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The Expanse (2015)
Can't believe this was Syfy Channel
And, in true Syfy form, of course they cancelled the series right in the middle of an important season apparently - If I understand the trivia section correctly. Thankfully Amazon took over and did a fourth season, maybe they will do more- that would be great.
This show reminds me of Larry Niven's "Belter" stories, and his known space series of books which goes all the way back to stories of Gil "The Arm", who was a Belter who moved to earth and became a police officer for the "amalgamation of regional militia" aka ARM, Beowulf Schaeffer who had a relationship with puppeteers and flew a couple of their different general products ships, one of them into the center of the galaxy discovering that it had exploded. another to an antimatter planet (and apparently GP Hulls cannot tolerate Anti-Matter)- and his possible son Louis Wu via his GF Tanya Wu (See the book "Flatlander" by Niven) aka "Luweewu" who flew to the Ringworld and was last seen hanging out with the former "Hindmost" of the Puppeteers after saving the Ringworld from destruction, Protectors (3rd stage humans who become too smart and only are interested in preserving their own bloodline, so they always fight each other, killing everybody else in the process) and an ARM navy that was stupidly fighting each other with antimatter weapons around the orbit of the Ringworld.
But that is a huge universe created by a different author. This series of books and this show based upon those books, is restricted to our own solar system and the governments of Earth Mars and the Belt which does not really have a government.
And so we see a lot of things that also exist in the Larry Niven Known Space universe: including the mining of asteroids in the belt, or minerals and water, and the idea of Terra-forming Mars.
But one thing that is different about this universe is that so far, The descendants of mankind who have populated the solar system have not really encountered any possible alien life-until now.
And the concept of life that is thought up in this show is very different- in fact in 2 1/2 seasons, I still can't figure out the nature of that life form.
Thomas Jane is a Ceres cop, who is given the job of locating the daughter of a rich industrialist, Julie Mao (Father named Jules)- she is the centerpiece of the series for the first season and a half or so- even though she doesn't really appear or interact with any of the other characters other than in flashback sequences. In fact the entire first season is a search for her among other things. Thomas Jane is Joe Miller, the Ceres Cop, and has made finding her his obsession because maybe it's the one good thing that he's ever done and he becomes so absorbed in finding her it causes problems with some of the other people in this series.
Also there are quite a bit of politics in the show, sometimes directly relating to our own politics of this day, and a lot of this is extremely relevant.
We also have four people, Jim Holden, Alex Kamal, Naomi Nagata and Amos Burton, who through no fault of their own become the crew of a ship that they have named The Rocinante, they were all crew members a board a ship called The Canterbury, sent out on a rescue operation which also just so happened to involve Julie Mao...
And they become an important part of the story as well eventually Joe Miller gravitates toward them - and so does every other problem in the solar system it would seem.
Later, other crew members include a gunnery sergeant from Mars and a botanist from Ganymede- and maybe even his daughter, which she lost track of during a catastrophe on Ganymede.
I'm not sure if this show is going to continue into a fifth season, but if they can make a fifth season as interesting as the first three that I have seen, then I will definitely watch it.
There are a lot of actors that I don't recognize except for Tom Jane who was The Punisher, he is a little older now but he still looks great even with the beard, and Florence Faivre who was a very nasty piece of work Kree soldier in Agents of SHIELD, she's the one that had those two floating balls that killed people, eventually killed off by Quake in a most satisfying way...
Sometimes there are stupid decisions and arguments in some of these episodes which make me want to strangle the characters when I see it, but so far I like how things have worked out tween them, the crew of the "Roci" are friends, and this show depicts a very realistic friendship between these people. The small conflicts between each of them at the beginning of the show shows how people from all kinds of backgrounds could become good friends under the right circumstances.
There are all kinds of other things going on, on earth, on Mars, On Ships various places in the solar system, and especially at a base called Tycho where the Mormons are building an incredibly huge ship called The Navoo... that is just another problem.
The Biogenes return
From "Statistical Probabilities"
And it was kind of fun to see them return to DeepSpace Nine, the way that they do it was kind of unique, they sneak in under the radar, but in plain sight.
Hilary Shepard who plays Lauren, always looks magnificent as this character. But the real highlight here was Faith Salie as "Serina"- it is like a light switch being flipped.
This episode is mostly about her. All I can say about this character is that the title of the episode matches what happens to the character.
And that brings me to my very minor complaint. This episode is a lot of fun up until about halfway, and then Bashir gets totally sidetracked. Probably because there was no more Jadzia for him to pine over, all of a sudden this episode is no longer an episode involving the genetically modified people, suddenly their characters are no longer the focus, and something else happens, everything gets suddenly very deep and in some cases tiresome, and we can understand something that Sarina does in this episode, because we feel it.
I was hoping that the Biogenes would do something totally off or crazy like they did the first time they appeared, but after about halfway through, their appearance in this episode is reduced to practically nothing. Of course Bashir needs to consult them because something happens that they are familiar with, but that is basically the last time that we ever see them.
It's not that I didn't like this episode but that it should have included more of the Biogenes. Mainly it's about Bashir making another incredibly stupid mistake (again).
And we've had plenty of those kinds of episodes, this episode had so much potential but it didn't live up to all of it. But it did provide some extremely unique interactions.
And of course, the universe is too heavy!
Red Planet Mars (1952)
What a pile of dren
I was hoping this was some early space exploration film, it starts off fairly interesting with alleged messages from Mars, coupled with images of the unexplained loss of the Martian polar ice caps. That got me interested in it almost right away. But then at the moment that Peter Graves "wife", Andrea King, starts whining, I knew something funny was up- moments after her first outburst, this film immediately degrades into anti-communism baloney and malarkey, McCarthyism all wrapped up in stupid pseudoscientific dialogue, with semi inaccurate jargon thrown in designed to make people believe that what they were talking about was actual science, when in fact it was equivalent to what creationists try to cram down peoples throats these days.
Apparently this film started off as some play, that might have gotten enough attention from a producer in Hollywood to turn it into a movie. Whoever decided to make this into a movie thought it might be a good vehicle to cram their fear propaganda down the throats of forward thinking people, the same kind of people who would go to science fiction movies who became progressive idealists and futurists like Gene Roddenberry, I imagine he rejected this film instantly, but that's exactly the target that this film was designed to put hooks into. Ironically, Peter Graves was clever enough to depict his irritation with this kind of thinking in a couple of scenes. I was born at the end of the red scare era, even after McCarthy was discredited and censured, there were still people who continued to believe the propaganda, years later. It was bad enough that I had to grow up with it. It's bad enough that this kind of thinking has magically reappeared and the word "commie" is being tossed around as an insult now to people of intelligence. This movie is a direct kick in the groin to anybody who loves science.
As a science-fiction film, I should have heard about this movie because I am a fan of all of the classics from the 50s there were some great films in the 50s, especially the day the earth stood still which is the polar opposite message of this film, and forbidden planet which is another film that gives us a message completely the opposite of this pile of crud.
As much as I love old movies like this, even some that have these kinds of negative messages, I just couldn't stomach the anti-intelligence, the stupidity of this film it. It was too much for me to take so I stopped watching about halfway through.
But that doesn't mean that this film is not important this film is actually something that we can look back upon to show the backward thinking of that era, this movie teaches us a lesson, don't use science to push backwards thinking agendas, use science for improvement.
Peter Graves character had that idea all along, but his wife was just too much to bear. We cannot be ruled by fear any longer.
Star Trek: Voyager: Warlord (1996)
Jennifers' best episode.
In this episode of the range of the actress is stretched to her utter limits.
It also changes the character irrecoverably.
The whole thing is kind of a shock, because we don't know what's really going on and then all of a sudden Kes starts doing some very uncharacteristic things.
She even takes Tuvoc's teachings and uses them against him. Nothing can be taken for granted in this episode, things that would have worked before, will not work now.
But the real battle is going on within Kes herself.
This episode also changes her relationship with Neelix for the remainder of the time the character appears in the show. She is now a mature woman, at three years old. And it's also possible that this encounter gives Kes access to some of that incredibly dark stuff from "Cold Fire", because after this point she really starts coming into her mental and telekinetic abilities.
But there is no other way to say this: Kes has been violated, there was a stronger word that I can use but I'm pretty sure that bean counters at IMDb rejected my original review because I used that word. it is the most appropriate word for what has happened to Kes. But she does not accept the role of "victim" willingly, and in the end she proves to be the one who is stronger.
I'm sure my previous review had all kinds of spoilers in it, I don't really want to do that this time. But I am pretty sure that there were a few insights in that old review that were pretty important, which is why I want to see it back, thank you. Nothing makes me angrier than when I come in here to look over an episode that I had previously reviewed, and my original review has magically disappeared without any notification.
Ronon Dex harpoons Aquaman
I've been a fan of Aquaman since the 60's, so I'll take my own counsel about this film over anyone who was not even born at the time I was originally reading Aquaman comics. If you never read these comics as a child? If you never collected them, if you never watched the Superman-Aquaman "Hour of Adventure" cartoon show from the late 60's every Saturday morning with your brother, then you ain't qualified to review it, really. If you have, if you have taken the time do you find reprints and trade paperbacks of the old stories, well then that's good. A person should try to be at least a little bit familiar with the character before watching this. And if you don't have the money to buy a bunch of used comic books, then there is Wikipedia and other online sources that are pretty good that can fill you in with the uniqueness of this character, because once you understand the character, you will see why I highly appreciate this film.
Even though I stopped actively collecting in the 70's, I still kept up with the history of the character. Aquaman was originally a Blonde haired Blue eyed Seawater Breathing, Seahorse Riding gent who could talk to fish and swim around in the deep but not much else. He was the King of Atlantis, and so his comic books always dealt with his administration of the underwater Kingdom while his adventures with the Justice League of America sometimes took him to other planets. He's saved Superman more than once, and at one time, he grew his hair out long and lost one of his hands, replacing it with a Hook. He became a much darker, more unkempt and disheveled figure, much like Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight" version of Batman, which in my opinion Ben Affleck was the greatest depiction of.
Aquaman, this Aquaman, is the undersea, super powered version of The Dark Knight. And Jason Momoa, who became famous playing Ronon Dex in Stargate Atlantis (another fable which included Atlantis), has been the first and best version of Aquaman. I don't think anyone can take it from here.
I really don't know the state of the DC Cinematic Universe at this time, Zack Snyder started it with his Man of Steel, which lead up to the creation of The Justice League, and it is sad, very sad, that this story is not continuing. Or is it? I think I see plans for Aquaman II and Justice League II. But other New films are planned which are basically reboots of what Zack Snyder created. I don't want that, I want to see a second Justice League movie which includes the characters as they are now.
Aquaman is one of the latest films to be told in the DCCU, and it caps off the tale with a threat that grows from the deep, Arthur Curry has a half-brother (Played by Patrick Wilson, Nite Owl from Watchmen, and I admit he is very handsome as an Atlantean) who wants to be crowned "Ocean Master" which will empower him to make war upon the surface. Arthur has to prevent this somehow, and his adventures take him to Atlantis, The Sahara, my Homeland Sicily, and finally The Marianas Trench/Challenger Deep - To meet a unique creature that has killed everyone who has ever come face to "face" with it. Can Arthur survive this?
Now, the one thing about this film is that there appears to be a huge knock down drag out fight every 5 minutes. But, they are well choreographed. I thought The Atlanteans had too many Gizmos. Those are my only complaints.
I thought it was cool that Nicole Kidman is his mom while Bobba Fett's Clone-Pop is his Dad. And his GF "Mera" (Amber Heard, hm, she was married to Capn Jack Sparrow?), so it's an all in the family affair.
Mainly I loved that a character that I loved as a child has finally been given their own film, and a guy I like played him. That's all anyone can ask.
Notice - Since this review is pretty much the same as the other review that somehow got posted before this one, I'm removing "spoilers", because I did not really put any spoilers in here. This was the update to that review and it just has a few new things in it.
The aliens with the coolest haircuts
End up being the worst bad guys.
Dr. Bashir and chief O'Brien are helping two races, the T'Lani and the Tellerun (probably named after somebody who worked on the cast of the crew of Star Trek- see my review of "the most toys -TNG", Kivas Fajo was named after Lolita Fatjo, who worked on the production of these Trek shows). That aside, these two alien races have great haircuts but they become, again in guardians of the galaxy terminology, real "A Holes".
One thing I notice with Star Trek, especially Next Generation/Deep Space 9/voyager/Enterprise, is that all of these aliens wear a kind of uniform, and that is precisely what is going on in this episode as well. The T'Lani and Kellerun have specific uniforms, don't any of these alien races have casual attire?
Even with the Maquis, they also have a kind of uniform, even though it is closer to what casual attire would look like in the 24th century, they still have a touch of a kind of uniform that, when you see somebody dressed like this, you immediately identify them as being a member of the Maquis.
The Cardassians, that's a different story, because everybody who is Cardassian in deep space nine is generally a member of their military or one of their covert operations like the obsidian order, so it is appropriate for every Cardassian to be shown wearing the uniform. But there are Cardassian individuals who appear on the show occasionally, who do wear unique casual clothing, like Mr. Garak, and a few other Cardassian individuals who are members of their government or old girlfriends of Quark. This is the only race that actually was shown to have individuals who wore casual attire rather than an entire species uniform. About it, when the changelings take human form, they choose to all look like Odo. But maybe that is for his comfort.
But the two races in this episode are easily identifiable not just by their unique haircuts but by their unique outfits as well.
Without giving away too much of what is happening in this episode, Dr. Bashir and Chief Brian are being pursued by these people for something that we really don't understand at this point. They had been helping them get rid of a dangerous biotech, but in the process chief O'Brien became infected.
So they are on the surface of a planet within some ruins from a war torn region, and O'Brien is getting worse by the minute.
Dr. Bashir has to use his rudimentary technological class from the Academy to try to rig a means of getting help, this was before we knew that he could have repaired the thing with hardly any effort, due to his genetic "improvements".
You have to watch these episodes in retrospect, in terms of what we know about the characters later in the series, this was something that had not been introduced and of course at the time Dr. Bashir was keeping his abilities secret from everybody, for good reason. And, it is just more fun to not think about it too much until this is revealed later in the series.
Keiko O'Brien, who knows her husband extremely well, notices something in a video transmission that eventually can be used to help save O'Brien and Bashir. But how well does she really know her husband? They have only been married really for about four years at this point, maybe three.
Has she made a mistake?
That's the actual name of this character, if anyone has read the excellent "Kingdom Come" graphic novel by Alex Ross, and many DC tiles going back to the late 30's. I'm not sure if this character predates Superman, but it is one of the first DC characters ever made.
This story here, an "Origin Story", is aimed at Kids, and Zack Levi does a great job of playing this person, who suddenly gets a Grown up Body and Magic Powers. Therefore, watching the first part of this film is equivalent to scraping fingernails on a blackboard. At first, Batson doesn't get it and he causes as many problems as he fixes. He has to learn a hard lesson, and after that is when this film picks up speed and quality. Of course, this origin story which was first told in the 1930's or maybe earlier, has been modernized to include Cell Phones and Youtube and Selfies.
In Kingdom Come, Superman is depicted as the Earth's Mightiest Immortal while Billy Batson is the Earth's Mightiest Mortal, they have a gargantuan Face-Off and Supie loses big time. But later, Batson proves his Humanity and becomes a true Hero. This is one aspect of the character that was missing from this film. In fact, the confrontation with Superman was a huge part of the events that take place in the Comics. There is one scene in this film that is appropriate and Homages this historic meeting, which depicts Shazam side by side with his immortal counterpart. Now, hold on, I may be talking about Wonder Woman! So just watch the film, to see who I am talking about.
Of course, Mark Strong has to play another version of Sinestro only not as cool. Strong plays the boy "Sivana" rejected by Shazam, cos he was greedy. When such kids grow up, they become what would be labeled "A-Holes" in Guardians of the Galaxy terminology. Rule number one: When visiting a powerful wizard who tells you not to listen to any Daemons, you really should do it.
For Shazam, Batson was not really a better choice, Shazam had been testing children for years and never found a champion. So Shazam, the Wizard Shazam, has to take a chance that Batson is that guy.
We have to remember, it's "The Power of Shazam" - Which was the name of the old Serials from the 40's, "Shazam" was not the name of the character that Batson will eventually become, it is always the name of the Wizard whose powers Billy uses. In the old DC comic books, he was called "Captain Marvel"- Not to be confused with Miss Marvel or any other Marvel Comics "Captain Marvel".
There were parts of this film that were outrageously bad, but the parts that were good far outweigh that- and makes the film worth sticking with.
When Strong's "Sivana" in Child Form visits the Wizard "Shazam" (Djimon Hounsou -Ironically Sivana's father was played by John Glover, who played the devil in the show "Brimstone" some time ago), we see 6 empty thrones in the Wizard's "Lair". Keep those in the back of your mind, "File for Future reference", any good movie never wastes 6 good empty thrones. That's all you will get out of me.
Both Sivana and Batson get their childhood wishes, it's what each of them do with that heart's desire that's important. Some people should never gain any kind of power at all, look at our present Federal Administration. The difference between Sivana and Batson, was that Batson really was not looking for what he was handed. Rather, Batson was looking for something else, something that has haunted and eluded him since he was a small child. It was the reason he moves from one set of Foster parents to the next. In this film, he hits the jackpot, but he doesn't realize this right away, it takes a little bit of bruised buttocks syndrome for him to start getting it.
But once he gets tapped by "Shazam", he's got to figure it out quick, and his only "Superhero for Dummies" Tutorial is his friend and roommate Freddy. Which wasn't really the best source of information. Between the two of them, they muck it up fairly well.
I would have preferred a darker story and darker character overall for "Captain Marvel"/"The Power of Shazam", but this is what we got.
Someone whined about the special effects, well, it was WETA, so you may as well complain about Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, Justice League, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman, as well as most of the Marvel CU films, I guess the version of Shazam they watched was the workprint that they got from a torrent site. Hint: Go see it in a Theatre, or wait until it comes out on Blu ray!
Menace from Outer Space (1956)
Captain Proton to The Rescue!
In Star Trek Voyager (1995) starting in Season 5 they introduced a new Monochromatic Character: Captain Proton!
Always fighting Chaotica, With his trusty Sidekicks, Cap Proton always saved the day!
The Producers of Trek outdid themselves, by Homaging Serials like this "Movie" which was actually several independent episodes strung together.
The First thing you see in this story is a Young Blonde woman with a Mascot Kid in tow, driving one of the Coolest Cars I've ever seen.
They meet up with a Professor at an observatory, to watch a suspicious missile land just several feet away from the Observatory.
So then it's Rocky to the Rescue, with a trip to an unknown moon of Jupiter to find an unknown menace.
What I loved about this one, is that they do not show a V-2 rocket launching, they actually created special effects of rockets launching and landing with were done well for the day, even showing how Gravity comes into play for an astronaut in the pilot's seat.
There are several bad guys that have to be defeated, which Rocky does in short order. Even the Child Mascot takes part in taking the bad guys down.
The sets and costumes are clever, and the story is actually entertaining.
But the thing I loved most about this, was Rocky's haircut.
A sad eternal triangle
Despite changing the setting from the Arctic to Egypt, this version of the H Rider Haggard story appears to definitely have taken a lot of inspiration from the 1935 version with Randolph Scott, Helen Gahagan and Helen Mack.
Although Ursula Andress probably generated a lot of interest in this version, the big stand out is John Richardson.
Rosenda Monteros from "The Magnificent Seven" takes the place of Helen Mack as the less-exotic "other girl" of the triangle. It was probably an ethnic miscast (along with Christopher Lee playing an Egyptian priest) but she did well.
The difference between this version and the 1935 version was that Helen Gahagan depicted a much colder and much less desirable "she who must be obeyed", it wasn't that I didn't like Helen Gahagan's version of this woman, she actually pulled it off fairly well. But Ursula Andress was born to play this role, reflecting a stark contrast between her external beauty and her internal ugliness.
Between the two films the philosophy of "she" is identical: to rule by fear and terror.
And while the 1935 version shows some of this evil, being a Merian C Cooper production it reflected a lot of similarities to King Kong in actuality, but that film doesn't reflect the very dark streak that runs through the city ruled by this woman.
This 1965 hammer films version does great homage to the 1935 version, including some incredible and very large sets, not as large as the sets they built for the 1935 version, but still fairly large.
The ending of this version is a lot darker but it is not disappointing, except for the feet of one of the characters that you start becoming attached to. A lot of the dialogue toward the end of the film appears to have been lifted directly from the 1935 version.
But the thing that draws you into this version of the film is the incredible music written by James Bernard, which includes strains that are very reminiscent of the 1935 version.
Overall this is one of the very best hammer films I have ever seen, and this film was of course intended to be shown in cinemascope, I would love to be able to see it on a curved screen, there are some panoramic shots that reveal Cinemascopic photography.
Star Trek: Voyager: Night (1998)
Should have spanned a few episodes
I loved the debut of Captain Proton! Thankfully we got a whole episode of Captain Proton later this season.
I thought that the resolution of the relevant conundrum came about too easily. The Malon antagonist, and we have heard the term "garbage scow" used in Trek frequently- we finally get to see a garbage scow. This antagonist was a little too easy to defeat.
It would have been interesting to get further into this zone of night, I suppose this was one of the areas in between the galactic arms of our galaxy where there are few Stars. There may have been other things interesting in this area, but we only got to see what we get to see in this episode.
Nevertheless this was a strong introduction into season 5, an important episode. it was interesting to see with the impending two-year span of boredom that they were facing, how each character had ways to cope with it, Tom Paris in the Holodeck, Harry Kim engrossed in his music, and Captain Janeway, at a dangerous low point. Thankfully they did not have to spend that entire time in this area, and neither did we.
This was an episode that I totally missed when I originally watched Voyager on UPN 13 during the 90s. There were only a few of these. It was probably preempted due to those lame "Syndex" laws from the 90s, which prohibited local Cable providers from showing syndicated shows on two different stations at the same time. This was very stupid, thank you, as I was not able to view almost all of season four of Babylon 5 because of these dumb laws. And sometimes, although Voyager was officially a network show, it would occasionally succumb to the same stupidity.
When this starts out, it appears to be a regular Voyager episode except that there are a few things different, that we don't notice right away. For one thing Lieutenant Torres only has one PIP making her an Ensign. And then when a call from engineering comes in, "Its Jonas", and we know he has been dead for a while. So, WT_?. They never show him, but this was actually the actor who played Jonas' real voice. Too bad they didn't have more of him in this episode.
Of course Seska also appears and at this time she is still pretending to be a Bajoran member of the Maquis.
The reason for the appearance of these characters becomes apparent, as the narrative is interrupted by a bumbling Tom Paris, who stumbles in at a most in opportune time.
This is not actually a holodeck episode, this is a horror episode. It could have been much worse, it should have been much worse. It was plenty disturbing as it was. Of course when we think that it is actually a holo episode, there is that usual voyager humor in the character interactions arguing about who is going to finish this HoloNovel.
It comes down to Tom Paris and Tuvoc, but they go from content creators to victims in one fell swoop. And the way that it was done knocked me out of my La-Z-Boy.
Star Trek: Voyager: Future's End (1996)
"From A to B to C"
This is another episode that I had reviewed previously, and the review has magically disappeared. Can you please restore my original review. Thank you.
Shortly after this episode aired, "First Contact" was shown in the theaters. The title of this pair of episodes becomes an important line, said by the Borg Queen. "Watch your futures end"
I thought that was nice how they took the name of this episode and put it into a feature film. In fact, the name of this episode appears in other places as well, it's a pivotal episode not just for voyager, but for Star Trek in general.
So... Voyager goes back to a contemporary point in time, in this case 1996. Well, I don't care whether or not "Star Trek 4 the voyage home" did the same thing or that they even did something similar to this in deep space nine. Or that Star Trek discovery has a magic red angel suit that can bring them to any point in time, so what? This episode of Voyager is not any of those, and was not made like any of those, it's its own dog. And as such, it has a lot of very unique things in it. So stick a sock in your mouth whoever is saying "this has already been done", your negative review has already been done, and I'm pretty tired of reading it especially as it appears as if it was written by several different reviewers but in fact it was written by only one guy.
I liked the original actor that played Captain Braxton, later, he is replaced by that guy who used to fly MacGyver around all the time, and he was good too (he was also in the movie Timecop as well), but I wish he would've done Captain Braxton originally. We get used to seeing an actor creating a character, and then later having to replace that actor with somebody new. It was even done in Game of Thrones, at least four times that I can remember. But I liked the guy who originally played Braxton, and I wish they would have used him when the character appeared later in the series.
Voyager is attacked by a timecop from the 29th century (Braxton), who doesn't really want to give Janeway too many details about why he has to do such a thing. Other than "Voyager was there". Janeway is not going to allow her ship to be destroyed on the basis of a 10 second conversation, The resulting confrontation begins this conundrum.
After that point, we get to see why that A to B to C thing comes into play- Braxton explains the thing beautifully in his new role as Bum. Wait, how did he get from Timecop, to Bum? I don't know, watch the episode.
This episode has some very funny character actors and some very funny things in it including Sarah Silverman, very young, and she bounces off of Tom Paris beautifully. She's almost as whack as he is, so it's a match made in, wherever.
This episode even has Alex Jones style conspiracy theorists getting their asses whomped, which is a beautiful thing to behold.
And then it also has the guy from Saint elsewhere, Ed Begley Junior, in fact he's got the first line in this episode, and it's great.
Another episode that I originally saw when it was first broadcast. One other very important thing occurs in this pair of episodes, as they say in Starship Troopers, "do you want to know more?"
Star Trek: Voyager: Macrocosm (1996)
Wildfire on Voyager
I remember watching this episode when it first ran on UPN 13.
This is the very first episode where I realized that Captain Janeway, crawling through sweaty ducts and Jeffries tubes being chased by... things, was a rather attractive woman.
The mere thought of crawling through cramped, hot Jeffries tubes like Janeway was doing makes me sweat just watching it.
This is an episode where they really make you feel what Janeway is going through, you can feel the heat, you have to wipe the sweat off of your forehead, for some reason this episode affected me physically.
Additionally, this is one of those episodes that backs up halfway through, and with the Doctors narration, explains how things came to happen. The other episode that is kind of like this is "The Fight", which starts at the end, then backs up and then tells the whole story piecemeal.
This episode has an interesting premise, where the microscopic jumps into the macroscopic. Things that are small should never be made larger, either accidentally or intentionally.
It also serves as a kind of warning against something like that happening in the real world, if something like this were to happen here somehow, our ecosystem would be taken over and destroyed by such an event. Fortunately, I can't think of any instance that would cause events similar to what are depicted here to happen in real life. Even if it did, I don't think any life form that "jumped quantums" like that would be able to survive in the new environment. However, as they say in Jurassic Park, "life will find a way"- so the best thing is to never let it happen in the first place.
And in fact it only happens here due to a fluke.
In regard to the title of my review, refer to the Game of Thrones episode called "Blackwater", and then look for something similar in this episode of Voyager.
Star Trek: Voyager: Threshold (1996)
Tom's bout with the Measels
Brannon Braga always says "what was I thinking" when he discusses this episode. No way! In fact I liked it, quite a bit. But not for the reasons you are thinking.
Tom is a pilot first and foremost, on top of being a jerk most of the time. In this episode, it appears that he is spearheading a team that has been planning hard designing a shuttle that can do something extraordinary, and he is the man that will pilot this. This is the flight that will give him something that he has wanted since he was a child, a feeling of accomplishment by doing something nobody else has. He is very sincere in all of his efforts and his arguments with Captain Janeway award him the chance to do this thing. But he is almost prevented from doing it because The Doctor thinks he has developed some form of brain-measles. Fortunately, and because we know Tom Paris' character well by this point, he is able to talk himself back into the pilot's seat.
However, what begins as a quest to break an ultimate speed barrier, takes a sharp twist and "devolves" into insanityland.
And I have never laughed so hard for a Star Trek episode, ever!
People simply don't appreciate the humor of this episode, especially the non-standard and possibly unintentional (but probably, actually intentional) comic acting by Robert Duncan McNeil. He nails this, if he had not pulled out all of the stops, the episode would have been perceived worse than it has been. But I never have thought of this episode as bad, only as drastically insane. Which was something that we needed at the time due to the serious turns in Trek during this period, with the Dominion and the Founders and Maquis and other threats in Deep Space Nine, to the destruction of the Enterprise D and the Borg Attack in the Next Generation movies of the period. With all of the seriousness of the state of the Federation on the Alpha quadrant side, we really needed something totally crazy to happen in the Delta quadrant side. And this was simply the first time they did it in Voyager, they had some other totally whack episodes after this, but nothing as crazy as this episode. It set a new standard for insanity. Which is why I personally love it.
And the ending is just way beyond the pale, when you think it can't get any crazier, it does, and then it even gets more absurd and insane after that, up until the very last scene which is the most incredibly crazy thing that we've ever seen any Star Trek, ever.
Y'all simply don't have a sense of humor, enjoy this for what it is, high comedy and absurdity, Star Trek style. Get out the popcorn when this episode plays, pretend like you are watching mst 3000, and enjoy it. I always make a point to watch this at least once every six months, it really lifts me up when I am in the dumps. Whaddya think this is? The last episode of Game of Thrones or something? (Which I also liked).
Stargate Origins: Catherine (2018)
It was a web series
And although I wish the quality would have been a little bit better, that's what this was. It simply wasn't supposed to be any big production. It was meant to be watched on laptops and tablets, and on those platforms, it was probably adequate.
Conor Trinneer does a great job here as professor Langton, the other actors I was not familiar with, the guy playing Brucke (Aylam Orian) was a villain with relish. Even the Goa'uld had enough of him.
People forget that they dropped Catherine's exotic accent that she had in the film for her appearances in Stargate SG-1, except for the episode "1969", when Daniel Jackson has a tete-a-tete with the middle-aged version of the character.
Due to the appearance of a young Kusuf, I have to assume that this planet is Abydos. The Gou'ald, Aset, has never been heard of. And we hear the word "harsesis", we all know what that means.
This production is more like a stage play than it is an episode of the original franchises, viewed as such I can ignore the poor production and focus on the story. I didn't see anything radically changed from the canon of the franchise, and just because we never heard about something, it doesn't mean that it never happened. We assume that in the series, Catherine never made it through the Stargate, only her boyfriend Ernest Littlefield, that we met during "the torment of Tantalus", played by Paul McGillion. He is not here, but apparently the earth side of this story takes place in Egypt rather than in a secret lab In the United States- so we wouldn't expect to see him until later in the Stargate Origins series, if they get that far. I haven't watched any of that yet, this popped up on my Amazon prime and I became interested in it.
And as I am being entertained by this, despite the lack of production, I will have to say it is not as poor as what people are saying. I am just giving it a higher rating for balance sake. Because this was not a television show or a movie, and was not supposed to be. It was what it was, because people wanted to hear more stories in the Stargate universe, which this is.
Game of Thrones (2011)
One small part of a larger story
Someone said, "This series is not Lord of the Rings!" - But they are wrong.
This whole series is just a tiny fragment of the history of a world that contains Westeros, Essos, Braavos, Sothoryos, and Ulthos. Just like Lord of the Rings, which tells a very small piece of a story that goes all the way back to The Silmarillion and well beyond Lord of the Rings and takes place across many different lands and in many languages, so too Game of Thrones.
And that is why this show is exactly Lord of the Rings, not just because we are being told a tiny fragment of a much larger story and a much larger history. Which is every bit as huge and complex as LOTR, but because of the immensity and complexity of the world George RR Martin created, which in some cases dwarfs Lord of The Rings.
That is where the similarity ends. Of course this is not Middle Earth or any "Earth" whatsoever. The planet where Westeros resides may as well be in The Beta Quadrant, and the USS Discovery will visit it using their Magic Red Angel Time Machine/Spore Drive in the next season of Discovery. Westeros resides in a world that appears to be inside-out, almost like a Dyson Sphere. We are shown this at the beginning of each episode with the unusual map that we see each time we enter this world. This world is unlike any other world we've seen in other Ur-Fantasy tales, it may as well be an Alien Planet.
This is a meager part of a much longer and complex story.
I say "meager", but when I first started watching this, and saw the scale of the locales and the believability and the truth of every location, I realized the scope of it all. Even in LOTR, you know that they are filming on Earth. In this show, even the forests are unlike anything we've seen. There is no 800-foot wall of ice and magic on our Earth. We can't even say "Hell" because the concept of Hell is not relatable to this world. This world has its own gods, and we must needs become familiar with them as the story goes on, before we can even use an expletive (other than Sandor Clegane's favourite Word).
And with Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire also has several languages that have been created from the ground up. In a unique move, whole blocks of dialogue were spoken in Dothraki and High and Low Valyrian, causing us to enable Subtitles for the first time ever just so we can understand what is being said. Which I suppose is where the similarity to LOTR finally and irrevocably ends, as they burned the subtitles into the scenes in that series of films.
The final similarity to Lord of the Rings was in the narrative style, which has a complicated beginning and middle, but picks up speed for the last act, so that events are compressed into a few chapters. Not being familiar with the book version of this show, I don't know how GRRM will end it, but it is easier to elongate an ending on paper than it is to do so on Film with a Television Budget.
But even during the beginnings of this tale, which has satisfactory complexities, we realize the vastness of scope, even as we see The Wall for the first time. Or The Vale of House Arryn, later, we see the Isle of Pike and Balon Greyjoy's huge castle of 3 interlocking towers. Also, many castles, bridges, cities, towers, and landmarks. Old Town and its Citadel, which is as immense inside as it is outside. King's Landing, and the Sept of Baelor. In the South as Daenerys Targaryen makes her way from East to West across Essos, we see several walled cities like Qarth, Yunkai, Astapor and Meereen, each with a Giant Harpy on top of the largest pyramids. The House of The Undying. And that's just Essos, there are other continents on this world. And then see the full glory of Dragonstone... Oh, we got to see a few of its many rooms, its dungeon, and its night sky shape when it was occupied by Stannis Baratheon, but we really don't get to see it at all until Season 7, in all of its uncanny majesty.
And this is not even covering any of that story I was talking about. It begins thousands of Years ago, when the Children of the Forest were fighting "The First Men", and later there were other invasions, and eventually the Doom of Valyria, which brings us into the era where this part of the story begins.
When HBO graciously offered me a month to catch up with this show, I did not hesitate. It didn't take long to get me hooked and I watched seasons 7 and 8 the same way everyone else did.
But I am talking mostly about the landscape of Westeros and the world it sits in, there is also the array of royal houses, each with their histories and conflicts and banners, much of this tale depends on histories that we only hear portions of in the show, mostly in passing conversations between the many characters. And if we did not pay attention, we missed it when it became relevant later.
The Characters are as complex as the landscape, and if we don't understand the History of Westeros, we miss the total point of the conflicts between the various houses. And even those conflicts are inflated in scale beyond what we've ever seen before. We have invested so much time becoming involved with following those conflicts, the most important conflict is the one that is in the very first scene in the show that involves the three Night's Watch Rangers. We see something odd happen there, we don't really fully understand it until much later in the show, and the scale of that conflict makes the struggle for whoever is going to sit on The Iron Throne, trivial at best. This was shy I was shocked by the events of Season 7. As I went back and revisited the seasons before that, there were hints about what was to come peppered throughout episodes all the way back to Season 1. They are hidden within what we would dismiss as filler conversation between characters, and if we were lucky, we'd remember a vision that someone saw or a passing comment about things that were stored underneath Kings Landing.
I don't really have any complaints about the way these events were played out, I have a lot of respect for the detail; things that I thought were CGI ended up not being CGI at all, but clever compositing of real elements. And when your base of Characters shrinks from almost 100 down to about 20 or so, you can't really continue a narrative style that involved those 100 characters.
Not having read the books, I was glad to have an element of surprise. Every season handed me something that never failed to knock me off my couch, and provided a visual and auditory smorgasbord at the same time.
I am really going to miss that.
Beginning, Middle, End
This episode represents the exact center of A Song of Ice and Fire. Several important arcs converge here, one horrible event occurs, and portions of the Starck family almost also converge. Arya is beginning her long trek with Sandor Clegane, maybe even realizing that he is not really her enemy.
Two Weddings are occurring almost at once, Sansa and Tyrion, Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey. Edmure isn't even sure which Frey daughter he will wed, they keep it secret until the last minute. In King's landing, Cersei's detestation of Margery becomes blatant. But the events at Frey's Castle all appear friendly and on the Up and Up. Until we remember Jamie's last words to Roose Bolton, about giving his "regards for Edmure's Wedding"
Jon is pressed to the limit of what he can endure with Tormund and Ygritte, and we have two people in this episode who can "Warg" - Orell (Mackenzie Crook) and Brann. But this is the first time it is revealed that Bran can do much more than the average Warg can do- He can enter into a Human Being. And Brann's arc almost intersects with Jon's - As does Arya's and Robb's and Catelyn's - And Arya doesn't realize exactly how lucky she was to be with The Hound.
Daenerys already has two full armies: Her loyal Dothraki (what few are left at this point) and the Unsullied. But this episode marks where she picks up the full support of The Second Sons.
Meanwhile, on Dragonstone, we start seeing more details of that structure, especially the Dungeon where Stannis is keeping Lord Davos. But Stannis had once again used Dark Magic to call forth the deaths of specific people. And we know that when Melisandre uses blood in her spells, the heinous things she calls forth always happen to the last detail. But due to Davos' counsel, The Red Woman only uses a small portion of Gendry's blood, sapped by Leeches, rather than all of his blood.
But the most important arc is the Samwell/Gilly arc - We know that White Walkers were taking Craster's male babies in an agreement to leave him alone so that they can turn said babies into new White Walkers- We saw The Night King doing just this when we met him- But Sam had also picked up the Dragonglass, not knowing it's special significance.
And he was fortunate that he had it on him when the White Walker came. This White Walker was different: He was accompanied by a flock of Ravens. We have seen this White Walker before, this is "No Shirt", who Sam encountered before. We finally get to see why that Cache of Junk left by the First Men that Sam found was very important.
Everything changes from this moment on - And Robb's fate is tied in with Joffrey and Bailon Greyjoy, three people who were marked by The Red Woman using Gendry Baratheon's blood. We didn't know at the time why Stannis chose those three particular people, it soon becomes clear.
This episode marks a drastic change in the style of the writing, as all of the elements of the end of the story are now all in place. After this, Bran's abilities are used to exposit very important details about past/present and future. We will start seeing this in "The Lion and The Rose"
Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne (2019)
The End of a tale is always thinner than the beginning
Or, "Many partings"
Look at Lord of the Rings: The beginnings of that story are as complex as this, but the end of that tale is very much like the end of this version of "A Song of Ice and Fire".
And one thing about that ending frightened some people, and that is the concept of "Democracy". Daenerys did not like that word, but Jon did. In fact the word did not have very much use in this tale, until this episode. The former Lords of the Seven Kingdoms did not have much use for it either. But of all of the complaints about this ending, that is probably the most prominent. Oh, the word was never used in this series at all. But the underlying concept was part of this episode. And that concept was, "Which contender for King would have listened to his constituents?" And the answer to that question is here.
I watched part of the very first episode of this series on the night it was first broadcast. I thought, "Neat, but who needs another show about stuff that happened during the Dark Ages?" - I did not realize at the time that this was an Alternate Reality, a different world even, where winter does not come every year but at intervals that can't be predicted. I was not interested in this at all, until I was given a free month of HBO one summer, and with nothing else to do, I watched the whole thing.
Of course it did not take long for me to get sucked in to Westeros, and like everyone else, I became invested in the story being told, or rather, the many stories about the many people, places, gods, and Priestesses, some that gained power by burning people at the stake or sucking their blood out with leeches. Soon I realized that there was as rich of an alternate history as there is in ay Ur-Fantasy Novels, with the added benefit that George R R Martin is still writing this tale and produced part of this version of it.
In the course of this show, a variegated assortment of characters and families had been paraded in front of us - Some of them removed from the story in the first season, others hung in there for a lot longer. But as I watched the last season of the show and then went back and watched key episodes and seasons, I realized that there was a pattern: this show was very populated at the start and there was a lot of dialogue because there were a lot of people having discussions. But each season of the show had less and less of these people talking, many of the main characters were killed off including whole families.
We were introduced to two families at the start: The Starks and the Lannisters. There was a 3rd family, the Baratheons, which had a relationship to both Stark and Lannister due to friendship and marriage. But we learned right away of improprieties within the King's own family. As viewers we knew it, the other characters in the show were mostly oblivious to it.
We know now that the whole conflict between Stark and Lannister was the result of manipulations by "Lord Littlefinger Baelish" - And the tale of his treachery spans 7 seasons. Treachery which spread across all of Westeros, affecting the remaining Baratheon family, the Starks and Lannisters, the Boltons, the Targaryen's, The Freys, even the Ironborn Greyjoys- Every one of them affected by Baelish' original act of Treason and Heinous Murder.
We were introduced to other cities, continents and cultures, particularly the Dothraki, led by Khal Drogo, and this was where we got our first glimpse of the disrobed figure of Daenerys Targaryen, sister of Viserys, and we start hearing a lot of talk about Dragons- Until we got 3 of them.
MEANWHILE, up at "THE WALL", a vast construct of Ice and Magic, we get our first encounter with a "White Walker", as we see a whole village of "Wildings" slaughtered and then rise from the dead with Blue Eyes. This is our introduction to the Watchers on The Wall, an elite group of men, usually former prisoners, who guard the Realms of Men. Against what?
For seven years, we watched the ranks of Westeros thin out. The Baratheons, dead. The Boltons - dead. The Freys, dead. Whole houses, wiped out, either by treachery or by trickery, or by the machinations of Cersei Lannister.
It was not extraordinary that at the start, we had complex dialogue, sometimes verbatim to the books this tale is based upon. But what happens, if the writer of the books, has not written any since 2011, and the show still has to move forward?
With the significant amount of major characters killed off season by season, and not replaced with new, of course the level of Dialogue was reduced somewhat, which is what happens when you have roughly less than a third of the characters you started off with. And then we had significant story and character development, unlikely relationships between unlikely characters: As we entered into the 8th season, the ranks had decisively been thinned out. So all we really have left is Tyrion with his wisecracks, The Hound and Arya fellowshipping on the taste shared revenge but also mutual respect, and the huge reveal as to the identity of one of the most major characters.
And let us not get started in the unfortunate events that brought the Night King his very own pet Ghoul-Dragon.
As I view these episodes again and again, I saw the mistakes that were made. Tyrion, smart as he is forgot the very nature of his own sister. And Daenerys had been victorious with every campaign and erringly thought she was invincible with three whole dragons, forgetting twice that Dragons are susceptible to flying projectiles.
So my take on this final episode, and this final season has to be this: Even the best stories have an ending, and a denouement. Seven seasons of one of the finest stories ever televised had to come to an end. Was I happy with all of the decisions? No, but I was happy that most of the main plot elements had been solidly wrapped up. From the first to the last, Game of Thrones has delivered one whopping kick in the buttocks after another. I think the level of hurt rump for this season is due to the creators providing plot twists and reversals that did not involve their favourite characters, and I am guilty of that as well. "The season was sparse, the episodes less complex, the dialogue more simple?" Naturally, because this is what happens when you start off with 100 characters and end with maybe 20. So no complaints, I got the see most of the show in one sitting, so I'm certainly not going to complain about it.
I will admit that as I watched the series, I became invested in it, and of course I wanted to see certain things. That I did not get to see those things? I'm not going to pan the whole season and the showrunners because of it. Because look at what I did see:
1-Three Dragons destroying a fleet of Slaver Ships.
2-The Watchers on the Wall using a huge scythe on a chain to repel thousands of Wilding Attackers.
3-The same Wildings besieged by an Army of The Dead at a port far beyond the Wall.
4-Cersei using secreted explosives to destroy the Sept of the Seven and all of the little Sparrows.
And the most incredible: Arya becoming one of The Faceless Ones.
Not to mention the sheer vastness of the imagery I was exposed to, and to this date I can't tell what was real and what was not. But it was all real I suppose, in some ways.
This was indeed, "Many Partings"- All stories come to an end sooner or later. But this ending was more hopeful than I expected. An Unexpected King, the coolest people on the Small Council, Samwell Tarly given position as a Maester above all of the maesters that dismissed him, and Jamie Lannister's story finally written in the Book of Knights by the very woman that he Knighted.
I'm really going to miss these people.
The Battle of Minas Tirith
So these last 2 episodes were supposed to be like "Return of the King"? As if that were a bad thing. Guess what? It's not.
Ptui on using the Lord of the Rings as some kind of negative example for this particular story of Star Trek, because Return of the King is a totally appropriate reference.
In this episode we had the equivalent of the battle of Minas Tirith, including Mumakil and Nazgul. We even had an equivalent of the distruction of the ring and the disintegration of Barad-Dur. And so this part of the story ends, we don't know if The Enterprise and Spock and Pike will be part of that story for season three, but we know that Discovery will embark on a new journey, across time and halfway across the galaxy.
Michael Burnham as Frodo though? Sorry, don't see that. But we do know that it is her turn to wear the red angel suit, what she does with it was wholly unexpected. But we had forewarning of some of this.
The Queen, "Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po", reminded me of Sofia Boutella's "Jaylah" from Star Trek Beyond, in spirit at least. She was willing to put herself at risk to do her little part.
As a matter of fact, the entire crews of Discovery, Enterprise, and some surprise guests were all willing to go above and beyond what was required of them, which is what Starfleet is all about, and what Star Trek is all about. Star Trek has never been about catering to our comfort zones. Star Trek has always been about pushing the boundaries of our imaginations beyond what we have been comfortable with- whether we like it as fans, or not. And that is what the writers of this Red Angel Arc have gotten so right. This whole season has been what Star Trek is all about, my only sadness is that these "seasons" are way too short- 14 episodes is not enough to tell the epic scale of this tale, but they managed to get every element referenced and every loose end tied up, even the slight loose end about the spore woman that lived inside of Tilly.
Now from day one that this series started, I've seen nothing but complaints about the lead character "Michael Burnham". I am wondering if the same people are complaining that Kirk was the lead character in the original series, or that Picard was the Captain in Next Generation, or The Sisko, or Janeway, or Archer? Also: "Bulleted lists" of complaints. Ptui on "Bulleted Lists" of Complaints about this series and it's episodes- I mean really, if you hated it so much, why did you JUMP onto your computer or hand device to deliver your same bulleted list of minor irritations week after week - instead of not watching the show, like you promised to do after the first list of bulleted complaints (after "The Vulcan Hello")?
This series is about a ship called Discovery, and the main character, a "sister" of Mr. Spock that we had never heard about before (and after this episode there is a reason for this), it's also about a guy who started off as a Pale Klingon "Voq" The torch bearer, or Kuva'magh (refer to Star Trek Voyager season 7 episode 14 "Prophecy") and then was ground up into meat and sewn into a Captive Starfleet Officer named Ash Tyler, who has ended up being an important character and bridge between the Klingon empire and Discovery- and we even have a doctor that came back from the dead, who is the lover of the creator of the spore drive, not to mention Mr Saru, whose character and race has evolved significantly, and... well? we have a complicated arrangement of characters, major and minor, but it all starts off with Burnham.
But the fact is: this show is not "political" or "PC" or anything, (I think I saw some reference, in several verbatim duplicate "reviews" last week about "PO", or a "PO Character", whatever the blazes that means) - it's basically simply Star Trek, based on a show which made social statements in the 60s, which was also unprecidented, so go steal a red angel suit of your own and go back in time and complain about the original series if you want, because those kinds of complaints are irrelevant and inappropriate for this show, which is basically the same kind of show that the original series was.
In fact all through the last 54 years of Star Trek's existence, including an animated series, several feature films, four major television series, two of which were syndicated, three alternate timeline feature films, and now this show: The premise has never changed. It's not just about the future, it's about a particular KIND of future, a future where we have a united earth and people have set aside ridiculous bigotries. Where people are not motivated by money but by making themselves better and doing better things, where people can choose to follow or not follow religions without being persecuted for doing either, and where Space is being explored and we are part of a larger community that includes people from other planets, and even conflicts between those peoples have all been solved to some extent. I think that's what the "PC-ers" would call "globalism", except in Star Trek language this is called "The United Federation of Planets".
But the point being is that in 54 years the premise of Star Trek has never changed from that original premise, despite changes in production value and creature and a spaceship designs, it is still Star Trek and it still holds true to its original Mission:
"To explore Strange, New, worlds To seek out new life and new civilizations And to boldly go where no man has gone before."
And I can't wait to see where Discovery and The Red Angel bring us next year. Can we have more than 14 episodes, please?
14 episodes are not enough
But what episodes... Although this episode was not as densely packed as the previous 12, it is relevant.
We get to see a familiar bridge on a familiar ship, but it looks slightly... unfamiliar.
Ah, so what! It looks great.
Tilly's little visitation during Short Treks becomes relevant here. There is also reference to "Calypso" to some extent, because at some point Discovery exists in the distant future with an AI running things. The question about how this happens might be answered in this episode, or maybe not.
We have seen technology that may evolve into the Borg in this season, we even visited Talos IV. We even saw Pike come face to face with that man from The Menagerie, and he accepts this. Spock went through The Mutara Sector before Michael caught up with him, an area that will have special significance to him at a later time.
But this is merely the calm before a huge storm, and the Enterprise and Discovery are right in the middle of it, preparing for what could be another Wolf 359, before Wolf 359 ever happened. And long before Locutus, there was Leland. Is there a shred of humanity left there?
Meanwhile, The Red Angel still has two more signals to go, but which Red Angel?
Spock vs the T-1000
Pike meets a "Minbari" Klingon. Looked like warrior caste, even. "Tenavik, Son of None". A most unusual Klingon. With the time crystal in the Red Angel suit destroyed, Discovery is back to investigating the "Red Signals", this particular Red signal magically appeared over the the Klingon planet "Boreth", turns out Boreth is more important than we've ever seen, we thought it was run by overzealous monks who re-created Kahless from the blood on his betleH. But this planet turns out to be a lot more important then being merely a breeding ground for clones or for fooling Worf, something important goes on there.
Spock and Burnham visit a Section 31 ship, to find out why it was late checking in. What they find there, we are almost able to guess due to Leland's previous encounter with "Control", but it is actually much worse.
Imagine Spock having to fight the Terminator T-1000 without letting it touch him. He gets creative.
But the big question should be, "Hey, wasn't the Magic Red Angel suit destroyed and then sucked into the far future?"
If that's so, then who is sending the Red Signals? Is there another Red Suit floating amok? Or, maybe we haven't completely caught up with things that have already happened, but just haven't happened to Discovery - Yet.
Pike is confronted with a startling image, and a choice. Will it be "No Fate but What you Make", or will he embrace what is to come?
Time is out of joint
The focus has narrowed a bit with this episode. We have seen a wide variety of events, we even tried to connect them to things we had seen at other times, even to other shows in this franchise.
But most of this timeline is self contained and self referenced.
In many Trek time stories, they are solved with a simple "Make it never happened" scenario.
That's not going to work here. The complexity level is way beyond anything we've seen in this show before.
Then came 2009's "Star Trek" and it's practical rewrite of Trek's 300-year plus history. The Kelvin timeline was never corrected to the "never happened" point, so anything that happens there is unrelated to any of this.
In Enterprise, we had interesting interference from the Temporal Cold War, but in the end everything reset itself (in one magnificent scene in "Stormfront II" where we get to see this happen). So, we can disregard that as well.
I was hoping that some of these elements would show up as part of Discovery's conundrum, but they haven't- other than a few references.
No. This story is all about the Magic Red Angel. But have we had too much dumped on us?
Actually what is happening here, is that disparate elements that appeared to not have any relation to each other are now showing up as facets of this story as it progresses.
Go back and collect all the pieces: What does a magic asteroid with strange gravitational properties, a group of humans living in the Beta quadrant, Tilly's Mycelial friend, a huge being that contained a memory archive, Dr Culber, Saru's Evolution, and Section 31 have to do with each other?
Not much, unless you take into account who the Red Angel really is and what they have been doing.
And even the Red Angel, will not be the same from this moment on.
An Angel on the Head of Two Pins
Is this the last we'll see of Airiam? Seeing as how sometimes being dead, in Trek, is no guarantee of finality. Why then, a homage to a character that we barely knew until the last 3 episodes? Yet, she was on Discovery since "Context is for Kings". And as Spock has said himself: "I've been dead before". It would not surprise me to see Airiam return- now that we like the character. And the subject is not limited to Spock and Airiam, but includes Ash Tyler (to some degree) and Dr Culber- Through Voq, who is also among those who are gone, but not gone.
But what of the future? There is the possibility that Spock, when shown the future by the Magic Red Angel, was also shown not just Spock Prime's destiny, but Kelvin Spock's as well. Which brings us back to those images of Shattered Planets at the end of the Kelvin movies.
I never really accepted the Kelvin timeline as canon, only as canon within itself. In the "Star Trek: Countdown" comic book series, a definitive connection was made between "Unification I and II", "Nemesis", the the first Kelvin Trek film, and that could be considered canon, up to a point.
Now we have to catch a huge magic Red Angel. It did appear that the being that Spock met- on a distant planet that may have well been "Delta Vega" - not the Delta Vega from "Where No Man has gone Before", but that Delta Vega where Spock Prime meets younger Kirk, that being met with Spock on that very Planet. And our Season 2 Discovery escapades did in fact bring Spock through the Mutara sector. I would imagine, there was still a nebula there, at the "time".
But it's not just about Spock's personal future- it appears it's about Michael's as well. And, the Red Angel they want to entrap- is it really the Red Angel they think it is?
Finally, we get to Section 31- whose misadventures are not irrelevant, even though they were merely a peripheral part of Bashir's fantasies in Deep Space 9- because Bashir wanted to play "spy" in the Holosuite, and he got to actually be one, thanks to "Director Sloan" (William Sadler) in that show. In Discovery, they have been given new life, a history, an identity and finally, a role to play for good or ill. They have not fared well so far in season 2. Except for Georgiou.
As we saw previously, nothing has been what it seemed: other than the fact that The Red Angel has been pointing Discovery to planets where catastrophes were imminent, and sometimes even directly helping to prevent them.
But, now, will the real Magic Red Angel stand up?
I wrote this review at 9:30pm my time the night this episode was broadcast- Thank you IMBd for finally posting it.
An Aria for Airiam
After all of the speculation about Airiam, we get a snootful in this episode. What it comes down to is she's just a girl, nothing more. A girl that can back up what memories she wants and ditch others. Lucky her. I imagine Data probably having to do that occasionally, even with his 800 quadrillion bits of storage capacity. But he probably kept updating himself, so by the time he was blown to bits in "Nemesis", he probably had more.
But Data's an Android, a fully mechanical life form- Airiam is a girl.
And although she's definitely compromised, there is a lot more to it than that. She is actually not the "bad guy", she's merely another victim.
We get to find out what's actually behind all of this, and suddenly we start thinking about movies like 2001: a space Odyssey, Westworld, Futureworld, Colossus: The Forbin Project, Saturn 3, The Terminator, those and many other films about technology gone haywire. Forbidden Planet even.
And the premise of this episode is rather interesting, because the bad guys, and we were expecting section 31, are not the bad guys we expected.
And whoever it is, it's probably an ancestor of Reginald Barclay. You'll see why.
Meanwhile, Spock is PO'd, and taking it out on his sister. Maybe he can channel that anger into something useful.
We also learned something about Discovery's new security chief, the planet she comes from has ties into The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, and Voyager, so it's appropriate that Jonathan Frakes directed this one.
Flawless bridge between 1966 and 2019
This is probably the moment that most of us were waiting for, the confrontation between Spock and Burnham.
I am not disappointed. This episode answers some questions that were set up earlier in the series.
And, we are brought back to the very episode where Star Trek started, to the same planet, to the same aliens, to the same characters, to the same illusions, wearing the same "metal fabric" they wore 54 years ago.
But while we are seeing this new version of a set of images that paralleled some of the greatest 50s science fiction movies of all time, like Forbidden Planet, and brought those images to our television sets in the 1960s, there is also the continuing storyline from events that occurred in season one, which is mainly the story of Mr. Stamets and Dr. Culber, which was suddenly interrupted by Ash Tyler. Who knew that the act of violence perpetrated by Tyler/Voq would create a bond between the two, unlikely as that would be? And, is that happening?
And although a miracle had occurred, things are just not the same. One of them was disassembled and reassembled by L'Rell, The other was disassembled and reassembled by the spore network. "Who do you think you're talking to?"
Spock and Burnham also have a severe damage issue, so what we have here are two major confrontations, one on the ship and one on Talos. And there is a third confrontation, Pike and a woman that he met once, but that didn't happen, not really. It hadn't even happened years earlier, Pike only thought it happened. But with the Talosians, what's the difference? And that is the point.
Are the occupants of Talos IV calling all the shots here? Even though this episode shows maybe a peripheral involvement in this Red Angel business, it's as if they know more about it.
And all the while Lieutenant Airiam is changing, Airiam and her 3 red eyes. Has she been hacked? Next week it's her turn.
But one thing actually just occurred to me, in the Kelvin timeline films, The end credits of all three films are played over images of planets being blown into tiny chunks. Is there some kind of relationship between those images and these Discovery episodes?