Sunday, 19 April 2015

My Random Journey Through Trek #32

Deep Space Nine
Empok Nor

Quark is having issues with retaining customers in his bar thanks to ongoing maintenance by the Chief and Nog, unable to totally fix the problem and with no replicator sourced replacement parts they decide to visit the sister station to DS9 "Empok Nor" which was recently abandoned by the Cardassians. Garak is invited along since it's common practice to booby trap a resource and that is proven to be a good idea as Garak is able to gain entry and power up the station without incident or so they think. It turns out that there were three soldiers in statis left to deal with any intruders, two survive and are revived and begin to hunt down the Starfleet personnel.
It's not all plain sailing though as Garak becomes infected by a compound they find smeared on a railing, it's the same drug that is driving the even more determined Cardassians to hunt down intruders and as time passes Garak himself becomes more of a threat to the remaining Starfleet crew.

Empok Nor is an entertaining episode, its slow pace works to perfection to enhance the suspense and danger involved with being on this moth balled space station. Garak and Miles are great fun as the initial friendly banter which supports the first half of the episode and as the situation evolves into a life and death struggle their dialogue remains the most important aspect. There were some issues most of which exist to make the plot work beginning with the rather suspect inability to repair DS9 in the first place, a conduit shouldn't rely on a like for like original replacement rather than a replicated part. It was rather amusing to see that Health and Safety in terms of noisy working conditions and the environment weren't an issue for Starfleet or Quark missing the opportunity for compensation for loss of business. I also wondered why Empok Nor seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, the design after all seemed to be intended for ore processing but it wasn't in orbit or close to an asteroid belt and while yes Cardassians would bobby trap a resource you would think it would make more sense to destroy it or move it. There was also evidence the station was abandoned quickly which goes against the more organised security measures so when we see a girder has smashed into one of the pods you wonder why, these stations are built strong.

Got to have an audience
Empok Nor is a very good example of what DS9 was created to provide, a much darker and gritty episode of Star Trek with many shades of grey and who else but Garak (Andrew Robinson) could maximise that potential. It was great to see Garak even more dry and cutting as the drug began to take effect and when he gutted the security officer and pointed out he had fetched the wrong tool you had to smile despite the loss of another "red shirt". Speaking of which I was not impressed with the Starfleet personnel both in terms of attitude, tactics and awareness when they knew they were in danger but they were there to set the scene for Garak and Miles with Nog (Aron Eisenberg) thrown in as a pawn in the spirit of the game which was a constant in the story.
Rating 8



Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Wrath of Khan Steelbook

I know what I've said about steelbooks basically repackaging and reselling the same thing over and over but I think I really want to own this :)
Trekcore

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Trek Soundtracks

I picked up a few goodies using the recent La-La Land Records discount, sometimes the temptation is just too much:)






Star Trek: Renegades Trailer

Some very familiar faces in Renegades and not only from the Trek franchise :)

My Random Journey Through Trek #31

Deep Space Nine
Defiant

Commander Riker visits DS9 and makes a play for Kira, as the flirting continues she takes him on a tour of the Defiant and even unlocks the bridge with her own command codes, he then shoots her.
Surprise, it's not Will but his own self Tom who is now part of the Marquis and with a little help he steals the Defiant and takes it into the badlands and onward to the DMZ to raid Cardassian space with one particular objective in mind.

Smug Git!
So DS9 are making use of Thomas Riker who we first met in the TNG episode Second Chances and back then he had a chip on his shoulder and it seems the last few years have made him more intent to make his own mark on the Federation. I guess following a successful older brother into the same profession is tricky so when you are pretty much competing with yourself you would have to go to extremes. Of course this Riker lacks the hands on experience both in command and it seems the political big picture yet it's amusing when Kira points out he ain't no terrorist either, Starfleet and the civilisation imprinted on him by his family and culture remain.
I wasn't overly happy to see how poorly Kira was handling the pressure of running DS9 but not a bad idea to piss off the Doctor if it's gets you a couple of days off work, result. Thomas was clever to be very aggressive with Miles, put all the pressure on the guy you want to avoid, less likely to approach you knowing you were only going to be around for a while. It was a little too easy to get access and control of the Defiant, you would have thought Starfleet would have done something to differentiate the two Rikers given their relative security clearances and yes the Defiant is a "little ship" but even automated it seemed a stretch how few untrained Marquis it took to fly her. Of course when in combat the ship was at a disadvantage, immediate repairs and compensation normally provided by a full crew would have made the mission far easier. I did laugh myself silly how easy Riker seemed to defeat the anti-proton scanning but maybe in reality his countermeasures didn't work which is more reasonable to me anyway.

Dukat played by Marc Alaimo was excellent as usual, his story of his son may have been pure manipulation or a very simple lesson in how a Cardassian would view things, either way we again see Cardassia as being far more complex than you would think as the Obsidian Order are operating far outside their mandate.

Overall Defiant wasn't a bad episode and it was a good use of Thomas Riker but I wasn't totally sold on how they wrote Kira for this episode from her initial attitude with her work and Riker and then her speech about terrorism and the state. When she stated "I was a terrorist" it was accurate from the perspective of the Cardassians but not of her own people and certainly not in her own mind, maybe it was to offer a simply black and white argument to Thomas but it still felt out of place.
Rating 7

Saturday, 4 April 2015

My Random Journey Through Trek #30

Voyager
The Cloud

An early Voyager episode and a basic story plot that we've seen before in the franchise so it doesn't bode well. The mixed crew with alien additions is starting to settle down but energy requirements means less use of the replicator so when a nebula is discovered which could aid in that respect they set course for as Janeway says " there's coffee in that nebula". An organic based substance within the nebula reacts to the ship's thrusters and to evade it's clutches they use a torpedo to break loose which leaves the ship damaged and the nebula nebula which they discover is a life form. The Doctor realises the nebula can self heal but it can not bridge the huge gap caused by the torpedo and a solution is presented to use the Voyager as a partial suture and by emitting nucleonic radiation aid in the healing process. After a few hiccups they use the nebulas inherent circulatory system to get them close to the wound without using the ships power and they use the nucleonic radiation to knit the wound together escaping moments before it closes.

The Doctor The Outsider
I have to admit I fell asleep during this episode, yes it was late and a workday following but it still says a lot about the episode and the reworking of a old Trek storyline. That side it was a good base for some character development although that was pretty hit and miss as well mind you they underlined how freaking annoying Neelix was as well the alienation of the Doctor and the beliefs of Chakotay in particular. It was amusing to see the bun of steel and how nervous B'Elanna was in her new position and right from the go we get Harry being slapped down, some things change and some don't. Again how bloody annoying was Neelix from his alternative coffee option to the belief he had a right to jump enter the bridge and demand to leave the ship, even Kes (not my favourite character) was more than willing to slap some sense into him. Oh "Chez Sandrine" the holodeck get away from it all, how fortunate the Intrepid class starship has independent secondary power for such a luxury.
No liquid should gloop
The Cloud is not a good episode even allowing for the missteps many shows make in their first seasons but even though Voyager isn't my first choice in Trek viewing there are far stronger episodes to come and as always you put up with the weaker ones because even The Cloud has some decent bits of dialogue.
Rating 3