Tuesday, April 30, 2013


** (2 senile stars out of 5)

Possibly on a bet to see if Kes could have a worse departure story than the one from Season 4, here comes a worse departure story for Kes.

Our old friend Kes arrives, looking old and worn but pretty good for a venerable Ocampa of seven. Years, I mean. She's not exactly a Seven fan. In fact, she appears not to give a flying frak about anyone. She's gone Full Phoenix Jean Grey- blowing everything up with telekinesis. Murdering B'Elanna Torres, for example, seems a little excessive.

Kes seems to blame Voyager's crew for "abandoning her" to whatever unpleasant fate awaited her in the dimensions she's travelled since 'The Gift'. A voice-over on Men In Black, for example.

Full of Adamantium Rage, she uses the warp core to return to Season One, and hide her younger self in a drawer. Then, disguised as herself, that Kooky Krazy Kes rings the dinner gong for the Vidiians. A plan so cunning it could be the offspring of Black Adder and Peter Dinklage... is what was needed here instead of THIS plan.

Is it wrong that I was happier to see those appalling organ-boosting leeches with their grody faces and keen CG grappling hooks than I was to see Villain Kes with her face and CG shuttle?

And is it wrong to expect they could throw together a better ending without obvious paradoxes by now? I'm sorry, I meant to say they could THROW UP a better ending. If Kes has at best two more years of life, and is losing her marbles, why are they letting her drive home on her own through hostile space? If that kind of travel time BACK TO OCAMPA is possible, why aren't THEY using it to make that journey home everyone used to talk about?

"Fury" is INDEED what was felt by a lot of fans, myself included, when Kes returns and tries to get her lifelong friends murdered for murkily understood reasons. Don't blame Jennifer Lien, go enjoy her in cartoon form instead!

Monday, April 29, 2013


*** (3 stars out of 5)
Kelis the Poet found inspiration in his writing at last- and tied it up so she wouldn't escape.

As we all know, Star Trek shuttles crash almost as often as texting drivers. Today's crash left B'Elanna Torres in the alien version of the ancient Greek theatre-in-the-round with a pinch of Misery. For Kelis to please his Patron, Torres must spin 1,0001 Tales-- such as "Naomi's Big Adventure", "Borgs By The Bushel", and "That Time Everyone Turned into Salamanders".

Like Slurms MacKenzie (The Original Party Worm), if she's not the life of the party all night, every night, she's fired. And if she's good, Kelis will treat her injuries with more leeches, speaking of worms.

How unhappy will Kelis' girlfriend have to get before she wonders what he's hiding, and why Torres is ridged for his pleasure?

How quickly will the corpulent, bacon-fed audience tire of the adventures of the godly 'Voyager Eternals'? Six seasons? Seven at most?

But underneath my cynicism, I still love the last line of the episode quite a bit:

"And Voyager will continue on her journey to the gleaming cities of Earth- where peace reigns and hatred has no home."

"Muse", not to be confused with 'The Muse' (another Trek story about an obsessed scribe), has an unfortunate sense of self-referential self-pity. By nature, a writer wants to change the world, or even a single heart, with words. But writer's block won't ever be effectively cured by happenstance, kidnapping, and plagiarism. And as the metaphors dry up, the writers literally walk out on stage and shrug: We're Out of Material.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Live Fast and Prosper

** (2 stars out of 5)
A gang of convention goers has donned ill-fitting wigs and costumes to impersonate Voyager's crew for fun and profit. Mostly profit. Although- the guy playing Tuvok is really throwing himself into the part.

Previously dressed as nuns, Dala and her fellow cons (short, as I indicated, for either con artists or convention attendees) downloaded the Delta Flyer database while spinning a sob story about orphans.
Not 'Orphan Black', (a sob story all its own) but poor little non-existant orphans. So now they have computers jam-packed with advanced tech ideas that could set the local civilizations up among the gods and they're using it for dubious get-rich-quick schemes and besmirching Starfleet's reputation for some reason. I'd say it's like 'Leverage', only they're contemptible and charmless. Except the Tuvok Guy.

But they're not the only ones who can play dress-up. The Doctor can apparently modify his appearance by way of his oh-so-clever holoemitter. And he can make the emitter itself invisible, which would have come in handy when it got stolen so easily earlier this year.  Also, I'm not sure the Doctor should have the ability to turn himself into a girl. Isn't that getting dangerously close to camp comedy? We wouldn't want that. We're very serious-minded around here.

"Live Fast and Prosper" has one joke: Fans Screw Over The Franchise. Since, by this point, it was the franchise milking ME for all my impressionable little mind was worth, I'm not amused. O.K., I'm probably being too hard on this episode, but it's not very good as a comedy, is it? The two stars are really for the guest stars who aren't just phoning it in. Phoning it in, like, say, ME, since I currently AM at a Con with some amazing fans. Yay Calgary Expo 2013!

Good Shepherd

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Hoping to make up for putting her actual friends second to some filthy holograms, Captain Janeway has decided from now on, no crewman will be left behind. No matter how useless.

Take William Telfer, Tal Celes, and Mortimer Harren, for example. Better known as Billy the Hypochondriac, Twitchy Bajoran Quota Girl, and Chip Carson The Invisible Kid. They've never joined in any reindeer games, and Janeway's going to get them to socialize on a Delta Flyer Away Mission if it kills them. And with the Flyer's track record, it might!

Telfer gets sick for real-real with a bizarre dark-matter parasite fresh from an X-Files episode, while Celes admits that just doing her math-filled job without hiding under blankets may be beyond her. Mort's fine with math, he'd do it all day especially if it meant he didn't have to socialize. He tells Janeway he was only IN Starfleet to meet a year-long 'Going Outside' requirement of the Orion Institute of Cosmology. So instead of spending his life doing long, long division with green cheerleaders, he's been banging his head on the bowels of Voyager for six years. No wonder he's so pissy.

"Good Shepherd" has awesome special effects. The opening shot swooping into Janeway's office window, through the ship, down to Herron's dingy warren, and back out his window is really great. But... but... why would anyone want a window in the floor? Would you want an infinite abyss whipping by right next to your office chair?

Child's Play

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Hey, great title! Is Brad Dourif in this one? I don't see Chucky anywhere... oh. It's another Borg Babies adventure.

One of Seven's gaggle of Borg geese is ready to leave the nest. They've found Icheb's parents... on his homeworld of Brunali. Always the last place you look!

Having been a surrogate mommy for some weeks now, Seven of Nine is reluctant to dump starry-eyed burgeoning astronomer Icheb onto his dirt-clod farming parents. Not least because his dad is mercenary Badger from Firefly. Yes, my nerdlings, it's Mark Sheppard! World-Conqueror Manservant Neville from 'The Middleman' himself. Shifty Van Devious to his friends. What could he be up to?

It's good to be back with your birth parents. At least it would be if they hadn't secretly been genetic engineers who grew Icheb specifically to
infect and destroy the Borg from within. And if they weren't already stuffing him back into the wrapping and re-gifting him.

"Child's Play" tells a sobering story and proves a powerful point: ST:TNG made aliens by putting weirdness on their foreheads. Lately, prosthetic noses are a sure sign of aliens! That's all. Sorry, not a powerful point after all.  You'll have to forgive me, I'm off to the Calgary Expo for nerdgasms like the chance to spot Mark "Canton Everett Delaware III" Sheppard. Don't wait up.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ashes to Ashes

**** (4 stars out of 5)
"Fun will now commence" declares Seven of Nine to her bratlings. We'll see, Seven. We'll see. I'm not sure arts and crafts will do it, but if all you Borg will stay quiet for awhile we might have some fun over here.

Ensign Lyndsay Ballard died offscreen three years ago, just as Ensign Ahni Jetal did in "Latent Image". The frequency of this happenstance makes me anticipate that any low-ranked lady we haven't seen lately is probably already dead. Someone check Headband Henly's room!

Just as Star Trek has found it necessary to begin recycling plots, the Kobali recycle people. This reproduction IS a rather interesting (if ghoulish) idea: they dig up the dead and tinker with them genetically until they turn Kobali, turn Kobali, turn Kobali and they really think so.

They also have amazingly fast shuttles. Ballard caught up 30,000 light years in under 6 months, not to mention just the miracle of FINDING Voyager? How come no one tries to reverse engineer this? Strap two Kobali shuttles to the nacelles and be back at Earth before the cottage cheese expires!

Also, Harry retroactively had a crush on Lyndsay at the Academy, while simultaneously dating Libby, and for the first three years on Voyager. All offscreen. Maybe it doesn't make sense, but they've got good chemistry. It's the old, old, tale. Boy meets Girl. Girl dies. Girl becomes Lizard. Lizard meets Boy. Boy and Lizard go ice skating.

"Ashes to Ashes" reminds us all that the Doctor can turn salamanders back to humans as easy as loading a hypospray. But I like these two. I like Harry, I like Lyndsay, I cared about their plight. So when it turns out the changes are much, much more than skin deep it's genuinely sad. Good work, Voyager. Sleep well. I shall most likely kill you in the morning.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spirit Folk

* (1 kissing cow out of 5)
If you leave a hologram on long enough, it starts to get wise. Right? This is known. But recreational holograms that get too smart might notice how weird their lives are... and might attack the meat players like the robots from Westworld.

Changing car tires with computer commands (so he won't dirty his dainty hands) and turning Harry's holographic date into a cow (because he doesn't like having a friend?) makes Tom Paris look A) like an idiot and 2) like a black mage in league with the devil.

Funny Drunk Hologram Seamus gets it into his head that anyone who can manipulate the environment like that is a leprechaun and he's going to hold Tom Paris by the toes until he gives up his pot o' gold!

Captain Janeway actually, ACTUALLY chooses to put Tom and Harry's LIVES at risk rather than harm a hair on Fair Haven's imaginary heads. I know they're on the cusp of sentience, and we like them, sure, these charming, backward potato lovers-- but this is ludicrous! Two human lives! I contend Kim and Paris (especially Kim) are worth more than characters that CAN be re-created once erased. If the inhabitants of Sim City kidnap people, I don't care how many weeks the game's been running.  I'm unplugging it.

And why has it even come to that? Because nobody remembers how to say "FREEZE PROGRAM"?!? When the shotguns come out, I don't know about you, but I'm freezing the program.

"Spirit Folk" is a little bit about religion, a little bit about hologram rights, and a lot dumb. The moral seems to be: "If you can't be responsible with your toys..." and then it trails off. I think it's supposed to be a comedy but it's not fun or funny. Watch any previous holodeck story instead.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


** (2 stars out of 5)
There's another broken Borg ship over there. Have you tried turning it off and on?

A space virus has killed 4,995 of them, leaving 5 Borg Babies in charge of one cube. They want to call their Queen Mum, and to that end they hold Delta Flyer's crew hostage, demanding Voyager give them the means. And/or cookies.

During negotiations, the confused drones agree that Captain Janeway may "transport one" and they lower their shields. So, instead of transporting all of the hostages, she GIVES the Borg another hostage by sending over Seven of Nine. This is some new form of clever plan I'm not familiar with. Or a fine way to get rid of 7 of 9, I guess.

The Lost Boys Borg are from the Brunali, Norcadian and Wysanti races. It's not important to remember which has what kind of funny nose unless your last name is Westmore. Their names are Icheb, Mezoti, Azan, and Rebi. They don't do anything very Borg-like, and they end up fine. Except for their stupid, belligerent leader, who died doing what he loved: being stupid and belligerent. And the sick little baby, who was seemingly not relevant enough for the writers to tell us what happened to her on screen.  Maybe the Equinox crewmen are looking after her- down in the root cellar. (Brannon Braga says she was cured and sent home. And I guess he would know.)

Dork overalls and Enterprise-D hand-me-downs for everyone. And Seven of Nine will be the den mother! Who better? She's got almost 3 solid years of arrogantly avoiding becoming human, so OF COURSE she should be in charge of babies!

"Collective" is under the impression that the audience wants new blood, and that may be true. Do they HAVE to be more Borg? Do they HAVE to be cute kids? Apparently so.

Monday, April 22, 2013


*** (3 stars out of 5)
I've learned two very important things from this episode: 1) a Dermaline hypospray will prevent horrible sunburn even under two suns. And 2) what prevents stunt casting? Nothing!

The Norcadians invented a Pay Per View bloodsport holographically broadcasting deadly gladiator combat across the sector. Greedy, sadistic Penk kidnaps combatants from Pendari and surrounding worlds. All to keep himself in moustache pomade. (That's one weird moustache, actually. Is it growing out of his lip and tied behind his head, or growing out of the back of his head and pasted to his lip? Or, upsettingly, growing from two roots and woven together? Either way, this is The Moustache Jeffrey Combs!)

If Tom is to be believed Torres still has a stuffed toy targ called Toby. But he'd better watch what Borg he tells this to. B'Elanna is in the command seat today, and I wouldn't put it past her to promote Toby to the helm.

Under the tutelage of her fellow captive (a Hirogen Mr. Miyagi with the voice of Martok), Seven-san is forced to battle Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson for the Eyebrow Belt. Who will survive? Who will fall? Who saw 'The Gamesters of Triskelion'?

"Tsunkatse" had the highest viewership rating of Season 6. It had the working title of "Arena", but it turns out Star Trek already has that episode. For the moral value, if any, of this entry: I take from the routine of Louis C.K.'s "Of Course"..."Maybe". "Of Course"... the enlightened people of the future deplore violence! Perish the thought! But "Maybe"... Super Smackdown is Radical!

Somewhere between those ideas come the sighs of mediocrity.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


*** (3 stars out of 5)
B'Elanna Torres' clever plan to make her BF happy backfires when she replicates Tom a mid-1950's TV set. You remember them?  From the era before people gave up TV forever? Once you give a guy a TV and a beer, when's he going to have time to thank you or kiss you? It's usually either TV for 8 hours a day or "TV? What's TV?"

Tom and then everyone else goes mad, and for once it's not TV's fault. They are having flashbacks, nightmares and hallucinations from a wartime slaughter they don't remember signing up for.

Planet Tarakis took a page from "The Inner Light", except instead of remembering the music, love, and fellowship of a dead race, Tarakis would like everyone everywhere to remember blood and guts and veins in your teeth!

"Why should anyone have to experience an atrocity they didn't commit?" argue the humans. Neelix just as vehemently speaks out on behalf of this traumatic learning process: Neither Tarakis, Rinax, Khitomer, Gettysburg, or Calgary Comic Con 2012 must happen ever again.

Janeway has her minions change the batteries in the memorial, but also puts up a satellite warning label: "Planet May Contain Scenes of Intense Violence and Coarse Language".

"Memorial" has a strident message with good performances, but when you're not only re-hashing a previous series but YOUR OWN SERIES (Remember "Remember"?) how much innovation is that? Never again doesn't seem to apply to retelling the same story every few years. I'd love to talk about this some more, but the TV is calling.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


*** (3 stars out of 5)
Those, like me, who can't get enough Robert Picardo in their life will find much to enjoy tonight.

Those, like me, who think a planet of rude, arithmetic-loving hobbits isn't a very appealing place to live may wonder what tempts the Doctor to stay there. Perhaps he loves The Big Bang Theory. The locals, called Qomar (not Komar or Bomar, we've already met them. What's wrong with this quadrant? O.K., the Alpha Quadrant has the Orions and the OH-ree-ons, but it doesn't have Romulans and Cromulans. Where's Slartibartfast and the Raxicoricofallapatorians when you need them? But I'm off topic...) have never heard anyone sing before, mainly because they never go outside where they'd inevitably meet inferior people. They swoon over the Doctor and immediately convert factories and concert halls into shrines to his glory.

Still, I can't be the only one who thinks a tiny singing holodoctor is a great gift idea!

Average-looking bald guys across the entire world are rubbing their hands together in excitement as the planet goes goo-goo for the guy made of math.

But the Doctor has a very low Humility Setting and quickly becomes a boorish buffoon. Janeway tries to appeal to his sense of duty, but it would appear that fame and adulation are appealing to some people.

"Virtuoso" features the contrived departure and humbling return of the Holodoc. And whoever appreciates him least probably deserved to lose him.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Blink of an Eye

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Gotana-Retz is having one weird day. He's a brave astronaut on a mission to discover the answer to the millenia-old riddle of the Sky Ship. You know the one. It's been in the sky throughout history, inspiring religions, arias, and so-so television shows. Retz (title character from the song Puttin' On The Retz by Irving Berlin and Taco) will be the first man from his world to set foot on the ship of everyone's dreams- and discover the exceedingly slow-moving people who live there. And no, that's not a dig.

Retz's world moves faster than the rest of the universe: a day there passes in just over a second.

Only the EMH could usefully visit the place and return. In the 18 minutes it took to recover him he fathered a boy named Jason. It's never explained. The Doc may have modified his form to include a sex organ but I'm baffled by the implication of holo-sperm. I'm going to have to assume Jason was adopted.

Don't be disturbed by the notion that Retz is the spitting image of Wolfram and Hart's despicable lawyer Gavin Park. It's probably not an unspeakable evil spell or anything.

"Blink of an Eye" is a great improvement over the Original Series episode it resembles ("Wink of an Eye") But at least it strives for logical consistency. Well, except that Tuvok thinks quasars rotate. (He's drunk and he probably meant pulsars.) Cut the man some slack. He's a tactical officer, not a scientist. How many times has a quasar attacked the ship? None. So there.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Fair Haven

*** (3 stars out of 5)
It is not such a stretch from imagining a world with holographic doctors to one with holographic boyfriends... uh, I mean bartenders. Well, both. Bartender boyfriends.

Tom Paris has foolishly grown weary of his awesome Captain Proton story and instead constructs a town of fiddle-dee-dee Irishmen (and lasses, one assumes). When a nasty patch of Space Weather strikes and forces everyone to stay inside and play, the sleepy 20th Century village catches on with EVERYONE. Because OF COURSE 150 people would all agree to like the same thing at the same time! That's why no TV show ever gets cancelled.

Aw, heck, who would I be kiddin'? Everyone loves the Irish. Always have, always will. 'TAY-toes! Faith and Begora! Oh, dear mither, there goes me liver!'

Anyone who's listened to Nog for five seconds can tell you what men would use holodecks for.  It's only natural, though not as crass or obvious, what ladies would do. Ladies like Captain Janeway, for example.

And it starts with the sentence "Computer, delete the wife."

"Fair Haven" raises what I think is a significant question about fantasy romance, although they avoid any resolution. IS Michael Sullivan sentient? Or is this just a the latest version of humanity's oldest single player game? (I'm saying I think the Captain is after his lucky charms... in his pants!)

Speaking of things you think about when you're not getting laid, I have a major beef with the tech! In Season One we were explicitly fed a line about how holodeck power and main ship power were INCOMPATIBLE (that's why a ship that uses rationing can even HAVE holodeck stories- in essence if you can't pay for the groceries why would you splurge on premium cable?). So the bit where the ship is saved by transferring holodeck power to the deflectors at the expense of the character memory of Fair Haven is the purest blarney.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


***** (5 stars out of 5)
Back on Earth, with the war won, a lot of time was spent replicating new lawns over the Breen Burns around Starfleet Headquarters. But no one spent enough time wondering where Voyager got to...

Except a familiar face, a certain staunch Voyager booster who's so lonely without the Enterprise he'll look almost ANYWHERE for new friends. Reg Barclay, who once shook hands with Zefram Cochrane himself, has taken a job with the Pathfinder Communications Project. First testing interpersonal skills on holograms, now reaching out and touching the galaxy. Is there a guy out there LESS suited to do these things?

Anyway, Counselor Troi flies in via stunt cast... uh, shuttlecraft to help Barclay over this latest bout of holo-addiction: he's taken to hanging out in a Voyager sim rather than even try to make friends with his new boss Pete or his co-workers.

Will anyone take our stuttering superhero seriously? Find out tonight: Same Barclay Time! Same Barclay Channel!

From the pens of future ER scribe David Zabel and Trek's veteran Ken Biller, "Pathfinder" is a story I always take deeply to heart. It must be painfully obvious that Barclay is pretty much meant to be the target audience. Missing the Next Generation crew badly, not exactly the most skilled socially, and, lately, one bad date from being a shut-in cat lady. Please consider this review on Barclay's loneliness from the excellent Jammer's Blog.

We love Reg, we want him to succeed, and he does. That's how it's done! (And, yes, his initial attempts to contact the ship were aiming 30,000 light-years too far back: that's just a measure of how imaginative Barclay really IS! When he didn't reach anyone with the first three LIKELY calls, he went for the hugely, optimistically, impossibly UNLIKELY- and got through.)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Voyager Conspiracy

* (1 tinfoil hat out of 5)
A Newt Man in a hoodie leaves his Stargate behind when he goes home, having forgotten his Newt sunglasses or something. This'll be another Short Hop for Voyager, another Short Hop for Mankind.

Seven of Nine goes crazy again, it must be Tuesday. You can never have enough stories with Seven of Nine going crazy, right?

I am reminded of a comic book story from The Titans #50: in which Starfire appears in a tin foil hat shouting that everyone else in the world has formed a conspiracy against her. Her superhero pals accept her statements without question and don their own tinfoil hats to come to her aid and save the world. Now, the key here is that Starfire has earned her friends' loyalty over years of consistent behaviour.

Strangely, despite a distressing track record with their Borg protege, Voyager's intrepid Captain and First Officer are ready to take her word as gospel and turn on each other rather than consider how likely it is that Seven has simply popped another vacuum tube.

Janeway's newly paranoid attitude toward Chakotay reflects the lyrics of the Poet Yankovic: "I even think it's kinda cute the way you poison my coffee just a little each day." Or is it JANEWAY who's spent 5 years ruining everyone's lives in order to rack up frequent flyer miles? To hear Seven weave her tissue of tangled, interconnected, but unrelated facts, even pre-teen Naomi Wildman is following a nefarious galaxy-spanning agenda of conquest.

(This is the only conspiracy theory which turns out to be correct. And she would prefer to be addressed as Naomi Khan. At least when she's not watching Adventure Time.)

"The Voyager Conspiracy" is meandering, pointless filler. To be blunt, it's dumb. At least 'Shades of Grey' had the writer's strike for an excuse. What was this, a writer's stroke?

Monday, April 15, 2013

One Small Step

*** (3 stars out of 5)

Oct. 19, 2032- the Ares IV mission to Mars loses Lieutenant John Kelly to a steaming subspace hot pocket. According to the finest science of the time, he was eaten by demons.

Kelly's crew were stranded. It was 12 years too late to meet Don Cheadle there on Mars, and 24 years too early to meet Val Kilmer. Fortunately they were rescued by Harland 'Rocketman' Williams!

It was Lieutenant Kelly who met a tragic end, going quietly mad all alone inside the graviton ellipse. Well, he would have done if he'd had any oxygen. Gone mad, I mean. Still, he died doing what he loved- suffocating while talking about baseball.

Stardate 53292.7- Chakotay remembers a time before he was a prize fighter when he wanted to be a paleontologist. But before we can hear about that, Seven of Nine elbows him out of the way so she can learn something about her humanity. Namely that we love first hand space exploration so much that we don't care what it costs or how many people die. Or something similar but more inspiring? I forget.

Kelly's destination is not surprising from Smallville's Martian Manhunter, but his grandfather Barney Collier might have had the ingenuity to escape that impossible mission. Phil Morris saves "One Small Step" from total mediocrity, but 5 stars? Seriously, Star Trek Magazine?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Dragon's Teeth

** (2 stars out of 5)

The 5-star review in Star Trek Magazine that cites the episode as "nearly as good as 'Demon'" tells me that that reviewer is being facetious, or has a very different definition of "good". Also, saying the story is a callback to The Original Series implies that it isn't a mere rip-off of countless 'Atomic War Survivors in Cryo-Sleep' tales thus far.

A bunch of selfish jerks called the Turei refuse Voyager passage through their secret subspace tunnels, firing off buckshot and shouting 'Get offin' mah poperty, ya goldarn revenuers!'

Back in the day, 900 years ago, the tunnels were part of the high life lived in the fast lane by the Vaadwaur civilization. They knew the Borg when they were barely a traffic hazard, and the Talaxians when they were muddy bumpkins with hayseeds in their teeth. So, they knew the Talaxians.

In the old tongue of those backward Talaxilzay, Vaadwaur means 'foolish' in such charming bedtime stories as 'The Demon With The Golden Voice' and 'The Boy Who Lost His Head'. Having revived these quasi-Cardassian totalitarians from stasis on a whim, they now emerge to become best buddies with Janeway, famous judge of good character.

Gang up on the Turei and take their tunnels for yourselves! All you have to do is cuddle up to a bunch of elitist assholes. But the Vaadwaur can't even pretend to like humans for an hour! (See what I did there? I implied that the Vaadwaur were the elitist assholes, and then I turned it around.) Yeah, nobody's really in the right today. It's mostly about the VFX shooting at each other. I especially enjoy the bit where Tuvok blows the sneak attackers to shreds and reports "Enemy Ship Disabled".)

"Dragon's Teeth" attempts to give us this season's Hirogen, but fails even to bring us this season's Kazon. Please enjoy a more scathing review at David E. Sluss' Cynic's Corner. I certainly did. (Samantha Wildman, neglectful crack whore, indeed!)

Saturday, April 13, 2013


*** (3 stars out of 5)
Fired upon while on a diplomatic mission, Tuvok's brain injuries give him amnesia and remove his emotional suppression. On the bright side, the mentally diminished version of Tuvok visibly enjoys himself. Like an inverted Flowers For Algernon minus the sex and heartbreak. Or like that time Fred Flintstone got conked on the noggin by a bowling ball.

Naroq of the Kesat believes the attack was the work of the invisible Ba'neth, the local Bigfoot myth. Bigtentacle, I guess you could call them. Naroq's the Fox Mulder of the tale, and he's going to help Scully Janeway track down the villain. Break out the tin foil hats and get the net: we're going to catch the Octopussy!

Neelix, meanwhile, decides he is a brain doctor. The smiles he's always longed to bring to Tuvok's face now come easily and frequently, but a broccoli from the Airponics Bay would be more qualified to run the tactical station. So, again like a reverse Charly from Algernon, Neelix trains Tuvok as a baker. All goes well... until Tuvok frosts a cake in the shape of his own cure.

"Riddles" is better than I remembered. It does manage to warm the heart and be a little sad, too. Be tolerant. Be compassionate. Rejoice in your level of ability and cherish your friends. Nuff said.

Friday, April 12, 2013


*** (3 stars out of 5)
Voyager visits Abaddon's Repository of Lost Treasures. Which is to say: a Space Flea Market. The proprietor is to be trusted as far as you'd expect to trust a guy who tapes beef jerky strips to his cheekbones. Oh... OH! That's his face. Yikes!

Among the trash Ensign Paris finds treasure... to him, anyway. Like a lost copy of the Star Wars Holiday Special, beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder. It's a rusty, sea-green shuttlecraft of no particular distinction. Tom names the shuttle after a woman he knew at the Academy, Alice Battisti, who also did not respond to his charms, and also needed to be dusted frequently.

Shuttlecraft Alice begins picking out Tom's clothes for him, then begins consuming all of Tom's time and brains. Alice is a little cold to Torres, and also tries to electrocute and suffocate her.

It turns out Abaddon was haunted by this shuttle ghost woman, too, which is why he was so quick to trade her for Tom's vintage iPod (known as a jukebox, kids).

"Alice" is plainly the SF version of Stephen King's Christine, but with graphic violence and death off the table. While there's no Harry Dean Stanton in this version, you at least get John Fleck.
Thanks to Harry Kim for outlining the Ferengi Five Stages of Acquisition: Infatuation, Justification, Appropriation, Obsession, and Resale. And, in conclusion, never love your vehicle more than your lady. I'm looking at you, My Strange Addiction guy.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Meet a craven race of voyeurs who may or may not report to a Magic Eight Ball. They're spoiling for a one-sided fight with any easy target they can survey. Surely a mere coincidence that they closely resemble another race of Potato People known for unreasonable bravery: the Sontarans of Doctor Who. I suppose that many races must have embarrassing low-budget cousins: the Vulcans have the Romulans, the Ferengi have the Dopterians, and the Sontarans have the Hierarchy.

A doughy Hierarchy mole man called Phlox (no relation, probably) has discovered a window into Voyager. What he doesn't know is that his wireless tap is only broadcasting the Emergency Medical Hologram's daydreams.

As the EMH rambles through the avenues of time, tilting at the windmills in his mind, and winning access to the hearts and bodies of every woman he knows, Phlox looks on and takes it all at face value. Despite literally watching the doctor transform into the dashing red-clad Emergency Command Hologram and single-handedly fending off Borg vessels with his mighty penis cannon... uh, photonic cannon, I meant photonic... the timid would-be invaders somehow decide to attack anyway. And poor Phlox's job is on the line if they don't find out the Captain is really the ECH!

"Ecch" is what Janeway says, too, although she winds up coaching the doctor throughout his Big Chair Bluff. When the fantasy and farce is played out, the Captain even gives him a REAL medal! Seven of Nine posing for nude sketches will have to remain the stuff of his dreams, however.

"Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy" is fun if you don't ask too many questions or apply any logic. Why, for example, does the Captain care once way or another about helping the Hierarchy Stooge cover his probic vent in front of his boss? How did the Hierarchy survive this long with all the courage God gave Larry Niven's Puppeteers? How did the Hierarchy get into the piracy business in the first place when their natural habitat is clearly alone under their unmade beds in their mother's basements? Pose your questions to the Hierarchy Computer- ALL SIGNS POINT TO YES.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Barge of The Dead

*** (3 stars out of 5)
When a page from Worf's life is glued into B'Elanna Torres' script, she learns a lesson she already knew: Hell is other Klingons.

Injured in a shuttle accident, the engineer finds herself on the "Barge of The Dead" bound for Gre'thor. Gre'thor has nothing to do with Chris Hemsworth: it is the afterlife reserved for dishonourable Klingons. Where they eat nought but burning hot coal and drink nought but burning hot cola. Where 'George' Francisco from Alien Nation is the Ferryman, and Lanna's mommy is consigned to eternal punishment for the effrontery of having borne a human child.

But what IS hell when all your oldest friends are dead, you have clinical depression, and your fickle boyfriend is Tom Paris? Maybe hell is other humans, after all. Maybe hell is another 30 years of terrible jokes about Neelix's pot roast. Maybe hell is EATING Neelix's pot roast.

Citing religious freedom, B'Elanna makes the Doctor put her back into a dangerous coma the minute she recovers. She hopes to trade her fate for that of her mother, Miral.  It's tough to say what actually happens next. Was she really dead? Is Miral? What it comes down to, in my interpretation, is that Torres chooses to embrace her humanity- defying authority by throwing her bat'leth out to sea.

Certainly the dead gods or whoever runs the Klingon afterlife (does the paperwork and such) aren't going to be very impressed by her refusal to fight. "Oh, my mistake! Welcome to Sto-Vo-Kor, pacifist! Yes, if you don't like bloodwine we have some soothing steeped teas..." Still, the path of non-violence requires a lot of courage and discipline, too. So does loving your family when you have totally different beliefs. It's food for thought, anyway.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Survival Instinct

*** (3 stars out of 5)
"Survival Instinct" is a well-performed story, mainly told in flashbacks.

Eight years ago, a Borg scout sphere crashed, and there were only 4 survivors. One was 7 of 9.  The others also worked in Unimatrix 01: 2 of 9 the Primary Adjunct, 4 of 9 the Secondary Adjunct, and 3 of 9 the Auxiliary Processor.  (In case you want to find their Playmates Action Figures, which weren't very popular and admittedly, were never made.)

While consuming a delicious roast 8 of 9 they begin to regain their sense of self. Names, backstories, locker combinations... all flooding back. Horror, disgust, and shame at the ruins they have become overwhelms them. Unable to cope with even a few days of freedom and self-determination, Seven forces the others to be good little drones and wait longer for Hive Mommy to pick them up.

Back in the machine, 2,3, and 4 found that Seven's panicked brain jiggery-pokery made them into a super-secret mini-clique inside the collective, and this allowed them the chance to escape together. Of course, now they have to do EVERYTHING together. Unlike handcuffs and implants, this isn't something they can just saw off. But they'd really like to. Would you want to know about it every time two other people had to poop? I wouldn't.

Catching up to Voyager at a bustling truck stop, the Three Best Friends That Anybody Could Have demand that Seven undo her handiwork, even though it will give them mere weeks to live. It might be awkward to pass Wolf 359 victim Marika Wilkarah in the halls for awhile, but maybe they'll be able to bury her on Bajor.

Incidentally, Lansor was the identical cousin of the Romulan Telek R'Mor. Marika was the identical cousin of the Vulcan Sakonna of the Maquis. P'Chan is probably unrelated to the transforming pig of the same name from the cartoon Ranma 1/2. Probably.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Equinox, Part II

** (2 stars out of 5)
Kiss this face! KISS IT!

Janeway goes rogue for no great reason. She's obsessed with catching Captain Ransom to the point where she's using kidnap, threatening to torture and kill, barking at everyone, and shooting at everything. Ransom, meanwhile, mellows for no great reason, either. He balks at having the Doctor torture Seven of Nine, despite deleting the EMH's ethics to get the job done.

In fact, while both ships are shooting at each other and Janeway is lying (?) to the Green Goblins, promising that she will let them have their deadly revenge, it is actually Ransom and Gilmore who enforce the Equinox surrender and beam the survivors to safety on Voyager. Burke dies in the midst of a clumsy mutiny, and our EMH deletes the treacherous EVIL MH. To be clear, if our EMH counts as a person, then this counts as a murder. Self-defence, I'll grant you. 'Deactivate' is as easy to say as 'delete', isn't it? Like everything else, no one seems to hold any grudges for anything anyone has done. Slaps on the wrist all around, then, and back to business as usual. It's eerily like the first season, where Voyager just adds terrorists to the melting pot and all is forgiven and forgotten quite conveniently.

Remember 'The Omega Glory'? Probably not. It's one of the worst episodes of the Original Series. And it has a lot in common with "Equinox, Part II" except reviewers seem to love 'Equinox, Part II'. 'The Omega Glory' also has a rogue Starfleet Captain (Tracey) who throws away his principles, gets most of his crew killed, and slaughters aliens by the boatload. On the plus side, Captain Ransom is not the centerpiece in a patriotic wank-fest. On the minus side, at least Captain Tracey didn't die while wearing a VR headset for what looks like a masturbatory fantasy about Seven of Nine.

And 'The Omega Glory' is the story where Captain Kirk claimed Starfleet officers swear oaths to DIE before breaking the Prime Directive. Starving to death is a form of dying, if I'm not mistaken. So. in theory, if Janeway had been put in Ransom's position, she would have LET her people starve to death rather than kill the Eel Men. In any case, it will never matter: we'll never see these killers again. Janeway may have adopted five of them and given them a stern talking to, but as far as the series is concerned they all walked into a plasma injector six seconds after they left her office.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

What You Leave Behind

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Tonight we're going to party like it's either 1999 or 2375.

(Especially Ezri Dax and Julian Bashir, who have consummated their love while animals strike curious poses. Heh. Prince.)

Miles O'Brien packs up Keiko, Molly, and Kirayoshi for what they've always wanted- he got a teaching job on Earth. It's been mere weeks since the Breen set San Francisco ablaze, so maybe what they really want is someone to sweep out the Academy.

The new Defiant has arrived (once they make some poor sap like Nog paint over the name Sao Paulo on the hull). It still has that new ship smell when they launch for the Big Blow-Out over occupied Cardassia. On the planet below, Kira pulls the old Dressing-Like-A-Breen-To-Shoot-Jem'Hadar-In-The-Back Trick, while Female Founder goes full Vader and starts throttling her most loyal underlings and bombing whole cities when the populace strikes back.

Victory! The Dominion is defeated, but with half the Alliance army dead it's a cause only a Klingon could celebrate. And it's Odo who saves everyone that's left: by reaching out a healing hand of friendship to the enemy. In grateful surrender, she agrees to stand trial- but Odo will have to take her place back in the Gamma Quadrant if their people are to survive and grow.

Unless Kira wants to wear water wings the rest of her life- this is good-bye.

With all his enemies and/or parents and/or cleaning staff dead along with the art, architecture, and most of the biosphere, Garak can move home. Yay...? Worf also gets the dubious happy ending of a post as Federation Ambassador to the Klingons. Fair's fair, though- he forced Martok behind a desk and now that favour is returned. Unsuitable promotions for everyone!

As everyone tears up at the victory celebration/farewell party, Sisko realizes he left the oven on and rushes off to Bajor. And by the oven, I mean the Fire Caves. There, Kai Winn has poisoned Gul Dukat, but the Pah-Wraiths have rebooted him. He's hurtling fireballs and ranting about setting the entire Quadrant ablaze. He could probably do it, too. He starts with Winn. Sisko and Dukat grapple over the devil book- hurling themselves and the key to the Pah-Wraith's escape over a burning precipice.

The galaxy is saved at last. Each earns their reward: the Pah-Wraiths and Prophets keep their Emissaries. But is Sisko's heaven any kind of heaven without his wife and children?

"What You Leave Behind" is not as important as how you've lived, to paraphrase 'Star Trek Generations', but it's pretty amazing and in truth I don't EVER want to leave it behind. It's the final end for middle child of doom and gloom DS9, with no movies to come, and novels only for the die-hards. So... does Bajor EVER join the Federation? Would that be better for them anyway? Maybe I'll let you know someday how Sisko returned, or Dax gets a ship of her own, or check in on Kasidy and Jake. But for now, this is the end, and how we deal with loss and change is a measure of our humanity.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Dogs of War

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Like many a Star Trek fan before or since, Elim Garak is plotting his revenge in his parent's basement.
Damar and Kira languish alongside him with the war raging in the streets outside. It's not really languishing if you're being waited on hand and foot by Tain's "housekeeper" Mila. I'm saying if Mila isn't Garak's real mother then Alfred isn't Batman's real dad.

Odo, cured but in no mood to be grateful, learns that while the Federation officially poo-poohs the anti-Founder actions of Section 31, the Federation Council itself votes "Genocide" rather than give their enemy the same cure. Way to go, Federation Council. Tack that one up on the wall next to "Created the Maquis" and "Allied with Drug-Dealing Slavers".

Speaking of governments falling to ruin, to hear Quark rant about it, Grand Nagus Zek's reforms have done the same to his. Ferenginar is virtually an equal opportunity democracy these days, and that's only going to get "worse" now that ROM is left in charge. If a man so tender hearted and tender headed is on the throne, then Quark's bar will be 'The Last Outpost' of true Ferengi. The line of pure greed and misogyny "must be drawn He-ya! This fa, no fuhthuh!"

"The Dogs of War"clearly agrees with me: Jeffrey Combs should play EVERY role all the time. Or, at least, Weyoun and Brunt at the same time. Also, the conclusion to the story of Quark's family is perfectly achieved, satisfying in every way. The Nagus is dead. Long live the Nagus.

Friday, April 5, 2013


*** (3 stars out of 5)
In which Voyager comes to the rescue of a pint-sized, wrecked-up Starfleet ship that was also snatched up by the Caretaker five years ago, but had a much worse time of it getting here. The captain looks like he was forced to play Russian Roulette and live in a flooded corpse cage with rats! Or something. Then again, Equinox HAS made suspiciously good time despite their desperate, desperate state...

The shell-shocked crew is grateful to be rescued from an alien attack. Their Ensign Marla Gilmore seems cowed and her trauma level is set to Full Sister Wife. Their XO Max Burke is an insufferable prick who once dated Torres and called her 'BLT' (after the sandwich and some of the letters in her name, you understand). Just like Andy, that jerk from 'The Office' called Jim Halpert 'Tuna'. But you don't need a stupid nickname if your name is already 'Berk'. Finally, there's Captain Rudolph Ransom- the ringleader who made his crew accomplices in mass murder. Yay!

It comes to light that the reason they've come so far so fast is that they've killed nearly a hundred sentient beings. These particular flying shrieking eels have every reason to be angry. Ransom discovered accidentally that the aliens contain enough fairy dust to sprinkle over the warp core... once you've ground them up, of course. And who should be running the cheese grater in this grisly sushi kitchen? Equinox's EMH, minus his ethics program. And all it takes is a tap on the shoulder for Evil Doc to pass himself off as Voyager's EMH. What the what!

"Equinox" is well-regarded, but I always find it lacklustre. Shouldn't you pull out all the stops for a season finale? I had more fun with 'Macrocosm'- if it's just going to come down to a bug hunt.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Extreme Measures

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Let's pretend for a moment that you can get past Odo's crusty exterior and love him anyway. Perhaps a little less than Kira does, but still. Given that, what lengths would you go to to keep that surly shapeshifter from glooping down the drain for good?

Would you defy the law, catch a master spy, and force a cure from his twisted brain with banned Romulan mind sifters? Assuming, of course, that no Vulcan or Betazoid or Lethean or Minaran or Talosian or anyone of several dozen other kinds of legal telepaths couldn't be found or hired to look in there for you for some reason?

If your answer is yes- then congratulations. You just got Section 31 operative Luther Sloan to commit suicide rather than help you. Do you A) give up? B) devise a contraption to hop inside the dreams of a dying madman to find the answer anyway?

If you answered B) I hope you have a best friend like O'Brien to help you.

"Extreme Measures" has it's head and heart in the right place, that is, the "Dreamscape" or "Inception" place. It's a great sci-fi concept to enter and participate in someone's dream. And Julian and Miles get to risk their lives together again for a righteous cause. Maybe they even brought down Section 31 for good, though that's a pretty big maybe. As I say, it's a good concept. It's just unfortunate that the inside of Sloan's head is on such a tight budget.