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STAR TREK REWIND: “Penance”
“Q, you are not well.”
SPOILERS ABOUND! BEWARE! Star Trek is about a fantastic utopia. It’s a universe that took some two hundred-odd years to bring humanity to a point of peace where war and prejudice were antiquated notions—at least to us. When we move into the galaxy and realize there are other alien races, some benevolent and some warlike, we discover that most of those races remind us of ourselves to some degree.
STAR TREK REWIND: “Basics, Part I,” “Basics, Part II”
“A fitting end for a people who would not share their technology. Let’s see if you manage to survive…without it.”
The Kazon were never my idea of a “worthy” adversary for the crew of the U.S.S. Voyager, primarily because of their reputation for stealing technology (they’re almost a nomadic version of the Borg but strangely more hostile) as well as their sheer idiocy. Yet they always seem to get the upper hand on Janeway (Kate Mulgrew). She has two experts on Kazon behavior in Kes and Neelix, and one of her own defects to the Kazon side early in the show’s run.
STAR TREK REWIND: “Homefront,” “Paradise Lost”
“Don’t kid yourself, Ben. This Pandora’s Box of yours…we’re opening it together.”
Neither the consequence of patriotism nor nationalism, Starfleet Command wages a war against the citizens of Earth by way of fear-mongering. That’s a word we hear much more often these days. After a terrorist bombing is revealed to be the handiwork of the Founders, Sisko (with Odo) is recalled to Earth to head up Security. Odo accompanies him to provide useful information about his people. Suspicion brews quickly, as Starfleet believes the Founders have infiltrated the Federation.
STAR TREK REWIND: “Up The Long Ladder”
“Send in the clones.”
If there are two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation that fans get positively stupid about, they are “Code of Honor” from season one, and “Up The Long Ladder” from season two. There are, of course, the Lwaxana Troi episodes, with the exception of “Half a Life” and “Dark Page,” but that’s because she’s a traditionally hated character in the Star Trek community. With the former episodes, the hatred comes down to silly components of inferred racism and “stereotypical” behaviors which, in observance, say more about the racism of typical viewers.
STAR TREK REWIND: “The Jihad”
“My people are cautious, what you would call ‘cowards.’”
The Soul of Skorr sounds like a talisman in a video game, a Myst-like (remember Myst?) connotation that requires the unlocking of boxes, scanning of maps in order to locate the lighthouse that reflects the Sun’s rays to pin-point the exact location of the Ark of the Covenant, which will contain yet another map leading to the last-known location of … the Soul of Skorr. I don’t even think Tolkien could follow this story. Kirk and Spock beam down to a planet filled with previously-unknown alien species. A great, ancient, long-dead leader’s brain patterns were recorded and placed in the Soul of Alar.
STAR TREK REWIND: “Tomorrow is Yesterday”
“The truth is, I’m a little green man from Alpha Centauri. A beautiful place. You ought to see it.”
Time travel. We hinted around with it in “The Naked Time,” flirted with it a little, but the top-notch science fiction writers of the time knew that theme could be a crutch if over-used. The majority of Twilight Zone episodes revolved around the idea of time travel. Parallel worlds and alternate dimensions ranked second in popularity. Body snatcher scenarios came in third.
STAR TREK REWIND: “Brother”
“This is the power of math, people!”
Let’s be honest. There’s only one reason anybody would be interested in continuing to watch Star Trek: Discovery, and it has nothing to do with this assortment of characters, nor Burnham, nor Georgiou, nor visual effects, battle scenes, or Klingon sex. It’s about the promise of Spock. Spock. That’s it. Spock, over any other character, may be the most iconic in all of Star Trek. Spock is a visual touchstone, instantly identifiable even by people who don’t watch Star Trek in any form. In my first Discovery review, “The Vulcan Hello,” I defined the term, “slip-in.”
STAR TREK REWIND: “Shock Wave, Part I,” “Shock Wave, Part II”
“We’re going to stumble, make mistakes – I’m sure more than a few before we find our footing. But we’re going to learn from those mistakes. That’s what being human is all about.”
The trouble with the “Tinker Bell” character (though originally written as a stand-alone construct) is that it too often becomes a crutch upon which to rest any danger that might happen to the lead characters. Crewman Daniels is a “Tinker Bell” character in the Star Trek lore. He appears at the times when we most need him and then disappears all too quickly before he can provide proper explanations for why things are the way that they are, except to say that time travel plays an important part in his thought process. This can get extremely annoying.
STAR TREK REWIND: “Strange New Worlds”
SPOILERS ABOUND! BEWARE! If you remove all of the random details of “Strange New Worlds,” the pilot episode of the eponymous series (this latest entry into the Star Trek franchise), and concentrate on the story alone, this is not a terrible episode. A planet in a first contact situation is revealed to have abducted “Number One” (Rebecca Romjin) and stolen warp technology to produce weapons of mass destruction. It’s up to Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) and Science Officer Spock (Ethan Peck) to rescue her and clean up this mess.