implies that her job is on the line is she doesn't pass the orals. (Aurals?)

Speaking of misogynists, Zek was deposed when he added an amendment to the Bill of Opportunities. Ferengi females may now wear clothes. 53.5% of the population can enter the job market denied them for thousands of years. Perhaps predictably, this has caused more panic than the entire Dominion War. Somehow, Zek's only way back to the throne is forcing his in-laws to cold call the FCA, then dazzling them with his female's brilliance.

The only commissioner who agrees to the meeting is Nilva, influential deviant and Chairman of Slug-O-Cola. The company is so conservative, their advertising slogan hasn't changed in 300 years: "Drink Slug-O-Cola- The Slimiest Cola in the Galaxy". (Still better than Coke: Enjoy Stomach Cancer.)

Quark picks a fight with his "evil feminist" mother over the havoc she's wrought, and gives her a heart attack. So while she adjusts to her new heart, there's no impressive female to impress Nilva. Or IS there? Dr. Bashir does a gender-change on QUARK and then, I'd imagine, either cauterized his memory or tore his own eyes out. The Lumbering Lumba is born.

"Lumba" believes Slug-O-Cola could compete with Eelwasser by appealing to the new female market. Nilva believes Lumba is appealing. Brunt tries to reveal the sham. Lumba reveals the goods... and she's close enough for Nilva.

"Profit and Lace" is not even a little bit popular. To hear the Internet talk, it's the worst episode of the series, too funny to be serious, too serious to be funny, and proven to cause brain embolisms. But then again... Nobody's Perfect.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


** (2 stars out of 5)
A catcher's mitt-shaped nebula too high to get over, too low to get under, and full of nourishing soup (sorry, I meant sub-nucleonic radiation) is either going to take a year to avoid, or a month to cross... while frying every living thing aboard until it stops living. Except the Doctor and Seven of Nine, though it's anyone's guess why Seven (80% human, remember) is immune to burns that killed some people inside of a minute. No matter how much you wish she was, she's not Mr. Data.

Could they not see this deadly monstrosity coming with their fancy new astrometrics lab? Well, either way it amounts to everyone except Seven and the Doctor going into stasis. For the new humans, this will be a major mental challenge.

Speaking of mentally challenged, the stasis pods can be opened from inside. This seems like an overall good feature, but in this case if someone wakes up groggy and wanders around looking for a glass of milk THEY WILL BURN TO DEATH. Isn't that worth putting on, oh, I don't know... A BETTER LOCK? And just how is stasis a state from which you can spontaneously awaken? And if you have all those stasis pods, why aren't you using them to stay young? You could've been shaving tedious decades off your 75 year journey just by sleeping in shifts, right? Anyway, if this seems like nonsense that's probably because it is.

Seven of Nine begins a routine of daily activation, drinking her breakfast, roaming empty halls, and catching Tom Paris stumbling around in footy pyjamas. Also, barely tolerating fake interactions with holo-sims designed by the Doctor to help her be more sociable. Twilight Sparkle needs to learn that Friendship is Magic... just in case someone ever puts her in charge of 150 LIVES. Instead of, say, setting an alarm clock.

After ten days, the neural gel packs start to crap out, and so does the Doc's mobile emitter. Now Seven is alone. It's Silent Running but with Tits McGee instead of Bruce Dern. Worryingly, Seven begins to dream disturbing dreams while she's awake.

Speaking of dreamy, a bedroom-voiced space pirate wanders by looking to keep Seven company with a creepy game of hide-and-seek. Will all work and no play make Seven something something?

"One" answers the burning question: why figure out how to integrate Seven of Nine when you can just put everyone else in the trash?

Saturday, February 9, 2013


***** (5 stars out of 5)
Quark still has the hots for Dax. But not as hot as things are about to get for the eager lads and lasses of Captain Kid's Spring Break Starship! And not in a good way.

Nog is delivering a diplomatic message from Starbase 257 to the Grand Nagus. The Federation's running out of G.I. Joes, and hopes to enlist some big-eared ranks of Marauder Mo's. And Jake came along.

Defiant-class U.S.S. Valiant saves the old chums from enemy attack. Valiant is under the command of Red Squad cadets. You remember? Elite Brown Shirts who blacked out Earth? Cream of the Crop?

"Captain" Tim Watters got a battlefield promotion from the late Captain Ramirez. Timmy passed out ranks like corsages to his buds. "Acting Chief Petty Officer" Dorian Collins is a Lunar Schooner from Tycho City, Luna. But Moon Girl's mooning over a home she misses dearly.

They were supposed to circumvent the entire Federation as a 3-month training cruise. Instead, all seven officers apparently died in combat. Captain Tim has been behind enemy lines for 8 months. Oh, and he never checked in. See, they might have asked him to stop risking a valuable starship. They might have said he should be shouting "kegger" more often than "ramming speed". (Some of those Stuffed Shirts at Starfleet Command probably watched 'The Wrath of Khan' and remember what a panic-stricken trainee crew being slaughtered looks like.)

Watters gives Nog what he's longed for: membership, belonging, "Lieutenant Commander" rank... too bad Starfleet has no idea about any of it. (The sharp-eyed will notice that Nog's new hollow pip means lieutenant junior grade, not lieutenant commander. But why would they make a mistake? They're the best of the best!)

They plan to take on a Jem'Hadar battleship that would make a Galaxy-class starship poop its pants. Best of the Best Tim is popping stimulants like penny candy. Does Nog know when to cut and run?

With breathtaking space battle effects and a "Lower Decks" sensibility, "Valiant" offers an update on the Children's Crusade. With almost as few survivors!

Friday, February 8, 2013


* (1 cheap imitation star out of 5)
If this episode has one strength (and I'm not willing to concede that) then it's in showing Hary and Tom are still friends. Indeed, it proves that Friendship Is Magic, since nothing else is provided as an explanation for their survival.

On a Class-Y planet that is repeatedly stated to be super-duper deadly, their spacesuits are breached by aliens and they lie unconscious with no air in terminal heat and radiation for hours. Possibly days pass while the crew accepts their poison-breathing, heat-resistant doppelgangers back aboard with no questions asked.

And yet, they lived! Nobody screams "You boys musta been touched by the holy hand of God!" but they don't say "Thankfully, your suits were augmented with stasis fields!" either.

Speaking of crazy nonsense: the whole plot revolves around the ship running out of fuel. They CAN'T lift off unless they find deuterium (literally looking for snowballs in hell) and what they THINK is deuterium turns out to be people. So, they lift off.  WHAAAAT?

What is in the tank? Go home, Voyager, you're drunk.

In retrospect, it makes "Aquiel" looks like the better "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" rip-off.

Maybe the title is "Demon" because Janeway sold her soul to one (off-screen, natch) so the ship could fly with NO FRAKKING FUEL. How hard is it to add a sentence like: "Our new friends found us some deuterium in exchange for the gift of our likenesses and self-awareness. Which we gave them after much soul-searching even though they were more than a little creepy." Still wouldn't be a good story, but it wouldn't be so confoundedly stupid!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Reckoning

*** (3 stars out of 5)
The Dominion presses deeper into Federation territory. The Romulans are helpfully driving the invaders out of the Benzite System. But the Romulans don't seem to be in any hurry to LEAVE the liberated Benzar. Probably a lot of great seafood take-out on a planet of fish people.

The archeology monks who are unearthing (unbajoring?) the city of B'Hala have discovered a stone that reads "Welcome, Emissary". (They ignored the ones that said "Hello, Sweetie".)

Dax finds some of the translation. 'The time of reckoning is at hand. The Prophets will weep. Their sorrow will consume the Gateway to the Temple." Bashir is skeptical. He figures the rest probably reads. "Go to Quark's. It's happy hour."

Kai Winn wants to stop the unusually bad weather by putting the creepy tablet back. Instead, Sisko shatters it and lets all the ghosts out.

True believers like Kira do whatever their Gods ask: bleed, shoot lightning from their butts, beat up kids, whatevs. Likewise, reasoners like Jake Sisko are easily susceptible to demonic possession and setting lovely fires.  The pah-wraith's flaming Chi strikes against the prophet's Care-Bear Stare, but Winn turns the combat into a disgruntled draw with a dose of chroniton radiation.

All the modestly-budgeted Sturm and Drang might have mattered more if there was any consequence whatsoever or even a motive for the Energy Being Grudge Match. I know, I know. "Good" versus "Evil". Only with identical methods and the same lack of consideration for their puppets and bystanders.

In keeping with her status as a hypocritical church leader, Kai Winn actually invokes SCIENCE to thwart the will of either gods OR demons. What good is "The Reckoning" (or 'The Rapture' for that matter) if it means the end of worldly luxury and power? That... or she just likes pushing buttons and taking all the credit.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Living Witness

***** (5 stars out of 5)
<-- Museum Curator Quarren...

Discovers the Holographic Doctor-->

...under the ocean with other missing detritus from the warship Voyager. Missing, lo, these 700 years since those vicious Starfleet bastards committed their grievous war crimes against the Vaskans and Kyrians. And then ran back home to Mars like the cowards they were.

But the moment Voyager's heretofore unknown back-up physician claps his simulated eyes on the museum exhibits devoted to Voyager's historical shenanigans (such as phaser executions and orbital genocide), he has a bone to pick with the archaeologists. Well, not literally. He's still a medical hologram, not a dancing skeleton.

The Doctor's first-hand experience is in direct conflict with Quarren's meticulous research. Seven of Nine didn't usually assimilate anyone who looked at Janeway funny! Chakotay rarely tortured prisoners. And BLACK turtlenecks? Kyrian, please.

The official history has become an ancient grudge-match game of "telephone" that has distorted the truth for many centuries. And the racial inequality between the Vaskans and the Kyrians has only gotten worse by 3074. Can the Doctor and Quarren make a difference?

"Living Witness" is a story that asks everyone to consider the source... and also kind of bravely recommends allowing history itself to go unavenged... if it makes living in the present better for everyone.

And, no... I never make mistakes.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

His Way

***** (5 stars out of 5)
When he discovers that Dr. Bashir has a self-aware 1960's era Las Vegas lounge singer hologram uniquely gifted in matters of the heart, Odo decides he needs to take some lessons.

Vic Fontaine teaches our Too-Cool Constable to tickle the ivories, unclench his jellied butt, and heat things up with Major Kira.

The slowest romantic burn in Trek history (unless you count Cochrane and the Companion) comes to a pay-off so satisfying that it never occured to me that the actors weren't into it. Nana Visitor felt it made no sense for the characters, while Rene Auberjonois referred to kissing through Odo's latex mask as the ultimate in unsensual.

I was too busy punching the air to notice. I was so happy for those crazy kids! If ODO can find love, it's not out of reach for anybody, baby!

Plus you get Moondoggy! James Darren is a hoot and a half. Great set of pipes on that guy! I really dig the idea of a Love Genie who just pops up out of nowhere, knows the score, and spreads joy and happiness with song.

"His Way" introduces a wonderful recurring character with Vic, though it never explains WHY he is so amazing. Did Bashir's friend Felix once ask the computer for a groovy cat so deep even God couldn't lift him? How did Vic get to be self-aware? How long has he been active? All very pertinent questions, pally, but if you've got time to ask them, you've got time to kiss dames instead.

Monday, February 4, 2013


** (2 stars out of 5)
Please welcome back for the (second?) time: Kellin of the Ramuran Tracers Guild. No, she's not a tracer as in a comic book inker, she's a tracer like a bounty hunter. Or Braydu Runna!

Oh, I'm very much in favor of space bounty hunters (Don't believe me? I've got a Lego Boba Fett Alarm Clock, son!) but in the case of the Ramurans there's an added wrinkle: they add no wrinkles! To the brain, that is. As soon as a Ramuran is not in the same room with you, you start to forget they ever existed.

Even if, as apparently happened here with Kellin and Chakotay, things got romantic. Whoooo!

An idea swiped not (as I once believed) from Red Dwarf's "Thanks For The Memories" but from Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere".

The First Officer and the Lady Galadriel swap stories and pudding. Ahem.

Perhaps childishly, I was not interested in this doomed romance because all I kept thinking was: 'Hey, waitaminute! I thought Chakotay was in LOVE with Captain Janeway! Isn't that how this works? Isn't that why he wears the funny pajamas and salutes and doesn't mutiny and stuff?'

Before I can bother to invest in the happiness of "Chakellin", they've parted once more. "I knoooow his journey ends never... his STAAAR trek will go on for-ev-errr...  But tell him while he wanders his staaaarry sea ... rememberrr, RE MEM BER MEEEEE!"

"Unforgettable" is, I'm not sorry to say, forgettable. How do you have Virginia Madsen in Kes ears and  keep the chemistry so tepid? A romance with no spark, no energy, no notheen! Good actors, good director (Andrew 'Garak' Robinson, no less) so I have to blame the writers or else my old, cold, shriveled heart that beats but twice per hour and quickens not for mere matters of love...

Although, maybe they had all KINDS of naughty fun! Let's just assume they did.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

In The Pale Moonlight

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Did you ever dance with the devil "In The Pale Moonlight"? And, after the dance, did you do a little smooching? Maybe a pat on the devil's rump?

It turns out when one thing leads to another, you might end up getting humped by the devil.

The Dominion War goes ever more badly for the Federation, and as the horrific death toll pours in, we hear Betazed was invaded and conquered within hours. It's a name we all know, and we're immediately worried about Lwaxana, her baby, Mr. Homn. Was Deanna there? Nobody here on Deep Space Nine can ask these questions, but that one piece of planetary name-dropping drives it home for me. What wouldn't you do to save your friends and their worlds? (By the way, next up: Andor, Tellar, Vulcan, Alpha Centauri. That little place beside Alpha Centauri everyone's always talking about? Great Chinese food? You know the one I mean...)

Captain Sisko pulls the trigger on a dastardly plan that goes against his every cherished belief. He asks Garak to help him. They'll turn the Romulans from neutral bystanders to Dominion aggressors by any means necessary.

Garak, whose brain is full of spiders, recuits and kills a seriously skeevy forgery expert in order to plant a fake Dominion plan to strike against the Romulan Star Empire on a nasty-ass Romulan Senator. Then he blows up the Senator's ship... to make it all official.

Quick as a wink and neat as a pin, a centuries-old enemy has become a passionate "friend" in the enemy-of-my-enemy sense of the word. The billions of nice old ladies, mixed-race babies, and Mr. Homn-ses might yet live.

And as Garak says through the bleeding mouth Sisko punches in when he learns the trick has turned deadly: "All it cost was the life of one Romulan senator, one criminal... and the self-respect of one Starfleet officer. I don't know about you, but I'd call that a bargain."

Wonderfully, there's no easy right or wrong here. It's Sisko doing exactly what that mean old Section 31 purports to do. Lies, bribes, a mere handful of the wrong people killed at the right time. And with a cause so righteous... where's the harm?

Just. Awesome. I'm going to watch it again.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Omega Directive

* (1 Omega Molecule out of 5)
Seven of Nine doesn't know everything every Borg knew, but remembers whatever the Borg considered most important, with the irrelevancies strained out like soup.

Even with just the highlights, she is the smartest human being that ever was. Lantern-hanging Harry asks "So what do you need the rest of us for?"

The answer is cold indifference and a giant spotlight on the ongoing problem I have with her character.

Janeway clams up with a super-secret secretty secret of secret secrecy which only starship captains know (and Seven of Nine, who has eaten starship captains to gain their rich, tasty knowledge).

The Omega molecule, complex and harmonious, is worshipped by the Borg. The most I can say about that is the Borg have clearly never assimilated sanity. Who literally worships The God Particle?

Back in the 2270's Federation physicist Ketteract and his colleagues perished and the Lantaru sector was rendered impassable at warp speed. All this... from a single Omega molecule explosion. The Borg lost a lot of drones to their single experience with it 229 years ago. The ore it is made from, boronite, is very rare. But, please, do keep talking about it. Bore on, boronite. Bore on.

Some poor Delta Quadrant bastards just managed to blow up everything in 30,000 kilometers... except ground zero, which seems fine somehow? The explosion melted durable duritanium but left a guy unmelted and chatting away. At ground zero, you understand.

Janeway tasks her people to destroy all the molecules. Seven wants to harness them or pray to them or something.

To make a long, dull story short the galaxy is not destroyed, nobody goes home happy, and nothing happens of any consequence but Janeway and Seven gripe at each other about it anyway.

"The Omega Directive" is plenty of shots of people arguing and looking. It is around 45 minutes long. And I'll never get that back. Twice.

Friday, February 1, 2013


**** (4 stars out of 5)
Dr. Julian Bashir, genetically engineered monster, proven liar, and surrender-monkey falls afoul of Starfleet Internal Affairs Director Sloan and his cronies. Are you a Dominion spy, they ask? Are you sure? Are you SURE you're sure?

Well, THAT'S what a spy would say!

The watchmen-watchers clap Bashir in Jeremy Irons... but who's lying to whom? What's really happening? What rank is it again if your pips are UNDERLINED?

Sloan purports to work for Section 31, created in the original Starfleet Charter to autonomously protect the good guys by any means necessary. Galaxy Defenders, here come the Men In Black, they won't let you remember. Show love to the black suit.

Like the actual James Bond franchise, spying is all fun and games until the waterboarding starts. Is Section 31, by virtue of its lack of virtue, the only thing keeping the Federation afloat? And if so, YIKES. The Great Bird of the Galaxy must be spinning in his space-bird grave.

In the wise, panicked words of Chandler Bing: "Can... Open. Worms... EVERYWHERE."

With "Inquisition", writer/producer Ira Steven Behr seems convinced that a utopia like Roddenberry's doesn't exist without some grown-ups around to do the murdering.

Every society has above-the-law covert agencies, like the Romulan Tal Shiar and the Cardassian Obsidian Order. Or in the present day, the USA's CIA and Canada's CIBC.

I have no desire to see the future ensured by leather-clad goose steppers perpetually asking every Explorer Dora "What's in the Backpack, kid?", but Section 31 makes for top-notch drama. And that's what I tune in for, peeps!