Friday, November 30, 2012


 *** (3 stars out of 5)
Following Janeway's hit Dance of the Dying Swan on talent night, she suggests Chakotay take his turn. "Maybe I could stand with an apple on my head and you could phaser it off!"

"Sounds great," he laughs. "If I miss, I get to be Captain."

When shuttle Sacajewea is brought down by ion lightning, Janeway DOES die. Oh, sorry. SPOILERS.

I'm starting to think the crew of Voyager's most practiced skill is surviving shuttle crashes. What is this, like the fifth time Chakotay's been in a crash in under 3 years?

Anyway, if it feels like a repeating time loop, looks like a repeating time loop, and generates anti-protons like a repeating time loop maybe it IS a repeating time loop. Janeway repeats and relives her death in various exciting ways: strangled to death by a Vidiian, shuttle explosion, catches the phage and is euthanized by the EMH. Didn't he get the memo? We did all that LAST season!

A bright light is following the Ghosty Captain, and her dead dad comes out of it. He drowned years ago under the ice cap of Tau Ceti Prime. If that isn't enough reason to doubt him, there's the fact that her Blue Blood father might be Broadway's demon barber of Fleet Street!

Or perhaps she's suspicious that a man who died in 2358 is wearing a badge not introduced until 2371. Then again, maybe Starfleet recycles the designs every second decade: the oval might make a comeback in 2381!

"Coda" keeps you guessing, right through. A good Janeway story, even if in retrospect all the tearful eulogies must have been written about her, by her, in her own head. Best way to get the results you want, I say. 'She's the mother-figure I always wanted,' sounds a lot better than 'Damn fool ruined all our lives'.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Begotten

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Odo buys a baby changeling from Quark. I'm sure there's a way to charge the bartender with sentience trafficking or some such, but Odo is much too enamored to bother. Dr. Bashir saves the little Founder foundling from tetryon radiation poisoning. Then the constable speaks lovingly to the jar of honey, having decided to raise it in all the kindness he missed out on during his infancy as a lab rat.

Speaking of which, Dr. Mora Pol comes to visit from his job helping Starfleet devise new ways to kill changelings. Conflict of interest? Bad dad graduating to grouchy grandpa? Well, such is life on DS9.

Meanwhile, the O'Briens finally get their baby back from Major Kira. No matter how you slice it (Do NOT slice up the child, Solomon, it's just a figure of speech) that kid was gestating for well over six months, not counting his original womb. That makes Kira a shoo-in record holder for an alien race whose pregnancies last a mere five months, who never get morning sickness, and who give birth by reaching a state of complete relaxation. Almost makes up for the decades of brutal slavery and torment. Oh, relax, I meant the Occupation, not parenthood!

Odo tells Quark that being a surrogate parent is the most rewarding thing in his entire life. And is too happy to arrest the Ferengi for selling a baby.

Too much love, or not enough discipline? Between them, Odo and Pol get that kid wiggling and jiggling and pretending to be that tentacle-face from The Abyss.

But tragedy and elation will mingle in a deeply moving climactic event and Odo will be forever changed by "The Begotten".

Thanks to Duncan Regehr and James Sloyan for their final Star Trek appearances to date. Shakaar was a strong, memorable presence, and Mr. Sloyan in particular put his DNA into lot of interesting, conflicted alien roles over the years. To this day, when I read Star Trek fiction, I still find it useful to imagine secondary characters are James Sloyan with some wacky forehead.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Alter Ego

 **** (4 stars out of 5)
A study of that now-common phenomena: on-line romance gone wrong. Well, let's pretend it's not just Fatal Attraction with Tuvok.

Tom preens for B'Elanna in his Hawaiian shirt, but it's Vorik the Vulcan who accompanies her at the beach. That Vorik! He's like Reggie Mantle to Tom's Archie Andrews. In terms of hair, at least.

Harry Kim has become twitter-pated for recreational hologram Marayna. Kim asks Tuvok to teach him Vulcan techniques to squelch his feelings. The Bolian Method would probably be eating your feelings, so Vulcan it is!

The Vulcan method works perfectly for several minutes until Tom drags Harry to the luau and Tuvok becomes intrigued by Marayna instead. She enjoys playing "Vulcan Chess" so much that she steals the Doctor's Mobile Emitter, and breaks into Tuvok's room to play it ALL NIGHT LONG. (Not a sexy metaphor.)

It comes to light that Marayna is no trick of the light at all. She has a taste for danger and a horribly lonely job. She sits alone atop a fiery nebula and works all the buttons to keep it contained. (Not a sexy metaphor, I swear.)

She chose this lighthouse-keeper life, but lately she's opening other people's mail from ships that pass in the night. Tuvok urges her to seek more sociable employment.

Mercifully, the lunatics one meets online these days are not yet able to physically emerge in one's home and mess with one's stuff. That's NEXT year's upgrade.

"Alter Ego", in the words of Jess from 'The New Girl', screams "Give my nipples a purpose!" Allow me to explain. Swimsuits and leis all around, and yet apparently Marayna's swimsuit needed a liner sewed inside to save us from the traumatic sight of chilly lady beans. Thanks for nothing, UPN.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fair Trade

*** (3 stars out of 5)
On a space station outside the Nekrit Expanse, Neelix realizes that his usefulness as a local guide to the Voyager is at an end. He's never been beyond this point. (Presumably his self-esteem is also at a low ebb from his off-screen break-up with Kes.)

Neelix can't get Torres to apprentice him in engineering, or Tuvok to squire him in security. He's convinced that amateur ambassador, newsman, and cook are not valuable enough jobs. He wants to find a map and nobody around here does anything out of the goodness of their heart or other organs.

The desperate fellow falls back into the bad influence of Wixiban, a Talaxian smuggler. Wix feels, rightly or wrongly, that Neelix owes him a debt for the year he spent in a Ubean prison. A punishment which Neelix avoided. Just like he tries to avoid the familiar Vulcan engineer (Taurik's identical cousin Vorik) who's always in the way when Neelix wants to talk about doing crime.

Whatever his reasons, Wixiban is now dealing narcotics in the hopes of buying his ship out of impound. He mentions only the medicinal applications when he dupes Neelix into playing along with a deal between a Bothan-looking burn-out and a Nausicaan-esque drug lord.

Bar Rodent tries to bring his dilemma to Helm Boy, but Tom only drones on about how things wouldn't have escalated in his own sordid past if only he'd learned earlier to TELL THE TRUTH. Pssh. Like we haven't heard that one before.

The Expanse Station is run by a surly so-and-so called B'Tardat.
Sorry, that's a Tard Cat. (Also he's really called Bahrat but I missed my chance to use the B'Tardat line months ago.) Just ignore me and keep peering at this grumpy, grumpy cat until he steals your soul and shoes.

"Fair Trade" informs us that when Neelix said he was "a dealer in junk" he meant it- in the street slang sense. Junk. Horse. Meth. Nose candy. The Old Willy Wonka Blueberry. The Subspace Vacuole. The Autobot Matrix of Lazy-Shit.

Or maybe he really was in salvage only. It's not entirely clear. Welcome to the Nekrit Expanse. Here there be dragons. Or something else, probably not dragons.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Darkness and The Light

 *** (3 stars out of 5)
Vedek Latha Mabrin, formerly of Kira's resistance cell, is shot by a disruptor hidden in his flameless candle. He was such a close friend of Kira's that she cannot decide whether to call him 'Law-tha' or 'Lay-tha' while she mourns him.

Dax is surprised that Worf knows the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition. "I am a graduate of Starfleet Academy." he boasts. "I know many things."

The cowardly assassin also knows many things. The Major is getting creepy messages counting off her old friends as they die. Fala is next. She's killed by a two millimeter device called a remat detonator, hidden on her skin or clothes. If undetected, it scrambles a transporter signal. This murder technique is used most often by Romulans, but available to all in the murder industry and to murder hobbyists also.

Next, Mobara blows up from a micro-explosive, probably implanted behind his ear as he slept by a Harkonnen-class hunter probe. And then there were three.

Furel and Lupaza stow away and sneak into Kira's room, conking her bodyguard Brilgar on the noggin. They come within a sneeze of blasting Miles to atoms in his own house. Oh, those wacky terrorists!

Nog's sensitive ears reveal the killer's taunts are recorded in Kira's voice, but this semi-helpful tip comes too late to save Furel and Lupaza from blowing into space. Kira fought alongside them since she was thirteen. Back then she used a phaser rifle on a Cardassian skimmer and Lupaza made the earring Kira still wears from a piece of that vehicle.

Kira checks out a runabout without telling anyone and pursues her suspect to a planet in the DMZ. Blind-sided while shooting at holograms in Silaren Prin's hovel, she gets trapped under a restraining field. Prin was a civilian butler mangled long ago in Shakaar Cell's attack on Gul Pirak. He can barely address Kira by name or gender, but he's obsessed with killing only the guilty. So he's thoughtfully going to deliver the innocent O'Brien kid she's carrying before he kills her. Also, he has to flip a coin beforehand to choose which laser to gut her with. (Gotham-style.)

Playing on Prin's mercy, Kira kills him instead. Yay!

"The Darkness and The Light" is well trod ground. Well performed, with nothing terribly new or interesting to say. Sad about Furel and Lupaza, they were easy to like. Since we never heard of the first three "best friends" before, it has a certain lack of immediacy. Then again, with only two more punches on her frequent murderer card, Kira can get a free breakfast at the Ilvia Province Intergalactic House of Pancakes.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


*** (3 stars out of 5)
No, not the song by Blondie! Sisko's visions of religious fervour. He gets a look at a 20,000 year old Bajoran icon painting of the Lost City of B'hala that has been returned from The Looting Museum on Cardassia.

Emissary Sisko, in his spiffy but dour new grey uniform grows obsessed with the puzzle. He's so distracted that he doesn't notice his uniform was replicated wrong, and he's wearing his commbadge in the grey instead of the black.

Quark would like to distract Sisko even further with holosuite games. "I have a wide assortment of Pleasure mazes- and they all come with a surprise in the centre." But the only surprise today is a terrible plasma shock. Quark's holosuites mst be deathtraps now that Rom's not repairing them regularly. Good luck with your ePimping NOW.

The shock sets off Ben's "pagh-tem-fahr", holy prophetic visions. He's going Full Spielberg on his mashed potatoes.

Kasidy is released from six months in Federation jail. (A jail farther away than Garak's was, I guess, since they both got six months and he was sentenced afterward.) Oh, and by the way, Bajor is accepted into the Federation. Sisko's mission on Deep Space Nine is complete!

Sisko and Yates find B'hala. I don't quite understand this, but the city is fossilized or something. (Maybe buried in ash like Pompeii?) Ben begins to have headaches with his visions of the past and future. Among these is a cloud of locusts heading for Cardassia.

Sisko's underlings have VERY different views on the value of his visions. Kira's devout, Dax is skeptical, Bashir wants to do brain surgery, and Worf? Worf defends not the Bajoran religion specifically, but the very concept of faith. "Without [faith], there can be no victory. If the captain's faith is strong, he will prevail."

In pursuit of his answers, Sisko gets Winn's help to view the Orb of Prophecy.  Talk about desperate. Scraping the bottom of the barrel for religious guidance? I'd rather trust the ASStrologer from Eric Idle's 'What About Dick?'

Sisko busts up the signing ceremony to warn that those pesky locusts will destroy Bajor if it is part of the Federation.

Jake has Bashir operate on his father over his objection- it will cure his seizures by stopping the "Rapture". Problem solved, misery restored!

Saturday, November 24, 2012


*** (3 stars out of 5)
Only Janeway could make a mortal enemy just by putting her hands on her hips. Neelix has to smooth the ruffled feathers of the Tak Tak, a people who use a complex gestural language and are easily offended. Hand-talkers beware.

Meanwhile, the crew of Voyager has devolved into monkeys and the ship is drifting while they chase each other... no, wait, that was 'Genesis'. The crew has all come down with a virus, and the ship is drifting while they lie in piles of fevered unconsciousness. This is no ordinary virus, oh no. It's A MACROVIRUS. That means it's big.

Vomiting in the very face of the laws of physics, these bugs incubate in the bloodstream but grow billions and billions of times bigger, entering the visible world as buzzing mites from sores on their victims, then continuing to expand and then somehow fly and sting and slime their way around.

When they carry Neelix off to their larder, it's up to Janeway to Ripley her way to victory. Sweating, tank-topping, shooting, stabbing, and plasma-flame grenade-ing her way to victory. Sending wave after wave of hologram beach bunnies to their holo-deaths, although thankfully not the one hologram we really like.

"Macrocosm" is less enthralling than I once found it to be, but I can't dislike it at all. Action-thrills is a different kind of fun, and that's worthy enough. Plus I'm keen on the CG creatures. Logically, they make no sense at all, but they are definitely creepy.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Q and The Grey

**** (4 stars out of 5)
The "Idea Man" is back, and he's had a few. Plus, he's been drinking. Q's got it into his head that now is the time to MATE with dearest Captain Kathy.

But no matter what puppies he bribes her with, or gaudy Valentines bedsheets, or bath-time serenades, Janeway isn't flattered by the offer to become the Madre De Dios. Particularly with the admission that Q was considering Romulan Empresses or single-celled paramecia first.

Also, he's quote un-quote "married" or something. There's a difference of opinion on that. A statuesque redheaded lady Q has been his companion for 4 billion years, but to hear Q tell it, she's simply his stalker.

Janeway has to remind the audience that supernovas are SUPER rare, just in case the ones we've already seen on starship Enterprise adventures (Beta Stromgren, Beta Niobe, Minara, Amagosa, Veridian and all) were giving you the impression otherwise. Anyway, there shouldn't be THIS many but that quirky little horde of quasi-deities called the Q Continuum have started a Civil War.

To hear Q tell it, he's dashing Johnny Reb of the forces of freedom and the grey-clad southern Q of the Status Quo have it in for him. Their "pistols" are causing massive damage to the real galaxy. Only new blood can bring about peace...

(Really? The Continuum GOT new blood just 4 short years ago with Amanda Rogers from 'True Q'. Of course, she was conceived and raised in "mawkish human fashion" so she still must not count.)

The Battling Bickerques devise belittling nicknames for Tom "Helm Boy" Paris and Nee "Bar Rodent" Lix.  While readying the "rickety barge" Voyager to physically breach the Continuum, Torres chastises Suzy Q for her "superiority complex".

"It's not a complex, dear, it's a fact."

Janeway calls down the Q for their apparent inability to move beyond violence means to solve arguments. But when another solution is found, would she be willing to change the Diapers of Omnipotence?

"The Q and The Grey" is tremendous fun. If you wanted to bring back Suzie Plakson for sweeps again and again you wouldn't hear me complaining.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Ascent

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Jake is moving out of his dad's place and in with Nog. Hmmm. If you'll notice, he's moving from Section G to Section M. He didn't even stop at section PG-13!

Speaking of being tried as an adult, Odo is escorting Quark to the Federation Grand Jury on Inferna Prime. Unable to goad Odo into a game of fizzbin, Quark discovers that the Constable's reading tastes have gotten... spicier... since he got his new endocrine system.

"If you like that sort of thing I might be interested in selling you my first edition of Vulcan Love Slave."

Odo claims he's not enjoying erotic literature for fun. It's erotic literature to study the romantic obsessions of the criminally homicidal mind! Just like everyone who bought 50 Shades of Grey.

"Well, no one gets killed in Vulcan Love Slave. But it's still a hell of a read."

Nog is an Academy sophomore on field studies. He says his DS9 room is the Divine Treasury compared to cadet barracks. Nog might just be exagerating: I've seen his dorm room in the Marvel Comics. It's not that bad. And the Andorian across the hall doesn't always wear her uniform, either. Possibly because there are no distracting all-blue ladies around, Nog establishes daily cleaning, lights out at 2200, and hitting the gym at 0430. This drives slovenly layabout Jake crazy.

While driving each other crazy, Odo and Quark narrowly escape a courtesy bomb from Quark's prospective employers in the Orion Syndicate to crash on a barely habitable Class L planet. "Now we either freeze to death or starve to death."

They must carry the damaged subspace transmitter up a mountain to send a signal. Unable to get more than two bars, they attack each other in rage, fall over an embankment and Odo breaks his leg. So Quark actually starts hauling Odo and the transmitter. But Nog forbid Odo should think it's out of altruism: "I'm taking you along as emergency rations. If you die, I'm going to eat you."

Will Quark be forced to recreate the movie 'Alive' (or at least the movie 'Bad Taste')? Find out next week when Odo, Quark, Jake and Nog all move in together and fight non-stop until none is left!
"The Ascent" asks the question of the ages: why climb a mountain? And the answer comes from former Captain Pike in the 1967 picture 'A Guide For The Married Man': "Because She Was There!"

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Star Trek: First Contact

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Oh, man, oh man! I'm excited from moment one of the overture. It's been too long, I guess.

Even those dullsville uniforms aren't enough to get me down. What's next? Black shrouds? Or is it too on the nose to complain that Mr. Blackman made the costumes too black?

The Enterprise-E is the most advanced ship in the fleet, but Starfleet doesn't trust Picard around the Borg. Is it worth noting that families aren't along anymore? Was that Picard's reward for crashing the D? A ship with no children at last?

Defiant's helmsman (Adam Scott) is a delightfully familiar fellow! His ancestors battled racoon hordes in Pawnee, Indiana, no doubt!

Picking off Starfleet ships left and right, the Borg cube is demolished by an attack on a weak dragon scale known only to Picard. Too bad Starfleet didn't invite him in the first place: they invited everyone else. I even saw the Millenium Falcon! But even the rousing score of the father/son Goldsmith team can't save everyone.

When Data says  'uh-oh, chronometric particles!', and Picard says 'temporal vortex', poor Riker is left to dumb it down even further and say 'time travel'. If anyone on the bridge didn't get that, they probably don't belong on a bridge. Just sayin'.

Assimilated Earth with green methane-fluorine clouds and crap-brown oceans is a hideous sight. That's what you show Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout when she simply will not take the garbage out.

The Borg time sphere bombards Montana on April 4, 2063, ten years after the Earth Minbari War. Sorry, wrong dimension. I meant ten years after Earth fucked itself over in WWIII, a nuke war between East and West with 600 million dead. Only 40 years left, humanity, let's keep wasting them!

Confident in his yellow-trim grey uniform, Paul Porter winds up the first redshirt anyway as Borg infiltrators fuse organic and inorganic together all higgledy-piggledy.  Crusher sacrifices her Emergency Medical Hologram to delay the Borg while she and Ogawa flee. And what a useful sacrifice it was: the medicine women instantly lose track of their patient. Within moments primitive local shipwright Lily Sloane is taking the Captain hostage! Fantastic work. Falling apart in a crisis: what our crew does best.

Speaking of falling apart, Troi gets hammered with Dr. Zefram Cochrane on what is probably radioactive deuterium. Troi is the comic relief? TROI? But of course, it works. It's lovely.

Data has the ability to deactivate his emotion chip now, useful in anxious moments. He does not burst out in a Paxton-like 'It's a BUG hunt, man! A freakin' BUG Hunt!' So, snapping necks and shooting our own crew is what we do now? It doesn't stop Data getting captured.

The Enterprise crew gives Lily and Cochrane all the treats Voyager's crew denied Rain Robinson.
They tell Cochrane that his warp ship Phoenix and the aliens he's going to meet tomorrow are what turns everything around for that scrappy little planet that could, Terra.

As Troi says: "It unites humanity in a way that no one ever thought possible when they realize they're not alone in the universe. Poverty, disease, war- they'll all be gone within the next 50 years."

Does the E even use transparent aluminum anymore? Or are all the windows forcefields? They must be very, very supremely confident in the ship's ability not to lose power. Ever.

The Borg Queen grafts some poor slobs' human skin onto Data. The sensations it grants him are meant as an enticement. But now that he has skin I assume it's crawling. Mine is.

Picard, having lost his mind at some point, decides that he an Lily are so pressed for time that they should dress up and go dancing in a Dixon Hill holonovel. Oh, right. The tommy gun holobullets with the safety protocols off.
BARCLAY! God, I missed Barclay. Beside himself with overwhelming hero worship for Cochrane. Somehow while attending Zefram Cochrane High School, Geordi never heard the expression "Take a leak". Although he knows what "pee" is and, like me, he laughs about it like a giant child.

Data, if he's being honest with the Queen, has not had sex in over 8 years (sorry, Ensign D'Sora). Although it IS implied he might've had to re-start that count after today. Yergh. Bjorn Bjorg's something, isn't she? Roger Ebert said of her sexuality it was like none he'd ever heard of, but it made him keep an open mind. I don't want my mind that open! Lovely woman, but that 'rotting cantaloupe stuffed with black extension cords' look has GOT to go.

Where did the Klingon Borg come from? Did the E have a Klingon officer? In wartime?

I think Worf as the voice of reason calling for evacuation is cuckoo-nutty. And moreover, I will always resent the fact that it is LILY, not Beverly, who can make Obsessive Picard see sense. Our lady crew never gets enough to do anymore.

11:15 AM, April 5, 2063- Cochrane breaks the Warp One Barrier with Geordi, Riker, and Steppenwolf as his co-pilots.

Data betrays his Borg Chippie, pretending to play along until he can get close enough to puncture the plasma coolant conduit and liquefy all their 2000 organic parts.

Say... Data's a fast guy. Why didn't he do that when Queenie was standing menacingly over the Captain with the circular saw? Or before she made him waste 3 quantum torpedoes not hitting the Phoenix? Did she keep him tied up all during whatever hideous interlude they 'enjoyed'? Best not think about it.

Think instead of those Raggedy Post-apocalyptic Apes and their first handshake with the Nerdy Space Elves. May that day (or one like it) come to pass in my lifetime, without the cataclysm if possible.

"Star Trek: First Contact" makes it so. So exciting. So creepy. So hilarious. So sad it was the last flawless TNG movie.

Good lessons here: Meet a new friend. Trust a stranger. Booze less. And dance more.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


*** (3 stars out of 5)
Suppose the ghost of Castro took possession of the iron fists of Marilyn Monroe to seize power? Or maybe Rasputin and Florence Nightengale would be a more appropriate comparison?

Either way, it's Kes Possessed today, by the warlord Tieran (no relation to Tyr'ahnee: the 24th and a Half Century's Queen of Mars. At least, I think no relation.).

We've seen it all before, with Ann Mulhall and Thalassa, Deanna Troi and "Shumar", Bashir and Vantika, or, most recently, Keiko and the Pah-Wraith.

Snarling, Catsuit Kes goes on a rampage, killing the poor bastard at the transporter then all who oppose her on planet Ilari. Hostage to a deadly dictator's consciousness from beyond the grave, she stomps about tearing down tapestries like the dreaded head She-Beast of the Keebler Elves. Her burgeoning psionic powers are misused to kill disloyal underlings- Captain Needa style.

Then she tortures and teases and kisses Tuvok. Which would be worst for a Vulcan? I'm still thinking torture, definitely the torture.

Since Janeway's all out of faith healing today, technology performs the exorcism. But who will mend all the hurt feelings?

I hope the Paxil... I mean, Paxau beach resort program is enough to keep Neelix's happy feet a'dancin', because the one event Possessed Kes really takes to heart is their break-up. From child bride to devoted lover to spiteful ex. That's the terrible twos for you!

(Speaking of twos, I only bumped this episode up to three stars in the end because it has B'Elanna in a bathing suit. You know what I like, Star Trek. I just can't stay mad at you!)

"Warlord" has good performances despite all my dithering. Talented Jennifer Lien probably had a lot of fun chewing scenery, and well... they can't all be winners. I still wish they had featured a genuine, assertive, meaningful, non-possessed version of the end of this relationship. What was the break-up REALLY about? I feel the audience deserved to know. I was rather invested in 'Keelix' and I... oh never mind, what's tomorrow? Hey, a movie! And it's gonna be terrific!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Things Past

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Life was getting a little too enjoyable on Deep Space Nine in the midst of a brutal Klingon war and simmering Dominion Cold War, so how about a trip down memory lane to the Cardassian Occupation of Bajor once again? Nobody's sick to death of hearing about that yet.

Returning from a historical debate at which Garak wore a nametag reading "Elim Garak- Former Cardassian Oppressor", Sisko, Dax, Odo and their Cardassian colleague enter a dream together from which they cannot awaken. It is seven years ago, and they are all Bajoran slave labour on Terok Nor. Everyone sees them as Ishan Chaye, Timor Landi, Jillur Gueta, and that girl who happened to be hanging around Ishan, Timor, and Jillur.

Dax's character's name being irrelevant, she is scooped up in the daily allotment of women delivered to Gul Dukat's office for the full Roddenberry.  The fellows, meanwhile, are working the fry station and scraping gum off chairs at Quark's when they happen to be standing too close to an explosive assassination attempt on Dukat's life.

Thrax, the station's chief of security, has a fair demeanor for a spoon-head, but he's overworked and too quick to pin the blame. The trio are scheduled for an execution with a free trial if there's time. And only Garak could really use one, truth to tell.

Can they find a way to awaken before their sleeping minds convince their bodies they've been shot? Why is Thrax still working here when this representative weekend of justice miscarriage was really during Odo's tenure? What's really going on here? And could Dax hit Dukat in the head a bit more? I'd really appreciate it.

"Things Past" serves mainly to remind me of what I already know: Kurtwood Smith is the cat's ass. He's great in everything I've ever seen him in. The story itself is grim, glum, dire, dour, no heroes anymore, seen it all before. But damned if it didn't used to give me chills.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Future's End Part II

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Do you think Bill Gates got where he is by torturing a hologram from the future? Let's hope not. But Chronowerks CEO Henry Starling will do anything to get ahead- and he's got the stolen tech to make the EMH Doctor feel like he's been set on fire.

Taken hostage, it is actually the Doctor who comes out on top- quite by accident and despite the ordeal. Starling has a 29th Century Mobile Holo-Emitter, allowing him to trot his prisoner out of doors.

When Starling tries to seize Rain Robinson as well, Tuvok and Tom reunite with the Doctor and aid in his escape. Rain dubs him Mr. Leisure-Suit and is quick to point out how weird it is that he can take so many punches. Tough to bruise a guy with no blood.

Chakotay and Torres crash while abducting Starling, into the clutches of a doomsday anti-governement militia of a religious bent. Racist, gun-toting but well-spoken yokels take the 'government stooge' Indian and his bagel-headed lady friend captive. The advantages of having a phaser-wielding bulletproof hologram on your side soon become apparent.

Tom and Rain survive a car chase with Chronowerks thug Dunbar. Guess which thug does NOT?
It is as romantic as it seems to kiss a lad from the future next to the burning wreckage of a murderer and his big rig?

Starling tries to leap into the future, but a timeship is NO electric car. It's not powered by his sense of self-satisfaction, either. If they let him, he'd destroy the future for his own profit. And thanks to the pounding they've taken, it's down to Janeway to hand-load the torpedo that takes him out.

"Future's End, Part II" is a terrific action romp and exactly the sort of thing I like. Considering Timecop Braxton's enthusiasm for the preservation of the timeline even at the cost of over a hundred lives, it seems very odd that he's willing to let our heroes keep that holo-emitter from the future. I can only assume he overlooked it, or perhaps his future scanner tech is not so finely calibrated as one might think. Speaking of leaving things where they're not supposed to be, let's hope those trucker-hat cultists didn't snag any future swag.  Next thing you know, we'd have guys in baseball caps flying starships way too early. Nobody wants THAT.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Let He Who Is Without Sin...

**** (4 stars out of 5)
 I'll give you two guesses what I liked most about the return visit to Risa, the hedonistic pleasure planet from 'Captain's Holiday'. Babes is bikinis! Bolians with surfboards! Rock Lobster!

Love is in the air. Even crusty brown bartifact Morn has a gal to bring flowers to!

Dax forces her new boyfriend Worf to take a break from brooding under the tropical Risan suns. Also, her friends Leeta and Bashir and Quark horn in on the romantic cruise. Leeta and Bashir because they're in the midst of an unusually amicable break-up, and Quark because Risian women are not at all hypocritical when they say 'All that is ours is yours.' Also, Risian women might be stoned or blind.

I'm just saying, Quark is NO prize. Then again, Grilka seemed satisfied. You know what they say about the size of a Ferengi's... bulbous head. (Oh, and it turns out Leeta is dumping Bashir partly because she secretly has feelings for Rom... so... go figure!)

Worf has a bad case of the surlies, falling in with a crowd of quasi-religious thumpers sweltering in grey tweed on the beach. Their leader, Pascal Fullerton, is sternly lecturing everyone to stop having sexy times or the Borg will punish them. Or something. 

Perhaps because Worf would rather read crazy tracts than pay any attention to her, Dax pals around with Arandis, the Risian who jamaharoned Curzon to death in his bed.

If Quark wielding horghans and Worf in a Speedo weren't worrying you, then mild girl-on-girl hand-holding isn't going to upset you either... but Fullerton's New Essentialists decide to wreck up the joint according to traditional family values. They use Worf's guile to screw-up the weather modification grid. Soon it's pouring down outside like it's Ferenginar (where they have hundreds of words for rain and no word for crisp). That should make all these floozies and him-bos put on some clothes! 

"Let He Who Is Without Sin..." cast the first stone, so the Bible says. Although people in glass houses SHOULDN'T do that, I hear. Risa seems like the sort of place that would build glass houses and still not bother wearing anything while indoors. But as far as voyeurs are concerned, chaste swimsuits is what we get at 5 o'clock on family programming. The writers, Behr and Wolfe, claim that this prudish medium failed their intentions in a show about morality and sex. Twentieth Century versions of Fullerton actually put a shirt on Leeta (the first picture on this page is the unaired version) and isn't THAT the greatest crime of all?!? 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Future's End

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Attacked without provocation by time-traveling twenty-ninth century jack-hole Captain Braxton of the Federation Timeship Aeon, our heroes wind up orbiting Earth in the late twentieth century. A benighted, backward era before iPads and Ugg boots, when the very height of cellphone fashion was an archaic flip device the like of which would not be seen again until the 2150s.

Braxton was even less fortunate; in that a filthy hippie jacked his ride in 1967. The hippie became the local Steve Jobs, a corporate sell-out kajillionaire called Henry Starling who caused the computer revolution we know and love. Everything from bar code readers to the Crazy Frog Ringtone can be laid at the feet of the corporate giant known as Chronowerx. (You've seen them: they have a Starfleet chevron on their laptops instead of an apple. Also, hundreds of factory deaths from improperly tuned Chroniton Reactors. Patent Pending!)

Janeway finds Braxton eking out a meager hobo living. He's railing helplessly against the End of the Universe, which will happen rather early if Starling should ever step on the Aeon's gas pedal.

Gangsta Tuvok and Groovy Paris, the original odd couple, chase down a SETI astronomer working in the Griffith Observatory... to destroy her life's work. The stargazer, Rain Robinson, spotted Voyager and e-mailed them those pornographic "Hello, Alien Nudists" greeting cards Earth put on their Voyager probes. So naturally, Starling's phaser-brandishing goon is trying to kill her. She knows too much! And she thinks Jesus Is Magic! To the Mystery Machine, Scoobies!

Oh, also, Starling pirates the EMH (File-Sharing: The Victimless Crime my butt!)

P.P.S: Somebody got a grainy picture of low-flying Voyager on a camcorder. Now that Whack-A-Doo from Squatch My Sasquatch is on their trail!

"Future's End" takes place in 1996, the very year Khan and his genetically engineered supersoldiers were overthrown from the many, many countries they'd conquered and fled into space exile! But, as usual, nobody in Los Angeles noticed anything anyone else in the world was doing.

I kid, I kid. In fact, Rain Robinson DOES have a photograph of the launch of Botany Bay in her office, or at least a DY class ship just like it. So while it's not our dimension (there's no Star Trek TV show there, for example, so Rain's Talosian action figure must be a really similar creature from Battlestar Galactica or possibly Battletoads) it's not just having a silly romp, it's still faithfully following Star Trek's history. Sort of.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Trials and Tribble-ations

***** (5 stars out of 5)
When Deep Space Nine Forrest Gumped its way into the Tribbles episode, every nerd in the world stood up and cheered. I have it on good authority, anyway.

Authority figures of a dour disposition arrive to take a deposition. Temporal Investigations Agents Dulmur and Lucsly think the truth is out there, and they want just the facts from Sisko.

The Captain is reluctant to admit he totally changed time on a madcap adventure 105 years in the past, on Space Station K-7 with the crew of Kirk's Enterprise.

Disgruntled after a century spent looking like a human, Klingon spy "Arne Darvin" seizes his moment for glory and sends the Defiant back in time with a Bajoran Orb. He's put a bomb in a tribble to assassinate Captain Kirk for 'poetic justice', and our 24th Century chums must sneak aboard the classic vessel in ancestral garb to put things right once more.

Dax revels in the familiar gadgets, short skirts, and trip down memory lane (in a previous body she apparently had a fling with Dr. McCoy!). Julian also flirts with the notion of doing the nasty in the past-y when he decides forward young Lt. Watley is probably destined to have him as a descendant. Worf is surly to be stuck in an era before his people wiped out the Tribbles, and to have to dodge difficult questions: such as why a century ago Klingons "looked like Puerto Ricans and dressed in gold lame". O'Brien winds up in a pointless bar fight that deserved to keep its original score, and Sisko gets to greet the Legend in Green Velour.

All's well that ends well... provided reviving a voracious and adorable extinct species is not a problem for anyone.

"Trials and Tribble-ations" is the best 30th anniversary special anyone could have wished for. If I had to pick a personal favorite moment I'd probably go mad instead, but I think it's Dr. Bashir incredulously blurting "THOSE are KLINGONS?" to the waitress who is plainly wishing her shift would end so the mean drunks would stop asking her stupid questions. Then again it's ALL so absurd. "Hot Fish Juice." "Your flap's open." "A Friday." "I can't wait to... see your face when you find out that I never existed!"
Babylon 5 snagged the Hugo from this one, too, but at least it was in good runner-up company with Mars Attacks. Comedy, sadly, has to be its own reward.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sacred Ground

** (2 stars out of 5)
Because Voyager has stopped even PRETENDING to go home, the crew is eagerly traipsing around planet Nechani in some holy shrine like tourists in Tibet. The glowing holy-of-holies even looks like the deadly de-rezzing Recognizers from my favorite religious movie, TRON... but I guess Kes never saw that movie. She strolls right into it and dies.

Captain Janeway begs, cajoles and pleads with the Mayor of Sunnydale to cure her adorable elf moppet, but to no avail. There ain't no cure... and there never will be! Neelix, somewhat more motivated, finds an old bible reference to a King who saved his Son by praying to the Ancestral Spirits.

So Janeway gets her church on. It's everything you'd expect: eerie priests touching your naked body with oil, a trio of crotchety geezers mouthing cliched platitudes, then fasting and worrying until you have visions. The patronizing mom from Freaks and Geeks even makes Katherine reach into a sack, Bene Gesserit-style (minus the gom jabbar). I tell a lie: the gom jabbar is in the sack. Or some monster: the bite-y little bastard had three fangs, and if everyone is to be believed, did not actually help in any way.

The result? Kes is cured. BY FAITH HEALING. Unless you want to believe that wacky computer doctor who has a whole bunch of science-sounding nonsense instead. NOPE! Healed by faith! That's the ticket!

"Sacred Ground" is Star Trek Magazine's third highest rating of the whole season and I just can't see it. All respect to actress Mulgrew, director McNeill, writer Klink, producer Taylor. Good job all around, but I just don't FEEL this one. Sure, it's easy to avoid being preachy if you have NOTHING TO SAY. Challenging the secular humanism which Trek characters virtually ALWAYS embrace, yes, it is, but to WHAT end? 'Science doesn't have all the answers?' Well, of course not! But science is a better tool than blind faith 99 times out of 100. Flu shots cure flu. Prayer does not. Warp engines do not run on Genie Blood. Sorry to get all Vulcan, but snake-handling and voodoo are not the number one approach anymore for a very good reason. Science WORKS. Leave pontificating about the good, non-specific lord to 'Touched By An Angel'.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Assignment

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Fellas, level with me: has your lady love ever suddenly become a terrifying demon of unfathomable purpose and gut-twisting menace? Well, I'm sorry to hear it! I don't know what that would be like, of course, seeing as how my wife is the very avatar of human wonderment, kindness and love. Also, mercifully, she's never been to the Fire Caves of Bajor. I can't say the same for Keiko O'Brien.

Miles O'Brien can't go a season without something awful happening to him! Why can't the writers ever give him an adventure rather than an ORDEAL? Whatever the reason, Keiko is the first to encounter a legendary evil Pah-Wraith, which seizes control of her mind and body.

Just in time for Miles' birthday, September 2373, his wife is taken hostage by a being bent on destruction. Much as he once threatened her when he was possessed by an Ux-Mal thug. What are the odds? And how is this guy not dead or crazy a thousand times over? That's neither here nor there, as the demon runs him ragged with surreptitious sabotage to the station.

And, out of left field, the hero of the tale is the least obvious man for the job. The lowest engineer on the totem pole, Rom. As Miles desperately casts around for an ally with the Keiko-Wraith threatening to kill his wife if he breathes a word of her scheme to anyone, he finds a helpful, loyal, surprisingly astute Ferengi. Rom is willing to go to any lengths, even get arrested, for his boss.

There's no moment quite as chilling for me as when Rom chimes in with the earnest, well-meaning: "Chief, why are we trying to kill the wormhole aliens?"

"The Assignment" is tense and creepy. The first story with the False Prophets of the Bajoran faith in pursuit of their ancient vendetta against their own kind, and their efforts to burn the Celestial Temple. There's constant pressure from the Pah-Wraith, full of sadistic enjoyment, even to brushing Keiko's child's hair as a threat or forcing Miles to sleep next to it like nothing's wrong. It's got a high ick factor.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Nor the Battle to the Strong

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Jake is wishing for a chance to write about Dr. Bashir in action instead of half-listening to the doctor's prattling prowess. The Sisko kid gets his wish when they wind up at a M*A*S*H* unit under Klingon disruptor fire on Ajilon Prime. Or possibly an U*S*H since it's Underground and it's not at all mobile.

The 18-year-old writer is overwhelmed by the terrible glut of casualties, but gives it all he can as an unskilled orderly, mostly hauling out the dead.

Conditions grow more desperate when the enemy takes out their power generator. Dr. Bashir and Jake make a sortie outside to recover the runabout generator. Possibly because Jake is an enormous pin-wheeling target of many limbs, the bombardment strikes ever closer. Abandoning the doctor and the mission in sheer terror, Jake stumbles into a foxhole.

He is present for the death of Sgt. Rock, or his 23rd Century equivalent. With the planet under a transporter scrambler, the Starfleet soldier had to give his platoon a chance to escape in something called a hopper (Possibly related to the Grenthamen Water Hopper Geordi La Forge once mentioned? Or, for all I know, a giant genetically-engineered grasshopper with bucket seats? Take your pick.)

When Jake stumbles back to the hospital, burning with shame over his cowardice, he finds Bashir has saved everyone but was horribly worried and guilty about the boy he thought was lost. There's plenty of that to go around, including the combatant who phaser-burned his own foot rather than face any more bat'leths and the berserkers on the other end of them.

Jake reaches some conclusions about the futility of labeling during such chaos. "Maybe you saved a hopper full of people. Maybe you shot yourself in the foot. No-one's gonna remember!"

"Nor the Battle to the Strong" is firmly in the camp of Military SF, seemingly a far cry from the lofty world of mighty Galaxy-class starships soaring through the heavens and solving sexy problems in 47 minutes. There's a lot of intensity here, and painful subject matter. But it's a deserved classic.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Looking for par'Magh in All the Wrong Places

*** (3 stars out of 5)

Quark wants Grilka. Dax wants Worf. Worf wants Grilka. Miles and Kira want each other. Oh, what a merry mix-up!

"par'Magh" is the Klingon word for love, though with "more aggressive overtones". So, like human love but with broken ribs instead of broken lamps.

When Lady Grilka returns to the station hoping Quark will do her wartime accounting and possibly some loads of laundry she had lying around, Quark sees his chance to win her heart... or at least points south.

Worf admires Grilka from afar but he's less welcome to court her than Quark. Greasy Money Troll outranks Handsome Total Pariah, I guess. When Quark goes to Dax for advice on wooing Klingon ladies, Worf chimes in, too. Soon Dax and Worf are putting words in Quark's mouth, and with a remote control device, even running Quark's body like a puppet in a sword fight to win the Lady.

It's poor Bashir that has to treat them, since Lady Grilka plays rough. Dax and Worf succumb to par'Magh related injuries of their own.

Kira and O'Brien manage to avoid the romantic closeness they were afraid they might give into. Saving them both from Keiko breaking their ribs and/or lamps, presumably.

"Looking for par'Magh in All the Wrong Places" is adorable nonsense. By inverting a Rule of Acquisition that recently let him down ("War is Good For Business"), Quark has re-discovered what hippies suspected all along: "What is it good for? If you ask me, absolutely nothing." The 'HUNH! Good God!' sounds are optional, although I'd imagine everyone was making them anyway, for other purposes, and in private.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


**** (4 stars out of 5)
B'Elanna Torres has sex dreams! I know how that is, except mine are rarely given to me by apple-cheeked grandmotherly figures. I've heard of the Tooth Fairy, but the Wet Dream Fairy is something else entirely!

While acting as a taxi service for a group of Enarans skilled in energy conservation, B'Elanna sleeps late as much as she can to experience nocturnal romantic encounters. In the dreams she's living someone else's life, and beds a boy her father disapproves of.

The Enarans are reminiscent of the Ulians with their telepathic intrusions. Christine Sullivan's dad from Night Court assures everyone that none of them share memories involuntarily, nor could there be any weird spillover that might be harming Torres. And we ALL trust telepaths, right?

Jora Mirell (Korenna in her youth) was the daughter of a leader who pushed very hard for progress at at any cost. The local Amish people (called The Regressives) weren't so keen on rapid technological advances. For the crime of not using flouride toothpaste, the Regressives were rounded up and burned alive. Every last one. Pretty hot stuff, huh?

Korenna shouted for the rightness of her father's cause when she betrayed her boyfriend Dathan and got him incinerated. She spent her life telling kids how the Regressives had SO sadly brought their deaths on themselves with fighting and disease in their backward, filthy community.

When aged Mirell very conveniently dies, will Torres keep silent?

"Remember" is one of those semi-erotic Holocaust Denial allegories you've heard so much about. Janeway points out it's not their place to judge others and the Enaran's choice to tamper with their own history. But as Torres suggests: "This could happen again if no one knows it happened before." Originally aired in October, but I think it plays better just before Remembrance Day, don't you?

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Ship

*** (3 stars out of 5)

Who knew sneaking around doing some mining in Dominion Territory would have a downside?

If you think I'm just blowing hot air, how come this Fish-Woman doesn't have a hot-air blower?
Eight years ago, Benzite characters Mordock and Mendon had a gas supplement apparatus affixed to their upper chests. Runabout Pilot Hoya doesn't. Trek tech expert Mike Okuda suggested they'd improved the technology lately. Me? I'm thinking Professor Farnsworth's Oxygen Pills- Now a Suppository!

Of course, how Hoya does her breathing is no longer an issue after the Jem'Hadar drop by.

Vorta negotiator Kilana uses flattery and humble brags followed by ten hours of shelling to try to earn Sisko's trust. This works about as well as you'd imagine. Sisko stubbornly refuses to budge from his salvaged crashed Jem'Hadar ship, even with his people at each other's throats. The tragic deaths of the evil changeling captain and Starfleet guy T'Lor (a Tiburonian by the ears of him) seem inevitable.

Oh, also O'Brien's beloved minion Enrique Muniz perished, and it was the emotional heart of the whole story. That's why there's a moment at the end when Sisko tells Dax how every redshirt is a rare and special snowflake. In my view, that means Hoya no less than Muniz. Or Bertram, the gal with no lines and her back to the camera BEHIND Hoya for that matter!

There's no question this captured ship will come in handy later. But that's not going to comfort Hoya's widower. The poor bastard just lost his Fish-Wife (to use what I believe to be the Benzite term).

"The Ship" wins despite its generic title (seriously? THE SHIP? That's so crazy. No episode before or since has ever featured a ship. So distinctive!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

False Profits

*** (3 stars out of 5)
I knew only two things about the Delta Quadrant before Voyager took us there and found it was stuffed to the gills with Kazon. One, it was probably the domain of the Borg and Guinan's assimilated homeworld. And Two, there were two Ferengi stranded there. One of those story elements plays out tonight. Lucky us!

Seven years ago, Arridor and Kol of the Ferengi Alliance fell out of the sky onto some gullible rubes who worshipped them as gods and fell easily into the dog-eat-dog mode of capitalism. The So-Called "Holy Sages" set about bilking the populace much as Quark would have done to Earth in "Little Green Men" had he successfully avoided being dissected. Harem Girls, Hot and Spicy Grubs, and all the endless fields of over-farmed muck they can drive to economic ruin!

The Takarians are Bronze Age humanoids straight off the set of some American bastardization of Monty Python. By which I mean they are only intermittently funny. Well, I shouldn't knock it. The beggar with the fake eye patch is a good. And the Sages' Toadying Lickspittle is a hoot.

Get this gang: Janeway's plan to stop the exploitation, to "Out-Ferengi The Ferengi" is to dress Neelix up as one of the Halloween Pumpkins, pretend he is the Nagus' 'Grand Proxy' and have him improvise a solution by bossing them around. Now, is it just me, or is Neelix actually one of the LEAST qualified men aboard to fill this role? HE HAS NEVER EVEN HEARD OF A FERENGI. Why... just... why? Is portliness a requirement of the Grand Proxy? And if so, is a bulky coat really harder to manufacture than the head-cheeks, giant lobes, and coaching him on EVERYTHING anyone knows about Ferengi?

Possibly from frustration at the silliness of it all, the over-exploited locals decide the time has come to fulfill that chorus of the "Song of the Sages" where they set the sages alight with torches. Transporters pull their fat out of the fire, but the scamps out-fox the Federation. Arridor and Kol sneak out in their old shuttlepod, and in the process they break the Barzan wormhole and end up Roddenberry knows where. Possibly Andromeda. (Not the galaxy, the dopey TV show. One of the later seasons.)

"False Profits" is an acquired taste and I seem to have lost it today. But, honestly, good effort. Not uproarious, but I still get a kick out of Ethan Phillips delivery of the line: "I am the Holy Pilgrim!" He's like a gay alien Billy Graham. And that's worth the price of admission. 12 Frangs, please.